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McConnell: Schumer, Pelosi Show Lack of "Seriousness"; Schumer Speaks after Cancelling Meeting with Trump; Trump to Speak on Tax Fight, North Korea Launch; Senate Tax Bill to Go to Next Stage as Holdout Votes Yes; North Korea Launches Ballistic Missile Towards Japan. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired November 28, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: So talking to my colleagues next to me.

We were going over why would Chuck and Nancy, the Democratic leaders show up if they were insulted by the president, but at the same time does that mean why wouldn't they show up. But when you heard Mitch McConnell saying, if Barack Obama did this, I would still go, you say what?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's a false hypothetical. Because Obama was a president who would never send a tweet insulting his Republican counterparts at any point right before he had a meeting with them. We have a president who is lowered our standard to such a degree that we have accepted it. Accepted this normal. And unfortunately, we can't continue to do this if we expect to get anything accomplished. We've gotten 11 months and haven't gotten health reform and won't get this tax reform if it's jammed down their throats in one month because president isn't serious about leadership.

BALDWIN: You, sir, the last word.


BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I will say this. I think the point he was making is very clear. If you are going to be a leader you have to show up. And if someone says something you don't like you still show up. Your job is not to be Nancy Pelosi, your job is to be elected official for the people that voted you in. And your job is to go and advocate for them regardless of who the president is, whether you like him or not. This was a stunt by the Democrats today, and it was a stunt that put I think themselves before the American people. And that's a sad day for politics.

BALDWIN: Ben Ferguson, and Keith Boykin, gentlemen, thank you so much.

With that, I'll take you back to breaking news. North Korea, after being quiet, North Korea has fired a ballistic missile. The White House said the president was briefed on this while the missile was still in the air. More on what we are learning about the launch, including the White House full response, coming up here on CNN.


[14:36:23] BALDWIN: Back to our breaking news out of North Korea. We know they have now fired this ballistic missile. And we are told the president of the United States was briefed while the missile was still in the air.

With me now, Christian White, a former special envoy to North Korea on rights and the author of "Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War." And Sue Mi Terry, former CIA North Korea analyst.

So welcome to both of you.

And, Christian, first to you.

We are hearing that Japan's chief cabinet secretary just held a news conference saying the missile launched from North Korea around 3:18 in the morning their time. Could possibly land in Japan economic zone. And again, the word out of the Pentagon calling it A probable missile launch.

It has been quiet. What do you make of this?

CHRISTIAN WHITE, FORMER SPECIAL ENVOY TO NORTH KOREA ON RIGHTS: You have to ask if there is a political element to the schedule or is this just an ongoing development it was their time in schedule to necessary this weapon as they work toward their goal of an ICBM that could deliver a warhead reliably to north America. This comes on the tails of U.S. North Korea state sponsor of terrorism. Dropped in the Bush administration. And other condemning actions against North Korea. So there has been some recent political developments. It will be interesting to see if that warhead if it slashed into Japan whether it was on the east or west side of Japan. Which will determine whether it over flew Japan. These early indications, the fact the president was briefed about the missile launch while the missile was still under way, fairly significant, not short range, but just something that had some distance to it.

BALDWIN: Sue Mi, to you.

I was talking to some of our correspondents in the region who covered this all the time and making this point about the timing of this. When you look back on the calendar where they were launching variety of missiles, mostly after dawn, and this was, you know, in the middle of the night, 3:00, 3:15 in the morning there. Doesn't fit the pattern. What do you think?

SUE MI TERRY, FORMER CIA NORTH KOREA ANAYST: That's unusual they shot this off in the middle of the night. Maybe they were worried about intercept. But, look, I don't think any -- this comes as a surprise to a lot of policy makers or Korea watchers. And I don't think North Korea testing this missile test is in response to the United States.

BALDWIN: You don't?

TERRY: No, I don't. North Korea was going to do this anyway. I never bought this argument that North Korea was trying to get back to negotiation. This lull in testing, this 20th missile test this year was seasonal or technical, who knows why they were waiting. But I don't think they were trying to get off -- I'm pretty convinced they are on this path of trying to complete their nuclear missile program and not going to get off this path any time soon. And I also see more provocations forthcoming, too.

BALDWIN: And what about if this lands in Japan financial zone? We know threats of Guam. If it took a different trajectory and around the Japan waters and we don't know if it went over Japan. How big a deal is that?

It's pretty big deal. But not enough. Also big deal. Look, North Korea is very deliberate. Kim Jong-Un is very deliberate about what they do. So they need to do something that's a little bit more provocative than normal but not provocative enough to invite military action. So this is probably very well calculated if that's the case.

