Return to Transcripts main page


Hugh Hefner: 1926-2017; Trump Looking to Rebound. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired September 28, 2017 - 05:00   ET


[05:00:05] HUGH HEFNER, PLAYBOY FOUNDER: And that's part of what "Playboy" is all about.

Well, I have never real thought of it as a sex magazine. What I've tried to do is create a lifestyle magazine for men.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: What's your definition of obscenity?

HEFNER: Racism, war, bigotry, but sex itself, no. What is sad and cold world this would be if we weren't sexual beings. I mean, that's the heart of who we are.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN HOST: This morning, tributes are pouring in for the man who was affectionately known as Hef.

Jenny McCarthy, one of the many celebrities who posed for the cover of "Playboy" tweeting this: Rest in peace, thank you for being a revolutionary and changing so many people's lives, especially mine. I hope I made you proud. #pmoy94, meaning playmate of the year 1994.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Overnight, crowds gathering outside the Playboy Mansion, paying respects. More of the same at Hefner's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Hugh Hefner is survived by his wife and four children.

BRIGGS: I like this quote: Life is too short to be living somebody else's dream. Hugh Hefner.

ROMANS: All right. President Trump finally unveiling his tax reform plan, proposing the biggest overhaul in decades.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a once in a generation opportunity, and I guess it's probably something I could say that I'm very good at. Our framework includes our explicit commitment that tax reform will protect low income and middle income households, not the wealthy and well-connected.


ROMANS: Although the wealthy and the well-connected have a lot to be happy about in this tax reform plan. Still, most Americans will get tax cuts. This is tax reform and pretty much tax cuts for everyone.

It is just a blueprint. There are a lot of details that have been omitted. The tax-writing committee will fill in those details. That could take months or longer.

Here's what we know. Here are the outlines of this for business, tax cuts of corporate rates slash 20 percent, pass-through income cut to 25 percent.

For individuals, a simpler tax code. Seven tax brackets collapse down to three. No income ranges yet. Again, that has to be written by the tax writers on the committees, but it cuts the top rate to 35 percent.

In the fine print here, though, it does allow lawmakers to add a fourth tax bracket, above 35 percent. As you know, Trump has said he is open to raising taxes on the rich. Now, the actual lowest rate is up about 2 percentage points, but the White House says most low income earners will not pay taxes. That's because the plan doubles the standard deduction, meaning the first $12,000 is tax free for individuals, $24,000 for couples.

There's some wrinkles in there too. How can the plan double that deduction? Well, it eliminates personal exemptions along with most tax breaks. The only mortgage interest and charitable deduction.

Also this plan boosts the child tax credit. Student loan interest, medical expenses, state and local taxes, there are deductions on the books now for all of those things. Those are all gone.

The last one will hurt people in high tax and mostly blue states. State and local taxes that you can write off in your federal return. That will draw criticism. Also criticism of this plan eliminate the estate tax and alternative minimum tax, both of those will help the wealthy. Both of those will help Donald Trump and rich real estate developers.

Also a concern the plan doesn't say how it will pay for all these cuts, about $5.8 trillion over the next 10 years. Killing tax loopholes will help. We'll have to find a lot of offsets. But that will only race $3.6 trillion, leaving a $2.2 trillion deficit.

And some folks have been digging into this personal exemption and getting rid of the personal exemption, folding that into the doubling the standard deduction and said, if you have four kids or five kids, if you have a big family, you could end up -- middle class family with a lot of kids --

BRIGGS: Could pay more.

ROMANS: -- could pay more.

We just can't say, because by design, these things are going to be filled in by the tax writing committees.

BRIGGS: And by design, you knew Democrat would frame this as a payoff to the rich. ROMANS: Sure.

He does not believe in that. He says this is a middle class miracle. Your point is a lot is vague. How will we learn if this is a payoff? Through the middle class or through the rich? What details will be revealed?

ROMANS: Well, we need to find out what -- where these tax brackets, what income they have. That's first.

BRIGGS: So, it could be a middle class --

ROMANS: That's what they'd like -- that's what he would like to do. He has all along said he wants to cut taxes for the middle class. But the bipartisan agreement here is on cutting the corporate taxes, getting the corporate taxes down so you can get some economic growth, so you can get some money back in the country. And that's what so many people in the business world have been so excited about.

The middle class tax cuts come along with that. So, the president -- selling the middle class tax cuts -- I mean, he wants to cut taxes for the middle class, but the corporate tax cuts here are what the business world is so excited about.

BRIGGS: All right. Let's continue this conversation with Gabby Morrongiello, White House correspondent for "The Washington Examiner" joining the program.

ROMANS: Hi, Gabby.

BRIGGS: Good to see you, Gabby.


BRIGGS: All right. Christine just talked about bipartisan agreement. What is there agreement on in the vague tax frame outline that we heard yesterday from the president?

[05:05:02] MORRONGIELLO: Well, Christine hit the right point. The corporate tax rate is something that there is bipartisan agreement on and certainly the business community has been urging the White House to do something on since the president took office. So, they're excited about that. It's something that will probably garner bipartisan support in both the Senate and House.

