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New Allegations Against Kevin Spacey; Trump in China; Republican Tax Cut Plan Adds $1.7 Trillion to Deficit; Massive Republican Election Losses Referendum on Trump?. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired November 8, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats swept local and state races across the country, with historic wins for specifically minority and LGBT candidates.
Maybe most surprising, Virginia House of Delegates could possibly go Democratic for the first time in nearly 20 years. Official results are still out in a couple of those races that will make the key difference.
The Democrats' biggest victories, winning those gubernatorial races both in Virginia and in New Jersey. In New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy solidly defeated his Republican opponent, Kim Guadagno, who had struggled to distance herself from unpopular boss, Chris Christie.
In Virginia, another solid victory by Democrat Ralph Northam, after polls predicted a state race against the Republican there, Ed Gillespie. The president in his trip in Asia distanced himself from the losing candidate.
This is what President Trump tweeted -- quote -- "Ed Gillespie worked hard, but did not embrace me or what I stand for. Don't forget, Republicans won four out of four House seats. And with the economy doing record numbers, we will continue to win even bigger than before."
So, let's talk to two Republicans.
I have got David Jolly with me, former Florida congressman. And Corey Stewart lost to Ed Gillespie in the Virginia Republican primary. He's also the former chairman of the Trump campaign in his state and is now running to unseat Senator Tim Kaine.
So, gentleman, welcome.
COREY STEWART (R), FORMER VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Welcome. Thanks for having me on.
DAVID JOLLY (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Good to be with you, Brooke.
BALDWIN: All right, David Jolly, first up to you. You are certainly no fan of President Trump's. But you have this
message. I read your tweets. You have a message to angry Republicans today on what last night was all about. What's that?
JOLLY: Listen, Democrats won last night for one singular reason, and that's because Donald Trump is in the White House and the standard bearer of Republican politics.
There is no question these were purple jurisdictions, where a Republican platform that has been created and pushed by Donald Trump for a year was soundly rejected. And there's no other way to look at it. The math is the math. The president of the United States is at 36 percent. He's not at 63 percent.
And as a result of his poor approval, Republicans don't know how to handle the Trump headwinds.
BALDWIN: Cory, you want to respond?
STEWART: Well, this would have been a referendum on Trump, but for the fact Trump wasn't on the ballot and Trump -- the president was correct, that Ed Gillespie, the head of the ticket, did not want the president down there campaigning with him. He wouldn't even be seen on stage with the president.
And in fact when the president sent out a tweet in support of Ed Gillespie, Ed Gillespie wouldn't even retweet it. So he treated the president like he had typhoid. This was not a referendum on Trump. In fact, it was exactly a referendum on what happens when an establishment Republican wins -- runs and loses by big margins.
BALDWIN: But, Corey, looking at it just nationwide, and go ahead and jump in also, David, but how is it not a referendum on the president? You have seen the results in so many of those raises. And we are not just talking Virginia.
STEWART: Well, take a look at the person who ran for lieutenant governor in Virginia, Jill Vogel. She embraced the president. She was campaigning with me, and I am seen by -- the biggest Trump supporter in the state. We were all campaigning together. She embraced the president and she outperformed Ed Gillespie, who was running for governor, she outperformed him by 55,000 votes.
So there you had a candidate who embraced the president. She got 55,000 more votes in Virginia than the head of the ticket, who avoided the president.
JOLLY: Look, I think you can find these one-off races and certainly Corey knows Virginia politics better than I do. But you can look at Maine voters embracing Medicaid expansion, making an end-round a Republican governor.
You can look at New Jersey, you can look at Virginia. You can look at a municipal race in Saint Petersburg, Florida, where a mayoral race was decided on this very same issue. Donald Trump is historically unpopular.
Listen, the math is math. Corey, you don't campaign with somebody that is polling at 36 percent. You simply don't. And, listen, I have lost races as well. This is not a dig.
But consider what happened in your primary against Gillespie. Embracing Trump wasn't even enough to win a GOP primary in purple state like Virginia. So I don't understand how you get out there and say that if you embrace a guy at 36 percent, with incredibly high negatives, somehow, that gets you to victory in a purple state.
STEWART: Well, David, you are right, you don't understand Virginia.
In my Republican primary, I was out fund-raised 5-1. I was down in the polls by 20 percent and came within one point of knocking off Ed Gillespie. A lot of those same supporters who came out to vote for me who supported the president, they stayed home yesterday because we ran an establishment Republican candidate who had no message, who was weak, who was saying the same stuff that Republicans have been saying for 35 years.
