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Sanders Unveils Plan To Cancel All Student Loan Debt; Trump Denies New Sexual Assault Allegation; Pianist Chloe Flower Partnering With United Nations To Combat Human Trafficking. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 24, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: --for everything, in my opinion.

The President would actually love WICKED. It is in the biggest theater on Broadway, not term-limited. It's a total cash cow, and it's got wizard unbound by checks and balances.

Anyway, it may be difficult for someone who previously helmed beauty pageants to really absorb this. But not everything is a popularity contest.

Regardless some polls, regardless the raw vote count, he is the Commander-in-Chief. He's got veto power with that giant sharpie, and he's still very popular among his supporters, and here on The Ridiculist.

News continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

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

The first debates are coming this week. So, the Democrats are unloading their big ideas.

And Senator Bernie Sanders is burning up the Twitterverse tonight, free college for all and wiping out all student loan debt in America. Time to test the why, and most importantly, the how with Sanders' Campaign Manager tonight.

And should the President shake up his 2020 ticket? How about with Nikki Haley? Could the former Ambassador be the ticket to a second term? The way the idea is being fed out into the media, maybe someone is thinking about it.

So, what do we do? Plus/minus on the move with our Wizard of Odds.

And, new reaction ahead from the President to perhaps the most serious allegation to be brought against him to date, E. Jean Carroll accuses him of rape. Period! And his response to it, just now, whether the allegation is true or not, well, you need to hear it.

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




CUOMO: Most Democratic candidates would say they want to make college more affordable. Free for everyone? Ambitious. Wiping out existing student loan debt entirely? That puts Bernie Sanders in a league of his own.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should not be punishing people for getting a higher education.

All student debt would be canceled in six months.

If you could bail out Wall Street, we could bail out the middle-class of this country.


CUOMO: Mid to low estimates put the cost at $1.6 trillion, with a "T." That would be more than a third of the amount that the money the federal government spent in all of last year. Sanders argues in the end, it will help our economy. Will it fly with voters?

Let's bring in the Head of his Campaign, Faiz Shakir.




CUOMO: Faiz, nice to meet you, bud. Good to have you.


CUOMO: One step on horse race and then let's get into the policy. Elizabeth Warren is moving.


CUOMO: When I spoke to the Senator last week, Senator Sanders, he said, "Look, you know, I think there are some people with an appetite for electing a woman." Do you think it's about gender? Or do you think that she's beating him at his own game with progressive ideas?

SHAKIR: Listen, Chris, I mean it's your job to ask questions. I'm not going to urge you not to ask the questions. But as a Campaign Manager for Senator Bernie Sanders, I'll tell you that each of them really adores one another.

They have been fighting in the trenches for many of the same causes for much of their lives, fighting for working families.

And so, I know that it is not normal for the course of a Presidential campaign to say nice things about one another, and to believe that one another is actually not a terrible human being, but it is true that Bernie Sanders likes Elizabeth Warren. I think the feeling is mutual.

So, this campaign is truly about trying to make the case for why Bernie Sanders, not about denigrating, or trying to contrast, or suggest that she's not a good candidate.

CUOMO: Yes. I'm not asking you to dump on Elizabeth Warren. I'm asking is it something that you're looking at to figure out why is she moving when you guys occupy the same space.

SHAKIR: So, I - I appreciate there's a lot of things moving. I think it's still early in this cycle. I think most people haven't even dialed into this election, quite frankly, Chris.

I mean we're about to start the next six months of the year where things are going to get very intense. The debates start in a couple days from now. That's when I think voters will start to get more interested.

And, at that point in time, I bet you there're going to be a lot more peaks and valleys to come. So, I just think it's super early to make any judgments and determinations.

CUOMO: All right, then I'll give you a pass. We'll do it again in six months.

SHAKIR: Thank you.

CUOMO: We'll see where that stands demographic. Faiz?

SHAKIR: I'll still be here.

CUOMO: So, let's talk about the big idea of the moment, all right? Forget about free college for everybody. That's ambitious enough. I'm also going to wipe out all of the debt to date.

Very big, too big, too expensive, too ambitious, defend.

SHAKIR: Chris, there's a crisis going on, and most people in the elite world don't see it.

The crisis is afflicting working families all over America. If you think about the fact that people in this generation are going to have a worst standard of living than their parents, that's - that's a sad sense of fear.

As a - as a parent myself, thinking about my child might have a worse life than me is a crisis. And one of the reasons for that is because we have shackled the current generation and future generations with inordinate college debt that they can never leave behind.

CUOMO: Is the solution as good as the problem? SHAKIR: And it's stopping them from being able to get married - sorry, say that again, Chris.

CUOMO: Is the solution as troubling as the problem? You're going to have the fazes (ph)--

SHAKIR: The solution--

[21:05:00] CUOMO: --of the country pay for people who may have gone to college when you couldn't go, not you specifically.

I'm saying people in the middle class, a lot of them don't go because it's too expensive. Now you're asking them to subsidize people who did go and pay off their debt when they didn't get to go. Is that fair?

