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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Jamal Khashoggi Confirmed Dead by Saudis; Gianforte Incident Discussed; Talking about Midterm Elections. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired October 19, 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. A good weekend to you.
I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
Saudi Arabia finally admits the obvious. Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, they say, is dead. Eighteen suspects suddenly rounded up, people under arrest, including high-ranking officials. The Saudis releasing all this information in the middle of the night there, but here, our eyes are wide open. And we have two people who know the deal in Saudi Arabia.
Their story right now, this was about a fist fight gone crazy. So, a 59-year-old guy versus more than a dozen operatives. Why the bone saw? Still no word on where the body is.
And how do all these guys who work for the crown do this without the prince? We test that.
And you think this of all times would be the right time for the president to be sensitive about violence against journalists, but, no. He celebrated a congressman's assault on a reporter at a rally. How can he howl about Democrats and mobs while glorifying violence himself?
Can his trusted adviser explain? We'll find out tonight.
And the caravan is coming from down south. Dramatic scenes today providing fresh fodder for fear-stoking. Trump thinks that their pain will be his pleasure for the midterms.
Friday -- ah, let's get after it.
CUOMO: OK. So, Saudi Arabia makes an admission and some arrests. All of a sudden, announced in the middle the night, literally, and it does all feel like this is still under cover of darkness. Lots of questions tonight, and we have the right people to answer them. Two former U.S. ambassadors to the region.
Now, Robert Jordan was ambassador to Saudi Arabia under George W. Bush. Gerald Feierstein was ambassador to Yemen under Obama and we must note, we don't have an ambassador to Saudi Arabia right now. That's one of the things that's not exactly greasing the wheels of the process here. So, first big question, and I start with you, Ambassador Jordan. Does
this feel right to you what's happening with Saudi Arabia? That all of a sudden this explosion of activity and all these people around the crown had something to do with it but not MBS himself?
ROBERT JORDAN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SAUDI ARABIA: Chris, this can't feel right to any right-thinking individual. It's complete nonsense. You'd have to believe in the Easter bunny to believe this story that they're concocting.
CUOMO: Well, the Easter bunny is true and as my kids are watching now, they can all attest, but we do have concerns about this story, and let's talk about why, OK? Because they've asked for another month and the administration says here in the United States, take your time. Take your time. The president has said maybe it was rogue actors. And King Salman says it wasn't him.
Why doesn't it smell right to you, Ambassador Jordan?
JORDAN: Well, if you look at the pattern of this crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman over the past two years, everything he has touched has turned to disaster. He's orchestrated this incarceration of his uncles and cousins and businessmen at the Ritz-Carlton last November. He's presided over a terrible war in Yemen. He has abducted the prime minister of Lebanon. He has put many, many people in jail, detained them for nonviolent dissent.
And so I think you have to assume that his fingerprints are all over this. This could not have been his inner circle committing this without his knowledge and approval. I don't think there has been any analyst over the last two weeks who would say otherwise.
CUOMO: And so, Ambassador Feierstein, when we look at this story from them is it was a fist fight. Fist fight led to Khashoggi's death, 59- year-old guy, takes on a dozen operatives in a consulate. One of them we're told is a forensic pathologist and there are reports from the Turks that a bone saw was involved.
What does that sound like to you?
GERALD FEIERSTEIN, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO YEMEN: Well, certainly, and I agree with bob completely and his view on this. If you look at the composition of these 15 people, they weren't interrogators. They were bodyguards. They were security people. As you said, you had this forensic doctor along.
And so, if you look at the reports that the Turks have been putting out which basically says that Jamal was assaulted as soon as he walked into the consulate, and that he was dead within minutes, this was not an interrogation. And the idea that somehow he was struggling or fighting with this group of much younger, very fit human beings just doesn't make any sense.
CUOMO: And, obviously, I didn't need one of the intel sources I have today to tell me this, but it bears repeating. When you have a lot of names offered, it's often done to cover one that's missing. And here, obviously, we don't have the crown prince being involved in this.
The big problem for them, though, Ambassador Feierstein is the body. Where is Jamal Khashoggi? And whatever situation we find Jamal Khashoggi in right now is going to say a lot about what the intentions were in that consulate, yes or no?
FEIERSTEIN: Oh, that's absolutely true. And probably we're never going to see the body. I think the body is probably gone. So again, while it's a good thing that the Saudis have finally acknowledged that Jamal is dead and dead at the hands of Saudi officials, there is a long way to go before we have any confidence that we know exactly what happened, exactly who was responsible and the chain absolutely must lead eventually to Mohammed bin Salman personally.
CUOMO: Now, here's the problem, Ambassador Jordan, where we stand right now. And I think this explains in part innocently why the U.S. has to give pause. What can you do?
If the Saudis say, look, we took a look. This went wrong. It's regrettable on all sides, we'll deal with who did it here. This was a Saudi national. We'll deal with it. Thank you very much.
