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NY Times: Some On Mueller's Team See Their Findings As More Damaging For Trump Than Barr Revealed; Democrats Begin Fight For Trump's Tax Returns; Suspected Mar-A-Lago Intruder Says She Is Chinese Investor & Consultant. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 3, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Chris is going to have more on this. And let's hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Total exoneration! That's what the President declared about the Mueller probe, thinking he was nailing the coffin shut. Instead, it seems he's opened up Pandora's Box.

Mueller's team is pushing back. They say "No complete exoneration." Even the Attorney General's account of the Special Counsel's findings, they say, isn't right.

This is breaking at the same time Democrats authorized a subpoena for the full un-redacted report. They've also opened up a new front in their new season of oversight, years of this President's taxes, personal and professional, the - professional.

They asked for them. Will they get them? The other question is will they be sorry if they do? We're going to bring in a powerful Ways and Means Committee Member to lay out the case.

And the Chinese lady at Mar-a-Lago, it started as a joke. But now, our Intel folks, they're not laughing. We have their reasons for concern.

My friends, it is never boring. Tonight, it matters. So, let's get after it.




CUOMO: So, here's the big story.

The New York Times reports some members of Team Mueller believe the Attorney General failed to adequately characterize the findings of their enquiry that the stuff in the report is worse for this President than as summarized.

And the timing could not be better for the Democrats. They're ready to send a subpoena for the full Mueller report.

And now, the House Ways and Means Committee, the only one with this power, they can call for the President's taxes, they can call for anybody's taxes, they're asking for personal and professional taxes from the President from 2013 to 2018, along with like eight of his business entities.

So, this is going to be a legal fight. It will certainly be a political fight. A general question is, is this about generating heat or light? We have the perfect guest for tonight.




CUOMO: Congressman Tom Suozzi, Democrat from the President's home state of New York. Welcome to PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: Good to have you.

So, first, the question of legitimacy. We all know what - well, I know what the statute says that your Committee is able to get this. Do you think there is any check on your authority?

SUOZZI: I think it's very clear that the Chairman of the Committee has the power to make a request for anyone's tax returns from the Treasury Secretary through the IRS Commissioner.

CUOMO: And it's just as simple as that? No pushback? No little tricks that can be done? Not hanging you up in court forever?

SUOZZI: The language is pretty clear. It says "shall and shall deliver the - the documents."

And, of course, I'm sure if the President decides he wants to, his team decides they want to, they're going to try and - and pursue some sort of legal strategy. But it may be in their best interest to just move forward and get this put - put behind them.

CUOMO: Is it a check on your authority if the President is under audit at the time?

SUOZZI: Well this is a very interesting thing that I don't think anybody's been talking about.

The Chairman of the Committee has said very clearly that the reason he's asking for these tax returns is because there is a policy in the Internal Revenue Service. It says very clearly that every President is supposed to be audited by the IRS.

And the question he wants to find out has - have they done their job. Back in the - the Carter Administration, the IRS put something in

their manual that said we want to take the discretion away from the IRS because we don't want to force IRS employees to have to make a decision, should we or shouldn't we audit the President. And instead, every President is supposed to be audited by the IRS.

CUOMO: So, you get the can you do it. Do you have the right? Then you have, is it right to do it? What are you hoping for politically comes out in these and what do you see as the risk?

SUOZZI: I'm not really concerned about the political aspects. I think this is a policy issue that we have to do in the Ways and Means Committee.

One great thing about our Chairman, Richie Neal is that he said since very beginning that he's going to be very judicious and deliberate throughout this process.

He's going to follow the rules. He's going to have hearings. And he's going to make sure that whatever he does is going to be subject to scrutiny by other people and it'll hold up in a court of law.

So, he's been very, very careful throughout this process. And he's made it very clear, this is not about politics. This is about policy. And this is a very narrow and targeted request.

CUOMO: What happens if, because we've never seen a President get put through this before, what happens if you get the taxes, there's nothing damning in the taxes that really matters in terms of the bigger questions of what we're asking?

Could it backfire and make it look like, you know, you guys have beaten up on the President for no good reason?

SUOZZI: Listen, the chips have to fall where they may. This shouldn't be about politics. We have a job to do in the House of Representatives and in the Ways and Means Committee to actually look at policy and look at legislation.

And this is the job we're supposed to do. And it's a knife's edge. It's a balancing point where we have to do our job, but at the same time we have to govern.

And we can't go too far that it looks partisan, and we can't go too far the other way that we don't do our job to actually over - how - to do the oversight we're supposed to do.

[21:05:00] And in this case we're doing oversight of the IRS to find out if they're complying with their requirement that they do an audit of the President--

CUOMO: Well--

SUOZZI: --without fear or favor.

CUOMO: While I have you, Congressman, what does The New York Times report mean to you that some, I just want to be careful about it, some of Mueller's team are saying that they don't believe that the A.G.'s summary did justice to their findings?

But they wouldn't tell The New York Times which findings they were talking about.

SUOZZI: I think that--

CUOMO: What does that mean to you?

SUOZZI: It means to me that this is going to keep on going on and on and on unnecessarily because if the President or if the Attorney General, I should say, would simply release the report, this would be over as far as a conversation.

