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Anthony Scaramucci On Bannon's Breitbart Departure; Trump Contradicts Himself In Immigration Meeting; Trump Appears To Fumble On National Anthem; Trump: Oprah "Will Be A Lot Of Fun." But I'll Win; After Trump Pardon, Ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio Runs For Senate. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 9, 2018 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:01] CHRIS CUOMO, "PRIMTETIME" HOST: -- perfect guest to talk about the big Steve Bannon news, Anthony Scaramucci is here. Welcome to "Prime Time".

All right, thank you for joining us for the CNN Special Program. We're going to take the next few weeks here the start of the year to see where things stand on the important issues. And, boy, did we pick the right day to start. Anthony Scaramucci as I said is here. We're going to be one on one in just a few minutes on a day where it seems everything has changed.

Steve Bannon out at Breitbart, and with word of that, it was like a spell was broken. President Trump called for comprehensive immigration reform and a "bill of love" for Dreamers. He held a meeting that was televised with both sides of the aisle, no hate speak, no for populism, in other words, no Bannon.

So this news is going to send both sides into a tizzy, but forget about the spin. What matters is how we got here and how things may change. Facts first.

Let's remember why Trump cozied up to Bannon in the first place. Mid August, 2016, Trump picks Bannon to be his campaign chairman, why? Why did he pick him to be chairman? Because Bannon hated the GOP establishment that was going after Trump, encourage Trump to be his most bombastic, which Trump liked, and he had a feel for a group of Americans that Trump wanted to connect with now known as the base.

So Trump wins. That skinny margin reinforces how important the base was and Trump elevates Bannon to chief strategist with broad powers. But he also empowered a truly toxic mentality.

You remember when Bannon said darkness is good. Dick Cheney, Darth Vader, Satan, that's power.

In February, "TIME" magazine dub Bannon the great manipulator. The story asking is Steve Bannon the second most powerful man in the world? That my friends was the beginning of the end. Trump is not one to share the spotlight.

By April, President Trump referred to Bannon as simply, "a guy who works for me."

In July, our big guest tonight, Anthony Scaramucci was hired as White House communications director. Bannon tried to block him. He failed. If there was any question about Anthony's thoughts on Bannon, here's a taste.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR (via telephone): I'm not Steve Bannon. I'm not trying to suck my own -- I'm not trying to build my own brand off -- strength of the President. I'm here to serve the country.


CUOMO: It's funny how he does those beeps with his voice.

By August, Bannon had become a cancer and was out at the White House.

Last month, he backed Roy Moore's Alabama Senate run. He lost there too.

And last week, the final straw, excerpts from a bombshell book were released, Bannon slamming the president's son, throwing around the word treasonous, saying they're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV. President Trump renamed him sloppy Steve. Mega donor, Rebekah Mercer, cut off Bannon's funding.

Today with the money gone, supporting he's out at Breitbart.

After last week, President Trump had a singular message for all his supporters. It's Bannon or me? Make a choice. Bannon messed with the bull, as they say, and he got the horns. Joining us to discuss why this happened, why it took this long, what it means, Anthony Scaramucci, Former White House Communications Director. Thank you for joining us.

SCARAMUCCI: OK, Chris, can we start with some facts first?

CUOMO: I just did. Go ahead.

SCARAMUCCI: But let's go over the prompters. I think it's important. I don't think he hired him because of what you said related to the base and expounding himself. I think he hired him because he was looking for a slight shift in direction in the strategy. He'd met with the Mercer family at Woody Johnson's house. I think he hired him because he was also getting Kellyanne Conway who was very fond of and thought she did a wonderful job on TV and the first woman campaign manager, I might add, to win a Republican Party presidency, probably the first women campaign manager to do that, period.

So those are a little bit different than what you said. The second piece that I would slightly disagree with is that the president had his own voice with what you're describing as the base. The president was already in touch with that base. That base already helped him win against 17 other candidates in the Republican primary. And so, I think one of the issues there is some of the self-importance that was involved. And, you know, look, I didn't describe it appropriately but I witnessed it, and some of that self --

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: -- as detaching himself from the president and from his message. So, just a little bit of clarification.

CUOMO: Yes, very little. Actually, it's more of a distinction without a difference. But here's a bigger --

SCARAMUCCI: But I think it's important. I'll tell you why I think it's important. Because if you understand -- but I think your viewers want to know this, that they want to understand how the president operates and how the president thinks.

[21:05:04] CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: He really did want some level of collegiality and --

CUOMO: Why did he bring in someone like Steve Bannon?

SCARAMUCCI: Because he was rewarding him and people like Reince Priebus, because the election was won and he was trying to put a team together that also offer some level of reward.

CUOMO: Right, but --

SCARAMUCCI: He was throwing an olive branch to Steve, after Steve departed from the White House he said a very nice tweet about.

CUOMO: Right, but that changed, right? I mean, everything knows. You get side ways with the president. You get the worst of him. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The president says he always hires the best people. How do you explain him having Steve Bannon there?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I would say that Steve had a voice. Steve was a good writer. The biggest problem that Steve had in my opinion, and I said it and say it perfectly, you know, he was more focused on Steve. I think that's where he diverged from the president.

CUOMO: What do you think --

SCARAMUCCI: You can't say that Steve --

CUOMO: -- wrong about him?

SCARAMUCCI: You can't say Steve -- well, he's not a team player. You can't say that Steve is not a smart guy. You can't say that Steve is not a good writer. You can't say that after Andrew Breitbart's death he didn't help raise the profile of Breitbart. Not a super profitable place but certainly had a high profile in the last election.

