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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Two Key GOP Senators Break Ranks On Health Bill; CBO: Sen Bill Leaves 22 Million More Uninsured By 2026; WAPO: FBI Questioned Trump Campaign Adviser Carter Page At Length; Trump: Obama "Did Nothing" About Russian Meddling; Russian Ambassador Recalled; Supreme Court Allows Parts Of Travel Ban To Take Effect. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 26, 2017 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:02:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The House, you might be hearing toning, in Washington come from just about a number of directions, House outrage from supporters of the Senate Republican bill to replace the affordable care act. They're angry at the Congressional budget office for estimating the proposal would leave 22 million fewer Americans with coverage. They're questioning, of course, the assessment, but also latching on to parts of it that they like, like the estimated deficit reduction.
The House outrage of the bill itself from Democrats from the American Medical Association, from the AARP, Planned Parenthood, Women's Health Advocates, you name it.
And just in the past hour and a half or so, two key Republicans have broken ranks with their party. Dana Bash has late word on that and now she joins us now.
So first of all, on the CBO score, what impact is that going to have on the support for the health care bill especially among (inaudible)?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's already having a big impact. You mentioned a couple of Republicans already breaking ranks. The first was a couple of hours ago, Sen. Susan Collins, moderate Republican of Maine tweeting, explicitly, that it was the report saying that 22 million Americans would lose coverage, and a few other things that she saw as bad for her constituents in Maine, that leads her to the decision to vote no on a motion to even proceed to this bill.
And secondly, Anderson, just a few moments ago, walking by me, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin who has been very outspoken about the process here, saying that there needs to be more time. I asked him if and when the Senate Republican leadership moved to this bill this week, if he, too, would vote against a motion to proceed. And he said he would also vote against it.
Now, this is a really big deal for a lot of reasons. Because just historically, the way things tend to work here on Capitol Hill is that even when rank and file Republicans don't agree with the substance of a bill, they tend to go along with their leadership on procedural measures to at least start debate. The fact that we have already two Republicans saying they don't agree with even going to the debate, they're breaking ranks with the leadership on that, is very bad sign for where this is going to go. And the question is whether or not even -- even can get to the floor of the Senate. So that's number at one.
Then, of course, on the whole substance, which is what's driving this, we have other moderate Republicans who we're talking to here who are saying that they're very concerned about what this means for their constituents. Listen to Lisa Murkowski who is undecided as well. I spoke to her earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI, (R) ALASKA: I don't think it's asking too much to say give us the time to fairly and critically analyze these numbers. And if you have -- if you're saying, well, CBO numbers don't matter, then let's look at the numbers that you do think matter. But it really does -- it does make a difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[21:05:02] BASH: So she's concerned about the rural constituents. She has a lot of those in the state of Alaska who are -- she's afraid they're going to lose coverage and that their premiums will go even higher that they are now in order to get and maintain health care coverage. Then that's just sort of the left side of the Republican spectrum in the Senate, Anderson.
Then, of course, you have those on the right, conservatives from Rand Paul, to Mike Lee, to Ted Cruz, who say that this bill doesn't go far enough in reducing Obamacare regulations. They want to be loosened. And, although, the leadership says they're OK with some of those changes, it's a question of technically whether they could even do that on this legislation.
So, again, the leadership is being squeezed on both sides. I can tell you that Pres. Trump is making calls. I ran into Mike Lee, a gain, just a short while ago who said that he got a call from the president today, hearing out Mike Lee's concerns, saying that he hopes that they're going to be able to address them. Unclear if that's possible.
COOPER: President working the phones. Dana Bash, thanks very much. More now on the CBO report which not only outlines the human cost of this but also the budgetary benefit, CNN's Tom Foreman crunching numbers joins us now. So, what do we know, Tom?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson, the headline that has the Democrats howling and Republicans hesitating is this one from the CBO, the notion that simply by slashing the individual mandate, you're going to start a soaring in the number of unemployed people out there. Next year alone, they say this alone will put 15 million more people on the uninsured rates. And it will go up from there. Let's put this in context a little bit. Think about this, back when Barack Obama and the Democrats passed Obamacare, of 18.2 percent of the population was uninsured. That is now down to about 10 percent. If you want raw numbers, we had about 48 million people uninsured back then. We have it down to about 28 million now.
