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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Nadler Pushes For Impeachment Inquiry, Splits with Pelosi; Source: Judiciary Chair Nadler Wants To Open Impeachment Inquiry, Fears Throwing Pelosi "Under the Bus" By Going Public; Biden Change Stance: No Longer Supports Hyde Amendment; DHS Watchdog Found "Egregious" Conditions At ICE Facilities; A Challenge to the Conventional Wisdom on Impeachment; Lessons from Clinton Loom over Dem Impeachment Debate; Politico: Pelosi Tells Dems She Wants Trump "In Prison". Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 6, 2019 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So we're not getting much at all from Bahia Resorts.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Drew Griffin, thanks very much.
The news continues. I'm going to hand it over to my friend Chris Cuomo for "CUOMO Prime Time".
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Jim, thank you very much. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.
We have a couple of stories breaking on our watch. Big time Democrats are struggling with some big questions. You got 2020 front runner Joe Biden. He seems to have yet another answer for his position on the Hyde Amendment. We'll take a few minute (ph) of what it means.
And the Democratic leaders in Congress can't figure out how to best do their duty of oversight. We're going to take you inside Nadler's private push to Pelosi. Why does he fear going public?
And we have one of Pelosi's closest allies here tonight, a Democratic tighten herself, two big questions for her. Must the Democrats impeach to show voters they're doing their job? And why aren't they helping those kids on the border.
Now, tariffs big news but not a big impact. They're not going to fix what's going on. But someone from the other side of the isle will try to argue otherwise. Fasten your seat belts, let's get after it.
All right, Speaker Pelosi wants the President imprisoned and not impeached. We can now take you inside that tense meeting when she made that declaration this week. CNN has learned that's House Judiciary Chair Nadler, push hard for an impeachment inquiry. Now what is that? That's not proceedings, that's not where they're planning to bring charges. It's a very robust discovery phase. Now he argues it would centralize the Houses multiple investigations. Just one big effort. Free up others to do work on other issues that matter to the rest of you. But a source also says Mr. Nadler is being careful about what he says publicly because he doesn't want to throw the Speaker "under the bus". Smart man.
Let's bring in someone very close to the Speaker, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut. Good to have you.
REP. ROSA DELAURO (D-CT): It's wonderful to be here. Let me just say first, I love your mom and I love your dad.
CUOMO: Aww, thank you very much. I appreciate that. But that ain't going to get you no favor on this show Congresswoman, no, I'm kidding. Thank you very much. Let me ask you --
DELAURO: I'm not looking for favor.
CUOMO: You don't need it. Let me ask you -- my mom is watching. She'll love to hear that. Quickly about Joe Biden.
CUOMO: Let me just play you what he said tonight.
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have supported the Hyde Amendment like many, many others have.
I have been working through the final details in my healthcare plan like others in this race and I have been struggling with the problems that Hyde now presents.
If I believe healthcare as a right I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's zip code.
CUOMO: All right, now that is the position that the majority of you hold and I'm guessing that your party wants him a nominee. Why is it seem to be a struggle you're your poll leading Joe Biden?
DELAURO: Well, I think you have to ask that of, you know, Vice President Biden. I think he's now said that he opposes the Hyde Amendment. I loath the Hyde Amendment. I've been working against that for many, many years. So, you know, he will go before the electorate and he has to answer the question about, in fact, is he opposed to the Hyde Amendment. And, you know, people change their minds over the year they evolve on specific issues. And maybe that's the case here.
CUOMO: Are you OK with how he handle it? DELAURO: Yes. Yes. I mean look I say, you know, you have to be definitive in what we're doing in this business. I'll be very, very clear. I am opposed to the Hyde Amendment and I have been for years.
CUOMO: I got you. I get your position. It's very clear. Biden's position seems to be moving around and we'll see what that means in terms of his opponents and ultimately in terms of your party.
All right, next item. Talk about vacillating. So --
CUOMO: -- where are you guys on impeachment? Pelosi has been slow. She's been said we need national consensus. Let's get the facts out there and let that lead the way. More and more members of your party are not satisfied with that. Chairman Nadler has an interesting proposal, not impeachment proceedings but impeachment inquiry. A distinction with a difference. Let's put all in one place, ask the questions, maximize our powers and get this done. How do you feel about that?
DELAURO: You know, look I support -- I have an agreement with where the Speaker is on this issue. I do think we need to have more facts. Keep in mind that it is about a quarter of the caucus that a favor is moving down the road to an impeachment inquiry. So three quarters of our Democratic caucus do not want to move in that direction. But, you know, this is not the only area of accountability. You know, we know what the President -- the President on what he says, what he does, his -- and, you know, he's provocative, et cetera.
[21:05:00] We need to be doing business of the constituents that I represent. That's what this is about. Yes, accountability on impeachment. Let's -- let investigations go forward we've had some success with the courts on this issue. They're dealing with contempt efforts next week and we're going to have John Dean who is going to testify. Let's go and, you know, what ultimately Chris, the voters are going to decide this issue.
