Return to Transcripts main page


Sources: Kelly Says Trump's Pledges On Border 'Uninformed'; McConnell 'Looking For Something' On Immigration That Trump Supports; Trump Admin Touts Statistics Linking Immigration To Terror; White House: Trump Not 'A Scripted Robot, Uses Tough Language'; Trump: Government Shutdown 'Could Happen' Friday. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 17, 2018 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:20] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Thanks. Thanks for watching 360. Time to hand it over to Chris Cuomo for "Cuomo Prime Time". Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thank you, Anderson.

Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah is here to make the case for the president on immigration, the hope for a budget deal, and he will be tested on both. We also have Congressmen from the left and the right who might hold the keys to a deal.

I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to "Prime time".

As always, we start with facts first. Immigrants are dangerous. I'm going to throw them out. I'm going to build a big wall all the way across the border and Mexico is going to pay for it. Those were the signature promises that helped Donald John Trump separate himself from a packed Republican field.

Now, of course at the time, Trump may not have thought that he would ever win or have to deliver on any of those promises. And those who did think that they might win knew that much of what Trump was saying was crazy talk.

And just tonight, finally after almost a year in office, the White House comes clean as the chief of staff, General John Kelly, admits that much of Trump's talk about immigration was, "uninformed."


JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: He's very definitely changed his attitudes towards the DACA issue and even the wall. He has evolved in the way he's looked at things. Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president is very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.


CUOMO: The problem is the president doesn't seem to be backing off the wall as a promise, and he is not telling leadership what he wants in a bill other than his controversial preference for more people from Norway and fewer people from Africa and other hard-hit places.

So it is important to understand where we are right now as a function of how we got here. We're just two days from a potential government shutdown. So first Trump had said last week he was all about a "bill of love" and that he would sign anything that they brought him.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This group comes back hopefully with an agreement, this group and others from the Senate, from the House, comes back with an agreement, I'm signing it. I mean I will be signing it. I'm not going to say, oh, gee, I want this or I want that. I'll be signing it.


CUOMO: Two days later, he said, oh, gee, I want this, and I want that. The love was gone. The president refused to sign a bipartisan bill as promised and created a massive controversy with this generous thought. "Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?"

Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pleading with the president, please, just make up your mind.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: I'm looking for something that President Trump supports, and he's not yet indicated what measure he's willing to sign. As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I would be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels.


CUOMO: Right? So it helps understand why they are doing exactly that, spinning their wheels. Some of the legislators are putting together a deal, but they don't really know whether or not it will be acceptable to the leader because the leader doesn't know exactly what he can deliver to the president and make it OK.

Now, you could argue, well, that's not how this process works. You have your bills. You debate them. You get the votes, and then you go to the president. But all we know is how it's working right now or not working in this case. So what do you say? Let's get after it and get some answers.

Tonight we're going to go one-on-one with three big guests. We've got Democratic Congressman and Deputy Democratic Party Chair Keith Ellison. We have the Former Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Republican Congressman Jim Jordan. But let's start with the good- looking man next to me right now. The Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah here to make the case that everything I just said is wrong.

Raj Shah, thank you for being on the show. It's good to see you.


CUOMO: You made me nervous there for a second, Raj. They said you weren't ready. I had to start ad-libbing. I'm good that you showed up. It's good to have you, and I appreciate you taking the opportunity.

SHAH: Thanks.

CUOMO: So help us understand what I was just outling for the audience, the truth of the situation. Is it true that the president has not given clear direction to Mitch McConnell about what he wants in a bill?

SHAH: The president has been pretty clear about what it will take to get us to the next phase by having a DACA fix along with border security, ending chain migration, and ending the visa lottery system. Remember, that clip you showed of the president where he said this group, we want something from this group and others, that was a large table of bicameral, bipartisan, Democrats and Republicans, so they walked away with those four ideas. The plan that was presented to him on Thursday by Senators Durbin and Graham didn't address those four issues. It only addressed DACA. It was inadequate border security, not ending chain migration or the visa lottery. It was simply an inadequate bill. So if we address those four issues in a serious way and bring the president a bill he can sign, then, yes, of course he'll be glad to sign it.

[21:05:29] CUOMO: But that is different. Objectively it did deal with all four of the issues.

SHAH: Not really, Chris.

CUOMO: But not to the satisfaction of the president, understood, Raj. But they were in there, and it was a function of bipartisan cooperation, which is what he had asked for, what he had prescribed. So now that takes us to a why did things change?

You've heard the speculation from Durbin and from Graham, but I want to hear it from you, the White House directly. They say if it's Graham, they say he got some bad advice between when he said he'd sign it and when we came with this bill. From Durbin, he was sandbagged by Stephen Miller and that when they got in there, the president had been told this bill was bad. Is that true?

SHAH: That's not true at all. Look, the president is calling the shots in this White House, and this is an immigration bill that he can't sign. Let's just take one of these four issues.

On border security, the president and the Department of Homeland Security are asking for $18 billion for a southern border wall. This bill provides $1.6 billion, just a fraction of that, and it places restrictions on that funding. It doesn't provide the additional border patrol agents that we need. It doesn't provide the expedited removal authority that the Secretary of Homeland Security asked for in that meeting. It's frankly just not a serious proposal. If you want to move on and on on the list, on chain migration, this bill does very little to end chain migration, in fact it makes the problem worse by giving legal status to hundreds of thousands of folks.

