Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Blasts Dems on "Ridiculous Partisan Investigations" in State of the Union; Interview with Andrew Gillum, Mayor OF Tallahassee, Florida; Aired 12m-1a ET

Aired February 6, 2019 - 00:00   ET



DAVID AXELROD, CNN HOST: He'll get a bump off this. We'll see how long.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: All right, well, thank you all.



COOPER: Appreciate it.

A special edition of "CUOMO PRIME TIME" starts right now.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (voice-over): Thank you, Anderson.

Hello, everyone. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to a special supersized edition of PRIME TIME. We have two hours tonight on this big night for President Trump. He has just delivered his State of the Union to a deeply divided Congress. They said it was about uniting tonight.

Did he succeed?

Did he change any minds in the House chamber on his wall?

And what happens after tonight?

As you just heard David Axelrod, he'll probably get a bump. That's not unusual.

How long will it last?

Especially in light of the fact that we may be steamrolling toward another shutdown.

Nancy Pelosi: she wasn't the only cloud hovering over the president tonight. He may have warned Democrats not to investigate him but there are multiple probes underway that could put his presidency in peril. And we have brand new developments to tell you about on that front. And has "The Washington Post" just dug up a giant gift for President

Trump, new evidence that could shake up the presidential hopes of one of his long-time rivals, Elizabeth Warren?

One of her colleagues will be here to address the controversy directly.

Midnight on Capitol Hill. It can't get any better than that. Let's get after it.


CUOMO: U-N-I-T-Y, that's what it was supposed to be about tonight, unifying. But you could feel the deep divide in that chamber this evening as the president delivered his annual State of the Union address on the heels of one shutdown, on the verge of another.

It was literally a divided room, even by costume. All of the women from the Democrat side of the House, in Congress in general, in white. They're obviously making a statement.

And you saw the scene right now is when the president was saying we have more women ever elected in Congress than ever before. You saw the Republicans 20, saying you should be happy, you should be happy.

Instead, they were applauding themselves and started saying, yes, all on this side. Over his shoulder, another woman in white, the new Speaker who was there. Sometimes speaking under her breath in contradiction of the president. I don't know who she was talking to, because Mike Pence certainly wasn't an active conversationalist for her tonight.

But Nancy Pelosi's oversight powers and those of her party clearly on the mind of the president tonight. Listen to what he said about it.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: An economic miracle is taking place in the United States -- and the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics, or ridiculous partisan investigations.

If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.


CUOMO: And "If it does not fit, you must acquit."

If it rhymes, it must be reasonable. Echoes of President Richard Nixon, although I was quoting Johnnie Cochran. But look, this is not an unusual tactic from a president in peril. We remember this during Watergate, in his State of the Union speech in 1974. So Democrats have given their rebuttal and we have another prominent one here to offer his own.

Andrew Gillum, good to see you, sir.

ANDREW GILLUM, MAYOR OF TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA: Good to see you, Chris. I hope you're well.

CUOMO: Oh, better than I deserve.

Do you think that the president of the United States deserves any love for the State of the Union?

GILLUM: Well, I tell you, we could not have seen two more different speeches this evening. Stacey Abrams, who brought the Democratic response this evening, was hopeful, inspiring. She set a vision, not by shying away from difficult issues.

She talked about gun violence, she spoke and evoked race. She talked about climate change.

But she also gave us a really, I thought, insightful glimpse into her own youth, upbringing, her childhood. I could see, literally, her father, freezing cold without his jacket, having given it to a homeless person.


CUOMO: That he met on the road in the rain after working on the docks. What a story.

GILLUM: But she ushered forward a story that didn't just include him and she and her mother but also the country. She basically said that her father was willing to give away that jacket because he knew that his wife, that his family was coming.

And she extended that to the entire nation, to say that America is coming, that we'll have each other's backs. And compare that to what I thought was really divisive rhetoric many times throughout the president's address.

Yes, it was sprinkled with a few moments of obviously unity. But --


GILLUM: -- by and large, I found it to be a divisive speech and contrary to what you would want to hear at a State of the Union, where you want a president who, quite frankly, is going to encourage us to what are better angels and inspire us.

CUOMO: You know, what was interesting tonight is that, while there were very different approaches -- you're right, Andrew about that -- clearly the audience was largely the same. The battle for your party is to capture those working people in the heartland of America, a lot of the red parts of America, and let them know that you care about them as well.

For the president, his big-ticket issue on that is not economics, it's immigration. Let's listen to him on that.



TRUMP: As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States.