Let's get the report out there. Let's get it out. You want to redact things because you believe that it's proper to redact certain things? We understand that you have a duty to do.

But let's just release the report. That's what the public wants. And it's - the country needs to move forward.

CUOMO: But the A.G. says that is what he's doing. He's just saying you guys only gave him a couple of weeks. It takes time.

SUOZZI: Well the Mueller team did summaries of their entire investigation. And I don't believe that it's going to take the weeks that he's saying to get this out there.

You know that they're focused on this 24 hours a day. You know this is a very important part of what they're working on right now. And I don't believe it's going to take - shouldn't take weeks for them to get this report out.

CUOMO: One of the questions that will - you guys would have to deal with politically is, you know, nowhere in the guidelines does it say that the A.G. should answer a question if the Special Counsel can't.

I don't know why Mueller and his team didn't answer the obstruction question. That was his job. I thought he was in there because he was tough enough to make the tough calls.

They didn't make a call on obstruction. The A.G. stepped in with the Deputy A.G. and made it. That's not in the guidelines. Is that an issue for you guys?

SUOZZI: You know, I can't really comment on that because I don't know what the report says or what the findings said. I have great respect for Mr. Mueller's and I - I - I think most people in America do, and they realize, as - as even Mr. Barr said, he's a straight shooter.

And, listen, the - the public really just wants to have the information. And we have to be very careful about all this stuff because I understand when people say "You're getting too partisan." We have to try and be balanced, as I said earlier. Do our job as the equal branch of government to do oversight of the Executive branch without going too far that it's partisan. And that's a knife's edge that we have to balance on constantly.

I think it was very helpful, for example, when the Speaker Pelosi said, you know, I don't think that impeachment is a good idea. That was before the Mueller's report came out.

We need to be judicious and deliberate. And I think the Ways and Means Committee is doing that in response in - related to the tax returns of the President. And I hope that that's what will happen with the Mueller's report as well.

CUOMO: This is going to be tough with the taxes because you're going to get a fight and then there's going to be on - an expectation set of what happens if you do get them. It'll be tricky balance. We'll see how it plays out.

Congressman Suozzi, great to have you on this show. Hope to see you again.

SUOZZI: Yes. Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Be well.

All right, so my next guest is confident that Congress will be able to get what it is looking for. Then the question becomes what are they looking for, just the taxes or something in them?

Now the reason he's a good guest is he was once able to obtain the President's tax return of 2005. He knows what's at stake for the President. And we'll be talking to him about that and what the Attorney General, he has to worry about next as well.








CUOMO: House Democrats are now requesting to see President Trump's personal tax returns from 2013 to 2018. They also want his business tax returns. When asked about the six-year request, the President feigned surprise that the Democrats only want a few years.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Chairman of the Democratic House Ways and Means Committee moments ago asked to the IRS for six years of your tax returns. Was he doing (ph)?



TRUMP: Oh, usually it's 10. So, I guess they're giving up.

I have been under audit for many years because the - the numbers are big. And I guess when you have a name, you - you're audited.


CUOMO: The President told me on television after a debate that he thinks he gets audited all the time because he is such a devout Christian.

OK. So, let's put all of the trappings of this aside and figure out what's going to really happen here, especially in this context of our other breaking story about the disclosure that is being demanded now of Mueller.

This kind of all works together if you think about it, especially with some of Mueller's team coming out and saying the A.G. did not tell you everything you needed to hear.

So, let's bring in someone who understands all this very well. David Cay Johnston once got access to some of Donald Trump's 2005 tax return. Welcome to PRIME TIME. Always good to see you, brother.


CUOMO: All right, so let's start with the "Will they." Do you think there's any way that the President can block the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee's request?

JOHNSTON: No. Under a 1924 anti-corruption law, the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, or the employee of Congress who is the Chief of Staff with the Joint Committee on Taxation, all have a right to see this.

The law says the Treasury Secretary shall produce not just the tax return, but any tax return information. That means that they have copies of the books and records of Donald Trump's companies' transaction records, audit notes, audit notices, many other things.

And I suspect, by the way, this will eventually also get into any gift tax returns Donald Trump may have filed.

CUOMO: Now, let's get into why they want it. What he should be concerned about? This is an interesting tape from his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Now, I don't know that Cohen ever saw the President's taxes or had

anything to do with their preparation. But here was his take before Congress about why the President didn't want them out.


MICHAEL DEAN COHEN, DONALD TRUMP'S FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY: Statements that he had said to me was that what he didn't want was to have an entire group of think tanks that are tax experts run through his tax return, and start ripping it to pieces, and then he'll end up in an audit, and he'll ultimately have tax - taxable consequences penalties and so on.


CUOMO: You think that's what it is?

JOHNSTON: I think that's exactly what it is. Keep in mind, Donald Trump has had two income tax fraud trials, the State of New York and the City of New York. He lost both of them.

[21:15:00] And the opinions written by the judges excoriated him. His own witness, his then Tax Lawyer and Accountant, Jack Mitnick who had also represented Donald's father, Fred Trump, testified against him.

