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Sources: President Trump Pressured Staff to Grant Security Clearance to Ivanka Trump; CBP: U.S.-Mexico Border at "Breaking Point"; Former Colorado Governor Hickenlooper Joins Crowded 2020 Democratic Field. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 5, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: -- making those long wished for policy changes for industry come true, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Drew Griffin, great reporting. Thank you, Drew.

That's it for us. The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

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

The President pulled another fast one with the security clearance, this time, for his daughter, Ivanka. Democrats are asking for answers. The White House reportedly ducking. Can the Democrats take on all of this President's problems or is the hunt going to backfire? We're going to bring in one of the top investigators.

Plus, we have exclusive reporting for you tonight, the real crisis at the Border. It is one the President isn't selling. It is one a wall will not fix. The people trying to keep us safe are worried, and I'm going to tell you why, only here tonight.

And the latest candidate to enter the 2020 race is also only here tonight. Why does Governor John Hickenlooper think he is the one to take out the President?

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




CUOMO: If you've got nothing to hide, why don't you comply? The White House rejecting the Oversight Committee's demand for documents pertaining to the security clearance process.

CNN has learned from three sources that the President didn't just overrule his aides to get top secret clearance for his son-in-law, he also pressured them to grant his daughter Ivanka a security clearance against their recommendations.

Now, this is not illegal. The President has the right. But is what he did and how he handled it right? The lying alone is now a question. Here's what Ivanka told us last month.





CUOMO: Now, is that just an untruth that was intentional or did she not know? Also raises serious questions about national security. Why didn't they want to give these two people clearances? Also, ethical considerations.

Sources say the President tried to get then Chief of Staff, John Kelly, and White House Counsel, Don McGahn to grant the clearances, so it didn't appear like he was tainting the process. They refused. So, he did it himself.

What does this mean? Let's bring in a House Judiciary Committee Member, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.




CUOMO: Welcome back.


CUOMO: So, indulge my cynicism. This President lies all the time. The people who support him don't seem to care because, frankly, they think you're all liars. They don't expect anything better from the process.

So, when you hear, "Yes, he can give security clearances," but he lied about it, not once, but at least twice, what does that mean in terms of oversight?

JAYAPAL: Well, I think for us, it continues to feed this pattern of abuse of power and of corruption, potentially maybe not this particular thing, but the three areas that the Judiciary Committee is going to look into are obstruction of justice, abuse of power and, you know, making sure that we really take on this culture of corruption. So, this to me is just another one of those. And -- and, Chris, if it were just one, that would be one thing.

But as you keep reporting on the show, as we keep seeing in the news media, it's over and over again, where are -- where there are these abuses of power where the President is directing people to do things that they wouldn't otherwise do, it does have serious implications for national security because in both those cases with Ivanka and Jared, there were issues that were raised--

CUOMO: Right.

JAYAPAL: --by their security checks.

So, this isn't just about, you know, I mean this is a serious issue. What were those issues? The American people should know. We should understand why those issues were raised by their background checks.

CUOMO: Well, OK, I'm with you on that. So, you're going to look to see, well, why didn't you want to give them clearances. Do you think you can get answers on that or will they claim Executive privilege?

JAYAPAL: I don't know what they're going to do. You know, the 81--

CUOMO: Because right now, they won't give you anything.

JAYAPAL: Right. I mean the 81 requests that we submitted -- that Chairman Nadler submitted are actually documents that have all been provided--

CUOMO: Right.

JAYAPAL: --for other investigations, right?

So, this isn't new stuff that they have to produce. And, in fact, it's relevant because it has been already asked for by other investigations. And so, the Judiciary Committee has the right to look at all of this.

Now, on the Ivanka-Jared question, you know, that's one more thing now. Obviously, when we submitted our document request, this wasn't something we were looking at. Oversight is looking at that issue.

And we are really trying to be focused on the job that we are, you know, we have a Constitutional obligation to do on the Judiciary Committee, and that is this--

CUOMO: But there is discretion.

JAYAPAL: --this oversight.

CUOMO: You worry about how much is too much that you're going after them on all fronts, you know, the 81 number keeps getting out there, but there're going to be probably a dozen probes once you get into it.

JAYAPAL: Yes. CUOMO: And if you don't come away with things that are very damaging to the President, I know that that's not what the Constitutional oversight is about. I know that the duty is to look and oversee. But there are political expectations.

You're worried about this backfiring?

[21:05:00] JAYAPAL: I'm not. And again, you know, the 81 are all documents that have already been produced. So, we are not going into things that haven't been investigated in some way, shape, or form. But we are trying to put the pieces of a puzzle together.

And remember, Chris, we haven't had the opportunity to do any oversight for two years. The Republic--

CUOMO: Fair point.

JAYAPAL: --the Republicans refused to allow us to do any of this. So, this is backed up now thing after thing after thing.

And the one thing I will tell you is Republicans and Democrats and Independents, I believe, do not want public corruption. They do not want people to use the Office of the White House to further their own benefit at the cost of the American people. And I think that this is a really, really key issue.

So, we're going to look into all of these. And I hope that the, you know, I mean I don't know who to believe, right? Trump yesterday said, "Oh, of course, I collaborate with everybody. I -- I, you know, I -- I do whatever they," he didn't quite say he was going to do that, and now they're already putting up barriers.

I hope they just provide us with the documents. We have a two-week turnaround. And then, we start into the investigation.