SHAKIR: We have to recognize that we have a broken system that needs fundamental repair, and reform, and it has to start with level- setting, and alleviating, and canceling all student debt. And that's the only way we can lift up and rescue the middle-class that is struggling.

The working families of America need this, as Senator Sanders pointed out today. We saved Wall Street. We came in and bailed them out. Here the middle-class is rath - is calling for a lifeboat. It - it needs this kind of a rescue.

CUOMO: Two wrongs--

SHAKIR: And I don't think you can do this in a piecemeal fashion. You have - you need to have universality, just like we have had with other programs in the past, Social Security--

CUOMO: Right.

SHAKIR: --Medicare, they are open to all. We should do that with college debt.

CUOMO: But is it two wrongs making a right? We bailed out Wall Street. Arguably, the Senator certainly thinks we did it in the wrong way, so does Elizabeth Warren. However, is this also a wrong?

You know the loans for the government, they took them over in 2010, it's the biggest asset on their balance sheet. So not only would you be forgiving the debt, you'd be taking away the largest asset of the United States government.

SHAKIR: I mean, Chris, I hope you sense my frustration about this question because the - when Donald Trump passed a corporate tax cut, do you know how much that cost? Do people even know--

CUOMO: A ton.

SHAKIR: --what we're talking about? Over $2 trillion--

CUOMO: Yes, right.

SHAKIR: --right over - of 10 years.

And then, by the way, when we saved Wall Street, how much did that cost? Tens of trillions of dollars, trillions of dollars. So now, we're talking about $1.6 trillion to alleviate student debt. And suddenly, "Oh my God, whoa, fast, that sounds crazy."

CUOMO: Well because they're all troubling Faiz.

SHAKIR: I mean that--

CUOMO: They're all troubling.

SHAKIR: Say that again.

CUOMO: What you did with the Wall Street bail - bailout, there was a justification argument.


CUOMO: With the President with his tax plan, there was a justification--

SHAKIR: And - and - and - Chris--

CUOMO: --argument that hasn't been borne out by the deficit. And now, you're trying to do something ambitious.

SHAKIR: Chris, you're talking--

CUOMO: But you got to justify it.

SHAKIR: You're - and you're paying for this. So, I hope you'll appreciate this. We're paying for with a 0.5 percent tax on--

CUOMO: On every trade.

SHAKIR: --five high frequency financial trading.

Now, after having bailed out Wall Street, can we ask them for a 0.5 percent tax on stocks, high-frequency trading, so that we can make college affordable for everybody, so that we can unshackle the future generations with the debt that is hanging around them, depriving them from being free? I think we can do that.

CUOMO: Well why give it to all of them? Elizabeth Warren has a stepped plan that obviously takes into consideration income, and even wealth, which would be a little tough to track, but that's ambitious way of looking at it.

Why do it that way? You want to help the middle-class, help them, don't do it for everybody. It's expensive.

SHAKIR: You've got to - you've--

CUOMO: And maybe not fair. SHAKIR: You need to have university - universality here because there's an anchor around the entire country on this matter. We have to fundamentally reform the system.

And if you go about looking at some of these data points, you'll see that inordinately affects women, it inordinately affects - has great racial disparity within the student debt numbers.

And I think in order to address this holistically, you have to start from scratch, alleviate college debt, alleviate all student debt, and then start to build a system that works that gives people the chance to succeed, have a better future for themselves, and their families.

This thing is really crushing the current generation of Americans. And we have to deal with it with the seriousness of purpose and to treat it like the crisis that it is, Chris.

CUOMO: If I did not agree with you about the problem, I would not talk about it on this show.

Faiz Shakir, thank you very much for giving me the campaign's perspective on this. As we learn more, as more issues come up, please come back on this show, and let's get after it.

SHAKIR: Yes, Sir.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

SHAKIR: I appreciate your time.

CUOMO: Good luck to you going forward.

All right, so what do you think of those ideas? Let me know on Twitter, please.

So, another question for you tonight, would you be more inclined to vote for this President if there were a woman on his ticket? How about Nikki Haley, former Governor of South Carolina, Ambassador to the U.N.? That's being leaked out here, and it's not the first time. Wonder why!

We have our very own Wizard of Odds with the plus/minus potential, next.








CUOMO: So, did you see this Wall Street Journal Op-Ed floating the idea of a Donald Trump-Nikki Haley ticket in 2020.

No disrespect to the current VP, but this had been bubbling up from time to time for months, the idea of a swap coming from a big-name Conservative paper this time, right? Proof that Trump folk don't hate the notion.

So here to help us understand what the thinking could be, Harry Enten, The Wizard of Odds.


CUOMO: So, let's start with the premise, which is that, if you looked at the suburb vote in 2016, he won it. That was important. In 2018, he stunk up the House. That was important. How does this work plus/minus?

ENTEN: Yes. So, take a look at this. This is the suburban vote in the 2016 election. Trump won in the suburbs by five points over Hillary Clinton. Of course, in any swing states, there are a ton of suburbs.

