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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Don Jr.'s Blocked Calls Before And After Trump Tower Meeting Weren't With Then-Candidate Trump, CNN Sources Say; President Trump Gives Oval Office Interview To The New York Times; Border Wall Talks A "Waste Of Time," Says President Trump; Intelligence Chiefs Were "Misquoted" In Televised Hearing, President Trump Claims; San Mateo Chef Says He Won't Serve Customers With MAGA Hats. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 31, 2019 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: You get to vote on the stories we cover. We post those around noon. Watch the show, 6:25 P.M. Eastern at Facebook.com/AndersonCooperFullCircle. If you haven't seen it, watch us. It's lot of fun.

Chris, the news continues. Let's hand it over to him. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

We now know who the President's son, Don Jr. was talking to with a blocked number before and after that meeting seeking dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russians, and it wasn't his father. What this does and does not answer in a special Cuomo's Court.

Today, Robert Mueller asking for more time from a Judge because he has so much Roger Stone evidence to sort before trial. Wait until you hear the scope of what Mueller's team got and what it tells us.

And the President met with his Intel Chiefs today, then came out and told reporters another bald-faced provable lie. Former Director of National Intelligence, Jim Clapper says it matters more than we know.

What do you say? Let's get after it.

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CUOMO: For a long time, many have wondered who Don Jr. was talking to on blocked numbers while arranging the meeting with Russians at Trump Tower.

One of the calls happened three days before the meeting at 4.27 P.M., and that was June 6th, 2016, another at 8:40 P.M., and then another call, two hours later after the meeting on June 9th. I don't know why I'm giving you the specifics because it turns out to not be relevant.

Many Democrats have been waving these as potential proof that POTUS was on the other end of the phone, and so did some big shots on TV, especially when Senators on the Judiciary Committee grew -- grilled Jr. about the calls in September 2017.

At that time, Jr. told them he couldn't remember who he was talking to. Well now we know. Three sources with knowledge of the matter have exclusively told CNN that records provided to the Senate Intel Committee show the calls were between Jr. and two of his business associates.

Those people are not relevant to the probe, we're told, so I don't see the value in outing them. But I'm sure you're going to hear their names soon enough.

What I care about more is that this new information doesn't change the fundamental concern about what the President knew. Just means that he wasn't those blocked numbers, not that he didn't know about the meeting.

Remember, the President and people around him lied to us about drafting a statement about that meeting. Why did they lie about that? Let's bring Cuomo's Court into session.

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CUOMO: We got Mike Rogers and Jim Gagliano, perfect for tonight. Thank you guys, for stepping into Cuomo's Court.

So Jimmy, does the fact that the President was not the blocked number, does that end any curiosity for you on the meeting?

JAMES GAGLIANO, RETIRED FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Chris, I -- I think until the Mueller report comes out, we've got to be very careful. Look, those things can be considered inculpatory or exculpatory.

And, I think, until all the evidence is presented, the Mueller report is released, I think everybody needs to tap the brakes and be careful here because, I think, what happens is, we jump out ahead of these things.

We see something that either makes our case or defeats our case. And that's how we proceed. So, I'm comfortable that the Mueller -- the -- the Mueller team has that information. Like I said, could this be inculpatory or exculpatory, I think we're going to find that out real soon.

CUOMO: Well it can't be inculpatory because it wasn't the President. So, you know what I mean? He can't be in trouble for--

GAGLIANO: Yes.

CUOMO: --not talking to his son. But Mike, to Jimmy's point, you know, I -- I've never sold anybody on the blocked numbers, and the suggestion, I frustrate people because I -- I go cold on the probe every once in a while, just in terms of the hunt for crimes.

I don't see the crimes. We'll see what he has in the report. But it doesn't end my curiosity. I want to know if the President knew about the meeting. I want to know what happened after the meeting if Mueller has anything on that.

And I want to know why they lied to us about the President's role in the statement. This new information doesn't help me with any of that.

MIKE ROGERS, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN PARTY MEMBER: No, and it doesn't.

But to James' point, and I think this is really important, I'm going to bet that that Mueller had this information for a long time. That would be something that he would have. He'd have subpoena power to be able to get it.

What -- what it tells me is that we didn't hear this information until the Capitol Hill, the Senate Intel Committee was briefed, and then the leaks started on this particular matter. And so, there was leaked information about the blocked call. Now there's leaked information about it.

Don't worry about it. Doesn't mean anything.

CUOMO: Hey, I'm glad it leaked because I think it's important.

ROGERS: Yes, yes.

CUOMO: If you're going to front-run the idea--

ROGERS: Yes. I suppose.

CUOMO: --that this is probably the President, look, I'm a Reporter. I always like leaks. I get that you guys have different feeling about that.

But then it -- if it leaks out, and it winds up being information that changes that dynamic that doesn't make it look as shady, that should come out too. You know, my point remains the same Jimmy. It's the lying.

I'm going to make an argument later tonight--

GAGLIANO: Yes.

CUOMO: --that what matters to me today about what I saw with the Intel Chiefs, I've never seen the President tell more of a whopper than he told today. And it's the lying, Jimmy. These people, the President and those around him keep lying about things that are Russia-related when the truth would suffice.

GAGLIANO: Yes.

CUOMO: Does that pique your interest as well?

