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Trump Settles Scores on Twitter Ahead of Big Diplomatic Week. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 23, 2018 - 07:00   ET


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN TALK is next. For our U.S. viewers, NEW DAY continues right now.

[07:00:11] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. President Trump facing a crucial week of diplomacy. The president and the first lady are going to host their first state dinner. You've got French President Emmanuel Macron is going to be here. There's a lot on the agenda, including the fate of the Iran nuclear deal, which looms even larger now, given the hopeful negotiations with North Korea and the issue of troops in Syria. France wants the U.S. to stick. Trump had said he wants to get out. So there's a lot on the table.

CAMEROTA: OK. Meanwhile, President Trump claims in a tweet that North Korea has agreed to denuclearize, but that's not what they announced.

The president's focus on Twitter, which is our lens, of course, into what he's thinking about, this weekend at least, was on settling scores. He lashed out at his critics. In more than two dozen tweets the president defended his personal attorney, who is under criminal investigation. He slammed the Mueller probe and James Comey's leaked memos.

So let's begin with CNN's Kaitlan Collins, who is live at the White House. Yes, it was a busy Twitter weekend -- Kaitlan.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: One of the busiest that we've seen in recent weeks, Alisyn. The president sent 24 tweets between Friday evening and Sunday night. A very busy weekend, even by his standards on Twitter, while he was down in Palm Beach.

One of the messages in those dozens of tweets was to his long-time attorney, Michael Cohen, after "The New York Times" reported that the president's legal team is resigned to the fact that facing legal -- these very big legal fees, potential criminal charges, someone who has a kid, two kids and a wife, that Michael Cohen could end up cooperating with those federal officials who are investigating him.


COLLINS (voice=over): President Trump pushing back on reports that his long-time personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who is under criminal investigation, could turn on him and cooperate with prosecutors. KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO DONALD TRUMP: He stands up for people

in his inner circle and people he knows when he thinks they're being treated unfairly.

COLLINS: The president accusing "The New York Times" and others of going out of their way to destroy his relationship with Cohen in the hope that he will flip. Trump adding, "I don't see Michael doing that."

President Trump also unloading more than two dozen other tweets over the weekend, launching a new round of attacks at fired FBI director James Comey, in a move to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

MARC SHORT, WHITE HOUSE LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: I think that we all have frustration that we believe that the scope has gone beyond what was intended to be investigations into meddling in the election.

COLLINS: The president repeatedly declaring the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia a witch hunt and questioning the basis of Mueller's investigation, alleging Comey "illegally leaked classified investigation in order to generate a special counsel and that the Russia probe was established based on an illegal act."

After he was fired by Mr. Trump last May, Comey testified before the Senate about his decision to have a friend leak his memos to the media.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.

COLLINS: But last week the former FBI director told CNN he still thinks it was the right thing to do.

COMEY: I was in a position, given what I knew, to do something that would be useful and important; and so I did it.

COLLINS: Sources tell CNN the Department of Justice inspector general is now looking into Comey's handling of the memos.

All this ahead of President Trump's expected summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The president writing in part, "Wow, we haven't given up anything, and they've agreed to denuclearization. So great for the world. Site closure and no more testing."

But while South Korea has said Pyongyang is willing to talk about denuclearization, North Korean officials have not agreed to that, instead saying they would halt missile testing and close one nuclear facility.

This as "The Wall Street Journal" reports that the president will urge North Korea to act quickly to dismantle its nuclear arsenal before receiving any relief from U.S. sanctions.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COLLINS: Now, of course, North Korea and Michael Cohen aren't the only things on the president's plate this week. He's hosting the French president and his wife starting today for his first official state visit. Of course, trade and the Iran deal will both be on the agenda. The many things they have to discuss. But they're going to get started with a dinner at Mount Vernon tonight. Of course, that is the home of our first president, George Washington -- Alisyn and Chris.

CUOMO: Thank you, Kaitlan. Appreciate it.

Let's bring in CNN political analyst John Avlon and CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

John, this is a big week.


CUOMO: There are a lot of really significant international things on the president's plate. He teed up none of that this weekend in any meaningful way, because he is all about discrediting criticism of him specifically in the context of the Russia probe and Michael Cohen. Twenty-something tweets.


