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CUOMO PRIME TIME
House Intel Committee Votes to Release GOP Memo Alleging FBI Bias; GOP Blocks Release of Dems' Countermemo on FBI; Trump versus Jay-Z on Black Unemployment. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired January 29, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:18] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Breaking news, the Republicans seem to have found their counter to the Russia investigation, and it puts the FBI and the Democrats in the crosshairs. The memo they plan to release is just the setup for what they hope will be a mass conspiracy of wrongdoing at the highest levels of law enforcement, all an alleged plot by the enemies of President Trump. That's what they're selling.
Tonight I go one-on-one with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has seen this memo. And we have one of the Republicans who is sounding the alarm. Friends, it is time to get after it.
I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to "PRIME TIME".
All right. So here's what we know. In the last few hours, House Republicans voted to release a memo by Chairman Devin Nunes alleging FBI abuses and obtaining surveillance warrants based on classified information that the panel is not releasing. And in fact, classified information Nunes reportedly has not even reviewed.
So in effect, they're asking you to accept their conclusions without revealing the basis. Odd? Just wait. The panel deeply divided along party lines, but the Republicans control, say they were also able to block a countermemo by Democrats. And just last week the Justice Department warned that releasing the GOP memo without review would be, "extraordinarily reckless." Why? The obvious. It might expose sources and methods that could compromise U.S. intelligence work.
Reportedly, the Republicans have since shown the memo to FBI Director Christopher Wray, and now it goes to the White House, where the President has five days to approve or deny the release. The top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee says Nunes, as I said, didn't read the information, this memo is based on, the memo that bears his name. To the Democrats, this is proof that this is all about politics of the worst kind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We had votes today to politicize the intelligence process, to prohibit the FBI and the Department of Justice from expressing their concerns to our committee and to the House and to selectively release to the public only the majority's distorted memo without the full facts.
A very sad day, I think, in the history of this committee when you have a deeply flawed person in the Oval Office, that flaw can infect the whole of government, and today tragically it infected our committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Then there was another significant move in a related development. The sudden departure of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of criticism by President Trump.
Tonight, sources tell CNN the FBI director, Christopher Wray, hinted to staff in an e-mail that an inspector general report about the FBI's conduct during the 2016 election played a role in McCabe's abrupt departure. All of this on the eve of President Trump's first State of the Union Speech that is billed as a call to unity.
So let's take the breaking news one-on-one with the House Minority Leader, Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi of California.
I heard you laughing there, Minority Leader. Why?
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, because unity is, of course, our goal. That's what we strive for American people, bipartisanship, transparency in our activities, and to do something that is unifying rather than not. And what the President's striving for unity, that's really a sad statement for me.
But let's get back to this point. I'm very proud of Adam Schiff and our House Democrats for protecting the integrity of the intelligence community. This is a very big honor that the leader gives to the ranking member, that the speaker gives to the chairman, to be deputized, to protect the intelligence, intelligence for force protection of our troops, for --
PELOSI: -- for fighting terrorism and the rest of that. Instead, Chairman Nunes has acted like a stooge with the speaker --
CUOMO: A stooge?
PELOSI: A stooge of the White House at the acquiescence or at least or maybe the guidance of the speaker of the House. This is not about one thing or another. This is about the integrity and the safety and our national security.
CUOMO: That's what he says too, though.
PELOSI: They have crossed from dangerously and recklessly dealing with intelligence to a cover-up of an investigation that they don't want the American people to see come to fruition, and that is most unfortunate.
[21:04:59] Now, I have probably longer standing than anybody in the history of the Congress on intelligence. I've served there as a member. I was a ranking member in my time there, and then in the leadership as a Gang -- a member of the Gang of Eight. So I've had access to all of the intelligence, which Mr. Nunes could have access to, but has not.
CUOMO: So you've seen it?
PELOSI: I've seen it. I've seen not only the memo and the basis for the memo, but the underlying documents.
PELOSI: And what they're putting forth is a total misrepresentation. It is false. And they're putting it out there as if it is factual and then saying, we're going to show this to the American people, but we're not going to show the rebuttal to it by the Democrats. Now, the Democrats have said rightfully, we shouldn't be putting anything out unless it has been reviewed and redacted by the intelligence -- the appropriate --
CUOMO: But they say they don't want the DOJ to look at it because they are part of their concerns about how things were done during the campaign.
PELOSI: The DOJ is only one part of the intelligence community. The intelligence community is vast. It's the CIA, the DNI, National Defense. Everybody has their element of it, and sources in that that must be protected. But not only that, I can't even reference some words that are in it because that would be a violation of the confidentiality, the classified nature.
PELOSI: So this -- again, putting this aside in terms of tit for tat, which you seem -- well, with all due respect to you, look like Democrats, it isn't about that. It's about our national security, and our president of the United States is the commander in chief and he should stop this immediately. He should stop --
CUOMO: You think he's not going to release the memo?
PELOSI: He says he's going to. He hasn't even probably seen it, but he's going to release it. In fact, he should be saying -- no release should ever happen without the agencies of the intelligence community reviewing and redacting from public review. Who's going to share intelligence with us if they think it's up to Nunes not even reading the stuff and releasing?
CUOMO: You put a lot of this on Nunes, but that means you put it on Ryan.
PELOSI: That's right.
