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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Trump Defends Giving A.G. Unprecedented New Powers; Republican Congressman Single-Handedly Blocks $19 Billion Disaster Aid Bill; DHS Source: 250 Kids In Custody At Border For 72-Plus Hours. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 24, 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] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD STERN, RADIO & TELEVISION PERSONALITY, PRODUCER, AUTHOR: So, I am not Harvey.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Wow!

STERN: I am Howard. And I'm - I'm thankful for that at least.

COOPER: Fern Stern.

STERN: Life would have be - I would have gotten beaten up 20 times more if I had been Harvey.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: He's great person to talk to. You can see a lot more at 10 P.M. Eastern for the full hour, Howard Stern.

Right now, let's hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

If the President wants the investigations to end, why is he starting one? And what is the move for the Democrats now? We have a House Judiciary Member here tonight who will be a key figure in the political battle to come.

And a freshman GOP Congressman single-handedly held up a $19 billion disaster relief bill. Pelosi is incensed. But did he make the right move?

Let's have a great debate about that because I have new information for you about how many little kids are being held basically in jail cells by CBP on the Border longer than they should.

And the people on the ground are worried about the worst. They are begging our Members of Congress and HHS to help with these kids, and nobody is doing anything. Why?

And we're going to end tonight with an argument about the biggest threat to our fighting men and women today. On this Memorial Day weekend, there is a call to arms that all of us must answer.

Please, remember the Fallen. And let's get after it.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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CUOMO: The President says he is not looking for revenge. Listen.

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DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It - it's not payback. I don't care about payback.

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CUOMO: He doesn't. Then why open an investigation that is expressly designed to blame the Russia probe on political enemies and bad tactics?

Let's bring in oversight hawk, David Cicilline, Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

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TEXT: ONE ON ONE.

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CUOMO: Welcome back to PRIME TIME, always good to see you.

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Thanks, great to be with you.

CUOMO: So, now what?

CICILLINE: Well look, this is an ongoing effort by the President to distract from the damning evidence contained in the Mueller report.

Let's remember this. The Mueller report details a very broad sweeping attack by a foreign adversary, by the Russians, on the American Presidential election, and on our democracy.

It then details 10 specific instances of obstruction of justice by the President of the United States. This is a damning report. And so, what does the President do? He now wants to have an investigation to find out why this got started.

He should just read the Mueller report because it's detailed in there. We know how it started. When George Papadopoulos talked about information he received that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton, it was shared with an Australian diplomat, who shared it with the FBI.

So, we know how this began. This is an effort to distract from a very, very damaging report that-- CUOMO: But it could work.

CICILLINE: --evidences substantial misconduct. Well you know what?

CUOMO: You got an A.G.--

CICILLINE: It shouldn't work because of--

CUOMO: --who believes there was spying. They believe that it--

CICILLINE: Right. No, no, we haven't - right.

CUOMO: --was all predicated on the dossier.

CICILLINE: Right. Right. But you know what? When - just like when Mr. Barr released his four-page summary, and the media breathlessly waited for his summary, let's remember who Mr. Barr is.

Let's examine his conduct, and let's treat his statements in this new investigation for what they really are, treat them like Trump re- election campaign press releases because that's what this is about. This is about distracting from--

CUOMO: But what do you do about it?

CICILLINE: Well, you - we need the media to be sure that they point this out that this is an Attorney General who is clearly acting like President Trump's own Roy Cohn, who thinks he's there to defend the President, and help facilitate his distraction.

CUOMO: But Congressman, we don't have oversight over the A.G.

CICILLINE: We know how this--

CUOMO: You do.

CICILLINE: No, that's right. And we are still attempting to bring the Attorney General before the Judiciary Committee, and we will get him there eventually by way of subpoena. So, we're going to do our part to bring this to the attention of the American people.

But in the reporting, it should be pointed out that Mr. Barr has lost credibility as an Attorney General for the United States. He's behaving as President Trump's defense counsel, like his own private attorney, rather than attorney for the people of this country.

CUOMO: Let me ask you this. If you can't get Mueller in the chair, in public, anytime soon, is it worth thinking about how to calm this down because there's not a great avenue going forward in terms of consensus?

And you know that this President will just keep, you know, just ratcheting up the reactionary moves, and this will never end, if you can't get Mueller in the chair in public soon.

CICILLINE: Yes. I'm - I hope we will get Mr. Mueller before the Committee in public.

I think it's very important that the Judiciary can hear from him directly, and I think it's important the American people hear from him directly, so he can walk us through the report, describe his conclusions, describe his findings, the judgments he made. But look, we have to do this oversight work, and we have to be

relentless in ensuring that we get to the truth that we demonstrate no one in this country, including the President of the United States, is above the law, and - and to prevent the President from engaging in an ongoing cover-up.

But the way that we calm things down, I think, Chris is to continue to get the work done for the American people.

CUOMO: OK.

[21:05:00] CICILLINE: We've passed over a 100 pieces of legislation. We are driving down the cost of prescription drugs. We're working on an infrastructure bill. We passed equal pay for equal work. We passed universal background checks. We've done lots of things.

So, we're getting things done that are focused on fortifying the Affordable Care Act, protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions, driving down the cost of prescription drugs, raising family incomes.

