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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Interview with Rep. Jim Jordan; Discussion of IG Report; Interview with Joe Arpaio; Interview with John Podesta. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 14, 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, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Kids taken from their mothers at the border. Is Attorney General Jeff Sessions right that god wants the law enforced this way? The White House is, of course, backing that up, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are backing off this harsh practice. The question is, will they do something about it?

We have immigration hardliner Jim Jordan here. We'll see what the Ohio Republican has to say about it.

I'm also going to bring in another hardliner, well known for his immigrant roundups, former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, pardoned by the president for his actions in this area and now running for Senate.

And the IG report on the Clinton e-mail investigation is out, all 568 pages of it. Cliff notes version: the FBI didn't put in the fix to help Hillary or to hurt Trump. But partisans are seeing what they want to see.

We're going to show you what is justified and not justified by the facts and conclusions. We have Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta here with his reaction and Clinton's.

What do you say? Let's get after it.

(MUSIC)

CUOMO: All right. So, there are two big stories tonight. One hits you in the heart, the other the head.

The DOJ watchdogs report on the FBI's handling of the Clinton investigation is in. And there's a lot of brain food in there. Plenty of blame for Jim Comey, gossipy and biased and leaky agents, and some troubling conclusions.

We're going to break down the other findings in just a minute, but let's lead with our hearts. Immigrant families being separated at the border and the Trump administration has a new defense saying the Bible justifies this.

Let's bring in Republican Congressman Jim Jordan. Congressman, always a pleasure.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: Good to be with you.

CUOMO: We'll do a twofer, talk about immigration, talk about the IG report. Good for you?

JORDAN: Yes. And first, congratulations on the new show. Good to be with you.

CUOMO: Thank you. Good to have you as part of the conversation. Appreciate you taking the opportunity.

So, what's going on at the border? Do you believe that this is the right way to enforce the law?

JORDAN: What I think is we should enforce the law and we should do what the American people elected us to do, Chris, put the kind of immigration policy forward that was front and center in the campaign, that was the mandate of the campaign, mandate of the election, which is build the border security wall, end chain migration, stop the visa lottery, and reform the asylum policies that we have currently, as well as get rid to the sanctuary cities. All those things were front and center in the election, and then also, we should deal with the DACA population.

We've been very clear about that, and there's legislation pending in the House that would accomplish that and be consistent with the mandate and what we told the American people we were going to do.

CUOMO: But you're aware that lawmakers on both sides said you don't have to enforce it this way. Even Paul Ryan said he didn't like this and he's folded it in to that bill that you're talking about.

JORDAN: Right.

CUOMO: And you went through the points quickly, so let's put it up on the board for people, what the different elements are in that: overhaul legal immigration. Boost border security, about $26 billion. It's not what the president wanted but it's something. End family separation. Path to citizenship for DACA recipients.

So, back to my original question.

JORDAN: Yes.

CUOMO: Do you agree with ending family separation?

JORDAN: Well, no one wants to separate families, but I just had --

CUOMO: That's not true. The attorney general does. He even says God wants him to enforce the law this way.

JORDAN: Chris, I had the folks from ICE in my office earlier today. I had the folks from Borders -- Customs and Borders in my office earlier today. Eighty -- everyone knows we need to reform the asylum laws. Eighty percent of the people seeking asylum, 80 percent aren't legitimate. They told me that.

So, we got -- we got to clean it up. For those who are, we want to keep those families together. And those who are truly being persecuted, not just ones coached to say, oh, there's a credible fear that I'm being persecuted, coached to say the right things so they get to come to this country illegally.

But those who are truly being persecuted, we want to help them.

CUOMO: Right.

JORDAN: We want to keep their families together. No one disagrees with that. That's common sense.

But let's do the right things. Let's do what we told the American people we were going to do. Build the border security wall, end sanctuary cities, stop the crazy visa lottery, and reform our asylum laws --

CUOMO: But you never said --

JORDAN: -- in a way that's consistent with what I just said.

CUOMO: But you never said and we will separate all families that come across the border and the law doesn't make you do it. This is a choice of enforcement.

So, you have two options the way I see it. The big bill that Ryan has that you're talking about, while he folded this in, it's still not going to come to a quick conclusion. You can't get agreement with your part of the caucus on the party side, let alone with the Democrats. Why not do something right away to stop the separation of the families, or --

JORDAN: Why --

CUOMO: -- or and this maybe heresy, just to stay with the Bible theme, you could look the administration in the eye and say this is your choice.

JORDAN: I got a better plan.

CUOMO: Stop enforcing it this way.

JORDAN: Chris, I got a better plan. Why don't we do what we said? What don't we just do what we said, right? Why don't we pass the -- Chairman Goodlatte's got a great piece of legislation that I've been for for months.

CUOMO: It won't happen fast enough.

JORDAN: Why don't we do what we said?

CUOMO: Every day these children are separated from their families is a bad day. JORDAN: And deal with that, and deal with that as well. But why -- I

mean, it never hurts to keep your promise. It never hurts to keep your word.

CUOMO: When did you promise I'm going to separate every family that comes across the border even if they're seeking asylum and I'm going to take the kids and I may lose track of some of them, but that's OK, God likes it?

JORDAN: Chris, I campaigned on the same issues President Trump campaigned on and the American people made him president and put Republicans in control --

CUOMO: This wasn't one of them.

JORDAN: -- put Republicans in control of the House and the Senate. Build the border security wall, stop all the crazy policies --

CUOMO: Yes, but where is --

JORDAN: -- reform our asylum laws, but do it in a way that's consistent with helping people who are truly persecuted. That's what I'm for.

CUOMO: But how is this helping? That's the part I don't get.

It just seems like it's harsh for harshness' sake. We're going to prosecute every case, forget about catch and release, say that the Democrats started that one. You know that that's B.S. Sy that this is from a law that the Democrats gave, when you know that that's B.S.

