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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Trump "Pleased" A.G. Claimed Government Spied On His Campaign; Former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig Indicted; WikiLeaks Founder Arrested, Charged With Hacking Conspiracy. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 31, 2019 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Because of the breaking news we ran out of time for the story we intended to run here on the President's choice for the Federal Reserve Board, Herman Cain.

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

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

So, how will Democrats oppose the Attorney General now that he's made it clear he will be no-holds Barr when it comes to protecting this President? What is the plan to get the report? The taxes, can they check the A.G.'s efforts to go after spying?

One of the State's - Senate's top bloodhounds is here.

And, during the election, this President was praising WikiLeaks. We all know it. Well now, Julian Assange is indicted and the President has amnesia. But there are bigger concerns than his truth abuse.

If Assange can be extradited, we're going to have some heavy allegations that matter to the freedom of the press here as well as to Assange's freedom. So, let's break down the case and the concerns.

Big night, let's get after it.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, are you pleased that your Attorney General yesterday said that there was spying into your campaign in 2016?

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I am. I think what he said was absolutely true. There was absolutely spying into my campaign. I'll go a step further, in my opinion, it was illegal spying, unprecedented spying. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Of course, POTUS is happy. He finally has an Attorney General who says what he wants him to say. Bill Barr accuses his own people of spying admittedly without proof.

Democrats are demanding he retract and apologize. We have one of them, Senate Judiciary Committee Member, Richard Blumenthal joins us now.

Senator, always a pleasure. Thank you for being on PRIME TIME.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Good to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: So, let's deal with this first. The A.G. says "I think there was spying." Do you believe he knows that that word is a pejorative? And does it matter?

BLUMENTHAL: He knows that word is explosive, incendiary.

He knows it because he has been in the Department of Justice as Attorney General before now. And his purpose had to be to give the President the ammunition that he used today to fuel this crackpot conspiracy theory that there was spying by the FBI on him.

CUOMO: Now, explain why. People are watching this surveillance, spying, what's the difference? People use the words interchangeably. Why does it matter now?

BLUMENTHAL: The surveillance that took place was authorized by a court warrant. It was not spying, which implies secret, hostile, unauthorized and illegal surveillance.

And there was spying here, Chris. Let's be very, very clear about the facts. The spies were not the FBI. They were the Russians.

In fact, our Intelligence community was so alarmed by that spying that they started in a counterintelligence investigation, which then led to the court warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the President and his Attorney General, really his puppet or pawn, have mischaracterized, and there's a real danger here because the Russians are continuing their spying.

CUOMO: The Senator, your Senate colleague, Lindsey Graham says "Well they didn't do it to Hillary Clinton and her campaign and they did do it to the Trump campaign, so that requires looking."

Why? Why is it relevant whether or not it was done to the Clinton campaign in terms of whether or not it was right to do to the Trump campaign?

BLUMENTHAL: Well there was spying on the Clinton campaign. We know from the indictment that the Special Counsel returned 12 members of the Russian military.

CUOMO: No. I'm saying by the U.S. government, Senator. BLUMENTHAL: And--

CUOMO: Graham is saying you have to look at why you surveilled Trump because you didn't surveil Clinton. Do you accept that?

BLUMENTHAL: I don't accept that there was illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign.

If there was spying, it was by the Russians. And the danger now is that this conspiracy theory will be used to justify failing to protect the Russia - the United States against continued spying and meddling by the Russians.

And, by the way, Chris, if there is a shred of evidence, and the Attorney General of the United States, William Barr said he has no evidence, then we need to look to the Mueller report for any of that evidence if it exists.

CUOMO: I want to segue to that, thank you for helping, in terms of how you guys are going to the report if he is in control of what comes out. But just to put a fine point on this, your Committee has been talking to people about who launched the Russia probe.

Do you - I am assuming you have no serious questions about why they surveilled, what they said. But I want to show some of the transcript that Republicans put out about this because Mr. Baker, obviously, was involved with these surveillance efforts.

Mr. Raskin asks, "Does the FBI place spies in the U.S. political campaigns?" Mr. Baker, "Not to my knowledge." "Are you aware of any information that would corroborate or substantiate the President's claim that the DOJ is, quote, "Out to frame Donald Trump?" Mr. Baker, "No."

Now, what happens in a conspiracy is, of course, Baker says that. He is part of it. And anyone who denies it is part of it. That will soon include you, I am sure. Where does this end?

[21:05:00] BLUMENTHAL: I think where it ends - has to end really is our coming back to reality. I know Lindsey Graham very well.

And, at the end of the day, I think he believes in the rule of law, and the President's contempt for the rule of law saying that Democrats are treasonous somehow or that there was spying on his campaign, which is totally from an alternate universe.

CUOMO: You think you have to put out the FISA documents--

BLUMENTHAL: And--

CUOMO: --that allowed the surveillance in the first place?

BLUMENTHAL: I think perfectly appropriate. I'm a great believer in transparency.

Those FISA warrants were authorized by none other than Rod Rosenstein, who is working right down the hall from William Barr. And William Barr relies on him for the credibility of his report or rather his summary of the Mueller report.

