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Trump, GOP Senators Clash over Mexico Tariff Threat; Impeachment Calls Grow Louder as WH Stonewalls Congress. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 4, 2019 - 21:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The news continues so we'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.

A new battle to make tougher gun laws a reality. This time, it's in Virginia. 12 were murdered Friday. And already lawmakers are taking sides. They haven't even started the discussion.

Senator Cory Booker wants to be your leader and he says he knows what to do about gun violence. What are his ideas and how can he get something done? And are tariffs on Mexico, one reckless move too many for GOPers?

A meeting with senators was called a cluster beep and a lot of noise in the House but will the party really go against POTUS. GOP Congressman Clay Higgins is back on Prime Time. He has a take from inside the game.

Speaker Pelosi got her own fires to put out on impeachment. The more this POTUS blocks Congress like his latest move to keep the House alumni silent, the more her members say it is time to drop the hammer.

And a special closing argument, Cuomo Prime Time celebrates its first year. Thank you. What do you say? Let's get after it.

Our President is lying and tweeting and it seems a number of GOPers a little bit tired of it. One GOP Senate aid described today's meeting between White House officials and Republican senators about these Mexican tariffs as a cluster beep. Mitch McConnell more diplomatic but pretty direct.


SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MAJORITY LEADER: There's not much support in my conference for tariffs, that's for sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you try to block those tariffs?

MCCONNELL: Well, what I'm telling you is we're hoping that doesn't happen. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: In London the President tried to keep calm and you got it, carry on.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think of Republicans who say that they may take action to block you imposing those tariffs?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, I don't think they will do that. I think if they do, it's foolish. There's nothing more important than borders. I've had tremendous Republican support.


CUOMO: Except attacking Bette Midler in the middle of the night in U.K. Have you see his latest tweet? I'll lead you to it.

More important back here, conservatives like Ted Cruz are worried. There's talk of a disapproval resolution from Republicans. The President may have hit his own wall as he tries to put the squeeze on Mexico. GOP Congressman Clay Higgins sits on the Homeland Security Committee. Good to have you back on Prime Time, sir.

REP. CLAY HIGGINS, (R) OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Chris, good to be with you, sir.

CUOMO: All right, let's start big and get to more of the small issues of politics. Tariffs on Mexico as a way of getting better results on immigration, yes or no?

HIGGINS: And perhaps to get USMCA pass. The border security is certainly a primary importance. It's what the President's focused on. Nobody wants tariffs but the President uses them as leverage very well. I think as we move forward over the next 36 days, we'll see some results. And perhaps some of my colleagues that are on the fence about museum, MCA, and border security will move towards the side of protecting America.

CUOMO: Why do the tariffs in your opinion work well? I guess you're referring to China. We haven't seen any results yet that those would be good. We just had to back fill with the farmers. And here, the concern is that it may derail the new trade agreement with Mexico because they may be less likely to approve it. Where's the upside?

HIGGINS: It could be. There's a certain amount of poker going on. And I have confidence that at the highest levels of negotiation including the secretary of state meeting tomorrow.

We'll see movement on a new and improved NAFTA, the USMCA. And I believe border security will be improved and embraced, have been some way in a bipartisan manner not with conservatives as my self would want but not at the level of open borders and lack security of some of my colleagues across the aisle comfort. CUOMO: Well anybody who's asking for open border and America is going to be a loser. It's about how to do it. Something that's been perplexing us on the show, Congressman, help me with this.

HIGGINS: Yes sir.

CUOMO: The right and the left, every time I say to them pass an emergency bill, push the President, get DHS the accommodations they mean, your committee, they're begging for help to house --

HIGGINS: They're begging for help.

CUOMO: -- and treat these kids. The Republicans say, the Democrats won't let us do it. We need rule changes. And the Democrat say, they're asking for so much and they don't want to help the kids. Nothing gets done. Why, no emergency measure?

HIGGINS: There's a lot of posturing going on in this town as you're very familiar with. And it's unfortunate and the American citizen suffers. The actual physical security of our border is reflective of our commitment to maintain a sovereignty of our nation. And the security is layered, there's no one single answer.

[21:05:14] This why we need 21st century technology to detect an illegal crossing, 21st century enhanced physical barriers to delay or deter that physical crossing and enhanced capacity to respond and to process the children of God that do cross over, who have a certain amount of rights and they should be given right to due process regarding the criminal act that they're accused of. And they're taking care of the kids and the family (inaudible) coming over. You know, my friends down there, brother, they've been begging for months --

CUOMO: Yeah.

