Return to Transcripts main page


Corker Criticizes Trump Ahead of Crucial Tax Vote; Bill O'Reilly Blames God for Reports on Sexual Harassment Settlement; Trump Administration to Allow in Refugees from All Countries with New Restrictions. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired October 24, 2017 - 11:30   ET



[11:34:06] SEN. BOB CORKER, (R), TENNESSEE: I don't know what else there is to say today.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think the president should be removed from office?

CORKER: I'm not going to speak to that. The ballot box is where that happens.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You said the president has debased the country. Can you explain a little bit more?

CORKER: Look, I think standing up in front of the American people and --(AUDIO PROBLEM) -- attempted bullying that he does, which everybody sees through, just the dividing of our country, the, you know, the name calling, just, you know, for young people to be watching, not only here in our country but around the world, someone of this -- (AUDIO PROBLEM) -- mentality or -- as president of the United States is something that is I think debasing to our country and, you know, it's -- you know, you would think he would aspire to be the president of the United States and act like a president of the United States, but, you know, that's just not going to be the case apparently. And, you know, it's -- it's up to others who serve in an elective capacity whether governors, mayors, or Senators, to conduct themselves in a manner that is more becoming of a leader. But he's, obviously, you know, not up to that. You know, look, I've had private meetings with him, dinners with him, I've played golf with him, I've had, you know, multiple occasions where the staff has asked me to please intervene, he's getting ready to do something that was off the tracks. And look, I -- I've seen no evolution in an upward way. As a matter of fact, I would say it appears to me that it's almost de-evolving. Look, everybody has their own opinion about that and, you know, I'm here to serve for another 14 --


[11:36:14] RAJU: You don't think he's fit to be president?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why aren't more of your colleagues speaking out the way you are? CORKER: I've been very independent, I think the whole time I've been

up here, and I probably have a unique relationship. I've gotten to know him in a different way that a lot of Senators have, just through this last year, and I, you know, also, you know, told the people of Tennessee that I was going to run for two terms and, you know, so, you know, it gives you a sense of independence, I think, and just the, you know, I was in a pretty tough business, you know, started when I was 25 and I've been around people that, you know, have the mentalities of our current president and, you know, have, through life, just learned how you deal with it.

RAJU: Senator, is -- Senator is he --


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any chance in repairing your relationship with the president?

CORKER: What's that?



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: An important relationship. How do you feel about sanctions -- the Russian sanctions? A check on him for the next year?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How do you feel about the delay in the --

CORKER: I can't hear, so many questions at once. I'll see you all at lunch. OK.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Bullying, name calling, dividing the country, he's not evolving, it's more like he's almost devolving, that is the latest just now from Republican Senator Bob Corker leaving his office getting ready to head over to the Senate lunch where President Trump is set to head to meet with Republican Senators to rally around tax reform. Again, let's see what that lunch looks like now. This all examines ahead of a crucial vote in the House as they move toward their tax reform efforts. The crucial vote in the House happens later this week to make all this happen.

Let's go there. Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, of Illinois, joining me from Capitol Hill.

Congressman, great to see you.


BOLDUAN: I don't know if you're going to say, it's great to see me.

KINZINGER: Great to see you.

BOLDUAN: That's always yet to be seen.

What's your reaction between Bob Corker and President Trump.

KINZINGER: It's nothing like a good Republican food fight in front of the nation and world right there. You know, look, I wish both sides, I have a lot of respect for Bob Corker, he's now outspoken, though, that he's not running for re-election, and with the president, look a good friend of mine said once, you know, in politics or leadership you can punch across or punch up, never punch down, and for the president to tweet against a Senator and just like this rant, I think is wrong there's not many in the Republican -- like of my Republican base and my supporters, say that the president should keep tweeting. A lot say I wish he would tone down some of the personal stuff. I'm in the same boat. This isn't helpful for tax reform, it's not helpful for our reputation in the world and especially as, you know, Bob Corker is the head of the Senate foreign relations committee those are some big issues coming in front of him.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Bob Corker basically saying you say this is not helpful for reputation before the world, Bob Corker making the case this morning that the president is not good for the nation's reputation before the world. He told Manu Raju this morning that the president has great difficulty with the truth. He's calling the president a liar. I mean, is he right? Do you agree he has great difficulty with the truth?

KINZINGER: Well, I think there's, obviously, sometimes when he says things that are untruthful, that happens everywhere in politics. I don't want to necessarily get into the middle of this Corker versus Trump fight because I think frankly it's not good not just for our party, but for the country. When it's all said and done I think the president is doing a lot of good things internationally and I think some of the unpredictability on Twitter with like North Korea and Iran is actually beneficial because it's kind of this idea that we don't know where the president is going to go or what he's going to do, and I think there is some benefit to that. Again, Corker -- Senator Corker is being outspoken now he's not running for re-election and both sides should just take a big chill pill and deep breath and move on and do the business of the nation. That's what I wish. But every morning is something different.

