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Alyssa Milano Calls For Sex Strike To Protest Anti-Abortion Laws; Trump Jr. Makes Deal To Testify Before Senate Intel; Photos Reveal Children Sleeping On The Ground At Border Patrol Station. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 14, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: --ran into him again at a restaurant not so long ago in Los Angeles, and he was a true gentleman every time, and oh, so funny. Tim Conway died after a long battle with illness. He was 85 and will be missed.

The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Well done. We'll pay tribute to him tonight as well. He deserves it. He'll be missed but he will be remembered as well. What a legacy!

Anderson, thank you, my friend.


CUOMO: All right, I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Don Jr. cut a deal with GOP Senators. He's going to testify but basically on his own terms. We have the conditions and the most revealing aspect, which is what Jr. had to say to the Senators who helped him.

And guess who's here tonight? Alyssa Milano. What's the deal with the Sex Strike? We're going to get after the sizzle but also the steaks. Laws all over this country challenging a woman's right to her own body. Milano lays out potentially desperate times and desperate measures.

And your screens aren't showing you the Border much anymore, are they? But you know what? Things are worse, not better. Look at this, kids sleeping outside, dirts and rocks. They're in U.S. custody at the Border. We have exclusive photos that demand explanation, but more importantly, they demand action.

What do you say? You with me? Let's get after it.



(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Heartbeat bills and more extreme measures popping up, restricting abortions to often before women even know that they're pregnant.

Just today, Alabama's Senate began considering a bill that would effectively ban abortion entirely. But what matters is the process. Take a look at who's doing this and how.


STATE SEN. RODGER SMITHERMAN (D-AL): What's the one time to be allowed (ph)?

STATE SEN. CLYDE CHAMBLISS (R-AL): When the woman is known to be pregnant.

SMITHERMAN: When she's known to be pregnant?



CHAMBLISS: So, she has to take a pregnancy test, she has to do something to know whether she's pregnant or not. You can't know that immediately. It takes some time for all those chromosomes and all that that you mentioned.

SMITHERMAN: What happens?

CHAMBLISS: Doesn't happen immediately.


CUOMO: You hear the laughter in the Chamber, right? Not going to be a lot of laughing - laughing if a law like that gets to the Supreme Court, and they change the reckoning of Roe v. Wade.

Alyssa Milano says desperate times call for desperate measures and has just called for a Sex Strike to fight back. She recently launched a podcast that's called Sorry Not Sorry, and here's what she says matters now.



CUOMO: Alyssa Milano, thank you for being on PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: So, let's talk about what you've called for, the Sex Strike. What do you hope for with this and what's been the reaction?

MILANO: Really my hope was to raise awareness for the 16 bills that are happening all over our country that are trying to roll back women's rights. And I - I think the tweet alone was able to do that.

The reaction has been mixed. I think some people took it extremely seriously. But my purpose for sending out that tweet was simply I felt like these - these bills were being ignored. And sending out that tweet, look at me now, I'm - I'm on your show, and we're talking about women's rights and how they're being rolled back.

CUOMO: That is true, although in fairness, I asked you on before, and I would love to have you on again. I wasn't just drawn by this as - as bait. But just to clarify the record for anxious men all over this country, is the - the strike something that you want to see or is it just about awareness?

MILANO: I think it's about awareness. You know, I think that we need to take this incredibly seriously. These bills are ridiculous. A lot of them are, you know, in - in Georgia, if--

CUOMO: Heartbeat bill.

MILANO: The Heartbeat bill basically criminalizing abortion after six weeks, most women don't know they're pregnant before, you know, eight weeks. I was - I was eight weeks pregnant before I found out. So, basically we're criminalizing abortion there after six weeks.

In Ohio, there's this weird stipulation where if you have an ectopic pregnancy, they actually want to take the pregnancy out and re-insert it into the uterus. Why is that ridiculous? Because that procedure actually does not exist at all.

Texas, they're - they're - they actually had a hearing where women can be given the death sentence, the death penalty, if she gets an abortion.

These are - these are serious - these are serious bills, although absurd. And the reason why they are - are absurd is because they're going to end up in court. And why is that important? Because eventually one of these cases will end up in the Supreme Court, and this--

CUOMO: Maybe.

MILANO: Maybe. But this is what we were fighting so hard for with Kavanaugh.

CUOMO: Right. And this is certainly what the point of the bills are.

The bills, hopefully, will become laws at the state level from their proponents' perspective, and they'll get lucky at some point, and get before the Supreme Court, and hope that the different composition of judges may change a different standard.

[21:05:00] Two points of pushback. The first one is these things now are largely theoretical.

