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Deputy A.G. Rosenstein Testifies On Russia Probe Hearing; House And Senate Republicans Reach Deal On Final Tax Bill. Aired 12:3-1p ET
Aired December 13, 2017 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:30:05] ROD ROSENSTEIN, UNITED STATES DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Congressman, I think I've been very clear about this, and nobody is giving me any improper orders.
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: I'll just end with this, Mr. Deputy Attorney General. You know, we've heard you very proudly here talk about the integrity of the Department of Justice and the work of the FBI. We heard Director Wray say the same thing.
These two agencies, the FBI and the Department of Justice, are in the midst of an unprecedented attack by individuals who are trying to undermine the credibility of this independent counsel's investigation. These are the same group of individuals who praised Robert Mueller when he was appointed. Spectacular. Was praised uniformly.
And now the only thing that's changed is two indictments, two pleas. Michael Flynn, part of the President's inner circle, now cooperating with the government. That's the only thing that's changed. We need to hear your voice defending the integrity of this Department, the rule of law, the independence of this investigation because the very future of our democracy is at stake if you fail to do that.
And so I urge you to do so. And with that, I yield back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chairman recognizes the gentleman from Idaho, Mr. Labrador for five minutes.
REP. RAUL LABRADO, (R), IDAHO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you Mr. Rosenstein for being here today. I shudder at some of the questions from the other side. And I just want to ask you a quick question. Have you ever said you are the president's wingman?
ROSENSTEIN: No, sir.
LABRADOR: Has the current Attorney General of the United States ever said that he is the president's wing man?
ROSENSTEIN: Not to my knowledge.
LABRADOR: But yet the attorney general under President Obama said he was the president's wingman, and I never heard a single Democrat object to that. So it's kind of ridiculous to sit here and try to question your integrity or try to question whether somebody is going to be loyal to their president or not, as you clearly indicated, you can be both loyal to the constitution and to the president of the United States as long as there's not a conflict of interest, as long as you're not doing anything that is inappropriate, it's OK to be the president's wingman. It's also OK to say you're going to be royal to the president as long as I'm not asking you to do anything that's illegal. Isn't that correct?
LABRADOR: So, what was the goal of the Russians when they try to interfere with the elections in the United States?
ROSENSTEIN: The assessment of the intelligence community as reflected in their public report, is that the goal of the Russians was to undermine Americans' confidence in democracy.
LABRADOR: So to undermine the Americans --
ROSENSTEIN: I'm paraphrasing, congressman. I don't have it in front of me.
LABRADOR: So they try to undermine the public faith and the U.S. democratic process. Is that correct?
ROSENSTEIN: I believe that's correct.
LABRADOR: I believe that no one in the United States has done more to undermine the believe in the United States democratic process than the Democrats, and the press in some cases, when they continue to report on false allegation after allegation after allegation.
In fact what you see from the Democrats is they move from one allegations, that allegation is proven to be false, and they move to the next one, and they move to the next one and they move to the next one, because they're unhappy with the results of the election. Can you tell me why the independent counsel was actually appointed?
ROSENSTEIN: Special counsel, congressman. I've explained publicly that I appointed the special counsel based upon the unique circumstances in order to promote public confidence. And I have nothing to add to that.
LABRADOR: So why, when Mr. Mueller was charged with investigating, he was charged with investigating, quote, "Any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump. And any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation." That charge is overly broad, but there's been two prosecutions, or at least two charges so far brought by the independent counsel. Is that correct?
ROSENSTEIN: Four individuals charged to, pleaded guilty and two will stand trial.
LABRADOR: Have any of them been charged with any linked and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign for President Trump? ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, the charges speak for themselves. I'm not going to comment beyond what's in the charging documents.
LABRADOR: But is there anything in the charging documents that there was a coordinate between the Trump administration and the Russians?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, I'm not going to comment beyond what's in the charging documents. I think you can draw your own conclusion.
LABRADOR: So something I do agree with my friends on the other side, is that we should get to the bottom of the -- we should know the truth, we should know whether was collusion between Russia and the President of the United States. We should also know whether there was collusion between any department who tried to interfere with our elections. So can you tell me, was there collusion between the DOJ and Fusion GPS to use a democratic-funded document for political and legal purposes?
ROSENSTEIN: I don't know the answer to that, congressman.
