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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Roy Moore's Attorney Questions Accuser's Credibility; Trump Dodges Questions About Roy Moore; President Refuses To Comment On Roy Moore Accusations. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 15, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room. Erin Burnett OutFront starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next, breaking news. Roy Moore fighting back. His lawyer trying to poke holes in one accuser's story, even questioning his signature in her high school yearbook.
Plus, President Trump's silence, not weighing in on Roy Moore despite pleas from his party.
And thirsty Trump. Is the president taking a page from Marco Rubio's playbook?
Let's go OutFront.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, the breaking news, Roy Moore fights back. Roy Moore ignoring increasing pressure to get out, step aside in the Alabama Senate race offering a defense tonight.
Moore's attorney in a bizarre press conference moments ago went after one of Moore's accusers, Beverly Young nelson and her attorney, Gloria Allred. Attorney Philip Jauregui demanding that Nelson release her high school yearbook for a handwriting analysis. Moore's attorney trying to make the case that the Christmas greeting in the book signs love Roy Moore when he was 30 and she is 16 was in fact not written by Moore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILIP JAUREGUI, ATTORNEY ROY MOORE: You may remember on Monday, Ms. Nelson and Ms. Allred in support really the only piece of evidence they had in addition to the allegations was a yearbook where they claimed it had been signed. And they said specifically, look back at what they said. Everything on that page they said was written by Judge Moore. Now Judge Moore not only has denied everything she said before, but now flatly denies that and he says it's not true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jauregui released a copy of Nelson's 1999 divorce papers as well. Moore was the judge assigned to that divorce case something Moore's attorney revealed tonight. Then the attorney claimed Moore's signature on the document does not match the one in Nelson's yearbook.
Moments ago, Gloria Allred spoke to CNN calling out Jauregui, echoing what she told me last night, essentially saying, bring it on.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR ROY MOORE ACCUSER: We also urge the committee to subpoena Roy Moore to testify under oath about his denials of the accusations that have been made against him.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLRED: He needs to do that explaining under oath and there's time to do it. It should be done in the next two weeks. The election is in four weeks, so let's have it on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Allred tonight though, stopped short of saying her client would submit to an actual lie detector test. And she did not confirm or deny whether Moore was the judge overseeing her client's divorce.
Now, Moore's campaign manager won't go as far as Allred tonight though on this issue of testifying under oath which is so core here. He completely dodged the question tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Judge Moore plan to testify under oath like Ms. Allred asked him to?
BILL ARMISTEAD, MOORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Start on this side. This is the legal matter. Legal expert has spoken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jason Carroll is OutFront tonight in Birmingham. And Jason, as this was happening, the people who actually decide Moore's fate as a Senate candidate are meeting behind closed doors and what's happening there?
JASON CARROLL, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. You're talking about the GOP State Steering Committee here in the state of Alabama. And that meeting is still going on.
That meeting was decided that they would have this meeting, these 21 members of these real local power brokers. They decided after that fifth accuser came out on Monday that this -- that they should get together and meet and decide something about Roy Moore.
The question is, what is this meeting going to accomplish and what are these members going to do? That is the big question that a lot of folks across the state are asking because if you look at the reality of what's happening here, it's too late to remove his Moore's name from the ballot in time for December 12th.
So, perhaps the meeting could conclude and the members could come out and say, well, look, we're not in support of Roy Moore. That seems unlikely from what we're hearing or they could come out and say we do support Roy Moore.
Roy Moore himself has just come out with a statement just within the past minute. Let me read part of it to you. It says, "I am suffering the same treatment other Republicans have had to endure." He goes on to say, "I deny the allegations of the accusers. I did not date underage girls."
What it really comes down to at this point, Erin, is what other voters going decide here in the state of Alabama. I've been between Birmingham now and Gadsen where Roy Moore is from, and I can tell you, there are still a number of people in this state who continue to support Moore. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Jason Carroll.
And OutFront now, John Merrill, Alabama's secretary of state. A Republican and the state's top election's official and I appreciate you're being back on the show. Secretary Merrill, thank you.
You have until now stuck by Roy Moore. The accuser, his team is talking about tonight, Beverly Nelson is willing to testify under oath in front of the Senate. She said she's fine with independent experts looking at the yearbook there.
She's willing to go under oath but his lawyer did not indicate he was today. Do you think, after what happened today she is lying or not?
[19:05:01] JOHN MERRILL, ALABAMA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I don't know Ms. Nelson just like i don't know the other four accusers that were introduced last Thursday. I do think that this is appropriate to have as much vetting as can possibly take place to ensure that we have as much information as can possibly be introduced for the people of Alabama to be in the strongest position possible to make the most informed choice that they can make for the U.S. Senate election that will be held on December the 12th.
BURNETT: Do you think the truth matters here?
MERRILL: Oh, the truth matters greatly. I think the truth matters in all cases whenever an allegation has been made, it should be proven true or proven false and that helps people decide who they need to support and why.