CUOMO: Because the speaker picked it. Do you blame Paul Ryan for what's going on? PELOSI: I think that he has a major responsibility in what I call a cover-up of what they are doing. It's really very sad. But, again, it's a cover-up. Also it's a distraction. What really we are trying to do right now is keep government open. They have a problem with that because they're ineffective and --
CUOMO: You think they're doing this because they don't want the government to be open?
PELOSI: Well, I think they're -- whatever they do is a distraction. So you never know what's --
CUOMO: But that's what they say. So help me understand this. I know you can't reveal classified information.
PELOSI: No, I'm --
CUOMO: I'm not going to push you on that but I will push you on this one idea. It is hard -- I have to believe it's hard for the American people to have faith that anybody in this city where we are right now is out for the truth and not out for politics. And I can understand why they want it all released, Congresswoman. I can understand why they want it all out because they say, you know what? We can't trust you guys.
Let us read it. Let us figure it out. You can redact the names, you can make it safe enough for us to look at it because they say the same thing about you. That the Russia investigation, there's no collusion. You guys are pushing the ball to political advantage to stymie the President. And they talk about this memo like it should have been in the raiders of the lost ark, this thing, that this is the Holy Grail of the truth about what was happening during the campaign and it points the finger at the Democrats and the FBI.
PELOSI: But let me just say this. We're not going to become them, the Republicans, because they are totally irresponsible in this regard. We're talking about the intelligence community. We're not talking about some issue that we're having a fight about. We're talking about our national security.
As I said, when I had been on that committee, had been on that committee a long time and served as leader involved in those issues. And this is not to be politicized. This is about fact. It's about evidence, about data. It's not about making up a false memo based on a false premise that the chairman hasn't even read and then to put it out there.
CUOMO: I give you that he -- if he hasn't read it, that's a problem. We'll that up with --
PELOSI: You know, but how can you decide if you haven't read it that it should be revealed to the American people?
CUOMO: Fair point. What I'm saying is this, are you saying, without revealing anything that's confidential or classified --
PELOSI: I can't do that.
CUOMO: I get it. But you're saying that if the American people see this memo and they read it and they think about it, that they could not reasonably conclude that there was any problem with what happened during the election?
PELOSI: Of course not. The --
CUOMO: Well, then why are they so anxious to release it?
PELOSI: Because it's not even true. It's not even true. They have made up a memo that isn't even true, and they're lying to the American people.
CUOMO: So what are you going to do about it?
PELOSI: Well, we have put forth a memo, which we reluctantly did, but said don't put this out unless it is reviewed and redacted.
CUOMO: Now it won't be out when theirs is out.
PELOSI: Doesn't that tell you something? The Republicans say we want the American people to see our memo, but we're voting against showing the American people the Democratic memo.
But again, let's enlarge this issue. This -- let me not get engaged in this Republican/Democrat thing.
[21:10:02] This is about security or not. It's about people in our country who work so hard to protect the American people in the intelligence community and to be frivolous with their identity or roads that can lead to them.
CUOMO: You're saying that you think it puts lives at stake if this memo comes out?
PELOSI: We're not saying that intelligence that it's necessary for other countries to share with us, why would they put it at the mercy of Dennis Nunes who hasn't read the memo and say the American people should see it? And the American people, they have their own jobs to do. They're not there saying, now I'm going to redact a memo because I know what is true or we know what is false.
CUOMO: No. I'm saying you guys redact what you need to redact, but then let the American people decide.
PELOSI: But they -- that's not the way intelligence works. You -- that's not the way it works. It's not a -- this isn't a subject about what's in the tax bill or what's not in the tax bill. This is a question of what is important to our national security, to be secure.
So again, let me take it to another subject because they do these things as a distraction. It's totally irresponsible. It isn't one person in the intelligence community recognizing the sacrifice that our men and women in the intelligence community make for our country's security that would say, this is not reckless. CUOMO: Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI obviously, recently selected by President Trump, he got the memo. He could have come out and said, this is reckless. Don't release it.
PELOSI: Let me just say this with all due respect. You really don't know what you're talking about right now.
CUOMO: But did Christopher Wray look at it or no?
PELOSI: I can't say whether he did or not, but he did not -- he's -- in order to redact, you have to have the people who know --
CUOMO: I'm not saying redact. I'm saying if these concerns are so sharp and obvious --
PELOSI: Well, they've already said not to release it. They already said not to -- the Justice Department already said it would be reckless to release it. You said that earlier.
CUOMO: The DOJ said it. We've been reporting it. Absolutely. But now there's this word that is somewhat of a compromise.
PELOSI: But wait a minute. I want to tell you something. Let me just say this. The Republican Party has, as I said, crossed over to cover-up. They're deadly afraid of the Russia investigation. We don't want the investigation to be anything but based on the law and the facts and let the investigation proceed. That's the right thing to do for our country. We have to be respectful of law. We have to be respectful of intelligence and the rest.
PELOSI: And what they are doing is reckless in regard to both. But the fact is also that it is a distraction from the fact that they passed a tax bill that gives 83% of the benefits to the top 1%. They'd like to distract from that. Eighty-six million middle class Americans will pay more in taxes. One and a half trillion, you know, to 2 trillion, including interest will be added to the national debt that they do give this gift to corporate America at the expense of our children's future.
They don't want to talk about. They don't want to talk about the fact that they have -- what they've done in terms of the President put forth a ridiculous memo on -- well, I don't know if you put it forth or they leaked it, on infrastructure which doesn't even go near what our country needs. They are doing bad things in terms of immigration and the rest.
