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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Judge Orders WH to Return Jim Acosta's Press Pass; Senator Harris Faces Backlash for Comparing ICE to the KKK. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired November 16, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The news continues, we'll hand it over to Chris Cuomo. Cuomo Prime Time starts now.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "COUMO PRIME TIME": Thank you, J.B. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to Prime Time.
Let freedom rein. The President can't just pull a press pass because he doesn't like certain questioning. The law is clear. Now what is not clear where we go from here. Trump signaled how he'll respond and we're going to test that for you ahead.
And is the Mueller probe about to end? Trump says that's what he heard and that he's answered all the special counsel's questions and he did it all by himself. So all those lawyers he's paying just watched. His big concern is perjury. Now, is that something to worry about if you're telling the truth? We have a lawyer who worked in the Trump White House. You're going to hear his Mueller concerns in a robust Cuomo's court.
And we have Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski. How hard is it for Trump to hand back the press pass to CNN and to hand over those answers to the special counsel? Friday is fun day. Let's get after it.
Big step in the Mueller probe, President Trump announced today he's finally done writing out answers for the special counsel. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I write the answers, my lawyers don't write answers. I write answers. I was asked a series of questions. I've answered them very easily. Very easily.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Himself? Really? He was huddled with a team of lawyers for hours over multiple days. They're paid to shape every answer given. Him doing it alone is as likely as his claim that he isn't bothered by the probe after all those raging tweet he is sent yesterday. Remember this one? "TOTAL WITCH-HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY." The investigation has gone absolutely nuts. What's up with POTUS turning up the mendacity regarding Mueller? Cuomo's court is in session. Jim Schultz, return engagement, former
White House attorney because he looked so fine last night and Laura Coates, former Federal Prosecutor, CNN Legal Analyst.
Seriously, it's good to have both of you especially on a Friday night. Thank you.
Laura Coates, you've tutored me in this before. We know these questions, this set at least regard actions before President Trump became President Trump. What do you expect has to be included that creates some exposure for the President?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the number-one thing is that Trump Tower meeting. I mean that's something that took place before the President was inaugurated, before there was a Trump transition team. Before the President of the United States became the President of the United States through a campaign election. That's the point in time where we see the most exposure for legal jeopardy, that's the time and time when you got discussions between Donald Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks and you have questions concerning whether Roger Stone was trying to provide information and what role he played on the campaign and the President's own words, different campaign rally saying that there was something to come, something expecting for the American people to see as the demise of Hillary Clinton and there seemed to be a correlation between these things and if you are Mueller, you're asking yourself what was the connection? What did you know when? Who relayed information to you? And that's things that Donald Trump can really tell you.
CUOMO: Jim Schultz, response and biggest concern?
JIM SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: No, I think that's exactly right. They're going to want to know what the President knew when the President knew it for those issues that occurred prior to him becoming President. No question about that.
Now, make no mistake. There has been a characterization of those answers from other witnesses and the prosecutors have those characterization of those answers. They know what other people have said and they haven't shared that with the Presidents so that's where it becomes tricky for the President because he doesn't know what characterization, what spin was put on this by others.
CUOMO: And that's why there's 0.0% chance that he wrote all those answers all by himself and frankly he would be foolish to have done that, anybody who has counsel has it, for good reason you use your lawyers in a situation like this. And you need to, Coates, because people like you because you're setting perjury traps, says the President of the United States, you're out to get him. You're tricky and you're sneaky. Is that how it works?
COATES: Just shady. Shifty. That's all you can characterize me as. No, in reality, the questions that are being asked are open-ended and frankly I think Jim was talking about the characterization. It's an important word choice here because the President is now entitled to know what other witnesses have said, whether he is corroborating them or he is somehow contradicting them. But that's not the standard for perjury. People can see the same thing differently and not be held accountable for perjury.
That's like if someone was in court for a car crash and one said it's green and one says it's yellow light, nobody is being convicted of perjury or charge unless somebody has an intentional act of lying committed.
[21:05:07] And so there is a distinction that needs to be made, the President are entitled it but a perjury trap is such a strong word and the one way to avoid it is tell the truth and not to presume that by answering questions as the head of the executive branch which includes the Department of Justice somehow you are immune from doing that which every other witness is required to do.
CUOMO: The President sees it a little bit differently. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm sure they're tricked up because they like to catch people, gee, you know, was the weather sunny or was it rainy. He said it may have been a good day, it was raining, therefore he told a lie, he perjured himself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Do you agree with that characterization to use your world, Counsel Schultz?
SCHULTZ: Look, I think the President has reason to be concerned about the questions. I'm sure his lawyers have reason to be concerned about those questions as well and they're going to review those questions, the scope of those questions, how they're framed is very, very important and that is something that they're going to take them to account when they're assisting him, preparing those answers.
