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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Trump Purges Pollsters Ahead Of Re-Election Bid Relaunch; Joe Biden Says He Can Win In The South In 2020; McConnell: Jon Stewart "Bent Out Of Shape" over 9/11 Fund. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 17, 2019 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: --the person people think she is. You know, she's got this public face. But the reality of her life is so different than what the public face is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: A remarkable life!

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, thank you, J.B. Our hearts go to Anderson on the loss of his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, tonight. No question.

If any of you out there, if you've lost a parent or a loved one, you know there's really little that anyone can say to you that's going to blunt the pain. But, you know, Anderson showed his special gift. He used his skills as a reporter to do that documentary that's on HBO.

You got to watch it if you get a chance because yes, you're going to learn a lot about a great lady who learned 90 - lived 95 years. But you're going to learn about him too, the son that she loved so deeply, and who returned that love.

She gave him his giggle, and a depth of feeling that is unique to him and her. Gloria Vanderbilt died at home, and her son was there. That's how she wanted it.

My mother's a contemporary of Gloria, as in the two were friendly. My mother told me that she had seen Gloria experience tremendous highs and lows in life, and that she was one of the truly great ladies, that Gloria Vanderbilt was just more interesting than most people, and that she really deeply loved her son. So do we, and we're thinking of him tonight.

All right, I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

The President said reports about internal polls were fake news. He lied. The internal poll numbers were leaked from his campaign. They show him trailing Joe Biden by double-digits in key swing states. We have Biden's National Co-Chair here tonight. What does he think of

the news? What does he think about Elizabeth Warren's move in their polls? And Biden's claim that he can shame Republicans into working with him if he becomes President, is that true?

Did Intel and Pentagon officials really keep our President in the dark on things because they were worried about him blabbing to Putin or Kim?

The answers matter. Let's get after it.

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CUOMO: All right, so the President is going to start his re-election campaign tomorrow in the battleground state of Florida. Now, his own polling data shows him trailing bigly behind Biden there.

Again, he said "Though - the polls are incorrect. Don't listen. It's fake news." These were his polls from his own campaign. His reaction? Fire the pollsters.

The Veep wasn't far from the President in Washington today, where he pushed back on those carping at him for insisting he'll be able to cut deals with the other side if he's President.

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JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fact of the matter is if we can't get a consensus, nothing happens except the abuse of power by the Executive, zero.

If you start off with a notion there's nothing you can do, well, why don't you all go home then, man?

You can shame people to do things the right way.

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CUOMO: Shame in his game. His National Co-Chair is here who also happens to be a beltway bigwig, Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond. Good to have you, Congressman.

REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D-LA): Thanks for having me, Chris.

CUOMO: Hey, let's start about all - talk about all of you before we get to Biden. How deep is the reality in your party that people don't even want to hear about Biden saying he could cut deals with the other side?

RICHMOND: Well I think part of that is just people making so many promises that are just unrealistic. We can't get universal healthcare. We can't restore the Voting Rights Act. We can't do all of those things that are important to Democrats without picking up votes in the Senate.

So, we can either go win this election cycle, and take back the Senate, but we still wouldn't get to the 60-vote threshold, or when we take back the White House, and we continue to have the House, and if we don't get the Senate, we're going to have to go get votes in the Senate.

You can do it by shaming them or you can do it by creating a big presence in their state to where they have to work with the other side.

So, for example, if Vice President Biden won Texas, North Carolina, and all these other states that is showing he's winning, if you're the Republican Senator from that state, you now have a reason to work with the Vice President to accomplish a lot of the things that we're trying to accomplish now.

I mean everything we pass in the House is dying in Mitch McConnell's graveyard in the Senate. So, I think that's the best example of why it's going to take working across the aisle--

CUOMO: Right.

RICHMOND: --or winning the Senate in order to do something.

CUOMO: Well let's - let's - let's test that rationale because, you know, you could say this President won a lot of states where you have Democrats in power, and they're not working with him.

And the idea that Biden could win a state like yours, in Louisiana, or as he said, North and South Carolina, you know, Georgia, maybe Texas, I mean other than Obama, you guys don't win those states anymore. I mean is he promising something that he can't achieve?

[21:05:00] RICHMOND: No. He's four or five points up in Texas right now. Bill Clinton won my home state of Louisiana twice. So, I think it's something that the poll's showing that he can do.

I think that's part of President Trump's fear right now and his lashing out is because the polls show exactly what the Vice President has been articulating is that his message is resonating, and he can win states that Democrats normally have not competed in.

CUOMO: Are you worried that the initial poll pop is Joe Biden representing the reaction formation to this President?

And then as the primary goes on, people are starting to catch him because it's not just name recognition right now, and there are others in the field that will tap in to that sense of outrage about this President wanting to fight against him more than Joe Biden, like an Elizabeth Warren, maybe a Buttigieg.

RICHMOND: No, actually I'm not. I think that as the campaign goes on, people will see Joe Biden for who he is. And that's someone who's always pushed the envelope. So, even if we go backwards, and look at, whether it was the Violence

Against Women Act, whether it was a climate change bill back in the 80s, or whether it was his push for marriage equality, before it became popular, he's always pushed the envelope.

