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Trump DOJ Demanded Data On 73 Phone Numbers & 36 Email Addresses From Apple As Part Of Leak Probe; Black GOP Lawmaker: Congressional Black Caucus Won't Let Me Join Group; Boy Sells Pokemon Cards To Help Sick Dog. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 11, 2021 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: A lot of news tonight, it continues, so let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Sir?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thank you, John.
I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.
There are too many question marks in this DOJ situation, and they are not needed. Let's be clear.
If there were clean explanation for what Trump and Co. were up to, at the DOJ, with these obviously politically motivated probes, Bill Barr would be telling us how we have it wrong, and we are the danger, not him, et cetera. And Trump would be talking a red streak.
Instead, Bill Barr, the former A.G., claims he can't recall anything about the probing that he was at the center of, and that was clearly about targeting Trump's political opponents.
Instead, Barr told "Politico," he doesn't recall getting briefed, that DOJ prosecutors did any of this, wasn't aware of any congressman's records being sought, in a leak case, and that Trump wasn't aware of who the DOJ was looking at, in leak cases.
Remember, Barr is also the man, who couldn't recall, during testimony, whether Trump had ever asked him to open an investigation into someone.
Now, I ask you, what's more alarming that they don't have a good explanation, that Barr would lie, this brazenly, or imagine if he really can't recall something he was at the center of? I mean, seriously?
This story matters if for no other reason, that now any of you who thought that these were the people, who were going to clean up the Deep State, they weren't.
73 phone numbers, 36 email addresses, including sitting members of the House Intel Committee, and their families? Trump's Department of Justice demanded metadata on all of them, from Apple, as part of its unprecedented leak probe. They found nothing yet kept adding and invading.
We are just beginning to learn the scale and scope of what could be one of the greatest abuses of power by a president in American history. But again, this really isn't a question of fact. They are clear.
This is about putting this fraud into perspective. The deepest of Deep State deception, that they promised to counter, the swampiest of swamps, when they are the ones who pledged to drain the same.
If you cannot own that what has happened here was wrong, then you do not care about making things better. Period! That's what matters about this.
Trump wanted to change the game for the better. You remember all that BS? It needs to die tonight. Secret seizure of data of members of a co-equal branch of government, Congress, no good reason, no proof, I know they were grand jury subpoenas. And we will look at that.
Remember, you work a grand jury, at your own behest, as the prosecutor. They're not there to defend themselves. There are no rules of evidence. You get to tell them what you want to tell them. And that's why everybody says you can indict a ham sandwich, which was obviously a much higher bar, than getting a warrant.
So yes, there was process, but it doesn't mean that process can't be manipulated. And it can be corrupt. And we all know it.
Schiff and Swalwell, what a coincidence, the two that Trump hated most.
Apple says it limited the information it provided to metadata. You know what that is, right? That's about the numbers that were going around, but no names. And there were also accounts subscriber information, in terms of who they said they were looking for.
But the other side of the equation gets a little bit fuzzier. They didn't give content, they say, like who was being spoken to, or emails, or pictures.
The company says the 2018 subpoena from the DOJ contained no information about who the investigation was targeting, or why, but it requested information on the targeted accounts, beginning from the inceptions of the accounts, through the day of the subpoena.
That's typical. They are usually tailored in terms of window. However, the gag orders routinely extend far after that, why? To give prosecutors the benefit of time to work on their cases.
Now, Microsoft tonight says it too received a subpoena, in 2017, related to a congressional staffer's personal email account. And as with Apple, Microsoft was also subject to a gag.
The good news is the plot has been exposed. And the staffers, who helped lead the probe, at the DOJ, and questioned the same, are still there, and therefore should cooperate, in telling us why they did all this.
Senate Democrat leaders tonight are threatening to subpoena Trump's two Attorney Generals to - it should be Attorneys General, actually, to testify about the unprecedented action.
A source tells CNN Jeff Sessions wasn't involved in the subpoenas related to the House Committee, because he had recused himself, at the time, from anything connected to the Russia probe. That's a reasonable assumption. It's reasonable. They should look at it. But it's reasonable.
Bill Barr, no such defense. He wasn't recused. He stands accused. He reportedly revived the leak investigations, according to who? The people who did the work, a number of people, who spoke to "The New York Times," CNN echoing some of the reporting that they were told to do it.
