This is a rush transcript from "The Ingraham Angle," November 29, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST: Good evening, everyone, from Washington. This is "The Ingraham Angle."
What a day, too much news for just one hour, but we will get through it together. We have gathered the very best for you tonight. A huge breakthrough in the president's tax plan in the Senate. I talk to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about what kind of break you might get, at least you hope you are going to get.
We get his take on that wild Senate race in Alabama and what might happen to Roy Moore if he actually gets elect.
I also sit down with Marco Rubio on the possible existence, get this, of a sexual harassment slush fund in the Senate. Stay tuned for that.
And Herman Cain is here as well. We haven't seen him in a while. We're going to ask him if the sexual assault allegations are going too far.
I will also deliver a very important message to all of your Melania haters out there in the media. That will be at the end of the hour. You do not want to miss it.
But, first, we start with a question that's on the minds of many Americans.
INGRAHAM: I guess where he was all those trips. Well, we know tonight that we can report, of course, Matt Lauer is no longer the anchor over at the "Today" show. fired overnight and reportedly with no warning.
Lauer is the second morning anchor to fall in just a week. They had one of the biggest runs on television ever most profitable franchise in television history. NBC said the firing followed recent accusations from one coworker.
Variety magazine did their own two-month investigation published today and found evidence of a lot more wider and abusive conduct. Hours after that the "New York Times" reported two more claims.
And Lauer's co-worker, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, learned of the news, of his firing, just before they reported it at the top of the "Today Show." That's quite an opening. They all and their colleagues at 30 Rock were visibly shaken by this news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, HOST, "TODAY": All we can say is that we are heartbroken. I'm heartbroken for Matt. He is my dear, dear friend and my partner, and he is beloved by many, many people here. And I'm heartbroken for the brave colleague that came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell. How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly?
HODA KOTB, GUEST HOST, "TODAY": I have known matt for 15 years. It's hard to reconcile what we are hearing with the man who we know who walks in this building every single day.
KATHIE LEE GIFFORD, CO-HOST, "TODAY WITH KATHIE LEE AND HODA": I texted him this morning and said, Matt, I adore you, and no person is perfect in this world. Nobody is.
WILLIE GEIST, CO-HOST, "TODAY": My thoughts, of course, with Matt. He has been a friend. He has been a mentor. He has been a guy you could watch, a guy who led by his example on the set.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "MORNING JOE": I am stunned by this. I have known Matt for 25 years. I consider him to be a friend. Willie was apt in his description of Matt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Then again maybe there were some warning signs just below the radar. Back in 2012, Lauer's long-time co-host, Katie Couric, said something in an interview that didn't get much notice at the time but maybe it should have.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE"/BRAVO, JUNE 28, 2012)
ANDY COHEN, HOST: You hosted the "Today" show with Matt Lauer for 15 years. What is Matt's most annoying habit?
KATIE COURIC, FORMER "TODAY" SHOW CO-HOST: He pinches me on the ass a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Lovely. Said it with kind of a sour face there. Katie wasn't kidding. That's kind of genuine disgust. It makes you wonder how NBC supposedly missed this for all these years.
Also getting a close second look is a "Today" show promo that seemed to openly hint at Lauer's reputation for inappropriate behavior with ladies. And possibly a habit of, I don't know, walking around without his pants?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TODAY"/NBC, DEC. 29, 2014)
MATT LAUER, CO-HOST: Ah, drink it, in ladies.
NATALIE MORALES, CO-HOST: Again, Matt, really?
JENNA BUSH HAGER, CO-HOST: It's the third time this week.
TAMRON HALL, CO-HOST: Did your mommy give you those?
MORALES, HAGER & HALL: WAAAAH!
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, CO-HOST: Stop it you are making me lactate.
LAUER: Get it while it lasts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Again, NBC claims none of their current leadership knew about Lauer's past, but it seems kind of hard to believe now.
To help us make sense of all of this the shock waves in the media world will bring in Fox News media analyst, Howie Kurtz. One thing that was interesting today, Joe Flint tweeted the following. He said, "NBC News doubles down. We can now equivocally say prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made any aware of any complaints about Matt Lauer's conduct," network said."