[12:35:02] I simply appointed out that the language actually used in the appointing order was coordination, and I believe that was the language used by Director Comey, when he publicly testified about an ongoing investigation. I did not use the world collusion.
LABRADOR: OK. So that coordination as in -- was there any coordination between the DOJ and Fusion GPS to try to undermine an election of the United States?
ROSENSTEIN: If there were, congressman, I would be very concerned about it. As you know, there are ongoing reviews and I'm not in a position to comment about it.
LABRADOR: So there are ongoing reviews, so there could potentially be an investigation, whether the DOJ and members of the DOJ actually colluded with an enemy of a political party and a political candidate to undermine the elections of the United States.
ROSENSTEIN: If there's any evidence that warrants it, congressman, we'll do what's appropriate.
LABRADOR: All right. So I think, if you want to -- to restore the trust of the American people, I think the Department of Justice has a duty to give us all the information that we have been asking for. We need to find out who started this investigation. We need to find out what the purpose was. If you have an individual who actually had a desire to have an outcome in a political race, and they decided to use the Department of Justice to investigate their political opponents, I think that's one of the worst crimes that as occurred in the history of the United States when it comes to politics. Do you agree with that?
ROSENSTEIN: It would -- if that were what happened, congressman, it would certainly by of great concern.
LABRADOR: All right. Well, I hope that you are truly investigating this and we get to the bottom of this. Thank you very much. And I yield back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Swalwell for five minutes
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, welcome Mr. Rosenstein.
ROSENSTEIN: Thank you.
SWALWELL: Please express my thanks to your employees who serve our national interests every day and do very important work at the department. Mr. Rosenstein, have been spoken with the president since you were appointed?
ROSENSTEIN: Of course.
SWALWELL: OK. And is that in a one-on-one setting?
ROSENSTEIN: I've never spoken with the president in a one-on-one setting.
SWALWELL: OK. Has he called you since you been appointed by telephone?
SWALWELL: OK. And what was discussed?
ROSENSTEIN: As I said, congressman, I've told you that if I were told to do anything inappropriate, I talk about it, but if the president is consulting me about matters within my official responsibility, that's part of the way you run the government.
SWALWELL: Did he discuss at all Mr. Mueller's investigation?
ROSENSTEIN: I'm not going to comment, congressman, about my communications with the president.
SWALWELL: How many times has he called you?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, I do not -- I'm not going to comment about my communications with the president. There is nothing wrong with the president consulting with his deputy attorney general about matters within the jurisdiction of the justice department. As long it's not inappropriate.
SWALWELL: And Mr. Rosenstein, I agree, except that this president has demonstrated and that's been expressed through testimony from James Comey that has not been contradicted under oath multiple times that he is willing to talk to individuals at the department about ongoing investigations. That's where the concern arises. With respect to Attorney General Sessions' recusal, was he involved at all in the decision by the department who allow reporters to review the text messages that you discussed earlier?
ROSENSTEIN: Not to my knowledge. SWALWELL: Would you tell us if he was?
ROSENSTEIN: If he learn about it, if it matters, congressman. As I said, there's -- I'm not aware of any impropriety in what the department has done making these text messages available.
SWALWELL: But Attorney General Sessions is recused from Bob Mueller's investigation, right?
ROSENSTEIN: Attorney General Sessions is recused from Director Mueller's investigation, correct.
SWALWELL: And these text messages related to an individual on Bob Mueller's investigation?
ROSENSTEIN: I don't want to argue with the congressman. I'm aware of the recusal and not aware of any evidence though the attorney general has violated his recusal.
SWALWELL: Mr. Rosenstein, if you are overseeing an investigation and lead a team of investigators, and you learn that one of the investigators has demonstrated a perceived bias against an individual in the investigation, should you, A, keep the person on the team, or B, remove the person from the investigation.
SWALWELL: And knowing that fact pattern, what did Bob Mueller do with a similar fact pattern?
ROSENSTEIN: He chose the correct option.
SWALWELL: Mr. Rosenstein, the president has said a number of things about you, the attorney general, the FBI being in tatters. He even compared or intelligence community, which your employees are a part of, to Nazi Germany. And I want to ask considering his continued disparagement of the department and your employees, are your employees proud for work for a person who holds their high integrity in such low regard?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, my employees I believe proudly worked for the Department of Justice. Some of them support a particular president, some of the them don't. But as long as they do their job appropriately, that's my concern.
