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One-On-One With Bill Maher; Reports: Kim Jong Un's Slain Half- Brother Had CIA Ties; One-On-One With Kevin McAleenan. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 10, 2019 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: All right, Randy Kaye. Randy, thanks very much. That's it. For us the news continues. I'm going to hand it over to Chris for Cuomo Prime Time. Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, PRIME TIME: All right, thank you Anderson. Hi, I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to Prime Time. We have a big line up for you and some wild breaking news. Bill Maher, the host of HBO's Real Time is here tonight.

He has new concerns about this President and the people trying to unseat him and you remember when the brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was assassinated about two years ago. Now there are reports, he was working with the CIA. Was the despot's brother killed for being an American spy.

We have breaking details and we also have the President's acting DHS Secretary here, on the eve of his new desperate plea to Congress for help with these kids at the border. What does Kevin McAleenan want Congress and you to know.

The truth about who's holding up the funding and the truth of this other deals POTUS keeps teasing. Big guest to start the week. Let's get after it.

Now Bill Maher isn't subtle. He takes on the right, he takes on the left and now he's taken on Las Vegas with a residency at the Mirage. Tonight the provocative host of Real Time on HBO is here with some heavy concerns and fears.

What a pleasure Bill Maher joins us on Prime Time, thank you.

MAHER: Good to be here.

CUOMO: Oh please, thank you for taking the opportunity. So, so much to ask you about, so much I want to get your sense of. Let's start general. How would you describe the state of play going on in our political culture today?

MAHER: Well, not good. I mean first of all, we can't even agree on a set of facts. You know, if you can't agree on the facts, how can you come up with a solution. I don't think we ever had it that bad. And I know this goes back aways. The Republicans always blamed of Robert Bork fiasco. When was that? Like late eighties, that was Reagan era and they're saying, and it's tit for tat and I go back and forth on impeachment because I feel like yes, it's the right thing to do. But if they impeach Trump, whoever the next Democrat is you know they will impeach him because they don't care about the facts.

They'll do it for anything. I mean, they tried to find something on Obama desperately. I mean Hillary, Benghazi, which was a completely nothing burger. They kept her on the stand once for like 12:00 hours, all to get one sound bite.

CUOMO: One, they got her on the stand, she stayed for 11:00 hours, right? As a testament to what this President--

MAHER: And it was all just to get one sound bite for her to say, what difference does it make and then they were cut, that's a wrap, we got what we want. We need that for the commercial.

CUOMO: And leveraging that lives were lost and they were and that was a tragedy and it was worth looking at.

MAHER: Right.

CUOMO: But they really made the most of that as if that was their cause, when you could see it was politically all along. Now the push back on this idea is, well, that's because both sides won't own the facts. Both sides are stretching what is real and true. Do you accept that or do you see one side as the agitator?

MAHER: Of course not. Look, both sides do a version of spin but one side plainly is leagues worse than the other and size matters. You know, you could do a whole book about Trump called he thinks, just stuff he thinks that no one else thinks. I mean, he's lately but having a feud with the wind.

You know, he talks about the wind a lot. He literally said, it's great that I'm President because if I wasn't, America would be running on wind power and that would be very bad because the wind only blows sometimes.

He's literally thinks wind power is dependent on when the windmills like we're in Donkey Howdy days and I mean he thinks that. He thinks - says it all the time, this tell fighter. Do you put this literally invisible.

CUOMO: Yes. You think he sees this as people's ignorance or do you think it's an echo of his own?

MAHER: Oh, I think, it's his own. I think it's a combination of both. You know but I don't know, he's had a lot of tutorials. I mean take something like climate change. You know, when he came into office. Ivanka talked to him, Leonardo di Caprio came, he entertained AL Gore but he still tweets about if it's cold out in the winter, there's your global warming.

CUOMO: He doesn't get the difference between weather and climate although one of his golf clubs asked for sea wall because of the effects of it.

MAHER: Okay, but you tell me, is that somebody who really doesn't understand that or is he just trolling. I think a lot of times he's just owning the libs, that is what Democrats - what Republicans do in this era. More than any policy, they want to make liberals cry.

CUOMO: Republicans or do you think he is a class of his own?

MAHER: Well, he's both. I mean, it's funny because he's the worst of both worlds. What I never got about the Republican base is that they never catch on to the bait and switch, that he's this new kind of Republican but when you gets into office, what does he do? Tax cut for the rich people.

The person is going to always--


MAHER: I'm going to stand up for you, the little guy. I'm going to be your voice and then they get into office and where does the money go? Why can't we have nice things like infrastructure? It's because they spent a $1 trillion giving money to the people who need it the least.