Current NBC management. Jeff Zucker over at CNN was the executive producer of the "Today" show for many years. Very successful, and he had a very terse statement through a spokesperson that there was never a complaint filed against him during his time there.
HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA ANALYST: Well, the complaint part might be true, but it certainly raises a lot of questions about who at NBC management (inaudible) times knew about this. NBC, Laura, tried to seize the moral high ground by saying we fired Matt Lauer as soon as we got this complaint 36 hours.
It's true that NBC took swift action. But, clearly, this was a preemptive move before the Variety piece comes out with allegations about him giving a sex toy to a coworker, exposing himself --
INGRAHAM: There is a photo apparently that they have now.
KURTZ: I mean, this is pretty graphic stuff. And a New York Times piece talks about a woman who said she did have sex in 2001 with Matt Lauer that she felt pressured to save her job. So, NBC tried to control the narrative by not putting out much detail, getting out ahead of these reports that shows that these allegations have been out there for some time.
INGRAHAM: Just going back to Jeff Zucker, though, it reminds me of what we were hearing about Harvey Weinstein that oh, I'm shocked. I can't believe that Harvey Weinstein, and then you heard -- I had heard about Harvey Weinstein back in 1997. I was on the "Today Show" a bunch of times.
I always liked Matt Lauer. He was you a liberal guy. He was nothing but nice to me. I had very minimal reaction with him. From the Katie Couric comment to that odd promo. There were a couple other things that have popped up on tape.
It's a little strange for a network that prides itself on being so pro- women and we are all for girl power and it's a little odd and Jeff Zucker, he doesn't come out on camera today, one of his old friends, old buddies. Nothing.
KURTZ: You have to cringe looking at these now skits and what Katie Couric said and all of that, but you know, what happened is the environment has changed. Whereas it might have been easy for NBC and other networks, Laura, other networks have had this these problems.
INGRAHAM: We have.
KURTZ: But to look the other way, to not take it seriously, turn a blind eye to some of the women who were complaining in the era of Harvey Weinstein and all the politicians now Al Franken and Roy Moore, John Conyers -- CBS dumps Charlie Rose right away, and NBC dumps Matt Lauer right away, but there are a lot of unanswered questions here about what, who knew what, and was NBC allowing --
INGRAHAM: They are not revealing the name of the young woman who said in 2014 he approached her at the Olympics.
KURTZ: Right. Now, I think that may be because that woman and perhaps other women are not ready to go forward, and you can understand them not wanting their lives to blown up. At the same time, it just fuels -- this is the beginning of the story a lot more to know about this and the way the networks now respond to these kinds of allegations and who knew what when.
INGRAHAM: This is the revenge of Ann Curry, someone --
INGRAHAM: Other people wanted to talk to. I would like to hear from all of them. I appreciate it, Howie. Thank you so much.
Sex assault accusations are serious, but can the current climate go too far and when is just an allegation just enough to try to take a public figure down? My old boss, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, knows a thing or two about that.
And so, does my next guest, former presidential candidate, Herman Cain, speaking publicly for the first time in its current climate about the accusations that derailed his bid for the White House in 2012.
Herman, it's great to see you first of all. Welcome back to the network. This has been a wild time. A lot of icons in the media world. One after the other taken down, a producer from "State of the Union" on CNN, it was unceremoniously fired today for inappropriate conduct. No sexual attack or anything, but inappropriate conduct, and the list goes on and on. What are your feelings about given the accusations against you in 2012?
HERMAN CAIN, 2012 GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first, Laura, congratulations on your new show --
INGRAHAM: Thank you.
CAIN: -- "The Ingraham Angle" and now you are going to get the Cain critique on the subject that you raised. First of all, you can't look at all of these the same because they are not. Some of them have evidence, including pictures that it actually happened.
Some of them were based upon accusations, speculation, but no confirmation. Now, I can't talk about all these situations, but I can talk about my situation. There were a lot of accusations and there was a lot of speculation to try to derail my campaign but no confirmation.
