Intelligence Officials on Hill Confirm Russia Hacking; Sebelius: Repeal of Obamacare Would be "Pure Chaos"; Trump Sits for



Sebelius: Repeal of Obamacare Would be "Pure Chaos"; Trump Sits for

Deposition in Lawsuit against Chef; Tweets on Toyota Building Plant,

Moving Jobs to Mexico. Aired 1:30-2p ET>


[13:31:10] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Leading U.S. intelligence officials appear on Capitol Hill today confirming Russia was behind the cyber hacking during the 2016 presidential election here in the United States.

For more, I'm joined by the South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, the assistant Democratic leader in the House.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN, (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, thank you so much for having me, Wolf.

BLITZER: What struck you most about this testimony from the intelligence community's leadership?

CLYBURN: Nothing I'm surprised by from hearing in the testimony. What I am surprised by is perhaps any American citizen, irrespective of the president-elect of the United States, casting doubt upon our intelligence community. That, to me, is a bit untoward. I do believe that if we are going to continue to function as a free and open society, we have to rely upon those people that we put in place to help protect us and help warn us when there may be some dangers. And to cast aspersions upon them and doubt their work, I think is just untoward, and that is what bothers me more than anything else. We cannot afford to allow any foreign power to interrupt our democratic process in any way bring disrespect upon those we entrust our intelligence with.

BLITZER: So how concerned are you that the incoming president has yet to accept this conclusion that Russia did it?

CLYBURN: I am very concerned about that because I'm not too sure that this may not have more to do with business dealings than with what is best for running the government of our country. That is what bothers me, even about some of these appointments.

BLITZER: Explain that, Congressman. What do you mean business dealings? Trump is more worried about making money as part of his Trump Organization business in Russia? Is that what you are suggesting? CLYBURN: I suggest that, unfortunately, too many people in our society judge success by how much money you make rather than how much good you can do. And if you are going to use that as a total matrix, how much money you make as determining how successful you are, it may be that you put more emphasis on doing deals that make money than on doing deals that bring peace and stability to our country.

BLITZER: But I just want to press you, Congressman, what you're saying about Donald Trump and Russia?

CLYBURN: Well, what's I'm saying is we know from the appointment of the secretary of state, or the nomination of the secretary of state, that it's all because of the success he has had doing business in Russia. I have not heard anything about this appointee that in any way talks about his effectiveness as a citizen of the United States, as someone who will represent this country's interests or of the Americans' interest, but someone who has done a lot of good for a corporation. If we're not careful, especially after the Citizens United decision, which brought corporations back into the political process that they've been out of for 100 years, we will be creating not a democracy, but a corpocracy. That means a government run by corporations. And I'm surprised at the number of people that seem not to ever have heard of that term before. That's what the dictionary says that means. And if we're not careful, we will have a government run by corporations rather than of the people, for the people, and by the people.

[13:35:16] BLITZER: Rex Tillerson was the chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil. When he becomes secretary of state, if confirmed, he'll have other motivations rather than making a profit for his company. His motivation will be the national security of the United States.

CLYBURN: That's exactly right. And so, I don't want any of that compromised. That should be the motivation. And I would hope that the hearings that the Senate will have -- I'm asking my senior Senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, who has been a good friend over the years, to really do what is necessary to get some answers on exactly what we can expect from this nominee going forward. Right now, I'm very concerned about that.

And I have talked to a lot of American people. In fact, I read a letter this morning, from Charleston County, the Isle of Palms, not in my district. Don't find a lot of Democrats on the Isle of Palms. But this gentleman was writing me a letter that I read this morning, expressing real concern about these appointments and about the president-elect's conduct and expressions going forward.

BLITZER: James Clyburn is the assistant Democratic leader in the House of Representatives

Congress, thanks for joining us.

CLYBURN: Thank you so much for having me.

BLITZER: Coming up, the war over Obamacare is on, as President Obama tells Democrats, "Don't rescue Republicans with a replacement." So where does the fight go from here? The former Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, is here with me on why she thinks a repeal without replacement, would be, in her words, "pure chaos."


[13:41:16] BLITZER: The House Speaker Paul Ryan says Obamacare is broken and needs to be replaced. At a news conference this morning, Ryan said there are hurdles to overcome before legislation can be introduced to repeal and replace it.


REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: What date all of this gets phased in on is something we do not now know because we're waiting for the Trump administration to be stood up and we're waiting for Tom Price to be confirmed and become the secretary of Health and Human Services. The question there is, how long will it take for markets to put in place, for markets to adjust? That question we don't know the answer to. But the legislating of Obamacare will happen this year.


BLITZER: Ryan emphasized any legislation would be phased in, that Americans will not have health care yanked out from under them.

Joining us now is Kathleen Sebelius, who served as the Health and Human Services secretary for the Obama administration. Also, a former Kansas governor.

