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New GOP Problem: Alabama's Senate Candidate; Will President Trump Meet President Putin?; CNN: Trump Aide Miller Interviewed by Mueller; Tense Showdown Expected Over Tax Policy. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 10, 2017 - 04:30   ET




[04:30:17] ROY MOORE (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: You know, before we can make America great again, we've got to make America good again.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: An explosive "Washington Post" report accusing Senate candidate Roy Moore of engaging in sexual conduct with a 14-year-old. President Trump and Republican lawmakers calling on Moore to step down if the allegations are true.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we are no longer enemies. We are friends. And this port city is bustling with ships from all around the world.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump in Vietnam this morning, along with Vladimir Putin. But will the two leaders meet face-to- face? Well, the Kremlin says yes.

It should be interesting to find out if that happens. And if it happens, what does that suggest?

KOSIK: Conflicting views on that.

BRIGGS: Yes. Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. It's 30 minutes past the hour.

And Republicans this morning trying to figure out what to do about their sudden Roy Moore problem. The Alabama Senate candidate accused in a stunning "Washington Post" report of sexual conduct with an underage girl.

A parade of leading Republicans echoing President Trump, calling for Moore to drop out if the special election if the accusations are true. Among them, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, one of just five Republican senators to endorse Moore. He said in a statement: These are serious and troubling allegations if they are true, Judge Moore should immediately withdraw.

BRIGGS: Alabama secretary of state says Moore can withdraw, but it is simply too late to replace him on the December 12th special election ballot, apart from a write-in candidacy.

Moore's predicament may increase the chances a Democrat could actually win a Senate seat in deep red Alabama, and potentially put the Senate within reach for Democrats in 2018.

KOSIK: Moore has made a career of courting controversy. He was twice suspended as Alabama chief justice for defying federal court orders. He's no friend of the GOP establishment, having beat its preferred candidate, Senator Luther Strange, in a September runoff.

BRIGGS: But some Republicans are coming to Moore's defense. Alabama state auditor Jim Ziegler told "The Washington Examiner", quote: Take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There's nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.

KOSIK: And then there's former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, comparing the claim of sexual misconduct with themes to the shocking "Access Hollywood" tape released during the 2016 election. Listen to this.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: But it's interesting. The Bezos, Amazon, "Washington Post" that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos, Amazon, "Washington Post" that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore. Now, is that is that a coincidence? That's what I mean when I say opposition party.


KOSIK: For more on exactly what Moore is accused of, let's turn to Alex Marquardt. He's in Gadsden, Alabama.



Well, these are explosive allegations coming just weeks before an already highly dramatic special race to replace Jeff Sessions in the Senate. These allegations centering around a young Judge Moore back when he was an assistant district attorney here at the court house in Gadsden, between 1979 and 1981. Four different women have spoken to "The Washington Post", alleging that he tried to sexually contact them or in fact did have sexual contact with them.

The most serious allegations coming from Leigh Corfman, a woman who is now in her 50s, but at the time was just 14 years old. She met a young Judge Roy Moore here at the courthouse with her mother, who was attending a child custody hearing. He exchanged numbers with Corfman and twice, she says, picked her up and took her back to his house. The second time she alleges, to "The Washington Post," he undressed her, touched her over her underwear and guided her hand towards his genitals.

There are also three other allegations from women who at the time range from 16 to 18 years old. They say that he either dated them or tried to date them and kissed at least two of them.

Now, these, of course, could be potentially very harmful allegation for a man, for a candidate who has centered his life, centered his candidacy on his morals and Christian values.

Now, Moore came out swinging, slamming "The Washington Post" report in a series of tweets.

[04:35:04] The first of which read: The Obama Clinton machine's liberal media lap dogs just launched the most vicious and nasty round of attacks against me I've ever faced. We are in the midst of a spiritual battle with those who want to silent our message -- Alison, Dave.


KOSIK: All right, Alex. Thanks very much.

And while you were sleeping, two world leaders touching down in Vietnam. President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin there for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. And the big question hanging over this, will they meet?

It could happen on the summit's sidelines today or tomorrow or never. A top Russian aide says a sit-down will happen today. But White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says no formal meeting is planned at summit, though the leaders might still bump into each other.

BRIGGS: Any meeting between Trump and Putin comes amid multiple investigations into Russian election meddling, not to mention indictments against Trump campaign officials, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. The president also facing criticism for missing a deadline on enforcing sanctions against Russia for cyber meddling.

