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WAPO: Two More Women Say Roy Moore Made Unwanted Overtures At An Alabama Mall; Moore's Team Questions Signature In Accuser's Yearbook; Ivanka Trump: "Special Place In Hell" For Child Predators; Markets Set To Open Higher Ahead Of Tax Bill Vote. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired November 16, 2017 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:00:00] CUOMO: It's such a hash tag, we are all in it together. They are still so hurting down there in the Harvey affected areas of Texas. We've got to care for each other.

CAMEROTA: Great to know. All right. Time for CNN NEWSROOM with Poppy Harlow.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. So glad you're with us. I'm Poppy Harlow.

And this morning the prospects for tax reform look very different depending literally on where you stand. On the House side of the U.S. Capitol, it's full speed ahead, with the floor vote coming today. And House Republican leadership very confident they'll get this thing through.

On the Senate side, though, Republican reservations and at least one flat-out rejection, a surprise rejection could mean real trouble for their version, which is still being tweaked. The no vote being promised right now by Republican Senator Ron Johnson is over so-called pass-through businesses.

What are these? These are small and medium-sized businesses that are not slated right now to get as big a tax cut as major corporations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: Those pass-through bills is really -- are the answer to economy growth, job creation, innovation in our economy. And so I'm just looking for a fair shake for all businesses to maintain the competitive balance and position of all businesses. Let's not upset that up and harm our economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: In a little over two hours President Trump will visit the House side. He's not going to have to do much arm twisting over there.

Our Manu Raju joins us on the Hill.

So he goes to the House, but that's pretty much a shoe in. Maybe he should go to the Senate side because he's got some bigger issues there.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. No question about it. Whatever passes the House -- the version that passes the House today is not the final version that's going to become law because already there's some significant differences with the Senate bill and there are senators raising concerns about the bill that is being considered right now by the Senate Finance Committee.

So undoubtedly they're going to make some more changes to win over some of these senators who are concerned, senators like Senator Ron Johnson, possibly Senator Susan Collins has also raised some concerns, as well as others who are still undecided about the bill, such as Senator Bob Corker who said that he would not vote for any bill that would raise the deficit.

There are also wild cards such as Senator Jeff Flake, no fan of this president, raised some deficit concerns himself. But one of the big things that's different between the House and the Senate bill is the addition in the Senate bill of the repeal of the individual mandate in the Obamacare health care law. That repeal -- the mandate is going to provide some more revenue for the Senate to push for some deeper tax cuts, but some are not as concerned about the impact that this would have on health care premiums across the country.

One of those senators is Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who told me yesterday she was not supportive of the idea of going this route.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: I am concerned tax reform and reduction is something that I am very much in favor of, and has a great deal of appeal for most Americans. I believe that if we start getting into health care issues with the individual mandate that we send a very mixed message.

RAJU: Will you oppose it if the repeal is included?

COLLINS: I'm still looking at the entire bill. I have other concerns as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: So she's not saying that she's going to vote no but certainly seems to be leaning in that direction.

But, you know, Poppy, a lot of these senators are raising concerns now because they want to get what they want in the underlying bill. Even though Senator Johnson, for instance, came out yesterday and said no, he did speak to Trump last night and there is a lot of expectation among Republican leaders that eventually they can get them to yes if they give him exactly what he wants through these negotiations.

The Senate Finance Committee expected to pass its bill this week. The Senate floor will be the real test. That's going to happen, the vote there, after Thanksgiving -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Right. Right. It's going to be tough. It's going to be messy when they come to conference on all of this.

Manu Raju, on the Hill, thank you very much.

Our chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here to talk about how this affects you. We hear so much about corporate, corporate, corporate, corporate.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right.

HARLOW: But the White House messaging is corporate cuts mean good for you. We'll see.

ROMANS: That's right. And let's see. There's two different versions of this, too.

HARLOW: Yes.

ROMANS: Don't forget, it's going to be hammered out. Two different versions of the tax bill. The House and the Senate version here, and it's judgment day today for the House bill. The House plan cuts taxes significantly next year, but favors the wealthy over time. On average American incomes will rise 1.6 percent next year, and that's about $1200 on average, but by the year 2027, the average break is a little less than that, about 0.9 percent, about $860 per family.

