tv MSNBC Live MSNBC September 30, 2017 4:00am-4:30am PDT
it that in the end had nothing to do with knowing too much about an notorious scandal but a victim simply of an all consuming jealousy. >> that's all for this edition of "dateline." thank you for watching. good morning. in new york at msnbc world headquarters. here's what's happening. he's out. health secretary tom price resigns after coming under fire for his use on private jets plus the tense two hour meeting he had with the president before the announcement. desperation in puerto rico. are the calls for help finally being heard? crunching the numbers, new analysis shows just who benefits from republican's new tax cut. he begin with dramatic new fallout this morning after the
sudden resignation of tom price from the trump administration. kelly o'donnell is near president trump's golf resort in new jersey where the president is spending the weekend. good morning, kelly. >> reporter: good morning. the fallout after the firing. president trump now has a major cabinet opening to deal with after he accepted the resignation forced by controversy of tom price who has been serving as the secretary of health and human services. the president had foreshadowed the end was coming when he was asked questions about price's use of private aircraft and then he tried to save it by saying he would payback taxpayer's about $50,000 of the roughly $400,000 cost but the president said he didn't like the optics he was dissatisfied with that and argued that the administration has been trying to save taxpayer's money by negotiating better deals, so the president said this was not a good situation, though called tom price a fine man.
at the same time the president is also dealing with the fallout over the response to puerto rico and the ongoing response there with supplies and water and medical needs unmet with power out for so many on the island. the president says that he is with the people of puerto rico, rebuilding will require some tough decisions but he will be behind them. there's been some dustup as well over the assessments of the response with the a elaine duke saying this was a good news story. she's now visited puerto rico and has dialed that back some to reflect the more urgent need of people waiting in lines for water and supplies and still needing help after the hurricane came through. the president will have to continue to deal with that issue but he'll be spending his weekend at his new jersey home in bedminster. dara? >> thank you for that. more now on puerto rico and the growing firestorm surrounding the trump administration's response to the islands humanitarian crisis.
and mary ana, bring us up to date on the situation on the ground there. >> reporter: first of all i'm not able to come to you live with our cameras because we simply have no cell phone reception here in catalina puerto rico, roughly 90% of cell sites are out of service and from where i'm standing i can see two big lines of cars that go around several blocks, one is for gas people that have been waiting in their cars all night and the other one is for cell phone reception. so once people think that there's a hot spot, quote/unquote, everyone just sort of starts to gather there to see if they can try to connect and the situation is so dire that these people are not connecting to their cell phones to get on social media. many of them are still trying to connect with family members on other sides of the island
because they don't know whether their loved ones are accounting for. yesterday we stayed in line all day with people waiting for ice and we spoke to people who were still trying to locate loved ones on the northwestern part of the island on the northeast part of the island, anything basically outside san juan. you still probably are cutoff of and one of the more dramatic things that we witnessed during this reporting is a lot of the supplies there in the port of san juan that they're simply not enough resources meaning enough drivers, meaning enough gas to be able to take them to the people who need them the most and that is why you have the mayor of san juan saying that people are dying because these are folks that are running out of food, running out of medicine and still have no power. da dara? >> i am begging, begging anyone that can hear us to save us from
dying. if anybody out there is listening to us, he are dying and you are killing us with the inefficiency and the bureaucracy. if we don't get the food and the water into peoples' hands, what ergoing to see is something close to a genocide. >> many puerto ricans telling me that they feel as american as the folks who suffered during harvey, during irma and they don't understand why it is taking so long for them -- to get the help they need. back to you. >> thank you so much for that report from puerto rico. learn how you can help victims of hurricane maria as
nbcnews.com/puerto rico. joining me now and there's a lot to talk about today. kevin, let's start with you. let's talk about tom price's departure. the "the new york times" is reporting that mr. trump erated mr. price in the oval office for two hours. our friends had been following his use of the private jets for a couple weeks now. what are you hearing about his resignation and how did it come about? >> he did not like the use of the private jet particularly when the president had campaigned on draining the swamp and it did not fit from a narrative perspective, it didn't fit from an optic perspective, it also just didn't fit with what the president was trying to do. you'll also remember that this is an administration that had really wanted there to be health care reform and at the end of the day it wasn't done and i think that the president was looking for some type of shake-up and clearly at the end of the day it just wasn't going
