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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Rep. Jackie Speier (D) California Is Interviewed About Cohen Testimony; President Trump's Next Move On North Korea Nuclear Stalemate; North Korea Appears To Be Building Missile Site; Cohen Shares Edited False Statement Documents With House Intelligence Committee; Donald Trump's Focus On America's Global Trade; Michael Cohen's Hearing In Front of Congress; The Last Remaining Blockbuster Video on Earth. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 6, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: And at 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.
Michael Cohen, returned to the Hill today with backup to prove that some of the claims he made to Congress last week should be believed. Did he establish that the president's lawyers altered the testimony that is sending him off to prison in part? We have new reporting.
And also a member of the House Intel Committee he met with today. What can she reveal? How much will she take of me pushing her to reveal things that she does not want to? We also have proof of another major promise broken by our president and a man who once ran against him with reaction.
And you remember President Trump once telling us the North Korean nuclear threat was over, right? There are new images that clearly suggest that is not the case. So what is he saying now? What do you say? Let's get after it.
Convicted perjurer, everybody knows that. So, Michael Cohen's word is only as good as what he can prove. As we always say here, you only know what he can show. So he returned to the Hill again today. According to our sources, he had documents to prove the false statement that he delivered to Congress in 2017 was edited.
Question, does it show that the president's lawyers fiddled with the part that matters, the time line of the Trump/Moscow deal negotiations? Last week he said there were changes made on how to handle that message. Tonight Cohen's lawyer says -- Cohen's lawyer -- says it was Cohen himself who authored the false line. Let's bring in someone who heard directly from him today, House Intel member, Jackie Speier. It's good to have you. Thank you.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: Now, the difficult part of the interview. I know it was in a closed session. So, without me poking at you with a bunch of things that you're going to say, I can't tell you, what can you tell us?
SPEIER: I can tell you that he was very compelling, that his testimony was both revealing and explosive on yet another level that was different from what it was during the oversight and government reform hearing last week.
CUOMO: All right. So different. So Congresswoman Speier, put a little bit of the meat on the bones for us, if you can. Why different?
SPEIER: Well, because he talked about other issue areas. And I think that what we will find over the long term is that we have someone who is sitting in the White House right now who has a record that we have seen frankly from the time he was feigning bone spurs, that he is always been on the edge and acting in a manner that could be argued to be fraudulent.
SPEIER: Could be argued that he has evaded taxes and has conducted himself in a way in which he has created a conspiracy to suborn perjury.
CUOMO: So last one aside, because that is going to be harder for me to argue, the other three, how do you balance the concern of what you can find out with what's already been weighed and measured? Assuming that people know they voted for someone who doesn't have integrity, who made a lot of things up, who made their money in a weird way, who has been stuck with fraud allegations before where he is had to pay. They voted for him anyway. So how do you balance what matters?
SPEIER: Well, I would say first of all that he was given a pass during the campaign against Hillary Clinton on a lot of these issues. A lot of them have come forward now. I think, what is most troubling is that his unwillingness to provide information about his earnings, his tax returns has always led to the question of what is he doing in terms of foreign affairs, in terms of protecting the American people that is colored by his interests in wanting to do business in many of these countries?
CUOMO: All right. So the two hits on going early. There are actually three. Timing, whether this is overreach, and whether this is about just wanting to impeach. Let's take the first one. Why didn't you wait for the Mueller probe to come out and then be more surgical and, all right, here's what he's got. Here's what he didn't get to. Now we know where to go.
SPEIER: So, first of all, our responsibility is very different from Special Counsel Mueller.
CUOMO: True. SPEIER: And we have been working on this issue now for a number of
years, often with both our hands tied behind our back, because under the minority, when it was the majority, they had no interest in wanting to really get to the truth.
[22:05:00] So, our job is to find out in the Intelligence Committee to what extent was Russia engaged with the Donald Trump campaign. To what extent Russia used many of the sources both in terms of social media and other platforms to try and promote a message that would have benefited Donald Trump. And so that is our charge on that committee.
The Oversight and Government Reform Committee has a very different charge. And then of course you've got different charges with the Judiciary Committee and the Ways and Means Committee. So, we will all be in our lanes, so to speak, in terms of this investigation, but the Mueller probe is probably not going to venture into areas around the president's business interests as much as I think many of us will be.