And he was in the loop, after he became Attorney General, even after he was told that these initial probes that turned up nothing. Barr also took the extraordinary step of seeking to renew a gag order, on Apple, to prevent the company from notifying the subjects of the subpoenas that he now says he can't recall anything about.
You don't buy that! So, condemning! Left and right can finally, give ground to being reasonable. You know this was wrong. Period! That's why Trump is quiet since the news broke. Since when does that happen? Only when he knows he is busted.
But remember, the biggest reveal here is that Trump lied to you, every time he told you this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You still have Deep State. But one by one, we're getting them out. You have Deep State bad people.
The swamp creatures are much deeper and much worse than we ever thought. And there is such a thing as the Deep State. Who would think?
Drain the swamp.
TRUMP: We're going to drain the swamp of Washington.
It is time to drain the damn swamp.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: He was lying. He added the most swamp dragons, the most alligators. He had the swampiest administration. We've never seen people get kicked out of service, at the rate, or for the rationales that happened with his administration.
And what we are now seeing is absolutely, by definition, Deep State deception, the likes of which Red and Blue will tell you they have never seen before. Yes, Chuck Grassley says investigations of Members of Congress are nothing new.
Yes, but why? You don't investigate them in search of proof, to show they did something wrong. You have proof they did something wrong, and then you continue to investigate.
"Well, these were subpoenas from a grand jury. There you have it." No, that's just ab initio. That's the beginning. But then you had the same people, who were asked to do this, say that they weren't getting any proof, and were told to continue. That's the part that matters.
His own Department of Justice targeted his political opponents, including this House Intel Committee member.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): I hope Trump supporters, who fear Big Brother, see that Donald Trump was the biggest brother we've ever seen, in our country, who did weaponize this, to go all the way down the stack into, you know, the private communications of people, he perceived as political opponents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: "Trump's like Nixon! Trump's like Nixon!" Don't do that to Nixon. Trump is worse. He didn't use the DOJ like this. This makes Watergate look like jaywalking.
What else don't we know about what they were up to? He was in office for four years. So, the question is, how do we find out and what should happen? That's the question.
But here's what we know that should have a period at the end of it. Trump was never going to drain the Deep State. He was never going to drain the swamp. Play with your metaphors. It doesn't matter. He didn't mean them. He was the worst. And it is demonstrable because we've never seen anything like this, all right?
Now, let's get a fair reckoning on it, from a better mind than mine, former Attorney General, under President George W. Bush, Michael Mukasey. You'll remember. He knows Bill Barr. He put in a good word for him, back in the confirmation phase. And he joins us tonight.
First Mike, personal before political, I've missed you. It's good to see you're looking well. And I hope the family is well.
MICHAEL MUKASEY, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: They're well, thanks very much. And I've missed you too.
CUOMO: All right. You don't mean it the way I do. But that's OK.
Now, let me ask you this former A.G. When Bill Barr says "I have no recollection of any of these things" that his own high place staff says that he was at the center of, what are we to make of that kind of "I can't recall?"
MUKASEY: What should to make of the statement is that the subpoena was issued before he got there. You're saying that he was at the center of these things.
What he was at the center of, as far as I know, was insisting that leak investigations generally, not necessarily these, well leak investigations generally that had been languishing, as to which there was a great deal of pressure from people, in the Defense Department, people in the Intelligence community, who are severely hurt by national security leaks that those be prosecuted and pursued.
And so, he got somebody to take a look to see which were viable and which were not. As far as I know, there's absolutely no indication that he was riding herd on these particular matters, or these particular congressmen.
CUOMO: Well, you do know there is an indication because there's "New York Times" reporting that says exactly the opposite. The guy he brought in was from New Jersey and had no experience with these kinds of things.
The premise that it was based on national security concerns, they declassified a lot of this information, as they went along. So, they took away their own premise.
But we have interviews in the reporting of people who've said--
MUKASEY: No, I've - Chris?
CUOMO: --they told the A.G., Mike, that there's nothing here, and he said, "Reopen. Keep going."
MUKASEY: He said to pursue cases, generally.
The notion of bringing in somebody from New Jersey, with no experience, I did something very similar, when we had a problem with the destruction of the CIA tapes. I brought in somebody from within the Department, but outside Washington, outside the hothouse of Washington, to see whether there was anything in there.
He did that with leak cases, generally, not necessarily with these.
CUOMO: Well, now, do you know that, or is that your take from the reporting?