[11:40:22] BOLDUAN: I hear you. But as you say, he -- you're making the case that I have he a heard from a lot of folks he is free to speak his mind because he is not looking toward re-election. Do you think that a -- do you -- as he said, do you think a lot of folks believe the same aren't saying it, because they need to get re- elected?

KINZINGER: I don't know. So like with Senator Corker, for instance, I disagree with him when he says Trump's leading us to world war iii. I think that's way overly dramatic and I think the president has great people around him that are kind of tempering his whatever he would do internationally, giving him good advice. I don't think he's like unstable and everybody is sitting around going oh, he's unstable we can't say it because we're running for re-election. Where we agree, and I think we need to be more outspoken is the president needs to lay off some of the emotion on Twitter because again, he's the leader of the free world and sometimes you have to rise above the kind of petty politics of the moment. We will look back in ten years a lot of debates we're having out here won't matter. What matters is what does the country look like, our kids and grandkids believe America is and when they watch television and all they see is people down talking America or saying we're not what we used to be, or somebody is a dummy face, I mean that's bad. That's bad for our politics.

BOLDUAN: There's the quote of the day.


But Corker has gone a step further today in rather than just criticizing, I mean he has declared essentially in saying I think he has proven himself uncapable of to rise to the occasion, said it in a couple ways, he's concluded the president's term, the presidency a failure. Do you see it that way?

KINZINGER: No. And this is, again, where I have massive disagreements with Senator Corker. I think he's a good American and done a lot of good work, but I've seen the president rise to a lot of occasions. When it comes to the chemical weapons attack in Syria for him to give the very emotional speech he did about the kids that were suffocating to death from Bashar al Assad's brutality and strike that airfield he's risen to the occasion on ISIS, a lot of things I don't agree from the Twitter perspective, but I have seen him in really tough times rise to the occasion and I think he has it in him. Look, I would love to see the president tone down Twitter, but Bob Corker I think is going a little too far out there talking about world war iii, failed presidency, et cetera. I don't quite understand where he's coming from with that.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about this and the context of the here and now. Do you think this offers a good omen for tax reform?

KINZINGER: I hope -- no, this isn't a good omen, but I think we can get tax reform done. This is something that look, we understand what the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, we've got to achieve something, this is one of the big tenants we have, and look for Congress, the most basic thing we can do is tax and spend. We're pretty good at spending but a tax code from the last millennium when nobody owned computers. To bring it to where it is today I think we can get it done, I would hate to be on the other side of the aisle defending the tax code from 1986.

BOLDUAN: Well, don't -- 1896 was a good year.


BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this, though, the president had a conference call with you all on Sunday to talk about this, and all the reporting coming from the call was that the president said basically this is political survival because of the failure on repeal and replace. You need to pass this tax reform effort, or the majorities are on the line. This is what 2018 is all about. Do you think that's the case? KINZINGER: I think there is some accuracy to that, absolutely. We're

not doing this for the politics, but we do recognize that, you know, if we come in this and we're batting 0 for 2 at the end of this year it's going to be hard for members of the House of representatives or the Senate to go in front of their voters and say, hey, re-elect me so that we can go zero for two next year why. That's why this is extremely important. Following through on our promises. We've done a lot of good things this year but the big kind of headline grabbing stuff.

BOLDUAN: The big stuff.

KINZINGER: The big stuff hasn't happened. And so, yes, I think we need to get this done.

BOLDUAN: Just on that point, just a broadly, one of the things I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around a Republican Party who has championed spending restraint, balanced budgets, revenue neutral tax reform is now becoming it seems very ready to support more debt, and revenue neutral nothing when it comes to your tax efforts? What's changed?

KINZINGER: Yes. I don't disagree with you in terms of that's what we've been fighting for and, in this process, we're going to champion that as well. We don't have the full details if we end up with a fourth or fifth tax bracket with the folks above a million that will cut down, the issue of state and local tax deductibility there's a lot still in flux on this, we've seen the skeletal outlines. Once we have all the meat on the bones, which will happen this week or next, we will be able to analyze this. We realize, a philosophical belief if we get the economy rolling that more federal revenues come in. It may take a little bit but that's what we believe.

[11:45:21] BOLDUAN: Congressman, always great to have you on.


BOLDUAN: Let's talk Twitter again. We will have to.

Great to see you.

KINZINGER: I'm sure. Take care.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

Coming up for us, Bill O'Reilly against the world, and now the heavens, it appears. The fired FOX News host says he is mad at God after new reporting on the sexual harassment settlements. Details on that coming up.


