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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Trump Walks Out of Talks after Democrats Reject Wall; Donald Trump Jr. Compares Border Wall to Zoo Fence; "Washington Post:" White House Hires 17 New Lawyers. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 9, 2019 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
I won't end the shutdown if I don't get what I want. Just like that, the President of the United States has chosen his farcical wall over hundreds of thousands of workers.
We're going to go one-on-one with a lawmaker who was at that tense meeting today, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. So the question becomes was the walkout all for show just like the wall the President promised you in the first place? What's the truth? The truth is he's been moving away from it as the facts have been broken down the farce. I'm going to show you how.
And it is the most proof we've seen yet that Mueller has evidence of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Does this go beyond Paul Manafort? What do you say? Let's get after it.
A meeting to work through a solution to reopen the government ended in the President storming out in a huff. CNN is learning tonight that a group of GOP senators met in Lindsey Graham's office sometimes after trying to cut an immigration deal that would include money for the President's wall along with other matters that might entice Democrats like changes to help DREAMers. But that's not where the President was at that meeting, and his party is paralyzed waiting for him. He was all about wall or bust say the Democratic leaders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (R), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Again, we saw a temper tantrum because he couldn't get his way. He sort of slammed the table, and when Leader Pelosi said she didn't agree with the wall, he just walked out and said we have nothing to discuss.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: Just a few days, many federal workers will not be receiving their paychecks. The President seems to be insensitive to that. He thinks maybe they can just ask their father for more money, but they can't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right, so we have House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. He's going to take us inside the room where it all happened.
CUOMO: Leader Hoyer, thank you for joining us.
REP. STENY HOYER (D), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Good to be with you, Chris.
CUOMO: So simple question with a very complex answer depending on who you ask. What happened in this meeting?
HOYER: Well, dealing with this President is somewhat bizarre. I've been in Congress, as you know, for a long time and dealt with many of his predecessors from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, and the meetings we have with this President are different than any others because you feel that the only answer he's going to take is yes to his demands. And frankly, we've been saying all along, look, Mr. President there's a policy difference here.
And we're prepared to discuss that policy because we want to have secure borders, and therefore we're prepared to talk about that, including additional sums to assure the border security, but what we're not prepared to agree to is a wall that Chairman McCaul, who used to be the Republican Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee said was neither the most efficient or effective way to effect board r security.
But what our position is that Mr. President, don't shut down the government over this issue. Let's negotiate it. Let's talk about it. We want border security. You want border security. Let's talk about the best way to get there, and yes, let's talk to the experts. Let's talk how much money we need so that our position is he is in effect, holding hostage not only the 800,000 federal employees but also the millions and millions of people who need housing assistance, who need food stamps, who need to go to our national parks, who need to get their tax refunds. Don't hold them hostage, Mr. President, while we discuss this.
CUOMO: So he actually said, I won't open it up or if I don't open it up, or if I do open it up, you won't give me what I want so forget it?
HOYER: That's correct.
CUOMO: And is it true that he came in and that there was a relatively quick conversation, like so if I reopen this government, will you be ready to give me a wall at some point in like a month or so? Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Pelosi said no, and he slammed his hand on the ground and said see you.
HOYER: He left. I don't know whether I would say -- he got up. Obviously he was angry and huffy, and he walked out.
CUOMO: Just like that?
HOYER: Just like that, but my view was he did not think -- and I think this adds to his anger -- that we were going to agree to simply say yes to the President's wall. Many, many, many experts including many Republican members of the United States Senate have called the wall not the right alternative, so this is not a partisan issue. This is an issue of how do we secure the borders best.
CUOMO: Was he there to negotiate, do you think, or was he there to give you an ultimatum, see if you were ready to give in, and then leave?
[21:05:04] HOYER: Whether he was there for that reason or not, that's what he did. You're either for the wall or I'm leaving, and Nancy said no, and he got up in a huff and walked out.
CUOMO: Let's try to filter some of what happened in this political dynamic into like the real world for a second.
CUOMO: When Nancy Pelosi or you say we're not giving you the wall but you have given money for the structures that the DHS, CBP say they need along the border, how much, how much money, that's debatable, but you've given it in the past. Are you now not willing to give money for things like bollard fencing and technology for border security?
HOYER: Look, I think when you mention technology, when you mention personnel, when you mention humanitarian relief, we're prepared to not only discuss but to support efforts to expand all of those.
CUOMO: What about the physical structures?
HOYER: Well, the physical structure, we have physical structures. We've supported fences in the past.
CUOMO: They need more?