HIGGINS: -- for two years.

CUOMO: It's not on them. People are going to blame them.

HIGGINS: Please give us what we need.

CUOMO: I've had people on the left say to me --

HIGGINS: It's shouldn't be a partisan issue.

CUOMO: I've had people on the left say to me, in Congress and otherwise, hey we got to look at CBP and DHS and find out why these kids are dying. No, no, no, we haven't had a single finding effect yet. If they are -- if they come out, I'll change my posture. But this is not about how CBP or DHS is trying to treat people. This isn't about guards kicking people in the ribs until they don't breathe anymore. This is about begging for help with resources and not getting it. How many do you think have to die before people in Congress will come together? What do you think the number is?

HIGGINS: One would hope -- CUOMO: You're at six, seven now. What do you think, 20?

HIGGINS: One would hope, none, my friend, that's --

CUOMO: You already have seven and nothing has happened.

HIGGINS: Well, I wouldn't say nothing has happened, I would say no results have been seen out of this gridlock Congress. We have an incredible amount of obstructionism happening here. You know this to be true.

Now, I have friends across the aisle that one-on-one we can agree on a path forward to properly and in humanitarian way care for the children of God that are illegally crossing our borders while at the same time secure our borders and fix the loopholes and the law to stop the magnets. But as a party, we find ourselves -- let me not be judgmental here. I like you. We're ideologically, you know, we have variances, do we not? But let me just say that both parties are over postured for 2020 as suppose to seeking results for the American --

CUOMO: I hear you on that.

HIGGINS: -- citizens that we serve.

CUOMO: I hear you on that. But Clay, the only party for me is on Friday night after the show. But let me ask you this. Let me get your take on this as former law enforcement. So Parkland happens, the school resource officer, former deputy sheriff is outside. He is now charged multiple counts in connection with not going in and doing something. There are various counts but they all lead back to the same nucleus of fact which is he didn't do what he was supposed to do. His defense is, I thought the shots were coming from outside and not inside. Do you think charging the officer is the right move?

HIGGINS: Well, I've never seen charges like this. However, I have to tell you that his actions were contrary to everything that I experienced. I was a SWAT cop for 12 years. And ever since Columbine, the old training ended where perimeter officers would stand by and wait for SWAT to enter. When you hear shots, you're going. If you're not sure where the shots are coming from, this is a momentary decision.

But if you're guarding the school, and the children and the staff are inside, that's where you go. Because you've already called for a back up, you know there's other units are in route. In fact, everybody is coming. They're coming from the outside.

So if you're the guy on point, you go inside. I think that to wait two or three seconds, is two or three seconds longer than I would have waited, had I been standing there.

CUOMO: Clay Higgins, thank you very much for your perspective on the law enforcement, issuing what's going on inside of Congress. You always have a home here to tell us what's going on in the interest of the American people.

HIGGINS: Thank you, Chris. God bless you and your viewers.

CUOMO: Thank you. Be well.

All right. So, five dozen House Democrats, now we're looking at the problems on the other side of the ball, OK? Five dozen now say it's time to impeach.

Let's start an inquiry. Speaker Pelosi still says no but there's a perception out there that this fight is a little misleading. You need to know the facts and where we are historically in terms of what is going on right now. It's not as simple as people are making it for you, next.


[21:13:06] CUOMO: The self-styled, most transparent White House ever extended its record of blocking congressional requests by barring Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson from giving full cooperation to Congress.

So House Democrats are lining up more contempt charges which have so far let's be honest failed to produce anything. What is the effect of this protracted inaction making impeachment more or less likely, too many of quick answers but let's test the situation, shall we?

The denials are goading Democrats, each day more get on the dump Trump train, 59 at the last count. Look at all of those faces in different places, looks very impressive until you step back and realized what slice that is, fifty nine of 235 Democrats in the House. Now some say those 59 say this isn't just an end, this is a beginning of process. They want to lay out the case for you so you can signal your enthusiasm.

This is the Nixon Nexus, OK. They are hoping that this would be like Watergate. Those hearings that lead to this huge spike in public support for impeaching Nixon, but here's my problem with that. It's not apples to apples, all right? There was no Mueller probe that had bath the nation at that time in information and theories for many, many months. There's not Twitter, there was no Trump for that matter or the Trump trio over on Fox, you know, helping to sell his message every night, that wasn't happening in the '70s.

