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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Chris Cuomo Talks with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA); Senate Intelligence Committee's Subpoena to Donald Trump Jr.; Chris Cuomo Talks with Mike Mukasey; Chris Cuomo Talks About Student Heroes Thwarting School Shooters and Talks with Thomas Howell and Natalie Henry-Howell. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired May 8, 2019 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Join us tomorrow for our 360 town hall with former FBI Director James Comey. I will see you then 8 o'clock, let's hand over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Thank you Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo, and welcome to PRIME TIME.
The house the House Judiciary voted to hold the President's Attorney General in contempt. And guess what, that's not even the biggest news tonight. The Republican-controlled Senate Intel Committee has subpoenaed the President's son. Someone tell Leader Mitch McConnell, keeping members of his own party in the Senate know the Russia case is not closed.
Major players are here tonight to get after all of it, a Congressman who voted to hold Barr accountable. He's going to talk about how Democrats plan to get what they want.
Also a former Attorney General is here to debate the President's blockade of oversight. Will executive privilege over the Mueller report hold up in the courts?
And another young hero gives his life trying to save his classmates. Parents who just laid their hero son to rest after he too sacrificed his life for his classmates just last week, are here in search of answers. What you say? Let's get after it.
Constitutional crisis, that's what the House Judiciary Chair calls this new era of deny and defy by this President. We knew the contempt vote was likely coming today, but who knew Republicans would subpoena a member of the President's family. If the Republican-led Intelligence Committee wants Donald Trump Jr. to answer for some things, is that still a witch-hunt?
Let's bring in a key player in the House efforts to get Barr to deliver the full report. Congressman Ted Lieu of California, good to have you back on PRIME TIME.
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you Chris.
CUOMO: What do you think of the shocker there in the Senate, by the way, asking for the President's son?
LIEU: I am very pleased that some Republicans are now putting at least country above party. And you can't read the Mueller report and not come away thinking - whoa, there's some really bad stuff in here and we need to get the bottom of what Russia did, as well as look at all of the social justice cases that Rob Mueller laid out in the 10 instances he did.
CUOMO: Two things. One, the idea that Richard Burr is not a real Republican in the eyes of the Trump family if he subpoenas a member of the Trump family.
LIEU: Senator Burr is looking at the same thing we all are looking at. When you read Volume I of the Mueller report, it shows that the Trump campaign officials had multiple interactions with Russian agents.
They knew Russia was going to interfere in America's elections. They welcomed it, embraced it, thought it was going to help Donald Trump, and that is immoral, unpatriotic and wrong and I think they want to hear from Donald Trump Jr. more about his interactions with Russian agents.
CUOMO: Specifically a couple of discrepancies between what he might have told Congress and what was put forth in the Mueller probe. Two it, one, then he says, he didn't tell his father and he told nobody, but Kushner and Manafort who were at the Trump Tower meeting about it. However, another witness Gates says he told an entire meeting of staff and other Trump family members, how big a deal?
LIEU: This is pretty big deal, because it could be perjury by Donald Trump Jr. This is why it's so important to get the full, unredacted Mueller report as was all the underlying evidence. Every Special Counsel and special prosecutor's report before this, they've all been presented to Congress unredacted.
So Leon Jaworski in Watergate, Congress got the full report. Ken Starr, Congress got the full report. So Attorney General Bill Barr is going way out of his way to disregard prior precedent. The American people and Congress should get all their information.
CUOMO: Janet Reno, Branch Davidian, you got almost the full report there too, except for those national - those specific national security issues that people agreed on.
The other issue they say with Trump Jr. is that he didn't tell them as much as he could have about how much interest there was in the Trump Moscow deal going on and that Michael Cohen told them that the kids were well aware and interested in this deal going forward. How big a deal is that?
LIEU: Any one of these instances are pretty mind-blowing. Right now we know that you had Donald Trump campaigning to be President of United States. At the same time, he's trying to get a Trump Moscow Tower built in Russia, so it is a massive conflict of interest?
CUOMO: Why? LIEU: Because Trump maybe taking actions that benefit him and his family and help Russia, not the American people and not America. And that's why we need the full unredacted Mueller report and all the underlying evidence.
And their House Judiciary Committee and the House Intel Committee have now issued subpoenas for the full report.