JORDAN: And we do know --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Why?

JORDAN: We do know the Democrats and the former president started this DACA thing with the DACA executive order that the president gave that was ruled unconstitutional. You do know that.

CUOMO: Right, but he had to because you guys wouldn't act on it.

JORDAN: And that's --

CUOMO: You wouldn't get anything done.

JORDAN: That sent a message for people to come here and some of them are just being coached to say whatever it takes to get in this country. We're trying to sort it out.

CUOMO: But, Jim, you guys don't act on it. You guys can't get the bill through. I'm saying --

JORDAN: I'm willing to act on it. I want to do it in a way consistent with the election. CUOMO: But what I'm saying this, I don't see how -- here's our

sticking point. You seem to be suggesting that if you do something just on this separation of families and kids, kids and parents, rather, that's somehow not keeping a campaign promise. I don't buy that.

Who did you tell we'll do this in the harshest way possible even when --

JORDAN: Come on, Chris, you know we got to address the whole thing.

CUOMO: No, I don't. Honestly, I don't get it, Jim. I don't know why you can't just do this --

(CROSSTALK)

JORDAN: Chuck Schumer said that. Chuck Schumer said that. Lindsey Graham who is more moderate on the issue on the Senate side than I think Republican voters --

CUOMO: Not about this issue.

JORDAN: He said you link the DACA population, you link what's going on with the border with doing the security measures we need to do to actually secure the border --

CUOMO: But that was before this exigency.

JORDAN: -- interior enforcement, you have to link all that.

CUOMO: But that was before this exigency. And you know what the real shame is here, we lived through this before. There's a different enforcement tactic being used right now. There's more enforcement being used right now than there was back then, but we lived through this already.

(CROSSTALK)

JORDAN: And there's been less crossings. There's been less crossings, less illegals coming across the border under the Trump administration. And the American people support that.

CUOMO: It depends on how you look at the numbers. But that's not my quibble with you. My quibble is, and it's not a quibble, it's actually outrage, that you don't have to enforce it this way. You say you don't like the families being separated. Everybody says it but you won't do anything about it.

JORDAN: We want to pass a bill that addresses the whole issue.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You can't get it passed. There's too much stuff in it.

JORDAN: You don't know that. We should have been working on this sooner, I agree with that. I would have preferred we passed this legislation much sooner which did reform our asylum laws in the proper way. And as I just said, 80 percent of the 100,000 folks coming to our southern border --

CUOMO: I'd like to see the numbers. I've seen different numbers about it. I think it's hard to know what is true and what isn't in one sample like that.

JORDAN: Two thousand a week, times 52 weeks, slightly over 100,000, Chris. I got that information today from ICE.

CUOMO: But I'm saying, how many are real versus not real versus --

JORDAN: They told me 80 percent.

CUOMO: -- agents that you have making judgments that may be right or wrong? I just think it gets more complicated.

JORDAN: Hard working agents on the coast -- on our southern border who are saying we need resources to do this right.

CUOMO: Well, there's no question that you need more resources. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do that. All I'm saying is this, you got Jeff Sessions saying, the bible says that, you know, this is order and just and fair, and that's great. God loves good process.

It's none of those things. It's not an orderly process. It's haphazard. It's not fair because you're taking families who are coming and presenting themselves for asylum and treating them like fence jumpers, a phrase you guys like. And I don't know why you just don't fix it.

JORDAN: And if they're truly a family, we want to keep them together. I am 100 percent with you.

CUOMO: Then why don't you fix the separation policy, Jim?

JORDAN: I'm 100 percent with you. But we got to fix all of this because again --

CUOMO: Even though you have an emergency.

JORDAN: -- that's we told the American people we were going to do it.

CUOMO: Even though you have an emergency, you think the American people would be upset at you if you fixed this first?

JORDAN: No, I think there should be a common sense approach to this. But I think you also got too do it in a bigger piece of legislation.

CUOMO: But that's not common sense because you won't get it done and these families will stay separated. I don't get it.

JORDAN: Maybe this -- maybe this will be the catalyst to help us get it done, all those right policies.

(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: It's not shaping up like that right now. I'm barely getting there with you on this.

All right. You want to switch to the I.G. report because that's a big topic. I don't have that much time. All right?

JORDAN: Of course, of course.

CUOMO: All right. So, here's how we broke it down. I'm going to have to change the headings depending on what party I'm talking to between good facts and bad facts. But I prepared this just for you, Jim. OK?

JORDAN: I love it, I love it.

CUOMO: So, the good fact from your perspective which is you wanted to see in this report if the suggestions and allegations about these agents being up to no good was substantiated. Five biased agents they found it. I think there was an attorney in there as well, but let's use the phrase broadly.

JORDAN: Yes.

CUOMO: That's your fact. They found it.

JORDAN: Right.

CUOMO: They found more texts from Strzok that say, I don't like that he's going to win. Don't worry, we'll fix it. That's very tantalizing. You guys are all over it.

JORDAN: We'll stop it, yes.

CUOMO: The bad fact is they conclude that there was no impact. And there was no exercise of that bias on any of the decisions.

JORDAN: Really?

CUOMO: Yes.

JORDAN: I mean, well, I mean, Chris, come on. They say, we do not have confidence that Strzok's decision was free from bias.

CUOMO: Right.

JORDAN: So his bias did impact his decision. They say it. I've looked at a lot more of these in respect general reports when the IRS targeted conservatives. The State Department inspector general report --

CUOMO: Let's stick on this one, but yes.

JORDAN: This is some of the hardest hitting language I've ever seen in inspector general report.

CUOMO: They said that there was no impact -- (CROSSTALK)

JORDAN: -- was not free from bias that impacted his decision.

