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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Trump: Release Of Full Report "Wouldn't Bother Me"; House Democrats To A.G.: Give Congress Mueller Report By April 2; Trump: "Total Exoneration" From Report & Mueller: Report "Does Not Exonerate" Trump. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired March 25, 2019 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: It's at Facebook.com/AndersonCooperFullCircle. And that's where you can watch us obviously every weekday night at 6:25.
The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Anderson, thank you for addressing it. It's not easy for you. It's not easy for a lot of people to hear. But we all need to listen. Thank you for making the effort once again tonight. The need is great, my brother.
I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
We're in Washington D.C. Why? Bob Mueller is done. The biggest question for me is why did Mueller leave the door open on one of the biggest questions? Why did he punt on obstruction? Wasn't that his job to make a decision?
It has partisans now running in opposite conclusions, exactly what we didn't need. So, we came to Washington D.C. to discuss the fall-out with the two main lawyers working with the President.
Rudy Giuliani is sitting right next to me. The President calls this total exoneration. And that's not the language that Mueller used. It's not what the A.G. said. So, what's Rudy's argument? Later, his colleague, Jay Sekulow is going to join us, very interesting.
The legal tandem is tag-teaming my show and Sean Hannity's show tonight, preaching to the converted over there, I would suggest, appealing to open minds here, but it shows you where we are.
The big issue, will the President really push for you to see the report? How about his answers to Mueller? Should you get to see that?
That's just one of the issues that Democrat Hakeem Jeffries has to consider. How big a blow is this early assessment of the Mueller report to Democrats and their cause? What is their path forward? Is impeachment still an option?
Big questions, big night, big players, let's get after it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: The President of the United States is OK with the idea of releasing the full Mueller report. Here he is in his own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Up to the Attorney General. Wouldn't bother me at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Wouldn't bother him. Has he said that to the A.G.? Interesting question, maybe we get an answer tonight.
Short time ago, Democratic House Chairs issued an ultimatum to the A.G., Bill Barr, demanding Congress see the full report by a week from tomorrow.
Rudy Giuliani, one of the President's personal lawyers, welcome back to PRIME TIME. Thank you.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: How are you, Chris?
CUOMO: Important moment.
CUOMO: The idea of disclosure, do you believe that the people, Congress certainly deserve to learn more?
GIULIANI: Sure, I do. And I - I, like the President, would like to have the whole thing out because I believe that there's nothing there that will hurt us. And I believe that if there is any argument there that tries to hurt us, we can rebut it.
We have a 97 page report ready to rebut anything they say. I mean, about 30 of it's devoted to obstruction of justice, which I think is a totally specious charge.
However, the Democrats are being unfair. There are laws that have to be followed. One of them is a criminal law. If - if - if Barr would have released Grand Jury testimony, or make a mistake in releasing, it's a federal felony, five years in prison.
In order to release the Grand Jury testimony, he's going to have to go to a Federal Judge. He's going to have to get an order to do it, just with the Watergate prosecutors.
CUOMO: Right, true.
GIULIANI: It commonly takes, and the Judge is going to read through it. I mean if he did it fast, it'd take three, four days, maybe five days, could take two weeks.
CUOMO: But there are things that they could release.
GIULIANI: There are things that you--
CUOMO: First, it's obstruction. There was no Grand Jury.
GIULIANI: It'd be very unfair to release it piecemeal. I mean that - that I would really be opposed to.
CUOMO: What about charge by charge?
GIULIANI: You could do - you could do a - collusion first, and then obstruct - I mean, I don't know. Honestly, the best way to do it is figure out what you can release, and then put it all out.
CUOMO: Here's the problem.
GIULIANI: And, look, we've waited long enough.
GIULIANI: If we have to wait two weeks to do it right, but, look, Barr has no interest in holding any of it back. You heard what he - what he said. We all--
CUOMO: I hope that's the case.
GIULIANI: It is the case. And - and the reality is, why would I want something hidden where everybody's going to start saying, "Gee, what's hidden?" when I know--
CUOMO: I agree.
GIULIANI: --I can rebut every single piece of what they have.
CUOMO: Well, I agree. If the President wants closure, closure comes from clarity.
CUOMO: People have to see things. And here is why, Counselor. It's because the idea of criminality matters. That's what the Special Counsel was looking for in the Main.
But we know that he believes there was wrongdoing. There are political ramifications. Criminality is not the standard for responsible behavior by a President. We need to know the information so--
GIULIANI: But it is--
CUOMO: --people can make a judgment.
GIULIANI: But it is the standard for impeachment, if you read the Constitution strictly, high crime or misdemeanor. This says--
CUOMO: But that's not the legal standard, as you know.
GIULIANI: --this says no high crime, certainly no high crime provable, and no misdemeanor provable.
CUOMO: Well President Ford said, a high crime or misdemeanor is what--
CUOMO: --Congress says it is.
GIULIANI: With all deference to President Ford--
CUOMO: One of yours.
GIULIANI: Not exactly a Constitutional--
CUOMO: One of yours. Republican President.
GIULIANI: --not a Constitutional Scott (ph).
CUOMO: Yes. No, but, look, it's about votes.
GIULIANI: But here - here--
CUOMO: You know that.
GIULIANI: --he says, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime.
GIULIANI: So, no conclusion that he committed a crime. How can you - how can you even - even go forward? This is all a prosecutor--
CUOMO: Also so what's the - what's the part after that?
GIULIANI: It does not exonerate him.
GIULIANI: They don't have to exonerate him. You got to prove he's guilty--
CUOMO: That's absolutely true.
GIULIANI: --even for impeachment.
CUOMO: I - I don't know why the A.G.--
GIULIANI: This is a cheap shot.
CUOMO: --echoed that. I don't know why Mueller said it.
GIULIANI: This is a cheap shot.
CUOMO: He either makes a decisions to prosecute or not. GIULIANI: For a prosecutor, this is unprofessional.
CUOMO: Look, fair point, his job is not to exonerate. But--
[21:05:00] GIULIANI: Well, he is exonerated in the next two paragraphs.
GIULIANI: The next two paragraphs say--
GIULIANI: --not sufficient evidence--
GIULIANI: --and no obstructive conduct.
CUOMO: Right. So, well--
GIULIANI: That's exoneration by Rod Rosenstein, the Attorney General, and the Office of Legal Counsel.
CUOMO: Right. Now, look, I would argue that he was a little bit more circumspect than that, that the reason he says he couldn't come to a conclusion about obstruction is because there was proof both ways, and there was some division, either internal or internal to his own mind.
GIULIANI: I - I believe--
CUOMO: So, obviously, there was proof of wrongdoing when it came to obstruction, sufficient enough that he couldn't just make a call, I can't prosecute.
GIULIANI: No, no, no, there isn't proof of wrongdoing. What there is, he's got a staff of at least eight people who were rabid partisan Democrats, never should have been on that staff. One of them - one of them was the Counsel to the Clinton Foundation.
Suppose I was investigating Hillary Clinton with the Counsel to the Trump Foundation and that was--
CUOMO: But that's like saying Mueller shouldn't be the Special Prosecutor to the rock-ribbed Conservatives.
GIULIANI: --Weissmann - Weissmann - he's not a rock-ribbed Conservative.
CUOMO: What are you talking about?
GIULIANI: He wouldn't have selected Weissmann. He wouldn't have selected Jeannie Rhee.
CUOMO: He's a Republican his whole life.
GIULIANI: He wouldn't have selected old Democrat--
CUOMO: He's bona fide. He's never questioned.
GIULIANI: Well then he - he's certainly not a rock-ribbed Trump Republican. In any event, he had eight people who worked for hate- Trump. He had a Lead Investigator who is all over the text saying he hated Trump. It's - that's disgraceful.
CUOMO: And when he found out about that, he removed--
GIULIANI: You think this is an objective?
CUOMO: Wait, hold on. Let's not move back--
GIULIANI: You think that it is objective?
CUOMO: --let's not move backwards. What' I'm saying is this.
CUOMO: I agree with you that his job is to make a call--
GIULIANI: It's not objective. It's a cheap shot.
