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Cuomo Prime Time

Dorian Strengthens As It Moves Past Puerto Rico; Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Drops Out Of 2020 Presidential Race; Trump Slammed Puerto Rico As Hurricane Dorian Neared. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 28, 2019 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:00] BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: How do you square that? What does that feel like when the President's lying about you?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Great question. Brian Stelter, thanks so much for being with us.

STELTER: Thanks. Merci.

BERMAN: I really appreciate it.

The news continues. So, I'm going to hand it over to Chris. CUOMO PRIME TIME starts right now. Chris, I hope you can hear me.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: J.B., I can, and you sound marvelous. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Hurricane Dorian is strengthening but there is good news for Puerto Rico tonight. The worst appears to be over for our neighbors on that island, still beaten down, of course, from Hurricane Maria.

Now, the bad news is there is loads of danger for our mainland, the Florida coast, a little bit farther north, Dorian is spiraling. We know how it works at this point. We have to see how it strengthens in the water. We have to look at the tracks. And we have all that information for you. What to expect, where and when?

And the President said some things that were outrageous today. That's not unusual. It is what he did and promised to do that he must justify to you, especially with an election coming. And we have a representative from his campaign tonight to do just that.

Also, we're going to take a look at the lens of Puerto Rico, what this President has said, what he's done, what it means. The residents there feel betrayed and forgotten. Former Congressman, Luis Gutierrez is there. He is angry. He is righteous. And he will let you know why.

And did you hear that the President is upset that Fox isn't working for him anymore? They must love, him basically acknowledging that he sees them as state TV. He says he's looking for a new 24/7 MAGA megaphone. What does that mean?

Let's get after it.




CUOMO: Look, the good news is that Puerto Rico seems to have dodged a big bullet, but it does not take much, OK? The land there is easily saturated. The power grid is weak. And the situation of infrastructure there in so many of the houses is still all beaten up from Maria.

So, right now, you're looking at some picture at the Virgin Islands. We're going to be following Dorian. Again, it doesn't have to be a major Category-something to hit you to hurt you. So, we're going to look at all the places.

You saw what happened to Martinique that was just flooding from those outer bands. What we know right now is that Dorian could possibly become a Category 3 late Sunday into Monday, as you see the map there, that's when we expect on the most common track for it to hit the mainland on that Eastern Florida coast.

Florida's Governor already declared a state of emergency. As we all know, now that just frees up resources, asks the federal government to do the same. Georgia could also be at risk.

But let's start here on Puerto Rico tonight. Of course, they have to be feeling grateful. The last thing they need is another direct hit from a hurricane. But they did take a direct hit from our President once again, all right?

And not only is he exaggerating the money that's been given to them, not only has he slow-walked having that place rebuilt, but now we know that $155 million in FEMA disaster relief that goes to places like Puerto Rico, and the islands around it, is being shifted.

And where it's being shifted is what the true insult is. The money is being shifted to help fund efforts to return migrants.

Let's bring in former Democratic Congressman, Luis Gutierrez. He's in Puerto Rico right now. He lives there. He's been active with recovery efforts since Maria. It is always good to see you, Congressman. Thank God, I don't have you--


CUOMO: --with swirling winds all over you right now. Thank God it won't be--


CUOMO: --the worst-case scenario.

But just to remind people, what is the state of reality for many of the places, not in and around just San Juan, but just outside of there, up into the hills, how vulnerable is it still? What are your concerns-- GUTIERREZ: Yes.

CUOMO: --even with these types of storm effect?

GUTIERREZ: Look, tens of thousands of people lost their electricity today in the metropolitan area. And Dorian really didn't hit the island of Puerto Rico with any forcefulness.

Let's remember Chris, 30,000 people still go to bed every - no, not 30,000 people, let me correct myself. There are 30,000 homes in Puerto Rico where people go to bed every night, and they have a blue tarp (ph) over there as a rough.

Can you imagine? It would have been a Category 5 if 70-mile an hour winds had hit the island for those 30,000. This is two years after Maria.

The - the electrical system here is still very weak and vulnerable. So, I have been here living for five - for five months, let me see, four times the electricity has gone out at my residence. The water also stops flowing because you need electricity for the--

CUOMO: For the well pump.

GUTIERREZ: --for the - for the water to flow to your house--

CUOMO: Right.

GUTIERREZ: --for the generation - the generators.

So look, it's very fragile. There are still schools that are closed. There are still people that are unemployed. And there are still hundreds of thousands of people who wish to return to the island. It's a very fragile situation.

But we're resilient. We're working towards a better future. And it would be good to hear that the most powerful, the richest nation in the world would want to help in that recovery. This President says--

[21:05:00] CUOMO: Well especially when you're part of that nation.

GUTIERREZ: --"Oh, I've sent $92 billion."

CUOMO: He says I gave you $90 billion.

GUTIERREZ: No, you haven't.

CUOMO: And he says--

GUTIERREZ: You've sent - maybe a tenth of that money has reached the island of Puerto Rico.

CUOMO: Right.

GUTIERREZ: It's time. And I do want to take one parenthesis. Thank you, American people, for your generosity. There are so many generators that people have turned on, so many news schools, so many beautiful places that have been--

CUOMO: Right.

GUTIERREZ: --rebuilt because of your generosity.

CUOMO: But they should be.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you to the people of the--

CUOMO: You - you're part of the country.

GUTIERREZ: --United States of America.

CUOMO: You know everybody treats Puerto Rico like it's its own country. I mean, you know, you guys are part of the country. We should help - Americans should help whenever they can. But you especially should help your own, and that's what's happening here.

But the President says - now here's the problem, Luis. The problem is you guys, you have a corrupt local government down there.


CUOMO: And he's been better to you than anybody.


