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U.S. Senate Rejects Trump's Border Emergency Declaration; Beto O'Rourke Announces 2020 Presidential Bid; NY Times: Radio Messages Reveal Doomed Boeing 737 MAX 8 Jet Hit Near-Immediate Problems. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 14, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: --Cohen's interpretation of the messages. But, again, prosecutors from the Southern District do want to see the exchanges. We'll keep you posted, of course, as we learn more.

That's it for us. The news continues though. 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 and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Tonight, we're going to really get after what matters here, this emergency declaration that just went down in the Senate.

Some Republicans passed the loyalty test, but others finally showed that principle still has a place in their party, and that this emergency declaration is the wrong way to build barriers. This was the biggest of three votes in the last two days where Republicans broke ranks with the President.

Is this party actually taking power back from the President? We have the President's Counselor and best defender here to make his case.

And breaking new information on that doomed Boeing jet, a chilling detailed account of the final minutes, what the pilots reportedly said when they knew something was very wrong, and a timeline between the two flights that tells us a lot.

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




CUOMO: All right, so for a President who demands loyalty, he isn't getting much of what he wants on Capitol Hill the last few days. First, there was this stinging rebuke to foreign policy as Republicans joined Democrats in condemning the support for Saudis in Yemen.

Then, in the House, another big blow, not one Republican voted against the full release of the Mueller report. They overwhelmingly want you to know the findings of the probe.

And now, the emergency declaration goes down.

So, how is this sitting with the President? Or - or another angle for us on this as well which is whether or not this party is going to confront power in this President?

We heard something here last night. Do you remember what the RNC Chair said to me? I'm going to play it for everybody I talk to tonight because I think it kind of went back - one of those things that went through too fast for you to grab it in the moment.

And we're going to play it now with the White House Counselor, Kellyanne Conway, because I think it really spoke volumes about where that party sees itself, and it's a place it's never been.

Kellyanne Conway, thank you for joining us on PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: All right, let's deal with what should be easy. This Breitbart interview and the President, the comments that he made about who supports him and what could happen.

Even if egged on, even if in the context of the Left is very tough on you, the Left does a lot of violent things, even if that was the context for the reply, are you open to saying he should not have said what he said?

CONWAY: You're just reading into it like you usually do. You have to read the entire interview. He was talking about how peaceful and gentle many people are, who are otherwise tough. He's got the military, the veterans, the Bikers etcetera.

And then, he was commending the Democrats for always sticking together. And isn't he right about that? They agree on infanticide. They agree on socialism. Somehow, they disagree on anti-Semitism, which is odd.

But then, he is going on to say how they go and investigate. They don't like the result of 2016, they go and investigate it. They don't like something else, they go and investigate it.

And what if the - what if the Republicans turned around and did that? What if - what if some of his supporters turn around and do that?

CUOMO: That is - that is not even a possible context.

CONWAY: You know, it's Maxine - excuse me, it's Maxine Waters - oh, no, no, no, let's - let's review the facts here. Excuse me, let's review the facts here. It's Maxine Waters, who's now Chairman of an important Committee in the House--

CUOMO: This has nothing to do with what I just asked you.

CONWAY: Oh, no, no, no, no, you let me finish. Who crazily--

CUOMO: This has nothing to do with the question. Is this--

CONWAY: --who crazily told people--

CUOMO: --is this that frightening?

CONWAY: --who crazily told people go get up in their faces. If you see somebody in the Trump Cabinet--

CUOMO: So, you really - you really can't defend it.

CONWAY: --you see an official, tell them they're not welcome here. Excuse me--

CUOMO: I thought you were going to say, "Yes, he should pick his words more carefully."

CONWAY: --tell them they're not welcome. You go to defend that?

CUOMO: You - you really - you're really going to defend it?

CONWAY: You go to defend - no, you know what? Here's what you should pick. Here's what you should pick. You should pick better things to cover respectfully. It's your show. But you invite me on.

CUOMO: Listen--

CONWAY: I work on policy at the White House.

CUOMO: I want to talk to you about the emergency declaration.

CONWAY: There's a million things that you can talk about.

CUOMO: I thought this would be easy.

CONWAY: We have an emergency at the Border.

CUOMO: I thought this would be easy for you.

CONWAY: Yes. Here's what's easy.

CUOMO: You say, look, the President shouldn't have said--

CONWAY: You always want to interrupt me.

CUOMO: --that the military, and Bikers--

CONWAY: Hey, Chris.

CUOMO: --and cops may get violent in his defense. Yes, I don't - I - I think that--

CONWAY: He didn't say that.

CUOMO: He said exactly that. CONWAY: Where did he say that?

CUOMO: He said exactly that.


CUOMO: I'll put the quote on.

CONWAY: Where did he say that?

CUOMO: Right here. "I have the support of the police, the support"--

CONWAY: I can't see the quote. You know that. I look into a--

CUOMO: I'll read it.

CONWAY: --blank screen.

CUOMO: I'll read it. "I can tell you I have the support of the police"--

CONWAY: Yes. AC just did like 20 minutes on it. But go ahead.

CUOMO: Well, because it matters, Kellyanne. You can't have a President that threatens if things don't go the way--


CUOMO: --he likes, people could get hurt, OK? I know he likes to say it about the media.

CONWAY: Christopher, he didn't threaten and he's not threatening violence.

CUOMO: You know what? It changes people's lives.

CONWAY: It's Maxine Waters who did that.

CUOMO: It's not Max. Listen--

CONWAY: It's Maxine Waters who actually did that. It's Joe Biden who said--

CUOMO: --Maxine Waters isn't the President. And she got called out for what she said.

CONWAY: --I'd like to take him behind a building and punch him.

CUOMO: And she got called out for what she said.

CONWAY: Really? Because Joe Biden was the Vice President, called out, guess what? Some crazy lunatic lady did exactly what--

CUOMO: All right.

CONWAY: --Maxine Waters said to do, did to me in a restaurant in Maryland.

CUOMO: All right.

CONWAY: And you - you know what? It is crazy that you would defend that that you would just gloss over that to--

CUOMO: I'm not defending anything. I'm asking you about this. But you know what?

[21:05:00] CONWAY: --try to read into a quote. We do have actual quotes--

CUOMO: I give up.

CONWAY: --from Maxine Waters and you have an actual quote from Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States who said he--

CUOMO: I give up.

CONWAY: --of Donald Trump--

CUOMO: I give up.

CONWAY: --he'd like to take him behind a building and punch him.

CUOMO: I - yes, I give up. And--

CONWAY: That's - that's violence.

CUOMO: --and you know what? It was--

CONWAY: That's violence.

CUOMO: --juvenile - it was juvenile. It was stupid, and it was beneath the dignity of somebody who wants to be President. You'll never say anything like that.

CONWAY: He's the frontrunner in the Democratic Party.

CUOMO: And you know what? And - and look at who - you won't even let anybody else run in the Republican Party, and you've got a President who has threatened more people--

CONWAY: What are you talking about?

CUOMO: --in more ways than we've ever seen. Well, I had the RNC Chair on last night. And she made a point--

CONWAY: No, he's helped more people in more ways.

CUOMO: --that I should have listened to.

CONWAY: This economy is booming. He's--

CUOMO: All right. Well, hold on. We'll - we'll get to that when you want-- CONWAY: --helped more people in - in all ways.

