tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN November 29, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
remember when i used to say we're going to win so much? we're going to win that the people of missouri are going to go to your governor and they're going to say, governor, please go see the president. we can't stand winning so much. remember i used to say that? right? i used to say it and that's what's happening. that's what's happening. and then the governor's going to come to that beautiful historic oval office. he's going to say to me, mr. president, the people of missouri cannot stand all this winning. they don't want to win so much. they love the old way. where they had lousy job numbers, lousy economic numbers, lousy -- they loved it. please, mr. president. please -- and i'll say, governor, i don't care what they say in missouri, we're going to keep winning and winning and
winning and winning. remember? that's right. i used to say that. i had fun with that. but we are winning. we're winning again. we're winning a lot bigger than anyone ever thought possible for such a short period of time. for too long our tax code has incentivized our companies to leave in search of lower tax rates. that happens. many, many companies, they're going to ireland, they're going all over, they're going all over asia, but they're stopping because they now want to take advantage of what's happening and what we're about to pass hopefully. my administration rejects the off-shoring model. in other words, let's build a factory in another country. isn't that wonderful? that really helps us a lot. fire everybody and build a product and let's send it in without tax back into the united states. that model doesn't work for me. it never worked and it shouldn't have worked to any of our other
past presidents. believe me. our new model is the american model. call it the trump model. where we build it here. as much as possible, we build it here. simply put, our tax plan is anti-off-shoring and 100% working, 100% pro-america. [ cheers and applause ] under the american model, we're reducing burdens on our businesses as long as they do business in our country. okay? they do business here. now, we love mexico. it's a wonderful place. but i don't like when our car companies move to mexico, fire everybody, build the same car in mexico, send it through our borders with no taxes, no nothing, and we buy the car. same price. we buy the car. in the meantime, what do we get
out of it? we get no tax and we get unemployment all over. that's stopping. so now the plants are starting to move back and there is a price to pay when they do that little number on us. that's how we all succeed and we grow together, as one team, one people, as one american family. [ cheers and applause ] this week's vote can be the beginning of the next great chapter for the american worker. to summarize, our plan cuts taxes for the working and middle income families. it nearly doubles the amount of income taxed at the rate of 0. it lowers tax rate. it expands the child tax credit. it provides relief from the estate tax. also known as the death tax. it cuts small business taxes. it reduces the corporate from
35% all the way down to 20%. and it provides a one-time low tax rate to return corporate money parked overseas. trillions and trillions of dollars. this is the right plan. this is the right time. we have a moment in time. the republicans have the senate. the republicans have the house. the republicans have the white house. it's very unusual. very unusual. this is our chance to free our economy from our workers, from the terrible tax burdens. we have workers that are so burdened with taxes. we're freeing our workers from those terrible burdens. republicans in congress campaigned on cutting taxes. we also campaigned on repeal and replace. it's going to happen.
it's going to happen. take your time. it's going to happen. it's going to happen. many democrats have promised tax cuts that don't mean anything. because they really want major tax increases. senator claire mccaskill. have you ever heard of her? is doing you a tremendous disservice. she wants your taxes to go up. she's weak on crime. she's weak on borders. she's weak on illegal immigration. and she's weak on the military. other than that, i think she's doing a fantastic job. but now comes the moment of truth in the coming days, the american people will learn which politicians are part of the swamp and which politicians want to drain the swamp. if you make your voices heard
and call up your congressmen, and they've been terrific, and call up your senators, and they have been totally terrific. most of them have been incredible. they really are. they're friends of mine. they're been incredible. but it doesn't take much. that's why we need more. we need to have a larger number. most of them have been incredible, but call your senators, call your congressmen, because we have no choice. we have to act. we have to act as a country. this isn't good for the republican party. this is good for the country. and that's ultimately what it's all about. so this week hopefully the senate can join the house and take that strong stand for middle class families and for business and for jobs and for competition and for bringing money back. together we will give the american people a big, beautiful christmas present.
