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Trump's Tax Cut Wish List Sparks Fiery Reactions From Both Sides Aisle; Interview with Sen. Ben Cardin; Do Trump's Tax Cuts Boost The Economy?; United Airlines Announces Major Changes After Flight Fiasco; Former Trump Adviser Carter Page On New Day. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 27, 2017 - 07:30   ET



[07:32:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump's administrative tax cut wish list sparking fiery reactions, actually, from both sides of the aisle because of the trillions it would likely add to the deficit. Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin tweeted, "This isn't a plan. It's a few bullet points and shows how POTUS keeps putting wealthy businesses before middle-class families. #tax reform"

Senator Cardin joins us now. It's good to have you, Senator. Here is -- there's a lot to discuss but let's start with the first obvious political point. When you say I want to cut your taxes people like it. Even though it's one page, short on details, and doesn't show how it's going to be paid for, voters will like what the president is telling them.

SEN. BEN CARDIN (D), MARYLAND: Well, Chris, first of all, when the voters see what this is all about, and that is that it's going to add greatly to the national deficit, that overwhelming amount of relief goes to high-income taxpayers. And what you're talking is about is middle-income families are going to not get the help that they need and they're stuck with these large deficits. No, I don't think that the people of this country want this type of a tax move.

CUOMO: Mnuchin says growth will pay for it over three percent and I'm going to double your deductibility as an individual. You're good to go.

CARDIN: Well, I think people understand that. When you cut taxes you're going to add to the deficit. I mean, it's just less revenue coming into our country. If you use that rationale we'd get rid of all the taxes. But look, we have to have a fair tax policy. We need tax reform. We need to straighten out our tax code and make it fair for all Americans. We need to do that. And there's serious proposals out there to try to come together in a bipartisan way to reform our taxes, to make it fair for middle-income families, and to raise the revenues we need in order that we don't have deficits. That's what we need to do.

The president's proposal is just a P.R. issue where he's saying look, we're going to cut taxes, with no real fiscal responsibility.

CUOMO: Let me ask you something real quickly. The president just tweeted, "The Democrats want to shut down government if we don't bail out Puerto Rico and give billions to their insurance companies for Obamacare failure. NO!" Is that true? Are you threatening to shut down the government in any way?

CARDIN: No, no, no, not at all. Look, we don't control the Congress. We don't have the House or the Senate or the White House. The Republicans should have passed a budget last October. We're talking about FY '17. A budget should have been passed October 2016. No, Democrats are -- will not shut down government. Hopefully, we're going to get this resolved. We should have had a budget well before now and we're prepared to work with Republicans in order to fund government.

CUOMO: All right, that's good because people are going to keep their eye on what's happening on Friday and we want to know who's driving any type of potential shutdown. You say it's not coming from the Democrats, at least not yet. So, you have two big items on the table, essentially. You have health care and you have this tax wish list. To this point, the Democrats have adopted a little bit, it seems, the 'watch it burn' mentality. Watch the Republicans fight themselves, watch the Freedom Caucus undermine the president. But at some point you're going to have to step up and start putting out ideas that help people with health care and help on tax reform or cuts. Are you ready?

[07:35:15] CARDIN: Oh, we've done that already and, quite frankly, Democrats are there. We want to work with Republicans. It's the Republicans, particularly in the House, that have chosen not to engage the Democrats at all. So look, we do have -- we have the Affordable Care Act that we think is working. Can it be improved, absolutely? We've offered suggestions for more competition for insurance carriers.

CUOMO: They say it's dying under its own weight. Do you accept that potential that the ACA is failing under its own weight because a lot of providers are dropping out?

CARDIN: Chris, we've reduced the uninsured rate by half. We've added essential benefits where people now have quality coverage, including mental health and addiction services. We have seen where we've eliminated preexisting conditions. Individuals now have affordable health care that didn't have it before. No, the Affordable Care Act is working. Can it be made better, yes? Should we go after the high cost of prescription medicines, absolutely? Should we work to get more competition? We've offered a public option within the exchanges. That would give more competition.

CUOMO: But --

CARDIN: We've also suggested looking at different ways to provide health care through integrated and coordinated care models. Democrats are very much interested in improving our health care system but we think the Affordable Care Act -- we know the Affordable Care Act has made a major plus for health care for Americans.

CUOMO: What do you say to those people who saw their premiums spike, have these unreasonable deductibles, and have the choice of only one plan where they live?

