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Moore's Lawyer Attacks Accuser's Credibility; Trump to Sell Tax Plan; Trump's Watershed Moment. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 16, 2017 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:11] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The attorney for Roy Moore going after one of his accusers. They want an inscription in the accuser's yearbook analyzed by handwriting experts, as two new accusers come forward.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump heads to Capitol Hill to sell tax reform today. He'll meet with House Republicans before they vote but the Senate's plan is running into early Republican opposition.




ROMANS: President Trump with his own Marco Rubio moment. Naturally, Twitter and the Florida senator are drinking it in. Had to have a drink, though.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Jet lag, I believe can cause, you know?

ROMANS: Yes, water is a cure for jet lag. It is true.

BRIGGS: Indeed. I'm Dave Briggs. Thirty minutes past the hour.

This morning, two new accusations that Roy Moore made unwanted advances on young women. "The Washington Post" reporting on the stories of Gena Richardson and Becky Gray, who both worked at the mall in Gadsden, Alabama, in the late 1970s.

ROMANS: Now, Richardson was a high schooler working in Sears when she says Moore, then a 30-year-old lawyer, introduced himself and asked for her phone number. She declined but says he then called her at school a few days later, got her out of her trigonometry class to ask her out. She finally relented and says their date ended in an unwanted forceful kiss.

BRIGGS: The other new accuser Becky Gray was then 22 and working in the men's department of another store. She says Moore kept asking her out and she kept saying no. Gray says he was persistent in a way that made her uncomfortable. The two women bring the total number of accusers to now seven.

ROMANS: Moore's lawyer is on the offensive, attacking the credibility of another accuser who went public Monday. Moore's attorney zeroing in on a note Beverly Nelson says Moore inscribed in her yearbook.

The latest now from CNN's Kyung Lah in Gadsden, Alabama.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, Roy Moore's attorney came out trying to defend his client. He also attempted to turn the conversation away from allegations of child sex abuse to handwriting analysis. The focus of his comments before the press today was about the yearbook, the yearbook signed apparently by Roy Moore in the 1970s by a high school girl who at the age of 16 says that Roy Moore attempted to make sexual advances toward her, unwanted sexual advances.

Roy Moore's attorney saying that the handwriting and that yearbook was forged.

PHILIP JAUREGUI, ATTORNEY FOR ROY MOORE: We have a handwriting expert, pardon me, that's looking at those. But here's the problem. A handwriting expert can't look at a copy on the Internet, right? They've got to look at an original.

So, right now, Trent Garmon, our attorney, has sent a letter or is sending a letter to Gloria Allred, demanding that the yearbook be released. We'll send it to a neutral custodian. We'll keep chain of custody and our professional expert will examine it. And we'll find out, is it genuine or is it a fraud?

LAH: Well, all of this certainly complicates things. We spoke to a voter and the impact on what will happen on December 12th, this voter said it certainly made things muddier for him and much more complicated -- Christine, Dave.


BRIGGS: Kyung Lah, thank you.

The attorney for that accuser, Beverly Nelson, quick to respond to demands from Moore's lawyer. Gloria Allred says she will release the yearbook to an independent expert if Senate committees agree to a hearing where her client and Moore can testify under oath.

ROMANS: The president meanwhile still keeping mum. After giving an address on his Asia trip Tuesday, the president refused to answer questions about Moore. Listen.


REPORTER: Should Roy Moore resign, Mr. President? Do you believe his accusers? Do you believe the accusers of Roy Moore, Mr. President? Should he resign?


BRIGGS: CNN has learned the president's silence on this issue stems from past experience. A Republican close to the White House says the president is concerned the focus will shift to earlier sexual misconduct allegations against him.

ROMANS: One Trump is speaking up. Ivanka Trump in a blistering response to the controversy, she told "The Associated Press": There's a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I have yet to see a valid explanation. And I have no reason to doubt the victims' accounts.

BRIGGS: Moore for his part insisting he is staying the race, with a tweet ending: we will not quit.

His campaign also putting out quotes from a dozen women who have known him for years all attesting to his character, and Moore himself signed an open letter to FOX News host Sean Hannity denying the allegations.

Hannity had given him 24 hours to give a better explanation or drop out of the race.

[04:35:00] He now calls the allegations beyond disturbing and serious, but it's not so far dropping his support.

ROMANS: Meantime, Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones now publicly backing Moore's accusers.