[ cheers and applause ] and, remember, i was the one when i was here last time, i said we're going to have christmas again. i was the one who said you go to the department stores and you see happy new year and you see red and you see snow and you see all these things. you don't see merry christmas anymore. with trump as your president, we are going to be celebrating merry christmas again. and it's going to be done with a big, beautiful tax cut. thank you, everybody. god bless you. thank you. thank you, everybody. thank you very much. that's president trump wrapping up a speech no place st. charles, missouri, touting the republican tax plan. the familiar refrains of the rolling stones there. he made a mention of north korea, calling out kim jong-un as, quote, little rocket man
after, of course, the rogue regime test fired yet another missile. cnn's abby phillip is in missouri covering the president for us there. abby, what was the main thrust of the president's selling points for this tax plan today? >> reporter: hi, jake. well, the president talks a lot about this being a middle class tax break for middle americans. he used st. charles' main street as the focal point of these remarks, calling out a couple of local businesses here who he said are examples of the kinds of people he wants to benefit from this, but at the same time, the president also claimed that he wouldn't benefit at all from the tax bill. we know that's not exactly true. his businesses and wealthy folks like him and his children would benefit, but the president's talking a lot about the middle class here today going forward. >> all right. abby phillip with the president in missouri. now, for anyone catching up on news for the first time today, the president has stepped on his message about taxes and lowering taxes. let me ease you into what he did this morning with something a
little bit more rational. >> we will begin to construct a new foundation of cooperation and support with our muslim allies to combat extremism, terrorism and violence. >> that was president trump in may, a rational, sane speech read from a teleprompter. and quite a different message from this morning when president trump went on twitter and retweeted anti-muslim videos from a far-right group in europe to his 43 million plus twitter followers. his
three retweets show a young man being beaten and thrown from a rooftop, as well as someone destroying a virgin mary video. the purpose of the videos clearly to depict muslims as savages. it's not entirely clear that all of the people in the videos are muslim. this one, for example, purports to show a migrant beating up a dutch boy on crutches, but the embassy of the netherlands tweeted to president trump that the perpetrator here was not a
migrant. quote, facts do baematter, the embassy said in a tweet. the perpetrator was born and raised in the netherlands, unquote. so where did president trump find such vile content, irresponsibly shared devoid of context, false in at least one case with the sole purpose seemingly of inflaming and encouraging fear and hatred? well, the original tweets come from this woman, the deputy leader of the extreme right britain first in the uc. just last year she was accused of, quote, religiously aggravated harassment for harassing a muslim woman on the street. national security experts say that the potential consequences cannot be ignored. >> it has all kinds of ripple effects, both in terms of perhaps inciting or encouraging anti-muslim violence and as well causes i think our friends and allies around the world to
wonder about the judgement of the president of the united states. >> well, that became clear when the spokesperson for british prime minister theresa may, quote, it is wrong to for the president to have done this. britain first seeks to divide communities in use of their hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions. on the other hand, former klan leader david duke tweeted thank god for trump. this is why we love him. in response to his tweets. this is only one of several ugly moments by the president. responding to nbc news firing anchor matt lauer for inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace, president trump lashed the out at an msnbc anchor, joe skrarborcarborough,s conspiracy theory, will they terminate low ratings joe scarborough based on the unsolved mystery that took place in florida years ago? investigate, exclamation point. to be clear, this is the
president of the united states attempting to exploit the tragic death of a young woman that occurred in 2001, one that had nothing to do with with joe scarborough. 28-year-old intern laurie was found dead in scarborough's florida office 16 years ago. she apparently suffered heart problems, that's what the medical examiner concluded. she fell and hit her head on the desk and died. there were no findings of foul play, but today the president used the loss of this young woman to score this cheap and ugly political point. the pain that her friends and family might feel be damned. that attack, demonizing muslims, finding favor with bigots on both sides of the atlantic all before 9:30 in the morning. it's apparent that the people around president trump are unable to stop him from behaving this way, but that doesn't mean you and i don't have to pretend it is happening because this is fundamentally indecent behavior. we cannot excuse it and ignore it and we cannot become numb to it. now when white house press secretary sarah sanders was