BURNETT: So when it comes to -- I mean, we're talking about Beverly Nelson here, when it comes to the other four accusers, all four of whom were detailed in the Washington Post's expensive report. They spoke to more than 30 people who verified their accounts. More than 30 people.
So given that we cannot get in that time capsule and go back in time and see what happened, you have 30 people who talked to these women over the years including at the time. Do you still not think that they are telling the truth? You're not willing to go that far?
MERRILL: Well, I don't know if they're telling the truth or not. And again, this is not about me and it's not about my support of Judge Moore. What it is about is about properly informing the people of the state of Alabama about what has occurred.
If Judge Moore has proof that he was not involved in these situations, then I'm sure that they will introduce that evidence and when they introduce it that will give more information for the people of Alabama to properly consider.
I'm only one voter. But my job is to ensure that we have safe, secure, and fair elections that are credible, that have integrity and credibility at the level that our people expect they should and that we've been providing and we will continue to provide.
BURNETT: So right now, it's Roy Moore's word against what is it, 36 people at least, 37, 38, 39, if you count the people and the people that they told at the time, right. So what I'm trying to understand is, at what point is it enough for you, sir? You have the power to take him off the ballot.
MERRILL: No, no, we don't have the power to remove anyone from the ballot. I think it's important to remind your viewers that as of October 11th, that's when all the party candidates were confirmed. We only have two candidates on the ballot, Judge Moore and Doug Jones.
BURNETT: Right. So you're the one, the GOP -- I understand your point.
MERRILL: -- and there's no way that a candidate could be removed from the ballot after October 18th.
BURNETT: Right, but you can get to a situation -- I'm sorry, I just want to be clear. You can get to a point where a vote for him would not count, right. The GOP would say he's not allowed to run. So then, yes, he's on your ballot, but those votes don't count.
What I'm getting is there are lot of people here like (INAUDIBLE) Paul Ryan -- let me just finish my point. I'm sorry.
They can say he's not fit to serve, but you are one of the few individuals who actually can do something about that, right? So that's why I keep asking. What will it take for you to stand up and say he needs to go.
MERRILL: Yes ma'am. We have to make sure that we understand no one can be removed from the ballot at this particular time because of the date that has already passed. And if he receives the most votes, then he will be the winner. If Jones receives the most, he'll be the winner.
But if Judge Moore disqualifies himself formally or if the state party disqualified him and he receives the most votes, the election will be null and void.
BURNETT: Right, that's what actually on my understanding. But you play a part and the party can come to you and say, take his -- you know, do this. Activate this and you do that.
And so that's why I'm saying, your word matters a lot, right. If you say, well, look, we're now at 30x people versus one. I'm not going to ask you what your number is, but my point is, you're not there yet. You're not there yet on saying that --
MERRILL: Yes, ma'am, we cannot remove him from the ballot and again, it's not about my personal position and what needs to happen with my vote. It matters what the people of Alabama want to have happen and we have 3,315,531 registered voters in Alabama. We expect that their voice will be heard and their vote will be counted on December the 12th.
BURNETT: Yes. Well said, sir, and I -- and I mean, this is as a compliment to you. Your opinion and your voice do matter.
MERRILL: Yes, ma'am.
BURNETT: They do matter. So that's the only thing I would say and again, I mean, that as something as power. The power --
MERRILL: Well, I appreciate your saying that. Yes, ma'am, thank you.
BURNETT: -- to hopefully not dodge taking a stand.
MERRIL: Yes, ma'am.
BURNETT: Thank you so much. I appreciate --
MERRILL: No, we just want to make sure people have all the information they can and that they make their most informed decision possible.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Secretary. I appreciate your time again.
MERRIL: Yes, ma'am.
BURNETT: And now, let's go to Mark Preston, our senior political analyst, Stacey Honowitz, sex crimes prosecutor, and Paul Callan, former prosecutor.
Mark, your reaction to the secretary of state.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, very quickly. He said -- Secretary Merrill said he wanted to get as much information as possible for the voters of Alabama to make the correct decision.
Well, Roy Moore, has just sent a letter to Sean Hannity that's been released where he denies the allegations that had been made against him by the two women. One for sexual misconduct with a minor and one for the alleged sexual attack. [19:10:05] But what's most important in the letter that he sent to Hannity, is that he wrote, "I am suffering the same treatment other Republicans have had to endure." So, a, he's making it political, and at the very end, he said that because he is filing a civil suit that he will not be able to comment anymore about it. Meaning we may not hear from Judge Roy Moore about this again.
BURNETT: Right, so this means of course Stacey that this does at least from where we see now, it seems to be at a deadlock. You're not going get more information, right. You've got Gloria Allred coming out and saying her client's willing to testify under oath in front of the Senate Committee in the next couple of weeks. That's not going to happen.