MUKASEY: That's my take from the reporting. And it's my take from what I know of, of what was pending, at the time, which were a lot of other cases other than these.
CUOMO: Right. But in the reporting, it doesn't say what you're saying right now. It says that these were specific. They wanted Schiff. They wanted Swalwell. They wanted former Obama people. They found nothing yet kept looking.
I mean, just at the scale on the scope of this, Mike, have you ever seen anything like it before?
MUKASEY: If - I have not seen any investigation similar to this. On the other hand, there are many investigations that happened that happened for the first time and the last time. This wouldn't be the first time. The - if there were in fact, leaks that appeared to originate in Congress, there's every reason for those to be pursued.
Understand that leaking information isn't a game. Information is kept secret for a reason. And people, who disclose it, essentially are deciding that regardless of whether the information should be kept secret or not, they have their own agenda.
They know better than the people who are charged with deciding whether information should be disclosed. And they're going to go ahead with their own agenda. That's unlawful, whether it's done by Edward Snowden, or it's done by Eric Swalwell.
CUOMO: Yes, but the problem is it wasn't done. They found no proof. Yet they kept looking, and expanding, they kept adding and invading.
And they were told by staffers, some of whom are at high levels, and still there, so we're going to hear from them, Mike, who told Barr and others--
MUKASEY: I'm sure we will.
CUOMO: --"There is nothing here. We are uncomfortable continuing this." And they were told to continue, and that Barr eventually had to go tell--
MUKASEY: That's not what the--
CUOMO: Yes, sir. That's what the reporting says. But go ahead.
MUKASEY: That's not what the reporting says. No.
CUOMO: It is what the reporting says.
MUKASEY: I don't read it the same way. But go ahead.
CUOMO: How do you read it, Mike?
MUKASEY: I read it as they haven't been told to basically make sure that that leak cases get pursued, which I did, unsuccessfully, and would have done in Bill Barr's place, had I been there.
CUOMO: Yes, you would have done them. But you wouldn't have done them like this, I would think, seeing how you're someone I respect, and lean on, as a mentor that you would have said "Show us where the proof is of where the leaks may have come from. And let's go from there."
Here, they never had any proof on any of these guys.
MUKASEY: This was not the only--
CUOMO: Go ahead.
MUKASEY: I don't know what proof they had. I don't know - I don't know what reason they had to believe that information was coming from them or from people on their staffs. Nor do you. Nor do the reporters, who wrote the story in "The New York Times."
CUOMO: That is true. These were grand jury subpoenas. I actually said that up at the top. They had to have something to get the subpoena.
CUOMO: But we both know that this is a very easily manipulated bar for any good prosecutor, and this isn't even like an indictment. This is a different standard.
CUOMO: And I'm not saying they didn't have anything. But I'm saying this--
MUKASEY: --manipulation. Prosecutors--
CUOMO: Well? Mike. Why am I asking--
MUKASEY: Prosecutors can--
CUOMO: Mike, here - let me just make it clear why I'm chasing on this. I'm not badmouthing prosecutors, OK? They'll be able to speak for themselves. What I'm saying is this.
MUKASEY: No, you're badmouthing Bill Barr.
CUOMO: I am.
MUKASEY: I understand you're not badmouthing the prosecutors.
CUOMO: I am. And here's why. I can't believe he doesn't recall anything like this. It is beyond reasonableness that he would remember nothing about only things that are politically damaging.
"I can't remember Trump ever asking me about going after anyone personally." We both know how that man dialogs. We both know what he was trying to do here.
Here's why I care. Co-equal branch of government.
MUKASEY: Yes. And we also both - we also both know that he pushed back repeatedly on Trump that he said there was no reason to doubt the election that he refused to indict Jim Comey, that he refused to pursue a case against McCabe that he refused to do any number of things.
CUOMO: He is the only man to give Jim Comey second place to abusing the platform.
When he took to microphone, and completely dissembled the reality of the Mueller report, Mike, and he did it out of political convenience, he took a step that no Attorney General ever had taken, or should take. So, I do not see him as Captain Candor.
MUKASEY: That is absurd.
CUOMO: You know what he did with that memo. You know that he shorthanded it.
CUOMO: And tried to make it seem like--
CUOMO: --it wasn't what it was.
MUKASEY: Absolutely not. He stated the conclusions in the memo, including the - including the part about not being able to exonerate the President, which is a standard that's unknown to the law, as you know. But nonetheless, he stated it. He also checked with Mueller to see whether there was a problem with what he had done.
