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VP Mike Pence Visits Migrant Detention Facility At The Border; Hurricane Conditions Likely Tonight As Barry Strengthens; David Crosby: Trump Is Darker Than Nixon. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 12, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: --doesn't fix the grief, obviously, for these responders, quote, to continue to experience going forward.

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

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

Special information for you tonight. We have new video inside detention facilities at the Border. What you see is going to bother you, and it should, and you must not look away.

Our Vice President, Mike Pence saw it as well, heartbreaking scenes, but he had a different spin. You need to hear that as well.

Members of Congress have been down there recently. They're treating this like this is all new information. They testified about it today, but they left out the most important point. We'll take that on together.

And we have to check in on New Orleans. It's now too late to leave, I'm sorry to say. The command is shelter-in-place. We have the latest information on what to expect and when. We have a report from a local official with a check with the preparations and the concerns.

And you've probably heard, Labor Secretary Acosta, he's out, and the serial predator, that he cut that nice deal, now stands accused of even more troubling crimes that will now be a window for us into where this case is going. Jeffrey Epstein could be a crime and a prosecution we will never forget.

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




CUOMO: All right, so we now have video from journalists inside the Border facilities, specifically this one in McAllen, Texas. I've been there. Close to 400 hundred men sleeping inside, there are fences around it, in these pens where they sleep, concrete floors, no pillows, no mats.

You'll see these things that look like aluminum foil. Maybe you've seen them at local races in your area. They're foil blankets, OK? That's what they have. They can keep you warm but certainly they're not comforting. The men are packed in.

Pam Brown from CNN spoke with some. Listen.








BROWN: Do you mind being on camera?


BROWN: What?


BROWN: How well (ph)?



CUOMO: Now, that's hard to hear. What is the conversation is that how are the conditions where you sleep? The men are saying, "We don't have any mats. We can't brush our teeth. We can't take showers. It's been a month," well some of them say that "We haven't taken showers."

Now, officials deny that claim. They say that these - that these complaints are being exaggerated. But let me tell you what's not exaggerated. The conditions suck, OK? You wouldn't want to spend five minutes in one of these places.

You're going to hear a lot of reporters saying "The smell. The smell." Listen, it's what hits you first when you go in the facilities. We've been there. It's accurate. There is a stench from the humanity that has been stuffed in these places, in the same clothes, for weeks, in some cases, they've had them on.

Let me read to you directly from the pool reporter on the trip, Josh Dawsey from The Washington Post. You've seen him on the show here.

"The stench was horrendous. The cages were so crowded that it would have been impossible for all of the men to lie on the concrete. There were 384 single men in the portal who allegedly crossed the Border illegally. There are no mats or pillows, some of the men were sleeping on concrete. When the men saw the press arrive, they began shouting, and wanted to tell us they've been in there 40 days or longer. The men said they were hungry. They wanted to brush their teeth. It was sweltering hot. Agents were guarding the cages wearing face masks. Water was available outside the fences. Agents said the men could leave those areas and get water if the press wasn't there." Security. "Most of the men didn't speak English, looked dirty. They said they've been there for 40 days or more, upon questioning from the pool."

Now CBP, Custom and Border Protection, they say the men are regularly fed. They get hot meals, juice, crackers. They can brush their teeth daily and have regular access to showers. But they do acknowledge that some might not have showered for 10 to 20 days since their shower facility had only recently arrived.

Now, CBP says the facility is air-conditioned. Reporters say it was sweltering in the facility. It is 99 degrees today in McAllen, Texas, and these facilities were not made to be air-conditioned. So, you know, this is a losing battle, anyway you look about it.

Now, we've been telling you about this for months. These conditions are not new. They're being treated like they're new by these - the media who got to go there, that's understandable, but by politicians too.

These Members of Congress, it's their job to go down there, and they should do that. They should go. But to pretend that they never heard of this until now, and that, "Boy, they upset at CBP and DHS," they have been told about the conditions by CBP and DHS for six months.

The Vice President went there as well. He had a different spin on the situation. Listen.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Remember, it was just a few short weeks ago that Congress finally acknowledged the crisis, and gave us an additional $4.6 billion in humanitarian aid.

[21:05:00] Now, we're going to continue to improve, we're going to continue to provide care at the standard the American people expect.

But Pamela, remember, for the last six months, Democrats in Congress said it was a manufactured crisis. And - and - and - and it was all we could do to finally get the Democrats in Congress to agree to give us additional funding to deal with this crisis.


