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Ivanka Trump Used Personal E-mail for Government Business; Trump Lashes Out at Navy SEAL Who Led Bin Laden Raid; Monica Lewinsky Speaks Out on the Clinton Affair. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 19, 2018 - 21:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: But the news continues, so I'll hand it over to Chris Cuomo. "CUOMO PRIME TIME" starts now.


I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME. But her e-mails, sure had some bite for the President when he was talking about Hillary. What will he say now when it's his daughter Ivanka using her personal e- mail for government work?

Plenty of blow back is well for the President disrespecting a decorated veteran and the hunt for Osama bin Laden. We have two retired generals here. They're going to set the record straight and the President is not going to like it what they have to say, Michael Hayden and James Clapper in attendance.

And you may think you know the Monica Lewinsky story. But there's so much that we don't know. There are new details and also new perspective. One question, imagine if it happened today. How big a difference would Me Too make? You know, we are Turkey day minus three, so what do you say? Let's get after it.

This would be some headline all by itself, a top administration official using a personal e-mail account for official White House business. Then you add to that, it's the President's daughter Ivanka. What's he going to say about it? Nothing. You are not going to hear chants of lock her up at some Trump rally about this.

Now, what are Ivanka's people saying? They're saying, her private account was used, "almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family." And that she only did so until the White House told her it was a no, no.

Let's get after it with two of the biggest names in intelligence, Former NSA and CIA Director General Michael Hayden and Former Director of National Intelligence under Obama, Lieutenant General James Clapper.

Good to see you both, I'm not going to take up too much time on smaller matters, but using a private e-mail to do government business, even after our reporting is she was told that it's a no, no. How big a deal, Jim Clapper?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it's a big deal politically, certainly. I mean, there's the obvious inconsistency here about the treatment that Hillary Clinton got for essentially the same thing. Intrinsically, you know, whether classified e-mails passed, I don't know.

But I just think that the -- I find it incredible after all -- for the role about Hillary Clinton's use of her server and using that for passing a government communication that for this to happen is just pretty incredible. But as you say, probably unlikely we're going to hear too many chants of lock her up.

CUOMO: No, I don't think we will hear anything about it at all to be honest with you but hypocrisy is nothing new these days.

General Hayden, let's get into some of the pithier matters here. Admiral McRaven, the idea of going after him as a critic because he likes Hillary Clinton, fine. All is fair in politics. But the idea of diminishing what Admiral McRaven has to say by saying, hey would have been nice if they caught bin Laden a little bit sooner, your reaction? Let's play some sound a bit first. Go ahead.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Bill McRaven, Retired Admiral, Navy Seal, 37 years, former head of U.S. Special Operations --

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton fan.

WALLACE: Special Operations --

TRUMP: Excuse me, Hillary Clinton fan.

WALLACE: Who led the operations, commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden says that your sentiment is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime.

TRUMP: OK, he's a Hilary Clinton, uh, backer and an Obama-backer and frankly --

WALLACE: He was a Navy Seal 37 years --

TRUMP: Wouldn't it have been nice if we got Osama Bin Laden a lot sooner than that?


CUOMO: He is not a Hillary Clinton backer. He said it himself. But let's put the truth to the side. What bothered you so much about this, General?

MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, there are two things. Number one, I have met no finer officer than Bill McRaven. And so to have the President use the power of his office to attempt to diminish frankly someone whom I think by way of virtue is better is really very disappointing.

The other, Chris is the gaping ignorance on the part of a President late in the second year of his term as to how CIA and special operations forces operate together. His little quote there trying to condemn the lateness, the tardiness of the assault has nothing to do with how these things really happen in the real world. One hopes a President could pick some of that up.

CUOMO: Mr. Clapper, it is not -- it's no small irony that the President is talking about they should have gotten bin Laden faster. Of course everybody would always like to get bad guys who have an existential threat to the America on their mind at all times as soon as you can. But that diminishes how difficult this was. You guys lived it. I followed it for the better part of 15 years. Went to Pakistan four times about this, this wasn't an easy task. And certainly the Pakistanis weren't making it any easier. But the irony, Jim, that the head of ISIS is out there right now, we don't know where he is and the President didn't seem concerned about that.

[21:05:24] CLAPPER: You know, I think actually, Mike pointed this out in his tweet today about what about Baghdadi and al-Zawahiri, the head -- at least the teacher or head of al-Qaeda? And they are still out uncaptured. So, the irony here is terrible. And I couldn't agree more with Mike about Bill McRaven as a friend and a national hero for this country.

