Return to Transcripts main page

CUOMO PRIME TIME

Steyer: "We Are In A Crisis On Climate"; FBI Director Echoes Mueller's Election Warning; 16 Marines Arrested At Once On Base. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 25, 2019 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:00] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: --no disrespect. They claim a audio-visual aide did a Google Image search for a Presidential seal, didn't notice that it was a parody. Apparently, the aide is out of a job tonight.

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Get the seal wrong? You're fired! Thank you, Anderson. I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Why are Republicans still blocking election protection, even as their own Members on the Senate Intel Committee issued brand-new warnings about Moscow's ongoing meddling?

Next, why won't the President tell Senator McConnell to do his damn job? We're going to take that question to the President's re-election Campaign Press Secretary.

And if the Democrats expected Mr. Mueller to create a consensus on impeachment, it didn't happen. But many Democrats say the move is already clear, and none has been pushing harder than this Presidential Candidate. Let's test Mr. Steyer on his case for impeachment, and for the environment.

Also, just days before the next Democratic debates, we're seeing a bolder Biden. The front-runner says this time he ain't going to be as polite. Will he be the warrior many in his party crave?

Big questions out there, what do you say? Let's get after it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right, so House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a little bit of a shift. She says Democrats should do what they need to do on impeachment. Question is has the Trump Train left the station? Is it too little too late?

Now, Mr. Tom Steyer has poured big bucks into making impeachment happy - happen. The 2020 candidate joins us now. Can't be happy because it isn't happening. Tom, good to have you. Thank you.

TOM STEYER (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Chris, nice to be here.

CUOMO: So, answer the question for me, impeachment, while obviously a possibility, now too little too late.

STEYER: Well you know I've called on Speaker Pelosi to cancel the 44- day Congressional vacation that starts tomorrow, and use that time to have hearings so the American people can continue what they've learned in - from Mr. Mueller, which is that we have the most corrupt President in American history that he's more than met the criteria to be impeached, and he should be removed as soon as possible.

CUOMO: But, you know, you don't have a Puerto Rico here, and you don't have a Watergate. You don't have a clear felony that comes out as a surprise to the American people, and you don't have that kind of public uprising that shows a consensus for this type of action.

So, why do you see it as the best move?

STEYER: Look, we did - Chris, you're right. We haven't had the televised hearings that we had in Watergate that let the American into the fact of how corrupt President Nixon was, and we've been calling for two years for those kind of hearings here, so the American people can see exactly how corrupt this President is.

The fact that we haven't had them is a straight-up failure of government. It's the reason - one of the reasons that I'm running for President is I feel as if we have a failed government. We have to return that government to the people. That's what I've been trying to do for 10 years as an outsider, and that's why I'm running for President.

CUOMO: Why not just make the - the, you know, make the case to the people, take it out on the hustings, Tom Steyer is better for America better than this President, here's what he did, here's why it's unacceptable, vote for me?

STEYER: Well I'm not running on impeachment, Chris, just so you know. I'm running on the fact that the corporations have taken over our government. For 10 years, as an outsider, I've been putting together coalitions of regular American citizens to take on those corporations. We've been beating them for 10 years.

And frankly, climate is a perfect example of what we're seeing. We're seeing the oil and gas companies--

CUOMO: Yes.

STEYER: --calling the tune on energy and pollution and climate when it should be the American people.

CUOMO: I'll take the bait on the pivot, and here's why. One, I think it's pragmatic of you to say "I'm not just running on impeachment" because it comes with risk. And two, you've got a big plan for the environment, but I want to pick at it this way. You say you're going to use your emergency powers. Now, doesn't that make you arguably more like the President than dissimilar because how do you use the emergency powers, an emergency declaration on the environment?

STEYER: Chris, we are in a crisis on climate. It is threatening the health and safety of every American.

CUOMO: Agreed.

STEYER: This is exactly what the emergency powers were given. When the American people are threatened, in fact, the President has to act. If the government and the Congress can't act, then the President has to protect the country and the people.

CUOMO: But that's a political argument.

STEYER: And that's what we're talking about.

CUOMO: But it's not the power located in that statute. That's why this show and many others argued against the President's exercise of that statute as an emergency declaration because the Border and needing a fence ain't an emergency declaration.

That statute had a specific purpose--

STEYER: Absolute--

CUOMO: --in taking the purse strings away from Congress, I don't know how this fits.

STEYER: Chris, in this case, I completely agree with you that President Trump was completely out of line in trying to use emergency powers for the Border.

[21:05:00] But in terms of the climate crisis, we can see the damage it's doing, we can see the damage that it's going to do, the absolute threat to our country, and we've got to turn the page on this conversation from talk and inaction to immediate action.

CUOMO: I don't disagree.

STEYER: This has to happen.

CUOMO: I don't disagree.

STEYER: And that's what I'm doing.

CUOMO: But we can't--

STEYER: By declaring a state of emergency on day one.

CUOMO: See, and that's where we disagree. Now, I'll tell you why, Tom.

I get the first part of it that, you know, you need to be a Persuader- in-Chief. You need to form consensus, and that has to motivate Congress to satisfy the appetite for different and change on the part of their constituents.

But if you just do an end run and do a power-play that further messes up our checks and balances, how are you any better than what we have there now?

