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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Interview with GOP VA Senate Candidate Corey Stewart; Discussion of Midterm Elections and President Trump; Interview with Sam Nunberg, Fmr Trump Campaign Aide. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 13, 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: All right. Thank you very much, Anderson.
I am Chris Cuomo, and welcome to PRIME TIME.
The potential new face of the GOP that President Trump is cultivating. Big news today. The man who gets the Trump seal of approval in a major Senate race in Virginia. His name is Corey Stewart. And the president says he is a winner despite the fact that he has backed some white nationalists.
Now, facts be facts, he won the Republican nomination for Senate last night in Virginia. And he joins PRIME TIME in moments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL COHEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: I protect Mr. Trump. That's what it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: President Trump's personal lawyer back in the news. People close to the president fearing Michael Cohen may be ready to flip? Former Trump aide and Cohen friend Sam Nunberg is here and says he knows the real deal.
And fresh off his meeting with one of the most brutal dictators on the planet, President Trump says America's biggest enemy is not North Korea, certainly not Russia, not even is. Can you guess? I'll give you a hint. Let's get after it.
CUOMO: All right, defending Confederate symbols, cottoning to some people with ugly ideas -- none of that kept Corey Stewart from getting the endorsement of the president of the United States, and more votes than the rest of the GOP field in the primary for the Virginia U.S. Senate seat. No small feat.
Stewart, who served as the state director of Donald Trump's campaign for part of 2016 seems to be part of a new movement within the GOP. So what exactly does he represent? And who does he represent?
A lot of people are talking about him tonight. Let's test him directly.
Republican Virginia Senate candidate Corey Stewart -- welcome to PRIME TIME.
COREY STEWART (R), VIRGINIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Hey, thanks, Chris. Thanks for having me on your show again.
CUOMO: All right. So, let's put up the president's tweet here about you.
Congratulations to Corey Stewart for his great victory. Now he runs against a total stiff, Tim Kaine, weak on crime and borders, wants to raise your taxes through the roof. Don't underestimate Corey. A major chance of winning.
Why do you believe you won the primary?
STEWART: Well, I won the primary because I'm a strong supporter of President Trump. He's a very strong -- he's got a great, you know, a story to tell -- improving the economy, the lowest unemployment record -- rate since the early 1970s. And now, a big success in the foreign policy front as we remove the nuclear threat from North Korea, something that we've been living under for several years now.
So, my strong support for President Trump, and plus the fact that Republicans are looking for a fighter, somebody who's going to kick the teeth out of Tim Kaine.
CUOMO: And it's what kind of fight you're going to fight, right? Let's play a little bit of the message you had for the masses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Or you can choose the past, with everything we know that has failed. And that's Hillary Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine.
AUDIENCE (chanting): Lock him up!
STEWART: That might just happen, by the way.
STEWART: And it's going to be two.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Lock up Tim Kaine. You're a lawyer. Do you really believe that Tim Kaine should be in jail or is that a Trumpist joke?
STEWART: I'll tell you something. I really do believe that Tim Kaine has been at the center of all the stuff you're seeing with regard to the FBI. You know, the whole problem is the FBI spying by a federal agency on a presidential campaign.
CUOMO: No proof. Continue, no proof?
STEWART: We're not in a court of law, are we?
CUOMO: Well, that doesn't mean the truth doesn't apply, my brother.
STEWART: I'll tell you something -- it started with Democrats and the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Tim Kaine is right at the center of this. I would not be surprised if there's an investigation of Tim Kaine before the year is out.
CUOMO: You wouldn't be surprised but you have no reason to believe it. What I'm asking you is what are you selling there, Tim Kaine should go to jail? They're spying when you have no proof. Are you selling people on things that are want true but will make them angry? Is that your vibe?
STEWART: I mean, what do you think? Virginians are a bunch of naive people that, you know, will believe anything? Well, at the end of the day, here's the question that people have to ask themselves, what has Tim Kaine accomplished in his six years in the United States Senate?
Tim Kaine can't point to a single accomplishment in the United States Senate for Virginia or Virginians. The only thing that Tim Kaine has done over the past six years is run for vice president, and he didn't even do a very good job at that, I might add.
CUOMO: All right. Now, look, that's a fair political argument, and he'll have to answer for it. It's different than saying the guy should be in jail and making up, you know, rumors about there being spying. One is factual, one is just an ugly feeling, you know? Now, Kaine can defend himself.
Here's what he has said about you, by the way. He called you a cruder imitation of Donald Trump who stokes white supremacy and would be an embarrassment for Virginia if elected. That's what his spokesperson said about you.
And he does seem to be getting an echo effect within your own party, Mr. Stewart. The former lieutenant governor of the state of Virginia said: I'm extremely disappointed than someone like Stewart could win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Clearly not the Republican Party I once knew, loved, and proudly served. Every time I think things can't get worse, and there is no -- they do, and there's no end in sight.
Then you got Gardner who is a big shot when it comes to the Republican Party, and who they picked for Senate, and he said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CORY GARDNER (R), COLORADO: Look, we have a big map, and right now, we're focused on Florida, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana. Big map, and I don't see Virginia in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Senator Gardner, not giving you any love. The former lieutenant governor within your party, no love, but Trump giving you love.
Does this mean you are the party that President Trump wants to cultivate?
STEWART: Well, Gardner and the others -- look, they're going to come around. A lot of hurt feelings. I beat their guy. But they didn't support President Trump back in the day either.
What's happening, Chris, inside of the Republican Party is the party is changing. It's becoming the party of the little guy.
Once upon a time, it was the Democrats who claimed to be the party of the working man. No longer. They abandoned the working guy. They slammed the door in their face and now, it's President Trump and the new Republican Party that is supporting working Americans, blue-collar workers.
That's why we're winning states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and we're about to take back Virginia as well.
CUOMO: That's why Trump may have won them, but I'm talking about you. And you seem to be cottoning to a very specific brand of humanity.