[14:40:10] BALDWIN: OK. Sue Mi, Christian, thank you so much.

On that we'll keep an eye on that story as it continues to develop here.

Also learning about the Republican race for votes to pass their tax bill. Moments after the president met with Senate Republicans, we are now hearing the president will be speaking. Stand by for that.

Here is Chuck Schumer. Let's actually listen. This is the Democratic leader, minority leader in the Senate.

CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We need to reach a cap deal to increase defense spending as well as domestic programs that the middle class relies on for jobs. We need to write an omnibus appropriations bill. We need to extend funding for community health centers, reauthorize CHIP, past disaster aid, and protect DREAMers.

Now in order to get all this done in a few short weeks, all parties need to engage in good faith negotiations to reach an agreement. That's what we hoped would happen at today's White House meeting. Unfortunately, the president had other ideas. With his tweet this morning, the president with his tweet this morning, President Trump made sure that today's meeting is nothing but a photo op. These issues are far too serious for these kinds of games.

Mr. President, it's time to stop tweeting and start leading. There are serious questions that must be answered. And many things that must be done. Democrats and Republicans on the Hill have come together on government funding before. In April, Speaker Ryan, Leader Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi and I worked together to avoid a shut down. The four of us have worked together before. And we Democrats are ready to do it again. So if President Trump doesn't want to get involved with this, if he President Trump says he's not interested in cutting a deal, then we suggest that Speaker Ryan, Leader Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi and I sit down, we can come up with a good deal on our own. And that's what was done before. That's what can be done again. As I said, there is serious issues in front of us. We don't have time to waste. We don't have games to play. We need to fund the military. We need to protect millions of American pensions, fund scientific research and student loans. We need to rebuild in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and California and protect the DREAMers.

If the president reverses course and decides he wants to be a constructive force, working with both sides to forge a bipartisan deal, we are happy to meet with him anytime, anywhere, any place. But as long as he remains a destructive force, it will be a waste of everyone's time to continue working with someone who clearly has no interest in coming to an agreement. We hope the president in order to avoid this calamity will change his mind. The president and our Republican friends run the House and Senate. They have a responsibility. A responsibility not to let the government run out of funds. We are willing to work with them. But they have to do it in a bipartisan way.

Senator Durbin?


The tweet that the president released this morning concerned me in one particular respect. There is only one immigration bill that is pending before this Congress that is being taken seriously. Senator Cornyn, the Republican whip just addressed it. It's one we all know very well. It's the president's decision on September 5th to eliminate DACA protection, 780,000 young people who came forward, paid the filing fee and went through a criminal background check, submitted all their information to our government, are currently protected from deportation and given a right to work. President Trump announced in September 5th that as of next year that would end. And with the end of that protection it means disastrous consequences for thousands of these young people. He called on Congress to antibiotic. And as Senator Cornyn said, it's our responsibility to act.

How did the president describe this challenge this morning in his tweet? He said that the Democrats were many calling in favor of illegal immigrants flooding into our country unchecked. Illegal immigrants flooding into our country unchecked. The Dream Act requires that if you are eligible, you have to have been in the United States for four years. We are not talking about people flooding into the United States, we have talking about those who have lived their lives in the United States being given a chance to earn their way to legal status and citizenship. That is the challenge before us. We need a president who will work with us to solve the problem which he created on September 5th when he abolished DACA. We need a president who doesn't use this. We can sit down and do this on bipartisan I'm convinced of it. Senator Graham is doing this, it can be done, but we have to stop the tweeting, and instead sit down and meet our responsibility before the end of this year. It can be done. Not with these tweets.

[14:46:01] BALDWIN: We heard from Republicans. Now you are getting response from Democrats. You heard one of the overarching themes from the Deme up on Capitol Hill stop the tweeting, Mr. President. You heard from a man supposed to be meeting with the president. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi should be en route to the White House, but are not because of the treat from president this morning essentially saying they are not open to a deal. And when we listen to Chuck Schumer, he's saying they are willing to work with Republicans but want to work with Republicans who are willing to work with them, the Democrats.

Jeff Zeleny is standing by. He's our senior White House correspondent.

Jeff Zeleny, as we listen to him and how the president is being destructive. You now have news we are about to hear from the president himself.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We are, indeed, Brooke. Around 3:00 or so, perhaps a little after that, the president will be speaking from the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Now, we do not know the exact topic of this but likely some type of statement about the missile launch that happened earlier in North Korea. We heard the president there at the very end of his meeting on Capitol Hill when he was asked the question by a reporter if he had any comment on that missile launch, he said we will be saying something shortly.

