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Trump Contradicts Pompeo On Russian Role In Venezuela; North Korea Fires Short-Range Missile; U.S. Jobless Rate Falls To Lowest Level In Half A Century; Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), Interviewed about Trump-Putin Relationship and Trump Policies. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 3, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Quick programming note, something we're excited about. Next Thursday, May 9th, at 8:00 P.M., I'll be hosting a live Town Hall with former FBI Director James Comey, looking forward to it. We hope you tune into that.

News continues right now. Want to hand it over to the Colbert-cuddler, Chris Cuomo for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Heavy charge, heavy charge, Anderson, and I accept it. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

This President told Vladimir Putin today that the Mueller probe was a hoax. He then joked with the media about how Putin disrespected the probe. He also refused to address any future interference with the man who is still actively trying to interfere with our democracy.

And he decided to accept Putin's claim that he wants to have nothing to do with Venezuela, despite the United States Secretary of State saying the opposite, just days ago.

How is any of that OK?

We have a Foreign Affairs Committee member who may breathe some fire tonight. The Democrat is also on the Committee that has set Monday as the new deadline for the full Mueller report. What happens to the A.G. if it doesn't happen?

And Let's Get After It is supposed to be our thing. But now, it's just becoming a thing.





CUOMO: How did that happen? The story behind the wackiest appearance of my life, only in America, kids. Let's get after it.




CUOMO: The President of the United States was asked if he confronted the man who was actively trying to interfere in our democracy, like right now? Here's his answer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you tell him not to meddle in the next election?

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We didn't discuss that, really we didn't discuss it.


CUOMO: Now, more troubling may be what they did say to each other.

We have Congressman David Cicilline, Member of the Democratic leadership on both the Foreign Affairs and Judiciary Committees, great guest for tonight. Thank you for making it happen. If people knew the communications chaos--


CUOMO: --that has been going on, and yet it all worked out. Thank the Lord.

CICILLINE: Oh, it's no problem (ph).

CUOMO: It's good to have you.

CICILLINE: Great to be with you.

CUOMO: So, he - you know, you can't make it up sometimes, Congressman. He says to Putin the probe was a hoax. They joke about how it started out as a mountain, it became a mouse.

He didn't talk to him about not interfering anymore. And he says that he believes that Putin wants nothing to do with Venezuela despite our own Intel people and our Secretary of State telling him that's not true.

How do you explain it?

CICILLINE: Well, I think, again, Chris, this is another example of the President of the United States appearing to sort of cozy up to Vladimir Putin, trying to make excuses for his bad behavior, unwilling to confront him when he undermines American national security interests, and you have to wonder why. I mean here is a report from the Special Counsel that details a very extensive sophisticated campaign led by Vladimir Putin to attack American democracy for the benefit of Donald Trump at the expense of Hillary Clinton. And - and - and lays out in a lot of detail how they did that. They continue to do it.

The President of the United States, this is his first conversation with Vladimir Putin. You would expect he would say, "How dare you attempt to interfere with the American democracy with a Presidential election? Don't you ever do it again," and assert that there would be consequences for it.

But instead, he's sort of using Vladimir Putin's talking points. It's a hoax. It started out as a mountain, now it's a mouse or whatever he said, just undermining the intelligence and national security communities, and the seriousness of the threat, so it's very, very disappointing.

CUOMO: Senator Amy Klobuchar--

CICILLINE: But not surprising.

CUOMO: Right. Senator Amy Klobuchar was on last night. Obviously, she's running for President, Senator out of Minnesota. Listen to what she said.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): We have another Presidential election coming up. And this President has every reason not to protect that election.

CUOMO: That is a heavy allegation, Senator. What are you suggesting?

KLOBUCHAR: Because the last way this was handled appeared to benefit him.


CUOMO: I'll tell you what. I wouldn't ask it with this much gusto tonight after what he said to the Russian President.

But, you know, her main point was, you know, we had a bipartisan bill here, she and Jim Lankford, the Republican Congressman put it together. The White House pushed back on it.

They didn't want to put in place what these two bipartisan Senators believe were necessary to secure the next election with paper backup ballots, just in case the poaching of any votes works.

How do you explain that?

CICILLINE: Well you explain because, Chris, the President has made it very clear that anyone who raises the issue, remember Secretary Nielsen, anyone who raises the issue of the Russian interference in our democracy, the President reacts very badly is that because he perceives that to be questioning the legitimacy of his holding Office.

[21:05:00] Instead of saying, "Look, whatever you think about me, I'm going to lead the effort to make sure we secure this democracy--


CICILLINE: --make sure no foreign adversary gets involved in any way," but the President hasn't done that.

And you're right. In the - in the Mueller report, the special Counsel says although there he may not have been able to prove conspiracy, the Trump campaign understood they would benefit electorally from the misconduct and the--

CUOMO: Right.

CICILLINE: --the attack by the Russians.

CUOMO: That's what Mueller found.

CICILLINE: That there's no question the President understood that. That's right.

CUOMO: All right, so I'll give you that on Russian interference. He has to talk this way because if he talks about it too much, if it indulges it too much, he believes it's bad for him, and delegitimizes his win, fine. That is the rationale.