And you're right. It is a little guy that you are being a part of, but it's a little hateful guy. You have a well pronounced past of saying that you agree with and that you like people who push ugly, bigoted, intolerant, and racist notions.
STEWART: Hey, that's a level of lie that's just not true, Chris. Even for CNN, you go that far --
CUOMO: A level of lie that's just not true? Is there any level of lie that is true?
STEWART: That is not the case at all.
CUOMO: I'll make the case to you.
STEWART: I have always condemned, including on your program --
STEWART: -- any white supremacists or bigots or anything like that. We want nothing to do with that.
CUOMO: Have you?
STEWART: But that's the only thing you and the left have. You claim, you play the race card every time because it's the only thing you have.
The president has a success of bringing back --
CUOMO: Forget about the president. I'm talking about you right now.
STEWART: -- economy, the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years.
CUOMO: This is about you.
STEWART: That's what I'm supporting.
CUOMO: And who you have represented as your friends, heroes, and like-minded individuals.
Put up the fact sheet here. These are the facts. Not about my feelings, OK? This guy Nehlen, and I'm not going to give him too much attention because he doesn't deserve it, OK? 2016, he shares tweets defending an anti-Semitic Twitter user. You knew that.
And yet in January 2017, you called him your personal hero.
STEWART: That is not the case. Here's the thing --
CUOMO: It is absolutely the case. I have the proof of it. Let me show it to you.
STEWART: No, no. Chris, are you going to let me get a chance to respond or is this all about you?
CUOMO: No, it's about the facts.
STEWART: Is it about me or is it about you?
CUOMO: And you're going to live with them. Go ahead.
STEWART: Yes, but you're not giving me the chance to respond.
CUOMO: Go ahead, respond.
STEWART: This is typical. This is typical for you.
STEWART: So, here's the situation. You know, everybody supported Paul Nehlen. President Trump said nice things about Paul Nehlen. Sarah Palin did. Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, a lot of us, the late Phyllis Schlafly did.
And then all of a sudden, after that, after all of that, then about a year later, then, you know, he says -- Paul Nehlen starts coming out with all these terrible things, those anti-Semitic things, those terrible bigoted things.
CUOMO: Yes. STEWART: At that point, we -- of course, we wanted nothing to do with it. We all distanced ourselves from him.
CUOMO: Not true.
STEWART: Back in the day, he was not -- he was not like that, at least as far as I know.
CUOMO: Not true. Put back up the timeline. Not true. Demonstrably false.
Here are the facts for the audience, OK? Nehlen then writes about Islam not being a religion of peace and lot of uglier stuff that I didn't want to put out for the audience, OK? He then talks about the lieutenant governor, the then governor, sorry, of South Carolina, and calls her something in an ugly way.
Nehlen then retweets 9/11 would have been a wonderful day without immigrants.
And then, what do you do after that? You give him money for his campaign. OK?
STEWART: That's -- that is not true at all.
CUOMO: Then only later when he takes it another step, and you decide that you want to reach out to people who may not share your like- minded bigotry, you then say you're denying him. What do I have wrong on the facts? There's the timeline.
STEWART: I don't agree with any of those things.
CUOMO: You don't have to agree with it, but can you deny it? Can you disprove it.
STEWART: Before you say nice things about anybody, do you look at everything they said in the past?
CUOMO: When you're talking about bigots and anti-Semites. Yes.
STEWART: You and Tim Kaine and the far left are trying to change the topic from the fact this president has been successful --
CUOMO: It's not about the president.
STEWART: -- and because of that, he's going to bring me and the other Republicans across the finish line, and it's going to be a red tide this November.
CUOMO: Listen, maybe it will, maybe it won't.
STEWART: It will be.
CUOMO: But you represent something different, OK? You have cottoned --
STEWART: I just told you what I represent.
CUOMO: You've cottoned to a man that the facts show --
STEWART: I am the foremost expert on what Cory Stewart believes. I just told you. I don't believe any of those things you mentioned.
CUOMO: Why did you call somebody who is an anti-Semite and an obvious bigot your hero?
STEWART: Let me ask you this question. Are you going to have Tim Kaine on this program?
CUOMO: If he'll say yes.
STEWART: All right, so you ask him this question. Has Tim Kaine -- ask Tim Kaine whether he condemned Antifa --
CUOMO: Oh, please.
STEWART: A domestic terrorist organization that attacks people with political beliefs of which his son is a member.
CUOMO: Answer for you and he will answer for him.
STEWART: You never ask those on the left, the far left like Tim Kaine who condemn --
CUOMO: That's not true. We have had this conversation before, and it's about that. It's been you trying to play an equivalency game to get away from the bigots that you cottoned to. I've just shown you the facts.
STEWART: The left never condemn the extremists on your side. I have condemned the extremists on the right time and time again.
CUOMO: Forget about the left, forget about Trump. Focus on you, because he picked you. He likes you. He likes what you're about. And I want to talk about what you are about, because this guy Nehlen isn't the only one in your past, now is he?
You also cotton to someone else named Hines. You took his endorsement. This is the guy who took the shot at Nikki Haley, saying our Sikh governor. By the way, she's not a Sikh.
This is the man who took a Confederate flag and marched down saying a statue of Arthur Ashe was offensive to his heritage. You backed him. You have never denied him. Why?
STEWART: You know, I don't agree with any of those things you said.
CUOMO: It's all true.
STEWART: Chris, what you're trying --
CUOMO: You're trying to deny your past but it's there like an ugly shadow.
STEWART: Chris, you're trying to change the topic. You're always playing the race card.
CUOMO: No, just the facts.
STEWART: You're always trying to divide --
CUOMO: That's you in front of a confederate flag taking his endorsement.
STEWART: By the way, your own father said anti-Semitic things. Did you condemn him?
CUOMO: Oh, please. My father is dead and buried and was ten times the man you'll ever be on your best day. So stay comparing yourself to the bigots that you cotton to.
