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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Congress Ends Shutdown After Dems Get Assurance On Immigration; Trump Signs Bill Reopening Government; Report: Trump, Sessions Pressuring FBI Head To Fire Deputy Director; Swalwell Calling For Sessions To Appear Before Judiciary Cmte; GOP Weighs Releasing Intel Behind Memo Alleging FBI Surveillance Abuse. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 22, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:01] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: First shutdown ever with one party in control of Congress and the White House. A band-aid that ensures we do this again in three weeks. The Democrats? What did they get? A promise of good intentions. Is that helping Dreamers sleep better tonight?
I'm going one-on-one with Counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway. She says the Democrats made the right deal. Let's see if she can prove it.
It is time to get after it, my friends. I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to "Prime Time".
Breaking news tonight, shutdown delayed. Both sides approved a spending plan to keep the government running, but just for three weeks. I guess that buys Democrats and Republicans more time to strike a deal on immigration. As I said, we're going to go one-on-one with Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, but let's begin where we always do with a special series, "Facts First".
Right now, Democrats and Republicans are both saying they made a great deal. You keep hearing all these simple salvos. Democrats came to their senses and put Americans first, but then put the Americans before those scary illegal immigrants as people on the right call them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: In regards to the government shutdown, we are pleased to see Senator Schumer accept the deal that President Trump put on the table from the very beginning, which was to responsible fund the government and debate immigration as a separate issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, Republicans and Democrats both say that they had difficulty knowing where the president was on this deal. But let's put that to the side. The leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, he has a tougher sell than the Republicans do here. He has a deal to make a deal with a Senate Majority Leader who is not exactly pumped to protect the Dreamers. I asked to have Schumer on tonight. I didn't even get a response. That tells you something. But he did say this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: We can get the 60 votes in the Senate for a DACA bill, and now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the Senate. It is a good solution, and I will vote for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: So here is the truth. Both sides are oversimplifying. Why? To please their tribes. Now, I can't give you that kind of sugar high, and you know what? You shouldn't want it. The truth is it's complicated. That's the truth. That's why Pelosi and Schumer, they don't seem to be on the same page, and the progressives aren't happy with either of them. That's why McConnell and Ryan were quizzical when they weren't quiet. That's why the president is all about absent, even relaying his thoughts about the deal via written statement.
The GOP is in control, right? They've got the House. They've got the Senate, and they've got the White House. So they should be able to govern. Shame on them for not being able to make a deal with the Democrats. And the leadership by all accounts was not really even trying.
The shutdown fomented division, which seems to be currency for the conservatives right now. And as for the Democrats, this was their big shot. They got rolled on the tax bill. Sorry, but they did. And the shutdown was the only leverage they have because they're in the minority. So did they fix the tax bill for the middle class workers? Did they argue that if you want this CR, you have to put in a provision that corporations need to use a portion of their tax savings to hire folks? No. Did they get a commitment for the Dreamers? No.
At the root of this all from both sides and fomented by the president is a lack of trust. It brings this song it's "A Matter of Trust" by Billy Joel, into such sharp focus. The first stanza goes, "I've lived long enough to have learned, the closer you get to the fire the more you get burned. But that won't happen to us, because it's always been a matter of trust." Let's see what happens now that the GOP has what it wanted and the Dreamers are still waiting.
Now we have a great opportunity for you tonight. We're going to go one-on-one with Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump. And as I teased, my friend, tonight you will do something that I've never seen you do on television before.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Oh, boy. This is a family show, you know.
CUOMO: Absolutely. My family is watching. My mother included. You know she likes you, but I don't care about that. This is the proposition. I don't get why this was a good deal for the Democrats to make. Why did the Democrats do the right thing today in your opinion?
CONWAY: Because they did the wrong thing three days ago. They basically wasted three days worrying the heck out of parents who have children relying on the CHIP, nine million vulnerable children relying on that for health care, military families worried if they would get their paycheck going forward, lots of federal employees, some of whom my colleagues here at the White House did nothing wrong except fall victim to a party, Christopher, that is moving so far to the left in the interest of mollifying its base, it shut down the government on Friday. And three days later, couldn't see anything, couldn't see anything that was different. The only thing that changed from Friday to today is the number of Democrats who went from no to yes. Not a single Republican went from no to yes.
[21:05:14] CUOMO: But what did they get?
CONWAY: What they got was the ire of their base. I really feel like in the span of a month, the Democrats have made two grievous errors. They voted against the tax cuts last month that have spurred billions of dollars from millions of people through pay raises, through bonuses, through investments, 20,000 new jobs just from Apple. Look at all the capital investments or jobs created are saying. So they're on the wrong side. They voted against tax cuts, and now they voted for shutting down the government. These are just grievous errors, and they got nothing.
CUOMO: You said they did the right thing today. What did they get for it? What did they get? A deal --
CONWAY: They got --
CUOMO: -- get something. What do you think they got?
CONWAY: They did the right thing by not playing politics with people's lives.
CUOMO: But what did they get?
CONWAY: By reversing course. What they got was the ire of their base. They got -- I think --
CUOMO: They got the ire of their base. They wouldn't have made the deal.
CONWAY: The ire of their base. And I think those -- I said everything that we've all been saying all weekend came true. I was on CNN. I was on your network two nights ago standing right here with your colleague Erin Burnett, and I talked about how the people who are auditioning for 2020 are shutting down the government, how they're trying to mollify the base. And what happened is -- and I said that night too, that with the four or five Democrats peeling off from Chuck Schumer's crazy idea to shut down the government that night, that was a sign of things to come. And today many more Democrats followed their lead. You know what happened here? CUOMO: No.
CONWAY: People rushed the Hill. The Democrats rushed the Hill, and as they were climbing up the Hill, some said this is not the Hill I want to die on. What are we doing? If I gave them a pen and I said, here's the CR, please underline in this what you Democrats disagree with, it would have come back blank. There was no one thing.
CUOMO: Well, that's not true. Nancy Pelosi has a whole list.
CONWAY: No, no, no.
CUOMO: All right, so let me counter a few --
CONWAY: No, no. Please answer the question. What did they disagree with? They don't disagree with CHIP, they say.