And the U.N. doesn't step forward, what can the United States do?
JORDAN: Well, a couple of things. First of all, we're still waiting on the Turkish report. And I think this puts some pressure on the Turks to come up with a complete, understandable and credible report.
We've seen a lot of dribbles of news out. Some of which seems plausible. Some of which does not. But I think we really need to hear what the Turks have to say.
We also have this thing called the United States intelligence community. And I have got to believe that they have been able to collect some information over the last two weeks, perhaps to go back and review what they collected previously, and have provided to the administration some further information.
This information, by the way, also needs to be made available to Congress. It's been withheld and I think that's perhaps a growing part of the story here.
CUOMO: What would be your counsel, Ambassador Jordan, if you were still there working within Saudi Arabia right now if the president said to you, look, you know, the U.S. intel community, this isn't a citizen. We don't have any jurisdiction over this. What can I do? What should I do?
I need them in the Middle East. I need them in the war against terror. You know what's going on in Yemen. What we are supposed to do?
What would your counsel be?
JORDAN: My counsel to the president would be, this is an extremely important ally and the ally is the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It's not Mohammed bin Salman. And so, we've got to maintain a relationship that we've had since 1945, the best we can, because we do need them, but we don't need any individual who has gone rogue who is perhaps on the precipice of becoming another Saddam Hussein. That is the worst thing that could happen to Saudi Arabia in the long term and we have to keep a long-term view of this.
CUOMO: Now, assuming, Ambassador Feierstein, you agree, that would mean the three people I've spoken to most recently with experience in this part of the world, also including General Hayden, have also said the same thing. State to state was the way to be with Saudi Arabia. Shifting it to a personal relationship with Salman and Jared Kushner and maybe the president of the United States does not give the United States the flexibility and leverage it need in this situation.
We'll see what happens next. I'd love to have you, gentlemen, back to help us figure out the truth from what we're told. Gentlemen, thank you.
FEIERSTEIN: Thank you.
CUOMO: Have a good weekend.
JORDAN: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. So, what the Saudis said when this first happened is very different from what they're saying now. Is this about their learning curve, or is it about the evolution of a cover story? Next.
CUOMO: So, all of a sudden, Saudi Arabia has it in high gear, admitting Jamal Khashoggi was killed, ending the cover story that he walked back out of the consulate in Turkey. Then they flooded the zone with people arrested and removed because of what happened.
Let's take a look, all right? So here are the faces that have emerged between the Turkish and Saudi investigations. Many of them are known to be high ranking officials with direct ties to MBS who is the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.
Now here's what we know. Why are they pixilated? I don't know. This is the way they were put out. It's not very helpful.
But, again, got seven passports. These are -- they have other information on these other people. They didn't want to put it out. That's supposedly the Turks know certain things.
All right. Here are the numbers. Eighteen Saudi nationals are currently detained for the investigation. Five high-ranking officials have been removed from their posts.
Remember this, though. When you have a lot of numbers and names thrown out there, often, it's done either in the interest of completeness or concealment.
How did all these people who worked so intimately with the crown, yet the crown itself, the prince, had no connection or knowledge. Proof? One of the men they're looking at is Ahmed al-Assiri. He's a one-time two-star general, OK, known within MBS' inner circle as the chief architect behind the kingdom's war in Yemen. Sources say it was he who chose the team involved in Khashoggi's disappearance.
And while it's unclear who exactly is being detained, we do know that Turkish officials are investigating this man, OK? So let's take a look at this. All right?
Now who is this guy? He's also been relieved of command. Saud al- Qahtani, he's a top adviser to MBS, sometimes referred to as his enforcer. Friends of Khashoggi say in the months before he walked in to that consulate, al-Qahtani had called Khashoggi and urged him not to be so critical of the kingdom.
So what else do we know? The Saudi government maintains this was an operation carried out without the knowledge of MBS. Think about how dangerous a proposition that would be to go against this man who has locked up his own family.
You're going to do something without his knowledge that he may not like? Saudi king now ordering the crown prince to oversee the restructuring of its own intelligence service. Again, is this about transparency or is it about concealment?
All right. So another big story today, we see through the GOP's last push effort what they're going to do in the midterms, fear and loathing. The caravans from the south. You have mobs of Democrats all around you.
And yet, for the fear of force and in the shadow of the murder of a journalist, the president is applauding the assault of another member of the press by a GOP congressman he helped elect. Great hype, great hypocrisy? I don't know.
But I do know this -- it is a making of a great debate we're doing very differently tonight, next.
CUOMO: Democrats produce mobs. Republicans produce jobs. That's the new catchy slogan the president rolled out last night.
But also last night, Trump ironically congratulated Congressman Gianforte for literally assaulting a journalist back in 2017.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Greg is smart. And, by the way, never wrestle him. You understand that? Never. Any guy that can do a body slam, he's my kind of -- he's my guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: I'll take you through what I think about what happened with Gianforte and what the president is doing here. But there is one obvious problem with this. The president is clearly celebrating this Republican for violently attacking a journalist.