These tax cuts differed depending on how much you make. For the bottom half of earners, right here, for the bottom half of earners, cuts are less than 1 percent of their income. For those at the top, it's nearly 2 percent of their income.

But look at 2027. The yellow boxes here. The cuts for the lower income level nearly vanished. And the top earners, they're still benefiting here.

[09:05:02] So the reason why is because Republicans need a way to pay for tax cuts, so they're front loading some middle class goodies like child tax credit, but they'll expire in 2023, cutting into tax savings. But also reducing costs. That's also important.

Paying for tax cuts is one reason the Senate version repeals the Obamacare mandate, 13 million fewer Americans will be insured, not paying for those people save the government $338 billion, but also means premium hikes of about 10 percent. That's because the mandate forces younger, healthier people to buy insurance. And critics like Senator Susan Collins worry that those higher premiums could wipe out middle class tax relief.

Now eliminating the mandate is just one difference in the Senate tax plan from the House. The Senate plan has seven tax brackets. It lowers the rate for pass-through companies but it sunsets back. That's not permanent. That's really important. It lowers the corporate rate in 2019, that is permanent, and that is the core of some Republicans' concerns about this -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Some of the concerns that, you know, even the Republicans have on their own bill. ROMANS: Yes.

HARLOW: Christine, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

ROMANS: Sure.

HARLOW: Let's debate now. Joining me Stephen Moore, CNN senior economic analyst, former Trump campaign senior economic adviser, and Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under the Obama administration.

Gentlemen, nice to have you here. Stephen, let me begin with you. Good morning. On the Senate side of this bill making the only tax cuts permanent to be corporate tax cuts, the rest of them, as Christine just explained, will sunset.

How can Republicans keep selling this as a middle class tax cut when even the White House chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, said the most exciting group about all of this is going to be CEOs?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, look, I mean, those phase outs after -- was 2023.

HARLOW: Right.

MOORE: I am here to almost guarantee you, and I think Austan would probably even agree with this, but those will be extended. I mean, this is just the way around --

HARLOW: Maybe. Maybe they will. Hold on.

MOORE: Well, look --

HARLOW: That's assuming a lot. Maybe they will if you have Republican leadership.

MOORE: No, I mean --

HARLOW: And you have the appetite for it.

MOORE: Yes.

HARLOW: How can you vote on something with that assumption?

MOORE: Well, because the most popular things in the bill, even Democrats support increasing the child credit and doubling the standard deduction. So those are things that are not controversial. What is controversial is the corporate tax cut. You know, the Democrats won't go along with that. So -- let's say, even if the Democrats took over Congress and the presidency after 2020, you would still have I think broad support for extending those.

But, look, I think the main point here is, yes, this is really difficult, Poppy. You're exactly right. You've only got 52 Republicans, not a single Democrat is going to vote for tax relief this year, which I think is sort of a disgrace. And that means that gives a lot of leverage to every single Republican because they can't lose more than two. And we -- you know, remember, Poppy, we ran into the same problem with Obamacare, and they only came up with 49.

HARLOW: Yes.

MOORE: So I sure hope they get to 50 here.

HARLOW: Well, they've got a math problem now because Ron Johnson said no.

MOORE: Yes.

HARLOW: Susan Collins says I see a problem, we don't know what Flake, Corker and McCain are going to do, but Austan, to you, what do you make of the assumption that Stephen Moore is making, that these, you know, individual cuts will get passed again in -- you know, 2023?

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, ECONOMIST: Well, that sounds to me like someone trying to rationalize why you would have a bill that actually raises taxes on 45 million middle class people by the end of the window of the tax bill. That doesn't make sense and they are just trying to pull an accounting gimmick, as it were, to say well, let's not pay for that and let's assume that they'll for it in the future.

I think if the Republicans are in charge of the presidency, in both Houses of Congress, as they are now, they probably will extend those tax cuts and make more large corporate tax cuts or high income tax cuts.

I think if the Democrats come in power, they're not going to be looking to raise taxes on the middle class, they're going to be looking to get rid of these massive tax cuts that are aimed at the high end.

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: Hold on one second, guys.

MOORE: But, Austan, you just made -- you exactly made my point, which is everyone supports the child credit and everybody supports the standard deduction.

