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Tampa Killer Caught; Votes for Tax Plan; Tax Plan Benefits; Instagram Inspiration; Lauer Fired from NBC News. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 29, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:45] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. Tampa Police have arrested a 24-year-old man in connection with a string of murders that happened over the last two months.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher joins us now. She has breaking details.

What do we know?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. In fact right now, Chris, we're waiting for the governor, who's going to go and speak to the police officers after really what has been a 51-day manhunt, 24 hours a day, canvassing this neighborhood. But it all came down to one tip.


MAYOR BOB BUCKHORN, TAMPA, FLORIDA: We're bringing someone to justice who doesn't deserve the right to walk amongst us.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Twenty-four-year-old Howell Emanuel Donaldson, now in police custody, charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Police in Tampa, Florida, detaining Donaldson at this McDonald's where he worked after he handed a gun to a manager who then alerted an officer in the result.

CHIEF BRIAN DUGAN, TAMPA POLICE DEPARTMENT: We received some information about Mr. Donaldson having a firearm at the McDonald's. Awe had said all along that no tip is too small, and somebody stepped forward and gave us what we needed.

GALLAGHER: Donaldson is accused of fatally shooting four people in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa over the last two months.

DUGAN: We're not sure why he was in this neighborhood. We're not aware of what his ties are and we don't know what his motive is.

GALLAGHER: October 9th, the first victim, 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell, shot and killed in front of his home. Authorities releasing this surveillance footage of a person running near the scene of the crime, images of a man they called their suspect.

October 13th, the body of Monica Hoffa is discovered in a vacant parking lot less than a mile away. October 19th, Anthony Naiboa is gunned down after taking the wrong bus

home. The 20-year-old had autism and had just graduated from high school.

And two weeks ago 60-year-old Ronald Felton was murdered while walking to a local church to help feed the homeless.

A terrified and grieving community, breathing a shy of relief now that the accused killer is behind bars.

BUCKHORN: Tonight is the beginning of when justice will be served. And then the process will occur when this individual rots in hell.


GALLAGHER: Now, there's still a lot of questions. The big one is the motive. Why did this man allegedly go and shoot those four random people? Police have not elaborated on that, Chris. We're hoping to learn more on that.

The other one, of course, is that six-figure reward, whether or not that manager at McDonald's will receive that. We should be hearing more from authorities in Tampa a little bit later this morning.


CUOMO: There's a lot still to be learned here. Dianne, thank you for keeping us ahead on this.

The Senate Republican tax bill just cleared a major hurdle. It got through the Budget Committee. So now there's going to be a full vote on the Senate floor. Still a big challenge to passage.

Joining us now is someone at the center of the process, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn.

It is good to have you, sir.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: Good morning. Good to be with you. Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, so I'm going to put up for the audience the list of people in play here in terms of getting people onboard. We see that when you're looking at like Johnson and Daines, it's about having pass-throughs be treated equally with corporations. You have people who are worried about the mandate. You have people worried about deficits. You have people who are worried with unspecified interests as well on there.

Where do you think it stands in terms of whipping the vote?

CORNYN: Well, you need another category for people who are just worried, period.

This is not easy. That's the reason it hasn't been done since 1986. But we're doing the very best we can considering the fact our Democratic friends have chosen not to participate in the process. So we have razor thin margins, as you note, with only 52 Republicans.

But I sense a big difference between this and the health care vote because in this case I do believe all of the people you listed want to get to "yes." They have legitimate concerns. And we're trying to address those concerns. And I think we passed a big hurdle yesterday, as you pointed out, in the Budget Committee.

CUOMO: So we had Senator Brown on here, Sherrod Brown, and he said that's not true, the Democrats want to work. They're being kept out of the process.

CORNYN: That's just not true. Sherrod Brown's on the Senate Finance Committee with me, and last Thursday night we had an amendment process. He didn't win a lot of his amendments, but, you know, when you're in the minority, that happens. But that's not when you take your ball and you go home, which is essentially what they did.

[08:35:08] So there's still an opportunity for the Democratic colleagues during the vote on today and on Thursday to participate. We would love to have a bipartisan bill, but that's really up to them.

CUOMO: But if they can't get any of their amendments, which means they can't get anything changed in the bill, why would you expect them to cooperate with something that they think is fundamentally a fraud?

