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FOX News Guest Suggests FBI Assassination Plot Against Trump; Trump, GOP Celebrate Passage of Landmark Tax Bill. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired December 21, 2017 - 07:00   ET

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


CAMEROTA: So how is FOX addressing that, to get the real information?

[07:00:04] STELTER: It's a new low of the anti-Mueller, anti-FBI attacks. FOX says it's addressing it with the guest, but there's a word for that. There's a word for it. It's propaganda. And hopefully, people see through it.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. Bill, Brian, thank you both very much.

Thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you CNN NEWSROOM is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The message to the families of America, your tax rates are going down. Your paychecks are going up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Donald Trump delivered.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We essentially repealed Obamacare, because we got rid of the individual mandate.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: The increase in premiums will far outweigh any tax decrease.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE: There is a risk that a failure to negotiate in good faith could lead to a government shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A short-term continuing resolution could get us into January.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've had this month-long investigation by Bob Mueller with no evidence that President Trump worked with Russians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has encouraged this chorus to attack the investigation itself and Mueller personally.

SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VIRGINIA: These truly are red lines and simply cannot be crossed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota. CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Chris is

off. Bill Weir joins me. Another big breaking news day.

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Exciting day for the Republicans and the president.

CAMEROTA: It sure is. There's this celebration at the White House after President Trump's first major legislative win, with the GOP heaping praise upon the president.

But this morning there's uncertainty among many everyday Americans. Many waking up wondering when this will kick in, what impact they'll feel in their wallets.

WEIR: The prayers of all the folks in the accounting department as we figure out what to do with the W-4s. Plus, that bill includes the repeal of the individual mandate, which the president claims ends Obamacare. But does it really?

Adding to the anxiety of potential government shutdown looming over Capitol Hill. Tomorrow is the deadline. And now, lawmakers do not have a spending plan to prevent it. We have it all covered, per usual. And we start this morning with Joe Johns, live at the White House -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Bill, there's been a lot of excitement here at the White House over the tax bill. But one of the few things that could pour cold water on all the enthusiasm would be a government shutdown, because they can't agree on a spending bill. It still seems unlikely at this point, but time is running out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TRUMP: All friends. I mean, I look at these people. It's like we're warriors together.

JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump celebrating the tax bill alongside congressional Republicans after months of attacking GOP leadership over previous legislative failures.

TRUMP: Paul Ryan and Mitch, it was a little team. We just got together, and we would work very hard, didn't we? It seems like -- it was a lot of fun. It's always a lot of fun when you win.

JOHNS: The love fest continuing with Ryan and McConnell gushing over the president.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: There's been a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration.

RYAN: Something this profound could not have been done without exquisite presidential leadership. Mr. President, thank you.

JOHNS: The quick passage of this legislation causing confusion for taxpayers on how they should prepare for the huge overhaul. The Treasury Department and the IRS scrambling to write new regulations. Republicans saying workers will feel the benefits of this tax cut in a matter of weeks.

RYAN: On January 1, Americans are going to wake up with a new tax code. In February they're going to see withholdings go down so they see bigger paychecks.

JOHNS: The tax bill making a big impact on the Affordable Care Act, eliminating the individual mandate, which fines Americans who don't have insurance. The president falsely claiming he's repealed Obamacare. He did not. Republicans tried to do that through legislation and failed.

TRUMP: So in this bill, not only do we have massive tax cuts and tax reform, we have essentially repealed Obamacare. And we'll come up with something that will be much better.

JOHNS: President Trump selling this tax overhaul as a Christmas present for the middle class, with some companies already delivering on the promise. Comcast and AT&T promising $1,000 bonuses to their employees. And Wells Fargo hiking its minimum wage. Meanwhile, companies like Pfizer and Coca-Cola validating Democrats' concerns, saying they'll turn over most gains to their shareholders.

SCHUMER: Is that what you intended? Give more money so they can buy back more stock, increasing the wealth of corporate CEOs?