KOSIK: The first meeting between Trump and Putin in July, the G20 Summit, caused a diplomatic furor. Russia said President Trump accepted Putin's assurance his country did not meddle in the 2016 election. The U.S. firmly denied that. This time, the White House hopes to keep the focus off the president's trip to Vietnam squarely on business trade and security.

For the latest let's go live to CNN's Jeff Zeleny in Da Nang, Vietnam.

Good morning to you.

So, you know, the president wants to focus on trade, but it looks like the focus is really turning on whether or not this meeting between Putin and Trump will happen. JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning,


There is a bit of confusion here, quite frankly between the White House and the Kremlin, all over whether a formal sit-down meeting between these two leaders will happen. The White House has been planning or in negotiations for several days here about a meeting. In fact, a week ago today when the president left Washington and was flying aboard Air Force One, he told reporters that he anticipated meeting with President Putin and just yesterday, in Beijing, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, you know, it was very possible a formal meeting would happen, but he wanted it to be one of substance, to talk about Syria and the Middle East.

The there's no question in my mind that the Russian cloud hanging over this administration and all of Washington is involved in this confusion over whether there will or will not be a meeting. So, we will stay tuned to see if they bump into each other. But the White House says there will not be a formal meeting scheduled.

Now, all that said, the president did have a speech just a short time ago here at the economic summit and he was again, talking about trade and the America first agenda he campaigned on.


TRUMP: We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore. I am always going to put America first, the same way that I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first.


ZELENY: So, the question here is how does the president actually get action on trade. So we'll see as the meetings go along here.

And, Dave and Alison, we'll let you know what develops as the morning goes on between that potential meeting with Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.

KOSIK: And we will be at the edge of our seats. Jeff Zeleny, live for us from Vietnam, thanks so much.

BRIGGS: All right. Now to new developments in the Russia investigation. Sources telling CNN that special counsel Robert Mueller has interviewed top Trump aide Stephen Miller. This is a first sign that Mueller's Russia probe has entered President Trump's inner circle.

KOSIK: CNN has also learned that Mr. Trump's former security chief Keith Schiller told House investigators this week that he rejected a Russian offer to send five women to then-businessman Trump's hotel room during a 2013 trip to Moscow.

We get more now from CNN's Pamela Brown.


We have learned that Steve Miller is now the highest level aide to President Trump, known to be interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigators. And Miller is the White House senior policy adviser and he's been close to Mr. Trump since the early days of the campaign up until now. And sources told us that one of the topics investigators were interested in was his role in the president' decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey.

We know from sources that the Comey firing is part of the investigation into possible obstruction of justice. Now, part of the broader Russian investigation, special counsel investigators have also shown interest in talking to Trump campaign associates who attended a March 2016 meeting where foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos said he could arrange a meeting between Trump and the Russian President Vladimir Putin. So, all of that was part of the focus during the interview with Stephen Miller, we're told.

And meantime, we have learned that according to testimony from President Trump's long time body man and associate, Keith Schiller, he told House investigators this week that when President Trump went to Moscow in 2013 as a private citizen, a Russian came up to Mr. Schiller and said he could send up to five women to Trump's hotel room that night.

[04:40:10] Schiller testified that he took it as a joke. He rejected the offer and that Trump laughed it off as he was on his way up to his room, his hotel room.

Schiller left the room and said he didn't know what happened after that. And he also said he didn't know who the Russian was who made the offer but said it was someone in the group that was with Emin Agalarov, who was at a meeting with Trump. The Agalarovs, the Russian pop star whose father is a Russian billionaire who's close to Putin, they were behind the meeting allegedly, that 2016 meeting at Trump Tower where Russians promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. A lawyer for Emin Agalarov says that his client has no knowledge of the offer -- Alison and Dave.


BRIGGS: Pamela, thanks.

Meanwhile, Melania Trump speaking about her role. She stayed behind in China while the president traveled on to Vietnam.

CNN's Kate Bennett spoke to Mrs. Trump exclusively at the Great Wall.


KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: How are you feeling one year into this role as first lady? How has it been for you? Has it been what you expected? MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: It's my honor to be a first lady of the United States, and it was very busy year. And we love to live in Washington. We have very busy life, and it's exciting as well. And I'm looking forward to work on behalf of the children.

BENNETT: Great. And any frustrations or anything that has been unexpected or surprising for you?