CUOMO: Now, listen, I got to be honest about something with you, OK? I have respect for Mike Pence. I've dealt with him in the past. I believe he takes his faith very seriously.

I cannot believe as someone who holds themself out as a Christian that he would say that, knowing that you're going to hear it, that this is the first time this has been recognized, and everybody was saying it was a manufactured crisis.

He knows damn well that this President sold people on a Brown Menace that when we looked at those migrant caravans, he'd say, "Oh, they're all military-age, and they're all MS-13, and they're drugged, and they're terrorists, and they're killers, and some, I assume, are good people." That's the quote. He never talked to you about kids and families.

Why am I heated up about this? Because look at what we're allowing in our country, and everybody is lying to you. This President was told this is what was going to happen.

Only now do we hear Ken Cuccinelli, who's now in charge of the conditions of these people, saying, "You know, over 50 percent of them are kids and women." You knew that. He's learning it for the first time. He just gotten the job. The President knew it. The White House knew it. Mike Pence knew it.

So, it was a manufactured crisis because you were trying to scare people to sell your fence when you knew your fence was a farce, you knew it wouldn't protect against this situation, and you were not in any rush to get ready for these conditions.

And you declared a national emergency for a fence, which isn't just unconstitutional, but it is insignificant to dealing with this. Why don't you extend that emergency to this situation and do things? Well we can't. Well you couldn't do that either, but you did it anyway.

Why? I'll tell you why. You're not going to hear this President talking about these conditions with compassion, have you? You're not going to see him come down there, have you? You're not going to see him with the kids, have you? Why? Because these kids' faces don't sell fear.


CUOMO: These faces do. That's why they let them into these facilities. That's why they got to show cameras with the men. Harshness of these conditions work for this administration because they send a message of deterrence. "You don't want to be like this, do you? Ooh"

Now, what's the reality? Everybody in this situation has waited too long. The men and women who work on the Border have been saying this was a problem for months. Look, we have to investigate how they're doing their job. There are too many allegations of wrongdoing by them. You have to expose that as well.

The new Head of DHS has been on the Hill six times, starting since March, saying exactly what you're seeing, begging for resources. So, this is not new to Congress, even though they are now pretending that it is new, and at least they're seeming to take - to care.

Listen to Congress today.


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): Mr. Chairman, it needs to be noted into record, I spoke to CBP agents, even though they told us not to speak to them too. Remember that?

And I said, "What do you think we need to do because you guys are overwhelmed?" They said, one of them, "Stop sending money. It's not working."

Another one said, "I wasn't trained for this. I am not a social worker. I am a medical - not a medical care worker." He actually said "I want to be at the Border. That's what I was trained to be at."

The separate - the one - other one - the last one, Mr. Chairman, "The separation policy isn't working," he said.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I believe these women. I believed the canker sores that I saw in their mouths because they were only allowed to be fed unnutritious food. I believe them when they said they were sleeping on concrete floors for two months. I believe them.

And what was worse about this, Mr. Chairman, was the fact that there were American flags hanging all over these facilities. That children were being separated from their parents in front of an American flag! That women were being called these names under an American flag! We cannot allow for this.

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): This is not an American way of dealing with the stranger who comes and seeks succor. You can talk all you want about whether the poor Border Control is overwhelmed. That makes no excuse for how we are treating children.

[21:10:00] If there's one basic value that ought to unite us as Democrats and Republicans, as Americans, is how we treat children. Their children, our children, it doesn't matter. That's our fundamental value.


CUOMO: Look, I'm happy they care. And I know that it's emotional. And I respect the emotion. I know how they feel.

A lot of journalists who have to go down there know how they feel. The lot of the people who are working for us, the men and women keeping us safe on the Border, they have those feelings too.

Here's my problem, OK? You want to match passion for passion? I can do that all day long because I feel for these people too. I feel that frustration.

But you know what? I can't do a damn thing about it, expect tell you, and test the people in power about why they haven't done a damn thing for six months. If you're feeling this way now, where were you six months ago when you knew this? And if you want to say, "Well we couldn't get the assurances for the

conditions, we didn't just want to give a blank check for more of these policies, we don't," this wasn't about ICE. This wasn't about giving money for how they're going to do these roundups.

I'm not saying you shouldn't take that on as a fight. But you played politics with this. And if you're going to cry for these kids now, that's good. But do something about it.

