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W.H. Sides With Roy Moore: President Trump Wants Someone Who Backs His Agenda; Conway On Roy Moore: Need The Vote For Tax Reform; Roy Moore Accuser: "This Isn't Political For Me, This is Personal". Aired 7-8p ET

Aired November 20, 2017 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: "OutFront" next, the President picks a side, he won't tell Roy Moore to get out of the race and his aids make it clear he wants an ally in Congress. Is Trump willing to back a man who is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old over a Democrat?

Plus, the second accuser comes out against Senator Al Franken. Why a conservative is now coming to his defense? And the Justice Department finally suit to block AT&T's takeover of Time Warner. Is it about Trump and CNN? Let's go "OutFront."

Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. "OutFront" tonight, anyone but a Democrat. The White House making it clear today that it's better to cast a vote for an alleged pedophile than vote for a Democrat. Yes, you heard me, because the President, of course, has personally remained silent. Two women in his administration, though, are now speaking for him. First, the Press Secretary Sarah Sanders today.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Obviously the President wants people both in the House and the Senate that support his agenda.


BURNETT: That means Roy Moore, the Republican, accused by eight women with corroborated accounts of harassment assaults and even pedophilia is better for the United States Senate than the Democrat Doug Jones. And Kellyanne Conway, earlier in the day, making the same point loud and clear.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Doug Jones in Alabama, folks, don't be fooled. He'll be a vote against tax cuts. He's weak on crime, weak on borders. He's strong on raising your taxes. He's terrible for property owners and Doug Jones is a doctor (ph) now--


CONWAY: -- of liberal which why he's not saying anything and why the media are trying to boost him.


CONWAY: I'm telling you that we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax -- this tax bill through.


BURNETT: That was a loud and clear endorsement of Roy Moore and it comes from a woman who had a very different take on this whole situation just five days ago.


CONWAY: The principle, the incontrovertible principle is that there's no Senate seat that's worth more than a child.


BURNETT: Except for this one, presumably, now five days later. Meanwhile, the President himself letting Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Sanders do the talking for him today marking the sixth day of his silence on this issue since returning from Asia.

But let's remember, on Air Force One the President promised further comment "down the road" when he returned to the country. In those six days, he's been very willing to talk out on this broader issue.

He's called out Senator Al Franken or Al Frankenstein as he calls him in two tweets and he hasn't been afraid to call out others like Democrat Anthony Weiner in the past. Among 90 public comments about Weiner during this whole scandal and horrific scandal with pedophilia.

Trump tweeted in 2012, "Pervert alert. @RepWeiner is back Twitter. All girls under the age of 18 block him immediately." Yes, his view on that has changed. Now, certainly Weiner and Franken deserved to be called out, so does Roy Moore, though, and the White House, of course, not only not doing that but backing him.

Ryan Nobles is "OutFront" at the White House. And Ryan, the White House tonight certainly taking a side.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It certainly seems that way, Erin, and then perhaps gives us some indication as to why they've been so coy about the issue of Roy Moore and his role in this Alabama Senate race in the days after the President returned back from his trip in Asia.

And it's not as if the President hasn't had an opportunity to respond to these questions about Roy Moore. This morning he had a meeting of his cabinet. Reporters were invited in there for a brief period of time and he was specifically asked about where he stands as it relates to Roy Moore and he simply did not answer the question.

And it's important to keep in mind, Erin, that shortly after the candidate that the President backed in Alabama, Luther Strange lost that race. The President embraced Roy Moore, endorsed his campaign. And while he was campaigning for Luther Strange, even said that he would be an Alabama campaigning like hell for whoever won that primary.


NOBLES: Now, there is no plan for him to go to Alabama to campaign on behalf of Roy Moore, but he's yet to officially rescind that endorsement. And as you point out, White House advisers today making it at least seeing somewhat clear to the people of Alabama who they hope gets elected on December 12th. Erin?

BURNETT: Yes. I think they were pretty clear about that, you're right. Ryan, thank you.

And now let's go to Tom Bates, member of Editorial Board, which this weekend wrote "Our View: Alabama voters must reject Roy moor, we endorse Doug Jones for the U.S. Senate." It is the largest media company in Alabama. April Ryan also with us, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and Mark Preston, our Senior Political Analyst.

So Mark, let me start with you. Certainly here, there are some pretty incredible hypocrisy from Kellyanne Conway and the President.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And I think you're being kind by just saying -- by calling it being hypocritical. I mean, the fact of the matter is we heard what Kellyanne Conway has said just a few days ago and look where she is now.

