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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Interview with Sen. Bernie Sanders; Discussion about Politics; Corey Lewandowski Talks About Russia Probe. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 7, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, appreciate it as always.
I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
President Trump's approval rating climbing as midterm season approaches. Economy plus tough talk paying off? Or, is sowing division paying dividends? We're going to test both.
Also, Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont, he says Trumpism is still a loser and he has something better for you and he's here to make the case next.
And this could be the next shock of the new normal. Is one of the president's favorite FOX News hosts really up for Jeff Sessions' job?
Plus, the president shrugging off prep -- preparation, study. You know what is really important before a big meeting? He says he doesn't need it for the summit. He says attitude is what matters more. We're going to take on the state of play in the White House with top Trump confidant Corey Lewandowski.
What do you say, friends? Let's get after it.
CUOMO: Independent Senator Bernie Sanders here right now.
It's only a few months from the midterm elections. Donald Trump's approval rating on the rise. Here are the numbers. Was it about 39, 40? Now, 44 in a new poll.
Economy is up. His penchant for punching opponents and seeding animosity is apparently paying off, at least in the polls. And we see in those numbers that the race of Congress is unusually tight.
So, why are Democrats and Senator Sanders confident they can regain the majority?
Senator, thank you for joining us. A true pleasure. I appreciate it.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Thank you for having me, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. So, when we look at these poll numbers -- I know you hate polls, but just to do apples to apples -- his numbers are now close to where Obama was right before his first midterm. Why do you believe Trump will suffer the same fate Obama did or at least something akin to it where the out-party, now the Democrats, regain the majority?
SANDERS: Well, I think for a couple of reasons. One of the reasons his poll numbers are going up is the economy is very strong. Worldwide, what we are seeing now is relatively low unemployment rates, Japan and Germany, Canada has the lowest unemployment rate it's had of 40 years. Mexico's unemployment rate is very, very low.
So, the world economy is now rebounding from the terrible Wall Street crash of 2008 and any president is able to take advantage of that. That's true.
But I think this is the problem that Trump is going to have. He ran for president and he said to the people, I'm going to provide health care to everybody. Remember that, Chris?
CUOMO: Yes, sir.
SANDERS: To everybody. Good, quality health care.
Well, he supported legislation to throw 32 million people off of health care and health care costs in this country are rising, number of uninsured are rising.
Trump said that he would support tax reform which would not benefit the wealthy. At a time of massive income and wealth inequality, Trump's tax proposal gave 83 percent of its benefits over 10 years to --
COUMO: -- very well with the middle class, Senator. They like the tax cuts.
SANDERS: No, they do not like -- yes, everybody likes a tax cut, but people do not at a time. When three people in this country, Chris, own more wealth than the bottom half of the American people, very few people, poll it, thinks it's makes sense to give huge tax breaks to billionaires and large profitable corporations.
The other point to be made, and we will make this on the campaign, is that while unemployment today is low, do you know what the increase in wages -- real wage increases for the average American worker was last year?
CUOMO: About 3 percent.
SANDERS: Zero. Not a -- nope. It kept pace with inflation for the average American worker. It didn't make a nickel more after you account for inflation.
CUOMO: So you're saying it nets out to zero. That's what you're saying. SANDERS: Nets out to zero.
CUOMO: It nets to zero because of the cost of living increase.
But let me ask you something that you went over quickly. Don't you think that President Trump deservedly gets credit for the strong economy, not just a by-product of what's going on globally? He made moves and gave confidence to industry that is benefiting the American people and we see it in the poll numbers.
SANDERS: No. Honestly, look, the truth is every president, Democrat and Republican, says, hey, when the economy's going good, it's all my brilliant ideas.
But Trump or anybody else will have to explain is why in Germany right now, unemployment rate is lower than the United States. Japan, it's lower. In Mexico now, it's 3.8 percent. U.K., the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years.
The world's economy is doing well. Our economy is doing well, in terms of unemployment.
But we are not doing well in terms of raising wages for working families. I was out in Disneyland just last Saturday, in California. And you know what I found out? They got workers there working for Disney -- working for Disney who are making literally starvation wages.
All over this country, people trying to make it on $9, $10, $11 an hour. They can't make it. They can't feed their families. They can't afford to send their kids to college. They don't have health care.
So, the crisis of our time right now, Chris, is not unemployment. Unemployment is very low. The crisis of our time are low wages, people can't afford health care, can't afford prescription drugs and send their kids to college.
Those are the issues that Trump is not dealing with.
CUOMO: Right. He says he is. He says, I give you the tax cut, I reduced regulations that are making corporations happy. They're giving more money to people. Wages are up.
Now, I'm going to put in place tariffs, which people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and the Democrats traditionally like, to punish people for having an uneven playing field. Our workers will do better and there'll be more jobs that we see. And investment in steel companies being made already even before the tariffs take their bite.
How can you do better than that, Senator?
SANDERS: Well, first of all, first of all, as I've said, just wages are not going up.
CUOMO: They are going up but you're netting them to zero with a COLA, you know, with a cost of living adjustment.
SANDERS: Look, if you're an average worker -- Chris, Chris, that's a fair way to do it, that's what economists do, you know? If you are an average worker ands you're paying more for gasoline, paying more for health care, paying more for child care, you know what, more for affordable housing, you're not getting ahead.
So, the bottom line is the average American worker today, despite the strong economy, is not getting ahead.