CUOMO: Well, Pelosi said you didn't have the community health centers in there. CHIP -- you guys took CHIP, so all you did was give it back. They didn't get more. You're saying you saved these kids and their health insurance. You took it from them.
CONWAY: You're darn right because they -- no. Excuse me. They spent a weekend scaring them. And here's another thing they did. The Democrats ironically wasted the weekend on the Dreamers. They didn't help them.
CUOMO: Wait, one thing at a time.
CONWAY: No, no, no. They didn't help them.
CUOMO: You guys pulled CHIP. ZIf you cared about CHIP you would have done something about it four months ago. You did nothing.
CONWAY: That's not true.
CUOMO: -- and the Democrats said, thank you for giving it back to us. That's the deal you got today. Bravo for you. I don't know why they made the deal.
CONWAY: That's not what the government shutdown is about.
CUOMO: And on the Dreamers -- come on. "Bill of love"?
CONWAY: I know it's a very difficult night for Democrats. I get it because even these headlines are really taking the Democrats and its leadership to task. Look, I'm with Delaware Senator Chris Coons on this. He's a Democrat of Delaware, and he actually holds Joe Biden's old Senate seat in Delaware. And tonight he made very clear that he's worried that the people who are running in 2020 aren't running as problem solvers, that they're drifting further and farther to the left. That is out of touch with main extreme America. I agree with him.
CUOMO: Which is moving farther and farther to the right if we listen to the White House. The irony that you accuse the Democrats of playing to their base, what else have you guys been doing?
CONWAY: No question.
CUOMO: Why are you treating immigrants like they're monsters? That's coming from your base.
CONWAY: Don't even go there. Don't even go there.
CUOMO: I'm all over it. I'm all over it. I bought property in this place.
CONWAY: This president -- let me tell you something. Let me tell you something. This president sat there for an hour with Dick Durbin directly to his right for an hour on camera and told the world, including CNN who covered it live and I think completely, Chris, he told the world that he's willing to negotiate a resolution on DACA. Why? Because the Congress has failed, they had nine months, and now he gave them six more. President Obama, as you know, put in an illegal executive order. He never went to the Congress --
CUOMO: We don't know it was illegal. It never made it all the way through the courts.
CONWAY: This president is trying to fix that. But this president is also --
CUOMO: He's not trying to fix it. He ended it. He ended it with a date certain. He said he cared about the Dreamers -- hold on. Hold on. Hold on.
CONWAY: I can understand why the Democrats like you are mad tonight, but --
CUOMO: I'm not -- I'm only mad because you're not letting me ask you the next question.
CONWAY: No, no. You're trying to ask it and you answer it. So which role is whom?
CUOMO: Here it is. Which role is whom? What is that? Is that Trump English? We each have a role to play here.
CONWAY: You're making fun of the president of the United States again? The guy is working and living right behind me because he got elected by the people. And part of that was because he insists on making this country more secure, including at its border. He wants this nation to have physical borders.
CUOMO: A big part of that. Thank you for that.
CONWAY: And the Democrat --
CUOMO: A big part -- let's talk about it. Hold on. CONWAY: -- do not want any border security. He wants border security. He wants that wall. He's not going to compromise on that. Why should he?
CUOMO: That's good to hear. That's good to hear.
CONWAY: He said he'll resolve the DACA issue. He'll resolve the DACA recipient issue, but he also wants an end to chain migration and to --
CUOMO: OK, now hold on one second. All right --
CONWAY: You can't be more clear than this guy.
CUOMO: Let's go through.
CONWAY: He hears immigration -- wait a second. We are --
CUOMO: Are you worried that if I say something, it will be disruptive?
CONWAY: No, you can. It's your show. You can --
[21:10:02] CUOMO: Well, I'm waiting.
CONWAY: Let me finish, please.
CONWAY: When the president talks about immigration, he talks about at least four principles for immigration. He has said it again and again. Those of us who speak on his behalf have said it again and again. You could not be more clear on it. He also has a 70-point plan. When the Democrats hear the word immigration, they only hear DACA. They only hear Dreamers. Why is that? Why --
CUOMO: This is the man who talked about immigration in one way and one way only for the duration of the campaign.
CONWAY: You want to go back to the campaign because we don't do that on CNN, remember? You don't want me to mention --
CUOMO: You just said he got elected by campaigning on immigration. You have to listen to yourself.
CONWAY: And he won. He won.
CUOMO: When you speak, you must also listen to what you're saying.
CONWAY: Border security.
CUOMO: That's right. He said I'm going to build the wall because these are monsters who are coming in here. They're bad people. They're murderers and rapists.
CONWAY: Chris, are you OK with drugs coming in this country?
CUOMO: That's what he said,
CONWAY: You got three kids. I have four. You OK with that? I'm asking you a question, we're not in a campaign.
CUOMO: That's what he said. Look, I could talk about drug policy all day with you and --
CONWAY: Let's do it.
CUOMO: -- and poke so many huge holes in the idea that a wall is going to make a big difference on the drug trafficking.
CONWAY: -- to the southern border, right?
CUOMO: That's what he said.
CUOMO: They're coming in tunnels. They're coming in aircrafts. And they're coming in cargo ships --
CONWAY: We don't have fentanyl coming into this country, right? 20,000 deaths last night from fentanyl alone. That doesn't bother you?
CUOMO: More than anywhere else, you want to talk about the deaths. They matter. We're talking about the rationale for the supply, which you're dead wrong about and you're using to advance a narrative that if you just put up a wall, everything is fine.
CONWAY: No, wrong. I'm not going to let you do that.
CUOMO: And, hold on.
CONWAY: I know today was a big loss, a big kick in the gut because we traded in the Russia graphics for the shutdown graphics and now that's done.
CUOMO: I hear you. Hold on, OK.
CONWAY: I'm holding.
CUOMO: Point by point. The president campaigned on fear about immigrants and a big wall. You say he has never changed on the wall and he won't. That's good to know because that's not what John Kelly says, and that's not what his surrogates say. The surrogates, his different allies in Congress, they all say, he always meant the wall as a metaphor. You came on the show last time and said he met with experts and now he knows that rivers are involved and there are geographic concerns like he never looked at a map before. But let see what he means --
CONWAY: No, that is not what I said. That's what you're saying because you like to disparage the office of the president.