And it doesn't work anymore. You must embrace President Trump, the new populist Republican Party. That is the way forward. That's the way to win.
BALDWIN: Hang on. Hang on.
Corey, I want to stay with you on the Ed Gillespie note. We read the president's tweet, all the way from Asia, right, where he maybe even predictably dissed Ed Gillespie, right, in this tweet.
But what was interesting to me, Corey, was that the use of the word me, right? He said, Trump said, Ed Gillespie didn't embrace me. He didn't say us. He didn't say we the Republican Party, but me.
STEWART: Well, the president is the figurehead of the new populist Republican Party that is working out and reaching out to working-class Americans, something establishment Republicans never did.
That's why the president won in states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. And that's what we have to do as Republicans, get outside of our shell, talk directly to the people, and address working-class issues. That's why he won. That's why I nearly upset Ed Gillespie.
BALDWIN: Hang on. Just going with your line of thought, if the president is the figurehead and the me in the tweet, then how is it that he is -- that this was not a referendum on the president, this election last night? How does he not get any of the blame? STEWART: Because the guy who lost last night, Ed Gillespie, did not
embrace the president. He wouldn't even respond to the president's request to go and help him.
He was never seen on stage with the president. He wouldn't even mention his name. He wouldn't retweet the support that he was getting from the president. And everybody knew that. All the president's supporters saw that.
The Republican base saw that he was distancing himself from Trump. They were upset by that, bewildered by that and offended by that and so they stayed home.
JOLLY: So, if I can jump in here, Brooke, because...
JOLLY: ... this is even a bigger question for the Republican Party.
STEWART: And, Corey, I will give you everything you just said. I disagree with you, but I will give it to you.
But perhaps Ed Gillespie and other Republicans don't embrace Donald Trump because they think he's actually wrong for the country, because he's embraced this form of white nationalism, because he has a tax policy that does not benefit the working-class, because he has a certain xenophobia in foreign policy and this great volatility on the world stage, because he has a health care that actually reduces access to health care.
Perhaps Ed Gillespie did it not for the politics, but for the principle of it. And so where we're going right now with the Republican Party is where we went four, six years ago, with very dangerous Senate candidates, where we saw Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle and Todd Akin, that frankly tried to embrace this momentum on the right that could never create a governing majority.
STEWART: David, are you sure you are a Republican? Look...
JOLLY: You know what? I'm an honest one. I'm an honest Republican, Corey.
STEWART: OK. All right.
BALDWIN: Quickly, Corey, last couple thoughts.
STEWART: If you are that honest, you probably ought to join the Democratic Party, because you're not -- your view of this race is completely at odds with what happened on the ground.
People wanted a candidate who was going to fight for conservative values, somebody who was going to fight for the president's agenda. Ed Gillespie distanced himself from it, to his detriment, and that's why he got pounded. BALDWIN: OK. These are two Republicans.
And we see how different you two are apart on last night.
David Jolly and Corey Stewart, thank you both so much for both of your perspectives.
The significance of these results certainly not lost on the House speaker, Paul Ryan, especially when it comes to the future of the Republicans' most pressing issue, overhauling the nation's tax system.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It doesn't change my reading of the current moment. It just emphasizes my reading of the current moment, which is we have a promise to keep, and we have got to get on with keeping our promise.
And one of the chief promises we made when we ran for office, all of us, whether it's the president or Congress, in 2016 was that we would do tax reform and tax cuts for families, for people. And so we have to get on with doing that. If anything, this just puts more pressure on making sure we follow through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Well, that pressure is escalating this afternoon, because the Congressional Budget Office, the CBO, just came back with their cost estimate for this Republican bill.
We are learning that the current plan would add $1.7 trillion to the deficit.
CNN congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly is here with me live from Capitol Hill.
And, Phil Mattingly, what are you hearing from the authors on the bill, how they solve this now? It's an issue of math.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no question about it.
And there's a couple of issues when it comes to math in terms of how this bill, in terms of the biggest issue of all, which is how do you get 216 Republicans to vote for it? That's the ultimate answer they want, whatever equation they have.
Look, you talk about the CBO score, Brooke, and here's why it's important. Because of the kind of convoluted budget process they're using to allow the Senate to pass this with just 51 Republicans, and they have a majority of 52 over there, they need to hit basically a top-line number of $1.5 trillion when it comes to their deficit target.
