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Cohen Turns Over Edits To 2017 Testimony To Congress; DNC Bans Fox News From Hosting Primary Debates; R. Kelly Jailed After Failing To Pay Child Support. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 6, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: A reminder, don't miss Full Circle. It's our daily interactive newscast on Facebook where you get to vote on the stories that we cover. You can get all the details. Watch at weeknights at 6:25 P.M. Eastern at

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. I am Chris Cuomo.

These are ashes on my head. I'm a Catholic. This is part of a ritual that represents this cycle of life, from dust you came, into dust you will return, the priest tells you on this Ash Wednesday. I wish all of you observing this day a reflective Lenten season.

Everybody, welcome to PRIME TIME.

Congress now has the edits to Michael Cohen's false testimony. Does it have the President's lawyers' fingerprints on it? We have new reporting tonight that takes us deeper inside the Trump-Moscow mystery.

And the Democrats have launched their oversight actions, and the President and his pals are finding ways to oppose.

Michael Caputo, he doesn't want to give Democrat the documents they're demanding from him. He says that he doesn't have them, and he says he's not the only one who's going to refuse. Why and who else? He'll tell you.

And why was Fox News shut out from all 2020 Democratic debates? "An inappropriate relationship with President Trump," says the DNC. We have the Party Chair here.

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



(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: So, here's the question. Did the President or his lawyers play a role in doctoring Michael Cohen's false testimony to Congress? Cohen was back on the Hill, back with more proof, this time edits to his fraudulent testimony from 2017.

Here's the question. Do they show coordination with the White House? Yes. Do they show attempts to change the timeline on the Trump Tower Moscow project? The answer is not really.

CNN's learned from his attorney that Cohen was the one who authored the false line in his statement. He says the President's lawyers did sign off on it. But other sources have told CNN the Trump Legal Team did not know it was a lie.

Unlike Cohen, Michael Caputo says he's not going to cooperate. Let's bring in the former Trump adviser, find out why.




CUOMO: Welcome back to PRIME TIME, sir.


CUOMO: Oh, you got a much easier time with the priest than I did, my God.

CAPUTO: Oh hey, you -- you got tortured there, I see.

CUOMO: Yes, he got me. He got me.

All right, so, let me ask you. Why not just comply?

CAPUTO: Well, you know, I've -- I -- we -- I've had a little a bit of a disagreement with your opener there.

CUOMO: Please.

CAPUTO: My -- my attorney responded within 24 hours and said not that we wouldn't give them documents that we had none of the documents that they asked for.

They asked for actually a pretty specific, probably the most specific request we've gotten from any of the Committees or the Mueller investigation, we had none of what they wanted, what they asked for.

But what was really disconcerting to us is that when my attorney was on the phone with a staff member that he said, "We don't have any other. I'm sending a letter about that," the staff member said, "Well will Mr. Caputo -- will you, you know, allow Mr. Caputo to appear before the Committee--

CUOMO: Right.

CAPUTO: --and interview." And my -- my attorney who's former, you know, Attorney General of New York State, he's like, "Why would you want him to appear? He's got nothing what you're looking for."

And that's when it started sounding to me like it's -- it's about something else. And I -- I -- I'm -- I'm not real happy about it.

CUOMO: Well, let's engage your suspicion.

CAPUTO: And I'm not inclined to appear.

CUOMO: First of all--


CUOMO: --just for the record, I have your letter. I got it right here.


CUOMO: I read it. They are asking you for any documents you might have about the meeting in Trump Tower and--

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: --you say you don't have any. You weren't there. You were in Ohio at the time.

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: They say, "Come and talk to us." The lawyer says, "I don't know why you want him. You could get all his testimonies from the other places."

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: But you're making it hard on them, and it seems because you're suspicious of motives. What do you think might happen if you show up?

CAPUTO: Well, first of all, I think since I'm -- I -- I looked at all the -- the -- the document requests. I was, you know, been through about 80 of them, you know.

And I was probably the, if not the smallest -- one of the smallest, I only had a couple of paragraphs, three paragraphs. Some people went into have four, five, six pages like Don Jr. and others.

And, from my perception, if they want me, who -- who couldn't even give them the documents that they wanted, and a rather marginal person in their list of 81 people, they want me to interview. They're going to want every single one of us to interview.

And from my perspective--

CUOMO: That's why you're on the list.

CAPUTO: What, I'm sorry?

CUOMO: That's why you're on the list.

CAPUTO: Understood. Understood.

CUOMO: Why not just go? If you got nothing to hide, go get it done.

CAPUTO: I -- I get that, Chris. But at the same time, I'm two years into this now.

CUOMO: Right.

CAPUTO: I've testified before the House Intelligence and Senate Intelligence.

CUOMO: Yes. And the OSC.

CAPUTO: And the Mueller investigation.


CAPUTO: And this is where it starts looking like they're asking the same questions for a fourth time in a row, two years after the first time they asked it. And, you know, that's what we call a perjury trap, when you're asking--

CUOMO: No, no, no. A perjury trap is when they bring you in with no legitimate investigative reason, and they're trying to trip you--

CAPUTO: Well--

CUOMO: --up against somebody else's testimony just to get you on perceived perjury.

CAPUTO: OK. All right, so tell me. What's--

CUOMO: Why? Why would you think that single--

CAPUTO: --what's the legitimate investigative reason for bringing me in?

[21:05:00] CUOMO: I'll -- you want a criticism? Let me help you out, my friend.