AVLON: Twenty-four sort of unhinged -- my favorite was just the out of context "complete witch hunt." Just -- just -- I mean, it is a -- it is a glimpse into the mind of a president who is not thinking presidentially in terms of the responsibility of the office, in terms of the -- you know, the big week ahead with French President Macron, North Korea. I mean, really high-stakes stuff on his plate. But while Melania was off with the ex-president's club, seemingly happier than ever, in really a reminder of the bipartisan tradition of the presidency, Donald Trump was at Mar-a-Lago, just firing off angry, unhinged tweets that really -- the contrast to that is so stark, but that's the reality of interior life of this president.

TOOBIN: You know, there is -- James Comey has a problem with these memos that he gave to Daniel Richmond, the professor at Columbia. The idea that he gave these memos, which were not marked classified but may well have included classified information --

CAMEROTA: He redacted some information.

TOOBIN: He redacted --

CAMEROTA: He was aware that something could be sensitive.

TOOBIN: Correct, but, you know, there is a karma aspect to all of this because, you know, Hillary Clinton got in trouble for the same thing, for not, you know, recognizing that these things might be classified even if they're not marked classified.

CAMEROTA: And what if the inspector general who's looking into this decides that he did hand over something that was confidential or even highly classified? Then what happens to James Comey?

TOOBIN: Well, then there's a question of does the inspector general refer it for prosecution the way they have with Andrew McCabe and his problems?

CUOMO: That doesn't mean it necessarily gets prosecuted.

TOOBIN: Of course, but, you know, it is no fun to be under criminal investigation even -- now I don't want to jump ahead and say James Comey is going to be criminally investigated, but the idea that he turned these memos over to a private citizen who did not have a security clearance.

CUOMO: And he admits it. There's no question about where it came from. He says he did it, so that's a big part of the analysis.

TOOBIN: It's a big part of the analysis, and it's a problem. And I think Trump, characteristically, has found a weakness in an opponent, and he's exploiting it.

AVLON: That's exactly right. I think Trump has found a weakness, and he is going to try to cheerlead this, because he knows he can get Comey on his heels.

TOOBIN: Now, of course, he's making sort of an absurdly over-large claim to say that the whole Mueller investigation is discredited because of this, which of course, it isn't.

CUOMO: Well, right. I mean, the specious premise is this is why we have a "special council," misspelled, which shows haste. And that's part of the problem with the president with these tweets, is he doesn't think. He's not being careful. He's just reactionary. We do not have a special counsel today, because Jim Comey leaked these memos.

CAMEROTA: Wasn't it in part that, though?

CUOMO: You have a special counsel, because he fired Jim Comey, and Rod Rosenstein was so concerned that the DOJ was compromised, that he went --

CAMEROTA: I get it. Even James Comey himself said, "And I intentionally sent these to a friend hoping it would trigger --

CUOMO: Right. That was his intention.

TOOBIN: Alisyn's right. It was part of it. It was part of it. But the fire -- but you're right that the firing not the memos were the reason.

CUOMO: I have to parse it, because the president is making a case that's based on a specious premise. He wants people to think, "If Comey hadn't sent those memos, I would be fine." That's what he says. This tweet, it's just not true.

AVLON: The president is going to make any argument he can to try to play the ref and get his base enflamed. That's what he does. And so any relation to reality we shouldn't expect --

CUOMO: But Comey made it easy for him. He made it easy for him by giving the memos and by doing the book tour. He made it easy for him also, because he made himself a political animal, not just someone who does the administration justice.

AVLON: You know, I think book tour aside, I think he's trying to hold himself to a higher standard than the president but, you know, that is not necessarily rewarded in this context.

CAMEROTA: Jeffrey, I want to move on to Michael Cohen, what might happen with him, OK? So the president seems to be signaling in various ways that he has the ability to pardon Michael Cohen.

TOOBIN: He does.

CAMEROTA: So if Michael Cohen has received that loud and clear, just play this out for me. Does that mean, if he thinks, "OK, I'm safe, because the long-time president and man, Donald Trump that I've served, is going to pardon me," does that mean that starting right now Michael Cohen can say if Robert Mueller's investigators ask him anything, "I plead the Fifth. I'm not cooperating." Then that's what he could do.

CUOMO: He'll do that anyway.

TOOBIN: He could do that anyway, but he could also -- I mean, his bigger problem at the moment than Robert Mueller is the southern United States attorney's office.