They are over that right now. That's potentially very problematic as this process moves along. I have talked to the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady. He made clear they feel like they will be able to get back down to that target, but they're going to have to make some hard trade-offs.
That's the issue here, revenue, how do you actually pay for these things that you are trying to cut? The corporate rate? The individual rate?
MATTINGLY: The other math issue here, Brooke, I think this is one we al really need to keep an eye on in the days ahead, is, who does this actually decrease taxes for?
Republicans have made a lot of very big, very bold promises about who will actually get the relief here. This is question I actually had for Chairman Brady.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: On average, across the board, there is a tax cut, no question about it.
But, also, in that same analysis, as soon as 2019, individuals making between $70,000 and $100,000, 11 percent of them would see a tax increase. Are you comfortable with that right now?
REP. KEVIN BRADY (R), TEXAS: Well, one thing Joint Tax made clear is that there's tax relief in every income bracket. And as we continue to work through the bill, as we continue to look at these provisions, at the end of the day, I'm confident we are going to have tax relief at every income tax level for many, many Americans.
MATTINGLY: But every income level isn't every American. There's kind of an understanding right now that people will see their taxes go up in some areas.
BRADY: Well, I have to tell you this. I think every American will be better off. Here's why, because that measures the wages and the taxes of it. What we are trying to focus on are paychecks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: So, Brooke, obviously, Congressman Brady being very careful with his words there.
Some of his more senior members last week when they released this bill saying everyone was getting a tax cut, everyone is getting tax relief. That's not what Kevin Brady is saying, because Kevin Brady knows because the bill.
The selling point that Brady and GOP leaders have right now is broadly this will help people and economically there will be major benefits. Whether or not that sale actually works will determine or not whether this bill passes or fails -- Brooke. BALDWIN: Phil Mattingly, thank you so much up on the Hill for us.
Coming up next here: After months of tough of tough talk toward China, today, all eyes on President Trump's visit to Beijing and the Forbidden City, the high-stakes diplomacy.
A potential side issue, though, these three college basketball players from UCLA, they have been arrested, accused of shoplifting. Will President Trump need to intervene over in China?
And breaking news this afternoon, actor Kevin Spacey now under criminal investigation for alleged sexual assault, a mother going public today saying what she says Spacey did to her son last year in Nantucket.
And moments from now, the vice president, Mike Pence, will be arriving in Sutherland Springs, Texas, to meet with the survivors and the victims' families from Sunday's church massacre. Stay here.
BALDWIN: We are back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me here.
Let's get straight to the president of the United States issuing a blunt warning to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, telling the North not to underestimate the power of the U.S., saying -- quote -- "Don't try us."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also have come here to this peninsula to deliver a message directly to the leader of the North Korean dictatorship.
The weapons you are acquiring are not making you safer. They are putting your regime in grave danger. Every step you take down this dark path increases the peril you face. North Korea is not the paradise your grandfather envisioned. It is a hell that no person deserves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: It was tough talk from President Trump, but he stopped short of articulating a new strategy for dealing with North Korea. The president, did, however, take the opportunity to mention his election victory and plug one of his golf courses.
But let's start on substance.
Gary Locke, former U.S. ambassador to China and a former Washington state governor, Mr. Ambassador, thank you so much for being with me.
GARY LOCKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Thank you, very much, Brooke.
BALDWIN: So what was your response to President Trump's speech? Was it tough enough?
LOCKE: Well, I think he was stating the obvious. And given all the other statements and even harsher language that he's used and saber- rattling speeches that he's given, it was somewhat more tempered, but stating the very obvious, that North Korea cannot continue this path of developing a nuclear weapon and a ballistic missile system that would be capable of delivering those nuclear weapons to the heartland of America.
So it was something that he had to say.
BALDWIN: We know that, speaking of North Korea, he's moved onto China, where we know that that will come up, right, but he has received this honor in the meantime not granted to any U.S. president, any foreign leader since the founding of the People's Republic of China.
He's been given this official dinner or been offered this official dinner inside the Forbidden City. Why, Ambassador Locke, do you think President Xi did this?
LOCKE: Well, President Xi is just coming off a recent almost coronation of his own. He has more power and more stature than any other Chinese leader since Chairman Mao.
And he's really feeling the height of his popularity and his power, not just within China, but also globally. China is making incredible inroads all around the world, with economic aid, humanitarian assistance, really developing a lot of friends throughout the world, and coming into the influence of the Chinese government.