SANDERS: Those are the issues. And then I got to tell you -- you know, Trump campaigned you said you remember this. I will not cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Believe me. I'm not Paul Ryan. That's what he said.
His budget, trillion dollar cut in Medicaid proposal, $500 million in Medicare. Massive cuts in education, nutrition programs. He's doing a war against working people. He is a tool of the wealthiest people in this country. And I think the American people understand that.
CUOMO: All right. One more beat on the political state of play and then policy, OK? I did a lot of homework for you tonight, Senator.
So, on politics, you said part of the remedy is new blood. We're going to put in new candidates. You came out with a great book that people should read about this, your kind of handbook for revolution, you know, with a small "R." How people can take back control of their own democracy.
Your candidates are not doing great, though, across the country. What did you get wrong?
SANDERS: Not -- not true.
Look, Chris, do you think that -- you know a little bit about politics. Do you think in a year or two, suddenly, we're going to transform the entire Democratic Party, take on big money, take on the establishment? The truth of the matter is what we have been focusing on is grassroots activism and that is doing extremely well. We have been --
CUOMO: Why aren't the candidates winning more?
SANDERS: Oh, my God, they're winning all over the country.
CUOMO: You had a lot of guys lose, too. I don't think you're at .500.
SANDER: Chris, that is, in all due respect, not an intelligent way to look at it. I can be at 100 percent if I keep -- if I supported candidates who had all the money and the power and all the polling. We are trying to support candidates who are fighting for working people.
And, by the way, where we are winning hands down is that our progressive agenda which is as you will remember a few years ago was considered to be fringe and extreme, that's kind of mainstream America now. The American people do support Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour, making public colleges and universities tuition free, rebuilding our infrastructure --
SANDERS: -- retooling (ph) our investment.
Our ideas on winning and at the grassroots level, more and more people are getting involved.
CUOMO: We're going to get into this more in a second, but one of the pushbacks is it's expensive what you want to do. Howard Schultz, head of Starbucks, stepping away. Rumor is he may run.
What do you think of him as a candidate for Democrats? Let me play you a little bit of sound from him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD SCHULTZ, OUTGOING STARBUCKS CHAIR: It concerns me that so many voices within the Democratic Party are going so far to the left. And I ask myself, how are we going to pay for all these things? In terms of things like single payer or people espousing the fact that the government is going to give everyone a job, I don't think that's realistic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. Now, Bernie Sanders is not going to like that spirit of that statement. But what do you think of the line up a Schultz as kind of the left's Trump to go up against him, businessman versus businessman?
SANDERS: Chris, I honestly do not know Mr. Schultz at all. All that I can say --
CUOMO: What do you think of the comment?
SANDERS: -- is I think -- well, I think his comment is dead wrong. I think you have a guy who thinks that the United States apparently should remain the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people. The truth of the matter is that I think study after study has indicated that Medicare for all is a much more cost- effective approach toward health care than our current dysfunctional health care system which is far and away the most expensive system per capita than any system on earth.
CUOMO: All right. So you're going to deal with it just in terms of expensive to fix some of these things but they are costing us a lot of money now.
All right. Let's get into the meat of the matter here.
Can I get up and walk over to the white board? Ely, the director, you're good with that? All right. Good.
So, Senator, I did a lot of homework, talked to a lot of experts, some of which you used, as well, to break down single-payer health care. It's very complex. It's very scary to people. But let's try to simplify it. And I've got three big main points of pushback for you to defend.
Here we go. The first one is, I have written the word socialism. I'm not here to beat you over the heat calling you a socialist, but the problem with the selling point of this is, it smacks of the end of capitalism, and that people will say --
SANDERS: Oh really? Does it, Chris? Chris? Chris?
SANDERS: Chris, you're going to have to do some more homework because I think you're going to have to explain to the American people if Canada can provide health care to all people, U.K. can provide healthcare to all people, every major country on earth can provide health care to all people, I don't think it's that scary.
CUOMO: But they call it socialized medicine.
SANDERS: Well, some people may. So what?
CUOMO: That's kind of what it is, government paying for everything. Taking the private --
SANDERS: No, it is not. Actually, Medicare -- no. Actually, Chris, Chris, actually, it is not.
Canadian health care system has private doctors, private hospitals, private nonprofit hospitals. Doctors practice on their own.
What we already have in this country, Chris, which does not scare people but which people think very highly of is you got Medicare. Right?
SANDERS: Medicare is the most popular health care program in America today.
SANDERS: So, people are saying, if it's good for people 65 and older, why shouldn't it be good for everybody in this country?
CUOMO: All right. Good. So, that's the suggestion. Now, let's go in to what the point of pushback might be. Seventy-plus
percent of people in polls say health care is their top priority. They're worried about it. They want it better. Now, that is on Trump's plate because of what they did with the individual mandate and now popping premiums.
Sanders, you're right about that. However, the only thing that unites people more when it comes to health care than wanting it to be better is the fear of change. OK? So, that's going to take trust and right now, there isn't a lot of trust with you people down in Washington because they see you as breaking this.
So, what is your pitch for how this is better? That means, better outcomes, better experience, better on their pocketbook. How is single-payer going to be better when it will require people like me, with a generous health care policy through the employer, there are 170 million of us, we're going to have to change and come into your new plan.
Why is it better?