in his direction. >> gaby, either way you spin it, fired or resigned, it doesn't look like for president trump whoes campaign props was to drain the swamp, as what point do we believe these trips were the betrayal of that cause or because he got bad headlines. >> i already spoke to a number of white house officials and he did feel like it was a betrayal of that campaign promise, do as i say not as i do swampy thing so that was why the president was compelled to not only let go of him from his cabinet but also to use him to make as an example for others. we've heard -- we've seen reports this week of secretary zinke, of secretary mnuchin previously, of the v.a. secretary david schulkin taking private chartered flights to various parts of the country or to foreign countries and
vacationing with their spouses and just wasting taxpayer dollars and that was something that hit home with the president who has promised consistently to ensure that that type of behavior is not tolerated in his administration and that is exactly what he did by firing tom price. >> and kevin, let's talk about those others because much of his departure is a message to others who also flew on private jets or sought the use of them. what's going on there? >> i can tell you that treasury secretary steven mnuchin when you talk to folks at the treasury department, they'll tell you that this is someone who is really moved beyond the controversy so to speak of the several weeks ago. and look he was just meeting with the president over the last couple of days to continue to discuss a host of things like tax reform and yes even whose going to replace the federal reserve chair janet yellen. they're trying to move beyond that. this is an administration hungry for tax reform and that's what we've seen from the policy
perspective. the president focusing much of his bully pulpit with tax reform and to some extent on puerto rico as well obviously but at least on tax reform this is their all in on capitol hill both the treasury as well as with the white house to get tax reform done by the end of the year. >> and gaby let's turn to the crisis in puerto rico and president trump's upcoming visit. "the washington post" is calling trump's initial response the lost weekend detailing him golfing at his resort in new jersey and holding a rally in alabama. meanwhile your colleagues at the washington examiner obtained talking reports given to republican allies yesterday. what kind of reset is the white house looking for out of this trip next week? >> they're really urging republican allies of this administration to kind of shift the tone they're to focus ahead next week to president trump's visit really emphasize that the administration is doing everything that they can but that the broken infrastructure in puerto rico has really prohibited some things from
reaching folks that are located in more remote parts of the island and so they're turning to that and focusing their attention on that but again the visit next tuesday by president trump and a later visit by the vice president are really going to be important optically. the president has not done well on this so far. he's struggled with his response to the crisis in puerto rico. the comments yesterday by elaine duke were really not helpful or a good look for this administration so i think tuesday's visit is going to be a chance for him to reset the narrative to try his best to do away with these comparisons to president bush and hurricane katrina but it's really going to come down to what the administration is actually doing to ensure that food and electricity and water is reaching the people who are still stranded there and that search and rescue missions will continue. >> and kevin, i do want to end the gop tax plan. you were at the national association of manufacturers gathering yesterday where president trump made his tax
pitch. this is a tax break that we've been waiting for president trump to get to. also democrat senator joe donnelly on indiana on board with this but how do you see this playing out in congress? >> just quickly, first and foremost, this is completely all in on behalf of the administration as well as the big six on capitol hill but it's interesting to see the second point i make is democrats on board with this because most democrats will not be but these moderate democrats really could hold the fate of whether or not the president is able to get this done, senator donnelly, senator heidi heitkamp these are the folks that really could be in there. it would lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%, it would reduce the number of brackets tax brackets from seven to three tax brackets. it would also, perhaps, raise some taxes on the lower and middle class but it would have a net reduction for them in terms of tax deduction that's they
would be able to qualify for. so a lot of moving parts on this. senator elizabeth warren out against this leading the charge on the left to criticize this but again as you mentioned, some democrats really like this and i'll be blunt here i spoke with a couple of of moderate centrist democratic aids this week after the framework had been released and privately they're saying that they like what they see. >> interesting. we'll see how that pans out. >> very interesting. >> gaby, how much involvement are we going to see from the president on this when the recall efforts are to repeal obamacare? >> i think the president has already indicated that he's going to be out in front getting tax -- trying to shepherd tax reform through congress, that it's not going to be a behind the scenes willing and dealing effort that we saw with health care. that he's going to use the bully pulpit and i think that's going
to be important for this going forward. >> great to have of you this morning, always interesting talking points. thank you both for being here. >> thank you. >> thank you. just unveiled this weekend, washington what is in the plan that was would actually benefit the middle class. some answers coming up next. remember that accident i got in with the pole, and i had to make a claim and all that? is that whole thing still dragging on? no, i took some pics with the app and... filed a claim, but... you know how they send you money to cover repairs and... they took forever to pay you, right? no, i got paid right away, but... at the very end of it all, my agent...