So, he's now saying he's going to file, so he's not going to say anything so that's where we're going to be. He said versus a many she said.
STACEY HONOWITZ, SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Yes. I mean, that's you have. You have all these women coming out. You have Beverly Nelson who was sitting at a press conference with Gloria Allred, she is certainly was emotional. She was able to detail all of the facts that happened to her.
She testified what she said to the, you know, to the press that she told her husband, she told various people what happened. And now she says that she is willing to go in front of the Senate committee and certainly somebody, you know, a rape victim is nervous enough to go in front of a jury of six or 12 people in some states. Imagine that she's saying she has no problem going under oath in front of the Senate committee and being questioned about it.
So, you know, what they're looking at, we are at a place right now where they have to make a decision whether or not he should step aside. But as far as she is concerned, right now, a handwriting exemplar isn't really going to do much.
She (INAUDIBLE) from trying to say, I know him, he knows me. It's not like Monica Lewinsky who saved, you know, the dress to say this is what happened. He signed her yearbook.
I don't think she saved that in anticipation that later on, someone was going to challenge whether or not there was sexual contact between them. So right now, you know, unless -- he's not going to go under oath, his lawyers aren't going to let him go under oath in front of a Senate committee so we have to see where it goes.
BURNETT: Right, right. He's dodging that completely.
Now, Paul, this evidence, right, he's saying give me the yearbook, right and let's put it in front of experts. And by the way, Gloria Allred saying fine, if we go in front of the Senate committee, we're happy to let those experts look at it.
The signatures that they are saying is the issue. They're saying Roy Moore's signature on the 1999 divorce case of the accuser and the signature the accuser says was Roy Moore's signature in her yearbook. They're saying, you know, this is the evidence. This is it.
How easy or difficult will it be to determine if what we see on the bottom, Old Hickory House, that's in the yearbook, is his?
PAUL CALLAN, FORMER PROSECUTOR: There are two things that can happen. You can have handwriting experts look at this to see if the handwriting matches. And they testify in court all the time and -- but I'm betting just looking at this handwriting, whoever wrote both of them sort of was trying to imitate the other signature, so I'm betting you'll see battling experts.
One will say it's legitimate, both signatures the other will say it's a forged signature on the yearbook. But there's a second test that can be done and that's a chemical test that of the ink.
What a lot of people don't realize is that, you can determine the age of an ink in many cases. The IRS loves this because if you try to back date your receipts, they'll know what the date of the ink was. So I'm betting that they'll be able to date the ink on the yearbook and be able to establish whether that was made well after the graduation or at the time of the graduation.
There's one other thing I just wanted to add also. Judge Moore's statement that he cannot comment anymore because he's filed a civil case --
BURNETT: By the way, I think we should all just note. If he really wanted to talk to people, he'd put something out there. I mean, he's sending a letter to Sean Hannity, who is a television personal.
CALLAN: Who has been supporting him, and to say I can't talk because I filed a lawsuit is total nonsense. Any civil litigant can talk about their case as much they like. There's no restriction in court against that.
So that's a phony excuse to avoid being questioned by the press.
BURNETT: OK, which is hugely significant because again, he's not being questioned by the press. He's only talking to friendly people.
I mean, Mark, on this front, Gloria Allred is saying, let's go to the Senate committees. And I just want to see if what she's saying adds up, OK.
She's saying to Senate committee she's willing -- her client is willing to go under oath in front of them. But I want to play an exchange that happened between Allred and Wolf Blitzer moments ago on this front. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: But why do you need a Senate hearing on this? Why not just put an independent handwriting examiner to go back, look at the yearbook and see if it was genuine that signature or a forgery?
ALLRED: Well, all I can say is that, we want it done in a professional setting to the extent possible. That's the only setting in which people can testify under oath. And that's what we think is most important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:15:07] BURNETT: So Mark, to understand whether her offer to testify under oath really is real, and something that we can say OK, you trust her more because of that. Before I wonder which, the only form under which she's agreeing to do so matters, right. So she's saying she'll do it in front of the Senate. Is there a chance they would do that or is this just kind of a false flag?
PRESTON: Absolutely not. What she has done is that she's called the bluff on them, Erin, by them pulling together a hastily called news conference, she's turning around saying, let's go to the United States Senate. I will tell you right now, the Republican-led United States Senate does not want this spectacle in their chamber.
BURNETT: Right. But there are other -- let's just be clear, Paul and Stacey, there are other professional forms in which we can have --
CALLAN: One is the Alabama legislature. They run the elections in Alabama. They could hold immediate hearings on the issue and subpoena all the parties involved. So there are lots of mechanisms that could be used to get them in front of a committee under oath to answer questions.
BURNETT: All right, then of course, all we have tonight is --
HONOWITZ: If his lawyer would ever let him do it.
BURNETT: Right, his lawyer saying he's not going to comment any further except for of course in this letter that he's released to a Fox News personality.
