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Senate Tax Bill with Repeal; Power of Pumpkin; Combating Sexual Harassment in Congress; Sports Headlines in Bleacher Report; Finding Love Behind Bars. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET

Aired November 16, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The ACA goes away?

SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: Chris, my whole point is, we can beat it. I mean we're seeing, just like we --

CUOMO: But you don't have the votes is what I am saying, senator. How do you beat it?

WYDEN: Well, just like we saw with health care, senators began peeling off. We saw Ron Johnson today. Bob Corker has expressed concerns. Susan Collins has expressed concerns. John McCain says he's got to see regular order.

We're not having regular order in the Senate Finance Committee. This is not what they did when Ronald Reagan got together with Democrats. They had 27 hearings on the actual proposals.

So what I'm saying is, much like health care, we are seeing Republican senators express their concerns. We think when they go home for this Thanksgiving break, they're not going to be able to walk through the grocery store without getting a lot of flak from middle class families for this bill that's stacked for the multinational corporations and not for working families.

CUOMO: Now, I hear you in terms of the proportionality. If it's going to be a middle class tax cut, if that's what it's billed as, theoretically, it should help them the most. It doesn't in its current reckoning, unless you take into consideration what the Republicans are selling in terms of growth, which seems to be another phrase for trickle down.

But hitting on the deficit, since when are you Democrats so cost conscientious about what you do with America's budgets?

WYDEN: A couple of points. And we've seen this movie before. What they jack up these deficits, what they -- Republicans and Paul Ryan already previewed this, is they come back and try to cut Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid. We've seen that movie before. So not only are we concerned about these federal deficits and borrowing from other countries, but we're concerned that this puts Social Security and Medicare out there as a big target for another round of cuts.

And then, of course, what we're talking about is essentially our priorities. We're seeing -- and Mitch McConnell said this. The reason Mitch McConnell wants to make these cuts in health care spending is to have the permanent tax breaks for the folks at the top.

Now, I gather on your show you've pointed out that Gary Cohn, the White House Republican advisers, actually asked some corporate CEOs if they were going to put these tax breaks into red, white and blue jobs. They're not going to do it. They're going to give it to their stockholders.

CUOMO: Well, let's -- look, but that's a corporate mandate. You know, they have a duty to their shareholders. This idea that when you give corporations more money, they're going to necessarily raise wages, it just doesn't bear out. Labor scarcity is what drives wages.

Let me ask you about something else while I have.

WYDEN: Well, on that -- on that point, the head of the joint committee on taxation, when we asked him about this claim, this big corporate tax cut was going to increase wages by $4,000, he said, take a look at our model. It's not going to happen.

CUOMO: And, look, you know, I forget which president it was who said, give me an economists with one hand and I'll be a happy man. You know, obviously you're going to get lots of different versions of what this bill might do. And the realities could be very different than the projections. That's often the case.

I want to ask you --

WYDEN: But some of -- some of it is simple, simple math. For example, Senator Brown yesterday, from Ohio, representing a lot of middle class families --

CUOMO: Right.

WYDEN: Said, OK, look, you might get a few hundred bucks in terms of tax relief, but we're looking at maybe $800 or $900 worth of extra premiums in health insurance.

CUOMO: Right.

WYDEN: That family goes further in the hole.

CUOMO: No, I get the concern. We'll have to see the numbers. You guys have to make the case. You're at a numbers deficit in terms of the votes, so it's an uphill battle.

I want to ask you about something the Democrats have been quiet on. Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate. I get that he's not your candidate. But this isn't just about a political play. It should be about moral authority. What do you want to say about the accusations against the senator? Do you believe them?

WYDEN: I believe the women and I don't think this person is morally fit to serve in the United States Senate. I can't be any blunter than that. CUOMO: But there's really not much you can do about it if he wins the

election, right?

WYDEN: Well, there are a host of procedural matters and of course the Republicans were even talking about that. But the threshold question is, do you believe, first of all, in the women? Do you think this person is morally fit. I made my point on those and we have a terrific candidate and believe he's going to win.