CUOMO: And you guys aren't back on your feet because the local authorities there are corrupt, they're the worst, and they're taking the money, and that's why he's slowing any kind of relief, because there's a bunch of crooks down there.

GUTIERREZ: Yes. Well I guess we gave a lesson in what it is you do in a very democratic non-violent fashion here on the island of Puerto Rico when we had a Governor that the people felt had betrayed them, that was leading a corrupt administration, what did we say? "You're fired!"

Not 10,000, not 50,000, not a 100,000, by the hundreds of thousands, and we did though - we did so in a - in a very consistent way, right, until the Governor understood that he had to resign. You don't see that. So, we know how to take care of corruption here on the island of Puerto Rico.

And guess what? This is the President of the United States that has a failing golf course, Chris, a failing golf course, which is - is - it's losing what, 70 percent of its revenue from two years ago, and what does he say? "Oh, we should have the G7 there."

And even if he doesn't have the G7, how many people did he advertise it to when he said that? That's corruption, Chris.

You know what corruption is? That when the legislative branch of government says "No, you can't have the money for more beds, and detention, and separating families," and then he takes emergency relief money, and let's hope Florida doesn't need it, let's hope no one needs it, but a $155 million in federal relief money, and you put it and send it to the border without any Congressional?

And lastly, let's be clear. This is the President of the United States that the Washington Post today reported is telling government officials, and those under him, "Go ahead and build that wall. Violate the law if you have to. And I will pardon you," that's corruption at the highest level.

CUOMO: All right.

GUTIERREZ: The people of Puerto Rico are good, decent, hard-working people. We're resilient. And I want to say we're going to lead.

CUOMO: Well I hope that the situation down there is not made that much worse by the storms that you're dealing with now and the impact afterwards on what is certainly the truth that it is a vulnerable infrastructure to begin with. And thank you for your perspective, as always.


CUOMO: Be safe down there, the best to the family.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, another 2020 Democratic dropout, and there's still several other Dems now dealing with the fact that they're not going to make the cut for their next debate.

You don't get out there, you don't get to make the pitch to you, you don't get the donors, you don't get the relevance, you don't get the headlines, cycle continues, and it's a negative one.

So, what does it mean that Senator Gillibrand from New York is out? Who is next? What is the state of play in that race? There are new polls. And you know what that means.

The Wizard of Odds with the inside scoop, and whatever that is, next.








CUOMO: And then there were 20. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand withdraws from the Presidential race, and is expected to endorse some other candidate, we don't know when. Could it be the former VP who is leading? There is another new poll, now Quinnipiac is out, right? Monmouth was

respected. Quinnipiac is respected. Look at the new numbers. Now, these are much closer to what we saw in the CNN poll. They seem more reflective of the state of play. All polls are just snapshots.

But when you do see one that sticks out like that, the way Monmouth does, it does make you a little curious, and it is interesting that this next poll seems to be more consistent.

You see the numbers there. It's basically what it has been. Biden is there. Warren's making moves. She's now actually up a skosh on Sanders beyond the MOE there, the margin of error.

You see Harris with the big slip, Buttigieg holding where he's ever been, and Yang, impressive, given that he's such an outsider on this race, and not getting the attention to the others. But he's at 3.

Let's bring in the Wizard of Odds. How big a deal, Harry, is it that Gillibrand is out?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER & ANALYST: Look, I think it gives you a pretty good understanding of sort of the state of play. And these are the 10 candidates who qualified for our September debate on ABC.

CUOMO: Tonight was the deadline, so there will be no more?

ENTEN: It will - unless there's some poll that drops, some mysterious poll that drops in the next 2.5 hours--

CUOMO: Well--

ENTEN: --there will be no more. We're not expecting a poll. These are the 10. And, of course, you notice Gillibrand is not on the list, and there're a bunch of other candidates who are not on the list as well.

I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't another candidate that drops out over the next few weeks before that ABC News debate because the fact of the matter is debates are lifeline to a campaign. You get out there. You're able to fundraise. And without money, you can't run a Presidential campaign.

CUOMO: And in terms of, you know, let's - let's unpack it a little bit now.


CUOMO: If she's out, now there's not a domino effect if others have to get out.

ENTEN: Right.

CUOMO: But it says something about what - what is working and what isn't, especially in the context of this new poll from Quinnipiac, what do you see? ENTEN: Well the one thing I should just point out, you know, just so, you know, we put everything, look, as you mentioned, the Quinnipiac University poll kind of looks a lot like the other one.

So, I took an average of the four live interview probability samples, Biden up by double-digits at 28 percent. Warren, as you mentioned, 18 percent, Sanders, 15 percent.

CUOMO: All right, so if you measure the last four polls, this is like a poll of polls.

ENTEN: This is a poll of polls.

CUOMO: All right.

ENTEN: It's an average of polls. This is what you do. Sometimes you catch outliers like that.

And I should point out it's good that we have outliers. It shows that in fact the pollster's doing a legitimate job, because 19 out of 20 times, you'll be within the margin of error, but one out of 20 times, you won't be.

CUOMO: And what is most impressive to you about Quinnipiac? You do see Warren on top of Sanders. Monmouth had Sanders on top of Warren.

Interesting, you know, Senator Sanders always likes to say "You people in the polls, don't bother me with polls," he has one poll come out that has on - him on top of Warren and Biden, he splashed it all over his social media account.

[21:15:00] But what do you mean - think of Quinnipiac with her moving up a little bit on Sanders, just could it be another relative assessment, basically within the plus/minus of five?

ENTEN: Well I think if you take a look at the average, you see that she's leading. And I think that this is important thing, Chris.

And this is basically the Quinnipiac University poll based upon how much attention you're paying to the campaign. If you're paying a lot of attention to the campaign, among those voters, we see Warren very close to Biden, 32 to 25.