Thanks very much to all of you.
And next, one person not weighing in on Roy Moore, President Trump. His silence though speaks volumes.
Plus, is the Trump tax plan in danger tonight?
And sexual harassment by members of Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the young staffer is a young woman, went there and was greeted with a member in a towel. At that point, he decided to expose himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:20:22] BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump tonight dodging questions about Senate hopeful Roy Moore. The president speaking for 24 minutes today just about touting his six days in Asia, refusing to comment on whether Moore should drop out of the Senate race after being accused of sexually abusing at least two women who were teenagers at the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Roy Moore resign, Mr. President?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe Roy Moore should resign?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Boris Sanchez is OutFront, live at the White House tonight. And Boris, what are officials there saying as to why the president is choosing to publicly be silent on this?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's no official line from the White House on the president's silence on this, Erin, however, a Republican source close to the White House tells my colleague, Jeff Zeleny that the president's silence is rooted in his own past controversies.
That source saying the president is apprehensive about getting into a conversation about sexual misconduct because of his own previous accusers. According to this source, the president believes that those accusers treated him unfairly and suggest that some of Roy Moore's accusers are also treating the candidate for Senate in Alabama unfairly as well.
Despite the president's silence, his daughter Ivanka gave a strong statement to the A.P. -- she tells them, quote, there's a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I've yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victim's accounts.
Despite the president's continued silence, sources though tell us that he is closely monitoring the situation. One actually telling us, quote, that he is quote, fed up with Roy Moore and would prefer if he dropped out of the race, but he is not saying that publicly, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Boris, thank you very much.
Tim Naftali is OutFront, our presidential historian, former director of the Nixon Presidential Library, along with April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.
Tim, now you're with me, let me start with you. The president's own daughter coming out and saying Roy Moore deserves a special place in hell because she has no reason to doubt the victim's account. The leader of the Republican Party though is silent.
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: That's really reminiscence of Charlottesville. The president wanted to have it both ways. He wanted to find a way to tell the far -- the alt-right he was really with them, but he also wanted to keep establishment Republicans somewhat happy.
And so in this case, the daughter of the president, Ivanka Trump, she says something, but the president doesn't say anything. Well, of course that's not good enough.
The president ought to set a standard for his party. You've got establishment Republicans in Congress who are making it clear that there's enough information and they that they believe the women. The president ought the stand with them.
BURNETT: And April, as you hear in the reporting, president not commenting on this because he doesn't want it become his past accusers. Fair excuse?
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Right. Well, the president's silence is deafening. That's what I'll say, Erin. And everything comes to the White House from war to peace and everything in between and Roy Moore is that in between right now.
You have to remember this president is -- or any president is considered a moral leader. And I remember back again, and I've talked about this before July of 2015 when I asked then President Barrack Obama about Bill Cosby, you know, (INAUDIBLE) at least were trying to have his medal taken way, his presidential medal taken away, and now, again, you have senators, U.S. senators looking at the possibility of not allowing this man to come if he wins to the U.S. Senate.
So this fair game, the president has to weigh in and it's really interesting right now. I want to see how this plays out as Steve Bannon, the president's former aide, chief aide is now still supporting Roy Moore.
So the president needs to say manager. He can't have it both ways.
BURNETT: And Tim, you know, the president did not address Roy Moore obviously during the speech and then you saw him as he left the room, wouldn't address it then either.
He did though spend about 24 minutes touting his trip to Asia and on Twitter, he decided to say he wanted credit for securing the release from China of three UCLA basketball players who were arrested for shoplifting, so they had stolen something, sun glasses, I believe.
He tweeted, "Do you think the three UCLA basketball players will say thank you, President Trump." They were headed for 10 years in jail. Now, of course, they did, you know, commit a crime. One can say 10 years, just out of control.
But the president did not choose to condemn the treatment of Chinese political prisoners when 1,400 of them according to congressional investigators right now.
[19:25:04] NAFTALI: Well, I remember in 2009 when many people were criticizing President Obama for (INAUDIBLE) term the apology tour, when he went around the world.
President Trump in Asia was awfully close to strong men who are not noted for their human rights, their treatment of their own people. Duterte in the Philippines and Xi in China. In a sense, President Trump was on an apology tour for strong men in Asia, so it doesn't surprise me at all that he didn't mention human rights abuses in China or the Philippines.
BURNETT: So, no human right abuses, April, asking basketball players to thank him for their freedom. Not answering questions about Roy Moore and as you say in deafening silence, not even taking a stand on Roy Moore. He shouldn't have had to be asked to take a stand on Roy Moore to the point.
RYAN: Well, you know, it shouldn't have been asked, but we did ask. Reporters did ask. But this president is now in the spotlight as it comes to Roy Moore. Someone in his party, someone who he did not endorsed.
