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CUOMO PRIME TIME

A.G. Won't Say If White House Has Seen Mueller Report; GOP Slams Rep. Omar For Calling Stephen Miller "White Nationalist"; Gavin Newsom Takes On Trump From Central America. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 9, 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: --weekday nights Facebook.com/AndersonCooperFullCircle.

That's it for us. The news continues. Want to 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.

The A.G. told us the Mueller report is coming within a week. So what? The only thing that matters is how much of it is coming out. And today, we saw that the A.G. is playing hardball.

The Democrats are suspicious. And they have a plan to get more that is almost certain to get ugly. We're going to ask the Committee Chairwoman who went at it with the A.G. today in their meeting.

We also have one of the President's biggest foes, California's Governor, Gavin Newsom. You know where he is? Central America. And he has a reality check for you that you will not hear from this President.

And Democratic Cong - Congresswoman Omar calls POTUS' top aide, who's Jewish, a White nationalist. POTUS says that makes her an anti-Semite. Does it? Great Debate.

My friends, let's get after it.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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CUOMO: So, our Attorney General Bill Barr made it clear today that he ain't giving what the Democrats want in terms of disclosure of the Mueller report. And they made it clear, they don't trust him and they won't accept anything less than all.

So, what are the Democrats really bothered by, especially the Chair of the Appropriations Committee, a longtime vet in Congress. She made it clear she was not buying what the A.G. was selling on a number of topics regarding the White House. Why?

We have her. Here is what Congresswoman Nita Lowey has to say about it.

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TEXT: ONE ON ONE.

CUOMO: It is very good to have you, Nita Lowey, Congressman from New York, thank you for being on PRIME TIME.

REP. NITA LOWEY (D-NY): Always a pleasure for me to have a conversation with you any time.

CUOMO: So even though I have an inside track, because I've known you a long time, you don't have to know Nita Lowey to know that the Congresswoman was not happy today during the hearing.

What is your problem with the A.G.? What is your concern?

LOWEY: Well the hearing started in a very organized way. But as soon as we talked about that four-page letter, and I asked him whether he discussed it with the White House, at that point, he just shut down.

So, it was clear to me that the White House had some input in the letter, and we intend to pursue our questioning, so we get to the truth.

What do you know? When did you know it? We need the facts. And, frankly, I look forward to reading not just the four-page letter, which we all have seen, but I look forward to seeing the whole report.

And I'm very pleased that another New Yorker, Jerry Nadler will subpoena the whole report, so we can review it. Look, that's my responsibility as a Member of Congress.

CUOMO: Well and let's look at it from the other side. Going the subpoena route, saying you think the White House had input, the A.G. told you, he doesn't think the White House had input.

He thinks a member of his staff may have read it to them when they were releasing it. They didn't have a chance to control the content. And if you subpoena them, you're making this a fight. Why not just wait and see what he releases?

LOWEY: Well, Chris, I never like to disagree with you. But I don't think he was quite as cordial and open in his role in dealing with the White House. Who did he speak to? Who reviewed it?

Look, we have to get the whole report. Four pages is a beginning. We need to get, whether it's 300 or 400, we need to get the whole report.

I have a responsibility to my constituents. Jerry Nadler has a responsibility as Chair of the Committee. And we need to get to the bottom of it. This - this is absolutely essential to democracy.

CUOMO: What about the idea that "Reports are redacted all the time, why is this one so different?" LOWEY: Good. We'll see the report. We know that Mr. Mueller spent a long time on this report. I want to know what's been redacted and who encouraged the - the redaction of the report. It's essential that we have the facts. I want to read the whole report.

CUOMO: So, no redactions for you. What do you think is in there that they're going to hide? What is fueling your suspicion?

LOWEY: Frankly, I am not giving any possible question in advance. I want to see the whole report. I know what has to happen. And we need that whole report.

CUOMO: Now, there's a theory that one way you can guarantee that you get the whole report, maybe even more than a subpoena battle because you would then have a legal fight on your hands, is if impeachment hearings were started.

Are the Democrats even thinking about going that far just to get the un-redacted report?

LOWEY: Oh, Chris! I never want to get to that point in order to get a report. We should get that report. And I'm not even talking about impeachment.

[21:05:00] In fact, the Attorney General said that he wasn't even reviewing anything with the President. So, I'd want to get that report. I'm not talking about impeachment.

And, in fact, Speaker Pelosi, my friend, a great leader has made it clear she's not going to focus on impeachment. We want to know what happened, who was involved, what did the President see, who did he talk to.

Let's get that whole report, and every one of us has a responsibility to read it.

CUOMO: The word from Congressman Nadler is as soon as that report is released by Mueller, and it is redacted, the subpoenas go out. Are you OK with that?

LOWEY: I think that my friend, the Chair, Jerry Nadler knows exactly what he's doing, and will follow the appropriate process. I support him and I support the work of the Committee. I'll do my job on Appropriations.

And I was glad that the Attorney General came before us.

But you notice, as soon as we talked even a little bit about the White House, and what he showed them, and what he didn't show them, he shut down. We never heard another thing.

CUOMO: What about his argument that "Hey, I thought this was an appropriations hearing. You guys are coming at me guns blazing like this is an extension of the Mueller probe. I thought we were here to talk about my budget."

