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Roy Moore Files Lawsuit to Stop Election Certification of Doug Jones; President Trump Claims to have Signed Most Legislation in First Year of Any President. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired December 28, 2017 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Republican Senate candidate and accused molester, Roy Moore, is fighting back. He is filing a lawsuit to try to stop Alabama from certifying just a few hours from now the Democrat Doug Jones is the winner of the state's special Senate election. Roy Moore's legal team alleges widespread voter fraud and says he wants another election.
BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: You will remember that Moore lost to Jones by more than 20,000 votes two weeks ago but has refused to concede since. And in another bizarre twist, Moore now says he took a polygraph test after the election over the sexual abuse allegations made by three women, and he claims it proves he is telling the truth.
Let's get right to CNN's Dianne Gallagher live in the CNN Center with all the breaking details. Dianne?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Bill, this is kind of an 11th hour kitchen sink sort of lawsuit here with some pretty serious voter fraud allegations in it. Roy Moore's attorney filed this complaint essentially to, first, they would like a different special election, something new, or if they can't have that, they would like the secretary of state to investigate the fraud to see if there was any impact and if there was how great it was on the results of the election.
The complaint cites three different election experts but they only name one of them, Richard Charnin. He's known in conspiracy theory circles for peddling ideas and comments on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich. They talk about a statistical analysis of the voter turnout, and they speak about Jefferson County, saying that there were 20 precincts that had an anomalous turnout. They were not thinking it should be that way. They also talk about voter intimidation and want the secretary of state to look into whether or not people from out of state were bussed into Alabama to vote.
Now, the secretary of state has said before they have looked into some of these things. They've not found any voter fraud at this point. At this point in this lawsuit here, this is when Roy Moore brings up also in an affidavit that after the election he had a lie detector test and he passed it, saying that he had no sexual contact with and did not know three of those accusers.
Now, we're not really sure if any of this is going to matter right now. We've reached out to the secretary of state and he hasn't gotten back to us yet this morning, but in the past, Bill, Alisyn, he said that he doesn't see anything that would prevent Doug Jones from being sworn in as the next U.S. senator from Alabama.
CAMEROTA: OK, we will see what transpires before 1:00 p.m. local time there, Dianne. Thank you very much for all that reporting.
Joining us now to talk about this and more, we have CNN political analysts David Drucker and Josh Green. OK, great to see both of you. OK, this is a new wrinkle. We knew that Roy Moore was not conceding, Josh, but we did not know what he had up his sleeve. And today it's been revealed, a couple of interesting things.
He says he took a polygraph test days after the election. He says as I had expected the results of the polygraph examination reflected that I did not know nor had I ever had any sexual contact with any of these individuals. Unclear why he didn't take that during the election and if that would have changed anything, but he seems to be trying to claim a couple different things today, now, Josh.
JOSHUA GREEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it seems like a silly and desperate last-minute ploy to give some pretext as to why the election results shouldn't count. He didn't of course say who most of his campaign experts were. We have no idea who administered this polygraph test, what the results were, and whether they were valid if in fact they did exonerate him, although I believe he said during the campaign that he did know some of his accusers.
But it's pretty clear up until now that there really isn't any reason to think that the results of the election are invalid. Had it been decided by one or two votes as we saw in the Virginia state election that was talked about in an earlier block, then maybe there should be some attention given to whether there were a few votes on the margins and that might have changed the outcome. But we are talking about a margin of more than 20,000 votes. The results of the election don't seem to be contested by anybody other than Roy Moore. Donald Trump has called and congratulated the Democrat Doug Jones who beat him. So there isn't really any valid reason that I can see as to why the election would not be certified by the secretary of state at 1:00 p.m. today.
WEIR: What do you think is his play here, Dave? Is it he's trying to clear his name, he's trying to investigate things that smell fishy in terms of turnout, the straight party ticket which Doug Jones also check, where do you think he goes from here, Roy Moore?