asked about those anti-muslim videos the president pushed to his followers originally from an extremist group. it was pointed out to her it wasn't clear if the videos were real. here is her response. >> whether it's a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about. >> whether or not it's a real video, the threat is real. that's an official statement from the white house suggesting that it doesn't matter if the content the president shares is real, because the point he was trying to make is real. in his view. as an official white house statement, it's frankly an official untethering from reality. my panel is here with me. let's get right to it. mary katherine ham, your view, i mean, the president could have just stuck with his tax message and had a pretty good day, but he constantly does this on twitter. >> the cfpb victory as well. he could have had two things in his corner and he can deliver a message on tax reform that might actually convince some people. yet this is what we end up with. no one is going to stop him from doing it. i don't think he's going to stop. think the ship has sailed on that and i don't think you make
a moral case to him about it, but perhaps the practical case would be more effective because this is what happens. he doesn't -- we don't get to talk about tax reform, we talk about the gross things he tweeted this morning. >> you're supportive, david, of the president. supporters of the president inside the white house are frustrated by this because he is hurting himself by engaging in these indecent retweets and tweets. >> so two points. i agree with mary catholic rip we're stepping on the message here. we had a great victory on cfpb. the district court sided with the administration. on tax, we had a great vote in the senate. we're about to have a vote again, thursday/friday on the tax bill to get it done. and probably get it passed before the holidays here. so the president will get to sign a big victory. so, yes, he does step on his own message there and it is -- it's not helping him and not helping the administration get what needs to, you know, be accomplished across the finish line. >> brian? >> i don't know what to say anymore. i mean, i'm exhausted from being
outraged. obviously it's completely unacceptable, it's completely counterproductive from a homeland security perspective, for all the reasons you heard from jim clapper, but a day to day, he picks these fights on purpose. yesterday we were reacting with horror to the fact he was speaking before navajo code talkers and called elizabeth warren by a slur right in front of them. so i think that this is -- he's doing it on purpose. he likes to get a rise out of people. he likes to be provocative for its own sake. when people react with horror, he likes to consider them a coastal elite that doesn't care enough about protecting the country. >> to counter jim clapper's point, folks blew up the embassies in africa, the folks that flew the planes into the world trade center, that happened long before donald trump was president. the fact that we're radicalizing folks, that ship has sailed. >> this doesn't help. >> the notion that somehow you're going to, i mean, you gentlemen have traveled a lot to these parts of the world.
the notion that somehow the president sending a warm, fuzzy tweet saying come over to our side is going to make things better is somewhat naive. i don't think this helps, but i don't think that jim clapper's point that somehow we're radicalizing thousands of young men and women across the world, i dismiss that. >> the british member of parliament named jo cox murdered last year by a man yelling "britain first." her widower tweeted this, trump has legitimatized the far-right in his own country. now he's trying to do it in ours. spreading hatred has consequences and the president should be ashamed of himself. >> he gives oxygen to these groups. people will say it's fake but actor. a standard established by dan rather and respected by sarah sanders today. the facts matter. if he wants to make an argument or security issues and migrants, feel free to do that with actual facts. he did not do that and there is a cost to raising the profile, both in america and britain, of people who are extremists. whether they're muslim
extremists or nationalist extremists. >> mary katherine's initial point, right, we'd much rather be talking about cfpb victory, tax plan, increase in the economy. >> that's what we talked about yesterday. >> all very positive messages that would really help drive the party to the midterms, right? >> and progressives -- democrats would rather talk about those issues, too, because we feel this vote is sneaking up on people. that the public is not properly attuned to what the republicans in the senate are going to be voting for on friday. >> i want to talk about another issue dealing with president trump. "the new york times" reporting in private that the president is becoming even further un-moored from the facts. telling friend that's not his voice on the infamous "access hollywood" video, which is false. continuing to question whether president obama was born in the united states. obviously he was. suggesting he own lost the popular vote because of more than 3 million illegal votes. a charge to which there is no evidence. i want to bring in one of the co-authors of this story.