HOYER: Well, when you say they need more, again, the Republican senators and the Republican former Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee who was in charge of making these kinds of judgments said, you know, the wall is not the most effective and efficient way to go, and we share that view. However, having said that, we want secure borders. And you talked about technology. We talk about personnel. We talked about other things that are effective in making sure the borders are secure, we're prepared to discuss that.
CUOMO: So just to be clear for the American people, if it were x-rays to screen vehicles at the port of entry --
HOYER: We're for that.
CUOMO: You're for it.
HOYER: We're for that.
CUOMO: If it's to give CBP the manpower that they need to protect the border and to better process people?
HOYER: We're for that. Now, let me --
CUOMO: Hold on, I want to go through the punch list, Leader, and then you can fill in whatever you want. To give them judges, case agents, to give them money to create accommodations for kids and for families, would you give them that?
HOYER: Well, there's certainly going to be a discussion about accommodations. We want to make sure that children are provided for, not taken from their parents and that their parents are not incarcerated because they come across the border asking for asylum. So there's going to be a debate about that and discussion about that but --
CUOMO: You need a place to keep them that's safe and clean and warm.
HOYER: Well, they don't like the court decision that says you can't keep them for very long.
HOYER: You know, so they don't like that court decision.
CUOMO: The Flores settlement?
HOYER: Yes, we thought the Flores case was properly decided and was a humanitarian response. The President doesn't agree with that. They want to change it, so we have a policy disagreement. But Chris, the real issue here is if you have a policy difference you don't take hostages. You don't have -- making 800,000 people, 440,000 who are working and not getting paid. Ironically, many of those people are on the border.
Now, what do you think they think when they're not getting paid and their services aren't being valued? Shutting down the government, Mitch McConnell called a failed policy, and he said he was the opener of government not the shutdown of government, and I agree with him. And I hope he would take our bills, pass them to the President. We're a co-equal branch of government. We're not subservient to the President's desire. We're the policy makers.
CUOMO: McConnell says he won't put them on the floor until the President says he agrees with them.
HOYER: I understand that, and therefore he --
CUOMO: And the President says he won't sign any because he loses his leverage.
HOYER: Exactly. He says if you don't do it my way, the government's going to stay shut down, and people are not going to get their services. Employees are not going to get their salaries. It is in my opinion a very, very bad policy bordering on I would even say an immoral policy to take people hostage for the ends you want to get to.
CUOMO: But isn't all of it part of the equation, Leader? I mean, there are places where you need a fence. There's far places where you need sensors.
HOYER: And we have supported that.
CUOMO: And you need more of all of it. So you are open to more of all of it to some degree, are you not?
HOYER: You know, we're willing to talk about that with the experts who can make a determination.
CUOMO: You've appropriated bollard fencing before?
HOYER: Well, we have supported fencing before, you're correct on that. The fact is though, I want to keep repeating. We're prepared to make the borders secure, and we're prepared to do it in a way that I think both sides will feel the borders are secure and Americans will be safe. And if it requires additional infrastructure, we will certainly, I think, be prepared to consider that. The President said Mexico was going to pay for a big concrete wall, 30 feet high and 2,000 miles long.
Now has he changed his view on that? Yes, he has, but he continues to be stuck on his political promise of building a wall. This is much more about a political promise than it is about keeping America safe.
[21:10:07] CUOMO: Leader, thank you very much. This is very frustrating for you, and it must be for the American people, and not just the ones --
CUOMO: -- that are feeling the weight of the shutdown. This is just frustrating to watch. So we'll check back with you, and please let us know when there's progress to be reported.
HOYER: You bet. Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, look, the context is everything. The President promised his base a wall. It was a promise he never thought he would have to keep in a race he never thought he would win. Now he's stuck, but there's something you may not have noticed, the wall has been changing. I'm going to show you how we got here and what it all means next.
CUOMO: All right, so how did we get here? On the verge of the longest shutdown ever? It all started with the President's cell in the primary that set him apart. Build the wall, and Mexico will pay. Hype that has come back to haunt, not just him but the hundreds of thousands of good people who are working and paying the price for the President's pretend promise. Here is where all the pain was born.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: People laughed, but then it worked so well. It engaged the outraged right. It gave them a focus for their anger and a fix. The focus would become what I call the brown menace, this fiction of marauding migrants. The fix was a wall. The more they cheered the more the President added to the farce.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It's going to be made of hardened concrete, and it's going to be made out of rebar and steel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: After Trump was elected, the wall loomed larger, literally and figuratively. So your money was spent on prototypes of a pretend wall, but then came the most important part, the more the President was pushed to deliver we started to see this shift from fantasy to an attempt to own the actual reality of what is on the border right now. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[21:15:26] TRUMP: You could call it a steel fence this wall or fence or anything the Democrats need to call it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, the Democrats have never asked him for anything or had any input on what the wall should be. They're against it in the way that the President talks about it, but they have funded what is being put up and what DHS, the Department of Homeland Security says we need more of. He says fencing because it's called bollard fencing.