He was shown the tax return, and he said, "That's my signature on the tax return but neither I nor my firm prepared that tax return," which is a pretty strong badge of fraud.

CUOMO: Now, let's look at the other side of the balance here. If the Democrats do this, this is an unusual move. It's a power-play. We haven't seen it done to other Presidents.

Now the pushback will be well they usually put out tax returns that this President didn't. But isn't the bar going to be kind of high for them that these tax returns better show something other than he didn't pay enough in taxes?

JOHNSTON: Well if the - if the Democrats find there's nothing there, and come out and say, "Hey, guess what? Donald Trump's clean as a whistle," I would expect the Republicans would jump up and down with joy who've decided to back Donald Trump.

The issue here is really about oversight and preventing corruption.

And what the tax returns will tell us are things like Did Trump over- value and undervalue things to game the system? Did he take deductions as he did in the cases where he was tried for which there was no substantiation or basis?

And did he have money flowing to him in ways that suggest that he may be in violation of American law or subject to some kind of pressure or blackmail from people overseas?

CUOMO: You know we just had Tom Suozzi on. He's on the Committee. And he said, you know, there's a law that all the IRS is supposed to audit every President, so we just want to make sure that they're doing their job.

It's a clever answer. But we know what this is about, or look, we know what this will be perceived as being about?

And if - do you really think that's what the American people want? I mean I had always thought the suspicion was if you watch other TV shows that are on at this time it's that "If you follow his money, David, you're going to find out that he's compromised."

If they don't find that in his taxes, which I don't know why they would, by the way, I don't think that you're lending history. But isn't there going to be a threshold that if it isn't met, this is bad for the Left?

JOHNSTON: It - it could well be bad for the Democrats if they mishandle it. I think that's why Richie Neal has been very careful about couching this the way that he has. And they don't get to put the returns automatically out in the public record.

It says they'll be received for closed-door sessions. But I do think as in the case of Richard Nixon, we need to know whether our President is a crook.

CUOMO: Right. Now, I hear you on that. It's just it's going to be an interesting political test. People will say this is all from the past.


CUOMO: He's been weighed and measured.

Let me ask you something else, The New York Times headline.

We knew this was going to happen, right? Some of Mueller's team is saying, "Hey, the A.G. didn't get it right. You need to see what's in that report. He didn't characterize it the right way."

Where do you think this takes us in terms of how much comes out?

JOHNSTON: Well, you know, William Safire wrote a column about Barr when he was Attorney General for George H.W. Bush called The Patsy Prosecutor, and how he did something just like he did here. He distorted facts and tried to do everything he could to protect the President.

We've seen the other Independent Counsel and Special Counsel reports with very minor redactions and only a few of them. Why are we not seeing the report?

There must be a reason they're withholding the report. And I'm not surprised that some of Mueller's team are willing to talk to reporters at this point, and say, "Whatever you read, that's not what's really going on here."

So, we need to see the report and we need to ask a fundamental question. If it exonerates you, why don't you want us to see every word of it? CUOMO: Yes. Look, that's a fair point. If the President wants closure, clarity brings closure. And Barr did do something--


CUOMO: --that aren't in the guidelines.

He says it's all about the guidelines, all about the guide - got to hue (ph) to the law. Doesn't say that he takes the decision from the Special Counsel when the Special Counsel can't make a call, you know, that you would think--


CUOMO: --that would default to Congress. But the A.G. took the - took the step with the Deputy A.G. to make a call on obstruction. That's not in the guidelines either.

JOHNSTON: No, it's not.

And, Chris, if you very carefully parse the letter, which is, you know, what lawyers and people who teach law like I do, do, there's a lot of interesting phrasing in there and missing words.

You know, refers to the Russian government. Well the Russian government operates through oligarchs in many cases. There's other language that suggests that this was a very artfully written letter.

CUOMO: No. Look, he is a sophisticated guy. And we know that the President put him in - didn't put him in there to be his enemy. And there is a little precedent, by the way.


CUOMO: The only other time we've had a Special Counsel since they rewrote the rules or wrote the rules for the Special Counsel, Branch Davidian. That was Janet Reno.

She actually directed the Special Counsel in that case release it right to the public. There were redactions, but it only wound up being like a dozen or so pages out of 200, and that went right to the people.

That could have been done here, same set of guidelines. Didn't happen. So there you have it.

JOHNSTON: Absolutely. And - absolutely.

CUOMO: David Cay Johnston, I call on you early and often because you make it better for my audience every time you're on. Thank you for helping us understand these things.

JOHNSTON: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. [21:20:00] All right, so we're seeing some video for the first time

from former Vice President Joe Biden on the controversy that is surrounding him before he's even said whether he's running.

So, we're going to show you the message, and then we're going to debate. Is this enough to deal with these allegations of what is termed unwanted touching?

That's where we start. Where we finish, no one knows.








CUOMO: All right, so here's the headline to start with. The former Vice President, Joe Biden has put out a new video dealing with these questions surrounding his behavior in the past.

Let's take a look.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In my career, I've always tried to make a human connection. That's my responsibility, I think. I shake hands, I hug people, I - I grab men and women by the shoulders, and say "You can do this."

