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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Trump and Pompeo Create Time For Saudis to Provide Explanation on Missing Journalist; Michael Cohen Meets With Prosecutors Investigating Trump. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 17, 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: Thank you, Anderson.
I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
How hard it is to know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi? And why are these two men smiling? Isn't someone presumed murdered? Is this about finding facts or buying time? Something doesn't seem right.
And a former CIA and NSA chief says he can help fill in the blanks. And he's here to do just that.
Fifty hours, that's a long time, and that's how long President Trump's former lawyer and close confident, Michael Cohen, has been meeting with prosecutors. We now know he's talking about a lot more than just paying off women.
And we have a big discovery for you tonight. I often wonder, why is the president so confident that the climate isn't changing? What does he know that refutes so much science? Well, now we know. And I 100 percent guarantee you will laugh your hump day off when you hear.
Let's get after it.
CUOMO: Trump's approach to the missing "Washington Post" journalist -- we'll let the Saudis tell us what the Saudis did. It's already been weeks. The Turks are just now getting a chance to examine the consulate where Jamal Khashoggi was last seen alive.
And a source tells CNN, despite all the smiles that you see here, behind closed doors, Mike Pompeo was tough with the Saudi crown prince, saying MBS had to own the situation and get the investigation done quickly or his future role as king could be imperil.
But it's still all under the Saudi's control. So now Trump, will he pursue his own answers? Could the FBI get involved? Should they?
Here's Trump's answer to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do you know whether or not we've sent the FBI? REPORTER: Have you sent the FBI?
TRUMP: I'm not going to tell you.
REPORTER: Why won't you tell us, Mr. President?
TRUMP: Why would I tell you? Go ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Why would he tell the free press?
Trump seems unsure about the basics of what's going on. Or is he playing us? Is he playing cute? We don't know.
Take, for example, what is said to be an audio recording of Khashoggi being tortured before he died. Is it real? Do we know?
"The Wall Street Journal" says Turkish officials said they have shared the audio recording evidence with U.S. authorities. But just today, Trump said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Nope. I'm not sure yet it exists. Probably does, possibly does. I'll have a full report from Mike when he comes back. That's one of the things I very -- that's the first question I ask.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, if the president seems unsure of the facts, it may be because despite the tough talk, one thing was missing from Pompeo's meeting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: I don't want to talk about any of the facts. They didn't want to either. They want to have the opportunity to complete this investigation in a thorough way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: So then what was the point of going there if not to find out what happened?
Let's discuss how this is working, what it means, maybe there's something going on we don't understand. But this man does. Former NSA chief, former CIA director under George W. Bush, General Michael Hayden.
Good to have you, sir.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA AND NSA CHIEF: OK, Chris. CUOMO: General, I don't get it. I don't get it. This is not a tough
whodunit. It happened in a place that is closely monitored. There's supposedly evidence, unless the Turks are leading us wildly astray, as some kind of diabolical plot to pit us against the Saudis or whatever they're up to. This shouldn't be that hard to figure out.
Or what am I missing?
HAYDEN: So, a couple of points. You've already suggested, I think the main plot lines here.
Number one, the Turks appear to know quite a bit. But the Turks have a dog in this fight. They are competitors with the Saudis. And so, we have a phrase in our intelligence community when we get information from a source like that, Chris, we actually say, this information may be designed to influence as well as to inform. And so, you need to be a bit cautious with what it is the Turks have to offer.
But, I agree with you. The main plot line here, I think, is already well-established. And so now we want simply the definitive report. It's a little unusual, I think. In fact, a bit uncomfortable, as you are, that we're going to let the Saudis do it.
But I think we want three or four virtues in this report. Number one, we want it to be accurate. Number two, we want it quick. Number three, we want it to preserve the Saudi/American relationship. And if possible, we want it to exonerate the crown prince.
Chris, I don't think that report exists. I don't think you can get all four of those virtues together. And so we're going to be faced with an incomplete report, a misleading report or a report that threatens the relationship or I think most likely a report that threatens our relationship with the crown prince.
CUOMO: Well, you have to think --
HAYDEN: Because of what he knew.
CUOMO: Well, you have to think -- you have to think, General, the president has given signal to the prince that he has good cushion, right? He advanced the rogue actors thing. He advanced that Salman says he had nothing to do with it.
You know, he put it out there that Khashoggi is not a U.S. citizen. Yes, he worked for a U.S. company, yes, he applied for permanent residency. But he wasn't one of us was the signaling there.
So, I have one fact question and one policy question.
CUOMO: The fact question is this. The Turks say they have audiotape. Wouldn't that like be your first question? Wouldn't we have already had that? Shouldn't the U.S. have it if they have demonstrable evidence like that, you know, of audio evidence of it? Wouldn't we have that already at this point? HAYDEN: It would be my assumption that would be one of our earliest
demands. If we had not gotten it by our own technical means previously, that we would ask the Turks to volunteer that information to us. And if it's anywhere near what the Turks claim it to be, it supports the Turkish case and Turkish interests.