So, I think so long as we keep staying very focused on delivering on the important priorities of the American people that at the same time we can do our oversight, and we can do both things.

I think that's how we calm - calm it down, and let people know we're getting the work done on the issues that matter--

CUOMO: Well--

CICILLINE: --in their lives.

CUOMO: Well here's an issue that can't matter anymore. And I promised you I'd keep you in the loop.

I just got this information before the show. And I'm not - I'm not throwing something at you. I want your help with it. And it's - it's your duty, and it's the duties of people on both sides of the aisle.

So, men and women on the ground with knowledge of the situation say that CBP is in custody of more people, zero to 12 years of age, kids than they've ever had in recent memory. They have 250 they'd had for over 72 hours.

They see 72 hours as the bright line between when they are healthy and when they are not. That kid that just died of the flu, that time factor is relevant. They have been begging HHS to take the kids. HHS says they can't. They're over-capacity.

I'm telling you, Congressman, we've got six dead already. There's going to be tragedy. None of those bills you just mentioned deal with this. Nobody is doing a damn thing about this. And I don't understand why.

CICILLINE: Chris - well, first of all, Chris, this is a very serious situation. We have had a number of hearings on them.

CUOMO: Yes.

CICILLINE: And all of the committees of relevant jurisdiction, we appropriated about $470 million recently--

CUOMO: They spent it.

CICILLINE: --that related to additional medical care.

No, I understand. But if there are additional needs, then we're going to have to appropriate more money. We also appropriated $1.4 billion to help secure the Border, and provide additional fencing.

So, we've made substantial appropriations. If we need to do more, the Department needs to ask for it and the Congress, I think--

CUOMO: They have.

CICILLINE: --in a bipartisan way, will do it. But part of this is also to look at some of the policies that have been put into place that are exacerbating the conditions at the Border.

So, it both is fixing the policies, fixing--

CUOMO: I get it.

CICILLINE: --our broken immigration system. We just had legislation. We just passed the DREAM Act. That's part of it, having comprehensive immigration reform.

CUOMO: I get it.

CICILLINE: But in the short-term, making sure there are enough resources at the Border to keep these children safe, to make sure they're getting--

CUOMO: Yes.

CICILLINE: --the medical care that they need--

CUOMO: Yes.

CICILLINE: --and that they are being properly processed--

CUOMO: Yes.

CICILLINE: --all of that.

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

CICILLINE: I agree 100 percent.

CUOMO: I get all of it. But here's the thing I don't get.

And again, everybody has to know. You've been a friend on this issue. When I talked to you about it before, and I said I was going down there, you were open to it. You came on the show to talk about it, a lot of Democrats wouldn't, so thank you for that.

But I don't think you have time for this protracted conversation about the $4.5 billion ask, and what's going to be put in there, in terms of policies, and the legal immigration, and - and what's going on.

This is a real emergency situation. There's nowhere for the kids to be. They can't be released on their own recognizance. You have more of them than they have ever had in recent history, 250.

What if 10 of those kids wind up being sick? They're in jail cells, basically, not because they want to abuse them. They have nowhere else to put them. Can't you do something--

CICILLINE: Well, no, they can be--

CUOMO: --now?

CICILLINE: No, Chris, that's why the policy that had been in place that children can be released to family members than we'd (ph)--

CUOMO: They don't have any.

CICILLINE: --have a zero tolerant - no, but - but we didn't have the zero-tolerance policy, and people were processed. They - if they made an asylum claim, they were given a date - court date in the future, so there's been a change in policy.

I'm not saying there's not a crisis at the Border, a humanitarian challenge. But part of that is exacerbated by a change in policy. We have to be sure that the agencies have the resources they need. We've made additional appropriations.

If there's an additional emergency that requires more funding, I can't speak for the whole Congress, but I suspect--

CUOMO: All right.

CICILLINE: --everyone will be prepared to provide resources to do it. But the departments also have to be sure. They're staffing up. There are a number of positions that remain unfilled that would provide some relief.

And again, we - we have to take directions from the agencies. When they're asking for additional resources, we provide them. But I believe you're right. I have been to the Border several times, as have many of my colleagues.

I think we will continue to go back to monitor it ourselves--

CUOMO: I know that - I know that the information is right.

CICILLINE: --to be sure that they have what they need.

CUOMO: And I know that they're in a panic, and I know these people. And what I'm saying is, do me a favor. I know it's not just on you.

CICILLINE: Yes.

CUOMO: I know. But, you know, you've been a friend on this.

CICILLINE: No, no, it's on all of us. I'm happy to--

CUOMO: If you could just--

CICILLINE: No, no, I appreciate--

CUOMO: If you could just go to HHS, send Azar a note, because everybody's going away for Memorial Day weekend. I'm not - I'm not about that. I'm just saying bad things may happen over this weekend.

CICILLINE: Absolutely.

CUOMO: And if you could just send him a note and saying, "Cuomo said to me on his show tonight that they came to you, and asked for you to take these kids, and you said you couldn't. What needs to happen?"

Because God forbid--

CICILLINE: Absolutely.

CUOMO: --it's just no way to measure a problem as in a metric of the death of kids, zero to 12.

CICILLINE: Absolutely, 100 percent.

CUOMO: And, you know, I only ask you because you're in a position of power, and you've been open on this before, and I'm asking everybody, not just you.

