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White House Chief of Staff Kelly More Presidential than the President; President Trump Upset About Puerto Rico; President Trump Takes Obamacare in his own Hands; Jane Fonda Speaks out About Harvey Weinstein Aired 10-11p ET
Aired October 12, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Here is what we heard from the White House just today. On North Korea, quote, "Right now we think the threat is manageable, but overtime if it grows beyond where it is today, let's hope diplomacy works."
On Congress, quote, "I have nothing but respect for members of the Congress and the staff that work so hard for them."
And on the devastation of hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, quote, "Our country will stand with those American citizens in Puerto Rico until the job is done." Sounds good, right? Calm, steady, mature responses to some of the challenges this administration faces.
And I'd love to be able to tell you that was the president talking, but it wasn't. It was the chief of staff, John Kelly. Who also said it's not his job to control the president, but maybe it should be.
I want to get me get right to CNN's White House reporter, Kaitlan Collins, political analyst, Kirsten Powers, and political commentator, Matt Lewis.
Good evening to all of you. Kaitlan, I'm going to start with you. After the barrage of negative stories about the president and the chaotic administration chief of staff John Kelly, someone the American people don't typically hear from is pushing back. Was today damage control?
KAITLAN COLLINS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, CNN: Well, I think John Kelly certainly had a lot to get off of his chest today, Don. He's been in this West Wing for three months and he's typically tried to stay out of the spotlight.
But a White House official tells my colleague Jeff Zeleny tonight that it was the president's idea for Kelly to come out to the press briefing today and try to quiet these rumors about all this turmoil that's in the west Wing. And I think he attempted to do just that right at the beginning. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I'm not quitting today. I don't believe and I just talked to the president, I don't think I'm being fired today. And I am not so frustrated in this job that I'm thinking of leaving. Unless things change, I'm not quitting, I'm not getting fired, and I don't think I will fire anyone tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: So you see there, John Kelly is saying that he's not leaving the White House after there were these rumors about that. He said he's going to stay by the president's side for now, but he did admit that this is the hardest job he's ever had.
LEMON: Matt, was Kelly successful in painting a rosier picture despite the devastating pieces in the L.A. Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post or Vanity Fair? Or how about CNN's reporting about the tensions with Tillerson, Senator Corker openly questioning the president's fitness for office?
MATT LEWIS, COMMENTATOR, CNN: Yes. I said before, you know, he's a chief of staff, not a magician, so he can't work miracles, but I think it's very effective. When he goes out there and talks, I'm calmed. I think the American people are calm.
LEMON: He's more presidential than the president.
LEWIS: He definitely is and he can take some of the things that Donald Trump is saying and say them in a much more palatable, eloquent manner. I think we really need this man.
You know, in the past I've called for other people to leave the administration because they're just not going to fix it. Donald Trump is not going to change. But this is a guy we need. He's the man -- we want him on that wall. We need him on that wall.
LEMON: Yes. And my question, if we start to call him President Kelly--
LEWIS: Then he's gone. Yes, that's...
LEMON: You just answered my question. So how many times are we going to see top officials push back on reports that they aren't on the chopping block?
LEWIS: That was weird, Don. I thought -- it was fun. It was humorous when he came out and said like I'm not leaving. I don't think I'm going to be fired. Actually, I felt that he handled it much better than Rex Tillerson.
But you're right. This is a pattern. It's like just a week ago that Rex Tillerson had to come out and basically say that he wasn't going to be quitting or be fired. So like who is next week, right? Is it Jeff Sessions' turn? I'm not sure.
LEMON: So Kirsten, I mean, that's a -- when I said that I was a little bit tongue in cheek, but it's true. If he keeps having to have people come out and say and sort of calm things when he's supposed to be the calming voice, he's supposed to be the steady voice, the most presidential voice. And then you see juxtaposed to Kelly, I mean, it's a stark contrast. Is that actually good for the president?
KIRSTEN POWERS, POLITICAL ANALYST, CNN: Well, I don't think the president is thinking about it that way. You know, there's been all this reporting that we've had that this was basically done for the president. Because the president...
LEMON: He should be, though.
POWERS: I think -- yes. Maybe he should be. But obviously this is not -- you don't want to have people having to come out and say I'm not unhappy, I'm not leaving, I'm not being fired. You know, I first read about this and then saw it on video.
[22:04:59] And when you read it, it does not come off very well. It comes off a lot better when you're watching him because you can see he's being a little self-deprecating and kind of funny. But when somebody is saying those words it's very defensive if you take it in print. You know, it just sounds very defensive.