CARDIN: We know that health care costs have grown at a slower growth rate as a result of the Affordable Care Act. For millions of Americans, they've seen their premiums stabilize, which it was not before the Affordable Care Act. We have a challenge in the individual insurance marketplace. These are individuals that are there for a relatively short period of time because they are not connected with insurance through their employment or they've changed jobs. That's a group that we have to continue to work on to provide more options and more opportunities so that we have stable insurance premiums. We have work to do but generally, it's working for millions of Americans. We want to see it work for all Americans.

CUOMO: You think Democrats should come out with ideas to help those people in those places where the premiums have them upside-down, the deductibility is too high in terms of what they're paying, and they only have one choice. A Democratic plan to fix the ACA --

CARDIN: Oh, absolutely.

CUOMO: -- because we haven't heard one.

CARDIN: Oh, but we have. We have offered suggestions. For a long period of time, Republicans have resisted any effort to try to improve the Affordable Care Act. They've been trying to repeal it but now, I think they've given up on repeal. Then they talked about repeal and replace. Now they're giving up on that and we're hopeful that we can now get to improving. That's what we need to do. Democrats are anxious to work to improve the Affordable Care Act and --

CUOMO: Then how come I don't see Democrats --

CARDIN: -- and yes, we have --

CUOMO: -- on this show or standing at the podium while you're watching the Republicans flail and try to come together on some kind of patchwork deal. Sure, maybe they overpromised but I don't see Democrats seizing that opportunity by coming out and saying look, here's how we can address people's needs and keep what still works in this thing. I haven't seen it. I mean, can you name what's that proposal called? I mean, where is it?

CARDIN: Chris, it's fair enough, but understand this. Speaker Ryan, right now, is not prepared to move a health care bill on the floor of the House of Representatives that has a majority of Republican and Democrats supporting it. He wants to get the votes within his own Republican conference. He's not willing to take on the extremes in his own party. Democrats are anxious and we've made suggestions and we have bills that we file that will improve the Affordable Care Act.

We recognize it was not perfect. No bill of that magnitude has ever been passed by Congress without improving it. We need to improve it and we have made suggestions to improve it. But at this point, the Republicans are solely -- in the House are solely working within their own conference. We need to break through that. We need bipartisan proposals. I'm all for that. CUOMO: Senator Ben Cardin, appreciate you making the case on NEW DAY, as always, sir.

CARDIN: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Alisyn --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, now to United Airlines. (Video playing) You, of course, have seen this video. Now, United says you'll see big changes. The airline's plan to make sure this never happens again.


[07:43:15] CAMEROTA: So, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says a growing economy will pay for all the tax cuts the White House wants. Is that true? Chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now with a reality check. Christine, great to have you here.


CAMEROTA: Do tax cuts pay for themselves by lifting the economy?

ROMANS: The simple answer, sometimes. How's that for going out on a limb? Let's take a look at this. If we look at history it's really important here because it's happened before, but in recent history tax cuts have not grown the economy. These are the last time we saw tax cuts. Look at the Bush tax cut here. Here's a comparison. President Bush cut taxes in 2001 and 2003. Job growth was slow and real GDP grew a little bit -- it was decent. But look at the job growth here. So you had tax cuts but no real job explosion.

But now let's look at what happened when you had Clinton raising taxes -- he was raising taxes. Look what happened to jobs and look what happened to GDP. A completely different scenario. GDP surging almost four percent. Why such a big difference? Because tax policy is just one lever in hundreds of different factors. And when you look at the factors going on here you had George Bush cutting taxes to boost growth. He was engaged in two big expensive wars and the national debt was growing here. Bill Clinton, though, was raising taxes -- raising taxes to cut the deficit. There was the boom. We were engaged in NAFTA and WTO and entering in this new phase of globalization, so two very different scenarios.

CAMEROTA: OK, that's not satisfying. We need an answer to this. What happened during president -- President Reagan cut taxes, yes?

ROMANS: And this is the Holy Grail. This is like the -- this is like the swimsuit model poster that conservatives have on the back of their door, right? I mean, this is -- seriously, this is what they all love. This is what we want --

CAMEROTA: Yes, I was going to say more of the conservatives like that swimsuit model.

[07:45:00] ROMANS: Oh the budget wonks -- the budget wonks. This is what happened under Reagan. Look, you had tax cuts here and still had trouble with the economy. And then he embarks on tax reform. Tax reform is different. Tax reform means you're not necessarily blowing up the deficit just to pay for tax cuts, you're changing the way we do business. His tax reform resulted in this. Look at all these years of growth. This is what conservatives want to see. And when you hear people saying we're going to do this again, right now, the question is can you do this without blowing up the deficit. Then maybe you get your Trumpian tax growth to pay for things.