CAMEROTA: That's what I mean. With that investigation, can he now say, "I'm not cooperating at all?"

TOOBIN: I'm sure that's what he's saying. Any lawyer with a modicum of sense would tell him, "Say nothing to these investigators," but the train may have left the station.

When you get your office searched like that, you are on the verge of indictment. So the question is, if he's indicted, does he just sit there, go to trial and hope that down the road he gets a pardon? Or does he flip and plead guilty and agree to testify?

[07:10:07] I think the real question for Cohen now is what does he do if he gets indicted? Does he plead guilty or does he go to trial? Does he go to trial thinking that down the line he'll get a pardon?

CAMEROTA: But if he pleads guilty, then he can get a pardon anyway.

AVLON: He could get a pardon.

TOOBIN: He can.

CAMEROTA: He could get a pardon before he --

CUOMO: He could get a pardon today. TOOBIN: I think that's unlikely. Legally, you certainly could, but

you know, the question of going to trial, it's hard to go to trial. And no one is going to let him plead guilty. The U.S. attorney's office is not going to let him plead guilty without a proffer first without him saying what he knows about Donald Trump, what he knows --

CUOMO: It would have to be Donald Trump, too. Because just from the business of prosecuting, you know, not to malign prosecutions, but you know, judges and jurors don't like when you have a deal on a lateral, you know, which is me telling on you. No, you've got to go up the chain. And you --

TOOBIN: Our boss, Jeff, is in a lot of trouble.

CUOMO: I know nothing -- I know nothing about him except that he gave me and my family a great opportunity.

But it is an interesting political question which is, "Hey, Mr. President, if you care so much about Michael Cohen and this is so unfair," pardon him today.

AVLON: Yes. Look, I think --

CUOMO: Pardon him today. If it's so unfair, if it's so clear to you, pardon him today.

AVLON: Look, I think we all understand that the Scooter Libby pardon was, in part, a shot across the bow. Was attempt to reassure people under investigation. If Cohen flips, and you know, "The New York Times" reporting about the resentment, the complicated relationship that really exists, that's a problem for the president just fundamentally, because he's the keeper of secrets.

But he has this power, and there's very little to think that at the end of the day, he wouldn't play that.

CUOMO: Why doesn't he pardon him today?

TOOBIN: Well, he might. And you know --

CUOMO: Why not?

CAMEROTA: I don't know. Is there a problem in that?

CUOMO: Well, one, one of my favorite statistics is that, you know, when Donald Trump took office his approval rating was about 40 percent. After everything that's happened --

CUOMO: Still there.

TOOBIN: -- it's exact -- so why would pardoning Michael Cohen affect his numbers?

CUOMO: You know what his rationale is? It's the same one for not talking to Mueller. "I'm not talking to you. You're fugazi. You're not asking me real questions. I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to dignify you.

"Michael Cohen, this is my guy. I know him. I know what he's done. He's a good man. He's not like these drug addicts that you are talking to. Oh, by the way I care a lot about addiction," which is a real problem for the president.

AVLON: He's also referring to former staffers as drug addicts, by the way.

CUOMO: But I'm just saying, the man who says -- you will never help on that issue if you play into the stigma about people who are addicted so --

AVLON: Right.

CUOMO: He's flooded the zone with so much nonsense that he's escaping on that right now, but you could pardon Michael Cohen today and say it's a witch hunt. And I can protect somebody from your witch hunt. I'm doing it today. Why doesn't he? What does that say about his true conviction and loyalty to Michael Cohen if he won't pardon him?

TOOBIN: Let's see. I mean, I wouldn't say that decision has been made yet. It is an unprecedented act in American history to pardon a crony, one might say.

CUOMO: This is all unprecedented.

TOOBIN: I understand that.

CUOMO: You couldn't even have come up with that.

TOOBIN: I know. That's for sure. That's for sure. But why doesn't he pardon him?

CUOMO: Why doesn't he?

TOOBIN: Because he would get an enormous amount of criticism, including from other Republicans now. Maybe he doesn't care.

AVLON: Chris -- Chris -- yes, no, I mean, I know you're just playing devil's advocate here, just to be clear, if the president preemptively pardoned Michael Cohen, you would be very concerned about its implication for the Democratic process in the republic, correct?

CAMEROTA: Correct?

AVLON: I'm just asking. I'm just asking.