CUOMO: My criticism would be it's duplicative.

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: Go get it from the other people. Do the homework.

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: Do the legwork. See what's in there. Then tell me what else you need. CAPUTO: Right. No, listen--

CUOMO: Don't tell me now.

CAPUTO: I -- I'll tell you what. If -- if they came back to me with more specific -- specificity what they want in this interview, I might consider it.

But at this time, I feel like they want to interview me, just in case I say something that doesn't agree with something I said two years ago, about something that happened two years before that.

CUOMO: Right.

CAPUTO: And or I disagree with somebody else who might disagree with me on -- on a fact.

CUOMO: Right.

CAPUTO: And either way, one of us is going to get charged with perjury because, in reality, I think Chairman Nadler and -- and the rest of Judiciary Committee, in fact, the whole, you know, entire Democratic Congress is trying to set the stage for impeachment.

CUOMO: But they're not--

CAPUTO: I think it's a--

CUOMO: Right. But they're -- they're not going to get you on anything unless you give it to them.

CAPUTO: All right, but--

CUOMO: If you give them false statements, you're asking for it. Don't do that.

CAPUTO: Right. But -- but Chris--

CUOMO: You haven't done it before.

CAPUTO: All right, let's say--

CUOMO: Don't do it now.

CAPUTO: OK. Let's just say, you've done nothing wrong, so submit yourself to--

CUOMO: I've done plenty wrong.

CAPUTO: Well--

CUOMO: Just not in this particular case.

CAPUTO: In -- you know, on Ash Wednesday, you've probably been a good boy, right?

CUOMO: I'm trying.

CAPUTO: But, so let's say, you've done nothing wrong.

CUOMO: Right.

CAPUTO: You're -- you're -- you -- you -- you go testify before the--


CAPUTO: --Mueller investigation, which is hardcore, man.

CUOMO: I understand.

CAPUTO: And you go testify before a leaky Congress too and then two times, and then, you're -- and then, you -- you -- like you -- you're -- you give them all your -- your documents--

CUOMO: Right.

CAPUTO: --all your emails and texts, and then you -- they use a FISA warrant to go through your telephone, and you go in there a fourth or a fifth time to -- across a four-year period, Chris, it starts feeling a little bit like they're trying to set you up.

CUOMO: I get it. But the -- but you got to look at the feelings on both sides. They've been kind of fair to you also, OK?

CAPUTO: Oh, yes.

CUOMO: You had that weird thing happen with the guy who approached with all the weird Russia gear, and he had these weird connections to the American government and to Russia, and he said he had all this great terrible information, and you set up a meeting.

Stone went. The guy showed up looking like a fool. And when you were asked about it religiously--

CAPUTO: The other guy was wearing a Trump hat and a Trump T-shirt, it's--

CUOMO: Right. But I'm just saying it's so obvious. I don't mean--

CAPUTO: Yes. Yes.

CUOMO: It's not foolish to wear those things. You know my point. So, what I'm saying is--

CAPUTO: Right, but I mean, the game we're playing is role (ph).

CUOMO: You know, you had trouble with recollection, and they were forgiving of it.

CAPUTO: But, yes, let me tell you something.

CUOMO: You know, they -- they -- they could have hung--

CAPUTO: Let me, Chris--

CUOMO: --they could have hanged you on that if they wanted to.

CAPUTO: No, they couldn't have.

CUOMO: They could have chased you.

CAPUTO: They couldn't have.

CUOMO: They could have chased you.

CAPUTO: There was no legal exposure there, Chris.

CUOMO: No, but they could have chased you.

CAPUTO: And -- and I'll tell you, there were some Democrats--

CUOMO: How do you not remember a crazy guy like this and this meeting you set up for Stone? How do you not remember?

CAPUTO: But I can -- I -- I was on the phone for two minutes, Chris, on two -- for two minutes with this guy at max.

CUOMO: But I'm saying if they wanted to come after you, you gave them a reason to, and they didn't.

CAPUTO: But let me -- let me finish here.

CUOMO: Please.

CAPUTO: Some Democrats from the House Intelligence Committee were quick to jump on me, and have time and again said that I lied before Congress, and that they intended to refer me for prosecution.

CUOMO: Yes, but they didn't.

CAPUTO: The fact of the matter is I -- when I spoke to the Department of Justice, to the Special Counsel, I brought it up with them.

CUOMO: Good.

CAPUTO: I introduced them to the whole Henry Greenberg thing, and I know that I will not be prosecuted if the Democrats, who were accusing me of this falsely on live television here on your show, and others, many different times--

CUOMO: Never, never, never.

CAPUTO: Well--

CUOMO: Never, never. I have never allowed anyone to accuse you of anything on this show that isn't--

CAPUTO: OK. All right, I stand corrected.

CUOMO: --that is unsubstantiated. CAPUTO: I stand -- I'm going to--

CUOMO: Certainly, not this.

CAPUTO: I'm going to take that back. On Ash Wednesday, I got to take that back.

CUOMO: No. But you know me better than that.

CAPUTO: I know. I know.

CUOMO: I'll come at you. But I'm going to do it directly.

CAPUTO: I know.

CUOMO: Who else isn't going to comply? You -- you hung that out there--

CAPUTO: I -- I've talked to several people.

CUOMO: --that you know others who will say no.

CAPUTO: I don't know who's--


CAPUTO: --not going to comply. I don't know. I've talked to -- to several people. You know, I know a lot of those 81 people.