You know, our social norms have begun to change. They've shifted. And the boundaries of protecting personal space have been reset. And I get it. I get it.

I hear what they're saying, I understand it. And I'll be much more mindful. That's my responsibility, my responsibility. And I'll meet it.


CUOMO: Is that enough? Let's use that as the beginning of The Great Debate, Angela Rye and Scott Jennings.



(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Angela Rye, not an apology to the women who have come forward. But he says "I get it," assuming that he will be different going forward. Your take.

ANGELA RYE, ATTORNEY, IMPACT STRATEGIES PRINCIPAL & CEO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, NPR POLITICAL ANALYST, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, first of all, I have always respected former Vice President Biden's ability to tell the truth, to correct - connect on an authentic level and to be extremely transparent.

I think the challenges here with this video - video are several.

[21:25:00] One, this is his first kind of video appearance since, you know, people really began to speculate that he was going to run for president this election season, and he's not even miked up. This video looks bad.

It's I just - I'm just saying from a pure optic standpoint like that doesn't go in his favor. True, of course, it is authentic, and maybe it was in the moment, and kind of a spur-of-the-moment type of a thing. But I just don't like those particular optics.

I do think that it is a problem that if the folks have felt like they were that disrespected or that harmed that he didn't apologize for how at least he made them feel, and I think that would have gone a lot further.

But he is completely right when he says times have changed. That doesn't mean that the times that were, were right. It means that they were different.

And I think that Joe Biden's saying, "I'm going to take an opportunity to really connect with the things that I've done the way that I've engaged and determine where I need to course-correct."

And I think the most important thing is now it looks like consent doesn't just apply to, you know, what pack - what people do sexually. It also applies to people respecting physical space.

I feel that way every time somebody is right up on me in the line, Chris, at the grocery store.

CUOMO: Oh, good.

RYE: It's like why are you in my personal space?

CUOMO: I thought you were calling me out in the makeup room.

RYE: No. You didn't do anything.

CUOMO: I was like I was at least seven feet away.

RYE: I would have - I would have told you right then though.

CUOMO: I know.

RYE: And then I would have tweeted. I'm just kidding.

CUOMO: I know. I know.

So, Scott, here's the problem for you. The President has dealt with this only in joking fashion because, Lord knows, he's got no high ground on this issue. So, while this may be tough intra-party for Joe Biden, at least early on, he hasn't even announced yet, what does this mean for you guys?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: It means nothing for us. We should not talk about this because it appears to me the Democrats are going to rip Joe Biden apart over it. I mean this looks like a - I'm a political operative. I look at it through that lens.

This looks like a well-orchestrated hit job from one or more of these other Democratic campaigns. Obviously, they're not going to let it go.

And, look, these other campaigns have reason to attack Biden for something, for anything, because he's one of the two clear frontrunners in this race. So, I think Republicans can step back and let Democrats sort this out.

What I wonder, by the way, I agree with Angela. I don't like it when people get up on me either. I - I think it's weird.

RYE: Horrible.

JENNINGS: Joe Biden, we're not talking about his behavior, you know, four years ago. He was Barack Obama's Vice President. This was in the very, very near past.

And for eight years, he was grabbing people, you know, gripping them, sniffing their hair, and nobody in the Obama White House walked up to him and said, "Hey man, cut it out with the Creepy McCreeperson bit. Nobody thinks it's cool."

CUOMO: Well I got to tell you. I don't think you should be - I don't think you should--

RYE: Yes.

JENNINGS: Frankly, like it's (ph) weird. They did not serve him well.

CUOMO: I don't think you can even use the verb--

RYE: Glasshouse over there.

CUOMO: --grabbing because every time one of you guys says the word grabbing--

RYE: I was going for it, Chris.

CUOMO: --it reminds this entire country of what our now President said on that video. And that's why you don't have high ground.

But one other caution, Angela, is that I do understand what Scott's saying, full respect for him looking it through the lens of politics.

But it's also probably the only way the Trump campaign look at it, can look at it, is to mock it and make a joke out of it, because he can't be on the side of respecting "Time's Up" in the #MeToo movement because he is like Exhibit A of what you're not supposed to be anymore.

RYE: Right. He's 20 - 20-plus accusers deep into the #MeToo movement. And I think that that is part of the issue. What's so funny is, Scott, you talked about the Democrats are going to tear him to shreds, it's interesting to see that contrast, right?

On one side of the aisle, you have not just a candidate, but the Commander-in-Chief, who had all of those accusers, and was still elected President, maybe by some outside help. We'll never know until that 400-page report comes out, but I digress.

But now, on the other side of the aisle, you have people say, well, let us look at the definition - definition of consent and how people are talking about it when - when you talk about what happens with sexual assault.

Let us talk about what it means to respect someone's physical boundaries. Let us - let's - let us at least analyze that.

CUOMO: That's all good.

RYE: And this man who may be a candidate is saying I'm willing to - to come to terms with the fact that times have changed, and I may need to do something different.

CUOMO: Yes. Yes, that--

RYE: That's a hell of a difference.

CUOMO: --that's all good. And it's a conversation only one side can have and that sucks because it has to be something that really brings us all together if you really want culture to change.

RYE: Yes. It should be non-partisan.