And that's not hype. He admitted to a crime in the situation, Gianforte. So this isn't my description. It's his own.
But then the president turns around and says Democrats are the ones that produce violent mobs. You see how that creates a little bit of an inconsistency? And at the same time, he says he cares about a Saudi journalist being murdered?
You can't get more fair than this, though. Here's how we're going to debate what's going on right now as we head to the midterms. I believe there's so much for Trump folk to explain. Tonight, I'm giving them both seats. Two on one, just little old me.
Great debate Amy Kremer and Niger Innis.
Thanks for both of you for joining me on a Friday night. Appreciate it.
AMY KREMER, CO-FOUNDER, WOMEN FOR TRUMP: Great to be here, thanks.
CUOMO: All right. So, look, let's just focus on the caravan. The president is very excited about the caravan, Amy. He believes they are a metaphor for all of the monsters that America should be afraid of. Why do you think that works for you?
KREMER: I mean, I don't think it's a metaphor for all the monsters that we face, but I think it is a problem that we have with illegal immigration. And we need to fix our illegal immigration problem.
And he campaigned on that. He promised he was going to do that. And he's focused on that. And he hasn't been able to do it because Congress has held him up. And so, he sees this as an opportunity to finally get something done.
CUOMO: So you think it's Congress. I'll take that on with you, Niger. But one step before. He does call them monsters. He says that they're drug dealers, they're rapists. They are the worst. They're not sending us the best, they're sending us the worst.
Who is doing the raping, Don? Remember when he said that to Don Lemon? Who is doing the raping?
You look at the data, the people who come in, illegal aliens as you like to call them. They commit crime at a lower rate than the rest of us. He doesn't know the composition of this caravan but he's making assumptions and he's telling people this is what you should fear. Are you okay with that, Amy?
KREMER: I mean, look, I want him to fix our immigration problem. We need to know who is coming in and going out of this country. We should only accept the best here, Chris. Why is that a problem?
CUOMO: Since when? Were your people the best? Who came over here in your family, Kremer? How did you get here?
KREMER: You know what? The thing is --
CUOMO: No, no, no, who came in? Who came in first for you?
KREMER: I mean, it goes back generations, Chris.
CUOMO: Where did they come from? Were they the best? Scientists, architects coming in with bags of gold?
KREMER: You know what, not everybody is a scientist and an architect, but the thing is we need to be able to decide. You don't go to sleep at night and leave your doors open. When I come in to the CNN building --
CUOMO: Nobody is saying the doors shouldn't be locked.
KREMER: -- I have to show ID. So --
CUOMO: You're saying different things.
And, Niger, I bounce it over to you. We should have only the best. We never have. We never have. We've given people the chance to be the best, Niger, all right?
Now, you look at somebody's lineage like your own and many African- Americans didn't have a chance. They were brought here in bondage.
NIGER INNIS, CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY: Right.
CUOMO: It's different. It's not a fair point of analysis. It's an ugly chapter that we should never forget.
But people like me and I suspect Kremer, we got here, no discernible assets. I'm no Norwegian, Niger. I'm no Norwegian, OK? And now, we're going to change what America is.
Kremer says Congress is keeping Trump from enforcing the law at the border. How so?
INNIS: Look, most of us conservatives are for legal immigration.
INNIS: And that's the operative word.
CUOMO: Trump is not.
INNIS: Legal immigration.
CUOMO: Trump is not.
INNIS: No, Trump -- Trump has said --
KREMER: He is.
CUOMO: No, he's not.
INNIS: He wants to build a wall and have a big golden door for legal immigration. And let's not forget --
CUOMO: And get rid of family reunification the way his in-laws got in here. He wants to cut back how many can come in. He wants to get rid of that. He wants to change the asylum rules. He wants to do that, too. And he wants more people from Norway.
What about all that? That's all legal immigration.
INNIS: Well, I don't know about a bunch of blond-haired, blue eyes from Norway.
CUOMO: That's what he said.
INNIS: That's fine.
CUOMO: So you're okay with more Norwegians and less of everybody else?
INNIS: I'm okay with people obeying our immigration laws.
INNIS: I'm okay with re-examining our immigration laws so that we have an America first immigration policy.
INNIS: Amy knows --
CUOMO: What does that mean America first, by the way.
INNIS: Well, something that benefits the American people, the American worker, the American economy, the American technological edge. And immigration policy that does not allow terrorists who would want to destroy our civilization from slipping in under the cloak of darkness.
CUOMO: Who is the Democrat who is -- who is the Democrat who is pro letting terrorists in? Remind me. Which one is that?
INNIS: Well, I think that there are a bunch of anarchist Democrats that don't care that de facto -- not just Democrats. There's some free market -- so-called free market Republicans that believe in open borders.
CUOMO: Name me one.
INNIS: And no, America does not --
CUOMO: Name me one of those.