CUOMO: Right.

CAPUTO: We all agree that it -- that -- that it feels like a perjury trap. We all agreed that it feels like they're trying to set the stage for an impeachment of the President.

CUOMO: But those are two very different things, OK?

CAPUTO: No, it's not. It's not.

CUOMO: It is. You know--

CAPUTO: No, it's not.

CUOMO: --a perjury trap is an abuse of process.

CAPUTO: But the reason why you set perjury -- one of the reason why -- why you set a perjury trap is to try to get somebody to say, you know, OK, look, you're guilty of a purge -- of perjury now. We needed you to talk more about the person senior to you, trying--

CUOMO: They can only do that if you lie to them.

CAPUTO: But that's--

CUOMO: I don't think that you should paint this as something that you don't have reason to believe it is. You could say it's duplicative. You could say it's overreaching. You could say it seems like politicized harassment, fine.

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: Those are all opinions. But to set it up as something like that means that you believe that this is an injustice going on.

CAPUTO: I believe -- I believe--

CUOMO: You sound like the President.

CAPUTO: --I believe that this Nadler investigation, the -- the House Judiciary investigation it is, you know, kind of redundant. It's also in my--

CUOMO: Redundant is different than a perjury trap.

CAPUTO: I know. I know but--

CUOMO: That's an abuse of the system.

CAPUTO: I understand that, Chris. And I believe that I am susceptible to this because I don't trust the people who are inviting me there. And, by the way, they haven't invited me yet, and they may not.

But and another thing that I want to tell you, which I thought was--

CUOMO: Please.

CAPUTO: --you know, I mean I was -- when I worked at the House Radio TV Gallery back in the late 80s, I was responsible for broadcast television coverage of seven of the permanent Committees of House Representatives. And I know what a bogus investigation looks like.

[21:10:00] One of the -- one of the sure tells is that they don't send you the letter. They send it to the media. And the media gives you the letter. I got the letter from a Reuters reporter. And my -- my attorney, I had to give that letter to my attorney.

CUOMO: Right.

CAPUTO: It sounds like--

CUOMO: It's poor form.

CAPUTO: It's poor form.

CUOMO: That's poor form. I'm -- I'm with you on that.

CAPUTO: It's -- it's -- it's a headline-seeker.

CUOMO: But remember all this, Michael.


CUOMO: First of all, two things. One, and then I'll let you go. One--


CUOMO: --I'm always going to be straight with you.

CAPUTO: I know.

CUOMO: If I don't have proof on you, I'm not coming at you, and I'm not letting everybody else -- anybody else do it either. That serves no one. Two--

CAPUTO: I -- I agree.

CUOMO: --this wouldn't be going on if the President, and people around him, not you, as far as I know, didn't lie so much about things involved with Russia. That's what planted the seed. We'll see where it goes. I'm going to police it as well.

CAPUTO: But, Chris, can I say one thing, though?

CUOMO: Please.

CAPUTO: If the Mueller investigation finds no collusion, do you think the crack squad of investigators at House Judiciary is going to do any better? By then -- then what -- what appears to be in -- in hindsight, probably one of the best investigatory units we've ever assembled--

CUOMO: I don't think--

CAPUTO: --in modern times.

CUOMO: --I don't think that that is the only avenue of pursuit for them.

CAPUTO: I agree.

CUOMO: And also, as we've said before, I don't believe in this standard of collusion as just a crime. I've never been into it--

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: --for a criminal analysis. I want answers to who knew what and who did what.


CUOMO: Collusion is a behavior.

CAPUTO: Right.

CUOMO: And what Manafort did, Stone did, and maybe a few others, it's collusive behavior. Is it a crime?

CAPUTO: And -- and a lot of the headlines--

CUOMO: I don't think so.

CAPUTO: --a lot of the headlines are talking about obstruction. And, by the way, I would have no idea because I did -- I -- I left the campaign in the summer.

CUOMO: Understood.

CAPUTO: I was never in the transition, never in the -- in the Administration.

CUOMO: Understood.

CAPUTO: So, what would I have to say about obstruction? That's why it smells fishy to me.

CUOMO: Sounds to me like a quick day. And, hopefully, you should find some way to get them to pay your bills.

CAPUTO: It cost 20,000 bucks. Didn't matter--

CUOMO: I know. That--

CAPUTO: --how long it takes.

CUOMO: I understand that. And that's onerous. And I don't like it either. I don't like it either.

CAPUTO: Well I'm -- I'm $250,000 in the red on this.

CUOMO: I hear you.

CAPUTO: And, thankfully, I have been able to raise money to cover it. But I don't want to go in deeper in red. My family deserves better than this. We've had our lives on pause for two years, Chris. I want to press play.

CUOMO: I understand. And it is unfair that you got caught up. But well remember where it started, all right? Congress didn't make this up. This was given to them by a President and people around him who lie too much about things that they shouldn't have.

For you--

CAPUTO: It's time to end to it.

CUOMO: --you be well. I'm not blaming you. And I don't have proof, all right?

CAPUTO: Thanks a lot.

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

CAPUTO: Best wishes, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, so, to many on the Left, OK this robust range of oversight that we were just talking about there is very promising, forget just collusion, there's so many different avenues of pursuit that this President lays out there for you.

However, this quickness to move on from Mueller, "Oh, no, no, no, the real way that we'll get the President is through oversight," don't be so fast.

One, don't forget everything that people on the Left told you that might come from Mueller. Hold them to account. And doing this type of oversight, it carries risks. You should know them. I'm going to list them ahead.

