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For the Record with Greta, Transcript 4/4/2017

Guests: Ben Cardin, Adam Kinzinger, Michael Isikoff, Clint Watts, David Priess, Rosa DeLauro, Annie Linskey, Catherine Rampell, Kevin Cirilli

Show: For the Record with Greta Date: April 4, 2017 Guest: Ben Cardin, Adam Kinzinger, Michael Isikoff, Clint Watts, David Priess, Rosa DeLauro, Annie Linskey, Catherine Rampell, Kevin Cirilli

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOR THE RECORD HOST: Thank you, Chuck. And tonight, President Trump blaming President Obama again, this time for a shocking atrocity happening halfway around the world. I must warn you, this video is gruesome and heart wrenching. A strongly suspected gas attack, yes, chemical weapon sending death, destruction and chaos throughout Syria, killing innocent civilians including children. The death toll is rising by the minute. One Syrian medical relief group reporting so far 100 dead and 400 injured and, of course, it gets worse. There are reports at least 25 children murdered in this horrific attack. Witnesses describe an explosives drop from the sky and immediately people began choking, struggling to breathe, and foaming at the mouth. President Trump issuing a statement saying it was reprehensible, but he also said it was, quote, a consequence of the past administration`s weakness and irresolution. President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a red line against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing. However, and this is significant, a few years ago in the midst of the debate whether President Obama should use force in Syria, then Mr. Trump, now President Trump, had a different opinion. In a tweet, then Mr. Trump said, quote, President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside. And then today, secretary of state Rex Tillerson ignoring questions on the vicious attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Secretary, (INAUDIBLE) chemical attacks in Syria.


VAN SUSTEREN: Secretary Tillerson later putting out a statement condemning the attack, but note this. Just last week the secretary said getting the evil President Assad out of power was not going to be decided by the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the status and the longer term, longer term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: And earlier today, Arizona senator John McCain taking on Secretary Tillerson saying his comments, quote, served to legitimatize the actions of this war criminal in Damascus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN MCCAIN, U.S. SENATOR: One of the more incredible statements I`ve ever heard came from the involvement of Hezbollah of the Iranians, of the Russians. I`m sure they`re encouraged to know that the United States is withdrawing and seeking some kind of new arrangement with the Russians and it is another disgraceful chapter in American history.


VAN SUSTEREN: With me Senator Ben Cardin, Democrat of Maryland. Ranking member on the senate foreign relations committee. Good evening, sir. And tonight, many people are trying to rewrite their views of what they thought should be done back in 2012 and 2013. We`re in the 6th year of this crisis in Syria. I should note that back in 2013, you, sir, and the senate foreign relations committee you were one of the ones who voted we should do something.

SEN. BEN CARDIN, D-MARYLAND: Absolutely, we should have taken more definitive action. But the question is what do we do now? In the world, the civilized world cannot be silent when the use of chemical weapons against a civilian population through a bomb in the air, only President Assad could have done this with the help of Mr. Putin and Russia. We must speak out about this. Mr. Assad has no legitimacy to lead Syria. He should be at the Haig held accountable for war crimes, and that`s what the international community needs to insist upon.

VAN SUSTEREN: Back in 2013, as everyone does attempt to rewrite history, it`s worth noting there is a lot of criticism of President Obama not taking action after his famous red line comment. But I think we should also factor into it as we look back in 20/20 hindsight, at the time congress wasn`t behind him. The American people in multiple polls were not behind him. We were war weary, no one wanted to put boots on the ground, no one wanted to use force, and even the Brits voted down a resolution to join us in taking force against Syria. It`s a very different time then. And now, of course, everyone is jumping on President Obama.

CARDIN: Well, you`re absolutely right about that. He did not have the support from congress. He had some support. I supported his actions to use military to stop the use of chemical weapons. That`s something which is -- the international community needs to respond. But you`re absolutely correct, it was not the support in congress, there certainly wasn`t the support in Europe. And remember, we thought with Russia`s help we were able to get all the chemical weapons out of Syria. We thought that was accomplished. Obviously it was not. We were misled by Russia, and the consequence is that the Syrian civilian population today is at risk on the use of chemical weapons. That`s unacceptable.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. It`s not just now -- we`re talking about chemical weapons today as we look at these horrifying video and the video is horrible. I mean I`ve seen a number of videos and what we see it`s just terrible. People suffering, struggling to get air as the gas gets them. But the fact is that Assad has been using chemicals, or at least there have been chemical attacks suspected multiple times since 2013. It`s not just in the last few days. And, in fact, the U.N. just the last month, there was an attempt to pass a resolution to the Security Council against Syria, but China and Russia vetoed it. So, what are we going to do? Is the world going to look the other way on this one?

