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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Brazil's Leader Rejects Amazon Aid Over Macron "Insults"; Farmers Slam Trump Trade War With China; GOP Representative Sean Duffy To Resign From Congress. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 27, 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] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KASICH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF OHIO, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: --I'm not being heard in the public arena.

I'm being heard in the public arena loud and clear, and I'll continue to be heard. But the fact that people don't want to speak out because it's not good for their state, I don't buy that. I think it's a - it's more self-interest.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Stuart Stevens, John Kasich, I appreciate you being with me. And I appreciate your honesty.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The news continues. So I'll hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: J.B., I appreciate you being with me. And I appreciate your honesty. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

The Earth's lungs won't be saved until the President of Brazil gets an apology. Are you kidding me? He feels insulted by the Head of France, and that's going to hold up his acceptance of relief?

We have Bill Nye, The Science Guy, with what punishment the President of Brazil's pride is forcing on this world.

Also, one of our President's biggest allies in Congress is leaving, but the decision is about something way bigger than politics. Sean Duffy is here with us tonight. Look, we've been at odds many times on this show. But tonight, let's remember what connects us. And what he's going to tell you really, really, matters.

And guess who is suspicious of this Popeyes chicken sandwich shortage? Me. Guess who doesn't like what I think? D. Lemon. Eating him up may taste even better than this Cajun contagion (ph).

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

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right. So, "He called me a liar. He should withdraw the insults he made against me," these are the words of the President of Brazil, who's now putting his personal spat with the President of France over putting out these damnable fires that are raging in the Amazon rainforest.

$20 million was just pledged by countries at the G7 in France to save the lungs of our planet. Look, it ain't enough. It's going to take a lot, but you have to start with somewhere, and you have to encourage people to be part of this process.

But the President of Brazil says "I'm not going to take it." And he has the backing of another President known for putting the "Me" before the "We."

Let's bring in Bill Nye, The Science Guy. It's good to have you on the show, Sir.

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TEXT: ONE ON ONE.

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CUOMO: What do you make of this general sense of opposition from the President of Brazil? Do you think that it will flag quickly?

BILL NYE, "THE SCIENCE GUY": Yes. I think it'll, pun intended, blow over because they are - the G7 is offering $20 million, which is not nothing. And so, they just - turned out letting the fires burn has become so unpopular that Bolsonaro just is going to reverse course.

CUOMO: So, Bill?

NYE: So, he apparently--

CUOMO: Go ahead, please.

NYE: My - my understanding - well my understanding is he's let - he's turned the other cheek or he's looked away, rather, and let farmers clear rainforests at an astonishing rate, so that they can pursue agriculture, both in meat farm - meat ranching and soybeans and other conventional crops.

And you know the - the subsidies between the - for U.S. farmers and Brazilian farmers, this controversy goes back a long way.

CUOMO: Right.

NYE: And the strange thing is that by subsidizing both, farms in Brazil, and farms in the U.S., you end up hurting farmers in Africa. It's just - it's one world nowadays, everybody.

CUOMO: Right. But to the instant circumstance, the theory of the case against this President is he allowed the clear-cutting. It got out of control.

It compounded the seasonal risks of dryness and the arid nature of the air, and quick sparking a fire, and palm trees that are mixed within the - the other oxygen-generating varietals there. And it kind of creates a dynamic where now you've given an opportunity for what happens every year to happen much, much worse.

How much of that do you invest in? And how big a deal is it to stop it?

NYE: Well I don't know how big a deal it is to stop to but I'll tell you - to stop it. But $20 million goes a lot farther in an area like Brazil than it does, say, in the developed world, in the fully- developed countries like your - you have in Europe and United States, because the people involved, the people who are resisting this are indigenous.

They're tribes people that have lived there for centuries, and they are not - they do not cotton, pun intended, to this - this activity of burning the forest to - for a future agriculture.

CUOMO: Right. But that's not what's going on there, Bill.

NYE: This idea with the lungs of the--

CUOMO: The idea that this is just clear-cutting to make room, that's not true anymore, right? They've burned way past what they intended.

NYE: Well, apparently yes, it's gotten out of hand, as you pointed out because the - the season's unusually dry, and one thing has led to another. But traditionally, this would have been fought. You know, back in 2004, the deforestation had slowed down because of--

CUOMO: Right.

NYE: --international efforts. And so, this is a kind of thing, you know, people like to say it's the lungs of the world. It's not clear it's the lungs of the world, but I'll tell you this. This is for sure.

[21:05:00] When you decrease biodiversity in an ecosystem, it's not as resilient, that is to say the rainforest isn't going to come back the way it was. When you go to more mono - mono - single type of crops, you're going to have difficulty in restoring the rainforest if you change your - if you - the humankind changes our mind in the future.

So, this is a really very, very serious problem.

CUOMO: Well put some numbers to it for us, Bill.

NYE: And it's this thing where--

CUOMO: Like because people - look, I'm telling you, people have said to me many times, "Everybody cares about the Amazon, you know, if they're environmentally-sensitive," whether they're the lungs or what, you know, percentage they are of the oxygen that we use. They say, "Look, we got wildfires here, man. You know, wildfires stink. We wish they didn't happen. But they happen everywhere. And, you know, I don't understand why everybody's so nervous about this. The Amazon is huge."

