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