Return to Transcripts main page


Mueller's Investigation Asking About Kushner's Role in Firing of Comey; Attorney General Under Renewed Scrutiny on Capitol Hill; New GOP Plan Would Cut Taxes, Limit Popular Deductions. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 2, 2017 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, Kushner's role. CNN has learned that the president's senior advisor and son-in- law, Jared Kushner, has turned over documents to the Russia probe special counsel, Robert Mueller. Investigators are asking about Kushner's role in the firing of the FBI director, James Comey. Could an obstruction of justice case be in the works?

[17:00:27] By the numbers. President Trump helps House Republicans roll out their new tax bill. It would slash corporate taxes and many in the middle class would see the lower rates. But why ae some Republicans already speaking out strongly against the bill?

Larger terror plot. Did this New York school bus hit by the terror suspect's truck stop a larger rampage? Court records indicate the suspect planned a longer and deadlier attack. Why the is investigation now spreading to other states?

And bin Laden's library. The CIA releases half a million files seized in the raid that killed the al Qaeda leader like, including cartoons like "Ice Age" and the viral video, "Charlie Bit My Finger." More chilling, home videos of bin Laden's son who recently called for attacks on the United States.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking news. A new sign that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators are looking into the president's inner circle. CNN learned that the president's senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner has recently turned over documents to Mueller.

Sources say Mueller's team is interested in Kushner as part of the Russian meddling probe, and investigators have started asking questions about Kushner's involvement in the firing of FBI Director James Comey. And that raises the issue of potential obstruction of justice.

The Russia revelations come as President Trump joins with House Republicans to unveil a new tax bill. Billed as a middle-class tax cut, much of the focus is on slashing taxes for corporations. Individuals would face fewer brackets at lower rates but could be hurt by the loss of popular tax breaks such as the deduction for state and local taxes. The wealthy would benefit from a phase-out of the estate tax.

The president says he wants a bill signed by Christmas, but there's resistance already from Republicans in some high-tax states.

And as we get new pictures of the school bus that stopped the New York City truck attack, we're getting new details on the investigation, as it spreads to more states with federal authorities seeking to learn if the suspect had help. Court papers show the suspect allegedly practiced for the attack to learn how he could inflict maximum casualties.

I'll speak with the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, Kevin Brady. And our correspondents, specialists and guests, they're standing by with full coverage.

But let's begin with the breaking news, the CNN exclusive. As presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner is now a focus of the Russia meddling investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Let's go straight to CNN's justice correspondent, Pamela Brown and Evan Perez.

Evan, first of all, what do you and Pamela learning?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're learned that Jared Kushner has now turned over documents in recent weeks to the special counsel Robert Mueller as investigators have begun asking witnesses about Kushner's role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Sources tell us that Mueller's investigators have expressed interest in Kushner as part of the probe into Russian meddling. As we know, that probe includes potential obstruction of justice, and the motivation for firing Comey is a part of that.

Now the Mueller team's questions about Kushner are a sign that the investigators are reaching into the president's inner circle and have extended beyond the 2016 campaign to actions that were taken at the White House by high-level officials. It's not clear how Kushner's advice to the president might play a part in all off this.

Sources close to the White House say that, based on their knowledge, Kushner is not a target of this investigation. Sources tell us that Kushner voluntarily turned over those documents that he had from the campaign and the transition as they related to contacts with Russia. The documents are similar to what Kushner gave to congressional investigators, Wolf.

BLITZER: And Pamela, you're also learning that this goes beyond the documents, you're also reporting that indicating that witnesses are being asked specific questions about Kushner. Is that right?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. And this is the first time we're learning about what investigators have asked witnesses in regards to Kushner's role, specifically with the firing of James Comey.

Now we've heard conflicting accounts from sources. Some say Kushner was a driver of the president's decision, others say that, you know, he didn't oppose it that he supported it, but it was something that the president had already made up his mind about.