CUOMO: --not to punt. I'm with you on that. What I'm saying is this. Criminality, again, you know, you know my line.
CUOMO: "Felony, if not a felony, then it's fine," that doesn't work for me as a standard for Presidential conduct. You know there was enough wrongdoing here.
GIULIANI: Well it doesn't work for Presidential conduct.
GIULIANI: Or for overturning the will of the electorate, and throwing out a democratically a leaded - leader, it better be a darn serious crime.
CUOMO: Or it has to be a pattern of--
GIULIANI: That's why they said high crime.
CUOMO: --an abuse of power that turns up--
GIULIANI: But he didn't--
CUOMO: --that turns up the nose of Republicans--
GIULIANI: Let's think about--
CUOMO: --and Democrats.
GIULIANI: Let's think about this. How fair was this investigation? How - let's go to the first part of it--
CUOMO: It's only four pages.
GIULIANI: --we've ignored.
CUOMO: It's been like a year and a half.
GIULIANI: No, no, how fair--
CUOMO: We only get four pages--
GIULIANI: --but how fair--
CUOMO: --of appraisal.
GIULIANI: That's OK. These--
CUOMO: It's pretty light.
GIULIANI: These are conclusions. Conclusion of the top notes.
CUOMO: Well, some, nothing about--
GIULIANI: Well, how about - how about the first conclusion?
GIULIANI: We should just take a little breath and stop, and everybody should apologize for accusing the President falsely of collusion. That turns out to be totally false, totally specious, completely unsupported. He's completely exonerated. There is no evidence of it. No evidence.
CUOMO: Oh, and - all right, well--
GIULIANI: How did the investigate--
CUOMO: --let's take it one at a time.
GIULIANI: No, let's not, because they bear on each other. If you have--
CUOMO: No, no, I'm saying, let's take that one count.
GIULIANI: No. You got to look - you've got to look at Barr's brilliant analysis, begins with very hard to obstruct a non-crime. You can do it, but very hard.
CUOMO: But he says - he say - hold on. He says more than that. He says--
GIULIANI: To describe--
CUOMO: --he says there is no obstruction in the context of there being no underlying crime found. You don't need to have an underlying crime to have obstruction-- GIULIANI: No, he doesn't say that. He said this--
CUOMO: --of it, Scooter Libby, Martha Stewart.
GIULIANI: He said it is very rare that you can have corrupt intent when there is not an underlying crime. He is exactly right. It is very rare. Yes, it is possible. But it's a very heavy burden to overcome.
CUOMO: But for--
GIULIANI: There's also something extremely bush-league about investigating something. There is no crime that was committed. And now, you're going to kind of trap the guy in some kind of a crazy cockamamie obstruction theory.
CUOMO: But you don't know obstruction is a crime or not until you investigate. And the idea that we didn't need to look at this, Russian interference wasn't real, there weren't real questions about who was meeting with whom and then lying about it--
GIULIANI: There was absolutely not a scintilla--
GIULIANI: --of evidence that the President of the United States was involved. You know how absurd that charge was to me, being on that campaign? It was ridiculous. It would not have been believed about Hillary Clinton. Now, tell me how you can make this--
CUOMO: Well why would it be believed about Hillary Clinton?
GIULIANI: --tell me how you can make an obstruction case?
CUOMO: She's got nothing to do with this the way he does.
GIULIANI: Tell me how you can make an obstruction case when he didn't destroy 30,000 emails, he didn't chop up--
CUOMO: So, when is that the standard?
GIULIANI: You have to--
CUOMO: He got rid - he got rid of Comey. He said it in a way that seemed--
GIULIANI: He can fire--
CUOMO: --to be related to what Comey was looking at.
GIULIANI: He is allowed to fire anyone that works for him.
CUOMO: But not for--
GIULIANI: And he had seven good reasons to do it.
CUOMO: But not - well he could have had some bad reasons too. GIULIANI: That - that doesn't matter as long as you had a good reason.
CUOMO: It does in terms of why you look.
CUOMO: Come on, Rudy.
GIULIANI: No, there is no reason to have looked. He had every right to fire Comey that in fact that was an intrusion on a - on the President's power.
CUOMO: But why did these guys around him and including the President keep lying about these contacts?
GIULIANI: Because people lie all the time. You told me, Martha Stewart lied when there was no underlying crime. Maybe they're embarrassed, maybe they forget.
CUOMO: But if you lie, people look--
GIULIANI: Maybe they get tricked.
GIULIANI: Maybe they get tricked by tricky prosecutors like Weissman who has been cited three times for unethical behavior. Disgraceful that Mueller had him working for him. The man is a menace. The man is an absolute menace. How can you have--
CUOMO: You can argue the personnel. I'm arguing the points of fact.
GIULIANI: How could you possibly - how can you possibly with a straight face say that you would find a crime with Trump obstructing, when Hillary Clinton destroyed 30,000--
CUOMO: But what did she have to do with--
GIULIANI: She'd have a lot to do with it because it's precedent.
GIULIANI: She - let me finish my sentence.
CUOMO: All right, go ahead.
GIULIANI: She destroyed 30,000 emails. She took a hammer to her cell phone. She whitewashed her service. He didn't do any of that. How can you say this is obstruction?
Second, what was obstructed? The thing went forward. We finished.
GIULIANI: He - he had 500--
CUOMO: It went forward. But Comey was taken out. That's the reason Rosenstein asked--
GIULIANI: But it didn't obstruct--
CUOMO: --for the Special Counsel.
[21:10:00] GIULIANI: Good. It didn't obstruct anything. What did it obstruct? 500 witnesses--
CUOMO: But if you make--
GIULIANI: --$40 million--
CUOMO: Obstruction doesn't have to be a complete denial.
GIULIANI: --90 - 90 agents.
CUOMO: If you attempt to obstruct that's something that we want to look at. I'm not saying--
GIULIANI: Oh, my God.
CUOMO: --he's guilty.
GIULIANI: Now we have an attempt to obstruct a non-crime. This is like stretching to prosecute the man.
CUOMO: That's - you - you are defining it that way, and it's very clever.
GIULIANI: But no, it is not very clever.
CUOMO: But what I'm saying is you had a--
GIULIANI: It is justice. You guys--
CUOMO: --you had a pattern--
GIULIANI: --you guys on this network--
CUOMO: Yes. What have I done?
GIULIANI: --have tortured this man for two years with collusion, and nobody's apologizing.
CUOMO: First of all, there --
GIULIANI: So, before we talk about obstruction--
CUOMO: --there was--
GIULIANI: --apologize for the overreaction--
CUOMO: Not a chance.
GIULIANI: --to collusion.
CUOMO: Not a chance.
GIULIANI: Well, of course, you're not.
CUOMO: Not a chance. And I'll - I'll tell you why.
GIULIANI: Of course, you're not because you're not being fair.
CUOMO: No, please, you know better than that or you wouldn't be here.
GIULIANI: No, I don't know better.
GIULIANI: I am outraged by the behavior of these networks.
GIULIANI: Collusion! Collusion! Collusion! Collusion! Collusion! Collusion!
CUOMO: First of all, let--
GIULIANI: No collusion, Chris.
CUOMO: OK. Here's my - here's my case.
GIULIANI: No collusion.
CUOMO: Here's my case.
CUOMO: Never. Here's my case.
CUOMO: Never. I didn't do anything wrong. These questions are real.
GIULIANI: Well, I - I thought people--
CUOMO: They needed to be regarded as such.
CUOMO: And they needed to be investigated.
GIULIANI: People came on--
CUOMO: Did you hear me say that?
GIULIANI: No. But I heard people on this network say it.
CUOMO: Do I hold you to account for what people say that I - that you don't?
GIULIANI: There were people on this network that did. How about this network should apologize? How about Jeff Zucker should apologize?
CUOMO: Do I ask you to apologize for everything the President says, "It's not true?"
CUOMO: OK. Good, so we're even. Let me ask you this.
GIULIANI: But you're asking me to apologize for what I do--
GIULIANI: --and I do. If I accuse somebody--
CUOMO: Tell me what I did, and I'll apologize.
