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49 Dead, Dozens Hurt In New Zealand Mosque Attacks; Trump Tweets "There Should Be No Mueller Report" A Day After House Votes 420-0 To Make It Public; Trump Promotes "Jexodus," Inviting Jews To Join GOP. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 15, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Rabbi Myers, I appreciate your time. Thank you.


COOPER: Well -- well, obviously, we'd continue to follow this in the coming days.

Right now, want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Very heavy, very important, Anderson, thank you, for your guidance through the last hour. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

49 people massacred for being different than their murderer. And many more, before them, here at home. The time has come to stop ignoring an obvious problem abroad and here at home.

White supremacism is on the rise. And the President should know that. The question is what to do about it.

We're going to get some extremely valuable perspective tonight from a Muslim leader and also a former White supremacist. They have words we must listen to. And how do we get the leadership to confront this problem?

The Pled -- the President played it down today, and has also upped the rhetoric that resonates with these kinds of bigots. It has to stop.

And when he wasn't denying the reality on this, he was denying the need for transparency on the Russia probe, trying to block the Mueller report, after members of his own party voted to put it all out there.

It is a tough night, my friends. But let's figure out what to do. This must unite us in grief and concern. So, let's get after it.




CUOMO: There is no mystery here. We know who's doing this. We know their motivation.

The question is how do you fight the rise of White nationalism around the world and, yes, here at home? Well, you have to start at admitting there's a problem and a growing threat.

Today, our President wouldn't do that.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't, really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps, that's a case I don't know enough about it yet. They're just learning about the person and the people involved. But it's -- it's certainly a terrible thing.


CUOMO: A small group of people? If the President refuses to deal, the rest of us must. How do we move from us versus them to we?

Joining me now, an influential member of the Muslim community, who we all are grieving with tonight, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf. Welcome.


CUOMO: It's good to see you, my friend.

RAUF: Thank you.

CUOMO: And I am so sorry to see you--

RAUF: God bless you.

CUOMO: --under these circumstances.

RAUF: Thank you. Thank you for your sympathy and expressions of condolences. The community very much appreciates it.

CUOMO: So, there are two things to discuss. The first is what to do? What do you believe the remedy is for a problem that is obvious, not just in New Zealand, we're seeing it over Europe.

We're seeing White supremacy grow. We're seeing major leaders of European states espousing these kinds of views. And we see it here at home

RAUF: Yes. I think what we need, Chris, first of all -- first of all, we all condemn this and we understand that.

But if we zoom out, and look at the broad picture, today, it's a couple of mosques in New Zealand. Yesterday, it was a synagogue, proverbially speaking yesterday, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, day before yesterday, Coptic churches in Cairo. The victims and perpetrators can claim to be of the Muslim faith, the

Christian faith, the Jewish faith, no faith has a monopoly on terrorism, and no faith is immune from -- from terrorists, from terrorism. It could be ethnic-based, as -- as in this case, White race -- White supremacy.

The solution requires understanding the pain of each side, the root problems of it. There are some fears that -- that -- that -- that the White communities have, and these fears have to be recognized, and they have to be addressed.

We also need today where we're -- we're in a different century right now. We're in a different world order. Boundary is not the same. Identities are not the same. Identities are shifting.

In my Congregation -- when I was growing up, communities were bounded by very clear-cut identities of -- of national identity, language, culture, food. Today, we're all getting increasingly mixed up, more and more so.

My Congregation has people whose parents are Boston (ph) European and West African Senegalese, a Bangladeshi mother with a Greek-American- Irish -- a Greek-Irish-American father. This is the way of the future.

We eat Chinese today. We eat Italian tomorrow. We have, you know, falafel, you know, and hummus. This is who I -- be -- we are becoming. So, we have to have an -- a clear idea as to where we are going.

Today, what we need is a -- a -- a new and globalized version of NATO. We need a merger. We've been needing, ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall, we needed a merger of NATO and Warsaw, the Warsaw Pact.

CUOMO: Takes a lot of leadership.

[21:05:00] RAUF: It takes -- it takes a lot of leadership. And it takes global leadership, and it has to be supported also by a chorus of voices.

This requires governments. It requires intelligence and security agencies, law enforcement agencies, requires the religious leaders, requires NGOs, business leaders. It requires a -- a strategic group of people who have -- who -- who have the capacity to bring about this -- this -- this change.

CUOMO: But that assumes that you have the leadership that wants to recognize the problem.

Now, that would be something you'd take for granted. But what we saw here today with our President. And, again, I'm not blaming him for what happened in New Zealand. That would be absurd.

The man who did that and anyone who helped him, they are to blame for what happened. But for him to say, "I don't think this is a very big deal," he knows we've been dealing it here.

He knows that we just had the deranged Coast Guard guy. He knows about the pipe bombs. He knows about all of these things. What do you do with the refusal to acknowledge the problem? And what do you see in that?

