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Trump Says Tax Savings Could Begin in February; Trump on More Loss, would have Liked to Have had Seat; Senate Now in Play, Democrats Two Seats from Majority. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired December 13, 2017 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] STEPHEN MOORE, CNN ECONOMIC ANALYST, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: -- and when they see the reality, middle class families that make 60, $80,000, $100,000 and see how much money getting back, I think their attitude are going --

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Let's see what happens with their state and local taxes.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: But guys, when you have the president, last time he was really talking on taxes it was when he was saying, oh, my rich friends, my rich friends, you know, that they're really not going to like me. This isn't good news for them. Then when you see this individual tax rate down to 37 percent from which was initially floated at 39.6, I mean, that's just wrong. This is good news. As it's apparently -- it's a part of Phil Mattingly reporting at the end of the day this is typically what the president wanted. He wanted the number being 37.

MOORE: And the reason we did that by the way is because it turns out that about two third of the people who are paying that 37 percent in that 37 percent tax bracket are small businesses owners. The employers of this country. You can't have jobs without employers. We want American businesses, small businesses and corporations to do as well as they can, so that there is a better more prosperous economy with higher paying jobs for Americans. And look, we'll see whether this works. It worked for Reagan and it worked for JFK why wouldn't it work for Trump?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Oh my God, Stephen. We are going to relitigate this. It worked for Reagan because many things were different in the economy at that time. You had women coming into the workforce. You had higher productivity levels. Lots of room to grow. We have a very different economy today. Listen, I wish this would work. I wish it were as easy as saying cut taxes and the economy will grow. The past 20 years have shown us a different story. And you know, I'll be waiting with fingers crossed, but I'm not hopeful.

BALDWIN: Flashing on the markets, markets obviously reacting positively. Speaking of Reagan, this is something the president said earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will bigger than anything ever done in this country, bigger than the Reagan cuts, bigger than any cuts and it will also be reform.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Bigger than the Reagan cuts. Not bigger than the Reagan cuts. It's actually Trump says they are, but as percentage of GDP it's actually one of the modest tax cuts in history. So, hashtag misleading.

MOORE: Hold on. You can't have it both ways, though.

FOROOHAR: Something else happened under Reagan is we grew in the second term a huge deficit. That's the other part of this. That's why a lot of Republicans were very slow to get pushed into this deal because they know, and the congressional tax watchdog itself said, this is going to create a very large deficit. That's something that Republicans have said, oh, we can't go there. We can't have tax cuts there are going to create deficits. That's exactly what's going to happen.

MOORE: It must have worked pretty well in the '80s. Because as I seem to recall Ronald Reagan slipped by in re-election winning 49 states in the biggest land slide ever and that was because of the economy -- that was because the economy was doing so well.

BORGER: Bob Corker, this is Senator Corker, this has been his biggest concern, and he's trying to get something in this bill that would make sure that there's some kind of a safe guard there. But our Manu Raju spoke to him today and he said I have all the same concerns that I've always had. So, I think we have to stay tuned to see how he votes and how a couple of other Republicans end up voting.

MOORE: I think we have 50 for you, I think we have 50.

BALDWIN: Gloria we have to close this out. Gloria and Rana and Stephen, thank you so much on all things taxes.

I also want to draw your attention here to a really helpful tool on CNN.com. You can actually -- this is awesome. You can put in your income level and you can see exactly how this tax bill will affect your paycheck. So, there you have it CNN.com.

Coming up next, the positive news for the president on taxes dampened just a smidge by a stunning upset in the Alabama senate race. What Doug Jones victory means for the future of both parties.

And this really just touching moment between the former vice president Joe Biden and Meghan McCain's daughter -- rather John McCain's daughter, Meghan. What he had to share about her father's cancer diagnosis that got them both quite emotional.

[15:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: We are back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. As president Trump is on the brink of this big win on taxes, what he was talking about at the White House. He's also licking some wounds after that stinging loss in Alabama. For the first time in 25 years the state is sending a Democrat to the United States Senate. Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore the accused sexual molester and attacker endorsed by the president. Roy Moore has yet to actually concede to Doug Jones, but president is admitting defeat, congratulating Jones on Twitter. Later the president acknowledged Moore's loss was a good thing to some members of the Republican Party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: At lot of Republicans feel differently. They are very happy with the way it turned out. But I would have, as the leader of the party, I would have had liked the seat. I'll say we have to get more senators and more congressman that are Republicans elected in '18, and then you'll see a lot more of what we are doing right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let me bring in CNN political commentator, Mary Katharine Ham. She is senior writer at the "Federalist." Good to see you.