DAVID DRUCKER, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON EXAMINER": I don't really think he goes anywhere. I think the secretary of state, who is a Republican, has only spoken very highly of the electoral process in Alabama. He made clear election night that he saw no problems with the outcome of the race in terms of how the election was conducted.
[08:05:00] And, look, if Roy Moore was really that concerned, he has the ability under Alabama law to fund a recount. And the fact that he's avoiding funding a recount and is seeking all sorts of really abnormal and -- to ask for a new election, I guess is what I am saying, is the kind of thing that is not going to be granted and is really extraordinary.
And he's bypassing the most immediate avenue to him, which was to fund on his own dime, or his campaign's dime, a recount, which if he really believed was going to show fraud or irregularities, that is the way in which you do it, and you do it immediately so you don't bump up right against certification. So I don't really think there's anywhere for him to go. And I don't think the secretary of state or the officials in Alabama are going to grant him any deference here.
So I guess he could get lucky in a court ruling, but courts are usually very, very hesitant to get involved in changing the outcome of elections even when they seem a little bit odd. They usually defer to the voters. Roy Moore, as a judge, should know that. And so he doesn't have to concede but I don't think this is going anywhere and I think Doug Jones will be a senator next month.
WEIR: Josh, you wrote the book on Steve Bannon, a recent look at this, and then Roy Moore was Steve Bannon's candidate. Do you see his fingerprint on this effort, the lie detector, the denials, the claims of impropriety?
GREEN: No, I don't, which is one more reason why I think Moore's last-minute claims here are so weak. Both Trump and Steve Bannon were strong supporters of Roy Moore in the home stretch of that special election. He lost afterwards, a couple of Breitbart editors came out and said, frankly, Moore was a terrible candidate for the reasons enumerated in this complaint, that he had been credibly accused of molesting an underage girl and preying on teenagers as a grown man in Alabama. It's pretty clear that's why he lost the election. If there were abnormal voting patterns, it is because Alabamian were so incensed by this kind of behavior that they actually came out and voted for a Democrat for the first time in a quarter century.
CAMEROTA: We're waiting to hear from the secretary of state. We have called him waiting to just confirm that today at 1:00 they do plan to certify this. They're not going to open some sort of an investigation, we just don't know. But we're waiting to hear from his office. Obviously we will bring that to the viewers as soon as we have it.
One last thing to bounce off you on this point, David, is that we had Jonathan Martin on who said he thinks Roy Moore is doing this as a fundraising ploy and that he will have a future somehow in politics, unclear what that would be, but that that's his play here.
DRUCKER: I can see that simply because Roy Moore has run for office for several times. The only office he's ever been able to win is state Supreme Court chief justice. He lost other primaries running for governor and the like, and so I could see Roy Moore rolling out of this being a martyr and primarying a statewide office holder in Alabama next year.
In fact one of the reasons so many top Republicans in Alabama were hesitant and in a sense afraid to stand up to him after the news of sexual misconduct broke and after you had senior Republicans asking about this to do something about this, Republicans in Washington, was because they all fear Roy Moore and his voters in a future Republican primary. And Roy Moore was willing to be kicked off the state Supreme Court twice, likes nothing more than playing the role of the persecuted martyr. And so I can see him coming out of here, targeting a new race to run in, and using the outcome of this as a way to fuel that.
WEIR: Gentlemen, let's get your thoughts on the president's activities yesterday. The game of golfer in chief, cat and mouse continues. The White House refuses to tell us whether or not the president was playing golf for the 86th or so time --
CAMEROTA: We can see it.
WEIR: We can see it right there through the hole in the hedge at least until a strange white panel truck pulled up and blocked our shot. The Secret Service claims they had nothing to do with that, but let the conspiracy theorists go with that one. But he did make a surprise appearance at a firehouse there in West Palm Beach and made this claim about his legislative record in the first year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's one of the things that people don't understand, we have signed more legislation than anybody. We broke the record of Harry Truman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEIR: OK, let's check the record. Here it is going back to Truman, he's not anywhere close to breaking any record.