Now jump forward to the 2018 midterm election, obviously Republicans lost the House. What happened? When we look at the exit polls, what do we see that Trump's approval rating in the suburbs was only 46 percent, his disapproval was 53 percent.

That seven-point difference was pretty similar to exactly what occurred nationwide, which was Republicans losing the nationwide House vote by around 8.5 percentage points.

CUOMO: And you see man-woman be relevant here.

ENTEN: This is very relevant. So, take a look at the 2018 suburban vote among women. Take a look here, 53 percent Democrat, 45 percent Republican, take a look at Trump's standing among these same voters, only 42 percent approve, 57 percent disapprove.

That is a huge, huge gap. And what I should point out though is obviously we've had the new sexual assault allegation over the last - allegation over the last few days.

CUOMO: E. Jean Carroll.

ENTEN: Right, exactly right.

CUOMO: The most serious allegation we've heard against this President, without question, it's a rape allegation.

ENTEN: Exactly right. These numbers do not take that into account so far.

CUOMO: But will they?

ENTEN: Well--

CUOMO: What's your - what's your gut on it? I know you look at numbers.


CUOMO: But I've never seen anything. It's a focus of the closing tonight, me and the team are equally confused by this, never seen anything like it. She is credible.


CUOMO: They're - there are going to be, in points of corroboration that are stronger and weaker, but it's really not getting the kind of play they did earlier. Is it just we've accepted this is who he is?

ENTEN: Well what I should point out though is that Donald Trump has had one of the largest gender gaps. In fact, go back over history, look at the exit polls I did, and take a look at this.

Clinton won among women by 13 points. Trump won among men by 11 points. That's--

CUOMO: 24 points.

ENTEN: --that's a 24 point gap. That is the largest gap ever recorded in an exit poll, Gallup pre-election polls, the largest gap ever dating back to the 50s.

[21:15:00] Look at this, the how - the vote for the House in 2018. What do we see here? Among women, Democrats won by 19 points. That is the largest victory for Democrats in a midterm among women ever. Men though, four points.

So, when you say it doesn't take into account, yes, there's a lot of polarization going on right now. But what I should say is that these numbers do indicate that--

CUOMO: So he's already hysteric - hysterically - historically has it baked into his number--


CUOMO: --that women have a fundamental problem. The question becomes, why don't men echo women's problems with these allegations?

ENTEN: That - that is exactly a great question. We will see obviously how this latest allegation plays into it. But so far, women are certainly treating this President differently than they've treated other Republican Presidents we've had.

CUOMO: So not just any woman, it's almost always Nikki Haley.


CUOMO: Every time this comes to me, and you and I both heard this for six, seven months.

ENTEN: Yes. CUOMO: Why her? What could she mean?

ENTEN: Well I think the reason you hear her name so frequently is she is one of the highest power women - Republican Women in politics.

And take a look at this. This was her approval rating among the entire electorate when she was leaving office as the U.N. Ambassador, 63 percent of approval of the job that she was doing, just 17 percent disapprove.

Compare that to the President of the United States in the most recent Quinnipiac University poll, only 42 percent approve, and 53 percent disapprove.

So, if there is a potential politician out there who could perhaps raise his numbers overall at the electorate, and women specifically, it could be Nikki Haley again.

CUOMO: And she worked with him and survived it, so there's a relationship. It's not as big an unknown--


CUOMO: --as how they'll mix. How about her versus Pence?

ENTEN: Yes. So, I think this is also a key question - key point. Look how much more popular she is than Mike Pence is, among the overall electorate. Mike Pence just sports a 42 percent favorable rating, 44 percent unfavorable.

Look at this, her approval rating, 63 percent versus 17 percent disapprove. There is one thing though I should point out, Chris, is I think the President's problems are deeper than just making a switch at the second part of the ticket.

And the reason I say that is because there are few things. Number one, remember, we're always voting for the top of the ticket. We're not necessarily voting for the VP. Just switching out the second spot doesn't solve the problems of the top spot.

The other thing I should point out, remember Hillary Clinton when she left the Secretary of State, her numbers were sky-high.

CUOMO: Huge.

ENTEN: And then all of a sudden, you - got involved in the campaign, and her numbers fell. The question is how artificially high are these numbers?

CUOMO: And what would Nikki Haley say about these allegations like E. Jean Carroll's? How would she keep the respect of women, and also balance out deference to the President?

Harry, well done. Thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you, Sir. CUOMO: Appreciate it as always. Harry Enten, Wizard of Odds.

All right, so you heard us talking. The latest accuser of this President has brought the most serious allegation and some strong corroboration. She told two friends who were journalists when this allegedly happened many years ago.

So, why isn't it resonating more? Ripe for a Great Debate, next.








CUOMO: Yet another denial from the President in the face of a new assault claim, this one from E. Jean Carroll, journalist. He, according to her, raped her.

His response, as consistent as it is confounding, here's the quote. "I'll say it with great respect: Number one, she's not my type. Number two, it never happened, never happened, OK?"

Carroll says this President raped her inside a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room 23 years ago, more or less. She was on CNN just last hour with Anderson, and reacted to the President's response.


