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Interview with Sen. Chris Murphy; Georgia Voter Controversy Examined; Hurricane Michael Damage Explored; Kanye West Visits White House. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 12, 2018 - 21:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thank you, my friend.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

A Saudi Arabia journalist feared assassinated by his kingdom. Did he record his own murder? The watch that reportedly may help crack the case.

President Trump has been taking a wait-and-see approach on the consequences for the Saudis, but Congress may force his hand. Lawmakers may block the lucrative arms deal that he wants in place. One of the senators leading that charge is here tonight to explain why.

Is something fishing going on? Fishing, I'm thinking fishing, but I meant fishy. Is it going on in advance of Election Day in Georgia? Is the white Republican secretary of state trying to suppress the minority vote in his bid for governor?

That's what his black Democratic opponent claims. She's demanding his resignation. We will dig for answers.

Plus, more breaking news. Kanye news I guess you can call it. The president tonight celebrating that sideshow that we witnessed in the Oval Office yesterday. He says what you saw is going to help big time with black voters. We're going to put that one to the test.

What do you say, my friends? It's almost the weekend. Let's get after it.


CUOMO: With every hour, it appears more and more likely that a "Washington Post" columnist was murdered on orders from the top of the Saudi government. I've been going slow on this and we all should because who wants it to be true? But as the facts come out it keeps leading us in the direction of that dark conclusion.

Now, a Turkish newspaper says Jamal Khashoggi may have recorded his own death via his Apple Watch and that the audio files may have gone up into Apple's iCloud or an iPhone outside where the killers couldn't delete the evidence.

President Trump still hasn't talked with the Saudi king, although he said he talked to the highest level officials. While Trump waits, senators from both parties take aim at one of his signature foreign policy victories -- a $110 billion Saudi arms deal.

Now, Connecticut Democrat Senator Chris Murphy is one of those looking to block the deal.

Senator, welcome to PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: All right. Why are you in favor of this kind of move based on the opinion -- the information that we know at this point?

MURPHY: Well, let's think about what this arms sales is being used for. This arms sale is going to equip the Saudi bombing campaign inside Yemen, a country that's having a civil war. The United States is helping the Saudis bomb Houthi-controlled areas.

What we have suspected is that the Saudis have been intentionally bombing civilians. There is mounting evidence that they are hitting hospitals and schools and school buses intentionally to try to create a humanitarian disaster.

Now, the Trump administration took the Saudis at their word that they were just hitting these targets by accident. If we find out, as it looks, that they murdered Jamal Khashoggi and have lied to us and to the world community about it, it's even more reason not to believe them when they tell us they aren't intentionally trying to kill civilians inside Yemen.

And so, I would argue there is a direct correlation between the message we would send by withholding money for this arms sale and the message that we need to send to the entire world, that you can't get away with this kind of behavior.

CUOMO: All right. So, without arguing the righteousness of the premise, right, because obviously if they did this to Khashoggi, it's something the world should do more than frown at, it shouldn't even just be the United States. Yes, he was living here, but you should see the whole international community up in arms about this if true.

But to use Yemen, while that is a relevant issue, first of all, it's not a Trump-created issue, right? That was going on before his administration and that was a pact some call a deal with the devil that the United States government had made.

You know, many people don't see Saudi Arabia as a friend to peace internationally. Some refer to them as the head of the snake of terrorism and yet the Obama administration also had a very similar degree of deference to this.

Now, personally it's different with Trump. But shouldn't you be a little slow in terms of what you do on that level based on what you know about Khashoggi? MURPHY: Well, let me show my cards. I have long opposed the sale of

these weapons to the Saudis and I opposed it during the Obama administration.

It is important to note that Trump has taken our support for Saudi Arabia to a new level. The sale that is being noticed is a sale of precision-guided missiles. That was a kind of weaponry that President Obama was unwilling to sell the Saudis because he believed they might use them to commit human rights violations inside Yemen.

Listen, I think the Saudis -- I think it's likely the Saudis did it this way on purpose, that they wanted to kill this journalist and they wanted to do in the a way that sent a message that they could act with impunity, because there frankly with a whole other set of ways they could have murdered this guy without doing it inside their consulate, without having so much evidence of the wrongdoing.