CARDIN: I certainly hope not. I would hope what has been done here will cause the international community to say that this cannot continue and those responsible must be held accountable. And that this is war crimes. The international community must hold Mr. Assad responsible for these actions. Yes, we know that they`ve been using some chemical agents, but what we saw today looks more like Sarin, looks more like a very intense chemical weapon that we were told was totally destroyed within Syria. The Security Council needs to take action.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. He`s a war criminal, that`s what you`re saying, but the ICC is completely toothless, has done nothing. I mean, look at President Bashir in Sudan. He has an indictment for genocide going back a number of years for killing lots of people in Darfur Region, and nobody does anything. Even South Africa wouldn`t arrest him when he was there. So, completely feckless there. He`s a war criminal. But are you saying that we should do something alone in Syria? What are you saying we`re going to do? We`re not going to get help out of the U.N.

CARDIN: I would start with the Security Council. And the Security Council did pass resolutions condemning Syria`s use of chemical weapons. Now they have used a very strong agent again. It`s time for the Security Council to put something behind that. I am also saying you don`t legitimate Mr. Assad. So, I would hope that the Trump administration would not give any credibility that Mr. Assad -- President Assad has any legitimacy to remain as the leader of Syria.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Let me ask you one quick question on a random topic, but one I`m profoundly interested in, that`s the nation of South Sudan, which right now is in the midst of a civil war. People are starving there. It`s incredible the number of people who are starving. And do you have -- should the U.S. get involved in South Sudan?

CARDIN: I think we have to. I think the international community needs to be engaged there. We have a famine that`s caused by conflict. This is not just a weather related famine. This is a conflict famine where literally millions of people are in jeopardy of starving to death, and it`s because the government has little concern of the welfare of the people of South Sudan. The international community needs to provide a safe haven for humanitarian relief and get relief from the conflict so that people can get help.

VAN SUSTEREN: It`s just a terrible what`s going on there. But I digress from Syria. Have you had any conversation with the White House over what`s going on in Syria or is it just too soon?

CARDIN: We`ve had very little conversation. We don`t know exactly what the White House policy is in regards to Syria. They certainly have not announced that. They said there`s going to be less transparency in the number of U.S. personnel involved in Syria, but we do need to have a concrete policy. Part of that is, yes, we want the parties to negotiate a peace agreement. No, Mr. Assad cannot be part of the future of Syria. Those responsible for these atrocities must be held accountable. We`ve said never again. The only way it will be never again if we hold those who commit these atrocities accountable.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you for joining me, sir.

CARDIN: My pleasure.

VAN SUSTEREN: With me Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Republican from Illinois, who`s also a military pilot. And today, he tweeted, quote, removing Assad from power is and must be a priority. Good evening, sir. Your thoughts tonight as we look at this video, what`s going on in Syria?

ADAM KINZINGER, U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, it`s horrifying. And never before since World War I has the free world ever accepted the use of chemical weapons. We had a no-fly zone over Iraq for ten years because of our commitment to that until Syria. And now, unfortunately, I woke up this morning, I heard that this had happened, and it didn`t surprise me. And that should frighten everybody that this isn`t as surprising any more. I think it is time that -- yes, fine, go to the international community. We saw what happened last time. I think there needs to be punishing strikes against the Syrian regime as a result of this. You could hit their command and control centers, cutting Assad off from his field in military forces, and making it clear and the short term that if this ever happens again, more strikes will follow. And in the longer term, using that as a stick to back the diplomatic instrument of power to begin to go and negotiate a solution to this that does not include Assad.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, that was sort of what was worked out, except with the exception of getting rid of Assad. President Obama said multiple times Assad was going to be gone. Well, that didn`t happen. He was wrong about that. I`ll be critical of him for that. But back in September 9th of 2013, when all of a sudden Russia came in and said they were going to -- they had worked out a deal with Syria, with Assad, to remove all the chemical weapons, and that went on for a couple months. Do you think Russia was lying to us? Do you think they left the chemicals behind? I mean, you know, what do you think about that?

KINZINGER: It`s hard to tell. You know, Assad could have been hiding some of his stockpiles from the Russians. Maybe they were leaving it behind. But, look, you had mentioned earlier, too, that congress bears some responsibility, and ultimately the buck stops with the commander-in-chief. But congress does. I was one of the few Republicans to say it, to say we needed to attack. Go ahead.

VAN SUSTEREN: And so did Senator Cardin, senate foreign relations committee. But, at the time, I mean, look, people can try and reinvent history. Now, I`m not saying you. But at the time, is it the Brits wouldn`t go with us. President Obama couldn`t get congress, and the American people in more than one poll that I went back with today.