DOUG JONES (D), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: It seems to me the statements made by the women up in Etowah County have much more credibility than the denials.


ROMANS: In Alabama, an emergency meeting of the state Republican committee ended last night without comment.

All right. It is judgment for the House tax plan. The president heads to Capitol Hill to speak to GOP House members ahead of a vote on their tax bill. There are two versions, the House and the Senate.

But what does the House bill mean for your taxes? It cuts them significantly next year, but favors the wealthy over time. On average, American's incomes will rise 1.6 percent next year, about $1,200 because of the tax cuts. But by 2027, the average break shrinks to $860.

The tax cuts fluctuate depending on your income level. For the bottom half of earners, those making $25,000 and $50,000 a year, cuts are less than half a percent next year. They nearly vanish by the year 2027 while the top earners still benefit.

It's all about the budget. Here's the explanation: Republicans need to find a way to pay for these tax cuts over time. Reducing costs is one reason the Senate version repeals the Obamacare mandate, 13 million fewer Americans will be insured. Not paying for those people, saves the government $338 billion. Also means premium increases about 10 percent a year. So, critics worrying higher premiums will wipe out any middle class tax relief.

BRIGGS: Meanwhile, a rare bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill on the wake of the recent mass shootings. The bill to strengthen background checks may be introduced in the Senate as early as today. The deal is spearheaded by Republican Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

ROMANS: Two Senate sources say the legislation would ensure states and federal government upload required background check information to national database. The effort gained steam after the deadly church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, when the Air Force admitted it failed to report the shooter's criminal history of domestic violence.

BRIGGS: President Trump patting him self-on the back for all he achieved during a five-nation tour of Asia. The president proclaiming a great American comeback is under way and personally taking credit for restoring the country's standing in the world.

ROMANS: The president framing his accomplishments as a correction of mistakes made by past presidents.


TRUMP: Everywhere we went, our foreign hosts greeted the American delegation, myself included, with incredible, warmth hospitality and most importantly, respect. The days of the United States being taken advantage of are over.


ROMANS: President Trump playing on the fact he insisted on free and reciprocal trade as America's regional partners. It's worth nothing he came home from Asia with no written commitment from any country. Although there are trade deals, some of them already months in the works, the president is taunting here.

BRIGGS: It's difficult to sift through those. The some appear wins for the president. Some appear symbolic. Some actually appear to be old deals put in a new package, wrapped in new wrapping paper. So, there's a lot to sift through.

Meanwhile new legislation deemed to overhaul how sexual harassment is treated on Capitol Hill. The bipartisan "Me Too" Act comes one day after two female lawmakers accused sitting members of Congress of sexual misconduct.

ROMANS: With growing reports of years, years of sexual harassment in Congress, questions now mounting about settlements paid and who knew about them, taxpayer money paid for these settlements.

CNN's M.J. Lee has more from Capitol Hill.


M.J. LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave.

Well, sexual harassment really taking center stage on Capitol Hill this week with two female lawmakers introducing a bill yesterday to reform how sexual harassment is treated and processed on Capitol Hill. Some of the things that this bill would do is it would require all House members and senators to go through mandatory sexual harassment training. It would also bring more transparency to the OOC, the Office of Compliance, about what kind of information that office needs to release about the kinds of settlements that they reach.

Fifteen million dollars is the amount that has gone towards settlements over the last 20 years or so, but we don't actually know what percentage of them were actually related to sexual harassment. So, this is just one of the pieces of information that these lawmakers are hoping to find.

Now, of course, the other piece of news that came out of this one this week is that Congresswoman Jackie Speier revealed that two members of Congress, one Democrat and one Republican, who are not been named have been accused of sexual harassment and that they have not been reviewed yet. Now, this is going to be a big question going forward whether or not members of Congress and other victims start naming names.

[04:40:05] So far, we have not seen that could be the case here on Capitol Hill. Even as we have seen a lot of named have been accused of sexual harassment and have not been reviewed yet. This is going to be a big question going forward whether or not members of Congress and other victims start naming names.

So far, we have not seen that could be the case here on Capitol Hill, even as we have seen a lot of women and men come forward and industries like Hollywood and media and naming these powerful figures for what they say are years of sexual harassment and misconduct as well. We'll see if those names do come forward in the coming weeks and months.

Back to you, guys.


ROMANS: So let me just check through this.