GIULIANI: I'm not saying you should do it.
CUOMO: But then why should I apologize?
GIULIANI: I'm saying your network should apologize.
CUOMO: I don't apologize for the network.
GIULIANI: Your network should apologize.
CUOMO: I'm proud of the network. I'm proud of the job it does.
GIULIANI: And NBC should apologize.
CUOMO: But I only control what I say.
GIULIANI: And The New York Times should apologize.
CUOMO: All right, hold on.
GIULIANI: And the Washington Post should apologize.
CUOMO: Hold on, hold on, I'm not a media critic.
GIULIANI: And Adam Schiff should apologize.
CUOMO: Look, that's a question for him. I'm happy to ask it. This is what I'm saying.
GIULIANI: Before we - before we start jamming him up in obstruction, could we take a day off and say--
CUOMO: I'm not jamming him up.
GIULIANI: --the man was falsely accused.
CUOMO: I'm not jamming him up.
GIULIANI: This is a - this is a cockamamie--
CUOMO: I'm saying show people--
GIULIANI: --this is a cockamamie obstruction.
CUOMO: I don't believe he was falsely accused.
GIULIANI: He was.
CUOMO: Show people what--
GIULIANI: It's not true.
CUOMO: --is in the record.
GIULIANI: What do you mean he's not--
CUOMO: And let them decide.
GIULIANI: What do you mean he wasn't falsely accused?
CUOMO: He did a pattern of things that triggered the curiosity and concern of a lifelong prosecutor, Rod Rosenstein, not some Clinton- ista, not some Democrat Congressman. He called for this Special Counsel.
GIULIANI: You mean the guy that signed the false--
CUOMO: A letter saying that Comey was a bad guy.
GIULIANI: --FISA affidavit, in which he didn't reveal to the court that Christopher Steele had been fired by the FBI, that Christopher Steele wrote a memo about Russia, hadn't been in Russia for nine years that Christopher Steele was paid $1.1 million by Hillary Clinton that it was a--
CUOMO: And has certain things in the dossier, they could corroborate, and certain things they could not.
GIULIANI: The dossier, if you read that dossier, you get past the second page, and you think it's an intelligent report, you're an idiot.
CUOMO: No, I think it's a compellation of different leads.
GIULIANI: It is a - it is a National Enquirer story.
CUOMO: And I don't think it was the basis of the investigation.
GIULIANI: It is a cheap--
CUOMO: You had real Russia investigation--
GIULIANI: It is a cheap National Enquirer story. I've had four or five retired CIA agents read it and say, when you get past the second page--
CUOMO: Right. But it - but it wasn't the basis for this. GIULIANI: --you realize that it's--
CUOMO: There was Russian interference, and his guys were taking meetings they shouldn't have taken--
GIULIANI: Page four of the--
CUOMO: --they were lighting - lying about that.
GIULIANI: Page four of the affidavit is the report. The guy you just had on here, Clapper said there never would have been a FISA warrant without the Steele affidavit. Steele was put forward as a completely verified informant.
CUOMO: But there was standalone concerns.
GIULIANI: The first thing Comey (ph) said about him was--
CUOMO: And you know this.
GIULIANI: --un - no. You have to tell the FISA Court - there's a great obligation on the prosecutor before a FISA Court because you never get the chance--
CUOMO: So, let's see what we can in the FISA documents. Let's see what we can here and let--
GIULIANI: I have seen.
CUOMO: I know you have. I'm saying the rest of us, Rudy. Let people see it and make their judgments.
GIULIANI: The - the footnote is - is - is public. They never reveal--
CUOMO: Four pages on all of the efforts of Mueller is not enough.
GIULIANI: No, no, no, no, no. We're talking about - we're talking about - we're talking about Rod Rosenstein, who has to account for the fact that he signed a false affidavit.
CUOMO: He also wrote the letter to get rid of Comey for the President and for Jeff Sessions.
GIULIANI: He did what--
CUOMO: You loved him them.
GIULIANI: Yes. And he also came to the conclusion there was no obstruction of justice.
CUOMO: So, he's a good guy or is he a bad guy?
GIULIANI: I'm not saying--
CUOMO: Which is it?
GIULIANI: --people are not good guys or bad guys. People are very complicated.
GIULIANI: But he signed an affidavit that is false.
CUOMO: All right, fine, and he also--
GIULIANI: He's got to explain that.
CUOMO: --took a judgment here on obstruction that is arguably not his job to do.
CUOMO: He also wrote a letter to take down Comey, which was arguably not something that he should have done.
GIULIANI: However, this report says that the President of the United States, Ladies and Gentlemen, is not guilty of collusion. He is totally exonerated of collusion. And for 2.5 years, people have been going after him, not for obstruction of justice--
CUOMO: Can I--
GIULIANI: --not for campaign finance--
CUOMO: Let me just make my point on this because it matters.
GIULIANI: --but for collusion.
CUOMO: I know you know this.
GIULIANI: A disgraceful, horrible thing to have done.
CUOMO: I know you know this. I agree with you that the A.G. says that Mueller found that there was no criminal case to be made about conspiracy to coordinate with those involved with Russian interference. I accept that. It's in here. It's true. I accept it true.
CUOMO: But, hold on. I just want this point to be made for people because I think we got to find a way to move forward together.
GIULIANI: Terrible defamation of the President--
CUOMO: Hold on a second.
GIULIANI: --for the last two years.
CUOMO: You say there was no collusion. I know you know what I'm about to say. You've heard me say it before. Collusion is a behavior not a crime. That's why the word collusion is not in Mueller's report. He doesn't talk about, "I found collusion. I didn't find collusion."
GIULIANI: Correct, correct.
CUOMO: Was there collusion? I believe it's--
GIULIANI: Conspiracy to interfere with the election.
[21:15:00] CUOMO: Yes, and they're different things. It's an easy answer. Was there collusion? Yes. What Manafort did with that polling data was collusion. What that meeting was about in Trump Tower--
GIULIANI: No, no, no, no, no, no.
CUOMO: --it was - it was tricky behavior--
GIULIANI: You think people - polling data--
CUOMO: --to get close to people you shouldn't have been close to.
GIULIANI: It what?
CUOMO: Was it a crime?
GIULIANI: That's a different thing.
CUOMO: No, it wasn't a crime.
GIULIANI: That's not collusion.
CUOMO: It is--
GIULIANI: Interfering with the election?
CUOMO: No, no, it's not a conspiracy. It's not a crime.
GIULIANI: But that's what they're looking at.
CUOMO: I know. I agree with you.
GIULIANI: Collusion to interfering with elections.
CUOMO: I'm just saying I don't think you should say, "No collusion," because I believe that it is oversimplifying the point. But I agree with you there's no criminality on it.
GIULIANI: There certainly was--
CUOMO: That's the final--
GIULIANI: --no collusion of any kind by the President of the United States with anybody. He didn't talk to a Russian. He didn't see a Russian. He got nothing to do with the Russia--
CUOMO: I have seen no proof to the contrary.
GIULIANI: From - from the very beginning--
CUOMO: I have never said there was. GIULIANI: --first blockbuster on this network with Papadopoulos. Papadopoulos had no information about Russian interference.
CUOMO: No. But it was after you and--
GIULIANI: The next blockbuster was Flynn.
CUOMO: --everybody around the President said, "Nobody talked to nobody," and it turned out--
GIULIANI: I didn't say that.
CUOMO: --that there were a lot of people talking to people.
GIULIANI: I didn't say nobody talked to nobody.
CUOMO: No, you're much more eloquent than that.
GIULIANI: I said no - nobody ever--
CUOMO: But you know what I mean.
GIULIANI: --was involved in - well you did use the word collusion--
GIULIANI: --and collusion with the Russians.
CUOMO: Yes. And they were.
GIULIANI: But he wasn't (ph) involved in it.
CUOMO: What about Manafort giving the polling data? What about Stone trying to get the emails?
GIULIANI: That is not the--
CUOMO: What about the boys going for that meeting with--
GIULIANI: That's not collusion, interfering with the election.
CUOMO: --a Russian connection?
