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Pelosi Accuses Barr of Lying to Congress; A Crime, as Nadler Threatens to Hold Him in Contempt; One-on-One With 2020 Candidate Amy Klobuchar; Trump Says He Won't Let McGahn Testify Before Congress. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 2, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Those people are hacks, according to the President and Alex Jones, they are deep state which is why it's a good thing there are so many jobs in various agencies that have gone unfilled. Don't worry about it.

Sleep well at night knowing only the best and brightest are at work in the White House and on the ridiculous. Well, news continues, want to head over to Chris for Cuomo Prime Time. Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CHRIS CUOMO PRIME TIME: Very serious show but I have to do it. Name the movie, it puts the lotion in the basket.

COOPER: Oh come on, Silence Of The Lambs.

CUOMO: There it is my man, my man. All right, Anderson, thank you very much. I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to Prime Time. Speaker Pelosi accuses this Attorney General of perjury. Head of the House Judiciary threatens to hold him in contempt.

Will the Democrats follow through on their threats. If so how or are they going to be like that empty chair AG Bill Barr was supposed to sit in today at that hearing. We're going to ask a prominent Senator calling for Barr's resignation, Presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar.

New threats from the President as well that former White House lawyer, Don McGahn cannot testify before Congress. Question is can the President stop him. We're going to take it up in Cuomo's court and closing argument tonight that is the most important one I have ever made to you.

What do you say? Let's get after it. Now look, Speaker Pelosi's been shy on impeaching the President but she came strong at the AG for committing a crime today. Jerry Nadler's warning that the AG poses a "clear and present danger to our constitutional order." The House Judiciary Committee set up a Chair today for Barr to sit in along with a place card with his name on it, spelled right, knowing full well he wasn't going to show today.

So they are talking the talk but what will they do? What should they do? He's not going to resign despite calls from Democrats like my first guest Senator Any Klobuchar who got to question him yesterday, a Judiciary member and 2020 hopeful joins me now. Good to see you, Senator. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be here.

CUOMO: Thank you to be with you again. Now, the idea of Pelosi saying, he committed a crime because it's a crime to lie to Congress. Former prosecutor Klobuchar, do you believe that the AG committed a crime of perjury?

KLOBUCHAR: At the very least, incredibly misleading when he appears under oath before both the Senate and the House, is asked about his views, if Mueller expressed views to him about the report and he says, well, no or I don't know.

Well, actually at that point he knew that that letter had been sent to him, right? He knew the letter had been sent which basically raised questions of the confusion that had been sown by the four-page letter.

So he knows that, he doesn't say it. At the very least misleading. At the most, he's not telling the truth.

CUOMO: Misleading though is not a crime.


CUOMO: With Van Hollen, Senator Van Hollen. Senator Van Hollen asked him directly, do you think Mueller agreed or disagreed with your conclusions? He's going to use this space of saying what conclusions. It's not what he talked about in the letters, it's not what he talked about on the calls, it was really about the summary.

At the end of the day if you can't make the case, should you be talking about it this way?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, let's take it up a little bit because first of all of course what they have to do is try to get Director Mueller to testify, we're trying to push forward in the Senate and there's a lot bigger reasons and just even this for why we want him to testify.

That report contains pages and pages of information about how a foreign country tried to invade our election. They didn't do it with missiles, they didn't do it with tanks but they did it with computers. They tried to hack into elections.

In Florida they got very close. We need to get that information out there to the public. Why? We have another Presidential election coming up and this President has every reason not to protect that election. So we need to pass legislation like the Secure Elections Act that would require back up paper ballots if something goes wrong.

CUOMO: So the theory of your Bill was just in case we'll have paper backup so we'll know what the vote count is. The White House was against it, why?

KLOBUCHAR: Ask them. We know for a fact that people in the White House called senators, I know this because I heard from them and told them not to support the bill. The bill was headed to a mark up, it wasn't just at a hearing, it's a bipartisan bill. Senator Lankford and myself have introduced it. It would also require audits and would also require better information sharing.

It had the head of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Burr as one of the co-sponsors.

CUOMO: So why isn't it done?

KLOBUCHAR: As well as Senator Warner. Because he stopped in its tracks. They have an opportunity now to allow it to go forward. We need that, we need to make sure all of these ads that are placed on - political ads on Facebook and Twitter and other social media companies actually say where the money came from and what the ads are.

CUOMO: So the senators on the GOP side when the White House says, no we don't like this. That's it, it's done?

KLOBUCHAR: That's what happened. You haven't seen that happen before in the Senate.

CUOMO: Why? I just want to be clear about your understanding.


CUOMO: And I heard you say something. I wanted to get the process down first. The President has every reason not to want to secure the next election, that is a heavy allegation, Senator. What are you suggesting?

[21:05:00] KLOBUCHAR: Because the last way this was handled appeared to benefit him and let's look at what happened, it slowed at the very least. It slowed Hillary Clinton's momentum, right? It slowed her down. It reversed her momentum because of the way the Russians hacked into her campaigns email, imagine if they had hacked into your email and put it out there for all your competitors to see.