What our test is as a White House and what this president's test is will this fix the problem with a permanent solution so that way three to five years from know, we don't have hundreds of thousands of new illegal immigrants asking for additional protections. That's a problem we don't want to have, and this bill would not fix it.

CUOMO: Right.

SHAH: We have a porous border, and we'd still have problems with the legal immigration system that encourage illegal immigration, which is not something the president can support.

CUOMO: But then why does Mitch McConnell say, I don't know what the president wants?

SHAH: Well, look, the president has outlined a whole series of immigration reform priorities that go well beyond these four issues that we announced last year. It involves legal immigration reform, H- 1B visa reform --

CUOMO: I get that you're giving a list there, Raj. But Mitch McConnell says he doesn't know what you want. You understand the disconnect here?

SHAH: We want to give Congress some flexibility on those four issues, but we want a bill that seriously ends the visa lottery, seriously reforms chain migration, secures the southern border with a DACA fix. Those four things presented in one bill is something that this president can sign. What Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin presented just wasn't that.

CUOMO: Well, they thought it was, right? And now they have a group of about 10 or 12 senators who agree with them. But I still don't get how if it's this clear coming from you to me, why Mitch McConnell says, I don't know what the president wants. Are they not talking? Has it not been articulated well? Do you think Mitch McConnell just doesn't get it? How do you explain it?

SHAH: There's been plenty of discussion back and forth and we'd be happy to contact the leader's office another time about this. But the key point here is that I'm laying out and the president has laid out what we need in a DACA fix. This is something that both parties did come together on last Tuesday. We want them to continue working on this issue. Kevin McCarthy has held some meetings. General Kelly went to the Hill today to continue these discussions.

Remember, the Graham-Durbin legislation is not the only show in town. We're trying to get to a solution that both Democrats and Republicans, all the folks in that meeting as well as other folks on the Hill and this president can support.

CUOMO: Will the president back off on the wall? I mean, there's now been some subtle and not too subtle indications that what was promised during the campaign was just that, a campaign promise. Mexico is not going to pay for it. The general, John Kelly, chief of staff today saying the president was uninformed when it comes to immigration during the campaign. Kellyanne Conway said since becoming president, he's met with experts, and it turns out that the geography is a little bit more complicated. There's some rivers involved.

It's hard to believe, Raj. You know, the president is a sophisticated man. He knows what the map of the country looks like. He going to relent and say, look, by wall I mean metaphor like every other reasonable person has said. I'm not going to build a big wall because it's a big sticking point for people, Raj.

SHAH: Well, look, the president's priorities have been pretty clear from the campaign until today. We do want a southern wall, a physical barrier along the southern border to stop the illegal flow of illegal immigrants and stop the flow of drugs.

[21:10:01] And to be clear, you know, since coming into office, he's talked with experts like General Kelly. Remember, General Kelly ran southern command before becoming DHS Secretary. This man knows what he's talking about. He says we need about 800 miles of new fencing and physical structure along the border, that we need to fix about 600 miles of fencing and border and wall structures. And then in some areas, there already exist very deep rivers and very rough terrain. And in some of those areas, yes, we wouldn't need to build new structures. But let be clear what we're asking for. The Department of Homeland Security has done the homework on this. They're requesting $18 billion to fund this. And the Senators' proposal, Graham and Durbin, was for $1.6 billion, again, with a lot of restrictions on it. That gets you less than 10 percent of the way there.

CUOMO: It was a planning step. But basically what they were funding was an amelioration (ph), you know, fixing the conditions in some places and figuring what is actually necessary. But there's a bigger consideration. There are actually two. So let's go one by one.

Raj, is this wall so important that it will overwhelm what the president said he really wanted which was a "bill of love?" Because you've got to make a choice right now. It's pretty clear. If you want to help the Dreamers and help with that urgent circumstance and not keep seeing stories like we did like Jorge Garcia torn away from his family and sent to Mexico, a place where he hasn't lived since he was 10 years old, you're going to have to act and now. Is that more important to the president than the wall?

SHAH: Well, our priorities are very clear. We cannot get into a situation where we have a temporary stopgap fix and then a few years down the road, we have hundreds of thousands of new illegal immigrants in this country. That is not a fix, and that's inhumane, and that is not a "bill of love." That is not one that will provide a permanent solution. What we want is an actual permanent solution, and that starts with securing our southern border.

You said is this a sticking point? It is a sticking point for the chief of staff, for the president, and for the current Secretary of Homeland Security. I was in the meeting that Tuesday where she was very clear with the members around the table. I need a southern border wall. I need that physical barrier. I also need more agents on the southern border. This bill doesn't fund that. I also need expedited removal authority so that when people jump over the border, they can be removed immediately in an expedited fashion rather than be gummed up in the court system for years and years.

CUOMO: Right --


CUOMO: -- urgency. I'm not saying they're not necessary. I've been down there. I've spent time with the border police. I've been with the politicians from there. I get it. I get it. Many people do, Raj. And to be fair, they got it during the campaign. It was the president who had a hard-line position on this and said, no, no, no, a brand-new wall all the way across. Now he discovered maps and some expert testimony and was admittedly uninformed according to the chief of staff. So he's now where everybody else was. But still you have people who are in need right now. And shouldn't that come before these other considerations which matter but aren't as urgent?

