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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Top Tier Candidates, Biden, Sanders On Same Debate Stage; Sources: Biden Will Defend And Explain Past Record But Wants To Pivot, Move Ahead; House Passes Emergency Bill On Border Spending; Progressives Angry Over Pelosi Compromise; Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) Is Interviewed About Emergency Bill For Border Spending; Supreme Court Allows Partisan Gerrymandering, Delivers Blow To Trump Administration On Census; Tillerson Transcript Details Feud With Kushner; Two Women Who Support Assault Claim By Writer E. Jean Carroll Speak Out. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 27, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:20] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
It is just the opener, but already, the first Democratic debate of campaign 2020 is generating viewer and voter interests more fitting for a season finale. People are watching and talking about it, and a number suggesting they are already deeply invested in the presidential campaign. And with poll after poll of Democrats showing that beating President Trump is a key tribute for their party's nominee, tonight's round will be a test of the man who right now, at least, is polling best against him, Joe Biden.
Tonight's lineup features the self-help author, two well-regarded Colorado politicians, small town mayor, Pete Buttigieg, with a big- time buzz, a sitting congressman with a national following, four sitting U.S. senators, including leading 2016 contender Bernie Sanders, California's charismatic freshman Kamala Harris, and Joe Biden.
The former vice-president, current frontrunner, the one right now who as a candidate in this race has made comparatively few public appearances and has had comparatively little exposure to hard questions from voters, reporters and his opponents. He has, however, faced more questions about most about whether he has the discipline and at his age, the endurance needed to power through the campaign or for that matter to do well on the stage in Miami tonight.
We have late reporting on his plans for that. So, before getting to the larger discussion, I want to check in with CNN's Jeff Zeleny who joins us now.
So what are you learning, Jeff?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, good evening.
I'm told that the former vice-president does not want to spend the entire evening talking about his past record. So, one of his advisors tells me when he is asked about that, of course, he'll explain it and defend it. He wants to pivot forward.
That is a word they keep using over and over, pivot forward and really make the case that he is trying to present a case for the future. That, of course, is one of the vice-president's biggest challenges here, to show that he is a candidate of the future.
They are also, Anderson, I'm told preparing a generational answer. Of course, several of his rivals have already said, look, it's time for a new generation. It's time for a new generation of leaders.
I am told the former vice-president is going to say this. It takes all generations to come together for Democrats to win back the White House and repair the damage, in his view, that President Trump has caused. So we'll see if he has anything a little more specific on that. But they are very focused on this generational question here.
But, Anderson, he is going to also, you know, be standing right next to Bernie Sanders and Bernie Sanders, of course, is, you know, essentially the author of so many of these progressive ideas. Look for the former vice-president with a smile to say, look, Bernie Sanders is a friend of mine, but to show why he believes he's wrong on proposals like Medicare-for-All and others -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, the strategy -- it's interesting because last night, not a lot of sort of more centrist candidates really tried to push that hard against the more progressive candidates. Are you expecting to see some of that tonight from Joe Biden and -- versus Bernie Sanders?
ZELENY: We'll see if Joe Biden does it, Anderson, but I do believe several others on stage will do some of that work for him, perhaps. Michael Bennet, the senator from Colorado, he has been explaining that he believes Medicare-for-All is wrong. He believes abolishing private insurance is wrong.
So, look for others on the stage to essentially handle some of the not necessarily on behalf of Joe Biden, but they may do some of his work for him. John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado, he has been having a moderate message as well. So, it may be some of the other candidates trying to have ail moment with Bernie Sanders who may make that argument.
But, Anderson, no question it is the two people in the middle of the stage, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He has a lot of things to answer for, about his time as mayor of South Bend. So, he, of course, will be on the big stage. He's not really debated much before.
Joe Biden has debated so many times. But, Anderson, this is a different moment in this Democratic Party. One question overall, is Joe Biden right for this moment in the party? He has to show that he is -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.
Joining us now is Biden campaign communications director and deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield.
Kate, thanks so much for being with us.
What is the vice-president's strategy going into tonight? What do you hope he does?
KATE BEDINGFIELD, BIDEN CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, the most important thing for Joe Biden tonight is to keep being Joe Biden. He is going to layout his plans. He's rolled out progressive plans on health care, on climate change. He's going to make a really aggressive case directly to the American people about his vision for leadership in this country.
But, you know, in addition to talking about his progressive plans, he's also going to do something I think is sort of unique in this field, which is he's really going to make the case for a government where consensus and compromise are not dirty words. And he's going to make the case that we can do that without compromising our principles.