VAN SUSTEREN: . was against any military action. So President Obama really was up against a strong head wind.

KINZINGER: Yes. So a couple points on that. Number one, the president did not need our authorization to do that. Number two, he decided to come. Number two, presidential leadership leads public opinion. He has to make the case for this and everything else. We never accepted the use of chemical weapons. But, look, there were people in my own party, you know, Senator Cruz and Senator Paul were out there. Ted Cruz said I don`t want to act as al-Qaeda`s air force by enforcing the red line. Everybody bears some responsibility. I was out here saying, look, this is going to come back to bite us. You think that striking the regime is going to lead to worse, it`s only going to get worse and we`re seeing that unfortunately every day today.

VAN SUSTEREN: I was actually -- back then, I was glad that President Obama was going to congress and not acting alone. I didn`t want him to freelance. And, frankly, if he had freelanced and go off, we saw a lot of caskets returning with American soldiers, you know, we would be all over him and very -- understandably upset. I actually thought it was responsible to go to congress and get permission from congress and get them alongside. They`re the ones who appropriate the money for all this.

KINZINGER: And if you had done that, we have a seven or ten-day break. He said he was going to go to congress and we`ve stayed on break. He should have called congress back, we should have passed the authorization.

VAN SUSTEREN: You could have volunteered. Volunteer to come back.

KINZINGER: I`m in. I`m in.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Look, I`ll be hard on President Obama for these, but I`m not going to be hard on this one because, you know, there was nothing to prevent everybody in congress to come back at the time.

KINZINGER: That`s right. I agree with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, congressman, thank you.

KINZINGER: Any time. See you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, most recent interview with American journalist was in February. He denied accusation of torture and mass hangings in his own country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BASHAR AL-ASSAD, PRESIDENT OF SYRIA: That report, like any other report published by amnesty international put into question the credibility of amnesty international. They haven`t been to Syria. They only base their reports on allegation. They can bring anyone, doesn`t matter what his title. He can forge anything these days. And we`re living in a fake news era, as you know.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: With me is Yahoo News chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff, who conducted that interview with President Assad. Nice to see you, Michael.


VAN SUSTEREN: Michael, they`re going to deny that it`s chemical weapons. I`m sure they already have. But you have spoken to a doctor today in Syria, what did he tell you?

ISIKOFF: I did. This is the doctor who runs the clinic closest to where the strike occurred. And he described to me, in quite vivid terms, treating patients who were gasping for air, going through convulsions. And he said this was clearly a Sarin gas attack, 90 percent he said, 90 percent, had all -- the pupils were constricted, children were -- this was women and children, going through convulsions. It was really horrific. And there was video that he supplied to us that totally supports what he said.

VAN SUSTEREN: When you listen to that and you look at the video today, and just about six weeks ago you were sitting 2 feet from him.


VAN SUSTEREN: How do you sort of -- you know, what`s your thought on all this?

ISIKOFF: You know, it`s really striking just -- you know, when I did that interview two months ago, Assad was riding high. Damascus, he boasted to me, was practically safe. Life had returned to normal. He had just recaptured Aleppo. He seemed to be emboldened on the rise. Since then, the rebels have launched attacks in the heart of Damascus. There were three terrorist attacks in places where I was just two months ago that have killed over 100 people. And it appears that, assuming that what the United States government is saying and what everybody else is saying about this attack, that this was Assad. He was going after a rebel strong hold. He was feeling the heat. He was feeling pressure. And he resorted to a method that he has used in the past, which is chemical weapons.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, it always struck me, this is a man who is a trained doctor, an ophthalmologist. For some reason, it`s just so hard for me when I see these videos. I mean, the most incredible atrocities, these barrel bombs of chemical weapons, you know, killing everybody in sight, gasping for air, their muscle convulse, and their heart muscles.

ISIKOFF: You know, it`s so strange and surreal. When I went for that interview, he greeted me at the door to his office, wanted to chat in a side room, asked me about the fate of the news media. Told me what he likes to watch in the news media. You know, polished guy. This is a guy who -- you know, American politicians like John Kerry and others flew over and had dinner with, was invited -- London educated doctor, had flown to Paris and was greeted by Sarkozy and others. As westernized a Mid-East leader as there is, and yet, you look at his record, you look at what he`s done in this rebel war, and in this civil war, horrific of a war, and it`s hard to connect the two.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I always bring up that in South Sudan I had dinner with President Salva Kiir, who has provoked a civil war in his nation where people are starving to death. And it doesn`t get the attention. And I try to stick it in everyone`s mug to get a little bit of attention.

ISIKOFF: That fake news line he used that twice in the interview. That`s clearly something that he`s adopted from our own political debates here. And I imagine we`re going to hear more of it in the days to come as this gets more attention.

