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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Questions of the Role of ICE; Conjectures on Upcoming Presidential Meeting with Russia and Potential Supreme Court Nominees; Criticism of the Handling of Mueller Investigation Mounts; Massive Shooting Occurs at Newspaper in Maryland. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 29, 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 HOST: All right. Thank you, JB. Have a good weekend.
I am Chris Cuomo. And welcome to PRIME TIME.
So, have the Democrats found the first rallying and radical cry? Abolish ICE. What was dismissed as the whim of a Bernie acolyte and upstart is now being echoed by big city mayors and a sitting senator.
You saw Kirsten Gillibrand right here on CUOMO PRIME TIME last night say that ICE has to go. But others aren't so sure that's the way to go.
We have a Democrat who has become the face of ICE resistance here tonight, the mayor who warned of Oakland of a coming ICE raid and drew the ire of the A.G. and president.
Plus, time to test the case by the GOP against the Deputy AG Rosenstein. The Capitol Hill showdown showed a clear desire to upset and perhaps unseat the Trump appointee. One of the main combatants, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz is here to make the case.
And, boy, did you hear this one? Just when politics candidate get more bizarre, a prank caller gets through to Air Force One and talks with the president. Yes. And we have the tape. And you will laugh or cry when you hear what the president of the United States says to this guy.
It's Friday night. Save me some snacks and let's get after it.
CUOMO: All right. So, just in to CNN, the Justice Department is now saying it will comply with a federal judge's order to keep immigrant families together. First, why were they ever resisting when Trump said this was his intention in signing that fugazi executive order to undo the separation. And even now, it seems they still don't have a plan or perhaps even a sound system to reunite the 2,000-plus families split up in recent weeks when they crossed the border.
The issue is sparking protests and pushback from Democrats. Last night, as I said, you saw New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand right here on PRIME TIME become the first sitting senator to call for the abolishment of ICE.
And in California, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is gaining national attention and presidential condemnation for taking a stand against ICE by tipping off her community about impending sweeps.
So, it is time to test the mayor's position.
CUOMO: Mayor, thank you for joining us.
MAYOR LIBBY SCHAAF (D), OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Chris, for having me.
CUOMO: All right. So let's start with what seems to be the question of the moment for your party, certainly on the national level. Do you believe that ICE as an agency should be abolished?
SCHAAF: I do. I think that it is a failed experiment and that we have to move this country forward in a way that is reflective of our values. We have to ask ourselves, is this America? An administration that is putting children in cages? I know the answer for myself. And that is no.
CUOMO: Now, the former acting head of ICE says, the agency isn't the one that separates the kids from families. That's border patrol that they have a very important job. Security is obviously an issue given how much illegal ingress there is. And the idea of getting rid of an agency when we have such a problem seems very radical as a notion.
Help me understand the argument.
SCHAAF: This is a relatively new agency. But let us just admit that it's a failed experiment. We have criminal enforcement mechanisms that are there to protect us from criminal activity. And we have traditionally had a civil system of laws that moderates and monitors the ingress of residents and citizens into our great nation. The fact that we are treating families that come here for opportunity to escape violence and persecution in their countries and we treat them like criminals, that is not working. That's not America.
And we have to do something radical to stop the vilification of immigrants that is happening in our country and the wrongful persecution of good families.
CUOMO: So, you really have different political perspectives on this with the two parties right now, because the opposite argument is, when you cross the border illegally you are breaking the law. And it seems that the Democrats are OK with people breaking the law and that's why the Republicans say you are for open borders.
How do you escape that criticism if you call for the end of the agency that does the enforcement on the border along with the border patrol?
SCHAAF: We have a system of laws that recognizes political asylum. That recognizes due process. And that has traditionally recognized immigration as a civil matter, not as a crime.
That is what I believe our system needs to respect. And it needs to restore its humanity. It needs to remember that America has always been a country of immigrants.
CUOMO: Let's talk about how you've gotten into the mix here as mayor of Oakland. The charge is that you got word that there was going to be a sweep by ICE in one your communities and you put out a tweet that said, this is coming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officers to promote a radical open borders agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Let me ask you. Do you believe that what you did was legal and right?
SCHAFF: I do. I am confident that what I did, as the mayor of Oakland, was not just legal but it was moral. I have a duty to share information with my residents, to inform them of their rights and their responsibilities, and that is what I did.
The president has constantly threatened me with prosecution. I take that seriously. But I do remain confident that I was in my legal rights and I will not back down on that position.
CUOMO: When you're looking at the situation, the high ground that the attorney general has is -- is that it is a crime. It's a misdemeanor most of the time. You enter illegally twice, now it becomes a felony.
And as a mayor, you're not supposed to be making decisions about what laws that you agree with and what laws you don't. If it's a law, your job is to make sure that it's executed within your municipality. You're making a decision not to do that. And to help people escape from justice, from a legitimate potential criminal prosecution.
That's dicey territory, is it not?