CICILLINE: No, and I'm not saying he has to talk about it that way. I'm saying that's why he has failed to provide leadership--

CUOMO: I'm with you.

CICILLINE: --on this issue.

CUOMO: I'm with you. That's--

CICILLINE: Because he's so insecure. Right, OK.

CUOMO: Yes. You're not providing an excuse. You're giving an explanation.

CICILLINE: No, that's right. Exactly.

CUOMO: But it doesn't work for me on Venezuela. And, obviously, I'm asking Cicilline, not because he's a Democrat, but he's on the Foreign Affairs Committee. He's going to have to figure out what to do about this.

So, on Venezuela, listen to what he said.


TRUMP: We talked about many things. Venezuela was one of the topics. And he is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he'd like to see something positive happen for Venezuela, and I feel the same way.


CUOMO: He feels the same way? He doesn't want to do anything. He doesn't want to interfere. They've got a 100 troops on the ground. The Secretary of State just said the opposite. What do you do about that in your capacity?

CICILLINE: Yes. No, I think, first of all, I've actually introduced legislation that we've already passed out of the Foreign Affairs Committee that would prevent the President from engaging in a military action in Venezuela without Congressional authorization.

Because the last thing we want or the American people want is another war without Congressional authorization--

CUOMO: True.

CICILLINE: --for a long period of time. But this is a real example of where the President's fondness for Vladimir Putin, hard to explain why, is really affecting the national security interests of the United States.

The Russians have helped to prop up Nicolas Maduro, a brutal dictator in Venezuela. Many think but for their involvement, he would have been long gone, and there'd be a transition to new leadership in that country.

And the President saying, "Oh, no. Vladimir Putin told me he wants what's best for the Venezuelans," well if you think the brutality of Nicolas Maduro is what's best for the Venezuelans, and I guess you can believe Vladimir Putin, but this is naivete or something worse.

It's an effort to explain away the thuggish behavior of Vladimir Putin, and somehow just believe him over your own State Department officials, your intelligence community, and this is a pattern you have to wonder why.

CUOMO: All right.

CICILLINE: Why is the President so willing to excuse the conduct and - and give the benefit of the doubt to a person who attacked our democracy?

CUOMO: All right, so now let's bounce the ball the other way. If on Monday, the A.G. does not give you the full un-redacted Mueller report, what are you going to do?

CICILLINE: On Monday, if the Attorney General does not give us the full un-redacted report--

CUOMO: Right.

CICILLINE: --the Judiciary Committee, I expect the Chairman will make this final decision. But my expectation is we will file a contempt resolution or notice of contempt resolution. The Committee will find the Attorney General in contempt of a lawful subpoena.

CUOMO: Right.

CICILLINE: That actually would go to the floor of the House.


CICILLINE: That would then authorize not only a finding of contempt, but authorize a court action for enforcement of the subpoena.

CUOMO: But that could mean the Sergeant of Arms like going and arresting him. Do you really want to do that? Do you really want to put the A.G. in jail over a political dispute?

CICILLINE: Well - well it's not a political dispute. Let - let's be clear about this.

This is about a central function of Congress. Our oversight responsibility is completely dependent on our ability to compel the production of documents, and to compel the appearance of witnesses to testify under oath.

If the Executive branch is allowed to just say "No," then it will effectively extinguish Congressional oversight. Our Founding Fathers did not contemplate that. It's a important Constitutional responsibility. We have to do our job, and collecting evidence is essential to that.

And there would be a court proceeding, in which case Mr. Barr would be judged into contempt if he didn't comply, and the court would have the ability to impose penalties, and ultimately take a witness into custody, if they failed to reply.

No one wants that. What we want is the production of the documents.

CUOMO: Good.

CICILLINE: So, my hope is that the Attorney General will think about this and will understand his obligation to share those documents with Congress as has been the past practice. It shouldn't get to--

CUOMO: Right.

CICILLINE: --litigation or anything like that. But this - we've got to get this information. We need to have these documents, and we need to have witnesses come before the Committee and testify under oath.

CUOMO: Look, I get it. I get the need for oversight and accountability. You've got to get the caution of overreach because the last thing we need is for the temperature to get any hotter than it already is.

Congressman, on a Friday with all the drama that went into your hit, thank you so much for making it all work.

CICILLINE: My pleasure. CUOMO: An important time to have you. Be well.

CICILLINE: Thank you. You be well as well.

CUOMO: All right, another big topic.

The President looked at this new report from The New York Times about how and to what lengths our Intel agencies went to surveil Papadopoulos when word came to them from the Australian diplomat about what he was talking about with what Russia had.

[21:10:00] He looks at it, and he says, "Spying. It's over. The worst I've ever seen since Watergate, except in reverse."

Is it? We're going to test what they told us happened, what the facts are, with Phil Mudd, former intelligence boss for this government, next.








CUOMO: All right, while we've been in commercial, we've gotten some breaking news. CNN can report that North Korea has apparently fired, tested a short-range ballistic missile.

Now, let's bring in Phil Mudd. We're lucky to have him tonight. He worked in the government with the FBI and the CIA. He understands these things. We're very thin on information. I can't even tell you what direction they sent it in.

But do what you're best at. Give us the right questions to ask on this news.