And really, what the President's criticism directed towards Admiral McRaven actually is a shot at the intelligence community because it was up to the intelligence community to find bin Laden, which they did. And rather than bad mouth it, this was a tremendous testament to the patient, persistence and professionalism of the intelligence community, notably CIA, to find him in the first place. So I just thought, this is almost pathetic display by the President.

CUOMO: And to do it with OBL right under the nose of the Pakistani military without notice from the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence, which is a very capable group themselves, as you guys know better than I, that was no small feat. And we all know that. But this is never been a matter of fact.

General, we keep hearing that the President loves the veterans. Do you believe we have seen ample proof of that?

HAYDEN: No. And, you know, we have talked previously, Chris, about the performance last weekend in France, the failure to go across the river on the 11th of November, the ability of the President, the tendency of the President to use the armed forces as props as he has done along the southern border but in other situations as well, he went to 8th and I of the marine barracks here in Washington a few days after he didn't go to Arlington and again used the marines as a background to show his love for the troops.

You know, I did a little research and the President's popularity in the armed forces is a bit above the national average. But, Chris, it's split right down the middle, 44 percent for, 43 percent against. He has good support among the enlisted force, but he is well underwater with women, minorities and the officer corps.

CUOMO: He hasn't gone to visit them abroad. It's interesting the difference between the talk and the walk.

Jim Clapper, let me ask you something. The idea of the President -- he once said, I can't wait to speak to Mueller. Want to do it under oath. It will be great. They said it plenty of times. Now he says, yes, we're done with this. I'm not going to talk to him. They're not even answering any questions about obstruction in writing. What do you make of the shift? And what's the relevance to the probe? Favorite

CLAPPER: Well, I think as, you know -- assuming Special Counsel Mueller is nearing the end of his investigation, and I think the reality of what is could connote, or what it could represent the implications for President Trump -- and I believe that you know, has gotten cold feet now that we're getting close to the time where I think some action with the President is going to ensue.

And, you know, I'm sure his lawyers have told him about his potential vulnerability here. And I just think he has realized that. And then he would love, I know, that to cut it off right now. That would be a nice luxury for anybody under investigation to have.

CUOMO: Quick question before I let you guys go. Interpol, the idea of putting a Russian in charge of Interpol, General Michael Hayden, what's your take?

HAYDEN: Yes, very disappointing and actually quite dangerous for Russian dissidents who are living elsewhere in the world because now, the Russians can turn the mechanisms of this international organization to their own political purposes against dissidents.

CUOMO: If it's so obvious, then why is it happening?

HAYDEN: Beyond my ability to understand, the previous head was Chinese. And we had some of the same issues there as well. Maybe it's part of America pulling back and not being actively involved in these international organizations.

CUOMO: Jim Clapper, Michael Hayden, boy, look at that screen. Talk about turkey in the middle. It's great to have you two men. Thank you for helping this show.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: And the best of thanksgiving. I'm thankful for you both.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

CLAPPER: Happy Thanksgiving.

CUOMO: Be well fellows.

All right, Democrats picked up even more seats on Capitol Hill over the weekend. The President is trying to blow off the idea of a blue wave. But he is facing a lot of problems, not just now but on what will happen in 2020 potentially because of what just happened now.

[21:10:04] I will take you through it next.


CUOMO: Thirty-seven seats for Democrats in the House. That's the most for the Democrats since Watergate. All right, but the big takeaway of the midterm was what it means for 2020 and Trump did not like hearing about the new state of play.


WALLACE: If you can't carry -- and you certainly didn't carry it two weeks ago -- Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania -- you're not going to get reelected.

TRUMP: I didn't run. I wasn't running. My name wasn't on the ballot.


CUOMO: He told people so many times, go and vote like I'm on the ballot. I'm not there but I'm there. Go and vote. Go and vote. Just because he says it, doesn't make it true. Not now, not then, not ever. But here is what we do know. Two out of three voters had Trump on their mind, and most had bad thoughts.

As a result, the Democrats picked some seats up. They put some bricks down in the blue wall, as they call it, across the Midwest, especially with the governor wins. Why? Because governors help lay the base for electoral outcomes, because those state legislatures are the ones that draw up districts. And that's where the organizing is done, especially in the center of the country.

Now, Republicans have dominated governor offices and legislatures, especially in the Midwest, for most of the last decade. So that's why Democrats picking up seven governor seats in this election, Republicans only getting one, that matters. And the governor wins by the Democrats can make a difference for visiting would-be 2020 candidates who want to make a splash.