CUOMO: --to defend the declaration.

CONWAY: This economy is booming. I know you don't like to cover the economy.

CUOMO: I cover it all the time. I cover it all the time.

CONWAY: You're going to read into words instead of covering the economy.

CUOMO: I'm not reading into words.

CONWAY: No, you don't.

CUOMO: He said something very common.

CONWAY: Not enough.

CUOMO: But here's what I did.

CONWAY: Take a look (ph).

CUOMO: I made a mistake. I made a mistake, so I surrender. You got - you will never - you will never call him out for whatever he says or whatever he does. You were choosing pragmatism over principle.

CONWAY: That's not true.

CUOMO: And I should know this because listen to what--

CONWAY: That's not true.

CUOMO: --listen to what Ronna McDaniel told me last night. I should have learned this lesson already. Here. She gave me the answer last night. Here it is.


RONNA MCDANIEL, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN: I go to church for my moral leadership. I look at politicians based on, "Are you aligned with my issues?"

You could be the nicest most moral person in the world. I don't want you to be the President because I want you to make - I want to make sure that you're aligned with my policies.

CUOMO: You want me to be able to--


CUOMO: The - the party of character counts, the party of Reagan, the party of Lincoln, no more. Forget about the moral leadership. That's not what we're about anymore.

CONWAY: That's ridiculous.

CUOMO: And that's because of Trump.

CONWAY: I'm sorry. Is there a question lurking in there--

CUOMO: There it is.

CONWAY: --or are you pontificating?

CUOMO: No, no. Well it's--

CONWAY: Because you're riding (ph) me on here to answer questions. No--

CUOMO: Oh, I - well - well that would be a blessing.

CONWAY: I'll tell you - I'll tell you - but, look, Christopher, you don't want to cover the issues, but you don't want to cover the economy.

CUOMO: And you want to duck what's obviously right in front of your face.

CONWAY: You don't want to cover the gains and choices we're making on trade (ph).

CUOMO: The Head of your Party just said we're not looking for moral leadership--


CUOMO: --in our leaders anymore. This is the era of Trump. Let's get it done.

CONWAY: That is not what she said.

CUOMO: Pragmatism. That's exactly what she said.

CONWAY: She was answering a specific question. I watched the entire interview.

CUOMO: Me too.

CONWAY: And she was fantastic. And I'm so proud of Ronna McDaniel--

CUOMO: I'm not saying she wasn't. I think she was really honest.

CONWAY: --for leading this party because she isn't invested - she's invested more in the ground game in the technology.

CUOMO: Good.

CONWAY: She's raised more money. She is aligned with the types of voters. She's the one who helped us mightily in Michigan last time.

CUOMO: And she just said if you want morality, go to church. CONWAY: She didn't tell Hillary Clinton not to go there.

CUOMO: She just said if you want morality and leadership--

CONWAY: No. That - but she--

CUOMO: --go to church.

CONWAY: --she was answering a question. Oh where - where exactly should we go for morality and leadership? Should we go to the field of the 2020 Democrats? Should we go to Elizabeth Warren who's appropriating somebody else's ethnicity--

CUOMO: How about the Oval Office?

CONWAY: --for decades to get academic advantage?

CUOMO: How about the Oval Office?

CONWAY: Should we go to Joe Biden? He says, "I want to punch out Donald Trump behind a building."

CUOMO: How about the Oval Office?

CONWAY: Where should we go from our leadership?

CUOMO: How about the Oval Office?

CONWAY: Hillary Clinton who is a proven liar--

CUOMO: Tell me we should go to the Oval Office.

CONWAY: --craven, ambitious, where should - where should we go?

CUOMO: Tell me we should go to the Oval Office.

CONWAY: I see - I see - yes, I'm telling you right now, you can go to the Oval Office. And you know what you'll find there?

CUOMO: And what are we going to find there?

CONWAY: Because you--

CUOMO: What?

CONWAY: --you were with the President recently.

CUOMO: Yes, I know.

CONWAY: You were with the President recently. How come you didn't have the guts to tell him to his face? How come you just ask some fluffy stuffy questions--

CUOMO: First of all, I'm always respectful.

CONWAY: --if even you were across from him. CUOMO: I'll tell you what. The tone would change if--

CONWAY: Let me tell you something.

CUOMO: --he talked to me the way he talks about me.

CONWAY: This President--

CUOMO: But when we're face-to-face--

CONWAY: This President is leading--

CUOMO: --he's a different person, which shows how intentional--

CONWAY: This President--

CUOMO: --his rhetoric is.

CONWAY: No, he's a great person. He's a great person.

And, more importantly, this - what he's doing for this economy, this economy is the envy of the world. He is putting our trade policies back in balance. He's renegotiating trade with Mexico, with Canada, with Korea--

CUOMO: Why can't he do that--

CONWAY: --with South Korea, with China now.

CUOMO: --and be a good person?

CONWAY: Why is that not important to you?

CUOMO: Why can't he do that and be decent?

CONWAY: Why is that not - he is a good person.

CUOMO: When you say--

CONWAY: Look, Chris, you just want to throw these - these words out--

CUOMO: --be - he--

CONWAY: --there.

CUOMO: Kellyanne.

CONWAY: Hey, guess what. He's the best--

CUOMO: Kellyanne, I get that - I get the--

CONWAY: --that's why he's the best boss I've ever had.

CUOMO: Good for you. So, has he - so--

CONWAY: He's the best boss I ever had. CUOMO: Well you've been your own boss--

CONWAY: He doesn't--

CUOMO: --for most of your life, as I recall. You haven't had a boss in a very long time.

CONWAY: I had a lot of clients over the years. Let me tell you something.

CUOMO: But, listen--

CONWAY: No, that's not true. He - he--

CUOMO: --Kellyanne, you can't call out--

CONWAY: Well, listen, I'm going to be the boss tonight because I'm not going to--

CUOMO: --anything he says.

CONWAY: --let you get away with saying just - just - no, I'm not going to let you get away with just hurling scurrilous--

CUOMO: There's nothing scurrilous.

CONWAY: --defamatory--

CUOMO: It's a quote. And I even gave him the--

CONWAY: --derogatory words about the President when you have a--

CUOMO: --benefit of context.

CONWAY: Excuse me, you have a colleague--

CUOMO: Defamatory?

CONWAY: --at CNN, Paul Begala, who referred to the President's children as - daughter and son-in-law, who are also Presidential Senior Advisers as cockroaches. It's disgusting that he have (ph) to repeat it. You have people on your network--

CUOMO: I don't like that kind of talk.

CONWAY: --paid people in your network--

CUOMO: I don't like that kind of talk.

CONWAY: --excuse me, who are there--

CUOMO: The President called me a chained lunatic.

CONWAY: Well, own it, own it. Own it. Where am I going to go for moral leadership? CNN? No. You own it because--

CUOMO: The President called me a chained lunatic.

CONWAY: --you have people paid at your network, on your network--

CUOMO: Is that nice?

CONWAY: --and on other networks--

CUOMO: See, you just ignore it.

CONWAY: I knew this have to be about you.

CUOMO: You - you just ignore it.

CONWAY: But listen.

CUOMO: You just ignore everything that he says.

CONWAY: I'm not ignoring it. But that was - it was a long time ago. We talked about it.