RAUF: Well we have to make the statement very clear that we disagree with his analysis of this (ph) because this problem has -- it did not begin with Trump. It began before Trump.

CUOMO: Sure.

RAUF: And will continue after Trump. It is not the last time terrorist acts will occur, Chris. So, we have to have not only call for this, but I mean we have called for an -- for a Cordoba communities.

But my -- my initiative is called -- our initiative is called to bring about -- because this such initiative has to be supported by, you know, the Facebooks and the -- the -- the Apples, you know, the -- the -- the -- the -- the -- the digital industry.

CUOMO: They have to work as hard on this as they do on selling us things.

RAUF: It -- it -- it -- it -- it requires -- it requires all of those who -- all the skill sets of the 21st Century because, like we said, today, the boundaries are not getting diffused. We're increasingly getting globalized.

I heard this morning that this murder was influenced by -- by a Swedish YouTube celebrity--

CUOMO: Right.

RAUF: --who has made anti-Semitic gestures in his videos, who has a following of 89 million people. Thousands of miles away, he was influenced. So, we're living in a -- in a different world today.

It requires a -- we -- we require now not just national security. We require international security. The threats facing the human race, they're not just terrorism. Terrorism, nuclear, it's artificial intelligence, there's a whole host of things.

So, we need a 21st Century, what I call, NATO Warsaw Pact merger, looking at all the threats, creating stress -- strategic plans, and implementing them, and supported by grassroots people like -- like ourselves of interfaith -- an interfaith community, which we have called the Cordoba community, supporting them, sending letters to our all Members of Congress, doing the things that we can, because in the world today, leadership is become even more diffused.

CUOMO: On the macro, we need that type of organizational structure, and to evolve toward that. On the micro, we need this. We need people to come together because the terrorists want to keep us apart. The haters want to keep us apart.

But I love you, and I'm happy to have you here (ph) always.

RAUF: Thank you. Love you too. We love you too. And moderates of all faith religions have to unite against the extremists of all faith religion, because the extremists are -- are all over.

CUOMO: And there are a lot more of us than there are them.

RAUF: Absolutely. And we have to drown them out.

CUOMO: All right. Be blessed and thank you.

RAUF: Thank you so much, Chris.

CUOMO: And, again, I am sorry to talk to you on this occasion. But it is better than ignoring these.

RAUF: We cannot ignore this problem. And we -- and the solution is at hand, and the time is now.

CUOMO: Imam, be well.

RAUF: Thank you, Sir.

CUOMO: All right, so, when you look at this, when you look at this threat, when you look at a White supremacist, in this case, is it a sickness? Is it sober-minded hate? Is it misplaced fear of replacement? What makes a White supremacist? And can you unmake one?

The next guest says he knows the answer because he is proof you can escape the hate, a former neo-Nazi, how he changed his life, and his warnings about the threat here in the U.S., next.








CUOMO: White nationalism, "No biggie abroad or at home," says our President. My next guest disagrees. He's a former Skinhead who now works to help people leave that life.

His name is Christian Picciolini.




CUOMO: Welcome to PRIME TIME. Thank you for taking the opportunity.


CUOMO: So, Christian, tell me. What got you into it? And what got you out of it?

PICCIOLINI: You know, I came from a normal family, much like the -- the manifesto said that that person did. My parents loved me. But I felt very abandoned by them.

So, at 14 years old in 1987, after being bullied for much of that period, somebody gave me a narrative that I latched onto, and offered me a sense of identity, community, and purpose, that I couldn't find anywhere else.

And because I had that abandonment issue, because I had that trauma, that sense of loss, I was already on the margins, and -- and they knew exactly where to look for me.

CUOMO: So, the hate is a function of fragility. It's not something that was just inside of you. You didn't have a rationale to make enemies or demonize others?

PICCIOLINI: No. I was, you know, my parents are Italian immigrants who came over to the U.S. in the mid-60s.

CUOMO: Right.

PICCIOLINI: They were often the victims of prejudice. So, racism wasn't part of my family DNA.

Instead, what I found out many, many years later, and I've seen this now with hundreds, if not thousands of people, is that the hatred really is self-hatred being projected outward, that it's everybody -- everybody's broken.

We're all broken. But people who are on the fringes, you know, may have felt marginalized. They may be broken. They may be dealing with mental health disorders. They may be dealing with poverty or even privilege issues.

These are all things that I call potholes. Those things that appear in our life's journey that deviate our path, they detour us.

CUOMO: Got you.

PICCIOLINI: And as we're looking for identity, community, and purpose, there are -- there's somebody out there on the fringes that will scoop people who are vulnerable up.

CUOMO: How did you get out?

PICCIOLINI: Oh, you know, it was receiving compassion from the people that I least deserved it from at a time when I least deserved it. I started to have meaningful interactions with the people I thought I hated for the first time.