Now, investigators have already asked about how a statement came to be issued in the name of Donald Trump Jr. Regarding that now infamous Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer. Kushner, as we know, attended that June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower between top Trump campaign officials and a cadre of Russian figures, including some with links to the Kremlin. It was arranged after Donald Trump Jr. was told that the Russian government wanted to pass along damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of its pro-Trump efforts.

[17:05:26] Now the meeting was also attended by Paul Manafort, who was Trump's campaign chairman, and who was recently indicted, as we know.

Now, investigators have also asked about the circumstances surrounding the departures of certain White House aides. A White House official says Mueller's team's questions about Kushner are not a surprise and that Kushner would be among a list of people who investigators would be asking about. But again, it is clear that Mueller's team is sort of getting closer to those around the president, his inner circle.

We should note Kushner's lawyer declined to comment. The White House declined to comment, and so did special counsel.

BLITZER: Yes. Significant development. Good reporting.

Stand by, guys, because there's more breaking news right now. The attorney general, Jeff Sessions, is under renewed scrutiny on Capitol Hill about whether he came clean on Russian ties to the Trump campaign during earlier congressional hearings.

Let's go to our senior congressional reporter, Manu Raju. He's up on Capitol Hill with new information. What are you learning, Manu?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Remember those court documents that were unsealed earlier this week. They show that George Papadopoulos, that Trump foreign policy advisor, actually proposed a meeting between Vladimir Putin and candidate Trump during the election season. Now we now know that Jeff Sessions was at that meeting. And according to a source in that room, he had rejected the motion of any meeting between Putin and Trump during the campaign season.

Now, why this is significant, Wolf, is because during his several hearings on Capitol Hill this year, Sessions was asked extensively about any Russia contacts, any Russia communications, whether he knew about anything at all between -- to anyone in the Trump campaign about Russia. Either he didn't recall or he didn't know or he just flatly said no, there was actually no communications. Now, this is renewing a lot of questions and scrutiny on Capitol Hill from particularly from Democrats, who are asking him to amend his testimony, asking him to respond to why didn't he disclose this George Papadopoulos meeting from March of 2016.

And Wolf tonight, Republicans, too, are raising some questions, including the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Chuck Grassley, who told me earlier that it's something he's looking into. And the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, John Cornyn, who sits on the two -- two of the committees in which Sessions testified, said that this is a legitimate question to explore going forward, Wolf.

BLITZER: So the attorney general will have some explaining to do up on Capitol Hill.

Manu, thanks very much. There are also two huge economic stories developing right now.

President Trump has nominated a current Federal Reserve governor, Jerome Powell, to head the U.S. Central Bank. First picked by the -- by President Obama for the Fed, Powell would replace the current Fed chair, Janet Yellen. It's the first time in four decades a new president hasn't asked the current Fed chair to stay for a second term.

Also earlier, the president joined House Republicans in rolling out their new tax bill, which would sharply reduce corporate taxes. Middle income Americans should benefit, as well, although many face the painful loss of some very popular deductions. The president is pushing to have a new GOP tax bill signed by Christmas, but some key Republicans are already pushing back.

Let's go to our congressional correspondent, Sunlen Serfaty. Sunlen, first of all, tell us what this plan would do.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, the ink on this tax bill is essentially still drying, and many members left here with a little bit of uneasiness about what exactly is in the bill tonight. And keep in mind, this is a major overhaul of the tax code, that the bill is a massive 429 pages.

Now some of the top lines. For individuals, this proposal will reduce the number of tax brackets from seven now down to four. It would nearly double the standard deduction, and would eliminate deductions for state income taxes.

For businesses, it lowers the corporate -- corporate rate permanently, importantly, from 20 percent -- excuse me, from 35 percent to 20 percent. And allows for full expensing for five years.

Now not included in this bill is one of the more controversial ideas that had been floated in the recent days and weeks, and that's making changes to 401(k)s. The idea to potentially lower the cap on 401k contributions as a way to raise revenue here. That idea was not included in this bill. That faced some stiff opposition, most notably from President Trump, Wolf.

BLITZER: Sunlen, reducing the amount people can deduct for state and local taxes could be rather difficult to swallow, especially for folks in some of the higher tax states. Could potentially mean higher taxes for some individuals, right?