STEWART: You never want to condemn to extremism on your own side of the aisle.
CUOMO: There is none on my side of the aisle.
CUOMO: My aisle is the truth. I am a journalist.
Was that a Confederate flag you were in front of taking that man's endorsement, yes or no?
STEWART: You know what? Let me tell you something.
CUOMO: Yes or no?
STEWART: You want to condemn everything that's happened --
CUOMO: You can't even answer the question said.
STEWART: You want to condemn Southern heritage. You want to condemn everything. You want to pick on --
CUOMO: I don't want to condemn anything except hate.
STEWART: None of that helps.
CUOMO: OK, you tell me, how does a statue of Arthur Ashe offend your idea of Southern heritage?
STEWART: I never said it did. CUOMO: Hines did and you never said he was wrong, did you?
STEWART: Chris, I don't agree with that statement.
CUOMO: Why did you never say that?
STEWART: How many times do I have to tell you what I believe?
CUOMO: Why didn't you ever say it? So, condemn it right now.
CUOMO: Say Hines --
STEWART: And I just told you I don't agree with any of that.
CUOMO: Say Hines --
STEWART: This is the guilt by association that the left always plays.
CUOMO: Of course, it is. You're in front of a Confederate flag, accepting the endorsement of a known hater. What are you talking about?
STEWART: You have never -- have you ever condemned Antifa?
CUOMO: Mr. Stewart --
STEWART: Answer the question, Chris.
CUOMO: -- whether I had or I hadn't -- two big points of fact, one, that's irrelevant, and two, I'm not running for public office.
STEWART: Oh, it's always irrelevant for me, but not for you.
CUOMO: Am I running for Senate in Virginia? Do I want people to accept me as their designated leader before Congress?
STEWART: You're trying to change the topic. The topic is the economy.
CUOMO: You're the topic. You're trying to change the topic and deny the facts.
STEWART: The topic is making the world safe in the Korean peninsula, and people are sick and tired of the far left like you and Tim Kaine always trying to change the topic.
CUOMO: I'll tell you what they're sick off. You are the topic, my brother. You are the topic. And here's what you need to do. Here's my suggestion. You do with it what you will. Own what and who you are. Obviously, the Trump team knows who you are
and they like you. Don't run away from your past. Don't run away from the things you obviously embrace.
STEWART: You know, this is such a joke, even for CNN.
CUOMO: If you want to be intolerant and be a bigot and be in front of the Confederate flag --
STEWART: -- you are so far above what is honest. It's unbelievable.
CUOMO: Why can't you be honest? Why can't you just say the truth?
STEWART: He ought to report you as --
CUOMO: You haven't denied a single fact that I've suggested, Mr. Stewart, do you know that? Did you take his endorsement, Mr. Hines, yes or no, did you take it?
STEWART: I take support from whoever wants to give it to me. It doesn't mean I support their views. That does not mean I support their views.
CUOMO: Hold on. You think you can take the support of somebody --
STEWART: I do not want to have anything to do with anybody who is racist or bigoted or anti-Semitic.
CUOMO: Hold on. Hold on a second. Let's just unpack that.
STEWART: I'm the foremost expert on what I believe. I don't believe any of those things you're trying to accuse me of.
CUOMO: I want to repeat what you said. First of all, of course, there's guilt by association. Don't associate with known dirt bags and you won't be guilty of doing that, OK? That's your problem, not mine. You just said, I will accept the support --
STEWART: How come you haven't condemned Antifa? I don't understand.
CUOMO: Hey, bigots, anti-Semites, white supremacists, that's a nice way of describing them.
But hold on, you said something, Mr. Stewart, I want the audience to hear this. Hold on.
CUOMO: Hold on a second.
STEWART: You're talking a lot.
CUOMO: I want the audience to hear what you said. I will accept the support of anyone, it doesn't mean I accept their views.
STEWART: You're not letting me talk, Chris. The Chris Cuomo show. You talk all the time.
CUOMO: That's why it's called the Cuomo show, because if you're not going to answer the questions, you don't get to just yammer on on this show.
STEWART: That's what you're doing.
CUOMO: All right? But I'm trying to get you to confront the facts.
STEWART: You don't listen to your guest.
CUOMO: Hey, listen, I have listened to what you said. You can't deny a single fact.
STEWART: The Democratic Party nominated an anti-Semite in Virginia, how come? Last night --
STEWART: Last night, the Democratic Party nominated an anti-Semite in the fifth district congressional district in Virginia, and you're not even reporting that. Why is that?
CUOMO: Who? Who? What are you talking about?
STEWART: She was nominated last night.
CUOMO: I'm talking about you. I'm talking about you, Mr. Stewart.
STEWART: How come --
CUOMO: How does anybody else --
STEWART: We have an avowed anti-Semite Democrat --
CUOMO: There is no avowed anti-Semite anything except the one I may be speaking to right now.
STEWART: Check it out. Put that on your show tomorrow night, you might learn something.
CUOMO: Hey, look, I'll tell you what. I'm happy to look into that.
(CROSSTALK) STEWART: -- from the left, and you're not doing anything about them.
CUOMO: I'm happy to look into that, but I want you to answer questions for a change, all right? Don't blame me for being extreme left or being some anti --
STEWART: You are.
CUOMO: That's a joke.
STEWART: You don't deny that you're a leftist?
CUOMO: It's your attempt to deny the facts.
STEWART: I mean, this is the biggest joke I have heard in long time.
CUOMO: You think that's a big joke? Wait until what happens on Election Day if you don't own what you really are, because the only way that you have a chance of getting any kind of positive momentum is if you're truthful about who you are. The record is clear. The record is clear.
STEWART: Coming from CNN talking about truth, that's got to be a joke.
CUOMO: You tell me what I've said that is untrue. Did you call Nehlen --
STEWART: You have accused me of having anti-Semitic and bigoted remarks and I don't believe any of that.
CUOMO: Why have called Nehlen your hero?