[21:05:00] CUOMO: So you guys vote on holding the AG in contempt in the House Judiciary Committee? The President preempts by saying, well now I'm going to assert privilege on all of this. I didn't have to give you any of the things that I did. I gave Mueller everything I could. Now you do this, I give you nothing. Was it worth it?
LIEU: First well that's just a stupid argument by the administration. They waive all that Executive Privilege, because all these folks talked to Robert Mueller and this team. Once they did that the Executive Privilege. That really is an argument that will not hold up in court.
And we should take a step back and just ask, well, what is the administration doing? They're not just stonewalling the Judiciary Committee. They are stonewalling all committees, which shows that they're trying to hide information from American people, and that in a violation of the Constitution.
CUOMO: Or - two points that I need you to deal with. One is, it's one thing to waive privilege to the executive, it's another thing and applying that privilege to Congress, that's one argument.
The second argument is, they don't want you to have a second bite at the apple. They don't want you to relitigate what Mueller already chewed over?
LIEU: So on the first point, that is nowhere in the case law. Once you speak to somebody else you've waived privilege, unless that person is your own attorney.
And then in terms of relitigating this case, the way that Rob Mueller did his report, he basically said, look, "I can't indict a sitting President, so I'm not even going to decide the issue of whether there's enough evidence to indict Donald Trump. Instead I'm going to lay out the evidence and then let Congress decide", which is why we need the full report, plus the underlying evidence. Otherwise we can't do our job.
CUOMO: Well, as we saw today, ironically, there was a settlement in the case between the DOJ during the Obama administration and the House Committee that they were fighting with over fast and furious document turnover and information from the DOJ.
The timing of that aside, the lesson is, this can last forever if it goes to court. What's your strategy here to get what you want before all of my hair is gray?
LIEU: That is a great question. So we've learned the lessons from the AG Holder case. We're going to be doing it in a different way. We believe we can get a pretty quick hearing in the courts if the House floor also votes for contempt. And we believe we'll get a good court ruling.
In addition, we also have inherent content power, so the House votes to hold Bill Barr in contempt then we can do our own internal congressional processes to levy fines on him without having to go to court.
CUOMO: Ted Lieu, I appreciate this. Everything is happening, everything is in flux, every day it is different, that's why we need you folks to weigh in and let the American people go - let the people know which way we're headed. Thank you, sir.
LIEU: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: Look any way you look at it, wild day. Two topics to tackle today - ahead, why would the President's party go after his firstborn, and can this POTUS do anything about it, we have facts for you on that.
Plus how does executive privilege apply to the unredacted Mueller report. The President invoked it. You just heard the argument against the argument. What about the argument for the argument. A Former AG Mike Mukasey, takes it up next.
[21:10:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: So the Senate Intelligence Committee is now demanding the President's namesake show up and testify again. Subpoena, the President's oldest son has testified before Congress already three times - at least 22 hours.
Now all of you saying I like this, I don't like this. Hold on. Let's just get through what matters here before everyone decides. All right? The issue seems to be that a few things may not add up between what Mr. Trump told Congress and what's in the Mueller report.
First whom Donald Trump Jr. told about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting? Junior told senators he wouldn't have wasted his father's time with it, and that he only discussed it with Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, who were both of course at the meeting.
When asked was there anyone else? "No, not to my recollection", was Junior's response. Recollection is going to be the key word, I'll tell you why in a second. But - or you'll see why.
But in the Mueller report Rick Gates tells a different story. Saying, just days before the infamous get-together Junior was at a morning campaign meeting and told a group of top staff and Trump family members that "He had a lead on negative information about the Clinton Foundation". I thought it was about adoption.
Mueller says, "He considered bringing charges for the Trump Tower meeting". Stopping only because he wasn't sure Junior knew he was breaking the law. The reason that Mueller couldn't tell what he knew was because Junior never talked to the Special Council - like father like son in that regard. In fact, the report says, he turned down a request for an interview. Then in the report there are three lines of redacted text.
Another issue his father's attempt to build the Trump Tower at Moscow, at the same time he was running for President. Now Junior told the Senate he was only peripherally aware the project was underway, played it down repeatedly on Fox News. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR., ELDEST SON OF DONALD TRUMP: The reality is this wasn't a deal - we don't know the developer. We don't know the site. We don't know the - anything about it. I don't think anyone took it all that seriously. That's the reality of what went on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: However, Michael Cohen told Congress a different story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEPHEN LYNCH (D-MA): Who were the family members that you briefed on the Trump Tower Moscow Project?
