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CUOMO PRIME TIME

NYT: Trump Asked Acting A.G. To Put Trump Supporter In Charge Of Hush-Money Investigation, Despite Recusal; Andrew McCabe: "I Think It's Possible" Trump Is A Russian Asset; Mike Pence's "Greetings From Trump" Met With Silence In Europe. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 19, 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] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, thank you, Anderson, big show. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

We have new information about this President's efforts to end investigations that are hanging over his head, new obstruction allegations tonight on what could be a more perilous front for the President than Russia.

And you just heard from Andrew McCabe on Anderson's show, former acting Head of the FBI. He said he still thinks POTUS may be a Russian asset. Can he be believed about that?

The President says no. He wants to counter McCabe's case. So, his best defender is here to test and be tested, one-on-one with Kellyanne Conway.

And we're going to litigate the allegations in our own court. Was President Trump trying to get his own guy in to oversee his hush-money investigation? And why would he go to such great lengths to interfere with justice when he says he has nothing at all to hide?

That's the argument. Let's get after it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: So tonight, The New York Times reports of a possible attempt by President Trump to interfere with the Cohen investigations by putting pressure on his former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to get one of his allies in charge of those probes.

Now, these allegations seem to support what the former acting Head of the FBI, Andrew McCabe says triggered him to start an investigation into obstruction by this President, and whether or not he was being unduly influenced. He just said this to Anderson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Do you still believe the President could be a Russian asset?

ANDREW GEORGE MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: I think it's possible. I think that's why we started our investigation, and I'm really anxious to see where Director Mueller concludes that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: The President calls it all nonsense. His Chief Defender is here to make the case. Senior Adviser to the President, Kellyanne Conway, welcome back to PRIME TIME.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thank you.

CUOMO: The idea of the possibility, according to Andrew McCabe, that this President is compromised and maybe even an asset of Russia. Your response?

CONWAY: It's hardly worth dignifying with response. He's a known liar and leaker. And he has said to your colleague, Anderson Cooper, and earlier today on a different network, "Gee, I guess it's possible, but I can't say that as a fact."

Then why the heck are we talking about it, and why are we imbuing credibility on somebody who the - the Professional Responsibility and the Inspector General people, an Obama-appointee at that, concluded had lied under oath, had acted without candor, had compromised the honesty and integrity that we know the 35,000 or so rank-and-file FBI men and women who go to work every day, Chris, and do their jobs very well that they possess, and he does not.

So, again, we just throw these words out there, and then say, "Yes or no." It is completely ridiculous, and he knows it. Something that caught my ear that Andrew McCabe, the disgraced former number two at the FBI said--

CUOMO: Well, he wouldn't have started an investigation, Kellyanne, if he knew it.

CONWAY: Oh, no, he may have. And here's why.

No, no, he may have because just like his former boss, Jim Comey, these guys come out and write books. And then, all of a sudden, they have to announce something to the whole world, "Grab your hats, you're not going to believe this one. Clutch your pearls."

First of all, if you really feel that way, why do you wait almost two years, in fact, in this case, about two years to tell everyone, and why does it coincide with a book tour? In fact, the two most explosive things that he tried to wedge in there, before the book was even released late last week, aren't even in the book. The silly 25th Amendment nonsense that wasn't real and this stuff about the Deputy Attorney General wearing a wire, it's not even in his book. And yet, it's part of the book tour.

Do you know Olivier Knox, who is the Head of the White House Correspondents' Association today actually tweeted, "Wow! Too controversial" or he used a different word to put in the actual book, but really nifty to have as part of your book tour.

Here's the point. You can't just have people throwing out--

CUOMO: It's a - it's a - it's a fair point. But Kellyanne, if you're going to go at--

CONWAY: --these words about the President of the United States and - and - and then--

CUOMO: It comes down to credibility.

CONWAY: --we just have to say, "Yes or no."

CUOMO: It comes down to credibility and that we can only know what we show.

CONWAY: OK. And let's talk about Andrew McCabe's credibility because whether it's--

CUOMO: But you - you already - you already attacked his credibility. But Kellyanne--

CONWAY: No. He's been fired. He--

CUOMO: I under - I understand what happened to him--

CONWAY: --no, no, no, not his - no, I didn't attack his credibility.

CUOMO: --and I'm sure--

CONWAY: He's proven to have lied under oath and he lost his job for that reason.

CUOMO: The President didn't want him there.

CONWAY: He lied on your network.

CUOMO: They said that he lacked candor. But do you believe--

CONWAY: No.

CUOMO: --that this President has more credibility than Andrew McCabe?

CONWAY: Yes, of course. It's not even close.

CUOMO: Why?

CONWAY: And let me tell you something else. Andrew McCabe tried to overthrow a democratically-elected President, he and his friends at the FBI, at the top echelon, and they got caught. And what they were doing--

CUOMO: If he tried to overthrow, why did he never discuss it with the press?

CONWAY: --we never would have known--

CUOMO: What he got caught for is lying about was leaking stories about Hillary Clinton's investigation.

CONWAY: To the press.

CUOMO: Not this President. He never did--

CONWAY: Yes, but - but ultimately either--

CUOMO: --he never talked about this President. So, why would you think he wanted to hurt him when he could - he could have leaked about him and he didn't?

CONWAY: Well, first of all - no, the better question is why is he talking about the President now?

Like his boss, Comey, they - they have like three, four, five interactions. This man just told your colleague, Anderson Cooper, in my 21 year career at the FBI, which he left in disgrace because he lied under oath, several times--

CUOMO: And the President wanted him out.

[21:05:00] CONWAY: --was a caught leaker, known leaker, and the - and the Obama - no, excuse me, the Obama-appointee, the Professional Responsibility individual who was appointed by President Obama, Chris--

CUOMO: Right.

CONWAY: --let's be fair here. Let's tell the audience everything at play.

CUOMO: Tell me when I get it wrong.

CONWAY: That person concluded that - well, no, but that person concluded that Andrew McCabe had lied that he had not acted with candor, and that he had disclosed information to members of the media. I believe Wall Street Journal--

CUOMO: About leaking stories about the Clinton Foundation investigation. That part matters, Kellyanne.

CONWAY: And you're asking me about his credibility. So, there you go. No, no, no--

CUOMO: Well I mean, look, let's say he lied.

CONWAY: --what matters is he is running around preening and lying.

CUOMO: Let's say he lied. This President has lied in a way that we've never seen.

CONWAY: He's still lying.

CUOMO: So, I'm just saying, how can you say he's got better credibility?

CONWAY: Oh, give me a break. Excuse me, if Andrew - if Andrew McCabe--

CUOMO: We've got one thing on McCabe. We've got thousands on this President.

CONWAY: Hey, that is such a ridiculous thing, and here is why.

CUOMO: Please.

CONWAY: First of all, I'm not going to do a whataboutism about the President of the United States, and the disgraced number two at the FBI who really left the FBI's credibility in tatters. He says that the President--

CUOMO: The President wanted him out.

CONWAY: --doesn't respect the intelligence. And - no, no, no, that's not why he left. He left because and he lied again. And he lied - he lied all day long in the media.

Know why? Somebody who's going to lie under oath, like Andrew McCabe has been proven to do three or four times, is certainly going to lie not under oath, and it's the hero's welcome he's getting by most in the media.