CAMEROTA: I actually understand it better now.


CAMEROTA: Christine, thank you very much. Let's get over to Chris.

CUOMO: All right, thank you very much. So, major changes coming at United Airlines to prevent this from happening again. (Video playing) Not the orange shirt, you know what I'm talking about. So, the viral video of this passenger getting dragged off a flight to make room for crew members on a full flight was just a disaster. "EARLY START" anchor Dave Briggs joins us now with more. What's the fix?

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": A lot of fixes, 10 of them in all. Good morning to you, Chris. Ten changes being made by United. CEO Oscar Munoz vowing to prevent a repeat of what happened to Dr. David Dao. Those changes include limiting the use of law enforcement personnel on planes to just safety and security issues only. No longer requiring passengers already on the plane to give up their seat involuntarily unless, of course, there is a security risk. Also, increasing customer compensation for passengers who voluntarily give up their seats, now offering up to $10,000 per person. That's the real eye candy there. That's up from $1,350 per passenger.

Earlier this month, officers forcibly removed Dr. Dao from his flight, as you'll remember. Dao's lawyer says his client suffered a concussion, a broken nose, and two lost teeth. He plans to sue the airlines. Some of United's procedures are already set to take effect immediately but some will be implemented by the end of the year. And guys, one we didn't mention there. Crew members now have to be booked 60 minutes before a flight, which would have probably prevented this entire fiasco.

CAMEROTA: There's a lot of things that could have prevented this fiasco.

BRIGGS: Well, yes, but if you have those already booked before the passengers get on the plane, it helps.

CUOMO: It would have never -- it would have never happened.

BRIGGS: I know that $10,000, though, is what passengers are thinking about helps.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

CUOMO: All right. So, sources tell CNN the House Intel Committee has its witness list for its hearing into Russia's involvement in the election. Is our next guest on the list? We ask Carter Page -- there he is. He's smiling. What does that mean? We'll see.


[07:51:20] CUOMO: President Trump is nearing his 100th day in office, so what's his biggest accomplishment so far? Well, one take on it from "Washington Post" columnist E.J. Dionne is, "In the outpouring of commentary on President Trump's first 100 days in office, his greatest single achievement is almost never mentioned, which is itself a sign of what a major triumph it is. We are not talking about whether Russia colluded with Trump's campaign to help elect him."

One of the names frequently mentioned in any story about the Trump campaign's alleged connections to Russia is former campaign adviser Carter Page. Mr. Page joins us now. It is good to have you on NEW DAY. What do you make of Mr. Dionne's assessment?

CARTER PAGE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, it's sort of like a glass half full perspective, Chris. I -- if you look at it from the opposite viewpoint, consider the complete lack of information and the complete lies that have been out there throughout the first 100 days of this new administration, all based on false evidence, complete lies, going back to the dodgy dossier which was put out on January 10th and in full disclosure there. So --

CUOMO: You like dodgy dossier. That's a catchphrase of yours. We do know that some of the allegations, as you well -- you know the history here. CNN talked about the disclosure of the dossier. Not the contents thereof because we couldn't vet them for ourselves. But over time we've seen some of it has not stood up yet and others have -- sources, information, such that you were a beneficiary of what is true in that dossier according to a federal judge who found it as part of the basis for probable cause to have you surveilled. So it's not completely dodgy, right?

PAGE: Chris, it's incredible that literally every word in there about me, whether it's me actually dealing with Paul Manafort, someone who I've never even talked to -- every allegation in there. All the people I've met, each of which are individuals I've never even said hello to in my life is a complete joke. The main difference -- the term "dodgy dossier" comes from 2003 from another document in the -- from the U.K. and the difference here is that in that earlier instance it led to a complete disaster internationally with thousands of American lives lost and trillions of dollars wasted.

CUOMO: Right, but we have already had our disaster, Carter. We had Russia get involved in our election, upset our political dialogue. We don't know what the far-reaching effects may have been. It's being investigated on numerous levels. And you still haven't explained how a federal judge could look at some of this information about you and make a cause in reviewing the evidence that there was probable cause to surveil you. That's not a nothing berber (ph). That's a federal court, that's assessing evidence. PAGE: Chris, there is no probable cause and I -- that's part of the reason why I'm taking legal action now with the Privacy Act of 1974 -- legal action which I'm taking. And I very much look forward to getting disclosure on that warrant application and seeing what exactly was in there because again, there's been terrific reporting in various news outlets, including "Washington Post", "New York Times" based on various leaks and some of them have exactly pointed back to that dodgy dossier. And so, it will be -- it will be interesting to see what comes out.