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER: The message isn't about the missile. It's about what Kim Jong-un, that is the leader of North Korea, is telling us about future negotiations.

We go through a failed conversation he had, obviously, in Southeast Asia, with the President recently. Kim Jong-un comes out after saying he's going to freeze his missile and nuclear programs, and pops off a short-range missile, that's not a threat to America. He's not trying to suggest that he's going after Alaska or Hawaii or Guam.

What he's sending a message to the White House about is, "Look, you treated me as an equal. You met me with the President of the United States. If you want to talk, we better talk because if you don't want to talk, if you don't want to get serious, I got options. And my first option, just a short-range missile."

Maybe the second option, Chris, nuclear test. He wants to come back to the table and he expects the President to treat him as a pro and as an equal.

CUOMO: The only other piece of information that I have right now for you is that they say it came from the East Coast, which would obviously, the border - the Waterside Coast. Have they ever come from the West Coast?

MUDD: Yes.

CUOMO: I mean is that relevant?

[21:15:00] MUDD: No. I suspect they're just shooting into the ocean again, an indication, and we have very little information, I understand that an indication that they're not threatening a landmass, popping it off into the ocean, maybe they'll say it was a test.

But after that failed meeting with - with - with President Trump, and remember, Kim Jong-un was just on a train to see Vladimir Putin--

CUOMO: Right.

MUDD: --complaining about his conversations with President Trump. You cannot view this as a missile test. You've got to view this as a message to Washington saying, "Show back up at the table, and you better bring your A-game this time."

By the way, A-game means "If you want us to give something up in North Korea, you better prepare to give something up on sanctions. You give, we give." It's not a one-way street from the North Korean perspective

CUOMO: So, how do you figure the idea of the President meeting with Putin? They said they talked about North Korea, the same day Kim Jong- un does this, what does that mean?

MUDD: I think there's a pretty simple story here that is Putin wants to re-emerge on the global stage. He's got a lot of friends we don't like, the Venezuelans, the Iranians, the Syrians, the North Koreans. Putin is not - but he wouldn't have known about this, I guarantee you that.

But he's got a simple game here that involves the President of the United States. And that is when Kim Jong-un comes to the table, he's going to have his team behind him. That's the Chinese, and that's that emerging player who wants to counter us. That's Putin.

What Putin is doing in his conversations with Kim Jong is - Kim Jong- un is saying "Forget about the fall of the wall. Forget about the decline of the Soviet Union. Forget about you guys dissing us for 25 years. We're back in the game. One of the pieces of the game, we're going to be there with Kim Jong-un when he talks to you about nukes and missiles."

CUOMO: All right, change topics. Thank you very much, Phil. If they give me any more information to my head--

MUDD: No, no, no, we're done.

CUOMO: --I'll come to you on it. So, listen, New York Times comes out with a report.

MUDD: All right.

CUOMO: Your--

MUDD: Yes.

CUOMO: --ex brothers and sisters in the FBI were so worried about what they heard from that Australian Ambassador, about what George Papadopoulos was telling them that some Russian had told him about what, you know, they could have on Hillary Clinton or on the Democrats or whatever that not only did they enlist the help of an informant, that Professor in the U.K., but they brought an investigator from the United States over to the U.K.

And, of course, you know how involved that is. But the people who are watching should know that ain't easy, so it had to involve British Intelligence as well. And she posed as someone named Azra Turk, an assistant to that professor, who's also an informant--

MUDD: Yes.

CUOMO: --for the U.S., and met with Papadopoulos and tried to get information, it turned out to be unsuccessful.

The President hears this and says, "Spying! There it is." Is it as simple as that?

MUDD: No. In fact, I'd go almost a 180 degrees. Look, in cities across America, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, since the beginning of time, politicians, including in this country, engaged in corruption.

Let me give you an example of corruption. You sit on a City Council and you tell a construction individual, somebody in private business, "We'll steer a contract toward you on the City Council to build sidewalks, to build roads, 50,000 bucks, that's the cost."

Some businessman walks into the FBI in any city across America and says, "There's political corruption here with the Mayor's Office, with the City Council, what does the FBI say?"

We're going to put an informant in there with the City Council member who appears to be corrupt that we have information on, and see what we can find. I realize this is the President. I realize it's a sensitive case.

But if you want to tell me that putting an informant on a political corruption case is somehow weird, I guarantee you, not only is had that happened a million times in the FBI, but it's happening today in America in some city related to City Council or state corruption.

I guarantee you that's the way the business works. It's not uncommon.

CUOMO: You're not supposed to lay off when it's a Presidential campaign and it's an American citizen on foreign soil?

MUDD: No. I think there's a fair question here that's going to come out, and I think this will be painful. The question is not whether you can use an informant.

The question is was the information from the foreign diplomat significant of - enough, clear enough, concise enough, hard enough for you to take an incredible step to say "We're going to conduct an investigation on President - Presidential campaign."

If the information was good enough, yes, you put an informant on the case. I think the question is going to be "Was the information good enough to go down that path in a Presidential campaign?" Boy, that's going to be a tough one, Chris. I think it's going to go ugly.


