For the Record with Greta, Transcript 3/23/2017
Show: For the Record with Greta
Date: March 23, 2017
Guest: Mark Walker, Joe Crowley, Jonathan Alter, Terri Sewell, Matt
Miller, Ken Dilanian, Thomas Massie, Jim McGovern, Hugh Hewitt
CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS SHOW HOST: That is all we have tonight, “FOR THE
RECORD” with Greta, it will never end. You take it away.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, NBC NEWS HOST FOR THE RECORD: I know, it is pretty
strange, Chuck, anyway, thank you. Yes, this is beginning to look like the
sopranos, vote yes or else and one GOP law maker David of Iowa already
taking a direct hit from his house leadership. He pledged to vote no and
now the Wall Street Journal reports that the house GOP super PAC overseen
by House Speaker Paul Ryan is cutting off congressman young, no money.
Just to drive the point home the super PAC in his district just closed its
Iowa officer and it`s leaving town and that is a hint-hint to ever other
rogue Republican who dares to vote no to the leadership. Here is a live
feed from the House floor, nothing happening, the house is in recess. The
vote was supposed to be taking place right now but it`s not, instead, in
just about an hour the entire House Republican conference will meet to
attempt to figure out what to do t. Vote was delayed late this afternoon
when it became obvious the Republicans could not pass the bill. NBC news
reporting 31 house Republicans are leaning no, including many members of
the house freedom caucus, caucus Chairman Mark Meadows explains why he is
still on no.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK MEADOWS, CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: We are trying to get another 30 to 40 votes
that are currently in the “no” category to yes. Some of the provisions in
here do not lower health care costs enough. I am desperately trying to get
to yes. Do I think it gives the president a loss? Absolutely not, I mean
when you look at this, we are going to get to the finish line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer
insisting there is no Plan B.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any sort of plan if the bill did not pass
tonight? What else, a plan b?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It will work. It will pass, so
that is it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: And here`s President Trump this afternoon, still confident
that GOP bill will pass.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s not because
Obamacare, it`s close to politics. They know it`s no good. Everybody
knows it`s no good. It`s only politics, because we have a great bill and I
think we have a very good chance, but it`s only politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: With me Congressman Mark Walker, chairman of the Republican
study committee. Good evening, sir.
REP. MARK WALKER, R-NORTH CAROLINA: Good evening, Greta great to be with
VAN SUSTEREN: Good to have you, are you a yes or no at this point?
WALKER: We are yes. We have been since we negotiated last Thursday
evening at the White House. In fact, we had goes, there were four
concessions made, we kept our word that it would be a yes, and that is
where we stand today.
VAN SUSTEREN: President Trump says it`s about politics now, not policy, is
he being fair to say they cast for the bill, making promises when they ran?
Is that a fair assessment of those saying no tonight in the Republican
WALKER: Well, from what I understand, if you look at 70 percent of
Republicans who have arrived here since Obamacare was passed, those guys
did complain to repeal and replace. This replaces all the Obamacare taxes.
It repeals the Obamacare mandates, both the employer and the individuals.
Here`s the big thing, it`s the biggest Medicaid reform savings in 52 years.
This is something we should get behind. Let`s get it to the senate. There
are other phases to continue the process, but the time to vote is now.
VAN SUSTEREN: You say Medicaid amended, Medicaid, does this mean, at least
I think it does, Medicaid will not expand. So less people will be eligible
for Medicaid over time. Is that right?
WALKER: Yes, from now and between January, 2020 there is some Medicaid
expansion over the long term that saves $880 billion for the taxpayers.
VAN SUSTEREN: What happens to those people? Because I have been in these
hospitals, people have health insurance, they`ll show up at the emergency
room at midnight and they`ll get medical care and frankly I want them to
have medical care. But that jacked up the price considerably. It`s a lot
more expensive to get emergency room care instead of a family doctor if you
WALKER: Sure, my wife is a family nurse practitioner, we seen this first
hand. We do want everybody to have options, to have choices, we are not
restricting Medicaid at this point. The only thing we`ve asked for that we
worked with the White House was to have optional work requirements for the
states, for the 9 million of the 70 million capable bodied adults.
VAN SUSTEREN: One of the things the Republicans want to get rid of is the
essential benefit part, which requires a woman to pay for insurance for a
prostate issue or a man to pay for a maternity issue. If you don`t have to
pay for those, presumably the costs come down on your policy, is that
WALKER: That is correct.
VAN SUSTEREN: So tell me this. So what happens to the high risk pool?
Because that was in some effort attempting to finance the high risk pools,
if you have a bunch of people with very serious medical problems in a high
risk pool, how are we going to pay for that?
WALKER: That is great question right now. We have a member of our
steering committee the RSC, who put together hopefully a last-minute
package that does includes some kind of help for there. Primarily, this
covers the rising costs of a 54 or 64-year-old that may not require all
that one size fits all but allows them to customize or tailor their
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman Paul Young from the state of Iowa got $1.16
million from a super PAC run by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for the 2016
election. He was reelected. He announced he was going to vote no now as a
consequence the super PAC that supported him and opened doors in Iowa to
help him win election 2018. They announced they are moving outs of Iowa.
