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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  November 14, 2017 10:00pm-11:00pm PST

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we're waiting to hear from alabama senate candidate roy moore. he is at a local revival meeting with his candidacy in jeopardy on in fronts this evening, at least as far as the national republican party is concerned. we'll bring you his remarks. deja vu meets total recall. the deja vu with attorney general sessions back on capitol hill one more time testifying about campaign contact with russia. having been less than complete, some saying less than truthful testimony on prior occasions. as for the recall, well, actually it was somewhat less than total. for example, he said until the news of it came out last month, he had forgotten the meeting back in march of last year at which campaign adviser george
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papadopoulos discussed contact with russian and proposed a meeting between candidate trump and vladimir putin. however, he did remember today that he did the right thing in that meeting. >> yes or no, did mr. papadopoulos mention his outreach to the russian government during that meeting? >> he made some comment to that effect that i remember after having read it in the newspaper. >> asked for yes or no. don't have time. >> all right. >> there are reports that you shut george down, unquote, when he proposed that meeting with putin. this correct? yes or no. >> yes. i pushed back. >> well, just part of the testimony today, pamela brown joins us now with more. so the third hearing today for attorney general sessions, what people saying about it? what have you learned? >> so the attorney general said today, anderson, that he remembered trump campaign contacts with russians that he didn't recall in previous hearing as recent as last month. and that is after a media report surfaced about a march 26th meeting where campaign volunteer george papadopoulos suggested setting up a meeting between vladimir putin and donald trump.
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sessions said after reading about papadopoulos' account that as you know was in court documents, it came back to him that the meeting did in fact happen, and as you heard him say, he pushed back according to him against the suggestion that putin and trump should meet during the campaign. but he made pretty clear that's really the only detail he recalled from that meeting. he also said he doesn't remember anything about carter page's visit to moscow where he met with russians, even though page says he did tell sessions in passing. throughout the areas, sessions repeatedly said he didn't recall details about contacts with russians, the campaign contacts russians. at one point brought to his attention he had said it 20 times just during the hearing. >> did he give a reason for why he had forgotten so many details? >> so he explained that the campaign was chaotic. it was easy to forget the details in the midst of constant travel and very little sleep. he also said when it came to his meeting with russian ambassador
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sergey kislyak in his senate i was during the campaign he didn't mention it the previous time because his focus was responding to concerns. he was engaging in continuous meetings with russians as a campaign surrogate. but that doesn't mean he never meet a russian in the history of his life. though it is worth noting that kislyak reportedly told superiors that he met with sessions several advertisements during the campaign and they had discussions about campaign-related matters. but sessions testify head has never misled or lied to congress under oath regarding what he could recall at the time. >> pamela brown. also investigating the campaign in russia, does it make sense what the attorney general could and could not remember today? do you buy it? >> well, you know, look, it's not impossible to believe that in the hurly-burly of a campaign, somebody might forget a junior or anyone coming up to you saying hey, i got this thing going on.