There went that $1 trillion. It's funny when Democrats are in office, you can't spend any money because we have a debt and that's going to saddle our grandchildren and how can you do that?

Soon as the Republican gets in the office, they put everything on the card and then when they get out of office, they're like a blackout drunk. I did what? I spent what? Oh God.

CUOMO: And then they win the narrative that Democrats means tax and spend.

MAHER: Basic, how they do that. I don't know how they win the narrative but how do they win the narrative on being the party of national defense. I mean Donald Trump is a guy who literally takes sides with countries that are not us.

That may not technically be the definition of treason but it's good enough for me when - when the President of United States says, okay, I listen to my people, you know the thank you for your service people, which we should say to them, the admirals, the generals, those people, the FBI, the CIA, they all told me one thing but I'm going with the head of Russia or Kim Jong Un. I'm going to believe him over them. What?

Just, I'm a crazy guy. Agree with the people who are Americans.

CUOMO: Why don't the voters who support the President who almost to a man or woman say, I'm a patriot and what pisses me off about the Democrats is that they don't love our country enough, why didn't the example Helsinki, let's say, why wasn't that enough to change their view?

MAHER: I have - because it's a cult. It's a great question, I ask it all the time. Why do Republicans get when I've called patriotic immunity? They can do anything and they're not questioned whereas a Democrat in office, the least little thing and they make it up you know, he apologized on foreign soil.

Okay, was not in the rule book? I don't remember that. Or you know, he wear a tan suit. Remember Obama?

CUOMO: Oh sure.

MAHER: He saluted with coffee in his hand, how dare. What? Your guy's a traitor. He literally sides with countries that aren't America and you're talking about a tan suit. I don't get it.

CUOMO: Do you think he's winning?

MAHER: Yes. And I'm sick of winning, he's right, I got sick of winning, his winning. But we'll see, you know I mean, a lot of the recent polls show - it's funny, in a great economy but not great for a lot of people. You have to remember that.

CUOMO: But that's narrative.

MAHER: Yes, well, yes, it's low unemployment but what kind of jobs do people have? How secure are they?

CUOMO: What about under employment?

MAHER: Yes, can they get healthcare?

CUOMO: More workers, less hours, less money.

MAHER: They never - again, they never seem to catch on to this bait and switch about you vote for this guy who's going to be the little man's champion, he gives all the money to the rich people. You have this idea that your path to the American dream is blocked by immigrants and single mothers on food stamps, that's who has all the money.

CUOMO: And that he was going to beat people up that you don't like.

MAHER: Right, that was a big part of it.

CUOMO: I know them, I know their game, I'm in their game and they can't handle me. I will beat them up for you.

MAHER: Right.

CUOMO: That goes a long way.

MAHER: Well, he does that. I mean he is a blustery guy. I mean, I've always said this, people vote not on issues especially anymore, they vote on weakness or strength, what they perceive it. You know, I shared a picture of a couple weeks ago of Beto getting - who I like a lot but he's getting his hair cut. Did you see the video?

He looks like a 10 year old in the barber chair. This to me is worse than Dukakis with the snoopy hat in the tank, right? I mean, people see that.

CUOMO: Snoopy hat.

MAHER: Remember when Dukakis wore that--

CUOMO: Yes, it was the best--

MAHER: The people see this guy in the barber chair. They want an authoritarian figure, it doesn't look like someone who is going to stand up to Putin and then the rest of the world.

CUOMO: Look and that's when he's talking about somebody that he likes. Bill Maher has painfully obvious honesty about things and we go a step deeper. Whom does he think will emerge to knock some sense into the dueling Democrats? What is his advice for the crowded 2020 field?

The emphasis is crowded and what is the Cancer that he says is killing progressivism? All that is next.


CUOMO: No question, Bill Maher has criticism for the President but not just him. He has legit concerns about all the Democrats taking him on. Emphasis on all the Dems. The Democrats have a huge field.


CUOMO: What do you see in the field?

MAHER: Well, first of all, too many people is what I see in the field, that alone looks silly, when you have 23-24 people and some of them are, I don't even know what their raison d'etre is for running. I've asked them. They've been on the show. I'm like, why you? Right off the bat, we're stumped, you know.

CUOMO: Do you believe that if you have so many, that means you have nobody.

MAHER: Well, I just think, look, Donald Trump should have been someone who made the Democrats go, wow, we got to get serious now. We got to cut out all the nonsense that made us lose the election last time and I don't think I've seen that so far.

CUOMO: The midterms--

MAHER: We have identity politics and the cutting each other up. Obama said about a month ago, he said circular firing squad. He invoked that phrase about the Democrats. You'd think with Donald Trump as President and the existentialist state we're in, in this country, that they would not need to have that warning be given.