CORNYN: Because that's the way our legislative process works. And it's about building coalitions. I don't think they should just assume that they can't win any amendment votes. What they ought to do is try to craft them in a way that will attract bipartisan support.

A number of the things that -- that we have tried to do to accommodate Republicans, the ones you mentioned and others, are the sorts of things that I think if Democrats would -- would take a hard look at, they could say, well, that makes sense to me. But if their whole point is to deny the president and the majority a win here on tax reform, unfortunately, the American people are going to be the ones that pay the price.

CUOMO: Right.

CORNYN: This really -- we need -- we need to -- we need to do this for the doers and the dreamers and the hard-working families and the small businesses that need the workers and people who want a little bit more take home pay in their paycheck.

CUOMO: Right.

CORNYN: We can do this.

CUOMO: Why don't you help them more then? I mean when you look at every analysis of this bill, you can argue the economics and the political choices, and there's no right answer here about whom to help and why to help them. But this was billed as a middle class for the doers and the dreamers and the workers, as you say, and there is no analysis that shows them being helped disproportionately to the top tier. So why even call it that. Just call it a tax cut and say the people at the top are going to get helped the most because they pay the most and whatever rational you want to apply, instead of saying it's about the doers and the workers and the dreamers when it isn't?

CORNYN: Well, it is. It is. I disagree with it. It is true that people who pay the most taxes will -- because they do disproportionately pay taxes in this country, they're going to benefit. But the truth is, every income bracket will benefit. And the lower income brackets in the 30 to 40 range will benefit the most. They'll see the biggest reduction in their tax burden and the greatest take home pay. The median family --

CUOMO: Why does the CBO and the Joint Committee on Tax Reform say that's not true?

CORNYN: Well, I disagree with your analysis. The -- I've spent quite a bit of time immersed in this as a member of the Senate Finance Committee and what the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation says that every bracket of taxpayers will see their burden reduced. And we're continuing to work on --

CUOMO: Out of the box, but not over --

CORNYN: Pardon?

CUOMO: Out of the box, senator, but not over time. This isn't my analysis. This is not new to you what I'm saying. You know, it's right in the listings of the different numbers and the graphs over time that people over time, as you go down in income bracket, they will lose their benefits and they will start to go into the red in this. That's not my analysis.

CORNYN: That's just not -- that's -- that's just not true. What goes (INAUDIBLE) for the median family --

CUOMO: But that's what the CBO says and that's what the Joint Committee says, just to be clear.

CORNYN: If you give me a chance to answer your question.

CUOMO: Go ahead, senator, please.

CORNYN: The -- a median family income from $70,000 of four will see their tax burden go down $2,200. We also are removing the individual mandate, which disproportionally hits people that earn $50,000 or less, 6.7 million people who have to pay a tax penalty because they can't afford the Affordable Care Act policies. We're also going to encourage businesses to bring their earnings back home and invest them in workers and wages here in the United States.

I think this is not a perfect bill, as Senator Round (ph) said this morning in your interview, but I think this is a big improvement over the status quo. And I don't think you can just look at static scoring numbers which disregard how people will respond to this huge -- this huge change at -- and which I think will benefit all taxpayers.

CUOMO: Well, look, you -- it is fair to argue the magic of trickle down and what the top can do for the other tiers. I'm not saying that that's not to be said politically. You can argue that. And you're welcome to do it here.

I'm just saying, I am looking at a graph of the assumed distribution of tax benefits under the current reckoning of the bill, which, of course, could change. And if you look at the bracket that you're pointing out to, whether you want to look at it as $50,000 to $75,000 or $75,000 to $100,000, it does not benefit the way the top tier does. It's just the numbers. It's not my reckoning of them. It's what it is.

So all I'm saying is, why say that the bill is designed to help a group that doesn't get helped the most?

CORNYN: Well, I disagree with your point of view because when you call something trickle down, that's a pejorative phrase designed to cynically look at what we're trying to do here. What we are trying to do, and we'll continue to work to improve it, is to make this bill as good as it can be. If the Democrats would join us in this process, it could be even better. But they simply refused and so we are having to do the best we can given the hand we've been dealt, and hopefully improve the lot of hard-working American families, make ourselves more competitive in the global economy and leave people with some -- more take home pay than they have now.

