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Wash Post: Two More Women Describe Unwanted Overtures By Roy Moore At Alabama Mall; Moore Campaign Demands Analysis Of Signature In Accuser's Yearbook; Lawmakers Push For Tougher Sexual Harassment Policy On Capitol Hill; Pres. Trump Tweets "Tax Cuts Are Getting Close"; Pres. Trump Claims "America Is Back" Post-Asia Trip. Aired 9- 10p ET

Aired November 15, 2017 - 21:00   ET



[21:00:15] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Roy Moore tops the hour, though, probably not in a way that makes the White House or Republican Party especially comfortable, his attorney speaking out today, attacking one of the accusers even as two new ones come forward. Both worked at the mall in Gadsden, Alabama where Moore, according to one store employee we talked to was, on a sort of watch list for pursuing teen girls. These two describe encounters from 1977 to 1982.

In the last hour, I spoke by phone with one of "The Washington Post" correspondents who just broke the story, Beth Reinhard.


BETH REINHARD, THE WASHINGTON POST (via telephone): Some women have been encouraged to come forward. And one of them we wrote about in a story posting tonight a woman named Gina Richardson, who was a high school senior working at the mall at Ssears when Roy Moore approached her, asked her for her number. She declined. She then, was in the school a couple days later in trig (ph) class when she heard she got a call. She thought, oh my goodness, is it my dad? You know, she went to the office and it turned out to be Roy Moore asking her out on a date.

COOPER: She -- and so, what age was she at? She was a senior in high school or something?

REINHARD: Yes. She was 17 or 18.

COOPER: And do you know what happened? I mean, Roy Moore actually called her through the school, she's saying.

REINHARD: He definitely called her at school. She said, I can't talk now, I'm in trig class.

So he came back to see where she worked and asked her out again. She relented. She met him at night at the movies. And they went to movie. And then, he offered to drive her to her car which was sort of on the other side of the mall parking lot. And sort of, you know, he grabbed and kissed her. That was the point she got, you know, kind of nervous, and she said, I really need to go, and left.

And then, when he would come back into the mall, she would sort of hide from him. And this was at a time in the late 70s or early 80s he was gaining his reputation around the mall. We talked to a number of women around the mall who back then, were asked out by him. Some declines, some did go out on dates with him. But they say he was a constant presence at the mall and, you know, he was constantly going after girls who were teenagers or in some cases, early 20s.


COOPER: Again, this is "The Washington Post" reporting tonight but it dovetails with the account of someone who worked at the time at a music store in the mall. He spoke yesterday with our Gary Tuchman.


GREG LEGAT, FORMER MALL EMPLOYEE: And we talked about other people and then somebody said, and don't forget about Roy Moore. And I asked what about Roy Moore? They said, well, he's banned from the mall. I said why is he banned? And the police officer wouldn't tell me, and he said, if you see him, let me know. I'll take care of it.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): So, what did you eventually learn as to the reason why he was banned from the mall?

LEGAT: I was told that he was bothering girls in the mall.

TUCHMAN: In what way?

LEGAT: I don't know exactly, but he was approaching them and talking to them.

TUCHMAN: And girls, when you're say girls --

LEGAT: Teenage girls.

TUCHMAN: And did you ever see him in the mall?

LEGAT: I think I saw him walk by the front of the store once. I told my manager. My manager said, I'll call J.D., and that's all I've ever heard of.

TUCHMAN: And J.D. is the police officer?

LEGAT: And in 85', before I left, Roy came in one day with his wife, and bought records and left and nobody said anything about it.

TUCHMAN: Did you report it?


TUCHMAN: How come you didn't report it then? LEGAT: Everybody was like, well, this is fine, so I said, OK. I don't know anything about any behavior towards any women. All I know is my experience in the mall with him at that time, and that's the truth. I don't have an axe to grind against Roy Moore. I just -- you asked me, I told you.


COOPER: Well, all this is happening on the day that -- we saw Roy Moore's attorney go raising questions about one of his accusers. The accuser's attorney is responding. President Trump did not say anything when asked questions about it after he spoke on television earlier today.

We begin with CNN, Kyung Lah in Birmingham, Alabama. So, I understand Judge Moore just tweeted about all of this. What did he say?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's an indication of where his campaign is headed, what path he's going to take and it is certainly going to be to try to pit Alabama against Washington, D.C.

Take a look at this tweet that came out just a few minutes ago, Anderson. It is terse, it is clear, and it say, "Dear Mitch McConnell, Bring. It. On." That Anderson is an issue that works and resonates and rule Alabama where he spent a good bit of time talking to those voters, those voters who are certain to turn out for Moore. Anderson.