What they do is they give you a nugget. They say, here's what we're doing on immigration. Isn't that wonderful? Well, it looks so pretty, and while they do very unpretty things behind the scenes, same thing with the tax bill. Isn't this a nice little thing we're giving you while we give --
CUMO: All right. I want to take on each of those things, but hold on. PELOSI: And same thing again with intelligence. We're going to show you a memo. This is ridiculous.
CUOMO: All right. I hear you.
PELOSI: It's beyond ridiculous.
CUOMO: I want to look at those other issues you just itemized from the perspective of what Democrats could have done and did not do which you do now. However --
PELOSI: What would that be?
CUOMO: Well, I'll get to it. I'll get to it.
CUOMO: This is pretty urgent right now and it's got -- you know, it got us a little on edge. So if this memo -- if the President says, OK, I say let the people decide. My guys seem that they're fine with it, and it comes out. What can you do to counter a narrative which they must -- they clearly believe is going to be very persuasive to people?
PELOSI: No, no, no. Well, if you lie, have no allegiance to the truth, are totally disrespectful to your responsibility of the security of our country, you can persuade people of anything. It's happened before.
CUOMO: So how do you counter this?
PELOSI: Well, hopefully with the validation of outside sources. But the American people are working hard. They're taking care of their families. They're trying to make ends meet. They're not prepared to redact or deduct a memo.
CUOMO: I understand. I was never suggesting they should. I'm saying when they get this memo, they're going to read it and they're going to say, holy cow, this was happening?
PELOSI: But it's not true.
CUOMO: Where is the -- where are the facts? How do you make the case because otherwise they're going to see this? They'll believe it.
PELOSI: If I were to tell you why it isn't true here, I would be taken up by the Ethics Committee for telling the truth that there's a memo.
CUOMO: I get it but that's -- is the catch 22 in this entire situation?
[21:14:59] PELOSI: So they shouldn't have gone down that path. They're only going down this path to foil the Mueller investigation. They should let the facts and the law take it where it goes. No other place further than that. And that's what -- that should be it. They're so afraid of the truth. They're afraid of the truth. And the Democratic memo, that's why they're not releasing it.
CUOMO: So why don't you put that out on the floor? You know, as you know, I do not mean to tell you procedure. You know it better than I ever will. However, this is a relatively arcane mechanism that they're using right now to release this information.
PELOSI: It's not arcane. It's highly -- it's not even highly unusual. It's never been done before. There was this violation of the classified nature of intelligence.
CUOMO: So fine. That's your description. What I'm telling is --
PELOSI: No, no. That is a fact.
CUOMO: I get it. That's your description of what -- of this process. What I'm saying is you could go to the floor of the House, as you know, and you can read things. There is an immunity for speech and debate.
CUOMO: You can read your memo.
PELOSI: No, not on intelligence.
CUOMO: No, you don't reveal the classified intelligence, but you could read the substance of your memo that protects your sources and methods but counters what's in this memo if you think you can.
PELOSI: You know, the only thing that our members are allowed to see is what they go down to the intelligence committee and --
CUOMO: So that can't happen is what you're saying?
PELOSI: No, it can't happen. And besides, in order to refute it, you'd have to tell the facts, and the facts are classified.
CUOMO: All right.
PELOSI: And we're not going to engage in what they're doing. But you know what? I want to tell you something. You're missing it. This is very big. This is very big in terms of what line they have crossed tonight. And it's shocking really but not surprising because they're desperate. And they're desperate because, look, they can't keep government open. They're going to the 5th. Now they're talking about their fifth continuing resolution because they're incompetent and ineffective. And all they have to do is sit down and say, let's come to terms on how we're going to fund the government. Let's come to terms on how we're going to protect --
CUOMO: And you're saying the Democrats are willing partners in that process?
PELOSI: Absolutely. We have been willing partners.
CUOMO: Because they say you're not. PELOSI: No they're not. Here's their problem. This dark cloud hangs over the Capitol. It's called a tax cut. It's taken us $2 trillion additional into debt that makes them afraid of incurring any further debt, so they don't want to spend money on their domestic agenda.
Now, what we're fighting for, money for opioids, money for -- a more money for meeting the needs of our veterans, money for the power to cure National Institutes of Health, money for pensions, which are struggling in our country. In addition to that, appropriately dealing with the disaster assistance for Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and the other areas affected by the disasters and hurricanes and the fires.
CUOMO: So then why did you back off the shutdown? If this is so important, why did the Democrats relent?
PELOSI: No, because the fact is they changed the subject. The fact is this is about money, and all they're doing is trying to increase the defense budget, which we believe in.
CUOMO: So why didn't you hold your ground and say we're going to fight? We're going to fight for this. It's so important.
PELOSI: We are fighting.
CUOMO: You relented on the shutdown.
PELOSI: No, we didn't relent. The fact is we have a better case to fight with government open than government shut. And we don't believe in shutting down government. They have. They've shut it down five times now, including last weekend when they shut down.
CUOMO: Why was that not on you guys? You controlled the votes.
PELOSI: No, no, no. They didn't have 50 votes in their own caucus much less 60 votes.
CUOMO: Right. But they needed -- they needed the Democrat votes.
PELOSI: They didn't have 50 votes in their own caucus if we didn't even have the 60-vote majority. They would not margin. They would not have had the vote. But listen to what I'm saying to you. Opioids, it's a crisis Throughout America, and they are saying, well, you know, we want to spend more money on defense. We agree. Do you understand that the domestic budget, which they don't want to invest in, contains -- a third of it contains security, homeland security, veterans affairs, the State Department, anti-terrorism activities of the Justice Department are all contained in the domestic budget.
