Show: For the Record with Greta Date: March 27, 2017 Guest: Richard Ben-Veniste, Howard Dean, Tom Coburn, Ken Vogel, Susan Ferrechio, P.J. O`Rourke
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD SHOW HOST: Peter, thank you.
And tonight, it`s a real life cloak and dagger mystery. Unbelievable. Top lawmaker with access to secrets suddenly contacted by a source and summoned to a secure location and not just anywhere, but somewhere on the White House grounds. The sizzling question tonight, what did Chairman Nunes find out, who did he meet with and why it`s like pulling teeth to get information about it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I`m not going to get into who he met with or why he met with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: The White House deflecting questions and the mystery surrounding how house intelligence chairman Devin Nunes got confidential information on alleged surveillance. And today the chairman confirming he was on White House grounds one day before dropping this bombshell claim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DEVIN NUNES, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: On numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Today, he was pressed on what he was doing on the White House grounds. Chairman Nunes telling Bloomberg News he spoke to an intelligence official and not a White House staffer. And he would not have networked access to these kinds of reports in congress. Today, criticism from Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNINDENTIFIED MALE: It seems more than suspicious that he`s somehow going to the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: Attention also turning to House Speaker Paul Ryan who could remove Nunes from the investigation. He`s spokesperson saying the speaker has full confidence that chairman Nunes is conducting a thorough, fair, and credible investigation. And from the White House, no definitive answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you say factually, you know, absolutely flatly that it`s not possible that Chairman Nunes came to brief the president from something he obtained from the White House or the administration?
SPICER: I can`t say 100 percent that I know anything what he briefed him on.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: As far as you know right now, what is possible?
SPICER: I mean anything is possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Chairman Nunes telling Bloomberg he expects his committee members to read the documents themselves as soon as this week. With me, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from the great state of Rhode Island, serving on the judiciary committee. Good evening, sir.
SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, U.S. SENATOR: Good evening.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Mark Warner just was quoted in saying, we just played tape where he says this whole Nunes matter is more than suspicious. What do you think?
WHITEHOUSE: Well, I think it`s fair for a legislator to be a partisan and to fight for a president that he supports. Right up until he takes on the mantle of conducting a fair legislative oversight investigation. And at that point, the appearance of partiality becomes a real problem. And I think that representative Nunes has created a real problem for himself with all of this unusual scurrying back and forth with the White House and then delivering messages that are very consistent with messages that the White House wants out in this area. And that`s not the way an impartial investigator behaves.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, took to the floor a short time ago and he says Speaker Ryan should remove him as chairman of the house intelligence committee. What do you think?
WHITEHOUSE: Well, I think that he needs to think about whether he should continue, at a minimum, as the acting chairman for this investigation. I think that an investigation, a bipartisan investigation needs to be led by representatives who the public can have confidence in on both sides of the aisle, will do their best to go forward and have a responsible investigation and not have it be a partisan exercise, and I don`t think Nunes has met that standard in the last few days. I guess I`d defer a little bit to what representative Schiff thinks because he`s his ranking member, and I`m in the senate and they`re in the house. But I do think he has a big problem and he`s got to rebuild credibility. I don`t know that he can.
VAN SUSTEREN: With all due respect to Chairman Nunes, you know, it is weird. I mean, he says...
WHITEHOUSE: It`s weird.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. It`s weird. You agree with me, OK, this is weird. What is your explanation what`s going on? He gets a phone call. He reports to the White House. He goes to some secure room. He gets some information, won`t tell us what the information is, who called him, who`s his source. He then goes home, the next day he goes back to the White House to talk to the president. Apparently, he comes out in a press conference he said it`s not about Russia. I mean, the whole thing, you know, what do you think is going on?
WHITEHOUSE: Well, the thing that`s unfortunate about this whole weird scenario is that the White House has been constantly in an effort to redirect or misdirect the investigation into the Russia-Trump connections to become an issue of whether the president was wiretapped, or where there are leaks, or anything but looking at the subject matter of the investigation. And because of the direction that Chairman Nunes took this, it looks like he`s buying into and participating in the White House strategy of redirection or misdirection. And that really isn`t a role that he should play. Frankly, it`s not something the White House should be doing. It just isn`t legit.
VAN SUSTEREN: When does misdirection become cover-up?
