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Trump: Get Tax Reform Done This Year; Trump And Congresswoman Trade More Barbs; NYT: O'Reilly Paid $32 Million To Settle Sex Abuse Claim. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 23, 2017 - 05:30   ET


[05:30:18] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The tax cuts, they will be the biggest cuts ever in the history of this country.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Ever, in history. President Trump wants tax reform done, and soon. He says Republicans are on the verge of history and may do it by year's end.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: And, the president still going after the Democratic congresswoman who publicized his call to a Gold Star widow. Now she is demanding an apology after the chief of staff called her a quote "empty barrel."

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody, on a Monday. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Monday and it is 5:30 a.m. in the East. Glad you're up early with us this morning. Let's get to the news.

President Trump urging House members to pass the Senate's budget this week, paving the way for tax reform. He said the move would be historic during a GOP conference call Sunday. He told Fox News he wanted it enacted by the end of the year.

And he dismissed the critique of his plan that will benefit the rich. He said that's simply a Democratic talking point, zeroing in Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.


TRUMP: I like Schumer, but before he even knows the plan, he said oh, this is for the rich. And so, he doesn't even know what the plan is but he's screaming it's for the rich.


ROMANS: Lately, the White House has been selling tax reform as a boon to the middle-class. Ivanka Trump is traveling to Pennsylvania today to pitch an expanded child tax credit.

Still, the biggest tax cuts go to the wealthy and many key details disproportionately favor the rich. So, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Friday, said House Republicans will propose a new top income tax rate, raising taxes on the highest earners. But, Trump seemed to walk back that promise.


TRUMP: Well, he really said that on the basis that I wanted it or was thinking about it because I want to make sure the middle-class gets taken care of, and we may not have that. But I would rather do that than do anything to hurt the middle-class.


ROMANS: The president also said he was not concerned his plan would lead to a higher deficit. He explained it will spur economic growth, paying for tax cuts -- those historic tax cuts. Most economists disagree with that protection -- projection.

And, would these be the biggest tax cuts in history? Most tax scorers say they obviously need a lot more details about the plan and what it looks like.

BRIGGS: But it could be.

ROMANS: What's on the table now probably isn't, no.


ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: All right. Achieving any of president's legislative goals will require Republican unity on Capitol Hill, something party leaders say they're confident they can achieve.

Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell downplaying the sniping between the president and congressional Republicans. Appearing on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" Sunday, he emphasized their shared agenda. But after seeing the president waiver on a bipartisan health bill last week, McConnell says Trump needs to be clear on what he's actually willing to sign.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We need a bill the president will actually sign. And I'm not certain yet what the president's looking for here but I'll be happy to bring a bill to the floor if I know President Trump would sign it.


ROMANS: McConnell sharply critical of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and others who are working hard to defeat what they call establishment Republicans. Fox News asked McConnell about Bannon's crusade to back primary opponents for nearly all Senate Republicans running next year.


MCCONNELL: This is not about personalities, this is about achievement. And in order to make policy, you have to actually win the election.

The kind of people that are supported by the element that you've just been referring to are specialists in defeating Republican candidates in November.


BRIGGS: Now, to McConnell's point, Bannon did back a winning challenger in the Alabama Senate primary, Roy Moore. But a recent Fox News poll of that deep red state has more tied with the Democrat in the December election.

McConnell also told CNN he trusts President Trump as a negotiating partner. Asked about Trump's attacks on him, McConnell replied quote "I'm not particularly concerned."

ROMANS: All right. Let's bring in "Washington Post" political reporter Eugene Scott. Good morning.


ROMANS: So much to talk over --


ROMANS: -- and chew over this morning.

Let's begin, I guess, with the president in that -- in that Fox News interview and his "USA Today" op-ed where he is boasting about the biggest tax cuts in the history that's going to get done by the end of the year. He'd be disappointed if it wasn't done by the end of the year. The spirit and the will is there for this big -- for this big tax reform but they couldn't get health care.

SCOTT: Right.

ROMANS: Are they coalescing around tax reform, I guess, to maybe get something done here?

SCOTT: I certainly do believe the president when he says that the failure to get together on something like health care and other legislation could be a motivator for the Republican Party. I don't think what this party wants to do is have the narrative be that they went nearly this whole first year without any significant legislation passed going into midterms.

[05:35:08] However, the challenge with getting tax reform passed, I think could be the same challenge that the GOP found with getting health care passed.

We're dealing with a pretty ideologically diverse party that's not on the same page with what's best for America. And so, seeing what could bring them together has not yet been revealed. As you mentioned before, there are still a lot of questions left about this actual plan.

BRIGGS: Twenty-eight legislative days left if they're going to get it done this calendar year.