SCHAAF: Listen, I am protecting my community. I am exercising the legal rights that hundreds of cities across the country have exercised with sanctuary policies. And many law enforcement professionals support sanctuary policies because in a city like Oakland, where we have so many immigrants, we cannot have public safety if that huge part of our population doesn't feel safe calling our police, doesn't feel safe testifying as a witness to a crime or providing information to lead to the arrest of actual real criminals.
SCHAAF: That is public safety.
CUOMO: Right. And we've seen that in different big municipalities with immigrant populations. We've always seen -- we've also seen that municipalities have got a big due process strain, when you would wind up holding people for the federal authorities and they wouldn't come or they wouldn't come soon enough, and then your municipality or that city was then hit with lawsuits because of habeas corpus.
All right. So then we get to a little bit of the strange part, of the situation involving you and ICE and the government and the intrigue, this interview with CBS. I want to play this part of this interview for the audience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a very persistent human being.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is confidential, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was that about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just said they wanted to talk to me about the leak with the Oakland mayor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you surprised to see them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Completely shocked. Unexpected.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever contact the Oakland mayor's office?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I never met her before. I never contacted --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn't email?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Libby Schaaf.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never emailed. Never. I would never tell her. I would never tell anyone. They were very serious. She was stern with me. And it was concerning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: So that man had resigned from ICE. He says, because he didn't like what he was being asked to do, that he was being told a lie about the situation with you and what was told and what arrests were made or not made as a result of the information you put out. But the intrigue is, during the interview with CBS, these federal agents showed up to talk to him.
What do you make of that situation?
SCHAAF: It was unbelievable. To hear the sound of them pounding on his door, to me, was the sound of tyranny.
James Schwab is a decent, honorable public servant, as is clear by his record, of many years serving his country.
And the fact that he felt so strongly that -- what a simple concept, the government should not lie, that he was willing to give up his job and his career, we should all honor that public servant.
I have never met James Schwab. We have never communicated, but to see DHS come pounding on his door, in his home --
CUOMO: In that moment.
SCHAAF: -- three months after he had resigned his position, that is frightening.
CUOMO: In the moment, I think, is also -- I mean, it could've been a coincidence. We don't know enough yet. But the idea that they showed up when he was giving an interview and asked him specifically about whether or not he had contacted you, what message do you think they were trying to send and do you think it supposed to be a message to you as well?
SCHAAF: Well, clearly, there have been plenty of intimidating messages sent by the president, by the attorney general, and now by this intimidation of this good public servant James Schwab. But, listen, as the mayor or Oakland, I will not back down. I'm very clear --
CUOMO: Even if they say they'll put you in jail?
SCHAAF: -- about what the values of my community are. I'm very clear that what I have done has been within my legal right. And I believe --
CUOMO: What if they say it isn't?
SCHAAF: -- it is my patriotic duty.
Then, I have a very good lawyer to defend me. And I do take this seriously. I have retained legal counsel, very good legal counsel.
CUOMO: If counsel told you, don't do this anymore. I may be morally right but it's going to be offensive in the eyes of the law and you could wind up locked up.
Would you do it anyway?
SCHAAF: If I believed that it is legally right and morally right, I certainly will not hold back my criticism of this government because that is my democratic right, my right to free speech as an American. To say that I want my country to do better, I want it to live it up to American values of welcoming people, of exercising due process, of caring about what justice really means.
CUOMO: I'm just saying it's an easier stand to make, although politically difficult for you, if it's found to be illegal. But you still feel morally you have to do it, then that'll be quite a position.
We will keep following this situation. Mayor, thank you for joining us. Appreciate having you on the show.
SCHAAF: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: I was pushing that point because this is exactly where this might be headed. Where she gets clear instructions don't do it again, what will the mayor do?
All right. You also heard the mayor say she agree was other Democrats who are calling for the abolishment of ICE. But not all in her party agree.
Congressman Seth Moulton is spearheading the battle to flip the House blue. Is this a problem? Let's ask him.
CUOMO: Congressman, thank you very much for joining us on PRIME TIME.
Let's talk about the state of affairs within your party and this new headline that is popping up. And I'll put the big question of the moment to you. Do you believe that the agency of ICE should be abolished?
REP. SETH MOULTON (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Look, I mean, the reality is that we face a lot of problems with what ICE is doing, and there's clearly a leadership and accountability problem here. They're not behaving in the manner that is appropriate for American citizens.
At the same time, we recognize that, you know, ICE is the agency that keeps human traffickers in check. I mean, ICE does important work for our country. I don't think that just going out and defunding them is necessarily the right approach.
But should Congress threaten the power of its oversight, the power of the purse, absolutely. It's our job to reform them. And in some ways, you know, calling for defunding ICE or eliminating ICE is just giving up our duty as Congress to make the organization work. That's our responsibility. If we can't take that responsibility, you need to look at who's in Congress right now.
CUOMO: Look, it's a strong argument you're making. The problem is for you is that it's against a lot of people with a D after their name. I have this flood of people and not just, you know, Ocasio, the upstart, a newbie, you know, who maybe has some positions that are more aggressive because she's not in there yet. But Senator Gillibrand, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Mayor Schaaf out in Oakland.
Just take a listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: I believe that it has become a deportation force. That's why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, re-imagine it and build something that actually works.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CUOMO: And that was just one of them, because I only play what happens on my show.