WHITEHOUSE: Well, you know, the difference between misdirection and of obstruction of justice is one that I think they`re beginning to trespass pretty close to. And, you know, you want to be really careful about messing around with ongoing investigations. The FBI is looking into this. And to the extent that efforts by the White House to misdirect or redirect folks, interfere with that investigation, or have the effect of requiring folks to go off and run down, you know, wild-goose chase. And as a result, the investigation is slowed down or compromised. You`re now in the boundaries of looking at obstruction of justice. And they`ve got to be very careful about that stuff. This is not funny.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me move to healthcare. Is healthcare dead on arrival or do you see the Democrats, especially in the senate where you are, looking to work with the Trump administration and the Ryan house to try to fix things over the course of the next few months?
WHITEHOUSE: You know, not too long ago, the senate help committee passed a really significant education bill with a complete bipartisan unanimous vote, and it was a big piece of legislation. So my advice to President Trump would be trust Lamar Alexander. Tell the health committee, look, do some legit hearings, let`s figure out what we can get done, there are areas where we can improve on Obamacare, they`re areas of delivery system reform, eliminating hospital required infections, bringing down pharmaceutical prices. They`re all sorts of commonalities that are waiting to be picked up in a proper and fair process. So, I think if the health committee would get to work on this in the same spirit that we`ve did the education bill, we can get a lot of good stuff done for the American people. Just don`t try to stampede us with a lot of silliness.
VAN SUSTEREN: One last quick question, Judge Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, are you a yes, no, or don`t know tonight?
WHITEHOUSE: No, I`m a no. He did not make the sale with me. I think he was very evasive about really basic questions where the Supreme Court is kind of the structural guardian for our constitutional system and has fallen down in that role, and he didn`t even seem to notice that it had happened.
VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you very much for joining us. Hope you come back, sir.
WHITEHOUSE: Thank you very much. Thanks for having me on.
VAN SUSTEREN: With me Ambassador James Woolsey, former CIA director who also served for a very short time as the national security advisor to the Trump campaign. Nice to see you, sir.
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Good to see you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK. What`s the story on Nunes? What do make of this whole Nunes matter?
WOOLSEY: Well, I haven`t gotten into this all in detail. I must say that the thing -- aspect of this one senator emphasized in part that I find curious is whether or not there`s any case that`s someone is trying to interfere with an ongoing investigation. But unless that`s the case, I think it`s maybe not much ado about nothing, maybe not Shakespearean, but much ado about very little.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he made a lot to do about it. I mean, he`s the one who has said this cloak and dagger that he got a phone call and he went to the White House, he won`t tell the source, he listen in a secure room, the next day he goes rushing down to the White House, he doesn`t tell his counterpart on the committee, Congressman Schiff, and he has a press conference and then drip, drip, drip, and things get cancelled.
WOOLSEY: But that`s a problem of relations with fellow members of the committee and how you manage them. It`s not a question of legality or illegality. The aspect of that I find curious is it does look in one or two aspects as if there might be something going on to thwart the effectiveness of an ongoing investigation. That would be, I think serious. But almost all the rest of this seems to me, like I said, maybe not much to do about nothing but much to do about relatively little.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Last fold, you`ve met with General Flynn in New York, he was in a meeting with some Turkish representatives. Tell me where it was and what happened.
WOOLSEY: Well, I`m going to let the Wall Street Journal deal with all of that. It`s not an undertaking and not a matter that I participated in. I had nothing to do with General Flynn. He wanted me as a member of his advisory board for his think tank company. I agreed to do that, basically on a hand shake. But I took no money from him. I took -- had no position, I didn`t even know where the offices were. I had essentially nothing to do with this organization. And then it had -- it took the course that was reported very clearly in the Wall Street Journal.
VAN SUSTEREN: Which was that -- which said that there was a meeting with some Turkish representatives and that there was some sort of discussion in some form about how to extract an opponent of Erdogan of Turkey from the United States. Some of us here in the United States trying to extract him here because Erdogan wanted them, there`s arrest warrant for him, but to bypass the extradition proceedings.
WOOLSEY: Well, this was what is quoting basically what I said in the discussion.
VAN SUSTEREN: That`s where I learned it, from you.
WOOLSEY: And I think the answer is that -- since I came to -- I was on television actually that evening and I came to the discussion late, I didn`t hear the first part of it. And I don`t know whether somebody early on said, by the way, let`s just kick around these hypotheticals. Or whether somebody was saying that, now, let`s get together and scheme on how to do this, how to kidnap somebody. So I`ve been careful about saying exactly what was said since I wasn`t there for a fair chunk of the discussion.
VAN SUSTEREN: But you did tell the Wall Street Journal, and I watched the video, and it`s indeed true that a Flint spokesperson has said, you know, has disagreed with your -- and you said that you were only there for part of the time. But you reported or said or told Vice President Biden at some point?