[21:05:00] GAGLIANO: So, so, Chris, you and I have talked about this innumerable times about the fact that I've been a cautious skeptic on the whole Trump-Russia, the -- the Kremlin collusion case.

However, process crimes are still crimes, whether it's witness tampering, whether it's obstruction of justice, or whether it's perjury, those are still federal crimes, and they carry big weight.

CUOMO: Right.

GAGLIANO: Now, here -- here's the thing. If there's nothing to hide, why the necessity and lying about it? And if it's one person or two person, you say, maybe it's a coincidence. It's a number of people. That's troubling.

So, somebody like me that wants to give the benefit of the doubt, and say, I haven't seen the there-there yet, this is unsettling to me, the fact that so many folks have lied.

CUOMO: It's true (ph). And also, you know, Jimmy, with all due respect, you know, your bar is criminality, OK?

GAGLIANO: Yes.

CUOMO: And when we look at the mandate to the Special Counsel, Mike, and you guys both know this, the mandate says, you look for information about coordination and contacts with anything to do with Russian interference.

And, of course, the Special Counsel Statute, you know, that this all derives from says that he's looking for crimes. But he's not looking just for crimes. He's looking for information. And I've never looked at a felony as the bar of responsible behavior for a President.

Anything less, Mike, is OK. The lying has always bothered me most. I have not seen the criminality. I've never felt that we needed it. I've told people early on, collusion is not a crime, it's a behavior. And it can exist without a conspiracy. Therefore, there won't be any charge.

But it still could be very wrong, Mike. And that's why we need to see this report. It could tell an ugly tale of people knowing things, doing things they shouldn't have, and lying about it.

ROGERS: I absolutely agree with you, Chris.

And here's the thing is that everybody that's got ensnared in the Special Counsel's investigation that has been charged with a crime, it's always been about, and to some degree, about lying about their relationship with the Russians.

Now, and Cohen, there's other -- there's not only that, but there are other examples, other crimes that he was charged with that that leads you to -- to wonder. But all of those folks who have engaged in lying about their

connections with the Russians, and I'll tell you why this Stone thing was so important. The reason they went in that house and took those -- all that material is they did get electronic data, they probably would not have gotten if there had been a soft--

CUOMO: Right. That wasn't just an arrest.

ROGERS: --peddle "Meet me in court in a couple of weeks," right?

CUOMO: It was also a search. Good point.

ROGERS: Yes.

CUOMO: And Jimmy, to your point, Jimmy's got a good op-ed on about the case that, look, it looks dramatic. But this is what it looks like when the Feds come to your door. We saw it with Cohen. We saw it with Manafort.

And fair point that Mike just told you, this was a search, and an arrest, OK? So, let's put that -- that intrigue is undeserved. Go read Jimmy's op-ed about it if you want more.

But Jimmy, the cache of stuff, what I don't understand is the Feds, according to the indictment, they have what they need already to prove the misstatements.

GAGLIANO: Right.

CUOMO: Why were they so hot and heavy? And what do you make of the fact that they found like FBI case files and search warrants on his hard drive?

GAGLIANO: Chris, the description from the Special Prosecutor's Office is complex and voluminous. So, they have a ton of things that they've got to sort through. I believe, I think the term was mega-terabytes.

So, they're looking through all those type of thing. Look, they're -- they're concerned about communications. Who talked to who and -- and when? That is going to take an enormously long time for them to sort through, and to get to the bottom of.

So, we've got to give that time. That's not going to be finished next week or next month. I think, they're cautioning everybody to tap the brakes again, and be careful because this is going to take time to go through all of this thing.

That's why they executed a search warrant. They didn't want anything to be destroyed. They didn't want anything to be deleted. That was the purpose in doing the raid the way that they did.

CUOMO: Of course, we thought that was going to happen when they got Weiner's laptop, and it was done like a day later. Jimmy and Mike, I couldn't ask for people that are better at keeping us straight, keeping us focused on what matters, and keep it going forward. Gentlemen, thank you for coming in tonight for me. I appreciate that.

GAGLIANO: Thanks, Chris.

ROGERS: Thanks for having us, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, so, just as we started with these two guys, a brand new interview from the President was published by The New York Times. He's weighing in on Roger Stone, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, and why his Presidency is a big loser.

Maggie Haberman was one of the reporters who talked with him. She's going to join us next.

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CUOMO: All right, we have some breaking news. President Trump is calling talks about the Border wall a waste of time in a new interview with The New York Times. He talked about Roger Stone, Kamala Harris, he even talked about why the Presidency is a financial loser for him.

Maggie Haberman is one of the two reporters who spoke to him in the Oval Office. She joins us now by phone. Maggie, you got me?

MAGGIE LINDSY HABERMAN, THE NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Chris, I got you.

CUOMO: Great. So, how did the President greet you?

HABERMAN: Politely. He was, you know, I hate when we do too much mood music here.

But -- but he was in a -- in a very, you know, personable and -- and good mood. It was, I have to say, Chris, and I've -- I've interviewed him several times in over the last few years, and -- and a couple of times in the Oval Office.

He was among the -- the most sort of conventional, I would say, that I have seen him in quite some time. He was -- he was pretty calm. He was answering most questions directly. There was relatively little, for him, attempts to go off the record.

And he -- he answered, you know, a -- a wide range of questions.

CUOMO: Good, good.

HABERMAN: Yes.