So, one would expect that we would be, A, aware, B, certain that it exists. And three, now having had access, if not actual possession of it, Chris.
CUOMO: The policy question is, is what we're seeing here deliberateness because the United States needs Saudi Arabia. And that this is really, while a horrible act, somewhat media-made, and that this is what Saudi Arabia does, this is what a lot of other regimes do, and the United States has to have strategic relationships and alliances with a lot of people who do a lot of bad things, and that the media is making something of this, but that the United States can't cut ties with Saudi Arabia, even if the worst is true here. Fair assessment?
HAYDEN: So, elements of truth here. Number one, it is a horrible act. Number two, I don't think this is media hype. I think the world, America, was genuinely shocked by what it is we've learned has gone on in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
Now, Chris, absolutely the Saudi/American relationship is absolutely critical. And I understand why we want to preserve that, but, you know, the circumstances we're in is a little bit of our own making. And bear with me just a minute.
HAYDEN: We have made this state to state absolutely critical relationship dependent upon a personal relationship between family and friends around the president -- the president himself and Mr. Kushner, and the Saudi crown prince.
That is not the critical relationship. It's the state to state relationship. Let me just point out something, Chris, that I think your viewers might want to know. Mohammed bin Salman is the third crown prince in Saudi Arabia in the last four years.
HAYDEN: This is not a hereditary position in the sense of direct lineage from the king. It is now, but that's only because of a vote by the royal family. It might be that the only way to stabilize the Saudi/American relationship is to distance ourselves from the America/Mohammed bin Salman relationship.
CUOMO: That's pretty complicated seeing how close they've gotten and how quickly and how much work they've done reportedly with MBS on matters --
HAYDEN: Chris, but that's -- but that might be the unforced error that rather than relying on the institutions -- remember, we don't even have an ambassador in Saudi Arabia.
CUOMO: Fair point.
HAYDEN: Rather than relying on the institutions, we've relied on a personal relationship, which, frankly, the president has done on three key foreign policy issues -- Russia, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia.
CUOMO: And he has an interestingly similar disposition in all three. He is meek in the face of these strong men, even though he is so strong in the face of the meek with issues back home.
General Michael Hayden, thank you for helping us understand this a little bit better. Appreciate it.
HAYDEN: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. It's a scary idea for Republicans to lose control of Congress. Of course it is. But what is their strategy to turnout their vote? That's scary as well. We're going lay it out for you on the magic wall of fear campaign like none other, next.
CUOMO: All right. Look, midterms are about a lot of things, but at the end of the day, midterms are about turnout.
So, what is the GOP strategy? We see it at this point as to push fear and loathing. Will it work? Well, we're going to see.
But here's what we know right now. We know how it works. Here's step one. If you don't vote, the scary people from the South are coming for you. That's what people like Fox folk host Laura Ingraham says. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Your views on immigration will have zero impact and zero influence on a House dominated by Democrats who want to replace you, the American voters, with newly amnestied citizens and an ever increasing number of chain migrants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: You see that picture? That's what they want you to think all immigrants look like, people laying on the floor, splayed out, not as civilized as you, different from you.
Amnesty and chain migration, called family reunification when it's used by good people like Melania Trump and that's how she got her parents here, right? So, it's okay for her, but not okay for anybody else. That's how you will be taken out if you don't vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: There is an anger, there is a rage on the far left that is really frightening.
SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: They have encouraged mob rule.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mob behavior that we're seeing all over the country.
TRUMP: You don't hand matches to an arsonist, and you don't give power to an angry left wing mob. And that's what the Democrats have become.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. You get what the main word there was? Mob, right?
Now, you could think this is silly, no one is going to go for the idea that there is a mob of Democrats. Listen to Senator McConnell, the GOP Senate leader.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: Our base is fired up. We finally discovered the one thing that would fire up the Republican base. It was a virtual mob that's assaulted all of us in the course of this process, has turned our base on fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Wow, he's really embracing something this deceptive and divisive.
It goes further than simply Democrats. In true us versus them fashion, it's not just about parties, it's about people. It's about the rabid left, OK?
Like who? Well, like these women. Like the vicious women who came out to share their stories of sexual harassment and trauma during the Brett Kavanaugh proceedings. These women, the same ones that confronted Jeff Flake on that elevator and made a difference, if you remember.
Now, according to the GOP, these women are part of the liberal mob. Now, they're not as endearing as, let's say, the proud boys, or the confederacy kin that Republicans like to cotton to. And a mob?