But you have a lot of Democrats who are saying it's got to go. Are you playing right into the political criticism that you guys are open borders?
MOULTON: No. Look, I'm not afraid to stand up to the party establishment. I want to fix the problem. I don't want to just make the problems go away.
I don't want to give up the responsibility and the duties of Congress to actually make these organizations work. We all want secure borders. We all want to stop human traffickers. We all want ICE to actually do its job properly, not be doing its job recklessly.
But the answer is to reform ICE, it's to fix it. It's to do our job as members of Congress not just willy-nilly call for it to be abolished.
CUOMO: You know, there is a theory that because Trump argues for things that are seen as extreme, that it will bring out extreme resistance within your own party. And now that we see with whether it's, you know, the election of the upstart here in New York or Gillibrand or now you're seeing it spread through other progressives.
Are you concerned for your party that you'll start adopting positions that are more extreme in retaliation and what that might mean for you?
MOULTON: Well, the bottom line is I don't think we should be trying to out-Trump, Trump. You know, the answer to Trump is to actually do the right thing. It's to elect leaders who have the courage to be honest about the problems that we face, who are willing to bring a new approach to these problems, because for too long, Washington has been trying to do the same old thing, tried to take the same old approach to a new world.
And that's why I'm supporting so many service veterans who are running for Congress, who are going to try -- who are going to take back the House, restore some balance in Washington and are fundamentally committed to serving the country.
I've got amazing veterans running across the country. People like Amy McGrath down in Kentucky, the first woman to fly an FA-18 in combat in the Marine Corps. She's someone that people look to as a leader, not just a Democrat but as a leader, someone who can get things done for the American people. Who can fix these problems rather than just complain about them.
CUOMO: So which drive is stronger do you think in the party right now? Because is a number -- there are a number of military people who are entering and running, even in the Democratic Party. You do have women entering it also.
And then you have a little bit of an overlap with this more hyper progressive left that is entering the party. Which will win out and become the soul of the Democratic group?
MOULTON: Well look, I -- I, in some ways, hope that they'll both win because I think it's time for an entire new generation of leadership in the Democratic Party. I mean, we've got to look at ourselves in the mirror and realize that Trump may be terrible but if we can't beat him, if we are literally in the worse position in the party since the 1920's, which is where we are today. Then we've got to make some reforms ourselves.
And I think new -- a new generation of leaders will come from many different corners of the party. The folks I'm supporting I initially started with veterans -- and not just military veterans by the way, but national service veterans, people who have been willing to put the country first, who are willing to put people before politics, in many cases have literally put their lives on the line for the country before.
But now, we're expanding beyond that because we've come to realize that this movement is even bigger. And while veterans have literally had the experience of putting the country before their personal interests, there are other people who have done that as well.
And we also need Democrats, great new leaders to run not just for Congress, not just for the House of Representatives for the state and local level too. I was just out here in Michigan with Joe Tate, an extraordinary leader, someone who served the country in the Marines, who was also an NFL player.
I mean, he does not need to be serving the country again. He's done his time. He's certainly earned his keep. He has -- had tremendous opportunities in the NFL, and yet because of Trump, because of the threat to our country, he wants to serve the country again.
And I'm proud to be endorsing him now as well. He's the kind of new leader that we need in our party at all different levels. He's running for the Michigan state house and I -- I think he's going to win.
CUOMO: It's going to be interesting who wins out. You've got Nancy Pelosi who says, hey, I'm part of the future. I'm a woman and I'm a progressive. So I'm not going anywhere.
You've got people like you calling for new leadership. Then, you have people on the far left saying free everything -- free college, a right to housing, Medicare for all, big ticket items, it's going to be interesting to see where you guys settle and what you head on to into the midterms.
But while I have you, let's talk some international politics.
It is happening. We're going to have a Trump-Putin Summit, meeting, whatever you want to call it. It's going to happen in Helsinki. The President was asked about what he will discuss.
Here's what he said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REPORTER: You're meeting with President Putin when you're in Europe. Will you talk to him about Crimea?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll talk to him about everything.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CUOMO: Do you believe that?
MOULTON: I mean, sadly, Chris, I think we've all learned that we can't believe anything that the President says. All we can go after off of is the last meeting that he had with a dictator and that, of course, was with --
CUOMO: Kim Jung-un.
MOULTON: -- a despot who is the head of North Korea.
And look at what the president did. He went into a meeting with a brutal dictator who holds -- who holds a hammer over the head of one of our most important ally, South Korea. And he gave up exercises, military exercises with the single ally of ours in the entire world that is under the greatest daily threat of annihilation. And what did he give it up for? A piece of paper. A piece of paper.
It's the worst foreign policy deal on record. It's the worst diplomacy I've ever seen in my life. So, if that's what he does with the dictator who's in charge of Russia, then that's very dangerous for our national security. What he should be doing is going in and actually holding Russia accountable for the way that they've tried to influence our elections, to challenge our democracy.
I don't care whether you're a Democrat, a Republican or an independent, you should want free and fair elections here in the United States. Putin obviously doesn't want that.