But there's still a lot of disagreement over where they want to put the income levels at for the individual tax brackets. What that might look like and what it might mean for families who are earning a half a million dollars or more annually. That could in fact mean a large tax cut for them if they don't choose to implement that fourth income tax rate that President Trump has left on the table, above 35 percent.

And so, there's some major questions about this, also about eliminating the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax and how that would disproportionately benefit wealthy American families and individuals. So, I think that that's something that Democrats are certainly going to have a sticking point with, and will probably try to work out if there are bipartisan negotiations on tax reform going forward.

ROMANS: On those corporate tax cuts, you know, Barack Obama, the president before this president, he wanted to lower the corporate tax rate, too. There are plenty of Democrats who would like to simplify the tax code for everyone, and lower those corporate tax rates. But, you know, the devil will be in here whether it starts to look like this is a giveaway for the rich and not the middle class miracle that the president wants, right?

MORRONGIELLO: Yes, absolutely. I think the thing that's interesting about this is that the White House has been careful to kind of throw some bones in there for Democrats. One thing that has certainly been championed by progressives previously is the child tax credit. And, you know, this plan talks about potentially doubling that, and making the first $1,000 of it refundable.

And so, you know, that's something that typically wouldn't be considered a conservative reform, something that, you know, Mike Lee and Senator Rubio have been working on, but also has drawn support from Democratic lawmakers already. So, I think that, you know, there is some wiggle room. There's room for negotiation on this, but it's going to be tough like I said, to not get into that argument that we've already seen from Democrats that this is a plan that would benefit the wealthy friends of Donald Trump, and not really do much for middle income wage earners.

ROMANS: And explode the deficit. And explode the deficit.

BRIGGS: There's no question about that, right? At least $1 trillion.

ROMANS: Gabby, it seems to me -- you're in Washington. It seems to me that, you know, this obsession with not adding to the deficit in tax reform was there a year ago. It doesn't seem to be there right now.

MORRONGIELLO: Right. I mean, there have been major discussions about this, especially among those more conservative members of the House and Senate. And yesterday, we saw the House Freedom Caucus almost immediately come out and lend their support to this tax plan.

So, I do think it's interesting that we've kind of seen a shift from all of this concern about adding to the deficit to now, OK, let's figure out how we can make sure that the tax cuts are offset by something. They haven't quite figured that out yet. I know they're looking at eliminating several loopholes, but there's still that question is that going to raise enough revenue to offset the tax cuts. And right now, it doesn't look like that would be the case.

BRIGGS: Well, the argument is certainly that the economy needs this. The reality is the Republicans desperately need this, because health care fell apart. Although if you listen to the president in an interview set to air later this morning with "Fox and Friends", he continues to say this Graham-Cassidy bill, block-grants the states, has the votes.

Here's what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But we have the votes, but we don't have the time, because it's Friday. I mean, literally, Friday, it ends, at a certain time on Friday. So, we'll bring it into to a few months from now, we'll vote it. It's block grants. It's going to be great health care.

But in the meantime, I have that little period of time, I'll negotiate with the Democrats. If we can come up with a fantastic health care bill, that's OK with me. Good for both parties, bipartisan.


BRIGGS: Lindsey Graham was very clear in the statement. While we currently don't have the votes to pass the legislation, I'm not giving up.

But let's move to what would that bipartisan agreement on health care look like? Do we have any sense?

MORRONGIELLO: No. I mean, to be completely honest, there hasn't been much of a discussion about this even since that last health care vote failed in early August. I mean, if you can recall, Senator John McCain was the one who really urged both Republicans and Democrats to come together on some type of bipartisan health care reform legislation and since that, in the two months that have passed, there really hasn't been any deliberations on what that might look like.

The only thing that we're hearing now is that the president might issue an executive action of some kind temporarily, or, you know, permanently that would take a look at cross state insurance sales. And that might be a way to alleviate financial burdens of people faced with rising premiums, due to lack of competition, the health insurance marketplace.

[05:10:09] But other than that, there really has not been significant bipartisan cooperation on health care, and as they move into tax reform now, I think that that's certainly going to be placed on the back burner and it would be difficult to see anything coming together in the next few months.

BRIGGS: Yes. Will Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray get back together to try to fix these exchanges in the meantime?

ROMANS: All right. Gabby Morrongiello, White House correspondent for "The Washington Examiner", come back in about a half hour and we'll talk more. Thank you. Nice to see you.


BRIGGS: Ahead, tons and tons of aid for Puerto Rico left sitting at the port of San Juan. Why help can't get to people who need it most? Next.


BRIGGS: More than a week since Hurricane Maria, the situation in Puerto Rico grows even more desperate. A major challenge right now is getting critical supplies to those who need them.

[05:15:00] A shortage of truckers and the island's devastated infrastructure making it extremely difficult to move aid from the port of San Juan to the areas around the island.

ROMANS: There are also new questions about a century-old law critics say is making it harder to get basic supplies to Puerto Rico. The Jones Act requires all goods ferried between U.S. ports to be carried on ships built, owned and operated by Americans.