GIULIANI: Of course, people talk to Russians.
CUOMO: No, no, no. Not to interfere with the election. But it--
GIULIANI: Do you realize how unfair you're being? If you talk to a Russian, you're interfering with the election. Papadopoulos--
CUOMO: No, if you talk to a Russian who's related to intelligence--
GIULIANI: --Papadopoulos - Papadopoulos was brought in on the theory that he was going to be the link to the interference with the election.
CUOMO: Maybe so.
GIULIANI: Papadopoulos testified under oath, and I had to accept it, I have no knowledge of any interference in the election.
GIULIANI: They gave him a 14-day sentence. Bye-bye.
GIULIANI: Flynn, no knowledge of interference with the election. That was the other blockbuster.
Cohen who fell apart, I mean, Cohen fell apart. The guy should be - has to be prosecuted for perjury, for the perjury committed before the - the House Committee for one of them, you're - you're going to be a witness in. You're going to be a witness--
GIULIANI: I'd call you as a witness right in front of the Grand Jury.
You prove unequivocally that he was seeking a job with the Administration, which he lied about brazenly in front of Cummings. And Cummings said, "I'm going to throw the book at you." I haven't seen that book thrown at him yet.
He also lied about not asking for a pardon. I'll have to be a witness in that because he asked me for a pardon through his lawyers. The man is a total perjurer. He completely fell apart on the witness stand.
CUOMO: Here's what I want to get us to on this, and I - I respect your coming here because you know I've been doing my best to play it straight on this stuff. These are tough questions. But I believe they needed to be asked.
I believe that whatever disclosure can happen is going to be antiseptic for people in this. The more they know, Rudy, the more people can come together.
CUOMO: That's why I am a little worried about just four pages. I'm a little worried about nothing else coming out.
GIULIANI: Well that's the case since the beginning.
CUOMO: Yes, it's right, if it's just the beginning.
GIULIANI: It's just the beginning.
CUOMO: But has the President asked the A.G., "Hey, you should put some stuff out."
GIULIANI: President - the President - the President, certainly the A.G. has heard what - look, if the President talked to the A.G. about this, there's going to be all kinds of this, that and the other thing. The A--
CUOMO: Even if he's asking him to put information out?
GIULIANI: The A - the A.G. has said the right thing.
GIULIANI: I will put out the maximum - he said it under oath. I will put out the maximum amount--
GIULIANI: --of information the law allows.
GIULIANI: Now, I have to ask everyone to realize they're all laws.
CUOMO: They're absolutely laws.
GIULIANI: Nobody's making that up.
CUOMO: Although, by the way, one of the guidelines that they go by, he wasn't supposed to say this. He wasn't supposed to say, "But I can't exonerate." Anyway, I don't want to hold you too long.
GIULIANI: That is - that is - that is - that is true.
CUOMO: I know you got to get on to another show.
GIULIANI: He wasn't supposed to say that.
GIULIANI: It should have been crossed out.
GIULIANI: It wasn't. But OK, it's there. But then, he does a very good job of rebutting it. So, I'm not - I'm not that unhappy about it. However, they're all laws that have to be followed.
CUOMO: I understand that.
GIULIANI: I would like to see every single thing come out because I believe that every single thing can be rebutted. I think this obstruction theory is garbage.
CUOMO: Well then I think the information should come out.
GIULIANI: Complete legal garbage.
CUOMO: And those arguments should be made.
GIULIANI: Read Dershowitz's book. Read Barr's letter of eight months ago, a great legal document. CUOMO: That memo I have.
GIULIANI: That blows it out of the wall.
CUOMO: I just need to know what Mueller found that had them so divided, and I think that's puts us all in a better place.
GIULIANI: I know what it is. I know--
CUOMO: Well, but I just--
GIULIANI: I debated it with him.
GIULIANI: They have a crazy theory that if the President was thinking about obstruction that that constitutes obstruction. Well, first of all, the President wasn't thinking about obstruction.
And secondly, Weissman's out of his mind. Because if people get prosecuted for what they're thinking, if somebody says, "Oh, I think I'm going to - I might want to kill that guy because he was mean to me" which would you take (ph)?
CUOMO: But doesn't he mean formulation of intent?
GIULIANI: No. That's why he says--
CUOMO: Corrupt intent?
GIULIANI: No. That's why he says there is no obstructive conduct. You can't just think you're going to do something. You got to do something. It's got to come out of my mind, and have got to be conveyed to somebody, never happened.
CUOMO: It is a little curious that the A.G. wound up making the call.
GIULIANI: It's a crazy theory.
CUOMO: It would have been better if Mueller made the call. But, listen--
GIULIANI: Mueller couldn't decide between contending factions.
CUOMO: I understand. But that's--
GIULIANI: A shame--
CUOMO: --that wasn't his job.
GIULIANI: Shame on him.
CUOMO: That wasn't his job.
GIULIANI: Shame on him.
CUOMO: His job was to make a call.
GIULIANI: So he should return some of the money we spent.
CUOMO: As a taxpayer, I'm always in favor of that. Rudy Giuliani, thank you for making the arguments to my audience.
GIULIANI: And thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity. And Jay--
GIULIANI: I'm sure Jay will do an even better job than me.
CUOMO: I'm - I'm happy to take on the both of you. I think it's helpful thing to the audience.
CUOMO: And I appreciate the opportunity.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right, God bless, and be well.
GIULIANI: Take care.
CUOMO: All right, look, the - this is a conversation to have. You don't have to hate each other to disagree on legal points of all things, all right?
GIULIANI: Oh, God forbid.
[21:20:00] CUOMO: Now - God forbid, indeed. Jay Sekulow is going to be with us, so is Hakeem Jeffries, OK, one of the top House Democrats.
What are they going to do with this information? What else do they want? You know what Rudy wants them to do. He says they should apologize.
GIULIANI: Apologize. So, that's essential (ph).
CUOMO: What do they believe is the path forward? And then, I have great people who used to do the job of these prosecutions to tell us what matters and what doesn't.
Conspiracy is the crime. Collusion is a behavior. We're coming right back.
GIULIANI: Yes, but they kept saying--
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CUOMO: There's passion, there's outrage when it comes to this Mueller probe, but there are also real questions that we still don't have the answer to. We know more information than we did before. But where do we go?
Let's bring in House Democratic Caucus Chair, Hakeem Jeffries, Congressman from New York, it's good to see you. Welcome back to PRIME TIME.
HAKEEM SEKOU JEFFRIES, (D) HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, U.S. REPRESENTATIVES FOR NEW YORK'S 8TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IN BROOKLYN AND QUEENS: Chris, great to see you.
CUOMO: Now, this report, there were a lot of expectations built in.
Unlike Rudy Giuliani, I don't blame everybody for everything. I've had a lot of conversations with you about this. You were not somebody who was front-running it. Members of your party were.
They were saying "This is going to be it for him when Mueller comes out," wasn't true. No criminal case able to be made about coordination or conspiracy with Russian interference. Obstruction, he punted, and the A.G. did it. What is the path forward?
JEFFRIES: Well I think the path forward, one, is to make sure that the Mueller report, every single word is released publicly, so that the American people can make an evaluation as to why Bob Mueller drew the conclusions that he drew, both with respect to the absence of finding collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian spies, as well as his inability to exonerate the President with respect to obstruction of justice, which, as you know, is an extremely serious charge.
CUOMO: True. I don't know why he said. I guess he was speaking to something he didn't expect, which is a division either in his head or within his team, saying "I don't know that we can make a case. But I can't exonerate."
As we both know, a prosecutor's not in the exoneration business. Either you can make a case or you can't. His job was to make a call on it, unusual there. We need more information.
But there are rules. Grand Jury testimony, very tough to get out, has to be parsed. You need a court order. There are other guidelines. You don't usually put out derogatory information about people who aren't indicted. How do you handle those?
JEFFRIES: Well with respect to the Grand Jury information, if there's a compelling public interest as there obviously is, in this case, then that can overcome the presumption of Grand Jury secrecy. CUOMO: True.
JEFFRIES: So, I think that'll be handled.
