For the Record with Greta, Transcript 3/17/2017
Show: FOR THE RECORD
Date: March 17, 2017
Guest: Margaret Talev, Nicholas Burns, Steve Clemons, Clarence Page, Susan Ferrechio, Kevin Cirilli, Howard Dean, Barry McCaffrey
CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS SHOW HOST: We`ll be back on Monday with more
“MTP Daily.” I`ll see you Sunday on “Meet the Press.” “For the Record with
Greta” starts right now, Greta, big first win for Whiskey.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, MSNBC: Indeed, Wisconsin got a game tomorrow and of
course I`ll be watching “Meet the Press” on Sunday. So you are going to be
working on Sunday. Anyway, it was a wild day, another wild day actually
here in Washington. He is most certainly not backing down. President
Trump`s first comments about the wiretapping since the senate and house
intelligence committee announced no indication that Trump tower was
surveilled. Here he is with the Press Conference with German Chancellor
Angela Merkel today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: Mr. President, the government officials
in London today rejected White House claims that the alleged wiretapping on
you, on the Trump tower, on Trump organization or on members of your
campaign was – that British intelligence was either responsible for it or
involved in it. After these claims are rejected what is your take on that?
Are there other suspects or you think it was a mistake to blame British
intelligence for this and, by the way, my second question, are there from
time to time tweets that you regret –
DONALD TRUMP, THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Very seldom.
MERKEL: Very seldom. So you never would have wished –
TRUMP: Probably would not be here right now. We have a tremendous group
of people that listen and I can get around the media, when the media
doesn`t tell the truth so I like that. As far as wiretapping I guess by
this past administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps.
And just to finish your question, we said nothing. All we did was quote a
certain very talented legal mind. Who is the one responsible for saying it
on television? I didn`t make an opinion on it. That was made by a very
talented lawyer on Fox so you should not be talking to me, you should be
talking to Fox.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Fox News now saying it has no evidence of any kind that
former President Obama wiretapped President Trump. And not disavowing the
statement from White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: On Fox News on March 14th Judge
Napolitano said three intelligence forces informed Fox News that President
Obama went outside the chain, he didn`t use the NSA or FBI or department of
justice. He used GCHQ. What is that? The initials for the British
intelligence spying agency, simply by having two people saying president
needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump`s
conversations, he is able to get it and there are no American fingerprints
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the British intelligence agency GCHQ steaming mad,
firing back recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew
Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct wiretapping against the then
President-Elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be
ignored. The British Prime Minister office said the White House has
promised those claims will not be repeated but there is more. When a
reporter asked Sean Spicer today, if he apologized to the Brits, he said
no. The president made it clear he is not apologizing for anything, in
fact, he was joking about it today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As far as wiretapping, I guess by, you know, this past
administration at least we have something in common perhaps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the German chancellor didn`t seem to smile but that is
a reference to this incident in 2013.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is now mad too. Angela Merkel dialing President Obama
to ask if the NSA was tapping her cell phone and if so, Germany says that
would be a breach of trust and unacceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: And here`s how the president`s joke as he stood beside the
German chancellor is being covered in Germany, the English translation,
Trump`s evil NSA joke. With me Nicholas Burns, former ambassador NATO and
he also served as under Secretary of State, Steve Clemons, Washington
editor at large for “the Atlantic” and Margaret Talev senior White House
correspondent for Bloomberg news, Margaret first to you. You wrote the
Brits – the Mexican government is not happy with us and the German
government may not be happy with us, things the president said about Angela
Merkel in the past and now the Brits how are they?
MARGARET TALEV, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR BLOOMBERG: The British
government I think will get over it, but the timing of yesterday`s release
by the British categorically denying that they did President Obama`s spying
for him is note worthy because it not after a Fox report, it came after
Sean Spicer`s appearance at the podium and the British were very frustrated
at the idea that the White House would use that official platform to give
air to an unsubstantiated accusation.
VAN SUSTEREN: That is fake news.
TALEV: It would be not the kind of news that bodes well for a special
relationship and wanted to nip it in the bud and those lines of
communication back and forth between both the ambassador and national
security for Britain were very swift to the White House.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, I know that we have sort of teasing with it but
it really is serious, all this going on. We need to have an open line and
good relationship with all our allies and Britain being mad, you know, that
certainly is not, you know, is not very – I would not say it`s a very
effective piece of diplomacy.
