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Donald Trump to Receive Briefing on Intelligence Linking Russian Sources to WikiLeaks; Trump Team Indicates America May Initially Pay for Border Wall with Mexico; Interview with Senator Angus King. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired January 6, 2017 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Just yesterday, GOPers in attendance, they listened to what the chiefs had to say and why they gave them the sourcing the way they did, they listened and acknowledged with little pushback. That leaves one major Republican standing in defiance of what seems so clear to so many, and that one Republican is the president-elect. Trump is going to get this more detailed briefing today. The question is, will he accept the apparent reality or continue to cast doubts on the intel agencies?

We're still two weeks from inauguration day. Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Jason Carroll live at Trump Tower in New York.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning to you, Chris. We're now just hours away from the president-elect receiving that intelligence briefing where the intelligence officials will show him the evidence they have, showing that Russia was behind the cyber- attacks. The question is going forward, will it be enough to finally convince him?


CARROLL: The heads of the FBI, CIA, NSA and the director of national intelligence will meet face-to-face with president-elect Donald Trump today to brief him on their findings about Russian cyber-attacks.

JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I don't think we've ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process.

CARROLL: DNI head James Clapper making it crystal clear at a congressional hearing yesterday that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies believe Russia meddled with the U.S. election.

CLAPPER: I do think that public trust and confidence in the intelligence community is crucial.

CARROLL: And indirectly calling out Trump for his repeated attempts to undermine their conclusion.

CLAPPER: I think there's a difference between skepticism and disparagement.

CARROLL: But Trump continues to strike a conspiratorial tone, tweeting, "The DNC would not allow the FBI to see its computer info after it was supposedly hacked by Russia. So how and why are they so sure about hacking if they never even requested an examination of the computer servers? What is going on?"

Former chairman of the joint chiefs, retired general Martin Dempsey, breaking his strident rule not to comment on politics, tweeting, "Intelligence is hard, thankless work. Fortunately we have dedicated, patriotic, and courageous men and women on the job. Thanks."

JOE BIDEN, (D) VICE PRESIDENT: Grow up, Donald. Grow up.

CARROLL: Vice President Joe Biden calling Trump's comments dangerous.

BIDEN: For a president not to have confidence in, not be prepared to listen to the myriad of intelligence agencies is absolutely mindless.

CARROLL: But to the surprise of critics, the president-elect tapped Dan Coats, a hawk on Russia, to replace Clapper. Trump's transition team insisting that he supports the intelligence community, pushing back on reports that the president-elect wants to revamp the DNI.

SEAN SPICER, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is no truth to the idea of restructuring the intelligence community infrastructure.

CARROLL: Trump's team did, however, signal an about face on one of his biggest campaign promises.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT-ELECT: Who is going to pay for the wall?

CROWD: Mexico!

CARROLL: House Republican officials say Trump is looking to ask U.S. taxpayers, not Mexico, to pay for his proposed border wall. Republicans may try to add billions of dollars to a massive spending bill if Mexico refuses to pay for it.


CARROLL: And Trump tweeting about the wall this morning, saying that Mexico will end up paying for the wall. He says what would ends up happening is that Mexico would pay back the U.S. for the cost of the wall. If that did happen and Republicans choose to go that route, that could lead to a major showdown with Senate Democrats who could force a government shutdown. Trump for his part, in addition, Alisyn, to receiving the intelligence briefing on Russian cyber-attacks today will meet with magazine editors from "Conde Nast," including "Vogue's" Anna Wintour and Graydon Carter from "Vanity Fair." Alisyn?

CUOMO: Jason, thank you very much.

President-elect Trump is about to get all the details from U.S. intelligence chiefs. CNN has learned it will include the identities of the operatives who served as the go-betweens for the Russians and WikiLeaks. CNN justice correspondent Evan Perez is live in Washington with more. That's a big development, Evan. EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's wright, Alisyn. U.S. officials tell CNN that the U.S. has identified intermediaries who they believe provided the WikiLeaks websites the Democratic Party e- mails that were stolen by hackers working for Russian intelligence. This is among the pieces of information that the top intelligence officials are expected to provide president-elect Donald Trump at a meeting in New York in the next few hours.