CUOMO: And what do you - but what - Mueller complained about what was happening. And what was he supposed to do? He wasn't in control. He was working for Barr.
MUKASEY: Right. No, he was working for you and me.
CUOMO: Come on, you know who was on top of him. And that's why he came out and did it that way.
Look, all I'm saying is, Mike, this is about a co-equal branch of government. This is about going after the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, because Trump didn't like him, and going after the guy's family, going after minors, and never finding anything closing the case, and then being told to restart it.
This doesn't look bad to you, Mike?
MUKASEY: Chris? Chris, prosecutors have subpoenaed the records of the families of people they're looking at, to find out whether their family - whether the family's accounts are being used.
CUOMO: True. I agree.
MUKASEY: You'll remember that - you'll remember that a congressman from New York, who've had a little sex scandal, was using his wife's computer.
CUOMO: Absolutely. Hey, listen, absolutely. I remember the Weiner thing very well. What I'm talking about is, is the House Intel guy.
CUOMO: They found nothing. And they kept expanding, and invading.
And look, at a minimum, you got to see what the Inspector General says. But we got to have these people who are in charge of it. We got lucky here, that they're still at the DOJ, which means they can't opt out of cooperation that well, as long as there's nothing criminal that's brought up, which I don't see happening at this point.
But would you agree with me at least, that this is something that has to be unearthed and revealed, because it may be one of the biggest abuses of power we've seen?
MUKASEY: Yes, I'm sure - I'm sure we're going to take a good long look. And I also believe that we will find that an investigation was pursued to a dry hole as many investigations are. But the notion that somehow they were trying to intimidate a Member of Congress is ridiculous.
CUOMO: No. I didn't - I never said that.
MUKASEY: You don't intimidate somebody by keeping an investigation secret.
CUOMO: I never said it. I never said it.
MUKASEY: Others have.
CUOMO: I know. Not me! Deal with one dope at a time, Mike. Deal with the dope in front of you. I've never said anything like that. But I will end on this.
CUOMO: The predicate for this is that, "Hey, this was national security." And as you said, that's very important. But here's the problem. The risk of contacts with the Russians, where's the risk of contacts with Russians that never happened?
And where is the risk of a national security threat with dialogs that you had being declassified, during the period of assessment, and probing, and investigating? You're declassifying the same information--
MUKASEY: That was declassified--
CUOMO: --that you say is the risk?
MUKASEY: It was - it was declassified - it was declassified after the fact. What it confirmed was something the Russians probably already knew, which was that the government had a wire on Kislyak. Having them knowing it, and having it confirmed are two very different things.
CUOMO: They are. But I don't - I would argue the timing. MUKASEY: But that was - that was what was confirmed. And it was confirmed.
CUOMO: I would argue the timing.
MUKASEY: It was confirmed after--
CUOMO: This happened in 2020, when they were still looking at it, and Barr was going to reopen it. That's when the Intel guy declassified it, and caused a little bit of a problem, for the continuation of this.
I'm just saying it doesn't look bad. It doesn't smell bad. It is bad. This is one of those situations where if there were a good explanation, Bill Barr would have it.
MUKASEY: So, you've - you've already reached the - you've already reached the conclusion of the - yes. You've already reached the conclusion of the investigation that you say has to go on?
CUOMO: No, not at all. I'm saying that the idea--
MUKASEY: You've already reached the verdict.
CUOMO: No, sir.
MUKASEY: "It is bad." That's what you just said.
CUOMO: Listen? Here--
MUKASEY: That's what you just said.
CUOMO: Here's my take on it. Here's my - let me give you the context of what I'm saying. This is not a trial.
MUKASEY: I got your take on it, in your opening.
CUOMO: This is not - and it's - and it's a smart one.
MUKASEY: I'll say.
CUOMO: And you would give the same one, if he wasn't your buddy, Mike that I mean, I understand why you believe in Bill Barr.
MUKASEY: He's not my - he's not my - understand something. He's not - he's not my buddy. I've never been in his house. He's never been in my house. I admire his public career. I admired it before. I still do.
CUOMO: All right, I'll give you that clarification. You've never been in each other's houses.
MUKASEY: He did things-- CUOMO: But you are flattering of him.
MUKASEY: He did things--
CUOMO: He did things, what? Last word to you, sir.
MUKASEY: I was - I was accurate. Pardon?
