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Names of Navy Members who Died in Plane Crash off Japan Released; President Trump Names Mick Mulvaney to Head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Terrorists Attack Mosque in Egypt; Roy Moore and Doug Jones Locked in Alabama Senate Race; Republicans in Congress Continue to Attempt to Pass Tax Bill; Man Brings Lung Cancer Survivors to NFL Games. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 25, 2017 - 10:00   ET



[10:01:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone, so grateful to have you with us, I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell. CNN Newsroom begins right now, and we start with breaking news. The Navy has identified the three sailors killed when their plane crashed off the coast of Japan.

PAUL: Lieutenant Steven Combs is one name, and then Matthew Chialastri, and airmen apprentice Bryan Grosso. Those are the men. CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us on the phone now. Barbara, what are you learning?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to both of you. These names now being made public by the Navy according to protocol. They have notified the families and then they wait 72 hours, basically, before their names are made public so the families can at least have some time for grieving privately.

The next steps are going to have to be to see if they can, quite bluntly, locate the wreckage of the aircraft at sea, is there any way they can bring up the wreckage, will that give them clues about the cause of the crash, will they find the remains of those three who were lost? It was in a very extensive search and rescue effort by both U.S. and Japanese forces, according to the Navy covering some 1,000 square miles eventually of ocean. So it was a very broad, very intense effort, and, of course, eight people were rescued from the crash, and they are said to be in good condition now. The next steps being sorted out about what they will do as the investigation goes forward into trying to find out what happened, why the plane crashed. Christi, Martin?

PAUL: Barbara Starr, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

SAVIDGE: CNN military and diplomatic analyst Rear Admiral John Kirby joins us now on the telephone. We've heard Barbara sort of outline it there, admiral, but what is going to happen next? REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST (via

telephone): Well, she did a great job sort of laying out the next steps. In addition to what the Navy is going to do for the investigation, but also they are going to be wrapping arms around these families. You know, they've been given a few days to process this terrible, terrible news, but the Navy won't let go. They will have an officer assigned to them to walk them through the entire process here of grieving and the benefits that come from losing a loved one in service, and the Navy will stay with them throughout. There's no question about that.

They also will be looking to what remains of those rescued and making sure they are getting the attention and care that they need. And then finally, the investigation will proceed with or without the aircraft, and it will really depend on the depth of water and the weather conditions whether or not that's possible to bring it up. But the investigation will be as thorough as possible.

And the other thing, Martin, that you'll see is when this investigation is over, the Navy will be very transparent in public about it. They will make public their findings, they will talk about the lessons that they've learned from this, and they'll try to correct anything that needs to be changed moving forward.

PAUL: And based on what you know, Admiral Kirby, you said the investigation will be ongoing with or without that wreckage, whether they can pull it up or not, but what do you think -- on the surface as you look at this, are there any changes that stand out to you that need to be made to avoid something like this in the future?

KIRBY: I think it's too soon to say specifically right now. Until they really have a better understanding of what caused this aircraft to go in the water. Now, when you look at the three biographies of the sailors that they listed, one of them was aircrew. He was assigned to the squadron flying that aircraft, so it falls to reason that some of the aircrew survived, because there's more than one person on an aircrew on an aircraft like that. So we can assume at least some of the eight were assigned to that aircraft and that aircraft squadron and survived. So there will be a key source for investigation about what happened in the final minutes.

[10:05:00] But honestly, they'll be looking at everything. From pilot, error to weather conditions, and anything that may have malfunctioned on the aircraft itself. I will say, and I think it's important to note, this particular model aircraft has an extraordinary safety record. Only three crashes since 1980. This will be the fourth, and this will be the first one of the four to have any fatalities associated with it. So it's an old aircraft design, but a very, very safe model.

PAUL: Rear Admiral John Kirby, we so appreciate your insight. Thank you, sir. Certainly, thoughts and prayers going to the families. As you heard him say there the Navy is going to wrap their arms around these folks and these families and be with them for the long haul at the end of the day. So our prayers and thoughts with them, as well. All right, in other news this morning, another big story is this

confusion after there are dueling directors that are nominated to the nation's top consumer watchdog group. The White House just weighed in, and they are downplaying some of the drama we've seen thus far.