SANDERS: Well, you're going to change, Chris, not in terms of the doctor you go to. You go to the same doctor --
CUOMO: Uh-oh. Watch with that promise. I heard that got somebody in trouble once. 3
SANDERS: No, no, no. No, no, no.
You're going to change in that the color of your card is going to be a little bit different. Instead of saying Blue Cross Blue Shield or United, it's going to say Medicare. And I think at a time when people who are watching this program have deductibles of $5,000 or $10,000 a year can't afford to go to the doctor, when one out of five Americans can't afford the prescription drugs they need because we are ripped off by the greed of the pharmaceutical industry, I think it is clear that we need health care that guarantees quality care to every man, woman and child in this country, lowers the cost of the prescription drugs and expands primary health care in America.
CUOMO: But that's --
SANDERS: Today, we have the most expensive system per capita in the world by far.
CUOMO: And we're going to get to that.
However, when you look at Canada, you look at the U.K., even look at Taiwan, they have problems with drug pricing. In fact, most of those plans require supplemental policies to deal with drugs, either explicitly --
SANDERS: Not true.
CUOMO: Oh, it absolutely is true. You have people in Canada who are having to take out separate insurance. Taiwan had to deal with it in separate insurance.
SANDERS: All right. But, but -- no. That's true. In fact, the Canadians now see one of the weaknesses of their system, Chris, is that they don't cover prescription drugs as part of their health care system. And they're moving on there.
But having said that, the costs of prescription drugs in this country undeniably are far, far higher than they are in Canada.
SANDERS: Millions of Americans today are buying their prescription drugs from Canada and other countries.
SANDERS: Because only in America can the drug companies charge you any price they want for the drugs you desperately need.
SANDERS: Meaning millions of people cannot afford the medicine that they require.
CUOMO: All right. So, strong point for Sanders there. And that now takes us to the crux of the matter.
What do you do about the costs? Pretty much everybody -- you still hearing me, Senator?
SANDERS: Yes. I am.
CUOMO: All right. Good. Because, you know, sometimes people say they can't hear, but really you just don't want to listen. But that's not you, Senator.
So, we get the money, all right? And how do we deal with the money? This is going to be very expensive. I was reading through all these estimates today about the trillions of dollars that this would cost and how you deal with it.
There seemed to be two main ways, OK?
The first one is cut the costs you're talking about, have the government be the sole -- not just pooling the people together because in numbers there's strength, but it would mandate what the pricing is. Sounds good. Force the companies to kneel and to come into some kind of obeisance where the people come first.
But here's the problem -- one in nine people in our economy are employed within healthcare. You would destroy that profit model. You would destroy that industry because it would become so much cheaper, it could affect access, it could affect employment for people.
So, how do you sell that, that cutting costs will work? SANDERS: First of all, I think when you have the function of health
care, Chris -- let me back it up a minute -- should not be make profits insurance companies and to allow CEOs to earn $20 million or $30 million a year. The function of a rational health care system -- and again, Chris, what I'm suggesting to you is not a radical idea. It exists in every other major country on earth. The function of a rational health care system is to provide health care to all people in a cost effective way. That is the function of a rational health care system.
SANDERS: Now, to answer your question. Is it true that today there are some people, if you go to the basement of a hospital, you got hundreds of people, dozens of people who are doing nothing else but billing. Right? They are sending out telling you that you owe them money. You have people hounding doctors about what kind of medicine they should be able to use --
SANDERS: -- and so forth and so on.
Will those people lose their jobs when we have health care for all guaranteed to a single-payer system? The answer is, yes.
On the other hand, we have a lack of doctors in this country, a lack of nurses, a lack of nurse practitioners, a lack of dentists. We are an aging population. We need more people to be working with our older people.
We will create more jobs under a rational Medicare for all system than currently exists. There will be a transition just as the same way to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel. We create more jobs but there will be pain and you got to deal with that pain.
CUOMO: All right. But dealing with pain is not something that's done well in politics. And that's why the idea of raising taxes to pay for this kind of single-payer plan, which is almost a guarantee, is hard.
Your own state Vermont tried it in 2014 --
SANDERS: Chris, Chris, Chris?
CUOMO: They couldn't do it, because they've had to sell an 11 percent increase.
SANDERS: Chris, Chris, you're talking about raising taxes.
SANDERS: But you're forgetting the other half of the equation, is that people are not going to be paying private insurance costs. So, if, hypothetically, we say to you, Chris, bad news is you're going to pay $5,000 more in taxes.
SANDERS: Good news is you're not paying $10,000 to Blue Cross. Are you really going to come crying to me?
CUOMO: But I'll tell you. Depends on who I am. First of all, I'm a Cuomo. I never cry. It's one of the our problems of emotional limitation.
But what I'm saying is it depends on what you pay, what your salary is, because if it's a 10 percent big for this, that for someone making $40,000 means one amount of money for somebody making $100,000 mean something else, and it will be -- you'll have to find a way to balance that.
Let me ask you something: Would you accept anything short of this? Work on some kind of halfway plan?
SANDERS: Chris, let me just say this. Chris, Chris, I would not be fighting for Medicare for all which, by the way, a majority of the American people now support, I would not be fighting for this unless it benefited financially and in a health perspective ordinary Americans. So, let's be clear about this.
At the end of the day, the middle class and working families of this country will be better off under Medicare for all system. You got unions. I just talked to some union workers the other day.
SANDERS: What do you think happens every time a contract comes up? They spend half their lives arguing about health care costs. They don't get a wage increase because health care costs are soaring.