And most people weren't following Watergate until the hearings started. And remember, what have they find in those hearings? The President was involved in a serious felony, a burglary. All right so you've been hearing about Trump and Russia for more than two years now. Public support for impeaching this President is pretty much where it was a year ago.

Now 41% is getting a lot of notice, what 41% look it's gone up that's a lot of people, is it? Or does it speak to the general nature of divide in this nation?

[21:15:03] Look back at President Obama, he was at 33% at this point in his presidency in 2014. He was -- they weren't thinking of impeaching him. But look how many people wanted that. Look at George W., 30%. Why? It's a negative indexing of how people feel. This is your anti-factor. Another thing that's different from Watergate, these 23 people all of them wanting to run against this President, all of them wanting to make a case to those motivated to remove him.


SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Begin impeachment proceedings, now against this President.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANTDIDATE: This President must be held accountable.


CUOMO: Yeah, the bet is that, you guys love strength and this is strength, harshness strength. So while most voters nationally do not want to impeach, the vast majority of Democratic primary voters do believe the President should be removed from office. Now, remember that phrase. That is a high bar, removal. What happens if you impeach, but don't remove? That brings us back to where we started. This President, this idea that he's goading Congress and putting them where he wants, I don't know, he should know a thing or two about supporting impeachment.

Five years ago, he was a private citizen tweeting about impeaching the president. Are you allowed to impeach the president for gross incompetence? Irony aside, you know why? Because the power to shift opinions here. This President is going to have a huge role. Forget about the documents that Hope Hicks may have, I don't see that as a smoking gun. I'm sure you don't either. The biggest factor is going to be him. The more this President acts with blatant, flagrant disregard for the constitutional and institutional checks and balances the more he becomes exactly the kind of person many of you may want to see impeached.

So, will Speaker Pelosi's hesitation right now pay off or backfire. We got new faces for the great debate. Oh, they're good-looking. Let's see how their brains work, next.


[21:20:58] CUOMO: All right so first it was Don McGahn, the former White House Council, now it's Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson, former White House Officials who were defying democratic subpoenas why? Because the White House is telling them to.

Democrats are calling this more obstruction. So here are our questions, is the Trump administration actually helping the case, for impeachment and do they really think that if impeachment happens it's a good thing for them, that is a great debate. Let's have it. We have Cenk Uygur and Patrick Griffin, new faces in a place. Great to have you on our one year anniversary no less, you are a gift to me.

All right let's begin this, Patrick I start with you, make the case, why is this OK, this latest push back by the White House?

PATRICK GRIFFIN, GOP CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Well, I think Chris more than anything else, whether or not this is, any of this is covered under executive privilege that will be debated later, the politics of this as you pointed out is what's very interesting.

The President is going to travel this country, and going to point to Washington, he is the incumbent President. This is hard to imagine, and he is going to run again as an outsider, the great disruptor in chief, and he is going to tell people that the Democrats in Washington can do nothing but chase me down rabbit holes and try to delegitimize my presidency.

I think what he's counting on is that is not a sustainable narrative for Democrats but it works really well for him in places like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Rust Belt states where he won electorally because Democrats didn't make the case.

CUOMO: Cenk says no way.

CENK UYGUR, CEO & HOST, "THE YOUNG TURKS": Yeah, no of course not. So first of all he is a deeply unpopular president. He's never gotten above 50%, people forget how unpopular he is, all of the presidents have been way past this number for a long, long time, he has never gotten passed 50. He's at 43 and he's celebrating. So he's not going to do well in Michigan, he's not going to do well anywhere.

And what is he going to say he did? And this is big bragging rights I got tax cuts for the rich and for big business, whoop-de-doo so that's not going to play well in any of those states.

And in regards to the impeachment, I'm curious, Patrick, Nancy Pelosi tells me that you guys were looking forward to it. So do you want us to impeach Donald Trump say it right here on National TV.

GRIFFIN: I think Nancy Pelosi if she wasn't as smart as she is, should be goaded into letting her caucus lead her down that rabbit hole of impeachment.

UYGUR: So do you want it, do you think Donald Trump should be impeached?

GRIFFIN: Donald Trump would love that, and here's the thing --

UYGUR: OK but would you love it? Do you think Donald Trump should be impeached?

GRIFFIN: -- even an imperfect president is going to do well with that when you try and sell it to the mainstream of America.

UYGUR: I am going to sell it.

GRIFFIN: There's nobody out there who gets this except you, you are going to try and do it, hasn't work so far.

UYGUR: Do you? But you're Patrick, do you want Donald Trump impeached?