SAVIDGE: Not surprising, really. The CNN White House correspondent Abby Phillip just got off the phone with the Trump administration. Abby, who's going to be in charge come Monday?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to the White House, they are saying on Monday, Mick Mulvaney, who is the current Office of Management and Budget Director, and who was last night named to be the interim CFPB director, will be in charge on Monday, and they still expect the deputy director to show up for the job, even though Richard Cordray on his way out said he wanted her to be the interim director. The White House is basically saying Trump's decision is a routine, it's very normal. This is the way that the process is supposed to work, and they don't expect any drama or any legal fights. Now, Mick Mulvaney is a vehement critic of the CFPB, and let's take a listen to some of the things that he's had to say about this agency that he is about to lead soon.


MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: It's a wonderful example of how a bureaucracy will function if it has no accountability to anybody. It turns up being a joke, and that's what the CFPB really has been in a sick, sad kind of way because you have an institution with tremendous authority over what you all do for a living, over your businesses, over your members.


PHILLIP: So it's not clear whether or not Mick Mulvaney will be chosen by Trump to be the permanent director of the CFPB. The White House is saying an administration official told us this morning that the president will make a choice in the coming weeks, and that person will have to be confirmed by the Senate. Christi?

PAUL: Abby Phillip, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

So, Martin, let's talk about this agency.

SAVIDGE: Yes, what does it do? Many people maybe mystified, but actually it does some very important things as far as protecting all of us financially. According to the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill, the watchdog group has several accomplishments aside from just keeping tabs on Wall Street. More recently it forced Wells Fargo to pay full refunds to customers after employees set up those phony accounts. The bureau also giving $130 million to service members, veterans, and their families that were harmed by predatory financial practices. And then it made credit card costs more transparent, saving consumers more than $16 billion in fees.

PAUL: So, Michael Calhoun is with us, the president for the Center of Responsible Lending. Stephen Moore, CNN senior economics analyst and former Trump economic adviser with us as well. Gentlemen, thank you both for being here, we appreciate it. Good morning.

Michael, you told "The New York Times," and I want to quote this here, that "Naming Mick Mulvaney, someone who's adamantly anti-consumer, rewards financial predators and fails to put consumers first." Why do you believe that?

MICHAEL CALHOUN, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR RESPONSIBLE LEARNING: Director Mulvaney has publicly said that he opposes the very existence of this consumer protection agency, which as you've noted, has returned more than $15 billion to working families and provided protections that they need for financial services. It's not a sad, sick joke to those families. They need that protection now.

And it's what we have today is an attempted backdoor procedure to avoid the clear provisions in the law. Congress deliberately and very explicitly set out that in the absence of the director, the deputy director takes charge of the agency until there is a confirmed director. And it had two competing versions of that provision, one from the house and one from the Senate, and the House version specifically allowed the procedure that the Trump administration wanted to use.

[10:10:04] That was rejected and instead the Senate language was adopted, and now the administration needs to follow the law in those procedures. And particularly we're going into the holiday season where people are making lots of big financial transactions, purchasing things on credit. The consumer bureau has made that safer for people. We need to build on that, not destroy it as Director Mulvaney has said he wishes to do.

PAUL: Stephen, look, as a South Carolina senator -- sorry, Congressman, Mulvaney, he cosponsored the legislation to essentially kill this organization. What do you say to the fact that the president has now appointed him the interim director here?

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMICS ANALYST: Well, Donald Trump has said he wants to get rid of the consumer financial protection board. This is an agency that -- look, one of the reasons the economy has boomed so much in just the 10 months that Donald Trump has been president has been the very aggressive deregulation, getting government off the back of businesses, letting them succeed.

When it comes to the consumer financial protection board, I just wanted to correct one thing where you talked about the Wells Fargo case. This is a case where this is probably the biggest financial scandal in a decade, and the CFPB, which has a multibillion dollar budget, was asleep at the wheel. It never even exposed this. This was exposed by the media and other private investigators.

PAUL: Didn't they get fines from Wells Fargo?

MOORE: The problem was they didn't detect this. We've got these hundreds and hundreds of regulators, what were they doing when the biggest financial scandal in a decade went, you know, right over their heads and they never even saw it coming? They have to be accountable for that kind of mistake. PAUL: So are you saying you think the bureau has to go away


MOORE: Yes. We already have about five or six different consumer financial protection agencies in the federal government.

PAUL: But they have brought in the millions of dollars and fixed things the way this bureau has.

MOORE: Sorry?