They also want technology and drones. In fact, it's what the Democrats included in the Omnibus Bill last year. They did play some politics by saying, oh, we're only going to replace stuff. We're not going to put any new fencing up. That was to tamp down the notion that the President deserved any credit, let's be honest.
But take a look at his tweet. He wants you to think that he is behind what is already up there. Look at it, much of the wall has already been built. This is not his design. This is the stuff that they have already learned about and been putting into practice for years.
You can argue not enough, you can argue not in enough places, but barriers near population centers and the ability to monitor elsewhere and more importantly to have the resources to handle people once they get here, that's all this current reality. It is not something that the President came up with through his own reckoning. The problem for the President is there is no reality to run to when it comes to paying for this imaginary wall. Remember, this started as free.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Mexico's paying for the wall.
And Mexico will pay for the wall. They don't know it yet, but they're going to pay for the wall. The wall will be paid for very easily by Mexico.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Easily. The reality was you would pay for it, which the President fudged.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: In order to get the wall started, Mexico will pay for the wall, but it will be reimbursed. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now the sell is that the trade deal with Mexico will pay for it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The USMCA, the new trade deal we have with Mexico and Canada, what we save on that just with Mexico will pay for the wall many times over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: So there's that, but put that all to the side. The biggest price for the promise is seen clearly now because the President has chosen this fictitious fight over the wall over workers because he refuses to end the shutdown. You heard him today. Those are his words.
The fears of retribution from the rabid right, he's worried about that so much he'll risk the longest shutdown ever burdening people who need paychecks all over the country just to say he made good on a promise that was always pretend. Those are the facts.
Now, what are we seeing? We're seeing like father, like son. Demonizing migrants is one thing. But for his son Don Jr., I don't usually talk about him, but this is relevant. He made a wild case for why walls work. And I mean wild. If you haven't heard it yet, it's worth sticking around for, the starting point of a great debate to be sure. Next.
[21:22:35] CUOMO: You know, when I talk about the President creating the fiction of a brown menace, which I use that phrase to describe this idea, fake idea of dangerous migrants coming to get us, his people don't like it. He doesn't like it. They both say that he doesn't see people that way. Really? Then why does his name sake put something like this on Instagram, you know why you can enjoy a day at the zoo? Because walls work.
Now he took it down because that's what you do when you get caught doing something stupid, but it sounds like the making of a great debate, so let's bring in Ana Navarro and Steve Cortes. And Brother Cortes, we've had this discussion many times.
STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure.
CUOMO: I think the President would have been better served if he started where he ended last night. We need more resources to x-ray vehicles and detect drugs in vehicles. We need more human resources. We need more judges.
We need to think about accommodations and we have to have physical barriers. They matter too. If he'd done it in that order and that way, he would have been better off. But he didn't, he did it by demonizing the people coming to this country and saying a wall would make it all better. His son is echoing that thought, he compares the situation to a zoo, and we all get it.
You don't have to be sophisticated to get it. That's what they're about, calling these people animals and wanting to treat them that way. Fair criticism?
CORTES: No, no, no, that's not fair to say they. That's not fair. Donald Trump Junior said that, not the President. That's just not fair, Chris.
CORTES: Because it was Donald Trump Jr., the President didn't tweet that, didn't put that statement out. Donald Trump Jr. did. He shouldn't have. He should apologize for it. It's inappropriate. It's offensive. He has no role in the administration. He has no government position. He's not like his sister or his brother-in-law.
He's certainly not his father who was elected President of the United States, but it's unfair of you to drag the President into that and you almost sneak in there a they as if the two of them decided these are animals at a zoo we're trying to keep out. No, that's not the reality President didn't say that. He's never said that.
CUOMO: OK. Two points to you, Ana. First, Steve has never hesitated to throw my brother at me whenever it suits him, politically by the way, you forget that.
CORTES: For policy reasons.
CUOMO: Spare me the BS, I've had enough today.
Anna, here's the point.
CORTES: No, that's not BS.
CUOMO: It's complete BS.