SHAH: We think not. We do think border security is a very urgent situation. Say that to the family of Kate Steinle. Say that to other families --

CUOMO: Say that to the family of Jorge Garcia, who just watched him get thrown out.


CUOMO: -- parking ticket on his record, Raj.

SHAH: Chris, let's be clear. A DACA fix would not help Jorge Garcia.

CUOMO: Why not?

SHAH: He's not a DACA recipient. He's above the age.

CUOMO: He missed it by one year.

SHAH: Let's be clear about that.


CUOMO: But you could make changes in the law where you consider these kinds of things.

CUOMO: We could. But now that is not even addressed by the Graham/Durbin proposal. Let's just be clear about that. I just want to be clear as a matter of fact checking here --

CUOMO: Hold on, Raj. I'm good with that. But, you know, Kate Steinle, you know -- look, it is such a God-awful situation that that family had to live through. Publicized as it was, losing Katie Steinle, all understood. But you guys have a pretty intentional effort to make illegal immigrants as you call them monsters. You put out this DHA report today that fictionalizes the risk of terror that is represented by people who come into this country illegally. We understand that that's against the law. We understand that it has to stop. But why make them all into villains? Why inflate statistics and cherry-pick to make Americans afraid of these people? Why do that?

SHAH: We're not trying to say that everybody should be afraid of, you know --

CUOMO: Then why would you put out a report, Raj, that says basically three out of four of them may be terrorists? That was the point of that report that taxpayers paid for.

SHAH: Chris, let's be accurate here, right?

CUOMO: Right here, go ahead.

SHAH: No, no. The report said that three out of four people that have been convicted of federal terrorism charges were foreign nationals who either come here illegally or through the legal immigration system.

CUOMO: Right.

SHAH: So, yes, should they be afraid?

CUOMO: Where were they radicalized? Where did they commit the acts? You ignore that? Why? Because you wanted the biggest number you could get. Why don't you say these people are incarcerated at lower rates than the rest of the population? Why don't you mention that? You're not trying to make them look good. You're trying to make them look bad. They're either a risk or they're not. I'm not --

[21:15:08] SHAH: -- are you going to answer the question yourself or can I answer it?

CUOMO: Sometimes it provides a better answer to some of these questions because maybe you're ducking them, but go ahead.

SHAH: I'm not ducking anything. Illegal immigration can pose a public safety and terrorism threat to the United States. That report reinforces that point. Three out of four people who have been convicted on federal terrorism charges in the United States, in American courts, are foreign nationals.

CUOMO: Where did they commit the terrorism? Where were they radicalized?

SHAH: Hang on, Chris. Some of them committed in the United States, most of them did. Some of them have committed them overseas. Some of them were engaged in these actions, were radicalized in the United States. Some of them were radicals who came to the United States.

The individuals -- hang on. Let's just talk about one issue specifically. In New York, last year in October and then December, you had two individuals, one brought here through the visa lottery system, something we're trying to end, another brought here through chain migration, something we're trying to reform. These are two individuals. One killed eight people in cold blood in a terrorist attack.

CUOMO: I was there.

SHAH: In October. I know you were there.

CUOMO: I had friends who lived in that area. I understand but you're cherry picking cases to create a general rule. If you wanted to do that, the top of your list --

SHAH: We are making a very serious point that illegality does not breed safety. I think that's a well understood point. We talked about Kate Steinle. Hang on, we talked about Kate Steinle. The person who killed Kate Steinle, the illegal immigrant who killed Kate Steinle came to the United States across the southern border six or seven times, we're not sure the exact number, but multiple times because we have a porous southern border.

CUOMO: True. No, it was actually worse than that, Raj. Let me pad your own point. It was worse than that. You also had a system in that state that was either inefficient, ineffective, or intentionally so and allowed some recidivism. That's all true. But it's also one case. And what you did with this report and what you do with the rhetoric if you try to paint a picture about these people that is inaccurate.

SHAH: I think we're both trying to make points, Chris.

CUOMO: There are lots of Jorge Garcias and there might be more if you don't act. But what I'm saying if you were really worried about who's killing people in the name of terror in this country, you'd be focused on white supremacists. That's your biggest threat. Ask the Intel community. They'll tell you the same thing. But they're not your enemy apparently. Your enemy are these people who come in illegally, and you want to make them look as bad as possible. I don't understand how that goes hand in hand with a "bill of love," Raj. Explain it to me.

SHAH: I strongly disagree with your premise there. Look, the president is trying to fix our whole immigration system, legal and illegal. And the first step is to get a deal on the four points that we talked about, DACA, ending chain migration, ending the visa lottery and actually securing our southern border. That's where we're going to get results and you and I might actually agree on something.

CUOMO: Raj, we'll agree on a lot. The biggest point is I'm very happy you took this opportunity and you're welcome to come speak about what matters to the American people whenever works for you, the same for Sarah Sanders and everybody in the White House including the president. One other thing while I have you.

SHAH: Sure.

CUOMO: This kerfuffle, this controversy a really nontroversy (ph) about what the president said in that meeting when he expressed that preference for people from Norway versus other hard-hit places, when you were reached for comment about it in the immediate aftermath, Raj, you did not deny what the president said. You put out a compelling statement about tough language and what they want and what you don't want as policy. You didn't deny what was told to you that he said. Why not?