If you're in let's say a really tight race, OK, it seems like the tactic is just go straight terrorist, like indicted Congressman Duncan Hunter -- indicted, yet somehow believing he has high ground because according to him, the man opposing him is a national security risk. How does it make sense?
Well, here's how it makes sense, all right. Hunter has a letter signed by three retired Marine Corps generals, and that letter says that his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, is a security risk. Now, this is part of Duncan's apparent effort to paint Campa-Najjar as a terrorist by referencing a relative of his opponent that was a terrorist. But that doesn't mean Najjar is. He's not even Muslim if you're one
of those people who are thinking, sounds like a Muslim name. Maybe he is. He's not a Muslim and you shouldn't seen think that way.
But no matter, as most of the terror threats in this country are, they're not from Muslims either. So it's just not a way to think.
What should you think? Campa-Najjar is a 29-year-old Christian. He was born and raised here. He held a security clearance while working in the Obama administration.
He responded to this by calling the letter pathological. Fear and loathing and arguably lying. Quite a strategy.
But in a period of turbo-charged toxicity, is it the way to get GOP faithful to the polls? We will see. And we're already getting data back. Why? Early voting already underway. Is this going to work?
We have the political prognosticators here, and what a great debate we'll have, next.
CUOMO: Fear has long been a political weapon used to get voters out to the polls. No surprise there. As President Nixon once famously said, people react to fear, not love.
But will instilling the same type of fear that Laura Ingraham used last night when she told viewers, vote Republican or be replaced by immigrants, is that a winning strategy for the GOP in November?
Let's put it to the debaters -- Symone Sanders and Steve Cortes.
Brother Cortes, do you agree and why?
STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: With what, with what Laura Ingraham said?
CORTES: Look, I think it's interesting, by the way, Chris, that you begin by saying we're being motivated by fear because when I look in America right now, what I see is the exact opposite of fear. There is an optimism in the land that is palpable. That's not just my opinion. You see it in every survey of consumer confidence of small business.
This country is soaring in every way, particularly economically. So, your idea that we are fear-based I think is wrong on its premise, first of all. But regarding specifically --
CUOMO: Wait a minute. I'm not saying the country is scared. I'm saying that some of the most identifiable tactics that the GOP is using to get people out to the polls are based on fear. For example --
CORTES: OK. CUOMO: -- Ingraham saying, go vote, Steve, or the mob is going to take your place. Go vote, Steve, or the mob is going to get you. That's what they're saying. That's fear based.
CORTES: Sure, let's be careful about our terms. First of all, I'm saying we're not fear based, we're optimism based. The optimism in the land is palpable.
But regarding what Laura said, regarding what -- you can laugh, but it's the reality.
CUOMO: All right. Finish your point. Go ahead.
CORTES: She's not talking about immigrants. She's talking about illegal aliens who are here --
CUOMO: She actually said newly amnestied citizens.
CORTES: Right, exactly, newly amnestied. Meaning they didn't belong here in the first place, Chris. So they got amnesty because the Democrats had their way, they would give amnesty to illegal aliens who don't belong here.
This is a crucial difference. And you and others on the left constantly tried to --
CUOMO: Why do I get brushed with being on the left back, because I test you?
CORTES: Because you're on the left, let's be honest.
CUOMO: What am I on the left of? What am I wrong about?
CORTES: Really, Chris?
CUOMO: Because I don't think that what you're saying is accurate, that means I'm on the left?
Are you telling me that you're fair with the president? Are you telling me you're not an opposition advocate?
CUOMO: A hundred percent, 100 percent. I test what comes out of his mouth. When he does something that's right, we talk about it. When he does something that's wrong, we talk about it
CORTES: I've heard very little about that.
But, listen, regarding immigration, here's the thing. The left -- let's excuse you for the moment. The left continually tries to conflate illegal immigration which is a scourge upon this country with legal immigration which is a great gift to this country.
And they should -- they have nothing to do with each other. And you're trying to do that right now. What Laura Ingraham was talking about --
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Can I jump in?
CORTES: -- that normalizing and legalizing people who didn't belong here in the first place. That is an affront to American sovereignty. It is an affront to our security, both -- and to our economy, by the way.
CUOMO: OK, first of all, we had just numbers come out that show that there is an unprecedented number of unfilled opportunities. So, obviously, you need laborers. They're going to come from somewhere. As we all know, immigrant --
CORTES: How about putting Americans back in the workforce? How about that?
CUOMO: It would be really nice --
CORTES: How about African-Americans and Hispanics coming back into the work force which they're doing like crazy, Chris. That's the thing.
CUOMO: If they were, they're not, otherwise, you wouldn't have the openings.
CUOMO: But, let me get Symone. Symone, what's your take on this?
CORTES: And wages are rising because of this.
CUOMO: Wages are rising incrementally. What's rising much faster is the deficit. Go ahead, Symone.