CALHOUN: And in the case of Wells Fargo, they imposed a record fine, a record fine against Wells Fargo. We just had the Equifax breach. You need the consumer bureau exactly for those reasons. Who's standing up? You need this consumer bureau.

And listen, the public has no doubts. We do an annual poll, and voters of all parties overwhelmingly support the consumer protection agency and the specific rules that it has put in place and proposed. So the public is clear on this. They need and they want these protections, and that's why this administration is trying to do this undercover, backdoor procedure rather than going through normal order. This could all be resolved quickly. The administration simply needs to nominate someone, have them vetted, and have them go through the confirmation progress and let people vote on the record whether or not they want to destroy the consumer bureau rather than have it done through this backdoor.

PAUL: Stephen, why would that not work in your opinion, or is that the way to go?

MOORE: One of the problems with this agency is it's one of the strangest agencies ever created by federal legislation. It is not accountable to anyone. Did you know that, for example, the Congress does not even appropriate the money to CFPB --

CALHOUN: And that is the case with most financial regulators. The Congress does have authority --


PAUL: We can't hear both of you if you're both talking.

MOORE: The reason that's such a terrible system is that means the CFPB is not accountable to anyone. We're discovering now that the CFPB is not accountable to the president because apparently the president can't get rid of the director of the agency. It's not accountable to Congress because they don't have control of its budget and its finances.

PAUL: The big question at the end of the day right now, too, is where does this thing go and who's going to head it up come Monday morning when people go back to work. Who was in charge and where do we go from here, that is still a real gray area. Michael Calhoun, Stephen Moore, I'm sorry, we're out of time. Thank you both so much.

CALHOUN: Thank you for having me.

SAVIDGE: Mick Mulvaney is not the only cabinet member who was put in charge of a department he has been critical of. EPA administration Scott Pruitt fought against the Environment Protection Agency. He sued the EPA 14 times prior to taking the job. Then there's former Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price, the former orthopedic surgeon. You'll remember he introduced Obamacare repeal legislation that was the basis for House Speaker Paul Ryan's proposal in June. He stepped down in a scandal back in September after using roughly $1 million in taxpayer money to fly in private jets.

And then let's not forget Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. You'll remember that during the 2012 Republican primary he couldn't recall the name of the agency that he now leads, but wanted to eliminate it.


[10:15:03] RICK PERRY, (R) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The third agency of government I would do away with, the education -- the -- commerce -- and let's see -- I can't. The third one, I can't, sorry. Oops.


PAUL: Now, in one of the most conservative states in the nation, a Democrat has a chance to flip a Senate seat, but can Doug Jones convince skeptical conservative voters to cross that aisle? That conversation is ahead.

Also, new details on the devastating Egypt mosque attack. We're learning this morning Egyptian officials say the number of people killed has gone up. More children they are finding are dead from this, and now we're learning more about the attackers, as well. We have those details ahead.


[10:20:04] SAVIDGE: We're following new developments out of Egypt this morning. The number of people killed in that horrifying massacre at a mosque yesterday has now climbed to 305. This as Egyptian authorities say that one of the attackers entering the mosque carried an ISIS flag. CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman is live for us from Cairo this morning. Ben, what else are we learning from officials?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know is that in addition to the -- among the 305 dead were 27 children, 128 people wounded. Now, what we've heard from the Egyptian public prosecutor in a statement read out on Egyptian television is that five SUVs drove up outside the Rawdah mosque during Friday prayers, midday prayers. They set off some sort of explosion outside of the mosque, 25 to 30 men, some of them in combat fatigues, some of them with their faces masked, heavily armed with automatic weapons went inside the mosque, which contained hundreds and hundreds of people, opened fire for quite some time, clearly from this causality figure. And according to the Egyptian officials, some of these individuals, these attackers, or at least one of them had an ISIS flag, although until now we have yet to hear any claim of responsibility from the terrorist organization itself. Martin?

SAVIDGE: All right, Ben Wedeman giving us the latest on that terrible attack in Egypt. Thank you very much.

PAUL: Well, just two days left now for people in Alabama to register to vote in the upcoming special election here. The question, will the scandals, the accusations, the attack ads change any minds? Or are people just going to stay home?


[10:26:25] PAUL: Always so glad to have you with us, I'm Christi Paul.

SAVIDGE: And I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.

The White House is defending its decision to appoint Mick Mulvaney as the acting director of the nation's top consumer watchdog group.

