Return to Transcripts main page

CUOMO PRIME TIME

Negotiators Say They Have Reached An Agreement In Principle To Avoid Another Government Shutdown; Julian Castro On Running In Crowded Democratic Field; Source: Possible Border Deal Includes $1.375 Billion For Physical Barriers; Congresswoman Ilhan Omar Under Fire For Implying Money Influences GOP On Israel. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 11, 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] JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY CO-ANCHOR, CNN: However, when asked about two sticking points, barrier funding and detention facility capacity, one of the negotiators, Republican Senator Richard Shelby said, and I'm quoting, "We got an agreement on all of it."

More to come in the hours ahead, which is why I hand it over now to Chris with CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: J.B., it is all about what that phrase means. We're going to get after it right now. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

On our watch, you have Left and Right clashing over the Border in Texas, literally. You got the President on one side in El Paso, lying about the wall as a remedy for that city. I will prove its not. And, on the other, you have Democrat Beto O'Rourke arguing that security and hostility need not be the same thing. The state of play reflects the conflict in D.C.

But you heard that breaking news. There may be a deal. Why am I being slow? Well we got to know the details. It's just the Senate. What about the House? This is a big deal.

So, with that, we're going to take it up with the lone Mexican- American so far throwing his hat in the ring to take on the President in 2020, Julian Castro is here.

And, tonight also, the Muslim Congresswoman who set off a storm about Israel and U.S. politics, she says she's sorry. Will her Party accept it?

And on the other side of that issue, why are House Republicans still giving the President a pass for his silence on the bigotry of Steve King? If it matters, it should all matter. That's our great debate.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: All right, the big breaking news, four days to go before the government shutdown, if it actually happens, right? It shouldn't. It really shouldn't even be an option. But we saw what happened the last time, the longest in history.

But an announcement, minutes ago from Capitol Hill, all four lead negotiators emerged from talks tonight to report they've reached an agreement "In principle" to avoid a second shutdown.

No details. Pushed about whether or not that means some sort of barrier, and funding therefor, and a resolution to the detention bed issue, Senator Richard Shelby, Republican said we got an agreement on all of it. And the staff will now work on drafting it into actual legislation.

We have a man up there, Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: BREAKING NEWS.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Help me understand what does this mean agreement on all of it. What are your sources telling you?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very significant, Chris. The chances of averting the shutdown have significantly increased.

There's very un - it's very unlikely at the moment there'll be no shutdown because we expect the Congressional leadership to get behind this emerging deal that these four top negotiators have been discussing behind closed doors. You'll recall just yesterday these same negotiators said they're not talking anymore.

They said this is stalled over Democratic demands from Friday night, calling for a limit on the number of detention beds of individuals who are caught under ICE custody - custody, undocumented immigrants, as well as the discussions over how much money to give for new barriers, and funding for Border security that had been a sticking point all along.

Democrats and Republicans had stopped talking. But today, there's been significant movement. Now they say even they have a deal in principle, and the - Richard Shelby said that.

Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader had tasked him to get a deal. Speaker Pelosi also saying that there's suggestions that she could get behind this. But Chris, the big question, will the President get behind this?

CUOMO: Right.

RAJU: We don't know that answer quite yet, Chris. CUOMO: Well you have to hope that the negotiators have been in contact with the White House, and they're on the same page. Ordinarily, that'd be a foregone conclusion, but not in this reality we're living right now.

Manu Raju, thank you for the information. Appreciate you waiting for my show. Appreciate it.

All right, so this is big news. Let's be hopeful about it. We do have to assume that the negotiators on the Right know that the President's going to be OK with whatever they're trying to sell there.

And if not, would they even think about trying to go over his veto? It's probably hyper-ambitious for that Party in its state of play right now.

So, this is going to be a big issue for this President going into 2020. That's why he's down in El Paso right now in Texas trying to sell this. However, one of the men who wants to take him on says, "Don't buy what he's saying. It's BS." He says it's all about creating a circus of fear and paranoia.

All right, so tough talk, let's see how we back it up. Democratic Presidential Hopeful, Julian Castro, welcome to PRIME TIME. Good to see you.

JULIAN CASTRO, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, FORMER SAN ANTONIO MAYOR: Good to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: So, the President's case is when you have trouble, you put up barriers, you keep the trouble out, El Paso is proof of this. It was in a hole with immigration and crime. Now it's better. What was the difference? The walling that they built, the bollard fencing. Your response?

CASTRO: Well let's put this in a little bit of context. The President has said that there is somehow this crisis at the Border. That's a lie. That couldn't be further from the truth.

[21:05:00] A couple of weeks ago, his own National Security Officers produced a report on the threats to our country, and hardly even mentioned any kind of threat from our Southern border, made it clear that we have much more substantial threats.

The fact is that this President has drummed up a fake crisis, and that if there is any crisis, it's a humanitarian crisis that he has helped to create. So, he's out there tonight, and he is creating a circus. But my hope is that folks will remember what the facts are.

The fact is that El Paso, the cities that he - city that he's in tonight has been a safe city, one of the safest cities for a community of its size, for a long time, both before and after there was a partial wall constructed.