And Democrats are taking a big stand against Fox. The Party is all behind this. The Head of the Party is here to explain it. Don't miss it.








CUOMO: So, Michael Caputo may be the first one to say, "Listen, you don't need to talk to me. I know you're asking. But you don't need." But he's not going to be the last, not when the Judiciary Committee is trying to get documents from this many people.

And while this massive list may play into the perception of Trump at the center of a corrupt cabal, going this big, this fast, raises a lot of potential landmines, not the least of which is this hammer that the President and his pals are going to use on the Democrats.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 81 people or organizations got letters, it's a disgrace. It's a disgrace to our country.

They look at it, they just say Presidential harassment.


CUOMO: Well he should also look at his past and his present, and he'll see reasons why.

But beyond the talking points, there are real issues when you cast this wide of a net. For example, the deepest dive maybe for government documents, so that means the FBI, DOJ, and the White House.

The Judiciary Committee wants all documents relating to almost 30 different topics. The optics of that, sure, look like Democrats stepping on Mueller's turf, something they've said for two years was off-limits.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think we're there yet.

DANIEL TIMOTHY KILDEE, (D) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FOR MICHIGAN'S 5TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: We have to wait to see how all of this fits into the larger context.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: And let Mueller finish his job.


CUOMO: All right, then quick question. Why didn't you wait until after Mueller to launch all this oversight? It also looks a little duplicative since the Intel committees are digging in to many of these same topics.

Finally, these are the three agencies with long and well-established reasons for keeping things secret.

For example, it took the Obama Justice Department two years and a court order to turn over the Fast and Furious documents. Now, they didn't want to turn them over either, but they can work the system.

Then, there are those names like Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, Cambridge Analytica, they're all foreign entities. They're beyond Congress' reach.

There's a whole lot of current or former West-wingers on the list who bring legitimate Executive privilege protection surrounding conversations with the President, and it seems that's what they want.

His inner circle at the Trump Org, you have Cohen who gave a tantalizing peek into what may be there, but the question is going to be, "Do you care." See, at this point, we know what kind of business Trump ran. I mean if you still believe he's a great businessman, then you're going to believe anything.

What revelations would move the needle because at the end of the day this is political, it's about consensus. How many people would care? The family, for many voters, this is where it goes from necessary oversight to getting personal, getting personal fast.

What you're left with is this motley crew of people in the Trump orbit, many of whom we've already seen parade through the halls of Congress.

Keep in mind, for every person who held a position that matters, Lewandowski, you know, though -- you also have folks like Jerome Corsi, Randy Credico who make Cohen's credibility concerns seem like small potatoes.

So, every time the White House claims privilege or a witness refuses to testify, the process is going to drag out, and you're going to wind up having less return on all of this investment.

So, at this point, look, it is not clear if there is enough there to warrant a move against the President. Where will we go? We'll see. But remember, the more they try, the more they're going to have to get back.

So, the debatable question is this. Is this harassment, as the President is telling you, or is it legitimate warranted oversight? Great Debate, let's have it next.








CUOMO: Forget Mueller. The Democrats will get it done. You hear the enthusiasm in the ranks. And with that comes expectations and risk. So, we have a debatable question. Is this oversight or overreach?

That is the making of a Great Debate.




CUOMO: Ana Navarro and Scott Jennings are here. (FOREIGN LANGUAGE). To you and your husband, the best.


CUOMO: It was beautiful. You were beautiful. I'm sorry I wasn't there. It was my loss. And I wish you the best.

NAVARRO: Thank you.

CUOMO: But no favoritism, so I start with you, Scott Jennings. The idea of this being not oversight but overreach, what is the case at this early stage?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well I think that, first of all, the Democrats are trying to get to a place where they can impeach the President. Number two, I think they are making a huge mistake by not waiting for Robert Mueller. [21:25:00] And what they are saying to the American people right now

is that they are not going to believe Mueller's report if it doesn't say what they want it to say. They want it to say collusion. They want it to say all these bad things.

And now, there's less confidence that it's going to say that, so they're trying to prep a separate track here, so they can continue down this road of impeachment.

At a minimum, all of these requests are designed to introduce investigatory paralysis into this Administration. Their base, once this Administration ended, they want it ended via impeachment or an election or administrative investigatory paralysis, and that's what this is all about.

CUOMO: Counter.

NAVARRO: You know, what goes around comes around. And we -- we have seen very exhaustive in the -- investigations under Republicans of Democrats of Hillary Clinton, namely.

But, look, I think what you're seeing is a result of two things or maybe more than two things. But certainly one is that for the last two years, Republicans look the other way time and time again.

They have been hypocritical. They have be -- behaved towards activities by Donald Trump and his Administration in a way that they would not have gotten away with if it was a Democratic Administration.

Do you think that if a Democratic Administration had -- had the daughter and the son-in-law, you know, pushing security clearances, it would have gone uninvestigated? No.

So, look, what -- what I think you're seeing is a reaction to two years of negligence and dereliction of their duty as a co-equal branch of government by the Republicans when they were in charge--


NAVARRO: --of these committees.

CUOMO: Ana, quick follow--

NAVARRO: Also, you know, you've got last -- last -- last week, we heard Michael Cohen and there needs to be follow-up.

CUOMO: All right.

NAVARRO: There needs to be follow-up about some of the things that he said.