CICILLINE: No, absolutely. Yes. No, of course. I'm happy to.

CUOMO: And thank you very much, Congressman. I appreciate you listening to this.

CICILLINE: My pleasure.

CUOMO: And I know there's a lot going on.

CICILLINE: Yes.

[21:10:00] CUOMO: So, thank you, and I hope you have good interchanges with your constituents this weekend.

CICILLINE: Thanks. I hope so too. Have a good weekend.

CUOMO: All right, you too, be well.

Listen, I don't know how else to put it. I've never heard this come from them before, 250 kids, all these different sectors. When they hold them too long, even if they - they do have triage of medical, this is when the horrible things happen.

Kids don't have to die in situations like this. Emergency moves can be made. So, we're going to stay on this. And I'll let you know what happens, if anything.

So, this main story that's falling on everybody's head about the Attorney General, if he weaponizes classified information, well what does that mean?

Why is the Intelligence Community upset? It's just - just an inside game, or is there a real practical effect that we all have to worry about?

My next guest says it's the latter. This could be a problem. Former FBI Special Agent knows the risks, knows what's at stake. I have three questions for her about what this could mean going forward. We'll get the answers, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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[21:15:00] CUOMO: So, the President says the A.G. asked him to give the A.G. ability to declassify certain intelligence information to look into these FISA applications, and see how the Russia probe started. OK.

So now, the same man, this Attorney General, who has already shown an ability to make choices that preference this President has an unusual power. But this is the way the President sees it.

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TRUMP: He can then show them to the public, do whatever he wants to do with them.

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CUOMO: That's the problem. He can do whatever he wants to do with them. Asha Rangappa is here to answer three questions on what this means for the men and women keeping us safe.

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TEXT: 3 QUESTIONS.

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CUOMO: Good to have you. I hope you have a great weekend. I hope you remember the Fallen. Thank you for doing this on a Friday night.

First question, what is the biggest risk of declassifying Intel sources.

ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The biggest risk, Chris, is that it puts our existing human sources in danger. And in doing so, that enables Russia in its efforts against the United States.

In Intelligence, the name of the game is not letting your adversary know what you know.

And when you let your adversary know and by - in this case, by declassifying your sources, who's giving you the information, you give the - them the ability to cut off that information, which puts us at a disadvantage, and them at an advantage, and that is not in the interest of the national security of the United States.

CUOMO: And that already happened with the guy Haspel or whatever, the - the professor--

RANGAPPA: Yes.

CUOMO: --and - and the threat is, "Well if you keep doing that, who's going to work with you?"

All right, so what would the - that mean in terms of impacting the current operations to stop Russian interference?

RANGAPPA: Right. So, this is important because this is not something that just happened in the past. Russia's active measures against the United States are ongoing.

Our Intelligence Community has said that they're going to repeat this in 2020. So, we rely on these sources, and we also rely on recruiting new sources. This is both with the FBI and the CIA. We - we recruit sources here. We pass them off abroad. CIA does it abroad.

Imagine that somebody that the CIA is approaching, looking at them, and saying, "Hey, can you protect me? Can you make sure my identity will never be known?"

And for these intelligence officers to not be able to promise with absolute certainty that that won't happen, we will not have the ability to get these people to work on our behalf, and that really impacts our ability to protect the country.

CUOMO: Different third question than we planned for. With what you know about the FISA process, having worked in it, what do you think the chance is that when they look, they're going to be able to say they pulled one over on these judges, they pulled one over on the system?

RANGAPPA: You know, Chris, the FISA process is so regulated. This is a tripartite process.

The Executive branch decides that they want to surveil. There are statutory guidelines and - and thresholds that the Executive branch has to meet. And then there is a Judicial branch which has to decide, independently, whether it has met those guidelines.

So, this is an objective evaluation. And we know that the I.G. and the FBI is already looking at this. So, I want - I would say that accountability is good. But if something has gone wrong, it will be very clear, and that can be, you know, that can be conveyed by the I.G.

And so far, anyone who has looked at this, including the Director of the FBI, has said that nothing has deviated from those very strict procedures that are in place already.

CUOMO: Asha Rangappa, you are good to do this right before the weekend this way, and it's important to do it right now, so thank you.

RANGAPPA: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, we have much more to come on this breaking news that we got you tonight.

The situation at the Border, look, I don't know why it's not resonating with people. I don't know what else should, other than knowing that kids may die because we're holding them in ways that we shouldn't. And yet, nobody's doing anything about it.

Now that came up for Chip Roy, this Congressman who's getting all of this credit and blame for blowing up the Disaster, the relief bill.

We're going to talk to another Republican Member from Texas about what happened there and what needs to happen on the Border. We are lucky to have him. An important conversation, next.

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CUOMO: So Congressman Chip Roy is a Republican from Texas, and he's getting all this credit or blame, depending on your perspective, for stalling $19 billion worth of disaster aid. So, the question is why. He says two things. One, you jumping it on us last second, right

before we leave for Memorial Day, we should debate it. OK. Second one, where is the money for the Border? OK.

We just got information that changes my perspective on this, and it should yours. Men and women on the ground with knowledge of the situations say they are holding more kids, zero to 12 years of age, what they call tender years, 250 of them, longer than 72 hours.