He is getting no money. He is getting penalized for voting no.
WALKER: I we heard, in fact I we heard that on your lead-in. I can tell
you this. I have not received a single dollar from these PACs.
VAN SUSTEREN: He is getting punished. Vote with the leadership or else.
WALKER: Well, I think its vote for the right piece of legislation, if you
can`t vote for repeal or replace, you are a Republican. It may be time for
you to turn in your card.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you for joining me and good luck in the
next 36 hours.
WALKER: Thank you Greta. Goodbye.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now NBC Kasie Hunt live on Capitol Hill, tell me more about
the pressure put on house Republicans who are pledging to vote no?
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of that pressure, Greta,
is coming right now as we speak. If you look above me is the house
speaker`s office, she behind doors with the members of the freedom caucus,
we also see Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus to go in – Reince Priebus to
go in to that meeting. We are waiting for them to come out of that, but in
the meantime, you are right, the screws are being put to some of these
Republican member, David Young is in the opposite camp from people in that
office. He is essentially one of these moderate members in a swing
district. Are you right, this super PAC had gone in, they had actually
opened an officer, and he is one of their top targets for health? This is
an off year. It`s a congressional race, it`s very early to go in and offer
that help. This is a super PAC aimed at keeping the house.
So they answer to Paul Ryan, as you know the separation of church and state
between political arms is supposed to be very clear, it isn`t always, but
this is a decision that that group is making, right now, I talked to
sources familiar with their planning. They don`t plan this to expand this,
necessarily, but you can clearly tell that this is a warning shot from
them. But the harsh reality of this vote count, Greta, that even if these
moderates come back over the course of the last day-and-a-half have been
announcing that they don`t want to vote for this bill, there is still not
enough votes to pass this thing.
That is why the freedom caucus is so important. Now I think you will see a
lot of critical events unfold in the next 90 minutes or so this meeting, we
expect to wrap up. There is a plans 7:00 meeting with the entire
Republican conference. I think you can expect that to be very contentious.
We are often outside those doors downstairs, in a room hg5 in the house
basement. I`m sure we will take you down there when that meeting convenes,
but I think, you can expect to see a lot of tension we have been talking
about all day, exposed in that meeting. I think it will tell us a lot
about whether we are actually on track to have a vote tomorrow morning or
whether at this point they`re going to really have to let the air out of
the balloon, let members go home for the weekend and try again next week.
VAN SUSTEREN: Kasie, tell me if I`m right. You got the yeses, the no`s
and the maybes, if the maybe`s all decide to vote yes, can it pass or are
the no`s still significantly enough in number that the bill is finished?
HUNT: Honestly, it depends on how many maybes there they are nowhere
close. They are not counting a handful or trying to switch two, three,
four, five people. Mark Meadows came out of the freedom caucus meeting
saying, look, there are 30 or 40 people that need to be on this bill. What
they really need, frankly the freedom caucus will come back from the White
House and say we like what the president is putting on the table. Most of
us, if not all of us, are willing the take that offer.
That likely would have given them confidence on that side and stemmed the
weeding among the moderate members and given a pressure tool for the speak
tore work on this. The reality is these negotiations with the freedom
caucus and the conservatives are dragged out to the point where they
started to really bleed votes on that moderate side. Now it`s not clear
how they can put it back together.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is it trying to sweeten the deal tonight or is tonight
really about threatening those who dare not to vote yes?
HUNT: I think that what you are going to see is the environment that they
have been talking about all the way along. The argument has always been,
if we don`t do this, we are breaking the major promise that we set out to
do. It would be a major blow to your president. It will be a major
proceed to your speaker and it will be a major blow to our entire agenda,
the way they have this set up the budgets are kind of stacked on top of
each other, if this goes down, they can`t move on to tax reform in the next
budget and all of these other things, forgive me, there are some flashes
going on to suggest someone is coming out of the speaker`s office,
basically the stakes are incredibly high, I think you will hear that
message put to the Republican members tonight in the basement of the
capitol and whether it`s enough, I think is the big question here. And if
they can`t get this through, this is really at the point where it`s going
to shape the foundation of this entire experiment of unified Republican
government and set a remarkable tone for the remaining first year of the
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, joining me, New York Congressman Joe Crowley,
chair of the Democratic caucus, good evening, sir. Tell me the chatter
among the Democrats on the Hill. Republicans are about to all gather
behind closed doors with Speaker Ryan. What is the chatter among the
REP. JOE CROWLEY, D-NEW YORK: We`re all waiting to see what comes, whether
it`s white smoke or black smoke, Greta to tell you the truth. The vote is
in their court, obviously. I think he was remarkable for Mr. Walker to say
vote for a Republican bill or hand in your card. I don`t think I`ve we
heard that before from one member of a party to another member of the
party. So it sounds to me as though, they`re at war right now amongst
them, we don`t know where this will all end up. What we do know is the
vote will not be taken tonight. They`ll have procedural votes this
evening, but maybe the more meaty votes take place tomorrow.