CUOMO: Last word to you, sir.
MUKASEY: I was - I was accurate in my description of him. When Trump wanted things done, if he thought the law required it, he did it, even though people attacked him, for doing Trump's bidding. When Trump wanted things done that he thought should not be done, he didn't do them.
CUOMO: Well, this will be the ultimate testament to that proposition. What he did here, and didn't do, and why.
And former A.G., Mike Mukasey, I don't think I'd ever be talking to you about doing anything like this. And it's one of the reasons I need you on this show. I respect where you're coming from, and why. I wish you well, and I look forward to seeing you again.
MUKASEY: Happy to - I wish you well too, thank you.
CUOMO: Take care. He doesn't like me, but he knows I love him!
Look, you have to argue through any political reckoning on this. It looks bad. Where's the presumption of innocence? This isn't a trial. This isn't a trial, OK? In light of these facts, the burden is on Bill Barr, and the people who did this, to tell us how "The New York Times," and CNN, and common sense, has this wrong.
So, let's pick this up with two more valuable minds. One of them knows exactly what it's like, to be publicly targeted by Trump, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who once worked on the Russia investigation, and a former Acting A.G. How does he think the DOJ's Inspector General should be going on about this?
And what does she - what do these two guys think about what they just heard from former A.G. Mukasey? Next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Here to respond to the Trump DOJ alleged abuse of power, and what we heard from former A.G. Mike Mukasey, is former Acting U.S. Attorney General, Stuart Gerson, as well as Peter Strzok, former FBI Chief of Counterespionage, and Author of "Compromised: Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump."
Gentlemen, thank you. First, let's get just our bearings here.
STUART GERSON, FORMER ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Good evening.
CUOMO: I'll start with you, Mr. Gerson. Have you ever seen anything like what is being reported?
GERSON: No, I haven't, except, as was said in the - in the earlier segment, there's a lot here that at least in hindsight, you can say echoes the "Enemies List" of the - of the 1970s.
CUOMO: And Peter, the idea that "Well look, they went to a grand jury to get the subpoena. So obviously, they had plenty of proof for this. So it's all on the level."
PETER STRZOK, FORMER FBI CHIEF OF COUNTERESPIONAGE SECTION, AUTHOR, "COMPROMISED: COUNTERINTELLIGENCE AND THE THREAT OF DONALD J. TRUMP": Yes, no, I don't agree with that, Chris.
I mean, clearly, I agree with Attorney General Mukasey, to the extent that there are leaks of information that the government needs to investigate, and if appropriate, prosecute.
But the scope of this activity, the breadth of all the various individuals that were subpoenaed, I've never seen anything like, in my 20 years, in the FBI.
CUOMO: And also a key aspect, the corollary to Pete's point, Stuart, is that they found nothing, and yet kept going to the point, where they had people who were, junior to where Peter was, but where they were coming to people, and saying, "We're not finding anything here. We don't know why we're doing this."
GERSON: Well, that's the - yes, Chris, that's the, to me, the key point in this. You can start an investigation with little if, if any proof. The issuance of a grand jury subpoena is a formality.
You quoted Edward Bennett Williams' famous remark about indicting a ham sandwich. This is much less than that. I mean, the subpoenas are really at the behest of the - of the United States Attorney, or whomever is in the grand jury. But what the key fact is, here, as far as I'm concerned, is that this proved early on to be a dry hole.
The investigations, however many there were, the ones related to Swalwell and Schiff and, others on the Committee, were in that package. They were held to be languishing. And the Attorney General then said, "Let's amp this up, and move these on." And it was an outsider, who was charged with doing it. He came by
virtue of an endorsement from the United States attorney, in New Jersey, who was the guy, who the Attorney General wanted to shift over to the Southern District of New York, to oust an incumbent, who is being - who was - who was feared to be investigating things that related to the President. So yes, it's indicative of the fact that Mr. Barr worked with a staff close to himself.
We'll find out more from the Inspector General about what career people might have done. But I think you'll find that there were senior career people who might have advised helpfully, in cases like this, who were never contacted at all.
CUOMO: Well, that's an interesting point, so, the people being kept out of the circle, in addition to people who were in the circle, on the workman level, saying that they had misgivings.
Peter, another point that Mike Mukasey made, and again, I got a lot of respect for the former A.G., and he says, "Well, Bill Barr only wanted to go after leak investigations, in general, so he may not recall these specific ones."