[20:05:01] Because, you know, at the end of the day, running for president is about helping people and getting things done. And if you're not able to do that, well, then, what are we even doing?
So I think you're going to hear him make a case that the American people are really hungry for which is that --
COOPER: Let me ask you --
BEDINGFIELD: -- we can get past this hyper-partisan moment in our politics and get back to government that actually has people's backs and that gets things done.
COOPER: He's obviously focused a lot on President Trump and in some ways kind of looking over some of the other Democratic rivals who will be on that stage tonight. Do you -- should people expect him to continue to focus on making distinction between himself and President Trump?
BEDINGFIELD: Well, you know, he got into this race making the case about the failed moral leadership of the Trump administration that, you know, what he saw in Charlottesville when white nationalists were marching in the street and the president were saying there were fine people on both sides of that argument. That was a motivator for him.
So, you know, there's no question that he is going to continue to hold President Trump accountable for the moral failings of this administration. But, you know, tonight, he's also going to be focused on making his case, again, you know, laying out his plans, and also making this larger case about, you know, being able to work together without compromising our principles as somebody who has done that. He's somebody who has done that on the national stage. And he's done it in the Trump era.
You know, there's people like to suggest that somehow this is a throwback to another time. But, you know, after President Trump was elected in December of 2016, Vice-President Biden was able to get a bipartisan bill done to get a significant amount of funding for cancer research in this country.
So, the notion that he's not able to do this or that somehow this is a vision that is naive is just wrong.
COOPER: Does the vice-president -- he said on the campaign trail that in his administration, they will cure cancer. Is that something he is going to continue to say? Because I'm not sure how one can say that -- you can certainly want to and make progress, but I'm not sure it's something you can promise, is it?
BEDINGFIELD: Absolutely, he will continue to say that. It's -- he believes that as Americans, there's nothing we can't do. And, you know, he obviously has been personally touched by cancer.
But, you know, when he's out on the road and he asks people in the audience, you know, how many of you have been touched by cancer in your life? And nearly every hand in the room goes up.
So it's something that he has dedicated his time and energy to doing with the cancer moon shot and the Obama/Biden administration at the end of their time in the White House, and then with the Biden Cancer Initiative after he left office.
So, we've been able to make significant gains because he's been dedicated to this. So, yes, he will absolutely continue to push to cure cancer in our lifetimes.
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny was saying that he's been hearing from people from the campaign saying the vice-president very much wants to look forward, but he will be probably called upon to defend his past as well and past votes and decisions he's made.
How concerned are you that some of the other folks on stage are going to try to pull vice President Biden into a conversation on the past, and particularly his votes?
BEDINGFIELD: Well, not at all. I mean, first of all, there are -- he has some incredible accomplishments in his record that he's proud of, things like the violence against women act. Things like 25-year extension of the Voting Rights Act, things like the Affordable Care Act.
So, you know, he has accomplishments in his career that he's very proud to talk about, you know, taking on the NRA --
COOPER: I don't think that's what the other ones want to talk about.
BEDINGFIELD: But -- however, he's also going to make the case for, for what he would do as president. I think that's what people want to hear. And, you know, this is a debate about the future of this country and he's going to be laying out a vision for that.
I think the other -- I think the other issue here, the other point I would make here, Anderson, is as we saw last night, these candidates are going to get maybe ten minutes to speak across the course of two hours. So I think for other candidates, they're going to have to decide how they want to spend that time. If they want to use their time to talk about Joe Biden, Joe Biden is happy to use that time to also talk about his vision for the future.
COOPER: I understand, just finally, Vice President Biden won't go to the spin room tonight after the debate to talk to reporters. I can't believe it's still called the spin room. It seems like the most honest thing in politics. And I can understand never wanting to set foot in one.
But he's a candidate, why is he not going to go?
BEDINGFIELD: Well, he's going to have spent two hours answering questions on stage. And, you know, he talks to the press everywhere he goes. I think there is no question the American people know where Joe Biden stands on issues.
So, look, honestly, if at the end of the debate what we're talking about is whether Joe Biden went to the spin room, then, you know, as a campaign, I think we can live with that.
COOPER: OK. Kate Bedingfield, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
BEDINGFIELD: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: With us now, the team of political reporters, analysts and former participants who will be with us now and throughout the night all the way from 11:00 to 1:00 a.m., just as we did last night, we might break out some chardonnay later in the night.