MICHAEL COHEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FORMER ATTORNEY: Don Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump.
LYNCH: Do you recall how many of these briefings there might have been?
COHEN: Approximately 10.
COHEN: In total.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: The response from a source close to the President's eldest son is in a statement to CNN, "No lawyer whatever agree, will allow their client to participate in what is an obvious PR stunt from a so-called Republican Senator too cowardly to stand up to his boss Mark Warner and the rest of the resistance Democrats on the Committee".
Richard Burr is a so-called Republican, 10 years in the House, 10 years in the Senate, wow, only in Trump land.
[21:15:00] What the statement doesn't tell you is reportedly Junior's lawyers went from "Let's talk about it" in terms of coming in to "Considering pleading the Fifth" after the Mueller report came out.
Now what makes this different than so many other subpoenas and efforts of congressional oversight is that this President can't claim privilege. This president can have his heavies run interference, not this time. Junior is outside their protection because he is a private citizen.
Now there's a former Bush AGC a way for the Trump's to win his standoff, the better question maybe, should they? Mike Mukasey next.
CUOMO: All right. The President is stonewalling. He does not believe in any of this oversight. He doesn't think it's a righteous use power. Now, the latest iteration, his son is refusing to talk to his own party members in the Senate, that's the state of play.
Let's bring in the former Attorney General Mike Mukasey, welcome back to PRIME TIME, always a pleasure counsel.
MIKE MUKASEY, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Good to be here.
CUOMO: So Trump Jr., private citizen, President can't protect him the way he would, obviously, people in his administration. What do you make of the posture of, "I'm not coming in".
[21:20:00] MUKASEY: Don't know really what to make up. I think that the meeting itself turns out to have been inconsequential--
CUOMO: Which meeting?
MUKASEY: The Trump Tower meeting--
CUOMO: Oh, the Trump Tower meeting. OK.
MUKASEY: Right, right. If that's what they're talking about, do we know that?
CUOMO: We believe that there are two discrepancies between his congressional testimony in the Mueller report and one involves that - and one involves the potential deal that they were looking up. But let's say there are discrepancies--
CUOMO: Let's say they are as reported. He says, he told nobody but Kushner and Manafort, it turns out he mentioned it at this meeting. And he says, to the best of my recollection - when he was before Congress, what he got on him?
MUKASEY: Very little, because as you said in your piece that was his recollection, number one. Number two, the meeting itself was inconsequential, so it was very little for - reason for him to remember it.
CUOMO: Mueller said it was inconsequential legally, because he couldn't decide whether or not Kushner knew he was doing something illegal.
MUKASEY: No, the meeting itself is inconsequential, because he's promised something. It turns out that what she's really interested - this Russian operative is interested in getting the sanctions lifted on the Russians and doing - and holding out the bait of resuming, allowing Americans to adopt Russian children.
CUOMO: How important is his intent, Mike, that he went there looking for something else?
MUKASEY: How important is it in connection with what?
CUOMO: In connection with how the law might apply in just in terms of your ethical standard?
MUKASEY: This is not about ethical standards. Was it a good idea for him to accept the meeting at which he thought he was going to be getting dirt from a foreign power, no. It's terrible judgment.
CUOMO: Wrong. It is wrong, yes?
MUKASEY: It is terrible judgment.
CUOMO: But it's wrong, if it's terrible judgment.
CUOMO: When it's terrible judgment right? Never. Is it behavior that would qualify as collusion, cleverly trying to get something from somebody else, whether it succeeds or not.
MUKASEY: Collusion is a term we've - which we've said several times is not known to the law.
MUKASEY: It's not collusion. If somebody offers you something and you go to find out what it is, you haven't colluded yet.
CUOMO: Not yet.
CUOMO: But you are going down that road which is something is you want to know about.
MUKASEY: Yes, it's the first couple of steps and you then have the meeting. And you find out they are not offering anything, at which point nothing happens.
CUOMO: And we don't know that anything happened after. OK. So now Trump Tower Moscow.