The CBO says if you go through with the Senate plan, this is where you're going to wind up, somewhere around 49 million people uninsured. More than what you started out with. So, what are some of the reference points here? By the way, we're talking about older folks, we're not including older folks here, covered under other plans.
And what about your premiums? One of the promises of this was that it would keep the cost of your premiums down, for all of us out there, the (inaudible) family foundation study didn't say, yeah, health care premiums are not growing as fast as they were, but they say that's largely because of market forces, the way, for example, that employers are handling this, not so much from what happened with Obamacare.
And nonetheless, the CBO report says if you look at individual, if you look at a benchmark plan out there and say what's going to happen to the individuals under this plan, 2018 it would go up about 20 percent. The next year it would go up as well. And then they say it would drop pretty dramatically, about 30 percent and continue dropping from there. But, bear in mind, Anderson, even if you talk about these drops in individual premiums out there, people are getting something very different for that money than what they're currently getting under the Obamacare plan, Anderson.
COOPER: I mean this is not all apples to apples. No matter what it costs, the Senate plan would offer something different than Obamacare anyway, right?
FOREMAN: Exactly. And that's why these numbers are a little hard to follow. Look at this. Some of the things that would be changing in the equation, under the Senate health care bill it would cut back on federal support of Medicaid, it would eliminate Obamacare taxes on the wealthy and on the insurers out there, it would defund Planned Parenthood for one year, it would lower the maximum income range for who gets the tax credits. There's all sorts of this in this. A money moving up and moving down and back and forth. It's hard to sort through it all even to CBO. But this is the part that has fiscal conservatives happy about all this. They say when you add all those numbers up, what you come up was $321 billion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years. And some people do like that. Anderson?
COOPER: All right. Tom Foreman, Tom thanks. Two opposing points of view now, Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, he's the author of "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, not the Few" also Stephen Moore, CNN's Senior Economics Analyst, and Former Senior Economic Adviser to the Trump campaign.
Secretary Reich, the president called the House bill, "mean." Said the Senate bill needs to have heart? Does it have heart?
ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: No. I mean the Senate bill as we just said removes 22 million people from health care. The House bill, according to the Congressional budget office, removed 33 million. So, to that extent, the Senate bill is better. But if you think that having hearts, being less mean, means going from 23 million people to 22 million people losing health care, you don't have much heart to begin with. And this is a bombshell, Anderson. This is the kind of thing that shakes members of Congress up, because they have to face voters, many of whom are going to lose, or have already by the time you have the 2018 midterm elections, have already lost their health care. This is not only immoral. This is also something that is politically very, very damaging for the Republicans.
[21:10:07] COOPER: Steve, I mean if this is such a good bill, why isn't it a slam dunk for Republicans, if every senator Republican was onboard, the bill would pass?
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: Well, they do have to get 50 senators, there's no question about that. So they can only lose two. The math is there. But look, I want to get back to the issue of people losing their insurance. I think the thing that sort of surreal about this whole discussion is that while we're having a discussion, what would happen under the Republican plan, as we've talked about many times on your show, in the previous weeks, Obamacare is melting down right before our very eyes, where we see insurers moving out of the market, where we had a report that showed that the premiums have doubled for vast numbers of millions of Americans. I mean, I would ask my friend Robert Reich how is that, you know, not mean to make Americans pay more and more for health insurance.
COOPER: -- are those the only two options? I mean either no Obamacare or this plan? Isn't there another way which is -- trying to, you know, change Obamacare and give some confidence to the market?
MOORE: You know, I don't think so, Anderson. I mean I don't think the Democrats say yes, sure, it's broken, but we did some put band- aids on it. No, when you've got 1/3 of Americans living in counties now that don't have any Obamacare insurer, when you've got people's insurance premiums doubling, and remember what is this health care bill called Robert Reich? It's called the Affordable Care Act. But the insurance under the Affordable Care Act isn't affordable to millions of Americans.
Now, how -- here's -- let me make one other quick point that I think is important in terms of your viewers understanding this number about 22 million people losing their insurance. The majority of people are going to lose their insurance because the individual mandate goes away. So what basically what the report is saying is, unless you stick a gun to people's heads and force them to buy insurance that they don't want, and that they can't afford, then they're going to lose their insurance. Well, how are you doing a favor to somebody forcing them to buy insurance they don't want, Robert Reich?