CUOMO: Right. But, they're going to decide the issues about all of you in the next set of elections. But between now and then how do you show them that you're doing your job? What does the Speaker tell you about what would be the threshold for taking it to the next step?
DELAURO: Well I'll tell you what the people think about how we do our job. You know, you just go back to last November, Chris. What were the issues in that campaign that brought Democrats to the majority.
CUOMO: Healthcare was a big issue and 40% of them said that they want --
CUOMO: -- to push you and they'll go after the President.
DELAURO: Healthcare. They wanted us to deal with in lowering the cost of prescription drugs. They also want us to do something about jobs and increasing wages which is the biggest issue we have out there today in terms of people's lives and they wanted us to deal with campaign finance reform, ethics reform, et cetera.
DELAURO: That's the road you were going down. Quite frankly, that's the road that I am going down. I chair the Committee on Labor, Education and Health. Issues that face people in their every day lives. That's what they ask me about, how can I get a -- an internship, apprenticeship. Is there money there? And that's what we are doing. That's what we ought to be talking about. We -- you know, it's not only accountability as I said --
CUOMO: I hear you.
DELAURO: -- impeachment.
CUOMO: I hear you.
DELAURO: If are we accountable on the issues that face people every single day?
CUOMO: When you guys have talk about this more than anything else.
DELAURO: We are. We are.
CUOMO: But the heads of your Committees and what they --
DELAURO: I know.
CUOMO: -- have been focused on, they're all about the Mueller probe and what it means and what's going to happen. And look, it's within their purview that the investigative Committee, but that's what is dominated this situation.
DELAURO: Chris, Chris, Chris, whoa.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
DELAURO: No, no time-out. Time-out. Really, seriously. That -- for Adam Schiff heads up intelligence. Chairman Nadler judiciary. That's where some of this issues are really -- are -- there's a locust of those issues. I'm just going to turn it back to you.
DELAURO: The media is consumed with the issue of impeachment and where Democrats are on the issue of impeachment. I would love to have you speak about that for the last 20 years we have been unable to do a research on gun violence prevention. First time in 20 years, I know because it's my Committee. We had a hearing and we put $50 million in it. $4 billion for education, $2.4 billion for early childhood education.
DELAURO: Do you guys want to cover that? Let's cover those things. Let the people know what it is that the Democratic caucus is doing.
CUOMO: All right (INAUDIBLE), let's talk about what you're doing and what you're not doing on an issue that's a major crisis and importance right now. Crisis and importance.
DELAURO: I'm there.
CUOMO: What's happening at the border?
DELAURO: I'm there.
CUOMO: We know what the situation --
CUOMO: -- is. We know what they're (INAUDIBLE).
CUOMO: Kids are in need.
CUOMO: DHS is crying out --
CUOMO: -- CPT is crying out for money to take better care of the kids and none of you is giving it to them, why?
DELAURO: Right. Let just say, you talk about DHS, Department of Homeland Security. I don't know if people know that again the Committee I chair, Health and Human Services that -- they had the jurisdiction over unaccompanied children.
DELAURO: And that's what a $2.9 billion is what is they request. And I have been working on this issue. And if people take a look at the appropriations bills that we did last year and the one that we have here, you will see what we have done in appropriating money.
DELAURO: Addition to which I would just tell you on the $2.9 billion, I would just say, I am willing to deal with the $2.9 million. I do not want to give this administration a blank check. Why? Why? Because they need to give us guarantees that these children are being protected. And you ask, why is that? Because you take a look at the history here. What I have watched and what we are trying to prevent is kids in unlicensed facilities.
CUOMO: I hear you. DELAURO: Places where they are not vetting that -- and these are the things we ought to be talking about.
CUOMO: No, but your not dealing with the crisis --
CUOMO: With all due respect Congresswoman, I understand your concerns.
DELAURO: Yes, we --
CUOMO: I understand --
DELAURO: -- no.
CUOMO: -- what the Democrats want to attach to the money in terms of protections and consideration. But you know also that will --
CUOMO: -- kill the bill in the Senate and you have a crisis on the border --
DELAURO: No, it will not.
CUOMO: -- where they need money right now --
DELAURO: It will not.
CUOMO: -- and you're not giving it to them. Azar the secretary of HHS --
DELAURO: I disagree with you. Why aren't you asking --
CUOMO: -- told the DHS secretary. Hold on a second, the HHS Secretary Azar, told DHS, I can't take any more kids. I have no more money. I have nowhere to put them. It's illegal --
DELAURO: Right. But the question to Azar --
CUOMO: -- for them to do so. Why don't you give them that money?
[21:10:08] DELAURO: Why aren't you -- why don't you talk to Azar about --
CUOMO: I'm doing (ph).
