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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Trump Upset Saudi Being Assumed "Guilty Until Proven Innocent;" President Trump Calling Ugly New Nickname for Alleged Former Mistress; Sanders Responds To Trump's "Medicare For All" Attacks. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 16, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Anderson, thank you very much.
I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
Time to test, my friends, and at the highest and easiest level. President Trump says his lawyer Michael Cohen lied under oath. We will show you what is true and what is not.
The other, Saudi Arabia is being Kavanaugh'd says the president. In each case, there is an avalanche of evidence that the president is dead wrong. We'll see if one of his ardent defenders in Congress can prove otherwise.
Republican Matt Gaetz, welcome back to PRIME TIME.
Then, horseface. The president of the United States calling that ugly new nickname today for his alleged former mistress, Stormy Daniels, and then she fired back and not in a big way.
Bernie Sanders, not easy to fluster. Here's the question -- what did the president say that made him react like this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: You know, it is -- it is really hard to keep up with -- is that really what he said? I hadn't followed that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: What made him say that?
Fasten your seat belts. Let's get after it.
CUOMO: President Trump wants the same standard for an authoritarian strongman that he does for his Supreme Court justices.
He tells the "A.P." the apparent murder of a "Washington Post" journalist is another case of someone being guilty until proven innocent. He continues to take the word of the Saudi king and crown prince over a growing body of evidence, including the latest CNN reporting that it was a high ranking officer in the Saudi intelligence agency who oversaw a botched Khashoggi mission. There is enough evidence for even some of Trump's fiercest supporters to demand action.
So, let's turn to one of them. Trump's -- one of his biggest backers, we don't like to rank, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz.
Congressman, good to have you back on the show.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R), FLORIDA: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. So, let's start with the president and some of the things he put out there today. Mueller matters is going to be involved in this with Michael Cohen. Saudi Arabia. I know that you wrote on both.
So with Michael Cohen, why would he say that Michael Cohen was lying when he said that the president knew about and directed his actions with the payments of the women? Why would he say that?
GAETZ: I have no idea, Chris. I'll be honest. Most of our work in the Congress has been focused on oversight of the Mueller investigation and the activity surrounding Russia and the malign influence that they're expressing around the world. The issues going on in the Southern District of New York with Cohen, it seems to be a bit beyond the purview of Congress.
CUOMO: Certainly is. But you understand his thinking. You understand his strategy. He has to know that I'm in possession of the tape that proves he knew what Cohen was doing and endorsed it.
GAETZ: Yes. I honestly have no idea what is going on in the Southern District, if Michael Cohen is lying or telling the truth. It looks like Michael Cohen is a pretty odd individual if you look at the way he threatened reporters and kind of seemed like a tough guy when he wasn't. He's not somebody I'm a big fan of and not somebody that I think has a lot of credibility in the eyes of the American people.
CUOMO: Except he was doing what the president asked him to do. He would say it all the time when he was on. And you're right, it's not your purview. You're not handling that investigation, 100 percent true.
But it's not about what's happening in the Southern District. It's about what the president is saying about his lawyer. I can play a tape. I don't want to waste the time. But you've heard it on the show before. The president's not telling the truth when he says Michael Cohen lied about being told to do those things. That's all I'm asking you about.
Are you okay with that?
GAETZ: Yes. Again, the context of the president's communications with Michael Cohen is something that I am not privy to. I do believe that Rudy Giuliani has made the claims that there was some selective editing and there was not a full conversation to give us context of that discussion. But again, I'm not one that has any unique insight as to what we heard beyond the expressed words of the president and Mr. Cohen. And it looks like there will be a swearing match there that will continue.
CUOMO: All right. Let's go to something that is certainly more germane to your purview. What's going on with Saudi Arabia and what the line will be before Congress acts, either, you know, whether it's the Senate or do you all get-together, whatever it is. The president said today that he thinks that Saudi Arabia is getting Kavanaugh'd, that they're being seen as guilty and they're going to have to be proven innocent.
With what you know to this point, do you believe that Saudi Arabia is getting railroaded here?
GAETZ: I don't, but I think that in every statement the president's made he said we got to get to the bottom of this. And the president's been clear that it's a really big problem if senior officials in Saudi Arabia had any role in the death of this Saudi citizen who was a journalist and who should not have feared this type of reprisal. No one should.
I was in KBS' home just six days ago in Washington, D.C. and we were not discussing the one Saudi journalist. We were discussing the 3,000 Americans who died on 9/11. And I do think that the Saudi government in some form and some capacity and some part had a role in that. If you just lay bear the 9/11 Commission report, you see that Saudi intelligence officials were signing leases for hijackers and special designations on passports and people associated with al Qaeda.
GAETZ: The mosque that was the center of life for some of the hijackers backed by the Saudi government.