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that's -- who knows. but bigger picture, this is part of a much larger pattern that involves people like general flynn, that involves people like donald trump jr. of people forgetting or simply lying about contacts with russia. that doesn't necessarily imply that those contacts with russia were wrong or a violation of criminal law that of course is what the various investigations are there to determine. but it's one more brick in this wall of people not coming out and being clear and honest about what those contacts with russia were. >> sessions also made it clear today that he does not accept and rejects accusations that he has ever lied under oath, despite the inconsistencies of what he said. do you believe he's lied under oath? >> well, you know, again, that's hard to say. you would have to be inside jeff sessions' mind to know that for sure. but again, for me, as one of the members of an investigatory
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committee, this is yet another example of one of a half dozen senior trump administration people, senior trump campaign people who are either forgetting, or blatant lying about their contacts with russians. i don't want to try to climb into jeff sessions' head. my friends on the republican side of the aisle are desperate for this investigation to go away, the best way for this investigation to go away, of course, is for people to be totally up front. to recall everything and put the facts throughout and let the investigations conclude. and the american people form their judgments. >> so when someone is testifying before a committee and they have sworn to tell the truth and to answer questions completely, it is fine for them to just say well, i'm not going to answer that because i don't think i should talk about that conversation i had? a conversation that is not protected under executive privilege? the white house hasn't claimed
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executive privilege? and they're claiming the fifth. it seems like sessions has done that a number of times. a democratic congressman raised questions about that today. and tried to get answers from the chairman of the committee about what the rules are and was sort of brushed off. >> yeah, yeah, and that actually has been a theme throughout this investigation. the carter page transcript now public, shows that carter page in his interview with my committee, tried to assert some sort of privilege associated with a nondisclosure agreement that he signed with the trump campaign. the reality is, yes, of course, attorney-client privilege exists. executive privilege exists. the right to not incriminate yourself under the fifth amendment exists. that doesn't mean those things can't be used to hide facts that are inconvenient or embarrassing or incriminating. so part of investigation i'm involved in is really working through whether you have the right to assert attorney-client privilege, whether you have the right to assert the contractual
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obligations in an nda in a ongoing investigation. this is an ongoing investigation in many of our interviews. >> so we now know that donald trump jr.'s contacts with russians, he is communicating with wikileaks that the hacked clinton e-mails. is this more smoke or do you believe there's actually fire here? >> well, i wouldn't use smoke or fire. remember where we started. we started in a place where there was a blanket unconditional denial of any contact with the russians. and not because the fbi or because the house or the senate investigations proved it, but because the media and donald trump admitted it, we now know in two separate occasions he had a meeting in which he met with russians for the explicit purpose of getting dirt on hillary clinton. and as of the publication oin the atlantic story yesterday i guess it was and donald trump jr.'s confirmation of it, he was in contact with wikileaks.
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for the same purpose. and make no mistake. wikileaks, i understand they're a complicate and hard to think about entity, but wikileaks is a non-u.s. organization that does not have the best interests of the united states in mind. in fact, in my opinion anyway, is dedicated to creating chaos, slowing down, obstructing american national aims. the president's son was openly aggressively seeking communication and information from that entity. >> has trump jr. agreed to speak with the house intelligence committee? or has it been scheduled? >> let me just say, as you might imagine, we in the senate are quite interested in hearing from him about these two episodes. the meeting with the russians that he owned up to and the communications he owned up to with wikileaks which is not a group with american stability or prosperity in mind. >> congressman himes, thanks very much. >> thank you. >> i want to bring in the panel.
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paris denard and ramon sanders. david, what do you make of sessions yet again on capitol hill? >> i think it is a bad day for him. i think he looks strained in his memory at the very least. he seems very careful in his answers. i think he's lost a lot of credibility among his colleagues on capitol hill, to say nothing of the distraction that he is creating for the administration. and a president who is already down on him. putting him in a position where he is only sure of himself when it comes to what the right answer would have been which is to tell papadopoulos no, you shouldn't arrange it. >> but no other details. >> he can't remember the other details is sloppy in the very least. i think the bigger picture is important too. you have an embattled attorney general who has a president who is actively dismissive of the threat that russia posed and he contemptuous of the investigation to get to the bottom of it. and he is pushing his attorney general around on this and then getting him to go into these extra matters with hillary clinton. he looks weak as an attorney general.
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and i think it is quite interesting that the majority leader of the senate is going out of his way to say the best person for that alabama seat is the current attorney general. that may say something about what bengals whether sessions would like the get out of that job. >> from a testimony standpoint, it's never good if you have to come back three times to reveal what you could have done the first time. >> no doubt. you have to clean things up as many times as he has, it creates credibility questions. these questions he'sing and the papadopoulos meeting, you have to believe this meeting, to believe it is a real problem. you have to believe it is a high level confab of real players. the reality is as far as i can tell, it was a photo op set up to give the appearance they had a foreign policy team. they didn't have a foreign policy team. they had a photo op. this thing met one time. i'm not surprised he can't remember what happened in a photo op.