CORTES: No, no, for policy reasons when he says that --
CORTES: -- that is his statement.
CUOMO: I hear you. It just doesn't make any sense. Ana, the President has said these people are rapists and animals. They're coming here. They're the worst coming this way. They're marauding horde. His son obviously believes it. They all believe it. That's the mentality that leads you to think you're a wall away from being protected by these people. Fair point or no?
[21:25:17] ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, look, I think he is echoing his father, which -- who demonizing immigrants time and time and time and time again, and I think he does this a lot, right? Echo his father on many points. But frankly, look, first of all, zoos maybe have fences to protect the animals from people like Donald Trump Jr., who like to shoot them.
But you know, at the end of the day, Donald Trump Jr. and whatever he says, can I just file my nails? I mean, this is an entitled rich spoil little brat whose only call to fame is being his daddy's son who hasn't built anything of his own, who hasn't done anything of his own, who is somehow trying to hang on to the fame of his father in order to have some level of relevancy.
Steve is right, he didn't even make the cut that his brother-in-law and sister did to be part of the Oval Office and the White House staff. Daddy kept Fredo (ph) back home, so who cares what Donald Trump Jr. says. Who cares what Donald Trump Jr. says?
CUOMO: All right, you know what?
NAVARRO: I don't want to talk about, you know, that entitled little brat.
CORTES: Ana, you just said that the President demonizes immigrants, and this is another sort of sleight of hand that the left loves to try to put over on the American people. He has never demonized immigrants. He is against illegal aliens. He's against breaking and entering in our country. He's against a lawless border. He loves legal immigrants.
CORTES: He's married -- he's married --
NAVARRO: Steve, I have asked you in the past, let me tell you this.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
NAVARRO: I have asked you in the past, and I will ask you again today to stop referring to me as left. Let me remind you that I was a Republican when Donald Trump was a Democrat. I was a Republican when Donald Trump was an Independent.
CORTES: You're a very leftist Republican.
NAVARRO: I was a supporting Republicans when Donald Trump had Hillary and Bill Clinton at his wedding and was giving Nancy Pelosi money. So the fact that people like you have enabled Donald Trump to take this party hostage and change and give up and compromise convictions and principles, Republican ones that I grew up with does not make me left. I fled left, I fled communism.
CORTES: This is the most conservative President since Ronald Reagan. He might well be the most conservative --
CUOMO: Let's get back to the subject matter.
NAVARRO: That does not make me left.
CUOMO: All right, I head you on that, Ana --
CORTES: He might be the most conservative President since Calvin Coolidge.
CUOMO: But hold on a second --
CORTES: So if you oppose the conservative policies of this president you are de facto a left --
CUOMO: Demonizing migrants is not a conservative value.
NAVARRO: He is not a conservative. Do you think (inaudible) are conservative?
CORTES: Not a conservative?
NAVARRO: Do you think having sex with a stripper is conservative values? Do you think cheating on the stripper with a playboy bunny is conservative values? Do you trade wars are conservative values?
CORTES: I don't think that has anything to do with policy.
NAVARRO: Do you think (inaudible) is a conservative value?
CORTES: Yes, I do. Yes, I think --
NAVARRO: Give me a break.
CUOMO: Hold on a second.
CORTES: I think constitutional judges and tax cuts and sovereignty over our country controlling our borders --
CUOMO: Unpaid for tax cuts that triple the deficit is a conservative policy value? Come on, Steve.
CORTES: Yes, because of the growth -- yes, did you notice the jobs report that we got last week?
CUOMO: Did you notice the national debt?
CORTES: The best manufacturing year since 19990s.
CUOMO: Did you notice the national debt? CORTES: Yes, Chris, I will agree with you that the debt when we cut
taxes often the debt first grows before economic growth becomes so large that it compensates. Look, it's paying pennies for pounds later.
CUOMO: Listen, that is trickle down economics. That is the hope. That's not the history or the reality. But let's stick to what we're talking about right now.
CORTES: It's the history for the Reagan --
CUOMO: Let's talk about the shutdown politics. Fair point to both of you, I don't usually talk about his kids, I don't believe in that. Why? Because I grow up as one, that's why and I understand that you're going to stick to your own even if it doesn't make political sense because it's papa, I get it. So let's keep the son out of it. What I'm saying is this, he does demonize. When he was talking about the caravan, he did it. When he described them during the primary --
CORTES: Those are illegal immigrants.
CUOMO: No they're not, migrants trying to come to this country. You haven't even decided whether or not they should get in or not, you haven't even heard their case yet, and you're deciding that they're illegal?