Here's something about Andrew McCabe. He lied by saying, "Oh, they wanted me out." Let me just give him a newsflash. I've been in the White House since day one of the White House. Nobody's talking about Andrew McCabe--

CUOMO: The President was.

CONWAY: --at the soda machine by the Navy mess.

CUOMO: The President was talking about him, talking about his wife--

CONWAY: He's not exactly a topic of hot, hot, hot topic of conversation.

CUOMO: --saying he was a plant, using him as an extension of a Deep State--

CONWAY: No, no, he wasn't. We don't care about his wife. They were--

CUOMO: --and saying the FBI and the DOJ--

CONWAY: --oh, you mean the women who got the-- CUOMO: --were against him.

CONWAY: You mean his wife who got $500,000 from a - a Democratic PAC when she was running, think it failed, race for State Office? Nobody really cares about that.

CUOMO: The President did.

CONWAY: And - and, look, the President addressed that in a tweet today. Here's what's important.

What's important is people need to know that the number one and the number two at the FBI, and other people in the highest echelons of - at the FBI thought so little of the democratically-elected President, thought so little of the will of the voters that they needed a "Insurance policy."

They were - they were demeaning and pervading, and deriding, laughing at the Trump voters, calling them--

CUOMO: You're taking that from one text exchange between lovers.

CONWAY: That's enough for me. And--

CUOMO: Of course, it is, out of convenience.

CONWAY: Oh, the sexting (ph) people? Yes. But - well, wait a second. You want us to think that they're lovers? But were - were they really, Chris? Where did they work? They worked at the FBI.

CUOMO: Rewarding (ph)--

CONWAY: They were top, top level. So, let's stop. This all--

CUOMO: Can't she if you're at the FBI?

CONWAY: --this all started with the DNC Clinton campaign funded dossier.

Look, I expect the Clinton campaign to want to stop Donald Trump from being President. That's her job. I am disappointed, but I'm not surprised that most of the mainstream media tried to stop Donald Trump from becoming President. But we should all be outraged, you included, that people at the

highest levels of the FBI had their - tried to put their thumb on the scale to prevent this man from being President. It's amazing that he got elected. It's really amazing given--

CUOMO: But they didn't - they didn't even leak it. They wound up leaking about the Clinton campaign and not the Trump campaign.

CONWAY: --the fact that the FBI - oh, no, no, no.

CUOMO: Comey came out and eviscerated Hillary Clinton.

CONWAY: No, you saw what they were doing. CUOMO: He never laid a glove on Donald Trump.

CONWAY: They wanted an insurance policy. They were berating the Trump voters as "Smelly Walmart shoppers."

CUOMO: They did some lousy job of hurting this President, let me tell you.

CONWAY: All the elitist snobs in the FBI, and now who're all--

CUOMO: They did a lousy job of hurting his campaign.

CONWAY: --lawyered up.

CUOMO: Note to self. All FBI members who want to affect the next campaign--

CONWAY: So, here's what McCabe also lied about. People--

CUOMO: --don't attack the other person's campaign if you want to hurt somebody in a campaign.

CONWAY: Yes. Well what - here's what's so weird.

CUOMO: It's not that effective.

CONWAY: Here's what's so odd. Here's what's so odd. You've got the disgraced number two who was fired because of the Obama-appointee at the Professional Responsibility Office deciding he should be.

CUOMO: Because the President didn't want him, and said he was part of the Deep State.

CONWAY: No, no, no, no, the - you know it was an Obama-appointee who wrote the report, right, who concluded that he should--

CUOMO: Yes. Look, I'm not - I'm not questioning the Inspector General.

CONWAY: By the way, President Trump--

CUOMO: McCabe does that. He's got his own lawsuit.

CONWAY: --hey, President Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Christopher Cuomo--

CUOMO: He can argue for himself.

CONWAY: --and the man on the moon, none of us forced this man to lie under oath. He's a serial liar and a leaker.

CUOMO: It true. It just matters what he lied about.

CONWAY: He's got the hearings (ph) welcome all day long.

CUOMO: What he lied about matters. And if you're going to talk about mendacity--

CONWAY: Oh, really? What he lied about matters.

CUOMO: --being bothersome to you, you would be working in the wrong place right now.

CONWAY: What he lied about matters. Well, you - so, you're OK that the number two, in fact the acting Director for the FBI--

CUOMO: Of course, I'm not. Of course, I'm not. That's why I keep asking you about this President's--

CONWAY: --lied, but it's OK what he lied about?

CUOMO: --lies every time you come on.

CONWAY: That's just crazy.

CUOMO: But that's why I'm so worried about the President's mendacity.

CONWAY: No, no, no, no, no, let's talk about--

CUOMO: It matters. When leaders lie, it matters.

CONWAY: --no, let's talk about this guy selling a book. Let's talk about this guy selling a book. He tried to subvert the will of the people, a democratic-elected President.

CUOMO: Yes, I don't buy that.

CONWAY: Donald Trump gets elected like, oh, my God, there must be a reason for that--

CUOMO: I don't buy that.

CONWAY: --other than you had Hillary blaming Comey but you had McCabe thinking--

CUOMO: The reason is that the President was going after everybody--

CONWAY: --it's Russia.

CUOMO: --around this probe.

CONWAY: Get off it.

CUOMO: He got rid of Comey.

CONWAY: Hey folks, Donald Trump's the President.

CUOMO: He went to - I mean it's such a long list.

CONWAY: It's been going on for a couple years now, and get used to it, because it's going to last another six.

CUOMO: No, this isn't a - this is not about threatening--

CONWAY: Next. CUOMO: --the Presidency. But I like your word, "Next." The idea of what has been going on here.

CONWAY: Oh.

CUOMO: You saw The Times reporting today, Kellyanne. Do you believe that the President wanted Berman in charge of the Southern District investigations?

CONWAY: The President says - he denied it today on camera. The press pool was in there. In addition, the Department of Justice denied it today.

CUOMO: I'm - no, I'm asking you if you believe it.

[21:10:00] CONWAY: And they - no, I don't believe because Berman was already recused. And the President--

CUOMO: I know.

CONWAY: --the - the President knew that. Well why would he want somebody who's already been recused--

CUOMO: Do you - you - are you sure the President knew it?

CONWAY: --to oversee an investigation?

CUOMO: Are you sure the President knew it?

CONWAY: I'm telling what the President said - knew what?

CUOMO: That he was recused?

CONWAY: Knew that the man was recused?

CUOMO: Yes.

CONWAY: Of course, he would know it. If I knew it, he knew it. He's the President. If you knew it, certainly a lot of people knew it, right?

CUOMO: Well, I'm - I'm saying it was very knowable but--

CONWAY: But, remember, the President, today, answered that question.

CUOMO: You know, the DOJ--

CONWAY: Here's - here's a - here's a fundamental question I have for you.

CUOMO: --the DOJ had a very clever response to that, Kellyanne.

CONWAY: Let - let's just--

CUOMO: I mean we're both lawyers, and it looked like a lawyered response. CONWAY: It wasn't clever. It was very forthright.

CUOMO: There were no promises--

CONWAY: No, no, no--

CUOMO: --or no commitments. He never said they never spoke about it.

CONWAY: The acting Attorney General testified at length under oath. He was shown great disrespect--

CUOMO: And he was disrespectful.

CONWAY: --by any number of members there. And I - no, he wasn't disrespectful.

CUOMO: Oh, yes, he was.