SANDERS: Look, Chris, the fact of the matter is if the picture was so rosy as Steve would like to paint it, if that was actually true, Republicans would be running on that. Instead, they are running around the country talking about mob rule and mob tactics and using fear-mongering.
I'm very concerned about the rhetoric that both Laura Ingraham and Steve just used concerning immigration. Democrats are not confused about immigration policy. What folks are asking for -- and frankly what I think a lot of Republicans in Congress would like is a family- based humane immigration policy in this country, that we will never get to, we cannot have an honest conversation when folks are using dehumanizing language such as that that Steve Cortes just used. The facts of the matter are this.
CORTES: Wait, what language did I use that's dehumanizing?
SANDERS: You called folks illegal. CORTES: Because they're illegal.
SANDERS: You said they never belong here in the first place. And my question to you is --
CORTES: They don't belong here in the first place.
SANDERS: -- you know, who -- Steve, if it was up to some folks, neither you and I --
CORTES: Who gets to decide? I'm glad you asked. Do you know who gets to decide? American citizens get to decide. We can decide. That's not racist and it's not xenophobic.
We as Americans and I'm an immigrant son, I'm a Hispanic. We get to decide who belongs in this country, who will add to the prosperity and security of our country. If you call that racist and if you call that small-minded --
SANDERS: You're putting -- Steve, stop. You're putting words in my mouth.
CORTES: Then, what are you saying? We have a right to determine who --
SANDERS: Steve, what I'm saying to you is that the language -- what I'm saying to you is that the language you previously used and Laura Ingraham has used is, in fact, racially tinged and it is fear mongering. It is inaccurate.
CORTES: America is not a race.
SANDERS: It is an acumen.
CORTES: America is not a race.
SANDERS: Your penchant to pivot to accusing folks of calling people racist, to accusing folks of wanting open borders and every -- and a lot -- a number of other things you --
CORTES: Symone, Democrats want to get rid of ICE, OK?
SANDERS: Stop it. Demonstrate that you all have nothing to run on.
SANDERS: I am so excited, Chris, that I am a member of a party that is going out there in these midterm elections and we are talking about health care. We are talking about working for the small guy in America again. We're talking about what Democrats plan to do and will do in Congress and have done, frankly, when Republicans have failed to act on behalf of hard working American people.
I wish Republicans wanted to have that conversation, and the closing argument of these midterm elections. But what we are hearing, what we are hearing is, in fact, fear mongering. I think the flailing, if you will, of the Republican Party because they do not think they can win this November.
CORTES: OK, let's talk reality.
CUOMO: Steve, fair point. Fair point. The GOP argument on immigration isn't one that's optimism based, it's fear based.
If the Democrats win, they will do this, this and this, and you will be in bad shape. That's not optimism based.
CORTES: For American workers-- yes, it is. And one of the key reasons, Chris, that workers are rising, particularly for blue collar Americans, many of whom are black and brown, one of the key reasons that they're rising is because we're finally getting control of our immigration system.
And what do the Democrats want to do? They want open borders and they won't say that.
SANDERS: No, that's not true.
CORTES: They won't use that term. But listen --
CUOMO: You think illegal immigrants are taking the manufacturing jobs that are here?
CORTES: Chris, where you are in New York, your mayor and your governor, who happens to be your brother, both of them want to get rid of ICE.
CUOMO: That's not true.
CORTES: If that's not open borders, I don't know what is.
CUOMO: That's not true.
CORTES: It is true. Your brother called ICE a bunch of thugs. He called them a bunch of thugs.
CUOMO: He does want to get rid of ICE. Some Democrats do want to get rid of ICE. The governor is not one of them. He may have other problems. That's not one of them.
CORTES: Well, he called them a bunch of thugs.
Regardless, there are prominent Democratic politicians, it's not a fringe position any longer --
CORTES: -- who want to get rid of immigration enforcement, who want to -- by the way, there is a caravan right now --
CUOMO: And there are people on your side of the fence, Steve, that invite the proud boys to political speeches and have them come in as a bunch of bigots and you invite them to your clubs to speak. Each side has fringe elements that have to be dealt with.
CORTES: I have no room for bigots. America is not a race.
CUOMO: What does that mean, America is not a race?
SANDERS: Who say that?
CORTES: We're not a race. There is nothing racial --
SANDERS: Who said you are? You are not a banana. You are not a banana, Steve.
CORTES: Chris, this network calls the president a racist just about every single night. So, don't tell me that you don't talk about -- that you don't have the racism --
SANDERS: That is so not true. The network, the network -- Steve, Steve --
CORTES: It is true. Do you watch Don Lemon's show?
CUOMO: You are really fishing, my friend, and I don't know why. I really don't know why.
SANDERS: I wish you could talk about the issue.