[08:40:12] CUOMO: Those goals should certainly be shared no matter which side of the aisle you are on.

Senator Cornyn, you are always welcome on NEW DAY to make the case to the American people. Thank you for joining us, sir.

CORNYN: Thank you very much.

CUOMO: Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Chris, big breaking news in the news business this morning.

NBC News stunning viewers with the stunning announcement that Matt Lauer has been fired from the "Today" show and NBC for sexual misconduct claims. We have all of the breaking details for you, next.


CAMEROTA: Time now for the "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

Number one, North Korea claims to have test fired a missile that puts the entire U.S. in range. Defense Secretary Mattis says the launch demonstrates North Korea has the ability to, quote, hit everywhere in the world.

CUOMO: The Republican tax plan cleared a major hurdle. It got out of the Budget Committee and now will be debated and voted on by the full Senate. They are hoping to have a vote this week.

CAMEROTA: More good economic news for President Trump. A new report shows the U.S. economy growing at 3.3 percent in the third quarter. That is the fastest rate in three years.

CUOMO: A federal judge siding with President Trump in the fight over whom should lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The judge denying a request to block Mick Mulvaney from taking the post as acting director.

CAMEROTA: Veteran "Today" show anchor Matt Lauer has been fired by NBC News for, quote, inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. The chairman for NBC News says there was reason to believe it was not an isolated incident.

CUOMO: For more on the "Five Things to Know," you can go to for the latest.

CAMEROTA: We'll have much more on Matt Lauer's firing, what we know about the allegations against him.

CUOMO: But first, a young woman overcame depression and an eating disorder with support from social media. Now she is inspiring others on Instagram. CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta has her story in "Turning Points."

[08:45:01] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORGAN BARTLEY: Push up. There you go.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Morgan Bartley is empowered by her workouts, but as a child health problems caused her to go from overweight to obese.

BARTLEY: When I was 12 years old, I had what's called an ovarian torsion. So that's basically when the ovaries twist on itself. So my doctor decided to remove it entirely.

GUPTA: At 14, Bartley had an operation to untwist her remaining ovary which led to menopausal symptoms. She developed depression and a binge eating disorder.

BARTLEY: I was binge eating multiple times a day. I was 300 pounds at my high. And I realized that now or never. It's time to take my body back. Take my life back.

GUPTA: Bartley started working out. She had surgery to reduce the size of her stomach. And she documented it all on social media.

BARTLEY: Probably the number one thing that has kept me accountable has been sharing my weight loss journey on Instagram. I lost 115 pounds.

GUPTA: With more than 170,000 followers, Bartley is inspiring others.

BARTLEY: Once people started following me, I really wanted to be a good example of changing for your health, not because you hate yourself. I feel confident in knowing that my body's not going to be the thing that stands in the way of me and what I want in life.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.



[08:50:31] CAMEROTA: We do have breaking news.

NBC News has fired veteran "Today" show host Matt Lauer for, quote, inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. This development is obviously sending shockwaves through the media and across the country as viewers wake up to this news.

So joining us now is "The New York Times" media columnist, Jim Rutenberg, who broke the story of Lauer's firing, as well as our own Brian Stelter, CNN's senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources."

Jim, I mean this is, you know, obviously has been a seismic shock in our business. We understand "The New York Times" had been working on a story for a while about Matt Lauer. What can you share with us about their reporting?

JIM RUTENBERG, "NEW YORK TIMES" MEDIA COLUMNIST: I mean we are not -- we will be only reporting those details when they're fully firmed up from our standpoint. But, obviously, NBC found in its own investigation that there were some troubling incidents involving Mr. Lauer and relationships. And -- but this was very interesting to me is what Andrew Lack said in his -- the chairman of NBC to his staff was, someone came forward Monday night and they acted right off of that tip, combined with some other what they found to be troubling stories about Mr. Lauer. They saw no other option but to terminate him. And that is terminating not only one of NBC's very biggest stars, but one of the very biggest stars in television, as you know.


CUOMO: No question. I mean it's hard to argue he's not NBC News' biggest star.

Jim, how do you reconcile the fact that you've been reporting on this, and I think at least one other outlet has been reporting on this.