And look, we just want to get to the truth. We're not going to rest until we do. We have a broad mandate as the Judiciary Committee, very specific, and broad mandate, and we need to make sure that we do our job.

CUOMO: All right, well we'll see what you find. That's going to probably be the test. Let me ask you something else while I have you.


CUOMO: Have you seen DHS' projections of what they think is going to happen in terms of flow on the Border the next few months? They have--


CUOMO: Yes. Go ahead.

JAYAPAL: Yes. I mean I saw this -- the story and the numbers that The New York Times had today.

CUOMO: Right. JAYAPAL: In some ways, it doesn't completely surprise me in terms of illegal border crossings because, as you know, and you reported on, once they started the metering process--

CUOMO: Right.

JAYAPAL: --which was really trying to stop people from coming in at the legal ports of entry, they shut down many of the legal ports of entry, I was down there on the Border, I saw that, people started coming in illegally. And so, there is a tie.

CUOMO: Right.

JAYAPAL: And when people are seeking asylum, the majority of these folks are asylum-seekers, those asylum claims can be processed fairly quickly. We have had ways to process these big surges before. It's not the first time this is happened. And so--

CUOMO: Right. But we've never seen these numbers. I got numbers--


CUOMO: --from somebody who's so concerned that they're putting the numbers out. You know they're going before the Senate Committee tomorrow, the Intel Committee, I think, to try and make the case that you guys have to do something.


CUOMO: So, here's my criticism/question is you guys didn't want to make the -- the debate about the wall, the President did.


CUOMO: But politics wound up putting you in that position. So, you guys are fighting over the wall. The wall is not needed, not as much as he wants, etcetera. I understand it.

But that has been a distraction from a real problem. These numbers are going to frighten you, and they should--


CUOMO: --because the system can't handle the flow. And the rules and the resources have not been addressed by you guys the way they need to.

And I'm wondering if after you learn about this data, and after you hear the testimony tomorrow, if you think there's a chance that in addition to the oversight, you guys are going to deal with a flow that is going to be crushing in the face of the enemy is going to be a child's face.

JAYAPAL: Well, look, we have been trying to have hearings. Again, on immigration, I was on the Immigration Subcommittee. You know how many hearings we had on the Immigration Subcommittee, Chris, in two years-- CUOMO: Inside of a donut.

JAYAPAL: --of Republican control? Exactly. And so, we have to -- we are taking on all of these issues.

And really, I think, the big, the big questions here are the overall system, right, that we need to make sure we're addressing immigration reform, that we have a way to have a legal asylum-seeking process--


JAYAPAL: --to make sure that we address all of the pieces of the broken immigration system that has been there for so long. Democrats are ready to do that. I want to dive into those numbers, because as you know--

CUOMO: Time is now.

JAYAPAL: Right. And I have studied this issue. I know a lot about it.

And there are different ways to read numbers. So, I want to make sure I understand what's in front of me. I like to have all that information in front of me. I'd like to make sure I'm seeing numbers that are comparable to the way numbers have been tracked in the past.


JAYAPAL: Because I've had a disturbing trend of noticing that sometimes the numbers we get are using all kinds of strange ways of calculating them. So--

CUOMO: Right.

JAYAPAL: --let us dive into that. I think you will see Democrats on the immigrate -- I'm now the Vice Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee for Judiciary.

CUOMO: Great.

JAYAPAL: I think we will be diving into those questions. And look, I still haven't forgotten about those families that were separated from their children--

CUOMO: Right.

JAYAPAL: --potentially thousands more than we even knew of--

CUOMO: Right.

JAYAPAL: --with serious long-term psychological--

CUOMO: They're not going to have a choice though.

JAYAPAL: --and emotional damage.

CUOMO: You know, the way Flores settlement picks up, and I -- that's one of the rules. I understand the intention of it. I got why they did the settlement at the time, doesn't suit the -- the situation anymore.

It's something that has to be looked at. I'm going to do it right after the break, so you'll get a first look at these numbers. And I think the calculations are pretty straightforward, and it's pretty daunting.

Congresswoman, thank you very much for speaking to these issues to our audience tonight.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Chris.

[21:10:00] CUOMO: All right, look, we have more to come on the clearance flap. You know, I go slow on these because, yes, he lied to you about it.

Is that a new story for you? Yes, it could affect national security. But when will people want something done about what this President does? That's part of the search for the Democrats.

And we're going to ask a Democrat running for President how does he think the Party should handle this. How do you deal with a President who doesn't tell the truth within a system where people don't expect the truth?

And what we were just talking about, I believe it's the big story of the night, you're not going to hear it anywhere else. There is a real crisis at the Border. It's bad. It's going to get worse, worse than they've ever seen before.

The President's not talking about it. Congress isn't dealing with it. Wait until you hear the reality, next.








CUOMO: All right, we have exclusive reporting on what's happening at the Southern border. The reality of who is coming has changed. I want you to look at this. This is the face of the present and the future, these kids and families like we saw down there in San Ysidro.

But now, they're coming from all over, and they're hitting all the places that they can. Government projections based on what has happened over the past year, and the two years before that are showing that they fear what's coming in the next few months more than they ever have before. [21:15:00] They are literally scared, not because Marauders are coming to kill them, but because kids, and they're worried about those kids being killed by the trip or, God forbid, the inability to care for them. Listen to this.


KEVIN MCALEENAN, U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION COMMISSIONER: The system is well beyond capacity and remains at a breaking point.