And the reason was the liberal media didn't want to know the truth. They did not want to know what the facts were about the people that were accusing me. Now what's different about my situation, and let's just say Roy Moore's situation, is that they came after me with repeatedly attacks and accusations but no confirmation.
They now believe that if they throw more and more and more mud on the wall, that eventually people are going to believe it, but that has back fired because, as you know, the latest poll shows Roy Moore is now back in the lead in Alabama and the people in Alabama are going to have to decide.
INGRAHAM: Herman, you decided to bow out in 2012. You had a really, you know, strong and vibrant following.
INGRAHAM: A lot of people just liked your presence in the race. But when these things started ping, ping, ping, one after another coming out you just decided for my family's sake, I'm not going to continue. Do you regret that now looking back? Do you wish you had stayed in and fought it out?
CAIN: No, I do not. Because as you pointed out, they came week one, week two, week three, and what we concluded was that it was going to continue four, five, and six, the way it did with the Judge Roy Moore.
I bowed out primarily because not because I couldn't take the harassment, I couldn't take the firestorm. But because my family, grandchildren especially, start to hear jokes about their Pappa on the music stations and I did not want that to continue.
If I had stayed in the race, it was only going to get worse and worse and worse. Why? Because the liberal media who wanted to develop a firestorm to stop somebody, they were not going to stop, and I didn't want to continue to put my family members at all levels in that position.
INGRAHAM: I want to share something with you that happened today, apparently at this Democratic caucus meeting, and this was involving the John Conyers situation. There is a push probably that looks like, you know, boot him out of Congress and encourage him to resign.
James Clyburn has compared John Conyers' accusers to the child murderer, Susan Smith, who initially claimed a black man had abducted her kids and Clyburn saying that these are all white women who have made these charges against Conyers. What do you make of that outrageous claim?
CAIN: Laura --
INGRAHAM: Who care what color their skin is?
CAIN: Color has nothing to do with it. They are trying to deflect the subject and to deflect the accusation. John Conyers is one of those situations where there is absolute proof that he did some of the things that he did.
I mean, you take Senator Al Franken, you have a picture. It shows that he did some of the things that he was accused of. Now, you have got other situations where it's all accusations, speculation with no confirmation. We got confirmation with Representative Conyers.
We got confirmation with Al Franken and we got confirmation with Charlie Rose. Those have confirmation and they have even admitted it, but you have got a lot of others out there based on accusations and speculation but no confirmation.
INGRAHAM: What about this slush fund, Herman, in the House of Representatives where they are paying out $17 million. Some of them are not sexually related but apparently none of these Congressman knew about it and no one, as far as I know, I have interviewed in the House is demanding that the names be released of who was accused of what. Do you think that's important?
CAIN: Yes, it's important. I believe now that come to light that Representative Conyers used that slush fund for some of the things he wanted to cover up. Yes. The American people and the voters and the taxpayers deserve an explanation. We didn't even know that this slush fund existed.
INGRAHAM: No, no, Herman, none of these guys knew. It's a total scandal. It's great to see you back. Thanks so much for joining us.
Up next, our exclusive with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell trying to push that tax reform bill through the Senate and weighs in. You went believe what he says about the Alabama Senate race and sex abuse allegations on Capitol Hill all coming up.
INGRAHAM: It is said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has one of the toughest jobs in politics. Why? He has taken fire from both the left and the populist right, sometimes including yours truly on a daily basis.
Early this evening, believe it or not, I sat down with him and he was nice enough to give an exclusive interview to "The Ingraham Angle" where he addresses a range of topics. The wave of sex harassment allegations rocking Capitol Hill, the Alabama Senate race and a lot more. But we began with the GOP's do or die tax reform push.
INGRAHAM: Senator McConnell, thanks so much for joining us tonight. So, you just left the Senate floor. The battle is underway for tax reform. How is it looking?
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY., MAJORITY LEADER: Unanimous Republican vote to go forward with the tax bill. Hoping it will be unanimous at the end, but we all agreed to get started after a lot of negotiations. I'm optimistic we are going to deliver comprehensive tax reform to the American people for the first time in 31 years.