CONWAY: He, I mean, so one guy - one guy actually said, we don't know why--

CUOMO: He spoke in a way that we've never seen anyone in that position address Congress.

CONWAY: --how you got here. That's - that's not true. You should go back and roll the tape of how - of the questions he was asked. But under oath--

CUOMO: I watched it.

CONWAY: --he answered that question. And today, the DOJ said--

CUOMO: Yes.

CONWAY: --in a statement that - that the then-acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker stands by his sworn testimony. The President, independent of that, was asked a question by colleagues of yours in the press today, and said, "No. That's just more fake news," as - as he tweeted (ph).

CUOMO: I know. But he said that about things before that wound up being a 100 percent true. And the DOJ said--

CONWAY: So let me get this right.

CUOMO: --no promises and no commitments were made.

But they never said that the President didn't ask Whitaker about getting Berman back in charge of those investigations. And that would be very consistent with a well-established pattern of behavior.

CONWAY: Look, the President has said that's not true.

CUOMO: He does that again and again and again. I know he says it's not true.

CONWAY: All right, well-established pattern of behavior.

CUOMO: But he's not under oath.

CONWAY: That's so ridiculous.

Hey Chris, here's - here's - here's the deal. Well, McCabe just wasn't under oath on your network, and he lies when he is under oath, so he sure as hell lies when he's not under oath, and he's getting a hero's welcome--

CUOMO: I don't know that credibility is your best case--

CONWAY: --all over the media.

CUOMO: --against McCabe.

CONWAY: Well just imbuing credibility - yes, it is. And I'll tell you why. Because whether it's Jussie Smollett or Andrew McCabe, you - you - the media just loves to imbue credibility onto people--

CUOMO: I couldn't think of two less analogous situations than that.

CONWAY: --if they come bearing anti-Trump gifts. And it's really a load of crap. It has to stop.

CUOMO: That - those couldn't be--

CONWAY: No, no, no, I'm just - I'm talking about the way--

CUOMO: --less likely.

CONWAY: --no, no, no, I didn't analogize those two. What I said to you was--

CUOMO: Yes, you did.

CONWAY: --whether it - it - does it matter that you imbue credibility on people who otherwise don't necessarily deserve it without proper pushback?

And the use that is (ph) many in the media, not all, because this guy, Andrew McCabe said that he was - he was fired because they wanted to get rid of him because he opened up an investigation. Let's go through the chronology quickly.

May 2017, he opens up an investigation on the President. One week later, Bob Mueller takes over that investigation. Andrew McCabe is fired March, so what, eight months later or so, or January, he's fired next year.

CUOMO: You think the President had nothing to do with it?

CONWAY: March of '18 - no. March of '18 - the President doesn't care about Andrew McCabe. March of '18--

CUOMO: Oh, he sure tweets about him a lot if he doesn't care about him.

CONWAY: --you knew he's a liar and a leaker.

CUOMO: Come on, Kellyanne, you know he cares.

CONWAY: Hold on. And then January of 2019 - January of 2019, it's revealed in a New York Times article that McCabe had opened up an investigation. So, again, May 2017, he opens up the investigation.

CUOMO: Yes.

CONWAY: January 2019, The New York Times reports he had opened up investigation. March of 2018, he loses his job because independently it is concluded by an Obama - President Obama's appointee that he--

CUOMO: That he lied about leaking stories about--

CONWAY: --is a liar. And we already knew that.

CUOMO: --Hillary Clinton?

CONWAY: So, you don't care what people lie about?

CUOMO: You think that's the beginning and end of it?

CONWAY: Right?

CUOMO: No, I - I absolutely do. I'm just saying I think that it's a little convenient--

CONWAY: You don't care what people lie about?

CUOMO: --that you want to call him a liar and that he's trying to hurt the President, when the only person he ever tried to hurt is Hillary Clinton. And this President also lies about these matters.

CONWAY: No, no, he really - no, no, he hurt - no, no, he hurt the FBI.

CUOMO: He said he didn't know anything about the meeting in Trump Tower.

CONWAY: Jim Comey and Andrew McCabe--

CUOMO: He said he didn't have anything to do with the statement. Then it wound up that he wrote the statement--

CONWAY: You don't like each other.

CUOMO: --Kellyanne. I mean, come on, he said, he didn't have anything to do with Comey getting--

CONWAY: I have a question for you. I have a question for you. I've not heard anybody else--

CUOMO: --getting rid of him. And then he says on TV, he did it because of Russia. CONWAY: --I have a burning question.

CUOMO: He's lying. Go ahead.

CONWAY: I have a burning question. He - I have a burning question that I haven't really heard people discuss--

CUOMO: Please.

CONWAY: --in a while, if ever. Why - why did neither Jim Comey nor Andrew McCabe make their way to Trump Tower during the transition after Donald Trump was elected the President? I don't understand.

He's elected on November 8th, technically November 9th, because you guys won't call it when it was obvious, says November 9th, and it takes three months for Jim Comey to get - to get to - two months, January, to get to the White House.

CUOMO: Well, he wrote about it in his book saying how much--

CONWAY: I mean the whole world--

CUOMO: --how much reservation he had in terms of approaching the President--

CONWAY: --was walking--

CUOMO: --directly. He wanted to follow the normal channels. He didn't want to create a compromise.

CONWAY: Oh, yes, he was really white-knuckled and wringing his hands.

CUOMO: I'm just - I'm saying that's your question.

CONWAY: Is that what it was?

CUOMO: They've answered it. You know, that--

CONWAY: Is that what it was?

CUOMO: Well, I mean that's - that's what they're saying.

CONWAY: You know, a lot of people came to see Donald Trump, including people you have on your network routinely, some who are paid by your network, but they were begging for jobs, and they wanted to keep their jobs, and they--

CUOMO: Hey, you've got a burning question. They came to you guys in the campaign.

CONWAY: --were coming to kiss the ring.

CUOMO: Not you directly, but they came to you in the campaign and they said--

CONWAY: No. [21:15:00] CUOMO: --watch out for the Russians. In July, they told you this. They're trying to get in, be careful. And your people had all kinds of reckless contacts and reaching out for coordination even after being told not to.

CONWAY: No, not me.

CUOMO: I never said you. And I never said you, and I never would.

CONWAY: No. And listen, anybody who lied to Congress, they're going to have to suffer the consequences.

CUOMO: But plenty of others. What did you say?

CONWAY: So, I'm consistent. I'm consistent here. People who lied to Congress, lied to investigators about all of that, they'll have to suffer the consequences. Some already are.

CUOMO: Why so many?

CONWAY: Some are about to. Same thing with Andrew McCabe. You have to ask them because I was a Campaign Manager for the winning part of the campaign. And I thought so much of Donald Trump I knew he could do it on his own.

I was on your network and others every single day walking through the electoral map. Those clips will live forever. We could pull a clip, we can pull a state. We can pull any date and time--

CUOMO: Yes, good for you. Good for you. You believed in it--

CONWAY: --five, six times a day.

CUOMO: --and you got it done.

CONWAY: No, no, I'm making the point. I'm making the point.

And I said - no, he got it done. He got it done. But it's amazing he got it done given that all the king's horses, all the king's men, all the money, all the mainstream media, now we find out, the--

CUOMO: Nobody got the attention by the media that he did.

CONWAY: --upper echelon at the FBI wanted his opponent--

CUOMO: Nobody got the attention from the media that he did--

CONWAY: Yes, but he was--

CUOMO: --for better and worse.

