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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Joe Biden: I'm Opposed To Any Democrat Or Republican Who Wants To Dismantle Obamacare; Jill Biden: The One Thing You Cannot Say About Joe Biden Is That He's A Racist; Epstein Pleads Not Guilty To Sex Trafficking Of Minors. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 8, 2019 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Look, I agree. It's not my cup of tea. But there's a fetish group for everyone these days.

Cute, however, is not, and I repeat, not a phony quote from the Gipper. As for President Trump, anyone who thinks he's going to rush to clear all this up, well, all I can say is that is cute, very cute on The Ridiculist.

And the news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Thank you for that image of Wolf, which I will never get out of my head. Anderson, appreciate it, very well done.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Joe Biden got a wakeup call on that first debate and the polls thereafter. So, now comes a defining moment. How will the former VP respond? You're about to see, as we show you, new parts from our exclusive sit-down with the Democratic frontrunner.

And the multi-millionaire with connections to a Prince and Presidents long rumored to be one of the worst sexual predators, that man is Jeffrey Epstein, and he had quietly beaten the case against him until now. He's back behind bars.

And we have someone who's covered this story from the beginning, and says the truth of who this man is, and what he has done, will blow you away.

What do you say? Let's get after it.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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CUOMO: Former VP Joe Biden doesn't do a lot of sit-downs, but he did one with us on Independence Day, hoping to set the record straight after a rocky first debate. We tested. He offered some new answers and then an apology followed for remarks about segregationist senators.

Now, watching the former VP with his wife Jill was even more interesting to me than being with Biden alone. Why? Because the people around a candidate often signal things the candidate does not.

Take a look.

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TEXT: PRIME TIME PRIMARY

CUOMO: I appreciate you guys taking this opportunity.

JILL BIDEN, FORMER SECOND LADY OF THE UNITED STATES, JOE BIDEN'S WIFE: Thanks.

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Happy to be here, man.

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

CUOMO: Thank you. This time, how is this different for you?

JILL BIDEN: Well it's, you know, I think we knew this was going to be a little bit tougher. The - it feels a little bit different. There are so many candidates in the race. But so far, it's - it's gone pretty well. So, we've been in what, two months, and things feel good.

CUOMO: Biggest surprise for you so far?

JILL BIDEN: The biggest surprise, I think, was the debate. I think, you know, I think probably Kamala was a little bit of a surprise. I think that's the biggest surprise so far.

CUOMO: Different position for you, fighting from the front, right?

JOE BIDEN: Yes.

CUOMO: I mean you've been an underdog pretty much your whole career. You've achieved amazing things. But what surprises you about fighting from the front?

JOE BIDEN: Well I knew that there'd be - whoever's in the front going to have a target on their back, and I knew that was occurring.

And - but, you know, what surprised me is the response of people on the street, the people that no matter where I am, and there's an enthusiasm, and all the talk about hits and the rest, but I keep having endorsement after endorsement.

Now, the Governor of Connecticut endorsed me. The, you know, the Mayor - the leading African-American person here in Waterloo - not here, but in Waterloo endorsed me, introduced me, surprised me. A number of African-American leaders have endorsed me. The Mayor of Atlanta, a sought-after endorsement.

So, what I try to do, Chris, is focus on - I know this is a marathon. And I try to focus on this my - my feel here, what - what's happening in the street, what's happening when I go out, and it's been - it's been gratifying.

You know, I - I've been surprised not about the attacks, but I've been surprised at the intensity sometimes in the attacks--

CUOMO: Make you--

JOE BIDEN: --comments from people who know me.

CUOMO: --second-guess yourself?

JOE BIDEN: No, it doesn't. It doesn't make me second-guess.

But it makes me decide that, look, this is - this race is about the future, man. And we can go back and pick everybody's record apart, if you want, go back 20, 30, 40 years, you take it out of context because no one knows the context at the moment.

And so, it's really easy to distort. It just surprised me a little bit some of the stuff that's come out in terms of the attack lines, and - but I'm not going to go there, and I'm just going to try to - look, Barack said it best in another context.

He said, "You don't want to form a circular firing squad." The only person that wins in that one is - is the President of the United States, you know, guy that's there now.

CUOMO: 2016, such a hard decision for you. Frankly, at the time, I didn't know how it could have come out any other way. Did you think that Joe Biden had had an amazing run but that was it, in 2016, did you think that was it?

JILL BIDEN: I did. And I think Joe thought that as well. But, you know, once this President was elected, people started coming up to us, and saying, you know, Joe has to run, he has to run, and then Charlottesville occurred, and then that sort of got louder, and "Jill, you have to tell Joe, he has to run."

CUOMO: What did that do to you? How did you process that emotionally?

JILL BIDEN: Well I think, you know, I have always said that I thought Joe would be the best President, and I've always supported him, and I know where his heart is.

[21:05:00] I know his values. And I think he's in such direct contrast to what we have now with President Trump. And so, as I started to think about it, and our family did, I said, "You know what? It's the right decision."