STEYER: Well let me put it to you this way, Chris. You've got to go back to my basic thesis, which is the corporations have bought the democracy. We can see it in climate. We can see it in drug pricing. We can see it in gun violence. We can see it across the board.

Eight out of 10 Americans agree with that statement. And we've got to break that corporate stranglehold and return the democracy to the people. And honestly, that's what I've been doing in the States for 10 years, by organizing people--

CUOMO: Yes.

STEYER: --direct democracy.

CUOMO: Right.

STEYER: Passing propositions going around the legislature--

CUOMO: Tricky on the federal level.

STEYER: --directly to the people.

CUOMO: Tricky on the federal level.

STEYER: And if--

CUOMO: And easier on the state level. But I'm not where - I'm not arguing with your premise that we have, you know, you're outlining some of the factors that are stopping change on the climate. Understood.

If they can't find a way to make money on it, they're not going to pursue it with the kind of appetite that they will what they're making money off right now.

I'm saying don't become what you oppose, you know, don't make an, you know, arguably a righteous but wrong power-play to get something done just because you believe in it.

STEYER: Chris.

CUOMO: Because then you're just like what we have now.

STEYER: The most famous historic example of emergency powers was Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. There was a - an absolute threat to the safety and health of Americans, and he felt that it was absolutely necessary to act speedily and firmly, and that's what we're talking about here.

We don't have any more time to wait. You can talk about persuasion, but we have a party, the Republican Party, that's a subsidiary of the oil and gas business. Those people--

CUOMO: But Democrats take a lot of money from oil and gas--

STEYER: --have been denying climate and--

CUOMO: --too, Tom.

STEYER: And, you know, Chris--

CUOMO: They're small business. They put their hands into everybody's pocket--

STEYER: --I--

CUOMO: --if they can get it in there.

STEYER: I understand that. But the safety and health of the American people of every single person is at risk here. It's particularly true for low-income communities--

CUOMO: Yes.

STEYER: --and communities of color. We have our climate plan, if you look at it, is a bottoms-up plan, specifically justice-based, and it starts on day one because that's the extent of this emergency.

CUOMO: Give me the--

STEYER: If in fact we don't act that way, Mother Nature is not going to wait for the Congress of the United States--

CUOMO: Listen, we - we live it here in the--

STEYER: --to come to its senses.

CUOMO: --Northeast. We live it all over the country. We get a 100 years storm every other year. Give me your top three points in the plan.

STEYER: OK. What I'd say is this. Number one, state of emergency on day one, a 100 days for Congress to pass a Green New Deal or we use the emergency powers of the Presidency.

Two, it's a people-centered plan where we have a ton of effort to hear from communities how they want us to do it, but particularly, to make sure that the communities that have been most harmed will be - will be protected, and that displaced workers in industries that are going - that are being affected will be specifically taken care of up front.

And lastly, in order for this to work, we need to reassert American leadership around the world. This can't happen. It's a global problem. We need American global moral leadership. We need American global technical leadership. We need American global industrial leadership.

This is a chance for America to be richer, better-employed, higher wages, grow faster, be healthier, but also to reassert the idea of what we are as a country that we're the country that leads the world in every way, but in - in particular, on a moral basis, about freedom and justice.

This is - we have to do it. It's a huge opportunity for us to reassert the kind of country that we were formed to be.

CUOMO: The--

STEYER: The country that steps ups and does what's right when it has to be done.

CUOMO: Well, Tom Steyer--

STEYER: This is our chance.

CUOMO: --this is what we know for sure at this point. That's what this election is going to be about is what is the definition--

STEYER: Absolutely.

CUOMO: --of America, what are we about, what do we reject, who are we, who are we not. So, the more you talk about that, the more you'll be part of the conversation. Tom Steyer, thank you for being here in the conversation with us tonight.

STEYER: Chris Cuomo, thank you.

CUOMO: All right.

All right, of course, what to do about this President? For the Democrats, it's all tangled up with how to replace him, and have one of their own in there, right? That's part of their calculus.

[21:10:00] And on that score, The Wizard of Odds has some new numbers that paint more of a picture of who may be their best chance, and where. Look at him, he's doing things, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right, the gift is here, The Wizard of Odds, Harry Enten. Well here's why. Numbers are nothing without context.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER & ANALYST: Yes. CUOMO: And if the Democrats are trying to figure out who is their best messenger, and what is their best message, they're going to have to look at the numbers, but more importantly in the places that matter. What do you see on the fresh stats?

ENTEN: The fresh, the fresh numbers, so Ohio, right, that is a state that - Republicans have never won the Presidency without winning Ohio, and what do we see here?

We see Vice President Joe Biden leading Donald Trump by eight points. All the other major Democratic contenders, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris are all either trailing or tied with Donald Trump in the case of Kamala Harris.

CUOMO: Well, one point. It's got to be within the MOE. But the idea of any shifting here has anybody gotten weaker against Trump, anybody gotten stronger against Trump?

ENTEN: No. I would just say that this is something that we have seen continuously. Throughout this election cycle, we've seen that Joe Biden has continuously been doing very well against Donald Trump in the different swing states. These are all states, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas--

CUOMO: Oh, yes, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas--

[21:15:00] ENTEN: --all of these states were won by Donald Trump in 2016, and Joe Biden is the one leading in all of them. And more than that, he's the only one leading in Texas, and he is doing better than all the other Democrats about Florida and Pennsylvania.