REICH: Steve Moore, you are a good friend, but you are absolutely full of baloney with regard to all of this. The major problem here is that you're eliminating taxes. You're appealing taxes on the rich. Something on the order of $365 billion of taxes that would have gone to subsidizing health care. Once you give that big tax cut to the wealthy, and this is really -- this Republican bill is not a health care bill, it's a tax cut for the wealthy bill. Once you give those taxes, $365 billion that were -- that was supporting health care, back to the wealthiest members of our society, obviously you're not going to have enough to provide subsidies for the 80 percent of people on Obamacare, on the Affordable Care Act who need subsidies. You know, Steve Moore --
MOORE: There is --
REICH: -- let me just finish this thought.
REICH: You keep on talking about the fact that Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act is unraveling. Well, number one, part of the reason it's unraveling is because the Trump administration has not given insurers any reassurance that they are going to be those subsidies there. But the other issue is that you can fix it. I mean why not fix what's maybe slightly, slightly broken rather than removing insurance for 22 million people? And also under Medicaid, we haven't even talked about Medicaid.
REICH: OK. So let's talk about Medicaid --
COOPER: Steve -- but Steve, let me just ask you, though, those 22 million or 23 million, whatever the number is, people who will lose insurance according to the CBO, if they are still going to -- if they show up in emergency rooms, have to get coverage or have to get some medical attention. And that's going to come out of taxpayers' pockets.
MOORE: In some cases it does. But the point is you're forcing the people to buy the kind of insurance packages that are too expensive. And one of the real drawbacks of the Obamacare bill is that forces people to buy, you know, a package that has what we called all these essential health benefits. A lot of people can't afford all of those benefits that get loaded on, especially young people. By the way, Robert Reich, the people are the big victims of Obamacare, the young people. Because without Obamacare they can go out and buy an insurance package that would cost half as much even with the subsidies.
Robert Reich never really answered my question, why is it, if this is such a good deal for people, that you're going to have something like 10 or 15 million people are going to drop their coverage if you don't force them to buy it? I mean in other words, I just don't understand the argument that it's a really great thing for people, but they don't want it, so you have to force them to buy it.
COOPER: All right, so Sec. Reich, what about that?
REICH: Well, it's very, very simple. If you want poor and disable the people and people with preexisting conditions to have affordable insurance, then you've got to have in the same insurance pool with them people who are younger and healthier. You've got to say younger and healthier people, you know, this is part of what it means to be in the same insurance pool, what it means to be part of our health insurance system. That's what we do with social security. That's what we do with Medicare. I mean we pool our risks. That's the idea of social insurance. But on top of that, we also have this huge subsidy, this tax shift the transfer to the wealthy, that is going to happen if --
[21:15:29] MOORE: Those tax increase -- Bob, those tax increases hurt the economy. We increase the capital gains tax, we go --
MOORE: -- less jobs. So they --
REICH: Steve Moore, you are just blowing smoke. I'm sorry.
REICH: You don't know what you're talking about.
COOPER: To be continued.
MOORE: Lower taxes, more jobs.
COOPER: Stephen Moore, Robert Reich thanks very much.
MOORE: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up next, breaking news in the Russia investigation. (Inaudible) point that Carter Page, you probably remember him, we interviewed him on this program. He's been questioned very extensively -- I mean intensively by the FBI investigator, to talk about a possible reasons why.
And later, trying to make sense of the Supreme Court's decision today on the president's travel ban. A partial victory for Pres. Trump. We'll take a look of what the court actually ruled.
COOPER: So the breaking news tonight, revealing (inaudible) the "Washington Post" is reporting that Carter Page has been repeatedly questioned in the FBI's Russia probe, five times totaling for about 10 hours. Page you'll recall was on candidate Trump's National Security team. Though, unclear, they every actually met. Page admits now he really did never shake hands with the president.
The FBI questioning report took place in March. Page confirms that it happened. He declined to say if he's spoken to investigators since then. In the meantime, the president is tweeting on Russia again, "The real story that President Obama did nothing after being informed in August about Russian meddling with four months looking at Russia. Under a magnifying glass they have zero tapes of T people colluding. There's no collusion and no obstruction. I should be given an apology."
Joining us now is Jeffrey Lord, Van Jones, and Gloria Borger.
[21:20:01] COOPER: So Gloria how big of a deal is this "Washington Post" story about Carter Page? I mean it seems to be natural progression.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It is a natural progression. And as you point out, Anderson, there -- you really can't find anybody in the campaign who says that Carter Page had a large, or important role, or ever briefed Donald Trump on anything relating to Russia or foreign policy.