MUDD: Because I think there're going to be questions from the Inspector General at the FBI saying, "Are you sure that information read - met a standard for looking into a Presidential campaign?"

Any time the Inspector General looks at a complicated like - case like this, they're going to find something wrong. The White House is going to then twist this and say, "The whole thing is dirty."

I don't think that'll happen. But as soon as the Inspector General finds one speck of dirt, the White House is going to be on that like white on rice.

[21:20:00] CUOMO: Well, remind me, you've got more experience with these things than I do.

But when does an Inspector General find absolutely nothing? They always find something that result - you know, required further questioning or maybe a little bit of a referral for more review, or to look at how these procedures went down.

MUDD: Well I think we've been around since 1776, and I suspect we're about O (ph) for 250 years. Inspectors General are there to say, and we didn't like them. I mean they're there to say "This is how you can do something better."

Again, you look at this case, you look at the number of interviews, the amount of data, everything from email to phone to financial data, from hundreds of potential witnesses.

You look at how the issue was handled with the White House. Should you or should you not have interviewed the President of the United States? You look at the criticisms of James Comey, and what he was doing, and you think the Inspector General is going to say "This was a clean slate?" No way. The question is how significant are the problems he finds, not whether he finds problems. He will.

CUOMO: A new - as I told people to get used to the phrase, abuse of power, about five months ago, and now we're starting to hear that on the political side, something else for them to hear, fruit of the poisonous tree. They're going to start hearing about that--

MUDD: Yes.

CUOMO: --if this I.G. returns--

MUDD: Yes.

CUOMO: --anything that raises significant questions about how this was done because that will mean that can you argue that anything came from - that came out of this investigation is - is bogus because of how it started was poisoned in the beginning.

MUDD: Yes.

CUOMO: We'll see. Phil Mudd, thank you very much on a Friday night. Thank God you have no social life--

MUDD: Thank you.

CUOMO: --and were available. Appreciate it.

MUDD: Thank you.

CUOMO: No, I'm just kidding. Phil's a great guy. He wears so many different hats. He understands so much. He's been so important to us for so many years. He is a good, good man, and he's not on Twitter. Smart!

So, the President is calling a female opponent "Nasty" again. What is this going to mean for the waning number of women who support him? Does "Nasty woman" mean something that the President should get and not go there?

That is the start of a Great Debate, next.







(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Horseface, low-life, fat, ugly, nasty, you know what those are? Words our current President uses to try to degrade women he's threatened by or just doesn't like.

And yet, one of them or one of the many 2020 Democratic candidates is now using that word, last one, "Nasty," to her advantage.

That is Senator Kamala Harris, and she's doing what she can to take on the President while other contenders, like Joe Biden, are taking heat for potentially insensitive comments as well. We'll get to that. This is not just one side tonight.

But let's bring in our Great Debaters, Van Jones and Niger Innis.




[21:25:00] CUOMO: So, we'll start it this way. Niger, hasn't the President learned his lesson? Why would he call Kamala Harris nasty? Didn't he learn from the campaign that that scene is code of how he speaks about women?

NIGER INNIS, CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, TEAPARTYFWD.COM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: No, not necessarily. I mean he was pretty straightforward when it came to his opponents, be they men or women in 2016. You'll recall even Carly Fiorina, he said which - what a--

CUOMO: Oh, I remember.

INNIS: --a woman like that - you remember what he said about her. And nevertheless, at the end of the day, he ended up getting a majority of White women's vote, and - including a majority of - of college- educated White women.

So, I don't know that the President needs to pull back at all. The fact is that Senator Harris, from comparing ICE to the KKK, to the way she went after Barr, the way she went after Jeff Sessions before, she has been nasty.

And because she happens to have a gender that is a woman and happens to be a minority does not mean that she should be admonished or - or not admonished for those things. She should be called on it. She's running for the highest office in the land.

CUOMO: Van Jones is in Redemption mode, as we know from his brilliant new series, that he's doing to try to show that people can come together. What do you see in this one, my friend?

VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, CNN HOST, THE REDEMPTION PROJECT WITH VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, at first, I mean, if we're going to talk about the female vote, I think 96 percent of African-American women voted against Donald Trump, and the majority of women of color voted against Donald Trump, but as long as we're going to talk about that.

Look, the reality is that, you know, Kamala Harris is a tough prosecutor. She's not nasty. She didn't do anything nasty. She didn't - she didn't call anybody any names. She didn't raise her voice.

She was a tough, professional, disciplined prosecutor who rattled the Attorney General, and had him stumbling and stuttering, and asking for, you know, for help from his mom. It was just an embarrassment. But to call that "Nasty," I think is - is - is wrong on the facts. But there's this pattern.

Whenever the President feels that somebody could pose a threat to him, especially if they're female, he has a particular vocabulary for them that he doesn't have for men. And that's the reason that people began to ask this question.

He - you don't hear him using these type of words. He uses all kind of bad words against all kind of people because that's his thing. But I do think that there's something there when it comes to gender for this guy.

CUOMO: You think it's going to matter, Van?

INNIS: I don't buy that.

JONES: Well--

CUOMO: You--

JONES: Well, listen, I don't know what matters and what doesn't matter. I know what's right. I know what's wrong. And it is right for a sitting U.S. Senator to - to use her prosecute - prosecutorial skills to ask tough questions.

