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Speaker Ryan Talks Health Care Bill; Mueller Probe Focus on Michael Flynn, Son; Trump Advises CIA Director to Meet with Conspiracy Theorist; Rand Paul Attack in Court Today. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired November 9, 2017 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: David, I have to interrupt you.

I have to head to Capitol Hill. House Speaker Paul Ryan speaking with reporters. Let's listen in.

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: -- every income level. You know, you know how much I love this stuff. I love helping craft and shape policy, especially tax policy, that's been nearly a lifelong passion of mine, but it's not just because I think it's fascinating. I love doing this stuff because this policy actually really helps improve people's lives. People are sick of the status quo. People are sick of being left behind by a tax code while special interests are given a leg up by carve outs and loopholes. I love this stuff because we've been crafting good legislation that means bigger paychecks for American families, it means fairer tax, more jobs. That's what this is all about. $1182, $1182. Is how much the typical household will see in their paychecks. That's an average household. We're doubling the standard deduction increasing the child tax credit lowering tax rates across the board. That's not all. Middle income families -- middle income family, estimates show they will see a pay raise. This would result in 3.1 percent higher wages for people. That means more take home pay every month in addition to a tax cut. Higher pay, lower taxes.

Yes, there are details that are being ironed out in the committee process. That is exactly how the legislative process is supposed to work. I want to commend chairman brady and members of the Ways and Means Committee for their excellent work. We're doing this the right way, doing this the regular order way. It takes time but we're going to get this over the finish line. We're going to get this over the finish line because we need to get this done for American families, for people who will be helped by simpler, fairer taxes and today, we're taking one big step closer to fulfilling that goal.


You're out of breath. I'm kidding.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The Republicans yesterday dismissed many of the results in Virginia and New Jersey as a blue state, but there are vulnerable Republicans in those states. Why is it a good idea to eliminate the state and local tax deduction in a bill that could make that a tougher vote for those vulnerable members? RYAN: When you take a look at tax reform you have to take a look at

bill in totality and look at the fact that we're doubling the standard by doubling the standard -- oh, lost my postcard. Geez. I feel naked without my postcard. Doubling the standard deduction, I was going to see if I had an assist over there. No postcard. All right. Look, do you guys have a postcard on you? You don't. So, Christina, by doubling the standard exemption, right there, 90 percent of Americans will fill out their taxes picture this in your mind the form a size of a postcard. Number two, when you actually say for your first $24,000 instead of $12,000 that's tax free, if you have children you're going to have a $1600 per child tax credit, lowering rates, when you take the thing in its totality what the analysis shows us, whether from JCT, from the Tax Foundation or even TPC, that average Households at every income level see a tax cut. When you look at the fact that this produces faster take-home pay, higher, faster wages, growth, faster economic growth and bigger paychecks it's going to be a big thing for everybody no matter what state you come from.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) many of them can't vote for the bill because of the provision?

RYAN: As you see we also allow a $10,000 property tax deduction. So in conjunction with the discussions having with our members in these states, hundreds of billions of dollars have been added back to the bill to accommodate those legitimate concerns so people are benefitting.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You haven't been making, you have been making the case to your members that the House control by Republicans could be in jeopardy if you don't pass tax reform. That said, you know if you look historically what has happened in the first mid-terms of presidents when they have passed big initiatives, crime bill in 1994, certainly Obamacare in 2010 that party has lost. Explain why you think it is so essential that this would preserve the majority? You don't get the majorities to sit on. You get ones to pass big policy and burn seats.

RYAN: I would take -- I think it's a very interesting analog but I would say the crime bill in '93, Obamacare those are unpopular bills. This is not unpopular. We're actually letting people keep more of their own money and cleaning out the loopholes of the tax code and having a fairer tax system. Faster economic growth, bigger cuts. That's not an unpopular thing to do. By the way, this is something we ran on. We didn't -- we didn't do like some of the Democrat majorities of the past and pass a big huge thing on an unsuspecting country. We ran in 2016 on doing the tax reform. The president ran on doing this tax cut and reform. This is about fulfilling our promise to the American people. This is about actually improving people's lives and making a positive difference and I fundamentally believe we -- when we do this, make good on our word make good on our promise and make people's lives better we will be just fine politically.

(CROSSTALK) [11:35:23] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I'm sorry. I don't do the yell- out thing.

Abigail Roberts, from the Christian Broadcasting Network.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There are -- a lot of our viewers are concerned about the child adoption tax credit being not included in the House bill. Is that something you would like to see in the final bill and have there been efforts to preserve it?