CUOMO: Breaking point! CBP, that's Customs and Border Protection, right, they apprehended 76,000 people in February alone. You saw that in The New York Times, but that's only part of the story, happens to be the most of any month during the Trump Administration.

It's the highest number, in fact, of any February in the last dozen years. But more than just the overall numbers, it's who.

Families are taxing the system. They're more than 60 percent of the flow. Over the past five months, the number of families jumped 300 percent year-over-year. 70 large groups turned up at remote Border Patrol stations.

Why? They're not sneaking in. They're asking for detention. The ports of entry are overwhelmed. They're desperate. You're not a wall away.

Remember, we brought you this story of a seven-year old girl who died because they didn't have enough buses, not because they don't care, not because they're not trying. They're good men and women who are keeping us safe. They're overwhelmed.

You don't hear the officials. And tomorrow, when they go to the Senate Intel Committee, you won't hear it being a discussion about a wall, because a wall doesn't help with rules and resource issues.

The problem is accelerating. Caravans that once took weeks to show up, replaced by buses, now, they get here in about a week. In other words, while the politicians cherry-pick so-called bad hombres, here's the truth.


MCALEENAN: This increased flow presents, currently at our highest levels in over a decade, both a border security and a humanitarian crisis.


CUOMO: So, the President pitches a wall. They fight over it, and it distracts time, money, and attention from the real crisis.

And on top of it, the President keeps threatening to cut aid from the same places that are spawning the migrants, almost assuring more desperation, and an increased race to our Border. Congress is being informed of the problem. The people in charge of keeping us safe are begging for help. The President is not focused on it for his own political reasons. Let's see who acts first because now there is no excuse.

All right, so what should this White House do about this actual emergency? Let's put it to our Great Debaters, next.








[21:20:00] CUOMO: Breaking point, that's how officials are describing the situation at the Southern border, after reporting a surge last month in undocumented migrants. But it's about kids and families.

The DHS Secretary is going to the House tomorrow. CBP is going to the Senate. Simple message to both, stop with the wall talk, help us with this. This is the real crisis.

You've never heard that from the President. Why? Great Debate, Angela Rye, and Steve Cortes.




CUOMO: We've had this conversation before, you and I, Steve, where I get the need--


CUOMO: --for physical borders. I've never gotten the priority because I knew this was coming. We are not a wall away from dealing with people who are presenting themselves for asylum.

And we haven't given the resources or the political attention. The President has not made a sell on this. Why?

CORTES: OK. Well, Chris, nobody ever said that we're a wall away as if that's a panacea, as if that's a silver bullet that solves the entire problem. That's a straw man argument that's been set up by a lot of people on the Left to try to criticize the wall. It's an important tool.

CUOMO: I disagree.

CORTES: It's one that Customs -- it's one that Customs and Border Protection--


CORTES: --tells us we need. But it's not the silver bullet.

CUOMO: Not for this.

CORTES: And in--

CUOMO: Disagree. But I've always argued to you--

CORTES: --in this case, by the way--

CUOMO: --why do you keep emphasizing what the wall will do. "It'll stop the murders. It'll stop the drugs. It'll stop the terrorists."

CORTES: Well--

CUOMO: When that was all BS--


CUOMO: --and the real flow problem you have--

CORTES: No, it's not BS. What the wall would do--

CUOMO: --it doesn't address.

CORTES: OK. What the wall would do right now if it were built--

CUOMO: Yes. Let's say it were.

CORTES: --and, unfortunately, we can't snap our fingers and make this happen.

CUOMO: Let's say you had the -- let's say you had the great wall there--

CORTES: If it were built -- if we build right now--


CORTES: --it -- it would force these people then to do it the legal way, which is go to ports of entry, because it would be too hard to get over or underneath the existing wall, and they would have to do it the right way, not the lawless way.

Now, I agree with you though that the--

CUOMO: But the system can't handle the flow.

CORTES: --the changing -- changing -- changing our Asylum laws is what's really necessary here. Our Asylum laws are being gamed and abused. 90 percent of people from Central America--

RYE: Wow.

CORTES: --historically, who apply for asylum are not eligible for asylum.

Asylum is meant for people who are being persecuted because of their race or their political beliefs or their religion, not because you're from a bad neighborhood. That is not a reason to come to us--

RYE: Wow.

CORTES: --for asylum, legitimate asylum to the United States.

CUOMO: Well, but--

CORTES: And you know one reason why, Chris?


CORTES: Because a lot of Americans live in terrible neighborhoods, a lot of Black and Brown Americans--

CUOMO: You don't -- right.

RYE: Wait a minute.

CORTES: --and I'm not about to tell American citizens--

RYE: Hold on.

CORTES: --that we're going to take in Guatemalans--

RYE: Not today, Steve.

CORTES: --only because they don't have--

CUOMO: All right, let's -- let's--

CORTES: --safe neighborhoods.

CUOMO: --let's bring in Angela. Angela, look, just to shape the debate here--

RYE: Lord.

CUOMO: --the President hasn't been talking about this. It's been all "Wall, wall, wall, the wall is all."

RYE: Right.

CUOMO: And now we see what we have seen. But now, they're thinking it's going to be worse than ever, and they're not set up to deal with this crisis because nobody's been giving them what they've been asking for, for years.

RYE: Well and I think that's exactly where we need to start. I would love to respond to Steve shenanigans, but I think the substance of this discussion is far more important.