I just believe that, knowing Barr, if he had a good explanation for what was going on, he would offer it. And the only time he's gone to this "I don't recall" device was in political sticky situations, where he wanted to separate himself, like whether or not Trump ever asked him to investigate. And he used it one other time, I think.
Wouldn't he do better than he's doing "I don't recall?"
STRZOK: Chris, "I don't recall" is the refuge of a man who doesn't want to tell the truth.
Look, let's think about this. One federal judge has already found in writing that Bill Barr lack candor. A second federal judge described his interactions in the Department of Justice with regard to the Mueller report memos as being disingenuous. That's our baseline.
And then, let's think about Bill Barr, who personally, as the Attorney General, got on a plane, with John Durham, and flew all over the world, pursuing these tinfoil hat crazy conspiracy theories about the Deep State.
Given that level of interest, given that background about his level of credibility, there is no doubt in my mind that Attorney General Barr was absolutely well aware of what was going on. It doesn't matter that these were authorized in advance of his tenure as the Attorney General.
The fact of the matter is, he arrived on scene, and like so much else, the investigation of Mike Flynn was not languishing. He selected somebody, who was put in there, turned that upside down, in one of the most the greatest miscarriages of justice that I've ever seen.
The sentencing of Roger Stone was not languishing. He put in a handpicked person to turn that upside down, and reduced that sentence.
That is Attorney General Barr's M.O. He picks people, who can come in, place undue political pressure, to achieve the results that he and then-President Trump wanted to achieve.
CUOMO: Gentlemen, thank you for your perspective on this. Appreciate it. We'll have more to discuss, as we get into the interior parts of how this was done, and why it was. And it will be coming, because they're still at the DOJ, the people who did it.
All right, I wonder what members of Trump's party make of this? Well, here's our first indication. You hear that? Nothing!
Only Chuck Grassley came out and said, "Investigating Members of Congress, not unusual." True, but it's usually because there's proof that you are using to initiate curiosity, not the opposite.
But we have a lot to discuss with the next U.S. Member of Congress. He is on the Right side of the aisle, and consistently so, including support of President Trump. In fact, he met with him yesterday.
He has a beef of his own and, by the way, I got a small beef with him, which we'll take care of first. Let's get after it, next.
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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.
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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.
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CUOMO: Our next guest is a Republican congressman, who supports the former president, even met with him yesterday. Is that why the Congressional Black Caucus won't let him in?
Please meet Congressman Byron Donalds.
Good to have you on PRIME TIME, sir.
REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): Good to be with you this evening.
CUOMO: First things first. You know I don't duck people, right? Just by reputation. You know that. I had breaking news. We went to your team. I said I'd have you on ASAP. And here you are. All right? So, we good?
DONALDS: Oh, no, we're good. Listen, that was just a little bit of Twitter love, just little jab. But we're good. It's good to be with your show this evening.
CUOMO: I'm telling you, the less you are on that toxic place, and the less you get caught up - you ever look at the people who are on your thread, in Twitter? You want to know why the CBC has a problem with you?
You got the Hate Parade, following you on Twitter. There are people who are into some ugly ideas that I really hope you don't support, even if they are somehow an appendage of your party.
But I want you here to have a fair hearing on what you say your problem is, all right?
DONALDS: Sure, fair enough.
CUOMO: First, let's see if you can help your case with the CBC folks. They have not been specific about why they don't want you on, except to say, "We want to work with people who share our policy aims and means." We'll get to what that means, as a suggestion about you, in a second.
But when you look at what is happening here, with the DOJ, can you admit that it smells bad, what is coming out of this reporting?
DONALDS: Well look, I got a chance to read "The New York Times" article, from yesterday, and even the one today.
I think it's important for everybody to understand that the Department of Justice, at the time, did take this to a grand jury. After that, you have to let the Inspector General finish the investigation.
One of the things we got to be very careful of is jumping to conclusions based upon one report that came out of "The New York Times," because how many people were actually quoted, what are the detailed level of sources? Let the investigation run its course. If the subpoenas were unjustified, that will come out in due time.
One of the things being a Member of Congress, do you want to hear about your phone records being taken? No, you don't. But you have to let these investigations take their course.
We got to be very careful, Chris, not to jump to conclusions, because that's how these narratives get built that actually end up being false, in the long run.