They see 72 hours as an equivalent of when like the oxygen runs out in the room. That is the demarcation line between keeping them safe and where they start to get sick, and worse, all right?

So, let's talk about this. Republican Congressman from Texas also, Lance Gooden. Lance, it's great to have you here. Thank you, Sir.

REP. LANCE GOODEN (R-TX): Thank you. Thank you.

CUOMO: Congressman, appreciate it. And like I said with Cicilline, not here to blame you. I'm here for help.

So, I haven't heard them with this kind of desperation before. You've been to the Border. You live there. You work it. I've been there.

72 hours is a big number for them. They're not supposed to hold kids zero to 12 years of age that long. They got 250 of them. They go to HHS. They say, "Please take the kids." HHS says, "We can't." Not that they don't. This is nothing about malice.

Why can nothing be done? Cicilline says we got to talk about the rules. We gave them $470 million. They've asked for more money, but we got to talk about it, and how to, why isn't the emergency part coming through?

GOODEN: Part of the reason we're in this situation is because Republicans and Chris Cuomo are the only people that will admit we've even got a problem. Up until the last few weeks, Democrats wouldn't even acknowledge we have a problem on the Border.

I would go down to the Border, and talk with people, who say some - some of the people who live there, they'd say, "We don't have a Border security problem. We don't need a wall. We don't need to close the Border."

[21:25:00] And then I'd say, "Well what about all these children that are here? We've got to do something. We have a humanitarian crisis."

And it's frustrating as a freshman Congressman to see my colleagues who campaign across the aisle saying "We're going to come to Washington, we're going to work across the aisle, we're going to get something done for the American people," only to see that we've only passed 17 bills jointly as a Congress since July - since January 1st.

Five of those bills had to do with the government shutdown. The rest of them were naming Bob Dole a Colonel, naming a post office.

CUOMO: Not the big-ticket items.

GOODEN: These are--

CUOMO: Important but not the big-ticket items.

GOODEN: Yes. It's just very frustrating.

CUOMO: So, what do you do? Because look, you're new to the game. But people put you in a position of trust. It is fair game for you to say "It's not us. It's them. We've been all about the Border."

Pushback is yes, you've been all about the fence, and the men and women down there were saying we're not a fence away from fixing this. I'm not against physical barriers on the Border. I think they have their place. I certainly don't think they're immoral.

What's immoral is ignoring the rest of this equation. And what I don't get is what is missing in terms of, you know, Lance, but also up the food chain of people saying, "We have to do something about this right now."

Bring in - we say we can walk and chew gum, bring in Azar from HHS, bring in the new DHS Acting guy, and say what do you need right now specific and targeted, and how do we do that?

Is it something the President could do with the emergency declaration? Why isn't that happening?

GOODEN: You know, it's - it's something that could be done with the emergency declaration. But such a huge problem down in Washington is the fact that Democrats will not agree to anything if it in the slightest way means it'll win for Donald Trump.

And everything is so toxic. You saw what happened this week between him and Speaker Pelosi. Everything is so toxic. There's such a lack of desire on the part of Democrats in the House to do anything that might just in the slightest way offer up a victory for this problem (ph).

CUOMO: So, why don't you put it forward yourself, and then do it as a shame campaign? Here's my bill.

GOODEN: I think it's one--

CUOMO: Here's my idea.

GOODEN: I think it's a great idea.

CUOMO: I'm going to do it. And if you don't do it, then that - fine. But it's on you.

GOODEN: Sure. Yes - just yesterday, with respect to Border security, I filed a bill that dealt with sanctuary cities to reignite that campaign to do away with those. It works in conjunction with the President's immigration plan. But what we're seeing down--

CUOMO: Legit part. But that's not going to decide whether or not a kid being held in custody is going to die or not.

GOODEN: Absolutely. We've got to spend more money on Border security. And that includes with Homeland down on the Border. That's one of the reasons Chip Roy blew the place up, so to speak today in the House.

I don't necessarily agree with harming the families that are along the floodplain areas in Iowa, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, people are suffering now for--

CUOMO: But they weren't going to check - they weren't going to get a check cut this weekend anyway.

GOODEN: Well we're now going to delay that for another 10 days when we get back to Washington because we're off all next week. So, I don't know that I agree with that outcome.

I don't know this will solve the problem. But to talk about business as usual being a problem for Members of the freshman class, I think, is important.

CUOMO: So, you're in there, you're new.

GOODEN: Yes.

CUOMO: You got to be careful what fights you choose. That's a political reality. You say, "Hey, we got to find ways to work together, what's going on with Pelosi and the President," fair point.

The idea of moving on from Mueller, I see as a premise for that. Put Mr. Mueller in the chair. Let all of us hear him. "Why did you leave obstruction the way you did?" Is there something there for you guys to look at or - or isn't there?

GOODEN: We would love - we would love for Mueller to be in front of a House and Senate Committee answering questions from both sides--

CUOMO: Can I hear it too though? Or is it have to be private?

GOODEN: I think you can hear it. Yes, absolutely.

CUOMO: Because he's saying that - we're hearing that he says he wants to keep it private.

GOODEN: Isn't that interesting?

CUOMO: I don't think that's--

GOODEN: I mean we've got Democrats complaining about these redactions in the report that Andy Barr put out.

CUOMO: Right.