The reason I think this is interesting is that, it tells you probably a little bit about what the FBI is looking at. And they probably want to find out from Carter Page what the Russians were asking him, and how the Russians may have been courting him, and what the Russians perhaps thought they could get out of him, if he was somebody who was connected in any way to Donald Trump. And so I think this is interesting because it may tell you a little bit more about what the Russians were looking for and that gives us a hint of what the FBI is looking at.
COOPER: Jeffrey, I know you communicated from time to time with Carter Page. I understand you just heard from him about this new report. What's he saying?
JEFFREY LORD, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I have. Let me just quickly summarize, Anderson. First of all, he's been watching your show tonight and he says he's having a good laugh at Tony Blinken who is on with you right now. He says that he believes the Obama administrations backs are against the wall, and that, things that members that the Obama administration have allegedly done, haven't even been fully exposed yet. It should be interesting, he says, as the real truth continues to come out and he insists that he is absolutely innocent, that he is telling the truth and seeks every forum he can to tell the truth. So there you go.
COOPER: We should point out part of what his criticism to the Obama administration, but also Hillary Clinton, is that he believes that there was a -- basically hate crimes against him, using his words, because he was -- or that they were Anti-Catholic, and also because he was a man, that there were hate crimes against him. I think that was in his filing.
LORD: He does use the word crimes in here.
COOPER: Right. So Van, I mean the pushback from the president's supporters essentially, that if all the FBI has is Carter Page, and they really don't have much in their investigation. When you hear that, I want to know what your response is. Because Carter Page I mean, you know, didn't shake Donald Trump's hand. Trump mentioned his name once. But never was even in a meeting with him other than a giant rally with thousands of other people.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think a couple of things. First of all, Donald Trump says that he is owed an apology. And he is owed an apology. He needs to apologize to himself for making such a big mess of this whole situation. In his tweet, he talks about tapes. The only person who ever raised the question of tapes was Donald Trump. Who said he hoped that there are no tapes. Which it turned out there were no tapes. That they were going to be his tapes that he didn't have. He should apologize to himself, and the country, for making such a big mess of everything. If in fact he is correct, that there's nothing to see here but some weirdo named Carter Page, he should not have fired the FBI director. He should not have, you know, tweeted all the time. He should let the system work the way it was working. I do not know nor does anyone on this panel nor does anyone watching know, if Carter Page is the first domino, the last domino or just a weirdo. But what we don't know is that Donald Trump has behaved in a way to make this whole thing much worse.
COOPER: Gloria, I mean the president going on a tweet storm about obstruction of Russia. Is it helping him in the court of public opinion?
BORGER: Look, it may help him with his supporters. It doesn't affect the investigation one way or another. You have a special counsel. And the special counsel, I would venture to say, is not paying one wit of attention to Donald Trump's tweets. And that is the person who matters right now. And so, I think while Donald Trump feels the need to defend himself and why not, go have at it, in your tweets, and criticize the Obama administration for being lax on the Russia investigation, that he wasn't even sure needed to be done himself. So, you know, does it help him?
COOPER: Jeffrey, one of the things about Carter Page, I mean it would be interesting to know if the FBI was able to get more details out of him than, you know, myself included the people interviewed him about exactly who, you know, he talked about meeting with scholars in Moscow when he went there to make a speech. Never really talked about who exactly the scholars were. Just some of the actual, you know, pinning him down on actual details. I assume in 10 hours of interviews with the FBI, that they were able to get a level of detail that he was not giving on in many of the television interviews.
LORD: I think that's right. I mean I don't know. But Anderson, I think you're right. I think that the main thing here is his mind-set. He believes completely that he's done absolutely nothing wrong and so therefore, the business of, for example, showing up to talk to the FBI without a lawyer, I mean I think he really thinks, I have absolutely nothing to hide, nothing to fear and I'm going to do it. So that he'll answer any and every question put to him, I really believe that's his mind-set here. So I'm sure the FBI, from the FBI'S standpoint had a field day because he would talk openly.
[21:25:23] BORGER: And maybe they think he did nothing wrong but they want to find out what the Russians were doing. LORD: Right.
COOPER: Right. Thanks, everyone, appreciate it.
Coming up, the Russian ambassador who everyone seems to meet with but no one can seem to recall is finally being recalled by Moscow. We'll talk about why he's going home, next.