Well, that is what they did to her and that they hacked into her campaign Chair's email, they got information and they just - because we know also, on both the Republican side, they hurt Marco Rubio in the primary. We know that they were doing things in both primaries to try to sow discord.

This isn't just bad for one campaign and I thought Rubio had a good quote. He said, this time it was one party that got hurt and one candidate. The next time it will be the other one but they're sowing discord in our own country.

It makes people hate each other more when you have these fake ads that come out, that are getting people mad at each other. They are doing that deliberately so this is such a bigger issue of our national security -

CUOMO: I 100% agree.

KLOBUCHAR: - than just a 4-page memo on what's happening.

CUOMO: I agree but there is a hyper focus especially in your party on who did what and when within the Trump campaign and at some point, it's got to end, right? And either you go down impeachment as what some kind of noble cause in the House. You believe that that's what the base wants, even though you'll never remove him in the Senate.

What do you think should be the end the game here? And don't say the truth because it's not just about the truth. It's about what you do in the pursuit of truth.

KLOBUCHAR: But I'm in the formal court so that's what I should say. No, what I will say is the endgame here for our party should be to put a President in the White House and I'd like to be that President who will truly lead this nation again and to me, right now our job is to protect our country from this politicisation of the Justice Department.

And it is not just about Barr and Russia and what's happening here. Look at what they just did this week. They just filed a brief in the fifth circuit court of appeals to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act, which will get rid of the protections for people who have pre- existing conditions.

This is the mom who is pushing the toddler in the stroller -

CUOMO: But isn't this good for you?

KLOBUCHAR: My kid has Down's syndrome, this is what a pre-existing condition looks like.

CUOMO: Isn't this good for you? Here is my argument.

KLOBUCHAR: It's not good for America.

CUOMO: Not to get rid of the ACA. I'm saying, a lot of people you're running against are Medicare for all, all in, let's do it, not you. If they go after the ACA, the following precedent so far would suggest they're going to lose. Now isn't there an opportunity for you to say, look, they tried to kill it, they failed. Let's work on the ACA instead of Medicare for all.

KLOBUCHAR: My first priority like any other Senator, like any other leader is to protect people and to what Paul Wellstone always called politics is about improving people's lives, that's what this is about and we cannot let people's healthcare get taken away and thrown off their insurance, even if it's a political benefit right now.

So when I look at the bigger picture here, they are literally one by one by one using the Justice Department to go after things that have protected people for a long time. Yes, we will make the case politically but our job right now Chris, is to protect the people of this country and if that means pushing them in the Congress, if that means people are going to bring lawsuits to stop them, that's what's going to happen.

CUOMO: One quick thing I want you on the record about because again, you're a lawyer. The idea of Don McGahn, the White - the President says, the former White House attorney, he can't, I gave him enough already to Mueller, he did already, this time no executive privilege. Do you believe legally, that he can re-establish privilege because the theory is that well, that was only for the executive not outside the executive.

I didn't waive that privilege or do you think it's done, McGahn is free to testify.

KLOBUCHAR: No, I think he is free to testify and I believe that because this was a public report. Everyone always felt it was going to be public in some way. There's pieces of it that are redacted but it's a public report. He went before them, that was the time they maybe could have tried to assert executive privilege but now it's a public report and so Congress and I believe this is going to hold up in court, should have every right to question the witnesses who spoke to Mueller and are in that public report.

Otherwise this is an equal branches of government situation. We have the right to question those witnesses. But again, when you step up from all of the details what this is really about is making sure that we put a President in the White House that's going to obey the law and that's going to tell the truth.

Right now we don't have that happening and by the way, the President told the entire press corps. He said, well, I assume Mueller looked at my taxes and my financial documents and when I asked the Attorney General of the United States if that was true, he said, I don't know.

And I said, you don't know if Mueller that you have this big report you had worked - looked at the documents and he said why don't you ask Bob Mueller and I said, well, I will and then the next thing you find out they're trying to shield us from asking him.

[21:10:00] So all of this is going to result in us pushing to get the information out but guess what Democrats can do two things at once. We can push for the truth but we can also have an optimistic economic agenda for this country. That is what I've been talking about.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

KLOBUCHAR: Out there about healthcare, about infrastructure that you and I talked about last week, about making sure that people are trained for the jobs that we're going to have available in the next decades. That's what this is really about in this nation and we have a President in place that is just sowing chaos, putting in a tax bill which is going to saddle the next generation with trillion dollars in debt and not really governing for the long term.

CUOMO: Well, there's no question that you're going to have to do more than one thing at a time. We see the numbers about the President's approval on the economy, people generally vote their pocketbook. They don't seem to indicate they're going to vote on Mueller but you can do more than one thing at a time and we will be following.


CUOMO: Senator, thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you.

