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Trump Could Sign Tax Bill As Early As Today; Pence's Non-Stop Praise; Beyond The Call Of Duty; Bannon's New Take On Trump. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired December 22, 2017 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IVANKA TRUMP, ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: -- but also having experienced the relief that will be starting as early as February.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: A postcard?

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans here to fact-check a little bit and clarify. No postcards, though.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, CNN ANCHOR: No, no, no, no -- no postcard this year. Ivanka mixing up her dates a little bit here.

The new tax bill won't affect the taxes that you are filing on April 17th of this year. They don't -- that doesn't happen this year. That tax return is for 2017 so it still falls under the current tax code bill.

So when do the new rules kick in? They kick in January first this year. That will affect your 2018 tax returns which you file in April 2019.

Are you following me?

Ivanka also mentioned briefly their release in February and that is true. That is when you're going to start to see the IRS adjusting taxes on your paycheck, withholding less money.

Now, she did later clarify. She clarified her comments on Twitter when someone pointed out her mistake. She wrote that in April, Americans "will be thinking about how cumbersome the old tax code is and energized about upcoming simplification."

But filing your taxes on a postcard definitely not happening this year. Maybe unlikely next year, too, because the tax bill is not the simplification that GOP leaders promised. There are still a lot of credits and deductions to sort through.

However, there are some things that you can do right now to lower your tax bill for next year, like prepay your property taxes. This is for high-tax states -- New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California. The tax bill caps the SALT deduction at $10,000 so if you prepay this year you could deduct them under the old rules for 2017.

Check with your local tax office, though, and see if you can pay right now. Some are allowing it, some are not.

Also, you can defer any income for next year for lower tax rates. Pay any expense that will no longer be tax-free like work-related expenses and tax prep fees.

And make charitable donations ahead of time. You can do this year if you're 20 -- so if your tax rate falls next year, your 2017 deductions will be more valuable.

Here's an example. A married couple earning $160,000, making a $1,000 donation -- they currently have a 28 percent tax rate, saving $280. Next year, that savings though, if their rates falls, is only $220, so you get the math there.

Now, everyone's tax situation, Bill, is different so it depends on things like your income, where you live, if you have children -- all kinds of variables.

CNN has a simple tax calculator that you can use right now. It's live right now to help you on cnnpolitics.com to figure out what your tax burden will be -- what your change will be for next year. So go to cnnpolitics.com if you want to see what your situation is.

WEIR: The president said that the new taxes would be so simple H&R Block would go out of business.

ROMANS: Oh, no. The phones are ringing off the hook.

WEIR: Yes. It's like it got a boon for accountants everywhere --

ROMANS: Yes, yes.

WEIR: -- and a nightmare for all the folks in accounting to take care of your W4s and all of this.

Let's continue this conversation and bring in CNN senior economic analyst, former Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore. Stephen, good morning. Happy holidays to you.

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC ANALYST, FORMER TRUMP ECONOMIC ADVISER: Good morning. I think what I've learned about this is I want Christine to do my taxes next year.

WEIR: We all do.

MOORE: That was a great idea. That was a great idea, Christine. I never thought about pre -- you know, I'm in a high property tax state so I'm going to take you up on that --

ROMANS: You call me.

MOORE: -- and pay my --

ROMANS: You call me.

MOORE: -- 2019 -- my 2019 property taxes in 2018, right? I mean, that was a great idea.

ROMANS: I don't think they're going to let you do that though, actually. You've got -- they're not going to let you do that but they might let you prepay a year.

WEIR: Stephen, the popularity of this tax cut is nowhere near what you would think it would be.

MOORE: Yes.

WEIR: At our latest look, 55 percent oppose, 45 percent --

MOORE: Yes.

WEIR: You know, Obamacare is more popular than this tax cut.

I wonder if it has something to do with the fact that on the campaign the president promised this populist message that he was going to go after carried interest loopholes for hedge fund managers who are making a killing. That's still in there.

This is a corporate --

MOORE: Yes.

WEIR: -- tax cut. Can you admit that?