CUOMO: You know, it's interesting, what he said today, as benign as it may seem, we all know he used his lawyers but he said today to the press, wait a minute, they didn't help me with the answers, I wrote all the answers. I wrote all the answers. Imagine if he said that to a federal investigator across the table. Hey, so when they helped you prepare these answers. Nobody helped me prepared the answer. I did it myself. Imagine the difference in context.
SCHULTZ: Chris, that's not what he said. He said he drafted the answers and that very well --
CUOMO: He says the lawyers didn't write the answers, I wrote to answers.
SCHULTZ: But those answers are going to get reviewed by lawyers before they're produced the other side, no question.
CUOMO: No question. The point is he's not being honest, Laura, and that's the point and that's why his lawyers to their credit won the negotiation point of let us answer these questions in writing for exactly that reason.
COATES: Well, it's a very odd thing to try to say that you wrote it all yourself and you have no assistance of counsel. I think he was trying to portray himself as being forthright. And what interesting about the statement is that, it was so easy, these answers -- questions were so easy, there was no reason I couldn't answer them myself. Well, it begs the question, so they you refuse to be questioned in person, why go through the rigmarole of having to actually write out your answers? You don't even need a lawyer present. You don't need to take-home examination and yet you have routinely and repeatedly refused to be questioned and avoid all of this unnecessary ease of taking this take home test. So it really begs the question.
On the other hand, what he has actually said in his written responses and of course it's done by himself, will be vastly different than what his attorneys hand in and with good reason. They have to make sure that what he is saying is not make him step 10 feet deep into his own legal jeopardy. That's their job. And the President touting his own skill of being able to answer question that are relatively easy, according to him, actually may come back to haunt him.
CUOMO: Look, and we both know. All of us know a perjury trap is where prosecutors bring you in for no other reason than to try to trip you up with information. Not to try to advance discussion. So if they're just bringing you in, then that's all that's going on, that's one thing, this is a very different context.
Jim Schultz, let me ask you something. If you had been asked for your advise, what would you have advised the President about statements about Bob Mueller? Would you have tried to check him on the kinds of things he said about Mueller being conflicted? Being, you know, all the negative and nasty things he said about him. Would you have condoned that?
SCHULTZ: Look, I've said time and time again there needs to be -- that that rhetoric needed to be dialed back by the President but as it related to Mueller but as it relates to the investigation itself he has every right to be frustrated by this. It's something that dogged him from the beginning, it's something the Democrats are using it as a political sword, they're going to continue to use this, a political swords and he needs to defend himself and that's what he is doing.
CUOMO: Big question will be -- and I'll come back to both of you for an answer on this one as we know more is will the answers to these questions help wind up this probe or will it create another layer of examination? That's what we have to wait and see.
Laura Coates, thank you so much. Jim Schultz, twice is nice. Great to have you twice.
COATES: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. So the President is hoping that his league struggle with Mueller goes better than his efforts to chill the free press. A judge that Trump appointed himself had to take him down, handing a win to CNN today. Now Trump is planning his next move. Not so fast, facts first, next.
[21:13:18] CUOMO: A judge that President Trump appointed told him today "you lose. You may control what adoring fans believe at a rally but you don't control the truth, you don't get to take a press pass because you don't want to answer questions." Hashtag, sorry, not sorry.
The law is clear. 1964. The Supreme Court ruled -- work please, work please -- all right, forget it. Who needs it? The court ruled the first amendment cover what is may be unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials. In 1988 they found a protected speech that is critical of those who hold public office. So again, the law is clear here and first amendment rules are always seen as a period of expansion.
We're erring on the side of including more things in speech. However, what about when it comes to who gets a press pass in the White House? The White House does controls access there but the rule that applies says the secret service will be guided solely by the principle of whether the applicant presents a potential source of physical danger to the President.
The truth may hurt, but not that way. Doesn't create a security threat. The relief today is only temporary, however, and based on the fact that the White House just pulled the pass with no due process, the judge said how this happened was, "shrouded in mystery." Trump's lawyers argued that the President should be able to restrict press for any reason. That argument was offensive and expensive, these are DOJ lawyers, Department of Justice. That means that they're making an argument against our interests on our dime.
Nice. Anyway -- so does this say, is this thing working? Great, Friday night. His lawyers came up with no precedent to support the capricious taking of the pass and they refused to defend that B.S. InfoWars tape that Sarah Sanders said proved the reporter was in the wrong. It didn't. Even the judge called her suggestion likely untrue. And said it was partly based on evidence of questionable accuracy and he was being generous.
