For the Record with Greta, Transcript 3/16/2017

Chris Van Hollen, Bill Kristol, Nicholas Kristof, Matthew Rosenberg, Diane Black, Diane Black, John Yarmuth, Nick Kristoff, Bill Kristol, Gordon Chang


Date: March 16, 2017

Guest: Chris Van Hollen, Bill Kristol, Nicholas Kristof, Matthew Rosenberg, Diane Black, Diane Black, John Yarmuth, Nick Kristoff, Bill Kristol, Gordon Chang


Wisconsin going all the way winning, and beating Virginia tech starting

tonight.  Thank you, Chuck for that. 


TODD:  Ok, great. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Tonight no evidence of a wiretap.  A stunning bipartisan

rejection of President Trump claims that he was wiretapped by President

Obama or any kind of surveillance at all.  But then, a bigger stunner,

despite that joint statement of no evidence from the highest ranking

Republican and Democrat, the White House is not backing down.  Democrats

though are now calling for an apology.  But Sean Spicer, on behalf of the

president is not going there, so what happens now and what will we hear

from the FBI?  And also, battle lines are drawn over the new Trump budget. 

Who are the winners?  Defense and border security, and who are the losers,

the EPA, cancer research, meals on wheels and much more.  We`re going to

talk to the top Democrat and top Republican on the budget committee. 


And tonight, Speaker Paul Ryan trying to stop the Republican revolt over

his health care plan, the GOP rivals say the Republican health care bill is

dead on arrival.  Most say that GOP health care bill is going to change,

but the big question, how, and how much? 


President Trump`s surveillance claims of wiretap claim shut down.  The

Senate intelligence committee saying, based on the information available to

us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance

by any element in the United States government either before or after

Election Day 2016.  Now, that news broke right before White House press

secretary Sean Spicer, was supposed to begin his briefing, he was more than

an hour late.  And well, you just had to be there. 




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So Sean, are you saying that despite the findings, the

bipartisan findings of the senate intelligence committee? 



There`s a statement out today, they have not begun this, as you know

yesterday, two days ago, the Department of Justice asked nor an additional

week.  The statement clearly says at this time, that they don`t believe

that.  They have yet to go through the information. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you saying that the president still stands by his

allegation that President Obama ordered wiretapping or surveillance of

Trump Tower, despite the fact that the senate intelligence committee says

they see there`s no issue that it happened. 


SPICER:  No, first of all, he stands by it.  You`re mischaracterizing what

happened today is the question.  I believe he will. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know the senate and house intelligence committee. 

Both leaders from both parties on both of those panels saying they don`t

see any evidence of any wiretapping.  How can the president go on and

continue –


SPICER:  Because that is not – you`re mischaracterizing what Chairman

Nunez said.  He said, I think it`s possible.  He is following up on this. 

To suggest that is – you`re stating unequivocally that you somehow – you. 




SPICER:  Right and I think we`ve already cleared that up.  He said exactly

that.  The president has already said clearly when he referred to

wiretapping, he is referring to surveillance. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It sounds like you and the president are saying now. 

We don`t mean wiretapping any more.  That is not true anymore. 


SPICER:  No, no, that is not –


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What is it going to be next? 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Going back to the fact that the president used

wiretapping in quotes, last night he said it was very important it was in

quotes.  Out of the four tweets where he accuses Barack Obama of

wiretapping him, he only used quotes in two of them.  Does he feel like

Trump tower was broadly surveilled? 


SPICER:  He was very clear about this last night.  He talked about it. 




SPICER:  Yeah, he was.  He meant it, he put it in quotes, and it was very

broad.  I understand that, that is the point of them looking into this.  I

think the idea is to look into this. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  If all this comes out and there`s no proof that

President Obama had any role in any wiretapping, there was no wiretapping. 

Will president Trump then offer an apology? 


SPICER:  That is like three times this weekend, I think the answer is. 

We`re not going to prejudge where the outcome of this is. 




SPICER:  No, hold on. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  For the wiretapping, the house intelligence committee

and senate intelligence committee –


SPICER:  No, here`s the quote.  I think it`s very possible, that is what he

said when he said the president`s communication could have been swept up in





VAN SUSTEREN:  Here`s what White House Intelligence Committee Chairman

Devin Nunez said yesterday. 




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you have any reason to believe that the president

himself or anyone working for him in the White House, would be one of these

names that may have been swept up in something that could have ultimately

related to what happened with Michael Flynn? 



think it`s very possible.  Like I said, we should know that by Friday.  We

don`t have any evidence that that took place.  In fact, I – I don`t

believe just in the last week of time, the people we talked to, I don`t

think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower. 




VAN SUSTEREN:  Remember, it was the White House asking these committees to

investigate, and tonight the president stands by his surveillance claims

despite having any evidence.  Here`s what President Trump said last night. 





I`m not going to discuss it, because we have it before the committee, and

we will be submitting things before the committee very soon.  That hasn`t

been submitted as of yet. 