MOORE: Oh, sure. Well, I mean, one of the chief aims of this, when I got started two years ago with Donald Trump, was to bring our business tax rates down and, you know, we did that in a big way. And that, I think, will add to American competitiveness. So I think that's one of the gems of the plan is making American businesses more competitive so we can create more jobs here.

But look, on this issue of the polls, number one, as someone who worked on the Trump campaign I don't believe the polls too much after they said that Hillary Clinton was going to win 40 states.

But second of all, I think if you look at those polls it's so interesting. What people think is that their taxes are going to go up under this plan because a lot of people in the media have been saying that. I've debated some people here on CNN who said oh, middle-class taxes are going up.

They're not going up under this plan and I do think as people, you know, realize what's really happening with this plan -- and Christine was right starting -- when are they going to change those withholding tables, Christine? I think that --

ROMANS: Starting February.

MOORE: -- you know, February or March, yes. So that means people will start to feel maybe another $50 or $100 in their paycheck each month, and I think they're going to like that.

My -- Moore's political rules, nobody ever lost an election for cutting taxes but the graveyard is full of politicians who've raised taxes. So I think it's a good thing for the party and a good thing for the country.

[07:35:09] WEIR: The president likes to talk about this being the biggest ever -- it's not. I mean, Reagan had the biggest both in tax cut and tax increase. And if you look at that, Obama had two tax cuts that were greater than this one.

But they also point to companies like AT&T who are promising $1,000 bonuses for 200,000 employees as a gesture that this is working. But there's more motivation there than just --

ROMANS: Well, I mean, there's also -- there's tax benefits for doing those bonuses right now as opposed to next year for some of these companies.

I mean, look -- I mean, companies do things when they can afford to do it and when it's good for their own bottom line.

And they can afford to -- some of these companies that are raising the minimum wage, I think it's so interesting. There's a -- there's a demand -- a worker shortage in this country at the moment, right? So raising minimum wage also behooves them.

By the way, I think 20 states, January first -- their states -- their minimum wage is going to rise anyway because the states have voted to do that.

So I'm hoping that next year, Bill, is the year of higher wages for people. If we really do have a tight labor market the way they say, wages should start to go up.

WEIR: Right. This is --

MOORE: Well, Christine, that was always our objective, you know, when we got started on this. We really did want to orient this towards benefitting middle-class people who haven't had a pay raise in 15 years.

Now, you know, we can argue about whether cutting --

ROMANS: But the middle-class benefits in here are temporary and I know you think that they'll never let them expire. But the temporary nature of the middle-class tax relief and the permanent nature of the corporate tax relief, it's one of the reasons why I think the polls are so negative about this tax reform --

MOORE: I think that's true.

ROMANS: -- because people say oh, come on, this was a corporate tax vehicle. They put a little bit of --

MOORE: Right. ROMANS: -- temporary relief in for the middle-class to sell it the way the president wanted to sell it. But really, the focus was on companies.

MOORE: Well, you know, I was a little bit involved in the decision- making on that. We had to put about a $3 trillion tax cut in a $1.5 trillion box.

And the strategy here is -- we're not dumb. We knew that the things that were most popular with the Democrats was the things like the child credit, the doubling the standard deduction. And so we said well, let's make those things temporary because even if the Democrats take over Congress they'll extend those. And the things Democrats don't like too much, which is cutting the business taxes, let's make those permanent.

But, I mean, we fully expect that those middle-class tax cuts will be -- and by the way, that's seven or eight years from now. I mean, the world's going to be a different place seven or eight years from now. But whatever Republicans do, H.R.1 in 2018 should be to make all of the tax cuts permanent.

One other quick thing. You mentioned the carried interest loophole. I am so frustrated that we did not get rid of that. That was the big hedge fund managers that carried the day here and it's just frustrating.

And I'm with the American people. Why didn't we get rid of the carried interest loophole? They should be taxed at the same rate as everybody else. I don't know if you agree with that, Christine.

ROMANS: A lot of loopholes still in there.

WEIR: A lot of loopholes. And ultimately --

MOORE: There are.

WEIR: -- the reporting I've seen is it came down to New York Republicans. They know that Wall Street is their bread and butter --

MOORE: Yes.

WEIR: -- and they weren't going to let that thing -- that loophole close.

