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CUOMO PRIME TIME

House Floor Vote On Slapping Barr With Contempt Of Congress Set For June 11th; Kushner Refuses To Comment On Trump's Birtherism Past; Queen Elizabeth Stresses International Alliances In Toast. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 3, 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] JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY CO-ANCHOR, CNN: --in the past for not fully vetting the President's nominees. Is there any response from the administration on why--

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: No.

BERMAN: --they may have missed this?

GRIFFIN: No. We have been seeking a response from the White House since Friday. We have yet to get any kind of substantial response other than they're trying to get us a response, so the answer is no.

BERMAN: All right, Drew Griffin, thanks, as always.

GRIFFIN: Yes.

BERMAN: The news continues. So, I'll hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

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

We have breaking news, Attorney General Bill Barr now staring at his second contempt citation from Congress. More could be on the way.

Former Obama A.G. Eric Holder knows what it's like to face the wrath of lawmaker. We're going to get his take on all things Mueller and Barr, Pelosi and the path forward for Dems.

But also, he's here tonight to tell you about what he believes is the biggest change needed to help protect democracy. He has a pledge that every candidate must take.

Then, did you hear what Jared Kushner said in an interview that he chose to do? There is a reason he usually avoids the press. And you will not believe how he responded to some very simple and important questions.

And did Queen Elizabeth just send a message to President Trump right to his face with the world watching? The President's close friend, Chris Ruddy was in the room. Look at him decked out in tails. He's now on PRIME TIME to give us the scoop.

New week, what do you say? Let's get after it.

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CUOMO: All right, so look, this is the next step. The full House is expected to vote next week on whether to hold the Attorney General in contempt of Congress. Why? He refused to hand over the full Mueller report and the evidence that comes along with it.

So that is just one of the big headlines that we want to get into with the first Attorney General from the Obama administration, Mr. Eric Holder.

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TEXT: ONE ON ONE.

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CUOMO: Welcome to PRIME TIME. Good to have you.

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's good to see you, Chris. How've you been?

CUOMO: Good. So, we talk a lot about how do we keep the democracy safe, are we preparing for Russian interference?

Mueller went out of his way to talk about it. Nobody seems to be doing anything about it. You say it's not just about Russian interference. It's about how we get in our own way with the system "Gerrymandering." How so?

HOLDER: Right. Well gerrymandering is the system by which one party gets more representation than it deserves based on the number of votes that it received in our state legislatures and in our Congress as well. It leads to polarization. It leads to gridlock. And ultimately, it leads to cynicism by the American people.

And if people wonder, "Well, you know, what is gerrymandering all about? Why should I care about redistricting," well if you care about, for instance, those three heartbeat bills that were recently passed in Ohio, in Missouri, and in Georgia, those are among the three most gerrymandered states in the country, and that's a very tangible result of -- of gerrymandering.

CUOMO: All right, so two points of pushback. The first one is gerrymandering comes from Elbridge Gerry. You know, he did such great things with Madison, working on the Constitution but he gets killed for what he did with moving around districts--

HOLDER: Right.

CUOMO: --to assure he would keep getting elected. So the point is, A.G., this has always gone on. We've struggled with this from the beginning.

HOLDER: Right.

CUOMO: Why should we care now?

HOLDER: Well the fact that it has gone on for as long as it has is, you know, a historical fact. But the reality is that just because something bad has been going on for an extended period of time means we should let it go on forever.

This is a time for us to stop gerrymandering and to return power to the people. The reality we have right now is that politicians are picking their voters, instead of voters choosing who their representatives ought to be.

And if you look at what happened in 2011, the last time we redistricted, Princeton did a study, and said that the gerrymandering done Republicans in 2011 was the worst gerrymandering of the last half century, and that's had an impact on our civic life over the course of this past decade.

CUOMO: Yes. You, look, you want to make sure that the people are getting fair representation where they live, that it's not engineered, but then you have the partisan aspect to this.

The National Democratic Re -- Redistricting Committee, in 2018, all the money that you put out there to help was to help Democrats, so is that what this is? Is this just about you helping your own?

HOLDER: No. This is not an attempt to gerrymander or to favor Democrats. I think what we need is to have is -- is a fair system. If we have a fairer process in 2021, Democrats and progressives will do just fine.

But I want to emphasize that more than anything else. This is not an attempt to gerrymander for Democrats.

To the extent that Republicans want to join with us in this effort, I welcome that support. I did an event with former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, about four or five weeks ago, in Washington D.C.

He supports the creation of these Independent Commissions to actually do redistricting and take it out of the hands of politicians altogether, something that I think is maybe the best way in which to do it. But he is kind of a lone voice in the -- in the Republican Party.

CUOMO: So, the pledge that you want everybody to take, if you were to find out that Democrats had gone sideways on it, and they were playing the same game, would you call for Democrats to be primaried by other Democrats, if they're not doing it the way you think they should, not playing clean?

[21:05:00] HOLDER: Well I will certainly tell you this. In New Jersey, Democrats tried to use the power that they have there to gerry--

CUOMO: That's what I was pointing to.