[21:15:19] And important point -- this is not just about CNN, all right? These are the parties that join the suit. If he can go after one reporter, he can go after any and that's why you saw this team work going on, including Fox. They even said that he went too far. And all are going to have to stand up far free press because this White House is not ready to change. How do we know? Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's not a big deal and if he misbehaves we'll throw him out or stop the news conference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right, no you won't. That's the point. You don't get to silence things just because you don't like them, not here and this manipulation from Sarah Sanders. The court made clear that there is no absolute first amendment right to access to the White House. That's what she said. That's not really what the judge said. The judge said this. I haven't determined that the first amendment was violated here. Remember, this was a temporary relief. There is still the permanent relief that will be argued, OK. However, he went on to say that while he hasn't decided it, he believed CNN is likely to prevail.
Again, the law is clear. We know our rights. The question is whether the President will do what is right when it comes to respecting the free press and if he doesn't, he better be ready to fight and lose again.
The next up is the great debate. California Democrat, Kamala Harris isn't one to mince her words but comparing ICE to the KKK? Too far? Time for the debate.
[21:20:48] CUOMO: Senator Kamala Harris had this line of questioning for Trump's pick to head ICE
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD VITIELLO, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S NOMINEE TO LEAD ICE: Well, the Klan was what we could call today a domestic terrorist group.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D) CALIFORNIA: Why would we call them domestic terrorist groups?
VITIELLO: Because they try to use fear and force to change political environments.
HARRIS: And what was the motivation for the use of fear and force.
VITIELLO: Based on race and ethnicity.
HARRIS: Right. Are you aware of the perception of many about how the power and the discretion at ICE is being used to enforce the laws? And do you see any parallels.
VITIELLO: I don't want see any parallels between --
HARRIS: I'm talking about perception.
VITIELLO: -- officers and agents --
HARRIS: I'm talking about perception.
VITIELLO: I do not see a parallel between what is constitutionally mandated as it relates to enforcing the law --
HARRIS: Are you aware there's a perception --
VITIELLO: I see no perception that puts ICE In the same category as the KKK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: What say the great debaters? Niger Innis and Symone Sanders. Symone Sanders, too far?
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I think -- what we didn't play, Chris, was before that the question of the KKK came up because Senator Harris was referring to comments that the President's nominee made calling the Democratic party a neo-klannists, which I'm not sure what that is. And so without context, yes, I think folks would argue that equating the KKK to ICE is reckless and irresponsible but frankly that's not what Senator Harris did and her spokesperson is on record saying that's not what she said. She was talking about the perception and it is a fact that there are many people out there across the country -- myself included, that feel as though ICE currently operates with surgical precision in terms of picking out and hunting down folks in communities across this country based upon the color of their skin.
CUOMO: Based upon their legal status.
SANDERS: Based upon their legal status but it also plays the color of their skin. I mean, let's not forget Joe Arpaio who would literally would have officers stop folks driving because they looked --
CUOMO: Joe Arpaio got censured by the courts for exactly that and found in contempt because he refused to stop it but let's get to you on this, Niger. Is this a question of context?
NIGER INNIS, CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY: Absolutely not. What it is, is a perversion of history. It is Senator Kamala Harris spitting on the graves of thousands of African Americans that were terrorized by the most powerful political domestic terrorist organization in the history of our country.
CUOMO: How so?
INNIS: It is her showing -- how so? Is she spitting on those graves?
INNIS: By comparing what ICE is doing in upholding the constitution of the United States and the laws of our land and trying to pursue those who are breaking those laws versus the Klan that was actually trying to burn the constitution, erode the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendment of the constitution written for black Americans so that they could be considered full citizens. The Klan as an organized arm of the Democratic Party --
CUOMO: All right.
SANDERS: All right, all right, now we've gone -- now this is a bridge too far. Let's just be fair here.
CUOMO: Why it is a bridge too far?
SANDERS: Senator Harris --
INNIS: What did I say that's untrue, Symone.
SANDERS: Senator Harris is on record saying that she's talking about perception. When the nominee sitting in the hearing said you should not equate -- she said I'm talking about perception. But to say that, you know, she's spitting on the graves of black people.
INNIS: Yes, she is.
SANDERS: I think is just very ridiculous language frankly and absolutely not what's happening.
CUOMO: So let's push past the hyperbole and get to the actual policy behind it. Do you believe that whether or not ICE should be abolished, is that a legit question for Democrats to be asking in your opinion, Symone? Is that really something that you guys should be considering?
SANDERS: You know, I think for Democrats that have come out on record that said they want ICE to be abolished people should be asking those folks about abolishing ICE. But I think an overwhelming number of Democrats have come out and said we need to fix our broken immigration system, which needs to be a bipartisan effort and when it comes to ICE perhaps we need to revisit it and currently there are many Democrats, myself included I believe ICE is not currently operating inside its mission. It's not fully funded. It doesn't have the resources and the real directives and the oversight that he needs to carry out a stop properly. Let's be clear, ICE's job is not to enforce the border. That is -- there's a separate entity for that.