And typically, if you are having to say those things it's because something is wrong. And we've seen this time and time again where there's reporting about what's going on in the White House, whether it's Reince Priebus or Steve Bannon or, you know, different people and then they come out and say no, no, no, there's nothing to see here, everything is great, the fake news, bad media and then of course the reporting ends up being true.
LEMON: All those people are now gone.
LEMON: So you Rex Tillerson. You had John Kelly today. And then you have his close friend, Tom Barrack speaking to my colleague Gloria Borger -- actually he gave an interview, right, and then now he's coming back to sort of set the record straight.
She asked him about the reports of the president feeling constrained, isolated, angry. Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BARRACK, DONALD TRUMP'S FRIEND: First of all, he's not isolated. It's a president who has managed his whole life, for the 40 years that I've known him he's been successful at everything, but he manages by conflict. So he brings in various points of view. He listens to them all and then he curates a point of view based on differing ideas.
Nothing has changed. But what's made it better is General Kelly is creating a different menu for him to curate. So a lot of these issues that used to come to him impromptu or just the open door of the Oval Office have stopped. General Kelly organizes an agenda. But I can tell you one thing. There's only one president. There's only
one person who creates the agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It's interesting, Kaitlan, because it sounds like they're sort of managing him like, you know, like almost like a troubled employee, sort of the treating him with kid gloves, saying he's not isolated. He just manages by chaos. What are people telling you?
COLLINS: Yes. I think that's the way a lot of people took his original comments, which is why he had to come out and kind of set the record straight and say that he wasn't saying that the president is being controlled.
But that's what -- that's how we talk about this president.
COLLINS: That's how we talk about John Kelly. John Kelly got a lot of praise when he first came into the West Wing because people thought he was going to instill this sense of order and this sense of discipline, but I think even John Kelly is learning that you cannot control the president. That's pretty evident with all the stuff that's gone on with Tillerson.
LEMON: He said it.
COLLINS: Yes. He said today he did not want to be judged...
COLLINS: -- by how he controls the president, and I think that's a good standard for John Kelly to set for himself. Because you cannot control this president. Yes, you can manly what information he sees and who he's meeting with in the Oval Office, but you can't control what he tweets and what he says off-the-cuff at these rallies.
And those are the areas where the president has gotten himself into the most trouble with his NFL comments, with his tweets today about Puerto Rico, his Charlottesville comment. All of these things are things that the president does on his own, and no chief of staff, regardless of who it is, is going to be able to stop that.
LEMON: And Matt, it shouldn't be forgotten. I mean, you know, Tom Barrack said what he said today to Gloria Borger, but he did originally say that this president is better than that. He didn't like some of the rhetoric, some of the things this president was doing. And again, I have to mention there's Barrack, there's Tillerson, Kelly. This is orchestrated. Do you think this is part of a cleanup effort?
LEWIS: I don't know about a cleanup effect, but I do think that sometimes Donald Trump's best friends know how to give him advice through the media, you know, and it seems like Tom Barrack was doing that when he was saying he's better than this. I think that, you know -- I've also -- I think that things have
gotten, this is a low bar, but a little bit better. And if you look at the people that Trump is now surrounded by, I think it is a higher caliber than when he first -- he first started.
I mean, look, Mike Flynn is a prime example of somebody who didn't -- who didn't last terribly long. I think John Kelly is definitely a trade up from Reince Priebus just in terms of the ability to manage the staff.
I mean, obviously it's not the chief of staff's job to really control a president, but certainly I think that he has marginally helped by curating the information that he gets.
But think of it this way, Don. John Kelly said that this is the hardest job he's ever had. This is a guy who literally has had people shooting at him.
LEMON: Many, many war zones. Very good point. I mean, Kirsten, but do you think that's right that he's trading up? Even though he's trading up, he's still talking about North Korea, going to war, he's still tweeting about things. He's still -- there's still all this chaos, and so, I don't know if he...
POWERS: Yes. I don't know. I mean, I think maybe that's true, but it seem to have affected his behavior that much.
POWERS: I mean, look, we've watched him fighting with NFL players, you know, for the last few weeks. So this is not somebody who necessarily has changed the way that he's doing things regardless of who is around him.
[22:09:59] And, you know, I don't understand Tom Barrack's relationship with him because he seems like a pretty reasonable person.
LEMON: He is, actually.
POWERS: But when he talks about the president, I don't quite know what he's talking about. You know, he was saying that he -- you know, he's just doing such a terrific job and such a great job.
I mean, I'm just curious to know what he thinks the president is doing so well because I think most people, you know, who are political observers and even people who don't, who want to see President Trump succeed feel that President Trump isn't really doing that great of a job because he is always, you know, on Twitter and sort of getting involved in distractions rather than doing things that are substantive.