jonathan, what's going on and do you think it's getting worse? >> i think that what's happening here is he's never really dropped these issues. it's just that he i think is restrained on some things in public. as one person explained it to me, you know, he will litigate the purported mass voter fraud last year in public -- >> to which there is no evidence. >> correct. he'll tweet about it and he'll talk about it, but he's got an internal governor that stops him from kind of going there publicly on president obama's birthplace, from going there on the validity of the "access hollywood" tape. so he is kind of restrained on stuff that he knows if he talks about it in public or tweets about it that will sort of inflame things, but that doesn't stop him in private talking to advisers, senators, about his views of these things. and i think it surprises them. here is what is so striking, i was in the capitol yesterday and today before i came here, you talk to members of congress that are republicans, they brush a
lot of this off. >> really? >> they just think it's bluster. they just think that he pops off, that it's not threatening necessarily. it's concerning, but they put it aside. you know, let's be honest, a lot of ways they're driving the train right now politically. >> in terms of the legislation on capitol hill. >> of course. right. >> is there no one around him that hears him saying things that are clearly untrue and responds the way you or i might if one of our bosses responded that way? >> i don't think so. >> no? >> i don't think so. in fact, i talked to a former trump staffer today who was sort of relishing the fact that the so-called new regime has been unable to impose the kind of order that was promised. i mean, this is the whole thing, you know, we thought john kelly, former four-star marine general was going to come in there and impose spit and polish discipline. you're not going to change someone unless you're willing to say stop tweeting and stick to
the teleprompter. >> thank you so much. >> just to kind of build on that. our friend and colleague here, salena zito summarized this beautifully. president trump's detractors take him literally but not seriously, and trump supporters take him seriously but not literally. if you keep that in mind and view everything through that lens, as jonathan said, people on the hill shrug it off. >> that's an extraordinary thing, david, that members of congress don't take the president of the united states seriously. >> i think you're correct in some of this. they understand what to take seriously and some they don't. they view it through a different prism. there are certain things behind closed doors negotiating, they see him as the serious guy and up on stage as the entertainer, he's the president. >> that's amazing. >> mary katherine, if your boss acted that way, right, if you had somebody you worked for or a relative who acted that way who said things that were
demonstrably false. what would your reaction be? >> i'm famously mouthy so i would say something probably. perhaps not at thanksgiving dinner or christmas dinner just to keep the peace, but, no, i think in these cases, look, he does need somebody who will push back on him, but the problem is he doesn't love people who push back on him. you can only get away with that a certain amount if you're a family member. i'm not even sure about family members. he does need someone who can tell him this kind of thing, but i've seen no evidence he listen to that kind of person. that's what would change the game. >> brian fallon? >> so you learn if you're little, you tell enough lies you might start to believe them. i actually wouldn't be surprised if in his own mind he's convinced himself it's not his voice on that top. if you look at how he's popped off on al franken or matt lauer today, he is not self-aware -- >> given the own allegations against him. >> yeah. so i think that the reality is this is a hallmark sign of any
authoritarian regime where they want to bend reality to their own purposes, and that's why cnn's slogan now is facts first. to oppose this president is not to take a stance on a particular political ideology, it's just to make a stand on the objective idea of truth. >> thanks one and all. really appreciate it. we have a lot of news in this hour. one of the most recognizable names in television news has been fired. nbc showing matt lauer the door after serious allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. new information about what he is accused of coming up next. plus, the woman some say started it all. former news anchor gretchen carlson joins us. stay with us. right now when you get an unlimited family plan, netflix is included. ho ho ho! t-mobile covers your netflix subscription... best christmas gift ever! ...so you can binge watch all year long. now you're thinking christmas! and now when you buy any of this season's hot new samsung galaxy phones, you get a second one free to gift.