So, his point about that a wall made him safer, that's not true. CUOMO: Right.

CASTRO: In fact, the year after the wall was actually put up, its crime numbers went up.

CUOMO: Yes, about (ph) 17 percent.

CASTRO: Not down.

CUOMO: So, the wall--

CASTRO: We also know that - that apprehensions at the Southern border are at some of their lowest levels since--

CUOMO: Right.

CASTRO: --the early 1970s.

So, it's just, you know, he's trying to sell us that up is down and left is right and black is white. It's not true. And I hope that people will look past the lies and at the facts.

CUOMO: Are you OK with the Democrats making a deal, this breaking news that we're getting, just as your show was starting that includes funding for physical barriers, bollard fencing, whatever you want to call it, but things put in place in different areas of the Southern border to keep people out?

CASTRO: Well, look, I - you know, I haven't seen what the details are yet. There's just - this is breaking news. It hasn't happened. It hasn't been reported out.

CUOMO: Right.

CASTRO: You know, I'm hopeful because I think that we do need to get on to serious issues that - that need our attention in this country, not this manufactured crisis that the President has focused on.

I wouldn't say that I'm categorically opposed to any kind of structure. We already have 654 miles--

CUOMO: Right.

CASTRO: --out of 1,994 miles of the Border that are somehow fenced, you know, with fence or with slats.

But I do believe that the vast majority of areas that need any kind of structure already have that, and that his call for a concrete wall or anything that resembles that should never happen, both because it's a waste of money, it'll be ineffective, and because the minute we do that, we're going to fundamentally change the notion of what America is, from the Statue of Liberty that welcomes immigrants to a country that literally walls itself off from the rest of the world.

That's not who we are as Americans. CUOMO: You think there's a trick on it for you on the Left in the Democratic Party that I hear you what you're saying. I get the language in the industry - imagery.

But if you are put into a box, let's say you get the nomination, for your Party, and you run against Trump, and he says, "Castro didn't want any barriers along the thing. He doesn't want to keep you safe. And Pelosi had been saying not $1 for the wall. People were echoing her saying not $1 for the wall."

Is there a little bit of a trap in that that maybe you don't want to put the kind of money into it that he wants, maybe you don't want the kind of structure, send the kind of message, but that you don't want to be seen as soft either.

CASTRO: No, I don't think that we're going to be seen as soft because Democrats have made it clear that we're willing to address the real issue here. You know, a couple of weeks ago, there were 254 pounds of Fentanyl that came through one of the ports of entry in Arizona, the biggest bust--

CUOMO: Yes.

CASTRO: --of Fentanyl. That didn't come through the middle of the desert. There's not a single thing that a wall would have done to stop that.

If we're talking about drug trafficking or human trafficking, that's coming largely through our ports of entry, where these trucks and cars come through all the time, millions every year. So, if we want to be serious about addressing those issues, then we need to invest in more technology and personnel at our ports of entry.

Democrats are willing to do that. So, I'm not worried about, you know, looking weak or like we're not trying to address the issue. We are. We're just trying to do it the smart way, and not the dumb way.

CUOMO: So Julian, right now, you've got a - a blessing, let's say - let's call it a - a plus/minus coming into this race. In a day and age where politicians are carrying in tons of baggage all the time, you're not.

At the same time, you have about two out of three people say "Castro, maybe I've heard the name. I don't know much about him." So, you're in the phase of teaching people who you are and what you're about.

This field is going to be crowded, right? So, that word "Unsure" is certainly and surely going to apply to your Party. Why should Castro stand out from all the others getting into the mix for the Democrats?

CASTRO: During the course of this campaign, I think folks are going to get to know who I am. They're going to see that I have a track record of Executive experience. I was a Mayor. Being Mayor is all about getting things done. I was a Cabinet Secretary in the Obama Administration. I got things done. [21:10:00] I have a compelling vision for this country's future to make sure that in this 21st Century, the kinds of opportunities that were around for me and so many others are there for our children and grandchildren that we become the smartest, the healthiest, the fairest and the most prosperous nation on earth.

And other than that, Chris, it's my charming personality. I think they're going to respond to that too.

CUOMO: Hey look, you know, if people were in - in the studio, were looking when we put up the first pictures of you, and they're like what - you're a twin. Your brother is a sitting Congressman right now.

CASTRO: I am. And I also have to make sure that--

CUOMO: I saw you got in The Colbert Report--

CASTRO: --my brother comports himself well. I got to make sure that Joaquin, you know--

CUOMO: He jumped right out because - that's right.

CASTRO: --comports himself well, yes.

CUOMO: I know what that's like. We're not twins. But I know what it's like to have another guy in your family who looks just like you.

CASTRO: You do.

CUOMO: And you have to own what they're about--

CASTRO: You do.

CUOMO: --and vice versa. He jumped you on the Colbert show, and I said I'll tell you that my brother is going to run.

You know, because you guys are obviously so close, you know, not just about being twins, but what you mean to each other, in terms of family and politics, is he going to be a big part of your campaign for you, or do you want to keep it separate?

CASTRO: Oh, absolutely - yes, absolutely. My brother is my closest advisor or he has been ever since I first ran when I was 26 years old for City Council. He and I are very close. We talk all the time.