RYAN: I would direct you to the Ways and Means Committee and the mark up today. And I should -- you should bring that question there. That's among the things that the Ways and Means Committee is considering.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you think the policy for health care belong in the tax reform package? You're talking about repealing the mandate as part of that?

RYAN: That's one of the many things our members are talking about. Those kinds of conversations are ongoing. Of course, I want to get rid of the individual mandate.


RYAN: Any way I can. I think it's doing great damage to people. We're making people buy something they don't want. I don't think this is good policy for our country and it's wrecking our health care system. Whether or not it goes into any particular piece of legislation those are the conversations we're going to have along with many other issues with our members on an ongoing basis.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, the Senate is releasing the bill today and what we've heard it might be drastically different from what you guys have put out over here, either phase in or phase out of the tax rate, fully repeal SALT, even though you talked about the importance of the compromise, is that going to be problematic for resolving and a Democratic aide overheard you joking with Mitch McConnell about going to conference? Are you going to conference?

RYAN: Put the political hack aside, we are going to conference, and that's the point I've been making. We're going to conference. That wasn't a joke. That was -- the person I don't know who -- which hack did that, but, you know, if you were there we're going to conference. Why are we going to conference? We're doing this the right way. The Senate bill will be different because that's the legislative process. But what's encouraging in all of this is, just as we discussed at the front end of this process, we have a framework that we established with the White House and the Senate and these bills are being written with inside that framework. The House will pass its bill, the Senate will pass its bill and we will reconcile the differences. That's how this process will continue.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thanks. I wanted to ask you a follow-up on the politics of this. You talked about how this will affect individuals and families, earning from 50 to 150,000 a year that's important, but I think where Democrats think they can make some headway is with these upscale suburbs that have long been a part of the Republican coalition that are going to look at this, and own very expensive homes, make more money than a lot of what you've been talking about --


RYAN: Kind of ironic, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Right. But in their view, voters think they're not starving but they stop working all their money goes away and the Democrats will be able to make headway saying the Republicans are passing a tax plan not helping you. Maybe your taxes are going up a little, maybe not going down, you're rearranging the desk chairs and you still need your accountant. This a problem for you for Republicans potentially with an important part of your coalition that helped you win in 2016 if the tax plan does help a lot of people but doesn't help people voting for Republican a long time?

RYAN: We're not doing this for political benefit. We're doing this to improve people's lives. We're doing this to get this country back on track. We're doing this to get economic growth. Look, we haven't had a 3 percent economy in about a decade. Do you know what happens to a country that grows so slowly? Wages are flat. Living standards get flat. Economic anxiety and insecurity goes up. That's what's happening in this country today. And you wonder why we have a lot of anxiety and polarization in America. When people are worried about whether they can put food on the table or pay the energy bill next week, next month, that's a real problem in America. The purpose of this legislation is focused on not giving the highest income earners the biggest tax breaks. The purpose on the legislation is giving middle income tax families a break. And you got to remember half the country is living paycheck to paycheck. I just saw a survey that says a third of Americans feel that their $400 away from a financial crisis in their family. That's who needs relief in this country. And by the way, when you get our tax rate downs and our businesses as deeply as we're dropping them in the bill we're proposing that's good for everybody. That's good for jobs, good for wages, good for economic growth. And so this isn't an appropriations bill. This is an economic growth bill. This is a middle-income fairness bill. This is a fairness bill which is, yes, if you have an accountant and can navigate the deductions and loopholes, the deductions and loopholes, you can get a good deal. But why do we want to have a tax code so rigged? Don't we want a tax code that's simple and easy and fair? That's what we're trying to accomplish. Look at all of the analysis, TPC, JTP or Tax Foundation, they tell you that average families in all income groups see a tax cut.

[11:40:46] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Speaker following up on that, a lot of those analyses that you cited say that in the out years these families more of these families will see a tax increase. That seems primarily --

(CROSSTALK) RYAN: Primarily due to sunsets, right?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Primarily due to the sunsets.