VAN SUSTEREN: It certainly has been amped up early in the week. The
congressman advised the president was to give rides on Air Force One, get
invited to the oval office. Tonight they`re cutting you off at your knees
and Congressman Young in Iowa, all of a sudden the super PAC that the
answer is, I guess in many ways the house leadership, is now cutting them
off. They are being so dramatic, they`ve shut the doors and moving out of
CROWLEY: You know, that is pretty dramatic, I think it shows you what is
at stake for them, how desperate they are, even the appeal to New Yorkers
by using that nickel backer or empire state kickback. This is another exam
of how desperate they are to appease to the moderates and more conservative
element in the freedom caucus.
VAN SUSTEREN: I have been around long enough, I remember back in 2009,
when there is a lot of peace invites, people like Pelosi is one of them, he
is not in the house anymore, but there is, I have seen this rodeo before.
CROWLEY: Yes, but I think the difference really was, I think it was on the
issue of the right to choose an abortion and really working that language
to make it more comfortable for the board Democratic caucus, so I think you
really can`t compare the two, look, we do know it was difficult to pass the
affordable care act. We know what we have in place right now and we`d like
to improve it.
VAN SUSTEREN: What happens if the Republicans say, we can`t change it,
amend it, revoke it, repair it. What happens to the affordable care act,
the one that your party passed? What happens?
CROWLEY: I think without nurturing, I think without help and assistance,
it will have a burden to –
VAN SUSTEREN: A burden, a burden is a nice word. Is it catastrophic for
CROWLEY: I think it will be if there no assistance from the federal
government to help nurture that along. And I think there is something we
can do to help that along, I`d like to see, for instance, us move the
enrollment dates from the fall to the spring. Young people don`t make the
best choices during the fall. They are worried about Christmas presents
and hasn`t Hanukkah presents, they can encourage people to sign up to the
affordable care act. It`s about insurance credit, getting everyone in that
VAN SUSTEREN: I have to think about changing it to the spring, like
Christmas and Hanukkah, maybe are you right.
CROWLEY: Its taxes.
VAN SUSTEREN: You may be right.
CROWLEY: They see that bill when they have to pay that penalty and here`s
your option, pay the penalty or sign up for health care. That should
encourage them into the system.
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, thank you, I think you have a long evening
there on Capitol Hill.
CROWLEY: I think you do, too. Thanks Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: With me, Daily beast columnist Jonathan Alter, what do you
JONATHAN ALTER, DAIL BEAST COLUMNIST: Well, I am reminded of something
that Ted Kennedy told me, it was the 40th anniversary of him arriving at
the senate, 2002, and he had gotten countless bills passed in his time in
the senate. I said how did you do it, senator? What was the secret? He
said, very important, honey works better than vinegar.
VAN SUSTEREN: His tennis buddy was Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican.
ALTER: It works better at crunch time if you have something to offer
rather than just trying to punish members, so what happened tonight seems
like an act of desperation. People generally don`t respond well to
threats. Especially when the Koch brothers are out there saying, if
anybody is facing these kinds of threats, worrying how to finance this
campaign, they want to vote no, we will help them. So these congressmen
being threatened or not, are not being threatened.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t know how you do this in a divided party. The
Republican Party is divided. To the extent the leadership concedes things
to the freedom caucus, all of a sudden the moderate Republicans are mad,
because they don`t want to restrict the expansion of Medicaid and to the
extension that they have the moderate Republicans now the freedom caucuses,
anyway, so, I don`t know how the leadership solves this one.
ALTER: So the way in the past it works, it`s like a balloon, if you push
on one end, it goes up the other end, go back to 2003 when President Bush
got through a prescription drug benefit for Medicare. It was a really
tough road in the Republican house. He had two things going for him that
President Trump does not have. One is earmarks, pork bill projects, and
special projects for a district. We`ll give you a bridge, a center named
after you, favors for members of congress in exchange for their votes.
They don`t have that anymore. They got rid of earmarks. The other thing
they had, they had this guy name Tom Delay, who was the whip. He was a
brilliant legislative tactician and strategist. He could really whip and
get those votes in shape. They don`t have anybody like that in the house.
VAN SUSTEREN: Earmarks are exactly what is in that tax code the 3500,
special deals for special people. That is why earmarks have so
unattractive. You may have a research center in your district. You get an
earmark back in the earmark day. The problem is that also complicates the
rest of the process.
ALTER: Of course, I`m not defending earmarks. I`m saying, there it is
useful legislatively, they started the deal. They called them pork barrel
projects, to give members something they can take away, because honey works
better than vinegar. It`s better to give a member of congress something if
you want their vote than to it there on the beat them over the head at
VAN SUSTEREN: That is what they got to tonight. Anyway Jonathan, thank
you. We have a news alert from Chicago, a new video for a rally against
the GOP health care plan, about 850,000 people gained insurance in Illinois
under Obamacare, so far all seven house Republicans in the state of
Illinois are supporting the GOP bill. We will see if that changes over the
next 36 hours. The house intelligence committee chair apologizing behind
closed doors, for revealing secret information about the president. What
else did he say in that meeting? Some inside joins us.