They're moving their way through, as we saw in Georgia, many would take - would start to take effect in 2020, which is, of course, an election year, and you have a lot of women who are pro-life, and in favor of these bills. So, it's not like all women are on the same page about this.

MILANO: Well I don't think there's a human on the planet that is not pro-life. Nobody wants to get an abortion. Nobody. We are all pro- life. But there are circumstances that we cannot avoid.

There's the mother's health. There's just not being ready, you know, and - and what that means financially, and for someone's destiny. This is an economic issue.

Just because there are women that don't believe in abortion, don't take away someone else's right. And - and I have to also say that this will affect the communities of color more than anything, OK?

This is I - I feel like any woman of privilege that lives in one of these states, if this goes through, they're going to be able to travel to a state to get a safe reproductive healthcare.

But for the women of color, for the women that are marginalized, for the women that are low-income communities, the women that are most at risk, this - these bills are going to be catastrophic.

And, you know, just because something's - look at yesterday. What - what happened yesterday? A 40-year precedent was overturned in the Supreme Court. There's no telling that that won't happen with Roe v. Wade.

You know, Susan - Susan Collins, God love her, she said "Well I be - believe that Roe v. Wade was actually settled." Well a precedent was - was unsettled yesterday after 40 years of precedent.

CUOMO: Right. It can happen. That's what the Supreme Court does. The Supreme Court makes precedent. And just because it's a Latin phrase like stare decisis, that means this will be - this is decided, doesn't have to stay that way.

Now, you see this set of laws as a window into a larger political issue for you heading into 2020, which is a perceived war on women, whether it's equal pay, equal rights to their own bodies. How broad do you see the agenda?

MILANO: Well here's the deal, and I think that - that this is - this all goes hand-in-hand. The House has been able in - in Congress to pass many bills that have been for women's benefits.

Mitch McConnell has not had a hearing on one of them, Violence Against Women Act, the Equal Pay Act, it's - it's incredibly unfortunate, but also really obvious.

Now, I also want to point out that the Senate are the people that actually appoint judges. Trump and McConnell have been able to push through over a 100 judges in the lower courts. That is court stacking. And - and the Federalist Society, this has been a plan for them.

In my opinion, the Federalist Society-- CUOMO: It's why elections have consequences.

MILANO: Exactly. And the Federalist Society, to me, is just as dangerous as the NRA. And we can't have a country that functions with a democracy if our courts are - are skewed and - and one-sided.

So, this is - this is serious. And we need to take four seats back in the Senate. We need to gain four seats in the Senate for that not to happen. So 2020, to me, is not just about the Presidency. We have to start thinking about the Senate.

CUOMO: So, you know, before we run away from the Sex Strike, and I get that there's something playful about it, and it certainly was provocative, and I was looking at that toxic crucible of Twitter, and how people reacted to you about it, and, of course, you got all shades of ugly there as well.

But what about the idea of being, if not a modern-day Lysistrata, you know, Aristophanes' comedic figure who started a Sex Strike and helped stop the Peloponnesian War, what about the idea of women coming together on a council that not is about starving men of sex or anything like that, but a more concerted effort of women to target their own issues as a collective voice?

You know, we don't have a woman's party in this country. We don't have any Woman's Guild really that shows - we've seen marches. But do you think it's time for more of that?

MILANO: Yes. But I think the key to that is to communicate, to figure out what the best thing to do is, meaning there are many people on the ground, these grassroots organization like Sister Song that are fighting these bills in the South.

We all have to come together as a collective voice. We have to turn this fear that we're feeling right now into power and into votes in 2020.

CUOMO: So, for the men who are watching, the Sex Strike is a threat at this point. Don't make it become real by sleeping on these agenda items that Milano's putting out there.

MILANO: Well here's the deal. These bills make sex and getting pregnant extremely dangerous for women. So, at some point, we have to really consider what it means - what it means for sexuality. You know, we don't just need men for pleasure. Sorry.

CUOMO: Thanks. No, no, no. Why would I take any offense to that? So, I want to say something though.

[21:10:00] Thank you for coming on. I know you're not feeling well. I know you're shooting. And I know this matters to you enough that you put both of those things aside to take the opportunity. I appreciate you doing it.

These bills and these laws have to be focused on women. And men need to pay attention. And then we'll let the elections decide what they do. Thank you for taking this opportunity. I'll see you again soon.

MILANO: Thank you for the opportunity to talk about women's rights. Thank you.


CUOMO: All right, and since we have been airing that interview, there's been movement.

Now, just to give a sense of the stakes of the cause, it's an ongoing debate in the Alabama Senate. But, right now, on the ban vote, there are to be no exceptions for rape or incest that an amendment to include those things failed.