And I think as people see that, and he rolls out his policies, I think we'll continue to grow.

CUOMO: Impeachment, that seems to be the main focus of - yes, I know everybody says they can walk and chew gum at the same time. I see people trying to walk, trying to chew gum, getting confused, and falling down a flight of stairs, you know, in Congress, in general, right now.

But does he have to put something in the sand right now? And then, do the rest of you have to make a decision sooner rather than later?

Or do you subscribe, Congressman, to this idea that "The way we're doing it is the right way. We're methodically getting where we need to be, and then we'll see what the country really wants," do you believe in the magic of that methodology?

RICHMOND: Well, look, I think that part of what you have to do is convince the public that the path you're going down is the right one. But, more importantly, you have to defend and protect the Constitution now.

CUOMO: That's right.

RICHMOND: It's not about this President. It's about Presidents to come. So, I'm a team player, and the play that the coach decides to call, I'm more than willing to play. But if you're asking me if Trump concerns me, do I think he's obstructed justice--

CUOMO: Right.

RICHMOND: --the answer is yes.

CUOMO: See here's the thing I don't get, Congressman.

RICHMOND: And I believe--

CUOMO: I hear you about that.

RICHMOND: Yes.

CUOMO: You're a man of integrity. You've always been straight with me about your answers. I respect that on this show. I'm not saying that you guys should try to impeach the President.

I'm just saying that so many of you keep saying what you just said, you know, "We think he arguably committed crimes. We think he abused his power. We think he obstructed justice."

Well if that's what you think, the Constitution lays out what your job is, and it's called an impeachment inquiry. That's how the House gathers the facts, and then you give it to the Senate, and see what happens with their trial.

I don't get how what's happening right now is, you know, the right reaction, given what you guys are saying you believe.

RICHMOND: Well, look, I'm certainly publicly already on the record saying I'm for an impeachment inquiry.

CUOMO: Yes.

RICHMOND: However, the steps that Chairman Nadler are taking are in the right direction, and it's moving us towards a fact-finding mission, which I believe, at the end of the day, will lead us to the inevitable, which is an impeachment inquiry.

CUOMO: But that's what an impeachment inquiry is. And--

RICHMOND: But I think that he wants to take it very methodically.

CUOMO: --and I see Biden doing--

RICHMOND: Well--

CUOMO: --the same thing. "Let's see. Let's see."

You know, Nancy Pelosi is saying that. That's fine. She's the Speaker. She's got to figure out how to manage expectations. The majority of your caucus hasn't come out that way. You know, you're still not even at a third yet of the caucus saying that you want to go that way.

But Biden wants to lead all of us. He wants to be the leader of this country. Doesn't he have to be clear about what he thinks the stakes are and what the right thing to do is right now?

RICHMOND: Well I think he's very clear that President Trump is an existential threat to the future of the United States.

But what I think that we're headed towards is there are a whole bunch of people the President cannot claim Executive privilege for that we can call before Congress and that we can hear from.

So, we have witnesses that we're going to continue to interview in the next coming weeks. And I think that that is part of our Constitutional duty also.

So, whether it's under the banner of "Impeachment inquiry," or whether it's hearings and interviews that we're conducting, I think it's all the same as of right now until it's time to ultimately impeach, and send it over to the Senate, which, by the way, we know what happens when it gets over there.

CUOMO: Well in all likelihood. But they have to have the trial. You know, you're talking about shame earlier on. They'll be on the record with whatever is developed, and how they decide to vote on it.

[21:10:00] I think the word impeachment is spooking too many people in the party that they think it carries weight. All your job is is to lay out the facts. You don't even have to come up with articles of impeachment under the Constitution. You just have to do that process.

Congressman, you don't have to do this show, but you choose to, and I appreciate it, and I appreciate you giving this information and these arguments to my audience. Thank you.

RICHMOND: Thank you for having me, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, be well. The President said in an interview with ABC News he likes the truth. Well then why did he abuse it so much in that interview? "How much," you ask? Interesting question!

A man who makes a living out of fact-checking this President, one of the newest members of the CNN family, he's got a list for you. Our fact-check, next. Hello brother.

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CUOMO: You spend a lot of time with this President you're going to get a lot of things to talk about, UFOs, comparisons to President Lincoln, calling out his own staffer for coughing, on camera, all in the mix during the President's ABC News interview. The President gave fact- checkers some weekend.

So, let's bring in the newest member of the CNN family, Reporter Daniel Dale, Fact-Checker Extraordinaire. It's good to have you. Welcome.

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Thanks for having me, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, so let's start with the President on the Russia investigation. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The camp - Trump campaign rebuffed them.

Now anything having to do with Russia had nothing to do with our campaign.

Mueller comes out. There's no collusion. And essentially a ruling that no obstruction. And they keep going with it.

The report said "No collusion." (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Daniel Dale, verdict.

[21:15:00] DALE: This is like a triple whammy of wrongness. It's hard to know where to begin. So, let - let's go one by one. You know, Trump's claim that we had nothing to do with Russia on this campaign is simply not borne out by the facts.