We don't need testimony about how bad the conditions are. Everybody knows. It's not a situation where you have to expose what the government wants to hide. They're only too happy to show it to you.

You waited six months. I don't like that I don't see any Republicans bearing witness to this reality. Are they buying into this new harshness?

Are they so afraid that this President will step on their neck that they don't want to say, "Ooh, we shouldn't treat people like this because, you know, the boss says treating them like this will keep them from coming?"

Is that where we are? So, look, I'm fine with the emotion. I love the passion. Harness it. Make some plans to fix it. That's American. That's American. If you want to use symbolism, use it. Flags shouldn't be waving over places that treat people like this.

You've known it for six months. You've come on this show. We've talked about it. A lot of those people on that screen hide from this show, go on social media, talk about it, fine, go on a friendly audience and talk about it, fine, but you don't want to be tested about it.

Well now's your chance. Do something about the conditions. Change the rules. Think about it. Debate it openly. Give them resources. Demand it. Fight for it. Push this Administration to do more, now's your chance. Everybody knows how you feel. How will you act?

I'm glad you saw those pictures for yourself because they've been keeping so many of us, you know, awake at night, for months. And imagine what it would be like to be living in there?

Imagine to be one of those kids. You think they're ever going to forget this experience? How will they remember us? It's a shame. It is shameful. But at least we're all on the same page now. Let's see what happens next. I will not look away. I hope you don't either.

Now, another big story tonight, more people in crisis, a life- threatening storm bearing down on New Orleans. Got to check the path, got to check the timing. Tropical storm Barry is going to be the real deal. Doesn't have to be a hurricane. They say it will be. They say it may even strengthen. Where's it going to hit? How bad will it be?

Let's bring in Meteorologist, Tom Sater with the latest, next.








CUOMO: So tonight, tropical storm Barry is churning closer to the Gulf Coast, gaining power.

It is expected into a hurricane by the time it makes landfall, could turn into a Category 1, could strengthen, could weaken. We never really know. You got to prepare for the worst and we all hope we are wrong, and it's less than we expect.

Let's bring in Tom Sater. Tom, we've talked about this before. It's the only time, as a journalist, I'm happy to be wrong. I'm happy for people to say--


CUOMO: --"Boy, you hyped that up. I wish you hadn't."

SATER: Right.

CUOMO: I have no qualms saying "This is the worst it could be, prepare for it." What do you see?

SATER: You know, this is unprecedented, really Chris, and that's what makes this one unusual. This doesn't have to become a hurricane. That's not what this is about. It's not about the category.

Let me remind you, this was three years ago, we had a storm that was unnamed, and it caused $10 billion in damage here. We had $2.5 billion in insurance claims alone.

This is not a major hurricane but it's a big rainmaker. But what's unprecedented about it, it's 85 miles from Morgan City, it's going to make landfall around 8:00, 9:00 in the morning, could be a Category 1.

But really, it's about the surge. Even though it's only going to be three to five feet, what we're watching here is that the rivers in the Mississippi are trying to make their way into the Gulf, and we get these to advance for us, as this moves through, everything to the East, as you know Chris, is the problem spot in the dirty side.

So, even if this makes landfall, the surge alone, the Southeast winds into the mouth of the Mississippi have already started, and most likely will continue until noon tomorrow. That's the battle.

As it pushes that water against the Mississippi, it rises in New Orleans. Yesterday, the forecast was for 20 feet. They've dropped it to 19, and that is huge because the levees are at 20 feet, so that one foot is critical.

But you can see the circulation. It's hard to find, really. This is interesting to note too. Unlike large hurricanes that have that eye we talk about, it's like a fuel line, it feeds on that warm waters, when they move inland, it chokes that fuel line.

This one's different is this makes itself well inland into Louisiana and Mississippi, it's still going to be able to tap into this moisture--

CUOMO: Right.

SATER: --we're looking at 90-degree temperatures here. This is unusual, thank you climate change, but this is unusual. The Weather Prediction Center out of Washington D.C. issued a rare three-day excessive rain alert.

CUOMO: Right.

SATER: That's only been issued two times before, once for Harvey, and once for Florence. So, this entire region, I'm getting more concerned now about Mississippi, just being inundated. I mean, 10, 20 inches, 25, there's no place in the country that can--

CUOMO: That's right.

