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Alabama Special Senate Election; Allegations Against Trump; Trump Benefits from GOP Tax Bill; Watching Alabama's Special Election. Aired 8:30-9:00a ET

Aired December 12, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:33:14] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The Alabama special Senate election features two men with very different stances on key issues. Let's go through a few of them, OK?

The first one will be abortion. Roy Moore wants abortions banned, period. His doesn't recognize Rove v Wade as legal precedent. His campaign won't clarify whether Moore supports traditional exceptions, such as rape, incest or the life of the mother, or how he can take an oath to support the Constitution when he ignores the supreme law of the land if it offends his notion of his faith. Moore's camp accuses his opponent, Doug Jones, of supporting abortions, even inventing the term "full term abortion" to slap him. But Jones says he supports reproductive rights and current laws governing the procedure, only supporting abortion after 20 weeks in a case of medical emergency and says education and access to contraception are the only ways to truly reduce abortion.

Issue two, immigration. Doug Jones says the security of our borders needs to be maintained against, quote, "all threatens," and the way to do that is through, quote, "the most advanced technology possible," and not President Trump's border wall. He supports permanent legal status for dreamers brought here under Obama's deferred action for childhood arrivals or DACA. Roy Moore, on the other hand, calls DACA, quote, "permanent evil" and supports President Trump's border wall and takes it a step further by calling for the deployment of the military to the southern border.

One more issue, health care. Moore calls for the full repeal of Obamacare and, more broadly, for the government to get out of health care, period. He encourages the sale of health insurance policies across state lines and tax credits to keep premiums down. He is not committed to the renewal of CHIP. That's what Jimmy Kimmel was just talking about, the Children's Health Insurance Program. Doug Jones wants CHIP renewed, which covers about 150,000 Alabama kids. Now, these are families that don't make enough for Medicaid, but make too much to get their own plans, OK. He does say both sides need to come together to address the high premiums and out of pocket costs. He's also open to a public option for Medicare.

[08:35:16] There are there issues out there. There are many more. But they're going to have a major impact on Alabama. And you have two men with very different positions. One of them is going to be chosen today as the next senator from the yellow hammer state of Alabama.

So, let's discuss what is important on this with Chris Ruddy, CEO and president of Newsmax Media. He is a friend of President Trump.

Chris, good to have you, as always. Thank you for being with us.

CHRIS RUDDY, CEO AND PRESIDENT, NEWSMAX MEDIA INC.: Chris, thank you for having me on.

CUOMO: Roy Moore. You are not an Alabama voter. You are not voting today. But if you were, would Roy Moore have your vote?

RUDDY: If I was living in Alabama, based on all the known facts I have today, I would not vote for Roy Moore. And one of the reasons that guide me is Senator Richard Shelby, a great conservative, he's known Roy Moore all of these years. I have great respect for Senator Shelby. He's saying he would vote for neither candidate.

That said, I'm disturbed about these allegations that are made. But I'm also very disturbed that the press dropped this bombshell two weeks -- the guy's been in public life for 40 years. One of the accusers has come forward, made allegations about a yearbook. She has now admitted that she embellished or made fraudulent comments and said it was written by Roy Moore when it wasn't.

I mean when you have people like this making allegations, committing fraud about the allegations, and I completely understand the president, I understand the people of Alabama who are saying, look, I don't want a kangaroo process here. I don't want the Washington media dictating.

Al Franken, I don't think he should have resigned from the Senate. I think he deserved due process. The -- serious allegations. But this thing where we're convicting people in the press is very disturbing to me.

CUOMO: Fair point. You do know, being in the business as long as you have, it's not easy for women to come forward.

RUDDY: Right.

CUOMO: There was a lot of reporting that went on with this. There was a lot of corroboration. You know, we make this a he said/she said times six or eight or whatever --

RUDDY: Right.

CUOMO: But there was a lot of corroboration around these stories being told earlier in time. We must point out for the record, there's nothing fraudulent according to the accuser or her attorney. An annotation was added to the note to identify who Roy Moore was at the time. The note that she says Roy Moore wrote and signed, she did not adulterate in any way. That is a meaningful distinction.

RUDDY: Well, usually if you commit fraud in one aspect, it undermines credibility. CUOMO: There is no fraud in either. She said she made an annotation --

RUDDY: Well, she's -- she fabricated part of it.