STEWART: Why don't you believe what I say what I mean?
CUOMO: Why did you call Nehlen your hero?
STEWART: I am not -- I -- he was complimented by a lot of people --
CUOMO: Why did you call him your hero?
STEWART: It was because he took on Paul Ryan and I don't support Paul Ryan.
CUOMO: What about his ugly views? It doesn't matter who he is or what he believes.
STEWART: He came out with his views -- how many times do we have to discuss this? Why would people watch your show, we're going around in a circle. I've already explained that.
CUOMO: We're going to keep going like a merry go round until it stops.
STEWART: You can do that if you want. I'm glad for the time. You're helping me with my name recognition. That's wonderful.
CUOMO: What did your name attach to? A known anti-Semite. A guy who says Arthur Ashe is offensive to his heritage.
STEWART: At the time that he was complemented by me and several others --
CUOMO: Put back up the timeline. Put back up the timeline --
STEWART: He was not.
CUOMO: Here's the timeline.
STEWART: He came up with those crazy ideas much later.
CUOMO: In 2016 --
STEWART: Those other comments that he may have made, I don't know. I was certainly not aware of those at the time.
CUOMO: Oh, really?
STEWART: He's a personal hero of yours but you don't know what he's saying.
STEWART: -- everybody says who I met with? I mean, really? This is the guilt by association.
CUOMO: Yes, guilt by association, 100 percent. Guilt by association.
STEWART: You know, the left learned a lot from McCarthy. They're trying to, you know --
STEWART: That's what you're doing.
CUOMO: McCarthy was mild compared to the guys you're hanging out with, Corey Stewart.
CUOMO: The guy you just took an endorsement from --
STEWART: I do like you. You're a nice guy, but you're far left. And you're not fair. CUOMO: Let's say I'm so far left that I'm almost right. How does it
change any of the things I'm asking you about? You didn't rebut a single factual assertion tonight. You didn't --
STEWART: Yes. I just got done like four times.
CUOMO: -- condemn any of the things that you had previously said or done. Not one of them. And yet, the president of the United States thinks that you should be the senator for Virginia.
STEWART: You know something.
CUOMO: You agree with that, don't you?
STEWART: This -- when you're losing the argument, you know what you do? You know what the left does? They play the race card. They play the race card. We have a president --
CUOMO: You don't think that card applies? With the people that you hung out with, with a confederate flag waving around?
STEWART: The biggest tax cut since 1986. The economy is thriving.
STEWART: Unemployment is the lowest that it's been since the early 1970s.
CUOMO: Would be nice if wages were rising as well.
STEWART: And what you want to talk about is what some guy who's no longer relevant said several years ago. That's what you want to talk about. Think about how much of a joke. We have peace breaking out on the Korean peninsula for the first time since 1950. And you're talking about what Paul Nehlen, a failed lunatic, said several years ago.
CUOMO: Because you called him your personal hero. You have a guy who worked on his staff working on your campaign right now. You've got one of his guys on your team and you took an endorsement from someone who says Arthur Ashe is disrespectful to his heritage.
STEWART: I don't -- you know what?
CUOMO: Those are the facts.
STEWART: Look, all kinds of people come out and support my campaign. I don't go through the entire list. There's hundreds of people --
CUOMO: You know exactly who these people are. You walked in front of a Confederate flag to take his endorsement.
STEWART: Have you ever run a campaign? I don't think you ever had.
CUOMO: Not one like yours. Listen --
STEWART: You don't go through the list and find -- and you don't do a background check on everybody who endorses your campaign.
CUOMO: You called him your personal hero. You've got a guy working for you that you know worked for Nehlen because he worked for you before he worked for Nehlen.
This is silly. This interview is done. Corey Stewart, I gave you a chance to own what you have done in the past. We'll see how the election goes for you.
STEWART: You're too much, Chris. Thanks, pal.
CUOMO: Listen, it's about the truth and owning what things are, especially when the president wants to get behind someone like you.
STEWART: It's good entertainment on CNN, folks.
CUOMO: Well, entertaining to you. It's truth for the rest of us. Take care.
All right. Now, what do you see on the other side of the party from that? That which Trump is trying to cultivate. That's the guy he's backing in Virginia. Check it for yourself.
Check everything I said for yourself. It's all demonstrably true.
But there's another face to the party, Bob Corker. He seems to be the new conscience of the GOP, unloading on members of his party who are unwilling to challenge President Trump. Is he or Stewart the future President Trump wants?
We have a great debate on the great divide in the GOP and the president's position that a free press is the most dangerous thing in America. Look at those two good looking debaters. Ana Navarro, Jason Miller, next.
CUOMO: All right. So here we are a year and a half into the Trump presidency, and many Republicans in Congress still would never dare to challenge him. They don't even speak out about anything he says, no matter how aggressive it might be.
Let's look at Mark Sanford, OK? He did. And he became the latest casualty in the fight for the future of the GOP last night. He lost his race.
Senator Bob Corker is fed up with those who refuse to stand up for the president. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: We're in a strange place. I mean, it's almost, you know, it's becoming a cultish thing, isn't it? It's not a good place for any party to end up with a cult-like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be of purportedly of the same party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Now, it's interesting. What you see in that senator there, candid, right? Direct to the president -- speaking truth to power, also not running again. And that seems to be a common theme. If you want to stay in, you stay away from going after the president.
We have Ana Navarro and Jason Miller and our great debate.
Let's take care of some easy business first, Jason. Sorry to dump this in your lap, but have to. You don't want to own Corey Stewart, do you? Is that who you want as the face of your party?
JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the face of the party is President Donald Trump. And we're doing a lot of winning with President Trump and that's why the country is doing great economically --
CUOMO: That's who Trump picked, though. That's why I'm asking you.
MILLER: And -- hold on, but the president also has a lot of great picks like Adam Laxalt in Nevada and Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee. I would say that they're really the future of the party when you talk about who we look to beyond President Trump. I'd say they're a couple of the superstars.