But let's be very clear. The warrants here involving Carter Page, and I know this sounds like a lot of sort of technical gobbledygook to the average American, who is watching, but that FISA Court reauthorized that warrant based on the productiveness of the surveillance and--

CUOMO: It wasn't just about the dossier?

BLUMENTHAL: And it wasn't--

CUOMO: It's part of the theory.

BLUMENTHAL: It wasn't about just the dossier. There would have been - had to have been more. And I come back to this danger.

And this point, I think, is the most serious one. The Russians are continuing to interfere and meddle. They pose a danger in our next Presidential election. A President who believes Vladimir Putin over our Intelligence community is failing to protect our nation.

CUOMO: So, now you say, "Well we need to see what's in the Mueller document. We'll have a better sense of all these things." The A.G. says, "You'll see what I want you to see when you get to see it." Hopefully, Monday, Tuesday.

There will be redactions. He says, "Maybe I'll show you a less redacted version for your Committee, maybe a certain group." Acceptable?

BLUMENTHAL: No. It has to be completely un-redacted. We need to see the complete Mueller report.

CUOMO: Who's we? The Gang of Eight, the senior and ranking members on the committees? Everybody who?

BLUMENTHAL: I think all of Congress deserves to see the Mueller report. After all, we're all authorized to see top-secret material. So, if it's classified, we should see it. The Grand Jury material should be authorized to be disclosed.

So far, William Barr really has been derelict doing the President's bidding and failing to seek a court order to disclose it. The personal confidential information, we deal with that kind of stuff all the time.

And the ongoing investigation, we can keep that--

CUOMO: So, what do you do?

BLUMENTHAL: --kind of material confidential.

CUOMO: If he says, "Look, this is what you're going to get now. Maybe I'll give you something more." BLUMENTHAL: Number one, I've submitted a bill. It's bipartisan. I've been joined by my colleague, Senator Grassley of Iowa, and also senator Kennedy of Louisiana, as well as Patrick Leahy in saying in that bill the complete report, all the facts, all the evidence should be disclosed to Congress.

Number two, subpoenas. They will take a while to enforce. But they should result in full disclosure.

And my hope is that the American people will begin to express their outrage. And they should be really angry about an Administration that is concealing a report. The American people paid for it. They deserve to see it.

CUOMO: Same path on the taxes? I mean Mnuchin, you know, just like the A.G. says, he's following the rules when it comes to how this is withdrawn. We see it's about interpretation.

Janet Reno did it very differently during Branch Davidian, the only other Special Counsel case we have since the new regs. And she said, "No, go right - you don't have to give it to me. Go right to the people, minimum redactions, let it get out." She wanted transparency.

So, he could do that. He didn't want to. So, it's about how he sees the rules.

Similarly, the request on taxes from 1924 fall-out from the Teapot Dome, you can Google it and see what that was all about. But the law is very plain.

The argument now for Mnuchin, it seems, is "Well, we don't know that it was a legitimate oversight request." Isn't that something for the President's Counsel to go fight in court? Where does it say that the Treasury Secretary gets to litigate the righteousness of your request?

BLUMENTHAL: The letter is to the Head of the IRS.

CUOMO: Right.

BLUMENTHAL: The Head of the IRS is the one who should be responding. And the Head of the IRS has no discretion, no latitude, if there is a request from that Committee. So, in effect, they are again stonewalling.

Your point about the historical comparison, it's absolutely right. They're doing it on the Mueller report. They're doing it on taxes. It demonstrates a contempt for the rule of law, but, more importantly, a contempt for the American people.

[21:10:00] CUOMO: How much does it mean to the Democrats? I mean, obviously, you have a prosecutor's background. Several of you do. Obviously, Chairman Schiff does as well.

How seriously are you taking what seems to be a brewing legal and political two-front war against the Administration? BLUMENTHAL: I take it very, very seriously because it involves the future of our democratic institutions, literally our resistance to the continued Russian attack, which, again, not my saying it, the Intelligence community unanimously saying that they are continuing that attack.

We need to address the needs of our veterans, our rebuilding roads and bridges, our healthcare system. There are serious challenges facing our nation. But we can do both.

We can insist on the rule of law and transparency in the government. And it is really about trying to maintain our democratic institutions. So, I think this fight is deadly serious.

CUOMO: Good news for you all down there is the disaffection is so deep, if you can handle something productive on either front, people will be shocked.

Senator, thank you for coming on to make the case.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: As always, appreciate it.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right?

So, another aspect of this investigation, in a spinoff from the Mueller probe, President Obama's former White House Counsel, who was working with Paul Manafort is now in trouble with the law, indicted for what? Let's get into it.

Also, the biggie today, WikiLeaks Founder, Julian Assange finally under arrest, indicted in the United States. Did he help Chelsea Manning hack into the DOJ? That is a key question for prosecutors and for our freedom of the press.

We'll get into that next.

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CUOMO: No-holds Barr. Why the nickname? Because that's the way this Attorney General has been in the past and promises to be now when it comes to protecting the President, and that's not really the job.

Let's get after it with Phil Mudd and Mark Mazzetti.

Now, given what I just said, let me flip it, Phil, and ask you this. What's the big deal for the A.G. wanting to go and take a look at what was done in those FISA applications, and whether or not they were warranted in going to look into Carter Page?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM: No big deal. Look, that - we've already been told that that started more than a year ago.