SATER: --handle that kind of rainfall.

CUOMO: Let alone, a place that is set up like a basin. I mean that's the whole problem is that the Mississippi--

SATER: That's the next problem.

CUOMO: --when you're down there, you look up, and you see barges going by, and they've already gotten soaked, so there's no saturation point for them. That's why this is so worrisome.


CUOMO: Tom, let's do this.

SATER: Right.

CUOMO: You get any new information during my watch here, let me know, I'll come back to you, but thank you for keeping--

SATER: You got it.

CUOMO: --people aware, all right?

SATER: Sure.

CUOMO: We're going to talk to somebody who's a local official about what they're concerned about, what the parameters are, if you're aware and how, what you may have to do, because now you got to hunker down, all right? In New Orleans, that's the order from the Mayor. Others are following orders to get out. Please do, play it safe. We'll give you the intelligence, we'll give you the concerns, the where, the when, the why, next.








CUOMO: All right, so right now, Barry is just hours from landfall. The order from New Orleans at this hour is shelter-in-place. It's too late to leave.

Now look, you don't have to be - feel like "Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!" You know if you're living down there, you know this reality, but just be smart about it.

A different story, a few miles away, still mandatory evac orders in parts of Plaquemines Parish on the Southernmost tip of Louisiana. The President of that Parish is with us tonight.

Kirk Lepine, it's good to have you on PRIME TIME. I wish it for a different reason, but I'm happy to get the word out. What do you want people to know, Sir?


A little background of Plaquemines Parish, Chris. We're south of New Orleans. We're 65 miles long. We have levees that border the Mississippi River. We also have levees that are what we call back levees that border the marsh.

When this storm or anything occurs, we're always frightened about the back levees. They're smaller than our river levees.

[21:25:00] But because of this high unprecedented river that's been here nine months, 270 days that have sat on our river levees, and a predicted three to five foot storm surge, we are very concerned about some of the over-toppings of our - our river levee. So, that's what's got us a little sitting on pins and needles right now.

CUOMO: And that water has nowhere to go. I've been down there. I understand your situation. It's almost incorrectable without something really extreme and changing how your population is organized.

So, what is the message to the locals? If you're where, do you need to get out, what is the timing, what do you suggest?

LEPINE: Thursday morning at 6:00 A.M., we issued an - a mandatory evacuation for what we call the East Bank part of our Parish because our Parish is separated by the Mississippi River, and from the West Bank part of the river, which we considered Oakville to Venice.

The - the area between Belle Chasse and Oakville is in the 100-year protection, so we feel confident of that area. But everyone out of those other areas, we asked them to do - have a mandatory evacuation, and we have shelter, and we've asked people to leave, and really heed our warning.

CUOMO: What can I do to help people, if they're looking for somewhere to stay? Is there website they should go to? Is there a number they should call?

LEPINE: Well we - we did it for a day and a half. And - and the Sheriff and I have been vigilant about trying to make people understand the severity. Some people get complacent sometimes, not looking at the - the - the strength of the storm.

CUOMO: Right.

LEPINE: And - but anything can happen. And that's why we want to be proactive. And anything you could do Chris, we - we have a local shelter here in Plaquemines Parish and Belle Chasse, Louisiana. And we've asked all of our residents to please evacuate.

CUOMO: Is there a number or something I can give people or you think people know what to do?

LEPINE: I think they know what to do. But I - I do have a number. 504- 934-6476.

CUOMO: Give it to them again.

LEPINE: 504-934.


LEPINE: 6000, I'm sorry, 6000.

CUOMO: See, that's why.

LEPINE: I apologize.

CUOMO: I heard that lady in the background giving you the right number. We'll put it on the screen. And I'll make sure that I tweet it out. Listen, I mean I've been down there. Sometimes a little bit of information goes a long way. Know this. We'll be paying attention.


CUOMO: And whatever you need afterwards--

LEPINE: Yes. CUOMO: --we'll put out the word for people to come together. God bless. I hope it's not needed. I hope we're all worrying more than we have to. But just in case, I know that you're ready, and we'll do what we can to support you.

LEPINE: Thank - thank you, Chris. And when this is over, come down the - the - also - get some - the best fishing in the world.

CUOMO: That's what I hear. That's what I hear. I'm always working. I don't get to fish down there. But I'm happy to tell the stories that emerge.

Kirk Lepine, the best to you. Be safe, and good luck going forward.