Mueller documented what he said were, quote, numerous links between individuals associated with Trump and the campaign, and individuals associated with the Russian government.

And those include Michael Cohen, who was trying to arrange a business deal in Moscow for the then-candidate Trump. We have Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, Campaign Chairman and Deputy Chairman sharing internal polling data with a Russian-Ukrainian businessman hoping that it's--

CUOMO: Your son taking a meeting--

DALE: That's--

CUOMO: --that was promised to him--

DALE: Taking a meeting at Trump--

CUOMO: --is getting dirt from the Russians on Clinton.

DALE: With the Trump Tower meeting. We have George--

CUOMO: Very interesting. You know, nowhere in the Mueller report does it say "There was no collusion." He doesn't even consider collusion. It's not a crime. It was a behavior. And if you look at it as a category behavior, they had plenty of collusive behaviors like the ones you're outlining right now.

DALE: Sure. And Mueller went out of his way to say "Look, we were not examining the issue of collusion. That is not a crime. That is not a legal term. What we were looking at was the issue of a criminal conspiracy."

I think it's - it's obviously fair for Trump to say Mueller did not find evidence of a criminal conspiracy. But Mueller explicitly said, "Look, we're not rendering a judgment on the issue of collusion itself."

CUOMO: Right. But rebuffed, they did the opposite of rebuffing. They sought it out.

DALE: Well--

CUOMO: Even in the Mueller report, they say that they expected to benefit from it, and that's what was driving their efforts.

All right, second topic, Daniel. The President bragging about North Korea and what they are doing for the United States, take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We've gotten our hostages back. We've gotten the remains. And they continue to come back, the remains of our - our great heroes from the past.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Now, this is a very sensitive subject for these families, and for Americans, to be frank. What is the reality?

DALE: The reality is that the remains do not continue to come back. Last July, North Korea handed over 55 boxes of potential remains of U.S Service Members. But we know that this effort does not continue because the U.S. Military told us that last month, in May.

The Pentagon came out with a statement that said North Korea had ceased cooperating in this effort after the failed summit between Trump and Kim in Hanoi. So, yes, it has happened, at least a little bit. But it does not continue to happen.

CUOMO: This is one of those situations where for this President the truth is good enough. There's no reason to exaggerate the truth. The fact that he got remains back is something that we hadn't seen, and it matters, but he has to exaggerate it, nonetheless.

All right, and then, another one, this is a bonus category for you, a quick aside, the President talking about his own truth-telling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I like the truth. You know, I'm actually a very honest guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Anyone who has to tell you that, always be suspicious.

DALE: Yes. I mean, Chris, what - what do you even say at this point? I've counted more than 5,300 false claims from Trump as President, hundreds more before he became President.

It was three per day in 2017. It was over eight per day in 2018. He's now averaging six false claims per day, as President. He's told individual false claims more than a 100 times, in some cases. So, you - you just, you know, you throw up your hands, and you - you laugh or you cry.

CUOMO: How long would the nose be on Pinocchio if he was at the same rate? What kind of giant sequoia would he have on that wooden head of his?

Daniel Dale, welcome to the family.

DALE: Thank you.

CUOMO: You have a robust existence in the full employment plan for fact-checkers that is the Trump administration.

DALE: A lot of work to do.

CUOMO: Thank you very much.

DALE: Thank you.

CUOMO: Welcome, brother.

All right, Joe Biden, now you got to keep him honest on both sides, right, as Anderson would say. He is the Democrat who he says he can win broad swaths of the Deep Red South. What is the case for that claim?

The Great Debate is based on it, next.

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CUOMO: Former Vice President Joe Biden laid out some mighty grand intentions today. Take a listen.

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BIDEN: I plan on campaigning the South. I plan, and if I'm your nominee, winning Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, believe it or not. And I believe we can win Texas and Florida, if you look at the polling data now. Doesn't mean - so, it's a marathon. It's a long way off.

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CUOMO: I mean, look, you got to - you got to be optimistic. You got to have hope. Otherwise, why are you in the race? But let's just put some facts out there when it comes to the Deep Red South, all right?

No Democrat has won Georgia since Clinton in '92. Other than Obama's win in 2008, North Carolina has solidly chosen Republicans since 1980. No Democrats have carried South Carolina or Texas since President Carter in '76. And while President Obama won Florida in both elections, Trump flipped it - flipped it in 2016, and handily so.

So, can Biden deliver? The start of tonight's Great Debate, Ana Navarro, Scott Jennings.

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CUOMO: Ana, do you buy the claim?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Whether I buy it or not, I don't think matters. Look, I think it's what he needs to say. I think it's what he needs to shoot for.

If anything, 2016 should have taught us all that you don't take for granted some states, you don't ignore some states, and it is worthwhile to invest time and effort in some states, even though the pollsters are telling you not to do so.

The question is with limited resources and limited time you've got to really pick and choose. I do think Florida is still a Purple state, and can go either way. Texas, Beto came within 2.5 points of beating Ted Cruz.

Look, States change. The fact that they are Red in one election does not mean they won't be Purple in another. Take a look at Arizona.