I don't know Mr. Stewart very well. He definitely has to up his game if he's going to be a serious candidate going into the fall. But you talk about kind of the present and future for the party is President Trump. He's supporting a lot of winners out there.
CUOMO: Ana Navarro, the president tweets --
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, honey.
CUOMO: Corey is the guy.
NAVARRO: Can I tell you something?
CUOMO: Corey should win.
NAVARRO: Yes, but Jason Miller doesn't have to own Corey Stewart, because, sweetheart, you just did for the last two segments. That is the most entertaining 15 minutes I have watched on TV in a long, long time. Forget the raccoon cam. Forget the gorilla channel.
Just give me Chris Cuomo owning white nationalists.
CUOMO: I'm glad that you put me in that group of other wild animals. Thank you very much.
CUOMO: Keep making your point.
NAVARRO: Look, it was -- it was truth serum, you know? It was -- I mean, this guy was some sort of just crazy, right? Why bringing up your deceased father, telling you you're far left. And then when he can't answer, he starts cackling and laughing because it's -- his crutch to not being able to own up to his past and his past actions and his past endorsements.
It's a sad time. It's a time when we see Republicans attracting folks like pedophiles, attracting folks like neo-Nazis, attracting actually some actual Nazis that have run and are running as candidates. So, you know, it's a hard time. I will tell you it's a sad time.
CUOMO: You know, Corker says, Jason, it's a cultish period in the party. And he's talking about the nature of who supports the president and what that support has to entail. Do you think the president needs to worry about that going forward, that at some point, he's got to let people in his party be who they want to be and say what they want to say, and you can't just try to crush everybody that doesn't agree with everything you say?
MILLER: Well, I would completely disagree with the way Senator Corker set that up. I mean, Chris, if we're being intellectually honest here, let's remember that Senator Corker wanted to be VP. He wanted to be secretary of state.
He didn't talk like this when he wanted to get one of those positions. But now that his poll numbers are terrible, he would lose his own primary, now that he's not running again and Marsha Blackburn who is going to be a completely different kind of candidate. I think she's going to be fantastic improvement for the people of Tennessee, she's going to be the next senator from Tennessee.
Now, Corker is talking like this. But here's the thing that I think people are missing in this overall debate. Yes, the words and the rhetoric that Corker is throwing out is like chum for folks in the media, but the bottom line is the party has changed but Corker has not.
So when you look at President Trump's top priorities, taxes, trade, immigration, defeating radical Islamic terrorism, where Corker is on both trade and on immigration are not at the same spot as where the rest of the Republican Party is.
CUOMO: Well, that's not true, Jason. He's got a lot of opposition on trade within his own party. They're just not saying anything. Your party has never been in favor of --
MILLER: Hold on. But Chris, hold on.
CUOMO: Hold on, I hear your point. Let's get Ana in here, Jason.
MILLER: But it's changed. It's changed, but corker hasn't. He's woken up and said, whoa, this isn't 2006 anymore. He no longer connects with his constituents. That's why he's leaving so he doesn't lose in the primary to a strong conservative who supports the president's agenda.
And the real quick thing I got to say here, did you notice when President Trump goes out and endorses a candidate, he never says I'm supporting this candidate because they're loyal to me. He says I'm supporting this candidate because they're going to support the MAGA agenda. They're onboard, like I said with taxes, trade, immigration --
CUOMO: He doesn't have to say it, Jason, because that's the only universe of people that he even -- you know, is possible with him in terms of everyone he's picked so far.
Ana, go ahead.
NAVARRO: And that's like a, you know, dog whistle. MAGA is basically equivalent to Trump.
Look, I think it's a little more nuanced and a little more complicated than Trump or not Trump. You know, I think there's certainly different factions in the Republican Party when it comes to policy. There are still a lot of free trade, globalist, pro-immigration reform, pro-family values Republicans, a lot of them in Congress.
But what you've got is a group of folks in Congress, a lot of them, and Republican Party, who are quaking in their boots. They are cowards. They are afraid to speak up because they are afraid to run the same fate, to face the same fate as a Mark Sanford or a Jeff Flake.
Then you've got folks who have compromised and sold their principles because they're making money, because they're relevant. People who are, you know, pretending to be what they're not because Trump gives them -- is a money train because Trump gives them relevancy, gets them on TV or gets them lobbying contracts or whatever.
And then there is a very loyal base that actually believes and actually venerates and worships anything that Trump says, admits, absolutely allows zero criticism of the guy, and that is somewhat cultish. Speak like him, they talk about winning, they talk about MAGA, they talk about fake news. They talk -- you know, they repeat his same idioms and his same words over and over again like robots.
But certainly, until Donald Trump showed up in the scene and as Bob Corker says, purportedly a Republican, let's remember he was a Democrat. Let's remember he was independent. Let's remember how many times he has changed positions on policy issues over and over again.
Before he showed up, we were a party that was pro-trade, against deficits, that was pro-globalization, strong foreign policy, a lot of things that have changed under Donald Trump. MILLER: Chris, very important policy difference here that I would
point out that I don't think Ana is quite grasping here. I think a lot of candidates went into 2016 believing in their minds they had one set notion of where the Republican base was.
As we got into that summer of 2015, what every other candidate not named Donald Trump realized is that they were wrong on these issues of immigration and on trade, and it was Donald Trump who is the one who actually connected with them, and so there was this disconnect between the party elites, the Jeb Bushes of the world, the Marco Rubios of the world, and actual grassroots activists who are the conservatives that were driving the party, and when Donald Trump showed up --
CUOMO: Polling shows your party is in favor of helping the Dreamers. He won't do that either.
MILLER: He spoke to them and President Trump actually connected with those people and that's why he whipped everyone in the primaries. That's why he was able to then reach out even beyond the Republican base.
CUOMO: All right. There's also something else, Jason, right?
NAVARRO: Jason, Republicans are against tariffs, for example. But they are scared out of their minds of talking against Trump.