CUOMO: You're always welcome here to make the case to the American people.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I will continue to do that.

CUOMO: Thank you very much. All right, there's news developing tonight that may rile up the right. It involves the FBI and the Trump campaign after the AG doubled down on his spying claim plus this is a legit legal question. Can the President block McGahn from testifying? You heard the Senator's case.

We're going to put it to Cuomo's court, next.


CUOMO: Tonight we're learning a lot more about how the FBI investigated ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. According to The New York Times in 2016, the FBI sent an undercover investigator to cozy-up to Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos in order to gather information.

Now her efforts supposedly did not yield anything useful but here's the question for us. Is this spying? Let's ask Intel experts, Susan Hennessy and former Congressman Mike Rogers. Hennessy, surveillance or spying?

[21:15:00] I can't hear Hennessy, here we go. Go ahead again.

SUSAN HENNESSEY, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY ATTORNEY: I wouldn't - I don't know to what extent the terms are interchangeable in a colloquial sense. I will say that as a former attorney at the National Security Agency, I don't think I have ever heard a lawyer describe lawfully authorized surveillance as spying.

I'm not sure I ever even heard an operational person use the terms spying to describe an authorized intelligence collection that the United States undertakes you know, pursuant to its mission. If you want to call this spying, I think that's fine but then you essentially have to describe all law enforcement techniques including title three wiretaps as spying as well, seems like a pretty over inclusive definitions to me.

CUOMO: Well Mike, the reason that we parse is because spying suggests to people like you, you did it wrong. It was on the sneak, it was against somebody that didn't deserve lawful surveillance versus the way you're supposed to do it. How do you see this?

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Well, I'm a big believer in our Intelligence investigations. If you have someone overseas engaging in activity that certainly appears, that would be trying to solicit and or cooperate with a foreign adversary to do anything, I think the FBI have the obligation to do something about it.

I will say it is a big, big step to put an agent or an - in this case, an FBI agent to travel overseas, you got to go through a whole big process to do that by the way, including the CIA on the ground there has the opportunity to say yes or no to these kinds of things and so you have to go through that whole process to do this.

So that was a big step but I call it a counterintelligence investigation, not necessarily and again, they went, they found nothing, that's good. They reported it as nothing. That's what you do in this case. But remember, we had an American citizen overseas at the bar bragging about the fact or in other places to people of interest that hey, I have - I have this connection with Russia.

I think it was an individual stepping way beyond his you know, listen, I think this guy thought he was something he was not.

CUOMO: Papadopoulos.

ROGERS: I think he was very naive and yes, Papadopoulos and I think that he was over there bragging about it.

CUOMO: I hear you on all that so now the question becomes all this that it took, very involved as Mike Rogers says. Now what is that reflect Hennessey? Does it reflect that they were out to get Trump and this is proof? Or does this show they were really spooked by what this guy had been talking about that came to them from the Australian diplomat and they were - it shows how serious they were and how by the book they were? Which is it?

HENNESSEY: Clearly speaks to the level of alarm but I don't think that the way to think about a counter intelligence investigation as being out to get someone. Ordinarily, we think about counterintelligence investigations as defensive essentially, right? You're concerned about the campaign, you're concerned somebody with ties to foreign intelligence services might have some influence that the campaign isn't aware of.

So the entire sort of a lens through which we think about this is really getting information in order take defensive measures on behalf of the United States, in order to preserve the integrity of our national interest and our democratic processes. You know again, it is a significant step that they - that they would send someone overseas, it does show you know, I think how alarmed they were.

Now, they didn't know this at the time but fast forward all the way to just a few weeks ago, we finally saw the Mueller report. The volume one of that report had over 100 pages documenting contacts between individuals related to the Trump campaign and individuals connected to the Russian government.

CUOMO: All right, so Mike, let's put it this way. Let's put a button on it. If you're looking to make the case that they did the wrong thing, they were spying on Trump because they wanted to hurt him and they find out that an American citizen had an FBI agent planted, posing with the name Azra Turk in a position that she didn't really hold, does this fuel the fire?

ROGERS: Well, I think it's definitely going to fuel the fire and Chris, here's the one thing I do think. I do think that they need to evaluate for their own interests including the FBI's best interest, what was the predicate to getting the FISA court order.

I think that would be wholly appropriate. They should review it. All of that is reviewable material on every single case -

CUOMO: On Carter Page.

ROGERS: - including - on Carter Page. On this case if they want to review what they went for, I think this is an open and shut case. Remember, you had foreign intelligence services coming to the United States Intelligence Services saying you know what, this is odd. This is odd to us, this is - this just doesn't fit the quite picture that you have an American citizen running around saying really crazy things.

And again, I don't think it was fueled by the Trump campaign honestly when you look at the information you think, this was a guy that wanted to be something different. He wanted to be different than he was.

CUOMO: Papadopoulos was a poser.

ROGERS: He wanted -

CUOMO: He was pretending to have any connections in depth in a campaign he didn't. He was pretending to have contacts that he didn't.