All right. I'm only going to do this once. Former Obama senior advisor and currently host of "THE AXE FILES", CNN Senior Political Commentator, David Axelrod, joins us, CNN Senior Political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger, CNN Political Director, David Chalian.
[20:10:11] Jess McIntosh who served as director of communications outreach for the Hillary Clinton campaign, she's a CNN political commentator.
Also with us, CNN Political Commentator Van Jones, host of CNN's "VAN JONES SHOW", and former special advisor to President Obama. And, finally, CNN Political Commentator, Terry McAuliffe, former DNC chairman and former governor of Virginia.
David, what, as you kind of wait with anticipation and popcorn for tonight's debate, how does the --
DAVID AXELROD, CNN POLTICAL COMMENTATOR: The chardonnay I'm after.
COOPER: How do you think this plays out for Biden?
AXELROD: Well, look, I think this is a big night for him, and I think he has -- it's interesting. The oldest and the youngest candidates are going to be standing next to each other. And for both of them, age is an issue in different ways.
For Joe Biden, I think he has to show that he is active, engaged and forward-looking and not enfeebled and backward-looking which is how some would like to portray him, some of his opponents would like to portray him. So this is a test for him.
Two hours, is he vigorous, is he engaged, how does he handle the -- if Sanders comes after him, how does he handle that? That's a big story.
For Buttigieg, does he belong on the stage? Is he ready to be on the big stage? How does he handle when the inevitable question comes about some of the events in South Bend recently relative to a police- involved shooting, how does he handle that? People will be judging whether he has that kind of stature and mettle to be on the platform.
So those are two big story lines.
Sanders, I think, and I said this last night, he is going to want to burnish his credentials as the leader of the left. He is losing some of that support to Elizabeth -- to Elizabeth Warren. And one of the ways he can do it is to set himself in opposition to Vice President Biden and I think you'll see some of that.
COOPER: And the thing about Sanders, Gloria, I mean, Sanders has been in the game up into tonight. I mean, he's campaigning, and he's in the Senate. Vice President Biden, you can make the argument he's been out of the game for a while.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: He has. And Sanders has also participated in big debates. Sanders -- so he kind of knows that game as well.
And I think Sanders is going to try and portray Biden as the establishment. I mean, that's not the word Biden is going to want to hear, but it is true. He is part of the Democratic establishment, for better or worse. I think what you're going to hear from Joe Biden is a lot of talk about Barack Obama, reminding people, reminding people what he and Barack Obama did together because that's very important at the Democratic Party.
But I want to echo what David said, which is he has to show his vitality here. He's standing next to Buttigieg as you point out. There is a 40-year age difference -- 40 years. So, that could -- that could be a problem for him.
Let's see what Buttigieg does with it. I don't think he has to do anything, but he does talk about generational changes.
COOPER: I want to talk about some of Biden's past debate performances. He has a good track record. Take a listen to him debating Paul Ryan in 2012 after Obama did very badly in his first debate against Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI): You can cut tax rates by 20 percent and still preserve these important preferences for middle class taxpayers --
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not mathematically possible.
RYAN: It is mathematically possible. It's been done before. It's precisely what we're proposing.
BIDEN: It has never been done before.
RYAN: It's been done a couple of times.
BIDEN: It has never been done before. Now you're Jack Kennedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: David Chalian?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: You know, Joe Biden in a previous cycle, when he was a contender for the 2008 Democratic nomination against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, I think he had sort of a rejoinder at each one of those debates. He was good with one liners --
AXELROD: Consistently good.
CHALIAN: Yes, he was a good performer on those debates.
What was interesting listening to you talk to Kate Bedingfield, I though, his to-do list is long about what he's going to do tonight. He's going to layout his plans for the future, defend his record as needed, he's going to make the case for bipartisanship. That's how you can get stuff done. He's going to allow others to make contrast with him if necessary, and try to play that to his advantage.
It just dawned on me last night, Cory Booker's to-do list was introduce himself. Elizabeth Warren's to-do list was try to own your rationale for a Warren presidency. It just seems Joe Biden, not that he can't accomplish all this, but listening to the campaign, it feels like they have a lot they feel they need to get accomplished.
COOPER: Or that's something they say because they have to say something.
AXELROD: The real truth is, the real truth is I think they understand that the most important thing is to show that he is in command.
AXELROD: That he looks like a guy who is ready to be president of the United States.
