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Trump: I Know Taxes "Better Than The Greatest CPA"; Four Kids Among 12 Killed In NYC Apartment Fire; NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: We've Lost 12 People And Could Lose More; Top Seven In 2017 Entertainment. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired December 29, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:04] BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump is taking on critics who claim he does not know the deals of important legislation, like health care and taxes.

But he tells "The New York Times," "I know the details of taxes better than anybody. Better than the greatest CPA. I know the details of health care better than most -- better than most. And if I didn't, I couldn't have talked all these people into doing ultimately only to be rejected."

I'm guessing that you had to be there for that.

But joining me now, CNN senior economics analyst Stephen Moore, a former senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign.

Good morning to you. Happy New Year.


WEIR: One -- I guess one way to fact-check that would be hey, let's see your taxes. You can show us -- you can show us all of your CPA knowledge on how you massage them. I doubt that's going to happen.

But how would you characterize the legislative wonky knowledge of President Trump?

MOORE: You know, it's funny. I got involved with Donald Trump almost exactly two years ago and worked with him and Larry Kudlow and a couple of others to help put this tax plan together, at least the original campaign version.

WEIR: Yes.

MOORE: And I had many meetings with Donald Trump and I've got say, in all honesty, he was extremely knowledgeable about the tax system and how it worked, and how it affected small businesses, corporations. Especially on the business side, he really understood the nuances of the tax system.

And he also understood, you know, why the system was really working against the United States. We had -- starting on January first this is going to change. But we had bias -- you know, corporate tax rates in the world and that was disabling our economy.

So look, I think this is a big victory for Trump. And he -- I don't know if he's the smartest CPA in the world but I do think he really understands this stuff very clearly.

WEIR: OK. Well, let's talk about a "Washington Post" op-ed that actually called you out, Stephen, yesterday. Jennifer Rubin --

MOORE: Right.

WEIR: -- penning this one.

"Never before has such a pointedly partisan tax bill been cooked up to punish people who generally don't vote for the party in power.

Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore, who worked strenuously for the bill, stupidly wisecracked that the bill was 'death to Democrats.' Odd for a scholar from a tax-exempt think tank to extol such base partisanship, isn't it?"

MOORE: Well look, I do regret saying what I said that way. What I really meant to say is that for liberals this is a problem.

For example, people in obviously, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, California -- especially very, very rich people -- their taxes are probably going to go up. I mean, that's one of the ironies.

Every time I've done debates on CNN on the tax bill, everyone says this is a big tax cut for the rich. And yet, very, very rich people in the high-tax states, they're going to actually see a fairly big increase in their tax burden.

I've always believed, and I think Donald Trump agrees, it's just not fair for people in low-tax states like Utah or New Hampshire or Texas or Florida to have to pay more taxes at the federal level to subsidize the garbage collection or the, you know, gigantic public employee pensions in these states like New York and California.

Now, look, those happen to also be blue states and it shouldn't be launched upon people that -- you know, you think of those five biggest states there is not a single Democrat, you know, and a single Republican senator from New York, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, or California.

So -- but look, it's a brand new world out there right now for the states and cities. They're going to have to really adjust to this new reality.

But just one quick clarification. I was just listening Alisyn's interview with the congressman and people should understand this.

Nine out of 10 Americans now will no longer have to itemize their deductions because of the state and local -- because of the doubling of the standard deduction. In other words, from now on, 90 percent of Americans will just check a box and they'll get the $24,000 up front and they won't have to worry about state and local tax deductions, charitable deductions, and all the others.

So the only people really affected by the loss of the state and local tax deduction are really, really rich people. I shouldn't say the only people --

WEIR: Yes.

MOORE: -- but primarily, the revenue loss comes -- revenue gain from getting rid of the state and local tax deductions comes from millionaires and billionaires.

WEIR: Well, millionaires and billionaires aren't frantically calling their CPAs. They're lining up in the cold --


WEIR: -- outside of sayer's (ph) offices to pay this.

MOORE: That's true.

WEIR: There are people -- that is their wealth. They counted on that and now, as you say, this is the new normal.

MOORE: But wait, hold on.

WEIR: Hang on, let me ask you this.


WEIR: You say this is the new normal.

It might be because you've got governors like Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown in the big blue states -- hey -- say all right, we can play this game. What if we -- instead of charging everybody in New York a state tax, what if we made that a charitable donation? We'll call it something different, that way giving citizens in New York the option of writing that off and not subsidizing the folks in the red states.