What do you say to them?

NYE: Well it's because the Amazon is huge that it's a huge problem. And fires in California, and Montana, and so on, those are also big problems. Just because they're not as big doesn't mean they're not important.

And so, people say to me, "Bill, Nye, what can I do about climate change?" And I generally go on about "Hey, you know, recycling bottles is a fine thing, but we need huge ideas."

But in this case, there is something perhaps each and every one of us could do. There's an - and look, I am not a member of this as such. The Earth Alliance, so it's ealliance.org, you can donate--

CUOMO: Leo DiCaprio's thing?

NYE: Perhaps, yes. You can donate - you can donate to that organization. And their claim is they're going to spend all the money to help put out these fires. They've pledged $5 million. And $5 million isn't that much when it comes to running a giant broadcast organization as such as this one.

But compared to what the G7, the recent meeting in - in - in France agreed to give, it's a - it's a quarter as much. Instead of $20 million, it's $5 million. That's - that's a big fraction.

CUOMO: You know the money matters. Let me ask you something.

NYE: So, if you're interested--

CUOMO: In terms of the big owners, I'm going to put it up on the screen, what - we'll tell people to do it.

You know, we're a little shy on that because I don't know anything about the organization yet. And if it were like the Red Cross or something like that or, you know, it's an NGO that's in this business all the time, it's a little quicker.

But I get you. It's desperate situations counts for desperate measures.

NYE: Well furthermore you brought up - you brought up Leo DiCaprio. His heart's been in the right place on climate change for a long time.

CUOMO: Yes, I'm not - I--

NYE: He's--

CUOMO: --I have no problem with Leo DiCaprio. I'm--

NYE: Yes. He's so--

CUOMO: --I'm just saying that in terms of what it is so that people understand it.

But what about like the big movers here, the United States government, the G7? $20 million, they throw a lot more in terms of resources at things that arguably don't have the kind of long-range effect that this does.

Are you surprised that we don't see - there has been some reporting that the U.S. is using some of its equipment that people are going down there with certain types of planes to help. But are you surprised that there isn't more being done or there just isn't more that can be done?

NYE: Well - well to thus - to those of us on the science education side of all this that more is being done is astonishing every minute of every day. Everybody, the world is - this is a metaphor for the - our problem.

The Amazon is on fire. It is as though the world is on fire. Climate change is the most serious problem humankind has ever faced. So, we got to get her done.

And what I like to emphasize to everybody, and this is where these fires in the Amazon, 72,000 - 75,000 fires, point out that humans, really, we have to start looking at the world, at the Earth, as our house, as our dwelling.

We have to take - in my opinion, we have to take a top-down approach. We have to agree that we're all in this together that we can't have these catastrophic fires in the Amazon, we can't have catastrophic fires anyway - we can't have - anywhere.

We can't have unchecked agriculture. But we need agriculture if we're going to feed 9 billion, 10 billion, 11 billion people in the coming decades. We need clean water, renewable electricity, and access to the internet for everybody on earth. And that's going to take everybody working together.

CUOMO: Bill, how long--

NYE: And strange as it may seem--

CUOMO: Let me ask you something.

NYE: Go ahead.

CUOMO: How long do we have before these fires--

NYE: Well OK. The government--

CUOMO: No, no, I'm not talking about climate change. I'm saying the fires like how long until if they're - if they're still burning in, is it weeks, months, where you'll be like I don't know--

NYE: Boy!

CUOMO: --I don't know that we can control this.

NYE: That's a great question. But I can tell you this. Every minute they burn is bad right now. No, I - I - these are - you're going to get in fistfights in the global modeling bar about this.

But the Brazilian Space Research Institute has done studies using space assets, satellites and so on, and this is a very, very serious problem. And the Minister of the Space Research and - Research Institute has gotten into head-butting with the President Bolsonaro, and so this is all bad.

And just that we have a - a lack of leadership here in the United States is not only troubling for everybody on Earth, it's troubling for me as a - a guy who grew up in the U.S., and expected the U.S. to be world leaders, especially in technology and innovation, and understanding the environment through science and so on.

So, the sooner we turn this around, the better. So this--

CUOMO: I appreciate it.

NYE: I will also say--

CUOMO: Yes, Sir.

[21:10:00] NYE: --you can't - it's not sustainable to lie about everything, to lie to yourself about everything. And we've all known people like this, people that lie all the time, and then they lie when they don't need to lie, and they lie about the lies.

CUOMO: Anyone in particular you're talking about? Or you just--

NYE: That's up to you. It's--

CUOMO: --throwing out some of your rules for life?

NYE: It's just up--

CUOMO: We like pointed criticism on this--

NYE: --up to you.

CUOMO: --show, Bill. If you got something to say about the President, say it. We don't do subtle here.

NYE: Well anyway, it's a deep concern. And the other thing that is really unusual about the current administration, I didn't know - I didn't know there were so many B-team players out there.

I didn't know there were so many people who would go along with the fossil fuel industry despite the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change caused by people.