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good to see you.

BALDWIN: One year in just about, into the presidency and you have, you know, the elections we talked about in Virginia. You have what happened in Alabama. Obviously, a mega sigh of relief for a lot of Republicans who just didn't want to deal with the Roy Moore situation.

HAM: Yes, that story would have been just beginning.

BALDWIN: What does the loss mean for Trump?

HAM: I'm not sure how much it means for Trump. Like emotionally I don't think he's tied to the GOP. So, their fortunes are not that important to him. Look, it's a hit for him because he did go all in for him at the end of this. I was kind of surprised he didn't take the I told you so on Luther Strange in the beginning.

BALDWIN: He kind of did I was right originally this wasn't my guy.

HAM: But look does it change 2018 for him? Yes. Alabama huge win for Democrats. You cannot understate it.

[15:40:00] Roy Moore was a historically bad candidate. Democrats also did some good work on the ground and have enthusiasm. If you look at the black turnout looking at 2012 levels. But the interesting part is 23,000 write ins, who are probably people who would have voted Republican had there been a traditional Republican on the ballot and they take a pass. And many of those people are moms. Many of those people are married women.

BALDWIN: That what their talking about the new swing vote?

HAM: Right. If the GOP starts losing those women, in exurbs and suburbs, often college educated, we saw that in Virginia, and now we see it in deep red Alabama because uniquely bad candidate. But if that's the tendency pick a Roy Moore like Trump candidate in the future, then you will lose more of those races. And do I think Republicans are looking at 2018 like a freight train coming at them and that changes how they respond to legislative challenges. Which they have not been great at already.

BALDWIN: And engineer on said freight train being Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon who helped the president win. That was the Steve Bannon way. And then as they thought it would have been the Steve Bannon way in Alabama. This is what a Republican said this morning about Steve Bannon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: This guy does not belong on the national stage. He looks like some disheveled drunk that wandered onto the political stage. He is not representing what I stand for. I consider myself a conservative Republican. I consider myself an Irish Catholic and he sort of parades him out there with his weird alt-right views that he has. And to me it's demeaning the hold governmental political process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Do you think he's officially overrated, cachet?

HAM: Look, I mean, the question is -- it was a feature not a bug for him that this guy Roy Moore was going to bother the GOP when he got to town. And for many voters that was a plus. So, unless you deal with that part of the base, which votes very enthusiastically in primaries and wants someone that makes life hell for the establishment GOP in Washington, you will get unorthodox candidates who are going to have things in their past that pop up. So I think that's the question. I think he still retains some power for that reason. The question is whether some of those primary voters that have that tendency realize look, look only Trump can do this. You've already got the great grenade at the top of the heap here. Maybe not keep throwing them into the senate seats because it's not working.

The Senate now with a plus one being blue could potentially be in play. What would that look like? How could that change things? How could that be difficult for the Republican legislative agenda and especially for the president?

HAM: I think it could be interesting. Partly because I don't think that Trump is that tied again to the GOP.

BALDWIN: Refer to them as the they, not the we.

HAM: Right. He's ideologically flexible shall we say. So, if he ends up in a situation where he loses a lot of Republicans or he doesn't love the Mitch McConnell's and the Paul Ryan's of the world anyway. He has gotten along with one, Chuck Schumer in the past. He has donated to one, Kirsten Gillibrand in the past as we learned. It gets into some very strange political territory. But for now, I think that the fact that were talking about the fact that they could lose the Senate. That's even in the universe of possibilities, is very bad news for the House and very bad news for how they look at 2018. It just is.

BALDWIN: Mary Katharine Ham, thank you. Good to see you. Thank you very much.

Next here, Meghan McCain, have you seen this? The Meghan McCain, Joe Biden moment, tears up during this interview with the former vice president on "The View." What he shared with her about his role and helping her family deal with Senator McCain's cancer diagnosis.

[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: The former vice president, Joe Biden, shared quite an emotional moment on "The View" with co-host, Meghan McCain. One that went beyond politics. The vice president was there to talk about his book on the tragic loss of his son Beau who passed away from an aggressive brain tumor back in 2015. Meghan's father, Senator John McCain was diagnosed with the same cancer in July, but continues to serve in the U.S. Senate. Mr. Biden called her father one of his best friends.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MEGHAN MCCAIN, DAUGHTER OF SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: We are back with a man who needs no introduction Joe Biden himself is here. All right. This is the hard part, bear with me, OK. I couldn't get through your book. I tried. Your son Beau had the same cancer that my father was diagnosed with six months ago and I'm sorry.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: There is a lot of hope there.