Now, we'll see if it can continue, and there's some change there. But it just shows you how dire the stakes are, how extreme these moves are to provoke some kind of change at the state and then, hopefully, the federal level. All right, so that's one issue.

Another, it's been a lot of high drama since the GOP-controlled Senate Intel Committee subpoenaed the President's son. But it seems this Donald Trump does know how to cut a deal. He's going to testify. But wait until you hear what he will and won't have to deal with.

And please look at these images. Why won't Washington do something to help? These kids are being held in U.S. custody. They're living on rocks. Why? Why can't we do better? Next.








CUOMO: President's namesake is going to talk behind closed doors to the Senate Intel Committee in June.

[21:15:00] The deal we're told is that the interview will be limited to two to four hours, the scope will cover five to six topics. But the big ones, the Trump Tower meeting and the Moscow project are fair game-ish. There will be limitations on what can be asked on those as well. Both sides agree this will be the last time Don Jr. is called in.

Now, let's bring in Asha Rangappa here to help us understand the implications. Asha, thank you. First of all, do you like this deal?

ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think that if it makes him come in and answer questions about those two topics, which I think are the two topics that he is most implicated in with regard to the Mueller report, it is helpful.

I do think that it still places him in a somewhat precarious situation, given his previous testimony, which we know now from the Mueller report may not have been entirely accurate.

CUOMO: OK. Now, you know, what - obviously, what will get scrutiny is, well what do you mean you only get limited follow-ups in the two areas that supposedly they care about, unless you believe what Senator Richard Blumenthal says, the Democrat from Connecticut, who says there's a lot of other things they want to talk to him about, all right.

But if you look at the Mueller report, those are the two points of discrepancy. But what can they really hope to get out of him, Asha, on either of those?

RANGAPPA: You know, I think they can get him on the record too. First of all, I think that with the Trump Tower meeting, you know, this - his testimony previously was about his knowledge of the extent to which the Moscow Tower deal continued, his knowledge of it, the length of time.

And from what we know from the Mueller report, and Michael Cohen, in his plea deal, that that went on longer than what Don Jr. said in his testimony. So, that puts him in potential exposure.

Now, what Don Jr. has said he's - is that he's going to double down and just refer to his previous testimony. I assume that he's doing that under the advisement of his lawyers because his only other option really is to plead the Fifth, and that may not be something that he wants to do.

With the Trump Tower meeting, I think that the Mueller report says that they actually considered potential criminal charges, but they weren't able to substantiate them because they couldn't prove his level of knowledge that what--

CUOMO: Right.

RANGAPPA: --he was doing may have reached, you know, the - the level that you need, the mens rea that you need for a criminal charge.

So, again, he's going to have to be very careful in what he says in this testimony with regard to what he knew, and either, again, double down on his previous testimony, plead the Fifth, or obfuscate, I guess.

CUOMO: Right.

RANGAPPA: I think that this is still tricky for him.

CUOMO: I think it is. I just don't think it's going to be as tricky as it could have been. And it draws my eye to his statement about what he said after cutting this deal. Do we have it? "Don Jr. is incredibly appreciative to the Members that went to bat for him, and he will return the favor come the 2020 campaign. He has a very long memory, and loyalty is a real important thing to him."

I can't think of a worse statement to have a so - a source close to you, assuming this person is your friend, to put out, other than thanking guys for giving you a favor.

RANGAPPA: Yes. I mean, Chris, I think one thing to remember here with Don Jr. is that unlike a lot of the other subpoenas that have been issued against members of the Trump administration, Don Jr. was not able to be protected by claims of Executive privilege. I mean he's--

CUOMO: Private citizen.

RANGAPPA: He has nothing here. And so, you know, the - this Committee could have really pushed this a lot further. And I think that's what you're saying.

But I think the reality is that, I think all things considered, having him get on record again is probably better than nothing, given where we are with all the other subpoenas that - that we're looking at.

CUOMO: As with all the moves, this is going to be measured on a balance, oversight versus overreach.

And that's why every time you push to have somebody come in, there better be something there to justify the effort. Otherwise, you're going to hear it on the way out, and from all who are overseeing, and watching everything that happens.

Asha Rangappa, that includes you and me, thank you very much for being with me tonight and making sense of this for us.

All right, now, we have not forgotten about the humanitarian crisis at the Border, all right? You're not hearing about it, but it's getting worse. A lot of people have seen it with their own eyes.

But now there are pictures that will hopefully blow your mind and put it back into focus what kids are doing in U.S. custody.

We're going to have a Great Debate on why nothing's happening, next.