But it`s potentially a very serious situation.  And don`t forget, when I

say wiretap, those words were in quotes, that really covers, because

wiretapping is pretty old fashioned stuff, but that really covers

surveillance and many other things.  Wiretap covers a lot of different

things.  I think you`re going to find some very interesting items coming to

the forefront over the next two weeks. 




VAN SUSTEREN:  With me, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat from the great

state of Maryland.  Good evening, sir. 



with you. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  And I should add that late today, we got a statement from

Senator Lindsey Graham saying, I strongly believe these statements by

political leaders, that would be the House and Senate Intel Leaders, both

sides of the aisle, should not be a substitute for a public response from

the Department of Justice on the matter, it`s entirely acceptable for DOJ

and FBI to make a simple statement that goes to the heart of the matter

without jeopardizing classified information?  Are you satisfied (inaudible)

with the house or senate or do you think Lindsey Graham that the FBI should

be a sort of the final statement on this. 


VAN HOLLEN:  I`m satisfied with the bipartisan statements out of the house

and senate intelligence committee.  I think it`s worth having the FBI

weigh-in on this, obviously, FBI director Comey want to the do that, and I

would welcome his statements.  But Greta, this just shows that we`ve got a

really dangerous situation for the country.  I mean, this is obviously bad

for the White House, but it`s bad for the country, when the credibility of

the president of the United States is just zeroed out, entirely, because we

need at least those in the global community to be able to take the words of

the president seriously, and unfortunately, we`ve learned today on a

bipartisan basis that that cannot be done. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, it seems that – it`s a Tad bit turned upside down. 

We`ve been talking about this for the last 10 or 12 days.  I went back and

got a hard copy of the New York Times which is something that the Trump

White House is hanging its hat on, and the hard copy, not the unlined copy

said wiretap data used in inquiry of Trump aids.  That is what they`re

saying.  I will add that we`ve had investigations by the house intel senate

intel and they say that they have done an investigation, in fact, Senator

Warren`s spokesperson said today, the bipartisan leaders of the

intelligence committee would not have made the statement they made, without

having been fully briefed by the appropriate authorities.  So even though

this started as a legitimate concern of some sort by President Obama we`ve

had all this since. 


VAN HOLLEN:  Well, look Greta, I don`t think there`s any basis for the

Trump tweets to begin with, and the fact that the White House continues to

try and spin head over heels in that clip you just played, just shows that

the bottom continues to fall out of their credibility.  And the president

has already been somebody who`s in this alternative universe, this

alternative fact place, and this just goes to show they`re stuck there, and

again, it`s bad enough for the president and the White House – it`s a real

danger for the country. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  In what way?  I have to admit I don`t like it, I don`t like

this either.  We have gotten to the bizarre point, I don`t like this

either.  I actually – if these four senators and some of them are on the

same party are saying they talked to people and it didn`t happen, you know

that is where I am.  How do you see it as dangerous? 


VAN HOLLEN:  I see it dangerous, because when the president of the United

States makes very serious accusations, accusing a former president of

essentially breaking the law.  And then we discover on a bipartisan basis

that is not just true, there`s no basis for those statements.  The

question, of course arises, can you ever trust what the president says at

moments that it will matter to the country?  And in terms of every day

conversations he has with the country and with international leaders.  So,

I think it is really dangerous, we heard a lot of alternative facts during

the campaign.  We continue to hear them after the Inaugural, but this one

had that seriousness, because it essentially accused a former president of

breaking the law.  It does not be fitting the office of the president or

somebody to be making those baseless claims. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  I hear a lot of that discussion inside the beltway.  Then I

look at last night with President Trump in Nashville and I know he has

thousands of supporters across the country.  They think the media`s making

a big deal out of this, the Democrats are, and some Republicans, I mean his

supporters are very strong right now.  I don`t think they think this is



VAN HOLLEN:  Well let me say this, we heard candidate Trump saying during

the campaign, he could walk down a street of New York and shoot people, his

supporters would still be with him.  You know what?  That is disturbing and

it may be true with respect to his core supporters as this president puts

out more policies that are totally inconsistent with the promises that he

made during the campaign trail.  I think a lot of those people who

supported Trump with some hesitation are going to see this for what it is. 

And today the Trump budget came down.  I can tell you the Trump budget

betrays many of the promises and commitments that he made to his supporters

and things he said on the campaign trail that others in the country may

have liked. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Senator, thank you for joining us, it`s the first time I`ve

been able to call you senator.  I`ve called you congressman for so many

years, but congratulations on your win and thank you for joining us. 