INNIS: Mad Maxine Waters. CUOMO: She does not believe in letting everybody in the country
whenever they want. Nobody does.
INNIS: Oh, come on.
CUOMO: She doesn't.
INNIS: That's not true, Chris.
CUOMO: Just because you want it to be true doesn't mean it is. Show me a quote from Maxine Waters saying we should have no rules. Show it to me.
INNIS: No, it's called blocking any kind of funding for the wall.
INNIS: It's called blocking any kind of rules and regulations that says that American citizens are a priority. American workers are a priority. Not assimilating the entire world.
CUOMO: The workers --
CUOMO: Niger, I got you.
Back to you, Amy. This idea of this American worker being hurt by illegal immigration. Show me the proof. You have 7 million jobs right now. You don't have employees for them. You don't have it.
And they are jobs that are important to this economy and important to your base, OK? Agricultural workers. Farming. Construction. Blue collar people.
Americans don't do those jobs in big numbers, and you both know it, if you read anything. The people who do do it, are the ones you're demonizing right now and you won't go after the employers, will you? I've never heard one of you say we're going to bust the employers and we're going to stop the supply because they won't hire them anymore. You never say that, why?
KREMER: Chris, the bottom line is, we should know who comes in and goes out.
CUOMO: Everybody agrees. Next.
KREMER: Follow the damn laws.
CUOMO: Everybody agrees. Next. Everybody agrees with that.
KREMER: Then why are people advocating for just letting anybody come in here?
CUOMO: Nobody is. This is your crazy talk.
KREMER: Oh, my God, no, it's not. Are you kidding me? Stacey Abrams who doesn't support farmers, I mean --
CUOMO: She doesn't say just let everybody in.
KREMER: She's advocating for illegals to vote here in Georgia. I mean, come on --
CUOMO: That's different than saying let everybody in. It's a totally separate issue.
KREMER: The reason Democrats want open borders is because they --
CUOMO: They don't want open borders. Is there such a need -- listen.
KREMER: -- want a vote to be in power. That's what it's about.
CUOMO: I get it. I get it. They want to stock the whole voting base with illegals and that's how they'll stay ahead of you, like they don't have a registration advantage already, right? Go look at your demographics.
Niger, you don't need this sophistry to make your point. You don't need to exaggerate and say Democrats want everybody to come in and no rules. You know that's not true.
I think it undergirds what the real argument here is. You should be saying we need to revamp these things that Democrats are holding up. Why?
You want a wall? Fine. That's politics. But you're not going to find people to say you're a wall away from ending the problem. You know that right? You know over 80 percent of the illegal stays in this country are done from extended visas, right? That they come by plane, right?
INNIS: That's true.
CUOMO: Why are you nodding yes, Amy? It kills your whole argument. You can't agree with that, because you want to put up a wall. You think this is over. Don't agree with what I just said.
KREMER: Chris, listen, it's not just -- it's not one thing or another. Let me finish.
CUOMO: Eighty percent come by plane. Why would you want to own that, even though it's true?
KREMER: Chris --
KREMER: One thing is the wall is not just about the illegal immigrants coming across. It's all about the drugs coming across and the human trafficking. That's another thing.
But I want to say something --
CUOMO: Hold on because we go point boy point here, Amy. Point by point.
I have had the unfortunate pleasure of spending way too much time south of the border covering the drug cartels. You have not, all right?
So let me tell you how it works down there largely. Tunnels, OK? That El Chapo was a tunnel building fool, all right? And they use a lot of that.
They also use planes. They also use huge cargo containers and a lot of the drugs are coming from somewhere other than South America.
So the idea that you're a wall away from stopping the drug problem is also untrue. And if you talk to any competent CBP person, including your commissioner, you will have a conversation about economic desperation. That's the problem.
And, Niger, our president's solution is to cut funding that will help stem poverty in the places where the people are coming from. How is that productive?
INNIS: Well, it is a threat against those governments and hoping that our Central American neighbors will do what Mexico and I applaud Mexican -- the Mexican government because they are cooperating.
CUOMO: They've always done that.
INNIS: An ingenious idea -- they came up with an ingenious idea of the U.N. actually establishing shelter for the so-called political refugees when we all know they are economic refugees.
CUOMO: Many are.
INNIS: They're desperate to come here to get jobs.
CUOMO: Many are. Some are not.
INNIS: They are establishing that at the southern border between Mexico and Central America, and I think what Trump is doing is doing the types of negotiating that actually led to a revamping of NAFTA, thanks again to Mexico.
CUOMO: The ambassador was on last night from Mexico. He said we've always done this. We're going to do it because it's in our interest and we hope the United States does and says the right things to respect the humanity that this process should entail.
He didn't say anything about pressure, anything about doing it because Trump said to and nothing about paying for the wall, by the way.
INNIS: Well, he probably wouldn't say that publicly, but I think privately, the president saying that he's going to not put national guard but actually put regular U.S. military on our border -- CUOMO: You like that idea? What's the U.S. military going to do
INNIS: I like --
CUOMO: What are they going to do?
