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Trump And Republicans Celebrate Tax Bill Passage; Disgraced Cardinal Law Dead; The World's Saddest Christmas Tree. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired December 20, 2017 - 15:00   ET




HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers around the world. You're looking at pictures right now from the White

House where the victory lap begins any moment on the south lawn.

U.S. President Donald Trump is celebrating his first major legislative achievement with his fellow Republican lawmakers. Congress has passed the

first significant overhaul of the American tax code in 30 years without a single Democratic vote.

Mr. Trump says people will begin to see positive benefits from the $1.5 trillion tax cut as early as February of next year. He says the tax cuts

amount to a, quote, "an incredible Christmas gift" for hardworking Americans.

Awaiting the president any second now to start that celebratory lap. The victory party maybe getting underway as you can see they are at the White

House. That's the south lawn we are looking at now.

But a CNN poll shows that 55 percent of Americans don't support the tax bill. White House reporter, Stephen Collinson, joins me now live before we

go over to hear what the president has to say himself.

Stephen, the president is not going to let a small thing like a poll get in the way of a party, right? He said he was promising a big beautiful

Christmas present to the American people and I'm sure that's exactly what he's going to say when he gets up to the (inaudible).

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's exactly right, Hannah. He's waited 11 turmoiled-filled months for this moment when he finally gets

to celebrate the passing of a bill that will reshape significant parts of the American economy and American life.

So, this is a huge moment politically for the president and it's also a huge moment as we look forward to the midterm election --

JONES: Stephen, I'm going to have to interrupt you. My apologies, the president is making his way there now up to the podium on the south lawn of

the White House. Stephen, my apologies, but let's just take these pictures live and then listen in to what the president has to say.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thank you, everybody. These are the people right behind me, they've worked so long,

so hard. It's been an amazing experience, I have to tell you. It hasn't been done in 34 years, but actually really hasn't been because we broke

every record.

It's the largest -- I always say the most massive, but it's the largest tax cut in the history of our country and reform the tax cut, really something

special. And I know this has just came out, 2 minutes ago, they handed it to me.

AT&T plans to increase U.S. capital spending $1 billion and provide $1,000 special bonus for more than 200,000 U.S. employees and that's because of --

and I have a whole list of accomplishments that the group behind may have done in terms of this administration and this Congress.

But, you heard it before, records all over the place and that will continue and then some because of what we did, but $3.2 trillion, just think of it,

in tax cuts for American families including doubling the standard deduction and doubling the child's tax credit.

The typical family of four earning $75,000 will see an income tax cut of more than $2,000. They're going to have $2,000 and that's in my opinion

going to be less than the average. You're going to have a lot more than that.

One thing very important for the farmers, the great farmers and the great small business owners that were forced to sell their businesses at bargain

basement numbers. We have provided for the most part a state tax is wiped out.

[15:05:09] So they can keep their farms in the family and that to me is a very big factor. This is going to mean companies are going to be coming

back. You know, I campaigned on the fact that we're not going to lose our companies anymore. They're going to stay in our country and they are going

to stay in our country, and you can see what's been happening even at this prospect.

But they have tremendous enthusiasm right now in this country now and we have companies pouring back into our country and that means jobs and

formation of new, young, beautiful, strong companies. So that's going to be very, very important.

The past (inaudible) and the small businesses are going to be big beneficiaries. We are going to bring at least $4 trillion back into this

country, money that was frozen overseas and in parts in the worlds and some of them don't even like us and they have the money, well, they're not going

to have the money along.

I guess, it's very simple, when you think haven't heard this expression, but we are making America great again. I want to have them get up and get

the glamor and glory and I want to have a few of them come up.

But I want to thank you Mitch McConnell, what a job. It's always a lot of fun when you win. I want to thank Paul. They are going to speak. They're

going to say a few words, but Paul Ryan and Mitch was a little team, which has got together and we would work very hard.

It seems like it was a lot of fun. It's always a lot of fun when you win. If you work hard and lose that's not acceptable. But I'm going to name a

few names and some of them will come up.

But people that I saw so much over the last month and really over the last almost a year because when you think of it we haven't even been a year and

we did the largest tax cut in our history.