MUKASEY: Different story.
CUOMO: You said you didn't know anything about it. It was just peripheral. Cohen says he told you 10 times. Let's say he can substantiate that somehow, he can corroborate it. I don't know that he could. I don't know that they have any information. But let's give the benefit of the doubt. MUKASEY: Trump, as we have found out from other sources, is really in the business of renting his name.
MUKASEY: He doesn't a lot of what he claims to do.
MUKASEY: If he was talking about renting his name to somebody in Moscow for a building, then that's something to look at, but it's certainly not like building a major project.
CUOMO: Why say you plead the Fifth? Why would Trump Jr. want to plead the Fifth after the Mueller report.
MUKASEY: Because anything that develops an inconsistency is a step toward a prosecution.
CUOMO: President says if you plead the Fifth, you're guilty.
MUKASEY: Yes, guess what, President isn't the reigning expert on that subject as he's or on many other subjects, as he's proved.
CUOMO: Proof of lie. You shouldn't say things--
CUOMO: --out of hand, because in truth, he's got every right to assert.
MUKASEY: Of course. The Fifth is there to protect the innocents, as well as the guilt.
CUOMO: Exactly right. And you don't know - you may not want to go through the process, you may not trust the process, and this is your right to protect yourself.
MUKASEY: Correct. And if I were his lawyer, that's one thing I would advise him to consider.
CUOMO: So now you have this confounding question of what the President has the right to do in terms of blocking oversight, versus what is right to do? I know that you find that part a little cumbersome sometimes, because your mind goes to the law all the time. But this is a political situation, right.
MUKASEY: Assumptions, right, but it doesn't always go to the law. In this case it goes to what prerogatives the President wants to protect - not necessarily for his own sake, but for the sake of the next guy. That is a concern of the White House on an ongoing basis.
Every time they consider one of these questions, they consider not only what's at stake now, but what's going to be at stake later on if we turn this over do now.
CUOMO: Do you really believe that this President is worried about what precedent will be set for the next administration?
MUKASEY: I believe that people in the White House counsel's office are worried about that. I believe that people on his staff are worried about that. Whether he's worried about it, I don't know, and I share some of your doubts.
CUOMO: When you look at the categories of different things that would amount to privilege, what do you have here, because when you look at national security, well they have clearance in Congress, certainly - certain members of them have high clearance. Then the other category is what would apply is privilege?
MUKASEY: What apply is executive privilege - McGhan's disclosures, because--
CUOMO: Even if he doesn't work there anymore?
[21:25:00] MUKASEY: Correct. It's not whether he works there anymore. It's whether he worked there at the time when he made them.
CUOMO: But does the privilege survive? I mean it's not like the privilege of me giving you $5 and you represent me in a case against somebody else.
CUOMO: That's a complete privilege. This is an incomplete privilege.
MUKASEY: That privilege - there are various ways that that survives. Number one, the disclosures that McGhan made to Mueller, which your last guest said we're a complete waiver, that's just flat-out wrong.
CUOMO: How do you know?
MUKASEY: Mueller is still a member of which branch of government?
MUKASEY: Thank you. It's an executive privilege disclosure from one part of the executive to another part of the executive is not a waiver of the executive privilege.
CUOMO: Who says? It's hard to find cases on point, that's why I ask you.
MUKASEY: OK. The concept is inconsistent with waiver, number one. Number two, if it is a waiver, it's, as you know from law school, waivers are narrowly construed. So it's a relinquishment of a right.
CUOMO: Doesn't it go to the same corpus of fact?
MUKASEY: It's not a question of corpus of fact. It's a question of the actual disclosure. He can be deemed to have made a waiver to the extent that any of those disclosure were disclosed.
CUOMO: The larger question becomes why block-- MUKASEY: And limited to that.
CUOMO: Why block so much? You say you were fully exonerated. You say you have nothing to hide, you say you were going to give everything you can, everybody around him keep saying he's always transparent, he's always giving everything, he is giving nothing.
MUKASEY: Because the point of this is not to find out facts, we learned that when the report was made available on a far less redacted basis than it had been when originally disclosed. And three people came to look at it. Right? How many Democrats do you think we're among them?
CUOMO: You're saying you don't believe they want to look at facts, because--
CUOMO: --not because they say they want the whole thing. They don't want to come and look at a limited thing. They want it all.