The Inspector General told us publicly, I think, going back about 13 months that rightly the - the Department of Justice was looking into whether the investigation into the Trump campaign was appropriate. Nothing wrong with that.

[21:15:00] But, remember, the Attorney General isn't talking to his staff. He's talking to the American people. He's not saying, "I'm looking into whether investigation was done - done properly." He's dropping the word spy. "I think that my people spied on an American political campaign."

Every time I go into a bar and somebody walks up to me, Chris, and they say, "You're a spy," they don't mean you conducted legal investigations into a political campaign.

They - they mean you stole stuff from the Russians. They mean stuff that's illegal. They mean stuff that's shady. They mean stuff that's questionable. That word's inappropriate.

What he should have said was, "We're already investigating this. We started before I came here. I'll look at it and see - see if something wrong happened." That's fine.

CUOMO: Mazzetti, how weird or wrong or worthy of suspicion is it that the A.G. says he's looking into something at the same time that the I.G. is, and also that the A.G. gives you a conclusion on it when he has just formed it, and then says he doesn't have proof?

All of those are unusual. How big a deal is each?

MARK MAZZETTI, WASHINGTON INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes. It is unusual.

It is - it was surprising to a lot of us yesterday that he said, actually yesterday and the day before, that he was forming a group to investigate, to examine, whatever word you want to use, this effort during 2016 to - to open the Russia investigation.

We know that the Inspector General is looking at it. Why was there the need for this extra layer? That's still unclear.

The second thing, of course, is the use of the term spying. As I said yesterday, he was given a lot of different outs to - to - to sort of change his terms, change the words he used, and even walk it back. But he was very clear that he had concerns about what was done in 2016, and even invoked historical precedence of some very dark errors during the - of the FBI. So, Barr was - his motivation was very clear about what he said yesterday. The intent though is still unclear why he did it.

CUOMO: Let me ask you quickly. You think we're going to see more of the FISA documents surrounding the surveillance of Page than we do of the Mueller report?

MAZZETTI: Yes. I mean we - we will definitely see more of the underlying documents of - of Carter Page. This is not going away.

After the Mueller report, we're going to see a lot more because of probably Republicans in the House and the Senate, examining what were the underlying reasons for having this investigation.

And so, this is something that'll probably have legs in part because the Attorney General brought it up yesterday.

MUDD: Yes.

CUOMO: Phil, Greg Craig, offshoot of the Mueller investigation, former Counsel for the Obama. And people will be confused. Well he went on and into private practice. He was working for Ukraine, and now, he got jammed up for allegedly lying, misleading prosecutors. How do you see the claims?

MUDD: This is pretty straightforward.

Look, in this town, going back three, four, five years, Chris, if you were working for a foreign entity, in this case, Ukraine, a lot of people viewed that as like 59 into 55 zone, I mean it may be illegal, it may be speeding, but you're not going to get a ticket for it.

If you look at what happened with Greg Craig, a Democrat, if you look at what happened with Paul Manafort, a Republican, what's happening in this town is that everybody realizes, if you're lobbying for foreign government, it's no longer 59 into 55 zone.

You better register with the government. That's what the law says, and we're not ignoring it anymore. I don't care where you come from, Democrat or Republican, you've got to register, if you're lobbying.

CUOMO: How does Greg Craig dovetail with Manafort?

MUDD: Both of them are charged not only with lying to federal officers, but with representing foreign governments, and not - not registering for representing with those governments.

I know that sounds arcane. But you can't do that if you're in Washington. Traditionally, that's been done. People said, "I'm not really going to register because maybe what I'm doing is not formally lobbying."

That doesn't work anymore. The Mueller team and the - these spin-offs from the Mueller team are cleaning up that kind of lobbying.

CUOMO: Is there any suggestion Mazzetti that Greg Craig in any way was trying to help Manafort?

MAZZETTI: No. I mean and there's - and the - the cases are not directly linked.

But Phil is right that one of the legacies here of the, I think, the Mueller investigation is that this once kind of toothless law about registering as a foreign agent that people ignored, flouted all the time, is being enforced, and enforced with real penalties.

And, you know, that might really change the lobbying culture in Washington going forward.

[21:20:00] CUOMO: Yes. It might - you know, people when - when people heard about the FARA stuff, you know that's the acronym for this Foreign Agent thing with Flynn, they're like "Oh, that's just a cover. Nobody really cares it anyway."

Yes, tell that to Greg Craig, you know. He just got indicted for it.

MAZZETTI: Yes, now, it matters.

CUOMO: Phil Mudd and Mazzetti, I like it, thank you fellas, appreciate you clarifying.

MUDD: I don't. But thank you. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: Why? You don't like it? Mudd's your name.

MUDD: No. It's 9:20 at night. It's I should be in my footie pajamas.

CUOMO: There's an image. Thank you, fellas.

MUDD: Yes.

MAZZETTI: Thank you.

CUOMO: After seven years of safe haven, what a sight to see Julian Assange dragged out, kicking and screaming from Ecuador's Embassy in London? Now what? Two big questions, all right?

Is he going to be extradited? We'll see. What happens? What is the government looking at him for? What does it mean not just for Assange but for a free press in the United States?

His longtime adviser, the WikiLeaks Founder, his lawyer, here next.

