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NYPD Suspect Facing Multiple Terror-Related Charges; How the Tax Bill helps Trump and His Businesses; Voters Hitting the Polls in High Stakes Alabama Special Election; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired December 12, 2017 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:00]POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: -- bomb at home in Brooklyn. He used pieces that he collected from his workplace. We're learning a lot more.

Brynn Gingras is outside the Port Authority where this attack took place.

What else have you learned?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy and John, we do know that state and city charges have now been placed on 27-year- old Akayed Ullah. We know that we're expecting, rather, federal charges to come at some point today, so we'll hear about more of those details as the day goes on. But right now those charges here are criminal possession of a weapon, making terrorist threats and supporting an act of terrorism.

And as you said, that bomb we're told by a source it was made at his home in Brooklyn, but he also getting it here wore it for an entire hour as he traveled the subway system here in New York, taking two different subways to get to Port Authority here where he detonated that bomb.

But, guys, before I send it back to you, I want to highlight the actions of the four officers that are being credited for taking down Ullah really within minutes after this detonation and we're hearing more about them. We're hearing that -- from the Port Authority's PBA officer, a public information officer, that one of them is a Marine, one of them was in the Army serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of them is just a long-time veteran, and they have quick thinking.

They actually saw wires on Ullah through the dust, through the debris. One of them actually even spotted him reaching for his cell phone which, of course, when we've covered these stories, cell phones can be used as detonators, and they still were able to apprehend him within minutes. So I think it's important to highlight their heroic acts as I send it back to you, guys.

HARLOW: Absolutely. Brynn, I'm glad you did. Thank you so much for that.

Joining us now is James Gagliano, a CNN law enforcement analyst, retired FBI supervisory special agent. He made this at home, crude device, something you can easily learn on

the Internet, as the governor said yesterday, with, you know, Christmas light wiring and things from his workplace. What do you make of this?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Poppy, even an amateur terrorist attempting to do this can inflict lots of carnage and we really dodged a bullet yesterday. I mean, New York City's 8.4 million people, average commuting day, 600,000 million extra people, six million people in the subway system every single day, and if this subject had constructed that pipe bomb, a 12-inch piece of metal loaded as you said with shrapnel, that over pressure alone, meaning when the explosion went off, the over pressure alone would have shattered eardrums and crushed organs, there could have been dozens and dozens of fatalities.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It would have been so much worse if the bomb worked better, had he been standing in a different place, who even knows.

He is now in Bellevue Hospital being treated. What is the most important information to get from him right now?

GAGLIANO: John, absolutely the most critical question is, who did you do this with? We think right now that he was a lone wolf because remember he's claimed allegiance to ISIS. Was this directed or inspired is going to be the question.

BERMAN: When we say lone wolf, though, is it ever completely alone? Never had any help, no one ever saw you, no one knew anything? Is that what they're looking for?

GAGLIANO: Well, we want to determine that no one gave him material support. All right? The inspiration he can get right off the Internet. And we know that since 9/11, fully one half of the folks that have become radicalized were U.S. citizens. And we know he came from Bangladesh, but we want to determine, was there a support network anywhere else or was he just able to stay underneath the radar and do this on his own.

HARLOW: The president is talking about immigration policy. If immigration policy were different in this country this guy would not have gotten in. But one key thing we don't know yet is where the radicalization happened.

GAGLIANO: Right. I agree. I think it's much too early to make that type of political calculus and determination on this. We know he's from Bangladesh which is a South Asian country that's nestled between India and Thailand. It has become -- I don't want to use the term hotbed, but it has become a place where insurgencies have started to proliferate.

But, John and Poppy, every continent and damn near every country has people that are intent on conducting terrorist attacks. I don't know if we can pick out Bangladesh --

HARLOW: Right.

GAGLIANO: -- or chain migration as a reason.

BERMAN: Are the officers -- Brynn was talking about the officers who tackled this guy when he had wires coming out of his body right there.

HARLOW: And reached for his cell phone.

BERMAN: Yes, and which could have, you know, set off another bomb. Remarkable.

GAGLIANO: Absolutely. And some time in this type of cases where you had a clumsy bomb-making enterprise here and then someone that didn't set it off correctly, sometimes if they are not inspired but directed, somebody could have been off the set and detonated it because they might have feared that he might backed out the last minute. What the officers did was nothing short of heroic.