GRIFFIN: Doesn't seem to be a successful strategy. UYGUR: Because I hear from the democratic leadership that you want Donald Trump impeached, is that true? Do you want him impeached?

GRIFFIN: I think the Democrats should try to make their entire campaign about impeaching Donald Trump.

UYGUR: OK great, then you want it, OK, we made news.

GRIFFIN: And they will feel miserably as they did with Hillary Clinton, that's precisely what they should do. And one of the things that's fascinating about this, Cenk, is that Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump we can both disagree with them, and I disagree with both of on a lot of things. But I'll tell you this, Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump politically are playing three dimensional chess when everybody else was playing checkers here. That's why the speaker has not moved to impeach this President and she probably won't.

UYGUR: OK, Donald Trump couldn't play two dimensional chess. So Donald Trump has never thought one step ahead in his life.

GRIFFIN: Well, you've been saying that for a long time.

UYGUR: No, I haven't. He is --

GRIFFIN: You guys have been saying this for a long time and Donald Trump is --

UYGUR: Hey Patrick, my turn

CUOMO: All right go ahead Cenk. Patrick one at a time, go ahead Cenk what's your counter?

UYGUR: All right, so first of all Donald Trump is grossly incompetent. Patrick do you know how many bankruptcies he has, if you guess four you'd be wrong, not even five, he's got six bankruptcies. He's never thought one step ahead in his life, total loser through and through, and if you're saying to me hey Nancy Pelosi is not much of a strategist either, I would agree, but somehow you think she's great. And that makes no sense at all. By the way Nancy Pelosi, the Republicans think you're great, that should be a note to you.

On the issue of impeachment it's a matter of principle, if you let Donald Trump get away with two clear felonies, obstruction of justice and campaign finance violations, then Nancy Pelosi would prove Donald Trump right that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it.

[21:25:04] CUOMO: All right one point to push back for each of you Cenk. Hold on a second, Patrick, I got for you too. Cenk, on your things, so that's what you think it is, at the end of the day, if the Democrats don't go down that road of accountability, let's call it because, impeachment is going to be a process, but it's about accountability. You believe they lose their own party. That the party will say, you didn't do what we put you there for? Is that your argument? UYGUR: So, there's two points, Chris and it's a great question. The first is as a matter of principle, if you have a President who says he's above the law and he's broken two clear felonies, like I said broken two laws, well you must act. If you don't act you're advocating a responsibility and it's a violation of your oath from the constitution. If -- can you imagine if a prosecutor said, well look the guy has clearly broken the law but for my own political career I'm not going to prosecute him.

CUOMO: We just kind of saw that --

UYGUR: That would be outrageous.

CUOMO: -- now with the career part but with Mueller, you know, he had a pretty tortured explanation of why he wasn't allowed to come to the conclusion.

UYGUR: Yeah, so, I'm not sure --

CUOMO: And it (inaudible) the whole thing.

UYGUR: Chris, I'm not sure I agree with his explanation, but what he did say was he said in his interpretation he's not allowed to indict a sitting President.

CUOMO: True.

UYGUR: Which he then said, I'm telling you that he's not innocent which means that Congress must act and in fact, in the Mueller report he talks about the correct body to act in this case is Congress. The reason he did the press conference and he probably can't believe the Democrats are not impeaching. He's like look I gave you 10 separate instances of obstruction of justice.

CUOMO: Well, he's going to get his chance --

UYGUR: He tell us --

CUOMO: He's going to get his chance before him. We'll see what he says. But let me bounce the ball back to you Patrick. Here's something I don't understand with you the analysis in terms of how it matches to the actions. I'm with you in terms of, if this is the best they got, that they impeached me, I'm in good shape. Somehow, someone found a way to make Donald Trump a victim, but by obstructing the process I think the President is undercutting his own argument s. That if he's gone nothing to hide, if he is just a victim why doesn't he comply with the process?

GRIFFIN: Chris, you just asked a logical question. I've been trying to figure Donald Trump on --

CUOMO: It happens once in a while, it's really the anniversary with anything else, go ahead.

GRIFFIN: -- for a very long time as a Republican but the bottom -- hang on, you had a chance to talk, give me a chance to talk. The bottom line here is this is inexplicable, we cannot have any clear understanding of why Donald Trump behaves the way he does? The bottom line is --

CUOMO: We what?

GRIFFIN: -- the Mueller report fell with a thud.

CUOMO: Hold a second.

GRIFFIN: It fell with a thud.