SWALWELL: I agree and I hope so. And I hope that's the case. Mr. Rosenstein, your testimony today is that you believe Bob Mueller is a person of high integrity. Is that right?
[12:40:07] SWALWELL: You believe that his investigation is being conducted fairly, is that correct?
SWALWELL: You also believe that -- and you understand that he's publicly indicted two individuals with respect to his investigation?
SWALWELL: He's also obtained two guilty pleas with respect to his investigation?
SWALWELL: Is there good cause to fire Bob Mueller as we sit here today?
ROSENSTEIN: Not to my knowledge.
SWALWELL: Now I am concerned that my House Judiciary Committee colleagues particularly in the majority have signaled quite indiscreetly today, that they would probably give the president a pass if he were to fire or order you to fire Bob Mueller. There have been a number of statements attempting to undermine the good character of Bob Mueller. That concerns me, because that would certainly fly in the face of the rule of law in this country, it would not be OK, I believe with the American people or the spirit that our country was founded upon.
Mr. Deputy Attorney General, your investigation is a very narrow bridge. The important part I believe for our country is for you to not be afraid. During this -- this trying (ph) times, we need you to be fearless. We have a president who has demonstrated a willingness to involve himself in ongoing investigations that involve he and his family.
And for the sake of our country, for the sake of rule of law, I hope that you continue to demonstrate the character that got you into this position and that has given us as a committee I think faith in your ability to carry out that mission. I yield back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Farenthold for five minutes.
REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R), TEXAS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I know we've talked a lot about this today but I feel obliged on the account of the folks that I represent are always asking me about this to say, there is a real concern out there in Texas, certainly I think around the nation, that we've got a special counsel who's working 24/7 investigating the Trump administration, yet the Department of Justice with various witnesses we've had up here is basically not been able to confirm or deny what investigations if any are going on, with respect to the potential misdeeds of the Clinton campaign and their dealings with Russia be it through Uranium On, various speaking engagements for former President Clinton and the like.
And again, I'm not asking you to break that confidentiality, but I am suggesting there are a lot of people out there who would be sadly disappointed if there isn't an investigation, and who may actually or who do actually think there might be ought to be a special prosecutor or special counsel appointed to look at the other side. So, instead of beating that dead horse, I'm going to beat another one that I've been talking a lot about and that's specifically the DOJ's opposition to the USA Liberty Act.
Why is it so hard, why is it warrant requirement so difficult to deal with on your part, when we understand the needs to have exigent (ph) circumstances where things get look at quickly, but it's like the FISA court in this whole process of obtaining things for foreign intelligence purposes to stop terrorists are being rolled into more normal mainstream criminal investigations, where traditionally there is been a need for a warrant?
Why is it so difficult to get a warrant? In many cases, you can create the necessary probable cause and paperwork in a matter of hours, if not minutes. There are judges on call 24/7 to look at these things, why is it such a problem? And why are you all opposed to it?
ROSENSTEIN: I believe, I want to duplicate Director Wray's comments about this, congressman. I wish actually that you join us in the department and see how we go about our work, and I think that would actually enhance the public's confidence. The public sees when things go wrong, but they don't see the 99.9% of the time as Congressman Marino pointed out when things go right, and it would be -- it would be burdensome, and I certainly respect, and I understand the concerns, congressman.
I think those are serious concerns, and we're going to do everything that we can to try to reassure people about it. But I can simply tell you, and it would take me longer than the time you have to explain the full process, but I believe Director Wray is correct about this, and the National Security community. I know many folks who are involved pre-9/11 and post-9/11 have spoken up about how important it is for us to have this tool because we do not want to be in the position again during 9/11 when people said, why didn't the FBI put these facts altogether and figure out about this threat before the terrorists attack.
[12:45:12] So that's the basis congressman and I can assure you that -- if it were easy to do with a warrant, I would be in favor of it, but it's not. I believe we have appropriate safeguards in place and that we have people who are responsible, who are conducting these investigations and are going to avoid infringing Americans' rights. That's our primary concerns. Attorney General Sessions has made that one of his priorities to make sure there are no violations of American's rights. And I do not believe the program as it exists represents a violation of anyone's rights.