BERMAN: All right. James Gagliano, it's great to have you with us. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

President Trump claims the tax bill will cost him a fortune. Really? So why he, his family, his businesses, could make a heap of cash.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:44:05] HARLOW: President Trump has insisted that his tax plan will personally cost him a fortune but he hasn't released his tax returns so it's impossible for us to know if that's true.

BERMAN: And there is much we can tell from what is in the House and Senate bills, though.

Our chief business correspondent, star of "EARLY START," Christine Romans is here.

Should we be taking out a collection for the president if these tax bills pass?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No, absolutely not.

BERMAN: No?

ROMANS: And let's tick through four proposals that really affect him here. Some of these will be good for the president's finances like tax cuts for pass-through enterprises. Trump owns hundreds of pass- through businesses. That's when a company's profits, the profits are passed on to the owner, and then they're taxed at the individual rate. For somebody like Donald Trump that means, oh, my goodness, that means it just disappeared. It means a top rate of 39.6 percent -- that has literally never happened to me before.

HARLOW: It's called the magic wall. It's not being very magic.

ROMANS: It magically disappeared BERMAN: I think what it is, is that the truth is so revealing that

someone doesn't want it told. No, but you can tell us. The bottom line here is --

[10:45:01] ROMANS: The bottom line here is there are about four provisions that really would help the president's bottom line and the bottom line of the Kushner family and pass-through businesses that are the real estate businesses.

When you look at the commercial real estate side of the business, in particular, what's fascinating to me is that it really comes through without any kinds of restrictions. It really is sort of a perfect situation for the commercial real estate business. There are special treatments for golf courses and owners of golf courses. There's the AMT, something we know that in 2005 we saw two pages of the president's tax return. We know he paid $31 million in the AMT. If he didn't the AMT he would have paid $5 million in taxes. The AMT goes away in one of these versions and is limited in another.

HARLOW: Right. Also the estate tax. I mean, the estate tax gets a whole lot more favorable for rich folks in this country in both the House and the Senate version.

ROMANS: Yes.

HARLOW: That would be beneficial to his family.

ROMANS: It essentially would double. And now let's remember -- let's remember that most families, even most really rich people, there's the thing at least, very few people actually pay the estate tax so that really many say is a benefit to the donor class.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: You know, that is something for the donor class. You heard Chuck Grassley, he's the senator from Iowa, talk about how this is for family farmers recently. Very few. I think 80 entities this year will pay the estate tax.

HARLOW: Yes.

ROMANS: So that is definitely a nod at the donor class.

BERMAN: All right. There are some -- I don't know where you want to go next, I'm just guessing based on what is all happening, but there are state and local taxes, he does live in New York City and does pay high state taxes.

ROMANS: So when you look at -- true. So when you look at people who are middle class and upper middle class in those places they're very concerned about what that's going to mean. I mean, think of how much in New York and New Jersey you write off both property taxes and your state and local taxes. What you hear from the tax writers and the proponents of tax reform they said if New York and New Jersey, if their finances are a mess, that should have nothing to do with your federal income return. That should be them getting their act together again.

What I will say about tax reform right now it's moving quickly, it's very big, there's horse trading happening back and forth. There will be unintended consequences. The faster and bigger you have reform the corporate tax cut is something that is the centerpiece of this I think, that's going to happen.

HARLOW: Yes.

ROMANS: The pass-through tax rates will go down. That's going to happen. The middle class could get near term a little bit, 500 to 1,000, but that will expire, this corporate tax cuts I'm sure will be permanent.

HARLOW: Do you know what we are bringing you tomorrow?

ROMANS: What are bringing me?

HARLOW: A white board and a magic marker.

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: You know, and sock puppets, which I think sometimes look better than the magic wall all together.

ROMANS: I love it. I love it.

BERMAN: Christine Romans, thank you so much.

ROMANS: Thanks for enduring.

BERMAN: You are magic. You are pure magic. Who needs the wall.

HARLOW: All right. Right now voters casting their ballots in Alabama. It is election day there. The polls are open. We're breaking down all of it with the former chairman of Alabama's Republican Party. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:47:08] BERMAN: All right. The polls are open in Alabama. Any minute we expect to see Roy Moore who will arrive at his polling place on horseback just because.