CUOMO: True.

NAVARRO: It - it's gone from a Deep Red state to now being a Purple state.

CUOMO: True. Deep South is a little different in complexion, I would argue. But let's bounce it to the other side. Scott Jennings, you nervous?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm not nervous. I do think the Sun Belt is in play.

I don't think South Carolina is going to change hands in this election. But, look, I think from Arizona to Texas, to Georgia, to North Carolina, and Florida, that whole Sun Belt swath, the Democrats have to make a decision.

Are they going to make a real run at that or are they going to focus all of their energies on getting back the Upper Midwest? You know the President swept those three states in a pair (ph).

CUOMO: Why can't you do both?

[21:25:00] JENNINGS: And that gave him the White House. If they were to - if they were to win those three states, they would take back the White House. Now, if they only win two of the three, and everything else stays the same, they don't win the White House.

So, I think if you're Joe Biden, and you're the nominee, and you're the Democrats, you're looking at Texas and Florida. These are big states, a lot of electoral votes, but a huge amount of money is required to compete.

And so, those are the decisions you'll have to make based on the strategic information you have at the time. My suspicion is whoever gets the nomination will have had to go very far to the Left to get it, which might put some of these Deep Red states in - out of reach for them.

CUOMO: What do you think about that, Ana, that what you need to do to get the nomination will be what keeps you from delivering on the promise?

NAVARRO: Look, what you do to get the nomination is, frankly, I think, you know, what Joe Biden is doing, staying above the fray.

He is not engaging with his primary opponents, and he is banking, and betting, and - and going hard on the issue that matters most to Democratic voters right now, electability. "I can win. I can beat Donald Trump."

I think most Democratic voters and I'll - you know, a lot of voters who are anti-Trump, like myself, look, we - we will stump over Trump.

So, if you're telling me that Joe Biden is the guy who has got the best chance to beat Trump, and can beat him in some of the states that Trump won in 2016, like Florida, which is a big, big state, then yes, that is a very good argument for him to make.

I am from Florida, and I think Joe Biden would be very competitive in Florida. He's got a tremendous loyalty and a lot of goodwill and a great record with the Jewish community, which is an important community there, with the African-American community.

We don't know how Amendment 4 is going to affect the elections and how it's going to be implemented. That's the one which now allows felons to vote. So, there's a lot of things that are up in the air in a state with such a, you know, bounty of electoral votes as Florida.

CUOMO: So, the word on the - I don't want to get too in the weeds from people, especially this far out.

But the word of one of the reasons that there's some resonance and relevance of the internal polls that the President lied to the American people about, in terms of what they say, is his line, Scott that it's a problem.

It's a problem for him across the country. It makes people wonder whether or not they can count on his word. When you see a scenario like this one, "Don't believe the polls," they were your own polls, Scott, from inside the campaign, how damaging is that to this President?

JENNINGS: Well I think most people would expect any campaign to put on a show of confidence that "Hey, don't worry about the polling. We're running a strong campaign. We have money in the bank. We have organized this across the country." CUOMO: He said they were incorrect. He said it was fake news. He didn't say, "I'll be better than my poll numbers." He said we were lying about it. He was lying about it.

JENNINGS: Yes, look, if I were the President, I would say it's going to be an exceedingly close election. The polls are going to show us down. The polls may show us up. But don't listen to any of it because it's an exceedingly close race.

I mean essentially, he won the White House--

CUOMO: I'm fine with that answer.

JENNINGS: --last time around by 70,000 votes--

CUOMO: I'm fine with - I'm fine with that answer.

JENNINGS: --in three states. So, the correct--

CUOMO: I'm fine with it.

JENNINGS: --the correct line is don't - don't focus on it. Just focus on the fact that it's close.

CUOMO: Right.

JENNINGS: Every vote matters. And it's going to matter in about 17 states.

CUOMO: But it's not about what's correct. This is one of those moments that I know always is a challenge for you when you have to come on. I'm not talking about the President. I'm talking about you, Scott, and Republicans like you.

What will be the lie that is too much for you? He lied about his internal polling data. He then fires the pollsters because he thinks they leaked, you know, somebody leaked. The data comes out, he was lying about it.

When will it be too much for you guys because any one of these, if you flipped his name, put a R - a D next to him, instead of an R, you'd go crazy about any of these lies. When will it be too much for you?

JENNINGS: I don't think Republicans are going to abandon the President over--

CUOMO: No. Just to call out the line.

JENNINGS: --inside baseball guy, internal polling polls.

CUOMO: No, no. No internal baseball. This is lying. When will you say "I'm a Conservative. Character counts. I've been saying this my whole adult life. I'm not going to stop saying it now. He's got to stop lying." When?

JENNINGS: Yes, look, I - I believe in most cases, it would be better to tell the truth than anything else. There's no reason to lie about polling here. All you have to do is say--

CUOMO: In most cases, it would be better to tell the truth?

JENNINGS: --"We did some polls. It's close." That's it.

CUOMO: Ana--

JENNINGS: Yes.

CUOMO: --"Vote for me."

JENNINGS: It's always better to tell the truth.

CUOMO: "In most cases, I think it's better to tell the truth."

