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House Votes To Condemn Trump's Racist Remarks; House Passes Resolution Condemning Trump's Racist Comments; No Charges For Officer Accused In Eric Garner's Death. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 16, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: News continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

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

Even condemning racism is a partisan issue these days. Only four Republicans agreed with what Democrats and common sense made clear, that Trump's words about the lawmakers he targeted were racist and wrong. Only four out of 197 Republicans! Why? We'll show you why, in the poll numbers.

So, how does a Republican rationalize seeing something so wrong as right? How about the man who was almost our Immigration Czar? Kris Kobach is here. Let's test his argument.

As for the Dems, was condemning the comments enough? Why not censure the President? Are the Democrats playing it too safe? We have two Democrats representing two wings of the party to debate the way forward.

And Republican Mark Sanford learned the hard way what happens when you go against Donald J. Trump. The Republican is now considering a run against him. Wait until you hear why.

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




CUOMO: The President warned Republicans this morning, and only four had the spine to put principle before party.

And let's be honest, this was a layup. The President said racist things about their fellow lawmakers, still, only four, Will Hurd, Brian Fitzpatrick, Fred Upton, and Susan Brooks. Justin Amash was a Republican, but he's now an Independent. He also voted against the racist tweets.

But here is my question. Is this about Right and Left or right and wrong? Let's bring in U.S. Senate Candidate, Kris Kobach from Kansas--




CUOMO: --once considered for high positions in this administration. Good to have you back on PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: So, help me understand. How is it OK for people in your party to say "I'm not condemning these words, they're not racist?"

KOBACH: OK. Well, first of all, if you look at the words themselves, the words themselves the - when the President said, I think people are focusing on that these Members of Congress should go back to the crime-infested places from which they came, right, so where - where are those places?

Well in AOC's case, it's the Bronx. In Tlaib's case, it's Detroit, and in Omar's case, it is originally Somalia. Those are all crime-infested places. And in Somalia's instance, there's terrorism too. So, it's a fact.

He's just - to simply state that fact is not racist. And so--

CUOMO: Kris?

KOBACH: --I - I think that's why many Republicans said, look, you - just because you're saying--

CUOMO: That's not why, Kris.

KOBACH: --something negative about these districts--

CUOMO: I'll let you get the argument.

KOBACH: --we need time (ph).

CUOMO: I'll let the - get the argument out. But I'm just saying it just fails on its face. He wasn't talking about the Bronx.

KOBACH: Was it?

CUOMO: He was telling them to go back to the countries that you come from, and he kept saying it. He doubled and tripled down. Only on Omar did it even make sense factually, right, because she's a naturalized citizen, but that's the part I don't get, Kris.

If you're going to excuse what he said, then don't twist what he said. Own the reality. He told--

KOBACH: No, I don't. CUOMO: --four Brown people--

KOBACH: No, I think - well at least--

CUOMO: --go back to the places where you Brown people come from.


CUOMO: You don't belong here.

KOBACH: No, no, no, no, see now you are - you're editorializing and adding content to his tweet. The problem with Twitter--


KOBACH: --which I think I - you would agree with me on is, it's a 140 characters, and since it's so vague, and there's so little said--

CUOMO: He said the words.

KOBACH: --we - people can read into it what they want.

CUOMO: He said the words.

KOBACH: He didn't say the way you said that.

CUOMO: Yes, he did.

KOBACH: Well let's maybe - let's - let's - let's put it in context with his other tweets. Clearly what the President was making was a larger argument about love it or leave it. If you're going to criticize America so much, go back to or go somewhere else.

Now that argument--

CUOMO: Why doesn't he ever say that to White people?

KOBACH: --has been around since the 1960s. He - he would say that too.

CUOMO: But he never has.

KOBACH: That argument's been around since the 1960s.

CUOMO: Oh it's been long - longer than that.

KOBACH: In the 1960s, when people who favored the Vietnam War said it to people.

CUOMO: Kris, people have been - people have been telling--

KOBACH: Let me - let me get my point out.

CUOMO: White people have been telling Brown people and immigrants to leave for a long time. It's happens in waves.

KOBACH: No. No, look-- CUOMO: You had the Know Nothing party. It's our whole Closing tonight.

KOBACH: Let me - let me--

CUOMO: They did it to my ancestors.

KOBACH: The love it or leave it argument - the--

CUOMO: Go ahead, Sir.

KOBACH: The love it or leave it argument was made in the 1960s against people who opposed the Vietnam War. Now that wasn't a racist argument then, and it's not a racist argument now.

CUOMO: It is when it's directed--

KOBACH: Omar has been saying things like America is a place where--

CUOMO: --at four Brown people.

KOBACH: No. If - if - if one of those people or several of those people has been saying that millions of Americans are dying on the streets for lack of healthcare, which Omar has said, and that America is a place where human rights abuses are flagrant, another false statement she has said, then many people react to that by saying, "Well that's not America. That's a false mischaracterization of America, so love it or leave it."

In other words, you know, if you think our country's so bad, leave. That's - there's nothing racist about the love it or leave it argument.

CUOMO: There is when it's directed at those people and you never use the construction with anyone who's White.

Bernie Sanders says the same things. Hell, this President has said those kinds of things, and worse, about this country. He's been beating up on the country for years and years. Nobody told him to go back to--

KOBACH: Well--

CUOMO: --wherever he thinks his--


CUOMO: --father was born.