ROGERS: Completely.

CUOMO: No question but if you don't know that and you hear it.

ROGERS: Let me ask you one thing, can I - yes, exactly but let me tell you one thing that could have been a benefit of this.

[21:20:00] They could have gone and found out that this guy was getting sucked into something he didn't understand that also would have been of benefit, both for the campaign and the country. And so I would be careful about how they look at the FBI's positioning of this.

They want to review the predicates of it, fine and again, on the predicates of that FISA report for Carter Page, I think that's definitely reviewable. I think they're just going to find that there were all of these instances that led them to believe that they have the right to do it - not the right, excuse me, the responsibility to do it.

CUOMO: Right.

ROGERS: As protector of the United States international security.

CUOMO: More to come, that's for sure. Susan Hennessy, Mike Rogers, thank you for helping us make sense of it. So the President says he's been exonerated so why wouldn't he want his former White House Counsel to go before Congress? He did nothing wrong, right? Why hide him?

New drama over requests for Don McGahn's testimony but now it starts off as a legal question. Can he block it? You see those good looking smart people. Let's get after it, next.


CUOMO: So on the same day that the Attorney General dodged his House testimony, President Trump gave strong indication, he's not going to let his former White House Counsel Don McGahn testify.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've had him testifying already for 30 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So is the answer no.

TRUMP: And it's really - so I don't think I can let him and then tell everybody else you can. I would say it's done. We've moved to do this. Nobody has ever done what I've done. I've given total transparency. It's never happened before like this.


CUOMO: I have to say it it's not total transparency when you duck sitting down, man to man, face to face with the person you said, you were happy to talk to under oath. It's not full transparency when you have your lawyers doctor up a bunch of questions that don't even touch obstruction of justice.

Now, let's get to this issue, all right? Can the President keep his Special Counsel from testifying or did he waive that privilege? Cuomo's court is in session. Asha Rangappa, Jim Schultz, argument for - argument against. Jimmy Schultz, he can keep him from testifying, what's the case.

JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: So executive privilege is there so the Presidents can communicate with their staff freely and that that to me, those communications do not become public.

CUOMO: Okay.

SCHULTZ: Courts have been very deferential to executive privilege as it relates to Congressional subpoenas. They have been less deferential as it relates to law enforcement subpoenas and subpoenas that have been approved by the court.

[21:25:00] In this case the subpoenas for Don McGahn's testimony and some of the documents have wide ranging scope far beyond obstruction of justice, far beyond any of the things that - that we saw in the Mueller report. So I would say yes, he has a really strong case at limiting the testimony of Don McGahn before Congress.

CUOMO: Even though he waived it?

SCHULTZ: Now that being said - it hasn't - that hasn't been tested.

CUOMO: But he waived it.

SCHULTZ: I don't think he did waive it. No well, I don't think he did Chris.

CUOMO: Because?

SCHULTZ: And here's why, he was - he was - McGahn was communicating with an executive agency -

CUOMO: Okay.

SCHULTZ: - when he was giving that - when he was giving that information. He was not communicating with outside officials.

CUOMO: I get it.

SCHULTZ: His communications were with an executive agent.

CUOMO: I get it. Let's not filibuster the point, Jim.

SCHULTZ: Let's go back to the Holder case for a quick - let's go back to the Holder case.

CUOMO: I'll give you one example.

SCHULTZ: This happened in the Obama - this went back to the Obama administration and communications between Holder and Obama relative to the Fast and Furious investigation.

CUOMO: Right.

SCHULTZ: They fought that because that's what executive branch does. It fights for executive power and executive privilege.

CUOMO: I got you. However, the difference with the example is that they hadn't waited it first but now, let's make the point. Asha, the trick for you is he did it within the executive. Now you're asking to go within the judicial underneath DOJ or to Congress as a separate branch. So it doesn't count the initial waiver within the executive.

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Chris, the executive privilege is a limited privilege to protect deliberations, policy deliberations, things concerning national security that are purely outside of the purview of Congress, it's a separation of powers issue.

When you're talking about obstruction of justice in which Congress has an interest in protecting then that privilege no longer is something that belongs exclusively to some executive branch function, it's potentially concealing evidence of a crime.

And we know from USP Nixon that the privilege then doesn't hold and I think it would not hold even in the case where it is Congress has oversight because of the specific fact that Congress has an interest uncovering acts of obstruction.

I think that you are right that he has waived the privilege already and I think a third thing here is that the White House have no leverage over McGahn. If he actually wants to voluntarily come in and testify, there's pretty much nothing that the President can do. So I think that this is an uphill battle for the President and just to add, if the President is equating, if he's saying he's already talked to Mueller so now you know, it doesn't - Congress doesn't need him to do more.

Then he's basically conceding that Congress is entitled to see all of the 302s which McGahn provided to the FBI, if they're equivalent then that just be handed over if McGahn isn't going to testify.