CONWAY: Right. But the media only gets one vote per person, and you guys don't live in swing states, by and large. It was his connective tissue with the people. He took his case directly to the people, and that's how he won.

CUOMO: Oh, but I'm saying. Don't blame the media for like how they covered him. He was on TV a lot. And every problem he's had--

CONWAY: I'm not blaming the media. No, I'm thrilled. I want to thank the media.

CUOMO: --has originated from his own mouth.

CONWAY: No, I want to thank the media for 2016. I'd love to thank the Democrats for 2019 and 2020 because they are off to an awful start.

CUOMO: Well, look, there's a long way to go before then. But I have two questions for you. You asked me a question.

CONWAY: You've got these - you've got these 2020 candidates trying to out-socialism each other.

CUOMO: There are two questions that this probe needs to answer.

CONWAY: Anti-Semitism, socialism.

CUOMO: And if it's not the probe, then it's got to be Congress, but it's got to be somebody, and it's not about criminality. I don't think anything is about criminality. If they had nothing to hide, including the President of the United States, why did they lie so much about Russia-related matters?

And if he has nothing to worry about--

CONWAY: Wait, wait, wait, who's they? Excuse me, who's they?

CUOMO: --with this probe, the President and people around him.

CONWAY: No, no, you have to name the they.

CUOMO: You know who the--

CONWAY: Don't say the President.

CUOMO: Let's just take - let's just take the list of the half-dozen people--

CONWAY: No, no, no, don't say the President and people around him.

CUOMO: --who are - who've been convicted and who have lied under oath.

CONWAY: Say, are any name Donald J. Trump? Any?

CUOMO: No, because he won't go under oath.

CONWAY: Any named Donald J. Trump?

CUOMO: Smart man.

CONWAY: Because--

CUOMO: Smart man.

CONWAY: --no, no, no. No, that's not right. He's answered--

CUOMO: He won't go under oath.

CONWAY: --he's answered questions under oath.

CUOMO: He had written answers that his lawyers wrote. He won't go under oath.

CONWAY: Hey, Chris, and know, you know what--

CUOMO: Smart man.

CONWAY: Hey, Chris, you know why?

CUOMO: Smart man.

CONWAY: Because there's no collusion and you know it.

CUOMO: Oh, there's plenty of collusion.

CONWAY: And so, I think your colleague Dana Bash got Adam Schiff--

CUOMO: Plenty of collusion.

CONWAY: --to say something very curious on a Sunday on this network, very curious.

CUOMO: Plenty of collusion. You meet with a Russian guy who's connected to the GRU, and you give him polling data and you talk to him about policy?

CONWAY: By Donald Trump?

CUOMO: That's his guy.

CONWAY: You're talking about somebody who was just convicted and sentenced to--

CUOMO: His two oldest friends in the campaign--

CONWAY: --many years.

CUOMO: --may have done the most collusion as behavior. Crimes?

CONWAY: And, do you find any--

CUOMO: Not for me to say.

CONWAY: --do you find any collusion? And is anything here touching the President and the campaign--

CUOMO: Yes, he lied.

CONWAY: --that amounts to (ph) collusion?

CUOMO: He lied about the meeting in Trump Tower. CONWAY: I'm asking a question.

CUOMO: And what he knew about it.

CONWAY: Who?

CUOMO: He may be lying about what he knew about Stone and Manafort and what others were doing.

CONWAY: "He may be lying," I love that. He may be lying. He may be--

CUOMO: Maybe.

CONWAY: --a Russian agent. He may be.

CUOMO: I don't know. I don't know the proof.

CONWAY: You know what we know for sure? I'm going to tell you something we know for sure.

CUOMO: I know he lies all the time for sure.

CONWAY: Here's something not hypothetical--

CUOMO: I know that - for sure.

CONWAY: Here's something not hypothetical. He is the President.

CUOMO: Yes, he is.

CONWAY: He may not, not be the President.

CUOMO: He shouldn't lie all the time. He's the President.

CONWAY: He is the President. Deal with it. Learn to live with it everybody because you're going to have to--

CUOMO: And if he has nothing to hide--

CONWAY: --be as miserable as you were for six more years.

CUOMO: Honestly, I'm not miserable at all. Look at me, I look good.

CONWAY: Not you.

CUOMO: What I'm saying is he--

CONWAY: Others. No, I - I can't look at you. I'm looking at a blank camera. But I trust you.

CUOMO: --he should appreciate his position, and not lie needlessly. And if he has nothing to fear with the probe, why does he keep messing with it? Those are my two questions.

CONWAY: What probe? You mean the Mueller probe? This thing that's going on for two years. CUOMO: Why lie about Russia if he has nothing to hide? And why mess with the probe so much if you have nothing to hide?

CONWAY: Tens of millions of dollars - Chris, does it mean anything to you that your network and you have invested just gazillions of dollars and man-hours and it just airtime--

CUOMO: It matters. Matters.

CONWAY: --in this dead man's space - hold on, these screaming graphics, the spooky music, and everything, collusion, collusion, and now you have--

CUOMO: No music on my show, except for the beginning. And I don't even like that music.

CONWAY: --now you have Chairman Burr--

CUOMO: 10 indictments and guilty pleas.

CONWAY: --saying that they found no collusion. Excuse me. The Senate Chair - the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee has said no collusion.

CUOMO: Right.

CONWAY: And your colleague, Dana Bash said to--

CUOMO: As a crime, criminal collusion--

CONWAY: --Chairman Schiff--

CUOMO: --which is different than collusion as behavior--

CONWAY: --said - said - said--

CUOMO: Go ahead.

CONWAY: --well what if the Mueller report doesn't say this, and he said right away, "Well we'll have our own investigation." He's showing that they just want to investigate, not legislate. They just want to continue--

CUOMO: Nobody should be in favor of that.

CONWAY: --the marathon (ph). You know what? There's going to be a big--

CUOMO: You need answers, doesn't matter if they're crimes or not.

CONWAY: --pushback to that.

CUOMO: It could be plenty wrong but not a crime. And I think everybody should be open to that reality.

CONWAY: Well, in the meantime-- CUOMO: And look at it from that lens.

CONWAY: --this President will continue to preside over a boom economy because it's amazing that he got elected, given the fact that many in the mainstream media, the upper echelons at the FBI, everybody else didn't think he can do it, and were in his way.

I mean that's - that's just crazy.

CUOMO: I don't - I don't agree with that statement at all.

CONWAY: Why aren't you talking about how the dossier started? How are you--

CUOMO: I don't agree with that either.

CONWAY: --why aren't you talking about how the dossier came to be in the first place?

CUOMO: And when the Mueller report comes out, we'll see how much of the investigation was based on that. Let's leave it there for now.

CONWAY: So where - but where is the collusion?

CUOMO: The collusion is Manafort taking those meetings.

CONWAY: It was very helpful to the President because he's the President.

CUOMO: The collusion is Trump Jr. and Manafort and Jared taking that meeting. The collusion is Roger Stone trying to get the fruits of WikiLeaks--

[21:20:00] CONWAY: No, no, that's not true. Don't call that collusion.

CUOMO: --and helped with the distribution of it for the benefit of the campaign.

CONWAY: No, no, no, don't call that collusion.

CUOMO: That's all collusive behavior.

CONWAY: No. And--

CUOMO: I'm not saying it's a crime.