I have ordered another 3,750 troops to our southern border to prepare for this tremendous onslaught. This is a moral issue. I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever. But they have to come in legally.


CUOMO: Now, look, you'll see a ton of fact checks about the last part of that statement, where his administration and those around it have proposed a lot of reductions to legal immigration. So him saying he wants more than ever, he's got a fact problem with that.

But let's get to the main part of the message, which is, the Left wants you to be exposed to the dangers of the brown menace, as I call his depiction, the migrants coming from the center, from the triangle countries and Mexico. And I'm sending the military to keep you safe.

What's your counter?

GILLUM: Well, first of all, there is not a Democrat who doesn't agree that want border security. We've said so much. It has been in every package that was proposed by Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi.

But we don't buy into the mythology that this president, this image, this fearful image, again, to contrast the speech from the Democrats tonight and the president, the truth is that migration at the border is at a practical 20-year low.

That this whole idea of thugs coming in droves across the border. Well, the truth is that the majority of illicit drugs that entering into the country are entering through legal border crossings, that Fentanyl is coming through containers from Asia, right. Yet this government was shut down for 30-some odd days, compromising the safety and security of this country.


CUOMO: Stacey Abrams hit on that tonight.

GILLUM: The president -- she did hit on it tonight, rightly so.

CUOMO: -- and hopefully we will avoid it again.

But let me ask you one question deeper on this.


CUOMO: OK. You're right. The flow; we've seen subsiding of it. The caravans are new. And they are a complex issue. There are lots of different reasons that people are organizing this way. That's new and there are good reasons for it and bad reasons for it. Well, actually you could argue they're all bad reasons but there are reasons from our system that are causing it.

So this is a new problem. Here's something I don't understand about the Democrat position You now all use the phrase, "border security." You never use the words "physical borders" anymore, even though Democrats have always funded them, funded it under -- with the Bollard fencing, with Obama, you know, the first two deals that you offered Trump had physical barrier funding in it.

Now I can't get any Democrats in elected office to say, yes, we will give him money for the fence, we're just not giving him as much as he wants. Everybody's now saying, tom Perez, I had on my radio show today, we're not rewarding him for being a bully.

We're not rewarding him for a false promise. There are other ways to do it. There are better ways to do it. We're not giving any money for that.

Are you sure that's not a mistake, Andrew, that you're not handing him an issue to go back to his base and saying to people you're fighting for and say, look, they won't even give me money, they won't give me a dollar for any more physical barriers. They don't want to keep you safe.

Are you handing him a hammer to hit you with?

GILLUM: Let me tell you, the president is off the path here. And although he uses this to incite his base, Democrats have talked, again, about border security, smart security, smart power being leveraged here in the country.

The president is simply attempting to rile up his base.

But I got to tell you, didn't the president just have to lay off, what, 15 employees who were undocumented?


CUOMO: -- 18 --


CUOMO: -- five different golf clubs. And we know this because we did some of the earliest reporting on it here with one of the lawyers involved.

GILLUM: He is one of the people --

CUOMO: -- hiring undocumented workers. He's part of the problem on that one.

GILLUM: He's talked -- and he's talked about the biggest threat to American businesses and to small businesses being undocumented people crossing the border in droves. Yet, you see that the president is, quite frankly -- [00:10:00]

GILLUM: -- only out for himself in this and has no real enforceable solutions as to how it is we get the border under control.

The truth is that there are 20 million undocumented people in this country that are undocumented. We deserve comprehensive immigration reform coming from the United States Congress, the Senate and the president. That is not what we're being offered. This is fearmongering, this is dog whistling, this is him, quite frankly, attempting to rile up his base in advance of a presidential election.

But that isn't presidential leadership. And that's what we're looking for in 2020. Again, to contrast what we saw from Stacey Abrams and what we saw from the president, I think, was a perfect setup for what 2020 and this presidential race will likely be about.

It will be a vision of hope, of inspiration, of aspirational goals for the American people that we can get there together versus fear, be afraid of brown people, be afraid of people who look different from you. And all the while, only trying to win for himself and not win for the American people.

The country will see a real difference, in my opinion through the course of this election between what Democrats are offering and, quite frankly, the vitriol and the hatred being pandered by this president.

CUOMO: Andrew Gillum, well argued and thank you.

GILLUM: Thank you for having me.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

So like I said earlier, like you heard from a much better mind of David Axelrod, it will not be unusual after the State of the Union to see the president get a bump in the polls.

But what does he do with this?

How long does it last, OK?

The president does not have money for his wall. There's none on the table. That's part of what I was just discussing. We can debate whether or not it's a good play for the Democrats.