The optics makes for better campaign material when the governor meets you at the airport like a traveling dignitary, you know, the whole sauce of it.

[21:15:22] But Trump sounds like he is in denial or spinning as hard as he can. Take a listen.


WALLACE: This was a historically big defeat in the House. You lost 36, maybe 40 seats. Some would argue that it was a thumping.

TRUMP: I won the Senate, and that's historic too, because if you look at presidents in the White House it's almost never happened where you won a seat. We won -- we now have 53 as opposed to 51 and we have 53 great Senators in the U.S. Senate. We won. That's a tremendous victory.


CUOMO: You can keep saying it, but it doesn't make it true. He already had the Senate, all right, and remember this, the map they had in the Senate, they came up short with that. They should have had like five seats, maybe six. They only got two. Right? They had Democrats but in ruby red states and they still lost. They lost in Arizona. They lost with Tester in Montana. They lost with Joe Manchin in West Virginia.

Now, if it weren't for Trump being such a mixed bag for so many Republicans, who knows what would have happened. Second, those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We know that, right? And Trump is sounding like a repeater. And the question becomes, what does this portend for 2020? That's why I have this out. On the senate side, the Democrats have a much easier time in the Senate. The map is different. The states in play are different, better for Democrats than this time in the midterms.

But while the foundation, those Senate and House seats that could turn blue in 2020, that looks a little favorable. The real questions for Democrats is who they have to take on Trump, assuming he runs. And their field may look a lot like the GOP redux in 2016. Everybody and anybody may be running. You got senators Booker, Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand, Harris, representative O'Rourke who got beat in Texas. But Democrats are very high on him for one reason or another and they are talking about him running in 2020, certainly didn't give back all the money he raised. So I guess, he could use that for 2020.

Political reports that Bernie Sanders is lining up progressive activists from across the country for a three-day gathering in Burlington next week. Senator Cory Booker is setting his sites on the key state of New Hampshire, making his second visit there in less than two months. But you know what? A year is so far away.

The President's biggest opponent at that time could be the economy or one of a dozen new names, including outsiders that you have never heard of who believe they can exploit the vacuum of quality talent. And you know who did that and won? The President of the United States.

All right, so we'll see what happens. One of the biggest takeaways from the last presidential election is that you should never use your personal e-mail for government business. Why did Ivanka Trump, of all people, not get the memo? Big news to take up in our great debate next.


[21:22:13] CUOMO: Ivanka Trump under fire for, wait for it, using her personal e-mail for government business while serving in the administration. You cannot make it up. I feel like I say that every week. And every week I'm right, hundreds of e-mails last year, the White House aides for the Washington Post. I wonder what her dad thinks. Fair to compare it to Hillary Clinton? Let's ask our great debaters. Bakari Sellers, and Rick Santorum.

Bakari, what do you say?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Crooked Ivanka. But her e-mails, I mean, these things are things that we heard about throughout the entire campaign. Right now, it's hypocrisy showing its ugly head. Republicans didn't care about Hillary Clinton's e-mails. All they wanted to do is persecute her night in and night out, chanting lock her up, lock her up. It was something good and red meat for the base but they really didn't care.

But now you have Ivanka doing the same thing. We'll going to hear complete silence. She's a high ranking -- although his daughter, a high ranking official who has a security clearance. And if we're going to have an FBI investigation for Hillary Clinton, we need an investigation for Ivanka Trump.

I think, the saying is was good for the goose is good for the gander. And so I am tired of the hypocrisy. The American people are tired of the hypocrisy. So either we're going to begin, the chant lock her up and investigate her from here until the cows come home or we just going to say that we were hypocritical and Hillary Clinton's matter was not that serious.

CUOMO: Well, I hope nobody chants that because I hated it the first time. It showed a such a disrespect for the process and such a kind of pitchfork mentality, I hated it.

But Rick, what about the hypocrisy here?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, to sort of ignore the obvious differences here is, I think, a little hypocritical. I mean, Hillary Clinton went out and established her own server in full knowledge that what she was doing was wrong. Number one.

Number two, she -- this was a political person who had political aspirations, who was doing things in her own interest as a political figure as opposed to Ivanka, who is not a political feature. She is the daughter of the President yet, she was not the secretary of state dealing with a variety of very sensitive and classified information, even information that's not classified but sensitive from the standpoint of dealing with our allies and foes.

I mean, you know, Ivanka is focused on, you know, parental leave policy. I mean, there's a big difference between what Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, was doing and what Ivanka Trump is accused of.