[07:35:01] What if this does touch off a sort of economic civil war in America?

MOORE: Well look, I mean I just wrote a book on this. There is a -- there is a kind of economic war between the states. It's a -- it's a friendly war. There's a competition among the states and I've been writing about this for a long time.

Taxes do matter. They matter a lot and it's the reason why, you know, states like Texas and Florida and Tennessee that have no income tax have been really dramatically outcompeting and stealing workers and jobs from the states like New York and California.

And that competition between the states is going to become more intense now because -- well, let me give you an example. California and New York City have 13.5 percent income taxes on wealthy people. Whereas, you can move to Texas and Florida and pay zero.

Now, previously, 35 or 40 percent of that was subsidized by the -- by the federal government so California could charge 13.5 percent tax rate and the effective rate was only about nine percent. Now the effective rate is going to be 13.5 percent.

I think there's going to be a big, big reckoning in New York City, in California, in New Jersey about changing their tax system, bringing their tax rates down to become more competitive because, frankly, if they don't they're going to lose more and more of their wealth to states like Texas, and Florida, and Tennessee, and New Hampshire, and Nevada that have no income tax at all.

I mean, my goodness, if you live in California you can move 50 miles into Nevada and if you're a millionaire you can cut your taxes by hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. So it's a new world out there.

But the big picture here is this is going to be so good for growth. I mean, I'm predicting we're going to get four percent growth in 2018 as a result of this tax bill -- the business tax cuts -- and that's going to feel really good for people given we haven't had four percent growth in 20 years.

WEIR: Stephen Moore, Happy New Year.

MOORE: It is going to be a Happy New Year, I guarantee it.

WEIR: I hope so.

MOORE: Thanks so much.

WEIR: I hope so. All right.

MOORE: Thank you.

WEIR: Appreciate it.


So there was this terrible tragedy last night in New York. Flames tore through a New York City apartment building killing 12 people, including four children.

We'll get a live report from the scene and talk with New York City's mayor about how this happened and what we can do to prevent it.


[07:41:08] WEIR: We are following some tragic breaking news.

At least 12 people are dead, four children among them, in what officials are calling the worst fire tragedy in New York City in 25 years.

CNN's Scott McLean is live in the Bronx -- the very cold Bronx, even more of a challenge for New York's bravest overnight. Good morning, Scott.


These victims range in age from just a 1-year-old baby to a 63-year- old woman. And we are also learning this morning that of those four kids, we know that at least three of them are under the age of 10.

You can see the firefighters. They are still on scene. They have been here since the flames first broke out shortly before 7:00 yesterday evening.

On the first floor of this building, which may help explain why this fire was so deadly, there were more than 150 firefighters working to douse those flames. Not everybody made it out alive. And those who did, many of them had to climb down fire escapes into these really bone-chilling temperatures here, Bill.

We're also learning more about the building, itself. According to public records, there were only four complaints against this building since 2004. None of them appear to be fire-related. There are 29 suites inside, we also know.

But there were six open violations that were registered with one city department. One had to do with a defective smoke detector, another a defective carbon monoxide detector. Both of those were located on the first floor.

It is not clear whether those were cleared up or fixed or if they had any role in this fire, but we are expecting to get an update from the fire department at the top of the next hour or just shortly after that -- Bill, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: I'll take it, Scott. Please bring us that update as soon as you get it.

Joining us now to talk about this tragedy and more is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Mr. Mayor, thanks so much for being here.


CAMEROTA: I know you were there last night. This is the worst fire tragedy in 25 years in New York City. Twelve people dead.

So what happened? What went wrong here?

DE BLASIO: Well, Alisyn, we need to know that and our fire department is looking into that right now. I hope to have more information in the course of the day.

But here is what we know. We've lost 12 people. We could lose more. There are some still fighting for their lives.

It's a horrible tragedy. In the middle of the holidays when people are trying to be with their families and finally have a moment of peace, to have something like this happen to folks in the Bronx is just horrible. Our first responders did an amazing job. They saved at least 12 lives.

CAMEROTA: They were there within three minutes, I read.

DE BLASIO: They were there right away and they did -- and remember, with the freezing cold, tough conditions for our firefighters and our emergency personnel but they did a great, great job.

CAMEROTA: Well, you hear Scott McLean say that there were these open violations. There was a faulty smoke detector, there was a faulty carbon monoxide detector.

Whose fault is that? Who's responsible for those things?

DE BLASIO: Well, the building owner-building manager is supposed to make sure that all those basic safety precautions are in place. And this is an older building -- I believe it's over 100 years old -- but it's still -- they are liable to make sure the basic safety elements are in place.