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CUOMO: Julian Assange, out of the Ecuadorian embassy into the custody of British authorities. Seven years he evaded them. See the video here? WikiLeaks Founder forcibly removed.

Now he's facing a slew of legal problems, including a U.S. extradition warrant for his alleged role in conspiring with Chelsea Manning to hack the DOD. That wording is very important to us here. I'll explain why later in the show.

Geoffrey Robertson, a legal adviser to Assange joins us tonight on PRIME TIME on the weight of that alleged crime. The interview.

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CUOMO: Mr. Robertson, thank you for taking the opportunity on PRIME TIME.

GEOFFREY ROBERTSON, LEGAL ADVISER TO JULIAN ASSANGE: Not at all.

CUOMO: First--

ROBERTSON: Sure.

CUOMO: --do you believe that Mr. Assange has done anything illegal under the laws of the United States?

ROBERTSON: I don't. But I'm a British lawyer, not an American. It's for the American courts to decide if he's ever extradited.

[21:25:00] You have a First Amendment, I gather, and that's going to be the key issue, I think, because Trump argument is that Britains, Australians, people who aren't American, whether they're working for American newspapers or not, don't benefit from the First Amendment.

CUOMO: One of the sticky parts of the wicket, as you would say over on your side of the pond, is that there is no Supreme Court case that codifies or solidifies the protection that we, in the media, get for receiving things that are even classified or stolen.

But that assumes that Mr. Assange only falls into the category that we do as news organizations, which is someone--

ROBERTSON: Sure.

CUOMO: --who was merely in receipt of given this type of information.

ROBERTSON: Well that's right.

CUOMO: Is that where he fits?

ROBERTSON: He was a - he's a publisher just like CNN is. And he gets information from sources, as all good journalists do.

CUOMO: The material distinction would be that the government charges. We don't know if they can prove it, let alone beyond a reasonable doubt. But the indictment says, and it's still early.

I think we all would expect a superseding indictment. This only deals with--

ROBERTSON: Yes, I think so.

CUOMO: --what happened in 2010.

ROBERTSON: You've got 60 days.

CUOMO: Yes.

ROBERTSON: They've - they've started very low. And I think this is for PR purposes. They've only charged him with an offense carrying five years imprisonment. But we know from a mistake they made last year that the charges they're minded to bring add up to 45 years.

CUOMO: Right, if they could prove them. So, the key factual distinction, Counselor, is whether or not he was just a publisher, as you say, or a procurer. If he helped Chelsea Manning--

ROBERTSON: Well, if he, he--

CUOMO: --get the illegal information.

ROBERTSON: Yes.

CUOMO: Do you believe that Mr. Assange did any of the things that are alleged by the U.S. government whether it was trying to help with a password or trying to give advice, trying to assist Ms. Manning in getting the information?

ROBERTSON: I don't believe that. I believe that he acted as just as a normal journalist would do. I mean you can't - he didn't bribe. He didn't brainwash. He didn't take - he didn't force Bradley Manning - Chelsea Manning, she now is, to give him any information.

CUOMO: Right.

But if it is true, as alleged in the indictment, that Ms. Manning reached out to or had an agreement with Julian Assange to help try to crack a password, or at least part of a password, so that she could sign in under a different username, and therefore more easily facilitate the procurement of this information, do you believe that would trigger criminality?

ROBERTSON: Certainly not, because let's face it.

There's no suggestion that he provided an illegal incentive. There's no way - no evidence that he bribed. I guess any American journalist would give a source a cup of coffee, would help a source in one way or another.

But there is no--

CUOMO: Wouldn't help them break into the computer though.

ROBERTSON: There is no--

CUOMO: That's the material distinction, Sir.

ROBERTSON: There is no duress. So, I--

CUOMO: I don't think it has to be just duress.

ROBERTSON: --don't--

CUOMO: If you helped facilitate the hacking, I think you're in trouble under the law, so that's why I'm asking you, do you believe Mr. Assange did what is alleged that he helped Manning manipulate the password and try to find a way in?

ROBERTSON: No. I think - I think Manning was very keen to let him have the information. I don't see that in terms of obtaining information of public interest, receiving it and publishing it that that should be a crime.

CUOMO: If it is to come up, Russian interference, at some point, where Mr. Assange loomed large in the American media dialog and political dialog, if not legally yet, to your knowledge, was Mr. Assange aware of whom he was dealing with when he was dealing with Guccifer that Guccifer was in fact--

ROBERTSON: He says - he says--

CUOMO: --was Russian-run?

ROBERTSON: OK. He says not.

And, indeed, he set up this artificial dead letter box to ensure that he isn't - isn't aware of his source. But his principle is that he will publish anything of public interest.

And if the CIA were really intelligent, I think they'd feed him some of Putin's, some - some actual material on Putin's involvement in the attempted assassinations in Britain, and see whether he'd publish it.

I believe that he would have the principle and would do so. So, I don't think he's a Russian agent.

CUOMO: He says he didn't know that he was dealing with Russia.

ROBERTSON: Yes.

CUOMO: But you're also saying, if he did know, and he knew why they wanted-- ROBERTSON: No, if--

CUOMO: --it to come out, he still would have published it.

