Return to Transcripts main page
CUOMO PRIME TIME
Jamal Khashoggi Case Examined; Immigration Issues Discussed. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 18, 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.
The Saudis want more time to investigate Jamal Khashoggi's presumed murder. The White House says you got it. Why? Reportedly, the Saudis want to explain this as a botched interrogation. That word, that notion, it bothered us. How can you see something so heinous as merely botched?
We did some digging and uncovered a long dark history of disappearing Saudi dissidents. We have a key interview with an insider who says they can expose the truth.
And the president is raging against the caravan of migrants heading this way as if it were a marauding hoard according to him. He says they are the key to the midterms. You better hope not because new data suggests he has failed at a signature promise to reduce illegal entries.
A development that is roiling the West Wing. Reportedly Chief of Staff John Kelly and John Bolton went at it. We have the latest on what caused the blow up and whether a resignation is on the way.
What do you say? Let's get after it.
CUOMO: Far too few answers have emerged in the two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi disappearance. The president only now admitting to the "Washington Post" or actually admitting that "The Washington Post" columnist is likely dead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you believe Jamal Khashoggi is dead?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It certainly looks that way to me. It's very sad. Certainly looks that way.
REPORTER: What are you considering for possible consequences for Saudi based on those?
TRUMP: Well, it will have to be very severe. I mean, it's bad, bad stuff. But we'll see what happens. OK? (END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: The sudden change in tune came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed Trump following his meeting with Saudi and Turkish officials. Now, the two are still keeping mum on details. With Pompeo allegedly pushing President Trump to give Saudi Arabia a few more days to investigate what happened.
But as shocking and grizzly the possible details seem to be, they are less shocking to say those who say they know what the Saudis are capable of, especially with their enemies.
My next guest is it an attorney. His former client remains missing to this day. Clyde Bergstresser is his name.
Sir, thank you for joining us.
CLYDE BERGSTRESSER, ATTORNEY FOR KIDNAPPEED SAUDI PRINCE: You're welcome, Chris.
CUOMO: You know, when we found you, we had been looking into this idea of botched. It's such an innocuous way to look at something so horrible. But it's not that odd if it's looking at a practice that they do often. And that it's something that they usually get right. And this time went wrong.
You know that to be the reality. How?
BERGSTRESSER: Well, I met Prince Sultan Bin Turki in Boston. Actually, I'm an attorney in Boston, in -- actually it was 2012, and he was here since 2010. He had been hospitalized for avian flu and came from Saudi Arabia to the Boston General Hospital on and off with a brief visit back to Saudi Arabia. He was here for nearly five years --
BERGSTRESSER: -- in various hospitals.
So when I got to know him, got to represent him, he told me about an abduction that had occurred in Geneva, I mean, excuse me -- yes, in Geneva in 2003.
CUOMO: Of him?
BERGSTRESSER: In June of 2003. Of him.
BERGSTRESSER: Because he felt he didn't have a lot to live for. At that point he was pretty much paralyzed in his legs. He was in neurotic pain. He was on pain meds.
And he needed something to live for. He's a very strong, but giving and friendly man.
CUOMO: Why were they out to get him?
BERGSTRESSER: Well, he had been critical of the kingdom as he told me, from not only him but from others. When he was in Geneva between October 2002 and June of 2003, criticisms involving human rights, economic reforms. He was told to stop it.
CUOMO: Sounds very familiar with what we are living through right now.
BERGSTRESSER: Yes. And he was told to come back to Saudi Arabia. He said no. His cousin, the favored son of then King Fahd invited had in the king's residence in Geneva, and all of this is coming from not just Prince Sultan, but his security guards that were there and others that I spoke to over time.
CUOMO: What happened in geneva?
BERGSTRESSER: Well, he described in that he had been invited there by the sheikh as well as his cousin, Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd, the favorite son then, as I understand it, of the king, as well as Sheikh Saleh, the minister of Islamic affairs. He went to the king's residence.
And he describes that five men, they excused themselves, five men with their heads covered in black scar haves came in, took him off the couch, threw him to the ground. He was -- a needle was injected into his neck from which he suffered a paralysis, a hemiparesis of his diaphragm, eventually one side.
He was intubated. There was a doctor present. So not --
CUOMO: They gave him a breathing tube?