VAN HOLLEN:  It`s great to be on your new show.  Thanks, Greta. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Bill Kristol is the founder and editor of the Weekly

Standard and Nicholas Kristof is a columnist for the New York Times.  Nick

first to you.  We have the house Intel committee.  We have the senate Intel

committee saying no evidence.  Where does this take us? 



clear right from the beginning, there was no evidence of President Obama

wiretapping President Trump, but now you have Republicans confirming that,

I guess I question how much of an impact that has on Trump supporters,

after all, he said years ago, that within days he was presenting definitive

evidence that President Obama was born in Kenya, that never emerged.  He

was going to present definitive evidence of massive voter fraud that never

emerged.  The evidence he was talking about now will never emerge either. 

It undermines the credibility of the U.S., and when there`s a North Korea

crisis for example.  And President Trump makes an announcement to the world

and appeals to support for allies, American credibility will be called into

question.  It will distract from what I think is a more important national

security issue, that is the allegations of collusion between elements of

Trump campaign and Russia, which are unproven, but absolutely we need to

focus on. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Bill, where do you see this?  There was the whole

controversy, I mean Donald Trump will be pushed the whole birther movement

and that is gone away.  That is completely moved off everyone`s radar

screen.  Is this going to move off everyone`s radar?  Is this different? 



different because he is president.  Private Citizens can say irresponsible

things.  Candidates can say irresponsible things.  President of the United

States – that is a very different matter.  And he is saying he is got the

White House spokesman standing behind him.  Donald Trump says the podium

should say president of the United States on the seal.  It`s not Trump

tower any more, defending Trump.  He is articulating the judgments of the

president of the United States. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  What`s the real impact?  I mean even Speaker Ryan was just

down with Chuck Todd in Meet the Press, I mean nobody – his own party is

not defending him.  We keep saying credibility, but what sort of – tell me

some real impact. 


KRISTOL:  I mean it`s hard to know. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  It`s so unusual situations. 


KRISTOL:  It is so unusual.  It`s hard to measure the impact.  How much

damage does it take for people to get used to a reckless sitting president

and in two weeks we`ll know more and then in two weeks if we don`t.  Will

he then say I was wrong on this?  It does damage the general level of

public discourse, you know it`s hard to know, at the end of the day, some

of his supporters are going to dismiss this, I think it`s hurting him.  I

actually don`t agree with the people that say, this doesn`t affect his

support.  It is funny, Trump just makes I it. 


You know, Trump will be president, he won`t be a very good president, but

he`ll do what he does.  We need to focus on getting the conservative agenda

back on track.  I would love to have some fresh thinking.  We can talk more

about those issues on this show, and then this happens you get pulled back

into the Trump swamp, why are we discussing this?  It`s trivial.  They were

saying compared to North Korea or health care or whatever, it is kind of

important that the actual president of the United States is staying things

that are false and reckless and having the entire having a spokesman back

him up. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Nick, in terms of our intelligence committee, they`re the

ones, especially the FBI they must be sitting there wanting to say

something, I know they`re – the FBI director Jim Comey is going to speak

on Monday, but there was at least one report that the FBI director will ask

the justice department to be able to speak out.  Any thoughts on what this

is – if this is having any impact on the FBI? 


KRISTOF:  I don`t know firsthand from my own reporting, what I understand

is that there`s a real feeling in the FBI being demoralized, being accused

of being a pawn in some kind of President Obama power gain for political

purposes against President Trump that is not what they did.  And in fact is

not how Washington works.  There is a clear process for probable cause, in

the criminal area, through FISA warrants in the intelligence arena, the

idea that the president is calling J. Edgar Hoover and asking him to drop

in a bug in Trump Tower, that is not how the world works in 2017. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  It is wild, isn`t it?  This whole thing, I sit here and

watch Spicer today, and watch this whole thing –


KRISTOL:  If you were to believe Trump, you would believe the FBI director

is lying.  People supporting the FBI director are lying. 


There`s a big conspiracy, 20, 50, 100 career civil servants and

intelligence officers who are purposely doing something illegal. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  I think people probably could have thought we read all the

investigations about Russia and our election.  Anyone who`s having a

conversation with Russia, people are always spying on the Russians, but

they would be picked up in a sweep.  That was the big difference. 


KRISTOL:  He is saying that others did it at the direction of President

Obama, knowing it was illegal.  It does sort of cast doubt on the integrity

of large numbers of people working at the U.S. government, doesn`t it? 


VAN SUSTEREN:  I don`t know.  Anyway we`ll take a quick break. 


Nick and Bill, stick around, we`re going to take a break.  Up next, looking

for the source of the wiretap claim, we`re going to talk to New York Times

reporters, does his reporting support what they`re saying. 


Plus a battle over the Trump budget, a big boost for defense, some other

programs on the chopping block. 




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We can`t spend money on programs just because they

sound good, great meals on wheels sounds great. 




VAN SUSTEREN:  And there`s terrifying new video from our past made public

for the first time.  We will tell you why we`re talking about it today? 

And what it has to do with a top diplomatic mission by the Secretary of







UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you believe the president, though, when he says that

President Obama wiretapped Trump tower? 


SPICER:  That is what I said, we cleared that up, and that we see no

evidence of that. 