CUOMO: Hold on Patrick, help me understand your point for the audience. You're new. What do you mean it's inexplicable that we can't understand why the President does what he does? What is he, one of the fates (ph)?

GRIFFIN: That's not -- maybe I didn't make myself clear, Chris.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

GRIFFIN: The fact that Donald Trump became President is inexplicable to a lot of Democrats. As a matter of fact, most of them still don't accept the fact that he beat Hillary Clinton. Second of all, Donald Trump's behavior in spite of himself, he continues to be President and continues to defy every single odd. Donald Trump got 41, 42% of this country who as he said will be with him always.

The other thing that I think is fascinating is there's a bunch of people out there who were independence who came his way in an election. I think what's critical issue just don't hold the base. Trump faces riled up enough. Independent voters are not going to put up with this foolishness from the Democrats who have nothing to do, but chase Donald Trump around a swamp mired Washington and try to impeach him.

CUOMO: All right, well let's leave it there and see how the polls show the story. We got to remember, 42 and 50 he lost the popular vote the last time. It's going to come down to specific places and specific faces. We'll see how it goes, got to say --

GRIFFIN: The rest don't, Chris, I think.

CUOMO: -- I like this. Patrick Griffin, I like having you on. Cenk Uygur, we've been talking for a long time, you're always welcome here. It's good to have you both fellas. Thanks for being with us on our anniversary. Appreciate it.

UYGUR: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, just weeks ago --

GRIFFIN: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: -- Democratic Presidential Candidate Corey Booker, so it was before this happened on Friday, that God forbid that we just leaved through. He said I got plan to end gun violence. It's a real thing. Any presidential candidate must have one. So, let's take a look at it a couple of different ways. Would it have made a difference on Friday and does that matter? And the third question, how do you get people to do a damn thing about it? There's the Senator, his proposed solutions, next.



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The Virginia governor is calling for a special session to take up gun control after 12 people were murdered there on Friday in Virginia Beach. We tried to get the governor on the show. We tried to get the Republican opposite of his who immediately right out of the box said, yes, we'll talk about it. We're going to talk about mandatory minimum -- sentences for people who use guns in crimes.

What does this have to do with this mass shooting? Why are we like this when it comes to this issue? Opposite sides. Only in America. Why? The shooting prompted Senator Cory Booker to toss his scripted speech at a big 2020 event. He went all in on a plan to fight gun violence. He's here to make the case to you in a PRIME TIME exclusive.

Senator Booker, you're always welcome to make the case to the American people. Thank you for taking the opportunity.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's good. It's good to be on for your year anniversary. Congratulations.

CUOMO: Appreciate it. The team deserves it. So, let's talk about this sporadically to face the problems you will face, all right. The first one will be what we hear every time. No matter what you're going to put out, we looked on the website. It's a big plan. It's almost 20 points of policy. Wouldn't have stopped Friday -- wouldn't have stopped Friday so why do anything?

BOOKER: Well as you said yourself that's a trap and we have every single day in America about 100 people are dying from gun violence. More people in my and your lifetime in a short 50 or so years and died in all the wars in the United States from the revolutionary war to until now combined. This is a uniquely American problem. The kind of carnage that we have is absolutely unacceptable and to use one shooting as a reason to unravel an entire plan that we know from the evidence Connecticut did for example, gun licensing and they dropped gun violence over 40 percent, suicides down 15 percent. We know if there are evidence best things we can do to dramatically, dramatically cut gun violence but yet we do nothing.

CUOMO: So in the next layer of push back. Well these guns under your proposals and under any that we've heard, this man would have been able to buy them. He didn't check any of the boxes that would have flagged them. He didn't buy them immediately. There was nothing about him. So it wouldn't work. It still would have happened.

[21:35:00] BOOKER: Well again as I understand he used high capacity magazines. CUOMO: He had an extender - a magazine extender and a suppressor on his handgun.

BOOKER: Right. So there's a trap again, again this is still going to unfold the investigation but there's a trap again about using one singular incident to unravel an entire comprehensive plan. And so again I live in a community like millions of Americans live in where on fourth of July, my kid, too many parents report that hearing a fire cracker makes her kid evidence post-traumatic stress, people hiding under beds and hiding in the closets because to them sounds too familiar like the sound of gunfire.

CUOMO: Yes. I remember when my father said to you many years ago when you first get in politics, kids where you grew up, where he grew up, they hear and are comfortable with the sound of gunfire before they ever understand the sound of an opera or an orchestra. And we have the wrong stimulus going in. We're getting the wrong results coming out. So then you get to the big challenge, Senator, which some say you're uniquely suited to.