LOWEY: We certainly did talk about the budget.

But he's the Attorney General of the United States of America. And if he was involved in any actions that are going to be reported in the Mueller report, we have a responsibility to get all that information.

CUOMO: Now, indulge me for a second, Congresswoman.

LOWEY: Yes.

CUOMO: You don't trust something about the Attorney General. I saw it in your demeanor. I saw it in your questions. What piqued your interest today? What was it that was said or that what wasn't said that made you think "Not on my watch?"

LOWEY: Look, Chris, I ask a question. If someone has nothing to hide, they respond to the question. But as soon as we mentioned, as soon as I mentioned any interaction with the White House, he shut down the whole discussion.

And then, frankly, I became aware, if not suspicious, about maybe there was some interaction with the President of the Unites States. I don't know. But I think we have a responsibility to find out.

CUOMO: You think this Attorney General is a fair broker? You think he's just going by the book?

LOWEY: Look, I could talk about the letter he wrote to the President in 2018, when he was interviewing for this job.

I don't know him well. I don't know him at all. All I know is I need all the information. I need his involvement. I need to know what he said to those people at the White House before he released the four pages.

And then we need to know what is the involvement of the White House. I don't know if it's the President or if his - Mulvaney or if it's someone else at the White House. We need to just know the facts.

CUOMO: Congresswoman Nita Lowey, always a pleasure. Thank you for letting us know where your head is on these important issues.

LOWEY: Take care, bye.

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CUOMO: Telling you, this is going to get ugly. Everybody's talking about when the report comes out, that is just going to be the beginning of the process. Remember that.

The President pushing back today on the news that he may separate families again, but did he tell you the truth? Time to bring in the fact-checker of all fact-checkers, Daniel Dale.

Later, California's Governor is in Central America. He says he has a message from there that you are not hearing from this POTUS. What is it? Ahead. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: Another Head of State, this time, Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi forced to bear witness to our President spreading wild claims to the press.

Time for fact versus fugazi. Washington Bureau Chief for the Toronto Star, Daniel Dale is here. It's good to have you back on PRIME TIME.

DANIEL DALE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, TORONTO STAR: Thanks for having me, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, this was a good one for you today. You popped right in on my head after I heard that presser. First claim here. You want to talk about separating kids? Obama, he's the one who was all about that.

Listen to the President.

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DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Obama had child separation.

I didn't have. I'm the one that stopped it.

President Obama had the law. We changed the law. And I think the press should accurately report it. But, of course, they won't.

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CUOMO: What's the truth?

DALE: This is a brazen attempt to rewrite history.

There were some occasional family separations under Obama, in exceptional circumstances, like when parents were thought to be a threat to the child, the parent was apprehended, carrying drugs, and so on.

But it was only under Trump that family separation became a routine systematic policy. And it was Trump's own policy, not a law. There's no law here. It was a discretionary policy decision proudly announced by Trump's

own officials to routinely criminally prosecute anyone apprehended crossing the Border. And that's what resulted in the separation of children from parents.

So, Trump takes a little grain of truth here. Yes, it sometimes happened under Obama. Yes, it eventually stopped under Trump, and - and twisted into something that's - that's, you know, not - not factual in the slightest.

CUOMO: It stopped because a Judge made it stop. There's an injunction against it right now. And that Executive Order really put it on Congress to figure out what the rules should be. You don't have a problem with that.

You know what he's doing. He's mixing up unaccompanied minors that came here in 2014 and caused all that drama on the Border and that were treated so poorly by the Obama Administration as separating kids. I bet you anything he's confusing the two.

Next one. OK. This is about, again, another straight attack on, "Hey, it's not me. It's got to be somebody else. OK, it's Obama. OK, it's the Democrats. You don't like my way! You know what they want? Open borders."

Take a listen.

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TRUMP: With the Democrats in Congress not willing to act, they want to have open borders, which means they want to have crime, they want to have drugs pouring into our country.

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[21:15:00] CUOMO: Now, Daniel, before you grade this one, on this show, I say all the time, I do not get the Democrats are refusing to own this opportunity here. There's opportunity to help the CBP give them what they need on the Border, expose how the fence was a farce, as a complete fix. They've been very quiet.

Although California Governor Gavin Newsom is in El Salvador, he's got a message from there. We're going to have him on later. How do you judge this in terms of truthiness?

DALE: Well I think the phrase "Open Borders" is an effective piece of political framing. But that's in part because it's so rarely challenged for its factual inaccuracy by the media.

And I think we should challenge it because it's - it's - it's simply not at all accurate. You know, Democrats, of course, support a less restrictive immigration policy than Trump.

For example, they don't support a Border wall. But, over the last 10 years, they've offered billions of dollars and have voted for billions of dollars in various kinds of security to the Border Patrol, for censors, you know, for high-tech imaging systems. And so, it's simply not true to say that Democrats want open borders

when they support all kinds of restrictions that are - that are simply not a wall.

CUOMO: In fact, the fencing that the President is saying he's building right now, we have a fact-check on that in a second, a lot of it is money appropriated by Congress, including Democrats, for more fencing.