And so, I think that that should be a lot more concerning to us as like are we engaging in this discourse and this diplomacy where they haven't -- if they haven't fully rooted out the elements the government involved.
Now, I do think MBS could represent a bridge to the future. Remember, Chris, the people running Saudi Arabia, they're not your age. They're my age.
You got a bunch of 30-somethings who have never known anything but extreme wealth. They did not know the poverty and challenge of their parents and grandparents. It's been kind of a Lamborghini lifestyle for a lot of these guys.
And this transition, where -- they do seek the embrace of the West.
GAETZ: They want to have Saudi Arabia viewed as a modern player. But that transition is going to be dicey. And I think we've got a lot more to learn here on this fact pattern. CUOMO: Make me wonder about my chin. Is that why you're making an
age distinction between me and you, Gaetz? Let me ask the Twitter folk if they think that I look that much older.
But let me ask you this because you're making good points.
CUOMO: I read into what you're talking about 9/11. I lived that, obviously. It was a big part of my reporting early on. I haven't seen great proof or really any material proof that the Saudi government was behind 9/11 in any way.
Yes, there's been a lot of stink on them for exporting Wahhabism. Yes, some have referred to them in the Middle East as the head of the snake when it comes to terror.
But let's say contextually you're suspicious and with some cause. But the president doesn't agree with you. He says that they're good people there. That he's had great relationships with them and that rogue killers are as likely an explanation for what happened to Khashoggi as anything. And that Salman says he had nothing to do with it and he believes him.
Do you swallow it as quickly as the president does?
GAETZ: Well, I think the president is right in that there could be multiple elements acting within the Saudi government. Remember, even though it is a monarchy, it is a kingdom, the government doesn't act monolithically. There are different elements of the government. Now the --
CUOMO: You think guy was fly to Turkey on private planes, be greeted by staff at the consulate as if expected, go in there and interrogate somebody and somehow wind up reportedly chopping them into pieces and Salman knew nothing about it?
GAETZ: I don't know. I'm not making that claim. What I'm saying is that the optimistic view that MBS represents --
CUOMO: The president kind of is.
GAETZ: Well, no, in every statement the president has made, Chris, you guys don't include this in your clips, but he says, we have to get to the bottom of this and there are going to be big problems.
CUOMO: But why offer up an excuse -- if you don't know the answer, not you, Matt, I'm saying, if the president doesn't know, why give such the benefit of the doubt to a strongman?
GAETZ: Because there are one of two options for Saudi Arabia. They either continue trying to move closer to the West and seek Western investment and technology, engage in investment in Western entertainment, or they move closer to Russia. Those are the two binary options, right?
So, we're playing this kind of delicate game with Saudi Arabia where we want them to move closer to the West. We want them to continue to work with us on intelligence gathering and --
CUOMO: What are you willing to allow? You said earlier Salman could be a bridge. But he also may have chopped up a journalist who works for "The Washington Post." and if they --
GAETZ: Tomorrow night --
CUOMO: -- are murderous, do you want them connected to you? That's the question.
GAETZ: Well, tomorrow night, the kingdom was supposed to host a big party in Washington to commemorate the relationship with the United States.
CUOMO: Davos in the Desert.
GAETZ: Yes. Well, they canceled their event for tomorrow night at the embassy. I guess it's hard to get RSVPs when everybody that shows up at your sovereign turf doesn't always leave alive. That's a bit problematic.
But -- look, I want to remain hopeful that the future for Saudi Arabia isn't destined to be one of this type of swift desert justice, that it's one where we can have more mutual cooperation on intelligence and that we can move beyond a relationship based on strategic interests to one of shared values.
But this is a problem. And this transition is a difficult one. But I don't think we can give up on Saudi Arabia. But I think we've got to hold them accountable if, in fact, there was a senior moment in this activity.
CUOMO: You have, to right? Because if you don't --
GAETZ: You can't live in a world with no consequences.
CUOMO: A hundred percent, because if that's the message that MBS gets and he, indeed, in fact, had something to do with this, you know what happens next. More.
And then now, he knows just like people would suggest with Putin and with Kim and with Duterte, that, you know what? If you say nice things about Trump, he's going to say nice things back. You're going to get some leeway. And that can be a dangerous precedent.
Now your colleague in Congress and the Senate, Lindsey Graham, says, no way. No way to everything that's being discussed right now. Salman has to go.
He's shown who he is. We knew who he was before. We know who he is from what he did to his own family.
He's got to go. We can't work with him. You can't give him anything.
GAETZ: Senator Graham may have access to more up-to-date intelligence. As you know, I've been dealing with Hurricane Michael and the aftermath in my district and in neighboring districts. So, I don't want to presume to know more than Senator Graham.