CUOMO: When the president says things about a specific group of people that is unfair or untrue, it gets called out. How people decide to judge that is up to them.
But that's not about me. That's about what comes out of his mouth.
CORTES: Hey, talking about securing our borders and talking about -- by the way, even restrictions on --
CUOMO: Who says they don't want secure borders? Who says no borders? Tell me. Name somebody.
CORTES: Who does? The governor of New York. The mayor of New York City.
SANDERS: No one --
CUOMO: You sound silly. CORTES: Senator Gillibrand from New York. You want know keep going? Nancy Pelosi.
CORTES: The soon to be governor of California, Gavin Newsom. Do you want me to keep going?
SANDERS: These are lies.
CORTES: The soon to be possibly governor of Florida, Gillum. All of them want to abolish ICE.
SANDERS: These are lies.
CORTES: It's not a lie.
CUOMO: So, optimism to you mean --
CUOMO: Is that what optimism means, Steve? Because you're making stuff up.
Symone, who is a major candidate in your races right now who is saying, I want open borders, there should be no -- quiet now. You said -- you said open borders -- you said that's what you're saying. Pick your poison.
Symone, who on the Democratic side -- I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, Steve. I'm in a charitable mood. Who on this side is saying we should have the least restrictions possible, I want as much flow into the country as possible, no matter who they are or where they're from? What Democrats are pushing for that?
SANDERS: No Democrats are pushing for that, Chris, none, because that is not our policy. I think across the board in general, Democrats are saying that we have to fix America's broken immigration system. That is going to take a bipartisan effort.
But we have to do it humanely. We cannot do it dehumanizing people. We cannot do it to referring to folks as illegal. We have to do it --
CORTES: If you're illegal, you're illegal. Are we supposed to say, you know, two legs is four?
CUOMO: Hold on --
SANDERS: -- what worked, we have to do it in a way that will work for generations to come. And unfortunately, many of my conservative friends, many of my friends on the right are not interested in having a real conversation about immigration in this country. And that's why.
CUOMO: Well, look, it's obviously not working. We all agree on that. The question is how to fix it.
And, Steve, you want to poke at the left and say they don't want the right things. You're okay with a 5-year-old signing away your rights? Are you okay with that?
CORTES: Look, what I'm not okay with --
CUOMO: No, no, no, are you okay with a 5-year-old signing away her rights? It's a yes or no question.
CORTES: I am answering it. What I'm not okay is the adult who brought that 5-year-old? No, I'm not okay with the adult who brought that 5-year-old taking them to a sovereign border and demanding that they can come into the United States.
CUOMO: They were asking for asylum. You process those people. Her mother lives here.
CORTES: Asylum seekers have a correct method to approach United States.
CUOMO: Is it okay to have a 5-year-old sign away her rights? Steve, are you a father?
CORTES: Yes, I am, and it's not okay --
CUOMO: How do you feel about that?
CORTES: Her parents or whatever --
CUOMO: How do you feel about a system that lets a 5-year-old sign away her rights?
CORTES: I'm answering your question. Just because I don't answer the way you want, Chris, doesn't mean I'm not answering.
CUOMO: Why won't you answering?
CORTES: No, I am answering. I just don't answer the way you like.
CUOMO: You won't answer the specific question. You're blaming it on her family.
CORTES: Yes, or whomever, whatever adult brings a child to our border and tries to break our laws and breaks and enters --
CUOMO: We should then punish the child and allow them to sign a contract which is illegal under every law in every state?
CORTES: They are the ones who are abusing the child, not the United States. That's my point. (CROSSTALK)
CUOMO: So what about the system that allows a 5-year-old to sign away her rights? What does it mean about you, that you'll ignore something so obvious in the interest of this political advantage?
CORTES: Here's the answer, by the way. This humanitarian crises on the border -- and they're awful. I'm the first to say that.
CUOMO: Now, it's awful. You won't answer the question but you think it's awful.
CORTES: No, but here's the solution. A wall. We need a wall.
CUOMO: Yes, right. This is what happens in Israel or Egypt.
SANDERS: Do you think it's okay to have kids in cages? Do you think that's okay?
CORTES: That's exactly right.
CUOMO: It's a 150-mile border, not 2,000 miles. You have armed guards on the border in Israel. That's what you want to here?
CORTES: We're Americans. We're very capable of having a real border.
This caravan which is forming right now in Central America which is going to demand entry into the United States, as if it's somehow their right, as if we don't have rights, as if Hispanic Americans don't have rights.
CUOMO: Is it illegal to come here and ask for asylum? Symone, is it illegal to come to the United States and ask for asylum?
SANDERS: Absolutely not, Chris. It's not. And the fact of the matter is under the Trump administration, asylum seekers are actually being turned away. They're being turned away and being told to come back tomorrow. Come back next week. Come back a month from now.