ROBERTSON: If he was publish - if he was provided anonymously with material that was anti-Russian or anti-Putin, I think he would have the principle to publish it because that is the way he operates.

He certainly added a great deal to our knowledge. And while it has revealed some war crime, some bad behavior on the part of America, it has, on the whole, actually, shown that American diplomacy is quite principled and prescient.

[21:30:00] CUOMO: The test can't be whether or not the information published is popular or how. It's--

ROBERTSON: Oh, no.

CUOMO: --but how it is published and how it is obtained is what's going to become legally relevant. We'll all be watching.

Counselor, thank you very much for taking this opportunity.

ROBERTSON: Well if - if he is extradited, the - the British courts--

CUOMO: Yes.

ROBERTSON: --may have something to say about that.

CUOMO: Yes. Understood. That is certainly the first step. We shouldn't get ahead of it. But we do have an indictment out here to process. And thank you for helping us do that.

ROBERTSON: All the best.

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CUOMO: All right, there is another step coming, but I think there's several.

This indictment reeks of being an early step. And they have 60 days, so we'll see what they add to it because the big thing was the Russian interference, right? This in the indictment now is from 2010.

Now, the government's case makes some suggestions that worry me as a member of the free press. I will show you the concerns in the closing.

OK. But this is something that got overlooked. The A.G. is the big star this week because of what happened in those days of testimony.

But we have had a lot of wacky moments involving testimony before Congress this week, many of them did not get the attention they deserve. So, we've broken down the top five for you. I'm telling you, they're going to be worth watching.

Julian Castro is on the President yesterday. Tonight, the 2020 Presidential candidate takes on questions from voters at CNN's Town Hall. That's just minutes away.

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CUOMO: The A.G. Bill Barr rocked Capitol Hill when he uttered a single word, spying. But that wasn't the only hearing room with fireworks this week.

Big moments played out one after another after another. So, to break out of the tunnel vision of all things POTUS, we're counting down the top five moments aside from the A.G.

Now, no one knows just how remarkable these exchanges were better than Mike Rogers. He was former House Intel Chairman.

Mike, thank you for joining me. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

MIKE ROGERS, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Right.

[21:35:00] CUOMO: We're going to start going from five to one.

Number five is Representative Al Green asking a pointed question to major bank CEOs. Watch this.

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REP. AL GREEN (D-TX): If you believe that your likely successor will be a woman or a person of color, would you kindly extend a hand into the air?

I know it's difficult to go on the record sometimes. But the record has to be made. All White men, and none of you, not one appears to believe that your successor will be a female or a person of color.

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CUOMO: Not the best editing. But not one. Why wouldn't you raise your hand just so that you didn't get called out like that?

ROGERS: Well, first of all, can you imagine the politics in those shops for all the people who are vying to be the next CEO of those companies, if you raised your hand, and it eliminated half the room or half the candidates? CUOMO: Yes.

ROGERS: I mean that's a no-win question for - for those CEOs. And they probably did the right thing by just keeping their hands down and they're lapsed for that.

CUOMO: But why couldn't you have raised your hand and said, "Well yes, it could be. I'm not exactly sure what the succession plan is. But it's not necessarily--

ROGERS: Right. But here's--

CUOMO: --going to be a White guy." Why not at least give it a nod of possibility?

ROGERS: I mean I hope they picked the most qualified person to run the major financial institution. And I think what they're thinking is this is a no-win question. And, by the way, this is part of the problem with all of the clips we're going to watch tonight, Chris, all of them.

CUOMO: Yes.

ROGERS: It is great to score a few points. Are we really talking about the issues that are going to impact people going forward?

And I, you know, sometimes, I just don't think we ever get there in these five-minute, "I got to get my five-minute YouTube clip done here in my questioning, so I - I can get better known in my district."

I worry about that in Congress hearings (ph).

CUOMO: Congressional hearings, that's always a dicey proposition. But you know me.

ROGERS: Yes, it is.

CUOMO: Big tent, diversity matters. I think we can get it all done.

ROGERS: No, it does - it does matter. But it also matters that you - you know, we can't guarantee outcomes. We have to guarantee opportunity.

CUOMO: No, true. But you could make it a possibility like at least a possibility.

ROGERS: Yes, exactly.

We have to guarantee opportunity. We have to make sure that's happening. And I think, you know, we lose this conversation if you just say, "Well you were all successful. You all happen to be White CEOs--

CUOMO: Right.

ROGERS: --therefore there's a problem." Maybe there is. Maybe there isn't. I don't know.

CUOMO: I got you.

ROGERS: But, you know what I'm saying? That's where I would look at it. I think that if you're already segregating people in the room before they - we could have a dialog, we're probably not going to solve the problem. That's my guess.

CUOMO: I see where you're coming from. Let's go to this one, number four, Representative Ted Lieu and Candace Owens.

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REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Of all the people the Republicans could have selected, they picked Candace Owens. I don't know Ms. Owens. I'm not going to characterize her. I'm going to let her own words do the talking. So, I'm going to play for you the first 30 seconds of a statement she made about Adolf Hitler.

CANDACE OWENS, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, TURNING POINT USA: Yes, I agree. I - I actually don't have any problems at all with the word "Nationalism." I think that it gets - the definition gets poisoned by elitists that actually want globalism. Globalism is what I - what I don't want.