But if there's two things he's focused on -- the president -- it's these tax cuts and, of course, this Democratic congressman, Frederica Wilson. There is an ongoing battle between the president and her and very little focus, Eugene, on those four troops -- the largest loss of life under the Trump presidency. Those four brave soldiers killed in Niger.

The latest tweet from the president, "Wacky Congresswoman Wilson is the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party, a disaster for Dems. You watch her in action and vote R!"

He may be right. This may resonate with his base but it's hard to ignore he's tweeted five times about this congresswoman and has yet to tweet about the four Americans killed in Niger. Why?

SCOTT: Well, I think that attacking this lawmaker is just something that is red meat to his base. I mean, she comes from demographics and ideologies that have been very effective at creating this idea with the liberals that Donald Trump is not someone who's in the -- who has the best interest of black Americans and immigrant Americans and women in mind. And so I think a lot of people who are on the Trump train get really defensive with this and feel like that the best thing to do is to attack her.

The challenge is this situation between the president and the congresswoman doesn't have much to do with what actually happened in Niger and takes the focus off of what people really need to know, which is what's the latest happening in this war on terror. What is going on in terms of why so many top Republican lawmakers who focus on armed services seem to know so little about what actually --

ROMANS: Right.

SCOTT: -- happened.

And it just erases the attention and the focus which should be on the legacy of these four young men and what they did, and their narratives, and the families they leave behind.

BRIGGS: Well, Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, will give her first interview --

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: -- later today on ABC.

ROMANS: And that should be fascinating, you know. I mean, she clearly would want the focus to be on her husband but the president keeps this alive. And, you know, he talked to Maria Bartiromo a little bit about his

tweeting, you know, and how he uses it almost, he said, as his tool. It's his way to defend himself. Listen to what he said to Maria Bartiromo.


TRUMP: I have friends that say oh, don't use social media. See, I don't call it tweets. Tweeting is like a typewriter.

Oh, they're well-crafted. I was always a good student. I'm like a person that does well with that kind of thing.

And I doubt I'd be here if it weren't for social media. So when somebody says something about me, I'm able to go bing, bing, bing and I take care of it. The other way, I'd never be able to get the word out.


ROMANS: Is that what he's doing with the congresswoman from Florida? Is he bing, bing, bing, getting the word out, just continuing to hit -- what, five times he's tweeted about her?

BRIGGS: Five times.

SCOTT: I certainly think so, and I think what he said gives us an insight into just his approach at communication more broadly.

So often we in the media hear people from the GOP or Trump supporters say you all focus too much on Twitter. He just laid out right there how important Twitter is for him at communicating to the American public and get this his ideas out. It's something that you cannot ignore and it's something that he doesn't want his base to ignore by focusing on Rep. Wilson.

But what many of us are waiting for are tweets about how this happened, how he's going to respond to these families in a compassionate way that seems to be more reassuring, and how we can prevent some of these things from happening again in the future.

BRIGGS: Yes, you know, he said again that this might be the reason he got elected. He would not have got elected without Twitter. He's probably right, and he's probably right that his base likes this fiery debate.

ROMANS: Maybe.

SCOTT: Yes, but there -- I mean, we have to remember multiple polls have come out saying that most Americans wish he would stop tweeting. But he's going to do what he wants to do because like you say, he believes that's why he's been successful.


ROMANS: Can we talk about John McCain quickly? SCOTT: Sure.

ROMANS: John McCain being interviewed about Vietnam for a historical perspective, I think, for C-SPAN 3. Listen to what he said and we'll talk a little about whether this is a subtle or not so subtle hit at the president.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: And one aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never, ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest income level of America, and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong. That is wrong.


[05:40:00] ROMANS: The infamous 4F -- those young men of means in this country at that time, at that generation, who were able to get deferments based on things like bone spurs.

The President of the United States is one of them. He had several deferrals and one of them was for bone spurs.

Do you think he's talking about the president, in particular?

SCOTT: Certainly. I mean, when it comes to -- service is a personal issue for McCain and a personal beef between McCain and Trump. We all remember how on the trail Trump said that McCain was not a war hero because he was captured -- because he was a prisoner of war despite the sacrifice that McCain paid and everything he gave.

And we also saw the president say that his elite private school was comparable to the military because it was a military academy.

And so I think there is just some frustration among some people in the military, even on the right, that the president really does not know what it is to show the level of selflessness, and courage, and commitment that many people in the military do, despite him constantly pandering to this group and using them against undocumented immigrants, against NFL players, against transgender Americans when he's trying to rally his base.

ROMANS: There's just so much there. I mean, the president talking about his personal Vietnam with Howard Stern, right? It was -- sleeping around --

BRIGGS: Right.

ROMANS: -- in the seventies was his personal Vietnam, which is --

SCOTT: Not Vietnam at all.