[21:25:20] CUOMO: Are you open to that suggestion, Niger? That it's not about abolishing? That the last thing we need is less people keeping the border safe but in terms of how they do their job what their mandate is and how it's executed, is that something you would be open to reviewing?
INNIS: I have strong libertarian instincts and any government entity needs proper oversight, supervision and direction. But that is not what some of the extremists in the progressive movement are doing. They are demonizing the thousands of decent ICE officers that are trying to enforce our laws, including Senator Harris with her perception comparison of the Klan to ICE. She -- don't run away from it, Symone. It was disgusting what --
SANDERS: I'm not running. It's on the record. I'm sorry.
INNIS: And she is spitting -- I will say it again, spitting on the memories of those who fought in the civil war and the civil rights revolution against the Klan that terrorized black folk for over 100 years.
CUOMO: All right.
INNIS: Disgusting and Kamala Harris --
SANDERS: Just so we don't conflate history, to be clear, than civil war -- look, Senator Harris is not apologizing for anything. I think that can be sure. Because she has been very clear about what her position is. But let's not --
INNIS: Of course, she has to apologists like you, Symone, defending her.
SANDERS: Did you just call me an apologist?
INNIS: Yes, I sure did.
SANDERS: I think you need a history lesson, sir. But as it comes to ICE right now --
INNIS: Oh, please, give it to me, Symone. I want it.
SANDERS: I definitely think that there's room to have a conversation about the lack of oversight that this government entity has and how they're carrying out their mission. There are questions and concerns many folks have.
CUOMO: I hear you about that. And Niger even walks that walk with you a little bit about oversight and being clear about it and, making sure that there's no violation within a mandate but, you know you were pretty quick to say, hey, talk to those people who say they want to get rid of ICE. But I'm saying as a party you going to have to figure out where you are on that, and who you endorse for positions of power whether it's congressional leadership or who is going to be on the ballot in 2020. They're going to have to be straight on that position because I think you guys are looking for a nice beating on that issue if you talk about abolishing ICE.
SANDERS: Well, Chris, look I think the overwhelming majority of Democrats and even potential people that might want to throw their hat in the ring for President have been clear that it's not just about ICE, it's about our immigration policy as a whole and we need oversight and I think if you ask folks about what changes need to happen, sure, ICE is part of that conversation but it's a smaller piece than the whole.
CUOMO: Right. Look, I think the more --
SANDERS: We literally have --
CUOMO: -- meat on the bones you guys the better.
SANDERS: -- on the border, yes.
CUOMO: I mean, I talked about this with Nancy Pelosi, and I got to be honest, Niger, I don't know if you heard the interview, but I said got me a little bit on this. I was like, you haven't gone toe to toe with Trump, you let him run the immigration game, you let him run the fear and loathing and we all saw that it was a ruse, he stopped talking about it right after the Election Day, the caravan all of a sudden, caravanished as we're all joking about it now it's not funny, the demonizing that he was doing that certainly, you weren't in high dungeon about that the way you are now but let's stick apples to apples.
And she said I told the candidates, not them, you won't beat him on his lies, you won't beat him during the campaign, he just going to lie. You won't be able to beat him. Now we'll take him on, so I want to see what the Democrats do.
Now, let's assess where we are by the way. Blue wave, Trump says no, no, no, I won, too, you don't make enough about my two seats that I won in the Senate. Niger, here is my point, he should have won more. This map was all about you guys, you have Democrats sitting in states they don't belong in anymore. Tester, I know he's from Montana but that place isn't voting the way Tester is now, but you lost. Joe Manchin, all about Trump, you lost that race. I think you should have won more. Arizona, that's Flake's seat, you should have won, you lost. Why do you deserve a pat on the back for two seats when you should have had five?
INNIS: I'm not going to spin here. The reality is even in seats that we won, that Republicans won --
INNIS: Be it Georgia.
INNIS: Be it the battle in Florida. Extremely tight. Way, way to tight for comfort and, you know, there is one thing to spin on air and give a particular perception, it's another thing what's going on behind closed doors. What's going on behind closed doors I guarantee is that Republicans and conservatives, those who want to keep this country a constitutional republic and not become some Western European style Democratic socialist entity are very concerned about our electorate and very concerned about our upcoming elections.
CUOMO: Well, look, you know, reality is perception and I'll tell you what, Symone, the way you should be seeing it and what I've heard from your side, I want to hear if you agree is, no, no, it's not about the fear of becoming a socialist republic, it's about not becoming an autocracy, and that people rejected Trump because they don't like the talk, they don't like the strong man talk, this is America, you know, this isn't the Philippines. And that what is about. What does that mean to your side in terms of how the capitalize?