[08:05:00] Today is the first time Trump will see an extensive intelligence report that looks at not the only Russian hacks of the Democratic Party groups in the past election year, but also cyber hacks going all the way back to 2008 election year. We're told by officials that U.S. intelligence agencies also collected intercepts of Russian officials expressing happiness at Donald Trump's victory on November 8th. The officials say that the intercepts aren't necessarily smoking gun evidence against the Russians but rather is part of the broader evidence that they've put together.

The director of national intelligence James Clapper told senators here in Washington yesterday that the intelligence agencies believe that the evidence points at Russia more resolutely than when they first announced it back in October.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told FOX News this week that the Russian government wasn't his source, but it's also true that he has said that WikiLeaks never knows its sources. At this point, Alisyn, the plan is for the public to see a declassified version of the intelligence report next Monday.

CAMEROTA: Evan, thank you very much. There's lots to discuss this morning, so let's bring in independent senator from Maine Angus King. He is a member of the intelligence and armed services committee. Good morning, Senator.

SEN. ANGUS KING, (I) MAINE: Good morning, Alisyn. How are you.

CAMEROTA: I'm well. Let's start with what happened yesterday on Capitol Hill. You had a very interesting exchange with DNI James Clapper where you basically said prove it, what is your evidence that the Russians were behind this. Let me play this for everyone.


KING: People in Maine are skeptical and they want to have evidence and proof. And I'm hearing from people, prove it.

CLAPPER: We have invested billions and we put people's lives at risk to glean such information. And so if we were to fulsomely expose it in such a way that would be completely persuasive to everyone, then we can just kiss that off because we'll lose it.


CAMEROTA: Senator, what about that answer? Will that satisfy your constituents in Maine? KING: Well, I think there are a couple of levels on this. As the

reporter just mentioned, there are going to be classified briefings. There was one yesterday to the president, today to Mr. Trump, the Congress oversight committee, the intelligence committee will get classified briefings. There will be a public briefing.

Here is the issue. The intelligence term is sources and methods. If you tell all, if you say here's how we got it, here's who we got it from, you're compromising your sources and impairing national security because you won't be able to go back to those sources. People could lose their lives in that situation. The all- time classic case of this was Coventry in World War II when Winston Churchill, they broke the German codes, they knew Coventry was going to be bombed. The question was, do we warn Coventry and thereby tip- off the Germans that we have the codes? Churchill made the decision not to give the warning because he didn't want to give away the sources and methods.

CAMEROTA: Right, but I mean, so, given that, how will these skeptics ever be convinced including Mr. Trump?

KING: Well, Mr. Trump is going to get the full briefing. He's going to get all the details and he's going to get what should be persuasive to anyone. The question is how much of that can be made public. He has the highest classification level. He can hear this information without it going public. So that's the issue.

The real issue is how do people in Peoria decide or people in Bangor, Maine, decide that it's accurate. At some point you have to have some confidence in the people whose job it is to collect this information and to provide this to the American public. This is a tough issue, I understand it. But it's one of balance where if you give away all your sources, then you're compromising national security on an ongoing basis.

CAMEROTA: Understood. So since Mr. Trump will have that fulsome explanation that James Clapper was talking about, what do you expect to hear from Mr. Trump afterwards?

KING: I think that's anybody's guess. My guess is, based upon what I've seen, he's going to have a more sober assessment of what this is all about, and I would suspect a kind of more serious response saying, now that I've seen all the data I understand this is a serious problem and we're going to get to the bottom of it. I hope that's his response because, in the long run, these people are his eyes and ears. And to denigrate their work and their sacrifices on behalf of the country isn't going to serve him well in the long run. If he doesn't listen to the people who are experts and professionals and trained to give him this information, who is he going to listen to when he has to make a tough decision?

CAMEROTA: Senator, I also want to ask you about something else that has developed this morning, and that is the suggestion from some on Mr. Trump's team and even Mr. Trump in some tweets, that the wall, the border wall with Mexico that he promised, will not at first be paid for by Mexico as was often suggested during the campaign, but, in fact, will be funded by Congress and the taxpayers, and then later Mexico will reimburse it. In Congress will you go along with that?