And another top Democrat is talking about evidence of collusion between the
Trump campaign and Russia. NBC`s national security reporter joins us and
much more on the big news tonight. The health care bill on life support,
they`re gathering behind closed doors. Will we see a vote tomorrow? Well,
that house Republican is holding a conference meeting in less the than an
hour. We have it all covered, stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Chairman Nunes acted the way he
did outside the circle of the respect for his committee and his members,
respect for the responsibility that he has as chairman of the intelligence
committee by being a stooge for the president of the United States. He has
demonstrated very clearly that there is no way there can be an impartial
investigation under his leadership on that committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes,
apologizing today. The chairman went under fire after running to the White
House and telling President Trump and the Trump transition team,
communications and the Trump communications may have been picked up in
incidental under surveillance after the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you find it to brief the president and before
DEVIN NUNES, REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Just
a judgment call. I mean, you know, it was my – I mean, there was a lot
going on yesterday and it was a judgment call on my part and at the end of
the day, sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the
wrong one, but you got to stick by the decisions you make. All right,
thank you, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
NUNES: I`m not going, look, we`re on this committee, we are not going to
ever reveal sources, if not, and whoever is going to come down to the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: But the top Democrat on the committee and other Democrats
have serious concerns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today I saw an interview with the chair, where he was
asked whether he got the materials from the White House and he wasn`t
willing to rule that out. So it gets more and more mystifying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Devon Nunes is deeply compromised. He cannot
possibly lead an honest investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perhaps recusing himself from this part of the
investigation. The work that the committee must do I think an option.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he apologize for going to the White House?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just apologized. He didn`t specify what his
apology was about. He knows full well that there is grave question about
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Former vice president Joe Biden writing on twitter, checks
and balances? Chair of committee investigating White House, can`t share
info with the White House, McCain is right, need select committee. Here is
Senator McCain last night on our show right here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MCCAIN, ARIZONA SENATOR: What I think he is learning, I am calling
for a special committee is I this I this back and forth and what the
American people have found out so far, that no longer does the congress
have credibility to hand him this alone and I don`t say that lightly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: With me Congresswoman Terri Sewell Democrat from the great
state of Alabama who serve on the House intelligence committee and was
inside that close door house intelligence meeting with Chairman Nunes
today. Good evening.
REP. TERRI SEWELL, D-ALABAMA: Good evening, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: As soon as the chairman said he was sorry, the first
question I would have said, what happened? Where did you get that
information and what is it? Did anyone ask those two questions?
SEWELL: Yes, our ranking member, he doesn`t hold his tongue. He
definitely asked those questions. I have to tell you Greta –
VAN SUSTEREN: Did he get an answer?
SEWELL: He apologized.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did he say where he got this information and what the
information is? I mean, I just get this sort of vague apology, that he
raced down to the White House and said this, had a press conference, he
comes book to you all, I`m sorry behind closed doors the rest of us are
saying, what happened?
SEWELL: Exactly. So what we did get from him, we would find out where he
got the information and get a chance to review the information at some
point. So it was deeply disturbing to me as well, because it goes to the
very heart of the integrity of our investigation. The American people
deserve better. I mean, they want to know what`s going on with the Russian
investigation and they deserve better.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we said at some point, the next question is what is
that at some point and why not now? Did anyone ask those two questions?
SEWELL: No one ask it exactly like that Greta, but people did ask when he
would be getting to those materials. We didn`t get a definitive answer. I
have to tell you, it`s really disturbing that the American people deserve
to have answers and the credibility of both the credibility of my chairman,
but the credibility of our underlying investigation has definitely been
compromised by this. I think now more than ever we do need an independent
commission. We need something that – we need actually a body that is
actually not partisan.
VAN SUSTEREN: I keep nominating professor Alan Dershowitz. But here`s
what I don`t get. I`m trying to piece it together from the outside. I
don`t get to go behind those closed doors. He said it has nothing to do
with Russia. It has something to do with the transition team and somebody
was picked up. I got those. I think to myself, ok. Congressman Nunes was
on the transition team. You know was he the one that was picked up? Is he
running a off to the White House saying, look what happened to me? And I
don`t know it. I don`t want to be suspicious of the Congressman Nunes, but
what was the conversation? I know that Congressman Nunes was instrumental
in naming Secretary of Defense Mattis to the job. We`re suspicious because
we`re not getting any information, just a lot of really weird stuff going
SEWELL: You are exactly right. The public deserves to have more. All we
are getting is compromising information and confusion. Which is I think
the reason why it`s not enough to have the two committees in the house and
the senate, to do the investigation. We need an independent investigation.