[21:05:09] COOPER: So, let's talk about this press conference today with Moore's attorney. You know, if anyone expected it to be some sort of announcement about stepping back or, you know, stepping out of the race, that's certainly not what happened?

LAH: Yes, absolutely not, could be further from the truth. If you thought we're going to get something substantive, it actually ended up being about handwriting.

The attorney for Moore coming out and saying that he wants the public to decide, he wants an analysis of a handwriting in the yearbook that Roy Moore supposedly signed according to his accuser versus what his handwriting looks like. OK. So, here they are.

To your top left, that is from this year, him signing as a candidate. To your top right, that is in 1999 when the judge signed divorce papers for the accuser. And in 1977, the yearbook, the yearbook that he signed. It was Beverly Nelson's yearbook. And you can see there, you can make your own decision. But if you talk to the people shortly after this news conference, we did talk to at least one voter. And he said, it's just making things awfully complicated for him.

COOPER: The attorney for one of Moore's victim or alleged victims, I should say, Gloria Allred, responded to Moore's attorney late today essentially saying she is not going to give up this yearbook to be examined for handwriting unless what, the Senate try this?

LAH: Unless the Senate convenes a committee hearing and the judge testifies under oath. So, you know, earlier we were talking about the Judge Moore tweet, "Bring. It. On", essentially, Gloria Allred is saying the exact same thing to the judge, bring it on. She wants a Senate hearing. That's the only way she's going to hand over this yearbook, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Kyung Lah, thanks very much.

President Trump was asked about Moore today. Here is to that one.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Roy Moore resign, Mr. President? Do you believe his accusers? Do you believe the accusers --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- should he resign?


COOPER: No answer to those shouted questions. Joining us now with reporting on a possible of reason why, CNNs Boris Sanchez. Do we have any understanding about the president's lack of a statement on this matter?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a Republican source close to the White House tells CNN that the president's silence on the issue of the allegations against Roy Moore goes back to his own previous controversies to allegations that the president, himself, in years past took part in sexual misconduct.

According to the source, the president is apprehensive about getting dragged into a conversation about his own past accusers, specifically the source telling us that the president believes that those accusers were unfair to him and suggest that the president believes that at least some of the accusers charging that Roy Moore was improper around them, are treating the Senate candidate unfairly.

The president has had multiple opportunities to answer from reporters, not only in that clip that you played but also last night when he arrived from his 12 day trip to Asia.

We should also mention on his preferred mode of communication, the president has tweeted today about CNN, about The New York Times, about those UCLA basketball players that were detained in China. But when it comes to Roy Moore, Anderson, mum is the word.

COOPER: And what do Republican leaders believe the president should do about all this?

SANCHEZ: Well, Republican lawmakers told CNN that they want him to say something to push him away from the Republican brand. Sources have told us that the president has actually had meetings with advisers to discuss this. One of those meetings included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to figure out how they might prevent Roy Moore from getting into the Senate. And they explored different scenarios, one of them including potentially having Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a write-in candidate. This whole special election is taking place because Sessions left that seat to go to the Department of Justice. That scenario has been described by sources at the White House as far- fetched.

Several sources, though, have told CNN that the president is fed up with the Roy Moore situation, that he would prefer to have him drop out of the race, but clearly, that's not something that the president is saying publicly at this point. Anderson.

COOPER: Right. Boris Sanchez, I appreciate that. I want to bring in the panel, Gloria Borger, Scott Jennings, Michael Caputo, Amanda Carpenter, Symone Sanders, and Josh Green.

Scott, I want to start with you. Last night, we talked about various options. What do you hearing from people you talked to Capitol Hill?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I'm hearing that they've gone through this for the last 24 hours. And it feels like all of these crazy ideas about write-in candidacies and imaginations to put Sessions out there are dying or already dead. It also feels like that there is movement afoot on something we discussed here last night, which is the concept of Luther Strange who currently occupies the office resigning, creating a vacancy, and then having the governor of Alabama, Kaye Ivy appoint a new senator. It could be Sessions. It could someone else. But that would reset the process.

[21:10:08] Some people were tweeting about that today that appears to be under research at the highest levels of the Republican Party.

I'm also hearing from people in the White House that there is enormous frustration on behalf of the president and his senior staff because they believe this Roy Moore thing is embarrassing to the party, but they also believe there are really no good options. And that frankly, he may not even be able to get the Alabama Republican apparatus to bend to his will anyway because it's not like it used to be, you know. Local control the parties. Now, seems to Trump what the national structure wants.

And so, there's a lot of frustration in Washington. I think all the options is really to get this done or dead, accept for this idea of a resignation by Strange which could of course, reset the elections.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, but I think if Donald Trump were to come out, had he done something today? Had he come out and he say -- as I think he should have, come out and say, you know, I think he needs to step aside then he would have some power. I don't think anybody else in Washington has any authority. I think you're 100 percent right.