JOHNS: As the tax bill makes its way to the president's desk, Republicans now have just two days to pass a spending bill to avoid shutting down the government. A closed-door meeting of House Republicans late Wednesday night ending with more questions than answers.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: There are still some administrative steps to be taken before the president gets an opportunity to sign the tax bill. We hear he's anxious to do so and might even sign it from Mar-a-Lago, if necessary.

Nothing on the president's public schedule right now. The big question, of course, is whether he will hold a customary yearend news conference. We'll get back to you on that.

CAMEROTA: Please do, Joe. Let us know when you have any breaking news on that front.

Meanwhile, joining us to discuss all this, we have CNN political director David Chalian; and CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic," Ron Brownstein. Great to see both of you.

So David, let's put up for our viewers what we know what is in, what is out. There's so much uncertainty, obviously, for people waking up this morning, wondering how their lives have changed.

So you know, the president said that the individual mandate has been repealed for -- from from Obamacare. And that means that Obamacare has been revealed -- repealed, he said. Not -- not true. But here's what it looks like. The individual mandate goes away.

This is what comes out. It's effective in 2019. The cost-sharing subsidies that have gotten a lot of attention over the past couple of months, those go away.

Here's what stays in. Medicaid expansion. The pre-existing conditions protections, which arguably was one of the most popular provisions. No lifetime cap on benefits, also popular. The subsidies to low- and moderate-income customers. But is his point taken that, if the individual mandate goes away, the rest can't survive for long?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, there is sort of a house of cards to this a little bit. And so it is a blow to Obamacare. He's wrong that it's repealed. Obviously, you just pointed that out.

And remember, most people who got coverage under the Affordable Care Act got it through the Medicaid expansion. That's where the largest chunk of Americans were able to get coverage previously unavailable to them. So that is still there, of course.

But remember, Alisyn, what was the point of the individual mandate? Why was it in there? It was to basically force a larger customer base for insurance companies so that insurance companies would buy into this whole process. And if you no longer require everyone to have it and you only have, you know, older, sicker people with insurance and no longer are the younger, healthier people who may avoid it forced to get it or required to get it, you start upending the way that the system is built. So it certainly is a blow to the design of the whole system.

WEIR: Yes. You need younger people in the pool to play for the older, sicker people. Let's play this sound bite, the president talking about the mandate and how he sort of hid the ball.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We didn't want to bring it up. I told people specifically, be quiet with the fake news media, because I don't want them talking too much about it, because I didn't know how people are, but now that it's approved, I can say the individual mandate on health care, where you had to pay not to have insurance. OK. Think of that one. You pay not to have insurance. The individual mandate has been repealed.

END VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: Well, some predictions are that repealing that mandate means premiums for everybody could go up 10 percent. Millions of people could lose their insurance there, David. What is -- Ron, what does this say about the relationship with Congress and him and the discipline they had to get this done?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, there are a couple paradoxes here. First, people may not remember, but in 2008 during the primaries -- David will remember -- Barack Obama opposed the individual mandate. That was the big difference between him and Hillary Clinton. He wanted the system without the mandate. He thought the subsidies would keep people in the system without it.

But in fact, as David noted, I mean, the general consensus, I think among all health economists is that, if you withdraw the mandate, what you lose are some of the younger, healthier people who would not buy coverage without it.

And as a result, who are the losers? They are older people with bigger health needs. Well, you know, the Republican coalition is now centered on older white America. A majority of Donald Trump's votes came from white people over 45. And those, particularly in the interior states, which were so important to his victory, will be the big losers in this -- in this shift.

That they are the ones who are most likely to face higher premiums as a result of young people moving out of the system. And I think it is one -- one example of the challenges they will have changing the initial perception of this bill. You know, it's worth noting here that, you know, in the CNN poll yesterday, 33 percent support. Lower than we've seen for any other tax cut, lower than we've seen for other tax increases, and significantly lower, I think most relevantly, than the Affordable Care Act itself in the spring of 2000.