So, when you think about whenever we say nationalism, the first thing people think about in, at least in America, is Hitler. You know, he was a national socialist.

But if Hitler just wanted to make Germany great and have things run well, OK, fine. Problem is - is that he wanted - he had dreams outside of Germany. He wanted to globalize, he wanted everybody to be German, everybody to be speaking German.

REP. GUY RESCHENTHALER (R-PA): Ms. Owens, I'm sorry. We just heard a recording. Would you like time to respond to that?

OWENS: Yes, I think it's pretty apparent that Mr. Lieu believes that Black people are stupid and will not pursue the full clip in its entirety. He purposely presented an extract - an extracted clip with--

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The witness would - the witness will suspend for a moment. It is not proper to refer disparagingly or with - to a Member of the Committee. The witness will not do that again. Witness may continue.

OWENS: Sure. Even though I was called despicable.

NADLER: The witness may not refer to a Member of the Committee as stupid.

OWENS: I didn't refer to him as stupid. That's not what I said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not what she said.

OWENS: It's not what I said at all. You - you didn't listen to what I said. May I continue?

NADLER: Please.

OWENS: As I said, he is assuming that Black people will not go pursue the full two-hour clip. And he purposefully extracted, he cut off. And you didn't hear the question that was asked of me.

He's trying to present as if I was launching a defense of Hitler in Germany, when in fact the question that was asked of me was pertaining to whether or not I believed that Hitler was a - whether or not I believed in nationalism, and that nationalism was bad.

And when I responded to was that I do not believe that we should be characterizing Hitler as a nationalist. He was a homicidal, psychopathic maniac that killed his own people.

A nationalist would not kill their own people. That is exactly what I was referring to in the clip. And he purposely wanted to give you a cut-up similar to what they do to Donald Trump to create a different narrative.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:40:00] CUOMO: What a - first of all, look, I have to say.

I think inviting someone who you know is going to be a fire-breather into the hearing like that was tactical to begin with. But, you know, to your earlier point, what progress is going to come in that setting and that collection of players?

ROGERS: Honestly, I don't think it was. But it was - it elicited the conversation that Members wanted to have. And I, again, I think it's unfortunate. Every time you attack your witness, it may be good for something, but it is never going to solve a problem.

Congress has some pretty big issues to solve. Bringing witnesses into, you can attack them on something they said five years, 10 years, 18 years ago, whatever, I just don't think it's helpful.

CUOMO: Well it's not helpful, but who you invite to come in there and speak also.

And she can say how long the clip was and what it was. She was real soft in the description of what Hitler meant to that country, and what he wanted and why it went too far. It--

ROGERS: Although don't you - I thought - one thing I'll give her.

CUOMO: Yes.

ROGERS: Because I thought the same thing. And then I - I heard her response, which I had not heard. She did a pretty good job of saying "Hey, this guy is a despicable, homicidal maniac."

CUOMO: Yes.

ROGERS: That was good.

CUOMO: Now. To this audience.

ROGERS: She clarified - at least she clarified it.

CUOMO: Yes, look, good. It's always better to get it right the first time.

ROGERS: I agree.

CUOMO: Next clip. Katie--

ROGERS: I wish I got everything right the first time.

CUOMO: That's - that's right. You know, who am I to talk, right?

ROGERS: Yes.

CUOMO: Katie Porter presses JPMorgan CEO, Jamie Dimon. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): I went to Monster.com and I found a job in my hometown of Irvine at JPMorgan Chase. It pays $16.50 an hour.

And so, I wondered if I could - if you'd indulge me - would you do the math on this, and you do this $16.50 out at 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year, it comes out to an income of $35,070.

She has a crooked cellphone, the cheapest cellphone she can get for $40. She's in the red a $117 a month. She has after-school child care because the bank is open during normal business hours. That's $450 a month. That takes her down to negative $567 per month.

My question for you, Mr. Dimon, is how should she manage this budget shortfall while she's working full-time at your bank?

JAMIE DIMON, CHAIRMAN & CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: I - I don't know that all your numbers are accurate. That number is a starter - is a generally a starter job.

PORTER: She is a starting employee. She has a six-year old child.

DIMON: OK. And--

PORTER: This is her first job.

DIMON: And she may have my job one day. So, she's--

PORTER: She may. But, Mr. Dimon, she doesn't have the ability right now to spend your $31 million.

DIMON: I'm - I'm wholly sympathetic.

PORTER: She's short $567. What would you suggest she do?

DIMON: I - I don't know. I have to think about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Your take on this one?

ROGERS: Well, you know, it's interesting. I just heard that whole clip. I think that was a hypothetical employee, wasn't a real - I - first when I heard it, I thought it was a real employee. It's a hypothetical employee, as - as I just watched that.

Here's the point again. Why don't we have a constructive dialog? You have some pretty important financial leaders in the country sitting at that table. How do you take that $16 an hour employee and empower them to do better?

To me, that would be a much better conversation. How - is - is there something that we can do? I mean I find it odd that I - someone that would take a $16-hour job, this is their first job, and they have a six-year-old child, I mean there's a whole bunch there that we ought to be working through.

And then, how do we empower people like that? That woman who is courageous enough to go to work after having a child, and she's single, how do we empower that woman to do better? Is there other things that we can do?