CUOMO: Why is it worth it? As somebody who grew up in politics, you know what's going to be done to him. On his best day--

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

CUOMO: --at his best, running at a 105 percent, you know what it's going to be like, and that's just the primary, let alone a general election against one of the most fearsome politicians we've seen. Why is it worth it?

JILL BIDEN: It's worth it because it's going to change the lives of so many Americans. I mean look what Joe can do on education, on climate change, on foreign policy, I mean everything that he's worked so hard for, and - and that makes it all worth it.

CUOMO: You said at a rally, "You want to talk big ideas? I'm going to cure cancer." Did you mean it that way?

JOE BIDEN: Yes, I did. What - what I meant was, and what I've said all along, we can fundamentally change the face of cancer, and eventually we'll cure, I think we'll be able to cure almost every cancer.

We're curing cancers now, Chris, but the thing is that we are devoted to that notion. And there's so much - think of what we can do in this country if we take the resources that are being wasted now, and spend it on significant research on cancer, on Alzheimer's, on diabetes, on so many things?

I've been sitting down with the - the so-called PCAST, the scientists who used to advise this, we're on the cusp of so many breakthroughs, and what are we doing?

We're doing nothing. We're wasting - not doing nothing. The government who can actually rally enormous support in intellectual capacity is, you know, we're tweeting from Normandy about some actress or something, I don't know.

It just - it just - it just seems to me, Chris, you - you know me. I think you know me. I've never been more optimistic in my life about the possibilities of this country. We're--

CUOMO: Why? We're so divided.

JOE BIDEN: Well--

CUOMO: We can't be together on anything.

JOE BIDEN: Well--

CUOMO: We can't even get Congress together to help kids on the Border.

JOE BIDEN: Well the thing of the matter - the - the - the fact of the matter is that we're in a better position, our politics is broken, but - but - but the public's not broken. The point of the matter is that there's so many opportunities.

We have the - we don't only have the greatest military in the history of the world. We have - we've led by the example of our power all these years. We're in a position where we have the capacity to do so much of the greatest research universities in the world, more than all the rest of the world combined. It's all right there.

What bugs me, what bothers me is there's one big roadblock, and I'm not - I'm - I'm not being melodramatic. It's Donald Trump, Donald Trump.

And what he's done is everything everybody has done when they try to gain power and break down the barriers. He is trying to divide us in every way on race, on religion, on ethnicity across the board. That's the only way he can stay in power.

And it has to stop, Chris, because, look, if we can't bring it together, we're in real trouble.

JILL BIDEN: Yes. Americans want us to be united. We were just at a rally here in Iowa. And everyone at the rally was saying, "We have to work together. We have to solve these problems. They're too big. We have to solve them together."

CUOMO: One fight at a time, that's the general election. You have to find a way to bring your party together.

And it seems the fundamental tension now is, is Joe Biden the right fit for this party at this time? They're coming at you not on policy but the way you discuss policy, the phrases you use--

JOE BIDEN: Yes.

CUOMO: --that you are not in step with their lingo, let alone where they want to go.

JOE BIDEN: Well, let me tell you. I think I'm more in step with the lingo than any of them. I was asked to go into 24 states, campaign for 69 candidates. Rest of them weren't asked to go in those places.

You remember, I got criticized, I said we're going to win back the House of Representatives. We went in and beat Republicans, head-on. We took them on, on issues of healthcare.

We went to their neighborhoods and made the case against them. You know, half of it, as my dad would say, showing up, making the case.

The idea that somehow we have decided that our system doesn't work anymore, which I'm hearing some of them saying, that we're going to, you know, pack the courts, we're going to fundamentally change the way, I'm going to do what Trump did, you know, if we take control, I'm going to go in there, and I'm just going to by Executive Order, what are we talking about?

Look, this is - this is the Fourth of July, man. We're celebrating what a group of revolutionary folks did. They put down their life, their liberty, their sacred honor. Why? For a value set. And if we give that up Chris, we're in real trouble.

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CUOMO: It was very interesting to hear somebody who wants to be President say, "Hey, doing everything by Executive power is wrong." Let's - going to be interesting to see if that gets plumbed in this race going forward. Now, with Jill Biden, if you notice there, there is a protectiveness. Of course, she's the spouse, right? That - that's going to be the way it is with - when you're seeing your significant other running.

But she gets that her husband has no friends in this primary, at least not while the nomination is up for grabs. And when it comes to that, she's ready to fight by his side.

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CUOMO: Does it make you feel differently about where this could be headed?

JILL BIDEN: You know, I think that they were looking at the past. I mean the one thing you cannot say about Joe is that he's a racist.

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CUOMO: Now, we also have the first comments from the Bidens about their son Hunter. Now, they've been talking about his mental health struggles. What will they say about it? And could it be something that becomes part of the campaign? Next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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CUOMO: President's son - the - the former Vice President's son, Hunter Biden has been a point of scrutiny already in this Presidential campaign. But now he represents a much bigger concern for Joe Biden, personally.