And at 23 years old, in 1996, I found my way out. And even though I was quiet for a couple of years after that, in 2000, I started to really talk about this problem that we're now seeing today.

[21:15:00] And for 20 years, I've been warning over and over about this issue that it is going to get worse before it gets better.

CUOMO: It's just discrete, it's just fringe. Yes, they kill people every once in a while, but it's nothing like the threat that we face from Islam, and it's nothing like we face from immigrants, I mean, we're hearing all of this talk.

You believe it defies the reality?

PICCIOLINI: Listen, this is the reality. 19 people flew two planes into the World Trade Centers and other buildings that day. One person took down the Oklahoma City bombing building.

You know, we hear about these murders all the time, from the Tree of Life Synagogue to, you know, to now the mosque. This is happening almost on a weekly, monthly basis, and goes underreported in many cases.

And I see these incidents happen because I'm in this world. I help people disengage from it. And I can tell you that this has been going back for, you know, 30 years from when I was involved where we had rallies like Charlottesville.

And our intention was to provoke violence at those rallies, and our intention was to -- to create this lone-wolf culture that we're seeing because we knew that, as Skinheads, we were pushing away even the average American White racist.

CUOMO: Right.

PICCIOLINI: And we were too edgy for them. And we started to mainstream the ideology. And this is the result of that effort.

CUOMO: So, you believe that the internet is a turbocharging element that it's on the rise. Let me ask you something. Why do these people--


CUOMO: --like what the President says?

PICCIOLINI: Well because he says exactly what they're saying. And there's things that I said exactly 30 years ago. I mean slightly different (ph)--

CUOMO: But he says all the time, "I'm not a White supremacist."

PICCIOLINI: --words.

CUOMO: But, Christian, just to give him his due, he'll say--


CUOMO: --"I don't like these people. I'm not about them. I'm not about their cause." He doesn't say it right away. He often has to be pushed. But what do they believe?

PICCIOLINI: Well I can tell you that most White supremacists will also deny the fact that they're White supremacists in public too, you know.

And -- and today, when -- when I heard him say that he thought it was a fringe issue that he didn't think it was a problem, you know, I have to believe that he truly believes that that he doesn't see a significant portion of some of the people that voted for him are White nationalists.

So maybe he doesn't actually see it as a problem, as a threat.

CUOMO: And what do you think, when you say he says what they say, what exactly, what did -- what do they cling on to, because we have seen an uptick in mouthiness among those who used to realize--


CUOMO: --they were relegated to the shadows. What is it that they're grabbing onto?

PICCIOLINI: Well I can tell you 30 years ago, I used to call for, you know, a wall to be built or for illegal immigrants to be taken out of the -- all -- all immigrants who weren't White to be taken out of the country. I called, you know, for the U.S. to pull out of partnerships in Europe.

It was all about the breakdown of democracy. And what's happening now is being aided by a foreign influence. So, we're seeing, you know, the foundation rippers come in from Eastern Europe and from Russia with the propaganda that's being flooded all over the internet.

What's happening on the internet is a -- is a -- essentially a 24-hour hate buffet. It is that alley I was standing in at 14 years old, and had to have a -- a person physically connect with me to recruit me.

What's happening now is people are going to this buffet and they can feast all night long on -- on message forums that are even -- not even geared towards White nationalism.

What's happened is the recruiters have gotten devious, even more devious, and they're going to places that are safe places online, like depression forums, autism forums.

They're talking to our youngest kids over their multiplayer headsets to recruit them. This is what's happening now. They're trying to push a false narrative that's based on conspiracy theory that, frankly, is -- is hard to not step into on the internet.

CUOMO: Got to call it out, got to call it out everywhere we see it.

Christian, good for you, trying to get other people, out of a jam, that you found your way into, and good luck with the rest of your life. Thank you for talking to us about this.

PICCIOLINI: Thanks, Chris. CUOMO: All right, be well.

PICCIOLINI: My pleasure.

CUOMO: All right, man, look, this is -- what a terrible way to have to grow up? What a way to evolve? But at least he did. Most don't. So, let's accept what we learned about the mindset and the motivation.

Now, well how big exactly is the threat here and elsewhere? We have the perfect guests who know the scope of the problem and the realities of fighting it, next.








CUOMO: Look, we know we have a problem. But just how bad is this kind of White extremism here and abroad? What is driving it? And does that give us a window into fighting it? We've two great guests for you.

We have Bloomberg Editor, Bobby Ghosh, and the Executive Director of Muslim Advocates, Farhana Khera. It's great to have you both. Thank you for joining us. I wish it were for a different conversation, but thank you.


CUOMO: All right, so let's get people--


CUOMO: --on the same page.

Bobby, the President says, "No, it's not that big a deal."

All you have to do is do a quick Google, and you'll see that along with the emergent migrant situation, you're seeing full-blown leaders all throughout Europe, probably half a dozen countries, have moved extremely to the White -- to -- to the White -- that's a pun unintended -- to the Right in terms of this extremism of politics, and we've been seeing violence like this.