KOBACH: No. And - and the other thing is, is it - it doesn't - it wouldn't make sense the way you're interpreting it too. Look, AOC and the - and the other two who are born in the United States, it doesn't even make sense to say--

[21:05:00] CUOMO: I agree.

KOBACH: --go back to where you came from. CUOMO: I agree.

KOBACH: Because you didn't - they didn't come from there. Yes, I didn't come from the place my ancestors came from.

CUOMO: I agree. It doesn't make any sense.

KOBACH: You didn't come from a place your ancestors came from.

CUOMO: It's just this straight color play.

KOBACH: Well that--

CUOMO: That's all it is.

KOBACH: --that's the problem with Twitter.

CUOMO: No. He said it also.

KOBACH: You're reading that into it.

CUOMO: I'm not reading it into it. It's what he said, Kris.

KOBACH: Look--

CUOMO: And I don't get why you try to excuse it. Just own it and say, "You know what? I'm OK with what he said."


CUOMO: "I'm sick of these people too."

KOBACH: That's the problem. There is nothing racist about saying "Love it or leave it. Love this country. Stop saying false things about this country."

CUOMO: That's not what he said.

KOBACH: Nothing at all.

CUOMO: That's not what he said.

KOBACH: But the President--

CUOMO: And I just don't--

KOBACH: Well and then let's - let's put this--

CUOMO: --I just don't get it.

KOBACH: --let's put this in a larger political.

CUOMO: Please.

KOBACH: Well I mean here - here's one thing I assume you would agree. And that is that the President tweeted this because he wanted to put the spotlight on those four very radical members of the--


KOBACH: --Democrat Caucus in Congress. And - and he wanted them to be the spokespeople for the Democrat Party. And as long as the spotlight is on them--

CUOMO: They are an extension of the Brown Menace that he is coming after in this country.


CUOMO: Yes. Like when he said that the caravans--

KOBACH: No. They are the most socialist--

CUOMO: --were filled with military-age men and terrorists--

KOBACH: They're - they're - no, no.

CUOMO: --and drug dealers and only now do you guys--


CUOMO: --admit that it's half kids and their families.

KOBACH: The reason - the - the reason - the reason President Trump wants to put the spotlight on them is because they are so - pushing socialism. They're putting erratic - pushing a radical-Left agenda.

And as long as Americans are seeing them as the Representatives of the Democrat Party, then Republicans are winning, and I'll bet Nancy Pelosi would agree with what I just told you.

CUOMO: I think she would too. I think this President very much wants to get as many people as he can, I don't know if it's enough to win, to say, "Look at these Brown women who look like they're not like you--

KOBACH: No, no.

CUOMO: --and let's demonize them because that's what they want us all to be--

KOBACH: That is--

CUOMO: --these radical Lefties, Brown women."

KOBACH: That is not what the President said.

CUOMO: Of course, it's - first of all, it is what he said.

KOBACH: It's - it's funny how--

CUOMO: And it's what he targeted, and it's not the first time.

KOBACH: It is not what he said. He did not say Brown women.

CUOMO: This is all he does when he's--

KOBACH: That is false.

CUOMO: --trying to get into a pinch. He doesn't like what's going on with the news. He picks a race battle. It happens time and time again, and you guys defend him.

KOBACH: No. He didn't pick a race battle. He picked a battle, and then the Left and you choose to characterize it as a race battle. It's not about race.

CUOMO: What do you want me to do when he makes a racist comment? I call him a demagogue because I don't want to get into the business of what he thinks he is, because in our political culture if he says, "I'm not a racist," then it gives guys like you cover to defend him.

But let me ask you, what would you do if the President said, "I am a racist. That's why I said it," what would you do?

KOBACH: Then I would - then I would not defend him because there's--

CUOMO: Really?

KOBACH: --no excuse for racism in America. Period!

CUOMO: Would--

KOBACH: Really.

CUOMO: --would you still support him as President?

KOBACH: I don't know.

CUOMO: You have to think about it?

KOBACH: That would be a really tough question.

CUOMO: You have to think about whether or not you would support a racist?

KOBACH: If he said - if he said - if he said - if he says it--

CUOMO: Really?

KOBACH: I'd have to know who is running against him.

CUOMO: A racist?

KOBACH: Come on. Look--

CUOMO: An admitted racist--

KOBACH: If he said he was a racist, probably not, of course not.

CUOMO: --you'd have to know more? Shit!

KOBACH: I mean you're - you're making--

CUOMO: Kris, come on, man.

KOBACH: Oh, you have to--

CUOMO: It can't be that partisan.

KOBACH: These are - these are ridiculous hypotheticals. Because of the people running against him right now, it's--

CUOMO: It's ridiculous that it took you that long to answer it.


CUOMO: You're running for Senate.

KOBACH: All right, but he's not a--

CUOMO: And you got to take a pause whether or not--


CUOMO: --if he said he was a racist, you'd still support him. Come on, brother.

KOBACH: No, no, no, no.

CUOMO: I hope it's a satellite delay.

KOBACH: I'm taking a pause considering your hypothetical. Your hypothetical doesn't even make sense.

CUOMO: How so?

KOBACH: Because the President has not said anything racist.

CUOMO: I know.

KOBACH: The President would not say, "Oh, by the way, everybody, hey, I'm an - I'm an admitted racist."

CUOMO: Well he - hold on, hold on. Wait.

KOBACH: So, it's a - it's a ridiculous hypothetical.