CUOMO: There is a test.
[21:25:00] JEFFRIES: Absolutely. Now, with respect to the potential disclosure of sources and methods, every reasonable person, Democrat, Republican are of the view that we have to protect those sources and methods.
And so, if there's redactions necessary in that regard, that is an appropriate thing to do.
Everything else, disclose to the American people, so we can figure out what happened, why did it happen, and how do we prevent this type of dynamic from ever occurring again.
Clearly, 17 different intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered with our election with the explicit purpose of artificially trying to place someone at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
JEFFRIES: And there were more than a 100 contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives.
CUOMO: Right. None of the agencies who looked at it seriously thought that Russia didn't interfere. Only the President was doing that. But we know why. He felt threatened by this.
JEFFRIES: That's right.
CUOMO: Now he feels cleared by it. He, I believe, clumsily used the word exonerated, when that was the one word he shouldn't have used because it's the one word that Mueller went out of his way to put in there as a qualifier of what didn't happen in the report.
But that's politics. Now, do you believe without there being a crime found by Mueller, there is still a path for impeachment?
JEFFRIES: Well we've been very clear from the very beginning and, I think, the Speaker eloquently laid out the case to say, one, Democrats have always been focused on getting things done for the American people.
We didn't run on impeachment. We didn't win the House of Representatives on impeachment. We're not focused on impeachment. We're focused on lowering healthcare costs.
That was the preeminent issue of the 2018 campaign, protecting people with pre-existing conditions, strengthening the Affordable Care Act, which we're going to begin to do by introducing legislation tomorrow, enacting a real infrastructure--
CUOMO: Fair point. You should be able to walk and chew gum. JEFFRIES: --and to be able to lower it (ph).
CUOMO: You should be able to do that.
CUOMO: I would argue you guys have showed, not just Democrats, but Congress, that you have trouble doing either, let alone both at the same time.
But some members of your party, Congressman, again, not you, I believe in being fair to the individual--
CUOMO: --even when representing the party. Some of them, you know, one, name's not that important, but, and I can't even remember it, but she came out and said, "Let's impeach the blank-blank."
CUOMO: So, you do have a faction of your party that is rabidly interested in impeachment. How do you control that because if you set yourself up for a loss where you can't remove the President, how does that end well?
JEFFRIES: Well that's a very small fraction of the House Democratic Caucus with 239 Members strong, 235 voting Members for delegates, every single person important, but the collective wisdom of the House Democratic Caucus, and Nancy Pelosi articulated this standard.
She basically said, "Listen, for us to proceed with impeachment, the case must be compelling. The evidence must be overwhelming. And public sentiment around impeachment must be bipartisan in nature. To the extent that any of those three elements is missing, we're not going to go down this road."
And so, it appears at this point, we're going to continue not to go down on this road. We're not going to do--
CUOMO: But you're still going to do oversight and you're still going to do fact-finding that--
JEFFRIES: We have--
CUOMO: --could wind up being the same thing.
JEFFRIES: Well, we are a separate and co-equal branch of government. We don't work for Donald Trump.
We work for the American people. And so, we have a Constitutional responsibility to serve as a check and balance on what at times has been an out-of-control Executive branch.
But we won't overreach. We won't over-politicize. We won't over- investigate. We want to keep the focus on what we're trying to do for the people.
CUOMO: Do you accept the A.G. and the Deputy A.G. saying "There was no obstruction. We'll make the call for Mueller." Or do you believe it's still undecided?
JEFFRIES: Well that seems problematic in part because we don't have the underlying documentation, and the entirety of the report, which is important.
Chris, what we've been calling for is not just the report to be disclosed, but the underlying documents, so that the American people can have everything to make their own evaluation.
What we have right now is the four page Barr report. What we actually need is the Mueller report--
JEFFRIES: --that took place over a 22-month period.
CUOMO: Also because, look, here's the big problem.
And I keep saying this to both sides. You know, "If not a felony then fine" is not an acceptable standard. And it's certainly not just a crime that can get you impeached, this high crime and misdemeanor.
Rudy Giuliani is very clever to lay it out that way. But, look, history has shown us, and the law has shown us, it's not a legal standard.
CUOMO: It's a political standard. It's up to you men and women to figure out what you want to vote on. There was wrongdoing enough that Mueller couldn't make up his mind about obstruction. We got to know what it was.
There was enough findings of counterintelligence for him to put in findings about it. But we don't know what they were.
You know, there wasn't enough to commit a crime, but there was wrongdoing that was there in sum and substance enough for him to consider whether or not it was a crime.
We've got to know what these things are because wrongdoing matters. This isn't a criminal trial, you know, where it's guilty or - you know, not guilty and it's done. Do you think we'll get it?
JEFFRIES: Well I think the most important point to point out here we are going to get all the facts, all the evidence. The American people voted to put House Democrats in power in part, so we can make sure that there's transparency.
And so, Jerry Nadler and Elijah Cummings and Adam Schiff and all of the different Chairs at the relevant committees, Maxine Waters as well, are working on this issue and, as you have pointed out, have sent a letter urging that we get the documents, get the report by April 7th - 2nd.
Hopefully, that will take place. If not, we'll see what needs to happen from there.
[21:30:00] But it's ironic, Chris, that the same crowd that in 1998 was talking about the seriousness of obstruction of justice, and impeached a President based on that Act as well as abuse of power, is now saying, "Well, those aren't really serious things. We are just going to take this based on the four corners of the evidence, and wait for the Mueller report to be turned over."
CUOMO: Hypocrisy is no stranger to politics and all pain is personal, you know. When it's your team, it's one way. That's why I wish we could get away for the teams. I believe the more information we have the better chance that the American people could be on the same page.
Congressman, thank you.
JEFFRIES: Thank you very much.
CUOMO: Anything you can do to get us more information will be appreciated.
JEFFRIES: Sounds great.
CUOMO: All right, be well.
Rudy Giuliani says you already know everything you need to know. But he says, "If more wants to come out, great." The President says the same.
Jay Sekulow, co-Counsel is here. Does he agree? Does he see nuance? Where? Why not? What does he believe the path forward is here?
We're going to take that all up here for you and then we have great legal minds to do analysis. Stay with us.
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CUOMO: All right, look, we got lucky tonight. We're fortunate to have both players that counseled the President in the Mueller matter. You saw Rudy Giuliani.
Now you see co-Counsel, Jay Sekulow. Welcome back to PRIME TIME. JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: Thank for having me, Chris. Appreciate it.
CUOMO: What an interesting moment we're living?
CUOMO: I've never had this happen where Legal Counsel tag-team two different shows.
SEKULOW: There you go.
CUOMO: You know my take is that, you know, Fox are preaching to the converted. They haven't thought the President had anything to worry about all along.
Here, you get a chance to talk to people who hopefully have some open minds about what should the--
SEKULOW: I did every network today, every cable network today, every TV network today, so I've hit them all.
SEKULOW: And I'm glad to be with you tonight.
[21:35:00] CUOMO: It's a good time to be hearing--
SEKULOW: Yes. Yes.
CUOMO: --from you guys. We need intelligent discussion with decency about this right now.
CUOMO: Give us some hope about what you expect in terms of more transparency of what the American people can hope to learn beyond these four pages?
SEKULOW: So, first, I think you had to put it in context with what happened. So, what the Attorney General did was he got the report from Special Counsel Bob Mueller.
He worked with the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, and his - their staffs, and they put together a four-page document, what's called Principal Conclusions.
These are the principal conclusions that were reached in the report. They delivered that really within 48 hours, which is record time in Washington. I mean this is - this is very quickly.
The Attorney General said he is going to disclose as much as he can, consistent with the law and the regulations, and I believe he's going to do that.
The biggest thing you have to look at in these kind of things, you know this, Chris, is the 6(e) material, any Grand Jury information.
CUOMO: Grand Jury, right.
SEKULOW: You got to be very careful about people that may have been looked at, were declined.
SEKULOW: There's a big issue on that. That's where James Comey got in so much trouble.
CUOMO: But there is a test. And there is a--
SEKULOW: Yes, yes--
CUOMO: --judicial process to get through it.