[21:30:03] SANDERS: I think it was also -- in addition to that Chris, I would agree and say it's also about the issues. You look at places like Nebraska who expanded Medicaid, Nebraska, Utah, who expanded Medicaid through a ballot measure when the Republican governors in those state would not.
Democrats now control -- now sit in the governors seats in Wisconsin, in Michigan and Pennsylvania, places that if you are member, we didn't do too well in 2016 but are vital if we want to do well in 2020. So what I would say is, Democrats should look at the midterms and say, look, we have a fighting chance and to borrow something that my good friend Tad Devine said early other day is, as long as Donald Trump is President, I think Democrats have a fighting chance everywhere but we have to show up, we have to knock on doors and we have to bring a message. And that's what happened in this midterm election.
We didn't get caught up in just talking about Donald Trump. Democrats talked about health care, they talked about wages and the economy for middle-class hard Americans. And they talked about putting a check on the President when it came to the United States House of Representatives.
CUOMO: Last word, Niger.
INNIS: One of many silver linings in this election is an exit poll showed that in Florida where DeSantis won showed that 18% black women voted for DeSantis, the Republican candidate, now governor-elect. That's a good sign.
SANDERS: Which exit poll was that?
INNIS: Rasmussen polls show 36% --
INNIS: -- support approval for Trump.
SANDERS: Which exit poll? Hmm.
INNIS: There is gold in the hills, in the minority community for Republicans in the conservative movement, they got to go find that gold. They better go find that gold or else we're going to be in trouble in 2020.
CUOMO: Right, but just pick the right polls otherwise you're looking for fool's gold my brother. Thank you for being with me on a Friday night. Always a pleasure. Symone, thank you. Niger, equally, thank you. Best to both of you.
All right, yesterday the President went bananas about Mueller. He just did. Now today he tried to project calm, bragging about how easily he answered the questions and all on his own. Does Corey Lewandowski agree with that? Of course he does. But can he justify it? We see, ahead.
[21:35:48] CUOMO: Turns out President Trump can not block CNN or any journalist from the White House simply because he doesn't like the questions. A federal judge Trump appointed sided with freedom today. Our chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta is now back in and that press room breathed a sigh of relief I would assume in many instances because they now know something certain about their own ability to engage. But the President isn't backing down. What happens next? Let's bring
in Corey Lewandowski. It's good to have you here, former Trump Campaign Manager. Certainly understand the head and the intentions of the President and co-author of Trump's enemies. There should have been a whole chapter on me in that book given by what I hear from you guys, but nothing.
All right, good to have you Corey, as always. Let me ask you.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thank you.
CUOMO: Do you think the President gets it after the rolling today? Because it didn't seem so from what I heard, it didn't feel so from what Sarah Sanders tried to do in twisting the judge's ruling.
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, I think the President absolutely understands what the judge said, and the judge said that this was not an issue of the first amendment, to be clear. This was an issue of due process and it's my understanding -- and I'm not an attorney -- the judge reissue the hard pass press credential to the CNN correspondent on the fact that he was not give an due process for that removal. And so what the White House has said they're going to do is he going to put a series of policies and procedures in place, which will dictate what the rules are in the press room. That doesn't mean you can't ask questions, that doesn't mean you have to only ask one question at a time but it does mean there will be a process in place and if you don't follow that process then they will have the opportunity for the recourse of removing the press pass.
LEWANDOWSKI: What's very important, Chris --
LEWANDOWSKI: Yes, but what's very, very important tonight CBS White House correspondent Major Garrett, who I have great respect for, said there is no absolute path for the free press just to have no decorum in the room. And this man has covered the White House for a long time and he said that he believes decorum should take place in the press room.
CUOMO: Yes. Starts at the top, my friend. Starts at the top. This President has made a practice of disrespecting anyone he doesn't like. There's no one in that press room who comes close to addressing the President of the United States the way he addresses anyone he doesn't like. How sad, Corey, that the press has to be mindful not to play down to the standard of the President of the United States? And just to be clear on the law because as you know I am a lawyer. The judge didn't say this isn't about the first amendment, he didn't rule on the first amendment but he said CNN is likely to win on the arguments which are pretty clear, we are on the side of expansiveness to the first amendment, as frustrating that has may be sometimes.