HOLDER: --to gerrymander in New Jersey, and I very publicly said that that was something that was inappropriate, something that I was opposed to. And along with Governor Phil Murphy in New Jersey, we were able to push Democrats away from that, which they were intending to do.

This is something that is bad for Republicans. It's bad for Democrats. But more importantly, it's bad for our nation.

CUOMO: We're going to keep our eye on the pledge, see who makes it, see who doesn't. I appreciate you being here for that. Fairness matters to us.

Segue question, what's fair to the President of the United States?

HOLDER: Sure.

CUOMO: Do you believe that starting an impeachment inquiry or impeachment proceedings would be justified on what you understand the facts to be? Would that be fair to the President of the United States?

HOLDER: I think it would be fair on the basis of the Mueller report.

It seems to me that was clearly a referral from Bob Mueller to Congress for Congress to use its Constitutional powers and, I think actually, do its Constitutional duty, to examine that report, and make a determination about whether or not the President should be impeached.

Now, I look at that obstruct -- obstruction section of -- of the report, and it seems to me that there are at least six out of those 10 specifications of obstruction that serve -- would serve as a basis to impeach President Trump.

CUOMO: What do you think about process? Do you think it's just keep going along this way in terms of what they're doing?

Yes, they're fighting with the A.G. right now. You're no stranger to that game. But they're fighting with him. Should they keep it this way, or do you believe that impeachment is the right route, or do you agree with Nancy Pelosi that it's the wrong route?

HOLDER: I -- I think in the short-term, I would keep going in the way that they are, have really significant oversight.

I'd speed up the process though, you know, let -- let -- let's send out those subpoenas, let's get those response times cut those down, and speed up the process, so that we form up what is to -- to happen.

And if we don't get responses from--

CUOMO: Right.

HOLDER: --people in the cabinet, if there is, in fact, stonewalling by the Trump administration, then I think you have to move to an impeachment inquiry.

CUOMO: But that's where you are. I'm not saying that -- I'm not calling for anything. But that's where you are. They sent out the subpoenas. The A.G. and the other interested parties say "No," so they go to court, they get a couple of quick rulings.

I was surprised at how fast the rulings was. Cost me a couple of drinks. But now they will appeal those rulings, so it's not over yet. If they were to go impeachment inquiry, do the judges accelerate the process, because there are no additional powers under impeachment than regular oversight?

HOLDER: Well, actually, Congress in using its impeachment authority is actually at its height when it comes to the power that the House of Representatives has.

And I -- I think if you went to an impeachment inquiry, you would probably see the Judicial branch a little more responsive than perhaps it would be in -- in pure oversight.

But I will say that judges have been moving pretty -- pretty quickly. I think that we want to move as quickly as we can, establish the facts as soon as we can, and then make a determination about whether or not the President should be impeached.

And I don't really think that political considerations should be a part of that -- that determination.

CUOMO: Do you think that the current Attorney General has followed that last comment that you just made there that political consideration should not be part of the administration of justice?

HOLDER: Well I -- I got to tell you that I expected a lot more from Bill Barr.

I assured people when he was nominated that he was an institutionalist, and that he would be a person who would follow the law, follow the norms that have governed the way in which Attorneys General have always conducted themselves. And I have to say I've been sorely disappointed.

I think that he has protected the President. I think he has mischaracterized the Mueller report. He is not cooperating with -- with Congress in a way that he clearly should. I said in a tweet that I don't think on the basis of his performance that he is fit to be Attorney General of the United States.

CUOMO: People hit you with the same stick A.G., as you know. They say--

HOLDER: Yes.

CUOMO: --"Well, Holder was Obama's wingman. And what about the Fast and the Furious, and he fought all those subpoenas too? They just settled the case like two weeks ago for some -- for some of that litigation." What did you do, as A.G. to President Obama, that you believe is better than what we're seeing now?

HOLDER: Well when it comes to Fast and Furious, the thing for which I was held in contempt, and I would say, inappropriately held in contempt, we turned over 7,000 documents.

I testified 10 times before the Senate and before the House, talking about Fast and Furious, and we made available all of the witnesses that Congress wanted to hear from, from within the Justice Department.

The only things that we held back were deliberative materials and materials that talked about how we were going to respond to Congress, not with regard to the substance.

All those documents were ultimately released by Attorney General Sessions. And guess what? There was nothing in there of any significance that we were -- were holding back.

[21:10:00] We were fighting for a principle, the question of making sure that deliberations could occur within the Executive branch out of the sight of the Legislative branch.

But the total way in which Barr and other members of the Trump administration have refused to turn over documents, refused to testify, it is inconsistent with the duties that they have as Members of the Cabinet.

CUOMO: Let's talk about this a little bit more. And also, I want your take on what you think must happen in this upcoming election. What do you think has to be the state of play? What do you think has to be the priority of message and messenger on the Democrat side?

There are other things. It's a rare opportunity to have you here. I'm going to milk it. Stay with me through the break, please--

HOLDER: Sure, yes.