And so, this kind of brazen action, daring the United States and the international community to do something about it, I think begs for a response. And if they get away with this, then, you know, the increase in attacks against journalists all across the country that we've seen in 2018, they start to get worse.

CUOMO: Do you trust Turkey?

MURPHY: Well, I think you've got to understand the geopolitical realities here. The Turks have long been at the throats of the Saudis. I have not seen any of the evidence that are in these Turkish media reports. I have seen classified information, none of it suggests to me that Jamal Khashoggi is alive.

But I do think it's important for us to take a look at the evidence that the Turks have presented. What I do know, though, Chris, is that I've been to a million, you know, diplomatic consulates and embassies abroad and they all have videotapes. They all hold them for long periods of time. If Khashoggi left that embassy, the Saudis would be able to show it.

CUOMO: Understood. But, you know, you have to be careful. I mean, you're known for being careful.

The idea of what the Turks stand to gain in this has to be factored in at this point. I mean, let's be clear-eyed about who we're dealing with here. They just now released this Christian pastor, Brunson, who they've been holding, you know, ostensibly under wrongful auspices. And the U.S. government has been going toe to toe with them.

So, you know, their righteous indignation about a man being killed wrongfully is easy to be on board with, but they were just holding somebody wrongfully who's actually an American citizen.

MURPHY: Yes, listen, no clean hands in this legion. But again, you've got to look at the context of this, and I mentioned some of the context related to Yemen. But you also have to look at the context of Mohammed bin Salman's other actions inside the kingdom.

CUOMO: Right.

MURPHY: While he has been portraying himself as a reformer, he has been engaged in a pretty brutal crackdown on political dissidents.

CUOMO: No question.

MURPHY: He says he's willing to let women drive and yet he just locked up probably the preeminent Saudi advocate for women's rights. And, as you know, there's already open source reporting that they were conducting a campaign to try to take Jamal Khashoggi into custody.

So, we have plenty of context around his actions that suggest that this would not be completely out of character for him.

CUOMO: Are you worried about Trump's connections? His son-in-law's connections with MBS and whether or not that's playing any factor in the calculation of urgency?

Chris, can you hear me?

All right, I lost the senator there, but it's a good question and we'll get his answer and give it to you because, again, you know, we're not used to seeing the president be this measured with think this type of aggression on the table. Ordinarily he'd be like, boy -- well, you know what he usually says, but not here. And it's unusual given what his close relationship is that he hasn't spoken to the man, he says.

All right. So there's a major scandal brewing less than four weeks from Election Day. What is it? Well, one candidates in a squeaker governor's race is accused of trying to keep black voters from showing up at the polls. He also happens to be overseeing the contest. Is this dirty politics at play?

We're going to put it up. We'll give you the facts and we'll fight them out in a great debate, next.


CUOMO: All right. Georgia's battle for governor is heating up but it's also getting hot because of controversy about argued voter suppression based on an AP report that the Republican candidate who is the secretary of state -- obviously, they're in charge of the election machinery, right, and how it gets done, his name is Brian Kemp -- that he's holding up the voter registration of tens of thousands of African-Americans just weeks before the election.

His Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams now demanding he resign from his post because of these allegations and a slew of civil rights groups have filed suit against Kemp because of this latest reporting and other problems that they have with transparency within the system.

What's the right move? Who's right? Who's wrong?

Let's ask our great debaters, Amy Kremer and Van Jones.

Good to have you both especially on a Friday night.

So, Van Jones, the argument is, well, is this to protect against fraud so that they're double checking, making sure everybody is right and making you come with an ID, clear it up, if you can't bring an ID, they have all these different steps or is it the reverse? All these different steps are a way of chilling people from going to the polls and making it hard to vote especially in these communities.


VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, listen, can you imagine showing up to a sporting event and you show up and the person you have to play against is also the referee? That's the fundamental problem we have right now is that the secretary of state is running for governor and also managing the election. It's -- so no matter what, that creates a sense of a conflict of interest so you're already on thin ice.

Then, with less than 30 days to go, he announces he's going to hold up these 50,000 registrations and, surprise, surprise, 70 percent, 70 percent of them in a state that is only 30 percent black are black people. So, now, you're in a situation where the referee is playing against you, he's holding back some of these voters, it doesn't look good.