But, like, what are the alternatives, right? It's not like there is some Mr. Congeniality to turn to in Saudi Arabia that's going to embrace all of Western civilization and Western values. I think that this is a slower walk than any of us would like.
But I least -- I hope that we can get to be directionally correct with Saudi Arabia where they're not looking to embrace these authoritarian tendencies but instead will normalize. And I think that possibility is true when you look at kind of the new generation of leadership. But this is admittedly a stumbling block. They should have to answer for it.
And I know this -- these arms transfers and arms sales need to be on the table. We shouldn't act as if that's going to go through under every circumstance.
CUOMO: That's exactly what Trump is saying though. He's saying one of the balancing interests for him is I don't want to blow the money and the deals. Why would you want to sell weapons to somebody like this if Salman is behind it? It seems like you should put him in the balance on the other side of the scale.
GAETZ: Look, I know this about President Trump. He is the first president in the post-Cold War era who understands the fusion of economic interests and military interests. For far too long, we've been treating our adversaries and, frankly, a lot of our allies as if those are separate things. But if you look at China, North Korea, our activities in Latin America to get tough on Venezuela, you see the president really understands that.
And so, I think that as a good negotiator, as someone who understands leverage very well, the president will have all of that on the table. And he should.
But remember, he's still gathering facts. I think the president doesn't want to be too quick to judge. That's why Secretary Pompeo is in the region.
CUOMO: Gathering facts but he said it could have been rogue actors. He says he believes Salman, who shades the facts.
And something I've seen as a pattern, I want your take on, Congressman, before I let you go. He is very soft on strongmen and very strong on the soft and vulnerable.
With Honduras, he says, you don't stop this caravan coming, I'm not giving you another dollar. You better pull them back. They're people coming to seek asylum. They're not people looking to jump an imaginary wall. A
But with Saudi Arabia, go slow. Take it easy. Could have been rogue people. Let's get to the bottom of it. Take time.
Why the difference in attitude based on strong people and meek people?
GAETZ: Well, you offer far too much of an overgeneralization. If you look at the Maduro regime in Venezuela, that's a strongman regime and the Trump administration under the leadership of Ambassador Carlos Trujillo drove them out of the Organization of American States.
And so, you know, again, if you look even at the treatment of Russia, we've been very tough in our actions expelling their diplomats and also reigniting appropriate sanctions when necessary.
CUOMO: Congress did that.
GAETZ: Yes. Look, it's a team effort.
CUOMO: No, no, Congress did it. He said go slow. He said he didn't like it. He said he believed Putin.
Come open, matt. This is not strong footing for you on that point.
GAETZ: But he expelled the diplomats.
CUOMO: He had to.
GAETZ: He did more than any other American president. He didn't have to. He did that because he chose to.
CUOMO: He didn't do more. Obama did more. He dragged his feet. Congress brought it to the table. That's why he acted and said he didn't want to.
GAETZ: Obama was silent, weak, and soft as Russia was engaging in elections.
CUOMO: Those are adjectives. But the actions are he expelled more people. He was too soft on the initial interference. Obama should have rang the alarm. You know who didn't want him to, right?
CUOMO: You know who didn't want him to, right? Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell said that he didn't want to go in on this with him.
GAETZ: Oh, Mitch McConnell, a great oracle of all things.
CUOMO: Oh, you're not anti-McConnell, are you? Are you side ways on McConnell?
GAETZ: -- take a little more action. You know, look, I think McConnell is in a lot of ways hadn't led the Senate with enough vigor.
CUOMO: He was like a Kasparov delivering you Kavanaugh.
GAETZ: We got 500 bills the House has sent over to the Senate that they won't take a vote on. I think he's protecting a lot of his moderate members and even some Democrats --
CUOMO: What do you think your base is going to remember? Five hundred bills that nobody can't name or him getting you through the justice that delivers a generation of jurisprudence?
Be careful who you pick to get side ways with. McConnell delivered for you guys.
GAETZ: Well, on certainly on judges the leader has been very effective.
But if you look at a lot of the elections going on, health care is at the center of the polling. If we did more to make health care solutions available to people at the state and local level, we could make a lot better claim about lowering prices and giving people better access. And so, I wish they would have done more to take up the health care bills that would have created a more free market bill.
CUOMO: Instead, you're going to have will people with popping rates because of what happened with the mandate and now you're going to have to make the case that shouldn't be on your account.
GAETZ: Yes. Look, I don't think that we've done enough on health care.
CUOMO: You've done enough to screw it up. People are going to get popping rates.
GAETZ: We screwed it up?
GAETZ: Obamacare that skyrocketed rates. Rates --
CUOMO: Rates were going down. GAETZ: No, they're not going down from before the Obama presidency.