WOOLSEY: I thought it needed to be reported to some senior government official. Vice President Biden I`ve known for a long time. He was still vice president at that point given the period of time we`re in. And a mutual friend of his, and mine, was able to reach in and passed on...
VAN SUSTEREN: You must have thought it was serious go to the vice president of the United States about it? And not just sort of a casual conversation...
WOOLSEY: I thought it was serious enough that it ought to be raised. I did not think that it was serious enough to go to general quarters. Had I thought that somebody was about to be kidnapped, I would have raised an alarm to something had to be done right way, but that`s not the way the discussion was. So I thought it was something that I ought to call attention to and I did. I thought someone ought to look into it. But I was sure that there was anything illegal going on, no, I was not sure of it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Did Vice President Biden, you spoke to him directly, did he say...
WOOLSEY: No, I did not.
VAN SUSTEREN: You`ve got a message to him then. Do you know of anything was ever done, whether anyone sort of inquiry to see what`s going on at that hotel room with General Flynn and the Turkish, which could mean completely innocent, but I don`t know, but...
WOOLSEY: I`m a private citizen. I have no reason to get into those issues. I wasn`t writing about it. I wasn`t giving speeches about it. I thought something ought to be reported and I did report it, but I did it in a way that called attention to senior people to look into it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you, sir, thank you for joining us.
WOOLSEY: Good to see you, Greta.
VAN SUSTEREN: Coming up, the president`s son-in-law getting a big job, but also a big date for the senate intelligence committee. Is the Russian controversy a huge hurdle for the Trump agenda? Also, growing calls for an independent panel take over the Russia investigation. That`s smart, is it fair? What would the panel look like? I`ll talk to a member of the 9/11 commission. Plus, it`s a new day in Washington. Does the president need Democrats to get anything done? Why would they go along with him? And new sign on what lies ahead after the GOP`s healthcare debacle. And the one and only P.J. O`Rourke join us. He`s given a lot of thoughts to a question many are asking, how the hell did this happen? Stay with us.
VAN SUSTEREN: Today, President Trump named his daughter Ivanka husband Jared Kushner to lead the new White House office of America innovation, now the purpose of the office to overhaul and streamline the federal government. This new position comes as we`re learning Kushner will be interviewed by the senate and intelligence committee about Russia meetings and possible ties between Trump campaign officials and Russian operatives. A Trump spokesperson telling NBC News, Kushner volunteered because he doesn`t have anything to hide. Kushner will be asked about means he arranged for the Russian ambassador. He is one of seven Trump associates who met with the ambassador, and as this cloud continues to linger over the Trump presidency, more and more meetings. Ken Vogel is the chief investigative reporter at POLITICO, and Susan Ferrechio who was chief congressional correspondent for the Washington Examiner. Susan, this could be -- as far as the meeting that Jared Kushner is going to have with the senate intelligence committee, that seems rather routine to me that he would be someone they would want to talk to, and he seems to volunteer for.
SUSAN FERRECHIO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Sure. I mean, they said they would cover the whole span of connections between the Trump campaign and anybody in Russia. I think what should be pointed out here is that what Kushner said so far is that this was all part of his role within the Trump transition.
VAN SUSTEREN: It`s routine.
FERRECHIO: It was an official role he was playing and that when he did meet with this Russian bank executive, it had nothing to do with his own personal business because he was a businessman trying to raise money to finance a building. With that he had nothing to do with it. He said it was a short conversation and nothing came of it. There`s no reason for him not to meet with the intelligence committee in either the house or the senate. I think you`ll see that with other people who are involved in this as well. Paul Manafort, he`s also volunteered to come talk to committees and explain his connections. So, I think, you know, just to quote the ex CIA director, the interim CIA director said there is a lot of smoke but really no fire here. I think that`s really the overarching theme with all of these discussions.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know what, frankly, can they have made it suspicious, I mean, in a lot of ways. I mean, it`s like pulling teeth getting information. That Nunes -- I mean, I don`t know how would you be so suspicious like wondering, you know, what in the world is that? I mean, why did he do that? I think it`s fair to be suspicious. I think it would be unusual not to think that something -- he`s got some explaining to do.