HARLOW: Just because. We're waiting for those photos. Last hour we saw his opponent Doug Jones vote. He also predicted a win for himself tonight. That would be the first Democrat elected statewide in the Senate for Alabama in decades.

Joining us now is former chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, Marty Connors.

It's nice to have you here, sir. Thank you for being here. And just so our viewers know you were supporting Luther Strange, his Republican opponent now, though, you are wholeheartedly behind Roy Moore in this.

MARTY CONNORS, FORMER CHAIRMAN, ALABAMA REPUBLICAN PARTY: Yes.

HARLOW: And it is election day. What needs to happen for the first Democrat Doug Jones to pull out a victory here for the first time in decades?

CONNORS: Right. It hasn't happened since 1986. Here's the bottom line. Donald Trump won the state of Alabama by 27.7 percent of the vote. So there's no real way the Democrats can win. However, Republicans can choose to lose if they just simply stay at home, write a third party or are some, very few vote for Doug Jones. So it's really in the hands of suburban Republicans.

BERMAN: Well, there's a pretty prominent Republican, Richard Shelby, the senior senator from the state of Alabama, who decided to write in a different candidate.

HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: Have you seen any sign that there are people following his lead?

CONNORS: Not much. Maybe 2 percent. Somewhere in that vicinity which could make a difference in a very tight race. Dick Shelby has always enjoyed bipartisan support. I think they caught him very early and when all this controversy broke out and I tend to advise, take a 72-hour rule before you make such comments, but the bottom line, is Dick Shelby is revered and he's an icon in the state, he's enjoyed bipartisan support. But I don't think that's really going to translate much when it gets down to the look log if you will.

HARLOW: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on this program speaking to us yesterday said, you know, the party, the Republican Party, doesn't win if Roy Moore wins. He says it will be the gift that keeps on giving to the Democrats. That has been echoed by other Republicans and now our Manu Raju is reporting some Republican leadership talking about not putting him on any committees, or really having much to do or influence if he is elected to the Senate.

Tell me why you think the Republican Party wins if Roy Moore wins?

CONNORS: Well, first of all, everyone is trying to say this is going to be something that's hung around the necks of other Republicans. The truth is it won't. There's been other controversial Republicans who did not win and they too were hung around the necks of future Republican candidates and the answer is really quite simple.

If you're running for the Senate you say hey, you know, I'm running for the Senate in Missouri, I'm running for the Senate in Indiana. Those issues don't apply to me. Here's the five things I'm for. And then you move on to the next question.

[10:50:04] It's happened before and it had no impact. I'll remind you we went through this and we still maintain a majority in other states.

BERMAN: So as voters head to the polls today, does this really all come down to what you think about Roy Moore? Do you believe his accusers? Do you care whether or not Roy Moore allegedly molested a 14-year-old girl? Or are the issues in this election completely different from that? Is this Trump versus Clinton again? Is this something else?

CONNORS: I wouldn't -- I wouldn't really try to read anything more into it than what exactly is going on on the ground here, and that is 40-year-old allegations, two by which have been sufficiently debunked but they have not been repeated on the networks. So it's the old saying if you keep saying something over and over and over again some people will believe it.

As I said at the beginning, this is not in the hands of the Democrats. This is in the hands of suburban Republican voters.

HARLOW: You were Mitt Romney's regional finance committee chair in Alabama.

CONNORS: Proudly. Proudly.

HARLOW: When he ran for president. All right. So here's what he wrote last week. "Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate would be a stain on the GOP and on the nation." Leigh Corfman, the 14-year-old John is talking about at the time and other victims are courageous heroes. No vote, no majority is worth losing our honor and our integrity."

This is from a man who you say you proudly worked for in his run for president. Why do you think he's wrong?

CONNORS: Yes. Well, I was a regional finance committee member for Mitt Romney, and frankly had Mitt won, we would not have had Obamacare, so I consider him a friend. But I also expect that Washington sort of buttons down the hatches if you will in these kind of times, but this really comes down to Alabama voters and there's going to be I guess somewhere around a little less --

HARLOW: But I'm asking you, do you think Mitt Romney the man you worked for, called a friend, do you think he's wrong?

CONNORS: Yes.

HARLOW: Why?