But we should not speculate yet. We have the best fire department in the world. They are very expert in investigating to figure out what the cause of the fire is. We need to give them a little time to work through this.

CAMEROTA: OK. Let's talk about what's going to happen on New Year's Eve.


CAMEROTA: Obviously, people come all over the world to be here in Times Square for New Year's Eve.

Does the cold complicate the security conditions for you?

DE BLASIO: Well, it doesn't complicate the security. I think that there is health ramifications. I mean, I want to say to anyone who wants to go out in Times Square it's going to be a long day if you go out there and you get in line to be a part of that.

CAMEROTA: Because you have to get into a pen --


CAMEROTA: -- hours early.

DE BLASIO: That's right.

CAMEROTA: And then, you're not moving around in these frigid, cold conditions.

DE BLASIO: Exactly right. You're talking about hundreds of thousands of people do this. A lot of them are young and hearty, God bless them. But, you know, wear everything you've got. Wear long underwear. Wear

everything you've got because it's going to be really, really cold out there.

[07:45:00] It's going to be a great celebration, very safe. The NYPD has done an extraordinary job of protecting New Year's Eve. It's one of the biggest events in the world each year and we have tremendous precautions in place.

But look, it's going to be a tough day because of the weather but you can at least know, for sure, the best police force in the world, a years' worth of preparations to get ready for this, and it's going to make a huge difference.

And I've got to tell you one more thing about the NYPD. At the end of this year, based on the information we have right now, this will be the safest year in New York City in over a half-century. Go back to the 1950s to find a time when New York City was this safe. The NYPD has done an extraordinary job.

CAMEROTA: That is a huge story and I do want to get to it in a second --


CAMEROTA: -- the plummeting crime rate here in New York City, and I don't want to know what's behind that.

But first, one more thing on New Year's Eve. I heard that you're doing something new this year and you're emptying out 125 parking garages --


CAMEROTA: -- all around Times Square. So that makes sense. It's sort of amazing that you've never done it before.

But is this a result of the two terror attacks that have happened recently in the city?

DE BLASIO: Look, we constantly update our approach based on what we see happening here and around the world. And our enemies are using new approaches all the time.

For example, we don't allow any vehicles to cross parade routes or to cross the area of Times Square where the celebration is happening because we've seen tragedies elsewhere in the world, and even here. The NYPD is constantly updating the approach.

CAMEROTA: And so, what has changed? Since the -- since the terror attack where this suspect mowed down people on the bike path --


CAMEROTA: -- and the terror attack where he tried to blow himself up in the subway, what's changed? DE BLASIO: A lot more careful precautions to avoid exactly those kind of situations. So, more of what we call the Vapor Wake dogs. These are the dogs that can sense if there's anybody with a bomb. You'll see a lot more presence there.

You are going to see some of the precautions, you won't see others. There are going to be a lot more snipers out there watching the buildings and the surrounding area and obviously, not allowing vehicles to go anywhere near where there's large concentrations of people.

Look, one thing we pride ourselves on in New York City is we will change our tactics all the time. We won't always tell you about all the changes because some of that has to be kept careful -- kept quiet.

But the fact is we are watching the whole world all the time. We have NYPD detectives literally all over the world getting the most up-to- date information on what's going on.

The terrorists want to attack New York City because New York City is a beacon to the world. It's a place where people of all faiths and backgrounds get together and actually work together and create a relatively harmonious environment. That makes us the number one terror target in America. Our job is to be ready for anything that gets thrown at us.

CAMEROTA: We have to talk about the crime rate.


CAMEROTA: What a success story. Let me just up some numbers. I mean, for those of us who remember coming into New York in the eighties and the nineties, it is a different city.

Look at this, what happened with the murder rate. In 1993, there were 1,668 murders in New York City. This past year that ends this weekend, just 284.

How do you explain what's happened with the crime rate in New York?

DE BLASIO: Amazing strategic work by the NYPD and increasingly, a partnership between the NYPD and the communities they serve.

Look, for a long time, the CompStat idea originated by Bill Bratton, who I was honored to name as my first place commissioner -- that idea revolutionized policing in the city. It was strategic. It was putting the cops where the problems were, going after the hardened criminals, focusing like a laser on the biggest problems.

We have taken that idea, built upon it year-after-year. The NYPD gets better all the time. We're giving them more training, more support, more technology.