SHAH: Well, I wasn't in the meeting to be clear. I was told that the president used harsh language. He may not have used the exact words that were there. But the president used tough language because immigration is a tough issue, and we wanted to recite the point that he was making, which is that the president wants to create a merit- based immigration system that is not country-specific, that is not built on race.

CUOMO: If he wanted to do that, why did he make a point that was all about naming countries?

SHAH: No. The point -- just to bring you into the meeting, the president was given a plan to change the visa lottery system by changing it from one group of select countries that have a --

CUOMO: Right.

SHAH: -- kind of a reservation of visas to another set of select countries and the point the president was making is why not pick Norway, why not pick any other country? Why pick these countries? And the point he's making is we want merit based reforms that aren't specific to any individual -- or, rather, any country. We want the best and the brightest. We want the folks with the best educational backgrounds.

CUOMO: That's his choice, and that's a bigger policy consideration. But because of the language that he used and this then latent desire to cover it up, you got Senators Perdue, Cotton, and the Homeland Security Secretary looking foolish now because they tried to cover up something that was very --

SHAH: I don't think they looked foolish. Let's be clear. I talked to --

CUOMO: Who doesn't recall what the most important man in the room said? Who's going to sit in front of a Senate panel and say, I don't know the population of Norway? Come on, Raj. You put them in that position.

[21:20:00] SHAH: Chris, to be clear, I talked to Secretary Nielsen about it before this was reported and she couldn't recall the comment.

CUOMO: But she understood what -- she understood what Senator Graham said, which was a direct echo of the president according to Graham, but she didn't remember what the president said.

SHAH: Sshe remembered a heated conversation and to question her integrity without proof I think is really out of line. The point that the president was making and that we continue to make is that we need merit-based reforms to fix our immigration system, the best and the brightest regardless of race, religion, or national origin.

CUOMO: Raj Shah, I appreciate you coming on. I appreciate it. As I apologized the other day, I didn't know your last name. I apologize for that, but I'll tell you one thing. I will never forget it.

SHAH: Chris, thanks for having me on and I appreciate it.

CUOMO: All right. We'll have you back soon. Be well.

All right, so the government shutdown could just come in hour, 51 hours. I don't want to give you a false count because the hope is they figure out a deal that is good for you and for this government.

So both sides are pointing the finger at the other. They're already casting blame, and we don't even know what's going to happen yet. We do know this, though. It's the hard-liners that are making a difference on the left and the right.

Up next, we're going to go one-on-one with members from each side. We'll start with the Democrat, Keith Ellison. How is the Congressman prepared to vote right now?


[21:24:52] CUOMO: So are they going to shut down the government or are they going to make a deal? Right now we're in this odd frenzy where both sides say they're working to get a deal but they're also both threatening that they may not go along with any deal. And both sides say if there is no deal, the other is to blame for a shutdown, and that, friends, is Washington in a single dose.

So let's get after each side. Let's start with the Democratic position. We have Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota. He's also the Deputy Chair of the Democratic Party. Congressman, thank you for being with us.


CUOMO: Where are you on a budget vote as of now?

ELLISON: Well, at this point, you know, there are some key elements that are missing, and at this point I'm not in a position to vote for a continuing resolution. The Republicans are the majority. They have, you know -- they have enough votes to pass anything they want. So if they don't want to compromise with us and put some things in there that we need, well, then I hopefully they'll be able to pass it all on their own.

CUOMO: In the House, they may, right? But the Senate is the issue. If the Democrats are trigger to filibuster, then you need 60 votes. So the Democrats are relevant here. It is true the GOP is in control of both Houses of Congress and the White House, but because of that rule, you guys are relevant. So let me ask you, what do the Democrats want in the bill in order to make a deal for Friday?

ELLISON: We have to have something in there to fix this Dream Act problem.


ELLISON: Well, because you have thousands of people nearly every day going out of legal status, and therefore are deportable. And, you know, I've talked with many of them. They come to my office. I talk with them on the phone. I meet with them in community meetings, and they are devastated. You know, these folks are losing their ability to have the right to work. They're losing their ability to be able to sleep at night. And we could have fixed -- first of all, Sessions and Trump never had to rescind DACA in the first place. They did. So then we could have done something in October. They didn't.

CUOMO: They have a different position. Their position is you guys created this mess. It was unconstitutional. The courts were going to overturn it. It always should have been in the purview of Congress, so he gave it to you with a time line. Did he have to do it? No. They say it was a practicality. But he did it.

The other side of the argument is this, though. And you're right. I'm not being hypocritical, but I was arguing that to Raj because he's on the right. You're on the left, and there are two sides to the argument here's the other one. You don't have a dead line on Friday for DACA. As long as they abide by the federal court decision out of California and they keep processing applications for extension, the Dreamers are OK or held in abeyance. You have a real deadline in March, not Friday, so you could do this budget resolution and do DACA thereafter, that is, if you trust the Republicans to do it with you.

ELLISON: But every day people are going out of status anyway. There are people who are losing status and are subject to deportation now. I mean for these families, you know, the urgency of the moment couldn't be greater.

CUOMO: That's true.