CORTES: Chris, Chris --
CUOMO: You don't even know who they are.
CORTES: Yes, you know that the vast majority of them have been abusing and gaming our asylum system, and that's not my opinion.
CUOMO: I do not know that.
CORTES: That is what the statistics tell us because --
CUOMO: The statistics do not tell us that.
CORTES: Yes. Chris, they do. Only 10% of people from those three Central American countries --
CUOMO: That's not abuse.
CORTES: -- are the preponderance of the caravan.
CUOMO: That's our system that only allows in, one out of 10. That's our system, that doesn't mean that they don't have a bona fide claim. That means that we don't think they have one.
CORTES: Here's the other reason we know they don't have a bona fide claim because they would do it in Mexico. They wouldn't cross an enormous country to reach our border except for the fact that their economic migrants. Let's be honest about this. They're not asylum seekers or they would take asylum in Mexico where it was offered them. The fact they traverse Mexico to come here tells us they're economic migrants, they want to be Americans.
[21:30:13] CUOMO: Right, but here is what you're annoying about. Let me bring it back to Ana because she's done with the nails and the emery board, although that was a great prop, I want you to know that. I think that you probably brought it in by accident, but it worked very well for you Ana, kudos to you. The idea that if you're coming here out of economic desperation it somehow doesn't count anymore, that it certainly shouldn't count as asylum but it also somehow makes you illegitimate, how are you with that, Ana?
NAVARRO: Look, I think this is a country that has been built by people who came here as refugees, many for political reasons, many for economic reasons. You know, it's the people who do some of the hardest jobs in this country, and yesterday that, you know, address to Trump nation that President Loco gave was full of inaccuracies and misleading statements.
The first thing he did was start off trying to pit brown and black versus each other, which he likes to do, and then he ended with an entire, you know, segment about criminal aliens and the cost and when we all know that native born have a higher criminal record and higher criminal ratings than immigrants do. But this is something that he goes again and again and again and again through.
I keep wondering just how long he's going to be able to play this same song and this same record. How long can he go back to the wall? I think he thinks it's a winning strategy for him. I don't think it is. But I think he's going to continue going back to it.
CUOMO: Final point, Steve Cortes.
CORTES: What you just cited about criminality between native born and immigrants. First of all, that's not true. There's a lot of conflicting studies. But even if --
CUOMO: Only when you conclude illegal entry as criminality do you get the numbers where you want them to.
CORTES: No, that's not true.
CORTES: John Law did an extensive study of Arizona there are conflicting studies. But listen, even if I were to grant you that point -- yes, there are.
CUOMO: That's fake news. It's fake news for you to inject BS, OK and say that it's equal to the real data.
CORTES: It's not BS. But even if I were to grant you that, OK, the point is the illegal alien crime rate should be zero. It should be -- you can do your nails. You know who can't do their nails are people who have been killed, Ana, by dangerous known illegal aliens who have been allowed to stay in this country because of the leftist policies that people like you promote in so-called sanctuary cities.
NAVARRO: I'm so tired of you calling me leftist already just because you want to compromise your values.
NAVARRO: Listen, I don't care what you call me --
CORTES: Go back to filing your nails.
CORTES: Well, you should seem to care.
NAVARRO: I don't have to care. And a lot of America doesn't have to care.
CORTES: He doesn't have that luxury because he's dead. And he's dead --
NAVARRO: I was supporting Republican candidates when you were --
CORTES: Who was twice arrested who was a known gang member.
CUOMO: All right, we're talking over each other too much. There's no more progress of this but, Steve, let me just tell you something. Get down off the soap box. Because if you want to worry about who can file their nails, worry about who you can pay their damn bills. The shutdown is on your head, my brother. This is what the President wanted, he has it now and people are paying the price. And until they end it, they won't be filing their nails or anything else that a paycheck provides.
Ana Navarro, Steve Cortes, you got to keep talking?
CORTES: I think we're very close to a deal. Do you?
CUOMO: Well, that's the best thing I've ever heard you say on this show. I hope you're right. The best to both of you for the rest of the night.
CORTES: I think DACA for wall is happening. I do.
CUOMO: We'll see.
All right, breaking news tonight for the President's legal battles. It's not all about the shutdown, right? Seventeen new lawyers in the White House. The goal? Go big on claiming executive privilege. What does that mean for the Russia investigation? Why do executive privilege? Is the President setting up a defense? Why would he be doing that? We have the perfect guest for the subject, no nail filing, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[21:37:11] CUOMO: All right, we have breaking news out of the White House tonight, 17 new lawyers have been hired by the White House Counsel's Office according to "The Washington Post," but the question is why? Is this an extension of a strategy to be aggressive in asserting the President's executive privilege when it comes to Trump's confidential conversations with advisers?