CUOMO: All right, let me ask you something else while I have you guys.

Scott, this New York Times reporting, I knew this was going to happen, and not - not because I'm smart. It's because it's obvious. The longer it goes without the report coming out, the more people are going to nibble around the edges.

You got members of his team saying Barr didn't get it right. He didn't - he didn't get it right. He didn't - but he didn't summarize it right. There's a lot more in there.

Do you think that we're going to get to see things? There's a lot of precedent to see a lot of this report. There's not a lot of precedent to see only a little bit of the report. Which way do you think it goes? JENNINGS: I think we're going to see most of the report. I think there're going to be proper redactions for Intelligence material. And they may redact some names of people who are purely innocent, who did nothing except cooperate with this investigation.

What concerns me about The New York Times report tonight, and again, I do think we should see this whole report, and I have defended Mueller and his team from the beginning. I didn't agree with the President attacking these investigators and FBI agents the way he did.

But what troubles me is the use of the word narrative in this story tonight. People on Mueller's team are concerned about the narrative.

[21:30:00] Look, I think this is what got Jim Comey in trouble, his obsession with political narratives. I don't want them to tell me what I should think politically. I want to see the facts.

They haven't leaked once from the beginning. The fact that they're leaking at the end--

CUOMO: But that's not what they say. Do you still have the full screen?

JENNINGS: --is going to lead some people to believe it's what it says.

RYE: Yes, it's not leak--

CUOMO: Do you have the full screen?

JENNINGS: They're worried about the narrative. It's going to leave - listen, it's going to lead people to believe that maybe Trump had a point that some of these people--

CUOMO: No, I don't think so.

JENNINGS: --wanted an outcome. That's what some people--

CUOMO: You're making that point about Barr.

JENNINGS: I'm not saying they did.

CUOMO: Put--

JENNINGS: But that's what some people are going to believe.

CUOMO: Put up the piece of the piece just so we can get the context right.

"Some of" - remember, this is what they were hearing from people who know what these investigators are saying. These are a few levels deep. I'm not questioning the accuracy. I'm just saying the context.

"Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated."

That's not about narrative. That's not about shaping. It's about how Barr shaped what's going on.

And, Angela, I think it takes us to the same place. My concern about the Ways and Means Chair going after the taxes is when you want something it raises a level of expectation.

Here, with this report, it's the same thing. When you - in reverse, when you hide something--

RYE: Right.

CUOMO: --it creates a level of expectation. I don't get if the President wants closure. Clarity brings closure. Let it come out. He says he was exonerated.

RYE: Well and - and that's just it. He says he was exonerated. But, Chris, we know he says a lot of things. And, in fact, it's to the tune of 9,400 things that are not truer, as this very Administration coined the term "Alternative facts."

So what we should be hoping for is not a redacted report but a full-on report, so that the American people can judge for themselves what's in it.

I do not want to rely on Attorney General Barr's interpretation because we already know that he's been bought and sold at a price. It was clear before he was even nominated that that was going to be the case.

It is sure--

JENNINGS: Bought and sold? That - that is an - that is an--

RYE: Bought and sold at a price.

JENNINGS: --that is an outrageous allegation. Bought and sold? Are you suggesting--

RYE: Well you know what's more outrageous? Do you know what's more outrageous?

JENNINGS: --corruption or bribery? This man was confirmed in a bipartisan vote. That's an outrageous thing to say.

RYE: You know what's more outrageous besides this interruption. I told Chris I wasn't getting into it (ph) tonight.

JENNINGS: Bought and sold?

RYE: You go for it.

CUOMO: Well, hold on. What you said was very provocative that he's bought and sold so I'm - so--

RYE: Bought and sold at a price meaning that he's another Yes Man--

CUOMO: --so I let Scott-- RYE: --in that same cabinet of people--

CUOMO: Well but right. But it sounds like you're saying--

RYE: --who will not--

CUOMO: --there was corruption. And that's why I let Scott push back on you about it because we have no belief of that. But--

RYE: I'm not - I'm not - I'm sorry. That is a colloquial term. I'm saying--

CUOMO: All right, fine, good distinction.

RYE: --that this man is a Yes Man, yet another one for this particular President.

He might not be bought and sold at a price, but there are a number of players around Donald Trump who are corrupt. It's clear. They've been indicted. Some of them convicted.

So let's just be very clear about what is around him, what is surrounding him, and why suspicion is so high.

CUOMO: Right.

RYE: Period!

CUOMO: I'm glad you qualified it. Scott, you're right to push back on that. You both had a good debate. You make it better for my audience. I love you both.

RYE: Thank you.

CUOMO: Thank you. All right--

JENNINGS: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: --we have more information coming in just the--

RYE: What is that (ph)?

CUOMO: --in just the past few minutes on that Mar-a-Lago arrest. I'll be honest. I thought it was just like a really kind of funny, interesting story because God, you know, God willing, nothing bad happened.

But now, the Intel community says, "Shut up, Cuomo! There are real questions here. This may have been espionage."

What are the concerns on the intruder? What is this that's sparking the interest of the Intel community, having the FBI get involved? Is it the malware? Is it something we don't know?

Expert take, next.