CUOMO: That doesn't - you don't think they were (CROSSTALK) out for facts, Mike?
MUKASEY: If they want it all, then it would be unlawful to disclose it all.
CUOMO: But you think Mueller was out for facts, right?
MUKASEY: I think - of course, I think, Mueller was out for facts.
CUOMO: Good. Good thing to say.
MUKASEY: Question is what he did with them?
CUOMO: Well, we'll see when we get the whole unredacted report.
MUKASEY: No, we've seen - come on, we got--
CUOMO: But here is my concern--
MUKASEY: --we've gotten what, 6 percent redacted, mostly - mostly having to do with ongoing investigation--
CUOMO: --it's one percentage of it that you want to see. Why not just give it all if you have nothing to hide, assuming it's not about national security matters. Why not just do it?
MUKASEY: It's about three things. National security matters, which you agree shouldn't be disclosed matters; matters that can affect ongoing cases, which I assume you think shouldn't be disclosed; and grand jury material, which is - it is unlawful to disclose.
CUOMO: Well, but you can go and petition a judge (ph)? MUKASEY: No, you can't.
CUOMO: Why can't you go and deal with the 6(e) material that way? It's been done before.
MUKASEY: No. You get a 6(e) Order only for law enforcement purposes, that's the limit.
CUOMO: So, you can't do it for anything else.
MUKASEY: No, sir.
CUOMO: The idea that in blocking all of these things, he's attacking the--
MUKASEY: --to satisfy congressional curiosity.
CUOMO: Well, I mean, that's - it depends if it falls within their role of oversight and they're looking for--
MUKASEY: No, it doesn't depend on that. It depends on whether--
CUOMO: --because they have a constitutional duty to do that.
MUKASEY: The law says that you get a 6(e) order from a judge--
CUOMO: Oh, you're talking about just that, I'm saying all of it in general. That the President keeps arguing, and his people keep arguing, all of this is wrong. It goes wrong all the way back to FISA. Everything they did with surveillance it was wrong, wrong, wrong and wrongly intentioned. Why spread it so wide like that when there's so little proof of the same?
MUKASEY: I don't know that - who's spread it that wide?
CUOMO: The President says it all the time. Now they're saying that was spying, what was done with Carter Page, it was nefarious and wrongful. We have no reason to believe that.
MUKASEY: We have a lot of reasons to believe that something was done that shouldn't have been done.
CUOMO: How do you know? They got that - they got the FISA application for Carter Page. It was successively reauthorized, what was wrong with that?
MUKASEY: Based on incomplete information, number one. Number two, the person who was the occasion for the surveillance, Carter Page--
MUKASEY: --was never charged with anything.
CUOMO: Who say he had to be?
MUKASEY: You had to make a showing and an allegation in that application that not only that he was a foreign agent, but that he was involved in the commission of a crime.
CUOMO: That is not true.
MUKASEY: Yes it is.
CUOMO: To get the FISA application, you need to find probable cause that he maybe a foreign agent, not that he committed a crime--
MUKASEY: For an American - no, for an American citizen, which Carter Page was, you need a showing that he was involved in the commission of a crime.
CUOMO: I do not - are you sure that--
CUOMO: --that this is the standard.
MUKASEY: Yes, I am.
CUOMO: Because I have somebody from the DOJ who was involved in that, who says it's not the standard. You have to show that he had probable cause or you had probable cause--
MUKASEY: I will send you the statute by e-mail.
CUOMO: It has to check both boxes?
MUKASEY: Yes, for an American citizen--
CUOMO: For a American citizen.
MUKASEY: --not for a foreigner.
CUOMO: If it's an American citizen, you need to check both boxes.
MUKASEY: Correct, good.
CUOMO: Let me know. Mike Mukasey, I always appreciate you making the case.
MUKASEY: Good to be here.
CUOMO: These are the discussions they should have, I'm happy to have them with you.
[21:30:00] All right. Took time on that, you know why, because you have to consider these things. You can't just get it from Twitter and have an opinion. Listen to the conversation. We bring people on who've been through it before.
So a new name added to the list of those who have been lost by a problem that it doesn't seem to me were doing anything about - not really. Kendrick Ray Castillo, another hero, just 18, high schooler.