CUOMO: All right, quick follow for you, timing. Why not wait until Mueller came out, see what's there, see what's not there, pick your avenues, be surgical, use a scalpel, not a hammer?

NAVARRO: Because there's too many questions that are up on the air -- in the air right now like right like, look, after Michael Cohen's testimony last week, we heard about Allen Weisselberg, and so many different issues in which he was involved.

We heard about things that go beyond the Mueller investigation, things like--

CUOMO: Absolutely.

NAVARRO: --the -- the, you know, things like manipulating values of properties and assets in order to avoid taxes or in order to get certain economic benefits from that. And so, you know, I think Democrats are looking into it.

Look, here's what though. They have to be very careful of not turning this into what Donald Trump has been calling it for the last two years, a witch-hunt.

They have to be careful not to overcompensate, not to overkill, not to turn Donald Trump into a sympathetic figure, who seems like he's being attacked and victimized by a Democratic Congress.

Somehow, they have to find the balance between doing their job, and I absolutely believe Congress has got a job and duty to provide oversight, and to investigate things that must be investigated, but without it looking like it's just a show.

CUOMO: The problem for your side, Scott, is that I hear you about this being -- you could see it as being pre-emptive except for Ana's point about well they've been waiting for years for this and the Republicans didn't want to do any oversight of one of their own, OK.

They could have waited for Mueller. I see the strategic difference in that. But you hear Ana's point on that. The problem for you is there's a lot of smoke.

This President has provided a lot of fodder for these kinds of questions, not by least of which is all the lies by him and the people around him about things that they're now looking at.

I mean don't you have to look at him for why they have so many questions?

JENNINGS: Sure. Look, there are legitimate areas for legitimate government oversight, policy areas, things going on in the agencies, I think these are all legitimate areas.

I think where they get out of hand is when you start targeting the President's children, when you start trying to re-litigate--

CUOMO: You work for the government. See, that's the problem.

JENNINGS: --his business career.

CUOMO: I'm with you on Don Jr.

JENNINGS: Some do. Some of them -- some of them do. CUOMO: I'm with you on Don Jr. and Eric--


CUOMO: --and, obviously, Tiffany. She's got nothing to do with any of this.

But you put Ivanka in charge of all the -- whatever the hell she does. And, you know, you have Jared running around the world as some kind of diplomat or whatever he does, you've put them in positions, and they have questions. Now -- now he exposed them.

JENNINGS: And I think the policy questions are legitimate, that's legitimate oversight.

However, there is long-standing precedent by the Department of Justice, most recently reaffirmed by the Obama DOJ that immediate advisers to the President are immune to this process.

CUOMO: Yes, they're going to have privilege issues.

JENNINGS: I don't think we'll ever see Ivanka and Jared -- and -- Jared in -- in a witness chair--

CUOMO: Yes, that's fine.

JENNINGS: --because it would violate this immunity and separation of powers.

CUOMO: Well, the immunity is selective, right? It's about what they spoke to the President about. They could have questions for those two about their own situations, you know.

Why do legit Intel officials believe neither of you should have gotten clearances, you know? So, we'll see what they want to ask. The privilege isn't a 100 percent on everything that they do anywhere. It's about them with the President.

[21:30:00] All right, so then you have, Ana, where this leads. You know, the Democrats get, you know, real hesitant, real fast when you talk about impeachment, and I don't understand it.

Where else would it lead? You know, I get why they don't want to jump on impeachment. The American people are not dying for impeachment right now. So, where does it go?

NAVARRO: Look, it could lead to legislation, right? I don't know about other Americans. But I'd certainly like to see a tightening of nepotism laws, and I'd like to see a tightening of national security clearance laws.

Just imagine for half a second what the reaction from Republicans would be right now if it was being reported that Chelsea Clinton had gotten a security clearance pushed by her daddy or her mommy, we would be setting our hair on fire.

CUOMO: True.

NAVARRO: Just imagine what the reaction would be if it was being reported that Chelsea Clinton's husband was on a WhatsApp message--

CUOMO: Right.

NAVARRO: --with the Rulers of Saudi Arabia--

CUOMO: But do you want to act the same way?

NAVARRO: --who just killed a Khashoggi?

CUOMO: You want to beat with your poles (ph)?

NAVARRO: No. That's why I want there to be a tightening of ledges -- I want there to be a tightening of these rules.

That's why they -- it might lead to legislation. There might need to be legislation on nepotism because one day, you know, today, it might be your team. One day, it might be the different team.

And that's what people have got to remember. They're not always going to be in the majority. They're not always going to be in the White House. And these things could happen again. And then, now, there's this kind of precedent.

So, I hope that if nothing else, some of this, turns into legislation, so that these things, these blurry lines regarding emoluments clause, these blurry lines regarding security clearances, these blurry lines regarding nepotism, and who can and cannot be there are no longer blurry.

CUOMO: And, look, animus aside, this President presents certain issues that we haven't seen before. We haven't had a President with this kind of background before. But to Ana's last point, we're out of time here, and I thank both of you for making the case.

I'll tell you what's going to be a big test of what comes around goes around. This vote on the national emergency, if Conservatives go for this national emergency, we all know it's going to come back to haunt. It's going to be a really interesting vote.

Scott, thank you very much.

NAVARRO: I got to tell you something. The National emergency--

CUOMO: Yes. Senora Cardenas.

NAVARRO: --I'm having now -- now, my national emergency is I got to go find that church that's open in Philadelphia because I just saw your ashes, and I got to go before my mother sees me on TV without them.