CUOMO: No. They say it impacted his decision of prioritizing --

JORDAN: The Russia investigation over the Clinton investigation.

CUOMO: Right. But in terms of the decisions that were made, and the conclusions that were drawn, they say there was no impact. You can't run away from that.

JORDAN: I mean, Chris, five biased people. Yes, they happen to be the top people at the FBI who ran the Clinton investigation and then, oh, by the way, went to the Russia investigation and oh, by the way, three of those five were put on Mueller's team.

CUOMO: And then they got removed as soon as they came out. Another bad fact for you.

JORDAN: Right, which shows how biased they were.

CUOMO: No. It shows there was accountability.

JORDAN: And we have the inspector general -- we have the inspector general saying we do not have confidence. In other words, they had no confidence that Strzok's decision was free from bias. He was trying to say, ah, forget about the Clinton investigation. Let's get focused on Russia because why? Why?

CUOMO: They also say there were no conclusions. Here's the other one that's bad.

JORDAN: Because we have to stop Trump. That's Peter Strzok's words, not mine, the guy who ran the Clinton investigation.

CUOMO: Yes, but that didn't prove that he did anything to do that, including -- and I think this is the toughest thing for you to handle in terms of your perspective on this -- if Strzok, Page, attorney two and all the other people who are in this group of five and maybe let's say 50, all right? You know, let's just exaggerate it for the sake of this point.

If they wanted to compromise Trump, they didn't do the easiest thing that would have been the hardest to trace to follow up on their supposed biased, which is leak about the Trump probe during the election. Comey decided not to talk about it. Only talk about the Clinton one.

JORDAN: Chris --

CUOMO: But if these people wanted to get Trump so much, why didn't they leak they were looking at him?

JORDAN: Because they were all convinced Clinton was going to win.

CUOMO: No. That doesn't follow logically. If you wanted to get Trump, you would have done that.

Let me get to the other points before I lose you.

JORDAN: They opened the investigation on July 31st, Peter Strzok. Eight days later, text message, we'll stop Trump. Six days later, insurance policy.

If that doesn't show bias and intent to do harm, and then no confidence --

CUOMO: But he didn't follow through on it which this inspector general was obviously looking for. You know how exacting this report is. You've said you looked at other ones.

Comey is bad it says in here. That he did inappropriate things.

JORDAN: We all know that.

CUOMO: There's no question about it. But he also said this, which I want your take on. It was right for him not to charge Hillary Rodham Clinton, that that was done in the keeping with the consistent thoughts about prosecution within the department.

So, he went out of school. He did things he shouldn't have done. But he arrived at the right conclusion. Is that OK with you?

JORDAN: No. I've said all along, I thought he was wrong throughout this investigation. I thought he was wrong in July.

CUOMO: But it was right not to charge HRC?

JORDAN: I disagree with that, but Horowitz can reach the conclusion he wants, and Comey obviously reached that conclusion. But I criticized Comey in July at his press conference. I criticized him again in October when he reopened the case.

I think he screwed this thing up from the get-go, and I think Mr. Horowitz's report points that out. And I underscore the fact that the top agents that Peter Strzok, Lisa Page and FBI lawyer number two all were involved in this, all had extreme animus towards President Trump, and all I think used that in the course of this investigation.

CUOMO: But you don't know that, you don't know the last part, Jim. It's not in this report.

JORDAN: No, Horowitz said, they did not follow in any way normal FBI protocol and normal FBI procedures.

CUOMO: But it says in the report that looking at the decisions that were made in the investigation, he didn't see proof of bias. And look, the biggest fact for him, and reaching that conclusion is they didn't leak. They never put the Trump probe out into the media --

JORDAN: They have no confidence that the decision was free of bias. If that's not saying bias impacted Peter Strzok's behavior, the lead agent, deputy head of counterintelligence, the guy who launched the Trump investigation, the guy who eight days later said we'll stop Trump, the guy who six days later says, don't worry, we got an insurance policy, if that doesn't show bias impact into this, I do not know what does.

CUOMO: But you are taking what the I.G. said with specific context to his prioritization of Weiner versus the Russia probe and applying it to everything that was done in the Russia probe. And the inspector general makes a point of saying, no, don't go that far. We don't see the proof.

And it makes me wonder if it's really never been about the report of the facts. You just want this to be said and out there as kind of just poisoning the well of what happens with the Russia probe.

JORDAN: But remember the time frame. We're talking -- late September through late October when they had Weiner's laptop. And Peter Strzok has said, hey, hey, don't worry about that. Down play all that.

CUOMO: And, by the way, they wound up finding nothing of any value on the laptop.

JORDAN: But that wasn't his motive. His motive was, he didn't know what was there. Down play that, don't worry about that, let's focus on the Russia investigation, because why? Even though we think Clinton is going to win, we got to stop Trump. That was what was in his mind and that is clear.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: No, that wasn't the only reason -- that wasn't the only reason reflected in the report. It was Russia's interfering with the election. We're getting a lot of information that there's been, you know, untoward contact between the Trump people and Russia.

JORDAN: But then why didn't he say we have to stop Russia? Why did he say we have to stop -- if he just said we have to stop Russia, you got a point. But he didn't say that. He said we've got to stop Trump.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Even in all those appendices, which literally I think hurt my vision today, trying to get a sense, all the context --

JORDAN: I know that.

CUOMO: -- for the data, they don't have all the back and forth about these things. They spoke to them, but they don't relay all that in the transcripts that were laid out. But these are the points and the last one is that certainly has to be addressed, the FBI was a sieve in certain respects.

JORDAN: Of course.

CUOMO: And Christopher Wray says they're going to fix that.

JORDAN: Of course.

CUOMO: You've been --

JORDAN: Andy McCabe was the worse.