CUOMO: And yet at the same time, they're one of the most expensive labor costs we have in the country.
Let me ask you one thing about politics before I let you go. And by the way, I told you we would I said we'd talk policy for most of this interview. I told you I keep my promise. That's one thing.
You've never talked about this plan as much as you have on this show tonight and this is just the first of our conversations. We'll do it a lot between now and the midterms.
But I want to ask you one more question about politics. Your son's running for Congress. You say, I won't endorse him because I don't like dynastic politics.
Why? It's only two of you. I got two in my own family. That's no dynasty.
SANDERS: Well, actually, I have more than two. My son is running on Medicare for all, raising the minimum wage.
SANDERS: He is running on programs that --
CUOMO: He's like a better locking Bernie that guy.
SANDERS: I think -- I think that, you know, I don't believe in dynastic politics. He's on his own. He's going to speak to the people of New Hampshire, and I'm sure he's going to do very well.
CUOMO: But you can't cut your son loose, though. I know your brother is running, but he's in the U.K.
SANDERS: Chris, Chris, I don't. I don't believe in dynastic politics.
CUOMO: I know you don't.
SANDERS: I believe -- that's what my view is. I think and I'm proud that he's standing up for the working people of New Hampshire. He has worked hard for working people, low income people his whole life. And that's what I happened to believe.
CUOMO: Who's better for working people, you or him?
SANDERS: He's doing a great job. We'll let the voters of New Hampshire make that decision.
CUOMO: I grew up with that question being asked. I always love to see people struggle with it.
Senator Sanders, I appreciate you taking this first step with us here to explain your case to the American people. These are big issues. We'll keep talking about it here. I promise you that.
SANDERS: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right.
All right. So there it is. I know it seems complicated but when you break it down into the main points, you get to see this is the case they're making to you. Do you want to buy it? That's your decision.
All right. So, this FOX News host, you heard about this story, reportedly jockeying to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions. She happens to be one of the president's favorite TV personalities. Who is she? And the argument for why in our new normal, even this could be possible?
The great debate, they're the debaters, next.
CUOMO: All right. I'd never tell you that it's news that the president is threatening to fire his attorney general. We hear that almost like what, daily.
But now, this is a good twist. There's word that one of his favorite FOX News hosts is gunning for the job. Jeanine Pirro, could she succeed in ousting Jeff Sessions?
We're going to debate it. Jennifer Granholm and Rick Santorum are here for the great debate.
But, first, I got to give people a little taste of what Jeanine Pirro is cooking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: Does Hillary Clinton drop off the pantsuits here for dry cleaning?
I'm looking for Hillary. I can't find her. Hillary!
We need to kill them. We need to kill them.
If the devil called me and said he wanted to set up a meeting to give me opposition research on my opponent, I'd be on the first trolley to hell.
Jeff Sessions is indeed the most dangerous man in America.
The FBI is the crime family.
There's a rat in the White House.
And once we catch him, what do we do with him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kill him?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: OK. Let me ask you this, Rick Santorum. The idea of Jeanine Pirro taking the job of Jeff Sessions, I know you support the senator and now attorney general, I know you know him well. You think he's doing a good job.
But we know crazier things have happened. What is your feeling about this? Make the case for Pirro, for or against.
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENATOR: I'm not going to make -- I know Judge Jeanine. I like her very much. I consider her a friend.
But, you know, she's stepped out of the public life and has gone into, you know, hosting a TV show, and as you can see she is very colorful, very entertaining, in my mind, very funny at times.
And she -- and, you know, that's her shtick right now, and she does a great job at it. But that doesn't put you in a position for the highest law enforcement officer of the country.
And the bottom line is, she could not get confirmed to the United States Senate and I don't think the president is up for any kind of battle in the Senate over an attorney general. I think it's one of the reasons Jeff Sessions is going to stick around for a while. CUOMO: But the reporting is out there, Governor Granholm. They are
saying that the president likes her, he likes the way she represents herself.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I bet.
CUOMO: He likes the strength. What do you think of this?
GRANHOLM: Whatever. I mean, come on.
The president likes her because she's loyal and what is he going to do? Clear out the whole Fox bureau and put them on his team?
This ain't going to happen, Chris. I mean, actually, I agree with Rick Santorum on something which is that she is not going to be -- certainly, if she was appointed, she would not be affirmed. I think Lindsey Graham said last week there would be holy hell to pay if Jeff Sessions were fired. This is not going to happen.
Plus, I mean, she has a bit of whiff of scandal in the background, too. She tried to be attorney general of New York and lost significantly to another Cuomo. And there was a whole series of issues around her background that were raised in that. This is not going to happen.
CUOMO: How about, Rick, the idea of needing people like you, voices within the party, to call out to the president and his team to say, stop doing this? Stop putting this out there. Stop undercutting our own, stop trying to always create insecurity, pit people against one another? How come you guys don't say that?
SANTORUM: Well, I think I have said that and I --
COUMO: Not tonight.
SANTORUM: Many times, actually, unfortunately. Well, I think I did say that Jeff Sessions, agreed with you, Jeff Sessions is doing a good job.
Look, I don't agree and I've been very public, I don't agree with everything Jeff has done. I think he did make a mistake. I actually agree with the president on recusing himself.
SANTORUM: But by and large since he's been attorney general, he's done his job, and he's done it in spite of all criticism. I don't know too many people to put up with that.