ENTEN: Sanders all the way back there, and that's I think a sign of the momentum. Those paying attention really like Warren.

CUOMO: I don't understand two things. One--


CUOMO: --I don't understand how if you're doing it a lot, you like him less than if you're not paying attention that much? And how his numbers are the same? Biden's all the way across. ENTEN: You know, part of this is an age issue going on, right? He does better among older voters. They tend to be the ones who are paying the most attention.

But Elizabeth Warren also does well among college-degree voters. And they tend to be the ones who are paying a lot of attention as well.

Sanders' voters are those - tend to be those without a college degree as well as younger voters. So, it's not so surprising here that he does best in the some or little-to-none category.

CUOMO: What's your other big point for people?

ENTEN: I think the other big point here is just take a look at this. This is the, you know, this is the same story that we've had this entire campaign, right? Joe Biden, trailing in that very liberal lane by a lot to Elizabeth Warren, down by 19 points.

But look at this, this moderate to conservative lane, which makes 50 percent of the party, this is the big chunk, look at this. Biden well out ahead, 41 percent, Warren all the way back at 13. As long as he has that type of lead in the center of the Democratic Party, he's going to be the Democratic nominee.

CUOMO: The Wiz always hits me with this every time I get excited about something on Twitter. He always is like "Twitter is not the Democratic Party. It's an amplification of the fringe voices on the outer left of it." I'm like "Please!"

And then when that Harvard study came out that said that 80-something percent of Democrats say they are center-left, not very liberal, that was the end of this argument.

ENTEN: This is this poll.

CUOMO: That was the end. Now, one other interesting thing as--


CUOMO: --as - as we get out of this segment. It is interesting that why he - while he has this big lead over these two, all of them beat this President kind of the same way.

ENTEN: Well take a look at this. This Quinnipiac asked this as well. And look, this--

CUOMO: Right, I mean, you know.

ENTEN: Here's the key, Chris, though. Look at this consistency in the Trump number, 38 to 40 percent, and that's generally where his approval rating has been. He can't seem to get above that number.

CUOMO: Right.

ENTEN: And that's big trouble for him. CUOMO: He wants to make jokes about Gillibrand and people as they drop out, saying "Oh, she's the one I was afraid of." He needs to be afraid of this.

ENTEN: Don--

CUOMO: This is what he has to be afraid of.

ENTEN: Donald Trump is the one who has an electability problem at this point.

CUOMO: 100 percent. Wiz, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Shalom, brother.

CUOMO: Appreciate it. Shalom.

So, who's next to go? Will there be a next? Is Harry right or no? If you're not on that debate stage, can you kiss your dreams goodbye? We'll use it as a starting point in The Great Debate.

We have two Democrats? Which way will that party go? They know.








CUOMO: New York Junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is out. But there are still 20 Democratic candidates in the race. How much longer will it be that way? If they're not getting on the debate stage, and they're not raising money, they're not going to be able to compete with the frontrunners.

But the bigger question is Gillibrand dropping out means what about what is going to dominant - dominate the choice of that party? That's the start of tonight's Great Debate, Bakari Sellers, Paul Begala.




CUOMO: Good to see you both gentlemen. Significance for you, brother Begala, of Gillibrand dropping out? PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, POLITICAL CONSULTANT, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well I certainly didn't see it coming. I thought she'd be a really first-tier credible candidate. She's a good fundraiser. She's a good campaigner. But the campaign was going nowhere.

As a general matter, I respect anybody's decision to get in or out, and I try not to I - I do this - I never tell people to run for Office or to get married, because I don't have to wake up with the consequences, OK?

So, I respect her decision, not sure that I share it because I don't like - I'm different. I don't like the field being winnowed this early, and a 158 days before the first citizen gets to vote, a 158 days.

To put that into perspective, 31 days before the Iowa caucuses in 2004, John Kerry was a weak fifth place in the polls. He was behind Al Sharpton. And 31 days later, he gained 33 points in the polls, and won Iowa solidly, and went on to be the nominee.

This stuff's going to break late. I think these candidates who are driven out of the race too early are - are - I think it's a shame. This - I think it's not good for the party.

CUOMO: Well, you know, Bakari, Gillibrand, I would argue, this is somewhat subjective, but she is the first candidate who was seen as one of the strong progressive farther-left--


CUOMO: --players with name recognition, and Paul's right, she wasn't doing great in the polls, she didn't qualify for this - this next set of debates, to drop out.

And it's interesting because if you conflate that with what we see in Quinnipiac and the CNN poll before that, Monmouth is an outlier, those from the center and the Left are putting most of their chips on Biden.

Do you see her dropping out as a trend that the party is going to start moving back towards the center candidates?

SELLERS: Well I disagree with the sentiment that somehow Kirsten Gillibrand is this far-Left candidate.

In fact, I believe Kirsten Gillibrand when she was in the United States House was considered to be a Blue Dog Democrat. She is very, very, very progressive now. Let's not confuse that or conflate that. But she's nowhere near in line with the ideology of Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders.

But I will say this. Elizabeth Warren is one of the candidates who when they filed to run for President of the United States, you looked on paper, and said, "Hmm! She has a legitimate chance to actually win the nomination." Now, her odds may have been - been pretty - pretty long. However, on

paper, she had a legitimate chance to be President of the United States, or at least win the nomination. And she is the first person who's running for President who had a legitimate chance to win the nomination to get out of the race.

I - I disagree with Paul Begala. I'm ready for us to get down and start really cooking in the kitchen here. I think that we need to get down to about eight to 10 - those eight to 10 that are on stage, kind of when it went down to five--

BEGALA: We haven't even done the grocery shopping yet, Bakari.

SELLERS: --at least let--

BEGALA: Why you want to be in the kitchen cooking?