CUOMO: You've been a big dog on that trail. Yes, and then also, this spells out there too, what was McCabe lying about? He was trying to make himself look good about wanting to continue to go after Clinton. I don't know how that makes him an enemy of Trump.

JORDAN: Chris, maybe with the FBI didn't have 13 different personnel at the FBI talking to one reporter, maybe if they were less concerned about their public relations and their image, and more focused on doing their job with the normal procedures at the FBI, maybe there would have been a different outcome in the Clinton investigation and we could beat (ph) them --

CUOMO: I don't know about that. I don't know that you would have gotten a different conclusion, and there's nothing in the inspector general's report to support that conclusion.

However, we do know this -- that kind of leaking is something they're going to have to police. As a journalist, it's a statement against interest, but we'll see what they put in place and I look forward to talking to you about that and the other implications from this. And let's see if anything gets done to help those kids on the border.

JORDAN: All right.

CUOMO: Jim Jordan, thank you for being in the show.

JORDAN: Thank you, brother.

CUOMO: All right. Be well. Congressman Jim Jordan, Republican, Ohio.

All right. There is a great debate to be had on the morality of separating these families crossing the border. Morality and legality. So, we have Matt Schlapp and Nina Turner, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: The Trump administration today using the Bible to defend separating families. It's tonight's great debate between Matt Schlapp and Nina Turner.

It's good to have you both on the show. Thank you.

MATT SCHLAPP, FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Great to be here.

NINA TURNER (D), FORMER OHIO STATE SENATOR: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Matt Schlapp --

SCHLAPP: Yes, sir. CUOMO: -- do you believe that God wants the law enforced this way on the border, separating families who cross undocumented, including asylum seekers?

SCHLAPP: I'm a Christian, but I believe in some humility and knowing exactly what God wants in these situations, I think we have a bad law that needs to be changed. I think the law prevents the children and the adults who are breaking the law from being treated as a family unit. And I think it's more humane to treat them as a family unit. I think Congress should pass something quickly to fix that.

CUOMO: What law, Nina Turner, is Matt Schlapp referring to that makes the government have to do it this way?

TURNER: There is no law that makes the government do it this way. As you've been pointing out, Chris, it's a matter of public policy. They are policy and will, the will of the Trump administration.

And let me say to AG Sessions, we need to get him a "what would Jesus do" bracelet, because, seriously Jesus would be on the side of the downtrodden, he will be on the side of the poor. And Matthew 7 and 12 is clear: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is the Golden Rule.

And it is indefensible. They're using the Bible to defend the indefensible, to separate children from their parents to further traumatize those families and especially this latest about them separating the mother who was breast feeding her baby. It's just really unconscionable.

But what would Jesus do? I'm going to buy him the bracelet, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Go ahead. Might be tax deductible.

Matt Schlapp, the proof that it's not about the law is the law has stayed the same and the enforcement policy has changed. So, they're making a decision. You say the remedy is change the law, streamline it, make it better. OK. But I just had Jim Jordan on. And he represents a significant portion of your party who say, no, we won't do just that. We'll only do everything at once.

SCHLAPP: Well, it's not a tactical -- this is a tactical question, right? You have Democrats who basically held all legislation hostage to fixing the problem with DACA, right? And I think that's also a mistake. I think with immigration, the big problem, we have lots of problems with how our immigration laws are executed.

And one of the problems is, we have to always glom it all together. When we see problems and problems that both sides might see needs to be fixed, I'm OK with taking them as rifle shots, unique fixes in legislation. So, let me go back to why the laws, what the law is.

Basically, the law prevents the children from going through the legal process with their parents. So, what we do to try to be humane according to our law says is an unaccompanied minor goes through a system. But if you come with your parents, you have this fundamental question to ask: if a parent crosses the border illegally with their child, the child has to put through a program, but the adult has still broken the law.

Now, we can ourselves as a country, maybe we just give them a mulligan and let them come in. Maybe we say we're not going to handle these situations because they're tricky.

The problem with that is you create the new set of DACA at the border every day, as Jim went through the numbers with you. The thousands of families that come to the border.

And the biggest problem with our immigration laws is we actually don't execute them fully, so that we always have this population of people because we're good people, we're tolerant people. We know that people live --

CUOMO: We were.

SCHLAPP: Well, we know that people live --

CUOMO: Maybe we were, because that's what catch and release was, right? Because it was more humane to allow the families to stay together and hope they show up for the legal process.

SCHLAPP: Let me jus say, every time someone criticizes this country, I do get prickly because we give more as a country. Our government gives more for humanitarian reasons around this globe than any other country, as a people.

CUOMO: But we also have a border practice --

SCHLAPP: As a people, we give more to charity.

CUOMO: But, Nina Turner, to Matt's point.

SCHLAPP: We give more to charity to help these folks. We are very compassionate.

TURNER: And we should, we should.

CUOMO: Matt, we both know you're no more of a patriot than I am, right? That's not about loving your country.

SCHLAPP: That's right.

CUOMO: It's about criticizing it when it's due.

TURNER: That's right.

CUOMO: Nina, most countries don't do what we're doing on our border right now. I think it is a window into what the perception that this administration wants. Here's a little bit of proof of it, all right?

David Shapiro, OK? He is a public official out in Arizona, and he was talking about what immigration means to the United States. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID SHAPIRO, ARIZONA STATE HOUSE: Sixty percent of public school children in the state of Arizona today are minorities. That complicates racial immigration because there aren't enough white kids to go around. When you look at that 60 percent number for our school students, just picture that forward 10 years, 15 years, it's going to change the demographic voting base of the state. That's what's going on around the country.

Immigration is politically stabilizing. President Trump's talked about this. I'm very concerned about this. This immigration today represents an existential threat to the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Now, Shapiro says he was taken out of context. I don't know how existential threat is taken out of context.