BERGSTRESSER: Not a pathologist. But an actual doctor.
CUOMO: Pathologist, that's what we heard about with Jamal Khashoggi. Here it was a doctor and they gave him a breathing tube.
BERGSTRESSER: Yes. They gave him a breathing tube. Apparently in a military style operation as he informed me, brought to a plane at Geneva airport, taken to King Faisal Hospital, intubated. I've seen the medical records. I have the medical records.
They reflected he arrived intubated because of respiratory distress that occurred in Geneva and he needed today be intubated. So rather than take him two blocks to university hospital, major hospital in Geneva, where he was a patient, they took him to King Faisal hospital.
They kept him on house arrest. He was in and out of jail, in and out of house arrest. When they finally let him have his phone back, he got in touch with BBC and complained about his abduction.
So, he was put back as he described to me in jail, and then house arrest, and learned his lesson until he got the avian flu in 2010. They thought he was going to die, comes to Boston, spends years here. I meet him and he says, I got to do something about this. As you can imagine, I was concerned when I heard what had happened
before, you know? If you file a criminal complaint in Geneva, aren't you concerned you are going to be abducted again?
BERGSTRESSER: I made sure he understood the risks. He understood the risks.
CUOMO: What happened?
BERGSTRESSER: But he felt -- so a criminal complaint was filed. I found a very competent trial attorney in Geneva, Pierre Dupree (ph). And we filed a complaint in November of 2014 in Geneva against his cousin and the minister, and, frankly, very little happened after it was filed.
It was very frustrating. I think you can speak to Attorney Dupree from Geneva, and he would tell you the same thing. There was --
CUOMO: Where is he now, the prince?
BERGSTRESSER: Well, the prince now is abducted again. So --
CUOMO: How this time?
BERGSTRESSER: January of 2016, he was abducted along with about 18 people. He got on a plane that was a Saudi plane with a manifest to go visit his father in Cairo. And I was in touch with him in the days before and in the months before.
And that plane that had a manifest as I learned from his security team, from Germany, that he used, had a manifest to go to Cairo and had, as we've all seen when you are on a plane, and there is a flight map showing it's going to Cairo, then it went dark a couple of hours later and they landed in Riyadh.
CUOMO: In Saudi Arabia.
BERGSTRESSER: And they landed in Saudi Arabia. He was taken out screaming, go to the press, go to the embassy. The -- among the people that went and were taken involuntarily to Saudi Arabia were U.S. citizens.
So they were collateral. It was necessary to abduct U.S. citizens collaterally to get what they wanted to do to get him back. And he had refused to drop this criminal complaint.
CUOMO: And that was it? You've never heard from him again?
BERGSTRESSER: I have not heard from him again. He -- I had his cell number. He had my cell number.
I actually got a call from the member of the entourage just as they were getting on to the plane, when I found out it was a Saudi plane, I said put the prince on. This is ridiculous. But it was too late. CUOMO: And what do you think happened to him? Do you have any reason
to believe that he's other alive or dead?
BERGSTRESSER: Well, he -- I understand from people that were there that I've spoken to, and I've spoken to a number of them and I was communicating with the security team through an encrypted service called the Wire while they were being kept in the Ritz. He was being kept I understood at the time in a villa with military guards surrounding him.
He needed around the clock nursing care. So he had the nursing care for a while. Eventually after three days, passports were returned, phones were returned. These passports were removed from U.S. citizens.
CUOMO: And we never heard about it.
BERGSTRESSER: So they are not free to leave.
How come you haven't heard about it?
BERGSTRESSER: The BBC did a documentary about it called "The Missing Princes". And he's not alone. There are other princes apparently that the BBC investigated along with Prince Sultan.
CUOMO: I know the princes, I get them, saying United States citizens. How come we didn't hear that United States citizens were taking? Is that in the documentary?
BERGSTRESSER: It -- I don't know that there were people that were hidden. And I'm not going to disclose any names because they do not want their names disclosed.
BERGSTRESSER: People are afraid.
CUOMO: Well, you are coming forward despite your reservations about this and putting this information out there and what it could mean that attachments to the crown were more than capable of reaching out and touching somebody, not once, but twice, and doing it in a way that is frighteningly familiar to the story we are all following right now.