SELLERS: Man, listen, listen--

BEGALA: We haven't even grown the crops much less gone to the store--

SELLERS: --man.

BEGALA: --to buy them.

SELLERS: Listen, what we - what we need to do is go online on Harris Teeter, order them up, and pick them up on the way. I mean there are a lot of ways that we can do this.

I'm ready - I'm ready to get down to the bare-knuckle talent we have because the problem is it's very hard to see the true timing we have in our party with some people who all-in-all will never win the nomination.

CUOMO: All right, let's let the meal metaphor die.

[21:25:00] Begala, look, I think this is what you guys are dealing with. And whether it's a 158 days or 15.8 days out is that the reason Biden does so well in so many polls is because the party's composition is largely center-Left.

And when you look at your party through that lens, he gets the support of people, the farther towards the center you go, the more support he gets. He actually even gets some Republicans' support. Now, I don't know if that's real. I don't know if they'd actually pull a lever for him. But they're saying that they would.

However, the amplification by the media, and social media, and what we see in the debates, and how they're covered--

BEGALA: Right.

CUOMO: --is about the farther Left you are, the more attention you get. How do you guys reconcile?

BEGALA: I think it's a great point. At the beginning of the year, Gallup did a survey of both parties. And 54 percent of Democrats, solid majority, said they want their party to be more moderate.

By the way, solid majority Republicans wants their party to be even more conservative. I - I don't - maybe bring back the feudal system or something, I don't know what's going on in their side of the fence.

On my side of the fence, it's a very moderate party. But you're right. I think one of the hidden causes of this, and it's an unintended consequence, is this emphasis on small donors. We all want small donors. We don't like big money taking over politics. That's right.

But when the party set that as a metric for getting into the debate, it - it actually empowered some of the most progressive and - and - and - and committed folks in our party, and it drew it to raise money online, to raise money through emails.

You have to really be on, I think, more on the progressive side of things. You don't raise a lot of money online with a moderate-Centrist message. And I think that was an unintended - I don't think the party was trying to put the fix in or anything.

But I'd rather, and I think it'd still change, I'd rather add one more metric, register voters because that's not left, right, or center. That's just good for America, good for the Democratic Party, good for all of us.

CUOMO: Well so you've--

BEGALA: I'd rather make that a metric rather than polling, which is ephemeral and evanescent, or fundraising online--

CUOMO: Right.

BEGALA: --which I think tends to skew more Left.

CUOMO: So, you've got somewhat of a - a population of center mindset and within your party just in terms of what the metrics are.

But that's not the narrative right now, Bakari, because people want a warrior. I keep hearing it on my show. The younger the Leftie is on my show, the more he or she wants a warrior.

I had Ana Kasparian from The Young Turks the other night say, you know, they have a huge following online, say "I don't want Biden be - to be working with the Right. I want them to bend to our will."

And it's interesting because I think the candidate that you support, Senator Kamala Harris, represented that for people. She was a fighter. She went out there, and the favorite Joe Biden got rocked on his heels by her in the first debate. But then she tanked, and I don't understand why.

What's your read on that?

SELLERS: Well it's early. I mean that - that's why. I mean she's going to have some of the most elasticity of any candidate that we see. But at the end of the day, I mean I - I hear all of these-- CUOMO: Wait. Why will she have the most elasticity?

SELLERS: I mean we - we - I mean it's already been proven. She started out when she announced her campaign very high. She came back down and settled to eight or nine.

After the first debate, she went high, she came back down to eight or nine, and that's where she rests now in fourth place. That's not a bad place to be right now going into the Labor Day weekend. So, I don't think that there's any panic whatsoever.

But she's even in a better position because I will tell you this. While we're having these debates, and they sound extremely illuminating, and brilliant, about Left, Right, center or otherwise, the people who will choose the Democratic nominee are African-American voters, particularly--


SELLERS: --African-American female voters. Period!

I mean we can talk about Left, Right, moderate, center, warrior, and not warrior, whatever we want to talk about, but African-American voters, particularly African-American female voters will choose the nominee.

I will remind people of this. In October, there was a CNN Headline, October of 2007 that said that Black voters help Hillary Clinton extend the lead. She was up by 25-plus vote--

CUOMO: Right.

SELLERS: --percent with total voters - total Black voters over Barack Obama, over 40 percent with Black women, and she did not win that nomination because things could change--

BEGALA: That's right.

SELLERS: --especially after Iowa. So, that's - that's - that's where we are.

CUOMO: Yes, it's--

BEGALA: And that's the heart of the party.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

BEGALA: Bakari is so right. The heart of the Republican Party is, I appreciate it, is White Christian evangelicals. They're not the majority, but they're the heart.

The heart of our party are the - those people of color that Barack's that - that Bakari is talking about, especially women.

The first strategy session we had with Bill Clinton, before Sellers was even born, Karl (ph) said, and then we said the path to the Democratic nomination runs through African-Americans, especially in the south.

That is still true today. And I'm glad we start in Iowa. I love Iowa, I love New Hampshire. Once we get to Sellers' home state of South Carolina, that's where we're going to be picking our nominee.

CUOMO: It's very interesting because it's an interest - it's almost a paradox for you guys. You need African-American women to be for you to win in that party. Yet, we have seen them be with people, and it hasn't been the dispositive factor.

But more often than not, it's going to weigh in, especially in a big and split field. I still think you guys have to decide this idea of we're going to go with really progressive ideas or we're going to go with somebody who can get us back to a return of normal, and does not shake up people, does not introduce risk, you're going to have to figure that out.

Bakari, Begala, thank you very much, as always.

BEGALA: Thanks.

[21:30:00] CUOMO: All right, the President spent this morning taunting Americans who were prepping for a disaster, and I'm talking about Puerto Rico. Then he claimed that he's the best thing that ever happened to them.