CUOMO: It's just always interesting because he had been trash-talking you so much, you know. It never ceases to amaze me how he can be nice to someone's face when he's been trashing them. I've experienced the same thing myself. Maggie, let's get to the content.

HABERMAN: I'm -- I'm aware of that.

CUOMO: Let's get to the content. Roger Stone, OK?

HABERMAN: Yes.

CUOMO: He says about Roger Stone, you asked -- you or Peter Baker asked him about whether or not he knew anything about what Stone was doing with WikiLeaks, and the Democratic emails that were stolen, or did he direct anyone?

"No, I didn't. I never did," he said of speaking with Mr. Stone on the subject. Did he ever direct anyone to get in touch with Mr. Stone about WikiLeaks? Never did.

HABERMAN: Yes.

CUOMO: What was your takeaway about his level of confidence in his answer?

HABERMAN: I mean it was -- it was very specific, and to the point. There was no ambiguity whatsoever. As you know, this is a President who likes to leave himself wiggle room on any number of topics. He did not leave himself any here, you know.

[21:15:00] We -- we obviously can't, you know, read his mind, and we can't read into the past. But he was emphatic that that this was not -- he -- he was not the person who was being referred to in this Mueller indictment of Roger Stone.

He took, I should note, again, great pains to praise Roger Stone. Said he liked him, called him a "Character." Said that he thought that the FBI raid on his home was excessive.

You know, said that he thinks that he saw that Roger had praised him, the President, and had said that he would not bear false witness, and he said he thought that people "respects" that.

It was--

CUOMO: Anything about a pardon?

HABERMAN: That did not come up. But he has said in the past that he isn't going to rule it out, and I didn't anticipate he was going to say anything different when we asked him here.

CUOMO: You know, that -- I want your head on the two hard-to-believes. Hard to believe that his oldest adviser was doing this stuff, obviously, on his behalf and to help his campaign, and he knew nothing about it. And it's hard to believe that someone as savvy as Roger Stone would be

this brazen in the face of the Feds, if he didn't think he'd be rescued. What's your take on those two?

HABERMAN: Well, I think, my -- my take overall, you know, again, without -- without -- my -- my take on the indictment, to be clear, in terms of Stone is I mean I haven't -- you know, I have no idea what he -- what he said to Congress specifically, and I have no -- you know, I was not present for the five counts of -- of making false statements.

In terms of the Randy Credico piece, that relationship is -- is so strange, and -- and has included so many blow-ups and reconciliations that when he says this was taken out of context, I -- I tend to listen to that.

In terms of the President, you know, and Roger, the President took pains to remind us that Roger was not officially with the campaign at that point. That is true. Roger, as you know, quit the campaign around August or September 2015.

But he is the President's longest-serving, you know--

CUOMO: Right.

HABERMAN: --off and on political adviser.

Is it possible something was going on that, you know, Roger, again, of course, denies it, just to be clear, but is it possible, if something was going on that the President didn't know about it?

It is. It is harder, I think, to see the President not asking anyone to inquire about what WikiLeaks might have. That is, you know, that is, I think, harder than I could -- I could see a world where he didn't discuss it, personally with Roger.

CUOMO: Right.

HABERMAN: I could -- but it -- it is harder to see a world, again, it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

CUOMO: Right.

HABERMAN: But -- but -- but that's a more plausible scenario where he asked an aide to go check in with Roger.

CUOMO: Right. And as we learned today with what he said about the Intel Chiefs, you can never underestimate this President's ability to abuse the truth because it works for him, he thinks, in the moment.

Let me ask you about something else here that I'm reading the piece as we go along, once again, written nice and tight, really gets everything out there well. Thank you very much.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: "I lost massive amounts of money doing this job," the President said. "This is not the money. This one -- this is -- this one of the great losers of all time. You know, fortunately, I don't need money. This is one of the great losers of all time. But they'll say that somebody from some country stayed at a hotel. And I'll say, "Yes." But I lose, I mean, the numbers are incredible."

What was he talking about?

HABERMAN: I think he was saying that, you know, yes, it's true that there are a lot of people who stay at his hotel, you know, and he hears lots of numbers like that. But he was also saying that overall, and you -- I've heard several people affiliated with the Trump Organization say this that this has not been good for business.

I thought the phrase, this isn't what -- whatever was the biggest loser of all time, it was really a stark thing to say about the Presidency. But he tends to view these things in zero-sum -- zero-sum terms.

CUOMO: It's very -- very -- very interesting take for him. It almost kind of speaks to his regret that he's not making more money while in Office. You know, and obviously, the Presidency should be the opposite of profitability.

HABERMAN: He seems -- he seemed surprised at -- at -- at what he said has been a loss. That is true.

CUOMO: Yes, right? So, let me ask you something else.

You know, he goes after Nancy Pelosi, what she's doing is wrong. He's -- he teases you about national emergency. No mention of him shutting the government down again, which I thought was very interesting.

And he also, the common refrain of, you know, Rosenstein told my lawyers, "I'm not the target. I'm not a subject." Now, of course, that doesn't mean he's not going to be implicated in what types of activities are outlined in this report.

The other thing, I think, that's going to get interesting pick-up from people is pretty flattering about Kamala Harris. He may not have said her name right, but what did you take away--

HABERMAN: He did not. That is true.

CUOMO: --from his, you know, pretty nice suggestions about the Senator from California?