CUOMO: All right. Senator Wyden, thank you for being on the show to make your case.

WYDEN: Thank you.

CUOMO: You're always welcome.


WYDEN: Thank you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, President Trump wanted a thank you from three UCLA basketball players after helping them avoid jail time in China for shoplifting. Now he has another message for them. Details in our "Bleacher Report."

CUOMO: And it's the time of year for everything pumpkin. In "Food as Fuel," CNN's Jacqueline Howard explains how some pumpkin can have a pro, some pumpkins can have cons.

CAMEROTA: Pumpkin cons? I don't believe it.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN NUTRITIONIST: Pumpkins are much more than just a seasonal favorite, they're also healthy if prepared the right way. The winter squash is naturally low in calories, fat and sodium and high in anti-oxidants and fiber, the stuff that helps you feel full.

Pumpkin has lots of beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A. A single cup has more than enough to meet most people's daily recommended amount, which is essential for healthy teeth, skin, bones and eyes.

[08:35:05] Beyond pumpkin flesh, pumpkin seeds are also good for you. They're rich in protein and some studies suggest they help control blood sugar.

But be warned, just because something is pumpkin-flavored doesn't mean it has the same health benefits. For instance, canned pumpkin pie filling comes pre-sweetened. That means extra sugar and calories. And if you like pumpkin spice products, keep in mind, many of those foods and drinks don't contain any pumpkin at all. So it's worth checking the label.



CAMEROTA: The reign of power of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe appears to be over. Two sources tell CNN, Mugabe's main rival has returned to the country after yesterday's military takeover. According to a senior opposition source, talks to former transitional government are taking place with military leaders. Mugabe and his wife are said to be under house arrest. Mugabe's decision to fire his vice president and try to hand power over to his wife apparently triggered the military action.

[08:40:13] CUOMO: Police in Tampa are releasing new surveillance video of a suspect in four deadly shootings over the last five weeks. The unsolved killings all took place within a 10 to 15 block area in the Seminole Heights neighborhood. Police say the new video captures the suspect moments before the latest victim, 60-year-old Ronald Felton, was shot and killed Tuesday morning.

CAMEROTA: Two unidentified members of Congress now facing sexual harassment allegations. Women in Congress speaking up and calling out the hostile culture on Capitol Hill.

CNN's MJ Lee is live on Capitol Hill with more.

What did we learn yesterday, MJ?

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Alisyn, these new stories of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill stunning a lot of folks in the building.

First of all, Congresswoman Jackie Speier revealing this week that two members of Congress, who are currently in office, have been accused of sexual harassment. But, to be clear, she is not naming at this point. And when she was asked yesterday whether she has spoken to these two members of Congress, she said that she has not.

And the other story that has come out, of course, is from Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, who shared this disturbing story about a member of Congress -- again, a sitting member of Congress who's currently in office -- who asked an aide to come to his residents and then he answered the door in a towel and then proceeded to expose himself.

So a lot of disturbing stories that are coming out about current members of Congress. Again, all of them so far are unnamed.

And this stories are a big part of the reason why we have seen new legislation come out this week to try to change the culture of sexual harassment, reports on how they are treated here on Capitol Hill. There was a new legislation that was revealed yesterday that would change how the Office of Compliance would deal with these allegations.

And a part of the problem, Alisyn, that they are trying to fix is why members of Congress don't know a lot of information about these settlements. And what we do know right now is that some $15 million have been paying out over a course of 20 years or so for 260 settlements here on Capitol Hill. But, again, we don't know much more than that. We don't know how many of those settlements and how much of that dollar figure actually went towards sexual harassment cases.

And just to leave you with this final thought, to show how little members of Congress know about this issue, Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan, aides to both Pelosi and Ryan, telling us yesterday that these two members, these leaders in the House, were not aware of the settlements and the details surrounding the dollar figure that I just mentioned, the $15 million that were paid out over a period of 20 years or so.


CUOMO: MJ, thank you very much.