CUOMO: --Attorney General. We're going to keep Eric Holder here.

Another thing, I -- I have to ask the A.G. about, this Jared Kushner interview. He said some things, even just about birtherism, something that should have been a layup that should be obvious.

He was asked about what he would do if he were approached again by Russians, I couldn't believe his answer. Let's see if you and the A.G. can, next.

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CUOMO: All right, back now, we have more with former A.G. Eric Holder. It's good to have you. You know, people talk about you a lot on this show. And now, we're having the opportunity to talk to you.

[21:15:00] I just want to give you one more opportunity on something. When people say, "Don't look at Bill Barr as some kind of unusually deferential animal in that office. That's how they all are. Holder was the same way," respond to your critics.

HOLDER: Well that's not true at all. You know, I ran the Justice Department in a way that it should be run, independent of the White House, making determinations based on the facts, and the law that was presented to me.

I made determinations and decisions that were not necessarily supported by people in the White House. When I made the determination, for instance, to reopen the inquiry into the CIA abuses with regard to enhanced interrogation techniques, that was not something that was supported by people in the White House.

An independent Attorney General is critical to our system.

CUOMO: All right, I appreciate you putting that on -- on the record. It'll be helpful going forward. I can guarantee that.

So, Jared Kushner, he gives this interview today. He talked about a couple of things that should have been layups. They weren't. The first one, I want your take on. I want to play you this sound.

He was asked about whether or not he's ever seen the President be racist or do anything racist. He says, "Absolutely not, never, known him a long time."

Said OK, then what about this? Listen to this.

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JONATHAN SWAN, U.S. POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS MEDIA: Was birtherism racist?

JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, I wasn't really involved in that.

SWAN: I know you weren't. Was it racist?

KUSHNER: Like I said, I -- I wasn't involved in that

SWAN: I know you weren't. Was it racist?

KUSHNER: Look, I know who the President is, and I have not seen anything in him that is racist. So, again, I was not involved in that. SWAN: Did you wish he didn't do that?

KUSHNER: Like I said, I was not involved in that. That was a long time ago.

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CUOMO: How does he not say, "Yes. It was racist. He shouldn't have done it. He learned from it. He's moved on from it." How did he not give that answer? What's your take on that?

HOLDER: Well I don't think he can give that answer. There's no way that he could say of his father-in-law that in any instance he had done something that was racist in nature.

Though I think, and this is a word that I am very reluctant to use, but I have to say that with regard to that whole birther -- that whole birther controversy that that had race at its base.

And President Trump knew what he was doing when he talked about President Obama in that way.

Why Kushner doesn't have the ability to do that, I think, is obvious. He -- he simply cannot say -- agree with the notion that I think is just factually there that his father-in-law engaged in an activity that was inappropriately based in -- in race.

CUOMO: You know, I -- I get calls on a regular basis from people who know him, and are around him in the White House, "So you know he's a nice guy. Give him a break. He's trying -- he's trying to help out his father-in-law."

It just doesn't work for me because it's not like he stepped in to the mom-and-pop shop that the Trump family was running, you know. He's up there in the seat of power being asked to do things he has no experience in.

But one thing he should know by now, A.G., is they ask him in the interview, "Well if you got another email like that one you got during the campaign to get dirt from the Russians, what would you do?" He says, "I don't know."

Now, doesn't his security clearance mandate that he report something like that, let alone his common sense?

HOLDER: Both in terms of your security clearance, your common sense, and your fundamental patriotism, if a foreign power offers to give you information that would be useful in a campaign, I would think that the reflexive, instinctive reaction that you would have would be to call the FBI, to call somebody in authority, somebody in law enforcement, somebody in the national security sphere to report that, not to take advantage of it.

And the fact that he is unable to say that, even now, is really kind of -- kind of breathtaking. It's really kind of breathtaking.

CUOMO: Looking at the Democrat field of 23, 24, right now, you wishing you jumped in?

HOLDER: There are times when I have pangs about that. But one -- one thing I would say is that if I were running, I would be signing this pledge, which is what we're asking all of the candidates to sign this pledge.

CUOMO: Have any done it?

HOLDER: We have gotten favorable responses from a number of them. But we want them to sign this pledge to end gerrymandering, and to end map manipulation. My expectation is that all of them will sign it. But we're also asking regular citizens to sign this pledge, this pledge as well.

CUOMO: Well that'll be easy because they don't know we'll get -- you know, citizens want the game to be fair. When you're in it, then you start to get things. You said favorable responses.

HOLDER: Yes.

CUOMO: Has anyone signed the pledge yet?

HOLDER: No one has signed the pledge yet. We have not actually formally given the pledge, physically given the pledge--

CUOMO: OK.

HOLDER: --to anybody.

But I'm sure we have heard in their rollouts, and to be fair, Mayor Pete certainly talked about this. Bernie Sanders has talked about this. Beto O'Rourke talked about this, all during their -- their rollouts.

We want people to be more vociferous, more vocal about the need for a fair redistricting process in 2021.

CUOMO: What about Biden?