HABERMAN: I think a couple of things. I mean I think that, look, I think that his aides are I -- I think are watching a generational challenge, and I think that she is one of them. I don't think she's more in excess of concern for them than say, Beto O'Rourke possibly running.

But I do think that, look, they are mindful that she -- she appears to have some energy, and she appears to know how to structurally put together a -- a large crowd, you know, to impress at the outset, and I think they're very aware of that. [21:20:00] I mean, look, he -- he -- Warren is -- is going to be a -- a specific obsession for him. And -- and he talked about her in his interview with us. But -- but he's clearly aware that there is -- there is activity around Kamala Harris.

I think he is trying not to be disrespectful. He did not deploy any of his usual--

CUOMO: Right.

HABERMAN: --nicknames or anything like that.

CUOMO: Not yet. He succeeded in being respectful. And also, you make a good point.

HABERMAN: So far.

CUOMO: He has such distaste for Warren that complimenting Harris is kind of a way to put her down indirectly.

HABERMAN: Yes, exactly.

CUOMO: Maggie, what a well-timed interview for you and Peter Baker! Thank you so much for hopping on the phone with us, and giving it to us hot off the presses.

HABERMAN: Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: All right, Maggie Haberman, everybody. And this is going to be very interesting.

Remember, when asked directly by two New York Times reporters, whether or not he knew what Stone was doing, whether he talked to him about it, whether he had anything to do with directing him on it, "No, no, no," those are the answers from the President of the United States directly to The New York Times.

All right, so from Mueller, and the battle that's going on with him to the battle over how much wall to build on the Border, now, no what -- matter what happens with this negotiation, is there any good argument for another shutdown because it is being dangled?

Our great debate on that, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: All right, you just heard the breaking news from President Trump's new Oval Office interview. To hear it from him, and Speaker Pelosi, Border policy negotiations are in as bad a place as ever. Listen.

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NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: There's not going to be any wall money in the -- in the -- in the legislation.

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The problem is, if they don't give us a wall, it doesn't work. Without a wall, it doesn't work.

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CUOMO: All right, so if there is no deal by February 15th, that's this three-week continuing resolution that they had, what happens? Starting point for The Great Debate. Let's bring in Bakari Sellers and Niger Innis.

Niger, can you make a case that it would be OK to shut down the government again, after what we just lived through?

NIGER ROY INNIS, CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, TEAPARTYFWD.COM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: I -- I think that the President ought to have used that weapon in his toolbox in the negotiations. The fact is you have a fundamental difference of opinion and philosophy when it comes to securing our Border.

[21:25:00] You have a Democratic Party that is largely controlled or motivated by far, far Left progressives that believe that ICE Agents are a bigger threat to national security than illegal immigration, a bigger threat to national security than Monday, what happened when Border Agents captured some MS-13 gangbangers, you know.

And when you have that fundamental difference of opinion, you have Nancy Pelosi saying that--

CUOMO: Right.

INNIS: --walls are immoral, then yes--

CUOMO: But why does that make--

INNIS: --the President ought to use everything he can.

CUOMO: --punishing workers OK?

BAKARI SELLERS, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE MEMBER, DEMOCRAT: It's -- Chris, if I--

CUOMO: Niger?

SELLERS: --if I may-- CUOMO: Yes, go ahead. I'll let Bakari get in because your silence was deafening Niger.

SELLERS: If -- if--

CUOMO: Why does that make punishing workers--

INNIS: Oh, no, I didn't know that question was to me.

CUOMO: --no, I'll come back to you Niger.

INNIS: Sorry about that.

CUOMO: Bakari, why would that make punishing workers OK?

SELLERS: It doesn't. And I -- and I'm not going to engage Niger in that sensationalistic hyperbole that he went -- that the rant that he went on.

But I will say that the President of the United States should not use 800,000 people who work extremely hard, many of them Border Patrol Agents, Coastguards, every single day, the U.S. attorneys, those people who work hard to enforce our laws as pawns.

I think that's misguided. I think it hurt him the first time. I think it's devastating the second time if he does it. And I think that helps seal his defeat in 2020.

But more importantly, I mean I think Democrats are -- are taking a stand on what immigration problems we really have. I mean I think that Niger and other Republicans have to understand that the most illegal drugs in this country come through legal ports of entry.

That's why we have to give a shout-out today to our Border Patrol Agents--

CUOMO: We just saw with the huge Fentanyl bust.

SELLERS: --for a huge Fentanyl bust at a port--

CUOMO: 250 pounds.

SELLERS: --of entry. Thank you so much. It -- it could have affected 57 million Americans. But they found it at a port of entry.

CUOMO: And they only put 2 percent of the--

SELLERS: The number of people that--

CUOMO: --vehicles through X-ray. And that's why they want the X-ray and the tech--

SELLERS: That--

CUOMO: --so much for the ports of entry.

SELLERS: And that's -- that's why we need, and exactly, because you went to the Border. Many people have been examining this issue.

That's why we need to make sure that we have 21st Century -- 21st Century immigration policies, not some edifice to memorialize the Presidency of Donald Trump.

CUOMO: No, I'm with you on that. But let me follow with you on one quick thing, Bakari.

Democrats have always funded physical barriers at the Border. There the proof is happening probably right now. They're building new bollard fencing down there right now, repairing other stuff. That's money that Democrats--

SELLERS: And repairing other stuff.