He had every intelligence agency in the United States has agreed, he tried to influence the 2016 elections and he did. Our commander-in- chief should actually have the courage to stand up to Putin, rather than cower to him, and make sure that that never happens again.
I don't have confidence that Trump will do that.
CUOMO: The counterargument is that he has done more to hurt Russia than the Obama administration did. He's given different kinds of arms and intelligence --
MOULTON: Chris, where does that counterargument from, from Trump? It's ridiculous. Come on.
I mean, we in Congress have been pushing the Trump administration to sanction him and it's only great pressure from Congress that Trump has finally agreed to do so. He held back on those sanctions to try to protect Putin. We can't even explain why he is cozying up to the greatest enemy of the United States for the last 50 years. I mean, has he just forgotten about the Cold War?
CUOMO: What do you think it is?
CUOMO: Why do you think -- why do you think that he is so gentle when discussing Vladimir Putin when he really spares nobody his negativity, ally or foe alike? Why him?
MOULTON: I don't know. I don't know Chris. But that's a question that every American should be asking and fundamentally, of course, that's the question that Robert Mueller is asking in his investigation.
We don't understand why Trump continues to cozy up to this dictator. It's like he completely forgot about the Cold War. And I understand our commander-in-chief is someone who took five draft deferments to avoid serving in the military himself during the Cold War and to get out of Vietnam.
But we all ought to ask why our commander-in-chief today refuses to have the courage to stand up to the greatest threats to the United States that exist right now. Vladimir Putin, he is a tremendous enemy to the United States. He's tried to challenge our democracy, to basically undermine the fundamental princeps of our -- of our election.
We ought to have a commander-in-chief that we trust to stand up to that challenge --
CUOMO: Well --
MOULTON: -- and I'm not sure we do.
CUOMO: Well, we're all going to get to see it first hand. I'll be there. There'll be a face to face meeting and we'll see if the president talks the talk and walks the walk.
Seth Moulton, thank you so much for taking your time to be on this show on a Friday night. Be well.
MOULTON: Chris, thank you. Take care.
CUOMO: Well, I'll tell you what, for all the meddling that Putin and Russia did in our election, they didn't pull off what this comedian did. Have you heard the president get punked? Wait until you hear this phone call. People are saying the security concerns, how did they get through to Air Force One? But you just have to listen to the dialogue that they have with the president and this man he thinks is a senator. We're going to play that for you next as part of our great debate.
Stay with us.
Smile guys. It's Friday night. There you go. There you go. There you go.
CUOMO: Something for you to watch throughout the weekend. The protests planned in all 50 states tomorrow to fight the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy.
Now, the politics of the heart are very powerful here. Are they matched by the politics of the head with these calls by a growing number of Democrats to abolish ICE, the agency tasked with detaining and deporting the undocumented and dealing with drugs and a lot of other customs issues on the border?
So, let's bring in our guests for a great debate. Catherine Rampell and John Fredericks.
Thank you to both of you for being with us on a Friday night. That's the main course that we're going to talk about this ICE move. But let's start with dessert.
This prank phone call where this comedian who works with Howard Stern got through to Air Force One and had a long conversation with the president, posing as New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. Here's a taste.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, your call is connected.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hi, Bob.
COMEDIAN: Hey, how are you?
TRUMP: How are you? Congratulations on everything. We're proud of you. Congratulations. Great job.
You went through a tough, tough situation. And I don't think a very fair situation, but congratulations.
COMEDIAN: Thank you so much, and, you know, I'm sorry to bother you, Mr. President, but obviously my constituents are giving me a lot of beans about this immigration thing. I know that you did something very noble, by trying to change back with their families, but I have to answer to them. What can I tell them you're going to do in moving forward?
TRUMP: Bob, let me just tell you, I want to be able to take care of this situation, every bit as much as anybody else. It's at top level. I'd like to do the larger solution rather than the smaller solution. You know, they're doing them step-by-step.
I think we can do the whole thing. You know, I have a good relationship with the party, you have a good relationship with the party. And I think we can do a real immigration bill. We have to have security at the border, we have to have it.
I mean, look, you got 60% of the country saying we got to have security at the border. And that's a good issue for the Democrats too, Bob. It's not like it's good for you or good for me. It's good for both of us.
COMEDIAN: No, I understand that. No, but I am Hispanic, so I have to, you know -- I'm sure you understand.
TRUMP: Oh, I understand.
COMEDIAN: You know, I have to look into my people as well. You understand.
TRUMP: I agree.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CUOMO: How did this happen, Brother Fredericks, how did this comedian get through to Air Force One?
JOHN FREDERICKS, TALK RADIO HOST: I really can't comment on the security issues going on at air force one. I have to hand it to John the stutterer.
And just let me tell you two things: number one, the president will talk to anybody. That's why he is so popular. He will talk to anybody.
Secondly, he probably figured Bob Menendez stuttered because it was John the stutterer. I stutter. I stuttered my whole life.
I've known the president forever. He talks to me all the time. I stutter. I stutter on the air. So, he probably said so this is like Fredericks, he stutters. That's probably what happened.