So I want to be fair to him. But I also want to be accurate because one of the things that, you know, I did a reasonably good job of starting two companies from scratch, selling them both, --


SCARAMUCCI: -- is evaluating talent. And so one thing that you can't have --

CUOMO: -- Steve Bannon was a good hire?

SCARAMUCCI: I don't. I obviously said as much. And so, I think he was a bad hire not because wasn't talented, not because he wasn't smart and "strategic." He just did not want to play inside the sand box with the other people. He was splitting people between nationalism and globalism and to really understand the president, you know, there's a nuance to him there as well. He is a globalist by nature. He wants to be part of the world order.

CUOMO: That's not what Bannon wanted, though.

SCARAMUCCI: Not what Bannon wanted, but he's for peace, he's for global prosperity. He wants to get along with our allies and he wants to put a hurt on our adversaries.

CUOMO: But do you understand why that created such confusion? That he brought in someone like Steve Bannon who saw those things as (INAUDIBLE), there was only --


CUOMO: -- form of populism? The isolationism?

SCARAMUCCI: I can't speak for the president. But I think what the president was trying to do is that -- there was a sleeve of the president's agenda which is an America first agenda. It's for the middle class families. It's for what the president called the forgotten man or woman. It's for lower income middle class standards rising, wages rising. And so, there's a sleeve of the president's personality for that, but then there's also a sleeve of the president's personality that someone like General Kelly, General McMaster and --

CUOMO: But imagine --


CUOMO: -- had been no Bannon. To your own theory, that Trump already figured it out in the primary, so he didn't need Bannon for a connection with the base. I disagree with that. But, even if that were true, --


CUOMO: Imagine if there had been no Steve Bannon. Where do you think president would be today?

SCARAMUCCI: Let me push back for one second, you disagree with that because why? He had already -- CUOMO: Because I think that Bannon's cell to the president that I

understand these people, they come to me through Breitbart. I've been working with them. I've been selling things to them, message wise you need me. Work, he was vulnerable, he unsure of his team around him. Bannon gave him a confidence.

SCARAMUCCI: OK, so I'm going to --

CUOMO: He brought him in. He won. He brought him closer.

SCARAMUCCI: I'm going to disagree with that because I was there. I don't think the president saw it that way. That could be your analysis. And maybe the story -- write it that way, but I was there. I didn't see that way. The way I saw it -- was that he was looking to freshen up the team. He was looking to make a transition into going into the last part of the election. After he met with the Mercer family, he got confront with Steve. You've known Steve for a while. He certainly loved Kellyanne. And so he brought them in to help freshen up and bolster the team.


CUOMO: I get that.


SCARAMUCCI: -- telling you.

CUOMO: -- pick somebody like Steve Bannon and you don't couple him with Kellyanne Conway. It couldn't be more different when they come to being political animals.


CUOMO: OK, one of them is a minted professional who knows how to run campaigns, the other one is a propagandist who gives a platform to the alt-right and sells a lot of negativity. What did you think was going to happen --


SCARAMUCCI: You don't have to convince me about the differences and the professional qualities that Kellyanne Conway has versus Steve.

CUOMO: Yes, but you put them together that's why I --

SCARAMUCCI: I put them together because they --


SCARAMUCCI: -- same time --

CUOMO: But for very different reasons.


SCARAMUCCI: -- Rebekah.--

CUOMO: -- Mercer. But hold on, let's get -- OK, it's important that people know how we got here. Now they do. Thank you for that.


CUOMO: How do you feel about Bannon being out at Breitbart?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, you know, I don't feel good or bad about it, but I sort of predicted it.

CUOMO: You don't feel any sense of satisfaction?

SCARAMUCCI: I feel -- I feel a sense of relief for the president that he can now put this distraction besides him. He doesn't have to deal with it anymore, and he can focus on what he knows his gut instincts are. To serve the American people, to do more of what he did today which is to bring people together. And the American people want a symphony coming out of the president. They want him to be the conductor. They want him to well the two sides together, find a common ground and push forward on the DACA agenda, push forward on a health care reform package, push forward on a restructuring of the global order --

[21:10:06] CUOMO: I hear you. I hear you.

SCARAMUCCI: Eliminates terrorism and all of these other things. So --

CUOMO: I get it. I get it.

SCARAMUCCI: So, you know, to me, when you're in business -- look, I've been in politics, I guess, officially for a short period of time but remember, I was with the president for 18 months --


SCARAMUCCI: -- and I was on his executive transition team. So pretty good idea what's going on.

CUOMO: Right, but the point is this, we see what the president does on a minute by minute basis. Certainly he's not in kumbaya mode. May that change mode? Maybe. As I said, it seemed like a spill was broken with this news of Bannon. But I got to tell you, Anthony, I'm not buying this.

SCARAMUCCI: I take issue with that too.

CUOMO: Well, hold on a second. Take issue with less things for a moment.

SCARAMUCCI: You didn't break --


CUOMO: Here's why I say that. So you had somebody who only talked about immigration in terms of keeping people out, very anti-immigrant. Then all of a sudden today he has this meeting. He says I'll sign whatever you can pass. I want a "bill of love" for the Dreamers. We need to all work together. The wall could mean lots of different things after he insisted that that was not what he meant. He would never afford any type of --

SCARAMUCCI: You should like that, though.

CUOMO: -- mitigation of the wall.

SCARAMUCCI: Let's talk --

CUOMO: Whether it is the right one or not, the principles matter. He distinguished himself from the field by saying what I say wall, I mean a big, new wall of China across the southern border. These guys don't. He got points for that now he's backing off it. Might be the right move but he's got to own it.

