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Two More Women Say Roy Moore Made Unwanted Overtures; Sen. Johnson Currently Opposed to Senate Tax Reform Plan. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 16, 2017 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIP JAUREGUI, ATTORNEY FOR ROY MOORE: Judge Moore said there's no way in the world that's his handwriting.

[07:00:20] GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR ROY MOORE ACCUSER: He can deny it if he wants as long as it's under oath.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She then was informed she got a call. It turned out to be Roy Moore, asking her on a date.

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

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He was on a no-fly list at the mall...

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump getting personally involved in the Republican push for tax reform, ahead of today's House vote.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: We start getting into health care issues. We send a very mixed message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will give Americans bigger paychecks and a more prosperous economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I say this bill is a thief in the night, I mean it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Two more women coming forward accusing embattled Senate candidate Roy Moore of unwanted advances. The "Washington Post" reporting one accuser was a teenager when Moore, who was in his 30s, pursued her.

Moore is staying in the race, he says, and he's firing back. His legal counsel is refuting another accuser's story, demanding she turn over a yearbook to a handwriting analyst to figure out if it is actually the writing of Roy Moore.

CAMEROTA: So President Trump is remaining silent on Moore's allegations. Instead, the president is tweeting on tax reform ahead of today's House vote. This as Republican Senator Ron Johnson says he is against the Senate's version of that bill. He's going to join us shortly to explain why.

The president also doing a victory lap after his Asia trip. It apparently made him very thirsty. We're going to play it again. Here's the awkward moment where he was searching for his water bottle.

CUOMO: He gets the cap off. So far we're doing great.

CAMEROTA: Doing great.

CUOMO: I believe the assessment of the two-hand grab, also known as the baby grab, sippy cub grab, is going to come under a little bit of scrutiny.

CAMEROTA: I love that you're doing play-by-play of the water sip.

CUOMO: Do you need two hands. Do you need two hands? I mean, you're not an unusually large-handed person.

CAMEROTA: We have it all covered for you, starting with CNN's Jason Carroll. He is live in Gadsden, Alabama, with all of the latest on what's going on with Roy Moore -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you, Alisyn.

State GOP leaders held an emergency meeting last night. And there are a lot of questions what this 21-member steering committee would do. Would they decertify more? Would they pull their support? Well, this morning, they are standing by him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL (voice-over): Two additional women speaking out to the "Washington Post," accusing Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of making unwanted advances toward them when they worked at an Alabama mall years ago.

BETH REINHARD, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": She then was in school, a couple days later in trig class when she heard she got a call. Some thought, "Oh, my goodness! Is it my dad?" She went to the office. It turned out to be Roy Moore asking her out on a date.

CARROLL: A total of seven women have now come forward, including two who say that Moore sexually assaulted them when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.

GRAHAM: He was on the no-fly list for a mall, which to me is pretty stunning. So it gives credibility to the allegations of these -- these women.

CARROLL: As Republican leadership in Washington actively tries to push Moore out of the race, the embattled candidate remaining defiant, tweeting a direct challenge to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: "Bring it on."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you like to see the president weigh in and join the calls for Roy Moore to...

GRAHAM: Well, it would be up to him. But he's the head of the party. It would probably be good if he'd say something.

CARROLL: Despite mounting pressure to speak out, the president remaining silent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Roy Moore resign, Mr. President? Do you believe...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should he resign?

CARROLL: Sources tell CNN the president has expressed apprehension about commenting, due to his own past accusers.

Mr. Trump's daughter, Ivanka, however, speaking out forcefully, telling the Associated Press there's a special place in hell for people who prey on children.

The embattled candidate fighting back on multiple fronts, releasing a list of 12 female character witnesses, writing an open letter to prominent conservative Sean Hannity, denying the allegations and attempting to discredit one of his accusers, Beverly Young Nelson, who says that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old.

BEVERLY YOUNG NELSON, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: I thought that he was going to rape me.

CARROLL: Nelson says after Moore attacked her, she never spoke to him again. But Moore's lawyer challenging this claim, citing Nelson's 1999 divorce.

JAUREGUI: Guess who that case was before? It was filed in Etowah County, and the judge assigned was Roy S. Moore.

CARROLL: This statement raising questions about Moore's own defense earlier this week.

MOORE: I don't even know the woman. I don't know anything about her.

CARROLL: Moore's lawyer also casting doubt about the authenticity of this inscription in Nelson's yearbook, signed, "Love, Roy Moore, D.A."