VAN SUSTEREN: Doesn`t that disturb you? Doesn`t it, because we sent
people to Washington to do the job, one of the jobs is to do oversights and
to figure out what happened. Then you all can`t get along, and then we got
a Republican chairman running down to the White House and holding a press
conference. We got half the information. They run behind closed doors, we
don`t know what`s going on. The next thing we know is we are paying for an
independent counsel to do this, because you all can`t get along.
SEWELL: I think just as we did in the 9/11 with the 9/11 commission, I`m
not trying to do the oversight obligations and responsibilities, we should
not run away from that. I don`t think it`s enough. I think the American
public deserves to have transparency. Everything you are telling me is
exactly the confusion the anger, the mystery behind what we`re doing behind
closed doors. The American public feels that way and they deserve
transparency, so I`m not saying at all that we should assign our own
oversight responsibility, what I`m saying, in addition, we really do need
an independent, impartial commission doing this work with a full-time
staff. I mean, at the end of the day, we`re all congress people, we are in
charge of making sure our 750,000 constituents are doing, getting their
services met and getting their federal needs met. And so I just think that
we need more, and I to have to tell you –
VAN SUSTEREN: You I just want to say, two things, that number one, I
really appreciate you saying you get my angst going because you were kind
enough to show up. You are even a minority party on this. I`m asking the
majority party here that is annoying me on this I really appreciate you
showing up. I also agree with you, it`s time for an independent commission
and I will put in a plug for Alan Dershowitz, he is retired and goes after
both sides equally.
SEWELL: He went to my law school as well.
VAN SUSTEREN: He is retired. He needs to go after everybody equally.
Anyway Congresswoman, I hope you will come back. Thank you.
SEWELL: Thank you very much Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Up next, we will dive deep into what the FBI knows about
Russia and the Trump campaign. We will go back to Capitol Hill where house
Republicans are meeting in less than one hour. Let me talk to a Democrat
who is outraged, because no one seems to know what exactly is in this
health care bill that is held behind closed doors among Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: I can`t go into the particulars, but
there is more than circumstantial evidence now, so again I think –
CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS DAILY SHOW HOST, MSNBC NEWS: So you have seen
direct evidence of collusion?
SCHIFF: I don`t want to go into the specifics, but I will say that there
is evidence that is not circumstantial and it is very much worthy of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: That was Congressman Schiff, the
top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. A little bit cagey saying
more than circumstantial. And today, NBC News asked Senator Warren, one of
the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee if he had seen more
than circumstantial evidence of collusion. He said, quote, “there is ever-
increasing amounts of smoke.”
With me is Matt Miller, a former spokesperson for the Justice Department
and Ken Dilanian, NBC`s national security reporter. Ken, you know, it`s
like we`re trying to piece this together and you know, there is so much we
don`t know but we get these little bits. For instance, Nunes says that it
has nothing to do with Russia. Somebody was picked up on the transition
team. We don`t know what it was. He was on the transition team so, I mean,
what are your thoughts? Is it any chance he`s the one who got picked up?
KEN DILANIAN, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, NBC: Well, I want to share with
you something. I just got a statement from Nunes` spokesman who said that
Devin Nunes doesn`t know for sure whether any conversations were picked up.
All of this could have been foreigner to foreigner conversations about
Trump and his associates, and that`s considered an incidental collection as
well. If a foreigner is talking to another foreign, an American named
during the conversation, it ends up in the NSA database and that gets
minimized. That will put that in a different light, right.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, so he throws that a hypothetical – so then they
now are releasing some sort of hypothetical to add to the mystery to sort
of have us chase down and to think, to throw the dog off the scent? I mean,
I don`t know.
DILANIAN: You know, that`s what it looks like. I mean, I will say one
thing in defense of Nunes. He is the chairman of the House Intelligence
Committee. He has a right to raise question about surveillance. If he saw
some intelligence collection that he thought it was being inappropriately
shared and he said that he didn`t think there was intelligence value to
this information. That`s a part of his job to oversee that stuff. The way
he went about it though raised a host of question, I mean outside of the
VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, but he goes to the White House because now like he`s
having, like he goes to the commander-in-chief and says this is going on,
this is very serious, you know, and he does it in the Oval Office with no
one else there. He then goes out to the cameras and he says that this is
happening so, what are we supposed to do? Let me go to you Matt. Matt, any
thoughts on how this is being handled?
MATT MILLER, FORMER DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SPOKESMAN: Yes, look, I think we
learned two things about Chairman Nunes the last couple day. One, he has no
intention in conducting a fair investigation. This is the first time we
seen evidence of that but it`s the most clear. And second, is that he is in
way over his head. If you look at what he did yesterday, clearly, he was
intending to help the president and all it did is blow up in his face and
end up really more self-sabotaging.
VAN SUSTEREN: I don`t know if you can say clearly trying to help the
president. We don`t even know he said. Even so if we could say that he has
no intention of being fair. I think it is fair to say that he handled this
very poorly as now it casts so much doubt about his ability to do this that
he`s not the one who should do this at this point.