LEPINE: Thank you. Appreciate that, Chris. Thank you.

CUOMO: Absolutely. I'll get that number. We'll put it out. I think it was 504-934-6000. But we'll make sure that we have it right. If you want it, look at me on Twitter @ChrisCuomo, we'll put it there. We're going to continue to monitor the storm. You know CNN's going to cover it all the way through.

But ahead, prosecutors have just offered another reason why Jeffrey Epstein should stay behind bars. He's got a bail hearing coming up at the beginning of next week. But what they say that he did just as the word started to spread of attention to these new claims for him preying on children, you're going to want to hear it.

We have the journalist who says Epstein threatened her. She understands what he's about. She understands what this entire situation might be about going forward. Insight, next.








CUOMO: Multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein stands accused tonight of dropping $350,000, arguably, to ensure that those close to him keep quiet.

That's what prosecutors are saying that the accused child sex predator did by starting to make payments just two days after the Miami Herald published its astonishing investigation back in November.

Now, that is on top of a police report saying that Epstein hired investigators to intimidate accusers. One person who knows the ins and outs of this situation, and what Mr.

Epstein would do to silence people, Investigative Journalist, Vicky Ward, it's good to see you, my friend.


CUOMO: Now, I saw - I saw - I saw your face moving as I was reading that because yes, prosecutors believe the payments were made around the time the Herald came out. But you say that those payments were not tied to the Herald. There was something else. What?

WARD: Yes. So, the Miami Herald piece came out a week before a very important trial was scheduled in Jeffrey Epstein's life.

That trial was - had - was basically a suit for malicious prosecution that was brought by a lawyer, down in Florida, who's kind of the unsung hero of this entire narrative, a guy called Bradley Edwards, who had represented many of the victims mentioned in the Miami Herald's piece. He--

CUOMO: He fought for the deal to be unsealed.

WARD: And - and - and - and Bradley Edwards is the guy, exactly who - who went to court right after Alexander Acosta's outrageous plea deal, and he's the one who originally got it declared, you know, basically illegal.

He then had a malicious prosecution case against Jeffrey Epstein. It was coming to court. He - his team was - was getting every witness they could.

And that was, I think, my sources done in Florida say, Jeffrey Epstein, most likely these witnesses were probably on his staff, and Jeffrey Epstein would argue that he was just giving them bonuses.

CUOMO: All right, well look, there are always two sides to a story, at least.

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: But the money becomes relevant here.

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: And, you know, we've talked a lot about all of these dark theories about well was there any hedge fund, he never really traded, people can't find back office people, how did he get this money, was it some kind of scheme--

WARD: Right.

CUOMO: --overall? Southern District is interested in it as well, why?

[21:35:00] WARD: Yes, and the SEC. And again, so what I've heard today is that they are talking to

outside consultants, because if it can be proved, if they can prove that Jeffrey Epstein's entire fortune is basically fraudulent, and for example, one person claiming that, is this guy Steve Hoffenberg who says that Jeffrey Epstein never mentioned when he went out to raise money that he had ever worked with him.

So that right there, that's a fraud. If the SEC and the Southern District can - can say his entire fortune is a fraud, they have the right to seize it. Bye-bye Jeffrey Epstein's defense team because he can no longer afford to pay them.

CUOMO: And the money is important. All these stories about intimidation tactics and overwhelming legal competency around him, if you can't pay for it, you don't have it.

WARD: That's exactly right.

CUOMO: All right, so then, the third aspect of this that is evolved recently is women that you would talk to back then--

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: --have now come forward.

WARD: This afternoon.

CUOMO: And they are telling their stories and that is really--

WARD: They - yes.

CUOMO: --we should be shining the light because it's got to be about the women because this is the most flagrant example of human trafficking we've ever seen--

WARD: Right.

CUOMO: --at this level.

WARD: Right. They are - you'll be reading about it shortly the - with the - the women I spoke to back in 2002, you know, remember very well all of our conversations.

And they're coming back to talk back on record about what happened, and about the fact, Chris, that one of them went to the police in 1996, and I followed up with this back in 2002, and the police wouldn't really respond to me, and they wouldn't really respond to her, so this, you know, just think about how long this story has played out.

CUOMO: Sure. And it's got a long way to go because--

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: --one of the big points of intrigue now, and people have different feelings about it, why is the Public Corruption Unit in the Southern District doing this? Now, you talk to some investigators, and I know you're doing this--

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: --full-time, but they'll say "Well, you know, you don't want to draw any specific conclusions from that. It could just be an administrative move." But you say no.