How do you quantify it, Bobby?

GHOSH: Well, it's hard to pick numbers. But we can look at what Intelligence agents around the world are telling us, American Intelligence agents, Intelligence agencies here in Europe are -- are saying the same thing.

They're seeing a rise in this -- this -- this pattern of hate and -- and dissemination of hate online. They're seeing a rise in hate crimes. We're seeing this manifest itself in anti-Semitism, quite a lot of it here in Europe.

And, of course, we're seeing it in the rise of Islamophobia. People of color around the world being attacked in communities that are primarily White.

So, the -- the evidence, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. We -- there -- there may not be accurate data that captures the full scale of this, but it's impossible to ignore the daily drumbeat of this.

Every day you open the paper, somewhere in the world, there has been a -- a race, a crime committed by a White supremacist. They call it Alt- right, call it what you may--

CUOMO: Right.

GHOSH: --against somebody who's either of Brown skin or Jewish or Muslim. And it's just you -- you -- you can't ignore it anymore.

CUOMO: And Farhana, here in the United States, we've seen in three of the last four years, upticks, they were up years, one of those four years, it was actually went down. But last year, they were, I think, you know, 50-something killings that were related to this 70-plus percent of them.

50 deaths last year, 78 percent of them were accountable to White supremacy -- supremacists, and 2 percent Islamist extremists. Now, of course, the Muslims get all the attention.

If a Muslim did something like this, you'd know all about who the killer was, and the President would have probably jumped on it as terror and, you know, re-argue that this is a threat, but not when it's this. He plays it down. How big is the reality here at home?

[21:25:00] KHERA: Yes. There is a very big reality as your graphic just showed, Chris. And -- and the fact is that it's not just the President downplaying the threat, and -- and refusing to even acknowledge that the White national threat is a threat to our safety.

But, unfortunately, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, over the last decade or so, we have not seen the level of attention and resources that should be devoted to this issue.

So, just to give you a couple of examples, even in 2009, in the first term of the Obama Administration, the Obama Department of Homeland Security kiboshed a report that was being put out to begin to look at the threat being posed by Right-wing White nationalist movements.

And we've also seen the FBI put disproportionate invert those resources. So, as your graph shows, you would think that the majority of our FBI Counterterrorism agents should be focused on the threat being posed here domestically, and they're not.

The vast, vast majority, 90 percent of FBI agents are focused on the threat presented by ISIS and al-Qaeda and those groups. So, there needs to -- this is hopefully -- I'm hoping that this will be a wake- up call for the FBI to reset its priorities.

CUOMO: You know, Bobby, we've had a string of little ones here.

You know, we have this horrible tendency to only measure problems by death. And if, you know, somebody has the most virulent of intentions, but they only kill a couple of people, we don't see it as a big a deal if you kill 49.

And, of course, lethality matters, lives matter. But they are not a direct relationship to the size of a threat, Bobby. And whether it was this guy in the Coast Guard--

GHOSH: No, it isn't (ph).

CUOMO: --who just put us on the list or the guy with the pipe bombs, you know, if they want to act, and they keep trying find -- you know, to find ways to act, eventually, they're going to be successful.

GHOSH: Especially if you're talking about countries where lethal weapons are within an arm's reach of desire to use, the old marketing phrase. It's -- it's -- it's the -- the -- the problem is that as -- as -- as Farhana just said that -- that law enforcement agencies aren't paying adequate attention.

But the good news, if you want to see the glass half-full, is that all the lessons that law enforcement have learned from tracking the -- the spread of Islamist hate, online and in -- in sort of on -- on the dark web, all of those skills can quite easily be turned around and brought to bear on this problem.

And -- and if you -- if you put that energy, you put all the -- the technology that has been developed, all the smarts that have been developed, if you put that into the service of tracking down the dissemination--

CUOMO: Right.

GHOSH: --of -- of sort of racial (ph)--

CUOMO: But there's a "But."

GHOSH: --hate crime, you can -- you can fix this problem--

CUOMO: You can.

GHOSH: --quite quickly.

CUOMO: You can. But there's a "But."

GHOSH: The question is of desire.



CUOMO: It's political will. And this is the legacy--

GHOSH: Yes, it is (ph).

CUOMO: --of 9/11. And the war is that Muslims were the monsters, Muslims were the boogeymen.

And then, we started to have rational conversations about, well you can't talk about a billion people the same way. You have to see this little slice (ph) for what it is. You got to look at the poverty. You got to look at the disaffection. But there's a legacy to that, Farhana, and it -- it takes political will.

I don't know that we have it in this Administration. He'll talk all day about Islam and the menace that it is, and that it -- it doesn't like, you know, as if it were a person, you know, that Islam doesn't like America.