FARENTHOLD: You and I may respectfully disagree on whether it violates folks' rights or not. I agree we got to fight -- we've got fight terrorism. There is reason the Fourth Amendment was included in the constitution. Finally, I just want to touch for second on cyber security. I used to run a computer consulting company. And you've heard about breaches all throughout the public and private sector. Can you just give me an overview quickly about what you all are doing with respect to that and what if anything that Congress needs to do to help you? ROSENSTEIN: It would hard to do it quickly, congressman, because we do have a lot of resources, both the FBI and other agencies that are protecting against the cyber threat. It's a significant threat. We face both intelligence threat from hostile foreign governments, and also a criminal threat from people who try to break into our systems to commit crimes and defraud Americans.
And so, it's a very challenging issue, as you know, from your experience, technology continue to evolve and we need to stay a step ahead of the capabilities of our adversaries and criminals. So the FBI does have a lot of resources devoted to that. I testified about our budget couple of months ago. And I think that's going to be an area where we will need increase in support from the Congress to make sure that we keep up with our adversaries.
FARENTHOLD: I see my time has expired. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Lieu, for five minutes.
2REP. TED LIEU (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein for being here today. I note for the American people not only were you appointed by Republican President Donald Trump, you were also previously appointed by Republican President George Bush to serve as U.S. Attorney for Maryland.
And in a profile of view in "The Washington Post" when you were U.S. attorney, a former prosecutor says Rod Rosenstein is the poster child for the professional, confident, ethical, and fair-minded prosecutor. So thank you for your service to the American people and your exemplary service.
ROSENSTEIN: Thank you.
LIEU: Last week FBI Director Christopher Wray told us that no one is above the law. You would agree with that statement, correct?
LIEU: No one is above the law.
ROSENSTEIN: Yes, I would.
LIEU: Now, important to our democracy is not only that concept, but also that people have to have trust in our law enforcement investigations. There are some of my colleagues, and some in the media who have suggested if you make political contributions, somehow you cannot be fair and impartial.
So as you know, these political contributions are a matter of public record. You previously said when it comes to a special counsel investigation you, Special Counsel Mueller and FBI Director Wray will be the ones held accountable. So we looked up the political contributions of FB I Director Wray. He has made over $39,000 in contributions exclusively to Republicans, including $2,500 twice to Romney for president. Twenty-six hundred dollars twice to Perdue for president, thousands of dollars to national Republican senatorial committee, $1,000 Comstock for Congress, on and on. Do you believe FBI Director Christopher Wray can remain fair and impartial?
ROSENSTEIN: Yes, I do.
LIEU: OK. Your colleague Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand has made over $37,000 of political contributions exclusively to Republicans. Do you believe she can remain fair and impartial despite her political contributions?
LIEU: OK. And these are important (INAUDIBLE) to shut down this silly argument from my colleagues across the aisle that somehow the Department of Justice employee exercise their First Amendment right to make political contributions and somehow they cannot do their job. And it shows a desperation that some people have about the Mueller investigation, which I now want to turn to.
You supervise the investigation, so you are aware, of course of their guilty pleas and indictments, and in reviewing the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos, you would agree that there is a solid legal and factual basis for that guilty plea, correct?
ROSENSTEIN: I believe he was represented by competent defense counsel who assisted him and making his decisions.
LIEU: And he plead guilty to lying to FBI agents about interactions with Russia, Russian officials, correct?
[12:50:02] ROSENSTEIN: I believe that's correct. I don't want to comment, congressman, beyond what's in the charging documents. They speak for themselves.
LIEU: Thank you. The guilty plea of Michael Flynn, you must have looked at those as you supervises the investigation. You would agree there is a legal and factual basis for that guilty plea as well, correct?
LIEU: And he lied to FBI agents about his interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, correct?
ROSENSTEIN: Again, congressman, the documents speak for themselves.
LIEU: You have read indictments against Paul Manafort and MR. Gates. You would agree there is a solid legal and factual basis for those indictments, correct?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, when we return an indictment, we're always careful to say the defendants are presumed innocent, but I'm comfortable with the process that was followed to figure out that indictment. LIEU: You are aware of the (INAUDIBLE) people of the interview by special counsel Mueller's team. You would agree that was a factual and legal basis to interview the witnesses, correct?
ROSENSTEIN: I'm not aware of any impropriety.