CONNORS: On this particular issue I think he is because I think a million votes cast is a better jury than a handful of Republicans in Washington.

BERMAN: And you said -- by the way, you said that there were accusations that had been debunked.

CONNORS: Yes.

BERMAN: Without going down the list here, look, I mean, we still see here and Leigh Corfman who says she was molested when she was 14, no one has debunked that at all. And there are other allegations there that have been made that have not been debunked. Haven't been proven but as voters are going to the polls right now,

they hang out there and it's basically the allegations, the credible as in, you know, backed up by other people --

HARLOW: Thirty accounts.

BERMAN: Thirty other accounts. People going to the polls voting on that versus the word of Roy Moore now.

CONNORS: Well, in two cases, one, the Gadsden Mall issues, which networks including your own, has repeated and repeated and repeated. The funny part about that one is --

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: John is not asking you about that.

CONNORS: I'm just saying --

BERMAN: OK.

CONNORS: I'm trying to answer your question if you'd let me finish. A couple of the major allegations have been significantly debunked. For example, the Gadsden Mall thing which your network and others have repeated and repeated. Even the manager of the mall at the time said he is voting for Roy Moore. And then the Gloria Allred fiasco. I mean, you know the circus is in town. And they won't even turn over the yearbook for independent forensic testing.

So, I mean, I think that's mixing into the mix again. But all of this comes down to whether or not suburban Republican voters will stay at home or not. It's really that simple.

HARLOW: It just has nothing to do with the question that John asked, about Leigh Corfman and the 14-year-old girl here who accuses him of child molestation.

CONNORS: That is -- that is one of a number of allegations and the difference in this case is we're talking about 40-year-old allegations. We're not talking about a photograph, multiple photographs, we're not talking about a $27,000 settlement. We're talking about allegations. And the larger precedent here, this is where the real damage comes in is if we learn from this election that an allegation can beat you in an election then both political parties will know from now on we don't need to debate issues, all we need to do is find allegations.

BERMAN: Marty Connors, we will watch alongside you today to see what happens in this race. A lot of interest to say the least. Thanks so much for being with us.

CONNORS: Thank you.

HARLOW: All right. Moments ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaking about immigration after the terror attack here in New York City. Let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: As yesterday's New York events showed in the starkest terms, the failures of our immigration system are also a national security issue. Since 9/11, the Department of Justice has prosecuted more than 500 people for terrorism related offenses. And preliminary figures suggest that nearly 75 percent of those defendants were foreign born.

[10:55:04] The president is exactly right to call attention to these issues and to how they affect our security. In just the last two months --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That's the Attorney General Jeff Sessions right there in the middle of a very, very busy day.

Any moment we will see Roy Moore. He will cast his ballot in the Senate race there.

HARLOW: All right. We'll take you there live. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

It is election day in America once again or at least in one critical southern state, and Alabama, you are on the clock.

The polls are open right now statewide. A deep red state in the deep south, but are things changing? That's what voters will decide tonight.

Embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore up against Democrat Doug Jones. Moore about to arrive to vote any minute. We'll presume for himself. He will be keeping with family tradition. He will be arriving to his polling place by horseback. And in case you are wondering, because I was as well, the horse's name is Sassy.

Doug Jones already cast his vote for himself, we would assume, this morning, and so they are off to the races. I had to do it. Moore of course has been dogged by decades old allegations that he sexually abused underage girls when he was roughly twice their age. That has become a huge issue in this campaign and on the final night to campaign, Roy Moore made it personal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm going to tell you, if you don't believe in my character, don't vote for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Let's check in right now with Moore's Democratic rival, Doug Jones. CNN's Alex Marquardt is in Mountain Brook, Alabama, where Jones just

cast his vote a short time ago.

Alex, what's the latest?

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. Well, he did cast his vote just a short time ago at this Baptist Church in Mountain Brook which is just outside of Birmingham.

Jones has a busy day. He's stopping at a number of different polling stations throughout the course of the day to say hi to voters.

I have to say we've been watching a steady flow of voters going in and out in this rather encouraging display of civic activism. When you talk to the Jones' campaign about how they're feeling today, they say that they are feeling confident. They say that they are in a better position than they thought they would be. Jones has started saying over the course of the past few days that if you would ask them the odds that he's winning --