RYAN: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you talk about why you've chosen to do those, when so many of the things on the cooperate and business side are permanent, why not make some of those things to keep the middle- class stuff --

RYAN: That's a good question. You see both. You see the expense provision sunset. Business provision sunset and individual provision sunset but in our bill the primary provisions the big provisions like the rates and child tax credit those things are made permanent. Why? Because certainty is important for economic growth and that's why we believe if you sunset the wrong provisions, you will actually could damage to economic growth and forward planning. But what we learned from the economic standpoint of the things that are sunset, are done in a way they won't damage economic growth they will encourage economic growth and also it's just to be conforming with the rules. Senate budget rules that we have to be mindful of and we want to make sure when he passes a bill out of the House that bill ads here to the Senate rules so that we can use the reconciliation tool we need to use to pass tax reform. Those sunsets things that are done to make sure the bill conforms to the rules. We don't personally like in the House, but we need to follow if we want to make sure that's privileged.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There is this expectation that Congress will act later to extend those.

RYAN: I believe that as well.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Doesn't that imply then that the deficit impact will be greater?

RYAN: As you know we are concerned that the dynamic scoring would not be allowed on the Senate again because of the rules. But we are convinced based upon lots of research, lots of economic modeling, that you will see faster economic growth result from this bill. You will see higher wages, more jobs, bigger paychecks, bigger GDP, and if you see a bigger economy that means you get more revenue. We're confident there's two things you need to do to get our fiscal House in order. Grow the economy, get people working and paying taxes and deal with spending, especially entitlement spending. More work to do. The House has passed bills over and over. But that doesn't peen you stop working to grow the economy. This is our signature issue the most important thing we can possibly do to get a bigger economic pie for all Americans for growing this economy which is really important for our fiscal future.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, about a dozen House Republicans just a few hours ago called for DACA to have some sort of -- have a fix by the end of the year. Do you think it's important that DACA have a fix by the end of the year and would you be willing to consider --


RYAN: I think it should be considered separately on its own merits. Number one. Number two we have until I believe march is the deadline we have with the president. I don't think there's need to have artificial deadlines within the one we have. Having said that, our members are having lots of conversations. A working group on this issue and that working group is going to spread out and start talking to the broader conference. I met with some members of the Senate who are also forming their own working group. So active discussions are under way with our members about how the DACA solution should occur, but I don't think we should put artificial deadlines in front of the one we have and it should be considered separately.

Thank you, everybody. Appreciate it.

[11:44:16] BOLDUAN: All right. House Speaker Paul Ryan speaking with reporters there. A big focus on the tax efforts in the House and the Senate. The House speaker noting with an optimistic tone saying we are going to get this over the finish line. Also, though, I think very noteworthy, asked if Obamacare, repeal of the individual mandate in Obamacare could be added to the House bill, he said I'll take a repeal of it and get rid of the individual mandate any way we can it's one of the many things we're talking about. It's definitely part of the conversation right now.

Up next, the Senate, that they are going to unveil their tax plan, and everyone is waiting to see just what comes out there.

And also this is coming up for us. The special counsel's Russia probe zeroing in on former Trump national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and his son. Both may be in legal jeopardy right now. Is Robert Mueller playing Flynn against Flynn? That's next.


BOLDUAN: Can a father's worry play into the special counsel Russia investigation? That is a question right now as sources tell CNN Michael Flynn is concerned about the legal exposure his son might face now in the probe, and that concern could determine how Flynn responds to it all. What is going on here?

We have CNN's crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, joining us know.

Shimon, what are you hearing?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Certainly that is a concern for Michael Flynn Sr. We're told by witnesses who have been interviewed by the special counsel investigators that they have been asking questions about police so his son, Michael Flynn Jr, his overseas trips and some of the income that has been earned from that. Flynn Jr served as his father's chief of staff. He was actively involved in some of her father's consulting and lobbying work. And there is that famous trip to Moscow in 2015 when Flynn dined with Vladimir Putin. It was a black-tie gala for Russia today television. Came under scrutiny, been the focus of questions from investigators. And the investigation by the Mueller team is also looking at some undisclosed lobbying during the campaign that Flynn Sr. did on behalf of the Turkish government. So all of this certainly has Flynn Sr concerned we're told because there is that chance that they may be trying to get to Flynn Jr as a way to get to Michael Flynn Sr.

[11:50:53] BOLDUAN: Fascinating.

Shimon, great to see you. Thank you so much.

Let's discuss this. Mike Baker is here. He's a former CIA operative, and Paul Callan, our CNN legal analyst.

Gentlemen, great to see you.

Paul, what do you make of the reporting that he is concerned about the exposure that his son may have and that may play into how he responds?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think a lot of American citizens would be surprised to find out that this is routine in federal investigations where --


BOLDUAN: Father against the son?