But this has become not just an Alabama issue, it's become a Washington issue, a national issue. And it is in the headlines, and yes, even though the president may have accusers for something he has alleged or things that he's alleged to have done, he is still the president of the United States and those issues come to him even if he has something in his past, he still has to address this issue.
If not, it will be hanging over his head, it could be an albatross around his neck. And it could make things worse if he does not speak up forcefully one way or the other about the Roy Moore issue.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both so very much.
And next, Mrs. Roy Moore. She's going after the accusers. Spreading rumors that they're getting paid. So who is Kayla Moore?
And Jeanne Moos on Trump and Rubio. Kindred spirits or just two really thirsty guys.
BURNETT: Breaking news, Roy Moore's campaign and legal team firing back against one of the Alabama Senate candidate's accusers claiming that Beverly Young Nelson lied when she claimed she never spoke to Moore after the alleged sexual assault incident. Because Moore was the judge presiding over her divorce case. Also suggesting Moore's alleged message in Nelson's high school yearbook may be fake.
Moore's attorney made no mention of the other women who say Moore pursued them when they were teenagers including one who claims Moore initiated a sexual encounter when she was 14 years old.
Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill.
And, Manu, Roy Moore is holding firm, right? He's got this letter now he's sending obviously in an incredibly political manner to a television host on Fox. He doesn't seem to be going away. So, what can Senate Republicans do at this point?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Their hands are really tied at this point, Erin. Republicans are trying to mount this public pressure campaign to get Roy Moore to quit, something that he's, of course, not listening to. But even I talked to top Republican senators about the possibility of mounting a write-in candidate, even if Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, were to consider doing that, a lot of Republicans up here are not sure that would be actually successful, concerned that it would divide the Republican Party and lead to the election of the Democratic candidate in the race.
And some Republicans are even acknowledging that they cannot stop Roy Moore from getting seated even after he wins, including one person who is not a fan of Roy Moore, Susan Collins of Maine. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: First of all, I've looked at the case law very briefly and at institutional requirements, it appears that if Mr. Moore were to be elected, we would have no choice but to seat him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANU: So really the only option that they have is if you were to win would be to try to move forward on ethics committee proceedings that could lead to the expulsion of Roy Moore, something that two-thirds of the senators would have to vote for, if they agree with. But, first, they would have to drop out of the race and need President Trump's help for that, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Manu.
And OUTFRONT now, Republican congresswoman from Virginia, Barbara Comstock, who is in the midst of a battle right now to expose sexual harassment happening on Capitol Hill.
And, Congresswoman, welcome to the show. I appreciate you're being with me. And I want to ask you about that in a moment, because I know this is something you have taken on personally.
I want to start obviously with the case in point here, Roy Moore. Many of your fellow Republicans I've called on him to get out. He has made it very clear, he is not going to do so.
Tonight, he's invoking the commandments. He's sending a letter to FOX News.
Are Republicans stuck with Roy Moore?
REP. BARBARA COMSTOCK (R), VIRGINIA: Well, listen, I made my statement last week after this first came out. I think I was one of the first women in the house and address this. I've worked on child abuse issues, on human trafficking, on victims, that's why, you know, the issue we're here to talk about tonight on sexual harassment is of particular concern to me because of the victims.
So, I do think he should step down. I agree with what Ivanka Trump was reported she said. So, but I think, you know, the Senate's looking at all those others and I just haven't kept up on all those developments today --
COMSTOCK: -- because I've been working on other matters.
BURNETT: Yes, you did make your point clear and, of course, now, you're saying, you agree with Ivanka Trump. But, you know, the reality of it is, is the secretary of state from Alabama was on the program tonight and he's not going to take a stand on this. I mean, at this point, that's where it is, taking a stand, but he's not going to.
And, you know, if Moore wins, right, if he wins, if the Republican arty in Alabama doesn't stop this and he's seated in the U.S. Senate, how do you all work with him? I mean, because that's what going to happen, right? This expelling does not seem realistic. Am I wrong?
COMSTOCK: Well, I think, you know, you've had the RNC pull their money. You've had the senatorial committee doing it. You've had people across the political spectrum and the Republican Party. You've had even, you know, Sean Hannity calling for him to explain or step down.
So, you know, I think now, you know, I'll let the senators see how that's going to play out, but, you know, the reason, you know, I said what I said earlier is I, you know, felt this was a problem and particularly, you know, focused, you know, we were in preparing for the hearing we had this week on sexual harassment and I talked to a lot of people over the years. I've been an intern on Capitol Hill. I've been a staffer. I've been a counsel. And I've -- you know, now as a member, working on the committee that oversees these things. So, I do think it's important that we make a statement and I think all, you know, my colleagues have.
BURNETT: Are you disappointed in the president of the United States because he, of course, is the most powerful voice on this as the head of the Republican Party? He has said nothing.
COMSTOCK: Well, I don't -- we don't go as far back as some of the other people in the news. There's a lot of people that -- you know, we saw these things in the '90s when I was a staffer. And so, a lot of areas where you wish these things wouldn't happen.