CUOMO: How many Republicans, or let's - let's call them anti-Trump Republicans, say they'll vote for Biden?

ENTEN: Yes. So, I think this is a rather interesting nugget. So, this is from the Ohio poll that we were just talking about. And essentially, I broke this down to Biden versus Trump matchup, and the Warren versus Trump matchup.

And what you see here is that both Biden and Warren about doing equally as well among Democrats. But look among Independents, look at this, Elizabeth Warren at 48 percent, Joe Biden at 55 percent in the matchup against Trump.

Look at Republicans. Elizabeth Warren just at 4 percent. Look at Joe Biden, 10 percent. So, even though he's still trailing among Republicans, he's getting more of that vote.

CUOMO: How much of the 10 percent turns into that lip-biter at the end, which is "I got to go with my own?"

ENTEN: You know what? There's only 4 percent undecided. This is not bad form. I would say, looking at the other polling numbers, that Joe Biden is the most popular candidate among non-Democratic primary voters of all the Democrats running for President right now.

CUOMO: So, Joe Biden is muscling up. That means that somebody told him you need to muscle up before this debate.

ENTEN: Yes.

CUOMO: What is it framed up as--

ENTEN: Need to read (ph).

CUOMO: --right now with him and the rest of the Democrats.

ENTEN: Yes. So, take a look at this. So, this is a rather interesting thing. So, I took an average of the live interview polls, and I broke it down just immediately following the first debate, and then over the last few weeks, and what do we see?

We see Joe Biden actually recovering. Remember he dropped off after that first debate, and he has recovered somewhat. He's now back up to 30 percent in the National Democratic primary poll average.

And basically, you have this three-way tie for second place still, 16 percent for Warren, 14 percent for Sanders, 12 percent for Harris. But we have seen that Biden has been able to recover some of that ground, and that's why you're going to see a lot of Democrats go after him in that debate.

CUOMO: You know what I want to watch as we go forward that every time the President inflames the national dialog--

ENTEN: Yes.

CUOMO: --and pushes division, it will be interesting to see if these numbers go down, and this one goes up, because that will be a direct metric for Democrats and Independents who are anti-Trump to say, "I need to beat this President. Who is my best choice no matter how I feel about plans."

ENTEN: If the argument is about electability, Joe Biden has the best case to make at this point, based upon the current polling data.

CUOMO: Now. But if he gets his ass whooped again in the debates?

ENTEN: If he gets his butt whooped, but I would say - yes, I'm a young man, I use certain languages, if he gets his butt whooped, then yes, we did see his numbers drop after the first debate. But over the last - past few weeks, as he's gotten tougher, we've seen his poll numbers improve.

And I'll also point out, we see it, look, South Carolina, this is a very important contest, we see him overwhelmingly leading the field here, 39 percent--

CUOMO: Four states, so it's big, early in the calendar, big African- American vote, so it gives you two metrics.

ENTEN: Right, exactly right. And look at this, among African-Americans 51 percent at this point saying they're going to go with Joe Biden, well ahead of Kamala Harris. And look, Cory Booker's not even on this particular graphic.

CUOMO: Right. And people have to remember, you can't just say, "Oh, well they're African-Americans. They'll vote for an African-American." They are known not only as a strong loyalist base within the party but moderates--

ENTEN: They--

CUOMO: --on policy. So, if it's color versus concentration of policy, they may go with policy over identity.

ENTEN: That's exactly right. And remember, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, all these candidates are running to the left, they're running to the left on healthcare, and that is particular issue, with Obamacare, African-Americans are very proud of that achievement of President Obama, and they're going with Joe Biden at this point.

CUOMO: Right. And you've been working on numbers that show that people on healthcare are not that happy about an extreme plan.

ENTEN: They are not happy at extreme plan. The more moderate conservative Democrats want that public option. They don't want Medicare-for-All.

CUOMO: And I know that I'm a - more vulgar than you, but this is going to be a very vulgar election, Harry.

ENTEN: Yes.

CUOMO: So - so steel yourself.

ENTEN: You know I'm going to protect myself, folks.

CUOMO: Steel yourself.

ENTEN: I am an innocent young man. But I'm going to protect myself.

CUOMO: Get some type of totem or something. Harry Enten, The Wizard of Odds, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Yes.

CUOMO: So, it is five days before the next debates here on CNN, and I'm not just hyping them because it's CNN. Joe Biden has to perform that night. Why? Because at some point, you got to start winning.

Remember we said that on election night when we were all looking at the map with Hillary Clinton, at some point, you got to win. So, Joe Biden, will it work for him to muscle up?

Here are the debaters, Michael Eric Dyson, Jennifer Granholm, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME. (END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Week out from another debate. It's going to be a showdown here on CNN. Joe Biden muscling up, taking jabs at Kamala Harris on healthcare, Cory Booker on criminal justice reform, here's a taste.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People will say they're for Medicare-for-All, but they're not going to tax the middle-class, because you don't need to do that, come on! I mean what is this? This a fantasy world here?

His police department was stopping and frisking people, mostly African-American men.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Hey, you want to talk about the past? Everybody has one. Now, is this posture for Biden more aggressive, a better way for him to go into this debate?