SERFATY: That's right. It could. And that certainly is why it has been and continues to be one of the biggest sticking points about this bill.

[17:10:03] Now we heard from lawmakers from those high-tax states like New Jersey, like New York, come out of the meeting today where they were briefed on the bill and expressing concern. Expressing concerns, saying that the concessions that were made to win them over, notably allowing the deduction on property taxes capped at $10,000. They said that it's too low. That's not enough likely to win them over.

We heard about that from New York Congressman Zeldin. He declared himself a "no" on this bill as it currently stands because of that, as well as his colleague from New York, Dan Donovan.


REP. DAN DONOVAN (R), NEW YORK: I'm always concerned about the SALT deduction. The elimination of the SALT deduction. But, you know, we'll calculate to see if the AMT elimination is beneficial to the folks that I represent. Whether or not, because I live in New York City, our tax, property tax is lower than other parts of the state. Whether that's enough. I just don't know yet, because we don't have the detail.


SERFATY: So Congressman Donovan there still a TBA on his support or not for this plan.

Now keep in mind, although there's a big to-do, a big roll-out today on the House side, this is essentially just the start of a very, very long process. The House will no doubt make tweaks, a lot of concerns being voiced, as you know, from members.

Also the Senate is parallelly working on their own bill, and then they have to really go and do a conference and try to figure out what the final bill looks like. Likely this bill will look nothing like that final bill. So a lot of work left to do.

And the goal posts, Wolf, have been firmly planted from Republicans up here. They want a bill to President Trump's desk by the end of the year.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Sunlen Serfaty. We're watching that. Thank you very much.

Up next, I'll speak with a key figure behind the GOP tax plan, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady. And there's more breaking news as the special counsel's investigators ask questions about the presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Also, developing right now, looks like Carter Page has emerged, is making a statement. I want to go right and see what he's saying. He was one of the former advisors -- actually, he has just left. We're not going to do that right now. We'll turn the tape for you. We'll have much more right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [17:16:44] BLITZER: The breaking news tonight. As President Trump joins House Republicans in rolling out the new GOP tax bill. But there's already some serious pushback from key Republicans.

Joining us now, a driving force behind the Republican tax bill, the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, Republican Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas.

Mr. Chairman, thanks so much for joining us.

REP. KEVIN BRADY (R-TX), CHAIRMAN, WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE: Thank you, Wolf. Thanks for having me.

BLITZER: You sat next to the president today as he predicted a bill would pass by Congress, become the law of the land. He said it would be a Christmas gift, but some high-profile Republican senators have already expressed some serious reservations about the bill. Is the timeline, first of all, realistic? Doing it -- try to do it so quickly?

BRADY: So I believe it is. And here's why.

We've worked six years toward this moment, held hundreds of town halls around the country, have listened to our -- here's what we know. American people are sick of the current tax code. They've had it up to here. It's complicated. It's unfair. It takes too much of what they earned. And they're tired of Washington, this town, filling it full of loopholes and their lobbyist breaks, and they get nothing but headaches.

But look, my belief is America's ready for a fresh new tax code that grows their paychecks, makes America competitive again.

BLITZER: So here's the question, though, if you're so ready, the bill was written largely behind closed doors.

BRADY: No, I don't...

BLITZER: Republican leaders want to push it through on an accelerated timeline. A lot of Republicans this morning -- they said repeatedly they didn't even know what was in the final version of the legislation. Why was it necessary, Mr. Chairman, to jam it through so quickly and secretly?

BRADY: Wolf, I disagree with everything you said, and here's why. The House Republican tax reform plan was introduced a year ago. The president's plan working with us, three months ago. We've incorporated in this more than 50 lawmakers' ideas. We've consulted, and they've consulted with their families and businesses all the way along.

So, we introduced the bill today. We'll begin the regular process of taking it through the committee, the House floor. And I think one thing American public needs to know who are sick of the current code, may like the fairness and simplicity of a postcard-style system, is we will continue to listen to them at every step of the way. BLITZER: Mr. Chairman, why do so many of your Republican colleagues

as recently as this morning, Peter King, for example, of New York, among others say they didn't know what was in the final version, because it had gone through so many changes?