MCCAIN: I think about Beau almost every day. And I was told -- sorry -- that this doesn't get easier. But that you cultivate the tools to work with this and live with this. I know you and your family have been through tragedy that I couldn't conceive of.

BIDEN: Well, look, look, look.

MCCAIN: It's not about me. It's about everyone.

BIDEN: No, it is about everyone. But, look, one of the things that gave Beau courage, my word, was, John. Your dad, you may remember when you were a kid, your dad took care of my Beau. Your dad when he was an aide worked with me became friends with Beau. And Beau talked about your dad's courage, not about illness, but about his courage.

And, look, a lot of things happening. Any of you have somebody who is diagnosed with glioblastoma which is about as bad it gets. There are breakthroughs that are occurring now. There's four things that are going on. And it could happen tomorrow. Like for example, at the University of Pennsylvania -- where I teach now -- at the Abramson Center. What they found out is a thing called CAR-T cell.

[15:50:00] What they do is they take your cells, your T-cells, your immune systems cells out of your body and they reinforce it with an antigen. And that goes in and then finds the cancer cell. Because the cancer cells can hide from your immune system. And they had a breakthrough with a new drug dealing with child leukemia and it's working. There's other things called -- they have what they did with Beau, it's starting to happen now. They're using their CAR-T cell and they are using -- they inject a virus and it generates into the cancer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, there's hope.

BIDEN: So, there is hope. And if anybody can make it, your dad -- her dad is one of my best friends. Her dad -- her dad goes after me hammer and tongue. We're like two brothers who were somehow raised by different fathers or something. Because of our points of view, but I know, and I mean this sincerely, and I've said it all -- even when your dad got mad and me and said I should get the hell off the ticket.

And do you remember what I said about your dad? I said I know, and I mean this sincerely, I know if I picked up the phone tonight and called John McCain and said, John, I'm at Second and Vine in Oshkosh and I need your help, come. He'd get on a plane and come. And I would for him, too. This is the guy -- but, look, the thing that I found, the thing that I found was, and Beau insisted on, your dad's going to insist on, is you've got to maintain hope. There is hope. Hope is that you have to have hope.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Senator John McCain tweeted a clip of that interview with a message, thank you Joe Biden and the entire Biden family for serving as an example and source of strength for my own family.

Of course, we wish him so, so well.

Minutes from now, Doug Jones will speak to reporters after his mega win in Alabama. We will take you to Birmingham live.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Can't wait for Sunday. Meantime, the second highest ranking official at the Justice Department, Rod Rosenstein, says he has zero cause to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation. The calls for Mueller's replacement stemmed from the release of this anti-Trump text messages that went back and forth between these top FBI employees during the campaign. One agent calling Mr. Trump a, quote, idiot. Another calling him a loathsome human. Mueller removed these two FBI employees from his team in July when he discovered these text messages. And here is how Rod Rosenstein defend the DOJ and the FBI today in front of Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP: STEVE CHABOT (R), OHIO: My question to you is, how with a straight face can you say that this group of Democrat partisans are unbiased and will give President Trump a fair shake?

ROB ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, Congressman, I think it's important to recognize that when we talk about political affiliation that all demonstrates political affiliation. The issue of bias is something different. I've discussed this with director Mueller and he and I collectively have a lot of experience managing offices in the Department of Justice. We recognize we have employees with political opinions and it's our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: President Trump's legal team has not gone so far as to call for Mueller's firing, but has called for the appointment of a second special counsel. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Good afternoon and welcome to "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper. We're going to begin with some breaking news in the politics lead today. Any moment, we expect to hear from Democratic senator-elect, Doug Jones, elected to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate last night. In a stunning and historic election, sending shockwaves from Alabama all the way to Washington, D.C. We're going to bring Doug Jones to you live as soon as he steps up to that podium and begins speaking.

But first, we should note that after deep ruby red Alabama chose its first Democratic senator in 25 years, those shockwaves are rocking the White House today. President Donald Trump who backed the Republican candidate, the one who had been credibly accused of molesting a 14- year-old girl and sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl among other allegations. The president now has three perceived losses to show for his involvement in this Alabama race. There is the primary loss, where he backed Luther Strange who lost to Roy Moore. The election loss last night where he full-throatedly backed Moore against the advice of senior Republicans and his own aides. The president tried to explain this 0 and 2 Alabama scoreboard in a tweet today writing quote, the reason why I originally endorsed --