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CUOMO PRIME TIME

DOJ Watchdog Report Expected To Say Russia Probe Was Legit; Parnas' Attorney: Former Ukrainian Official Told My Client About Meeting With Rep. Nunes To Get Dirt On Joe Biden; Obama To Worried Democrats: "Chill Out" About Candidates. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 22, 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]

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": So that's, to my mind, a - even higher order of devotion to the United States.

And to have these people have their patriotism, you know, criticized, and to have Right-wing talk show hosts saying, "When will some real American testify?"

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": It's horrible.

Fareed Zakaria, great to have you with us, and we're glad you're American by choice.

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: J.B., my man, have a great weekend. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

We have two big truth bombs to unpack with you tonight.

You know how POTUS and pals were screaming, just yesterday, that the Inspector General of the Department of Justice found proof that the Russia probe was a hoax? Why are they so quiet now?

Wait until you hear what that Inspector General concluded about the idea of a Deep State hoax. Here's a hint. The Right's silence, deafening.

And there could be another reason that Republican Devin Nunes, the Ranking Member of the Intel Committee, is quiet tonight. We have another big exclusive. Guess who he reportedly met with, and who he was purportedly looking for dirt on?

And then, we have a third exclusive. To talk about all the news, we have former Representative, Katie Hill, with us tonight. Does she regret her resignation? What comes next?

Now, that's how we start Friday night around here. Let's get after it.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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CUOMO: All right, so here's how we set the table. When it comes to Russian interference, and any allegation stemming from it, Trump & Co always have the same defense, and here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD J. TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For the last 3 years, Democrat lawmakers, their Deep State cronies, the fake news media, they've been colluding in their effort to overturn the Presidential election.

And the Deep State are desperate to stop us.

Now, we're being hindered by the Russian hoax. It's a hoax.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: And when the Justice Department reported yesterday that there had been an error in a FISA warrant, the President, and his pals, and state TV, they were all saying, "Told you so," and praising the truthful report.

In fact, over there, someone's probably spouting off about it right now. But I guarantee you they're not telling you what else is in that report. And none of it is good for their dark intentions to disparage our Department of Justice.

The report by the Inspector General is not due out until next month. But CNN has sources familiar with it telling them very important things.

Yes, we don't cherry-pick here, there was improper handling of a page in a FISA warrant by lower-level employees at the FBI, one of them a former lawyer, now under criminal investigation, after allegedly altering a document, related to the 2016 surveillance of Carter Page.

But here's what you have not and, likely, will not hear anywhere on the Right, as soon or as loudly as you did about that. Deep State conspiracy? The Inspector General says "No."

The report takes an exhaustive look at whether there was any political bias by the FBI and DOJ that went into the launching of the investigation. The answer, "No."

Did the top brass abuse their powers? Did they use surveillance by the U.S. government to improperly monitor Carter Page, a former low-level Trump campaign staffer? The answer, "No."

Did they follow all the correct procedures? Did they follow the highest ethical standards necessary for such an important - important investigation? Also the answer will be shocking to Trump defenders.

Let's bring Cuomo's Court into session with Elliot Williams, and Jim Schultz.

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TEXT: CUOMO'S COURT.

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CUOMO: Thank you both. If I don't get to see you, have a great Thanksgiving. Thank you for helping my audience. I'm thankful for both of you.

Jimmy, yesterday, when we found out that one of the documents, now, we haven't seen the report, but the sourcing is good, some lawyer at the FBI did something wrong with a document in one of the FISA applications on Carter Page, such that they're going to do a criminal investigation on him, OK, him or her, I don't know who it is, OK.

The rest of the report, we're told, shows no Deep State, no hoax, no political bias, no mismanagement, no malfeasance, no misfeasance, by anybody, no hoax, what do you say now?

JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: So, I think The New York Times and everyone else needs to take a breath here for one reason alone. So, you have to understand, well the--

CUOMO: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

SCHULTZ: --the only way The New York Times - hold on.

CUOMO: Wait a minute. Well no, wait, wait, I'm going to let you go.

SCHULTZ: No, but--

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You weren't saying "Take a breath" yesterday.

SCHULTZ: --explain the process.

CUOMO: You guys were breathless about this one document--

SCHULTZ: No. I wasn't breathless, absolutely. Chris, I'm never--

CUOMO: --in the FISA, proving that it was a hoax.

SCHULTZ: --I'm never breathless.

CUOMO: Well there was a lot of breathless people.

SCHULTZ: Don't say "You guys."

CUOMO: There's a lot of blue faces.

SCHULTZ: I'm never breathless about anything. And so--

CUOMO: Blue is your tie. Go ahead. [21:05:00]

SCHULTZ: So here - here's what you have.