PELOSI: Thirty-four percent of the domestic budget is security, and they're saying, we just want to increase defense, but we don't want to invest in homeland and domestic, and that's because their members don't want to increase the deficit -- the debt further than they already have.
CUOMO: Well, they're asking for a lot of money in your DACA immigration negotiation right now.
PELOSI: Yes, $5 billion for a wall, right? The Mexicans were going to pay for it, right? Who believes that? But the fact is, is that we shouldn't have a wall. The Mexicans shouldn't pay for it. But we should have security at our border.
CUOMO: Whatever the context requires on the border.
PELOSI: North and south. We have in our recommendations what the --
CUOMO: Then why did Chuck Schumer say he'd give him the wall? Why was that ever on the table if you say you're against it?
PELOSI: Well, he would give him part of the security on the border, yes, some physical structure. But the -- our proposal has what the border patrol said what their needs.
PELOSI: What their needs. And their needs do not include a wall.
CUOMO: Do you think that it helped the chance of getting a deal done by describing their offer as making America white again?
[21:20:03] PELOSI: Well, that's what they're doing. I've been saying that a year ago, but the President said it. He said it when he talked about certain countries and how he characterized them.
But what they want to do is not let any more -- you see with their proposal, cut in half legal immigration into our country. What they want to do is send people back. That's their real goal. That's what we fear most is their domestic surveillance, their internal surveillance. And also to look what they've done with the lottery, with the opportunity, the visas that come from --
CUOMO: They say it's a security risk.
PELOSI: And look what they're doing with family unification, making up a fake name, chain. Chain. I like the word chain. That sends tremors through people in our --
CUOMO: Well, you read something into everything in terms of what they're doing.
PELOSI: No, no. Of course I do. I see them every day. So this is as -- this is -- I laugh. Mitch McConnell said, she shouldn't have said that. I didn't hear him say anything about the President saying anything about the foul language he used describing countries from which we receive many wonderful entrepreneurial people.
You and I know being Italian-Americans that immigration is the constant reinvigoration of America. People come with their family values to make the future better for their families, their hopes, their dreams, their optimism, their courage to make the future better. And that's what our founders intended, that every generation would take responsibility for the next generation to do better, and that's called the American dream. And these DREAMers have inspired America. This should be so easy.
If you want to talk about --
CUOMO: It's not easy, though. I mean do you think a deal is going to get done at all?
PELOSI: It has to. It has to. And so we'll stick with it until we can get a deal. But if they want to do comprehensive immigration, let's do that, but that takes time. The Senate already did it in a bipartisan way a few years ago but the speaker of the House would not bring it up on the floor.
CUOMO: Right. But it didn't get done.
PELOSI: It didn't get done. But for the DREAMers, there's a commensurate amount of border security that is commensurate with the number of people who are protected. There's bipartisan support in the House and the Senate to get it done. Let's do what is unifying, what is bipartisan, which is transparent, instead of trying to sell a bill of goods on some of these things. And in the meantime, to be so afraid of the truth that they would do that would degrade the whole process of intelligence by taking it to a different place. I call it a cover-up.
CUOMO: Nancy Pelosi, thank you for spending time with us tonight.
PELOSI: My pleasure.
CUOMO: Appreciate it.
All right. So up next --
PELOSI: Thank you.
CUOMO: -- we're going to test the flip side of the argument. Republican Congressman Jim Jordan says the memo is the truth, and it is a must-see for the American public.
[21:26:10] CUOMO: Breaking news tonight, a series of major developments that take Russia out of the crosshairs and replace it with the FBI. The first salvo is a GOP memo alleging FBI abuse of surveillance laws during the 2016 campaign. Also FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of President Trump, suddenly stepping down just months before his planned retirement, which could have several different explanations except the FBI director recently appointed by Trump suggested to his staff that the departure has to do with an inspector general report on FBI practices during the campaign.
Let's take all of these serious developments up with Republican Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio, member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Could not have a better night to have you on. Thank you for making the time. REP. JIM JORDAN, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Appreciate it.
CUOMO: So the memo.
CUOMO: It's been voted on to come out. You believe it should come out. There are all these concerns about intelligence sensitivity. You know that the DOJ said it could be exceedingly reckless, extremely reckless to put this out, but you guys think it should happen --
JORDAN: I also know Chris Wray looked at it yesterday.
JORDAN: Today Chris Wray has not said that it shouldn't come out. He's been silent on the issue. I don't know what they said last week. What I know is I've read it, and there are lots -- I mean we've had lingering questions about this dossier for months. And the American people, if they're asking the question was the dossier used, that's a legitimate question. And that's something that needs answered.
So this memo should come out. Let it speak for itself. Now, I did say I wish we had the appropriate references, citations, footnoting to the underlying source. But the fact is I think it will speak for itself, and I think it will answer a lot of questions.
CUOMO: All right. So let's do this one step at a time. You've seen the memo.
JORDAN: I have.
CUOMO: You have not seen the intelligence that it's based on.
JORDAN: We're not permitted to see that.