VAN SUSTEREN: Michael, thank you.

ISIKOFF: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Still ahead, Susan Rice hits back. The Obama official at the center of the fire storm responding to critics on the right who accuse her of leaking and want her to testify.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me leak the name of Mike Flynn.

SUSAN RICE, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: I leaked nothing to nobody. And never have and never would.


VAN SUSTEREN: Plus, Speaker Paul Ryan says they are working on concepts for a new GOP health care plan. Will the second dose do any better than the first? And Chelsea Clinton refusing to rule out yet another run by her mother. Will it be Hillary for president again in 2020?


VAN SUSTEREN: A U.S. senator called Susan Rice a Typhoid Mary and she is not taking it. Former national security advisor Susan Rice, speaking at MSNBC`s Andrea Mitchell, her first public comments since it was reported that she requested to unmasked names mentioned in intelligence reports connected to the Trump campaign. And today, Rice denying that she did anything politically motivated or improper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICE: The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. That`s absolutely false.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Within that process and within the context of the Trump campaign, the Trump transition, did you seek the names of people involved to unmask the names of people involved in the Trump transition, the Trump campaign, people surrounding the president-elect in order to spy on them and expose them?

Rice: Absolutely not, for any political purposes, to spy, expose, anything.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: But let me leak the name of Mike Flynn.

RICE: I leaked nothing to anybody. And never have and never would.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there any truth to President Trump`s claim on twitter, exactly a month ago, early one Saturday morning on March 4th that the Obama -- that President Obama was eavesdropping on him at Trump Tower?

RICE: Absolutely false.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: Rice also arguing that learning the identities of American citizens mentioned in those intelligence reports was part of her job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICE: The notion that, which some people are trying to suggest, that by asking for the identity of an American person, that is the same as leaking it, is completely false. There is no equivalence between so-called unmasking and leaking. The effort to ask for the identity of American citizen is necessary to understand the importance of an intelligence report in some instances. Imagine if we saw something of grave significance that involved Russia, or China, or anybody else, interfering in our political process and we needed to understand the significance of that, for us not to try to understand it would be dereliction of duty.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: But some Republicans are not buying it, including Senator Tom Cotton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM COTTON, U.S. SENATOR: Susan Rice is the Typhoid Mary of the Obama administration foreign policy. Every time something went wrong, she seemed to turn up in the middle of it whether it was allegations of improper unmasking, a potential improper surveillance, whether is Benghazi or many of the other fiascos over the eight years of the Obama administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: Here`s how she responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICE: I`ve been called a lot of things by folks on the right that are unfair and disingenuous. This is not the first. So, I`m not going to get into each individual allegation or moniker that some might apply to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAN SUSTEREN: With me, former FBI special agent Clint Watts, who`s currently a fellow at the foreign policy research institute, and David Priess, former CIA officer and author of the President`s Book of Secrets. Welcome, gentlemen. David, first to you. You did briefing. I mean, you brought the daily brief over. Did you actually do the briefing, too?


VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Do you find anything unusual at all about the interview with Susan Rice?

PRIESS: Not unusual. It`s not every day that something like this would happen, that there would be a U.S. person mentioned in a particular piece of raw intelligence provided to the principals or in a piece of finish intelligence or an analyzed report. But when it did, that`s the kind of thing that is important context for the policy makers from the president on down to know. Now, it`s only the top policy makers that ever got the most sensitive reports. But for someone to try to find out who is this U.S. person, how does it relate, is this something we need to worry about or not, that is the course of normal business.

VAN SUSTEREN: Clint, if I want to unmask someone, if I`m a national security advisor, I would make the request. I can`t make the order, right? I can`t order it to happen.

CLINT WATTS, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Right. It would have to be either if it was a foreign collection pickup, it would have to be the NSA director, or if it was something in the domestic landscape, it would be the FBI director that would go ahead and grant that approval if they thought it was necessary. There`s checks and balances on this.

VAN SUSTEREN: Clint, oftentimes we have like in court where sometimes things get rubber stamps. What`s the process if a request is made of the NSA director to unmask something, what`s the process? Is it a simple one or is it time consuming, what`s it like?

WATTS: No, I mean it`s not a simple request. But, I mean, they`re definitely going to review with all the lawyers. Usually if it`s in the domestic space, you`re going to go over to the department of justice to try to make sure that there`s no political motivations and interference. And same thing on the NSA side, you`re going to have lawyers get involved and make sure the right things are there. I mean, what I would say is that if there was someone -- and we don`t even know who that someone is, that was potentially targeting a Trump administration campaign official for influence purposes, it would be the national security advisor`s job to try and get an understanding of what that is. She would be the person designed in the strategy to counter that.