And where the ACA was, which was the low 40s, contributed to the Republican landslide in the fall of 2010. So Republicans do have a lot of repair work that they need between now and next November to make this bill something other than a weight on their prospects.

CAMEROTA: But David, I think there's something else that we need to talk about that's important in what the president just said. He was trying to keep the information away from the press about the individual mandate.

CHALIAN: That means away from the American people. Let's be clear.

CAMEROTA: That's how the public gets information about what's going on in Capitol Hill and the White House, through the press. So he didn't want the American public to know that they were losing the individual mandate.

[07:10:07] CHALIAN: So I actually -- I don't know if you remember there was an event either last week or the week before. He was in the Roosevelt Room, and he hinted at this. He refused to name health care.

But he said, "There's another big, big policy goal in here. We're really thrilled with this other thing in here that shall not be named." And it was clear he was talking about health care.

And at that moment it was astonishing to me that, just plainly on camera, the president of the United States was refusing to name and talk about something he believed was a huge achievement he was pushing for but did not want the American people to know about it or focus on it. He just wanted it to happen. And then he admitted as such yesterday in the cabinet room.

It is odd to hear the president simply say, "I didn't want you all to know that this was happening, but I'm so happy it happened."

CAMEROTA: Yes, it's troubling. I mean, it's troubling to hear the president in his own words say, "We didn't want the public to know this. We wanted to sneak it through."

Now, that said, it was a very poorly-kept secret. We've been reporting on it for weeks, that the individual mandate was there. But still, you saw how gleeful he was that he was able to try to keep it from the public.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Alisyn, I think also it is reflective of the entire process what a closed circle this was. I mean, people -- to understand how extraordinary this was, just remember, Ronald Reagan had two dozen Democratic senators, and 113 in the House voted for his tax cut. George W. Bush had a dozen Democratic senators, 28 in the House. Not a single Democrat in either chamber voted for this bill or was even really involved at any point in -- in negotiating it.

Same thing with kind of outside expert advice. There is no independent economic analysis that concludes anything like what the administration is claiming for the bill. The Penn-Wharton business model, you know, Wharton, which Donald Trump, you know, touts now and then, says it will increase the debt by $2 trillion through 2027 and increase economic growth by 0.1 annually.

Goldman Sachs just put out a projection that it might actually slow economic growth after 2020 because of the increased debt that will be taken on there. This was -- this was a process as Drew Tankersley (ph) reported in the "New York Times" and Republicans essentially walling themselves off from any outside view to pass this bill solely with Republican votes in a way that is tilted toward Republican constituencies and still imposes burdens on Democratic constituencies, particularly in blue states the way it revokes, you know, limits, that the deductibility of state and local taxes.

I mean, this is a very closed circle. And as I said, it underscores what a -- it's a big policy victory, no question. It is an even bigger political gamble.

WEIR: As non-democracy leaders around the world, non-democratic leaders, it's amazing what you can get done when you don't care about public opinion. But speaking of that, our newest polls, David, which party are you most likely to vote for in next year's midterm election? The Democrats 56 percent, GOP 38 percent.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. That 18-point spread there in our latest poll is huge. I mean, that -- that is a huge warning sign for Republicans that a potential Democratic wave is building. We haven't seen a spread like that in nearly two decades.

And if you go inside, you also see how independents are driving a huge part of this. This is a big part of the pieces of the coalition that elected Donald Trump. Remember, independents were part of that for him back in November 2016. They have so drastically peeled away from him throughout this year. It is going to be very difficult for them to try to win them back throughout this year. But that's going to be mission No. 1, because these independent voters live in a lot -- as Ron will tell you -- a lot of these suburban districts were many of these independent House races are taking place. And they're upside- down 15 points right now on the generic congressional ballot among independents.

BROWNSTEIN: And what's real significant to me, real quick, is that it confirms what we're seeing in actual election results. I mean, you look inside this poll.

First of all, every -- there are five -- there are four other national public polls this month with a double-digit Democratic congressional lead in the congressional ballot. And historically, if you look over the last decade or so, usually on election day, it is worse for the party in the White House on election day than it is in the polling in December as a Republican polling firm noted yesterday.