E. JEAN CARROLL, TRUMP ACCUSER, JOURNALIST & ADVICE COLUMNIST: I love that I'm not his type. Don't you love that you're not his type?

He also called Miss Universe fat, Miss Piggy, I think he called her.


CUOMO: All right let - let's just be clear about one thing before we get into the allegation.

There is no need for attraction when it comes to rape. It's about power. It's not about sex. So, the answer is not an intelligent one that she - someone's not your type. It would, if nothing else, imply you of a standard where it would be OK for you to do something like that.

The bigger point is this is a very heavy allegation, but there has not been a heavy implication to this point. What does that mean? Let's bring in Alexandra Rojas, and Karen Finney. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



CUOMO: One, I think we all agree at this point, this has been unusually underplayed.

First of all, Alexandra, welcome to the show. It's good to have you.


CUOMO: A heavy topic to start with. But the - the idea of this is the heaviest allegation to date of this President, a rape, no qualification on that, yet, it is not dominating the perspective on him of coverage. Why?

ROJAS: I mean not only is this the most serious allegation since him taking Office. It's also the 16th time a woman has come forward to put forward an accusation of sexual misconduct by the President.

There are millions of young women and little girls right now that are watching their government fail them, failing to hold the highest, the person in the highest level of power in this country, accountable.

So, I think the important thing to remember right now is it's not the millions of American people that are disappointed in the way that we're responding. It's on Congress, the only body capable in - in the United States government right now to hold the President--

CUOMO: But you don't see them--

ROJAS: --accountable. And we haven't seen--

CUOMO: I hear you Alexandra--

ROJAS: --seen doing that, yes.

CUOMO: But - but look at what we don't see. Karen, we don't see his opponents on the Democrat side using this as their banner, which you would like expect, if it were anyone else.

God forbid, somebody, you know, wins this next election that's not named Donald Trump, and something like this comes out about him, or her, imagine how dominant it would be, but they're not yelling and screaming about it.

You're not hearing about it in Congress. You barely, you know, you're hearing about it in the media, but not like the way we used to.


CUOMO: Why? FINNEY: Well, look, now I think there are a couple of things here, Chris. I think number one, let's talk about what's happening in our culture to the point that you just made about Trump's response, and saying, "Well she's not my type."

You're - obviously, it's about power. It's not about looks. But there's still a stereotype. There are still people in this country who think that it's about sex, and it's about sexual attraction, and not just power.

[21:25:00] And so, and to some degree, when he said, you know, that's how we got to locker room talk when we had the Access Hollywood tape come out. And secondly, it is incredibly hard for women to come forward--


FINNEY: --in this country against powerful men. You know that. I mean, my God--

CUOMO: Against any man.

FINNEY: --these women have to risk--

CUOMO: Especially--

FINNEY: But in particular--

CUOMO: --powerful men.

FINNEY: Especially power - I mean I have worked with a number of women who, I mean, their lives are destroying, their credibility is what we question, not the man.

Now, specifically to - to Trump, I think there are a couple of things. Number one, I agree. Who's going to hold him accountable? I mean certainly Republicans have never held him accountable for anything.

CUOMO: Well you saw the numbers with Harry Enten.

FINNEY: So, well--

CUOMO: It's pretty much baked in--

FINNEY: But if--

CUOMO: --for him.

FINNEY: That's true.

CUOMO: The women who aren't going to be with him, they're gone already.

FINNEY: Well that's - that's true and that's not true, actually, because we've seen - I will tell you that we still saw - we saw a couple of things. From 2016 to 2018-- CUOMO: Yes.

FINNEY: --we did see movement away. It's really--


FINNEY: --White suburban women.


FINNEY: White college-educated women and White non college-educated women. And we did see them moving away from him in 2018. And we did see more younger women come out. So, if those numbers continue, hopefully, the way that we'll have our voices heard is in the election.

CUOMO: Right.

FINNEY: But it - there should be more of an outcry right now. But I think it doesn't just speak to Trump.

It speaks to what is happening in our culture. We didn't have an outcry in 2016 when we realize - or 2017 that sexism and misogyny and racism were factors in why people decide - and fear of change--

CUOMO: Right.

FINNEY: --was part of why people supported Donald Trump. Nobody--

CUOMO: I guess it's just surprising to me that with #MeToo as a movement, and yes, it's pendular. And yes, there'll be arguments about whether things went too far. It's just odd that after all that, Alexandra, here we are with the most serious thing we've ever heard, and it is not exploding the way earlier counts had.

ROJAS: Yes--

CUOMO: But I don't want to dominate all the time on the negative. There's also a woman who's making headlines right now and they - and I'm good - I'm glad for E. Jean Carroll to be out there telling her story.

But I want to look at a positive one also, which is Senator Warren. You guys are not claimed yet in terms of this race, nobody's endorsed anybody. She's making a move on Bernie Sanders.

The campaign can deflect. That's their job when we talk policy with them. The Senator himself, Alexandra, said, "Well, you know, look, some people do want a woman."

Do you think Warren is making a gender move on him or do you think she's beating him at his game of selling those progressive policies?