JAUREGUI: Release the yearbook so that we can determine, is it genuine or is it a fraud? Nelson's attorney agreed to turn over the yearbook if a Senate committee holds a hearing to investigate Moore's actions.

ALLRED: We want him to be subpoenaed if he won't appear voluntarily. And for him to testify, he can deny it if he wants, as long as it's under oath. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: So Alisyn, despite the recent allegations, Roy Moore still does have support here in the state. In fact, it's not usual to be standing out here and have people drive by and shout out support for Roy Moore. One woman voter put it this way. She said, "I'm not voting for the Roy Moore of 40 years ago. I'm voting for the Roy Moore of today" -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Jason. Thank you very much for being on the ground with that perspective. Let's bring in now Beth Reinhard, an investigative reporter at "The Washington Post." She is part of the team of reporters who broke the stories about the accusations against Roy Moore. Beth, thanks so much for being with us.

REINHARD: Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: Can you briefly tell us about these two new accusers who have come forward and their stories?

REINHARD: So one of the women -- four women on the record, talking about Roy Moore. And she had always thought what happened to here was an isolated incident. And she was surprised that that wasn't the case anymore. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) alone. So a few days later (UNINTELLIGIBLE) over the intercom. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from a phone call. And it's Roy Moore asking her out. And she says "I'm in trig class." So (UNINTELLIGIBLE) story was corroborated. And then, a couple days later, she's left at the mall, and he comes by again, asked her out. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) go to the movies. And when he was driving her to her car, she was parked, you know, close to the Sears, movies, he pulled her in for a kiss. Then, you know, in her mind it made her feel uncomfortable. And she got out of the car and...

CAMEROTA: Yes. And that's -- I'm sorry to interrupt. We're having a hard time with your audio. It's sort of spotty. But we understood this...

REINHARD: I apologize.

CAMEROTA: Not your fault. But she -- she felt that it was sort of a forcible -- a forced kiss in a dark parking lot, and it was unwelcome. She felt and felt very uncomfortable.

Just because people have been questioning the "Washington Post." You know, we hear from lots of Alabamians there in Gadsden who say they can't trust "The "Washington Post." Just so that people understand your process.

You know, you have interviewed scores of sources, a dozen sources in these latest accusations who corroborate these stories, who remember Roy Moore from that time, who tell the story of him sort of loitering at the mall and trying to pick up women or approach women.

And so, you know, people just really, really need to read your stories before they can make any of their own judgments about the veracity of these stories. Beth Reinhard, thank you very much for taking the time.

REINHARD: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.

Let's bring in our CNN political analysts, David Gregory and associate editor for RealClearPolitics, A.B. Stoddard.

So David, I know it was hard to hear. But I know you've read the accounts. Two more women coming forward, adding to the other five. So you know, it's been pointed out this is a lot more than "he said, she said." There's now a preponderance of women who feel comfortable, because of strength in numbers, coming forward to tell their Roy Moore stories.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, and I think the circumstances of these stories that become increasingly difficult to believe were made up. I mean, this level of detail and the awkwardness of what happened. And of course, you know, reliving this by coming forward and something that I'm sure has been a source of so much discomfort and pain on on so many level for these women.

So this situation as a political candidacy in this bizarre race continues to deteriorate for Roy Moore to the point where now he's, you know, trying to portray this idea that he's embattled, and he's bringing in handwriting experts and suggesting these women cannot be believed.

It's just this kind of slow motion unraveling that's either going to lead to him losing perhaps. Or, if Republicans can prevail before them, getting enough pressure to get him out of the race. And I think they're feeling the time pressure of him not getting the message, not feeling enough pressure that either outcome is going to be deemed pretty horrible for him.

[07:10:15] GREGORY: All right. So with that as a premise, let's take a step deeper into the analysis. A.B., on the one side, the questioning of the handwriting, the bringing up the circumstance that Roy Moore was signed as the judge in the divorce case involving the woman who now is accusing him of having tried to attack her years earlier.

He says, through his counsel, "I don't know whether or not this is his handwriting. I want the yearbook." And when he was assigned as the judge in that case, she never said anything about this assault that had happened, much closer in time to when the assault actually happened. And now, is that enough for Roy Moore to sway voters that all of these accounts could be bogus?

A.B. STODDARD, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Well, there are people in Alabama who basically have already told us since these stories broke last week that they'll stick by Roy Moore.

CUOMO: One is the governor, by the way, who is a woman. STODDARD: I actually believe that Roy Moore can still win this race.