We saw the White House Budget Director yesterday, Mick Mulvaney, say the President isn't sure who with to believe. We saw Marc Short, his legislative director, say that he'd been down.

[19:05:04] He being Donald Trump would be down campaigning if he didn't believe there was some credibility to these allegations and yet we're at this point right now where we haven't heard directly from President Trump. I think that's very important.

We have heard from the Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. We have not heard it uttered from Donald Trump's mouth and the reason being, let's remember, the President himself has been accused by more than a dozen women of engaging in the same behavior, Erin.

BURNETT: Which is pretty obvious what the issue here is and the hypocrisy, of course, rich in his case. April, you were in the briefing room. The administration obviously taking a side here, it is better to support Roy Moore, a man accused of being a pedophile than it is to support the Democrat.

APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Yes. You know, it's interesting just watching this all play out. It's simply desperation for a legislative win, you know. Kellyanne -- and you played the piece five days ago said something totally different. And then you have people on the Hill. You have the House and Senate leaders. You know, Paul Ryan talking about if there is credible evidence against Roy Moore. You've got Mitch McConnell talking about kicking him out if he wins.

And then you have a President who's talking about getting the tax cut through, using this when -- this is an ally when some of his Republican -- Republicans are defecting. This is desperation for a win.

BURNETT: And Tom, if your op-ed, you wrote, "A vote for Roy Moore sends the worst kind of message to Alabamians struggling with abuse. If you ever do tell your story, Alabama won't believe you. Or worse, we'll believe you but we just won't care."

Now, Tom, right now, the Fox News poll that came out showed the Democrat, Doug Jones, pulling ahead significantly. And the big question, of course is, are people telling pollsters how they really feel or is the White House going to give them cover to vote Moore and Moore wins here?

TOM BRATES, AL.COM EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: Well, Erin, it's always difficult to judge the results of polls in Alabama. Also this is a special election so it's hard to know what the turnout will be. But all that's happening is exactly why we wrote the editorial.

I mean, our view is that the Senate race must transcend party politics and that in Alabama it's a referendum on what we need to expect from our leaders. And frankly, I don't know how we can look at young people and not step forward or they're not going to trust their institutions.

BURNETT: And that's the big question here, Mark. I mean, look, the last time the President publicly addressed, Roy Moore, himself was during that gaggle on Air Force One more than a week ago on his way home from Asia in which he said, "I'll have further comment as we go down the road. I have to get back into the country to see what's happening."

Now if you're an Alabama voter and you care what the President is doing and saying, you care about his view here as leadership. He's been back in the country six days. He slammed the NFL on attendance and ratings way down, he said.

The media called it fake, loser, failing "The New York Times." Attacked the father of one of the UCLA basketball players, very ungrateful, he said they should go back to jail or wish they didn't get them out or something about on his lies, Hillary Clinton calling her crooked and the biggest loser of all time.

He has had plenty of time to talk about all of these things. I mean, he's looking now that on this issue he will remain silent.

PRESTON: Silence sends a message, no question about that. He's sending a message to his supporters down in Alabama that he needs that vote and he wants that vote and for him who needs a very big legislative victory because it has been a very disappointing first term -- first year of his first term in office. Donald Trump wants a win.

But it addition to that, it's not only him. Governor Ivey, herself, has said that she will vote for Roy Moore on December 12th. Think about the message that she's sending to young Republicans as we're talking right now in that state.

BURNETT: And she is saying, Tom, not only that she'll vote for Roy Moore, but that she finds his accusers believable. So she is making it clear. "I believe them. I believe he did assault, harassment, pedophilia and I'm going to vote for him any way."

BRATES: Yes. I would say that the Senate Republicans in the state, you know, have made it clear that this is a party vote for them and they have stood by him. I find it somewhat encouraging that the young Republicans in Alabama, that organization, actually has withdrawn its support.

So I do think there may be some things along age lines that show that not everybody on the Republican side will go straight party vote, but certainly Governor Ivey and others have been standing by.

BURNETT: And April, Tom wrote about the three options that Alabamians have in his op-ed, right, stay home, don't vote at all because you don't want to deal with this, but you can't (INAUDIBLE) voting for the Democrat, write-in a candidate or vote for Doug Jones.

And then Jeff Sessions or Luther Strange could wage a write-in campaign. Strange could resign. A new special election is called if the governor is willing do that.