CUOMO: All right, well argued, there's something else I want to get. Play the sound of Barr.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any objections? Can you think of an objection of why Don McGahn shouldn't come testify before this committee about his experience?

BILL BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Yes, I mean, I think that he's - he's a close adviser to the President and the President -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never exerted executive privilege.

BARR: Excuse me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You may have already waived his -

BARR: No, we haven't waived the executive privilege.


CUOMO: We? We Jimmy? We haven't waived executive privilege, that's the Attorney General of the United States of America, not Rudy Giuliani or somebody working in the White House counsel's office right now. Come on, come on Jimmy.

SCHULTZ: So Rudy Giuliani is not a member of the executive branch, couldn't assert executive privilege, that's not Rudy Giuliani's -

CUOMO: It's not the AG's place either.

SCHULTZ: It is solely within the purview - solely within the purview of the President and Barr said later on that it's up to the President.

CUOMO: He said we.

SCHULTZ: When he says that - when he - right, I get it but he also said the decision is up to the President.

CUOMO: He said we.

SCHULTZ: And he was referring to the collective we, meaning the executive privilege.

CUOMO: What does that mean? The royal we? SCHULTZ: We're talking - we're talking about the executive privilege. Remember, Holder's communications with President Obama on the Fast and Furious investigations.

CUOMO: Again with the Holder and Obama.

SCHULTZ: That's -

CUOMO: He said we.

SCHULTZ: We were talking about the collective we there as well. We were talking about the we discussion between the Attorney General of the United States as an adviser to the President and the President on something that it was related to the criminal investigation.

CUOMO: You've heard Eric - you've heard Eric Holder - hold on a second, you've heard Eric Holder refer to Obama's executive privilege exercise with we haven't decided yet?

SCHULTZ: No, I didn't say that Chris.

CUOMO: Then don't make the analogy. Hold on.

SCHULTZ: They were referring to the collective we in their argument.

CUOMO: I got you but there is no collective we.

SCHULTZ: So don't put words in my mouth.

CUOMO: You made the analogy and I'm saying it doesn't stand. Asha, go ahead.

SCHULTZ: I get it.

RANGAPPA: Yes Chris, I guess this is the royal 'we' because the President clearly believes he's a king.

CUOMO: That's what I was trying to do. See what I'm doing, Jimmy?

RANGAPPA: HE thinks he's a -

CUOMO: That's my royal - looks like my mother making yoki but it isn't.

SCHULTZ: You're filling for Asha.

CUOMO: I'm not. Go ahead Asha.

RANGAPPA: And you know, this is a tell.

[21:30:00] This is tell that this is a slip - a slip of the tongue here where Barr really sees himself as an extension of the President, as a representative of the President and not of the people of the United States and it kind of illustrates why he's a disaster as an Attorney General and really needs to go. He does not understand his job and he really wants to be the President's lawyer, I bet he'll make a very good lawyer for the President. He should - he'll probably make a better one than Rudy Giuliani. He should resign and he can go work for the President and let someone who is interested in serving justice take his position because he's clearly not interested or capable of doing that.

CUOMO: I'll tell you what, I will drop the gavel against Asha Rangappa in that last point because the Raskins and Sekulow and Giuliani got this President a sweetheart deal. He didn't have to go in there after he said he would.

The questions that they had, the answer, they obviously got to process all those, they were none about obstruction.

SCHULTZ: No, he said he didn't need them.

CUOMO: No, he didn't say he needed them, he said we have enough -

RANGAPPA: No, he says in the report - he says in the report that they were unable to and that he did not do it because of the delay that it would cause and I think he was being -

SCHULTZ: But he had enough information.

RANGAPPA: - cautious and prudent about the election coming up.

CUOMO: Let's see what he thought, when he testifies. He is going to testify.

RANGAPPA: But you are wrong. He did not saying he didn't need it.

SCHULTZ: Sure. Okay and let's go - let's go back for a second here.

CUOMO: No, we can't, I'm out of time, I'm out of time.

SCHULTZ: Give me one second. One second.

CUOMO: All right, one point. Go ahead.

SCHULTZ: I'm talking about McGahn, you got it wrong. McGahn is a lawyer's lawyer. He's not just going to walk in and testify. It is the President's privilege, the executive privilege. You got that all wrong Asha, that's up to the President of United States and not McGahn.

RANGAPPA: He doesn't work for the White House anymore. He can come in. What is the President going to do? Fire him.

SCHULTZ: I understand but the counselling he gave - the counselling he gave to the President is sacrosanct because that's the purpose of the executive privilege.

RANGAPPA: No, it's not, it's not an attorney-client privilege. Understand the difference between attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.

SCHULTZ: I understand the difference between the two.

RANGAPPA: No, you don't if you think everything is sacrosanct.

SCHULTZ: You're missing the point.

CUOMO: But there is a difference between the two privileges but I got to leave it there. I love you both. All right, thank you very much. See Asha with that when that happens, I was always lose the argument once that happens.