VAN SUSTEREN:  We`re back following the breaking news, the senate

intelligence committee just a short time ago, saying there is no evidence

of surveillance at Trump tower.  This is President Trump last night. 




TRUMP:  I`ve been reading about things, I read in – I think it was January

20th, the New York Times article, where they were talking about

wiretapping, there was an article.  I think they used that exact term.  I

read other things. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why not wait to tweet about it until you can prove it,

the value of your words when you can`t provide evidence. 


TRUMP:  Well because the New York Times wrote about it, not that I respect

the New York Times, I call it the failing New York Times, but they wrote on

January 20th, using the word wiretap. 




VAN SUSTEREN:  You can see the word wiretap was used in the print headline

on January 20th and it did appear twice in the story, the online version

has a different headline, Intercepted Russian Communications part of

inquiries to Trump associates.  It did not assert that Mr. Obama had

ordered surveillance on Mr. Trump, nor did it mention Mr. Obama, rather the

story referred to intercepted information collected overseas. 


Matthew Rosenberg is one of the reporters on that story, And a National

Security Reporter for the New York Times, nice to see you Matt. 



Thank you for having me on. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  It did not say in the article that President Obama

wiretapped candidate Trump? 


ROSENBURG:  It actually, supposed he said that, that there was no

indication he was, that we didn`t know that and then trust me, I`ve said

this before, if we knew that someone was surveilling President Trump, we

would write that, that is a great story.  We don`t know it.  It doesn`t

seem to have happened.  And I`m honored to be cited by the president, I

guess, it`s a complete misreading of the story. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Why do you think he is doing that? 


ROSENBURG:  It comes out, goes online the night of January 19th, on March

3rd, there`s right wing talk radio talking about how the president was

under surveillance.  On March 4th, he is tweeting about this.  It`s a

pretty big distance.  Then it takes another two weeks, before he finds the

reason why he tweeted.  In that time, you had info wars and a bunch of

other fringe websites and news sites coming up with a theory, justification

after the fact.  The New York Times are the ones that reported it,

therefore, we have the evidence, it`s the New York Times, and they`re

against us.  It`s bizarre and –


VAN SUSTEREN:  Who did get caught in this wiretap and where was this



ROSENBURG:  A lot of it was Russians talking to Russians about contact with

Trump associates.  It was not, you know they were surveilling this person

or that person. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  It wasn`t me calling a Russian and getting caught in the





VAN SUSTEREN:  It was Russian to Russians rather than one of the Trump

associates or someone making a call to a Russian? 


ROSENBURG:  There may have been some of that.  We know that was the case

with General Flynn, he was caught talking to the Russian ambassador.  We`ve

been monitoring the Russian ambassador since 1919 probably?  We tap his

phones, yes.  That is where these guys get caught up.  We don`t have any

indication that Trump, or Trump tower were under surveillance. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Your sources are they – just generally, your national

security.  Your job is national security.  Are they upset by this at all? 

How are they feeling?  The survey is being played in the public domain? 


ROSENBURG:  You know, I think its two ways, you have people who have left

the former administration, who are going to be upset by most of this, and

they`re inherently not in favor of the current president.  You have a lot

of career officials, people who have given their life to this, who are

still in the government.  They`re most upset by this, because they know

they never presented this to the president.  He is saying, basically, your

work doesn`t matter, I have my own sources.  That is deeply insulting to

people in the CIA and FBI who don`t get rich doing their work and offer us

their lives doing it. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Matt, thank you. 


ROSENBURG:  Thank you very much. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Ahead, Speaker Paul Ryan promising changes in the GOP health

care bill.  Will it be enough to get the votes within its own party? 




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There really isn`t a great deal of unity over Paul

Ryan`s replacement plan.  It`s false for him to go around saying, you guys

ran on my plan.  The heck we did. 




VAN SUSTEREN:  Also do you like defense and border security?  How about the

EPA, Meals on wheels?  Well the new White House budget sparking a tough

debate on America`s priorities.  We will talk to the two top lawmakers on

the budget committee that is next. 






PAUL RYAN, HOUSE SPEAKER:  This is always going to be an open process where

we get feedback from people, we get feedback from members, we get feedback

from people, and we incorporate that feedback. 




VAN SUSTEREN:  Paul Ryan saying problems are rallying around the GOP health

care bill.  And today the bill did squeak through the house budget

committee.  Three Republicans voted against it, a possible sign of trouble

ahead, meanwhile, a fight opening on another front, President Trump

releasing his 2018 budget, calling for more funding for the defense

department, homeland security and veteran`s affairs, b big cuts for the

State Department, Education Department, EPA and the Housing Department. 

The president`s budget director Mick Mulvaney defending cuts and programs

like meals on wheels. 




MICK MULVANEY, BUDGET DIRECTOR:  We can`t spend money on programs just

because they sound good, meals on wheels sounds great, again, that is a

state decision to fund that particular horse.  Take the federal money give

it to the states, say, we want to give you money for programs that don`t

work, I can`t defend that any more. 