But I think Donald Trump would have been able to talk to the people in the state and say, I think you don't want this hanging over your head, and I think he ought to step aside. Now, obviously, Donald Trump didn't want to bring up "Access Hollywood" and everything else, and he's in a funny political position, I get that. But this is a bigger story than Donald Trump.

COOPER: But Michael, I mean, the president already weighed in with the people of Alabama about Luther Strange, they didn't vote the way, you know, he and the White House wanted them to. Does it, as a supporter of the president, does it make sense for the president to weigh in on this or no?

MICHAEL CAPUTO, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: Well, and while people talk about Donald Trump of being, as being, you know, impetuous and quick to react to things. In my experience, he's very deliberately, especially on things that really matter deeply to him. I think he's faced a very interesting situation where those of us who supported him for so many years believe he was falsely accused before the end of the election. So, he is in odd situation now as you said a moment ago.

COOPER: There is no good option for him?

CAPUTO: There is none. But here is what it is. As a Trump strong reporter, you know, from flyover country, I trust the president to do the right thing. I trust the president is already doing the right thing. And I think even though people wanted him to do it within 24 hours, he'll do it on his own time.

BORGER: And what is that do you think? What do you think he'll do?

CAPUTO: I think, in my opinion, I think the president will probably make communication with the judge early on. He may have done it already. And this thing just looks so embarrassing and so difficult for the Republican Party. But I think the president is going to have to do the right thing.

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't think there was a bigger misstep by the president earlier in the primary process where he did get behind Luther Strange because he's taking the advice of Mitch McConnell who dump $9 Million through his alliance super pack and sack (ph) race behind Luther Strange.

The consumer base was never behind Luther Strange. Donald Trump made a misstep there. So the fact that Alabama voters didn't listen to Trump, it was more about Mitch McConnell's endorsement and who Mitch McConnell was getting behind. The concern is really reuniting around Mo Brooks, the Alabama congressman.

Roy Moore was never the consensus choice, so I do think Donald Trump needs to take some responsibility for misreading that situation. And that also is why he is much hands-off now.

COOPER: What about benefactor?

JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The other problem Trump is going to have with Moore is Trump doesn't like to lose, and he was humiliated by what happened in that Alabama Center Primary. It happened publicly, it was an embarrassment, the fact that Steve Bannon have props up Roy Moore. It was additional embarrassment.

If you're Donald Trump, looking at how things are going to unfolds over the next two or three weeks, I don't think you can say with any certainty at all whether Moore is going to win or lose, if he stays in the race. So it's not clear what Trump would even want to do from a standpoint of I want come out of this looking good, looking like a winner.

SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Also people in the White House can not (INAUDIBLE). And Donald Trump is not going to -- look, if I was his vice president, we wouldn't be talking about this because any -- if he is going to bring it up, it's going to come right back to "Access Hollywood" and all of the women that have come out and accused the president of sexual harassment or being a sexual predator, if you will. And he disparaged those women. He literally talked about bringing lawsuits against them. And now, for Donald Trump to stand up as some moral beacon in this to say hey, we need to do what's right for Republican Party. I just don't see how that happening.

BORGER: It's already coming out, isn't it? I mean, the -- it's already being recycled. The women are saying what about us? Why aren't you listening or why didn't, you know, why didn't you listen to us? So I think Donald Trump gets it either way. But he is the leader of the country. He's also the leader of the Republican Party. And does the party want to be branded this way?

SANDERS: But they already elected -- I get so confused because Donald Trump talked about grabbing women by a word I'm not going to use on Anderson's program. He bragged about it on the tape and then came out and disparaged these women. And so, my memory is not that short and I don't think neither is the memory of the American people. He is an alleged -- fine, if you want to give him a benefit of the doubt, sexual predator, sitting in the White House.

SANDERS: So, I don't expect him to come on -- on some -- on top and this at all. I said, to speak from point of clarity --

[21:15:04] COOPER: What would be the harm of him not weighing in on this?

JENNINGS: Well, there's -- If he doesn't weight in on it there won't be any harm to the election process because it will just continue. And --

COOPER: But his agenda.

JENNINGS: But his agenda is in peril here. And we knew about some polling last night, we heard about it more today. The Republicans in Washington believe Moore is now down double digits.

I heard about some polling that was conducted just prior to these issues in which he had already seen his lead erode down to two points largely because Jones and the Democrats are outspending more into Republicans in Alabama.