CONWAY: Hey, Chris, if you don't--

CUOMO: OK, I guess it's OK then.

CONWAY: --if you just want to interrupt me, if that's how you get the - the ratings and the buzz--

CUOMO: No. You know, of course, I'm going to interrupt you.

CONWAY: --but listen, this is very important.

CUOMO: You can't just - you go to the mother ship for that.

CONWAY: You have somebody--

CUOMO: Here, you have to be held to account.

CONWAY: --you have people on your network pretending--

CUOMO: That's why you come.

CONWAY: --you have - you have people pretending on your - on the - on your network, and who are paid by your network, and appear on other networks that there is a body double for the First Lady. When are you going to clear out the kooks at CNN?

CUOMO: What are you talking about?

CONWAY: I mean where - where do we go for moral leadership there?

CUOMO: This is like - this is kooky talk.

CONWAY: No, they shouldn't say that.

CUOMO: This is kooky talk.

[21:10:00] CONWAY: Do you think there's a - do you think there's a - do you think there's a body double for the First Lady?

CUOMO: There is no CNN story about body doubles. We don't talk about that.

CONWAY: Answer me.

CUOMO: That's not a narrative for us here.

CONWAY: You have some--

CUOMO: I'm - this started this conversation just - just for those--

CONWAY: --you have some analysts who talk about it elsewhere.

CUOMO: --who haven't pulled their hair out yet. This started with don't you think he shouldn't have said--

CONWAY: Right.

CUOMO: --I have the tough people.

CONWAY: Don't have her on anymore.

CUOMO: Yes. And I do. Why?

CONWAY: Excuse me.

CUOMO: Because the White House deserves a voice.

CONWAY: He does--

CUOMO: And the case deserves to be made.

CONWAY: Well, guess what?

CUOMO: But you don't make it easy for me to defend you--

CONWAY: No. Here's what he means by tough.

CUOMO: --when you don't answer any of the questions.

CONWAY: Uh-huh. Here's what he means by tough.


CONWAY: Yes, I do. I answered all your questions. But you're talking over me because you're very impolite when I'm on. You don't do that to other people. We've done a quantitative analysis.

CUOMO: That's not true. I do it to everybody.

CONWAY: But, anyway--

CUOMO: I do it to everybody.

CONWAY: You don't interrupt me.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

CONWAY: But you sit there with that look on your face--

CUOMO: Go ahead.

CONWAY: --and you let them answer.

CUOMO: Don't make fun of my face.

CONWAY: Why don't you put that look on your face--

CUOMO: Answer the question.

CONWAY: --and let me answer?

CUOMO: Don't make fun of my face.

CONWAY: I'm not making fun of your face.

CUOMO: Answer the question.

CONWAY: You have a - your face is fine.

CUOMO: Face is not my problem.

CONWAY: I'm not making fun of your face the way your--

CUOMO: Make your - make your - answer the question.

CONWAY: --your viewers make fun of mine.

CUOMO: Never.

CONWAY: This is what God gave me.

CUOMO: Answer your question.

CONWAY: It's all mine. So, here's the deal. When he says tough, we do believe in the Trump Administration. The military are tough. Our veterans are tough. The first responders are tough.

In fact, because of this President's leadership, moral and otherwise, our first responders, our military, our veterans are better resourced--

CUOMO: Moral leadership?

CONWAY: --and more deeply respected. And that includes the men and women at the--

CUOMO: That's not what he meant.

CONWAY: --at the Custom - at the Border Patrol, at the Border who are doing their jobs--

CUOMO: That's not what he meant. He was talking tough the same way when he says--

CONWAY: --record (ph) seizures of drugs. You pretend - you and others pretending there's not a national emergency--

CUOMO: --"Carry him out on a stretcher--

CONWAY: No. You always read into it.

CUOMO: --beat him up. I'll pay your legal bills." It's all an extension of the same stuff.

CONWAY: Oh, the 2016 campaign.

CUOMO: It's just not Presidential.

CONWAY: Those were nostalgic for now--

CUOMO: I just think he should be better.

CONWAY: --I don't want any of your--

CUOMO: I just think he should be better. But hold on.

CONWAY: --I don't want your - I don't want you reading--

CUOMO: I don't want to run out of time on this yammer.

CONWAY: He is better.

CUOMO: I want to ask you about the vote.

CONWAY: He's better than the way you describe him.

CUOMO: I want to ask you, listen--

CONWAY: You wasted the time on this topic.

CUOMO: Well, it - no, the topic matters. But you're - we're not going to get real purchase on it, so let's move on. The - the vote today--

CONWAY: He's great. And he goes abroad and gets a Hero's welcome at the G - at the Multilateral Summits--

CUOMO: Great. Then - then he should be in a better mood and he should speak with more respect--

CONWAY: --one-on-one in these different countries.

CUOMO: --and he should be more decent and more Presidential.

CONWAY: He's in a great mood.

CUOMO: That's my advice. So-- CONWAY: How is he not - in a bad mood?

CUOMO: Well--

CONWAY: You read all that stuff about people who don't know who have been--

CUOMO: I'm sure he's not happy about the emergency declaration.

CONWAY: --kicked out of the White House or couldn't get in there in the first place saying--

CUOMO: The - the--

CONWAY: --"He's fuming. He's throwing things." How did they know that?

CUOMO: --the emergency declaration vote. What does that mean?

CONWAY: I'll take next time (ph).

CUOMO: Does it mean that this party has drawn a line that there are still principles that are going to come before, just a straight party vote?

CONWAY: No. It means that this President declared a national emergency because he has the absolute authority to do so. The Act has been around since 1976. And this President allowed Congress and the courts, waited for them to do their job.

They fell down on the job. They didn't do their job. They didn't get the money for the the - the steel slat barriers, the wall, the border security. And he turned around after exhausting all other possibilities, Christopher, and he declared a national emergency.

Now, 12 Republicans have decided that we don't have a national emergency at the Border. They decided that--

CUOMO: That's not what they said.

CONWAY: --300 heroin deaths a week.

CUOMO: They say this is the wrong way to do it.

CONWAY: No, that is - that is that - some of them are saying there's a Constitutional crisis - no.

CUOMO: Yes, because this is a usurpation of power.

CONWAY: No. This is - no, no, no, no, they - they are saying there's a Constitutional crisis.

CUOMO: Because it's a usurpation of power.

CONWAY: We see a national security crisis. No, it's not. We see - well then change the Act. Why doesn't Congress change its own laws?

CUOMO: But he admitted himself--

CONWAY: Why don't they have the guts to do that?

CUOMO: --it's not an emergency. Why would he use an emergency law when he says--

CONWAY: No, that is not - wait a second.

CUOMO: --it's not an emergency.

CONWAY: Let me ask you a question.

CUOMO: Please.

CONWAY: It is an emergency and you know it.

CUOMO: No, I do not know it.

CONWAY: You're always cherry-picking one comment here or there. And I'm going to start doing that at CNN, which would be--

CUOMO: You have been doing it.

CONWAY: --tons of fun given what is said there--

CUOMO: Go ahead.

CONWAY: --in a given week.

CUOMO: Just say what you want to say.

CONWAY: Well, no, we could do it more. I got lots of--

CUOMO: What's your question? I know - I know you do.

CONWAY: --got lots of ammo, just saving it.

CUOMO: They're all distractions.