ELLISON: So the fact is, is that they've also filed, I think, an appeal to the Supreme Court to expedite that stay you referred to, so who knows how long that's going to be in place. Look, the time is now to do something. Sessions and Trump never needed to rescind it. They did. Let's fix that. You probably remember when Dianne Feinstein at the televised negotiation --

CUOMO: Said give us a clean bill.

ELLISON: Right. Give us a clean bill. Then we'll deal with all that other complicated stuff down the line. He said, OK. He said --

CUOMO: No, but then he didn't, right? Look, we just heard from the chief of staff. You know, he suffers from a little bit of an information gap -- the president, we now understand, when it comes to this issue. And that was at play in that meeting.

ELLISON: He seems clear to me. He seems clear to me. I mean he -- look, he seems pretty clear. What he needs to do is have the courage of his convictions and say to people who want to pull him into some xenophobic anti-immigrant position that he's going to do DACA --

CUOMO: Well, I don't know that he has to be pulled into that. He said plenty (ph) along those lines himself --

ELLISON: Yes, agree.

CUOMO: But let me ask you, you've got your own crisis of conviction because if the Democrats play this out the way they might on the Senate side, then the government gets shut down and theoretically it's on you because those --

ELLISON: No, no.

CUOMO: -- would be the votes that aren't there.

ELLISON: I wouldn't agree. Here's the thing, Chris. This city is built on compromise. You have to work it out. You can't say, we're going to take a position that you don't agree with, but we need your votes. Therefore, surrender your position, or else we shut down the government. That's what we call hostage-taking. We don't believe in it. We don't do it. We say, we'll go along with something we're not even happy with as long as we get some things we have to have. That is the way Washington is supposed to work. That's the way it worked in the past.

Somehow they're saying, you two it our way or we're going to shut down the government and then blame you for it. That's not going to work, Chris, and I think the American people see right through it.

CUOMO: Well, we will see soon enough. You know, literally we're counting down the hours. Congressman, appreciate you making the case. Always welcome as you know. Be well.

ELLISON: Thank you.

CUOMO: Get something done for the people.

[21:30:00] That brings us to tonight's great debate. We've got CNN Political Commentator, Ana Navarro, and Matt Schlapp, the Former Political Director for President George W Bush. Matt Schlapp, I start with you.


CUOMO: The president, according to Mitch McConnell, and according to General John Kelly doesn't have a lot of information behind his positions on immigration and hasn't been clear with them about what he wants. Is he helping or hurting this process?

SCHLAPP: I don't agree on the General Kelly front. On the Mitch McConnell front I think the key is this, which is Donald Trump negotiates in a different way. He told them the four issues that he wanted to see resolved and put together in a package. He hasn't said exactly what he wants that final package to look like because, of course, that's premature deal-making. He said to the group, by the way, the group that Lindsey Graham came back to the Oval Office to talk about their deal was not that larger group, did not include Kevin McCarthy, did not include John Cornyn, did not include a lot of other people who would like to have been part of that package. And he said, look, give me a deal that has DACA, wall funding, ending chain migration, and ending the diversity visa lottery system. Not true.

CUOMO: Wait, hold on, a second.


CUOMO: Not to his sufficiency, not to his satisfaction, but they were in there.

SCHLAPP: Two problems --

CUOMO: I read it.

SCHLAPP: Two problems with the deal that were presented. They went back to this issue of the communities who had temporary protective service, which the president said I'm not going to sign a deal with that in it.

And the second thing, the second mistake they made is Lindsey Graham came running into the White House and undercut that larger group. The president said it's this group and a larger group. If you guys come back with a package -- they tried to cut the other people out, big process foul.

CUOMO: Ana, how do you see it?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I do think the president has an information gap, but I think that voters knew that, right? He beat 16 other Republicans, most of whom were steeped in policy and actually have studied this issue and other issues for years. He beat a woman in Hillary Clinton who also has studied policy for years. People voted for Donald Trump, many of them, because he is a deal maker, not because he knows the policy details.

I am not surprised that this is a new piece of information for him that he doesn't need 2,200 square miles of wall, that there are rivers and there are mountains and there's topography, and there's all sorts of issues that make other forms of barriers and border security more effective. That's OK. That he doesn't know that stuff is OK. When you've got a John Kelly, a John Cornyn, a Lindsey Graham, a Dick Durbin, people who know these issues and have been studying them for years, delegate. This is not your thing. What you've got to do is make a deal. In the same way that he did with the tax bill.

And look at the victory lap he's taking on the tax bill. He actually had an opportunity to stand there during the State of the Union and announce that he had been able to accomplish a legislative victory that eluded Barack Obama and eluded George W. Bush despite them really wanting to do it.

CUOMO: Don't give up hope. NAVARRO: That he, Donald J. Trump, was able to do it. Now we have been completely derailed. In a week's time, we have gone from love to --

CUOMO: To honesty.

NAVARRO: An s-show.


CUOMO: Listen, let's do it a little differently tonight. Please stay. We only heard from half, right? We heard from Ellison. Now I want to talk to Jim Jordan on the right. And then I want to bring you guys back because then we'll have more information about the state of play.

SCHLAPP: Listen big. Listen big here.

CUOMO: All right. So Jim Jordan, there he is smiling. Always a good sign. He's been huddling with GOP leadership this evening. Is there hope for a deal? We'll get the word from the Congressman right after this.