These are folks that are fleeing unimaginable circumstances. I don't have children, but I can't imagine what it must feel like to have to leave my homeland where I am from to pack up and go on a treacherous journey because I believe that that is the only way to save my family.
CORTES: If that's true, Symone, if that's true --
SANDERS: That is what's true. Perhaps we could inject -- perhaps we could inject a little more humanity into the conversation, Steve.
CORTES: If they're leaving treachery, they would ask for asylum in Mexico. They would not cross an enormous country of Mexico to get to the United States border, if it were all about fleeing immediate danger and treachery. Let's just be honest. That's not --
CUOMO: They want a better life. How do they know they don't face the same things in parts of Mexico?
CORTES: The point is -- listen, I don't besmirch them --
SANDERS: You don't have an answer.
CUOMO: You're besmirching.
CORTES: No, for wanting -- no, no, hold on, for wanting a better life. But that doesn't mean -- if we were to allow every person who wants a better life into the United States --
CUOMO: I'm talking about asylum. You process them. That's the system. Anyway --
CORTES: Right. But my point is asylum, if they need asylum.
CORTES: If they're truly in danger, they should do it in Mexico immediately.
CORTES: The second they get to Mexico.
CUOMO: All right. Look, we got to leave it there. We've got to leave it there.
CORTES: Because Mexico will do it. The fact they go all the way through the country of Mexico to get to the United States tells me there is a very different --
SANDERS: If this is the closing argument for the Republican Party 20 days out from the midterm election, I would venture to say folks are in trouble.
CUOMO: Bring us your tired, your poor, those --
CORTES: We need to build the wall.
CUOMO: -- yearning for a better life if Mexico won't have you.
CORTES: Build the wall, legal immigration is fantastic. Build the wall. Legal immigration only.
CUOMO: Steve, thank you very much. Symone, appreciate it.
All right. That's a hot topic and I'll tell you what, it's not about policy, it's not really just about law. Why doesn't Steve want to talk about the 5-year-old? Why? Bad optics.
This is about culture, OK. That's what the immigration issue is about. It's not just about the law. Don't make it so simplistic.
Nobody wants illegal immigration to be the main way into this country. Everybody thinks if you break the law, you have to be dealt with. The system is broken, it has to be better, but it's about culture, not just policy.
Now, you know who may be helping Democrats get out the vote soon? Or this is what he says he wants to do. Trump loyalist turned antagonist Michael Cohen, he's not on the president's team any more. He has been meeting with prosecutors for an amount of time that is eye popping, and he's not just talking about money given to women. Details next.
CUOMO: Here we are at the muro blanco, the white wall here. We have new reporting. People around Trump are expecting more indictments from the Mueller probe.
We are told that in terms of timing, if that were to happen, it would probably happen by general guidance in these investigations after midterms. And that the reporting is that supposedly there is somewhat of a pressure for this to wind up sooner rather than later.
So what could be happening? Are there explosive findings coming? Are there going to be incremental ones? Will there be more investigation going on after all of this?
Those are political questions. But Michael Cohen now looms large. We have new information about this. You know him, Trump's long-time fixer, really his lawyer and confidant, now foe.
He was spotted just today leaving his attorney's office after reportedly sitting down with a group of state and federal officials investigating Trump's family business.
What does it mean? Well, it must mean something because the president is coming at him anew saying he was just a P.R. guy and that he was lying when he said that Trump told him to do things. We know with the tape he wasn't lying about that.
Let's bring in two people who can help us piece together the direction of this investigation. Phil Mudd, former FBI senior intelligence advisor, and Berit Berger, former prosecutor for the Southern District of New York.
It's great to have you both here. You can see my wall, yes, guys?
BERIT BERGER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes.
So, time talking, that's a relevant metric here -- 50 hours. What does 50 hours mean to you, Berit?
BERGER: That's incredibly significant. Prosecutors don't waste their time with somebody that doesn't have important information. For prosecutors to have spent 50 hours talking to somebody, that information would have to be both substantial and more importantly useful for the prosecutors. They have to be able to do something with the information that Michael Cohen would be giving them.
CUOMO: Now, three pieces of context. Bannon was in there for a dozen hours or so. Priebus was in there for about 20 hours. Neither of those guys want to be a witness.
Mudd, we are also told this isn't just with one group, it's with various groups. And there is a possibility that a big part of this time is assessing credibility for Cohen. But how do you see this number?
PHIL MUDD, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER: I see it from one angle. Remember what happened to Paul Manafort when the jurors came out of the Manafort judgment?
MUDD: They said, you know, Manafort's deputy Rick Gates, nice. We follow documents. We believe documents. Remember, we had FBI raids not only on Cohen's office, but also on his hotel room and home.
CUOMO: Right, right.