Do you think there's any chance that even in the eyes of this type of tragedy, because it happened somewhere else, that political will would change?

KHERA: So, you know, and -- and I want to say, Chris, that I actually think there's a problem with a lack of political will on both the Democratic and the Republican side. You know, again, even under the Obama Administration--

CUOMO: Yes, you're right.

KHERA: --when there was a heinous attack in Charleston, the FBI Director at the time was almost dismissive of Dylann Roof's motives, which were to create a race war.

And so, we actually need and, again, I'm hoping that this is going to be a wake-up call for elected officials and the FBI, because even Members of Congress have a role to play.

On the Democratic and Republican side, they can call the FBI Director, Chris Wray, and demand that he provide a briefing to them, and -- and notify Congress about what level of priority is the FBI giving to this issue.

And Congress can actually specifically appropriate resources to the FBI to ensure that it's giving adequate attention to this threat, so there's a lot more that needs to be done for both the Democratic and Republican side.

And we have a long way to go. But we really need to come together as a country to address this threat head-on.

CUOMO: Well, look, that has to be the way we approach these is that out of the tragedy, you try to come together. So, thank you my friends for being with me tonight. I appreciate it. KHERA: Great, thank you.

CUOMO: All right.

GHOSH: Anytime.

CUOMO: You know, and, look, think about it. 49 people in New Zealand, right? Last year, 78 percent of 50 people killed was because of White extremism. So, it's about 37.

Imagine if we're all in one event, God forbid, imagine if I were covering that, if I were standing in front of that place right now, somewhere here in America, would that make a difference politically?

See, that's part of the mix here, and the President that ignores the problem doesn't help. Now, look, I think the President should be trying to lower the temperature, all right? And that's something we have to discuss.

[21:30:00] But first, on a day like today, the President need -- felt the need to play the victim with the Mueller report nearing. And he said something that literally no other Member of his party in the House said. Said "No report."

What does that mean? Starting point for a Great Debate, next.








CUOMO: The imminent, we believe, Russia report is on the President's mind, and he has some dangerous ideas here as well. As he railed against the Special Counsel in several tweets, he concluded "There should be no Mueller report. This was an illegal and conflicted investigation in search of a crime."

Well every member of the GOP in the House disagrees with him. The House voted 420 to zero, yesterday, in favor of a public release. So, what does this mean going forward? That's the start of our Great Debate tonight.



(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Jennifer Granholm, Niger Innis, thank you to you both.

Niger Innis, am I supposed to just dismiss this as more Trump speak or should we be concerned that he, who oversees the Attorney General, might try to do something with what the rest of us get to know.

NIGER ROY INNIS, CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, TEAPARTYFWD.COM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: I think the President, considering that there has been no there, there, so far in terms of the big elephant in the room, which is the question of the President of the United States committing treason with a foreign government and colluding with that foreign government prior to--

CUOMO: That's how you choose to decide what the bar of accountability is. But you're saying he hasn't messed with it yet, so we should trust him.

INNIS: I -- I don't think he's going to mess with it. I think the -- the -- I think that was another example of Trump Speak.

I think the Attorney -- the current Attorney General is going to let Mueller finish this process that has been ongoing, and so far has not found that elephant in the room that I spoke of.

[21:35:00] CUOMO: All right, so let's deal with the elephant in the room right now.

Jennifer Granholm, how do you guys expect to contend with the argument from the Right that Niger just put out there, a couple of different ways, which is, "If it ain't a felony, it's fine."


We have string after string of evidence that leads one to conclude that there was at least obstruction of justice, if not potentially some other types of crimes, which we will see from the Southern District of New York or the Attorney General of New York or whatever.

The bottom line is though, Chris, that he is -- first of all, his son was saying, "Just release the report," remember at CPAC, last week, "Just release the report." If he's got nothing to hide, he should release the report.

If there's no there, there, he wants that report out. So, if there is no there, there, then we'll all see it.

He -- he -- I believe that Barr is -- has too much integrity to allow himself to be manipulated by the President. I would hope that he would walk away if he were instructed in some way to do something that he found unethical.

CUOMO: So, just to be clear, all three of us agree, Niger, Jennifer that the report should come out, and the American people should get--

INNIS: Yes. CUOMO: --to see as much as they can without compromising national security. We agree?

GRANHOLM: Correct.

INNIS: Absolute. I -- I agree 100 percent. I would just only add--

GRANHOLM: Oh, good.

INNIS: --considering the President of the United States was accused of committing either near treason or treason that Mueller has the moral obligation to actually, if there is no there, there, to say that he is cleared of those -- those allegations and those charges that have been made numerous times, including on this network.

CUOMO: I don't -- who -- who ever accused the President of treason in any real way.


CUOMO: Now, do you guys keep setting up these straw horses of what the standard is here?

And if it's not this, there is no collusion, oh, except for Manafort and Stone, and maybe that meeting him (ph), but other than that the -- you know, there's no criminal collusion.