BERGSTRESSER: Well, it seems that if you are critical of the kingdom and you are a Saudi citizen, even if you are a grandson of the king, first king, that you're not protected, that they will do what they need to do to silence critics. If you are a member of the royal family, apparently you are hopefully kept alive.
I mean, I would like to challenge this administration to find out what happened to Prince Sultan. They apparently have a close relationship with the king and crown prince.
CUOMO: MBS. BERGSTRESSER: They know where Prince Sultan is.
CUOMO: Well, look --
BERGSTRESSER: Grant access. Grant access.
CUOMO: They could ask. I mean it gets a little complicated because they really don't have any connection to the prince other than a human rights political issue. But we've got to take one disappearance at a time this has been really helpful because this idea that it was botched, we didn't mean it this way, we would never do anything like that, now, you have to put that in doubt seeing how they've certainly done it before.
Clyde Bergstresser, thank you very much. I'm sorry that you had to come upon this experience and knowledge the way you have.
BERGSTRESSER: You're welcome.
CUOMO: All right.
All right. Another big story, a caravan of migrants draws closer to America. And the president is threatening to seal the border. He likes to stoke fear that this caravan, they want to come here to steal your jobs, to commit crimes.
What is the reality? This is a big deal, and we'll tell you why, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Remember, it's going to be an election of the caravan, you know what I'm talking about. You know what I'm talking about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Oh, I know what he's talking about. And I hope the president is right. It is time for this country to make a choice. And the flash point could be this caravan of immigrants, thousands of people on its way from Honduras.
Now, legally, they are allowed to request asylum in this country. Doesn't mean they can deserve it but they get it, but they can ask.
I'm going to leave these images playing on the wall over here. Please don't see these people as Trump does -- monsters on the march. See them as they are. Desperate, leaving behind whatever they had and whomever they knew, all for a better chance at life, a real life.
Trump seems to see them as the walking dead, this walking threat, especially to his posture as Mr. Tough guy on the border. As Border Patrol agents have told me many times, we're not a wall away from stopping this problem. And this problem really isn't about people being drug dealers, gang
bangers and rapists. All that bad stuff comes across, no doubt. But overall, study after study has shown that immigrants are responsible for less crime than the rest of us. And, by the way, criminals don't usually form caravans, FYI.
Look, the biggest factor here is jobs. These people are fleeing places with anemic economies, trying to get to a country with more jobs than there are workers, the United States. All right?
Just two days ago, Trump's own Department of Labor announced the number of open jobs in this country tops seven million. All right? Most of those jobs are in industries that should matter politically to Trump, farming, trucking, construction, just to name a few.
This is not what Trump wants you to know. He needs a boogie man so he can stoke anger and find a way to be a hero. So, faced with the new data that he is not stopping illegal entries and that a big group is coming, know that the illegal entries is up under his watch, he's doing the only thing he knows how to do, he's attacking.
On Tuesday, he said he was going to cut off aid to Honduras, OK? What else did he say? He made the same threat in the spring that went nowhere. By Tuesday night, he was going after Guatemala and El Salvador. He's also somehow blaming the Democrats, threatening now to seal the entire border.
Immigration is argued as an economic and security issue. Let's be real. At bottom, you know what it is, it's a culture issue. It's about what America is. It's definitional.
Trump wants to limit legal immigration as well as illegal. Demonize people from the south. And idolize Norwegians. Trump's adviser, many of his defenders, they say "The New Colossus", the words holding up Lady Liberty, are merely that, words, not policy.
They are wrong. Those words were chosen because they defined this place. If Trump gets his way, lifting her lamp beside the golden door will become holding a stop sign in front of a militarized wall.
Either America welcomes the tired, the poor, and masses yearn go to be free, or it doesn't. This determination may be the biggest impact Trump ever has. It would ironically erase the opportunity for people like him to get into this country. It will change who we are. And it will change how we are viewed by the world, arguably for the worst.
So, if the midterms are about this, it's going to be a big deal and I think it's going to motivate people to vote.
Now, immigration as we know was one of the president's signature issues. He started talking about it build the wall -- I know it came up in haphazard fashion, but it stoked outrage, it gave people an enemy, firing up the base.
Will it work in the midterms? Or is it going to fire up a reaction from people who want this country to remain the symbol that it is? Great basis for a great debate. What do you say? Let's have it,
CUOMO: So will you go to the polls in the proposition is about whether or not America still welcomes in people as immigrants or not?