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we're going see this picture on television 100 times. and we're going to make-believe this was a real policy meeting? that's baloney. this campaign was disorganized at the time. they were pulling it together on the fly. >> that's why they roped in these five people no one had really heard of? >> i don't believe jeff sessions can remember anything from this meeting because wasn't important. it was a photo op. >> the point about disorganization, that is as some people pointed out, a ripe atmosphere to exploit. >> that's right. >> if you're the russians. i think that is a problem. >> totally agree. i think these people were being cultivated by the russians because they're idiots. these people went overseas and did things that shouldn't have been done. that doesn't make jeff sessions a bad person which is what we're talking about. >> i don't think we're talking about whether or not jeff sessions is a bad person. i think we're talking about whether or not his credibility, not only as attorney general but as someone who has direct knowledge about any type of russian contacts has been destroyed. at this point, i don't know what's worse. you saying they didn't have a foreign policy team or you
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saying that this issue is fabricated in some way. the fact that we're talking about the president of the united states now sitting at that table could potentially be as russian government calls it, kompromat, is a problem. this is by no stretch a light matter. or anything we should be taking in a lighthearted way. the fact of the matter now uis that jeff session, to your point, anderson,has been there three times to testify to this. the fact of the matter now is james comey was said to have been fired for this reason. the fact of the matter is now donald trump jr. has had some type of contact with wikileaks. the fact of the matter is now, this is not just a distraction attorney general has created. this is a distraction from the very top. which is a problem. >> many of the problems that the trump administration, the problems they enjoy are a lot of
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issues they manufactured themselves. we have donald trump at the podium saying, russians, if you're listening, we would like to see those missing e-mails. you have donald trump jr. tweeting, sending accounts and different things for his father to tweet. so these are all unforced errors. the fact robert mueller has a job as a special counsel is because of an action that president trump took. so i think it is important for folks to remember that these are problems the administration brought upon themselves. the twitter that has been the president, twitter fingers, may be his demise. >> do you think the attorney general has been truthful? in his appearances in congress? >> i think he's been truthful. i don't think this man is a liar. let's backtrack. he is long been in the legal profession. he is a religious man. when he puts his hand on the bible and takes an oath, i think he means it.
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does he need to take some ginkgo biloba? probably. >> what? >> some gingko biloba. >> memory. >> only -- >> to recall some of these things. at the end of the day, the question is this. is there a crime? the question is, even if they took a meeting, even if they asked about papadopoulos and he told them not to do it. all these things that have been happening. the drip, drip, drip. trip drip, nothing has come of it. so be it. i think that's why it is important. >> somebody has come in for papadopoulos. >> the special prosecutor will drive this toward a conclusion. what we know as citizens and journalists watching, there we have an administration that says there was nothing to see here. there is nothing that went on. oh, except for that, yeah, but that didn't mean anything.
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oh, except for that. that didn't mean anything. we don't blank the totality is yet. >> let's take a quick break. we'll continue the discussion. we're continuing on wait for roy moore to speak. on top of everything else tonight. we'll pick up on the conversation and discuss some more ahead. and later, gop lawmakers and their high stakes gamble. can they pass a tax bill by adding a controversial obamacare repeal measure to it? that and more when we continue. and non-24 can make me show up too early... or too late. or make me feel like i'm not really "there." talk to your doctor, and call 844-234-2424.