DALE: Absolutely.

CUOMO: Never heard a single one say that they are for open borders. And we ask.

All right, next one. This issue that we're dovetailing into right now that the President's saying not only am I promising the wall, not only is it going to happen, it is happening right now.

Listen.

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TRUMP: We are building a lot of wall. It's getting built. Some of you saw that last week when we went - we had a - a great presentation of a new stretch.

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CUOMO: New stretch, stretching the truth. Daniel Dale?

DALE: It is stretching the truth. So, zero new miles of wall has been built. Trump has said a 100 times, literally a 100 times, Chris that the wall is under construction.

What Trump visited was a two-mile stretch of replacement fencing that last year, before Trump started claiming that it was new wall, the Border Patrol went out of its way to tell the media, was not part of Trump's wall.

They said this is a long-planned replacement project initially planned in 2009 in the Obama era. So, Trump having not built any new wall is trying to claim that that fence is new wall. It simply is not.

CUOMO: And you know what he's doing? He keeps saying it because you know what? It works. I do a radio show on SiriusXM every day, 12:00 to 2:00 Eastern.

I'm telling you, a lot of people who support the President or just support Border security, which is a pretty easy sell, you have over half the country who wants to be safer, and if physical barriers are part of that, great, they think it's being built too, because they've heard him say it.

That's why he repeats. That's why he repeats Daniel Dale because it's effective. And that's why we need you to counter it. Thank you very much.

DALE: Thank you, as always.

CUOMO: All right, Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar under fire again from the Right again for yet another tweet. This time, what did she say?

She went after the man on your screen, the President's aide, Stephen Miller, Jewish. She's now accused of anti-Semitism again for going after him. Fair criticism? Great Debate.

And a big 2020 event is just minutes away, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand about to take center stage in a CNN Town Hall. How is she doing in terms of her positioning in the party? Too far-Left? Does she need a moment? Will she get it? 10:00 Eastern.

Right back with PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: All right, so what do you think of this?

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar condemned one of POTUS' most trusted advisers tweeting this. "Stephen Miller is a White nationalist. The fact that he still has influence on policy and political appointments is an outrage."

Miller is Jewish. Now, Omar's remarks could have been spurred by reports of Miller's connections to nationalist groups or certain relationships he has, his hand in harsh Border policies, like family separation.

But Republicans are now attacking her. You can't - you can't call someone Jewish a White nationalist. That makes you an anti-Semite. That's their argument. That's the start of tonight's Great Debate.

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TEXT: THE GREAT DEBATE.

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CUOMO: Angela Rye and Steve Cortes, thank you both.

Angela Rye, you can't call a Jewish guy a White nationalist. White nationalists hate Jews. And if you do it, you're being anti-Semitic. Do you accept that criticism?

ANGELA RYE, ATTORNEY, IMPACT STRATEGIES PRINCIPAL & CEO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, NPR POLITICAL ANALYST, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: I don't.

CUOMO: Why?

RYE: Because Stephen Miller is a White nationalist. And he's been one since before going into high school when he told one of his childhood friends, Chris, that they could no longer be friends because of his Latino heritage.

Stephen Miller, if he's not a White nationalist has certainly trafficked in White nationalism since high school. He went on to do - doing the same things.

He is a provocateur. He is behind many of the President's most hateful policies. He's undermined the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security by sending some of the things she was working on to Conservative outlets.

He is absolutely a White nationalist. He is absolutely fine with it. And there are people all over Los Angeles, where I'm sitting right now, who can demonstrate support for this from Exhibit A to Z. White nationalist he is, and that does not make Ilhan Omar anti-Semitic.

It makes Donald Trump a troll because he knows what the people have been saying about her as of late, and he continues to divide, instead of trying to understand why people may see this Senior Adviser of his as a White nationalist.

CUOMO: Cortes, why does Miller being Jewish end the conversation for you?

STEVE CORTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER TRUMP HISPANIC ADVISORY COUNCIL HEAD, MARKET EXPERT, AUTHOR: Well, you know, first, I had to say, Angela, I - I really find it almost laughable that you're going to tell us that we should believe that he's a racist because somebody claims that they heard it on the playground in Los Angeles 20 years ago.

I mean that's--

RYE: Is that what I said?

CORTES: --that's hardly evidence.

RYE: Is that what I said?

CORTES: Yes. That's exactly what you said that's hardly evidence.

RYE: No. It's - it's - actually it's not what I said. There was no mention of a playground.

CORTES: Now, here's the - here's what's important.

RYE: And furthermore that was one example--

CORTES: Here's what's--

RYE: --of citing that it's not new to him.

CORTES: --here's what's important.

RYE: He's true to this. That's what it means, Steve.

CORTES: He - here's - here's what's important. He is absolutely a nationalist. He's an American nationalist, so am I, by the way, proud - very proudly so. Whiteness has nothing to do with it.

America is not a race. And I would also point out that tolerating largely open borders, which is a situation we have in this country, is most problematic, is most dangerous for Hispanic Americans.

[21:25:00] So, my community, Brown people in this country are the ones who suffer the most from our permissive Border policies. We're the ones who have to deal with MS-13.