And it is right for the President of the United - it's wrong for the President of the United States to call people names all the time.

CUOMO: I will do it one more step on this, Niger, this way. I hear you that he's an equal opportunity offender. Well he doesn't do it the same way. You won't find him calling men the kinds of things he calls women.

And, in fact, there's more of a playfulness to what he calls men than when he goes at women. He is just raw and hard when it comes to women. Whereas with men it's like--


CUOMO: --you know, Little Marco, you know, and Cheating This and Sleepy That. With women, it's ugly, horseface, blood coming from wherever, I mean it's really ugly stuff. Why?

INNIS: I don't think you want to ask Jeb Bush about how gentle Donald Trump was with him vis-a-vis other.

CUOMO: Low-energy Jeb? INNIS: Well not the low-energy--

JONES: Low energy versus horseface?

INNIS: Well not - not only that. He said his mother should be the candidate, not him. I mean he was brutal to his opponents. That's the way Donald Trump rolls. That's the way he's rolled for - for many, many years. I don't see a double standard--

CUOMO: Well also you want a double standard?

INNIS: --with him (ph) like I said.

CUOMO: I'm about to contribute to a double standard right now, OK? And - and I'm aware of it, and I'm not really that happy about it, but I'm doing it anyway, in part, because I've got two African-Americans on the panel tonight, and I want your take on this.

Now, I'm just saying, just for the record, and for the audience, I don't believe that what Joe Biden said should be mentioned the same way as what Trump said about women and about Kamala Harris.

But, in the interest of fairness, he was talking about what he has done in the past to help women, and this is about what he said, and how he said it. Listen to the sound bite.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Through a program we had through community colleges, we said, look, find - put together a program for us where we can teach people how to code.

So, they went out, literally into the hood, and they found, turned out, 54, and they happened to be all women, the vast majority were women of color, no one with more than a high school degree.


CUOMO: Now, Niger, I'll - even in the interest of fairness--

JONES: That's fine.

CUOMO: --I'll even start with you first. Do you believe that what Joe Biden said there and the way he said it was offensive to people of color?

INNIS: Look, on my side of the line, ideological line, we are not politically correct, nor are we obsessed with identity politics to the same degree that my friends on the other side of the line are.

And the problem is not from folk like us. I mean, you know, we may try to score a few political points because Joe, yet again, has - has mint-flavored chew in his mouth on this, on China, and the campaign has just got started. I'm so looking forward to it. [21:30:00] But - but no. It's - it's - it's not a big deal. I don't see it as racist. I - I see it as him trying to be lax. The question is though that radical hardcore identity politics wing of the Democratic Party, which might comprise a majority of the base, do they find it offensive?

CUOMO: Well I don't know - I don't know about that.

INNIS: Because they ought to say something (ph).

CUOMO: We just had a study that Twitter-Left is not Democratic Party Left. It's about 83 percent to 87 percent Center Left as opposed to more progressive or far-Left. But, Van, what's your take?

INNIS: We'll find out soon.

JONES: Look, I - I don't have a problem with it. It's become like very, very common and - and vernacular. Wasn't it Bernie Sanders who said ghetto or somebody - like somebody--


JONES: And so, then everybody said, "No, we don't say ghetto. We say in the hood." So, you know, so I - I think Biden is probably closer to what people say on a daily basis than - than ghetto.

So, look, here's the deal. What we can't miss out on is you then (ph) got a guy who cares about kids in the urban environment. He recognizes that they need to be ready for the jobs of tomorrow and he's engaging in that work.

And there are people on the Right who do that as well. But here, you've got somebody who's doing good work to help kids. And, you know, we don't talk about how he talked about it. I'm proud of what he did. I don't care how he described it.

CUOMO: I'll tell you what. If - if - if - if - if it is Biden that gets the nomination, it will be a marriage made in heaven in terms of, for him and the President, it'll be a dream because the other one will say, "Well, look, I'm making gaffes, but I'm not as bad as that guy," and you'll see this all day long.

Anyway, my friends, thank you so much.


CUOMO: Van Jones and Niger Innis, thanks. And I was talking about the Redemption Project, and I'm mentioning it again.

JONES: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Van Jones, this Sunday, he is trying to tap in to what is hardest, but also, often the best parts of humanity, 9:00 P.M. Eastern and Pacific. Yes, he looks like Schaff (ph), but look past that and watch the show, it is amazing. The unemployment rate, 3.6 percent, lowest rate since the 60s, GDP growth, good, a lot of people got a tax cut, stocks, high. With all those things, how can the Democrats win on the economy?

A former Labor Secretary says he'd like to take that on. Let's get after it.








CUOMO: President took a victory lap via Twitter, writing "Jobs surge in April, unemployment rate falls to the lowest since 1969."

You know what? That's all true. And this will be the ninth straight year that the economy adds at least 2 million jobs, that's right, the ninth straight year.

So, what does that tell you? Well that's great, and this President has been in Office for two of them, so this has been something that's going on. But it's still good. In fact, there are a lot of good metrics in the economy.

Unemployment at that 50-year low, stocks soaring, wages up across most metrics. So where is the room for Democrats to make room on the economy?