Look, I don't spend a lot of time on this show going after what the President says. I don't think it's helpful. I think if I have to tell you why what he says is often obnoxious, you're never going to believe that anyway.

But what he does as an echo of those things must be sold to you, as the American voter. And his campaign's National Press Secretary is here to do just that, next.








CUOMO: You could argue that the President has staked his re-election on two things, the economy, where some signs are strong, and there are some warning signs as well, and the wall.

I don't even say immigration. I really say "The wall" because what real meaningful change in our policies can he point to, except a tone of harshness and that wall? Now, there is a matter of dispute about how much new fencing he has built. If you look at it, all the fencing being built was planned to be built before he went into more - wall mode.

So, why is he saying "Look how much wall I'm building! Look how it's going?" Does that matter to you? Does any of this matter to you?

Let's get with the campaign, Kayleigh McEnany.




[21:35:00] CUOMO: The National Press - the Campaign Press Secretary is here with us to make the argument. Always a pleasure, thank you.


CUOMO: So, let's just tick through some of these things. I didn't understand the Puerto Rico play. I know he gets hit, he hits back. You know I don't accept that rationale, not from a President of the United States.

But why when they have a hurricane coming down on them, start going after them for being corrupt, and how he's the best thing that ever happened to them, why do that then?

MCENANY: Because he's fighting for the people of Puerto Rico by calling out the corrupt politicians. I think it speaks for itself when there are 375 public corruption convictions over a 10-year period.

We have a - a hurricane coming. There were misused funds last time around. We don't want to see that happen this time around. And this President delivered the largest FEMA response effort ever in the history of FEMA to Puerto Rico.

So, these corrupt politicians must use these resources--

CUOMO: Well--

MCENANY: --on the people, bottom line.

CUOMO: All right, look, nobody's going to argue with that. However, what they will argue with are the facts, which is one, he didn't pass it. Congress did.

He was against it. He fought it. He tried to slow-walk it. And now he lies about the number, Kayleigh. He keeps coming up with this 90-plus number. You know it's nowhere near that. Why? Why not just tell the truth?

MCENANY: He has signed into law tens of billions of dollars of funding. And the $91 billion number comes from estimated projections of what will be provided to Puerto Rico over time.

CUOMO: But it's a based on an unknown of whether you need it over like the next decade-plus.


CUOMO: It makes no sense to use that number.

MCENANY: You're - you're entirely missing the point though that this was the largest FEMA operation in the history of this country, the longest air mission in the history of this country, the biggest disaster distribution operation in the history of this country to Puerto Rico.

CUOMO: But aren't you missing the point that it is well-known--

MCENANY: And tens of billions of dollars allocated.

CUOMO: --that he fought people wanting to do more for them and that they are not even near to back on their feet, and they're a part of this country, and it's on his watch.

MCENANY: There has been enough done for James Lee Witt, the FEMA Director of Bill Clinton saying that this President gets an A-plus on his FEMA response effort, and that's straight from Bill Clinton's FEMA Director. The facts don't lie.

CUOMO: And who - who cares? He got to work for Bill Clinton and be dead-wrong.

There are 30,000 homes that have blue tarps on them. They had people losing power today for no good reason. Thank God, Dorian wasn't anything meaningful to them, not yet anyway. We'll see what happens on the back-end of the storm.

But I just don't get it. Why does he talk about a place that's part of this country that way? Why would he talk about swapping it for Greenland? Why?

MCENANY: Because there are corrupt politicians there. That's who he's targeting. Notice in his tweet, he doesn't talk about the people of Puerto Rico.

CUOMO: Since when is corruption something that he goes after--

MCENANY: He talks about the politicians.

CUOMO: --hard and heavy?

MCENANY: Oh, he always goes after corruption.

CUOMO: Really?

MCENANY: And when we give money to Puerto Rico, tens of billions of dollars, and federal officials find stockpiles--

CUOMO: He goes after corruption?

MCENANY: --of unused materials, they've--

CUOMO: Hard and heavy?

MCENANY: Of course, he does.

CUOMO: He just pledged to hold the G7 at his own golf course. He's got an administration--

MCENANY: Of course, he goes after corruption.

CUOMO: --that's littered with perfidy, and people who don't know how to keep their hands out of their own pockets.

MCENANY: Well I - I love--

CUOMO: And he's about corruption?

MCENANY: I am - I am happy to go into corruption because we got a heck of a lot to talk about with Obama--

CUOMO: Really? You - you mean in terms of things--

MCENANY: --from bullying Tea Party groups--

CUOMO: --that are suspect corruption?

MCENANY: --from spying on U.S. citizens within the Trump campaign. These are things that we never get to talk about on here, Chris.

CUOMO: You can use whatever words you want. You just don't have the facts to back it up.

MCENANY: Yes. I do have facts to back this up.

CUOMO: This is a President who won't even show his taxes--


CUOMO: --Kayleigh.

MCENANY: This is--

CUOMO: Are you kidding?

MCENANY: This is a President that constantly has things made up about him as happened last night on MSNBC--

CUOMO: If he doesn't want things made up, listen--

MCENANY: --pertaining to his finances.

CUOMO: --hey, you see the letters on the bottom of the screen? They say CNN. If I didn't say it, I don't want to talk about it. I didn't report that story. It was out there. We go with the facts. I don't need anything else.

If he had nothing to hide about his money story, why doesn't he release his taxes? Why doesn't he just release proof that he's under audit?

MCENANY: He's not going - he's under audit. He's not going to play into your hand and give you his taxes, Chris.

CUOMO: Play into my hands?

MCENANY: But liter - if we want to talk about what just happened on CNN, literally the last hour, you--


MCENANY: --took words from the Press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham, from an entirely different interview, talking about how the President often talks in jest, and then played a juxtaposed against a story about the President suggesting people should break the law, and acted as if that quote pertained to that story, which it didn't. This is what the news--

CUOMO: I don't know what you're talking about.