INGRAHAM: Now, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee kind of a last-minute move are pushing for a hike in the corporate tax cut from 20 percent to 22 percent. And they then want to give more relief to lower income people with children. Where is that going to go and is that going to be a monkey wrench in your plan here?
MCCONNELL: We'll see. I mean, it's open for amendment. There will be plenty of amendments both on the Republican side and the Democratic side. But what I think we have 100 percent agreement on, Laura, is that we want to do comprehensive tax reform for the first time since the second Reagan administration.
You know, the dials may twist a little bit as we go along, but the core is middle class tax relief and making our businesses more competitive against other businesses around the world, and to keep our jobs here in this country.
INGRAHAM: So Donald Trump originally wanted 15 percent, went up to 20 percent, and you're saying tonight it could go up to 22 percent after this is all over?
MCCONNELL: My preference is 20 percent. The Senate is going to work its will. There are going to be plenty of amendments on both sides. I think the core effort here, middle class tax relief and keeping our jobs in the country are going to be intact at the end.
INGRAHAM: Some of the headlines about what you are trying to do with tax reform. Just a couple, GOP's ugly secret. Tax plan would force a quarter trillion-dollar cut in Medicare, 1.4 trillion to the deficit is going to really hurt higher education. Going to make it more expensive college presidents say specifically on this quarter trillion-dollar cut overtime and Medicare, going to force spending cuts on Medicare.
MCCONNELL: That's, of course, completely false.
MCCONNELL: It's not true. We are not touching Medicare at all in this bill. Not at all. And on the deficit question you raised, we would only have to grow four tenths of 1 percent over the next 10 years.
Four tenths of 1 percent over the next 10 years to fill that 1 trillion- dollar gap that the critics keep saying is going to sit there as if the economy wasn't going to respond to this incredible relief. It's going to get from the burden of high taxation. Nonsense?
INGRAHAM: You are not worried about the deficit. You think the growth spurred by these tax cuts --
MCCONNELL: This is not going to be a deficit producing effort.
INGRAHAM: Why didn't you guys go with a border adjustment tax that would have actually infused some more money into this process? You would have been able to get cleaner tax reform, cleaner tax cuts. Ryan was for it. Some people called it a value-added tax.
MCCONNELL: There was a lot of resistance to that, a lot, and it was sort of aired out by the House last year when we were in early discussions about this. I couldn't have passed it in the Senate. We have to deal with what can pass. I need 50 votes. We have 52 Republicans. We have all 52 who want to get to yes, but that was just not something I could sell in the Senate.
INGRAHAM: John McCain has been kind of a thorn in the side of the Trump administration. They have had acrimonious relationship going back to the campaign. Right now, do you think he's the biggest obstacle to this getting to the ultimate 50/50?
MCCONNELL: He voted to get on the bill. I know John McCain well enough to know he is not going to cast a vote on tax reform no matter how he may feel about the current occupant of the White House.
INGRAHAM: You don't think that comes into play at all?
MCCONNELL: I don't think so, no.
INGRAHAM: Let's move on to some other issues because there is a whole bunch going on in the country right now. The Alabama Senate race is taking up a lot of oxygen in the political landscape. He is up now in the polls 5 percent. You favored Luther Strange.
A lot of money went in to supporting Luther Strange. He didn't win. Roy Moore won. I actually supported Mo Brooks, but Roy Moore won. Now, of course, all these allegations against him. You said he should step aside.
He may very well win this election. What does that say about your influence in the Senate? Does it have any implication for you? He wants to unseat you, he says.
MCCONNELL: Well, President Trump and I were on the same side. We both supported Luther Strange even though you supported Mo Brooks. The people in Alabama decided to go in a different direction. December the 12th they will get to decide who they want to send to the Senate and we will deal with that when that happens.
INGRAHAM: So, if that happens, there are still are senators who say we could vote to expel him from the U.S. Senate. But what does that say to the state of Alabama? They have heard all the argument, you say you believe the women that came forward. I tend to think some of them are credible as well. But people of Alabama are hearing it all.
MCCONNELL: They are going to make the decision in Alabama and --
INGRAHAM: So, should you in the Senate then invalidate that by expelling him out?
MCCONNELL: We will deal with the aftermath and the decision of the people of Alabama make on the December 12th.