PAUL: Yes, this of course comes after the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau stepped down at the stroke of midnight last night, probably while you were sleeping, and when doing so named Leandra English to the post. The Trump administration says this is routine. They do not expect any legal challenges to their appointment of Mulvaney, but Senator Elizabeth Warren sees it differently. She tweeted last night, "The Dodd/Frank act is clear, if there is a CFPB director vacancy, the deputy director becomes acting director. President Trump can't override that."

SAVIDGE: Monday is the deadline to vote in Alabama in a close race that could see a Democrat flip a seat in a deep red state.

PAUL: Republican Roy Moore isn't giving back giving up, though. Instead he's firing back again against allegations that he sexually harassed and abused multiple women.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five state campaigns, 40 years of honorable service. Roy Moore has been intensely scrutinized and not a hint of scandal. But four weeks before the election, false allegations skewed by liberal elites and the Republican establishment to protect their big government trough. But we know a vote for Roy Moore means conservative judges, tax cuts, and rebuilding the military.

Roy Moore, the right choice.


PAUL: For more, here's CNN's Kaylee Hartung.


KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The name dominating national headlines for more than two weeks. We know Roy Moore is running for the U.S. Senate, and his campaign is in trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were girls when Roy Moore immorally pursued them. Now they are women, witnesses to us all of his disturbing conduct.

HARTUNG: But what about the other guy, the challenger to the man accused of being a sexual predator?

RICHARD DIXON, BIRMINGHAM CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: What we're getting nationally is, oh, Alabamians would vote for a pedophile over a liberal Democrat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this circumstance, yes.

DIXON: OK, you're saying it flat out then.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yep, absolutely.

DOUG JONES, (D) ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: I feel like my record speaks for itself.

HARTUNG: In the red state of Alabama, where Republicans have held every statewide office for the last 25 years, the blue label of Democrat is drowning out Doug Jones' name to some even while his opponent is drowning in scandal.

JONES: We're staying in our lane as best we can. Obviously to some extent it's a distraction.

HARTUNG: Born and raised in Alabama, the 63-year-old first-time candidate is a long-time attorney, a federal prosecutor who's best known for successfully putting domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph and Ku Klux Klan members who bombed a Birmingham church in 1963 behind bars.

JONES: I'll work across party lines to create jobs and get wages up.

HARTUNG: In the state that elected President Trump by 28 points, victory for Jones requires him swaying some Republicans on the issues. So he's trying to appeal to more conservative voters, focusing on what he calls kitchen table issues -- jobs, the economy, health care. He says he would vote to raise the federal minimum wage and he supports the Affordable Care Act, but for many in Alabama it comes down to one issue. Jones is pro-choice, believing it's an intensely personal choice and supporting the state's current abortion laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn't vote for the baby killer for hell or high water. I don't believe in murdering children.

HARTUNG: Strong rhetoric like that can be heard on the conservative talk airwaves, but in print a different statement. The editorial boards of the state's top newspapers writing, "Stand for decency, reject Roy Moore." This front page above the fold editorial denouncing Moore and endorsing Jones.

[10:30:08] ROY MOORE, (R) ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: I believe in the Second Amendment. HARTUNG: Alabama voters are skeptical of outside influences on this

race, but their choice on December 12th is crucial to the balance of power in Washington.

Kaylee Hartung, CNN, Atlanta, Georgia.


SAVIDGE: In the wake of the allegations against him, Judge Moore's attempt to win over women voters before the election may prove to be difficult. "The Daily Beast" writes, quote, "If Democrat Doug Jones is to pull off a victory, it will be because women knocked on doors, called neighbors, and worked to convince otherwise skeptical voters that his opponent is fundamentally unfit for the office he's seeking."

A few weeks ago that seemed like a tall order. As the election nears now, it is no longer quite so improbable. Patricia Murphy, who wrote that article, joins me now. And why do you think women are going to turn out against Roy Moore?

PATRICIA MURPHY, COLUMNIST, "THE DAILY BEAST": Well, we don't know how many women are going to turn out to vote against Roy Moore, but the women that Doug Jones needs to win are Republican women, moderate Republican women who voted for Luther Strange against Roy Moore the first time. And have those women been activated enough by the accusations against Roy Moore to come out and vote against him? Women who -- and I interviewed a number of them, Republicans have always voted Republican and are planning to vote for Doug Jones.