NICHOLAS BURNS, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Greta, I think it`s a low point of
the modern presidency. I started my career in government in 1980 as an
intern for the Carter administration. None of our presidents have ever
acted like this, such reprehensible charges and they`ve now been denied by
the entire U.S. Government, by the Justice Department, by the FBI, by the
Republican leadership in the senate and yet President Trump continues to
put out this vile charge against President Obama and speak to the
credibility issue. When the president of the United States speaks with a
German chancellor beside her the entire world is listening. If they can`t
believe him on this, will they not believe him when we`re in a crisis on
foreign defense policy around the world? It`s wrong. It`s wrong to
President Obama. It`s a low point in our democracy and the White House has
misplayed this and the president`s credibility is shot if he continues to
say things that are absolutely untrue.
VAN SUSTEREN: Steven, when you look at the polls it doesn`t seem like the
American people believe that President Obama wiretapped then candidate
Trump. The house intelligence committee bipartisan says they`ve seen no
evidence. There is no evidence going to the senate intelligence committee
bipartisan Republican and Democrat. Senator Lindsey Graham has said he has
seen no evidence. I don`t think a lot of people think in the United States
but what do you think is the global impact of this?
STEVE CLEMONS, THE ATLANTIC: I think the global impact is one where, you
know, I agree with much of what Nick Burns just said but the global impact
is less than many people think. I think these things blow over. I think
Donald Trump is now seen as a guy who rattles and shakes up our allies,
plants just a little bit of doubt, knocks them around a little bit and
makes them wonder what their footing with the United States is and the next
time he gets a chance to hug them he does and I think in that environment
everybody hoping for a more stable America and a sane president of the
United States, kind of clicks back into gear. It`s just becoming a very
clear style of Donald Trump to inject doubt, to have fun, to shake things
up and while these are unsubstantiated claims on wiretapping I think this
notion about wiretapping victims of the world uniting is something where we
have to go back and not be so indignant about the moral indignity of
wiretapping, because the United States did wiretap and did listen in on
foreign leaders, did engage in behavior which our intelligence agencies
denied we were doing, so in that world Donald Trump is able to reshape
gravity at least for the people who support him in this, if not for many
members of congress who wonder what in the world is he doing.
VAN SUSTEREN: But if he is lying, Steve, if he is false or mistaken or any
of those things, is that he says that he accuses twitter to get around
media when media not telling the truth. He is not being straight with us.
CLEMONS: Yep, I think it`s a real problem and tweeted out the implications
of this is you know you can imagine Donald Trump saying oops, dropped the
nuclear bomb, meant to drop a conventional one. Important for the
president of the United States to say what he means and mean what he says
when he just offloaded this to a Fox News issue, that doesn`t capture the
fact that he sent his people out like Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway,
Reince Priebus and others to basically make the point that they`re sticking
by the story, that we talked about TV`s and microwave, other forms of
intelligence and we were said, oh, interesting information will be coming
down the pike. So I get that but we don`t have a president who plays by
those rules and, you know, I think that it`s a big problem, but it`s going
to continue unless the U.S. Congress finds a way to sensor the president of
the United States for not telling the truth then all we`re doing is playing
a game of holding our breath and moral indignity that has no impact at all
on his behavior.
VAN SUSTEREN: Margaret, why – go ahead, ambassador.
BURNS: I very much disagree. The credibility of the United States is at
stake here. This will have a big global impact. You can be sure that our
adversary, the Iranian, North Koreans, Russians and Chinese, they`re
looking at a president that is diminishing before their eyes, because he is
not telling the truth in public. This is a very serious foreign policy
problem having to do with the credibility of our leader. You saw
chancellor Merkel. She did not smile. She didn`t go along with the joke
because she is a dignified person and how sad is it and I say this as
someone who worked for Republicans and Democrats and is not particularly
partisan that the leader of the free world most people feel right now is
not the American president, it`s Angela Merkel, because our president
refuses to play that role. Today he didn`t support the European Union. He
didn`t say a negative word about Vladimir Putin. He didn`t reaffirm that
we keep the American sanctions on to help Angela Merkel contain Putin on
the Ukraine issue. He is not leading. And it`s a problem for all
Americans to face.
VAN SUSTEREN: And Margaret, why was Angela Merkel here? I realize she was
supposed to be here earlier. Seems like a short trip. I think the
president got out to Mar-a-Lago and took the Japanese Prime Minister but
she didn`t go with him to Mar-a-Lago.
TALEV: Yeah, this is certainly a different kind of visit and a lot of that
has to do with her own personal calculus, standing for re-election and
Trump has been polling at 12 percent in Germany as of earlier this week
when we did our reporting on this. You know, but Ambassador Burns raised
some really interesting points. Impossible not to contrast in your own
mind the way Barack Obama would have conducted that news conference and the
way President Trump does but this is President Trump`s presidency. This is
his opening appearance with Angela Merkel and he did want to send very
clear messages on how he views trade and some of these other issues.