CUOMO: No, she didn't fabricate --

RUDDY: And she said it was written by him and it turned out --

CUOMO: Right, she says the first part was written by him.

RUDDY: Her own stepson -- this is Gloria Allred's witness. Her own stepson says that she made up the allegation. I don't know if it's true.

CUOMO: Hold on one second, though. If I sign a baseball for you --

RUDDY: Right.

CUOMO: OK. And then after my note, "Chris Ruddy, love having you on the show. Thank you very much. All the best to you," signed "Chris Cuomo."

RUDDY: Right.

CUOMO: And you add after it, "New Day host, 2017."

RUDDY: Look --

CUOMO: Did you do something fraudulent?

RUDDY: I believe -- I live in a country where you're innocent until proven guilty and you're not convicted by a bunch of newspapers and online websites --

CUOMO: Right, you are falsely convicting her of fraud right now, Chris, that's why I'm calling you on it.

RUDDY: And -- so -- well, she's admitted --

CUOMO: That is not fraud.

RUDDY: She's admitted that she embellished --

CUOMO: Added something.

RUDDY: She claimed that that was all written by him. She has since changed her story.

CUOMO: No, she just --

RUDDY: Look, if I write a check --

CUOMO: Right.

RUDDY: And the check is generally written by me, but then somebody writes the signature and -- CUOMO: No, but that's not what this was. It wasn't a signature. It

wasn't the signature.

RUDDY: Well, look, just seeing a pattern --

CUOMO: It was just an identifying phrase, that's all, just to keep it straight.

RUDDY: Look, I think Donald Trump looks at this and he says, I was victimized by this. Two -- I was in public life for 30 years. I owned a modeling agency. I owned Miss Universe. International celebrity. Women were probably chasing him down the street all his life. And yet there was never a single allegation, both public or private, against him in 30 years except --

CUOMO: How do you know?

RUDDY: Well, we know that there was never one made public. There just simply was never one made public until two weeks before the election.

CUOMO: But why would they have been made public when he had never run for anything before?

RUDDY: Right, he was a very well-known star.

CUOMO: He'd never said it wasn't -- that tape hadn't come out rubbing it in the women's faces.

RUDDY: Chris, so many people have come out and made allegations. You don't have to be running -- and he had already been running for president for two years practically and he had run previously or announced that he was thinking of running, right?

And all these allegations come out two weeks before? And some of them are people like -- one of them claimed that Donald Trump accosted her on the ballroom in Mar-a-Lago in the middle of a charity event with 700 people there. I've been there with the president at many of these charity events. He is like ice. He's not grabbing people. He's not touching. He's shaking hands. He's being very cordial --

CUOMO: But you weren't there at that event in question?

RUDDY: No, but I -- anybody that knows how they -- that system flows knows it's ludicrous --

CUOMO: Right, but you have to take each case as its own. They brought forward some young lady from a teen (ph) thing. Says, I don't think I ever saw Trump there, but she wasn't there at the competition in question.

RUDDY: Look, the American --

[08:40:06] CUOMO: So I'm just saying the facts -- the facts matter.

RUDDY: Every -- well, the press reported the facts as they were -- as they were known and the American people voted very decisively to make Donald Trump president. So there was a decision by the public about it.

CUOMO: Right, but the question is, did they get all of the information? Not that it's going to undo the election, but that's a political debate now. No question. Certainly not a legal one.

Let me ask --

RUDDY: Well, the shame of it because it should be legal. It shouldn't be just politically --

CUOMO: But you're not going to have any venue for this.

RUDDY: The three women that came out yesterday, all Hillary supporters. One was a donor. The film that they're doing was backed by George Soros. It's a political -- it's not --

CUOMO: Maybe they were Hillary supporters because of their experience with the president.

RUDDY: So, to me, that's all politically motivated. That's just --

CUOMO: But, look, it is politics.

Let me ask you something else about politics, what the president tweeted this morning.

Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, total flunkie (ph) for Chuck Schumer. Someone who would come to my office begging for campaign contributions not so long ago, in parentheses, and would do anything for them. Now in the ring against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill and crooked. Used.

I don't understand what the last part means, but I only care about the parenthetical.