But what is he going to do in 10 days, nine days now?

Will he declare a national emergency, God forbid, a shutdown again?

This is a big discussion. We have got some big names: Gergen, Cupp, Cillizza, aka the dream team -- next.



CUOMO: A tale of two speeches from just one State of the Union address. The president called for conciliation.


TRUMP: We must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution.


CUOMO: But then he made it clear he's still digging in on divisive issues like his demand for a border wall, even as another shutdown looms.


TRUMP: In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall. But the proper wall never got built. I will get it built.


CUOMO: All right, so new term. True-ish. It is true that the Democrats and Republicans have voted for physical barriers time and time again. But a proper wall never got built.

What does that mean?

I would suggest nothing. But let's go to some better brains. David Gergen, S.E. Cupp, Chris Cillizza, thank you very much for being with us at this opportune hour.

So, David, let's get our head straight. True-ish, Democrats have never been strangers to border security, never been strangers to physical barriers. They now that the farce of what is a wall, the concrete, it's always been bollard fencing. That's what they've been building since the Obama administration and before. We've seen the pictures. That's what it is.

But I feel like that's changing now.

Am I right or wrong?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: There seems to be some shift for Democrats away from supporting any kind of fencing, just going for smart technology, working at the entry points and the like. I think they would do that at great peril.

The Democratic Party should not abandon the notion that more fencing, the kind of fending that went up under Barack Obama, is still good today. It's crazy to move away from that. And if they wind up getting the blame for this, that is going to be one of the stupidest things that could have been done in American politics.

Right now he's the guy on defense. CUOMO: All right, so, look, nobody's shy on this panel.

Are you hearing it that way, that the, we'll give you something, we gave you $45 billion here over five years and we did $1.8 billion.

Now it's no money for the wall; we'll give you money for border security.

Are you perceiving a shift to no money?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there's two parts of this. On strategy, Democrats have no real incentive to do anything that Trump asks right now. They're a month into newly taking control of the House, largely elected to do just this, deny the president some of his key promises.

But then there's how voters will come to see this. And that's not revealed yet. That will take a little time.

Will they come to see Democrats as petulant?

Will they come to see Democrats as rejecting common-sense policy and legislation that they perhaps once adopted just because it's Trump?

And then you'll see I think a real shift in polling. Right now the polling is with Democrats but that could change. That is not locked in.

GERGEN: Over the next two weeks, it could change.

CUPP: That's right.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR AT LARGE: But what's interesting, the whole speech, I think, was carrot and stick but like if there was one word, like carrotstick, because there wasn't the -- it was all kind of jumbled together.

It was, well, I want to work with Democrats; on the other hand, they're immoral and they want open borders. And there's opportunities for us to work together on prescription drugs, on the other hand, like, no, they won't work with me and they're terrible and they're rooting against the American public.

So it's hard, this line, when S.E. was talking, I was looking through the speech, this line gets to that. This is Trump. Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. OK. We've heard that from him before. Base likes that. So let's work together, compromise and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.

So if you take the first part, simply put, walls work and walls save lives, OK, Trump to the base.

If you only take the second part, let's work together, compromise and reach a deal that will truly make America safe, everyone in that room is standing up and applauding. This is the problem -- not the problem -- this is the conundrum of Donald Trump, which is in two sentences, he's saying things that are like -- just don't work together.

I get the sentiment rhetorically. But how it plays out --


CUOMO: -- we're talking about the numbers. The numbers roughly, for you at home, a majority of country says that that they don't want the wall as described by the president of the United States. I don't see polling on, do you think there should be any physical --


CUOMO: -- barriers on the border at all?

And see what the response is to that question. I feel that will be higher, especially when you hear the men and woman who are in charge of keeping us safe, saying, it's not our top priority -- they can't say that right now because the president's literally handcuffed them to this priority -- but we do need more.

GERGEN: Exactly. And listen, the Democratic Party has stood for doing it smarter and doing it at the entry points and doing it with barriers.

Why would they depart from it now?

He's in a position at the moment, where he's painted himself into another corner and that is they just -- if they don't blow this thing, the Democrats have got him in a place, he's either going to go to the emergency, which he never mentioned tonight, which was striking.

CUOMO: Right.

GERGEN: Or he'll have to go to another shutdown.


CUOMO: SO let's say the number is 5 whatever. And they say they will give him the $1.8 billion that he asked for in the budget last year because they can't spend more than that in one year. They're still spending the money we appropriated last year, which is actually a sensible argument but I don't know that it matters to anybody outside of the Beltway.

And he says no. I'm going national emergency.