MCENANY: Exactly. Well it happened last hour. Take a look at it. This is what the media does. MSNBC late last night, you took--

CUOMO: See the name of this show? CUOMO PRIME TIME. You want to talk about your friend, Miss Grisham--

MCENANY: You took--

CUOMO: --I want to know why she says he couldn't make it to the climate meeting because he was having meetings with Germany and India, when they were at the meeting.

I want to know when they say they hang their case against Brian Karem on an interview, a statement they said they had from a Secret Service Agent that then they - they then said - she said, didn't exist.

So, if you want to talk about her, I'm fine.

MCENANY: I'm happy to talk about her.

CUOMO: She should be here defending herself.

MCENANY: And you - you should be--

CUOMO: And when she wants to take the invitation--

MCENANY: By the way--

CUOMO: --she can have it.

[21:40:00] MCENANY: --you should be thanking Stephanie Grisham, who literally fought with reporters in North Korea, with North Korea security guards to get reporters access, who literally fought to get more reporters access than any other nation at the G7.

CUOMO: After they pulled Brian Karem's press pass--

MCENANY: That was her doing. This--

CUOMO: --because they didn't like him having an argument--

MCENANY: This Press--

CUOMO: --with one of their friends?

MCENANY: Yes. Because the President had left, and he started bullying someone on those grounds. And, by the way--

CUOMO: Bullying? Did you see the video?

MCENANY: --by - yes, I did. And he was bullying that--

CUOMO: Please!

MCENANY: --he was confronting a guest of the White House.

CUOMO: The guy got up with--

MCENANY: The credentials were pulled.

CUOMO: Listen, that is not even close to a fair representation.

MCENANY: That is absolutely what happened.

CUOMO: Here's the proof of it. Here's the proof. You want to talk about bullying? How about this? Kayleigh McEnany, I can't have you on the show anymore, you know why?


CUOMO: You're clearly not working for me anymore. You're not working for me anymore.


CUOMO: I thought you worked for me. I thought you used to take care of me. When people used to ask you about me, you're the - you'd say good things. Now you're being fair? Now you're pushing back?

That's what he said about Fox News. You talk about--

MCENANY: The President--

CUOMO: --bullying?

MCENANY: The President's not bullying anyone.

CUOMO: Really?

MCENANY: The President is lied about constantly-- CUOMO: On Fox News?

MCENANY: --literally time and time again. He's frustrated with media coverage.

CUOMO: On Fox News?

MCENANY: He's frustrated with media coverage. He's fighting for the people in his movement. He didn't say Fox News should work for him. That's again--

CUOMO: He did. He said they're not working.

MCENANY: --not what the tweet said.

CUOMO: Put the tweet back up.

MCENANY: No. He said - he said they're not working for us. The network--


MCENANY: --as a whole, is not working for his movement, meaning they can watch because - because they feel--

CUOMO: Fox isn't working for us anymore.

MCENANY: You are again--

CUOMO: They were never supposed to be working--

MCENANY: Here we go again.

CUOMO: --for him.

MCENANY: This is more--

CUOMO: You didn't think they were working for you, did they?

MCENANY: This is more fake news. Literally in the last 24 hours--

CUOMO: The tweet's right in front of their faces.

MCENANY: --you took Stephanie Grisham out of context, you take the President out of context.

CUOMO: I'm not taking anybody out of context.

MCENANY: MSNBC lies about the President and our Campaign Manager. This is why Harvard, by the way, says 90 percent of the news coverage of the President is negative. Not my words.

CUOMO: No, no, no, no. No, that's not what Harvard said.

MCENANY: Harvard's words. CUOMO: Harvard said 90 percent of the coverage is negative. They didn't say why. The "Why" is his mouth and his actions. If he didn't lie, if he didn't take things out of context--

MCENANY: He doesn't lie.

CUOMO: --if he didn't demonize people for being different, if he didn't make it OK to be bigoted, then--

MCENANY: He doesn't lie.

CUOMO: --he would not get the same kind of criticism.

MCENANY: He doesn't lie.

CUOMO: Look at this.

MCENANY: The press lies.

CUOMO: You don't look at Fox News and call it state TV. And people aren't going to call you out for being unfair to a media organization.

MCENANY: He doesn't lie. Guess who lies? The press lies.

CUOMO: You don't think this President--

MCENANY: And don't take it from me. Take it--

CUOMO: --has ever lied?

MCENANY: Take it from Jim Comey who literally called out a New York--

CUOMO: You don't think this President has lied to the American people?

MCENANY: Let me finish, Chris.

CUOMO: You--

MCENANY: No, I don't think the President has lied.

CUOMO: --have to answer that question, first.

MCENANY: I don't think the President has lied.

CUOMO: He has never lied to the American people?

MCENANY: No, I don't think the President has lied.

CUOMO: Kayleigh McEnany, your credibility will be shocked with my audience--

MCENANY: I think CNN has lied to the American people.

CUOMO: --if you don't back off that statement.

MCENANY: I think MSNBC has lied to the American people. I think the fake news has lied to the American people.

CUOMO: Has the President--

MCENANY: Don't take it from me. Chris--

CUOMO: --lied to the American people?

MCENANY: Chris, let me respond.

CUOMO: Can't answer it. Bad sign!

MCENANY: Jim Comey literally testified before Congress, under oath, that a New York Times story about Russian connections was false, and it main - not true, and the Russia reporting was false. And for two years, you've talked about Russia. And now, you've moved on to recession.

CUOMO: Did Russia interfere in the election?

MCENANY: All lies about this President.

CUOMO: Did Russia interfere in the election?

MCENANY: There was no collusion. Was there collusion, Chris?