SCARAMUCCI: OK, but let's talk as Americans, not as partisans. I think the silent majority in the United States stand for an end of the political divisiveness in Washington. The silent majority I think stands for let's knit together a proposal. The great Ronald Reagan once said I'm going for 80 percent. The way the constitution was designed and checks and balance in the system were designed. I'm not going to get 100 percent. One of the issues I had with Steve, he was going for 115 percent. It was his way or the highway. The president is naturally --

CUOMO: Steve Bannon was --


CUOMO: -- started a culture war. And the president brought him as close to him as he could. Look, smiled on him and he wound up getting separated from him --

SCARAMUCCI: We're going to disagree --


SCARAMUCCI: -- has great instincts. The president --

CUOMO: Great, how do you have great instincts and bring Steve Bannon as close to him as he did? Come on.

SCARAMUCCI: Like I said, he was rewarding him for --

CUOMO: Whatever --

SCARAMUCCI: -- the electoral victory.

CUOMO: -- but he was rewarding the wrong person --


SCARAMUCCI: I have to say this to you. You don't want to give the president credit for a lot of things.

CUOMO: Why would I give the president credit for bringing in Steve Bannon in close to the seat of power? You tell me, Anthony Scaramucci, who is no friend of Steve Bannon, why was he a good choice to have with a lot of power in American --

SCARAMUCCI: We're now looking at this with hindsight and saying that it was a bad choice and the president would now say it was a bad choice. But here's the hall mark of a great president and a great executive. When you've made a bad choice and you have to make a decision to get rid of somebody that's been a bad choice, you remove the person from the situation. And so he did do that. You want to say the seven months was forever in the administration. You said that to me a couple mornings ago. I don't see it that way. There were a couple of bad actors inside the administration that were leaking on the president. They were serving themselves. There are other people --


CUOMO: -- he doesn't have the best people around him.

SCARAMUCCI: I don't agree with that. I think he's a very --

CUOMO: How can you have it both ways, though, Anthony? If he has the best people around him, why does he keep shedding people like fleas off a dog?

SCARAMUCCI: Have you run a company?


SCARAMUCCI: OK, so let me tell you how it works when you run a company. Whether you like it or not 40 or 50 --

CUOMO: Not a company.

SCARAMUCCI: OK, well, it's an organization. Have you run a political organization like that before?

CUOMO: -- this isn't a company. This is --


SCARAMUCCI: You won't want let me make my point.

CUOMO: No, but I mean --


SCARAMUCCI: I've been the CEO of two start-up companies. When you run it --

CUOMO: I know, what did you learn when you went to Washington, D.C.? A lot, right?

SCARAMUCCI: I learned there are treacherous people.

CUOMO: It was different set of rules.

SCARAMUCCI: Very, very dishonest people.


CUOMO: -- in business?

SCARAMUCCI: No, they're different. They're different. People on Wall Street are more in your face. They tell you exactly how you -- you may not like what they're saying to you, but they'll tell you exactly how they feel. In Washington --

CUOMO: The point is there are different sets of rules.

SCARAMUCCI: -- wave to you, OK?

CUOMO: The point is --


CUOMO: We're making the same point.

SCARAMUCCI: That's why the American people dislike them. The American people see the people in Washington for what they are and that's why the president became the president. They don't like it.

CUOMO: And that's why the challenge of leadership is to make it better. And with Bannon around he was on a different course. We'll see what happens now.

SCARAMUCCI: He's making it better. You guys don't like the fact --

CUOMO: No, that's not fair. Don't be unfair. First night --

SCARAMUCCI: Chris, I'm not going to be unfair.

CUOMO: Why would we not like unity?

SCARAMUCCI: Well, OK, but -- you want to go back to rhetoric that was campaign oriented.

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: Rhetoric that could have been driven by Steve Bannon.

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: And you don't want to go to the practical reality of being president and seeing a guy today for 45 minutes in an actual bipartisan discourse looking to get a deal done. And when he talks about love, well, you know what, whether you guys like it or not, he's actually --

CUOMO: Why do you keep saying that? [21:15:00] SCARAMUCCI: He a very compassionate guy.

CUOMO: And there's no we. There is -- there is only me. You're talking to me.

SCARAMUCCI: OK, so let's --

CUOMO: When he says ugly things, I criticize him for saying ugly things.


CUOMO: -- that I don't like what he says good --

SCARAMUCCI: When he says he wants the "bill of love," are you going to praise him for that?

CUOMO: I will. He wants a "bill of love" --


CUOMO: I think that if he does something that helps the Dreamers because supposedly there's consensus these are not the people to villainize, even if you want to go on a campaign of getting people out of this country, this is not where to start. So if he is to construct some type of compromise --

SCARAMUCCI: So take him at his word.

CUOMO: We will see. As I said, the spell was broken. He was so different today. There's a fundamental distinction that you're ignoring. Hold on a second. Let me set the table for you.

SCARAMUCCI: -- spell broken on President Trump.

CUOMO: He was saying totally different things, Bannon is out, and now whether coincidence or not, he's saying very different things. You're saying because he wants to get a deal done.

SCARAMUCCI: He met with Democratic leadership to cut a deal on the budget to raise the ceiling. He met with Democratic leadership early on --

CUOMO: This is different.


CUOMO: This is different.

SCARAMUCCI: It is different and it should be refreshing.

CUOMO: Hold on a second.

SCARAMUCCI: So the fact he's going to Davos should also be --

CUOMO: Hold on a second, one step at a time, Anthony. There's a difference between a position and a principle, OK? The wall was a principle. I want people out. We are not a nation because we don't have borders which, of course, was also untrue. It was always untrue that we didn't have a border and it was always untrue that the wall was a silver bullet. And in fact, there's decent reporting to suggest that Bannon and then-candidate Trump knew that but they knew that it was a salable item to a base that is still waiting for that wall. However --

SCARAMUCCI: We see it differently.