They're going down from their prior spikes. But if you look at where rates are now and when Obama took over, health care is way more expensive. Insurance are way more expensive.
CUOMO: You're right, because you got rid of the mandate.
GAETZ: Because the government is not the less cost avoider. Oh, that is ludicrous.
CUOMO: And you got rid of people that compete in different areas because of it.
GAETZ: No, it's because we ignored the cost of health care. No, it's because we covered too many people without looking at the cost of health care. If you look at why, you know, an Advil is $500 in a hospital or why ambulatory surgery is --
CUOMO: Well, that's drug pricing.
GAETZ: Well, it's all of those things.
CUOMO: You can do cost of care. You didn't do that. You got the healthy people out of the pool.
GAETZ: -- hospital industrial complex.
CUOMO: You didn't go at the hospital complex. You went at people.
GAETZ: No, we should have. I'm saying we should have.
CUOMO: But that cost you more money because now they go to emergency rooms. And now they don't have insurance.
GAETZ: You cannot cover anyone if you don't deal with the cost of care.
CUOMO: You can do both, though.
GAETZ: We're going to be bankrupt as a country.
GAETZ: Why don't we just allow people to buy insurance across state lines to get more choices? Why don't we do tort reform so it's not as expensive?
CUOMO: You could have done those things. You could have done those things. You didn't have to throw people off the roles to do that.
GAETZ: We got some bills -- we got some bills that do those things that the Senate won't take votes on. That's my criticism of the Republican leadership in the Senate. We got a whole heck of a lot of bills that would actually deal with some of the challenges that you and I are discussing, and they won't take a vote on them because a lot of their moderate members and some in the Democrats don't want to have to take an up and down vote, and we got this silly filibuster rule where people go in the Senate and they don't have to take votes on tough issues.
CUOMO: Well, that is true. We saw where the filibuster rule got us. Whether you like it or not, when they went to a simple majority on Supreme Court justices, there's no more any reason for compromise. And if you don't have a reason to compromise, you see what you get, what we're talking about right now, nothing.
But, Congressman Matt Gaetz, you are always a good discussion, always welcome on the show.
GAETZ: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: Matt, thank you for doing it. Appreciate it.
Congressman Gaetz, Florida.
So, Republicans hold the purse right now, right? That's what Gaetz is talking about. He knows the Republicans are running the Senate. He is saying, come on, let's get some more things done.
All right. So, how do those in power explain this? The economy is hotter than ever. It's better than ever. Then why is the federal deficit exploding in President Trump's first fiscal year? Why?
If tax cuts were the key, why aren't they paying for themselves? Facts that you're not going to hear from the president, next.
CUOMO: All right. The president is always saying how great the economy is, but he never says this -- that the U.S. deficit, OK, has risen $779 billion in just this past one fiscal year. This is the highest level we've seen in six years.
Notice the headline from "The New York Times" noting how Republicans deficit focus, you remember that, it's going the way of the vuvuzela? What is vuvuzela? The comparison is to that South African horn they banned from Brazil's World Cup because of its incessant droning sound.
But what's the irony here, the irony is that nobody wants to hear it anymore. And no conservatives want to talk about fiscal responsibility anymore. Why? One word: Trump.
So, for those not cowed into quiet, why should you care? Because we haven't seen this since the recession after 2008 when we were swimming in all the government gifts to big banks. So if the economy is so hot, how come the deficit is so chilling?
Senator McConnell explained this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: It's very disturbing, and it's driven by the three big entitlement programs that are very popular -- Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Really? Republicans are blaming it on entitlements? Why? Because of Trump fear. That's why.
But here's what the facts show: increases in the 2018 budget wouldn't have led to this kind of rise in the deficit by themselves. Yes, Social Security, interest on the federal debt, those have contribute to the increase.
But let's take a look here. OK? It's the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. That is the real culprit. Corporate tax collections have fallen $76 billion by 22 percent. Why? Because of the Republican backed tax cut. The promise of this exercise, formerly known as trickle down theory, is that you give more money especially to people at the top and everybody wins, but less money in and more money out, that gives you the reality, which is the impact.
Experts say the deficit could reach $1 trillion as soon as next year. We haven't seen anything near that since the Great Recession.
So what does it mean? OK. Here's what you need to think about. Higher debt can lead to lower incomes. Why? Because businesses don't have the money to pay people. Who says? The CBO. The Congressional Budget Office, all right?
The average income in 30 years, they say, will be $5,000 less per year if the national debt stays on its current track.
What else? It also pushes up interest rates. And look, this matters for all of us. Borrowing money to buy a house, a car, college, that can pop so easily with a rate hike, and if it does, it's going to erase tax cut benefits for far too many.
What else? Well, the social program is trying to blame this on they're going to get more expensive. Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, they'll take a hit. Why? Money is more expensive. The government has to borrow more. They're going to cut.