[19:10:10] These are very serious questions. When you cover Washington, April, the odds of one of these options, Luther Strange or Jeff Sessions, given a Republican write-in option to Republicans in Alabama, is that at this point a real option?

RYAN: Well, you never know, I mean, what people may do. You can write-in who you want. But, you know, I think back to the tumultuous couple months that Jeff Sessions had with President Trump. And even in the worse of times Jeff Sessions said, "I'm not going anywhere. I stand by this President." He did not resign. He made it clear. The President allowed him to stay. That as Republicans were saying, "Don't mess with our guy."

So the Republicans had Jeff Sessions' back, but Jeff Sessions has been there and done that. He's been a senator and he said it. He's standing clear and firm that he wants to stay as A.G., the U.S. Attorney General of the United States.

So we'll see how this all plays out. Who knows, Alabama could write him back in? Who knows what happen? You can't script this at all. This is just something we've never seen and this is history in the making and this is changing everything. It's pushing the goalpost in different places and places that we may not really want them to go. BURNETT: Right. Which is true and, of course, raising a big question when it comes to your own life or your own pocketbook, at what point are you really willing to put morals ahead of what you think is best for your own well-being, which is the choice that many Republicans in Alabama have and it's a tough one. Thank you all very much.

And next, Roy Moore saying afloat, thanks to the support of evangelicals. One pastor in Alabama saying, "Some 14-year-olds could pass for 20 so I guess it's OK." Plus trickle down economics, not just for the '80s any more. It is back along with big shoulders, have you noticed that? And Senator Al Franken facing a new allegation that he touched a woman this time when he was a sitting senator.


[19:15:49] BURNETT: Tonight, the woman who says Roy Moore sexually abused her when she was just 14-year-old is speaking out on camera for the first time. Leigh Corfman is her name and she's answering charges that she was politically motivated.

She says she's a long time Republican voter so that's not the case and that's for why she didn't speak out sooner. She said she wanted to confront Moore nearly two decades ago. She was worried, though, about the impact it would've had on her children.


LEIGH CORFMAN, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: I actually sat down with my children who were then junior high and elementary school and told them, you know, an overview and gave them the ability to make the decision. They were afraid that with all of their social connections that they would be cast out in their groups.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You had to tell your kids something about what had happened.

CORFMAN: I have to tell my kids, right. And we decided together that we wouldn't do it at that time. So when "The Washington Post" sought me out, I didn't go looking for this. This fell in my lap. It literally fell in my lap and I had to make a decision. And I told them that at that time the reporters who were all just wonderful to me, that if they found additional people that I would tell my story and they found those people.


BURNETT: "OutFront" tonight, two faith leaders with very different opinions on Roy Moore. Janet Porter is a Roy Moore supporter. She's also the President of Faith 2 Action. And Eva Melton is among a group of Alabama pastor who signed a letter denouncing Moore. She is the pastor of the Firm Foundation Church. I appreciate both of you taking the time tonight.

Janet, let me start with you if I can. I want to play some of what one of Moore's accusers, you just heard a little bit about what Leigh Corfman has -- Corfman had to say. But here she talks about what he did to her, what she says he did to her when she was 14-year-old that's below the age of --

JANET PORTER, ROY MOORE SUPPORTER: Thank you for making that correction. Most of them are saying this is what he did as if that he really did it and I thank you for making the correction. Most anchors are not doing that these days.

BURNETT: All right. I will just note even among the first four accusers, there are more than 30 people who have corroborated their accounts contemporary with time in which it occurred. But let me play for you -- for both of you what she said happened.


CORFMAN: At 14 I was not dating. At 14 I was not able to make those kinds of choices. He basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceeded to seduce me, I guess you would say.

And during the course of that he removed my clothing. He left the room and came back in wearing his white underwear and he touched me over my clothing, what was left of it. And he tried to get me to touch him as well. I was a 14-year-old child trying to play in an adult's world and he was 32 years old.


BURNETT: So Janet, just to understand, I know you don't believe her, right, just to be clear. You don't believe her. But if that happened, would that be OK in any scenario to you?

PORTER: No. I think anybody who's guilty of sexual assault should step down and that's why I call for Al Franken to leave the Senate. Interestingly, the establishment is not calling for the guilty man, the man whose admitted guilt to sexual assault complete with a picture. They're calling for him to step down, but what they're not doing -- what they're doing, instead, is they're calling for the innocent man to step out of the race and that's just not right. We are innocent until proven guilty.