But you know I hope Obama does that again. he's the one person who has the excuse me, the authority, both as the ex-President and as a rather beloved President of recent vintage who can do that, who can knock the Democrats heads together and say, look, we got to get serious, stop carping at each other. Joe Biden for example, the whole thing with the kissing the back of the head and the Eskimo cases, who cares? You know if this is the guy to beat Trump, it is unconscionable to be pecking at him this way in the beginning.

CUOMO: And the President was very helpful in that also. He went after Biden for that and the media picked it up. They ran with it. It got traction.

MAHER: And how we gets away with it, with his history of real sexual assault when this guy is just being Joe, I mean, okay, you don't like it, it's creepy, I get it. Sometimes people do things to me that are too close and I don't like it but that's life.


MAHER: You know instead of writing a blog about it.

CUOMO: What's with the 18 inches though, I got the note, I respect the note.

MAHER: Instead of writing a blog about it a year and a half later, just turn around and say, excuse me, somethings you got to handle yourself.

CUOMO: You were strong on that, you went out at different times about what Biden was relatively in your sense of political correctness on it, where the line should be. You're okay taking the heat on it. Ultimately for Joe Biden, where do you think it leaves him?

Do you think that he - this spread in the polls right now is real and he'll stay there or do you think it's just identification?

MAHER: Well, I think he'll get knocked down, yes, because it's early, always at this time you know the person who is known and also it - and we don't know. I think America right now looks like our feet hurt and we want the old comfortable pair of shoes.

You know, he is a return to normalcy. I don't think he's a lot of people's favorite but he's a lot of people's second or third choice and he's good enough and he's going to get his back to the America we kind of remember where things happened in a normal way and we weren't still of anxiety and looking at our phones every morning like what did the mental patient do now?

That's what I think people want to get back to you.

CUOMO: If Barack Obama was Senator and running now in this field, do you think that he would rise to the top and beat our current President?


CUOMO: You do?

MAHER: Yes, he's a great politician. CUOMO: You think that he'd be able to deal with Trump and his tactics?

MAHER: Absolutely, yes, I mean, he was a - I mean among other, his other fine qualities, he was a genius politician and obviously to become the first black President in the United States.

CUOMO: Not easy.

MAHER: Not an easy task and also you know, the reason I gave him $1 million to his campaign in 2012 because I thought it was super important after he won one that the first black President get a second term, that the first black President that had to be a successful presidency a two-term presidency without scandal.

I mean, you know, how hard it was to - with the Republicans trying every which way to find some sort of scandal and he, not a whiff of scandal, not a personal scandal, nothing family, they tried Benghazi, fast and furious, Solyndra, all these nothing burgers and that's - that's why that is such an important thing in our history.

Because otherwise you don't know what Americans would have judged in the future.

CUOMO: You already have an argument for reaction formation to Obama, that without him as President you wouldn't have had the kind of people come out for this President.

MAHER: It is, it was, it was a reaction.

CUOMO: So now you have - what will the pendulum swing be this time? The Democrats are trying to decide about what you're calling comfortable shoes, the normalcy and being aggressively progressive. Let's play Bernie Sanders. He's been the most outspoken on this.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are some well- intentioned Democrats and candidates who believe that the best way forward is a middle ground strategy that antagonizes no one, that stands up to nobody.

In my view, that approach is not just bad public policy but it is a failed political strategy that I feel could end up with the re- election of Donald Trump.


CUOMO: Is he right?

MAHER: That's a great question. I don't know. I can't lie to you. That's what we're trying to figure out right now and that's what this election seasons all about. I'm glad we have the time where debates coming up, we're going to have more of them. We're going to see how this plays out and we're going to see what people's reaction to this is. But remember this is going to be because it is Trump, the dirtiest campaign ever. You have to look ahead, what are they going to attack? How are they going to swift boat whoever the candidate is because that's what they're going to do.

CUOMO: How much of it do you put on us in terms of how we police the election, what we cover, what we don't?

MAHER: The Democrats?

CUOMO: No, the media.

MAHER: Oh, the media. Well.

CUOMO: Although according to the President, it's one and the same and that's why you can't believe us.

MAHER: Well, you know I don't have a lot of faith because you know, we don't live in the era of news divisions as lost leaders like we used to. The news division didn't used to have to make a profit, then that changed and then it - you have to report to the board like everybody else and show your earnings and in that atmosphere, they are always going to be looking for eyeballs.

That's going to be most important thing is getting people to click, getting people to watch and in that atmosphere, I mean look at how much they overcovered Hillary's emails in 2016 and what effect did that have on the election.

Now there's a lot of reasons why the Democrats lost and many of them were - Hillary was a terrible candidate, that's absolutely true.