CUOMO: OK, fine, but now he walks in to this room to make a deal as you say and that changes. Something that he said was irrevocable and unchangeable. When they say metaphor for wall, some sensors, some fence, whatever the border experts say we need, not me. I'm different than them. And people believed him. Now you're saying, well, he wants to make a deal. No. Principle stays. Positions can change. So if he has found new religion --

SCARAMUCCI: -- you keep talking --

CUOMO: No, no, no.

SCARAMUCCI: Hopefully, give me a chance to rebuttal.

CUOMO: You are a lot of things, quiet is not one of them.

SCARAMUCCI: Neither are you.

CUOMO: That's my job. Today he goes in there and he says, look, the wall, we'll see what it means. It's fine. You bring me something. I'll sign it, very different. That's good.

SCARAMUCCI: This is what I love about --

CUOMO: Because he's trying to make a deal.

SCARAMUCCI: You know, Scott Adam has brought up in "Wig Bigly" which is actually a very funny book of worth reading. That people in our society have different realities. OK, so we both saw the same thing. I watched for 45 minute. I saw something totally different than what you saw. I saw a guy that, principle, we're going to put a wall up to protect our society to get --

CUOMO: We don't know what that means anymore.

SCARAMUCCI: Let me just finish. The legitimate and legal immigration. Milton Friedman once said, if you're going to have a welfare state, you have to have a stronger border because if you don't have a strong border there's an economic insensitive for people to move across your border into your welfare state. The United States, thankfully, does have a welfare position in the society, where provide a safety net for immigrant (ph) people. And I believe that we should have that, Paul Ryan believes that, so does the president. But you then have to protect the people that are living inside the United States --

CUOMO: Sure.

SCARAMUCCI: -- legally so that you can protect the tax system, you can protect the services and the benefits. One of the things that the president believes and he said, he referenced it today, that border officials, DHS people believe that there has to be a wall in certain areas.

CUOMO: That's what's always been said. He's new to this. That's always been the position of border experts. That's all I'm saying.

SCARAMUCCI: He's not new --

CUOMO: It's new -- he's been saying something you can believe for a long time.

SCARAMUCCI: When John Kennedy was telling people in 1960 that there was a missile gap and he campaigned hard on a missile gap. And Ike was upset with President Eiser, he was upset with him over it. And we got to the office and he saw in situation room and he saw the missiles and he realized that we were in a missile surplus not a missile gap --

CUOMO: So he was wrong. Is that something to be rewarded that a model for leadership?

SCARAMUCCI: No, no, no, no, no. You're misrepresentation the point. It's not necessarily that it was wrong. It's just that when you're coming out something as a candidate and you have less information than you do as a president, smart people, people that are geniuses, smart people, they change their position and they alter themselves. And so every politician has to do that.

CUOMO: That's also -- that's wrong.

SCARAMUCCI: But hold on a second. President Obama -- OK, and I'm with him on this. I'm pro-gay marriage, as you know. I'm for all of the social progressive things.

CUOMO: That's not about facts. That's not about facts.

SCARAMUCCI: He was against gay marriage.

CUOMO: He didn't learn any new facts.

SCARAMUCCI: He changed his mind.

CUOMO: He changed his opinion. He said that he grew in his perspective.


CUOMO: That's not about how many missiles you have. That's not about whether or not a wall is what's needed by experts.

SCARAMUCCI: You don't want to give the president any credit.

CUOMO: It's not true. I just want to be honest about how we arrive at his new position.

SCARAMUCCI: Obama changed his mind, changed his position. The president has new information.

[21:20:00] CUOMO: It's not a good analogy that you offer up -- let me ask you something else while I have you, two quick things.

SCARAMUCCI: -- viewers are listening. I mean, it's not right (ph). That's a pretty good analogy. That's what they're saying.

CUOMO: And it's a pretty good conversation and I appreciate you for it.

SCARAMUCCI: All right.

CUOMO: Two more quick things. One, do you think DACA deserves a clean bill? Nothing attached to it? Do that, get it done and then move on to these other things?

SCARAMUCCI: Good question. So, my initial knee jerk reaction to that is, yes.

CUOMO: Do you think the -- is that sharing the president's thoughts or your own?

SCARAMUCCI: I don't know. I honestly -- I haven't talked to the president about it. So I can't --

CUOMO: All right, no, no. Because that's what I --

SCARAMUCCI: But I know how Washington works, OK? They're going to nail him with other stuff because that's how they work, OK?

CUOMO: But they is the people in this one. They is his people. The Democrats want a clean bill on DACA. We heard it today --


SCARAMUCCI: If we're having the spirit of honest here, OK, I think we know that the way the system works is failing the American people. And I would indict both sides for that. So, we would like a clean bill. You're not going to get a clean bill because of the way the rules work. But the good news about President Trump, and this is the hope for the American people, he finally got somebody in there that's going to disrupt the rules.

CUOMO: Well.

SCARAMUCCI: And maybe will change the rules for the better --

CUOMO: If it's going to be --

SCARAMUCCI: -- to serve the American people --

CUOMO: If it's going to be --

SCARAMUCCI: -- as opposed to these nonsensical politicians and their lobbyist and special interest.

CUOMO: If it's going to be a bill --

SCARAMUCCI: That you got to give the president credit for.

CUOMO: Well, let's see what he does. If it's a "bill of love," as he promised today, the latest promise, then it should be by definition a clean bill. One other thing for you.