Now, he comes out and says don't worry, I'm going to let these people vote. The problem you have with that is you're creating confusion and the people who are mailing in their ballots may not have the opportunity to actually be a part of this process in time. None of this makes sense. If the guy believes that he can win, he should just step down and let somebody else manage it and we wouldn't have any of this to deal with.

CUOMO: Step down as secretary of state and just run the race.


CUOMO: Amy, why not do that?

AMY KREMER, CO-FOUNDER, WOMEN FOR TRUMP: Look, Brian Kemp didn't make the law, guys. Brian Kemp is just enforcing the law and if he's not -- doesn't enforce the law he could be prosecuted for not enforcing the law. This was a law, this exact match legislation, was passed through the state legislature, signed into law by the governor and he is enforcing the law. If there's a problem with it, then change the state legislators, vote to change the legislators.

But this is --

CUOMO: Amy, have you read the law?

KREMER: I haven't read the exact verbiage of the law but --

CUOMO: I have.

KREMER: Well, Chris, let me finish, let me finish. CUOMO: Well, no, the only reason I'm asking you is because it matters

based on the point you're making. If you read the language of the law, you'd see that there's absolutely no reason to do it the way he's doing it right now.

KREMER: The law mirrors a Florida law that was upheld by a federal court.

CUOMO: I'm not saying the law is wrong, I'm saying how he's doing it.

KREMER: But, wait, let me say something. Every one of these people, the 53,000 pending applications, every one of these people can go to the polls and they can vote, as long as they have the correct ID that shows their name and their address. It can be a Georgia driver's license, a state issued ID, or a Social Security card. So there shouldn't be a problem.

And it's not a provisional ballot, their ballot will actually count. It's not a provisional ballot. So --

CUOMO: Well, if they can't show that, then they get a provisional ballot, and then they have a certain time --

KREMER: Well, if you're Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck in Florida, right, you don't live in Georgia and you don't have the proper ID, and you shouldn't be voting here. But if you are a Georgia resident, and are able to vote here, and have the proper ID, you can vote here.

CUOMO: All right. Van, what have we learned about what requiring ID does to this process?

JONES: Well, we know it disproportionately impacts people who are low income, people of who are people of color, et cetera, et cetera. And that's predictable.

Let's not forget, the reason that the state legislature, controlled by Republicans, rushed through this legislation is because the same person tried to do it on his own, got sued, had to settle and back down the last time he pulled this scheme. So, then, they rushed through the legislation and he implements the legislation in a way that is maximally disadvantageous for communities of color.

Look, here's the problem. If you believe you can win -- and I'm sure Jack Kemp believes -- not Jack Kemp, I wish we had Jack Kemp.


KREMER: Brian Kemp.

JONES: If Brian Kemp he believes that he can win fair and square, why not remove all doubt and step down and not be the referee of your own -- I've never -- there is zero trust here. If he wants to actually be a leader, he should step down.

CUOMO: Right. We just dealt with this, right? What was it, in Kansas, where the secretary of state was also running and it got sticky there also. It is an odd situation and, in fact, in Kansas, I remember the guy saying on this show, I'll step away, I get it's a conflict, I'll step away if I have to step away.

Why create the controversy here?

KREMER: Stacey Abrams is creating the controversy. Stacey Abrams voted against electronic online registration, voter registration, and she created the New Georgia Project that is going out there and registering people with these paper registration form which is can be sloppy. I mean, so why not do it electronically? Why are they -- why is she in this New Georgia Project adverse to registering electronically?

It would cut a lot of stuff. And who doesn't have a cell phone these days? I mean, you can do it right from a cell phone, Chris.

But what she's doing is she is doing this to create fear, using fear tactics to raise money and stir up her base and get them out to vote and it's politically motivated and it's not right. Every one of these people, the 53,000 applications, the 53,000 pending applications can vote.

If you have the ID, go to the polls and you can vote, and it is an actual ballot, not a provisional ballot.

JONES: First of all, it doesn't help the mail in people at all.

But more importantly, I'm not going to let you attack Stacey Abrams. She's somebody who has been a voting rights champion her whole career. Her organization is out there doing its stuff.