GOODEN: And now, suddenly we're OK with Mueller coming and setting his own terms for testifying. Why - why should he have--

CUOMO: Well I don't know that they're OK with it. Question is, is the DOJ doing it?

But don't you think that if Mueller were to come in and say, "Look, here's why I said it the way I said it," and he undersells it, all right, well there goes the air out of the balloon for the Democrats.

I mean if Mr. Mueller says he doesn't think there's a lot more there, he's the one who put the Congress verbiage in his report.

And if he says, "Yes, I think you should pursue these two things," then it shifts the onus to the President, and say, "If you want full cooperation on the FISA things," I'm a journalist, I'm happy to see the FISA application, "If you want cooperation there, give cooperation here."

Let them have their hearings. And then they'll be held to account at the polls. If it's a fishing expedition, if it's overreach, instead of oversight, they will feel the bite of the voter.

GOODEN: Everything you're saying is the reason Nancy Pelosi wants to keep her far-Left progressive base of her voting bloc that keeps her in office.

She wants to make sure that they're not talking impeachment. When she hears impeachment from her far-Left portions of her caucus, she gets worried because she knows that impeachment is a losing argument for the Democrats.

And we on the Republican side are saying "Keep talking about impeachment, but we're not going to get anything done, and the voters are going to punish you for it next election."

CUOMO: But then why don't you work on this Third Way, right? You got Left, Right, you got Reasonable. Reasonable here is put Mueller in the chair, let him speak to the American people, and let him say, "Here's why I left it the way I did."

GOODEN: I think--

CUOMO: "Here's what I think matters and doesn't."

[21:30:00] GOODEN: I think that's a great idea. But if - if you think that the Democrats who are running these Committees are going to listen to what he says, and then say, "Let's move forward for the American people," like we thought they might do when that report came out, then I - I don't think that's--

CUOMO: But this message, having the A.G. set loose to cherry-pick things that they can find in a FISA application, that's not going to help what you want to see.

GOODEN: Well your last guest said there's all this national security implication. The Attorney General redacted things that were important to national security from that Mueller report that he gave to Congress.

So, if we trusted him to, which I do, to redact things that are important to national security, then I believe he's not going to throw a bunch of national secrets out there in this investigation as well.

CUOMO: That's the hope. But he hasn't made himself a fair broker to this point. And people have questions about him. And that's going to be a concern.

GOODEN: That's an opinion I don't share.

CUOMO: And I understand that. But you're going to deal with it going forward. And I look forward to having the conversations with you.

GOODEN: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: All the best. And please, let me know what you think you can get done on this issue. I'm happy to blow it up on my show on a nightly basis.

GOODEN: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, thank you.

GOODEN: Happy Memorial Day weekend.

CUOMO: Yes, honor the Fallen.

GOODEN: Thank you.

CUOMO: And thank you.

All right, so we're talking about the kids in custody because that's something that's supposed to bring us all together, right? That's something everybody can agree on. Well, can they? In Congress, you're going to see, they're going to blame each other. But what will get done?

Let's take it to the Great Debate, next.

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CUOMO: So, the news we got tonight from our sources about these kids, about 250 of them, being held over 72 hours, basically in jail cells, this isn't about malice. It's not about people trying to hurt them.

It's about the people who are in charge of their care saying we can't take care of them. Bad things are going to happen. You just heard someone on the Left and someone on the Right. And I have to tell you, the answers can't be satisfying to any of you who are reasonable.

So, let's start there with tonight's Great Debate, Karen Finney and Rich Lowry.

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TEXT: THE GREAT DEBATE.

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CUOMO: In a rare moment, both of you must agree that we've got to be able to do better than these answers we're getting tonight, Karen.

KAREN FINNEY, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON 2016 CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER, FORMER DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I absolutely agree with you.

And frankly, Chris, I don't understand why it is that we haven't figured out how to marshal the resources, just, you know, cut out the red tape, and get the assistance down there, particularly the medical assistance down there. You know, in the same way that you see firefighters sometimes, going

to other states to help with a fire, how about a call to action to get pediatricians and others down there to at least just provide basic healthcare for these kids?

CUOMO: Yes.

FINNEY: I don't understand it. And you're right, Congress on both sides is really messing this up.

CUOMO: You know what galls me, Rich? If these were kids in Oklahoma, God forbid, I don't want this to happen to anybody, but if it was like our kids, right, this would have never been an issue. That is part of it here.

Now, I'm not blaming anybody in particular for that because the Democrats could jump on it as opportunity. They haven't. The President could jump on it as opportunity. He hasn't. The Republicans could. They haven't.

But I think that's part of the reason why. They're not our kids.

RICH LOWRY, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well I mainly blame Congress, Chris, and I appreciate you highlighting this issue. In an afternoon, it could do so much to alleviate this problem.

Just have a big package, you do some more wall funding, you do a lot of medical and humanitarian aid, because I'm sure, as your Border Patrol friends are telling you, they don't - they don't do kids. They're not used to dealing with kids.

CUOMO: That's right. They're not allowed.

LOWRY: There's high new (ph) influx. They don't have the facilities. They don't have the wherewithal. You know, for a long time, it was just single men from Mexico. That's no longer that way. CUOMO: That's right.