Joe and Jill opened up about their son's struggles with mental health, something that as we all know is plagued by stigma in this society. What would they say about it? Will it be part of this campaign? Should it be? The answer.

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TEXT: PRIME TIME PRIMARY

CUOMO: Hunter came out in a magazine article, talking about his struggle with mental health. I say "Bravo" for him.

JILL BIDEN: Yes, thank you. CUOMO: And - what hearing how the campaigns are negotiated, what does it mean, points to a stigma. Nobody would have ever said that if Hunter Biden came out and said he had leukemia, God forbid.

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

[21:15:00] CUOMO: We'd all be like, "Oh geez, you know, I hope you can get the treatment. I hope you're all right with it." Mental illness, mental health issue, "Oh what does it mean?"

How do - what has Hunter's health meant to you, and what do you want it to mean in terms of what you put it into the campaign about?

JILL BIDEN: Well we've seen the struggle. You know, we've seen the struggle. And we know that most American families are dealing with some sort of - of struggle like we are. And I think they can relate to us.

As, you know, as parents who are hopeful, and are supportive of our son, and we will continue to be supportive, and I think that makes us more empathetic about helping other Americans. And I think one--

JOE BIDEN: But he's going to beat this.

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

JOE BIDEN: This kid, I'm telling you, as you know, you knew Beau. Beau is my soul. Hunter is my heart. And Hunter's been through some tough times, but he's fighting. He's fighting. He's never given up. He's the most honorable decent person I know.

And I - I - I read that article. All I could do was think of "My God, he gives me so much more credit than I deserve as a dad."

JILL BIDEN: He was so great.

JOE BIDEN: But it took enormous courage.

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

JOE BIDEN: I knew nothing about that article, nothing about that article, except he told me toward the end he was having this long interview, but it's a catharsis for him.

And look, everybody has to deal with these issues in a way that is consistent with who they are, and what they are. This guy is the most generous, honorable man that I know. And I am confident, confident he's going to make it.

And look, it's a - it's - it - the idea that we treat mental health and, quote, physical health, as somehow they're distinct--

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

JOE BIDEN: --it's health.

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

JOE BIDEN: It's health.

JILL BIDEN: We have to put more money into mental health whether it's for our education system, whether it's for our veterans, whoever it's for, we have to - we have to start to look at it, talk about it, and put more money into it.

CUOMO: Talking about it is huge. That's why--

JILL BIDEN: Yes. Sure.

CUOMO: --I bring up Hunter. You've been hearing about your son. You got in this race. You knew everything they could find about Hunter--

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

JOE BIDEN: Sure.

CUOMO: --was going to come back, could be revisited on you.

JOE BIDEN: Sure.

CUOMO: Business, we'll see what they do with him having a mental health struggle, but discussing it as something that you can beat, something you can treat, already that's a different dialog than we're used to hearing.

Curing cancer? That would mean so much across so many levels. Getting people to accept that mental illness and mental health awareness--

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

CUOMO: --is the same as any other malady that could be huge as well.

JOE BIDEN: It's gigantic.

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

JOE BIDEN: And, by the way, it's doable.

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

JOE BIDEN: It is doable. The idea that somehow, I mean, think of all the people out there, Chris, who don't - I mean one of the things we should be debating in this campaign is healthcare, whether or not we have the adequate and what's the best way to get healthcare.

When Barack and I - when Barack did, I helped, when - the Affordable Care Act, we made parity between mental health and physical health. It was a fundamental breakthrough in how we thought about how things should work. So look, I just think the--

CUOMO: Your party now wants to get rid of the ACA. Medicare-for-All cannot exist with the ACA.

JOE BIDEN: It cannot, and that's why I'm opposed to any Republican who wants to dismantle it, or any Democrat that wants to dismantle it.

The idea that you're going to come along and take the most significant thing that happened that any President that's tried to do and that got done, and dismantle it, it makes no sense to me.

CUOMO: Four out of the top five people in your polls right now are on the complete opposite side from you.

JOE BIDEN: Well I understand that. And that's worth debating about. That's about the future. What are we going to do? I believe they're totally sincere. I think they think they have the right answer. But look, starting over would be, I think, a sin.

CUOMO: They say you're either all-in or it's half measures that don't work, and get removed.

JOE BIDEN: Well let me tell you something. I - I noticed the measures in the Affordable Care Act worked pretty well, put 20 million people back in getting healthcare.

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

JOE BIDEN: 100 million people who had pre-existing conditions, you notice none of them are saying they want to do away with any of that, right?

And you notice none of them are saying that they - but they are saying they want to - if you're satisfied with your employer-based healthcare, you got to give it up, you're - look, we provide a Medicare option. That's exactly what Barack - Barack and I talked about in the beginning.

CUOMO: Couldn't get it through though.

