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Roy Moore Files Lawsuit to Contest Election Results; Trump Falsely Claims He's 'Signed More Legislation Than Anybody'; IRS Cautions Against Prepaying Property Taxes. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired December 28, 2017 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want a situation where some states are winners and other states are losers.
[07:00:06] ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. Chris is off this morning. Bill Weir joins me. It will be very interesting to see what happens over the next two hours in Alabama.
BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR: We had some breaking news overnight.
CAMEROTA: In fact, we do. Let's get with that breaking news right now, because former Senate candidate and accused molester Roy Moore is fighting back. He's filing a lawsuit to try to stop Alabama from certifying today that Democrat Doug Jones is the winner of that state's special Senate election. Roy Moore's attorney alleges rampant voter fraud, and he's calling for an investigation.
WEIR: You'll remember Roy Moore lost to Doug Jones by more than 20,000 votes two weeks ago. A shocking result in a ruby-red state. But he has refused to concede.
And in another bizarre twist, Moore now says he took a polygraph test after the election over the sexual misconduct allegations made against him by three women. Moore argues he is telling the truth, denies any sexual contact with the women. Doesn't know them, never knew them. This won't do him much good at this point, other than maybe the public sentiment as he calls for another special election.
Let's get right to CNN's Diane Gallagher with the breaking details.
DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Bill.
Yes, this is kind of an 11th hour, almost kitchen sink-type complaint here that includes a lot of very serious allegations. Essentially, Roy Moore's attorney filed this complaint, saying that they want either a special election, a new election completely, or they want them to further investigate these allegations of voter fraud. And those are what the complaint really focuses on here.
He has three particular election experts, one of whom has peddled conspiracy theories in the past about President John F. Kennedy and the murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. He says that those election experts believe that there were voter regularities in voter turnout was unexpectedly high. And they point to Jefferson County in 20 specific precincts, where there were more Republicans, they say, registered and Roy Moore didn't do as well as he should have in those areas.
They also want the secretary of state to look at whether or not people from out of state were bussed in, who came in to vote and cast votes with out-of-state driver's licenses.
And this again, it includes a lot of different things, including Facebook messages and photos talking about super PACs and the allegations against him from those women who say that they either dated Roy Moore as teenagers, that he sexually assaulted them or that he was accused of child molestation in one case.
Roy Moore claimed that after that election, in this lawsuit, he says after that December 12 special election, he took a polygraph test, and it determined that he did not know, nor had any sexual conduct with his accusers.
Now Bill, Alisyn, as it stands right now, the state of Alabama is still set to certify Doug Jones as the winner of that special election a little bit later this afternoon. We've reached out to the secretary of state's office. We haven't heard back from them yet. But he has said a few times now it is highly unlikely that Doug Jones will not be certified as Alabama's next U.S. senator.
CAMEROTA: OK, Diane. If you do hear from the secretary of state there, please let us know in the next two hours. Because obviously, that would change everything. Thank you so much.
Now to President Trump and what he has been up to while at his golf resort in Florida. He is touting his first-year accomplishments but falsely claiming that he broke a legislative record. CNN's Abby Phillip is live in West Palm Beach, Florida, with more.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn.
Yes, President Trump spent most of the day yesterday, actually, at his international golf resort in the morning. But then in the afternoon, he made a surprise visit to a local firehouse here. He spent a lot of that time talking about the tax bill, talking about his record and his first year in office. And he made this surprising and untrue claim. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have more legislation passed truly, the record was Harry Truman some time ago. I broke that record. So we have a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: Well, it's possible that the president was trying to refer to rolling back some of these regulations that his administration has been going after pretty aggressively. But of course, that is not the same as passing the most bills in office. President Trump has actually passed 96 bills since taking office, and that is fewer than any president since Eisenhower.
Harry Truman, who he mentioned in that clip, actually signed 240 to 250 bills in office. And John F. Kennedy signed 684 bills. So President Trump has quite a ways to go to beat the records of his recent predecessors, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Abby, thank you very much for all of that reporting.
Joining us now to talk about all this, we have CNN political director David Chalian and CNN political analyst and national political correspondent for "The New York Times," Jonathan Martin. Great to see both of you.
OK. So David Chalian, this is a new wrinkle with Roy Moore. He -- not only never conceded, now he's saying and submitting a letter to the secretary of state that he has, he thinks, election evidence of election fraud.
He's also, interestingly, saying that he took a polygraph test to try to, you know, counter what these women, all the women who came forward to say that they had these experiences with him as teenagers. He writes here, "As I expected, the results of the examination" -- the polygraph -- "reflected that I did not know, nor had I ever had any sexual contact with any of these individuals."
Now, interestingly, he took this after the election, not when everybody was debating it.