And there's this myth that the Republicans have that there are all these black and brown people out there that want to go and vote. And they -- where are they? I've spent my life begging people to vote, trying to find people to vote.

The idea that people who are not qualified to vote and are bad people are out there by the millions trying to vote, that they have to deal with voter fraud, that's a complete canard. It's not true.

The big problem we have is it's too hard to vote. We have too many voter suppression initiatives going on. The lines are too long, especially poor and black communities. Those are the real issues.

This other stuff is fake stuff.

KREMER: Van --

JONES: And I don't think you need to attack Abrams on that issue at all. She's been a voting rights champion her whole life and she's not done anything sketchy or shady and you're sounding like she has and that's not fair.

KREMER: Van, I want to say that Brian Kemp -- under Brian Kemp, the voter registration rolls in Georgia swelled to seven million, the highest it's ever been this past week. JONES: Not because of him, in spite of him.

KREMER: He's the secretary of state. You want to blame him --

JONES: In spite of him.

KREMER: -- but you don't want to give him credit. The bottom line is --

CUOMO: Why would he get credit?

KREMER: -- there's no voter suppression -- there's no voter suppression going on here. That people that register to vote, as long as they have the ID -- and I have to show an ID --

CUOMO: That's the part they argue is suppression.

KREMER: I have to show an id to come into every CNN building.

CUOMO: Right, but usually not to vote.

KREMER: But you know that I'm coming and I still have to show my ID. Why do you have a problem? You have to show an ID to buy a gun. I mean, this is absurd.

Show an ID, vote, and there shouldn't be a problem with it. I mean --

CUOMO: A lot of people don't have ID.

KREMER: Chris, come on.

CUOMO: They don't drive. And they don't bother to go to the DMV or go to the state authority to go to get a personal ID because they don't drive, they don't feel that they need it.

KREMER: Well, in the state of Georgia, we have a voter ID law and you have to show an ID to vote. That's the law. If you don't like it, change it.

JONES: Here's the thing, here's the thing -- people on both sides of the aisle can have different opinions about whether you should have this ID, that ID, whatever ID. There is data that shows that the more low income you are, frankly, the older you are, people of color, that you wind up pushing people out and some people think that you're passionate about this is because you know who you're pushing out.

I'm not going to make that argument tonight, but what I am going to make an argument is this, when you got a race this close and you said earlier the law requires him to do this. The law does not require him to do this in this way at all. And you -- at the 11th hour, you're throwing out this stuff, what you do is you scare people, you confuse people and people are not going to have confidence in what's going on.

My hope is that for once, he will -- listen, Kemp loves to be the bombastic guy, the mini Trump or whatever, but I believe he actually does care about his state and he cares about his state, he will either rescind this policy or he will step down.

CUOMO: We'll see what's going to happen.

KREMER: Van, do you agree with me? I'm not trying to scare people not to vote and I don't think you are either. Can you agree that all the 53,000 pending applications, if you filled out one you need to show up to vote? Can you agree with me on that?

JONES: The whole campaign is also built on the mail-in ballots and those are also in question. It's not as simple as you're saying.

KREMER: I personally believe there should be no early voting. I think that we should --

CUOMO: That's a separate issue. That's a separate issue, so we'll take one at a time.

Amy Kremer, Van Jones, thank you for making the arguments tonight. I appreciate it.

KREMER: Thank you, guys.

CUOMO: Now, tomorrow night, speaking of Van Jones, he's going to talk with Dave Chappelle, Ben Jealous and Neil DeGrasse Tyson on "THE VAN JONES SHOW". That is a very watchable program tomorrow 7:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Now, Georgia is one of the states that's been hit very hard by Hurricane Michael. What's the death toll? Well, we now know it's over a dozen, it could be 17, I'm very slow on those numbers. Why? Look at the scene. How can we know who's with us no more in that kind of situation? We don't.

But many are in very dire need who made it through. If you're wondering what you can do, stay with us. I'm going to tell you.


CUOMO: Hurricane Michael has gone back out to sea, but the crisis has only just begun for far too many of our brothers and sisters. Pictures tell the story, all right?