CUOMO: He has complete authority to do this. I believe that politicians should be held up to a reflection of their own principles. If you think that this is a -- you think this is a witch hunt, if you think this is wrong, if you think this is a good man, then pardon him. And will you get criticism? Sure. But since when does he care about that?

AVLON: But do you think that would be bad for the country? CUOMO: I think that it's an exercise of his power, and it would have

to be reviewed as such. There are plenty of those. I think what he just did in Syria was bad for our democracy. It's a subrogation of Congress's duty, but it happened and they didn't say anything. Why would this be any different?

TOOBIN: It would be very -- it would be very different.

CUOMO: We'll see. We'll see if he does it. If he really cares about this guy and he really thinks it's a witch hunt, he could fix it like that.

CAMEROTA: We'll see if he does it by 9 a.m. I feel like it's going to happen in the next hour and 45 minutes. Stay tuned, everyone.

Jeffrey, John, thank you very much.

CUOMO: All right. So a lot of this is now going to play into the White House messaging this week. All right? So can the White House guarantee the American people that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will see the probe to its end? There's a lot of yimmy-yammering on it on the outside. But will they make that promise? Legislative director Marc Short next.


[07:18:31] CUOMO: All right. This is a very big week. You have a lot of international politics on the table. Diplomacy. The president is going to welcome the French President, Emanuel Macron, to Washington. It's his first big state dinner. That matters: how it's carried off, how it's planned, what's discussed. And that's one of the reasons we're giving so much attention to what happened this weekend.

On -- right on the eve of all of these big things we had the president just going off on Jim Comey, the Mueller probe, how all the media has it wrong, how all of it is unfair. He went after it more than he ever has before in terms of volume.

So let's discuss the state of play with Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs and assistant to the president of the United States. Always good to have you on the show, sir.

SHORT: Good morning, Chris. Thanks for having me back.

CUOMO: Good. So let's have just one quick agreement on one point. You cannot guarantee to the American people that the Mueller probe will be seen to its conclusion. Is that true?

SHORT: Chris, how about we phrase the question a different way? How about we look at it as every day there's a different vigil, a prayer vigil, it seems, on CNN. Is today the day that Mueller is going to get fired? We've been doing this for months.

The president has no intention of firing Robert Mueller. The reality is that we're frustrated, and we feel like we've complied in every single possible way with this investigation, and it continues to drag on. But there are no plans to fire Mueller. And it's impossible to say what the future is going to hold, because you never know how far off it's going to veer as far as the investigation. But there are no plans to dismiss Robert Mueller.

[07:20:16] CUOMO: OK. I hear you on that. One, you know that the reason that we have to put meat on the bones of the speculation is because the reporting that comes out of the large building behind you right now. That's where it's coming from. It's not coming from our own heads.

But again, Marc, I do believe that there is a meaningful distinction between saying, "We'll have to see" and "No, whatever happens, happens. The president has full confidence in his cooperation and in his lack of any culpability, so he will not mess with the process." You are leaving open the possibility of messing with the process.

SHORT: Chris, once again, there are no plans to dismiss Robert Mueller, period.

CUOMO: I know, but that is different than saying, "And we never would, because that's not what this is about. Do you understand the distinction?

SHORT: There's no way I can sit here and predict what the future is going to hold. There are no --

CUOMO: I believe you. I believe you. I'm just saying in another administration, you might well be sitting there saying, "Look, the guy's going to do what he's going to do, and we'll deal with it then."

SHORT: Let's talk about other administrations. Other administrations have expressed similar frustrations with special counsels. That's why, in fact, there were multiple appeals to appoint a special counsel in the Obama years. During a lot of different scandals that they chose not to do. Because we've seen time and time again special counsels have no boundaries, and they go way beyond the scope of initial investigation. It happened in the 1980s when a lot of people, innocent people, were prosecuted during the Iran-Contra --

CUOMO: Happened with Bill Clinton.

SHORT: Happened in Bill Clinton. Exactly. And that's why I think --

CUOMO: I don't remember him saying, "This guy has got to go." Janet Reno appointed the special counsel.

SHORT: Chris, Chris, you're 100 percent right on that. That is -- that is an area where Republicans who had once stood against special counsels for similar Libertarian reasons decided during the 1990s for politicization, they liked the special counsel. And they decided a special counsel out of -- initiated for Whitewater became an investigation about an intern having a sexual relationship with the president in the Oval Office. And Republicans then decided they like special counsels.