Nina, how do you take that sound byte?

TURNER: I mean, it was clear that he's on the side on what President Trump is doing and it's wrong. I mean, see, we're talking about there's law. There's unjust laws. You know, St. Thomas Aquinas talked about just laws and unjust laws.

But there's also humanity. That is really what is being called into question here, our humanity as a nation. And it's really curious to me that the party of family values has to problems with separating families at the border.

Let the process take place, but the president, President Donald J. Trump has the power and the authority right now to stop separating these children from their parents until they go through the process. He could choose to do that, but he has decided to do the other, and it is absolutely wrong.

So, he's being a hypocrite. So are the Republicans that believe this kind of stuff is OK. I want to hear family values come out of their mouths.

SCHLAPP: So, are you saying that Barack Obama --

(CROSSTALK)

TURNER: This is not about President Obama.

SCHLAPP: Yes, it is. It is.

CUOMO: Hold on. Let him make his point.

What's your point, Matt?

SCHLAPP: Are you saying that Barack Obama kept these families intact through the adjudication process? Is that what you two are saying?

TURNER: This is not about President Obama.

SCHLAPP: He separated --

TURNER: This is about Donald Trump.

SCHLAPP: He separated the children from the adults.

TURNER: This is about President Trump.

SCHLAPP: Because that's what the law says.

TURNER: President Trump can do a new thing. He doesn't have to follow --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Well, hold on. Hold on.

SCHLAPP: He's not the king.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Hold on a second. Nina, Matt, hold on a second. There's a middle ground here, first of all. Just for fact's sake. OK?

Did the Obama administration separate families? Yes. Did they do it as much as you are doing it right now? No.

SCHLAPP: What's your point?

CUOMO: The point is --

SCHLAPP: What is the law say you have to do, Chris?

CUOMO: It doesn't say you have to do --

(CROSSTALK)

SCHLAPP: Yes, it does.

CUOMO: -- anything. Enforcement is up to you.

SCHLAPP: And choosing to do it.

CUOMO: Look, this law was signed in 2008. It was signed by Bush, OK? So, it's not about Democrats putting a fast one through. It's how do you want to enforce it and whether you want to take the risk that these people that come across undocumented will return for legal process.

SCHLAPP: That's right.

CUOMO: So, again, the facts are did Obama do this? Yes.

SCHLAPP: Yes.

CUOMO: Did he do it as much? No.

SCHLAPP: He did --

CUOMO: Why? Because he had a different mentality, his administration, about what these people represent.

My question to you is you used to own that mentality. Reagan, Bush, as I just suggested were much more open-hearted. But there seems to be a new --

SCHLAPP: That's not right. No.

CUOMO: -- harshness, Matt Schlapp. Will you defend that?

SCHLAPP: No. Ronald Reagan, a president that I respect deeply, one of his biggest regrets was the 1986 immigration bill. Because he thought the amnesty that was a big part of the 1986 immigration reform would be one and done. We would cure this problem. We would accept these folks and then now enforce our border, enforce our laws.

And, of course, we see even at the border today, they're not really enforced, because what the two of you are advocating for --

CUOMO: I'm not advocating for anything.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHLAPP: Let me just talk here. You can tell me where I'm wrong. But what I'm hearing is you're saying, don't separate the adult from the child, which means you don't adjudicate the adult.

CUOMO: That's not true.

SCHLAPP: And what the Trump administration is saying is, is that when you come here illegally, you will be prosecuted and to do anything else than that is to simply not follow the law. That gets us into the amnesty problem.

CUOMO: Except, Nina, here's the obvious weakness to that argument, and you can now make the point, which is, asylum seekers were never included because they are coming under different pretense.

SCHLAPP: That's not right.

CUOMO: And what Matt Schlapp is saying, well, we assume that they're all Fugazi. They're not real.

SCHLAPP: Jim Jordan said it was 80 percent of them are not --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I know, but I don't know where that number livers. Until we know --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Nina, go ahead. What's your take on it?

TURNER: But again, you know what? Listen, it's funny how matt and the president, you want to bring President Obama, any other time President Trump would not be following President Obama. He needs to do the right thing. The attorney general needs to do the right thing and, of course, the Congress needs to do the right thing.

SCHLAPP: I agree.

TURNER: But this is a matter of humanity at this point. That is simply our argument --

SCHLAPP: Why wasn't it with Obama? Why wasn't it with Obama?

(CROSSTALK)

TURNER: You know what? People did protest. People did protest President Obama. I'm not ignoring that.

What I'm saying to you is that President Trump is the president right now. And this does not have to be done.

So, again, what would Jesus do? He would be on the side of the poor and downtrodden. Not on the side of what's happening right now.

CUOMO: What about that point?

TURNER: So, why don't the president stand up to the Congress to say, you know what, I don't want --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: I mean, I know, look, I respect your first answer which is I'm a Christian, I don't (INAUDIBLE) but Jeff Sessions didn't follow your edict on that as a Christian.

SCHLAPP: Neither did Nina. Neither did Nina. I don't think either side should be saying Jesus is on their side. Just a little humility here.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: But the idea, look, Jesus's message is pretty clear.

TURNER: Read the bible.

SCHLAPP: I do read the bible.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: The idea that if you were going to err on the side of whether to be humane or inhumane, you know, WWJD takes you a pretty simple place. But what do you make of it as a tactic, the attorney general saying, God says that process is good in and of itself and this is fair and just and that's why we enforce -- SCHLAPP: Look, I wouldn't have done that. I don't think that's the

way to explain this. If you just give me just a short period of time, it's important to go back to the beginning.

I understand that many of these people live in desperate circumstances. I understand that America is a very unique country where a lot of people, especially our neighbors want to come. I'd want to be here too if I wasn't here.