INNIS: I like the idea of a president of the United States saying that --
CUOMO: Pointing guns at people --
INNIS: -- that protecting our border is a priority, that a nation cannot be a real nation if its sovereignty is not respected.
CUOMO: Look, this isn't a game of risk. This isn't a game of risk. This is real.
Amy, what do you think happens if you put military on the border? What do you think happens? What do you they do there? Play Parcheesi? What do you think they do?
KREMER: Chris, he threatened to put the military on the border.
CUOMO: Yes, I know. And what if he does?
KREMER: You got 4,000 people coming here.
CUOMO: What do you do to them? What do the military do to them?
KREMER: No, this is the thing. Today, the people coming from Honduras busted through the controls there and went into Mexico anyway and said they're going to do it no matter what.
CUOMO: What would you have the military do if they try it here?
KREMER: I don't know, I'm not in the military.
CUOMO: Yes, you do. Yes, you do.
KREMER: I don't know what they can do.
CUOMO: What would you want them to do? Why do you feel so good about having the military there?
KREMER: I didn't say I felt good having the military there.
CUOMO: You just said, you liked what the president was doing.
KREMER: I like a president standing up for our country --
CUOMO: So you like it.
KREMER: Can I finish what I'm saying? CUOMO: I'm trying to get ahead of the game. But go ahead.
KREMER: I like a president standing up for the country and doing what he said he's going to do. I'm tired of the draw the line in the sand and cross it. So, we have a president that's doing exactly what he said he was going to do when he campaigned, and I like that. And many millions of Americans like that, too.
CUOMO: And I want to have you on record for something God forbid we have to have this conversation in a different context. The military sent down to the border, which is something you agree with and you like, and --
KREMER: I didn't say I want the military --
CUOMO: -- and people who are looking to get in. I want to hear you say you're okay with it.
KREMER: No, I --
INNIS: I'm okay with the president --
KREMER: I don't think it should come to that. It shouldn't come to that.
CUOMO: What do you think is going to happen if you put military on the border?
INNIS: I'm okay with the president using it as a threat. That's right. I agree with Amy.
I'm okay with the president saying we have a -- we have a number of tools in the toolbox, and using the military on our border might be necessary and him threatening the possibility.
Look, one thing the world has taught us is in Israel, in the Middle East, that when Israel was a victim of a number of terrorist attacks, they put up a wall and those terrorist attacks went down dramatically.
CUOMO: Yes, and so did the lethality. And you know that better than most. It's a much shorter border. It's fully armed. It's an ongoing war. And people die on a regular basis.
I'm out of time for this, but we're going to have a lot more opportunity to do it. And I invite you --
INNIS: Let's do it again.
CUOMO: -- to do it again. Have a good weekend. Appreciate you making the articles.
I'm going to get you on that, Amy. You're going to have to own whatever happens on the border if the military is there.
KREMER: Oh, dude.
CUOMO: You can call me whatever you like, hopefully, we never have to have the conversation.
CUOMO: God bless and have a good weekend.
KREMER: You too.
CUOMO: Bro works. We're all brothers and sisters.
All right. So, the caravan, Kavanaugh, law and order -- will it all come down to that for voters in 18 days? That's what the president says. That's what he's hoping at least. We have a man who helped drive him over the finish line last time.
Corey Lewandowski is here. Does our brother like what the president is saying? Does he think it's the winning mix? Next.
CUOMO: All right. Let's bring in former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. It's good to have you here, author of a new book, co- author, "Trump's Enemies."
Corey Lewandowski, good to have you.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Good morning -- good afternoon, Chris.
CUOMO: Thanks. Good night. Good night. Don't put me to sleep, though.
LEWANDOWSKI: Long Friday night. Look, you forget I'm a campaign manager. I forget what time of day it is.
CUOMO: You know what? I'm sorry. In truth, there was just whole other thing to talk about, like with the caravan and what Trump had said, and I was like, forget it, I wanted to get to my brother.
So let's do this light and tight. I want to get you back to your family.
One point: the president in the midst of saying, hey, look, this journalist got killed and the Saudi journalist, we've got to get it right, it's a horrible thing, and he goes to the rally in Montana, and he's given Gianforte a pat on the back for giving the bum's rush to the journalist. Why? How do those two things go together?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, they don't go together and there is no excuse for Khashoggi's death and that seems to be caused at the hands of Saudi Arabia or at least condoned by the people in Saudi Arabia. And there needs to be accountability.
And I stand with Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham and other members of the U.S. Senate who want to see a complete and immediate interaction and accountability for those people who killed that man in cold blood. We haven't seen the body. And you talked about it. Now that being said, Chris, the level of rhetoric in this country is way too high. We've seen it now with Eric Holder saying when they go low, we kick them.
CUOMO: Wait a minute, wait a minute.
LEWANDOWSKI: We've seen it with Cory Booker.