Only the best. The President knows how to pick him. He said it to us so many time. The best people and so many believed him. Now, we're going to look at the proof in the pudding. We've got our latest withdrawal from Stephen Moore for the Fed and just one more layer on a wall of whackos. Next.


[21:35:00] CUOMO: Of course we all remember when this President promised to hire only the best people.


TRUMP: We're going to use our best people. We're going to use people that are so much more talented than there are anywhere in the world.

The cabinet, we're going to have all the best people.

We're going to get the best people in the world.

I see stories of chaos, chaos.

This administration is running like a fine tuned machine.


CUOMO: Known as an Edsel. It is true if you say it enough except when it isn't. Six former Trump advisors were indicted, dozens of people around him were publicly shunned, chased out of the White House for shady things and we're going to have to add a new name to that, Mr. Stephen Moore.

Today the economic commentator withdrew his name from consideration for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors because of revelation after revelation about decade after decade of disparaging comment after disparaging comment that Moore made about a lot of things especially women.

Let's have a great debate, CNN political commentators Angela Rye and Scott Jennings. Here is the proposition to debate. He said he would give us only the best. And even now although somewhat early in the President's tenure, we can say Angelo Rye, I start with you that this is the worst collection of people we have seen in modern history. Yes or no?

ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well Chris, I learned in the second grade by my dear Ms. Irene Lindsey, my second grade teacher that we don't engage in put downs so I will not call these people bad.

CUOMO: I don't think we've met Chris Cuomo, who are you?

RYE: I'm not going to call them bad but I am going to say they should have been properly vetted and by vetting I mean, that they should pass some type of process beside have you said nice things about the President before, that is not a vetting process. I also think that there should be some ethics 101. Do you have some type of moral fortitude about you? You know.

Something like that. I think the other thing that we have to realize is when Donald Trump talks about the best and the greatest and all that, he engages in a little something called hyperbole and we should take it with a grain of salt, if it should even be a grain of salt, maybe it's something else but I can't say that on TV.

But it's not a 4 letter word. Nevertheless, nevertheless, I think that our reality is that it is now incumbent upon the Senate to vet people and they did that you know, suggestively by saying that these folks would not be nominated.

CUOMO: Now Scott, you've done this. You know, you dealt with whom to picking who to put around a President. I mean, is there any defense for the list of choices, I'll put up on the screen for the audience. You didn't have anybody, you didn't have anything like this around either Bushes.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, what I dealt were specifically things like Mr. Moore's possible job where you would have a President nominating someone that would be going through Senate confirmation. I mean, traditionally the way this works is, you do a pretty deep background check on someone and that includes everything they've ever said, everything they've ever written.

You also have a fair amount of conversation going on with the Senate before someone is nominated so that when the formal nomination is made, there are no surprises and -

CUOMO: So how do keep getting it so wrong? Scott?

JENNINGS: They haven't gotten it wrong on - they haven't gotten it wrong on say, federal judges. I mean, you know, what I want to see on jobs like the Fed is the same kind of communication that they've had with the Senate on judges.

CUOMO: They got a list.

JENNINGS: Basically, it's theme was operation -

CUOMO: They got a list from an outside organizations of judges that conservatives like and they've picked off that list. Somebody else did the vetting for them. When do the vetting, they pick people who wind up continuously getting chased out of office. We've never seen anything like it. Tell me where I'm wrong.

JENNINGS: Well, certainly nominees in other administrations have failed. I mean, you've had nominees -

CUOMO: I know but not this many.

JENNINGS: - that have failed votes, you've had nominees that have had to pull out of the process.

CUOMO: But not like this.

JENNINGS: I don't know what the numbers are but it's not -

CUOMO: They are not even close.

JENNINGS: - this administration for a nominee who didn't make the process, no.

RYE: I think -

CUOMO: Go ahead.

RYE: I think there's a difference between fail and an epic fail. I would define an epic fail as that slate - if we can't put that lovely year book like group of photos you just had up, that is an epic fail where every single one of your picks has some type of ethical issue, has some type of challenge.

I've experienced Stephen Moore's issues with women. Stephen Moore decided he could tap me on the shoulder on a Bill Maher show with I don't even know him, like he does not - I'm going to quiet because I'm going to do Ms. Lindsey second grade. I'm just going to.

CUOMO: But listen and you say judges. I don't even know how you are - I was going to let it go but now why let anything go. Scott, do you remember senator Kennedy with that joker that the Trump administration put up to be a federal judge?

[21:40:00] Who had never tried a case? Who didn't know what happened inside of a court room? Give me an analogy for that. Any other time in any other administration when you've ever heard of anything like that? You can't. Why cover for this?

JENNINGS: Oh. I remember during the Obama administration, several of their ambassadorial nominees had absolutely no experience whatsoever with the country they were going to and they were embarrassed beyond recognition at their hearing.

RYE: Who were they?