And now with the NRC out and the RNC out and basically anybody who can help fundraising they're out. That spending disparity is going to get even worse. So, there's a lot of people who believe that he was already declining. This has made it worse. The financial disparity is going to get worse. And a Democrat, I mean, think about this. Steve Bannon may elect a Democrat to the reddest state in America --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- we give Steve Bannon too much credit.

COOPER: I'm sorry, Michael.

CAPUTO: You know, I -- the one thing I look at is someone who supports the president and supports Steve Bannon, for example. I think it's -- those of us who believe Juanita Broaddrick and believe Kathleen Willey, I was the one speaking very loudly in favor of inviting them to the debate in order to set the Clintons back on their heels at the time it was very important.

If we're inclined to believe Juanita Broaddrick and believe Kathleen Willey, those of us who are supportive of the president need to take a look at Judge Moore through that lens because if they're believable and so are these.

COPPER: We got to take a break. We're going to continue this discussion with the rest of the panel.

Ivanka Trump weighing in, we'll talk about what she has to say.

And later, the shocking disclosure about how much money, your taxpayer money has gone to settle sexual harassment claims and other claims in Congress and how many lawmakers right now are accused of misconduct.


[21:20:36] COOPER: Ivanka Trump, who has made women issues special part of her work in the White House, spoke out today about Roy Moore. Talking to Associate Press she said, "There's a special place in hell for people who prey on children." She added, "I've yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims accounts." That's two full sentences more than obviously what the president has said on the issue. Back now with the panel.

Is there -- What about Steve Bannon and all this? And I turn to Josh who's all things Steve Bannon.

GREEN: You know, there were published reports of the last couple of days that Bannon was wavering and having second thoughts and might be thinking about jumping back from Moore. You know, I checked around with some of my sources who said no, that's not true.

And if you look at what Roy Moore just tweeted, you know, Mitch McConnell, bring it on. I mean, that sounds as if it were ghost written by Bannon. So, every indication is that he's still standing four square behind Roy Moore.

BORGER: He is. I've spoken to a source who is familiar with what Steve Bannon is thinking. He's out of the country right now. It's not a really good time for him to be out of the country, but he is. And he is not backing down at all.

And, you know, what I want to know is has he talked to the president about this or will he talk to the president about this? And I don't know the answer because I think it would be a concern for Donald Trump since they are working together on a lot of other things and a lot of other issues. And he supports him in a lot of ways.

COOPER: The press conference today, did that help Moore? Because, I mean, you know, valid, I mean, if you believe in Roy Moore that you can say the attorney raised valid questions. You looked at those, you know, his explanation of the D.A after the signature. It's not something -- he said Roy Moore did. That's actually the initials of somebody who worked in the court who signed after his name on legal documents.

And mysteriously that D.A is actually signed up on the year book thing Roy according to attorney said, that's not something that he ever wrote. It was actually the assistant district attorney.

GREEN: I think the question of whether or not it helped him really depends on one person and that's Sean Hannity. It's odd as it feels to say that. It was often said that when people hold press conferences, they're doing it for an audience of one, Donald Trump.

I think in this case Moore was essentially trying to get reprieve from Sean Hannity in loose.

COOPER: Right. Sean Hannity said, you have basically 24 hours.

GREEN: He said you have 24 hours.

COOPER: Right.

GREEN: And Moore dutifully within that 24-hour window went out and not only gave the press conference but released the statement essentially laying out his argument for, you know, why these accusations are phony and why Hannity should support him.

I think, basically that's his way of doing damage control. And so the question of whether or not it helps him, I think, we'll find out, you know, I don't want --

COOPER: The flip side is that Gloria already do herself any favors by saying we'll, yes, we'll hand over the yearbook if --




COOPER: -- which is ludicrous.

JENNINGS: I think Moore gave some -- his people something to hang their hat on today which is one thing.


JENNINGS: But really, I think, hurt her client by calling for a Senate investigation of someone who's not yet in the United States Senate that was crazy.

Now, none of this press conference today addressed the original person, Leigh Corfman, 14 years old. Which to me is still the most troubling thing that's come out was the original "Washington Post" and they didn't -- they have not even attempted to deal with that at all.

And so, if you're trying to look at this objectively, should I believe him, should I believe the accusers? That original story, no chance or no attempt at all to refute it.

BORGER: But, look, they were just trying to muddy the waters here. I think they were trying to start to get it out there, muddy the waters. Yes, we didn't sign this thing. We don't remember this. She's not telling the truth because I was presided over her divorce proceedings, et cetera, et cetera. So, it was just, you know to kind of muddy it up a little. And give people something to sort of raise questions about. But did it answer any questions definitively?


COOPER: Well, to one person's muddying is another person, you know, trying to give whatever evidence you can.

CAPUTO: Right. Was he trying to muddy the waters or was he trying to give his campaign some oxygen? As someone who's been on a far too many panic campaigns, you know, these things move fast back to you in these kinds of situations. Maybe he's trying to buy for some time.

