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Trump: Tax Cuts A "Big, Beautiful" Christmas Present; Corker Won't Accept Plan "Adding One Penny To The Deficit"; CBS News Fires Journalist Charlie Rose; RPT: Conyers Settled Complaint Involving Sex Misconduct; Trump To Pardon Turkeys "Wishbone" & "Drumstick"; Soon: Trump Pardons Turkeys At The White House. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 21, 2017 - 12:30   ET




[12:32:05] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we are going to give the American people a huge tax cut for Christmas. Hopefully that will be a great, big, beautiful Christmas present.


JOHN KING, INSIDE POLITICS HOST: That's President Trump yesterday promising to play Santa Claus essentially to the American people by next month. The next big test of that tax cut promise comes next week in the Senate. And a new analysis could complicate efforts by the Republican leadership to round up the necessary votes. The none partisan tax policy senators says the Senate bill would raise taxes on 9 percent of Americans in 2019, 12 percent of Americans in 2025 and 50 percent half of Americans in 2027.

Now the main reason for that it's under the Senate plan, most of the tax cuts that help lower and middle class Americans would expire over time. The White House says that's an unfair take, insisting the bill had to be written this way only to fit it into the Senate rules.


MICK MULVANEY, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: A lot of folks for example come out this week and say, well, as written, the plan would actually increase taxes on some people in years six, seven, eight, nine. That's right because hard wired into it is proposal that the individual taxes expire, tax reductions expire after five years. But that's not our policy. That's simply the way to try to shoe horn the bill into these arcane rules in the Senate.


KING: As an aside, a beautiful look at the White House in the fall. I love when the trees change colors. It's a beautiful scene.

Mick Mulvaney has a point, but what he is saying essentially is trust us. And nobody outside of Washington, not many people inside the Washington trust the politicians. But what he is saying is that we have to do this to fit in the Senate rules, but of course then we're not going to let them expire.

You know, whether Donald Trump is still president at that point or the ever future president. We don't know if Democrats or Republicans who run the House and the Senate. His point is like the Bush tax cuts. We're talking about this before the show.

The Bush tax cuts had the same thing happen and they were extended and extended and extended, maybe tweak a little bit. But hold on, should the American people buy that? That don't worry we'll keep this in place?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I think the American people's trust in Congress and Washington to get basic things done is so low right now. It's hard for me to see how that argument would be persuasive to them. Especially since they've been -- they've seen this rodeo before with the Bush tax cuts. They know what it's like. And it was hard then and it's going to be harder now.

I mean, I think this idea that it's just a quirk of the rules. I mean, they know what the rules are. So it's their job to legislate around that. And they have chosen not to do it by not making this bill, you know, deficit-neutral or making it not be as expensive as it is.

And for that reason that's where they are. And I think the American people are going to take all of that into consideration as they decide, OK, do I want to take this tax cut now and then have to pay more in five years?

SAHIL KAPUR, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: There is an intriguing level of candor where they are pretty honest about the gimmicks they are using to fit this, you know, a square peg in a round hole as they're saying. But at the end of -- So at the end of 2025, a bunch of this individual tax rates expires, the doubling of the standard deduction, the trial tax credit they keep permanent of provisions that raises the inflation level of moving up to new brackets. So the middle class would get a tax hike relative to now.

[12:35:05] They are saying these provisions won't expire which means the deficit impact is much greater in the long run. You can't have that both ways. So you have to go to the floor with the bill you have. It opens on sums up to an attack while they're keeping this corporate tax cut from 35 percent down to 20 percent permanent out across at about 1.3 trillion.

KING: And so the American people may be looking at this and scratching their head saying do I focus on the short-term where most families would benefit or do I worry that down the road they're going to come back with the two by four and thump me.

Let's focus on the conversation here in Washington. There are 52 Republican senators. Mitch McConnell can only afford to lose two. There are eight or 10 or 12 or 15 who have said they have questions and reservations here.

Good week ahead for the leader when he gets back in Thanksgiving, right?

JOHN MCCORMACK, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: It will be tough. And I think to Sahil's point, that's a great point is that you can say that, listen, these are popular tax, I mean, individual side. But if they expire that means that the deficit numbers are much worse. And so the three people I would watch when the deficit hawks --


MCCORMACK: -- people like Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, John McCain, because it's much more difficult to make that deficit smaller. I think, you know, the easiest way would be cutting the corporate rate something like 30 percent or 28 percent instead of 20 percent, but then you lose business owners. So I do think it's fair to say that wasn't the popular tax cuts are probably going to be renewed just like the Bush tax cuts. But even if you look at the fact that, you know, just take the immediate term, 7 percent, 9 percent depending on the House and Senate bill facing a tax hike.