ROMANS: No, it isn't

BRIGGS: All right, Eugene Scott from "The Washington Post." Thank you, sir.

SCOTT: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right.

Legends of comedy honored David Letterman and saved from of their best lines for the president. Hear what Letterman had to say about the political climate, next.


[05:45:45] BRIGGS: A lot of questions this morning for Fox News and Bill O'Reilly in the wake of a "New York Times" report. O'Reilly paid a staggering $32 million to a Fox News colleague to make her threatened sexual misconduct suit go away.

Fox News under the microscope because the network re-signed O'Reilly to a lucrative deal weeks after the settlement.

ROMANS: Fox says it knew about the settlement but not the price tag. That's little comfort to former Fox anchor Gretchen Carlson, who first brought complaints about the culture at Fox into the mainstream.


GRETCHEN CARLSON, FORMER HOST, FOX NEWS: I think it's horrifying and outrageous that any company, after dismissing somebody for allegations such as that, would not only re-sign a contract but allow that person to come back on the air.


ROMANS: O'Reilly says he will address this today.

For the latest, let's bring in senior media correspondent Brian Stelter.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christine. Hey, Dave. Good morning.

This $32 million figure is boomeranging around the T.V. industry. Everybody I know is talking about why Bill O'Reilly would have been willing to pay $32 million to a woman accusing him of sexual harassment.

It is something of a mystery because we will never know exactly what Lis Wiehl was alleging. Wiehl was a longtime Fox News legal analyst, a regular on O'Reilly's show. She came to him in January threatening a harassment lawsuit.

Now, "The New York Times" broke this story over the weekend and now, O'Reilly says he's working on a response.

But the facts are pretty clear. O'Reilly was willing to pay $32 million to Wiehl. I've seen the affidavit which says she no longer has any claims against O'Reilly. But this has been newly embarrassing for both Fox News and for O'Reilly.

You know, for Fox, there's an ongoing federal investigation by the Department of Justice into other settlement payments made by Fox involving former Fox News boss, Roger Ailes. We don't know if these new revelations could affect that ongoing investigation.

As for Bill O'Reilly, he's been trying to find a new job somewhere in the T.V. business. You might remember he went back on Sean Hannity's show last month. It was the first time he'd be back on -- he's been back on Fox since he was fired. Now, I don't think we're going to see O'Reilly back on Fox anytime soon, not in the wake of this revelation.

Thirty-two million dollars is just an extraordinary sum of money and we will never know exactly why it was paid. But, O'Reilly says he's never mistreated anyone. He told "The New York Times" this whole story is bogus, and he said on Twitter he's working on a response that will come out on Monday -- Christine, Dave.


ROMANS: And Monday, that's today.

BRIGGS: That's today and Mr. O'Reilly on the cover of the "Daily News." I'm sure he'll love this one.

All right, let's welcome in Alisyn Camerota with a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Hey, Alisyn.

Gretchen Carlson is a voice that should be heard right now. She has not been heard on Fox News.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Dave, and we have 32 million questions about that. So, we are going to be addressing that with our roundtable of super smart women this morning, including Gretchen Carlson's attorney. Do these massive settlements end up silencing women? So, what can we do about that?

So we'll be addressing all of that as well as, of course, all the latest on the Niger investigation. What were troops doing there, how did this go so tragically wrong, and why did two leading senators not know the number of U.S. troops or that U.S. troops were in Niger? So we have all of the latest threads on that for you as well when Chris and I see you in 11 minutes.

BRIGGS: Sounds good.

ROMANS: Great.

BRIGGS: Senate hearings on just that this week --

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: -- so hopefully, we'll get some answers. Thanks, Ali. See you in a bit. ROMANS: Thanks, Alisyn.

At least 34 marijuana farms have been destroyed by wildfires in Northern California, but guess what? Federal regulations keep those farmers from receiving any aid. Details on "CNN Money Stream," next.


[05:54:00] BRIGGS: President Trump was a big target on a night celebrating David Letterman's illustrious television career. Comedy legends came out to honor Letterman, the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. It's a night filled with political commentary, some pointed, some poignant.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!": I look at what's going on now and I think this is your fault. All of it. Everything was fine until you went off the air.

You abandoned us. You went out for a pack of cigarettes and left us to live with an abusive orange stepfather.

DAVID LETTERMAN, RECIPIENT, MARK TWAIN PRIZE FOR AMERICA HUMOR: Jimmy Kimmel, the man that got more done in Congress this year than anybody else.

Mark Twain -- there's a million quotes from Mark Twain and I'm going to wrap this up now with a quote, and I hope I get it correct. And it has to do with patriotism and Mark Twain's definition of patriotism is this. Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.