S.E., the lawyers tell me, I can do it. I don't really believe that but let's say he does it.

CUPP: Right.

CUOMO: Then what?

CUPP: Well, Republicans would take issue with that. Republicans have already been fairly out front on not wanting the national emergency.

CUOMO: You think they'd say that now, holds when he actually does it?

CUPP: I think so, I think you have a lot of Republicans, maybe not a majority of Republican lawmakers, but enough for this to optically look like the president was sort of going alone on this.

But the other problem is, I don't think the issue between Democrats and Trump and Republicans is the number. I think it's the definition of the wall. Trump has already reportedly said I would do something with a 2 in front of it. I would consider something with a 3 in front of it.

CILLIZZA: You can call it what you want.

CUPP: That's right.


CUPP: I think it will come down to the appropriation number. I think it's going to come down to, what we decide to call this thing.

CILLIZZA: But he's so -- he's so -- the thing that I think is very difficult, he's so wildly unpredictable. Again, he said, two weeks ago, call it what you want. You can call it peaches for all I care. Then suddenly --

CUPP: You know that's not true.

CILLIZZA: But then suddenly, it's a wall is a wall, a wall is working. Everybody knows walls work. Build the wall and crime will fall.


CUOMO: He went bad on his own initial promise. Remember at the beginning, it will be concrete, reinforced, rebar.

Tonight he said it's not going to be a simple concrete wall, it will be transparent.

CILLIZZA: That's my point, Chris. You're negotiating with, like, a blob. That's the challenge. You try to seize it and it just goes somewhere else.


CUOMO: Let's assume he takes the step and says national emergency.


CUOMO: Even if the legal hurdles go away, I think there's a practical one of, whom do you take the money from in these various projects and how do you win that argument?

GERGEN: I think that will have a major -- he's going to have a major split in the Republican Party. He wants to get this issue behind him now. He needs to move on. The Democrats frankly will benefit from getting it -- they've run a lot of credit (ph) out of this already. They got a lot of points on the board doing this. They ought to shut this thing down.

Do I think they are -- what they do not want, the Democrats do not want is, in two weeks, people saying, both sides are really being too stubborn here.

CUOMO: Shut down this episode, yes; shut down the government in nine days, do we see it as a practical impossibility?

Neither side can let that happen?

CILLIZZA: I just don't -- I mean, I think --

CUOMO: Be bold, Cillizza. Be bold.

CILLIZZA: No, well, look, no --

CUOMO: Just be bold.


CILLIZZA: I feel like it's after midnight, I can do --

CUOMO: Everybody's asleep.


CUOMO: Go full voice.


CUOMO: Really let it rip.

CILLIZZA: I'm not even on a microphone.

CUOMO: Wake everybody up.

CILLIZZA: The thing that's hard is, no, they can't. I mean, politically speaking, it makes no sense to shut the government down again.

But Donald Trump is Donald Trump. So, I mean, I'm hesitant to say 100 percent, no.

The other thing that I think is --

CUOMO: It's McConnell who would have to do it again.

CILLIZZA: Yes, but I mean, if Trump says, well, do you want a national emergency or want to shut the government down, I guess McConnell would take national emergency?

I mean, that's a rock and a hard place. I mean, McConnell does --

(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: -- too bold, Cillizza.


CILLIZZA: But the reason he doesn't want that is because, broadly speaking, what you're doing if you say national emergency, is, OK, if you're McConnell, any legislator, you're saying, oh, yes, well, technically we were the ones who are supposed to approve the money and how it gets spent.

But now we're going to hand that over to an executive. I mean, the precedent you set, if you do that for a Democrat president down the line, is very dangerous. I don't think Trump cares about that but McConnell --


CUOMO: Let's hold it there. Let me take a break. Please stay with me. We have another round of conversation that we have in the next hour about this stuff to keep it fresh. There are new angles developing.

And one of the reasons is we heard the president take a direct shot at something --


CUOMO: -- tonight, socialism. OK?

This wasn't a mistake. It wasn't a throwaway line. This is a prepared speech. He obviously sees this as a good angle of attack for 2020.

Who is it aimed at?

Who does it benefit?

Great debate, next. Oh, look at those two.



CUOMO: All right. It wasn't all U-N-I-T-Y tonight at the State of the Union. The president took aim at the Democratic Party's leftward political swing in tonight's speech. Take a listen.


TRUMP: Here in the United States, we're alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.


CUOMO: Mike Pence stands up, Nancy Pelosi stays down. Are the ideas of, let's say, Ocasio-Cortez -- really, Bernie Sanders

is the father of this within the Democratic Party recently -- is this going to be ammunition for the Right?