The president's banking on the fact that you will. And he's using the fact that thousands of Central American migrants are approaching the U.S. border as a catalyst.
The president is pointing at this caravan and lashing out. He tweeted: I'm watching the Democrat Party led because they want open borders and existing weak laws, assault on our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, adding, I must in the strongest of terms ask Mexico to stop this onslaught and if unable to do so, I will call up the U.S. military and close our southern border.
Closing the border, by the way, would be near impossible task. We've been trying to do that all along.
So, is the president once again talking tough? Is this a way to stoke anger for the midterms or is it something more?
Let's put it to the great debate, Christine Quinn and Rick Santorum.
So, what do you think, Rick? Is this a winning proposition for the president to say, here they come? This is the example of the problem coming this way. We got to stop them. Will that bring your people to the polls?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there is a great concern about illegal immigration. I mean, you know, you've made it sound like the president is against all immigration. The president is not against all immigration.
CUOMO: He does want to reduce illegal immigration.
SANTORUM: Some forms of it.
CUOMO: Many forms of it.
SANTORUM: Well, OK, he wants to -- the visa lottery and he wants to chain migration, which --
CUOMO: Family reunification.
SANTORUM: -- have bipartisan support.
So the idea that the president has some radical view of immigration policy is absolutely not true. I mean, he has a view that used to be the Democrat view, used to be --
CUOMO: Really? SANTORUM: Absolutely. If you go back to the Clinton administration,
you know, Barbara Jordan had a commission that she chaired where she said very clearly that the American public has a right to control its border and limit illegal immigration.
CUOMO: I don't think anybody is saying that's what the proposition is.
Christine Quinn, do you believe the Democrats saying forget about illegal immigration, it's about legal? We don't want anymore people from those crappy countries.
SANTORUM: Well, the caravan is illegal.
CUOMO: Hold on a second. Lets get her get in. We want more Norwegians, Christine. No more people like you and me. And by the way, our boy Santorum, he's not getting any either.
CHRISTINE QUINN (D), FORMER NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER: No, I never remember Bill Clinton talking about only wanting Norwegians to come into the country. So, that fact, Rick, is not true.
SANTORUM: Read the report.
QUINN: But let's talk about what's happening here. We have people fleeing Honduras from cities that have the worst murder rate in the country, fleeing gangs who are extorting them in their own neighborhoods, fleeing completely impoverished conditions in many places with not enough food or not enough water to drink. And they are coming here knowing well that they may not get in. But looking for an opportunity to stand before an American judge and make their case for asylum because they are refugees fleeing the worst violence in the world. Potentially.
And the question is, is America going to look in the eyes of those women and children, the same types of women and children that we ripped babies out of the mother's hands, are we going to look at them and tell them that their fear, their flight, their struggles, their potential murder they are facing is not important to us because of the color of their skin and where they come from?
I don't believe that's the America I'm a part of. I don't believe that's the America that welcomes my grandparents from Ireland without any jobs skills and not a penny in their pocket. That's not America. And real America can't look these women and children in the eye and say go back and die.
CUOMO: Rick, what's the counter?
SANTORUM: And that's the question a lot of Americans have concerns about, because if you use the standard that Christine just outlined there are literally billions of people who fit that description, billions of people who fit that description around the world. And so, the answer is if any of them can somehow find their way to the border of the United States, we need to accept them. And the reality is Americans are very generous people. But the
reality is we cannot accept hundreds of millions or billions of people who fit Christine's description showing up on our border demanding that they be let into in country, participate in all of the health care systems -- free health care, because if you show up at a hospital in America, they don't ask questions, you get free health care, free education which is also the case in this country and a bunch of other services.
CUOMO: They are not entering. They are asking. There is a difference.
SANTORUM: We are talking about people who tried to get into this country illegally.
CUOMO: No, we're not, by the way.
QUINN: No, we're not.
SANTORUM: The caravan of people illegal trying to get into this country.
CUOMO: Hold on a second. Rick, how do you know the people coming from Honduras are already illegally when they haven't entered?
QUINN: And know they are going before the judge?
CUOMO: Hold on --
SANTORUM: Are you suggesting there are legal immigrants in that caravan? People who have approved legal status to come into this country legally? And they are in the caravan? I don't think so, Chris.