Former U.S. Labor Secretary, Professor of Public Policy for the University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Robert Reich, always a pleasure, first time I've had you on this show, happy to do so.


CUOMO: And with that, you will now start attacking my arguments. What do you say in response to what I lay out?

REICH: Well the economy is good. And, undoubtedly, Trump is going to be trumpeting the economy.

And to the extent that Presidential elections are won, on the official economic statistics coming out of the Department of Labor and the Department of Commerce, he has a big advantage. But that's not where people are actually seeing the economy.

I mean at - when you look at the data, the aggregate data, it looks pretty good. But most Americans are worried about healthcare costs, co-payments, deductibles soaring, they're worried about the costs of higher education, how can they ever afford to send their kid to college.

CUOMO: Who will they blame?

REICH: And they will - obviously, they always blame whoever is in the White House.

But they're also going to be attracted to Democrats who have answers who say "Look, and we have a housing crisis. Here's what we do about the housing crisis. Yes, we have child care. You need child care? Here's what we're going to do about it."

Democrats who have answers and a Republican in the White House who only gives tax - big tax breaks to corporations, that's the contrast--

CUOMO: All right.

REICH: --that's going to be meaningful to average Americans.

CUOMO: All right, let's step through it a little bit.

One, are you with me in as much as while they can make that case, what Joe Biden did, in front of that Union crowd, saying "You didn't get a tax cut, did you? You didn't feel it," was he wrong to do that because there are a lot of people in the middle-class who got tax cuts.

I know it depends on where you live and how much you're making, how you file, in which date. But to say nobody got one, it's just not true.

REICH: No. Some people did get one. But the big tax cuts we know, I mean, this is not something that is controversial, Chris. The big tax cuts went to very rich people and--

CUOMO: True.

REICH: --the big corporations. And the other thing--

CUOMO: $0.83 cents on the dollar (ph).

REICH: --Chris, the other - the other thing about this is very important is that when corporations use the tax cut to buy back their shares of stock, creating a kind of sugar-high for the stock market that helps the people that own a lot of stocks.

CUOMO: True.

REICH: And those are very rich people.

CUOMO: OK. On healthcare costs, now, you could argue, and I will, for the sake of this that the President won in part by saying "That ACA didn't deliver. It's still really screwed up. We can do better than this. People voted for it." Why doesn't that continue through into this election that "Look, we've been trying to fix the ACA and get rid of it. They won't let us, these Democrats. Give me another four more years, give me a bigger majority, so I can get it done?"

REICH: Well we know that in 2018, the American voters were very upset about even the possibility that the Republicans were trying to take away the pre-existing conditions part of healthcare. So, that's just not a wash.

I mean the Republicans had years to come up with a replacement for the ACA. They did not. They just - they couldn't even repeal it. They talked about repeal and replace when Donald Trump was running for Office.

And they didn't repeal it. They didn't replace it. I don't think there's any credibility there at all.

CUOMO: Medicare-for-All, is that going to be the best message for Democrats?

REICH: Well, again, look at the recent polls. 70 percent of Americans are in favor of Medicare-for-All, including almost a majority of Republicans. That's not a far-Left idea. That is something that--

CUOMO: But they don't know what it costs.

REICH: --most Americans like.

CUOMO: They don't know what it costs, Rob.

REICH: Well they don't know what it costs.

But they know that they're paying huge amounts of money for co- payments, deductibles, and insurance. So, even though it may cost the federal government a lot, in terms of how things average out, they are going to save more than it cost the federal government.

CUOMO: But where is - I - you know, look, we know this. I've been following you my - my whole life, and politics is simple, not sophisticated, in terms of messaging and campaigns.

If he's coming and saying, "Look at growth, look at the stocks, look at wages, things are good," how do you come at him on this issue?

[21:40:00] REICH: Well, I think very easily. And I remember in the Clinton Administration in 1996, when Bill Clinton was running for re- election, actually all the economic indicators were positive.

But Bill Clinton when he went out and say - and said "Everything's great," a lot of people said back "Wait a minute, they're not great for me. You are out of touch with me and my personal economy."

So, I think it's dangerous for Republicans to go out and say "Things are wonderful. The economy is great," because so many Americans are insecure, they are worried about their own personal economy, and it's not just healthcare and education, housing, and everything else we've been talking about.

It's also that more and more jobs are becoming insecure. They are not solid, the kind of old steady jobs we used to know in this economy. And therefore, you have about 80 percent of Americans, 80 percent, who are living paycheck to paycheck.

CUOMO: True.

REICH: This is a new economy. And this is not a - what people would say a great economy for me.

CUOMO: You know, it's interesting.

Based on what you said earlier in this segment, I wonder if, and please give me your take on this, last thing I'll ask you, if it's better for the Democrats if they want to make advantage to focus on healthcare, focus on how people are being forced to spend their money, and leave the battle over how good the economy is aside, because that's his highest number, the highest number for this President is about 56 percent approval on the economy, so stick to healthcare, don't fight about the tax cuts and the economy, you probably won't win, that's not your best place.