When you look at the victims, for instance, they almost always have Hispanic surnames. We're the ones who had to compete in the labor market against illegal immigrant labor in a totally unfair system.

So, in actuality, defending America and defending our Border not only defends all Americans, but it particularly protects minority Americans, who suffer the most.

RYE: Chris, can I just for a moment?

CUOMO: Please, go ahead, Angela.

RYE: I think it's - I think it's really important when we have conversations like this to ground them in fact. So, if it's OK, Chris, I would love to understand what Steve's desh - definition of nationalism is to him.

CORTES: Sure.

RYE: Perhaps that may be the root of our problem. We don't understand it the same way. What's your definition, Steve?

CORTES: Nationalism - American national - nationalism, specifically, is pride in this country and shared values, shared values in our Constitution, and things like tolerance, free enterprise--

CUOMO: How's that different from patriotism?

CORTES: --the rule of law. The rule of law. These are - this is nationalism because every country, look, - and, by the way, to me, they're synonymous largely.

CUOMO: Then why use it?

CORTES: They're synonymous. But - but the Left - the Left has-- CUOMO: Why such a loaded term?

RYE: Interesting.

CORTES: --the Left - it's not a loaded term. The Left has tried to--

CUOMO: Very loaded.

CORTES: --turn it into a loaded term. It's only loaded when you attach White to it, OK? It is--

RYE: That's not true.

CUOMO: When has it been used as a major political--

CORTES: --nationalism--

CUOMO: --movement that it didn't have White attached to it?

CORTES: Nationalism, by the way, it's also - one reason, nationalism is a correct term today, instead of just patriotism, is nationalism is the antithesis of globalism. Globalism says that we forego our sovereignty that we subscribe to multilateral structures--

RYE: Sovereignty!

CORTES: --in the world and that America's interests don't necessarily come first. That's globalism.

CUOMO: Isolationism is the opposite of globalism.

RYE: OK. Exactly.

CORTES: No, no, and no.

CUOMO: From a political philosophy--

CORTES: Nationalism is the opposite of global - globalism.

CUOMO: --from a political philosophy standpoint, it is. Isolationism is the opposite--

CORTES: No, I disagree.

CUOMO: --to globalism.

CORTES: No, we've no--

CUOMO: You can disagree. You're wrong.

CORTES: It's not America alone. It's - no, I'm not wrong. It's not America alone.

CUOMO: You're wrong.

CORTES: But it - no, I'm not wrong, Chris. RYE: You're wrong.

CORTES: It's not America alone. But it is America first. And that is a definition of nationalism of saying we will not let the United Nations run America, just like people in France who are nationalists will say--

CUOMO: OK.

CORTES: --we will not let Brussels run Europe.

CUOMO: No, no, no, look, I like that Angela wanted us to get on the same page in terms of what we're thinking and why. I dig it.

RYE: Which we can't.

CUOMO: I dig. No, no, no, look, I dig it. It's important to hear.

RYE: Yes.

CUOMO: That's part of disagreement with decency.

RYE: Yes.

CUOMO: Here's the problem though to get it back to the record, OK?

What Miller has done, his heritage, his religion, his blood aside, what he has done with his life gives him reasons for criticism, and an apparent affinity for people who are part of ugly movements that say the same things.

For example, the rhetoric surrounding the travel ban, and what that was saying about Muslims in general, as opposed to specific ones, and how it was carried out initially, the reason it got kicked out of court that was Miller.

It got refined by lawyers. What he said about the new Colossus poem being added later, suspiciously similar to what you hear from a Spencer, from what you hear from a Duke.

RYE: Yes.

CUOMO: Why does he use language like that, Steve Cortes? Why does he espouse principles that often are found in the mouths of people who believe ugly things about diversity?

CORTES: Look, Chris, again, I think it's very important to - to define here that defending America's borders is never about race. America is not a White country.

CUOMO: I'm telling you what he said.

CORTES: We're - we're - we're an incredibly diverse country--

CUOMO: How do you defend those actions?

CORTES: --and a country that loves immigrants.

CUOMO: But he painted Muslims as generally offensive.

CORTES: This country we - we--

RYE: Not all immigrants.

CORTES: No. No, he did not.

CUOMO: He said things--

CORTES: Not now. No--

CUOMO: --that White nationalists say.

CORTES: Not - no, look, now you're getting into supposition.

RYE: He literally - I mean even when you get past - even you get past Stephen Miller--

CORTES: The travel ban - the travel ban was about failed countries--

RYE: --how did Donald Trump announce his campaign? He rolled out his campaign saying that Mexicans were drug dealers and rapists. And as a Brown person's--

CORTES: He did not say that.

RYE: Yes, he did, Steve.

CUOMO: Yes, he did.

RYE: And as a Brown person, I will never understand--

CORTES: No. He said among them--

CUOMO: No. He said they're sending us--

RYE: OK.

CUOMO: --rapists and killers and some--

RYE: And drug dealers.

CUOMO: --I assume--

CORTES: Look--

CUOMO: --are nice people.

CORTES: Yes. And, look, I will - I will be the first to say, as I've said many times, I did not like his word choice in that speech.

CUOMO: Well then don't defend it. Then don't defend it.