KEN VOGEL, POLITICO: Yeah, their handling of this at almost every step has been completely ham-handed from Mike Flynn telling no less than Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States, that he met with the Russian ambassador but didn`t talk about sanctions, when in fact he did to Carter Page saying that his trip to Moscow was not cleared by the campaign when in fact it was to -- up to Jared Kushner. I mean, it`s true that this was part of his job. Nonetheless, you would think that has this became an issue, as the Trump White House was struggling to figure out how to get out in front of it, Jared Kushner might have said, hey, I`ve also met with both the Russian ambassador and this banker from a state-owned bank in Russia, he didn`t. And so, each of these things was surprises and it sets the White House back as they try to respond to it.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, big picture, Susan, to what extent that this sort of whole discussion about Russia and these investigations, possibility of committee, and Nunes, how does this inhibit or what kind of impact on the Trump agenda?
FERRECHIO: I think it already has had an impact. I think it empowers the Democrats, you hear them almost on a daily basis, calling for a slowing down the agenda or stopping things like the Supreme Court nomination, or any big agenda items because they feel like you need to get through this investigation in to what ties there may have been between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Now...
VAN SUSTEREN: See, I see that as a drudge more on the Democrat nominee, Garland.
FERRECHIO: Well, I think the Democrat -- certainly it is.
FERRECHIO: Yes, yes. But it does give them leverage I think, at least with the American people because they can get on the air and talk about this over and over. It does raise a level of suspicion. Because, let`s face it, the whole thing is incredibly murky. Now, from my perspective on Capitol Hill where I listen to both sides all day long, I get more detailed perspective. I don`t think anything will come at this Russia investigation. I really don`t. And I don`t think the investigators really think anything will come at it either. But from people who aren`t sitting there all day listening to the back and forth it does look, you know, like they`re maybe something there because every single day there another story.
VAN SUSTEREN: I think Nunes certainly amped it up a lot. I mean, he certainly, you know, by what he did last week. I think he`s amped it up.
FERRECHIO: Part of the reason he did that though, I`ll tell you that he`s been going on-and-on on Capitol Hill about how he really wants to get to the bottom of these leaks.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, he`s just shot himself in the foot on that.
FERRECHIO: He did. But I think that`s part of his determination on why he ended up at the White House.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ken, overall impact of all this stuff on the Trump agenda.
VOGEL: I think it is throwing a monkey wrench into the Trump agenda. And it`s in large part, certainly what Susan said it gives Democrats something to shift the focus on. But I think it`s a bigger problem because it`s in Trump`s head so much. You remember when they first tried to roll out the Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act, Trump tweeted about -- that`s when he tweeted that weekend about the wiretaps and Obama wiretapping him. That stomped all over their message and really ruined their rollout.
VAN SUSTEREN: Republicans had seven years to come up with a plan, alternative Obamacare. And I think you could have had a lot of this going on. I think they came out with plan that they hasn`t sold to their own group. So I think that was the big problem, not so much the Russia distraction, but they hadn`t sold it to their own group. And they had seven years to put something together that was appealing.
VOGEL: And it was really, I think, a harbinger on what`s going to come as they try to get into tax reform and some of these other big ticket legislative item where they`re going to need to bring along a really fractious Republican conference in the house, that there is no consensus on some of these big issues. Obviously, you need to have all hands on deck and you can`t be fighting either the investigation by Democrats on Russia or bipartisan investigation. And you really can`t have the guy at the top who`s the closer as Sean Spicer put it, distracted and tweeted about trying -- you know, tweeting about trying to change the subject on Russia to Obama`s wiretapping.
VAN SUSTEREN: Still to come, can the Trump agenda get an unexpected boost from the left? You heard that right. But first, should there be an independent commission looking into the Russia election hack. Today we`ve heard some tough words from Vice President Dick Cheney that actually echoed the talk. We`re also hearing from the left.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There was a very serious effort made by Mr. Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic processes. In some quarters that would be considered an act of war.
UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their engagement was an act of war, an act of hybrid warfare, and I think that`s why the American people should be concerned about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK SCHUMMER, U.S. SENATOR: This is a matter of such gravity we need to get it right. There should be no doubt about the integrity and impartiality of the investigation. If Speaker Ryan wants the house to have a credible investigation, he needs to replace chairman Nunes.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, taking to the senate floor a short time ago calling for the chairman of the house intelligence committee Devin Nunes be removed by House Speaker Paul Ryan. The doubts about Congressman Nunes are adding to the call for a bipartisan commission to investigate Russia`s interference in the 2016 election. Now the commission could be modelled after the 9/11 commission that looked into the 2001 terror attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN MCCAIN, U.S. SENATOR: I would agree to a commission. I would probably prefer a select committee but either one.
NANCY PELOSI, U.S. CONGRESSWOMAN: Congress must create a comprehensive independent bipartisan commission to expose the full truth about the Trump- Russia connections. What are the Republicans afraid of, the truth?