And now, it's treason by the President. If there's no treason by the President, he deserves an apology. Since when is that the standard of accountability here?

INNIS: I think when you consider that the charge that has been laid, not by you, necessarily, but by others on this network, by commentators saying that this President was in bed with a foreign government, I don't think there's a higher crime, and -- and higher treason than that, Chris. That's just common sense.

GRANHOLM: Oh, my God.

INNIS: Colluding with a foreign government to undermine the interests of the United States of America?

GRANHOLM: I'm so tired of hearing this (ph).

CUOMO: Well, look, I mean I -- I hear what you're saying.

The -- the issue is, Jennifer, what if it comes out that they believe -- Mueller believes he has information to form an opinion that Paul Manafort knew what he was doing when he met with Kilimnik, and he gave him that information, and the President knew what he was doing, I do not know this to be true.


CUOMO: But I'm saying, to go down Niger's own road, then isn't that having close to you an agent of this Russian interference who is trying to help them while working at your own campaign?

GRANHOLM: Are you asking me this?



CUOMO: I'm not asking him. I know what his answer is.


CUOMO: What's your answer?

GRANHOLM: Yes. No, I -- I mean it is, it is, obviously. I'm so -- I'm so over all of the speculation though, Chris. I just want -- I -- I want to see the report.

CUOMO: Me too.

GRANHOLM: Let's just see what the report says.

INNIS: Me too.

GRANHOLM: I mean I'm tired of all this, you know, let's guess, let's guess, what are--

CUOMO: I'm tired of hearing that it's coming out--

GRANHOLM: --what's going to be the -- and that's not going to be--

CUOMO: --and it doesn't.

GRANHOLM: I know. And that's not going to be the last thing we hear about whatever Donald Trump's activities are. So, I just want let the professionals put the evidence out, and then we can talk about it.

CUOMO: Well I hope we'll see it. I hope it's not so terribly--

GRANHOLM: Hey, but, Chris--

CUOMO: --redacted that we're in a guessing contest--


CUOMO: --in a leak game for the next 2.5 weeks. That's my--

GRANHOLM: Yes. I know. I know.

CUOMO: --that's my problem. All right, I want to shift topics while I have you.


CUOMO: Niger, the people on the Right are going to come after me after tonight because they're going to say, "I can't believe that you tried to connect the President to what happened in New Zealand." I don't want to do that.

The people who are responsible for the crimes are the people who do -- use -- to blame -- to blame. Fine.

The temperature's too high here. "The President plays with matches" is my metaphor. And we're watching fires pop up all over the world and in this country of White nationalists, White extremists who are doing bad things.

He talks a talk that I just had a former Skinhead on the show said, makes perfect sense that those guys like what he says, even stuff like the wall, even about demonizing people from other countries in coming in here, they love it all.

Do you think it's time to think about taking down the temperature even if it works politically, even if it helps with one part of the base with -- fear replacement, don't talk like this?

INNIS: I think that the President, actually to use your phrase, is actually trying to turn down the temperature.

When the President says that this is a marginalized, irrelevant group of folk, which was kind of the same logic and line that he used when David Duke was brought up, during the campaign, he tried to pretend that he didn't know who the heck he was.

[21:40:00] And I think he was doing it very purposefully to marginalize this extreme group of psychopaths. I mean, look, Chris, I -- I-- I -- all of us know a little bit about American history.


INNIS: And there was a time that Blacks and Jews and Catholics and others were under siege by the KKK and by White extremist groups that had a tremendous amount of power over our public officials, be they in Congress, or in state legislatures, throughout the country.

We are in a different time and context matters. And I think what the President was attempting to do, and continues to attempt to do is marginalize--

CUOMO: I hear the argument. I hear the argument.

INNIS: --and isolate these groups.

CUOMO: So, Jennifer--


CUOMO: --his argument is that the reason the President says it was he was trying to mitigate the threat.

GRANHOLM: I think that's baloney. I think that -- first of all, you don't make the threat go away by ignoring it, which is what he has been doing. You come out and you strongly and forcefully, like the Prime Minister of New Zealand did, denounce it, and say that is not who we are.

They are us, number one. Number two, you -- you put money into enforcement. He has actually cut funding for violent extremism -- countering violent extremism funds.

He need to -- and tell the -- the FBI that they've got to, in addition to looking at jihadists, look at these online chat rooms that you just described 4chan, 8chan, these -- these chat rooms that self-delete that are anonymous.

CUOMO: Right.

GRANHOLM: Facebook and -- and the platforms have to do the same thing. They are great about going after jihadists. They've figured that out.

They have got to focus now on this, because as you've noted, over 70 percent of domestic terrorism, let's call it what it is, it is terrorism, has been done by these White supremacists or neo-Nazis extreme groups.