CARPENTERS: But I just think the legal documents that the lawyers presented are not helpful to Moore because Moore's first defense was that, I've never seen the woman, I don't know anything about her. And they say, "Oh, look at these papers I signed about her divorce proceedings." I mean that that makes Roy Moore look worse than it does the woman.

COOPER: Mark Geragos in the last hour raise the point that, you know, a judge sees thousands of cases, would he have remembered, you know, if he had been involved? Again, just another point of view.

[21:25:06] BORGER: But he wants to use her evidence to discredit her which --

COOPER: Correct. Symone --

SANDERS: Yes, I mean, he's attacking the, "victims here." I absolutely agree with Gloria that he's trying to muddy the waters here. And I'm not buying the case about, oh, the judge sees plenty of cases. Then why provide this paperwork then to corroborate that you actually know her?

CARPENTER: Just to make them look bad.

SANDERS: Yes. It does -- it doesn't really add up and make sense. And frankly, I don't know really know if this is helpful or harmful to the voters in Alabama.

Now, we could be talking about the polling and he's sliding in the polls, I think this is what we were hearing during the presidential election, the general one, where folks were saying, "Donald Trump can't get elected," when people -- and we found out people in polling were not just willing to say they're going to cast their vote to Donald Trump.

COOPER: Do you think there's more support in Alabama for Roy Moore in the poll --

SANDERS: I do think he has more support than people are letting on. Now, there is a -- there's a chance that Doug Jones could win. I tell you, Doug Jones (INAUDIBLE) 28 percent of African-American support to win this election.

I don't know what kind of investment that the DNC has put out that with that would support that. So, I think we just need to take a step back here. But, if there are enough moderate Republicans in Alabama that I'd like, look, I don't like this, the pedophilia is just a little too much for me, perhaps Doug Jones will be elected senator. But I think we have to just be realistic about the numbers.

JENNINGS: Yes. Polling around a news bomb like this can be extremely volatile. I believe Moore has dramatically fallen off but I don't the race is over for him, he could win.

COOPER: A lot more to discussion tonight including the allegation from Democratic Senator Jackie Speier. She said that two current lawmakers are accused of sexual harassment and that millions of dollars have been paid out to accusers over the decade in secret. Your tax dollars now into sexual harassment or rather claims. I have an interview with her when we continue.


COOPER: Today two female Democratic lawmakers, Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced bills to change how sexual harassment claims are handled on Capitol Hill. They held the press conference where Congresswoman Speier said at least two sitting members of Congress, one Democrat, and other Republican, are currently being accused of sexual harassment. She would not say their names. She also disclosed that millions of dollars, taxpayer dollars, have been paid out in settlements.


[21:29:59] REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: In the last 20 years there have been 260 settlements at a cost to the taxpayers of this country of $15 million. That $15 million has been there to silence victims of all types of workplace discrimination. Today we are here to change that. Abusers and sexual predators have thrived in the shadows, in our system where all the power is deliberately taken away from the survivor.


COOPER: Earlier I spoke with Congresswoman Jackie Speier.


COOPER: Congresswoman Speier, you said that the current system is set up to protect the harassers and silence those who've been harassed. How does your bill change or how would your bill change that?

SPEIER: Well, it changes it dramatically. Right now, there's literally 90 days that a victim has to wait before they can either file a complaint or go to court. They also have to file and sign a nondisclosure agreement. They aren't represented by any counsel, and yet the harasser is represented by the House of Representatives.

So, our legislation it's a bipartisan, bicameral piece of legislation, will allow a victim to shorten that time frame, not participate in mandatory mediation, not sign a nondisclosure agreement if they don't want to. It will also apply to interns and fellows who are not covered by the program now. And if it's a member who sexually harasses, they will have to repay the settlement to the U.S. Treasury.

COOPER: So, I mean, it was revealed yesterday that there are two sitting members of Congress who've been accused of sexual harassment. I know you say you don't want to name them because the victims don't want to expose, but by not naming them, are you protecting, actually end up protecting them from being held accountable, possibly allowing them to continue their behavior?

SPEIER: Well, first of all, if anyone is in their offices and feels they're sexually harassed, they should come to me and I will personally walk them over to the office of compliant, so they can get services and file their complaint. These are what are called nondisclosure agreements. If the victim violates that nondisclosure agreement, they could lose their settlement. They could be then subject to a court. They've already gone through hell, they went through hell either in the office and then even through the process, which one of them has said to me is worse than actually the harassment itself. So, I am going to protect those victims.

COOPER: So if you named those people who were accused, that would be violating their nondisclosure agreement --

SPEIER: Correct, in the case of one, yes.