Madam Secretary, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: So they have the votes now and they have the White House to go ahead and sign legislation into law. Should the Democrats simply try to obstruct, or work with the Republicans to come up with a better plan?

SEBELIUS: Well I think the Republicans are now seven years from the date that the President signed the law. He signed it in March of 2010. They have been trying to obstruct, destruct, repeal, get rid of this law --

BLITZER: They never had a president who would sign any legislation --

SEBELIUS: But amazingly -- but they don't have a plan. So, I think it's totally irresponsible for the Speaker or anybody else to say, we'll get rid of this, and then we'll have something, down the road, maybe.

BLITZER: But he says they'll get rid of it, but they're not going to get rid of it until they do have a specific plan, ready to go, legislatively. SEBELIUS: Well that isn't what they say. They say they're going to vote to repeal, and then eventually we will have a replacement. I'm saying they've had seven years. They have no replacement plan. They have no agreement, they've been running the House for years. There are 20 million -- these are real people, people who talk to me every day. There's a woman who runs a great diner in Lawrence who was able to open that diner because she could finally get insurance. There are people in the midst of chemotherapy treatments. There are doctors who say they're seeing remarkable strides now that their patients get regular care, people who can fill their prescriptions.

And, the law has a lot to do with Medicaid and Medicare where one- third of Americans get their insurance coverage. We need to see side by side what the plan is.

BLITZER: Let's say they repeal it, but they say, none of the changes go into effect until there's a specific plan that has been approved by the House of Representatives, the Senate, signed into law by the President. Here's the question: Should the Democrats simply obstruct, or work with them to come up with a new plan?

SEBELIUS: Well, I think what you'll have is chaos, as I've said earlier, because insurance companies have to file rates within the next few months. If there's a repeal and no clear replacement, why as an insurer would I ever take a chance on that market? If you're going to get rid of the subsidies, which 85 percent of the people rely on, who don't have an employer paying a share of their care, they're relying on their premium tax credit. Why would I get rid of it? The Republicans say they want to keep the ban on preexisting conditions, but they won't have the responsibility provisions so everybody comes in. So, it doesn't work. You can't keep some parts and not others, and I think they will destroy the market.

I think the American public has a right to know what replaces it. The Republicans say, we have a plan, it'll be cheaper and better, terrific. What is it?

BLITZER: You just heard the Speaker say by the end of the year, they'll have a plan that will be ready to be announced.

[13:44:55] SEBELIUS: But they are planning to repeal first. Let the American public take a look. I think the Democrats would be happy to work on a side by side proposal saying, here are the features that we have common ground on, here are the missing parts. How do we move forward? That makes sense. But to say, let's get rid of a plan that now has the lowest uninsured rates we've ever seen in this country, has dramatically improved care for people with preexisting conditions who were locked out or priced out of the market, has eliminate gender bias where women were paying twice as much as men -- let's not get rid of that.

Let's figure out how to work on pricing, which everybody wants to come down, how to work on drug pricing, which everybody wants to come down, and how to make sure people don't just have access to care. You'll hear the Republican leadership talking about access. I have access to a $6 million house. I can't buy a $6 million house because I don't have the income to support it. But I have access to it. Access and coverage are very different things.

BLITZER: Kathleen Sebelius, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services. This is going to be a big fight this year. We'll continue --

SEBELIUS: It has been a big fight for years.

BLITZER: We'll continue this conversation.

Thanks very much for joining us.

SEBELIUS: Thank you. Sure.

BLITZER: Coming up, the legal battle pitting the president-elect against a celebrity chef. What we're learning right now about a deposition that the president-elect was forced to give today, just days before the inauguration.


[13:50:12] BLITZER: This just in. CNN can confirm President-elect Trump sat for a legal deposition over a lawsuit against a chef. Trump is suing the chef for backing out of a plan for a restaurant in Trump's new hotel here in Washington, D.C.

Let's talk about that and more. With us, Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for "USA Today"; Abby Phillip, CNN political analyst, reporter for "The Washington Post"; and our own Dana Bash, our chief political correspondent.

You know, Dana, it's pretty extraordinary. Days before an inauguration, we see a president-elect of the United States sitting down -- we don't know for how long, presumably, a few hours -- in a deposition involving a lawsuit from his business dealings.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Extraordinary but not unexpected when the president-elect is Donald Trump. Because not only is he a businessman who -- and most businessmen like him are involved in legal battles in one way or another -- but he happens to be a businessman who is known to be litigious. On this particular issue, it's something specific to Jose Andres, a famous chef, backing out of his hotel in Washington, D.C., because of political differences. So that's what this is specific to.

BLITZER: Because of what the president said about Mexicans.

BASH: Correct.

BLITZER: After the president said that, in announcing his campaign --

BASH: Exactly.

BLITZER: -- he said I can't have a restaurant with you.