BRADY: Well, here's why. We've been listening very closely to Peter King and other lawmakers from high-tax states to make sure their families are better off from tax reform.

They like keeping the home mortgage deduction, the charitable deduction, and now the property tax deductions, as well. They love this new family tax credit that helps kids and parents and college kids, as well.

So we continue to work with them to make sure their families are better off, and I'm optimistic at the end of the day, we will have the votes to pass this. And we're going to help families in high-tax states keep more of what they earn.

BLITZER: But under the plan that you released today -- it's more than 400 pages -- families, a lot of Americans right now will pay a top rate of 10 percent federal income tax, would now see their rate go up to 12 percent and other...

BRADY: Whoa, I'm sorry...

BLITZER: Hold on a second.

BRADY: That is exactly wrong.

BLITZER: Other families that pay a top rate of 33 percent would see their rate go up to 35 percent. That sounds like a tax increase.

[17:20:07] BRADY: Wolf, you're smarter than this. You know the Reagan reforms did exactly the same thing. It lowered then the 10 percent rate to zero. We lower the 12 percent rate to zero, because we've doubled the standard deduction. That protects all of that tax- free for families that had taxable before. Then we lowered the rates at every level.

So we do more, even, to help that modest and low-income family and certainly more than is done today, and by the way, those Reagan reforms you're so familiar with...

BLITZER: I just...

BRADY: ... were backed -- but wait, were back by Vice President Biden...

BLITZER: Mr. Chairman -- Mr. Chairman, but if a family...

BRADY: ... by Vice President Gore, by Secretary John Kerry, backed the exact same approach.

BLITZER: But Mr. Chairman, if a family is now paying 10 percent federal income tax and they... BRADY: They pay zero.

BLITZER: ... this goes into law, they're going to pay 12 percent...

BRADY: Zero, no, sir, no.

BLITZER: ... because you're reducing the number of brackets. And if some families are paying 33 percent, it's going to go up to 35 percent. That sounds like a tax increase.

BRADY: Yes, it is not, because those families that are at 10 percent today go to zero...

BLITZER: But some of those families go to 12 percent.

BRADY: No, they do not, not a one.

BLITZER: Not one of them?

BRADY: And look at the 33 closely. Just do me a favor. Don't do the talking points. Go look at this tax plan and what you'll see, they go to zero. And not only that, the 33 percent, now that 28 percent tax rate, the lower one, goes way up their income. So now for the first time, they're in the lower tax break, as well.

Look, why don't we -- let's get away from the talking points. Let's look at this reform as it helps families, because at the end of the day, I don't know who defends the status quo around here on the tax room, other than Washington. We need a fresh start.

BLITZER: The plan that you introduced today would limit the deductible for mortgages on newly-purchased homes to $500,000. Doesn't that hurt Americans who live in areas with a high cost of living, and they need a mortgage that's a lot more than $500,000?

BRADY: So not when you put in place the tax relief protecting more of the first dollars they earn, this new family credit. In fact, you put that altogether, families are better off.

And we know, when the economy grows, home values, more people can afford those homes, so I actually believe this tax reform will strengthen home values and get more people in homes. Because remember, those who don't itemize, which are most Americans, they get no help today with their home. We change that.

BLITZER: One of the biggest deductions would be eliminated. That's the one for local and state taxes. The greatest impact, of course, of that would be felt by taxpayers living in states voted -- largely those blue states that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

Some are already suggesting the bill you put forward is designed to target those Americans living in those states that tend to vote for Democrats. And you know a lot of Republicans in those states are already opposing the legislation. Lee Zeldin of New York said, "I'm a 'no' on this bill in its current form. We need to fix the state and local tax deduction issues." Why are you insisting on eliminating those deductions?

BRADY: So we keep the state and local property tax deduction, as you know.

BLITZER: But not the state tax or the city tax.