Is this a fair explanation by the president?

Let's debate it.

Bakari Sellers and David Urban.

Bakari Sellers, are the renewed calls for socialism coming from your party?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. I think it's absolutely absurd, I mean, I think you have a wing of the party, you have the AOCs, you have the Bernie Sanders, and their voices are becoming loud. That they're talking about making sure you're taking care of working class citizens.

Everyone has health care, I mean, things that are fundamental. But, when you look at our response tonight, you can't look at Donald Trump's speech in a vacuum. When you look at the response tonight, there was nothing socialistic about Stacey Abrams' response.

I mean, Stacey Abrams is talking about making sure that individuals were taken care of from their cradle to their career, making sure that we had compassionate immigration reform at the border, making sure that people had a liveable wage, and making sure we eradicate racism, I mean, if that's socialism, sign me up. But that it is not socialism.

And I think that, you know, this is going to be red meat for the base, and you know what happens is, when you say things like hey, there's socialism in the Democratic Party, you have everybody on one side of the room stand up and cheer, if that's not real.

CUOMO: True. But, Bakari, remember, politics is about persuasion. Labels matter. If you are running, I would have to advice you right now, don't say if that's socialism. Sign me up, Bakari, because --


CUOMO: -- your opponent will beat you over the head with it.

SELLERS: Well, listen --


SELLERS: But before we go there, let me -- let me be extremely clear, because what I said was, Stacey Abrams talked about taking care of individuals --


SELLERS: -- from the cradle to the career.


SELLERS: And that is not socialism.

CUOMO: I agree with you.

SELLERS: That's actually what America should be.

CUOMO: But, I agree with you, but the label, Dave, where do you see the label, applying?

URBAN: So, hold up, Bakari, let's be clear about this, Stacey Abrams says she's for Medicare-for-all, as a starting point. Single payer, Medicare-for-all, is a starting point in this debate, if that's not socialism. You have Kamala Harris saying let's eliminate private health care.

SELLERS: Her name is Kamala.

URBAN: I'm sorry, Kamala, OK. Sorry, Bakari. Kamala, if you say, she's out there saying we're going to eliminate whole segments of the health care system and we're going to have a government-run system --

CUOMO: She pulled back from that, though, Dave.

URBAN: Yes. But, Chris, people will run into that --


SELLERS: But listen --

URBAN: And that's what the president is talking about here. Listen, it's not like, you can't have it both ways.

SELLERS: Is Social Security, socialism?


SELLERS: Is Social Security, socialism?

URBAN: We're talking about something completely different. Don't get off the topic here. So, Bakari, you're saying --

SELLERS: No, no, no. But I'm just --

URBAN: It is single payer -- no, Bakari, stick with the topic. Single payer, Medicare-for-all, is a socialist form of government. Yes, it is. You won't accept that?

SELLERS: So, my question to you, David, is that --


SELLERS: as we move forward -- as we move forward, a lot of these ideas are not new. The fact is, people pay into Social Security. We have --

URBAN: We're not talking about Social Security.


URBAN: Stay on the topic. Stay down the middle here.

SELLERS: But they are the same.

URBAN: Bakari, no. It's not the same.

SELLERS: -- type of program.

CUOMO: Don't talk over each other, one point at a time.

URBAN: Bakari, it's not.

SELLERS: They are the same -- they are the same type of program. But what Democrats are talking about, and when you talk about increasing them, the tax rate, when you talk about going to a 70 percent marginal tax rate, when you start talking about these things, none of these things are actually new. When you talk about a new deal --

URBAN: What is new?

SELLERS: When you talk about the FDR -- when you talk about what FDR did for this country, how he took us out of a great depression, and led us into a great generation, these are not new ideas. But what we are talking about is taking care of people.

URBAN: No. What is new is a completely government-run health care system, provided for cradle to grave, as you said, by the government. That's completely new. That is new. And if you don't admit it's new, then you're not being honest.

CUOMO: What is the offensive part of it, Dave?

URBAN: It's just not part of the capitalist system. That's the offensive part. And who is paying for it, Chris?


URBAN: Let's be fair. Let's be fair. It is a trillion-dollar, $1 trillion shortfall each year. That's what the CBO estimated. That's what CBO estimated.

CUOMO: Let's just be clear about it. But let's not dive into the numbers too deep because we'll confuse everybody. There are transition costs associated with changing systems. $1 trillion is actually a shy estimate. It would be more than that.

URBAN: Oh, 1 trillion a year.

CUOMO: Right.

URBAN: One trillion a year.