(CROSSTALK) [20:15:03] COOPER: But, Nia, if you have been out of the game, I mean, it is -- it is a tough thing to suddenly catch up to. It's like if you haven't been on cable news for a while and you start in it, it's a certain pace that's not normal.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: It's tough, right, right. And as we know, he hasn't been doing the kind of town halls, the kind of sit-down interviews that we've seen from Elizabeth Warren, from Pete Buttigieg, from everyone else in this field. And it's also true that I think the public hasn't seen Joe Biden and they probably remember the Joe Biden from that debate in the Joe Biden from 2008.
And he is different. He is older. I've seen him out on the campaign trail. He is, you know, not as vigorous as I remember him being.
So I think that is a challenge for him. This is going to be the first time so many Americans see him and it will be a different Joe Biden.
And the problem I think he has as well is Donald Trump has been sort of playing this up. He's been himself, Donald Trump has been saying of Joe Biden. No, he's lost it a little bit. Something is going on. He's a little slower.
JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What surprised me about the Kate Bedingfield interview, how many times she said progressive. We're expecting Joe Biden to make the case for a moderate to come through as the Democratic nominee. And instead, it seems like they're really going to try to paint him as somebody who has progressive policies that are just as progressive as the other folks on the stage and the folks we saw last night.
BORGER: He was vice president to Barack Obama.
MCINTOSH: Absolutely. He's trying to say progressive policies plus bipartisan consensus. The other thing the Obama administration failed to do was break the Republican fever and make them work with Democrats.
With the news that we saw today, with progressive activists just being outraged at the Senate capitulation to the Republicans --
COOPER: The House bill situation.
MCINTOSH: And the border security, I just don't think today is the day to come out and say, we can work with Republicans, this is possible and have that resonate with a Democratic base.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree. And it goes deeper in that Biden has a different theory of the case than what is growing within the Democratic ranks.
His theory of the case is very simple: Trump is the problem, I'm the solution. That's it. For I think the growing part of this party, a broken corrupt system is
the problem and major reforms are the solution. And so, when he comes out there and says, hey, listen, you know, Trump is aberration and we can all get together, I think it's going to land badly.
Who is going to benefit is Pete Buttigieg. I'm going to tell you the fact that we can all say his name is a miracle, because this guy was nowhere three months ago and now we all had to like take speech classes to say his name. But he's going to pull the goldilocks strategy.
Watch Pete Buttigieg. Listen, Biden is too cold. Bernie is too hot. I'm just right. And he's going to come right down the middle.
And I think he's going to be able to do very, very well with people who want real change, but who are scared of Bernie.
COOPER: I couldn't remember if goldilocks was the huff and the puff.
JONES: I got kids at home.
COOPER: I want to hear from Governor McAuliffe. We've got to take a quick break. We go right to him after the break. I want to pick this up when we come back.
Also later, just mentioned this, the bipartisan vote to make life better for the migrant children and the bitterness in the wake of it inside the Democratic Party. I'll speak with Democrat accusing other Democrats of what he calls the child abuse caucus.
[20:22:21] COOPER: Talking tonight about night two of the first debate of the 2020 Democratic presidential campaigns after night one that drew far more viewers than expected. They really set the bar high for tonight.
Back now with our team.
Governor McAuliffe, what are you expecting tonight? What should folks at home be looking for?
TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, tonight is the heavy weight match and a lot of folks are going to be watching us. I would rather be Joe Biden than anybody else on that stage. Let's be clear. There are ten candidates.
He's sitting up here. He's the number one guy. Some will go after him, but you also have to be careful. If you do that, you do that at your peril because that may turnoff a lot of Democrats as well.
And Joe is going to try and carve that moderate space there. If some go after him from the left, as I said earlier, Hickenlooper and Bennet, they have to move up somehow. So they may go after Bernie. So, you're going to have a lot of plays. I said last night I was
shocked how little Trump's name was used. I don't think that will be the case tonight. I think you're going to hear Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump a lot tonight.
But listen, all Biden has to do, and I think 2 1/2 hours we'll be sitting here, he'll have done what he needs to do. He's a very good debater. No one should underestimate him.
He has a lot of energy. And people are going to say he did what he had to do. He will go in as the front runner. He's going to come out as the front runner.
But the last thing I'd say, he's smart. He's not only talking to the Democratic voter. He's going to try and talk to America.
He's going to talk about K-through-12. He's going to talk about work force development, he's going to talk about infrastructure because he's trying to appeal to the country. And every time a poll comes out like last week shows him beating Donald Trump in Texas and in Florida and North Carolina, that helps his inevitability argument.
So, he's in a very good position. If they really go after him, it's an opportunity for him to shine. There's going to be a break out moment for a couple others. Joe Biden does not need a break out moment.