CUOMO: I take back what I just said. He has said many racist things. He has never said he is a racist. He says, "I am the least racist," which, by the way, isn't saying that he's not a racist. It's saying that he's the least amount of racist that anyone that Don Lemon have met.

KOBACH: Look, OK, let's - let's go to a - let's go to--

CUOMO: But I don't - I made the hypothetical for a reason. KOBACH: --another - let's - let's go to another thing that - no, no, no, let's--

CUOMO: Go ahead.

KOBACH: Well then let's go to another hypothetical that you - you - you--

CUOMO: Please.

KOBACH: --and - and others on the Left will characterize as racist that--

CUOMO: I'm not on the Left.

KOBACH: --that the President said that--

CUOMO: But go ahead, say what you want to say.

KOBACH: --Mexico - well OK, I'll - that - that's news to me. But that the President said that--

CUOMO: Why would I invite you on?

KOBACH: --people coming from Mexico - that people coming from Mexico are rapists and criminals etcetera. The President said--

CUOMO: That is what he said.

KOBACH: --that there indeed are many people - yes - there are many people coming from across the - the Border, who are in - fall into those categories. That's not a racist statement. That's just stating a fact that there is a criminal element in the flow of illegal immigration.

CUOMO: But that's not what he said.

KOBACH: But you and others say oh that's--

CUOMO: That was the context, Kris.


CUOMO: He said mostly.

KOBACH: Yes, it was exactly the context.

CUOMO: He was saying in the main that that's who's coming across.

KOBACH: He didn't - he didn't say mostly.

CUOMO: And some, I assume--

KOBACH: He didn't say mostly

CUOMO: He did because what came after it-- KOBACH: He did not--


CUOMO: --what came after it was "And some, I assume, are good people." He then materially misrepresented what the composition was in the caravans. He materially misrepresented what the challenge would be at our ports of entry.

And only now, after selling a fence to keep out a Brown Menace, that would be the fix, and putting all the money and political capital toward it, only now is the administration owning what they've been told for over a year, which is it's kids and families, and we're not ready for it, and he has done nothing to help them.

How am I wrong?

[21:10:00] KOBACH: Well the President has done a lot to try to address the problem. And the President has asked for more money, so that these individuals can be detained in better conditions. And, by the way, that's another lie--

CUOMO: Better conditions? What has he done--

KOBACH: --Ilhan Omar said.

CUOMO: --to help the conditions? He separated kids and families when he didn't need to.

KOBACH: I've had--

CUOMO: He had his DHS Secretary sign on to a document that said--

KOBACH: No. The policy of DHS was just trying to keep--

CUOMO: --this works because it'd be a harsh deterrent. Come on!

KOBACH: No. The - the - the misstatements by, for example, Omar again, claiming that people are drinking out of toilets, you know that that is factually false.

They - they - it is a unit - a unit that includes both a toilet on the side and a sink on the top, and it's common in American prisons. But saying they're drinking out of toilets suggests that people are drinking out of the toilet bowl.

That is a false statement that your network helped propagate--

CUOMO: Hold on. Hold on.

KOBACH: --and continues to repeat.

CUOMO: A Member of Congress--

KOBACH: These are false statements about our country. CUOMO: --says that that's what she was told by somebody. My understanding, it's being investigated. And Kris, you can call me a Lefty.

KOBACH: Well--

CUOMO: You can make all your snide little remarks. But know this.

KOBACH: --it has been investigated.

CUOMO: If you're going to - no. I don't have--

KOBACH: I'm not being snide.

CUOMO: --any definitive proof of what was said, and what wasn't. I welcome it. I had Morgan on last night. He didn't give me proof. I'm in contact with these guys all the time. I welcome proof. I don't forward things that I can't prove.

What I'm telling you is this. Don't come at me about not understanding the conditions on the Border or being some johnny-come-lately to the situation. You know better than that.

I've been fighting for political action on this on this show for many, many months to a deaf ear, by both parties. Now, they're acting on it. Let's see what they do.

But Kris Kobach, I'll tell you this. You can say what you want. I will give you an opportunity on this show to make your case to the American people because it's important for people to get the full range of where we are politically in this country. Thank you for taking the opportunity.

KOBACH: My pleasure.

CUOMO: So, let's get to this central question. Republicans, four out of a 197, why? Why wouldn't more come forward on something so obvious? You heard Kobach. But he's not in Congress. He's not directly responsible to a constituency. There is an answer, and it's in the numbers.

There he is. The Wizard of Odds will show us why they did what they did today, next.








CUOMO: Seeing something that is clearly racist is a partisan issue these days. Only four House Republicans, Will Hurd, Brian Fitzpatrick, Fred Upton, and Susan Brooks supported what Democrats and common sense put together in a resolution denouncing President Trump's racist remarks against four of their colleagues.

Now, why is the number so low? There is an answer in the numbers. Let's bring in the Wizard of Odds, Harry Enten. So, what do you see that makes this move today more reasonable politically?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER & ANALYST: Yes. I mean, so take a look at this. This is basically how many Republicans are in districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2018.

So, there used to be 25 before the 2018 midterms, so there was a lot of play, these sort of Members of the House who would want to say, "Reach out to the center of the electorate."

But since then, they pretty much all got knocked down in the 2018 midterms. So, of the GOP seats in districts Clinton won, there're now only three of them, three of them.