MILLER: They're for American jobs.
See, here's where we have --
NAVARRO: Who isn't? Yes, for apple pie and puppies.
MILLER: We have a legit policy difference. And here's the disconnect, is that certain Republican leaders thought that you could never talk about tariffs. You could never talk about standing up for America.
But what Trump has done is connecting with people, and again, not just even the Republican base. We're talking people in blue states and purple states of Pennsylvanias, the Michigans, the other places where Trump put together this winning Trump coalition. And he was able to connect with them.
CUOMO: Right. But, Jason, first of all, let's not overstate his reach, because he lost the majority vote, OK? And that means that this was tactical. He found strength and weaknesses that the Democrats didn't address, and he wound up winning. But he didn't have some overwhelming mandate of the American people rising up saying we're about everything he is.
MILLER: But -- right.
CUOMO: You have to address something else, Jason. I don't want to get that deep into trade. We know what the sides of the issue are.
MILLER: But he's talking about it since the '80s.
CUOMO: We know what he's talking about.
MILLER: He's had the same position since the '80s.
CUOMO: Let's see what he does on it, because I think there's going to be a disconnect there as well.
But I want to ask you about something else because this is fundamental to our discussion. He didn't just talk policy and that's what he won. In fact, he talked less policy than just about everybody else. What he did was, he connected with feelings, all right? Often harsh feelings. Feelings of being disenfranchised, disaffection, anger, anger towards others, us versus them.
And we see it playing out with this B.S. about who's the biggest enemy for the United States. Even for a president to joke this way, Jason, it's not North Korea. And, by the way, these human rights things with Kim, a lot of people have done a lot of bad things. What?
The media is the real enemy to us. What?
MILLER: Right, so Chris --
CUOMO: How can you endorse the president saying something like that, even in jest?
MILLER: So I need to back up real quick on one thing, when you talk about the president, and I think you're trying to set down the predicate he was a big divider in 2016.
MILLER: Which he wasn't. He was actually someone who gave a lot of hope and a lot of optimism, particularly when it came to the economy. That's how he was able to get Democrats. That's how he did two points better with African-Americans and three points --
CUOMO: Two points better but still in the basement with them.
Ana Navarro, do you see the president as a uniter?
MILLER: But, Chris, it was an improvement over Mitt Romney, Mr. Milquetoast softy --
CUOMO: All right, Jason. I heard you.
Go ahead, Ana.
NAVARRO: Mr. Milquetoast -- Mr. Romney is going to win in Utah. He is running hard.
MILLER: Lost in 2012.
NAVARRO: He's going to be an able representative. Well, fine.
But listen, Jason, part of the reason Donald Trump won was not only because he was a divider but because he had 16 other Republicans, traditional Republicans who embraced traditional values who were stepping all over each other. I'm not sure if it had been a one-on- one or a one on two that would have happened. It's a, you know, theoretical question, it's a hypothetical, but of course he's a divider.
It's hard not to say that he's not a divider when you've got a guy who equates neo-Nazis with people protesting against them. If that's not divisive, I don't know what is.
MILLER: President Trump gave people a message of optimism when it came to the economy. That he was going to stand up and fight for 'em and give them more opportunity. And you know what? Two years later, you go across the board, virtually every demographic --
CUOMO: Right, but, Jason, you said more than that. And this is a perfect example. Do you agree with him that I'm the biggest enemy to the American people?
MILLER: No, but I think President Trump is living rent-free and many members of the media when he says something like that.
CUOMO: Well, why would he say that? Why would he say that?
MILLER: I think he's pushing folks' buttons because I think there was a lot of --
CUOMO: Do you think that's a responsible thing for a president to do?
NAVARRO: No, listen, I'll tell you why he says that.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
MILLER: Clearly, the biggest threat to the country is the threat of a nuclear Iran.
CUOMO: That's not what he says. He says we're safe. The North Korea threat is gone.
MILLER: Chris, I think he's living in your head rent-free. I don't think you can get so triggered when the president says something like that. Clearly, he's not being serious about that. But he is pushing the media buttons --
CUOMO: If you think the president is living in my head rent-free, you don't know me well.
Ana, make your point.
NAVARRO: I am so sick of -- yes, I'm so sick of people saying that when he says something stupid, when he says something outrageous, when he says something hostile, when he says something divisive, when he says something that does not comport with American values, it is a joke.
It is not a joke. He's the president of the United States. And he's got a bully pulpit. But this is what he does over and over again.
This is Don Quixote fighting with windmills. He fabricates. He comes up with, he manufactures artificial culture wars in America, whether it is kneeling, whether it is Confederate monuments, whether it is the Charlottesville issue, whether it is the press.
This is what he does to keep the flames going, to feed red meat to a base, to have us be antagonistic toward each other. To feed this division because it's what keeps him in power.
CUOMO: And it's always helpful to him or anybody in power to sow doubt in the minds of people who would check that power. We're seeing that as well.
CUOMO: Ana, Jason, you both made good points and I appreciate the conversation.
Thanks to both of you for being on the show.
NAVARRO: Thank you.
CUOMO: Be well.
All right, Michael Cohen, the president's personal attorney, is apparently shopping for a new attorney for himself. And that has some in President Trump's circle worrying that Cohen may be about to flip.
Now, our next guest comes from Trump world, knows Cohen will. He says the troubling fact isn't that Cohen is looking for lawyers. It's that he has lost his search for loyalty -- next.
CUOMO: All right. So, long before the White House, nobody knew Donald Trump's business better than his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. But with federal prosecutors digging through his records, Cohen is out shopping for new lawyers.
The president's big on loyalty. But does that mean giving it or just getting it? Is the case against Cohen about crimes or flipping a witness?
Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg has spent some time himself answering questions from the feds, and he knows Michael Cohen, and he knows the Trump dynamic. So, let's ask him. He's a perfect guest.
Welcome to PRIME TIME.
SAM NUNBERG, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: It's an honor. Congratulations.