We, I hate to say this, but we essentially repealed Obamacare because we got rid of the individual mandate which was terrible, and that was a

primary source of funding of Obamacare and (inaudible) so a friend of mine.

And Dan, where is Dan? I'll tell you between Dan and Don and Lisa, you've done a very great job. So, a friend of mine called up about (inaudible).

He's in the office. He said, you didn't get (inaudible) and I said tell me about it. He said we've been trying to get that passed the whole country,

the world, they've tried in Ronald Reagan.

They've tried with the Bushes. They tried with everybody. They never got (inaudible), but we got (inaudible) in this bill. So, we have (inaudible).

we have the mandate and we have the tax cut and we have the reform.

I mean, when you add up the size of this bill, it's really great. So, Lisa, thank you very much. Lisa Murkowski. So, John Cornyn, the great

chairman, Orrin Hatch, great job. Orrin is a special person.

Tim Scott, who has been incredible, he's going to say a few words. I have it mostly memorized. But Tim Scott has been great. John Thunes, where is

John? Great job. Rob Portman, a real student of the tax world. Rob, thank you very much.

I want to thank to John Cornyn, Pat Toomey, he has been -- we rode together in Pennsylvania, but that was Pat. Susan Collins, we want to thank. Thank

you, Susan. I look at these people, it's like we are warriors together.

Christy Nome (ph) on the House. We have Christy Nome and Diane Black. Our great speaker Paul Ryan, he is a great speaker. Great job. Kevin

McCarthy, Kevin, what a job, Kevin. We had fun. Did we have a good time? Steve Scalise is braver than all of us. Where is he? Boy, I don't know.

[15:10:05] He had a rougher year than most of us, but it's a hell of a way to lose weight, Steve. We love you. Great job. Kevin Brady. Kevin

Brady. So maybe what I'll do -- by the way, I mentioned AT&T, but many companies have come forward saying they are so happy and they are doing

similar announcements.

We are seeing something very special. Bringing the entrepreneur back into this country. We are getting rid of all the nuts and all the ties and

you'll see what happens. And ultimately what does it mean? It means jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. So, it's going to be really special period of time. We

are in a very special period of time.

And it's going to be even more so. I want to thank everybody behind me. Maybe I can start with Mitch, then we'll go to Paul, and have a couple of

folks come up and say a few words. OK. Thank you. Mitch, how about you starting?

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, let me just say, Mr. President, he made the case for the tax bill, but this has been a year

of extraordinarily accomplishment for the Trump administration. We have cemented Supreme Court right of center for a generation.

Mr. President, thanks to your nominees, we put 12 circuit court judges in place, the most since the circuit court system was established in 1891.

You hold the record. You've ended the over regulation of the American economy.

And that coupled with what we did last night and what the House finished this morning means America is going to start growing again. Thank you, Mr.

President, for all you are doing.

REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: First of all, what this represents is a promise that each and every one of us made to the American

people last year is a promise that is kept today. Something this big, something this generational, something this profound, could not have been

done without exquisite presidential leadership.

Mr. President, thank you for getting us over the finish line. Thank you for getting us where we are. I just want to quickly say thanks because

this has been such a team effort from everybody. I want to thank Gary Cohen and Steve Mnuchin from the president's economic team for what they

did to get us here.

I want to thank my partner, Mitch McConnell over in the Senate to getting us to where we are. And I want to thank these two chairmen, Orrin Hatch

and Kevin Brady, thank you so much for your leadership on this.

It is really simple the message to hard working taxpayers of America is your tax relief is on its way. That is what's happening here. The message

to the families of America struggling paycheck to paycheck, your tax rates are going down and your paychecks are going up.

This is the kind of relief that Americans deserve. This is the kind of tax reform and tax cuts that get our economy growing to reach its potential.

This gets us better wages, bigger paychecks, a simpler tax system. This gets the American economy competitive in the global economy.

This is it one of the most important things we could do for all of the people we represent. This is generational, and we are so excited that we

are going to launch next year this fantastic tax reform so that the American people can see how we can truly reach our economic growth and

economic potential.

And if it weren't for all the leadership of the men and women up here this wouldn't have made been made possible. But I want to thank the American

people for putting their trust in us. Forgiving us this chance and this ability to make this moment possible. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr.