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stelter. and, brian, voorer "variety" says these come from a two-month investigation. >> that's right. nbc knew this story was in the works and also a "new york times" story about to land with more details against lauer. "variety" cites three women who specifically accuse lauer of various kinds of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. some of it happening right there in the nbc studios. that's a key part of this, jake, the idea that lauer had a lot of power and he was wielding that power over younger female staffers. in some cases having sexual relationships with them. in other cases, doing inappropriate things, saying inappropriate things and making people feel intimidated. so far, for what it's worth, nbc's not commenting on the news story and cnn has not independently confirmed it. >> what about lauer him? we haven't heard from him today. >> that's right. that's part of the mystery here. he was fired last night. he found out last night. the world found out this morning. lauer has outside pr firm he's hired. they're working on a possible
statement, so far they haven't said a word. lauer hasn't confirmed or denied anything. >> some of the details in that story are harrowing. we mentioned earlier in the show that lauer isn't alone. garrison. keillor told the associated press he was fired. >> we've seen this sexual harassment tipping point in america. today it's coming home in a big way because matt lauer and garrison keillor are beloved figures on radio and television. keillor has been fired by minnesota public radio in the midst of sexual harassment allegations. the details are a bit murky. we're going to find out more in the coming days. >> all right. brian stelter, thank you so much. would the women making allegations against lauer come forward if gretchen carlson hadn't come out first? hey, man. oh!
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we're back with more breaking news in the pop culture lead. what may very well be the biggest household name in morning television today taken down by sexual harassment allegations and his own behavior. moments ago, we learned of at least three other women describing sexual harassment by matt lauer to "variety" magazine. lauer now joining the ranks of charlie rose and harvey weinstein and kevin spacey and mark hall brynn and bill cosby and bill o'reilly and roger ailes. and added to the list today, garrison keillor, dropped by minnesota public radio. darnived resumes all stained by various misconduct allegations. most from women coming forward saying they were victims of inprep sexual behavior if not
worse. i want to bring in gretchen carlson. author of "the new york times" best-seller "be fierce." it was her lawsuit against roger ailes that led to his ousting and many say began this wave of accusers coming forward. thanks for joining us. what makes lauer's case different in any way or is it just common like all the others? >> i think what makes it different is that it was handled so swiftly and the accuser who came forward just monday night was actually believed. i mean, that would have never happened, jake, 16 months ago when i jumped off the cliff, ever. >> that's interesting. there are women in this "variety" story who say on background that they had complaints and brought them to nbc and they were ignored, but this new woman, this new allegation, you think in this new environment, that's what made the difference. >> totally, you know, but i do think that companies have a lot of introspection to do now and it's not just media companies, it's every company across america that needs to grapple
with this issue. they need to look deep inside of the way in which they conduct business and the way in which they cover up. from what i've learned in researching my book and putting together all the stories from thousands of women who reached out to me, there is a lot of covering up going on across america, especially when they're rich and powerful men. >> i want to listen to lauer pressing bill o'reilly about the allegations against him shortly after o'reilly was fired from fox news. take a listen. >> you are the guy that the ratings and the revenues were built on. you carried that network on your shoulders for a lot of years. so doesn't it seem safe to assume that the people at fox news were given a piece of information or given some evidence that simply made it impossible for you to stay on at fox news? >> that's a false assumption. >> kind of weird listening to that now. >> it is. and i actually questioned the fact that matt lauer actually did that interview with bill o'reilly at the time. you know, we spend a lot of time talking about how are we going to rehab alleged predators and
when will they land their next job? what we should be doing is talking about hiring back the thousands and maybe millions of women who through their own bravery and courage coming forward have lost their careers. the majority of the women that i feature in my book, jake, have never been able to go back to their chosen professions. they've had the american dream taken away from them and that is outrageous. >> you bring that up and it's one of the things i think about all the time when you read these stories about women harassed or assaulted by harvey weinstein, who decided not to go into imfilm. women who worked for bill o'reilly were harassed by him, left journalism. same thing with mark halperin. it's completely heartbreaking, the women's leaves changed. ronan farrow has written about some of these actresses that vanished or weren't as big stars because they were so affected by the trauma they experienced by an harasser or an alssaulter. >> isn't that outrageous?