We are a good and a generous and a tolerant and a decent people. And the fact is at the same time, you have people waiting to come here legally. They're waiting to come here in line. They're filling out their paperwork. They're going to our embassy and they're trying to come the right way as a political asylee.

And that is the process that gets upturned. And those people are harmed as we allow people to cut in line. I'm not for line cutters. Let's have a process.

I'm a pro-immigration Republican. I don't want to cut back on those numbers. I believe these people that are coming from Central America and Mexico and other countries can make America even better. And I want to make sure the process is not disorderly like we have today. I think it's a shame.

CUOMO: Well, but this is still disorderly because the separations are haphazard. They're losing track of kids.

SCHLAPP: It's the law.

CUOMO: Nina Turner, last point. But how they're enforcing it is their choice and they're not doing a great job at it objectively.

TURNER: That's right.

CUOMO: Nina, last point.

TURNER: And they are assuming that the folks that are at the border right now somehow are not asylum seekers, somehow are not running from tragic situations. And that is a broad assumption.

Again, I'm going back to how I started. Humanity is the order of the day, because that could be any of us trying to get here, trying to save our families. It is about humanity, and it is about justice. Keeping these families together, the administration can fix this. President Trump can fix this, and absolutely the Congress needs to fix this.

And stop blaming President Obama. Do the right thing. Do what Jesus would do, which is be on the side of the downtrodden and poor and people who need help.

CUOMO: Nina Turner, Matt Schlapp, well-argued and thank you.

SCHLAPP: Thank you. CUOMO: All right. So, he's one of the most well known faces when it

comes to the crackdown on illegal immigrants in America. So, what does the sheriff, Joe Arpaio think about children being taken from the parents at the border?

We're going to ask him on CUOMO PRIME TIME, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right. Our emotions are riding high over this policy to separate families at the border and with good reason. One candidate has made immigration so central to his identity that he needed a presidential pardon on the issue.

Joining us now is candidate for Senate from the state of Arizona, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Good to have you, Sheriff.

JOE ARPAIO, FORMER MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF: Yes. Thanks. Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. So make the case for this brand of enforcement at the border. Why does it have to be done this way?

ARPAIO: You know what? You talk about emotions. I have a few emotions too. This is a tough problem that we're facing right now, but by the way, when -- I understand separating the kids from the families. What about the thousands and thousands of people I (AUDIO GAP) 58-yearlong taking the parents out of the houses for drugs or whatever, leaving the kids separated.

CUOMO: Those are serious crimes. Not a misdemeanor of crossing the border undocumented.

ARPAIO: Well, OK. You want to argue the type of crime and so on? That's OK.

But you know what? Everybody forgets the big problem here. Central America, Mexico, they have tough laws. Why aren't they stopping these kids and their parents or whatever crossing our border? They should be doing it in their country so we won't have this problem.

CUOMO: Fair point.

ARPAIO: Nobody talks -- nobody talks about that.

CUOMO: Fair point.

ARPAIO: We should start talking about it.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Because it doesn't relieve --

ARPAIO: Quit blaming us. CUOMO: It doesn't relieve our responsibility, Joe. That's why.

Let's say they are lax in their enforcement. Let's say their governments aren't getting it done. Let's say they are even encouraging people to get out of that country for good or bad reason.

That's not in the control of the United States, whereas how it enforces its border is. And it is choosing now to take a new direction of harshness, of prosecuting everyone who comes across, but how they'll prosecute includes separating these families even if it means these kids are going to be separated for a good period of time in conditions that we're not crazy about. Does that sound like the right thing to do?

ARPAIO: Well, I'll tell you something. Why don't we blame the families, the adults for taking the chance, violating the law, coming across our border with these young kids? They're the ones that should be held responsible.

If I get to Washington, I'm going to make sure there's another law, a tougher law to go after these people.

CUOMO: How much tougher can you get than this?

ARPAIO: What?

CUOMO: How much tougher could you get than this?

ARPAIO: Well, if you charge them with more serious crimes, they'll spend more time in jail which should be a deterrent.

First of all, it should be a deterrent anyway. Our president has sent the message out. I hope because of you and everybody else talking about it, Chris, they're going to get a message, don't come across the border with your kids, because first of all, you're going to jail. The adults or those that violate the law.

Now, for the kids, I feel sorry for 'em. I feel sorry for 'em.

CUOMO: You feel sorry for them, but you're putting them in a bad way. If you felt sorry for them, don't separate them, and why would you assume all families that come across undocumented are the same? Some are fleeing prosecution. Some women are running for their lives from terrible men. Some are teenagers looking for a better life, desperate to work at the factories that you guys never prosecute for hiring people illegally. You never go after the fat cats, only the small people.

ARPAIO: Oh, I haven't?

CUOMO: You demonize the workers.

(CROSSTALK)

ARPAIO: OK.

CUOMO: If you look at the prosecutions, the people get prosecuted. Harsher than ever. Not the companies, Joe. Not fair.

ARPAIO: Oh, really?

CUOMO: Yes.

ARPAIO: Look at my record. The trouble I got in for just doing that.

CUOMO: Well, you got in trouble for how you were rounding people up and what you were doing with your resources.

ARPAIO: OK. That's I'm certain, one judge.

I'm going to tell you something, I just wrote a 25-page letter to the attorney general of the United States. I expect him to look into certain bias and the illegal immigration problem and the corruption and the politics. So, we'll see what the bottom line is.

CUOMO: Do you include the huge factories and businesses that hire these people at sub par wages and don't have to worry about work conditions the same way because they're not citizens? Did you include that in the letter?

ARPAIO: About raiding places that hire illegals?

CUOMO: Yes, not to round up illegals and send them away and to arrest the people that run the shop, Joe?

ARPAIO: Of course.

CUOMO: Is that in your letter?

ARAPAIO: Well, it's bigger than that. My letter has to do with the politics and this illegal immigration problem and the bias.