LOWRY: It's different population with different challenges. And then Congress needs to change the Asylum rules. So, if you're a genuine asylum-seeker, there are all sorts of rights you have that should be afforded to you.

But a lot of these people are economic migrants who are coming just because they know the rules are so crazy, they can get in, and stay, and never leave. And that's why we've created this perverse incentive for historic influx that is overwhelming us at the Border.

CUOMO: I don't have any problem with the larger conversation. The only thing that bothers me about it is, Karen, they can't do comprehensive immigration reform.

FINNEY: Agree.

CUOMO: It's not going to happen. I mean even the idea - this isn't cynicism. This is practicality. This is just factual representation of the obvious. The President said during the campaign, "Oh DREAMers, yes, everybody wants to do. We'll take care of that. That will get done."

And then the other day he said, "You know, we could do DREAMers." No, you can't. You can't do DREAMers as a standalone.

FINNEY: Right.

CUOMO: They're going to want you to bundle it in with all the things that the people on the Right want, and then the Left won't do that, so then nothing gets done.

FINNEY: Well and, in fact, DREAMers is being actually handled through the courts. Look, what should happen--

CUOMO: Partly.

FINNEY: --all due respect to what Rich is saying, forget about the Border wall funding. How about just a package, just money for humanitarian aid, again, doctors, make sure they're getting the proper nutrition, make sure that they're being cared for?

And frankly, I think, you know, one thing I would say that is a all- around failure, we saw the shift in these migrant patterns over the last couple of years, where instead of single men, as you pointed out, we're seeing more families.

So, I think we also need to make sure that we are realigning our policy going forward to understand. This maybe, Chris, like this is a crisis right now. But this may be a pattern for years to come, and we need to do a better job of preparing for it.

There's one thing actually that the Administration could do immediately that would help, and that is there used to be a program in place, the Trump administration ended it, where children could actually apply for refugee status in their home countries, which actually prevented some children from trying to make that journey.

That's one very small thing that could be done.

LOWRY: They - they - they tried to work that end of it, and they've tried to get people to apply from Mexico.

But the problem the - the reason you have this flow is because if you're a family unit from Central America, because of all sorts of rules and how they played out, some of them in unintended the effects, you get in, and you get to stay.

FINNEY: Well--

LOWRY: You're no longer in Honduras. You're no longer in Guatemala. You get a bus ticket to Boston or what - whatever.

FINNEY: But--

LOWRY: That creates an enormous incentive. And if you could send the message to these folks, "You're not getting in. Please stay home," a lot more of them will. And we just can't have a - a situation where we have this constant influx, maybe a million people this fiscal year.

FINNEY: But let's--

LOWRY: That is unsustainable.

FINNEY: For some people--

LOWRY: So, yes, let's deal with the humanitarian crisis, which is an immediate thing, but let's do the necessary things to stop this--

FINNEY: But--

LOWRY: --flow at the Border.

[21:40:00] FINNEY: But, Rich, I think you're missing a very important point. There is a reason that these children and families cannot stay where they are. I have met some of them and talked with them myself.

So, I think we also - I mean, what you're saying, you're making the argument that suggest these people aren't coming because they're actually fleeing violence.

Again, I think we have to take a more holistic approach, and we need to figure out what do we need to be doing to make it, so that they don't need to leave their countries.

Now that's, again, that is a policy prescription that is a longer-term proposal.

CUOMO: Look, the Head of DHS, the Acting Head--

FINNEY: I think the key thing is--

LOWRY: About - about 90 percent of them-- FINNEY: --what to do right now.

CUOMO: The Acting Head of DHS - look, first of all, look, we all know the rules need to change. The realities have changed.

When Asylum laws that we adopted from the international context were put into place, it really was about genocide and fleeing mass types of violence. It shifted. The dynamics are different.

The Acting Head of DHS went down to Guatemala to work with them, to figure out what policies can be done to help. But he can't be there now. He's going to have potentially dead kids on his watch here, and then everybody's going to blame him, right?

God forbid, anybody in Congress take the blame. And the media will love to play it as a policing incident. And I just see it coming, and I just think it's so damn regrettable, because it doesn't have to happen.

There's no question, Rich, the President could take ownership of this. He did that emergency declaration, which was fugazi, under color of law. We both know that. But he did it, and he got it. And Becerra and some states are fighting, and we'll see what happens.

But he could ask DOD to do more. DHS is working with DOD. They could build more emergency tent cities and get more triage help, and he could make it happen, and be a hero.

LOWRY: And maybe. But, look, Chris, the President can't spend money on his own. And he shouldn't be spending on the wall. That is - it's not legal. It's not Constitutional--

CUOMO: But he is.

LOWRY: He shouldn't do that.

CUOMO: But he is.

LOWRY: Congress should act. It's a Congressional responsibility. You don't have to do a comprehensive immigration reform. You don't have to figure out the DREAMers. You don't have to figure out anything else. You just have to figure out how to deal with and stop this crisis at the Border.

CUOMO: I'm just saying--

LOWRY: It is very simple.

CUOMO: I hear you.

LOWRY: There's just no will there.

CUOMO: It's just - but it can't be simple.

LOWRY: And especially among Democrats who - who are happy to have this flow just continue and continue and continue. CUOMO: Nobody can be happy about this.

LOWRY: Well then what - so why don't--

FINNEY: No.