LIEU: You previously testified about Robert Mueller's exemply (ph) record and dedication service, you did mention he was a Vietnam veteran. I just want to know for the record and I'm sure you know as well. He also did receive a bronze star for his service in Vietnam, correct?
ROSENSTEIN: I believe two. Correct.
LIEU: He also received a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam, correct?
LIEU: OK. So, what do we have here? We have a special counsel investigation that's being supervised by Mr. Rosenstein, who's been described as a fair-minded prosecutor, appointed twice by Republican presidents, being run by Special Counsel Mueller, a man with extraordinary dedication, Vietnam veteran, Bronze Star winner, Purple Heart, and in coordination with FBI Director Christopher Wray, who has been appointed by Republican president who's made over $39,000 of contributions exclusively to Republicans. That is the leadership of this special counsel investigation, and I am OK with that. I yield back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman yields back. And the chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida, Mr. DeSantis, for five minutes.
REP. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: Mr. Deputy Attorney General, when Sally Yates defied President Trump travel restriction order ended January 2017, was that appropriate what she did?
ROSENSTEIN: I disagreed with her decision.
DESANTIS: So if you're in a position where you get an order, your job is to follow the order, if you think it's unconstitutional, then your response would be to resign your office, correct?
ROSENSTEIN: My response would be I think first to talk first with the person who gave the order.
DESANTIS: Of course.
ROSENSTEIN: But ultimately if I concluded it were constitutional, I would not implement it.
DESANTIS: And obviously, you can't have a department operating where each one is a law unto themselves, or if they happen to think something is bad that they don't follow the orders, correct?
ROSENSTEIN: That's exactly right. DESANTIS: It bothered me then one of the reason revelations. You know, you have Andrew Wiseman, yes, he's a big Democrat donor, which I agree doesn't disqualify you from (INAUDIBLE). He went to Hillary's supposed victory party. Then me that doesn't necessarily disqualifies you. But when she took that action, he sends her an e-mail with this DOJ e-mail account saying how he's in awe, and so proud of her, basically standing up to Trump. I mean it was seen as a very direct rebuke to the president.
So, your tests was are the political opinions affecting how one conducts himself an office. I think that's a fair test. But isn't that an example of that e-mail, example of his strongly held anti- Trump opinions affecting how he's conducting himself on his official e-mail.
ROSENSTEIN: As I mentioned congressman, I have discussed this general issue with Director Mueller on several occasions. He understands the importance of ensures that there is no bias reflected in the conduct of the investigation.
DESANTIS: It looks bad to the public. I'm telling you that right now. Part of it, is there an actual bias, but as you know, someone very experience, is there an appearance of that? And this appears that to be because clearly what she did was not something that experienced prosecutors would think (INAUDIBLE) and obviously the Supreme Court is slap (ph) with the Russia investigation, who started it? Who was the agent? Was it Strzok who started it? Who opened the case?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman the -- that matter is under review by the intelligence committee, and there's nothing that I can talk about publicly regarding the initiation of the investigation, but I can assure you we're going to provide appropriate access to the intelligence committee to what they need to answer --
DESANTIS: Did the FBI pay for the dossier?
ROSENSTEIN: I'm not in position answering that question, congressman.
DESANTIS: Do you know the answer to the question?
ROSENSTEIN: I believe I know the answer, but the intelligence committee is the appropriate committee to make that --
DESANTIS: That is not true. We have oversight over your department and the FBI, and whether public funds were spent on a dossier, that is not something that's classified. We have every right to that information. You should provide it. If you're not, there would probably be things. Was that info used to get surveillance over anybody associated with Trump?
ROSENSTEIN: I appreciate that question, congressman. And I know it's been a concern for several members of the committee. I have set aside about a half hour every day to review FISA applications, and it is not legal for me to talk about those applications. So I'm not able to answer one way or the other. [12:55:09] DESANTIS: I would like that authority. I think you can say -- you may not be able to talk about the sources and message of the substance, but if this was used, we need to know that. Do you agree that given -- so what was the role of Bruce Ohr? He met with Christopher Steele before the election. Was that authorized meeting?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, I do not know all the details. This information is still developing. So I don't know the full story, but we have agreed to make Mr. Ohr available for congressional interviews. And nobody free to -- I mean asking those questions.