INGRAHAM: So, I think it's a possibility he could be expelled from the Senate.
MCCONNELL: I think there is a possibility he will have an ethics issue.
INGRAHAM: An ethics investigation once he gets here.
MCCONNELL: Yes. I think it's almost certain.
INGRAHAM: How far back will those allegations -- they go back like almost four decades?
MCCONNELL: It will be up to the committee.
INGRAHAM: There's a lot of ethics investigations going on.
MCCONNELL: Unfortunately, yes.
INGRAHAM: The Senate doesn't have any sort of funds like the House has one of those they are calling it a shush fund or slush fund to settle settlements --
MCCONNELL: Are you talking about harassment cases?
MCCONNELL: Well, we are taking a look at completely changing whatever the status quo is. I mean, we two weeks ago in the Senate passed a measure to require mandatory training. We got a bipartisan group of Republican and Democratic women in the Senate giving us advice about the next step and clearly the status quo is not acceptable.
INGRAHAM: Well, Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been on this issue and it effects the military, junior senator from New York, she came out and she said well, Bill Clinton really should have, you know, basically resigned. I mean, isn't it a little Kirsten come lately on Bill Clinton?
He was accused of raping Juanita Broderick. Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones, the list goes on. But now Democrats are kind of deciding to kick the Clintons to curve. Do you find that to be credible, political? What is it?
MCCONNELL: Well, without relitigating all of that, the question is, what are we going to do now. We've already passed a measure requiring mandatory training. Before the end of the year, there's high likelihood we are going to pass either another Senate rule or legislation to outline the best way to handle these kinds of cases in the future.
Under any circumstances, whatever is passed, any member of Congress ought to be personally liable, personally liable for any for any case that he or she loses.
INGRAHAM: Are you in favor of unmasking the names of those in any type of settlement group over in the House?
INGRAHAM: Well, there is a whole bunch of people whose names are unknown. Even apparently to the congressman who is in charge of the committee that is supposedly oversees it.
MCCONNELL: Well, Laura, I think my attitude about that I want to wait and see what the women of the Senate recommend on that and the other issues we are talking about.
INGRAHAM: So, it could be possible that we will never learn.
MCCONNELL: I want to see what the women of the Senate recommend on that issue.
INGRAHAM: Why just the women of the Senate? I mean, doesn't everybody --
MCCONNELL: I think they are in a very good position to take the lead. Some men are involved as the well on both sides.
INGRAHAM: Up next, part two of my talk with Leader McConnell, including his strong response to those in the media questioning President Trump's mental fitness for office, and a possible government shutdown.
And later, the media will not stop attacking Melania Trump. I'm going to respond in a continuing angle you don't want to miss.
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Welcome back. Questioning President Trump's mental fitness for office is becoming a vicious, relentless obsession of the left. So I asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about that in part two of our exclusive interview tonight.
INGRAHAM: Two different cable networks today, MSNBC and CNN, at different points in the day were raising serious questions, I mean, these are big league reporters, about the mental state of President Trump, implying, or not just implying, saying that he looks like he has early onset dementia. He is unstable. He is destructive. He is imbalanced at a time where we could very well be facing a war with North Korea. You've had a lot of interactions with the president. Tell us about what you view his intellectual mental capacity?
MCCONNELL: Those accusations are absolutely outrageous. I mean, I speak to the president on virtually daily basis, and I'm involved with him all the time on all these issues. And that kind of accusation is totally baseless and outrageous.
INGRAHAM: It's so personal, and as someone -- my father had dementia and it's personal to me. And yet these charges are being thrown around, a lot of people believe, as a precursor to perhaps a Democrat takeover in 2018 and then ultimately a push to try to remove him from office. That feeling is in this building. The Democrats want to invalidate this election one way or another.
MCCONNELL: Look, I think those kinds of accusations are completely off base and irresponsible. Let's argue over the issues. We have different points of view. For example, the decision to get on the tax bill was totally partisan. Every Democrat said I don't want to do tax reform. Every Republican said I do. That's the appropriate area for us to have our discussions in public about the future of the country.