Hurricane Michael crashed ashore as a category 4. Now, a big part of the story here is that it went from a one to a four like that. These images from NOAA show the before and after, they reveal scale and the scope of what happened.

This is Mexico beach, Florida, OK? Now, watch this. This is before, right? This is what this place looks like now.

I mean, are you kidding me? It literally looks like this is what happens when you knock down a building and you want to start something else. This is a community. How can it come back?

I mean, look at the difference what maybe a quarter-mile difference meant. This is the southern end of the town. Now, another picture. This is the middle of the town, all right?

Here's what you had. I mean, look at the difference. Here's another perspective for you on it.

Mexico Beach, Florida, again, you see all the types of communities, all modern buildings, right? I mean, can you imagine the drama of what if you're these people? Do you rebuild? Do you stay?

What if you're these people? Or these people? You have a home but look at your neighborhood, look at your neighborhood, look at your access, look at your reality, not for days, not for weeks, for months.

Now, this is some of the worst of it because this is where Michael came in, but it's not where it left. Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia. By the time Michael hit North Carolina, it was a tropical storm. That means nothing, especially when North Carolina was already so beat up.

Deadly storm, 17 is the number we're reporting with certitude but I don't know. I have no idea. I haven't been able to be on the ground. The guys I'm talking to who are there, they haven't made a meaningful percentage of search and rescue yet, not just in Florida, all the way up as you get into Virginia.

So, take a look, North Carolina, I mean, this is what they're dealing with. Why so much water? Not because of what fell but because of what the earth can absorbed. They're already swelled from Florence.

Do you know there are still kids that are out of school in many parts of North Carolina? Yet they're literally underwater in many different aspects because they're already recovering.

Now, yesterday, dozens of people were saved from flash floods and rising rivers as a result. You got to keep in mind, more than 575 people were still in shelters from the last storm, Florence. Schools in many parts of the state haven't reopened. Close to 90,000 students have been out of school for weeks.

All told, this is going to be a long road back. People are going to need your help. And I love you in advance because I know nobody steps up the way we do in times of trouble.

Governor Rick Scott in Florida has activated Florida Disaster Fund at,, or you can go to Charity Navigator. They provide a list of organizations and they will tell you specific types of aid.

Now, let's say you don't have the money to give. You can donate blood. You can show your support online and spread awareness, OK?

You can check out CNN's "Impact Your World" at, and you'll see stories that can motivate your involvement in a whole different bunch of ways.

None of us wants to live the reality of these poor people down there. I mean, we can't imagine waking up to something like that unless you've lived through it yourself. And that's what we're going to bring you next, somebody who has an absolutely incredible story. She's one of those people who stayed behind and is now looking at the wreckage of her own home and the reality of life going forward that is something out of a horror film, next.


CUOMO: As the full destruction of Hurricane Michael comes into sharper focus, many are sharing their stories of survival and their next steps -- if they know what they are -- to getting their lives back.

Our next guest is named Rose Loth. Man, did she live through something right out of a horror film. It was her, her husband, and a dog in Mexico Beach, Florida.

Rose, thank you for joining us. I know that everything is so hard right now. Tell us, what is life like for you and the family?

ROSE LOTH, HOME DAMAGED BY HURRICANE MICHAEL: It's devastating. I mean, life as we know it is gone. I mean, there's nowhere you can walk without rubble and even walking my dog I have to be careful every step she takes.

We can't even get out of where I live right now because the debris piled up so high that they have to do the more important search-and- rescue before they can help the people that are stuck.

CUOMO: How bad is the house?

LOTH: We've got some roof damage, siding, broken windows. The bottom floor was totally flooded to waist high. We've lost everything in our cabinets.

There was two inches of mud on the bottom of the floors that we had to clean up. It took us two days to get the floor to where we could walk on it. It was pretty bad.

CUOMO: You think you guys can stay there or as soon as you can you'll have to get out?

LOTH: Well, we're trying to stay there. I mean, we don't want to go to a shelter but our refrigerator turned over sideways. We had a generator but it burned up last night. So, now, we've lost one of our main resources, but supposedly, Al Cathey is supposed to bring another one for it. He's supposed to get a truck load in, and we're going to try to get one from him in the morning.

CUOMO: How many of you were in the house?

LOTH: We could stay there -- my husband, I, and the dog, my dog Snickers.