MILLER: Yes. I think it`s clear that in no way will he – if he continues
to lead this investigation, there will always be a cloud over the
investigation. There is no way that people will continue to think he can
conduct this fairly and independently. The one upside of the way he handled
this is if you are someone like me who believes and has believed for some
time there needs to be an outside commission, this is the best evidence we
have yet that the House Intelligence Committee isn`t up to this job as led
by Chairman Nunes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ken, is this getting more serious or are we just chasing our
tails more or let me say again, any thoughts on this because, you know,
it`s so – I don`t know whether to say it`s so serious, so bizarre, so
crazy, so normal? I don`t know even what to say about this at this point.
DILANIAN: Matt`s absolutely right that there are increasing calls for an
outside commission to replace the Congressional Intelligence Committee
investigations. But for my money, the real investigation is the FBI
investigation. I mean Congress or even an outside commission can`t do what
the FBI can do with the full resources of the intelligence committee, you
know, which is get documents from overseas, human intelligence, signals
The FBI is digging into this. They have a lot of evidence. They have a lot
of smoke as Mark Warner suggested. They have evidence of contacts between
Trump associates and Russia. And now they`re trying to unwind it to see if
this conspiracy alleged in that dossier, written by the former British
intelligence operative, to see if that conspiracy pans out, if they can
VAN SUSTEREN: And I think you make another interesting point about because
remember back a couple of decades with Oliver North when he got immunity on
Capitol Hill and then, you know, if the Capitol Hill oversteps, you do
impede the FBI investigation or potential prosecutions.
DILANIAN: That`s right Greta. Absolutely right. And even the 9/11
commission, which is a model outside commission, it was basically reviewing
work that had already been done by the FBI and the intelligence committee.
These kind of commissions can`t do their own investigation of a complex
VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, thank you, gentleman.
Up next, Leader Pelosi calling out President Trump by name for his handling
of the health care bill. We`ll talk to a House Republican who says, hell no
about that bill.
And that critical Republican meeting, it`s just minutes away. We`re right
outside the door. We`ve got it all covered. Watching it from every angle,
who goes in, who comes out. Will they get the votes inside that door and
will the debate actually begin to start tonight on the bill? Stay with us.
VAN SUSTEREN: Back now to that breaking news. In less than 20 minutes the
entire republican conference will meet behind closed doors about the health
care bill after the vote for – that was planned for today was cancelled.
And today House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, well, she doesn`t like it.
Well, here`s what she said about Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: They`re scrambling to find a
bill that they can pass on the floor. I don`t know if you want to call this
on Trump`s part a rookie`s error, but you don`t find a day and say we`re
going to pass a bill. Rookie is there, Donald Trump, he might be a great
negotiator, rookie`s error for bringing this up on a day. We clearly are
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Okay, joining the Republican congressman Thomas Massie from
Kentucky and if you`re wondering where he stands on the health care bill.
He tweeted this photo saying, “He`s not just a no. He`s a hell no.” Nice to
see you congressman. Welcome back to the show.
REP.THOMAS MASSIE (R), KENTUCKY: Thanks for having back on Greta. I need
to update some numbers. Last I told you about the phone calls in my office.
Now it`s 655 against this bill versus 38 in favor of this bill so there`s
virtually no constituency for it in Kentucky`s 4th district.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Has anyone in the leadership or President Trump,
I know you didn`t get a ride on air force one, you were working on Amtrak,
but did anyone in the leadership try to talk you out of that, the last –
since we last spoke?
MASSIE: You know, that`s one of the benefits of whipping hell no and
voting hell no, is they`re going after some of the more marginal members
that are undecided members right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: What do you hear is being offered, because Congressman Young
he got sold on the reverse incentive. They yanked his money, the super PAC
and they pulled everybody out of Iowa, out of his district. They closed the
doors and flood the town and said, tough luck, buddy, you`re on your own,
MASSIE: Yes, I`ve seen that, you know, and there have been threats of
primary opponents against us for those of us are in the conservative
districts. But again, I think the wrong vote is to vote yes for this. This
is eerily reminiscent of the cap and trade vote that the Democrats took and
there was a Democrat in Kentucky who is no longer there because he voted
for a bill that never became law but it still cost him an election.
I think it`s going to work the same way against Republicans on this bill.
If they insist on bringing it to the floor tomorrow and it fails or if they
insist on getting it through the House and it fails on the Senate. It`s
still a vote, a bad vote that Republicans are on record for.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, I`m sort of flipped (ph) about them and saying
what are they offering, the arm twisting and everything else but
fundamentally, this is so important that we figure out, you know, figure
out what to do for the American people. I mean, I hear that Obamacare needs
a lot of fixes with it, I mean a lot of problems with it.
I hear a lot of the horror stories, but I also hear the horror stories on
your side of the ledger as well. It`s like, you know, people who won`t get
Medicaid expansion, who might need it. People who, you know, for whatever
reason they can`t get what they need. So I mean, you know, this is
profoundly important and serious issue.
MASSIE: You`re right, Greta. This is very profound. Its one-sixth of our
economy and what a lot of us, the conservatives are saying is we should not
rush this. It`s going to affect everybody, literally, because everybody
buys health care at some point in their life. So why should we bring a bill
to the floor that we had less than a few hours to read? I mean, I still
don`t even have the latest copy and they want us to pick a procedural vote.