CUOMO: All right. Well, she's a senior adviser. Hillary didn't set up the server. It was set up by her husband before, right? And Comey had to go back and say that the problem wasn't that she was trafficking in classified information but your point stands, Bakari, apples to oranges, Hillary Clinton was a big-shot, wanted to be President of the United States. This is different.

[21:25:00] SELLERS: No, it's not different. And I mean, what's the difference between whether -- if Hillary Clinton was using her own brows server versus Ivanka using Yahoo, AOL or Gmail, I mean, I think we need to know what that is, we need to figure out if she was compromised or not. She was communicating with high level cabinet officials. But I love the fact that, my friends on the right, whenever something happens with Donald Trump Junior or Eric Trump or Ivanka, they say, oh my god, they're just children. Please, let them be.

But now they have security clearances. Now, they are high ranking administration officials and they are in violation of the law. And so, to say that Ivanka Trump doesn't know or is ignorant of policy, the perfect example is Hillary Clinton. Her father was out there chanting lock her up. Her father ran a campaign -- you could use #buthere-mail. So to say she's not aware that she should not use a private e-mail address, I think is intellectually dishonest.

SANTORUM: First of, I didn't say that, Bakari. I didn't say that she was blameless. I think what she did was wrong. What she did was really not -- sort of inexcusable given just the things you've said. But I don't think it rises to the level of what we talked about with Hillary Clinton. I think they are two different things. What Ivanka did, I'm disappointed that she did it. I'm sure she feels very bad about having done that. It was careless. It was not a good thing to do. But it doesn't rise to the level of what Mrs. Clinton did.

CUOMO: But the problem is, none of it --

SELLERS: Should there be an investigation, though?

CUOMO: Yes, do you think there should be an investigation or no, Rick?

SANTORUM: Look, I mean, unless there's some evidence here that she was dealing with a lot of information as Mrs. Clinton was of a sensitive nature and that was part of the discussion, again, from what the articles I read is that the majority of the discussions were about scheduling and her children and family and things like that, and which I know that's what Hillary Clinton said, but it didn't turn out to be that way.

CUOMO: Well, but it turned out to be closer to that than that than what you guys are making of it, right? I mean, that's the problem. You know, just put it all out there for a second. I don't really care about what these guys are using -- if you get caught, then you got a problem.

And if you get caught by somebody else, not the U.S. government, but they catch you and they get information from you because you did this, now you have a big problem on your hands. And that's when we usually deal with it. But during the campaign, let's be honest, this was blown out of control because it was Hillary Clinton, Republicans ran wild with it. That's where the chants came from.

If you ask I.T. experts, what do you think safer? Gmail or your own server, they're going to tell you to set up your own server every time over those things. But it was never about the truth. It was never about what e-mails she had. It was a way to go after Hillary Clinton. And that's the irony now being his own daughter. Fair point?

SELLERS: I mean, I think that's a fair point. In fact, I don't necessarily want Ivanka investigated. I mean, I'm like you, Chris, I could care less that she was using her private e-mail account. I don't even think she should have security access. And I think nepotism is running rampant in the White House. So she really shouldn't be there in the first place. With all that being said, I think we are making these points to highlight something that breeds distrust amongst our viewers and breeds distrust amongst the American public, which is the hypocrisy.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean, I think that's where it comes up. And we see it on different levels. Another topic I wanted to get at with you guys about is what he said to John Kelly yesterday. You know, that was a great interview by Chris Wallace. We got to give it to him. We don't celebrate each other enough in this business. I'm biased. I came up under Chris Wallace at ABC News. He was the senior investigative correspondent. He's topnotch. He has got it in his gene, his father, creative the confrontation interview as far I'm concern.

So he did a nice job yesterday and got to a lot of things and had the President on his heels a lot. And I think that's important when you test power. And I saw that in a subtle way that wasn't celebrated much yet. I mean, the interview was just yesterday. But when he was talking about John Kelly, do we have sound of that? No? All right, I want you guys to hear the President talking about John Kelly, the Chief of Staff General. Listen.


WALLACE: Back in July you said that Chief of Staff John Kelly will be here through 2020.

TRUMP: Well --

WALLACE: Can you still say that?

TRUMP: We -- I wouldn't -- look, we get along well. There are certain things I love what he does. And there are certain things that I don't like that he does -- that aren't his strength. But John, at some point, is going to want to move on. John will move on.

WALLACE: So 2020 is no longer written in stone?

TRUMP: It could happen. Yeah, it could -- I mean it could be. But let's see what happens.