EVA MELTON, PASTOR, FIRM FOUNDATION CHURCH: He should step down. Sexual assault, child abuse, sexual abuse, abuse of power, in our faith, we don't stand for that but we are supposed to speak up for those who are in a lesser position than those who are marginalized by society and even by the church. So he should definitely step down and if he did this and outside of that, he is not handling these allegations very seriously.

BURNETT: Janet, how have you gotten your head around the point that I made earlier, which is not just that it is eight women who have accused Roy Moore, who do not know each other.

[19:20:06] But that there are tens of people, 30 for the first four, you're looking at up 50 or 60 of people they told these accounts to over the years. Do you believe that all of those people are lying? PORTER: Well, when you look at the facts and one of the things that Leigh Corfman said is that The Washington Times "sought me out," right? These are Washington Times driven allegations and there is something that's pretty much common with every single one. None of them have any evidence. There is one shred of evidence which doesn't prove guilt and that's that signature in the yearbook.

And interestingly, it's not just that I am questioning the validity but not only the accuser of Beverly Nelson for example, her own stepson said she's lying, but Gloria Allred, her own attorney doesn't believe her. That's why she hasn't release the year book.

Listen to this if I may, this was on MSNBC and it proves the point, Kate Snow asked Gloria Allred, the attorney for one of the accusers if --

BURNETT: Beverly Nelson.

PORTER: -- independent analysis shows that this, Beverly Nelson, is independent -- independent analysis shows that this is not a signature, does that disprove your client's allegations? And her answer was, "No, it doesn't."

In other words, even if my client is lying, even if the evidence is forgery, I'm still going to pursue the campaign to defeat Roy Moore because it's not about the facts, it's not about the women or the evidence. This is about a campaign to elect a Democrat in the State of Alabama, plain and simple.

BURNETT: So "The Washington Post," not The Washington Times, but I will say, Janet --

PORTER: I'm sorry, my mistake.

BURNETT: That's OK. That's OK. I'm just pointing that out. But, you know, that's a job of a journalist, right, is to find these stories and seek them out. So you're criticizing them for doing their job, right?


BURNETT: I mean, it would be more outstanding if someone came and sought them to give it to them. That would reek of some of a cover up. But a reporter going out and doing good hard to hard nose reporting and finding someone and asking questions, that's what you should want a reporter to do.

PORTER: What they're doing, though, is that they are the opposition research for Roy Moore's opponent. They're going out with the -- by the way, you know "The Washington Post" endorsed his opponent. They're on a campaign to try and defeat him.

BURNETT: No, that's the Editorial Page.

PORTER: That's clear. Yes. And that's their news page, too, if you read it. Let me tell you one of the other things we discovered in the MSNBC interview, the same one, they -- Gloria Allred admitted this is political.

Listen to this. She said, "What sort of jurisdiction do they have," meaning the Senate. Gloria Allred holding the yearbook hostage unless she goes through the Senate committee, unless Roy Moore submits himself to a Senate committee, that's he's on that?

A guy by the name of Al Franken, this is the guy that's admitted guilt to sexual assault who's supposed to oversee the innocent man who has been accused. It's appalling. And I call on Gloria Allred to release the book or admit that you're merely a shield for the opposition campaign against Roy Moore.

BURNETT: So Eva, when you hear that this is a campaign for the Democrat, which Janet didn't mention Mitch McConnell, but other who support Roy Moore have and said it's a campaign between Democrats, Mitch McConnell establishment Republicans and the media. What do you say?

MELTON: You know, I don't care who sought her out or who they think is helping bring these stories to light. These are still stories of women who were teenagers at the time and we cannot make lightly of those allegations.

You know, we can go around and say this is about Republican and Democrats, but we as the church, we as society, need to take stories, these types of stories very seriously and open the door for women to tell their stories and for children to tell their stories and that's part of the problem, that we are just wanting to say what is didn't happen. But you have more stories being told, more facts being told, more circumstances that are being told.

And so on the other side, you're just getting it didn't happen, but then you're getting things that, well, not generally, I didn't date, you know, underage woman at the time. So we have to take these allegations seriously and until Roy Moore does it, I don't believe a word he's saying.

PORTER: By the way, that's factually untrue. He did not say -- not just say he's on record. He's made it very clear, Judge Roy Moore did not date underage women nor did he conduct --


BURNETT: Well, no, he admit it. He actually admitted to dating one of these women. No, no, it's not true. He did admit to dating one these women.

MELTON: No, he did admit to it. He did admit to it.