[08:10:12] KING: Well, I think it should be mentioned first that the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate by a bipartisan majority two or three years ago, the House never brought it up, had in it substantial funds for border security improvements. Bob Corker was the author of that provision. So that opportunity was lost.

I have to tell you, my first thought this morning was, we'll pay for it and we'll pay it back made me think of repeal and replace Obamacare. We're going to repeal it now and replace it with something and not tell you what it is. It seems to me, I always thought it was improbable that Mexico was going to somehow be coerced to pays the tens of billions that this is going to cost. They said during the campaign specifically they were not. So I think if we're going to build a wall, we're going to have to pay for it. Maybe there can be some contribution for Mexico, but it's certainly not anything we can book.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about a few developments on the repeal and replace Obamacare front. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced yesterday that the GOP will try to strip all the federal funding from Planned Parenthood as part of the repeal of Obamacare. Do you think that they have the votes for that? Will that happen?

KING: They'll certainly have the votes in the House. It depends on what form it takes when it comes to the Senate. I've never understood that. Number one, federal funds don't go for abortions. That's been against the law for, I don't know, 20, 30 years. So this isn't a case of taking money away that's now going for abortions. It's taking money away that now goes for cancer screenings and health checkups and STD analysis and health care for millions of people and women across the country.

But the other piece that I found ironic is, if you don't like abortion, Planned Parenthood and the delivery of contraceptive services is the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and pregnancies that might be dangerous and thereby cut the number of abortions. It seems to me it's a self-defeating move. It's just the idea of defund Planned Parenthood. But Planned Parenthood does, I don't know, 96, 97 percent of what they do has nothing to do with abortion. So this is to me a symbolic gesture that's actually just going to hurt health care for women across the country.

CAMEROTA: In terms of the repealing of Obamacare, it sounds like the latest plan, I think according to John Cornyn at least, is to repeal it wholesale which they do have the votes for and Mr. Trump would sign, and then replace it piecemeal. So they like some of the ingredients, some of the provisions in Obamacare, and they would insert those back into law. What do you make of that plan?

KING: I've always said it ought to be replaced and repealed. If they want to repeal, let's see what the replacement is. This is bait and switch kind of thing. And to repeal it -- by the way, repealing it is going to throw the insurance market into chaos. It's going to threaten a lot of people's coverage, something like 30 million people across the country. That's a lot of people. And it's going to threaten rural hospitals. There are all kinds of ramifications of this that I think opponents are trying to understand. And that's why I think there's a sense of let's just slow down a bit, fellas, and see where we're going, because the results are going to be very, very problematic across the board.

So I don't understand -- except for trying to honor a bumper sticker campaign promise, repeal Obamacare, just slow down, talk about what we're going to do. I for one have been willing for years to talk about curing some of the defects in Obamacare. Nobody ever said it was a perfect law. But it's always repeal and then we'll talk. I think the talk and the discussion -- I think the burden should be on those who want to repeal it to say to the American people, here is how we're going to replace it. Don't give us vague assurances. Here is how it's going to work because this is very complicated stuff.

CAMEROTA: Senator Angus King, thank you very much. Always nice to have you on NEW DAY.

KING: Thank you, Alisyn.

CUOMO: All right, so how will the president-elect respond to the intelligence report he gets today, and the plan to have American taxpayers pay for the border wall? Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway joins us next.



[08:17:50] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so in just hour's president-elect Donald Trump will receive even deeper proof that Russia is to blame for the hacks during our election. It's going to be a highly classified intelligence report that will go into sourcing and methods that can't be made public everybody, but the conclusions have been clear. We saw it in Congress. We've seen it for well over a month. Will the president-elect finally accept what seems so clear to so many?

Joining us now, Senior Adviser to president-elect Trump Kellyanne Conway. It's a new year and I wish you the best.


CUOMO: So New Year, but same problem that faced you at the end of the year. You're in this bad situation where the president-elect is an outlier not accepting the proof that Russia is behind the hacks of the election. Why does he continue to fight what is so obvious to so many?