INGRAHAM: Moving on to the government funding, government shutdown. Chuck Schumer has actually said as much, that he would be willing to move to have the government shut down, he wouldn't blame himself, but have the government shut down over amnesty for DACA, the DREAMers. And, yet, in 2013, he said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER, D-N.Y., SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Don't hold the American people hostage simply because you're so sure you're right and everyone else is wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: Would this be political suicide for the Democrats to shut the government down over amnesty for illegal immigrants?
MCCONNELL: Yes. I think that would be a pretty dumb place for them to end up, and I don't think in the end they will end up there.
INGRAHAM: The president has said he is open to a DACA deal. Tom Cotton, Senator Perdue have this idea of the RAISE Act. They have a whole bunch of things in it, including ending chain migration, which is like a 70/30 issue. It's really not a political issue. Every Mexican who comes into the United States on average brings six family members. For over two green card holders or legal immigrants they bring in seven. So most Americans say that's too much. Would you tonight commit to making that part of any future DACA amnesty?
MCCONNELL: Yes. I agree with Cotton and Perdue. The president has given us until March to deal with the issue of DACA. And the question is whether you are just going to do that and nothing else. I'm in favor of doing something on the DACA front. These kids came here through no act of their own. I think they have a legitimate case to be made. But I don't think we ought to just do that. A chain migration, doing something about the diversity lottery, there are plenty of changes to the legal immigration system that should be added to any kind of a DACA fix that we do.
INGRAHAM: Do you think the election was a mandate on passing immigration policies that are geared more toward the American worker? Would you agree with that?
MCCONNELL: I think clearly immigration, the president made that a front and center issue. The wall, which we are still trying to achieve for him, was only part of it. And I think there is a great interest in changing the legal immigration system.
By the way, I'm sure you share my view that legal immigration is important. My wife, the secretary of transportation, came here at age eight not speaking a word of English. And legal immigration has been an important part of America for over 200 years, our entire existence. That doesn't mean you just let anybody in at any point, and it doesn't mean you tolerate illegal entries.
So the president has actually given us an opportunity here by saying he wants to fix DACA but he doesn't want it all by itself. He want something with it, and I think the kinds of things you and I are discussing that Cotton and Perdue are pushing are exactly what ought to be part of a solution.
INGRAHAM: The tweets today from President Trump, one about the sexual harassment case at NBC. Another he re-tweeted Muslim videos where there are violence in them, and apparently the source was someone a lot of people in Britain think is kind of an unsavory figure. Do these tweets make it more difficult for you to get stuff done here in Congress?
MCCONNELL: I'm not going to critique the president's tweeting habits. There has been much discussion about that all year. It's his decision.
INGRAHAM: But Schumer and Pelosi didn't show up at the meeting, of course, yesterday. You had two empty chairs. I actually kind of liked the empty chairs, senator. I think that was actually clarifying.
MCCONNELL: It certainly keeps things lively.
INGRAHAM: I would be remiss if I didn't ask one other question, I'm sorry. North Korea, this is getting extremely tense if it wasn't tense before. Would you urge the Senate to be able to vote on the use of force, military force, if we're, indeed, getting involved in the Korean peninsula again?
MCCONNELL: Well, if it gets to that. I think the president is doing actually a great job. He is the first president to get the attention of the Chinese who are actually squeezing the North Koreans as we speak.
INGRAHAM: Are you hopeful we can avert war in the Korean peninsula?
MCCONNELL: I am.
INGRAHAM: Senator, thank you for all this time. It's terrific. Come back soon.
INGRAHAM: And up next, another Senate big wig. I will ask Marco Rubio about where he stands on DACA amnesty, and also why the Wall Street Journal today says he and Schumer could be working to kill the president's tax plan. He responds up next.
And I have a message for those in the media who continue to pile on Melania Trump. You're not going to want to miss it, so stay tuned.
INGRAHAM: The big tax reform fight happening right now in the Senate, and one issue that kind of popped up and is a little bit surprising is the issue of further increasing the child tax credit. And it's actually being championed by one senator in particular, Republican Marco Rubio. And he has found himself kind of crossways with the White House and some conservatives as a result.