VAN SUSTEREN:  Joining me, House budget Committee Chair and registered

Nurse Congresswoman Diane Black, Republican from the great state of

Tennessee, nice to see you congresswoman. 



be with you, Greta.  Thank you for having me. 


VAN SUSTEREN:  Ok, your chair for the budget committee, but before we get

to that, from your position, your former job as a registered nurse.  You

are still a registered Nurse, are you satisfied that this GOP bill is the

best for care for the patient? 


BLACK:  I am still, I am interested in still seeing some changes, Greta.

This is not the end. We`re continuing to talk and make the bill better, I

want at the end of the day to being sure that all of the folks are going to

have an opportunity to have affordable accessible care.


VAN SUSTEREN:  But having an opportunity, and you know this from your own

career as a nurse doesn`t mean that people always going to go on time, you

know, they need preventive care. They need colonoscopies before they get

colon cancer. I mean, does this bill provide those opportunities for people

who are lower income or maybe even, you know, poor so they can get that

necessary preventive care?


BLACK:  Yes, Greta, we`re putting a lot of pieces in place and so, you

know, a big portion of our population, over 60 percent of our population

get their health care through their health care insurance through their

employer. And then we have folks that are on Medicaid, that`s a different

population. And then we have people that are just unable to get through

employers and they don`t qualify for Medicaid and so we`re trying to look

at all three of those populations and to make sure that we have something

in place to get access to people in each one of those areas.


VAN SUSTEREN:  I don`t detect they`re fully embracing this, I don`t know.

Maybe it`s my imagination but I detect there`s some things you don`t like

about this.


BLACK:  There are always pieces that can be made better and that`s the

reason why we`re going through the regular order. It`s been through two

committees already. It went through my committee today. We actually sent

some instructions to our rules committee because as you know, we cannot

amend this bill. What the process is, is that our budget committee is there

to say that the two committees that gave us the plans, their bills, that

they met the reconciliation instructions that we gave to them, but we`re

not able to amend it.


However, we were able to get an opportunity for our committee to have four

different areas of instruction that they`re sending to the rules committee

that will again make the bill better. We are going to just stay in the

fight here. This is not the end. This is regular order. And you know what

Greta, I`m really glad after being here for seven years and I`m

experiencing regular order. We are in the (INAUDIBLE) of last six years.


VAN SUSTEREN:  All right, if you could amend it. If you had a magic wand

and everybody to take your amendment, what would it be?


BLACK:  Well, one of those is that I think we ought to give states

opportunity to have more control over when they get their Medicaid dollars.

Right now in the bill, there`s a per capita. Some of the states actually

want to have block grants that give them much more latitude to do what they

want to do with their Medicaid dollars. I am for that. That was one of the

provisions that we passed out of our committee today and passed along for

suggestion to the rules committee to consider. It actually is our

blueprint, yes.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Do you have the votes in the full house because I take it

you`re not going to get – I don`t think you`re going to get Democrats to

vote. Do you have enough Republicans without those republicans who don`t

like it to pass this?


BLACK:  I don`t know the answer to that. I know there was (INAUDIBLE)on

yesterday. I`m not privy to that information. But I can tell you that we`re

still working and that is something that I`ll continue to say because

America hasn`t seen this. They haven`t seen regular order.


I haven`t seen regular order. It`s been six years that I`ve been here, now

my seventh year, we`re finally seeing a process that really works along the

way. Ease (ph) up along the way, the bill gets made better and we still

have steps to go yet.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Congresswoman, thank you very much for joining us.


BLACK:  You`re very welcome. Thank you for having me Greta.


VAN SUSTEREN:  President Trump making the case on health care with some

campaign style rallies. He was in Nashville last week and next week he`ll

head to Kentucky, the same state that Vice President Pence travelled to

last weekend.


Joining me, Democratic Kentucky congressman John Yarmuth. He`s the ranking

member of the House Democratic Committee. Today, Congressman Yarmuth voted

no in the budget committee to the GOP health care bill. Good evening sir.


REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D), KENTUCKY:  Hello Greta. Good to be with you.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Good to have you. Why I know you don`t like the bill because

you voted no, but before we get to that, would you have been content just

to have – would Obamacare have been fine just to sort of go on the next

few years or was there – was it going to collapse?


YARMUTH:  No, it wasn`t going to collapse. I think all of us recognize that

there`s a problem in the individual insurance market, we have put safe

guards in place to help mitigate the losses that some insurance companies

might experience if they got disproportionate amount of sick people. That`s

happened. The Republicans actually sabotaged the system and cut funding for



So, we do have a problem with the individual market and we need to figure

out how to correct that. The rest of the ACA is working just fine. The

Medicaid expansion is working fine. We have the lowest rate of increase in

both group insurance and Medicare premiums and costs in 50 years. So a lot

is going well with the Affordable Care Act. We do have a problem in the

individual market which by the way only affects about 6 percent of the



VAN SUSTEREN:  Al right. Was the Medicaid group – was that expanding from

year to year to year? 