CUOMO: Well-- NYE: And it's really surprising just as a voter and taxpayer like how did he find - how did we find all these people that are just in this--

CUOMO: Every--

NYE: --double, triple-down deniable.

CUOMO: --President, every administration finds plenty of people who are willing to cotton to power and get on the same page. That's what this election is going to be about.

NYE: Yes.

CUOMO: It is definitional. Bill, I got to leave it there. I appreciate very much.

NYE: Well but keep in mind.

CUOMO: Yes, Sir.

NYE: This is about science. These are about objectively provable things. Thanks for having me on, Chris.

CUOMO: Everything--

NYE: Let's change the world.

CUOMO: That's I - I hear you. One day at a time. Take care. Appreciate it, Bill Nye.

Look, he's making a pitch to you. That's what this election is going to be about. It's going to be about big matters of identity, what we're about, what we're not. That's what the Closing is about.

Now, how do we get to that point? Well you got to look through the lens of what this election is shaping up to be. What are we seeing in the numbers? How about Iowa?

OK. Let's bring in the Wizard of Odds here because Iowa could be a metaphor. We know it matters because it's first. No, no, no. It's about how it's changing, what it shows as sensitivities. It is now a key state for new reasons.

We're going to take you through it with the Wiz, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: A new message tonight from the Iowa Corn Growers Association to this President. You put us in "One hell of a bad situation." They say the Trade War with China is hurting them, and they can't take any more financial hits.

Why is this so important? Because our farmers count and because unneeded pain is not good politics.

But Iowa, farming, critical, 2020, let's bring in the Wizard of Odds here to break down the numbers. Always good to see you, brother.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER & ANALYST: Shalom.

CUOMO: So, Iowa, always important.

ENTEN: Yes, sure.

CUOMO: But there's something ceremonial about it in that weird caucus structure.

ENTEN: Sure.

CUOMO: Now, it is instructive of an emerging demographic issue within rural America. How so?

ENTEN: Yes. So, I think one of the key things that I just want to kind of point out is take a look at this. This is the Iowa general election results. And take a look at this trend that we saw in 2016.

Trump won the state by 9 percentage points, big win. Big flip from Obama winning it by about 5 points in 2012.

Look what happened in the 2018 House races though. Democrats are able to flip that advantage from Trump plus-9 percent, to Democrats winning the House vote in the state by 4 points.

CUOMO: Now, when his people say "But he wasn't on the ballot?"

ENTEN: Baloney! Baloney! His - his name was actually - definitely on the ballot insofar. So, if you look at the correlation between the House results by district and the Presidential vote in 2016--

CUOMO: OK.

ENTEN: --it was the highest correlation I've ever seen going back since all the elections I've studied.

CUOMO: Proof that it will stick potentially in 2020.

ENTEN: Yes. Proof that it might stick, this is another key trend. What was one of the reasons why the State of Iowa moved so far to the Right in 2 - 2016? It was because of non-college White voters moving towards Republican Party. Take a look at this trend among non-college White women. Trump won them nationally by 23 points. 2018, Republicans for the House won them by 14 points.

Take a look at the aggregate in our last four CNN polls, Trump's net approval rating, just plus-1 net percentage point net approval rating.

This is a huge trend of non-college White women moving away from the Republican brand from 2016 to 2018, and then right now, at this current moment, he's just barely above water with this group that should be a core base group for him.

CUOMO: One - one point of context. During the election, was he polling well with non-college White women?

ENTEN: Yes, yes.

CUOMO: All right, so--

ENTEN: He was absolutely polling very well with them. That was the number one sign, my friend, Nate Cohn at The Times wrote it up, there are more non-college White folks in the electorate than you might think.

That's good news for Trump. He was looking at these poll numbers, which suggested they were good for - that group was good for him.

CUOMO: All right, so if I'm not completely convinced, what's your finishing point?

ENTEN: I think the thing that I would really point out is we've seen something like this before. There was a farm crisis that occurred in the Midwest in those farm states back in 1988 in the lead-up to that election.

And if you look nationally, Reagan in '84 to Bush in the '88, he won both of those, Republicans won both of those. But look at this trend in Iowa. Reagan won that state by 7 and 1984. The farm crisis that'll help Dukakis who got blown out nationally, he won that state by 10.

Farmers do not like those who they perceive as against them. The farm crisis could be a very big deal for Trump come 2020.

CUOMO: And now, we just saw that Trump tried to make some leverage with farmers by cutting a deal with Abe in Japan, but it only takes him net to neutral, where there would have been under the TPP, so he still got work to do because they're still hurting because of what he has done.

ENTEN: Exactly.

CUOMO: Harry, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

ENTEN: Shalom, my brother.

CUOMO: Smart man! Shalom, it is. So, how can the President ease concerns there? How can he make these

people who were supposed to be part of his base there? Remember, it can't just be about the talk, it has to be about the walk.

And that is the start of our Great Debate with these two gents.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: Stocks closed lower today. There is no resolution in sight on the Trump-China Trade War. It seems that this administration misread its leverage. Recession warnings are not fading in the bond market.