And as you said, he has very strong support on Capitol Hill. And the opportunity for, you know, for making a decision on Jeff Sessions before not after he was nominated and it's time for the president to move on and focus on getting a peace treaty with North Korea.
CUOMO: All right. Next topic.
GRANHOLM: I can't believe Rick -- OK.
CUOMO: No, go ahead. If you can't believe something, I want to know it.
GRANHOLM: I was going to say, Rick, I just -- I just can't believe you would say that he did the wrong thing in recusing himself. It was like the one good decision that Jeff Sessions has made since being attorney general. He's --
GRANHOLM: -- I mean, Jeanine Pirro calls him the most dangerous man in America. And I think for immigrants and for other people, he is. But that was the one thing he did that was right.
CUOMO: You disagree because?
SANTORUM: Well, look, I never -- first, I don't believe in special counsels. I think they're exactly what we have seen here. They're a complete and utter distraction. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the thing that's investigated is never the thing that's being -- ends up being prosecuted.
It becomes a witch hunt for anything that is -- you know, happens to be in the public square at the time.
And it's just -- it's a bad idea. We should trust our Justice Department. We should trust our FBI. We should have an open process, without leaks and people should be given, you know, the opportunity to be able to do their jobs in the Justice Department instead of making this political circus with special counsels are.
CUOMO: Yes, the leaks are the least of the problem.
Let's talk about something else. North Korea -- Jennifer Granholm, the president says, I don't need to prepare that much. It's really mostly about attitude.
GRANHOLM: Come on. Oh my God. So, if I took the bar --
CUOMO: That's the bumper sticker on the back of the president's vehicle.
GRANHOLM: That's ridiculous!
I mean, come on. I'm going to take the bar exam, I'm going to go in and pass it with attitude? I'm going to go and take a final exam and pass it with attitude?
Attitude without preparation is losing. I want -- there's millions of people's lives are on the line here and he is going to not do the preparation necessary? He doesn't read the briefings. He stays in the executive suite until 11:00 watching FOX News.
He's never presided over a National Security Council meeting in preparation for a country unstable and is going to potentially launch nuclear weapons? Without preparation?
I want a president who is prepared. You can have attitude but be prepared.
CUOMO: Rick, he can just wing it. That's really how you are in the room. It was in "The Art of a Deal". You win it with your eyes.
SANTORUM: I think the president will be fully prepared in the matters that are going to be at the level that he's having the discussion. I think that what -- I think the president's probably referring to is that all the minutia, which is vitally important, the devils in the details in all of these agreements are going to be worked out by people that frankly you and Jennifer and I probably feel comfortable working them out. They're our national security folks. And they're the ones doing the details.
Donald Trump is going to -- is going to take his cues from those people. And negotiate at the high level with --
CUOMO: Was he taking them from them when he said to Trudeau -- Rick, just a couple of days ago, I don't know, every day seems like a year right now. But he says to the P.M. of Canada, didn't you guys burn down the White House? Don't you think like a straight line like that kind of comes out of the seat of ignorance could be very unsettling?
SANTORUM: You know what? I hate to say, Chris, but the straight lines -- the straight lines that have come out in the North Korea --
SANTORUM: -- negotiation over the past year and a half got us where we are today. I think the straight lines and the unpredictability of this president --
SANTORUM: -- have really shaken North Korea to the point where they're sitting down like they had never decided to do before.
CUOMO: Shaken us? First of all, they've been dying to do this for generations and you know that. And you know that so many diplomats and people who understand these issues far better than I will ever say you've given them everything they've ever wanted. A man who kills his own family, who denies his people freedoms, who took our own and sent them back almost dead in the form of Otto Warmbier, something the president talked (ph) about yesterday, and now you're giving them to parity with the president of the United States.
What do you mean you got them right where you want them? We'll see what deal they cut, but, Rick, come on. You've given them everything they wanted. SANTORUM: First off, first off, there's no deal. And I truly believe
that given the advisers, given the president's own, you know, hard edge when it comes to negotiation, as well as the pretty hard liners that he has around him on this negotiation, that I don't think North Korea's going to get a whole lot of benefit out of this unless they do something that's verifiable and immediate.
CUOMO: I know you say that. But, you know, the one hard liner --
SANTORUM: I know people are concerned about --
CUOMO: The one hard liner named Bolton, when you say his name, it echoes now. Bolton, Bolton, Bolton. Why? Because he's gone.
He said Libya model, a show of strength, Jennifer, and now he's out. Why? Because they don't want do go that way.
What did we hear from the president yesterday? Yes, sweet letter, nice letter. Come to the White House and cookies and milk on me.
Look, it's fine as a tactic. But let's be very clear. Do you believe that this is the Rudy Giuliani theory of why this is happening, that they're begging for this meeting in Korea because they're so scared?
GRANHOLM: Are you asking me?
SANTORUM: Well --
CUOMO: Yes, Jennifer Granholm.
SANTORUM: I'm sorry, go ahead.
GRANHOLM: No. No worries.
I think that -- that giving Kim Jong-un this legitimacy is a huge gift to him. I think that is true. Donald Trump going into this meeting without being prepared is a sign, A, of laziness, and, B, of complete ego.
But what Rick said was that we'd be comfortable with the people who are negotiating this, which it means that the summit itself is really going to be nothing but a greeting. It is going to be a wash of a formal meeting and the president isn't going to do a negotiation. It's going to be perhaps a series of meetings where he kicks off a hello, little greeting and somebody else does the work.