[21:36:34] CUOMO: Let me make sure I'm right about this. Yes, good, we are. There is still no word of any kind of significant deal to avoid a government shutdown this Friday. The members of the Conservative House Freedom Caucus are not onboard for a short-term spending bill that would keep the government running. Why? What's the holdup? What do they want?

Well, there's a lot of spin, but what is the truth? We know that hard-liners are driving the resistance on the left and the right, including my next guest. Let's go one-on-one with Republican Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, who helped found the Freedom Caucus and was its first chairman.

Congressman, always a pleasure.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS: Always good to be with you too, Chris.

CUOMO: So I see that you're faking some kind of malady thinking this will go better for you.

JORDAN: No, I'm not faking. I got laryngitis. I sound like some teenager but because it's your show, I said I'm still going to come on.

CUOMO: I appreciate it. And I'm sure you strip your throat argument for what you want in a bill. I know how passionate you are. Are you in a position right now to vote yes on what's out there for a budget resolution on Friday?

JORDAN: No. Here's what I want. I want us to do what we told the American people we were going to do, what they elected us to do. Fund defense, hold the line on non-defense, and do what the election was about on immigration. Build the border security law, end the visa lottery, end chain migration.

And then if the Democrats want to shut down the government because they want to give amnesty to people who came here illegally, then you can have them on your show and they can explain why that's the appropriate thing to do. I don't think it is. That's what this is about and that's what we in the Freedom Caucus are pushing for.

CUOMO: Where's your heart though, congressman? You know the Dreamers are in a fix. You know these aren't your typical illegals as you guys like to call them. You know the story of the man who just separated from his family in Detroit. That's not what we're supposed to be about. You heard the president say he wants a "bill of love" for the Dreamers. Where's your love?

JORDAN: We have love for the rule of law so let's do things that we campaigned on and the American people elected us to do. So let's do those first. Then we can deal with the DACA situation. But the election wasn't so much about DACA, but it was definitely about a border security wall, about chain migration, about the visa lottery, about e-verify, about sanctuary cities, all those important issues. Those were front and center particularly in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, states that put Donald Trump in the White House.

CUOMO: But priorities matter here too in terms of timing. And when it comes to the wall, look, they're trying to do it delicately for this White House. But, you know, you had Kellyanne say, well, since becoming president, the president has met with experts and understands now that there are geographical restrictions and rivers involved. And John Kelly, the general, chief of staff, just said, well he was uninformed. The wall was puffing. I'm going to build a brand-new wall along the border. That was a campaign promise. It wasn't something he thought was practical or he should not have thought was practical. Why push for something like that, that is not even what the border agents say will make the biggest difference for them?

JORDAN: Chris, it was central to the campaign. Every time the president talked, he talked about border security and a border security wall.

CUOMO: I know but it was a myth that he was advancing that this big wall could be built.

JORDAN: I don't think so. And it certainly wasn't a myth with people who voted for him.

CUOMO: His own chief of staff said he was uninformed.

JORDAN: Put the wall where it's appropriate to put the wall. End chain migration. Deal with the sanctuary city issue. Get rid of the visa lottery. Those are all critical things. And frankly, --

CUOMO: But the timing -- (CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: The timing is not as critical as it is for the Dreamers. People are losing their eligibility day by day.

JORDAN: The court just ruled, Chris. There's no hard deadline now for the DACA individuals.

[21:40:03] CUOMO: That's to continue processing applications.

JORDAN: There's time to --

CUOMO: You're still getting expirations. That creates anxiety.

JORDAN: There is time to do what the election is about, do what we all campaigned on. There's a reason the American people put Republicans in control of the House, the Senate, and a big reason why they made Donald Trump the president of this great country. So let's focus on those issues, and then we can deal with -- and there's a bill.

The Labrador good -- piece of legislation that the president has endorsed. That piece of legislation does everything I just described, and it also deals with these 700,000 DACA people, DACA individuals across the country. It deals with them as well. So that's the kind of legislation we should pass and pass as quickly as we can in the House of Representatives.

CUOMO: If the government shuts down, it's on you. True or false?

JORDAN: No, it's on the Democrats.

CUOMO: You control both Houses and the White House.

JORDAN: We can pass something in the House. If it goes over to the Senate and because of this crazy filibuster rule, this crazy 60 vote rule, Chuck Schumer and Democrats say amnesty is more important than giving our troops a pay raise. Amnesty is more important than funding our military, getting the weapon systems upgrade, the maintenance done on our vehicles and ships that needs to be done, if the Democrats say it's more important to have amnesty than to deal with our military at the levels we all know it needs to be, frankly, at levels even most Democrats have already voted for, then that's on them, and you have to have them on your show and ask them the question why they shut down the government.

CUOMO: I can guarantee you that. I will. That's what we do.


CUOMO: But I don't know that's the fair proposition. First of all, let's not be too heavy handed about where you guys on the right are when it comes to military spending. You know, sequestration was something that a lot of your brothers and sisters were in favor of too --

JORDAN: I didn't vote for it.

SCHLAPP: And that put a sledgehammer on to the military.

JORDAN: And I didn't vote for it.


CUOMO: -- right?