But he will talk to anybody. I tell what you, the security issues certainly have to get worked out. Coupled with the fact that you know like me, Menendez, he is from New Jersey. And so, it's part of the shtick, right? Somebody from New Jersey calls you up, Chris, you take the call, right?
CUOMO: Apparently so, but, Rampell, to hear the president say to Menendez who's caught up in this big corruption trial, you know, and he did beat the case but certainly Republicans are critical of him. For him to start the call saying congratulations, Bob, we're all so proud of you.
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's bizarre.
CUOMO: I think that it was unfair. I don't know he was following the case but how bizarre is this?
RAMPELL: It's incredibly bizarre. I will say that what else was bizarre about this call was like how banal a lot of the questioning was from the comedian. You know, it was like questions about what's going to happen with immigration policy and your Supreme Court pick. You know, it's kind of like the closest thing we're probably going to get to a press conference with the president for a while.
So, I mean, I guess, good for him for asking some questions that were related to substantive policy issues. You know, I'm not a professional prank caller. I would have guessed that the questions are usually about like how is your love life these days, that kind of thing. But --
CUOMO: Well, he didn't want to blow it, you know?
RAMPELL: I guess --
CUOMO: I mean, he didn't want to blow it. He knew he had a good thing going, this guy.
RAMPELL: I guess. The whole thing is bizarre. It does raise questions about once again the quality of the people that Trump surrounded himself with, what kinds of security issues there might be with his other communications. Lots of questions raised here. But the whole thing is mostly just bizarre.
CUOMO: I'll tell what you I thought was interesting also. So, baba- boeey, or whatever it is, Stuttering John decides to ask him about Roe v. Wade, and please, you know, just be careful on Roe v. Wade, maybe I'll give you my vote which I can't believe he would expect Bob Menendez, Democrat from New Jersey to say that, but whatever.
And, you know, the president had a pretty measured response about it. Do you think that that was a real response, John? Do you think that the president is going to say that Roe v. Wade is not a litmus test for him? And that his nominee does not have to be willing to overturn that law?
FREDERICKS: Yes, I think he was being very honest even though the call was with Stuttering John. I think the president was honest. I don't think there is a litmus test in the selection for a nominee.
Look, we've had Roe v. Wade since 1973. This is going to be very, very difficult now to even think about overturning. I don't think this is the president's top agenda. And I don't think there is a litmus test.
CUOMO: He said it was.
RAMPELL: Yes, I think this is Pence's top agenda. And this is the agenda of the evangelical base supporting Trump.
FREDERICKS: Well, Mike Pence is not the president.
RAMPELL: I know, but I think Trump doesn't really care about this so much.
CUOMO: Trump said it. Pence has lived it, but the president said it.
John, you know that.
FREDERICKS: The president he's pro-life, but if you're asking me the question, is this going to be the litmus test of anybody he selects? Absolutely not. He is looking for somebody that's going to interpret the Constitution and rule in the way that does not legislate from the bench.
CUOMO: Yes, they all say that, but then they want people who do that when they put them on the bench, which is why you're also happy about this decision that came on this week.
All right. That was dessert. Let's get to the main course here. We have an odd situation here where you two are on the same page. Neither of you think it is a smart move for the Democrats to say they want to abolish ICE.
So, I will provoke the conversation with both of you.
Rampell, here is the main reason to do it. Politics of the heart. What's going on with the separating families is wrong. The American people have echoed that sentiment. A Pew poll came out after we heard about the separation saying that people believe that Democrats are more likely to handle immigration well versus Republicans.
And they're doubling down on that and saying let's get rid of this de facto round up deportation force of goons and let's do it with more humanity. That's the sell. What's your take?
RAMPELL: Well, first of all, the border separations are not being done by ICE. They're done by Customs and Border --
CUOMO: Bad fact, true. Continue.
RAMPELL: Border Protection. Look, I think abolish ICE is one of these sort of catchy maybe cathartic slogans.
[21:35:00] And it does reflect the fact that many of our immigration-facing agencies including ICE and Customs and Border Protection have done a lot of bad things. They've been plagued by policy problems, cultural problems and institutional problems, many of which predate this administration, we should be clear. You know, a lot of bad things happened under Obama.
But that said, the way to tackle these issues is not necessarily to just, like, blow up an agency. I mean that's the Republican agency for a --
RAMPELL: -- addressing things like well we just blow up the agency and no plan for reorganization.
CUOMO: Unless -- unless the sell is strong but then the buy.
RAMPELL: But I don't think it's strong. I don't think it's strong for a couple of reasons. One is ICE does a bunch of other things --
RAMPELL: -- that are unrelated to these cruel and inhumane round up all the brown people raids and things like that. You know they deal with human trafficking. They deal with other issues. I mean, you could argue that maybe the bundle of responsibilities that they have doesn't make sense.
CUOMO: That's what I'm saying the sell is abolish ICE, but what they're going to say, John, is abolish that mandate and this will turn into fix mode, which is where they're not going to just round up people. We're not going to demonize. We're not going to play the politics of the right and pretend that all migrants who come across the borer are MS-13.