COOPER: So, I mean, it is pretty astounding that the American taxpayer is the one right now who puts the bills for the sexual harassment settlements. I mean, we're talking potentially millions of dollars.

SPEIER: Well, actually, over the last 20 years, more than $15 million has been paid by the taxpayers of this country to settle about 260, 2- 6-0 settlements that dealt with not just sexual harassment, but forms of discrimination, racial discrimination, disability discrimination. So it is, in fact, a problem that we really we need to address.

COOPER: Is there something about the culture of Congress on Capitol Hill that makes it slower to respond or in the past has made it slower to respond to something like this, I mean, they still have one foot step in the past?

SPEIER: I think that this system is really in the dark ages. And we are now in the 21st century. So the program and office was created in 1995 after the Packwood scandals. And I think it was done with the idea that they would create the image that we were doing something, but it was really a big stop sign for victims because there are all these hoops that they have to jump through if they want to either file a complaint or file a lawsuit.

COOPER: Congresswoman Speier, appreciate your time. Thank you.

SPEIER: Thank you.


COOPER: We have to take a break. We're going to talk to the panel about this, about Congresswoman said.

Also, the debate over tax reform in Congress now including another controversial element, a partial Obamacare repeal, we'll talk about that with the panel as well.


[21:38:15] COOPER: "All or nothing," that is the phrase coming from Capitol Hill as Congressional Republicans try to sell tax reform and they're not making their jobs any easier that's because Senate Republicans added a partial Obamacare repeal to their version of the bill. Aides tell CNN that they are confident the bill could still pass but it only takes a few senators obviously to sink it. And even some Republicans are voicing concern.

The president just now tweeting on the subject, "Big vote tomorrow in the House. Tax cuts are getting close." And, "Why are Democrats fighting massive tax cuts for the middle-class and business, (jobs). The reason: Obstruction and Delay!"

Let's get back to our panel. Before we talk about this, I just want to talk about Congresswoman Speier on what said, does it make sense to you that she is not naming the two people?

CAPUTO: No, not at all. I mean, the reason I know that, you know, listen, if it weren't for the fact that Kirsten Gillibrand is involved in this and I work on Capitol Hill and I saw that it's like (INAUDIBLE) up there. I wouldn't believe a word that Jackie Speier said. The reason, you know, that she is not telling the truth is she is moving her mouth and sounds are coming out. She's absolutely the most unreliable liar in the House of Representatives. And I know that because she lied about me after I testified before Congress in the House Intelligence Committee. She wasn't there, didn't attend. We didn't have a transcript even, and she went on CNN and accused me of lying before Congress.

And since then, hasn't proved anything, just decided to threat on to do something else and find other headlines, and this is one for her.

CARPENTER: But I will say, if it is indeed it's true that $15 million taxpayer dollars were spent to potentially cover up sex crimes --

COOPER: It wasn't just sexual harassment claims. It was also other forms of discrimination.

CARPENTER: Yes, but to cover this up and spend taxpayer dollars secretly, that is a huge scandal. I don't really like the reforms that she's proposing. I think a two-step solution would be much better.

[21:40:02] First, introduce a stand-alone piece of legislation that says we abolish this fund. There will be no taxpayer dollar spent for -- some kind of sexual harassment claims, because I bet this is not limited to Congress, but also other agencies.

The second step, she has to name the names. There is nothing that will work better than putting the fear of God into the hearts of these members of Congress that they will not get away with this again.

And so, I understand wanting to protect the accusers, but I don't understand how coming forward with the names of the people who did this hurts the accusers.

CAPUTO: The idea that she would respect an NDA, a former -- a guy who attacked someone and wouldn't respect the implicit NDA of me testifying before a classified briefing, it devise (INAUDIBLE).

SANDERS: Clearly, Mr. Caputo has feelings. I think it's clearly. I mean, I think this is also a larger conversation. Because it's just not these two alleged members of Congress. We're seeing this from the Hill, to Hollywood, to tech, to media, to journalism.

And I think we have to start having a larger conversation about -- this is clearly a system that is working. And we have to examine our sexual culture, and how our sexual culture supports this type of behavior.

CAPUTO: And state capitols around the country as well. Albany, we have the same problem. In Tallahassee, we have the same -- those are just two that I know of, state capitols around the country that run the same way.

JENNINGS: Yes, Ohio had resignations from state legislation. My home state of Kentucky, the Speaker of the House just resigned. You know, Amanda's point resonates with me on the tax payer dollars demanding transparency. However, I do think we should say a work for the victims. I don't think we do enough for victims in this country. I don't think our laws respect victim's rights enough.