That is one indication that he will address that. He could also talk about the tax plan which is happening on Capitol Hill that discussion. But of course, at 3:00 initially just a sign of how busy of a day this is, Brooke, he was scheduled to be meeting with leaders. Republicans are still coming up here from the meeting after the president speaks. But watch, in the next 10 minutes or so, at the top of the 3:00 hour on the east coast, for president to address all of this going on from the Roosevelt Room of the White House -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: OK. We will see you and the president there momentarily, talking potentially North Korea, tax reform.

But let's pivot back to Capitol Hill. Because we are continuing to follow the news on tax fight and this Republican hold out has made a huge announcement.

Sunlen Serfaty is the one with the news.

Sunlen, who are we talking about?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, we're talking about Senator Ron Johnson how he would likely vote no in committee. But emerging from lunch today he told Dan Bash he is now a yes in the committee on this tax bill vote.


SERFATY: So that, of course, was key vote that watching for. Important that this bill gets out of the committee. Intention is to get that out of the committee today. And they were faced with this potential that Johnson could vote no. Faced with huge embarrassment, not the least of which the bill could be stalled. So this means likely the committee will pass the bill through today that is of course no other people have concerns. Republicans only have 12-11 majority there, standing in that committee. So if no other Republicans raise their hands of concerns, this will most likely mean it will be pushing forward to Senate vote.

I've been talking to a lot of Senators leaving the lunch they had with President Trump today and I have to say the overall mood is optimism. Multiple Senators saying they are working through speed bumps. Issues. Just spoke with Senator Lindsey Graham. He said he had a side meeting up here on Capitol Hill before the lunch. Also met with Susan Collins and Senator Alexander with President Trump. That side meeting focused on getting Susan Collins on board. And Lindsey Graham saying after that meeting he believed that they could count on her vote again pushing forward past today the Senate vote, pushing the vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate -- Brooke?

[14:50:00] BALDWIN: That is important piece of news, not only for the Senate committee but Republicans.

Thanks very much, Sunlen, on Capitol Hill with the latest.

I have Nathan Gonzales with me, a CNN political analyst.

Nice to meet you, sir.


BALDWIN: That's big news Senator Johnson we heard was a New York City thanks to the "Wall Street Journal" and talking to us, now the committee says it's a yes, meaning they wouldn't have to go to some quirky bill 14. This is good news for Republicans.

GONZALES: This is a big deal. But we have to remember that Republicans, particularly the White House has boxed themselves in on this. Because president has chosen to ignore. And focus all the attention on Republicans. So that's why something like Senator Johnson announcement is important because narrow margin of error for this vote.

BALDWIN: I'm thinking big picture. We know leader Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer won't be going to this meeting. Chuck Schumer saying the president's tweet has been destructive. He's about to address the nation in Roosevelt Room in the White House. How does he unify? Does he unify?

GONZALES: It's not about unifying the whole country. The I think the president is focused on getting this bill done. Because Republicans weren't able to get health care done, that increases pressure on taxes.


GONZALES: I think it looks like taxes they are going to get there. But then they are going to have to sell it. That's the thing. Democrats, one of the reasons they are not coming to the table, they feel confident this is a bad bill and pieces they'll use against them in the campaign. Then there is the vote. There is the passage. Then there is the fight over how do actual real Americans feel about the bill when it gets to their home and their pocket books.

BALDWIN: Having a conversation earlier and making the point there seemed to be quite a bit done, northbound gases among Republicans while president was in Asia. Now he's back home and Twitter fingers are afire, which has led to other side stories with members of Congress. I'm just wondering how involved the president should, shall, will be in these waning days in the end of the year?

GONZALES: That's the thing with the president, you don't know what you'll get. Tomorrow is going to be a good example, when the president goes to Missouri, where Senator Murkowski is. What kind of message will the president - will he put pressure on the Senate to vote for the final bill or will we be talking about NFL or something else? You don't know what you'll get and where the message is going to go.

BALDWIN: Let me play a little bit of sound. Nathan, this is Lindsey Graham. This is what he was referring to a while ago.



SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Yes, we met with Senator Collins, myself and Alexander. I'm very much supporting repealing the individual mandate. But when you do that, CBO says that you'll get a premium increase of about 10 percent for some people. Whether that's true or not -- let's assume it's true -- I think it's important that Alexander, Murray, Collins and Nelson, move forward if we repeal the individual mandate.