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attorney general sessions said i did not recall a lot today during the testimony at the house judiciary committee. he said he did not recall the meeting in march last year in which contact with russia was discussed until we reading about it in the paper. and he tried to explain why. >> it was a form of chaos every day from day one. we traveled sometimes in several places every day. sleep was in short supply. >> back the panel, their names escape me. sleep has been in short supply here as well. paris, i think some people watching this who are watching with a critical eye would say that it does seem like a lot of people in the president's orbit have a difficult time, time after time remembering anything to do with russia. and then yet, over time it keeps popping up. >> look, i think some of the people could be reflecting back and saying i wish i would have come forward and just said i had this meeting. instead, this took place. but they didn't. and i think they did not do that because to scott's point, many of these things weren't anything.
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they were insignificant. so to breathe life into something that's insignificant when the media has been such a focus, such a focus russia collusion, russia collusion, they step back and say -- >> had the white house early on, just said, you know what? let's put this all out here. right now, we've looked through all our e-mails. >> the hearing wall to wall today. we had up-front answers from -- >> if there is no there there, this has been dragging on now for a year, and there is no end in sight. >> i think part of it is there's just general knowledge, i do believe, on any campaign. especially a presidential campaign. if a foreign entity approaches and you you are having conversations with a foreign entity that is out of the purview of your job, that's probably not something you should be doing. i think we've seen folks leave off information of that nature because they know it is inappropriate and it would be frowned upon and picked apart, like has happened since it has
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come out in the media. i want to reiterate. this is not normal. and multiple folks have been involved in the trump campaign and now the trump administration to note, the campaign was chaotic. we never got much sleep. that's every campaign i've ever worked. >> a message was sent from the top. that this is worthless and there's nothing here. >> and it is being used to delegitimize the election. >> right, and that it's all fake. so if you think anywhere in the administration, you think this isn't much of a priority. and by the way, it's not the news media. this was known in october of 2016 that the russians were trying to interfere in the election. the previous administration knew. didn't do a ton about it, which is an issue. but people knew people in the then candidates' orbit in the campaign and the news media. this is before there was a special prosecutor. somebody in the white house should have stood up and said, we're going to get to the bottom of it. anybody who even looked at russia. we want to know. >> do you think that would have been painful perhaps initially but long term would have been better or does it not work that
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way? >> i think it would have been better to get that out up front. i think there are two things driving the attention on russia. the sessions testimony today is getting a lot of attention. i think this meeting that we're obsessing over is unimportant compared to wikileaks. most people that i know think of wikileaks the way the intelligence agencies do. they're a foreign hostile intelligence service. when you get messages from those people, we're well beyond a campaign photo op. as a matter of an optics problem and frankly, a matter of a collusion problem. to me, everything going on in this particular week, i worry less about jeff sessions' memory. i worry more about this concept that wikileaks was apparently able to send messages that programmed the communications of a presidential candidate. >> judge moore has just taken the podium. at this revival meeting in jackson, alabama. let's listen in. >> well, thank you very much. what an honor it is to be with
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you. i hope you can hear me. is this better? >> yes. >> it is great honor to be here. i thank pastor webb's invitation and pastor allison for their introduction. i'm a little humbled to follow a preacher from texas. they do everything big in texas and we're just little old alabama. i have to get used to that. i will act like a preacher a little bit and take off my watch and set it here. so i don't -- you know, that's what preachers do. you know what that means, don't you? not much. but anyways, especially it doesn't mean much when you can't see the hands. anyway, i'll try. you know, as i came here, udidn't know exactly -- i haven't got a planned speech. but it rhymes with what you've
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been listening to here. god save america. on the wall, you can see if my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my ways then will i hear from heaven and forgive them their since and heal their land. i'm running for united states senate, as you know. i'm not going to heal your land. neither is president trump, president obama, any president, any supreme court, any senator, or any representative. they're not going to heal your land. >> right. >> only god will heal your land. so i'm going to talk about that a little bit. i'm playing a little part in this scenario going on in the country. obviously i made a few people mad. >> we're going to continue to monitor judge moore. see if he begins to talk about