CUOMO: --had a hand in giving them money. Why say no money for the wall? It makes it seem tit-for-tat. You guys have always given money from -- it's just about how much--

SELLERS: No, no, no, but it's always--

CUOMO: --and where.

SELLERS: --it's always been a part of a larger program, a larger deal.

CUOMO: Right. Yes.

SELLERS: Democrats -- Democrats have always pushed for comprehensive immigration reform. The fact is this. Republicans and Donald Trump thought they were slick, and they got their cart pulled out (ph) by Nancy Pelosi and others.

They took away the protection for DREAMers, DACA recipients, and TPS temp -- those under Temporary Protected Status. They took away--

INNIS: Which was unconstitutional.

SELLERS: --that protection, and then said -- and then -- very much so, and then say, I'll give it back to you on a temporary fashion, if you give me $5.6 billion.

CUOMO: Right.

SELLERS: So, you're going to rob me and then give me back what you took for me, and say, I should apologize to you? I mean that doesn't fly anywhere.

CUOMO: Right.

SELLERS: And so, what Democrats are doing is -- are staying -- are staying hard and fast and saying, "Donald Trump, do not shut government down. But make sure that we have 21st Century immigration policies and make sure those individuals who know this country to be their home get to stay here, and -- and get a right to citizenship."

CUOMO: All right, Niger, help me understand this now-- INNIS: Bakari--

CUOMO: --because I'm not seeing it the way you are.

And usually, I'm pretty good at seeing where you guys are going to come from on this stuff. I get the problem. I get the frustration. I also get the need. I believe the men and women who keep us safe on the Border that they need more physical barriers.

I do not believe that they see it as a panacea. I don't even think they think it's of paramount importance. I think they want other things more, and they see other things as more critical to our safety.

But put that to the side. This is what do you do if there's an impasse? And I can't believe you guys would want to take another hit after what you just saw happen in the shutdown. It had to hurt the President with the base.

INNIS: Well, actually, it did not hurt the President with the base. Actually--

CUOMO: We saw it in poll numbers.

INNIS: --a -- a recent-- well, it depends on which poll you're -- you're reading.

I just saw a poll that showed the President's approval rating in the mid-40s, the low-to-mid 40s, which is essentially kind of where -- where it's been. It's been kind of static (ph). Look--

CUOMO: Yes, hard to believe.

INNIS: --Bakari creates this false choice that it's either Border security funding, be it a steel flat -- slats or a wall--

CUOMO: It's bollard fencing. There's no reason to call it anything else. That's all it is.

INNIS: --slats or it is other -- it is other -- it is other innovations. It is not either all. It is both. It is all of the above.

CUOMO: Yes, but it's how much of each.

INNIS: It is a comprehensive approach that it--

CUOMO: It -- yes but the President doesn't say that Niger.

INNIS: --that uses technology.

CUOMO: The President doesn't say that. What you're saying is reasonable.

INNIS: Actually, he did. In The New York Times interview, he actually said.

CUOMO: No, he didn't. INNIS: That's an all-of-the-above strategy.

SELLERS: But let me -- can I--

CUOMO: No, no, no, no, hold on, hold on. Hold on, hold on guys.

SELLERS: --can I just insert--

CUOMO: Let's just be clear, all right? Let's just be clear what started all this mess to begin with, all right?

During the campaign, he came up with a simple solution to a complex problem. "I'm going to build a wall." He pretended with a farce that there was nothing on the Southern border, and he was going to build this brand new thing, and Mexico was going to pay for it. It was a farce.

He never has pushed the technology, the X-ray, the staff, the judges, the accommodations, the rules, the way he does the wall. Niger, be fair. He is the one who has made it a single-point issue--

INNIS: That's true.

CUOMO: --not the Democrats.

INNIS: There's no doubt that it is a--

[21:30:00] SELLERS: But -- but -- but also, let me jump in, let me jump in here because Democrats -- Democrats have also stated, I mean, just recently, we -- last year, we stated that we would give him $1.6 billion--

CUOMO: Right.

SELLERS: --for this wall as well as other proposals to make sure that we had comprehensive immigration reform.

CUOMO: Right.

SELLERS: What -- Donald Trump doesn't want anything else. Donald Trump wants $5.6 billion for a wall. Period!

And the problem that I have is not only do you want to shut down government and affect real Americans, who are working hard every day to enforce the policies, which make our country safer, but you also are -- are not focusing on the real issues.

And we actually have real infrastructure problems in this country right now, not -- people not drinking clean water etcetera. So, why are we going to spend money that he said Mexico was going to pay for in the first place?

So, if Niger and anyone else can just sit here and flat-out admit the President of the United States lied, I think we'll be able to move the ball down to fill (ph) a little bit, but everybody wants to contort themselves into pretzels, making excuse for someone who lied about a problem that we need to be coming together on.

INNIS: Well what I will admit is that the Democratic Party has an element, those four freshmen that wrote a letter to Nancy Pelosi, and she's taking very seriously that there needs to be ICE reform, OK?

You have Presidential candidates that compared ICE to the KKK that is of course--

SELLERS: What are you talking about?

INNIS: --Senator Kamala Harris that did that.

SELLERS: What are you -- her name is Kamala.

INNIS: And so, what so, you have this fundamental--

SELLERS: Her name is Kamala.

INNIS: Kamala, Kamala, I'm sorry.

SELLERS: It's Kamala.

INNIS: Kamala Harris. But she compared it to the KKK.