CONWAY: This is fun.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

CONWAY: Well, good. Rather - rather (ph) fun, actually it's--

CUOMO: Well do you have a question or do you not have a question?

CONWAY: --yay!

Sure. I'll be - I'll be happy to ask the questions. Do you think it's an emergency when you've got 76,000 apprehensions of illegal aliens at the Border in just February alone?

Do you think it's an emergency when girls, the ages of my daughters and your daughters, are being pumped up with birth control and then given pregnancy tests starting at the age of nine and 10? I have a nine and a 11-year old. This is--

CUOMO: I think that - I think that--

CONWAY: You don't think it's an emergency that these kids--

CUOMO: --you have come up with a solution that does not--

CONWAY: --have to do that?

CUOMO: --address the crisis. The crisis of children coming with their families--

CONWAY: No, it's not a problem, right? There's a record seizures--

CUOMO: --of girls who are abused on the way here--

CONWAY: No, they're not--

CUOMO: --when you're not a wall away from fixing them--

CONWAY: Have you heard unaccompanied children before?

CUOMO: --and you now have a dozen Republicans--


CUOMO: --who say just that. And 12 - and eight of the 12--

CONWAY: Do you know what unaccompanied children means?

CUOMO: --voted for $5 billion for barriers.

CONWAY: Children without their families.

CUOMO: You heard what I just said?


CUOMO: Eight out of the 12 - eight out of the 12--

CONWAY: They're--

CUOMO: --voted for $5 billion in funding. It's not about whether or not to build barriers. It's about how to do it. And instead of running around the Constitution and the meaning of this law, you do it through Congress--

CONWAY: Oh, yes. Because you--

CUOMO: --which is still Republican-led in the Senate.

CONWAY: Right. Because your party has so much respect for the Constitution, right? We have so much respect for the Constitution, the Democratic side, wow, that is really something.

CUOMO: Well, when - when that bothered you--

CONWAY: So, the Second Amendment, you a fan?

CUOMO: --when that bothered you with Obama, you said he can't do it. But, now, you do the same thing with the emergency declaration--

CONWAY: What bothered me with Obama?

CUOMO: --and you expect the party to walk in step?

CONWAY: What bothered me with Obama? What bothered me with - with President Obama--

[21:15:00] CUOMO: The Republicans said that DACA was a usurpation of power.

CONWAY: --is what the Washington Post ran in a big story yesterday.

CUOMO: The - the Republicans said--

CONWAY: I'll tell you what bothered me with President Obama. This has a lot to do with the topic at hand.

CUOMO: No, I don't want to - I don't want to hear about anything else.

CONWAY: And why we're in a current emergency.

CUOMO: The--

CONWAY: Oh, no, no, no, no. There's a big article yesterday--

CUOMO: The Republicans said that DACA was a usurpation--

CONWAY: --investigative report called The Fentanyl Failure. It talks about how President Obama ignored the Fentanyl crisis as it was just escalating out of control.

CUOMO: The Republican Party saw DACA--

CONWAY: Thousands of Americans dying, totally ignored it. Washington Post, of all places--

CUOMO: --as a usurpation of power.

CONWAY: --check it out everybody.

CUOMO: The Republican Party--

CONWAY: No, that's - that is ridiculous.

CUOMO: --said that DACA was a usurpation of power.


CUOMO: This is an analogy that what's going on right now--

CONWAY: No. President Obama said he knew it wouldn't stand.

CUOMO: --and the President wants them to be in lockstep.

CONWAY: President Obama said it wouldn't stand.

CUOMO: But they aren't.

CONWAY: You remember that, right?

CUOMO: And that's my question is whether or not you're worried--

CONWAY: Remember that? Presidents Obama said--

CUOMO: --that these votes over the last couple of days are the beginning of a trend.

CONWAY: I'm not. And here's why. Because, just yesterday, those same Republican Senators unanimously voted to confirm Neomi Rao, the new Justice on the D.C. Circuit who took Brett Kavanaugh's old seat because he's now Supreme Court Justice. Yay! Withstood all the haters and the liars, and so--

CUOMO: But what does that have to do with what I just asked?

CONWAY: --they - they voted. They all voted for her yesterday. They're going to continue to vote for--

CUOMO: But that's because they agreed with the nomination.

CONWAY: --tax cuts and deregulation.

CUOMO: I'm saying, we're seeing them now vote differently--

CONWAY: Well, but again--

CUOMO: --than the President wants them to when they don't agree. They haven't been doing that.

CONWAY: Oh, one resolution?

CUOMO: Excuse me.

CONWAY: Hey, the President said yesterday.

CUOMO: No. Three.

CONWAY: The press pool was in there, Christopher. The President said yesterday - President said yesterday, "Vote however you want. Do whatever you have to do." I watched him do in a private meeting--

CUOMO: What if they override his veto?

CONWAY: --with Senators. And one of the Senators in that room who did vote against the President today never said a word yesterday. It's very funny the way that goes.

CUOMO: They're afraid.


CUOMO: They're afraid. He's a vindictive guy who comes after you in primaries.

CONWAY: Afraid of what? They're really - they're really tough on Twitter and - and in--

CUOMO: And he'll say ugly things about you and your family.

CONWAY: --and in private.

CUOMO: That's why.

CONWAY: No, he doesn't. That's just not true.

CUOMO: Sure he does, does all the time.

CONWAY: No, he doesn't. That's just not true.

CUOMO: He says ugly things about people and their family all the time--

CONWAY: You are, hey--

CUOMO: --even if they were some of his most loyal and closest people.

CONWAY: Christopher, he--

CUOMO: He'll turn on you like that.

CONWAY: He's always--

CUOMO: They know that.

CONWAY: He's always help - he's always helping Americans, and Americans know that. Look at this - this economy is booming, the growth numbers, the unemployment numbers. You can roll your eyes because maybe it doesn't affect you.

CUOMO: It affects me.

CONWAY: But it affects most people.

CUOMO: It affects me.

CONWAY: And they're very happy that this President's economy is there. They don't want to hear Medicare-for-All, which means choices for none, less Medicare for seniors.

They don't want to hear this nonsense. They don't believe free college, free housing, free - free everything, free money. People don't believe that that's true.

Now, we've got Beto in there today who-- CUOMO: If you are worried about what people believe and don't--

CONWAY: --if he was trying to inspire people--

CUOMO: --you have a candidate who has the lowest--

CONWAY: No, I don't have a candidate. I work for the--

CUOMO: --rating.

CONWAY: --President of the United States.

CUOMO: Well, but he's going to be a candidate, right? Don't tell me he's not running. He's going to run right?

CONWAY: He's the President.

CUOMO: OK. Good.

CONWAY: Of course, he's running.

CUOMO: So, you will have a candidate--

CONWAY: He's running for reelection. Of course, he is.

CUOMO: --who has the worst ratings for truth-telling that we have ever seen--

CONWAY: The President.

CUOMO: --recorded. My President--

CONWAY: No, he'll be the President then and he's the President now--

CUOMO: --has the lowest recorded truth rating ever.

CONWAY: --and he'll be - and he'll be - and - and he'll be the President. So, I got - I have a question for you since you asked me to--

CUOMO: Final question.

CONWAY: --ask the questions.

CUOMO: I'll give you the last question.