Nobody wants to do nothing. Look at Virginia. Virginia Beach happens. The governor says he wants a special session. As soon as he mentions it his political opposite says I'll talk about it but I'm talking mandatory minimum sentences. That's where I'm going. How do you get anything done?

BOOKER: Well this is where America - not right or left - America should be up for this fight because the overwhelming majority of gun owners agreed that if somebody is convicted of stalking their girlfriend they should not allowed to go out and buy a weapon. The majority of Americans agree that if somebody is on a terrorist no-fly list they shouldn't be able to go and buy a weapon. There is so much wide birth which gun owners, non-gun owners, Republicans and Democrats agree, the problem is the corporate gun lobby has too much of a handle on politicians who were trying to block common sense.

There's a time in America where when people died we changed laws. When four girls died in a bombing in ever in a church in Birmingham we changed laws. When women were throwing themselves out windows at the Shirtwaist Factory fire we changed workers laws and conditions. But yet now we're showing a level of political impotency that is outrageous. People are slaughtered in a concert at Las Vegas, we do nothing. People are slaughtered in a nightclub in Orland, we do nothing. A Pittsburgh synagogue, we do nothing. Children hiding under desks being slaughtered shot child by child and we do nothing. Enough for this --

CUOMO: How open are you to the issues that affect especially these mass shootings that draw the attention. We know they're a very, very small percentage of overall gun crime and you deal with that in your proposal. There's a lot of gun crime that's not as dramatic and doesn't get the kind of coverage frankly that mass shootings do in schools and otherwise but you have a mental health component without demonizing the mentally ill. You have a culture of violence that comes to play about people wanting to end their own lives by ending the lives of others. Do those have room in your debate as well? BOOKER: Absolutely. We need to be a nation that talks about suicides. Every day about 100 people die. It's 2-1, suicides no non-suicides and we know that there's evidence based things that can stop that. We need to stop domestic violence. We're not having enough conversation of that. This is something we're not doing something about. My proposals are based on evidence based measures that have been shown to reduce crime. I know in many urban communities like mine, looking at this as a public health problem and investing in communities. Things that deal with trauma, things that help people find opportunity. We can make a difference.

The problem is that the corporate gun lobby has so perverted this debate. They shifted is so far that they've literally most Americans aren't even aware that they've exempted themselves from negligence suits that their iPhone blows up and scratches your cornea because of negligence, you have a suit. Well not for your gun if it something happens. They've exempted themselves from consumer products safety. They've even exempted themselves from having robust law enforcement.

The one law enforcement agency on the federal level that's been kept starved is the ATF. I still remember as a mayor going down to talk with leaders of the ATF and they told me very candidly that Congress do their appropriations has kept them starved with the resources they need to even investigate the laws we have right now. So this is a --

CUOMO: Ordinarily, I would say, listen, I love your heart and I know your head but man, this is a tough one, where there's nothing seems to make a difference. I mean we all know that so much of the hope died in Newtown with those kids, when people came out of it in solidified positions as ever. Even on the mental health side of this.

So, now there is something new that keeps me from that cynicism. 16 and 18 you had more next generation voters than you did baby boomers. They put this issue very high as they do with the environment. Do you think there's a chance that young voters may vote on this issue in a way to force politicians to act out of fear of consequence?

BOOKER: The young voters in this country are blowing me away as I run around the country and campaign. I'm so impressed with them. But I'll tell you this.

[21:40:01] We need bold leadership from every corner to start to elevate this issue. Governments are formed for the defense. Common defense and we're seeing in our nation levels of carnage that some countries at war are not seeing. This is one of those moments where all of us need to be people of hope. And I learned the definition of hope from a woman on the 5th floor of the projects in Newark whose son was murdered in the lobby of a building I would move into. And she taught me that hope is the act of conviction that despair will never have the last word.

I'm sorry. Our history is full of overcoming filibusters in the Senate when they stopped civil rights legislation and Strom Thurmond did it. You know it was creative activists that raised the consciousness of this country, expanded our moral imagination and changed the debate of what was possible. This has got to be one of those moments. There's too much carnage being visited on too many neighborhoods. Now and I know your father remembers those drills they used to have for nuclear attacks under your desk. Now our children are going to schools and having the same drills for active shooters. Our children should not live in a country where such fear is being instilled by the constant inaction of legislators. It's time we take this debate and not let the corporate gun lobby form it but that we take this debate, make the argument and make the change. We have the power. It's now time to use it.