BRADY: Yes, for property taxes, we absolutely do.

BLITZER: Yes, but not the state income tax or the city tax.

BRADY: There you go. OK. But you have to be a little more accurate when you're describing these provisions. We keep that state and local property tax.

BLITZER: The property tax up to $10,000, you keep that.

BRADY: Which is double the standard average for most Americans.

BLITZER: You keep it up to 10,000, but you eliminate the deduction for state income tax and city income tax.

BRADY: We do, and you know what we do with those revenues? We lower the tax rates for everyone, including families in high state -- high- tax states.

Here is our view. This isn't a red state, blue state thing. We want families in Congressman Zeldin's district to be better off after tax reform. We restored that state and local property deduction, because we were listening to congressman and others in these tax states. And we'll continue to listen to Lee Zeldin and others to make sure we can -- can get this right for his families.

BLITZER: You have -- you probably have the votes, I'm guessing with, in the House. You've got a problem, though, in the Senate. You can't lose more than two. As you know, there's a 52-48 majority; and the Democrats look like they're pretty much united against it.

Marco Rubio...


BLITZER: ... he just tweeted -- I'll read it to you, Mr. Chairman. He said, "House tax reform plan is only starting point, but $600 child tax credit increase doesn't achieve our goal and POTUS' goal of helping working families."

Bob Corker, another Republican senator, said he can't support it because it will add to the deficit. Right now, this current legislation isn't paid for. It would see an increase in the national debt, the deficit, going up by $1.5 trillion.

You lose one more, like Susan Collins, you don't have anything.

BRADY: I think you started with the saddest statement that all Democrats are united against fixing this broken tax code. I don't know who defends it. It is so unfair. It takes way too much of what people earn.

And by the way, America, our America, our jobs are shipping overseas and have for a decade. Who really defends that?

There used to be John F. Kennedy Democrats who lowered tax rates for everybody at every income level. I'm so hopeful they engage in a positive way, because we think they bring good ideas to the table.

BLITZER: Kevin Brady is the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. You've got a lot of work ahead of you...

BRADY: Yes, sir.

BLITZER: ... over the next several weeks. Thanks so much for joining us. We invite you to come back any time. We'll resume this conversation.

BRADY: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much.

Coming up, there's more breaking news. CNN has learned that President Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has turned over documents to the Russia probe special counsel. So why are investigators asking about Kushner's role in the firing of the FBI director, James Comey?

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


[17:30:55] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're following multiple breaking stories right now including the news that investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller are asking about the role President Trump's son-in-law, senior adviser, Jared Kushner, had in this year's firing of the FBI Director James Comey. Kushner's legal team recently turned over documents to the special counsel. Let's bring our specialists to assess. And Susan Hennessey, is Jared Kushner, based on what you know right now, in some sort of potential, legal jeopardy?

SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY & LEGAL ANALYST: So, it's certainly possible. One of the interesting things that not only that he's been asked to produce these documents, but also reportedly investigators have asked other people about Kushner's role in James Comey's firing. And so, the name of the game in an obstruction charge is really going to be what Jared Kushner did, did he actually advocate for Comey's firing, and more importantly, why did he do it? Because that's sort of the crux of the legal question, was he acting with a corrupt purpose? So, you know, what did he advise Donald Trump to do, and really, why?

BLITZER: And, you know, right now, the special counsel -- the investigation is clearly moving beyond what happened during the campaign into what happened during the administration, reaching into the President's clearly inner circle. Is that more likely, you think, Chris to spark a reaction from this white House? CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR AT LARGE: Yes. I think we can say that definitively, yes. We knew it was moving up the chain of command or at least at a pretty high level chain of command on Monday, right, the indictment of Paul Manafort. Now, for things unrelated to Russian collusion, but Paul Manafort was the campaign chairman, I mean, you know, that's a pretty big role. This gets sort of into the innermost circle of Donald Trump's world, right? I mean, we've always known he has a small inner circle of people that he actually sometimes listens to. I don't think he listens to anyone all the time, but he sometimes listens to, and that beyond Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner, I'm not sure if there's anyone else in that circle, he's always been a family-first guy.