If American farmers keep bearing the brunt of the hits, as they are now, will it cost this President in 2020? All of these problems are of his own making.

That's the start of The Great Debate with Cenk Uygur and Niger Innis.

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TEXT: THE GREAT DEBATE.

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CUOMO: Cenk, I start with you. How big a deal do you think this is for the President's re-election efforts?

CENK UYGUR, CEO & HOST, THE YOUNG TURKS: I think the President's in a world of trouble. Now, his polls are down to 40 percent, according to CNN, down to 36 percent, according to Associated Press.

He's doing miserably in all the states, including Iowa, as you mentioned there. The - the farmers have turned on him. There's almost no one left. And wait till you get to the crash. After the market crashes, he's going to have no support at all.

In fact, I'll predict right here for you, Chris. I think Donald Trump will leave Office before his term is up. He'll be humiliated, embarrassed, and I know him. He's not going to want to lose.

CUOMO: That's--

UYGUR: And he's going to run for the hills. CUOMO: You've got that bet all day long. One, I hope there is no market crash. I want a strong economy for this country, for me, and my family. And no way he's leaving.

But Niger, to the point of order, the economy is everything for this President. He has to overcome divisive talk and rhetoric that I don't see as getting a ground-swell of majority support for him, so he needs the economy. How tenuous is the circumstance?

NIGER INNIS, CONGRESS OF RACIAL EQUALITY NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, TEAPARTYFWD.COM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Well there's no question that the President would like a booming economy, as opposed to folk like Cenk and Bill Maher who are rooting for a recession for the American people, which would cause all of us pain, not just Republicans, but Democrats, Independents, conservatives and liberals alike.

Look, what the President needs to do, and I said this on the last time I was on this show, was that he needs to rally the American people, and specifically target farmers, and say, "Look, we are in a battle to regain the balance that we have lost for 30 years, allowing China to grow unfairly, using unfair trade practices, from currency manipulation to stealing our intellectual property, and the like."

[21:25:00] He needs to have a fireside chat, rally the American people. The fact of the matter is, ironically, there are even some Democrats who support his new trade policy, and the fact that he's doing it now.

It is a now-or-never moment. If we are not successful at rebalancing our situation with China in this administration, then I fear we never will.

CUOMO: Cenk?

UYGUR: Yes, so listen, I - I'm tired of having to correct conservatives on this. Nobody's - at least, certainly no one at The Young Turks is rooting for a recession. I run a small business. There's 85 people working there. We don't want a recession.

But that's why we warn you not to elect Donald Trump because he is a nincompoop. He couldn't handle economy if his life depended on it. He's bankrupted himself six different times.

So now in Iowa, you got farmers going bankrupt. Bankruptcies are up 13 percent. Maybe Trump thinks that's good business. He said that over and over again, "Bankruptcy's good business." No, it's not. It's terrible business.

So, I don't want the crash. But, unfortunately, I think it's going to come because - come on, Niger, you're - you know this isn't good business. You know that doing tariffs is a terrible idea.

Look, in - in Iowa, in - overall in the country actually, in agri - agricultural exports, we used to have $24 billion that we would export to China in 2014. Now we're doing - down to $9 billion. People are going out of business because it's a terrible idea. And it's Donald Trump.

CUOMO: Well look--

UYGUR: He doesn't know how to handle the economy. He doesn't know how to handle--

CUOMO: Look, we--

UYGUR: --any finances.

CUOMO: --we - we could battle - we could battle on the numbers all day about whether the economy is good. And if so, for whom? But why isn't it better? We could do that all day. I don't see it as the fundamental proposition.

Niger, the fundamental proposition for you is whether or not this President has the ability to rally anyone. He is about division. He's playing on fault lines and fears. Now you think he's going to be able to say "America, let's all come together and see our mutual course forward?" He's never said anything--

INNIS: Well--

CUOMO: --like that.

INNIS: Well to use that particular talking point of a fault line, the fault line he can create is between us and an unfair trading partner or former trading - trading partner of China.

The other thing he can do, on another front, is he can push the Democrats in Congress to ratify the deal, the new NAFTA deal, which would bring hundreds of millions of dollars of relief to dairy farmers in battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and, I believe, Iowa as well. And - and--

CUOMO: But you know the problem with the NAFTA deal--

INNIS: Yes.

CUOMO: --I do - I don't believe in Congress not doing its job. I don't believe in the politics of opposition. I think it was a mistake when McConnell did it. I don't think that you should see the Democrats do it either.

However, NAFTA, the deal that he may make with Abe right now, if he's taking you back to basically neutral, and I would argue that the new deal with Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. is actually better for the U.S. in some ways, if it gets ratified as it is right now--

INNIS: Definitely.

CUOMO: --than the old one was. But it's a close call. And it took a lot of time and a lot of political pain to get something that might be incrementally better. With Abe in Japan, he just took those farmers back to net-neutral where they were with TPP. You see what I'm saying? He thought there was political gain for him

in blowing something up. But what he put back together wasn't that great, Niger. How does he make the case to the people that he can be better than when we've seen what he'd done?