DELAURO: -- why they do not want to. No you all -- but -- that's right, they probably stone walled --
DELAURO: -- you which is what they have done to us. A couple of very, very important things. Department of Homeland Security or Department of Health and Human Services, they signed what they called the Memorandum of Agreement. This was last year and what it was is that HHS will transmit information to the Department of Homeland Security and about information, about the sponsors coming forward. What they wanted to do there if you take a very hard look at this, was turn HHS which is mission is to put kids in a safe place, do it as expeditiously as possible. They wanted them to become immigration enforcers. They slow down this process to a halt. They ground it to a halt.
By further set --
CUOMO: Doesn't change the fact that they had desperately --
CUOMO: -- for accommodations right now and they need money for it.
DELAURO: Let's do it, but let's guarantee that in those accommodations, in those accommodations, when you go to an unlicensed facility Chris and look you know about kids --
CUOMO: I know what's going to happen.
DELAURO: -- you have been there, I have been there.
CUOMO: I know its going to happen. I know that they promise.
CUOMO: But Congresswoman, let's do this, because I'm not just about TV. This is something where, this is about moving the ball forward. I'm not going to take up --
DELAURO: I'm moving the ball forward.
CUOMO: -- (INAUDIBLE), because I don't want to argue with you about it. How many --
DELAURO: We offered them. We offered -- we offered them, we made an offer, $2.9 billion just layout -- and we laid out just several protections. Several protections. Please, ask Secretary Azar and ask my Republican colleagues why they do not want to protect these kids. They can have the money in a nano second. Just give us protection of these kids while they are trying to --
CUOMO: I'm going to call your office, I'm going to tell you what I'm being told without violating any confidences
CUOMO: And let's see if we can figure --
CUOMO: -- out where the gaps are. That's more important than a TV --
DELAURO: Got it. CUOMO: -- (INAUDIBLE). Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, thank you --
CUOMO: -- for arguing these points on the show. You're always welcome here to do so. I will call your office tomorrow. It will be late after the show tonight. I don't want to bother you tonight.
DELAURO: That's wonderful. Thank you. Look forward to it.
CUOMO: Be well.
All right, we have someone here ahead who is challenging the conventional wisdom on impeachment that you were just hearing being argued by the Congresswoman. Now he thinks that Democrats may be misreading history. We have three pressing questions for him, next.
[21:16:14] CUOMO: Now I don't know whether not encrypt up on this, but we're interviewing Congressman DeLauro, she's a pro. She's a veteran. She knows the system. And part of the resistance to impeachment is what Democrats think they learned from the Clinton administration and that impeachment proceeding. But my next guest says they may be focussing on the wrong lessons or getting the lessons wrong.
Ron Brownstein, I call him "The Professor" because he is one smart cat. All right Ron, pleasure to have you here on PRIME TIME.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening.
CUOMO: We'll benefit from you. Let's see if we can get that done tonight. The first question is here's the suggestion. Yes, you impeached Clinton, you didn't remove him and then you got crushed in the midterms. That will happen to the Democrats this time if they go the same way. True or false?
BROWNSTEIN: Really false. I mean, it is true that Republicans lost seats in the 1998 midterm. It was the first time since 1834 that the President's party, the Democratic Party gained seats in the sixth year of a president's term. So there was some cost. But they lost five seeds, Chris. They still won the national popular vote. They still won the vote among Independents, according to the exit poll. There were 91 Republicans in districts that Bill Clinton won in 1996. Four of them lost in 1998 and of course they kept control of the majority in 1998.
And important to me, the most important point is that the lens really has been broadened. You can't just look to 1998 to think about the impact of impeachment, you also have to think about 2000 and the president (INAUDIBLE).
CUOMO: All right, so let's look at that one. Because another tale of the tape is you tried to kill Bill Clinton, he lost and he became more popular than other ever because hated that you did it. That's another --
CUOMO: -- situation that Democrats will find themselves in.
BROWNSTEIN: Right. His job approval went up and his personal favorability went down as a result of the issues that were raised in the impeachment inquiry and of course the Ken Starr investigation and George W. Bush very effectively played off of those -- that personal doubts about Clinton by constantly talking about as one of his core promises that he would quote, "restore honor and dignity to the Oval Office".
And in my piece today, I noted that there were approximately a fifth of all the voters in 2000, said they had positive views of Clinton's job performance, but negative views of Clinton personally. And more -- many more of those voters than would be typical voted for George W. Bush and they were a crucial part of this hatred (ph).
Look, there are lots of reasons Al Gore lost hanging chad, Ralph Nader, the Supreme Court. But one of the reasons that George W. Bush was so close to him that all of those other things could matter despite the good economy. Despite Clinton's high approval rating where the personal doubts about Clinton and those were inflamed by impeachment.
CUOMO: And it's an interesting lesson for this President right now. He thinks he should stall all other efforts and just focus on what they're trying to do to him. Clinton worked through it and got a lot done. And that obviously in your too his benefit.
CUOMO: All right. And the last one is this. If you impeach but you do not remove, your voters will hate you for it and they'll remember and they'll punish you. So if they only impeach but can't remove they shouldn't do it at all.