HOLDER: I'm sure that the Vice President will sign this as well. I know him, and I'm confident that he'll sign this pledge.

CUOMO: What do you think of that field?

HOLDER: It's a good field. You know, I think we've got a lot of qualified candidates.

CUOMO: Too many?

[21:20:00] HOLDER: I -- well, yes, at this point, you know, we have too many now. I think, you know, through the debates, and through the Iowa, New Hampshire caucuses, it'll get winnowed down, I think, pretty dramatically. I think there're probably seven, eight people there who have a -- a realistic chance.

CUOMO: Do you think that in order to, and it's a great question, it's like becoming a parlor game for Democrats. What do you need in the man or woman or both that you pick? Is it -- what particular messages?

I keep hearing from people all over this country same thing. They've got to be able to beat Trump. They've got to be able to go--

HOLDER: Yes.

CUOMO: --toe-to-toe with this President, and take him on. That's it. That's all I care about. Everything else I usually care about, I don't care about.

How real do you think that sentiment is? And how real do you think it will ring in the ultimate choice that Democrats will make? Or do you think that they'll -- they'll defer to check-in boxes, as you guys sometimes do?

HOLDER: You know it's interesting that you say that because that's been my experience as well, as I've gone around the country. I -- I talk about issues and -- and things that I think our nominee should stand for, and people nod their heads, and say that they agree with that.

But the thing that is uppermost in the minds of the Democrats that I talk to is the fact that they need him, they need a candidate who will defeat Donald Trump in 2020.

Now, my view is that we need to select a person who we think will be a great President, and who also will maximize our chances of replacing Donald Trump in the White House.

I think that if we focus on those two issues, not only electability, but who's got the requisite skills, the requisite temperament, to get out there and -- and -- and be a good President, will come up with a -- with a winning candidate.

CUOMO: So funny. Everything that you've accomplished in your life, and you still got a long way to go.

When you were thinking about getting in, the thing I heard from most people, who are in that game of picking candidates, they were like, "I like where Holder's from. He's an outer-borough guy. He's a tough guy from outside of New York City. He can go toe-to-toe with somebody like Donald Trump," so interesting.

HOLDER: Yes.

CUOMO: Everything you've achieved, it's the quality that you had from birth is what they looked at most. But--

HOLDER: Well it would have been -- it would have been interesting to see two guys from Queens going at it, you know, I come from--

CUOMO: That's right.

HOLDER: He comes from the -- the rich part of Queens. I come from the hard part of Queens.

CUOMO: That's what my father used to say all the time, except he used to say it about me.

All right, listen, A.G., thank you very much for being with us.

HOLDER: Sure.

CUOMO: The cause to even the playing field when it comes to elections and redistricting is a good one. We support it here. Let us know how to help.

HOLDER: Good.

CUOMO: You be well.

HOLDER: All right. Great -- great talking to you, Chris, take care.

CUOMO: You too.

All right so, look, rare opportunity. He doesn't do a lot of television, and it's an important message he has. But to get his take on the A.G., I hope it worked for you because it's -- it's a rare perspective.

So now, Jared Kushner, he keeps getting new duties. The man has been given tremendous deference by this President, right? I mean Middle East peace, fixing immigration, right?

However, those things you can argue, he doesn't know anything about. He should know about what he was asked in this recent interview. But he got rattled, and he gave some really revealing responses.

We have them all laid out for you, Facts First, next.

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CUOMO: So, we started off earlier today with Jared Kushner looking very poised, very good at the State Banquet with Queen Elizabeth.

Maybe he should stick to ceremony. Why? Because in this Axios interview, that poise was gone.

President's son-in-law struggled with some obvious questions. When Mr. Kushner was first asked if he'd ever seen the President say or do anything that he could describe as racist or bigoted, Kushner started with a clear no. But then he was confronted with President Trump's biggest political

move before the 2016 campaign, which was birtherism.

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SWAN: Was birtherism racist?

KUSHNER: Look, I wasn't really involved in that.

SWAN: I know you weren't. Was it racist?

KUSHNER: Like I said, I -- I wasn't involved in that

SWAN: I know you weren't. Was it racist?

KUSHNER: Look, I know who the President is, and I have not seen anything in him that is racist. So, again, I was not involved in that.

SWAN: Did you wish he didn't do that?

KUSHNER: Like I said, I was not involved in that. That was a long time ago.

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CUOMO: He chose to do this interview. The answer, by the way, is obviously "Yes, birtherism was racist."

Then he was confronted with several more examples of his father-in- law's intolerant tendencies, including his campaign on banning Muslims, Kushner ends with "I think that the President did his campaign the way he did his campaign."

That's called a non-answer. And birtherism and the Muslim ban were only two examples. There are plenty.

He could have brought up the Central Park Five, calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists, cottoning to White supremacists, saying there're fine people on both sides after that deadly rally in Charlottesville, there are too many of these, his silence on Steve King.

Anyway, next, Kushner said he doesn't know whether he'd call the FBI if he were to receive an email from the Russians like the one before offering dirt on Hillary Clinton.