And I believe that all of the tough talk from Senate Republicans will disappear if he does. They might try to subject him to an ethics committee investigation. It will be very ugly. It will go on a very long time. It will imperil whatever is left of the legislative agenda. And it will not, I don't believe, lead to expulsion from the Senate.

And so it will be very divisive. And in the end, I imagine that they'll back down from that. Let's start with how fierce his support is in the state. And if he's distracting people with handwriting experts and this kind of thing, that makes his supporters feel better. It's too bad that the account of Mrs. Nelson, which is the most powerful and the most upsetting of all of them, is now being called into question because of an inconsistency. She did not tell us that he was the judge in our divorce proceedings.

When you come forward with a story as painful as it's been for her, you obviously want to have all your facts right when you're ready to level such a strong accusation like that.

But I still believe that -- I agree with David. If you just look at the collection and the weight of all of these stories together, women who don't know each other all coming up with similar stories, it's very tough for -- for people who are going to be -- feel a moral compass on this issue. In the end, it is still possible that -- that they either end up with Roy Moore in the Senate, and it's extraordinarily problematic or he just -- or he loses the race.

CAMEROTA: But you know, on that note, I want to talk about what you mentioned, which is in terms of the divorce proceeding, Chris was telling me that it doesn't necessarily mean that she had to go into a courtroom in front of Roy Moore.

STODDARD: Right.

CAMEROTA: Maybe it was just paperwork. Maybe it was so pro forma. If you don't have to encounter somebody, you're not necessarily...

STODDARD: It's a shiny object for Roy Moore to distract -- you know, it's a shiny object for his supporters to grab onto.

GREGORY: And Moore didn't mention -- didn't he say...

CUOMO: But look. I get that. On that one you would have think that it would have mattered more to her. But again, we'd have to know more of the circumstances about whether or not the judge was just assigned to the case but there really was no trial in front of him.

So that's going to matter. But there's another issue here.

CAMEROTA: That's a lot. I mean, if he just signed a piece of paper, it's different than testifying in front of someone you had a bad experience with.

CUOMO: Absolutely. Absolutely no question about that. But there's a bigger consideration here. One is this monkeying with the election, trying to get the governor to try to do something with the timing. Should this be left up to the people? That's one issue.

But so much of the base of Judge Roy Moore, and we've dealt with him here on the show before, whether it was about the Ten Commandments and his insistence on them being presented in the public space or his really ugly feelings about homosexuality and their rights under the constitution. So there's a lot there.

But his Christian base, David Gregory, how do they reconcile that being their guiding light, you know, that they are about a moral purpose that is greater than even what we are talking about here on earth, and reconcile that with the morality at play in these accusations. It's not a "he said, she said." You know, there are many she's. There's tons of corroboration. How do they reconcile that?

GREGORY: You know, it's really interesting. I've had this conversation with faith leaders and various panels and other programs that I've been part of. And how you separate belief and a belief system from a kind of tribal identity.

And I think what we see among Christian conservative voters as an organizing group is a lot more of a tribal mentality. Russell Moore, who has called out fellow Christians for being so selective on the issue of their support and moral relativism with regard to Roy Moore, who heads up the policy arm of the southern Baptists, has said, look -- he said in previous forums that I've been with him on.

He has said that people tend to identify, well, you have certain beliefs about certain issues. So I'm more likely to be associated with you rather than this is a kind of litmus test of my faith. There's a practicality, a siege mentality. There's a way of life that an evangelical Christian is living and how a politician is encroaching on that.

We're going to stick with our own people who are not going to make us feel isolated but are going to validate our way of life. It's a very practical way of supporting someone politically that I think is separated from the true nature of faith.

CAMEROTA: So A.B., let's talk about the president's Asia trip and one of the by-products that came out of it. And that is freeing the UCLA basketball players, or at least having them not face 10 years for theft in China. And the president sort of put out a tweet and pressed them to thank him, which they then did.

CUOMO: Tweeted about it just this morning.

CAMEROTA: And then this morning there's a new tweet. OK, so that's -- oh, is this the new tweet? No. This is the old tweet where they thanked him.

CUOMO: The original was "Where's my thanks?"

CAMEROTA: Sure. And then that worked. CUOMO: Now this morning, he's saying to the three UCLA basketball

players, "I say you're welcome. Go out and give a big thank you to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible and have a great life. Be careful there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life."

CAMEROTA: Poetic. I actually think -- look, I think it was obnoxious the way he did it, but I think he's right. I mean, the players should make sure to thank the president and the government for making this a priority to put this on the agenda in a one-on-one meeting, rather than have them get lost in -- in the criminal justice system in China. That could have been awful.