SCARAMUCCI: Well, I hope it won't be.

CUOMO: Well, see. If it's a bill of love then it is. You know, again, it's what he says and what he does.

SCARAMUCCI: -- love to much on television you get criticized --

CUOMO: I'm all about love. We need more of it --


SCARAMUCCI: -- in my press conference I love the guy two or four times --

CUOMO: I believe. I remember what you said.

SCARAMUCCI: Don't use the word love. I'm just trying to give you some --

CUOMO: I'm using it in a different way.

SCARAMUCCI: -- media training here on the first day on the --

CUOMO: The national anthem.

SCARAMUCCI: You're good.

CUOMO: The president says you should respect it. You should stand for it. You should honor it. Let me play you a piece of tape.

Trying to confuse you as much as possible.

So, the president's at the national -- he's there for the national anthem. He's at the big Alabama/Georgia game.


CUOMO: National anthem is before it. Do you think that the president of the United States knows all the words to the national anthem?

SCARAMUCCI: Thousand percent.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

SCARAMUCCI: You were trying to show on air which, you know, didn't show that it looked like he wasn't saying the words or something like that. You know, I don't buy -- CUOMO: So here's my real question. I want to get out of the way.

You say he knows the words --

SCARAMUCCI: I got to tell you something, OK. I know a lot of the Maroon 5 songs. I don't know all of them.

CUOMO: I'm sure --

SCARAMUCCI: I'm sure if you told me right now at 9:22 P.M. say every word in the national anthem, probably going to get a few of them wrong.

CUOMO: Oh, come on. Anyway, let me ask you this though. Should the president have some --

SCARAMUCCI: But I'd like to see you sing the national anthem right here at 9:20 --

CUOMO: Another day, maybe at a high school basketball game.

SCARAMUCCI: If you sing the national anthem right now, I'll mouth it along side with you. How's that? Going today?

CUOMO: And then you'll be ready to be president. Let me ask you this. Should the president sing the national anthem if he wants it to be respected as profoundly as he says he does?


CUOMO: It's just a question.

SCARAMUCCI: But it's -- not a question that I feel comfortable answering because you want me to get inside the mind of the president.

CUOMO: No, I'm just saying in general, the president of the United States if the anthem matters so much, should he sing it.

SCARAMUCCI: My attitude on the anthem is I have an unconditional love for the country, --

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: -- and I would suggest to everyone that has a social justice issue with the country have an unconditional love for the country, walk Walter Reed Hospital, stand for the anthem, let's address these social justice issues or whatever the grievances may be --

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: -- in another form. Don't hit the flag. That would be my personal bias on the situation.


SCARAMUCCI: That's my -- CUOMO: And here's the beautiful thing, Anthony Scaramucci, --

SCARAMUCCI: I stand for the flag.

CUOMO: -- you are entitled --

SCARAMUCCI: I've seen people with no legs stand for the flag, and that's good for me. And I will stand along side them all day and night. And I tell my friends that have a peace and social justice issue with the United States, --

CUOMO: Right.

SCARAMUCCI: Let's drop it with the flag. This has been a phenomenal experiment in 240 years we are progressing. We are making --

CUOMO: I take your opinion.

SCARAMUCCI: Let's stand for the flag.

CUOMO: I take your opinion. The beautiful thing is you can have your opinion --


CUOMO: -- and other people can have a different opinion and they shouldn't be attacked either.

SCARAMUCCI: But you know the difference? My opinion is right, Chris, and yours is wrong.

CUOMO: Yes, yes. Anthony Scaramucci, thank you for being with us. I appreciate.

SCARAMUCCI: Please with you and welcome to new show.

CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you very much.

I bet you have a lot to say about that interview. You want to know what the good news is? The show is more interactive than most. Tweet me your thoughts @CHRISCUOMO, use the #CUOMOPRIMETIME. I may respond during the show and we're going to read some of your pearls of windows at the end.

Up next, from build the wall to where's the love? We now know where the two sides stand on DACA and hundreds of thousands of Dreamers. Who should win? The great debate, Jennifer Granholm, Rick Santorum, next.


[21:28:30] CUOMO: All right, new tonight, President Trump just tweeting about his border wall saying, it must be a part of any DACA deal. Now that was unclear in that big TV extravaganza that we all saw today. And we don't really know what a wall is anymore. Why do I say that? Because earlier today, the fate of 800,000 Dreamers was openly debated during this extraordinary and lengthy White House meeting between lawmakers and the president of the United States. All on TV and there were some shockers. Top of the list is what President Trump said. He borrowed ideas from both Jeb and President George W. Bush, ideas he used to attack. He asked for comprehensive immigration reform. That was President Bush's term, and said the Dreamers need a "bill of love."


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Should be a bipartisan bill, should be a "bill of love." If we do this properly, DACA, you're not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform. And if you want to take it that further step, I'll take the heat. I don't care. We'll do DACA and we can certainly start comprehensive immigration reform the following afternoon, OK? We'll take an hour off and then we'll start.


CUOMO: All right, so he was talking the talk, but was he ready to walk the walk? The "bill of love" was a play on what Jeb Bush said in a debate where Trump attacked him. Jeb Bush had said these families who bring their kids with them, that's an act of love when they bring them here, it's not a crime. Then-candidate Trump mocked him, now changed his tune.

[21:29:59] OK, so really it's about the wall, though. You remember what this promise was, as solid as the wall that he was promising itself, uncompromised, not a metaphor for anything. Take a listen.


TRUMP: We are going to build a great border wall.

We will build a great, great wall.

We're going to build a wall. Don't worry about it.