CUOMO: But doesn't that concern you that something was so heady, that is so provocative, and you don't get a chance to see where --
JORDAN: Chris, that's why I said it should be footnoted and cited. But that's not the choice the committee made. I do think the memo will speak for itself. Plus I know all the other context. I know the text messages between Strzok and Page. I know -- I mean, look, we knew before the text messages come out, we suspected the fix was in on the Clinton investigation. Now that the Strzok/Page text messages have come out, we know the fix was in on --
CUOMO: How do you know that?
JORDAN: Because what it -- he said, Trump is awful. Clinton should win 100 million to zero.
CUOMO: But he said he didn't like Trump, just like certain of the agents --
(CROSSTALK) JORDAN: It went a lot more than they didn't like Trump. It was animus against Trump. It was the most extreme bias I've ever seen.
CUOMO: But people have opinions.
JORDAN: But here's how you know the fix was in. Because when Loretta Lynch says she's going to appropriate the decision to James Comey to decide whether they bring charges or not, what does Lisa Page say?
Now, this is before they've interviewed Clinton, before the investigation is over. Lisa Page says, well, that's not really a profile in courage because she already knows charges won't be brought. So we know the fix was in and then these same people, Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe, the same people who ran that investigation and rigged it in favor of Clinton, they're the ones launching the Trump investigation, their Trump-Russia investigation. Peter Strzok is the one interviewing Mike Flynn.
So it's appropriate I think, just common sense-wise, to for Americans to step back and say, hey, maybe there's something there. And then you look at what they said about Trump. You look at the fact they said we need an insurance policy. We can't let the American people -- I'm afraid we can't let the American people decide who's going to be the next president. We need an insurance policy --
CUOMO: Nobody said that.
JORDAN: That's what Peter Strzok said.
CUOMO: No, he didn't.
JORDAN: Yes, he did.
JORDAN: I'm afraid we can't take that risk, that the American people might elect Donald Trump.
CUOMO: But you're reading that in. I have seen the --
JORDAN: He also said, well, guess what?
JORDAN: When I'm talking in Walmart and says, well, I can smell the Trump supporters, the derision they had for people who voted for President Trump, that's a problem. And so all we're saying is this memo gives even more context to this whole situation.
CUOMO: But, Jim --
JORDAN: And the American people can decide for themselves.
[21:29:59] CUOMO: Jim, there's a difference between wanting to ascribe political motivations to how people do their job, which you don't really know that it affected the investigation. We know they're human beings at the FBI. We know they have personal positions. But I'll tell you something.
JORDAN: We know that.
CUOMO: One, if we're going to deal with general common sense, I've worked with the FBI for a long time --
CUOMO: -- I know you have as well. The idea that it's a left-leaning organization would shock the conscience --
JORDAN: Oh no.
COUMO: -- of most people.
JORDAN: You know what? I agree with you, the rank and file. But the top people at the top --
COUMO: When Hillary Clinton had that e-mail investigation --
JORDAN: -- Page -- Strzok/Page, they were certainly pro-Clinton.
CUOMO: When Hillary Clinton and they were -- when they were doing the e-mail investigation and Comey came out with that letter and made it public and talking about what was going on and reintroduced it back into the campaign --
CUOMO: -- they were saying the same things you're saying now. These people don't like us. This is personal animus. Who would inject this into a campaign?
So what's the lesson? The lesson is you need proof. Now you're going with a memo that by your own reckoning and including Nunes. Nunes didn't even look at the confidential information his own memo was based on. You're not worried?
JORDAN: You're going to have to ask the chairman about that, yes.
CUOMO: But you're not worried at all that you're throwing something out into the public domain that could be very, very provocative and you don't even know if it's accurate?
JORDAN: Yes. Does it bother you that Lisa Page and Peter Strzok were the key people? Peter Strzok, deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, saying the things he said about President Trump. Saying the thing --
CUOMO: That's why Mueller removed him. JORDAN: Yes. But he first picked him and put him on the team and that's what the inspector -- but for the inspector general doing this investigated, we wouldn't have known this stuff.
CUOMO: Inspector general, which is in house accountability by the same organization that you're saying, may be corrupt.
JORDAN: Exactly right. Exactly right.
CUOMO: Well, that kind of fights your premise, though, doesn't it? You got all this information from the inspector general. It's not like Nunes, who doesn't read the confidential information, dug it up himself.
JORDAN: What true we got it from the inspector general, but this memo is still important. And as I said I think --
JORDAN: -- I want you to see it. I want every --
CUOMO: What if it's wrong?
JORDAN: More importantly, I want the American people to see it.
CUOMO: But what if I don't -- I can't judge it because I don't know what it's based on.
JORDAN: You know what? That's why I called for -- having the underlying sources referenced cited, footnoted. But you know what? The FBI can release it.
The FBI can say -- the Justice Department can say, you know what, the sources for that, they can release it. And ultimately the White House can say that they want to release it too. And if that's what it comes to, maybe we'll have to entertain that question at that time. But what I know now is this memo is something the American people should read.
CUOMO: Even though they won't know whether or not they can believe what's in it because they won't have the substance of the background --
JORDAN: That's why I wish we had it there. But --
CUOMO: But you keep saying you wish you had it there, but you don't.
JORDAN: I called for it right away --
CUOMO: I know. But it didn't happen. So doesn't that make you feel like well then it shouldn't come out? Until you can release it the right way, don't release it. And then to not release the Democrat one at the same time, how is that not just partisanship?
JORDAN: Chris, that's not where we're at. It's coming out tomorrow. You're going to get -- CUOMO: But why don't you let the Democrat one come out?
JORDAN: The committee it'll come out when the President gives it the thumbs up.