VAN SUSTEREN: He did say that he wasn`t isolation – he was not an
isolationist but he believed America should be treated fairly and America
TALEV: That is right. I was maybe 10 or 15 feet away from them. It`s
interesting when you talk about that she didn`t go along and laugh with it,
there was certainly a flicker of recognition in her eye and you could feel
it in the room that she understood exactly what he was doing which is going
to how frustrated and embarrassing the situation it was between the Obama
administration and Merkel at the time that Ed Snowden and WikiLeaks and all
this information was revealed but there is an obvious difference which is
that she was actually spied on by the Obama administration and there`s no
evidence at this point.
VAN SUSTEREN: Maybe you know this, ambassador, wasn`t it the former
president of Brazil who also got spied on by the U.S. and so she canceled
the state dinner.
BURNS: That is not even the issue here. That is –
VAN SUSTEREN: No, no, I`m just serving as an anecdote on this whole thing,
in the spying business.
BURNS: The issue here is that we have one president, President Trump,
accusing President Obama of a crime. That he didn`t commit. And won`t be
honest enough when his entire government and the Republican leadership in
congress tell him he is wrong to admit he is wrong. This is a crisis of
credibility for this particular president. It`s going to have a big impact
overseas on how people see us. They won`t treat us as seriously in the
VAN SUSTEREN: And Steve?
BURNS: Go ahead.
VAN SUSTEREN: I was going to ask you what you thought, Steve, on Monday
when director Jim Comey testifies, the director of the FBI testifies Monday
on Capitol Hill and we assume he`ll say there is no evidence that President
Obama wiretapped then candidate Trump. What happens then?
CLEMONS: Well, I think you hear – you`ll hear President Trump continuing
what he is saying as he was supposed to be credible on Fox News and that is
where the story is. There`s so much that Nick Burns said that I agree with
that I want to agree with, but I just think what`s happening is there are
two different worlds co-existing. One in which gravity works in which the
president of the United States supposed to be the moral and political
leader in the world and to set – and there`s another thing where he is
elevating economic issues as national security issues and letting
traditional national security issues fall by the wayside. And I think that
those of us that are trying to understand this president where he is going
is not the question of right or wrong it`s the question of what are the
patterns that we`ll see and, you know, Germany is a country that produces a
lot, that saves a lot and consumes a little and that creates distortions in
the world and Donald Trump is raising that and putting that in the
spotlight. That`s increasingly becoming the national security parameter
that he cares about and that he is elevating while he is shaking up NATO,
while he is threatening intelligence communities, which he sees as sort of
having been, you know, what Donald Trump is showing is he took on big
media, he is taking on the world`s intelligence agencies, he is taking on
the Democrats, et cetera, and those – and he is showing he is sort of king
of the jungle in the way he is presided and dominated all of these and he
is not about to walk it back and at some point unless you imagine a
collision where these other forces can win, this is going to be a pattern
we continue to see over and over and over again.
VAN SUSTEREN: I hope you`ll come back. There will be a lot to talk about
in the next four or eight years. Thank you all, more on President Trump
joking about his wiretapping accusation, plus Monday is the big day. FBI
Director Jim Comey will break his silence but then what? Will things
change? Also, the GOP health care bill now dead on arrival, something big
happened today and coincidentally the same time that President Trump was
speaking with German chancellor Merkel. I`ll tell you what it was. Also
tonight, very stern warning to North Korea, Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson makes an eye-opening statement involving nuclear weapons and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We said nothing. All we did was quote a certain very talented
legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I
didn`t make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented
lawyer on Fox and so you shouldn`t be talking to me. You should be talking
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump not backing down from his claim that
President Obama wiretapped him, but the president might want to consider
this, a new FNC poll shows 76 percent want him to produce documents
supporting his allegations so far he has not done that. And also this,
another 63 percent want probes into potential ties between the Trump
campaign and Russia and then on this Monday, we`re going to be seen for the
first time at a public hearing and that very issue with the testimony from
the head of the FBI and then tomorrow morning, of course, marks two weeks
since the president first tweeted that President Obama wiretapped him and
lit this controversy on fire. So here`s a look back at what a long and,
yes, strange two weeks it`s been.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump`s explosive allegation on twitter accusing
former President Obama tapping his phones at Trump tower.
He said it`s a new low by President Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no such wiretap activity. I can deny it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president wants congress to look into this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no insight into what exactly he is referring to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve seen no evidence of the allegations.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe that Barack Obama wiretapped Trump
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no evidence of that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Sean Spicer attempted to clarify President Trump`s tweet on
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president was very clear in his tweet that it was,
you know, wiretapping.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI and department of justice last week for any
evidence of a warrant and hadn`t heard a thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will your justice department comply with the
Intelligence community –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Either retract or provide the information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think there was an actual tap of Trump tower.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve seen no evidence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen anything to suggest there are wiretaps?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can surveil someone through their phones, through
their – certainly through their television sets and microwaves that turn
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not inspector gadget.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Director Comey, have you seen any evidence that
President Obama wiretapped Trump tower?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is unusual for a sitting president to accuse a
former president. I have zero evidence that happened.