COOPER: In the Russia-White House watch, no matter which thread you follow mostly to one man, Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Now, he's apparently leaving his post, his contacts with Pres. Trump and his associates had nothing to do with that, according to the Russian foreign ministry, which says is just part of a regular rotation. Randi Kaye tonight has more.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He trained as an engineer but he's long been thought to have a different skill set, that of a Russian spy. Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak's wave of intrigue dates back to last year when then Sen. Jeff Sessions met with him during the Republican National Convention. A meeting Sessions failed to recall during his confirmation hearing for attorney general.
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I didn't have, not have communications with the Russians.
KAYE (voice over): Then later after explaining he did meet with Kislyak, Sessions promised to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
SESSIONS: I should not be involved investigating a campaign I had a role in.
[21:30:3] KAYE (voice over): Months later, Sessions was also asked about another possible undisclosed meeting with Kislyak at Washington's Mayflower Hotel. Sessions and Kislyak were both there in April 2016 for Donald Trump's foreign policy speech. Sessions said, he did not recall talking to Kislyak there, despite the ousted FBI director saying they intercepted Russian communications suggesting the two men had talked.
Kislyak who's been ambassador for nine years also met with Trump transition team member Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn met with Kislyak in Trump Tower last December.
Later, Flynn misrepresented the nature of his conversations with Kislyak to the White House including the vice president.
MIKE PENCE, (R) U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I talked to Gen. Flynn yesterday. And the conversations that took place at that time were not in any way related to new U.S. sanctions.
KAYE (voice over): That wasn't true. Transcripts show Flynn did discuss sanctions with Kislyak. He was fired for misleading the vice president.
(on camera) Joining Flynn and ambassador Kislyak at the Trump Tower meeting was the president's son-in-law. Jared Kushner met with Kislyak just months after his father-in-law was elected president. That meeting has put Kushner under intense scrutiny. A source telling CNN that Kushner was asking the Russian ambassador for back channel communications with the Kremlin.
(voice over) "The Washington Post" had reported that in December, Kislyak told his superiors that Kushner wanted to use Russian diplomatic facilities for off-the-record communications to evade U.S. Intelligence monitoring.
Even after all of this, not to mention unanimous agreement from intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
In May, Pres. Trump welcomed Ambassador Kislyak, not only to the White House but actually into the Oval Office. It was there the president confided in Kislyak that firing FBI Director James Comey who had been heading up the Russia investigation had relieved great pressure.
Kislyak one said in response to claims that Russian meddled in the U.S. Elections, "We have become collateral damage in the fight between the two parties." As he heads out, he now may be part of it. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me now, two longtime Russia hands, Former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty and CNN National Security Analyst and Former CIA Senior Officer Steve Hall.
Jill, Moscow calls what happening with the ambassador routine rotation. Is that true? Do you buy that?
JILL DOUGHERTY, GLOBAL FELLOW, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: Well, it is true that it was known in the diplomatic community that Ambassador Kislyak would be leaving, probably about a year ago. Then, it's understood that he extended for another year. So, yeah, I think, you know, this has been in the train for quite a long time. And he was in his position for a very long time. The interesting thing to me is that, it was also known in the diplomatic community that he was a candidate, possible candidate for a new position at the United Nation, anti-terrorism position which he is not going to be taking. So, I think that's an interesting question, why he didn't do that. But as far as Washington, yeah, I think, you know, we expected that he would be leaving.
COOPER: Steve, I mean, there, you know I've heard conflicting things on whether or not he does have a role in intelligence or not. How do you see Ambassador Kislyak?
STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA SENIOR OFFICER, RUSSIA EXPERT: Anderson, it might be a little bit of, you know, distinction without a difference when you're talking about whether or not Kislyak is, you know, is an intelligence officer. My personal assessment is, during the course of my career I've rarely seen a case where you have an ambassador who's actually a formal staff officer of the Russian intelligence services. But that does not mean that he's not the eyes and ears of Vladimir Putin on the ground in Washington. I mean any diplomat, whether it's a Russian or Western diplomat, part of their job is the collection of information, just like an intelligence officer. But of course, an intelligence officer talks to different people and does it under different circumstances.
So I don't think he was actually a formal, you know, spy master, sometimes he has been described. But he certainly was on the ground and his job was to collect information for Vladimir Putin, one of his jobs was.
COOPER: And Steve, do you see his return, his recall as just routine?