So, when you talk about the hearings that are coming up tomorrow, there are four simultaneous hearings tomorrow.

DACA recipients talking about their experience in -- experiences, and why it's so dangerous for this Administration to terminate the program.

The CBP Commissioner and the data that we're citing is from the CB -- CBP Commissioner's testimony, not all the way fact-checked. We know that they have a retention problem. We know that they have a staffing problem. The wall doesn't solve that.

We also have Secretary Nielsen testifying before the Homeland Security Committee on the House side, and the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General testifying before the Judiciary Committee. My point is -- I'm sorry, before the Appropriations Committee.

CUOMO: Right.

RYE: My point is there is a lot happening to determine the facts around this. What is not good is for us to continue with the nonsense, with the propaganda, with the fear-mongering that Steve is using, talking about people's bad neighborhoods, and they're escaping bad neighborhoods.

These people are experiencing trauma. And then, after they experiencing -- experience the trauma in their home countries, they get traumatized by being separated from their children once they reach -- reach this Border.

That is something we need to be discussing. CBP should be apprehending criminals. They should be apprehending drug dealers, not separating families. That is the heart of this discussion.

[21:25:00] That is why Democrats in the House majority have to get to the bottom of this, so they can actually legislate with facts, instead of with fear.

CUOMO: Yes. I think -- look--


CUOMO: --Steve, I think that's the part to respond to. You go to the boogeyman. The Asylum laws are being gamed.

RYE: Every time.

CUOMO: These people are illegitimate. And instead of just dealing with the reality, you're not going to hear DHS or CBP say what you're saying right now tomorrow.

They're going to say, "Look, here's what we're worried about. These kids are coming. They're coming with their families--

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: And, overwhelmingly, that's what it is."

It's not this BS that the President's selling that these kids are being recycled, and they're being reused, and there are women with tape on their mouths, and be -- that's all BS. That's what's somebody's feeding him that's not true, and then his people have to cover for it.


CUOMO: Here's the truth, Steve. I got no time on this show for BS. I know what's true. I know what isn't. Here's what's true.

These kids are coming with their families. They're not set up to help them. They want to. They care. They're good men and women doing the job. But they don't have the resources. And this President has not made that a priority.

So, now you got your money for the wall that he's going to cobble together with this national emergency. What's he doing on this?

CORTES: OK, look, I -- I'm glad you mentioned CBP, and their opinion on the matter because let me quote--

CUOMO: Please.

CORTES: --what the Commissioner said. You showed a tape of him earlier.


CORTES: He said, "Crossing with a child is a guarantee of speedy release into the United States."


CORTES: That's what he said. So, don't tell me that kids--

CUOMO: Well, it was. It was.

CORTES: --are not being used as effectively tickets for entry into the United States.

CUOMO: No, no, no, no, no--

RYE: This is so sad.

CORTES: And 2,400 adults--

CUOMO: --no, no, be clear. Be -- be -- be clear. Be clear. RYE: This is so sad.

CUOMO: OK, be clear where you are. We -- you know, you got to be precise on this show.

I'm saying that what the President said about kids being recycled that they're not really with their parents, and that people are using the same kids again and again. That's BS.

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: Is the system--

CORTES: Right. But what--

CUOMO: --is the system susceptible to kids creating a problem of how you hold them, how long you can hold them, where they have to be released--

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: --and we don't want to separate families. So, yes, the system winds up being--

CORTES: Chris, here's--

CUOMO: --vulnerable to that.

CORTES: --but here's why.

The -- people respond to incentives. They're not dumb, right? These are -- these are smart, these are economic migrants. We need to be real about the terminology here. These are not persecuted people. They're -- they're not persecuted for politics--

CUOMO: You don't know that.

RYE: How do you know?

CORTES: --for religion, for race.

We -- we do know because 90 percent of their claims are rejected. And we know because those countries, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, we know that they are not countries of political persecution. They are bold places.

CUOMO: All right, but fine, let me hold you there. Let me hold you there.

RYE: It's a subjective standard, Steve. It's a subjective standard.

CORTES: They are tough places, and so are a lot of neighborhoods in the United States.

CUOMO: Let me tell you. They're not going to get any better--

CORTES: They are not -- they aren't--

CUOMO: --if you keep cutting--

RYE: You should -- you should throw--

CUOMO: --if you cut the money to them.

RYE: --you should throw that talking point as far as--

CORTES: Look--

RYE: --the East is from the West like--

CORTES: Here's -- here's--

RYE: --please don't say that again about bad neighborhoods--

CORTES: Let me give you -- let me give you an actual--

RYE: --in the United States. Just stop.

CORTES: --let me give you an actual solution.

Now, here's what the President should do. It's time to declare -- and, by the way, I'm glad The New York Times and other Liberals have finally realized what we've long known, which is that there is a crisis at the Border. I'm glad they've woken up to that fact.

RYE: Oh, my God.

CUOMO: No, no, no, no. Steve, hold on, Steve. Steve, if you--

CORTES: What the President needs to do actually is another--

CUOMO: --if you want to be straight, be straight.

RYE: He can't.

CUOMO: He's selling a crisis--

RYE: He cannot.

CUOMO: --that is a BS crisis. He's selling this boogeyman, this Brown Menace that's coming across the Border--

CORTES: No. No, no. Oh, stop with that.

CUOMO: --to take your women and kill you.