And of those four that you just listed, two of those, Will Hurd and Brian Fitzpatrick are two of these three. But the vast majority are in Trump - Trump-held districts, there's just not no reason for them politically to side against the President of the United States.

CUOMO: Well except if you're going to put party against principle.

ENTEN: Well we're talking politically, right? If you're talking about, say, something besides that, something more deep inside of you not worrying about reelection, then yes, I understand your viewpoint completely.

But from a political point of view, it wasn't a wise move for them to go against the President--

CUOMO: Even on something--

ENTEN: --who holds a 90 percent--

CUOMO: --like racism?

ENTEN: Look, the President holds a 90 percent approval rating among Republicans.

And more than that, we've seen over and over again, you know, look at this. So, this is basically in 2018, there were 23 GOP - GOP reps who signed a petition to force a House vote on DACA, which was overwhelmingly popular with the American public.

Only nine of those are still in the House. And among in that nine, three of those - three of those, except for Susan Brooks, they were part of that group that voted to force that House vote on DACA. And Brooks, of course, is retiring, so she doesn't have to worry about all this.

CUOMO: So, it's interesting because the fringe-Right is making the case that it's the Democrats who have had moderation died off. But really, you're saying in the numbers, it's actually the GOP--

ENTEN: I would argue--

CUOMO: --where the mainstream conservative thought is gone.

ENTEN: I would argue it's potentially both. But certainly in the GOP, there's really just not that many moderate voices anymore, just nine of those who signed on that DACA position - petition are still in the Congress. There're really no moderate Republicans anymore.

And, you know, you talk about, you know, "Oh, the Senate! Susan Collins perhaps is the only really moderate Republican left." If you looked at her statement yesterday on Twitter, it wasn't exactly strong, coming down - against President of the United States.

CUOMO: The reason I'm drawing to the decision, as other than political advantage that's being played by the fringe, but also in the midterms, you saw that the majority of Democrats that came in, well you had a lot of women, they were centrist Democrats.

You know, so they had a little bit of a move here. But what else do we see in the numbers that's relevant?

ENTEN: Yes, I think this is - you know, if we're talking about just the Democrats, you know, all of them, all of them voted on this resolution against the President of the United States. That included the Squad who come from, you know, if you were to look at the 20--

CUOMO: You're one of those now? You're going to call them that?

ENTEN: Well we're calling it the - would you like me - Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Pressley, Omar, there we go, I can name them as well, there you go.

If, you know, if we were to look at the House districts that currently held by Democrats, how they voted in the 2016 Presidential election, we see that the Squad districts were plus-61 Clinton, the average Democrat was in a plus-28 Clinton district.

But even those - those moderate Democrats who were in those swing districts that were GOP-held, going into the 2018 midterm elections, they were just plus-one Clinton, and they voted for this resolution too.

In terms of the center of the electorate, it is a good thing to go against the President of the United States. And that's why we saw all those Democrats going against him there.

CUOMO: And also, it's context. I mean if you can't speak conscience on something about racism, and you heard Kris Kobach, they're trying to test - twist this. The President has not made the same case he does. He has not come out, and said, "Boy, was I taken wrong?" And that tells you everything.

Harry Enten, thank you for giving us--

ENTEN: Thanks, Sir.

CUOMO: --the nuance inside the numbers.

ENTEN: I try my best.

CUOMO: You succeed.

So, now on the Democrat side, they did a condemn resolution today. They could have censured. They could have gone right into impeachment. Where are they in terms of when it will be time to make a real stand?

That's the subject for The Great Debate. These are the two great minds put to it, next.








CUOMO: You can't read what the President said. You can't listen to his own words, out of his own mouth, and not think that there were racist implications to what he said.

But only four brave souls, and they are brave, because this President will come for you, and the party loves him, only four in Congress were willing to vote to condemn what he said.

So, given the all but intractable attraction of the GOP to this President, was today the right play for Democrats? The start of tonight's Great Debate, we have Ana Kasparian and Howard Dean.




CUOMO: Good to have you both.

Howard, was condemning enough?


condemning, and I think was important for the Speaker to keep the party together, and that's exactly what she did. So this was great, this was very good.

I want to say more about that later. But I want to give Ana her shot.

CUOMO: Very polite. Ana, was it enough?

ANA KASPARIAN, HOST & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE YOUNG TURKS": I do not agree that it's enough. I think that the Democratic Party, and specifically, Democratic leadership needs to be more - needs to do more to hold Donald Trump accountable, not just for his statements, and his tweets, but more importantly, for his actions.

[21:25:00] I mean we have at least two dozen migrants who have died under his watch in U.S. custody. The fact that we haven't even entertained the idea of an impeachment inquiry, and I'm specifically talking about Democratic leadership, I believe is a - is a gross injustice.

CUOMO: What would be the basis of impeachment? Because I don't know that you would be able to make it on the case of dead migrants. I mean nobody should like that. But you'd have to show a direct line of a culpability. Where do you see it?

KASPARIAN: Well there's quite a bit. I mean if you don't want to focus on that issue, I mean there's the fact that Mueller's report gives you various examples of obstruction of justice.

You also have the issue of Trump using his charitable foundation to enrich himself. There are numerous conflicts of interest and violations of the emoluments clause in our Constitution.

And so, I just want Democratic leadership to fight Donald Trump as aggressively as they fight the so-called Squad, the progressive freshmen Democrats.