PORTER: He didn't date any one who was underage. He did not --


PORTER: He did not date anyone who is underage. I guarantee you, that's what he said. I have it right in front of him. BURNETT: He said she was above the age in Alabama. She was a teenager, but she was above the age of consent. So he was 30 or 32 and she was 16.

PORTER: There's one thing I agree with.

BURNETT: Are you OK with that, Janet?

PORTER: There's one thing I agree with -- you know what, what my opinions are in dating -- I have a whole book on dating. If you want to here what they are, I'll give that to you sometime. But I'm here to talk about the allegations against Judge Moore and how they have absolutely --


BURNETT: Right and whether it's OK, whether it's OK to vote for him giving that. So if that happened, are you OK with it? You're defending it.

[19:25:07] PORTER: I'm -- what I'm talking about is the baseless allegations that are aimed at an innocent man who is proven his trustworthiness, his character, his impeccable values. This is a guy that's pro-life who's been a champion for life where his opponent is in favor of tax funded abortion until birth, until the moment of birth.

BURNETT: But does it matter if he engaged in act of pedophilia?

MELTON: How do you know he's innocent?

BURNETT: His views on abortion are more important to you?

PORTER: But you know what, here's the thing. You know what, if someone engaged in any kind of illicit acts, I would ask them to step down. That's why ask for Al Franken to step down. But what we're talking about is one word I agree --

MELTON: It's about Roy Moore.

PORTER: -- with the young lady who just spoke. And the one word that I would say is stories. You know, if we're going to convict people by what the media has to say, I guarantee you, there would be some lacrosse players from duke who would be in jail right now. Remember Tawana Brawley? Remember what they did to Clarence Thomas? This is the same movie we saw with Gloria Allred in 2011 where she had accusers against Herman Cain.

BURNETT: Clarence Thomas, I think, is in a different category than those other two examples.

PORTER: What we're looking at is stories. And if you can't weigh the evidence, if you can't cross examine, and especially if you can't even examine the evidence and that's where Gloria Allred. If she's going to continue to withhold the evidence, she should frankly be disbarred. BURNETT: Of course, on sexual harassment and sexual assault the reality is the side that we have to deal with as you almost never can get exact evidence, right? That's the reality --


PORTER: Well, if someone's admitted to it like Al Franken --

BURNETT: And some point you have to decide what you're willing to stand for or not. And I appreciate both of you making it clear where you stand on that. Thank you.

Next, Republican selling trickle down economics in their tax cut proposals. Can Trump make a Reagan era plan work in the 21st century? And Al Franken apologizing again. There is a new accusation, so will he be stepping aside?


[19:30:00] BURNETT: Today, President Trump praised congressional Republicans for their work on taxes, saying he wants America to have a tax cut for Christmas, specifically highlighting the crucial cut, the core of the entire Republican plan which is a slash in corporate tax rates.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Corporate rates will be reduced from 35 percent all the way down to 20 percent, which will make us competitive again and companies won't be leaving our country.

Finally, our tax plan will return trillions of dollars in wealth to our shores so that companies can invest in America again.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, and Robert Reich, former labor secretary under President Clinton. His movie "Saving Capitalism" debuts on Netflix tomorrow.

Grover, let me start with you. If you lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20, it is a massive cut. Where's the guarantee the companies are actually going to bring that money home, not just bring it home, but actually use it to invest in their workers and give people raises?

GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX RETURN: Well, there are two things. One is taking the rate from 35 to 20 means that when a company earns $100, the government used to take $65 -- I'm sorry, you got $35, the government would take $35 out of the 100. Now, it would only take $20, which leaves the company with more to invest in the company, to hire more people --

BURNETT: Just a quick interjection, Grover, just to make the point, that we're so many loopholes that a lot of them were not paying the 35 which we all know. But that just makes a point. Go ahead. NORQUIST: Now, on the margins, it's 35. Average -- averages are interesting. All decisions are made on the margin, and that's one of the problems we have because we had a worldwide tax system which means our companies were taxed more heavily overseas, not just here but overseas as well. China's at 25, we're at 35. That's the kind of -- socialist China is a 25 percent tax on its business, the United States is 35.

We're going to go to 20. It simply makes -- taxes are a cost of doing business.


NORQUIST: It's like any other cost you have if you reduce the cost, you have more opportunity to hire more people, invest more, you increase the aftertax cash flow of every company in the United States. A

And then Burger King wouldn't have been bought by the Canadians. They're at about 15 percent tax. We're at 35. That's why we were losing companies overseas. That stops with this tax cut.

BURNETT: OK. But what about the wage increase?