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, if we get a commission, I`m open to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: But other lawmakers think the existing committees should do the job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I heard my friend from California mentioned an independent commission. Thank goodness we have one, it`s called the FBI. Let congress do its job which is provide oversight over the intelligence committee.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: The notion that somehow a special council will bring facts to light just isn`t true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: A recent poll shows 66 percent of voters support an independent commission, 29 percent do not. With me, Richard Ben-Veniste, he was one of the 10 members of the 9/11 commission. He`s also a leading prosecutor of the Watergate task force. He`s also appeared on burden of proof at CNN with me.
RICHARD BEN-VENISTE, 9/11 COMMISSION: Yeah.
VAN SUSTEREN: We go back.
BEN-VENISTE: A while ago.
VAN SUSTEREN: A while ago. OK. So tell me what you think.
BEN-VENISTE: Well, I think the public is getting the sense that there`s some there, and that an independent, kind of investigation, should be conducted that provides for public hearings. In order to satisfy that, you could have a bipartisan commission, or you could have -- which would be an easier lift, a special committee of congress that gave the minority some rights to call witnesses and to provide for hearings.
VAN SUSTEREN: It seems to me that when we get to the point where we`ll have an independent commission, that really is an acknowledgement that politics is so poisoned that nobody is going to have any confidence in Capitol Hill. Now, they have to outsource it to people with whom that there may be more confidence in the integrity of the operation.
BEN-VENISTE: Well, clearly the house intelligence committee stubbed its toe with its chairman, rushing off to the White House and meeting secretly and not disclosing the information or its sources to his colleagues. We haven`t heard from the senate committee yet. And there`s hope that that can be a bipartisan effort. They made the right statements. They`re having their first hearing on Thursday. So we`ll see. Of course, a 9/11 type commission is not inconsistent with the intelligence committees proceeding at pace and digging up what they can. But ultimately, to satisfy the public, I think you`re going to need something that smacks of bipartisanship, whether it`s producible by the senate remains to be seen.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, former Vice President Dick Cheney, we just heard the tape where he said he considers the cyber warfare of Russia hacking into our election is an act of war. In sort of the grand scheme of things, how serious do you think this is?
BEN-VENISTE: Well, it`s very serious. This is our electoral process. The Russians ought to keep their grubby hands out of it. And hacking into our electoral process with a goal towards skewing the results, that`s serious business, and they`re doing the same in Europe. So we need to investigate that...
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you wonder how we got so vulnerable? Wouldn`t we have been ready for this one?
BEN-VENISTE: We`re an open society, Greta. We have a million different places where we can be hacked, where we are vulnerable it`s because we`re open. So when somebody does something as underhanded as the agency suggests the Russians did, we need to react to it as a serious infringement upon our process.
VAN SUSTEREN: I would be interested to see what happens, anyway, nice to see you. It`s been a while.
Ahead, is President Trump ready to make deals with moderate Democrats? There`s a new tone coming from the White House today. Talk to a former DNC Chair Howard Dean and former Republican Senator Tom Coburn.
Later, P.J. O`Rourke on President Trump and the 2016 election, his big question, "how the hell did this happen?"
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AUDIENCE: Fix it. Fix it. Fix it.
JOHN CULBERSON, REPUBLICAN FOR TEXAS: The only way to fix it is to replace it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Town hall anger over the GOP healthcare bill. That was a scene this week in the home district of Texas Republican Congressman John Culberson. The signs of energy on the left visible from town halls to D.C. where House minority leader Nancy Pelosi was literally jumping for joy after the GOP healthcare bill crashed and burned on Friday. Today White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the Trump administration is engaging with Democrats as it turns to tax reform and infrastructure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president, as I mentioned, is eager to get to 218 on lot of his initiatives. He is going to be willing to listen to other voices on the other side to figure out if people want to work with him to get these big things done, to make Washington work, to enhance the lives of the American people, then he is going to work with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Will Democrats get along or take a page from the conservative freedom caucus and say no? This weekend Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying this,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK SCHUMER, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: If he changes, he could have a different presidency. But he will have to tell the freedom caucus and hard right special wealthy interests, who are dominating his presidency, but he didn`t campaign for them, he campaigned on the opposite, he has to tell them, he can`t work with them and we`ll certainly look at his proposals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Some bad news for President Trump, a new Gallup poll showing his approval ratings sinking to a new low of 36 percent. That is worst than President Obama at his all time low mark of 38 percent. This weekend, President Trump`s old rival, Jeb Bush, giving him some advice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: He is a distraction in and of himself. He has a lot of work to do and some of these things, wiretap, and all this stuff are a complete distraction that makes it harder to accomplish the things I know he wants to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Here to talk about the healthcare fight and more, two medical doctors, who happen to also know a lot about politics? Former Vermont governor and chairman of the DNC, Howard Dean and former Republican Senator from Oklahoma Tom Coburn, good evening to both of you gentlemen and first to you, senator, since it`s a Republican Party that owns the house and senate and White House right now, what -- in light of where we are, senator, what should be done?