CUOMO: Thank you very much, sir.
So, let's get this out of the way. Do you believe Michael Cohen is looking to flip?
NUNBERG: Not right now.
CUOMO: Not right now.
NUNBERG: Not right now. I don't know what's going to happen in the future. I think this, from everything I have heard, only from press and from, you know, third degree out, I have to be careful because the special counsel, by the way, watches my interviews. So, I have not spoken to Michael.
This is about switching lawyers, legal fees, things like that. Once again, the RNC has been very selective in who they have helped. You know, they paid massive amounts, millions of dollars of legal fees for some and not others.
CUOMO: Not his.
NUNBERG: No, not his, at least as of now, or at least concerning --
CUOMO: Or filing, had them giving Cohen money to a law firm, through a law firm that is part of a joint defense agreement for the Mueller probe. But his Southern District case, which is where he's got the hot water, if any, they have not given him any.
NUNBERG: Very smart by Mueller to move this to the Southern District, because it would hurt Mueller. Mueller has been hurt politically, Chris, and just hear me out. He's been hurt politically, because Rudy is right, this will be a political fight for the president ultimately for impeachment. Midterms are step one, as Steve Bannon said.
But he's been right because of the Manafort issue with what he's charging Manafort with, the special counsel's office, you know, and they're getting pushback on that. It's helped the president. The president's been right to show that, look, they're going after all these things that have nothing to do with the election, nothing to do with Russia.
And we don't even know how this -- you know, Manafort may get a decision in his favor in terms of the constitutionality and legitimacy of the mandate.
CUOMO: You mean that process doesn't look like it's going well for Manafort.
NUNBERG: -- also because of the indictment Manafort just got. Mueller was smart to bring that in the interim before we get this decision.
CUOMO: Right, and that was also an interesting tactical move because he gave Manafort two bites at the apple that we know of before he indicted him for the tampering, right? He told him he knew about the tampering. Then there was no action.
Then he said we're going to mess with your release rules because of the tampering, and nothing happened. Then he indicted.
NUNBERG: On the other hand, for all we know, and we don't know what these guys know. We don't -- I've heard millions of theories what they're looking for. We don't know. Mueller has had 150-plus subpoenas, OK?
All I can tell you is what he called me in for, as I have said publicly, including some of my grand jury testimony, once again, I was on the campaign for six weeks. I was the first permanent hire, but I wasn't there for very long. It had -- the majority of it, besides, you know, me getting reamed out, which I deserved getting for my theatrics earlier in the week, let's say an hour and a half about Stone and about Stone and Assange, I talked about this. Another two, two and a half hours, it had nothing to do with the campaign.
I don't know what they're looking into. I don't know. And perhaps Mueller just sent this out because they found enough on Michael that they view that there could be a potential case. I don't know.
CUOMO: But his movement of the matter to the Southern District gives him legitimacy because he didn't keep a case even if it would have been allowed within his purview.
NUNBERG: That's what I'm saying. He did a very good --
CUOMO: If you read the mandate from Rosenstein, he looks for crimes and activities that show collusion and that grow out of that look. That's how we got Monica Lewinsky, right? So, he could do things. We don't see them. There's connective tissue with Russia, though, with the Manafort allegations, how they connect to any collusion argument, we don't know if at all.
But back to Cohen.
CUOMO: So why are Trump folk worried that he might flip?
NUNBERG: Well, I mean, they're putting a lot of pressure on him. First of all, look, Michael is, to me, a tragic figure. I -- you know, I was attacked by the president. You and Maggie Haberman on for this interview. I said to her on the record in "The New York Times" that when anybody
else complains to me, some of those Trump earlies (ph), look, I'm a guy who saw Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in 2011, and I just knew this guy can get elected president. There was something about him. There's just, he had the walk, the same way Obama had the walk in 2004. He's a star.
And Michael believed -- there are only two people in the Trump inner circle who not only believed that Donald Trump was going to win the GOP primary but was going to win the presidency. And it was a matter -- it was 100 percent that he was going to win.
You know who they were? Michael Cohen and our first lady, the only two people I knew. I was very worried. I thought we had a very good chance to win the primary, I didn't know what was going to --
CUOMO: Michael Cohen's devotion and loyalty to Trump has been 100 percent, but has it been returned?
NUNBERG: Absolutely not. Absolutely not, it's not been returned.
CUOMO: That's the Trump people's concern, is that Cohen, you could argue, has been really left out in the wind.
NUNBERG: He has been left out in the wind. Remember, I say there's no -- he is the prime example of, you know, nobody has been treated worse. I have been treated badly by Donald. I'm a complicated guy here, too, because I support his presidency. I think he's been a tremendous president. But me personally, I have a very big personal issues with him.
And Michael didn't even know up until around a couple weeks before then President-elect Trump swore in that he wasn't going into the White House. And he walked around with a chip on his shoulder that he thought this was Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus.
Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus during the transition didn't have the power to get all their people in they wanted to get in. It was Jared. Jared told his father -- once Michael rightly advised then President- elect Trump that it would be problematic to bring Jared in as an adviser, Jared got wind of this. Jared ultimately not only had Michael leave -- not only had Michael not join the White House, but he was kicked out of his office he loved on Trump Org, down the hall from President-elect Trump.
There was -- I -- it was very, very, you know --
CUOMO: So, why does he maintain his loyalty? If he didn't get the payoff of the promise of believing in somebody running for president, which is to go in there and work for the administration, why does he remain loyal?
NUNBERG: Maybe he doesn't have anything, for all we know. Perhaps he doesn't.
CUOMO: He can't flip because he doesn't have anything to offer them on Trump in the first place?
NUNBERG: Yes, perhaps. We don't know. See, that's the thing, we don't know. As you well know, you have been around this, besides your political history with your father and you're a lawyer. You have covered this.
We don't know what they have. We especially don't know. Look --
CUOMO: He hasn't even been indicted.