He ruled on the Fifth Amendment because this was a TRO and there was no process. The President violated two amendments in my opinion here, one was ruled on today but the bigger point is the one you are making. Decorum. The President says we should have decorum when in the last two weeks he's gone after black female journalists, he's gone after White journalist, he has gone after anybody he doesn't like, he calls them the ugliest names in the world and now you'll say that Major Garrett from CBS says there should be no absolute free pass? Nobody said there should be but there shouldn't be for the President, either, Corey. Shouldn't he act better than he does?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, Chris, what I think you have to remember is the President has no obligation to hold a press conference. He doesn't no obligation to call on individuals but when you start a question to the President with "I'm going to challenge you" which is how Jim started the question.
LEWANDOWSKI: They asked him to hand the microphone off. Look, Jim can ask any question, has had the opportunity to ask the President hundreds of questions over the course of the last three or four years.
LEWANDOWSKI: This President answers hard questions.
CUOMO: Sometimes. Often not. Won't come on here.
LEWANDOWSKI: These questions and all questions can be asked in a manner which is at least respectful to the office of the President.
CUOMO: But how can you talk about Jim Acosta or anyone without first manning up and saying, look, the President's got to change the way he speaks. I'm going to challenge you is a triggering phrase when the President of the United States says you're a nasty person. You're a bad person, you're the enemy of the people. Come on, Corey, it's not even a close call. You know it.
[21:40:03] LEWANDOWSKI: Look, here's the problem. The media unfortunately has gone from reporting the news to making the news. They inject their own opinions on matter as they ask questions so that's not what it's supposed to be.
CUOMO: Corey, look, the problem is there are lots of problems but you'll only own some of them that work for you. You can't say that the President isn't the one that is most violative of any sense of decency and decorum when it comes to our media culture. You can't say it.
LEWANDOWSKI: Look, let me say this --
CUOMO: You've never heard a reporter say anything disrespectful to the President's face. You've never heard a reporter say to him "you're a bum. You're a liar. I think you're evil." They would never say that. But he would.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, I think that it would serve both parties, both the press and the President and his administration very well to take these press conferences off television and have real discussions, real dialogue and real issues being resolve so that you're not on camera, neither the reporters or the press secretary, who's ever giving the briefings so they can report exactly what was transpiring but I don't know why there would be pushback of taking those off television because --
CUOMO: I think the more transparency the better. I think he should have to come on all these shows. I think he should make the decision and say all right, fine, Cuomo want to test, I'm going to come on. I'm going to give that audience its respect. You know, I think a lot of things should happen. All we can control is what has to happen and that's what the law is about and the law was clear here, the President can't pull a pass because he doesn't like what you're asking him. He'd like to. He said it again too, I'm going to make up rules and if he misbehaves we'll throw him out. No, it's not going to happen. You don't get to judge behavior that way. The rule for the secret service is whether or not you're a security risk, not that you are a risk to his political health.
LEWANDOWSKI: But Chris it's too bad that we're in a day and age where we have to put specific rules in place so that we have decorum in the press room.
CUOMO: We don't have to. He wants to. Well, because he pulled the press pass if somebody that he didn't like.
LEWANDOWSKI: You can not have a free-for-all. Chris --
CUOMO: It's a free-for-all, Corey, it's one guy.
LEWANDOWSKI: You cannot have a free-for-all. You can't do that.
CUOMO: It's one guy.
LEWANDOWSKI: There's one guy who refused to give up a microphone.
CUOMO: He was asking a question and you sent the intern to take the microphone. You can criticize how he handled it or not but to pull his pass? You pull his pass?
LEWANDOWSKI: OK, I'm not disagreeing with you. But what I'm telling you is --
CUOMO: I mean, look, the judge said it was wrong.
LEWANDOWSKI: The judge said that he was not given due process and the judge ruled he --
CUOMO: It was unconstitutional.
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, he's been reinstated into the press pool. He has now has pass back to the White House --
CUOMO: I know but why did it take a court of law for the President to do the right thing? Why did the White House have to be told by a judge don't use InfoWars B.S. with America. Don't use their tapes, don't use their doctored tapes.
LEWANDOWSKI: There are all kinds of rules to get into the White House, you have to --
CUOMO: Yes, security rules, not promise to say what the President wants. Let me ask you something else while I have you.
LEWANDOWSKI: Hey, look, let's be clear -- hold on, Chris, let's just be clear.
CUOMO: Let me ask you something else.
LEWANDOWSKI: Jim was not banned from the White House. He was banned from coming in without an escort, he was --
CUOMO: Whatever. He wasn't allowed to do the job the way he was doing it before. Let's put that to the side --
LEWANDOWSKI: Of course, he could, as long as he had an escort.
CUOMO: Yes, he couldn't get into the main room that's what it is. He doesn't need an escort. He's a journalist, he goes in, he gets his badge like everybody else, he does his job. You like it, fine, you don't like it, too bad, that's freedom of the press.