So this takes that thing that we learned earlier this week, that it's moving up the chain, and I think accelerates it, and the closer it gets to him -- remember, he called the New York Times out of the blue --

BLITZER: Last night.

CILLIZZA: -- to simply say, I'm not under investigation. So, clearly, it's on his mind.

HENNESSEY: I think it's also important that -- look, we're reaching -- we've seen the Trump strategy in the past have been -- have been to sort of disavow people. If they get in trouble, oh, Mike Flynn never really heard of him, Paul Manafort, you know, low-level --

CILLIZZA: Barely worked for us. Right.

HENNESSEY: And Jared Kushner now, as we're getting to the point which he absolutely cannot employ that tactic. This is the President's son- in-law and his senior adviser.

BLITZER: Yes, I'm sure it's going to generate some reaction. You know, Rebecca, we have some new poll numbers from ABC News at Washington Post, how Americans perceive of this entire Russia probe. Question, how do you feel about the way Mueller is handing this investigation? Look at this, 58 percent approve, 28 percent disapprove, 14 percent, no opinion. Question, what do Manafort, Gates, Papadopoulos charges suggest? 50 percent broader wrongdoing, 28 percent limited crimes by these people, 19 percent, no opinion. But look at this one, did Trump commit a crime? 49 percent say likely, 44 percent say unlikely, 7 percent say no opinion. But that last number, almost half of the American public according to this poll think that he may have committed a crime.

REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Really significant, historic, even, Wolf, but I'm seeing something else in these numbers as well. Which is that the White House attempts and attempts by the President to discredit Mueller and his investigation, to paint him as a partisan actor, clearly, are not resonating with the American public. That polling shows me that Americans, not only approve of what Mueller is doing, but see this investigation as worthwhile, see it as relevant, see the President as potentially having committed some wrongdoing, that is highly significant because it shows that whatever conclusion Mueller reaches, at least the majority of Americans as of right now are inclined to believe him.

BLITZER: Yes. And Bianna, you know, we've reported -- Manu Raju reported earlier that some Democrats and even some Republicans on Capitol Hill, they're wondering if the Attorney General Jeff Sessions was fully forthcoming during his testimony about what he knew about any contacts with Russians. How significant potentially is this emission -- omission on his part that we've now learned about?

[17:35:06] BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Look, the optics aren't good for the Attorney General. He's had two opportunities now to clean up that initial error of saying that he had no meetings or discussions about Russia or with Russian officials. You had the President really go after him, you had members of the Senate who he used to work with really defend him. Now, what strikes me are the specifics that came out of this story and that Jeff Sessions was the one who allegedly said and urged the President not to have a meeting with Vladimir Putin.

It wasn't just a photo op where he said, you know, I don't remember sitting next to some guy, I've met many guys, and I've sat next to many people in meetings. It was the fact that he allegedly said do not have a meeting, right now, at least, with Vladimir Putin. How he could have testified not once, but twice, and forgotten about that, I think you're going to see more grilling from Senators about that. And you've already seen questions raised from both Republicans and Democrats. They were the ones who were defending him initially when there were reports and threats from the President that he may fire him. I'm not sure how many people will be coming to his defense at this point.

BLITZER: You know, it's interesting, on the tax issue, we slightly saw the Republicans' 400 plus page tax cut bill, the legislation that was introduced today. The President seems to be pretty convinced he's going to be able to sign this into law by Christmas. A Christmas gift, he says, for all Americans. It's going to be tough.

CILLIZZA: Well, OK. Yes, it is going to be tough. Let's start with the fact that President Trump, his familiarity with the legislative process is not super high. So, him promising it's going to get done, I mean, I don't -- that's not based on anything other than he -- it's a wish that it were true, not necessarily based on the what he knows. What I would say, Wolf, is I think it's very unlikely it gets done by that timeframe. Remember, complex bills are complex for a reason. There's going to be people looking into it, you've already see some doubts, you mentioned this, resulted from New York. There will be more, I think there'll be conservatives who are concerned about it growing the deficit. It could get done, but these things are never not messy, and they're almost never quick.