CUOMO: All I'm saying is this, Joe. Why are we being the harshest on the weakest?

You know, a lot of these people are trying to get asylum. They're fleeing prosecution. They're looking for a better life. And they're getting treated like they're all felons when they come across.

That's a policy decision. The law doesn't make you have to do it this way. But we're not that harsh with the people who hire them. What does that say about us?

ARPAIO: Well, first of all, it's illegal to cross a border. You know that.

CUOMO: It's illegal to hire someone who is not a citizen under these circumstances. You know that too.

ARPAIO: Yes. OK.

CUOMO: But we don't go after them with the ferocity that we're going after these people like they're all MS-13. They're all coming in here to sell these drugs and slit our throats. We don't talk like that about the employers.

ARPAIO: Well, maybe if you want to be helpful, we should put more emphasis in these countries and help them stop the crime problem so people won't be leaving, wanting to come to the United States. This is a bigger picture. You know that, Chris.

CUOMO: I do get it, Joe, but I'm saying why are you dealing with the weakest in the harshest fashion? If you want to do your tariffs and the things the president loves so much, if you want to apply into countries that you think are bad actors when it comes to how they treat people who try to immigrate to this country, fine, that's a policy decision. Have it out. Let's see how it goes politically.

If you want to go after the employers because if there's no demand, there's no supply. Simple economics, right? But they know they're going to get jobs. They know they're going to come in here and get swept up and fuel lots of industries that are fundamental to American lifestyle.

We never go after those people. Kind of stinks, Joe.

ARPAIO: Do it legally. Get certain permits or whatever to have these people come in.

I've been fighting this battle all these years. I've always said, every time there's an election, why doesn't Congress do something? I even predicted even this time, even though the president is trying to do everything he can, once again, we're still arguing the situation.

Why doesn't Congress do something instead of having no guts to -- every time, every two years or whatever? Why aren't they doing anything? All they do is talk. You're talking tonight and the same problem has been existing for all these years.

CUOMO: Well, look, that's my job is to bring it up, test power, and push them to act on common ground. You want to join the Senate. If you win, let's see what you get done about it.

But, Joe Arpaio, I appreciate you coming onto make the case. Thank you.

ARPAIO: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. And from one of Hillary Clinton's critics, we now bring in her former campaign chairman and director of the Center for American Progress, John Podesta.

Good to have you, sir.

JOHN PODESTA, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Good to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Let's talk about this I.G. report. It seems it's being viewed largely through a partisan lens. But what is the headline for you and what you saw? PODESTA: Well, look, you tried to say there were good facts and bad

facts. I only see one set of facts. And the facts are that Jim Comey violated practice and procedure. He applied a double standard with respect to the investigation of Hillary Clinton versus the investigation of Russian interference in the election, and its connection to the Trump campaign. You know, he ended up hurting Hillary Clinton. He helped elect Donald Trump.

There's 560 gory pages of detail of that in the I.G.'s report, but that's the facts. And, you know, people try to spin one e-mail or a bunch of e-mails one way or the other, but those are the fundamental facts of what happened last July and last October.

CUOMO: But you're leaving one out, though.

PODESTA: And that's what Mr. Horowitz said.

CUOMO: You're leaving something out, though, John, which is the motivation that Comey had for what he did, believe him or not. He says Loretta Lynch, I had my doubts. I had my doubts about her meeting with Clinton on the tarmac, not really wanting to be as aggressive, trying to mess with my language.

I pushed for a special counsel. I had my doubts that this would be handled fairly, and that's why I had to come forward and make sure that there was real transparency here. That motivation is a little upsetting as well. Is it not?

PODESTA: And Chris, the I.G., you know, take him at his word, completely rejected that. He said these are the moment where you have to follow policy.

CUOMO: But he never said he didn't have basis for suspicion. He said how Comey handled it was wrong.

PODESTA: Well, that's the big enchilada, Chris. He said that whatever he felt the appropriate way to proceed was to follow longstanding Republican and Democratic administration's policy and procedure. Instead, he applied ad hoc decision making.

I never accused him of being a partisan in that regard. I just think he made a horrendous error of judgment and he did, I think, because he's kind of an arrogant guy who was trying to protect his own reputation, getting pushed by the New York field office who was leaking details about the investigation and getting pushed by Republicans on Capitol Hill.

I think he was protecting his reputation, the FBI's reputation, but in doing so, he wasn't protecting the country.

CUOMO: The big stick that Republicans and certainly Trump sympathizers are swinging is, look at those texts of at least five different agents/attorneys, you know, staff members. Look how much they didn't like Trump.

Let me ask you something, do you think there was an equal or greater population in the bureau that didn't like Clinton?

PODESTA: I absolutely think that's true. And I think that one of the things I heard from people who attended the House briefing today is that the matter of who was leaking out of the FBI field office, you know, Rudy Giuliani kept going on television saying I've heard from my sources in the FBI, da, da, da -- that investigation is still ongoing with the inspector general. So, we'll see where it lands at the end of the day.

But, you know, the truth is, the facts are that he only hurt one candidate by reopening and then rapidly saying there was nothing there and closing --

CUOMO: Right.

PODESTA: -- the e-mail investigation on October 28th, ten days before the election, he absolutely damaged Hillary Clinton. He kept under wraps the fact that he had opened an investigation of the Russian engagement and the Russian involvement with the Trump campaign. That didn't come out until after the election.

He says he did that because that was consistent with policy and practice, but why the double standard, Chris? I think he's never really sufficiently answered that.

CUOMO: Look, no, I get that's something that's going to be chewed over here. He's got his answers. But you also have look in terms of the political liability here and where blame lies. You got to look at Hillary Clinton as well. Do you not, John?

I mean, the tweet that she put out today: But my e-mails.