CUOMO: Almost verbatim, absolutely not. Unfair shot but I'll let it go because it's nice to see you.
CONWAY: 2000 --
CUOMO: Also --
CONWAY: Go ahead. Then I'll talk.
CUOMO: CHIP, if you cared about it, you would have done something four months ago. You did nothing. DACA, if he wanted a "bill of love", he would never have attached anything to a DACA bill.
CONWAY: OK. Let's have a civics lesson.
CUOMO: If you care about the Dreamers -- if you care about the Dreamers, you do a clean bill on that. You don't attach other security concerns. And by the way, you say the Democrats don't care about security. I'm 180 degrees from you. I don't know why they were willing to give in on the wall. I don't get it. It doesn't make sense. The people who are down there say they don't want one, but they were going to give him one.
CONWAY: That is false.
CUOMO: So, not only were they going to give him one, OK, but it's something that doesn't make sense for them. And as far as caring about security, what you're asking for now --
CONWAY: OK, I don't even hear a question --
CUOMO: Hold on. But I have to correct your record --
CONWAY: There's not even a semi-colon, let alone a question mark.
CUOMO: I have to correct the record.
CONWAY: How about we go to --
CUOMO: What you guys are asking for now is security, what the Democrats agreed to with the Gang of Eight.
CONWAY: Is this a question? Is this the question --
CUOMO: Do you -- OK, I'll ask you this way. Do you know that what you're asking for and calling security now is what the Gang of Eight had agreed on years ago?
CONWAY: This president wants border security. Why? Because he has actually --
CUOMO: He said he wanted a big new wall. CONWAY: Excuse me. We know what the ICE agents have said, --
CUOMO: That Mexico would pay for it.
CONWAY: And respectfully you telling me what the men and women at the border have told you and not the president and not Secretary Nielsen, and not then Secretary now Chief John Kelly is laughable. Those guys who put those --
CUOMO: You're telling me that the border security people told any of those people that a wall solves their problems?
CONWAY: They want -- well, guess what?
CONWAY: Their problems were completely neglected. They were ignored.
CUOMO: No, no, no. Answer my question. Is that what they said?
CONWAY: I am answering your question.
CUOMO: So it's yes-no question.
CONWAY: We inherited a big mess at the border and elsewhere.
CUOMO: Did they say a wall is the answer?
CONWAY: Some of them have, of course. They say they need a border.
CUOMO: Some of them have had? What was the consensus?
CONWAY: They need a real border. And they also were happy that this present immigration plan includes 10,000 new ICE agents. Let's hope that the Democrats --
CUOMO: Good. That has nothing to do with a wall. Nobody ever said they don't need more manpower.
CONWAY: You just said that they don't need -- everything's fine. Everything's fine at the border. Everything is not fine the at the border.
CUOMO: When did I say that? I said that none of them say a wall is a panacea.
CONWAY: That's not true.
CUOMO: I've been with them.
CONWAY: None of them say it.
CUOMO: I've been with them.
CONWAY: OK, Christopher, so you took a trip to the border. I think that's lovely. You wore khakis that day and took a trip to the border --
CUOMO: I didn't wear khakis.
CONWAY: -- you spend in Manhattan. Stop it. These are honorable people at the border fighting every day for your freedom and your safety. Cut it out. I don't want the poison coming over the border and into my community.
CONWAY: Do you --
CUOMO: Kellyanne, if you think that you're going to distract -- if you think you're going to distract by telling me that I'm some type of urban (ph) guy who doesn't care about border patrol agents, that's silly. We both know --
[21:15:00] CONWAY: I figured if I made it about you, you'd at least stop talking for a second, and you did.
CUOMO: I'll tell you what. I'll send you a transcript to this when we're done with the interview and I guarantee you you're three to one words over me, three to one. You know how I know that?
CONWAY: The idea that --
CUOMO: Because I've looked at all the transcripts and you're always at least three to one over me.
CONWAY: OK, that's good. I'm the guest. I'm supposed to talk.
CUOMO: Well, but then you can't have it both ways. That's the problem. You want it both ways. He cares about the Dreamers.
CONWAY: OK, I'm just reading.
CUOMO: He cares about the Dreamers but he's going to attach things and not give them a clean bill and he's going to put out an ad saying that they're all monsters who are terrorists. And then the White House says it's not us. Is that true, Kellyanne?
CONWAY: Christopher, where is the bill? OK, I just want to --
CUOMO: He signed it. It's no longer a bill.
CONWAY: No, no, no, no. I know that. I'm very excited. He signed it minutes before I walk out here. We just all got the text messages from the OMB that our colleagues are able to go back to work tomorrow. I think that's wonderful for people --
CONWAY: -- who have been white knuckled all weekend wondering when the Democrats were going to grow up, reopen the government, so we can reopen the negotiations on what they say they care about, DACA. But hold on, I'm not going to let it lie that a sovereign nation like ours doesn't deserve to have a physical border. We have spent billions over decades protecting other nation --
CUOMO: We do have a physical border.
CONWAY: No, we don't. It is porous. And the idea that we have a catch and release law where we catch someone who is coming over illegally and they get released into the interior of the United States, we can't do anything --
CUOMO: What are you talking about?
CONWAY: Do you understand -- do you understand that we are trying --
CUOMO: What circumstances does somebody catch someone crossing the border illegally and then let them go?
CONWAY: Many. They can't detain them after a while for many circumstances.
CUOMO: What do you mean after a while? What are you talking about?
CONWAY: How many of Donald Trump's 70 points in his immigration plan have you read or do you know?
CUOMO: Zero. You never sent it to me.
CONWAY: Because Democrats -- it's posted for all to see. The president announced it about two months ago.
CUOMO: If he has a 70 point plan, why did Mitch McConnell say he doesn't know where he is on immigration?
CONWAY: Merit based. It's merit based --
CUOMO: Why did Mitch McConnell say he doesn't where he is?