When these - when these investigations are conducted, and they're coming to a close, and there's a report ready to be prepared - ready to be issued, what happens is, is that - is that the report goes to individuals.

And only portions of the report that go - go to individuals who may be implicated in that report, so that they can respond to it.

My sense is that's how likely how The New York Times got read in on portions of this report because that's how these investigations typically work, so they're probably getting in - incomplete picture here.

Now, I'm not saying that the - that they're wrong about--

CUOMO: We have our own sourcing.

SCHULTZ: --some of the conclusions because they - they may be right. And maybe CNN's the same way, right? I don't know what your sourcing is. But I guarantee you, you're not getting a full picture of that report, at this time, because the only way you get that is to get it through the Inspector General's Office.

CUOMO: Yes, but, you know, but - but - Jimmy

SCHULTZ: And I guarantee you, Horowitz is running--

CUOMO: Jimmy? Jimmy? Give--

SCHULTZ: --a professional operation.

CUOMO: Nobody's disagreeing with that.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: No.

CUOMO: But Elliot Williams, help me out here.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

CUOMO: When it was about that "Somebody did something wrong on the Carter Page FISA app," they were running around like they might as well had a bonfire in the middle of them over there on Fox, "Oh, we got the details out, unveiling the hoax."

Now the sourcing is that the report is overwhelming in its confirmation that everything was done right. Crickets! What's your take?

WILLIAMS: Well yes, I will agree with my friend, Jim Schultz that we should wait to read the report, so we're - we're in agreement on that point alone.

But you know what, Chris? Two things can equally be true.

Number one, that individuals behaved in an improper way, individuals behaved in an improper way, in the conduct of an investigation, number one. And number two that broadly speaking, the legal underpinnings of the investigation are still sound. Those two things can equally be true.

So, look, if people behaved improperly and, you know, The New York Times has reported that at least one low-level FBI official did, then that person - I'll be the first person to say that person ought to be dealt with, number one as a--

CUOMO: Yes, we reported it.

WILLIAMS: --HR matter.

CUOMO: And I started the report with it tonight.

WILLIAMS: As well you did. And - and that person should be suspended, terminated, fired, whatever it is.

CUOMO: Whatever is warranted.

WILLIAMS: And I'm here for it, OK?

Now, so - so, you know, we're in agreement about that. Now, the underlying investigation, every indication is that it was sound.

And that a lot of these conspiracy theories about the Deep State taking over, and sort of - a lot of the - the bases that Conservatives have - had pointed to saying that, so far it's Joseph Mifsud, this individual who was one of the sources, was an FBI informant, that's been debunked by the report, the idea that the Steele dossier served as a basis for opening the investigation that, likely, is being debunked by the report.

So, again, two things can be true. People behaved badly and - and they should be dealt with.

CUOMO: Now--

WILLIAMS: But the report--

CUOMO: Right.

WILLIAMS: --is sound, and as has been--

SCHULTZ: But--

WILLIAMS: --affirmed by the fact that--

CUOMO: But Jimmy--

WILLIAMS: Well no but every member of the Intelligence Community who's looked at this--

SCHULTZ: The--

WILLIAMS: --has found that Russia attempted to interfere in our elections and, frankly, the - the Trump campaign was willing to accept that help. Those facts are not in dispute.

CUOMO: This is what I'm saying. I am a journalist. I have spent most of my career sideways with the institutions of the government, especially when it comes to investigations.

They don't give us information. They never close the cases. They won't give - we are the ones who are usually saying, "Well it is FBI, man! It is hard working with them."

And you guys were always the ones saying, "Hype, respect the institutions of government."

Now, out of political convenience, we just sat through a week of hearings, where they're making fun of people because they're not American enough, and maybe they're not patriots, and maybe we should question their loyalties, all out of political expedience.

Bashing the Russia - Russia probe was done out of political expedience. Questioning whether Russia interfered, Jimmy, you know damn well is just out of political expedience.

SCHULTZ: Chris?

CUOMO: Doesn't that--

SCHULTZ: Chris?

CUOMO: --sicken you as a Republican?

SCHULTZ: So - so, look, the - the - the whole idea that just because there were one - there was a - there were a group of individuals that - that are named that are likely to be named in this report, right?

And those groups of individuals, you know, were shown to, or there will be evidence that they had some political bias. There's no question about that. Whether that political bias--

CUOMO: The report shows, we are told, didn't impact--

SCHULTZ: --impact their decision-making. But whether that was--

CUOMO: Everybody's got bias. We're human beings.

SCHULTZ: Right. Well - well you guys jump - every time the Republicans do something, and they say, "Well that's" because they're politically biased. Now, all the sudden, you know--

CUOMO: No. I just said - I said they're doing it out of--

SCHULTZ: --you always say there's a difference between--

CUOMO: --political advantage. SCHULTZ: --difference between something being wrong, Chris, something being wrong, this is your words.