MUDD: I suspect some of what's happening here is the feds are going through a ton of documents like they did in the Manafort case and telling Cohen, hey, what does this mean, what does that mean, where did this money come from, where is this Russian money from, where is this Ukrainian money from? I think a lot of this is detail on documents.
CUOMO: All right. Berit, what's the top thing that Cohen could mean to Mueller?
BERGER: Look, I think Cohen could give Mueller information about the campaign. I mean, he certainly played a role in that. I think his most significant role, though, could be talking about that infamous Trump tower meeting. We've heard reporting on that and obviously he could tell us who was there, who knew about it ahead of time, and most importantly, what the president knew about it.
CUOMO: All right. And then we have the other category, Phil, that he could be talking to state and federal authorities about taxes and the foundation. Now, on the foundation, what we understand is that the Trump Foundation is a very small universe of people who control it. Now, Cohen did have access to what was going on in that foundation.
What's relevant to you here? What could come up on these things?
MUDD: One bottom line, and that is we've already seen from the Mueller team that if they see something that is potentially illegal, that they think is outside their area of responsibility, they're going to pass that off to other prosecutors. If I'm the Trump team, I may be more worried about what gets passed off to the Southern District of New York than what the Mueller team actually brings over to Rosenstein for potentially prosecution, in particular, whether the southern district of New York gets information from the Mueller team about financial improprieties.
Bottom line, did the Trump guys do dirty stuff with money, especially money from Russia?
CUOMO: Berit, taxes, criminal statute of limitations from the stuff that came up in that big article about the estate planning for Trump's father? Probably all have run, but fines have not run. Civil penalties have not run. Could that be something?
BERGER: Certainly. And I think the reporting said that in this meeting today they were also meeting with members of the New York state attorney general's office. We know that they filed a civil suit dealing with the misuse of charitable funds from the Trump foundation. So Michael Cohen can certainly be providing information that is relevant to that.
CUOMO: Right, wrongful conduct maybe. Collusion, only remote possibilities. You know, things that are relevant to Russia and all that, those are still maybes and it will be an interesting politic consideration, guys, if it's not about illegality, is it important enough to the American people to have warranted everything that's come before it?
Let me ask you both before I let you go. Who thinks there are going to be more indictments?
Berit? Mudd? Speak up.
MUDD: Oh, yes, bottom line -- guarantee it. I'll give you a thousand bucks if there's not. A thousand bucks in your pocket.
CUOMO: You don't have a thousand bucks.
MUDD: Well, 100.
BERGER: I'm not sure I have a thousand bucks in my pocket either. But I think we're likely to see more indictments as well.
CUOMO: All right. How about this report. Who thinks the report is going to have something that can create political cataclysm, who thinks it meets that bar?
BERGER: I agree.
CUOMO: Really? I'm on the inside of both of those. But what do I know?
CUOMO: Who thinks the most likely action here would be impeachment? Who thinks there will be something of that level?
BERGER: Not me.
MUDD: Absolutely not, no.
CUOMO: So you think it's significant enough to say, yes, it's going to be a big deal in the report but not enough to impeach? So where does that leave us?
BERGER: I think it leaves us where we are with a lot of these things. There's news, there's smoke, there's fire, everyone gets upset about it, but then nothing actually happens. I think this is what we just keep seeing time and again.
Trump seems to be kind of made of Teflon. A lot of things come up with any other administration or any other time period would have been, you know, absolutely catastrophic. Just simply bounce off of him.
CUOMO: Phil, Berit, you did a very god job and I'm not saying that because you kind of bringing us to the place where I've been hoping people that understand all along. If you are waiting for something to come out from the Mueller probe that ends this presidency, prepare yourself for disappointment.
All right, thank you to both of you.
Canada's officially legalizing weed. Should we? The great weed debate. Don't have Sanjay Gupta for it, but I have the next best thing, next.
CUOMO: Big day up north. Today, dispensaries across Canada opened their doors to long lines of people waiting to legally buy recreational marijuana.
Under the law which just passed, Canada's Senate in June, adults will be allowed to buy, use, possess and grow pot with some rules. Among others, it can't be sold where Canadians buy alcohol or tobacco, and in Quebec and Alberta, the legal age is 18. It's 19 for the rest of the country.
Let's bring in D. Lemon.
D. Lemon, I give you the choice, for or against?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: For. Thank you and good night.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
LEMON: I'm for --
CUOMO: I'm against.
LEMON: Why? CUOMO: For the sake of argument I'm against. Personally, I'm for.
LEMON: I'm for. Listen, I've said this for a long time. You mentioned Sanjay before the tease. Even before -- Sanjay talks strictly about medical marijuana. He doesn't hold a position on recreational marijuana.
CUOMO: A hundred percent.