So what do you see happening in Alabama?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, first and foremost, now we know why he didn't concede. Right? This plan to try to contest the results. Seems to me that this is a bit of a "hail Mary" pass. Those are more often not caught than caught, I think.
But what is unclear is if Roy Moore wants to sort of fight this front on voter fraud or if he's trying to clear his name against these allegations. Right now, he has them all combined into this same complaint, Alisyn. As you noted, it begs the question: why not take this polygraph before the election? Clearly, there was a decision not to spend much time talking about the allegations before the election. And as you recall, he was even out of state in the final weekend. He was trying to avoid the press at every turn. Because folks like Jonathan were down there, trying to talk to him. And -- and he didn't want to talk about these allegations. Now, after the election, he wants to talk about these allegations. This, to me, seems an attempt to try to clear his name, post facto here. WEIR: One of the bits of evidence that...
JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
WEIR: ... that Roy Moore's people -- go ahead, Jonathan. Jump in.
MARTIN: Yes. I was going to say three thoughts come to mind. First, this is a Christmas gift of great generosity from Mr. Moore to cable television, offering this during the slow holiday week. A polygraph test about these accusations.
Secondly, and this is important, this is a fund-raising vehicle for him. Keep in mind, this is somebody who has been sustained by the small donations of his loyalists for years.
CAMEROTA: Well, what's his next move? What's he fund-raising for?
MARTIN: Well, he wants to keep running for whatever the next office is and stay in the public eye.
But the last thing I was going to say was the mainstream political establishment in the state, I think, has probably had enough. And to borrow from the old country song, how can I miss you if you won't go away?
I think that's the view of the kind of the governor, who's in a terrible spot the last few months down there. And they're not going to take this that seriously, especially when it's coupled with the kind of ongoing fund-raising request he's sending out.
He is using his list -- and it's a big list -- to ask his supporters for more money for these kind of generic purposes of an election, you know, integrity account. I think this dovetails with that attempt to keep raising doubt.
WEIR: One of the -- one of the bits of evidence that the Roy Moore camp puts forwards is an interview that was done at Doug Jones victory headquarters on election night. A local reporter asked a supporter, Doug Jones supporter why are you so excited? And this man said, because we came here all the way from different parts of the country as part of our fellowship. And all of us pitched together to vote and canvas together. WE got out boy elected. Well, that launched an investigation by John Merrill, the secretary of state of Alabama.
CAMEROTA: You can't come from all over the country and vote.
WEIR: Who found that this guy is actually registered as an Alabama voter. And he was talking about volunteers canvassing and trying to get the vote out.
But David, just in terms of projecting the message that elections are rigged, that was something we heard from the man in the Oval Office before and after the election in certain cases there.
Do you think this is going to be a theme we're going to see go into 2018? CHALIAN: Well, cries of voter fraud existed long before Donald Trump
even entered into the political scene. This is a tried and true tactic that we've seen from folks, usually on the losing end of things. Notice the claims of voter fraud from Donald Trump have sort of dissipated throughout this year that he's been serving as president.
WEIR: Three and a half million votes. Remember?
CHALIAN: Yes, I do. But he sort of let that go at a certain point. We'll see if he brings it back up again.
Bu this -- this has been, you know, clearly looked at by a lot of elections experts, that it's not near -- never mind Donald Trump's false claim. But I just mean overall, voter fraud is not nearly as widespread as some suggest that it is.
And as Diane Gallagher noted in the report here, even some of the experts, one of the experts that Roy Moore is relying on in this filing has been a bit of a conspiracy theorist on other issues, so I'm not sure he's the most credible and reliable expert on this either.
[07:10:11] CAMEROTA: So the next thing that happens, Jonathan, is that at 2 p.m. Eastern, 1 p.m. local, this state canvassing board, which is only three people -- the Republican governor, the Republican attorney general, and the Republican secretary of state -- get together to allege -- you know, reportedly certify the election results.
CAMEROTA: Is there any way that there is a surprise in store, and that these three men would do something different other than certify for Doug Jones?
MARTIN: I think it is possible. I think it's very unlikely for the reason that I mentioned earlier, which is the fact that Doug Jones won by a sizable margin. This is not a 200-vote margin.
And, again, the political establishment there was put in a really tough spot here, torn between supporting a Democrat, a tainted Republican, or writing someone else in, as Dick Shelby did. And they don't want to prolong this agony. I think the folks that you mentioned, the A.G., secretary of state, and the governor of the state, they want to move on, try to find some way they can beat Doug Johns in 2020 and put Roy Moore behind them. I'm very skeptical that they want to keep litigating what happened in the last six months down there.