CUOMO: So, just as we started the show tonight, we got some new details about what the suspect in this security at Mar-a-Lago is revealing about herself. The Chinese woman who was charged in the case has told the Judge she's an investor and consultant for a Chinese company.

Today we learned the FBI is now investigating to see this weekend's incident and whether or not it could be part of an espionage plot.

House Intel Chief Adam Schiff wants a briefing from the Secret Service, among others, which is defending its response.

As for the President, nothing to see here.


TRUMP: Gave me a little bit of information. No, I'm not concerned at all.

I have - we have very good control. We have extremely good - and it's getting better. And cyber, frankly, what we're doing with cyber is - is a story in itself. No, I think that was just a fluke situation.


CUOMO: Oh God, love him. But I don't even know what he's talking about here. If it weren't for his Receptionist, this lady would have found her way into wherever she wanted to be at Mar-a-Lago.

It wasn't until the Recep - read the complaint. The complaint is out there for you to read. It's only like four or five pages of - of content.

The Receptionist said, "Wait. What are you here for? That's not on the list. That's not here." And then she brought back the Secret Service, and they wound up taking her for more questioning because her story fell apart.

Let's get some insight into what could - this could all mean. It's former CIA Operative, Bob Baer. So, full disclosure, I thought this was a joke, this story. I thought it was just funny that she made it that far.

Now the FBI and the other Intel agencies are saying, "No, not so funny." Why?

BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE, "THE PERFECT KILL: 21 LAWS FOR ASSASSINS" AUTHOR: Well, Chris, this is - Mar-a-Lago has been a nightmare for the Secret Service and the FBI right from the beginning. It's indefensible. They know it.

It would take a CIA team, for instance, a couple hours to wire the place, in the light sockets, sending signals out that are masked, encrypted, that are - that are covered under AM/FM radio, you just can't - you can't sweep a place like this. And everybody knows it.

Now, we have caught, in this case, I believe, is a - probably a Chinese agent because there's no cyber-security firm in China which does not report to the Intelligence service, so the chances of her directly or indirectly working for Chinese Intelligence are very good.

And so--

CUOMO: Now, is the relationship good enough, Bob, where you can call over there during this, you know, big, you know, this big trade deal that's going on, do you think the relationship is good enough to call over and say, "Is this one of yours?"

BAER: No. The Chinese are going to say "No." They're going to absolutely deny it. But you have to remember, the Chinese, this is their most important target. They don't understand Trump. He's a complete mystery.

So, there's an obligation of Chinese Intelligence to get inside Mar-a- Lago because they can't get in the White House, so go to Mar-a-Lago, what goes through this guy's mind?

You know, good luck for the Chinese finding out. But--

CUOMO: And how are they going to get that? That's what the malware's about?

BAER: Audio. You find people see the President, they go to their room, they get on their cell phones, you wire the rooms or you get in the Wi-Fi, and you can get all those conversations going out. It's - it's amazing what you can get.

CUOMO: Is and that - and that's what--

BAER: Sweep right up.

CUOMO: --can fall under the category of malware?

BAER: Malware, yes. You get into the Wi-Fi, get into cells, you know, you can get into the whole system in the - in the hotel telephone--

[21:40:00] CUOMO: And the Chinese would use something as clumsy as somebody coming around and just coming up to the front gate and saying, "I got invited to a party?"

BAER: Well, you know, there's always mistakes made. And there's probably a lot of Chinese trying to get into Mar-a-Lago. And, yes, the CIA has made mistakes, so is the KGB.

They seem comical to you but this does happen. But I guarantee you that every Intelligence service worth its salt is trying to get into Mar-a-Lago, and we simply got the low-hanging fruit.

CUOMO: You think it's too dangerous to have him there? I mean, you know, look, for all the partisan battles that going on, and I test the President almost every night, God forbid anything would ever happen to him.

Is this about the Secret Service falling down on the job, or is that job just too tough to secure that place?

BAER: No. You can't secure it. It's impossible. The only places you can secure are areas in the White House, in the CIA, FBI. They're called SCIFs. They're like lead walls.

And you - you call anybody in the federal government now with security clearance, they'll be gone all day because they can't have their cell phone, they have air gap computers and the rest of it, and the same would apply to the President, but he's simply refused to comply. He doesn't understand it.

CUOMO: So, what are the questions for you here?

BAER: You know, just hold this lady. And what concerns me is the rest of Mar-a-Lago and the professionals they're able to get in so easily because, remember, the Secret Service does not control the doors, and that is a catastrophe.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean I'm not saying that as a slight on the Secret Service.

BAER: No, not at all.

CUOMO: But that the Receptionist, you know--

BAER: Well the Receptionist--

CUOMO: This lady talked her way past the Secret Service. She just did. She wound up getting to the gate.

She may have been driven there by a Secret Service guy. But she got up to talk to the Receptionist. The Receptionist pushed back on her and that wound up cycling into her detention.

BAER: Well I mean that's - that's a total accident because at the White House, it's the Secret Service controls entry.

CUOMO: Right.

BAER: They trace everybody who comes in. But you can't do that at Mar- a-Lago with members and their children and the rest of it. And you got this flow of people. It's a place that's just wide open. The Secret Service--

CUOMO: It is true. I mean I'll tell you.