CONWAY: So Chris, how is it obvious? Have you seen a briefing? In others words, he's getting the briefing today, and we just were very concerned about all the leaks that happened, people running to the media rather than running to House intelligence committee, closed door meetings where they were invited to produce the information just this week. Our own president, President Obama received the final report apparently just yesterday you had the hearings on Capitol Hill. So, the idea that somehow conclusive evidence has been out there in the public domain provided to the president-elect is simply not true, and the other thing that's going on here that's very disappointing to us in this building is how much people are conflating alleged Russian hacking with the actual outcome of the election.

It's just nonsense, the idea that team Clinton is still running around, people are doing it, your network is doing it constantly. And that's what we need to push back on.

CUOMO: All right.

CONWAY: The idea there's a direct nexus between Russian hacking which we're against any foreign government interference in our cyber security.


CONWAY: Speaking of cyber security, did you hear the hearing yesterday? This country's cyber security is woefully under served. It's a big problem that hasn't been tackled sufficiently in the last eight years.

CUOMO: Let's (inaudible) points to push back. First, the intelligence agency also said that disparagement is not the best way to help bolster our cybersecurity.

[08:20:02] You know hat that was going towards, the idea of Clinton's people saying that the legitimacy of the election is tied to the revelation that Russia is behind the hacking is political. That's not something that the president-elect should be putting first in his priorities. And the idea that just yesterday or only today, Kellyanne, is when you could safely say that Russia was involved is nonsense. For months they've come out and say this. The President--

CONWAY: But involved in what? Just finish the sentence.

CUOMO: That Russia was involved in the hacks during the election. Clapper came out in early October. That's a relevant. See that where you guys we're stock.

CONWAY: Oh, no--


CONWAY: I'm sorry.

CUOMO: It should be irrelevant.

CONWAY: No, no you have --

CUOMO: It's not irrelevant. Hold on, I'll let you speak you Kellyanne. Let me frame it, let me frame it. Clapper came out in October -- CONWAY: You're not asking a question. You're making statements.

CUOMO: I'm giving you context. Because you made conclusions so I have to provide some context.

CONWAY: That's an opinion.

CUOMO: Tell me what's an opinion. Did Clapper come out in early October and say we know it is Russia?

CONWAY: And what didn't President Obama say in response?

CUOMO: No, no, no.

CONWAY: He thought--

CUOMO: What did he say?

CONWAY: No, no, no that's very important.

CUOMO: Well, that's the question. What's the answer?


CONWAY: He said to Vladimir Putin, knock it off.

CUOMO: What's the answer?

CONWAY: This is knock it off means.

CUOMO: Did Clapper come out in October and say we know we its Russia?

CONWAY: What is it, finish the sentence. What is it that we know? That Russia is trying to interfere with the election results? Do you really think that Russia wanted Donald Trump--

CUOMO: I'll ask you a third time.


CUOMO: Did Clapper in early October and say we know Russia is behind the hacks? Period, full stop.

CONWAY: Behind hacks of the DNC, is that what you mean?


CONWAY: OK. Well, now let's complete the whole sentence--

CUOMO: Can you answer now? I'll let you complete it the way you want. Is the answer going to come.


CONWAY: Listen, he said that.

CUOMO: Yes, he did.

CONWAY: Yesterday, according to CNN.


CONWAY: A CNN report that I read in the news that the FBI said the DNC never exceeded to the FBI's very simple request to allow FBI access.

CUOMO: Again, irrelevant. Irrelevant because here's what we're talking.

CONWAY: No, it's not.

CUOMO: Here's my question.

CONWAY: Then why did CNN report on it.

CUOMO: My question--

CONWAY: Hey Chris, it's a irrelevant. Why did CNN--

CUOMO: It's irrelevant to my question which is why won't the president-elect acknowledge what its so clear to the intelligence community that Russia was involved in the hacks. And it seems to be.

CONWAY: He gets his intelligence briefing today.

CUOMO: He's had so much opportunity to know the answers to this. The people around have been able to get the intelligence whenever they want it.

CONWAY: Speaking of disparagement.


CONWAY: I really believe there are those out there that are trying to just -- there are those out there who are trying to delegitimize his presidency, review the election results and you know it.

CUOMO: And he's helping that by refusing to accept the obvious about the intelligence community's conclusions about Russia being behind the hacks.