I promise, we will build the wall.

It's not going to be a little wall. It's going to be a big, beautiful wall.

It's going to be a very tall wall, very strong wall, very powerful wall.

Who's going to pay for the wall?


CUOMO: Well, the Mexico thing, that's gone. We didn't hear a whisper about that today. In fact, we haven't heard anything about that for months. But the wall itself is now a great big beautiful question mark. It was discussed today in terms of being exactly what everyone has said it should be, a metaphor for different types of security, big, beautiful wall in some places, fences and others, electronic sensors were need, what the experts, border security that's what they said they wanted all along. Trump had said no, but now he said he was good with whatever they come up with and even gave the Democrats what they say is paramount, a stand-alone DACA deal. For a moment anyway, take a look.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: What about a clean DACA bill now and with the commitment that we go into a comprehensive immigration reform procedure like we did back -- I remember when Kennedy was here. It was really a major, major effort. And it was a great disappointment that it went nowhere.

TRUMP: I have no -- I think that's basically what Dick is saying. We're going to come out with DACA. We're going to do DACA, and then we can start immediately on the phase two, which would be comprehensive.


CUOMO: But then came the political reality. Remember, there's been all this talk about how both sides want to save the Dreamers. The GOP was there to do business as well and deliver for people whose priority is to keeping people out. Listen to what happen next.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Mr. President you need to be clear, though. I think what Senator Feinstein is asking here, when we talk about just DACA, we don't want to be back here two years later. You have to have security as the secretary will tell you.


CUOMO: All right. So no clean DACA bill, that's what you are hearing from the Republicans. So Democrats, Republicans, still clearly at odds. Mr. Trump had one surprising suggestion near the end to make it easier to pass bipartisan legislation, the return, oink, oink, of pork.


TRUMP: Maybe all of you should start thinking about going back to a form of ear marks because this system -- this system -- no. Well, you should do it. I see Lindsey nodding very happily.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Starting with the Port of Charleston, absolutely.


CUOMO: Yes, they're all laughing about spending your money to get things done they should do otherwise. But now we have what's teed up as a great debate. Let's bring in senior political commentators, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, Democrat, of course, and former senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, Republican, of course.

Great to have you both with us.



CUOMO: Thank you for joining us on this first night.

So Rick, we're start with you. Here's the proposition. If you care about the Dreamers, do DACA in a clean bill? Defend against.

SANTORUM: Well, first defend against that, first I don't support doing DACA, period. So I would say that the concern that Republicans have with doing DACA is that in a few years wind up having to do another DACA and then a few years another DACA. If we don't have some sort of enforcement at the boarder, some sort of laws in place to make sure we aren't going to have this immigration problem again, then there's no point in creating any kind of amnesty or any kind of relief for people who are here now. And that's what Republicans have been saying. That's what Donald Trump has been saying for quite some time.

And so the idea of doing a clean DACA bill is an absolute nonstarter. I don't think a single Republican, because we're just creating another problem down the road.

CUOMO: Jennifer Granholm, but the Republicans say they care and the president said he wants a "bill of love." How do you love the Dreamers if you don't help them in a clean bill?

GRANHOLM: Yes. And how do you love the Dreamers when you were the one to undo the deal in the first place, yes. So you should give this as part of the only bill that is teed up at the moment to be able to arrive in time to prevent the DACA young people from being exposed. March 15th is the deadline. There's no other bill that is teed up to be able to approved in time to save them. So do it. Do it as part of this spending bill, part of the government funding bill, and then do what the president said, go right into comprehensive immigration reform.

Rick Santorum, --


GRANHOLM: -- sitting there saying that you have to have more than just this clean bill. Good. Let's talk about comprehensive immigration reform --

[21:35:03] SANTORUM: Well, let's talk about the things that the president has suggested.

GRANHOLM: -- and put on the table what the Gang of Eight did back in 2013.

CUOMO: All right, did you hear the point? Rick, what's your response?

SANTORUM: Let's talk about what the president has suggested. The three things the president suggested in a reform bill that he would sign is, number one, ending the visa lottery. That was in the Gang of Eight proposal which was a bipartisan proposal.


SANTORUM: Democrats support ending the visa lottery. That's an easy one. Number two, he says get rid of chain migration and, again, a lot of Democrats are very sympathetic to the idea that your uncles relations and the fact that the vast majority of people coming in this country --

GRANHOLM: That too was in part of the --


GRANHOLM: -- that was in the Gang of Eight bill too.

SANTORUM: So, two of the three things.

GRANHOLM: That also was.

SANTORUM: Again, two of the three things, when you say it's teed up, well, those two things that the president wants that Republican support and again some Democrats do too, are teed up also. The one thing that is, "controversial," is the wall. But as you heard from the president, he's flexible that the wall can be, yes, some wall and some other things in addition to the wall.


SANTORUM: They're talking about border enforcement here.

CUOMO: Hold on Rick. Hold one second.

SANTORUM: And that's a very essential part of this --

CUOMO: I get you. I get you about the interest in enforcement. I don't know who isn't against a safe border to be honest with you.

SANTORUM: Well, we haven't been spending money on it. I mean, President Obama --

CUOMO: It's about how you achieve --

SANTORUM: -- refused to spend money.

CUOMO: Well, look, there's a lot of money spent on the border. They want to spend more, that's fine. They just justify it to their voters. But let me ask you something. You say you heard the president now he's a little flexible. Do we know that? I can't tell you. That's why I ask it with a question mark when we were setting up.