CAMEROTA: He did break the record for the least.
WEIR: For the least amount of legislation signed. Gentlemen, David, what do you think this comes from?
DRUCKER: This is Trump being Trump. He always has to try and pump up his record more than it is. He did that as a real estate developer, he did that as an entertainer, and it worked for him.
[08:10:00] He did that as a campaigner, he won the presidency, and most presidents assume whatever they did that lead to their victory must have worked and they're going to keep doing it.
What I find interesting about this is Trump had a very uneven year. It started out very poorly, it ended very well, and if he would just focus on what he did without trying to invoke some sort of record that doesn't exist in terms of productivity, we talk more about actually what he did than what he didn't do.
So I always find these sorts of arguments that he has in politics counterproductive even though in previous industries I can see the value of embellishment. If you're in business or you're in entertainment, embellishment is sort of a way of life. In politics, it's helpful on the campaign trail. Once you have a governing record to speak for you or not, it doesn't work as well.
CAMEROTA: Josh, final word. The other problem is in politics when you confront journalist with numbers, we have videotape and we have records and we have a phone where we can call the Truman Library and ask them what the numbers were and then we can put it in a graphic, and that's why it doesn't work as well when you see how much more legislation every other president did sign.
GREEN: And that's why Trump should take a mulligan on this claim and redirect his braggadocio in a different direction. The number of bills passed is not actually a very effective measure of how successful a president has been. A lot of these bills are naming post offices and the like. Trump would be much better served to argue that he has accomplished big things in his first year as president, which he has. He delivered a Republican tax form that Republicans had been longing for for 30 years. He really does have a valid, fact-based case to make for what he has accomplished. Instead he seems to want to golf and talk about other things.
WEIR: Josh, David, thanks so much for your insight this morning. Stay warm out there today.
And when we come back, rushing to conclusions? That's what Democrats think Republicans are trying to do with the investigation into Russian meddling in the election. We will talk with a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee about just that next.
[08:15:44] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Republican Congressman Francis Rooney explaining his call for a purge at the FBI and the Justice Department. He says now that word is a little strong. However, he believes there is a problem.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R), FLORIDA: As an American citizen, I am nervous and discontent those people would have those kinds of lack of impartiality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: All right. But a former White House ethics a lawyer under George W. Bush slammed the congressman for saying this on CNN. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CHIEF: We don't have purges in the United States of America, and that's Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany. That's not the rhetoric we use in the United States of American and that man does not belong in Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Let's discuss with Democratic Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut. He's a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, thanks so much for being here.
REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: Good morning, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: So, this is a growing chorus. People haven't used the word purge of the FBI before, but they're using the word tainted. What do you think?
HIMES: Yes, look. This is all part of an effort to try to legitimize, to take away credibility from the FBI, in advance of whatever Mueller's investigation may come out. And, you know, Congressman Rooney, with all due respect, has no idea what he's talking about, and he's not a member of the one of the committees that has talked to the officials of the FBI. He is simply propagating this idea that comes straight out of the White House, that the FBI is somehow compromised.
And it's a dangerous, dangerous thing because, you know, the FBI and the DOJ, the Department of Justice in general has got to be regarded as governor politics and they, of course, are being dragged into the political mud by people like Congressman Rooney.
CAMEROTA: But, look, his point and the president's point is that there are these text messages that have revealed that show that a couple of FBI officials were not being impartial, that they did not like Donald Trump, and that there were some people who contributed to Democrats and there is one guy who may have gone to Hillary Clinton election party of some kind.
So, what are we to do about those folks?