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the situation that he is facing, the allegations, some of the new allegations that have come forward. we'll talk about that next as well. also, later, other breaking news from capitol hill. senate republicans attempting a partial obamacare repeal. we'll talk about that next. g ang a thing of the past. plus, during our veteran's day savings event, save up to $500 on select adjustable mattress sets. find your exclusive retailer at
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my abwill i have pain andating made daibloating today?ing game. my doctor recommended ibgard to manage my ibs. take control. ask your doctor about nonprescription ibgard. alabama senate candidate roy moore is addressing a revival meeting right now in alabama. he is under fire from many directions. the latest report that he was on an unofficial watch list at the local mall. allegedly for approaching girls. back now with the panel. scott, as you look, i'm wondering what you're hearing about what do you think is going to happen in all this? >> i've talked to some very high level republicans in washington. they're very concerned and they've just conducted some polling. they have found that moore,
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according to their research, is cratering. that jones is well ahead in the race now. we've seen some very volatile polling. according to their data they just got this afternoon that. >> see moore falling way behind jones. so there's a scramble to see if he can be replaced. ultimately what i'm hearing is that all roads lead back to the white house. only donald trump, the president, has the influence enough with the governor of alabama and the alabama republican party to get them to say withdraw roy moore's candidacy as a republican. which they can do. >> how would that work? he can't be taken off the ballot. >> he cannot be physically taken off the candidate, but his name can be withdrawn as a candidate and votes for him would not count. there are other things in the poll that are interesting. jeff sessions still polls extremely well in the state of alabama, according to what my sources are telling me. in fact handily beating jones in a head to head if that's an option they're able to pursue. another thing that i was talked to about tonight is research on
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whether luther strange, the current occupant of the seat could even resign so that jeff sessions could be reappointed to his old seat. thing is a theory and it's not been vetted. but you can see, the scramble is on to try to get more out of this race. because there is a belief among the highest level of republicans tonight that jones is pulling away from moore. >> the theory on for luther strange, and your sources just being investigated. but if luther strange was to step down now, jeff sessions would be appointed. that means there would be no election. >> one theory is there may not have to be an election. either way, sessions is still very popular in alabama. and according to the survey work, he was leading jones on the ballot test. so there is a lot of theories and ideas floating around out there. but look, the republican party is in a tough way. and frankly, only donald trump really has the up influence to solve it. >> the president did buy himself some time. he was asked about this on the trip to asia. he said i have to get back into the country to see what's happened. >> i think the irony of all this
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is now it's president trump's influence on the republican party in alabama to say who is going to be the next senator. he did this. he wanted luther strange from the beginning. he campaigned for luther strange hard. a lot of people were against him. but now if you're president trump, you're looking back and saying i told you so. >> i'm concerned that republicans, not just in alabama, but in washington, are talking about ways to avoid an election because they do not want their candidate to lose. they're talking about changing the rules and finagling something to happen so that doug jones does not have to go on the ballot against roy moore and doug jones wins. that is not democracy. this is more egregious. i don't think anybody at the democratic national committee was thinking about ways we could actually change local elections, primaries or caucuses. there. >> are republicans in alabama who support roy moore who agree with you. >> to your point, though, donna brazile -- >> huh-uh, we're not going to go there.
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>> to but joe biden on. >> about roy moore because he is still on the screen. one of the things i would love to do is talk about the strategy of this moment. roy moore is at a revival. more than 35% of folks in alabama are evangelicals. this is brilliant. whether we like roy moore, whether we believe he is a low down dirty buzzard like i do, or not, this is a brilliant strategic move. i don't know how strategic it was to be speaking off the cuff and said revival, but i think it was very smart for them to go and allow him to quote second chronicles, talking about turning from one's wicked ways. and i also think of a scripture, if you won't speak, the rocks will cry out. he's hardheaded because he won't speak out to the american people for what are clearly past discretions. but i think it's brilliant on his part to go and appeal to the evangelical voters before the election.