CUOMO: What about food? What about water?

LOTH: We have a good supply of food and we had three or four cases of water each and we've been giving water by other people. They're good about handing out supplies, somebody gave us MREs. We're good food wise. We're running out of bathing water.

I filled the bathtubs prior to storm but, you know, after bathing and flushing toilets with them it's getting low. It would be nice if we could get a fire truck to come over and dump water in our tub, tanker truck or something.

CUOMO: So the plan right now is to stay and tough it out and wait for things to --

LOTH: We can't get out.

CUOMO: Can't get out.

LOTH: Right. We cannot -- we can't get out. The debris is so high in front of the complex where I live -- and it was a gated community -- that even inside the gate the debris is so bad that we can't get our vehicles out even if we wanted to. And now, the problem is both of our vehicles were in garages. My vehicle floated and everything that was in the garage floated around it so I don't know if it will run once I get it out.

CUOMO: How long do you think you can keep up this way?

LOTH: As long as it takes. I mean, we have no choice.

CUOMO: I know right now you think you can live through anything because of what you already lived through. What was it like during the storm?

LOTH: It was very scary. I mean, there was debris flying everywhere. The water was coming in. We just had to go to higher ground. We salvaged what we could on the bottom floor and at one point, I just said I'm done and we went to the second floor and did a lot of praying to get through it and it was devastating. It was something I never want to live through again.

CUOMO: Did you not have time to get out or did you not think it was going to be as bad as it was before it ramped up from a 1 to a 4?

LOTH: We both work at the Tyndall Air Force Base and we didn't think it was going to be this bad and we thought we were far enough off 98 to where, you know, it wouldn't affect us because we were several blocks to the beach. So, yes, I mean, I've been here through every hurricane we've had in this area and I've never seen one like this. It was devastating.

CUOMO: What was the worst moment?

LOTH: And when the canal behind -- the worst moment was when the house started shaking. I mean, you're in a three-story house and the house is shaking and rocking and the pressure and the noise, it was terrible. It was very scary.

CUOMO: You said the canal behind the house. What happened? LOTH: It filled up with water, and it flowed (ph) -- so not only did

we get water coming from the beach, we got water but from behind us, too. So when that water met, it was like the house filled up in a matter of seconds.

CUOMO: Well, that's right, as soon as it came in, that was it. Once it found that new level, it just filled up fast. Thank God you already found your way up to the second floor because it gets tough to move once the water pressure is rushing on you at the same time.

LOTH: Right.

CUOMO: Did other people stay? Have you been able to check on people around you? Are you worried about anybody?

LOTH: There was some people in the mobile homes behind me. One guy had to swim out his back window. His name was Hector. He had to swim out his front window, at trailer because it move the trailer over and as he was swimming and grabbed the light pole there was two other people with their two dogs that were asking him to help them and they all managed to climb into a boat that was tied to a tree and that's what saved their lives.

CUOMO: Jeez.

LOTH: Literally that boat tied to their tree saved their lives.

CUOMO: What about the Air Force base and work? Assuming you can get to it, assuming you find a way to get out of the complex, something gets cleared. I mean, we're looking -- we're showing pictures of the overhead view of the area now. I mean, this is going to take weeks and weeks to clear up to a place where people can even consider what to do.

I'm saying, just in terms of people being able to rationally consider options about survivability here versus somewhere else. What about work? Is the Air Force base going to be open?

LOTH: I don't know. I don't have any television out here or any radio so I don't know what's going on at Tyndall. I have not been able to get -- I've heard rescue people say that it is pretty much demolished, so I don't know the status on our jobs at this time.

CUOMO: What are you doing to keep your spirits up now?

LOTH: Cleaning and spending a lot of time with the dog, trying to get out of the house. I mean, you can only clean so much, then you have to get out and take a walk.

CUOMO: How is Snickers doing?

LOTH: And pray.

She's doing good. She's laying at my feet.

CUOMO: All right, good. You got the dog, you got your husband. You got your faith. You'll find the rest.

LOTH: I got my life. That's right.

CUOMO: All right. God bless, Rose.

LOTH: That's right.

CUOMO: I'm sorry to meet you under these circumstances. We'll stay in touch, find out how you're doing, find what you need and see how we can help, all right?