BAER: Yes.

CUOMO: I have gotten reports of people who are eating dinner there and the President's there.

I mean we all know what happened during that North Korea situation where he had a bunch of big shots around him, but there are other people eating dinner right next to them.

BAER: And can hear him.

CUOMO: And they're hearing their conversations, hearing what's going on. I guess it's a tough balance. You want him to live his life. But you also want to make sure we only got one of them, you know.

BAER: When you be--

CUOMO: So we have to protect him.

BAER: Chris, when you become President you sell-out your private life for as long as you're in the White House. And that's - that's the deal. That's the contract. And he's not abiding by it.

CUOMO: Really, if this woman turns out to be a spy that will be some real twist in this story. You know what? You know, it seems so obvious. You know, it seemed like a botched spy caper if that is what it really is. That's pretty impressive.

Bob Baer, thank you very much for your take on this.

BAER: Thanks.

CUOMO: Appreciate it.

All right, we're still trying to wrap our heads around the President's story when it comes to his own father, by the way. You know, when I was joking about it with Don last night, again, it was another one that I kind of just like rid-off as not as serious as other stuff.

But, you know, it winds up being symptomatic of a bigger problem. So, the White House won't set the record straight about where the President's father was born.

Is - what is this about? Is there so much fear in the White House to do anything that the President doesn't want you to do, anything that might reveal some type of weakness that you can't even answer a question like that?

The latest chapter, next.







CUOMO: Facts first. I would have never thought I had to correct the President about something like this. But our President is wrong. His father was born in the Bronx. That's the northern part here of New York City.

And yet, the President just can't - telling you something different.


TRUMP: My father is German, right, was German, and born in a - a very wonderful place in Germany.

My father's from Germany. Both of my parents are from the EU.

Both my parents were born in EU sectors, OK? I mean my mother was Scotland, my father was Germany.


CUOMO: From Germany, fine. You know, my - my father's family is from Italy. But he was born here just like the President's father.

Now, for the last two days, we've been doing something that's very routine that you don't get to hear too much about is which we report on something, we hear about it, we go to the White House for an explanation.

Well what was at first radio silence, which is not unusual, has turned into deflection. One adviser says this now.

"Obama thought we had 57 states. Sometimes mistakes happen."

Now, someone who makes a lot of mistakes is D. Lemon. But he's never said anything like he doesn't know where his Mama was born - was born.

Wake up, Don.

Like I said--


CUOMO: --makes a lot of mistakes.

LEMON: --actually talking to and doing - what do you want to know? Well it's - I'm actually doing research on this. How are you doing?

CUOMO: I'm doing good, brother.

LEMON: Wake up.

CUOMO: I'm doing good. I'm doing good.

LEMON: You know, as we say, these are the ways sometimes. I mean I am every day, it's something else. OK. So, a couple things there. He said his dad was born in the EU. Well I don't think and there's that (ph)--

CUOMO: I'll give him from Germany.

LEMON: But--

CUOMO: You can say your parents are from somewhere--

LEMON: Well but the EU, one--

CUOMO: --if that's where their blood is.

LEMON: This is a little thing. EU didn't exist then. OK, fine. So, if he says he's from Germany that's fine. But to say that he was born there--

CUOMO: Not fine.

LEMON: Not fine because he wasn't.

CUOMO: Not accurate.

LEMON: So, is - is it a big deal? Uh, in the whole scheme of things, I'm sure the Mueller report and the findings that isn't - that is a much bigger deal.


LEMON: But it just shows you how this President doesn't - the - the point is he - they don't care, this Administration.

Because for them to come out with an explanation saying, "Well, you know, President Obama or Candidate Obama when he was on the campaign trail, he said, you know, he had been to 57 states," right?

OK, so here's - and, at the time, the press held Obama to account, asked him about it. He addressed it right after, and then went on to say, "I think I made a mistake. I hope I said a 100,000 people talking about the cyclone in Burma instead of a 100 million people."

And then at that point he had been on the campaign trail for, I think, 16 months at that point, and he said something dumb. We do it all the time.


LEMON: But that's what, he said, "I made a mistake--

CUOMO: He made a mistake.

LEMON: --here's what I meant." CUOMO: And he said it once.

LEMON: And he said it once.

CUOMO: And it's not about something that he should have intimate - obviously, we all know there's 50 states. But, you know, you can misspeak.

You say that your father was born somewhere that he wasn't repeatedly--

LEMON: Repeat over and over, it's not a slip of the tongue.

CUOMO: --at a minimum, it's that this is something that he's convinced himself of for some reason from a long time ago, and he just forgot the truth.


CUOMO: But that's the best-case scenario.

But the only part that bothers me is the White House. This White House, this Administration and the people around this President will never admit a mistake. It's just like him during the campaign.

[21:50:00] "What is - what's the biggest thing you ever asked God for forgiveness for?" "Why would I have ever asked God for forgiveness?"

LEMON: For your - I don't know, well sins, lying, but who knows? Who knows?

This big news that we have been saying, we've been talking about, Barr's four-page summary, and that it didn't really show everything. How can you sum up 400 pages in just four pages?