CUOMO: Why doesn't the Democrat one come out at the same time?
JORDAN: Well, true. But my understanding is they're following the same process for the Democratic memo.
CUOMO: Then why does yours come out first?
JORDAN: Well, because what we follow for the Republican was, first you made it available to all members to come read, then when enough members had read it and said, you know, this needs to be made public, it was made public. That is my understanding on what they're doing with the Democratic memo. They're making it available for all members of the House to come read and all they'll read it.
CUOMO: But there's going to be a lag. So then yours gets out --
JORDAN: That's because --
CUOMO: -- there and gets all this exposure. And then --
JORDAN: There wasn't a Democrat memo until today. The Republican memo has been in the committee for a couple of weeks and several hundreds members have read it. And everyone who has read it said, release it to the public.
CUOMO: Jim, if you were home in Ohio and you weren't in this business, you were doing something else that your talent alleged you to be --
JORDAN: I'll be coaching wresting or something like that, yes, yes.
CUOMO: -- you'd be sitting with your kids that you coach in wrestling and saying, never be like these people.
CUOMO: Look at these Democrats and Republicans. Look what they're doing. They're fighting with each other and they're going to just dump it on the FBI. How is it transparent when you're not even releasing the source material?
JORDAN: And the FBI can release that if they want.
CUOMO: But they do. But they think that it could be dangerous to do so because of the source material.
JORDAN: Well, I tell you what can be dangerous is when fundamental liberties aren't upheld and when you have top people at the FBI rigging the game, making sure Hillary Clinton charges aren't brought against her and those same people run the Russian investigation. And everything points to putting their finger on the scale. It is not supposed to work that way in this great country. It is supposed to be equal treatment under the law.
JORDAN: You and I saying --
CUOMO: But you don't have any reservations --
JORDAN: No one should be treated different.
CUOMO: You look at some texts between lovers, OK, within the FBI.
JORDAN: No. She's general -- she's FBI counsel.
CUOMO: I know --
CUOMO: You have to factor that in, in terms of the nature of their banter. I'm not saying they aren't important, but context matters. You have Andrew McCabe. Now he's stepping away, maybe it's because of the inspector general report says Christopher Wray by suggestion. This is a man who voted in the Republican primary. You have this --
JORDAN: He's also a guy who sat down with Terry McAuliffe, Clinton's biggest supporter when his wife was running for state senator. Yeah.
CUOMO: A year and a half before he was in his position.
JORDAN: But here's a thing we always forget. You know when he sat down with --
JORDAN: Here's the other we forget. When he sat down with Terry McAuliffe, it wasn't just about Terry McAuliffe is the biggest Clinton supporter and his wife was running for office and getting $500,000 of financial help worker state --
CUOMO: It was a year and a half --
JORDAN: -- as a Democrat.
[21:35:00] JORDAN: But when he sat down with Terry McAuliffe, Terry McAuliffe was under investigation by the FBI. What does Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI, sitting down with Terry McAuliffe while he's under investigation by the FBI helping get financing --
CUOMO: But the idea that this was --
(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: -- out that a year and a half before he's in the position, you're worried about.
JORDAN: I don't care his (INAUDIBLE).
CUOMO: Bu you see a direct connection?
JORDAN: When McAuliffe is under investigation, the deputy director is going to sit down with him and get money for his wife's campaign when she's launching her campaign? I mean that this weekend when the Eagles pull up to the big stand and play the game, if the referees get off the Eagles bus, that's going to be a problem. You cant, you are the FBI --
CUOMO: You really believe.
JORDAN: -- you have to be impartial. You're a referee. You do the investigation --
CUOMO: You believe --
JORDAN: You don't show that your bias in the --
CUOMO: Democrats or people who favor Democrats were in charge of the Hillary Clinton investigation and they allowed what happened to her, to have that letter come out from Comey to have that release?
JORDAN: You know what?
CUOMO: -- that submarined her campaign. You think that was them doing her a favor?
JORDAN: One Republican who said what Comey did in October was wrong. I criticized what Jim Comey did in July was wrong, what they did during the investigation was wrong. They screwed this thing up from start to finish.
And what Comey did 10 days before the election, I was the one Republican who said he shouldn't have released that letter and made it public and reopened the investigation. But you know why I think he did it, because he felt like everyone else in this country. He thought Hillary Clinton was going to win. But guess what? Donald Trump kicked her tail. So that's why he did -- he thought he was covered. Oh I can release this, and she's still going to win. But I criticized that --
CUOMO: You got a lot of speculation. I'm just telling you. But these types of things we're dealing with --
JORDAN: That's not speculation. That's what I said. CUOMO: I know, but you're speculating. You don't know why Comey did what he did. Why would he try to submarine her campaign because he though he was going to win doesn't make sense? But all I'm saying is this --
JORDAN: He thought there was no risk --
CUOMO: All I'm saying is this. I hear you. I hear the speculation, and it's your right to have it. We only know what you show, and what we're dealing with in terms of intelligence, you better have the facts to back it up. Otherwise people are going to go on the basis of suspicion.
JORDAN: Well said.
CUOMO: Jim Jordan, appreciate you making the case as always. You know that.
All right. So the memo, as Jim Jordan was just saying, is at the White House tonight. The President faces a big decision, release it, or keep it under wraps. It is literally up to him.
What should he do? Let's debate it. Jones versus Urban, the great debate, next.