CUOMO: Did Russia interfere in the election? It's a yes-no question.

MCENANY: Was there collusion?

CUOMO: You're very smart. You can answer it.

MCENANY: Was there collusion?

CUOMO: Did they interfere?

MCENANY: Well answer my question first.


MCENANY: Was there collusion?

CUOMO: The answer is yes. And here's why.


CUOMO: Collusion is a behavior.

MCENANY: Go read the Robert Mueller.

CUOMO: Not a crime. You learned that in law school. And here's what they did. This President went out there stoking their efforts. His son took a meeting he should have never taken. It was beyond the line of stupid. And he went to that meeting--

MCENANY: Conspiracy theories here!

CUOMO: --with two people who knew better.

MCENANY: Lies about the President.

CUOMO: It's no conspiracy theory. They went to the meeting. It's collusive behavior. Was it a crime? No.

MCENANY: There was no collusion.

CUOMO: And I never said it was. And I said it was good news that it wasn't.

MCENANY: There was no coordination.

CUOMO: But they interfered and you can't even mention it. He talks about--

MCENANY: You perpetuated a conspiracy theory for two years.

CUOMO: --Vladimir Putin as a guy who should be in the G7, and he fights with our allies about it. He stands next to him on the National, actually the world, stage, and says he takes his word for it against his own Intel agencies.

MCENANY: Chris, you continue to play up the Russia collusion conspiracy theory. You guys lied about the President in '16.

CUOMO: Well I - I never mentioned any kind of collusion--

MCENANY: He won on November 8th, 2016.

CUOMO: --conspiracy.

MCENANY: And he's going to win again.

CUOMO: I never said that he shouldn't have won.

MCENANY: And he's going to win again.

CUOMO: I never said that his - his election was not what it was. He won the election.

MCENANY: You moved on from Russia to recession.

CUOMO: I say it all the time.

MCENANY: And you never--

CUOMO: But I'm going to ask you this one more time. Kayleigh McEnany, do you believe this President has ever lied to the American people?

MCENANY: No. I don't believe the President has lied.


MCENANY: I believe the fake news media--

CUOMO: That blew my IFB right out of my head.

MCENANY: --do you believe the fake news media has lied? Do you believe the fake news media has lied?

CUOMO: Interview's over, Kayleigh. Please--

MCENANY: The fake news media lies everyday about this President.

CUOMO: --if you can't admit that this President has lied to the American people, you will not have credibility with the audience.

MCENANY: The fake news media lies.

CUOMO: You've got a long way to go--

MCENANY: And that's why you've lost credibility.

CUOMO: --Kayleigh. Look, listen, when a President is telling the American people every day not to believe in a free press that they're the enemy of the state--

MCENANY: He gives more access to you than any--

CUOMO: --and he lies about the allies at G7 saying what we really want to know--

MCENANY: --any President in history.

CUOMO: --is why your media hates the country, he is to blame.


CUOMO: For sowing the seeds--

MCENANY: He just did a 40-minute press avail--

CUOMO: --of division. And he lies all the--

MCENANY: --in 90-degree weather.

CUOMO: So what?

MCENANY: The President gives access, and you lie about everything he says, and take him out of context.

CUOMO: I have never lied--

MCENANY: And the people are frustrated.

CUOMO: --about this President in my life.

MCENANY: The people are frustrated.

CUOMO: You may not like what I say. That doesn't make it a lie. He lies all the time and you know it.

MCENANY: Go watch your last hour, taking Stephanie Grisham--

CUOMO: And if you don't own it, they won't listen to you as well.

MCENANY: --out of context, and putting one story with another to try to make it--

CUOMO: You show me what I lied about, Kayleigh.

MCENANY: --seem as if the President lied--

CUOMO: You - you - you show me lying--

MCENANY: --and Stephanie lied, and it was not true.

[21:45:00] CUOMO: --about this President, and I will give you a prize. You admit the truth about him I'll give you two prizes. But you're still welcome on this show although you may have--

MCENANY: I don't need any prizes--

CUOMO: --you may have hurt me.

MCENANY: --from the fake news media.

CUOMO: You may have hurt me tonight in inviting you back, because if you can't admit that he lied, these people are never going to believe you about anything.

MCENANY: I think you should take a look in the mirror, Chris.

CUOMO: All right? I do. And I don't like these lines. But I do like that I don't lie to my audience every damn chance I get. Thank you for coming on this show.

MCENANY: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: I disagree but with decency.

All right, we're going to climb into the time machine. But listen, hold on, you can't say that this President doesn't lie to you guys, all right? You can argue why he lies. You can argue how you feel about his lies. But if you can't even admit that, the conversation is dead, I'm sorry, but it is.

Now, let's go back into the time machine, the days before everybody lied every two seconds. Remember what used to piss people off about a President? Let me give you a hint. It was about what he wore. That was our big kerfuffle five years ago.

Oh, how things have changed! Can you imagine a conversation like that five years ago? Next.








CUOMO: 56 years ago, Dr. King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech during the Freedom March in Washington. And it endures to this day, maybe now, just as valuable as ever, if not more.

[21:50:00] Different context for how far we've come or not come. Five years ago, the President of the United States shocked the world. The fashionistas on Fox, not quite state TV back then, they were all over it. Here's some of what NowThis found.


STEVE DOOCY, CO-HOST OF FOX & FRIENDS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: One of the ugliest suits in the history of America.

LOU DOBBS, LOU DOBBS TONIGHT HOST, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Whoever talked him in to going into a tan suit? They're so desperate because of these low poll numbers, they're willing to do anything.

BRIAN KILMEADE, CO-HOST OF FOX & FRIENDS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: That's the other thing is they say it didn't fit.