CORTES: And - no, but hold on. No, but, no, but Chris-- RYE: I know. And that's that - and that's just it.

CORTES: --attack him for what he actually said not what he didn't say.

CUOMO: I just told you what he actually said.

CORTES: For example--

RYE: We - I - I know what he actually said because I was stunned.

CORTES: What he - what he said is - is that among--

CUOMO: No. It's not what he said.

CORTES: --among people who come here--

RYE: No.

CORTES: --among people who come here illegally--

CUOMO: He was making it general.

RYE: Let me tell you something.

CUOMO: The main part is the bad part.

CORTES: No, it's not true.

RYE: Let me tell you--

CUOMO: You know it, Steve. Go ahead, Angela.

CORTES: No, I don't.

RYE: Among - let me - let me say this. Among is - is--

CUOMO: You may not know it. But you should know it then. I reform my question. Go ahead, Angela.

RYE: Among your definition today, the first part of which I completely can align with, but not under nationalism, perhaps under patriotism, but also in your definition, among the many that you offered, was an idea of superiority.

And I think that is exactly the problem. That is exactly why Donald Trump is compared to Hitler.

It is exactly why Stephen Miller has been called a White nationalist, a White supremacist, a racist, someone who is xenophobic, someone who is hateful about Muslims, someone who is a very hateful individual who's rooted his policy positions and debate in hate and fear- mongering because people are worried about losing their what? First position in the world.

[21:30:00] That is why Make America Great Again is so frustrating to so many of us. That is why White nationalism and White supremacy that we saw at the Charlottesville riots and protests were problematic when Donald Trump said there are good people on both sides.

That is why all of that is--

CORTES: No. He didn't say that. That's a hoax.

RYE: OK, Steve.

CORTES: He did not say that.

RYE: Jesus, right.

CORTES: I just wrote an entire article about this.

CUOMO: I read it.

CORTES: Look at the full text. Look at the fill video - full video. He did not say there are fine people on both sides. He was talking about the monument debate. He was not talking about neo-Nazis.

RYE: OK. You know what?

CORTES: And for you to say otherwise is fake news.

RYE: Well then let's talk about the monument. Do you want to tell me that there were--

CORTES: And that is not true.

RYE: --confederates who were good people when they were slave owners and--

CORTES: No, hold on.

RYE: --fighting to--

CORTES: No, no, he didn't say confederates are good people. He said--

RYE: You're talking about monuments now, right?

CORTES: He said there are good people on both sides of the monument debate. And, by the way, there are good people on both sides of the monument debate. Now, I happen to be one who'd I--

RYE: OK. Well I don't know any of them.

CORTES: --I'd prefer that those monuments - I prefer that those monuments not stand to myself. But I will certainly not say that everyone who wants to preserve historical markers, even markers that represent people--

RYE: We're down a rabbit hole.

CORTES: --who made a lot of mistakes that those markers should all come up that those people aren't - there are fine people on both sides of the monument debate. That is - that - that is something that is just-- RYE: Oh, well, let me tell you what. They've got bad points.

CORTES: --clearly true. But the President did not say--

RYE: Fine people with bad ideas there.

CORTES: I agree. I agree. I - I'm - I don't agree with them.

RYE: Because they're racists. Their racist ideology should not stand--

CORTES: No, no, no, that for you to--

RYE: --in this conversation (ph).

CORTES: --for you to make the jump that they're racist--

CUOMO: All right. Now, hold on. I got a different point. I want to redirect this. I want to redirect this.

CORTES: --is not true.

RYE: It's racist ideology.

CUOMO: I get it. I get it. But we exhausted this point. I want to redirect this a little bit.

RYE: Yes.

CUOMO: Steve, when they brought Candace Owens there today, OK, when she was at the hearing, that was, in my humble estimation, you tell me if you disagree, she was there to blow up that hearing, and to expose it--

CORTES: Right.

RYE: 100 percent.

CUOMO: --for what she believes it is.

I think that kind of dovetails a little bit with this Stephen Miller thing in terms of this. Now, forget about White nationalism. I'm just talking about extremism of thought.

You invite Candace Owen - Owens there because you want to blow it up. You want - you want to blow up what was going on in that hearing, talking about issues that the Right doesn't like to deal with, and doesn't like getting used as a cudgel against them.

And I think you have to ask yourself, is that a good strategy if your goal is to build from your base? I get how it would help control your base and there's always that nice twist of Candace Owens being African-American and making a lot of these arguments that you usually hear from African-Americans.

CORTES: Sure.

CUOMO: But if the goal is to expand your base--

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: --why have dynamite like that injected into a hearing?

CORTES: No, listen. I agree. I thought that was a bad strategy. But don't blame it on Miller. That was the House Republicans.

CUOMO: I'm not. I'm just saying the dovetail of having extremists around--

RYE: It does not get right (ph).

CORTES: I - I - I thought - yes. I thought it was a bad strategy, look, I would --

CUOMO: --and advocating for this President.

CORTES: Right. I want to persuade people, Americans, of any color, Black, Brown, Purple, I want to persuade them that the America First strategies are working for them.

And, by the way, they - we - we are persuading people. His - Hispanic support for this President is absolutely surging, largely because their economic opportunity is accelerating. So, that's working.