When you consider the fact that only, you know, 55 percent of Americans are paying income taxes, that's a fairly substantial portion. The upper and middle class is tend to be clustered in the suburban high cost districts places that have some Republican members of Congress as we saw last week when a number of Republicans didn't vote for it. So, you know, that's not a small number of people getting tax hike, lower than smaller percentages. They have their taxes hiked under Reagan in '86 but still not that small.

KUCINICH: Well, another thing with this deficit hike is like, I could just add, is that Trump has a bad relationship with two big ones, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker. And they've got no reason to throw him a bone. And they're both not running for reelection so they don't have to worry about that. So, he might do well to stop going after them because they're really not -- and I'm saying if he was nice to them, they would vote for the bill, but it does help to have a good relationship if you need something. And he needs it.

KING: And John McCain is if go all the way back to the 2004 --

KUCINICH: Totally.

KING: -- John McCain is on the record against the Bush tax cuts back in that day saying, you know, because of the deficit, it may force him to shrink it a little bit. You mentioned Bob Corker, this goes back at the beginning of October about Corker speaking to Chuck Todd on Meet the Press.

But listen to this. Here, the question is can they get Bob Corker to change his mind when he looks it? Yet, another study that says yes, there'll be some economic growth but as discussed at the table, the deficits also going to go up.


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: If it looks like to me, Chuck, we're adding one penny to the deficit, I am not going to be for it, OK. I'm sorry. It is the greatest threat to our nation, the greatest threat to our nation.


KING: He says one penny of the tax policies. If you look at both the Senate and the House bills and says he was going to ask a $1 billion or more to the deficit down the road, is that a loss? Is he one of the two?

PHILLIP: I wouldn't be surprised to some of these folks including Corker suddenly had amnesia about their deficit hawk past. I mean, you've already seated in the House where you saw many Republican members essentially just saying well, it doesn't matter anymore. And, you know, I mean, we'll see. I mean, I think it's going to be really -- I genuinely think it will be hard for Republicans to say no to this tax bill at virtually any cost.

MCCORMACK: One thing that I think that's important to know is that I've asked Senator Corker about this and Senator Lankford, another deficit hawk, I think we can add to that list and they say they're willing to accept reasonable levels of economic growth under this bill, right? We've seen study after study come out and say even if you factor an economic growth, there's still a huge deficit. How they square that circle is going to be a big problem.

And I do think the deficit right now is shaping up to probably be the biggest obstacle to this. The other one is the inclusion of the Obamacare individual mandate that is driving away right now. Senator Collins and Senator Lisa Murkowski, they're not hard in those (ph) yet, but they have raised serious concerns about this, not for the fact that 13 million people are estimated dropped their coverage, but because of what would happen to the other people. Their premiums would go up because those 13 million would be healthy and the rest of the people would have to pay more to compensate.

KING: And because of that math, you have a fascinating multilevel lobbying campaign going on because every business group, every group has a stake in this fight. You mentioned Corker and Lankford. Here's an ad by a group that calls itself Businesses for Responsible Tax Reform. Always be aware of citizens for apple pie and green, you know, and the like.

But here's the group that if they said small businesses, they don't think this bill treats small business right. Here's an ad they're running against Corker and Lankford saying you better keep your promise to not raise the deficit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Bob Corker promised not to increase the deficit, but the Senate tax plan would increase the deficit. Conservative watchdogs say the plan would increase deficits by $1.41 trillion. Tell Senator Bob Corker to keep his promise and vote no on increasing the deficit.


KING: Gets back to Abby's point. Will Republicans stand on past principle they have laid down or will they decide and accept the advice of their leaders that they better pass this heading into 2018 or else they're doomed?

[12:40:07] MCCORMACK: They can do what they want. I mean, Corker is retiring. Flake is retiring. They're not subject to political pressure.

KUCINICH: And Susan Collins is someone who's very popular in Maine. There are a lot of potential Grinches to Trump Santa Claus. And also going to mentioned small business. Ron Johnson is another person who is on the fence. I mean, he might be someone that could be convinced, but he is saying that big corporations are unfairly favored in this bill.