CUOMO: Yes.

SCHULTZ: And it being unlawful, right?

CUOMO: No. We're--

SCHULTZ: And it might very well - their conduct very well may have been wrong, but not unlawful.

WILLIAMS: Hey, Chris?

SCHULTZ: But again I think - I think we got to wait to see.

WILLIAMS: Chris, let me make a point, just a personal point.

CUOMO: Please.

WILLIAMS: I worked as a political appointee at ICE in a Democratic Administration for 5 years.

[21:10:00]

You can't tell me that the rank and file at that agency were not overwhelmingly opposed of, frankly, the President or, you know, many - many of the folks who were agents and officers there, Conservative and leaning, and opposed the President, and frankly - frankly, even opposed to my own management of where I was in the agency, but were still able to do their jobs.

And now, if people did cross the line into impermissible behavior, you know, violating the law, they should be prosecuted. Here, you know, here it could be perjury, false statements, falsifying records, whatever.

But the idea that the mere existence of people who disagreed with the President somehow--

CUOMO: Right.

WILLIAMS: --tainted an entire major investigation that look - look, Fiona Hill's testimony yesterday debunks this cuckoo wackadoo notion that Ukraine attempted, you know, what's - you know, was attempting to meddle in - in - in American elections, and it's just not true.

CUOMO: Look, here's the thing. Guys, I appreciate you weighing in on this. Of course, we got to read the report.

The reason that I'm anxious to take the sourcing is not to play to advantage. It's to play to the truth. We have to stop empowering lies that are just calculated for political advantage. Left and Right has to focus on the reasonableness of fact.

And when this report comes out, and it says it wasn't a hoax, people who have been calling it a hoax have to be called out. That's why I'm getting it started early.

WILLIAMS: Yes.

CUOMO: Because we got the sourcing.

Jimmy, Elliot, thank you both. Have a great weekend.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Look, it's--

WILLIAMS: Happy Thanksgiving.

CUOMO: Thank you.

It seems the only conspiracy that we really know about, involving the DOJ, was the one by this President's pals to trash that institution out of political convenience, not bias. Convenience.

We have more on the truth that is expected to blow up a lot of what the Right has been selling you. That is just a taste of what we know from the report. We've worked it all through for you. Judge for yourself, next.

[21:15:00]

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: Look, the reason we say "Facts First" is because you got to start there and then you can argue and disagree all you want, all right?

And all this "Deep State, witch-hunt, hoax, huff and puff, we're going to investigate the investigators," this is being spread to cover up this President's perfidy and truth abuse from him, as well as those around him, those in and out of jail.

The long-awaited report into the investigators by the Inspector General, we're now getting reporting on it. It's due out next month. We are told it will clear the FBI and DOJ of wrongdoing.

FBI, what do we mean? Comey, McCabe, Strzok, yes, Strzok, the guy with the texts, they get cleared of wrongdoing. And we don't cherry-pick here. So yes, there's a finding in the report that the Right was jumping up

and down about. I don't know why they were so excited to find about bad behavior in the FBI. But they were.

And it's true, there's some low-level FBI lawyer, that's how they described, who appears to have messed with a document in the Carter Page surveillance request. But sources say the report finds it doesn't appear to have changed the FISA application fundamentally.

And just so you get a sense of why getting hot about one document in a FISA app is a little misleading, you see what I'm holding in my hand? 412 pages of the only document of its kind our government has ever released.

This is the FISA warrant, approving the surveillance of an American citizen, OK? You see it? We used to call this a phone book size document. We don't seem to have those anymore.

On the front page, it says, it's about Carter Page, Carter W. Page, a U.S. person.

Now, POTUS' pretenders say that "This was about getting Trump, this document. That's the only reason they did it."

Do you know what word never shows up in this telephone book size dome (ph)? Trump! That's because when this started, in October of 2016, Page wasn't even working for the Trump campaign.

And even when he did, it's not like he was a big deal with the campaign. That's something the President's people were quick to point out, when they saw distance with Page as beneficial.

If the FBI wanted to get Trump, there were plenty of people closer to the then-candidate, several of whom, by the way, are now convicted felons. Part of the reason the top brass appears to be cleared in this report could be they actually found something.

Why? A FISA warrant needs to be renewed. This one with Carter Page was renewed repeatedly. Now, to get it renewed, the FBI had to come back with new information, not once, but three times, because that's how many times it was renewed.

Once again, as every credible source has told us, and now this Inspector General for the DOJ, the Russia investigation was no hoax. It began with a man named George Papadopoulos running his mouth about Russia reaching out to help Trump.

And from there, they found meetings, and attempts to meet with Russians, and WikiLeaks, and all sorts of poor judgment in between. Mueller laid out a lot of counts of potential obstruction by the President alone, and six of his guys admitted or convicted of lying to the Feds.