CUOMO: There are a lot of or, let's say, let's be polite, Howard, there's a growing number of Kasparians in your midst. How do you satisfy their desire for accountability?

DEAN: Well, first of all, actually, I think that's right. I've moved some since our - we were last having this debate, I do think the Democrats have to step up the pace of investigations.

There's a lot - you know, Trump is a crook, right? I mean he is. He was a crook. He was born a crook, I think.

CUOMO: That's what they say, you know.

DEAN: So - yes, so now you got to start proving it, and they got to get more evidence, and they got to move these investigations along a little faster. I know the White House is stalling and so forth. You know, we got to go faster. Here's the point I wanted to make. Trump always wants to make it about Trump. Trump - I actually believe that as long as Trump knows he has a backstop in the - in the Senate, he would love to be impeached. He wants us to be talking about Trump.

If we are talking about Trump with three months to go, next year, we're going to lose the election. He's going to be reelected.

We have to have a conversation about housing, about education, about income inequality, and about the fact that the working class in this country is getting screwed by the people - by the guy many of them voted for.

That is the core conversation that is going to win us--

CUOMO: All right.

DEAN: --the election.

CUOMO: Ana is nodding in assent. I call that the positive opposite of this President. And who will be the messenger and what will be that message?

DEAN: Right.

CUOMO: So, Ana, if you're nodding in assent, but you also want to go down the impeachment road, why are you nodding in assent?

KASPARIAN: Well I think that it's important to hold Donald Trump accountable. But I think that it's ridiculous to shortchange ourselves and pretend as if we can't do both things. We should absolutely--

CUOMO: But they can't. But they can't, Ana.

KASPARIAN: --focus on--

CUOMO: They couldn't even get money for the kids on the Border.

KASPARIAN: I do - I disagree.

CUOMO: What have they done?

KASPARIAN: I completely disagree.

So, first of all, that appropriations bill that, you know, the freshmen Democrats voted against, which is what frustrated and angered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, essentially gave Donald Trump $4.6 billion in taxpayer money with no strings attached.

There were no safeguards in place to ensure that Trump actually improves the squalor that these children and these migrants are currently being detained in.

But, at the same time, I think that it's ridiculous to say that you can't focus on economic injustice in America, the fact that our healthcare system is broken, and also hold the President accountable. CUOMO: No, I hear you.

KASPARIAN: I mean that's the whole point of having the Democrats--

CUOMO: You should be able to.

KASPARIAN: --control the House of Representatives.

CUOMO: Right. You should be able to.

KASPARIAN: If they're not going to mitigate the damage of the Trump administration--

CUOMO: But having just one House--

KASPARIAN: --then what's the point?

CUOMO: Because just having one House isn't enough. But I do hear you about the check, and I'm saying they should be able to do both. Just Howard, we haven't seen it to this point. And the question becomes this.

You guys are agreeing about "Well yes, you don't want it to be all about this President." But it is going to be all about him. It's going to be a referendum. He wasn't on the ballot in the midterms either, and everybody keeps saying that people voted for Democrats for healthcare.

But I got to tell you, you can say they weren't running ads about this President. But it was a rejection vote.

DEAN: Right.

CUOMO: So, how do you balance your two interests here, keeping it away from him, but making it about rejecting him?

DEAN: Well my thesis is that Trump will do the work for us. Every time he opens his mouth, the majority of the American people are disgusted. I mean they know this - the guy's a liar, he - and he's a crook, really.

I don't think most Americans would - think - a lot of people would close their eyes to that. We can't beat Trump by just being the anti- Trump. We have to say what we're going to do. And you - we can't let Trump be - make the focus himself.

Look, this guy is - as a Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist said, a malignant narcissist. He is psychologically ill. He can do our dirty work for us, just by opening his mouth. If we don't have a positive message of something we're going to do better, it is not enough to be just against Trump.

CUOMO: But look, Kasparian, we, you know, we've all seen so many elections now. At the end of the day, it's me versus you. You know what I mean? It's whoever the two people are, it becomes intensely personal and

negative, and that's what happens to, unfortunately, work best in messaging in campaigns. How do you deal with that and win?

KASPARIAN: Well I think the freshmen Democrats actually handled this situation quite well. And I think we can learn something from it.

DEAN: That's true.

[21:30:00] KASPARIAN: So, for instance, they had a press conference yesterday to respond to Donald Trump's racist tweets. And what they did is they used that opportunity to not just condemn Trump, but also talk about what their vision is for America.

And so, you have Representative Ocasio-Cortez talking about how we need free public education on a college level, also talking about the healthcare system, and what she envisions is a better system moving forward.

You know, you can condemn Trump. But let's not be hyper-focused on Trump is the boogeyman.

DEAN: Right.

KASPARIAN: Give Americans something to vote for.

DEAN: Right. That's going to be the--

CUOMO: A reason to believe.

DEAN: --that's how we're going to win. We're going to have a candidate who only speaks positively, and doesn't - the plenty of people will remind everybody how awful Trump is. We've got to have a - a candidate who's an alternative that looks good, who the public can be proud of, and they're not proud of Donald Trump.

CUOMO: I think they're going to want a fighter, whether it's a man or a woman, or it's Left--

DEAN: I agree with that.

CUOMO: --or center, they're going to want a fighter--

DEAN: I agree.

CUOMO: --because this is going to be a fight.

DEAN: That's right.

CUOMO: Ana Kasparian, welcome to the show. Howard Dean--

KASPARIAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: --always a plus. Thank you both.