KING: All for the holiday some interesting math definitely on McConnell's tries to pull this together and get a vote next week. Quick break. We'll be right back.


KING: Welcome back. Some breaking news just in to CNN. CBS News has fired Charlie Rose. This, after eight women stepped forward to an account yesterday said the television anchor made unwanted sexual advances towards them.

[12:45:12] The Washington Post broke the story late yesterday afternoon detailing how Rose preyed on young women. And, in some cases, The Post says groped their breast or genitals.

In the statement explaining its decision, CBS called Rose's behavior, quote, intolerable. Going on to say, "Despite Charlie's important journalistic contribution to out news division, there is absolutely nothing more important in this or any organization than ensuring a safe professional workplace. The supportive environment where people feel they can do their best work. We need to be such a place." Very quick action by the CBS News.

PHILLIP: I'm commendable, really. I mean watching the program this morning where his two co-hosts really just put it out there. Their own feelings of being -- of knowing this person and also feeling horrible about the allegations against them. I think that they're just responding as everybody is realizing in the world how that they have to at this point. These problems not going away. You have to address it head on and not be afraid to take swift action as they did today.

KUCINICH: Yes, and get thing in particular. I think had a very a heart felt, very emotional reaction at this because there is this disconnect between the person that they know on air and off air. And how he -- there he's treating subordinates. And it's unacceptable and CBS make the right decision.

KAPUR: And it seemed to be out at an inflection point here as a society where people are just rising up and saying enough is enough. Women are coming forward in a way we've never seen before. And I think men are taking -- are being forced that they kind of voting (ph) for their past actions. It's a huge deal.

KING: Do we have this down from Norah O'Donnell and Gayle King this morning? So let's listen to that.


NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS THIS MORNING ANCHOR: This I know is true. Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace or in society until there is a reckoning and a taking of responsibility.

GAYLE KING, CBS THIS MORNING ANCHOR: I'm really struggling because how do you -- what do you say when someone that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible?


KING: It was a very powerful statement by both. Two distinguished journalists in their own right.


MCCORMACK: It shows -- you know, it's the problem across many industries and media, Hollywood. And it seems on this -- there's more accountability media or in Hollywood than there has been in politics. You know, Roy Moore is still running, he's dug in.

John Conyers like I sorted out to that later in the allegations about the sexual harassment there. And we don't know if he'll step down or not, but it seems like a lot of people are certainly against in politics in a while. People are actually getting what they deserve in other industries.

KING: You mention John Conyers, a BuzzFeed report this morning quoting from some documents they've obtained about this process in Congress that has come out some criticism and understandable criticism that these are people paid by the taxpayers. There's a secretive process if you are anybody filing a complaint, not just a woman, but sexual harassment cases that prominently filed by women. You have to sign a confidentiality agreement to be part of the process. So to make your complaint, you have to sign a company against (INAUDIBLE) women.

BuzzFeed with the story today had bought (ph) an allegation of John Conyers having offensive conduct about a staffer. Here you see one of the attorneys (INAUDIBLE) who helped to work on this case. "It's a designed cover-up. You feel like they were betrayed by their government just for coming forward. It's like being abuse twice." It's an excellent point. If you lodge a complaint, you should not be sworn off like this.

And the Speaker Paul Ryan issuing the statement about this report this morning. "This report is extremely troubling. A Committee hearing last week examining the issue led to a new policy of mandatory training for all members of staff. People who work in the House deserve or entitle to workplace without harassment or discrimination." That from the Speaker.

So Congress also getting called in too. As you mention, the politician somehow who don't seem to be getting to the accountability question as quickly. But this seems to be moving as well.

KUCINICH: Well, and these offices operate as kind of their own little system. And maybe -- and they don't have the sort of workplace protections that most other -- it's all sort of designed to protect them and maybe it's time to stop them, maybe its time to empower the staffers that toil so hard for these members. And give them some of the protections that they do not have which on their counter parts in the private sector do.

KAPUR: The rules right now are really rough on victims. They almost seem to be designed to protect the perpetrators and not the victims. I mean, you have to jump through all sorts of hoops if you're filing a claim. You are pressured, you know, you have send it on disclosure.

You're pressured to settle and if you decide to move forward, there's a 30-day cooling off period. What is that about? That's (INAUDIBLE) stick notion that the victims aren't there too emotional to think clearly about this? It's bizarre. I think this mandatory training is one step but there's lot more that needs to be done.

