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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Obama Concludes United Nations Speech; Donald Trump Unveils Tax Plan. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired September 28, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The president of the United States delivering about a 45-minute address before the United Nations. Addressing the world on critically important issues.
Christiane Amanpour, making a very, very strong, powerful case that diplomacy as opposed to military action should be the key right now to resolving so many of these tragedies that are unfolding.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. He made an impassioned plea saying that, you know, cooperation over conflict is not weakness, it is strength. He talked about Syria, saying we are not opposed to diplomacy, even with Russia and Iran. However, defeating ISIS does not mean returning to the status quo. You cannot have somebody like Bashar al Assad, he says, who spills barrel bombs filled with chemical weapons on his own people. The key is how to get to that. He talked to a hall probably packed with more dictators and authoritarians than Democrats saying leaders who oppress and kill their own people will eventually crumble. And about Ukraine, which president Putin has done his best to try to put off to the side, he said, we're not trying to isolate Russia or start a new Cold War. Far from it. We're trying to uphold national law. If it can happen to Crimea and Ukraine, it can happen to anyone else. He talked forcefully about the success of his diplomacy with Cuba, with Iran. Although, he did say with Iran, as they continue to shout "death to America" that won't create more jobs and increase Iran's national security.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto, he did almost, I think it's fair to say, on the Iran nuclear deal, on the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba, it was almost a victory lap for his diplomacy.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It was a sales pitch for diplomacy. It was interesting. He started with harsh words with several countries. Assad, slaughtering tens of thousands of his own people, Russia calling out the sovereignty of Ukraine, with China in the South China Sea and even with Iran, saying Iran following this deal is, in his words, using violent proxies to advance their interest. As he called them out with tough words, these are countries he's working with. He said on Syria he would be willing to work with anyone, including Russia and Iran, to solve the problem there. He has proven he's willing to work with Iran. He has this nuclear deal. In effect saying, and of course he's continuing to talk to China, despite the many differences there. So, tough words for them, citing the very real difficulties that they have and differences, but proving, in effect, his point, or at least arguing for his point by saying, I will work with them if we can find a way forward and painting that as a possible path forward in places like Syria, whereas he says, the blood shed continues.
BLITZER: Elise, it sets the stage, Elise Labott, it sets the stage for the president's meeting today with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. And Putin's address before the United Nations presumably there will be some different messages there.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, there were a lot of veiled references to Putin in that speech, talking about internal repression and external and foreign aggression. And saying that when you, you know, criticize and oppose NGOs in your country. And then he talked in very harsh terms about Russian actions in Ukraine, Russian actions in Syria.
But I think what this hall was looking for was this was President Obama's really last chance to address his foreign policy agenda. Talk in specifics about what he was going to do. Let's face it, next year, everyone's going to be gearing up for the 2016 election and the next president. So, I think that a lot of people expected this to be an opportunity where the president was going to talk in great specifics about how he was going to particularly help this Middle East region, which was not in such great shape when he came to office, but certainly is in a lot worse shape seven years in. To have more specifics about what he's going to do.
We're going to hear from President Putin a little bit later. We are expecting he's going to offer a lot of specifics about what he's going to do in Syria. You've seen this Russian military buildup. When the president criticizes president Putin, when he talks about Assad's brutal dictatorship, I think people are looking for more ideas of what the U.S. will do, not what other countries shouldn't do. Hopefully, we'll hear more about that this week with Secretary of State Kerry's meetings and [resident Putin's meeting with Obama.
BLITZER: We'll be hearing from President Rouhani.
Christiane, you interviewed him. We'll hear from him as he addresses the United Nations.
AMANPOUR: Bottom line, he's come to the conclusion that Assad will stay, despite what president Obama said, he cannot stay. Really, the issue is, do we just try to beat ISIS and then get rid of Assad or not? And those may be competing agendas.
LABOTT: You heard him talk about this managed transition.
SCIUTTO: Not immediate.
LABOTT: There was an understanding that, you know, eventually there needs to be more political reform and the opposition having a say, but this whole idea of managed transition, even shows that the U.S. does not expect Assad to leave right away, and knows that if he were, there would be a lot more chaos for ISIS to capitalize on.
[11:05:16] BERMAN: You have to give Bashar al Assad credit. He's held on for four years in the face of enormous pressure internally and externally.
Mike Rogers is with us, CNN commentator, former chair of the House intelligence, and we other experts standing by.