CUOMO: Right. And also we have to see what kind of report there is. Do you think it's likely that -- forget about subpoenaing the report, if it doesn't come to you directly. Do you think there's a good chance that the country is going to see Bob Mueller before a Congressional Committee, testifying in public?
SPEIER: I think to the extent that Attorney General Barr refuses to make that report public, we're going to make it public one way or the other. And if that requires us asking Special Counsel Mueller to appear before us, we will do that. And I hope that more and more of our hearings will be made public so that the public can really witness what's being said by the Republicans on the committee and the Democrats on the committee.
CUOMO: It helps to make it public. I got to tell you when these things are closed-door sessions, I mean, we get the idea of needing to keep things classified, but the public trust is so low right now that transparency is at a premium.
I mean, look, even with these oversight questions, the rank and file are excited. They believe that this is something they've been waiting for. And that comes with political expectations, but on the other side, they say, yes, they obviously want to impeach the president. Why would you do this if you don't want to impeach the president? What's your answer?
SPEIER: So, I don't think we can make that statement yet. I think what we do have a responsibility to do is to show the American people to what extent the president of the United States is violating the law and is putting his personal interests before the American people. I have no reluctance in calling for impeachment once all of the cards are laid on the table and it shows that there are high crimes and misdemeanors.
I'm not interested in this whole idea that somehow it's not politic to pursue impeachment. That is our job. We swear under oath that we will protect the American people, that we'll respond to the constitution, and I think that we have an obligation to make sure that the American people can trust us to do the right thing.
CUOMO: Do you believe that a sustained pattern of multivariate abuse of power would qualify as a high crime or misdemeanor?
SPEIER: I do.
CUOMO: Really? Because that is going to be the president's potential problem is that you guys see a pattern of behavior that you believe does not equate with presidential behavior.
SPEIER: Well, abuse of power, obstruction of justice, suborning perjury, those are all --
CUOMO: Well, suborning perjury is a crime.
SPEIER: That is right.
CUOMO: Right, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, I think you've got a problem there with the presidency in terms of a legal analysis, but abuse of power is, we don't like how you did this. It's not that you can't do this. I don't like how you did this. And that is a different bar.
SPEIER: Well, I guess my definition of abuse of power is slightly different than yours.
CUOMO: How so, because yours is the one that matters.
SPEIER: Well, abuse of power is where you use your power for personal gain and not for the public's gain. And I think that if you are attempting to evade the truth, if you are attempting to somehow suggest that you are above the law in terms of how you wield your power, if you use it to intimidate and threaten, those, I think, are all abuses of power.
CUOMO: That is a tricky definition for this president. Of course you've got to get by buy-in from the other side. Otherwise this is going to be a one-phase process. Because if you don't -- what we saw in the Cohen hearing, if that is what exists on the Senate side, you know, the chance of removing him is about zero. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do your job of looking and I'm not suggesting otherwise. Congressman Speier, thank you very much for talking to me about what you can.
SPEIER: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: I look forward to having you again. Be well.
SPEIER: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. So President Trump says it's too early to see if Kim Jong-un broke his promise on rebuilding a missile launch site. Were the pictures -- the pictures don't work? There are the pictures. They show that he is rebuilding a site. House Intel veteran Mike Rogers is here next to help me understand what the strategy is here, next. [22:10:05] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: All right. So with no deal, North Korea seems to be getting back in the long-range missile business. It doesn't mean it's wrong to try to get a deal. It doesn't mean it's wrong to approach, but the president's response to Kim Jong-un apparently rebuilding a testing facility is controversial.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would be very disappointed if that were happening. It's a very early report. We're the ones that put it out, but I would be very, very disappointed in Chairman Kim, and I don't think I will be, but we'll see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. How are you supposed to play this when something is apparent from pictures? Will you please put the pictures up for a second? We're going to bring in Mike Rogers. Obviously he is the expert. He did this in Congress, he has done it professionally in other ways, but you see the picture on the left is what it was. The picture on the right is what it is now. They are rebuilding. We have intelligence experts. They tell us that this is what it is, and the president says no.