BROWNSTEIN: You know, the Bush campaign from 2000 and I quote someone the senior strategist, they felt that it was exactly the opposite. They felt the fact that Clinton had been impeached but not removed, meant that there were no consequences for his behavior and they thought that increased Republican turn out in 2000, because they wanted in effect to finish the job and the only way to punish Clinton was to vote against Al Gore, his Vice President.
Of course now it is more direct. Don't forget that Bill Clinton's approval rating was 23 points higher roughly at the time of impeachment than Donald Trump's is today and then there was slightly less support for impeaching Bill Clinton than there is for impeaching Donald Trump before the process started. I'm not saying that impeachment is a guaranteed political winner for Democrats.
[21:20:02] What I am saying is that the record is much more -- the record it validates the idea that it's a guaranteed political loser. I think it suggests that Democrats have much more leeway than they now believe to do what they think is morally and legally right without the kind of certainty that impeachment is walking into a political buzz saw.
CUOMO: That is very counter intuitive because it's not part of the predominant narrative. Ron Brownstein, "The Professor. Thank you for teaching us what is right and what is not so right. Thank you. Appreciate it.
CUOMO: Great to have you on PRIME TIME.
All right. So now you have to blend it all together and what does this mean? Should Democrats stay on the impeachment road? Go full force? Do what Nadler wants, open the inquiry? Or should they go the other route? Beat the President and then have him held accountable by the system after he loses? If he loses. Is that even feasible?
Cuomo's court takes it on. Next.
CUOMO: All right. So we have House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler lobbying the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on impeachment to start an impeachment inquiry. At this point our best information is the House Speaker is not budging. She stays on course and says the investigations will put the President where she reportedly wants to see him, which is in prison.
[21:25:13] Now, it's just, just political rhetoric or is this the best course of action for accountability.
Cuomo's court is in session. Elliot Williams and Jim Schultz.
Elliot, let's just look legal for a while, OK. The politics will fold its way in during the discussion, I'm sure. But let's try and stick with what we know from law and fact and application to what is here. What do you believe is the biggest set of vulnerabilities for this President under any examination?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FMR FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: The President committed 10 acts of obstruction of justice. Now the special counsel report indicated that that they could not or would not bring charges based on any number of reasons. But there 10 acts of obstruction and, you know, I look forward to Jim's answer on this.
But we know that they're obstructive acts. Like, we know for a fact that the President fired the FBI director for the purpose of impeding and -- and he act of special counsel investigation. That's not in dispute. That's not a characterization of the facts. That is an act of obstruction of justice.
So, to answer your question Chris, you know, what vulnerability. Vulnerability is if there 10 acts of obstruction of justice. Now the question is, do you pursue a criminal remedy via impeachment or criminal remedy through the criminal justice process? Either of those can play out. But again, we don't -- we're getting lost in a lot of these procedural questions of what ought the House to do or, you know, will they open an impeachment inquiry versus a formal impeachment process or whatever. That's process. The simple fact is we have 10 instances of obstruction and I ain't even talking about volume one of the Mueller report. I'm just talking about the second portion of it.
And somebody is going to be done with it, it's a simple fact. So again, either it's a political remedy or a legal one, but something is going to be done with it.
CUOMO: Well, you know, what but just -- look not to get to the weeds too fast. But that's why the process question matters. Because something has to be done and that's the main question. Once you figure that out everything else will fall into place.
Now Jimmy, you don't agree that he committed any obstruction of justice. You don't see those as recitation on fact. You take them as arguments on fact.
JIM SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: Well, there have been no crimes that have been identified as obstruction of justice here. The fact of the matter is there were instances where the President did commit certain acts. Did they amount to obstruction of justice? I think that's, you know, arguably no.
WILLIAMS: Jim, Jim, no, no, no.
SCHULTZ: That's a probably in addition to the reason stated --
WILLIAMS: No, no. No, no.
SCHULTZ: No, don't interrupt me. Let me finish. I let you talk --
WILLIAMS: Jim, you're mischaracterizing facts Jim. You are mischaracterizing facts --
SCHULTZ: There's no mischaracterizing of the facts.
WILLIAMS: Here's a thing (INAUDIBLE) --
SCHULTZ: You have one law enforcement official with the authority to charge anyone that said there's enough evidence to charge anyone with obstruction of justice. Mainly the President of the United States.
WILLIAMS: The special counsel before --
SCHULTZ: And all day and say, your spin on the facts is that a crime occurred.
WILLIAMS: Jim, Jim --
SCHULTZ: Nobody set (INAUDIBLE). (CROSSTALK)
SCHULTZ: Bob Mueller didn't say a crime occurred. (INAUDIBLE) say crime occurred. Rod Rosenstein that everyone respects.
WILLIAMS: Yes or no. Did the President --
WILLIAMS: -- hold on Chris.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
WILLIAMS: Yes or no, did the President fire the FBI director, yes or no? Yes.
SCHULTZ: I'll answer for you --
SCHULTZ: The President has every right to fire the FBI director.