Had to make a decision to risk his own life or watch his classmates die in a Colorado school. Why should he have to make that choice? He chose to take on the gunman, comes just a week after college student Riley Howell shared the same fate. Our new normal.
Riley's parents are here with questions and concerns we should all share, next.
CUOMO: So far this year 15 school shooting. What are we like 19 weeks into the school year, 15 in 19 weeks. Yesterday was the STEM School in Colorado. 20 minutes from Columbine.
Kendrick Castillo lunged at one of the one of the shooters. He and his classmates helped disarm that attacker. Caused Kendrick his life, everyone else survived. The deja vu is so daunting.
[21:35:00] Just last week, 21-year-old Riley Howell, blonde Tarzan tackling the UNC Charlotte shooter. Riley's parents Thomas Howell and Natalie Henry-Howell are our guests tonight.
Listen, when I say this I could not mean it more. It is my privilege to meet you, but god I wish I was meeting you under different circumstances than this. Thank you for taking this opportunity, I'm sure it is a conversation you wish you never had to have.
THOMAS HOWELL, FATHER OF STUDENT KILLED IN UNC CHARLOTTE SHOOTING: Thank you.
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL, MOTHER OF STUDENT KILLED IN UNC CHARLOTTE SHOOTING: It is.
CUOMO: Natalie how are we doing - how is it at home, how are you dealing with family, how are you dealing with this loss?
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL: Well, it's still devastating. I am - I'm still seeing in sepia. Here's what I'm going to say. This week - this past week, I think I've seen the worst and the best of humanity.
I've seen somebody without regard for the sanctity of life, and then I've seen this huge, outpouring from family, friends and strangers of pure love. And I'm in this very strange place, and that's the best I can do to explain it right now.
But my heart goes out - goes out completely to these other families and communities who are going through the exact same thing.
CUOMO: Natalie, what is the hardest thing for you to deal with emotionally in all this?
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL: Like I said the pain of losing my child and never ever seeing him again and just like - like I said we're having this conversation again. I'm not going to say anything different or new that other parents and families in the situation haven't said before.
But emotionally, it's just it's just watching - just watching people being torn up just like we are, that this is - it's just prevalent in our in our communities. It's - watching my kids try to walk their way through life through these last few days without Riley, it's just how to sustain them when it's really hard to sustain ourselves.
CUOMO: As a father how do you reconcile the pride of knowing that in a moment when almost everyone runs away, something in your son made him run at the danger and save others? The proudest moment a parent could have with the worst potential outcome for any parent to deal with, how do you reconcile those as a father?
HOWELL: Well, I haven't yet - we were both broken - Natalie and I both are. But my despair and my utter sadness is in the fact that, I think that Riley was put in that situation, because I knew exactly what he was going to do, and Natalie did as well.
You know, the fact that that ever happened to start with, we all know that Riley's a protector and that was going to happen given any type of situation like that. I'm just - I'm at a hard time dealing with the fact that that ever situation ever came up.
CUOMO: What sense have you made of it so far?
HOWELL: We're still broken Chris. I'm still trying to make minute-by- minute, still trying to take a breath.
CUOMO: The next week the same thing happens, what does that do to you Tom?
HOWELL: I'm going to let Natalie answer that one, because I don't have any answers. I really don't.
CUOMO: None of us do. We seem to have nothing to say. We have nothing to do. We sit by and watch. We lionize kids like yours who do something that the rest of us seem unwilling to do.
And I'm not saying in a moment of crisis, I'm saying after every one of these, and I don't want to talk politics with you Natalie. But your son did something that society overall has not been able to do, which is to confront this problem and run at it?
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL: and I think that's what we've got to do too. I mean, I - like I said, it's just terrible that more families and communities are going through this.
And while I'm angry, and I feel embattled, I think at the same time we have to, instead of just lionize, we have to galvanize and we have to figure out how to come up with some constructive dialogue to keep this from happening.
There just has to be some dialogue from people and all around so that we can never ever, ever, let a community have to go through this again.
CUOMO: If only that was something that would be taken on, as you said, I've heard a lot of parents wish that, not for themselves, but for other parents, that they should never have to experience what you're going to have to deal with every day for who knows how long.
