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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Trump Federal Reserve Pick Under Fire; Democrats and Trump Agree on Infrastructure Spending. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired April 30, 2019 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:30:01]

JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And he essentially gets overruled, if not by his own chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, then by Republicans in Congress or FOX News talking heads.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And then the tweetstorms start.

(CROSSTALK)

LANHEE CHEN, FORMER POLICY DIRECTOR, MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: I don't know, though.

I think Republicans in Congress are a different breed now. Fiscal responsibility doesn't mean nearly the same thing it used to. And spending money makes everyone happy, let's be honest. Right?

Whether you're a Republican or Democrat, there's something good about spending money. And so I feel like -- I don't feel that way, but I think a lot of Republicans -- to be clear.

(LAUGHTER)

CHEN: But I do think that infrastructure was always the issue people thought that the president and the Democrats could get to a deal on.

If you remember back to the start of the administration...

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

CHEN: ... there was all of this optimism around infrastructure.

And I still think, by the way, the guts of the original plan, whether it's private-public partnerships, possibility of some tax credits for investment, those are all things that I think both Republicans and Democrats could...

(CROSSTALK)

GREEN: Although, apparently, Trump just called the public-private plan, you know, stupid, which might throw...

(CROSSTALK) LISA LERER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And also, infrastructure has this third factor, which is governors, right?

And so you're dealing with governors in all of these states, some of which are very, very blue, and some of which are very, very red, that can really gum up, because a lot of this money is coming from state and local...

(CROSSTALK)

FINNEY: But I think the other thing we're forgetting is the politics. Which is -- on the one hand, there has been this dynamic where nobody wants to give the other side a -- quote, unquote -- "win," right?

So, whereas, infrastructure is actually something that's a win, should be a win-win for everyone, part of the White House strategy has been to keep the focus on the fact that Democrats are trying to litigate.

That's why Mulvaney said you can't legislate and litigate, which is -- we know is actually not true. During Watergate, you know, the Highway Act was passed. There were plenty of things passed.

But, so, I think the other piece of this is, again, Jake, to your point, when the political voices start weighing in...

TAPPER: Yes.

FINNEY: ... that's when the tweetstorm will start and we will find out why it was a terrible idea and how he was fooled by the Democrats.

TAPPER: And Mick Mulvaney, we should point out, Schumer said he thought this was a good sign. In previous meetings, the president has said, if these investigations continue, I can't work with you. He didn't bring it up, apparently. So Schumer took that as a good sign.

He might have just forgotten. But the other thing is, Mick Mulvaney was in Beverly Hills at the time, as everybody has talked about. This is what he said:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: If I'm suing you on one deal, are you likely to do another deal with me at the same time? Probably not. That's just human nature. So, you're absolutely right. To have an impeachment hearing on Monday, say, and then to think you're going to talk infrastructure on Tuesday, that's not how the world works, let alone Washington, D.C.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Actually, as you pointed out, in the past, that is how Washington, D.C., works.

FINNEY: Exactly.

TAPPER: People are able to compartmentalize it. But that's not how President Trump works.

CHEN: Well, it's very difficult, because there's a lot of things that are taken personally. And, you know, look, in this case, to a certain degree, I get why they take it personally.

TAPPER: Sure. Of course.

CHEN: I mean, it's understandable.

But this is a situation where I think the politics actually do dictate that both sides can get something out of this. And so maybe they can put aside some of this personal sort of dislike for what's going on and say, look, let's actually try and get this deal done, because I do think this is one of those situations where the president could benefit from working with Democrats and vice versa.

TAPPER: It's some of the same people, though, like Richard Neal, the chairman, the Democratic chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, who is also trying to get Trump's tax returns. It's some of the exact same players.

GREEN: It is.

But I think the issue here, which evidently wasn't discussed in the meeting, is the issue of how to pay for it. And the nonstarter for Democrats is that Republicans haven't been willing to commit to direct federal payment. And if they don't, it's hard to see how a $2 trillion infrastructure bill is going to come together.

And I can say with certainty that if Mick Mulvaney has a say in it, that's probably not going to happen while Donald Trump is president. He really would have to, as he said, break with Republican precedent, Trump would, and go a different direction.

LERER: And you have the backdrop of a political -- a presidential campaign. So that is actually -- that is not typically the time when things get done in Washington, because the politics are so heated.