CUOMO: She didn't help the situation with the emails or how she handled her answers and her actions.

MAHER: Absolutely, no, right and she committed obstruction of justice if - now Trump did I think in much worse fashion but you know, I mean smashing up your phones and--

CUOMO: They had a story about if but it was a bad op.

MAHER: Yes, okay but they overcovered, they overcovered it, they beat it to death. I mean even Bernie Sanders had said in one of those early debates, enough about Hillary's emails.


MAHER: I don't know but no, I don't trust the media if that's the question, that's my answer.

CUOMO:I don't take it personally.

MAHER: Not you personally.

CUOMO: I get it a lot.

MAHER: You, I make a big exception.

CUOMO: I get it a lot. Also it is hard in this environment right now--


CUOMO: --when people want confirmation in echo. I can't tell you often they say look, Cuomo, I want to like you but man, stop going after the Democrats, maybe they're not giving money to the kids on the border but you got to stay focused.

MAHER: Welcome to my world because I'm one of the few people out there also who has no team even though I think I have a team. I'm - I certainly caucus with the Democrats and as long as Donald Trump is President, I am down the line Democrat.

CUOMO: But you go after them.

MAHER: Exactly, I go after them because they need going after, they need some tough love and I'm not going to stop but yes, their stuff is raggedy too. They have some things they have to answer for and then they don't help themselves a lot and I think a lot of this far Left political correctness is a cancer on progressivism.

I think when you talk to Trump supporters, they're not blind to his myriad flaws but one thing they always say is he's not politically correct. I don't think you can underestimate - overestimate how much people have been choking on political correctness and hate it.

There were two studies about this recently, it was in The New York Times, front page story, few months ago. It was also in the Atlantic about a year ago. The vast majority of liberals in this country hate it. They think political correctness has gone way too far.

No one likes to be living on eggshells.

CUOMO: We're not done with Bill Maher. How about this one? Is impeachment a must or a must not for Democrats when it comes to this President? He has a provocative answer and his biggest fear is about what he thinks might happen after this election up coming.

Tomorrow night, you'll get all of that right here on Prime Time. Has to be tomorrow, we couldn't fit it in tonight. Too much news, this crazy twist on the assassinated half-brother of Kim Jong-Un. We'll tell you what it means they had and the head of Homeland Security has a message for you, he's going to be with Congress tomorrow but you get it here, tonight. Next.



CUOMO: All right, so did you hear about this. Kim Jong-Un's half- brother may have been a CIA informant. How likely is that? And if so, is that why he had VX nerve agent smeared in his face in a Malaysian airport by those two women who are both out of jail already by the way. The new reporting comes from the Wall Street journal and a book by The Washington Post, Anna Fifield. CNN hasn't verified it but one guy who knows this world so well is Phil Mudd and there he is. Thank you for joining me on short notice.


CUOMO: What is the chance that someone as high profile as this might be someone working with the American government?

MUDD: I think the chance is decent but let's make sure we understand, what we're talking about Chris. You're making it like the person's a spy, but the person has never spoken with U.S. - that's not the way this business works.

Let me give you some other alternatives. I witnessed a lot of instances where somebody was talking to the U.S. government because they thought for example and I don't know if this is the case but for example, in this instance they could improve relations between North Korea and the United States or they were working with another government, a government in Southeast Asia for example and they occasionally met with U.S. officials.

I don't know whether he met with U.S. officials or not but there is a big distance between somebody who was favorable to his former half- brother or to his half-brother or somebody who was a spy, there's a lot of area in between there, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, I'm with you but we have to cross off the list of possibles, that it was about just improving relations because he was on the outs basically, right?


CUOMO: And increasingly so.


CUOMO: But - yes, he was on outs.


CUOMO: You got to read the Fifield book. I mean, they were - he was worried about plots on his life all the time and that they'll be emanating from his younger brothers but specifically the one who is now in control.

So I don't know that he was a weird place to go to try to figure out how to be better with North Korea.

MUDD: Oh, but time out Chris, time out, you've got to understand different people's motivations. People are motivated by money. I witnessed it. I witness people who are motivated by trying to ensure that their children got health care so they work with the CIA.

You got to get into the mind of somebody who wants to contact U.S. government. Whether he's on the outs or not, it could still be someone who says in my world, as someone who's on the outside - outs with the government, I still believe that reaching out to U.S. government is a good idea.

Don't assume that you know what he thought.

CUOMO: I'm with you. Fifield says in her book that's coming out I think what today tomorrow the great - tomorrow, 'The Great Successor.' She uses the word informant, not does that cross off of the well, let's work to improve relations.