CUOMO: But then, there's also a levelling, right? And then it reverses and you say it would benefit the same people. But hold on a second. Let's just make it simple for the audience. Because Bakari is making an interesting point, if you're going to have this argument about whether it's socialism or not, I think that's ultimately unproductive. But, let's just entertain it for a moment.

When you have a bankruptcy, when a business goes bankrupt, OK? It is not capitalism that allows for our laws, OK? Capitalism says, Dave, your company fails. You lose. What we have said, as a society, no, no, no, the jobs matter. Let's encourage industry, we will give you protection.


CUOMO: It's not run by the private sector. It's entirely run by government.

URBAN: No, it's not. Bankruptcy is not run by the government.

CUOMO: How is it not?

URBAN: You're a lawyer. You go to bankruptcy court in Delaware. You go to bankruptcy court in Delaware.


SELLERS: But even to -- even to Chris' point, I mean, I think what Chris is talking about, and the line that he's going down is the corporate welfare we have in this country.

URBAN: That's right.

SELLERS: And what happens is, when stakes like South Carolina --

URBAN: We're not talking about corporate. I'm talking about health care.

CUOMO: I know, but I'm saying that the principle --


[00:35:10] CUOMO: The principle is, sometimes you want government to do things. Sometimes, you want the private sector to do things.

URBAN: Government should provide for defense, clean drinking water --

CUOMO: Corporate welfare.

URBAN: No. The government should


URBAN: We need the government --


URBAN: Yes, there's a fundamental difference. The government shouldn't be involved --

SELLERS: So, I believe --

URBAN: -- at every aspect of American life. That's what I believe.

SELLERS: But you know, that is a clear difference. This is the difference between Stacey Abrams and Donald Trump. For example, we are highlighting that difference, because we fundamentally believe that people deserve access to a quality education and first-class health care.


SELLERS: -- guaranteed rights in this country. Well, you don't if you want people out of here having to make decisions about whether or not they're choosing prescription drugs or paying their utility bills.



URBAN: That's a false narrative. No, it isn't.

SELLERS: That's not a false narrative.

URBAN: Bakari, listen --

SELLERS: That's not a false narrative.

URBAN: OK. And your solution is the government just pays for it all and runs it all. We eliminate the private sector.

SELLERS: My -- no, that's not my solution at all. Don't put words in my mouth.


SELLERS: Because even today -- that's not. Because even today, when you -- individuals on Medicare have to have some private supplemental insurance because a lot of things are out of their service. So, you have to have private insurance.


SELLERS: Do you know where to start?

URBAN: That's not the starting point of where the party is right now.

SELLERS: No, no, no. You're conflating it, because what you want to do is make every Democrat, Bernie Sanders, and we're not.

URBAN: I'm not conflating it.

SELLERS: But we are a big tent. We are a big tent who wants to get to the point where right now, we have the Affordable Care Act in this country. We've done something that Republicans have not been able to do, which is -- which is to make sure that 90 percent of Americans have health care.

Because you should not go bankrupt in the United States of America, if you have a heart attack. That is not American. You can say it's government-run or socialist or whatever.

URBAN: OK, the starting point --

SELLERS: That is where we are.


URBAN: Listen, so the starting point for all the Democrats who've announced their precedent, thus far, is Medicare-for-all. That's the start-up. That's the point where each of these folks have announced it started. Not some place --

SELLERS: Correct.

URBAN: -- to the right of that. They've all started to the left. They said that is the --


SELLERS: They've all sponsored bills. They've all sponsored bills that do a wide variety of things. For example, there are some Democrats who will tell you today that we want to make sure we have private insurance and a healthy market. We want to bring down deductibles.

We want to strengthen the Affordable Care Act. We want to get to Medicare-for-all, but you have Democrats like, simply say that we need to make sure we have a starting point.

CUOMO: All right. We're out of time.


URBAN: Bakari, you're a very smart guy, that's why.

CUOMO: We're out of time. But I'll make you a bet, Dave, I'll make you a bet.

URBAN: I'll take that.

CUOMO: That at some point, early on, in the election in 2020, if the President runs, and I assume he will, he's going to say, I want health care coverage for all the people who don't have it right now. And someone like me is going to say, how are you going to do that? And he's going to say, we've got to figure out how to do it through government. And then, I'm telling you --

SELLERS: No, Mexico is going to pay for it.

CUOMO: No, he'll say Mexico -- no. But listen, the concept of coverage is going to wind up leading to a very constructive conversation. (CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: -- helpful for politics but not for policy.

URBAN: Listen, health care is obviously a huge issue.