CAMEROTA: And just one more addendum to that. We did have the secretary of state, John Merrill, on our program the day after the election. And he said that, yes, that Doug Jones won by a sizable margin, so much so that there wouldn't even be a recount. That it was -- it had gone beyond what triggers an automatic recount. So he said that Doug Jones is going to win.
MARTIN: Yes. I think, Alisyn, yes. Yes, I think it's a .5...
CAMEROTA: It is.
MARTIN: David might know this, too. It's a .5 percent trigger where, if the margin is less than .5 percent, there's an automatic state- funded recount. And the margin here, as I recall, is about 1.6 percent, 1.7 percent. So it's not even close to a .5 percent margin.
WEIR: Let's talk about the president's day yesterday. First of all, he hit the links. We know this because CNN found a gap in the hedge there at his golf course. They won't tell us...
CAMEROTA: Not for long. But then it was obscured.
WEIR: Yes. So as we just tried to get a shot to confirm the president is, in fact, playing golf, some random white panel truck pulled up and randomly parked to block.
CAMEROTA: Was it random, Bill?
WEIR: Yes, yes. So that plot thickens.
But then later in the afternoon, David, the president visited a firehouse in West Palm Beach and made this rather interesting claim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You know, one of the things that people don't understand, we have signed more legislation than anybody -- we broke the record of Harry Truman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEIR: "We have signed more legislation in the first year," he says, "We broke the record of Harry Truman."
I was talking to presidential historian Douglas Brinkley once, who said that he was invited to Mar-a-Lago to meet the president. And he asked about "Have you read any biographies." And the president said, "No, that's for guys like you." He's proud of the fact he's never read a presidential biography. So maybe that's why he does -- not only did he not break it, but he set a record for the least amount of legislation signed, David.
CHALIAN: Yes. I mean, just going out and speaking a complete untruth about this continues to surprise me, even following Donald Trump for a couple of years now.
I think perhaps he is trying to conflate legislation from the totality of paper that he had signed, whether executive actions, rolling back regulations. Perhaps he was trying to give the scope of how much action and name to paper he's done. But -- but clearly, those that track presidential signing of legislation of bills just proved that what the president was just saying is just not true.
CAMEROTA: I mean, let's just put the numbers up one more time, because it is right there in stark relief. So he did not even break Harry Truman's record, who signed 240 to 250 bills in the first year. President Trump's was 96.
He did not even beat President Obama's 118. The closest, I guess, is Bush 43, 102. But again, President Trump's is 96.
Jonathan, your thoughts?
MARTIN: Yes. This is precisely the reason why I think a lot of his staff and even some of his allies on Capitol Hill prefer him to stay on a Teleprompter. In fact, they have said that out loud, that he ought to stay on the Teleprompter, some of them have.
Because when he's off a prompter, he will exaggerate to great ends. He's been doing, by the way, that his entire life, not just in politics. He's sort of known for that. He bragged about it in his first book, the kind of use of hyperbole, as he put it.
So this is why, I think, his folks want him to stay on prompter and also, by the way, it's why he didn't do, speaking of the first year of a presidency, it's why he didn't do the traditional end-of-year press conference, because when he's off-script, he will say stuff that will create 10 more stories that obscure from what he actually has done in office.
[07:15:14] And that's the challenge that he has, is that not only is he going to face questions about the investigation going on, but he's going to create more stories that will obscure from the actually bill that he signed on taxes. That's why the staff and his allies want him to stay on the prompter and try to avoid moments like this, where he does veer off and talk about things that aren't true.
CAMEROTA: That's such a great point, Jonathan, because it does turn out that in his first 100 days he signed executive actions that may have set a record. But that's not what he said. So he could have been touting that. He could have been touting the tax reform bill, but he veered off-script.
OK, Jonathan, David, thank you both very much.
WEIR: Thanks, guys.
CAMEROTA: The Republican tax overhaul has people in high-tax states rushing to take advantage of some old deduction rules before they even know if these can hold water. The IRS has a new warning. A Republican congressman who voted against his party's tax plan is going to tell us how this all affects his constituents, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[17:20:11] CAMEROTA: The new tax bill goes into effect on Monday. One provision caps the state and local tax deduction at 10,000. And that has homeowners in high-tax states like New York and New Jersey rushing to prepay their 2018 property taxes today. But the IRS just released an advisory saying that plan may not work.
Joining us now is Republican Congressman Leonard Lance of New Jersey. He voted against his party's tax plan.
Congressman, thanks so much for being here.
REP. LEONARD LANCE (R), NEW JERSEY: Thank you for having me.
CAMEROTA: Why did you vote against the tax plan?
LANCE: Several reasons. I'm a deficit hawk, and this will increase the deficit of time. And also, I would prefer to have the continued ability to deduct state and local taxes in their entirety.