I'm not kidding. Listen.

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SWAN: It had Russia in the -- in the subject.

KUSHNER: But -- but--

SWAN: Would you call the F -- FBI if it happened again?

KUSHNER: I don't know. It's hard to do hypotheticals. But the -- the reality is, is that we were not given anything that was salacious.

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CUOMO: He doesn't know?

FBI Director Christopher Wray said he would recommend that, in the future, people contact the FBI if a foreign government offers campaign support.

Maybe the President prefers family because they have the same skewed priorities, protect what you've done, admit no mistake, even if it means that you won't own what is obviously wrong, or even admit that you would not do it again.

But here's the bottom line, Mr. Kushner doesn't get a choice. He holds a top secret clearance. By law, he must report something like that. Ignorance of the matters that he is dealing with, that's one thing. That can be helped by putting talent around him, and they've done that with Kushner.

But the arrogance, we cannot ignore this moment where Mr. Kushner addresses whether he owes his position to merit or nepotism. Take a listen.

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[21:30:00] KUSHNER: The President wouldn't have been able to get me to work on his campaign had it not been for familial relations. And I guess because I'm related to him people will make that accusation one way or the other. I do think I've got a good track record in all the things I've done of focusing on producing results.

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CUOMO: He's never done anything like this. He's never worked in government. He's never dealt with these issues, and that's OK. There's a reason you don't have family around you in politics. Believe me, I -- I grew up in it, OK?

In this kind of position, now you're seeing it exposed. What you're comfortable with is not necessarily best for the country. Bottom line, Mr. Kushner may not have the pedigree to take on the heady issues in his charge.

But he should know that birtherism was racism on display, and that when bad guys come to you for help, just say "No."

The President is in England tonight where the Queen offered him a reminder of history that would normally seem obvious. The question is did he get it? His confidant, Chris Rus -- Ruddy was there, and he's going to join us. Look how good he looks.

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CUOMO: The President's State Visit in the U.K. is all about pomp and pageantry today, Royal Treatment from the Royal Family, culminated in a lavish State Banquet in Buckingham Palace this evening.

The President, of course, was not alone. He was with his family and close friends, like Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax. So, we got an inside scoop from Sir Ruddy.

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[21:35:00] CUOMO: Sir Christopher of Ruddy, thank you for joining us on PRIME TIME tonight.

CHRISTOPHER RUDDY, CEO, NEWSMAX MEDIA: Well, Chris, I usually dress up this way just for your show, as you know, but it just so happens I'm here at -- I'm in London, and was at Buckingham Palace. But I -- I do -- in the future, I'll wear this uniform for your show.

CUOMO: Thank you. It's very distinctive. Turns out, if you wear the same thing every night, people like it. So, what was it like at dinner? Come on, dish for us. What did you eat? What went on? Come on, give us a flavor.

RUDDY: Well I can just tell you, the high point of the night was I walk in, and say hello to Her Majesty, and then the President's right there with Melania, and I -- he said to Melania how much he enjoyed me on your show, Chris, the other night. Melania said she loved it.

And I said, "Well Chris just asked me to go on his show tonight." And the President said, "I want you on that show. Go on that show. It would be great if you go on."

CUOMO: Wow.

RUDDY: So, but I was planning to come on, but he -- he endorsed me going on the show. I wouldn't say that's necessarily an endorsement of your show.

CUOMO: Let me play you a little bit of what Queen Elizabeth said. I want your take on it.

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QUEEN ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF THE UNITED KINGDOM & THE OTHER: After the shared sacrifices of the Second World War, Britain and the United States worked with other allies to build an assembly of international institutions.

While the world has changed, we are forever mindful of the original purpose of these structures, nations working together to safeguard a hard-won peace.

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CUOMO: You hear a message to our President in that statement?

RUDDY: I believe Donald Trump agrees totally with that. You know, he went in, and he said, "I don't want to disband NATO." That's one of the structures she's talking about that came out of World War II.

CUOMO: Yes, I know.

RUDDY: But Donald said -- the President said why is it that America pays 4 percent of GDP, and Germany pays a half a percent of GDP, Britain is at actually close to 2 percent, they're fulfilling their requirements, so he has no problem with British Military spending.

Do you know Chris that every American family would be able to send their kids to college basically for free if we didn't have the defense burden that we did? If we have the same defense burden that Germany has, we wouldn't have a student loan crisis.

And I think the President looks at that and says, "We have troops, and we're defending Germany, but they don't want to spend just 2 percent of their national GDP?"

CUOMO: But, Chris, you know, what the Queen was trying to point out there is that--

RUDDY: So, I don't think he's against the structures.

CUOMO: Yes. But he -- look, he attacked the structure. We both know he did.

And he did it in a way that he thought would be relatable to the American people by saying they don't pay in enough, when we both know that that's not how NATO works. It's about commitment to your own defense.

RUDDY: No. It's exactly how it works.

CUOMO: We also know that the historical reason that Germany does not have the role that the United States has in keeping the world safe is rooted in history, and rightly so. This country depends on America to lead. He has questioned that.