And so, if there is a legitimate concern from a victim that transparency would somehow disadvantage them or hurt them or cause them any kind of life trouble at all, that something we cannot overlook.

COOPER: Let's talk about tax cuts. Should Republicans be optimistic do you think?

BORGER: Well, they're trying really hard to be optimistic.

COOPER: Collins and Murkowski were not sure --

BORGER: Yes, and, you know, you had Ron Johnson tonight of Wisconsin saying, I don't think I can vote for this unless you change some of the provisions for small business. He spoke with the president about it. And, you know, the House is going to vote on this tomorrow. And they're all wondering well, are we going to go out on a limb again like we did on health care only to have the Senate cut off the branch? And that could well happen.

Now, the taxes are always an easier issue for the Republicans, but now they brought health care into it again. And if they've given the Democrats a talking point which is you're going to cut 13 million people off the rolls. And it'll save some money, but people's premiums are going to go up.

COOPER: But if they don't do -- I mean, we're talking about -- if they don't do health care, I mean, they face --

BORGER: That's it.

COOPER: -- you know, voter, you know, outrage.

JENNINGS: Well, they also need the money. I mean, they need the $338 billion in this bill. Let's talk about Ron Johnson because his statement today is getting a lot of attention. But the last line of the statement is important. I still want to vote for this.


JENNINGS: And remember, let's go down the memory whole here. He did this on Obamacare repeal. He made a big stink. He asked for a bunch of stuff. There was (INAUDIBLE) talking to on the Senate floor, and he voted I (ph). And so, what I'm hearing out of the Senate tonight is, Johnson has got legit concerns. They can be addressed and still gettable.

CAPUTO: The Senate is delayed. The suggested delay of one year for this tax cuts is a disaster for the American economy. There is nothing wrong with the 2018 elections for the Republicans. The three percent plus vote -- no quarter after quarter can't fix.

And they delay these tax cuts until 2019. They doom the Republican Party in 2018.

SANDERS: So I just want to be clear, the Republican voters or voters across America are not standing up taking to the streets saying, give us tax reform. Many members of Congress have been on record saying that the donor class is saying, do this or you are not getting the money (INAUDIBLE) and foremost.

Secondly, in terms of they need the money to do this by the partial repeal -- by a partial repeal of the mandate. How about we just don't cut corporate taxes so much and there you have some money.

So I think that it is getting a little bit complicated. I don't think they have the vote. And this could be dangerous and the folks want to go on record on this, they can't say goodbye to their seats in 2018.

COOPER: We got to take a quick break.

More from the panel ahead, we're going to talk about President Trump's White House address this afternoon, unlike anything we've seen before in some ways. We'll talk about that ahead.


[21:48:12] COOPER: Fresh off his trip around Asia, President Trump gave a White House address today. Everyone expected a lot of major announcement, perhaps mainly because of this tweet from two days ago saying, "I will be making a major statement from the White House upon my return to D.C. time and date to be set." Instead it was a recounting of his trip, who he talked to, what he saw, no major announcement that people may have expected. Back now with the panel.

What do you make of the speech, Gloria?

BORGER: Well, it was sort of like dear diary. This is what I did today and this is what I did the next day and this is what my trip was like. And this is what I done for Americans. And he kept saying that we were now respected. That's a really important word to Donald Trump, is respect. And he felt that he was showed respect, therefore the country was showed respect and his predecessors were not respected. But as far as having some kind of huge show here, you know, what it -- what did he get, I didn't see it.

COOPER: Makes sense for him to launch -- I mean it feels it was successful.


COOPER: It makes sense that he would want to take time to recount it if he feels it's not getting enough covered.

BORGER: Yes. But what did he get.

JENNINGS: I'll tell you what I think they're getting. They're looking at polling right now where a majority to American people say that he's not fit to hold the office. Today's speech didn't break a lot of news but he looked like a president, sounded like a president, look like a confidently run trip.

The Chinese are now sending an envoy to North Korea. We've got trade deals and investment deals in China, South Korea, and Vietnam. And so, I think they are on a campaign right now to use the presidency in the leverage (ph) of what you can do in the White House to look and sound like a president to help alleviate the pressure on this not fit to hold the office.

And frankly, they need to talk about this trade and investment because they need people to connect their improving views on the economy to Trump's leadership that will also help in his job approval and his ballot score.

[21:50:01] CAPUTO: I don't think it's so unusual for a president who was out of the country for so many days, I think remarkable amount of days, something its record for at least in modern times, to want to come back and recount what he's been through. In fact, I think a lot of what he was looking at, he said -- there wasn't a lot of coverage of the job creation that's going to come out of this.