[05:55:08] ROMANS: Michelle Obama, in a videotaped message, said Dave was a knowledgeable and passionate interviewer.

The show will air on PBS next month.

BRIGGS: The sentencing for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl begins today at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He faces a possible life sentencing on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after pleading guilty last week.

Bergdahl left his post in Afghanistan in 2009. He was captured and held captive by the Taliban for five years before being freed as part of a prisoner exchange in 2014.

The sentencing phase is expected to last two weeks.

ROMANS: Police in Tampa, Florida growing frustrated in their search for whoever killed three people in 11 days. Anthony Naiboa, Benjamin Mitchell, and Monica Hoffa all found shot to death in Seminole Heights between October nine and 19th. Police say they don't have any leads or any motive but due to the

proximity and the time frame, they're certain the shootings are related. A $25,000 reward is being offered to anyone with information about these murders.

BRIGGS: All right. The big Super Bowl rematch not much of a game at all. The Patriots slipped back in form as Tom Brady threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns. The defense keeping Matt Ryan in check in a 23-7 win.

But as you can see, the big story, the weather, the fog. An eerie cloud parked itself over the field for much of the game. No confirmation whether this was the Patriot's latest scandal to minimize an opposing offense. It was not.

I drove through the fog on the way to work this morning. It was still hanging around.

All right. Fourteen years after the infamous wardrobe malfunction, Justin Timberlake back on center stage at the Super Bowl. The NFL announcing Sunday that Timberlake -- J.T. will headline the Super Bowl LII halftime show in Minneapolis on February 4th.

His last Super Bowl performance with Janet Jackson. You might remember her costume reveal that went wrong, exposing part of Jackson's breast on live television. Can you imagine if Twitter was around --

ROMANS: Oh, my gosh.

BRIGGS: -- in those days? The hashtag wardrobe malfunction.

J.T. can perform though. That should be outstanding --

ROMANS: A lot of change in 14 --

BRIGGS: -- no matter what you think about that.

ROMANS: And, Janet Jackson says -- I'm like wait a minute, how comes he gets to come back and she's, you know -- has she been exiled?

BRIGGS: He said that will not happen again, rest assured.

ROMANS: Yes. You say rest assured? Is that what he said? All right.

Let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning at 57 minutes past the hour.

Global stock markets starting the week mostly higher after U.S. stocks hit records on Friday. The Dow, the S&P 500, six weeks of gains, folks.

You can thank tax reform. The Senate passed a budget resolution clearing the way for tax reform. The promise of tax cuts has helped stocks rally this year, as has solid corporate earnings. Big name companies across almost every sector report this week. We're going to get a peek under the hood to see how their businesses are running -- AT&T, Coca-Cola, Amazon, ExxonMobil. And we're going to get four big Dow leaders -- Boeing, McDonald's, Visa, and Caterpillar. Combined, their shares have soared more than 33 percent this year. Their results -- we'll see if those big gains are justified.

Recent hurricanes are taking a toll on quarterly earnings, though, we'll probably see. S&P 500 companies expect profit growth of about 2.8 percent for the third quarter, not as strong as the first half of the year.

Over half of those companies blame hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, particularly the insurance industry. In fact, earnings growth would be nearly five percent if you stripped out the insurance industry. So that's where the weakness is focused.

OK, we were telling you about those marijuana farms. At least 34 of them have been destroyed by wildfires in Northern California but federal regulations are keeping those farmers from receiving aid. Selling marijuana is legal in some states but it still violates federal law, so farms don't qualify for federal aid.

And now, even crowdfunding is out of the question. Crowdfunding site YouCaring shut down a fundraiser for farmers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. It says since marijuana is illegal on the federal level, processing the payments is technically considered money laundering.

Just another kind of reminder that business is booming, yet the federal prohibition on marijuana makes it very difficult to do this.

BRIGGS: It's really complicated.

ROMANS: It sure is.

BRIGGS: Banking, in particular, very complicated.

ROMANS: Yes. Thanks for joining us this Monday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. "NEW DAY" starts right now. We'll see you tomorrow.


TRUMP: When she made that statement I thought it was sickening, actually.

REP. FREDERICA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: This is going to be Trump's Benghazi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to see the death of Americans turned into some sensationalized partisan fight.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: We don't know exactly where we're at in the world militarily and what we're doing. CHUCK TODD, HOST, NBC "MEET THE PRESS": Senator Graham didn't know we had 1,000 troops in Niger. Did you?


SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: At this point, we have conflicting stories. We want to be able to get the full, accurate story and get it right.

MCCONNELL: We're going to score a big legislative accomplishment here on tax reform.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: The people closest to the president who are whispering in his ear all want to do big tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country.

MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: We want the very best tax package that can actually pass.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, October 23rd --