Let me something though, the President was saying today, I did all the answers to the question myself, lawyer didn't need to help, it's all me. They were easy. Why doesn't he hand them in?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, I think the President has met with his legal team. They've gone through and I'm sure the President did answer the questions himself.
CUOMO: Why don't they hand them in to Mueller?
LEWANDOWSKI: Let me tell you -- look, I've already said I'm not an attorney. But let me give my political advice.
CUOMO: You don't have to be one.
LEWANDOWSKI: I see absolutely no benefit of the President having a conversation with Bob Mueller, submitting questions. He's gone above and beyond what he's had to do.
CUOMO: He has not.
LEWANDOWSKI: And he's willing to submit the questions because he know there is has been no collusion. There is no collusion --
CUOMO: Then hand the questions -- hand the answers in.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, Chris, let's find out what the I.G. says as they're going through --
CUOMO: What I.G.? LEWANDOWSKI: What the FBI did, the Department of Justice Inspector General who said that Andy McCabe and Jim Comey and Peter Strzok and Lisa Page all had a plan.
CUOMO: They already issued their report.
LEWANDOWSKI: That's not true.
CUOMO: What are you talking about? The I.G. came out with a report after they review the FBI.
LEWANDOWSKI: Part of it. Part of that report is done. The criminal referral for Andy McCabe has not been followed up on.
CUOMO: That's true.
LEWANDOWSKI: James Comey lying to Congress, called perjury hasn't been followed up on. Look, as it relates to Bob Mueller, this President said, you can continue your investigation. He's done nothing to prevent it from happening, Rod Rosenstein --
CUOMO: If he wants to continue --
LEWANDOWSKI: -- has overseeing that until the new I.G. is there.
CUOMO: Id he wants to continue, if he wants it to, he should comply and he should hand in the questions and we'll see what happens next.
Corey Lewandowski, thank you for answering the questions tonight on Cuomo Prime Time.
LEWANDOWSKI: Thank you.
CUOMO: As always, I appreciate it. Have a good weekend.
LEWANDOWSKI: Have a good night.
CUOMO: All right, the President loves to say he has a hot White House. Everyone wants to work in it, right? Wrong. We know that's not true. I'll tell you who doesn't want to work it. Somebody that -- married to somebody very famous and very important, there's a story that's gotten too big for me to ignore, so I'll take it on with D. Lemon next.
[21:48:39] CUOMO: All right, you hit me on Twitter at @Chris Cuomo, see if you agree or you don't. But this next story, there's something about it that bothers me, but it's in the news too much. Can't ignore it, George Conway who happens to be married to White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway is all over the President. Here's what he said to Yahoo News, skullduggery podcast about why he withdrew his name for consideration from a job in Trump's DOJ.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE CONWAY: It's like, the administration is like a [bleep] show in a dumpster fire. And I'm like, I'm not going to do that. I don't know. And then it's like -- then you got the Comey firing. And then you've got him going on TV saying, I had Russia on my mind. And it's like, oh, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: That's how I am when I hear him talking about this stuff when his wife works for the President. Let's bring in D. Lemon. How do you feel about it, Don?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: He's trolling his wife. How do I -- honestly, you want to know how I feel about it?
LEMON: I don't really care honestly.
CUOMO: See, I do.
LEMON: I don't really care. I just think that it's all the theater of the absurd, and I just think if it matters that much, I don't understand why they're even together. Look, that's just what I'm saying.
CUOMO: Well, people can disagree about politics. I have no problem with that. I have no problem with them having --
LEMON: This is not politics, Chris. I keep telling you this is not politics. This is about right versus wrong.
[21:50:03] CUOMO: But that's not what he's talking about.
LEMON: Lying versus the truth. He's basically saying, every time he trolls the White House is that what you're saying is absurd and ridiculous. You are lying to the American people. And his wife is the person who comes out. She is the spokesperson.
CUOMO: Right. Isn't he disrespecting his wife?
LEMON: You just made my point for me.
CUOMO: Right. But he's married to her. How do you do that?
LEMON: He's an adult. She's an adult. They can say what they want, I'm just telling you --
CUOMO: No, they can't -- they're married. You respect the relationship. You and I are boys. If somebody was coming -- I would never dog you like that. I mean, we're friends. You're my friend. My loyalty is to you. I'm not going to --
LEMON: It doesn't mean we have to agree, though. But it mean if --
CUOMO: Yes, but I would say it to you. I wouldn't say it on TV. LEMON: Yes. If we disagree on fundamental things, Chris, we would
probably not -- we could have a disagreement of opinions on things --
LEMON: But if you disagreement on the fundamentals, what is right, what is wrong, what is true, what is false, what is reality versus what's not reality, what is a fact versus an alternative fact. If you disagree on those things in, I can't even be friends with someone like that. I heard someone on the radio the other day, and they were friends with two people in the administration, right? And I'm just not going to give names.