Let's have a debate about this ourselves, in fact, let's make it a great one, and that's all about the people, and we have them, Michael Eric Dyson, Author of "What Truth Sounds Like," and Jennifer Granholm, good to have you both.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: THE GREAT DEBATE.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Jennifer Granholm, you helped in the last debate.

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes sir.

CUOMO: You are not helping in this debate because it's on CNN, and you work here.

GRANHOLM: Right.

CUOMO: But are you happy with this new posture from Biden?

GRANHOLM: Yes. Yes. Here's what I would say on this, Chris. I mean, first of all, I was with a whole bunch of Democrats today, and they were saying, "Please, please, don't have Democrats attacking one another personally--

CUOMO: Too late.

GRANHOLM: --attack, for sure, on policy."

Right, OK. But if he is punched, he's going to - he's going to be Jabbing Joe, my guess is, he's going to punch right back.

And I think people want to see that he's a fighter. But I do think that Democrats are nervous about Democrats tearing one another down because we got to keep our eye on the prize, which is the general election.

CUOMO: Professor, my father used to joke that--

GRANHOLM: Mm.

CUOMO: --they only shoot backwards in cowboy movies that the front- runner should always just look forward. But he got beat up by Booker. He got beat up by Harris. And it - Democrats keep saying they want a warrior, and they feel that they're getting into one of the dirtiest fights ever in this general election.

Should you see Biden doing anything else?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, GEORGETOWN SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR, "WHAT TRUTH SOUNDS LIKE" AUTHOR: Sure. All is fair in love and war and the Democratic contest for the Presidency.

[21:25:00] Look, I think that Governor Granholm is right. We don't want to see an ad hominem, an ad feminam assault. We don't want to see personal attacks launched in the Trumpian mode where people denigrate another human being.

But going after a record is perfectly fine, and being able to give as well as one takes is absolutely fine as well. I think that the perception that Joe Biden was somehow out-classed, out-gassed, and then out-talked may have to be dealt with, and he has a right to address that.

At the same time, let the records speak for themselves. And he has amassed what a 40 some-odd year record, he's got more to come at, therefore there's more material for his opponents. But I think it is absolutely appropriate for him to be able to defend himself in light of the principled assaults that may be launched against him.

CUOMO: Now look, we talk about race on this show a lot because I respect the context and nature of the conversation that has to happen because we're nowhere that we need to be.

However, Granholm when we looked at what happened with Kamala Harris in that last debate, that wasn't an off-the-cuff remark, that wasn't a "Hey Joe, let me remind you--

GRANHOLM: Of course not. CUOMO: --I was somebody who got bused and it worked for me, so you need to wake up." It was calculated. She had the ads and T-shirts ready to go. And it was as close to the line of an ad hominem we've seen.

Now, if that's the kind of debate that you guys are going to have, then Democrats have to stop saying that you want it to be cleaner because she was rewarded for that, just as Booker was in the polls.

GRANHOLM: Yes. But everybody does have a past, as you've said. Whether it is 40 years ago, which people want to hear less about, or was it - whether it's something more recent, those are fair - it's fair game.

But then the question is how do you quickly pivot, and talk to people about what you're going to do for them. 40 years ago, I mean half the electorate wasn't even alive. They don't, you know, it's not relevant to them.

And Joe Biden, by the way, he did a, I thought, a really nice job of apologizing, and sort of suggesting to people looking forward.

In South Carolina, when he was campaigning last week, he said, basically, "I'm not the same person that I was when I was sent to the Senate when I was 29 years old. I have changed. People do change. I am not perfect. There are things I wouldn't do the same way. But here we are, and let me tell you what I'm going to do for you." That, I think, is the kind of message that Democrats want to hear.

CUOMO: All right.

DYSON: Yes.

CUOMO: You're both nodding your heads, so both of you feel free to attack me as being a cynic on this.

GRANHOLM: That's because he's from Detroit, and he's - we--

CUOMO: Well, look--

DYSON: USA, what it is (ph).

GRANHOLM: --we share that same, you know--

CUOMO: --in - in - in favor - in - in fairness, the Professor has been emailing me and saying on this show for a long time that the Democrats have to get straight what they want to do, which is beat the President.

But this is my question to you about that, Professor. I see this election, even the death penalty stuff that came up today with Barr, what is that? That's a metaphor point of the new harshness, OK?

This election is about identity. It's not about healthcare. Healthcare is going to be a proxy issue because it goes to people's feelings of security and what government should do for them, but this is going to be an identity game, and it's going to be played on the President's terms because he's the President.

And he's going to be coming about who we are, who we're not, why you're a bum, why you stink, why you're weak, why are you're old or why you're a woman who's not up to the job, or whatever it is, and you're going to have to be ready for that, or you will lose. Do you accept that proposition?

DYSON: No doubt about it, but here's the thing. Even today, the judgment made about the death penalty, who does that disproportionately affect?

CUOMO: African-Americans.

DYSON: African-American people so that we know that, you know, the very people who always decry identity politics, why do you people play identity politics?

All politics have an identity if it's your identity that's at stake. So that Whiteness has been seen as a universal, and therefore a neutral forum, within which people make judgments about what's going on.

For instance, think about the argument that Kamala Harris was calculated but Uncle Joe wasn't. Tell me - you tell me the refusal to apologize is not calculated, to look tough, what did he ended up looking like?