VAN SUSTEREN: David, if she is to testify, and I`m hoping she does testify because I think that people are never going to be happy unless -- at least hear more from her, what would you ask her? Is there anything, any question that`s left unsettled for you?

PRIESS: I want to know what she saw that prompted her to request the unmasking or the un-redacting, if you will, of these names. What was it that was of a national security importance that she wanted to do that. There are very reasonable answers to that question. That`s not a nefarious answer necessarily, but I would want to know what those things are to the extent that it can be revealed.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I assume to the extent anything is unmasked is that the NSA director, assuming went to the NSA, would also see what the circumstances, and would in some ways would be the appellate court on this or the judge on this.

PRIESS: Well, my understanding from the NSA director`s testimony was that an unmasking can be done by him or by a handful of people around him. Now, to get that information declassified that was around that issue, that`s going to be a separate process to make sure that can be held in an open hearing or it will be inside the closed hearings of the committees.

VAN SUSTEREN: Clint, what would you like to ask her if you were on the committee and she testified?

WATTS: I would just -- I wouldn`t ask anybody anything. This essentially comes down to who`s right and who`s wrong. We`ve got a lot of claims coming out of the White House and then we have counter claims by Susan Rice. The answer to me is to declassify it, either in a closed setting as was mentioned or even in an open setting. If there is nothing to hide, then there is no reason to do that. The only reason you wouldn`t do that is if you wanted to not reveal sources and methods for how that collection came about and that would be more appropriate for a closed hearing, probably in the senate intel committee.

VAN SUSTEREN: So, Clint, are you satisfied with what you`ve heard from Susan Rice? Do I take that away, or is there something still lingering out there that needs to be explained in your mind?

WATTS: No, I`m satisfied with it. And to be honest, I see it as a distraction from two more important issues that came up today which was the meeting in in the Seychelles Islands with Erik Prince, and the Carter Page revelation in terms of an investigation going back to 2013. Those are more pressing issues. I think to the Russia connections for influencing, both the United States and the election, I don`t know why we`re not focusing on that as a country. And if the Susan Rice card was thrown out there to distract from it then it certainly worked.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we can dig into those. We`re here every night. So we`ll get into those. Anyway, gentlemen, thank you both.

PRIESS: Thank you.

WATTS: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: And ahead, former Vice-President Joe Biden says he regrets not running for president in 2016. He says he could have won and now he`s going to New Hampshire. See a pattern? But first, is President Trump`s new healthcare push doing any better than his first go around or will he scrap it and reach out to Democrats?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I think we are still at an impasse. I think they still think they can pound a square peg into a round hole.




MARK MEADOWS, CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: I think there was a real consensus around the table that everybody wants to get to yes, and be able to give the American people a win.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, NBC NEWS HOST FOR THE RECORD: Is it d‚j… vu all over again for the GOP health care bill? Tonight Vice President Pence will go back to the Capitol Hill to talk with key conservative and moderates to attempt to revise the health care bill. The White House is pitching a new plan to let states opt out of some Obamacare regulation that is could include a change to preexisting conditions. Speaker Paul Ryan saying today nothing is fleshed out.


PAUL RYAN, HOUSE SPEAKER: We want our members to talk with each other how we can improve the bill to get consensus. Those productive talks are happening. We are at the concept stages right now. Right now we`re just at that conceptual stage about how to move forward in a way that can get everybody to 216.


VAN SUSTEREN: But with Democrats make a deal with the president? With me Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Democrats from Connecticut and last week she demand insurance from Health Secretary Tom Price that the Trump administration will not try to sabotage Obamacare. Good evening, congresswoman.

ROSA DELAURO, DEMOCRATS FROM CONNECTICUT: How are you tonight? Good to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: I`m very well. All right, as I look at this, the key area of controversy among many, I should say, on health care is the question about preexisting illnesses, whether -- how that is going to be treated in any potentially new GOP bill or amendment to the old one. I just can`t see the Republicans -- because the American people appreciate that in health care so much, I can`t imagine that they`re going to do away with that. Do you think they are?

DELAURO: Well, look, I will tell you they attempted to do just that a week ago when they decided to transfer the essential benefits package to the states. What in essence that did, not only then were we going to opt out of, if you will, maternity care, newborn care, pregnancy, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, allow insurance companies to re-imposed lifetime caps, to re-impose annual caps, and to potentially charge women 48 percent more before what they were doing before the affordable care act. And also begin to tamper with the preexisting conditions. Now, they did that -- and they lost. They lost.