WILLIAMS: Yes he did. And did he do so to impede --
CUOMO: Hold on, one at a time. One at a time.
CUOMO: Here's what I don't like about the over talking, it's a little bit confusing for viewer. But hold on, hold on.
SCHULTZ: Yes, I get it.
CUOMO: This is (INAUDIBLE) Jim. Jim, you're right.
CUOMO: You say nobody found him guilty of any crime or charged him with anything. Yes, but the only guy --
SCHULTZ: Well, I didn't say guilty. They found no crimes here.
CUOMO: No, no, he said I can't find any crimes.
SCHULTZ: No one has found that a crime occurred.
CUOMO: Yes, but you can't say no occurred because he didn't charge him, because he couldn't charge it.
SCHULTZ: The last time I checked in this country you build your case, you present your case and the case gets decided by a jury. And you're innocent until proven guilty.
CUOMO: That's true.
SCHULTZ: You're just trying to reverse it for your own (INAUDIBLE) --
SCHULTZ: That's all you're doing here.
WILLIAMS: OK, again --
SCHULTZ: You're just reversing the process for your own purposes. And --
WILLIAMS: OK, Jim --
CUOMO: Jim, let him make his point, let him make his point.
WILLIAMS: I have the page of the Mueller report here with me. Page 64 of volume 2 of the Mueller report. Does he fire the FBI director for the purpose of impeding an investigation? Yes or no? The answer is yes. That's an act of obstruction of justice. Now under Justice Department policy, they --
WILLIAMS: I let you finish there.
SCHULTZ: So stop.
WILLIAMS: Under Justice Department policy, that chose not to --
SCHULTZ: All I heard was you talking.
CUOMO: Go ahead, finish before Elliot let you get in.
[21:30:01] WILLIAMS: Under Justice Department of policy they chose not to proceed, because the policy because they would not proceed with charging sitting President of the United States.
[21:30:00] CUOMO: Right.
WILLIAMS: But it's an act of obstruction. Now here's the thing. You and I can differ as to how serious it is. You and I can differ as to whether it ought to be charged. You and I can differ as to whether it ought to be impeached or not or whatever. But we can't dispute that it is an act intended to impede and open law enforcement investigation. Don McGahn, having -- seeking to have Don McGahn, the White House counsel, terminate the special counsel is itself an act of obstruction of justice. Now, again, you and I can differ as to what conclusion is to be drawn from that act.
CUOMO: All right. Now let's Jimmy get in. Jimmy, what is your counter?
Jimmy, what is your counter?
JIM SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR: He's just - he immediately comes to the conclusion that the fact that the president or Don McGahn -- let's assume for a second the president ordered Don McGahn to terminate the special counsel, OK? The fact of the matter is another special counsel would have been appointed there. So the fact that they were removing one special counsel or another one might have been appointed how does that amount to obstruction of justice in criminal context?
Plus let's not forget - let's not forget. Let me finish. That the White House didn't assert executive privilege, turned over tons and tons of documents, thousands of documents. You know we're open books as it relates to this investigation and turning over -
CUOMO: Except the president didn't testify.
SCHULTZ: -- after two years, over $20 million, you come back with nothing. Nothing.
WILLIAMS: I hope you read the report. I think we read a different 448 pages.
SCHULTZ: I did read the report. I am saying there are facts.
WILLIAMS: But that's evident.
SCHULTZ: But they came back - let's -- volume one aside, right? The Russians interfere with the election. Yes.
CUOMO: The president said no.
SCHULTZ: Did the president conspire with the Russians? No. No crime there. So volume one, we shouldn't be even talking about anymore.
CUOMO: All right. We got to leave it there.
But I'll tell you what you guys are making a great case. It's something I'm going to argue in the closing. Yes good minds could come at these two different ways. You guys are proof of that. We still need more from Mueller. The American people have to hear him say what they found, why they found it. Nobody is going to read the report. I think that would be a moment of clarity not just for Congress but for everybody in terms of how important is this to the American people. But you guys have good mind. You make good argument some little over talking but I like the zealousness. Thank you for being here, Elliot Williams and Jimmy Schultz. I appreciate it.
All right, the president has one day to decide whether or not tariffs are a threat or a reality when it comes to Mexico. We have Representative Sean Duffy here. He believes in the tariffs and that they will make a real difference in a national emergency. What's his case? How do we test it? Next.
[21:36:25] CUOMO: I think that there are arguments on both sides of the issue of what the tariffs will put pressure on Mexico that will make them respond favorably to demands to toughen up on who is coming across their boarders to get to ours. I just don't see how they all help the situation with the immigrant kids in terms of the crisis of getting the medical treatment and getting them processed faster or having them sleep somewhere that doesn't suck as bad. This new DHS inspector general report found egregious violations and conditions at ICE facilities.
And remember, you got HHS, you got CBP, you got DHS, you got ICE, all of these alphabet soups but they're all working together in this one dynamic. So, bad things in one place are bad in every place. The number of people in custody has ballooned since that report was done. So, things are only getting worse.