Let's continue by pointing out the positives. Let's persuade. Let's talk about why we defend our Border just as we defend our home, just as we lock our doors at night. To me, that's the way, rather than throwing bombs, so I didn't like that strategy in front of the House Committee today.

CUOMO: All right, let's leave it there. You know why? Because that's agreement. And you got to take agreement when you - when you find it every once in a while.

Angela Rye, well-argued and appreciated, Steve Cortes, as always, thank you for being on the show.

CORTES: Thanks.

CUOMO: All right, so, this man calls the President's rhetoric about migrants toxic. California's Governor - Governor is trying to do something more. He's doing something a lot of Democrats won't do.

He's diving in to the Border issue, OK? His first international trip since taking office. You know what kinds of questions that raises? Gavin Newsom is in El Salvador, and he has a message for you, he says you're not getting, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: California Governor Gavin Newsom is in El Salvador. And he says the President is playing it all wrong and that what he is doing now is going to come back to haunt us at our Borders and beyond.

We just talked with him in the midst of his travels. Here he is.

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TEXT: ONE ON ONE.

CUOMO: Governor, thank you for joining PRIME TIME.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Great to be here, Chris.

CUOMO: I can hear it in your voice. I know you're not a 100 percent. But I also know that going down there matters enough to you to make sure that people understand what you've learned. So, thank you for taking the opportunity.

What did you learn? What are you learning about why we're seeing what we're seeing on our Southern border down in El Salvador?

NEWSOM: It's simple, a lack of opportunity, economic insecurity, the disorder that manifests in lack of hope. The fact is the Northern Triangles are unstable because of lack of investment. And as a consequence, that's what leads to migration.

And I think for us to have a debate about immigration policy in the United States that is framed around a Border and a wall is to lose sight of the bigger pictures, what lies underneath.

The story starts here, particularly in El Salvador, and it starts with a frame of understanding, and a capacity of understanding the history, the history, not just of El Salvador, the history of the United States and El Salvador and other Northern Triangle countries.

CUOMO: What would you direct people to? What do they need to know?

NEWSOM: Well they need to know that there's a lot of opportunity down here. There are a lot of extraordinary things actually happening down here. There's a sense that you can't walk the streets, there's violence everywhere you turn, there's no tourism, there's no economic opportunity or growth, quite the contrary.

The fact is we've been to all parts of this country, and we've seen people doing extraordinary things, including just today, meaning 30 young people that come from some of the most violent parts of this country doing computer coding with the aid of the United States of America. That's the aid the President of the United States now has cut off. Programs that are working that have manifested, by the way, Chris, in a 53 percent reduction in homicides here in the last three years.

It is a pathway. What the President is promoting a pathway to more migration, to more strife, more consternation on the American border.

So folks, I think, need to turn their attention to how to solve problems by beginning to build a wall here, an economic opportunity, a framework of building a business wall, an opportunity of investing in building a wall that would ultimately create the conditions where we don't have the kind of tit-for-tat, zig-for-zag and the kind of tweet- to-tweet foreign policy that we currently do in America today.

CUOMO: You met with the President there. What does he make of our President saying, "I'm going to cut off your money unless you start keeping your people away from our Border?" Is that going to get better actually--

NEWSOM: Well--

CUOMO: --in terms of helping our Border situation?

[21:40:00] NEWSOM: People are - their jaws dropped down here, regardless of party. Now, there is a lot of career diplomats down here, lot of Republican appointees, not just Democratic appointees. People are very cautious. They want to keep their jobs.

But there's not an individual I've met that was just - not just shocked because two days prior, two days prior, members of the current Administration, the President's Administration, members of our foreign - foreign staff here from the State Department on down MCC, INL, forgive me all these acronyms, but--

CUOMO: Right.

NEWSOM: --USAID folks were just signing Memorandums of Understanding to regionalize and re-commit to our economic development strategies in this part of the world.

Two days later, we get a tweet saying all those programs need to stop. In essence, we're saying this is a failed state. In essence, we're saying we're giving up.

At a time when people feel like we're finally making some progress, it is just remarkable how demoralizing that tweet was, and how hopeful people are that the President may come to his senses, and may realize the error of his ways, and the American people understand that what he's doing will make things much worse.

And, ultimately, only he, I think, can come to that conclusion in hopefully short time, and get us back on track.

CUOMO: Now, anybody who does just a little bit of Googling is going to understand why the Governor of California would be down there on the basis of need and practicality. Governor, the State of California is basically country in and of itself, if you look at the size of the economy. You have unique border sensitivities.

NEWSOM: Yes.

CUOMO: And yet, the members of your party are treating this issue like it's the plague, in my opinion.

Only a handful of them have even gone down to the Border. They don't want to talk about it. They don't want to come on the show to talk about it. They have a hands-off approach.

NEWSOM: Yes.

CUOMO: You're down there. You're taking a leadership position. It must project Gavin Newsom as Governor on to the national stage. Is that part of your consideration in doing this?

NEWSOM: No, look, I just - I represent the largest state, the most diverse state in the world's most diverse democracy. I live in a state and govern a state where 27 percent of us are foreign-born, where half the El Salvadoran population resides, close to 40 percent of our state's Hispanic.

By the way, that's the future of America. And, in many ways, California has gone through the xenophobia. We've gone through the nativism in our past. I said this a few weeks back to someone. I said, quite literally 2019 in America is a lot like the 1990s in California.

We went through the same process of - of reconciling this diversity and realizing that it's a strength and ultimately recognizing the Border not as an impenetrable wall but as a way to manage cross-border collaboration, cross-border economic development.

And so, I think we have an obligation, Democratic Party, not to play in Donald Trump's frame, but to play on our own playing field. California understands how to manage a Border. We have the largest Border crossing in the Western Hemisphere.

CUOMO: Right.

NEWSOM: The most diverse population. And those relationships are absolutely foundational. And I think governors, not just federal representatives need to take the time and seek to understand these conditions.

CUOMO: I totally get it. You have good cover on taking this trip because of the state that you're the Governor of, and the challenges it has.

But it makes me wonder whether or not the virus, you know, you're battling right now might be the Presidential Flu, Governor. Is there any chance that that's what you've caught down there in El Salvador?

NEWSOM: No, quite the contrary. And, Chris, I know this extends a narrative and gets us off a talking

point. But I think this also was remarkable that and it's important that I communicate a knowledge that I did not even imagine to have some 60 hours after visiting here.

China was celebrating, popping champagne corks, when the President of the United States sent out that tweet saying we were going to give up foreign aid in the Northern Triangle.

CUOMO: More opportunity for them.

NEWSOM: China tried to - yes, it's a huge opportunity we are walking away. And China is trying to build ports out here, trying to take over a coastline for economic opportunity and economic zone.

Watch this space. It's profoundly important.

And if for no other reason the President should reconsider this investment in foreign aid into the Northern Triangle, it's to consider the relationship that he seems to be advancing the competitive frame with China itself.

CUOMO: Governor, thank you for taking the time. Again, sorry you're sick. But thank you for helping our audience understand some of the complexity of this issue. Feel better.

NEWSOM: Honor - thanks. Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: All right, Governor Gavin Newsom, thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Very interesting how different the take is he had talking to people down there that they're talking about opportunity, not just sending you their worst that they want to be able to keep their best.

It's very interesting. That's why you got a different perspective, so you can figure out where you are on an issue.

[21:45:00] The legal troubles for a Hollywood star caught up in that massive College Admission scandal just got worse, actually a lot worse, Actress Lori Loughlin. If prosecutors get what they want, she's going to do time in prison and more time than you might expect.

I got the new charges and the implications with D. Lemon, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: Prosecutors added new money-laundering charges to the mess that is the College Admission scandal. You hear about this?

Actress Lori Loughlin and her husband were among 16 parents hit with new charges. That means a greater chance of prison time. CNN is being told prosecutors will be asking for jail time for all defendants.

Let's bring in D. Lemon. Here's what's interesting to me. I am struggling with this story a little bit. I see it on like two different levels. I see it on one, of just about privilege and money and dual systems.

But then, I see it on this other level of just how brazen this was. They didn't get busted for paying their way into college. They got busted for trying to get a tax write-off and forwarding this fugazi charity on top of it.

Had they not done that, had they not played funny money with this charity in order to pay this guy off, they wouldn't be getting prosecuted right now. So, I see it as probable - problematic on two levels, you know.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Yes. Well, I mean, they could very well go to prison--

CUOMO: Very well.

LEMON: --for months, if not years. I understand that Lori Loughlin is in for probably more than Felicity Huffman.

[21:50:00] Last night on the show, I did a - a story, you know, I read Felicity Huffman's apology. She's taking full responsibility for it, at least in her response.

I have not heard that from the Loughlins at all. And you saw her out there signing autographs and - and in some video on shopping sprees. Listen, I don't know what she's going through. So, I'm not going to judge that. But it certainly - it's not good optics with this.

But, you're right, it is brazen. And these are very serious crimes. And money laundering, or whatever they're being charged with now, that is nothing to mess with.

CUOMO: No, no, no, it's bad. And it--

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: --was so piggish. It was so piggish. There are ways to do payoffs like this where you don't expose yourself to this. This was--

LEMON: They paid more for that than probably the kid would pay to - to - to send their kid to college.

CUOMO: Oh, without question.

LEMON: They could have send a number of kids to college.

CUOMO: Without question. The access is always worth more than the actual fees, right?

LEMON: Hey, listen. You had a cameo in your tease with Anderson, you know, it was Dan Rather.

CUOMO: Oh, yes. I know him.

LEMON: Not to be outdone, I have a great journalist here. Can you please come in, Sir? He's - he's - look, look at that. You see who that is?

CUOMO: Is that Sanjay Gupta?

LEMON: That is - he can't hear you.

CUOMO: Oh, yes.

LEMON: But he is - Sanjay's going to be on the show tonight. He's going to - he's going to tell - he's going to tell us how to live forever.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: How to keep you guys healthy.

LEMON: Look, which is going to be on--

GUPTA: Both - both body and brain.

LEMON: He - he's going to - we're going to tape it in a little bit. He's going to tell us how to live, well, a better life.

GUPTA: Yes. The longer, happier better life.