VAN SUSTEREN: And by the way, that was the same thing I heard in 2009
where the Democrats were pushing Obamacare to the floor. Republicans said
they didn`t get to look at it. So, anyway, I guess we`ll see what happens.
Are you going to that meeting by the way, in about 16 minutes?
MASSIE: Going to be a very interesting meeting. I`ll be there at 7:00
sharp and we`ll see if they pick up any votes in there. I really sort of
VAN SUSTEREN: Well I think it will get some bad vibes in that room, by the
way but that`s just my guess. Anyway, a very important issue. I shouldn`t
be so flipped about it. Congressman, thank you sir.
MASSIE: Thank you very much Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: So, is it Trumpcare or Ryancare. How would President Trump
react if the bill fails and who is to blame? Hugh Hewitt on that ahead.
And we are moments away from that House GOP meeting. We`re watching the
doors. Who is going in and what people are saying? We`ve got the very
latest and we got those doors covered. That`s next.
VAN SUSTEREN: A roller coaster day and the ride is not over. We have live
pictures on Capitol Hill where Republicans will be huddling in just a few
minutes behind closed doors they are trying to get on the same page as the
GOP health care bill. Joining me, Democratic congressman Jim McGovern from
the House Rules Committee. That panel could vote as early tonight on the
terms of the debate. Good evening, sir.
REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: How you doing Greta?
VAN SUSTEREN: I`m fine. Sir, are you sort of on standby for the rules
committee? What`s the process?
MCGOVERN: Yes, we are on standby. We`re going to have a procedural vote on
what we call a Martial Law Rule at 8:00 tonight, which allows Republicans
to bring up any bill they want at a moment`s notice. But we still haven`t
seen the texts of the bill we`re going to vote on tomorrow.
I don`t know where they`re hiding it. Maybe it`s behind one of the statues
here in the Capitol, but the bottom line is, we are being told we`re going
to vote on a major health care measure tomorrow and nobody has read it.
Nobody knows what`s in it.
VAN SUSTEREN: I got to bring up in 2009 when the same thing happened, the
shoe was on the other foot. Not that that makes it right.
MCGOVERN: No, it didn`t happen that way. The text of our bill was online
for months in advance. We actually had a hearing.
VAN SUSTEREN: I tried to read that bill. I mean I don`t want to get a
fight with you but I tried to read it when it first became available right
before, you know what, I don`t think you want to be fighting that battle on
that bill in 2009, that was not a pretty situation either.
MCGOVERN: Yes, well we had hearings. There were no hearings on this bill
VAN SUSTEREN: There should have been hearings.
MCGOVERN: We had markups where we accepted Republican amendments. There
were absolutely zero Democratic amendments accepted here. So, this process
stinks. And as a member of Congress, I`m ashamed of this process. And look,
I`m a liberal Democrat and ashamed of it. If I was a conservative
Republican I`d be ashamed of this process.
People ought to know what they`re voting on and health care is a big enough
issue where we ought to debate it. This is a deliberative body and I have a
radical idea we ought to deliberate every once in a while.
VAN SUSTEREN: I just think we have to be – what I would like to is I`d
like to identify the specific problems and then look to serve our menu of
options. That`s what I never get out of any of this because I don`t even
know what the menu of options is and then if we solve one problem, we move
on to the next and see, you know, how the next one impacts the first one. I
never had a sense with your bill in 2009 or this one that we`ve actually
identified the problem. You pass a bill and then it gets sent up to HHS and
they do, you know, 20,000 pages of regulations. It`s like, you know –
MCGOVERN: OK, but look, I mean the fact of the matter is on the Affordable
Care Act, 21 million people get health insurance. Under this bill, that
would be, what they`re talking about right now according to CBO, 24 million
people will lose their health insurance –
VAN SUSTEREN: I want people to have medical care.
MCGOVERN: – that`s a population of Australia. Look, the Affordable Care
Act isn`t perfect. We ought to work on a bipartisan way to fix what`s wrong
VAN SUSTEREN: Totally agree with you.
MCGOVERN: Yes, we need to address the rising costs of health insurance. We
need to address the rising costs of prescription drugs.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I totally – and I got to take the last word because I
got to go to a break. Thank you for appearing and I totally agree with you
on all of that. Thank you sir for joining us.
MCGOVERN: Thank you very much.
VAN SUSTEREN: So, who is to blame if this health care bill fails? That`s
And we go back to Capitol Hill where House Republicans are meeting in less
than an hour, a lot of action. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this bill falls through, if this bill is not passed,
would he accept the blame for its failure, and if not, who would?
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Let`s get to the vote tonight.