JOE BIDEN: No. We couldn't get.

But now, now things have changed because guess what's happened? You know, the thing Barack and I would talk about, and God love him, he never took credit that he should have because it was like everything was dropping on his desk.

And I said we got to make the case that people know what you did. It wasn't until they started to take it away they even realized it was a consequence of what Barack had done.

And so now, if you noticed in '18, we went out in all those campaigns, you find the Republicans in, "I want to get - I want to get rid of pre-existing conditions coverage. I want to get rid of," and so, it's a different place. And that the - the - the public's been educated in a way that I believe they've embraced it, and I'm ready to take that on.

CUOMO: One more question for you if you don't mind.

JILL BIDEN: Sure.

CUOMO: You're much more interesting. No, I'm just kidding.

JOE BIDEN: That I agree with.

CUOMO: Now, one - one more question.

JOE BIDEN: Everybody knows that.

CUOMO: You mentioned Senator Harris, the debate. I'll talk to the VP about that as well.

But when you were listing the things, well here are the things we're going to have to fight against in this, all right, here we are. This is they may not think you have this, this, this, you did not imagine, I would think, or I'll ask you differently.

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

[21:20:00] CUOMO: Did you imagine that one of the things you'd have to deal with early on is whether or not your husband's past is basically bigoted. They can say I don't think you're a racist but--

JILL BIDEN: They could say anything but--

CUOMO: --but as - but as soon as that comes out--

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

CUOMO: --the Crime bill--

JILL BIDEN: Yes.

CUOMO: --working with people who were seen to be obviously extreme thinkers and bigots themselves, busing, did you anticipate those, and does it make you feel differently about where this could be headed?

JILL BIDEN: You know, I think that they were looking at the past. I mean the one thing you cannot say about Joe is that he's a racist. I mean he stood - he got into politics because of his commitment to civil rights.

And then to be elected with Barack Obama, and then someone is saying, "You know, you're a racist," as soon as I heard those words--

CUOMO: No, they say you're not a racist but--

JILL BIDEN: I know. But as soon as I heard those words--

CUOMO: --this all stinks.

JILL BIDEN: --I thought, "Oh, oh, what's coming next?" And I think the American people know Joe Biden. They know his values. They know what he stands for. And they didn't buy it.

CUOMO: You don't think that well because you - you took a hit in the polls, and some with African-Americans. JILL BIDEN: But the polls are coming back up. The polls are coming back up. So, we just saw that today. And - and I think the more people get to know Joe, then the higher the polls will get.

JOE BIDEN: Chris, all--

CUOMO: You, I want to thank for your time.

JILL BIDEN: Thanks.

JOE BIDEN: But he's not sure.

CUOMO: Thank you. No, no--

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CUOMO: No, I thanked the former VP's wife because that was the end of the interview with her, and then, obviously the VP and I went on, and had an interview.

So, look, there is a long way to go. And the point in campaigns is you don't know where you're going to get hit from. You don't know what it's going to mean. The question is, after this interview, is the former VP Joe Biden in a better position, or did it cement problems that he has?

Our PRIME TIME players have the plus, minus on Biden at this stage of the race, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: All right, so we just had another part of our exclusive interview with Joe and Jill Biden.

Now, as we all know, it is early, though we did have our first drop- out in the race today, Congressman Eric Swalwell, the man who sat in the debate, passed the torch, he's done.

So, what did this interview mean for Biden? Did it change minds? Did it create new problems? Let's bring in Errol Louis, Christine Quinn, and Carl Bernstein, great to have you all.

CHRISTINE QUINN, FORMER NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER, NEW YORK STATE DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE VICE CHAIR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BOARD MEMBER: Thank you.

CUOMO: Thank you for joining me on set. Don't usually do panels, but tonight is special, it's good to have you.

Errol, after this, better or worse?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, POLITICAL ANCHOR, SPECTRUM NEWS NY1: I think he's - he's - he's better at communicating his message. The question of whether it's a winning message is a - is a separate one.

But he's - he's making clear that he's got some differences with the other candidates. He's making clear that he wants this to be a values- based discussion, at least at this stage of the game that he's not going to come with a blizzard of proposals.

And he's kind of making clear that he's - he's, you know, without saying so arguing for a third Obama-Biden term that he wants to go back to. So, even as he says, "Hey, election's about the future, and elections are about the future," he's kind of saying, "Let's get back to where we were. And if you liked where we were before 2016, I'm your man."

I don't know if that's a particularly compelling argument. The polls will tell us. The performance so far, I think, is telling us that people are looking for something a little bit different, but Biden is making his case, and I - I think, you know, he's got some reason to do it.

CUOMO: Now quickly, you're not bringing up the busing, the Crime bill, or any of that. Do you believe he's satisfied on those issues?

LOUIS: Well look, I - look, he's - he's going to have a problem with Black voters. And--

CUOMO: It's one of his highest demos, by--

LOUIS: Yes. It - it is. But, you know, it was very high for Hillary Clinton in 2007, all the way up till Iowa, and it all switched, you know, right after that.