REICH: I think that's right. I would not go to the - to the aggregate economic statistics. I'd go down to kitchen table economics, and, again, healthcare, education, housing, all of the things that people actually care about in terms of the security of their own jobs.

That's where the public is. The public is not in the aggregate statistics coming out of the Bureau of Economic analysis or coming out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CUOMO: You know what's so interesting? I remember when Mr. Trump, before he was President Trump, I used to interview him during the 2008 Great Recession, and he used to make those points.

Why do you keep bringing up the unemployment rate? It's about underemployment. Why do you keep bringing up the stock market? That's Wall Street, not Main Street.

And now--

REICH: I hope you have those tapes.

CUOMO: --he's doing the opposite.

REICH: Chris, I hope you have those old tapes.

CUOMO: Oh, they're there. Good Morning America, they are on. Robert Reich, thank you so much. Appreciate the insight. Let's do it again.

REICH: Good to talk to you.

CUOMO: All right, now, you know what this show is about right? We get after it every night. Stephen Colbert, however, little skeptical last night, little bit of a bully, wanted to test me. (CHRIS CUOMO WITH STEPHEN COLBERT AT THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT VIDEO)

CUOMO: Oh, yes, that happened. That happened. And he said that he'll do the testing. And he thought that he'd get a little testy. And I think we need to test that. And let's do it with my main testa dura, that means hard head in Italian, D. Lemon, next, and how this happened.








CUOMO: So, you hear what happened? Stephen Colbert invited me on The Late Show last night to talk about the role in journalism today, at least that's what I thought we were going to talk about, politics and journalism.

But instead, he tried to bully your boy, punk me. I was shocked. I was frightened. But I tried to salvage my dignity. Watch.


COLBERT: What do you bench? What do - what do you bench? What do you bench, Chris Cuomo?

CUOMO: I bench Colbert.

COLBERT: You bench--


COLBERT: I bet I could do more push-ups than you.

CUOMO: I bet you could do.


COLBERT: Let's get after it. Let's - come on.



(CROWD COUNTING 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18)



CUOMO: It could have gone either way, to be honest. It could have gone either way. Let's bring in D. Lemon. And before you speak--



LEMON: --99--

CUOMO: Yes. Before you speak--

LEMON: --100.

CUOMO: What's the matter? You allergic to the ground?

LEMON: Oh, it's Chris?

CUOMO: You only got to go half-way.

LEMON: Oh, shoot. I was just getting ready for the show. Sorry about that.

CUOMO: You - you - you're allergic - you're allergic to the ground? You allergic to the floor?

LEMON: Sorry about that. I was just doing my pre-show--


LEMON: --warm-up there.

CUOMO: How are your pants?

LEMON: I actually ripped them.

CUOMO: Yes. That's what I heard. And no--

LEMON: I am not going to show that, I actually won't--

CUOMO: --don't show me.

LEMON: I was like, "Wait, did I just rip my pants?"

CUOMO: That's what you get for buying those off-brand suits.

LEMON: I'm not even going to say anything. You know--

CUOMO: You got to stick with me, just one.

LEMON: --you know that ain't true.

CUOMO: I know. You dress very well. So, how did I do last night? LEMON: I thought you did well. I thought you did well. I am not going to tell Stephen Colbert, I won't say on this program what you said about Stephen.

CUOMO: What did I say?

LEMON: You want me to say it?

CUOMO: Yes, yes.

LEMON: You said, "Man, he's heavy." Did you not text me that he's heavy, he weighs a lot?

CUOMO: He was much bigger than I expected him to be. And he's also much quicker and much smarter.

You know, you see it on TV, you watch the clips, it's one thing. But watching it live, it's amazing how much material he goes through, and his facility with the facts, and what's going on--

LEMON: He's good.

CUOMO: --it's really impressive, and funny at nights.

LEMON: It is. So, can I - do I have time to tell you.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

LEMON: I had two experiences with him. Once, on the Colbert show, I did a skit with him where we taught - I did something on vampires, and he called me in, and brought me to New York, and we did this funny thing about vampires. So, this is way back when.

And then, I guess just maybe six to eight months ago, I forgot how long it's been, that I was on his show, and you're right. I mean, and he challenges you, and he - he wants to know. So, I - I enjoyed the experience. But he was - he's - he's a formidable, let's put it that way.

CUOMO: He had a lot of fun with let's get after it. He insisted to know what the "It" is.

LEMON: I love you guys. You're like twins with the - I mean did you guys see the uniform? We have a video. You guys look like twins. You're both in the white shirt and the dark pants and I just--

CUOMO: Well you have a white shirt on the dark pants too.

LEMON: No, I have grey. Well, he is on grey too. OK.

CUOMO: Yes. See?


CUOMO: See, that's what I'm saying about you, Don. You know, you're always looking for these kinds of things. Look at that. How many times--


LEMON: That - is that - is that when you threw your back out right there?

CUOMO: I was worried. I'm a wreck.

LEMON: No. Listen, I know you're joking. But you know you had some issues recently, and I - when I saw that I was like--

CUOMO: Yes, I know. I have issues. They're like ongoing issues.

LEMON: No, I meant back issues. I could be making fun of you about the real issues that you do have. But you had some back issues. I have them too.