TRUMP: It's very exciting life. And it's a lot of things that you need to take care of, or a lot of responsibilities, and it's part of being a first lady.


KOSIK: You know, it's amazing to hear from her when she's going so low in China on her own. It's funny how she'll go and speak out. It's nice to hear from the first lady.

BRIGGS: That's a punt on the frustration question, though.

Later today, the first lady will make her way back to the U.S., stopping in Alaska in an air force base to attend an event for military families.

KOSIK: OK. Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte is the latest Republican House member to call it quits. The Judiciary Committee chairman announcing he will not run for reelection next year after 13 terms in Congress. His departure adds to a growing list of more than two dozen Republican House members who are retiring or seeking another office.

Andy Parker, father of the reporter who was shot and killed on live TV two years ago, says he's considering a run for Goodlatte's house seat. Parker will be a guest on this morning on "NEW DAY", but his district is reliably red. So, maybe the thinking they'll be able to hold on to the seat.

BRIGGS: It's hard to know what rule to believe with this environment.

KOSIK: Yes, I hear you.

BRIGGS: Up is down, down is up. It should be a good "NEW DAY".

Meanwhile, House and Senate Republicans unveiled dueling tax plans Thursday and House Speaker Paul Ryan vowing Congress will get this key legislation passed.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We're doing this the right way. We're doing this regular order way. It takes time but trust me, we're going to get this over the finish line.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:47:21] KOSIK: A tense showdown over tax policy expected in the coming weeks now that Senate Republicans have unveiled their plan for overhauling the tax code. The measures significantly different from the House version.

We get the latest now from CNN's Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alison and Dave, for decades, just the opportunity to move a systemic tax overhaul through a committee process seemed to be an anathema, something that nobody could figure out a way to do, the lobbyist, the individual constituencies, it was extremely difficult.

Well, House Republicans on Thursday accomplished that. A major step forward for their effort to actually get a tax reform plan passed. However, if you wanted to know how big -- kind of long pathway they have going forward, well, just take a look at the Senate Republican bill which was introduced about 30 minutes before the House actually moved the bill through a committee.

Major differences throughout the bill. Take the corporate rate. The House immediately putting in a 15 percent cut, from 35 percent down to 20 percent. That was a key component that the president is very supportive of. The Senate, they're going to phase that in.

The individual rates, House only has four, Senate has seven. House's top rate is 39.6. Senate's top rate is 38.6 percent.

Across the board, there are very, very different items inside the individual proposals, proposals that at some point are going to have to be reconciled to move forward. That could be a major problem.

However, GOP leaders say don't worry about it. Take a listen to Speaker Paul Ryan.

RYAN: But the House will pass its bill. The Senate will pass its bill, and then we will get together and reconcile the differences, which is a legislative process, and that's how this process will continue.

MATTINGLY: Now, guys, just to lay out the path forward here. The House is expected to take up the bill on the House floor next week. The Senate will be marking up their bill in committee next week. The week after Thanksgiving, the Senate wants to move their bill to the Senate floor. After that, they will try to reconcile by Christmas as the president has made very clear he wants done. We'll see how they end up. We can get immediate answers as soon as next week -- Alison and Dave.


BRIGGS: All right. Some clarity there from Phil Mattingly.

Meanwhile, a juror dismissed from the corruption trial for New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez says she believes the trial will end up with a hung jury. Juror number eight, Evelyn Arroya-Maultsby had long standing vacation plans that the judge had agreed to honor and she says she was dead set against convicting Menendez and his co-defendant Dr. Salomon Melgen. Listen.


EVELYN ARROYA-MAULTSBY, DISMISSSED JUROR: I told them they weren't going to change my mind. And there was no reason for them to try to change my mind. I already was in the courtroom for nine weeks and those nine weeks, they presented everything they had to present. I didn't fall asleep. I paid attention and I wrote my notes. So, what I saw in the courtroom was that he was not guilty of all counts and so was Dr. Melgen.

[04:50:02] They are friends.


BRIGGS: Menendez, a Democrat senator, accused of accepting lavish gifts from Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist, in exchange for political favors. So far, the jury has deliberated for 16 hours, they will resume Monday with an alternate juror in place.

KOSIK: The neighbor accused of attacking Kentucky Senator Rand Paul pleading not guilty to misdemeanor assault. Police say Rene Boucher tackled Paul who suffered six broken ribs and bruised lungs.