PRESIDENT TRUMP: A man who has been working very hard, thank you, Paul, very, very hard for a long period of time. And last night was very much a

culmination, but I don't know if we'll have bigger moments, but we hope to. We're going to try. A very special guy, and great friend of mine, Vice

President Mike Pence.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, thank you, Mr. President, thank you for those kind words, but more importantly thank you

for your leadership.

[15:15:07] Thank you for your bottomless faith in the American people and thank you for keeping your promise toll see this Congress deliver the

largest tax cut in American history before Christmas of this year. Merry Christmas, America.

To members of our cabinet, to Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, all members of Congress, thank you for being here for not only being here but for your

leadership and support throughout this year.

I truly do believe, Mr. President, this will be remembered as a pivotal moment in the life of our nation. The day when Congress answered your call

and made history. But honestly, I would say to the American people, President trump has been making history since the first day of this


We have been rebuilding our military. Standing with our veterans, and just last week, President Trump signed one of the largest investments in our

national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan.

We have been defending our borders, upholding the rule of law. Illegal crossings on our southern border are down by more than 50 percent and

President Trump has been restoring American credibility on the world stage. Standing with our allies and standing up to our enemies.

As the president reflected earlier today, our NATO allies are paying more toward common defense. North Korea is more isolated than ever before.

This president has put Iran on notice and put the war on Afghanistan on a path to victory.

And thanks to the leadership of this commander-in-chief, and the courage of our Armed Forces, ISIS is on the run, their capitol has fallen, and their

so-called caliphate has crumbled across Syria and Iraq.

But what brings us here today is that President Trump also knows that American strength starts with the growing American economy and from the

first day of this administration, this president championed free and fair trade.

He rolled back federal red tape at record levels. We unleashed American energy and today, Mr. President, you fulfilled the promise you made to

millions of Americans struggling in this economy, to cut taxes across the board for working families and businesses large and small.

In August of this year, the president laid out vision for his tax cut that would be a middle-class miracle and that's exactly what the Congress passed

today. This tax cut will put more money in the pockets of the American people, will make our tax code for easier to understand and make businesses

across America more competitive to wage wages for working Americans.

I can tell you I serve with him every day. President Trump is a man of his word. He's a man of action and with the strong support of these members of

Congress, President Donald Trump delivered a great victory for the American people.

We made history today. But as the president said when we gathered this morning, a few of us with a few less hours sleep than usual we are just

getting started and I can assure you this president, this entire administration will not rest until the forgotten men and women of America

are forgotten no more.

So, thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for your love for this country tan the people of this country and I know in

my heart, with the strong continued support of the members of Congress who are gathered on these steps, and with God's help, you will make America

great again.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, Mike, very much. A friend of mine, a very, very special man, Tim Scott, Tim, I'd like you to say a few words. He came

in and he would solve some problems that we weren't looking too good a couple of times. And Tim was really, really a tremendous help. Thank you,


REPRESENTATIVE TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, Mr. President, during one of those conversations that we had we talked about ways to improve

distressed communities throughout this country, 52 million Americans living in distressed communities, and we talked about legislation that could move

those communities forward.

And you said yes. And as part of this tax reform package, the investing and opportunity act, has been included.

[15:20:02] Which will bring trillions of dollars into poor communities because of your willingness to listen. The president said I only have

about 45 more minutes so I'm going to get to my -- he didn't say that. OK. Got it. Let me say to those Americans who are watching this process, this

is not about Washington. It's not about the left. It's not about the right.

It's about single parent moms who are looking for a reason to be hopeful in 2018. This tax reform plan delivers for the average single mother a 70

percent tax cut. For the average family who is working paycheck to paycheck, looking for ways to be hopeful about their future, to have an

extra night for dinner out at a restaurant, this tax reform package cuts their taxes by nearly 60 percent.

And because of folks like Marco Rubio and Ivanka Trump, when you think about kids in the household, this plan doubles the child tax credit and

makes about 70 percent of this refundable. This is a plan we can be proud of because it speaks to the hearts of every day Americans.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. Diane, come on up, Diane Black. Thank you.