HALL: I never take what the Russian Ministry Foreign Affairs says on its face. It's difficult for me to imagine that how he has been treated. He must be somewhat radioactive these days in Washington didn't play a role. That said, Jill's right, I mean he's been in Washington, you know, for a long time, longer than many ambassadors. And this was in the works. So it's probably a little bit of both.
[21:35:02] COOPER: Jill, do we know what he's going to be doing now?
DOUGHERTY: We don't. And there's no confirmation. It's important to point out. From the foreign ministry officially that he is leaving Washington. I mean, what they're saying is, this is a procedure, usually takes a long time. They have not formally said he is leaving Washington. And they're not saying what he is going to do.
And I think, you know, Anderson, it's really important I think to point out that word "recall" is being bandied about. You know, recall is a technical term as a diplomatic term which simply means he is going back, presumably to Moscow. But it doesn't mean that he's being whisked out of there because of some, let's say, you know, Russia investigation, et cetera. All I'm saying is, it's important to be really precise in these things.
COOPER: Yeah, I mean, yes, there's nothing seemingly untoward or certainly in the use of that term. Steve, I mean the process of -- for Russia gathering information in the U.S. I mean how large is it? I mean, obviously, goes well beyond the ambassador and with, you know, we often hear about China spying on the U.S. but obviously Russia has active collection going on.
HALL: Yeah, absolutely. And it's definitely larger than just the standard diplomats in -- and not only the embassy in Washington. But we have to -- remember there's a large number of consulates -- Russian consulates throughout the United States, New York, San Francisco, places like that. So all of those places have Russian diplomats and one would imagine Russian intelligence officers as well.
Look, the thing is that these closed societies like China, like Russia, that are governed by authoritarian regimes like Vladimir Putin's, they take advantage of open societies like ours. And so they try to get as many intelligence officers into United States as they can and then try to take advantage of the openness of our society to be able to travel. There are some restrictions supposedly that are sometimes enforced on the Russians but they try to take advantage. It's a big operation. They do their best to collect all sorts of different intelligence here in the United States.
COOPER: Steve Hall, appreciate it, Jill Dougherty as well. Thank you very much. The White House calling this morning Supreme Court decision on Pres. Trump's travel ban vindication despite that fact that it's not a full endorsement. It is not permanent, more on the case. The details in a moment.
[21:41:11] COOPER: A part of Pres. Trump's travel ban is back in effect with the Supreme Court partially allowing it to stand until the justices hear the case this fall. The fact that this is just temporary and that the court still could rule the ban unconstitutional, it has not stopped the Trump administration from celebrating, it is partial victory for them after all. CNN Jeff Zeleny joins us now with more. So talk to me more about the response from the White House tonight.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, no question, the president responded so differently than we've seen him respond in other previous rulings. For one, he won. There was at least a -- I would say more than a partial victory, a pretty, a substantial victory, something this White House is really not expecting. Because all of those Ninth Circuit rulings. But the White House was certainly taking a more measured tone than we've seen them take before. The president though simply, you know, was not reacting in the way he normally does. We could see that in his statement and, you know, simply he did not call it a travel ban as he had before. I think we have that statement here. Let's take a look at it. He said this, he said, "It was a clear victory for national security. It allows travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective." Well, a couple of weeks ago, he called it a travel ban. He said we're not --
COOPER: That sounds like a lawyer wrote that.
ZELENY: It sounds like a lawyer wrote that and he stuck to it, Anderson. So far, we'll have to, of course, see how he handles this in social media coming forward here. But he did not specifically respond to this calling it a travel ban. The reason is the oral arguments, the arguments that have to happen this fall to continue to further win this case, if the White House would like to do that. They know that anything the president says now, tweets now, does now, can be used against him. But no question about it tonight, the president's travel ban, travel suspension, whatever you want to call it, is in far better shape than it has been in any other moment of his presidency, Anderson.
COOPER: We should point out, I mean the president tweeted that it was, I think he said was unanimous. What is unanimous was that it's moving forward to the fall. ZELENY: Right.
COOPER: But the actual ruling on -- was not unanimous.
ZELENY: Right. The ruling was not unanimous but it was still the idea that three justices, you know, simply were endorsing this travel ban completely. And the others said, look, let's re-hear it. It is not unanimous, that is true. It's not nine to nothing here. But it was more supportive and more, you know, surprising to this White House that has become so used to this travel ban being assailed. But again, anything he says about it, the intent of it, the spirit of it can still be used against him. And you can bet all these old tweets will be once it's reargued this fall.