But what's really important, I think, is the polling results are consistent with the actual election performance. You're seeing big margins toward Democrats among precisely the groups that are most disillusioned by President Trump. Minority voters, young voters, and these college-educated suburban white voters, especially women. They were the groups that moved in Alabama, in New Jersey and in Virginia. And they are the same groups that powering this lead in the poll.

But they are all consistent with each other, and they all point to a challenge for Republicans, particularly in those suburban districts.

CAMEROTA: Listen, that said, there's still a lot of runway between here and the midterms. So obviously, we have you guys to help us track all of it. Thank you so much, David Chalian, Ron Brownstein.

So they helped derail the Obamacare repeal effort. But the House Freedom Caucus helped get the Republican tax plan over the finish line. So now the group's chairman says they need to make some big changes. What he wants to do, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Something this profound could not have been done without exquisite presidential leadership.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: This has been a year of extraordinary accomplishment for the Trump administration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, President Trump, for allowing us to have you as our president and to make America great again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK. That was Republicans praising President Trump after delivering his first major legislative accomplishment. The support of the House Freedom Caucus also helped get this bill pass. But that group's chair says the plan is not perfect. Let's talk about all of this and more. Joining us now is Republican

Congressman Mark Meadows of North Carolina. He's the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.

[07:20:05] Good morning, Congressman.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Good morning, Alisyn. Great to be with you. Thanks so much.

CAMEROTA: I know you're having a very good morning after the big legislative win. Did the president do more than Congress to get this bill passed?

MEADOWS: Well, I think he -- he obviously was a leader in all of this. I can tell you I had meetings with him in the Oval Office. where he was into the details. And so he works late at night, early in the morning. In fact, you can't outwork him.

And on this particular issue it was in his sweet spot, what he knows, business, how to get the economy going again. And so he certainly led. You heard that from some of the speakers that were there yesterday at the White House. But also was engaged throughout every bit of the process in making sure that it worked.

Congress obviously had to do its part, both in the House and the Senate. And so it was a major legislative victory that perhaps is historic.

CAMEROTA: I mean, from all the praise, it sounds like the president was almost singlehandedly responsible.

MEADOWS: Well, I can tell you there were times when he was singlehandedly responsible. Because at times when it really came to a point where we had an impasse, I know I got calls from him. I know other members in leadership got calls from him, summoned to the White House and saying, you know, "Can't we work together?"

So the compromise, he was a master negotiator in it. And so you can't understate his role in this process to make sure that we got it across the finish line.

CAMEROTA: OK, so in the next few days, you say that you need to work on legislation to fix this imperfect bill. So what's wrong with it?

MEADOWS: Well, I don't know that that was my exact quote, Alisyn. But we'll take it in that context. Well, you're not quoting me exactly.

But I did say there are a number of things that we have to address. And so I'll be honest with you. We obviously have a good relationship where we can be intellectually honest.

One of the things I think that we need to work on is making sure that those tax cuts that are for the middle-income wage earners and certainly for our small businesses need to be permanent. So Rodney Davis and I have already teamed up, working on legislation to, hopefully, put on the -- on the floor of the House in January. I expect that we will get Democrats to help us with that.

Hopefully, we'll get Democrats in the Senate, as well. Because it's all about making sure that the American taxpayer has more money in their pocket. And so we're already working on that legislation and actually worked on it before we passed this yesterday.

CAMEROTA: And Congressman, just help us understand that. Why is there this shelf life of just eight years with a sunset? I mean, why isn't it permanent?

MEADOWS: I think part of it is two-fold. One is the arcane procedures that we had in the Senate in order to keep a 50-vote threshold, but the other bigger one, and I reached out to a number of Democrat senators and House members, is they made it very clear early on that they were not going to provide one single vote. And indeed, yesterday...

CAMEROTA: It's not their fault that it has this sunset provision. They didn't come up with this sunset provision.