TRUMP: I think you`re going to find some very interesting items coming to
the forefront over the next two weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The joint letter that was signed by the co-chairs of
the senate intelligence committee –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say very definitively we see no indication that
Trump tower the subject of surveillance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president accept those findings? Will he
concede that it wasn`t true and in fact will he apologize to President
Obama for it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all he stands by it. Where was the question -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you think –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe he will.
TRUMP: Wiretapping by this past administration, at least we have something
in common perhaps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Clarence Page is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist with The
Chicago Tribune, Susan Ferrechio Chief Congressional Correspondent for the
Washington Examiner and Kevin Cirilli is politics reporter for Bloomberg
News, welcome to all of you. Clarence, one thing is clear, he is shaking
up Washington, but I think you go outside the beltway and saw the crowds
that he drew in Tennessee the other night. The American people, even
though they want more information, his voters are still passionately behind
CLARENCE PAGE, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: I bet his ratings are terrific. This is
great television for people outside the beltway who don`t follow all the
fine print in the news and issues, they`re seeing – those who voted for
Trump, they`re seeing the Trump that they voted for, the guy –
VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t think they care. I think they`re so firmly behind
the president they think the rest of us are nuts for keep asking the same
PAGE: Except FNC poll you showed, what, 80 percent want to hear more about
what is in the documents and want to know more about his relationship with
the Russians. I think that crosses party lines and we`ll hear more about
VAN SUSTEREN: Susan, what are they saying behind – we get the public
statements but you know everybody on Capitol Hill. What are they saying on
SUSAN FERRECHIO, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: They say this is Trump being
Trump and we can`t control what he does on twitter. Happy he is pushing
through the GOP agenda. I think if – I know from talking to the majority
leader in the senate he told me that he has spoken personally to Trump and
asked him to – told him he didn`t like the tweets and thought it was
distracting from their goals but I think they have come to accept he does
it and there`s a certain kind of Teflon quality to him that of course was
part of his campaign they never seemed to have any problems with the things
he said, there were no repercussions in the polls and I think that poll you
just showed was really interesting and people want to hear more, but I
don`t know if that necessarily means this is bad news for Trump that they
look upon him disapprovingly, because of all this and also I`ll point out
the connection of Russians and the Trump campaign, we still haven`t seen
any evidence of that and I think that is another thing to point out here
the press keeps asking about it yet there isn`t any evidence and people are
making `s on Capitol Hill about it still.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kevin, we might find out more on that from Director Comey on
Monday, whether – he is not going to sell us the inside of the
investigation, but at least give us a hint or a tip whether there might be
something going on in terms of an investigation of the Trump campaign and
Russia investigation. That doesn`t mean anything did anything wrong, but
an investigation. But he is also going to ask the question did President
Obama wiretap candidate Trump?
KEVIN CIRILLI, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Let`s not forget this is a Republican-
controlled congress so the fact that Republican committee leaders are
setting the agenda on this I think it only adds to the fact that instead of
talking about health care policy instead of talking about tax policy or
financial regulatory reform, they`re still facing questions on this. That
is a tough call – that is a tough spot for the White House to be in.
VAN SUSTEREN: But as you said Republicans are leading this. President
Trump did say he wanted an investigation.
CIRILLI: Absolutely. And so I think the pressure coming from whether or
not Republicans are going to be able to conduct such a fair investigation
remains to be seen, but either way the American people do want answers on
this for different reasons, I`ll be it, but this will definitely continue I
think in the weeks ahead.
VAN SUSTEREN: Clarence, I think it`s absolutely a plan and Susan mentioned
tweeting. He`ll continue to tweet, because he very seldom has regrets. He
said very seldom and does it to get around the media when the media is not
truthful. He got around the media with that tweet where he accuses
President Obama of wiretapping him but this is Donald Trump, the president.
PAGE: He told us his definition of fake news, news he doesn`t like, you
know, I mean and this is pretty plainly obvious that he wants to go around
the media like every president does in order to talk directly to the people
and finds that twitter is his way to do it but it comes across very
cryptically which we are arguing about for the quotations marks around
wiretapping, this sort of thing.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know Susan, many people find the tweeting and comments
like so-called judge, some of those are unseemly but, you know, setting
aside the words, is there damage?
FERRECHIO: Well, to whom, the judge or to Trump?
VAN SUSTEREN: Not – I think the judge will survive. Everybody backed up
the judge with that.