CAMEROTA: So from where you sit, on balance, this tax plan that, as you know, your party has touted as good for everybody, good for the country, is good for corporations. It means that they'll give people -- they'll increase wages; they'll give people bonuses. On balance, you say that it's not worth it?
LANCE: I think that we should look out for the deficit. I criticized President Obama regarding increased deficits. And I want to be consistent on that issue.
I also think, since it's been in the tax code since 1913, that we should continue to have the ability to deduct state and local taxes.
CAMEROTA: So what do you make of this rush, this flood of people that we're now seeing at their, you know, local clerk's offices, trying to pay their 2018 taxes today? Is this going to work?
LANCE: I think that it may work. And in New Jersey, for example, tax rates have been struck for February and for May but not for the latter part of next year.
CAMEROTA: But meaning what? That you think that if people can get it in under the wire before this weekend, that they won't -- that they will still be able to deduct next year's taxes?
LANCE: Half of next year's taxes, I would imagine. I'm not an accountant. And I don't give accounting advice. But we have our tax bills already for February and May but not for next August or next November.
CAMEROTA: OK. Because the IRS is saying you have to already be assessed for next year in order for this to work.
LANCE: We have been assessed in New Jersey for a full year beginning in February and May but not for August and November.
CAMEROTA: Just so that people outside of New Jersey get a sense of what the property taxes or the state and local taxes are like in New Jersey, I just want to put up this graphic. So this is the average deduction, OK, for state and local taxes in New Jersey, is $21,720. That's the average. OK? So in other words, that's more than twice what they will now, going forward, be able to take. That's a pretty stunning number.
LANCE: The deductions in New Jersey are not only for property taxes. Our property taxes average around $9,000 a year.
CAMEROTA: The highest in the country, yes?
LANCE: Absolutely the highest in the country. But also, we have a steeply graduated state income tax. And that may go higher next year, because our new governor wants to raise the state income tax on upper- income New Jersians.
CAMEROTA: So let's talk about that. Because upper-income New Jersians, OK. Well, these are the rich people that, you know, they should pay more of their share. I mean, that's some of the argument we've heard. But is this just for the upper -- will this just hurt the upper class and the upper middle class, or are other people in New Jersey hurt, as well?
LANCE: New Jersey, Alisyn, is a "sendy" state. We send more money to Washington per capita than we get back from -- in relationship to any other state. And I don't want to exacerbate the situation. There will be some New Jersians, many New Jersians will be affected positively by the tax bill. But there will be some who will be affected negatively.
CAMEROTA: Do you feel, as a Republican in a blue state, that some of this tax bill was payback for a blue state not voting for President Trump and that this hurts the blue states? Let's face it, California, New York, New Jersey.
LANCE: I don't think it was payback. I think colleagues and friends of mine from my the south and the Rocky Mountain west have a different tax structure, and their taxes are lower. We have very fine public schools in New Jersey, by and large as a result of extremely high property taxes. You can send children to the public schools in New Jersey, in suburban New Jersey, the type of district I represent, and those young people can go to the best colleges on earth.
And so we have decided in New Jersey to support strongly public schools. I think that's a decision that we should make, based upon federalism. And let me reiterate: this has been in the tax code since 1913.
CAMEROTA: So what's your plan? I mean, so now everybody in New Jersey just has to eat more taxes? I mean, is there anything that they can do?
LANCE: In New Jersey, there is now a debate that, at the state level, perhaps we should be able to deduct in its entirety local property taxes. There's a $10,000 cap on what can be deducted at the state level. And I would imagine our legislature will take a look at that.
CAMEROTA: Does that hurt schools?
LANCE: No, that will not hurt schools at all. It's just the deductibility at the state level of a state income tax form.
[07:25:05] CAMEROTA: As a Republican, I just want to ask you about the news that's breaking out of Alabama. Roy Moore, as you know, has not conceded that he lost the election to Doug Jones. In fact, he is now claiming that there was a pretty vast voter election fraud. He wants the secretary of state there not to certify the election today.
Do you have a message for Roy Moore?
LANCE: I think it's ridiculous, and I'm sure the authorities will certify the election. I agreed with Senator Shelby; I would have written a name in if I had been an Alabama resident. I'm a strong Republican, but I did not support Roy Moore, and he should concede the election.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Leonard Lance, thank you very much for being here.
LANCE: Thank you. Happy new year.
CAMEROTA: You, too.
All right, coming up in our next hour, we will talk to New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, about this confusion over prepaying taxes and whether he thinks it's a good idea -- Bill.
WEIR: Speaking of close races, there's a new speed bump in the race to determine the balance of power in Virginia's House of Delegates. The Democratic candidate joins us next to talk about why she's challenging how it will be determined. It came down to a single vote. And now they want to draw names out of a hat?
WEIR: For 17 years, Republicans have held power in the local level in Virginia.