WARD: I say no.

CUOMO: You think that that it's about where this is going.

WARD: So, I've had meetings again today, preliminary meetings. The big question about why Alexander Acosta really gave that sweetheart deal has still not really satisfactorily been answered.

And there is a lot, you know, I've had meetings that suggest that maybe there was bribery of public officials, and this would be back, 2008, under the Obama era, right? I - and I think--

CUOMO: No proof at this point but--

WARD: No proof. No proof.

CUOMO: --that is something you think maybe fueling--

WARD: I do.

CUOMO: --the prosecution.

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: And we know that Acosta stepped down today, but that could be just simple politics. He has become a liability for this President.

WARD: Correct.

CUOMO: And as much as they talk about loyalty in this White House, it only moves one way point, all right. You cannot point to anybody who's been under fire in the White House, the President has stood by them, and they're still around, so.

WARD: Jared and Ivanka.

CUOMO: Well but that's true. But that's--

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: --by you, they've been in trouble.

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: The government hasn't been chasing them away where they've become a big-time liability.

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: Acosta has. Truth or not, politically, he's a liability.

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: You believe we're going to hear a further story about people who knew and helped at the time.

WARD: Yes. Un - unquestionably. I mean I have - there are too many sources.

And look, and what Acosta said this week really doesn't hold up. And if you compare it to what he said in 2011, his - the letter he wrote in 2011 was all about how his own team couldn't sort of withstand the heat.

CUOMO: Right.

WARD: You know--

CUOMO: Which I've never heard a prosecutor say.

WARD: Right. It - it was completely at odds with what he said yesterday. So no, that - that - you know, there is still a huge question mark, Chris--

CUOMO: Right.

WARD: --around, a very simple question, who is Jeffrey Epstein?

CUOMO: Absolutely. And I think that that is something that's going to have to come out.

WARD: Right.

CUOMO: We'll all be following this. And it's of major import, because behind it all are all these girls who are face of one of the biggest problems in this country that nobody talks about.

WARD: Right.

CUOMO: Vicky Ward, thank you so much.

WARD: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Appreciate it.

All right, got a treat for you on a Friday night. How about this? David Crosby. Yes, like the real one. That's right. I don't have just some guy with that name.

This is the legend. His music just part of a remarkable jury - journey, we're going to talk about the new documentary, where his head is on politics, and just what it's like to be David Crosby, next.







CUOMO: It is not often that I have the pleasure of having a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer in my house. From his days with the Byrds to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, David Crosby has a legacy that few can match.




CUOMO: Crosby has one of the voices that is very high on the list of people I wish I could sing like when I mangle his songs in my car for so many years. David Crosby, Remember My Name is what's going to be coming out in select theaters. It is really great to have you.

DAVID CROSBY, MUSICIAN, SINGER, SONGWRITER, FOUNDING MEMBER OF BYRDS AND CROSBY, STILLS & NASH: Thank you, man. I - I've wanted to sit here for a long time.

CUOMO: Well ordinarily, if you hear, it's because you got to - take a beating. But not tonight. The idea of your life and the message of your life for people, you got a long way to go, you got a lot of gas in the tank, but what do you want people to take away from this story?

CROSBY: Oh boy! So many things. That you're not done, that you can change, that you can grow, and that it's worth it, that long-term love is a - a - a major benefit in your life, all kinds of stuff.

It's a love story amongst all the other stories, you know, the downfall and redemption story, and all of that. I - I am - I'm very happy man. It's a very gritty film. You - you - you'll see that it's a - it's not easy on me, and it's - it's not easy to watch really.

CUOMO: So, let me - let me use your life for a second for the benefit of the now. You lived through revolutionary times, and times of great tumult.

[21:45:00] So much of your music early on with the groups that you played with and what you created yourself were, if not anthems, they were relevant narratives of the time.

And I - one of the things I was reading, you were saying, we need a song now for our times, and I've been thinking that for so long. Compare now to then.

CROSBY: It's darker now, I think, because the guy in charge is consciously doing the wrong thing. He's doing it on purpose. The--

CUOMO: Darker than Nixon.

CROSBY: Darker than Nixon, that's really saying some stuff.

CUOMO: Yes, why?

