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.
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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.
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VAN SUSTEREN: Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisting there is no Plan B.
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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.
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VAN SUSTEREN: And here`s President Trump this afternoon, still confident that GOP bill will pass.
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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.
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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 you.
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 Party?
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 have insurance.
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 right?
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 specific program.
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 Trump presidency.
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 Democrats tonight?
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 Iowa.
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 some Americans?
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 pool.
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 think?
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 election time.
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.
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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.
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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.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you find it to brief the president and before the membership?
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 committee.
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VAN SUSTEREN: But the top Democrat on the committee and other Democrats have serious concerns.
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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 his objectivity.
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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.
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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.
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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 on.
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.
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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 investigation.
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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 committee process.
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 intelligence.
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 prove it.
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 international conspiracy.
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 not ready.
(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, good luck.
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 doubt it.
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 at all.
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 with it.
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 next.
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 that right?
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 can`t go.
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 Republicans?
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.
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