CORTES: No, no, Chris, no, he never said--

CUOMO: That's what he's saying. He doesn't want to talk about kids and -- and--

CORTES: --Brown Menace. Listen, I am a -- Chris--

CUOMO: --parents because it doesn't drive fear. Own it.

CORTES: No, but listen, you're -- no, no. You're the one establishing a boogeyman when you say Brown Menace. The President has never used that phrase.

CUOMO: What is it? "They're coming to kill you. They're coming with drugs."

CORTES: He's never insinuated that. And as a Hispanic and--

CUOMO: "They're coming to rape. And some, I assure, are good people."

CORTES: Because a law--

RYE: Drug dealers and rapists, Steve. And I'm--

CORTES: Because a -- because a lawless--

RYE: --I don't know why you're turning a blind eye to it of all people--

CORTES: Because--

RYE: --on this segment, you should be the last one turning a blind eye to it.

CORTES: Because a lawless--

RYE: It's ridiculous.

CORTES: No, no, you know what?

RYE: You should be offended.

CORTES: Actually, the opposite is -- actually, the opposite is true, Angela, and I'll tell you why.

RYE: I'm clear.

CORTES: Because most of the time, if you read the stories about the victims of illegal immigrant crime, the victims are Hispanic. Look at the victims of MS-13. If you read all of the -- almost all of those stories in the paper, you will see on the victim's side--

RYE: Oh, Lord! So, now the kids are MS-13, Steve?

CORTES: --a Hispanic surname. So--

RYE: Are the kids MS-13?

CORTES: Some of them are. Some of -- some of them are.

RYE: Where did MS-13 start, Steve?

CORTES: Absolutely. The point is a -- the point is a porous border--

RYE: Lord, help.

CORTES: --and porous border encourages all kinds of illegality, all kinds of national security and economic security problems for America.

I think the answer actually though is relatively simple. The President needs to declare another emergency declaration. He needs to suspend the way we process asylum right now. You can no longer--

RYE: This is so insensitive and inhumane, I cannot believe you.

CORTES: --if we don't (ph) want to be sensible, cross our Border illegally--

CUOMO: That's not what that law is for.

CORTES: --throw your hands up and claim asylum because--

RYE: I cannot believe you.

CUOMO: Here's the good news.

CORTES: --it's been gamed and abused--

RYE: That is not fair. That is really not fair. There are people who's lives are in--

CORTES: --by what will be hundreds of thousands of people.

CUOMO: Here -- here -- here's the -- here's the good news, hold on.

RYE: --in danger. That is not fair.

CORTES: 90 percent of people don't get it.

CUOMO: Here's -- here's -- here's the good news.

CORTES: 90 percent don't get it.

CUOMO: Yes, but that's about --- that's about how your process.

RYE: Because it's a subjective standard. Stop fighting--

CUOMO: It's not the reality. Right.

RYE: Oh, my God.

CUOMO: But, Angela, here's the good news. There's an opportunity here because the President has bought into a rationale of fear. You have to fear who's coming across, that's why you do what I want. We build the wall. OK, that's his push.

[21:30:00] He's not going to get to have it both ways. That's why he's quiet about the real crisis. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

RYE: Right. CUOMO: It's an opportunity for Democrats. I know they're doing their oversight. This is an opportunity to jump on. He can have his wall. We're going to make this right for the people who matter, these kids and families who are coming across.

I don't hear that urgency from them yet. Some of this is new. Some of them isn't -- is not. Do you think that's going to be an adjustment?

RYE: Well, I have to say this. I think Democrats, since before they took over the majority, they have been doing this oversight. Congressman Thompson took a delegation of Members of Congress--

CUOMO: Right.

RYE: --to the Southern border to do just that, right? So, they're doing what they're supposed to be doing.

You -- they're not supposed to legislate out of your behind. It's supposed to be rooted in facts, not this 80 to 90 percent number that Steve keeps throwing out that's based on a subjective standard.

You are supposed to do exactly what you need to, to equip CBP, to equip ICE, to ensure that they are staffed up, and they are targeting the right people. It's not supposed to be families.

Now, we don't just have to -- to respond to an immigration crisis and a migrant crisis with kids. Now, we also have to address psychological challenges that we have caused.

That is something that we need to face. I don't understand, Steve. I don't know what your religious background is.

But for all of the Evangelicals that support Donald Trump, all of the people who proclaim they love Jesus, I am shocked that this is the way that they go about legislating, that this is the way they go about policy-making, and this the way they go about advocating against the least of these.

CUOMO: What happens if you have these kids in these numbers--

CORTES: No, I can -- I can answer that because as an--

CUOMO: --Steve? What happens if these numbers are what these people think they're going to be, and you start having bad things happen?


CUOMO: And now you got all this money for the wall, you're going to build your physical barriers, good for you with an abuse of a 1976 emergency law, but you're not addressing this? How bad is that for you guys?

CORTES: No, listen, again, I think this needs to be addressed as well. I think our Asylum law needs to change.

If Congress won't do that immediately, I think the President should use emergency powers to suspend the way we are currently catering to asylum because it's being abused on a wholesale basis at our Border right now, and partly because we don't have the wall.

So, they know they can come across illegally. They know our rules. They know if they raise their hand that they get to stay indefinitely. And again, that's not my opinion. That's what CPB tells us.

And to answer Angela's question, look, as--


CORTES: --here we are about to start Lent -- that -- that's what I said, CBP, Customs and Border Protection.