RUDDY: Well, Bill Clinton supported her and she's been criticizing -- she also attacked Bill Clinton.

CUOMO: Right, but on the -- on the basis of these allegations.

RUDDY: And she's -- and we all know, being here in New York, she's thinking of running for president, may run against your brother, who's also apparently --

CUOMO: For Senate -- for governor?

RUDDY: For president of the United States.

CUOMO: Oh, Andrew has no intentions of running. Thank you very much.

RUDDY: Oh, OK. Is that breaking --

CUOMO: But as long as she doesn't run for governor, we're OK.

RUDDY: I can break that story on Newsmax today?

CUOMO: That would create loyalty (ph).

Absolutely. You can ask him all day.

RUDDY: OK. All right.

CUOMO: Tell me if he gives you a different answer.


CUOMO: So, Chris, don't distract me. Back to this tweet. What did he mean with his parenthesis, and would do anything for them?

RUDDY: I don't -- look, I'm not the --

CUOMO: Would you write that?

RUDDY: I'm not the president's interpreter of tweets.

CUOMO: Would you write that?

RUDDY: I've got so many other things I'm busy with.

CUOMO: I know, but would you write that?

RUDDY: My personal thing is the president should have those tweets reviewed. Tweeting is --

CUOMO: In this climate would you write that?

RUDDY: Oh, in this climate, the president should have the right to reach 50 million people through Twitter. I like that. But I just --

CUOMO: You like the message he just sent, though?

RUDDY: I think he needs to have a review process.

What he's pointing out is the hypocrisy people like Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer were up in his office holding fundraisers. They were his buddies. And now that he's a Republican, and supporting policies they don't like, they're out to destroy him.

CUOMO: This is a man who brought to debates accusers of Bill Clinton, saying, don't forget these women. Don't forget, even though their stories had been out there.

RUDDY: Right.

CUOMO: But now when the same thing is being done with his accusers, he says it's fake news and it's people like you who are friends that come on to defend it as being unfair victimization.

RUDDY: Well -- well, so -- I'd like to, full disclosure, I'm a friend of Bill Clinton and I think he was a great president. And I would hope that Donald Trump and Bill Clinton could work together, because I think Bill did some amazing things. But, remember, those women came after politically Donald Trump was accused of sexual harassment. I would not have done it. I think we should not be talking about these issues unless there's legal evidence to support their claims.

CUOMO: What does that legal evidence to support the claims?

RUDDY: Due process. It's like we live in a constitutional republic. So if I accuse you of bank robbery, I better damn well have the evidence of it. And as a member of the press, you shouldn't have me on CNN saying Chris Cuomo robbed a bank unless I had evidence and real proof. Something 20 years ago in the hearsay evidence I think we --

CUOMO: Well, it's not hearsay, right, it's direct evidence from someone who says it happened to them. And then the question becomes, what's the corroboration. What can they offer? And you have to do that vetting.

RUDDY: It's -- I'll change it. It's called they say. It's somebody making up an allegation, true or false --

CUOMO: No, no -- yes.

RUDDY: And then --

CUOMO: They make it up, it's not false.

RUDDY: Chris, there's a woman that claimed that she was groped by the president in the first class cabin of a plane. There's a witness that sat right across. She can't even remember the year she was on the flight, where the flight was going.

CUOMO: But this guy randomly remembers an event that happened all that time ago and remembers exactly what didn't happen. That you're comfortable with?

RUDDY: She's a supporter of Hilary Clinton. And it took 40 years for her to make the allegation. I mean, the public's voted on this. They've looked at it very carefully.

You know, the funny thing about Donald Trump is, you know, Nikki Haley said, oh, well, every woman has a right to be heard. Donald Trump's not stopping any woman from being heard. They all should be heard. But, let's --

CUOMO: She didn't say they have a right to be believed, though. She was caution her statement.

RUDDY: But let's look at the -- let's look at the evidence and --

CUOMO: Absolutely.

RUDDY: And I think there's a failure here to break down on the media.

I personally think we need something like the South Africa Truth Commission, where there was an general amnesty that people that came forward with their behaviors. Some of these behaviors go back 20, 30 --

CUOMO: Is there amnesty for the people who did it?

RUDDY: Well, I think there should be a way of coming --

CUOMO: That was about apartheid.