ROJAS: I know I might annoy you a little bit by this, but I think with the horse race nature of American politics, it's natural that for whatever reason we want to pit Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren against each other.

But the reality is, is that we have two progressive candidates that are basically front-runners that are dominating the political cycle right now. That is a complete 180-turn from just what it was like back in 2016. So, I think that's what's important.

And to quote Elizabeth Warren, the time of small ideas is over. Big ideas are what's going to dominate. The minute differences between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, we are going to have the next six months to be able to debate and we're going to have literally the debate coming up in the next few days.


ROJAS: But the fact that Elizabeth Warren is on the rise of the polls is showing that Americans are hungry for solutions as big as the problems that we face. And, you know, if we remember back in 2016, a lot of the people that we needed to turn out, stayed home. That's young people.

CUOMO: Right.

ROJAS: That's young women of color, that's people of color and that's Union households.

CUOMO: Your party needs them.

ROJAS: So, I think that that's--

CUOMO: Your party needs them.

ROJAS: --the - the most important thing for us to--

CUOMO: So, you have a universe of provoking--

ROJAS: --remember, yes.

CUOMO: --possibility versus pragmatism.

Biden is leading for a reason. I don't think it's just name recognition, at this point, Karen. But look at what Sanders did today. He upped the ante, free college, getting rid of tuition for everybody.


CUOMO: Not just people in the middle-class.


CUOMO: Really, really expensive stuff that we're talking about that while it does go to Alexandra's idea of the big idea, it also goes to the Right's big knock on the Left, which is tax and spend.

FINNEY: Well, absolutely. And, look, I think there are some of us who also are not so sure that - and I think you pressed this point with Faiz that if you are able to afford college-- CUOMO: Right.

FINNEY: --maybe you shouldn't get a free pass. But, look, I just want to talk about Elizabeth Warren for a moment here--

CUOMO: Please.

FINNEY: --because I think it's incredibly important, again, having worked with many women candidates running for Executive Office, which is still the hardest highest ceiling for women, because in terms of how we value women's leadership, we don't always value that we are more collaborative, we're more interested in trying to get to solution-oriented - you know, a solution-orientation.

And so, I think actually it's such a positive to see Elizabeth doing so well. And rather than questioning her, which I'm not saying you're doing this, but some are sort of acting surprised that a woman almost could be doing so well, we have so - you know, we have more women running this time than ever before.

And so, I think the more we normalize the idea that a woman could be President and that a woman - and that these women are running, we'll have more women on the - at the debate stages this - this week than we've ever seen before.

CUOMO: Right.

FINNEY: That's a positive. And that helps to change the way we think about women and women's leadership and our capabilities.

And I think it means people are able to hear Elizabeth Warren's ideas for what they are, and not just get - have the - her gender lost in that sort of create static in the channel.

[21:30:00] CUOMO: She's the first one to get a buzz-craze (ph). "There's a plan for that!"

FINNEY: That's right.

CUOMO: And just to be clear, it was Senator Sanders who said he thinks she's making a move because people want a woman. I think that she's playing that game of progressive ideas better--


CUOMO: --than everybody else in the field right now.

Alexandra Rojas, great to have you on this show, look forward to having you again. Karen Finney, as ever, thank you.

FINNEY: Thanks.

ROJAS: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: So tonight, we got something special and different. Do you remember this moment at the Grammys? Remember this, the pumped-up stunner rocking the piano alongside Cardi B? She's now blowing up the charts with her own music. Very cool!

But why here on CUOMO PRIME TIME? Because, Ms. Chloe Flower has been fighting human trafficking longer than she's had her music career. And she has some insights into her success, how she can use it, and the realities on the Border that are being ignored.

Chloe Flower in here (ph).








[21:35:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)



CUOMO: You remember that? What a moment at the Grammys, Powerhouse Pianist Chloe Flower stole the show, in my opinion. She opened the song "Money" for Cardi B.

Now, she's got her own music video debut. Her latest single "Get What U Get" shot to the top of the iTunes classical chart upon its debut. But it's a crossover into hip-hop.

It is changing how this genre is perceived and it's changing how kids see hip-hop all over the nation that taken up piano, and she wants to use that gift for good, and use fame to also fight human trafficking. She's been doing it for years, and she has perspective on the Southern border.

Chloe Flower joins me now.


CUOMO: Oh, what a pleasure!

FLOWER: Well I'm honored.

CUOMO: I'm so happy for your--

FLOWER: Thank you. That's so nice.

CUOMO: --success. FLOWER: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: Because what unusual things. Am I--


CUOMO: Did I get any of it wrong, first of all?

FLOWER: No, no, that was - that was perfect.

CUOMO: Did - around the country, kids, either they play or they don't play.


CUOMO: But they want to play an instrument even though they're into hip-hop.

FLOWER: Yes. And, you know, I - I don't think they have access to even knowing that they can play an instrument that there is a keyboard. They don't have access to seeing it, so they can't want to do something that they can't see. So, the Grammys was a perfect opportunity for that.

CUOMO: You have any idea it was going to go like that?