CUOMO: And things that have happened with the corporate statement from NBC that nothing in 20 years, maybe we have some reason to believe, this happened on Monday, we acted right away. How do you reconcile those two senses of perspective on how long this has been?

RUTENBERG: Well, that's something there -- I think they're going to -- they know they're going to have to answer. I believe they're eager to answer it. I'm under the impression what they will saying is, we weren't doing this under pressure from outside media. We heard what we heard and we moved on it. And there is something going on in the culture where people sadly, very tragically, sat in silence with these allegations and just felt like there was nowhere they could turn. That said, of course, where all of our reporting goes to who knew what

when in each one of these cases. And so those will be the questions that Andrew Lack will have to answer. Again, they are trying to portray themselves as being proactive. And this is a case where unlike Charlie Rose recently -- you know, well what's that -- it's like they all are blurring together in time.


RUTENBERG: But there was a reporter in "The Washington Post," then action. So this was proactive, but, you know, there's a lot more that we'll be reporting and others will as well.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Brian, what a week in the TV news business. I mean it was a week ago that Charlie Rose was fired after allegations -- but it's hard to overstate Matt Lauer's relevance in our business, in business (ph).

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: In some ways I think this is the biggest change that we've seen, the biggest firing that we've seen within this sexual harassment tipping point. This story, this phenomenon began with Harvey Weinstein two months ago. Weinstein, of course, a well-known movie producer.

But Matt Lauer is different. Matt Lauer is a household name. in every one of these cases, the allegations are unique, are specific. I think it's important not to paint them with a broad brush. After all, we don't know what "The New York Times" and "Variety" and others may be reporting later about Matt Lauer. We do know what was alleged in this complaint that was filed on Monday night.

But we do know it was serious enough for NBC to take action within 24 hours. I'm told Lauer was told of this decision last night. We've been trying to reach out to him for comment and have not heard anything back yet.

CUOMO: All right, so you have the world of politics where they still aren't even in the recognition phase. Some women are and they're pushing for change. It's troubling that you don't have more men cooperative in the effort. But the settlement thing, which is the crux of accountability, they're still doing this on it. So that's politics (ph).

CAMEROTA: I mean they say they're having ethics hearings.

CUOMO: We'll see.

CAMEROTA: They will have ethics hearings.

CUOMO: We'll see. It's just -- it's just not being dealt with the way other things would be if it -- they were seen to have more advantage.

Then you have our business. So you've seen CBS, you've seen Fox, right, let's not forget about what happened with them in terms of firings. Now NBC. But the word change. Firing is a kind of change. It is the easiest kind of change. Because I thought what we were dealing with here is trying to break through a silence in culture. Who makes agreements? Jim Rutenberg, who makes these kinds of agreements? Who knows about this kind of behavior? What kind of avenues are there to discovery for women where they don't have to take on everybody else in order to come forward? Those are real changes. We don't hear much on that in the aftermath of the firings. Your take?

[08:55:11] RUTENBERG: I mean I definitely think, in our business, it's like, first of all, we hold ourselves all up to higher standards, those of us who take news seriously. So we -- it's incumbent upon us to move swiftly in our business, take action and keep reporting.

The political side, what might be troubling is that, you know, where they don't -- they aren't taking such swift action. In some cases there might need to be some legislative action. People are talking about, you know, this -- this -- what you referred to the NDA, the non-disclosure agreements, where accusers come forward within their corporate culture to make an allegation. They are paid off. They are shut up. And then, in many cases, we're learning the abuser goes on to repeat the alleged horrible behavior, in some cases assault.

CUOMO: Right. Look, and I'm not saying that all legal settlements have to go. I mean, look, not all accusations are the same. They don't all have the same merit.

RUTENBERG: No. Absolutely.

CUOMO: A corporation has a right to its shareholders. I'm just saying, when you get to government and it's our money that they're using to settle it, I think it should be a different standard.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I'm just saying that I think we're just at the beginning, I mean, obviously, everything that's happened has felt so cataclysmic because of the rapid fire nature. But we're at the beginning of what's going to happen with the culture.

Jim Rutenberg, thank you very much for helping share your breaking news with us.

Brian Stelter, we know you'll be reporting on this throughout the day.

CNN "NEWSROOM" with John Berman is going to pick up after this very quick break.