He likes being a leader. He likes America being the biggest. But he doesn't want to pay what comes with being the biggest. And you know they go hand in hand.

RUDDY: So, the President is not against NATO. He's not against international structures. I think -- I think he's making a very reasonable argument. He's really sending a wake-up call. I like what the Queen says. I think the President agrees with what she says.

CUOMO: Good.

RUDDY: I don't think there's discrepancy there.

CUOMO: Good. I mean because I think that, you know, she picks her words. You know, unlike what we're used to here, she's very careful about what she says. They think about message. They think about their words. They weigh the importance.

Maybe that's one of the advantages of not being what you call a--

RUDDY: Well I thought--

CUOMO: --Citizen President.

RUDDY: I think the President could improve on -- I think he is a great communicator. He's the best. I mean he even outs -- excels past where Reagan was, and he was called the Great Communicator. But I do think the White House itself--

CUOMO: Hold on a second.

RUDDY: --has a communications issue that they're behind on the messaging.

CUOMO: You think Donald Trump is a better communicator to the American people than Ronald Reagan was?

RUDDY: There's no question this man has been single-handedly -- look what he's done on all the legislation he's passed. He doesn't even have half--

CUOMO: What legislation?

RUDDY: --of his government at least in the first two years appointed. It's all him. He's been doing it internationally.

CUOMO: It's definitely all him.

RUDDY: He's been moving the ball--

CUOMO: You're a 100 percent right.

RUDDY: But it's him communicating, and he's doing in a very powerful way. I -- you know, I don't -- I think the tweets should be reviewed before they go out. I don't agree that they should just be. But that's his decision to make. It's not my decision.

The American people knew going into this that he like to just speak his mind. I think they accept that. I think the polling data shows they accept it.

CUOMO: Why do you keep pointing the polling data, Chris?

RUDDY: I would like to see-- CUOMO: What poll have you seen that makes you believe that this President is somewhere beyond where he's always been, low-40s, sometimes mid-40s, never a spike above 50 percent in any respected polls since he's been President, makes him the only President in modern history not to have a spike above 50, at this point.

RUDDY: Chris, there's -- I can cite you, just go to RealClearPolitics, you go to newsmax.com, you will find three or four polls that have him at 45 to over 50, the Rasmussen is typically a 50, just--

CUOMO: We do but people--

RUDDY: --in the past week or two.

CUOMO: Yes, those are Republican-leaning polls though.

[21:40:00] RUDDY: There's one at 48.

CUOMO: That's what you didn't -- you know no respectable--

RUDDY: Well--

CUOMO: --organization looks at those.

RUDDY: Look, those same polls had the President losing the last election in '16, and he won.

CUOMO: No, he lost.

RUDDY: So, I think that I've also seen data that he's actually--

CUOMO: They had him losing the popular vote, and he lost it. There was some state-by-state polls that got it wrong in states that he won and turned.

RUDDY: Chris?

CUOMO: But the popular vote came out right--

RUDDY: Chris, this--

CUOMO: --in the poll of polls. He lost by over 2 million votes.

RUDDY: Look at the -- look at the poll data on Barack Obama in 2011. Donald Trump is outpacing where he was a year before his election.

CUOMO: But he doesn't have the spikes above 50.

RUDDY: You guys have a--

CUOMO: And I -- I think it's a meaningful distinction.

You are right. This President has shown unbelievable resilience in his base. I have never seen anything like it. Kudos to him. However, he never galvanizes these people behind him over 50 percent. He does not get the country behind him over 50 percent. RUDDY: Well, I've--

CUOMO: Not a single spike.

RUDDY: --I -- I said to him, I've always been an advocate of compromising where there's shared ground with the Democrats, infrastructure, on student loans, this is a crisis that's incredible--

CUOMO: A 100 percent.

RUDDY: --problem for many millions of people. Education, we need to improve the salaries of teachers.

CUOMO: It'd be amazing.

RUDDY: There's so many things that we need to do in this country.

CUOMO: Yes.

RUDDY: And the President said to me that he's planning on doing some of those things. He would like to do it. He said he still wants to do infrastructure. I believe him. I think that will eventually put him over 50 for the re-elect.

But look, you know, when I look at the constant drumbeat, and the press, everything he does, look, he had this incredible day today in England.

He was super well-received by the British people, and the government, and the Queen, and we're trying to find one little quote the Queen said to suggest there was some sort of controversy at the Buckingham Palace Dinner.

I mean it's sort of amazing--

CUOMO: No. I just -- I'm not using it as controversy.

RUDDY: --how we--

CUOMO: I had you on because I -- I wanted to get a feel for the mood, which is cool.

RUDDY: I don't know.

CUOMO: And I hope that -- I hope that it rubs off on him--

RUDDY: You chose that quote over a lot of other--

CUOMO: --a little bit. I'm not a fan of the Royals, OK?

RUDDY: You chose that--

CUOMO: I'm not a fan of a Monarchy.

RUDDY: Chris, you chose--

CUOMO: I'm an American. We were formed in opposition--

RUDDY: Hey, Chris?