The only hoax was POTUS and pals denying Russian interference because they thought it made his win look illegitimate, and it doesn't. His people lied. They broke laws. They tried to get close to the bad guys for dirt.

And the President went so far as to do this embarrassing turn on the world stage.

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TRUMP: 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: He was standing right next to Putin, Helsinki, world stage, embarrassed the entire Intelligence Community, made the country second to his own political interests. Talk about hoax! Go no further than this President's promise to bring us only the best.

[21:20:00]

And it gets even more wild. Look at this. This look, boy is he sick of hearing it, scratching the bicepial and everything. That became the poster for Republican disgust at the flow of testimony that POTUS and pals were out for dirt on the Bidens.

Man, Nunes couldn't stand it. He was disgusted by it, couldn't contain it. But he sure could contain his knowledge about those efforts. We have new reporting that Mr. Nunes allegedly knew a lot more than he was letting on, a lot more.

Our in-house investigator, on the case, Vicky Ward, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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[21:25:00]

CUOMO: All right, this is very important. We all saw how ardently Republican Congressman Devin Nunes defended the President during the impeachment hearings, pivoting and pointing to the Bidens.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): No conspiracy theory is too outlandish for the Democrats.

You would think they would take some interest in Burisma. And you think they would be interested in Joe Biden.

We need to subpoena Hunter Biden.

I think one of the mothers of all conspiracy theories is that somehow the President of the United States would want a country that he doesn't even like, he doesn't want to give foreign aid to, to have the Ukrainians start an investigation into Bidens.

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CUOMO: Now, remember what he just said, OK, that he cannot accept the idea that the President would want Ukraine to be looking in to the Bidens.

Why would he cast so much doubt on an idea that POTUS had it out for the Bidens, and was trying to use Ukraine to do it, when he is now allegedly a part of those efforts?

Let's bring in Vicky Ward right now. She's got the reporting.

Now, let's be very clear. We understand from Mr. Lev Parnas' lawyer, the man under indictment for doing certain things with campaigns allegedly, also working with Rudy Giuliani, may be paying Rudy Giuliani for certain other things, his lawyer, what does he say?

VICKY WARD, CNN SENIOR REPORTER, "KUSHNER, INC." AUTHOR: So, his lawyer says that Lev Parnas would like to come and speak to Congress, and that he would say to Congress, were he given the opportunity, that last December, Devin Nunes, the senior Republican, presiding over the impeachment hearings, went to Vienna, and met with Victor Shokin.

CUOMO: Victor Shokin, the person who was the prosecutor for Ukraine that Ukraine, and everybody in the United States, wanted out, for not investigating corruption?

WARD: Correct. And who was fired in 2016, under pressure by many Western leaders, including our then-Vice President, Joe Biden. He has an ax to grind against the Bidens.

Victor Shokin is the man who has claimed to have dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden. He has claimed to have evidence that Ukraine meddled in our elections.

CUOMO: Reportedly met with Rudy Giuliani, Mr. Shokin.

WARD: He's - absolutely. So, Shokin--

CUOMO: Rudy Giuliani wanted to get him a pass to come to the United States, and it was denied.

WARD: Absolutely correct.

CUOMO: All right, so next big question. How do we know that Nunes met with Shokin?

WARD: So, it gets interesting. So, Shokin tells Lev Parnas, Rudy Giuliani's associate, who's Ukraine-born.

And what's interesting is that Nunes comes back and tries to recruit Lev Parnas. He does recruit Lev Parnas to merge his effort, his and Rudy Giuliani's investigations, with his.

He has an aide meet with Lev Parnas, and they discuss how to reach out to variant - various Ukraine prosecutors, who might have information on the Bidens.

CUOMO: All right, wait, so hold on a second. This is a lot. So, Devin Nunes, who's at the hearing, and - I'm sorry, but I'm learning this from you, you know, this is new reporting.

WARD: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

CUOMO: Devin Nunes, at the hearing, saying, "This is crazy that the President would want Ukraine to look at the Bidens." The prosecutor who was the one at the center of all the controversy--

WARD: Right.

CUOMO: --met with Nunes in Vienna--

WARD: Right.

CUOMO: --last December. So, before all this other stuff that they're saying was just about one phone call--

WARD: Way before.

CUOMO: Months before. Shokin then tells Parnas, the shady guy, at the center of all this.

WARD: Right.

CUOMO: And then Nunes' staffer meets with Parnas - Parnas?

WARD: Well so does Nunes. Nunes meets with Parnas. Nunes speaks to Parnas several--

CUOMO: About dirt on the Bidens?

WARD: --several times. Yes, they're asked to merge operations, essentially. So, in other words, you know, this whole impeachment, Chris, is about a shadow foreign policy.