CONWAY: How is the Democratic Party - how is the Democratic Party tonight as we sit here? Have a woman running for President who lied about her ethnicity for decades to get academic gain amidst the worst academic cheating scandal in the nation's history.

How do we have - I - I don't understand how we have a party that says--

CUOMO: I don't really connect those two. But--

CONWAY: --anti-Sem--

CUOMO: --go ahead.

CONWAY: --can't just - can't just announce anti-Semitism. How do we have a party that has just over their bridge here in Virginia remains an allegedly racist Democratic Governor--


CONWAY: --a Lieutenant Governor who's been accused of rape by not one but two women?

CUOMO: It sounds - it sounds like a comment hidden - hidden in the question.

CONWAY: By the Brett Kavanaugh standard, he'd be run out of town.

CUOMO: Listen, all I know is this. One - one thing that--

CONWAY: No, I'm asking you, do you think that's moral leadership?

CUOMO: Here's the answer to the question.

CONWAY: You think they're people of character?

CUOMO: Here's the answer to the question.

CONWAY: Are they people of character?

CUOMO: I - I think that there are people of character involved on both sides.

CONWAY: Is that a party of moral character and leadership?

CUOMO: I just think that your character is only as good as you show it. And this President has set a new standard in politics, which is that you can lie your butt off, and it's OK. And that is a dangerous standard.

CONWAY: No, excuse me. He's leading - and you just want to say that. And then, you want to invite different supporters--

CUOMO: Yes, I got to say it.

CONWAY: --of the President - you want to invite people on from the White House--

CUOMO: I got to say it.

CONWAY: --and then show them tremendous disrespect.

CUOMO: Not at all. The respect is in having you on.

CONWAY: So, we've got Beto saying - we got Beto saying at the El Paso - at El Paso, he's saying, tear down that wall because one of the most dangerous cities is on the other side, tear down that wall. Do you really think people hear Beto O'Rourke say tear down that wall and they hear Ronald Reagan telling Gorbachev to tear down that wall?

CUOMO: Well, maybe - maybe they'll hear it the same way they do with the President--

CONWAY: It's laughable. This is the current Democratic Party.

CUOMO: --where he says it but he means something completely else.

CONWAY: We've got - we've got likely Democratic voters in Iowa saying their top two choices to - to equal 53 percent of the vote right now are Biden and Bernie. And, boy, must that - that must rankle the party that's trying to put forward a woman of color, a man of color--

CUOMO: Well, we'll see. We'll see who they pick.

CONWAY: --other women. You got all these--

CUOMO: It's very early. One of them is not even in the race.


CUOMO: So, we'll see.

CONWAY: Really.

CUOMO: Kellyanne, thank you.

CONWAY: Oh, yes.

CUOMO: I appreciate you taking the opportunity.

CONWAY: Oh, yes. That's why he's popular. You're welcome.

CUOMO: We'll see. Everybody's popular until they get in.

CONWAY: Moral leadership, thanks.

CUOMO: Take care. Kellyanne Conway, thank you for being here.

All right, the GOP is soul-searching. That's my suggestion. The Democrats are too. Kellyanne's by - right about that. So, what is the GOP going to wind up on?

[21:20:00] The Democrats have to figure out. They got to go through a primary. For the GOP, it's trickier, Conservative principles or pragmatism because of fear of the President's pull. We're going to look at the facts on both sides of that equation.

And Beto O'Rourke is in the news. He's in the party, and it didn't take long for the President and his Counselor to pounce. Is O'Rourke the one that Trump fears the most? Let's take it up, next.








CUOMO: Let's start here. Take a listen to RNC Chair, Ronna McDaniel.


MCDANIEL: I go to church for my moral leadership. I look at politicians based on, "Are you aligned with my issues? Are you going to cut taxes? Are you going to de-regulate? Are you going to do the things that align with me?"

CUOMO: You don't think the President is a moral leader for this country?

MCDANIEL: I absolutely think he's a moral leader. I'm just - but I'm saying--

CUOMO: So, you just say you don't look at politicians for moral leadership.

MCDANIEL: But it's different. I look at a moral - I look at all my political leaders more in line of, "How do you line up with my policies?"


CUOMO: This is new and the new predicament for the GOP. The true Trump Derangement Syndrome. The party is battling whether to abandon long- held principles in order to maintain power.

It explains why the Vice President, Mike Pence is so quiet these days. With Clinton's transgressions, he said this.

"The very idea that we ought to have at or less than the same moral demands placed on the Chief Executive that we place on our next-door neighbor is ludicrous and dangerous." But no more, not about this President.

And remember, when Ronald Reagan said this?


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The truth is politics and morality are inseparable.


CUOMO: George H. W. Bush as President said this.


GEORGE H. W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle.


CUOMO: That was the GOP then. Now, it's about pragmatism, and the shift isn't just about talk. The line this Party decides to walk, that's the real issue.

The party that bashed President Obama over DACA, screaming about his end run around the separation of powers, now only a handful call out an equal or greater power play by this President.

Now, to be fair, a dozen Republicans did vote against Trump's emergency declaration. But many who attacked DACA did not.

Some like Senator Thom Tillis, who wrote an op-ed saying he would vote against the emergency, flipped his vote on the declaration disapproval resolution, wound up voting against the measure.

[21:25:00] In the op-ed, published a little over two weeks ago, he wrote, "Although Trump certainly has legitimate grievances over Congressional Democrats' obstruction of Border security funding, his national emergency declaration on February 15 was not the right answer."

Why'd he change his mind? New position of principle? Nope. Same reason Pence is quiet, and the Head of the Party threw away the moral high ground, fear.

A North Carolina GOP Official says Tillis was getting hit hard in the state over his initial embrace of the Democratic resolution rebuking Trump, so party over principle, the struggle is real.

But the good news for real Conservatives is that there is a struggle. You did have 12 Republican Senators resist something that they knew is not right, and will more than likely force the President into his first veto.

But the real question is whether enough Republicans can still muster enough belief in principle to override that veto? Faith in principle, or fear of POTUS, which will win? Party of principles, it's going to be a big theory - or big issue for both parties.

Beto, or Biden, or Harris, or Sanders, what is the best position, for the Left and the Right, on these two situations? Great Debate, next.








CUOMO: Today brought a rebuke in the Senate for the President and the entrance of a Beto for the Democrats. What does each mean for Left and Right? That's our starting point for The Great Debate.




CUOMO: Christine Quinn and Scott Jennings. Let's start on the Democrats, Christine Quinn. So, what does Beto mean? Is he Beto than Biden and Bernie?


CUOMO: Just to group the men.


CUOMO: Yes, you laughed. So, that's it, I win.

QUINN: You totally.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

QUINN: Look, I think Beto getting into the race is a further reflection of what a terrific bench we have in the Democratic Party, how deep our leadership is, the diversity of voices who want to be part of this conversation, and I think that's a really good thing.

Now, who's going to rise to the top tier and then the top? That's yes to - yet to be determined. But this is true democracy in a small "D" and true Democratic Party in a big "D." The more voices, the better.

[21:30:00] CUOMO: All right. Am I fair to pick up on this question of whether or not a White male, Christine, has a place at the top of the ticket in your party right now?

QUINN: You know, look, I think the best candidate has a place at the top of our ticket, the one who can win. The most important thing is to beat President Trump, make sure he doesn't get re-elected.