NAVARRO: Chris, look, the - the - the--

JENNINGS: It's all - and, by the way, it's also better not to leak the - not to leak the polls, I guess too.

NAVARRO: The hard - the hard - the hard answer--

JENNINGS: In most cases, better not to worry (ph).

NAVARRO: --the - the very difficult answer for - for Trump supporters to have to give is actually the truth. And the truth is there is no bottom to this barrel. There is no when.

If Republicans, if evangelicals, if people like Franklin Graham are saying God was involved in the election of Donald Trump, after we know Donald Trump has paid hush money to Playboy bunnies and strippers to remain silent about affairs, if - if they are sticking with him through something like that, I am telling you there is no bottom.

[21:30:00] There are at least 50 things that Donald Trump did and said during the campaign in 2016. He mocked that disabled reporter, for God's sakes. He mocked a disabled reporter. He called POWs "Losers."

He has been mocking and attacking John McCain while John McCain was a Senator, while he was sick with cancer, and after he's been dead, and that's not enough for people to call him out on it. There is no bottom to this barrel. They will go along and they will--

JENNINGS: Here--

NAVARRO: --enable him regardless of what he does or say.

CUOMO: All right, put a quick button on it, Scott.

JENNINGS: You don't have to love or hate everything about--

CUOMO: I got to go. Go ahead.

JENNINGS: You don't have to love or hate everything about what - what he does. But I will say this. Most voters look at these elections through the lens of a choice. It's

not necessarily a referendum on any one individual action by either candidate. But they look at it through the lens of a choice.

And if you're an evangelical voter, if you're a social conservative, Ana brought that up, if you're a conservative person, and you like the direction of the country on the economy, judges, pro-life stuff, then you are going to look at these two nominees, and you're going to judge Trump to be a better option.

It doesn't mean you condone lying, and it doesn't mean you always agree with what comes out of Donald Trump's mouth, or his campaign. But it does mean you get a choice. And if you care about policy direction, I know what choice people are going to make.

CUOMO: Right.

JENNINGS: They are going to stick with the President.

CUOMO: All right, listen, I got to leave it there.

NAVARRO: Scott, I got to tell you. When you have people like Franklin Graham saying that God was involved in this election, listen, unless God is the new codename for Vladimir Putin, I don't know what he's talking about.

CUOMO: All right, I got to go. Ana Navarro, Scott Jennings, thank you for making the arguments. I appreciate it.

The President's leaked internal poll - polling data reportedly puts him behind Biden in some states. It happens. Elections are long. One of the states is Wisconsin.

We have a Wisconsin Republican here, Sean Duffy. What does he think? Does he think that there's trouble in his state? Does he trust the President to keep our national secrets, another big story? Does he believe that our U.S. Intelligence apparatus doesn't?

Congressman is next.

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CUOMO: All right, we got two topics for Congressman Duffy. First, The New York Times reports American Intel officials are withholding information from our President on their cyber-attacks against Russia. Why? Well the suggestion is that they're concerned that this President would reverse the order or share the plans with foreign officials.

Let's discuss this with a Republican from Wisconsin, Congressman Sean Duffy.

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TEXT: ONE ON ONE.

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CUOMO: Good to see you, as always. Happy Father's Day.

REP. SEAN PATRICK DUFFY (R-WI): Hey, thanks Chris, same to you.

Hey, Chris, can I just say one quick thing? I thought that was a great intro for Anderson Cooper, and a tribute to his mom. That was beautiful. And our hearts go out to his - to his family in the loss of a loved one, Ms. Vanderbilt.

CUOMO: I mean, look, you know, you know how it is. His life goes on, you know. You lose your parents.

DUFFY: Right.

CUOMO: You lose those who are close to you, nobody can say anything. But boy, did he give really himself and the rest of us a gift? That HBO thing that he did, I don't care if it's HBO or whatever. I'm not pushing, you know, product here.

DUFFY: Yes.

CUOMO: But he had a conversation with his mother, I wish I had done something like that with my father, so I could remember it. The lens into her and into the love, it's a - it's a tough loss, but it's nice of you to mention it, Congressman.

DUFFY: Says a lot about - it says a lot about Anderson.

CUOMO: Yes.

DUFFY: Yes. I'm going to - I'm going to look it up on - on HBO and watch it as well. But--

CUOMO: Yes.

DUFFY: --it says a lot about his family and - and the love, and the affection between a mom and a - and a son.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean he - they're both uniquely deep in their feelings. It's - it's really good. And I know he's hurting right now.

DUFFY: Yes.

CUOMO: He's a good man. We all feel for him. DUFFY: It's all right.

CUOMO: And we're thinking about him. Thank you for mentioning that. Appreciate it, Congressman.

DUFFY: Absolutely.

CUOMO: Do you buy this that Intel officials kept their cyber counter- attacks of Russia from the President and for the reason that is offered?

DUFFY: No. First of all, I think it's a - it's a bogus story, Chris, because why would the Cyber Intelligence officials keep this data from President Trump, but then go to The New York Times, and tell The New York Times, so they'd run a story, so Russia knows that we have malware inside of - of their electrical grid?