REPRESENTATIVE DIANE BLACK (R), TENNESSEE: Thank you, Mr. President. And I want to thank all of the folks that are standing behind me because it has

been a team effort. When we talk about doing tax reform and the tax reform and jobs cuts act, that is what the American people are going to benefit


And as Tim has just said, it is the average American. That's the reason why we did this tax reform. We looked at those right in the middle. Those

families that need the assistance and the help, and the relief to be able to live their lives the way we have promised with the American dream.

It is such an honor to stand here with the president of the United States, the vice president of the United States, who have been an intrical part in

making sure this happened. I want to thank Kevin Brady, who I know hours and hours and hours worked hard to make this happen in what was really a

short period of time.

And some of the folks that are being left out right now, and I know thanked them before, but I want to thank them publicly, and that is all the staff

that has worked so hard in both the House and the Senate to make this happen.

Now, we can say Merry Christmas to the American people because we are giving them a huge gift for Christmas, a break in these taxes and an

opportunity for our jobs to grow, and to give them a bigger paycheck.

So, I want to say thank you to Mr. President. Thank you, President Trump for allowing us to have you as our president and to make America great


PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, Diane, very much. And we can say Merry Christmas again. People are saying Merry Christmas again and we like the

sound. I want to ask Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to come up from Alaska. They've been really working and if Don Young is here. The three

of them. Dan, get over here. Lisa.

Mr. President l, I don't know if you recognize this is a very historic day of course, but also the beginning of winter solstice. It doesn't feel like

it right now, but winter solstice is the shortest and darkest day.

SENATOR LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: And for us in Alaska we've had some pretty dark days recently, but with passage of this tax bill, with passage

finally almost 40 years later, to allow us to open up the 1002 area, this is a bright day for Alaska. This is a bright day for America.

So, we thank you for that. We thank you for that. Think about it, 31 years, we've been working on tax reform, 38 years now to open up Anmar.

This has been a multi- generational fight.

[15:25:06] And I look to some of our friends from Alaska who have come 5,000 miles to be here for the vote last night and today. To those who

live there, to those who raise their families there, and to those who are looking to live for generations, no that our promise to you today is a

bright future, one where we care for our environment, where we care for our people.

And we also care for our country in providing a resource that is needed, not only by the United States, by Alaskans, but by our friends. This is

what energy dominance is all about.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you, Lisa.

SENATOR DAN SULLIVAN (R), ALASKA: Well, Mr. President, I want to thank you and your administration. I want to thank you Secretary Zinke who doing a

great job, but Senator Murkowski said it very well. This administration has come in and recognized this incredible resource that we have in our


Developing our energy is good for jobs, it's good for energy security, it's good for manufacturing, it's good for the environment, because we have the

highest standards in the world, and it's very, very good for our foreign policy national security.

Mr. President, sir, you released your national security strategy just a couple days ago, and in there you talk about the economy, which is what

this tax bill is all about, but you also talk about energy dominance.

And I want to thank you, I want to thank you on behalf of all Alaskans and the American people because it's the right policy and we are finally,

finally doing it. Thank you, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. President. I want to thank all these guys standing behind me, these ladies, the people that helped me do this.

This is 37 years I tried to get this passed. It proves one thing, perseverance overcomes intelligence any day of the year.

But I want to thank the president. I want to thank you, Mr. President and my two senators, this is a team that can't be beaten, we'll do what's right

for Alaskans. This bill does what's right for this nation and the great land will be great again. Thank you, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: These are pretty popular guys, isn't it? I want to ask Orrin Hatch, a special friend of mine I can tell you that somebody that

spoke really well of me when it wasn't exactly the easiest thing to do. He was just always in there, always fighting for all of us and did a fantastic

job as chairman. Orrin, say a few words please.

SENATOR ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: Mr. President, I have to say that you are living up to everything I thought you would. You're one heck of a leader

and we're all benefiting from it. This bill could not have passed without you, couldn't have passed without the Alaskan delegation, couldn't have

passed without the leadership in the House and the Senate, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and the other leaders as well.

All I can say is that we're making head way, this is just the beginning. You stop and think about it, this president hasn't even been in office for

a year, and look at all the things he's been able to get done by sheer will in many ways.