CUOMO: It's like reality is so day to day in this administration. I mean, there is no loyalty, Rick. There's no permanency. And by all accounts, General John Kelly is giving heart, soul, blood and brain to this administration on a daily basis. And that's the way he gets talked about?

SANTORUM: I didn't see that as being critical. He said I love some of what he does. Love --

CUOMO: He won't guarantee he is here throughout the year. And who does that in politics, what it did you ever say about your chief of staff?

SANTORUM: That may be John Kelly's decision.

CUOMO: I like some things -- but what have you ever done -- I mean, Bakari, you have been in the business. Rick, you were at such a high level. Nobody talks like that about their own people. Nobody exposes them to scrutiny.

[21:30:03] SANTORUM: He has also given John Kelly high praise on multiple occasions. I think there might be something going on. Maybe General Kelly wants to go. I mean, we heard that rumor for a long, long time.

CUOMO: Is anybody ever safe from scrutiny from this man? You know, I mean, is there anybody like his ground kids. Is there anybody who gets an unqualified pass, Bakari?

SELLERS: It's a reality -- this is a reality TV show. This is "The Apprentice" on steroids. This is what we have in the White House. They love chaos. And I think this is just who he is. And I think that there's people that are waiting in the background. One of the individuals I have served with here in South Carolina, Mick Mulvaney is sitting there, just waiting in the background, who has a demeanor that's much more like Donald Trump than John Kelly.

CUOMO: But why would you want it? Rick, if they came to you and said, hey come on into the White House, we need you out here, you are great with Cuomo, come on, we -- would you even consider it?

SANTORUM: Chris, I love this show so much. I could never leave here. I mean, I can't -- I'm going to do this until I'm gray.

SELLERS: It's me and my sweater.

SANTORUM: I walk in without a tie on the sweater. That's when --

CUOMO: That's a different level. He is too young and too handsome. Rick, you and I we may be Italian, but we need more to dress like that. I can't tell you how many guys say to me, you know -- and even Anthony Scaramucci has been honest about this. The idea of -- everybody wants to work in the White House, it's not true.

They have a really hard time in general under normal circumstances, it's hard to get people to take time off of their work, worry about their livelihood, cut their money and go in. But in this White House, I don't know how much they talked to you about it Rick, but they have a hard time getting talent. You just heard why.

SANTORUM: Well, look, there are a lot of really good, talented people in the White House. I know a lot of them. Some are used to work for me. And they are good people. And so, I would agree with you that that, you know, a lot of levels, they have had trouble -- CUOMO: Still have tons of openings.

SANTORUM: That's right. They have. And they haven't done a very good job filling a lot of those openings. And that's a real problem in trying to get policy you know, penetrating down through the department. So it has been a problem. I'm not sure it's fair to say the White House is necessarily the place they are having the hardest time recruiting.

In fact, I think they have recruited some really top-notch people that are even coming in here the next few days. So yes, I think it's a little harder once you get out a little farther away from the President. I think they have really top-notch people in the White House.

CUOMO: Anyway, gentlemen, Bakari, Rick, it's great to have you on the show. I appreciate it. I'm thankful for you guys.

SELLERS: Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving, Chris.

CUOMO: Thank you for helping us build something here at Cuomo Prime Time. You are a big part of it. Both of you, God bless and be well.

SELLERS: Thank you. You, too.

CUOMO: All right. Monica Lewinsky is back in the news and for good reason. I have to tell you, this documentary series is going to take people by surprise. Yes, you know the story but not really and not from her perspective. I don't know if you read her book but even if you did, what happened with the President, what it meant to her, how it changed her, how she was dealt with, it's all so different than you may acknowledge.

And then there's the big question, imagine if it happened today. I have people who covered it then, as did I. And we're going to discuss about what we learned in this documentary series and what would happen if it happened today. It's a provocative decision and a good one to have next.


[21:37:10] CUOMO: The Lewinsky scandal, never the Bill Clinton scandal. It struck me as odd because she was an intern. And he was the most powerful man in the world. It's been 20 years. Can you imagine that? Monica Lewinsky is now speaking out about what was done to her by that entire system of scrutiny. It will be new for many of you. Here is a clip of the new documentary.


MONICA LEWINSKY: He, you know, paid a lot of attention to me. He spent time sort of standing there and held my hand longer than he should have and gave what others have described as the full Bill Clinton. It feels as if you are the only person standing there. The next day, we had a surprise party for Bill on the South Lawn that the staff was having. I did this really silly thing. I ran home at lunchtime and I put back on the sage green suit I had been wearing before when he paid attention to me. I thought maybe he will notice me again. And notice me he did.