CONWAY: --and the individuals that you have--

CUOMO: But it's collusive behavior.

CONWAY: --the individuals you talked about it - well, what is the word collusive? You make it sound like a fancy adjective. We both paid way too much for our law degrees. Tell me what you mean by collusive, a new word?

CUOMO: They were messing-- CONWAY: What is that?

CUOMO: --with the wrong people in ways that they should have known better. And they were told not to do it, and they did it anyway. Is it a felony? I don't know.

CONWAY: And--

CUOMO: Probably not. But that doesn't mean it's not wrong.

CONWAY: Hey, Chris.

CUOMO: And it doesn't mean that they were open for business--

CONWAY: Chris, the only person we've discussed tonight--

CUOMO: --with the wrong people.

CONWAY: The only person we've discussed tonight on your show who we know lied multiple times under oath--

CUOMO: That's not true.

CONWAY: --is named Andrew McCabe.

CUOMO: We got - we got bunch of liars around you guys.

CONWAY: And he's out peddling a book--

CUOMO: And it includes the President on these matters--

CONWAY: He's out peddling a book--

CUOMO: --and I don't know why.

CONWAY: No, no, it's not. And you should stop saying that because of all the things you said, you and Andrew McCabe said today, may be true, may be true, may be true, may be true--

CUOMO: I'm saying it's absolutely true that the President and others around him have lied--

CONWAY: --the one thing we know is true, Donald Trump is the President.

CUOMO: --about Russia-related matters, and I don't know why. But I got to go. When we learn more I promise you this, as I've said every time.

CONWAY: Not me. I have no exposure.

CUOMO: When that probe comes out, Kellyanne, I'll give you guys as much time as you want to discuss its findings. I believe it's critical to the American people.

CONWAY: Great.

CUOMO: The offer will always stand.

CONWAY: Let's see if there's a report to even discuss.

CUOMO: Well that's up to you guys.

CONWAY: And let's see when these endless investigations actually end.

CUOMO: That's up to you guys.

CONWAY: You know, the American people want - want their elected officials--

CUOMO: There better be.

CONWAY: --to focus on issues. And my boss is.

CUOMO: No, they want that report, Kellyanne.

CONWAY: And let's see if the Democratically-controlled Congress starts to. No, here's what I see in the Democratically-controlled Congress.

CUOMO: Yes.

CONWAY: You have Adam Schiff saying we're just going to continue to investigate. You have Tom Steyer pressuring--

CUOMO: No. The Mueller probe - forget about the politicians for a second. The Mueller probe should put out a report and we should--

CONWAY: --Jerry Nadler to start impeaching the President. He's wasted all this money. He's insisting on it. You had the edge (ph)--

CUOMO: --all get it.

CONWAY: --woman from Minnesota, you have the socialist yanking the chain of everybody who's running in 2020.

CUOMO: Forget about the Democrats. Focus on the facts.

CONWAY: I mean there are no--

CUOMO: That report should be made public, and I hope you agree with that, and I hope the President does as well. He should want it more than anybody.

CONWAY: That's up to - that's up to Rod - that's up to Director - that's up to Mr. Mueller.

CUOMO: No, it's not.

CONWAY: We - we have complied. You know, we have produced over 1 million--

CUOMO: No, it's not. He's got a very specific mandate. He gives it to the A.G. And the A.G. is going to decide what to do with it, and that's your boy. CONWAY: OK. Fine.

CUOMO: So, hopefully it will come out.

CONWAY: We'll see.

CUOMO: All right, I got to. Kellyanne, thank you for tonight.

CONWAY: My boy, Bill Barr, and he's - yes, OK. Thank you.

CUOMO: Be well.

CONWAY: You got it.

CUOMO: All right, so, there's the defense, can't believe McCabe and all these other things are too soft to ever stand up. Is that enough?

Let's take it to court. We've got two brilliant minds about what this could mean going forward, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: All right, look, we got a fight on our hands. And you better get used to it because that's what this Mueller probe is going to be about. It's going to be a big political debate. It's not going to be a massive prosecution. That's my take. We'll see if I'm right or wrong.

But you just heard the President's Senior Adviser in the wake of a New York Times report that says he might have tried to interfere with the investigation of his personal attorney, an allegation that he flatly denied today. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you ask acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to change the leadership of the investigation into your former personal attorney Michael Cohen?

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, not at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right, is he telling the truth? When it comes to obstructing justice, prosecutors look at something called corrupt intent. And look, this gets really complicated really fast, but there's certain simple things that must be established.

With that, Cuomo's Court is in session, Laura Coates, Jim Schultz. You heard me talking with Kellyanne there, Laura. She's like, "Well you heard the President say no."

Look, he's lied to us about material matters of fact in the Russia probe before. He's not under oath. He gets a freebie, right? She's going after McCabe saying he got caught lying. Yes, by leaking stories about Hillary Clinton.

But in terms of credibility, him saying, "No, I didn't do that," you pair that with what the DOJ put out, which said not that he never asked him, not that they never talked about it, not that he didn't want it, but that according to the DOJ, there were no promises or commitments made to do anything with the Southern District management of the case.

What does that mean to you?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It means that when you fully vet and have lawyers comb over what you're saying and you want to get into a semantics-based argument, the underlying conduct is probably nefarious in some way, shape or form.

I mean you can't really put much stock into the President of the United States, unfortunately, with a blanket denial, when you've heard him repetitively - repeatedly say things that have been untrue to later find out when it comes to a court of law, for example, Michael Cohen at the back of Air Force One, a blanket denial to the press, only to have it change when a court of law was involved.

Now, you have a similar circumstance where you have the Attorney General, the acting Attorney General thinking, "Well, I didn't say that. I said very smoothly there's not going to be any promises made."

The American people don't really want to hear about semantics. I find it very unpersuasive in a court of law or a court of public opinion.

CUOMO: You know, Jimmy, the - the challenge is that any one of these instances, and we've gone over them all. You know, we've been together a while now on this.

You know, you look at one, well he got rid of Comey. Yes, but he can do that. Yes, but he said it was about what Rosenstein said. And then he said it was about Russia. OK, but that's just one.

Yes, but look what he did with Flynn, telling people to say that, "Oh, he came to me, and I made him resign," you know, and then said, "That'll make the probe go away." Oh, yes, but that's just one thing.

Well what if he did ask to have his guy Berman oversee the Southern District investigations? At what point is the pattern damning?

JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: So, his guy Berman was the nominee of the President that was confirmed by the Senate, and is the sitting United States Attorney, a - a career prosecutor before that, impeccable reputation, so to refer to him as his boy is, one, disrespectful to his entire career in law enforcement, so let's start there.

CUOMO: Well he recused himself for a reason, right?

SCHULTZ: So, and but he's done the right (ph)--

CUOMO: And he was a donor to the Trump campaign, right?

SCHULTZ: Well the - the reasons why he recused are up to him. But let's get - let's - let's break this down for one second.

CUOMO: Well--

SCHULTZ: So, let - let's - the President's denied it. Whitaker's denied it. Now, you get to--

CUOMO: Whitaker hasn't denied it.

SCHULTZ: --you have some report on that (ph)--

CUOMO: Whitaker hasn't denied it.

SCHULTZ: Berman has-- Berman has - Berman has - Berman has recused. So, let's - even if the President made that request, and - and that request was made to Whitaker, and we have no evidence whatsoever that Whitaker did anything with it, even if it came to him, and Berman did recuse himself, so Berman did the right thing here.