CUOMO: I got you.
LEMON: I've been friends with them for years and what am I supposed to do, not be friends with them because I disagree with them? Well, yeah, if your friend is espousing policies that are detrimental to women, that are detrimental to gay people, detrimental to minorities, detrimental whatever, and is on the wrong side of history and seen as racist and on and on, then I think you need to rethink your friendship with them and maybe that's --
CUOMO: All right. I get your analysis.
LEMON: You don't want to be friends with them.
CUOMO: I get your analysis, I apologize.
LEMON: I think it's the same thing with a relationship.
CUOMO: Yes, I see. That's where I'm different than you on this one.
CUOMO: They're married and if he had that big of a fundamental problem, maybe they wouldn't be married, but they are, and they got beautiful kids. They've got a beautiful family.
LEMON: I think it's -- I see them out. I wish them the best. But you were asking me my opinion. I couldn't do it.
CUOMO: I know I want it. I always want it.
LEMON: I couldn't do it.
CUOMO: I always want it.
LEMON: But we're going to -- it's interesting. We're going to talk -- have you heard about the Kansas guy, the guy on the council who is saying talking about being part on tape of the master race?
LEMON: Yes. We're going to debate that.
CUOMO: Good. Call it out. I love it. I love it, D. Lemon. I'll see you in a second.
LEMON: See you.
CUOMO: I love that D. Lemon, but come on, marriage? A little different than whether you're just friends.
All right. So the press won a big battle against the President today. It did. But challenges lie ahead. And there are some points that we must all be on the same page about, and that's the closing argument next.
[21:56:13] CUOMO: All right. A judge made the law clear to the White House. The press has the right to ask what it wants, all right? Now the question is what happens next? And I argue the real trouble may lie ahead. Here's what the President said right after the ruling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's not a big deal. What they said, though, is that we have to create rules and regulations for conduct, et cetera, et cetera. We're doing that. We're going to write them up right now. It's not a big deal. And if he misbehaves, we'll throw him out, or we'll stop the news conference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Denying due process is a big deal, and of course the President can leave whenever he wants or he can choose not to come at all he just can't force us to leave when he doesn't like the question. Again, the law is clear. Press passes are denied if someone is deemed a security risk. The truth may hurt Trump, but that doesn't make it a security risk. In fact, the truth actually increases the security of everyone else because letting the powerful say whatever they want and letting them silence what they don't like, that's a risk. Trump may like leaders who do that, right? You've heard him talk about Kim, Duterte, Putin. But America has never cottoned to strong men. And then today he said this about the first amendment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I will say this, look, nobody believes in the first amendment more than I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Ironic given he is losing a court battle in which he is fighting to abridge free speech. But as always, President Trump saying something doesn't make it true. The truth is in his actions. This goes also for his call for decorum.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: What a stupid question that is. That's OK. I know you're not thinking. You never do. You are a rude, terrible person. You're creating violence by your questions. That's such a racist question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: That is this President's idea of decorum. Be clear about this. The current state of play is that we in the media make sure not to stoop to the level of the President of the United States when it comes to decorum. How sad is that? But here's the proof. You've never seen anyone in that briefing room ever address the President in any way like the way that he routinely addresses them.
There's an old expression. News is what the powerful don't want to talk about. Everything else is advertising. We saw today that our laws protect our right to speak truth to power, to ask what they don't want, and not to just let the powerful, even the President, spew what is, in effect, advertising. Trump has rallies for that. For everyone else, let freedom reign and let the questions fly.
Trump doesn't have to answer them, but he can't stop them from coming. To paraphrase the President himself, Elvis may have left the house, but Jim Acosta and CNN will be back in the building.
That's all for us tonight. Thank you for watching. "CNN Tonight with Don Lemon" starts right now. I'm giving you an extra minute of show because you're pretty.
LEMON: Well, er. It should be er than you. So listen -- thank you, I appreciate that. We usually take it up because we talk -- I listen to your -- I was at the barber today. As you can see I got my hair --
CUOMO: Fresh cut. Looks nice.
LEMON: I got a fresh cut and I was listening to you and you said something I thought was pretty profound, and I thought it was right on the mark. It was surprising coming from you. I think you said -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- a gentleman called in, and he said, oh, why do you always go after one side and that you're not fair to -- you're always pointing out one side. You said, that's because one side is in power. You can't give a false equivalence to balance, right? It's not like the jets versus the rams or whatever because one is in power, the other one isn't. It's not like two sporting teams.
And I think people get that mixed up all the time, especially when we're talking about this. When you're talking about Jim Acosta even at the White House, right? The President is in power. He deserves to be challenged, and that's not always done in a nice way.