[21:40:00] Let me ask you something else that is interesting in learning about Riley. Natalie why did you know that this is what your kid would do in this situation?
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL: You know, as a parent you have a sense of like the inner spirit of your child, like who they are to the depth of their soul. When Riley was younger, I just always felt like he wouldn't be with me for that long.
And just watching him the way he was with other people, the way he was with his friends, the way he was with us, there was just something that was integral to his character. And it was nurtured by teachers, our family members.
We live in this small tight-knit community and it's just - you look out for others, you protect, you do what needs to be done. And like I said, when I heard the classroom, I knew it. I just knew it.
HOWELL: Yes, we both did.
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL: We just knew it. If he's anywhere near a situation like that he's going to run towards it and try to stop it.
CUOMO: Well, here's what we know for sure. Many of us go a lifetime trying to figure out whatever we've merely made an impact on this place, that we call home for a little bit of a while. Whether or not we've mattered to anybody else in a way that is lasting?
Your kid did not live that long - not long enough, that's for sure. But Tom, Natalie he made a difference in this world for those families and those kids. Nothing else will ever come close to the gift he gave everybody in that classroom by what he did.
And more than anything else, I just hope that that profound sense of gratitude for those kids and the lives that they're going to be able to have, and those families, and what they're able to keep that you've lost, that matters something about what your son was able to achieve while he was here.
HOWELL: Thank you so much.
CUOMO: And again my phone is open to you whenever you want it. You can get us whenever you want it. If there's anything we can do to help you, you know we are there. But thank you for letting people see who's left behind after something like this - almost every time.
HOWELL: Thank you so much.
CUOMO: Natalie, Thomas, thank you.
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL: Thank you for--
CUOMO: Go ahead Natalie what do you have.
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL: Thank you. I'm just going to say, I really want the light and Riley's story to outshine the darkness and we're trying to make that happen with our foundation that we're starting. And everybody just remember that that light is going to overpower the darkness.
CUOMO: I will put out the word about your foundation. You let me know how the work is going forward and we would do what we can to assist with that. It is a righteous cause. And I hope everybody remembers Riley as the blonde Tarzan that he was in that classroom, doing something that most would never imagined - let alone be able to achieve.
God bless you both and thank you for bringing that son into this world.
HOWELL: Thank you, Chris.
NATALIE HENRY-HOWELL: Thank you. Thank you for having us.
CUOMO: Now, these conversations, how many of you've heard, how many families like that. We're going to have an argument for you tonight that shouldn't have to be made 20 years after Columbine and we all know it. But we got to face the reality, that's what these moments call for if nothing else. Can't run, you got to be like Riley. You got to like Kendrick. You got to run at the problem. Next.
[21:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You see the mob takes the Fifth. If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?
When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth so they're not prosecuted, I think it's disgraceful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: What if your son takes it? We know what the President was doing, right. He was playing to what he perceived as advantage at the time well.
Now what, let's bring in Don Lemon, it was interesting to hear Mike Mukasey. And you know how much I respect his legal acumen, so do you, AG under President Bush. You know he quickly dismissed the President on the Fifth Amendment, as he doesn't know what he's talking about.
His son is in a pinch, because he's a private citizen. And the move of calling Richard Burr a so-called Republican, he's asking for it right now D. Lemon?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Well, so far, norm - so many norms have been broken with this administration that it's hard - nothing surprises me anymore and probably most Americans. But you have to continue on, because this is the foundation of our country - the democracy, the rule of law, the rule of law, the rule of law.
He is a private citizen, but he's also deeply involved with his father politically.
CUOMO: He is. I'm saying he can't be protected--
LEMON: Right, because he's a private citizen, he can't be protected. But I'm saying he is deeply involved with his father when it comes to politics and he's deeply involved in the business and he also testified in front of the Senate, so--
CUOMO: 22 hours, Senate and House. I mean, he was there a lot.
LEMON: And remember - (CROSSTALK) and so it's interesting to me that the Republican-led Senate wants to wants him to come back and maybe clarify some things, who knows.
CUOMO: After McConnell said "case closed", Burr knows him well, been there forever. For him to do this, you know it has to matter to them.
LEMON: It has to matter. And do you know - guess who I have coming up? I have the person who is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and that is Jerry Nadler. He's going to join us live and he is going to talk to us about Don Jr. and why he thinks they're calling Don Jr. back to testify among other things.