CUOMO: But guys only say what you're saying right now when they're on the short side of the stick. This isn't what your brothers and sisters in the party were saying when it was about Carter Page, right? Then it was "These people are going after him with the FISA warrant, it was all so wrong."
But we know that a grand jury subpoena is nowhere near the level of scrutiny, you need to get a FISA warrant. And just because - the bar here isn't whether or not the grand jury subpoenas were warranted. That's a very low bar of probative recognition. It's that they kept expanding, and kept looking, even after senior
staffers said there's nothing here. That's the suspicious part. And they just happen to be the people that President Trump hated most.
DONALDS: Well, two things on that point. Number one, I speak for myself. What people say in the party, that's up to them.
And number two, as somebody who is actually pretty conservative, and we'll talk about that, in the next part of this interview, I'm always been concerned about FISA warrants, and not just when it comes to situations like that, but across the board, since the PATRIOT Act was passed. So, that's been my position when it comes to FISA.
But again, all I'm saying is this. This is new information. We haven't even had an opportunity for it to be fully investigated. There's been no other sources that have come forward, to my knowledge. I'm not the Reporter. I don't know what they have.
But one thing we also got to keep in mind, if you go back to 2017, 2018, there was a lot of information out in news media that you couldn't just pick up on Reddit pages, dealing with the Russia probe.
DONALDS: The other thing that we do know is that for all the talk about Russia collusion, it really came up to nothing.
CUOMO: It came up to nothing criminally.
DONALDS: And so, if you have a situation, where Department of Justice, well hope - it came up to nothing, because if you had something you would have pressed charges, right? You didn't.
DONALDS: So, it came up to nothing.
CUOMO: No, no, no, no, I don't believe that--
DONALDS: But let's be very clear on this. Let's - hold on.
CUOMO: I don't--
DONALDS: Let me - one second, one second.
CUOMO: I don't believe in the standard of felony or its fine. Collusion is behavior, not a crime. I know you know this. You're very sophisticated Member of Congress. And that's another reason I want you here.
But we don't have to go backwards. Let's go forwards. I have no problem with having more of a probe. Here, I'll give you your chance to make your case. The CBC's argument against you has to be that they are about fighting
for things they think are good for Black Americans. And highest on their list right now is securing voting rights.
And you are against the "For the People Act," and the "George Floyd Justice in Policing Act," and that has to be a predicate for they're saying, "Look, he's not about what we're about." It's not just about color. It's about the content of what policies you want.
And they have offered admission to other Republicans, who are people of color before. So, it's not like some blanket bar of anyone who's not a Democrat.
What do you say about the fact that you reject those two policies? Last word to you.
DONALDS: First of all, when it comes to the "For the People Act," it would destroy election laws in all states across the country.
In Florida, we have the best election law in the United States. Our elections were done by 9:30 on election night. So, why would I, as a Member of Congress, from the State of Florida, allow Washington D.C., to completely eviscerate the best voting laws, in the country?
Number two, when it comes to the "George Floyd Act," when it comes to police reform, there's a lot of police reforms that I actually do support.
But the one thing I don't support is getting rid of qualified immunity. If you get rid of qualified immunity, it will mean less officers, on the streets, especially in the urban communities, like the one I grew up, in Brooklyn, New York.
Less officers do not keep our communities safe. It actually makes it harder for poor people, in our urban corridors, whether you're White, Black, or Hispanic, to actually have a safe community, where your kids can go to school, they could play on the streets, and they can thrive.
My ideas, when it comes to actually helping the Black community, might be different from members of the CBC. But that doesn't mean I don't want the Black community to thrive. Of course, I want it to thrive.
I want all communities in America to thrive. And I think that there should be an opportunity to have that full-throated conversation, before the CBC makes a final decision.
CUOMO: I'm going to go to the CBC. I'm going to get an answer. Either they'll come on and present it, or I'll have it, and then I'll bring you back, and we'll bring this full circle. Agreed?
CUOMO: Stop chomping on me on Twitter now, Donalds. I'm kidding you! Best to you and the family. Thank you for coming on to make the case.
DONALDS: I'm going to leave you alone. CUOMO: We'll have you back.
DONALDS: All right, anytime.
CUOMO: Be well.
And we'll be right back.
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CUOMO: COVID is increasingly causing illness we're not addressing.
Did you know that ER visits for suicide attempts rose 51 percent among teenage girls during the pandemic? Even cases for boys, which are generally lower, those cases were up, not nearly as much.