LEMON: But isn't it that if -- wisdom and grace and class, that's something you really can't teach. It's something you have to want to learn. So I don't think that this president...
POWERS: But I mean, I guess it's just that he says that he's able to speak to the president, you know, so why does he have to go out into the public and do an interview if he's able to speak directly to him and speak his mind to him. And what is the point of that relationship if President Trump isn't, you know -- I guess on occasion listening to him, but, you know, for the most part doesn't seem to be.
LEMON: You have to wonder...
LEWIS: The one thing I would say about Tom Barrack. I agree. He comes across, he seems like a really sort of nice and, you know, sort of wise old hand, but he is the guy, I think, who gave us Paul Manafort, you know, along with Roger Stone.
LEMON: He did.
LEWIS: And he's also the guy who basically said this is the biggest crowd, go tell them that this is the biggest inaugural crowd ever. I think that was from him too. So.
LEMON: You're saying just because you speak quietly and with authority doesn't mean that you're actually, you know what you're talking about.
Listen, here is what my gut is that close friends are probably not as close of friends. It's not like a close friend for me and you know, right, when you say this is a -- I'm a good friend. I don't think that he has those kinds of friends, having known some of his -- some of the people who used to be his friends. I don't think he has those kinds of friends who can say, you know, something that I can tell you, Kirsten, and you will take it seriously.
POWERS: Well, I think he described even in the interview he described him, Donald Trump...
POWERS: -- basically being selfish.
POWERS: That's not really how you want your friends to describe you I guess.
LEMON: Or to be subservient, right.
POWERS: Yes. And they have to be subservient too.
LEMON: Thank you all. Great conversation. See you next time. When we come back, President Trump starting his day sending out angry
tweets about Puerto Rico. Why was he so upset? Sources tell CNN it's because of my next guest. I'm going to ask the mayor of San Juan what she thinks. She's next.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump issuing a not-so-veiled warning to Puerto Rico today, tweeting, quote, "We cannot keep FEMA, the military and first responders who have been amazing under the most difficult circumstance in Puerto Rico forever."
Here to react, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz. Mayor, thank you so much for joining us. Let's get right to business here.
CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, MAYOR OF SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: Thank you.
LEMON: Our Jim Acosta reported this afternoon that the president's tweets were really aimed at you because the White House thinks that you were criticizing him again. Were you?
CRUZ: You know what? I think when the president makes this personal, he really is exceeding behavior unbecoming a leader of a free world. This isn't personal. This is lifesaving. This isn't politics. This is about saving lives.
There are thousands of people out there that still don't have drinking water. There are thousands of people out there that do not even have water. They don't have food. They don't have access to the appropriate medication. And the White House response to this and the president's response to this is, you know, I said this morning, rather than being a commander in chief, he's like a hater in chief.
He continues to tweet his hate all over the place, and rather than offering comforting words and being, you know, hey, if you can't be a president, be an executive. Make sure that all ducks are straight in a row and you're getting things done. And I have to say that in the past week, FEMA's response, at least in San Juan, has been a lot better. Is it everything that we need? No.
LEMON: Do you think the president is treating Puerto Rico differently than Texas and Florida after the hurricanes? Because he didn't tweet that about Texas and Florida and I'm sure there are FEMA, FEMA is still on the ground there.
CRUZ: Most definitely. He's treating Puerto Rico different than he treated -- than the U.S. treated Haiti. For some reason he's taken all of his anger out in Puerto Rico.
Now, we have served in all the wars and all the conflicts that the U.S. has had since 1917, you know. We have paid our dues, and there are American citizens here in Puerto Rico. This is a nation.
There's a big disconnect between the big heart of the volunteers and the people that are here working on the ground and, frankly, the big mouth of the president of the United States. It continues to add insult to injury. His tweets...
LEMON: Let me ask you about this tweets, mayor.
CRUZ: Out of a book of how to insult people.
LEMON: Despite his tweets, Tuesday night the Trump administration asked for $4.9 billion to fund the loan program that Puerto Rico can use to address basic functions like infrastructure needs. That matters a lot more than the angry tweets, right? You want to say things get done.
CRUZ: Yes. We want to see things get done. So, rather than tweeting, get to work.
CRUZ: Rather than saying disparaging things, let's get constructive. So, you know, if the president wants to take aim at me, I'm here. Bring it on.
LEMON: Let me ask you about...
CRUZ: It doesn't matter to me because this isn't about me.