SAVIDGE: Why would they not just say stay home? In other words, they wouldn't cast a ballot, but in this case they would actually be voting against the party that they supported a long time.

MURPHY: They don't consider Roy Moore to be representative of their party. And again, this is a minority of Republican women. I think most Republican women in the state will certainly stay with their nominee, but the women I talked to had -- they know all about Roy Moore. They've known him for many years. He's been a very public profile figure for a long time. But it's the accusations against Roy Moore and his response to them that those moderate Republican women, particularly suburban women said to me, they're like I'm not going to live in a state and not vote against this man. They were very, very sure that they would do it, and they were calling their friends and asking them to do it, too.

SAVIDGE: Roy Moore, the campaign has come out with a new ad. Let's take a listen and I'll ask you about it on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Judge Roy Moore will bring a flashlight of accountability to Washington, D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Education is important in my generation. Judge Roy Moore is a leader that I can trust.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Judge Roy Moore will stand for the rights of the unborn.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a mom. I carry to protect my family. Judge Roy Moore will stand for the Second Amendment.


SAVIDGE: So, obviously, they are all women, they are all in support of Roy Moore. Do you think that's going to be effective?

MURPHY: I think it's effective for the women he's trying to talk to. Roy Moore at this point is fighting fire with fire. He has admitted to nothing, he has denied everything. He has said these allegations are false, they are agenda by the liberal media. And the Republican women I talked to who are Roy Moore supporters, it's not that they don't think the allegations are serious. They don't believe the accusations. They believe they know Roy Moore and they are not going to believe a newspaper in Washington where this started to be reported. That's not going to change their vote. So it really is coming down to this group of women who are going to really make or break Roy Moore. Ironically it's going to be women who decide his fate in this election.

SAVIDGE: That is so fascinating to contemplate.

What about the president? He indirectly came out in support of Moore saying you don't want that other guy. How much of an impact do you think that will have on voters' minds?

MURPHY: I think for the people, again, Roy Moore is a known quantity in this state, and that is why Roy Moore won the Republican primary in the first place. Voters feel they know him, they even know if they like him or don't like him. The last time around I talked to a bunch of Republican voters, Roy Moore supporters, Trump supporters. They knew the president was not supporting him the first time around and they did not care. They were doing what they were going to do. I don't think outside influence in this race is going to play a whole lot at all. These voters know who he is and they've made up their minds.

SAVIDGE: I agree. From what I found of Alabamians, they don't like anybody from the outside meddling in local politics, and they do consider this race, even though it has national implications, they do consider it a local race. So I'm wondering also, many of the women who have said they support Moore don't believe the allegations that have been brought forward. Is there anything that would likely prove this in the minds of doubters?

MURPHY: I think it would be Roy Moore coming forward and saying I did it, I did it all, and that's just not going to happen. And there will be -- there has been no piece of evidence, there will be no piece of evidence to change these women's minds. And I don't think anything except a full confession would change their minds, and even then there are a lot of other issues these women care about, conservative women who are supporting Roy Moore. I hear a lot about his position on abortion and Doug Jones' position on abortion.

[10:35:02] SAVIDGE: Right, and that's another big moral issue.

MURPHY: That's a significant moral issue. But you have a lot of morality being tossed around in this race. What behavior is important, what matters to me as a voter, 40 years ago, today, you know, it's a very complicated situation. But I talked to a lot of women in Alabama who were really, really conflicted. They are not Democrats, they don't really support Democrats, but they believe these women, and they are not going -- they are not only not going to vote for Roy Moore, they are going to actively work to defeat him.

SAVIDGE: Think it will be close?

MURPHY: I don't know. The polls are all over, and this is a race we won't know until it happens.

SAVIDGE: I'll probably see you out there. Patricia Murphy, very good to see you.

MURPHY: Thank you so much.

SAVIDGE: Thank you.

PAUL: Next, a make or break week for President Trump here. He's promising huge tax cuts for Christmas. The question is, can he deliver? Well, we may be finding out over the next few days. We'll talk about it. Stay close.


[10:40:14] SAVIDGE: A very crucial week lies ahead for the president. You'll remember the promise that he made.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to give the person people a huge tax cut for Christmas. Hopefully that will be a great big beautiful Christmas present.


SAVIDGE: And for the president, a major legislative win would be a big beautiful Christmas present, as well.