So, Mike, as always, welcome back to PRIME TIME. Thank you for being the sage. I get the being gentle with somebody that you're trying to get something from. I get it, but how do you balance that with the -- what you ignore, you empower when you're dealing with a murderous despot with nuclear ambitions?
MIKE ROGERS, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: Yes. No, this is a problem. I think what the president was trying to do -- I don't know this, but I think he was trying to buy himself some time on this, because this is embarrassing. It's embarrassing for the president having just left. It's embarrassing for the whole notion that they were going to set up talks.
[22:15:06] And so, what I think the concern in the administration is now is they made a big gamble, and I'm with you. It's OK to try. If you're going to do something and make an effort, that is good as long as the outcome is there. What they did with this last summit, boy, it just was not well planned, what not well thought, and they've now made an international actor. You know, they've given him a stage.
CUOMO: See, that is my concern.
ROGERS: That was the mistake I think they made in this.
CUOMO: Aaron David Miller, you know him, right?
ROGERS: I do.
CUOMO: We have him on here a lot. He is very smart guy at the Woodrow, you know, he said to me, listen, I come to him once kind of ham fisted and was, look, it's good to talk to people. He is like, you elevate someone like this. You give him legitimacy. You give him courage that he knows whatever he is done must be OK, because look where he is now, and all this apologetic and conciliatory talk, this is what he is going to do. He is going to build, because he knows you're going to be nice about it.
ROGERS: You know, the North Koreans have been practicing something called strategic concession for 70 years. So they caused some problems --
CUOMO: I learned about that at Pre-Cana before marriage. Go ahead.
ROGERS: I'm not even going there. I will not go -- I will not take that bait, Chris. They blew up an airplane in, you know, the late '80s, the early '90s. They -- and then the whole thing was let's go try to make this right. They ended up getting all this aid and food, and then they sunk a ship. The same thing. They artillerated (ph) an island, same thing.
And I think what you're seeing here, they have a pattern that works for them, and they're going to continue to do it. And so, the one thing I did not agree with on engagement, you can engage without having the president of the United States sit down and look him in the eye. That, as we just talked about, it gave him such a platform, and not only just externally, but also internally. All that pressure that is on this government and people are terrified there, because, you know, he can kill them at a whim.
And you always hope that there's someone in there saying, hey, this just isn't right. We're going to have to do something about it. This takes that pressure off. That's what I worry about.
And so I do think they're buying themselves some time trying to figure out how do we put this back together? We've given away some things we probably shouldn't have given away for nothing. And now we've got this problem where he is going to go right back doing what he has done for the last 70 years. This shouldn't shock anybody.
CUOMO: So what do you do? Do you squeeze? I mean he is pretty sanctioned up right now. Do you think you put more?
ROGERS: I do. I think I would keep ratcheting it down. I would reinstate the -- I would announce the military exercises again saying, you know what --
CUOMO: Does that matter?
ROGERS: -- if you're going to be this way, we're going to go right back to where we were. We're going to have strategic bomber runs in South Korea for access run.
CUOMO: Does that stuff matter? Training and the runs?
ROGERS: It does matter, and it really matters to them more than it matters to us here. I think most people kind of think, what is that, who cares.
TODD: You're right.
ROGERS: It matters a lot. As a matter of fact, that is why he wanted it. He really wanted those exercises to go away. Because in the -- they're important by the way, as a guy who was stationed at Fort Ord as a young army officer and watching the prep for all of these exercises, it integrates U.S. troops and NATO troops and -- or excuse me -- U.N. troops and South Korean troops, and they don't like that, because it means they're more effective fighters on the battlefield. That is why you do those big training exercises.
And so if you're looking at it having to take that army on, you want them the least prepared you can have them always. This gets them really prepared and ready, battle-action ready. And so that is why they don't like it. So it is kind of a big deal. And these other movements are big deals. And then ratcheting down sanctions even more, big deal.
I mean he is eating pretty well. That is pretty clear, but his people are starving, and so at some point this thing has to tip. And, again, you just don't want him running around the world now thinking that he is kind of a great deal-maker in his own right. That is just a dangerous place for him to be, because people will, you know, people will extend an olive branch, you know, and the North Koreans have a habit of breaking it off and sticking it somewhere.