[21:30:00] If he felt that there was need for a recusal because he had some type of conflict, the individual lawyer in charge of that office has - has - takes an oath of office, and he's a public servant.

CUOMO: Yes, but this isn't about Berman.

SCHULTZ: And Geoff Berman's a good one.

CUOMO: Nobody's saying anything about Berman.

SCHULTZ: And he may - he may - yes. But you're - you're the one attacking him, calling him his boy.

CUOMO: I'm not attacking him. I'm saying the reason that the--

SCHULTZ: He's leading the top law enforcement agency--

CUOMO: --hold on, Jimmy. Jimmy. Jimmy, you're - you--

SCHULTZ: --for - one of the biggest law enforcement--

CUOMO: --you don't have to paint outside the lines on this show.

SCHULTZ: --offices in the country.

CUOMO: What I'm saying is the allegation from the reporting of The New York Times, Laura, I'll bring on you this now - in on this, is that they have multiple sources who tell them that the President went to Whitaker, and said, "I want my guy in there. Can we get him in there?"

And the context was, "I don't want another Mueller probe. I don't want another thing that gets railroaded by other guys."

SCHULTZ: So, so, we've got some--

CUOMO: Hold on a second, Jimmy. Jimmy, hold on.

SCHULTZ: --so we got maybes. We have - we have maybes and sources.

CUOMO: No, no, no, look, look, look, report - yes, it's called reporting in journalism.

COATES: No. For - well this - well - well they can't just say (ph)--

CUOMO: And we also have a President who has lied time and time again about this stuff. Laura, what's your take?

COATES: Well, first of all, calling him his guy is actually quite apropos, Chris.

And the reason is because of all the U.S. attorneys that are in this country, the President of the United States interviewed a select few, I think, only one, this particular person when he replaced Preet Bharara after firing him as the U.S. Attorney in SDNY.

And so, he actually did put somebody in place that he knew and had personally interviewed and the former Attorney General Jeff Sessions corroborated--

SCHULTZ: So that - but that makes him not a professional?

COATES: --that facts. I'm - well I'm going to--

CUOMO: Nobody's saying he's not a professional. Keep going.

COATES: --I'm going to - I'm going to finish my point, Jim.

CUOMO: Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead.

COATES: The point I'm making is the notion that there is somebody who is actually the President's particular choice, unlike any other U.S. Attorney. Yes, he did recuse himself. That is important.

SCHULTZ: Confirmed by the Senate of the United States.

COATES: But at the time the President made - at the time that the President made several comments alluding to the attorney-client privilege being dead in the raid on Michael Cohen's home, hotel room, and office, he was under the impression that his person was involved in it, in some way, and that disturbed him a great deal.

Why? Because he had tried to have his hand in trying - according to the reports now of The New York Times, had tried to have his hand on the scale to say, "I'd like somebody that I have selected to oversee a probe involving whether or not"-- SCHULTZ: How do you know he wasn't - how do you know if the President's involved in this (ph)?

COATES: Jim - Jim, what I'd like to do is finish my sentence, and I'd love for you to speak after that.

What the President did was try by installing his person to then try to put his thumb on the scale to say, "Wait a second. A probe that involves me, my fixer, and hush-money payments, involving women, that I allegedly had a sexual affair with," that does sound more than just an issue of whether disparaging was being his boy that actually is an accurate lineage going on.

CUOMO: What's - wrap it up for us, Jim.

SCHULTZ: Yes.

CUOMO: And certainly but - I'm just - but in this context, nobody - don't - but hold on a second. Just answer the question in this context.

SCHULTZ: He got a career professional. Berman's done the right thing here. He's recused. No--

CUOMO: Don't say that we're attacking Berman. We're saying he's not a professional. It's not what I'm saying.

SCHULTZ: But you are.

CUOMO: He was picked by Trump.

SCHULTZ: You are. You're calling him his boy. That's not the right word (ph).

CUOMO: He was donor to Trump. And that would be why--

COATES: No, absolutely not.

CUOMO: --Trump wanted him overseeing these things. I'm not saying he's bad at his job. I have no basis to say that. I'm saying if Trump asked for him, that is why, what's your take?

SCHULTZ: The - the President of the United States nominates the - the U.S. Attorneys across the country, fact.

CUOMO: Yes.

SCHULTZ: That doesn't make him his boy. He has - he has an independent obligation to this country. Geoff Berman does.

CUOMO: Yes, you're right.

SCHULTZ: And he's fulfilling that obligation. He also has ethical responsibilities as a lawyer, which he fulfilled.

CUOMO: He did. SCHULTZ: He also has ethical responsibilities, as the U.S. Attorney, which he fulfilled, and continues to fulfill. So, even if the President of the United States had made that ask, even if he had made that - that request to Whitaker, it wouldn't made a hill of beans difference.

CUOMO: Well, depends. You know, it depends how - what - what the President wanted to happen--

COATES: It should--

CUOMO: --and what did happen are two very different things, and let's be thankful for that because that's the last thing we need.

SCHULTZ: Well, the President denies it. We're only--

CUOMO: I know the President denies it.

SCHULTZ: --we're living in the world of maybes and sources, right?

CUOMO: But, unfortunately--

SCHULTZ: We're living in a world of maybes and sources, and that's all--

CUOMO: --well, hold on. Hold - let me tell you something.

SCHULTZ: --we're relying.

CUOMO: Let me tell you something.

The idea that I'm not going to believe anonymous sources, but I'm going to believe the President of the United States is doing a huge degree of violence to my idea of common sense, and what we've learned to be the reality of our new normal.

The idea that the President said--

COATES: Correct.

CUOMO: --it didn't happen, so it didn't, is not enough for me. I got to leave it there. Laura, Jimmy--

SCHULTZ: But - but you're going to put - but you're going to put a guy--

CUOMO: Yes - I'm not putting him anywhere.

SCHULTZ: --you're going to put a guy on a pedestal.

CUOMO: I'm not doing anything to him.

SCHULTZ: You're going to put a guy on a pedestal--

CUOMO: Who?

SCHULTZ: --meaning McCabe who was found by career professionals--

CUOMO: I'm not putting anybody on the pedestal.

SCHULTZ: --to have put himself before the leadership--

CUOMO: If he had come on here, I would have put it to him, like I put it to everybody else.

SCHULTZ: --in that department.

CUOMO: If he had come here, I would have put it to him, like everybody else--

COATES: Chris--

CUOMO: --just like I always do. But I got to go. I'm out of time.

COATES: --simply put, it matter - Jim, it matters - it matters Jim that the President of the United States tried to influence an investigation that involved himself. That is the point.

CUOMO: Right.

COATES: Not about who is whose boy.

SCHULTZ: But he denies it.

COATES: Not about Andrew McCabe. Whether the--

SCHULTZ: And Whitaker can confirm it.

COATES: --whether the President of the United States in fact tried to have somebody--

CUOMO: Trying to do it--

COATES: --try to influence an investigation when he is the subject.

CUOMO: --is relevant.

SCHULTZ: Whitaker's testified before Congress.

CUOMO: But whether or not it actually happened--

COATES: That is heart of a case.

CUOMO: --is - right. That - that Laura's making the right point. You know it.

COATES: That's true.

SCHULTZ: And you're attacking a good man who did his job in the Southern District of New York.