We've got Congress. We've got Hollywood. We've got the media. We've got the mutual fund industry. We've got Silicon Valley.

We're just kind of run into every kind of like center of gravity for the economy.

BRIGGS: Well, your world has really been -- the financial world really has been relatively quiet. Based on some stories I've heard --

ROMANS: It was an early mover in sexual harassment is what you're saying. No, I think what's interesting is right now is there's some high profile money managers in the like, who, word is out. There's been a reckoning here.


ROMANS: You can't, you know, you can't behave like this.

BRIGGS: Yes. Congress, good to see them cleaning up.


BRIGGS: All right. An urgent manhunt underway in Baltimore for the man who shot a police detective in the head last night -- the latest next on EARLY START.


[04:45:33] BRIGGS: A Baltimore police homicide detective is in gave condition this morning after being shot in the head. Police say the 18-year veteran of the force was conducting a follow-up investigation of a killing in Northwest Baltimore, when he observed a suspicious man and approached him. During their encounter, the detective was shot.


COMMISSIONER KEN DAVIS, BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT: What I want to describe this person as is cold and callous. And he's out there right now and he know knows that he shot a Baltimore police officer. He knows it. He's well aware of it.


ROMANS: Police shooter on the loose.

The detective is in the ICU, on life support, his wife and two children by his side. Some of the detective's fellow officers just simply noticeably devastated, as they waited for information outside that hospital. A reward of more than $60,000 is being offered for information leading to the shooter's arrest.

BRIGGS: A Northern California man who killed five people and injured 10 others may have started his deadly rampage by fatally shooting his wife. Authorities in Tehama County say they discovered her body under a floor in their home. She was killed the night before Kevin Neal murdered four other people in a string of random shootings.

ROMANS: We're also learning the gunman was ordered to give up his firearms earlier this year. That was after the local district attorney says Neal fired shots at two women, stabbed one of them and held them hostage. Neal's sister says he struggled with mental illness for decades, which recently worsened.


SHOOTER'S SISTER: He just never had good coping skills and he had this tendency to fly off in these uncontrollable rages and it just could've have been anything in that situation.


BRIGGS: Neal's 25-minute rampage included an attempt to break into a local elementary school. He was thwarted by quick thinking staff members who ordered a lockdown.

Two officers later confronted Neal at an intersection and fatally shot him.

ROMANS: All right. Police now confirming a man seen walking in two surveillance videos is that suspected gunman in the string of shootings in the Tampa Area. Tampa police released video surveillance showing the suspect he's seen with similar clothes and demeanor near the most recent shooting this week, and one of the shootings last month. A string of unsolved killings is within a 10 to 15-block area of the Seminole Heights neighborhood. The reward for information leading to an arrest now topping $90,000.

All right. Talk about return on investment, a long lost Leonardo Da Vinci work titled "Savior of the World" selling for more than $450 million. $450 million, that's the most ever paid for artwork sold at auction, far eclipsing -- they thought they were going to get $100 million, Dave. That's what they were looking for.


Get this though -- the painting last sold at a Christie's auction for $60 back in 1958. It was only identified as a Da Vinci in 2011 after disappearing near the end of the 18th century. It's considered the greatest artistic rediscovery of the century. No word on the winning bidder or if we'll ever see this painting again.

All right. Baseball's 2017 Cy Young Award winners both have been there before. Washington national's pitcher Max Scherzer winning his third Cy Young Award, and second straight in the National League. Scherzer led the NL in strikeouts and won 16 games for the Nats. He beat out teammate Stephen Strasberg and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.

In the American League, the Indians Corey Kluber won his second Cy Young Award, beating out the other finalists, Boston's Chris Sale and the Yankees Luis Severino. Kluber led the American League with 18 wins despite spending a month on the disabled list. He also won the AL Cy Young in 2014.

ROMANS: All right. The head of top consumer watchdog is stepping down. Does his departure have anything to do with political aspirations? CNN "Money Stream" is next.



[04:53:57] TRUMP: -- 17,000 jobs. Thank you.

They don't have water. That's OK. What?

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Twenty-one hours on a plane.

BRIGGS: Sudden case of dry mouth for President Trump during a speech yesterday. The president needed water and couldn't find it. Couldn't find it anywhere. Normally no big deal except he had once ridiculed Senator Marco Rubio for this infamous moment when Rubio gave the State of the Union response back in 2013 and strangely kept his eyes trained on the camera.