TOM COBURN, FORMER REPUBLICAN SENATOR FROM OKLAHOMA: I think he should send them into a room and say everybody opposed to this on both ends of it, let`s see what you come up with. What the Republican Party lacks right now, with the president included on healthcare is a vision. Dr. Dean and I were both trained to fix disease, not treat symptoms. And the disease is that we`ve got very expensive healthcare without any price transparency, with any accountability, control and manipulated by the insurance industry, the hospital industry and everybody else that serves in it and you can`t find out what something costs and you can`t find out what outcomes are.
And so if you really want to solve the problem, you have to have price transparency and you have to have price discovery and let the American people figure out how to do that. They can. This is 20 percent of our economy and we have multiple studies that show $800 billion of what is spent doesn`t help anybody get well or prevent them from getting sick. This isn`t a hard problem, it`s just tough to get people together and understand. You have to fix the real problem. You`re not going to fix it unless you can see transparently prices and outcomes.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, same question to you where we are what should be done and can be done?
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: There are a lot of things that can be done. The first thing is we have to get away from fee for service medicine. All the incentives are to get me to spend as much of your money I possibly can. That is how I get paid. That is crazy. Even incentives work for honest people, the incentives are all wrong in healthcare.
Secondly, the American people are good at buying insurance, not good at buying medical care for the reason having to do with the enormous emotion attached to real illness, individuals can`t make decisions about whether to have a 250,000 oncology treatment or 150,000 oncology treatment. They`re great at buying insurance. Getting rid of fee for service will help that. The other thing is -- this is where I disagree with Tom, I suspect, I would do what we should have done in the first place, have a public option and allow people in bad insurance markets there`s only one insurance company, to buy into Medicare, pay the full price but buy into Medicare.
VAN SUSTEREN: I have a different thought. I have two doctors, no politics, and know the problem, have dealt with patients, over my left shoulder is Capitol Hill where everybody is fighting. I have a Democrat and Republican on the air right now, I think to myself, wouldn`t it be great if the adults in the room could handle this? I actually would like to see the two of you in a room trying to figure this out. Senator, can`t this - I mean isn`t a lot of this nobody`s willing to sit down and consider the other viewpoint?
COBURN: Again, I think it`s a leadership and a vision problem. I would disagree with Dr. Dean, Governor Dean. I think American people are smart. I think they know how to buy things. They just haven`t had the opportunity since the `40s to figure out how to buy their healthcare. I think once you give them that -- the second thing is, sure, Howard Dean and in could sit down in a room and come out for those states Medicaid dependent, we could figure out a way, if you wanted to keep that or what I would insist on, allow them to check eligibility. What we just saw in Illinois in the last two years, over 550,000 people that were not eligible for Medicaid, got Medicaid. It cost them $600 million in the state. They had other options, but they didn`t want to pay the co-insurance or dibble so they qualified for Medicaid and can put that on their taxes and missed paying their penalty.
Transparency moved more of it back to the states. Medicaid ought to be, let the states take care of it, give them their money back and let them see if they can`t figure it out. But Howard and I could figure that out. We`ve got a lot of states -- Rhode Island has done real well on Medicaid with an exception to a lot of the Medicaid rules. There`s two ways to do that. Under the affordable care act there is a 1322 waiver and then 1015 waiver under Medicaid, give the governors the opportunity and responsibility to fix it and let them figure it out. In their state if they want to do single payer, let them do it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, how`s Vermont doing?
COBURN: We`re doing pretty well. In 1992, we passed a bill, series of bills that basically insured every kid under 18 and we put in the exemption to keep people out of insurance for pre-existing conditions, a lot of the stuff in Obamacare we did in `92 and, of course, Obamacare helped us a lot. We have the second highest percentage of people in insurance, without insurance is in low single digits. The difference between where we were when I was governor and where we are now is significant. We`ve almost got the uninsured data to something pretty close to zero.
VAN SUSTEREN: I`d love to round up all the doctors, past and current, on Capitol Hill to talk about health insurance. I actually think one of the viewpoints we missed out a little bit were the caregivers to understand some of the problems.