VAN SUSTEREN: What seems different to me is the first list of items that you name is from a menu item like, you know, women may not want to pay for prostate examination for good reason. That is sort of the menu. The question I think where the American people would probably be very -- dig their heels in is a question of preexisting illnesses, whether or not there would be some sort of disparity there. So, if we had a preexisting illness your premium would necessarily rise excessively. I think that is the one where I think the Republicans probably have the biggest challenge. The menu items, I suspect people will be quite flexible on that because there are some services they`ll never want.

DELAURO: I would disagree with you on that, Greta. I think that is where the basis of the disagreement last week and what, in fact, it was that allowed for moderates to say that they could not accept this and they voted no. And collectively 33 people said they were going to vote no. Let`s get to your point about preexisting conditions. What I said was that, that then puts the issue of preexisting condition into the hands of the insurance companies again. And, in fact, that is what leaves people at grave risk. They attempted to do that. That was part of what they tried to do a week ago and it failed. It will fail again, because, you know, when the rhetoric turned to reality, people found there were good things in the affordable care act that they do not want to get rid of. They do want to make sure that they can afford it, but they don`t want to get rid of preexisting condition -- being able to get coverage with a preexisting condition.

VAN SUSTEREN: I see much of the argument cherry picking. I can cherry pick something that is going to make people really unhappy. In Arizona the rates have gone up 100 percent. If we leave it as is, it is going to be devastating to people in Arizona. You can cherry pick some good things out of t. Overall, it seems to me that something needs to be done to it.

DELAURO: Yes. Look, I`ve never said that it shouldn`t. Quite honestly, health care should be affordable and we have to deal with the issue of increased premiums, increased deductibles and there are ways in which to address that. I`ll give you several of them. We need to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. We need to do something we anticipated doing in the affordable care act before the Republicans said no. And that was to work with the insurance companies to say if they`re getting people who are too sick and not healthy people, how do we help to adjust that for them? The whole issue of reinsurance, we could have a public option. Republicans said no to that effort as did some Democrats, quite frankly. And the final thing is we could take a look at Medicare, lower the age from 65 to 55. There are a number of ways in which we can make it more affordable.

VAN SUSTEREN: It would really be helpful if the Republicans and Democrats could sit down in the same room, lock you all in the same room until you come up with something. Anyway, I`ve got to go.

DELAURO: You have to go, but, you know, there has never -- there has not been an attempt to do that and the only thing that they are doing --.

VAN SUSTEREN: And that is bad.

DELAURO: . is come together enough votes to try to pass repeal, to make good on a campaign.

VAN SUSTEREN: They should learn that is a dumb idea, because if Democrats did the same thing a number of years ago, everybody should learn that. When it`s not bipartisan it`s a problem. Anyway I`m taking the last word on it. Congresswoman, thank you for joining us.

DELAURO: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator Rand Paul wants Susan Rice to testify under oath. Is she open to it? Her response is next, also, Ivanka Trump taking on critics in her role in the White House. We`ll tell you what she is saying tonight. And who is Senator John McCain calling a, quote, stupid idiot today?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, congressman, how are you?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you plan to call Susan Rice to testify in your investigation?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not going to talk about anything to do with intelligence outside like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it`s such a nice day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. It`s a nice day out. I know you guys are doing your job, but there`s appropriate time and place to talk about all this. But we`re not going to talk about who we`re calling in.


VAN SUSTEREN: Well, there`s been no love lost between former President Obama`s Susan Rice and Republican Senator Rand Paul telling (inaudible) Joe, rice abused the system for political purposes.


RAND PAUL, REPRESENTATIVE KENTUCKY: The facts will come out with Susan Rice, but I think she ought to be under subpoena and she should be asked, did you talk to the president about it? Did President Obama know about this? So, this is actually eerily similar to what Trump accused them of which is eavesdropping on conversations for political reasons.


VAN SUSTEREN: So, is Rice willing to be questioned under oath? My colleague Andrea Mitchell asked her today.


SUSAN RICE, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Let`s see what comes. I`m not going to sit here and prejudge. But what I will say is that the investigations that are underway as to the Russian involvement in our electoral process are very important. I have an interest in that as an American citizen, as a former U.S. official. I would want to be helpful in that process if I could.


VAN SUSTEREN: Annie Linskey is Chief National Correspondent for the Boston Globe, Catherine Rampell, an opinion columnist at the Washington Post, and Kevin Cirilli Chief Washington correspondent for Bloomberg news, first to you, Annie. I think she should testify, but your thoughts and the political ramifications of this?

ANNIE LINSKEY, BOSTON GLOBE: Sure. I think if she has something to say, she should testify --

VAN SUSTEREN: Even if she doesn`t have anything to say. People are curious, and people are uncertain, we have enough of a mystery.