Also, I'm very proud of him. You know, he's in his fourth term of Congress. He's the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this year. He's on the Intelligence Committee, on the Education Committee doing great things. So, he's going to play a big role in my campaign.

And, you know, he goes around telling people that the way to tell us apart is that I'm a minute uglier than he is. But don't believe that. Next time you see him, just let him know that he's the only one of us that has ever gotten a perm, not me.

CUOMO: I - I don't know if I'm going to say that because I need him on the show. I got to - I got to get all the guests I can.

CASTRO: Yes.

CUOMO: I wish you luck going forward. We will be covering this election like nobody else. This will always be a place to test your ideas before our audience. Good luck with that job.

CASTRO: I look forward to that.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

CASTRO: Thank you.

CUOMO: And thank you for being with us tonight.

All right, so you heard something in that conversation that really can't be debatable anymore, all right? The facts about where a wall has made a difference versus not, they've been perverted to a point that they're almost unrecognizable, feeling from fact.

We've done the reporting here, OK? Physical barriers can make a difference in places there are more needed, so say the people in charge of keeping us safe. But no one says they are what the President says they are.

And the President made that point for us tonight by picking a place as proof of wall wonder that as a matter of fact does just the opposite. We've laid out the facts, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: If only, if only the wall that the President imagines were as high as the mountain of mendacity surrounding it, maybe then it would be the solution he craves. The President added another layer to that mountain with this mess about El Paso, Texas. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[21:15:00] DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: El Paso is a safe place today. True! The rest of what you just heard from our President is not. It's not a feeling. It's a matter of fact. Go back to the 80s, El Paso has never had one of the highest rates of violent crime, all right?

Look, the numbers are the numbers. Even in its worst years, the early 90s, it was below the national average for similar-sized cities. But in the mid-90s, there was more of a focus on policing and a Border initiative, and I'm going to tell you more about that in a moment.

The point is that construction of bollard fencing, right, that's the reality of the wall, that's all there is, is bollard fencing. Anything else you hear doesn't exist, not going to exist. But it didn't start until 2008 in El Paso. And what do we know from the numbers?

Violent crime actually went up slightly at that time. I'm not saying the wall caused crime. But I'm saying we do know the wall did not decrease it, fact. Trump can get those numbers the same way we did. The President can check with his own FBI.

Now, we hear people saying, "Oh, well we know where he got his information." Here's El Paso's Republican Mayor with the President's source.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR DEE MARGO, EL PASO, TEXAS: Remarks that the President made in the - in the State of the Union were - were stated originally, almost verbatim by our Attorney General some weeks ago, and that's where the erroneous comments came from that that were not correct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Now, even if that's true, you realize that that doesn't make it OK, right, that the President of the United States, if he decides to own information that he could check, and people must be telling him that it's not accurate, that's a lie because it's an intentional deception and an abuse of truth.

The reality is El Paso is an example of the real and evolving challenges that Border towns face. It's not about some flood of killers and gangsters, the Brown Menace, as I call what the President is pandering.

In fact, the number of arrests at the Border in El Paso has dropped almost 80 percent since 2001. But, there's a "But," the situation has changed, and there's a new dynamic that is equally problematic, all right?

I'm talking about the recent spike in families and children showing up. El Paso's history could make the case that we need different strategies at the Border. Remember, I was talking about in the 90s, they saw a big drop, OK, especially in 1994. That's because they started a new initiative. I wasn't ducking it. I wanted it to make sense in the sequence of this fact-check. It - they had an operation then called Hold the Line.

The idea was to put Border Patrol agents and vehicles 50 yards apart along the Border, spreading them out. And what that did was that gave them more coverage. Later, they backed that up with technological advances, again, to give them more coverage.

More than a decade later, about 78 miles of fencing was built across the entire sector in the parts where they had the most trouble with coverage. So, it's not continuous. But it shows how barriers along with things like technology and manpower can work together.

The wall alone has never been a panacea. Only the President seems to believe that. And this city is an example of the reality on the Border. It is complex like it is in many Border cities. It's not a lawless hellhole that the President describes.

Instead, it shows how we need a real thought-out detailed plan for the Border, and how we are not a wall away from fixing the problem. Now, we're going to hear from a local leader in El Paso in just a few minutes. They will tell you what the reality is on the ground, and what they need.

But before we do that, I want to deal with this story about the Muslim Congresswoman Omar in Minnesota. She gave an unequivocal apology. Is that enough to settle her anti-Semitism storm?

That's a starting point for our great debate. There's a lot of hypocrisy going on with that also. We'll get after it next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: BREAKING NEWS.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right, I have some new details for you about what they're working on, and supposedly have agreed to, regarding avoiding another shutdown by figuring out what to do about immigration and con - this continuing resolution. Here's some of the numbers.

$1.375 billion for physical barriers, all right? Now, you're going to see the word bollard fencing. I've been using it with you for a long time because it's the only thing that exists.