CUOMO: Hey, I'm OK with my issues, especially this month, I'm OK with my issues.


CUOMO: So, what do you got?

LEMON: Do you want me to tell you what's coming up?

CUOMO: Please.

LEMON: We've been, you know, the host - the church issue, the black churches in the South, the burnings.


LEMON: Some of the pastors met with the Vice President.

CUOMO: Oh, great.

LEMON: Two of those pastors will be on today to talk about whether they think hate crimes will start to go down instead of increase in this country. And I also want to know what they talked about with the Vice President. So, I - I can't wait to see that.

[21:50:00] It's something a little bit different than what's going on with the Administration sort of related. It's not Russia-related. It has to do with hate crimes and that climate in this country. I can't wait to hear what they have to say.

CUOMO: Good for you.


CUOMO: Very important. Thank you, my brother. I'll see you in a second.

LEMON: I got to get back to my - to my workout, I'm pretty sure. CUOMO: Yes. You better get back to the room and have them stitch your pants up.

LEMON: I'll let you (ph) do that.

CUOMO: Yes, yes. See what happens?

I mean once you get engaged, see, they lose all the - he's got to leave for this insult to be effective. You have to - there, he goes (ph). See, once you get engaged, you lose all your incentive to be your best-self. He's getting soft. He's getting soft.

The President said something late last night that should have been well-received, but it wasn't. And I will argue to you that the reason that it wasn't is something that the President's supporters have to start owning. And if we can do that, there can be progress.

Argument, next.








CUOMO: All right, this argument is not to simply call out the obvious criticism to the President based on his actions with the Russian President today.

You know, if you have to be reminded, he told Putin that the probe, the Mueller probe was a hoax. And he never mentioned to the man responsible for all the chaos in our election, even attempting to get into state vote counting databases that it should never happen again.

Now, clearly, this President will always do and say what he thinks is best for him. So, no matter how ardent a supporter of this President you are, you cannot defend him giving a pass to Putin, and we all know it.

Here is an arguable point. The President tweeted last night something that really deserved credit. Here it is - excuse me.

"Now, Republicans and Democrats must come together for the good of the American people. No more costly and time consuming investigations. Let's do immigration (Border), infrastructure, much lower drug prices, and much more, and do it now."

You know what? Good for him for encouraging progress, for showing that he wants to get into it with the other side. They're important issues and that's what a President should do, Presidential right message.

So, why didn't you hear more about it, the good intentions that this seems to be about? Because all of that potential virtue was defeated by what came before it in the same tweet, which is this.

"OK, so after two years of hard work and each party trying their best to make the other party look as bad as possible, it's time to get back to business. The Mueller report strongly stated that there was No Collusion with Russia (of course) and, in fact, they were rebuffed at every turn in attempts to gain access."

Now, getting to be fair, the first part, arguably true. The parties are about opposing the other side. That aim, frankly, is rewarded by many of you as voters, instead of rewarding compromise and progress, so you get what you ask so for. It's all fair enough for the President to say it.

The next line, however, is not true, and the President knows it. Mueller never uses the word Collusion because it's not a criminal law term. And he found there was not enough proof to make a criminal case beyond a reasonable doubt that this President or his campaign conspired with Russia to help them interfere.

And, by the way, that's good news that this President's not a Russian agent that the people around him weren't actively working with the people who interfered in our election. But read the report.

There was a ton of collusion. The President knows it because he was part of it, sketchy contacts and meetings and efforts that should not have happened. And not only were the Russians not rebuffed at every turn, they were actively sought out.

Read the report.

His son and his son-in-law, his Campaign Chair, his most trusted adviser, and others were all over Russians, fact. Many of them lied about it. Fact!

So, how can the call to come together be respected when it is predicate - predicated by a pompous pile of poppycock? This is the right-hand being extended to shake after the left-hand has smacked you.

This is why the Left won't work with the President. He engenders the animus by doing things like this. If the President really wanted to work together on anything, he would never have included the first part. But be honest. This is who he is. And that's fine.

This President can placate Putin, if he wants. He can throw his own country under the bus, when it comes to taking Putin's side about interference in our election, and about Venezuela, after our Security of - Secretary of State, his Secretary of State appointee said that Russia was helping Maduro.

After that, just a couple of days ago, our President said this.


TRUMP: We talked about many things. Venezuela was one of the topics. And he is not looking at all to get involved in Venezuela other than he'd like to see something positive happen for Venezuela. And I feel the same way.


CUOMO: Why does he keep taking this guy's side against his own people? So, look, just his supporters want the low unemployment rate, mostly good economic news. To get mentioned, you need to own this other huge part of the reality.

This President cut taxes, and regulations, and scuttled trade deals, and there are pluses and minuses to be debated there. But he has also undermined U.S. Intelligence, and now its diplomats in epic and unprecedented fashion.

He lies about the facts in the Mueller report. And he's giving cover to one of America's biggest foes, and it seems he's only doing all of that just to help himself. Now, if you can't own that, then you surrender the high ground that you're asking for in balance because you are every bit as imbalanced as that what you say you oppose.

Thanks for watching us tonight. I appreciate it. Hope you have a good weekend. But before you start it, CNN Tonight with the man, D. Lemon has lots to talk about.