CUOMO: Bizarre. What a wild ride so many years ago. So much implications. Such change to our political culture and our culture even writ large.

Let's discuss with two pros of the incidents. Frank Bruni, and Julie Hirschfeld Davis.

It's good to have you both here.


CUOMO: I was kind of moved by a lot of what I have heard here, even though I read it in her book. And I have known Monica Lewinsky over the years. And I have heard her talk about this. There's something for me, Frank, in hearing her discuss it that put it through the lens of what was done to her in a way I never really processed it before. What's your takeaway?

FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, I agree entirely with you. Least thing to that, you're reminded. She was a very, very young woman at the time. I mean, it got lost at the time I think in retrospect we understand it better. But she was 22 I think whether this began. And Bill Clinton was either 49 or 50. And as it went on, he is in his early 50s, she's in her early 20s. The age difference was profound. The level of power, the difference in power between them was profound.

And Monica Lewinsky was nonetheless put through the wringer, like put through the grinder, like very few people I have seen in my lifetime and one of the things I find moving about this -- and I know her a little bit, too. I have gotten to know her in the last couple years to see her talking about this with poise, did you see her healthy and vibrant after all she went through and all the hard work she had to do to patch herself together and move on, I feel enormous respect for her.

CUOMO: I remember all the way back then, Julie, one of the interesting things was my wife came to know Monica Lewinsky. Now, I'm hard bitten. I always have. I was literary born this way.

[21:40:05] But, My wife has always been heart and head and a beautiful combination. And I remember her back then being like, what is being done to her? What did she do? What is going on here? And it was interesting how whether intentional or unintentional, conscious, subconscious, it was about getting her.

You know, even in the media, it was chasing her down. Hillary Clinton, she came out, you would think that she was Stormy Daniels or something like that. You know, in terms of someone who knew what she was doing, you know, was engineering, trying to get into it. Why the difference between how we dealt with it then and how we would now? DAVIS: Well, I mean, you are right about that. And as you pointed

out before that, you know, it's known as the Lewinsky scandal, not the Bill Clinton scandal. And she -- the lens then was so much less the predicament that she was in and what she was experiencing as a young woman in this extraordinary situation, really the lens -- I was getting to Washington at the time and starting out as a political reporter.

We were all kind of obsessed with what this would mean for Bill Clinton and for the presidency and the remarkable nature of what we were seeing unfold. And it's true that she was sort of hunted by news photographers.

CUOMO: She's done in by her own friend.

DAVIS: Absolutely.

CUOMO: You know what I mean, someone she had confided in --

DAVIS: -- and people were leaking right and left. And yet there was such an appetite for all of the revelations, because nobody had ever seen anything like this before. And the change of perspective now what we are seeing and you know, I think it's a very healthy process -- is when these things come to light, when these incidents have happened more recently in the last couple of years, the focus really is on the women and what is -- what the women are experiencing, how they were put in situations and put themselves in situations in some cases, where the power dynamic was really unequal and they suffered consequences for it.

And there's much less tolerance, much less understanding for whatever the man in power may have been going through. There's really much more of a focus, as there should be, on how this could have been allowed to happen. And I think to see Monica Lewinsky living through this now, now that the lens has really shifted, has been fascinating.

CUOMO: Yes. And she's really done amazing things with her life despite that period. I want to play a little something more. And then I want to get into what you were talking about, Julie, the then and now dynamic. Listen to this though.


LEWINSKY: I kept asking, could I call my mom? They kept saying no. He said, you are 24, you don't need to call your mommy. You need to make a decision about what to do. And so I said, well then you should know I'm leaning towards not cooperating. And he said, well, you should know that we're also planning on prosecuting your mom for the things that you said she did on the tape. And I basically stood my ground and said if they would not let me call someone, call my mom, I couldn't make this decision without talking to her. So eventually, they said OK.


CUOMO: Now, two things I want -- I want to button this with a different piece of sound, Frank. Then, I want to come to you about it. But the one is, she didn't come forward and try to rat on Bill Clinton, you know, that was a big -- that's been something that's been out there. You know, she came out.

She went -- no, she did not. And to have feds talking to you as a 20 something-year-old saying we will come at your mother if you don't talk to us, you know, she was like some part of a mob organization. And then the other piece that wasn't really appreciated at the time -- and I hope people get it now, where she was in her life and what this would be like if it happened to you. Listen to this.


LEWINSKY: It's not as if it didn't register with me that he was the President.