CUOMO: Let me ask you something, is it illegal to come to the border without any papers or authorization and ask to enter? Is it illegal?
SANTORUM: It's not illegal, but it's certainly illegal to cross the border.
CUOMO: So then they are not illegal entrants at this point.
SANTORUM: Well, but no one had permission to come to this country at this point.
CUOMO: But you are not doing something illegal if you come without permission. You can make your case and you can be accepted or denied. True or false?
SANTORUM: And, of course, what happens when people come into this country and ask for asylum, they go through the process, then they don't show up.
CUOMO: Here's what I know. SANTORUM: And end up --
CUOMO: That is true, but it's not as true as you say it is. And with remediation programs, you got the number up over 80 percent of people showed up, which, by the way by is about the same as people who show up for all desk appearances. Just so you know that.
QUINN: And, Rick, what --
CUOMO: But, Christine, I want to ask you something else. Here's what I have a problem with. Let's say we pass a law. Let's say Rick is right, the political will is where he says it is, and they pass a law that is clearly designed to stop specific folks from coming into the country.
And let's say we have a law like that and they say people from that part of the world can't come in.
SANTORUM: No one is suggesting, Chris.
CUOMO: The president has.
SANTORUM: No, he hasn't.
CUOMO: He has said we need better laws that encourage more people.
SANTORUM: All he's talked about is making sure we don't have folks that will do danger to this country, come from countries that have high rates of activity that can be dangerous to our country and he's tried to limit that immigration.
CUOMO: What did he mean when he said can't we have more people from Norway? What did he mean?
QUINN: He may have wanted a particular type of people.
SANTORUM: That was a stupid statement.
CUOMO: That was a stupid statement and we brush it aside.
What if he punched someone in the face in a debate and say that was a weak judgment but not judge it? Come on.
SANTORUM: Are you suggesting, Chris, the president doesn't make some outrageous statements that aren't consistent with his policies?
CUOMO: I'm saying you got to own them is what I'm saying and not brush them aside and create policy he doesn't believe in.
QUINN: And there are statements made by a man who put in place a policy of taking children away from their parents at the border, children who are still being detained, children who still can't be reunited with their parents.
CUOMO: Children who sign away their own rights at five by the way.
QUINN: So brushing off what they president says around immigration is a reckless thing to do, because his actions match his words.
The other thing, Rick, you are doing is what a lot of Trump supporters do is just catastrophized, you're taking what is a caravan of thousands of people and making hundreds of millions of people to stoke fear into the American public.
SANTORUM: So do you limit it at 4,000? Do you limit it at 10,000? Limit at a million? Where would you limit it, Christine? How many people --
CUOMO: I think you do it case by case.
SANTORUM: How many?
QUINN: You do it case by case.
SANTORUM: But how many should we allow?
QUINN: I'm not going to put a number.
SANTORUM: How many have come into this country per year legally? Do you know that number?
QUINN: Rick, I am not going to put a flat --
SANTORUM: Do you know the number?
QUINN: I'm not going to put a flat number.
SANTORUM: Do you know the number, Christine?
CUOMO: Tell her the number, Rick. We're about answers here, I ask the questions.
SANTORUM: The number is a million people every year coming to this country illegally.
QUINN: You know what, Rick, I'm not going to put the number on the need of the world.
SANTORUM: So, it's unlimited.
QUINN: Rick, I'm not putting a number --
SANTORUM: Then you're saying we're trying to stoke fear when you said it's unlimited, you said that.
QUINN: Case by case.
CUOMO: But it can't be unlimited, Christine.
QUINN: I'm not saying it's unlimited. But we're not even at the point of having that conversation. We need to write now right now be focusing on these efforts of the president to make the people who are coming into criminals and horrible --
SANTORUM: People who break the law are criminals.
CUOMO: True, people who break the law are criminals.
QUINN: And these individuals are not breaking the law. They are coming to the border seeking asylum.
CUOMO: That's true too.
QUINN: And they're willing to go through the process of seeking asylum.
CUOMO: Here's what we have to be careful about.
QUINN: And the president has turned them into criminals and turned the back at the Statue of Liberty.
SANTORUM: We don't know what they're going to do.