GOOLSBEE: And no one supports except a small number of donors in the Republican establishment.

MOORE: No, no, no.

GOOLSBEE: The main centerpiece of this tax cut.

MOORE: Yes.

GOOLSBEE: That's what I don't understand. Why do Republicans support that?

HARLOW: Hold on, guys. One point here, one point here, Austan. Yes, some middle class taxes and lower income taxes would go up in a decade, however many millions more are seeing a cut across the board here in both the House and the Senate version, the rates are going down.

But, Stephen Moore, you've got an optics issue at least for the White House on this one. Gary Cohn, White House chief economic adviser, praying that all of these corporate CEOs will hire with that money they would save on this big tax cut, but watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BUSSEY, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, WALL STREET JOURNAL: If the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase investment -- your company's investment, capital investment? Just a show of hands. If the tax reform goes through. OK.

GARY COHN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: Why aren't the other hands up?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[09:10:03] HARLOW: That is a room, Stephen, full of CEOs and about three of them raised their hands.

MOORE: Well --

HARLOW: Does that concern you?

MOORE: Well, actually, you know, because I saw that clip yesterday and I inquired about this, and most of the people who were in that room were not CEOs of companies, they were government affairs directors, they were lobbyists.

And I got to tell you, Poppy, there's not a single lobbyist in Washington who wants this bill because it gets rid of a lot of loopholes.

HARLOW: So you think there weren't many -- OK.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: My point is --

HARLOW: Austan, how do you see it? That's the first I've heard that. The question was to you CEOs, and it was a CEO summit, but OK, I hear you -- Austan?

GOOLSBEE: Look, the problem that the Republicans are facing at this point is that the people advocating this bill, it seems like they haven't actually read the bill. They are rushing to try to pass something that they haven't worked through the details. So we have yet to find out this kind of stinking Easter Eggs that are in there, like people that are very sick who have large health bills. They are going to lose their ability to deduct their medical expenses.

Students with big student loans are going to lose the ability to deduct student interests. Anybody who's in graduate school on a scholarship, they're going to start taxing the scholarship money to waive tuition as if it were cash income.

MOORE: Austan --

GOOLSBEE: So you're going to have to come up with thousands of dollars.

MOORE: OK. Let me --

(CROSSTALK)

GOOLSBEE: When people find these Easter Eggs there's going to be a lot of opposition and they're going to have a hard time passing it.

MOORE: OK, let me make -- a couple of quick points about -- two quick points. Number one, we want to get rid of the Obamacare tax.

Now, Poppy, the people who paid that tax, the average income of those people is $35,000. So, Austan, this is a tax --

HARLOW: But that's not what Austan -- hold on, Stephen.

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: Stephen, that's what -- what Austan is talking about is a lot of these itemized deductions --

GOOLSBEE: The Congressional Budget Office has said that will raise --

HARLOW: Hold on, gentlemen. I just want to get the facts out there.

MOORE: Yes. Right.

HARLOW: What Austan is talking about is a lot of these itemized deductions.

MOORE: I get it.

HARLOW: And those are things like, right now if my medical bills are over $7,000 a year, I can write a bunch of that off and that goes away, and the Republicans are betting that the standard deduction being doubled is going to make up for that. But you can't guarantee that, can you, Stephen?

MOORE: What I'm saying -- the reason I brought the Obamacare tax is because that's a tax cut for poor people and Democrats are against that. So -- and the other big one, the biggest pay-for in this bill, by the way, by far is getting rid of the state and local tax deduction.

Fifty percent of the benefits, Austan, half of the benefits from the state and local tax deductions go to the richest 1 percent of Americans, so do you support getting rid of the state and local tax deduction?

GOOLSBEE: Not if you're going to use the money to abolish the estate tax, cut big corporation taxes by trillions of dollars and cut billionaires' taxes on the individual side in the pass-through side, no.

HARLOW: Gentlemen --

MOORE: I mean, I just think you can't agreement. I mean, the Democrats are not virtually in favor of any tax reform.

(CROSSTALK)

GOOLSBEE: The Republicans did not take the Ronald Reagan approach of 1986. Ronald Reagan came and went to Democrats from the start and said, where can we agree? Donald Trump's approach has been one which is from the outset Mitch McConnell said they didn't want any Democratic votes.