The president likes to tell Americans that no one knows debt better than he.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm the king of debt. I love debt.
I call myself the king of debt. I'm great with debt.
You know, I'm the king of debt. I understand debt better than probably anybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. So, he says that to give you reassurance that he can handle this. But remember, he had his dad to help him out of his lapses with lenders. We don't.
And his promise that the Chinese, Europeans and Canadians are going to help pay for all this, what, tariffs? If you believe that, I have a wall to sell you and Mexico ain't paying for that either.
So, back to the president and his jarring new line of defense for Saudi Arabia. The evidence is mounding. So why as we keep getting more proof that they did it does our president move farther away from saying they should get a break? A country that just likely slaughtered one of its own.
Hard to wrap your head around it, but it is the making of a great debate.
CUOMO: So, today, the president likened the heat Saudi Arabia is facing for the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to the scrutiny Justice Brett Kavanaugh faced during his Supreme Court confirmation, saying, quote, you're guilty until proven innocent. I don't like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh. And he was innocent.
That's not true. So why does the -- we couldn't know because they never had a process to get to the end of it. What is the process going to be here?
The president consistently chooses to side with the accused. Why?
Let's ask the great debaters, Van Jones and Niger Innis.
Meek with the strong and strong with the meek, that's what I seem to identify, Van Jones. What do you make of this comparison by the president?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, let me just say, he doesn't always side with the accused. When it's a Central Park jogger case and you have a bunch of poor black kids, he says, you know, kill them.
CUOMO: Fair point.
JONES: When he is snatching babies away from their moms and moms at the borders, and when people are -- Muslim around the world, you know, they're guilty until proven isn't. He's very selective with his commitment to due process, fair play, et cetera, et cetera. And it still tracks along your basic thesis. If you are weak, if you
are marginal, he's got it in for you. But if you -- it doesn't matter how despicable you are, if you got nuclear weapons and you're Kim Jong-un, if you're Putin and you're a despot -- anybody who is powerful and is willing to abuse their power, he somebody got a soft part in his heart.
And I don't see any way for -- he could literally just say, Chris, I am very concerned about what happened. This should not have happened. It looks very, very terrible. I don't know that it should upset the entire apple cart our relationship. But the facts look bad.
Instead of saying that, he goes, you know, around the merry ground and coming up with fantasies about rogue agents. It makes no sense and makes him look like an idiot.
CUOMO: Niger, you wouldn't say what the president saying about Saudi Arabia, would you?
NIGER INNIS, NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY: What I would say is something I believe he is cautioning which is that we do not rush to judgment.
I mean, Van was making commentary on him having this affection with Kim. I think it was also the same Van Jones or at least some of his ideological colleagues that were critiquing President Trump when he went before the United Nations and said his missile was bigger than Kim's missile.
So I -- that characterization is something I totally disagree with. Look, Saudi Arabia --
INNIS: -- I agree with Van on this, which is that we have to be very careful about upsetting the apple cart in the Middle East.
One thing in the early 2000s, I think, Van, I think you would agree with me on this. One thing in the early 2000s taught us is that when we're dealing with foreign policy, we should not rush to judgment, and rush to action.
Secretary of State Pompeo tonight is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. More important, later in the week, he'll be in Istanbul, turkey. He will then come back to the United States and brief the president of the United States, and give advice and counsel on what the moves should be.
But Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally for the United States.
CUOMO: A hundred percent, 100 percent.
What I'm saying is this -- he's going with all due measure here, OK? He doesn't do that in a lot of other circumstances. That's the point.
Millions of people voted illegally. Obama is not a citizen, all the different things he just jumped on. They were dancing in the streets after 9/11. I have the biggest crowds ever.
If it works to his favor, he doesn't give a damn about the facts or taking time to learn them. But when it's a strongman and he's worried about them, then could be rogue actors. Putin says he didn't do it. Salman says he didn't do it. Kim says he loves his country. You don't think that's a little bit of an odd inconsistency?
INNIS: No. I think what the president does -- look, the president -- you should judge this president not only by what he says or what he tweets, but by the actions that he engages in the ground. The fact is we have the biggest sanctions regime against Russia. We've expelled diplomats of Russia.
INNIS: And we sent very powerful signals.
INNIS: Well, the fact is --
CUOMO: Congress, Congress.
INNIS: -- the United States policy and the president could have pushed back --
CUOMO: He did.
INNIS: -- more rigorously than he did.
CUOMO: He did.
INNIS: He didn't in any serious way, not in any serious way.
CUOMO: What are you talking about? Only as serious as anything he does. He said I don't like it. He says I don't want to do it.
INNIS: The sanctions regime is stronger now than it was under President Obama.
CUOMO: Because they've interfered in our elections.