CUOMO: Wait a minute, the president -- those guys are lightweights to what the president says. He was celebrating Gianforte body slamming a reporter. What are you talking about? He said he's my guy. He's tough. He's a tough cookie.
We both know. You may not know at home, Cory was a cop, all right? He was trained in how to deal with situations like that and he's no slouch himself.
This guy isn't tough. He's a bully. He's a thug. He's a punk. He attacked a guy who had every disadvantage.
Why lionize him in front of the crowd? Why say he's your guy? Nobody on the left has said anything like that? Why would the president?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, Chris, I think the rhetoric as it comes to this is just, it's way too high.
CUOMO: His is way too high. Call his out, Corey. Put your credibility on it.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, it's -- Chris, it's going to be on both sides. Eric Holder this week said when they go low, we kick them.
LEWANDOWSKI: Cory Booker. No lightweight by any means said let's get up in their faces.
CUOMO: Yes, what Trump with Gianforte?
LEWANDOWSKI: Look --
LEWANDOWSKI: Listen, that's what I'm telling you. I think on both sides we can't be condoning this violence because --
CUOMO: But I want to hear you say that what Trump said was wrong.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, what I'm saying is both sides are wrong.
CUOMO: Don't -- but you don't say Trump was wrong.
LEWANDOWSKI: He was a Bernie Sanders supporter. Chris, what I'm telling you is if we allow it to continue, if we allow it to go on the way it is, someone is going to really get hurt. Steve Scalise was almost killed by a Bernie Sanders supporter who thought he was doing the right thing by shooting at dozens of members of Congress.
We shouldn't tolerate this from anybody. We are a civil society. We can't go down that road. What the congressman in Montana did was wrong. He has apologized --
CUOMO: He admitted to it. It was a crime. It wasn't wrong. It was illegal and wrong.
LEWANDOWSKI: And it should be.
CUOMO: But the president celebrated it.
LEWANDOWSKI: Nobody should be happy about it.
CUOMO: The president is happy about it.
LEWANDOWSKI: Nobody should be celebrating it. Nobody should be celebrating --
CUOMO: But the president is celebrating it.
CUOMO: Say the president was wrong.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, everybody is wrong.
CUOMO: What is it with you? Say the president was wrong.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, look. Then you tell me you condone what Cory Booker has said?
CUOMO: I don't represent the left. You represent Trump.
CUOMO: Yes, sir.
LEWANDOWSKI: Why can't you say what they've said is as wrong as what the president said?
CUOMO: It's 100 percent wrong. It's reductive. It's becoming what they say they disrespect. I don't think it helps them get their people out. I think the idea of that kind of toughness being physical, brutality, bullying, I think it's ridiculous. I think it's absurd.
And I think it's beneath the dignity of their offices. Say that about Trump.
LEWANDOWSKI: And that congressman paid the price. He pled guilty to the crime. He was held accountable and he's on the ballot in 18 days --
CUOMO: And Trump celebrated it.
LEWANDOWSKI: -- and the people of Montana will decide. And what he said was he's a tough cookie.
CUOMO: He said he's my guy. He said he's my guy.
LEWANDOWSKI: He's a Republican congressman.
CUOMO: No, he said anybody -- listen to what Trump said. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Greg is smart. And never wrestle him. You understand that? Never. Any guy that can do a body slam, he's my kind of -- he's my guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now change that handsome visage for Cory Booker's and what would you be saying right now?
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, what I'd been saying is the exact same thing. You can't allow society that we're body slamming reporters, that were allowing reporters to go to other countries and being killed in cold blood. We can't allow --
CUOMO: So then say the president shouldn't have said it. So then say the president shouldn't have said it. That's how you get the new decorum.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris -- Chris, here's what the president should do. The president should commend the congressman for reporting his agenda which is what he has done --
CUOMO: Why would you commend a person who did something like that? Why would you ever talk about him again?
LEWANDOWSKI: It's not that one incident. Look, it wasn't -- it wasn't the president who body slammed anybody.
CUOMO: I know, but he's the one celebrating it, and you can't somehow physically -- it's like one of those movies where someone is hypnotized and they're not allowed to say words. They like just can't say them. You can't say Trump was wrong. You can't say it.
LEWANDOWSKI: I can't -- I can't take people who only want to look at one side.
CUOMO: I just -- I just condemned Booker in a way that you've never condemned anyone. Let alone Trump. LEWANDOWSKI: Look, what about the potential ricin attack on Susan
Collins last week with the envelope mailed to her. What happened at the Supreme Court?
CUOMO: Corey, it's all wrong. It's all bad.
LEWANDOWSKI: How about Maxine Waters?
CUOMO: It's all bad.
LEWANDOWSKI: It is bad, but --
CUOMO: But your man -- our president is always at the head of the hate parade. And you know it. But you won't call him out and why would he ever stop?