CUOMO: Mike Rogers.
ROGERS: That is diplomatic talk right there.
CUOMO: Yes, that was good. Thank you. It was quite the -- you used some real aplomb there. Thank you very much, Mike Rogers. You make us better every night, olive branch aside.
All right. We know what Michael Cohen brought to Capitol Hill today, but what do the edits to his false testimony from 2017 really prove? You know, this is a political setting, but you have to use legal analysis. So Cuomo's Court is in session next.
CUOMO: New reporting tonight suggests Michael Cohen, when asking Rudy Giuliani about pardons, let's gavel into Cuomo's Court on that. We've got Berit Berger and Ross Garber. Let me get your take on this. Berit Berger, if Cohen's attorneys or whomever went to the president's attorneys to talk pardons, is there anything wrong with that?
BERIT BERGER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think the first thing that is wrong with that is it certainly calls into question the accuracy of Cohen's testimony before Congress last week, since he pretty clearly said that he did not go seeking a pardon. So, that is the first thing that is wrong with it.
More to the substantive point of, you know, there is not necessarily anything wrong with raising a discussion about the potential of a pardon down the road. However, it does, you know, raise a lot of red flags about what is the quid pro quo that one would have to do to get this pardon. So, that is kind of what the question it would raise to me.
CUOMO: Right. I hear you on that, Berit. Ross, I think the more pressing question would be, if they went to him, right? I mean if the reporting had been or the truth is that they had approached him, but that does not seem to be the case, nor does it seem to be the case that they doctored his testimony to make it false before congress.
ROSS GARBER, TULANE IMPEACHMENT LAW PROFESSOR: Yes. That is not, you know, an allegation at all. I haven't heard that at all. You know, Berit's right. It does raise issues about, you know, sort of how forthcoming Michael Cohen was, you know, in his testimony before Congress if he or his representatives went to the president's lawyers about pardons, and also raises issues about, you know, why it was that he decided to flip so quickly, to come forward, to be so willing to share, you know, all of this, you know, bad information that is purportedly true.
[22:25:17] You know, it raised the issues, did he do that because he was disappointed that he didn't get a pardon. So that does raise those issues.
CUOMO: And today, you know, there's a lot of talk about, well, what does it mean that his testimony was edited? Berit, help me. But -- I'm not surprised by that. You had a joint defense agreement. You know, I'm sure that the lawyers of everybody who had a chance to wanted to look at it, and the real point was did somebody put intentionally false information into the statement? It seems like the answer is yes, but that person was Cohen.
BERGER: Yes. I mean, I think you're right. The devil's in the details on this one. So, we know at least at this stage the person who would have had the most firsthand knowledge about, you know, these negotiations for the Moscow Tower was Cohen. So you would have to really show that anyone who is making edits to the document, if in fact someone was making edits to the document, actually had knowledge that was contrary to what was in the document.
And that is not an easy thing to show. You couldn't just show that, you know, somebody adopted that statement if they didn't also have that same level of firsthand knowledge that Cohen had.
CUOMO: Right, and the reporting is at this point that, a, Ross, you know, he is the one who put it in there? Again, I'm not blaming him. He's owned it. He's owned what he did, and there's something admirable about that, especially in the current environment, but also that the lawyers -- the reporting is that the Trump team had seen other documents that correlated with the timing in the statement. I don't understand that. If the time line was bogus, then what documents would have echoed a bogus time line?
GARBER: Yes. Who knows? And I think two things about this, Chris. You know, one is that it does seem to be Cohen who sort of, you know, was most involved in this time line issue, and it is not surprising, you know, that he was the one sort of responsible for putting this in the statement.
It's also not surprising that the lawyers were involved in a joint defense agreement. Those things are very common in these kinds of cases. It's very common for lawyers to cooperate and share information. And there's been no suggestion at all that the lawyers in this case knew that that time line was bogus.
You know, one other, you know, quick point on this, Chris. It's that I am going to blame Cohen a little bit. You know, he was the lawyer here. He is the guy who is responsible for getting it right. You know, and imagine if he did what any lawyer, you know, you'd expect, you know, would have done is say, hey, look, this time line isn't right, or these other things aren't right. We've got to make sure it's right. That's what you rely on lawyers to do. It seems clear he didn't do that in this case.