INNIS: What I will agree with you and - and probably Cenk on this is that we need not have trade struggles with our allies. Now's the time to rally our allies from Canada all the way down to Brazil--

CUOMO: How can - Cenk--

INNIS: --in this atmosphere and--

CUOMO: --this is your opening.

INNIS: --and - and the like.

CUOMO: Niger, I take your point. Cenk, this is your opening. This is exactly what reasonable people - forget about you guys, you know, Right and Left, you can't bash your allies all the time. You're going to need them.

Now, Niger's saying he's got to rally the allies. Niger happens to be right. The opportunity for you is how is this President going to do that when he's been embarrassing his allies for the last two years?

UYGUR: Yes. It is actually amazing. He's constantly attacking our allies. I mean him canceling that Denmark trip because they hurt his feelings, it's astounding, unbelievable.

And then he turns around, and says, but we got to help our enemies like Russia and put them back in the G7, I got to go help Kim Jong-un with - even though he's building nukes and firing missiles, what's wrong with this guy?

There's something fundamentally off about him. He's mentally unstable. He's electorally unstable. So, do I hope that he works with our allies, gets rid of the tariffs, and improves the economy? Of course, I do. But I don't think he's constitutionally capable of any of those things.

Guys, the reason I bring up the six bankruptcies is because you have to understand. He's not capable of managing anything. His dad gave him over $400 million. And all he ever did was bungle it. And he's now doing that writ large with the American economy.

CUOMO: But you are neglecting one thing, and I'll make a point for Niger here. You are underestimating his ability--

INNIS: Thank you.

[21:30:00] CUOMO: --to sell.

He sold himself to a slice of this country he shares nothing with, except a proxy for an animus that they justifiably have, but he doesn't. So, he can sell, Cenk. Never sell him short, pun intended, on his ability to sell. He's built a huge brand--

UYGUR: No.

CUOMO: --on talk and almost talk alone. But let's leave it there. Cenk, always free to disagree with me. It seems to be everybody's favorite pastime. Niger, thank you very much. All right, now--

INNIS: Thank you.

CUOMO: --some news tonight that I really wish I didn't have to support. I don't care about how you feel politically. I really don't.

The President's about to leave - lose one of his chief defenders in Congress. His name is Republican Sean Duffy. We go at it all the time on this show. But he's resigning over something so much more important than politics.

Please stay with us and hear why he has to make this move. The Congressman is next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: A long-time Republican Congressman is making the most important decision of his life and, yes, his political career. He's going to leave D.C. Why? Not about politics, it's about family.

He's got a daughter coming, she's due in October, and there's a challenge they didn't expect.

I want to bring in Representative Sean Duffy. We go toe-to-toe on this show on a regular basis, but we do it with decency. I spoke to him moments ago about the choice of why he has to put his family first.

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TEXT: ONE ON ONE.

CUOMO: Congressman, thank you for joining us on PRIME TIME.

[21:35:00] REP. SEAN DUFFY (R-WI): It's good to be with you, Chris. Thanks for having me on.

CUOMO: I appreciate it. I've always appreciated what you've done for the show, the openness, the decency. It doesn't have to be about agreement. Disagreement is a beautiful thing for the democracy. But you always make the arguments the right way. You're always open to the opportunity.

And I'll let the audience in on what I was saying before. I don't like anything about this conversation, brother. I don't like that you're leaving public service. And I really feel for you, and your wife, Rachel, on the news that the little one in her belly that'll be number nine, right, the number nine Duffy?

DUFFY: Number nine. That's right.

CUOMO: So, you have a full, you got a--

DUFFY: That's right. Number nine, brother.

CUOMO: You got a full baseball team as any Irish--

DUFFY: That's right.

CUOMO: --any Irishman would like. But look, this kid's got challenges. And what do you want people to know about--

DUFFY: That's right.

CUOMO: --that?

DUFFY: Just first, I want to say thanks for having me on tonight. And - and whether it's going back to New Day or here, we - you and me, we spar, but you're always fair with me, and as a Republican, who gets a lot of tweets after, I love you for that. Thank you. And thanks for letting me tell you this story.

You know, we - we're having a baby that's going to have a heart condition. You know, two to six months after she's going to be born, you know, we're going to have to have open-heart surgery to hopefully, you know, make sure we can fix these couple of holes that she has in the heart.

And so, for me, listen, I - I love being in Congress, and I just don't love Republicans, I love Democrats. You know, Maxine Waters Chairs my Committee, and Maxine and I will fight all the time, but Maxine is a good person.

And you see the - the humanity of the people with which we serve. Though we might come on TV and fight all the time, good people are there, and - and I'm going to miss leaving.

But we always look for signs from God about what's right in our lives. And if we don't get families right, and we put other things above our families, I think we get it wrong. And so, this is a time for me to take a step back, and take a moment, and support my family.

And, you know, I - you know, who knows what my future holds. It might be just a small break and maybe I'll be able to come back into public service. But now, I know is a time for Rachel and our other eight kids and in dealing with this condition that we have with our - with the little one coming in a little over a month.

CUOMO: Right. Let's put the politics on the side for a second. How's Rachel doing?

DUFFY: You know, she's doing - she's doing really well. I mean she - you know, she's a - she'd get mad at me for saying this, but she's a pro, you know, at - at having kids. She's had nine, and she does it really well.