What would this mean? It's got to be about the Mueller report, this theory, OK? That this is a way for lawyers to help keep that report, at least parts of it, from being released to you. This news comes as we hear nothing but silence from the President about the revelations that the special prosecutor's team seems to think Paul Manafort met with a Russian-linked operative during the 2016 campaign for purposes of collusion.
Let's get some insight on all this from the Former Acting Solicitor General, Neal Katyal. It's good to have you.
NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: Great to be here.
CUOMO: The executive privilege theory, they're hiring these lawyers. They're going to try to suppress parts of the report at least and say you can't read those. They're privileged.
KATYAL: Yes, Trump has hired 17 lawyers. He can hire 17, 170 or 1700, he's going to face one very good lawyer hired last week by Nancy Pelosi, Doug Letter who I've argued against and with who's incredibly good, and I don't think Trump's going to get anywhere at the end of the day both on the law and the facts.
CUOMO: Why? Why can't he say I'm the President, you can't release all this? Go ahead.
KATYAL: Because that's the same argument that was tried by President Nixon in U.S. are versus Nixon in 1974 and it lost unanimously, and the idea is that the public has a right to every man's evidence, so that's the law, and then there's the facts. I mean, this is not just the Mueller report. It's also about the southern district investigation, about campaign finances, about so many things.
The President is running to a cover-up strategy to try and use executive privilege as a shield, and think about the context, Chris. So, you know, every time Russia comes up with Trump or the campaign, they lie, so they lied about the Trump Tower meeting. They said it was about adoptions, but then later there were e-mails saying it was to get, "dirt on Hillary Clinton."
KATYAL: They said it wasn't with the Russian government, but an indictment this week says that actually the woman in the room was working with the Russian government was working with the Russian government. Trump said I had no dealings with Russia, that's been proven to be false as you and I talked about, about the Cohen plea.
CUOMO: He said none of his people did.
KATYAL: Yeah, so I mean it's not just Trump's people, it's Trump himself lying about the deals and the operations that he had. So all that together, and now they want to assert executive privilege now two years into the game? You know, that's what Nixon tried. It didn't go so well for him.
CUOMO: Now, we have never seen what came out just now about Paul Manafort. The President has said, you know, everything he did wrong was about before he was with me, OK? He never did anything on my watch.
Yes, he did, and this looks like the best instance of what you can call collusion as an activity that we've seen, giving a guy with known links to Russian intelligence inside polling data, meeting with him about U.S. policy regarding Russia's interests in Ukraine, and then of course they wind up changing the party platform in a way that similarly suits that interest in ho interest? How bad?
[21:40:37] KATYAL: Yes, I know, Chris, I mean who among us hasn't shared big data with the Russian government on polling and other things.
CUOMO: It's starting to look like that, by the way.
KATYAL: This is looking really bad, and you know, the President, I just put this on Twitter yesterday. The President had tweeted that there was no collusion alleged in the Manafort indictment, and now with the revelations yesterday --
KATYAL: -- and they are revelations by mistake because the lawyer for Manafort by mistake didn't redact properly the information, and we know now that Mueller believes that Manafort was turning over this polling data, this private Trump polling data to the Russians and also talking about the Ukrainian peace plan, all kinds of stuff, which this is like, you know, starting to look like, you know, call it collusion which isn't a legal -- but conspiracy is, and it's sure looking really bad.
CUOMO: The reason I say collusion is, the pushback is, well then, why didn't they charge him with it. And that gets you into an argument that many people mistakenly make in this situation, not you, not lawyers, but hey, if there' no crime it's all OK. That's our new bar for acceptable Presidential conduct.
As long as it's not a felony it's OK. But we've seen many times in an investigation where a prosecutor will say, hey, I think this was wrong. I don't like that this happened, he should have known about this, but I can't make a prosecution on it. Is that what you think is happening here, because there is no charge?
KATYAL: Not necessarily. I agree with you. Look, we shouldn't have such a low bar that just, you know, semi conspiring with the Russian government is not the kind of behavior that we would expect of a presidential campaign chair, the top person in a campaign. So that's certainly true, but look, I don't know if we have the final word from Mueller on what will be charged or what won't. After all, Mueller has gone to the court and said Manafort lied to him about exactly this stuff, about the polling data and about the --
KATYAL: -- and about the discussions of the peace plan. So you know, Mueller may not be done here.