But on top of that, because of a neighborhood policing philosophy, now we have a relationship between police and community that increasingly, is a partnership. So what's happening? Community members are telling police proactively if they know someone who has a gun, if they think there's going to be a problem between gangs, if they think there could be any kind of violence going on.

This is giving the police the kind of intelligence, the kind of on- the-ground information they needed all along. Now, they have community partners more and more, helping them get the job done. It's making a huge, huge difference.

CAMEROTA: I mean, it's just a model for, you know, other cities around the world.

OK. You're being sworn in for your second term --


CAMEROTA: -- this weekend -- congratulations.

DE BLASIO: It's going to be chilly.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it is. Wear your hat.

So, why did you choose Sen. Bernie Sanders to do this?

DE BLASIO: I think Bernie Sanders has revolutionized the political discussion of this country. He has focused the entire country on the question of fairness and on addressing the income and equality crisis.

And here we have, against the backdrop of a tax bill that the Republican leadership and President Trump passed in Washington that's literally a giveaway to the wealthy and corporations -- here in New York City, we're going to have the number one voice in this country calling for fairness and calling for a real break for working people.

I'm honored to have him swear me in.

CAMEROTA: Do you think Bernie Sanders is going to run for president again?

DE BLASIO: Who knows? That's a long way away.

But I'll tell you one thing, his campaign last time changed the entire debate in this country. You see all this energy on the ground now around the country. You see what happened in a state like Virginia or a state like Alabama.

[07:50:04] Some of that really goes to the credit of Bernie Sanders for activating a whole new generation of people and getting them involved in the political process. That's going to have ramifications for years to come.

CAMEROTA: Mayor Bill de Blasio, thanks so much for being here.

DE BLASIO: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Happy New Year.

DE BLASIO: Happy New Year to you.


WEIR: Oh, what a year in entertainment it was, from political spoofs to major scandals. We'll look back at the top seven stories in entertainment when we come back.


CAMEROTA: Another arctic blast is on the way. Come on, we're in the middle of one. This record-setting brutal cold, it will last into the new year.

CNN's Chad Myers, our meteorologist, has our forecast. Chad, how could another one --


CAMEROTA: -- be on the way? We're still in the middle of one.

MYERS: I know. It's like covering a hurricane and you go oh, it can't get much worse than this. Then 10 minutes later the wind is 20 miles per hour harder. Oh, it can't get much worse than this, and then it's 20 miles per hour more.

The temperatures continue to fall. We're not going to get out of this for 10 days. The highs today probably won't get above freezing for half the country.

But look at the southwest. It will be 82 in Pasadena today. The Tournament of Roses parade going on there. It will be 77 in downtown L.A.

But here is what New York City looks like for the next few days. We are not going to get out of the teens. Even somewhere around ball drop, somewhere between seven and 11 degrees with the windchill factor well below that, somewhere around zero or below.

Now, if we get a little bit farther to the west it's even colder. Chicago, you're going to lose a few degrees because you're closer to that new batch of cold air.

Farther to the north of there, Minneapolis, this is just sublime. I don't even know how you do it. I did have a job offer there one time. I just couldn't even imagine seeing temperatures like this outside.

And then you go the west where it's been well above normal. There's very little snow in the western ski slopes and temperatures in L.A. will approach 80 and 90.

Now, Bill, I don't know you didn't get L.A., you know, because you're getting the short end of the stick with 69 in Key West. You could be in the seventies or almost eighties.

WEIR: I could be.

You know what I did -- I don't know if you know this, Alisyn. I changed your ringtone so while you're freezing in Vermont, I'm going to be in Key West. I'm just going to call you every 15 minutes --

CAMEROTA: Thank you for that. That's heartwarming.

WEIR: -- with a little "Margaritaville."

CAMEROTA: Thank you for your selflessness.

WEIR: There you go.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh.

WEIR: Thanks, Chad.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, Chad.

WEIR: Well, does life imitate art or is it the other way around?

CAMEROTA: You tell me.

WEIR: Well, 2017 -- it certainly -- it was confusing because so many poignant, moving, horrible moments in the world of entertainment, from political spoofs to MeToo.

CNN contributor Nischelle Turner takes a look back.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: From political spoofs, to musical tragedies, to social media movements, entertainment and news intersected like never before in 2017.

MELISSA MCCARTHY, ACTRESS, PLAYING SEAN SPICER, NBC "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Get down, all right. First of all, I'd just like to announce that I'm calm now.

[07:55:04] TURNER: "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" hit record ratings after the latest presidential election and kept the momentum going by spoofing Trump's presidency throughout 2017.