BERGER: I think we can establish that Cohen wasn't exactly playing by, you know, the proper lawyer's handbook here. I mean, I don't think that that is really a question at all anymore, but --
CUOMO: Right. The question is whether or not the president wanted him to do this.
CUOMO: And it gets squishy, right? Because Cohen talks, and I think accurately so, but I don't know how compelling it is to people that he says things without saying them. That doesn't go over well in a court of law. I mean, we've all studied, and, you know, some of you may have had experience in seeing a lot of RICO cases and organized crime cases. That is hard to argue.
Either the guy told you to do it, or he didn't tell you to do it. That is why the witness tampering statute is written the way it is. You have to have almost a talismanic phrase of did he or she tell you to lie when you went there, and if you can't show that, it doesn't usually go that far, Berit.
BERGER: Yes, but I mean, look, there's a reason that criminals, you know, don't talk explicitly about crimes with their criminal partners, right? To make it harder for prosecutors later on down the road to prove their case. I mean, it can't be the standard that, you know, we can't bring cases unless somebody says the magic words, you know, agreeing to commit a crime. You have to allow for a situations where there is going to be nuance to it, and there is going to be a sort of a, you know, raised eyebrow or you know, a wink to indicate.
And that is why, you know, that is one of the reasons why cooperating witnesses are so important, because, for example, if you have a drug wiretap and you have, you know, two drug dealers talking on the phone about selling white t-shirts --
CUOMO: Right. BERGER: -- you know, they're not clearly talking about selling white
t-shirts. You need that cooperating witness in there to say, this is what the code meant. This is why it was important, and this is why we're doing it, so that we can, you know, evade scrutiny by law enforcement.
CUOMO: It's one of the things that always makes me laugh when I hear the president talking about a rat or anybody talking about a rat. Maybe because it's where I grew up, but a rat is somebody by definition who went and told the truth about you.
CUOMO: You know what I mean? They call liars.
GARBER: Well, liars.
CUOMO: You know, you're a rat, because you went and you turned state's evidence and talked to them about what actually happened. That is what Cohen's doing right now. I don't see the indignity in that. Ross, here's something that we have to tell people tonight. Figure it out.
CUOMO: You are going to hear a lot about this. You're going to hear the president say, its harassment, its harassment.
[22:30:00] That is a feeling, what's going on with oversight, OK? The idea of we don't want to go in there because they're trying to create perjury traps. We're going to be hearing this. I keep shooting it down because a perjury trap -- by the way, that's a heavy charge to level on prosecutors.
That's an abuse of process at a minimum. But if you come in and don't lie, how do I get you in a perjury trap, Ross?
GARBER: Yeah. So -- look, it's a couple of different things. One is there -- congressional hearings are different than, you know prosecutions and courtrooms. Congressional investigators are a lot less sort of accustomed to dealing in this territory. And it's a lot more political, Chris. And that is a legitimate concern of the president and his people.
That this -- you know, these hearings aren't just about finding the facts, but they are happening in this political environment. There is no question that, you know, Democrats on Capitol Hill are looking to undermine sort of the political capital of the president. That is true. And if part of that is sort of setting people up in lies, that is not beyond the pale of a congressional hearing to do. So I think --
CUOMO: You can only set them up if they're going to deliver on their side, though Berit. I mean that's my point, you know? A perjury trap, you know if you get me on something where I say the answer is six and you say, aha, Ross said it's five, and you knew it was five, and I believe Ross. I got you. You only have me if I gave you the wrong answer and you can show that it's the wrong answer and that I knew.
That's a high bar. I just feel like that's a scare tactic that is undermining the legitimacy. And just as it would be wrong to harass, just as it would be wrong to overreach, it's wrong to undermine as well.
BERIT BERGER, FORMER PROSECUTOR SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Yeah. I mean a perjury trap is a really specific legal defense. I mean you would have to call somebody to testify without any, you know, legitimate investigative purpose. The only reason you're asking them these questions is because you think you're going to catch them in a lie.
It's not a perjury trap if you ask somebody a question that they don't want to give an honest answer to.