BASH: Exactly. This actually is related to his presidential campaign because of that what you just said. But it wouldn't be surprising if things, down the road, happened with regard to his business. Presumably he'll separate himself some way, shape or form, by the time he's inaugurated. But some legal issues have a tendency to sort of take time to work themselves out. Wouldn't be surprised if this happens.

BLITZER: There was another legal case involving Trump University. He settled that and avoided any depositions, Abby, as you know. Jose Andres, the chef, said, let's forget about it, I'll make some charitable contributions to veterans and others, let's just move on. But the Trump Organization, including the president-elect, deciding they're going forward with a lawsuit.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. There's real financial issues involved here. Pulling out of a restaurant that was supposed to be of that quality at the last minute was really a big deal. And Jose Andres went on to be on the campaign trail with Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton, doing stump speeches and so forth.

But the hotel is going to be this ongoing source of contention for Trump. Even now, we have two contractors alleging that Trump -- or that they aren't going to be paid for the work they did on the hotel. This is stuff that is going on right now as we speak. He has not, you know, extracted himself from this organization. So, for as long as that's the case, it's going to be a problem.

BLITZER: Big problem? Little problem, Susan? What do you think?

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: I think it's a surprise he didn't find some other path so, at this point, when he's so busy putting an administration together, he's taking seven hours for a deposition. It's extraordinary. But not unprecedented, even for a president. Four previous presidents have sat for legal depositions during their terms of office. Most recently, Bill Clinton during the Paula Jones case. So, it's not unprecedented but it's unusual. And the timing takes away from the time he has to give to other government business he's doing, and also from the focus. We're talking about this now, not about his plans on Obamacare.

BASH: He's pretty angry about this. And this statement -- I'm not going to read the whole thing, but they wanted to go forward and not settle because they say that the landlord, Donald Trump, is entitled to recover damages from "unpaid rent, costs of buildout, lost profits, and other expenses." And, by the way, the fact that he was angry about the fact, as you pointed out so well, he did it and -- he, Jose Andres, is a celebrity, did it in such a public way and went and campaigned for Hillary Clinton.

BLITZER: He did tweet twice, Jose Andres, saying, you know what, let's settle this, forget about it, we'll make charitable contributions and move on.

We don't have a lot of time, but very quickly, Dana, the latest tweet about Toyota: "Toyota Motors said we'll build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. No way. Build a plant in U.S. or pay big border tax." We should point out that Toyota announcement, the announcement was actually made back in September. Look at the stock value of Toyota right now, based on that one tweet that Donald Trump just posted.

BASH: Toyota, meet Lockheed, meet Boeing, meet the other companies that Donald Trump has singled out on the issue, not just of moving jobs overseas, but perhaps bloated government contracts and so forth. The question is whether you'll see Toyota respond in kind, like Ford did.

The other thing, as we get more of these and dig deeper into the real deal with these, the question is whether or not -- we'll see what happens with Toyota, but in the case of Ford, whether they were already planning to move some of the jobs back to the United States and just decided to give Donald Trump credit because that's good politics.

[13:55:17] BLITZER: The big issue for Donald Trump?

PHILLIP: And it almost doesn't matter what the truth is? It's like the act of tweeting is forcing people to react. These companies are starting to have, you know, people dedicated to monitoring the president-elect and soon-to-be president's tweets for implications that could have huge impacts on their value as a company and on their bottom line. It's a problem.

BLITZER: It's going to be just the beginning. We're watching it very, very closely.

Guys, thanks very much.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'll be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in "The Situation Room."

For our international viewers, "Amanpour" is coming up next.

For our viewers in North America, NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right after a quick break.


[14:00:12] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you --

(Byline: Wolf Blitzer, Dana Bash, Abby Phillip, Brooke Baldwin)

(Guest: James Clyburn, Kathleen Sebelius, Susan Page)

(High: Leading U.S. intelligence officials appeared on Capitol Hill today confirming Russia was behind the cyber hacking during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The war over Obamacare is on, and President Obama tells Democrats, "Don't rescue Republicans with a replacement," and former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she thinks a repeal without replacement would be "pure chaos." Donald Trump sat for a legal deposition over a lawsuit against Chef Jose Andres, who Trump is suing for backing out of a plan for a restaurant in Trump's new hotel in Washington, D.C. Donald Trump tweeted about Toyota's September announcement they're building a new plant for Corollas in Baja, Mexico for the U.S. market, but Trump tweeted, "No way, build a plant in U.S. or pay big border tax.")

(Spec: Congress; Cyberattack; Donald Trump; Russia; Vladimir Putin; WikiLeaks; Hillary Clinton; Barack Obama; Obamacare; Affordable Care Act; Paul Ryan; Republicans; Kathleen Sebelius; Health and Medicine; Insurance; Medicare and Medicaid; Lawsuits; Jose Andres; Trump International Hotel; Washington, D.C.; Trump Organization; Toyota; Mexico; Taxes; Twitter; Politics; Government)