Forget wall. The President used wall because he didn't know what he was talking about, about what existed on the Border. That's what they use. That's what they like. That's what they say they need. OK? And in terms of the biggest barrier, now, that number matters for two reasons. One, it's a lot more than $1, right? So, Nancy Pelosi is saying not $1 for the wall, the Democrats are going to have to now articulate what this change means, how they sell it to their base.

The second reason it matters is this number doesn't come out of nowhere. In the last budget, the President, or whoever figured out the budget for the White House, had a number for physical barriers that wasn't that much different than this.

So, that's what it's going to be seen as a gauge-off of and, in fact, the irony, one of the ironies here is the Democrats had already offered him that amount of money. He walked away from that deal.

Now, here's another one that we're going to have to discuss. The number of overall ICE beds is down. Now, you would think, "Well, wait a minute. Isn't this about increasing capacity?" This is going to be a political point of discussion and controversy.

The Left is saying, the Democrats are saying, "We want less beds because we want ICE to be able to hold fewer people." But at the same time, you have CBP and DHS saying, "Well we need more capacity to hold people, because that's our reality now, is families with parents and children."

All right, so these are the two things that we have. They're just some. There are going to be more details coming out, things may even change, but I wanted to give you the latest information.

[21:25:00] Now let's debate it. We have the great debate with Ana Navarro and Mike Shields.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: THE GREAT DEBATE.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Ana Navarro, Nancy Pelosi said not $1 for the wall. They're now saying 1.375 for physical barriers. They're trying to reduce the number of beds that ICE has to hold people. Is this a good deal for the Democrats?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, I - I think it has - it has been a overall good deal for the Democrats because Nancy Pelosi did not wedge, did not budge at all in the, you know, in the first shutdown, also because the shutdown was very costly politically for Trump and for Republicans, and because she has forced Trump to budge.

But listen, I think, honestly, more than asking ourselves whether it's a good deal for Republicans, or a good deal for Democrats, whether it's a good deal for Trump or not, the question is, is it a good deal for the country.

And I think that's how we have to frame it because if we turn it into a game of political chicken, then nobody wants to give an inch.

And what we cannot have again is 800,000 Federal workers having to have garage sales, and make long lengthy lines at soup kitchens. We cannot have that again, play with people's emotion and distrust that way.

CUOMO: So Mike, do you believe that the negotiators on the Right are doing so in coordination with the White House so that when they say, "Yes, we got a deal at 1.375, we got a deal at this number" that that's something that they know the President will accept?

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER RNC CHIEF OF STAFF, PARTNER OF CONVERGENCE MEDIA: I think they do because I - I honestly don't know why they would stick their neck out, and say they got something they can work on, if they didn't have at least some kind of back-channel to the White House, to understand that the President is going to be able to claim that he's succeeded in getting more money for a physical barrier on the Border, which is what his whole - goal has been the whole time.

And so, you got to believe that that - that they are communicating with the White House. Otherwise, they've made a huge mistake, if they haven't been.

CUOMO: I also think it plays well for both sides, by the way, Ana, because the Democrats, and look, you tell me if I'm wrong. I mean you're never bashful about that. That's - that's for sure.

But I don't think the Democrats wanted to be in a position where someone could where the President or any Republican could say, "You guys are soft. You wouldn't give us any money for physical barriers. And it was just a political standoff for you. And you know that they're not of no value. You know that they're of some value. But you wouldn't give us any of them just as a point of pride."

And I think that was a vulnerability for them that goes away if they put money into it.

SHIELDS: Yes, you know, I - I've made this point--

NAVARRO: And - and it's not - and it's not--

CUOMO: Well hold on, Mike. Let me get - let me get Ana's take. I'll come back to you.

SHIELDS: Oh, sorry, go ahead.

CUOMO: No, no, it's OK. Go ahead, Ana.

NAVARRO: And it doesn't make substantive sense, right, because both Republicans and Democrats were in agreement of some sort of physical barrier, and doing whatever they have to do in terms of Border security, whether it meant more technical surveillance, whether it meant more bodies on the ground to have better Border security.

Both Republicans and Democrats were willing to fund efforts and fund technology to have better surveillance of drug entries and better drug interdiction into the country. So, it really has been about the details now.

The question I have, you know, when - when you asked Mike the question about the back-channel to the White House, and do they have the White House stamp of approval, the real question is will Trump stick to whatever he may have negotiated?

What we have seen from Trump on this issue and other issues is that he agrees to something one day, then gets pushback from Right-wing agitators, and takes it all back, and changes his mind.

So, I hope that if - if there has been back channels to the White House, they stick to it, because there are way too many people whose lives and economy are on the line.

CUOMO: Well, Mike, I don't know how the numbers overall look, but in all of the presentations in the past, even with the super-inflated number of $5-plus billion, the physical barriers were still always the biggest price tag.

Now, you could argue all day long whether or not that's the right way to prioritize. But if the President's able to say, "Look, the numbers are lower. But I got more money for physical barriers than we got for anything else on the Border, it's better than you had before," does that sell to the Rightest regions?

SHIELDS: Yes, look, I - I think a couple of things, and I made this point before.

You know, I used to work for Newt Gingrich, and we had a shutdown in '95, which was the previous sort of big shutdown that people talk about. And at the time, everyone would say, "We lost the battle. We lost the political battle with Bill Clinton at that time."