CUOMO: Right. And as I said to Michael Caputo, I get why you're worried. I get it costs you a lot of money. That sucks. I am sorry for him and his family if he didn't do anything wrong. There's no proof that he did. But blame the president because he's the one who sparked these lies, who's lived this life with all this intrigue around him.
That's why they're looking. Guys, I got to go. But Berit and Ross, well argued. You got a quick point, go ahead. Go ahead. What do you got, Ross?
GARBER: Just very quickly, Chris.
CUOMO: What do you got?
GARBER: In terms of perjury. There are people who forget things, who misremember things. I promise you, Chris. Here's the challenge. Give me full access to your e-mails and give me one hour with you, and I will get you to say something that is not 100 percent true.
CUOMO: That's not a lie, though.
GARBER: It is very hard.
CUOMO: It's not a lie. If I have faulty recollection, that's one thing. If I know the answer and you can show it, you're not going to get me for perjury just because I give you a wrong answer. You got to prove I had reason to know.
GARBER: It depends what the questioner thinks.
CUOMO: But it's not as easy as I said five and the answer is six. You've got to prove that it was a material deception that it mattered. It's a higher bar. But well argued as always. You're both smarter than I am. That's no surprise. All right, you know how much this president hates to lose. Although, I don't know anybody who does like to lose, right?
But why isn't he upset that America's money is going down the drain under his watch? He promised you to fix the trade deficit. It's bigger than we've seen in a long time. Why, and what does it he have to with it? John Kasich, you can't do better than him, next.
[22:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: Shrinking America's global trade deficit has been a key part of President Trump's economic strategy. And it's something he's spoken about many times. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The trade deficit, very dear to my heart because we've been ripped off by the world. As we all know, America has a huge annual trade deficit with China, with Mexico, with Japan, $60 billion, $69 billion to $100 billion a year, a number beyond anything what anybody would understand. The days of the United States being taken advantage of are over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, look, part of the reason for the trade deficit is that China and these other countries make a lot of cheap things that we import. And what we export happens to be more high-value goods. So there's a little bit of an imbalance. But when you look at it on a value basis, we are doing well. But the imbalance is still real, and it's gotten worse despite what we assumed were the president's best efforts or maybe because of them.
Take a look at the new data. This is from the Census Bureau. It shows the deficit hitting a 10-year high in 2018. It's up $100 billion since he took office. I gave you part of the reason for that, but there's more to it. So let's get after it with former Ohio Governor John Kasich. Why do you think it is the way it is, Governor. Thanks for joining us.
JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Chris, first of all, that's a sophisticated explanation. There are reasons that this is true. It's also true because America has a strong dollar. So, you know, the fact is that, you know, people can buy more, right? And so the strong dollar puts us in a position of where, you know, we're not getting people to do things here.
And by being able to invest around the world, what we don't want to do, Chris, because of this problem with the deficit, is to shut down free trade. Now, the president has said he wants to have a level playing field. And I think that's exactly right. But you need to do it in a consistent way with other people. So you're right. Sometimes we bring components in that are cheaper.
And then we assemble things, and we then sell it that are, you know, more expensive. And at the same time, the very strong dollar means that Americans are in a position to buy more overseas. Now, here's the good side of that. Whenever anybody gets our dollars, they have to do something with it. And if they invest in our country in plant and equipment with the dollars that we use to buy their products, that helps build a stronger economy.
[22:40:10] CUOMO: Right.
KASICH: The problem is when countries like China own our debt. Now, the other deficit we have to think about is the national debt. Because there is this ridiculous debate going on in America today that it doesn't matter that we have a $22 trillion deficit. It doesn't matter that we run in the hole. Of course, it matters. It means that our children and those who are not yet even born are going to have to pay for the debt that we're ringing up today.
Because we don't have the guts and the gumption to be able to manage our store, to bring about reform, because when this deficit explodes overtime, we will have interest on the national debt, Chris that will be more than some of the very vital programs of our country.
CUOMO: Short-term politics --
KASICH: It seems as though no one is paying any attention.
CUOMO: They're paying attention, but they're paying more attention to the next primary. And that's why you saw fiscal conservatives in your party go for a tax cut that they never were gone from (Inaudible). You know, this was an unpaid for tax cut. No matter how deeply you believe in trickle down, that's never worked, and now here we are.