CUOMO: You can't judge them before they do it. The president does exaggerate --
SANTORUM: We know that in most of the cases, you even said, Chris, most of these people coming, Christine even said, most of the people come in because of economic hardship.
SANTORUM: That is not a reason.
QUINN: And violence, and violence.
SANTORUM: You cannot get into this country on asylum because you have economic hardship.
CUOMO: It's true, but you got to be careful on both sides. The left has to be careful to make it seemed like you want everybody to come in and there are no limits. There's no question about that, at least rhetorically you got to deal with it.
On the other side, Rick, you got to think about it, because if they pass something that's like the 1921 emergency quota acted again, and I went back and looked at the legislative history of that. You know that -- SANTORUM: Targeted your relatives and my relatives.
CUOMO: And I'll tell you what, the legislation sounded just like today.
SANTORUM: It was horrible.
QUINN: And it's today.
CUOMO: You know, the Pedros (ph) and the Carmelos of this world, was our forbearers from coming in, so you got to be careful on both sides.
SANTORUM: It targeted Italians and Jews.
CUOMO: We are very close to that now. That's why --
SANTORUM: I disagree with that.
QUINN: The rhetoric is the same. Who is being targeted is different. But the rhetoric is the same.
CUOMO: Rick, I'll send you the legislative history. It scared me when I read it, given where we'd come from. And you and I, who knows where we'd be.
Christine, Santorum, thank you very much, Rick, appreciate having you here.
SANTORUM: Thank you.
QUINN: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. So the president has threatened Mexico as part of his stop the caravan because you heard what he wants you to believe is among his population. Wouldn't you like to know what Mexico's response is? What they think about that? We never hear that.
We went and we have the ambassador right there to give us some answers, next.
CUOMO: Video has emerged of Mexican federal police planes landing at the Mexico-Guatemala border to address the migrant caravan heading for the United States. Trump is exhorting Mexico to stop the caravan from making it to the U.S. military. He even said he would use military to stop them.
He also said he would up end the new trade deal with Mexico. He also said he would stop any aid to Central American countries if they don't disband this caravan.
So, is this Mexico's fault? Can they stop the caravan? Should they stop the caravan? Mexico's ambassador to the U.S. is Geronimo Gutierrez and he joins us
Mr. Ambassador, thank you.
GERONIMO GUTIERREZ, MEXICO AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: Thank you very much, Chris. It's nice to be here with you and your program.
CUOMO: The pleasure is mine.
There is word that maybe there is a deal struck between U.S. and Mexico. Do you know any such thing?
GUTIERREZ: No, Chris, last week, we had had an important conference here in Washington, D.C. that was co-convened by Mexico and the United States inviting the Central American countries to address precisely these type of issues. And if there was something clear about that conference, it's that we need to work on two tracks. One is we need to address the development in a way that people are not forced to migrate. And we also need to make sure that laws are enforced and that we address security.
And what we do with the United States and our Central American partners is precisely that. That is, in my view, the way to approach this type of phenomenal.
CUOMO: But there is no deal that you no he about that happened very recently where Mexico and the U.S. made a deal what to do with this caravan?
GUTIERREZ: No, we work very closely with the United States government in addressing our shared objectives regarding regional migration.
GUTIERREZ: And we obviously have an important and ongoing cooperation agenda on security.
The recent steps taken by the Mexican government are the result of our own policy and our own immigration policy. We just recently announced, the Mexican government announced that we have requested the intervention of the U.N., the Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees, to help us review as a result of this caravan, to help us review the asylum requests that might come by any one of the members of the caravan.
And this allows us to have a solution that is transparent, that is respectful of international law and human rights. But at the same time, we need to make sure that Mexican immigration law is enforced.
CUOMO: Right. The president is making a simple request. I don't know if Mexico wants to satisfy it, which is stop them. Do not let them make it from your land to the United States.
Can you do that? Would you do that? GUTIERREZ: All countries, whether you are an origin, a transit, or a
destination country, I think all these have a shared interest in making sure that whatever migration takes place is safe, it's secure, it's orderly and it's respectful of human rights. And people from these countries have in fact gone into Mexico and requested asylum.
Just today, we had the seven members of the caravan, the first seven members actually requesting asylum in Mexico, a refugee in our case.
GUTIERREZ: And that is why precisely why we brought the High Commission on Refugees from the U.N.