CUOMO: --to Monarchy. But I do hope that the gentility and the thought of responsibility as a leader that they inculcate as an entity, hopefully it rubs off on him.

And I appreciate you telling us how well he was received, how much it means to him to be there, and that it was another august occasion. This is getting to be a tradition, having Ruddy from England come to us at these State Dinners, and we appreciate it very much.

RUDDY: Well I'm glad to be on your show, and I know the President indicated to me he was glad I was coming on your show.

CUOMO: Always welcome. Enjoy yourself there. Be safe. I'll see you at home.

RUDDY: Thank you, Sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right, so the President is receiving the Red Carpet. There's no question about it. He's loving it over there in the U.K. for that reason.

A former U.S. President may have gotten an even bigger, however, reception, and it was on foreign soil. It's not a competition. But it is an interesting demonstration. We're going to have D. Lemon weigh in.

(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: So this is very interesting. While our current President basked in Royal treatment during his State visit to the U.K. today, he wasn't the only U.S. President living his best life. Check out this reception that his predecessor got in Canada at an NBA Finals game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Mr. Barack Obama.

(MUSIC)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you.

(CROWD CHEERS AND CHANTS MVP)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: It's funny. That's in Canada, right? That's where the Raptors' We the North is the new campaign, chanting MVP. You heard that for Obama last night in Toronto.

President Trump notably avoided any routes that, you know, would show the protest and stuff. He's got detractors there in the U.K. as well.

Let's bring in D. Lemon. Very different venues, and I'm not really trying to compare who's more popular, or whatever, but very interesting the type of reception.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Why are you pulling me into this?

CUOMO: Why not? What else you got to do?

LEMON: Nothing. I'm just hanging out here. Man, he looks good. I wish I could look that good when I'm Obama's age. He's -- he's glowing. He's got not a care in the world. Look at him.

CUOMO: Is he older than you?

LEMON: Look at him. Yes, he's -- shut up. Yes, he is older than me. But I mean he looks good. He's got a little gray. He's got a lot of gray. But that's all right.

CUOMO: He got it being President.

LEMON: You got--

CUOMO: It's amazing how it ages them, that job.

LEMON: It's amazing. But--

CUOMO: But what do you think it means that he goes up there to Canada, and they cheer like that?

LEMON: Here's what I think it means, OK? Here's what I think it means. People love Obama. Our -- our -- what do you call them? The people who like us, not our adversaries, but our -- what do you call them? It's been a long weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allies.

CUOMO: What are you talking about?

LEMON: Our allies, there you go.

CUOMO: Oh, you've been -- fine, yes.

LEMON: It's been a long weekend. CUOMO: That is OK. Sounded like Kushner there for a second.

LEMON: Our allies love him. People love -- Obama's loved all over the world. As a matter of fact, did you see in London that this group put the approval numbers of Obama and Trump up?

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: And it was -- it was a progressive group because, you know, people over there, they don't like Trump. So, Trump has a 21 percent approval rating, Barack Obama has a 72 percent approval rating in the U.K. People love Obama. That's all I can say.

And, you know, why not? He is a good person. You may not -- even if you disagree with his politics, he's a decent, kind man who was very classy all the time. He didn't call people "Dumb." He didn't call people "Nasty." He didn't call people "Total losers." He wasn't -- he wasn't a fifth-grader. He was an adult with some class.

CUOMO: You know who didn't like him though? You know who didn't share your opinion?

LEMON: Trump?

CUOMO: The Trump base. Well certainly President Trump.

LEMON: I think the Trump base will tell you--

CUOMO: Trump had -- had a really deep personal dislike for--

LEMON: I--

CUOMO: --for Mr. Obama.

LEMON: I disagree with that. I think Trump's base will tell you "I didn't like his policies. But he was a kind, decent man."

CUOMO: Some might. I think a lot of them--

LEMON: I think most of them will.

CUOMO: --I think without President Bush, you'd never get Obama. Without Obama--

LEMON: Where's the evidence? Let me tell--

CUOMO: --you would never get Trump.

LEMON: OK. If they're saying that they're delusional, where's the evidence that Obama ever denigrated anyone, called someone out of their name--

CUOMO: D. Lemon--

LEMON: --and wasn't classy?

CUOMO: D. Lemon, since when do you need facts to have a feeling? You think you're in good shape, right?

LEMON: I'm just saying, I'm just trying to tell people they're delusional--

CUOMO: Fat-free.

LEMON: --if they think that. Listen, you and I were on this network--

CUOMO: They thought he was divisive.

LEMON: We were on this network--

CUOMO: They thought he was playing to race. They say, you know, they thought that he was trying to marginalize being White in this country that he didn't think America--

LEMON: Because he's Black?

CUOMO: --was special.

LEMON: Because he's Black?

CUOMO: Yes, some of it.

[21:50:00] LEMON: Because someone kept asking for his damn birth certificate?

CUOMO: Some of it.

LEMON: Because the hate groups got upset because a Black man was President?