CUOMO: It's not an impossibility.
SEKULOW: No. But you have to - but you got to go through the process.
SEKULOW: And then, of course, national security information.
So, when I'm, you know, I don't - I haven't seen it. I don't know what's in it. But I expect that they're going to do a - there - I'm sure they're working on a thorough review.
You've seen a quick transition and turnaround on this document. And I think you're going to see a quick turnaround on the other.
CUOMO: And, look, we reported it when we learned it. But it's important for the audience--
CUOMO: --to know.
The idea that the A.G. in 48 hours figured out whether or not there was obstruction is not fair. They - we are told - we're told three weeks ago by Mueller, "I can't make a decision on this."
CUOMO: And Rosenstein was part of the deliberation process with the A.G. He's been with it every step of the way.
CUOMO: So, it wasn't a--
SEKULOW: It wasn't in a vacuum, right. CUOMO: Right. It wasn't in a vacuum. It wasn't a hasty decision. Fine! But we need to know a lot more because it's about what your standard of behavior is for review.
Even if they wanted to do impeachment, and I've been very clear all the way down through the line--
SEKULOW: That's not happening.
CUOMO: --I didn't see the criminality, may happen, may not, I don't think it's an easy case to be made.
SEKULOW: But you heard what the Congressman just said. I mean it's--
SEKULOW: --it's - the - the process did - I mean not only we know we're near it. If you - if you look at what has to happen in a process like that, this is not that case.
SEKULOW: And that's how you have to - you look at and say, "Is this that kind of case," and it's clearly not.
CUOMO: But this is why I need to see the stuff because--
CUOMO: --felony or fine is not a good standard. High crime or misdemeanor, I don't even know what it means. Abuse of power is a real ingredient in that political accountability process.
SEKULOW: Yes. But where - where would be the abuse of power here, Chris? I mean because let's - let's be realistic.
This investigation starts as a counterintelligence investigation, that's the - the impetus of this, about concern over possible, what they were calling, or - or however it started, the word, collusion, conspiracy with the Russians, or Russian operatives with the Trump campaign, and people affiliated with Trump campaign--
CUOMO: To help them interfere in the--
SEKULOW: In the election.
SEKULOW: And the Special Counsel said after 2,800 subpoenas, was it 500 search warrants, 230 orders of communication records--
SEKULOW: --13 requests to foreign governments, and 500 witnesses that it doesn't exist. That was the basis upon which this started.
CUOMO: No crime.
SEKULOW: Well, he says more than that. He said that because it's you're - you're - where you're correct is the - the word collusion has been used, it's not the legal standard.
But the Special Counsel says, the investigation - Special Counsel investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired nor coordinated with Russia in its efforts to influence 2016 U.S. Presidential election that was not just crimes. They said no conspiracy or coordination.
CUOMO: Right. But this last part matters. And I'll tell you why. And I'm not being nitpicky. I don't need to be.
CUOMO: When they say with its efforts to influence the election, OK, that means--
SEKULOW: Well that was the standard based which the investigation started (ph).
CUOMO: I - I totally get it.
CUOMO: But what we saw with Manafort, what we are told we saw with Stone, the meeting in Trump Tower, that may not have been to help them interfere, but they were things they shouldn't have done.
SEKULOW: But let's look at the--
CUOMO: And that has to matter too.
SEKULOW: --the - but we're both lawyers. So, you have to look at, and I think this is the key here. You have to look at what is the law that was involved in, for instance--
SEKULOW: --the situation with Paul Manafort, federal violations--
SEKULOW: --tax issues. There was not a charge of conspiracy--
CUOMO: That's right.
SEKULOW: --to - to work in - in concert with a foreign government.
SEKULOW: We're agents of law (ph).
CUOMO: But just because it wasn't a crime doesn't mean it was OK.
SEKULOW: But the Special Counsel had a mandate.
SEKULOW: And their Special - and - and the Special Counsel issued an order based on their mandate.
SEKULOW: So that - that's what happened here.
SEKULOW: We haven't seen the report.
CUOMO: I'm talking about Congress.
SEKULOW: Congress has a different role. So, here's the thing that I ask though. Let's - let's go back to this. The United States Congress now still wants - they're saying, they haven't seen it, but they're saying it's not enough.
But do you think that the United States Congress is going to get to 2,800 subpoenas? No.
SEKULOW: Are they going to get 500 search warrants? No. Are they going to get 230 orders of communication records? No. Are they going to get pen registers which are phone records, 50?
SEKULOW: No. Are they going to get 13 requests to foreign governments--
CUOMO: No. But he should give more--
SEKULOW: --as essential (ph)? Are they going to get--
CUOMO: --than four pages.
SEKULOW: They are going to get more than four pages.
The Attorney General did not say this is it. What did he say? "I'm going to turn this around quickly." He said, "I hope to get it to you by this weekend, the principal conclusions in the report."
[21:40:00] And he said during his testimony, "I want to give as much of the report as I can, consistent with the law and regulations." And I don't think anybody would argue that you don't do it consistently with law and regulations (ph).
CUOMO: Now, here's the one that I don't understand--
SEKULOW: Yes, go ahead.
CUOMO: --that you've been arguing.
CUOMO: Why shouldn't we get to see the President's answers?
SEKULOW: Well, number one, you don't have a right to see the President's answers.
CUOMO: Why not?
SEKULOW: Because if I was representing you, and worked out an arrangement in a negotiated process with the Special Counsel or a U.S. Attorney, and this was going to be done in a particular way, would you be comfortable with me releasing your records without consent?
CUOMO: If I were President of the United States, if it was a matter of critical importance--
SEKULOW: No, no, no, no, but this is going to take to the (ph) Americans--
CUOMO: --and confidence to the American people, yes, I would.
SEKULOW: OK. Well, why would it make a difference to President of the United States, of if it's you, Chris Cuomo?
CUOMO: Because he is--
SEKULOW: It would become (ph) legally, you know that.
CUOMO: I know. But I don't think it's a legal argument.
SEKULOW: But, wait--
CUOMO: I think it's a political duty as the highest elected office in the land.
SEKULOW: Look, here's the facts. The facts are they asked questions. We responded.
SEKULOW: So, that's it. Now, what the Special Counsel does--
CUOMO: He already got the benefit of great minds like yours and the Raskin's dot - you know, helping him with the answers. We can't even see those? You've already vetted them once.
SEKULOW: Well, look, you're very kind to say all that. I'm telling you, the legal obligation - first of all, I'm the President's lawyer, one of the President's lawyers.
SEKULOW: So, I'm not waiving, as you wouldn't, anything, absent what? A court order. And there's going to be no court order here. Now, what the Special Counsel did include or did not include in their report, I don't know. I haven't seen it.
SEKULOW: You know when I'm going to see it? When you see it.
CUOMO: All I'm saying is that the President wants closure, OK?
CUOMO: He wants clarity so much so that he used the one word he shouldn't have used in his statement. He should have said, "I'm totally vindicated. I didn't do anything wrong."
He shouldn't have said exonerated because it's the one step that Mueller took to exclude in terms of a conclusion.
SEKULOW: But - but--
CUOMO: But that's about his public relations. It's not about law. All I'm saying is he's got a duty.
SEKULOW: What's the difference between - by the way?
CUOMO: If he wants closure--
SEKULOW: Do you think a prosecutor actually - when you think about this--
SEKULOW: --does a prosecutor exonerate?
CUOMO: Absolutely not.
SEKULOW: So, I don't even know why the word exonerate is--
CUOMO: I don't know why it's in there either.
SEKULOW: So, don't blame me.
CUOMO: I don't know why he didn't make a call.
SEKULOW: That - that--
CUOMO: I don't know why he didn't make the call.
SEKULOW: I'm not the Special Counsel. Well I'll tell you why he didn't make the call. Here's why. He said this - this part we do know that it raised difficult questions of law.
SEKULOW: In fact, if he - you are--
CUOMO: That's why we have him in the charge.
SEKULOW: --you were an attorney. You were - you prosecuted cases. Here's the problem. When you have difficult questions of law, and difficult facts, guess what you don't do?