It just - I mean it just doesn't make any sense. And, by the way, the President actually authorized the Intelligence community and our Cyber teams to - to develop tools for him to use.

He may not have known what each of those tools are until he decides to use them. But he authorized them.

But why in the hell would our Intelligence Community expose a great tool we might have to use in the future, should Russia be a bad - an additional bad actor or try to hack into our elections?

CUOMO: Right. So--

DUFFY: Doesn't make sense.

CUOMO: --it's not my reporting.

But in doing a little bit of ground work on it today, the answer to the question is because we want them to know. We want them to know "You're doing it to us. We'll do it to you. We're just better at it and that there's a little bit of a propaganda game."

I would be OK with you dismissing the story if they didn't have a legitimate basis for concern.

You know, what happened in the Oval Office with the Russians, what he supposedly gave over to Chairman Kim in their meeting, they do have precedent for being worried about what comes out of the mouth of this President.

DUFFY: Yes. But - but the basis of the story is "This information was too sensitive, Donald Trump could leak it out, so we don't want to share it with him. So, we're going to go to The New York Times." I mean, Chris, that doesn't pass the--

CUOMO: Well but they didn't give details.

DUFFY: --smell test. I mean you and I can't look at that story and say, "Is this just, you

know, some Deep Staters who - who hate the President that are - that are trying to embarrass him and drive a story against the President? Or is this actually happening?"

I'm going to side on the - on the viewpoint that these are just hacks inside of the Intelligence Community that are trying to embarrass our President because it doesn't make any sense.

If you actually love your country, and you're concerned about the President, we should never know about it. You would never tell anybody. No one would know that you had these tools.

But, in essence, what they did is said, "We're going to tell the Russians. We want the Russians to know that we have this tool, and therefore, we can never use it in the future. And if we do, they - they'll know it's us."

CUOMO: If that's the case--

DUFFY: How dumb is that?

CUOMO: --I mean they say it doesn't limit their capability. But I take your point in terms of the sensitivity. And also, look, let's be honest, Congressman. This President doesn't need help when it comes to exposing him.

This story about the polls, I don't care about the polls. I don't care about what they say. We all know how campaigns go. They take forever. But their internal polling data--

DUFFY: Yes.

CUOMO: --and he comes after us, you know, with his "Enemy of the people thing," you know, and - and "It's an incorrect story. The polls aren't true. The story's not true," they're his own polls. Why lie about these things?

DUFFY: But - so - but - but I think take a trip down memory lane with me, and - and - and I know you might be sensitive to the pushback the President gives. But I was on with Wolf Blitzer in the days leading up to the election.

[21:40:00] And I'm like, "Wolf, Donald Trump's not down by eight points in Wisconsin, I can tell you. I know it to be true. If he loses, he's going to lose by a point. But I think he's going to win Wisconsin because I see what's happening on the ground."

Donald Trump said the same thing, and said, "The pollsters are wrong. This isn't right." And so, in the last election, who was the liar, Donald Trump or the pollsters?

CUOMO: Nobody was lying.

DUFFY: The pollsters got it wrong. CUOMO: It was about the polls being wrong.

DUFFY: Well - what - well--

CUOMO: But here he said that "The polls are incorrect. Don't believe the reporting."

DUFFY: And so - so--

CUOMO: They were his polls.

DUFFY: That's right.

CUOMO: We weren't making them up. That's the point.

DUFFY: But that's the - but the - my - my point is, I think the President has a great pulse on where the American people are at, and this is the same story that ran, you know, 2.5 years ago, and President Trump was right.

CUOMO: I don't disagree with any of that.

DUFFY: That the polls were wrong.

CUOMO: I'm saying that the premise is different.

DUFFY: That he was actually going to win.

CUOMO: That's fine. Then he can say, "I don't believe the polls."

DUFFY: Yes.

CUOMO: I don't believe it. I know. They gave it to me. In fact, I'm firing the pollsters. I think they stink. That would all be fine and acceptable.

DUFFY: Well--

CUOMO: But he didn't say that. He questioned the integrity of the reporting. "It's a fake story. It's fake news." It wasn't fake, Sean. And I don't get why he has to attack things--

DUFFY: Well--

CUOMO: --with lies. All it does is make things worse.

DUFFY: Listen, but - but you know what - what I think the - the President's frustrated, I mean, here, if - if you have polling, it's supposed to be confidential. I don't share my polling with the media.

CUOMO: Fine. Fine.

DUFFY: The Democrats, Joe Biden, they don't--

CUOMO: A 100 percent.

DUFFY: --no one shares their polling. Then it leaks out--

CUOMO: 100 percent.

DUFFY: --you have a - you have an incredibly frustrated President who feels like he's attacked every day from most of the media. That gets old after a while. And it - and it - and after a while--

CUOMO: Sean, his own people leaked it.

DUFFY: --I'm going to start punching back.

CUOMO: His own people leaked - go punch yourself then.

DUFFY: I know, I know. And - and so--

CUOMO: These are his people.

DUFFY: But wouldn't that make you angry, Chris? You'd be angry about that.