CONWAY: Christopher, I think Mitch McConnell did a great job today holding --
CUOMO: -- answer my question. Why did he say he doesn't know where the president is?
CONWAY: -- working with president all weekend.
CUOMO: Then why did he say he doesn't know where the president is?
CONWAY: I know this is very disappointing to many people who thought they could talk about a shutdown and have that shutdown --
CUOMO: Why does Mitch McConnell say he doesn't know where the president is?
CONWAY: But look what we didn't do, we didn't weaponize the shutdown because we weren't in charge of it. The Democrats did --
CUOMO: Well, it didn't work so well for you last time in 2013. This time it's the first shutdown we've had with one party in control of both House and Congress and the White House because you weren't able to work with the other side.
CONWAY: The problem with -- Christopher, they started the shutdown. They had to end it. What were we supposed to work with them and help them shutdown the government?
CUOMO: They are minority in the Senate. You should have worked with them. You should have figured it out. The leadership wasn't doing that. They didn't reach out. I got to take a break. Kellyanne --
CONWAY: You know what they should have done on Friday night? They should have given us nine and not five, Friday or Saturday night they should have given us nine vote --
CUOMO: You should have offered them something.
CONWAY: Now they showed why they're in the minority. We saw once and for all tonight that they're going to kill themselves in the midterms now. You have this --
CUOMO: Well, let's talk about that. Let's take a break and we'll talk about what this means. We'll talk about the next step. Let's take a quick break, please. I'll take that as a yes. I'll take that as acceptance.
[21:21:12] CUOMO: All right. We're back. We have counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway, always good to have you. You have green on. Before we get back into it, I must say congratulations on the Eagles. I know you were there last night. We were texting while you were watching the game. I wish you good luck in the Super Bowl. You will win, I believe you think. Yes?
CONWAY: Thank you. Yes, we will.
CUOMO: You're down five points, maybe 5 1/2.
CONWAY: You know me, I love underdogs. We carried Pennsylvania, not Massachusetts, I'll just say. But I love underdogs --
CUOMO: Oh, you're saying the underdogs -- Trump is like the Eagles?
CONWAY: -- remember? So the most touching aspects of the game last night were certainly the national anthem. Everybody should pull that up and watch how beautifully it was done and the brave men and women who were there, a full field of a flag. And the only time people were taking a knee of note was when the Eagles were kicking off after they would score, and the Vikings were taking it in the end zone. But I will tell you because people recognize, you know, say tell Donald Trump -- tell the president I love my tax cut. Tell him keep doing what' he's doing. But the most touching ones are when the soldiers' parents come up to me and say, thank you so much. My son is in Afghanistan. Randy and Linda sitting right behind me yesterday said that. And Mike and Linda, excuse me, said it yesterday. And people come up and say, thank you so much because we feel like you back the blue. You're there for the veterans, the soldiers. And I appreciate it. They say it to me because they're saying it to the president, and I appreciate that most. But go birds.
CUOMO: Good. Good luck to you going into the game.
Now let's discuss some of this stuff that happens going forward, OK? The Democrats got a deal to make a deal, right? McConnell said, yes, it's my intention we'll debate until February 8th, and then hopefully they'll put some bill on the floor for an up or down vote. That's the promise.
But in terms of heading into it, I do not see a basis for a "bill of love". That ad the president put out from the White House about how these are monsters coming across and terrorists --
CONWAY: That's not from the White House.
CUOMO: At the end of it, it says this message is approved by Donald J. Trump.
CONWAY: That's a campaign ad.
CUOMO: But it's coming from the president, right?
CONWAY: It's coming from the campaign.
CUOMO: And he's in the White House, right? It's all the same when you're in office.
CONWAY: He's in the White House because he ran on tough borders and he ran on fair trade.
CUOMO: It's true and he demonized immigrants then.
CONWAY: -- I know the one thing you never talk about on your show is how booming the economy is --
CUOMO: I talk about it all the time.
CONWAY: -- last time I to talk about it, you said, yes, yes, I know.
CUOMO: I talk about it all the time. It is ironic that our president, who used to say to me personally, why do you talk about Wall Street? Why do you talk about that? That's not main street. That's not where real people are. They're not invested in the stock market. Why do you let these guys get over on you right now?
CONWAY: Well, they are now.
CUOMO: Now he embraces it. Why? Because it's good for him right now --
CONWAY: No, no, no. Because historically high 26,000 because you see the job creators responding to the Trump tax cut.
CUOMO: Let's see when they create jobs. CONWAY: -- today after the president made --
CUOMO: And bonuses booked for 2017 are not compelling to me. They are trying to lock in tax savings for their bonuses --
CONWAY: Hey, Chris, respectfully, because you and I don't need the $2,000, it makes a huge difference. Would make a huge different to my single mom growing up to --
CUOMO: Kellyanne, the bonuses were booked in 2017. No, no, no. It doesn't work like that. The bonuses were booked in 2017 because it's better for corporations to do that. It's a different tax environment. New jobs, we'll see.
CONWAY: That's a very cynical way of looking at it. The unemployment rate is the lowest it's ever been.
CUOMO: But we do know this, we got less than half of this country is invested in stock market. They're not celebrating the way you guys are.
CONWAY: Christopher, a lot of Americans are celebrating. I hear it all the time from them, even people that didn't vote for the president. We don't run around and saying, hey, did you vote for him? Here's your tax cut. It helped so many people who don't even care about politics. This is to stimulate the economy and this is to give the hard working --
CUOMO: And we'll see what it does.
CONWAY: We've already seen what it does.
CUOMO: No way.
CONWAY: I'm telling you. The Democrats are on the wrong side. I think those red-state Democrats who peeled away starting on Saturday -- hold on.
[21:25:00] CUOMO: You tell that to the middle class families that are mad at the Democrats. They're not fighting for the --
CONWAY: Let Senator McCaskill tell the people in Missouri. Let Senator Donnelly tell the people of Indiana why the job creators, the job holders, the job seekers there didn't deserve this tax cut that they're getting anyway even though their senators stood in the way.
CUOMO: -- the job seekers got less than 25 percent of the benefits under this plan.