CUOMO: D. Lemon, you remember that? I mean obviously--


CUOMO: --other Presidents - other Presidents had worn tan suits, by the way. My buddy, my--

LEMON: Reagan - Ronald Reagan did.

CUOMO: --one of my producers are Ethan - Reagan, Clinton, Eisenhower. I mean, look, it's not a very common thing. I get it. Men tend to wear the gray or the blue because we're very limited in our understanding--

LEMON: And what became to--

CUOMO: --of what power can be conveyed at. But he wasn't the first. But boy, what a difference five years makes? Now we're in these existential battles about truth and falsity and people refusing to admit thousands and thousands of lies, and then it was a suit--

LEMON: I - and - and this is just in the last - I just did this while you were doing it, the last six days, right, the last six days, he made 48 false claims, in the last six days. And it was - think about it. I can't believe - I don't even bother anymore with that because you'll never get a - you'll never get a real direct answer from someone like that. And--

CUOMO: She said "No," all right?

LEMON: No. That destroys her--

CUOMO: Can't get more direct than that.

LEMON: She has no credibility, Chris.

CUOMO: That hurts your credibility.

LEMON: I mean she's a nice woman. We - she used to be on this show as well as other CNN shows all the time. But someone like that has no credibility and the audience - look, put whoever you want on your show. I'm not - this isn't chastising you. But the audience gets nothing from her because she does not tell the truth.

CUOMO: Well here's the thing.

LEMON: Think about it. Barack Obama--

CUOMO: They know a bit. But sometimes you know--

LEMON: --wiretapped Trump Tower.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: Hang on, hang on, he doesn't lie.

CUOMO: But you have to know what they're going to be bringing your way.

LEMON: Barack Obama--

CUOMO: You have to know.

LEMON: --wiretapped - tapped Trump Tower. That is not true. What did he just said - oh, what he talked about Puerto Rico and all the aid that he gave to Puerto Rico, he said that they built - this is just in the last couple of days, he said that they built a new wall.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: No new wall has been built.

CUOMO: But what you just heard out of Kayleigh McEnany is the--

LEMON: He lies all the time.

CUOMO: --campaign pitch of this election.

The Democrats are talking about 50 different ways to slice the pie on single-payer healthcare and, you know, which one of them may be the most bigoted in their past, that's what they're going to be up against. And if they're not ready to take it on, if they don't hear it, if they don't understand how many people--


CUOMO: --receive it, they're going to wind up in the same position they are now--


CUOMO: --for another four years.

LEMON: Do you remember when we saw the tape of all those people who were cheering in New Jersey after 9/11?

CUOMO: Mm-hmm.

LEMON: No, you didn't because that never happened.

CUOMO: Of course, it never happened.

LEMON: Do you remember when President Barack Obama was not born in the United States? I mean that was the - oh, that was the truth to it.

CUOMO: I had one of his guys the other night being like "Well I just don't know why he didn't show the birth certificate sooner." He showed it right away. It was the short form. Then he had to show the long form.

LEMON: And why would he--

CUOMO: It's all BS.

LEMON: Why would he have to? Because someone else said.

CUOMO: That's right.

LEMON: Listen, it's just frustrating to me so.

CUOMO: I got to go.

LEMON: I know I got to go. Listen, I'm going to talk about Biden's poll numbers, his support among African-Americans. We have some interesting things when it comes on that. And we're going to get new forecasting for Dorian in--

CUOMO: Smart.

LEMON: --in - in my broadcast.

CUOMO: Needed. Thank you, pal.

LEMON: See you.

CUOMO: I'll see you in a second.

LEMON: All right.

CUOMO: Now listen, the point is you don't have to argue about what the President says. You have to look at what he does.

May he rest in peace! Senator McCain was right in a very early appraisal of this President. I don't care about his noise. I don't like it. I don't need to like it. I look at what he does.

Let's look at that just from today, next.








CUOMO: All right, a sigh of relief in Puerto Rico tonight, but another lesson in leadership that should be a lens on the upcoming election. With Dorian bearing down on PR, this President decided to attack that part of our country.

"Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end? The Congress approved $92 billion for Puerto Rico last year, all time record of its kind for "anywhere."

I'm not arguing to be outraged by his ugly words. If you need me to tell you that his words are obnoxious, you're never going to believe that they're obnoxious.

I'm not even arguing for negative reactions to his constant truth abuse, like saying Puerto Rico got $92 billion in hurricane relief. He knows it's a big fat falsehood. So far, about $40 billion in federal disaster relief funding has been allocated to Puerto Rico. About $12 billion has actually been spent.

No, it isn't some simple slip. It isn't explainable. It's a constant contortion. And no, he isn't just fighting back. He's beating up fellow citizens with less power than he has and who are already beaten down.

He ignored thousands of dead. He ignored thousands of homes that are still covered in blue tarps after Maria. He blames their corruption.

But it is his actions that I argue he should worry about, because for this President in the upcoming election, the challenge will not be justifying his mouth. It'll be justifying his actions.

He took away some of the money set aside for disaster relief, about a $155 million that places like Puerto Rico and other islands in the area, that we're responsible for, desperately need. Look at parts of that place. That's the reality. That's America, OK? That's what Puerto Rico is. It's a territory of ours. And that's what it looks like, two years later.

Why did he take that money from natural disaster victims? To help pay to deport immigrants. But again, it's not the talk. The idea that there's a Brown Menace, the idea that the wall is a panacea, that talk is absurd.

But the action of shutting down the government to fund that wall, promising to pardon anyone who breaks the law in furtherance of just getting it done, this is not about how you spin what comes out of this President's mouth. It's about understanding the actions that he takes in what he says is leadership you should want.

The base is not enough. How many of you, either Independent, undecided, or just open-minded, how many of you will see the actions of just this one day as proof of what you want in a President?

Thank you for watching. CNN TONIGHT, D. Lemon, right now.