SANTORUM: And Jennifer and I had this discussion over and over, that the president is not as dogmatic as, well let's say I would be, if I were president of the United States. He's some one who's not -- who's not someone who's driven by ideology. He wants results. It's very important that you brought (ph) this. The three things the president asked for are actually the three easiest things to get accomplished.

CUOMO: The wall isn't easy.

SANTORUM: Sure it is. Democrats have voted for building walls in the past --

GRANHOLM: And he also asked for DACA, Rick. He also asked for DACA. He asked for DACA --

SANTORUM: Right. So I'm saying put all four of those things together.

GRANHOLM: -- visa lottery, right? And he's also said comprehensive immigration reform.

And in today's meeting, honestly, within a span of 60 seconds he was going one way and the other. It's not clear at all, as Chris is saying, where he really stands. He'll probably know once he watches "Fox and Friends" tomorrow morning where he really stands.

And besides, Ann Coulter is on TV tonight totally trashing him. So it's not clear at all where he's going to come down on this.

However, I am thoroughly encouraged that he was strong today, as were many of the Republicans in that room, unlike your Rick who are in favor for a solution for the Dreamers, that is encouraging. And I hope the Democrats keep their spine and say very clear that we are going to stick by our guns and demand that the DACA fix be in the spending bill.

SANTORUM: You will only get a DACA fix if you have enforcement and not just at the border --


SANTORUM: -- but better enforcement. Because Republicans are --


GRANHOLM: You can do that.

SANTORUM: Well, because we're not going to be in a situation as we were in the 1986 bill, and the 1993 bill, whatever it was.

CUOMO: Right.

SANTORUM: I'm saying, oh, we're going to do enforcement and we're going to give amnesty to everybody, and what happen? Amnesty was given to everybody.

GRANHOLM: This is not amnesty. There -- Huckabee Sanders said today -- SANTORUM: And as a result, we have more and more people coming into

this country illegally.

GRANHOLM: -- DACA is not amnesty.

I mean, don't -- I mean, I know you throw this amnesty word out there because it's so scintillating for people on the far right.

SANTORUM: If you break the law and come into this country and continue to break the law --

GRANHOLM: They didn't come in by themselves.

SANTORUM: Also, security numbers are --

GRANHOLM: They did not come in by themselves.

SANTORUM: I understand that.

GRANHOLM: OK, let's be clear about this.

SANTORUM: What I'm saying, they're continuing to break the law by being here, --

GRANHOLM: You continue to do this Rick --

SANTORUM: -- if you allow them to stay, that's amnesty.

GRANHOLM: -- terrible for your party.

The reason why many others in your party are in favor of doing something is because this is a huge issue for you, for Republicans. If they really want to grow, if y'all want to grow, you better be inviting of people to come to the table. You better be living up to the ideals of America, which is a nation of immigrants other than the Native Americans. It's a terrible strategy to insist that you pack this in with things that are unacceptable and not do the DACA fix.

SANTORUM: All I can say Jennifer is --

GRANHOLM: Fix the DACA problem and then do a comprehensive immigration reform that has a path to citizenship.

SANTORUM: -- the president has laid out are acceptable, that's my point. The president has actually --

GRANHOLM: OK, well, good.

SANTORUM: -- put something out there that is very -- should be very acceptable to Democrats --


CUOMO: Hold on, Rick, let's just reframe it for people who are following along at home. And by the way, bravo, this is a very good well reason debate. Happy to have you guys on. The idea of you need to do the enforcement things otherwise you're going to have this perpetual problem, why? Why can't you deal with the fact that these people who technically did enter illegally but they came in as children, that's what Jeb Bush called the "acts of love," now the president mirroring it, it seems, in "bill of love." So you take care of them. They're productive, they're representing the best of our values, and you shut that off and you then put in the enforcement piece at the same time that you help them. Why do you need to mix in a border wall and all these other provisions that have nothing to do with the (INAUDIBLE) of these circumstances with hundreds of thousands of lives in a balance?

[21:40:19] SANTORUM: Because, yes, that's a great question, Chris. The reason is, is because If you say to young people all over the world, if you can get in here, then we're going to allow you to stay here at some point and we're not going to have any kind of measures to make sure that you don't come. That's why it's important to have enforcement in place. So we send the message that, yes, those folks who are here, we're going to give you a special circumstance and allow you to stay here, but we're going to put measures in place to make sure that we're not going to encourage more people to come so -- because we're giving this --

CUOMO: No, listen --

SANTORUM: -- benefit to those who are here already.

CUOMO: Again, and I just don't see the logic and needing to do them both time -- the same time.


CUOMO: But I'm out of time.

So Jennifer Granholm, Rick Santorum, come on.

GRANHOLM: Great to be on, Chris.

CUOMO: I was going to say, Jennifer, you are always --

SANTORUM: Congratulations.

CUOMO: -- disappointed at the end and I love that that means there's always room for more. You're also always welcome back. Thanks for having --

SANTORUM: Thank you.


CUOMO: -- both of you on first night. It was good. Thank you.

All right, we have new big names entering the political fray, and they could not be more different. On one side, you've got Oprah Winfrey. On the other side you've got Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Chris Cillizza says these names represent this media streams and the most horrid nightmares for the political parties. I agree. But he and I have opposite views on the winners and losers. Who has the better point? He's got the better tie, next.


[21:45:11] CUOMO: Donald Trump has said many times he loves Oprah. That is until she became even the most remote of threats. And now she gets the Sarah Sanders treatment.


SARA SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I disagree very much on her policies. Is she a successful individual? Absolutely. But in terms of where she stands on a number of positions, I would find a lot of problems with that.


CUOMO: What positions? I'll leave the details to the side. Let's get to "The Point" with CNN politics editor at large, Chris Cillizza. Mr. Cillizza, in your opinion, Oprah Winfrey is hot and getting hotter.