CONWAY: So that doesn't matter, right?
CUOMO: Three quarters of it goes to the top. No, but you said it was a middle class tax cut which is just patently untrue.
CUOMO: Zero was the alternative? That was the alternative?
CONWAY: That's what they've been getting. Christopher, if you're talking about zero benefit, they haven't gotten a tax cut, definitely not in the last eight years.
CUOMO: You said it was a middle class tax cut. They've got 25 percent of the benefit are supposed to be happy?
CONWAY: It's a middle class tax cut.
CUOMO: It sound like a --
CONWAY: The people that I -- Chris, come on, the tax brackets went down for everybody. The standard deduction doubled. Don't do that. There are more Americans paying zero percent in taxes this year than before. There are people paying lower bracket percentages. If you have the child care tax deduction, it got doubled. $1,600 of it is permanent. Don't do that.
CUOMO: -- plain for everybody. They just have to Google the analysis and they'll hear the numbers that I just reported.
CONWAY: Let's Google the analysis, right. Let's not look at economic reports.
CUOMO: I'm going to take it from you? You represent the White House. But on immigration, hold on a second. Immigration is what's on next. They just got a promise from McConnell. Do you believe that the president will do anything for the Dreamers if the wall is not attached to it in?
CONWAY: The president has said -- he's answered that question many times. He has said no DACA without the wall. He has said he's not giving up on the wall. Senator Schumer for whatever reason said that he had provided -- offered all the money for the wall. That's just not true.
CUOMO: He did, but he did it over 10 years.
CONWAY: -- all the money that was unappropriated (ph) in a budget for year one, $1.68 billion.
CUOMO: Over 10 years.
CONWAY: Right, over 10 years. So that was not true. Coming out here and saying I offered him all the money for the wall for year one. Not all the money. What, are we supposed to just stop constructing and saying, isn't it so pretty? Well, comeback some other time. That's not how Trump projects work as you. They come in under budget and on time. And they're beautiful when --
CUOMO: This from the person who used to say that Trump made his money on the backs of little people. Now you're taunting him as a great maker and a businessman. Come on. CONWAY: I've always touted him as a great deal maker and a great businessman. And in fact, I lived in one of his buildings (INAUDIBLE). More importantly, I grew up outside of Atlantic City, 40 miles outside of Atlantic City. And when Trump and others put their casinos there, it revolutionized the local economy. Many people in my life, including my own mother, got a job in those casinos. She didn't work in a Trump casino. They got a job. That helped stimulate the economy for folks for working class --
CUOMO: Too bad he couldn't keep them running.
CONWAY: Right, Chris, because I know that's what you want to talk about tonight.
CUOMO: Did they go bankrupt or no? That part doesn't count.
CONWAY: Christopher, I want to ask you one question. You said before we went to the break, you looked at me and you said, silence is acceptance.
CONWAY: Are you sure?
CUOMO: Yes, remember that in contract law? You know, there's --
CONWAY: I do remember in contract law --
CUOMO: There is an implicit promise that if you had said, no, you don't want to stay for the next break, then I had it -- but when I said, will you stay, and you didn't say anything, silence equals acceptance. So what is the context?
CONWAY: -- nobody wants to say that.
CUOMO: Say what?
CONWAY: Silence is acceptance.
CUOMO: What are you talking about?
CONWAY: I think the people who are marching on Saturday would disagree.
CUOMO: Oh, the women's march? The one where the president was tweeting that all the people were out there marching to say how great he's done?
CONWAY: No, how great the economy is. We have the lowest unemployment rate for women in 17 years.
CUOMO: You know, that's not why they were marching. Isn't that insulting to all those women out there who are looking for leadership and looking for someone to get behind them and instead he makes a joke out of their march. CONWAY: It's no joke that the women's unemployment rate is the lowest in 17 years. It is no joke that over a half a million new women entered the workforce on his watch.
CUOMO: And it's no joke they don't get equal pay. And woman like you have been forced to do it twice as hard as men to get to the same place. And it's not right and you know what --
CONWAY: I certainly have, but not here and not for this boss.
CUOMO: -- you guys are in a position to do something about it, and instead he's tweeting, you know, little tongue in cheek about it. Why? Why was any other there?
CONWAY: Chris, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Wait a second. Women didn't get equal pay after eight years of President Obama? With millions of women are in poverty. Millions --
CUOMO: I thought he was going to do better. I thought he cherished women.
CONWAY: So he is doing better, but we've been here for one year as opposed to the eight years that we inherited. But don't do that. Don't say that women are better off after eight years where this president --
CUOMO: No. I just said the opposite.
CONWAY: -- is trying to make that better.
CUOMO: I said they're not better off. They're not getting equal pay. They deserve better, not jokes about why they're out there marching. These are very serious issues. We know he can't talk about one of the major reasons they're out there marching.
CONWAY: But I didn't hear a lot of Democrats talking about this this weekend when they shutdown the government. You know what the Democrats could have done?
CONWAY: Since they had a hissy (ph) fit. They shutdown the government and three days later they opened the government and nothing had changed except they got over the fit.
CUOMO: I agree with you on that. I agree with you hundred percent. What they should have done --
CONWAY: Don't bother shutting down the government and then take the weekend to talk about all the issues you want to talk to. DACA --
[21:30:03] CUOMO: They weren't getting anywhere with you guys. If they wanted to shut it down, they should have done it on principle and they should have stayed in it until they got something --
CONWAY: They didn't. CUOMO: -- that matters to people. That's what they should have done.
CONWAY: Because running in 20 is not a principle. The people running in 2020 who voted --
CUOMO: We'll see. It's a long way away.
CONWAY: No, they think it's tomorrow.
CUOMO: It's a long way away.
CONWAY: Are you comfortable with the way Democrats are running for 2020 right now, voting no to reopen the government?
CUOMO: It's none of my business. My business is to scrutinize it, and they're going to get plenty of that for this deal.
CONWAY: Cory Booker of New Jersey harassing and bullying Secretary Nielsen last week. That didn't make you uncomfortable at all?