CUOMO: All right.

URBAN: It has fuelled these midterms and put a lot of those folks in those seats you saw tonight. So, it is a giant issue.

CUOMO: Look, and also -- it is. But let's be honest. It was mostly about the revulsion to the President and his methods that was a big catalyst for Democrat turnout. But we'll see if that carries --

URBAN: Health care is the biggest line item.

CUOMO: It is. But it assumes that people are arguing --

SELLERS: That's true, David.

CUOMO: -- on just policy, and not personality, and I take issue with that. But you're all smart and I appreciate you having you on even in a thousand o'clock in the morning. Take care, fellows.

All right, there's other news tonight, especially on politics and the race for 2020, specifically, all right? There is something that has happened that could provide ammunition for the President against one of his favorite adversaries because he has many, Elizabeth Warren, what has just come out about the senator, what her explanation is, and what it means.

We have one of her colleagues here to talk about it, next.



CUOMO: So, the constitution says the President shall, from time to time, give to the Congress, information, of the State of the Union. So, let's hear how the speech is playing with one of those members of Congress, Hawaii Democratic Senator, Mazie Hirono, Senator, thank you for joining us.


CUOMO: What was your take on the President's State of the Union Address?

HIRONO: We've had a harsh reality of two years of the Trump presidency, starting with the Muslim ban, and separation of children at the border, of continues sabotaging of the Affordable Care Act, not to mention repealing that, and, of course, the most recent shutdown that harmed 800,000 people, not to mention our economy. So, that is the reality of this presidency, and I don't think that kind of reality is going to change. So, whatever he said tonight that were nice, does not erase the reality of the harm that he's brought upon this country, and the chaos that he has wrought on this country for the past two years.

CUOMO: Do you believe the message that he wants to work with you guys on those problems, and sees a better future ahead?

HIRONO: Well, the other first sign would be if he were to say something like, you folks bring me a bill that will keep government running until the end of the fiscal year, and I will sign it. I did not hear that. So, he says a lot of things, that with this President, it's bad enough what he says.

But the harm comes from the doing. And I've mentioned some of the things that he's already done. And I think we all acknowledge that this is a president who doesn't learn and cannot change.

So, whatever nice things he said tonight, I would be very, very pleasantly surprised if that actually happens. But he said some of the same things last year, infrastructure, lowering the drug prices, even as he's very busy trying to eliminate health care for millions of people in our country.

CUOMO: I understand your point about the past, is prologue, in terms of what you'll believe for any progress going forward. He said something I want your take on, he said, and it rhymed, so he must have really meant it.

He said we can't have -- you know, the point of that statement was, I'm not going to do anything with you if you keep investigating me. You know, he said we can't have, you know, working in legislation if there is war -- peace and legislation if there's war and investigation. That was not a subtle message. It was, stop the probes or you're going to have problems.

HIRONO: That is our job, by the way, the checks and balances. It is our job as members of Congress to investigate where we see problems with the administration. I believe that there are all kinds of conflict of interest issues with this administration. And it is our job to focus on those kinds of issues.

So, this is very typical of his approach, which is, that if I don't get what I want, something bad is going to happen to you, or I'm not going to work with you.

CUOMO: Do you think that the Democrats should offer money for physical barriers in any deal on border security that's going to be made in the next 10 days?

HIRONO: Well, we've always supported border security. But he is so totally fixated on a wall, although, you know, every once in a while, he seems to waffle a little bit, but he keeps coming back to that, and I think that is his mantra right now. [00:45:15] And as long as he keeps talking about a wall, maybe the border security that could be in a bill that will be brought before him and before the House and Senate, he can call it peaches or whatever he wants to call it. And if that makes him and his base happy, fine.

But the main thing that I need to have happened and I wished he had to said, that we cannot have another government shutdown, but notice he didn't say that? And that's because he's still contemplating it.

CUOMO: But do you think that the Democrat offer should include money for physical barriers?

HIRONO: We already have some physical barriers. So, really, this whole argument that the Democrats are not for border security, we all know that that's complete shibai, which is a Japanese word for B.S. and nonsense.

So, you know, he has said many times, I was there when he was talking about DACA. I was there at the White House when he bring me a bipartisan bill, I will sign it.

CUOMO: Right.

HIRONO: Then, that was all off the table. So, with this President, he says something, and doesn't keep his word. So, I say Congress should do our job. We should investigate where investigation is warranted. We should pass a bill that will keep government running until the end of the physical year, at least, without the President's consent, because that is our job.

And if he doesn't like it, he should veto the bill or let it become law without his signature. Those are some of the practicalities that we are facing right now.