MOORE: A lot of those people are Democrats, too. I mean, you know, a lot of those guys on Wall Street are, you know, big Democratic contributors as well.

But look, it was -- it was a flaw in this bill. I think a lot of Republicans are frustrated with it.

There are -- you know, Christine, you're right. We wanted to clear out a lot more of those loopholes in the plan -- in the tax code and we weren't able to. We got rid of some of them but not enough, and maybe that means when we talk about a new tax bill next year to clean up that mess.

WEIR: And maybe then Ivanka can get her postcards. I don't know.

Stephen Moore, thank you so much. Christine Romans --

ROMANS: Really small print on that postcard.

WEIR: Yes.

ROMANS: That postcard -- you're going to have to use like a magnifying glass to be able to read it.

WEIR: Little muskrat there.

Merry Christmas to both of you.

ROMANS: Thank you.

WEIR: Thanks for enlightening us.

MOORE: You, too.

WEIR: All right -- Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Bill.

Steve wants to talk about a new tax bill next year? Wow. That's quite a Christmas gift, Steve. Thank you.

So, Vice President Pence heaps a lot of praise on President Trump. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm deeply humbled as your vice president to be able to be here. Congratulations and thank you. We are making America great again.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.

PENCE: Thank you, Mr. President and God bless you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: All right. Jeanne Moos has something to say about this. She takes a look at the lovefest, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:43:25] CAMEROTA: So, a strong showing for Obamacare despite the Republican effort to kill the program. Eight point eight million Americans signing up for coverage in 2018. That is 400,000 fewer than last year.

However, the enrollment period was also cut in half. Nearly 2.4 million customers are new to Obamacare. The final numbers are also expected to grow because people hit by

hurricanes have until March to sign up.

WEIR: The face of Papa John's pizza chain is stepping down as CEO. Company founder John Schnatter will leave next month.

He created a controversy when he apparently connected slumping sales to NFL players protesting during the National Anthem. The company, which is an NFL sponsor, later apologized.

Schnatter will remain chairman of Papa John's.

CAMEROTA: Apple coming clean, admitting that it is slowing down older phones. The tech giant issuing a rare statement explaining it has used software updates to limit the performance of older iPhones that might have battery issues and abruptly shut down.

Apple insists that this software -- that these updates for the iPhone 6, 6S, and SE, and iPhone 7 are designed to ultimately prolong the battery's lifespans, not to force people to buy new phones.

Color me skeptical.

WEIR: As an aging model of a human being, I have the same software.

CAMEROTA: Is your battery slowing down?

WEIR: I shut down right as soon as the show's over.

CAMEROTA: There you go.

WEIR: Vice President Mike Pence just ended his surprise visit to Afghanistan as vice president. But here at home, his constant praise of the president has social media buzzing, and CNN's Jeanne Moos has more.

[07:45:10] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He may be the vice president but he is the applauder in chief --

TRUMP: In the history of our country --

MOOS: -- leading the cheering section, practically mouthing along with the president.

TRUMP: We are making America great again. You haven't heard that, have you?

MOOS: At the last cabinet meeting, Vice President Pence outdid himself.

PENCE: Congratulations and thank you.

I want to thank you, Mr. President.

MOOS (on camera): "The Washington Post" even timed the flattery.

MOOS (voice-over): "Pence praises Trump once every 12 seconds for three minutes straight." Then he went outside and did it all over again.

PENCE: Thank you for your leadership, and thanks to the leadership of this commander in chief.

MOOS: Already said that once.

PENCE: Thank you for your leadership.

MOOS: Already said that twice

Twitter snickered. "The ritual submission and exaltation is nearly pornographic."

TRUMP: Very impressed.

MOOS: Along with laughing at his boss's jokes, Mike Pence has perfected the art of the gaze.

TRUMP: He likes action.

MOOS: The adoring gaze often accompanied by the nod. Nodding almost to the beat of the maestro's gestures.

TRUMP: Thousands of new American jobs.

MOOS: The V.P.'s gaze is so loyal, so consistent, that it's been compared with lovestruck children's characters.

MOOS (on camera): There's one name that keeps popping up to describe how Vice President Pence fixes his eyes upon the president.