None of that happens when you attack your witnesses because they happen to be successful. I just don't think that's beneficial to - to getting to the place where I think the Member wants to go other than it makes great TV. I mean we wouldn't be talking about it if she had the other conversation probably.

CUOMO: It does two things. And - shame on us, by the way, for not having those conversations more, but does two things. Certainly buzzy, buzzy, but also, all of these clips, and wait until you see the two, after the break, it is a justifiable tease.

ROGERS: You are just full of fun tonight, all right.

CUOMO: I know. But I - I'll tell you why I think these are important for people.

ROGERS: Yes.

CUOMO: All right, not because I think that they're funny. I think they're worth watching because they are examples--

ROGERS: Yes.

CUOMO: --of how stuck in division we are.

ROGERS: Yes, that's true.

CUOMO: And how if we were to do a poll after all these five clips about how people feel about them, the split would echo the parties. I would bet anything on it anytime. ROGERS: I think you're exactly right.

CUOMO: So, do me a favor, my brother. Stick around.

We have two more of these. And we rank them five to one for a reason. Number one is one of the zaniest conversations I've heard by putatively intelligent people. You've got to see it. Stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right, back to our countdown of the wildest moments in this week's hearings on Capitol Hill. Mike Rogers is joining me to give some legitimacy to this segment. Now but these clips are all really worth watching.

Here is number two. This is Representative Maxine Waters and the Treasury Secretary, Mnuchin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVEN MNUCHIN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: If you'd wish to keep me here so that I don't have my important meeting, and continue to grill me, then we can do that. I will cancel my meeting. And I will not be back here. I will be very clear if that's the way you'd like to have this relationship.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Thank you. The Gentleman, the Secretary has agreed to stay to hear all of the rest of the Members. Please, cancel your meeting. And respect our time.

MNUCHIN: OK. Just let's be clear to the process (ph). Cancel my - I - I am canceling my foreign meeting.

WATERS: Who is next on the list?

MNUCHIN: You - you're instructing me to stay here, and I should cancel my appointment--

WATERS: No, you just made me an offer.

MNUCHIN: No, I didn't make you an offer.

WATERS: You made me an offer that I accepted.

MNUCHIN: I - I did not make you an offer.

WATERS: Well--

MNUCHIN: Just let's be clear.

Please dismiss everybody. I believe you're supposed to take the gavel and - and bang it. That's the appropriate--

WATERS: Please do not instruct me as to how I am to conduct this Committee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: I mean it's not even worth commenting on. I want to get to the next one. But I'm just saying it's just the division, my brothers and sisters.

ROGERS: But, you know what? It was condescending. I can't believe the Secretary of Treasury went in there. It was so condescending, the Members. I - you don't have to like him. You don't have to be of your party. But I didn't think that was appropriate at all.

CUOMO: But we know that where he was coming from, and how this is broken down into teams, it's even worse than just parties anymore.

ROGERS: Yes.

CUOMO: But watch this one because this one, no, no other comparison. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. THOMAS MASSIE (R-KY): Secretary Kerry, I want to read part of your statement back to you.

"Instead of convening a kangaroo court, the President might want to talk with the educated adults he once trusted to fill his top national security positions."

It sounds like you're questioning the credentials of the President's advisers currently. But I don't think we should question your credentials today. Isn't it true you have a science degree from Yale?

JOHN KERRY, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: (OFF-MIKE).

MASSIE: What's that?

KERRY: Bachelor of arts degree.

MASSIE: Is it a political science degree?

KERRY: Yes, political science.

MASSIE: So, how do you get a--

KERRY: My regret (ph). MASSIE: --bachelor of arts in a science?

KERRY: Well, it's liberal arts education and degree, it's a bachelor.

MASSIE: OK, so it's not really science. So, I think it's somewhat appropriate that somebody with a pseudoscience degree is here pushing pseudoscience in front of our Committee today.

I want to ask you--

KERRY: Are you serious? I mean, this is really--

MASSIE: I - let me--

KERRY: --a serious happening here?

MASSIE: You know what? It is - it is serious. You're calling the President's Cabinet a kangaroo court. Is that serious?

KERRY: I'm not calling his Cabinet a kangaroo court. I'm calling this Committee that he's putting together a Kangaroo Committee.

MASSIE: What - are you saying that he doesn't have educated adults there now?

KERRY: I don't know who it has yet, because it's secret.

MASSIE: Well you said it in your testimony. That's what you're playing (ph).

[21:50:00] KERRY: Why would he have to have a secret analysis of climate change?

MASSIE: Let me ask you. Let me ask - let's get back to the science of it.

KERRY: Why does the President need to keep it secret?

MASSIE: Let's get back to the science of it.

KERRY: But it's not science. You're not quoting science!

MASSIE: I - well, you are the science expert. You got the political science degree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: I mean we are not speaking the same language. I mean forget about the fact that there are people who really want to question the science, whether or not there's climate change.

I mean I don't know there's any hope on that level. Either you accept science or you don't, but these - these - we're not speaking the same language anymore. It's like they came from different countries, those two people.

ROGERS: Yes. Again, I'd never think insulting the witness is a good idea.

I just never think that's a great way to be productive. And it tells me that you don't want to be productive. Candidly, I thought it made the Member look like an ass. I mean he just was degrading someone.