CUOMO: We're not attacking the man. We're attacking the idea that the President asked for him to oversee something he was worried about, and that's the concern.

But you - both argued your points, and I appreciate you for doing that. Have a good night both, Laura, Jimmy, thank you.

All right, so you got the legal part of it, but then you have the investigative part of this. What do these things mean?

[21:35:00] If you're the FBI, if you're the DOJ, if you're part of the Mueller probe, and you hear about this request, what does it mean by itself? What does it mean as part of this pattern, everybody being enacting something because they keep getting rid of people around the probe?

We have a special guest. Mueller's former deputy, what does he see and not see here, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: If The New York Times reporting is right, and the President did try to get acting A.G. Whitaker to put a Trump ally in charge of the Michael Cohen probe, is that obstruction?

Let's get after it with the former Deputy Director of the FBI and the President of Anderson University, John Pistole.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: ONE ON ONE.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Welcome to PRIME TIME, sir.

JOHN PISTOLE, FORMER UNITED STATES TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION ADMINISTRATOR, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR, ANDERSON UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: Thank you, good to be with you.

CUOMO: So, what's the answer to our question?

PISTOLE: Well the simple answer is we don't have enough information, obviously, to - to know whether that's obstruction because one, we don't know the intent. It's obviously implied or imputed as to what the intent would be to favor a particular outcome. But then, we just don't know what the evidence would be to corroborate

that. And, as we know, in a criminal proceeding, if you're trying to indict somebody in federal court, you need proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the person.

You obviously can - as they say, you can indict a ham sandwich.

CUOMO: Right.

PISTOLE: But the question is can you indict, you know, with proof beyond a reasonable doubt? So, right now, there's simply not enough information that we have in the public realm.

The question is, does Special Counsel Mueller have that information, and what does he do with that information, if he does have that, if he believes there's clear and convincing evidence that that is obstruction of justice? So, it's--

CUOMO: What would be your concern about the pattern of behavior that this fits into that is not just a one-off where the intent--

PISTOLE: Well, yes--

CUOMO: --could be mixed that this is one of like seven different actions he's taken that all seem to be to the same effect to somehow end the investigation of him or make it easier for him.

[21:40:00] PISTOLE: Well, if it - yes, concerning if - if true, of course, it's concerning from the standpoint if it establishes a pattern of activity, it almost reminds me of years ago when I was working on an Organized Crime Task Force in New York City in Southern District, and looking at RICO investigations, Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations where you'd try to establish a pattern of racketeering activity.

Now, I'm not saying that that's what's going on here at all.

But the whole idea that if there is a pattern of activity, which establishes that there's criminal culpability in multiple instances, then obviously, that strengthens the investigation or the case that could be made for that pattern of activity, criminal activity taking place.

CUOMO: You know, it's--

PISTOLE: Again, it's all speculative because you just don't know what Special Counsel Mueller has--

CUOMO: True.

PISTOLE: --in his, you know, portfolio.

CUOMO: And measure of it is speculative. I mean we've seen a lot of these things play out in public, and we know, as you know already, that the Mueller probe is considering the President's public statements, as part of their reckoning of what it is. But something people lose sight of, and I want your take on this, there's this assumption that Mueller is just looking for criminal behavior.

But right in the mandate, delivered by Rosenstein in creating the Special Counsel, the first directive is to find any evidence of coordination or contact with those connected to Russian interference. That doesn't mean crimes.

PISTOLE: No. But I think the intended outcomes of that, as a directive from the Deputy Attorney General, and the Department of Justice, is that the - the highest calling of that, if you would--

CUOMO: Would be crimes.

PISTOLE: --is looking for criminal culpability.

CUOMO: Sure.

PISTOLE: Absent that, Robert Mueller, as a career prosecutor, FBI Director for 12 years, can obviously, and is presumably, working on this report that he would present to the new Attorney General, Bill Barr, and then make recommendations, perhaps, as to what actions should be taken, whether any current, present criminal indictments should be sought or, of course, if it involves criminal culpability by the President, the standing DOJ policy is that a sitting president cannot be or should not be indicted.

So, would - would the indictment be held the information held for indictment for the day after the President is out of office? That's something that is we just don't know at this point.

CUOMO: You worked for Mueller. There is a big political price that would come with doing something like that. And I know you're supposed to be able to keep it separate. But a little bit about this process would be the measure of the man or woman doing the job.

Do you think that Bob Mueller--

PISTOLE: Sure.

CUOMO: --in your experience, that he would do something like make a move on the President of the United States, if he thought it was right, even though he knows it would be a huge battle about whether he was right to even suggest it, whether it can even happen, and he would be under tons of scrutiny.

Is that the kind of pressure that he would take into consideration?

PISTOLE: Well no, I don't think so. I think he is--

CUOMO: Really?

PISTOLE: --he's been given a - been given a - a broad mandate. And I think that he, in my experience, working with him for eight, nine years, before I went over to TSA in 2010, was that he is apolitical, when it comes to criminal investigations, so Democrat, Republican, Independent, it doesn't really matter to him.

He's looking for the evidence that could be used to establish is there proof beyond a reasonable doubt that would result in a criminal indictment and, presumably, a conviction? Prosecutors never want to indict somebody they think would - would not be convicted at trial.

So, I think really the question becomes what is the evidence, again, not speculation or anything else, but what is the evidence that he is relying on to make that determination in his report to the new Attorney General to say what should happen as a result of this investigation?

And so, we've seen all the other charges, some of the guilty pleas of - of some of that - the inner circle there, and then all the Russians around that, all the contacts with Russia and everything, there's a lot of smoke there.

The question is are Robert Mueller and his team are - are frankly the only ones that have the inside knowledge to know what - so what about that? What does that mean?

Does it mean there is a prima facie case against the President or others who have not been named at this point? We simply don't know that.

CUOMO: Right.

PISTOLE: But the - the concern is, has the President or others tried to obstruct justice by naming--

CUOMO: Right.

PISTOLE: --friends or allies as those who would oversee investigations, such as the Cohen investigation, which you've been talking about.

CUOMO: Let me ask you one other quick thing, while I have you, Mr. Pistole, and I invite you back, as we learn more, so we can understand the - the lens of investigation here once this report comes out. That's my question.

PISTOLE: Yes.

CUOMO: His mandate says you report to the Attorney General, the directing A.G., you know, the acting A.G., whoever is overseeing at the time and that's your only duty to tell them.

How do you think Bob Mueller would respond - would react to the proposition that his findings were not going to be made public that they would be kept closed?

[21:45:00] PISTOLE: Oh I think - you know, I think he's fine with that because he adheres to the rule of law, and the guidelines and the parameters that he's been given. So, he's been given a specific task and that's exactly what he's doing. I think it's remarkable that there have been no leaks out of that

investigation. And, obviously, we haven't seen Bob Mueller do a press conference or anything else with all these indictments and convictions and - and all this Russian activity. And so, I think he will comply with that mandate to provide that report.

I think the only way that we would see something, if the Attorney General decided not to release that report, or at least have a redacted version of it, is in the event that Bob Mueller were - found clear and convincing evidence, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that there was evidence of - of a crime, whether it's obstruction or whatever it might be, and the Attorney General declined to do anything with it.

I think in that instance maybe, and again, that's - there would be a stretch, but I think maybe, Bob Mueller would say that because of a compelling public interest in having some of this out that he would have a very strenuous engagement, argument if it was with the Attorney General to say, why he believe that should come out.