DESANTIS: You need to pursue it. It's your department, you demoted him. He's working with Christopher Steele. You have an anti-Trump dossier, funded by the Democratic Party, his wife works for Fusion GPS. This doesn't look good. So we need answers to those questions.
ROSENSTEIN: I'm not suggesting that I'm disinterested, congressman. Just that we've been --
DESANTIS: No, I get it. I get it.
ROSENSTEIN: I have to get those answers.
DESANTIS: Let me ask you this. The role of Mr. Strzok, how much of --
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to leave the hearing on Capitol Hill. The Deputy Attorney General Ron We'll take you back there moment tear, but the president of the united states meeting at the white house with Rosenstein. We'll take you back there moment (INAUDIBLE).
But the president of the United States meeting at the White House with Republicans from the House and the Senate. The conferees who say they have struck a deal, said they have reached the framework agreement to reconcile the competing House and Senate Republican tax cut plans, the president meeting with them at the White House. Let's listen in. Oh it hasn't role. I'm told we're about to get the tape from the White House.
The president meeting with the key Republicans from the House and the Senate who they're charged with, the conferees, they call them here in Washington, (INAUDIBLE) with reconcile a difference between the House tax cut bill and the Senate tax cut bill. They say they have reached a deal.
The 20% corporate tax rate that was in the Senate claim would go up, we were told in this compromise. In exchange, top earners would get a tax cut in that plan as well. Here's the president of the United States meeting with Republicans at the White House.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, thank you very much. We appreciate it. And I'll be also speaking at 3:00 today, a little more about what's happening with this incredible journey and what we're doing with regard to bringing down taxes, the largest tax cut ever. But I appreciate you being here today. I want to thank the incredible members of the House and Senate who have been working so hard, we're very, very close to a historic legislative victory, the likes of which rarely has this country seen.
I think I can say, Kevin and Orrin, that we're getting very close. And I know a lot of the folks that we'd like to have here -- we said, if you have your choice, stay back and get it done, right? They're all working and negotiating some final points, but we're very, very close.
This bill is vital to the American people for many reasons. First of all, it's going to have a tax cut, the likes of which we haven't seen for, not only business but for the working families of our country. It's really a tax cut based on jobs and also very good for companies, which also means jobs.
The typical family of four earning $75,000 will see an income tax cut of $2,000. So that's $2,000 in their pocket, additional to spend on whatever they want to spend, or they could save the money also. You do have a lot of families in the old days -- they saved money. But they will be saving it in many cases.
Second, the bill is going to cut taxes for American businesses -- both big ones and small ones, so that they can grow, hire, and compete all around the world. Right now they're paying 35%, and that's the highest in the industrialized world -- in many cases, by far. And we'll be bringing that down to a number that will be extremely impressive to a lot of people. I don't think I'll give them the surprise yet, Kevin, right?
REP. KEVIN BRADY (R), TEXAS: Yes, sir.
TRUMP: Maybe I'll hold the surprise. But I think you'll be very happy with it. I think the businesses will be very happy. And we'll be able to compete all over the world.
Third, we're simplifying our broken system. It's so complicated that nobody can figure it out. Tax returns that are very, very big and large -- and they have to go out and hire companies to do them. So we're fixing the system.
Finally, the plan is going to bring trillions of dollars back into the United States, money that's offshore. And you've been hearing me say $2.5 trillion for years. Well, 2.5 has grown, and it's going to be a lot more than that, probably $4 trillion. It could be even higher than that. We don't even know. It's so much money, we don't even know how much it is.
But you look at the great companies, Apple and so many others. They have billions of dollars overseas that they want to bring back. Now they're going to be able to bring it back, and we'll be spending that money, and they'll be spending that money right here. And it will be jobs and lots of other good things.
While the media has focused on the differences between the House and the Senate bills, I can only tell you that we have very, very talented representatives right here. And I think I can say, Orrin, that we're very close, right?
SEN. ORRIN HATCH, (R), UTAH: We are.
TRUMP: We are very, very close.
HATCH: We'll get it done.
TRUMP: And I want to thank Senator Orrin Hatch. He's been incredible. And Kevin Brady, incredible. You guys have been just really, really amazing. Although I shouldn't say that until we sign. We've been there too many times. Let's count the vote first, right?
But I want to thank my whole team, Gary and Steve and everybody.