CUOMO: Those who vote most will win on this issue if they vote on this issue. Now as you notice, Senator, only policy tonight. I'm not talking about other people in the race. I didn't even ask you about the president of the United States. We're going to use the show whenever we can as a forum for policy matters that matter to the American people in a moment when they resonant. You'll be on the list of people that we will call and give an opportunity. You take it as you see fit.

BOOKER: Chris, I appreciate you. I appreciate that I don't have to get up early in the morning and see anymore. You're now working my hours. You really - this kind of substance of policy discussion we need a lot more of it and let's punditry and more talking about the issues are important to Americans.

CUOMO: I guarantee you that we'll do it uniquely on this show. Unfortunately I look no better at night than I did in the morning, does not help me.


BOOKER: Listen brother. If you shaved your head like me you wouldn't have to worry about all that product and all that prep --

CUOMO: It's true. I paid a lot of money for this. Take care, Senator. Good luck out on the hustings.

BOOKER: Thank you, brother.

CUOMO: All right. Authorities are still seeking justice for the 17 people killed in the Parkland, Florida shooting tonight. That's interesting. That debate we can't get anywhere. But listen to this development. Do you remember the school resource officer that was really held in low regard because he didn't go into the school? He has been charged. He is going on trial. He will be prosecuted. He could be in prison for life. Right move? Does it make you feel better about the situation in the future? It's complicated. Bring in D. Lemon next.


[21:46:33] CUOMO: Listen, I'm not an answers person so you tell me what you think about this. Parkland Florida, you know what I'm talking about. The school resource officer, he was a former deputy sheriff, infamous for waiting outside. That's him highlighted there. His defense was I thought the shots were coming from outside, doesn't do the best under scrutiny of fact, that argument. His name is Scot Peterson and he is now facing a lot of criminal charges, 11 counts, felony, child negligent, his actions or inaction during the shooting. We remember 17 are dead. Not that he's why they are dead specifically. We know that only gets attributed to the gunman but let's bring in D. Lemon. The arrest warrant notes some 75 shots went off after he arrived at the scene, key part to the analysis, not talking about you. Not talking about me. We're talking about somebody who is a first responder who was there to do the job of protecting the kids. What do you think of the move?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It's tough. I mean listen. He - you know the evidence shows that he let the kids down, right? But he was outgunned and so this makes me sad. I listen to you talk and Cory Booker talked about this issue of guns. It makes me sad. There are no winners in this situation. You have the people who lost their lives as a result of this shooter and then you have the - you know the school resource officer that's supposed to protect the kids and did not. I just think that there's -- the only way I can say it is there's no winning with any of it. I can't tell you if it's the right move or not. The legal process played out and that's what happened.

CUOMO: It messes with my head from a policy perspective. What are we saying? Our first responders are extraordinary men and women on a regular basis.


LEMON: They have fear.

CUOMO: They have fear. They have everything. But they overcome it all the time. So prosecuting would reinforce the policy. Why? There's no need to reinforce the policy. They're amazingly heroic almost all the time. He was not arguably but I guess what really gets me is this is what we decide to act on.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: This is the move that makes the most sense after a shooting. This is the best we can do. Like I say, it's often misunderstood but it's true. Only in America do you respond to something like this this way.

LEMON: It's always tough for me to talk about these stories, Chris. You weren't here at the time but I'm sure you covered it for I think with ABC at that time but if there's one story that really changed my life and changed me as a person, that's Newtown. And I just remember being there, I remember the last day that I was there and I was thinking, you know, I may get to get out of here today and I thought about all the people who didn't, right, all the people who had to go on and continue their lives without their children, without their family members and living with this every single day. One of the last live shots I was doing I was standing there and a hearse came by and you could see -- I don't know if I told you this story before. A mom in the back with her head on the window and one side hers in the back and dad in the back with one side of his head on one side of the window in the hers and this little tiny white coffin in the back and I just broke down in tears and I said I've got to get out of here. So I wasn't even connected to the story in a personal way in the sense that I had someone who I knew there. But it was tough. So that story changed me and after that I had to, you know, I went to talk to somebody about what I had witnessed. What I had seen, I had been there for a while. And I can only imagine what people and those folks go through. And I can only imagine the fear from the students, from the teachers and even from the people who were supposed to be heroic.

[21:50:06] Even though you take a job as a resource officer in a school you never think it is actually going to happen, especially in a way that it does happen.