(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Now, as most of you know, I've never argued against physical barriers on the Border. But, now, I argue against the idea of it as a panacea. The President says it's an easy fix to a complex problem. But it isn't.

For instance, how would a wall address these pictures? This is about overcapacity. This is about a humanitarian catastrophe. And you know who says that? The Head of DHS and the Head of CBP, the two major agencies that are involved with containing it.

It's not about bad guys coming to kill us. It's about kids coming with their families who were afraid of killing, now in these kinds of conditions. These are exclusive photos obtained by CNN. These are the conditions at the McAllen Border Patrol Station in Texas.

We were there. There are young kids left to sleep outside on rocks in the dirt. Why? Because the people down there don't care? No. It's not that they don't care. They do care.

They've been complaining to Congress. They've been complaining to the White House, begging for help. What they got was an emergency declaration to help build a fence that doesn't fix this. And they've gotten nothing else.

The President knows this. CBP has raised the alarms for months. The Congressional leaders know this. But the buck stops with the President. So, let's start our Great Debate there tonight with Angela Rye, Kayleigh McEnany.




[21:25:00] CUOMO: Kayleigh, it's good to have you. Congratulations on the new post.


CUOMO: Angela, as always, thank you.

Kayleigh, no arguing the facts here. We know who's down there. We know they're overrun. We know they can't handle it. We know they're begging for help. Nothing is coming.

The President could use the emergency declaration to help with immediate - emergency resourcing. Why not be the hero?

MCENANY: Look, there is a crisis denial problem. Democrats, for a long time, said there's no humanitarian crisis. Well, in fact, there is one.

Those pictures are not manufactured like the crisis they claim. There is a humanitarian crisis on our Southern border. These facilities are over-crowded, overwound.

CUOMO: So, why doesn't the President do something?

MCENANY: President Trump has said "$4.5 billion in emergency funding is what I need for humanitarian assistance, no strings attached, no wall." Where is Nancy Pelosi passing this through Con - Congress? We need Congress to appropriate the money. President Trump's ready to sign it. So, here we wait.

CUOMO: Senate - Senate hasn't put it on the floor. He can do things with the emergency declaration that would tap pockets, just like he did for fencing. But he's not doing it. It sends a message that what he cares about are the bad guys, not helping the kids.


MCENANY: Not true at all. President Trump has done everything within his power. But, ultimately, Chris, you got to solve the problem by stopping the flow of illegal immigrants to our Southern border.

Democrats are incentivizing it incentivizing people to take this dangerous journey - journey where one in three women are raped or sexually assaulted, 70 percent are victims of violence.

So, Democrats are irresponsible here. President Trump's doing everything in his power to stop it.

CUOMO: Angela Rye, rebuttal.

RYE: Absolutely. So, here's the thing that we have to remember when we're making policy in this country, Chris and Kayleigh, and that is that there's always a human face attached to the policy.

So, if a woman is - is willing to risk rape, is willing to take her kids out of school from whatever country she originated, or - or the family originated, there's got to be a reason for that.

And I would submit to you the answer is not Lindsey Graham's new proposed legislation where he's willing to - now he wants to detain migrant children not just 20 days, but now up to a 100 days.

We have the type of crisis that tells us, in April, over a 100,000 people were detained at the Border, and more than 60 percent of those people were families and children.

The real crisis here is the fact that humanity has been distanced from policy. And anytime that happens, you have a crisis. The crisis is one of consciousness. The crisis is one of morality. The crisis is a one - is a - one of human rights nature. And we cannot divorce ourselves from that.

The real issue is that the emergency declaration for Donald Trump has been used to demonstrate his power, his gravitas, instead of solving for the issues around compassion. Is he willing to tell us that the rapists and drug dealers he talked

about during his campaign are these families and these children?

MCENANY: Angela.

RYE: I would think not. I would think not.

MCENANY: Angela.

RYE: And that is the real crisis here.

MCENANY: You know as well as I do that several of these unaccompanied minors are actually posing as such, and pose a threat to the United States. Operation Matador detained 274 MS-13 members, 99 of which came in through our doors as unaccompanied minors. If you have--

RYE: Kayleigh, where did MS-13 originate?

MCENANY: Angela, if you have - if you have a legitimate asylum claim, you can have that adjudicated.

RYE: No. Let me tell you what's wrong with that.

MCENANY: Only 10 percent of asylum claims are approved, only 10 percent.

RYE: Lindsey Graham is proposing that now asylum should not be able to be sought at the Border. That is the real crisis. What has happened to our compassion?

MCENANY: Because Angela--

RYE: Kayleigh, you and I are Christians.

MCENANY: Angela, do you know what percent - Angela--

RYE: We are believers. And at some point social justice has to be a part of--

CUOMO: Hold on, one at a time, one at a time. Angela, finish your point.