CUOMO: So that he should have said I'm not prosecuting.
SEKULOW: But why they used the word exonerate, I don't - the - the Special Counsel, I don't know because the job of the prosecutor, you've done them, I've done them, is we prosecute--
CUOMO: Or you don't.
SEKULOW: --or we don't.
CUOMO: I don't want to hear whether or not he thinks of exoneration.
SEKULOW: So, I mean technically, it's - it's - it's basically declinations.
SEKULOW: OK. So, what happened here? So, I think it can be explained. I'm - again, I can't read the mind of Bob Mueller's team.
SEKULOW: I can tell you what I think happened. I think they had - they laid out all the facts that as they understood them after a lot of witnesses, as you've said.
CUOMO: And they were divided.
SEKULOW: And they didn't have a--
SEKULOW: Yes. There was not a consensus on a theory.
SEKULOW: So, they are not an independent - well I was on another network earlier today, and they kept conflating what Leon Jaworski did--
CUOMO: Right. SEKULOW: --and what Ken Starr did.
SEKULOW: And you've been very clear on this. This is not an Independent Counsel.
SEKULOW: An Independent Counsel reported to a three-judge panel.
CUOMO: That's right.
SEKULOW: They were not part of the Special Counsel (ph).
CUOMO: And they had a mandate in the statute that they deliver potentially impeachable information to Congress.
SEKULOW: To the Congress.
CUOMO: That's right.
SEKULOW: This is not it.
CUOMO: They got rid of that because the politicians didn't like it.
SEKULOW: Both the Republicans and the Democrats.
CUOMO: Yes, and they created this - this which--
SEKULOW: Nobody liked - right--
CUOMO: --doesn't have that.
SEKULOW: Ken Starr who did it said he didn't like it.
CUOMO: That's right.
SEKULOW: OK. So, the Special Counsel's under a different set of rules and regulations.
SEKULOW: He is part of the Department of Justice.
CUOMO: I don't see where the A.G. gets to make the call for him, though.
SEKULOW: Of course, the - well, of course he does, because who is the Chief Law Enforcement Agency--
CUOMO: He is.
SEKULOW: --Head of the Department?
CUOMO: The A.G. is. SEKULOW: The Attorney General.
SEKULOW: So, hold it. But this wasn't his--
CUOMO: --the whole point is to have it outside the department.
SEKULOW: No, it wasn't outside the department though. A Special Counsel--
CUOMO: He's underneath the Deputy A.G., but I'm saying you take it away from there.
SEKULOW: No, no, no, no, no, no, Chris, the - the Special Counsel is actually under the Attorney General.
SEKULOW: In this case because--
CUOMO: He was recused because Sessions recused himself.
SEKULOW: --in part because of (ph) Sessions recusal.
SEKULOW: You had Rod Rosenstein as Deputy.
CUOMO: So, the Deputy was on top, right.
SEKULOW: But the - the document itself is a Department of Justice document.
CUOMO: Yes, it is.
SEKULOW: He works for the Department of Justice. He is an employee of the Department of Justice.
CUOMO: Yes, he is.
SEKULOW: He has regulations that set forth specifically what he can do, what he can't. He's bound by Department of Justice guidelines. He has to give a, what's called, confidential report to the Attorney General.
SEKULOW: If there is any disagreement between the Special Counsel and--
CUOMO: Him, the guy's supposed to tell Congress.
SEKULOW: --right, supposed to tell Congress.
CUOMO: Right. SEKULOW: They said here there was none.
SEKULOW: I think that bodes well for the process.
CUOMO: I just think that it seems - it just - it taints it a little bit in the public perception, would be my suggestion. But that's why the more that can come out, the more clarity that there will be.
That's why I was happy to hear the President say today--
CUOMO: --"I think it should come out." I can't believe he's not telling you. "Jay Sekulow, waive it all. I've got nothing to hide--
SEKULOW: Well, first of all--
CUOMO: --I want the people to see what I said."
SEKULOW: --I'm not worried about what he said. I'm not worried about the answers to the questions.
CUOMO: Why didn't you put him under oath--
CUOMO: --and let him talk to them?
SEKULOW: Well, let me ask you this because I've been practicing law for 40 years.
CUOMO: But this is the President of the United States.
SEKULOW: But what I - but let me ask you this.
CUOMO: Clinton did it.
SEKULOW: Clinton had to do it.
CUOMO: He - he - he did it before the subpoena came.
SEKULOW: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, no, no, no. The subpoena came.
CUOMO: And then - and he said, it's no subpoena necessary, I'll do it.
SEKULOW: To a Grand Jury.
SEKULOW: We didn't reach that stage.
CUOMO: Would he have done that?
SEKULOW: Would have he done what? CUOMO: You think the President would have ever done it under oath--
CUOMO: --on camera?
SEKULOW: I'm not - I am - I am not post-litigating a case that is closed, OK?
CUOMO: OK, smart man.
SEKULOW: I am not going to post-litigate a case that's closed.
CUOMO: Jay Sekulow--
CUOMO: --I appreciate--
[21:45:00] CUOMO: --you taking this opportunity--
CUOMO: --making the case to the audience.
SEKULOW: Thanks. Appreciate it.
CUOMO: And I will be in contact going forward.
SEKULOW: Yes, sir. Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: Thank you very much.
SEKULOW: And I appreciate it, my pleasure (ph).
CUOMO: Jay Sekulow. We had--
SEKULOW: Thank you.
CUOMO: --Rudy Giuliani. Appreciate them both.
Now, up next, we need better brains than mine to process what matters here, and what we still need to know, and what that process will probably look like. We have those people for you.
Plus, are you surprised by the Mueller report findings? I'm sure many of you are. There's a reason for that. And we now know things, and we now know what happened, and we have to look back at it, and learn some lessons.
I have an argument that's not going to make me any friends, but it's worth hearing, I promise, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.
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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.
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CUOMO: Do you know that the White House still hasn't seen the full Mueller report? Now, to be happy - to be happy - to be honest, they're happy with just the headline here, right?
But for the rest of us, we've got to know the guts of this situation, if we're ever going to have true understanding because if you look at Bill Barr's summary, the President has reason to take a victory lap, all right?
He's saying, "Total exoneration." I don't know why he used that word. The truth was good enough. Exoneration is exactly what Mueller said he couldn't give him. Now, whether Mueller should have said that is another question.
Here's the good news. I have great brains for you tonight to go through what this means, and what more should be known. Mark Mazzetti, Laura Coates, and Franklin Foer are here.
What kind of name is Foer, by the way? F-O-E-R, what kind of name is that?
FRANKLIN FOER, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: An Ellis Island name.
CUOMO: Yes. What was it before?
CUOMO: All right, good. See--
CUOMO: --you know, ethnics. You always know--
FOER: I'm really OK (ph).
CUOMO: --there's really something, Foer, I don't know about that.
All right, so, Laura, let's start with this, one, what we were talking about before, often the most interesting stuff we talk about, we didn't - don't say on TV.
[21:50:00] Mueller, strong, known for prosecutorial discretion, known for knowing how to make the tough call, didn't make the tough call, punted on obstruction. I get that there may have been a division in the team. But wasn't his job to make the tough call?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Absolutely.
It's like going to the doctor and saying, "Here are my symptoms," and they go, "You should get that checked out." Well I came to you for a reason. You're the person who's supposed to know.
Mueller actually has a mandate to reach a decision--
COATES: --and present a report based on the declinations or the reasons to prosecute.
When he chose not to do so, and said - said, "You decide. You choose," especially when you have Barr who wrote a 19-page memo that already was a foregone conclusion of how he would feel.
COATES: To me, it feels very unsatisfying. And frankly, the punt, I wonder, was it truly to Bill Barr, or was the punt to Congress?
CUOMO: Well the reporting is - that's a good question. The - the reporting is three weeks earlier--
CUOMO: --he had gone to the A.G. and the Deputy A.G., and said, we're locked on this. They probably didn't use that language. That's what a jury would say. But so they had time. So, it's not fair to say Barr and Rosenstein figured this all out in 48 hours.