MOOS (voice-over): It's Nancy Reagan eyes aimed lovingly at her husband.

But a worshipful stare seems wasted when the president forgets you're there.

TRUMP: I want to thank Mike Pence. He is --

MOOS: A Republican media consultant tweeted wistfully, "I want someone to look at me just once in my life the way Mike Pence looks at Trump."

The president picked Pence as his political dance partner. Now Pence has to do it his way.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WEIR: Have I told you how amazing this dress is? It is an honor to share a set with a broadcaster of your abilities. I'm trying to talk --

CAMEROTA: Go on.

WEIR: -- and say 15 compliments in three minutes. Let's see if I can break Pence's record.

CAMEROTA: Go on, we have time.

Wow. I mean, and just to put a finer point on it, you should go to "The Atlantic" and read McKay Coppin's piece about Mike Pence's history and why he does this.

WEIR: Yes.

CAMEROTA: There's a whole backstory about what this may be according to Pence's close -- you know, some confidantes and old friends --

WEIR: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- about what he's doing there.

WEIR: There's some motive behind the butter.

CAMEROTA: There may be.

WEIR: Yes.

Steve Bannon just gave a revealing interview and shares his feelings about the president, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and his own future. It's really something. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:52:07] WEIR: This is a great story. A San Francisco police officer finds a way to help at least nine families, and it all started with surfing the Web.

CNN's Stephanie Elam shows us how she went beyond the call of duty.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNA CUTHBERTSON, OFFICER, SAN FRANCISCO POLICE DEPARTMENT: I listened to a story about a woman that donated through a Web site.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): San Francisco police officer and Army veteran Anna Cuthbertson hadn't considered organ donation before.

CUTHBERTSON: It looks like personal ads. People that need different body parts. The more I looked into it, the more I realized that there wasn't a reason not to.

ELAM: instead, on the Web site she found a very compelling reason why she should donate her kidney -- Joan.

JOAN GREALIS, KIDNEY RECIPIENT: All along, she's been pretty miraculous.

ELAM: Joan Grealis has kidney disease. For five years she was on a wait-list for a new one.

GREALIS: Someone in my kidney support group had heard about matching donors so I found it online and I enrolled myself there. To my amazement, within an hour Anna called me.

CUTHBERTSON: Joan is about the age that my mother would have been if she was alive. Joan's got kids that are about my age.

And I just imagined if I'd had my mom back, you know, what would I have done to -- you know, how far would I have gone to have kept her?

ELAM: Cuthbertson sees a correlation between her career in uniform and her desire to give.

CUTHBERTSON: I think that my time in law enforcement and my time in the military I spent trying to make a difference to somebody, this was instant gratification for me.

ELAM: During the months of testing the women forged a bond.

ELAM (on camera): Were you at all let down when you found out that she wasn't a match for you?

GREALIS: Yes. I think she and I would have both liked that very much.

ELAM (voice-over): But being part of a kidney-paired donation program other duos with the same problem were found so that matches could be made among them. In all, nine people got a new kidney thanks to Anna's generosity.

CUTHBERTSON: You bring a good kidney to the table and suddenly a whole list of people are able to get a donation.

GREALIS: It's magical. It's things of which dreams are made and can bring tears to my eyes.

ELAM: Joan's kidney came from an anonymous man in Southern California but she considers Anna her donor.

GREALIS: I may not have gotten her kidney but without her doing what she did I wouldn't have gotten a kidney either. She has a big heart.

ELAM: A big heart and a healthy kidney, both of which she willingly shared to help a stranger.

Stephanie Elam, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, that is so beautiful. The angels among us --

WEIR: Yes. CAMEROTA: -- this week. This wonderful holiday week. That's a great piece.

WEIR: The heart of the servant really giving everything.

CAMEROTA: That's so true.

OK. Meanwhile, let's talk about this. The new profile of Steve Bannon discusses his role in the White House. He discusses his former boss, President Trump. He discusses what he's doing now and what he wants to do in the future.

[07:55:04] So one part of this "Vanity Fair" article that's getting a lot of attention is this passage.

"Bannon has also remarked on the toll the office has taken on Trump, telling advisers his former boss has lost a step. He's like an 11- year-old child, Bannon joked to a friend in November."