RUDDY: Well, I'm using that as an example where we have a process where these allegations are aired --

CUOMO: Right.

RUDDY: People look into it. An independent commission looks into it.

CUOMO: Would you support that here if Congress put together an independent commission to look into the allegations against the president?

RUDDY: As long as it involved Democrats as well and was bipartisan, all of this could be looked at. I'm fine with that.

What I don't like --

CUOMO: I don't think the president would like that.

RUDDY: What I don't like is the Democrats are coming in, and we had a number of senators calling for his resignation, a number of them are also running for president, like Cory Booker. This is -- and Gillibrand. They're so using this, Chris, for political motivation to hurt the president.

[08:45:01] CUOMO: The president did the same thing in his campaign when he brought forth the accusers of bill Clinton just a few weeks --

RUDDY: You know why they're doing it? You know why they're doing it?

CUOMO: Because it hurts is why they're doing it.

RUDDY: No, because the market -- the stock market's the highest ever. Because job confidence is the highest ever. Gallop's small business index is off the charts. Consumer confidence. They can't stand the fact that Donald Trump is having such incredible accomplishes, border controls. He's cut illegal immigration down by 60 percent without sending troops down to the border, without building a wall. He's not getting credit for any of this. But --

CUOMO: So you don't think we need the wall then?

RUDDY: I don't like the wall. I'm not a -- I don't think it -- he's -- Donald Trump's created a wall. It's a virtual --

CUOMO: I don't want to -- Chris, I appreciate these opinions.

RUDDY: I'm pro-immigration.

CUOMO: I don't want to get you in too much trouble. RUDDY: Another full disclosure, I'm pro-immigration, but I also think

the border should be secured. Eighty percent of Americans --

CUOMO: All right, everybody does. Everybody does.

But, Chris Ruddy, I appreciate you making these points.

RUDDY: Thank you.

CUOMO: I appreciate you pushing back on points. You're always welcome here on NEW DAY to do so.

RUDDY: Thank you, Chris. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: Best of the holidays to you and your family.

RUDDY: Merry Christmas.

CUOMO: To you as well.


CAMEROTA: OK, Chris, President Trump has repeatedly called the GOP tax overhaul bill a Christmas present for the American people, but how much in it are actually gifts for his own family? We break that down, next.


[08:50:14] CAMEROTA: The House and Senate are busy reconciling their two tax bills. Whatever the outcome, President Trump says he will not benefit. Is that true?

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now with the facts.

What do you see?


We really wanted to dig into these provisions.

The president says the tax bill will cost him a fortune. He is keeping his tax returns secret, so it's impossible to know how the plan affects him. But key elements of both proposals help the president, help his family and his businesses.

Like, tax cuts for pass-throughs. Trump owns hundreds, hundreds of pass through businesses. That's when a company's profits pass to the owner and they're taxed at the individual rate. For somebody like Trump that means the top rate of 39.6 percent. The House lowers that bill to 25 percent, while the Senate bill reduces taxable income, lowering the tax rate. Either way, that's a nice tax cut for the president.

There are also goodies for the Trump family business real estate. Both plans lower the tax on income from real estate investment trusts, a tool the Trumps and the Kushners use. The Senate version allows bigger deductions on commercial property, while the House plan won't cap interest deductions on the industry.

And, finally, both plans keep a tax break for golf course owners. That, of course, benefits the Trump organization, which owns multiple courses.

And the Alternative Minimum Tax, the AMT, the House bill repeals it, the Senate bill keeps it, but fewer people have to pay it. How would that help the president? Remember, two pages of his 2005 tax return leaked in March. It shows Trump paid $31 million because of the AMT. Without the AMT, he would have owed just $5 million that year.

Finally, the estate tax. It currently taxes inheritances on estates of $5 million or more, like President Trump's. The House bill repeals it. The Senate bill doubles that amount, you guys. Four -- just four of the provisions that very clearly would benefit a taxpayer like Donald Trump and his family.

CUOMO: Yes, I mean that AMT and the estate tax, they have functionally gotten rid of it by making it so exclusive, making limits so high, and certainly he would fall into both of those buckets.

Christine, as usual, perfection.

Voting is underway in Alabama. Voters are going to make their choice. This has been bitter, but it is an important Senate election. Alabama is in the national spotlight.