HIMES: Let's step back, Alisyn. I mean, you know, the FBI is made up of thousands of Americans, each and every one of whom has a political opinion, and that's true in Congress and it's true under the United States Marine Corps, Americans have political opinion. It's the beauty of our system. The question is, do those opinions interfere in the work that these people do, and the fact of the matter is that somehow gets lost in this attempt to create, you know, mud and clouds around the FBI is that when Mueller found out there had been these texts, he instantly fired the individual concern and demoted the other.
So, the question is not, gosh, do FBI agents have political opinions? Of course, they do, just like judges do. The question is, is the work they do impartial, and there's not a shred of evidence, Alisyn, that any of the work that has been done, the convictions, or the guilty pleas that have been secured by Robert Mueller has been in any way driven by partisan consideration.
CAMEROTA: Do you think the president is getting himself in trouble by inserting himself into this via Twitter, by going after people like, you know, Comey and McCabe, and on and on.
HIMES: Of course, he is. The enemy of the United States, name 'em, North Korea, Iran, Russia. In their wildest dreams, they would never imagine the president of the United States would tar and eviscerate the FBI, the DOJ, the CIA, these are all institutions our enemies hate because they keep us safe, because they do the hard work of American national security, and the president, since he became president a year ago, has gone out of his way to damage not just the morale, but the standing of these institutions in the enemy's mind.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the House Intel Committee on which you sit. How close are you with that investigation to being done?
HIMES: Well, it's a little hard to say. It's hard to say because there are, of course, probably dozens of witnesses that we still want to interview, and it's hard to say because I say it as one of the members of the committee, we are occasionally surprised by things that Robert Mueller uncovered, that of course raise questions that we should look into, and things that the media uncovered. I mean, let's face it, it was the media and not any of the investigations that uncovered the meeting in Trump Tower with Donald Trump, Jr.
And so, we've got a ways to go. This is an investigation that needs to be done right, not done quickly.
CAMEROTA: Have you seen any evidence yet of a crime on the part of Donald Trump's campaign?
HIMES: Well, you know, I'm not sure I've seen a lot that the American people aren't already aware of.
[08:20:04] And, of course, remember, the Congress is not about investigating crimes. The FBI and Robert Mueller are about that, and, of course, Robert Mueller has secured two guilty pleas from Michael Flynn and from George Papadopoulos, and indicted two other individuals and it doesn't seem like Robert Mueller is done yet.
So, of course, you know, like a lot of Americans, I am waiting to see whatever else -- by the way, you asked about the de-legitimization of the FBI and a lot of other people are trying to set the guide path to de-legitimatize whatever addition crime the FBI might uncover.
CAMEROTA: Do you get the impression that Republicans in Congress are trying to bring you -- the House Intel Committee investigation, or any of the congressional investigations to a hasty close?
HIMES: Certainly on the House side. The last week we were Washington, we did I think eight interviews, including two interviews not in the city of Washington, and that makes it hard for people to get to those interviews, we've never had a week, in fact, I'm not even sure we've had a month where we had eight interviews. These require a lot of preparation, a lot of work, and so, it sure feels like, you know, somebody decided the clock was taking, that they needed to jam, you know, a months sort of work into a week and --
CAMEROTA: Who is that person?
HIMES: Well, hard to say. Hard to say. I mean, you know, as I said all along, I think Congressman Conaway is doing a good fair job, but, you know, there are others on the committee, including the chairman, who have sadly been tainted I think by what seems to be a command from the White House to end this thing, which is what we know the president wants.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Jim Himes, it's always great to have you on studio.
HIMES: Thank you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for being here.
BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: Homeowners are rushing to prepay their property taxes before the new tax law takes affect, but will it pay off or back fire? We'll ask New York Governor Andrew Cuomo about it, next.
WEIR: You've had a home equity lone. You've been used to writing off the mortgage interest on that loan. Well, those days are over.
And what about your property taxes? Can you put those against your federal nut?
Well, that's a good question. The IRS has a warning for those trying to prepaid property taxes before the new tax law goes into effect.