Congressman Sean Duffy, welcome back to PRIME TIME. Good to have you here. I know you're in favor of the tariffs and I'm happy to talk to you about why. But do you see what I'm saying that I don't see how they address the crisis of helping the kids?
REP. SEAN DUFFY (R-WI), FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE: So, first, I agree with you. So I was just at the border, Chris, and it breaks your heart.
CUOMO: Good for you. Good for you.
DUFFY: It breaks your heart to see how these - how these kids are being handled. I mean, you see them sitting outside of facilities, I mean playing with rocks in the dirt. The saddest, dirtiest little kids, they have nothing. But here is the problem. If you want to resolve the issue of the kids, number one you got to spend some money. You were talking to Rosa DeLauro about that.
Send money for the beds. When we had the shutdown five months ago President Trump and Republicans said give us unlimited amounts of money to house kids. Give us more beds for kids. Democrats were in opposition on that. They wanted us to have 40,000 beds. So we fought that battle. We lost it. Hopefully we're going to fight it again but we don't control the House Democrats. They say they're compassionate. Give more money for kids, number one.
Number two. Let's stop the flow of kids coming to our country. We have an incentive for people to come to our country because as you mentioned before as amendment, a child gets released in 20 days. And so, parents are bringing kids because we don't want to separate parents and kids. So, if you have a kid you get released with your child.
CUOMO: It's a loophole.
DUFFY: So here you're bringing kids on this horrific journey. They're caught in a cross fire of bad policy and I can't imagine the life they're living -- and by the way, Chris, investigations are going on now because we don't fingerprint the kids at the border if you're 14 or younger you don't get fingerprints.
CUOMO: They believe it's a road's history.
DUFFY: So there are kids that are being sold through the cartels to just come up with a new set of adults and they're being cycled across the border.
CUOMO: Right. That is happening in discreet cases. It's something they've got to look at. I got you. But hold on, let's go back two steps.
DUFFY: One last point.
CUOMO: All right, go ahead.
DUFFY: Just one last point. The border -- we could try to blame border patrol --
CUOMO: I'm not blaming border patrol.
DUFFY: But they have been screaming at the top of their lungs at every network to say we need Congress to act and fix this problem and I agree with them.
CUOMO: 100 percent. And these stories come out, oh, they're taking medicine. They have to take medicine when they find it on people. They have to make sure what it is. They have to make sure it's safe. That it's not being sold or traded. And then they use it and they administer it, wasn't a fair story. I haven't had any actionable intelligence or information come to me that they're causing any of these problems with the kids. It's the system.
So, two steps back.
DUFFY: One -- CUOMO: You should get on your box -
DUFFY: We agree to it. It was going on. This is amazing.
CUOMO: It's about to change. Now you know you should get on your box and say to the Democrats you're not giving the money. We want to give the money. It's not just about the fence. We get that you're pissed about the fence. Let's do something for these kids right now with no strings attached. You guys should make that case because it will expose who is doing what and who is not doing what.
The second one is this. I get that tariffs are a muscular posture and that this president's analysis often ends at that.
[21:40:00] And it does seem that Mexico does not like the idea of tariffs and that they are doing things in result good. Great saber rattle, nice. It doesn't help the situation with the kids. Why doesn't the president use this emergency declaration for (INAUDIBLE) got it now. Why doesn't he release some of that money? Instead having them paint the fence behind the kids. Use some of that money to help the kids right now.
DUFFY: So first of, we have to address the root cause of why are all of these kids coming? Why are their parents bringing these kids to our border?
CUOMO: Better life.
DUFFY: If you take away the incentive for bringing kids to our border, we could resolve this problem with good policy from the Congress, number one. But the president can't get the Congress to act. I think as you and I both agree there's good policy that could be implemented. There was a compromise we had. I think Democrats hate President Trump so much. They won't give him what could be perceived as a win.
CUOMO: He's not asking for it either, though. He's not asking to give them - he's not saying give me money to help these kids and get more beds bill.
DUFFY: Let me - I'll get to your point in a second but this week the Congress does know how to act. Democrats passed a bill that would give green cards to illegals in our country. So they're doing things that are going to actually create additional incentives to bring more people to our borders instead of taking the incentive away.
Now, with regard to President Trump, he promised to secure the border. If the Congress doesn't act, Mexico can do a lot to actually resolve the issue of people coming through their border with Guatemala. It's only a quarter of the size of the border that we have with Mexico. There are different checkpoints on that border so it makes it actually much smaller but 120 miles they could actually contain that border. They could actually - I mean, so if you look, when I was at the border, I was talking to you know whole bunch of different people about how they got here, how long it took. They were coming from Guatemala and it took them four days to get to the states. So they're not walking - CUOMO: No, they are not. They're train transported.
DUFFY: They get in on buses -
CUOMO: Yes, they are caravans. They're organized.