But we re-elected a Republican Congress. We carried seniors. That fight was over Medicare funding. And in the end, Bill Clinton had to sign a balanced budget the Republicans put forth, so we won the fight with the American people over the long haul.

And so, I think what the President discovered when he reopened - when we reopened the government was that his base was still with him. He was able to prove to them that it was really the Democrats fighting him. He can go and get something to say, "I'm continuing down this path."

And at the same time, he's accomplished going into 2020 that he's really positioned Democrats as being weak on the Border, and him being strong on the Border. So, I think that he's realized that he's in a - in a better position than he may have thought he was before.

CUOMO: Well, look, there's - there's positioning for both here because I still think it's a vulnerability to say that you're a wall away, now that you're saying it, but that's the President's unequivocal argument. [21:30:00] And I think that more people learn about the facts down

there, as we do on this show all the time, you'll see there are a lot of other things you could do that would change the flow, change the flow of drugs and people that a wall cannot do.

SHIELDS: But - but, Chris, can I just say this? By talking about a wall, we're now talking about all those things. So, if you want to see through the (ph) Border--

CUOMO: We could have talked about it without this.

SHIELDS: Well but - but when you negotiate and when you push, you stretch it out as far as you can go to see what you can actually get. That's what a negotiator does.

CUOMO: Right. But that was not his intention.

SHIELDS: We're now all--

CUOMO: His intention is--

SHIELDS: --we are now--

CUOMO: --all wall, Mike, and you know it.

SHIELDS: But that's it - but that's what you do when you want to force the issue.

So, you now have Democrats going, "No, wait a minute. We're also for Border security." So, he's moved the entire debate over where they have to say that, and we're positioning them as not strong on it, because they - they had the weaker position.

CUOMO: Well, look, we see - we see their side--

SHIELDS: So, from a political perspective--

CUOMO: --we see their side playing here as well, Ana, and that's about the beds.

There's a big part of that Democratic Party that says, "We have to reduce the amount of enforcement. It's brutal. We're not dealing with these people the right way." And beds are a metaphor for them on that. Is that the right metric to pick?

NAVARRO: Look, the overall number of illegal immigration has gone down.

CUOMO: Right.

NAVARRO: So, if you were following that logic, you know, then it would make some sense to have less beds. Now, you bring up the point that it's now much more families than it was - than it was in the past.

CUOMO: Yes.

NAVARRO: And so, that's a - a different position. You've also had the problem, Chris, of children dying in--

CUOMO: Yes.

NAVARRO: --DHS custody.

And what that has meant and the - the message that has sent to the country, and why it's become so symbolic, this idea of not funding these beds, look, they got to come to some sort of - of middle.

I, you know - Donald Trump has a lot of wiggle room with his base. If there is one thing he has is maneuverability. When he works - he said if he went out there, and he shot somebody on Fifth Avenue, they'd still stick with him, he was right.

If he doesn't give them a big beautiful cement wall, they will still stick with him. If Mexico doesn't pay for it, if the U.S. taxpayers pay for it, they will still stick with him.

CUOMO: Right.

NAVARRO: So, he has wiggle room that very few politicians have had. So, for the love of God, make a deal, and don't keep Federal workers hostage.

CUOMO: Let me ask you something else about the wiggle room, Mike, changing topic here, but it's very important, I don't want to ignore it.

So, Congresswoman Omar, up in Minnesota, she says something that's not a trope. We keep using the word trope as if there was some sleight of hand here. She didn't.

It was the perception of anti-Semitism. That's what she was forwarding by saying people backed them because they get paid too. We all get what the dots that are connected there.

So, now she apologized. And Kevin McCarthy came out and said, "This is just as bad as Steve King. They better do something. Otherwise, I'll do it because it matters that much."

This bothers me, Mike Shields. One, I don't like comparing ugliness. I don't think it's a good thing to do. I think you should just call it all out. But he didn't do that. The Republicans didn't do that. They came to the Steve King game late.

The President of the United States never said a damn thing about Steve King, and McCarthy sat silent. If he wants to be high dudgeon about this, doesn't he need to go back to that, and say, "Hey look, the President never said anything about Steve King. That was a mistake."

SHIELDS: Well, on full disclosure, I do work for Kevin McCarthy. And what I can tell you is he became leader, the Steve King thing came up, and he took action, and he stripped him of his committees.

And so, the point here is, you have someone - and - and that was stripping him of his Committees for something that he said that was terrible, and that should never have been said, and he - that was exactly the right thing to do.

CUOMO: Many things over many years--

SHIELDS: But here is - but here is--

CUOMO: --that you guys ignored.

SHIELDS: But - but - OK, so both parties can say that for many, many years. Kevin's been leader since November.

CUOMO: True.

SHIELDS: This thing came up. As a leader himself, he took decisive action.

CUOMO: Yes.

SHIELDS: And yet, Nancy Pelosi is letting this woman stay on the Foreign Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the very things that we're talking about.

And so, that - I think that is a - we can go back through history, and look at Democrats in the 60s fighting against Civil Rights, and so we - you know, all - we can go back forever on that.