And this is our metaphor for that. We're going to make ICE agents do what they were supposed to do under the Patriot Act and not just be a round up force. Does that work?
FREDERICKS: No, Chris and Catherine, what the president has done here is he's pulled the scab off the scam of catch and release, which is not a policy. It's a basically phony farce that both parties let go because there's no policy on immigration to let anybody come in.
RAMPELL: That's just not true.
FREDERICKS: If you get rid of ICE, you have no deportation process. So, basically, if you are -- if you're Senator Gillibrand and you're calling tonight for the abolition of ICE, here is what you are saying -- I don't want a country, no borders, anybody can come in.
CUOMO: Well, that's what it plays into. But, Catherine, you were disagreeing with what?
FREDERICKS: Erase the country. She is saying erase the country. No country.
RAMPELL: I don't think it's true that we have an open border policy. And I don't think it's true that people on the left are predominantly calling for an open border policy, which is another reason why I think the abolish ICE slogan I think is misguided, in that you're going to alienate a lot of people who are moderate, who are center-left, who believe we should have borders, who believe that we should enforce immigration policy or immigration law.
But you can do that in a very different way from the way that we have now, including by prioritizing felons rather than families. Right now, it's something like only 5 percent.
CUOMO: And that's where you guys went wrong, John, is you say he pulled off the scab but how he pulled off the scab created a bigger wound, and he got burned on it, that's why he backed off with the family separations.
The problem is, I think he is being exposed right now for not having really understood the lesson, because that executive order was fugazi. He didn't have a plan and still no plan. They're still not reunifying. They were going to fight that court decree by that judge saying they had to do it within a certain time.
Now, they said they're going to abide by it. That's inconsistent and hypocritical. It doesn't seem like you care yet about what you did there. That could hurt with voters. We saw that in the polls as well.
FREDERICKS: Let me respond in two ways. First to Catherine.
Catherine, you said this is not the mainstream Democratic response. It is. The protesters are saying right tonight. They're protesting. They are saying, no nation, no borders, no deportation. So, I don't know where you're coming from, Catherine --
RAMPELL: That's not the mainstream view. There are some protesters on the left who say that.
FREDERICKS: That's what your base is saying.
RAMPELL: There some protesters on the right who say, you know, deport all people who are not white or whatever. So like just because there are some -- there's some, you know, vocal minority of people does not mean that they representative of the party's view or people or moderates in general or people on the left.
CUOMO: Is your whole party, John, the good people the president talked about, marching with the Nazis down in Charlotte? Is that your whole party? No, right?
FREDERICKS: Let me answer Chris's questions.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
FREDERICKS: Look, those -- anybody that deals with people -- with Tiki torches or white supremacists should not be in the Republican Party. They're having to do with the Trump movement.
CUOMO: The president said they were good people.
FREDERICKS: He has disavowed them a hundred times. You know what --
CUOMO: He said they were good people.
FREDERICKS: What the president -- what the president said is a lot of the people in Charlottesville were good people.
CUOMO: He said the people there were good people and they were just to protest.
RAMPELL: In any case --
FREDERICKS: They need to disavowed, but let me answer your question.
CUOMO: Go ahead, answer the question. And, Catherine, you get last word. Go ahead, John. Quick.
FREDERICKS: Let me answer your question, because you're absolutely correct when the president implemented no tolerance policy, I don't think they thought through -- they thought through the ramifications of it, the separation of families, shipping them a thousand miles away. None of that made any sense.
They thought it would be a deterrent and people would stop. But the history of immigration has been people come over the border, there's no consequences. They never thought we would do anything, and then they were caught unprepared.
Monday morning quarterback, if I could have run this I would have prepared the American people for this for one month.
CUOMO: You should have prepared your system and your accommodations for it to show the humanity.
Last point to Rampell.
FREDERICKS: Both the system. Both the system --
RAMPELL: So, the point that I was going to make -- the point that I was going to make, just to show you how outside of the mainstream it is to say abolish ICE as opposed to reform ICE and our immigration system, the congressional Hispanic Caucus I believe today has said they are not behind this particular proposal.
Just to give you a taste of how divisive this is even within people on the left, even within the Democrats.
CUOMO: That's on my element sheet. I was going to bring it up, you beat me to it because you're smarter than I am.
We've got to go. We're out of time.
John, Catherine, thank you very much for making us better tonight. I appreciate it.
RAMPELL: Thank you.
FREDERICKS: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. So, he is one of President Trump's most loyal allies in Congress, and he's also one of the loudest critics of the Mueller investigation. He is Matt Goetz, congressman from Florida.
He is here on the heels of this heated hearing with the man who oversees the Russia probe. The congressman wants to make the case to you about what he wants to do to Rod Rosenstein.
Friday night, next.
CUOMO: The president's allies are demanding the Mueller investigation be shut down.
Two main arguments. One, it's been going on too long. Now, point of fact, it hasn't lasted anywhere near as long as other big investigations, like Whitewater, Iran Contra or certainly Benghazi.
The second argument is they don't like how it's run, specifically by the head of who was the Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, a Trump appointee. And, of course, the head of the FBI is also on the menu. They both testified yesterday, it got hot.