i know you have a daughter and a son. i have a daughter and son. everyone who is watching who has children, do we want this for our kids? the automatic answer is no. that is why i'm so proud of any man or woman who has found the courage in the last 16 months to also come forward. i don't care how much time has passed. this is about people finally having a voice. and i think that this is a cultural revolution. we are watching empowerment at its best. and i don't think it's going to end any time soon. >> one of the things that's interesting, though, is this tsunami, this culture change going on right now that's affected everywhere, every corner of the media, every corner of hollywood, and the repercussions are going to keep coming. it doesn't seem to have hit politics yet. because there are people who have multiple sexual harassment settlements or at least allegations and plus, of course, all the allegations against president trump. you have roy moore in alabama with credible accusations that he molested a 14-year-old and assaulted a 16-year-old.
why are politics right now impervious? is it just because of the political dribblism? >> well, here's what i say to that question, sexual harassment is apolitical. before anyone decides to harass you, they don't ask you what party you're in. we've seen titans from both parties fall. here's what i would like to say today, the fact that you choose to believe certain women based on what your politics are is crazy. you can't just say, i'm going to believe this woman over here because i'm a democrat and i'm going to believe this woman over here because i'm a republican. that is so disingenuous. we has a nation have to come to terms with the fact that men and women from both sides of the aisle are perpetrators. and we have to also come to terms with the fact that we need to believe women from both sides of the aisle. now, politicians can't be fired unless the voters decide to do that. they can also be asked to resign, and we're watching a lot of big cases right now and that jury is still out on whether or not those men should resign.
i also believe that we should take away the curtain from these secret payments that have gone out using taxpayer dollars and we should find out who were the perpetrators in those cases? the taxpayers, you and i and everyone else deserve to know that. >> president trump tweeted something about lauer. it was observed earlier today on my show. that his inability to see that when he goes after al franken or matt lauer on these issues, it shows a tremendous lack of self-awareness. you tweeted, really, you can't pick and choose the women you want to believe. look in the mirror. but president trump and his supporters don't seem to -- they seem to make an exception for him and the many women who have accused him credibly of allegations ranging from harassment to assault. >> that's what i'm saying. look at this amazing political divide we find ourselves in in this nation in 2017. that people in alabama, even if the allegations were 125% proven to be true against roy moore,
they say they would still vote for a child predator, allegedly, instead of a democrat. i mean, that's where we are in 2017. what happened to human dignity? the same for the trump accusers. whether we're at '16 -- 16 or 17 or 20, they are all liars? we can't pick and choose based upon what our political bent is. this is not a republican or democratic issue and we all need to care about it. this is what i'm lobbying for on capitol hill right now, jake, and i think you know about this. i'm very close to introducing bills to take the secrecy out of forced arbitration and may main goal is to make sure it's bipartisan. i'm incredibly optimistic i'll be introducing this in the house and the senate in the next couple of weeks. >> amazing. gretchen carlson, thank you so much. >> jake, thank you so much. president trump just moments ago calling kim jong-un a sick puppy as the u.n. security council is about to hold an