INGRAHAM: Senator Rubio, thanks so much for joining us tonight. Exciting times with the tax reform on the horizon. Finally we are moving forward for real debate. I talked to Mitch McConnell earlier tonight. And he thinks he is going to be able to get this done. He is very optimistic. Tonight the Wall Street Journal has an editorial titled "The Rubio/Schumer Amendment, Florida Republican tries to blow up the Senate tax reform." What are you up to, you are going to blow up the Senate tax reform?
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: They are wrong about it. Let me tell you what it is. It's very simple. It's the child tax credit. And it's designed to help working people. Who are the people that would benefit from this? Firefighters, members of the Armed Services, teachers, construction workers.
INGRAHAM: To get a child tax credit.
RUBIO: So what it is, a lot of people, because they make $40,000 a year, OK, they don't get to fully benefit from the child tax credit because they don't have a lot of income tax liability, but they pay payroll tax. They are the working people in this country that have been ignored and forgotten. They are the people that elected President Trump because they have been not just ignored but disrespected.
And all this says is you are going to keep more of your own money. That's what the amendment does. They actually say it's a disincentive to work. It's ridiculous. You can't even get the tax credit if you are not working. This is people making between $20,000 and $50,000 or $60,000 who would benefit greatly.
And by the way, if you look at the states would benefit the most, I think it's 18 of the top 20 states voted for the president in the 2016 election. Why? Because working people raising children are the people that voted to elect the president with a very clear message that they sent us here to fight for them, not for the moneyed interests that controls Washington.
INGRAHAM: So I think President Trump initially wanted 15 and then it went to 20, the corporate tax cut. But now under your plan it would go up to 22.
RUBIO: On the corporate side, a 22 percent corporate tax rate is 13 points lower than what it is now. The different between 20 and 22 would still make us third among the G-7 nations. It would still put us below the global average. There is no difference in growth between 20 and 22.
INGRAHAM: Numbers don't matter?
RUBIO: Yes, they do matter, but not in terms of growth. You are not going to see any less growth at 22 than you would at 20. It still puts us lower in the world. It still ranks us third among the G-7. And by the way, there is another way to pay for it.
INGRAHAM: It's $100 billion or so?
RUBIO: About $80 billion.
INGRAHAM: They said $100 billion.
RUBIO: Well, here's why, because we want --
INGRAHAM: It's a lot of money.
RUBIO: But it's not our money. It's not the government's money. It's the working people's money. These are welders. These are police officers.
INGRAHAM: But they are getting a rebate for children, having children. What about people who don't have kids who are not making money? What about them? Why don't they get a break?
RUBIO: But they also don't have the expense of raising children. What we are saying if you are raising children, if you make $50,000 a year and you're raising three kids, that money doesn't go nearly as far as if you're not.
INGRAHAM: But they are not paying taxes either, for the most part. They don't have much of a tax liability.
RUBIO: But they still qualify for all sorts of --
INGRAHAM: Will you be willing to blow the deal up if they don't go to 22 percent?
RUBIO: I don't want to blow up the deal because if there is no tax reform there is no vehicle by which we can fix this. And it already does go up to $2,000. I have never talked about conditioning anything. I am saying this makes our tax reform more pro-worker, which is where we need to be as a country.
INGRAHAM: Speaking of workers, you want to do a DACA deal by the end of the year.
RUBIO: It depends.
INGRAHAM: You would like to if possible. Do you think Donald Trump was elected to do a DACA amnesty before something like Obamacare repeal? Do you think that's why people turned out for him?
RUBIO: We tried to do Obamacare repeal. As you say it failed unfortunately because we couldn't get our conference together.
Here is what I said. There is a difference between DACA and the DREAM act. If what they want to do, and the president has expressed an openness to this, is to do something like DACA but constitutionally that is temporary and acts as a bridge towards something more permanent. That's one thing. If what they want is to make a permanent change to immigration policy, it must be accompanied by permanent changes to security.
INGRAHAM: McConnell said he is open to ending chain migration, e-Verify, moistly what Tom Cotton and Perdue is talking about tonight. Chain migration is really the problem. Are you going to commit to chain migration, ending chain migration?