KASICH: Well, Chris, you know, my view on that is, is that frankly that tax cut should have been used to help the middle and lower income people.
CUOMO: That's what it was called, right?
KASICH: Secondly, the tax cut has contributed to economic growth, but it hasn't paid for itself by a wide margin. So the fact of the matter is, is that when you're not paying for it, then you balloon the deficit, and ultimately it comes back to get you. Now, this sounds like really, you know, economics and all that, the trade deficit.
But here's what we need to know, particularly about our national debt. As the national debt goes up over time, the number of jobs that we have in our country goes down. And when we're able to reduce the deficit and the debt, we see that a number of jobs grow. And a lot of our millennials, and gen xers now, they want to get jobs, and they want to get good paying jobs.
So we have to do everything we can to get ourselves in a position of where they can have success. So look, I give the president some credit for fighting about this issue of an unlevel playing field, but do it with others. That's how we're going to make the greatest amount of gain. And when it comes to our national debt, $22 trillion and the growing deficit, people need to know. We are spending money now and enjoying ourselves that our kids and
those who have not even been born yet are going to have to pay for it. And that's terrible. You and I both agree with that.
CUOMO: A hundred percent. It's fair. It's true, and it's been true for a long time. And administration after administration, R and D, they don't get us where we need to be, because people in politics think short-term. You know, I am of the theory, and please feel free to smack it out of the way. I believe that this deal with China is going to be the biggest plus or the biggest minus for this president from a policy perspective.
Because I believe it's priced into the stock market already that they think he's going to get it done. And if it doesn't, I think you're going to see a correction in the stock market that could be a catalyst and create economic disruption that he's not going to want going into an election year. So the question becomes how close is he?
Let's put the negotiating aside. He put those tariffs on them, what was it, $250 billion worth of tariffs. Was that the right move or is it contributing to the current problem? And is it a problem in terms of strategy?
KASICH: Look, I think that all of these things should be handled through the World Trade Organization. And I also think that it needs to be done in concert with others, particularly the area of intellectual property where the Chinese are stealing our material.
CUOMO: True. And the president says that.
KASICH: Well, and at the same time, in a position of where they say to a company, if you're going to come into our nation, you need to share your technological secrets with us.
KASICH: Now, if he can fix that, then he gets some kudos for that.
KASICH: Absolutely. Because that means that he will have made some structural changes. Look, there's a debate out there about where this is going to end up. I thought about it, Chris, the day after the Korean summit broke up, I mean with North Korea over in Vietnam. What I thought about right then is what does this do for the China negotiations? And I don't know. The jury is out on where they're going to come down.
It could be that China says, oh, we'll buy more soybeans or whatever. But what we're looking for are the structural changes that must come vis-a-vis China, and can we be in a position of where we can say, yup, we really have got some significant changes, even on currency manipulation, which is another issue that's related to trade.
We sound like a couple of economists here. You know, people are not that interested in economists, you know? CUOMO: Hey, listen. One thing I have learned, Gov, it doesn't matter
if it's what people want in the moment, if it's what people need. You know what I mean? There's enough sugar in the news right now. This stuff is going to matter. It's going to matter in the election. It's a challenge for the Democrats. How do you offer a better deal than the president has? The boxes are going to be about taxes, regulations, and trade.
[22:45:07] KASICH: Yup. Here's another thing, Chris, that we really need to understand, and that is when we're imposing tariffs on the Canadians and we're beating up our European allies, when the time comes when we need something --
KASICH: When the time comes that we need them to kind of reach a little bit, when we are punishing them economically and not getting along with them, they're not fools. At some point, they're going to say forget it. We're not going along with you.
KASICH: And that's the danger. And the danger of walking away fundamentally from free trade, which has raised more people out of poverty, and given this world a lot more than what we've lost. The trade debate is important. People stopped arguing about the importance of free trade. If we lock down trade, the whole world will suffer, and so will our workers, because many Americans are in jobs today that are related to trade.
CUOMO: A hundred percent.
KASICH: And if we shut it down, they lose their work.
CUOMO: A hundred percent. The plus side for him is the ambition. The down side is a combination of ignorance and arrogance about how to get these kinds of deals done. John Kasich, you suffer from none of those. You are a sage, and we benefit from your perspective. Thank you, sir.