And it is disappointing, but that's why we're trying to set up a new standard of policy because we tried to get ahead of this whole issue in Congress because we've seen it play out in the media. People like Mark Halperin who so many of us knew and saw.
COMSTOCK: I didn't know about that. Roger Ailes. You know, Harvey Weinstein in the entertainment industry.
[19:35:00] I've had people tell me who are in the entertainment industry about experiences and people they knew hand that's why we moved to have a hearing on this to really identify what the problem is on Capitol Hill.
And I'm happy to say when they reported yesterday that, you know, they aren't getting a lot of reports. Maybe that's good, but what we don't know is how big the problem is that's why we wanted to bring attention to it.
COMSTOCK: I think it is a moment right now. We've seen that with people who have come forward.
So, I think we need to focus on the victims. I do believe the woman in this case as I have with Roger Ailes and, you know, we're all dealing with this in a lot of different industries. So what I can deal is, what I can control is the House and why we want to pass new rules.
BURNETT: In the House. So, I want to play -- I want to play what you said. I mean, it's significant you believe the women. You're disappointed that the president hasn't said anything, but at the House hearing, you told a story about something that happened to a female staffer in Congress. It's disgusting.
I just want to play how you described it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMSTOCK: This member asked a staffer to bring them over some materials to the residence. And the young staffer is a young woman, went there and was greeted with a member in a towel. It was a male, who then invited her in. At that point, he decided to expose himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And, Congresswoman, your Democratic colleague, Jackie Speier, has also revealed two sitting members of Congress, a Democrat and a Republican, have been accused of sexual harassment.
Do you think Americans have a right to know who these lawmakers are or is that a step too far?
COMSTOCK: Well, I don't know Jackie Speier, the members she mentioned, so she has not told and I don't know if she just knows the investigation or actually knows the members. I do not know.
In the case of the incident that I relayed, because I had a friend who knew we were having the hearing, and knew about my concern about the issue, my friend told me about the victim that he knew that I described this situation. So, I was using it to make the point that this is present. This was
somebody about somebody who is a member right now. I don't know the member. I don't know the victim.
BURNETT: Well --
COMSTOCK: I have told my friend who relayed the story that I would -- you know, if the victim to come forward and talk to me, and explain -- you know, anything we can do or just provide us some guidance.
I called the woman who 30 years ago was the first woman to have a successful sexual harassment suit, Dorena Bertussi. That is a name that we should know, because Dorena came forward 30 years ago when she was a 34-year-old staffer to go up against a very powerful then California Democratic congressman, Jim Bates, who denied all of it and there were a number of people in the office.
So, I could still hear that pain in her voice 30 years later. And I know from other people who I've had those discussions with what a painful topic it is. How difficult it is for most women to come out and talk about it.
So, I appreciate some women want to keep this private --
COMSTOCK: -- but we want -- one of the big things that we're focusing on and I really have to give a lot of kudos to my colleagues, Jackie Speier focused on this and talked about her own experience.
Congressman Bradley Byrne, who is from Alabama and he's a great labor lawyer. He laid out in detail the policies that we should have in place --
COMSTOCK: -- have uniform policies to protect people, to be able to really protect the victims of this. And so, the speaker yesterday or Tuesday after our hearing said we're going to have mandatory training.
COMSTOCK: We're going to revise the training and really get much more upgraded training. We want to make sure we're not paying these settlements for, you know, the taxpayers aren't paying for any settlements like this. And I was, I've been working on bill that would say these big settlements like Harvey Weinstein or whoever else is trying to pay off women, that they don't get to deduct that as a business expense at the taxpayer expense.
BURNETT: All right.
COMSTOCK: So, I think we're working on -- and then I think what Dorena, that victim from 30 years ago, suggested and I thought was a good suggestion is to have an ombudsman for the victims so they can come forward safely, they can talk about their situation. They can decide what path to take.
And I do think we have, so -- we have to be able to allow them to decide what they want to do in these situations. But most importantly, we want to make sure they don't happen in the first place. So, that's why --
COMSTOCK: -- education and training and making sure people don't do, you know, anything like that, which was obviously appalling. And I've been -- I can tell you on a bipartisan basis, members came up to me yesterday and today saying I don't want anyone here like this. You know --
COMSTOCK: And very supportive of us.
So, I think we want we wanted to get ahead of this because we saw it. And, you know, I mean, you've seen in media, right?
BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman -- yes.
COMSTOCK: And we want to make sure we don't have this going on anymore.
BURNETT: Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.
And next, the Republican tax plan in trouble tonight.
[19:40:00] A top Republican senator says he can't vote for it.
And Roy Moore's wife, she's spreading an unfounded rumor her husband's accusers are being paid. So who is Kayla Moore?