BRIGGS: There's a bipartisan push right now to get President Trump to suspend the Jones Act. The president is considering it but says not everyone is in favor.


TRUMP: We have a lot of shippers and a lot of people and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted, and we have a lot of ships out there right now.


BRIGGS: It was lifted for Texas and Florida.

But the Department of Homeland Security says a waiver may not make a difference since the issue is not getting supplies to island, it's getting those supplies off the ships and distributing them.

ROMANS: As for the recovery, Puerto Rico's power authority now say generators on the island are operational, but 80 percent of the transmission system and the entire distribution system of damaged. About 44 percent of the population is without drinking water.

BRIGGS: You're talking about triple digit heat index. Many ATM's out of cash. At least half of all bank branches remain closed, and that's partly because there are not enough drivers to ferry cash around in armored cars.

For those who can get to them, more than 500 gas stations are fully operational. Police say 53 people have been arrested for looting or theft since Hurricane Maria.

ROMANS: All right. The Pentagon is sending in thousands of active duty troops to help with the crisis. More than 2,000 troops are already on the island. Thousands more on the way.

Our senior international correspondent Ivan Watson has more from San Juan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, we've got a look at some of the U.S. military support that's coming to these storm-crushed (ph) islands of Puerto and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The USS Kearsarge is supposed to be an amphibious assault vessel but it's serving as a floating sea base, providing land, sea and air support to Puerto Rico and the islands. It's got a fleet of helicopters and vertical takeoff ospreys, landing craft that are shuttling heavy trucks, bulldozers, even a water desalinization unit to Puerto Rico, trying to help opening roads and providing water -- drinking water.

The Department of Defense tells CNN they have about 2,500 active duty troops on the ground and they're expecting to nearly double that in the days to come. But that simply may not about enough for an island of 3.4 million people, where transport, electricity and drinking water and telecommunications have all been disrupted if not completely paralyzed -- Dave and Christine.


BRIGGS: Ivan Watson, thanks.

President Trump's inaugural committee announcing a $3 million donation to charities supporting hurricane relief. The Red Cross, Salvation Army and Samaritan's Purse will each receive $1 million to support areas in the southern U.S. and Puerto Rico devastated by the recent storms.

Now, the committee had pledged to give excess money from the inauguration to charity. A record setting $107 million was raised. Interestingly enough, about $7 million of that from NFL owners who he's --

ROMANS: Interesting. That's right.

BRIGGS: -- hitting hard daily.

ROMANS: Eighteen minutes past the hour.

Everyone is angry at Facebook. That's what founder Mark Zuckerberg says. How he's defending his company, next.


[05:23:01] BRIGGS: CNN reporting exclusively that people in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, were targeted at least one of the Facebook ads bought by Russians during the 2016 campaign.

Now, the ad referenced Black Lives Matter. Sources say it was meant to appear both as supporting the group, but could also be seen as portraying them as threatening to some residents.

ROMANS: The ad first appeared in late 2015 or early 2016 as a Russian affiliated troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency was trying to sow political chaos in the U.S. Facebook has said about a quarter of the 3,000 ads bought by the agency were geographically targeted but didn't reveal specific locations.

BRIGGS: And Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg firing back at President Trump after this tweet where the president accuses the social media site and other media of being, quote, anti-Trump.

In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said: Trump says Facebook is against him. Liberals say we helped Trump. Both sides are upset about ideas and content they don't like. That's what running a platform for all ideas looks like.

Zuckerberg also expressing regret for his comment after the election that it was crazy to suggest misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election.

ROMANS: A motorcycle officer in Indianapolis is recovering this morning from a broken ankle after getting in an accident while escorting President Trump to the airport. The crash took place yesterday. After the president wrapped up his tax reform, Officer Robert Turner winding up on the shoulder of the left side of Interstate 70, his bike down on the other side. An ambulance traveling in the motorcade was brought up to treat the officer.

The White House says the president spoke to Turner, wished him well and thanked him for his service.

BRIGGS: Ahead, the president focuses on a topic familiar to him, taxes. His new plan is out but leaves many details to Congress. We'll analyze who it helps and who it hurts.

ROMANS: And he changed attitudes of sexuality in America. We're remembering Hugh Hefner this morning.

But first, dating apps, they've changed how we meet new people.

[05:25:00] And the founder of Bumble, Whitney Wolfe, says women should feel empowered to make the first move.


WHITNEY WOLFE, FOUNDER, BUMBLE: I'm a firm believer that you cannot start a business just to start a business. You have to start a business to solve a personal pain point.

Given my personal situations in dating, and my experiences of watching my friends, I said, I think I have it. Women are going to make the first move. They will have 24 hours to do so. If they don't, the match will disappear.

The idea was to give women the control to guide the conversation in the direction they wanted, to take the pressure off the man from maybe thinking he needs to start with something aggressive or something really out there, and allowing the woman so say I'm going to be in the driver's seat.

We want to be the social network that introduces you to people. That is the ultimate social network. It is our hope and our wish that as women join the app, they will find the confidence to go after what they want. If that's making the first move on the app, or if that's making the first move in business or friendship, go after the life you want.