JORDAN: Well, yes. But I didn't vote for it. We're on record in the House this year. The vast majority of Republicans and a majority of Democrats supporting the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes spending at certain levels. So Democrats can't have it both ways. They can't vote for the authorization and then when it comes time to actually fund our troops and pay for our military, say, oh, I'm not going to vote for it because I think amnesty is more important. Really? That's your position. I'm not going to vote for 2 it even know I --


CUOMO: That's deceptive calling it amnesty because --

JORDAN: Did they come here legally? I mean, that -- look, we want --

CUOMO: Can a 10-year-old form criminal intent?

JORDAN: What I'm saying is did they come here legally?

CUOMO: Can a 10-year-old form criminal intent?

JORDAN: Can a 10-year-old come here illegally through their parents.

CUOMO: They can be brought here illegally but they can't commit a crime. That's the point. They're innocent in this.

JORDAN: That's whey talking about childhood arrivals and I understand that and we want to help those individuals.

CUOMO: Not really. You don't what. You're putting them at the end of this laundry list that everything you want first, but not your priority.

JORDAN: The Labrador bill deals with the DACA individuals in the appropriate way. But it says while you're doing that and before you do that, secure the border which was fundamentally the focus of the 2016 election.

CUOMO: But was that done on a good faith basis? You don't think that there was an effort during the election to make people who come in here illegally monsters? This report that just came out --

JORDAN: No, of course not. We want to welcome --

CUOMO: How do you explain this report, congressman?

JORDAN: We're the greatest country in the world. We welcome people from everywhere.

CUOMO: but you make it sound like they have a 50/50 chance to be terrorists.

JORDAN: they've got to do it legally. And what I'm saying is when we're going to deal with these individuals who came here as children, we need to do it in a way that is consistent with the campaign and consistent with securing our border.

CUOMO: Those are campaign promises that are now being pulled back by people in the White House themselves. And maybe --

JORDAN: I think we should keep our promise. I think we should keep our word.

CUOMO: I understand, but --

JORDAN: I think the voters expect that as well, so let's do it and take care of these individuals who came here. But let's do it in that order.

CUOMO: We'll end on this. Of all the things that we've been discussing here in terms of what people want, nothing pulls higher, nothing pulls higher than save these people who are the Dreamers. Save these people. They don't deserve to get thrown out. Even within your own party, three out of four Republicans say do them the right way.

JORDAN: We're not against that but we're for securing the border first.

CUOMO: But that's not what happens in the polls. So priorities matter. Those are the choices. And as always, you'll be judged at the polls. But Congressman, thank you. I know you're not 100 percent, but you're always more than I can handle. Thank you for being with me on the show.

JORDAN: You bet, Chris. Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: All right. So, we've heard from a key Democrat. We've heard from a key Republican. You get where their heads are in the moment. Now we can debate. We'll have back Matt Schlapp and Ana Navarro and they will give us the best sense on which side is making the most sense, next.


[21:48:30] CUOMO: Now we've heard from both sides. Now we can have a proper debate. Ana and Matt are back with me now. And just to reset, there is new information, and I think it's very critical, all right? Chief of Staff General John Kelly. This question of did the president really mean that? Was Trump running on a little bit of a bogus promise just to make himself different, just to pump people up? And everyone said, no, no, no. Listen to what John Kelly said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KELLY: He's very definitely changed his attitudes towards the DACA issue and even the wall. He has evolved in the way he's looked at things. Campaign to governing are two different things, and this president is very, very flexible in terms of what is within the realm of the possible.


CUOMO: So what is all of this $18 billion for a new wall all the way down? That's not even what the border people are asking for who patrol and secure it. Is Kelly right, Matt? Has he evolved, and so should everybody else, then, on your side.

SCHLAPP: Well, I mean I might quibble with some of the general's words. I definitely think that when somebody who hasn't had any federal government experience gets into the federal government, there's no question you're taking your crash course in this.

But, Chris, let me ask you the question back. If he's "evolved" on the wall and these questions, why are Democrats opposing him? Democrats like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have voted for fence funding in previous appropriations bills. I don't see any Democrats running around many, anyway, except for Hillary Clinton when she's talking to bankers, saying that they don't want that southern border secured. I t think this all --

[21:50:06] CUOMO: You think she knows more bankers than Donald Trump does?

SCHLAPP: Yes, well, she certainly got paid more. But my --

CUOMO: You think she's made more money than Donald Trump has?

SCHLAPP: Even her --


SCHLAPP: -- are even more expensive than Donald Trump --

CUOMO: You need to reach back in the quiver and get a different arrow.

SCHLAPP: So the point is this -- which is, why don't we just secure the border and you can quiver with --


CUOMO: Because you said you're going to build a big wall. Ana Navarro get in here --

SCHLAPP: We are.

NAVARRO: That is the initial promise.

SCHLAPP: We are.

CUOMO: But Ana, it doesn't make any sense.

SCHLAPP: It does make sense.

NAVARRO: Chris, I'm very confused right now by what Trump said last week, by what John Kelly said today. I know John Kelly, and I know he understands border security. And I know he's been saying, even when he was getting confirmed as DHS secretary, he was saying we did not need a solid wall, also at the border.

Here's what confuses me. Last week I heard Donald Trump say $18 billion, we don't need that much. We can do it for much less. I'm a great builder. I can build it faster. I can build it. Don't do to that to me. We don't need that much. I can do it cheaper. I can do it faster. And now a week later we are back at $18 billion. We've been told that he now understands he doesn't need all of that wall, that it's 700 miles that we're talking about. I think the grand bill includes language to put barriers and border security and those --

CUOMO: But didn't have the price tag.