He ended up looking like an old White guy who doesn't know that he ought to apologize when somebody says, "You hurt me," and then gin up the argument, make principled assaults upon them because he could have well said that Kamala Harris has some vulnerabilities that need to be articulated that he could do. So--

CUOMO: Well he blew that opportunity, but let's just be fair for one second.

DYSON: But it - but it's both and.

CUOMO: You--

DYSON: It's not either/or, Sir.

CUOMO: No, I'm with you. I'm--

DYSON: Calculations are on that (ph).

CUOMO: Professor, I - I accept that. But Jennifer, what happens when you apologize in politics? What happens?

GRANHOLM: Well, right now, people--

CUOMO: You get beat up on for apologizing.

GRANHOLM: Yes.

DYSON: But he apologized anyway. CUOMO: I know.

GRANHOLM: I--

DYSON: He apologized few weeks later.

CUOMO: I - I don't know why he did because I don't know what it gets you in this business right now.

GRANHOLM: I--

CUOMO: That's why the President never--

DYSON: Well you know what?

GRANHOLM: You know what?

DYSON: Can I - can I jump in before--

CUOMO: --apologizes.

DYSON: --before the Governor?

GRANHOLM: I disagree with that.

DYSON: But - but here's the point.

GRANHOLM: Go ahead.

DYSON: That at - at the very beginning, had he said, "Look, you're absolutely right. I was wrong. But I did something, you know, 30, 40 years ago that I've changed."

CUOMO: Yes.

DYSON: "And since then, I've been hanging out with a Black guy named Barack Obama. And, by the way, I defended him, and went to war for him, and so that, you know, Janet Jackson has raised the question, "What have you done for me lately" let me tell you what I've done more recently that allows me to articulate my--

GRANHOLM: Right.

CUOMO: Right.

DYSON: --principled racial practice, and allows me to defend myself on this stage."

CUOMO: No. I give - I give that an Amen.

DYSON: There's a different type that could have been taken.

[21:30:00] CUOMO: I give that - I mean I don't mean to be a cynic in terms of the power of forgiveness and the ability to have a legitimate apology. I'm just saying--

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: --in politics, it's not often rewarded, although I would say this--

DYSON: Right.

CUOMO: --Gov. I think that Mr. Biden may be doing Harris and Booker and anybody else he gets into it with a favor because Democrats need to see any of these potentials tested because they - this is the most fearsome politician we've seen in my lifetime on the national stage, President Trump, and I mean that--

GRANHOLM: Yes.

CUOMO: --as a compliment. The man knows how to fight in a way that the media will reward, and his base will respond, so you got to see if they're up to it.

GRANHOLM: No question. No question. People want to see people getting in the ring and battling, battling fiercely over ideas. They completely want that. And yes, record is fair game, no doubt about that either.

But people much want more, want to see the future, what is going to happen to me and my life in the future, and I don't think that apologizing or at least saying, "You know what? I've evolved. I've grown. I've grown."

I mean I - I had to - have done stuff in the past year that I would redo again. I have done stuff in the past day that I would redo. It's not human to suggest that we are static as human beings.

I mean Dr. Dyson, you're a preacher. You understand the power of--

DYSON: Absolutely.

GRANHOLM: --of, you know, forgiveness.

DYSON: Love and forgiveness.

GRANHOLM: And I think that - I think that there is a place for that for somebody that has lived a long time to understand the power of evolution. So, all of that is to say "Yes, fight, yes come out swinging, come out swinging on ideas, and persuade us that your ideas are the best for the people."

DYSON: But - but you know what, Chris Cuomo, you know what the real deal is. Donald Trump has an ability and a privilege to say nasty and do nasty things that an African-American, a woman won't. If Hillary Clinton had done--

GRANHOLM: Yes.

DYSON: --half the stuff that this man is doing, she would have been berated. If Barack Obama had taken a sip of a White Russian drink--

CUOMO: Because the Left cares about this in a candidate.

DYSON: --in the White House, if he had taken a White Russian drink.

CUOMO: The Left, you guys care about this stuff.

DYSON: But - but I'm saying to you.

CUOMO: You guys will judge on this. His people will not.

DYSON: But - but I'm saying to you, Sir, a Black man can't be angry, a Black woman can't be as angry as Donald Trump, can't be as vociferous, as vituperative, as nasty, and as inconsequent - as - as a - disregarding the consequences of his own speech. And I'm telling you, that's a form of privilege that these candidates don't have.

CUOMO: Listen--

DYSON: And as a result of that, fighting has to be done in very strategic and very politics fashion.

CUOMO: It's very true. You must understand the rules of play even if you want to change and reject those rules.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Vituperative is a big word. Biggest word I ever use is mayonnaise, but I respect you for using that word on this show because it is perfectly fitting.

DYSON: Let's deconstruct it, Brother.

CUOMO: And look, you've got the metaphor here. You've got a White Anglo-Saxon man who is preaching to America that his prejudices are well-founded, and that the division--

DYSON: No doubt.

CUOMO: --is necessary. And you are going to have a monumental task in front of you it'll go to the core of the soul of this country. Michael--

DYSON: Out of his mind and out of his depth.

CUOMO: Michael Eric Dyson, always a plus, Jennifer Granholm, value- added, as always, thank you both. All right--

DYSON: Thank you.

GRANHOLM: Thanks so much.