A possible motive for the attack though? It really remains a mystery. Initial reports suggest that the neighbors had some sort of property dispute but the senator's senior advisor now says that the Pauls have had, quote, no conversations with the suspect in many years. Hmm.

BRIGGS: Yes, hmm is right. I've seen tensions really brew over landscaping, to a shocking level. But not to the broken rib level.

KOSIK: Inquiring minds want to know what's going on there. Conspiracy theorists, here we go.

BRIGGS: All right.

KOSIK: All right. Economic adviser Gary Cohn says every CEO was excited about corporate tax cuts, but one business leader is slamming the plan. We're going to tell you who on CNN "Money Stream", next.


KOSIK: Oh, yes, an early taste of winter for the East Coast begins today. Yee-haw.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the weekend forecast.

Good morning.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good Friday morning, Dave and Alison.

What a difference a day makes. This will be a big wake-up call for many across the East Coast as temperatures plummet nearly 20 degrees from yesterday's daytime highs to today's. Check this out.

Louisville, yesterday topped 60. Today's forecast high 40 degrees. More of the same for New York City. Nearly 20 degrees separating your temperatures. Detroit, 50 yesterday, 30 degrees for the afternoon.

So, chilly air settling in from the Midwest all the way to the New England coastline. It's all thanks to a series of cold fronts that continue to move in. It's the secondary cold front that's dropping to the Great Lakes has produced some lake-enhanced snowfall for upstate Michigan. That is actually going to press eastward and then by Saturday morning, we have the potential to break over two dozen record low temperatures to the east.

Look out for the chilly temperatures to last right through about Sunday, but then we get some moderation and day time highs as we head into Monday and Tuesday back to just about normal. But a few degrees still below where we should be this time of year. Normal daytime high in the Big Apple, 56. You'll see Saturday's temperature of 39, Sunday, 48 degrees.

Now, as this cold front presses eastward, we start to turn off the snow machine across the Great Lakes. So, the flakes will come to an end and clear things out and bring back sunshine across much of the Midwest.

Back to you.


KOSIK: OK, Derek, thanks very much.

And let's get a check on CNN "Money Stream" this morning.

Doubts over U.S. tax reform is rocking markets. Global stocks and U.S. futures are lower. And on Wall Street, we watched the Dow fall more than 100 points yesterday to end a five-day record streak. The House and Senate introduce the competing tax plans and investors are worried about how tax reform is going to wind up shaking out, particularly that the Senate plans to delay corporate tax cuts to 2019. That isn't making Wall Street feel to certain.

Uber plans to go public in 2019. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi confirmed the target date yesterday. This move is a huge department from his predecessor, former CEO Travis Kalanick. He tried to put off an idea as long as possible. Uber is currently valued at $70 billion makes it the most highly valued start-up in the world.

Economic adviser Gary Cohn said every CEO is excited about corporate tax cuts but one business leader, he's not cheering. Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz slamming the GOP tax plan. He calls it fool's gold, explaining that it's too heavily skewed toward cuts, instead of much needed reform, and that corporate America does not need the proposed corporate tax cut from 35 percent to 20 percent.

Schultz, a well known Democrat, stepped down as a Starbucks CEO this year. Many speculate he could be considering a run for office. You know, he's got a point. You look at what corporate America does, there are a lot of loopholes and their effective tax rate is much lower than you believe.

BRIGGS: Right, but just the swaying opinion. It was Barack Obama who wanted to lower the corporate tax rate. It was once Nancy Pelosi that wanted to lower the corporate tax rate. And now, they're all seemingly against it?


BRIGGS: Look, I mean --

KOSIK: Well, now, that everybody's talking about it.

BRIGGS: There was once universal agreement that the corporate tax rate was too high. But now, it's a political football.

KOSIK: Absolutely. Now, it's being talked about in the package of tax reform as well.

BRIGGS: Yes, he says, Schultz that he's not running for public office but it doesn't always sound that way.

KOSIK: We shall see.

BRIGGS: EARLY START continues right now with these damning allegations against Roy Moore.



MOORE: You know, before we can make America great again, we've got to make America good again.


KOSIK: An explosive "Washington Post" report accusing Senate candidate Roy Moore of engaging in sexual conduct with a 14-year-old. President Trump and Republican lawmakers, they are calling on Moore to step down, if the allegations are true.


TRUMP: Today, we are no longer enemies. We are friends. And this port city is bustling with ships from all around the world.


BRIGGS: President Trump in Vietnam this morning, along with Vladimir Putin. Will the two leaders meet face-to-face?