BORGER: But you still have to win Iowa.
BORGER: I mean, he can do well in all these national polls, but he's got to win in Iowa. And, you know, Bernie Sanders is somebody that he really has to pay a lot of attention to. I know Sanders will be paying a lot of attention to him, but Biden has been through this before. He's never won Iowa before, as we recall.
JONES: There's a couple things.
MCAULIFFE: Wasn't Barack Obama's vice-president either before.
BORGER: Yes, that's true.
JONES: Two things we need to talk about. Kamala Harris, I'm waiting. I want to see it.
First of all, I've known Kamala Harris for 20 years. I spent a lot of my time in California. If Kamala Harris were United States, I would sleep like a baby.
First of all, if Putin pulled any mess, he might wake up in a body bag. She is not to be messed with. She is not to be trifled with. She is tough as nails, she's smart.
We haven't seen it in terms of the big break out moment for her in this campaign. So, I'm looking to see Kamala Harris. She's something.
I have to tell you, that Andrew Yang, Yang gang, baby -- I'm telling you. The kids love this guy. He's this tech guy. He's talking about stuff like artificial intelligence and robots and stuff. I think the kids are going to like that.
You're going to have some break out moments. So, people we aren't talking about now we'll be talking about later.
AXELROD: The great thing about Van Jones is everyone goes home with something. You also get a participation ribbon no matter what.
CHALIAN: Let me come to the garden party on that point. I think the way the draw is tonight, Bennet, Hickenlooper, Swalwell and Gillibrand, I think they have the shortened of the straw in a big way because there are so many heavyweights on the stage.
Last night, since it was Elizabeth Warren, everybody had a fair shot at like getting in. I think it's going to be very tough for those 1 percenters on this stage with those four heavyweights on top to really break.
AXELROD: It may encourage them to be more aggressive.
AXELROD: Swalwell this morning said that we don't need a candidate whose ideas are staler than Donald Trump's.
MCINTOSH: He said of Joe Biden wouldn't be around -- he was going to be around to live the policies he enacted as president. He literally played that card today.
BORGER: That's going to hurt him more than it's going to hurt Joe Biden.
JONES: But we're talking about it. But we're talking about Swalwell and we hadn't talked about Swalwell before this moment.
COOPER: But you talk about Yang before you talked about Swalwell.
HENDERSON: Will Swalwell have the guts to actually bring it up tonight, right? That's the question. It's one thing to say it on cable news. It's another thing to say it to his face.
AXELROD: The key here, it's one thing to take a round house right and do it in the context of a message that advances you. It's another thing to say what you think will get you on TV. We saw people last night, you know, raising their voices.
I don't know whether it was all necessarily to their advantage, but the key is, can you score in a way that's memorable that also advances your rationale for your candidacy? That's the harder thing. JONES: It's going to be a lot messier tonight. I said yesterday is
going to be the brawl to end it all, the war to settle the score. You guys laugh, but it's going to be messy tonight.
CHALIAN: So, you're sticking with that?
JONES: I'm sticking with that because you're going to have so many --
AXELROD: A blast even more than the past?
JONES: You've got to have people -- this is my moment. I spent my whole life trying to get here and I'm not going to walk away with only two minutes. So, you're going to have people trying to bust in.
MCINTOSH: How great to spend the day talking about policy. And I'm worried that tomorrow, we're going to spend the day talking about pot shots.
MCAULIFFE: I agree. We as a party -- I was a little dismayed last night. I wanted to see more discussion about -- people are sitting in home, they're stuck in traffic. They can't get the job they want. The kids aren't getting the quality education and we're talking about things that don't affect people at home. That's what Democrats got to focus on.
But, Anderson, the big thing for everybody on this debate stage, except for the top three, it's not that your ideas aren't going any more. You just plain run out of money and what they have to do tonight is to spark some interest so that they can get online donors to keep them alive.
That is the most important thing for these folks. Otherwise they're out. They're gone.
COOPER: Let's take a quick break. After the debate, we'll be on from 11:00 to 1:00, but more coming up right after a quick break.
Bipartisan bill on border relief that should help the humanitarian problem on the border. Progressives are unhappy. We'll talk to the co-chair of the House progressives to understand why.