LOTH: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

CUOMO: All right, Rose. Be well.

Look, I don't know how I would make it if I were in Rose's position and I'm sure you can ask yourself the same thing after seeing that. But that's why I'm asking, whatever we can do to help, as the need is made available from this program and so many other that will stay on this, think about how you can help because there but for the grace.

President Trump is going to visit some of the disaster zones next week. He's been very busy, laser-focused on winning over voters. Guess who he name dropped on the campaign trail tonight? His good pal Kanye. Who? What a shock.

And imagine what case he's making now. Exactly what I told you this was about last night. I'll take you through what he just said and what this is all about.


CUOMO: After the world witnessed Kanye West at the White House yesterday -- you know, the traveshamockery that reportedly left many White House aides feeling embarrassed, the president today spun it into this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we're going to get the African-American vote.


And it's true, Kanye West what he did was pretty amazing yesterday.


CUOMO: Amazing. What did he do but offer a bizarre rant on everything from the supposed powers of a MAGA hat and something about an I-plane and making the dopest -- no, the flyest cars.

Let's bring in Don Lemon.

You know, you're right in the thick of this. This is exactly what the president hoped it would be. Tons of attention for him and lots of negativity for the groups that he deals with least to have to deal with among one another.

This is a home run for him in the business of division.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": It's the okeydoke. Don't fall for the okeydoke. Yes, you know, but I've said as much as I have to say about this whole situation with him and Kanye West, it's interesting because you said I'm right in the thick of it.

People don't -- you know when they chop up sound bites, they take the most incendiary thing, they don't say the part where you say, I really feel sorry for Kanye, he's dealing with issues, he should get off the stage, if anybody loves him they should take care of it. Nobody plays that, right? They just play the parts --

CUOMO: Well, they don't want to because what they want to say is blacks love Trump. And we're in the --

LEMON: Some black people do. Some black people do, which is fine.

CUOMO: That's fine. And Kanye West doesn't have to be mentally ill to like Donald Trump. But if you talk to people around him, if you read what he said about himself, if you look at the reporting about what happened during his tour, the man is struggling. And --

LEMON: Yes. He says so. He talks about his mental health issues. He talks about not taking his medication. He talks about bipolar -- having bipolar disorder and then he changed it after, you know, in the White House saying that, you know, they said I had bipolar disorder but I have sleep deprivation.

But he's talked about all those issues. And here's my thing when people say, oh, my gosh, I can't believe you're talking about his mental issues, what are you talking about? We're supposed to be trying to take the stigma off of that and so by keeping it hidden or pretending it's not happening, that doesn't help in that area.

You can spin anything you want, but again, I feel sorry for him. He should get off the stage. Not that he shouldn't -- I'm not trying to shut him up, which is what, you know, people -- the critics say. But if you're going to do it, if you're going to support Trump, if you're going to support whomever, know what you're talking about. That's it.

CUOMO: You know, if you did a cross reference of the people saying don't talk about him being mentally ill because he says if this as if they were protecting his illness, I bet you they're the same people when you talk about drug addiction and they say, you know, this is an illness, they say no, no, no, it's a choice. Those people should be punished. It's all politics, pal.


CUOMO: Don, appreciate it. What do you got coming up?

LEMON: We're going to talk about that and we're also going to talk about what happened with Jason -- Jamal Khashoggi because Jason Rezaian is coming on, who is one of his friends, also worked with him, and they're doing some great reporting at the "Washington Post." Let me say, Jason Rezaian coming on to talk about Jamal Khashoggi.

So, we'll see at the top of the hour.

CUOMO: We'll be watching, pal.


CUOMO: All right. Got a news flash for you. There are big problems with American politics. The stuff with Kanye is another example.

Incivility is the word of the day, and it's spreading. It's spreading both sides. Nobody's immune. It's in the media. You feel it. You react to it. Why?

I'm going to tell you why because that's my job, next.


CUOMO: Let's stipulate for the sake of argument there's a lot of anger in our politics today. You know why? Because it works. It always has. Dirty secret of politics: negative ads always make the biggest difference in a campaign.