LINSKEY: I still feel Susan Rice is not in power right now and she is not a national security advisor and I am far more interested in the crux of the investigation which is why are Donald Trump`s ties to the Russians? And she seems to be put out there as kind of a fig leaf for this crazy tweet that Obama sent out a few weeks ago now.

VAN SUSTEREN: Catherine I actually believe if congress wanted to, it could multi task. It could actually investigate what if any contacts the campaign had with Russia and find out whether or not -- it`s the only way to sort of satisfy people --

CATHERINE RAMPELL, WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST: Strangely they only seem interested in one of those tasks and not the other one of those tasks. I mean, they love to hate on Susan Rice, right? She has been sort of the whipping boy or whipping woman, I don`t know the right version of that expression.

VAN SUSTEREN: She did some curious things in Benghazi a number of years ago. She earned that confusion.

RAMPELL: She has been a favorite villain of Republicans for a long time.

VAN SUSTEREN: Look, not to relitigate Benghazi, but it was unusual what she said that morning about the videotape. So, people have naturally -- it`s not unreasonable for some to be suspicious.

RAMPELL: Whatever the background is, I think to Annie`s point, the more interesting question right now is what are the connections between the Russians, the Trump campaign, or even more generally what role did Russian interference play in this election. And it seems like Republicans are grasping at anything they can right now to try to find vindication for this unfounded tweet that Trump made recently about being wiretapped. And, you know, unmasking sounds so villainous so of course they`re going to latch onto that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Kevin, we do have to find out what if any contact there was between the Russians and the Trump campaign if it was inappropriate. There are instances when it certainly is legitimate, but we do need to get to the bottom of that one, too.

KEVIN CIRILLI, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Right. And I think that Republicans, several Republicans in congress are taking this seriously. People like Senator John McCain, for example, who have continued to press this administration for answers. And in fairness to Republicans, Susan Rice as former national security advisor, does have unanswered questions that need to be answered just as some of several folks within then candidate Donald Trump`s campaign also have some questions. And I think that this will only increase the ties --

VAN SUSTEREN: What is taking so long to get these hearings? What`s taking so long? We do so much talking about it they could have had the hearings by now.

CIRILLI: That is the frustration people who are watching this outside of Washington, the same independents who got President Donald Trump in the White House are questioning what is going on. There have been several hearings. We should mind you this week included as well as last week (inaudible) --

VAN SUSTEREN: Can you tell us what they`re doing next week? (LAUGHTER)

CIRILLI: We`d all like to know.

VAN SUSTEREN: Recess is the word. Anyway they go home and do constituent stuff. I got it. Ok, next topic, senate Republicans getting ready for the so-called nuclear option changing the rules for Judge Gorsuch. Some think this is a good change for the senate, but Senator John McCain disagrees.


JOHN MCCAIN, ARIZONA SENATOR: I would like to meet that idiot. I would like to meet that numskull that would say that, that after 2 hundreds year, 100 years where the senate has functioned pretty well they think it would be a good idea to blow it up. Idiot, no, whoever says that is a stupid idiot who has not been here and seen what I`ve been through and how we were able to avoid that on several occasions. And they`re stupid and don`t -- and they`ve deceived their voters because they`re so stupid.


VAN SUSTEREN: All right, first to you, Annie. The senator is beating around the Bush on how he feels about this.

LINSKEY: Not at all. Look, I think what`s concerning about it is that you have, you know, our politics have become so divisive and that is been true in the House of Representatives and in the senate as well. And now if you have Supreme Court nominees that only need to get to 50 votes, I think you might just start seeing the institution of the Supreme Court having that partisan flavor to it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Catherine?

RAMPELL: Yes, I agree. I think that the elimination of the filibuster would leave both the senate worse off and the Supreme Court worse off. Basically it`s saying that minority parties no longer have any right to be meaningfully consulted about choices for the Supreme Court. It means we`re going to have more idea logical choices that end up on the court. So, I think actually the Democrats are misguided in pursuing this.

CIRILLI: I think this is interesting that Democrats are picking this particular nominee, because several Democrats actually voted in favor of people like now Secretary of HUD Ben Carson to get through. So, there have been some Democrats who have gone across the aisle. Get ready to go boom, because I think they`re going to deploy the nuclear option.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, panel. Is Joe Biden going to run in 2020? We know he regrets not running. New schedule has people talking and Ivanka Trump confronting critics about her role in the White House.


VAN SUSTEREN: Biden 2020? Is the former vice president kicking off a presidential campaign? Because we are learning he is heading to New Hampshire to speak at a key fundraising dinner. Could he face Hillary Clinton? Chelsea Clinton was asked about that today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think she`ll run for public office again?