[20:32:26] COOPER: Billions of dollars in relief for the humanitarian crisis at the border has now passed both Houses. The President tweeted, "A great job done by all." It's a rare outbreak of bipartisanship on an important timely issue and yet House progressives are not happy about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): The problem right now and the question at him right now is that Mitch McConnell sent us a bill and we're just putting a big checkmark on it instead of even trying to negotiate. REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): We had an opportunity to put forth a humanitarian policy and we wasted that opportunity and it's quite sad. And I hope that Americans are as appalled as I am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, 95 of the 102 no votes in the House were Democrats. Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her caucus had "reluctantly passed the Senate's version." Progressives wanted more accountability for how the White House could direct that $4.6 billion.
The horrible tales of inhuman conduct -- or inhumane conduct at one Texas facility and obviously this photo of a father and his 23-month- old daughter who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande into America had deeply upset progressives who held a moment of silence on the House floor shortly before Congress voted. They couldn't contain their emotions before bowing their heads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): The photograph that all of us saw this week should tear all of us up. For those of us who are parents, to see a toddler with her little arms wrapped around the neck of her father, there is nothing that we wouldn't do for our children, nothing, to give them a better life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Raw emotions were everywhere today with Democrats also lashing out at other Democrats. One co-chair of the House progressive caucus, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal blamed Senate Democrats who support and made any opposition among House Democrats difficult. She said they lacked "spines."
And on Twitter, the other caucuses other co-chair asks, "Since when did the problem solvers caucus become the child abuse caucus," referring to a bipartisan House group. Here with me now is that congressman, Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin.
Congressman, thanks so much for being with us.
So, a spokesman for problem solvers caucus, Co-chairman Congressman Tom Reed, responded to your tweet saying, "Were it not for the bill passed today, Congress would have gone into next week without passing humanitarian aid." Is he wrong about that?
[20:35:00] REP. MARK POCAN (D-WI): So, what we were asking really is to have 24 more hours. The Senate's around -- we could have stayed one more day before we went home around congressional delegations to get a little bit better provisions in the bill. The House bill was better.
The House had a bipartisan vote just a couple days ago that had a bill that had stronger provisions for these facilities that have these horrific conditions where kids are literally dressed in filth, they don't have soap, they don't have toothbrushes, they're slipping on a concrete floor with a blanket and we just wanted to make sure that these firms, if they continue to do this, that they can lose their contract. That's so simple. It's shouldn't be a Democratic or Republican issue.
But if we were to stay a little longer, I think we would have got those provisions and that's why we were a little upset. It's the Trump administration's policies that were really aiming our fire at, but we wish that we could have the opportunity to make those bills better.
COOPER: Well, I mean, do you really believe that the so-called problem solver's caucus and more moderate Democrats did more to harm kids today than to help? I mean, isn't -- some would argue something is better than nothing.
POCAN: Well, I think they mistakenly threaten to vote down the rule for the House bill that we were going to send today over to the Senate that would included those better provisions. Instead, they were on the clock, wanted to get home, and we had to finally capitulate and take up the Senate version. It was a lost opportunity.
Again, it was a bipartisan vote out of the House with much better provisions that had better conditions for the children, and that's really what it should be about. And unfortunately they didn't allow us to take that bill up. And, again, I think if we had stayed 24 hours, we could have got it done.
So, the fire is really at the Trump administration's policies, please don't be mistaken. But I do think people today could have done things differently to get it closer to actually making it a better situation for the kids.
COOPER: What do you say to Speaker Pelosi who says that in the wake of the conditions we're seeing at many of the border facilities and the horrible image, obviously that father and daughter who died crossing the river, that the children needed to come first and that the resources to protect them needed to be available?
POCAN: And we could have done that easily tomorrow or even next week. In fact, people who voted no included the chair of the appropriations committee and the two lead negotiators from the appropriations subcommittee.
So the people who actually knew what was going on voted no because we knew we had a better provision in the House bill that, again, I think it's not a Democratic or Republican issue to say a contractor who has these horrific conditions if they keep it up, they shouldn't have a contract, right? That's simple
COOPER: And is that the main difference between the House bill, which had more accountability than the Senate bill?
POCAN: Yes. And it took some of the other conditions that some facilities have to abide by to all facilities. So, you really wouldn't be able to get away with this no soap, no toothbrush, sleeping on the floor, concrete floor with a blanket. We would have had a better provisions for the children who are there. The best situation is not to have children detained this long in these facilities.
So, again, the Trump administration is really where the problem is created. We just had a better opportunity with the bipartisan vote or the House this week to have had a bill with some better provisions that had people just been willing to stay around 24 more hours in Washington, I think we could have fixed.
COOPER: Congressman Pocan, appreciate your time. Thank you.
POCAN: Thank you.