CROSBY: I - I - I thought about it before I said it. Nixon--

CUOMO: Nixon organized the felony.


CUOMO: You know he put it together in place. We don't have any of those elements here.

CROSBY: No. I think this is a worst guy. Nixon was at least somewhat constrained by the norm by the way politics were done then. This is a brand-new level of low.

Our current President doesn't have anything restraining him at all. He has no morals. He has no restraint. He has no intelligence.

He's like - the way I see him is like a spoiled kid who's gotten loose in his dad's office where he's never been allowed to go, and he's running around peeing on all the papers, you know, and saying, "I'll fix you guys," he's kind of like that.

I - I - I think he's doing us great harm, you know.

CUOMO: I've never heard that before. Now, here's what's interesting to hear, this coming from you.

Your music, and you personally, you're loved in so many places that are Trump country, you know, CSN&Y, I mean the Byrds, I mean you on your own, I mean that is music that appeals to the heartland of this country.

What do you do when you're playing there? And how do you reconcile your connection to the Trump base--

CROSBY: Well--

CUOMO: --which is very real.

CROSBY: It's very tough. I don't want to exclude anybody. But at the same time, I don't put up with any nonsense, you know.

If I get somebody in an audience saying, "Hey, shut up, and sing," I tell them, "Hey look, I've got the microphone. You can't win. We're going to extract you like a bad tooth, if you keep mouthing off. This is - everybody around you paid to hear these songs. So, we're going to do the songs, and you're going to shut up."

I can usually take them down. CUOMO: But it's interesting because you're reaching out to these people at the same time that it's such a time of fundamental tension. If there were songs about today, what would be the themes that need to be hit on, and the ideas that you would want to resonate?

CROSBY: The ideal of America. America is an idea. It's not really a - a patch of turf. It's an idea.

And - and if there was a thing that we could celebrate that would help pull us together, it's the ideals that we founded this country on, the equality of human beings, the - the, you know, we - we're - we built this system in reaction to monarchy that we were trying to get away from in Europe.

And the - the idea of democracy is correct. It's right. It's just been bent by how much money the corporations have got. That's what bent it. And they bought our Congress. And that's what's bent. That's what's wrong.

CUOMO: It's so interesting that what I hope becomes a metaphor issue in this election, which is what's happening on the Border, because I believe it's an assemblage of a lot of things that we have to deal with right now, is that the one thing that this President never hammers in his harshness of how to stop this, stop these people, are the hirers.

And it's not just because he's one of them, you know, you know, God forbid--

CROSBY: He was (ph)--

CUOMO: --anybody judge him for all the illegal workers that he has. But those are the money interests. Those are the power interests. And he has chosen to go at the little guy, even though he's supposed to be the champion of the little guy.

And it's interesting to watch - I was watching your face tonight, when we were showing those images, and listening to the lawmakers, what do you make of what's happening there?

CROSBY: I think it's - he's deliberately doing something really awful. He's trying to stop a thing.

He doesn't want little Brown people coming into the country, right? He doesn't like little Black people, doesn't like Brown people, he doesn't want them in the country, OK, he's a racist.

He - he's trying to scare them off by making it be horrific, and he is pretty horrific. Taking your kids away from you? That's pretty horrible.

CUOMO: When someone says to you out there on the road, "Law and order brother! Law and order! Come the right way, and you don't have to worry about that."

CROSBY: I want them to come the right way. I want them to apply for citizenship at a - at a, you know, a - a regular place in - you know, a - an embassy, and try to - to get into a regular program to get into the United States of America, because that's how it's done, all over the world.

CUOMO: Sure.

CROSBY: That's how you do it. That's what I want. But I think people who come - the reason we offered asylum to people is because they were - they were fleeing something truly awful, OK?

[21:50:00] If somebody shows up at our gate, and says, "You know, they're shooting my kind of people where I live, can I please have a chance at asylum here?" I - what kind of country are we going to be? What does it say on the Statue of Liberty?

CUOMO: Well this Administration says that's just a poem.

CROSBY: Yes, well I'm--

CUOMO: Not a policy.

CROSBY: I'm siding with - I'm siding with the Statue of Liberty, I'm--

CUOMO: You're with Emma Lazarus.

CROSBY: Yes, I'm with the--

CUOMO: You're with the Lady with the Lamp. Listen, David Crosby, you have given people so much pleasure, and you will continue to do so, and you speak your mind, and you follow your heart.