CUOMO: I think you have the marital dispensation. I think you're good. I think you're good this time around. Congratulations again.

NAVARRO: Thank you. We missed you, Chris. CUOMO: You -- you look beautiful. I wish I had been there. All the best to you both.

NAVARRO: You left a lot of broken hearts. There were a lot of Miamians waiting for Chris Cuomo to show up and dance, see if you could, in fact, dance salsa, back it up a bit.

CUOMO: Oh, listen, don't kid yourself. That -- that will be your gift for the wedding. This all works. All right, take care of yourself. Thank you both.

All right, so R. Kelly news for you tonight. He's back in jail. No, not for the stunt he pulled in this CBS interview, though it was worthy of punishment. I'm going to fill you in on his new mess.

But, first, you've heard me call it the Mother Ship. We all know Fox, especially their Prime Time lineup is overtly supportive of this President, and they overtly attack Democrats and the media who don't go along with their views.

Democrats say they've had enough. The Head of the Party is here to explain a controversial move. He's got to be ready to be tested, next.








CUOMO: Big announcement from the DNC today. They say they're not going to allow Fox to host any Democratic debates through 2020, citing a report on the network's ties to the President.

Trump is now pushing back with a tweet saying, "Good, then I think I'll do the same with the Fake News Networks and the Radical Left Democrats in the General Election debates!"

So, who better to respond to the President than DNC Chair, Tom Perez?




CUOMO: Welcome back to PRIME TIME. What's with this move?

TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Grace (ph). Well, Chris, this is all about two things. We've been preparing for these debates. We have unprecedented opportunities in these debates, and I had two major goals, very simple.

Number one, we wanted to maximize the number of people who see our candidates because I think what we're fighting for, it commands the respect and support of the majority of the American people.


PEREZ: Fighting for healthcare, fighting for all the -- those really important issues that every American wants to make sure is part of their life. And so, I reached out to all the networks to make sure that we can maximize eyeballs, including Fox News.

Our second goal though is to make sure that every debate that takes place that I have a 100 percent assurance that everybody is treated fairly. And, you know, I have a -- respect for a number of folks on the news side over at Fox News.

I was just on Chris Wallace a couple weeks ago.

CUOMO: He's the real deal. He raised me at ABC.

PEREZ: And I'm -- if invited, I'll -- I'll go back again.

CUOMO: He's the real deal.

PEREZ: He is very respected. And -- and I have nothing but respect for him. At the same time though, Chris Wallace isn't my concern. You see that at the highest levels of Fox News, they have infiltrated the news side.

Now, it -- it's a dog bites man story that Sean Hannity and some of the high-ups at -- at Fox News are -- are colluding and collaborating all the time. But this isn't about the -- the other side, the Lou Dobbs, the -- the Sean Hannity side.

This is about, and -- and this New Yorker report was about interference at the highest levels of Fox News in the news side.

CUOMO: Right. Yes. No, we read it. We were -- read Mayer's reporting.

PEREZ: And -- and--

CUOMO: The question is how you're making it better by doing this? You knew the President was going to respond this way, tit-for-tat. You say you want a big tent, why cut off the potential audience?

PEREZ: Well -- well, listen. Yes, I'm sure the President cleared that tweet with Fox News.

And, you know what? I have to have -- I want to have a 100 percent confidence that our debates and -- and the debates are the most important thing -- one of the -- some of the most important things we can do, Chris. I'm not going to cut off my contact with Fox News. I've -- I've been on again as recently as a week or so ago, and will continue to go back. But these debates are special.

CUOMO: I get it. I just don't know how it helps.

PEREZ: And I want to make sure the debates are focused on the issues--

CUOMO: I get that you want an assurance of fairness. You want that from everybody.

PEREZ: Oh, I--

CUOMO: I get it. I've been part of those negotiations. I understand. But I don't understand the play here. It seems like you're just asking for more division in a campaign season that's supposed to be about trying to find ways have less division.

[21:40:00] PEREZ: Well, I -- I think I -- I see it differently, Chris.


PEREZ: And I -- I see my role as making sure that we are every -- everything we do is ensuring that our candidates are treated fairly. That's why we have this unprecedented format for the first two debates.

I'm -- I'm excited about the fact that we'll be partnering with CNN on one of those debates, and we're going to do it two nights in a row. We're going to have random selection. We're giving a number of different ways for people to get on the debate stage.

We've done all of this reform to our -- our processes, including diminishing the role of -- of -- of superdelegates so that we can return power to the grassroots. Every turn, Chris, I want to make sure that our candidates have a fair shake, and the grassroots can be heard.

CUOMO: All right.

PEREZ: And I don't -- I just don't have confidence, Chris. I -- I need to have a 100 percent confidence before we sign up in a debate.

Now, I have a 100 percent confidence, which is why we have signed up with you that our candidates are going to be at the center of the stage, and that there's going to be no interference from the highest levels of your news organization.

CUOMO: I understand.

PEREZ: I don't have that confidence anymore in Fox.

CUOMO: I understand the argument.

PEREZ: And that's why we did it. CUOMO: I'm just saying I would always err on the side of inclusion. But that's why I test your idea. I appreciate you for answering the questions. Let me ask you one more thing, I have you.

You heard me tonight.

PEREZ: Sure.

CUOMO: I have concerns about the timing of this oversight push and the breadth of it for two reasons.