CONWAY: Hey Chris, we had a president of the United States in October who could have, when Mr. Clapper said what he said, could have pushed back harder, but did not. Because what was he doing? He and Hillary Clinton and all of their teams were out there absolutely believing that she was going to be the next president. So let's not --

CUOMO: So shame on them.

CONWAY: They politicized it.

CUOMO: Shame on them.

CONWAY: Because they didn't even understand America and what was going to happen.

CUOMO: So shock, shame on them. But why can't you divorce who is responsible for the hacks from the implications on the election? It seems to be creating--

CONWAY: Because it's not being divorced in the media.

CUOMO: --to the intelligence community. It seems to be motivating the president-elect to disrespect our intelligence agencies.

CONWAY: No, that is not true.

CUOMO: Putting intelligence in close and saying, they ducked the meeting. I guess they needed more time to put together a case. They never ducked the meeting. You know, it was always scheduled to be at the end of week. Sean Spicer said the same thing on this show. It seems like you can't divorce these two notions and it's creating a really tough situation.

CONWAY: I see you're very passionate about this.

CUOMO: Sure I am. Russia trying to hack during our election being ignored by the president-elect, that's troubling.

CONWAY: Right. No, it's not.

CUOMO: Really?

CONWAY: You're just making conclusions up now. Yes, you are.

CUOMO: Has he ever accepted that Russia was behind the hacks? He did nothing but mock the intelligence community.

CONWAY: Chris his mocking. Listen, you're using words like disparagement. Mock the intel community.

CUOMO: Clapper used the world disparagement.

CONWAY: And that's his opinion. And now you're giving your opinion.

CUOMO: No, I'm saying what he said.

CONWAY: I'm in appropriate.

CUOMO: I'm just telling you with Donald Trump said and wrote and tweet.

CONWAY: You just want to argue with me.

CUOMO: Not at all. I love Kellyanne and you know.

CONWAY: You just kind of argue with me.

CUOMO: Not at all.

CONWAY: Well, look, maybe you do. CUOMO: I'm trying to put the fact out there because you're ducking me obvious and I don't why.

CONWAY: I'm not ducking. Hey, Chris by the way. I'm ducking this thing. Not my style. Here's the deal. The president-elect and all of us who work for him and vice president-elect I assure you are against any foreign interference in United States of America including through cyber security, which obviously has not been a big priority for the last eight years. Maybe that will change.

Number two, all the DNC had to do was turn over the information the FBI requested according to, doorbell, please, ring, ring, ring, and CNN report that I read. OK, that's all they had to do. They refused to do that. We know all this because of the DNC e-mails.


CONWAY: And the fact is you want us to commit to a proposition because somehow it'll make everybody feel better about what? Complete the sentence. Because you have people in CNN--

[08:25:08] CUOMO: That Russia was behind the hacks. You didn't even say the word Russia in the last minute and a half. You said we're against any pointer (ph) opposition but you didn't Russia.


CUOMO: You talk about the DNC. You don't talk about the Russia. Why?

CONWAY: If I get back the floor here uninterrupted, here I'll talk about Russia to you.

CUOMO: Please.

CONWAY: Let's talk about Russia. In the last couple days of President Obama's eight years of presidency, all of a suddent is going to be tough on Russia. Seriously? I can't event say it without laughing. That's why I'm not saying Russia, I'm trying to get respectful. You expel 35 Russian operatives after months before saying knock it off, Vlad. That's all he says on our behalf.

CUOMO: Right. And so that makes it OK for the president-elect to deny Russia's responsibility?

CONWAY: No, it doesn't make it OK, that we've been so weak against Russia for eight years.

CUOMO: OK, that's fear (ph) of criticism. But what is that have to do with Trump not admitting what the intelligence community is clear about

CONWAY: He gets his briefing today.

CUOMO: But he's had every reason to know, he could have gotten a briefing whenever he wanted one on this issue. They were out there so early.

CONWAY: Hey Chris, things are stated on your network and other places all day long that aren't factual.

CUOMO: My friend, I deal with you. You deal with me.

CONWAY: Say it, again and again and again.