RUBIO: Yes. We have in the past. We said it should be limited to immediate family. We've always said it should be a merit based system of immigration. We've always said that we need border security, including the wall, and entrance-exit tracking system, e-Verify, these are all things we have long supported. The debate is do you link it, the Democrats don't want to, do you link it to anything else on immigration. My answer is --
INGRAHAM: Trump's election result was a mandate to change this approach and really focus, as he said, on the American worker, who has been hammered by lousy immigration policy.
RUBIO: And again, that's why I support a merit based immigration system, which by the way is also a reality in the 21st century. Our economy is fundamentally different than it was --
INGRAHAM: The Roy Moore issue is out there. He is up in the polls. He may very well win this race. What happens if he wins and he comes to Washington, they people of Alabama made his own call, it's not our call, it's their call, are you in favor of an ethics investigation that could perhaps lead to two-thirds of the members expelling him?
RUBIO: Well, first of all, there is an ethics investigation. That's the first thing. I don't even know how you initiate that.
INGRAHAM: Senator McConnell was also very open to that.
RUBIO: Well, assuming that that happens, and people would obviously make their decisions based on the facts that emerged from it. I think what's complicated about it, and I have said this publicly before, to be frank, I find the accusations against him to be credible. And I don't think anything he has said or done in the last couple weeks has helped him in that regard. That said, this information is before the voters of Alabama. And if they elect him and then you as a Senate have ethics hearings to remove him from office or something like that, that gets more complicated. That's a little bit more difficult because voters will have this information before them when they vote for him if, in fact, he is elected.
INGRAHAM: This issue of government shut down. Chuck Schumer has said in the past, 2013, no government shut down for policy. This is ridiculous. Do you think he would actually shut the government down if he doesn't get his DREAMer --
RUBIO: I don't it would be very popular. I don't think you can or should shut the government of the United States down over that issue. I just don't think you can or should. I think there would be a massive revolt, even perhaps within his own conference.
INGRAHAM: And finally, this House shush slush fund victims, for a bunch of things, especially settlements, is there any fund like that in the Senate that you're aware of?
RUBIO: I don't know. I'm not aware of it. There probably is. I have never used it obviously. But I think that should be made public. That's taxpayer money.
INGRAHAM: So you will say tonight that these people should be unmasked? We should know who these people are in the House who settled, or the Senate if there is such a fund, and we should know who they are?
RUBIO: Absolutely. It's public money. It's not their money. One thing is if you settle with your own money. But if it's taxpayer money, taxpayers deserved to know.
INGRAHAM: It's great to have you on tonight.
RUBIO: It's good to be with you.
INGRAHAM: Thank you so much for coming on. I appreciate it.
RUBIO: Thanks for having me.
INGRAHAM: Note he said there probably is a similar fund in the Senate, another slush fund.
Up next, new attacks from the Grinches on the left against Melania Trump and her Christmas kickoff at the White House which was so beautiful. Guess what? I'm not letting them get away with that, next.
INGRAHAM: Melania Trump and the Grinches that want to steel Christmas, that's tonight's continuing angle.
The geniuses at The Daily Beast have now joined the rest of the left-wing snipers trashing Melania's Christmas decorations. They are claiming that they give us insight into Melania's state of mind. Erin Gloria Ryan writes "Christmas at the White House will be both sad and hilarious as most of Melania's demonstrative disdain for her job is. Melania's corridor of holiday sadness has given us a nice preview of what the world will look like post nuclear holocaust."
Do you know what holiday sadness is? Attacking a woman of impeccable taste for decorating the White House with an eye for tradition and class. You know what the left hates? The left hates a traditional, Godly celebration of Christmas. That's what Melania Trump is bringing back to the White House this year. All they can do is snipe and criticize. The double standard with Michelle and their continuing deification of her is obvious.
INGRAHAM: Before we go, a great Christmas gift, of course, the new book "Billionaire at the Barricades, The Populist Revolution from Reagan to Trump." Learn about how Trump got into the White House in the first place. It didn't happen overnight. It was a long trail of populist fights that got him there.
And that's all the time we have tonight. Shannon Bream takes things from here. Shannon?
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