So, it's - it's - it's solid, but it's not permanent. And people are looking around and they're shopping. And that's where I think - that's why Kamala Harris took the shot that she did.

CUOMO: And, you know, that was a good execution of a premeditated plan.

QUINN: Absolutely.

CUOMO: They had the T-shirts ready to go right after.

QUINN: Yes, yes.

CUOMO: That's politics. And it was interesting to hear from Jill Biden's perspective how "Ooh, we thought she was a friend." No friends--

QUINN: No one is a friend.

CUOMO: --when you have something they want. Pelosi says everybody has plans. Good point. You know, Pop reinvigorated the phrase. He didn't come up with it, by the way. But the "You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose."

QUINN: Right.

CUOMO: This is about the time for imagination. Is Biden competing, to Errol's point, plan for plan, or is it principle for principle? Is he in step with where the party will wind up? That's the big question. Where do you think that?

QUINN: Well he's certainly out of step with the far-Left of the party. There's no question about that.

And the challenge often for Democrats in these kind of elections is the primary base is further to the Left than the general election primary voter and independents. So, it's always a hard line to walk, if you're really focused on the general election, no different for Biden than anybody else.

You know what I found curious in the interview was that they're kind - they said, basically, "Don't look back. This is about the future. Don't look back but kind of look back, because don't forget me and Barack, me and Barack, me and Barack," which if I was him, I would raise President Obama constantly, but you can't have it both ways.

CUOMO: Or can you? Can you? Carl, can you have it both ways?

CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST & AUTHOR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the first thing that Joe Biden is trying to do here is to reestablish, especially for young people, that he has a constancy of values and decency throughout his career that might set him apart in a strange way from the rest of the field. And - and there's truth to that. It's a singular record. He's not a racist.

QUINN: No.

BERNSTEIN: He's - he's done terrific things as a public servant.

And then there are these anomalous things that play terribly bad with today's Democratic electorate, including the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings, including the apology that was necessary about Jim Eastland, Senator Jim Eastland--

CUOMO: The segregationist senators that he talked about.

BERNSTEIN: --more he - Jim Eastland is more than a segregationist. He is an - he is the epitome of the evil of segregation and hate that existed in this country in that era. And nobody embodied it more than Jim Eastland did.

[21:30:00] CUOMO: Do you think it's that his ideas-- BERNSTEIN: And - and--

CUOMO: --are tired. Is he dated by his time?

BERNSTEIN: Joe Biden thinks out loud. I've known him for 40 years.

QUINN: Yes, yes.

BERNSTEIN: And - and a lot of those thoughts are terrific. And some of those thoughts, you want to say "Keep them to yourself." I think that's what - what we've been seeing.

But I think we got to come back to this is a divided Democratic Party. The soul of the Democratic Party is up for grabs. And we don't know where the hell it is going to go.

CUOMO: But you keep having these head-to-heads, Carl, that you got to factor into what the soul versus the head, right?

QUINN: Yes.

CUOMO: Errol?

BERNSTEIN: You got to win.

CUOMO: Yes. But--

BERNSTEIN: That's the and who--

QUINN: And the Democratic polls--

BERNSTEIN: --who can win?

CUOMO: But here's what I don't get, so thread this together for me, all right? And I really don't get it. It's not conjecture--

QUINN: Right.

CUOMO: --for the sake of television.

This I - I really don't get it yet. And seeing all the numbers, and even the tabs underneath the polls, I still don't get it. New, new, new, new, new, all the new blood says "New, new, newer, in 70 percent free, this free, that, Medicare-for-All, nothing else will work."

Then head-to-head matchups, Biden best against Trump. You talk about where the party is, 80 percent says center-Left. I don't get it. If it's all new, new, new, Left, Left, Left, then why in head-to-head does Biden win, and why is the party saying 80 percent center-Left?

LOUIS: Well, look, there - there is this gap. And, in fact, your brother talks about it quite a lot that in - in politics, you've got - you've got to--

CUOMO: Does he have an answer? I got to get him on the phone.

LOUIS: --yes, you--

CUOMO: Didn't want to waste my time with you.

LOUIS: --you should ask him, but I mean, look, the - the - the - the reality is the shorthand is Twitter is not real life, right?

QUINN: Yes.

LOUIS: So, there's this noise machine, and we're all hooked into it, and we all sort of, you know, participate in it, and we stir it up, and it tends to skew Left, you know.

And so, when you hear Biden say things like "We don't need to change the - the format of the Supreme Court," well that's a - a not so veiled shot at Buttigieg who's half his age, and is talking about putting, you know, 15 members on the Supreme Court in some kind of complicated scheme that makes a lot of sense maybe to younger people who don't necessarily have the - the awe and respect for institutions that a Joe Biden does.