CHELSEA CLINTON, DAUGHTER OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT CLINTON: I have no idea. I don`t think so. She has given a few speeches where she is talking about kind of what she thinks kind of needs to happen now.


VAN SUSTEREN: It does sound a tad bit like she is leaving the door open. Kevin, Biden, Hillary Clinton, 20?

CIRILLI: Well, I think that it should be noted the reactions that former secretary Hillary Clinton has received to potentially running in 2020 and former Vice President Joe Biden has received. I think there`s more excitement for a potential run for Vice President Joe Biden, someone who would make the case that he`d be able to win the same states that then candidate nominee Clinton lost -- Wisconsin, Michigan. I mean she was supposed to be able to carry those states, and her team failed. So perhaps Vice President Biden is gearing up to make the case he is be able to win those states.

VAN SUSTEREN: Catherine?

RAMPELL: He`ll be 77 or 78 by that time. That doesn`t rule him out.

LINSKEY: It kind of does.

RAMPELL: We now have the oldest newly sworn in president, right? Donald Trump, who is only 70 and I just -- I don`t see that having, you know, the past generation running for office again is going to pick up new votes. I think the Democratic Party needs fresh blood, and eventually Biden and Clinton are going to realize that.

VAN SUSTEREN: She got more votes. She just got them in the wrong states, which is a deal breaker.

LINSKEY: I completely agree. I think, a, I think, yeah, Biden would be too old. I mean come on. He would be 78 years old on his first day in office, and, look, I mean medicine has changed. I`m sure he is got a great diet. He is very healthy-looking, but let`s be realistic here.

VAN SUSTEREN: Can I tell you, I`m team Kevin. I think Secretary Clinton will run, and I think in a couple years, everything changes. And just because I feel bad for Kevin, he is been a good friend. So I`m team Kevin.

Anyway, Ivanka Trump is speaking out about the role she and her husband are playing in the White House. In a new interview, she spoke with the claims they are somehow complicit with President Trump.


IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP`S DAUGHTER: He wants to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, and then I`m complicit. I hope to make a positive impact. I don`t know what it means to be complicit. But, you know, I hope time will prove that I have done a good job and, much more importantly, that my father`s administration is the success that I know it will be.


VAN SUSTEREN: Ok, Annie. I think people should lighten up on Ivanka Trump. What do they want her to do, not do anything? Be a rich kid running off to parties someplace in New York or trying to work? I think lighten up on Ivanka. Give her a chance.

LINSKEY: I would like to see her do something, though. That is right.

VAN SUSTEREN: She did today.

LINSKEY: She has -- she came in with this idea that she would really be this sort of moderating, soft force, and I have not seen much of it.

VAN SUSTEREN: It`s been less than 100 days. Catherine?

RAMPELL: My view is Trump said he wanted to run government like a business, and he is running it like a badly run nepotistic family business.

VAN SUSTEREN: Bobby Kennedy worked for his brother.

RAMPELL: Yeah, and --

VAN SUSTEREN: Chelsea Clinton.

RAMPELL: And we put in safeguards to prevent that from happening again.

CIRILLI: I think earlier today, Ivanka Trump speaking with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on a panel of CEO`s, she is looking at apprenticeship programs as a way to work across the aisle. Look, she is the first daughter. She is not president. I think we`re going to have to all wait and see, and I can also say that covering on the campaign his adult children did have significant influence over him.

VAN SUSTEREN: And having been here just about 100 days, I hope people give me more of a chance than just 100 days to judge me.

LINSKEY: You`ve earned your role. There`s a difference.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, panel. And coming up, something extremely unfair, I`ll tell you more next.


VAN SUSTEREN: I have something to say for the record. Today is equal pay day, and I cannot believe we have this day. And, no, not because I don`t believe in equal pay, because of course I do. I`m not nuts. But we have to have this day, because the year 2017, in many instances, there is no equal pay for men and women doing the same job. All over the country today, there are rallies to bring awareness to this economic injustice. Equal pay day was held on a Tuesday, because Tuesday represents how far into the next week women must work to earn what men earned in the previous week. And I hope the companies who are part of this deplorable practice of unequal pay for equal work are listening. This should not be the least bit controversial. It`s just, well, fair, equal pay for equal work. By the way, I would love to out on my Facebook page those corporations who pay men more than women for the same work. Shame can be powerful.

Thank you for watching. I`ll see you back here tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. If you can`t watch live, you know what to do. Set your DVR and also follow me on twitter @Greta, because we have so much going on. I`m pretty active on twitter. I have fun on twitter. Also my Facebook page, because I put behind the scenes and videos and so much more. You even get to see some of my crazy animals. "Hardball" with Chris Matthews starts right now.


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