But you're 100 percent right. Republicans, nor Democrats have been consistent on this. Both sides decide when it's in their political favor, they like a special counsel. It's nice if there was some consistency in recognizing that the special counsel in its scope often goes way beyond the boundaries, which is why civil Libertarians have often argued that it is not appropriate.

That's what the role of Congress is, to investigate, and the Department of Justice is. And there's plenty of room within the Department of Justice to do its own investigation.

CUOMO: And maybe it would have stayed there if the president hadn't fired the head of the FBI.

SHORT: No, maybe it would have stayed there if the head of the FBI, who said -- he said he was not a leaker, then testifies that he intentionally leaked documents, some of them perhaps classified, for the purpose of sparking a special counsel investigation.

CUOMO: That's what he says his intentions were. Jim Comey says he tried to push for a special counsel. But we know why Rosenstein appointed one, and it wasn't because of the memos. It was because the president of the United States made a move on the head of the FBI, which spooked Rosenstein into thinking --


CUOMO: -- that "Now we have the attorney general had to recuse himself. The president's moving against this. It doesn't look good. We need to appoint a special counsel." And Rosenstein is your guy.

SHORT: You know as well as I do the Democrats are arguing that Comey should have been fired during the Obama years. Then they decided -- they decided the reality is there are plenty of -- the president fired Comey for, I think, just cause. There are plenty of opportunities --

CUOMO: Because of the probe. He said it himself to NBC News.

SHORT: -- the special counsel.

CUOMO: Russia on his mind. This Russia thing is a hoax. Comey's got to go. That's what he said in not so many words.

SHORT: Russia being a hoax, I mean, in the last administration what we did is we allowed Russia to invade Crimea. In this administration we've decided to make sure Ukraine is armed. We've expelled 60 diplomats. Our European allies expelled a handful of diplomats. We've put sanctions on the country. We've decided to -- to engage Russia in places like Syria and Iran. So this administration has stood up against Russia.

CUOMO: It is an unusual mismatch of walk and talk. Usually, what happens is the White House talks tough about Russia but doesn't really do anything. Here you're presenting a case that's actually the inverse of that. You did give arms to Ukraine. The Obama administration would not do that.

Now I would argue you haven't done anything on the suggestion of Crimea but one step at a time. But the talk, this president is more gentle about Vladimir Putin than he is to anyone else that I can think of that he should respect and see as inimical to the American cause.

SHORT: We'll accept --

CUOMO: There's a mismatch.

SHORT: We'll accept this rhetorical victory that Chris Cuomo on CNN is saying this administration is walking the walk on Russia.

CUOMO: You have taken steps that weren't taken before.

SHORT: Right.

CUOMO: But the question becomes that you've got to give credit to the administration. The president is the head of it. But why doesn't he say the types of things he does for other allies, let alone inimical operators? He doesn't say them about Putin. The man aimed missiles in a video at Trump's house, and he didn't say anything about it.

SHORT: What the president said on the campaign is it would be great to partner with Russia to defeat ISIS, one of the greatest threats this country faces. It would be great to partner with Russia against North Korea. Those are things the president believes. But as you just said, this administration is walking the walk and actually holding Russia accountable.

[07:25:15] CUOMO: There's much more that could be done. The sanctions are a great reflection of this. Congress passes them. They're almost never on the same page about anything. You guys slow off them.

Nikki Haley goes out and says, "We're going to do more, because you can't have Russia helping a madman kill his own people with chemical weapons." The president says, "No, we'll wait for them to do something really bad."

What else could be worse?

SHORT: I -- I -- I would like to think that this administration has taken very serious actions. I think you accepted that. What would be great now is if the administration actually could work with Congress and Congress would allow us to have a secretary of state confirmed so we could actually begin to engage.

CUOMO: Good segue. Do you think that you can get Mike Pompeo through the committee? Or do you think you're going to have to wait for McConnell to engineer a vote on the floor? And then do you think you have the votes?

SHORT: You know, Chris, this has been an incredibly disheartening couple weeks. Because in a lot of our private meetings with Democrats, what they say is, "We know you graduated top of your class at West Point. We know you graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. You served honorably in the Army. You've done a phenomenal job at the CIA, but we just can't vote for you." CUOMO: But there's a distinction, right?