And frankly, as Rick said, I would much prefer that than him into this meeting and shooting off his mouth without having done the preparation.
CUOMO: Now, here's the problem. I can sit here and say it's wrong for him to say he doesn't want to be prepared. You know, quick lines aren't what's going to get it done and look at how he's treating the press and look how he's treating different freedoms in this country. But you know what? The proof is in the polls. Rick Santorum, the
president is up in the most recent poll. He's at about the same level Obama was before the midterms, 44 percent, up from about 39.
So, what is working for him? Obviously, the things that we criticize him for aren't affecting the poll.
SANTORUM: No, look, people are saying that their lives are better. I mean, that's always Americans vote with their pocketbook and you see unemployment as was mentioned lows.
Contrary to what Bernie Sanders says, you're right, Chris. Wages have increased since the Obama administration. They were flat for the entire term of President Obama. In fact, declined originally but now, they are up and they are increasing, 0.3 percent, which is one of the largest in recent memory.
So, you know, people are seeing real economic benefits from President Trump's policies. They like the fact that he's fighting. I know Republicans and Democrats alike are concerned about the tariff fights, but I think a lot of Americans are going to like the idea that we're out there fighting with the Chinese and others to protect our markets and to protect our workers.
So, all of these things just I think are sort of hitting stride for him right now. I think he has more work to do. I think Bernie's plan that he laid out in the earlier segment and the idea of the Democrats are going to make health care number one issue going into this election is a huge liability for this president if they don't do anything.
If they run on health care and we just ignore it, I think that is going to be a huge problem for the president come November.
CUOMO: Especially after chopping up the mandate and now that's going to be blamed for people for premium pop. But we'll see how that battle plays out.
SANTORUM: It isn't -- yes. I don't -- I don't think it's the big reason premiums are going up, but that is a legitimate thing to attack Republicans on.
CUOMO: It certainly makes the case and the Democrats will.
CUOMO: This is bad for you.
GRANHOLM: It's the number --
CUOMO: This is bad for you, though.
GRANHOLM: No, no.
CUOMO: These poll numbers, bad.
GRANHOLM: First of all, poll -- we know that, I mean, polls go up and down and one thing has remained consistency throughout Trump's presidency is that he's underwater. And why is he underwater? If you look at the poll that you're referring to, the interesting part of it to me is that by a margin of 25 percent, people want to see in the upcoming midterms, people who are put in power to check this president.
Democrats on the generic ballot, the number is up 10 percent or winning by 10 percent. Yes, the economy is getting better and as Bernie said, this is a worldwide phenomenon. And some people may be crediting Donald Trump but that poll that you showed, showed that his base is getting more and more in love with him, but the rest of the country are not getting more and more in love with him.
And health care is the number one issue on people's minds. So, this is not -- I mean, the poll, so he ticks up a couple in job favorability but if the intensity of the Democrats in terms of how they want to vote in this election is 15 points higher which it is, than Republicans, then Republicans have a lot to be concerned about but the bottom line for our team is don't listen to the polls at all. Get out and work your butts off.
CUOMO: Well, second problem for you is what you're about as a party. You know, it is always interesting to me that I think Senator Sanders still has to be at the top of the cull right now in terms of who you put out for president and he won't join your party. You know, isn't there a little bit of concern within the ranks that the people who are doing well around the country aren't running as regular Democrats? They're running as locale specific.
Look at Joe Manchin, OK? West Virginia senator says he's open to voting for Trump if he likes his policies in 2020. That's a new reality for your party, is it not?
GRANHOLM: Well, there is no litmus test to be a Democrat. What we care about --
CUOMO: Don't vote for the other guy for president isn't a test for your party?
GRANHOLM: No. Well, I mean, Joe Manchin cares about health care for people. He cares about affordable housing for his people.
CUOMO: He does.
GRANHOLM: He cares about his people having jobs and wages.
GRANHOLM: As do Democrats across the board. But it is important to be sensitive to the local issues.
Honestly, if you asked these Democrats in the local Democratic Party meetings, they are not even talking about Trump. They're talking about what is important to them on the ground, which is health care, et cetera.
I'm here, I'm talking to you from Dallas. Here, I mean, people really do care about whether they're able to put their -- to get their child some health care if there's an emergency.
CUOMO: The most galvanizing policy issue is health care.
GRANHOLM: Those local issues are huge. It is. It is huge. It's personal.
CUOMO: Who will make the best deal? We'll see.
Jennifer Granholm --
GRANHOLM: And Donald Trump threw 32 million people off. So, we are just saying, Democrats are going to be energized.
SANTORUM: That's just -- that's just not -- not even close to being, Jennifer.
CUOMO: We're going to be talking about health care a ton. It's a priority on the show.
Rick Santorum, appreciate you being here. Jennifer Granholm, as always.
All right. Time to tangle with a sticky subject: the credibility crisis in the White House and the war with the media. A celebrated Trump insider is going to join us next to argue that blaming the press is the secret to winning, next.
CUOMO: It bears repeating, the dynamic between the White House and the media sucks. And, look, proof of performance was last night in part.
I wanted to give Sarah Sanders a chance for a positive pivot. Admit the obvious. There was deception surrounding president Trump's role in the response to that Russia meeting. Instead, she chose a path that's very familiar, attack the messenger.