CUOMO: Oh, please. Please. She remembered what Lindsey Graham said, but she didn't -- didn't echo what the president said, but she didn't remember that. She didn't know whether Norway is majority white country, and she's in charge of keeping us safe? And she didn't know that? Come on.
CONWAY: That wasn't --
CUOMO: And then you guys come out and say that he was mansplaining. So what? He shouldn't speak to a female secretary the way he does to a male secretary? Come on.
CONWAY: -- the Trump White House or in administration or talk to and talk about including daily on CNN and by people on CNN, but --
CUOMO: What are you talking about? Let me ask you one other thing.
CONWAY: Would you like -- I'm sorry. I know you probably would hope for your daughters to have my opportunities or my accomplishments, but could you really tell me you'd like your daughters to be treated the way I am, the way Secretary Nielsen is, the way Sarah Sanders is?
CUOMO: I don't think it's because you are women. And when people do say things about you that are insensitive and they're targeted at you because you're a woman, I shout them down. I shouted it down by Sarah Sanders when they made fun of her on SNL for the way she looked. I said it was wrong. We keep it straight. Don't let me in (ph) with everybody else. Let me ask you a question. Is it true that Jeff Sessions went to the head of the FBI appointed by you guys, Christopher Wray, and said get rid of Andrew McCabe and when he refused and said I'll leave, then you backed off? Is that true?
CONWAY: I'm certainly not discussing what Attorney General Sessions and Director Wray discuss on the job. I would have no direct knowledge of that.
CUOMO: You have no direct knowledge of what I'm saying, or you don't want to talk about it? Which is it?
CONWAY: No. I have no direct knowledge of what you're saying.
CUOMO: Do you think that would be right to do that by the way?
CONWAY: To do what?
CUOMO: To go to Wray and say, the president doesn't like this guy, McCabe. Get rid of him?
CONWAY: I don't think that's what Attorney General Sessions would say, that somebody doesn't like someone. That's not the basis here. Christopher, are you disturbed at all at everything that's being revealed by some in the FBI, not the rank and file, the 25,000 or so men and women who do a great job, but the people who were --
CUOMO: At least you're drawing that distinction now. Better than the president did the first three rounds of attacking the Justice Department.
CONWAY: That's not fair. He went to Quantico and honored them. That's just not fair.
CUOMO: Yes, I know. And then he said that there were part of a conspiracy against him and they've been bringing false allegation after false allegation.
CONWAY: Not the FBI. The texting -- excuse me, the people who were texting, the people who were in charge of the investigation and wanted a, "insurance policy" just in case Hillary Clinton, their preferred candidate, didn't win.
CUOMO: I say the same thing. You think the FBI preferred Hillary Clinton after what they did to her with the e-mail stuff?
CONWAY: No. I don't think we can talk about the FBI as a body generically.
CUOMO: He used to make the same complaints as you guys now.
CONWAY: Absolutely. We cannot do that. We're talking about a few bad apples who were doing things they shouldn't have done. And it's good. I think that you like --
CUOMO: For just a few bad apples, that's good to hear. Tell the president to stop bashing the entire justice community.
CONWAY: He doesn't. He doesn't --
CUOMO: He's done it numerous times, and you know it. He shouldn't, but --
CONWAY: No, he doesn't. Bless you.
CUOMO: All right, let's end it there. Kellyanne Conway, always a pleasure. CONWAY: God bless you.
CUOMO: Good luck to your Eagles. I'll speak to you soon.
CONWAY: Thank you. Take care, Christopher.
CUOMO: Breaking tonight, President Trump did sign the short-term deal bringing the government shutdown to an end. But who is the winner here? They're saying the Democrats did the right thing. Why? What did they get, and how do the Dreamers sleep tonight? Van Jones versus David Urban, "The Great Debate", two beautiful heads, next.
[21:37:13] CUOMO: The breaking news is that the government shutdown is over for now. Congress passed a short-term bill, lasts about three weeks. President Trump just signed it a few minutes ago. But we're going to be right back here with this brinksmanship unless Democrats and Republicans can hammer out an immigration deal and a lot more. That brings us to round one and the only round of tonight's "Great Debate". Former Obama Special Advisor, Van Jones is with us, along with Former Trump Campaign Strategist, David Urban.
First, one little piece of news keeping. Mr. Urban, would you like to confirm or deny reports that you may be headed to the White House?
DAVID URBAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Chris, I don't -- I'm not commenting on any of that stuff, so --
CUOMO: All right.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Nice knowing you buddy.
CUOMO: I wanted to give you a chance. And that's the question. That's your answer. We'll take it. Now let's get after the debate. Van Jones.
CUOMO: Did the Democrats get rolled and wind up shutting down the government, playing their role in that, but getting nothing back in this new deal?
JONES: They got very little back in the sense of normal politics. Their hearts were probably bigger than their heads from the point of view of normal politics. But let me tell you something that I think is important to remember. The base and those young Dreamers need to see somebody fighting for them. And I remember when Democrats used to treat the base, especially black and brown young people, like tissue. I remember the 1990s, a crime bill. I remember welfare appeal. I remember when the base was treated like garbage for crass political purposes. And this time it turns out that unfortunately Dreamers are not as popular as a functioning U.S. government, so you're not going to win that fight. But that's about the only thing that Dreamers are less popular than, and Democrats stood up for them, and the Republicans are not -- CUOMO: How?
JONES: I'm sorry. How did they stand up for them?
CUOMO: Yes. What did they get? What did they do for the Dreamers?
JONES: They showed some fight. And when you're in the minority and all you can do is either stand or fold, they stood. And, listen, I agree with you. Their hearts were bigger than their heads. They got out their (INAUDIBLE) and they got rolled. They got beat. But I'm still proud of the Democrats for trying to stand up for the Dreamers and those young people saw people fighting for them. That's important. And the base deserves to see some kind of fight out here, and they saw it.
URBAN: Chris, I heard you ask at the beginning of this, or maybe just refer to it, you know. Who won here, the Democrats or Republicans? I think we should stop looking at it like that. Who won is really the American people because the government's back functioning again. It shouldn't be held hostage by --
CUOMO: You call this functioning?