And look, this is an incredibly unfortunate episode that these guys got themselves caught up in. These are otherwise incredibly disciplined -- you look at the life of a high-level college athlete, these are incredibly disciplined young men who have incredible opportunities that they have created for themselves.

This is a huge lapse in judgment, as they said. And hopefully, they can, you know, get their way past it. They're being suspended indefinitely. But I think the president was right to say that you ought to -- you ought to thank me, even though it's pretty obnoxious the way he did it.

CAMEROTA: A.B., your thoughts?

STODDARD: But I thought it was really interesting to see the president's tweets changed from sort of this cranky person who is looking for credit and banks yesterday to this sort of philosopher king tone this morning, about the pitfalls of life. And "have a great life" was in all caps. So I think it was really positive.

CAMEROTA: And the long and winding road of life. I think we can all agree with that. A.B. Stoddard, David Gregory, thank you.

GREGORY: Tweets might be set to music at some point.

CAMEROTA: We can only hope. Thank you, guys.

CUOMO: All right. So we have our first GOP is senator to publicly oppose the Senate version of the tax plan prompted a call from President Trump to this senator. His name Ron Johnson. Where is he after that conversation? What is the premise of his position? We'll ask him directly next. Stay with NEW DAY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:22:18] CUOMO: The House votes on its tax plan today. The Senate is debating its own version of the plan. And one Republican senator is publicly opposing it. That senator is Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson. He joins us now. I see you have your jacket off. You are going to work. I like the image, Senator.

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: Good morning, Chris. Well, I'm a Norwegian from Wisconsin. I get hot walking around pretty fast. So good morning.

CUOMO: Well, it is -- it is good to stay cool right now with all the things that you guys have facing you. Let's start with the moral question about Roy Moore. What is your position on the allegations against the senator? The Senate candidate?

JOHNSON: The allegations sound pretty credible to me. And if I were Roy Moore, and I'm not, I would resign as being a candidate and give the Alabama voters what they want. A Republican candidate that will actually be seated in the United States Senate.

CUOMO: Well, now let's just look at that for one step, because people are arguing. Let the people decide. It's good to hear your position on it. You should be a moral leader. You were put there to make those kinds of judgments.

However, let the voters decide. And if he wins, you would have a really tough task to expel him. The ethics committee hearings, the time, the distraction. Who knows what happens? Wouldn't be that easy to unseat him. And should you have that ability to do that, or should the people just decide and not push Roy Moore out?

JOHNSON: I mean, the Supreme Court has ruled that, you know, a duly- elected senator needs to be sworn in. But then it's up to the body itself to decide whether we want to dispel a member. And I'm just saying what the reality of the situation is, based on the folks I'm talking to. I'd really seriously doubt that Roy Moore would be serving as United States senator for very long. So he just needs to face that reality. And again, I think the voters of Alabama are quite clear. They want a Republican senator, not a Democrat one. He ought to take that into account.

CUOMO: All right. Next issue. You came out and said help the little guy as much as you're helping the big guy when it comes to corporate tax cuts. If you don't, I'm not for this bill. The president called you. True?

JOHNSON: Yes, he did.

CUOMO: What did he say? Did he change your mind?

JOHNSON: Now, what he talked about is walking with me, providing me the information so that we can work together to fix this problem.

The folks who wrote the framework for this tax reform realize that if we're going to make American businesses globally competitive, which we must do, it is is table stakes. We need to make sure that every American company remains competitive. And we can't lead the passthrough businesses behind. Which is why they came up with the 25 percent passthrough rate. The problem is neither the House nor the Senate version honored that 25 percent rate. It's far higher. And we are leaving those passthrough businesses behind.

And those passthrough businesses really are the edge of economic growth, job creation, innovation in our economy. And so I'm just looking for a fair shake for all businesses to maintain the competitive balance and position of all businesses. Let's not upset that apple cart and harm our economy.

[07:25:08] CUOMO: Well, it's interesting the insight that you've gained here. It's kind of a metaphor effect into what one of the criticisms of the overall bill is, is that if you want to help the little guy, which the president keeps saying, it's about middle-class tax cuts, then the tax benefits should be over-weighted to that group. This is a political decision, not an economic one.

But that's not what the House bill does for sure, and it's not what the Senate bill does either. People like me, a statement against self-interest, get helped more than the middle class, which is supposedly what this cut's all about. Why?