And so, it's his way of trying to sort of remind everybody. You know, the - the reality is the performance both in the midterms, what all of the polls tell you--

QUINN: Yes.

LOUIS: --it'll - it'll play out. We - I think we can be confident it'll play out in the primary process as well as that. Yes, this is not a far-Left party. The Democratic Party is not a far-Left party when it comes to--

CUOMO: No. Here's - here's one of the--

LOUIS: --to vote.

BERNSTEIN: It got a very strong progressive wing though.

CUOMO: Yes.

QUINN: That's loud.

BERNSTEIN: Right now--

QUINN: That's loud and - and like--

BERNSTEIN: --that right now is - is ascending.

QUINN: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: And one question think--

CUOMO: But the media is amplifying that part--

BERNSTEIN: --but think of this question in terms of--

CUOMO: --you know. QUINN: Well the - if media--

BERNSTEIN: --Joe Biden.

Can any Democrat who voted for the Iraq War win the Presidency or win the nomination? I --I haven't seen a lot of talk about that. I think that - that that, for instance, play that with young voters, play that against Donald Trump, that seems to me is the kind of thing, forget the polls right now.

The polls are a snapshot for - for a moment. There is a Titanic struggle going on. And - and we got to look at each of these issues and how they hit people in the gut, particularly in those few states that this elections can be decided on as it would be.

QUINN: You know--

CUOMO: Well go ahead, Christine. Button it up for us.

QUINN: Yes. As--

CUOMO: I got to go.

QUINN: --as an operative, a former operative, I'm most concerned about the Biden campaign that, and I believe Dr. Biden, they were surprised by what happened with Senator Harris. They should have known busing was going to be an Achilles' heel.

And after the comments about the segregate - segregated senators for segregation, they should have been more prepared. I think they should have known Kamala had been bused. I'll give them that, but to not be prepared for the busing question, the staff's got to get their A-game going.

CUOMO: Well, look, you got - you got rust. You got that you haven't been in it or you've got that, you're just not ready for this particular fight. That's an open question. But here's what I do suspect most. I don't think we have any idea what's going to decide the Democratic nomination yet.

QUINN: I agree with that.

BERNSTEIN: Yes.

CUOMO: I think by this time next year we will have had an entirely different conversation about something that emerged that we didn't know would matter that much back now, but it will.

QUINN: Yes.

CUOMO: So, we'll see what that is and we'll see it together. Thank you very much.

QUINN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Errol, Christine, Carl, couldn't have better people on a night like this.

All right, one big story down. Another one that you have to dig into, Jeffrey Epstein had appeared to beat his case. This is back in the early 2000s, 2008. The man who cut that deal with him, that was his job then, is now the Labor Secretary.

He's got supporters that are part of this administration. They say, "That was a tough deal. It was actually an OK, fair deal."

Now there's a new crop of federal prosecutors, they feel differently. Epstein was just indicted, accused as a serial child predator and trafficker. What you need to know about how he got here and how far this may go, next.

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CUOMO: Jeffrey Epstein, two things you got to know with the onset, made his money in the shadows, but had lots of powerful pals in the spotlight. He stands accused of using that money and those pals to hide his crimes. So, the reach of what and who this case touches now may be dramatic.

Federal prosecutors in New York said the defendant is a registered sex offender, and a continuing danger to the community, who faces devastating evidence, supporting deeply serious charges.

Like what? According to the indictment unsealed today, between 2002 and 2005, Epstein paid girls as young as 14 to have sex with him. He worked with employees and those around him to lure girls to his home, even allegedly paid his victims to recruit other girls.

But a lot of that, really most of it was said back then. So, what's new now? Why the new indictment?

After his arrest, Federal agents searched Epstein's Manhattan mansion. They found what they call a vast trove, hundreds, possibly thousands of lewd photographs of young-looking girls.

Who knew about him back then? Who helped? Who came forward since then? A lot of somebodies were around this man. Our current President joked about Epstein in 2002.

It's about the same time former President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew were flying around on the world - flying all over the world with Epstein on his private plane. While Clinton's spokesperson put out a statement saying he knows nothing about the allegations, and explaining his trips, he's not alone.

[21:40:00] Epstein's social circle is said to include Harvard professors and administrators, Nobel prize-winning scientists, actresses, actors, philanthropists, so who's who of wealthy and powerful people.

Connections and money paid off in the past, most notably in 2008 when Epstein was gift-wrapped what The Miami Herald called, quote, "The most lenient sentence for a serial sex offender in U.S. history."

What was it? 18 months, 13 served. During those 13, six days a week, 12 hours a day at the office, all allowed. You've never heard anything like that. Me either. The man who signed off on that deal, Alexander Acosta, he was the U.S. attorney in South Florida, he is now the U.S. Labor Secretary in President Trump's cabinet.

So, what changed? That's that nagging question. Earlier this year, a Federal judge ruled that the Department of Justice violated the law by failing to confer with Epstein's victims about the deal. We covered that development.