CROSBY: Thank you.

CUOMO: And I look forward to people seeing the story of your life, but more importantly, I look forward to the next five chapters.

CROSBY: I will be out there listening too, I promise.

CUOMO: Well I've - I apologize in advance.

CROSBY: Thank you.

CUOMO: David Crosby, thank you, and best of luck to you going forward.

CROSBY: You too, man.

CUOMO: All right, an important victory today for the heroes of 9/11. Fight's not over. In fact, the most important part of the battle remains. There is one man who holds the key to improving the lives of all those who we swore to never forget, and then we forgot.

A Closing Argument, next.







CUOMO: Senator Mitch McConnell promised a dying man he would finally do the right thing. Now, we must all come together, Left, Right and Reasonable, and make sure that the Senator puts the 9/11 funding bill on the floor, and that he doesn't mess with it.

Now, remember this, the emotional plea from Detective Luis Alvarez.


LUIS ALVAREZ, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: And I'm going to make sure that you never forget to take care of the 9/11 responders.


CUOMO: Now, when Luis got too sick to travel, he sent his team back to Capitol Hill with a gift for Senator McConnell. In exchange, they got a promise.


JOHN FEAL, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER: Mitch McConnell made a commitment to the 9/11 community and my team leaders that he is going to help us get a piece of legislation that was - that's going to be passed in the House in July, for an August vote in the Senate.

We're satisfied. Are we happy? No. We're go - we're - we're going to leave here, and Luis Alvarez is going to die. And in that meeting, we gave Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, Luis Alvarez's badge.


CUOMO: That's right. Luis Alvarez gifted his badge to Senator McConnell. It's a big deal for these guys on the job to do that. And McConnell is the same man who in 2015 stripped money from the Victims Fund from a transportation bill at the last minute.

Now the badge came with a note, which read in part, "I want you to know that my time to leave this world is fast approaching. My goal and legacy in this world was to see the VCF bill passed. You have the power to do that. Please look deep into your conscience and realize it's the right thing to do. And if you pass it, I will die a happy man."

He called his badge "A reminder of my legacy and yours."

Now, if you hadn't heard, Luis Alvarez died two weeks ago, from cancer. But now, he does have a chance for his legacy to be fulfilled with this funding.

And I just want to remind you, this is the same guy in these two pictures. This is the kind of illness that is eating our heroes. He's a 20-year vet of the NYPD, spent months at Ground Zero, before he was sick.

There are too many who are sharing that type of illness that Luis had. As of December 2014, more than 8,000 comp claims had been submitted. By June of this year, that number was over 47,000. It's on your screen.

Why? There were so many toxins in the dust and debris on that day, and in the days that followed, it was all over us. It never went away. It leads to lung problems, cancer. Doctors say symptoms can take years to manifest.

And, let's be honest, a lot of this stuff was hidden from these men and women down there. "We're not sure. We're not sure."

To this point, Congress has appropriated $7.375 billion for the fund. That was supposed to last 10 years from the 2011 through the end of 2020. More than $5 billion though, was already been spent. And 21,000 claims are still outstanding, so there's just not enough money.

And these people that we have called heroes have had to beg for help every few years. It's not right.

The new bill is so important because it takes the worry away. There is no limit on funding. It says simply, "Such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2019 and each fiscal year thereafter through year 2090." So, they don't have to keep coming back and begging for the same relief.

Imagine dealing with coughing blood, suffering, struggling with family issues because of these illnesses, and then having to worry about whether you can pay the medical bills, when you got sick, rescuing people and looking for victims after 9/11.

And you heard this entire country say it would never forget, and then you watched, as you and so many like you, faded from the rest of our memories, and you wound up in another death match trying to get what you were promised that we're even waiting on this, that we're even here, you know it's a national disgrace. We all do.

Senator McConnell, the House passed this bill today with only a dozen dissenters. Please, don't break your promise to this man, and countless others like him.

There can be no delay. There can be no alteration to your promise, not here. There's no advantage in shortchanging these men and women. You've done it before. Please do not do it again.

And Mr. President, you're going to have to sign it, right? It's the way the legislative process works. And this is a chance for you to do something easy and good. Own this priority. Call McConnell. Tell him "This matters." No games. Get it done. Show these men and women and show the country there is still something that brings us together.

Thank you for watching. A CNN Special Report, The Hidden Workforce: Undocumented in America starts right now.