LEMON: Let me ask you about the House Speaker Paul Ryan also ask today Puerto Rico needs to begin to stand on its own two feet in sight of the existing fiscal problems before the hurricane. Is Puerto Rico able to stand on its own two feet? What do you make of those comments?
CRUZ: Well, you know, again. I think this is like a virus. People start getting the illness from one place to the other.
Look, we have organizations here in San Juan that nobody asked them to help us. They knocked on our door and they said we're here to help. So if you really call 911, do you want to know where the ambulance is coming from? No. You just want the ambulance to get there. Help save your life. You don't want the ambulance to tell you, by the way, ma'am, just make sure you know, this is costing the citizens of x $1,000, just so that you know.
[22:20:01] No. I mean, the most powerful country in the world can't get enough water into Puerto Rico, an island that's 100 by 35 miles wide. Come on, you know.
LEMON: Yes. Mayor--
CRUZ: Who is going to believe that?
LEMON: Mayor, the FEMA administration...
CRUZ: It isn't that -- it isn't that they can't. It's maybe they don't want to. LEMON: Well, I have to -- despite, you know, what the president is
saying, the former FEMA administrator, Craig Fugate, told my producer today that FEMA is still working in Louisiana for Katrina recovery. That's 12 years later and said that FEMA is going to be working for recovery years to come in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida and Texas. Ask a tweet doesn't change that.
So I want you to give us an update on what's happening. Do you feel, do you feel that you have the help that you need?
CRUZ: No. But it has gotten better since last week. I have to say that ever since last week when a new chain of communication was given to us by homeland security, accountability has improved and things are starting to improve. I can now see the light. Imagine the light at the end of the tunnel. I can't see it yet, but I can imagine it.
LEMON: Mayor, thank you for your time. We appreciate it and best of luck. OK?
CRUZ: Thank you very much.
LEMON: And when we come back, a pretty scathing take on the Trump cabinet's behavior. Frank Bruni joins me. Why he says to serve this president is to slobber.
[22:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: A White House official telling CNN tonight that President Trump directed Chief of Staff John Kelly to conduct today's press briefing to put to rest the reports of turmoil in the West Wing. The president thought Kelly did a good job.
I want to talk about this now with CNN contributor Frank Bruni, a New York Times op-ed columnist. Welcome to the program. It was interesting to watch.
FRANK BRUNI, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: It was very interesting.
LEMON: It's almost like he's sort of contracting out his job, because I thought John Kelly was pretty presidential today.
BRUNI: I've heard a number of people say that since that -- since that news conference. And it does feel, over the course of this presidency, that Donald Trump has kind of seeded various responsibilities including, I mean, you think of the president as the one who calms the country.
BRUNI: Who reassures then that the thought process is irrational, and that the mood in the administration is calm. That's what John Kelly did tonight for Donald Trump.
LEMON: Yes. He said he's not quitting. You know, he was, I guess, they told him to go out and do that, but he says he's not quitting. He talked about, you know, his -- the angry faces or at least this sort of -- what shall we call them, stone faced or frightened faces?
LEMON: Of John Kelly.
BRUNI: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
LEMON: Looking like he wasn't so happy after -- during the Charlottesville speech, the U.N. Speech and on and on, the general assembly speech where he threatened to destroy North Korea. And here is what he said about these faces.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELY: You guys with the cameras always catch me when I'm thinking hard and it looks like I'm frustrated and mad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I mean, but that's the president's job, don't you think -- at least the chief of staff's job is to calm the president and to...
BRUNI: That's right.
LEMON: To make sure he is on message.
BRUNI: Listen, those faces are about something we all know, which is he's got a terrible job, he's got a really difficult job. And he even said, you know, this is the hardest job I've ever had.
I think what you saw happening there at that news conference, he was joining that conga line of flattery that is the Trump administration. You have to genuflect before the boss. His mild manner could make you forget that's what he was doing on camera. But that's what he was doing. He was telling the boss what the boss want to hear.
He lit into the media and the media of course is Donald Trump's favorite, you know, whipping boy. He, John Kelly is trying to keep his job, and he's trying to keep his job for a reason that I think we should appreciate. He knows that what is going to keep this presidency as close to successful as it ever can possibly be are people around Donald Trump who are calming him when he needs calming, who are influencing him in the right ways, who are containing him when he needs containment.
John Kelly, I believe, is one of the figures who is doing all of those things. I think he knows how important that is, and he went out there today to keep his job so he can do that really for all of us.
LEMON: So you think he is what's, as the senator said keeping...
BRUNI: Adult day care.
LEMON: Adult day care keeping the country from chaos. He is sort of the board between chaos and what is happening.