NORQUIST: Well, the question is, if a company has more money, they've got -- and they have a better rate of return because after tax their rate of return goes up, they will make more investments in different things. You hire more people. You invest in plant and equipment.

What do you expect them to do? Eat the money? That's what companies do.

BURNETT: OK. Last time around when they had that holiday and I know the whole point was it was a holiday, it was temporary, but they didn't spend it on those things, they spend it on things like share buybacks and other.

Robert, do you buy Grover's point, if its permanent, which I assume is the point Grover is making, that there will be some of these investments?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER U.S. LABOR SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, if history's any guide, Erin -- no, there won't be. What companies do when they have spare cash and, by the way, American companies now are flush with cash, what they do with spare cash is they pump up executive pay and they repurchase, they buyback their shares of stocks in order to have share prices go up.

This is what they did in 2004 with the tax holiday. This is what companies are doing even today. I don't understand, why do we even entertain the possibility of a $1.5 trillion addition to our national debt for the sake of giving corporations more money to just pump up executive pay and also buyback shares of stock? It makes absolutely no sense.

BURNETT: Grover, why not put rules in there to force them to not do certain things with it? Would you be open to that?

NORQUIST: Look, we don't want -- this is not East Germany in 1952. We don't have the government tell people what to do with their money.

When a company buys back stock, it is investing in its own firm. That money goes to investors and they invest. It doesn't get -- disappear.

This is not difficult to understand. When the money came back to the United States, we had significant growth during period. It was a brief period, we need to make it permanent. And, unfortunately, it wasn't the permanent repatriation and we went back to the old problems we have.

Democrats seem to forget conveniently that President Obama called for reducing the corporate income tax for all the same reasons that Trump is. Now, if they want to play partisan politics, they can. But ignoring that Trump -- that Obama promised people he was going to do that, said he was going to work at it, he was there for eight years never got around to it. But he always made it clear that this was one of the problems United States faces competitively.

We can't go around the world with this handicap, with our government damaging people in the United States.

BURNETT: So, Robert, would you agree, that there should be a cut to the corporate tax rate of some magnitude but just the fundamental point?

[19:35:01] REICH: Erin, not at all. First of all, the effective rate, as you suggested right at the outset, is competitive already. That's why American companies have so much money and that's why they are buying back their shares of stock.

Also, I disagree with Grover Norquist. I mean, we -- the ultimate goal here is not just growth, the ultimate goal here is to give people a raise. And what we have had is trickle down economics and it's been a failure and nothing's trickled down. Most American, if you adjust for inflation, are right back to where they were years ago, and they have not had a raise. The only people that had a raise are the people at the very top or the people who own most shares of stock and those are also people at the very top.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

NORQUIST: Thank you.

BURNETT: This is to be continued. I appreciate it.

And next, Senator Al Franken facing a new accusation tonight. What is he saying about the second accuser?

And breaking news, the Justice Department suing to prevent Time Warner, CNN's parent company, from merging with AT&T. Is this for real or is it really about CNN?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Tonight, a second woman accusing Senator Al Franken of touching her inappropriately.

[19:40:02] Lindsay Menz telling CNN the senator groped her as they posed for a photo in August 2010 at the Minnesota state fair. At the time, he was the sitting senator when this allegedly happened.

Franken apologized for the incident saying, quote: I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people. I certainly don't remember taking this picture. I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.

Democratic Congressman Jackie Speier is OUTFRONT.

Congresswoman, thank you very much.

I know this is an issue that you have now taken on personally. Let me get straight to it. Last week, there was a woman accusing Senator Franken of kissing her unwanted, an assault, there was that picture also of him. And you said at the time it's appropriate for the Ethics Committee to investigate. Now, there's a second accusation of him grabbing the behind of a woman in picture at the Minnesota state fair.

What should happen now? Should Franken resign or are you still OK with an Ethics Committee investigation?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I think an Ethics Committee investigation is appropriate. For sexual harassment in the workplace, it either has to be severe or persistent, and I think that this is not a workplace phenomenon necessarily, but it could very well be unwanted touching that would be in the sexual assault.

I think that we've got to treat these cases seriously. I think that we have to recognize that we're going to be in the uncomfortable position of sometimes, you know, calling out persons that we admire and that we've worked with and that we have great respect for. But if we're going to address this issue, we're going to have to address it for everybody and everyone's going to have to be treated the same.

BURNETT: So on this front, liberal group Indivisible says Franken should resign. They said, we believe Lindsay Menz. We believe Leeann Tweeden. Senator Al Franken should be held accountable and he should resign.