FLOWER: You know, Tanisha Scott, who's a Creative Director, she obviously showed me the - the stage setup when I got there.

So, I was like, "Oh, I'm right in the center there, and I have three solos." I wrote - wrote my three solos and they were in there. So, I thought maybe it will take off, maybe not, but, you know.

CUOMO: So, help us understand, classical music, mixed - maybe sampling, you know, at some point.

But when decided to make that move, and you went to some of the big names like Babyface and stuff, and said, "I can compose, I can produce within hip-hop, even though it's classical," what made them believe?

FLOWER: You know, I'm not sure, actually. You know, Babyface has been a long-time supporter. So, I signed with him nine years ago. And he really has shaped the way I write music.

I don't think that I would have been able to perform at the Grammys or have been able to have that kind of production repertoire had I not been around him and his - and his producers, because I learned all the back-end stuff on how to produce, how to use a software, how to use the plug-ins, and that was all crucial in - in creating a sound.

CUOMO: When did you realize that not just that it would work. We were talking before we started the segment, I don't know the last time in the modern era that, you know, an instrumental version of music wound up blowing up the regular chart like that with crossover--

FLOWER: Yes. CUOMO: --appeal to hip-hop without even no lyrics.

FLOWER: I know.

CUOMO: But the idea for you of dovetailing it with your passion, which you've been doing, again, longer than the production stuff, which is I want kids to understand the power of music.

FLOWER: Yes, definitely. You know, it started out separate. So, I - I - I worked in music education and music therapy for a very long time, and I worked in anti-human trafficking since 2006.

It wasn't until I started partnering with the U.N. that I realized that music education is a tool of prevention against human trafficking. And - and so that's, you know, that's like a double - a double whammy. That's how you caught me.

CUOMO: And that's how we became friends.

FLOWER: Yes, exactly.

CUOMO: It was talking about what was going on. And to be fair, well in advance, when we were looking at the caravans then, you were saying, this is an opportunity for human traffickers.


CUOMO: They're going to get a double benefit here because these people aren't even going to get in, so they're going to get paid to just give them false hope.


CUOMO: And you're going to see it, and sure enough now, the human trafficking aspect of this Border, Chloe is not a politician. But this is about people.


CUOMO: That's being ignored. They're recycling kids. They're abusing kids.

FLOWER: Yes. You know, the - the one thing about human trafficking that differs from drug trafficking, is that a human can be, like you said, used over and over and over again. A drug used at once, it's gone.

So, you have a group of people who are looking for safety and they're being taken advantage of.

And then as even if they're not subjected to human trafficking on the way in, they're put in an environment that's ripe for human traffickers to - to - once they leave, to swoop them up, and - and - and take them into the industry.

And so, you know, that whole situation at the Border is, you know, it's - to me, it's - it's - it's refugees. I - I think there are a lot of refugees there, and we can't vilify migration.

We have to - rather than dehumanizing them further, we have to create an environment that's safe for them. And - and, you know, it's not about politics. We have to put the human rights issue first over politics.

CUOMO: Except, right now, they are being used again because they are a--


CUOMO: --political football, and Right and Left are fighting and blaming and doing nothing--


CUOMO: --in a way I've never seen with an American crisis.


CUOMO: I've never - I've never seen international organizations on our own Border, dealing with a situation. I think there's a profound embarrassment in that. We cover it all the time. We cover it all the time.


CUOMO: Now you see solution in music.

FLOWER: Definitely.

CUOMO: And your album is about empowerment and freedom. How so? What do you want to come through in the music before I play your single?

FLOWER: You know that this - all of my music is - has so far has been inspired by my work in anti-human trafficking. And, you know, because it doesn't have lyrics, it can mean something different to - to each person.

[21:40:00] But what I hoped for in this song is that it - it's a song of empowerment, and a song of inspiration, because, you know, I think that we need - we're having a spiritual crisis.

And I think that we need music that's inspiring and powerful for - for kids and for adults.

CUOMO: So this is called--

FLOWER: Get What U Get.

CUOMO: Get What U Get. Let's listen.




CUOMO: I - look, how rare, and I hope you enjoy the moment. I hope not just the fanfare, although it's great, and it's a great catalyst for you. But for passion and purpose to come together--


CUOMO: --and to create success on that, what a trifecta for you.

FLOWER: Thank you.

CUOMO: And I hope it works. I hope kids are inspired.

And I hope you get the chance to use the platform to talk about these other issues that matter because you know what you're talking about. You're not a celebrity who jumped in the game to give yourself profile. You've been doing this a long time.

FLOWER: We have. We've been doing this a long time.

CUOMO: Yes. I just wish we didn't have so much cause.


CUOMO: I wish it wasn't on our Border where these kids and issues are being ignored.


CUOMO: We are better than this. You represent the best of us.

FLOWER: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: Chloe Flower, I am so excited about what is to come.

FLOWER: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: Congratulations.

FLOWER: Thank you.

CUOMO: Give me a quick plug. What's the album coming - where do they get it?

FLOWER: You can get it on iTunes, YouTube, everywhere, every - every major digital streaming platform.