CUOMO: I deal with you. You deal me. I'm giving you a very simple question. Donald Trump--

CONWAY: And why is this so important to you?

CUOMO: Here is why. Because, as we heard yesterday in those hearings and as you well know. You know my respect for you is complete when it comes to your understanding of the issues. Cyber security is a big deal. Russia intervening in this election and getting away with it is a big deal. You need to be on the same page.

So, the leader of me and everyone in this country saying I don't buy it. I believe Julian Assange, intelligence, we don't really know. That's troubling because they know it was Russia. And it raises this question that I don't understand why you want to raise which is why would Trump shelter Russia? That's why I'm concern.

CONWAY: Let me ask you a question. Whereabouts, he's not sheltering Russia and don't you say that again. He's not sheltering Russia.

CUOMO: How is he not?

CONWAY: Current president done decently with Russia for the last eight years.

CUOMO: I don't understand how the legitimate answer to the question is to blame the current president.

CONWAY: No, I'm not blaming the current president. I'm asking a question. All of a sudden we're all frothing about Russia. I mean, what he done. Do you think president Obama's legacy vis-a-vis Russia's going to be one of the tough guy?

CUOMO: Let's say it's terrible. Let say the legacy with Obama and Russia is the worst, it couldn't be worst. How is president-elect Trump helping by ignoring Russia's role in the hacks during the election?

CONWAY: No, he's going to help because the Russians didn't want him elected, do you know why? Because he has said very clearly during the campaign and now as president-elect that he is going to modernize our nuclear capability, that he's going to call for an increase in defense budget, he's going to have oil and gas exploration, all which goes against Russia's economic and military interests.

Donald Trump got elected in part because people want a tougher leader in the White House, a tougher commander-in-chief.

CUOMO: Well, look--

CONWAY: And you know, but let me ask you a question. As two fully recovered attorneys talking to each other right now. What's the end result here? What are the damages that you're talking about?

CUOMO: What are the damages that I'm talking about?

CONWAY: What's the nexus? I think you want your viewers to believe that the election results, it all came down to 70,000 plus view votes in three states. It's came down to so much more than that. This guy has 306 electoral votes.

CUOMO: Kellyanne, I get your explanation for why you don't want to acknowledge the obvious about Russia. I'm saying it's an interesting political calculation. If you want to keep relitigating the election, that's on you. If you want to entertain your critics you beat in the election, that's on you. but I'm saying--

CONWAY: No, that's reason about.

CUOMO: The price of doing that is to ignore something that really matter.


CONWAY: --because we won and--


CONWAY: We won and that says a lot. That finishes many sentences. We were told.

CUOMO: To me it finishes it completely.

CONWAY: Everywhere.

CUOMO: I'm saying that that should not in any way compromised your desire to point the finger at Russia and blame them, and these intercepts that the intel agencies got with the Kremlin celebrating Trump's win somewhat go against what you just said.

CONWAY: That's ridiculous.

CUOMO: You don't believe the intercepts? So you don't that?

CONWAY: What I don't believe is that people are celebrating that Donald Trump won is going to be tough.

CUOMO: Then you don't believe it because they say they have intercepts from Russian higher-ups.

CONWAY: Here's what I really don't believe. You want to talk about what I don't believe. Here's what I don't believe. I don't believe that in October when Clapper said what he said that CNN didn't shut down conversation about everything else and focus just on this issue because it so darn important to you now. Why is it so important then? CUOMO: OK, so shame on us too.

CONWAY: That everybody thought--

CUOMO: Shame on us too.

CONWAY: Should that have been that you thought the election result was going to be different and so it didn't matter as much and it matter more now.

CUOMO: I mean, that's pure conjecture by you. I don't want why you want to get in to any of that.

CONWAY: Because I watch all your broadcast.

CUOMO: But why--

[08:30:02] CONWAY: And the road to 270, not the road TV, popular vote by the way because there's no prize for that. The road to 270 was very clear if you what CNN.

CUOMO: Look--

CONWAY: It's way just obviously it's going to be blowout.

CUOMO: I get that you feel that people are trying--

CONWAY: That' why you're doing it now.

CUOMO: -- to steal the legitimacy of the--