And you could see the argument from Democrats, you know, the privately made argument that this is not the time to hand the president a governing win, when you're trying to paint him as someone who is unable to effectively manage government.

TAPPER: How would that work for nominee Joe Biden or whomever, that he's saying President Trump can't get anything done, he can't work with Democrats, he's a disaster, and, meanwhile, Pelosi and Schumer are cutting a deal with him on infrastructure?

FINNEY: But if you want to keep control of the House, you got to give those guys some wins, too, don't forget.

CHEN: Yes.

TAPPER: Perhaps.

Breaking news about President Trump's probable pick to serve on the Federal Reserve. What did CNN's KFILE find about Stephen Moore saying about federal funding to stop violence against women?

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:38:50]

TAPPER: We have some breaking news now from CNN's KFILE investigative team.

President Trump's probable pick for the Federal Reserve, Stephen Moore, he was already on shaky ground with Senate Democrats and even some Republican senators.

But now CNN's KFILE team has uncovered even more questionable statements from Moore's past, where he appears to criticize women's advancement. Moore called the Violence Against Women Act -- quote -- "the most objectionable pork" in the 1994 crime bill.

He added: "The money would be better spent if Americans were forced to write checks to their favorite radical feminist groups."

It's just the latest in what's become a long list of controversial statements ahead of Moore's nomination.

And, Lisa, we have already heard from people like Senator Lisa Murkowski, Senator Susan Collins, even Senator Lindsey Graham, talking about their concerns about some of these statements. I don't know that this is the final straw, but it's not going to help.

LERER: Yes, I mean, these statements are really bad.

There's -- some of -- in the MeToo era, sometimes, you have these scenarios where maybe there's a debate and there's some gray area, like Joe Biden's touching -- there's a lot of debate, right, about how people felt about that. These are not those kinds of statements.

These are things like, women should not be referees at sports games. These are things like, women maybe shouldn't play sports. Is there any area of life where men can get a vacation from women? These are pretty bad ones.

[16:40:05]

And I do think that's part of the reason why you see the wheels starting to come off this nomination.

FINNEY: I think you can actually, though, even make an economic case on this one, because the reporting goes further to say he was also talking about pay equity and what a ridiculous idea that is, obviously.

And it's not obviously a bad idea. It's a very good idea. It's actually the quickest, fastest, most effective way you could lift all families, is if you decreased the disparity between what men make and women. White women make 80 cents on the dollar for every man. I believe, for women of color, it's about 60 cents, right?

So, if we all made the same, right away, you would lift up families.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: And you're talking about a statement he made, like, today.

FINNEY: Yes. Yes, I am. Yes, I am. I'm sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: When he was asked about pay equity as a problem, he said, actually, women's wages are rising. The real problem is men's wages are going down.

FINNEY: Yes.

TAPPER: You can think men's wages going down is a problem, but why would you discount the fact that women make so much less?

(CROSSTALK)

FINNEY: And the idea that, if you made the same, you automatically start to unleash dollars into the economy. That is more families with more disposable income that they could actually be spending.

And that's the guy you want at the Fed?

LERER: And it's also really out of touch with the modern economy, which is that you have a huge number.

I'm sure you know the percentage of women who are breadwinners, of women who are like supporting their families. They are the main economic drivers. So these views not only are sexist, misogynistic. They're also out of touch with the economy that he will be presiding over.

GREEN: It's also worth pointing out, as somebody who works for "Businessweek" and talks to a lot of bankers, there is not a -- it's not just the frat house misogyny.

There is no clamoring on Wall Street for Stephen Moore to join the Fed. And there's a lot of trepidation about politicizing the Fed, putting someone who isn't an economist, who isn't thought to have serious views on economics into that position.

I talked to a banker the other day who called Moore, fairly or otherwise, a Trump stooge, and not someone he wanted to see on the Fed. So there's not going to be a lot of pressure on these Republican senators, I don't think, from Wall Street to come around and push through Moore's nomination.

TAPPER: And, Lanhee, just to go back to the 1994 quote in "The Washington Times," he wrote, "The act" -- he's talking about the Violence Against Women Act -- "The act would be more efficient if Congress cut out the federal middleman and simply required every American household to write a $20 check to the radical feminist group of his choice."