MOORE: And Austan --

HARLOW: All right. We have to leave it there.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: We know the reason why. Because Democrats said they were not for anything that Donald Trump was for. Democrats --

HARLOW: Gentlemen, we have to leave it there. You can continue as long as you want in the break, I would encourage you to, but I would just say, Austan, that the president did have several meetings, one recently on tax reform with some key Democrats.

We're going to leave it there.

Stephen Moore, Austan Goolsbee, thank you very much.

MOORE: Thanks, Poppy.

GOOLSBEE: Have a great day.

HARLOW: All eyes on Capitol Hill, if you haven't noticed, this morning. In just hours the president is going to try to rally congressional Republicans ahead of this big vote today. We're following the breaking news.

And more accusations. We are talking about Roy Moore. New women coming forward accusing the Alabama Senate candidate of unwanted advances.

Plus, a game -- a big game changer. The Trump administration lifts the ban on bringing home trophies from elephant hunts overseas, and it says the new policy will help protect endangered species?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:18:28]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, two new accusers say that Alabama Senate candidate, Roy Moore, made advances at them. Both women tell the "Washington Post" that he made those advances years ago when they were young teenagers working at the Alabama Mall.

The state GOP is holding an emergency meeting. They held one last night. So far, though, no word on what happened in there. All of this as Moore's lawyer is trying to attempt to discredit one of the accusers who says that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was just 16 years old.

Jason Carroll is in Gadsden, Alabama with the latest. Jason, you have been there now for a while following all of this. What can you tell us this morning?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there has been a lot of back and forth going on, Poppy. Roy Moore himself has, as you know, denied all the allegations. Last night, he took to Twitter and went after Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and all those others out there on Capitol Hill, who pulled their support of Roy Moore.

Roy Moore tweeting last night, "Bring it on." He is showing no sign of backing down. His attorney making special effort to go after the fifth accuser, who came forward on Monday, that being Beverly Young Nelson.

You remember she gave that very tearful accounts of what she says happened when she was 16 years old. She says Roy Moore sexually assaulted her and she produced her high school yearbook that she says Roy Moore signed. Roy Moore's attorney questioned the authenticity of that yearbook and that signature.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIP JAUREGUI, ROY MOORE'S ATTORNEY: We demand that you immediately release the yearbook to a neutral custodian so that our expert -- you can send your expert as well if you'd like to -- so that our expert can look at it.

[09:20:08] Not a copy on the internet, the actual documents so that we can see the lettering. We can the ink on the page. We can the indentations and we can see how old is that ink? Is it 40 years old or a week old? Release the yearbook so that we can determine if it's genuine or a fraud?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: Well, Moore's attorney also made note that Nelson claimed she did not have any contact with Moore after that alleged assault when she was 16 years old, but Moore's attorney brings up that Moore actually presided over her divorce in 1999 when he was a judge.

As for that yearbook, Nelson's attorney, Gloria Allred, says, look, she is perfectly willing to let that yearbook be analyzed by an independent expert if Roy Moore would agree to appear before the Senate to say what he has to say about what allegedly happened.

All of this is a lot of legal posturing going back and forth, Poppy. What it ultimately is going to come down to is the voters here in Alabama and what they end up deciding -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Exactly. Jason Carroll, thank you very much.

With me now, Brian Stelter, our senior media correspondent and Areva Martin, CNN legal analyst. Nice to have you both here. Areva, just from the legal angle, I mean, to Jason's point, this is not going to be litigated in a court of law. The statute of limitations is way past.

This is about the word of the women versus the word of this Senate candidate. There's no legal basis for requesting an ink analysis of this yearbook. What do you make of all this?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I think it's just a diversionary tactic, Poppy. Clearly, Gloria Allred, if she chooses to she can make that yearbook available to be examined by handwriting experts, but she has no obligation to do so.

There is no lawsuit. There is no basis for issuing a subpoena or doing anything to force Ms. Nelson to provide that yearbook to the Senate candidate or his team. So, I think we are getting off track here.

The issue here is not what the standard would be in the court of law. The issue here is integrity and character and morality. If an individual like Roy Moore was banned from a mall, it seems pretty common sense to me that he should not be allowed in the United States Senate.