We need law enforcement, we need the platforms, and we need the President, all three on the same page saying in no uncertain terms, "This is not acceptable, and we will stop it."

CUOMO: And, look, one part of fighting back is not giving them any rhetoric that gives them confidence. But I appreciate the arguments--


CUOMO: --on both points. Jennifer Granholm, Niger Innis, as always, a pleasure and thank you. All right--

INNIS: Thank you.

CUOMO: --there's more to say about this.

On a day of grief, sadness, and hopefully, heightened sensitivity, President Trump had the opportunity to bring people together. I'm going to break down exactly what he said, with D. Lemon, next. It's the quote of the day.








CUOMO: Now, look, there's never any reason to be deceptive about what happened. The President condemned the massacre in New Zealand today. I see all these people on Twitter saying, "No, he didn't."

No, that's not what happened. But 22 minutes after he tweeted his condolences to the people of New Zealand, he followed up with this, declaring on Twitter that "Jexodus movement encourages Jewish people to leave the Democrat Party" and that "Republicans are waiting with open arms."

The day that we are in mourning a bigot massacring 49 people, you spread that mess? Of course, it's a false suggestion that Democrats are anti-Jewish. You really want to compare how many Jews are in the Democratic Party versus the GOP? We shouldn't even be playing this game.

Then he followed up with this.


TRUMP: We're on track for a million illegal aliens to rush our borders. People hate the word "Invasion," but that's what it is. It's an invasion of drugs, and criminals, and people.


CUOMO: On the day that we are trying to deal with 49 people massacred for being different, and a man, and a manifesto says immigrants are the problem, you do this?

It's the same description he always uses, but context matters. Doesn't anything get through to be bigger than your own immediate political need?

D. Lemon is here. So, there are two suggestions. The first is, he said today, "I don't think White supremacy is, I don't think they're a big group. I think they're small. They're not a big deal."

He was doing that to put them down--

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Do your research, do your homework.

CUOMO: --and to marginalize them.

LEMON: Do your homework. Do your homework.

CUOMO: The other way -- well, but both could be true. So, I mean that's why I'm asking you. The other is he put it down because he thinks it's bad for him if it's a real problem because of the things he says here.


CUOMO: You think it's that?

LEMON: I think, number one, I don't think he reads his research. He probably --maybe he doesn't know. But maybe he doesn't know the specifics. But for him not to be able to know that Right-wing extremism is on the rise is very ignorant.

And I think, yes, he does whatever is politically expedient to him. He knows that -- he says he's not racist. But the racists think he's racist, and they support him, and he doesn't want to lose that support.

He cannot win an election with just his base next time. And they are a big -- since they're a very vocal and active part of his base, I didn't say big part, but a very vocal and active part of his base, and he knows that. He -- he knows. He knows it's up. And he's knows he's playing on.

Listen, Chris, you're a New Yorker. Since you grew up, you've been knowing the Trump family. You live in New York City, one of the most diverse places in the world.

Donald Trump knows what's happening. He knows what's up. He's just playing people for suckers. That's what he's doing. He knows what's -- what's going on.

And listen, the -- we were warned -- the guy who warned us about exactly what's happening now, warned us about, his name is Daryl Johnson. He's coming on the show.

He said, "Eight years ago, I warned of a singular threat, the resurgence of Right-wing extremist activists, and associated violence in the United States as a result of the 2008 Presidential election, the financial crisis, the stock market crisis."

Guess what? He put out the report. The Obama Administration put it out. Janet Napolitano had to apologize because guess -- guess what? Conservatives, veterans groups, on and on, they complained about it.

And now, exactly what he said in that report is coming true.

CUOMO: Yes. It wasn't an original idea.


CUOMO: People have seen the threat emerging. And now, in Europe, we're seeing an obvious ramping up for obvious reasons. But, you know--

LEMON: Can I ask you something?

CUOMO: --the Left and Right have mismanaged it. Obama cut funding on this too--

LEMON: Can I ask you something though?

CUOMO: --because you got to remember, Muslims became the boogeyman.

[21:50:00] LEMON: OK. Yes, they have. But -- look, it's -- why do we have this perception in our society that certain groups of people cannot be terrorists, cannot terrorize people, but Muslims can?

Even though in every single bit of research, all the facts show who the biggest perpetrators of domestic terror is in this country, and have been for a long time, people cannot wrap their heads around certain people being terrorists, because they think terrorists look like Muslims.

CUOMO: Well, because--

LEMON: Or whatever a Muslim looks like.

CUOMO: --they took down the towers. And we were at war with them in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, you know, that was the collective experience.

LEMON: I think you're letting people off easy. No, that's not that (ph).

CUOMO: No, no, no, that was the collective experience.

LEMON: That's part of it.

CUOMO: And the other part of it is what you like to speak about, which is how people perceive what a threat is, and that it's more likely to look different from them than similar to them. So, when a country--

LEMON: If you look at the definition of what terror is--

CUOMO: --which is 70 percent plus White--

LEMON: I'm talking about the--


LEMON: --the definition of what -- what our law enforcement people, what our national security people call--

CUOMO: White extremism.