CUOMO: Right.

WARD: That Devin Nunes appears to have and - some involvement in.

CUOMO: So, he knew it was going on.

WARD: So--

CUOMO: He knew they were looking for dirt on the Bidens.

WARD: Right. He is a drama in the - in this play himself. And he - and yet, he has not told anyone about this.

CUOMO: All right, so sourcing becomes everything. This comes from Parnas' lawyer, all right?

WARD: Right.

CUOMO: That this is what Parnas wants to testify to.

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: So now, you got to reach out to the parties. You got to go to Nunes. What does Nunes say?

WARD: Right. I'm going to - so, we've - we've been trying to actually get in front of Nunes, in person. Two of my colleagues went to - to see him on the Hill and--

CUOMO: Did they give him information about why?

WARD: They - they - they absolutely did. And this is not - exact word for word what Nunes said.

"To be perfectly clear, I don't acknowledge any questions from you in this lifetime or the next lifetime."

[21:30:00]

CUOMO: "To be perfectly clear, I don't acknowledge any questions from you in this lifetime or the next lifetime." Knowing how central this consideration is to what's going on in the impeachment right now, he won't even say it's not true?

WARD: Right.

CUOMO: All right, now, Victor Shokin, OK?

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: What is the chance of getting to him on this because, obviously, he can confirm or deny also.

WARD: Well, you know, I have his phone number. So, I've texted him. I've got to him. We've reached out to him. He's not talking.

CUOMO: So, everyone's getting a chance to respond. They know what the story is. They know what the allegations are.

WARD: Right.

CUOMO: And we're hanging this on Parnas' lawyer. So theoretically, Parnas would say the same thing. But you're just hearing it from his lawyer?

WARD: Correct.

CUOMO: Parnas wants to testify. And the lawyer's saying this is what it would be about.

WARD: And he has, by the way, actually been subpoenaed.

CUOMO: Right. So--

WARD: But - but there's an issue, Chris. Remember, because he's under indictment by the Southern District, so his lawyer would like him to be given, essentially immunity, to speak freely.

CUOMO: Well yes, let's think this through. You've been thinking about this a lot.

WARD: Yes.

CUOMO: I know, with your team.

Why would Nunes say it is preposterous, or whatever word he used, ludicrous, something bad, to think that the President would want Ukraine to look into the Bidens, when evidently he knew Rudy was looking into the Bidens, and he was trying to get Ukrainians to do it, right?

WARD: Right, right, right, right, right.

CUOMO: Parnas and Fruman are Americans. But they're Ukrainian-born, right?

WARD: Yes, yes, yes.

CUOMO: And then, he - shouldn't he have disclosed--

WARD: Well--

CUOMO: --that he went over to--

WARD: --I think - I think--

CUOMO: --Vienna, Austria, to meet with Shokin?

WARD: Well what's so intriguing, for want of a better word, about his whole trip was the timing of it.

And, in fact, his aide, Derek Harvey told Lev Parnas that the timing of it was very deliberate. It was done right after the Republicans lost the House in the midterms, but before the Democrats took over in January.

CUOMO: Why.

WARD: Because once the Democrats took over, he would have had to - he would have had to disclose the details of it. So, this is why nobody has known, until now, what Devin Nunes was doing last December. Well the only thing the--

CUOMO: So, we don't know that the Committee was told about his actions? WARD: No. The - the only thing that's reported in the Congressional record is that he, and Derek Harvey, and two other aides went to Europe.

CUOMO: But they don't say who they met with?

WARD: No. And this was quite deliberate, according to my reporting, according to the lawyer speaking for Parnas, Derek Harvey, the aide, told Parnas that the timing was done deliberately to keep it undercover.

CUOMO: Vicky Ward, thank you for the reporting. Thank you for working to - look, we want it fair.

Mr. Shokin, if you're listening, tell us what happened.

Mr. Nunes, this is about the truth. Come on, and tell us what happened. Don't say you're not going to answer the questions. You have to. That's your position.

Vicky Ward, thank you so much.

WARD: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Appreciate it. Have a very good weekend.

WARD: And you.

CUOMO: This is - cannot make it up.

All right, we are going to pick this up with a Democrat, who was Vice Chair of one of the impeachment committees, but resigned amid a probe of her in Congress, Katie Hill, still fighting back against what she calls a coordinated smear campaign to get her out.

But one smear campaign at a time!

We have to deal with what we just learned from Vicky Ward, what we learned about in the Inspector General report, and what is the future for former Congresswoman Hill, all next.

[21:35:00]

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: All right, there's a lot of news tonight.

This President is soon to be confronted with a DOJ Inspector General report that is going to make the idea that the Russia probe was a witch-hunt just something that can't be said with any truth to it anymore.