[21:40:48] CUOMO: What a night. We are following breaking news. A partisan fault line rupturing the House Intelligence panel. Republicans voting to release a memo that's based on classified information that a lot of them haven't even seen.
The allegations are huge. Anti-Trump bias within the FBI, that's what this memo is about. Republicans also blocked the release of the Democrats' countermemo.
So that brings us to round one of tonight's great debate. Former Obama special adviser, Van Jones, is with us along with former Trump campaign strategist, Mr. David Urban. What a mess.
Let's talk about what is going on here. David Urban, I start with you. The first guest was Nancy Pelosi. She says this is nothing more than a cover-up that crosses all the lines of decency and responsibility for intelligence that you guys don't want to talk about what matters. You're afraid of the Russia investigation so you concocted this as a cover. Your take?
DAVID URBAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Chris, well, I would expect nothing less from the Minority Leader, and it's unfortunate that she would take such a position.
Look, I think the White House has made their position pretty clear on this. They're for full transparency in this, and they believe, I think, that you want to see, you know, everything put on the table. All cards put on the table.
CUOMO: But this isn't even close to everything, David.
URBAN: Well, yes, I know, but I take exception. You know, not the entire FBI is under, you know, scrutiny here. There are a few individuals.
CUOMO: But what do you think people are going to think when they read this memo?
URBAN: Oh, I think listen, I don't know. I'm not -- I don't know. I'm not privy to what's in it, but I would just, you know, always take note that let's not throw the baby out with the bath water the FBI. The men and women of the FBI are patriots. They go to work every day, do a great job for America on so many different levels. There's --
CUOMO: Van --
URBAN: There's problem with folks in the FBI in this investigation. I think there's going to be an I.G. report coming out that maybe not so favorable. And I think that's what maybe the Democrats are trying to get ahead of.
CUOMO: Right. Well, Van, we don't know any of this, but this is the speculation. And when this memo comes out and it says that there are problems at the top echelons of the FBI with respect to how they did surveillance or anything that has to do with the campaign, what is it going to do to these people in this country?
VAN JONES, FORMER SPECIAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, listen, there may well be. We don't know. But there's a process that we've always gone through. If, you know, if these things are serious, you don't take serious allegations and then treat them in silly theatrical ways. There's a mishmash between what they're saying is going on.
Let's give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe there was some malfeasance at the top of the FBI. As a liberal Democrat, I'm not somebody who surprised there may be something wrong with the FBI in certain instances.
But if that is true and if there was a conspiracy at the top of the FBI to negatively impact this election, that is the most serious thing you can say about the top law enforcement agency. If that is true, you have to proceed with the utmost caution, the utmost care to make sure you handle it and you handle it well. You don't call press conferences and just throw stuff out. It's wrong.
URBAN: Also, Van, I'm not quite certain. I think there's been some a great deal of deliberation done in the House by the committee. I would like to see both minority and majority reports released. I think that's probably -- if you have to do it, I think that's probably the fair way to do it. And that's what I would urge in this case.
JONES: Chris, can I say something?
CUOMO: Yes, sure. JONES: When we saw Donald Trump winning this election, those of us who are progressive Democrats were very worried. We said, oh, my god, just like Richard Nixon now, you may have a weaponized, politicized FBI going after progressive targets. You might have -- that was a really big concern that people had. Or --
URBAN: Like the IRS did against Republicans?
JONES: You get a chance to talk when it's your turn.
JONES: That didn't happen. By the way, that didn't happen.
URBAN: All right. OK.
JONES: But you get your turn in a minute.
JONES: Chris, we had real concern that you might have a weaponized, politicized FBI being unleashed. You also had concerns that maybe they were going to back off with some of these white supremacist groups. We never thought that you would have the GOP take a wrecking ball to the FBI, that they would try to destroy the FBI and then you would have people like myself out here trying to defend the FBI.
[21:45:12] This is so crazy and it's so nuts that literally people don't know what to do. When the leader of the Democratic Party, Nancy Pelosi, is looking at this and she's saying herself, I cannot get out here and tell you how big these lies are because if I did that, I would jeopardize national security. That's where we are, Chris, and it's a frightening moment for all Americans, or it should be.
CUOMO: Well, I'll tell you something. Let's take a break, David. Let's do a second block, all right? Let's do a second --
URBAN: Van, all I would say is this. Listen, I would be for having both memos, the majority and minority. Full transparency.
CUOMO: Good. We heard on that. Let's take a quick break. Dave, while we're in the break, you should call Devin Nunes and find out if it's true that he didn't look at the confidential information, the classified work on this because if he did --
URBAN: Jim Jordan told you.
CUOMO: Make a phone call. Stick around, everybody. The President trades barbs with Jay-Z over black unemployment.
I'm telling you, you just can't make up the headlines these days. Who's right? We're going to keep talking about intelligence in America, and we're going to segue to this. Round two, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [21:50:08] CUOMO: The African-American unemployment rate is at a historic low, that's a fact. But it is the result of a trend that has been going on for a long time. So who gets the credit? President Trump says, I do, but here's what Jay-Z told our own Van Jones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY-Z, RAPPER, BUSINESSMAN: It's not about money at the end of the day. Money is not -- doesn't equate to like happiness, it doesn't -- it does not missing the whole point. You treat people like human beings. It goes back to the whole thing, you're going to treat me really bad and pay me well.