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>> the party is looking at him cratering in the race. >> sure. >> what i think is so interesting here, think of the back story, right? the president did regret backing strange. did he what mitch mcconnell wanted him to do. ultimately a losing effort. and he looked bad. now roy moore is cratering. and then there is the question of sessions. that we began with. i wonder, if all roads lead back the house, perhaps there is a couple of problems that can be solved at once. maybe president trump doesn't want jeff sessions to be the attorney general anymore. and he can encourage him to get on the ballot. as mitch mcconnell would like, and try to salvage that seat and remember the broader context. he still has to get tax reform through. he can't afford to lose the seat in alabama. >> we're going take a quick break. we're going to continue the conversation about judge moore and the conversations in washington. we'll continue when we come back. (grunts of effort) can we do this tomorrow? if you have heart failure symptoms, your risk of hospitalization could increase,
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judge roy moore speaking at a revival meeting.
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in jackson, alabama. he is speaking as i said, he just mentioned -- let's listen to what he just said about the allegations against him. >> why do you think i'm being harassed? by the media, by people pushing forward allegations in the last 28 days of this election? the last 30 days? after 40 something years of fighting this battle, i am now facing allegations. that's all the press want to talk about. but i want to talk about the issue. i want to talk about where this country is going. if we don't come back to god, we're not going anywhere. >> he said he's being harassed by the media. back now with the panel. scott, we were talking during the break about obviously the importance of this race, but also in terms of for those who want to see the president's agenda moving forward. just describe the timetable of
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what's ahead. >> sure. they're in the middle of this tax reform movement right now. and they have good momentum for it. today senate decided to put the individual mandate of the obamacare in the bill. they have 50 votes for this plan which also has a deal to pass alexander murray, which people like on the subsidies. that's 50 votes as the senate is currently constituted. senator mcconnell has laid out a time line where they may move in this say the first week of december. this election in alabama is december 12. they have 50 votes today. if the calendar is pushed on tax reform and jones beats more or jones beats whoever in alabama, we're not at 50 anymore. now we're at 49 on the republican tax plan. so this situation in alabama right now may be the thing that keeps the republicans on congress on track. because if they've got 50 votes for this deal with the individual mandate repeal in it, they can't afford to lose even one. >> so did the -- the onus to get this done before this. >> based on the polling i was
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briefed on, if they don't get this done before a democrat may win this seat in alabama, getting the individual mandate repealed in this tax bill will be really, really difficult. it doesn't mean tax reform is overall is dead. but to get it done with, that would probably kill it. >> plus, the trump adviser steve bannon is talking about getting rid of mitch mcconnell. they're taking mitch mcconnell's calls at the white house now because he is the only one with a plan of how to keep this tax reform bill together. and that road may now run through alabama, which is why there is the urgency on this, and why the president had a big role to play in. >> it is a high bar though. the tax bill specifically with this individual mandate, this partial repeal, if you will, add in the there, is not very popular. and today you have folks coming out, telling reporters on cnn and other networks that they needed to do this in the bill in order the pay for the tax cuts. well, tax cuts for billionaires are not popular with the american people. so i think they might have a
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hard time getting this through the court of public opinion. i think people may be call their senators and members of congress in the next few weeks. >> won't the president only really get involved with this in a deeper way? if there is internal polling showing that he is cratering. if he has shown that he could actually win against jones, it would be a double blow to the president who already backed luther strange who goes against roy moore, roy moore actually wins that doesn't look good for president trump. >> if you told donald trump at the beginning of this year that democrats were going to control a senate seat in alabama, and your agenda would be imperilled for the remainder of the first half of your first term, everybody would say that's crazy. but that's where we are. and that's high the president in my view ultimately has to get involved. >> should get involved? >> yes. >> what does he do? >> he is the only one with enough influence to convince the governor of alabama and the republican party to do the right thing and remove moore's name from nomination. to me that's the only option here. >> it didn't work. look, if that was true, then