CUOMO: But if he cares about it--

SHIELDS: We could look also right now--

CUOMO: --why did he let the leader of your party, the President of the United States say nothing? If he wants to be brave, then he should be brave with the big dogs, not just the small dogs.

SHIELDS: Chris, I can tell you, as the leader of the Republicans in the House, for him to strip a Member of his com - of his Committee assignments, is a brave thing to do. It is something that he would - risked being criticized for by Conservatives that--

CUOMO: The man is trying to convince people that we should only have White babies, and that you can't mix, and keep our society. This wasn't a stretch.

SHIELDS: Well she has written--

CUOMO: The stretch is that it went this long.

SHIELDS: Here's a woman who has written a column on Louis Farrakhan's website who has praised Hitler. This isn't a stretch either.

I mean I would like to know what she's apologizing for. Is she apologizing for her first tweet, her second tweet, the column she wrote, or her general anti-Israel views that she's possessed all along that doesn't believe the State of Israel should exist?

CUOMO: Well--

SHIELDS: She's got to - a lot to apologize for.

CUOMO: Criticizing Israel--

[21:35:00] SHIELDS: And she should not be on the Foreign Affairs Committee.

CUOMO: Criticizing - I hear. I hear you about that.

SHIELDS: She absolutely shouldn't be on that.

CUOMO: We have to see what the Democrats do. Right now, Steny Hoyer walked away on that, Ana.

NAVARRO: Well, I'm aiming it (ph).

CUOMO: But criticizing Israel and being anti-Semitic doesn't always go hand-in-hand.

You can criticize policies. But what she did here was different. She made this tie between money and being for Israel, which was certainly inaccurate, and also had an ugliness to it.

But what's the right move for Democrats? Should they - should they give her the political death penalty of taking her off the Committees?

NAVARRO: Look, I think the Democrats - first of all, let me just tell you that I - I met Ilhan Omar a few weeks ago. I was, you know, I thought that the picture that she posted when she first came to Congress with her father through the airport was--

CUOMO: Yes.

NAVARRO: --very touching. I have been very disturbed by her statements and her tweets on Venezuela, and by her statements and her tweets regarding Israel. And I've told her so.

I have told her they are disturbing. I've told her that her tweets regarding Venezuela where she, you know, is against the economic sanctions and claims the United States is starving--

CUOMO: Right.

NAVARRO: --Venezuela are misinformed.

I have urged her to speak with some of her colleagues who know the issues very well, people like Bob Menendez, people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Shalala, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, those are all Democrats from South Florida who, you know, know the Jewish issue, who know the Israel issue, who know the Venezuela issue.

She's been in Congress one month.

CUOMO: Right.

NAVARRO: She's made some mistakes. And look, she's got a lot - she's got a big platform. She is one of the first two women, and she's the first hijab-wearing woman in the U.S. Congress in its history.

CUOMO: Right.

NAVARRO: And so, there is much more scrutiny on her. There is a bigger platform that she has. With the bigger platform comes more scrutiny, and what she says has more significance, and she has got to learn that or not.

She's now had to apologize twice on issues related to Israel. And - and I think she has learned that people are going to be watching--

CUOMO: Right.

NAVARRO: --and hearing very carefully what she does, and what she says. And, you know, I - I - I want her to be the first of many. So, I hope that she learns these lessons.

CUOMO: Well we'll see - we'll see what the Party does, and we'll see how each side police themselves going forward because it's got to be straight, it's got to be consistent.

Mike, Ana, thank you both. Have a good week.

A potential breakthrough tonight that could avoid a shutdown, I don't want to get ahead of it, but they do seem to be these negotiators on both sides fairly confident. But will it pass Congress? If it does, do we know that the President will sign it? We haven't seen that stick- to-itiveness in the past.

We have more on this, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right, I've got more new information for you about this deal. The details are going to really matter because you have to remember what the stakes are here. This was never about a reasonable outcome or just policy.

This is about a promise, OK? This is what the President sold so many Americans are, big wall, 30-feet blah, blah, blah, cement all that stuff, Mexico will pay for it.

Now, he's already had half of that go by - bye-bye. And we can say, well, everybody knew it wasn't going to happen. Half of it's still gone. So the price tag has meant everything to him.

And that's why the Democrats have become increasingly strident when it comes to giving him money for the wall. They've always funded physical barriers. Why the recalcitrance? Why the reluctance now? Because of how much it means to him.

Now, you could say "More politics, this is why I hate the process." Fine. But I'm just trying to let you know that's where the thinking is, that's why the thinking is what it is.

So, these numbers--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: BREAKING NEWS.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: --we now have new reporting and better context. Got Kaitlan Collins at the Rally with the President, got Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, figuring out what this will be.

So, let's set the table Manu with Kaitlan, and hear what the President's been saying about a wall at the Rally. No mention of a potential deal. Any kind of change? What's his sell?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROWD CHANTING USA)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, the President has not referenced this new deal yet, this agreement that these principles have come to. And right now, the White House isn't signaling whether or not President Trump would support this.

They say that they're still digesting the deal. They'll - they are still trying to get to the specifics themselves, and find out what exactly, they've come to because just hours ago, they were being told that these talks have largely stalled, and we're on the verge of collapse.