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it's called a middle class miracle once again. it's also called a miracle for our great companies, a miracle for the middle class, for the working person. tax reform will protect low income and middle income households, not the wealthy and well connected. they can call me all they want. it's not going to help. i'm doing the right thing and it's not good for me, believe
me. >> but a new report finds that tax cut would benefit the rich and corporations most. joining me now is ron, good morning. which is true, which would benefit most from this tax cut, the nonpartisan tax center says it would overwhelming benefit the wealthest americans and not be a miracle for the middle class? >> that seems to be the right math and we've seen that elsewhere. i looked at proposals since they've been floated and there's no major tax cut for the middle class at all. the top wage earners in the country or the top income earners, business people who have taken more than $730,000 are going to get a very large tax cut in the hundreds of thousands of dollars while the middle z-brup may see their taxes go up overtime. at least as far as we know right now the way the math is being done on the outlines of this tax cut, the top 1%, the top 10% and
u.s. corporations get the biggest benefit, lower to middle income people don't get much of a benefit at all. >> there's nothing in it that benefits the middle class, does it depend on how one defines the middle class? >> there are certain areas of the tratat that would get some modest income breaks on this but it's really not designed the way its currently constructed to cut taxes. if you make $66,000 a year you'll get a $660 tax break. if you make $730,000 a year you'll get something over $100,000. you're not going to get much of a break. the committee for responsible federal budget says the tax plan will cost $2.2 trillion over ten years and the tax policy center says it's 2.4 trillion. how does adding this to the deficit help? >> well, it could. if we were in a situation where
we're in a recession and you wanted to start to spend your way out of it tax cuts make a lot of sense and at that jenk tour you don't worry necessarily about the impact on the deficit because you're trying to get growth moving again. that's not where we sit in the economic cycle. the other question, if house republicans and others oppose a move to eliminate the deductibility of state and low taxes on your federal forms, that's a trillion dollars in revenue that they're currently counting on that would increase the cost of this tax cut. so that's a key element that we'll have to watch closely. it may be well more than $2.5 trillion in cost. >> is secretary mnuchin says he expects this plan to generate $2 trillion in ref few and white house gary cohn says it's $3 trillion. is there any evidence there to support this? >> none that i've seen. there's not much empercal evidence and we don't isolate
the effective tax cuts on the economy because we've never been able to. if you go back to the most frequently cited example, coincidence dent with that we had a huge increase in government spending, deficits actually exploded during that period, so we don't have any evidence yet that in isolation a tax cut pays for itself particularly in the trillions of dollars. there's no hard evidence of that anywhere. >> you already mentioned itemized deductions for state and local taxes possibly going away but how many people are going to be hurt by that? >> california, new york, new jersey, three of the most popular states in the country that have high state income taxes. you could see a brain drain as people who make a lost money in high-paying jobs decide making they want to cross a border, if you're in california, you go to nevada if you're in new jersey, which is, by the way, had the biggest population outflow each -- in each of the last five years, you may see more of that. it is a costly knock to people
who are actually doing well in these states so we'll have to wait and see what the effect is and whether they deep. there are 33 republicans in the house, congress people in the house from those high tax states, if they should decide to turn their back on this tax plan and the house can only afford to lose 22 votes, it could imperil whether this passes at all. >> thank you so much for joining me this saturday morning. great to have you. america's top diplomat in crucial talks in china today as the u.s. looks for help to rein in north korea's nuclear ambition. a live report straight ahead. before we head to a break, one visitor made history at the eiffel tower this week. it welcomed its 300 millionth guest and this is the light show the tower through to celebrate. and speaking of famous lands marks, this doodle of the empire state building is estimated to be worth $12,000. that is because it was sketched by donald trump back in 1995.
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new this morning, secretary of state rex tillerson is in china for a series of high level meetings on north korea. tillerson wrapped up a meeting with chinese's president a short time ago. janis mackey frazer joins us from beijing, what do we know about the tone of the meeting today? >> reporter: good morning. this is the secretary's second visit to china. it's technically to set the stage for president trump's visit here in early november. there will be issues that are important to the u.s. and china, namely trade, but, of course the dominant was is north korea, even though it wasn't mentioned in opening remarks by any of the officials earlier today. china has been complying with
u.n. sanctions and trying to put pressure on pyongyang. they also imposed a few of their own this week just ahead of the secretary's visit, but china also expects the u.s. to tone down its rhetoric. they want a halt to military exercises, a policy they call freeze for freeze. this is something that the u.s. has opposed to this point. so there are some very key sticking points between these two sides at a time when there is a crucial importance on this relationship between beijing and washington. president trump's visit will come just after china's president xi is expected to get another five year term and of course there are some issues that the chinese officials want to try to decipher ahead of time namely what is u.s. foreign policy at this point. with president trump tweeting everything from vowing the destruction of north korea to triggering trade wars with china, so chinese officials would be looking for some
clarity from the secretary of state. it was a short visit, just one day and he'll be heading out in just a few hours. >> thank you so much. that will do it for me. i'm dara brown. hugh hewitt welcomes senate majority leader to the show. that's my girl! that's it! get it, woo, yeah! mom! my game's over. parents aren't perfect, but then they make us kraft mac & cheese and everything's good again.
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