We are talking about a very difficult culture change. And the victims need to come forward. It needs to be safe for them to do so. They need to be believed when appropriate. But we need to see other people getting charged -- involved, especially men.

That takes us to the next story. Rapper Drake up there on stage killing it in his show in Australia and all of a sudden he stops and he does it to call out an audience member who he believes was groping a woman. Watch it, real time.


DRAKE: Yo, stop that (EXPLETIVE DELETED). If you don't stop --if you don't stop touching girls, I'm going to come out there and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you up, dude. If you don't' stop putting your hands on girls, I'm going to come out there and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up.


CUOMO: The audience loved it, but there's a bigger point here, right? Drake is the latest celebrity speaking out against sexual assault and harassment. We don't know the details of what happened in there, but it's important. You got to have men involved in this. They are the --

CAMEROTA: That's great.

CUOMO: Biggest part of the problem. They need to be part of the solution.

CAMEROTA: I mean it looks like he saw something happening. It looks like the woman was signaling that it was unwanted and he called it out. I mean, there you go.

CUOMO: That's not OK>

CAMEROTA: That's a pretty simple formula right there.

So, the UCLA players arrested in China for shoplifting thanking President Trump for helping them get out of trouble. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Hi, Andy.


This "Bleacher Report" is presented by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

And President Trump, well, he asked for a thank you yesterday on Twitter and he got it. And this morning he tweeted to the UCLA players, you're welcome. Go out and give a big thank you to President Xi 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. Now, President Trump spoke with Chinese President Xi on the three UCLA players' behalf while he was in China and the players are grateful.


LIANGELO BALL, UCLA BASKETBALL PLAYER: I would also like to thank President Trump and the United States government for the help that they provided as well.

CODY RILEY, UCLA BASKETBALL PLAYER: To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf.

JALEN HILL, UCLA BASKETBALL PLAYER: And thank you to the United States government and President Trump for your efforts to bring us home.


SCHOLES: And UCLA's athletic director confirming that the players stole from three different high-end stores while they were in China. And Coach Steve Alford, Chris, said that the three players are going to be suspended indefinitely from the program. They're going to have to earn their way back on.

[08:45:09] CUOMO: Yes, we haven't heard a lot about that part of it yet, you know, It's good for their families and for their sake that they've gotten out of China and good for the president for helping. But what's going to be done with them now? That's a big part of the story.

Andy, thank you very much.

SCHOLES: All right.

CUOMO: So "Orange is the New Black." You know the show, very popular, about life behind bars for women. How real is it? What is it really like? How about in max security prison. You do not get to look inside very often. But, guess what, we're going to take you there, next.


CUOMO: All right, did you know that the fastest growing segment of incarcerated Americans is women? For many it's hard to maintain relationships, let alone start a new one, when you're on the inside. But this week's episode of our HLN series "Inside" with me goes inside Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. It is New York State's only max prison for women. And the types of people you meet, and their backgrounds, will surprise you. [08:50:17] All right, now one prisoner, her name is Eva (ph), and she

was able to do something that's very, very hard to do behind bars. She found love.


CUOMO (voice-over): And now Eva has another life event she never saw coming, that started with sending in a personal ad on a pen pal website.

EVA: The pen pal website ad said I'm not looking for any pity, I'm not searching for any pennies, nor do I want a pen pal. But what I need are lots of prayer and a potential partner.

CUOMO: A 47-year-old man in Canada wrote her back and included a photo.

EVA: And then I opened the picture and I was like, oh my God, and I lost it.

CUOMO: The man's name was Stephane, athletic, well to do, handsome. It all seemed too good to be true.

EVA: So I ran to my best friend's room at the time, she's home, and I said, this is Mr. Perfect, this is McDreamy and I'm going to go write him right now and, yes, I ended up -- it was a 20-something page letter. Yes, I didn't leave anything out.


CUOMO: Joining us now is that man.

Stephane, it's good to see you.


CUOMO: All right. So let's get after it. You know, when people hear this story and they see you, they're going to be like, what? What was this guy thinking? Satisfy their curiosity because people feel, why would you want to get involved with someone in prison, let along someone who's in there for the things that your beloved is?