BOLDUAN: Former FOX News Star Bill O'Reilly fighting back again against claims of sexual harassment and now he is blaming a higher power. Listen to this.


BILL O'REILLY, FORMER FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Am I mad at God? Yes, I'm mad at him. I wish I had more protection. I wish this stuff didn't happen. I can't explain it to you. Yes. I'm mad at him. If I die tomorrow and I get an opportunity, I'll say, why did you guys work me over like that? Didn't you know my children were going to be punished and they're innocent?


BOLDUAN: This after O'Reilly, according to "The New York Times" paid a $32 million settlement over sexual harassment. O'Reilly denies any wrongdoing in the matter.

CNN senior media correspondent, Brian Stelter, back with me, host of "Reliable Sources."

Brian, right now, it seems very clear if it was even a question Bill O'Reilly will not be going quietly on this.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: He believes he is the victim and says he has proven this is a hit job but hasn't really ever provided that proof, however. I am struck what he was saying to his audience on this podcast trying to tell his audience he is the victim here, the people are out to get him. It's really telling when he brings up his children, when he says his family has been brought into this. I'm not here to give advice to Bill O'Reilly, maybe instead of looking upward to god he should look inward in what happened in his career and why these women came forward with allegations of harassment, not just Lis Weihl, but in 2004, a public case with an employee back then and cases in between.

An interesting comment O'Reilly made to Glen Beck on the radio as well. He was saying he's frustrated like glen beck is. Here's what he said.


[11:50:23] O'REILLY (voice-over): It's very frustrating me. If you can imagine me sitting here, all right, being accused of everything under the sun, and the end game is let's link O'Reilly with Harvey Weinstein and make him that. That's what we want to do. So we take him out of the marketplace forever. He never gets to give his opinion on issues. We take him out because we hate him and "The New York Times," obviously, hates him.


STELTER: That's the story, not that "The New York Times" hates him. To kill his career. Up until last week he was in various talks with various networks. Small FOX rivals that might want to hire him. I don't know if those talks were real, but he sure thought they were. He had hopes for a comeback. Those hopes seemed lower today.

BOLDUAN: Still, there are multi-million-dollar settlements that he still needs -- STELTER: He would have to do a mea culpa. I spoke to "NewsMax's"

Chris, and he said America is very forgiving. If anybody can have a comeback, it's Bill O'Reilly.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Brian.

STELTER: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: We absolutely will.

Great to see.

Coming up for us, very big day for the latest version of President Trump's travel ban, actually. The United States set to resume taking in all refugees under new restrictions as the travel ban restrictions are set to run out. Details on what that exactly means ahead.


BOLDUAN: Travel ban expired, at least that's what's happened to one part. The Trump administration expected to let refugees in from all countries once again with new restrictions. What does this mean?

Joining me, CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, with all the details.

Jessica, lay it out for us.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: New rules. They're expected to be laid out by the White House and Department of Homeland Security today in just a matter of hours since the 120-day ban on refugee admissions expires today. Here's what we expect. The administration in the coming days and months, they'll be collecting more biographical data when they vet refugees. That includes members of their families, their names, places of employment, that sort of thing. Social media posts will also be fair game. Administration officials will really check online to vet potential refugees. Officials who vet them, they'll be given new guidance as well as better training that will help them detect fraud among applicants. The Trump administration, they've already announced that they will be limiting the number of refugees admitted in 2018. They're going to cap it at 45,000. That, though, is less than half of what President Obama set for the year 2017. And you know, Kate, right now "the Wall Street Journal" is also reporting that while refugees will be let in, there will be 11 countries, refugees from those countries will be subject to a bit of additional vetting that could slow that process down. The exact details will be laid out by the White House and Homeland Security a little bit later today -- Kate?

[11:55:28] BOLDUAN: With every element of travel ban or anything related, those details will be read very carefully.

SCHNEIDER: That's right.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Jessica. Really appreciate it. Coming up for us, soon, President Trump will be heading to Capitol

Hill to make his pitch on tax reform. But it comes, of course, after as we've discussed his feud with Republican Senator Bob Corker has hit a whole new level. Is it kumbaya or fisticuffs? We'll find out soon.


[13:59:47] JOHN KING, CNN HOST, Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King.

Want to take you quickly up to Capitol Hill. The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunez is announcing what he says is a major new investigation. Let's listen to the chairman.


REP. DEVIN NUNEZ, (R-CA), CHIARMAN, HOUSE INTELLLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Thank you. Sorry for the short delay. We are waiting for Mr. Gowdy because this announcement involves both the House Intelligence Committee and the Oversight, Government Reform and Oversight Committee. Mr. Gowdy, however, can't get pulled away from the meeting that he's currently in.

But with me today, I have --