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, we didn't have the same level of outrage when Kirstjen Nielsen had to leave a restaurant, when Ted Cruz had to leave a restaurant, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders --
CUOMO: Of course. I got beat up by Don Lemon for saying there's a time, place and manner and these people are in a private place and shouldn't be doing this and it's counterproductive. Do you think Cruz or any of these people are going to get on your side?
LEWANDOWSKI: And I'm with you. I agree.
CUOMO: Yes, but you won't say it about Trump, Corey. The whole audience is seeing it. You're a smart guy. You make cogent point. You can't go near Trump.
LEWANDOWSKI: I'll make the --
CUOMO: It's got to start with Trump.
LEWANDOWSKI: I'll make the most blanket statement I can.
CUOMO: No, no, with Trump.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, from President Donald Trump to the local dog catcher, nobody should be inciting violence. That's as clear as I can be. Nobody should have violence.
CUOMO: That's too low of a bar. Too low a bar. Too low a bar.
CUOMO: You shouldn't celebrate someone as your guy who body slams someone. What would you do if one of your kids came home and said Gianforte, he's my new buddy? You should have seen how he body slammed this kid in the school yard today. You have been like, what? LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, I would be concerned if the highest officer in
the land, the highest law enforcement officer in our country is recommending kicking people when they're down.
CUOMO: Oh, please?
LEWANDOWSKI: That's what Eric Holder did this week. The highest law enforcement officer --
CUOMO: You want to give the president the benefit of the doubt that he was just joking, but Eric Holder says when they go high, we kick them. He puts out a tweet saying I didn't mean it as violence. I was talking about being tough.
LEWANDOWSKI: Of course. What does that mean?
CUOMO: You didn't hear that from President Trump. He doubled down today and said he's my guy, I like it.
LEWANDOWSKI: What does that mean?
CUOMO: Come on, all right.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, if you go down, and I kick you in the head, and then I put out and tweet and said, whoops, I was just kidding, that doesn't clarify anything.
CUOMO: It's not a good example, because, Corey --
LEWANDOWSKI: He was the highest law enforcement office in the country.
CUOMO: -- the moment that your foot touched my head, it would be the last thing you ever did on this earth. So there would be no tweeting after it because --
LEWANDOWSKI: We would agree to disagree on that. Let me tell you, we can't allow Eric Holder to -- we can't allow Eric Holder --
CUOMO: All right. I hear you. I agree. I agree with you that everybody has got to be more decent but when you won't call out the president by name --
LEWANDOWSKI: Let's do that.
CUOMO: -- you lose the credibility. But I appreciate you coming on.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, I just said everybody.
CUOMO: I know, but you said everybody but you won't say the one somebody who matters at the top.
LEWANDOWSKI: And I said the president. CUOMO: Corey Lewandowski, I appreciate you making the argument
always, even though you threatened to beat me up because we both know that's a joke.
LEWANDOWSKI: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: Take care. Be well. Have a good week.
All right. She may be the most talked about mom in the country this week. It's a little bit similar of a theme of what we're talking about. When does might make right? When is it okay to use force? The viral video shows her finding her 15-year-old with her car. And, man, did she give him a whooping.
Tough love or too far? Next.
CUOMO: All right. So, look, this one isn't about politics. It's about people, it's about parenting, it's about what we accept in our culture, all right?
Now, I am very slow to judge how people raise their kids. We're blessed with three. It ain't easy. You have your legal standards but once you get inside that, it starts to get tricky.
So, in Texas, this mom was not playing when her 14-year-old boy stole her new BMW. She finds out what he's up to. She tracks him down on the road. And the boy's sister recorded what happened next. Mom didn't know.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pull over now!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give me the belt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: And another. And another. And another.
The boy's sister says she did it so he could go see his girlfriend.
Let's bring in D. Lemon, Don. Now --
DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": You don't want to know what I think.
CUOMO: Statement against interest.
CUOMO: You know what it's like to be this young boy. Is that true or is it true? LEMON: I was stealing the car when I was, I think, 9 or 10. I was
driving by the time I was 12.
Look, I'm not a parent. Don't get mad at me, everyone. I grew up in the day and age of corporal punishment.
CUOMO: Spare the rod, spoil the child.
LEMON: Spoil the child. And if someone stole -- not only that he stole your new car. I'm just going to say what -- let me just say what my mom would have done. If I had stolen a new car, an old car, any kind of car, and I was on the highway, I'd be lucky to be alive right now.
CUOMO: My fighting stance that I do when I do self-defense was taught from me going rounds with Matilda, my mother. My hands are out in front. They're like this. Hold on. We can talk. Just stay where you are now.
Now, here's what I know.
CUOMO: People are very divided on this in this country.
LEMON: They are.
CUOMO: And we're moving away from putting our hands on people.
Here is a very Don Lemon-esque statement from me tonight, right, because you love to let people in. So, I'm gong to do that.
LEMON: I believed that with my kids, there had to be a line and at that at some point when they crossed that line, it was going to go from verbal language to sign language. It was going to go to the hand as my mother used to joke with me.