URBAN: Well, Chris, look, it's unfortunate. You're right. I don't call it functioning. I think that -- when I worked on the Hill many years ago we passed all the individual spending bills. I'd like to see it return to regular order. I think it's much better for democracy to work like that and for the government to work that way. But in the end, the American people are back. They've got a government that works.
CUOMO: Three weeks.
URBAN: Listen, I think, you know, who caused a lot of the pressure, I think, you know, you saw a lot of federal employees waking up today, not super happy that they were being furloughed. And I think they let their representatives in the House and Senate hear from them, and the Democrats realized, you know, they recognized the first rule of holes when you're in one, stop digging. And I think they all stopped digging and realized no way out here.
[21:40:19] CUOMO: They're not in control. You guys are in control, David.
URBAN: No, Chris, come on, come on.
CUOMO: You have to govern --
CUOMO: -- other side. The leadership was even visiting with them.
URBAN: Listen, I don't want Van Jones to lecture me or Mr. Rogers and educate you all on how the Senate works to 60 votes, but you know we need 60 votes.
CUOMO: Why is this the first time we've ever had a shutdown with one party in control of both Houses and the White House?
URBAN: Chris, it's not -- we need 60 votes in the Senate. It's not like --
CUOMO: I know the math, but you're supposed to work with the other side. That was --
URBAN: Chris, listen, so the mistake here was, right, for the Democrats tying DACA to the spending bill, right? I think that --
CUOMO: Why was it a mistake? Hold on, David. I want to bounce that back to Van. I get that's the position from the right. I don't see --
URBAN: It's the position for everybody.
CUOMO: No, it's not a position for everybody. You got 80 percent of the American people said do something for the Dreamers.
CUOMO: You guys said you were going to do that. Why are the progressives so mad at Schumer and the moderates right now? Because you didn't. You got nothing. You had the ability to shutdown the government. You got rolled on the tax bill. This was your moment of leverage. We will keep the government shutdown until you give us something. That's what they were saying. What happened?
JONES: Listen, you know and I know that that -- we were going to get pounded into butter on that position. There is no one single issue. I don't care if it's a balanced budget, health care, immigration, DACA, puppies, kittens. No single issue is beloved enough by the American people that you can survive a shutdown. Every time the Republicans shut the government down, they got beat up.
URBAN: Why did do it on Friday? Why did we stop on Friday?
CUOMO: Donald Trump said the only person that they remembered for a shutdown is the president.
JONES: So, I do want to say something about President Trump because we actually haven't said that much about him in this. It's unfortunate that the instability in this whole process actually starts with the president. Yes, Congress is looking awful. The Democrats got hurt today. But really the president of the United States said in front of everybody with live TV cameras he wanted to do a DACA deal.
URBAN: He's going to do a DACA deal, Van.
CUOMO: No, he hasn't.
JONES: Is he? Is he?
(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: He's going to do an immigration security deal where the give --
CUOMO: -- and that he'll let something happen on DACA.
URBAN: Wrong. Wrong. Listen, here's the --
CUOMO: -- he just put out an ad saying that they're terrorists.
CUOMO: -- he just put out an ad saying that they're terrorists.
CUOMO: Does that sound like a guy who wants a "bill of love"?
URBAN: Chris, here's what you need to do. It's pretty simple.
URBAN: Provide border security money for a wall, right? The president has said that from the beginning, right? Let's limit chain migration. I think everyone can agree that's probably something we need to do.
CUOMO: Does any of that have to do with DACA?
URBAN: It has all to do with DACA, Chris, because you're going to end up being back -- revisiting DACA, another DACA provision in a few years if you don't address the root issues here. And let's end the visa lottery program. Those are three things the president has said.
JONES: -- people on both side. I don't mean to interrupt you, brother.
URBAN: Sure. Sure you do.
JONES: You have people on both sides of the aisle who through this whole process have complained publicly and privately that the president's instability and lack of --
JONES: Van, there are people who don't agree with the president.
JONES: I'll finish my sentence. You finish your sentence.
URBAN: You interrupted me. I figured it's fair.
CUOMO: All right. Finish your point, Van.
JONES: But listen, but you have people on both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats who have complained publicly and privately, leadership and otherwise, that the president has been inconsistent and inconstant, and it's made it very difficult to make the negotiations happen. Here's what happen. Let's just be honest. Here's what happened. So you had two trains that are moving down the track. One was a need for the budget. The other was a need to deal with DACA, and they both wind up at the same place at the same time because the president of the United States does not know how to lead and order the issues.
URBAN: Listen, the Congress has to make this work. Senator Heitkamp, Democrat on this network this morning said president didn't need to be involved. It was the Senate's responsibility. It was the House's responsibility. One of your members, Van, one of your members said it, shouldn't need the president. It was on the Senate and the House to get this done.
JONES: He gets the last word even though it's not true.
URBAN: Yes, that's true.
JONES: It's not accurate.
URBAN: It's true. I watched her this morning. She was on.
CUOMO: All right, gentlemen, I appreciate it. I really do. I'll see you again soon.
URBAN: All right, thank Chris.
CUOMO: We're following more breaking news tonight. A new report says the attorney general pressured the FBI director to fire his deputy. Is there something to it? Kellyanne said she didn't know anything about it. We're going to ask Congressman Eric Swalwell of the House Intel Committee what does he know about that. What does he think about the deal the Democrats just agreed to? And what does he make of this memo that's making the rounds? Next.
[21:48:39] CUOMO: All right. Did you hear about this breaking report? Axios is reporting that President Trump has Attorney General Jeff Sessions pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire his deputy director, Andrew McCabe. The report also says that the pressure led Director Wray to threaten to resign. Let's take this one-on-one with Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, a member of the House Intel Committee. It's good to have you, Congressman. You know anything about this? REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Just hearing about it as well, Chris. Congrats on the new show. But I also serve on the House Judiciary Committee, and I think that's where Attorney General Sessions should be next week, as soon as we get back in session in the House, because there's a lot to answer for if this indeed is true.
I mean, one, Attorney General Sessions is supposed to be recused from the Russia investigation, and most of the concerns that Donald Trump has about Andrew McCabe appear to be around the Russia investigation.