Let's bring back in CNN political analyst Josh Green. He is the author of "Devil's Bargain," which of course, provides key insight into Donald Trump and Steve Bannon and their relationship. Josh, great to have you back.

So when you hear in that article that the president has -- the Bannon thinks the president has lost a step and has the -- I don't know -- personality or attention span of an 11-year-old, what have you heard Bannon say on that front?

JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK, AUTHOR, "DEVIL'S BARGAIN": Well, that rings very true about the way that Bannon speaks about the president when he becomes frustrated, usually not on the record to reporters for a magazine profile.

But clearly, Bannon went into the administration in the beginning with high hopes to kind of lead a nationalist rebellion and remake government in Trump's image, and almost from the get-go the Trump administration went off the rails.

And part of the reason for that, Bannon believes, is that Trump could never concentrate on the task at hand. That he was too distracted by Twitter or what have you, and he really didn't have the mental acuity to stay focused on the job of being president.

So it's a bit of a shock to see that kind of sentiment in print but the "Vanity Fair" profile lays out in wonderful detail, I think, how Bannon really views Trump in the first year of Trump's presidency.

WEIR: There's some, also, vicious quotes about Ivanka -- a font of bad advice throughout the campaign.

And there was one quote in the piece where a White House, you know -- a White House official -- and you kind of wonder if this isn't maybe the president, himself, saying "The president just thinks of Bannon as a guy who works for him, essentially." What is their relationship now since he was fired?

GREEN: Well, it's better than you'd think for somebody who got fired. I mean, Trump has a long history of staying in touch with and continuing to solicit political advice from former senior staffers that he's fired.

This is true of Corey Lewandowski, his first campaign manager. We know that he continued to talk to Paul Manafort, his second campaign manager, for quite a while until he was indicted. And we know that he's been talking to Steve Bannon.

I mean, Bannon had been instrumental in convincing Trump to endorse Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate down in Alabama, even after these allegations that Moore had molested children.

Bannon was a big part, I think, of the pressure campaign to get Trump to come around -- to come, actually, down to the Alabama border to Pensacola, hold a big rally for Moore on the eve of his election, believing that this might make the difference and push him over to victory. Of course, it didn't, and I'm sure Trump is upset about that.

So we don't know how much he's listening to Bannon these days but certainly, they've continued to talk and Bannon has continued to be an important adviser to the president.

CAMEROTA: Bannon has talked about his own political aspirations and how they are tied to President Trump's. So here's a portion of the article.

It says that Bannon -- "In October, Bannon called an adviser and said he would consider running for president if Trump doesn't run for re- election in 2020, which Bannon has told people is a realistic possibility.

In private conversations since leaving the White House, Bannon said Trump only has a 30 percent chance of serving out of his term, whether he's impeached or removed by the cabinet invoking the 25th amendment."

What? I mean, that's a bombshell. And so why does Bannon think that President Trump isn't long for the office?

GREEN: Well, if you look at what Bannon has done since he left the White House in August, he has spent all of his time touring around the country and around the world giving speeches, extolling this vision of nationalism that Trump ran and won on, which is really Bannon's vision more than Trump's.

I've been with him at a couple of these rallies. He gets a great reception. He's essentially, Bannon, behaving like a presidential candidate and clearly has a connection with the Trump base of the Republican Party.

Now, Bannon has said publicly that he's doing this on Trump's behalf. That he's trying to keep Trump loyal to the ideas that he ran and won on. But as you can see elsewhere in that piece, Bannon is frustrated by the fact that Trump doesn't really believe most of the stuff and isn't willing to stick to it.

And so, if Trump were to get impeached or decide not to run again, or to have some kind of a health issue, Bannon has talked about well, you know, maybe I could step in, you know. These are my ideas, after all. I'm the guy who got President Trump elected, Bannon believes, and so why not step into that role if Trump were to vacate it.

WEIR: "But the two men harbor contempt for each other. They can ignite into rage. They can't quit each other" is a line in there, so this will be continued.

Joshua, thanks so much for your insight. Merry Christmas.

CAMEROTA: All right. We're following a lot of news this morning so let's get right to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I hardly know the man.