MUDD: No, it doesn't because I don't assume that journalists knows the nature of the relationship between the CIA and the FBI. Let me give me one example and I know this is too much inside baseball but it happens to people like me.

We did not use the word informant in the CIA, we use that word in the FBI so I know that's behind the curtain but as soon as I see that word, if somebody's referring the CIA, I'm saying they don't understand the terminology that we use.

I look at this and say there's a whole range of reasons people cooperate with the government. I want to see some detail, Chris.

CUOMO: What do you think is - first of all, that was a great nugget, what does the CIA use as their term for informant.

MUDD: Source, source.

CUOMO: All right, thank you for that. The idea that these women who came up and threw this poison in his face. Does that look more like a hit because he's working with the enemy, the perceived enemy of the U.S. or because that just as likely to have had to do with all these shady business dealings that he had in Macau with all of these you know, these gambling sites and stuff like that because it's a pretty raunchy way to go.

MUDD: Yes, that's a really good question. I look at this and say again, I can't assume that I understand what the adversary thinks, couple of options. Number one, shady business deals. Number two, really simple, paranoia. I don't know what - this is a the North Koreans thinking, I don't know what might - what this guy who was once affiliated with the government is doing but I suspect so I'm going to kill him.


MUDD: And number 3, this is the thing I'd be worried about if I were the CIA, if there were cooperation between U.S. government and this individual, does the North Korean government has something - have something that indicates that they know how we're talking to him.

I'd be worried about that but again, I don't even know if this guy was speaking to the U.S. government once - at any time. We just have one press report. CUOMO: Well, it's going to get a little bit thicker, the reporting on

that. The CIA had no comments, some U.S. Intel sources were talking like he was somebody in the mix.

MUDD: Yes.

CUOMO: So we'll see, you guys are cagey, Phil Mudd. You're perfect for that job.

MUDD: Don't bug me on cagey.

CUOMO: Phil Mudd, thank you so much, appreciate the inside pal. I'll come back to you when we know more. All right, the President says he's made a secret side deal with Mexico so because they wanted to avert the tariffs. Mexico says, no such agreement exists. What's up with that?

We have the perfect guest here to help sort it out but more importantly, the acting DHS Head is here to give you the truth about what is happening on the border and why he is not getting the help that these kids need, next.


CUOMO: All right, the President's acting DHS Secretary is going to Congress tomorrow.


The message is simple. He's begging both sides to do something to help take care of the flow and the kids on the southern border. Take a look at the reality. We get this video from them. Groups of more than a 1000 migrants at a time. You see them coming across. They're not making a run for the border, they're expecting to be detained.

Okay this is a sight you see often. Adults, carrying kids on their backs. Are those their kids, are they somebody else's kids, whatever, their kids coming across that way and then when they get here, not an easy trip, right? Medical treatment.

You know, different types of maladies. A safe place to sleep and often the resources are exhausted. The head of the DHS is here tonight to make the case to you. Kevin McAleenan, welcome back to Prime Time. Good to have you. What is the reality that Americans need to know?

KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING HEAD OF DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Good to be with you, Chris. The reality is that we have an unprecedented humanitarian and security crisis on our border. 144,000 crossings last month. We had one day with 5800 and then you see large groups like that group of a 1000. That group was made up entirely of people from Central America, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

900 members of family units, 60 unaccompanied children and just a few single adults. That highlights the crisis right there.

CUOMO: So you're getting it both ways because from the right - we'll get to the lawmakers in a second, I'm just talking a political perception. From the right, well, they're all gang members and druggers and killers.

So I don't care, I don't care about what's happening there, if can't take care of them, good, that's on them for coming. How do you deal with that?

MCALEENAN: Well, that's a more security aspect of the problem. It's not just families and kids. We also have 35% of those crossing that are trying to evade capture. Hidden within that group are single adults that they might have a criminal record, either here in the U.S. or in their home countries.

17,000 last year. We're seeing more this year. 808 known gang members and more importantly, we have drug smugglers using the families and kids as a diversionary tactic to try to bring their poison across at the same time.

So it's a complex multi-faceted problem and we absolutely do need action from Congress to help us address it.

CUOMO: then you got the other side who says, with the President, now you have - you know now that you're in charge, you got to own some of the politics. He misled us about what I call on this show, the brown menace.

That these are mostly kids and the people bringing them and we knew it was going to be like that and he didn't prepare us for that and the fence was never going to be a fix for that so this is what he gets. Now he's got to pay the price himself. How do you deal with that?

MCALEENAN: Yes, I don't think that's a fair criticism. We absolutely have drugs coming across. We have gang members, we have security risks to our communities that are coming in the flow but yes, we are we have a current crisis with families and children.