CUOMO: You know what it would make me feel, Sean?

DUFFY: I mean if - if your brother in New York--

CUOMO: Something that you and I will do.

DUFFY: No. Listen, if - if your brother in New York did polling, and they leaked it to the press, your brother would be wild about it.

CUOMO: Right.

DUFFY: And so would you.

CUOMO: And you know what he'd do?

DUFFY: If it happened to me, I would be wild about it.

CUOMO: I know. And, believe me--

DUFFY: Right.

CUOMO: --if somebody went bad on my brother, they'd have a problem with me--

DUFFY: He'd fire them.

CUOMO: --in a nanosecond.

DUFFY: He would - he would fire the pollsters, and say "Get the hell out of here."

CUOMO: But here's what that he'd also do, all right? And here's what I think you would do.

DUFFY: He'd fire them. CUOMO: And here's what I know I would do. "Why are all these people going bad on me? Why would my Intel people tell people that they don't trust me?"

DUFFY: They're not trusting (ph). So, Chris--

CUOMO: "Why would my own pollsters leak?"

DUFFY: So, Chris--

CUOMO: "Why would my White House leak like a sieve?"

DUFFY: Because you--

CUOMO: "What am I doing that's not--

DUFFY: That's a--

CUOMO: --inspiring loyalty?"

DUFFY: That's a great question. And you know what? This - this President was a businessman, never involved in politics, and the American people actually voted for that.

And you look at the results that this President has driven, and I think we have to report more on that. People in my community, I'm in Wausau, Wisconsin, but all through Central and Northern Wisconsin, whether you go to Rice Lake or Hudson or Spooner, people's lives are better.

They have more jobs. They have more opportunity. They have higher wages. Their kids are getting jobs. They don't have to go to Chicago. They can actually move back, you know, to Rice Lake, Wisconsin, and get a job, and raise their kids right where they were raised down the street.

That's - I mean that means a lot in the hearts of the American people, and that's what's happening, not just in Wisconsin, but all over the country. And so, you might say, "Yes, the President gets a little hot- headed when his polls leak."

But the results that he's driven have been remarkable for the people that he said he was going to fight for. The men and women who put their boots on every single day, and make this country great, he's fighting for them.

CUOMO: That is definitely the case.

DUFFY: And their lives have gotten better. And - and I see that every single day in the place that I come from, and - and they feel they haven't had a President who's fought for them, Republican or Democrat.

CUOMO: Well, look--

DUFFY: They all go native when they go to Washington. President didn't - didn't - the President didn't go native. CUOMO: That's for sure.

DUFFY: And so, that can frustrate the insiders that you bring into the White House. They may not like it. And they might go "I - I want the - you know, I want the George Bush or I want the Bill Clinton."

CUOMO: No, I hear you. But, Congressman--

DUFFY: You didn't vote for that.

CUOMO: --here's what--

DUFFY: You've got a different player who's got different results though too.

CUOMO: I - I don't know how different the results are. That will be the basis of the campaign, and it is a good one to have.

But you - all I'm saying is this. The problem is he doesn't tell the truth, and it ruins his own case, and it makes it hard to cover all of it, and it's going to be a big challenge during this election.

DUFFY: But--

CUOMO: But we'll get through it. Congressman, I got to go.

DUFFY: But--

CUOMO: I'm out of time.

DUFFY: But--

CUOMO: But you're always welcome here to argue the case.

DUFFY: All right, OK.

CUOMO: Always welcome to argue the case.

DUFFY: Hey, thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: I want both sides.

DUFFY: Have a good night.

CUOMO: Be well. And thank you for what you said about Anderson's mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, thank you.

All right, there are lots of lozenges at the White House now. Did you know that? Because of what happens when an aide coughs around this President. No, I'm making it up.

I don't know why that happened in that interview. I don't know why the President chose to do what he did to one of his most important advisers. So, I'll bring in D. Lemon because his throat is itching to speak about this, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: You want people to be loyal to you? Treat them with respect. You see what happened in this ABC News interview with the President?

Mick Mulvaney, all right? The guy's doing like five jobs. He's doing Small Business. He's doing Consumer Protection. He's doing the budget. He coughs during the interview. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: At some point I hope they get it because it's a finance--

(MICK MULVANEY COUGHING)

TRUMP: --it's a fantastic financial statement. It's a fantastic financial statement. And - let's do that over, he's coughing in the middle of my answer.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR & CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yes, OK.

TRUMP: I don't like that, you know, I don't like that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your Chief of Staff.

TRUMP: If you're going to cough, please leave the room.

MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Yes, just I got shot up (ph). And I'll - I'll come over here just--

TRUMP: Just can't - you just can't cough.

MULVANEY: Just the changes (ph).

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK.

TRUMP: Boy oh boy.

MULVANEY: Sorry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Like that's the biggest concern he has, right, is Mulvaney coughing? He just said it's a great financial statement. He's talking obliquely about his taxes. If they're so great, put them out.

D. Lemon, your take?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: I thought it was - at first, I thought he was joking.

CUOMO: No, he wasn't.

LEMON: You know, oh man. And then, then I looked at the expression on his face, and he was not joking. He's a germaphobe. You know that, right?