DEAN: Yeah. Although -- understanding delivery of healthcare is not the same as understanding how to take care of patients. That is something to be concerned about.
VAN SUSTEREN: I guess I was including that. I think also you know how to navigate around Washington or know how difficult it is, whether ever it is.
COBURN: Greta, a question for you, a question for you. Where in the constitution does it give the federal government forget the right to tell states how they`ll take care of the health of their citizens? It`s not in there. We have this expansive federal government that is spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year on healthcare, much of which is wasted, because we can`t manage that kind of market from a government standpoint. So either do what Howard Dean says and have single payer and get rid of all of it or let the markets work like 80 percent of the rest of the country does, we would do really good in getting good value for everything except healthcare. Why should we manage it?
VAN SUSTEREN: We can go back to that government waste and find the known pay for most of this stuff. No one cares about government waste, a whole other topic. Anyway gentlemen thank you both.
COTTON: You bet.
DEAN: Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Next, President Trump and Speaker Ryan. It`s complicated but is it about to get really complicated, the White House responding to that today.
VAN SUSTEREN: And this news breaking, ranking member, Adam Schiff of the house intelligence committee has just said that chairman Devin Nunes should recuse himself from this investigation. I guess that is to be expected, Republican versus Democrat. Nonetheless you have Senator Chuck Schumer putting the pressure on the Republican house chairman.
KEN VOGEL, POLITICO CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: There were some high hopes for this hearing, it would be nonpartisan and get to the bottom of things because it did kind of cut across of issues of partisan concern. Everyone concerned about Russia, Republican hawks, Democrats, but you see it dissolving into Republican finger-pointing match. That is the way it goes on Capitol Hill. It`s very difficult for any congressional Committee to really investigate on a nonpartisan basis a political matter and I think that is why people who hope to get to the bottom of it have their hopes resting on the FBI.
VAN SUSTEREN: The relationship between President Trump and Speaker Ryan, all we read about that it`s fine and great and Speaker Ryan is in the White House today.
SUSAN FERRECHIO, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think their relationship will depend a lot on what happens going forward at this point. I don`t think spending a lot of time between the two of them reflecting what just happened with the healthcare bill, how can they get together on tax reform? Here`s what I think will happen, tax reform, as President Trump says is in his wheelhouse, I think will take more lead on that and I think it will be more involved. What happened with the healthcare bill? That is not something he is overly familiar with and put the trust in the congress to see if they could get it done and his Republican majorities and he couldn`t. And I think he learned a lesson there, but he also said he learned a lot about how negotiating goes on Capitol Hill. He is a deal- maker. I don`t sense there will be long-term damage to their relationship. I think you always hear the cries from the very conservative faction that we need somebody more conservative at the top to craft deals more to their liking. This conservative group is a very small slice of the pie to the Republican conference. Three dozen lawmakers out of 240 plus. They don`t have really the majority there. The majority backed Paul Ryan and Donald Trump knows that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Over the weekend, President Trump tweeted, 9:00 p.m., on the Fox News Channel Saturday night and she opens up and says that Paul Ryan should step aside and now there is much chatter about that.
VOGEL: They`re suggesting the White House, actually addressing this and Sean Spicer the Press Secretary today, asked if a tacit endorsement of what Judge Jeanine was said on her show.
VAN SUSTEREN: They`ve been friends for years. It`s no surprise she would be speaking to Donald Trump. She knew him long before becoming President Trump.
VOGEL: Well in fact, they have promo the show by suggesting that there might be new revelations Donald Trump charges that he was wiretapped. That is the belief of folks who talked to White House. That is what this referred to, was an effort to get attention to what they thought was going to be a show, as he put it, vindicate his wiretapping charges. Clearly it wasn`t, caused a huge mix up. I don`t think it don`t think it`s going to stop Donald Trump from tweeting out either preview on TV shows or live tweeting them, nonetheless, it was a bit of embarrassment for the White House.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right the breaking news that Adam Shift has asking for Chairman Nunes to step aside.
FERRECHIO: Nothing to lose for Democrats to keep asking that. The Minority Leader and the Senate today said also the same thing. They said basically, that Nunes should not be running this investigation. We`ve heard calls from leadership and the Democratic Party that this should go to independent commission and not be dictated by congress it is two partisan at this point. I`m not really --
VAN SUSTEREN: But that was a -- I mean, if it`s completely innocent what he did, look, I`ve got to admit, I think it looks weird.
VOGEL: He apologized for it.
VAN SUSTEREN: It doesn`t matter. Why was he doing that? Maybe, you know, if you`re sitting there no matter which way you fall, whether you`re Republican or Democrat, you want everyone to have faith in this investigation, if one of the leaders acts peculiar.