CUOMO: They are the majority of who's coming across, right?

MCALEENAN: Exactly right.

CUOMO: Right and that was - that was the deception. You don't own that, you've never made that case to me, you've always said fences are one tool in a big box and you were always worried about exactly what's happening now.

So you've been to Congress before, you've talked to left and right privately and publicly. What do they tell you about giving you and HHS, the help and money you need?

MCALEENAN: So these unprecedented numbers mean that there's unprecedented pressure on the system. Health and Human Services is the department charged with caring for children that come across the border, unaccompanied.

Their resources have been overwhelmed, we've asked for $4.5 billion in emergency funding, 40 days ago, Chris. And $3.3 billion of that, 75% goes directly to caring for children appropriately. If HHS just doesn't get that funding. those kids back up in border patrol stations which I've testified twice to the committee I'm going to see tomorrow.

It's an inappropriate setting for families and children in a border patrol station.

CUOMO: What's going to happen? People will say, look, they're just numbers. I get that he wants his money, they're always trying to scare us with the panic. They'll handle it, they have places. They have - this is what they do just to get more. What do you say?

MCALEENAN: I say these facilities are overcrowded, that no one American should be comfortable with children in a police station for days on end, that is not an appropriate setting for kids. HHS has the right kind of facilities. They have the right kind of care and they need the funding to provide it.

About a billion of the funding, the rest of 25% is for DHS to just manage this crisis, for transportation, for facilities - for temporary facilities so we can put people in a better setting, for medical care.

These are key elements that we just need to do the job, given the flows that we're facing and is frankly why the President took decisive action last week to generate and galvanize the conversation with Mexico to get to a new level of partnership.

CUOMO: Generate and galvanize. Now the reporting comes out that the tariffs brought them to the table, then the Mexicans come out and say, listen we agreed to all this already. We don't know why he needed this brinksmanship and then the President says, ah, but there is something yet to come.

Do you know of something yet to come? You don't have to tell me what it is? Although that would be nice but is there something yet to come? Or are the Mexicans right?


MCALEENAN: Let's see if we can untangle this. I've been working with the Government of Mexico for 18 years.

CUOMO: And you went to the triangle countries, trying to get them involved and to figure out how to help them there too. It's important that the American people know that.

MCALEENAN: Absolutely.

CUOMO: So what's the deal with Mexico?

MCALEENAN: So for last 18 years, this is the most significant set of commitments, operational and policy that we've ever had from a government of Mexico. Let me just be very clear on that. They've committed 6000 National Guard to secure their southern border. They made a policy statement that it's a priority for the government of Mexico to gain operational control of their border for the first time.

That's a big deal, that's a game changer for us.

CUOMO: Were they talking to you about that before this or after it?

MCALEENAN: So they've been talking to DHS, we've been asking them for additional border security efforts on their southern border for years and they provided that in fits and starts in 15 and 16 under the prior administration. They did more than ever in terms of repatriations of those crossing.

But in this administration, they committed about 300 additional immigration folks, a few hundred additional officers to support them. 6000 is a 10 fold increase, a complete see change in their approach.

CUOMO: But they say, they were going to do that before the tariffs?

MCALEENAN: No, we had not heard anything like a number of 6000. We had heard that they had increased security and the numbers were in the hundreds. We asked for transportation checks in the interior. We got a 100,000 people flowing to our border a month on main arteries, right through the centre of Mexico.

They've committed to addressing that flow by setting up checkpoints with their security forces. They've also agreed to work with us on our shared border to address those places where you see that - that large group type of crossing, a 1000 people in one group.

We see 200 - 300 - 400 a day all the time now.

CUOMO: Good, hopefully that makes a difference.

MCALEENAN: I think it will.

CUOMO: Hopefully you'll be able to send people to Mexico to wait, who come from Mexico while you're processing their case. Now, last question.


CUOMO: So this is what I hear, on the right, everybody talks about your situation the same way. Oh yeah, yeah, bad, bad, it's crisis but there's always a but on the right, it's but it's all about the Democrats and we asked for the money but they were won and done with the ask, Secretary, as you know.

The right is not chasing this the way the President chased the fence, the way they chased the tariffs, they're not chasing after getting you the money the same way. On the left, they say Kevin McAleenan can get the check.

Azar, the HHS secretary, he can get the check tomorrow. Just give us guarantees that the places you put the kids will be safe and that you won't try to undermine the law and rush them through the system so you can deport them. Give us the guarantees. They won't give us to them, that's why you're not getting the money. Your response?

MCALEENAN: My response is that HHS has those guarantees. They work to get state licensing for all of their permanent facilities for temporary influx while they're gaining licensing, that's a temporary process and I know that they'll take good care of those kids and we're going to continue to advocate for that with Congress.