I think our candidates show how deep the party is committed to diversity, and how diverse our strength is, and our leadership is. So, I have, you know, full belief that we're going to get most diversity in this race and in the ticket. But we need to win. That is critical. CUOMO: Scott, is the President worried about Beto? Is that why he had that lame early attack on him today? He hasn't gotten his material together yet. But he showed the intent.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes. I - I don't think they're worried about anybody yet because it's far too early to see who's going to actually win this primary. I mean as far as diversity goes, by the way--

CUOMO: That's true.

JENNINGS: --three frontrunners, Sanders, Beto, and Biden are all White guys. I mean it's - the - the people leading this primary are not diverse at all.

CUOMO: It's early.

JENNINGS: Even though there are some diverse candidates in it.

QUINN: Yes, it's early.

CUOMO: A lot of it's--

JENNINGS: But, look, I - I--

CUOMO: --name recognition.

JENNINGS: --I presume what's going to happen is to any of these people, they're going to have to drift and gravitate farther and farther Left to even have a chance to win this primary. So, it doesn't really matter who they are today.

It only matters who they are at the end of this process, and who they are at the end of the process will be Left-wing socialists. That's how the President's going to paint them.

QUINN: Ridiculous.

JENNINGS: And that's how the Democratic activists are going to expect them to perform.

CUOMO: Well I agree with the first part. That is how you guys--

JENNINGS: So, we're going to have a - that's how it's going to set up.

CUOMO: --will paint them. That will be the cudgel for you guys.

QUINN: Ridiculous.

CUOMO: Christine Quinn's got the sour look on her face. So, you say, "No way."

QUINN: I do. I do. I do.

CUOMO: Why? Make the case. QUINN: First, they're not going to - first of all, there is a - an integrity that exists in the Democratic Party. And these candidates are running as who they are based on their record. They have progressive records as progressive Democrats. They don't have records as socialists.

And these candidates are not going to do some 180 or 360 and change who they are, and what they believe in. That's simply not how our primary works, and not what Democrats are about.

And none of them have to because they all have incredibly strong records on core Democratic issues.

JENNINGS: What is Beto's record? What - what - name - name - get - tell me Beto's record. What is Beto's record of accomplishment, in his personal life, in his professional life, or in Congress? Name one.

QUINN: Well I'm not so abreast on his personal life nor should I be, so I'm not going to talk about--

JENNINGS: Oh, yes, because there is no - look, the - the reality is--

QUINN: He has a personal life. There is--

JENNINGS: --there is no accomplishment for Beto. Zero.

QUINN: No, that's ridiculous. He is an accomplished former Member of Congress. He ran one of the best Senate campaigns in history almost taking out a long entrenched incumbent. He's someone who has galvanized crowds and enthusiasm and young people like we have never seen before.

You want to talk about somebody who had no credentials to be President before the election? Hello, he's tragically sitting in the White House right now, and his name is Donald Trump.

CUOMO: Yes. Except now, he is President.

QUINN: Now he is, unfortunately.

CUOMO: I mean I was going to say, you know, like (ph) - Scott Jennings, well, you know, none of you guys were touting Trump's credentials when he was just a candidate. But now, he's a sitting President, and that comes with a big stick, Christine.

So, the question is who do you have that's going to take him out? And, look, it is early. Obviously, we'll see how it develops. So--

QUINN: And the primary will really, in large part, answer that question.

CUOMO: And, look, and they always push people to the sides. It's one of the reasons that this President is where he is, is because of the way that party shifted. So, now there's a new battle for the soul.

We've seen it in these votes the last few days, and we saw it in what Ronna McDaniel said on this show. I've never heard anything like that from anybody at the top of the RNC before, where she dismissed morality as part of a political scorecard.

"You know, I go to church for that," Scott.


CUOMO: "I go to Church for that. I don't - I go to my politicians for, you know, their positions." That pragmatism has not been present in your party today. Does that win out? Is that the new soul of the party that "Whatever gets it done baby, just win?"

JENNINGS: Well I think what you're seeing Republicans do is reacting to what they thought was eight years under Barack Obama of a complete disrespect of their Conservative value, certainly, Christian Conservatives felt that way.

And, no, I don't believe they hold Donald Trump up to be a moral figure. They don't hold him up to be a perfect Christian. They didn't hire him necessarily to sing in the church choir.

They hired him to push back on the extreme Left in this country as they saw it that took this country so far culturally to the Left that it was almost unrecognizable to them.

They lived through John McCain, Mitt Romney, and other Republican leaders who were honorable people, and who did things very, very well in their personal and their professional lives.

But as they saw it, they did not have the intestinal fortitude to take on the - the extreme Left and the media that was pushing this country so far to the fringe. That's what Trump delivered for them.

CUOMO: They--

JENNINGS: They don't look to him, in my opinion, to be a Christian leader. They look to him to respect their Christian values, which is not what they were getting under the previous Administration.

CUOMO: You know, listen, I - I got to tell you. You're shaking your head. No, Christine. I believe everything he just said. They hired a hitman.

QUINN: Oh, I agree with what he said.

[21:35:00] CUOMO: They didn't see him as the antidote. They saw him as a poison to the system. The question then on your side of the ball is whom do you have that can go toe-to-toe with a guy whose party is happy to watch him fight dirty?

QUINN: Look, I - I don't disagree what Scott said about the deal that was made. But let's no - make no mistake about it. It's the height of hypocrisy. And the--

CUOMO: That's politics. And - and that's the way--

QUINN: It's a height of hypocrisy.

CUOMO: --it's going to be fought and you're going to have to have a--

QUINN: I don't - you know what?

CUOMO: --street fighter.

QUINN: I don't believe hypocrisy is or has to be part of politics. And the far religious Right made a deal with the devil. That's the facts. What I was shaking my head about is I think it's really unfortunate that those types of deals were made.

Now, look, we are going to have a - a Democratic primary here, clearly that's going to be robust and active. And I agree, we have to come out with the best candidate to beat Donald Trump because that's our mission to beat Donald Trump.

Who that's going to be? A good multi, multi candidate field is actually going to help us because we need somebody up against Donald Trump. He is a great campaigner. That's a fact. And he's tough as nails as a campaigner. And we need a candidate--

CUOMO: Well--

QUINN: --who's going to be just as good and the primary's going to help us see who that person is.

CUOMO: I think the biggest challenge is for the media because I think it's going to be a circus. I think it's going to be the worst thing I've ever covered, and it's going to be so tempting for the media to play to the new lows.

And we're going to have to find a way to thread it through for people, so that they don't lose all hope in all of you, because that's what I'm worried about is where we're headed.

Christine Quinn, Scott Jennings, appreciate you making the case here on CUOMO PRIME TIME.

QUINN: Absolutely.

CUOMO: All right, the plane story, not letting it go, because we know it doesn't make sense, the timing of what happened. We know we have to keep digging, and we are, and there's new reporting.

The biggest fear is that this Ethiopia crash was a repeat problem, right? So, now we have some of the pilot's final words coming to light in a new report. They tell us things. And we have new data that compares the two flights and you're going to want to see it.








CUOMO: All right, breaking tonight, new details about the final moments in the cockpit of that doomed jetliner in Ethiopia. The New York Times reports radio messages reveal the pilots relayed, to Air Traffic Control, problems less than one minute into the flight.