So, he's in a very high position, a very powerful position right now, and he wants to have a special relationship with the United States, on par with the United States. So he's rolling out the red carpet, the incredible red carpet treatment for President Trump.
BALDWIN: To woo him.
All while this is happening, Mr. Ambassador, you have these three UCLA basketball players who have been in China. They are in big, big trouble for allegedly shoplifting some sunglasses out of this Louis Vuitton store in China.
And the deal is, they are not allowed to leave the hotel where they are until this whole legal process plays out. Who knows if that takes days, weeks, months. Do you, sir, think that there is a possibility that President Trump steps in? He's there. Does he intervene in some way?
LOCKE: Well, it's not necessary that the president personally intervene. I know that the State Department is working on it. And many other people that are part of the president's delegation are very concerned about it, along with the embassy.
And I think they will try to use this opportunity, in which the Chinese are showering the administration with all this goodwill and banquets and picking operas and everything else, use this as an opportunity for China to show how gracious it is and how willing they're to be in terms of accommodating the United States and hope that this will be resolved very, very quickly, favorably to these three basketball players, because they do not want to be part of the legal system or the prison system, very, very harsh treatment under Chinese law.
And it would be best if, given the president's visit, that, as a gesture of good will, the Chinese release these basketball players and allow them to return immediately to the United States.
BALDWIN: Let me come back, and end where we began with this speech in Seoul, and President Trump taking a moment during this entire speech, right, where he's talking tough on North Korea, toward the end, he takes a moment to talk about Korean golfers, and all the while plugging his own golf course. Here he was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The women's U.S. Open was held this year at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
TRUMP: And the top four golfers, one, two, three, four, the top four, were from Korea. Congratulations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: We should point out you can hear the applause, right?
And it played well in the room, Ambassador Locke. But, again, plugging Bedminster, standing there speaking to the National Assembly in Seoul raises all kinds of questions, just even of -- just about ethical boundaries. You know, what do you make of that?
LOCKE: Well, that's President Trump. He's breaking all kind of rules of protocol and propriety and decorum, and that's unfortunate.
Golf is very, very popular in South Korea. And, obviously, the women's golfers from South Korea have dominated the LPGA Tour, incredible golfers. And so I think the members of the Parliament or the Assembly were responding to the fact that the president was complimenting the great female golfers from South Korea.
But it wasn't really necessary to promote his own golf course. He doesn't need to do that. And in some ways, it kind of lessens the stature of the presidency of the United States of America.
BALDWIN: I couldn't believe how many golf courses there were in Korea, even as close to the DMZ, as I saw with my own eyes just a couple weeks ago.
Ambassador Locke, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.
LOCKE: My pleasure.
BALDWIN: Coming up next: shocking new allegations of sexual assault against Kevin Spacey, a former TV anchor someone coming forward to detail what she says the actor did to her son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEATHER UNRUH, MOTHER OF ALLEGED VICTIM: Kevin Spacey brought him drink after drink after drink. And when my son was drunk, Spacey made his move.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Breaking news now in CNN, new allegations against Oscar- winning actor Kevin Spacey.
A Boston mother, former TV anchor, stepped forward today to publicly accuse Kevin Spacey of sexually assaulting her then 18-year-old son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNRUH: In July 2016, actor Kevin Spacey sexually assaulted my son.
It happened late night inside the Club Car Restaurant and Bar on Nantucket Island.
The victim, my son, was a star-struck straight 18-year-old young man. Kevin Spacey bought him drink after drink after drink. And when my son was drunk, Spacey made his move. Spacey stuck his hand inside my son's pants and grabbed his genitals.
This was completely unexpected. And my son's efforts to shift his body to remove Spacey's hand were only momentarily successful. The violation continued.
My son panicked. He froze. He was intoxicated. And Kevin Spacey was insisting that he come with him to a private after-hours party to drink even more.
Fortunately, Kevin Spacey left briefly to use the bathroom. And when he was out of sight, a concerned woman quickly came to my very shaken son's side and asked if he was OK. Obviously, she had seen something, and she knew that he was not.
She told him to run. And he did.
Nothing could have prepared my son for how that sexual assault would make him feel as a man. It harmed him. And it cannot be undone. To Kevin Spacey, I want to say this. Shame on you for what you did to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That is incredibly powerful.
Chloe Melas, our CNN entertainment reporter, has broken the story wide open.
So, hearing -- it's one --