JENNINGS: Some of them got confirmed and I recognizing ambassadorships frequently turn into fiascos like this but look, here's the point, it happens. It shouldn't happen and you want to minimize it but it does happen and I think this is another case where we're trying to make it seem like somethings unique to Trump when in fact, every administration goes through this.

CUOMO: But Scott, when it happens so much more -

RYE: Epic fail.

CUOMO: - than anyone else that we can count. I'm giving you every opportunity. You say, well, it's happened before. Not like this and I don't think you can disagree with that and be telling the truth, that's all I'm saying.

JENNINGS: Oh look, here - here would be my wish, my wish would be you have vetting before nomination or a name is even floated. You have conversations with the Senate. 90 plus percent of all your issues like this within not - you would not -

CUOMO: Yes, I get it, I'm saying they don't do it.

JENNINGS: - have these kind of problems because they would be detected and then you would not float them.

CUOMO: I know, you're giving a reason why they stink at it. I'm not fighting your reason. I'm saying they don't do it so why don't you take an integrity stand and say you know what? What's right is right. Look at that collection of losers in that list you just put up there, we've never seen this many people kicked out for missing malfeasance before. A little bit honesty, it's refreshing.

JENNINGS: Yes, so - we didn't - I mean, look, I'm all for finding the highest integrity people for appointments. Now look, we didn't call Stephen Moore a loser when we put him on this network you know hundreds of times over the last couple of years.

CUOMO: Listen, I didn't know he had been saying things like that all the time or I would never have had him on my show saying you campaign men and women the same thing, it depresses meant, that's the kind of thing they say on Fox not here.

Anyway look -

RYE: It's also the kind of thing they said 50 years ago.

CUOMO: Go ahead Angela.

RYE: But nevertheless, I think the reality of it is, here's one thing that we can all agree on, people should be vetted just like they're vetted for any other kind of job and we're talking about people who are making crucial decisions about the United States standing not only in this country but also in the world.

And the bottom line is people should be properly vetted, bottom line.

CUOMO: True and look, all I'm saying is this, Scott, you're always welcome on the show you know that but you got to expect a hard time when you come on here and you know, you're dealing with 3X the degree of problems that we've seen in the past, that's all.

So I'm going to come after you about it, doesn't mean I don't want you here, I appreciate you every time. Angelo Rye, you kept to your second grade teachers mantra, I've never heard you do it before. So today was a success. RYE: That's not true Chris, take that back.

CUOMO: Oh watch it, don't break the rule. I'll see you later. Angela Rye, Scott Jennings, thank you very much. You ever try to eat your feelings. I do that's why I'm 235 pounds but listen, it probably wasn't really happy meal, right?

McDonald's long-time rival is doing something beautiful. They're serving up crappy meals but they're doing it for a cause I love. Some food for thought with a man who loves to eat. D. Lemon, next. Hamburglar.


[21:45:00] CUOMO: We eat happy meals because they make us happy. You know who doesn't eat a happy meal? People who aren't happy all the time and there are a lot of those and you know what, the Burger King sees an opportunity in that reality.

It's introducing real meals, goal's two fold, troll McDonald's obviously. But more importantly, aiming to raise awareness about mental health, take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They say I'm too young to raise my baby girl. Take your opinions and suck it world.


CUOMO: Now, I want to bring in D. Lemon because man, does he love to eat. He's probably gone through a thousand of these.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I was wondering why they put this next to me on the set.

CUOMO: Which one do you have?

LEMON: It's a green one. It says salty meal. Are you trying to tell me something?

CUOMO: You are salty so it's a Whopper fries and a large drink and now look, what do you think of what they're going for here as an idea?

LEMON: I think anytime you can educate people about mental health and take the stigma off of it, I think it's - I think it's good as long as they're not making fun of. If they're trying to actually help people. I think it's fantastic.

CUOMO: A 100%. Now, my one thing will be the closing is on this because there's a side of it that I really hope becomes as appetizing as anything in one of these boxes but most of these are emotions, right? Salty, yes, these are feelings, that's not what is - that's different than dealing with the emotional component of illness.

But anyway that we get at it, you know what it reminds me of? I got the DGAF meal by the way, that's what this one is. I got it because it's black because that's what I wear every night but it's called the DGAF meal. Very, very edgy.

LEMON: Oh, don't get it.

CUOMO: Yes, yes, all right, so I'll tell you what though, I like it. Do you remember in the eighties, this is your brain on drugs?

LEMON: Yes I do and it's still in the egg.

CUOMO: And you remember how - and it really brought it home for people in a basic way and it got people talking, not enough. I'm hoping this does that. That would be great.

LEMON: I think it - I think it would be great and you're right, this is drugs, this is your brain on drugs but this is - no one is happy all the time, that is true and that's okay. Feeling your way is just as important as ordering your way.

Okay. Listen at the very end of the day for me, I love a Whopper.

CUOMO: Of course you do.