I talk to him about the President's taxes released yesterday in New York Times and also about contempt voting - on contempt of Congress for the Attorney General William Barr.
CUOMO: Very strong. I am--
CUOMO: I am jealous of Don Lemon once again.
LEMON: Two seconds Riley Howell's family, amazing, and you did a great job with them.
[21:50:00] CUOMO: I just wish I didn't have to have that conversation.
LEMON: Absolutely. But they have strong people. And yes, he is a definition of a hero.
CUOMO: Boy, boy, thank god for them bringing that kid into this life, otherwise who knows how many families would be shattered.
CUOMO: Well, said, I'll see you in a bit. All right, now, to what Don is talking about, we can't do what we do all the time. You can't watch that family and be moved and then forget about how they lost their son.
Let's just look at what's going on around us and I'm going to make an argument to you about what has to stop.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:55:00] CUOMO: 15 shootings, 19 weeks of school. Last week it was Riley Howell of North Carolina, college kid, running at a gunman in his classroom, sacrificing his life, saving countless others.
This week Kendrick Castillo and his pals in Colorado rushed another gunman in their high school classroom, again likely saving many lives. Again, the sacrifice cost us a life. This time this kid Kendrick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN CASTILLO, FATHER OF STUDENT KILLED IN COLORADO SCHOOL SHOOTING: --because of what he did others are alive and I thank God for that. I love him and he's a hero. He always will be.
But there's another part of you that wishes he would have just turned and ran, retreated, hid, you know did something to put himself out of harm's way, if that was possible. But we know Kendrick - Maria will tell you that, it's no surprise that if danger was facing him he would approach it and take it on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Imagine coming to a point where that's something that you know about your kids these days that they've learned to attack the attacker. I will not be a victim says one of Kendrick's pals who ran toward the danger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENDAN BAILY, STUDENT, STEM SCHOOL HIGHLANDS RANCH: Someone entered the building with incredibly malicious intent, using their cowardice surprise and superior weapons and they lost. They completely and utterly lost two good people. Why in the world would I let this coward get what he wants? Like - why? I'm not a victim.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: We praise these kids rightly. They are so brave. Brendan Baily you just heard from, Lucas Albertoni, Jackson Gregory, Joshua Jones, shot twice, giving the thumbs-up there.
Sure the gunmen - they didn't get as much death as they apparently wanted, but who wins in this? Why is this new reality OK? Kids determined not to be victims of gun violence. But of course when a gunman enters a classroom, everyone in there is victimized, it's just about how badly.
They drill on what to do now, as you know, run, hide, retaliate. This is now on the menu of risk awareness - like stranger danger tips, making sure to put a wallet in your front pocket, practicing for the practical. Now includes how to deal with someone trying to shoot you in class.
Better than being useless, like the rest of us, because we are, right? We won't go with this problem like these kids go at loaded weapons. We see the risk and the rage that comes with it and we decide to sit and watch.
We do what we warn our kids not to do. We don't tell them to fake deep thoughts and pray. We don't tell them to just accept that there's really no one thing that you could do to make that shooter go away.
How odd that we celebrate in our kids, what we push and encourage the will to do something even in the face of evil. How odd that we do everything we can to avoid dealing with the same evil despite being the adults in the room?
What law would have made these kids not kill on this day - the stock question to stifle the struggle, you know it's the wrong question. Flip it. Do any of us really believe that there is nothing we can do to identify, treat, mitigate when it comes to the types of people who tend to do these shootings?
That there is no way to control access to weapons better, to deal with the types of behaviors, the types of people who are rarely that much of a surprise selection into this club of killers? Come on. We're not attacking the problem, we sit and we watch.
And we reward those who do something to save themselves or others, while we refuse to do a damn thing. Just know that, own it in yourself. Of course, you should retweet and like and weigh in applauding the Kendricks and the Reilys. But don't see yourself in them.
Don't even ask what you would do, because you've already answered it. I have too. We all have. They are different than us. We who offer prayers and passivity, they did something about the danger that confronted them. The rest of us count events, we don't counter.
Why don't we cry every time - cried out, been the dozens, looked into the faces of their families, begging that this never happens to someone else. If only the reality was that the adults did the brave.