COOPER: Two very big Supreme Court decisions today, both bound to have an impact on future elections throughout the country. President Trump wasted no time commenting on one of those rulings. Details, straight ahead.
[20:41:56] COOPER: With conservatives voting as a block, Supreme Court today said that federal court must stay out of battles over redistricting potentially handing an enormous political victory to each dominant party in the state. Now at the same time, the court also dealt a significant blow to the Trump administration blocking for now a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census.
Chief Justice John Roberts sided there with the courts for liberal justices saying the administration did not deliver satisfactory explanations for why that highly charged question had to be inserted into the census to the questionnaire.
In Japan for the G20 summit, President Trump reacted this way. "Seems totally ridiculous," he tweeted. "I've asked the lawyers if they can delay the census no matter how long." As a factual matter, the census and the timing of it is enshrined in the constitution.
Perspective now from CNN Chief Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. So, it's a big deal.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Both.
COOPER: Both are a big deal. Let's talk for just about the census. Can he delay the census?
TOOBIN: Well, he can't delay it too long. I mean, the constitution as it says has to be every 10 years, so it has to be during 2020. There is some debate now about when the forms need to be printed, somewhere between July, which is of course next week, and October. So, there's a lot of urgency about this question, but just how urgent is not entirely clear.
COOPER: Did Roberts' vote surprise you?
TOOBIN: It did, actually, because, you know, he is someone who generally sides with executive power, don't interfere with, you know, what -- any administration, you know, does with its power.
But what was so striking about his opinion was that he basically said the Trump administration just lied about how this question came about. And, of course, that's politically very significant because, you know, the Trump administration said, "Oh, this is just sort of to help with voting rights and sort of almost like a bookkeeping thing."
But Democrats and the plaintiffs in this case said this was about trying to intimidate people of color, Spanish speaking people, from participating in the census, thus, not having them counted for state and federal representation. So, you know, potentially very significant.
COOPER: Let's talk about the other ruling, which is also incredibly significant.
TOOBIN: Yes. I mean, this is such an important part of our politics now that, you know, partisan gerrymandering where state legislatures draw their own districts and the districts for the House of Representatives so that one party controls each seat and basically the party in power gets to exaggerate its influence.
COOPER: Right. They shift the way a district is in ways that are totally (INAUDIBLE).
TOOBIN: Right. And now that there's this powerful computer software, they can do this very precisely. And it's not just that the politicians are protecting their own interests, it affects polarization because when you have districts that are only Democratic or only Republican, the only election that matters is the primary. And there, often the most extreme candidate is going to win. So, moderates have a hard time winning in any districts anywhere.
[20:45:02] TOOBIN: And that is what's really at stake in this decision. Generally, this helps Republicans because Republicans control more states than Democrats do, especially the big swing states like Ohio and Florida. They now have a complete green light to redistrict anyway they want.
COOPER: And what was the justification for the court?
TOOBIN: The justification -- and Roberts was actually -- he wrote both opinions, was sort of very candid about this. This is unseemly. This is not something that really looks good, but courts can't get involved in this. We can't draw lines in ways that even Democratic and Republican power. That's not the function of courts.
We can deal with issues like race, but we can't deal with partisanship. Elena Kagan who wrote a very powerful dissent for the four liberals said this is what courts do. It's our job to draw lines. And when you have so much distortion in the political system, it's our obligation to step in, but Roberts and the four other conservatives said no. So it's total open season now for partisan gerrymandering anywhere in the country. COOPER: Yes. Jeff Toobin, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Coming up next, new answers to the question how much did former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Jared Kushner dislike each other? Answers, ahead.
[20:50:30] COOPER: So it wasn't exactly a state secret that Rex Tillerson and Jared Kushner did not get along. Now, there are transcripts of what the former Secretary of State told the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month detailing their test relationship.
Tillerson speaks of walking into a D.C. restaurant and surprised there was Kushner speaking with Tillerson's counterpart in Mexico. Tillerson didn't even know the Mexican foreign minister was in town.
More than breaches and protocol, Tillerson also spoke about Kushner's relationship with Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He said there was a "lot of communication between the two men and occasional trips."
Here's how Kushner's camp has responded, "Jared and the White House were coordinating with the State Department. The problem is that Rex Tillerson couldn't figure out how to coordinate with the State Department."
Let's check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time" at the tope of the hour. Yikes.
CHRIS CUOMO: Well, that part you just have to dismiss, right? That's just typical Trump being you took a shot, you get a shot. But you have three categories here, Coop. You have nonfeasance, misfeasance and malfeasance, all right. And Kushner has trouble with all three.