You have folk -- Nancy Pelosi in her so-called comprehensive Border security wants to freeze the number of ICE Agents that we would put on the Southern border while giving more money to migrants that are coming into the country, which, of course, could be an incentive for more illegal migration to take place--

SELLERS: That -- that's--

INNIS: --within our country.

CUOMO: So, also not an argument the President makes.

SELLERS: That's absurd. And you're conflating--

CUOMO: The President doesn't make any of these arguments.

SELLERS: --and you're -- you're -- that's absurd, and you're also --

CUOMO: Just so you know.

SELLERS: --you're -- you're also conflating -- you're also conflating Border Patrol and ICE Agents etcetera.

And that argument was -- was absurd. I -- I do believe that we need to make sure that we reform ICE and reform ICE to get back to its original mission, to make sure that we have Customs and Enforcement, and we make sure we do it in a just way, and we make sure that people actually have due process. That's one thing.

INNIS: Yes.

SELLERS: But the other thing, to get back to the point of the original conversation, and make sure we get back to the -- to the Border, we have issues down there. We have immigration issues that are not as simple as a wall.

In fact, if I give you $5.6 billion today, and you get to go build your wall, and sign Donald Trump's name on it, and make it out of gold plates or slats or whatever, we are still going to have an illegal immigration problem in this country.

We are still going to have drugs coming in through ports of entry. We are still going to have an asylum problem here, and not to mention the Caravan that ain't never showed up since the election.

I mean we're going to have issues to still deal with in an immigration problem, some real and some fake as the Caravan that you all created. So, I'm saying that we need to have common-sense approach.

INNIS: It's not either or. It's both and all-of-the-above.

SELLERS: And -- and I will--

CUOMO: I don't disagree. You're just not hearing that from the President.

SELLERS: I trust the United States Congress.

CUOMO: All right, Gentlemen, I got to leave it there.

SELLERS: You're not (ph).

CUOMO: We agree on one thing.

SELLERS: Thank you.

CUOMO: This is a big-ass problem with lots of different facets. And if you just focus on one, the way we have with this physical barrier issue, we're never going to get anywhere, and by the way--

SELLERS: Amen.

CUOMO: --we haven't. But to both of you, thank you for arguing the points. Appreciate it.

INNIS: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, now, when I hear the President disrespect his hand- picked Intel Chiefs, and then lie about it later, I see another mistake that the President's going to be judged by.

But when a former Intelligence Chief sees such flagrant actions, he has a very different concern that you're going to want to hear. Former Intel Chief, Jim Clapper, next.

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CUOMO: In a mountain of mendacity, the President really outdid himself today. Just a day after the President disrespected his Intel Chiefs as passive and naive, that they had to go back to school, that they're going to be proven wrong, he met with two of them today.

[21:35:00] CIA Head, Gina Haspel, and Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats met in the Oval Office. See the picture.

When the President came out of it, I want you to hear how he explained away the public contradictions that we heard from them earlier this week.

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TRUMP: They said that they were totally misquoted, and they were totally -- it was taken out of context. So, what I'd do is I'd suggest that you call them. They said it was fake news.

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CUOMO: Fake news! That's what the President claims they said.

Their testimonies were televised. Their written assessments were public. I mean, come on, and that was only hours after saying that time would prove him right, and then wrong, and then suddenly he says they're all in agreement.

It is mind-bending mendacity, but also dangerous, says Jim Clapper, former National Intelligence Director. Good to have you with me, sir.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, RETIRED UNITED STATES AIR FORCE LIEUTENANT GENERAL: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: First, the easy question. Percent chance that Coats and Haspel would say what they were quoted as saying is fake news?

CLAPPER: About zero.

CUOMO: Right?

CLAPPER: Yes, well--

CUOMO: Why would they say that when they know it was from live testimony?

CLAPPER: Well they wouldn't say it because -- for the very reason you cite, because they were on television for all to see what they -- what they said and did. And but there's (ph) by -- by the way, the unclassified written assessment that was submitted to the Committee.

CUOMO: So, what bothers you about this, where it's not new for us to have to expose the President of the United States for lying?

I don't think he's ever told a bigger whopper than this one because it's so obviously untrue, and it compromises these two people who really need to have their integrity intact because of the nature of their work. So, your concern is?

CLAPPER: Well, on -- on number of levels, Chris.

First, just let me make a -- an overarching comment here is that policymakers, to include policymaker number one that is the President, always have the prerogative of accepting, rejecting, or ignoring intelligence. They can do that.

I think if they do it repetitively over time for multiple issues, they imperil the -- the nation, and -- and -- and the Presidency in this -- in this case. So, that -- that's kind of concern number one.

I'm reminded of the old thought about God loves drunk (ph) babies in the United States of America. And we've been singularly blessed in that we haven't had a major international confrontation in the last few years, particularly in the last two, during this Administration.

And I'm meaning something of the magnitude, God forbid--

CUOMO: Right.

CLAPPER: --of a 9/11 attack--

CUOMO: God forbid.

CLAPPER: --or a nuclear confrontation with the likes of Russia or China.

A situation like that, the President is going to need his Intelligence community. And his gut will not be sufficient to sort out what's fact and what isn't. So, you need trust in a -- in a situation like that. And that trust has to go both ways.