PAUL: The only days left to get some support here is this make-or- break vote in the Senate that could come as early as this week. So before that vote, the president is planning to meet with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. That's happening on Tuesday. He's going to speak at a lunch with Senate Republicans to talk about tax reform and the fall legislative agenda, and then he'll meet with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders at the White House.

SAVIDGE: All right, let's talk about this.

PAUL: Joining us now, Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst, Rebecca Berg, CNN political reporter. Both of you thank you so much for being with us. Ron, I want to start with you. What do you believe President Trump is going to say in these meetings on Tuesday to try to win some mileage here?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, the argument has been political, that Republicans after failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act have to do this to convince their voters that they are delivering on what they ran on.

The problem is that this bill is much more of a gamble than it might appear. You know, a Republican president in the first year, they cut taxes. Ronald Reagan did it, George W. Bush did it. The likelihood is some kind of tax cut in the end will pass and the president will sign it.

The problem they've got is that this tax Bill faces two to one opposition in the polls, 60 percent in the Quinnipiac poll last week said it would benefit the rich at the expense of the middle class. And in fact all of the analysis, and particularly the Tax Policy Center analysis found it would raise taxes. The president talks about it as a Christmas gift as a tax cut, well, that's true for some, but it would raise taxes for half of all taxpayers, including 60 percent of those at the middle, and it would particularly go after Democratic leaning constituencies in blue states and in big metro areas.

So for Republicans who are kind of hoping for this to reverse what has been a pretty difficult fall in public opinion, that is a -- that is not at all clear this will improve their position. In fact, it could compound their problems in white collar suburbs where we saw the biggest movement away from the GOP in Virginia.

SAVIDGE: Rebecca, let me expand that. Corey Lewandowski and others say the lack of legislative accomplishments this year on the part of the White House will not necessarily reflect badly on the president but actually folks are going to blame Congress. Do you believe that?

REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, much of the polling actually does reflect that, Martin. And so the president might be right, and certainly his tweeting, his public comments calling out members of Congress, including Republicans, helps his case in that regard.

But ultimately the president is going to want Republicans in Congress and in the Senate to do well in these 2018 midterm elections, and if you have a situation where Republican voters and Democratic voters are blaming the Republicans in control of Congress for a lack of progress, that isn't necessarily going to bode well for Republicans running for reelection at the polls. And so it is in the president's interest to give Congress some credit here, and especially as tax reform makes its way through the Senate, they reach a resolution in conference committee and can send something to the president's desk, it is in his interests to give lawmakers some of the credit for this. He needs to give them some fuel to be able to run for re-election in these midterms next year.

PAUL: So, Ron, what happens next year if the cuts aren't passed by Christmas?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, as I say, this is an extraordinary circumstance, this bill, because it really pushes to the edge, I think, the inherent core strain in the Republican coalition. President Trump was elected primarily because he ran best -- he ran better among working class white voters than any candidate in either party since Ronald Reagan in 1984, and yet in the health care bill and again in the tax bill they are pursuing an economic agenda that sublimates the needs and interests of those voters to those at the very top.

We've had other tax bills, the '81 tax Bill, the Reagan Bill, the 2001 Bush tax bill, that gave fewer benefits to people in the middle than those at the top, but this is extraordinary in that it actually takes away, it raises taxes on a substantial portion of middle and upper middle income taxpayers through a variety of deductions that are repealed based on all the analysis to give tax breaks to those at the very top.

So can they hold the support of the voters that put them in power with a tax bill that is tilted so far away for them? Same kind of question on health care. On health care we saw it took a bite on the president's popularity among working class white voters who did not like the idea of particularly the Medicaid cuts, and we'll see if the tax bill, even if they do pass it, as I said, strengthens their position or deepens some of the problems they are now facing in the middle and upper middle class of the electorate.

[10:45:12] SAVIDGE: Rebecca, next year is really only a couple of weeks away, so timing really that critical?

BERG: Oh, absolutely. Republicans are going to begin to campaigning as soon as the next year begins. You have primaries that come up much earlier in the calendar that many of these Republican incumbents are going to need to consider. And so it is imperative Republicans believe that they pass this, that they pass this soon, get this to the president's desk.

I've spoken with Republicans throughout the year who believe that their chances in the 2018 midterm hinge entirely on this tax reform plan because they weren't able to get health care done, because this is going to be the major piece of legislation that they have a chance to complete before the year's end.