What jumped out at you, Mike?
MIKE ROGERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It seemed like a bit of a legacy speech. He missed an important -- (AUDIO PROBLEM)
BLITZER: I want to tell our viewers, we're showing President Obama leaving the United Nations. You'll see him walking out this door shortly. Go ahead.
ROGERS: I thought he missed an incredible opportunity. Eight million displaced individuals causing tremendous pressure not only across the Middle East but now into Europe. He just didn't seem to address it. He's trying to keep it a lofty legacy style. I heard some campaign themes drifted into this speech. Again, I just thought it was a huge missed opportunity. It was that professor Obama to the leaders of the world that you shouldn't be dictators and terrorists and bad people. You know, unfortunately, that's not what's going to change on the ground for these countries. So, I think you'll hear more detail from Putin, who's actually making an on-the-ground realistic approach to where he thinks he can gain strength and influence across the Middle East. I think we should have had a little counter to that with the president. If I were an ally, I'm not sure I'd be reassured. If I were an adversary, I'd think, he's going to do the same thing he's just done for the next 18 months, and I'll make my decisions accordingly. That's what I'd be concerned about.
AMANPOUR: Well, we're about to hear what president Putin has on specifics. He's walking in.
BLITZER: Live pictures coming in. The president of Russia will be delivering his major address. Clearly, it will have major differences with President Obama as well.
We're going to continue our special coverage here on CNN. Much more coming up throughout the day.
More of Christiane's interview with President Rouhani of Iran, more of my interview with Egyptian President Abdal Fatah el Sisi. That's coming up as well.
In the meantime, AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan picks up our coverage right now.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm John Berman.
Let's take you live to Trump Tower here in New York City where Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner is now unveiling his comprehensive tax proposal to the nation. Happening right now. Let's listen in. DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION:
It ends the current tax treatment of carried interest, speculative partnerships that do not grow businesses or create jobs and are not risking their own capital.
Changes for business. Now, so important because it's all about business. It's all about jobs. We have 93 million people in this country that are in serious trouble, that want to work, they can't work. So, for business, no business of any size from a Fortune 500 company to a mom-and-pop shop to a freelancer living from gig to gig will pay more than 15 percent of their business income in taxes. Big reduction. A one-time deemed repatriation of corporate cash held overseas at significantly discount, coming back at a significantly discount, 10 percent. So it comes back discounted at a 10 percent tax rate and ends the deferral on taxes of corporate income earned abroad.
Now, it's called corporate inversion. It's a huge subject. I've been watching politicians now for years all talk, no-action politicians. I've been watching them for years talking about bringing this money back. The number is probably $2.5 trillion. Everybody agrees it should come back, Republicans, Democrats, everybody. They can't make a deal. They don't know how to go about making a deal. The reason companies aren't bringing it back is the tax is onerous. It doesn't make sense to bring it back. In fact, many companies are leaving the United States. They're leaving our shores to go and collect their money. They're going, actually moving out of the United States for two reasons. The taxes are too high and because they have tremendous amounts of money they can't bring back into this country when everybody wants them to bring it back in. It's called leadership. We will have that money brought back in. As an example, I have millions of dollars overseas. I can't bring it back into this country. I file papers. We've been doing this for a year and a half. You can't get it back in. So, the money stays in other countries and that's what happens. Not good for us. The level of leadership that we need to get things like this done is so important. But this is something, and I've been watching it for a long time, everybody agrees to.
[11:10:44] We also reduce or eliminate some business loopholes, many of them, actually, and deductions made unnecessary or redundant by the new lower tax rate on business income. The tax rate now is so low that a lot of these deductions, which are complicated, which don't make sense and which are unfair, are gone. And we phase in a reasonable cap on the deductibility of the business interest expense. So, we are going to give you -- we have a very complex set of papers that actually, if you know business, is not so complex. We're going to hand them out right now to the press. And I think you'll see, we have an amazing code. It will be simple. It will be easy. It will be fair. It's graduated. As you get up in income, you pay a little more. Some of the very unfair deductions that certain people have been given who make a lot of money will not be available any longer. But I actually believe they'll do better because I think the economy will grow. It will grow rapidly. And we'll have something very special.