Obviously, it did. But I think in one way, the moment we were actually in the back office for the first time, the truth is that I think it meant more to me that someone who other people desired, desired me.


CUOMO: That really puts it right. Someone who desire, you know, so many desired desired me. I had always felt like that. When she -- her name, how could she do that with the President? How could she not? Frank Bruni, you know, not to be immoral or amoral about it. But you put yourself in her position. What are those perspectives mean to you?

BRUNI: Well, I mean, the President of the United States was laser focused on her. And she's a young woman in her early 20s. That's going to be dazzling.

CUOMO: Right.

BRUNI: That has to be something -- I mean, if any one of us was in a situation like that, you know, whatever the gender reversal would be or whatever, I mean, think about what that would be like. And as you said, really, really important here, she didn't run tattling to the authorities. In fact, she was secretly recorded by her supposed friend Linda Tripp.


BRUNI: When you go back and you re-visit all that happened and what she went through, I just have to repeat, it's amazing she's standing here in one piece right now. And the thing that has always enraged me is if you go back and you look at the coverage, she was presented as much or more villain than victim, when both things are at play. And she was more victim than villain. And she sort of -- at least in the years immediately afterwards, paid a much heavier price for this --

[21:45:21] CUOMO: Oh yes.

BRUNI: -- than adults who were her senior. CUOMO: He won.

BRUNI: Yeah, who walk away from it with --

CUOMO: He won after that. She was gone. I mean, remember her trying to make it many New York City. She had create receive sense. She had a fashion sense. She wanted to do land bags. I mean, Scarlet Letter doesn't begin to describe.

BRUNI: Yes. So after being mortified like that, how does she get past the outrage and injustice? That she was vilified to an extent that the adults much, you know, many greater years than her were not vilified and that she and in some ways is suffering the greatest damage. I don't know how you put that away. You put the injustice of that away and move on with as much composure as she is showing.

CUOMO: She wound up talking about victimization and bullying online. She has really done a lot with her life. That's incontrovertible. Now, here is the big question for both of you before I let you go. And Julie, I will start with you. If it happened today, what do you think -- what would be the play? Do you think a President would survive? I'm not talking about impeachment. I'm talking about court of public opinion. What do you think would be different?

DAVIS: I mean, I think it would be a much, much different debate. And I think it would start with the fact that as I said before, you know, we're in an era now appropriately where women are believed and their experiences are front and center in these cases particularly where there's a power dynamic, which there certainly was here, not just -- it's not just about her feeling desired by a desirable man.

CUOMO: Right.

DAVIS: He was the President of the United States. And she was an intern in her 20s. But I also think we have to acknowledge the fact that the current sitting President has been accused of harassing and actually assaulting women and --

CUOMO: And what would happen though -- I hear you about that. You make all the right points. But Frank, if you factor in something that was ignored at the time -- and I'm not saying it's right or wrong. But I just want to put it out there again, the consensual nature. She never -- yes, there's a huge power imbalance and you could argue, or could she consent?

She was in her 20s. She wasn't 15, 16. But the idea of for her to come out, well, this was all completely consensual, do you think it would be survivable? Yes, he was impeached. But it didn't make it through the Senate. What do you think what happen today?

BRUNI: Sure. First of all, Chris, she could legally consent. But I don't think that makes her equally responsible. What would happen today, it's really hard to say, we've come along way in terms of believing women. We have come a long way in terms of understanding the power that men, you know, high up the chain have over women below them. But we have also -- we are so partisan, you look at Trump. He king of

puts the very truth into dispute and says those facts are wrong. Would we have taped? I mean, the narrative is so -- people do such partisan battle over the narrative now that that partisan battle might eclipse the great social progress we made in terms of decision.

CUOMO: So it's intriguing, and I'll tell you, if one President could survive it, it would be the one we have right now.

DAVIS: Absolutely.

CUOMO: Because he has proven Teflon in a way that certainly Bill Clinton wishes he was at that time.

Frank Bruni, thank you so much. Julie, this was great. It was great to have you both.

DAVIS: Great to be here. Thank you.

CUOMO: Julie Hirschfeld Davis, great to have you both. And be well and Happy Thanksgiving to everybody's family.

BRUNI: You too.

CUOMO: All right, it would be nice if this President could go a day without lobbing insults. But that's not who he is. And that's not how he treats opposition, even if we are talking about heroes who have put their lives on the line to protect him and the rest of us. I'm talking about veterans. You shouldn't ever talk smack about veterans. You have no right, neither does the President. Shouldn't they have a leader who honors them at every turn, not only when convenient? I have a closing argument that goes to this next.