FERRECHIO: That is a great question. I wonder who is damaged when he
tweets like that. There`s some people when he tweeted about Obama
wiretapping him now believes that Obama did that and doesn`t matter if no -
VAN SUSTEREN: No one who liked President Obama before suddenly said
anything. I don`t like President Obama – I can`t believe I think we were
so – people are so divided I don`t think you`ll move one person.
FERRECHIO: That is probably true so the question is whether all this
tweeting will lower his credibility or lower his, you know, we`ll start so
tee tweets and ignore them.
VAN SUSTEREN: We still haven`t.
FERRECHIO: No, that is true. That was the case during the campaign as
well. But, you know, he is early in his presidency. When he tweets about
foreign policy today, he put out a tweet about North Korea while Secretary
of State was over in Korea and so, you know –
VAN SUSTEREN: Which actually that is the one where I think, Kevin, he is
so uncertain – I think that North Korea, it may not be such a bad thing if
they`re unsure about President Trump, because we`ve tried everything else
with North Korea.
CIRILLI: He is advocated that he is argued that his unpredictability is an
asset. Critics would pounce on it. I would just say that, while we in the
media haven`t adjusted to his tweets, the markets have.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. We`ll take a quick break and we have breaking
news from Iowa, GOP Senator Joni Ernst is now hosting a town hall in Des
Moines and seen tensions rise at town halls across the country since
President Trump was sworn in. This one coming just days before a critical
vote next week which is on the GOP health care bill, we are monitoring this
town hall and we will bring you any developments as they come in.
And there`s a news alert. It Republican vote on health care took place
today, the bill would not pass. Why? I`ll tell you about some big news
that happened today just under the radar and we are awaiting the arrival of
Air Force One in Palm Beach, Florida. President Trump expected to land in
just a short time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We met with 12, pretty much
no`s in Congress. You saw that a little while ago and they went from all
no`s to all yeses and we have a lot of yeses coming in. It`s all coming
together. We`re going to have great health care. It`s going to be passed, I
believe. I think substantially and pretty quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: President Trump sounding
confident the Republican health care bill will pass next Thursday when it
hits the house floor for the vote but red alert, just 18 minutes before the
president expressed confidence about Republican health care bill,
Republican Senator Dean Heller telling reporters that he will vote against
the bill. And this is big. He joins Republican senators Rand Paul and Susan
Collins, both Republicans, already on record as no votes.
There are, of course, 52 Republicans in the senate. So if the bill does
pass the House, those three GOP no votes in the senate would kill it. But
will the bill even get there from the House? Will the House pass it on
Thursday? The House Freedom Caucus is still opposed to the bill and if all
members of the Freedom Caucus vote no, the bill is dead in the House.
That means it won`t even make it over to the Senate for a vote there. The
House vote on Thursday coinciding with the seventh anniversary of Obamacare
becoming law. With me, former Vermont governor and former chair of the
Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean. Good evening, sir.
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF VERMONT: Hi, how are you?
VAN SUSTEREN: Good. So, if you do all that math and you take in all the
that I`ve said about the House and the Senate and all the no`s that we`re
hearing about, do you think this is going to pass the House, and if so, do
you think it`s going to pass the Senate?
DEAN: I don`t think it`s going to pass the Senate because I don`t think it
will get any Democratic votes. There are senators like Joe Manchin and
Heidi Heitkamp who live in very conservative states. The truth is this is
terrible for Trump voters. This bill is terrible for Trump voters. They`re
going to take the biggest hit and they`re not going to like this bill at
So, there`s no reason that a Democrat from West Virginia or North Dakota or
a place like that would vote for this bill. They may have a problem with
confirming Gorsuch. There`ll be pressure on them to do that but they won`t
be pressured to do this back home. So, I don`t think that – and it`s a
terrible bill. I mean it`s going to be terrible for the Republicans if it
passes. In the house, it`s hard to say, you know why? Because the speaker -
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you say – why do you say it`s terrible for the
Republicans, because a number of them certainly embraced him. Speaker Ryan
thinks, you know, he certainly embraced it, maybe the architect of it.
President Trump has embraced it. Maybe it won`t be happy with it later but
at least right now you know he`s bringing up Republicans to twist arms to
get the votes.
DEAN: It kicks 24 million off health insurance according to the CBO which
is the only reliable source. These Republicans have no reliable sources.
And it kicks 15 million of those people off – off Medicaid which is fairly
– it happens fairly quickly.
So, this is a disaster – I wouldn`t want to go to an election having the
people who voted me four years ago or two years ago having the reward be
that I lose my health insurance and, you know, the public now – nobody
loves Obamacare but they like Obamacare much better than they like what the
Republicans are trying to do. Trumpcare is a disaster.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we just got a statement from leader Nancy Pelosi and
she`s talking about the bill and she said, “Republicans are terrified the
American people will see the reality of their disastrous Trumpcare bill. If
the GOP are afraid of the public having the facts about the bill, they
shouldn`t be voting on it.