You didn't get Trump unless you had Obama, unless you get people who were pissed that a Black man was President, even if they are consciously aware of it or not, maybe they're not consciously aware of it.

CUOMO: I can't comment on birtherism. I wasn't part of that. I wasn't there at that time.

LEMON: You weren't -- you weren't -- oh, yes. Come on, Jared. I can't comment on it. Well was it racist? Well I don't know. I can't comment. I wasn't--

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

LEMON: --involved in that (ph).

CUOMO: I've never seen him do anything overtly racist, never seen it.

LEMON: Really?

CUOMO: What about birtherism? What'd you say? What -- what--

LEMON: Well -- who?

CUOMO: --what about birtherism?

LEMON: Who's that? I've never met her.

CUOMO: I get to get my -- I get my -- I got to get my tails ready.

LEMON: I'm just -- listen, I'm just being -- I -- I used to -- people used to lambast me for criticizing the former President. You don't hear about that anymore. All you hear from Trump people is like "You love Obama," was it same like -- where were you guys back then--

CUOMO: That's the only thing I didn't like about doing this particular substance in this segment is I don't like the comparisons because it feeds this every time you say something about this President, you -- for some reason, you've got to say something about the last President. Anyway--

LEMON: Yes. I know you got to go. Well I like it because it shows decency versus someone who is not decent.

CUOMO: I'll take all the decency I can get.

LEMON: Hey, I got -- I know you have to go. But Harley Rouda is going to be here. He's on the House Oversight Committee.

CUOMO: Sure.

LEMON: Impeachment march drum -- the drumbeat is getting louder.

CUOMO: All right.

LEMON: We'll talk about that.

CUOMO: I'll listen to it on the backside of this closing.

LEMON: See you.

CUOMO: Trump, Mr. President, barely made it to London before urging Americans to boycott a U.S. company with roots going back to 1876. Why did he do it? What does it mean that he did it?

The argument, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CLOSING ARGUMENT.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: All right, let's keep it light and tight. This is America. We don't have presidents who punish companies because they don't flatter them enough. There's nothing great again about taking America down the path of the despot.

We've never had a President call for Americans to boycott a company he doesn't like. Look at this, can't say that anymore.

"I believe that if people stopped using or subscribing," two Ps in stopped, "to AT&T, they would be forced to make big changes at CNN, which is dying in the ratings anyway. It's so unfair with such bad, Fake News! Why wouldn't they act? When the world watches CNN, it gets a false picture of USA. Sad!"

Now, first of all, AT&T employs 268,000 people, including your boy here. But does the President really want people to lose jobs so that CNN won't cover his lies as often? Yes is the answer.

Now, his friend just told us, "Oh, he's just playing with you. Don't let him live rent-free in your head." That's not right.

He tried to kill the merger of AT&T and CNN's parent company, even though he knew they didn't have a case. He was told that. He wasted your money on frivolous litigation.

He reportedly told one of his advisers to have the DOJ kill the deal before that. He failed. But it shows he would use his power to punish. And the thousands of families that depend on us, he would do that just out of personal spite.

Remember, this isn't about national security. It's not about the company doing something horrible to workers or making people sick. Yes, they own CNN. That's not my point. You know me better than that by now. The point is this President doesn't like our coverage.

And as for his suggestion that he only cares about this because it hurts the United States image abroad, the false picture of the U.S., look at Pew's research about how others in the world see this man, who's being protested in the U.K. right now while he's at his fancy dinner.

Embarrassed this country on the world stage, he actually threw his own Intel agencies under the bus, and took the word of Putin, the man responsible for interference about the interference. I was there. It was embarrassing.

Abroad, just like at home, people are worried about his behavior and ability to lead. And once again, in this latest attack at a Free Press, he is fueling his fire with farce.

Look, if he wants to blame the Free Press for what he said about Meghan Markle, fine. But he said it. He used the word "Nasty" about her and what she said. There's tape of him. Period!

He can say the Navy story is fake. But he's calling the Navy fake because they confirmed on the record that the White House asked them to mess with the USS John McCain. Not fake, fact.

This President doesn't have to like it. Hell, no President likes the media if it's doing its job right, right? We work for you, not for them. But when will this President learn how to use his power to be responsible and bring people together?

Look, I'm not a fan of Royalty, OK? I'm an American. This country was formed in opposition to the idea of Royalty. But there is a clear argument that our President could really learn something from the Brits he seems so enamored with.

The irony is lost on no one, and he probably just likes being treated like a King, but he should observe the reserve. The thought about what to say, and not say, it's called discretion, and the idea of putting your duty to others before your own interests. I never thought I would argue this. But we might be in a better place

in this country right now if our President were more like The Queen, if only in it that she is focused on saying only what she must, staying on message, providing a message that puts unity first, regardless of her personal stake. Now, that is something worthy of repeating.

Thank you for watching. CNN TONIGHT with D. Lemon, right now.

LEMON: We were like say "What?" Did he say the President was more like -- more of a Queen? You said more like a Queen?

CUOMO: More like The Queen, D. Lemon.