So, right now, they're not ruling anything out, whether it's the President would accept this deal, that he would still declare a national emergency or that he would accept this deal, and sign a national emergency.

CUOMO: Now--

COLLINS: Obviously, he's still on stage behind me. They're waiting to see what it is the President's going to say that they are not saying right now that the President would agree to this. So, we're still waiting to see, Chris.

CUOMO: But you hear what those thousands of people at the Rally are chanting. First, it was "USA." And then it was "Build the wall. Build the wall." He has made this into a monster. And now, he's going to have to see how he delivers.

Kaitlan, thank you very much.

So, Manu, let's put some meat on the bones of this. There was something I was waiting to see, which is wall where. And I think that this may be a good little window for us, Manu, because the number, 1.375, we know it's a haircut off what he asked for in the budget. It's a huge haircut off the $5 billion.

But this new information that you have, I'm not stealing your reporting, you could - you'll picket (ph) it out for me. But the idea of some of this being in the Rio Grande is that true?

RAJU: Yes. We're learning about 55 miles or so will be in the Rio Grande Valley. The question is exactly where this $1.375 billion will be spent along the Border. We do expect some of that to happen in the Rio Grande Valley.

This - one of the things that we're also learning, Chris, is that there's apparently some prohibition in this agreement that this money will not be spent on concrete--

CUOMO: Right.

RAJU: --walls. And we - the President himself has sort of walked back from calling for a concrete wall--

CUOMO: Right.

RAJU: --which he's done in the past saying, "Well, we could do a steel barrier, instead." Well what this deal includes, I'm told, is have existing technologies--

CUOMO: Right.

RAJU: --to be used to build the wall.

And Chris, also the big sticking point heading into this weekend was how to deal with those undocumented immigrants, who are in ICE custody in - and - the U.S. soil, those detention beds.

Democrats wanted to limit that to maybe 35,000 or so, 30,000. We're hearing that there's going to be no cap on the number of beds, but expected to be in line with current funding levels--

CUOMO: Right.

RAJU: --about 40,000 or so.

So, that's the give that the Democrats have done. But they have not given enough for the - what the President's demanded in terms of the Border wall. So, what will he do? Will he accept this agreement?

CUOMO: Yes. [21:45:00] RAJU: And Republicans are hopeful that he will. But, of course, as Kaitlan said, no signs that he will just yet.

CUOMO: Well, look, ordinarily, as I said in the last hit, but it needs to be repeated, that would be a foregone conclusion. If the President's Party were negotiating, you would assume that this President is OK with it. You can't have that guarantee here.

But two pieces of insight, that cap on the beds in the number of beds, that's an interior Democratic issue. They have people within their Party who believe that ICE's enforcement has to be reduced.

But there's going to be a flip side on that because DHS and CBP are going to say they need more beds to deal with the families coming, if you want to do it humanely. That's going to be an interesting issue for them to finesse.

But those 55 miles coming in the Rio Grande are a good sign, Manu, and here's why.

I know people on the President's side had prioritized the Rio Grande area, because they don't believe they have the eminent domain issues, the privacy, who owns the property issues, and that is a high priority zone for CBP and DHS. They wanted fencing there most of all.

So, hopefully, that's a sign that the President's side is getting something that it wants, so we can get a deal before Friday. We want this Valentine's Day to be about love, not more shutdowns.

Manu, thank you for the new information.

RAJU: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, busy night, breaking news. Hopefully, this takes us to a better place. But it doesn't all have to be heavy. I have something that is sure to lighten your mood, a picture that is truly everything, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right, I'm not a big fan of Awards shows. But the Grammys, had a lot going on last night, not the least of which was boom, this. Did you see this picture--

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Oh, my God.

CUOMO: --of D. Lemon? This picture was everything. I wanted to talk about Diana Ross and Alicia Keys. But that picture, tell me my brother, what possessed you to go the full Blacula?

(DON LEMON LAUGHING)

LEMON: I knew you're - I knew you're behind. Sorry, whoops that was close. I knew you were going to talk about me. And I knew - you remember Blacula, blaxploitation from the 70s.

CUOMO: Of course I knew.

LEMON: I got to tell you, I was - I have been wanting an opera cloak forever because I just think they're cool, they're just so cool, they're just so cool. And I actually saw one. I've just give a shout out on who used to do (ph) that.

[21:50:00] Suitsupply had one. I got it. And I had nowhere to wear it to. And then I said, "If I'm going to go to Clive Dave" - I went to Clive Davis' pre-Grammy party, "if I'm going to go to that party, the Grammys is the only time that I could wear that."

I busted that sucker out. And everybody loved it. I was getting called Blacula and--

CUOMO: Nobody loved it more than I did, D. Lemon.

LEMON: I knew. People on - people on social media were saying, "I can't wait for the handoff on Monday. And Chris is going to rip you a new one." And I - there you go.

CUOMO: No, not at all. All love.

LEMON: Did you like it? Come on, honestly.

CUOMO: Of course, I like it. What's not to like?

LEMON: It's real, Chris. It's beautiful. You got to see it. And it's velvet. It's got this - the cutouts for the arms. I was at - and I said, "If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it."