BRUNI: He's not the only one, but I think when the definitive final history of this administration is written, the most fascinating chapter will be about the band of people in the administration who saw Donald Trump for the unprincipled and often unstable person, whom he is, and who stayed there in an effort to keep the worst from happening.
LEMON: Because he knows what the worst -- what could happen?
BRUNI: Because I don't think he trusts the president. And regardless of what he just said, and I don't think the defense secretary trusts the president. And I think they are people who, whatever else you think of them, are actually in this as patriots trying to make sure the worst doesn't happen.
LEMON: We keep hearing about his fitness, dissent and all of that and the 25th Amendment. Is that something real, this 25th Amendment argument if more dissent gross in his cabinet?
BRUNI: I mean, it's within the realm of possibility. I mean, it exist as a procedural thing. I think we get a little bit to -- those of us who don't believe Donald Trump has been or will be a good president, I think we get a little bit hopeful.
Think about what we have to have. That's an extraordinary thing to do. They would have to feel they had bold, bold evidence that this was a disaster. They would have to worry about what was going to happen with the GOP afterwards, because the decisiveness, the fights about what had just been done.
And also when we talk about the 25th Amendment, we're putting our faith in a cabinet that is not exactly an all-star cabinet. There are some very honorable people in this cabinet. There are some very confident people in this cabinet. But when you go down the list it is not a cabinet that says to me these are the heroes who will save the world.
LEMON: I ask because just in the past couple of days I haven't heard as much about the 25th Amendment that probably in my lifetime that I heard in the last few days.
[22:29:57] Tom Barrack who is a 30-year friend of the president gave a more subdued interview to Gloria Borger, our colleague here in CNN about the relationship after a more pointed one that he gave the Washington Post and this is what Barrack said about the key to a successful relationship with the president.
He says, "I have needed anything from him. I was always subservient to him."
FRANK BRUNI, CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Incredible statement, right? That devise for me the definition of friendship. A friend is not someone who takes a position of sustained subservient. A friend is someone who is engaged in a much more reciprocal relationship. LEMON: Yes. So I teased this before you came on saying that you said
to serve this president is to slobber, right? And that's the title of your piece in the Times. And you say since the president has surrounded himself with, quote, "opportunists who lunged for an adventure that they had probably never envisioned." But we all remember this cabinet photo op right. We'll put that up, right? Do you -- let's play -- let's play that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. President. And just the greatest privilege in my life.
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: It's an honor to be able to serve you in that regard. You sent the exact right message.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, honored to be on the team.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, it's a new day at the United Nations.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, it's a privilege to serve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, what an incredible honor it is to lead the Department of Health and Services at this pivotal time under your leadership.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rex?
REX TILLERSON, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Mr. President, thank you for the honor to serve the country. It's a great privilege you've given me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So what do you -- are you saying -- listen, I don't know about the cabinet. I don't know that much about the people who are in his cabinet, right. That's sort of beyond my pay grade, but I know about the people who were supporting him and still support him. They never met a green room they didn't like. They were critics of his before they went aboard his team, and on and on and on. Are you saying he's surrounding himself with sycophants, are they not competent? He doesn't tolerate dissent? What are you saying here?
BRUNI: I think he demands however you say the noun version of sycophant from these people and I think many of these people, and I make this point in the column, would not have gotten these opportunities under a different president. Donald Trump knows that.
They know that and that's sort of one of the dysfunctions of the administration. They don't have the kind of power or don't feel the kind of confidence that they might if they were serving a president who had a lot of other options.
Donald Trump you'll remember did not have his pick of the crop when he went out looking for cabinet officials. There were many other people who were never Trumpers who aren't going to enter the administration. There were many other people who were nonstarters because the administration, Donald Trump kept a list of everyone who had ever said anything bad about him and didn't want them near.
I mean, I think in retrospect, of course, Mitt Romney was not going to be made secretary of state because he had committed the cardinal sin of publicly reprimanding and doubting Donald Trump.
LEMON: Look, I think it's and I know his cabinet they may think it's a good idea of putting Kelly and others out, but I think the more they do that, you see the contrast between those people and the president and they seem more presidential there, they're calming.
LEMON: Their self-deprecating humor.
LEMON: They know how to, if they don't want to answer a question, to succinctly change the subject, right?
LEMON: So, and in ways that he can't do.
BRUNI: Well, all of that is a 100 percent true. But also we're seeing week after week the story is, Tillerson is having to genuflect.
BRUNI: This week it's John Kelly. Meanwhile, when is the business of the American people getting done? All of this is distraction.
LEMON: Thank you, Frank Bruni. Always a pleasure.
BRUNI: Thank you.