MCCORMACK: And some pretty note. I mean, this policy has been in placed for decades now. Under Republican leadership and Democratic leadership, we're just learning about it now.

And you've got to think if any -- if you're innocent, I think any Republican, any Democrat man should, in Congress, should want that this to be public. They should want people exposed because right now there's a cloud of suspicion hanging over Congress. The fact that there are these secret settlements. People are wondering, well, is money (ph) Congress one of them? I think they should want as much transparency as policy.

PHILLIP: And we cannot lose sight on the fact that this is taxpayer money being paid out in a secretive of way. That cant -- I can't see how that continues. This is your money and nobody knows what the real process is behind it.

[12:50:11] KING: I want to bring this from the Associated Press, a statement from Conyers. He said that he has not sexually -- he's not settled any sexual harassment complaints with any staff members. Conyers, according to the Associated Press answer the door in his Detroit home Tuesday morning and says he knows nothing about any claims of inappropriate touching and he says he just learned of the story hours earlier. So that from Congressman Conyers.

We'll continue to track this story as well and we'll be right back.


KING: Live pictures get straight in Rose Garden at the White House. We're going to take you there in just a moment for an annual tradition. The first time President Trump gets this annual tradition. What is it you might ask? Well, here's a hint. Ask an NBA fan what a turkey sounds like, and then they might tell you say listen to this.


LAVAR BALL, FATHER OF BASKETBALL PLAYER JAILED IN CHINA: If he said he help us good for his mind, I mean, but why he even got to say -- if you help you shouldn't have to say anything. If you help you shouldn't have -- if I help somebody I don't walk around saying, you know, I help. No.

Come on now, you give me some love, I help too. And come on, for real? I was say thank you if he would put him on his plane and took him home. If I was going to thank somebody out of play, I thank President Z.


KING: Now, that's NBA helicopter parent LaVar Ball. He don't call a social media clearly not thankful for the President himself getting his son out of a shoplifting issue in China. Two actual turkeys at the White House this hour, yes, we're going to do this.

This next hour, President Trump will be with them and they probably don't share Mr. Ball's sentiments. Meet Wishbone and wingman Drumstick. They're the guest of honor at one of the White House hammiest. Yes, I just said that traditions, the turkey party.

In minutes, we expect President Trump -- we know President Trump will spare their lives and save them from any kind of -- you really going to make me do this, pressure cooking. But the turkeys could have done more to Cory favor with the man about to decide their fate. The birds poop the room at the Willard (ph) instead of the Trump's hotel. Well here in Washington preparing for this event take it away. I have done everything I can.

KUCINICH: Oh man so many times. So little time. You know, I will say that LaVar Ball probably should be a little bit more thankful with the President.

KING: Yes, he should.

KUCINICH: He's -- This is not bad for the king of stage dad right now in his brand and his kid.

KAPUR: His son was thankful, you know. LiAngelo Ball did a press conference. He apologized. He was heart felt. He thanked President Trump and the United States government for getting them out. And then all of a sudden, his attention seeking father jumps into the fray and does a feud and of course President Trump can't resist to goes eye for him.

KING: Well let's come back to the actual history of pardoning turkeys. This goes back to the 70th annual and of course this is President Trump's first -- let's touch base with President Obama's rather corny last.


BARRACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For the past seven years, I have established another tradition, embarrassing my daughters with a corny-copia of dad jokes about turkeys. No way I'm cutting this habit cold turkey.

[12:55:03] I want to take a moment to recognize the brave turkeys who weren't so lucky, who didn't get to ride the gravy train to freedom, who meet their fate with courage and sacrifice and proved that they weren't chicken. It's not that bad now, come on.


KING: It is a chance for a president to have fun and that was pretty bad -- yes. But that's a chance for a president to have fun at something interesting to the holidays. It would be interesting to watch about President Trump.

PHILLIP: Look, my favorite this is going to be what Barron Trump does because I know Shasha and Malia for many, many years we're like mortified by this whole exercise. So the kids are always the most fun to watch.

KUCINICH: And the kids always gobble up all the attention.

KING: The last word goes to Senate.

Thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS. See you back here this time tomorrow. Jim Sciutto up for the turkey pardoning after a quick break.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Jim Sciutto in today for Wolf Blitzer. It is 1:00 p.m. here in Washington. Wherever you are watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.

Triangle of tension. One interfered in America's election, the other called a butcher by President --