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luther strange would be sitting there as the candidate. they ignored the president and voted for roy moore. he campaigned hard for luther strange. now the president is someone who wants a win. the only way he will get engaged is if he foresees that he will not believe able to get a legislative win. before thanksgiving or before the end of this year. that's when he will do this. but he is not going to do it to the peril of politics. >> if there's enough voters, including republicans, upper income republicans who are embarrassed by the specter of moore and they really seeing a cratering. i think the white house will listen to mitch mcconnell and say the best chance to salvage tax reform is to go in this direction. >> here is the thing that i think we often miss talking about policy in these lofty terms sometimes, and that's the impact on people's lives. so we talked about the billions of dollars that they could save but not the 13 million people whose lives and health would be in peril if this individual
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mandate repeal went forth. i think that is the important things. simonee, to your point, that is the pressure point people need to call when calling their members of congress. there is key issue for so many of us. the reason why the affordable care act was passed to begin with. and why the 60 plus attempts have been unsuccessful. >> we're going to take another quick break. when we come back, we'll talk about the push for the tax bill. which could now depend, as we've been saying what's happening in alabama. we'll get the latest from the hill and from the panel, next. you nervous? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ work keeps me busy. so i've asked chase sapphire reserve cardmembers
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hey xfinhey guys...e netflix. youtube people getting scared. [screaming] but what about that one? [screaming] tv that's more than tv is awesome. get netflix, youtube and more. now on xfinity x1. xfinity. the future of awesome. as we've been discussing, not only are events moving quickly in the alabama senate race and the polls along with it, but on top of that, the entire gop vat. >> for passing a tax bill could hinge to some extent or perhaps to a big extent as scott was just talking about on what happens with roy moore. here is another twist. a new maneuver to repeal the senate tax plan. sources say republicans on the
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finance committee unanimously supported the addition. phil mattingly joins us from the hill. clearly a lot at stake for the republicans. >> no question at all. and that is about revenue, plain and simple. $378 billion to be exact. that's what the cbo estimates that would come from a repeal of the individual mandate. that's money the republicans desperately need. they need to it make permanent their corporate tax cuts. they need it to add more targeted relief on the class side of tax cuts. more importantly, anderson, they need to it ensure based on the budget rules, they can actually move this through on a simple majority. the trade-off with all of this is with that comes the numbers $13 million and 10%. former, that would be how many people would lose insurance over the course of ten years. the latter, that's how much premiums would go up over the course of each year in a ten-year period. that's the trade off here. understanding the political damage this may cause, the trade-off being they could hopefully get the tax bill through, anderson. >> where do republicans stand right now they understand how seared in
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their memory the health care debate has been and understand up to the point of now, currently, they haven't been able to get the votes for health care. here's where the calculation leads right now, according to gop officials. they believe the political imperative, the idea that they need to do something, anything on the legislative front will win the day over the political concerns, over riling up the democratic base. over the concerns about co-mingling health care with tax reform. at this moment, they feel comfortable. they think they can pass this bill, but the question remains, the u.s. senate on the republican side of things has not proven that they can do anything when it comes to health care at any point throughout the last ten months. they are clogging up what has been a fairly smooth process by adding health care into it. will it work out? they need the money. they clearly had to do it. but the question remains, could this sink entirely?