LEMON: When we come back, President Trump taking healthcare into his own hands signing an executive order to dismantle Obamacare, but what happened to all of his criticism of Barack Obama's executive orders? What happened with that?
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: President Trump taking Obamacare into his own hands signing an executive order today to create cheaper and more competitive healthcare plans which would skirt Obamacare regulations. Those plans are will likely attract younger, healthier Americans and send premiums skyrocketing for older sicker people still left in the exchanges.
So let's discuss now with CNN political commentators Amanda Carpenter and Scott Jennings, and CNN political contributor, Maria Cardona. Hello, every one. Welcome to the program.
AMANDA CARPENTER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Hey, Don.
SCOTT JENNINGS, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: Hi, Don.
LEMON: So, Amanda, the president has said many times, many, many times that he's saying, that republicans failed to repeal Obamacare, that he would, if they did, that he would let it fail. Is this the fix that republicans were looking for all along, do you think?
CARPENTER: Well, here. I think Trump is right on the policy, but again, the way he goes about things are a little questionable. I'm not a huge fan of using executive orders to enact drastic policy changes.
That said, as someone who buys healthcare on the individual market, who has seen the pain of premium increases with Obamacare, I'm extremely hopeful that now being able to buy insurance across state lines, possibly from different associations that can meet my family's needs, I'm very optimistic as what's to come.
I think it's going to be rocky for the next year and a half. If I were advising him, I would have asked him to delay these changes perhaps until January so the insurers would have more time to catch up in the new enrollment year, which is usually through October to November.
But, you know, I am hopeful for this. I think it's the right policy, but Trump doesn't always do things in the smoothest fashion.
LEMON: OK. So, let's continue on and talk. I'm going to let you weigh in, Maria. Because the president, he was so excited about signing his executive order on healthcare that he almost forgot to actually sign it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, everybody.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mr. President, you need to sign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most important thing.
TRUMP: I'm only signing it because it costs nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I love that so much. It's not the first time, remember, we talked about it that he forgot to sign an executive order. Here he is back in March.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Very quickly. Thank you very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, today with your tweet were you trying to tell the Justice Department to grant immunity to Michael Flynn? Were you trying to do that, Mr. President? Was that your intention, Mr. President, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, press.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, was that your intention, Mr. President? Was that your intention, sir?
[22:40:02] CARPENTER: You know, don, in Congress they have an auto pen. That could help him out here.
LEMON: But, I mean, there is one thing to have -- you know, you have an executive order signing ceremony and then, you know, not to sign the order. But go on, Maria. Yes.
MARIA CARDONA, POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR, CNN: Well, you know, I agree with Amanda in that this is absolutely not the right way to go about trying to fix a sixth of our economy, something as complicated as healthcare simply because he couldn't get his own way in repeal and replace Obamacare the way that he had promised to do.
This is something where Americans deserve a lot better. You know, there might be republicans that are hopeful for what's going to happen, but what is going to happen is that the millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions are going to see their coverage skyrocket, even disappear, because what happens when you have -- when you have plans that are not offering the essential health benefits or essentially are not robust, comprehensive plans, then the people who actually have pre-existing conditions are not going to be able to be covered.
So you're going to have tons of people who are going to be kicked off their health insurance. It is, I think it's going to be more than rocky. I think it's going to be a debacle, and Trump is going to own it.
CARPENTER: Yes, one point on...
CARDONA: So what happens next?
CARPENTER: I would just raise one point on that. The executive orders that he signed and is contemplating don't do anything to break apart the essential benefits that Obamacare created. All this does is give people more options and able to have access to more insurance plans.
Right now, say if you live in the state of West Virginia, there may be a cheaper plan available in Maryland, but because you're constrained by these state lines, these artificial barriers that keep consumers trapped in these plans that don't really serve them, it really just serves the insurance companies.
There's no reason that every insurance company should have to have a different agency in every single state. This isn't how auto insurance works. It's not how a lot of things work.
So, let's say, you have breast cancer, if the Cancer Association of America decides to start offering their own plans that perhaps specialize in cancer treatment and can offer more bargaining for those medicines, by all means, it really could be wonderful. And so, I think people should open up their minds to the possibilities that exist here because clearly what we have now is not working.
LEMON: Well, Scott, but listen, there's discussion -- hang on. Scott, there's discussion about getting rid of the subsidies that support Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, and if that happens, isn't the whole marketplace collapse?
JENNINGS: Well, the marketplace is already collapsing. I mean, we have almost half the counties in the United States that have...
LEMON: That's not factually correct.
JENNINGS: Yes, they do. Yes, they do.