But now it's been notched up, right? Talk of violence is in vogue. Anger towards your opponent. Treat it like an MMA pre-fight, not a debate. Might makes right.

The captain of capitalizing on this, of course, is our president.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT O THE UNITED STATES: You know what they did to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks.

Knock the crap out of him, would you? Seriously.

I'd like to punch him in the face, I'll tell you.

Get him out. Try not to hurt him. If you do, I'll defend you in court. Don't worry about it.

I would have been out there fighting, folks. I don't know if I would have done well, but I would have been boom, boom, boom, beat the --


CUOMO: Look, is he all show, no go? Of course.

But he's also president of the United States, and we used to expect that position to appeal to our better instincts, but now appealing to base instincts seems to work better.

Trump is wildly popular among the right. Success sells and silences. Conservatives who have long made morality and character their marker are now marked by quiet. You hear that? That's the GOP leaders keeping their mouths shut and listening along to Trumpian invective that they used to abhor.

The left, they're not clean hands in this. They think they're getting wise by deciding to become more like what they used to call out.


ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Michelle says that, you know, when they go low, we go high. No. No. When they go low, we kick 'em.


CUOMO: Now, Eric Holder tweeted he wasn't calling for violence, and I believe him. He was just saying, we have to get tough.

But it raised eyebrows. Why? Because it adds to this sense that the left is becoming what they used to say they don't respect.

These surprise wins in primaries, they're not that surprising. The left wants more extreme rhetoric and overt toughness to match the opposition. We see it in resistance movements as well. Antifa, they have this thuggish appendage that creates riots, not resistance.

Protests are getting angrier. Confrontations are more common. And even when effective as we just saw during the Kavanaugh hearing, that mode invites more, and down, and down we descend. Nobody wins a race to the bottom.

The irony is that Trump, the guy who has done more to cheapen our discourse and lower the bar for acceptable behavior than any major player in the game at the moment, says his mission is actually to save the right from the mob on the left, which is responding to the animus that he engendered.


TRUMP: I need your help this Election Day, November 6th, to stop the radical Democrat mob.

In their quest for power, the radical Democrats have turned into an angry mob.


CUOMO: Ironic that he is calling out people for going too far.

Now, it's in the media too. Media can be a feedback mechanism for what's out there. With Trump, it doesn't create the energy. It harnesses it, turbo charges it. That's Fox.

Sean Hannity, righteous indignation.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: The language of the left, the people that want to be in power in 26 days reaching new lows on an hourly basis.


CUOMO: Ingraham, the curled lip of disgust.


LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: The chaos strain has now even infected what was once the Democratic establishment.


CUOMO: And Tucker, he doesn't have to say anything. He's just got that pissed puppy dog puss that he has on his face. There it is.

What are they doing? They're finding common enemies with their base, encouraging the animosity, using the word "unhinged" a lot.

Trump's positions are further proof. Make America great again is an angry shake of the fist. It's a dog whistle to a time of less equality and cultural inclusion.

When was America better than it would be one minute from right now? When has it been more free, more equal? Come on.

Demonizing blacks who protest. Illegal immigrants are here to get you. Hide the women and jobs. Islam is the enemy, except the Saudis. Those rich guys, they're great and rich. Did I mention they buy lots of stuff from me?

Now, some who don't like their game, they're going to -- they don't like when their game is exposed, so what will they do? They'll twist what I'm going to say right now, but it doesn't matter because you can't hide from the reality.

Look at what is passing for campaign rhetoric by a Republican in a governor's race in a major state.


SCOTT WAGNER (R), PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR NOMINEE: Between now and November 6, you better put a catcher's mask on your face because I'm going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes because I'm going to win this for the state of Pennsylvania.


CUOMO: This is not who we are, not at our best. That guy belongs in a bar, being told you've had enough, not getting your vote.

Now, it's not just about how we want to be. It's how we have to be, OK? This is a very unique place. We're only held together by our respect for the collective.

It's what's in our Constitution. It's our cultural creed. It's a command here. We, the people, one out of many. My pop taught me you find your own good in the good of the whole here.

Remember who we are. Don't reward the haters. Demand they do better for you.

Thank you for watching me. I hope you have a beautiful weekend. There's a lot more coverage for you tonight.

"CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon starts right now.