As I wrote to Speaker Ryan, the American people members have a right to see
an updated CBO score and the consequences of the final legislation before
any vote by the House. When Democrats amended, the Senate passed the
Affordable Care Act at rules. We insured the American people had an updated
CBO score for the final legislation before the House voted.
House Republicans contempt for transparency matches their contempt for the
working families who would be devastated by Trumpcare where Republicans are
deluding themselves if they think they can hide from the millions of
Americans whose lives will be destroyed by the bill.” She wants an updated
CBO score and apparently the, well, the Republican Whip, Steve Scalise is
refusing to commit to that.
DEAN: Well, look, I mean, I have a huge amount of respect for Nancy Pelosi
and I think she was a great speaker but that`s all – this is all inside
baseball. The American people aren`t going to care if there is a CBO score
or not. What matters about the CBO score is people who know what they`re
talking about know that the CBO score is the really accurate way to judge
this. What really is going to kill the Republicans on this bill is if it
passes, it does some really bad things.
One of the worst things it does, despite the fact that it`s taking away 24
million people`s health insurance over a 10-year period and 15 million
quite soon, one of the worst things it does is it saves $323 billion which
Trump is then going to turn over to tax cuts for the people who are in the
top 1 percent of income. Now, that is insane.
Here are all these people who like Trump because he wasn`t like all the
Republicans and Trump embraces the Republican pro-billionaire agenda when
he gets to the White House and says screw all the people that voted for me.
These are all people – the people who are going to get hit the hardest are
in places like West Virginia and Arkansas and Kentucky where huge numbers
voted for Trump because they wanted change. This isn`t change. This is
worst than any Republican president in history.
VAN SUSTEREN: I suspect that President Trump were listening tonight and he
would thank you for your concern about how it`s going to hurt him, but I
think he probably thinks that this is the best bill he`s going to get, that
this is the deal and, you know, he can`t get a perfect – can`t get a
perfect bill but this is the best the country is going to get and it`s
going to improve Obamacare in his mind.
DEAN: Well, the problem with Trumpcare is it`s real. You know, people
elected him because of his promises, none of which he`s kept as far as I
can see, except for harassing immigrants. So, people elected him for that
reason. He`s going to get the Ronald Reagan question. How are you better
off than you were four years ago, and the answer is, absolutely not if you
don`t have health insurance. And there are a lot of people – this is not a
small number of people that are going to lose their health insurance.
Everybody in America is going to know somebody who lost their health
insurance as a result of a Trumpcare. That`s not a good place to be and the
House members know it. And the Senate knows it. Tom Cotton who is one of
the most conservative people in the Senate has talked about this very
problem because Arkansas is going to get hit harder than most other states.
VAN SUSTEREN: Indeed he had a very aggressive town hall when he was
answering questions from his constituents. Governor, thank you for joining
DEAN: Thanks for having me on.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ahead, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson just said something
North Korea might want to listen to. That story is ahead. And we are
waiting for President Trump`s arrival in Florida – that`s expected in just
a few moments.
VAN SUSTEREN: Back now and the fight over the GOP health care bill. It
looks like it`s on life support with a third Republican senator coming on
to vote as a no. President Trump asking about this fight during his news
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN CIRILL, CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Have you received (INAUDIBLE)
health care (INAUDIBLE). What exactly, sir, do you think will unify this
TRUMP: Well Kevin, I think we have a very unified Republican Party. After
all, we have the presidency. We have the House. We have the Senate. And
we`re getting along very well, I will tell you and if you were at the
meeting that I just attended where we took 12 no`s or semi no`s, no yeses
and within a short period of time everybody was very much on board and a
commitment to vote yes.
I think we have a very unified party. I think actually more unified than
even the election. You see, when they talk about me, I seem to be very
popular at least this week within the party because we have our highest
numbers – the highest numbers that I`ve ever had in the party. So I think
there`s a great unification.
Now health care is a very, very difficult subject. It`s a very complex
subject and it`s a subject that, you know, goes both ways. You do something
for one side and the other side doesn`t like it, but it`s really something
that`s come together very well, and I think it`s going to be very, very
popular. Extremely popular.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Back with me Clarence Page, Susan Ferrechio and Kevin
Cirilli who asked that question to President Trump. Kevin, if you had
gotten a follow-up question because I know you don`t get followup questions
in those instances, what do you want to ask as a followup question?
CIRILLI: What exactly is he going to concede on to the Tea Party? Some of
these House Freedom Caucus members who have great concerns, people like
Senator Rand Paul who have argued that the so-called Cadillac Tax wants to
be institutionalized by House Speaker Paul Ryan`s friends so. Look, from a
policy standpoint there`s stuff in this legislation that the White House
likes considering the fact that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office
says it`s going to return $337 billion to the government.