CUOMO: Now, what if now we play it out -- and you know on this show we do very little speculation about things -- but this I think calls for it in terms of the extent of the exposure. This could be the beginning and the end with Paul Manafort. This is with his guys that he knew and decisions he made to advance his own interests with guys who owed him money, guys he liked, guys he knew, and had nothing to do with the campaign specifically?
KATYAL: Yeah, it's possible, but it's starting to look really unlikely. First of all we're talking about the campaign chair, the number one person in the campaign. So we're not talking about someone lower. And then number two, this polling data. It just seems really weird. I mean, you don't ingratiate yourself with someone you owe money to by giving them polling data unless you think they're going to do something with it.
And you know, now there are starting to be allegations that maybe the Russians did have access to this information, the Russian government and the like. Look, the facts are going to come out, you know, as long as Mueller's allowed to do his job and this fake Attorney General Whitaker doesn't stop him.
And as long as that happens, you know, the facts will lead where they do, and you're absolutely right. There's speculation here, but it's starting to look like a lot of coincidences.
CUOMO: Well, I'll tell you the bad one --
KATYAL: And then there's also the question why does Trump keep lying?
CUOMO: Go ahead, finish your point? Why does Trump keep lying about what?
KATYAL: Why does Trump keep lying and those around him about Russia? You know, remember the FBI went to the Trump folks in August of 2016 and said, look, we think the Russians are going to infiltrate your campaign, and you should report any contacts. What do they do? They do nothing. Silence, and then when asked about it later they lie about it. There's something weird going on here.
CUOMO: If you have nothing to hide and you did nothing wrong, why lie? And with the Paul Manafort thing, the theory that this was all about him, who knew about changing that party platform and why it was done? That's not a one man's decision. That's something that matters, not that party platforms or conventions are the biggest things in the world, but they're not done alone. They're not done in secret. Neal, thank you for putting the meat on the bones of this discussion.
KATYAL: Thank you.
CUOMO: I appreciate it.
KATYAL: All right, so I just said earlier I don't talk about Trump's children very often. I mean you've got to talk about Ivanka, you've got to talk about his son-in-law because they work in the government. But usually I leave kids alone, because I know they're grown-ups, I know they're not children but my point is you stick by your family, all right and that's not a political judgment.
That's a family judgment, but I've got to tell you, this Instagram post from the President's namesake that you go to the zoo and it's OK because it has a wall around the animals, he's getting hammered for it, and he should. It's stupid. It's insensitive, but it's also insightful, the controversy next.
[21:48:40] CUOMO: Donald Trump Jr. once again stepping in it by trying to join the political debate online, but really what he's doing is supporting his father's philosophy. This is how he did it this time on Instagram. You know why you can enjoy a day at the zoo? Because walls work. Now, that's a stupid thing to say, right? That means to suggest that the people who are coming in here are wild animals that you need to be protected from.
Let's bring in D. Lemon on this. Now, full disclosure, I don't like talking about the kids. I stay away from it as often as I can because I get wanting to support your own. I get it. Ivanka, Jared, different story. They're working in the government. However, right now we are very much looking at what this debate on the border is about. It's not just money it's morality. The President has demonized migrants, his son is echoing the same. I think it deserves some air.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, my first thought is do we have to talk about him, you know, I know we have to.
CUOMO: You don't have to. You don't have to. I'm making a choice, and it's a choice normally I don't make, but right now I'm making it.
LEMON: I'm not saying it for you. That's just my reaction because are Americans offended? Because essentially if you think about it, right, he's calling Americans animals because we're the ones who are we're not putting a wall around ourselves. We're not putting a wall around Mexico, right?
We're putting a wall around ourselves. People saying we should have one on the southern border as well as the northern border? So is he calling us a zoo animal, is he comparing us to zoo animals? That makes me think he didn't think it all the way through. He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Maybe he's a pork.
But I'm just saying it's -- seriously, you think about the comparison. It doesn't make sense. You shouldn't be comparing to people in animals in that way anyway. And then also reminds me of the -- Remember the skittles remark he made about?
[21:50:28] CUOMO: Yeah.
LEMON: -- burying Syrian refugees? So that's like, you know, some things you just let it go to the Blogs and --
CUOMO: Look, I'm just saying --
LEMON: I just hope Americans aren't offended that he's calling them zoo animal.
CUOMO: It's a window into the conceit. The wall only works if you're afraid of who's coming.