RYE: --policymaking, at some point. So, we can't continue to say our Christianity, the Bible we read only applies--

MCENANY: Angela, if--

RYE: --to law-abiding citizens who didn't seek asylum.

MCENANY: Angela, let's--

RYE: We have to at some point say there's a reason why they're coming to this Border. All ye who are heavy laden--

MCENANY: Angela, everyone--

CUOMO: All right.

RYE: --they can't come to the Border?

MCENANY: Everyone - everyone on this--

CUOMO: All right, Kayleigh, respond. And then we reset.


CUOMO: Go ahead.

MCENANY: Every single person on this panel, every person watching, agrees with the notion--

CUOMO: Is it?

MCENANY: --of asylum and refugees, and being a country of compassion.

RYE: Do they?

MCENANY: But I'm not hearing compassion for - from you for the men and women who have died of opioid overdoses. Enough Fentanyl crossed our Border to kill every man, woman, and child in this country four times.

RYE: Wait a minute. Kayleigh, we - we need to talk about opioids. I'm happy to talk about opioids.

MCENANY: So, if you want to talk about compassion, you've got to talk about the victims of the opioid overdoses (ph).

CUOMO: All right, now, hold on, I'm not. Hold on one second. Let's--

RYE: But that wasn't the point of the debate.

CUOMO: Hold on. Let me just reset. Let me reset. Now--

RYE: That's a hell of a red herring.

CUOMO: Well here - here's the thing. Do - do drugs come across the Border? The answer is yes.

RYE: Sure. But that's not what we're talking about.

CUOMO: But they come across in percentages that have been greatly exaggerated by the White House. And if you're worried about Fentanyl--

RYE: Imagine that!

CUOMO: --then you're going to talk to China about that, instead of just playing a tariff game, because the overwhelming majority come overseas. We know that. We know what the numbers are.

Here's the problem, Kayleigh, and there is criticism on both sides, and I'm going to get to both of it tonight.

Here's the first, all right? The President's asking for $4.5 billion now. Yes, I know. But his priority's always been the fence. And he's been told to worry about this--

RYE: Build the wall.

CUOMO: --first the entire time.

Now, unlike a lot of other issues, Kayleigh, I can't be wrong on this because my reporting has been too close to the sources that are within the Administration that have been asking for help, while he was asking for the fence.

[21:30:00] They were saying to him, "Yes, yes, yes, physical barriers help. But what we really need is," but he didn't see a win in that. He saw a win in the fence, and that's what he went for.

RYE: Right.

CUOMO: So, now, you have the majority of the problem is not a fence away from being fixed. Shouldn't he take some ownership of that?

MCENANY: Look, he has been unmistakable in saying this is one, a humanitarian crisis, two, a security crisis, both of those components are true. But, Chris, you've got to get to the root of the problem.

No one on this panel can deny the numbers. These are the worst illegal immigration numbers we have seen in a decade. 500,000 Border crossings.

CUOMO: And a fence was never going fix these flow of kids.

RYE: Never.

MCENANY: A - a Southern--

CUOMO: They're coming through the ports of entry.

MCENANY: Where a Southern barrier has been built, illegal immigrant Border crossings have been reduced by 90 percent is logic.

CUOMO: I - I know. But the logic - but that is--

RYE: Immigrants (ph) are being detained--

MCENANY: You put up a barrier. You stop illegal immigrant flows.

CUOMO: Hold on, hold on.

RYE: --Kayleigh.

CUOMO: That assumes that if you put up a fence the people don't come anymore.

RYE: That's right.

CUOMO: And what you're seeing is that we're being flooded at the ports of entry. But now let me bounce back. I've talked to you about this before, Angela. I see opportunity for Democrats in this because of how the President prioritized it by going fence first.

RYE: Yes.

CUOMO: But they haven't. They don't even go down there the way they did during the Obama administration and the first wave of this that we saw. I don't understand why not.

Why don't the Democrats say "Fine, you want the money? We'll give it to you. But we're going to own this because you went with the fence and we have the fix." I don't hear it.

RYE: Yes. I - first, I want to just correct one thing. I know there was a trip earlier this Congress led by Congressman Bennie Thompson, who is the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee going straight to McAllen, so I know that part is not true, perhaps--

CUOMO: Some went. But I'm saying not like the last time.

RYE: Yes.

CUOMO: Kathleen Rice was down there too.

RYE: Sure.

CUOMO: But not like last time. And they don't talk about it like they did last time.

RYE: Well and I think the real issue here is people feel really torn. This is a humanitarian crisis. And what can you do when part of the bargain is probably going to have to be erecting a physical barrier, one that they know doesn't work?