Now, with all of that being said, and before we take some questions, we have to cut the costs of what's going on in this country. If you look at what we're doing and the money we're spending -- I read where a washer -- you know what a washer is? Nuts, bolts, a washer. To send from one state to another, it was a 19-cent washer and it costs 900-some-odd thousands dollars to ship it. And there are many samples, hammers that cost $800 that you can buy in a store for a tiny amount of money.
We will run this country properly. There is so much money to be saved. We're reducing taxes but at the same time, if I win, if I become president, we will be able to cut so much money and have a better country. We won't be losing anything other than we'll be balancing budgets and getting them where they should be.
So, this is a plan that's simple, that's a major reduction. I think people are going to be very happy. We've already had some very good reviews. I did the plan with some of the leading scholars and economists and tax experts that there are in this country. They love it. They say, why hasn't this been done before? And this is my wheelhouse. That's what I do well. The economy is what I do well. Whenever they do polls, I always come out way above everybody else on the economy. And on leadership, by the way, but I won't say that. So, if anybody has --
*: Thank you. That's amazing. That's. So press was actually clapping. I never saw that. I don't think I've ever seen that before. Why don't we take some questions from the press?
Yes, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
TRUMP: No, I'm not going to do that yet. I have to get their approval. But we've had some of the top people in the country work on this 37 we're looking at 3 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
TRUMP: We'll we're looking at that. It could be 5 percent, even 6 percent. We'll have growth that could be tremendous. By the way, if we have more than 3 percent, these numbers are really spectacular. And one of the things they don't take into account in any big league fashion is the cutting. There is so much waste in government that I believe when I get in there, I'll be able to cut, without losing anything, to cut tremendous amounts off of the -- and we're not even showing anything for that. So, they're very conservative numbers.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The tax rate from nearly 40 percent to 25 percent. How would that impact your taxes? Would you --
[11:15:04] TRUMP: My taxes -- my taxes will -- first of all, I have a much simpler tax statement. It will be much simpler. When I do my return, it will be -- my returns go up to the ceiling and beyond, which is ridiculous. And you spend millions of dollars at a high level on lawyers, accountants, and everything else. We to want simplify them to a tremendous level. The bracket of 25, the big difference is, many of the loopholes and many of the deductions, which are old, are antiquated in many cases, or are put there because a lot of people that get these deductions are contributed to Hillary, they're contributing to Bush, they're contributing to every candidate but Trump, because I'm not taking any money. I'm self-funding. And these people want these deductions. There will be people -- we're reducing taxes, but believe me, there will be people in the very upper echelons that won't be thrilled with this. We're taking away deductions and that's one of the reasons we're able to lower it so.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But this still looks like a pretty big tax cut for those at the top of the --
TRUMP: This is actually a tax reduction, a big tax reduction, including for the upper income. I believe the economy will do so well that even though they won't be getting certain deductions, which aren't fair for them to be getting, that will do better.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So will your --
TRUMP: Yes, go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
TRUMP: I just think this is a common sense approach. We could say supply side. You could say there's 15 different names given out for different reductions or increases. I don't think it's supply side or anything else. I think this is a common sense, well thought out tax proposal that's going to trigger the economy, going to make everybody go back and really want to work. It's going to create tremendous numbers of jobs. One of the other things that I'm coupling this with is, if I become president, I'm going to renegotiate our trade deals, because our trade deals are not sustainable by this country. Not sustainable. We cannot continue to let our jobs go to all the different countries. There's not a country we negotiate with that doesn't make a better deal. We lose money with everything. I'm also going to renegotiate some of our military costs because we protect South Korea, we protect Germany, we protect some of the wealthiest countries in the world, Saudi Arabia, we protect everybody, we protect everybody, and we don't get reimbursement. We lose on everything. We lose on everything. So, we're going to negotiate and renegotiate trade deals, military deals, many other deals that's going to get the costs down for running our country very significantly. I'm not showing a big number in that, but I believe that if I become president, those numbers are going to be massive. As an example, Saudi Arabia, they make $1 billion a day. We protect them. So, we need help. We're losing a tremendous amount of money on a yearly basis and we owe $19 trillion. I used to say 18 for the last six, seven months. Now it's 19. And it's only going up.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: this morning Senator Rubio described your campaign as a freak show. Do you take a lot --
TRUMP: Look, look. Senator Rubio is a lightweight. We understand that. He wouldn't be able to do this. He wouldn't know a trade deal from any ordeal. And what certain people are trying to do is they're trying to take -- we just went up in the last poll. We went up two points in the last poll. We continue to go up. In the NBC poll, I think we went from 26 to 29. We're going up very strongly in the polls. They don't know what to do about it. I built a great company. You'll see that in "60 Minutes" last night. I built a great company, a phenomenal company, with very little debt, tremendous cash flow. I'm funding my own campaign. Guys like Rubio he desperately needs money. Ask the car dealer in Florida, ask the people that support him. And a guy like Rubio, and others, I don't want to single him out, you're singling him out, but they're largely controlled by their donors, the special interests and, frankly, more than anybody else, the lobbyists. I've turned down millions and millions of dollars, from lobbyists and special interests, because it's not the right thing. It's just not right. And that seems to be resonating very strongly.