[21:40:00] And so, what's been compromised here, in my view, is, first, in the eyes of the public, the trust that the public has in the Intelligence community, the trust and what this has done to the employees, the rank-and-file across the Intelligence community, when they see three leaders like this, particularly Dan Coats, insulted as they were.

And, by the way, Dan, maybe that was perhaps one of his finest hours, because he forthrightly and honestly and straightforwardly told the Committee and the public what the facts were about Intelligence threats around the world.

And -- and then, of course, you have to wonder about what do our foreign partners think, particularly those who share Intelligence with us. And then, I worry about the leaders themselves who -- who, you know,

could easily reach the point where, "Hey, I don't need this aggravation, and I'm out of here," which would be a huge loss in all three of those cases. So, on a number of levels, this is very disturbing.

And, of course, most people wait years to do Revisionist history. President Trump, you know, does it the next day. And this is a manifestation of his living in a no-fact-zone reality bubble all to himself.

CUOMO: Right. I'm going to make an argument at the end of this show, as I do every night about how I am really impressed by his lie today. And I believe that it is a window into his future in terms of what this Mueller probe is going to reveal. It's not about crimes, it's about credibility.

Let me ask you something, the blocked numbers, I'm happy it leaked. I'm happy it came out because the suggestion was the blocked numbers were the President. People were using it as a potential smoking gun. It was on TV all the time with pundits--

CLAPPER: Yes.

CUOMO: --getting ready to cash in on it. They were wrong. It wasn't the President. However, now, we expect Don Jr. to jump up and down. But, for people to say, "Well that ends that," doesn't end it for me. Does it end it for you?

CLAPPER: No, it doesn't. I mean, frankly, Chris, for me, this hyperventilating about those phone call -- that phone call is kind of a -- a -- a little overwrought, in my opinion.

And the fact that it apparently wasn't to the President or the Candidate at the time, you know, I don't -- I don't think it -- it has that much bearing on--

CUOMO: Right. Just because it wasn't him--

CLAPPER: --the over -- the overarching issue here is--

CUOMO: --doesn't mean he didn't know.

CLAPPER: --was the -- was the President aware--

CUOMO: Right.

CLAPPER: --of the meeting? Whether he heard about it via this phone call or not? And, you know, what -- what is his complicity here? That to me is -- is -- is the much bigger issue.

CUOMO: Yes.

CLAPPER: And who -- who the other communicant was in the phone call is of lesser importance, at least in my mind. CUOMO: Right. I mean, you know, I could have done a little bit more digging and given the people the names tonight, but I don't want to do that, because I'm told they don't have anything to do with the probe and why--

CLAPPER: Right.

CUOMO: --put any more people's lives in the mix on this to be judged on something that's not relevant to the probe overall.

Jim Clapper, you are always relevant. Thank you so much for making us smarter on these issues tonight. Thank you, sir.

CLAPPER: Well thanks, Chris, for having me.

CUOMO: Always.

All right, the hat, the MAGA hat, it's become so much more than a hat for people on both sides. Now, that division reaches a new level in a restaurant, and the conflict will take away your appetite, next.

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CUOMO: It's a hat with four words on it, but they can mean a lot to people. I'm talking about the President's MAGA hat.

Now, we hear of a Chef in San Mateo, California saying, "You wear that hat into my place, you're not getting service." He tweeted stuff like this, saying, "MAGA hats are like white hoods, except stupider because you can see exactly who is wearing them."

Now, he's taken down some of those tweets, and there are reports the Chef is getting threats. What's right here? What's wrong? What matters? Let's bring in D. Lemon. How do you see it?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Ahh! It's tough to see it today. I've got cold again. OK, so here's how I see it.

CUOMO: Oh.

LEMON: I think people should be able to wear whatever they want, right? I don't like banning. I don't like boycotting. I don't like people getting fired for making mis -- true -- just what's honest mistakes. But I do say when you -- your clothing tells a story and, you know, if

you -- if you put certain symbols in, you know, in your home, or in front of your house, whatever, things tell stories, and you should be aware of the entire story that they tell, not just the little part of it that you want to be told.

But I don't like the idea of -- of banning someone for wearing a hat. But that hat, as we have said, it's no secret, I told you about how I feel, and people perceive, many people perceive that hat.

CUOMO: Right. So, you have the legality and then the appropriateness, right?

LEMON: It's legal, right? You're the attorney.

CUOMO: You can refuse service.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: You know, no shirt, no shoes, no service. Now, you'd have a counter First Amendment argument. You're chilling (ph) my rights to private place. Well then, how is this any different than the Baker with the cake?

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: Well that was about refusing service to a group of people that should be a protected class.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: And unless you could argue that Trump supporters should be a protected class, I don't think you have much of an argument on that.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: So, let's say this isn't so much about whether he has the right. It's about whether or not it is right. And here's my problem on this issue. Ordinarily, I'd go down the line, "Look, be bigger than that."

But I don't want to fall into the trap of underselling the significance of the trigger of the expression to people. I think the more appropriate analogy to say is, if people were wearing shirts and that said, "I hate Black people," would he be OK to say, "Don't come into my place with that."

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And I think most people would be like yes.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: That's how people like him see the MAGA hat.

LEMON: Yes. CUOMO: So, does that make it OK? I think that's the right question.

LEMON: Well, the thing is, should you? But just because you "Yes" that, but just because you have the right, does it mean that you should?

CUOMO: No.

LEMON: Does it mean that -- and should -- and should you be aware--

CUOMO: Absolutely not. Not in all cases.