LEMON: And my wife wasn't with it. And I could see in the kids, especially with my son, it wasn't working.
So I went to the Yale Behavioral Center. I hooked up with this Dr. Kazden (ph) who was there. He put me with one of his clinicians, and they gave me the research.
Here are the two things I learned. One, behavior is only changed through positive reinforcement. I know it sounds kumbaya, but remember, I punch people in the face as a hobby, so I'm not being that way. But that punishment only teaches kids how to get around you.
CUOMO: Positive reinforcement changes behavior. And the doctor said to me, hit him if you want to, but know that you're only --
LEMON: Did the doctor have kids?
CUOMO: Yes, that you're only hitting them to make yourself feel better. You're not making them better by doing it.
LEMON: OK, well, I don't know about that. I just know that I was afraid of my parents.
I got to show you something, though. Your producers are wrapping me, but listen, check out, look who's here.
CUOMO: Who's here?
LEMON: You know the dark one. That's Boomer because you met him the first weekend we got him. Then this is a new one that's on Chris' Instagram. I'm going to re -- what do you call it in.
CUOMO: Both rescues.
LEMON: Yes, both rescues.
So, I need a name for the new one. Boomer. But I think I came up with it, OK? Should I give it away now or let people guess?
CUOMO: Save it for your show. Have people guess, and anybody who gets it right or even close, I'll make a donation to the shelter in their name.
LEMON: All right. Boomer. Boom boom as we call. And who?
CUOMO: God bless you. Spreading the love and expanding the family.
LEMON: That's all the kids I need after this. All right. I'll see you.
All right. We're going to take a break. When we come back, what did we see with this Gianforte, all right? Now, with the mom, that's a different discussion. That's a set of cultural mores that are different but it does dovetail with what I want to talk about next.
I've got an argument to make about what I saw in Montana and something else I saw that gives the right lesson for all of us, next.
CUOMO: Congressman Greg Gianforte of Montana attacked "Guardian" reporter Ben Jacobs. He pleaded guilty. OK?
The president celebrated him. Do we have the sound of Gianforte being caught on tape with the reporter? Here's what happened.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GREG GIANFORTE (R), THEN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: We'll talk to you about later. BEN JACOBS, THE GUARDIAN: Yes, but there's not going to be time. I'm just curious.
GIANFORTE: Speak with Shane, please.
GIANFORTE: I'm sick and tired of you guys. The last time you came in here, you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here.
GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. You with "The Guardian"?
JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CUOMO: You did the same thing, meaning asked me a question I didn't like. He grabbed a guy by the neck, threw him on the ground.
He pleaded guilty to assault, OK? There's no question about what he did being wrong and illegal. But the president celebrated him at a rally. He's my guy because he's so tough, and the crowd roared much like I expect the Romans would roar when the lions mauled someone in the arena.
And it raises the same question. Why does Trump praise bullies? Time and again, he celebrates punks who go after the little guy.
Does it on the world stage with bad guys whom you're clearly impressed by. And you do it on the rally stage. You make no mistake. It wasn't just getting carried away in the moment.
Here's what he said today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you regret bringing up last night at your rally the assault on a reporter by a congressman?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, no, no. Not at all. That was a different world. Greg is a tremendous person, and he's a tough cookie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: A different world. What world is he talking about? There's only one. We're in it. You should be accountable for what you do.
Everything Gianforte did is weak, OK? He attacked someone who wasn't a threat, was at every disadvantage. Gianforte showed no control, no confidence, no respect for his office or his constituents or for the law. He is weak.
And if he doesn't like it, he can come body slam me as well. I welcome it.
Now, Trump was just joking, right? No. He likes what the guy did. Now, what would a leader do? Would he make fun of the victim? No, he'd make fun of Gianforte, embarrass him for what he did. Another goon.
Make fun of that. Take him down a peg for his pathetic display. Even better would be to reinforce what really matters, which is the truth, that this guy is the opposite of what we want to be. A leader lifts others up, right? He doesn't throw a man down. He picks him up.
Trump doesn't get that, but you know who does? LeBron James. I'm not referring to their war of words with each other. I care nothing about that. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEBRON JAMES, NBA PLAYER: We got you. Anytime you fall -- hey, anytime you all fall, stay down. Your brother come picks you up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Gets his young team together. Falls down. They lost that game but he's teaching them a lesson that could lead to greater victories. Someone falls, you lift them.
Trump would call LeBron a loser because he lost the game, but this is why I love sport. How you play, win or lose, matters. The president only thinks about win and lose on one level, ham-fisted. That's how he makes mistakes like rewarding a thug like Gianforte or Putin or Kim. And we'll see about Saudi's MBS.
Crazy and sad days when the lessons that we teach our kids -- don't be a bully, strength isn't knocking down, it's lifting up. Now those lessons must also be directed at our president.
Thank you for watching. Have a great weekend.
"CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon starts right now.