We need them out of border patrol stations. We need them in a better, safer setting. At the same time as we work with Mexico to change this dynamic and stop the flow in the first place.

CUOMO: I don't want to get into it because it's too drastic but if you get nothing. This month, next month are the biggest flow months for this - the summer's hiring season. Will you be surprised if there are tragedies if nothing changes.

MCALEENAN: No, I mean unfortunately, I've had to say that at multiple points, probably talking about the challenges we're facing. The conditions in our custody. I very much worry about a tragedy. We have hundreds of cases of H1N1 flu right now that we're trying to manage, get appropriate medical care, get people to hospitals when they need it.

But really we need a reduction in the flow and that's why we're partnering with Mexico to address it and we also need ability to move people to safe settings with HHS, to move them out of border patrol stations to ICE and that's what we asked Congress to help us with.

We're also going to talk tomorrow about legislative solution that would address this crisis and what would prevented it frankly if we had been able to work with Congress 18 months ago when it was originally proposed to the Hill.

CUOMO: You got lots of rules.

MCALEENAN: We'll be talking about it tomorrow.

CUOMO: There are lots of rules to be discussed but if you want to get money for this right now, you're going to have to keep it simple because as soon as they attach something to it, it's a dead letter there unfortunately in our state of play right now. Secretary, good luck to you in making the case tomorrow.

We'll be watching and we will keep reporting on this.

MCALEENAN: Thanks Chris, appreciate the time.

CUOMO: All right. That's the acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan. He couldn't have been more clear with you. He's afraid of tragedies if they don't give him the resources to change the status quo.

Remember that. All right, it was supposed to be a great symbol of our friendship with France. You know, kind of like a little - little - little version of the Statue of Liberty. Remember the tree, the friendship tree that was planned at the White House by Presidents Trump and Macron.

Well, apparently it has taken leave. D. Lemon on the mystery and the metaphor, next. [21:45:00]


CUOMO: All right, I want to take you back for a second to April 2018. Remember this, President Trump, French President Emanuel Macron planting a French oak tree together at the White House. It was a symbolic gift from Macron on the strength of their bond and bromance but what seemed like a flourishing friendship has frayed in recent months.

Fate is not without a sense of irony, it is said and French media report, the friendship tree has apparently died while in quarantine. A look at the south lawn shows this. Nothing. D. Lemon, appropriate metaphor for the times and what do you have on the show?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, THE DON LEMON SHOW: You know what Rick Wilson says, right? He has a book and it's called Everything Trump Touches, Dies. So look, I don't know what happened to the tree but it is a metaphor of what happened with their bromance and what's happening in the country and in the world right now, isn't it? Don't you think?

CUOMO: Well, I hope not because I believe hope springs eternal so I hope for some green shoots there coming up out of the ground but it looks pretty spare right now.

LEMON: The eternal optimist you are always. I hope that you're right, I hope that listen, I always feel when people have friendships and they have a break up, that they can always get back together because there was a reason for the bromance in the first place so let's hope that happens.

CUOMO: Yes, it's not like we don't need France and we don't have enough to work with him on it. We need allies right now as much as ever. What you got tonight?

LEMON: I got someone who can talk about Big Papi and that's Jemele Hill and she can also talk about what her concern is that, she believes that Democrats are really giving maybe I'm paraphrasing it, they're giving the farm away just for the sense of electability.

They don't care who it is, they just want someone who can beat Trump and she thinks they're giving a whole lot of important things up just for that. So I'll talk to her, Jemele Hill.


CUOMO: Good, sounds good my man, check with you in a second.

LEMON: All right.

CUOMO: All right so you know, Big Papi, he's talking about it tonight. Here's the concern. This wasn't random. We thought that this was like a fight in the club. No, it's nothing like that. It was a planned hit, it seems. There is news on how what happened, who did it, his condition and

we're getting a picture. That's why we're going to bring in a former FBI insider, knows cases exactly like this, the best context, next.


CUOMO: All right, the good news is former Boston Red Sox star, David 'Big Papi' Ortiz is stable enough to be airlifted back to Boston, that happened tonight. He's going to get further treatment, shot in the Dominican Republic, Sunday in the back, through and through wound.


But it supposedly hit organs so he's got some time to go but he's alive and that's good. Police have detained several suspects including one who people nearby beat them up after the shooting and then handed them over to the police. Investigators are now pouring over this surveillance video.

Take a look, you're going to see in the highlighted circle there, that's Big Papi, right? He gets shot in the back, close range, ambush style. All right? He goes down lots of questions swirling around the case. Let's hit on three big points right now.