LEMON: I love a Whopper, there's nothing like that flame grill Whopper and then of course, you know, did you get one of these?

CUOMO: Yes, I got this one.

LEMON: Can you put it on?

CUOMO: I don't want to mess up my do.

LEMON: Come on.

CUOMO: No and also don't want it to become a jiff or gift or whatever they call it all over the internet, especially when they see what it says on it, it's too close to home.

LEMON: Nobody's happy all the time.

CUOMO: What do you have on the show?

LEMON: We're going to be talking - you know nasty woman. Hillary Clinton is a nasty woman. Kamala Harris is a nasty woman. He always talks about women, their looks, if they're nasty.

[21:50:00] And they're - you know, if they're smart or not, right? Or their intelligence so I'm going to have Van Jones and W. Kamau Bell, who by the way is from California, from Kamala Harris' - Senator Harris' home town. So we'll talk to those gentlemen and get the scoop on them and talk about their new projects on CNN.

CUOMO: I wonder if the President when he hears about these meals, he'll wind up eating all of them and he'll say, he wasn't sure about his emotions. LEMON: Well, doesn't he like - he - every time he's - you know,

invites some professional team to the White House, he serves them fast food so I'm sure some of these happy meals and this, what do you call it?

CUOMO: Unhappy meals.

LEMON: This selfie boxes, no one is happy. I'm sure that'll be on the menu.

CUOMO: Real meals they're called, keeping it real on the rissole D. Lemon.

LEMON: Keeping it real with both sides FOMO.

CUOMO: I'll see you in a little bit. We're journalists. We're supposed to - not doing it again. Talk to you in a second. See you. Now, there is a part of this that I'm so in love with. I think it's so important and I brought up what happened back in the eighties for reason. This to me is the most important thing I've ever communicated in a closing argument before. I hope it works for you. I hope it makes a difference, next.


[21:55:00] CUOMO: So the reason Burger King did the real meals is to draw attention in part to mental health awareness month. What a good thing. But it highlights something that is so so sad. How are we still here, still needing a month in which to coax people to recognize the worst set of maladies in our midst?

Mental illness affects more types of people in this country in more ways with worse effects and more far reaching implications and effects than anything else. Think about what I just said.

It is the worst thing we face in terms of our health. Too many of us don't even consider it illnesses like cancer or diabetes or heart disease. None is as daunting as mental illness in terms of what it robs us of in this society.

Got cancer, you're sick. Depression, it's not bad of it, toughen up. And look, I hope these meals are like that cultural catch moment from the eighties. Remember this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?


CUOMO: So simple, so relatable, so obvious. It made something abstract and about government and abstract and remote. We talk about it, there was a dialogue. It created recognition. But boy is it past time to get back to where we were on that level. How many of us know someone who battles mental illness and or

addiction. I put them together and I'll tell you why in a second. I know intimately many layers of my life for many years. There is nothing I fear more. Nothing I worry about more for my kids. Because I know the reality.

My eyes are open to it and my prayer for everyone watching is that it never touches you and that if you see this and you think about it, you get help from anyone that you can. You want numbers fine, they are staggering. This is an easy argument to make. Depression is the number one cause of global disability meaning it costs humanity more than anything in terms of productivity.

$23 billion is the cost in terms of work productivity lost. Problems at home? You can't even put a price on the pain and complications. 15% of adolescents are affected by depression. Depression or anxiety, one out of every four will have one of those diagnoses in their lifetime.

Suicide and that's the most devastating outcome of this illness, right? It kills more people than car accidents every year. It kills more firemen than fire. More than 47,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses in 2017.

Now I connect those. By the way two decades ago, that number was 8000. More than 23,000 people died from cocaine and other stimulant overdose deaths, that's up nearly 50% in just two years. Why am I bringing up drugs? Because it's related.

Overdose, ask a clinician, do some research, it is often a mask for suicide. And so much of addiction is self-medicating pain that is often related to emotional and mental illness. And here's why I'm going from a jokey thing like a real meal or whatever it's called to this heaviness because I've never seen anything hurt people like this illness does.

And I know the biggest part of stopping it is not the illness, it's not that we don't know how to treat it, we need research. It's that so many are so reluctant to get help. So many in society are reluctant to respect mental health for what it is, the stigma, that's the enemy. How big a problem? Look at it like this. Anti-depressants are among the most prescribed drug in the country. And you had a study show that only 11% of male suicide victims had anti-depressants in their system. 44% in females. What does that tell us?

They weren't getting treated. Another grab at it. 60% of mass shooters by one count have a history of serious mental disorders and two-thirds had never been seen by a mental health professional.

I've never seen anything more dangerous matter less to those who are threatened. And I really hope that something like this will get people talking about the reality that mental illness is as real as real gets,

Maybe then we'll start seeing people less ashamed, people less predisposed to stigmatizing. It matters so much that this would be my one wish if a genie came out of a bottle, get rid of mental illness before world peace? Why? Peace is temporary, we know that.