LEMON: --again, your -- your clothing tells a story about who you are, what you think about, and what you represent.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: And also, life is not in a vacuum. That hat means a lot of things. If you're going to -- if you're going to wear that hat, that hat means everything from, I would say, the beginning of the campaign, maybe even before it.

Maybe that hat means The Central Park Five to people, maybe it means birtherism to people. Maybe it means, you know, Mexicans are rapists to people. And so, you cannot erase those things from the story of that hat, and say, "Well, I'm just wearing it because I want stronger immigration."

Well, a lot of people want strong immigration. It just can't be about what you want it to be about. There are symbols and things in the society that you have to take it and as a whole.

CUOMO: All right.

[21:50:00] LEMON: So, that's what I said. I don't like it. I don't think it should be banned. But I understand why.

And also, the same reason -- I know -- I know you have to go. But the same reason they stopped putting cable news on in some gyms in some places because too many people were fighting.

CUOMO: Gets people to heat it up.

LEMON: Right, so, you -- you know, I understand that.

CUOMO: Yes, look, my big problem is, we're way too focused on the divisions and not enough--

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: --what brings us together. The American people--

LEMON: More on the Maggie Haberman's interview.

CUOMO: --agree on 70 percent of these issues.

LEMON: More Maggie Haberman's interview--

CUOMO: Just so--

LEMON: --coming up. We're going to -- we're going to dig into it. We'll see you in a bit.

CUOMO: Good for you.

LEMON: All right.

CUOMO: We need that. I'll be watching, as always.

All right, now, by now, we all know, unfortunately, this President will lie to you. But today, I argue we reached a new level, and that what we saw today is a window into our collective future and, certainly, the future for the President.

He's going to be haunted by today. And no lie will get him out of where he is headed. The argument, next.

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[21:55:00] CUOMO: The President has rarely lied to your face worse than he did today when he spun this BS about what his Intel Chiefs said to him. Listen to this.

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TRUMP: They said that they were totally misquoted, and they were totally -- it was taken out of context. So, what I'd do is I'd suggest that you call them. They said it was fake news.

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CUOMO: You know this could not have happened, right? The hearing was on TV. For example, on North Korea.

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TRUMP: He wants to denuclearize.

DANIEL RAY COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD capabilities. CUOMO: This President has taken the word of the Russian leader about election interference, and the North Korean leader about his intentions over the reckoning of his own Intelligence agencies.

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CUOMO: Formula, Trump quote, Intel Chief quote, our reporting, it's all obvious. Again, on Iran.

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TRUMP: We cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement.

COATS: We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.

CUOMO: The people who gather all the knowledge that our government uses gave assessments that are different than what the President says our threats to this country, including Iran and its nuclear capability.

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CUOMO: All right, so, exposing POTUS' ploy here is easy. The trick is figuring out why the President has this lying habit, this insistence, this compulsion to deny reality in an attempt to make himself look good or right or competent?

Let's take the big news today about Jr. Many on the Left suggested the blocked numbers he spoke to before and after the Trump Tower meeting were with his father. They were not, we are told.

Trump folk jump up and say, "Well that ends that." No, it doesn't because of the lies. Did the President know about that meeting? He says, "No." But he also said he didn't draft that statement about the meeting, and he did. He lied. Why? Why lie if there was nothing wrong as the statement said?

Again, did he know about Cohen's crimes with the payouts to the women? He said, "No." He lied. We know why there. He said no, that he didn't do any business with Russia. He lied. Again, why?

There's no crime in doing business with Russia when he was. Why lie? Now, Trump supporters will say, "Hey, none of that's a crime." And while the investigation is not over yet, I'm OK with their assumption.

I've always been because I've never needed to sell you that the blocked calls or anything would be a smoking gun because I don't need one.

What I need is the same thing you need, the truth about what people in his campaign did with and for anyone connected to Russian interference, and most of all, if the President knew and whether he lied to you about the same. Only if he lied to Mueller, by the way, that would be a crime, but a felony is not my bar for responsible conduct by a President, nor is it the bar for removing one. Remember, as President Gerald Ford said, an impeachable offense is what Congress says it is.

So, what we show today is what I argue could bring this President to his knees. Lying about these things, if shown, would be really wrong.

Concealing or enabling or firing in circumstances to cover for efforts to get stolen emails from America's enemy, just to help his campaign, or to meet, to see if the enemy could help him, or to hinder investigations into these same activities, if a President lied about any or all of that, he should have a really big problem with Congress and, frankly, with you.

So, for me, it has always been about the lying, just like today. This President will lie when the truth would suffice, when the truth is obvious, when the truth is necessary to fulfill his duty to the American people.

And if we look to the future, I've said, and I maintain, I do not see a legal crisis for the Presidency because of the Mueller probe. Of course, I could be wrong. It happens every day.

But I expect a story of sneaky, shady moves, doing things they knew, or should have known they should not do with people connected to Russian bad guys, and a President who may have known about the same, may be encouraged, enabled, may be hindered investigations into the same, abusing his power, that phrase, the root of it all will be what we saw today and almost every day, the lying.

And if so, remember this, this President will have no one to blame for the scrutiny, but himself.

Thank you for watching. CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON, they got breaking news, and it starts right now.

LEMON: Chris, thank you. I will see you soon. We're going to get to that breaking news.