And then, this big report from Vicky Ward, coming from the lawyer of this guy, Lev Parnas, one of these indicted associates of Giuliani that Devin Nunes reportedly met with this former Ukraine prosecutor, at the center of all the Biden scandal.

Let's bring in former Democratic Congresswoman, Katie Hill, of California.

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TEXT: CNN EXCLUSIVE.

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CUOMO: Welcome back to PRIME TIME.

KATIE HILL (D), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Hi, how are you?

CUOMO: Can you believe this? Help me understand this Vicky Ward reporting.

Devin Nunes, I guess, being Chairman, you don't have to tell people what you're going. But putting in the record, "I'm going to Vienna with a couple of staffers," and you know you're investigating all this Ukraine stuff and you don't mention that you met with the guy at the center of the whole situation?

HILL: Well look, the timing is very, very clear. He did this right after the Democrats won the House.

CUOMO: Right.

HILL: And before they took control.

CUOMO: Right.

HILL: So, he could get away with this. You know, I think what this shows, clearer than anything is that you do not have an unbiased, you know, set of - of Republicans who are - who are involved in - in deciding whether this is--

CUOMO: But he had to know that we were going to find out. It's not like these players are exactly, you know, lock-lipped, you know, that these guys that we're dealing with. And he sat in the hearings, Katie. I don't know how much of them you saw but.

HILL: Oh, yes.

CUOMO: Well every time they bring up "The President wanted Ukraine to get dirt on the Bidens," he was, "Oh man, I can't believe!" And he even said, "I can't believe," you know, and in some words that you guys would think this was possible when he knew damn well that he was trying to.

HILL: He was doing it. Yes.

CUOMO: Unless Parnas' lawyer is lying because Shokin--

HILL: No.

CUOMO: --hasn't confirmed it yet. Nunes says he won't answer any questions.

HILL: No.

CUOMO: But that Giuliani was trying to do it, and he was trying to loop in Lev Parnas with Giuliani's efforts with his own staff, to try to get dirt on the Bidens.

HILL: Look, I don't know if he - if he thought he would never get found out.

But you know he's going to deny it until the day he dies. Either way, he's going to spin it as if - as if this is a witch-hunt on him now too. So, you know, I don't - I don't think that this is going to change their story regardless.

It's just it - what - this is - this is where we're at, unfortunately, with Republicans right now, is that there's - there is zero shame in lying, just straight-up lying constantly.

And, you know, I - we saw that throughout the entire set of hearings. We saw that with what - with what he's doing now. And we're going to continue to see that.

So, we have to make sure that the American people have the facts, and hopefully, people are able to look into their own souls, and figure out what's true and what's not.

CUOMO: Right. I mean, you know, my - my one pushback is this group of Republicans--

HILL: Oh, a 100 percent.

CUOMO: --you know, because, you know, I'm sure we both know.

HILL: I mean, look, my dad's a Republican.

CUOMO: Yes, yes.

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: I got a lot of Republicans in my life.

HILL: No, no, no.

CUOMO: And they do not go for this stuff.

HILL: No, no, this is completely different.

CUOMO: They were the party of - they used to come after you guys.

HILL: Oh, yes.

CUOMO: "You don't respect institutions enough."

HILL: National security.

CUOMO: "You don't respect the government enough."

HILL: This - this is the thing that I used to be, you know, and I - and I still do, separate myself from a fair amount of Democrats on.

[21:40:00]

I am very, very strong when it comes to national security. I come from a defense background. My family, you know, my brother is currently serving in the Navy, and that's my district.

But we - you know, that's what Republicans used to be, right? That's - that was the entire thing was how are we standing up--

CUOMO: Right.

HILL: --to things like our, you know, our - our national security when it comes to Russia.

CUOMO: Yes, like Russia.

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: So, they say the Russia probe's a hoax. And now we have reporting that says the Inspector General's report has - come out is going to say, "Look, a low-level guy messed with Carter Page's FISA application."

We believe the report says it didn't change the fundamental accuracy of it. I showed everybody how thick those things are. And what one document does or doesn't mean in it. But it supposedly concludes, no hoax, you know, not a witch-hunt that this was done with integrity.

What does that mean ultimately? Does it kill the Russia didn't interfere BS once and for all? Or you think you'd still hear it?

HILL: I think you're going to continue to hear it. I really do.

CUOMO: We heard from the President today.

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: That was a stupid question.

HILL: No, I - I mean I think you're going to continue to hear it. I don't think - I think one thing that the - that the Republicans, again, this group of Republicans, in Washington that have aligned themselves with the President do not care about the truth.

And they - they think that their best strategy is to just look Americans directly in the eye, and tell them bold-faced lies, and hope that they convince them. I mean it's gaslighting, plain and simple.