CUOMO: Nobody can be happy about it.

LOWRY: --why not they support the--

CUOMO: And they're just not going to own - own it.

LOWRY: --asylum changes you could do right away that would stem this flow, and make it possible for us to return, humanely, families together back to their country of origin--

CUOMO: I understand.

LOWRY: --unless they have a real compelling asylum claim.

CUOMO: I--

LOWRY: Why won't they do that?

CUOMO: I understand that those arguments get very sticky very fast about who you want in, who you don't want in, and how. And I say--

LOWRY: They want everyone in.

CUOMO: --have at it. Have the debate.

LOWRY: They want everyone in. That's the answer.

CUOMO: They don't everybody. Nobody is for open Borders.

LOWRY: It's not that they - well then so why not they do anything?

CUOMO: But--

LOWRY: Why they want any--

CUOMO: But here's the thing. That's a good question.

LOWRY: They want no asylum changes?

CUOMO: Why--

LOWRY: They just want this insane system to continue?

CUOMO: But here - here's my point. Have that debate. Just don't have it right now.

FINNEY: Yes.

CUOMO: Help the kids right now. LOWRY: But it's - it's part of - look, I want to help the kids too. I'm totally with it. I'm glad you're highlighting the issue. Congress should do it tomorrow, the next day, next week. It's fully within their power. But you need to deal with the underlying problem as well--

CUOMO: Fine.

LOWRY: --which is insane asylum rules--

CUOMO: But just deal with this first.

LOWRY: --that create this incentive for--

FINNEY: That's not the only underlying problem, Rich.

LOWRY: --a historic flow--

CUOMO: But--

FINNEY: Come on.

CUOMO: But here's the thing.

LOWRY: --of immigrants at the Border.

CUOMO: I get your policy consideration. It's fine. And Karen has her own. I'm fine with all of it.

Have it out. Figure it out. That's what democracy is about. But you don't start talking about how to deal with managing the forest when the thing is on fire. You put out the fire, and then you talk about it the next time.

LOWRY: Look, there's a crisis. Let's deal with it immediately.

CUOMO: Good.

LOWRY: I'm totally with that. But there's also a policy reason this is happening that was--

CUOMO: I get it. I get it.

LOWRY: --was in - with - within our power to change.

CUOMO: I get it.

LOWRY: And we should.

CUOMO: I - I don't disagree. I'm just saying we're focusing too much on that part, and not the other and I don't get it. So, I'm alarming people, or I'm trying to, and I appreciate your help in that effort.

Karen Finney, Rich Lowry, I hope you both find your own way to remember the Fallen.

LOWRY: Hey, Chris, before you go--

CUOMO: Yes?

LOWRY: --just want to say how grateful we all are for the sacrifices of the Fallen Heroes in this country on this Memorial Day weekend.

CUOMO: A 100 percent. The one thing--

FINNEY: I feel too (ph).

CUOMO: --that certainly should bring us together is that and our respect for them and their families. All right--

LOWRY: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: --after this week in Washington, the President's getting out of town. No, he's doing one of his favorite things, which is going on a state trip tonight to Japan. And the Prime Minister is going to pull out all the stops.

So, we're going to pull in our own Prime Minister, Chris Cillizza. And he is going to talk about the Tokyo charm offensive and what seems to work well with this President, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: There's nothing that this President seems to love more than a nice state trip. He's on his way to Tokyo tonight.

And Shinzo Abe is bringing the pomp that pumps up POTUS' ringside seats at a Sumo wrestling tournament. He loves that. An Imperial dinner banquet, nice. Golf, great. Abe is not the first leader to put Trump right where he loves to be in the spotlight.

The question for Mr. Chris Cillizza, come on in, is why do they do it? Is it just being nice? Is this just pro forma, or is this something special?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Hello, Chris. Happy Friday. No, it is not just something nice. I would say there - those twos are not mutually exclusive. It - it can be both nice and have a point, and I think that's what this is.

They understand how this President works. They understand that pomp and circumstance and being placated and being played to, he likes. He likes big shows.

Let's start, Saudi Arabia 2017. Think we have the video of it.

(MAY 20, 2017 VIDEO OF PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SWORD-DANCING IN SAUDI ARABIA)

CILLIZZA: Donald Trump, there he is. They're doing - this is a traditional sword dance they do in Saudi Arabia. He's not the first politician to do this. George W. Bush did this. But he likes this. He likes feeling he's not big candidly.

He's not big on the, you know, the one-on-one meetings, this sort of hard part of diplomacy, but he likes the softer part of diplomacy, the big dinners, the tradition, right? So, that's number one.

Number two, look at when - this is one everybody remembers. Emmanuel Macron, Bastille Day, right? Donald Trump--

CUOMO: Oh, yes.

CILLIZZA: --there he is.

(JULY 14, 2017 PRESIDENT TRUMP ON BASTILLE DAY VIDEO)

CILLIZZA: Now, he has spoken about this to no end, right? If you ever hear him, he talked about how impressed he was. Obviously, you see there. You see the tanks. You see the - the military. This is traditional day, obviously, in France.

The - the pomp circumstance, the military marching, this made Donald Trump want to, Chris, he wanted to have his own - not Bastille Day, but sort of honoring the military, thought maybe Veterans Day, tanks and troops.