So, all this talk about handwriting experts just seems to be about diverting the attention away from the fact that seven women have come forward and said that Roy Moore acted in an inappropriate way, and perhaps even molested them. These are very serious accusations.

HARLOW: By the way, some of them, including the first accuser was a girl, not a woman, 14 years old. Let's listen, Brian, to the president, when he was asked about this yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you, all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Roy Moore resign, Mr. President? Do you believe Roy Moore should resign?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Our reporting from our White House team, is it part of the reason, Brian, why the president is not weighing in on this, is partly because of the sexual misconduct claims against him during the campaign that have not gone away. But how long can he not talk about this?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: I think today, the next day and the next day. Reporters are going to keep shouting those questions until he says something. This is a president who tweeted that Roy Moore will help make America great again when he defeated Luther Strange in the primary.

This is a president who seems to weigh in on whatever he sees on cable news throughout the day. So, we don't even know if there's going to be a press briefing today. Yet, I wonder if they are avoiding taking questions because they don't want to be asked about Roy Moore.

Kellyanne Conway said she would not answer whether the president is going to address this, but there's really no way for him to avoid this. He's the president of the United States and one of the GOP nominees for the Senate is accused of this. No one is really contradicting the core of these stories in the "Washington Post" (inaudible) -- complaining about the coverage, but not actually contradicting.

HARLOW: That's interesting, Areva, because his daughter, the president's daughter and one of his key advisers, Ivanka Trump, did not minced words when asked about it yesterday in which she said there's a special place in hell for people that do this, and I don't see any valid explanation of any of it, I'm paraphrasing, from Roy Moore. Do you read that in a sense as channeling her father's feelings? I don't know.

MARTIN: I agree with Brian. The president is avoiding this because of the 16 women that came forward during the campaign and accused him of some kind of sexual assault or harassment or inappropriate conduct towards them.

The president has a problem. He can't talk about this without staring those allegations in the face that have been made against him. When you look at that press conference given by Moore's attorney, what was striking to me was, again, he did not talk about the other woman that have come forward.

So, even if this yearbook, which you'd have to imagine, this is a pretty farfetched story for a woman to go out and get a yearbook from 40 years ago and get somebody to forge a signature. That's just pretty preposterous.

[09:25:04] And if Roy Moore wants the court's standard to be applied here using experts who examine handwriting, then is he going to go under oath and testify about these charges? Is he going to subject himself to cross-examinations?

So, we can't selectively pick the pieces of this story and apply a courtroom standard unless we are going to do a courtroom standard with respect to the entire process.

STELTER: It's a leadership moment. That's why the president has to weigh in, and that's why the Sean Hannitys of the world who try to avoid this. I think Hannity punted last night and did not really address it.

HARLOW: He did. He tweeted it's up to the people of Alabama, and not the politicians or the pundits. But 24 hours earlier, he said, as a pundit, I only give the judge 24 hours to give real evidence on this.

STELTER: Either explain the inconsistencies or get out of the race. Hannity was very clear, but when the time ran out on the clock, he punted. It's because a lot of folks find themselves not wanting to be leaders in this situation. Let's see what the president does. I think that's the big question mark now.

HARLOW: We are seeing though some changes. We have to leave it there, Areva. We are seeing changes on the Hill where they are putting forward the sexual harassment legislation to make it easier for victims to come forward and get their claims addressed. Brian, Areva, we'll have you back. Thank you.

So, you are looking at live pictures of Capitol Hill. In less than two hours, the president will go there, and he is working to pump up Republicans on the big tax vote, which is happening later today.

GOP leadership says on the House side failure is not an option. How are markets reacting ahead of the president's trip? Let's get a quick check of the markets before the bell with Christine Romans. Good morning.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, again, Poppy. Well, it's go time for tax reform. The big vote today and all eyes are on what the House will do here. We are expecting futures, the stock market to pop a little bit after two downed days. There are concerns ironing out differences between the House and the Senate could be problematic for tax reform.

Remember, investors want that 20 percent corporate tax rate. They really want that corporate tax reform that they think is going to be imperative for their businesses that they have wanted for years.

So, it's less about the middle-class tax cuts for corporate America and about permanent tax relief. That's what they want. Any sign of that and you will see markets continue higher. Right now, Dow futures up about 70 points. We will have the opening bell for you right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)