And what's interesting is that in spite of some of the analysis Ron has cited, and he's absolutely correct in that analysis, Republicans do have, based on the conversations I've had over the past few weeks, a very deep conviction that this will end up helping voters and that voters will feel some of the benefits of this bill by the time they go to the polls next November. We'll see if that's the case, but they are making a big bet on this legislation.

BROWNSTEIN: And real quick, I mean, one of the challenges they face is that broad cuts in rates may be less tangible to people than pulling away specific benefits that you can more easily identify, like the mortgage deduction, like the state and local tax deduction, like the student loans. If those are revoked, you can bet the constituencies affected are going to be aware of it. Whether the overall rate changes are as tangible to people, I think, is a very dicey proposition.

PAUL: Good point.

SAVIDGE: Ron Brownstein, Rebecca Berg, thank you both.

PAUL: Thank you both.

So, this morning one position, but there are two appointees to lead the consumer financial protection bureau, two who are supposed to be there. How did this conflict occur? That's ahead.

SAVIDGE: But first, a champion fit master rallied his barbecue buddies to feed those in need when a catastrophic tornado hit Joplin, Missouri, back in 2011. Fast forward to today, his nonprofit operation Barbecue Relief has responded to more than 40 disasters, including hurricane Harvey and hurricane Irma. Stan Hays is one of this year's top ten CNN Heroes.


STAN HAYS, CNN HERO: I've been competing in barbecue for years. Besides being a nourishing meal, it's comfort food. After a disaster, it is extremely emotional. Everybody's lives are on their front yard. So we decided we were going to get a bunch of the barbecue family together and help.

Welcome, thank you guys for coming out.

Over the last six years we've responded to tornados, floods, hurricanes. The core group are all pit masters or grill masters, but our volunteers come from everywhere.

Come on, guys.

Our goal is always to be in an area within 24 to 48 hours after a disaster strikes. We put the word out through different groups, and that way we know where the meals are going.

You guys need any meals?

To know you're a part of picking their spirits up --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have no idea what a hot meal means to somebody who's lost everything they own.

HAYS: It can't help but bring a smile to your face.

It's amazing. Yesterday you put out 43,350 meals. Thank you for everybody that was here.


HAYS: It is people helping people the best way we know how.


SAVIDGE: And you can vote for Stan or any of your favorite top ten heroes right now at


[10:53:22] SAVIDGE: November is lung cancer awareness month, and 12 year NFL veteran Chris Draft is on a mission to change the face of lung cancer.

PAUL: One of my favorites here, Coy Wire and his difference makers.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I can't wait to share this inspirational story on this Saturday morning. "Difference Makers" is presented by the new 2018 Ford F-150. Now, for his team draft Super Bowl challenge, Chris Draft is traveling the nation helping lung cancer survivors raise some badly need research funding that all started after losing the love of his life Keisha to a yearlong struggle to lung cancer a few years ago.


WIRE: About a month after you got married, your wife passed away. How did you cope with that pain? How did you handle that grieving process?

CHRIS DRAFT: My wife helped out with the grieving process, because at our wedding, we didn't just make it a commitment to each other, we made it a commitment to team Draft, we made a commitment to the lung cancer community. So when she passed we continued what was started on that day, and that was standing up for people and changing the face of lung cancer.

The numbers are terrible. Lung cancer kills more than prostate, colon, pancreatic combined. My wife was in amazing shape. She never smoked. She was the picture of health. So how do you get people to care research? They care about people. They don't fight for research because they care about cancer. They hate cancer, can't stand cancel. They fight for it because they care about people.

So I'm at stadiums all over and I'm reminding our survivors that if you believe that anyone can get lung cancer, you're not just fighting for yourself, you're fighting for everybody, everybody in this stadium.


[10:55:07] WIRE: All season long Chris Draft has been taking lung cancer survivors to NFL games across the country as part of his team draft Super Bowl challenge they compete to raise funds and awareness. The winner gets an all-expense paid trip for two to Super Bowl week. if you want to help Chris and survivors help others.

PAUL: So awesome. Coy Wire, thank you so much. Love that story.

SAVIDGE: Thanks for sharing.

PAUL: We hope you make some good memories today and we thank you for spending time with us. SAVIDGE: The next hour of CNN's Newsroom starts right after a very

quick break.