Our next guest has been leading the charge for change, Florida Republican Matt Gaetz.
Thank you for being here on a Friday night.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R), FLORIDA: Honored to be with you Chris.
CUOMO: All right. So, I have three of the high points of your discussion. But just as a general assessment, is it true that you believe Rosenstein should be impeached?
GAETZ: Well, if I thought he should actually be impeached, I'll probably go file articles of impeachment and we'll be taking votes on it. I would like him to stop frustrating the production of documents that we think are essential to be able to understand better why so much bias was able to enter the blood stream at the FBI with the Hillary Clinton investigation, then those very same people migrate over to the Trump-Russia investigation.
And then they're the same people working with the special counsel. I asked the inspector general, a Democrat, if that was typical, and he said, given his long history of working public corruption cases, it is not wise. It's not appropriate, to have people who investigated one party kind of to an election or a transaction, then migrate over to the other functionaries.
And Rod Rosenstein is responsible for staffing decisions Mueller has made. I think the public has been very critical of those. It's one of the reasons why the latest CBS poll shows that more than half the country disapproves of the way Robert Mueller is handling the investigation.
CUOMO: Well, but we've also had a real hate campaign going on from Trump and certain surrogates to attack the probe. That may have some impact on polls as well.
GAETZ: Well, but that's on both sides, it like in the marketplace of ideas, there are people like you and there are Democrat making the case that Bob Mueller has done everything right and by the book and appropriate, and there are people who hold my viewpoint that it's a biased team, that they have collected evidence from people who have demonstrated bias, that there is a sufficient cloud over the impression.
CUOMO: That's not what the inspector general found.
GAETZ: Well, actually, if you look at chapter 12 of the inspector general's report, it's the one area where he says he cannot rule out bias was the reason why --
CUOMO: One specific aspect he says he can't, which is the prioritization of the Weiner emails versus what was going on with Trump. So, he doesn't say it overall.
GAETZ: Right, but that's --
CUOMO: Overall, he says there was no proof of bias that he can point to. Specific to that --
GAETZ: That was in the Hillary Clinton investigation.
GAETZ: Yes. But, Chris I think it's important to distinguish the findings of the inspector general as it relates to the Hillary Clinton email investigation and those that deal with the opening up of the Trump-Russia investigation which the DOJ told us begun on July 31st, but Rod Rosenstein wouldn't answer questions about the investigative activity which occurred potentially before July 31st.
CUOMO: Well, he says he didn't know of any. Let's play it for the audience.
GAETZ: Not -- I don't think that's what he said.
CUOMO: We'll play it and then you can have at it.
GAETZ: All right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GAETZ: Are you aware as you sit here today of any payments that were made to any person to collect intelligence on the Trump campaign prior to July 31st, 2016?
ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: No, keep in mind I wasn't there. I only know the information that we have obtained from the FBI records.
GAETZ: Are you as you sit here today aware of any efforts to contact Roger Stone that occurred prior to July 31st, 2016.
ROSENSTEIN: I don't have any personal knowledge, Congressman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: And now, there were several other iterations. He kept saying, I don't know, I wasn't there.
GAETZ: But hold on, Chris, the question right before is the operative question, directly before the question about payments, I asked whether or not he was aware of any investigative activity which occurred prior to the 31st of July. And he said that was classified, which is precisely the response that Peter Strzok.
CUOMO: Didn't he say he was working to working on the Nunes assertions of what documents he wanted in that regard? That they are working with the intel side on that?
GAETZ: Well, the Nunes memo and the Democratic memo both conclude that the Department of Justice indicated that it was the 31st of July.
GAETZ: And that no point prior --
CUOMO: What do you know, Matt, what do you know that happened before it? Because you were really insistent --
GAETZ: I'd like to get some documents. Yes, well, I like to get some documents. I mean, look, no one can be certain until we get the production that we need. But we haven't received any of that information.
CUOMO: Right, but how do you know there is anything before it? If he says he doesn't know, they have turned over like, you know, a ton of pages.
GAETZ: Yes, I don't know that, Chris. I've never claimed to know that. But like if nothing happened before the 31st of July and if previously the Department of Justice is represented that nothing happened before the 31st of July, why would that not be the same answer that they would give both in the Strzok testimony and in the Rosenstein testimony?
CUOMO: Oh, Rosenstein was consistent he says he doesn't know about anything else, and you can't ask him to prove the non-existent of the fact.
GAETZ: No, you played the wrong clip. The question I asked directly before the one you played was whether or not there were any investigative activities.
CUOMO: And he said I'm working with the intel guys on that.
CUOMO: He didn't say I won't tell you.
GAETZ: Right, but that is an odd answer when the easiest answer and the answer that was consistent with previous representations of the Department of Justice would just have been a simple no. I mean, that's why more than half the country believes that there's political motivation behind the Mueller probe and when they see the text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, particularly saying no, no, he won't, we'll stop him, regarding a Trump presidency --
CUOMO: Right, but Strzok testified that these were just the personal musings of intimates. And what I'm saying is, if you're going to push him so hard about something, you should know something that might be there --
GAETZ: Well, here's what we know. Here's what we know as far as the timeline. Right after he made that statement about stopping a Trump presidency, it was only six days later that he was referencing an insurance policy in Andy McCabe's office.