INNIS: With the elections.
CUOMO: I know, because they did worse stuff.
Van, here's the counter point, which is you got to be careful. And we have to pick the criticisms because f we don't like that he's rash and he gets ahead of the facts all the time and does things that then have to be undone by the people around him, why push him to do something right now before we know he has absolute cause and it's been weighed and measured?
JONES: The only thing I want him to do is to be -- is to follow what the rest of the world is saying. Listen, at this point these are very, very basic facts. I don't want any of the viewers to get confused. You had a journalist who is frankly working for an American newspaper. When you had an American, an American president should be incredibly protective. Should be -- that is all of our values there.
CUOMO: He's not an American citizen --
INNIS: He's not an American journalist. He was a Saudi journalist.
JONES: If you're working for an American newspaper, you are representing American media.
CUOMO: Fair point.
JONES: An employee of American media should enjoy the full protection of U.S. presidents.
Let's just be clear. Those are the facts. You got somebody working for an American media organization who walks into this consulate and never comes back out.
JONES: What you want is for the president to say I don't know what happened. But this should not be going on and thunder -- the same kind of thunder you heard when talking about, you know, people on both sides were good people in Charlottesville and that kind of stuff. You want to hear that kind of thunder, you don't hear it.
JONES: So whatever else he does go on to say, the mere fact that you don't see the passion for a reporter is very disturbing.
CUOMO: And where did we see the passion today, Niger? He called Stormy Daniels a horseface woman. He said his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, was lying when he said Trump knew about what he was doing and directed him to do it.
Both of those things, one of them is just insulting and bad, right? You're not supposed to talk that way. We expect better from our kids, let alone our president.
The other one is demonstrably false. I can play you a tape right now that proves that Trump knew what Cohen was doing and he was doing it at his direction. How do you feel about those kinds of statements?
INNIS: I think that we have a president that often goes with his gut. I think history will show with his victory in 2016 with how successful the country is moving now in terms of foreign policy and in terms of a booming economy, that nine times out of ten, his gut instinct is right. But, of course, there is that every one time out of ten. I don't know. CUOMO: You don't think he'll be remembered for his coarseness and for
how he debased women and how he abused the truth? You don't think that's going to be part of the history?
INNIS: I'm saying that history is usually more focused on achievements and accomplishments and the facts on the ground as opposed to what is discussed in media.
CUOMO: Niger, you haven't even said calling her horseface was wrong, by the way. You want to throw --
INNIS: I did just say that. I said one out of ten, and that one of out ten --
CUOMO: You didn't specify. Just one out of ten?
INNIS: Oh, absolutely. The horseface comment was totally unnecessary. The wind is at the president's back, is at Republicans back right now.
I think even Van will admit that Republicans' enthusiasm for the election is matching Democrats right now. There's a gap that is shrinking in terms of these polls in the House and the Senate. And so, it was an unnecessary error on the part of the president to call Stormy Daniels horseface, particularly after he just won and got that case thrown out of court.
CUOMO: That was the defamation case. The main case he's been proven wrong on because he said he didn't know anything about her or about the payments and his lawyer proved both of those things false.
But, Niger, we'll see what happens in the election. Van Jones, thanks to both of you for making the case. I appreciate the disagreement with decency.
All right. Someone else has a lot to say about this. Senator Bernie Sanders, he felt the wrath of the president's tongue today. What does he think about the Saudi situation? What is his reaction to what the president said about the Saudis and him? Next.
CUOMO: President lashing out on multiple fronts tonight, frustrated about Saudi Arabia being presumed guilty for the presumed death of a journalist, and taking aim at Crazy Bernie and others in the push for Medicare for all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Pelosi and Schumer and Bernie, they're all pushing to get this done. You'll have to double and even triple your taxes and that won't be enough to pay for it. It's going to be a disaster for our country. It will turn our country into a Venezuela, but that won't actually happen because I will never let it happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Bernie is crazy and Saudi Arabia is being Kavanaugh'd. What does the senator from Vermont make of all this?
Bernie Sanders, independent from Vermont.
CUOMO: Senator Sanders, good to have you back on PRIME TIME.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Good to be with you, Chris.
CUOMO: The president just referred to what is happening in Saudi Arabia with the investigation of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi and what seems to be his death or his murder as another case of guilty until proven innocent like Kavanaugh. That's what he is saying.
SANDERS: You know, it is -- it is really hard to keep up with this president. Is that really what he said? I hadn't followed that.
CUOMO: Yes, I wouldn't make it up. It just came out.
SANDERS: You know, I don't know. I just don't know how to respond to that.
Here you have a guy who is a critic of the despotic Saudi government, walks in to the embassy in turkey, Saudi embassy in Turkey, he disappears. And the Turks are saying that he was killed. Nobody has heard from him. And Trump thinks this is a false allegation.