But, you know, when an - anyone gets news like this, I know some who - who might have had this situation happen, and have - have had the experience, that's one thing.

But when you hear your child has a heart condition, you know, it's shocking. And it was - it was shocking to her. And you don't understand it. And - and, you know, what are the probabilities of success and in dealing with those problems.

And so, we're starting to figure this stuff all out right now. You know, yesterday, as my announcement was going out, we were going in for a three-hour meeting with a pediatric cardiologist to kind of look at what - what does this mean, and - and where do we go, and how do you deal with it, but she's doing - she's doing really well.

She's a - she's a great woman and a person of faith. And, you know, God is good, and he's been good to us. And any gift he gives us, you know, we're grateful to have. And it might not always be what you expect but we accept it and love it.

CUOMO: How old is your oldest?

DUFFY: She's 19. She goes to the University of Chicago. She's going to be a sophomore this coming year.

CUOMO: All right, so you have a few teenagers. I - I forgot how old the oldest one is.

DUFFY: That's--

CUOMO: So, you're going to have extended support now because these are real people, you know, 19, 17, even 16, they're going to understand what this is about, and they're going to help love up the other kids, and help people understand whatever challenges the little girl faces, right?

DUFFY: Yes, absolutely. And my youngest one right now is three years old, so we got the whole age range. And - and to have little kids coming into this and - and kind of explain to them, Chris, you know what's going on, it's sometimes hard for them to comprehend.

But all they know is, for the little ones, especially they have a little sister coming, and we're this - we're a big family. And as you know, big families are - are crazy, and they get to be a little rambunctious.

And it's not always easy. But they all love each other, and they're going to love this little one too. And they're excited to - to meet her and see her, you know, even though we're going to be dealing with this, this little problem that we have.

And again, I'm - I'm grateful to have a strong extended family and a - and a great wife and, you know, little kids that don't turn their backs but, you know, look to the little one, and they're going to love her, and wrap their - their little arms around her and support her.

CUOMO: Was Rachel a 100 percent with you wanting to leave Congress?

DUFFY: You know what? It's yes and no. I mean we - we had a - we had a - a little bit of a conversation. But, in the end, she supports the idea that, you know, if I step away, it's going to make our family stronger.

And if I - if I - I don't know what I'm going to do, Chris. But if you don't get that right, you don't really have that much of a future, and so, I'm - I'm working on getting this right.

And when I kind of knew that this was right for me to be home, and I'll have to do something. But to see and it's like (ph) take a step back from - from Rachel, our Members of Congress who they'll - they'll - the - the Republicans slam the Democrats, and Democrats slam the Republicans.

People who serve in the Congress, they're - they're giving their lives, and they're working six, seven days a week, not just in Washington, but they come back to their districts, and - and you give a lot of time.

[21:40:00] And for - for this situation for us, Rachel knew, and I knew that I couldn't give that much time. I had to give it back to the family.

And so, I couldn't have something that was taking up six - six of my days. I had to - I had to try to truncate that and be able to navigate our - our family situation. It's going to be a little more hectic than it has been in the past.

CUOMO: No. I get it. Look, the future is all in front of you. You're right about family first. Anybody who's in a family well he knows that. And they know what it feels like when you're not serving the interest.

In terms of making money, you're young, you're talented, you're part of the future of that party, and for good and bad reason.

But that - I think that you're going to have opportunities in front of you. And if there's anything I can do to help, you know, you got a friend in me, and I appreciate how you conduct yourself.

DUFFY: Listen--

CUOMO: I appreciate your priorities. I don't give a damn about your politics, certainly not anymore. I'm here. I wish you well going forward. And I know this isn't the last time I see you. We have a name yet for this little girl?

DUFFY: Not yet. But listen, I love you, brother. And I - listen, I appreciate our debates. And you know what? You can disagree and debate fervently, but you don't have to hate each other.

And I think you and I have done that really well together. And I - and I appreciate your support for me and - and your friends at CNN, and - and your viewers. And so, thanks for having me on, letting me tell a little bit of my story.

And listen, I'm going to - I'm going to miss the Congress. But, you know, I'm going to - I'm going to take care of my family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Got to feel for him. It's not about Right and Left. It's about reasonable and the reality of - for the big things in life. And sometimes, we get caught too much in the small things.

We'll be thinking of the Duffy family. I'll be in touch. I'll let you know what Sean and his wife want you guys to know about their journey forward, all right?

So, from something very heavy, to something very light, but also very curious, remember "Where's the beef?" "Where's the beef?" Now it's "Where's the chicken sandwich?"

I got to tell you, I don't know about this Popeyes' deal being out of chicken. D. Lemon, very invested in this story, probably eight to 12 pounds of himself already, I'm going to discuss, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: All right, so I'm old enough to remember the Cabbage Patch doll. I remember with the weird signature of the Xavier or whoever it was that made it on the butt cheek.

Last year was the instant pot.