CUOMO: But the president believes almost all of them want to come here, they don't want to be in Mexico because they don't believe the opportunities will be that much better for them there than they were where they left, so they want to come to the United States. And he's telling you, you need to stop them and it might affect your relationship and the recently made deal.
Is the threat something for you to think about?
GUTIERREZ: Whatever Mexico decides is going to be based on our own priorities and our immigration policy. But we do have, as I mentioned, a shared interest with the United States in making sure that the migration is safe, secure and orderly.
And it's very important that we are working together with the United States to address development issues in the Northern Triangle Countries.
CUOMO: He says he's going to cut off all aid to those countries if the caravan comes to the United States border.
GUTIERREZ: Well, I think that -- I would beg to differ. I think it's important that we address development. And I think we are trying to do so with the United States.
Certainly, the Mexican government does not promote irregular or condone irregular immigration. But at the same time, we cannot close our eyes to, you know, the humanitarians situation that has been presented. And that is precisely the right way to go, no?
So as these people have reached the Mexican border, you just saw some pictures of federal police, we need to make sure of three things. If someone wants to enter Mexico, they should do so in compliance with Mexican immigration law. If they are seeking asylum or refugee, they should naturally do a request, and that is Mexico is ready to support in that way. And if they decide to enter illegally into Mexico, they can very well be subject to repatriation. And, you know, that is in the interests of Mexico.
CUOMO: Ambassador, I appreciate you coming onto talk about this. We are going to have to talk again, because we're going to have to see what happens, because the president has a much more simple reckoning, which is he doesn't want them, he doesn't them to reach the border and he's going to be looking to blame people if it gets that far.
So when we get more facts, we see the movements, I'd love to have you back onto talk about the state of play.
GUTIERREZ: It would be my pleasure, Chris. Thank you very much.
CUOMO: Ambassador, be well.
All right. Ahead, one of the most stunning ads of the political seasons, maybe one of the most stunning I've ever heard, next.
CUOMO: All right. Now, I'm going to play you something that I was actually worried about playing because I thought it was a racist spoof. But it's real and really weird to say the least.
This is what someone thought would help Trump and candidates who support him with black voters.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you think about what's happening in Washington?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our Congressman French Hill and the Republicans know that it's dangerous to change the presumption of innocence to presumption of guilt, especially for black men. If the Democrats can do that to a white justice of the Supreme Court with no evidence, no corroboration and all of her witnesses including her best friend say it didn't happen, what would happen to our husbands, our fathers or our sons when ha white girl lies on them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Girl, white Democrats will be lynching black folk again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honey, I've always told my son, don't be missing around with that. If you get caught, she will cry rape.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm voting to keep Congressman French Hill and the Republicans because we have to protect our men and boys. We can't afford to let white Democrats to bring us back to bad old days of race verdicts, life sentences and lynchings when a white girl screams rape.
ANNOUNCER: Paid for by Black Americans for the President's Agenda. Not authorized by any candidate or any candidate's committee.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CUOMO: First, that last line, the candidate that they mentioned in the ad says he did not condone this, he did not want this, and the person responsible for the ad is African-American.
Let's bring in Don Lemon.
Don, I never heard anything like that before. I thought I was getting played and it was a spoof.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": It is a spoof. It is a spoof.
CUOMO: But the guy who heads the organization is African American.
LEMON: Yes, we can talk -- I mean, Vernon Robinson, do you know about his run for Congress a couple of times?
LEMON: He always loses.
Listen, we always talk about considerate Republicans, moderate Republicans, sensible Republicans, Jack Kemp was one of them. Jack Kemp endorsed him and took away his endorsement because he had a tough stance reportedly on immigration. Some of his ads were taken off the air.
I don't know that much about him politically. I studied up on him just a little bit. So, but he's an extremist.
Listen, there are conservative people of color, no doubt, but it doesn't matter which color you are. You can be an extremist at any end of the spectrum, on the right and on the left. So he's considered that.
But it's just sad. Invoking -- people should be upset if a white girl screams rape. I mean, it's just like every racist trope and ignorant trope that you can think of.
CUOMO: And he puts all that ignorance, because I'm assuming he was behind what was going to be said by these black women, it plays on stereotypes in terms of the way they speak and the level of sophistication and what they seem to be communicating and what they believe is true.