CUOMO: Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead. We're about to start Lent.


CORTES: We're about to start Lent. As a follower of Jesus, I will tell you this. The best way to help people is real economic development through capitalism.

RYE: You're a follower (ph) of Jesus?

CORTES: That's what they need a lot more--

CUOMO: Then why do you want to cut the aid to these countries?

CORTES: --in Latin America. Not by opening -- not -- not by opening--

CUOMO: Why do you want to cut the aid to these countries?

CORTES: --our doors wide and saying -- hold on. I'll get to that.

If we open our doors wide and say anyone who has a tough lot in life in the world may suddenly come to the United States at their choosing, guess what, our currently prosperous country will no longer be prosperous. That's -- that's simply--

CUOMO: Yes. Because -- because migrant -- migrant labor hasn't helped this country, right?

RYE: I wonder how -- I wonder how this country got--

CORTES: --a ludicrous notion that--

RYE: --I wonder how this country got prosperous too.

CUOMO: I know.

RYE: It is from a lack of compassion--

CUOMO: All right, we got to leave it there.

RYE: --just like what you're showing, Steve.

CUOMO: All right, look, Lent is--

CORTES: We got prosperous from a lack of compassion?


RYE: Oh, oh, yes. I'm happy to give you that history lesson in the--

CORTES: We got prosperous from in -- ingenuity--

CUOMO: She was being--

RYE: --next Great Debate.

CUOMO: She's being good (ph).

CORTES: We -- we got prosperous from capitalism and innovation and ingenuity--

RYE: Steve, I don't know what you got taught in history class--

CUOMO: And a -- and a lot of cheap labor.

CORTES: --because we are compassionate (ph).

RYE: --but we will fix that in the next Great Debate.

CUOMO: All right.

RYE: You have a good night.

CORTES: I didn't listen much in history class, thank goodness, because I didn't want to--

RYE: Clearly.

CORTES: --be taught what the Secretary of Human (ph) educational system--

CUOMO: Ang--

CORTES: --wanted me to learn about our history.

CUOMO: Angela and Steve, thank you.

RYE: Oh, Lord.

CUOMO: I got to tell you, Steve, I have never believed anything you've said more than what you just two said. I believe what you just said, a 100 -- 110 percent. I don't believe you were paying attention. Thank you very much--

RYE: He didn't listen.

CUOMO: --both of you.

All right, so how would -- he literally just said I didn't pay attention in history class, and you wonder.

Anyway, how would Democrats do better on the Border? How would they do better on the issues that Trump supporters think he owns? We're going to take those questions to the newest candidate for President ahead.

And Ivanka Trump's security clearance is now also in question along with her husband. What happens next? Should they get to keep it? Right back.








[21:35:00] CUOMO: Former New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg is out. He's not going to run. But John Hickenlooper is in. The former Colorado Governor is now one of 10 major candidates to join the Democratic field for President.

So, what do names like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker, what do they mean, where he can do even better?

Let's ask, former Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper.






CUOMO: All right, so make the case. Your Party seems knuckled-up to me. There is no more "They go low, we go high." They're looking to reach across the aisle, more often to grab the other side by the throat than anything else.

You are known as a peacemaker, as a conciliator. How do you prove to your Party that you are what they need to win?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, you know, that's a challenge. And that, one of the reasons, I mean, the reason why I'm running for President is because I think we're -- we're facing a crisis, a monumental crisis of -- a crisis of division. And I think by -- by division, I mean the inability to tackle some of the big issues, healthcare and climate, the -- the disruption in the workplace caused by artificial intelligence and automation is going to come.

You know, I feel like my time in -- in -- in -- in government and my time in small business really allowed me to prove that I can bring people together and get big things done.

In Colorado, we were able to get almost universal coverage together through bipartisan efforts. We were able to get the industry and the environmental community in the same room for 14 months and create methane regulations that are the best in the country.

We were 40th in job creation. And now, for the last two years, we're the number one economy in the country. And I feel not only that -- well, I know I can beat Donald Trump. But I think I -- I think I could bring us together on the other side, and get real progress on -- on -- on important issues.

CUOMO: So, let's do a plus and a minus.

On the plus side, you'll be dealing with a voter base, if you want to get his people, or people in the middle, people who are open, he cut taxes, he cut regulations, he started telling other countries, "Don't mess with us anymore."

People like those things. What can you do that's better?

[21:40:00] HICKENLOOPER: Well, if you look at how we're going to address, you know, international issues like pandemics like Ebola, like climate change, we -- we have to work together as a country, and you can't be threatening our closest allies, you can't be disregarding our top experts, you know, people in his, you know, at the highest levels of his Department of Homeland Security, or the National Security Council.

These are real problems when you -- you're dividing our closest allies. I look on the -- on the domestic front, you can't continue to -- to divide. Everyone is trying to find solutions. And that's how come we've got such gridlock in Washington.

Why every few weeks we've got, you know, government being threatened with drop -- you know, being shut down. We've got to get to the point where we can address the big issues and actually listen to each other and -- and find common ground, and then work towards solutions.

CUOMO: Nine other Democrats will say the same thing. Why Hickenlooper, interesting name aside?

HICKENLOOPER: It's head-chopper in Dutch.

CUOMO: Ooh, that's good. That's good.

HICKENLOOPER: The real issue I think is that of all--

CUOMO: You should change it to that just for the campaign, Head- chopper.