CUOMO: Well I'll tell you what. They don't even need to do it because they can admit that what the President did was wrong. He shouldn't have done it this way. He shouldn't have involved Rudy Giuliani.

He should have gone to the DOJ, if he wanted the Bidens investigated, or did what Lindsey Graham is doing now, and they can still make a good faith argument, about this not being worthy of removal.

Let me ask you something strategically.

HILL: I don't know about good faith but.

CUOMO: Well I mean you can say. It just doesn't rise to the level for me because--

HILL: If it doesn't, then what does? Is there ever going to be something that they think that Congress should use its - its power of impeachment on? If this isn't it, then what on earth is?

Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican in the White House, there has to be some kind of a line. And I - I mean, are you telling me that what Bill Clinton did is impeachable to Republicans, but this is not?

I just don't believe it. I don't buy that this is something, even for a second that they truly believe is not an impeachable offense. They're just full of it.

CUOMO: You know, Republican.

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: They don't. Look--

HILL: No.

CUOMO: Look, the - the best argument they have is that when the Democrats argue "Hey look, you don't get to walk away just because you fail at the crime you attempt."

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: That's true. You shoot at me, and you miss, you don't get to go home.

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: But you don't get the death penalty either.

HILL: No. CUOMO: And I think that that's going to be the argument you guys have. Do you think the Democrats should continue - should consider a deal to shorten this process when you know you're not going to get removal?

HILL: No. I don't think so at all.

I think what we have to show in the House is that - that there are people who have been elected, just like happened in 2018, who are going to ensure accountability. That's why you have a House of Representatives that turned over because now Nunes is not the Chairman. Adam Schiff is.

And what I think we have to show is that the Senate is you - is full of those same Republicans who are going to continue to let Trump or any other President that they feel like benefits them politically--

CUOMO: Right.

HILL: --do whatever they want.

CUOMO: All right.

HILL: So, you need to get people in - with an actual integrity in the Senate and in charge as well.

CUOMO: All right, you got a good head about everybody else. Let's talk about you now. Do you have any second thoughts about resigning?

HILL: I mean, listen, it was the toughest decision I've ever made. I - I know that it was the right one for, you know, for my family, for myself, for my staff.

I think - I even think that I - I - I would hate to think that I was giving them any kind of ammunition to distract from what's been going on these last few weeks. And the fact that I was not there made them not have that opportunity.

So, I feel like it was the right move. But no, it's - it's absolutely something that is, you know--

CUOMO: Well but you cost - you cost the party. You cost your own opportunity. And also, it wound up becoming a flashpoint in terms of well where are we in terms of appropriate conduct and not in what we enforce and what we inform.

Alyssa Milano, who you know very well, is very strong on accountability on what has come under the umbrella of #MeToo, but just really about decency and humanity.

HILL: Yes.

CUOMO: Here's what she said about you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALYSSA MILANO, ACTRESS & ACTIVIST: I don't feel it was the right move. I feel that there is incredible hypocrisy that goes on. And if Katie Hill were a man, who was in a consensual relationship with a - another man and a woman, that this would be a very different outcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: So, of course, she's supporting you. But she's saying that you are giving cover to people who make the wrong decisions because this is not the way it would have gone if it were a man, so you're basically reinforcing the wrong dynamic. You should have stayed and fought.

HILL: Oh, no. I don't think - I don't it's reinforcing it. If anything, it's saying that this is what the standard should be, right, and this is the standard that we should hold everybody to.

I think what I have to do now is figure out what my next move is to ensure that the lessons that are learned from what happened to me are not ones that we that - that can be repeated.

So, you know, cyber exploitation is something that is relatively new. It has not been touched on a - on a federal level in terms of - of laws that are going to address the issue.

It's one that I heard over and over again from young women that I just - even at that point, I - I didn't even fully understand. But I think it's something that we're going to have to take on in a meaningful way, and that I - I hope that my own experiences can lend to that effort.

CUOMO: Will you run again?

[21:45:00]

HILL: You know, I'm not writing anything off. I'm not running any time soon. I can tell you that much. And I'm supporting the person who is running to replace me, Christy Smith, with everything that I've got.

CUOMO: But politics, could it still very well be in your future, you're not giving me a "No?"

HILL: I'm not giving you a "No."

CUOMO: All right, Katie Hill, it's good to have you back. I appreciate you talking about all these things, and about your own situation.

HILL: Thank you.

CUOMO: I know it's sensitive. But it's important for people to process why you did it, and what it means. It's an ongoing dialog.

HILL: Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me.

CUOMO: Best to you. I'll see you again soon.

HILL: You too. CUOMO: All right, so our President loves to decry anything he doesn't like as fake news. In fact, he's at it again. And his pals in Congress are happy to help him. But don't miss our argument on this Friday night.