DUFFY: Let's stop the flow of folks to -
CUOMO: I don't have any problem with that. The only problem I have is that you have a crisis with the kids that are already here and nobody is doing anything about that part and those are the kids who are dying on our watch and I don't get why you don't deal with that first.
DUFFY: So again if I was in control of the House, which I'm not, I'm in a minority party.
CUOMO: But all you got to do is ask.
DUFFY: We should take care of kids. I have 8 kids. My ninth is on the way, Cuomo. I love kids. I want to take care of kids and they shouldn't be pawns in any fight.
CUOMO: Well then make a proposal at least and have the Democrats have to - you know have to respond. Have the president -- you know he listens to you. Call him and say make a proposal on the kids, show that you're not all harshness. That you also have heart and that you want to help these kids.
DUFFY: But you know what - but you have to get to the root cause of, again, the second time I bring this up, why are they bringing kids on this horrific journey --
CUOMO: You got to do both.
DUFFY: -- for these horrific conditions -
CUOMO: You're only doing one part of it.
DUFFY: So let's stop it.
CUOMO: I know but deal with these situations.
DUFFY: I know you don't want to hear this but Democrats -- they want to put the president in jail. They want to impeach him. Do you think they want to work with the president on a compromise that could actually resolve the crisis at the border?
CUOMO: I don't like the idea of that rhetoric but you know what, you should have thought about that when you sat by and applauded a president who said lock them up about everybody he doesn't like. This starts at the top. When you start a tone, when you treat your enemies like dirt and you don't have any decency for anybody. This is where the dialogue goes. I don't like it. I don't allow it on my show. You know that about me. It's one of the reasons you come here. But I can't cry any tears for a president when she's saying I want to see him in prison when he says lock them up for everybody he doesn't like.
DUFFY: The president gets up every single day and tries to think of how he can make the American economy stronger which means the family stronger, the wages grow and the opportunities increase. He does it every single day. You might not like the tone, you might not like the tweets but that's what he is trying to do and the result of the president has been absolutely fantastic for the places that I live, a place that was a Democrat district for 40 years. They vote for Donald Trump by 20 points because finally they got a president who is fighting for them.
CUOMO: I have no issue with any of that. And that's what the election should be about. But I'm just saying, that has nothing to do - look, he's got to own his actions. That's what elections are about. I have no problem with that.
DUFFY: But the new conversation - I like Rosa. Rosa is a friend of mine. We work on legislation together.
CUOMO: We should be working on this together then because you have kids that are going to die down at the border.
DUFFY: But here's the problem. She was tap dancing like you couldn't believe and you were like Rosa, spend some money on the kids and she was trying to go back to the shutdown.
CUOMO: Nobody gets a pass on this show. That's why I'm so popular.
DUFFY: They have been in control of the Congress and they haven't done anything on the kids. And when you walk in - Chris, I mean, you walk into these centers -- it reeks not because -
CUOMO: I listen. I know.
DUFFY: -- not because of the border patrols' fault but because you have so many people piled into one place.
CUOMO: They are just as desperate as the kids for help. They are just as desperate as the kids for help.
DUFFY: The kids are being rolled out of there in 24 to 72 hours because you have more waves of people coming.
CUOMO: When they can.
DUFFY: At any one time there's 100,000 migrants coming through.
[21:45:00] CUOMO: That's true.
DUFFY: This is a crisis. You and I agree on it. And we got to fix it and it comes - if we fix the whole policy that actually fixes the situation for the children.
CUOMO: I don't have any problem with the bigger policy arguments. I've just never seen kids in trouble being ignored because of larger and demic issues that surround why they're in crisis. Deal with all of it, that's all I'm saying, Congressman. And I appreciate you being here.
DUFFY: If I could make one last point to you, Chris.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
DUFFY: We wanted and during the shutdown, there are a lot of fights that were going on and you covered them well. But there's one thing we wanted in regard to the kids, we wanted unlimited beds for border patrol to have housing for children.
DUFFY: And Democrats were trying to roll those beds back to 40,000. We ended up getting a little more than 40,000. The question becomes why. And I think when you can use kids in a crisis and pull at the heart strings you don't address the root cause of the problem. You and I agree that Congress should make sure these kids aren't suffering because of bad policy but we should also work on how do we make policy work at our border.
CUOMO: Fine. Work on all of it but deal with the circumstance -
DUFFY: Take the incentive away. Let people -
CUOMO: You know the House is on fire. Put the fire out and then figure out why I got lit up in the first place. I got to go.
DUFFY: Donald Trump is going to have success with the Mexicans. They're going to move with him. They don't want to see the 5 percent tariffs and they're going to help us, which will get us a little bit further towards solving the problem but Congress has to act which is Nancy Pelosi and her party which control everything.
CUOMO: But you're there -
DUFFY: I'm in the minority, brother.
CUOMO: All right, listen. I got to go. You're there too. Start the fight. I'll cover every round. I promise you that.
DUFFY: Thank you.
CUOMO: Sean Duffy, thank you for watching - thanks for being on. Everybody's watching you.
Let's take a quick break. When we come right back, more news for you.