Democratic commentator, our contributor, Sally Kohn, came out today and tweeted: Time for Al Franken to go, wrong is wrong, and the Democrats need to show they strongly and consistently stand for women's rights.

You are not willing to go that far, though. Just to be clear, you are not calling for his resignation tonight.

SPEIER: Well, I -- I may be calling for his resignation at some point, but I think that the investigation --

BURNETT: Just not yet is what I'm saying? You're not there yet?

SPEIER: Yes. I'm not there yet. But, you know, often times when there's one incident , there's many incidents.

So far, there's two. Is two pervasive? That's a question to be assessed.

Again, not in a workplace sitting but I do believe that the conduct of elected officials needs to be above reproach.

BURNETT: Now, you said a moment ago in your first answer, you talked about when it was severe and I wanted to ask you something -- a question posed today by a columnist in the conservative "National Review", all right? You're well aware of it. Our viewers know it's a very conservative publication.

SPEIER: Right.

BURNETT: They wrote about the dangers of lumping all of these cases together. OK? It's a tough argument to make. It's a tough line to walk but they write: We live in an era when already a knee touch can cause resignations. Are we sure that unwanted advances must now always be deemed a resigning matter?

And the question to you is, do they have a point?

SPEIER: Well --

BURNETT: Are some acts different or worse than others?

SPEIER: That's why each of these cases has to be looked at on the facts and the courts have held that one incident does not suffice for sexual harassment. Is -- you know, one unwanted touching sufficient? Probably not. If it's -- if it's grabbing someone's buttocks in the office setting, that could be considered severe.

Again, it's dependent on the actual facts --

BURNETT: But you think it's less severe. You keep saying in the office setting. Do you mean while he's in office or you mean it's not as bad if he does it to a constituent to the state fair, as if he does it in the halls of the Senate?

SPEIER: Well, sexual harassment focuses on the workplace. So, it is more specifically focused there. She could be asked for a sexual assault charge to be imposed because separate and distinct from that, unwanted touching can be a sexual assault.

So, I'm just trying to draw a distinction between many of these cases have been in the office and it is sexual harassment, it's a hostile work environment.

BURNETT: I understand.

SPEIER: And separate from that.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate your time, Congresswoman Speier. Good to talk to you.

SPEIER: Good to talk to you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next breaking news: AT&T not backing down in its pursuit of Time Warner and CNN, addressing, quote, the elephant in the room and we'll address that.

And on a lighter note, bad timing. A cameraman's perfect shot of a massive implosion ruined at the last second.


[19:48:17] BURNETT: Breaking news: President Trump's Justice Department filing a lawsuit to block AT&T's merger with Time Warner.

Time Warner is the parent company of this network, CNN. The DOJ claiming that the deal which Trump vowed publicly to block violate antitrust laws because AT&T would likely in their word use its control of Time Warner's popular programming as a weapon to harm competition.

And moments ago, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson addressed the speculation that this challenge could be not because of, you know, basketball or other content involved, but simply because of CNN, and the fact that President Trump makes it clear again and again on Twitter that he thinks CNN's coverage of him is unfair.


RANDALL STEPHENSON, AT&T CEO: I do want to address the elephant in the room here. There's been a lot of reporting and speculation whether this is all about CNN and, frankly, I don't know. But nobody should be surprised that the question keeps coming up because we've witnessed such an abrupt change in the application of antitrust law here. But the bottom line is, that we cannot and we will not be party to any agreement that would even give the perception of compromising the First Amendment protection of the press.

So, any agreement that results in us forfeiting control of CNN, whether directly or indirectly, is a nonstarter. We believe quite strongly that any divestiture of AT&T assets or Time Warner assets is not required by the law. And we have no intention of backing down from the government's lawsuit.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Daniel Petrocelli, the lead trial counsel for AT&T and Time Warner.

All right. So, the CEO of AT&T just said he doesn't know if this has anything to do CNN. Do you think it does?

DANIEL PETROCELLI, LEAD TRIAL COUNSEL FOR AT&T AND TIME WARNER: We have no idea. I mean, whatever the motive is, the government has the burden of proof to show in a court of law that there's harm to competition, harm to consumers. It's not a burden that they've been able to meet in over a half a century. You'd have to go back to when Richard Nixon was president, the last time the government succeeded in one of these vertical merger cases.

If it turns out there was some influence of the sort that's been wildly speculated, I suggest that that will come out and I suggest it won't bode well for the government.