But have you tried getting your hands on a Popeyes chicken sandwich? The Wizard of Odds is apoplectic. It's a PR bonanza after Popeyes and Chick-Fil-A got into a Twitter duel, so much so that today Popeyes announced it is sold out of the Sammy's (ph). People are trying to sell them on eBay. Who wants an old-ass chicken

sandwich? This one was going for 10 grand this afternoon. Nobody even saw like an apparition of - of like Jesus or Mary in it. That's what it usually has to be on the - the internet for that to sell.

Meanwhile, in Charlotte, a teenager went up to people waiting in line, and offered to help sign them up to vote. Savvy! The lines are like 20, 30, 40 cars long.

D. Lemon, I know you're a fan of the Cajun Contagion (ph).

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH LEMON: Love it. I love it. Chris?

CUOMO: I smell a rat.

LEMON: What? Ah! Come on, why are you always like that?

CUOMO: I know. I hate myself.

LEMON: You're--

CUOMO: But I smell a rat, man. This is too good for Popeyes. All of a sudden--

LEMON: If you don't mean a rat in the chicken--

CUOMO: --who runs out of chicken? Who runs out of chicken?

LEMON: Well--

CUOMO: Come on.

LEMON: In certain - in certain neighborhood - well in - at certain places, the people want these chicken sandwiches. Doesn't say in certain neighborhood - all over. So--

CUOMO: Look, I've had the sandwich. The sandwich is good. I'm just saying--

LEMON: I haven't had it. You've had it?

CUOMO: --all the sudden, it disappears?

LEMON: You've had the sandwich?

CUOMO: I've had a chicken sandwich at Popeyes.

LEMON: But it's not the same. This is a different sandwich.

CUOMO: Listen--

LEMON: Now, I got to tell you.

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: I got to tell you. Wendy's has a great spicy chicken sandwich.

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: Like if I pass the Wendy's, I'm like--

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: --I can't go there. I got to fit in my suits. I've never gone to Popeyes for their chicken sandwich. But there's been such hype about it.

CUOMO: I like the South in your mouth. I'm with it. I'm just saying all the sudden--

LEMON: OK. Can I--

CUOMO: --they're just out of this sandwich.

LEMON: Can I tell you my experience? So, people were talking about this darn chicken sandwich.

Last night I get off work at midnight, I am in the car, and I'm like, "Come on, can you please stop, can you please stop." So, we stopped at 1:00 in Harlem. There's the sign. That's my sign. No chicken.

This morning, I'm on my way to the U.S. Open. I stop at Popeyes. No chicken sandwich.

I'm on my way back to Popeyes. No chicken sandwich.

CUOMO: Yes, I get it. I get it.

LEMON: There were two police officers in there.

CUOMO: We would make a phone call to all these Popeyes.

LEMON: No chicken sandwich.

CUOMO: I get it.

LEMON: But you think that there - you - you think they're using the old scarcity trick that it draws people to and makes people want it more. It's like when you have a line in front of a club--

CUOMO: Now you're using that head as more than a hat-rack.

LEMON: --and you're putting - you put the fancy cars--

CUOMO: All the sudden they're out of chicken?

LEMON: --in front of the club and people--

CUOMO: They're out of chicken?

LEMON: --want to go through. CUOMO: It's not like we have to mix more special sauce. It's not like this one pepper that we found in a corner of the world has become exhausted. It's chicken, my brother. It's chicken. It's a chicken sandwich, OK? And now, all the sudden, they can't find it.

LEMON: So, as I'm not able to - my story again, I'm not able to get this chicken sandwich. And so, I'm in the car, I'm with Tim, and he says, "Is anybody registering people to vote for the - my God." And - and I said--

CUOMO: I know. He's like - he is like so intuit, this guy.

LEMON: But he's smart. And so, I put it--

CUOMO: Tim is smart.

LEMON: --I put it on social media and said--

CUOMO: You did put it on social media.

LEMON: And my mom said to me, she said, "Don, I was coming home the other day. It was 40 cars down back to the interstate in the line." And I said, "You know, that's actually a good idea." And we found people starting--

CUOMO: All the sudden, they're going to start having these chicken sandwiches. All of a sudden they're going to have crazy supply.

LEMON: Oh, of course.

CUOMO: And they're going to cash in.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: And I'm--

LEMON: OK.

CUOMO: Look, that's good business.

LEMON: OK.

CUOMO: But I think that's what it's about, D. Lemon.

LEMON: So, people start--

CUOMO: Don't fall for the - for the fraud, man.

LEMON: OK.

CUOMO: Don't perpetrate the fraud. Don't--

LEMON: Can I talk now?

CUOMO: Go ahead. LEMON: It sounds like our conversations when we're not on TV. So, people started tweeting me and instagramming me back saying, "Don, there's a guy. He's in - he's in - in North Carolina, and he has been registering people to vote. His name is David Ledbetter." You just talked about him.

CUOMO: Oh? Oh, good!

LEMON: He - I reached out to him. Guess what? He's going to be on the show tonight.

CUOMO: Is he got a sandwich?

LEMON: He's very impressive young man. I'm not going to tell you. You got to stay tuned.

CUOMO: Ho!

LEMON: And you got to watch.

CUOMO: If he has a chicken sand - if he has one of those sandwiches, then I know I'm right.