CUOMO: I mean, what would any black voter, conservative or not, if they heard that ad, what are they going to think? I mean, not like you speak for all black people. But I mean, how would you like that? Like the Sopranos representing the African-Americans.
LEMON: It's not like I'm the African-American authority. I think that it's outrageous. Obviously, someone was paid to do that ad. I would imagine that they're actors. But it's not just running in Little Rock. It also ran in stations in Missouri where Josh Hawley is trying to unseat Claire McCaskill.
So, I don't know if they're going to take those ads off the air. It is good I think that Representative French Hill condemned them as well as his Democratic opponent.
It's become a theater of the absurd. You know that. And that's where we are right now. Up is down. Down is up.
CUOMO: Yes. I mean, I just want to call it out so people --
LEMON: It's outrageous.
CUOMO: So we kind of keep minds straight on what we're supposed to be and what we're not supposed to be.
LEMON: Wait until you hear what Symone Sanders, Ryan Lizza and Alice Stewart have to say about that. And also with me to talk about that and other news is Mr. Fareed Zakaria.
LEMON: Yes. He's staying up late for me.
CUOMO: Very well done. And just for you.
LEMON: Yes. We're going to hear what he -- you know, he is very plugged in on what happens overseas. He is an expert. And he's going to talk to us about this "Washington Post" reporter Khashoggi being killed and what happens with our relationship with Saudi Arabia right now.
CUOMO: Great guests, D. Lemon. I'll see you in a second.
LEMON: See you.
CUOMO: All right. So, she is President Trump's voice around the globe, for a little while longer at least. So what happened tonight when Nikki Haley spoke for herself at one of the most famous dinners in politics? It's a big stage. The ambassador unplugged, next.
CUOMO: By day, she represents the United States on the world stage. But tonight, she's trying her hand at comedy. Outgoing Ambassador Nikki Haley front and center at the annual Al Smith dinner. This is a famous Catholic Charities dinner featuring politicians here in New York.
It's all about how they can deliver some zingers. Here's a taste.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Two years ago, President Trump was here and he made some waves with his remarks. Apparently, no one here could have predicted that.
So, last year -- last year you went with Paul Ryan, who's a Boy Scout. And that's fine but a little boring.
So, this year you wanted to spice things up again, right? I get it. You wanted an Indian woman. But Elizabeth Warren failed her DNA test.
(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)
I'm grateful to the president for appointing me as ambassador because I learned so much about the U.N. I learned that the U.N. has 193 member nations, 180 which are mad at us on any given day. And the most important thing I learned is that with all of our differences, there is still one thing that unites all 193 countries. At one point, every single one of them was paying Paul Manafort.
People ask me all the time what they should call me. Governor, ambassador, Nikki. You can call me anything. Just don't call me anonymous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: So how'd she do? You may say well, it's just about jokes. Well, how she presents herself at the Al Smith, that matters.
And she also took a moment to call out something we talk about a lot here on PRIME TIME, the coarsening of our political discourse. And she directed her message to both parties.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HALEY: In the last two years, I've seen true evil. We have some serious political differences here at home, but our opponents are not evil. They're just our opponents.
We are blessed with a political system that allows us to resolve our differences peacefully. In the end, we must recognize that we are all Americans and we are stronger and healthier when we are united.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, I know that a lot of you guys are going to process this differently, like what do I care about Nikki Haley -- here's why, here's why this matters. Well, one, she could be somebody who runs for president of the United States. I don't think it would happen against Donald Trump. That would take a lot of chutzpah to run in party, especially this next time, assuming that the president runs again. If not, all the calculus changes. But she could run after that.
Her big challenge for all the boxes that she checks, and remember, Nikki Haley as a governor in South Carolina was very popular with lots of different types of people. And right now, she is popular with left and right. So, that's unusual.
She's got a big challenge, though. And she just spoke to it there, the coarsening of American politics, our inability to disagree with decency, division becoming a currency. Has she spoken out about it while she's been in the administration? Has she been that voice? Is that why she's leaving now, so that she doesn't get too attached? Or is it too late?
It's going to be a big test for her. It's going to be a big test for a lot of Republicans, because no matter what happens, no matter how good the economy is, they're going to have to answer for how they feel about what President Trump says. And this was her first sampling of how she'll do that tonight. Thank you for watching.
"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now.