STEPHANE: Right. Well, it didn't start as a romantic relationship right away. The way it happened, in fact, I was watching a program on TV where inmates would receive troubled teens at the prison, try to scare them, reason them and send them to the right path. And I thought it was a pretty good program.

I had a friend at the Canadian Department of Corrections who (INAUDIBLE) been interested. So I made some research about the program and doing this research I fell upon this website where prisoners were putting ads. And I saw this beautiful picture of a woman with a very majestic pause with a -- some kind of a sad but pride look within a beautiful little ad. And I thought to myself, she's looking for a pen pal. Yes, I have some time. Why not do that? I travelled a lot. So I wrote her a nice letter telling her, listen, as you've been in

prison for a long time, I've traveled a lot, why can I be your eyes to the world? My name is -- I introduced myself. And she responded with the most magnificent letter I had ever seen. She was so excited. It was moving. And maybe a month later I went to visit her. And from pen pal we became friends and then lovers.

CUOMO: Now, key fact, you didn't fall in love with Eva and then learn about her crimes. You learned about her crimes and then fell in love with Eva.

STEPHANE: Exactly.

CUOMO: How do you fall in love with somebody who has multiple homicides in their background? And they're ugly crimes.

STEPHANE: Yes. Well, it's -- it's an exam of the human mind. It's really looking at this person's past, looking at this person today, try to use your emotional intelligence and see, is this person -- do we believe in gravitation (ph)? I made that choice to commit romantically with a person that has committed serious crime, but in America (INAUDIBLE) every day. Every day there are hundreds of people that are released from prison with ten, 15, 20 years, you know, that they've done behind bars for serious felonies. Are we going to trust them to give them job? Are we going to give them a second chance? That's what you're asking in your documentary, is a second chance possible? (INAUDIBLE) this person, how she had changed and improved. I thought that she was rehabilitated and she deserved a second chance.

CUOMO: So you put your heart and your mind at ease about who she is as a person, but now you have the practicalities. You want a life with somebody who may never get out of there. How do you reconcile that, your desire to be with someone who you may never be able to truly have?

STEPHANE: It has to go with the level of love. In our circumstances, the level of love was so high and so mutual that I decided, I am ready to live that life. I am ready to leave my country, change jobs. I left a good job and have this kind of life, see her once or twice a week, which we have a beautiful time with together. We chat like friends for hours and hours. I (INAUDIBLE). I was ready for that kind of life.

CUOMO: You know, now, I'm not going to give it away. We want people to watch the documentary and see what the journey between Stephane and Eva has entailed. But I will tell you this, when I learned about you, you know, I don't mean to sound like a cynic, but I was like, there's something wrong with this guy. I will find it. And you have led a great life. Eva believes that you are an angel in her life. And I know that you believe she's done even more for you. So it's going to be a very interesting journey for people to take. Thank you for coming forward --

STEPHANE: Thank you very much, Chris.

CUOMO: And let us -- letting us tell your story. All right, that's Stephane. You can see the whole documentary tomorrow

tonight. "Inside with Chris Cuomo" airs at 9:00 p.m. on HLN. You have never been inside a place like we're going to take you tomorrow night.

[08:55:07] "The Good Stuff," next.

Thank you.


CUOMO: "The Good Stuff." Thanksgiving is next week. One Texas police officer wants to make sure that people impacted by Hurricane Harvey have a place and a meal to celebrate. Officer Tony Valdez (ph) teaming up with the locals VFW to host a free Thanksgiving feast this Saturday in Dickinson.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring everybody you can. Bring all your friends and family and have us some good fellowship and comradery there. And that's what it's all about.


CUOMO: Beautiful. Even better, the Galveston County Food Bank is sending out 1,000 Thanksgiving gift boxes to the community. It is such a hash tag, we are all in it together. They are still so hurting down there in the Harvey affected areas of Texas. We've got to care for each other.

[09:00:09] CAMEROTA: Great to know.

All right, time for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow.