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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Mueller Report: Obstruction By Trump Failed Because Aides Refused To "Carry Out Orders"; Mueller Report "Does Not Exonerate" Trump; Mueller Passes "Obstruction" Torch To Congress. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired April 18, 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] JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER UNITED STATES DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, RETIRED UNITED STATES AIR FORCE LIEUTENANT GENERAL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: --of how members of the campaign were used and manipulated by the Russians.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Director Clapper, appreciate your time.
News continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.
The President's attorney is right about one thing. It is time to rumble, my friends. We now have the facts. Except for some info, like some Grand Jury redactions, and that'll come eventually, we can now test what the facts mean. Please read the report.
Now, here's the good news. We know that Russia interfered in the election. It's not speculative on any level for anyone except our President. And our President and his campaign did not commit crimes connected to the interference. He is not a Russian agent, according to this report.
But that is not the end of the story. There was a lot done that was wrong by him and his campaign, and it was lied about. The President is far from off the hook especially on obstruction.
Mr. Mueller clearly left it to Congress. The President's lawyers are going to be here. We have top experts to prompt - process what we know as fact.
Then you have the Democratic side of this situation. Will they take up Mr. Mueller's invitation on obstruction? They're divided. We're going to ask a key Democratic leader, what comes next?
This is the night we've been waiting for. What do you say? Let's get after it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: OK. "I never said no collusion from anyone, just not from the President." You remember that pivot from Rudy Giuliani on this program a few months ago? It was a good choice.
Today, a 100-plus pages of wrongdoing, collusion, not crimes, but it was done by this campaign, and they were all laid out, over a 100 pages. The Special Counsel detailed contacts, meetings, efforts to benefit from the Russians by Team Trump, all lied about, unethical, wrong to do, it just didn't amount to a criminal conspiracy.
And Mr. Barr really did hide the ball on obstruction. Mueller laid out 10 points of potential obstruction, said the President did try to obstruct. He was saved by his people when they refused to carry out his orders, and clearly left it to Congress.
One of the people around this President who likely saved him - from himself - saved the President from himself is Mr. Rudy Giuliani. He helped convince our President not to testify and to give answers that were lawyered and that would insulate him. That was a smart move.
He joins us now. Mr. Mayor, can you hear me?
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: I can - yes, I hear you pretty well, Chris, teeny delay, but I can hear you, yes.
CUOMO: All right, thank you, Sir. I'll make sure to give you some space to answer, so we don't step on each other.
CUOMO: It's too important tonight. There's no need to argue. We know all the facts. First question for you, Sir. Do you guys have your rebuttal report? Is that going to be coming out anytime soon?
GIULIANI: We do. It's basically done. And the - and the question is when do we put it out?
You're - you're flooded with so much material. And, frankly, right now, the discussion seems to be pretty clear. We - we'll put it out. We'll put it out maybe probably not until after the weekend.
GIULIANI: It's - it's about 30 pages. And it's in two sections. So, all together, it's about probably more like 45.
CUOMO: Why weren't you ready to go?
GIULIANI: We are ready to go.
CUOMO: We know the DOJ worked with you guys. Why not put it out at the same time?
GIULIANI: Because we decided that we'd rather have it all play out without our arguments being out there. Like to see how it develops.
CUOMO: Very tactical. What about just transparency--
GIULIANI: Well, yes, well, I'm--
CUOMO: --and getting it all out so people can decide all at once?
GIULIANI: I'm a lawyer, right? Right now - right now - right now, we kind of like the way the discussion is going.
I think people get it. I think people get that the President is not, first of all, you got to get past this whole - this whole thing with to - to - to investigate him, to see whether he committed a crime.
GIULIANI: Well, he didn't.
GIULIANI: All over, didn't commit a crime, President of the United States that - that we should be happy.
CUOMO: With respect to Russian interference--
GIULIANI: I have - I - I have been listening to you today, Chris.
CUOMO: --they couldn't make the case of conspiracy.
GIULIANI: I understand your analysis. Your analysis is well that's one thing he didn't commit a crime. But, you know, did he do other things that are - that are - that are wrong.
GIULIANI: But from my point of view, as his lawyer, I like to get past that hurdle. He didn't commit a crime. I believe he didn't do anything wrong. And--
CUOMO: Well let's talk about it. And to be clear, Mr. Mayor, you heard how I started the show. It's good news that our President--
GIULIANI: I didn't. I actually did but--
CUOMO: --is not an agent of Russia that there were no crimes committed of conspiracy.
GIULIANI: No, no, I appreciate that and - and - and--
CUOMO: It's good for the democracy that we have.
GIULIANI: But I did actually hear how you started on the show. But I've heard you all day today so.
CUOMO: All right, so I wanted to start by offering you an invitation that you had given me the last time you were on. You asked me to apologize. I want to know if you will apologize on the part of the President--
GIULIANI: Right. OK.
CUOMO: --for denying Russian interference all along, lying to the American people about it. And will you apologize on his behalf because we now know dispositively there was Russian interference.
GIULIANI: You've got to be kidding me.
CUOMO: They wanted to help the President. And his campaign tried to get the benefit of that.
GIULIANI: Well, first of all, the President, the--
CUOMO: So, does he owe us an apology?
GIULIANI: --the President to this day has no knowledge of Russian interference in his campaign.
And the President is just - I mean the President has just been - just been determined that the whole issue of collusion with the Russians, both for him, his campaign, anyone in his campaign, even co - even collusion with releasing the information or conspiracy or cooperation is completely untrue.
[21:05:00] GIULIANI: And this is the second time - this is the second time this determine - no, same determination was made of the counterintelligence investigation conducted by Peter Strzok and the same FBI.
CUOMO: No. I hear you. But I'm making a different point.
GIULIANI: With electronic four--
CUOMO: I just want to be clear.
GIULIANI: --with four electronic, at least four electronic surveillances.
CUOMO: I just want to be clear. One, surveillance isn't spying. If it's justified, if it's legal--
GIULIANI: Oh, oh, oh, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
CUOMO: --it's not spying. You know it's a derogatory word. But let's not get aside to it.
GIULIANI: I would - I would - I'd beg to differ about that.
CUOMO: I want to ask you something.
GIULIANI: That surveillance is--
CUOMO: But we will. But, hold on, Mr. Mayor, one point at a time, please.
GIULIANI: --no, no, no that surveillance is - is based on an extremely--
GIULIANI: --extremely false affidavit. There are a lot of false statements there.
CUOMO: Well we will know when we see it. But for right now, that's speculative, so let's just stick with--
GIULIANI: Oh, it isn't speculative.
CUOMO: --let's just stick with the pattern, please, Mr. Mayor.
We know there was Russian interference. The President, I would argue, has the most reason to know. He has the most access to intelligence. He is the closest to the actual sources that have gathered the intelligence.
We know from the Mueller report and from our Intel community, the Russians interfered. But here is what the President said on the world stage, putting America--
GIULIANI: When was this?
CUOMO: --second to Putin.
GIULIANI: Tell me when he said this.
CUOMO: Here it is. You can watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I can do is ask the question. My people came to me. Dan Coats came to me, and some others. They said, they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: So, he didn't believe his - Dan Coats' Intel expert. The Mueller probe just showed the same thing that the Intel community said. It was Russia. He embarrassed this country on the world stage. He did it to protect himself. Will he apologize?
GIULIANI: Well, first of all, I - I wouldn't tell him to apologize. I'd have to know what he knows. I - I - I don't have access to that.
CUOMO: You know what he knows. And instead, he said believed--
GIULIANI: I don't have access to that. I - I don't have access to that information.
CUOMO: --Vladimir Putin over his own democratic institutions.
GIULIANI: I'm not his - I'm not his Intelligence Adviser or his National Security Adviser.
CUOMO: You just heard him say Dan Coats told him it was Russia.
GIULIANI: And he has and - and - and--
CUOMO: We know Mueller believes it was Russia.
GIULIANI: --and I heard the President say that he has a somewhat different view. Not unusual that you might have a somewhat different view than your advisers.
CUOMO: It is if it's founded on nothing.
GIULIANI: Well so I'm just going to speculate because I don't have any facts. I mean I do a certain amount of - I do a certain amount of work in the area of cyber-security. And these determinations are percentages.
CUOMO: Oh, please.
GIULIANI: So, I - I haven't seen the report on Russia. I doubt it's a 100 percent.
CUOMO: Mr. Mayor.
GIULIANI: Probably a very high percentage, I assume.
CUOMO: Mr. Mayor, it is not fruitful--
GIULIANI: But there - there's room for speculation about things like this.
CUOMO: --to discuss any other possibility. Everybody who's--
GIULIANI: I don't know of any--
CUOMO: --in the business of knowing has come to the same conclusion.
GIULIANI: Chris, I'm not - I'm - I'm not - I don't have any--
CUOMO: Nobody has a reason to lie except the President of the United States.
GIULIANI: The President of the United States didn't lie. The President of the United States has a different opinion than you do, a different view. Look, I've--
GIULIANI: --I've gone through a lot of intelligence reports.
CUOMO: Yes. GIULIANI: And they're not - it's not like, you know, the - the - the score of a baseball game, six to two. I mean it's - it's some of this, some of that.
Basically, you figure out - you figure out where you've been hacked because some common group of intermediaries are used. But other countries use those intermediaries.
CUOMO: Everybody who's looked at it for the United States--
GIULIANI: I've - I've only seen one or two - let - let me just finish.
CUOMO: --has come to the same conclusion.
GIULIANI: I've only seen one or two situations where you could determine beyond any doubt because you caught the person who did it.
CUOMO: Well everybody who's in the business of doing it for us says that except the President. Now--
CUOMO: --in terms of just what we learned from this - from this Mueller report--
GIULIANI: --maybe you'd have to know - maybe you'd have to know more about the material that's available to them.
CUOMO: The idea of did he commit a crime, I think we're good when it comes to was our President or his campaign part of Russian interference.
I think the American people have reason to accept as fact what Mr. Mueller found, very thorough, "No. I cannot make a case beyond a reasonable doubt they coordinated or conspired."
GIULIANI: I think that's - I think - I'm - I'm glad that's over.
GIULIANI: And after all, that was the genesis of this whole thing.
CUOMO: Well the - the genesis was in looking for these questions about what happened with interference. When the President fired Comey, it spooked Rosenstein, and he picked the Special Counsel. But let's not--
GIULIANI: But that was a long time after--
CUOMO: --move sideways or backwards.
GIULIANI: --I mean.
CUOMO: Yes. But, no, let's move forwards here.
GIULIANI: Good, please.
CUOMO: We now know from the Mueller report there were a list of things the President lied to people about, repeatedly, that were material to our understanding, things he called fake news, things he said were a hoax, thing that he bashed our democratic institutions.
GIULIANI: Well that's not of a general statement, Chris. I mean what--
CUOMO: Here they are. "Were you having a business deal in Russia?" He said, "No." The answer was yes.
GIULIANI: OK. I - I--
CUOMO: "Were you looking for Clinton's emails?" He said, "No." The answer was yes.
GIULIANI: The first - first one is not in--
CUOMO: It's all here for the audience.
GIULIANI: But wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
CUOMO: He lied about all of these.
GIULIANI: He didn't lie about the first one.
CUOMO: Sure he did.
GIULIANI: He did not. He didn't have a business deal in Russia.
CUOMO: He did most certainly.
GIULIANI: He did not. He don't - don't--
CUOMO: We saw his signed letter of intent.
GIULIANI: You - you - you know what you're doing now?
CUOMO: What am I doing?
GIULIANI: You're doing exactly what the - what the Special Counsel did. You're relying on the word of - of - of Michael Cohen. He did not have a business deal in Russia. What he had was a single--
CUOMO: I saw the signed letter of intent.
GIULIANI: Please. Uh-huh, you were going to let me finish. These are - these are--
CUOMO: Please, Sir. Go ahead. Go ahead.
GIULIANI: --complicated thoughts.
CUOMO: Go ahead. GIULIANI: That - that is - that is completely false that he had a business deal in Russia. He had a letter of intent, no money, no - not binding a proposal, not even a proposal.
CUOMO: No, it was a proposal.
GIULIANI: I - I - it was--
CUOMO: He signed a letter of intent.
[21:10:00] GIULIANI: It was not - the letter of intent is a non- binding letter of intent. You know how many of those--
CUOMO: But it showed intent to do a deal, Rudy. We both know what those letters are. He said he had nothing happening in Russia.
GIULIANI: That - it's not a deal. It was the beginning of exploring a deal.
CUOMO: It was untrue.
GIULIANI: You know how far away they were from the deal? There were 10 other things going on in the Trump Organization.
CUOMO: Not as far as if he hadn't signed that letter.
GIULIANI: All right, let me see if I can give you an example. I run a security business, and I make proposals all over the world. So, I've got four out right now. One of them just got signed.
CUOMO: Mm hmm.
GIULIANI: I'm doing business in that country. I'm not doing business in the other three countries. If I would say I was doing--
CUOMO: All right, that's - that--
GIULIANI: --business in the other three countries--
GIULIANI: --I'd be lying because I'm not doing business until I sign a contract.
CUOMO: All right, listen, you can have your interpretation of it.
GIULIANI: There was no business deal in Russia.
CUOMO: I think we know that the record shows that he was--
GIULIANI: The records don't show that. The records show a lot of lying--
CUOMO: --he - he was calling Mr. Cohen during the campaign that he was going to rallies--
GIULIANI: No, no, no. The records show a lot of lying.
CUOMO: --said he had nothing going on and he was.
GIULIANI: No, Chris--
CUOMO: Look, Mueller talked to dozens and dozens of sources.
GIULIANI: --the records show a lot of lying by a serial liar who just did it in front of the United States Congress, in front of Congressman Cummings, who said he'd throw the book at him.
GIULIANI: And he lied right to his face.
GIULIANI: And you know he lied. You know he lied because you possess--
CUOMO: I'm not arguing that--
GIULIANI: --the evidence that proves he's lying.
CUOMO: --Michael Cohen didn't lie.
GIULIANI: We're going to - we're going to rely on him?
CUOMO: I'm saying that the President lied. Do you understand?
GIULIANI: Well the President did not lie.
CUOMO: And I won't be distracted from that, not tonight. We have too much proof.
GIULIANI: He did not have a business deal in Russia.
CUOMO: Another one that is a material one. He went to Mr. McGahn--
GIULIANI: Well the first one is false.
CUOMO: I disagree. And I think that if they read the--
GIULIANI: Well you can disagree but you tell me how an unbinding letter of intent--
CUOMO: --that's why I beg these people.
GIULIANI: --is a business deal.
CUOMO: Everybody who tells me they read this report cover to cover, they will get Cuomo merchandise, because they will see who's telling the truth, and who's spinning an argument. We've--
GIULIANI: I don't know - I don't know what you're talking about. But, you know, there's no - there's no assessment--
CUOMO: With Don McGahn - hold on a second.
GIULIANI: No, wait a second. There's no assessment in that report--
GIULIANI: --of credibility so--
CUOMO: There - there is a dozen--
GIULIANI: There is no assessment at all of Cohen's credibility.
CUOMO: --at least examples.
GIULIANI: They deliberately leave out the numerous lies that he told, the lies that he told after he cooperated.
CUOMO: I saw the signed letter of intent. I don't need Cohen.
GIULIANI: Well you're relying on his word for that business deal thing, which I happen to know it's not true.
CUOMO: It's a signed letter of intent. How about with Don McGahn? What's your excuse on this?
GIULIANI: A letter of intent is not a business deal.
CUOMO: Here's the signed letter of intent that the Mayor says doesn't mean he's doing business.
GIULIANI: Of course it doesn't mean I'm doing business.
CUOMO: With Don McGahn--
GIULIANI: I'm doing business when I'm doing business.
CUOMO: All right.
GIULIANI: When I have a contract.
CUOMO: Fine, fine, fine. Mr. McGahn, he goes into the Oval Office.
GIULIANI: No, no, no, don't give me fine, fine, fine like I'm lying.
CUOMO: Well, no, because - because - no, not lying.
GIULIANI: That is a - that is a - that is the definition of doing business.
CUOMO: You're being - you're being his lawyer and that's fine. I've never accused you of lying. That's not how I am, and you know it.
The President met with Mr. McGahn in the Oval Office, OK, with only the Chief of Staff President - present, and tried to get him to say that the President never ordered him to fire the Special Counsel.
That is a lie. GIULIANI: No, that is not a lie.
CUOMO: They then went back to McGahn--
GIULIANI: No, it isn't a lie.
CUOMO: --and they asked him to recede from his recollections about events.
GIULIANI: It isn't a lie.
CUOMO: That is a lie.
GIULIANI: You're - you're - we're having a trial where I have no chance to cross-examine.
CUOMO: If you ask me to change my story for your benefit it's a lie.
GIULIANI: Chris, no, you're - this is why - this is why it was so unethical what the Special Counsel did in dumping all this material out on people with no evaluation of credibility.
I think if we were having a trial, I could demonstrate through cross- examination, there was no business deal in Russia, an un - an unbinding letter of intent is not a business deal. A contract is a business deal.
And I can demonstrate you that the use of that word "Fire" is the thing that created the confusion in that conversation. And if you look carefully at the report, you will see that.
Even the - even the Special Counsel grants that there was a great deal of confusion in the recollection of the - of - of - of - of that particular situation, particularly because when it was first described, the word "Fire" was used, McGahn then acknowledges the word "Fire" wasn't used.
He also acknowledges that he was mistaken that he didn't tell the President that he was going to quit. He told someone else that, which doesn't mean it ever got to the President.
CUOMO: The key part of the back and forth is that the President went to McGahn--
GIULIANI: These things are much more confusing than when a prosecutor gets to lay it out--
CUOMO: --asked him to do something--
GIULIANI: These things are much more confusing--
CUOMO: --he said he wouldn't.
GIULIANI: --then when a prosecutor gets to lay them out his way.
CUOMO: That's-- GIULIANI: And the prosecutor has a prejudice and a bias against the President and wants to bury it.
CUOMO: Yes. But see, you can't have it both ways, Mr. Giuliani.
GIULIANI: I don't want it one way, which is give me a chance to deal with the complexity of this situation.
CUOMO: If you want to deal with it in the courtroom then we will. You can't do that with the President because you can't indict him.
GIULIANI: And don't just make the blanket statement that he lied. Look, you know--
CUOMO: Listen, we know that they were lies.
GIULIANI: --the basic - the basic thrust--
CUOMO: You may not like it. But that doesn't change it.
GIULIANI: --of what they've been doing to the President for the last 2.5 years turns out to be a phony story. You should actually be more interested--
CUOMO: You know, what - what's phony about it?
GIULIANI: You should actually be more interested--
CUOMO: What's phony about this story?
GIULIANI: --that the Trump campaign--
CUOMO: Russian didn't interfere? People in his campaign--
GIULIANI: --colluded or conspired with the Russians.
CUOMO: --they colluded. Oh, they certainly colluded. They weren't criminal conspirators.
GIULIANI: To affect the election? To affect the election? Absolutely untrue. You should be much more interested in who made that up, who circulated that.
CUOMO: There's nothing to make up. There is nothing to make up.
GIULIANI: Yes - the - the - the fact that the--
CUOMO: There is a list.
GIULIANI: --that - that the Russian government was - was conspiring with Donald Trump.
GIULIANI: Haven't you read the report?
CUOMO: I have read the report.
GIULIANI: Have you read volume one?
CUOMO: I'm not - that's not fair.
GIULIANI: That it totally untrue.
CUOMO: I'm about three-quarters of the way through the report. I haven't read all of it. But I have read enough--
GIULIANI: Well, I've - I - unfortunately, I have to read all of it.
CUOMO: --to know what is true and what isn't true, and I've read at least 50 different suspects of it.
GIULIANI: No, no, you don't know what's true and isn't. So, you're assuming what's true and isn't.
CUOMO: Yes, I am.
GIULIANI: You don't know who's telling the truth and who isn't.
CUOMO: Yes, I am because Mueller's the only person who's done this without an agenda.
GIULIANI: Have you cross-examined - have you cross-examined Michael Cohen?
CUOMO: That's why.
[21:15:00] GIULIANI: Have you looked at the different memoranda that exist for the meeting that you're talking about, in which you take one explanation of it and there may be a four.
CUOMO: Michael Cohen is not the only source for this information.
GIULIANI: No. What you're doing is terribly unfair.
CUOMO: How so?
GIULIANI: This is why we have trials. And this is why what the Special Counsel did is so terribly unfair. He put out one prejudiced version. And, by the way, he used a burden of proof such as this "Can't conclusively determine he did not commit obstruction."
GIULIANI: "The report does not conclude that the President committed a crime." Nice.
GIULIANI: "It does not exonerate him." When does anybody get exonerated?
CUOMO: With you on - on that point. GIULIANI: How do you prove a negative?
CUOMO: And I didn't understand when Mr. Barr put out his letter for two reasons. One, that's unusual language for a prosecutor, the job is pull the trigger or don't.
GIULIANI: No. It's not an unusual language for a prosecutor who wants to set up a standard that allows him to dump all this garbage on you so that you get hopelessly confused--
CUOMO: I do not - I do not subscribe or have any reason to believe that Mr. Mueller acted with any animus.
GIULIANI: --with no way--
CUOMO: I have no reason to believe it.
GIULIANI: Chris, you have no way--
CUOMO: And this report is very fair.
GIULIANI: What you're saying to me now, you have no way to evaluate the truth of. It is considerably more complex. There are maybe two or three different recollections of a particular situation in terms of the second one you're talking about.
They would all have to be examined. And you would have - and you would have to decide, "Gee, how did it happen?"
CUOMO: We're not going to have that opportunity.
GIULIANI: It is not as simple as when you put it up on that little board.
CUOMO: We're not going to go through a trial. We have to make our way through this.
GIULIANI: And the first one - and the first one is completely wrong.
CUOMO: We have 400 pages of help. 400 pages.
GIULIANI: What's the third one?
CUOMO: 400 pages of help, all right?
And when we look at what was going on, when we talk about collusion, and I know it's nuanced, and I know that makes it tricky for people, and I am saying repeatedly, no crime of conspiracy.
GIULIANI: I'm trying to look at the other one.
CUOMO: I'll - I'll give it to you. I'll highlight them for you.
But when you look at things they did that were certainly wrong, and I understand now why you pivoted from saying, "I didn't say there was no collusion. Period! I said the President never did anything that was collusion, and I'm his lawyer."
GIULIANI: Well collusion is - I mean collusion is--
CUOMO: That's fine.
GIULIANI: --I can collude over where we're going to go to dinner.
CUOMO: That's fine. That's fine. But it's usually about being secretive and it's usually something you want to hide.
GIULIANI: What we're talking about I - and - and, unfortunately, I agree with you. We sometimes--
CUOMO: And that's what they did.
GIULIANI: --we sometimes use that word too loosely. What we're talking about is conspiring with the Russians to affect the election.
CUOMO: That's the criminal standard. That's the criminal standard.
GIULIANI: That's what he was being investigated for.
CUOMO: But they did a lot of sneaky stuff that they knew was wrong and that's why they lied about it. When they were asking to find Clinton's emails and denying.
GIULIANI: He didn't - so far, you haven't shown me anything he lied about.
CUOMO: The Trump Tower meeting, they lied about.
GIULIANI: Well tell me how he lied about the Trump Tower meeting.
CUOMO: Trump Jr.--
GIULIANI: He didn't lie about the Trump Tower meeting.
CUOMO: What do you mean how did they lie? They said it was about adoption. All right--
GIULIANI: It was.
CUOMO: --it was setup to give them dirt on Clinton.
GIULIANI: It was.
CUOMO: Trump Jr. knew it. He pitched it to people.
GIULIANI: It was about adoption.
CUOMO: Oh, please.
GIULIANI: The - the - the--
CUOMO: That's what it became about. That's not why they went.
GIULIANI: You - you - I mean, you know, you're missing - you're missing - you're missing the forest for the trees here.
CUOMO: Am I?
GIULIANI: That meeting was set up on a pretext. That meeting was set up on the pretext that they had dirt on Hillary Clinton.
CUOMO: And that's why Trump Jr. went. I love it.
GIULIANI: That's why - that's why he had the meeting in his office.
CUOMO: I love it.
GIULIANI: Not a crime by the way.
CUOMO: Are you supposed to say that when somebody offers you--
GIULIANI: Now - now - read - read - read carefully. Read carefully.
CUOMO: --dirt from Russia? I love it.
GIULIANI: Chris, read carefully. Please, don't misrepresent. You're doing it accidentally. But you haven't read it carefully enough.
CUOMO: How so?
GIULIANI: Even - even the Special Counsel says that offering information can't really be determined to be a campaign contribution because he can't value it.
CUOMO: I'm not saying it's a crime. I'm saying it was wrong, and it was boneheaded to do it, and he should have known it.
GIULIANI: It was wrong? OK, all right
CUOMO: And that's why they lied about it.
GIULIANI: Was it the best exercise in judgment? I don't know.
CUOMO: Best exercise in judgment? Going into the media wasn't the best exercise in judgment.
GIULIANI: But I don't - I know a lot of campaigns that take dirt--
CUOMO: This was boneheaded.
GIULIANI: I know a lot of campaigns that take dirt--
CUOMO: And that's why they lied about it.
GIULIANI: No, let me finish my sentence.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
GIULIANI: I know a lot of campaigns that take dirt from all over - all over different places. They have no idea if - if - if the person is - is - is foreigner or
not. In this case, they did. It doesn't matter. It's not illegal. And nothing happened. The woman did come in and then the woman talked about adoptions.
CUOMO: Why did they lie about it then?
GIULIANI: Why did they lie about it?
GIULIANI: Because they wanted to set up - they wanted to set Donald Trump Jr. up for a meeting.
CUOMO: No. Why did the President lie about it?
GIULIANI: Why did she meet? Why did - no - the President didn't lie about it.
CUOMO: Why did the draft statement that he put out be - was to lie about it?
GIULIANI: The President didn't know about it. President didn't--
CUOMO: They said it was just about--
GIULIANI: Would you please stop using the word lie when you don't know what you're talking about?
CUOMO: Be - be - hold on a second.
GIULIANI: That's a terrible - that's a terrible thing to do.
CUOMO: When it's a - when it's a material misrepresentation of fact done to deceive, that's a lie, Rudy.
GIULIANI: The President did not lie about it. He didn't know about it.
CUOMO: What do you mean he didn't know about it?
GIULIANI: That is the uniform testimony of everyone.
CUOMO: He sat on the plane to figure out how to respond to it.
GIULIANI: Excuse me. That is the uniform testimony of everyone, including Mr. Manafort, who's basically almost been tortured to say the opposite, and continues to say, he didn't know about the meeting beforehand.
CUOMO: No, beforehand. Then he heard about it and he tried to spin a response to it--
GIULIANI: There's only one piece of evidence - there's only one piece of evidence that he knew about it.
CUOMO: --that covered up what it was about. GIULIANI: And that's Michael Cohen saying, I whispered - I heard Donald Trump Jr. whisper in his ear. But he doesn't remember what he heard.
CUOMO: Listen, he heard what the meeting was about, and they tried to spin it differently about something else.
GIULIANI: He did not. No, no, no, please, will you read the testimony?
CUOMO: I - I did.
GIULIANI: You are not. You're misrepresenting it now, I'm surprised at you.
CUOMO: It's - it's right in the report--
GIULIANI: The report says - the report says - the report says--
CUOMO: --that what they came up with afterwards that Mr. Sekulow, who'll be on later said--
GIULIANI: --that Cohen heard Donald Trump Jr. whisper in his father's ear two days before the meeting.
CUOMO: No, that's a different aspect of it. I'm talking about the statement about the meeting.
GIULIANI: It could have been about something else.
CUOMO: The statement about the meeting.
GIULIANI: He assumed incorrectly that he could conclude--
CUOMO: I'm - no, no, no. You're mixing apples and oranges.
GIULIANI: --that it was about the meeting.
CUOMO: I got one more question for you. You've got to be on another show. I want to ask you one more thing.
GIULIANI: No, no. I can sit here. I can sit as long as you want to correct what are now--
CUOMO: No, no, no, I - I know you got to go.
GIULIANI: --three misrepresentations about that report.
[21:20:00] CUOMO: No. No way. You may differ with it.
GIULIANI: Two clear.
CUOMO: But I'm not misrepresenting what Mueller found.
GIULIANI: You are now - you are now misrepresenting that meeting horribly.
CUOMO: You're saying that Mueller has it wrong. That's your right.
GIULIANI: And, by the way, the Special Counsel indicated that there - on the basis - on the basis of the evidence available, nothing - nothing - nothing criminal nothing improper--
CUOMO: That's not my standard. You take meetings with people that you know are set up with Russia to try to get dirt on somebody in a campaign, it's wrong.
GIULIANI: They didn't try to get dirt. It was being awful.
CUOMO: And if you lie about it, it makes you unethical.
GIULIANI: You don't think the Clinton campaign did the same thing--
CUOMO: No, no, no, doesn't work like that. They're not in this report.
GIULIANI: --with foreigners. You don't think they did the same thing?
CUOMO: This is about your team and what you did wrong. And it's up to you how to own it.
GIULIANI: Wait, I didn't do anything wrong.
CUOMO: But I have to ask you this question. And I'm not going to disrespect--
GIULIANI: I didn't do anything wrong, by the way.
CUOMO: --one of my competitors and not have you make your appearance.
GIULIANI: I - maybe I didn't. I don't think I did.
CUOMO: Hold on.
GIULIANI: What did I do? Are you going to accuse me of doing something wrong?
CUOMO: I'm not - I'm accusing you of not letting me ask my question.
GIULIANI: OK. Well ask your questions.
CUOMO: When Flynn's counsel--
GIULIANI: But so far, so far, you're - you know you're - owning three.
CUOMO: Let - you said you'll let me ask you.
"When Flynn's counsel reiterated that Flynn could no longer share information under a joint defense agreement, the President's personal counsel stated that the decision would be interpreted as reflecting Flynn's hostility towards the President."
That's bad behavior. That's unethical. Was that you?
GIULIANI: That well - well - well wait, wait, wait, wait. You just said to me the President's personal counsel called him and said something to him.
GIULIANI: Well that - that - now you're going to assume now that the President ordered that, knew about it.
CUOMO: No, no, no, I'm asking you, was that you?
GIULIANI: All right no - no, it was not me.
CUOMO: Do you know who it was?
GIULIANI: You - you think it was me?
CUOMO: I asked you do you know who it was.
GIULIANI: I'm not going to tell you who it was.
CUOMO: Why not?
GIULIANI: Because I'm not going to tell you who it was. So, you - you can go around, you know, casting all kinds of aspersions on him?
CUOMO: Aspersions? I just want to ask you a question.
GIULIANI: That report - that report has created enough damage for people's reputation. And, by the way--
CUOMO: Since when is asking a question about something like this an aspersion?
GIULIANI: Look - look--
CUOMO: Is that how low we've gotten?
GIULIANI: --the President of United States - the President of United States did not know about that. You cannot attribute that to him.
CUOMO: I didn't. I asked if it were you.
GIULIANI: It is not me.
CUOMO: Do you know who it was?
GIULIANI: I do know who it was.
CUOMO: Do you think it was the right thing to do?
GIULIANI: Do I? I'd have to know more about all of the facts to whether it was the right thing to do or not. You want me to make a moral judgment about it?
GIULIANI: Chris, if we're going to start making moral judgments about everybody in public office, we'll have nobody in public office. CUOMO: Oh, come on.
GIULIANI: I mean if we can impeach based on moral judgments--
CUOMO: How can somebody who spent so much of their lives serving the public denigrate public service?
GIULIANI: --everybody in the United States Congress would have to get impeached, including most of the phonies who are leading the impeachment of it--
CUOMO: Rudy, we have to care about integrity.
GIULIANI: --and lying and lying and lying and lying. I've got--
CUOMO: We have to care about lying.
GIULIANI: How about Schiff? I got - look, I got - I got--
CUOMO: We have to care about integrity.
GIULIANI: --specific information about collusion. No, he doesn't. He was lying, lying, lying.
CUOMO: Listen, you keep bringing up Cohen. He's - he's admitted that he lied. He's going to jail for--
GIULIANI: He - he is entitled to do it. It's a political lie. We don't put him in jail for it.
CUOMO: --lying on behalf of this President. I'm asking you questions of fact. I'm not even going into obstruction.
GIULIANI: I'm not going to evaluate the conduct of another attorney. That's ridiculous.
CUOMO: Because I want to see what Congress with that because Mr. Mueller clearly left it to Congress.
GIULIANI: We're going to be talking about - you want me to evaluate the conduct of another attorney who happens to be an enormously honorable and decent guy? I don't know what he did.
CUOMO: So, it's a man?
GIULIANI: OK. I probably shouldn't have said that. Well nowadays, nowadays you--
CUOMO: Don't worry. Look, I'm not going to chase you about the name.
GIULIANI: --nowadays - nowadays, he could have been a man that day. But by now, who knows what he is?
CUOMO: Oh, come on. Come on. You've got enough on your plate to worry about. You don't have to add that type of issue. Listen, I know you have to make an another appearance. I'm not going to disrespect my competitor. This conversation is going to keep going. We have to see what Congress thinks matter--
GIULIANI: Yes, yes, but you got to do better what you did today.
CUOMO: --with the American people. Listen, I'm going on the report. If you want to say--
GIULIANI: So, why don't you spend - why you don't you spend an equal--
CUOMO: --"Well you're just believing the report," we've got nowhere to go.
GIULIANI: But can I make a suggestion?
CUOMO: We have no discussion to have.
GIULIANI: Why don't you spend an equal amount of time in figuring out how did this phony story got started?
CUOMO: Listen, Putin--
GIULIANI: Who developed the connection?
CUOMO: We know that's what you want to do. You're the only people--
GIULIANI: No, I don't only want to do it. I - I - I have very good reason to ask you--
CUOMO: --I've ever met who say we don't like the chambers of justice being used for political purposes--
GIULIANI: --to do that because you're literally missing really big story.
CUOMO: --and then you want to do exactly that.
GIULIANI: You - you just keep focus--
CUOMO: You're the only people I've ever seen do that. I've never seen--
GIULIANI: Do what?
CUOMO: --instant - instant hypocrisy. We don't like these institutions being--
GIULIANI: That isn't hypocrisy.
CUOMO: --used for political purposes. But now, we'll do that.
GIULIANI: That is not hypocrisy.
CUOMO: And we'll investigate the investigators. Come on! GIULIANI: Yes, you're darn right, particularly when they - particularly when they are circulating a phony charge, particularly when we have a guy on tape saying, I'm going to do - I'm going to prevent him from being President, and then I can remove him.
CUOMO: Mr. Mueller said no criminal coordination, no conspiracy.
GIULIANI: Oh, you want to - you want to--
CUOMO: And on obstruction, he left it to Congress. We'll see what they do. And we'll continue the conversation.
GIULIANI: Oh, what they'll do is completely political. It'll all be based on--
CUOMO: Sure it is.
GIULIANI: --politics. Not on - not on--
CUOMO: A 100 percent.
GIULIANI: --fairness, decency, law or--
CUOMO: Well but that's what supposed to do.
GIULIANI: --even honesty.
CUOMO: Since when does - but - you and I are going to have to have dinner and have a different conversation.
Since when do you believe that politics isn't supposed to be infused with integrity that we're supposed to just dismiss that people can lie out their ass and it's OK because they're politicians?
GIULIANI: Oh, my goodness. When I - when - I when I watch - when I watch Cummings tell Cohen, I'm going to throw the book at you if I lie, and Cohen lies six times--
CUOMO: And you have a President who stands on the world stage and takes Vladimir Putin's word over his own Intelligence group and says--
GIULIANI: You know, you have no idea what Intelligence he has and what Intelligence he doesn't have or what the strategies are--
CUOMO: --I don't know why it would be him, you had every reason. He said it to cover himself. And that started this whole lie parade.
GIULIANI: --in negotiating for our country. I mean it's ridiculous to compare the two things.
CUOMO: Come on! He was negotiating for himself.
GIULIANI: The President making a statement in a diplomatic situation and a man committing blatant perjury saying, I didn't ask for a job--
CUOMO: I'll take - I'll take perjury in the name of your boss as a loyalty play over saving your own skin--
[21:25:00] GIULIANI: --I didn't seek a pardon. And that guy is lying about what he did with me. So maybe I'm a little annoyed. He's not only talking about what he did with me.
CUOMO: --against the American people that day.
GIULIANI: He's lying about what he did with Jay Sekulow. He's lying about what he did with his own lawyer who's ready, willing and able to testify against him, and he's lying in contradiction of a video recording with you.
CUOMO: Well, to the extent that he lied, he was on the right side because--
CUOMO: --it is replete with lies throughout that campaign and the President too, and that's going to be a matter of concern for people. They'll take the polls (ph).
GIULIANI: There's a very, very big difference, Chris. And I'm not saying the President lied at all. But if we're going to start, you know--
CUOMO: I mean how can you not, Mr. Giuliani?
GIULIANI: --if we're going to start pausing - we're going to start pausing and - and - and investigating people--
CUOMO: How can you not admit the President lied?
GIULIANI: --for political misstatements or lies--
CUOMO: I didn't say prosecute him. I didn't say prosecute.
GIULIANI: --my God, we won't have enough time to go after murderers.
CUOMO: I never said prosecute. I'd never say that. Rudy Giuliani, you got to go. I'm doing my friend Sean Hannity a favor of getting you to his show.
GIULIANI: But there's a moral - there's a - there's not a moral equivalency before - between a man who commits perjury over and over again, and someone who gives a statement in a - in a - in a situation--
CUOMO: This President has lied over and over again. He never committed perjury because you were smart enough--
GIULIANI: --at the political situation that you can interpret as not being true or true or whatever--
CUOMO: --to keep him out of the chair.
GIULIANI: --totally different thing. Even - even the report makes that point about making press - press statements.
CUOMO: Yes. I know. But the only reason - we're not saying the same thing about the President is because you were smart enough to keep him out of the chair. One out of every three written answers was non- responsive. So, you did your job, bravo to you.
GIULIANI: Non - non-responsive means maybe I don't remember, maybe I don't know the answer to it.
CUOMO: Yes, I know.
GIULIANI: Or maybe - or maybe I know you're trying to trap me because if I - if I--
CUOMO: I'm not trying to trap you. That's the number.
GIULIANI: --if I - if I say two and it's really three, you're going to try to put me in jail like they did with Flynn--
CUOMO: All right.
GIULIANI: --when they had the information hidden in - hidden--
CUOMO: Come on! Even in the - even in those lawyered up answer--
GIULIANI: --hidden in the draw--
CUOMO: --I read them today clearly--
GIULIANI: Flynn was not lawyered up. Flynn had no lawyer.
CUOMO: I'm not talking about Flynn. I'm not talking about Flynn. I'm talking about the President.
GIULIANI: And he was told he didn't need a lawyer by McCabe who should have been indicted by now.
CUOMO: I'm talking about the President. I read through his answers today. You guys did a good job putting them together.
And even then, one out of three was seen as inadequate or unresponsive. If he had sat in the chair, you and I would be having a very different conversation right now. And you know what?
GIULIANI: Inadequate or unresponsive? May - maybe - maybe--
CUOMO: Maybe for the sake of the democracy, it's good he didn't go.
GIULIANI: --the question - did you see the questions?
GIULIANI: They were each a page long. They had about eight sub-parts. I mean they were law school exam rather than questions.
CUOMO: You handled it well. GIULIANI: And in many, many cases, they was seeking information that a person would not remember, and not know what specificity in the middle of a--
CUOMO: One out of every three?
GIULIANI: --in the middle of a - of a Presidential campaign where this is not your main focus or even a focus of your attention?
CUOMO: All right, I accept your--
GIULIANI: And now you're trying to - you're trying to remember that I have one meeting or two meetings or three meetings, or was it in March, or was it in February? And you know these people want to nail you on anything they can nail you on because they have a - they have a record--
CUOMO: Just for - for what it's worth - for what--
GIULIANI: --as they did with Flynn, as they tried to do with Corsi.
CUOMO: For what it's worth, otherwise, although--
GIULIANI: To try to trap you in perjury?
CUOMO: --although I'm - no, no, no. But - look, I can't believe you're going to ascribe animus to know - someone you know is a respectful person.
CUOMO: And you're doing it to defend someone that we know lies--
CUOMO: --like it's contagious.
GIULIANI: Who am I - who am I--
CUOMO: Bob Mueller is a respectful man, and you know it.
CUOMO: You know he's a man of integrity.
GIULIANI: I'm not talking about you.
CUOMO: No, not me. I don't have any integrity compared to Bob Mueller.
GIULIANI: I was talking about the lawyers on the other side.
CUOMO: I'm talking about Bob Mueller.
GIULIANI: I'm not talking about--
CUOMO: The man is a veteran. He's a lifelong rock-ribbed conservative. GIULIANI: I'm talking about Andrew Weissmann.
CUOMO: And he's a man of - of - he's a man of honor.
GIULIANI: I'm talking about Andrew Weissmann who - who has three times been found to have acted unethically by the Justice Department--
CUOMO: Come on! Look, this was all from Mueller. You're making me hot.
GIULIANI: --who - who - who put Arthur Andersen--
GIULIANI: --out of business and then everybody was found to be not guilty.
GIULIANI: And it wasn't a crime.
CUOMO: Look, no - nobody put the President in the position he's in, except him. It's what he said and what he lied about.
GIULIANI: I'm talking about Flynn. I'm not talking about the President. And what they did to Flynn--
CUOMO: I hear you.
GIULIANI: --was entrapment.
CUOMO: I hear you. But you know what? We're - we're not getting anywhere anymore.
GIULIANI: It was classic entrapment. It was sneaky. And they should be ashamed of themselves.
CUOMO: Listen, look--
GIULIANI: They knew the answer to the question. They asked him the question. They hid the evidence. And then and--
CUOMO: Flynn made his own choice. And now, he's - he's made his own, you know, he's made his own situation. He'll deal with it.
GIULIANI: Yes, yes. I will, right. And - and - and - and--
CUOMO: Let's leave the conversation here. I don't want it to get unproductive.
GIULIANI: --and they're trying to figure out how to get out of the embarrassment.
GIULIANI: He's not going to get any jail time. But the guy who got 14 days-- CUOMO: All right.
GIULIANI: --14 days for Papadopoulos--
CUOMO: Well, listen, this is what happens.
GIULIANI: --the big witness who was going to break this open.
CUOMO: This is what happens when you get involved with somebody who's asking you to do bad things and you wind up lying to cover them.
GIULIANI: This investigation was a big, big phony.
CUOMO: This is what happens.
GIULIANI: It was a phony.
CUOMO: Cohen, Manafort, Flynn, you get involved with a guy who wants you to lie, who'll get you involved in bad things--
GIULIANI: That is - oh, my God--
CUOMO: --and this is what happens.
GIULIANI: --Chris, you're so way off, I mean it's unbelievable.
CUOMO: But, listen, I got to - I have to leave it there.
GIULIANI: OK. All right, I'm really - I - I really--
CUOMO: I'm well - you are welcome here anytime.
GIULIANI: --I really think - I really think what you did tonight is not - is not right. Those three statements are not lies. And they're presented in a simplistic way that doesn't allow the opportunity to explain.
CUOMO: This is the way--
GIULIANI: The first one in particular.
CUOMO: --the Mueller probe - probe lays them out. This is the way they happened.
GIULIANI: No, they didn't.
CUOMO: And if they are material misrepresentations--
GIULIANI: No, they didn't. You - you left out the whole background on the third one. I mean the whole--
CUOMO: --in order to deceive they're a lie.
GIULIANI: --there are four different versions to the conversation--
CUOMO: All right, listen-- GIULIANI: --where you're accepting just one version.
CUOMO: Listen, I understand.
GIULIANI: That's the way things happen in real life.
CUOMO: I understand it. You've had your chance to make your argument.
GIULIANI: As opposed to what you're going to simplify on television.
CUOMO: You made your argument. You're always welcome to do - do the same.
CUOMO: And I appreciate it.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
CUOMO: And my apologies to Hannity. Sean, I was trying to get him over to you soon.
GIULIANI: No, I'm not going to be on Hannity.
CUOMO: All right. But--
GIULIANI: I'm going to be on Laura.
CUOMO: Oh, well, fine, fine, all right. I just - I don't want to disrespect anybody else's time. So, thank you for give me some.
GIULIANI: Oh, you're - you're - you're a good man. OK.
CUOMO: Be well.
GIULIANI: Take care.
CUOMO: All right, look, we have another Counselor to the President.
[21:30:00] I really did think he was supposed to go somewhere else. You know, you have to have some decency left in this world, even if it's with one of your competitors who calls you a bum and an enemy of the state on a regular basis.
So, we're going to have another one of the President's lawyers here, Jay Sekulow. Was this him? He said it was a guy, only leaves two possibilities.
And Mueller has now passed the torch to Congress on obstruction. That's why I didn't take it up with Mr. Giuliani.
Let's see what the Democrats want to do with it first. We got Hakeem Jeffries here, the Head of the Democratic Caucus. Does he think that's the move? We're going to take it all on, next.
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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.
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CUOMO: Look, if the best the President's legal team could do in the court of public opinion is to say that everything Mueller said isn't true that we needed to test it in court this is going to be a very long process to get to any type of closure.
Now, if we move on to obstruction, the Special Counsel laid out a clear case, and explicitly mentioned Congress, not the Attorney General, as the next step.
So, what does that mean for the Democrats? Oversight? Could it mean impeachment? Let's get some perspective from the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, welcome back to PRIME TIME.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Good to see you.
CUOMO: Now, I'll tell you, I wasn't expecting the President's legal team to be this self-selecting, which is to say, "Oh, no crime? We accept Mueller's finding. Oh, those things about him lying and all those bad acts, no, that's not true. We'd have to try that in a court of law for it to be found true or not," what do you do with that?
JEFFRIES: Well it's not surprising because they're taking direction from Donald Trump who's obviously selective with his facts and that's been the case. This is a President that regularly lies to the American people.
The President is out of control. The President is reckless and irresponsible. This is not new information. We've actually seen this over the last two years on any day that ends in a Y.
CUOMO: Mueller doesn't change your mind on in any way?
[21:35:00] JEFFRIES: Well here's what's new that Bob Mueller, a talented and well respected law enforcement professional, after completing a 22-month investigation, writing a 400-plus page report, has concluded and identified at least 10 different instances where it's likely that the President of the United States attempted to engage in obstruction of justice.
Now, the President's Constitutional responsibility is to faithfully discharge the laws of the United States of America, as you know. It appears that he has not upheld that Constitutional responsibility. In the United States of America, no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States of America, which is why, hopefully, reasonable Americans across the political spectrum take these concerns that were laid out seriously, and Congress is going to now have to act responsibly.
CUOMO: But the avenue for that is impeachment. And Pelosi stepped away from that early on and often. Steny Hoyer stepped away from it. How do you satisfy that?
JEFFRIES: Well the avenue is not impeachment. The avenue is further disclosure to the American people. So, three things, I think, we need to do. First, Congress needs to review the entirety of the report because we can't necessarily trust the redactions that were put into place--
CUOMO: The Grand Jury redactions, especially.
JEFFRIES: The Grand Jury redactions, especially, because as you know, yes, there's a presumption of Grand Jury secrecy. That can be overcome when--
JEFFRIES: --it's a compelling public interest. There obviously is one, and it's particularly in the sense--
CUOMO: Right, so you want all of that. What's two?
JEFFRIES: Two, we need the underlying documentation. That's something that Chairman Nadler has consistently indicated, so we can do our due diligence, and ultimately present that information to the American people.
Three, perhaps most importantly, once we have the un-redacted report, once we have the underlying documentation, Bob Mueller needs to testify, and tell his story to the American people.
CUOMO: To what end?
JEFFRIES: Well I think at that point we can make a determination as to what measures of accountability are merited. I support Speaker Pelosi's articulation of the standard relative to impeachment.
The case must be compelling. The evidence must be overwhelming. And, most importantly, the sentiment around impeachment must be bipartisan in nature.
Remains to be seen what ultimately is the conclusion that the sort of gorgeous mosaic of the American people draw from the information, because we don't have all the information yet.
CUOMO: Well what if the poll numbers show that minds aren't really that different. People who don't believe in the integrity of this President now have more reason to believe that. And those who don't care about the integrity of the President don't care about whatever information there is. They've made up their decision. They've made up their mind.
Is it worth your time and the political risk to keep beating that same drum?
JEFFRIES: Well, listen, our primary focus has and will continue to be on executing our "For the people" agenda as it relates to kitchen- table pocketbook issues.
We're going to keep the focus on lowering healthcare costs with an emphasis on driving down the high costs of life-saving prescription drugs. We're going to keep the focus on enacting a real infrastructure plan.
We want to invest a trillion dollars, fix our crumbling bridges, roads, tunnels, mass transportation system. We think we can create 16 million good-paying jobs.
We were elected on issues related to lowering healthcare costs, and infrastructure, and improving the lives of middle-class Americans, and those who aspire to be part of it. So, nothing changes that approach.
But we do recognize that we have a Constitutional responsibility to be a check and balance on an out-of-control Executive branch. The Mueller report further indicates this President is out of control.
Now, we're going to do it in a deliberate fashion. We're not going to overreach. We're not going to over-politicize. We're not going to over-investigate. But we're not going to shirk from our Constitutional responsibility either.
CUOMO: It's going to be an interesting balance. This is not the end. So, we'll see where it goes next. Congressman, always a pleasure.
JEFFRIES: Thank you so much.
CUOMO: And thank you.
All right, so we heard from Rudy Giuliani about why the President isn't a liar, why they didn't do anything wrong at all when it comes to the way they behaved during the election.
What about obstruction? We have the other President's attorney, Jay Sekulow. He's going to join us to see whether or not he agrees with anything that Mueller found. We'll do it right now.
How you're doing, Counsel?
JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: I'm doing great.
CUOMO: Thank you.
SEKULOW: Hey, Chris. CUOMO: So, on obstruction, do you agree that Mr. Mueller said, "Look, there's a lot here. I can't make a determination. But that's OK because Congress can. My hands are somewhat tied by the DOJ guidance that we can't indict a sitting President, and it's a little complicated for us, easier for Congress."
SEKULOW: Well he did - first of all, as the Attorney General said today, the decision by Bob Mueller to not bring recommending kind of obstruction case was not based on that OLC guideline. In fact, it was not a - as - as quoting Attorney General Barr, it was not but for that we would have recommended something.
SEKULOW: If it - so, Chris, so here's the thing. If there was an obstruction case to be made, they would have made it. They did not. This is a--
CUOMO: But then why did he say what he said?
SEKULOW: --it's a two - well you know exactly - you know what it said. If the - do you think if there was an obstruction case, under obstruction laws, that they would have brought the case and so - and recommended it?
CUOMO: "If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state." They don't so state.
[21:40:00] SEKULOW: But - but wait a minute. What you - you're a lawyer. What is the standard when you look at a case of recommended?
What does a prosecutor do? First, they have to determine if they have probable cause and then they have to determine whether they have the ability to prove something beyond a reasonable thing.
SEKULOW: That's the - that's the legal standard.
SEKULOW: But so here's what you have - you have happened. They have a, I will call it, novel, for the sake of being kind, theory of obstruction that you see them developing.
We saw this. It was - I called it obstruction by tweet. But the reality is that was the President first of all--
CUOMO: That's not what they say.
SEKULOW: Well but, Chris, they, for every issue they raise, and you read the report, for every issue that's--
CUOMO: About three quarters. SEKULOW: --for - for they - for every issue they raised, they also raised the counterpoint. You know why they said this is difficult questions of law and fact? Because when you have a case that's in difficult questions of law and fact, you know what you do? You don't bring it.
CUOMO: You don't prosecute.
CUOMO: That's so - so but then you have to ask yourself.
CUOMO: If a man like Mueller, who is a man of high integrity, by all accounts, felt the need to parse it this way and really package it for Congress to look at it further, "The President's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders."
He seems as though he's teeing this up. This was wrong. It may not be a crime.
CUOMO: But it could be an abuse of power that the Constitutional mandate goes to Congress to officiate.
SEKULOW: First of all, you and I both know, as Steny Hoyer said today, and as Adam Schiff just said, according to one of your colleagues at CNN, they're not - this is not - there's no impeachment case here.
They're not bringing an impeachment case. It would not be fruitful. That's Adam Schiff saying that. Steny Hoyer said there's an election in 18 months. The people will decide.
Here's the reality. You look at the case and how did it begin? What was the nexus of this case?
It was purportedly to be an investigation about the potential of Russian interference with the election, and then the question of whether there were individuals from the Trump campaign or the President himself involved.
SEKULOW: The answer. "The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."
That's how this started. It morphs into obstruction inquiry because first they say that the President, this was one of the theories, right--
CUOMO: Right. SEKULOW: --fired James Comey.
SEKULOW: Now, you and I both know that under Article II of the Constitution, the President has the authority to fire a subordinate. That's--
SEKULOW: --within the Constitution. By the way--
CUOMO: Right. But - but it's not a blanket.
SEKULOW: No. But here's what Bob Mueller's report says that in executing this, the evidence does not establish, I'm reading from page 76 for those that are reading it, page 76, "The evidence does not establish that the termination of Comey was designed to cover up a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia." There you go.
CUOMO: What do you mean?
SEKULOW: Now, so--
CUOMO: What do you mean there you go?
SEKULOW: --you can cherry-pick different points but go to the conclusion. And, Chris, you and I have had this discussion a lot.
SEKULOW: I enjoy having it with you. But the reality is if there was an obstruction case to be made, he would have made it. He did not.
CUOMO: But if it not - it - here's what I'm suggesting, and I hear you about this.
CUOMO: If it's not to the criminal standard, then you don't bring a criminal case. I would argue the same suggestion you do that Mueller should have just said "I can't prosecute," but he didn't.
SEKULOW: Well, technically, under the regulations--
CUOMO: Because there's also a political standard.
SEKULOW: By the way, under the regulations, and that's a whole another story, that's what it's supposed to be. I mean this is--
CUOMO: But there's also a political - well under the regulations, doesn't say that the A.G. takes the decision from him when he can't make one and he tees them up for Congress.
SEKULOW: No, no, no. Hold it, Chris. The Attorney General quoted the Special Counsel today, twice. He said the Special Counsel Bob Mueller did not decide to not bring a case because of this OLC, that's Office of Legal Counsel.
CUOMO: Yes. I mean they mention it in there on what makes it complicated. But they didn't lean on it exclusively, you're right.
SEKULOW: But - but they - they didn't. But that's - well that's what - that's what's so critical here. So, it wasn't because you can't indict a sitting President, which is the standard that OLC's--
CUOMO: I think that was part of it.
SEKULOW: But it wasn't the basis upon which they denied it. They said it's difficult questions of law and fact.
CUOMO: It was too hard to make a case, a criminal case.
SEKULOW: Well, OK - well - well but what was that--
CUOMO: But that doesn't mean that it doesn't fit into a political crime.
SEKULOW: --what was this - well look, that - what was this? This was a - ended up becoming a criminal inquiry. That's what it was.
CUOMO: I know. But it's not anymore. That's what I'm saying.
SEKULOW: No, so now we're told - you're right.
CUOMO: If Congress picks it up, I get that your job's over. And, by the way, Bravo! Your decision--
SEKULOW: I heard your silent golf clap today.
SEKULOW: I appreciate it and so do my colleagues, the Raskins and - and Rudy Giuliani.
CUOMO: --your decision to keep the President out of the chair and to architect the answers that were written may have saved the President's bait.
SEKULOW: No, well, hold on. First of all, if I was representing you, I won't let you - you're a smart guy too, as is the President, I won't let you go in that chair either.
CUOMO: And I believe the President of the United States has a higher duty than just being a citizen.
SEKULOW: Then - then - then waving his--
CUOMO: I do, yes, I do.
SEKULOW: First of all, here's what they said. Look at the--
CUOMO: I - I know that's not the law. I'm just saying--
SEKULOW: No, no, no, but let me--
CUOMO: --this is politics.
SEKULOW: --tell you what they did say.
This - I found this interesting because when they attach the President's questions and answers, they left off the letter that we put with it describing what can be Constitutionally covered and what cannot be.
[21:45:00] And so, they left it out. We did put it out. I got it to your colleagues earlier in the day. I think - I think Pam Brown put some of that up earlier.
But, Chris, I think what's really important here, and to remember on this whole issue, is the determination that was made by the Special Counsel was not that there was a violation of the law.
So, you're saying now it goes to Congress.
CUOMO: That's true.
SEKULOW: So, here's what Congress is saying.
CUOMO: They couldn't decide on obstruction.
SEKULOW: Well it - yes, they did. They decided to not recommend that there was a violation of the obstruction statute.
CUOMO: Well they wouldn't - they wouldn't say that they said that there was no crime committed either.
CUOMO: Look, it's tricky stuff. I - I hear you on it. And I get why it's frustrating.
SEKULOW: It's - it's tricky stuff because they had a--
CUOMO: But now it's going to be political.
SEKULOW: --they had a theory of obstruction that frankly, to be honest with you, I view as absurd.
CUOMO: But also, wait, let's - let's be fair to one thing Jay, because--
CUOMO: --I think you're strong on this.
CUOMO: And, again, I think the way that you and the Raskins and Mr. Giuliani worked with your client was very effective here. But the A.G. came out today, and I don't want to get into him because,
you know, he - he did this process. You're not here to answer for the process.
He said the President did everything. He complied with everything. He made everybody cooperate. He turned over everything. He denied the Special Counsel nothing. And that's why they didn't subpoena him because they know the test--
SEKULOW: Under SP they could not, right.
CUOMO: --that's loosely out there that you would have to have information you couldn't get any other way. And I think that's baloney because--
SEKULOW: Well that's the law. You - you call - wait a minute.
CUOMO: --in here. I know. I know. But I think--
SEKULOW: You call it baloney. But the--
CUOMO: No, no, no. The law is what the law is.
SEKULOW: --SP cases the law of the circuit (ph).
CUOMO: I get you with that.
SEKULOW: Right. Yes.
CUOMO: I'm saying what the A.G. said is baloney.
SEKULOW: No. He quoted the facts (ph).
CUOMO: 30 times out of 90-something questions, even in your sculpted answers, independent recollection of information called for by the questions incomplete or imprecise.
SEKULOW: Do you know how many times James Comey under oath said "I do not recall" in his testimony?
CUOMO: So what?
SEKULOW: 200 times.
CUOMO: He the President?
SEKULOW: Well no, he was the - no, he was the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. So, the standards aren't different, number one. And number two--
CUOMO: Maybe they were both being evasive.
SEKULOW: By the way, you talk about sculpted answers as if the - the President of the United States wasn't involved in the process of determining what - what his responses were.
CUOMO: Doesn't sound like him.
SEKULOW: Of course. Excuse me?
CUOMO: Doesn't sound like him. I read those answers today. They're good.
SEKULOW: Oh, come on, come on, Chris.
CUOMO: They're good. They're - they're strategic. They're good. I don't hear his voice in it.
SEKULOW: Well he's pretty strategic.
Listen, this President of the United States, you have to say he's very strategic, he's very smart. So, these answers were honest answers. The fact of the matter is that when you're in a situation like this, you respond appropriately.
We raised - and that's why I'm glad that Pam put up earlier this whole issue about what we put in our letter, which was not unfortunately included in the report. They had the answers but they didn't have our letter. We could talk about that another time but--
CUOMO: I want to ask you one other thing and then you can--
SEKULOW: Yes, yes, yes.
CUOMO: --you can smack me around the way--
CUOMO: --Rudy did. The--
SEKULOW: I didn't think I was going to have anything left to say.
CUOMO: No, no.
SEKULOW: With you and my colleague.
CUOMO: I didn't touch obstruction with him.
CUOMO: I wanted to leave it for us because it was going to get more nuanced--
SEKULOW: Yes, yes, yes.
CUOMO: --discussion and he just wants to say that I'm not telling the truth about what Mueller said. And that's OK.
SEKULOW: You love - you both love each other and you know it.
CUOMO: I do.
SEKULOW: I know that. CUOMO: He's always been good to me and I respect his position.
SEKULOW: I know.
CUOMO: And I think you guys did a heck of a job. And I understand why my audience gets frustrated by him.
SEKULOW: Got it.
CUOMO: Flynn's counsel, are you the guy who called Flynn's counsel and said, "Hey, tell the - tell Flynn the President loves him." When they said, "Hey, we can't cooperate," did you say to him, "Well you let him know--
SEKULOW: Well first of all - first of all--
CUOMO: --that I will say that's a hostility towards the President."
SEKULOW: --let me tell you something. I'm - I would never disclose what conversations any lawyer had or did not have in the context--
CUOMO: What happened to transparency?
SEKULOW: --of a joint - transparency? Joint defense? Chris, if there was a joint defense agreement--
CUOMO: Rudy said it wasn't him, by the way.
SEKULOW: Huh? It - well--
CUOMO: Here comes the bus.
SEKULOW: This is not a big deal. You're making it into a--
CUOMO: No, I'm not. I just want to know.
SEKULOW: --you're making--
CUOMO: That's all.
SEKULOW: So, what do you want me to - you want me to say it wasn't me, it wasn't me, OK, but does that help you? But let me tell you something. Whatever lawyer did it is not a violation of the law.
CUOMO: You don't see it as a pressure tactic?
SEKULOW: These are - these are seasoned lawyers involved in this.
SEKULOW: And this is a - I'm not going to disclose conversations, which you would--
SEKULOW: --not ask me to do. I know. CUOMO: I know.
SEKULOW: And the fact of the matter is at the end of the day, we had a job to do here--
CUOMO: And you did.
SEKULOW: --which was to - yes, to represent our client.
CUOMO: You - you did a good job, you did.
SEKULOW: I appreciate that.
CUOMO: You did. I mean, look - I mean, look, let's leave the interview there. Look, I'm not - I'm not here to be a hatchet man. Your job was to keep the President safe. You did it.
I think he had a different duty to the American people. Let's just write that off as a matter of opinion. But we'll see what the American people have to say about it.
You're his lawyer. You were there to protect him. You did it. This part of it is over. Now, it's all politics.
Jay Sekulow, I--
SEKULOW: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: --I appreciate you being responsive to calls--
CUOMO: --for information and for taking opportunities on this show. I'm sure we'll have more.
SEKULOW: My pleasure.
CUOMO: All right, now, fair to say, Mueller's report is different than it was characterized by the A.G. And the suggestion is the A.G., is he acting as the President's proxy or yours?
The no-holds Barr backlash is next.
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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.
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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: All right, look, you can spin. I mean that's the job of a good lawyer and the President's lawyers kept him out of trouble here. That seems pretty clear. But you can't change the record.
And for the most part, it's right there in the Mueller report. Still have to get through some Grand Jury stuff, still have to suss some things out but we're closer.
Let's bring in the big guns. Jennifer Granholm, Michael Isikoff, Mike Rogers.
So interesting, Mike Rogers, Rudy's strategy is just because Mueller says it doesn't mean it's true. Is that going - now, his job may not be over, OK? The Raskins, Sekulow, their job is largely over. They were here for actual law work. Rudy's a hybrid.
The idea of Mueller doesn't have it right, does that work politically?
MIKE ROGERS, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think it works politically. But, secondly, I'm not sure it's over. There are some dozen other investigations that were referenced in the report that are still ongoing.
ROGERS: That I would suspect include either members of the campaign or even closer to the President.
But I would say this whole thing had the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good, this is great for America. There was no collusion. I think that's really important. We all - I don't care what party you are.
ROGERS: That's important. The bad was that we don't talk about--
CUOMO: Not "No collusion." There was no criminal conspiracy to help the Russians interfere in the election.
ROGERS: OK. But the bad part of this, the Russians did try to sow--
ROGERS: --sow social discontent in the United States. Boy, we're just not talking about it. This impacts the way that we live here in America.
[21:55:00] ROGERS: It was a concerted effort. And so, they weren't successful. I think they had some people who were naive and probably not well suited for the positions they had in the campaign to understand the risks of this kind of thing.
But, as Americans, we ought to be pretty concerned about this Russian piece. The bad part, I think it showed clearly that there's some - some
behavior inside the organization of the White House that I mean there's - some people in there have some veracity problems that we should be concerned about. And I would hope that the administration can fix that or at least want to fix it.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: Yes. Can I just jump on this?
GRANHOLM: I agree with Mike so much about this. And I hope that Congressman Jeffries, and the other Democrats really take this up because we do not know that Russia is done intervening in our election systems.
The fact that they were able to get into software and malware at State Board of Elections at the state and local level, the fact that I mean it just the - the - the Trump campaign provided information to the Russians about which states to target, and you just look at our Michigan, Mike and I are both from Michigan.
And in Detroit, the - the suppression of the vote via social media was 75,000. 75,000 fewer Detroiters alone voted in the last - in the 2016 election. And - and Hillary Clinton lost this state by 10,700 votes. 75,000 so--
CUOMO: We got to start with getting the President to acknowledge it happened.
GRANHOLM: Yes, but at least, Bill--
CUOMO: And then when you can attack (ph).
GRANHOLM: At least Bill Barr did. That was the one - one thing and, of course, Mueller did so.
CUOMO: There's only one person who doesn't.
GRANHOLM: Yes, exactly.
CUOMO: The only person who doesn't who's not worried about being shamed--
GRANHOLM: But the - but Congress should do something about this.
CUOMO: --is the President.
GRANHOLM: Congress should take action on it.
GRANHOLM: And, of course, the FBI is investigating.
CUOMO: And you know what? That might be a nice end run for the Democrats is to focus on--
CUOMO: --fixing that problem and get away from the potential for overreach here because you're never going to get consensus. You're not going to get the Republicans to go against the President--
CUOMO: --on the basis of this report.
Mike Isikoff, Jay Sekulow had a very interesting spin-take on obstruction, where if he had a case he would have made a case.
Now, I don't accept that argument because it seems Mr. Mueller acknowledged that, and then took two more steps clearly architecting a suggestion to Congress. How did you take it?
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, YAHOO! NEWS CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, "RUSSIAN ROULETTE" CO-AUTHOR: Yes, look, Jay Sekulow was cherry- picking the report. And what leapt out at me is remember he quoted that sentence on page 76--
ISIKOFF: --about the firing of Comey and that it was not for the - the evidence did not establish that--
ISIKOFF: --it was for the purpose of - of concealing a collusive relationship between the Trump campaign and Russia.
ISIKOFF: He left out the - the next sentence on that in that same paragraph.
But the evidence does indicate, and this is Mueller's report, that a thorough FBI investigation would uncover facts about the campaign and the President personally that the President could have understood to be crimes or that it would give rise - give rise to personal and political concerns.
ISIKOFF: So, clearly, the President had a motive for firing Comey. He had a motive for trying to fire Mueller. He had a motive for trying to impede the Russia investigation, all of which is detailed in Mueller's report.
And the thing that actually leapt out at me most, what saved Trump in the end is that his subordinates--
CUOMO: That's right.
ISIKOFF: --refused to--
ISIKOFF: --follow his orders.
CUOMO: Well two things, two things.
CUOMO: People that Mueller says if they had done what the President asked them to do may have been charged, that's one thing that saved him. The other thing, Mike, that saved him--
CUOMO: --he didn't give them answers. One out of every three answers was seen as inadequate.
CUOMO: And his lawyers was smart enough to keep him out of the chair despite all - all his prideful boasts about how he wanted to get it on.
ISIKOFF: Right. Yes, I mean but - but just go back to Don McGahn refuses to follow the President's order--
ISIKOFF: --to have Mueller fired because he's concerned that it would lead to another Saturday Night Massacre.
CUOMO: Lewandowski wouldn't do what he asked. Smart moves!
ISIKOFF: Corey Lewandowski, of all people, refuses the President's directive to go to Sessions to have him curtail the investigation, so it doesn't look at the 2016 campaign at all.
Rick Dearborn refuses to do the same thing. I mean, time and again, the President is trying to get his aides to obstruct justice. But they know what he's asking them to do is wrong, potentially illegal, and they refused to do it.
CUOMO: Well, look, you guys made a lot of good points. There's still a lot to digest. And, you know, as Mike pointed out, people as you learn about what's happened in the report, Mueller kicked off a dozen cases to other district attorneys.
CUOMO: To other attorneys from the DOJ. We'll find out what those cases are about. He didn't tell us in this report.
Jennifer, Mike, Mike, thanks to all three of you.
GRANHOLM: Thanks. CUOMO: To be continued for sure. Thank you for watching.
CUOMO: That's our part of the coverage tonight. CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: When you - there's been a lot of reading today. And you see you got it too, right? When you look--
CUOMO: Oh, yes.
LEMON: --when you start reading all of this, you realize why the Attorney General wanted to come out and get ahead of this.
LEMON: Because it is not as glowing as the President of the United States as he had - has said.