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that any american city is within striking distance. are there any signs that another test may be imminent, either a missile or a nuclear test? >> reporter: well, north korea has been warning of a seventh nuclear test. of course we don't know when that's going to happen, but language like what we heard today from president trump, reviving the rocket man insult and adding in sick puppy for good measure certainly doesn't help the path towards a diplomatic solution here. comparing somebody to a dog is a grave insult in north korean culture. they have called president trump a mad dog and a frightened dog. he dished it right back today. we'll see how they respond to it. >> how is north korea responding to the threat of new sanctions from president trump? >> reporter: defiantly. you know, antagonizing rhetoric against the president. they, again, they put out a statement today calling him an old lunatic. they mention, in fact, adding north korea back to the list of state sponsors of terrorism. it indicates this missile launch
may have been at least a partial response to that move by president trump. the question moving forward is what will north korea do as the olympics are approaching, just about two months away here in pyeongchang, here in the south korea. back on that state sponsor of terror list. they were put on that list in 1998 because they were linked to a bombing of an airline before -- scaring people to come to south korea before the summer li olympics bam in seoul in 1998. will they try to do something provocative to frighten people? >> all right. will ripley, thank you so much. joining me now is richard haas. ambassador haas, thanks for joining us, as always. the president, as you heard, called kim jong-un little rocket man and a sick puppy. does that hurt the u.s. in trying to convince the north koreans to give up the weapons program or at least come to the
table? >> well, there is zero chance even if he called him terms of endearment that north korea is going to give up its nuclear weapons program. what i think it does is reenforces their instinct that they need this for their protection. it probably makes it a little bit more difficult for us to rally international support because we're not exactly occupying the high ground. and probably most seriously, jake, if there is an incidents, for example, north korean and u.s. planes come into close proximity or something at sea, this is a truly poisonous relationship now and it becomes all that much more difficult for these two governments to manage an incident and prevent it from turning into a real crisis. >> what do you think president trump might mean when he says the u.s. will, quote, take care of or handle north korea? >> i was listening to that as well. i don't know what it means. it sounds a little bit like bravado. we're fast coming to a point where there are only going to be two options, one is to use
military force and all that would entail, the risks and the toss or living with north korea and basing our security on deterrentance. what seems to be fast closing is the window for diplomacy to stop north korea before they achieve a mature ability to attack us. >> there are a number of vacancies at the statement that might have an effect on this conflict. there is no permanent ambassador to south korea. there is no secretary of state for eastern and pacific affairs. president trump was asked about all of these vacancies recently. here is his response. >> i'm a business person and i tell my people, well, you don't need to fill slots, don't fill them. but we have some people that i'm not happy with their -- >> assistant secretary of state you're not getting rid of that position. >> let me tell you, the one that matters is me. i'm the only one that matters because when it comes to it, that's what the policy is going to be. >> now you worked at the state department. what do you make of that? >> well, look, the president is the decider at the end of the
day but this is someone who came into this office without any real experience with foreign policy or government. the same thing applies to the secretary of state. so why they would deny themselves expertise. at the end of the day they don't have to listen to it. they can do what they want, but why wouldn't they avail themselves of people who have been on the ground for 30 or 40 years who have wrestled with the two last bouts of diplomacy with north korea. there is a lot to be learned. i don't understand why we would essentially fly blind here. i'll be honest with you, jake. >> i want to show some live pictures of the u.n. security council which is just convening right now to deal with this threat. the french representative to it the united nations said that this crisis is worse in scope and scale than it's been and it's gotten that way in just the last few months. is that true? do you agree? >> i do. and i think people underestimate how severe it is.