MEADOWS: Well, it's a Byrd rule. And actually, it is their fault, when you look at eight Democrats in the Senate are the ones that could truly have gone and voted and made it permanent.

So if Chuck Schumer had just provided eight Democrat votes on that one issue. He didn't have to do the whole bill. Just on that one issue. It would have been made permanent. So he's going to get a second chance to do that in the coming days. And we'll see exactly, you know, where his heart is on making sure that those tax cuts are permanent for the middle-income wage earners.

CAMEROTA: Look, I don't have to tell you. I mean, we've had Democrats on. They say that they were cut out of the process. They came with ideas that they felt could have been bipartisan, and you rebuffed them at every turn.

MEADOWS: Well, I can tell you that's not true of me. And in fact, I'll be glad to give you a list of a few Democrats that I spoke with, both on the House and Senate side of things. In fact, some of their ideas were rolled into this.

The real problem with most of this is many of our Democrat colleagues saw this as a major legislative win for the president. And so a helping hand maybe in private was given. But in public, there was no way that they were going to actually cast a vote.

So I can tell you that, in terms of the estate tax where we ended up, in terms of the seven brackets versus three brackets, those are all things that some of my Democrat colleagues have put forth these ideas. And certainly, I was able to express that within the confines of the negotiations that took place.

CAMEROTA: I want to ask you about how this adds to the deficit and the debt. House Freedom Caucus. You're the chairman. Doesn't the House Freedom Caucus, in part, stand for freedom from deficits and debt? How did you get to the point where Wharton, the president's alma mater, says that this will add $2 trillion to the debt?

MEADOWS: Well, you know, there are a number of people -- and you're right. I'm a deficit hawk. This -- one of the negatives is, in the short run, this does actually add to the deficit. I would agree with that.

[07:25:09] Here's the other thing, is revenue and the collection of revenue is normally not the drivers of debt. It is spending. And indeed, some of our Democrat colleagues who are saying that we need to address the debt, I'm perfectly willing to work with them on the spending side.

But at the same time that they are criticizing us, giving more money back to the American taxpayer, they're voting for a budget that would have increased the deficit three times what Wharton just talked about just a few months ago.

So -- so let's make sure that the spending side of it -- that's where we're coming at -- we believe that American moms and dads, aunts and uncles back on Main Street do a better job of spending money than we do in Washington, D.C.

So give it back to them. At the same time, we need to make sure that we control the growth of government, not cut it but control it and make it 2.5 over the next decade. And we'll balance over a 15-year period.

CAMEROTA: Speaking of which, what's going to happen with this government shutdown? There's a lot of sticking points still? How are you all going to cobble this together by midnight tomorrow?

MEADOWS: Well, you probably see the bags under my eyes or the red, bloodshot eyes. I was up until midnight. Got up again this morning at 5 to try to make sure that we had the votes. I don't see a shutdown happening. We were negotiating into the late hours to make sure that we, at least, have 218 votes on the House side and send it over to the Senate, hopefully as early as today. Those negotiations are going on as we speak.

I'll leave from chatting with you here to go and try to put forth, really, a coalition to make sure that we have it.

But we've got two options to do there. So all of those viewers that are looking and talking about a shutdown right now really need to be assured that they're going to be able to enjoy Christmas without a government shutdown.

CAMEROTA: And are you voting today on it?

MEADOWS: We're hopeful that we vote later today. That has not been scheduled. Honestly, there's a little bit more work to do. But I believe at the latest, tomorrow morning. And so hopefully, we're breaking news right here with you, Alisyn. But that's a decision that will get made by our leadership.

CAMEROTA: We appreciate. Congressman Mark Meadows, thanks so much for coming on and bringing your perspective.

MEADOWS: Alisyn, thank you.

CAMEROTA: You, too.

Bill.

WEIR: Oh. Ambassador Nikki Haley is putting the world on notice. The U.S. will be taking names on this morning's Jerusalem vote. Is the U.S. crossing diplomatic lines? We'll ask former Senator Joe Lieberman next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)