CARPENTER: It's not collapsing. No.
LEMON: That's not correct.
JENNINGS: Talk to people who have one choice and talk to people who have seen massive premium spikes, Don.
LEMON: That's not true across the board, Scott.
JENNINGS: The marketplace for a great many people is collapsing. That is absolutely a fact.
LEMON: Scott, that's not a fact.
JENNINGS: To Amanda's point earlier about the association health plans. They are not going to take place -- they are not going to effect immediately. Agencies now in the federal government have to write regulations and that requires a comment period and so it will be several months before we actually see this take effect.
So people are going to have a chance to see how the regs are written and they'll have a chance to prepare for it, so it won't be sort of an overnight change. This has been a stable of republican solutions on healthcare for a very long time. For as long as I've been involved in campaigns for the last several years people have been talking about the concept of selling healthcare plans across state lines. It's a free market solution. It's an idea to give people more choices.
One of the key problems with Obamacare is the lack of choices on the exchanges and the lack of choices, so you have one choice and the premiums go up. That really drives consumers crazy. So maybe if they get a few more choices and they see lower prices they'll be happier.
CARDONA: And you know -- and you know why that...
LEMON: Quickly. I've got to get to a break.
CARDONA: Do you know why that is, Scott? Because President Trump and republicans have done this.
JENNINGS: Because Obama passed a terrible law? Would that be...
CARDONA: No. No.
CARPENTER: The exchange, it was brutal.
CARDONA: Because Trump has done everything that he can to chase insurance carriers out of the market. They will even say it because of the uncertainty that he has inserted into this this market.
JENNINGS: They were leaving already, Maria. They were leaving already and you know it. Don't be dishonest.
CARDONA: No, absolutely not.
CARDONA: This is not collapsing.
LEMON: We're going to...
CARDONA: That's a republican talking point. That is just false.
LEMON: We'll continue to discuss. Don't go anywhere. We'll be right back.
JENNINGS: Yes, it happens to be true.
[22:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: We're back now with my panel. So, Scott, before the break you said it's because President Obama passed a bad law. Whatever you think of that. But this is -- you know there is a tweet and a sound bite for everything, right? Because this is the same Donald Trump who repeatedly said this about the former president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a president that signs executive orders because he can't get anything done.
Right now Obama goes on signing executive orders. He can't get along with the democrats. And he goes around signing all these executive orders. It's a basic disaster. Nobody ever heard of executive order then all of a sudden Obama
because he couldn't get anybody to agree with him. He starts signing them like they are butter. So I want to do away with executive orders for the most part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARDONA: There's no hypocrisy there.
LEMON: Got you off guard.
CARDONA: Not at all.
LEMON: So let's look at the facts, guys. President Trump has signed 50 executive orders since the day he took office. That is double the number that President Obama signed. President Obama signed 26 executive orders by October 12th in his first year in office.
So, clearly he's not keeping his word. I mean, what do you think? He said he's going to get rid of them. He didn't want to do them.
LEMON: Someone who can't get the job done.
JENNINGS: He has certainly signed several. All presidents sign some number of executive orders, specifically on the healthcare. It's not the ideal solution. I mean, most republicans I know want this done legislatively and the Congress has failed to do it so far.
I'm still hopeful. I'll be the glass half full guy here. I'm hopeful they come back and get it right legislatively. So I think this executive order was sort of designed to respond to the fact that Congress hasn't gotten the job done on repeal and replace. But maybe they will -- maybe they will come around to it.
[22:49:59] So, I agree in the spirit with the pre-President Donald Trump that we shouldn't be legislating by executive order. In this particular case, I'm not sure the Congress left him with much choice.
LEMON: OK. He has signed 50 compared to the other president's 26, and he said it was -- can I hear that again? The first part, what did he say? Let me hear it one more time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have a president that signs executive orders because he can't get anything down. Right now, Obama goes on signing executive orders. He can't even...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That's good, that's good. So you can't get anything done, Scott, I mean. JENNINGS: Yes. I mean, well, he does have a point. He has not seen
that much legislation come to his desk, and so, somebody thinks have...
CARPENTER: Scott, we know by now -- by now we know Donald Trump is immune to hypocrisy and shame.
LEMON: Scott, we're having a little -- but go ahead. Yes.
CARPENTER: Donald Trump is immune to hypocrisy and shame. I keep pointing this out, that he's probably going to double -- I'm going to set the world record for executive orders, look how fabulous and beautiful they are.
But here's what I wonder. Now republicans on Capitol Hill have a way out enacting any kind of legislative fix and taking the heat from constituents for any of the pain that may come short term from these changes.