NAVARRO: They are referring to.


NAVARRO: You know what I think?

SCHLAPP: There's no bill.

NAVARRO: The only game out there is this Durbin-Graham bill right now.

SCHLAPP: There's no bill.

NAVARRO: If there's any others put them all on the floor and both.

CUOMO: Now, Matt, here's your problem, with this -- like Jim Jordan just advances let's keep our promises, that's why we got elected. We get the hedge position from Kelly. Here's your problem.

SCHLAPP: I don't think it's a hedge.

CUOMO: It's got to be. Because even --

SCHLAPP: We're going to build a wall.

CUOMO: -- really big wall, the whole way across or now I'm informed and I've learned about things called maps and mountains and rivers.

SCHLAPP: Come on.


SCHLAPP: You're hanging your hat on this idea there's some complication to building a wall. We're still going to build the wall. CUOMO: No, it's a possibility.


CUOMO: -- because when you build a wall across a river you know what it's called? A dam.


CUOMO: That doesn't work. It was never going to work. But it worked well in the campaign.



SCHLAPP: You're wrong.

CUOMO: But no, here's the question for you.


SCHLAPP: You're wrong.

NAVARRO: -- are you taking their land to build the wall.

CUOMO: If you want to keep your promises --

SCHLAPP: You're going to get a wall. You're going to get a wall.

CUOMO: If you want to keep your promise --


CUOMO: OK, so you're going to keep your promises, so why doesn't Mexico pay for it?

SCHLAPP: I don't know what's going to happen with the negotiations?

CUOMO: What do you mean you don't know? That's your promise.


CUOMO: That's the second part of the chant. What are we going to do? Build a wall. Who's going to pay for it? Mexico.

SCHLAPP: Very nice, but let me answer your question. NAFTA renegotiations are going on right now. There is no question that both Canada and Mexico are going give America much more favorable terms because they don't want us to pull out of NAFTA, and I think that's going to be a big boom to the American economy.

CUOMO: That's a gross supposition.

SCHLAPP: I don't think so. I think, look. You talk to any --


SCHLAPP: Hold on, you talk to any corporate CEO like I do, that wants NAFTA, they're very concerned about this and they know the Trump administration is driving a hard bargain. I'd like to see how that deal comes up before people --

CUOMO: That's not how Mexico pays the wall.


SCHLAPP: How do you know?

NAVARRO: I think it's incredible that people can look in the camera and say with a straight face that Mexico is going to pay for this wall. We know that that's not going to happen. If you think that that's going to happen, you know what, go invest with Bernie Madoff. I think he's sitting in jail waiting or your investments. Give him a call. Get him to invest your money. Let's not be naive. Let's not lie to American people.

SCHLAPP: I'm not lying.

NAVARRO: Mexico is not going to pay for the wall.

SCHLAPP: I'm not lying.

NAVARRO: If want to build it, American taxpayers are going to build it. If it means doing that in order to get DACA, I think a lot of people are willing to do it. But let's not pretend Mexico is going to pay for it.

CUOMO: All right, so here's another issue then. Here's the issue on the other side that shouldn't be pretended about and we should be truthful about.

Ana, is there a false urgency being suggested here by the Democrats? The deadline on Dreamers is not Friday. It's in March. And who knows the president may have to push it if they can't get a deal done because it's an artificial deadline. Why do they have to have in the budget resolution right now?

NAVARRO: Because, look, the budget resolution provides a vehicle to be able to promote a showdown, to be able to get a result. Part of the reason, Chris, lets remember that we've known now for what, four and a half months that this deadline was coming. So we had six months. Congress has had and the White House has had six months to act on DACA and we are now down to six weeks.

So if you're a Dream Act kid and you're looking at that clock ticking down and the day is passing and no result being done in what you're seeing is instead this coming off the rail, I think you don't feel a false sense of urgency. I can tell you I traveled around the country and the Dream Act kids that I am talking to are not -- urgent, you know, are not feeling falsely urgency, they are feeling distressed.

[21:55:06] CUOMO: Right. NAVARRO: They have feeling sorrow. They are worry. They are feeling concern, fear, everything that you can imagine. Every negative feeling you can imagine.

CUOMO: I'm out of time on this, Ana. Look, I hear it. I appreciate both sides on this. We're going to need more facts. We're going to get them in the next couple of days so the debate will keep ongoing. Matt Schlapp, Ana Navarro, as always, thank you.

SCHLAPP: Thank you.

CUOMO: We have more "Cuomo Prime Time right" after this. Take a breather.


CUOMO: All right, so tomorrow on "Cuomo Prime Time", billionaire Tom Steyer, you've seen his petitions. He's trying to impeach the president of the United States. He's says, he has millions of signatures and he's got his checkbooks ready to back Democrats in 2018. Why? What is he doing all of this? What does he really want? We'll test it. Please join us.

That's all for tonight. Thank you for watching. Don't forget I'll be on tomorrow morning, every weekday morning with Alisyn on "New Day" starting at 6:00 A.M.

Right now, "CNN Tonight" with Don Lemon, the man, starts right now.