JAY-Z: It's not going to lead to happiness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, before you say, Jay-Z, what do I want to hear from the President responded when Jay-Z spoke about this and said, "Somebody please inform Jay-Z that because of my policies, black unemployment has just been reported to be at the lowest rate ever recorded."
Now, facts first, right? Unemployment among African-American is at in all-time low like I said, that's true, 6.8%. That number sound high? That's because it is. All right, now while it's been falling for years, well before Trump was in office, it is still so much higher than the rate for white workers. And that's something that has to be addressed.
Let's have round two of the great debate with Van Jones and David Urban. The facts aren't in dispute, Van, the rate is low, it's been going down, but it's still too damn high and everybody knows it. You had Jay-Z speaking about it. So how do you see this conflict between Jay-Z and the President on this issue?
JONES: Well, I got to say, you know, we did the debut of my show on Saturday, and Oprah and Trump both texted -- tweeted about it. So I thought it's good for my ratings but it's actually bad for the country because the President missed the point -- love Oprah, but the President missed a point.
What Jay-Z was trying to say is it's good that we have some of these numbers continuing to improve, obviously it started under Obama, but it still doesn't get the President off the hook from some of his rhetoric and the way that he says demeaning things about people. And we were talking as parents how hard it is to raise black kids when the President saying things like s-hole countries, et cetera.
So those numbers which are good don't make up for the bad things. The President entirely missed the point. Let me just say one more quick thing. I'd love to hear what David think about this. But just one more quick thing here.
Listen, under Obama, you had the unemployment rate for black people falling 1.8%, 1.6% a year. Under Trump it fell 1%. So yes, the trend is --
JONES: -- wait, the trend is continuing down, but actually slowing under Trump.
URBAN: All right, go ahead.
JONES: So if you want to talk about numbers, those are numbers.
URBAN: So Van, first of all, congratulations, great show.
JONES: Thank you so much.
URBAN: You made a lot of news, you know, congrats on that. Second of all, Jay-Z saying that money doesn't buy you happiness is a little laughable. The guy is a billionaire.
URBAN: I -- well, pretty close to being a billionaire, pretty successful guy - him calling the President a super buck is not a very great argument. If Jay-Z, you know, Jay-Z wrote a very successful book, right, "Empire State of Mind" for the street corner to corner office. If -- you know, you should ask Jay-Z if he's got a plan. I love it -- I'll hand it to the President myself. Love to see that.
And look, you know yourself, Van, that President Obama was widely criticized by the African-American community for not doing enough for the African-American community. He was widely criticized. "The Atlantic", why is President Barack Obama failing the black community?
URBAN: NPR, the "L.A. Times". I mean on and on and on.
JONES: So interesting you raise a good point. Chris, you know what's interesting about the point that you raised isn't that true.
JONES: African-Americans wanted President Obama to do more. Do you know why he didn't do more? Because he had to walk on eggshells because whenever he did anything to help the African-American community, Republicans attacked him. So --
URBAN: Somebody said this, the President -- this President just passed an incredible tax cut, along with the Congress, right? There are 5 million individuals that got nice bonus checks from their employers. I'm guessing a good deal those were African Americans, so he did a nice thing there.
URBAN: He did something well there.
URBAN: There's a great deal of Americans that are getting a gigantic bump and the standard deduction, the $24,000 of taxes are going to go significantly down. Apple and many other companies have announced, you know, they're going to invest in new plants, new infrastructure in America, which is going to help African Americans.
I mean, to say that the President is not helping African Americans, he's helping all Americans, and I think that's what we want to see here.
JONES: I gave him credit and I give him credit. I get beat up --
URBAN: Well, I didn't hear that, Van. What did you say?
JONES: You don't watch my show (INAUDIBLE) my show, but I will say that I gave him credit and I give him credit.
URBAN: I watched it and it's a good show.
JONES: And I give him credit but here's what I don't do. I don't think -- if he had said in that tweet, he said because of my policies this is happening. That's the problem. You have a bipartisan -- both political party --
URBAN: Hold on.
JONES: Both political parties should be proud of the fact that for the past seven years we've had that unemployment rate coming down. Obama had his share and so did Trump. It's a bipartisan success.
[21:55:04] CUOMO: Well, look, here is what we both know.
URBAN: Van, I love hearing you say --
CUOMO: I know, you like hearing him say the President did a good thing.
URBAN: -- President Trump is doing a good job.
CUOMO: If the President got out of his own way more, Dave, and said less inflammatory things, he'd hear that a lot more often. So let's see what he does tomorrow night. Gentlemen, thank you very much for being here.
URBAN: It's going to be a great speech. Tune in. Tune in everybody.
CUOMO: All right, stick around, the final fact -- URBAN: Great show, Van.
JONES: Thank you, sir.
CUOMO: -- is next.
CUOMO: All right, as a treat tonight, I'm going to give you two final facts. First, the reason that the President relies on Wall Street so much is because that's an indicator that is really high without qualification. When he talks about jobs, 2 million, the growth rate, 3%, these numbers are either wrong or they are not historically great, OK?
If you do the Google research and you look at the tax policy, you look at the economic numbers, you'll see the numbers are good but they're continuing a trend and often they're not even improving on it. So do the homework.
The other fact is, I'm sorry, but all this stuff about the memo, it just reeks of politics. And it is the politics of the worst kind, left and right engaged in a dynamic where you are going to be held hostage. And the FBI may be made victim by their own struggles. If this isn't about facts and they don't prove things, it is going to be dangerous for everyone.
That's all for us tonight. "CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon the man starts right now.