James Gagliano obviously. So much experience in the FBI of doing exactly these kinds of investigations. So first the obvious, the way came, this wasn't drama in the club, this wasn't oh yeah, I'll be right back. This was a planned hit it seems.

JAMES GAGLIANO, RETIRED FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Right. There a lot of theories going around and Chris, ball players in the Dominican Republic are - they're hero status. They are treated like - I mean, he's a hero here and Major League Baseball player.

Whether it's Sammy Sosa going back or Albert Pujols they travel back, they go back to the neighbors they came from. We understand that the Dominican Republic is a developing country but a poor country. The average salary there is $5 to $10, a week. Robberies are a big deal and I've heard some theories thrown out that maybe this was a case of mistaken identity.

Well, here's something for you. The average Dominican man is 5 foot 8 inches high. David Ortiz is 6.3, 230, that was his playing weight. So really large man, you watch the video, you try to dissected that video in trying to determine what - this did not look like some random robbery and if he was targeted for his chain or for his bill folder for what, cash in his pants.

They would have done it on the way in or out, they would never done it in a crowded outdoor cafe.

CUOMO: The suspects will tell part of their story in terms of what kind of people they are, what do we know?

GAGLIANO: Absolutely, so there's two of them. Police have one in custody right now. We know that they also have the motorcycle that the two men arrived on and then they try to get out of there. This happens often in Latin American countries.

I have seen it many, many times. I've served in Mexico City. Robberies and assassination attempts. This wasn't an assassination attempt. They come in and they're out in riding and in motorcycle.

So the police have the motorcycle. They have the CCTV, the video surveillance from inside. Now is Santo Domingo covered and blanketed with surveillance cameras like Manhattan is? Probably not.

CUOMO: But they're going to find out if they have the guys, who do they work for, where did they come from.

GAGLIANO: Absolutely.

CUOMO: That's going to tell a big part of the story, right?

GAGLIANO: Huge piece so there's - there's two things we're doing police work, right? One is the Human Intelligence, we're going to interview people, we're going to talk to people inside the club, we're going talk to people who have intimate knowledge.

David Ortiz has said through a spokesperson, he did not know these two people but they're going to interview everybody around there. Then they're going to look at the digital exhaust, you know cell phones, they're going to track down the license plate to the motorcycle.

They're going to do anything, they're going to try to combine what we know talking to people and what we can find forensically.

CUOMO: So the guy - tell me if I'm wrong in this analysis but they comes up from behind, gets the jump on Big Papi, shoots him in the back, not in the head.


CUOMO: If you're an assassin and you can shoot from point blank range, you're not going to shoot me in the back.

GAGLIANO: Right. Clearly.

CUOMO: Thank God, they didn't, thank God.

GAGLIANO: Absolutely. It's almost point blank range. This look like somebody that was hired to do this or sometimes in countries like this forced to do this, to work off a debt or something like that.

Or somebody would threaten your family and say if you don't do this. This was not a committed gunman. One shot in the back, obviously was a survivable wound and we know he was literally within a foot or two from Big Papi that time.

A committed assassin in Spanish, the word is sicario or hitman would have shot him in the head.

CUOMO: Right. Thank God that didn't happen.

GAGLIANO: Absolutely.

CUOMO: And also that could go to the level of sophistication, they could make a getaway, the guy fell on the way out of there. Obviously they didn't plan the exit, those all take you in the direction of the sophistication of this person so you have those steps of looking at it but it's got to be, all we care about is why, right at the end of the day?

It's got to be either a beef, right? He did something, someone didn't like it, pre-existing, new misperceived, or what? What are the other possibilities?

GAGLIANO: Well, businessmen - I mean, there's a big disparity between rich and poor in the Dominican Republic, there's an ultra-rich at the top and then the big segment of poor people. Anybody that's going to you know, be walking round with large sums of money on them like a businessman is going to have bodyguards.

The ball players when they go back, they like to go back to the neighbors.

CUOMO: But they didn't take it.

GAGLIANO: Papi is sitting outside, talking to people. If they were looking to rob him, they would have done that when he was on his way to his car or coming in to his house, they would have done that, Important thing for police is to find out, was this is set up?

Was somebody inside the club that used their cell phone to say, he's sitting here, he's back is to the east entrance coming off of this tree, if that happens, police are going to try to track this down to find any more accomplices.

CUOMO: Because you know, the universe gets pretty tight in terms of why somebody would do something this drastic so we need more information.

GAGLIANO: Brazen, it was brazen.

CUOMO: Right, he used a hand gun, they believe also.


CUOMO: That also helped him but hey, Jimmy, thank you very much as we learn more, come back to you.

GAGLIANO: Thanks for having me.