So the president said in the meeting, he said if we pass a tax reform plan that repeals the individual mandate, I'll make the CSR payments, and Collins and Nelson language attached, and do it as soon as possible, that would be funding the government December 8th. He also said that he supports the idea of the $10,000 property tax deduction, because Senator Collins is concerned about that, being from the northeast. So I think she has a few other concerns, but her two concerns the president agreed to, which is progress.


BALDWIN: Do we have Dana?

There's Sunlen but let's go to Dana Bash.

She is the one who I believe -- there you are, Dana. You were the one who I think chased down Senator Johnson and broke this news. Tell me how he went from a no to a yes?

[14:54:43] DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what he said in fact I'm in the hallway outside the Budget Committee where he walked in very quickly and cast his yes vote. And the reason he said was because he wants to keep the process moving. And that's exactly the argument that has been used to him and was used to him by the president of the United States we are told by multiple Senators in the lunch that Republicans had with the president just a short while ago. That Johnson had a back and forth. One Senator said to me it was a debate style dialogue, specifically about Johnson's issue. And his issue, as our Phil Mattingly has been talking about nonstop, is the fact that he's concerned that small businesses aren't getting enough of a tax break. And what the president said to him in that meeting is that he understands Johnsons concerns.

Let's deal with it later. First and foremost, let's get it through the Budget Committee. Because if it's stopped here in that vote 245 happened minutes ago it would have been a -- maybe not lights out for the process, but certainly would have given it a very big wound going forward. So this is very much a sigh of relief, you can almost feel it, that Republican leaders are breathing right now. That they got it through this initial process. They can move it through the smooth floor and have the very, very tough debate. That they are going to have.

I'll give you another example of how dicey this is. Senator bob corker also walked in here, bucket committee, he was also a yes. And he said that minutes before walking in here, Brooke, he was given an assurance that there would be a so-called trigger, meaning his issue and his big concern is the deficit. He's concerned that these tax cuts in this bill will end up adding more to the deficit than it already is being advertised as doing and he said he was being told and promised that there would be a so-called trigger, so the tax cuts would stop, that it would no longer be in effect if the deficit got worse, than already thought.

So those are the two examples of the wheeling and dealing. Very important wheeling and dealing that was need, Brooke, to get it through the Budget Committee, and they'll have to do it all over again with different players and with these same players as they head to the Senate floor.

BALDWIN: OK. Dana, don't go too far. Thank you so much for the information on yes votes in committee on Capitol Hill outside of this all-important meeting.

As we wait now to hear from the president of the United States he'll be addressing the nation from the White House.

Let's go through some of the concerns that you heard about. Remember, the White House insists tax reform must include the middle class. So they found someone would save about $850 a year under the proposed plan. But don't forget the Congressional Budget Office came out with this huge negative. 13 million fewer people would have health insurance by 2027. So who else would be affected negatively under the Senate Republicans tax overhaul?

For some answers we have Rick Newman, who is columnist for "Yahoo Finance." He also wrote the book, "Rebounder: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success."

So, Rick Newman, I want to spell this out for everyone.

And I appreciate you coming in. And, Nathan, feel free to join in as well.

You compiled the list of what we can call the winners and losers from this plan. So start with the winners, who benefits the most.

RICK NEWMAN, COLUMNIST, YAHOO FINANCE: We think it's going to be first of all shareholders, shareholder class, anyone who owns stock or company, and that is about little more than half of Americans, including 401K and pensions, that's because we have seen increase. That's one group.


NEWMAN: If you live in a state that does not have a high percentage of people making these deductions, state and local income taxes.


NEWMAN: You are better off. So-called SALT provision. The flip side if you are in a state with higher taxes and more likely to claim that deduction, you could end up paying more tax. There will be people ending up paying more tax, we have calculated between 11 million hand 16 million Americans could end up with higher tax bill out of this.

BALDWIN: And lastly 5500 wealthy families.

NEWMAN: That's estate tax.


NEWMAN: So both the House and Senate bill would kill the estate tax. That effects mostly just wealthy families. Because to even pay the estate tax it doesn't kick in until you have a value of 5.5 million or 11 million for a family of married couple. So that's a high threshold and that only effects about 5500.

BALDWIN: Who is hurt more negatively?

NEWMAN: For sure, this thing about the lower income group relates to repealing the individual mandate on Obamacare. This gets a little complicated. But basically, it will end up with fewer people getting subsidies for health insurance, so a net out-of-pocket loss to them. That's not necessarily a loss in taxes, but that's a tax loss. And then again, anybody -- there are people -- a lot of people are like going through their 2016 tax return trying to figure out, wait a minute, they're going to take away what reduction.