I'm sure one could take issue with parts of the Violence Against Women Act and the money being spent one way or the other. Some of it went to rape awareness and things like that. But that said, that's just raw meat. That's not a serious criticism.

CHEN: His defense seems to be that he was trying to get a rise out of people, right, whether it was this or the other comments.

The reality is, this is a raw political question now. We have sort of exited the policy questions, and now it's a political question, which is, does he have the votes and is the White House willing to go to push to get him the votes he needs?

And even if they do, I'm not sure they're there. If you go beyond Murkowski and Collins, you have people who are in cycle, like Cory Gardner, who are in a very difficult position. It's hard to imagine, given this paper trail now, even if you thought he was otherwise qualified to be on the Federal Reserve Board, there's a big question about whether you would actually vote for this nomination.

TAPPER: And it's not just the Murkowskis and the Collins. Lindsey Graham said the nomination is -- quote -- "very problematic."

Joni Ernst, a senator from Iowa, who I believe is up in 2019, said, "It is very unlikely I would support that person."

I mean, they are -- Republican senators are trying to send a message. He has not been officially nominated. They're trying to send a message to the president, don't nominate him.

LERER: Right. And when Lindsey Graham is against the nomination, who's so close -- has allied himself so closely with the White House in his latest incarnation, that's a pretty strong signal that's being sent.

TAPPER: And, you know, the idea that -- here's the thing from 19 -- from 2014. He wrote a column for "The National Review."

He talked about divorce rates going up when men lose their jobs. "You know, people are actually talking about women's earnings. They have risen. The problem actually has been the steady decline in male earnings." This is what he said today.

FINNEY: Yes.

TAPPER: "And I think we should pay attention to that, because I think it's very negative consequence for the economy and for society."

Talking about women's earnings, and then flipping immediately, talking about men.

FINNEY: Right.

And, again, it's sexist, it's misogynist, it's not in step with the modern economy. It also shows, again, a real ignorance. And he's actually admitted an ignorance to some of the very laws he would be actually asked to oversee as a member of the Fed. So I think the evidence is really building against him.

TAPPER: All right. Everyone, stick around.

The CNN exclusive investigation now raising questions about what Boeing knew and when they knew it about the grounded plane involved in two deadly crashes.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: We have some breaking news right now on the "MONEY LEAD." A CNN investigation on the 737 Max uncovers a history of issues, with one component being blamed for the deadly crash.

Now, Boeing insists there's nothing wrong with the plane's design and they blamed pilots for not following proper procedure. But these questions come as Boeing is suffering a 10 percent drop in its stock. CNN's Senior Investigative Correspondent, Drew Griffin shows us just what was uncovered.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: A CNN analysis of FAA data is raising questions about how Boeing could have designed a flight safety system on its 737 max centered on one sensor with a history of failures. The MCAS system is designed to prevent a plane from stalling. It's triggered by one of two AOA sensors which read the plane's angle in flight.

But if that AOA sensor gives an inaccurate reading, the MCAS could activate, automatically pitching the nose of the plane down repeatedly, as the pilots struggle for control. Investigators in the crashes of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes suspect that scenario started a chain of events that led to both tragedies.

Just why Boeing would have no backup for a single sensor with a terrible track record has aviation experts baffled.

[16:50:03] PETER GOELZ, FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR, NTSB: This is a fairly simple external device that can get damaged on a regular basis.

GRIFFIN: In fact, a CNN review of FAA records shows AOA censors had problems on at least 216 flights since 2004. Sometimes forcing pilots to make emergency landings or abort takeoffs. 42 of them happened on Boeing planes. And here's proof Boeing knew these sensors were prone to problems.

Two separate FAA airworthiness directives involved Boeing planes in 2013 and 2016 before the 737 Max ordered inspections or changes to AOA censors because of an unsafe condition that could lead to problems with control of the airplane. GOELZ: Far too often, it takes a tragedy to connect the dots and say, you know, we really ought to take a hard look at the design of this piece of equipment.

GRIFFIN: Boeing says its new software fix includes input from two AOA censors being in agreement before the system would activate, though Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg says that is not an admission of an initial design flaw.

DENNIS MUILENBURG, CEO, BOEING: We haven't seen a -- you know, a technical slip or gap in terms of the fundamental design and certification.