BURNETT: Tonight, the Republican hopes for passing a tax plan are hanging by a thread because Ron Johnson says he won't support either the House or Senate plans in their current forms. He says they help corporations too much. If the vote falls along partisan lines and Johnson doesn't change his mind, the GOP can only lose one more vote.
Now, OUTFRONT now, Stephen Moore, former senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign, and Robert Reich, former labor secretary under President Bill Clinton. His new documentary, "Saving Capitalism" debuts on Netflix later this month.
Stephen, let me start with you. Let's start with the promise from the Trump administration. The treasury secretary of the United States, Steve Mnuchin, says the biggest company in America, Apple, has committed to bringing back money to the United States and investing here if they get this tax cut.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: Apple is kind of the poster child of this. So, the CEO of Apple has said to me when we go to a territorial system, we're going to bring back tens of billions of dollars and they're committed to invest that money here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Here is the problem with that promise though, Steve. Two of President Trump's top economic advisers, Gary Cohn and Kevin Hassett, were at a conference this week, OK, and it was on tape unfortunately for them. Here's what happened when the moderators asked the audience, which was all business leaders, if they would increase investments with their massive tax cut windfall.
Here's both times it was asked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BUSSEY, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: I ask you all a quick question. If the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase investment, your company's investment capital investment?
[19:45:04] Just a show of hands, if the tax reform goes through. OK.
GARY COHN, CHIEF ADVISER: Why aren't the other hands up?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again, please raise your hand if you're planning to pick up your own pace of investment in the next year? Same people.
KEVIN HASSETT, CHAIR, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: There are two --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least 70 percent. So, the lights are bright tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Steve, that is not what you want to see.
STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: No, sure isn't. I mean, look, we do want America -- the reason for this tax cut is to get Americans to invest in the United States. You know, Erin, I do my own kind of informal polls when I go around the country talking to business groups, said, you know, I don't talk to the big CEOs. You know, those are CEOs of maybe the hundred largest companies.
I'm talking to middle sized and small businesses and when I ask them that question, you know, will you, if you get this tax cut, will you reinvest it in the United States and more business and jobs and they say yes. A lot of them say, yes, I want to use that money to expand my business.
And, by the way, I hope that Bob Reich is able to save capitalism. That's the first thing you've said that I like. I love the idea of saving capitalism. I think it was tax cut that will do it.
BURNETT: I'm not -- don't change the topic though. Bob, let me give you a chance to respond. I mean, these big companies are the ones with the money, right, who ostensibly are the reason for the tax cut because they're the ones, right, who can get the lower taxes overseas, right? That's the whole government. They're not going to increase capital spending. That's a big problem, yes?
ROBERT REICH, FORMER U.S. LABOR SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, see, here's a problem, we did this in 2004. I mean, Steve Moore is acting as if we didn't -- we didn't have an experiment to test this theory. Under the George W. Bush administration, we did have had a repatriation, a tax holiday.
And what did corporations do with all that extra money? Did they invest it? Did they create more jobs? No. They just brought back their shares of stock, pumped up share prices. They provided more executive pay to the top executives.
This, we've done it and we've seen that there is no results. These big companies already have enough money. They've never had as much money as they have right now. They're hugely competitive. If they were going to make investments, if they needed to make investments, they would make them already.
But what are they doing with all their money even now? They are buying back their shares of stock, and they're buying other companies, they're pumping up executive pay.
BURNETT: So, Steve, can I ask you a point, because I want to take Apple specifically again because it is the most valuable company in the United States. The treasury secretary says they've made a commitment to him. So, they have more than $250 billion stashed overseas. That's the problem here.
But here's the thing. Just look at what happen l did. Three years ago, they reportedly moved subsidiaries which have cash from Ireland because the tax rate was going from as low as zero to 12.5 percent, to another low tax place, Jersey, a channel island off the coast of the U.K., where they are zero. So, looking at that track record, what would ever convince them that 20 percent is worth coming home for?
MOORE: OK. Well, that's a good question. First of all, Tim Cook has said, he said in "The Wall Street Journal" a few weeks ago that $100 billion, $150 billion would come back if we do the repatriation.
I just want to be clear on one point. There's two tax cuts here, Bob. There's a repatriation of bringing capital back, but other tax cut is cutting the corporate rate so that what do they invest, they won't have to pay as much tax on. We haven't changed that rate in 30 years, Bob. And explain why it's good for America why we have a 40 percent tax rate way up here and the rest of the world is 20 percent down here? It just doesn't work for America anymore.
BURNETT: Bob, please respond. REICH: Well, it does because effective tax rate, that is what corporations are actually paying, is just about the same as other foreign corporations are paying. That is when you consider all the reductions --
MOORE: No, it's not.
REICH: -- and all of the -- Steve, you and I have talked about this before and you have admitted that one of the big problems with this tax cut is that they don't close a lot of the loopholes that have allowed companies to actually have such a lower effective tax rate. That's the problem.