[21:50:00] LEMON: You got to try - you got to try my - my chicken sandwich. But listen, he's a very bright young man. I also - I also have - you know who Stacey Abrams is right?

CUOMO: Very well.

LEMON: Ran for Governor in Georgia. She's got a new initiative out for against gerrymandering and against voter - people who have been purged from the voter rolls.

CUOMO: The President said the fight over the map will be what decides the issues that he thinks people should care about for decades.

LEMON: By the way--

CUOMO: Yes, Sir.

LEMON: --I tried to get us to do a taste test of chicken sandwiches.

CUOMO: Yes, I know. But we couldn't find them.

LEMON: We couldn't get the darn sandwiches.

CUOMO: Yes. Somehow, they're out of chicken. They got plenty other types of chicken, but they don't have the chicken they need for the chicken sandwich.

LEMON: Another argument. I know we have to go. I think that Popeyes--

CUOMO: I know. I got to - I'm getting yelled at. But go ahead, I'll take it off.

LEMON: That's right. Popeyes should-- CUOMO: Go ahead.

LEMON: --be thanking Black Twitter for this because it started as a joke. I know you - your whole thing about Black Twitter.

CUOMO: Now I'm putting it back in.

LEMON: I know your whole thing about Black Twitter. But Popeyes should be thanking Black Twitter for this too.

CUOMO: I don't have a thing about Black Twitter. I'm just saying I think that somebody's got - I got to go. I got to go. Those sandwiches are going to show up, D. Lemon, you'll see.

All right, the Trump administration - look, I keep telling you that this election, I don't know that we clearly see it for what it's going to be, all right? It is all about fundamentals of identity, of who we are, and what we're about.

This administration just made a move, the likes of which I couldn't even believe it was true. I spent more time vetting this to make sure that it's actually happening than anything else I've told you about recently.

It is a metaphor for what they want this country to be about, even if it means, well you'll see what it is, watch this Closing, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: CLOSING ARGUMENT.

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CUOMO: Breaks my heart. But we have another profound example of what this election is really about. This is a contest for the soul of our country. This President represents a new harshness.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.

You have many criminals in that caravan.

Because you look at what's marching up, that's an invasion, that's not - that's an invasion.

They got a lot of rough people in those caravans. They are not angels. They are not.

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CUOMO: It was wrong on the facts, and he knew it. This administration was forced to admit that it's mostly kids coming in those caravans, families, kids, not the terrorists and thugs that this President wanted you to see every time you saw a face like this.

But he's more than just wrong in the head. He's really wrong in the heart. America has always represented respect for law, but not at the cost of our humanity, not by doing what Trump wants to do to the needy, like this kid, 16-year old Jonathan Sanchez.

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JONATHAN SANCHEZ, LEGAL IMMIGRANT FROM HONDURAS: If they deny the program, then I need to go back to my country, and I'll probably die, because in my country, there is no treatment for CF. Doctors don't even know what's the disease. The only ones who can help me are here in the United States.

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CUOMO: We are better than this. This kid's from Honduras. He came to Boston in 2016, so he could be treated at the Children's Hospital. They're one of the best in the world for cystic fibrosis. His family made the move after Jonathan's older sister died of the same disease in Honduras.

The Sanchezes are not here illegally. They're here legally. They were granted medical deferred action, small program, allows families to stay and work, receive Medicaid during treatment.

Why do they get this? Because that's what America is in this world. We help. We are the visible symbol of aspiration and faith. We are the white plume saying the way is up. E. B. White was inspired by who America is at her best.

This President wants to change that. The Sanchezes and others got letters last week from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The letter said no more renewals. They're not authorized to stay here. 33 days to get out or become undocumented.

When attacked for the heartlessness, the Trump administration pushed back, saying "No, no, no, ICE is going to look at each case now individually." If that's true, why wasn't that on the letter that the families got?

The Boston Globe reports that in just its City, the decision could affect about 20 families, kids fighting cancer, HIV, cerebral palsy, more. Only like a 1,000 families have applied for this medical deferral in the last few years, and that's my argument to you.

This isn't about scale. You don't have millions. You're not going to make a dent in the numbers of those that this President is dying to throw out of our country. But it is a huge blow to who we are. Remember these words, my brothers and sisters. It's not just a poem.

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

We were built by those who were cast off and ran away, those with nowhere else to go, and often no one wanted them. It is personal to me. It should be to you, as well. These are not just words. They're a promise.

But listen to what this administration wants that promise to be.

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STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISOR FOR POLICY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, FAR-RIGHT POLITICAL ACTIVIST: The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of liberty enlightening the world. It's a symbol of American liberty lighting the world. The poem that you're referring to, it was added later. It's not actually part of the original Statue of Liberty.

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CUOMO: What the hell is he talking about, Stephen Miller? Emma Lazarus wrote the poem in 1883 to help raise money for the pedestal that the statue was on. It happened three years before the statue went up.

Look, nobody's accusing them of having a great grasp of the facts. But the bigger problem with this policy is that it's proof that they don't know where the heart of this country lies. And that is the question for this election.

What do you want your country to be about? The decision is yours.