HICKENLOOPER: I might -- I might try that. Hit your Head-chopper 2020.

Listen, I think I'm the one person, the one candidate, who has the experience and can demonstrate a -- a long progress or process and consistent progress of getting stuff done.

And I think a lot of people -- a lot of these other candidates are -- are great at talking, and pointing fingers and blaming, and they're also good at, you know, coming up with ideas.

I come up with the ideas, but we're also able to get stuff done. And you look at, we took on -- we're the only Purple State to pass universal background checks. And it was a battle. The NRA came after us. But in the end, we stood tall, and we got it done.

And getting stuff done, I think there's an appetite in the country right now, especially among Democrats, to -- to be able to say, "Hey, look, we're going to get stuff done. We're going to move this country forward with progressive values and get stuff done."

CUOMO: So, you got an in-house party and an outhouse party in -- in -- problems, rather. In-house, you guys can't decide what unified front you want, right? And it's early. It's early. You're going to have to figure it out.

Part of your Party is where you are, centrist, let's figure out how to get things done, progressive pragmatism, let's call it. But now you have an emerging Left on your Party that's different than it was even when you were in Office.

How do you accommodate those people who say, "Bad enough you're a White man, which we don't believe is the future of our Party, but we want Medicare-for-All, we want to get rid of private insurance," at least as a starting point, that's what we've heard, "and we want free college, we want free housing, we want sustainability of fixed incomes for people," what do you say to those needs?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think when you talk about Medicare-for-All, and you really dig down, you know, my point is that the -- the -- the Democratic Party has always been a big tent.

And we have a lot of different voices, and our diversity is our strength. And I -- I love it. That's one of the reasons why I'm so proud to be a Democrat.

But I also look at, you know, when we begin to be excluding and saying, "Well just because you disagree with me, you're completely wrong," whether it's universal, whether it's a -- a single-payer, or whether it's Medicare-for-All, I mean don't all Democrats really agree that healthcare should be a right, that we should have universal coverage?

And, you know, once we get the White House, then we can sit down and say, "Well we'll take this part from Medicare, maybe, you know, the best parts of Medicare, and -- and then we'll look at these parts from single-payer, we'll look at these parts from expanding Medicaid," I mean why don't we fashion universal coverage in a way that works best?

And same thing in -- in terms of the issues around the economy or the economic justice, I don't disagree that right now, you know, capitalism isn't serving, especially low-income and -- and middle- class people.

They're not getting the security and the opportunity that historically America has always provided. But I think there are adjustments that we can make that are significant, and are going to move us forward, but it doesn't involve a, you know, a -- a hand-to-hand warfare.

CUOMO: Governor, I appreciate you laying these out. We'll be following this all along the way. Hopefully, we get more opportunities to speak.

Remind us. So, what does Hickenlooper mean? What is it in Dutch or German?

HICKENLOOPER: It's Dutch. Heckenlopen (ph) like the hedge was hecken and the wolf lopes. This is what my, you know, my uncle always told us that originally they -- they thought they were the -- the people that were -- the mailman.

Then we said, why isn't it -- the name more common, and turned out, he said, "Well, they were the game poachers." But I came back, of course, and said, well that meant we jumped higher and ran faster. Who knows?

CUOMO: I like it. I like it. Governor, thank you very much, and good luck to you going forward.

HICKENLOOPER: You bet. Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, so we have breaking news tonight on Ivanka Trump. Her security clearance raises three big questions, and I've got just the man to help us find the answers. Let's do that next.








CUOMO: Tonight, we're learning it's not just Jared Kushner who got the all clear for top secret clearance, arguably a different way than he was supposed to. Sources say the President also pressured his staff to grant his daughter, Ivanka, the same thing against their best recommendation.

Why is the White House now refusing to answer for these decisions? Three major questions, I want you to think about tonight.




CUOMO: Mark Mazzetti has got some answers. Pleasure to see you.


CUOMO: What do we know, question number one, about why Jared and/or Ivanka did not get their clearance the ordinary way?

MAZZETTI: Well it starts out with this sort of very unusual process where Jared and Ivanka were filling out the application to get the person -- to get the clearance, and did not include all the contacts that they had with foreigners.

This is a very cumbersome process. And -- and anyone who has the clearance will tell you, it is something that people take very seriously. They hire lawyers. And initially, they didn't actually fill out all the forms, about all the foreigners they had been in contact with through business or just social reasons over time.

And that's how the Intelligence community begins to vet people for a clearance. So, that's how it began. And it then -- then just sort of lingered over time where these red flags were raised in the Intelligence community.

CUOMO: So, if it could be explained as a paperwork problem, why is the President wrong to say, "Look, I know my kid. I know my son-in-law. I get that you have procedures. But this is BS. They're no threat to national security. They're my family. Give them the clearances."

MAZZETTI: Well -- well, I mean, right. First off, the President can actually do what he wants in this. He can actually grant clearance to whomever he wants. Now, this is the unusual situation here.

[21:50:00] Normally, when there is top White House advisers, who -- where red flags are raised, they usually aren't the President's daughter and son-in-law. And usually a President, if these flags were raised, would then sort of go back, and further vet why there were these concerns, and that really is the biggest question.

What are the reasons that the Intelligence community had these concerns about the clearances of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump?

Now, it has been reported there were concerns about contacts and particularly with Mr. Kushner, involving the Saudis, the Emirates, the Israelis, and even intercepted communications where foreign officials had discussed ways they might gain influence over Jared Kushner.