TRUMP: Thank you, thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: People say you have a habit of getting a bill from that person, a vendor, call them up --
TRUMP: I negotiate. It's true. I get bills from people and negotiate. Is that a bad thing? The country should do that.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
[11:19:54] TRUMP: Yes, I would. I would bring that same attitude to the White House. She says, I have a habit, when you get a bill, you call up and negotiate. To me, that's a compliment. I want to take that thinking to the White House. I bet you we could save 20 percent of our budget. We could save a tremendous amount. That has to be the attitude our country has. You can't spend millions and millions of dollars on doing something that you can do for $2,000. You know, when you look at costs. We just spent $1 million building a soccer field, OK? A soccer field for our prisoners that happen to be in Guantanamo, OK? I don't like that. What do you need a million dollars for? Level out the surface. Let them play, if they have to play at all. What do you need to spend $1 million?
TRUMP: We just spent -- there's a story today. $1 million on a soccer field? How do you spend $1 million doing a soccer field? You have a level piece of land. Throw them a ball. Let them play soccer if they have to play at all. Why are they playing soccer, is my question. OK.
BOLDUAN: All right. Listening right there, Donald Trump unveiling his comprehensive n his words, new tax policy. His new tax plan, obviously. He's taking questions from the press right now.
We'll have much more coverage of this right after a break. We'll be right back.
BERMAN: Our breaking news, Donald Trump unveiling his tax plan. Taking questions from reporters. Let's go back live right now.
[11:25:00] TRUMP: I watch all politicians and they say, I fight like hell to pay as little as possible. Can they say that? I'm not a politician. I fight like hell always because it's an expense. And, you know, I feel -- and I fight. I have the best lawyers. And the best accountants and I fight. And I pay. But it's an expense. And, frankly, I would feel differently if this country were spending the money wisely instead of throwing it down the drain. Our country spends our money so stupidly. I will tell you that -- I can speak for myself, I pay a lot have tax, but I fight like hell to make it as low as possible, but I would feel a lot differently if our leadership was such that I respected the decisions. All you have to do is look at a list of the things that our government is spending money on right now and you don't feel so good about our country.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
TRUMP: I'll tell you what, in terms of income inequality, we're going to create a lot of jobs. You know, right now we have a false 5.4, 5.3, 5.6, every month it's different. It is such a phony number. Because when people look and look and look, and then they give up looking for a job, they're taken off the roll so the number isn't reflective. I've seen numbers of 24 percent. I actually saw a number of 42 percent unemployment. 42 percent! And it could be. Because when you're looking for a job and you go around and you look and you look and you fight and you want to work and you want to take care of your family, and then you can't get the job, and you know what I'm talking about because you're shaking your head, and you can't get the job, essentially for statistical purposes you are considered employed. Then I read every time it comes out, I hear, 5.3 percent unemployment. That is the biggest joke there is in this country. That number is so false. You know, people ask, how come Trump is doing so well and Carson and others? How come they're -- you know why they're doing well? Because people are tired of political speak. They're tired of that. And the worst example of it, one of the worst examples, is the phony unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is probably 20 percent. But I will tell you, you have some great economists that will tell you it's 30, 32 percent. The highest I've heard so far is 42 percent. There's anger out there at the job picture.
Now, one other thing, with that being said, China, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, these countries are all taking our jobs, like we're a bunch of babies. That will stop. People will treat us fairly if I become president. We're losing our jobs. We're losing our base. We're losing our manufacturing. All of that will stop.
Yeah, go ahead.
BOLDUAN: We're listening to Donald Trump take questions from reporters.
One more quick break in. Much more to come from Mr. Trump.