NUNBERG: He hasn't been indicted. He hasn't been asked for questioning.
I can tell you my voluntary, they asked me every single central figure that I knew well, what did I know about their businesses? Thank God I didn't know a lot about their businesses. Thank God I was also just this --
CUOMO: But Cohen does.
NUNBERG: Sure. Michael does.
And the other issue, one question they're obviously, and this is already public, so I hope the special counsel doesn't get mad at me, but they're asking about Trump Tower Moscow. And that to me was a very big mistake, frankly by Michael. It wasn't in the best interest of Donald Trump to try to do that project during the primary. Even.
CUOMO: You're talking about the Moscow Tower and all of that. None has that has been sourced as being something that was nefarious at the time.
NUNBERG: It isn't. It doesn't pass -- the problem is it doesn't pass, once again, where Rudy Giuliani is right, Mayor Giuliani, is that this is going to eventually be a political knife fight for the presidency, which is why the midterms are so important.
CUOMO: But if it is going to be a political knife fight, why would you alienate the guy with arguably the longest blade in Michael Cohen?
NUNBERG: But he hasn't. That's where I'm very impressed in the president right now, because the president almost did that in the "Fox and Friends" interview, and I was on this network an hour before, a couple weeks before your show, and I said better be careful. He better be careful.
And I know -- you know, he may not -- he may claim he doesn't like this network. I know he's watching. He's probably watching this.
Be careful because the worst thing the president can do, because Michael has this devotion to him, is to do what the president loves to do, which is what he did to me. I was a little -- he called me a low- level part-time consultant, OK?
You're talking to the guy who -- I'm not going to -- this isn't -- just as an example. This isn't me getting accolades. I came up -- he knows what I did for him. I wasn't low level.
He knows a lot of the stuff I helped with them he used long after I was kicked out. What he almost did was Michael, he said, he's just some lawyer who worked on this stupid deal for him --
CUOMO: Very small bit of my business --
NUNBERG: He better be careful and that's why -- that's why I think Rudy has also done a great job because Rudy is the guy who can sit down, gets the president, knows the president, understands him, look, the same with you and I, who are New Yorkers, and he can communicate with him and Rudy can then go out and do what he's doing, which is why I always thought the media was wrong when they were saying, Rudy is a disaster -- Rudy has been fantastic and the numbers don't lie. He's been effective. Even look at the political polls.
CUOMO: He's certainly shifted the narrative. He's got people talking about why the limit the president is exposure when you can just easily argue the president should have more exposure and transparency.
Sam Nunberg, this was very helpful.
NUNBERG: It was great. Thank you very much.
CUOMO: I appreciate your perspective on it.
NUNBERG: Thank you.
CUOMO: We'll have more to discuss.
All right. Speaking of more to discuss, Don Lemon, the man, standing by with a preview of "CNN TONIGHT". What are you serving up?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": It's a big night here, but I want to talk about this issue of immigration, Chris. And people coming across the border illegally.
And one story that stuck out to us was this woman, she was in a detention center. She's from Honduras breast feeding her child, Chris. When she resisted them taken her child away, she was handcuffed, the child was taken away as she was breastfeeding her. The zero tolerance policy, is it fair? Is it humane? What is the United States government doing that? We're going to weigh into all of that coming up.
CUOMO: Provocative, Don. I will be watching I promise you that.
LEMON: All right.
CUOMO: All right. Back to the show here, the president has identified what you should fear the most. It turns out the enemy is us. The truth behind the B.S., next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COUMO: All right. Welcome back to CUOMO PRIME TIME.
Our final thought tonight is closing argument. Did you hear? We are safe now, says President Trump.
POTUS tweeted there is, quote, no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.
Fact, they still have all their capabilities and the hope of U.S. pushing to stop any of regime's murderous and repressive ways, all but evaporated when the president said today, quote, other people have done some bad thing too.
Sound familiar? Of course it does because he has said something similar to that when asked about his deference to Vladimir Putin, despite his attacks on freedom. Do you remember that when asked about Putin and how he treats people and civil liberties and civil rights? He said, well, the U.S. has done bad things as well.
Now, where President Trump is unqualified, where he insists on pointing out how absolutely terrible something is, is when it comes to a free press. Trump tweeted this: Our country's biggest enemy is the fake news so easily promulgated by fools.
First, good use of promulgated. Second, he must be joking, right? The president could not really ignore despots and existential threats just to vilify a signature democratic institution.
Well, that's the question. The answer is, sure he can -- if you assume that President Trump only regard something as a threat if it is a threat to him personally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I can say is it's totally fake news. It's just fake. We are fighting the fake news, it's fake. Phony. Fake. Some of the fake news said, I don't think Trump wants to build the wall.
REPORTER: Did you seek to fire Mueller?
TRUMP: Fake news, folks. Fake news.
That was just fake news.
It's fake news.
It's frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.
A few days ago I called the fake news the enemy of the people and they are. They are the enemy of the people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: You always have to like how the president says something and decides he believes it and repeats it. And look, is there room for criticism of the media? Of course there is. Of course there is. Of course there's reason to not like certain coverage, think it's unfair.
But you pick and choose, right? You don't judge an entire outlet. You judge a piece. You judge a person. And that's how we scrutinize the media and we should.
Now, the media is the people. It reaches all small and large, all races and creeds. And you know that the media is designed to work for the people, standing between you and power.
I am here to be the advocate for your interest, in speaking truth to power. The point is, these despots are not a threat to Trump personally, but the truth does threaten him personally. Scrutiny of his words and deeds, he takes that as a threat.
Now, what would this mean if this is true? It would mean that the president is willing to put his own interests between yours, your families, even Americas. That's what it would mean, right?
Well, look, don't ask me. He said it. But that's what it would suggest, because the only way that the media is more threatening than unstable nuclear power is if we represent what President Trump fears the most.
That is our closing argument. Thank you so much for being with us on CUOMO PRIME TIME. What do you say? Let's get after it again tomorrow night.