That shines a bright light on now. A full accounting of that case will almost certainly be part of the scrutiny surrounding these new allegations, including any new crimes that don't date back to the early 2000s.

This time, it may be different because despite all the years of reporting, there's something rare going on here. Your attention is on this case. It wasn't last time.

Now, my next guest tried to warn the world about Epstein more than a decade ago. She says the man threatened her, and was able, ultimately, to silence her, but no more.

What happened then? What changed? Vicky Ward, next.

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CUOMO: Look, we all suspect that money can matter when it comes to consequences in this society. And if so, Jeffrey Epstein could be Exhibit A. How did someone with all that proof of real prurience at a minimum get such light treatment? Vicky Ward says she knows the deal, and has been onto this man since 2003. Good to see you on PRIME TIME, as always.

VICKY WARD, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, "KUSHNER, INC." AUTHOR: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: So back then, you say he tried to intimidate you, silenced you, was effective doing so, how so?

WARD: So, at the time, very few people knew who Jeffrey Epstein was. He was this mysterious guy who lived in the biggest private residence in New York. No one knew how he made his money.

He didn't really go out. But he did have this very influential affluent circle of friends that you've mentioned. He had - he caught our attention when I was at Vanity Fair because he flew Bill Clinton on his plane to Africa.

So, I was trying to find out really the source of his money, and I discovered he was not what he said he was. He certainly was not a hedge fund guy. He was not a man - money manager for billionaires - only - he wasn't trading.

What I did discover is that he had been mentored by a man named Steve Hoffenberg who was at that time serving a 20-year jail sense - sentence for masterminding the - then the biggest Ponzi scheme in American history, pre-Bernie Madoff. And--

CUOMO: But we've never heard anything about an investigation of his money.

WARD: Well no because the - the - my story, when I was reporting, also I - you know, he was known for throwing parties to which lots of billionaires came, lots of academics, lawyers, and important people, and there were always these young girls.

I mean, in a way, the Jeffrey Epstein story has always been in plain sight. He flaunted these very--

CUOMO: Right. Just to be clear--

WARD: --young girls.

CUOMO: --we're not talking about 20-somethings in the 50s, 60s--

WARD: No.

CUOMO: Young, teenage and below.

WARD: Absolutely. Many at that time, you know, people would talk to me at the parties they often didn't even speak English. And there was always a sort of nod and a wink, "Oh well we - we don't, you know, we don't ask what Jeffrey is really doing with them."

But two young women did talk to me on the record about their experiences with Jeffrey Epstein, one of them had been 16 at the time she claimed that he allegedly assaulted her. Her sister had been a little older.

Their mother also went on the record. Their characters were vouched for by several sort of really well-respected New Yorkers, including the Artist, Eric Fischl.

Jeffrey Epstein would call me up all the time and ask how the story was going and what did I have on the girls, what did I have on the girls?

And he would say to me, you know, Vicky, if I don't like the way this story turns out, something bad is going to happen to you, something bad is going to happen to your unborn children. I was pregnant with twins.

And then he would say, "And, by the way, that's off the record," and then sort of laugh. As the story went through, serious fact-checks, serious legal vetting, he suddenly appeared in the Editor - in the Magazine's Editor's office.

He and Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair's then-Editor had a private conversation after which the - the - the women were removed from the story. Graydon told me at the time that Jeffrey says he's very sensitive about the women, it should just run as a financial piece.

There had been some negotiation, Jeffrey Epstein in return for taking the women out said that Vanity Fair could use photographs of him, including a picture of him in a bathing suit.

CUOMO: What's the defense of Graydon Carter's decision at the time that he didn't--

WARD: He--

CUOMO: --understand the--

WARD: No.

CUOMO: --true scope of the story.

WARD: He has said I - I believe today, he has said that he didn't think I had the reporting.

Well I think women - the women were afraid, who spoke to me, and their mother, and everyone around them felt that when they were cut from the story that this was proof that Jeffrey - they were no match for Jeffrey Epstein. He was too powerful.

It's exactly what all Jeffrey Epstein's victims have been saying all this time that they're--

CUOMO: So, what do you think changed this time?

WARD: --they're - they're no match.

CUOMO: Because as we were talking about the indictment today--

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: --when we look at it, unsealed today, it is a litany of all the things that I've heard before. The only difference is who will stand behind the allegations.

[21:50:00] WARD: So, I think the culture has changed. And I think, very importantly, the light that The Miami Herald shed on the victims' stories that were incredibly poignant and incredibly credible.

Remember, back in 2008, Alan Dershowitz told Alexander Acosta, you know, and told journalists he was going to make mincemeat of these women.

Well I think in the - The Miami Herald showed that they were credible, and their stories were awful, and what happened was that Congress reacted.

Ben Sasse, the Republican from Nebraska should get a big shout-out for teaming up with the 15 Democrats who said, "Wait a minute. How could this have happened? How could there have been this miscarriage of justice?" They went back and--

CUOMO: Where was that back in 2008, by the way?