And I think he might then take action in some respect, not a leak, because he's - that's not him, but then to do something and I don't know exactly what that would be.

I just don't see him providing information to The New York Times or Washington Post or somebody, maybe engagement with - with Congress in terms of a potential impeachment or something like that.

So, that's a - that's a bridge that, you know, I don't think he wants to cross.

CUOMO: All right.

PISTOLE: I think goes with that and turns the report in, and then, and looks for the outcomes that that he believes are justified.

CUOMO: Well, one thing we know for sure, it's going to be a test of everybody's character involved of what happens when this report finally comes in, and what we learn, and what we don't.

Mr. Pistole--

PISTOLE: Sure.

CUOMO: --thank you very much.

PISTOLE: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, politics of a different shade. You see what happened to the VP when he tried to get the crowd going for President Trump while in Germany? You should. That's next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: The Vice President met with a cringeworthy silence in Munich. Listen to this.

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[21:50:00] MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.

(CROWD SILENCE)

PENCE: Last August--

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CUOMO: He probably wished he was standing among MAGA hats. That's one thing that is working in the Republican Party's favor right now. In the Democratic Party, there's a fight over which hat to wear.

Let's bring in D. Lemon. You were with Senator Klobuchar last night. You got Sanders.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Can we talk about that though?

CUOMO: What? Yes--

LEMON: The - the Vice President--

CUOMO: --you talk about whatever you want.

LEMON: The Vice President that was--

CUOMO: Oof, tough crowd, tough crowd.

LEMON: I think - I think when they introduce you, Chris, they're like, "Hey, and Chris Cuomo."

CUOMO: Aww. You don't get boos?

LEMON: Crickets, crickets.

CUOMO: You say my name, you get boos, hisses--

LEMON: He, he, he (ph). The guys are even laughing at me. How are you, my friend? I missed you.

CUOMO: I'm doing well. You did a nice job last night.

LEMON: So, yes, I was waiting (ph) last night - thank you very much.

CUOMO: She was good. She was candid. The questions were good. But boy, is she a different kind of Democrat? They got to make a choice.

LEMON: They do. So, there is someone on Twitter, someone I know, Elise Jordan who tweeted something I thought was accurate. She is - happens to be, you know, a contributor on another network.

And she said, "Amy Klobuchar is a kind of candidate, the more you hear from her, the more you want to hear about her, or the more - the more you want to learn about her." And I think she is.

There are going to be a lot of folks, as you know, fighting for that left-right progressive lane because that's where the party is. That's where all the young folks are now.

And even Bernie Sanders, that's what Bernie Sanders was in 2016 for the 2016 election, so the things that people thought were radical for Bernie Sanders, now maybe core to the Democratic Party.

So, I thought she did a good job in differentiating her - differentiating herself from the rest of the pack, and showing why she is what the party is going to likely face. She's the electable one. And I'm not saying that she is, but that's the strategy.

You understand what I'm saying?

CUOMO: Yes, I do, I--

LEMON: They--

CUOMO: Look, I get it.

LEMON: --and they - are they going to go with someone who is really left and may not be electable or someone who can--

CUOMO: Well, look, that's always the - that's always the--

LEMON: --win over the other side.

CUOMO: --dichotomy of primary politics versus general elections. I mean, you know, we saw that with the Republicans, last time with that huge field. But the Democrats going to be not just message but messenger as well, you know.

Do you want Bernie sandy - Sanders' politics, but you want it in a different package, something that reflects more of which where you think this country and your party is going, based on the midterm turn - turnout?

Or do you go straight pragmatic, and say, "Look, we got to beat Trump, and we're not about the future right now. We're about the present." Anyway, so we're going to see it. LEMON: But that's - but that - here's the question though. The per - I thought she was very qualified, obviously. You know, she's a Senator. You've interviewed her before. I've interviewed her before. She's extremely qualified.

I learned - look, she lived in my head all of last week. I read her entire book. I knew every - I knew, you know, as much as there is to learn about her, she's very electable, she's very capable. She's a very smart woman.

So, the person who may be the most qualified, you know, there are others right that will have Town Halls and will, you know, be part of the Democratic - part of the process, who may be very capable of being President of the United States, but are they electable?

Do they have the personality? Do they have the gumption and the gall to go up against Donald Trump, to call him on his BS, and on his lies, to stand up to him, you know, trying to take you down? That's really the question they're - they're going to have to face.

Who's going to be the - who's going to be electable? And who can stand up to him?

CUOMO: Cold pragmatism. All right, my man. I'll see you.

LEMON: Hey, quickly--

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: --that big bombshell New York Times report--

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: --when you - something from The New York Times, who do you want? Maggie Haberman--

CUOMO: Oh.

LEMON: She wrote it.

CUOMO: Strong.

LEMON: She's on. See you.

CUOMO: All right.

All right, so, now, Maggie Haberman, one of four on that byline there. Mazzetti was another one. He was on it with Anderson Cooper.

That kind of reporting, you're going to start seeing flurries of it, like what The Times had today. It's a signal that the probe is winding up, and that the spin cycle is beginning. It's going to get confusing.

My argument is this. There are really just two questions, and I have them next.

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CUOMO: Two questions are all that really matters. One that goes to all the people around the President, and including him, and there's a second question for just the President.

The first is, we ask it here all the time, if there's nothing to hide about dealings with Russia, why did so many around the President, and including the President, lie about Russia-related matters?

And now, in light of the new reporting from The Times, there's a second question for the President. If you want exoneration, and you know for sure there's nothing that has been done that threatens you, why did you do so much to disrupt the probe?

The idea that the President was just asking questions, making suggestions, that makes sense, if it only happened once or twice.

But remember, all the people he's messed with, surrounding this probe, and how hard he has worked to make sure as many of you as possible see the entire deal as a miscarriage of justice.

Trump reportedly calling on his acting A.G. to try to get a Trump supporter put in charge of the investigation into hush-money payments. There's one.

The President reportedly peddling misleading information about the firing of Michael Flynn, telling his Press Secretary to say Trump asked for a resignation because it sounded better. It's another.

And there's Trump asking Jim Comey to end the investigation into Flynn. And there's getting Rosenstein to concoct a basis for removal of Comey, and then revealing that he was always going to fire Comey, because of this probe.

None of those is a supposition. The last is the most damning, and he told it to you to your face.

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TRUMP: I was going to fire Comey, my decision.

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CUOMO: We've learned something else now as well. You cannot compare what this President says and does to what has come before. The whataboutism is an evasion and an illusion.

We have never seen anything like him in the Presidency. He will say whatever he feels he must to help him in the moment. And he does it well, truth be damned, decorum be damned.

Why are so many surprised that his lawyers reached out to Manafort and Flynn about pardons? He saw and sees them as problems for him. And do you really think he wouldn't pardon them if it might make all of this go away?

Can you imagine where we would be if lawyers and helpers had not ignored or dissuaded this President from so much of what he reportedly wanted?

And yet, for all the layers, all the lies in this lasagna of lies, keep it simple, two questions will reveal much of what we need to know.

Why did he and his folks lie about Russia? And why did he do so much to mess with the probe that he keeps saying could never hurt him? You get those answers, assuming the President's new pal in the DOJ will allow you to learn the answers, and many other questions will be answered as well.

That's all for us. Thanks for watching. Let's get right to CNN Tonight with D. Lemon.