And also, don't miss a special CNN report, "All The President's Lies," that airs Sunday at 9:00 P.M. Eastern.

I'll see you back here in a second.

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[21:50:00]

CUOMO: After Dr. Fiona Hill, both parties, and our entire Intelligence Community made it clear that it is Russia that interfered in the 2016 election. President Trump called into Fox today, insisting "No, it was Ukraine."

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TRUMP: They gave the server to CrowdStrike or whatever, it's called, which is a country - which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian. And I still want to see that server. You know, the FBI has never gotten that server.

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS HOST: Are you sure they gave it to Ukraine?

TRUMP: Well that's what the word is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: The word? From who? The tinfoil hat gang?

I have known the President most of my adult life. He is neither gullible nor lacking in intelligence. You may not want to hear that. But it's true. He has to know he is pushing a hoax. He has to.

And now, he has all these cronies in Congress doing the same.

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NUNES: What is the full extent of Ukraine's election meddling against the Trump campaign? That Ukrainian officials were cooperating directly with President Trump's political opponents to undermine his candidacy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: There is zero proof of this - of this assertion, and there's a ton against it. And Mr. Nunes knows it.

They sat in these hearings, completely acting as counsel for the President, zero interest in any oversight of the Executive, justifying, turning the victim of this alleged bribery scheme, Ukraine, into a villain, and giving a free pass to the tyrant, who planted the idea in the first place, Putin, and they're doing it all in the name of upholding the Constitution, and their sworn duty of oversight.

To make it all worse, if that's possible, not only are they ignoring what is right. They are empowering what they know is wrong.

Sources telling CNN, U.S. Intelligence says these accusations of Ukrainian meddling are part of a Russian operation.

Now, to be fair, Fiona Hill said the same thing during her testimony yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FIONA HILL, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S FORMER TOP RUSSIA ADVISER: This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian Security Services themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Now, this is not the first time they've heard this. It's not like the tenth time they've heard it. How do we know?

Our reporting suggests that Intel officials have been briefing Senators and their aides for weeks about Russia's years-long campaign to frame Ukraine for its own hacking of the 2016 race.

So, think about it. A Russian talking point is making its way into our President's mouth, your elected officials know it, and they're defending the talking point anyway. This is literally the answer to Putin's prayers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Thank God, nobody is accusing us anymore of interfering in the elections in the United States. Now, they are accusing Ukraine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: "Thank God," well it's good to hear a Communist sympathizer mention God in a good way. But otherwise, this is disgusting. And these people can't claim they do this in good faith. They know they are empowering poison. They admitted it.

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NUNES: I think Russia is very good at influencing elections. And they do it all over the world. And, you know, it wouldn't surprise me that - that they try to do it here. It wouldn't surprise me that they try to break into the DNC and the RNC.

They try to do it all over the globe. They just tried to do it in Ukraine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: That's right. Nunes said it. Russia not only did it to us, but to Ukraine. And he said that a month before the report from the Intel Community that placed blame squarely on Russia. He knew what was up then, and he knows what is up now.

And yet, he reportedly was fishing for dirt on Biden in Vienna, trying to get Ukraine involved, and feed this fugazi Ukraine-interfered narrative?

Nunes says he will never answer questions about this from us. He is wrong about that. You will have to account for what Mr. Parnas' lawyer said. You may want to help out Russia. But you will not impose Russia- like rules on a free press in this country.

All he had to say was it's not true. I would have relayed that, and any explanation you offered, but you didn't deny it. You think you're helping this President. But how can you do that by undercutting our democracy?

A lot of people are choosing political favor over the facts these days. They're misleading the American people, and they're empowering a false narrative.

Mr. Nunes exercised his legs running up to the White House, to check in with sensitive information, even though he was the Committee Chair, when he was supposed to be exercising oversight and checking power.

Being an elected official is supposed to be an honor. Those men and women should represent the best of us, not the worst.

[21:55:00]

Well your efforts are no longer in the dark. They are exposed to the light - to the light. And you know what follows the light? The heat, and that's coming soon. That's the argument.

The President's predecessor has a message for some Democrats worried about winning 2020. President Obama, BOLO, chill pill, next.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: BOLO means Be On the Look-Out.

Former President Obama has a new message for any Democrats nervous about the Party's primary field. He told listeners at an event Thursday, quote, "Everyone needs to chill out about the candidates, but gin up about the prospect of rallying behind whoever emerges from this process."

And the process has a long way to go, 17 Democratic candidates still vying for the nominee position.

Former Massachusetts Governor, Deval Patrick, officially jumped into the race last week. Former New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is taking steps towards joining. That may happen soon.

Who's going to be the best position to take on the President? You tell us. Be On the Look-Out.

Thank you for watching. CNN TONIGHT with a huge interview and Don Lemon.