We've also talked about SBInet on this program, the fact that there was a physical and electric wall built through a Homeland Security contract that failed horribly.

So, at some point, there has to be a real decent conversation, one that again remembers humanity in it, at its - at its root, and that it's just impossible to have right now because we're having conversations instead about opioids and rape - rapists and drug dealers at the Borders that are these families--

MCENANY: Because all of that crosses our Border.

RYE: --who're sleeping on rocks with baby bottles. And I'm - but I'm - but I'm saying--

MCENANY: All of that - Angela--

RYE: --but I'm saying are we--

MCENANY: --you're doing this at your own peril.

RYE: No, no, no. No, it's not at my peril. What I'm saying, Kayleigh--

MCENANY: 80 percent agree there's a crisis or a problem on the Border. So, don't deny it.

RYE: --is that the crisis is you cannot lose sight of humanity, and I don't care what side of the Border you're on. You cannot have these--

MCENANY: And you must protect American citizens too who are ravaged by drugs each and every day.

CUOMO: Right.

RYE: These babies are not ravaging.

MCENANY: Ravaged by drugs.

CUOMO: Right, look--

RYE: They're not ravaging American citizens.

CUOMO: --here - here's the thing.

RYE: That's just not true

CUOMO: Look, here's the thing.

RYE: Come on, we know better.

CUOMO: Here's the thing. It's all true. You have all kinds of problems. It's just that we have over-weighted the urgency of the security risk and we have under-weighed the risks of the humanitarian disaster with the kids.

And now we're seeing that, we're not prepared for it. There's stuff that has to be done that can be done, and it isn't. And as long as we argue about it, it won't get there. But hopefully, the sides will see the urgency, and somebody will play to opportunity and act.

Angela, thank you for making the arguments from the Left. Kayleigh, thank you from coming now with the Trump Campaign--

MCENANY: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: --appreciate having you on the show. We'll have you again.

All right, something special ahead, the story of a Champion For Change, OK? I know it's a series that's going on. People are picking great different people and organizations.

This was different for me. This kid changed my life. I have never met anyone before or since like Mattie Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek. I'm telling you I've never met anybody that made me feel, you know what, some of us are truly special.

Prepare to be inspired, next.







CUOMO: So, this week, we are revisiting stories of remarkable people, changing our world as part of the series, Champions For Change. Now, my champion is no longer with us, but he's still changing the world. I feel the loss of this little boy all the time.

The poet and peacemaker who played a little light that shone so bright after 9/11, his message of how to deal with struggle, message coming from a boy living with a life sentence, message and messenger made magic.

Here is the story of the best person I have ever interviewed.



MATTHEW JOSEPH THADDEUS STEPANEK, POET: If we choose to make peace a reality and spread it throughout the world and get involved, we will have peace.

CUOMO: Never met anybody like Mattie Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek. We were reeling after 9/11. We were desperate for wisdom.

And then, there was this kid, a kid in a wheelchair with a rare disease, a disease that claimed his three older siblings, and he is deep, and he is dying, and he caught fire with a message that we all needed.

I was at ABC News at the time, and we couldn't get enough Mattie.

Where does all this wisdom come from, Mattie? You're an 11-year old kid.

M. STEPANEK: From inside of me, at my heart song.

Thank you all for coming tonight.

CUOMO: Mattie poured his heart songs, as he called them, into five books of poetry and peace essays, selling millions of copies.


CUOMO: His uplifting spirit attracted a worldwide following, including fellow poet, and President Jimmy Carter. He joined us on the set at ABC for a chance to meet the boy poet. JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Of all the people I've met in my life, he was the most remarkable human being that I think that - that has lived in my lifetime.

CUOMO: I broke a very important rule as a journalist. I let Mattie in. I couldn't help it. I loved that kid. And when he was finally gone, I could not handle it.

M. STEPANEK: I need a hope, a new hope, a hope that reaches for the stars.

CUOMO: Hello. How are you?


CUOMO: It has been 15 years. Mattie's mom Jeni is battling the same rare disease that claimed her kids. Her days are devoted to her role as Chief Peace Officer of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation.

Nobody has ever affected me the way your son did.

[21:40:00] J. STEPANEK: When he said, "God places messages in my heart," I never didn't believe him. But I didn't understand nor did I understand the impact, the ripple effect that was having on people in the world.

CUOMO: How important is it to you to have your message get out?

M. STEPANEK: I think it's very important so that we can stop fighting and talk. Our war on terrorism should be won with the words, not with bombs.