CALLAN: Father against the son, a wife against a husband. A lot of times you'll have a case where the wife signed off on the tax returns and they will go and they will say, if you don't plead guilty, if you don't cooperate, we're going after your wife and your kid because he was involved. They may be try being to turn Flynn Sr. and, say if you don't supply us with the information, your son will get indicted. It's a common tactic.

BOLDUAN: Does it work?

CALLAN: You bet your life it works. If you think your wife or son may wind up in prison because of something that you did, you will pretty much do anything to protect them.

BOLDUAN: Mike, I want to pick your brain on a different element of this Russia investigation. George Papadopoulos, a name we have heard so often, there is now news that he met -- first off, this is somebody that the campaign has called a nobody. White House says he's basically not part of them at all, not part of anything that he did. He was a foreign policy adviser, one guy calling him a coffee boy. But now we've learned that he met with a British foreign official in September of 2016. Would the British be meeting with a nobody or coffee boy two months before the election?

MIKE BAKER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, the foreign officer there in the U.K. will do what any other foreign office will do at that point where we have a national election. They will be looking just like you remember the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, he was doing what he is supposed do, he is trying to figure out who is next in charge and line up those relationships. So does it make sense that the British would be doing that? Of course, it does.

But the question is how was he positioning himself. Now, he was a BOLDUAN: volunteer for the campaign. But he could have been out there overegging the pudding, talking about his importance within the campaign. I have no idea. So that is going to have to come out. What was he saying to the foreign office, what was he saying to other people, what was he saying to Russians about his importance within this. I suspect that he was puffing himself up.

BOLDUAN: That's what you suspect. Fascinating.

And another element I want to ask you about, CIA Director Mike Pompeo meeting with a known conspiracy theorist, who basically questions all the intelligence that the CIA has backed in terms of that Russia is behind the Russian meddling. This guy actually thinks that it was an inside job from the director. What is your reaction as a former CIA -- as a member of the team?

BAKER: It was weird for him to have the meeting. I suspect Pompeo had the meeting because he was being pushed into having the meeting by the president and he's the CIA director and the president was probably saying no, no, seriously, meet with this person. And I think Trump was being fairly insistent about this. I think this would have been fine if I had been the director and I was feeling that sort of pressure to actually hold a meeting with this individual who was putting out this kind of strange theory frankly, I would have at the end of the day had one of my lieutenants do it and give very clear direction. Pompeo to his credit came up before and after the meeting and said we stand by the assessment from January of this year and said of course the Russians were meddling in the election, there is no question they were playing both sides. Both sides of this equation got played by the Russians in classic sort of KGB, FSB now, faction.

BOLDUAN: But that is why the meeting, in and of itself, why so many people are scratching their heads.

Great to see you both. Thanks, guys. Really appreciate it.

Now to another mystery, if you will, surrounding the assault on Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. The mystery is deepening. Rand Paul was allegedly attacked by a neighbor. He has six broken ribs now, water in his lungs. And other neighbors say that the men were arguing, if you can believe it, over lawn maintenance. But two retweets from the Senator seeming to cast doubt on that story. And this morning, the man accused in the attack pleaded not guilty in court.

Let's get over there, figure this out. Senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, is following the story.

Drew, what happened in court. Tell me what you're picking up.

[11:55:20] DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, in court it was very simple. Rene Boucher, the 17-year-old neighbor and lawn sharer with Senator Rand Paul, went into court, pled not guilty to fourth degree assault, a misdemeanor, and left. It happened within a matter of minutes. They set a pretrial motion for later. What we did not hear much about at all, in fact nothing, was the

motive in this attack and why it took place. We can tell you that Senator Rand Paul has now hired a personal injury attorney. This is according to Rene Boucher's own attorney, who apparently will seek claim damages under the homeowner's warranty on that house. But the motive, those retweets this morning were very odd and conflicting with what we've learned on the ground.

Matt Baker is the attorney for the man accused, Rene Boucher. I talked to him and he reiterate that had this was absolutely not about politics. But here you have Rand Paul saying it may have been about politics. So we just don't know -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Definitely gaining more intrigue, that's for sure.

Drew, thank you so much. We'll see. We have not seen Rand Paul since then. We'll see when we will hear from him next.

Great to see you, Drew. Thank you.

Coming up for us, it is the biggest day yet in the Republican effort to pass major tax reform. Senate Republicans are set to unveil their own plan to reform and overhaul the tax code on Capitol Hill any moment now. What is their version? How far apart are they from the House? How much will it cost? And will it give Republicans a much need win on the board?