CUOMO: --I got one quick thing I want to show you. Widen out a little bit, Ellie (ph). Here is a metaphor I was taught about how you need to fight in a primary as a Democrat, OK?

When somebody attacks you, you go like this, "Hey, you know, take it easy, I don't want any trouble, any trouble." You look defensive, right? But look how close your hand has gotten to your opponent, and then you hit back.

That's what you're going to have to see in this debate, not ugliness, disagreement with decency, but somebody who can put their hands up when they're being attacked, and then knows how to smack back at an opponent, to show that they are the strongest for their party in this.

It's a metaphor that worked for me. I was like 12 when someone taught it to me.

So, in terms of the substance of it, the biggest issue that came out of this Mueller probe yesterday should now be obvious to you, about what it should mean in the election. Election protection!

But it's still not happening. Republicans are stopping it. Why? The President isn't demanding it. Why? We're going to talk to one of the heads of his re-election campaign what is the way forward, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: I don't know how much more proof we need of this, I would see it as dispositive at this point, but President Trump's own FBI Director just told us all today the same thing that Mueller did yesterday, that the Head of Intelligence has, that the - you know, our elections are under attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER A. WRAY, DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: In the last few years, we've seen many examples of cyber actors targeting political campaigns.

We expect much of the same in 2020.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Russia, China, North Korea, maybe even more and more pernicious, why? Now they know it works.

Nearly two dozen election security bills have been introduced in this Congress. None is going anywhere. And we haven't heard anything from this President, except that it's not real, and that he believes that Putin had nothing to do with it.

Kayleigh McEnany is with his campaign, good to have you on this show to get this perspective.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: ONE ON ONE.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Help me understand--

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, TRUMP 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY, FORMER RNC SPOKESWOMAN: Good to talk to you.

CUOMO: --this one because now that it is "Case closed," and I - and I think that the President has a fair chance of making that argument after yesterday, why not jump on election protection, and say, "Russian interference is real, we got to fix it?"

MCENANY: Well he has, and I'll give you several things that have been done by both Congress and the President.

DHS has worked with more than a 1,000 localities and states to ensure that their systems have integrity, and are safe and protected. The President's issued two Executive Orders to assess our cyber-security.

You look at Congress, they passed the DETER Act, which says you can't enter this country if you've engaged in election interference. And, by the way, I would note they made it a crime to hack our elections, and they provided $380 million to States, more than 1,050 localities.

So, a lot has been done, Chris. It's just false to say that nothing has been done, and no one has cared about this issue, because this administration has, and certainly more than Obama, who did nothing.

CUOMO: Well, first of all, we didn't have the risk then. You can argue that Obama mishandled it when he found out about it during 2016, and that he played it too safe, and he made the mistake of going to Mitch McConnell, and trying to have this be bipartisan, but let's keep him out of it because that was then, this is now.

My point is simple. This President has never said the following. "Russia interfered in our election. They're trying to do it again. And I will stop them." Never!

[21:40:00] MCENANY: President Trump said on May 3rd, Russia cannot interfere in our election, he has said that before. And I don't think you can leave President Obama out of this because this threat went back to 2014. That is when the Intel Community knew that there was a threat.

CUOMO: Kayleigh, it went back further than that. The point is that that is a distraction from the now. And when the President stood on the stage of Helsinki, if you want to look back, when he sat there, he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I can do is ask the question. My people came to me. Dan Coats came to me, and some others. They said, they think it's Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it's not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Boy oh boy! You want to go back to Obama when he said to then- President Medvedev, you know, "After the election, I'll have more leeway on policy," you guys made it seem like it was traitorous.

Yet, he said that on the stage in Helsinki, and you want the people to believe that he cares about the issue.

MCENANY: Well first, Ambassador Bolton noted the very first issue that was brought up in that meeting with Putin was election interference.

CUOMO: By whom?

MCENANY: President Trump meant - by President Trump to Vladimir Putin.

CUOMO: And he said what?

MCENANY: He brought up election interference. I wasn't in the conversation. But it was brought--

CUOMO: Like he did in that last press conference where he said--

MCENANY: --it was brought up.

CUOMO: --"Hey, don't interfere in our election again. Ha, ha, ha, ha."

MCENANY: It - it was brought up, Chris.

And I would contrast this, by the way, to Susan Rice, Obama's NSA, National Security Adviser, who said, "Cut it out and stand down," when the Intel Community said we must act against Russia. By contrast, this President has implemented sanctions, crippling sanctions--

CUOMO: No, yes, yes, yes, who made him--

MCENANY: He's done all of this.

CUOMO: --who made him put the sanctions in place, Kayleigh?

MCENANY: Who made him?

CUOMO: Congress.

MCENANY: No one made him. He did.

CUOMO: He didn't introduce the sanctions.

MCENANY: He - he--

CUOMO: He didn't want to do the sanctions.

MCENANY: Chris.

CUOMO: He was forced to do the sanctions.

MCENANY: You know as well as I do, he's implemented sanctions, he's closed the Russian Consulate, two of them. He has expelled 60 Russian Intel officers. What did President--

CUOMO: And he has stood on the world stage and said he believes Putin over his--

MCENANY: No, he--

CUOMO: --own Intel Community.

MCENANY: --he came out right after that and said, I meant to say that--

CUOMO: Yes, yes, he lied to the American people.