YARMUTH:  The Medicaid –


VAN SUSTEREN:  The number of people in Medicaid. Was that a growing number?


YARMUTH:  It actually does grow year to year to year but people come and go

off of – oh, I`m sorry, Medicare, yes. We know that –


VAN SUSTEREN:  Medicaid. Medicaid.


YARMUTH:  Oh, Medicaid, I`m sorry. It`s noisy in here. In Medicaid, we know

that people come and go off Medicaid very frequently. They get on and then

they find work and they do better and they get off Medicaid. So, we expect

that the numbers will be – depends really, Greta, on how many of the 19

states that have not expanded Medicaid decide ultimately to do it. If they

do it, the obviously there`ll be more people on Medicaid. If they don`t,

then we expect that number to remain relatively constant.


VAN SUSTEREN:  All right, well, hypothetically, if those states only decide

to do Medicaid expansion and with the federal government paying 90 percent

to 10 percent what the states do, that`s obviously got a huge price tag. I

want to take care of people from, you know, I want people to have access to

health care, but I`m trying to think how do we work these numbers?


YARMUTH:  Well, I mean, the original plan, the ACA when we passed it, the

numbers were actually projected very well. We reduced the deficit by about

$125 billion in the first 10 years, by $1 trillion in the second years. So

we anticipated that and the mistake in the CBO numbers basically resulted

because the Supreme Court said that we couldn`t force states to do it.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Well then I don`t understand, I get so many e-mail

complaints about Obama. I`m sure a lot of people got a lot of nice things

to say about it too but I focus on the complaint. People are saying that

like in Arizona, the premiums go up skyrocket, more than 100 percent. I

mean these catastrophic numbers, these co-pays that people – they`re

punishing people because they – I`m not saying punishing people because –

they`re punishing to people who can`t pay them. So I`m hearing these horror



YARMUTH:  Again, that`s in a couple of states and that relates only to the

individual insurance market where there is a problem. That`s not the rest

of the insurance market and we`re talking again about 6 percent of the

population. We need to work on that. What the Republican proposal does is

make it worse because they take away the subsidies for the premiums, which

by the way rose with the amount of the premium increase. So, even though

premiums might have increased by 50 or 70 percent, the subsidies were

increasing at a proportionate rate so the individual does not add any more

money. What the Republicans do –


VAN SUSTEREN:  But the subsidies have a cost. I mean, we got to get the

subsidies from some place?


YARMUTH:  That`s right, they do. And at the core of it is we have to do

something about health care cost in general. You know, one of the things

that we wanted to do is deal with prescription drug cost and we haven`t

gotten any cooperation from the other side on that.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Well we got a lot of work to do. Anyway, congressman, thank

you very much for joining us.


YARMUTH:  Thanks Greta.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Coming up, the big picture on the Trump agenda. We`ll be

back with Nick Kristoff and Bill Kristol, that`s next.






SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA:  No interest in particularly embarrassing

the president. He wanted to back away and correct himself. But we`re 12, 13

days, almost two weeks from his tweet. We`ve seen no evidence. If he`s got

more information, share it with at least the intelligence committee or

retract his statement.



VAN SUSTEREN:  Senator Mark Warner talking about the wiretap controversy.

It`s a cloud that`s been hanging over the Trump White House for nearly two

weeks. And NBC`s first read (ph) pointed out the President`s agenda is now

“stuck in the mud.” The travel ban has been blocked and the GOP health care

plan seems to be unraveling.


A new FNC poll shows that among those opposed to the plan, 67 percent say

it changes Obamacare too much and 21 percent say it doesn`t change

Obamacare enough. But there is some good news for President Trump, 51

percent say he is fulfilling more promises than other presidents and

supporters of his support – and thousands of his supporters showing up

last night at his rally in Nashville.


Some stood in line for more than 12 hours to see him. Back with me, Bill

Kristol and Nicholas Kristof. Nick, I think if I had been president –

nobody has actually voted me to be president or speaker of the house – I

would have started with infrastructure and not health care because there`s

a little bit for someone in that. Some people get jobs and some people

don`t have to drive over potholes. I mean, it seems like it would have been

a better way to start an administration.



mean more broadly. Every president until now has always started off trying

to reach out and to build political capital initially. And instead

President Trump really hit almost a concerted effort to squander political

capital by focusing on base and then indeed focusing on repealing



And I do indeed think that`s one reason why his agenda is stalled. I think

that`s a fair assessment. I do have to say though that, I mean I, while I

think his agenda in building things up is stalled, I do worry about his

capacity to still bring things down and you know, in the case o health

care, I think it`s – it sure looks like that health care bill is going to

spiral down the drain.


But it may well be that he is also, if nothing gets through, he`s going to

preside over the collapse of Obamacare by essentially undoing the mandate

with just – with nothing to replace it.