There`s also a lot that folks don`t like, people like Senator Dean Heller
who is a moderate just came out against this in the Republican Party, who
says that, you know, wait a minute, 14 million Americans could lose health
insurance within the first year. This is a tight, tight tricky issue for
this president that he`s going to have to play political referee on.
VAN SUSTEREN: Susan, how does the GOP get this passed? What can they do?
SUSAN FERRECHIO, CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON
EXAMINER: They do it step by step. I think if they can get it to the House
next week, they`ve got the whole week to work on it. It`s going to go
through another committee first and then it will make it to the floor. If
they can cobble together that 218, I think when it gets to the Senate there
may be changes in the senate. There will be a process where it could be
amended and I think that`s where you might see more changes –
VAN SUSTEREN: What could make Senator Collins happy, Senator Rand Paul
happy and now Senator Heller happy?
FERRECHIO: I`m not sure you can make Senator Rand Paul happy. They can
lose two and they probably will, right. But I think what they`ll end up
doing is making changes to accommodate the more disgruntled factions. So,
in the House it will be as Kevin was saying, a more conservative Tea Party
based Republicans. And in the Senate, it will be people who like Tom –
people are concerned like Tom Cotton or Susan Collins about the number of
people who are going to be kicked off Medicaid, the phasing out period.
There may be some wiggle room there but Republicans have insisted the
authors of this bill that there can`t be major changes to this. Something
has got to change though in order to get these people on board. The Senate
is a larger problem but it first has to get through the House.
VAN SUSTEREN: Clarence, you know, none of these bills are ever perfect
because it`s all – and then big problems because we just don`t have enough
money to keep everybody happy all the time. So that should be –
CLARENCE PAGE, EDITOR WRITER, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE: We call that deficit
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes.
PAGE: That`s how Washington solves that.
VAN SUSTEREN: So, people are going to be enormously unhappy whether it
passes or it doesn`t pass and so – how does it help Trump politically to
have this wrapped around his neck as Trumpcare?
PAGE: I don`t see how it helps him at all. I mean he can survive the
midterms because he`s not going to be on the ballot. He won`t be on the
ballot. People who are on the ballot are already very nervous. Joe Manchin
is a senator I have a lot of respect for from West Virginia, a conservative
He knows the grass roots quite well and he said most folks in his state who
are on Obamacare don`t know they`re on Obamacare. But they will know it
when they lose it. And they`re always going to remember which party took it
away from them. And that is something that people, realists know across the
country. And that`s why you have such a different reaction in the House
than the Senate because senators have to appeal to a broader base of voters
than they do in the House and so you`ve got a lot more narrow factions. I
don`t know how you satisfy all these folks.
FERRECHIO: The overarching problem for Republicans is from the get go,
this is about taking away an entitlement. The whole idea of repealing
Obamacare is taking away an entitlement. When has that ever happened
successfully in America? It`s almost political suicide some people would
argue. In this case – they`re trying to make a switcheroo so people aren`t
feeling like they`re taking away (INAUDIBLE) but they still save money.
It`s like putting together a Rubik`s cube. That`s what they`re –
VAN SUSTEREN: But they call it repeal. Is it repeal anyway or is this sort
of tinkering with the old –
FERRECHIO: Well, it`s repealing the mandate, the taxes, a whole bunch of
things. Not all the taxes –
CIRILLI: Not all the taxes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why is it tinkering with the old – why isn`t it just
tinkering with Obamacare, I mean, if you`re not getting rid of the whole
PAGE: Well, you can`t just pull it out because it gets all tangled, the
root and branch with other parts of the public and private sector. So,
repeal, well, you know, what do they mean by repeal? We`re probably going
to see that in the debate I think.
VAN SUSTEREN: Panel, thank you.
Right now, President Trump`s plane, Air Force One has just arrived in West
Palm Beach, Florida. He will spend the weekend at the Mar-a-Lago Estate
today for the weekend. He`s going to have a busy week ahead though, of
course, that key vote of the GOP health care bill.
And take a look at this picture. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the
border of North Korea, and who is that behind him? Who is photobombing him?
And would the U.S. strike first? A warning to Kim Jong-Un, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The policy of strategic patience has
ended. We`re exploring a new range of diplomatic, security and economic
measures. All options are on the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: All options are on the table. That is Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson. He made that threat to North Korea while in South Korea today.