David Chalian joins us now with the key factors we should be watching for today.

What is "The Bottom Line," brother?


Listen, let's just remember what a huge, uphill climb it is for a Democrat in Alabama, period. Donald Trump won by 28 points just last year in the presidential election. Let me give you three key things to watch as you look at the returns come in tonight.

First, we're going to show you Winston County. This is a huge Republican county. This is where Roy Moore needs to run up the score. Not a ton of voters there. A rural county. But, remember, this is where we're going to look to see, is he bleeding support in his own party? Is Republican turnout not where it needs to be in a ruby red county.

We also are going to look at the African-American turnout for Doug Jones, the Democrat. Montgomery County is a place to look for that. Can he run up the score big there.

The thing to remember about the African-American turnout, it's necessary for Doug Jones, but it's not sufficient. Look at those 2008 results from the presidential race with Barack Obama. He had record African-American turnout that year and yet he still only got 39 percent of the vote statewide against John McCain. So, again, it wasn't sufficient to get him over the hump. You need it, as a Democrat. They need a big turnout among African-American voters.

Take a look at the overall African-American vote in the presidential election last year, 89 percent Clinton, 8 percent Trump. You'll probably see similar numbers, if not even better numbers, for Doug Jones among African voters tonight. But the big question is, what percentage of the overall electorate is African-American? That core, Democratic base vote. That is going to be key because you'll see a big divide like this for Doug Jones tonight.

And then, of course, remember the primary, the runoff between Roy Moore and Luther Strange. You remember Donald Trump was with Luther Strange, the losing candidate. By the way, if Roy Moore loses tonight, Trump will be 0-2 in Alabama this cycle. But this 45.4 percent that the establishment candidate got by reaching out to country club Republicans, suburban Republicans, the non-Moore, Bannon crowd, that's where Doug Jones is going to be looking to see if he can peel some of those Republicans away to help him over the finish line defeating Roy Moore tonight. We'll see if he's able to do it.

CAMEROTA: Hey, David, how about women? Are they a factor?

CHALIAN: They are. This is actually where the women play a huge factor, Alisyn, because Luther Strange was able to get some of those suburban women who were not necessarily comfortable with Roy Moore -- remember, this was before the allegations came out -- that's where Doug Jones is looking tonight. Some reliable, Republican women, suburban voters in Alabama around some of the key cities, will they just be unable to cast their ballot Republican this time because of Roy Moore. That's an area that Doug Jones and his campaign have been targeting.

[08:55:10] CAMEROTA: All right, so state officials say they predict that there will only be something like 20 to 25 percent voter turnout tonight. You know, really low. It's a special election.

CUOMO: Two weeks before Christmas.

CAMEROTA: Right. All of that.

CUOMO: And it's the only election on the slate for them to go out for.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Right. Good point. So what does that mean? Only the diehards turn out?

CHALIAN: Well, certainly, this is no doubt about motivating base voters to get out. That's where we are right now. Nobody's trying to persuade anybody at this point. But it -- it is tough to say just simply low turnout favors one or the other because it's the composite of the electorate that shows up that is going to matter most. That's what I was saying. If we see record African-American turnout, if Doug Jones is winning over more Republican votes than a Democrat normally could, he could possibly put together the brew he needs to be a Democrat that wins in Alabama, which is not something we've seen for quite some time. But it's not just knowing overall turnout won't help us understand. It will be the composite of the electorate where we'll start to get understanding tonight as to who that may benefit.

CAMEROTA: You've done a great job of explaining all of that. What time do polls close there?

CHALIAN: They close at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. We should see results start trickling in shortly thereafter. Probably a little bit of a trickle at the beginning. A little later in the evening, we'll get the bulk of the votes maybe between the 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. Eastern Hour.

CAMEROTA: OK. We'll be watching. Thanks so much for the cheat sheet, David.

CHALIAN: Thanks, guys.

CUOMO: Who comes out to vote and what is their motivation? That's going to be the acute concern in this. We'll be watching it all day.

CAMEROTA: All right, so CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman 2will pick up after this very short break.

We'll see you tomorrow.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.


[09:00:00] The breaking news this morning, the president attacks women who accuses him of sexual misconduct, insults a sitting U.S. senator who has called for his resignation because of those accusations, and endorses an accused child molester who stands for election today.