COOPER: Yeah. Jeff Zeleny, Jeff thanks. Join me now our legal panel, Jeffrey Toobin, Laura Coats, Carrie Severino, Mike Rogers and Leon Rodriguez. Toobin and Rogers, the White House touting this is a clear victory in their words for national security. Does this improve national security?
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, it's interesting. Some notion that this is Trump against the Democrats or something I think is completely wrong. We have to look at what are the underpinnings of why we got to where we were and I disagreed with his first ban. I thought it was too broad. I don't think it was well-thought through. I think they made some big mistakes. But when you look at countries where our law enforcement intelligence services cannot properly vet people. There is no way to vet people from countries that we know are recruiting. You know, al-Shabaab in Somalia, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Yemen, a whole host of groups in Syria. I mean all of those are realities.
And what the real debate should be is, is there a proper way to allow citizens from those countries to come in through a proper vetting process? And I would argue, and I saw this when I was German, absolutely not from these countries. A little bit of is a wing and a prayer when these folks come in.
[21:40:03] So in this time between when the Supreme Court hears it and today, if they go through and honestly give this a good scrub about, is there a proper way you can vet people from these countries in which we have intelligence that says they want to send people to the United States and Europe. Then I think we've done something for national security. If this turns into some political food fight, I think we've lost sight of what's important in this decision by the Supreme Court.
COOPER: Jeffrey, Pres. Trump I mean has been obviously frustrated with the lower court rulings today. I mean it certainly is, I mean Jeff Zeleny is saying it's more than just a partial victory.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It is a victory. There is no question that this is a very different result in a very different court, a more important court than any of the ones before. It is not a complete victory. But the fact is all nine justices allow some of the ban to remain in effect. Now, the most controversial part is not in effect. The people who have relatives in the country, who have university appointments, who have jobs, they will be able to, presumably according to the Supreme Court, continue to be allowed in the country. But tourists, refugees will not.
And this is a very important part of Pres. Trump's goal. And it looks like the Supreme Court -- this lineup is likely to recur when the court hears the case in the fall. So I think that this is a very good day for the Trump administration.
COOPER: Carrie, you said the Supreme Court sent a clear message to the lower courts that they overstepped here?
CARRIE SEVERINO, CHIEF COUNSEL AND POLICY DIRECTOR, JUDICIAL CRISIS NETWORK: Yeah. I think that's right. When you have unanimously, the court pushing back on these stays, the stays went so far beyond what the case is saying is just the time is pointed out most of the time you have a stay that really this is limited to the actual litigants to the case. They didn't just say it applies to people similarly situated, who also, you know, that admitted to a university, et cetera. But they just said we're going to cut it down all together. That's something, not even the most liberal justice in the court was willing to stand for it. And I think that's a real rebuke to the Ninth Circuit and to the Fourth Circuit in this case.
COOPER: Laura, do you agree that it's a big victory?
LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I don't. I think if it's a victory it's qualified one. To call it a victory is quite premature. Look at the procedures in this case. They have not ruled on the constitutionality of it, or the statutory guidance the Fourth Circuit put through. They have to wait until October.
I think the Supreme Court is far more nuance and sophisticated in its analysis of this issue. It never discussed the campaign rhetoric. It never discussed the constitutionality, but it did put in place certain caveats to allow the president and his administration to be able to say, listen, certain bona fide, people with connections to the United States can come in. What does that do? It invites probably more litigation about what that's actually going to look like. And what it will probably do is you have the 90-day period that may take affect which may ultimately show this travel ban is moot before October comes into place, it keeps it right for the court. They're trying to find a way to figure out how they can still navigate this issue, how they could took aside and allows the president in a hat tip to do what they should do.
COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. When we come back, I want to hear from Leon Rodriguez. We'll start with you because we didn't hear from you. It would also take a closer look at what Jeff Zeleney mention moment ago with the Supreme Court might consider when it takes up the case this fall.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:52:14] COOPER: Again, the Supreme Court partially upheld Pres. Trump's travel ban today. As Jeff Zeleny mentioned just moments ago, the president previous words on the topic might come back to haunt him in the cortex the full case on October, that's already happened before.