[21:51:35] CUOMO: So the President went after Admiral McRaven and the OBL hunt for two reasons, Osama bin Laden. And both reasons, I would argue, are bad. The first, he attacked not because he has some deep seated feeling or understanding of the war on terror or what opportunities were missed in getting Osama bin Laden. Quite the opposite, he had a jellyfish-type reaction to someone opposing him.

Here's how it worked. The admiral called out his threatening hour free press. He heard it. It's criticism, so he attacks. Listen.


WALLACE: Bill McRaven, Retired Admiral, Navy Seal, 37 years, former head of U.S. Special Operations --

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton fan.

WALLACE: Special Operations --

TRUMP: Excuse me, Hillary Clinton fan. WALLACE: Who led the operations, commanded the operations that took

down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden says that your sentiment is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime.

TRUMP: OK, he's a Hilary Clinton, uh, backer and an Obama-backer and frankly --

WALLACE: He was a Navy Seal 37 years --

TRUMP: Wouldn't it have been nice if we got Osama Bin Laden a lot sooner than that?


CUOMO: Can you imagine that's where we are? Our commander in chief denigrates the efforts to get Osama bin Laden, to go after the admiral who was responsible for taking down Saddam Hussein, taken down Osama bin Laden. Of course, it was a team effort. Of course they're many but he was one and why? Because the President doesn't like what he said about him.

And by the way, what he just told you is a lie. The admiral is not a Hillary Clinton supporter. How do we know? He said as much. He never even endorsed her. This is not about the truth. It's ham- fisted deflection. You hit me, I hit you. But he attacked a decorated veteran who's a hero, and he maligned one of the greatest takedowns of an opponent in modern history.

The man who represented the 9/11 threat is now gone. Thanks should be the order of the day always to the SEALs, their admiral, their commander, all the intelligence people and the support troops who made their efforts possible, the years of work before those magic moments in that night.

Some are surprised that the President would attack the Osama bin Laden effort or Admiral McRaven because Trump loves the veterans so much. Says who? Trump? We only know what we can show. He gave them a race, true. So have others. He's left 15,000 active troops in Afghanistan after saying he'd bring them home.

He sent others to the border for no good reason during the holidays. In fact, the same day last week when Trump was patting himself on the back, saying, I've done so much for vets, I could leave right now, Congress was dealing with the appalling failure of the Trump administration to deliver G.I. payments to thousands. They've been waiting weeks, months, for money we promised them in trade for their lives.

Where's the love? His words? Where were they when he was in France, when rain kept him from the World War I ceremony, on Veterans Day when Arlington was skipped because of phone calls. Please.

Then there's a second reason. This is a distraction. The President has a genius quality when it comes to knowing what the media will pick up on, what opponents will be triggered by. He gets it, and he is right almost every time. [21:55:11] So what happens? Well, what's happening right now.

Instead of pointing out how his lies about the caravan were exposed as just that, how the great deal maker has nothing working with Congress, how he went bad on how pumped he was to talk to Mueller. Remember that if I'll talk to him. I'll talk to him under oath. Yes, guaranteed to John Carl at ABC.

Now he won't even let his lawyers prep answers about obstruction. Talk about a hoax. That's a hoax. You'll talk to him under oath. Now you won't even answer questions in writing that your lawyers put together. And of course how the White House tried and failed again to suppress the press in the White House. That's what the McRaven thing was all about in the beginning. McRaven saying you threatening the press is the biggest threat to democracy that I can see and it resonated because this man fights terror. That's what he did.

Rules that the White House said they're going to have by agreement when there's no agreement. You can't ask follows. More than 20 journalists did that in the last press conference. They're all going to be gone? Trump saying they'll just throw someone out if they violate the rule. That's not due process.

What's going on in his counsel's office? Do they have lawyers in there or bouncers? So as we say, don't be a sucker. Don't be played. What the President says is not always true. If you want to know how he thinks about vets, don't measure the words. Look at the actions. All right?

And any insight that he has into this search for bin Laden or any profound motivation to help veterans, he gives us every reason to think twice before we follow him down the hole of empty insults and attacks. Here's my closing. The less you obsess on the President's empty words and threats, the more you can focus on the ones that matter. Me Too.

Thank you very much for watching us. Another hour, a big interview ahead. You all know Stacey Abrams, right? She just ended her bid for governor in Georgia after a bitter, ugly battle against the secretary of state, now Governor-elect Brian Kemp. But she's not done fighting, and she wants to tell you why, next.