CUOMO: I read that in a headline. But now you have Joe Arpaio. What does each mean to the political fray?

CILLIZZA: OK, I'll be brief. Oprah Winfrey, I think, is Democrats platonic ideal of what you challenge Donald Trump with. They went traditional politician, Hillary Clinton didn't work. Republicans ran a bunch of traditional politicians, didn't work. Oprah Winfrey is successful, wealthy, well-known, a celebrity, and in their view certainly more rational, more presidential than Donald Trump.

Arpaio, he represents -- he more than Donald Trump represents the id of the Republican Party, the base, protectionist, suspicious, conspiracy theories. I'll remind people, Joe Arpaio still thinks Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

So they both represent sort of -- both are in the reactional (ph) orbit to Donald Trump, right? Arpaio is Trump on steroids. Oprah is the Democratic alternative if you believe that Donald Trump fundamentally altered politics in 2016 and running a governor a senator a House member won't work in 2020.

CUOMO: Smart, assertive, glass is matching tie, key move, white Swatch, we'll discuss later. You can take that to Twitter. I will flip it, though.


CUOMO: In fact, Oprah Winfrey could be the biggest nightmare for Democrats.

CILLIZZA: Why? CUOMO: Because she checks a lot of the boxes that Hillary Clinton did as well. Super elite, rarefied air, no experience in this domain, which if -- nothing else, we're living a lesson, has a political cost right now. And big shot versus big shot, celebrity versus celebrity, maybe too obvious for the Democrats. They may want someone who is more home grown, more organic that represents experience and get done.

Arpaio conversely --


CUOMO: -- is exactly what put Donald Trump in the White House. People believe that there is cultural war and that the left is trying to break people away from what is right and what needs to remain true and that he will put down real strength on the ground against those that we fear here and now.

CILLIZZA: OK, let me rebut quickly on both. Arpaio, there is a constituency for Joe Arpaio in Arizona without question. It is not big enough to win him a Republican primary. It just isn't. He --

CUOMO: Even in Arizona for senators?

CILLIZZA: Yes, and I will remind people. Arizona's Republican Party, you think Jeff Flake and John McCain. Arpaio is more representative. The state legislature there has passed, including the immigration laws, has passed some of the most conservative boundary pushing stuff you've seen.

I just don't think that is a governing coalition even in a Republican primary, winning coalition or Republican primary.

Oprah, I think you are right. I think you see the Democratic Party, the people I talked to are kind of (INAUDIBLE). The theory of the case against Trump is either you run someone who is a celebrity who has no record, or you run the most sort of down the line bureaucrat, tested, ready write (ph), after Nixon you get Carter.

CUOMO: -- organic attachment to the same people that Donald Trump as he wants to happen today, the people and families at the Democratic Party have been sweating off over the years.

CILLIZZA: So who is that? Is that Biden?

CUOMO: I don't know.

CILLIZZA: Is that Elizabeth Warren?

I mean the problem is this --

CUOMO: That I don't know. That wasn't part of this discussion.

CILLIZZA: I don't know that either, but I do think that Oprah represents sort of a fundamental challenge to what is the kind of candidate that Democrats should run against Donald Trump, even if it's not Oprah, is it Mark Cuban, is it Howard Schultz of Starbucks, or is it Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Kirsten Gillibrand, a more traditional candidate and I think you're going to see both of those in the primary in 2020, which I'm excited about. Is it 2020 yet? My watch doesn't tell me that.

CUOMO: Your watch is blinding me. You overwhelmed me with facts --

CILLIZZA: Blinding you with science, that's what happening.

CUOMO: -- and fashion, you win the point.

CILLIZZA: Thank you. Is there anything I can --

CUOMO: Chris Cillizza, have someone --


CUOMO: Tomorrow night on "Cuomo Prime Time", Joe Arpaio is going to join us live. What does he think about what Chris Cillizza said? I'll give him his phone number.

[21:50:01] But first, I host, you tweet. I ask you to send in your thoughts. They've been pouring in. Thank you for that. Chris Cuomo, that's the sign on Twitter. The hashtag is CUOMOPRIMETIME. "Social Status" is up next. We'll get your take.


CUOMO: All right, so how's our "Social Status" doing tonight? Darin Kelly music tweets, "Congrats on a strong start, good dialogue, civil disagreement and healthy debate. Talking over one another detracts. Avoid guests who make speeches. Book those who listen and respond. Kudos!" I'll take it. Orlando SGN says, "Why would you spend so much time with Scaramucci who like all of Trump surrogates doesn't answer any question?"

Here's why. He speaks to the president on a regular basis. He was in the White House. He understands why he makes the decisions he makes as well as any. And when it comes to Bannon, even though he try to bang the "kumbaya" tambourine a little bit tonight, nobody got into it with Bannon the way "The mooch" did. That's why we have him on.

And from Martin Meets World, "If we could all have respect over this course (ph) like Chris Cuomo and Anthony Scaramucci just did on Cuomo Prime Time, we truly would make America great again, discussions of ideas and positions without the bomb throwing." Good observation. Thank you. We work hard at that. The hostility that the atricality (ph) I know that it drives the tribalism that is infecting us so much right now on cable TV. We see so much of it at night. It doesn't get us anywhere. You can disagree. You don't have to be disagreeable.

[21:55:31] All right, new details tonight about the infamous dossier alleging ties between President Trump and Russia.

Just hours ago, more than 300 pages of closed door testimony were released. I read every single page. Truth, what's in it, what it means coming up on "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon. We'll be right back. Thanks for joining us.