And, CNN's Dave Briggs is live in Oyster Bay, New York, among all those confused taxpayers.
Good morning, Dave.
DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR, EARLY START: Confused and cold, Bill. Yes, the irs.gov Website, essentially tells people, do your homework before you cut a check, check with your local government, even a tax professional because many counties in these high tax states are not prepared for these changes. Nassau County, New York, where were are, they already, average property tax bill here's north of $11,000, and that's why people are scrambling, that's' why it's packed here at Oyster Bay all week and they extended their hours at 7:00 tonight, and in the final day to prepay your property taxes before 2018.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here just to make a payment?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BRIGGS: Hundreds of homeowners racing to pay their 2018 property taxes, hoping to take advantage of a popular deduction that will be reduced when the new tax law goes into effect on January 1st.
STEPHANIE CHRISTENSEN, PRE-PAYING PROPERTY TAXES: I know we will get it in this year and can write it off, but not sure about next year. BRIGGS: The last minute rush coming amid confusion of one of the most
controversial parts of the bill signed into law by President Trump last week, a $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes that will disproportionally impact home owners in high tax states like New York, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My concerns are our new tax laws are unfairly targeting New York and I want to avoid as much payment as possible by prepaying in advance.
BRIGGS: But the IRS is now saying not so fast, attempting to clarify who qualifies and cautioning prepaying property taxes could work but only under limited circumstances. To avoid the cap, homeowners must pay taxes that have been assessed this year, meaning those who prepaid based on estimates were likely be ineligible.
In Fairfax County, Virginia, officials already preparing to potentially have to issue refunds.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order last week suspending measures in state law that could have prevented some residents from pre-paying.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: This is an economic civil war, pitting red states against blue states.
BRIGGS: New Yorkers flooding local tax offices leaving local tax collectors overwhelmed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to take advantage of it now and not get hurt as much now going forward it will.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seniors, we are on a fixed budget, thank you, president.
BRIGGS: The local CPA I spoke with this morning said, oh, the crowd in confusion really reinforces the fact that this bill was rushed through Congress far too fast for the IRS, state and local governments to make the proper preparations. One good news this morning, they are letting people inside here at Oyster Bay because it's single digits. Freezing cold outside.
Alisyn, back you.
CAMEROTA: Dave, I'm glad you have that assignment. You can tell me when you get back how cold it was. Thank you very much.
BRIGGS: You bet.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about the tax confusion with New York's Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. He signed an executive order last week allowing presidents in his state to prepay the property taxes before the end of the year.
Good morning, Governor.
CUOMO: Good morning. Good to be with you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Great to have you, Governor.
Why are you allowing New Yorkers to pay their 2018 tax bill early?
CUOMO: Well, look, as you said in the previous piece, this bill was rushed through Congress and the Senate. It is a bait and switch. They sold it as we are going to help the middle class, it wound up being a benefit for the rich and the rich corporations.
They hope the rich corporations will then give it to the workers, but if they wanted to raise wages for workers, they would have said in the bill the corporations will get a tax cut but they must give it to the workers. So, it was all a bait and switch. It's all a marketing employ.
One of the devilish things in the bill is they then eliminated the deductibility of state and local taxes, which sound like a mouthful, but what it says is up until now, over 100 years, you pay the state tax, you pay the local tax, you deducted that from your federal tax, they are eliminating that. So, you are now paying two taxes. You pay a tax to the state or tax to the local government, and then the federal government taxes that tax. It happens to occur coincidentally on only blue states, all right?
CAMEROTA: And that's what I want to ask you about, yes, because governor you've called it an economic war, and I know that's what you're touching on.
So, what are you trying to say?
CUOMO: They -- the Senate has no senators from Democratic states, blue states. This tax provision hits the blue states by eliminating the state and local tax deductibility and uses that money to finance the tax cut in the red states.
CAMEROTA: So --
CUOMO: This is the most partisan, divisive legislation we've seen.