SHORT: No. The reality is the Democrats have become beholden to the Bernie Sandonistas [SIC] and as well as the movement. And not showing courage they're doing what they know if right.

CUOMO: But you have a lot of moderate voices, Marc. You know, look, I hear you about each party has a fringe, right, that's getting more and more robust. I don't know that it's fair to lump Bernie in there on this particular issue. But --

SHORT: Oh, it absolutely is.

CUOMO: -- your distinction --

SHORT: The e-mails that they've been sending you, look at the pressure.

CUOMO: I get them all, Marc. I'm on your mailing list. I'm a friend of Trump.

SHORT: Ex-friend on my list.

CUOMO: You guys all send me your e-mails, and you're all very angry at one another. It's really serving us well.

What I'm asking you is this. When it comes to Pompeo as CIA director, you're right. He did very well, because he checked so many of the boxes. As secretary of state, you know that people are saying it's a different set of job requirements, his being very hawkish. The things that he's said about people of a very major religion in this world, that he states an aggression that they're not sure suits this country as a diplomatic premise. It's a different job.

SHORT: Chris, each and every one of those alleged comments were there before they voted to confirm the CIA director. And anyone at the CIA will tell you he has done nothing but support them of all religions and all the agents of the CIA. He's done a great job.

The reason for the opposition now has nothing to do with that. The reason for the opposition is that the and the Bernie Sandonistas [SIC] of Democratic offices will tell us that in private, but then in public they'll go out and say something else. It is why people have gotten so frustrated and angry with this town. They know that he is a uniquely qualified person to serve as secretary of state. He should certainly get overwhelming support in the committee today and on the floor later this week.

CUOMO: But I'm just saying that's the basis of the resistance. It's different. Finishing first at West Point is an amazing achievement. It's not a -- it's not a usual one for a secretary of state, right? It speaks to a military background. Usually, you're trying to keep those things separate. But let's see how it goes. Let's see if he gets through the committee and, if not, what happens on the floor. We will watch it. Two quick things for you. All right? The first one is we were talking

here on the show and I was saying, if the president believes that this is a witch hunt, what Bob Mueller is doing, that they're out to get him, and now they're targeting his man, Michael Cohen, who's a good man, who's done nothing wrong, why doesn't he pardon him right now?

SHORT: Chris, I would imagine that if he did that, there would be quite an outcry from your network, as well.

CUOMO: He has the power. What do you care what we say? Since when do you care what we say?

SHORT: There's no need. There's no need for that at this point, Chris. I think that the president, of course, all of us are frustrated. We're very frustrated with the scope of the investigation and the way that it's dragged on. We feel like we've complied in every single possible way for an investigation.

CUOMO: He hasn't even sat for an interview for you. That's the most obvious way to cooperate.

SHORT: The House has completed its investigation. We're anxious for the Senate to complete it. The American people are more interested to know that the unemployment rate is the lowest point in 17 years. It's the lowest point ever for the Hispanic-American --

CUOMO: It's been a great continuation of the economy that he inherited, no question about it. Talk about politics matters.

SHORT: Chris, you can't say that. For eight years --

CUOMO: Absolutely. It's a matter of fact.

SHORT: The Obama years, the GDP averaged 1.8 percent. The lowest since the Great Depression.

CUOMO: You're at the same range right now.

SHORT: You cannot sit here and say that.

CUOMO: You're at the same range right now.


CUOMO: And your deficits are way bigger than theirs were.

SHORT: It's averaged 3 percent. You can't say that.

CUOMO: No, no. You're taking it one little tight space. Overall, your growth models are the same. They're a continuation of what they were.

SHORT: They're not the same.

CUOMO: You ballooned your deficit -- you just ballooned your deficit in a way that we did not see under Obama. Even if you look at the numbers coming out of the great -- Great Recession, still, the way they dealt with the deficit is better than you guys are right now. Very surprising for the GOP.

SHORT: You're doing a great job of filibustering. More so than a lot of our senators are, but here's the reality.

CUOMO: These are facts.

SHORT: The revenues -- no, here's a fact for you. The last four quarters to our treasury were higher than they've ever been. The reason -- the reason that the deficits are going is not because revenues have decreased. The reason that the deficit is growing is because spending has increased.

CUOMO: Spending, yes. And you guys signed onto it.

SHORT: Well, you just said --

CUOMO: And your tax cut.