I just hope that we all get behind him every way we can, and we'll get this country turned around in ways that will benefit the whole world, but above

all, benefit our people and bring us all to a realization of how really great America really is and how the rest of the world depends on us.

I love this country. I came from very humble roots and I have to say that this is one of the great privileges of my life to stand here on the White

House lawn with the president of the United States who I love and appreciate so much and with these wonderful colleagues and cabinet members

who stand behind us.

And to see all of you and realize that you care too, all I can say is that God love this is country. We all know it. We wouldn't be where we are

without Him and we love all of you, and we're going to keep fighting and we're going to make this the greatest presidency that we have seen, not

only in a generation, but maybe ever. God bless all of you.

[15:30:00] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Paul Ryan just said, "How good was that?"


TRUMP: Another very special man works so hard, knows it inside out and backwards, Kevin Brady.



Thank you, Mr. President. This is a historic day. It's a exciting day. And I knew I was going to be here with you to mark this momentous occasion.

So I wore my Houston Astros tie because they're still the champion of the World Series.

I figured today you would give me some slack on that. Look, this is a historic day in so many ways. And it didn't happen just by itself. People

often ask, when did you know, when did you know tax reform could be achieved in America for the first time in 31 years, and my answer is always

the same, November 8th, when President Trump, you were elected President of the United States. That's when I knew it was real.


BRADY: And when you put together the great ideas on tax reform from inside and outside Congress -- and I see many of you here today with us.

Remarkable leadership and courage from the men and women behind me in the Senate and especially my colleagues in the House. When you put together

remarkable leadership in the House and the Senate, the work that was done in the White House, Gary and Steve, Vice President Pence and Mr. President,

your willingness to make this your commitment, to go across the country to sell the need for tax reform and then stay at the table with us and on the

phone with us, to get this done, but for your leadership we would not be here today. So thank you so much.


BRADY: And let me finish by speaking directly to the American people. There are three dates you need to put on your calendar. The first is New

Year's Day, because on New Year's, our country will have a new tax code for a new era of American prosperity, New Year's Day.

in February, look to your paycheck, hard working Americans will see the result of the hard work of this president and this Congress to make this

tax reform possible. It will show in your paychecks.

And then April 15th, that hated day, this April 15th will be the last time you ever file your taxes under this horrible, broken tax code because

you'll have a new one for the future of your family and your small business. This --


BRADY: -- so this is a great day for our country and a great day for our economy and a great day for America, thank you, Mr. President.


TRUMP: Thank you. Did a fantastic job.

And another man who was with us all the way, no matter when I called, he was there or he would get back within minutes, Kevin McCarthy.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), U.S. HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: To the president and vice president, during that campaign, you listened to voices no one else

was listening to. You listened to those that were trying to get a pay raise or that parent that was fighting for their children or to that person

who always dreamed of being an entrepreneur or creating a small business like you did, Mr. President.

And you know what, for all those people, you heard them. We would not be standing here today if it wasn't for you. It doesn't matter if you were

overseas fighting for America, so many people back here got your phone call fighting for tax reform.

This is a big day for America. This is America's comeback.


MCCARTHY: Come February, check your check, because that will be the --


MCCARTHY: -- pay raise of the vote for Donald Trump. That will be the beginning of a next century, America's century. Thank you and God bless.


TRUMP: So I just want to conclude by saying this will indeed be a very big day when people look back at our country. It's a whole different attitude,

a whole different way and I really want to end by looking back and thanking all of those people standing behind me, that worked for years.

This was the culmination of a few months' work but they've been working on getting this done, whether it's Mitch or Paul or Kevin or Kevin or Orrin,

they have been working on this for years, years and years. And I just want to turn around and I want to thank them all. They are very, very special

people. Thank you very much, everybody.

JONES (voice-over): All right, so there you have it. If you are just joining us, is the President Trump surrounded by Republican House members

and senators as well there on the South Lawn of the White House. A victory lap, if you like, all of the lawmakers there celebrating the recent

Republican tax overhaul, which passed Congress today and will not go to President Trump's desk for signing before the end of the year, before

Christmas possibly as well, which is what President Trump had wanted for so long.