DEAN: Thank you. CUOMO: Good luck figuring it out going forward.

Now, as we witnessed tonight, most Republicans will not go against this President because he will beat them up where they live, all right? That's the reality.

Congressman Mark Sanford learned that firsthand. But now he says he may try to primary the President. Why would he do something like that? He's here to make the case, next.








[21:35:00] CUOMO: Listen, this race stuff, you can say that it's a distraction, but it isn't.

It's not about Right and Left. It's about right and wrong. And I can't believe only four Republicans in Congress voted alongside Democrats to condemn the comments. It wasn't a censure of the President as a person. And even that, they couldn't do.

Now, one member of that party is looking to take things a step further, and possibly challenge this President in 2020. He is former South Carolina Congressman and Governor, Mark Sanford.




CUOMO: Good to have you, Sir.


CUOMO: Now, let me just deal with what is obvious, really quickly, because you've said his tweets and his comments about the four lawmakers were weird. They were obnoxious. They were racist. Do you agree with that?

SANFORD: Again, we can spend a lot of time coming up with the appropriate terminology for what was, again, weird, strange, all those different things. You know, I - I guess my frustration with this is this. So again, I didn't see the text. I haven't seen the details. But the bottom line is I think you and I could agree that they were wrong. Period! End of story!

CUOMO: Yes, I don't think it's enough though.

SANFORD: Now the question is--

CUOMO: I don't think it's enough, Governor.

SANFORD: Wait, - you're right.

CUOMO: And I - I'll tell you why.

SANFORD: But - but wait - wait, I hear you.

CUOMO: Because it's a - it's a question of conscience.

SANFORD: I hear you. We'll come back to that.

CUOMO: Make your case.

SANFORD: We'll come back to that. My case is this. We will spend a lot of time talking about this.

But we're not spending one moment in this show, or maybe we'll here, in a few moments, or in this larger Presidential race talking about debt deficit, and government spending that will have an incredible impact in everybody's life, whether you're a Republican or Democrat.

CUOMO: Fine. But we - we would have been done.


SANFORD: --the amount of airtime that gets but the - the zero time, the zero time--

CUOMO: But we would have been done.

SANFORD: --that--

CUOMO: If you said, yes, it was racist, now I want to talk to you about the deficit, we'd be knee-deep in whether this tax cut was really a middle-class tax cut or not.

You just got to own the reality of it because if you want to replace him, you have to show that you're something better. And the crisis in your party right now is one of character, ironically enough, because you were supposedly the character party.

The man said racist things about the four - four lawmakers. Now, either you see that or you don't. That's why I'm asking you.

SANFORD: Again, what I just said was I acknowledge the fact that I agree with you that they were weird. Now, again--

CUOMO: Weird is not racist.

SANFORD: --when you start judging another man's soul--

CUOMO: No, I'm judging the comments.

SANFORD: --then that's a different--

CUOMO: I'm not judging - I'm not judging his soul.

SANFORD: --that's a spot I'm not going to go.

CUOMO: That's for him and his priest.

SANFORD: You can judge and I'm not going to judge.

CUOMO: If he has one. What I'm saying is the comments were racist. I don't understand why you don't want to say that.

SANFORD: Again, I - I just - I give it to you, Chris. You can call racist--

CUOMO: But you're not giving it to me.

SANFORD: --I'd call racist. No--

CUOMO: But fine, I've asked you enough.

SANFORD: OK. But - but, again, it's not the topic that I think ultimately we need to be discussing at large. That's the bigger point that I'm making.

CUOMO: I see it as a both. But let's move on in the interest of time economy.


CUOMO: You want to talk deficit and debt, that's great. Here's your - your problem. Your party just capitulated to a tax cut that cripples this deficit in the way that we haven't seen in a generation. You're going to come in and start talking--

SANFORD: That's not true, Chris.

CUOMO: --that tax cut--

SANFORD: That's not true. That's not true.

CUOMO: --larded on to the deficit in ways that we haven't seen in a generation. I'm glad - I'm glad--

SANFORD: Chris, respectfully--

CUOMO: --I'm happy to send you the numbers.

SANFORD: --respectfully, respectfully, how much money is the government projected to spend over the next 10 years? CUOMO: On this tax cut?

SANFORD: No. Without the tax cut. Just baseline--


CUOMO: What do you mean like - like the - the budget every year?

SANFORD: Yes. How much next year?

CUOMO: I don't know.

SANFORD: How much is--

CUOMO: It depend - it depends on what they do each year.

SANFORD: No, there's a baseline, right? Now, based on the Congressional Budget Office, it's $43 trillion. You know how much they'll spend with the tax cut?

CUOMO: No. How much?

SANFORD: $41.5 trillion.

CUOMO: But - but--

SANFORD: A 3.5 percent difference over the next 10 years. So, the idea - I mean we can legitimately agree whether it's - or disagree whether it's a good or a bad idea.

But the idea of saying a 3.5 percent difference in how much your federal government gets over the next 10 years is, quote, going to cripple the country, or cripple where we are financially, I don't think is reality, based on the deficits that are projected.

CUOMO: Well, I mean first of all, what is--

SANFORD: The bigger question is, what do we do to grow the economy--

CUOMO: --what is unrealistic is to project out 10 years--

SANFORD: --what--

CUOMO: --when you don't know what they're going to do year-to-year. I mean that's what's unfair about it is that--

SANFORD: I didn't make up the numbers. It's Congressional Budget Office.