Now, this is a reference to the fact that the I.G. found that Comey was also using a personal Gmail account. He didn't have his own server, but this tactic by Hillary Clinton of taking a shot at them -- do you think that was the right move for her --

PODESTA: Oh, look --

CUOMO: -- given that decisions she made and didn't make got her in this situation in the first place?

PODESTA: Look, she shouldn't have used a private e-mail system. I think she's said that. She obviously paid an enormous price for doing so. I think it was an innocent --

CUOMO: Having people destroy the devices and, you know, not exactly complying the way that she --

(CROSSTALK)

PODESTA: No, come on. You want to relitigate the 2016?

CUOMO: No, but I just want to put it out there as an element of people's scrutiny. PODESTA: Well, I think the -- it was well-scrutinized. You have to

agree with that. It was the subject of intense look by the -- by the mainstream media, by a more than --

CUOMO: No question.

PODESTA: -- a more than a yearlong investigation by the FBI. And, you know -- and I think it was a mistake to have done that.

But I think it was -- it was in the end of the day, there were no crimes. Mr. Horowitz confirmed that today, saying it was consistent with the practice of the Department of Justice. It wasn't just Mr. Comey, but Mr. Horowitz confirmed that in I.G.'s report today. He likened it to the way the Justice Department handled Alberto Gonzalez's situation in 2008.

CUOMO: Yes, I read that.

PODESTA: And, you know, I think that the scrutiny she came under, the attack she came under by the House Republicans, I think, were unwarranted based on what was a mistake of judgment.

CUOMO: John Podesta, I appreciate you giving me your take on this. There was a lot to go through. More will come out of it. You're always welcome on the show to make the case.

PODESTA: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Be well.

All right. We got the man, Don Lemon, standing by with a preview of what's on "CNN TONIGHT", just minutes away.

What do you have?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": You've been talking about immigration. We're going to continue that talk on immigration. Yesterday, we told you about a baby taken away from a mother while being breastfed. Well, this one is a man who is 62 years old, Chris. He's been here for 50 years in this country.

His daughter awakened 7:00 a.m. in the morning by him screaming on the front lawn. Eight ICE agents, he's watering the lawn. Eight ICE agents are there. They take him away.

They don't really explain why they're him away. He's being held. The daughter is on tonight. We're going to dig into it and see what's going on with immigration in this country.

CUOMO: And so, the issue winds up being, look, let's say he's not -- just assume for the sake of argument he's not in the country legally. It then goes down to, how are we enforcing it?

You know, one of the things getting ignored by the proponents to the policy is they say this is a Democrat law. That's demonstrably false, all right? This is a 2008 -- LEMON: He's a legal permanent resident, by the way, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. So, he's a legal permanent resident -- important fact, because that then makes it even more of an incisive question, which is, how do you choose to enforce the law? There's been a change in policy which is we're going all out. We're going to treat every one of these people like they're a felon even if it's a misdemeanor charge. We're separating every family. Forget about if it's asylum or not.

That's a choice. It's not a must under the law. Fair point?

LEMON: She asked -- fair point. She asked him for a warrant. And then they said they didn't have one. They said, well, it was an administrative warrant.

So, what's the difference between administrative warrant and a regular warrant? So, it's this whole thing that you have to deal with.

And, again, you know, we got to figure it out. We have to figure it out is it worth separating families at the border? Is it worth -- you know, what are we doing with people who have been here 50 years? Listen, a lot to figure out here.

CUOMO: Even Joe Arpaio says lawmakers have to do more here. We got a nod that maybe Ryan would, but then he put it in this big combination bill. We know they're not going to get that passed.

Don Lemon, thank you very much.

LEMON: See you in a bit.

CUOMO: Check you soon.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: All right. As we've been discussing here tonight, Jeff Sessions cited the Bible to defend separating parents and children at the border. Where exactly does it say that? Our final fact is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Quick correction. Earlier, we showed a clip of an Arizona lawmaker describing immigration as an existential threat to the U.S. That lawmaker's name is David Stringer and he said what we said, but his name is not David Schapira. That's the man who shared the video online.

David Schapira is a good man. Had to make it right. Sorry.

All right. So, the final fact, as we've been talking about, undocumented families are being separated at the southern border. You will hear this policy defended by the Trump team as simple enforcement of the law. But that's just not true. They're making a choice to be harsh, to prosecute all undocumented entrants, even families seeking asylum who are presenting themselves to authorities not getting caught jumping some fence.

And Jeff Sessions is citing the Bible to reinforce the principle of punishment for those who disobey the law. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.

Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves, consistent, fair, application of law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak. It protects the lawful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: So, God wants these families separated at the border this way? It doesn't sound very WWJD, does it? That's because it isn't.

In fact, the only aspect of this practice that should be of biblical proportions should be the outrage. Facts as understood by those who do believe. Jesus was a refugee as a child. His mother was turned away and forced to deliver him in a stable -- an indignity that serves as a lesson for believers about treating all who need help as special because you never know who you're helping.

And since the attorney general is citing the Bible, let me quote it as well. Lamentations 3:21: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

More to the point, Leviticus, 19:33. When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born.

And most definitive, Jesus said the most important commandment includes loving your neighbor as yourself. We all know the Golden Rule.

Now, let's assume you don't put any stock in rationale that is God- related, and just apply logic to what Sessions said. This process is not orderly. It is haphazard and reckless in many cases.

And now, you have lawmakers on both sides of the aisle saying it is certainly not fair. The question is, they have common ground -- will they do something about separating these families this way, or -- or are the families going to be victimized by yet another unholy process? The political process. That's the final fact.

Joining us tomorrow, Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's lawyer, is returning to PRIME TIME with a case to make, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. That is all for us tonight. Thank you so much for being with us.

Let's get after it again tomorrow night.