Let's dig more, then, into the deep, complex nature of this tax bill. I'm joined from Washington by CNN's political commentator and Republican

strategist Doug Heye.

Also in Washington, White House reporter, Stephen Collinson, who I had to rudely interrupt earlier before President Trump took to the lectern, and

also in New York, Julian Zelizer, he's a CNN political analyst and professor of history at Princeton University.

Gentlemen, welcome to you all.

Doug, let's start with you for the Republican point of view, given the fact that what we've just really witnessed was a great big love-in for the

Republicans in a party that has spent the last year split with division.

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. For me I go back to five years ago to this time in December, when I was worked in the House of

Representatives for the then majority leader, Eric Cantor.

We put together a proposal to what we call plan B, when the Bush tax cuts were expiring, that would have held tax rates for anybody making $1 million

or less exactly the same, raised taxes for those over $1 million.

Even with Republican control of the House, we weren't able to get enough Republican votes to pass that through. That's how divided this party has

been. That's how difficult this issue has been.

And for somebody like myself, who's been pretty critical of Donald Trump over the past year, over the past two years, this was a big win, not just

for Paul Ryan and for Mitch McConnell but for a Trump White House that I think desperately needed a legislative victory. It's a great way for them

to end their first year in office.

JONES: Stephen, thinking about Mitch McConnell in particular, he was just one of the many voices who came out there to praise President Trump in

particular. And he has had his run-ins with the president over the course of last year.

Mitch McConnell saying it's been an extraordinary year of accomplishments for the Trump administration.

This particular tax legislation aside, is that true?

COLLINSON: Well, it's very interesting as the way that all those senior Republican figures are now trying to rebrand 2017 as a big success. When

you get a generational law passed and put it into what will eventually be your legacy, that's where you can do.

And that was why this was so important for the Trump administration. I think what was also very interesting, a couple of things about that event.

First of all, you saw Donald Trump surrounded by the entire Republican establishment, the Republican establishment which he's been at war with,

effectively, ever since he first started running for office.

And I think it's the first time we've seen that kind of unity in the Republican Party taxes are what do that for Republicans.

The second thing is the last time we had a tax reform of this size during the Reagan administration it was a bipartisan tax reform. There wasn't a

single Democrat behind Donald Trump on the stage.

That shows you how divisive this is and how important the success of it will be to Donald Trump's eventual political fate and the fate of the

Republicans in the midterm elections next year.

JONES: Interesting you mentioned Reagan there. Let's bring in Julian Zelizer for some historical context, if you like, of just how mammoth, how

big an event this is today, 30 years in the making to try and get --


JONES: -- this kind of tax overhaul and all done in three months.

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, yes, it's true. This is a very significant tax cut and there are important reforms in the package.

We haven't seen anything comparable in terms of the reforms since 1986.

There are risks, though, for the GOP. The Republican Party, as you saw, is now aligning itself very closely with the controversial and unpopular

president. This will require spending cuts, pretty serious ones, in the next few years that will be controversial and it will likely increase the


And so even at a moment of victory, it's possible to see the problems and the challenges that this legislation will cause for the GOP.

JONES: Doug, do you agree with that?

Do you think that that's the reality that these congressmen are going to have to come to terms with, once the party's has sort of died down a bit?

Everyone might look to their February check and see if it's improved a bit. But then they've got midterms at the corner. If things don't improve

enough, that could come back to bite them.

HEYE: The one thing I've heard consistently from Republican members of Congress and senators is that the bigger risk was in not doing something.

The Republican base has been demoralized over the past few months. They've seen a Congress that hasn't been able to enact a whole lot, certainly

anything on a large scale.

And what I heard in the days after the August recess, where members of Congress and senators spent three weeks in their home district was that the

voters that voted for them every two years, every six years, the donors who write checks every two years or every six years for their elections said,

this is your Elvis Presley moment. It is now or never. Get something done. Or don't depend on us to be there for you as you move forward to the


We could have a pretty nasty midterm for Republicans regardless. But what they have heard time and time again from their voters was you better act


JONES: Julian, final thought to you, if I may, do you think that this, now that the big sell has to really start in terms of selling this to the

American people and we know that things aren't -- it's not that popular as far as the polls are concerned at the moment, how quickly are they going to

be -- have to turn this around in order to not just appeal to Trump's base but to appeal to all Americans across the country?