One, it just seems a little bit pre-emptive to me. We don't even know what Mueller has yet. I thought they were going to be more surgical, you know, use a scalpel on these things, find avenues of opportunity, not cast this wide a net.

And the second thing is expectations, Tom. You know, you have lists of 81 people. You go down all these different roads. You know, the rank- and-file, let alone the middle of the country are going to have expectations of outcome.

PEREZ: Well, I -- I-- I know the Committee Chairs very, very well, and I have great respect for them.

They had -- and -- and -- and I think they understand. And, you know, they -- especially, I -- I've -- I've talked to people like Adam Schiff, you know former Federal Prosecutor.

They understand that the number-one issue here is the Mueller investigation. And -- and that's why they've taken such great pains. You -- you saw Chairman Cummings last week.

When there were -- when Mr. Cohen was in front of the Committee, they were very clear not to go into areas where they had been instructed not to. But, you know, there's a lot of work to do. And the -- the culture of corruption that has engulfed this Administration is -- is breathtaking.

You know, a -- a scandal in the Obama White House was when the President wore a tan suit.

I mean you look at -- you look around this Administration and all the Cabinet Secretaries, they're not even focused on that at the moment because there's so much corruption engulfing this Administration.

And so, I have a lot of confidence, Chris, that moving forward, they understand that they have to give the requisite space to the Mueller investigation, but we can't sit by, and -- and simply do nothing.

I mean how many investigations of Benghazi were there? I think Ana correctly pointed that out in the prior segment. I forgot -- I lost count, quite frankly.

CUOMO: Yes. I thought that that was an abuse of process.

I just, you know, I'm always very careful to make sure that one party doesn't repeat the same mistakes of the other one, and a tit-for-tat, and that's why I bring it up, and I appreciate your perspective, Tom Perez.

You're always welcome here to talk about what matters to your Party, and to the country. Thank you, Sir.

PEREZ: Well, thank you.

CUOMO: All right, got a brand-new mugshot of R. Kelly. He's back behind bars tonight, but only after offering this dramatic defense on national TV in the face of serious sexual abuse charges.

There are lots of questions surrounding his case. We've got answers to the three big ones, next.








CUOMO: Singer R. Kelly is back in jail tonight, not for any of the mountain of allegations from women, but for failing to pay child support. He's also back in the hot seat for antics in an interview.

Take a little look at this.


ROBERT SYLVESTER KELLY, SINGER, SONGWRITER, RECORD PRODUCER, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: I didn't do this stuff. This is not me. I'm fighting for my (BEEP) life. You all killing me with this (BEEP). I didn't know this (ph). I'm (BEEP).


KELLY: Fighting this I'm to win (ph). But you all trying to kill me. You're killing me now.


CUOMO: All right, you see it for yourself. There's no reason for me to characterize it. He's in the face of 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. That's what he's up against, so three questions that we should be thinking about right now in this moment.



CUOMO: Got Joey Jackson here with some answers.

One, as a lawyer who's been in situations like this, who makes the call to put him in that position?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think, ultimately, Chris, it is his call. It's the client's call.

CUOMO: Sure.

JACKSON: But it's done with the advice and counsel, obviously, of your attorney. And I have to tell you this, which would be surprising, is I would have put him in that position. I think that he's done--

CUOMO: If you knew he was going to do that?

JACKSON: No. No. That's a separate issue.

CUOMO: All right.

JACKSON: I think that you have to stay on message. And what I don't like are a couple of things.

Obviously, the demeanor and comportment that's shown there, I think, is not appropriate. But, more importantly, I think you have to own certain things, and then, I think you have to disavow yourself of others. What do I mean?

I think that there's a distinction between -- between being a bad guy who has treated women inappropriately, not right, perhaps too controlling, perhaps a jerk, and being a criminal.

And I think if you're going to put your client out there to level the playing field to sort of condition the jury pool, he'll be facing a jury soon, let's be clear, and so you have to fight back from a Public Relations perspective.

So, I could see the room now where his attorneys are saying, "Don't do it, don't do it." Public Relations specialist saying, "You got to get out there to even the playing field."

But when you disown everything, and you start calling everyone a liar, and you make yourself the victim, it has a backfiring effect. If you're going to let your client out there, you want to control their demeanor, you want to control their comportment, you want them to be contrite, you want them to own, perhaps being a bad person--

CUOMO: Right.

JACKSON: --and treating women inappropriately, but saying, "I am no minor rapist, so to speak. I don't rape little girls." And I think that's what had to be clear. And I think that this had a backfiring effect, and it's unfortunate.

CUOMO: So, that's the second question is whether it help or hurt.


[21:50:00] CUOMO: I mean just to game it out a little bit, it's clear why it hurt. I mean he showed himself, as you use the word, comportment, I mean--


CUOMO: --he couldn't have come across worse in the face of allegations.


CUOMO: The person with nothing to hide has a very different demeanor than what we saw there. What possible upside could there be, assuming--


CUOMO: --I'm a skeptic. He's a performer. If there was some part of him that if he's not like emotionally disturbed, and he was thinking--


CUOMO: --about this, and he made a decision that this is where I'm going to go, what's the upside?

JACKSON: Look, I think--

CUOMO: Outrage?

JACKSON: --I think people are mad as heck, and they're not going to take it anymore. We are in a different climate, and so let's address that first.

We are in a climate where #MeToo time's up. We're in a climate where women have had enough of being objectified, of being subjected to, be -- of mistreatment etcetera.

CUOMO: Assault.