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right now aides don't have that answer. >> back now with the an. how do you see it, scott? >> i think right now they have 50 votes. if they lose the senate race in alabama, i don't think they'll have enough votes. so speed here, time is of the essence. speed kills in this case. >> is it wise to bring the health care debate into this? >> well, they need the money number one. number two they're still trying to satisfy a base that is still hopping mad. that they failed on obamacare repeal to begin with. so there's two good reasons to do it. i understand why they're moving so fast. >> i think it's worth taking a look at how haphazard and disorganized this approach has been to very quickly get tax reform through. they are phasing in some of these cuts over time, and yet because that's how they meet some of the revenue goals. and yet they tell us it's going to spark economic growth
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that's going to overcome economic concerns. it doesn't make sense. you also risk losing votes. and the idea you want to play around with this health care system, you take away that individual mandate, which is struggling as it is. it is a key pillar that makes a close to universal health care system actually work. which is young healthy buy in as well as older sick people. it's what is the foundation of it. so i think it's politically risky. and the policy could be a mess, as well. >> the other point here, i'm not sure about that 50. i know lisa murkowski was on record today saying she had questions about what a partial repeal of the individual mandate would mean not just for her constituents but americans across the board and said she needed more answers on that. so this is just not popular. >> but you also have senator mccain who didn't vote for it last time said he supported this. the house did their job. the senate needs to do something to satisfy their base. a lot of people say you all
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failed to do what we sent you there to do. adding this on is a smart political move especially if you can get senator mccain and others who were hold outs last time to come on and support it. >> but again, i think we cannot ignore that when you ram policy through often times there are major blind spots. >> like obamacare? >> actually no, not like obamacare. >> that was a rammed through policy. >> so were the 60 plus attempt where is you had epic fail moments. >> we did wit the house, and about to with the senate. >> the reason is because there's this process called redirecting. the districts have been drawn so they're very conservative. but people who have to be accountable to larger constituents with different interests can't get it done. and the reason for that is people don't want to lose their health care. if you continue to just say we want to undo everything about president obama's legacy regardless of societal impact and quite literally, the livelihood of americans.
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i think you have to start taking calculated risk. and this one frankly is not wise. >> but is the political risk of not doing something for republicans, isn't that primary in their mind right now? >> i think it's a big issue particularly when you look at the fact there's not been any major achievement of this administration so far because they haven't been very calculated and thoughtful -- >> this is the reason why they're willing to take a gamble here. >> so my point is you have a situation where they've not been able to move the needle on any major achievement for donald trump. he does not have anything to tout right now except for an executive order trying to undo obamacare. and now you are struggling to figure out an obama legacy by tying it to tax reform. i think they're taking a huge risk. >> david? >> it's obviously they think is worth taking to scott's point because they do have to get
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something done on this. i think it is rushed. i think there's a lot of mistakes that could come out of all of this. but right now they've got to look at the numbers. and certain things can be reconciled when they have a bill that they can negotiate with the house. >> this is the first time all year where it's felt like republicans have had momentum. there's been a lot of starts and stops on things. they've done a good job lately. since mcconnell and trump appeared in the rose garden they've got serious move on judges. they've got movement on tax reform. they've got the budget reconciliation bill done, which people thought was a problem and they got that done with no problem. so we actually have momentum right now and we're willing to take a risk. we have policy movement. the president is engaged. so when you have momentum, that's when you take a risk. >> if i'm working on what have
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-- behalf of the democrats next year, we're saying when the republicans had a chance to get something done, they got tax cuts done for millionaires. >> but democrats run those ads for every election. every election it's tax cuts for billionaires. [ overlapping speakers ] and who controls the congress and the white house? >> i think it's different here. we have zero deals, nothing done. and the one thing you're going to get done is something that hurts middle class americans. they do not like this health care bill. >> the president said he does not -- >> i don't believe nothing the president said. >> we're going to leave it on that note. i want to thank everybody. coming up, the latest on a shooting rampage in northern california left at least four people dead before police killed the gunman. the latest on what happened. (♪)
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elementary school hitting at least one student. the gunman tried to get into the school, but couldn't. the gunman was killed in a shootout with police. "cnn tonight" starts now. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. president trump back in the white house after his two week trip to asia. and he's got a lot on his plate at home. there's roy moore refusing to drop out of the senate race despite stunning allegations from five women who say he sexually abused them when they were teenagers. >> i'm now facing allegations, and that's all the press want to talk about. but i want to talk about the issues. i want to talk about where this country's going. and if we don't come back to god we're not going anywhere. >> that was roy moore just moments ago. his own party doesn't want him. mitch mcconnell is telling