Listen, I have worked with John Kerry, and I didn't agree with him all the time. But I found him--

CUOMO: Right.

ROGERS: --being very credible. We always were able to sit down and - when I was in Congress, worked through our issues. And some issues, we worked together on because it was important for the country.

And so, why not take that advantage of - if your point is, and I think his point was later in the hearing that some of the decisions on climate change have consequences that you're not talking about.

OK. That's a fair, honest debate. Yes, that's great. Why - why don't you talk about that?

This personal animus attack is only going to get back a personal animus attack. And that's why nothing gets done. And I thought that whole episode was kind of embarrassing for Congress as a whole.

CUOMO: But also very instructive.

ROGERS: I mean if this is the best we got, we're in trouble.

CUOMO: This is where we are.

ROGERS: Yes, I agree.

CUOMO: This is the Gotcha game, toxic politics. This is what sells in sound bites. But now, it's what passes for government. And I bring you here because people didn't always agree with you.

ROGERS: Yes.

CUOMO: But there was disagreement with decency. There was respect for what you did and how you did it. And we've gotten too far away from that. And that, what we just showed you, Mike and I, those are the problems that we're really facing right now.

ROGERS: Living it (ph).

CUOMO: Mike, you're the man. Thank you very much--

ROGERS: Right.

CUOMO: --as always.

ROGERS: Thanks, Chris. Let's - Chris--

CUOMO: All right.

ROGERS: Let's - let's hurl insults later.

CUOMO: Never. Never. They don't work. You don't deserve any. Me? I'm easy.

ROGERS: It seems to work right now for Congress.

CUOMO: Try hitting a pinata with a two by four when you hit me, I'm easy. You? You don't deserve it.

All right, so there's no person on the planet who gave WikiLeaks better PR than this President did, OK? Now that Julian Assange is under arrest, the President's trying to erase history again. It's going to be hard to wiggle himself out of this.

But you know what? He - he is not really the issue. There are big ones. And they're the closing, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CLOSING ARGUMENT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Julian Assange indicted. Let's be clear about what this is about and what it's not about, legally and politically. Politically, POTUS made WikiLeaks very relevant during the election calling on them to release more, which was foolish.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.

This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable.

The sad part is we don't talk about WikiLeaks because it's incredible.

Boy, that WikiLeaks has done a job on her.

This WikiLeaks is fascinating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: It was foolish because he seemed to be encouraging someone who the government believes helped to procure the information illegally and published it illegally.

Now, it is the Trump Administration going after Assange, something the Obama Administration decided not to do. However, the President now has a very different tune.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It's not my thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Not your thing! Obviously, the President is not being honest. But this indictment is not about what he said or even the election yet.

It is about what happened in 2010 with Chelsea Manning, taking classified information and giving it to Assange, who may have helped her get it and then released it.

What the government indictment argues to punish is distributing information that was not allowed to be possessed by Assange, was illegally obtained by someone else, and that they think he conspired to help Manning break into the computer, and then hid Manning's identity after, four things.

Three of those four aspects are what a lot of news organizations, and certainly, publishers do all the time, even with classified information, see the Pentagon Papers case on New York Times versus the United States.

But that's about the government's ability to stop us before we publish something, what they call a prior restraint.

Now, what they have to show to punish you after you have already published something is less clear. I can't quote you a case on that that renders it moot as an issue. That's why we have to watch.

The government's indictment is probably just a first step, referring only to the 2010 Chelsea Manning incident. We should assume there could be more about the 2016 election and Wiki and Assange's role in Russian interference. And I'll get to that in a second.

But already here, graph five, if you're looking, Assange didn't have clearance to see the information that Manning gave him. Now, I see that as a shot across the bow that the government is considering action because someone's not supposed to see certain information.

Problematic for us. Prosecutors don't go after Assange for receiving it, OK, that's an important distinction, not yet anyway, but for conspiring to illegally access the information, basically helping Manning steal it. Now, that's the key.

We don't break in and steal what we then report or at least we shouldn't. What is the line though? What if you encourage someone to get the information? What if you tell them, you know where you should go and who you should talk to, to get that or what place you would be able to find it?

Here, prosecutors say Assange helped Manning figure out a password and sign in under a different username to make stealing the information easier. But we also know that Assange couldn't figure out the password.

He tried, the indictment says, but he didn't succeed, so is the attempt enough? What's the line? Journalists work with sources about how they can get more information and get at the truth all the time.

Now, here's what we're thinking comes next. The government and many of our elected leaders believe that Assange coordinated with Russia to interfere. If the government can show that Assange coordinated with the Russians, was working as their agent, one thing.

Assange says he didn't know that Guccifer was really a Russian-run interference tool. So, what if he did though, and he published it, but not to interfere, just to get it out, or it was to interfere, but he wasn't working for Russia?

Reportedly, Assange doesn't like Clinton. Does that matter? Should it matter legally? What if Assange didn't know where the information came from? The answers to these questions matter to the U.S. media's freedoms as much as they do to Assange, potentially. That's why we have to watch the case.

All right, don't go anywhere. We're going to be back with a special Bonus Edition of PRIME TIME right after a CNN Presidential Town Hall with Julian Castro starts right now.

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