CUOMO: Get What U Get is the single.


CUOMO: There is more to come.

All right, an airline passenger feeling pretty good, had the whole row to herself. How rare is that? You know what's more rare? Finding out you got the whole plane to yourself. Waking up in the dark, still buckled into your chair, everyone's gone.

I've had that dream. No, she lived it. And now we get to live it with D. Lemon, next.








CUOMO: All right, imagine this. You're on the plane, you buckle up, you doze off. So, what? We all do that. Yes, all right.

Then you wake up, and you're still on the plane, you're alone, it's dark and cold. This happened. Air Canada is trying to figure out how a passenger wound up that way. And they better figure out how to cut a check too is my suspicion.

The passenger's name is Tiffany O'Brien. She flew from Quebec City to Toronto. She wakes up, cell phone is dead. She's wandering the cabin in the dark. She gets to the cockpit. None of the comms work. There's no power.

She finds a flashlight. She's - literally, she's alone in the plane, and finds the door, figures out how to open it. The plane is so far from the gate that she's like 40, 50 feet up. She's trapped. She has to sit there, waving and screaming until finally a crew member sees her.

D. Lemon, she lived the nightmare of waking up. You know, we've all talked about it. Actually, it happened in Houston some years ago. But it's really rare.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Yes, it's not the first time.

CUOMO: And really messed up.

LEMON: It is. But I mean can - can - I was - I was just going to say, you know, there's - there's got to be a movie about this. Can you imagine that? And you think like, "Well, well, she can just get off the plane, open the door." But it's 50 to 60 feet to the ground that right--

CUOMO: First step's a doocey.

LEMON: Yes, right? So, listen, thank goodness for that - that luggage cart person, man or woman whoever it was who came in and saved her, she would have been there all night. Her phone died.

CUOMO: Still had to climb down on a ladder.

LEMON: There was no power.

CUOMO: By the way.

LEMON: Her phone died. She didn't know. That - that plane could have been out of service for days, you know.

CUOMO: How does that happen? You know, they say, you know, we have a--

LEMON: She had a row to herself. I - I don't know how it happened. But I would imagine she, I don't know, if she maybe was laying down on the row.


LEMON: And they were looking at heads. I don't know how it happened.

CUOMO: She - she was still buckled in, she says. And they say--


CUOMO: --you know, this shouldn't have happened. We have a system for this. Oh, that's good to know, expect that it did happen. And now, they've got to figure it out. And you know there's a price tag coming with this.

LEMON: Well you know that because part of the thing says that she has been told--

CUOMO: 10 days, can't sleep.

LEMON: --not to - no, she's been told not to comment on advice of, I think her--

CUOMO: Counsel?

LEMON: --representatives or counsel?

CUOMO: But she said she had a pre-existing anxiety disorder that this exacerbated. And she's still having night terrors about this, and understandably so. I mean--

LEMON: Yes, yes.

CUOMO: --she lived a nightmare.

LEMON: But she slept pretty well that time.

CUOMO: Yes. That's right.

LEMON: I'm just saying.

So, listen, I know how you - you are very passionate about things that's happening at the Border, right? You know about those 249 children living in horrible conditions.


LEMON: We have a - a member of the team that went down and sounded the alarms about those children.

Now those children are being moved to other facilities. And so, she's going to join us to tell us about what she saw and how she feels about it, at least helping and bringing light to this particular situation.

CUOMO: Strong.

LEMON: That's coming up. Yes.

CUOMO: Did you see Chloe Flower on the show?

LEMON: I - I did. I was--

CUOMO: Remember her at the Grammys?

LEMON: --I was in - I saw Cory and - as I was walking to come to talk to you. But I didn't get to see the entire interview. What - what about it?

CUOMO: She's amazing. Her music--

LEMON: And you're just talking about the - the Border--

CUOMO: Classical music is now--

LEMON: --right, the immigration--

CUOMO: Yes. But she's - she's been doing that for a long time. So, I just saw this great dovetail of she's trying to inspire people with her music. It's blowing up since her Cardi B star moment.

LEMON: Oh, wow! Look at that.

CUOMO: And she knows about human trafficking in a big way. She's been working with the U.N. And she goes that's what's being missed on that Border is that this is about people in crisis, not a political football.


CUOMO: Who would have ever thought we'd have International Aid agencies on America's Border dealing with the situation that we're not.

LEMON: As many people who were on this - on that Border dealing with those horrific stories that has - those horrific conditions, and what's going on, that's as many stories as - there are as many stories as there are people in that particular situation.

CUOMO: Yes. So--

LEMON: And more is going to come to light.

CUOMO: We had her on, just to kind of like, you know, broaden the appeal a little bit of this woman who understands the issue, and she's empowering kids with music and she's trying to also empower those kinds of kids who are susceptible to trafficking so that they never enter the supply chain.

They have their own reason to exist. They have their own avenues to dignity so that they don't find their way into that kind of desperation. She's a really special young person.

LEMON: Good for her. A better - she's a better person than you and I both put together.

CUOMO: On our best day!