CUOMO: How small Sanjay looks!

LEMON: Well his - his chair's small.

CUOMO: He looks so small (ph).

LEMON: That's because I have my chair jacked up so I can see him--

GUPTA: Is Chris making fun of my - OK, you know what?

LEMON: He's making fun of your height. He's saying you're shorter--

GUPTA: Chris, as long as it helps you (ph) guy, I know--

CUOMO: You ever see the video of Sanjay carrying me on his back?

GUPTA: Ask him.

LEMON: Wait. Is there a video of you carrying Chris on his back? GUPTA: Yes. Do we have that?

LEMON: Yes. And--

GUPTA: Show that.

LEMON: We don't have that. You know what?

CUOMO: He carried me.

LEMON: I was just asking Sanjay about, I was at dinner with some folks earlier in the year, and they were talking about there may be those pills or medications that well can keep you--

CUOMO: Go ahead (ph).

LEMON: --they can make you live forever like these Eternity pills that they're testing now. That's crazy.

GUPTA: That's yes. You--

LEMON: But that's not part of your so--

GUPTA: You don't want to do that, do you?

LEMON: No, I would not want to live forever, not with these creaky bones and, you know, I'm not all there.

GUPTA: You're kidding.

LEMON: I got more than that guy but--

CUOMO: Sure, you do, Don. I'll see you in a second.

GUPTA: I wish I could hear him.

CUOMO: Say hello to Sanjay. It's always better when someone can't hear what you're saying.

All right, it's a big week. We have a series of CNN 2020 Presidential Town Halls kicking off in minutes with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, New York.

But first, our closing argument. It's about the man who says he's just playing by the rules. These are important times and weighty matters. What did we learn about the A.G. today?

We now know something for sure, and I'll argue it, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CLOSING ARGUMENT.

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CUOMO: All right, here's the argument. The A.G. is not neutral on the Mueller report or any matter regarding this President. I am not accusing the A.G. of anything illegal. I am not intending to attack.

To be fair, it would be unusual for an A.G., a political appointee essentially, to be unfriendly to the cause of the President who installed him. But this is an unprecedented time when the same ole won't cut it, so let's just look at the facts.

This man came out of political retirement. Why? A memo dated 8 June, 2018, in which he questioned the need for the Mueller probe, took a position favorable to the President on obstruction.

He then got the job, and he refused to recuse himself from overseeing the same probe he trashed. I argue he would never have gotten the job if he had not taken the two prior steps.

Then, as A.G., overseeing the Mueller probe that ends soon after he takes his position, he does three things that fuel this argument.

One, he keeps to a strict reading of the Special Counsel's statute that has in the guidelines a provision for only to report directly to the A.G.

Janet Reno, A.G., and the only other Special Counsel probe on the record directed the Office of the Special Counsel to release directly to the public. Barr could have, but did not.

Then, he summarizes Mueller's nearly 400 page offering in a weekend, four-page letter. However, bad fact for my argument. He takes the step of quoting Mueller's unusual and unusually damning language that POTUS was not exonerated on the issue of obstruction.

He didn't need to do that. He could have argued Mueller's call was to prosecute or not, not to find innocence. But he put it out there and it was bad for POTUS.

But, then he gave POTUS a gift that is nowhere in the Special Counsel regulations.

When Mueller came to him, and Deputy A.G. Rosenstein, weeks earlier, and said there was basically equal evidence on the side of making a case or not making a case on obstruction, Barr decided to make the decision for him.

You could argue Mueller did what he did with his unusual language because he was signaling Congress, not Barr. But Barr took the decision, cleared the President.

Then, we have the issue of disclosure. Again, we have precedent. Remember, Janet Reno as A.G. released almost all the findings of the Special Counsel on the Branch Davidian matter right to us.

Barr instead created four categories of potential exclusion, including one that would redact info of any non-indicted third-party. He uses the word peripheral, which is good. Otherwise, this line may even clear POTUS of any exposure in the report.

But in a matter like what Mueller was looking at, certainly telling less than the full story is going to be less than satisfying. The A.G. knows this and knows he could do otherwise, and it is hard to look at the decision as not favoring the cause of POTUS and those close to him. It is not just by the book.

Then we have today where the A.G. seemed more like a White House Counselor than your top law enforcement official.

"Talk about what the White House knew about his letter." "No, thanks." "Talk about separating families." "Mm." "Avoid the law and talk about the President not wanting to separate families."

"Why is he fighting in court to abolish the Affordable Care Act?" "Skirt the question." And "Hey, the President has a plan to replace it," which he must know is just spin. The truth came out. There's no plan until after the elections. Why offer that as A.G.?

None of today was a good look. All of it makes my case that if the A.G. is playing by the book, it is a political playbook, and the fact that doing so does not make him unique, does not make his actions unproblematic.

This is not any other Administration. It is a unique time with unique needs for disclosure. If we want to understand the facts and move forward after this probe, and we must do that, we need disclosure.

This closing is a warning. When you don't provide full disclosure you dis the prospect of closure. You see what I did there? If the President wants this to go away, he should make the A.G. help him by releasing the report.

Thank you for watching. A CNN Presidential Town Hall with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand starts right now.