I'm all for productive confrontation, right? That's what #letsgetafterit is all about. But this dynamic of lie, deny and then vilify the media is getting us nowhere.
So, here's my question: Does the Trump White House actually like this and think it is working for them?
The president's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is here.
Appreciate you taking the opportunity.
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thank you for having me, Chris. Appreciate it.
CUOMO: All right. Let me play you this piece of sound from last night. You help me make sense of this situation. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Sekulow is not your lawyer. He's a president's lawyer. You're saying he didn't dictate this. He did what any father would do. That turns out not to be true.
You agree with that?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Once again, I know -- I answered this question on Monday. I answered it on Tuesday. And I'm going to answer it the same way today and you probably won't like it more on Wednesday than it sounds like you liked it on Monday or Tuesday. But this is a legal matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: One, Corey, it's not a legal matter. Not what she said. What she said isn't a legal matter. Sekulow doesn't represent her. I don't think she does have counsel unless you know differently.
Why doesn't she just say here's why I said it then, here's what changed, I wish that we had corrected it sooner? You know, all of the typical rational answers.
LEWANDOWSKI: You know, I don't speak for anyone in the White House, Chris, as you know. But I think probably what Sarah was trying to do when she relayed the information originally when she was asked and we have seen this now on more than one occasion was, sometimes the forward-facing department of the White House doesn't have all the information and does their very best job to give the information they have at the time. And my guess without having spoken to her about the issue was the information that she provided to the media at the press briefing way back whenever it was a year ago now, about this particular topic was the best information she had at the time.
And now, what we've seen is that a memorandum was written sometime in January of this year saying something different from the previous and continued member of the president's legal team. But now, Rudy Giuliani, who is a member of that legal team, has come out and said that that memorandum was either inaccurate or the statements made previously inaccurate and corrected.
CUOMO: Right. That's not exactly -- that's not exactly --
LEWANDOWSKI: So, I think that's a fair to use, to say that's not right.
CUOMO: That's not exactly right.
Rudy says them not getting it right was a mistake. Not a lie. In fact, he swore to god in Jerusalem to that fact which I had to warn him, that could carry a little bit more stink on it than ordinary. But so --
LEWANDOWSKI: Four thousand years of history over there.
CUOMO: That's exactly right.
But -- so, it's not that this is an open question. They said he had nothing to do with it and then they said he had something to do with it and then wound up at everything to do with it. Now, somebody's lying in that kind of dynamic, because there's no way that the people close to the president, let alone in that plane when it was going on didn't know his role.
But all I'm saying is this. You don't want to cop to a lie. I get it. But this White House, Corey, they never admit a mistake. And when they're confronted with anything that's been said that's wrong, let alone a lie, they just attack you, like happened last night.
You really think that's winning?
LEWANDOWSKI: You know, Chris, but you have to play both sides. And, look, we have seen a disproportionate amount of wrong reporting on this administration from multiple outlets, from -- you know, just last week. I had the privilege of traveling with the president to Tennessee. A "New York Times" reporter said there was 1,000 people in the arena and only after the fire marshal corrected her and said, not only were you inaccurate, but you're off by a factor of five was there a correction made.
LEWANDOWSKI: But that's because the media was wrong.
CUOMO: Good example.
LEWANDOWSKI: And here's the problem with that, Chris -- think about for one second, if the president would have said that the number of people inside the arena was over-exaggerated by a factor of five, the media would not give him a break.
And so, look, I think it's fair to say that there have been multiple occasions like your previous guest Jennifer Granholm, former governor, said the president did not prepare for the meeting in North Korea. There is no factual way she knows that to be accurate whatsoever.
CUOMO: All right. Hold on. Corey, let me get back in. Let me get back in.
First of all, the former governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, is saying that because that's what Trump said. I'm not going to prepare that much. Attitude is enough. Number one.
Number two, I love your other example of Tennessee. Here's why. That reporter went back on in public and said, I was wrong. I misreported. It was a mistake. Tell me when the president has done that. And, by the way, just in
case you say he's had opportunity, put up the graphic of the lies. These are just recent ones.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris --
CUOMO: Because, frankly, I didn't have enough data in the system to put them all down.
So, Corey, when does he said I was wrong, I apologizes, I shouldn't have said it?
LEWANDOWSKI: But here's the problem, Chris, it's on both sides.
Look, I remember the day that he was sworn in and the "Time" magazine reporter reported that the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. was removed from the Oval Office, which it was not.
CUOMO: Here's what I'm saying --
LEWANDOWSKI: That went out in 6,000 outlets.
CUOMO: Here's what I'm saying, Corey --
LEWANDOWSKI: Yes, but 6,000 outlets said that Donald Trump was a racist because of that.
CUOMO: Let's say you're right. Let's say you're right, that mistakes have been made, maybe intentional because maybe that reporter of that outlet didn't like Trump. I'll give you every benefit of the facts. Here's the problem: it does nothing to remove the responsibility of a president of the United States and a White from telling the truth and owning when it does not.
Your argument is very simple. Well, other people do it too. Not good enough, Corey. You've got to own your stuff, and they never do.
This lie about the response to Trump Tower is perfect proof of that.
LEWANDOWSKI: But, Chris, this administration and every reporter knows it, and it has been widely acknowledged, has given more time to the media than any previous administration --
CUOMO: What does that have to do with not lying?
CUOMO: And saying when you get something wrong.