BLITZER: According to their own numbers, Bianna, it's going to grow the deficit, the national debt by $1.5 trillion. Senator Corker said that they failed to close a minimum, he says $4 trillion in loopholes and special interest deductions. This is going to be a big issue, maybe it'll get through the Senate, but in the House, there could be some serious Republican opposition. GOLODRYGA: Well, and if anything from what we saw with that heated exchange between Congressman Brady, I think you get a sense of how controversial and how difficult any tax issues are and any legislation regarding taxes are. I mean, you're really having a tax debate right now and you see why this has taken decades to really change the tax system in this country. I would say to Chris's point, however, that this is something that I could argue the President cares about even more than health care or at least, I would like to think that he is more familiar with and knows more about as a businessman.

So, yes, it's hard to see how anything could get to his desk before Christmas, but I could foresee a situation where we revisit this in the New Year, in a quicker way than we would, let's say, health care.

CILLIZZA: And just very quickly to play devil's advocate, to my own point, which is, it is possible. I think the problem with complex proposition, the longer it sits out there, the easier it is to pick over fine things you don't like (INAUDIBLE) often collapse under their own weight. It is possible -- remember, Mitch McConnell wanted that vote on health care very quickly, didn't get it and it collapsed. Maybe you really try to push like crazy to get it through by Christmas because you think there's no other pass later.

BLITZER: The Democrats confirm, you lose three Republican Senators, it's over, just like repeal and replace health care. Stand by.

We're also learning right now some new details on the plot behind this week's deadly terror attack in New York City. Did the school bus stop the carnage from being even worse?


[17:43:40] BLITZER: Tonight, we have new pictures of the New York school bus, shortly after it was hit by the truck driven by the suspect in Tuesday's terror attack. We're also getting a clearer picture of the events that led up to the attack. Our national correspondent Brynn Gingras is following the investigation. She's joining us from New York right now. Brynn, what else are you learning about the plot?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're learning investigators are learning much about what happened here from Saipov himself. He allegedly told detectives he planned the attack, he did it in the name of ISIS, and he shows no remorse.


GINGRAS: Tonight, investigators want to know whether Sayfullo Saipov had help in the alleged terror plot. Federal authorities are on the ground in at least four states trying to learn more about the 29-year- old, his past, his associates, and when he may have been radicalized.

JAMES O'NEILL, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK POLICE: We'll see, as we go down the road if he acted alone or if he had -- or if her had some help. GINGRAS: The details of what Saipov told police exposed in this 10- page charging document, where he admits he wanted to kill as many people as possible and showed no remorse. Court papers show Saipov started planning for an attack a year ago, but more recently decided to use a truck because it, "would inflict maximum damage."

He rented the Home Depot truck last week to practice how it drives, then allegedly picked Halloween night hoping more people would be on the streets. Saipov told investigators he intended to drive all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge.

[17:45:09] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, I need -- can you call 911? I got -- oh, my God! There's a kid right there.

GINGRAS: But that plan was foiled when he crashed into a school bus, Tuesday. Police say Saipov's rampage killed eight people and injured more than a dozen others. According to the court papers, Saipov executed the attack in the name of ISIS and was motivated by the group's leader, "after viewing a video in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi questioned what Muslims in the U.S. and elsewhere were doing to responding to the killing of Muslims in Iraq." Saipov told investigators he even wanted to hang the terrorist group's flag on the truck but decided against it because it would have drawn too much attention. And he asked to hang that flag in his hospital room, the complaint says. Inside the rental truck, investigators found knives, a stun gun, and two cell phones. On them, about 90 videos and nearly 3800 images related to ISIS.

JOON KIM, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Hinting, among other things, ISIS fighters killing prisoners by running over them with a tank, beheading them, and shooting them in the face.

GINGRAS: The document shows Saipov admitted to writing a note pledging allegiance to the terrorist group and ended with, "it will endure." investigators say, a direct reference to the Islamic State.