Again, there is no probable cause and there could be no probable cause based on anything I've ever done in Russia or with any Russian person, so let's see what comes out. It will be interesting to see that full disclosure.

CUOMO: You know, I've spent a lot of time watching your interviews and sometimes I scratch my head and try wonder why you're doing them. You are very slow to want to answer questions about the details of your affiliation with the campaign or who you've talked to in Russia and about what. What is your motivation for coming on, other than to say you're suing? You don't seem to want to give clarity to the allegations.

PAGE: Well, it's interesting. One of the prior questions -- and this goes back to the issue of leaking, Chris, because in several of the prior discussions, for example, with Anderson Cooper and others --

CUOMO: Right.

PAGE: -- is the constant questions regarding did I ever meet Ambassador Kislyak. And I had a -- I said a brief hello to him in Cleveland and maybe a few passing comments never lasting more than just a few seconds. And it's interesting -- the reason why I didn't -- wasn't more forthcoming about that with Anderson about a month and one-half ago --

CUOMO: Right.

PAGE: -- is I never -- it was a confidential meeting. Everyone that was in that meeting agreed they would keep the conversations confidential and I was respecting that. And so the reason why I can talk about it now is the Kremlin spokesperson, Mr. Peskov, has said that yes, there were discussions -- or there were various interactions between the supporters of the Trump campaign, as well as the Clinton campaign, I would imagine, so --

CUOMO: Right, but Carter, you know -- you know how that plays. It plays as you being deceptive and there's like a whole list of them now, starting from who brought you into the campaign. You will say well, I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to get anybody in trouble. Isn't the truth that really nobody brought you into the campaign? You approached the campaign and you then were lightly vetted with some other people. You were invited to a meeting. You went to that meeting and then the affiliation kind of fell off. Isn't that a close reckoning to how you got into the campaign and maintained some contact with some of the members? PAGE: Again, Chris, I don't like to discuss confidential dealings or anything --

CUOMO: But that's not confidential.

PAGE: Well, I don't want to -- I don't want to create any issues for people. Again, there's been such a complete firestorm based on this completely false narrative, and really in that --

CUOMO: But you have to disrupt that narrative then, Carter? I mean, look, I've heard -- I've heard your answers, I've studied it well. I get what your motivations are in terms of leaking and privacy but when you don't give answers to what is bothering people, you just pretend and then fuel that speculation even more.

You know, another one of them on this is that, you know, you got asked about this in a larger context -- Russia. What the Intelligence Community came to as a conclusion. You say you don't buy it. That you don't buy that Russia interfered with our election. That they helped motivate the WikiLeak hacks. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, accepts that as reality now. Why don't you?

PAGE: Chris, part of the -- the main reason is the fact that I've been the victim of one of most horrendous civil rights violations in recent U.S. election history. And it was interesting watching President Obama's speech at a Chicago university earlier this week where he was talking about encouraging people to get more involved in the political process. Not necessarily being direct politicians and all the dirty things that go along with that, but just as private citizens, which is exactly what I did. And the disclaimer which should have been on that -- in that speech that he gave was make sure that you don't say anything which could be construed as questioning the powers in -- currently in authority because then you'll have a --

CUOMO: So you think that --

PAGE: -- domestic political intelligence operation focused on you.

CUOMO: So correct me if I'm wrong. You think that because you say things in Russia and elsewhere that are negative about American policy, the United States intel service has decided to take you down and invaded your privacy and hurt your civil rights in the process. Is that your theory?

PAGE: Well again, I'm just basing it on recent reports, Chris, with the fact that the most recent dodgy dossier of 2016 was used a false basis, saying that there is probable cause when there is absolutely zero probable cause.

CUOMO: Remember, a federal judge -- if you want to make this a political thing you can, but a federal judge looked at the evidence and found probable cause. And if you look at the facts they certainly line up in favor of asking you some questions. In 2013, you were talking to a guy who you said you didn't know was a spy. He turned out to be a spy. Now we have indications that they were working you whether you were

aware or not, trying to get access to the campaign. That's relevant. You then go to Russia. We don't know whether or not the Trump campaign asked you to go, knew that you were going, concerted action with you in going because you won't say so. It fuels speculation enough such that the DOJ went and got a warrant to surveil you.