JOHNSON: Well, first of all, I think the tax proposal should all be weighted toward economic growth. We're $20 trillion in debt. Even with mediocre economic growth, Chris, revenue of the federal government has increased $1.2 trillion per year over 2009, so if you want to really address the debt (UNINTELLIGIBLE) issue of your economy, and again, it's the passthrough businesses that really are a large portion of that economic growth in the Senate bill; 82 percent of the tax relief for businesses goes to C-corps. Four percent go to large businesses. Only 18 percent go to passthrough entities.

CUOMO: Right. But that happens on the individual side also.

I hear you on the corporate side. I get the righteousness of your cause. Let's see what happens. I'm saying the same is true on the individual side. You're helping people like me more than you're helping the middle class. And supposedly, this was supposed to be about them.

JOHNSON: I'm a complete outlier when it comes to what we're doing on the individual side. I just wouldn't do what we're doing. I never promised anybody tax cuts, because I'm one of those deficit hawks. We don't have enough revenue to pay for all of our expenses.

CUOMO: How can you be for this bill?

JOHNSON: What I'm for is economic growth. And that really is on the business side of the equation, making sure that all Americans are competitive against each other and globally and grow our economy. That's how you actually increase wages on a self-sustaining basis.

CUOMO: Right, but the big sell on this, as you know, is trickle-down. I mean, that's what it is. They don't want to use that term because it's tainted from those big deficits we wound up with and that huge income disparity we ballooned during the Reagan years.

But that's what it is. You give more money to people like me. And then I will use private investment to drive benefits to the middle class. So they get a booster on top of whatever their actual tax cut is. Economically, it's dubious and practically, we've seen that it doesn't work that way every time. You shouldn't be guaranteeing it as an outcome.

How can you be for this bill when it does exactly that? JOHNSON: Well, I'm not for the current version.

CUOMO: Because on the corporate side -- what if they fix the corporate side, and the individual side stays the same?

JOHNSON: Well, I want to see is the information to prove the kind of economic growth we're going to get with all of our tax revisions.

And again, it's kind of a heavy lift to say, I'm you know, cutting individual taxes that that really boosts economic growth. It does to a certain extent. But all the economic growth driving in this tax proposal is really on the business side with 100 percent expensing so it's easier for businesses to expand and create more good-paying jobs and boost wages.

Chris, we're at full employment. So we have just even -- just slightly more economic growth. That's going to put incredible upward pressure on wages. That's how you, again, increase wages. Money in everybody's pocket and revenue the federal government.

CUOMO: Maybe. Right? Because what do we see right now? You have corporations, not passthroughs, necessarily. But the bigger corporations are holding unprecedented amounts of cash. Senator, you know this. But the audience's implication. The senator's background is in business. He's a businessman before he came in.

JOHNSON: Chris...

CUOMO: They're not raising wages. So giving them more cash doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to raise wages.

JOHNSON: Which is why I want more tax relief on the business side to flow through passthrough industries, because I really do believe they are the true engine of economic growth.

CUOMO: Why don't you do the same thing on the individual side? And if you're going to take a bite out of somebody's behind, it should be mine because I have a bigger behind, metaphorically, in this situation. Because I make more money. And give a bigger benefit to the middle class, if that's what you want to do. Why isn't it that simple?

JOHNSON: First of all, Chris, again, I'm an outlier on this in terms of my party. I don't want to see any increase in the deficit through individual tax cuts.

We have all of these benefits we've promised to, you know, Baby Boomers. We are $20 trillion in debt. The projected deficit over the next 30 years is over $100 trillion. Maybe as much as $129 trillion. From my standpoint, it's not time to cut individual tax rates. What it's time to do is make American businesses competitive globally so our economy can grow.

And again, the stat that I just told you about...

CUOMO: Right. JOHNSON: Revenues increased to the federal government by $1.2 trillion per year even with the meager economic growth we've had since 2009. That's really the No. 1 component of the solution here. Again, I'm an outlier. I understand that. But we really need to make sure the American economy realizes the full potential.

CUOMO: Greenspan agrees with you. He says now is not the time for tax cuts. Gary Cohn was at a symposium and he listened to all these CEOs, said give us more money, we're going to give it back to the shareholders. It's going to be passed through in dividends. So there's a lot to be argued out here.

Senator Johnson, the same promise as always. When you've got the numbers, you want to make the case about why this is good for the American people, you've got time right here.

JOHNSON: Well, hopefully, the president will get that information, coming in there with our new wonder board one more time.

CUOMO: Let's get it on. Take care. Alisyn.