MCENANY: --that Russia did have a role in this. Here's what - he didn't--

CUOMO: And tried to say that he didn't say what--

MCENANY: No, he has not lied.

CUOMO: --we all heard him say.

MCENANY: He has not lied.

CUOMO: But here's what I'm saying. Looking backwards is bad for you.

Let's look forwards, and say, why doesn't he now say election protection is paramount? "McConnell, stop playing games, put this on the floor," act the way he did at the press conference yesterday about this issue.

If you don't do it, you're fake and you're bad, and you're untruthful, and I don't like you. Say that to people who won't--

MCENANY: He has.

CUOMO: --pass protections.

MCENANY: He has.

CUOMO: He has never--

MCENANY: I gave you the date. May--

CUOMO: --made a public statement of strength--

MCENANY: --May 3rd he has.

CUOMO: --behind ensuring the election.

MCENANY: Yes, he has, and his actions speak louder than anything President Obama did--

CUOMO: This is a man who acts by tweet.

MCENANY: --Chris, anything President Obama did. The sanctions have crippled--

CUOMO: He didn't have the same threat.

MCENANY: The - the - yes, he did.

CUOMO: He did not.

MCENANY: Going back to 2014, he was warned. The D--

CUOMO: This happened in 2016 is when it became this.

MCENANY: The DNC server was hacked, and they knew about attempts to hack this going back to 2015.

CUOMO: And he made the mistake of not wanting to corrupt the election, and going to Mitch McConnell to see if this could be a bipartisan--

MCENANY: And--

CUOMO: --thing, and that was his mistake.

MCENANY: President Obama's--

CUOMO: Bad on them!

MCENANY: No. President Obama's own National Security Adviser said "Stand down." President Obama did absolutely nothing. Even his own Russian Ambassador said the sanctions in the aftermath--

CUOMO: And I have a report in my hand from Republican Senators saying one of the first--

MCENANY: --of the election were not appropriate.

CUOMO: --things they need to do, their second recommendation is the United States should communicate to adversaries that it will view an attack on its election infrastructure as a hostile act, and we will respond accordingly.

And you've never heard this President say it to the person who interfered the most. And this is a man who loves to threaten people that he wants to threaten.

MCENANY: He has--

CUOMO: Not here.

MCENANY: --he has repeatedly said it. But more than that-- CUOMO: He has not repeatedly said it.

MCENANY: --he has acted. He has stopped Nord 2, the biggest geo- economic project in Russia is no longer going on because of President Trump, and his sanctions, and his actions that he has taken, louder than anything President Obama did in his stand-down order--

CUOMO: Why won't he tell Congress to act--

MCENANY: --his stand-down order.

CUOMO: --on this issue on these bills?

MCENANY: Congress has acted. I gave you many examples.

CUOMO: Then why are all these Republicans in the Senate--

MCENANY: The DETER Act.

CUOMO: --trying to say we need to do more and there have to be--

MCENANY: Because--

CUOMO: --bills that are bipartisan that McConnell shoots down?

MCENANY: Chris, the - the bills that have been passed on election security by McConnell have been unanimous.

CUOMO: But they are insufficient.

MCENANY: The ones that have not passed were narrow on partisan lines and would have done nothing. The two today were partisan bills, the bills that have unanimous support--

CUOMO: How are they partisan?

MCENANY: --passed. Well--

CUOMO: By saying that you have to notify the FBI when a foreign--

MCENANY: One of them--

CUOMO: --when a foreign actor comes to you?

MCENANY: Yes. One of them - first of all, again--

CUOMO: That's partisan?

MCENANY: --of course, because it is - it is already a crime to accept assistance from a foreign government. So this is--

CUOMO: I know. But what if it's less than that? What if you don't actually get something--

MCENANY: This bill--

CUOMO: --of - of value, but they do come to you.

MCENANY: This bill--

CUOMO: That's something we now know--

MCENANY: --would have--

CUOMO: --we need to report.

MCENANY: Chris, when Obama toured Europe during his campaign, and McCain did, and Romney did, it would have required them to report every single conversation or meeting--

CUOMO: No, it's not true.

MCENANY: --with someone while overseas.

CUOMO: It's not - it's - not true.

MCENANY: It's overly brought--

CUOMO: Only if that person made a solicitation to help them in the campaign. But Kayleigh, I got to leave it there. It's an important conversation. I appreciate you having it with me. We will continue it, all right?

MCENANY: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Kayleigh McEnany, thank you.

[21:45:00] All right, tough news, 16 U.S. Marines arrested on their own base, right in the middle of gathering in formation, 16, not easy to imagine, and what they're accused of is horrible, but we have to talk about it, it's instructive, not of all Marines, but of these.

D. Lemon, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: An investigation into human smuggling turned into a mass arrest today at Camp Pendleton in California.

16 Marines were taken into custody for migrant smuggling and drug- related offenses. The drug offenses had nothing to do with moving across the Border. But this comes just weeks after two Marines from the same battalion were charged for transporting undocumented immigrants for money.

D. Lemon is here. Let's say the obvious first, few bad apples not reflective of the bunch. U.S. Marines are arguably at the top of the food chain of people committed to our freedom.

But, you know, this does shine a light on how if you want to worry about who's sneaking people across the Border, you don't have to just look at migrants.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Yes, which is absolutely true. Chris, I don't even know what to say about this story, as I read it, you know, because we have such respect for our men and women in uniform, but I - I just I can't believe it.