Nonfeasance is when you have a duty to do something and you don't do it. Like when the Russians come knocking on your door and you don't tell anybody. When you have potential business interests that come up during meetings and you don't report it until somebody asks you about it. OK.
Then you have misfeasance, which is something that you could do but you didn't do at the right way, like these meetings with these diplomatic types. Instead of telling Rex, they went around his back because he felt out of favor.
Then you have malfeasance and that's the biggest concern, that even the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had questions about whether or not Jared Kushner was playing for America first or his own interests. That's a recurring theme. It could fall under the category of abuse of power that could come out of Congress as purview.
COOPER: Chris, what do you got tonight?
CUOMO: So, we're going to look at what happened last night and project onto what we know about tonight in terms of the debate. The numbers were huge last night and it shows an appetite in this country. It's probably going to rattle the President. You'll probably hear more from him tonight.
We've got Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax. He's with the President at the G20. We'll get a take from him of what's going on over there.
COOPER: All right, Chris, see you in about seven minutes from now. I look forward to it.
More news tonight. Two women who said the writer E. Jean Carroll told them what happened to her at the hands of Donald Trump have remained silent since her story broke until now. Their recollections, just ahead.
[20:56:21] COOPER: Earlier in the week, I spoke with writer, now magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll who outlined in detail what she said was a violent assault against her by Donald Trump '90s at a New York City clothing store.
CNN confirmed that Carroll had spoken to two friends about the attack shortly after the incident, but those friends, two women, at the time did not go public. Now, they have. Both spoke on the record to "The New York Times" and Randi Kaye tonight has the story.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you've heard E. Jean Carroll story that Donald Trump assaulted her more than two decades ago, you'll want to listen to this.
LISA BIRNBACH, FRIEND OF E. JEAN CARROLL: I remember her saying repeatedly, he pulled down my tights.
KAYE: That's Lisa Birnbach, former contributing editor at "Parade" magazine and long time friend of E. Jean Carroll's. She's the first person Carroll says she called after she says Trump attacked her in the mid-1990s in the dressing room of the Bergdorf Goodman department store.
E. JEAN CARROLL, ACCUSES PRES. TRUMP OF ASSAULT: The minute I was in there, he shut the door and pushed me up against the wall, and banged, banged my head on the wall and kissed me, held me over the shoulder and I was wearing a coat dress and tights. And he pulled down the tights.
KAYE: Carroll says they were in the lingerie section when it happened.
COOPER: You're saying there was actual penetration?
KAYE: Her friend remembers her sharing that, too, all those years ago.
BIRNBACH: Honestly, you did say he put his penis in me. And I said -- my face just did it. What? He raped you? And you said, he kept pulling -- he pulled down my tights. It was horrible. We fought and I said, let's go to the police. No. Come to my house. No, I want to go home. I'll take you to the police. No, it was 15 minutes of my life. It's over. Don't ever tell anybody. I just had to tell you.
KAYE: E. Jean Carroll says she went onto tell another friend, Carol Martin, within three days of the alleged incident. She, too, remembers the conversation.
CAROL MARTIN, FRIEND OF E. JEAN CARROLL: We sat in the kitchen, that I remember, yes. You were handling it as you handle things, you know, and so she's -- she doesn't break down easily on anything. It wasn't like she started crying or nothing that was a frene -- frantic kind of response to it. It was like, I can't believe this happened.
KAYE: And while her friend, Lisa Birnbach, suggested they go to the police, Carol Martin had different advice.
MARTIN: I said don't tell anybody. I wouldn't tell anybody this.
COOPER: I grew up -- I watched Carol Martin growing up. It's nice to hear her voice. Why did she advise E. Jean Carroll not to go to the police?
KAYE: Carol Martin felt Donald Trump was a very powerful man with a lot of lawyers and she was really in a sense just looking out for her friend. And as you know, Donald Trump has denied all of this. He said, "With great respect, number one, she's not my type. Number two, it never happened."
And in the end, as you know, E. Jean Carroll never did go to the police about this. And what's really interesting, Anderson, is that these three women who talked about this alleged incident, all those years ago said they have never spoken about it since.
COOPER: Wow. Randi Kaye, appreciate it. Thanks very much. More to come on that, no doubt.
A reminder, we'll see you again at 11:00 Eastern Time tonight right after the debate. We'll be on from 11:00 to 1:00 for full debate coverage with our entire team. I want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME Time."