So, as he does his state of the state, trying to talk about how we should all be working together, even as he has been one of probably the most divisive people in the country, certainly in my time, in my experience with presidents, he has been the most divisive, for him to come forward and start talking about how we're all going to work together, it really rings hollow to me.

CUOMO: Senator, thank you so much. Before I let you go, I have one question of politics for you, within your own party, one of the people, prominent name, wants to be the nominee for your party is Senator Elizabeth Warren. She has been battling this political perception about how she's handled her ethnicity, her race. You know what I'm talking about.

Now, there is a new example of the senator, back in the '80s, I think 1986, listing American Indian or Native American as her nationality, for the purpose of registration within the Texas bar. Do you believe that this issue is going to wind up being too much for her to carry if she were to be the nominee of your party? Is this too big a deal?

HIRONO: I don't think so. I certainly don't think so. Because she's talking about a lot of other things that are really important to people in our country, such as the massive income disparity in our country or the fact that education is so unaffordable.

She's talking about things that really relate to people's lives, and I hope that that's what people are focusing on, and also health care. But, she's not the only one of our candidates who focuses on those things that matter to our people.

CUOMO: True. But she is the only one that has given the President a big, rotten tomato to throw at her in what is guaranteed to be a food fight, right? We know that that's what President will make the race, because she handed him something that will hurt her.

HIRONO: I think it's rich, coming from this president, if that's the most he can say about her, and she certainly has to continue to address, but considering that he lies every single day, he's amoral, and he's a vile, sexual predator, that's rich, that kind of attack, coming from this President.

CUOMO: Senator Hirono, thank you so much. Appreciate it at this early hour for you to be with us. Be well and take care.

HIRONO: You, too. Bye.

CUOMO: All right, we know this president has a big problem with the truth. How did he do tonight on that level? What did he get right? What did he get wrong? Lucky for us, we have one of the best fact checkers around with the answers, next.



CUOMO: Facts first. And there's a lot to unpack in tonight's speech. Let's dig into it and sort out what is accurate, and what is not. The man, Tom Foreman is here, to help us do exactly that with the State of the Union. How are you?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm very well, Chris. You know, the President loves to talk about immigration, did it as a candidate, he has does it as the president, many times, and he wasted no time in throwing down a big marker on that.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Year after year, countless Americans are murdered by criminal, illegal aliens.


FOREMAN: Boy, this is a claim he loves to make. Here is the problem, though, a study by the Libertarian Cato Institute a few years back, about conviction rates in Texas found that, in fact, immigrants here legally or illegally, were less likely to be convicted of this, than Native-born Americans. Beyond that, there have been other studies that have indicated that all undocumented immigrants, there's no increase in murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. They do not contribute to an increase in drug overdoses and DUI deaths. They engage in less crime than the American or legal immigrant peers.

Yes, there are some immigrants who commit horrendous crimes, there's some Native-born Americans who do it. But this claim is at very best, very misleading. Beyond that, the President told one of his favorite stories about a border city and a great big wall.


TRUMP: The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime, one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country.


FOREMAN: Well, go to El Paso, you will see there is a great big barrier. And yes, they had a whopping violent crime problem there. Look, there is the peak of it back there, before it fell, like 30 percent. So, what's wrong with this story? Here's what's wrong, the wall was built around here, and crime actually was going up around that time.

[00:55:16] The bottom line is, this big fancy story may sound great to his followers, people may like to hear it, but it is flat out false. You can find out a whole lot more about the things we checked out too, Chris, because I know you will, if you go to and look at all of our reality checks.

CUOMO: Thank you very much, Tom Foreman, I want to have you back next hour. Why sleep when you can give us more fact checking? Thank you very much for the reality check.

FOREMAN: Well, see you.

CUOMO: All right. Now, Tom calls them false. My definition is, he had to know or should have known, but let's just keep it at he had to know what the numbers. He had to know that that story was going to be compelling but false. That's a lie. It's not just false, it's a lie.

You know the truth, and you told us something else anyway. It's deceptive, it's a lie. Much more ahead on our special two-hour CUOMO PRIMETIME, have a little Joe, have a little something else, and then we're going to tell you more about what happened tonight and developments on multiple investigations. Stay with us.


CUOMO: Hello, everybody, I'm Chris Cuomo, who's ready to kick off another special hour of PRIMETIME? The President, tonight, asking for unity and an end to the so-called politics of revenge, was he, though, able to reset the border debate on Capitol Hill tonight?

Will he take part in the compromising he's calling for? Join us as we unpack the State of the Union.