ZELIZER: Very quickly. This doesn't wipe away all the problems that the president faces or the Republicans face. And this is a problematic bill

and I think those problems are going to become evident very quickly.

This is for a base of the Republican Party. It's not really the Trump base; it's the corporate base. And as soon as that becomes clear, I think

there will be attention within the Republican electorate and all these other problems, from deficit to spending to all the other controversies

that will likely come from President Trump, will be on the table in the next few months.

JONES: And we will be watching of course, to find out what happens.

Julian Zelizer, Doug Heye and Stephen Collinson, my thanks to all of you gentlemen, thank you.

HEYE: Thank you.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

JONES: All right. Still to come on the program tonight, we are following other news for you, including the disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law has died.

We'll have a look back at his disturbing legacy.

And a red light for Uber. Europe's top court deliveries a major setback to the app. How it's affect you -- coming up.





JONES: Welcome back to the program.

The disgraced cardinal, Bernard Law, has died in Rome. He was 86 years old. For a man who pledged his life to acts of charity and faith, Law is

being remembered for something very, very different helping to cover up decades of sexual abuse by dozens of priests in Boston.

But still he will be given a full Vatican funeral at St. Peter's Basilica. Delia Gallagher has more on Law's life and disturbing legacy.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: For decades, Cardinal Bernard Law was a star in the Catholic Church, a campaigner for civil rights in the

1960s and an advocate for immigrants and the poor in the '70s.

But then, the fall. In 2002, Law's Boston archdiocese became the epicenter of a scandal that would reverberate throughout the world. Cardinal Law was

accused of coverage up for known pedophile priests. He was never charged with a crime but he became a lightning rod for outrage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not just Boston.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): The scandal became the subject of Oscar-winning film, "Spotlight," about "The Boston Globe" journalist who showed the

church leaders knew about abusive priests for decades.

And Law became the symbol of the Catholic Church's failure to recognize the gravity of the situation or to act on behalf of victims. Law resigned in

disgrace as archbishop of Boston in 2002. He was brought to Rome in 2004 and made head priest of one of the main basilicas in Rome. He continued to

serve as an adviser to the pope, a further scandal for those who wanted to see bishops held accountable and punished for failing to act against

abusing priests.

The current archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O'Malley (ph), said in a statement, that it is a sad reality that for many Cardinal Law's life and

ministry is identified with the crisis of sexual abuse by priests.

O'Malley urged people to remember that Law's pastoral legacy has many other dimensions, he said, including service to the poor and immigrants.

But for many, Law's name will remain forever connected to his failure in the sexual abuse crisis to protect victims and help lead the Catholic

Church in a time of crisis -- Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.


JONES: Taxi companies have been protesting Uber for years, saying that the app is a transport company masquerading as a tech firm. But on Wednesday,

Europe's top court agreed. The landmark ruling is a significant setback for Uber. It slammed the brakes on its claim that it is a platform for

connecting drivers and riders, meaning it now has to be regulated like traditional taxi companies are.

Let's get more on this from CNN's technology and business correspondent, Samuel Burke. Joins me in the studio now.

What are the immediate impacts of this then on how Uber operates?

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: To be or not to be. that used to be the question. But now Uber is a transportation company. There's no taking

this back, they cannot appeal this decision.

So I think in the short term, customers may not notice a difference but Uber says it's really going to affect their uberPOP service. So more and

more regulation could mean that some of these services may be unavailable to you. I think the biggest way people could be impacted is we talked to a

U.K. law firm. for instance.

They said that the U.K. government could look at them now and say. how come it's the drivers who pay the tax? You guys need to pay the VAT. That

could be a $270 million tax bill just in this country.

That would be an immediate 20 percent increase on you and me each time we pay.

JONES: Samuel, thank you for that, updating us on what's going on here in the U.K. then for Uber.

let's bring you some breaking news also from here in the United Kingdom, Theresa May's -- Theresa May of course, is the prime minister. Her

deputy, Damian Green. has resigned as the secretary of state and the deputy prime minister.