LEWANDOWSKI: They give information all the time. Look, people make mistakes all the time.
CUOMO: A lot of it's wrong and they correct it, and they won't own it when it is corrected for them. You don't think that's wrong? LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, Chris, people make mistakes all the time. In
their job, particularly public figures --
CUOMO: But you're supposed to own it.
LEWANDOWSKI: I can remember when Al Gore said, look -- look, do you remember when Al Gore said a leopard can't change his stripes. Do you remember when Joe Biden asked a state senator who's confined to a wheelchair to stand up?
CUOMO: Corey, I got to stop you. Here's why -- you can't just keep saying ore people do it, too. They get called out. Joe Biden was chased and had to admit when he was wrong. So does Al Gore. So did Obama. So does everybody except this man in your estimation.
And that's why --
LEWANDOWSKI: That's not true. Chris, Chris --
CUOMO: You have never said the president should go out and apologize for this. The president was wrong and should admit it, never. You always say, oh, but somebody else did something else. False equivalency as we call it.
And that's why people who watch this show -- not all, but some -- will say oh, you're having him on? You're having her on? All they do is lie and spin. They never tell the truth about anything that he does. Don't have them on anymore.
That's where we've arrived. This is unhealthy. It's unproductive.
CUOMO: You know they weren't telling the truth about what happened on that plane. Why not just call it out? Your integrity.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, Chris, here's -- look, look, look, I had nothing to do -- I wasn't on the plane. I never spoke to anybody on the plane --
CUOMO: But you know that Jay Sekulow went from saying he had nothing to do with it to saying he dictated it.
LEWANDOWSKI: So, when you have Jay on, you can ask him about it.
CUOMO: He won't come on, that's the point.
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, look, again, I don't work for Jay. I'm not part of that team.
CUOMO: But you can say they got it wrong, they should admit it. Corey, just say that. They got it wrong, they should admit it.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, Chris, you know what I want to talk about. I want to talk about what the American people care about. And here's what we know, here's what we know. Going into Election Day of 2016, the mainstream media, this channel included, all predicted that Donald Trump was going to lose at 5:00.
And the American --
CUOMO: So that makes everything he's done since OK? Final word.
LEWANDOWSKI: -- the media was lying.
CUOMO: Final word.
LEWANDOWSKI: No, the media wasn't lying. The media was lying. And the American people are tired of it.
CUOMO: It wasn't lying. They were wrong. The difference between a mistake and a lie is knowing the truth and being deceptive about it.
LEWANDOWSKI: Chris, where was -- where was the apology from the mainstream media for being wrong for nine months that Donald Trump was going to lose?
CUOMO: Listen, you just own that you were wrong, what I just did, what he has never done it.
LEWANDOWSKI: But they never apologized.
CUOMO: Of course, we have, we're 100 times we said we were wrong.
Corey, that's a bad -- that point is not your strongest of the night. But I appreciate you being here. I may be ridiculously optimistic, but we've got to keep talking. We need productive dialogue and you got to be part of it.
LEWANDOWSKI: We'll do that.
CUOMO: Take care.
CUOMO: All right. Don Lemon is standing by right now with a preview of "CNN TONIGHT" just minutes away.
I mean, if I was shaking my head as much as you could right now --
DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": You should have seen me.
CUOMO: They won't admit any flaw.
LEMON: I am one of those people who asks you, Chris, why do you waste your time, an apologist will always -- is going to be an apologist. CUOMO: I don't think it's a waste of time, but I hear you.
LEMON: Well, a spinner is always going to spin, a liar is going to lie. That's it.
CUOMO: All right. What do you got tonight?
LEMON: We got a lot coming up. We have a big exclusive coming up tonight, Chris. Kim Kardashian West, she told our very own Van Jones exactly how she worked her way from Ivanka Trump to Jared Kushner to the president of the United States into the Oval Office, won that pardon for Alice Johnson, and she says she is just getting started. She also, Chris, addresses her critics who wonder if she's being used as a pawn and her husband as well to legitimize this president. What she has to say.
CUOMO: That's a good one.
LEMON: We'll see you then.
CUOMO: Don Lemon, thank you very much.
All right. When we come back, there was a moment from last night and there's an ugly truth hidden therein. We're going to expose it for you, next.
CUOMO: All right. Final fact, I'm not one to dwell, believe me. But when Sarah Sanders tried to dunk my questions last night by taking a shot at CNN for not covering the entire veterans event at the White House, it bothered me, and here's why. Not only did CNN just recently win all kinds of awards for showing the problems at the Veterans Administration, not only do we cover veterans issues so consistently and consistently that the head of one of the biggest veterans organizations, the IAVA, a group that was boxed out of that Trump photo-op for not being nice enough to him apparently tweeted this today. You look up there and you'll see, it's just saying that she's wrong.
But the Fugazi criticism spoke to a larger hypocrisy. If they care so much about veterans, then instead of just trotting out our heroes when it is easy, do what is hard. Put in a V.A. secretary. Use your deal- making might and power as president to get a plan in place for better care for our veterans.
And after 500 days in office, instead of tweeting about your respect, go show it. Do something that you have never done. Go and visit the fighting men and women in harm's way in these deceptively label advise and assist missions that are getting them killed. I for one will be honored to go on that trip with you. That's our final fact.
That's all for us tonight as well. Thank you so much for watching. Let's get after it again together tomorrow night.