Back in march, the Ninth Circuit put the executive order on hold saying that there was evidence of, "religious animus." One of those pieces of evidence was an interview I actually conducted with then- candidate Trump during the campaign. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think Islam hates us. But there is a tremendous hatred, and we have to be very vigilant. We have to be very careful. And we can't allow people coming into this country who have this hatred of the United States.
COOPER: I guess the question is --
TRUMP: And of people that are not Muslim.
COOPER: I guess the question is, is there war between the west and radical Islam or is there war between the west and Islamic?
TRUMP: It's radical but it's very hard to define. It's very hard to separate, because you don't know who's who.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The Ninth Circuit used that interview to say that Trump's intent to specifically target Muslims because of their religion, the question is will the Supreme Court make the same call, back now with our their panels to break it down.
Leon, just how is this actually going to work? Who's going to determine whether somebody wants to come to the U.S. has a valid reason?
LEON RODRIGUEZ, FORMER DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: Well, that's part of where the challenge is. This is going to be something that consular officers will need to deal with. Customs officers will need to deal with. And what that bona fide relationship really means is a quite open question.
Family relationships are obvious. Enrolled students are obvious. Employees are obvious. But there's a number of other relationships here that are really going to cause some complications. And if there's one thing that I share with the dissenters here, that I wish there had been a black line, but I wish the black line had been to keep the injunction in place in its totality.
COOPER: Carrie, I mean, just from a legal standpoint, the Supreme Court made no mention of the president's past language during the campaign. That was something that the other courts, the lower courts did. Is that something they're going to have to look at when they look at this in the fall?
SEVERINO: I think that's actually, this legal standard they were supposed to apply. What we see here is that the court is applying the legal standards that they would apply to any executive order. That's not what we saw the courts below. We saw very politicized approach to it.
And the idea of brings in things that a candidate for president said six months or a year beforehand is very outside of how this is normally considered. What the court said in this order is, we look at the national security is an urgent objective of the highest importance. And the president has his peak of authority on that. When there are people who don't even have any link with the United States, which are the ones they removed they stay as too.
So those are -- that's carrying out the normal legal standards. I think to say that the Supreme Court simply following those standards. And if the court continues to do so, I think the president has a very good shot in October.
[21:54:59] COOPER: Chairman Rogers, I mean, there was a lot of confusion when the executive order was originally put in place, people are detained for long periods of time. And there was confusion obviously at the airports.
Do you think that's going to take place as well, or because immigration officers have ,you know, oversees have, you know, can look at whether or not there's a legitimate reason for coming here, or connection to the country? It will be easier?
ROGERS: Yeah, I think they're moving it, Anderson, to the right place, which is the people who are trained to do this. Just because, by the way, you get a student visa, doesn't necessarily mean you should be here. And I don't care what country you're from. Remember the 9/11 hijackers, some of those were students who where here on student visas.
So, you want the people who are trained making these decisions. And what I think the Supreme Court did today was basically say exactly that. All of the rhetoric surrounding the emotion of what the president said six months or 12 months ago, if you like Trump or don't like Trump really should be irrelevant on the ruling. The national security parameters of this will, I think, weight it out.
And what the court did is they just continued to nibble away at it to what you have now is a suspension from countries. Remember, this is really the root cause of this --
ROGERS: -- that where our trained professionals cannot properly vet individuals on what their intent is when they come to the United States. And these are places that intelligence says, hey, guess what, they're recruiting there to send them to places like Europe and United States, that's really what I saw the Supreme Court rule on today.
RODRIGUEZ: And Anderson, that point --
COOPER: Sorry, go ahead, very quickly.
RODRIGUEZ: -- that points toward a big question here, which is, where is this examination of the vetting process that was in the president's order? There were supposed to be reports at 50 days --
COOPER: All right.
RODRIGUEZ: -- 100 days. That time has -- is long gone. And if there have been changes, they've been mostly incremental. And there's really been no report as to what examination this --
COOPER: It's been going on.
RODRIGUEZ: -- administration has conducted.
COOPER: Something else to follow-up on. I want to thank everybody.
Some late breaking news when we come back. What the White House says, it has learned about Syria, chemical weapons and possibly another attack.
COOPER: We end tonight with late word from the White House just in to CNN. It's a statement, it reads "The United States is identified potential preparations for another potential chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely results in a massive murder of civilians including some children," it goes on "The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4th, 2017 chemical weapons attack."
[22:00:01] As we previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic state of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.
Time to hand things over to Don Lemon in "CNN Tonight."