Bianca Nobilo joins me now from our London newsroom.

Bianca, what do we know?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Hannah, yes, we are just hearing that Damian Green, the first secretary of state and one of the prime

minister's closest political allies, if not the closest, has just resigned. Downing Street has confirmed that to CNN in the last few moments.

This comes a big blow to the prime minister. Damian Green has been under investigation by the cabinet office around charges connected with sexual

harassment as part of his Westminster scandal which started developing --


NOBILO: -- in the late autumn.

We're just hearing now that he resigned. This comes as somewhat of a surprise because Damian Green has had quite a prominent position in recent

political events, even last sitting right behind the prime minister, in the prime minister's question time.

So Hannah, very much a developing situation but this is a very severe blow to the prime minister's boosted morale over the Brexit successes she's had

over the last week or so.

JONES: Bianca, just update us, remind us of Damian Green's recent run-in with previous police officers and the fact that he was under so much

scrutiny for something that potentially happened a decade ago that's come to light now?

NOBILO: That's correct. Damian Green, this recent investigation, has come about regarding an investigation which the police carried out into his

offices, as you say, almost a decade ago.

And during that investigation, supposedly thousands of pornographic images as was reported were discovered on one of the computers inside Damian

Green's office.

There have been much criticism over this investigation, because it was claimed that the police officers who were involved in the original

investigation should not have been in the position to talk about it to the media and if was important that those details remained private.

So there's been a lot of questions over the handling of this entire investigation, Hannah, but, yes, we have heard that Damian Green has



JONES: Sorry, Bianca, you mentioned that this will be a bitter blow, then of course, to Theresa May, not just because he's a political aide to her,

and a close aide but he's a friend as well. And she doesn't have all that many of them in her cabinet at the moment.

Just talk us through the dynamic now of the British cabinet as it looks if Damian Green has indeed now left?

NOBILO: Well, Damian Green was brought into the cabinet by the prime minister. So that's significant, too, because when Theresa May took over

from David Cameron, some of the same faces stayed around.

But Damian Green was someone that the Prime Minister brought into the cabinet. And gave him an incredibly senior position, as first secretary of

state, that is de facto deputy prime minister, so a very elevated position.

He was brought in to steady the ship because of course the prime minister's cabinet is incredibly divided between Brexiteers like Boris Johnson, the

Foreign Secretary, and Michael Gove and then Remainers or people who favor a much softer Brexit, like Philip Hammond and the home secretary. Amber


So Damian Green was a very important figure and one who was supposed to balance out some of those cabinet tensions .

JONES: Bianca Nobilo live for us there in the London newsroom with breaking news that Theresa May's closest political aide, Damian Green, the

first secretary of state and the deputy prime minister her ein Britain has resigned from his position. Thank you.

Do stay with us here on HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Plenty more coming up after this short break.




JONES: Welcome back.

Oh, Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches.

Well, if you're in Rome, not that lovely, it seems. A festive centerpiece in one of the city's main squares has been dubbed "bald," "sickly," and

"the world's saddest Christmas tree." Take a look.


JONES (voice-over): Rome's 20-meter high Christmas tree, looking sickly and bare, is spreading Christmas jeer instead of Christmas cheer and people

aren't happy about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It is a disgrace. It hurts to even --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): -- look at this Christmas tree. It looks like something that has been plucked. How can they have it put it

in Rome?

A capital city like Rome?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It looks like it does not have enough water or enough decorations. It's lacking color. It does not look

very alive.

JONES (voice-over): Its mangy appearance has earned the tree the nickname Spelacchio, which roughly translates to grungy or shabby. The saga

exploded on social media. One user says the tree looks like the one from "Charlie Brown's Christmas."

Another mocks the tree, saying it isn't about beauty, it's about what's inside. The government shelled out 50,000 euros to transport the ailing

spruce to Rome from the Austrian border. Residents think that money may have been better spent elsewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think they could have spent the money on something else, rather than on something so stupid and so ugly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The one at the Vatican is much better. They should swap them.

JONES (voice-over): It certainly looks more alive than the one in Rome.


JONES: Just swap them over, why not?

Thank you so much for watching tonight. Stay with us here on CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up after this break.