CUOMO: Look, I - I do know this. One of the things I've given him credit for is--

LEMON: Not that that's an excuse.

CUOMO: --he used to be like that. He used to not shake your hand. But now, he's shaking people's hands. You know, I think he learned that he had to do it as part of his job. He has to reach out touch people. And I had given him credit for that.

I don't think this was about germaphobe. I think this was about something else that actually is a good indication of why there's so many leaks around him. If you want loyalty, you have to treat people with respect.

LEMON: So, you have your closing statement - closing - yes, closing statement, and then I have my take--

CUOMO: Arguments.

LEMON: --at the top of the show.

CUOMO: Yes, Don's take.

LEMON: And in that take, I will - I will tell you exactly what it is, why he did that with Mick Mulvaney, OK? So, that's a tease. Stick around for that. I'll tell you why.

[21:50:00] And also, you know what may be on the verge of something, you know, a confrontation in the Middle East, you know, tensions with Iran, there are troops being sent over, as you have - and I have been reporting, we've been reporting here on CNN, who better to talk about it?

James Clapper and James "Spider" Marks, both on the program, and they're going to break it all down for us.

CUOMO: Good stuff. D. Lemon, appreciate it.

LEMON: See you.

CUOMO: All right, so Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded today to Jon Stewart because he wanted to say something to him about Stewart's public shaming of him for turning his back on the surviving 9/11 first responders.

But what we saw took things in the wrong direction. This is not about big names getting after. It's about the truth behind it. That's the argument, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CLOSING ARGUMENT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:55:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS' ADVOCATE: They did their jobs, with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. 18 years later, do yours!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Look, let's be honest.

We were all Jon Stewart. He was all of what we are in that moment. That was the truth. It's not about Right or Left. That was his dramatic plea to lawmakers last week, fighting to get the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund reauthorized, like that's controversial?

If there were any question whether his scalding call for urgency and respect were warranted, the Senate Majority Leader answered it with this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, many things that Congress have at the last minute. We have never failed to address this issue. And we will address it again. I don't know why he's all bent out of shape. But we - we will take care of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Bent out of shape? Seems like a better description of the Senator's priorities. Stewart and others call out McConnell with cause. Nearly nine years ago, Senate Republicans initially blocked the Zadroga Act.

That's what created the first of more than $7 billion in funding for these people, the same funding that's now running out. The Republicans wanted a scaled-down version. They got it. McConnell went on the floor to defend the scaled-down commitment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: Some have tried to portray this debate as a debate between those who support 9/11 workers and those who don't. This is a gross distortion of the facts. There was never any doubt about supporting the first responders. It was about doing it right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: And by doing it right, he meant doing it with less money, which meant less help for the first responders, whom we all promised to never forget. Back then, as now, they needed to be shamed into doing the right thing.

Look at this. Senate Republicans budged following a barrage of criticism over the last few days, not just from Democrats, but also from allies, including former Mayor, Rudy Giuliani of New York, and Conservative news outlets like Fox News. That was in 2010.

So now, jump to 2015, some of those heroes felt that they had to camp outside McConnell's office to get the Zadroga Act renewed. Why, if he was so accommodative, if he was on the same page with them?

Democrats back then, and even some Republicans, said McConnell was holding up the money until they agreed to lift a ban on exporting U.S. oil.

McConnell was acting like these were kids seeking asylum on the Border, you know, people he thinks deserve indifference, deserve not to get what they need, not people who sacrificed as Americans so much on 9/11.

Now, I'm being sardonic here and with reason, right? You should help people who need it, no matter where they are, and when, and get the politics out of it. You spend tons of money on things that make no sense. This makes all the sense in the world.

And look at the reporting from back then. Even Republicans directly involved in the negotiations privately say they had a deal all set, using money in a highway bill until McConnell objected at the last minute, mixing this budget priority with these men and women and their health.

Now, look, I don't cover this as a spitting match between two well- known names. It's not even about Right and Left. If taking care of first responders isn't a unanimous concern, I don't know what is. And the truth is Congress has not done them right. Period!

And McConnell's "We'll get to it when we get to it," you know, must be unacceptable to all of us. He and other lawmakers that have not cared for our fallen and ailing first responders can say they will never forget, and they can say that they care about these heroes, but we only know what they show.

This argument is as simple as replaying Mr. McConnell's own words. "A lot of things happened last minute. I don't know why he's so bent out of shape."

Is that how you talk about a group of people that you know are desperate for this? Do you really just casually push aside the concerns of someone like Jon Stewart? He's an echo. He's not unique.

Hey, kudos to Stewart. He's been there from the beginning for these men and women. He's been there from the beginning, OK? But this isn't about him, and he knows it. He's the first one to say that.

Where is the commitment to them? Don't mix their priority with your priorities. Don't mix their money with money that you want for things. Don't play politics with the people you said you would treat as heroes. Otherwise, what do you value? What are you about if you can't take care of the people we promised to never forget?

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

LEMON: How do you tell cancer, how do you tell lung disease, how do you tell mysterious illnesses that you have no idea how to even label.

END