And, two, you know, Attorney General Sesssions would be, I think, interfering in the independence that Christopher Wray should have to operate the FBI.
CUOMO: Well, let's look at it. Let's look at it from their perspective. They have the ability -- the president certainly has the ability to remove anybody he wants. And this gets into tricky ground about motive, right, and all the legal arguments that spin out about that, about when can the president do it and why not and what could add to obstruction. But even though Sessions, as attorney general, is recused, he is still in charge of his staff. And McCabe is on the staff. So wouldn't he be within his right to say I want this guy gone, the reason is irrelevant.
[21:50:11] SWALWELL: Well, Chris, I would say if the president had not already stepped in and fired James Comey for admittedly his role in the Russia investigation I would give the president that latitude. But this president has shown a willingness to involve himself in the investigations of his administration. And so, I think right now allowing him to, you know, go any further on this is very dangerous and it really -- I think threatens the independence of the Department of Justice.
CUOMO: All right, let's see what Sessions says about it if he can get him before the committee that will be interesting to cover. Are you happy with the deal the Democrats made, this deal to make a deal on the basis of a promise of good intention by Mitch McConnell?
SWALWELL: Well, I voted no, Chris. Because even if we had solved the Dreamer issue, and we must solve that, there is still, I think, this bigger issue which is we are running a government three weeks at a time. I have student councils in districts who have better budget plans than that we have seen. And the military leaders have told us that one of the greatest enemies to the United States is the uncertainty that we give them --
CUOMO: So why did do you it?
SWALWELL: Why did I vote no, because --
CUOMO: You voted no. I get it. Why did your party go along with it then?
SWALWELL: Well, I believe that they generally do want to bring fate for these Dreamers, a fate that includes staying in the United States and they got insurances -- CUOMO: Wouldn't the best way to have done that to use the only the
leverage they have which was the votes that were needed to pass the CR in the Senate. Once they gave that up and they did this, yes, it's three weeks -- it's only three weeks, but didn't they give up the only leverage they had?
SWALWELL: Well, that leverage will be back in three weeks. And if Mitch McConnell breaks his word I think the public sentiment will be pretty harsh. And so they have three weeks to come up.
CUOMO: McConnell to keep his word, congressman, and then --
SWALWELL: And the votes may not be there.
CUOMO: Votes may not be there. And let's say the votes are there and then it goes to the House. No companion promise there. And it's much tougher footing for the Dreamers as you well know.
SWALWELL: That's right. We were given no assurances by Paul Ryan and truly, Chris, I do not believe Donald Trump will sign the Dream Act. We saw who he was. His best day was the Tuesday when he had a bipartisan group in front of him and he said --
CUOMO: "Bill of love".
SWALWELL: -- I'll sign it. And then two days later we saw who he really was. He was influenced by Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity and the outside voices. And I'm afraid that we're going to have to change the House and change the White House if we're truly going to get --
CUOMO: What about your leadership? Do you to change that as well? I mean, who are they influenced by to go along with this?
SWALWELL: I think, certainly, the leadership and the House, you know, we stood firmly together. And I believed, you know, Chuck Schumer, he has three weeks now to put that deal together. But it's going to comeback to the House, Chris. And I think we're going to see who Paul Ryan really is, if he's going to bring this up for a vote. I hope he does. But again, I don't trust this president and he was awol, the businessman deal maker was awol for the three days the government was shutdown. I don't know if he was unwilling or if he was incompetent but he certainly was not there making a deal.
CUOMO: Congress, what do you know about this Nunes memo? Have you looked at it?
SWALWELL: Well, Chris, it is submitting a book review to the body of the House of Representatives on a book that almost none of the members have read. It's really -- well, there is classified materials that it comments on that only two of the members in the committee have read.
CUOMO: Is the book classified?
SWALWELL: Yes, highly classified, Chris. The committee members would like to read it. And we're not even able to. That's the problem. So it sends out to the body, I believe it's poising (ph) a facts that I know are not true in this memo. And it's really an effort as Bob Mueller and his team continue to make progress, I think to get ahead of what I believe will probably be future indictments.
CUOMO: So wait, it's a memo that includes information from a book like a book that was made available to the public?
SWALWELL: No, no. No, I'm using an analogy. They comment on classified materials that nobody -- almost nobody has read. And so, it's essentially writing a book review. And then you ask the writer, did you read the book?
SWALWELL: And almost nine out of 10 of them said no --
CUOMO: So is it controversy or nontroversy (ph)?
SWALWELL: There's nothing there but I'm afraid that it really is trying to taint the opinion of the members of our body --
CUOMO: But why don't they put it out? You know, you guys -- you know, sorry to tell you what you already know. But you have constitutional immunity for anything that said during a speech or debate on the floor. Somebody could just read this on the floor and then could put all of this classified information into the Congressional record, and even better the man in charge of classifying and therefore declassifying is the president. So if this is so valuable why hasn't the president declassified it?
SWALWELL: I think he would receive sharp rebuke from the FBI who would probably put out the full body of evidence. I don't want it to come to that because they have an ongoing investigation and they should be allowed to do that.
CUOMO: I'm just saying, if the Republicans are going to run it with so much hype they control whether or not it comes out. Anyway, congressman, I appreciate your take on it and I respect the parameters of what you're allowed to speak about and not. Thank you as always --
[21:55:02] SWALWELL: Of course, my pleasure.
CUOMO: - -for giving us your perspectives.
All right, let's take a quick break and we'll say good night right after.
CUOMO: If you can, try to wipe away the noise from both sides about who won and who lost on this deal. And you have to look at what happens forward. How do you see something good coming out of this for the Dreamers? The Democrats lost their leverage at least in this window until the next shutdown. And the GOP position on the Dreamers seems to be clear. The president of the United States just put out an ad calling them all terrorists. In the past he's called them murders and rapists. He says wanted a "bill of love" but then he asked for anything but. So that's a look ahead.
Now as for tomorrow morning the answer there is easy. You can watch me and Alisyn on "New Day" starting at 6:00 A.M. That's all for us tonight. Thank you for watching.
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