Those are his strongest words yet on North Korea`s nuclear program. The
secretary declining to rule out military action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TILLERSON: Certainly we do not want to – for things to get to a military
conflict. We`re quite clear in that in our communications, but obviously if
North Korea takes actions that threaten the South Korean forces or our own
forces, then that would be met with an appropriate response.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: The secretary also going to the demilitarized zone on the
border of North Korea, that`s the most heavily board armed border in the
world. And look at this. This is a bit eerie. A North Korean soldier
visible in the window, apparently taking a photo of Secretary Tillerson.
Meanwhile, President Trump tweeting this morning, “North Korea is behaving
very badly. They have been playing the United States for years. China has
done little to help.”
Secretary Tillerson`s next stop on his Asia tour is China. And as we
reported yesterday, the threat of nuclear weapons coming into renewed focus
with the release of newly declassified and terrifying videos of nuclear
weapon tests from the cold war era. Four-star General Barry McCaffrey joins
us now. Nice to see you, sir.
BARRY MCCAFFREY, RETIRED U.S. ARMY: Good to be with you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: When I hear the secretary say all options on the table I
sort of hear that as code for military as it was part of it and of course
he didn`t rule out a military as an option. But what could we possibly do
from a military standpoint? They`ve done five nuclear tests but their
nuclear programs are either hidden in mounds or hidden underground so we
don`t know where they really are to take them out. The country is
hermetically sealed. We don`t have a, you know, a huge amount of
intelligence there, so what can it possibly be?
MCCAFFREY: Well, I think Secretary Tillerson actually had a pretty
balanced sensible approach to it and so did Secretary Mattis a few weeks
back when he was in Korea. North Korea is a train wreck pending. It`s
highly unlikely that we`re going to take unilateral first strike against
their nuclear weapons. They`re on the verge of having an operational ICBM,
of having a submarine launched ballistic missile.
They will probably have 100 or more nuclear weapons in a fairly short
period of time and I think our only option right now is to ramp up the
anti-ballistic missile defenses in both South Korea and Japan and at sea
with the U.S. Navy. These people are dangerous.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well that would be the THAAD missile defense in South Korea
that China is so mad about us, you know, setting up in South Korea.
MCAFFREY: We absolutely have to ignore them. We got to put money and
resources into all three phases of it. Not just THAAD, sort of a short end
rapid response to a theatre ballistic missile. We got strategic missiles,
thank god, in Alaska, in Vandenberg Air Force Base, and the Navy has some
very capable systems and we`ve got PAC-3 Patriot upgrade. We`ve got to
invest in this. These people are a threat to the American people.
VAN SUSTEREN: If we set up the THAAD missile defense and did all that you
suggested and, you know, what about the fact that they are so loaded with
artillery on the border between North Korea and South Korea? I mean are we
prepared for that?
MCAFFREY: Not at all. I mean, that`s the big question. The appropriate
question you raise, the figures are possibly some 12,000 conventional
artillery pieces can range this megalopolis of Seoul, Korea, with 25
million people so I think we got to be concerned about now –
VAN SUSTEREN: How do you fight that?
MCAFFREY: – is miscalculation.
VAN SUSTEREN: How do you defend against that?
MCAFFREY: We got to worry about – well, I don`t think you do. I think if
they start shelling across the border and any significant way, I think it`s
going to go almost immediately to all-out war. The South Korean armed
forces are clearly going to take action and we will end up being involved
VAN SUSTEREN: General, thank you for joining us. Hope you`ll come back,
MCAFFREY: Yes. Good to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Breaking news, Senator Joni Ernst is having a town hall in
Iowa. It`s getting well, a little bit feisty. Tough questions on health
care, guns and education. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: Health care for all! Health care for all! Health
care for all!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Breaking news from Iowa. GOP Senator Joni Ernst holding a
town hall and it is getting pretty heated. Moments ago a constituent asking
the U.S. senator why she voted for Education Secretary Betsy Devos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would also like to know why you voted for her when
the people of Iowa said no.
SEN. JONI ERNST (R), IOWA: Thank you for being a teacher, and yes, she
will be held accountable and the decisions that she makes – if she is
planning on making any wide sweeping changes, that would have to go through
Congress and we would have to – we would need to approve that. So, we will
– so, I will hold her accountable in that manner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: And then a young girl had this question on gun control.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never before has there been a huge chance of me being
shot and killed at school. I don`t want to be shot. I want to learn. Why do
you keep voting against common sense gun reform?
ERNST: That`s a really good question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Ernst responding that we need to enforce the gun
laws already on the books. And before I go, it is Friday, contest night.
Someone is going to win some record swag. Name that tune, quick. Go to
www.facebook.com/greta. Thank you for watching. Have a great weekend. I`ll
see you back here Monday night 6:00 p.m. eastern. If you can`t watch live,
set your DVR. Follow me on twitter but make sure you go to my Facebook
page. You may win show swag. Go right now. “Hardball” starts right now.
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