LEMON: --terrorism. And that's--

CUOMO: White extremism.

LEMON: There you go.

CUOMO: 78 percent of the deaths last year, 73 percent over the last 10 years.

LEMON: I'm just saying, I don't want to hear it. And I get tired of people saying, "Oh, my God, I can't believe Don Lemon saying that he's racist," No, facts aren't the -- race -- that's a facts. That's what it is.

We need to -- we need to come to terms with that in order to be able to stop it. Otherwise, we keep looking at--

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: --a group of people who have a -- who -- who -- in the graphic that you showed, 2 percent versus 78 percent, what -- the numbers don't lie.

CUOMO: That -- those -- those are the numbers. Now, if you were to say White people are inherently terrorists, that's racist. And, by the way--

LEMON: No one is ever saying that.

CUOMO: I know you didn't.


CUOMO: You never say that. The President did though about Islam.


CUOMO: He said, Islam has a problem--

LEMON: Hates us. And it hates us.

CUOMO: --with us and hates us.


CUOMO: That's a racist thing to say.

LEMON: There you go.

CUOMO: Don, thank you very much. It's a heavy night. Thanks for being part of this.

LEMON: Yes, I'll see you in a bit.

CUOMO: Closing argument is next.

Now, yesterday, our case was about the President knowing that he's raising the temperature of outrage and division. Today, he doubled down despite a mass murder born of hate.

What I want to argue is not just the fact of what he has said. It's what he doesn't say, and what must change. The point is always progress, next.







(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Christchurch, New Zealand was the sight for a massive hate crime targeting Muslims. Ironic? Not really. Good and evil are always at war and that is the case here. The President must start acting like he cares about this. For all the things he's said, this was his major transgression.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you see today White nationalism as a rising threat around the world?

TRUMP: I don't, really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. I guess--


CUOMO: He guesses? To which part? That White nationalists are sick or that they are a small problem? This answer speaks to either profound ignorance or arrogance.

First, he's just wrong, and he has no reason not to know that we've seen waves of opposition and violence and anger stoked by far-Right leaders in major countries in Europe, demonizing the emergent migrant issue. He's spoken about it.

And he has to know it is a problem at home as well. 39 were killed by these haters just last year. Three of the last four years have had spikes in killings by White supremacists, and that's what nationalism often arrives at.

The Muslims that the President likes to paint as inherently evil and anti-American are only a fraction of the threat here at home. He has every reason to know all of this. And yet, he is slow to cite attacks on Muslims as terror, but never is he slow when they are the bad guy.

Ignorance actually here makes no sense. He gets briefings. The people around him do too. So, this is much more likely arrogance that he is aware and he is minimizing the significance.

Why would he do that? Because he thinks somehow admitting this reality is bad for him, just like Russian interference. Fat guy on the bed, the Putin denies it, if Russia messed with us to help him that is bad for him, so deny as long as you can, no matter what it hurts, as long as it's not him.

This is the same. He knows these haters cotton to him. So, to acknowledge they're a problem, that becomes a potential problem for him, so deny it, and that is really dangerous, because when he is confronted about denying something, you know what he does? He doubles down on the denial. And sure enough, on the same day as

this massacre in New Zealand, he tweeted a BS notion about Democrats not liking Jews.

Is he complicit in the massacre? No.

But he's totally responsible for playing with matches while the flames of bigotry and hate pop up all over the world and ignoring that same fact, ignoring the numbers at home, the murders at home, the threats at home, many of us were just on the list of a guy who cottoned to Trump's suggestions, and saw murder as a message worth sending.

These haters are getting more mouthy, more active during his tenure. Coincidence that there was a spike in their activities and killings last year? Every criminal act must be blamed on those who do the crime. But that's not where the accountability ends.

Can't help to have a President who calls himself a nationalist and has to be pushed to denounce David Duke, and picks one bigot to run for Senate in Virginia and another as a mentor on immigration policy, Steve King, whom he has still never denounced.

What message do you think that sends to people who share King's views? POTUS knows the answer. And you know it. And if you ignore it, the majority will never be with you. This has to be something almost all of us agree on, Left, Right, and reasonable.

No one wants hate crimes to increase. No one wants those with these ugly ideas to feel comfortable acting out here. "Back to the shadows where you belong," that must be the collective clarion call.

We need this at home and the world needs us to be the best of ourselves right now. We're not immune to the insurgency of hate. We never have been.

This is not the latest. It's not the first. It's not even the worst. But, as always, it demands our best. Will America rise?

Thank you for watching. CNN Tonight With D. Lemon right now.

LEMON: I hope so, Chris. I hope so. That was very optimistic. You said what we have to do, but will we do it is the question that you asked.