JACKSON: And so -- absolutely. Well, that's the core issue, right? And so, the reality is, is that you have to be very sensitive to that.

And to the extent that you're not sensitive to that and you're making yourself the victim, will you have people, if you saw the R. Kelly documentary, not crediting everything everyone said, he's presumed innocent until proven guilty, but they had real concerns.

And they had very emotional concerns, and it was hard to -- to disconnect from them, when they stated their piece in terms of who he was. So, if you're going to go out there, and you're going to go in front of the cameras, and you're going to condition a jury that you're going to be before, you got to do it in the right way. And I just think that this missed the mark.

CUOMO: Sure.

JACKSON: And I think that perhaps he could have controlled himself. I'm -- I'm obviously understating the case. He should have controlled himself a lot better.

I think he should have owned up to a lot of the misconduct, perhaps he engaged in, not the criminality, but the fact that could everyone saying he's a control freak be wrong, and I think you have to own that, but you have to make clear that I did not break the laws.

And so, to the upside--


JACKSON: --I, you know, little, with the exception of maybe a backlash that, "Hey, you know, you guys are going after R. Kelly a little too hard."

CUOMO: Feelings, now to fact, how strong is the case?

JACKSON: I think to the merits of the actual case, I think the case is problematic for him. Now, let me just say this quickly, Chris. I don't agree with him being put in jail for the child support issue.


JACKSON: That's number one. Because I think first of all, if you -- it's about making sure the children get their money, and judges have a number of remedies.

Number one, attach my assets, if I have any. Number two, you have a bank account, get it, property, get it, tax returns, get it. There are things you could do to ensure that those children get their money.

It's not about R. Kelly at that point. It's about his children. And if a guy comes into my courtroom and they have $50,000, "Sir, pay the $50,000. Get back out there. Earn enough to pay again."

This is a guy who could potentially go to jail, right, coming back to the core of your question, which is the strength of the case, and he won't have any money then. So, if I'm a Judge, I want to make sure that the children are protected by giving it to him now.

Why do I think this -- the case is hurtful to him?

You have, in this instance, four victims who are coming forward. That in -- in and of itself is very powerful. The initial case that everyone talks about, which was the acquittal, you had one single victim, a video, the victim did not come forward. There were questions as to whether it was him on the video. You have four people here who are going to say, "That guy did this to

me." That's going to have an effect upon the jury. In addition to that, what about other prior bad acts that he committed? If the Judge allows those in, it's just a very troubling uphill problematic thing.

CUOMO: I'll tell you one thing. This would have been even worse for him if Gayle King, CBS, that's who's there, didn't handle it the way she did.

JACKSON: 1000 percent.

CUOMO: Full disclosure, Gayle's a friend of mine.

JACKSON: 1000 percent.

CUOMO: But let me tell you, she is so rock-solid, such a strong individual.


CUOMO: The way she was talking to him, if she had been, you know, the way many people, maybe -- maybe I would have been, you know, seemed scared and apprehensive--

JACKSON: Exactly right.

CUOMO: --he could have come off like a monster.

JACKSON: She was cool as a cucumber.

CUOMO: Oh, yes, she's the real deal. Joey, thank you very much--

JACKSON: Good to see you, Chris.

CUOMO: --for doing the 3 Questions.

JACKSON: Always.

CUOMO: Joey Jackson, ladies and gentlemen.

All right, so a TV icon is on a lot of people's minds tonight. Forget about R. Kelly. I'm talking about somebody that this country has always needed, Alex Trebek, long-time host of Jeopardy!, is battling cancer.

Now, the promise he's making is just as important, and it's one that you should see, next. Thank you.








CUOMO: In a time that is all about what is keeping us apart, we got tough news today about someone who has always brought America together, literally for decades. I don't care what your race, color, creed, gender, bank account level, you've watched Jeopardy!

Since 1984, Alex Trebek has been the smartest guy in our living rooms, teaching us, more importantly, bringing us together. Today, he gave us the toughest answer we've ever gotten from him.


ALEX TREBEK, HOST, JEOPARDY!: Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Now, normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I'm going to fight this, and I'm going to keep working, and with the love and support of my family and friends, and with the help of your prayers, also, I plan to beat the low survival-rate statistics for this disease.

Truth told, I have to, because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy!, for three more years, so help me.

Keep the faith, and we'll win. We'll get it done.


CUOMO: That signature insouciance. He's always so even, even now. Trebek, 78 years young. He went public because he wants to raise awareness, in part, so let's do that. I will tell you.

The American Cancer Society estimates that for 2019, about 57,000 people in the United States would be diagnosed. Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3 percent of all cancers in the U.S., about 7 percent of all cancer deaths. It's a bad one. You know, stage four is what it sounds like.

A part of the awareness is not just the numbers, but the urgency. We should be getting regular check-ups. You should stay close to your medical care. Be proactive. Pancreatic cancer is hard to find early.

The pancreas as an organ is deep inside the body, early tumors are tough to see, tough to feel for doctors during routine physicals. People usually don't have symptoms until the cancer has already spread, so you got to be proactive and you got to be lucky, frankly.

Trebek is a major asset to our culture, not just to the game show. In a time of shallow beliefs and rampant truth abuse in our politics and beyond, every night, he makes facts first. We need him now more than ever. So, Mr. Trebek, fight as you have never fought before, do everything you can. And please know you are respected for all the right reasons by all of us. We are with you, and we wish you well.

All right, it's time now for a bonus hour of PRIME TIME.