I`m not going to start – I think the president has done a phenomenal job.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he (INAUDIBLE) the Republican leadership Paul Ryan
accountable for bringing a bill to table without having consensus from the
Freedom Caucus or is he holding the Freedom Caucus accountable for –
SPICER: I think right now we`re not focused on blaming. We`re focused on
getting it done and winning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: If the GOP bill fails and that is still a big if, who will
get the blame? Well just a day ago, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was
asked what he thinks president Trump would do if the bill does not pass.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Did he in fact, has he in fact said, I
will campaign against Republicans who oppose the House AHCA?
PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He was joking around with people. You
know how Donald Trump and he just get risks.
HEWITT: Yes, I do.
RYAN: I think he was just joking around with people and he was basically
saying how important this was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: With me, the man you just we heard interviewing Speaker Paul
Ryan, Hugh Hewitt, host of the Hugh Hewitt show. Nice to talk to you Hugh.
HEWITT: Hey Greta, how are you?
VAN SUSTEREN: Good. So Hugh, I know we keep asking, you know, who is to be
blamed if this doesn`t pass or whatever. We actually should may get all the
blame game and try to fix the problems, but anyway, we still do that
anyway. We still try to see who takes the blame, but your thoughts on this?
HEWITT: Well, I want to see the whip count after tomorrow and after they
get to a vote. I talked to Paul Ryan yesterday. He was very optimistic. I
talked to Senator John Thune – he`s the third ranking Republican in the
Senate. He is very optimistic that the bill will get out of the house. I
heard optimism from Sean Spicer.
I think you have some very smart people like Raul Labrador of Idaho and Jim
Jordan of Ohio, Trent Franks and Paul Gosar of Arizona, and they`re
negotiating hard for the most conservative bill they can get and get the
number of votes but you lose one on the other side like Charlie Dent if you
go too far on the other direction.
Idiosyncratic members that they had on Congressman Massie and Congressman
Amash, these are idiosyncratic people. They`re libertarians, you`ll never
get them. At the end of the day I think they`ll be successful. If they`re
not, there`ll be a vote and members will have to live with that vote
because as Speaker Ryan told me yesterday, they made a promise to repeal
Obamacare. They got to keep that promise, and as an interested conservative
observer, I expect them to get a repeal and replace bill done.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you really believe this to be the GOP bill to be a repeal
or do you think that this is a repair or amendment to Obamacare?
HEWITT: With the addition of the essential benefits amendment, it`s
definitely a repeal bill.
VAN SUSTEREN: Without –
HEWITT: That will be –
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, if the essential benefits clause, which says that you
know, men have to buy maternity health care and women have to buy prostate
health care, if that stays in, then this is not in your mind a repeal?
HEWITT: Not really. I have talked to Secretary Price about that and he
assures me they can fix that via the regulatory process, but as of this
morning when I heard that the senate could in fact, get an essential
benefits amendment through the reconciliation process, I think that means
it`s got to go into the reconciliation process as a conservative.
VAN SUSTEREN: And if that goes – if that goes in that, there` likely now
you`re going to lose some moderate Republicans to vote for this bill, is
HEWITT: Yes, that`s right. But you need more conservatives than you do
have to worry about liberals leaving. The conservatives – the Freedom
Caucus holds the key to success here. They are the ones who have to be
satisfied because the senate will plus-up the liberal Republican`s demands
for more money for the Medicaid transition. Senate will deliver that.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, and we`re seeing – there`s Jason Chaffetz we see
heading to the hall to that secret meeting – I call it secret because we
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, the thing that I don`t think people realize is
that this bill, if it passes, whatever it is, is that once it passes, it
then gets sent across town to HHS and that`s where really a lot of work is
done because the secretary has such enormous powers to make adjustments in
it. Do you agree with that?
HEWITT: I do. I think the central part of this is getting rid of the
mandate, getting rid of the medical device tax, getting rid of the Cadillac
tax, getting rid of the penalties that Obamacare put on to the health care
system that is in fact, causing its collapse.
But a lot of the repair job has to be done by HHS. Secretary Price has a
lot of credibility. Look Greta, it`s been a very good week for Republicans.
I think you look over at the Senate and you see Judge Gorsuch is going to
get confirmed. They`re going to have to use read rule to confirm him, but
they`re going to get them confirmed. And they look over at the House, and
they`re very close. I`m an optimist.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let me ask you about Nunes (INAUDIBLE) about the
Republicans doing so well, what do you make of Nunes? Was that good for the
HEWITT: You know, I read a record late today that he in fact did not
apologize to the committee. There`s a conflicting report I had read the
same one you had earlier. I`ve known Devin Nunes a long time. He enjoys my
esteem and friendship and I believe he must have been deeply troubled. I am
laying back on that story because I think you referred earlier in the show,
this is very weird from a lot of angles. It`s got a lot of Obama people.
It`s just weird.
VAN SUSTEREN: And we still have a lot to learn out of it. Anyway, Hugh,
thank you for joining us. I hope you come back and I know you will.
HEWITT: Thanks Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you. And thank you for watching us. See you back here
tomorrow night, 6:00 p.m. eastern. We`ll have special coverage of all the
action whatever happens with this health care bill. We`re going to be all
over it. But first, “Hardball” with Chris Matthews starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2017 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.