J. STEPANEK: On September 11th, Mattie watched the events unfold, and he said "I don't know how to pray, I don't know what to do." And I said, "Just start speaking." And he spoke what became the poem for our world.

M. STEPANEK: In so many ways, we are the same. Our differences are unique treasures. We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts.

J. STEPANEK: And it became an international passage for peace. It's part prayer, part poem, part plea.

CUOMO: So, it started with a poem.


CUOMO: Became a book.


CUOMO: And now, it is a platform.

J. STEPANEK: Right. CUOMO: The platform is the Just Peace Summit, a Global Teen Leaders Mentorship program, inspired by Mattie, and organized by the We Are Family Foundation.

NANCY HUNT, PRESIDENT, WE ARE FAMILY FOUNDATION: I said to his mom, what if we find young people, like Mattie, teenagers, between 13 and 19 years old, who literally are making the world a more peaceful place.

CUOMO: How many kids have you put out there now?

J. STEPANEK: 332 Global Teen Leaders.

CUOMO: We gathered these teens in a room. Like Mattie, they had a lot to say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The message that I really take away most from Mattie and what he embodied was the idea that peace comes just as much in the form of a crippled young boy as it does in a world leader.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He spoke to us about the reality of what it feels like to be alive. And he did it with his disease limit that (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mattie said unity is strength. We may have differing opinions. But that unity, to be able to have that positive discourse is so important.

CUOMO: Young lady, to the people at home, your decision to come here and to be about this, what did it mean for them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that I am here because I am a change- maker because we believe that we are the change that the world needs. So, that's why I'm crying because it's so nice (ph).

CUOMO: These kids, this would have never happened without you and without him.

J. STEPANEK: It empowers me, and gives my purpose amplification. I'm living with this sense of urgency. I want to develop sustainability for Mattie's Foundation, so that if my stopwatch went done that Mattie's Foundation survives.

CARTER: I think everybody that knows him - about him have been inspired to look at themselves, and say, I make the decision about what kind of person I'm going to be. I shaped my own character. And we use Mattie as a inspirational example of what each one of us can do to live a better life.

J. STEPANEK: He's now been gone longer than he was here, which for me, as a mom, is very, very difficult. What a beautiful gift to look out in the world and see that what he left for us, his legacy is continuing to grow. I want this message to be reaching billions of people.

M. STEPANEK: And if I could offer our world a wish, it would be a spirit of peace so that we can be together. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Mara Cuevas (ph) did a great job with that piece. This Saturday at 8 P.M. Eastern, you're going to have an hour-long Champions For Change Special. You're going to get to see all the stories here on CNN.

God bless Mattie, and his beautiful mom, Jeni. They are true Champions For Change.

You wouldn't like it that we get upset, and so many bring a tear to their eyes about him. He always wanted us to laugh through our troubles together. So, let's take that segue.

And when I bring in D. Lemon, we're going to look back at another remarkable life. And boy, could he make us laugh?

Comedy Legend Tim Conway, he helped turn TV shows into classics, of course, The Carol Burnett Show. We got to remember the people who make us laugh. They give us such a gift.

Let's do that, next.








CUOMO: The world lost one of the greats today, a truly brilliant comedian.

Tim Conway, best known for his work on The Carol Burnett Show, of course, died at 85. Co-stars, fans, revel in his effortless humor, his ability to slip into all manner of personas, from Mr. Tudball, a businessman with a strange Swedish-Romanian accent to Dirk Dorf, the sportsman who played golf with his clueless caddie.

Here's his classic spin though this is - this is the best, the inept dentist.



TIM CONWAY, COMEDIC ACTOR, WRITER & DIRECTOR: Novocaine, here we are, Novocaine. Take a firm hold of the hypodermic needle. Right.


CONWAY: There'll be a little bit of pain and then numbness will set in.



CUOMO: The beauty of it was not only could Harvey Korman not keep it together, but he was so in the moment that you don't even know what was scripted and what wasn't. But boy, you got to treasure the people who make us laugh.

[21:50:00] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: That was my favorite - one of my favorites because every time he would - but that was his first day.

The skit starts off, and he says, the nurse comes in and says, "Your first patient is here," and he says, "My first patient? I thought we were just going to practice today." So, he's like going through the book, trying to figure out what to do, and then he sticks himself with the needle, it's hilarious.

And Harvey Korman, Harvey Korman is cracking up. That was my favorite is when him and Harvey Korman could not keep it together.

One more favorite, do you remember Mr. Tudball?

CUOMO: Oh, yes. So fun.

LEMON: Mrs. Wiggins, Mrs. Wiggins. She would - Carol Burnett would walk in Mrs. Wiggins. She'd always be at her desk like filing her fingernails or whatever, painting.