[21:50:00] And the military leaders talked him out of that. But I will tell you, look at his Twitter feed. He's already talking about his July 4th celebration. And there's reporting out there that he is intimately involved in it.

CUOMO: He likes to be treated like the Big Dog. And the question is--

CILLIZZA: Absolutely.

CUOMO: --if you do it right, does it make a little easier like when you take one of your swords that you used in the dance and you chop up a journalist named Khashoggi, are you going to get a little bit of a better treatment from this President than you would have if you hadn't done that?

Takes us to Montenegro though. And this is another aspect--

CILLIZZA: Yes.

CUOMO: --of it.

CILLIZZA: Yes. CUOMO: Let's remind people what happened here.

CILLIZZA: Yes.

(MAY 25, 2017 VIDEO OF PRESIDENT TRUMP AT NATO SUMMIT)

CUOMO: He wants to be the Big Dog. He pushed that man right out of the way, stood up in the front. I remember this. This was early on. And what does this tell us?

CILLIZZA: So, that's May 2017, yes. I mean, knowing that we were going to talk about this tonight, I went back and watched it a few times. And even if you try to give him the benefit of the doubt, I - I don't know how you do it. He quite clearly--

CUOMO: That's America First right there.

CILLIZZA: The - the - the Prime Minister of Montenegro has no idea what's happening.

CUOMO: That's you heading to the buffet.

CILLIZZA: He look - he looks back surprised, right?

Donald Trump is a guy, and he is someone who his whole life, what was it - focused on perception. How did it look, right? He wants to be the Big Dog, front row. He wants to be treated in a certain way.

And when foreign officials treat him that way, Chris, guess what happens?

CUOMO: Good things.

CILLIZZA: He's nice to them. We hear - it's a very simple calculation. You treat Donald Trump the way he likes to be treated he is more than willing to bend over backwards, in order to help you, or give you the benefit of the doubt. It's been proven time and time again.

CUOMO: And if you do it the other way, you're Nancy Pelosi. Chris Cillizza--

CILLIZZA: Exactly right.

CUOMO: --all the best to you. Remember the Fallen. Best to you and your family.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, my friend.

CUOMO: Love you buddy.

CILLIZZA: Great to see you.

CUOMO: All right so now as we head into Memorial Day weekend, we do have to remember the significance of the holiday. Who it's about, and why we must never forget, especially this month, but in a way you've never thought about it before, next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CLOSING ARGUMENT.

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CUOMO: Please remember the Fallen. This weekend is about those who didn't come home, and those who come home but the battle doesn't end.

Our fighters are being taken at a rate that trumps any enemy abroad, here at home. Suicide is savaging our troops. It's Mental Health Awareness month. And our society, in general, is ravaged by depression and suicide. But no one is immune.

And yet, it is much worse with our fighting men and women. Three veterans killed themselves in one week last month on Department of Veterans Affairs' healthcare properties. 321 active duty members took their lives in 2018.

Look at the graphic. It shows how each military branch was affected. It's the highest number in at least six years. Why?

In 2016, the suicide rate was 1.5 times greater for veterans than non- veteran adults. Part of the reason, war has changed, how we use our military has changed, especially in terms of duration. Warriors survived multiple deployments over many years.

So, how do we help them with all they endure? The V.A. is trying. But there are 20 million veterans, and it's got to be a priority for all the agencies, and the entire framework of our society.

Now, I am not saying that veterans are prone to be unstable. That's not fair, and it's not true. Veterans come home and do great things almost all the time in every reach of society. Their experience is almost always an asset for them in the rest of their lives.

But here's the thing. There are problems in getting people help with mental illness, especially that play to sensitivities within the military, especially with men, stigma.

Men are particularly sensitive. They're particularly affected by this within the military. We need to eradicate the shame. But especially, these men, the toughest of our tough, they suffer in silence. They think they'll suck it up like they did so many other difficulties.

But this is not like anything else. It often only gets worse when ignored. We all say we support the troops. The problem is we just say it. We don't do anything about it. We know we've piled risk and stress onto these men and women. But we

don't balance out what we put on them, what they endure with what we do here at home to make them secure.

Employers, schools, families, everyone should have to be aware, and care. And especially, I'm saying this about the vets, but it's not just the vets. They're really not unique. They're uniquely affected.

But mental illness spares no one. We all have stories. Be honest. And too many end badly, and they don't have to. Reaching out, connecting, letting someone know you see them and what they're dealing with, helping them get help, that can be as powerful as any medicine.

We know this two ways because all too often after someone has hurt themselves or others, we realize they were isolated, and that people were aware, but didn't know what to do to help.

And because we know what works, I have information for you. This isn't just about a problem. It's about a solution. And you can do it and I can do it.

This information I'm putting on the screen, this is one of the best ways and one of the easiest ways to make a difference. It's called the Columbia Protocol.

When they instituted in places like in the Air force, it saved lives. They've reduced suicides. It works everywhere they try it because it allows us to help just by talking to someone in need the right way.

Please check it out. I'm going to tweet out the link. Learn what to ask and how. Remember to help. We are all in this together. And this weekend, please, remember the Fallen.

Thank you for watching. An AC 360 special event, the Howard Stern interview starts right now.

COOPER: Hey, welcome to this AC 360 special of the Howard Stern interview.