It's not hard to see why. We've long known the role of social connections and what they play in preventing suicide. Isolation and fear compounds over time, people become susceptible to falling ill.
We see dramatic increases in anxiety and depression. That's why we must be aware, dare to ask people how they're doing, and help those, who need help, get the care they need.
We saved the best for last, tonight. You ready? I have an 8-year-old that you cannot wait to meet. This little guy gave up his most prized possession, to help his puppy. When I saw this story, had to have him!
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CUOMO: It can't all be bad because we're not all bad. If you were 8- years-old, and your best friend, puppy named Bruce was sick, and you're worried that your parents couldn't afford to pay the bill, what would you do? Most kids would cry.
Bryson Kliemann, from Virginia, he did something else. He decided to sacrifice. He grabbed the Pokemon cards. And he loves Pokemon cards. He'd been collecting them since he was 4. And he launched a yard sale that generated a lot of buzz.
I spoke to Bryson, his mom, Kimberly Woodruff, and I wanted to check in on him, and his doggy.
CUOMO: Tell me about Bruce.
BRYSON KLIEMANN, SOLD POKEMON CARDS TO PAY FOR SICK DOG'S VET BILL: He is doing OK now. His seven to 10 days are over.
CUOMO: What was wrong with him?
KLIEMANN: He had Parvo.
CUOMO: Oh! OK. That's a little scary.
So is he your best buddy?
CUOMO: Have you been helping out with the training?
CUOMO: When he makes a mistake, or an accident, who cleans it?
CUOMO: You are the best 8-year-old I have ever met in my entire life, do you know that?
CUOMO: I have a bunch of dogs, and a bunch of kids. And let me tell you, nobody likes the dog when they make an accident. All of a sudden, it's always "Daddy's dog!" And I have to do all that. So it's very cool that you care.
So, you got a little bit of a scare. You learned that Bruce had Parvo, and you heard that that was going to be expensive. And what do you remember feeling when you heard about that?
KLIEMANN: I felt really sad, really, really sad.
CUOMO: And then you made a really interesting choice. You heard that this was going to be expensive. And what did you want to do?
KLIEMANN: I wanted to make a stand to sell my Pokemon cards for my dog.
CUOMO: Where did you get that idea?
KLIEMANN: At school. I was drawing on the back of my paper. And then I started to write about my dog.
CUOMO: And where'd you get the idea to sell the Pokemon cards?
KLIEMANN: Oh, I had a bunch, so I wanted to sell them.
CUOMO: How much do you like the Pokemon cards?
KLIEMANN: A bunch, a bunch.
CUOMO: Were you able to sell them fast?
CUOMO: Or did it take some time?
KLIEMANN: I got to sell them, and people gave - people gave me money. But they didn't get - some of the people did not get Pokemon cards.
CUOMO: Now what did that mean to you that some people just wanted to help out and not even take the Pokemon cards?
KLIEMANN: It felt great. And I was happy because I didn't have to sell a bunch of my Pokemon cards.
CUOMO: Kimberly, when you knew that your son knew about the puppy, and needing to get him doctored up, and you heard what he wanted to do, what did you make of that?
KIMBERLY WOODRUFF, SON SOLD POKEMON CARDS TO PAY FOR DOG'S VET BILL: He first told me, when he got off the bus that day. I told him no, at first. I told him that we would handle it. And then I went to school, and got a picture of him, and I cried. I was so touched. I couldn't believe it.
CUOMO: Not only did they not take some of the cards, but give money to help with the puppy, but you also got some rare cards from a Pokemon employee. Is that true? Bryson, do you want to answer that one? KLIEMANN: Yes, it is true.
Thank you, and his dad, and everybody else, who put good things inside this little man, that he's already making decisions at 8 that some of us spend our whole life, trying to figure out, which is to give something that matters, because there's something that matters more.
You got it right, Kimberly.
WOODRUFF: Thank you.
CUOMO: Thank you. And good luck to the pooch. Tell him I said hello. Will you do that Bryson?
CUOMO: Man, you can't tell him. He's a dog. He's not going to know what you're telling him. Good luck, little man. I look forward to seeing what you do in your life. Take care, Kimberly.
CUOMO: 8-years-old! We're not all of the just all the ugly and all the disagreement and all that. We're good too, just like Bryson.
We'll be right back.
CUOMO: All right, that's it for us. "DON LEMON TONIGHT," with the best part of the show, the upgrade--