CUOMO: But that's your job. He didn't do it, and we'll let the system go. I just wish the system would embrace the urgency on all fronts. It's a problem we should throw everything at.

LEMON: We've got a couple stories that we're going to talk about off the radar. We're going to talk about these white supremacist hearings in Washington and then there are a number of transgender women in Dallas who have been killed and/or missing and that story is not getting any attention. We're going to bring a spotlight to it.

CUOMO: Good for you. Let's take a break. One year anniversary, I have something to say about it, next.


[21:55:05] CUOMO: One year. CUOMO PRIME TIME. Thank you. This is a closing thank you, not an argument because this is only one side. The gratitude I feel is only second to the grace that gave me my family. So many of you have been generous in reaching out about the show, how to make it better, and what you want more of. We listen. We think and we grind and we get better we get after it, right? And you have seen it. We have lived it together when the man who helped get the president a pass in the Mueller probe got no pass here.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign. I have no idea with it.

CUOMO: Yes, you have.

GIULIANI: I have not. I said the president of the United States.


CUOMO: We test. We do it to your face. And we work to bring you the facts even when it's not easy.


CUOMO: We have one of the Michael Cohen tapes, the secret recording of President Trump back in 2016 made by Cohen in which he and then candidate Trump discuss arrangements surrounding a payment to former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal.


CUOMO: It was big. We checked the president with not only opinion, but proof.


CUOMO: Take a look at this. This is the letter of intent for the proposed Trump Tower Moscow.


CUOMO: But it's not all political pugilism. We have witnessed history all over this world, the best and worst of humanity and Dennis Rodman, too.


DENNIS RODMAN, FRIEND OF KIM JONG UN: I knew things are going to change.

I knew it. I was the only one. I never had no one to hear me. I never had no one to see me.

But I took those bullets, I took all of that. I took -- everybody came at me and I'm still standing. And today is a great day for everybody, Singapore, Tokyo, China, everything, it's a great day.

CUOMO: It is a great day. This is a historic day.

RODMAN: I'm so happy.


CUOMO: He was right. I mean, I still can't get over it. But he was right. And, yes, it's not always silly. Very often, it's so deadly serious, the problems that we have still yet to face.


CUOMO: Happy in your community. How bizarre is that?


CUOMO: Imagine if this is the best you could do for your kids. Look what they're playing in the middle of.


CUOMO: It's worse there now than it was back then. Every time we've gone, it's gotten worse. Every time we report on it, it's gotten worse and we have still done nothing. But we will not leave it alone. And that's the beauty of the opportunity you've given us. This show has done more and better in this first year by residents, relevance, ratings, than I imagine possible. And it would be absurd for me to look you in the eye and take credit.

Here's the truth. The truest thing I ever said on the show. This show is led by a young woman named Melanie. A fierce fighter, focused. She is in my phone as partner, because that's what she is as my EP and she's got the scars to prove it. She leads the team and tames the dragon.

Our seniors, Vaughn, Leila, Melissa, Caroline, smart, hungry, helpful people. The arguments, the facts, the angles. They are the ones who fuel the fire. Melissa heads up Bonnie and Ben and Dylan. They have the toughest job. They convince people to deal with your boy. They put the asses in the seats, they do it. They set the table both sides whether you like it or not because this show is not set up to pander to partisans. It's for the open and the curious and those willing to test what they believe.

Chris, Patrick, Charlie, they put the facts in my head. They make the testing as good as it can be on this show. Ethan, Susan, Lauren, Michael, Tyler, McKenzie, Keisha, Brendan. The video and the graphics and the accuracy of what we say, the very words I mangle, the smooth operation of the whole team. They keep it correct and consistent and creative.

And Director Ellie, the whole crew, makeup to camera to floor, the ride home, there is no me without each and all of you. And, of course, my producer, Rosalie. The rose of Instagram fame. There she is. She exists. I told you. She has been with me all over the country and the world. She is a constant reminder of what matters in the story and in life. She is invaluable, as are they all.

One year, 217 shows, no one outworks this crew. No one cares more than we do about what we do for you. We start in the morning early. We end at night, late. These people have families, loved ones and they sacrifice because they believe. Please allow me to thank them. And my Cristina, Bella, Mario and Carolina, thank you for letting me do what I think matters and thank you for helping me to know what that is. Always and in always, mom, Andrew, Margaret, Maria, Madeline, you made me, you paid the price for it. Thank you for the love and guidance as my family. I thank God for blessing me with family.