I wore - I had on the white dinner jacket. I went all out. I don't like Award - I'm like you. I don't like Award shows. I don't actually like going because, you know, you've been there. You got to go. There's seat fillers. If you have to go to the bathroom--

CUOMO: Yes, you seem like you were hating it.

LEMON: --you got to hold it. No--

CUOMO: You know.

LEMON: --this wasn't an Awards show. This is the parties. This is the pre-Grammy. CUOMO: Yes, but I'm saying, I mean you made the event. I mean, you know, a man who wants to wear a cape like that wants to be at an Awards show.

LEMON: Opera cloak, opera cloak, Chris, come on.

CUOMO: More like Opera Man.

LEMON: You want to bet - you want to borrow it? Are you jealous (ph)?

CUOMO: No, I'm good. I got my own.

LEMON: Yes. Did they - did my team send you a picture? No? They didn't send you a picture?

CUOMO: Of this? Oh, it's been all over the place.

LEMON: No.

CUOMO: I can't get away from it.

LEMON: No, no, I had a picture of me because I thought we were going to talk about Diana Ross.

CUOMO: Oh, no, I'm doing it in my closing though. So, I'll hit you with it at the top of the show.

LEMON: OK. But don't hate on my cape now - on my cloak--

CUOMO: Not at all.

LEMON: --on my cloak.

CUOMO: It suits you to a tee.

LEMON: I'll let you borrow it.

CUOMO: All right, I'll see you soon.

LEMON: Hey, we're going to be talking about this deal, and we got some folks from down on the Border, we're going to discuss it. OK?

CUOMO: Good. Right time to do it, Count.

LEMON: All right, see you.

CUOMO: I'll be right back with you.

All right, I was surprised last night watching the Grammys, I mean after I got over my coughing fit, watching Don in that cape.

But there was something that seems so clear to me, watching the Grammys that didn't get as much love as I thought it should today, and that neglect is evidence of something that we need to fix, and quick. So, I have an argument for you about it next. It's a good one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CLOSING ARGUMENT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:55:00] CUOMO: You know the expression, "Don't be a Pollyanna!" It suggests someone as being unrealistically optimistic. So, you want to avoid that. It makes you miss problems, and get taken advantage of, and there's something to that Semper Vigilandum (ph), the always be on the lookout, don't get soft, especially in journalism, especially covering politics.

Calling out wrongs, testing power, pointed criticism, that's what Let's Get After It, and this show are all about.

But just as I caution about going at every POTUS pop on Twitter, sometimes picking on things, and at things that are more about political gotchas than stoking progress, it could be counterproductive by flooding the zone with negatives.

So, I believe in Pollyanna and her belief in the positive. And in a time when we are in a culture struggle about respecting women, and what equality means, for all the negatives there are in that pursuit, there is progress that warrants attention.

You see the Grammys? My argument in one event, Diana Ross, 75, on fire. She celebrated her birthday by sending a message to the world that we can all be better, we can all live dreams, if we work together, owned the Grammys.

If she had competition in that regard, it was from other women. Women cleaned up in a world where they were excluded for a long time and marginalized after that, but not last night.

31 Awards felt like more. Cardi B, first woman to win Rap Album of the Year. Gaga won a bunch. Kacey Musgraves won a bunch Album of the Year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CARDI B'S PERFORMANCE AT THE GRAMMYS VIDEO)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: And tell you what, I think that since Bob Hope, no one has mastered fronting an Awards show like Alicia Keys did. Her performances, the two pianos, her sense of history, purpose, style, overwhelmingly organic coolness, forget about being a woman, I've never seen it done better. Period! (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(ALICIA KEYS PERFORMING ON TWO PIANOS AT THE SAME TIME VIDEO)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Then you look at politics. The water seems poisoned there when it comes to sustaining positive signs of life in politics.

But women are filling the glass with crystal-clear passion and purpose, more in Congress than ever, more running for president than ever, five women now hoping to be the Democratic nominee, more than in any presidential primary election ever.

We as a country are only getting more diverse, not less. Am I being Pollyanna? I am. That's a good thing. She was a breakthrough for women as well. Book was written about a female character and written by a woman, Eleanor Porter, back in 1913, a breakthrough that was a surprise hit. So, be a Pollyanna.

We saw cause for optimism last night. We will see it in the days ahead in the 2020 run. And the more we see it, the more comfortable a reality it becomes, engendering acceptance by society, and the more of a motivator for other women to follow suit.

Imagine what this country can be if its men and women are all fully activated. Someday, maybe women will get paid the same as men, and the idea of someone saying on TV that the idea of women being paid equally causes problems will be as asinine as it is antiquated.

If sex, color, and creed can be replaced by savvy competence and character, we won't be merely great again. We will achieve the greatness that was imagined for us when America first came to be.

You know, that's back when all the great men wore capes. Now, we only have one, and his name is the Don, Don Lemon, and I give you him now.

LEMON: Thank you for that. I do have to say I was watching - I couldn't have been prouder of Alicia Keys. And you - I don't know if you knew that she was doing that to Memorial to pay tribute to the late--

CUOMO: Yes.