VAN SUSTEREN:  And it will be called Trumpcare at that point?


KRISTOF:  And, I mean, he will own it but at that point, you will have

millions of people who will lose health care insurance and the various

estimates are that, you know, some are between 25,000 and 50,000 extra

deaths would arrive each year. That`s one extra death every 15 minutes as a

result of that. And he would blame President Obama for creating supposedly

unsustainable health care system.


Democrats would squaff (ph), his supporters would explain it but the bottom

line is, at the end of the day an awful lot more people would die. And then

you look internationally, and you know, he has constraints domestically on

his agenda. If he wants to do something very risky with North Korea, he

doesn`t have a lot of constraints and that`s one thing that keeps me up in

the middle of the night as well.



big constraint there. Secretary of defense Jim Mattis, I do not believe

fully he`s doing very risky things nor does H.R. McMaser, the National

Security Advisor. So I think it will turn out that Trump –


VAN SUSTEREN:  See I think he`s –


KRISTOL:  – more constrained on substantive matters than people might have



VAN SUSTEREN:  I think his unpredictability actually is something that may

benefit him with North Korea, in a peculiar way because, I mean that guy,

Kim Jong-Un is so unpredictable and I actually don`t think that Trump

would, you know, with the second of defense there, I don`t think he`s going

to do anything, you know, wildly –


KRISTOL:  We are in a kind of crazy, I mean they`re going to try different

substance on his policies but we are in this highly bizarre position that

someone like me is hoping that the secretary of defense and the national

security adviser constrains Trump to a more responsible course on the same

drastic policy, and I tend to think that does happen on a lot of issues.


But it`s also true that how much damage is done by this – by doing that

executive order in the first week. I`m quite hardlined on the war on terror

but now if you try to pursue it more sensibly let`s say, I don`t know,

escalate the war against ISIS, to do everything that might be important.


There were same things in Homeland Security that might be important. It`s

not as if we may –


VAN SUSTEREN:  But why can`t –


KRISTOL:  – Homeland Security. He`s now discredited it by doing this

initial executive order in such a sloppy and haphazard and foolish and

mean-spirited way. And the same with health care, I`m for conservative

informed agenda on health care. I think there are better ways to do it than

Obamacare. Honestly, can I go out now and give, you know, give a talk or

write an article that says there is a serious Republican alternative after

this fiasco we`ve seen?


VAN SUSTEREN:  Yes, and like the thing that sort of bothers me about

Washington is that it doesn`t seem like Capitol Hill can multitask. Every

single person is probably watching TV (inaudible) probably also making

dinner, probably picking up toys from the floor, doing all sorts of – but

you know, we do one – congress is like we`re doing health care. Why can`t

they do infrastructure simultaneously, if something that – you know why

can`t they do all these other projects in which people might find or tax

reform – any of these.


KRISTOF:  Well, I guess one thing that troubles me is that President Trump

and the administration have approached national security, which is of

course a concern that everybody shares through this very narrow prism, just

a military buildup and the security is indeed one of those things that you

assure not only by bombing things, but also with the diplomacy by

environmental regulations. I mean our greatest national security threat in

the last decade was probably the risk of Ebola killing many, many

Americans, and that was stopped with foreign aid in West Africa, which is

one thing –


VAN SUSTEREN:  Let me just say one thing. Let me do a tease, there`s a new

Ebola movie coming out that I`ve already seen that is actuall breathtaking

Nick that I want you to see because I know you`d like it, but I got to take

a break. But anyway, both of you, thank you very much.


KRISTOF:  Good to be with you.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Ahead, a truly stunning video, the government declassified

never before seen nuclear weapons tests from 60 years ago, why it matters

now, and what the secretary of state is saying today.




VAN SUSTEREN:  In just a few minutes, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

departing Japan and heading to South Korea and tensions over at North

Korea`s nuclear program. And tonight I have something new to show you, it

highlights what the stakes are as we talk about this issue. These are newly

declassified U.S. government videos of nuclear weapons tests from the

1950s. Vivid illustrations of the destructive power of nuclear weapons.


That pacific island is still uninhabitable six decades later. And this is a

test from 1955 at a site in Nevada called Area 2. It`s part of a series of

14 tests known as Operation Teapot. And here`s another from that operation,

the government made about 7,000 videos of nuclear tests which you`ll

remember those videos as we think about North Korea`s recent missile tests.

This morning, Secretary Tillerson said the  U.S. needs to rethink its





REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE:  The diplomatic and other efforts of the

past 20 years to bring North Korea to a point of denuclearization have

failed.  So we have 20 years of failed approach.




VAN SUSTEREN:  Gordon Chang is an Asia expert, author of “Nuclear Showdown:

North Korea Takes on the World.” Nice to see you Gordon.


GORDON CHANG, ASIAN EXPERT:  Thank you so much.