CUOMO: They had weeks. And Rosenstein was along every step of the way. Be that as it may, here's where we are now.
So, Mark, the question becomes well where do you go from here? Should we get a lot more information? Should we expect a lot more information? Does it matter if it's criminality versus wrongdoing, and why?
MARK MAZZETTI, WASHINGTON INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well we definitely need to get more information.
We have to see as much of the Mueller report that can be put out to the public, and they are pledging that they will - they will get as much out as they can, and then they'll do it relative to this (ph).
CUOMO: And on obstruction, there was no Grand Jury testimony.
MAZZETTI: That's right. So, you should be able to see (ph)-- CUOMO: So, they should be able to give you all of that (ph).
MAZZETTI: --the entirety of that.
And - and then, of course, it goes into the political arena. And this is actually one of the problems and complicating factors of Mueller not actually making the determination.
You - you create, you - you have a Special Counsel in part to remove politics from an investigation, right? If you're worried about conflicts investigating, you know, public figures, you're not a Special Counsel.
He didn't make a decision. And the decision was made by political appointees of the President. And that complicates things, it makes it muddier, and - and it obviously now has Congress riled up.
So - so, it - it doesn't make a clean end of the - the investigation.
CUOMO: Well, it's got Congress riled up on the Democrat side, but they also have to take a step back and check themselves, because there was a significant number of them, and a lot of media also, who were front- running expectations on this, and they were wrong. So, it's time for them to be quiet or at least work on more information.
The President, do you agree with Sekulow's argument that "The President's not going to give you his answers. You don't have any right to the answers. You shouldn't have the answers."
FOER: Of course. I mean, do I agree with it? No. I mean I think we have a right to the answers. I think that this is an open wound. I mean the questions that were raised, and the questions that were reaffirmed in Barr's interpretation of Mueller's report are huge.
We know that the Russians were manipulating our election. We know that they were trying to partner with Trump, including on the - in this election. We know that Trump was lying to us about his work on Trump Tower Moscow. We know that corruption is shot through this Administration.
The questions that were raised were totally legitimate. They needed to be pursued. And we need to take the answers as they come. We shouldn't be grasping at straws. We shouldn't be inventing conspiracies where they don't exist. But we do need answers.
CUOMO: And a point that I got from Laura Coates many months ago, I should finally give you credit for it, which is "Don't get so caught on criminality," you said to me many months ago, and I was like, "Well, you're prosecutor." Yes, but - but this is a political question.
And it was after I had done an interview with Rudy Giuliani, you said, "I get what he's doing. This is going to be a political battle."
CUOMO: We know that there was enough wrongdoing that Mueller's team couldn't make a decision on obstruction.
CUOMO: We know that there was enough wrongdoing that they had to make a call about whether or not to have a criminal case for conspiracy, which is what collusion really winds up as legally.
And we don't know anything about what they found on counterintelligence. So, certainly there's got to still be some existing jeopardy in what those answers mean to the political process.
COATES: Absolutely. Remember, the Constitution does not define high crimes and misdemeanors. They do it for a reason.
They want to have the flexibility to be nimble to the actual circumstances because everything that has a criminal code corresponding notion is not always going to be what translates to why you want somebody to remain the Head of the Executive Branch was again their job is to enforce the laws.
They have an even higher burden than most people because you're the ones who are charged with actually enforcing it. So, there's that element of it.
But a lot of this, and there was a political reason, I'm actually surprised that his attorneys are so happy with the lack of an exoneration because he has been put in the exact same position, frankly, and Hillary Clinton was placed in, the idea of extremely careless behavior, not criminal.
You have had a cloud now hanging over your head. Before, it was raining with collusion, that's now done. But now the question still remains the very thing that Congress is charged with having a look at, which is, is there a legislative reason to try to make sure it won't happen again?
[21:55:00] CUOMO: I'll tell you though, they have to be happy because you lied so much about things that you knew were wrong, and you wound up not getting caught for it criminally. They're going to take that as a win. Clearly, that's what they're doing.
But there are almost what a dozen other cases that we still have to figure out here in different parts of the judicial system. Franklin, Mark, Laura, thank you so much for helping us understand all of this, all right?
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TEXT: CLOSING ARGUMENT.
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CUOMO: So, tonight has been about getting some things straight. What do we know? What do we still need to know? What does this process mean, all right? The questions that sparked the Russia probe are legit, and have always been legit. Knowing if anyone helped the Russians mess with our democracy matters. It wasn't just about the dossier. They know that's not true. Russian interference is and was real.
People around this President did things they should not have done. They knew it because they lied about it. Was what they did a crime? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no.
And it is good and helpful to have some answers now that Mueller is done. It's important to know that our President was not involved in a criminal conspiracy to help Russia's efforts to interfere in our election.
It's good to know there are not more people around him believed to be criminals on top of those who have already been exposed as such.
Now, I don't think either of those reckonings are cause for celebration. In fact, I think celebrating not being a felon is a gross reflection of how low our standards for leadership have become.
Think about the standard the Trump trio over on Fox and other Trump folk are trumpeting. "If there's no felony, then the behavior is fine."
Come on! We need to know about any and all relevant wrongdoing, not just crimes. And clearly, Mueller believed there was enough wrongdoing that he could not clear the President of obstruction.
So, you should see whatever we can get and judge for yourself, how much does this matter, how big a deal is this, should precedents (ph) weigh it any further, should there be action, all right?
And remember, that's just on Russia. There's still like a dozen cases that are looking at serious types of wrongdoing. The answers matter. The President should want all the info to come out, including his answers.
You have a right to know what the man you put in power to lead you said on these important questions. Legal or not, he has a duty.
Now, you've heard me say all this a lot on this show, on my SiriusXM radio show and elsewhere, that matters too right now. Many on the Right are in I-told-you-so mode. And you know what? I get it. I get their umbrage.
There were people in politics and in the media who were almost guaranteeing results that would be bad for the President. They were getting praise.
They were rewarded in various ways, the farther that they went in their efforts in making the case that criminal activity was likely, and that the President had money problems that may be damning.
Now, to be fair, there's more to know before we can assess the whole basket of allegations. But much of it has found to be without met - basis criminally, or somehow lacking by Mueller. People should own that too. Many will now say it was wrong to assume what they were in fact assuming.
My team did not play that game. Here is just a taste of the proof of my argument.
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CUOMO: If you are waiting for something to come out from the Mueller probe that ends this Presidency, prepare yourself for disappointment.
If you think Mueller is going to take down the President with his report that will be highly unlikely.
I do not think criminality is a reasonable bar for people to anticipate in terms of when this probe winds up, personally.
I don't see how Mueller threatens the Presidency. I think this is about lying, why they lied, who knew what, and when and wrongdoing, not necessarily criminality.
I don't see how the Mueller probe winds up in the prosecution of the President or removal of him from Office.
You have people on the Left who've been set up for disappointment because they've been set up to believe that this is going to lead to the downfall of the President.
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CUOMO: Now, listen, this isn't and I told you so because I don't know what I'm talking about. We have to learn more. I could still be wrong. There are like a dozen cases out there.
But I know people were selling you on expectations, and it wasn't right, and it wasn't fair. We do this show differently. We do both sides because we're here to test power and not to play to it.
And I'm not going to try and just bring someone down, facts be damned. Playing to one side is a great rating strategy. Believe me! I see the proof of it every morning. It can make you a Presidential pal as well. But it is also toxifying our political culture.
I know some of you are disappointed by this outcome. I get it. It's regrettable. But it's also instructive. We need to find out the facts, argue about what they mean, do it with decency.
There is no need for us to be driven apart by our pursuit of the truth. My hope is that if you keep an open mind and you don't just listen to an echo of what you already believe, the pursuit of truth, of justice can bring us closer together.
Lord knows it should be easy to get to a better place than the one we're in right now.
Thank you for watching. CNN Tonight With D. Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Welcome back. CUOMO: Good to be here.
LEMON: Yes, it's good to have you back. It was a very interesting week without you, or while you were gone, I should say. Listen, I think you're right on in your assessment there. Here's - here's the interesting thing.