BURNETT: Do you have any knowledge that the president of the United States himself has reached out to the DOJ on this, to the new head of antitrust enforcement who have just come in recently to take over the review of this? Do you have any knowledge of any conversations that it happened?

PETROCELLI: No, we have no knowledge of that and no idea if any such thing happened. All I'm saying is that it's been such wild speculation about this that I think Mr. Stephenson wanted to make clear, that under no circumstances is he going to sell CNN out or the Turner networks out. Turner's, of course, the parent company of CNN and we're going to fight this merger all the way.

BURNETT: So, the former FCC commissioner, Michael Copps today -- I mean, just, you know, I remember sort of talking to Randall Stephenson and Jeff Bewkes, the CEO of the two companies on the day this merger was first announced. At the time, the widespread view was that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election and her DOJ would shoot this deal down because so many Democrats had made their opposition clear.

Then, Trump won and his opposition obviously became a more relevant factor. But I make this point simply to say, it isn't just Donald Trump. It's also been people like Bernie Sanders, far Democratic groups. When you put it all together, do you think that they do have an argument considering it is coming from both sides of the political spectrum?

PETROCELLI: No. There's no credible proof in this case that this merger would harm competition. The proof is just the opposite. By way of a little bit context -- I've been involved in this for the better part of the year and have sat through the entire investigation that the DOJ conducted and I can tell you that they turned this thing upside down. There's no credible proof that consumers are going to get charged money on their TV bill or the content is going to be restricted, it doesn't make any sense. I mean, you wouldn't be working for this network if it turned out this show was only going to be distributed to DirecTV subscribers instead of fully distributed across the country.

BURNETT: Good point.

PETROCELLI: Nor would anybody else. The talent is the life blood of content, and the cardinal rule is you widely distribute to the maximum extent possible, whether you're talking about a movie, a television show or another form of entertainment.

BURNETT: Quickly, before we go, I'm curious whether this is part of your case. Here's the president as he was running for office.


DONALD TRUMP, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: AT&T is buying Time Warner and thus CNN, a deal we will not approve in my administration because it's too much concentration of power in the hands of two few.


BURNETT: Couple that with all his tweets, calling us fake news and losers and whatever else that he's done about this network, is that all part of what you're going to put in front of the court?

PETROCELLI: Well, the government is going to have to prove that there is market power, market domination on the part of either AT&T and Time Warner, and given the landscape in which both companies operate, they will be unable to prove that.

BURNETT: All right. Daniel, thank you very much. Appreciate your time.

PETROCELLI: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: That big developing story tonight. Obviously, part of such an important story, which is the president's influence on the Department of Justice.

And next, on a much lighter note -- there was a perfect view of a massive building implosion which is a sight to see until the bus pulled up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) get out of the way bus! Are you kidding me?



[19:57:54] BURNETT: A perfect shot, all eyes on a building about to implode -- just imagine that, you have it, you got it, and you're viewer. And then something goes terribly wrong.

Jeanne Moos is OUTFRONT.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the Georgia Dome imploded Monday, cameras caught it from lots of cool angles, except for this angle, where the camera operators were the ones to implode.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, bus. Get out of the way. Bus! (EXPLETIVE DELETED) get out of the way bus? Are you kidding me?

MOOS: Weather Channel digital video producer Jason Rudge was behind this camera.

JASON RUDGE, DIGITAL VIDEO PRODUCER, THE WEATHER CHANNEL: We're all kind of whispering in anger.


MOOS: An epic photo bomb, the Weather Channel called it. Critics weren't so kind.

Amature, their spelling, should have been on the other side of the road.

(on camera): Everyone keep saying, how come this idiot set up at a bus stop.

(voice-over): Jason explained he and half a dozen other crews were on a media platform, the road was supposed to be closed. And the bus driver --

RUDGE: She wanted to stop and catch the show herself.

MOOS: MARTA, Metro Atlanta's Transit Authority, jokingly tweeted: We sincerely apologized for ruining your live shot of the dome implosion. We found this footage in case you need it.

(on camera): Is there anything you want to say to that bus driver?

RUDGE: I'm not mad at her because if I was driving by, I would have wanted to see it myself.

MOOS: And did you happen to notice the sign on the side of the bus?

(voice-over): Spot a stroke fast, it read. For instance, a stroke induced by a bus blocking a shot and waited three and a half hours to get.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: Thank so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere. You just have to go to CNN Go. We'll see you back here tomorrow.

"AC360" begins right now.