LEMON: Are you saying they own it.
CARPENTER: They can say Trump owns it technically, right. Donald Trump...
JENNINGS: I disagree. I think republicans absolutely still want this done legislatively.
CARDONA: You're not going to separate republicans from Trump.
LEMON: Let Scott get in. Scott, go ahead. What did you say?
JENNINGS: Ye, I think it's an interesting point, Amanda, but I still think, I mean, republicans I know out here, they want the Congress to fulfill this promise. And so I don't think these executive orders is going to make that political pressure go away.
CARPENTER: No. I'm totally with you, the constituents want it, but there is no way that Congress is going to be more likely to do something drastic getting closer to midterm elections than they were in the first year of Donald Trump's presidency.
So there's actually more incentive for Donald Trump to do this on his own than for Congress to do it themselves and take all the heat. I mean, just speaking politically here for the pain that is going to come with these destructions that I support, but I also acknowledge will cause some pain short term.
LEMON: So no one knows what's going to happen. What if Maria's scenario bears out, that the marketplace will collapse and will gets worse, Maria. I mean, what happens? Don't republicans own it? Doesn't Donald Trump own this, actually?
CARDONA: Absolutely. And Donald Trump -- Donald Trump owns it. He is the head of the Republican Party. You are not going to be able to divorce republicans from Donald Trump when this debacle happens. And I assure you that democrats and Americans are not going to let that divorce happen even if republicans try to run away from it.
It is going to be a huge issue in 2018 where, already, democrats are ahead by 11 points on the generic congressional ballot because they see what a dumpster fire of a president this president has been, and they see republicans doing nothing, most of them, but apologize for him because they want to get the precious agenda done when all he's doing it putting the country in danger, making Americans less safe, making Americans sick with what he did today, and ensuring that everybody just knows just how unfit and wholly unprepared he is to be president of the United States.
LEMON: Get ready for this and I'm telling you it's going to happen. If you like your executive order, you can keep your executive order. That's what people will say for the midterm.
CARPENTER: Hey, I think I'm going to like it.
CARDONA: You like through.
LEMON: Thank you, guys. I appreciate it.
Stick around -- you're going to stick around? I thought you were going away, no, you're coming back. When we come back...
CARDONA: We have to talk about Puerto Rico.
LEMON: Yes. We're going to talk about that, and Jane Fonda says she knew about Harvey Weinstein's behavior a year ago. We're going to tell why she says she didn't speak out sooner.
[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: More and more allegation of sexual harassment and sex assault -- sexual assault against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Now police departments in New York City and London are investigating.
And the former vice president is speaking out.
My panel is back with me.
Former Vice President Joe Biden broke silence on the accusations. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's long past time for the powerful men in Hollywood to speak up, to be strong enough to say something because silence is complicity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Scott, we've been hearing a lot about culture, this culture of complicity and Weinstein's businesses, what do you make of this?
JENNINGS: You know, I think it would be easy to sit here and try to score political points because democrats didn't, you know, do anything about this over time, or they were too late in coming out about it.
But, you know, the fact is I think when you have such a disgusting filthy story like this, I want to find something good out of it, and what is good here would be that if there other people in Hollywood who are participating in this kind of a culture, because there has to be others. We know there are others.
If they also are found out and driven out of the business, and fewer people in the industry have to live in fear of these kinds of people who prey upon these young folks who go to Hollywood and try to make it, if they are driven out, then that would be a good outcome, and so I hope we don't go to our corners and fight this out over politics tonight, Don, because the reality is, we just need this to get better. This is filthy and disgusting...
LEMON: Yes. And this is one business that--
JENNINGS: -- and I'm disgusted.
LEMON: I think you're right. Listen, but it happens in every business. It's not just Hollywood. This is the latest example.
LEMON: The starkest example. Actress Jane Fonda says she knew about the allegations against Harvey Weinstein a year ago. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: I found out about Harvey about a year ago, and I'm ashamed that I didn't say anything right then.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST, CNN: Why didn't you? You're so bold.
FONDA: I -- I was not that bold. Because I guess it hadn't happened to me, and so I didn't feel it was my place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Is this tipping point, Maria?
CARDONA: I hope so, and I'm glad that Jane Fonda is speaking out about it, and I'm glad that she regrets not speaking out about it.
CARDONA: Hopefully, it gives more women power to speak out. But I just want to reiterate and underscore that this isn't, like you said, Don, this isn't just in Hollywood.
[23:00:01] We have horror stories not too long ago about what goes on with women entrepreneurs when they go to pitch their ideas and their businesses --
CARDONA: -- to men that are venture capitalists.