Look, what you got right now is a president who is, frankly, and sadly, very, very serious -- very significantly sympathetic to authoritarian type people like bin Salman in Saudi Arabia or Putin in Russia or Xi in China. He likes authoritarians.
And I guess he is afraid of being critical to those governments. In my view, what we have got to do in response to this alleged murder, we will see what happens. Most people think it is a cold blooded murder. In my view, we have got to end our involvement in this terrible war in Yemen right now which is a humanitarian disaster and which, by the way, does not have authorization from the Congress which makes it unconstitutional.
CUOMO: Well, the president finds you worthy of a nickname, sir. He is calling you Crazy Bernie and that you want to not allow people to sign up for Medicare Advantage, and that you want to make the United States Venezuela. You know what the play is here. He's painting your ideas --
SANDERS: Other than that --
CUOMO: -- as extreme.
SANDERS: Other than that, he thinks I'm doing a pretty good job, right, Chris?
CUOMO: Other than that, yes.
SANDERS: OK. Look, I mean -- and I say this without any joy in my heart, really. We have a president that I think most people understand is a pathological liar. And that is no day goes by when he is not lying about one thing or the other. And now they're lying about Medicare for all.
The reality is that Medicare today is the most popular health insurance in America. And a significant majority of American people believe as I do that we should expand Medicare to cover every man, woman and child. And not continue to be, Chris, the only major country on earth that doesn't guarantee health care to all people as a right, not a privilege.
I think what most Americans understand that today's health care system is dysfunctional, 30 million without any insurance. Even more underinsured. Thousands of people die every year because they don't get to a doctor on time. And we pay by far the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.
Now, Trump and his friends may not like it. But in my view, the goal of health care is not to make billions in profits for the drug companies and the insurance companies. It is to provide in a cost effective way health care to every American.
CUOMO: All right. One more question for you on the record about this. The suggestion that you or any of the Democrats want to cancel Medicare Advantage, want to deny the elderly from being able to sign up. Is there anything to that allegation?
SANDERS: Medicare for all will provide all basic health care services to seniors. And, in fact, where Trump is lying again, he says we're going to cut back on health care benefits for seniors. We're going to expand them.
One of the problems right now with Medicare, Chris, is it does not cover dental care which is a very serious issue. The seniors need dentures or other dental work. It doesn't cover hearing aids very expensive, or eyeglasses. We cover those programs under Medicare for all program.
CUOMO: All right. So I covered that before. What you said happens to be true.
Now, the criticism of it is one that at some point will be made. It's about costs. And the knock on the suggestion is the up-front transition costs are crippling, so much so that even your home state couldn't pull it off on a state by state basis with about an 11 percent recommended tax increase. Too expensive.
What's your response?
SANDERS: My answer is that it's absolutely untrue. Right now, Chris, and this is an important point that the American people fully understand. We are spending on average twice as much per capita as any other major country on earth. I'm speaking to you now 50 miles way from Canada. They are spending
one half of what we spend. They manage to provide health care to all of their people and lower cost prescription drugs.
What the issue is right now is that instead of having a family of four pay on average $28,000 a year for health insurance through private plans and out of pocket costs, that family will pay more in taxes but will not have to pay any health insurance premiums, any deductibles or any co-payments.
So what Republicans are saying is Sanders is going to raise your taxes. What they are forgetting to say is Sanders is going to do away with all private insurance premiums, co-payments, and deductibles and for the average family, health care will be substantially less than what they're paying today.
CUOMO: I appreciate you talking about the substance and a pledge from me. Medicare for all, single-payer requires a deeper dive. We need to take more time. We need to go through the pluses and minuses. I make that invitation to you.
SANDERS: I'll accept that invitation.
CUOMO: Senator, thank you and be well.
SANDERS: Thank you. Thank you very much.
CUOMO: All right, we can do that. That's what we do on this show. We go deeper on the show. We don't cover as much.
But if you want to understand this issue, and it's going to be a huge claim for the Democrats, you got to know the pluses and minuses. Will we'll take you through it here as soon as the senator can.
Now, if you didn't notice, President Trump had a lot of executive time today. Put out a series of rage tweets including a new attack on a woman's looks, just the latest in that string of insults from him. When does it end? And can you even remember all of the ugly things? Next.
CUOMO: Horseface. That's what the man who holds the seat of Abraham Lincoln said about yet another woman who is in his way. How many ugly things has he said about women? I bet you can't count. Here's just a taste.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'd look her right in that fat ugly face of hers and say, Rosie, you're fired.
A person who is flat-chested is very hard to be a ten.
You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.
When you're star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH: Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). You can do anything.
She was the winner and, you know, she gained a massive amount of weight. And it was -- it was a real problem.