CUOMO: We all know the stats. You tell them to him all the time on your show about the reality of who comes here and how and where the problems are. This is about morality, not just money, and people need to be aware.
What have you got?
LEMON: You're doing a great job covering it. I've been watching your interviews. And Steve and Ana, my gosh, I have them on together, and I feel like I just need to -- like you know?
CUOMO: The nail file was a nice touch.
LEMON: She had popcorn on my show one night, so she started watching -- she said she was watching with popcorn. We've got so much coming up, Chris. You know, it's always interesting to have Michael Isikoff on.
CUOMO: Oh, smart.
LEMON: To break about Russia, right, Russian on and then we have Congressman Denny Heck on, we're going to talk to them. And also Charlottesville, the guy who was beaten in a garage in Charlottesville, we're going to talk to them. There's a personal story about that, about a man who was sentenced to prison today for beating him during that racist riot that killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. So we've got a lot to talk about coming up at the top of the hour.
CUOMO: Good breadth and depth. Vintage D. Lemon. See you soon.
All right. So the shutdown is about to stretch into its 20th day. The impact goes far beyond federal workers. The price for the President's promise is now known, and I'll make a case to you about it next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[21:55:25] CUOMO: Why won't you stop hurting people and end the shutdown, said Schumer. Because then, said the President, you won't give me what I want. Now, the White House says, no, no, no. He said, because I need you to do the right thing. Either way, the President has made his choice. The polls don't support his wall. They don't support the shutdown. But he has decided to put his wall before workers.
Now, is that a fair assessment? I argue it is, and here's why. The promise was a stunt. It started as a device to stoke crowds, not a plan. Proof -- the Democrats offered money for the bollard fencing that you see on your screen right now. This is one version of it.
That's what the people who keep us safe say they need more of, what you're seeing on the screen. Different stuff in different places. In fact, the Democrats put it in the last Omnibus Bill and the proposal that the Vice President had with senator Schumer had it in it as well. The President rejected both. Why? If he was about keeping us safe?
More proof. A wall or any physical barrier is certainly not a cure- all for our safety as he suggests. We are not a wall away. Physical barriers don't stop the majority of the drugs, the terrorists, or the trafficking. Why? Because they all come now more on planes, more through legitimate vehicles through the ports of entry than on the ground. Those are the facts.
Now the price for the farce. It's no longer just the $5.7 billion the President wants, money that would come from us. The shutdown hurts airport security. Hundreds of unpaid TSA workers are calling out sick at airports across the country.
A union leader says many are quitting because of the shutdown. They are already strained with staffing. Our food. The only thing scarier than another romaine lettuce recall is the idea of having no one checking for things like that. The FDA says it has suspended all routine domestic food facility inspections for the time being.
Then the real shame. You remember Tristan and his mom? You met them on the show here a couple days ago. Just one family among 420,000 government employees working without pay. Another 350,000 are on furlough at home. That also means no pay. What are they supposed to do?
The coast guard had some suggestions for its 8,500 civilian employees. "The Washington Post" obtained a tip sheet. It included these suggestions for supplementing your income during a furlough. Look at this. Have a garage sale. Offer to watch children. Walk pets. How sit. Tutor students. Give music or sports lessons. Become a mystery shopper.
The Coast Guard removed the tip sheet from the support program's website today after the Post called about it, but the point remains. The President's reaction was, in fact, more callous. He said, oh, I can relate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can relate, and I'm sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustment. They always do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: He also says he's going to help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've been a landlord for a long time. I've been in the real estate business for a long time. When you see there are problems out there, difficulties out there, you know, the people are all good for the money, they work with people. I would encourage them to be nice and easy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Is that how it works with your landlord? How are you supposed to adjust when you don't have the savings to stem the tide until you get paid again? When is the President going to put out this call to all fellow landlords and evoke some magical power of forbearance for rent? Come on.
Look, shutdown are a cheap and desperate tactic. Democrats and Republicans have both made the mistake of doing what this President is doing right now. But this President said he would be different, that he could make deals, that he's the best deal-maker ever, and that he would be for all Americans.
None of that is playing out in this situation. The worst part is that this hardship never needed to happen. We are not a wall away from fixing immigration, and this shutdown will not open up a path to victory. The faster the President figures this out, the faster the pain can end for hundreds of thousands who are being forced to pay the price for his promise. Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now.
LEMON: OK. I can empathize. That's what he said. I can empathize with people when asked that question. People are going to have to make adjustments. Now, the President owns hotels, condo buildings, right?