LEMON: But I think that we need to have an open mind about this because all the studies show that marijuana is not as bad for you if it's bad at all, as alcohol. Alcohol is much worse. The addiction rates for alcohol, the death rates for alcohol and on and on and on. Yet it is legal.
Most of the people I know who are familiar with marijuana usually handle it pretty well, and most of the time you don't know they're using it. It helps with headaches. It helps with their eyes. It helps with cancer. It helps all kinds of things.
CUOMO: All right.
LEMON: It makes people chill out. You don't get the wheel usually and get a DUI. When you smoke a joint or whenever you do marijuana, you want to chill. You don't want to go out and drive a car or go dancing.
CUOMO: Strong points.
The pushback is that less bad is not the best policy standard to make something legal. And when you talk to people --
LEMON: OK. Maybe it's good for you.
CUOMO: Well, it depends. Medical marijuana, there's stuff about that. That's about CBD oil as opposed to the THC, you know, the components that a hallucinogenic.
And the pushback would be there are those who deal with addiction and rehab who would say almost every story that comes their way about getting started in drugs involves marijuana. And when you talk to educators and experts in that field, they'll say most often the kids who are struggling and have behavior problems and learning problems, marijuana use is often among the top exacerbating factors.
So do you know what will happen if you legalize it, or are we going to be creating problems?
LEMON: Well, if you legalize it, then you get to regulate it, and your parents will be more open to talking to you about it.
Listen, I don't want to single out Cheetos, but potato chips aren't great for you. We sell it. Cigarettes aren't good for you. We sell it.
CUOMO: But those aren't gateways to worse things. LEMON: Who says that marijuana -- you don't think that alcohol is a
CUOMO: I do believe it's a gateway.
LEMON: OK, then you solve that. Everywhere. You can't go to a corner in New York City, most big cities, without a bodega that sells alcohol or a bar that sells alcohol obviously or a restaurant that sells alcohol obviously. And we have huge problems with alcohol addiction.
You don't have those huge problems with marijuana. It's a good way. You regulate it. You take off the stigma and the illegal and underground part of it. So, it's all good.
CUOMO: All right. Don kind of overtalk me on that, but weigh in on Twitter and let any know who won.
LEMON: I got you tonight --
CUOMO: All right, easier argument.
LEMON: We're going to continue on with the Khashoggi story on this show.
CUOMO: All right, bud. I'll check in with you in a second.
CUOMO: All right. You probably already know that President Trump is a smart man. People who say he isn't, they're making a mistake. Now, he calls himself a very stable genius. He went to the best colleges.
But did you also know about his background in science? We have something for you that I'm calling a toxic tasty cake, and you do not want to miss it.
CUOMO: All right. It is a beguiling question. Why? Why does the president fight the science of climate change? We ask that a lot. Is it corporate deference?
He says he doesn't need their money and that he's about the little guy, you know, the next generation and second generation to have to deal with whatever happens. Is it because he has better science? He's never offered any.
Is he just feeding fear or facts? Maybe. Or that green jobs are going to remove the need for current workers. There's no proof for that.
Well, guess what? We timely know where President Trump's confounding contempt for climate change comes from, and here it is. I call it the Uncle John/I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night notion. Look at this quote. It says it all, OK? I'm calling this a toxic
tasty cake. It's all the bad things about Trump on climate in just one quote.
The reporter says: scientists say this is nearing a point where this can't be reversed. And here's what he says, OK? He says this.
No, no. Some say that, but he has -- there's so much in this. I want to take it bit by bit, OK?
Here's the first thing that he says, all right? You have scientists on both sides. No, you don't. NASA says 97 percent of climate scientists agree warming trends are extremely likely due to human activities, OK?
What else do we know? Seventeen of the 18 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001. So either way, scientists on both sides, not so much.
But then here's the interesting thing, all right? He says, my Uncle John was a great professor. I'm not making this up. This is a quote. You can check it.
He was a great professor at MIT for many years. Dr. John Trump. Uncle John. Yes, Trump is telling the absolute truth. He did have an Uncle John. He did work at MIT as a professor.
But Uncle John here at MIT, I don't know what that thing is, but I know this. It had nothing to do with climate science because Uncle John was an electrical engineer, not a climatologist.
It gets better. Even if Uncle John were a climatologist or a hobbyist who just read up on it, Trump says he never spoke to him about this particular subject, which would make sense because it wasn't his field, but what an odd thing for him to acknowledge. So he concludes that, I have a natural instinct for science.
So let me get this right. You don't have any other proof. You're not relying on an uncle who was a scientist who gave you better proof, but you're relying on the fact that you had an uncle who was a scientist, but not a climate scientist, to come to the conclusion that you therefore have a knack for knowing more than real scientists.
That's how he gets to how he feels about climate change. Ladies and gentlemen, President Donald Trump.
That's all for us tonight. Thank you for watching.
"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now.