GRIFFIN: But CNN has learned Boeing never flight tested a scenario in which the AOA sensor malfunctioned. A former Boeing test pilot tells CNN, apparently we missed the ramifications of the failure of that AOA probe. Potential failure conditions were instead analyzed in the design and certification, according to another source familiar with the testing, and it was determined trained pilots would have been able to handle the failure.

PETER LEMME, AVIATION EXPERT: It should have been in the test program right up-front to expose that problem.

GRIFFIN: Aviation expert Peter Lemme who was subpoenaed by a grand jury in an investigation into the 737 Max says he doesn't understand why it took two fatal crashes for Boeing to make changes.

LEMME: This is the part that I find almost incredible because AOAs have been on the airplanes for many, many years. It's a well-known failure.

GRIFFIN: Boeing CEO says the 737 Max was designed safely, but that the proper procedures were not completely followed by the pilots.

MUILENBURG: When we design a system, understand that these airplanes are flown in the hands of pilots. And in some cases, our system safety analysis includes not only the engineering design, but also the actions that pilots would take.

GRIFFIN: But when pressed on why Boeing is admitting no flaws in its design, the CEO walked out of the press conference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 346 people died. Can you answer a few questions here about that?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: Jake, the FAA, the Department of Justice and Congress have all opened investigations looking precisely at how this plane was designed and how it was able to get proper government clearance with what now appears to be flaws. A government official I talked to just an hour ago says this has serious implications for Boeing.

TAPPER: He's going to have to answer questions sooner or later, if not from us, from members of Congress. Drew Griffin, thank you so much. I appreciate it. The tragic and alarming trend plaguing both active members of the U.S. military and veterans. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:00] TAPPER: In our "NATIONAL LEAD" today, a rare bipartisan push on Capitol Hill to try to figure out why there is such a disturbingly high suicide rate among U.S. veterans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it an unconscionable urgent crisis hours after a veteran committed suicide at a V.A. facility, the fourth this month.

20 veterans commit suicide every day. The Pentagon acknowledges there is also a serious problem going on right now with the suicides of active duty service members. And as CNN's Barbara Starr reports, help for the men and women who are serving and who have served can't come soon enough.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: A growing crisis among active duty military members and veterans, many taking their own lives. On Monday, a veteran killed himself outside this Veterans Affairs Hospital in Cleveland. The fourth veteran suicide at a V.A. facility just this month.

ERIC DONOHO, RETIRED, U.S. ARMY: I knew that I had to decide to get on dying or get on living.

STARR: Army Veteran Eric Donoho was on the front lines in Iraq. In 2015, he was on the precipice.

DONOHO: That led me to my kitchen table in December of 2015, with my Glock in my mouth, trying to pull the trigger.

STARR: Donoho has lost 14 military buddies to suicide.

DONOHO: The V.A. prescribes an obscene amount of opioids to veterans, and in that veterans are also drinkers. And so when you combine those two and you add depression to the mix, you know, you're creating a pretty bad scenario for veterans.

STARR: The V.A. Secretary knows much more needs to be done.

ROBERT WILKIE, ACTING SECRETARY, VETERANS AFFAIRS: I think it's a question of changing the culture and we have probably done a better job of that than any other health system. I say, we're treating the pain, not the brain with opioids.

STARR: President Trump has ordered new efforts on suicide prevention.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Veteran suicide is a tragedy of staggering proportions.

STARR: In the active duty ranks, there were 231 suicides in the first nine months of 2018, compared to 203 during the same time the year before. Almost as alarming, Marine Corps commandant General Robert Neller says most of those never saw combat.

GEN. ROBERT NELLER, COMMANDANT, U.S. MARINE CORPS: Last year, we had the highest number of marines take their own lives.

STARR: Even with all the efforts, some 20 veterans still take their lives every day.

JEREMY BUTLER, CEO, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA: With the amount of effort and resources that we're putting towards the problem, we're really not making a dent.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: Marine Corps suicides reached a ten-year high last year and the special operations community suicides triple. And over the recent Easter holiday, five service members took their own lives. Jake?

TAPPER: Barbara Starr, thank you. And our thanks to Sergeant Donoho for having the courage to tell us his story. Those kids that you've been showing on your Twitter feed are just gorgeous. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter @JAKETAPPER or you can tweet the show @THELEADCNN.