ROMANS: Seeing a chance for cosmic justice, Rubio could not let the president's watershed moment pass. He tweeted: similar, but needs work on his form. Has to be done in one single motion and eyes should never leave the camera. But not bad for his first time.

You know who else had a field day? Late night host.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was that? Usually we're just confused by the things coming out of Trump's mouth.

[04:55:06] Who even drinks like that? He drinks like one of the robots on the "Pirates of the Caribbean".

TRUMP: He's like this. And we will -- I need water. Help me. I need water. Help. And -- this is on live television.

This total choke artist. Unbelievable.

STEPHEN COLBERT, LATE NIGHT HOST: Unbelievable -- that you are the president.

JIMMY KIMMEL, LATE NIGHT HOST: He's talking about the subject he's bringing jobs back to America. He's drinking a bottle of water from Fiji. It's Fiji water. He's not even drinking American water during a speech about American -- I think that does a very good job of summing the man up right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish when he was still looking for water and he was like really dry, I wish at that moment, people from Puerto Rico would have come out and started throwing water bottles at his face.


BRIGGS: That was well-played by Trevor Noah.

But, look, we've all been there. But that's the problem with ridiculing people for ordinary things like playing golf, like he once ripped our former president.

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: Anyway, breaking news overnight. Russia possible ban for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. The World Anti-Doping Agency upholding an earlier decision that Russia's anti-doping agency is now noncompliant. The Pyeongchang Winter Games are less than three months away.

A 2015 report found the Russian state conspired with its athletes and officials in a doping program of unprecedented scale. Russia's sports ministry of sport denies. A final decision on Russia's eligibility is expected next month.

ROMANS: All right. It's just about the top of the hour, so it's time for "Money Stream" this morning.

Global markets higher today despite another slide for U.S. stocks. Two reasons, energy stocks fell on lower oil prices and concerns over tax reform holding back the American market and stock market. The first GOP senator is opposing the bill. Senator Ron Johnson says it unfairly benefits corporations over small business. The current rally in stocks is being fuelled by hopes for tax cuts, so any sign of failure could trigger a selloff.

Wilbur Ross is losing his millionaire title again.

Last week, it was Forbes, now to Bloomberg, but the conclusion is the same, the commerce secretary is not a billionaire. Ross's net worth is now at $860 million down from $3 billion, that's according to Bloomberg's billionaire index. It determines the figures he provided couldn't be independently verified. A Commerce Department spokesman declined to comment.

Richard Cordray stepping down as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, writing it was a joy to serve as the first ever director of the CFPB. He plans to resign the end of the month. Republicans have no love for Cordray who was appointed by the former President Barack Obama in 2012. They claimed he overstepped his regulatory authority. But his departure may have more to do with political aspirations than GOP pressure. Cordray is believed to be preparing for a 2018 run for governor of Ohio.

BRIGGS: All right. That's the politics of it, but what happens now? Do we go back to the ways that got us into the final crisis in the first place?

ROMANS: What is so interesting is that this is an agency that the president and Republicans have reviled. It is an independent agency that's meant to clamp down on excesses that hurt consumers. Its mission is --

BRIGGS: Well, they say it made it harder to get loans and things like that.

ROMANS: Right. It's very populist, you know, but it's also protected an awful lot of consumers.

So, he will return to Ohio as a real populist credentials in a place, Ohio, where populism put this president in the White House. Interesting, right?

BRIGGS: It should be interesting.

All right. EARLY START continues right now with the latest allegations against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.


ROMANS: The attorney for Roy Moore going after one of his accusers. They want an inscription in the accuser's yearbook analyzed by handwriting experts as two new accusers come forward.

BRIGGS: President Trump heads to Capitol Hill to sell tax reform today. He'll meet with House Republicans before they vote. But the Senate's plan is running into early Republican opposition.


TRUMP: It's Rubio.


ROMANS: And President Trump with his own Marco Rubio moment. Given the president's past comments, the moment is dripping with irony.

Good morning. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: We were all thirsty for something like that. I'm Dave Briggs. It's Thursday, November 16. We're having a good time with this. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

But we start with something certainly not funny. This morning, two new accusations that Roy Moore made unwanted advances on young women. "The Washington Post" reporting on the stories of Gena Richardson and Becky Gray, who both worked at the mall in Gadsden, Alabama, in the late 1970s.