Well, here it comes, The New York Times reporting tonight. And Sheila Jackson Lee is here.

CUOMO: Oh, good.

LEMON: She's going to tell us what she thinks, where they're going to go from this, about asking and issuing subpoenas, how soon. She's got some information that I don't think you'll hear anywhere else. You want to stay tuned for that.

CUOMO: Beautiful!


CUOMO: I will be up once again watching D. Lemon.

The closing is the anatomy of a crisis in public confidence. That's coming right up.

LEMON: I've been to all 59 states. And I only have I mean I've got a couple more to go to. CUOMO: Yes. No, you'll be. You'll get there.

LEMON: I'll get there.

CUOMO: You'll get there. See you later, bud.

All right, now, look, we don't know what's in the Mueller report, but you should, and be - why?

Because the longer it goes this way the more nibbling around the edges, the more corrosion of public trust there's going be. Now you hear some of Mueller's people saying, "I know what's in the report, and the Attorney General didn't tell you what he should have."

Now what? I have the closing argument about this, only one antidote to this, next.








[21:55:00] CUOMO: All right, the argument is that the anatomy of a crisis of public confidence is taking shape regarding the Mueller report.

Now that the probe is over, the legendary quiet that Mueller compelled among the ranks is over too. And sure enough, the first wave shakes the foundations of trust in what the A.G. and the Administration will do with the report.

Here's the quote. "Some on Mueller's team see their findings as more damaging for Trump than Barr revealed," blast The New York Times headline.

Now, we don't know what findings they're talking about but the effect is the same. It sows doubt. The President made it worse by trying to make it all go away.


TRUMP: It was a complete and total exoneration.


CUOMO: Now, this is misleading to the point of a lie. Why? Well because it's an obvious deception. He has to know that the one thing he can't say accurately is that he's

been totally exonerated because Mueller and Barr went out of their way to say there was no exoneration on the issue of obstruction, one of the two big things he looked at.

So, why deceive this way? Because the President doesn't think it will be exposed. And why would he think that? Because maybe you won't get to see all the facts.

This is a suspicion that the A.G. has fed little by little ever since his confirmation hearing when he told Congress his intention was to let as much come out as possible.



WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I also believe it is very important that the public and Congress be informed of the results of the Special Counsel's work. My goal will be to provide as much transparency as I can, consistent with the law.


CUOMO: Consistent with the law. But remember, he decides how much that is. There is no review. It's what he wants. And he seems to be limiting the amount more and more.

What does that do? It fuels frustration and calls of a cover-up more and more. So the Right then says to the Left, "You people are sore losers. You just want to hang the President. And you don't care if you expose national security issues and confidential sources in the process."

And the Left says, "Really, like you want to do with a pointless FISA reveal that can only distract from the President's problems?" And the Right says, "Well, yes."

And then, we all sigh.

And then the Left says, "We need to see it because we have a duty to check POTUS. And wrongdoing need not be criminal, so enjoy these subpoenas. And we'll take the taxes too while we're waiting."

And for all that ensuing drama there is something obvious here. While there may not be a crime of conspiring with Russia to affect the election, we all know there must be considerable wrongdoing when it comes to obstruction because we know for a fact it was enough to keep Mueller from deciding whether he could prosecute for obstruction.

So, it can't be nothing, nor a mere scintilla, or something that really isn't that much, because if it were, it would not have stymied the Special Counsel, especially when he knows that it is awkward, if not embarrassing, for him to not make the call on whether to prosecute. Same goes for Barr. He says I have to do it with what the law allows. OK. Where does it say in the law that you fill the void and decide that there's no obstruction when the Special Counsel will not? It's not in your guidelines.

Now, some of the Mueller team saying there's stuff in there that Barr didn't do justice to, the DOJ insiders that are loyal to Barr hitting back and saying, "Oh, yes? If it's so obvious, why couldn't you do a job and make the call on obstruction?"

More and more as this goes back and forth, it's corrosive. And the public will pick up pieces of all this diet of dysfunction, chew it over, and swallow different assumptions, and the collective guarantee is a belch of bad feelings about the process, and no confidence in anything that must have public confidence.

The answer, now also the antidote to this damn dyspepsia, release the report. Show everything to the Gang of Eight. Show all but the most sensitive classified info to the full Congress.

And there's no reason to believe that this report is full of classified info. People just assume there is maybe to slow the process. Then, let as much as can possibly pass muster come to the rest of us.

The President says he wants closure. You want closure? You need clarity. You want clarity? You need transparency. That's the only way he'll get it.

The Democrats want to see what they have to act on. Well there it is. The Right wants to be about the rule of law. Well then do this the right way. Ideally, you should get the same, if not amount, the same timing as Congress.

Any layer, any delay will breed suspicion. Let's be honest. There's not a lot of great reason to trust the people in power, especially right now. And there is precedent for more coming out.

The only time we've had a Special Counsel under Janet Reno, Branch Davidian, go look at what she did. She had the report go right to the public. There was redactions, but not much.

No matter how this goes, if it comes out, it will be in a better situation, and put us in a better place than the way we're headed right now, and headed fast.

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