KASICH: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: You're welcome.
KASICH: God bless.
CUOMO: Michael Cohen brought the receipts when he testified behind closed doors to members of the House Intel Committee. The three big questions about what happens now, answered next.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: Yup, it's true. Michael Cohen is a convicted liar. But whether or not he lied last week or today before Congress is now a subject of debate. His production of documents to the House Intel Committee is raising new questions, particularly three that I would request that you think about tonight. Garrett Graff is here with three answers. Good to see you again, my friend.
Question number one, what do the documents mean for Cohen's credibility, specifically not the checks, because those are what they are (Inaudible). As we say in the law, the thing speaks for itself. But in terms of the doctored congressional testimony, what do we now know with proof?
GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah. And I think that what we're beginning to see is just what a trove of documents Michael Cohen has. Remember he -- the prosecutor sees 292,000 documents when they raided his office last April. You know, we have seen publicly, you know, a dozen, maybe 20 total. There's a lot more here and there's a lot more for investigators to sink their teeth into.
And what we're beginning to see is, you know, now that he's sort of flipped the script and is cooperating and speaking truthfully. There's actually a lot to corroborate his testimony. And that's one of the things that prosecutors are going to be looking at, both in terms of investigations and then investigators on the Hill are going to be looking at as well.
CUOMO: I got you going forward. But I think on this one, how did this hurt the White House? I mean if Cohen's own lawyer says that he wrote the line about the false timeline about the Trump deal negotiations, isn't that over and done with in terms of painting the Trump legal team with the brush of suborning perjury?
GRAFF: Not necessarily. Because what we don't know yet is what conversations took place on the other side. Did these lawyers on the Trump team take that document and show it to Donald Trump? Did he look at it? Did anyone else inside the White House with knowledge of what the actual facts were look at it and say, yes, this is something that I am comfortable having someone testify under oath before Congress about.
And that's one of the things, you know. You know, if you're a lawyer, you sort of understand these ethical obligations. You know, as a lawyer, you can't be attesting to things that you know are false. And you can't be suborning perjury. And so if the lawyers did their due diligence, they would have figured out that Michael Cohen's testimony was false.
CUOMO: Well, reportedly they say that they saw documents at the time that correlated with the timeline he put down. Now, that gets a little fuzzy. What documents would authenticate a fake timeline? But that's the reporting, and until we find out otherwise. And as a last question for you, the trick for the White House is all this stuff is coming out. All of it is being pursued.
The whole point is to prepare. How do you prepare when the president probably won't tell you the truth about these things?
GRAFF: I think that's one of the reasons that we have seen them keep the president so far away from testifying openly, honestly, and forthrightly about all of these various investigations. The president has brought on about 17 new lawyers to the White House Council Office to deal with these investigations since the midterms, which, you know you're basically adding a midsize law firm to the White House to try to deal with this.
CUOMO: Well, they have got a lot of irons in the fire. That's for sure. Garrett Graff, three for three, good for you. I appreciate it. Thanks for being on with us for the three questions. All right, there's only one Blockbuster Video left on the planet. If you feel like actually driving to a store to check out a movie, guess what, I am going to tell you where it is. So could Google I guess, next.
[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: Before the break, I promised to tell you where the last Blockbuster Video left on the planet is. There were two. But this week, we saw a tweet from last one standing. Listen to this. We just got off the phone with an Australian radio station. The last Blockbuster in Australia is closing at the end of this month, making our store the last Blockbuster on the planet.
In its prime, Blockbuster was the rage. It had like 9,000 stores. They were huge, too. The iconic chain took a big hit from the rise of streaming services, obviously Netflix, Hulu, everything else. The final store on Earth has new releases, but it's the older titles they say, Gone With the Wind, Home Alone. They are the bread and butter.
This remaining store also has t-shirts and hats, and I am sure they are going to re-up on those to boast about their now historic status. Where is it, you ask? Bend Oregon, been there, beautiful place. High, I think it's a mountain town. I think it's like 3,000 feet there, got a lot of snow. Hopefully, they will be around for a long time, so everyone can visit. Thanks for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with Erin Burnett, the upgrade, in for D. Lemon, starts right now.