[21:50:00] But I guess, you know, the moral of the story is that it can happen to anyone. Good people can go bad. I - I hate to criticize our men and women in uniform because they do such a great job.

But this, if true, is terrible, terrible activity, and they deserve whatever punishment they can get.

CUOMO: Yes. I think you call it out because we do respect them.

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: And we want to show that there is a standard and they have to live up to it, maybe even more than--

LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: --the rest of us. They're kind of like the last line of people that we expect the best from on a regular basis, and, of course--

LEMON: No one is immune from bad behavior.

CUOMO: --they need to fall short to human (ph).

LEMON: No one is immune--

CUOMO: They're human.

LEMON: --from bad behavior.

CUOMO: They're human. But again--

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: --you won't see the President going after the Marines for smuggling migrants across the Border. Why?

LEMON: Absolutely true.

CUOMO: Because it doesn't sell his fear and divisiveness to attack these smugglers. If you - if they were other Mexicans or migrants-- LEMON: Oh my Gosh, anyone from Central America, Honduras, any of that, oh my Gosh, as you call it, the Brown what?

CUOMO: Menace.

LEMON: Menace. Listen, I'm going to have Congresswoman Madeleine Dean on. Everyone wants to know what is going to happen. She's with the Judiciary Committee. Everyone wants to know what Democrats are going to do right now.

So, I've been here in Washington, I'm still here, I'm trying to figure out what is the plan going forward. We're getting ready for the debates as well. We're trying to figure out what's going on, and who's going to be the best candidate to take on President Trump. That's the whole point of this thing, right?

But also, there's this story, I don't know if you heard about it. Have you heard about this Ole Miss story?

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: And what happened at this Emmett Till statue? Emmett Till Memorial?

CUOMO: The kids in front of it with the guns.

LEMON: Kids in front of it with the gun, they are facing, these are students, facing possible Civil Rights charges and Civil Rights investigation for things that they posted online. They were with guns. They don't know if they in fact did something to the monument, right, desecrated the monument, but it's all under investigation.

What in the hell is going on in this country right now?

CUOMO: You know what's going on. I'll be back with you in a second, D. Lemon.

LEMON: See you in a bit.

CUOMO: All right, you want to talk about what's going on? The federal government is bringing back the death penalty. Why? Because that's what this campaign is about. It's about the new harshness, social instructions in different types of brutality. So, what is the right move here? You have to look at this policy deeply and in different ways.

I will do that for you in the Closing Argument, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEXT: CLOSING ARGUMENT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: So, this President wants to start killing people again on the federal level in the name of justice. Only three have received the death penalty since 1976 on a federal level. And Attorney General Barr now wants to nearly double that in just a six-week span.

Should we have it, righteous retribution and the validation of vengeance? This new appeal to harshness sounds powerful. But is taking a life a show of strength?

Let's look at it different ways. Not to Jesus! His core message for believers was love, mercy. So, if you're pro-life and pro-death penalty, you've got an inconsistency.

And if you argue, "Well fetuses are innocent, and these people are guilty," I send any Christian back to the source. Did Jesus say you decide who lives and dies? But that's politics and religion, and it gets muddy.

Ultimately, what about practicality? Does this policy work? Does it deter people from killing because they fear the penalty? Take a look. Graph of states and homicide rates where the death penalty is in effect, more killing, not less.

So, if it doesn't deter, is it justice, is it fairness under law? There has been constant scrutiny in the courts since Furman v. Georgia in the 70s, legal debates about how the punishment is carried out mainly, lately mostly about which drugs should be used.

However, if you look at the numbers, the story of unfair application emerges, and it's not as simple as Blacks get it the most. On one level, Blacks and Whites are about the same percentage of the prison population and of death row.

Of course, you have a lot more Whites and Blacks in the country, but that gets complicated, go deeper.

When do we find a murder worthy of this penalty? Half of homicide victims are African-American, but the death penalty is way more prevalent when the victim is White.

And if you look at what happens when a Black person kills a White person, 290 executions. White person kills a black person, 21. 290. 21.

The biggest obstacle to fairness, this penalty cannot be reversed. So, when there's a mistake, then what? Well, have there been? Yes, a 166 exonerations since 1973.

Well at least we haven't ever killed anybody wrongly, we don't know. Courts don't take up cases of dead people, so we can't say how many were killed in error by the United States, murdered, in that case. These factors have made the death penalty a vestige of a less-evolved

society. How do we know? Look at the company we keep by having a policy like this. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Somalia, and there we are, the United States. You are the company you keep.

Even here, a society that is distinguished in part by violence, be honest, popularity of killing people has fallen, and we are now split, about 50-50, and that is the stage for this election.

This President knows we are divided and he is pushing on prejudice. That's what a demagogue does. Prove it. "Muslims, stay out. Brown folks, go home. If someone protests at a rally, knock them out. Insult the free press if you don't like what they report."

And now the ultimate new appeal to harshness. Here, we kill people. You won't find a justification in the numbers, nor com - comfort in the law books or certainly the Good Book. This is about the soul of society.

What do you want to be about? The instruction here is death begets the death - death begets death. Therefore, killing can be OK. The President sees this for what it is, and he likes it. Do you?

That's all for us tonight. Thanks for watching. CNN TONIGHT with D. Lemon right now.

END