again, i'm less worried about a boat from the blue from north korea. that's not on the top of my list. there is a possibility the u.s. may choose to use force, but, again, as i mentioned before, i really am worried about the ability or lack of it of these two countries to manage an incident. you think about something like the cuban missile crisis and what a close run thing that was. do we really think this administration and this north korean government, which aren't talking directly, would have the ability to tamp something down if it were to happen? i'm not so sure. >> you say yesterday what's needed is a, quote, serious diplomatic effort to freeze weapons testing. if you're north korea, which has thus far refused to negotiate, why would you agree to a weapons freeze? they made it pretty clear they're going to keep going until they have an icbm that can carry a nuclear warhead to the united states. >> well, it's a fair question and they may not. one thing, though, would be if you coupled with certain incentives. for example, an end to the state of war that has been the case now since the korean war in the
early '50s, possibly with some sanctions relief, possibly with some adjustment to the annual u.s./south korean exercises. that might be something they would want or maybe they would put certain limits on the capability they develop. i'm not saying it would solve the problem, but it's certainly worth exploring. if north korea rejects it, we can face the two choices of using military force or living with a larger north korean capability. we can face them squarely and say to our own people, we can say to the world, we tried. we offered north korea a reasonable compromise. they swatted it away. they left us with no choice. if i were advising the president, i would remind him that sometimes you offer up diplomatic ideas, not only because you're sure they're going to be accepted but because they clarify and then they help you galvanize domestic and international support. >> ambassador richard haas, thank you so much, as always. good to have you on. >> thanks, jake. the president selling the republican tax plan to the american people today in missouri. any moment, a key vote on that
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and we're back with the politics lead. today, republicans are one major step closer to making their tax bill a reality. any moment now we expect to see the senate hold a key procedural vote. that's expected to pass. as republicans inch closer to that moment senator john mccain, the same man who dramatically gave the thumbs down on the obamacare repeal vote earlier this year today didn't sound so confident about this tax bill. phil mattingly is live on capitol hill. i'm old enough to remember that mccain voted against the bush tax cuts because they were too heavily weighted towards the
wealthy, but analysis shows these trump cuts are more heavily weighted towards the wealthy. he's up in the air. >> reporter: a senior republican aide told me rather bluntly, we can't let this come down to mccain. they recognize they don't know where he's going to be. we've seen a lot of on the fence senators get a lot more comfortable with this plan. senator john mccain, well, take a listen. >> do you have anything to say about the tax bill yet? >> i haven't decided yet. >> you haven't decided. i know you said you wanted to -- >> i haven't decided yet. >> do you think the process -- >> i haven't decided. >> reporter: and, jake, it's not just the proportionality in terms of where the tax cuts go, it is all the deficit. mccain a self-proclaimed deficit hawk. it's worth noting while mccain is still on the fence, a lot of other senators appear to be coming around. behind the scenes, jake, i'm told there are a series of fix in place to deal with the deficit hawks and susan collins who had some specific asks and
deal with senator ron johnson who has of yesterday was considering stalling the plan out all together. there are commitments and deals and then there is putting pen to paper. that's what we're waiting for right now. once those things come forward and whether or not they can pay for them, that will decide whether or not they actually get this across the finish line. at this point, republicans feel good but they know, jake, there is a lot more work to do. >> what exactly is the state of play? when might we see the procedural vote and the final vote? >> reporter: once you have the procedural vote, there is going to be a lengthy floor process. republicans trying to target friday. they know how this whole process of reconciliation works, but the key is getting these amendments done, making sure the amendments can get to the floor and letting democrats more or less slam away at them with their own amendments and trying to close the deal by the end of the week. again, the process right now is all about what they're doing behind the scenes, making sure those amendments to make those senators happy are queued up. they get those ready to go and locked in, they will get this
done in the next couple of days. >> phil mattingly on capitol hill. thank you so much. thank you for watching. be sure to follow me on facebook and twitter @jaketapper. turning you over to one wolf blitzer in "the situation room." blitzer in "the situation room." thanks for watching. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com happening now. breaking news. pushing conspiracies. president trump publicly promotes the gop tax bill while he's said to be privately reviving speculation about president obama's birthplace, illegal voting and whether the infamous "access hollywood" videotape is real. why is the president once again embracing alternative facts? most powerful missile. president trump calls kim jong-un little rocket man and a sick puppy. and vows even more sanctions in response to north korea's launch of its most powerful missile so far. can it strike anywhere in the u.s.? lauer outed.