[21:50:29] CUOMO: All right. Did you see this? The Golden State Warriors investor Mark Stevens, he's sitting in the big shot seats right there. Right Kyle Lowry, the Raptors, dives in and makes an athletic play and all of a sudden he shoves the kid. Look at him shoving the guy. What's he doing? Now he's going to pay a price but he should be paying a bigger price. And it's going to start in the show right now. He's one of the investors but they're not going to let him go to anymore of the games. That's the least of his problems being banned from activities like this. Shame on him for that, $500,000 fine, that's a lot of money, but not for him. D. Lemon --
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, sir.
CUOMO: Kyle Lowry's right to be outraged.
LEMON: Of course.
CUOMO: It's not some drunk's stupid fan. It's one of the owners of the team, and you push a guy who just made a play like that.
LEMON: Yes, it's outrageous and should know better. You get a fan. Obviously the fan shouldn't be doing that, no one should be doing it, but you think you're the owner or one of the owners of the team, again that you would no better. Did you see what LeBron James said, right, LeBron James is not happy about this.
CUOMO: What did he say?
LEMON: He tweeted out. Let me say it. He said - basically he said there's absolutely no place in our beautiful game for all of that. Basically, he went on to say, I have sat by and watched the playoffs and I haven't said a word about this but when I saw this this was outrageous. Imagine if the -- he said imagine if Kyle Lowry would have reacted and put his hands back on him, they would have been going crazy --
CUOMO: What if he pushed him back?
LEMON: -- and calling him to go to jail. Right, what if he pushed him back -
CUOMO: Forget about the arguments we'd be having now.
LEMON: And he ended by saying hashtag privileged ain't welcome here. So, LeBron James speaking out.
CUOMO: I wouldn't even throw the label privilege on it. I would just throw decency on it.
CUOMO: That's all. Just no -- I don't care if you're rich, poor, white, black, know how to treat people the right way. This guy didn't. He should come out and say something himself. I got to jump. Give me a quick blow on the show. LEMON: You've been highlighting things that are going on at the border. I have too. We're also going to talk about the tariffs in a different way. We're going to talk to a farmer and an auto salesman worried that it's really going to affect them. That's coming out.
CUOMO: Smart. See you in a second. Closing when we come back.
[21:56:33] CUOMO: All right. Here's my argument. I think the Democrats are making this all too complicated. They are collectively Hamlet, pondering to be the party of impeachment or not to be. And just like Hamlet they're torn on their existence because they're not sure what comes next. What if they launch an inquiry but never propose articles of impeachment. What if they impeach but the Senate swats it away. Is it a waste to do any of this if there will be no removal? All right, those are the questions.
Two points, first, get Mueller in the chair. Look what an impact he had in just 10 minutes. Remember, he said nothing new, not a word of it. It was all everything that was in the report. But no one's reading the report. And even if they had hearing me say what he said versus hearing it from him directly has impact. OK? That will be helpful. Get that done.
Now, Mueller's also going to help because he is going to lay out all the different things that they found. It won't be you saying it. It will be him saying it. People trust him. And another bonus, the GOP is going to go after him about the origins of the investigation. You can bet on that. That wasn't his responsibility. Remember, he inherited the FBI's work to that point so it's not going to be very satisfying and he's no one to mess with. But people will get this look and listen and it will be the best one yet, about what the president said and did and asked of others, what it means legally, and ethically.
Second, then you've got to make a call. Enough with the talk. Do your duty. That is your reason to be. That is the point of your existence. Our Constitution makes it clear. "The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment." Sole power means what it sounds like. This is up to you, no one else, no other body. That's what the Constitution's about, checks and balances. They either function or they don't. It is time to stop acting out of fear of consequence, and act on good conscience.
Will Democrats be satisfied with months of stymied efforts and more than 10 investigations moving in different and often confounding directions? But the White House that can stymy the efforts, who knows how long, basically showing that concentrated resistance Trumps the Constitution. Is that the message you want on your watch? You've got one in four Democrats in the House that want to take the next step. Not that much. We put up all the pictures that looks impressive. But it isn't.
This won't be an easy call. It is instructive that almost every one of the people running to be your nominee in the next election for president are in favor of taking this step. Remember, they're going to pay the biggest price if this is judged to be bad or just political move.
So maybe the best answer is what Chairman Nadler is arguing, an impeachment inquiry. Not an official proceeding. You're not going to put down the articles of impeachment, not looking at a charge but it's the real deal in terms of maximal effective force of Congress in the courts. Consolidate all the efforts into one committee, and then get it done quickly and don't you show boat. Let the other committees work on a myriad matter of importance to the American people.
Where it leads, how it ends, you can't know, and that should not be your guide. Do your duty. This is D-Day. We're celebrating people making the ultimate sacrifice only out of a matter of duty. Take a look at the Constitution. Your job is to check the executive, whether to do that or not or how that's up to you but you've got to make a decision. People will punish you doing nothing or going in different directions at once and rightly so.