CUOMO: I - well but you guys love to say that the CBO is crap when you don't disagree with it. But now you like it, so you're going to say that the CBO has it right.

SANFORD: No, I don't.

CUOMO: I'm saying the look-out 10 years-- SANFORD: I didn't. You could pull all kinds of comments from me--

CUOMO: --is a little unrealistic.

SANFORD: --Chris--

CUOMO: But--

SANFORD: --where I've disagreed with them over the years.

CUOMO: I know. That's what I'm saying. But the - let's do it this way.


CUOMO: So, you like his tax cut. Would you do another one like it? How do you suggest to bring down the deficit, if you were to get your nomination?

SANFORD: I think, again, I'm - happen to be a fan of the Penny Plan. I mean, I think at the end of the day, we're all Americans.

We got to recognize that this is a real threat. Those are not my words, but Admiral Mike Mullen, who was the former Chief of Staff, you know, excuse me, the - the - oh, coming back to me. Anyway, Mike Mullen--

CUOMO: Go ahead. Go ahead.

[21:40:00] SANFORD: --yes, again, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

CUOMO: Right.

SANFORD: Let me correct myself.

CUOMO: Mullen.

SANFORD: Was the one who said that the - the greatest threat to American security is - at the end of the day, is not the Chinese or the Taliban, it's - it's the - the - the debt.

And - and so, again, I think it's telling that when a military man is what - asked what's the biggest threat to our civilization simply answers the debt. So, I think you got to say this is a big threat, as a Republican, as a Democrats, we got to find a way to come together. I happen to be a fan of the Penny Plan.

CUOMO: Well let's do this. You got a long way to go before you start pitching policy because you're going to have a hard time getting on train to your party's primary, when obviously the party is in love with the President right now, and understandably so, his numbers are sky-high.

As we go forward, if you stay in it, you're welcome to come on this show to talk about why it should be you. SANFORD: And here is the bigger point that I think I'd make. We just got through two Democratic debates, and there was not one mention by a moderator, or by a panelist, by a candidate of debt deficit or government spending.

And all I'm saying, as I look at this for the next 30 days, because I'm not committed to doing it, but as I look at it, my simple point is, we need to interject that into the debate. It may be a run for the President, it may be starting an advocacy group, I don't know.

But I do know that we are going to be in a world of hurt, and we're walking our way toward the most predictable financial crisis in the history of man, if we wait another four years, another Presidential election cycle to do this.

CUOMO: Fiscal responsibility should be paramount.

SANFORD: Because the one time wherein we had--

CUOMO: I hear you about it. And I'm happy to have it on the show--

SANFORD: Absolutely.

CUOMO: --as much as you want to bring it. Mark Sanford, good luck with your deliberations. I look forward to speaking to you again.

SANFORD: Yes, Sir, look forward to it, thanks.

CUOMO: Look, all I'm saying is, I don't want every conversation to be about what the President says. You know that if you watch this show. But these tweets and his words were obvious, and so were his intentions. I'll deal with that in the Closing.

Now, here's something else that a lot of people thought was obvious. "I can't breathe." That line became a national rallying cry in the movement to overhaul policing in America. Now, we have some big news tonight in the case that started it all.

D. Lemon is here to break down the controversial decision that came today from the Department of Justice, next.








CUOMO: It's hard to believe it's been five years since Eric Garner's death. The Justice Department announced today it will not be bringing federal civil rights charges against Daniel Pantaleo.


CUOMO: That's the New York City officer accused of causing Garner's death with the chokehold that we just showed you, only a little bit of there.

General - Attorney General Bill Barr made the decision. He said that they didn't have the evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. He agreed with the Eastern District about that over his own Civil Rights Division in-house at the DOJ.

D. Lemon, this is something that has divided the DOJ for years and administrations. What's your take?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: It has. You know, I - I - I did speak with Eric Garner's mother today and one of the attorneys. They believe it was a completely political decision made. They don't understand how. It all happened on videotape.

This is - these are their words and their sentiment and that people don't believe the videotape, and that he, you know, from the autopsy, it showed that he had the wounds around his neck, and a 11 times saying, "I can't breathe so - breathe."

So, they are obviously distraught. But listen, we have been covering these decisions for quite some time now. And as we know this - this one was really the start of the Black Lives Matter movement.

I don't think it's the last we've heard of this case. And I don't think it's the last we've heard of this family. They said - she tweeted today, "This is not over. This is not over. This is not over."

CUOMO: Well look, the problem is that civil rights violations are very high bar. The federal government would have to be able to show beyond a reasonable doubt that he did what he did because Garner was Black.

LEMON: Yes, intent.

CUOMO: Yes, and that's hard.


CUOMO: Look, they couldn't even get it done on the state level.


CUOMO: But they were going to do it on the federal level. The problem is is that every one of these leaves us divided on something that matters very much.

LEMON: It said that they were concerned - decision to charge was made (ph) was a - Attorney General Barr himself said, he said to the prosecutors from the Eastern District, as you said of New York we're (ph) concerned about proving the case over the DOJ's Civil Rights Division. So, you were right on board - you're right on with that.

I - I guess it's tough to prove. But I mean when you - if you look at it as a layperson and you see it right there on videotape, you wonder, "Well, how is that hard to prove?" Also something that we are discussing tonight, as we talk about - and the anniversary, obviously, tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of Eric Garner.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: But tonight, you ask someone in the administration a question, their reply is, what is your background? Essentially, where are you from, what is your ethnicity? What the heck is that?