TURNER: Alec Baldwin's portrayal as the president, Kate McKinnon's double-take as Hillary Clinton and Kellyanne Conway, and Melissa McCarthy's scene-stealing take on Sean Spicer made the sketch series required weekend viewing and earned all three actors Emmy awards.

Superhero movies aren't just a boy's club anymore. From "BATMAN" to "THE AVENGERS," superhero films have dominated the box office for the last decade. But in 2017, "WONDER WOMAN" proved females have just as much power on the big screen.

GAL GADOT, ACTRESS, "WONDER WOMAN": In the name of all that is good, your wrath upon this world is over.

TURNER: The first female-led superhero film of the 21st century received critical raves upon its release and ruled the summer box office, becoming one of the year's highest-grossing films. "WONDER WOMAN" also became the biggest live-action film ever by a female director, turning star Gal Gadot and director Patty Jenkins into household names.

Despite new releases from music bigwigs like Taylor Swift and Jay Z, it was a Spanish language ditty that took over American airwaves in 2017. "Despacito" by Puerto Rican sensations Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee became the first famous track to hit number one in the U.S. since the Macarena 20 years ago.

The song's music video went on to become the most-viewed YouTube clip of all time with over 4.5 billion views.

CAMEROTA: Breaking royal news. Prince Harry officially engaged to American actress Meghan Markle.

TURNER: It's time for yet another royal wedding as Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement in November. The pair met on a blind date and Harry told reporters he knew the "SUITS" star was the one from the start.

MEGHAN MARKLE, ACTRESS, ENGAGED TO PRINCE HARRY: I could barely let you finish proposing. I said, can I say yes now?

PRINCE HARRY, ENGAGED TO AMERICAN ACTRESS MEGHAN MARKLE: She didn't even let me finish. She said, can I say yes, can I say yes? And then it was hard because I had the ring on my finger and was like can I -- can I give you the ring? And she was oh, yes, the ring.

TURNER: All eyes will be on what Markle wears down the aisle when the couple marries May 19th.


TURNER: A mix-up leads to the most awkward finale in Oscar's history.


TURNER: Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty presented "LA LA LAND" with the Best Picture trophy at February's 89th Academy Awards. But the celebration hit a pause when one of the "LA LA LAND" winners pointed out the "MOONLIGHT" had, in fact, won the award.

JORDAN HOROWITZ, PRODUCER, "LA LA LAND": There's a mistake. "MOONLIGHT," you guys won Best Picture.

TURNER: The uncomfortable moment continued as Beatty explained he had been given the wrong envelope. That mix-up proved that when it comes to live T.V., well, anything goes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Details are just coming in. This is very much breaking right now. TURNER: A terror attack outside an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in May killed 22 people. The tragedy was carried out by a lone suicide bomber and injured nearly 60 people.

Grande returned to the city in early June to perform for the "One Love Manchester" benefit concert and visited fans injured in the attack at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.

Just a few months later, a gunman opened fire at a Las Vegas country music festival, killing 58 and injuring hundreds more.

The awful events took place during singer Jason Aldean's set at the popular Route 91 Harvest Festival. The Las Vegas attack is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Aldean paid tribute to the victims with an emotional performance on "SNL" in October.

Hashtag MeToo shakes up Hollywood. A series of sexual harassment allegations against numerous Hollywood heavyweights sparked an outcry sure to change the entertainment industry forever.

Studio executive Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey, and comedian Louis C.K. were just a few of the men called to task for their alleged indiscretions.

The allegations inspired the social media hashtag MeToo to denounce sexual assault and harassment. The founder of the hashtag MeToo movement was even included in "Time" magazine's silence breakers "Person of the Year."

The power of social media continued to keep entertainment in the news and inspiring both change and conversations that are sure to continue in 2018.

Nischelle Turner, CNN, Hollywood.


CAMEROTA: I love those moments of looking back. I mean, you just can't believe everything that was packed into a year, particularly 2017. I mean, of all the years, that one felt like it was always at double-speed, you know.

WEIR: May you live in interesting times is actually a Chinese curse and 2017 --

CAMEROTA: That we've lived.

WEIR: -- hammered that home.

CAMEROTA: Wow. All right.

We're following a lot of news this morning so let's get right to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: I think the public trust in this whole thing is gone.

CAMEROTA: President Trump contradicting his supporters, saying he thinks Special Counsel Robert Mueller will treat him fairly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's just a way of him trying to project that everything is fine. I have it under control.