GINGRAS: And Saipov did go before a federal judge on two counts. He did not need to make a plea, though, Wolf, that will come at a later date. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, Brynn, thanks very much. Brynn Gingras reporting. We'll have more on the story coming up later.

Also coming up, family pictures, viral videos, and popular U.S. movies. Stay with us for a surprising look at what Osama bin Laden had on his personal computer.


[17:51:34] BLITZER: The CIA just released nearly half a million computer files recovered during the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. CNN's Brian Todd is joining us with a closer look. So, Brian, what was on the Al Qaeda leader's personal computer? BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, these files recovered by SEAL Team 6 had Osama bin Laden's personal diary in them, where he says, his hatred of the West extended back to a trip he took to Britain as a young man. And for the first time, we're seeing images of his favorite son as an adult, a young man who many believe is going to take over the leadership of Al Qaeda.


TODD: The physical resemblance to his father is evident and chilling. For the first time, images of Osama bin Laden's favorite son, Hamza, as an adult are made public. This video is from the CIA. It's part of nearly 500,000 files the spy agency has just released that were seized in 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The files are being analyzed by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Previously, the only public images of Hamza bin Laden were as a young boy. In this video, he's seen at times smiling sheepishly. Children are hovering. Officials say the video is of Hamza's wedding, which is believed to have taken place before 2009 in Iran.

BILL ROGGIO, SENIOR FELLOW, FOUNDATION FOR DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES: In the video, Hamza is being married to the daughter of a senior Al Qaeda leader. Osama bin Laden, in his documents, is very interested in the growth of Hamza as a young man.

TODD: Osama bin Laden, in hiding at the time, clearly couldn't attend Hamza's wedding. But analysts say he was eager to see the video, and he made sure senior Al Qaeda figures were in attendance. U.S. officials say, Hamza bin Laden was at his father's side right before and after 9/11, then went on the run.

Earlier this year, Hamza, now believed to be in his mid to late 20s, released a recording calling for lone wolf attacks on America and its allies.

HAMZA BIN LADEN, OSAMA BIN LADEN'S SON (through translator): If you are able to pick up a firearm, well and good. If not, the options are many.

TODD: Tonight, a senior U.S. counterterrorism official tells CNN, a resurgent Al Qaeda now could be grooming Hamza bin Laden for future roles. Analysts say he could be in line to become the terror group's next overall leader.

MATTHEW LEVITT, SENIOR FELLOW, THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: Because he is bin Laden's preferred son, because he has the right name, he's got the blood in his veins. Ayman al-Zawahiri is a sandpaper of a personality, not much loved.

TODD: Tonight, we've learned that what SEAL Team 6 recovered from the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad was a large video collection of popular American films like Ice Age and Cars, and even a funny viral YouTube video of a young British boy and his infant brother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlie bit me.


TODD: And since there were young children in bin Laden's compound when he was killed, those videos could well have been just for them, but the fact that bin Laden had them in his possession is interesting, analysts say, since his diary, which is also part of this new release, indicates that he went to Britain when he was a young man and came away with a hatred of the west thinking it was too decadent but he had those Hollywood films in his possession in that compound, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, he did. Regarding that wedding video of Hamza bin Laden, Brian, why was he in Iran for his wedding?

TODD: Wolf, intelligence officials say Hamza bin Laden and other top al Qaeda figures were taken in by the Iranians after 9/11, sometimes placed under house arrest, sometimes not. And one of the new revelations from these bin Laden files is that Iran and Al Qaeda have had a much closer relationship than was previously thought. CIA officials telling us tonight that Iran and Al Qaeda still have an agreement not to target each other.

[17:55:12] BLITZER: All right. That's potentially very, very significant. Brian Todd, thank you. Coming up, breaking news, CNN has learned that the President's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has turned over documents to the Russia probe special counsel. Investigators are now asking about Kushner's role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Could an obstruction of justice case be in the works?


BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news, son-in-law trouble. CNN has learned that the special counsel's team is now looking into Jared Kushner's role in the firing of former FBI Director James Corey.