VAN SUSTEREN:  OK, everything is going in the wrong direction. They`ve had

five nuclear tests. They`ve had increasing number of ballistic missile

tests. There is no sign that anything is good. We`ve been nice to them,

mean to them, sanctions, we`ve threatened them, we`ve talked to them in

six-party talks, what`s left to do?


CHANG:  There`s only one strategy left to pursue. That`s to impose severe

cause on China for supporting their nuclear weapons ballistic missile

programs plus their illicit activities. Now, we haven`t done that.




CHANG:  Because I think that we`ve put the priority of integrating China

into the international system at much higher level than disarming North

Korea. This goes back to the administration of George W. Bush and the start

of the six-party talks in 2003. But what we`ve ended up with is a very

arrogant Beijing and a nuked up North Korea.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Well, you know, the thing is if we look at North Korea, it`s

not just nuclear weapons, they have conventional weapons. They even have

chemical weapons. Look at the half-brother who was just murdered. I mean,

we got so (INAUDIBLE) and it`s got the (INAUDIBLE) I mean, everything going

in the direction of very bad.


CHANG:  Yes, well, they already got three missiles that can hit the lower

48 states. Now they haven`t been tested or adequately tested but they`re

based on proven technologies. So within about four years or so, they`ll be

able to make a nuke to those and then hold us to ransom. They also can now

make a nuke to an intermediate range missile and that can reach American

forces in Asia.


VAN SUSTEREN:  What is the Trump policy towards North Korea if you can



CHANG:  They don`t have one yet. It takes a long time to do this. Also,

it`s very, very complicated because you`re dealing not just with North

Korea, you`re dealing with Iran, Pakistan and of course China. Now,

Tillerson`s brief from the White House was a couple things. One of them was

to actually find out what China`s position is and how far they can push

them. And they need to know that before they can then make up theire own

policy, but it`s going to take them quite some time.


VAN SUSTEREN:  And I don`t mean to be critical of the Trump administration

because the Obama, the Bush, the Clinton, nobody else has been able to

solve this as well. But now we`ve also got the new dynamic we saw last

week, the president of South Korea got the boot and she was more of a hard

line. So now we`re dealing with someone who is a little bit more moderate

but I don`t know what that`s going to tell us, at least we expect that.


CHANG:  Right. May 9th there`s going to be an election. It would probably

be a so-called progressive and for the first time in about four or five

years, there`s going to be a lot of daylight between the positions of Seoul

and Washing on North Korea.


VAN SUSTEREN:  But the new one is expected to want to talk more and

communicate more, have more diplomacy with North Korea which frankly hasn`t

worked and neither is the hard line one, the one who just got booted.


CHANG:  Right. And also, a new president, if it comes from the progressive

camp will probably want to curtail a THAAD missile defense system, Terminal

High Altitude Area Defense. The U.S. has just deployed that in South Korea,

the Chinese are furious over it. And a new South Korean government may sort

of try to appease Beijing on this by limiting deployment or actually even

reversing deployment.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Gordon, thank you.


CHANG:  Thank you.


VAN SUSTEREN:  And coming up, I`ve been betrayed big time. I`ll tell you

the full story, next.




VAN SUSTEREN:  I have something to say for the record, well, it`s finally

started, March Madness, the NCAA tournament. Now, we so need this because

it is a well needed annual diversion from the wild controversy that swirled

around Washington. Boy, do we have those controversies this year.


We are so drowning in fights here. So yesterday, before I anchored our show

live on Capitol Hill, I ran into two members of congress, Congressman Jason

Chaffetz of Utah and Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. Now those

two men, they`ve been my friends for a number of years, friends of my



So, I have every reason to believe that they would both make the right

decision in selecting this year`s NCAA winner. But alas, both of them, the

two members of congress failed me. They`ve betrayed me. Both of them.




REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH:  I picked K.U. to win. I`m sorry cheese

head, but I want K.U.




VAN SUSTEREN:  Why did you not?


CHAFFETS:  You (INAUDIBLE) didn`t have a team in the tournament so I had to

pick a real winner, I couldn`t just take my –


VAN SUSTEREN:  I previously told everybody if you want to watch picking

them that if you and Dowdy didn`t pick Wisconsin, I would never talk to you





VAN SUSTEREN:  Did you pick Wisconsin to win?


REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINS: I picked Virginia Tech. I cannot tell

a lie.


VAN SUSTEREN:  Why didn`t you pick Wisconsin?


GOWDY:  Had I known I was going win with you or with you. That`s my honest





VAN SUSTEREN:  Can you believe it, those guys doing that to my Badgers?

Yes, of course. I`m just kidding, but yes, go Badgers. And thank you for

watching tonight. I`ll see you back here tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m.

eastern. And listen, go to my Facebook page because there`s so much going

on in my Facebook page. A lot videos, behind the scenes. And I also want

you to follow me on twitter @Greta. Make sure you go there. And the great

thing about twitter, you could say horrible mean nasty things to me and you

can do it anonymously. I`m just kidding.


Anyway, “Hardballl” with Chris Matthews starts right now.






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