BURNETT: All right. I'm going to hit pause here. Thank you both.
MOORE: Well, let's get rid of the state and local deduction.
BURNETT: Thank you both. We'll see you again.
MOORE: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And next, Roy Moore's wife standing by her husband's side, taking on his accusers. And Donald Trump pulling a Marco Rubio, a move that, of course, he once mocked on Twitter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ha, ha, ha, I need water, help me. I need water. Help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:52:44] BURNETT: Breaking news, Roy Moore tonight fighting back against one of his accusers, questioning her credibility. His wife Kayla Moore is also not silent, accusing the media and political opponents of an all out assault against her husband.
Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT.
KAYLA MOORE, WIFE OF ROY MOORE: I've been married to this man for 32 years.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kayla Moore is not only standing by her man, she's joining her husband's fight against five women who've accused him of pursuing or sexually abusing them as teenagers.
BEVERLY YOUNG NELSON, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: I thought he was going to rape me.
GINGRAS: Beverly Nelson says she was 16 when Roy Moore sexually assaulted her in a car behind a restaurant where she worked.
At a news conference this week, she held up a yearbook she says was signed by Moore.
ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: This is absolutely false. I never did what she said I did. I don't even know the woman. I don't know anything about her. I don't even know where the restaurant is or was.
GINGRAS: Kayla went to the same high school and was in the same grade as Nelson. Kayla's picture in that same yearbook. She defends her husband now on social media, and post, calling out reporters detailing a civil suit against newspapers, and even one about that yearbook. A link to a conservative article claiming all the ways the inscription is a fake.
R. MOORE: Thank y'all.
GINGRAS: As for the latest allegations.
K. MOORE: These things are false. And it's ugly. It's the ugliest politics that I've ever been in.
GINGRAS: And political sparring is nothing new from Kayla. This is a post from 2015 CNN KFILE found, which promotes false claims that President Barack Obama was a Muslim. It was posted on Foundation for Moral Loss Facebook page. Roy Moore founded the nonprofit. Kayla served as its president.
Through the Christian Conservative Group, Kayla has argued against same sex marriage, transgenders in the military and oppose to lesbians serving in a leadership role at the Air Force Academy.
Roy and Kayla have been married for 32 years and have four children together. They met at a church Christmas party. Roy wrote about it in his autobiography, "So Help Me God."
R. MOORE: Sitting with her mother on the sofa against the wall was a beautiful young woman. I learned that her name was Kayla.
GINGRAS: The couple exchanged vows in 1985 when Kayla was 24, Roy was 38.
[19:55:05] Now, allegations of what he did before he met Kayla are haunting them both.
GINGRAS: And tonight, Kayla Moore continues to post on her Facebook page, calling all these accusations a political assassination. She says Alabama has, quote, been invaded by "The Washington Post" and liberal media, saying they're conducting a witch hunt. She also encourages her husband's supporters to visit his campaign page, fill out a form if there's any inappropriate contact by journalist -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Brynn. And next, Donald Trump making headlines by taking a drink of water. It was a pretty funny moment.
BURNETT: Donald Trump needed a drink today. Here's Jeanne Moos on the watershed moment.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump didn't have to eat his words he had to drink them. Eleven minutes into his speech his mouth got try.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Core principal to fairness.
MOOS: A few seconds later.
TRUMP: Seventeen thousand jobs.
MOOS: The president disappeared.
TRUMP: They don't have water. That's OK. What?
MOOS: Reporters pointed to a small table next to the lectern. To your right, sir, said one.
Now, the president stopping his speech to swig from a bottle of water would be no huge deal if he hadn't done this back during the campaign.
TRUMP: It's Rubio.
MOOS: Tossing water around the stage, he imitated Senator Marco Rubio and logged the entire bottle.
TRUMP: Ha, ha, ha. I need water. Help me. I need water. Help. And he's -- this is on live television.
MOOS: Then candidate Trump was mocking Rubio from the time Rubio desperately gulped down water while he was delivering the Republican response to the State of the Union.
So, what the Rubio say about Trump's parched moment? Similar but needs work on his firm. Has to be done in one single motion, and eye should never leave the camera. But not bad for his first time.
Pretty weak considering what Trump called him.
TRUMP: You're a choker.
MOOS: Rubio guzzle made in the U.S. Poland Spring while the president drank imported Fiji water, noted one reporter, Trump drinks Fiji water while decrying trade deficits. This year, the U.S. has $119 million deficit with Fiji.
After Rubio ducked to drink, Trump imitated him.
TRUMP: I said, where is he?
MOOS: Where are you?
"The Daily Show" commemorated Trump's Rubio moment, tweeting, President Trump's official portion unveiled.
You are looking at proof that water is never under the bridge.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And you know as they was happening he few all of those segments would happen and you can only hope he laughs as hard as all of us do. It was funny.
Thanks for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere on CNN Go.
"AC360" begins right now.