And the president, well, a lot of people what -- think about the presidency, the immigration president, as a healthcare president, I think about him as a growth president. I come from the ranks of (INAUDIBLE) these tax cuts that he's proposing are -- or camp (INAUDIBLE) and I believe that his singular focus on creating jobs, even when he's out internationally, he's focused on economic nationalism, that's a message that works with his base and that we -- and we proven by the growth that comes out of these tax cuts.

SANDERS: They would like to see the jobs, though. And so, I think folks are more than happy to report about the job growth when we see some of it. I saw this more as, does Donald Trump have nothing else to do today than go out and recount to the American what he did last week that we all saw because most of us watch the news? And that's what I saw.

I mean, if you want to talk about that he has success trip, I want to go back to him lecturing South Korea on their history, hanging out with dictators and human rights abusers then the Philippines, like those are some things that also happened. Taking jabs at Kim Jong-Un on Twitter.

So it's hard for me to think that the White House had a deep strategic play as you're purporting that they do. They need to just go ahead and bring you on staff because perhaps that was the best. That would have been the good thing. I think that's what they did today.

CARPENTER: But the White House does like to play up these international trips. We go back to President Trump's trip to the Middle East after he came back when Sean Spicer was so still press secretary. He gave this long gushing statement talking about historic nature and essentially how Donald Trump single-handedly put the Middle East on a path toward peace really, really over played it. People should go back and review it, it's quite stunning.

And then, Trump essentially just made the case for himself this time talking about the historic nature of this trip. So clearly, he takes a lot pride in these trips. They do show the majestic power of the presidency which he likes.

And when he's over there he doesn't get as much bad press. So I understand why he would do that, but I do think he does have something to talk about. If the Chinese did indeed send a convoy to North Korea to reopen talks because of pressure that Donald Trump put on them, that is a big, big deal and he should take credit for it.

JENNINGS: A lot of what he's going to be judged-on on foreign policy in his first term as whether he ratchets down this North Korea issue. He called for denuclearization of North Korea today. If somehow before 2020 he works with the Chinese and the Russians and the international community to get that done, that's a home run foreign policy thing and it really is the most important threat to the United States right now that's nonterrorism and, you know, and state -- a nation state threat. And clearly, he made some progress on it.

BORGER: But a lot of people, including James Clapper, say that denuclearization of North Korea is an impossibility. It's not going to happen. So can he unite the world against North Korea? Can he be a part of that? Did he try and do that, absolutely. I mean, we can all agree that that's what we want to do.

Does calling Kim Jong-Un rocket man help? We can disagree on that. But --

CAPUTO: Ignoring him didn't work.

BORGER: Well, again, strategic patience is what the policy was. But, you know, that remains -- that chapter has to be written yet.

COOPER: All right. I want to thank everybody. We are not done with the president's address. So well, the ridiculous is next. This is different kind of coverage.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It's time now for The Ridiculist, I promise you we were all ready to go with a fun one about Thanksgiving pants and then late this afternoon the President addressed the nation, and something weird happened.


DONAL TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This will include purchases of U.S. advanced capabilities from jet fighters to missile defense, systems worth many-many billions of dollars and jobs for the American worker. Prime Minister and I...


COOPER: It was at that point that curiosity set in and theories started flying. Is he chewing gum, did he sniff a cough drop straight up into the left hemisphere of his brain, are fire ants eating his tongue? And p.s. why did he just say Prime Minister and I, what Prime Minister?


TRUMP: Prime Minister and I also discussed ways we can deepen our trade relationship based on the core principles of fairness and reciprocity. I am pleased that since January of this year 17,000 jobs, thank you. They don't have water, that's OK. What, no it's OK. Japanese manufactures...



COOPER: I'm sorry, what a natural, graceful, effortless way to open a bottle of water. Grasp it with both hands like a baby, take a sip. At this point I would like to tell you that the official trio of mascots at this address that would be sniffles, garbles, and dry mouth were finished with their business at the podium. I would like to say it, but I cannot.


TRUMP: We made that time is running out and we made it clear, and all options remain on the table. We also announced $250 billion worth in trade investment deals that will create jobs in The United States. From China I flew to the city of Da Nang.


COOPER: I feel bad for him, I've actually given speeches where I've had dry mouth, and it's not pleasant. I full understand what was going on there, and I'm fully aware it is not the most mature thing in the world to be talking about this at all. Here's how we all learned that lesson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: False choices like the one the President laid out tonight.

TRUMP: And he goes like this remember and he's off screen. Then he goes totally off camera doing live television, and he grabs a bottle of water with the label on it.


TRUMP: It's Rubio.


COOPER: Now if you swish it out you gotta take it, you gotta grab it with both hands, and you gotta drink it in on The Ridiculous. Thanks for watching 360, time to turn things over to Don Lemon, CNN Tonight starts right now.