CUOMO: I don't know why Kellyanne said it that way.

LEMON: Kellyanne Conway did that today. The reporter who she posed that question to, Andrew Feinberg, he's going to join us, and give us his reaction, and his take--

CUOMO: Good.

LEMON: --as he was standing there. I would have been flabbergasted like why - what does that have to do with anything. So--

CUOMO: Good.

LEMON: --you'll see him coming up very shortly on this show.

CUOMO: Big guest. D. Lemon, see you in a second

LEMON: See you.

CUOMO: All right, so where are we right now? He's a racist, he's not a racist. I keep telling you, forget about what he thinks he is, forget about what other people think he is. It's about what he is doing and why.

And I'm telling you he is playing you for a sucker if you think he's just making this up out of whole cloth. He knows that this has worked before, and that's why he's a demagogue, and I will point you out what the play is, because we've seen it before, and we know what beats it, next.







(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Here's the argument. Too many Republicans are choosing convenience over conscience. More GOPers have supported this President's racist comments than those who have outright condemned them.

So, they are now complicit in the latest iteration of one of the oldest dirty plays in our political history, and here it is.


DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you hate our country, if you're not happy here, you can leave.


CUOMO: Go back! Go back goes way back. A 170 years ago, the immigrant population doubled. It was the first big influx of newcomers since the country's founding.

It sparked a new party, the Know Nothings. They hated immigrants, hated Catholics, hated anyone who wasn't like them, and they had real power gained through images like this. The Irish, drunk on whiskey, the Germans, drunk on beer.

[21:55:00] A few decades later, stuff like this, an Italian immigrant called a wop, stooped over shining boots. You see how they played with the facial features? Same here as this sign, "Help wanted. No Irish need apply."

Why Know Nothing? Because when asked what they were up to with this bigotry, they would say, "I know nothing." Sound familiar? More.

Calvin Coolidge wrote before he was President, "Our country must cease to be regarded as a dumping ground," saying we must allow only the right kind of immigration. Sound familiar?

For each wave of immigrants, we have seen a tide of intolerance. Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Latinos, people from the Middle East, Muslims of all nationalities, all know what it's like to be told, "You're not welcome. Go back." I was raised by people who felt that bite.

So, Trump is making the same play now. Now, I usually call him this President, but I cannot connect that Office, and his actions here. He has already admitted the wrong by how he rationalizes it, not that he believes in the bigotry, but that he wants the intended benefit of it, people liking that he said it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as racist, and that White nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that point?

TRUMP: It doesn't concern me because many people agree with me.


CUOMO: Fair pushback to this argument could be that "Trump is no student of history." Fair enough. But he was a huge student of a big proponent of this kind of propaganda, Roy Cohn.

Roy Cohn was his lawyer, helped fight discrimination charges against him, and his father, but he was more than that. He was a mentor in how to play people in politics, especially by playing to prejudices.

Why? Because Roy Cohn was a pro at this kind of perversity. That's why he was Chief Counsel to Senator Joe McCarthy, the architect of the Red Scare. He sold the same people that Trump is playing to now. Look.


SEN. JOSEPH MCCARTHY (R-WI): I've labeled them as the party of Communism.

Even if there are only one Communist in the State Department, that would still be one Communist too many.

If we, unless we make sure that there is no infiltration of our government, then just as certain as you sit there, in the period of our lives you will see a Red world.


CUOMO: Sound familiar? Communism, socialism.

Here's the problem for this President. This play does not work long- term, never has. This country at her best is about inclusion. Diversity drives our success when we have success. The waves of immigrants that met bullies like Trump and those who peddle prejudice in the past, they overcame.

My grandparents, here they are in this picture, they were among them. They came. They were scared. They were ignorant. They didn't speak English. They were unsophisticated Italians. They were bullied and told to go home.

But they believed in something bigger than themselves, the promise of this country that it's not where you come from, it's not how you start, it's what you do with the opportunity, this coveted freedom to succeed or fail on your own merits.

My grandparents worked like animals. They made sure their kids were in school. They saved and they prayed.

Mario Cuomo, my father, was one of the most educated and eloquent men I have ever known. I will never be his equal. He was one generation from the kind of people that Trump wants you to fear, and he wants to "Go home."

We're just two generations out now. My family has two governors, lawyers, doctors, homeless advocates, and me, one disappointment in all that success, it's still pretty impressive. But here's what is needed. For every demagogue to be beaten back, and that's what this President is. Forget about whether he thinks he's a racist. That only gives cover to his defenders. He is a demagogue. He pitches to prejudice, and he does it on purpose.

But they have to meet their match, not someone who is tougher or more violent, but who overwhelms by being the demagogue's positive opposite. Example, for McCarthy, it was Joe Welch, Chief Counsel for the Army who famously said this.


JOSEPH WELCH, LAWYER: Have you no sense of decency, Sir?

If there is a God in Heaven it will do neither you nor your cause any good.


CUOMO: That message needs to be delivered today. Trump has made his play. He's a demagogue, and he's supported by scared Republicans, and those who seek advantage from affiliation in Congress, and on TV.

Who will step up and be the voice of reason and righteous indignation that reminds the masses, not just the mob, of who we are, and what we are at our best. That's the question that we need to answer together.

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