LEMON: There - there it is.

CUOMO: Look at the hairpiece.

LEMON: Look - look at - how are you going to take dictation that way? How are you going to do any - she couldn't even open the door or answer the phone because she was doing her nails. That genius, genius, genius.

CUOMO: The balance of like being in character and not being able to handle the fact of the skit going on, I mean he was a real genius.

I mean that show was full of him. What a gift Burnett gave us and con - continues to give us with her own one-woman show. She's going to dedicate it tonight to Conway. But, you know, his legacy will live on. People will be able to watch these skits, a whole new generation will now on YouTube.

LEMON: Yes. They will. And you know what she's saying? I'm sure she's grieving. I don't want to speak for her. But I'm sure she's saying, "I'm so glad we had this time together."


LEMON: Do you remember that?

CUOMO: Yes--

LEMON: Just to have a laugh, or sing a song. Seems we just get started and before you know it comes the time we have to say, "So long."

CUOMO: "So long."

LEMON: Good night, even she would say good night, everybody. And then, if - I guess if the show is a little short, she'd do the second verse or whatever but--


LEMON: What a great show! I - I miss variety shows like that - like that and Laugh-In. They don't - just don't make them like that anymore.

CUOMO: No. Can't do it anymore. Expectations are different. Patience is different.


CUOMO: People's willingness to suspend disbelief is different. Just to sit down and watch, people don't have it the way they did then, but they should.

LEMON: Yes. Yes.

CUOMO: We'll miss him. But we'll remember him.

LEMON: We will miss him.

I've got the former Ambassador to NATO. Nick Burns is going to talk to us about those 120,000 troops supposedly - reportedly that the Trump administration wants to send to the Middle East.

And also, John Kasich, former Governor of Ohio is going to be on to talk about all things in the news.

CUOMO: Beautiful. See you in a second.

LEMON: See you soon.

CUOMO: All right--

LEMON: So long.

CUOMO: I like that. That's what Carol Burnett did, right?

All right, so we got something that's a problem, but we got somebody who stepped up about it as well. It does not happen enough these days. And when it does, we should call it out for what it is, good, bad, and the ugly, next.








CUOMO: Did you hear? Michael Truncale is the new Federal Judge for the Eastern District of Texas. He once called President Obama an "Un- American Imposter." Sounds like birtherism! Yes, it does.

You could say 2011 was a long time ago when he said it. Maybe Truncale has changed. Well here's his answer.

"I made many of the comments referred to herein in my capacities as a candidate for the United States Congress or as a political commentator. As a judicial nominee, it would be inappropriate for me to offer comments on any political matters."

When asked specifically about calling President Obama an "Un-American Imposter," he wrote, "Please see my response to Question 3(b) above. I will note that it is possible, however, that I was merely expressing frustration by what I perceived as a lack of overt patriotism on behalf of President Obama."

Possible? He doesn't know why he said it? Listen, Truncale didn't apologize. He defended it. He didn't say he doesn't think that BS is true anymore, just that as Judge, he wouldn't say it out loud.

All right, and yet, every single Republican in the Senate voted for him, except one, Mitt Romney, the GOP Presidential nominee who lost to President Obama in a brutal race in 2012.

Now, let's just see this for what it is. It is blind partisanship. Why? Does anyone think Truncale will really be a different person as a Judge? Haven't we learned that these men and women are exactly who they seem to be, despite their claims of being impartial on the bench.

Yet only one Republican Senator will own the truth of this. The rest do what partisans do, especially now, especially in the GOP with this President. "Get in line, shut your mouth."

Before this, the only Judge that got dinged in a public way in this administration was this guy. Remember him? Matthew Spencer Petersen. And that only happened after a Republican Senator, John Kennedy of Louisiana did this to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): Have any of you not tried a case to verdict in a courtroom?


KENNEDY: Mr. Petersen, have you ever tried a jury trial?




KENNEDY: Criminal?




KENNEDY: State or federal court?

PETERSEN: I have not.


CUOMO: That was the least of it. But, look, it's judges like Truncale that carry actually more risk. I mean that was just about basic competence. This man is a political actor who is now in ropes, and he may well do the bidding of a party before the impartial work of the people.

At least Mitt Romney got that. "He said some" - this Judge "said some things disparaging of President Obama, and having been the Republican nominee in 2012, I couldn't sign onto that for a district judge."

At least one Senator in that party still sees being righteous as more important than being on the right side of this President, and he deserves the credit for being called out, and so do the others for what they did and why.

Thank you for watching. CNN TONIGHT With D. Lemon in the new digs starts right now.

LEMON: Blind partisanship. Blind partisanship. But can you - can you really apply that to this administration?