I just don't think she has a presidential look and we need a presidential look.
I was sitting with him on an airplane. And he went after me on the plane. Yes, I'm going to go after. Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. Let's bring in D. Lemon.
I am embarrassed to say that we, you know, the men and women who are in the senior part of my team, we had to keep adding things and taking things away, because we kept forgetting some of what he's already said, because he's flooded the zone with piggish piffle about women that we couldn't even keep track.
Yet, nine out of ten Republicans love him anyway.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: You know, when I -- a couple times on this show, when I interviewed him, I said, oh, my gosh, I thought his chances of even becoming the nominee were over because do you remember the quote, who's doing the raping, Don? Someone's doing the raping. Got past that one.
And then when he said about Megyn Kelly, said, blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever, that was on this show, and I said, OK, well, I went home thinking, I ruined this man's chances because he came on the show and he said in that sound byte. It didn't happen.
So, listen, we know -- this is built into the sauce for Donald Trump. And I think people know that. But as you said, we have to keep pointing it out, it's awful.
Here's a bigger question, OK, I don't usually like to talk about people's looks. Does he own a mirror? He keeps talking about people gaining weight and how people look. Does he own a mirror that doesn't have Vaseline over it or a cloth?
I mean, all he has to do is look in the mirror. Donald Trump is no prize. And if I were him, not that I'm one either, I would keep my thoughts about other people's looks to myself.
CUOMO: My feeling is, he should know better.
LEMON: He should know better, of course.
CUOMO: Whether it's because of his own sense of self, what you're talking about, but just what he means to this country, what he means to his party.
CUOMO: And he should know that he has to be better than this because if he isn't, who else is going to be? If he doesn't see that it's eroding things, that people are using it as an excuse to be that way also, then he's not as smart as I thought he was.
What do you got, Don?
LEMON: I was going to say, think about that being the headline today, when the real headline should be about Jamal Khashoggi, which we're going to talk about, and what happened with the Saudi government, and whether this president is turning a blind eye to it so far. The end hasn't played out. We don't know how it's going to play out, but it seems like he may be -- he may be turning the other way and not looking at the real circumstances here. We're going to break that down for you, coming up.
CUOMO: I'll be watching, my friend.
LEMON: All righty.
CUOMO: All right. So, you any good at multiple choice questions? I want to see if you can decipher something put out by the president today. I'm going to remove some of the words and then we'll see if you can fill in the blanks, next.
CUOMO: All right. Let's play a game. Tell me what the president was talking about here? Here's the quote. The United States has strongly informed the blank that if blank doesn't happen, no more money or aide will be given to blank effective immediately.
Now, do you think the president is talking about?
A, King Salman and the Saudis, as a strongman, demanding answers in the death of a "Washington Post" journalists who Saudis are reportedly explaining away as a mere botched interrogation. Botched, adding too much salt to a cake mix is botched. Getting the street number wrong on ways, botched. The word means carried out badly or carelessly.
Killing someone may be even dismembering them, that's not botched. It's a human rights abuse at a minimum. It's proof at a maximum of a murderous regime that should not be coddled.
As obvious as the question is, let me give you a second choice. Is the above threat not mentioned with the Saudis, but at a group of desperate asylum seekers fleeing violence in Honduras?
The answer is B. Two points, the president just extended this threat to El Salvador and Guatemala. Why is he so tough on the meek and so meek with the tough? If anyone comes, that's it. Even if they're running for their lives and seeking asylum.
Then, do us a favor, have mercy on the lady in the harbor, because you are making a mockery of her pledge. Take her down. Because that's not what you're about, that's not what you want the country to be about. So, take it down, it's false advertising.
Another question, because that one was tricky. Today, President Trump said in an interview, here we go again, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent. And that's not right.
Is he talking about, A, the train of immigrants that are looking for asylum and have yet to be vetted and yet are accused by some already of being criminals? Or B, Saudi Arabia, and that they should get more leeway despite all evidence pointing at them?
Here it is again. The answer is A. Saudi Arabia, just like Brett Kavanaugh railroaded. The judge must love that comparison by the way.
If Trump wants to wait for facts, then wait. He doesn't do that with the Saudis, right? He doesn't have the facts, but what does he say. Could have been rogue actors, they say it's not them. But with people fleeing for asylum, he already knows they're no good.
Do you see how un-American that is? How un-Reaganesque it is? Trump's hero. Could you imagine Reagan being that way? Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall, if you feel like it. If you think it's wrong. Otherwise, you know, we'll take our time.
Don't the powerless deserve the benefit of the doubt that Trump provides as strongman? Clearly, he doesn't think so. So, the question becomes, what does that say about him and by extension, what does that say about all of us?
Thank you for watching tonight.
"CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON" starts right now.