Less than one minute into the flight, they told the Air Traffic Controllers, we have trouble. Controllers apparently observed the plane going up and down by hundreds of feet at an unusually fast speed.

[21:40:00] Panic could be heard in the Captain's voice as he said, "Break break, request back to home. Request vector for landing." That was three minutes into the flight. All contact was lost two minutes later.

And I'm giving you time cues because I want you to look at this graph. It shows how the Ethiopian Airlines flight followed the same erratic pattern, to my eye, as the Lion Air jet, OK?

And - and we have bracketed the relevant time section, OK, because, yes, in the beginning, it's different. You see an angle of ascent on the top graph that is different than the one on the bottom.

But do you see, in that same interval in, there's a precipitous drop, OK? And then you see a flagging pattern and we both - we all know what happened after that. So, this is what has alarmed investigators the most as they wait for data from the black boxes.

I want to bring in CNN Aviation Analyst, Miles O'Brien. Always a pleasure, Miles.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Good to see you, Chris. Pleasure.

CUOMO: Good to have you on the new show.


CUOMO: So, keep that graph up. Am I getting this wrong that those similar segments and drops are worth being worried about?

O'BRIEN: Absolutely. You have this entirely correct. You don't have to be a rocket scientist. You don't have to be an aviation person. You don't have to be a pilot. You look at those graphs and you see something very similar is going on here.

What - what you have is an aircraft that is fighting against its own crew, an aircraft that is programmed to correct the incorrect actions of the crew. But for whatever reason, because of bad data coming from a sensor or some faulty software, is doing the wrong thing. And the crew pull - you know, doing its best to pull back on that yoke that - that wheel, 90 pounds of pressure to try to get to overcome it, trying to fight this thing.

Now, it - one thing you can do is disconnect the system. But when you're in a struggle like that, you're just trying to keep the thing from - the stability is a huge factor. You may not have the time to do what you need to do.

And so, you know, this is so hauntingly parallel that it - it makes me think about that Lion Air incident.

Now, at that time, Boeing and the FAA said we have potentially a problem with the software. We need to fix it. FAA said, "OK. Well we'll fly the airplanes. Let's - we'll do this by April."

Well they identified a fleet-wide problem that could be catastrophic and could lead to deaths, and they didn't ground the planes at that point. You could make an argument that that was the time to ground the planes and fix it.

CUOMO: And I've been asking this question. It's just great to have you. I'm so - I'm not happy about any of this, but this is good.

My suspicion is that if you knew you needed a software upgrade as soon as that Lion Air jet went down, essentially, you must have known something before about the Lion - about this plane for you to immediately know--

O'BRIEN: Well--

CUOMO: --we have to do this.

O'BRIEN: --there were a series of reports out there that didn't lead to crashes.

There's an anonymous reporting system that's actually run by NASA, and that's purposeful, so the pilots feel comfortable reporting and realizing the FAA is not going to lower the boom on them.

And there were several incidents of auto pilot problems where the aircraft did just that. So there's - there's a recurring pattern here.

Put it this way. Imagine if the Lion Air crash was an engine falling off or a wing falling off or some mechanical hardware thing, that plane would have been grounded pretty quickly--


O'BRIEN: --right? But it was software. And, increasingly, we're relying on software to control our aircraft. And perhaps, just perhaps, there's not a recognition of how important it is to fix the software too, you know, do it by April. Well it's--

CUOMO: You sound like the President. Are you saying planes need less technology? O'BRIEN: Albert Einstein as your pilot, right?


O'BRIEN: Yes. I - listen, I'll take an Einstein as a pilot.

CUOMO: Yes. I was - I was going to say it.

O'BRIEN: I think - you know, I like smart guys.

CUOMO: I think it could do worse.

O'BRIEN: I like smart guys.

CUOMO: It's not about not - it's not about having too much technology. It's about making sure the technology works and that the people who are flying the planes know how to work with it.

O'BRIEN: It's - the key is being in the loop.

CUOMO: Right.

O'BRIEN: Automated aircraft are safer. However, when the automation fails, the pilot needs to know what's going on.


O'BRIEN: And they are frequently, for lack of training, for lack of knowledge of the system, this system was not well explained to the pilots at all, they don't know what's going on. It's a black box to them, and that's very dangerous.

If the system works, it's great. But when it goes south, these pilots have to be on their toes and on their toes quickly.

CUOMO: Now, here's my new question. When did the FAA know about the similarity between these two flight wrecks?

O'BRIEN: Well, I - I'll be honest with you. I look at those graphs. We knew that information pretty much the day of that - that those flight tracks, little more rudimentary, not quite as detailed came out right away, so the timing is very suspect.

CUOMO: If Miles O'Brien is working at the FAA--

O'BRIEN: I - I'd say--

CUOMO: --or even at Boeing, and you see that graph--


CUOMO: --doesn't something in you say, "Oh, my God, this happened again."

O'BRIEN: Got to ground them. We've got to ground them. And--

CUOMO: So, why didn't they?

O'BRIEN: You know, there's all kinds of speculation here.

It's probably for the same reason that the Ethiopians sent their black boxes to France, not the United States. There is a perception that the - that a U.S. company, Boeing, the biggest exporter in this nation gets favorable treatment politically and otherwise.

[21:45:00] That's the suggestion. I can't say that's what happened in this case. But I don't - do know that the FAA has a long history of being very close to the industry it regulates.

CUOMO: Now, this is one of those cases where we cannot fatigue. We have to stay and see what they do with the planes now that they're on the ground, and what they can assure when they put them back in the air. And I know that's going to be squishy.

O'BRIEN: Well--

CUOMO: It's going to be squishy.

O'BRIEN: --and it's software. And you got to make sure it works, right?

CUOMO: Right.

O'BRIEN: First, do no harm, right?

CUOMO: That's right. Miles--

O'BRIEN: All right, pleasure.

CUOMO: Thank you so much.

O'BRIEN: Right.

CUOMO: Please, I'm going to call on you for this.

O'BRIEN: Anytime.

CUOMO: I need the best.

O'BRIEN: Anytime.

CUOMO: Thank you very much.

All right, so back to politics. Do you think that the Left is going to still feel the burn or have they found someone, wait for it, Beto? Is O'Rourke the answer? There's a lot of hype.

You know who likes to talk about hype? D. Lemon. We bring him in, next.







CUOMO: "Born to be in it." That's how Beto O'Rourke framed his 2020 run to Vanity Fair. But for a man running in the most diverse Democratic primary field in history, how will he set himself apart? Here's his answer.


BETO O'ROURKE, (D) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, BUSINESSMAN, POLITICIAN: I'm just going to be me, you know. I'm - I'm going to run for everyone, run with everyone, listen to everybody, try to answer every question.

At this very divided moment, we're having in our country--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But we got to - you got to keep moving (ph).

O'ROURKE: --people want to come together.


CUOMO: D. Lemon, come on in on this. First of all, I'm asking this question. People on the Left don't like that I'm saying it.

But there does seem to be momentum in that party that they are about diversity and youth now, and that they may not be ready or - ready - they may not be open to another White male. Is that an unfair question?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: No. That's not an unfair question.

And, listen, I don't think any question is unfair as long as you can explain the rationale behind it. Before I answer, I was just going to say, we're going to talk about that, Bakari Sellers, Neera Tanden, we're going to discuss it.