WARD: There was - that's the point.

CUOMO: You know, is it - as part of this story, who made the phone calls because that wasn't the Trump administration.

WARD: Correct.

CUOMO: Acosta's in the Trump administration now.

WARD: Correct.

CUOMO: But this was a long time ago. This was like, you know, in Clinton land.

WARD: Right.

CUOMO: You know, where did this happen? And, you know, he - he was friends with Clinton. Then you had Bush. Then you had Obama. I mean, you know, there were lot of different administrations that overlap here. Who made phone calls to whom to get Epstein this deal?

WARD: Well - you mean the one in 2008?

CUOMO: Yes.

WARD: Well Acosta was asked about this, interestingly--

CUOMO: Yes.

WARD: --during the transition.

CUOMO: Yes. WARD: "You know is Epstein going to be a problem during your confirmation hearings?" And he batted it away and said, "No, no. I - I had one meeting over Epstein. And actually I was told that was above my pay grade to - to let it--

CUOMO: Right. He said he--

WARD: --to let it go."

CUOMO: --he's got defenders come on the show here, and they make the same case.

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: That first of all he did what he could. This was not as easy as people think it is.

WARD: Yes. But I think that that's clearly not true. First of all, you know, as - as, you know, you have to give a shout-out to those - a lawyer from the area, Bradley Edwards who represented many of these victims, you know, the second that that plea deal was announced, Bradley Edwards is the one who sued on behalf of the victims--

CUOMO: To get it to - come out--

WARD: --to - to - and said this--

CUOMO: --to unseal it?

WARD: Well, no, and said this is a breach of the law, this breaks was called--

CUOMO: Right.

WARD: --the - the - the - the - the Crime Victims' Rights Act.

CUOMO: Right.

WARD: You - you can't strike a deal without - without telling the victims.

CUOMO: Right.

WARD: So, I think that this story has played in plain sight, Chris, throughout all those administrations. What's been missing is the outrage.

Finally, Congress has acted, which is I'm sure why the FBI felt emboldened, along with it's interesting that that the - the Public Corruption Unit is involved because that suggests bribery, possibly somewhere.

CUOMO: Well, look, we'll keep an eye on it now. It's good that people are focused on it. We're going to benefit very greatly from the context of your experience, from back then, all the way until today, and we'll see what new names emerge-- WARD: We will.

CUOMO: --that give new context to the allegations.

WARD: Conspiracies.

CUOMO: Vicky Ward, thank you very much.

WARD: Thank you.

CUOMO: Appreciate it, as always.

All right, so from the worst of people in the U.S. to talk about, to the best, did you see the women lead us to greatness again in the World Cup? What a wonder that team is! Let me ask you something.

Why aren't the dollars falling the way the confetti will to celebrate them? That's the Closing Argument, next.

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CUOMO: U.S.A! U.S.A! Our women put us on top again. The women are the best in the world. They did it with signature American strength and swagger, Black, White, gay, straight, all as one kick-ass squad. Four Championships, it makes Team USA the victor in half the Women's World Cups ever played.

What else does it prove? We can come together when it matters. Even Twitter had one voice about the women's winning ways. When we combine our different faces from all these places, we are often more than the rest of the world can muster.

So cool for mine and all your daughters to see this, and see themselves in those champions. But the win also highlights a challenge, and we should use this moment to do something about it. Listen.

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CUOMO: Not U.S.A. "Equal pay. Equal Pay." You probably know, 28 members of the team are suing U.S. Soccer

claiming gender discrimination. Last week, Members of the House Democratic Women's Caucus sent a letter to U.S. Soccer, noting in part, "A woman player's base salary is approximately 30 grand less than her male counterpart's."

Now, you Google this, you can complicate the analysis. But it really seems to hide the simple reality. Look at it this way. If the men's team had won it all last year, each player would have earned more than a million dollars, OK, each. The women get less than a fifth of that, and they made it all the way again.

Check out the TV ratings, up 20 percent from last year's Men's final. Days before this weekend's victory, Nike said the women's home jersey is the top-selling soccer jersey ever, no matter the gender.

President Trump is involved here too. He's been feuding with Star Forward, Megan Rapinoe. The latest is this. He has praise for them. Good for him! No formal invite to the White House though.

Here's my argument. This is a great opportunity for this President, and for the team, and for women, and for the country. Invite the Women's team. They dominated the rest of the world. It would be the best application of the slogan "America First."

Sure, Rapinoe might take a pass. Others on the team may as well. So what? That's their choice. This is America. The team won on the biggest stage. The President should showcase them. He should call on U.S. Soccer to pay them equally.

Own the bully pulpit. You love the bully pulpit, Mr. President. And this is the time all of us would want to hear what you say. It would be a great thing for this President, the team, women, and the country. Simple argument, that's it.

Thanks for watching. CNN TONIGHT, we got D. Lemon right now.