These are really the -- at the heart of the matter. Perhaps even more significant than why President Trump gave them the clearance is why there were the concerns in the first place.

CUOMO: And why'd he lie about it reportedly? Let me throw you a curveball. We have word online that an American has been detained by the Saudis. Do you have that same reporting?

MAZZETTI: We have been reporting on that issue for the last couple of days, assuming it is the same case that there is an American who has been detained, was -- was interrogated in a similar manner that Saudis had been.

This is an issue that we've been following very closely. I think we're actually just trying to -- just scratch the surface right now on--

CUOMO: Do we know why and do we know why the White House hasn't said anything about it? Is that normal?

MAZZETTI: In this case, I'm not -- I'm not sure why the White House hasn't commented on this.

I mean this is one of the questions about the overall relationship with the Saudis, why they haven't been more expansive in discussing, you know, the -- the -- the -- the contacts between the Trump Administration and the Saudi government, but this is a very important question.

CUOMO: Mazzetti, I threw you a curveball, you handled it very well, because I think it's a big question for people. This American detained by the Saudis, we don't hear anything about the White House, why?

Why are they there? Why aren't they getting released? I thought we had such a great relationship. Thank you for handling the three questions. Appreciate it.

MAZZETTI: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, now, as we've shown you tonight, there is a crisis at the Border, and there is reason to believe it's going to get worse than we have ever seen.

Here's the problem. It's not the crisis that the President's been telling you about. In fact, it's one he hasn't done anything about. There are solutions. Will the President heed them? And, if not, will Congress, will you?

The argument, next.








CUOMO: All right, look, here's the truth. There is a crisis on the Border. But I would argue that the President is lying to you about it. And both sides of Congress are walled off literally and figuratively from addressing it.

I work to get you the exclusive projections of what is feared to be coming. It's not a wave of murderers, not the boogeyman the President is selling, here's the face of the reality, the kids, the families, they're coming in record numbers, and they're not slipping through undetected. They're begging for detention.

The men and women in charge of keeping us safe say they've never seen anything like it. They're going to the Senate and the House tomorrow to implore Congress to finally take this seriously. We are not a wall away.

This is not about wall or no wall. It's always been about physical barriers, wall, well I don't care what you call it. And you don't know what comes after the end because our dialog has been all about the wall.

Bravo, Mr. President! You've won. You've dominated the conversation. However, the loser is the reality at the Border.

Frankly, despite Pelosi's efforts to ignore his ploy during the political season, which was smart, the Democrats have fallen into the fight to stop the wall, and all that energy over how much fence to build or not build and where and how does he get the money, and national emergency, complete compromise of our best defense.

We aren't talking about the real problem. And now, it is upon us. Our laws, guidelines, system made us vulnerable to the exact problem we actually are facing, epic numbers of families coming together, overcapacity at the biggest facilities already, literally over 100 percent capacity, you'll start hearing the numbers.

They are frightening. If you don't have the accommodations or the staff, OK, so give them those things. Well, it takes time, and you haven't planned. And, even if you could, what about the case agents, what about the judges?

Here's the problem. Time plus capacity problems equals trouble, not as a result of neglect. I am assuming everybody does their job excellently, and still, overcrowding, time, tension, illness, violence, abuse, it would be shocking if there are not tragedies.

So, build the wall. They're not sneaking in. They're coming to get processed. That's what the officials say. That's what they're going to say tomorrow to Congress.

If everyone comes the right way here's the problem, it may be even worse. Why, because you can't handle the flow now at the ports of entry. In a way, having the illegal crossing has been like a release valve.

It's not the right way. You don't want people to come illegally. It's wrong on a number of levels.

But let's look at why this is happening. On the side of the migrants, you got desperation, and a misconception of ease of asylum, especially if you have kids in tow.

The second part of what I'm seeing as a perfect storm, the systemic side, the U.S. Asylum laws don't address the realities. And you have a lack of capacity, you can't handle the flow, then the factor that should bother us the most because we could control it.

Our President, leaders are fighting on a different front. We're ignoring this. We've done it at our own peril. The money allocated is not being put in the place that would address this concern.

Democrats, I know that you're big on oversight right now. I get it. But this is an opportunity, deal with this. The House, the Senate hearing tomorrow, that's something, but it's not enough.

I've been there. I'm going to go back. I've seen the problem. I've talked to the men and women. I talk to them often.

The people who are demonized like a marauding horde, the President wants you to be afraid of those coming, why, makes sense, fuel outrage, drive enthusiasm, for what he wants, the farcical wall.

Here's the problem. Build all the fine fencing you want, you're not going to stop this problem. Here's the face of the enemy, folks.

The President wants you to be afraid of the migrant. Here's the truth. You need to be afraid for them. They're coming with false hope and, in most cases, nowhere to turn. They're dealing with a system that can't handle them, and a President who wants them treated like ants in a kitchen.

Now you know. Now Congress knows. What will you demand? What will they do? I'm going to go back. If these numbers come true, you have to see the reality. I hope they don't. I hope the projections that we showed you tonight are off.

But if they do come to fruition, Congress, it is time to do your damn job. You know the President has been selling something else. I know that people don't expect anything better from the system right now.

Please, show the American people they are wrong. Do your damn job. Address this situation. All right, that's my argument.

I've got more time for you tonight. How about a bonus hour of PRIME TIME?