Does he - is he - can he garner the support of African-Americans in this race because that is a huge voting bloc. It makes a difference. Especially, Black women have made a difference in many elections, as we've seen since 2016 across this country. And so, we're going to talk about that.

But I think it's - I think it's a fair question. And I also think it's a fair question about policy, about his policies, right, because that's where the rubber meets the road. Now, I'm just going to say, so he spoke in Iowa today, and this is a

criticism that he doesn't really - he didn't really give any policies that he doesn't really have a platform. That's the criticism.

I, you know, how much of a platform did Trump or does anybody have at this point in an election? How much - how much did he have or how much does any candidate have at this point?

[21:50:00] Here's what he said, as he was speaking out, he says, "We have the single greatest mechanism to call forth the genius of our fellow human beings. This democracy can bring the ingenuine - ingenuity, the creativity, the resolve of an entire country."

CUOMO: Look, you know, great.

LEMON: Sounds good.

CUOMO: Yes, sounds great. I've heard it before.

LEMON: But what does that - what - but--

CUOMO: You know.

LEMON: --what does that mean?

CUOMO: And when Barack Obama said it, people hit him with the stick of, "But what has he done?"

LEMON: What has he done?

CUOMO: And I think that what we're going to see here, you know, with all due respect to my brothers and sisters in the media, you know, they love to love people up, and then they tear them down. And Beto O'Rourke has gotten a lot of love from the media. But--

LEMON: He's a media darling. And--

CUOMO: But now he's going to get scrutiny. And tonight, you know, the Republican came out of the box in The Great Debate, said, "Hey, wait a minute. Well - well--


CUOMO: --what has this guy ever done? Remind me."


CUOMO: And I got to tell you, it was a little bit of a struggle--

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: --for the Democrat to say, "Well, it's early. We don't really know him."


CUOMO: I think it's going to be a problem that's going to be early and often for him.

LEMON: But I say, rightfully so, and if he is - if he has his wits about him, he will - he will take on that challenge and those questions.

CUOMO: Sure.

LEMON: He will welcome them. And - and if any - and - and I'm speaking to all of the folks who are running, if they are smart, they will take a page from the Trump playbook.

And when - when folks call you and say, "Will you do an interview?" And says, "Oh, no, I'm not going to do that. I'm just - I got to do."

CUOMO: Do them.

LEMON: Do it. Own the media. Own the platform.

CUOMO: And they're already not doing it. They're already picking--

LEMON: It - it's--

CUOMO: --all the favorites--

LEMON: Stupid.

CUOMO: --getting the blessing of the high pundits of the Left--

LEMON: Stupid.

CUOMO: --you're making--

LEMON: Stupid.

CUOMO: --a mistake.

LEMON: Stupid. "Mr. Trump, will you do an interview with me tomorrow?" "Sure, Don. What time do you want me to call?" Right? Or "Can you come in?" "No, I can't come in. I can call." "I'd like to come to Trump Tower." "All right, look, I'll get Ronna to work on it or whatever."

And guess what? Who's sitting in the Oval Office right now?

CUOMO: Yes. Look, it was definitely part of it. People will say, "Oh, no, you gave him too much attention." He took the opportunities that were given. We offered the Clinton Campaign the same ones by phone, they wouldn't take them.

LEMON: Don't blame him for saying yes when other people said no. And if you think about it on - on this program, the things that he said, he came on, blood coming out of our eyes, blood coming out of wherever, that was on this show.

"Who's doing the raping, Don?" That was on this show. "Are you racist? Are you bigoted?" That was from an interview with it. And you know what? He took those challenges. And instead of folding

and saying, "Oh, my gosh, I'm sorry," he capitalized on it, and said, "Yes, you know what I meant by that."


LEMON: And he wasn't afraid of it. They should do the same thing. Take a lesson from the Trump playbook, Democrats.

CUOMO: Take the opportunities. Make them what you want them to be.


CUOMO: All right bud, I'll talk to you in a little bit.

LEMON: See you in a bit.

CUOMO: All right, President Trump likes to talk tough. Kellyanne didn't want to deal with it. I understand why.

But we have to, OK? It's not enough to just call other people names when they're asking you about the names that he called people. What he's doing is symptomatic of what he wants us to be. We have to see it for what it is. That's the job.

My argument is next.








CUOMO: Imagine for a moment if I said something like this.

"You know, Trump supporters, they play rough, threaten my life, bother me at home, scare my kids. But, you know, I have the support of my local police, and the military, and some Biker friends. I have the tough people. But they don't play it tough until they go to a certain point. And then, it would be very bad, very bad."

What do you think happens if I were to say that for real? At a minimum, the Trump Trio at Fox would go nuts, and rightly so, for a change. My boss would insist I apologize if he even let me stay on. I may be seen as way too unstable to even do this job.

Well what I just said is exactly what this President said today. And he actually does have control of the military. Now, he was talking to some Right-wing fire - fire-breathing outlet that was arguably egging him on about how ugly the Left can be.

But still, here's the quote.

"I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump, I have the tough people, but they don't play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad."

The "They" is the Left. "This is cherry-picking," Kellyanne says, "Maybe just a one-off weak moment." Wrong. Listen to this.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're so lucky that we're peaceful.


TRUMP: Law enforcement, military, construction workers, Bikers for Trump. How about Bikers for Trump?


TRUMP: These are tough people. These are great people. But they're peaceful people. And Antifa and all, they better hope they stay that way.


CUOMO: The argument is over. It wasn't about context. It's not about what was asked of him. He said the same damn thing before. The best his defenders can do is say, "Well the Left is mean and inflammatory too. Fair is fair."

No. They mean foul justifies foul, and that is pathetic. Matching tone with a mobbish fringe contingent of Antifa or some anarchists, you're the President, not the Head of a Right-wing extremist group. This is not OK, ever, but especially not now.

The temperature is already too high. Too many of us have too much heat from this kind of talk, and the reaction to this kind of talk.

This President is jumping up and down on too many fault lines, and he knows it. And it seems he likes it because he keeps doing it. It is by definition in the law, reckless behavior. He knows the risk the words create, and he does it anyway.

And his party is now apparently moving away from the message of character counts to being OK with a man named Donald, who talks like a Mafia don in the White House.

I wish he would pick his words more carefully. That's the best you'll hear. He's picking them carefully all the time. He means it all. He has repeatedly encouraged violence.

And it too often sounds like the tacit approval of violence if things don't go his way like the Mueller report, Congressional investigations, maybe God forbid, he loses in 2020.

I'm not picking on the President. I do not show him disrespect on this show or when I see him in person. I am always the same people. If anything - same person.

If anything, I act in a way that shows more respect for the Presidency then he does. I came up in the same place. I get that there's a time to stand and fight. That's a street standard for justice, not the standard for a President.

It is good that the economy grows. It is good that wages rise and that trade favors American workers more. It's good if more Americans are optimistic about their future.

And if that's because of the President's policies, then OK, good for him. But none of that makes this OK, not in a President.

Money is not a replacement for morality in our leadership. The scrutiny cannot be curtailed just because there are some policies that are making a positive difference in place. It doesn't make what the President says OK.

His Party may fear not having his favor. But we do not. We will call this out because if we don't, who will?

Thank you for watching us tonight. CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON starts right now.