LEMON: But listen, why couldn't you fall asleep on a plane? And then, I'd be like, "I don't know what happened to him."

CUOMO: Nice.

LEMON: "He fell asleep on the plane."

CUOMO: Nice.

LEMON: "And I haven't seen him since."

CUOMO: Well, look, I got my own problems. I can't even sleep through the night.

LEMON: Yes. I know. We don't want to tell that story, do we?

CUOMO: You can't see it. That's all right.

LEMON: That - that--

CUOMO: I fell - I fell trying to go to the bathroom.

LEMON: You tripped over the dog.


LEMON: Don't blame it on the dogs.

[21:50:00] CUOMO: I can't believe I didn't break my nose. The makeup people are amazing. Look at that.

LEMON: Did they do it?

CUOMO: They said, you know what, this is nothing what we cover up on Don every night is like that this - these wells on my head--

LEMON: Would you like me to show them the picture that you texted me earlier this morning?

CUOMO: Listen, you know-- LEMON: About your fiasco?

CUOMO: Look, I can't live in the House of Shame.

LEMON: Get out of here.

CUOMO: I'll see you in a little bit.


CUOMO: All right, back to the serious. Let's be honest. We are living through some very bizarre times.

Confusing, disconcerting times, when a rape allegation, not groping, not forced kissing that's bad enough, but this is rape, does not seem to move the needle on a sitting President.

Now, is that OK? And if so, why? And if not, then how did we get here? We have never wrestled with a topic on this show more about whether to argue it and how. You'll see what we came to, next.








[21:55:00] CUOMO: So, the Closing Argument is always a product of groupthink here. It involves men and women. And tonight, we were all confused about the same situation.

This prominent journalist accuses the sitting President of rape. This is the most extreme accusation we've had against this President. And it has had almost no impact really on our dialog.

You know, people talk to me about the show all the time, thank you for that, online, in the street, on the radio, they have yet to bring this up in any real way.

The journalist, the accuser is E. Jean Carroll. She says this.

"The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly. He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall. He opens his overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway, or completely, I'm not certain, inside me."

Now, don't be bothered by what I say. Bothered by what it means or not, that's the question. This is rape. Period! Carroll doesn't like using the word and that is her right.

And when the account came out in New York Magazine, a publication that I respect, we didn't run with the story because we needed our own corroboration, and that is right. And we got it from one of two of these journalists that Carroll told about the rape who are also her friends at the time it happened.

Yes, we should get both of those sources. And yes, it would be better if their names were out there. Clarity helps with closure. People who say they are victims should be believed. And you have to know that women don't come forward often, and for good and painful reason.

Look at what's happening with her. We see women get dragged through this process all the time. But there also must be vetting. In a court of law, there must be more, there must be proof, such that no other reckoning of the case makes as much sense as the victim's story.

And certainly in the court of public opinion, that must also hold true. And I know that that makes people uncomfortable. If you believe her, why do you have to corroborate? Or if you can't prove it, then why should anyone believe it?

We are definitely still searching for a standard of how to process these. But this morning, Ms. Carroll said something that was equally troubling. Here it is.


CARROLL: He denies it. He turns it around. He attacks and he threatens. That is the - and then everybody forgets it, and then the next woman comes along, and I am sick of it. I am, Alisyn, I am sick of it. Think how many women have come forward. Nothing happens.


CUOMO: Now, the numbers are compelling, but also is the President's response. It shows how perverse this current dynamic is. He's accused with rape, OK, and he says this.

"I say it with great respect. Number one, she's not my type. Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?"

Sounds familiar, right, yes, I know. It's because it's the same thing he said about Jessica Leeds, one of more than a dozen women who accused this President of some sort of sexual misconduct.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She would not be my first choice. That I can tell you.


TRUMP: Man! You don't know. That would not be my first choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: The Washington Post reports the same was said about Stormy Daniels, not the type of woman he finds attractive.

Now, first, look, this is not a smart answer to the question of whether you would rape someone. Finding someone attractive is not a precondition to sexual assault. Sexual assault is about power and violence, not just sex.

More troubling to me in understanding where we are, more vexing is that if people are so appalled by this President's nonchalance, and the wild number of women who say they were attacked, or assaulted, or in this case, raped, why isn't this most serious account to date?

When others were car - covered in large ways, why is this not front- page news everywhere? What does that fatigue say about us?

Dean Baquet, the Executive Editor on The New York Times said his paper made a mistake. "We were overly cautious. The fact that a well-known person was making a very public allegation against a sitting President should have compelled us to play it bigger."

Now over at the New York Post, you had the opposite. Former Top Editor turned Adviser, who supports Trump, ordered the paper to remove a story about the allegations. And that's wrong.

But I'm not even sure this President needs the help. As he says--


TRUMP: I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters, OK?


CUOMO: Well not OK. Post #MeToo, what matters to us, or I guess really the question is, what does not matter to us? Is it really just about this President? Is he the Teflon Don? And if so, what does that say about where we are and what we're about?

I think we've seen enough of this now to know the questions. The confusing part is what are our answers? Do me a favor and let me know.

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