FERRECHIO: I think what he is mad about is he went to the White House and did not include him. Normally there`s a protocol --
VAN SUSTEREN: That is the one committee that is bipartisan on the hill.
FERRECHIO: Well, no --
VAN SUSTEREN: It`s not really, I guess.
FERRECHIO: I don`t think there`s any such thing as truly bipartisan.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mike Rogers worked well together.
FERRECHIO: There was a protocol that he would share that information and not run to the press conference. Part of the problem is that from the get go Republicans have felt like there were some of these minds planted in the Trump administration by the Obama administration to muddle and damage his presidency from the get go. That is what Nunes is talking about, with the leaks, the unmasking, he is really upset about that and he feels like he has to take a stand.
VAN SUSTEREN: I`ve got to go to break, but I don`t think he did himself, any way thank you both. Russia probes must see press briefings and epic GOP in fight. Remember the Trump presidency is only 67 days year old. How did we get here and where is it all going? The great P.J. O`Rourke just wrote a book on that. He joins me next.
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JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL: I had planned on running for president and although it would have been a very difficult primary, I think I could have won. Do I regret not being president? Yes.
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VAN SUSTEREN: What would the 2016 election look like if vice President Biden had run for president, would he have had a better shot than secretary state, big picture, do we have a clear understanding of how the 2016 campaign unfolded or are we all like the great P.J. O`Rourke asking "how the hell did this happen." nice to see you.
P.J. O`ROURKE, AUTHOR: It`s good to see you and good to be here.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. I want to read some of the parts of your book to you in comment. You said the election was Terrill it was not election it was rebellion, America is having a civil war or to be more accurate the word incivility.
O`ROURKE: Absolutely. Every now and then the electorate, dealing with them is like raising toddlers. There are times when the electorate just get down on the floor and beats its little fists and kicks its little heels. We saw on both ends in political spectrum, Bernie Sanders was the other side of the coin.
VAN SUSTEREN: Here we go, here is another one, every candidate who tried to look like a regular guy, looked like a regular idiot.
O`ROURKE: Yes. Yeah, and that is not just the guys, that includes Carli and Hillary, as well. The voters were not in the mood for business as usual and gosh knows what they`re going to be in the mood for if we have another 18 months of what`s been going on in the first 60 days here. Bernie Sanders may get elected to every single seat in the House of Representatives, I don`t know.
VAN SUSTEREN: Two part question it may have different answers. Why did Trump win? And why did Hillary lose?
O`ROURKE: Yes, because they`re both running against themselves. I mean, really, they weren`t running against each other and Trump managed to nose out himself, Hillary came in very close second to herself. Really, people were looking for disruption. People were seriously looking for disruption. I`ve got to wonder personally about the empty coffee can they chose to shake things up in. They were looking to shake things up. There was no way that Hillary, master of every detail in the universe. I was at her campaign events she would explain and explain and explain and explain and explain. And Trump just showed up. You know, with a lot of noisy rolling stone tapes and flag waving and hugs and promise of greatness.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right. In your book, look forward to 2020. Here is what you tell us. Maybe in 2020 we`ll select our two major candidates with fists, chains and knives in the parking lot of biker bars.
O`ROURKE: Yes, because that is basically what it has come down to. It`s come down to that kind of fight and, you know, our primary system and our caucus system is so goofy that we might as well just go picket with tire irons and big dock martin boots. I wonder who would have come out on top. I`m thinking Hillary would have won. She scares me.
VAN SUSTEREN: The book is interesting, you wrote the book as time marched on, you didn`t write it after the fact, after the election, which makes it sort of interesting, we`re sort of taking a journey with you.
O`ROURKE: I know more of how this is going to turn out. I`m just writing about the election. I knew it was going to be goofy and funny, because the Republicans had let every dog out of the pound, you know there must have been like 200 Republican candidates and, you know, that nobody liked. The Democrats were much more focused. They picked just one person that everybody couldn`t stand. And so I knew it was going to be fun, but I didn`t know it would rise to the level of a Chinese curse, you live in interesting times.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well the book is fascinating "How the hell did this happen" P.J. O`Rourke, about the election. Thank you very much. I hope you come back, P.J.
O`ROURKE: I would be glad to and very good to talk to you, as always.
VAN SUSTEREN: I thought you are going to be here so I brought your book so you could sign it for me, so you disappointed me, anyway.
O`ROURKE: I will get there.
VAN SUSTEREN: I will save it, anyway thank you viewers for watching. We will see you tomorrow night.
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