CUOMO: Right, but again, you have the inspector general looked it. I just don't know where the fact is --
GAETZ: Yes, but, Chris, the inspector general said he had never seen anything like this. When asked by Congressman Jim Jordan who you had on the show --
GAETZ: -- he said that never before in his career has he seen like essentially the entire leadership team of the FBI removed, demoted, reassigned, referred for criminal prosecution --
CUOMO: Anything that shows swift action, even though the guy didn't say bias. I want to get to another --
GAETZ: Well, some of that swift action was by the president, by the way. That like it wasn't swift action by Mueller. It was the president who fired Comey, and, by the way, took a lot of grief on your network when he did so. That decision seems to have been vindicated by the inspector general's report.
CUOMO: That's because of why he did it. But I don't want to go into that rabbit hole right now.
I want to play something else you did with the FISA application, because again, it goes to, you know, what's motivating the question here. So, let's play this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GAETZ: Did you read the FISA application before you signed it?
ROSENSTEIN: Not going to comment about any FISA application.
GAETZ: So you won't say to this committee whether or not you even read the document you signed that authorized spying on people associated with the Trump campaign?
ROSENSTEIN: I dispute your interpretation of what that FISA is about, sir. No FBI personnel briefed me on it. The process, sir, is that these FISA applications are renewables, first come up through the FBI chain of command. They are sworn under oath by a career federal agent, I'm not the affiant.
GAETZ: But you signed it?
ROSENSTEIN: Well, I explained the process to you --
GAETZ: Did you thoroughly verify it, yes or no?
ROSENSTEIN: I want to explain the process to you --
GAETZ: I'm out of time.
(EN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Well, he got to answer the question. But there are two things on that, Matt. I mean, you did a good Matlock deal on that guy. That was an intense line of questioning.
But two things -- the first thing is, you used the word spying. Now, you know that's a dirty word in the intelligence community. It suggests something nefarious, something wrong. And you know that Trey Gowdy and Speaker Ryan looked into what was offered up by the community, by the DOJ about what was done, and they said there was no spying, everything was done right.
Is that a fair characterization for you to use?
GAETZ: Yes. I think that Trey Gowdy is pretty upset right now that he -- that, you know, they may have said to him and that he may have said things to the public that were not true because if there was investigative activity occurred before the 31st, which again I'm not certain --
CUOMO: That's not spying.
GAETZ: I'm sure suspicion. Well, I used the term "intelligence collection" more frequently. I think spying --
CUOMO: Spying too. Sure, it's a dirty word for him.
GAETZ: Well, I should have used the word "intelligence collection", because that's what I'm worried about. Whether people refer to that as spying or something else, that's really immaterial. The question is whether or not they were running informants, whether they were running intelligence against the Trump campaign. And like, didn't you think it was weird, Chris, that Rod Rosenstein wouldn't either just say, yes, I read it or, no, I didn't?
CUOMO: But here's why though --
GAETZ: If he had read it, he would have said he did.
CUOMO: This is the only thing I thought was fair, because you know what this procedure is, at least I think you know. When he gave the full answer -- which we don't have time to play, but people can go and look and they should do their own home work and read the transcript, this is a very detailed review process that has a lot of layers.
When he said I'm not the affiant, that means he's not the guy who can vouch for all the actual reporting that goes into the application --
GAETZ: I just want to know if he read it.
CUOMO: But the way the procedure works, which he told you, and is actually 100 percent accurate, is that all these of layers go into these applications, that's why they're fat, ask Trey Gowdy. And then they go to him, Rosenstein, he signs off on what they tell him was done. That's what he signs off on.
I don't think that was a fair question for you to ask him. It's not his job to go through every nook and cranny. It's to listen --
GAETZ: You don't think it's fair to ask the deputy attorney general --
GAETZ: Wait, wait a second. You don't think it's fair to ask the deputy attorney general of the United States whether or not he read something that was bearing his signature regarding intelligence collection against the campaign of the sitting president of the United States?
CUOMO: Yes, I don't think it was fair, because I think the right question is to say --
GAETZ: Oh, I don't think the American people would agree with you on that.
CUOMO: -- were you briefed on this. But that would be deceptive because they don't know the process. Were you briefed --
GAETZ: Well, I asked about briefings as well. No, I asked those questions as well. But I also wanted to know if he read it. You know why?
I have reason to believe he told Speaker Ryan and Trey Gowdy that he did not thoroughly review these things.
GAETZ: And that would really important to know because he is ultimately responsible for the comment of Robert Mueller.
CUOMO: But then you should have produced proof of that and that would have been a different conversation.
GAETZ: Well, I didn't have proof which is why I asked the question.
CUOMO: I got you.
GAETZ: But the fact that he didn't answer the question is really darn suspicious.
CUOMO: I got you.
Matt Gaetz, thank you for making the case here on the show Friday night. You're welcome back whenever it matters to the American people.
GAETZ: Thanks for having me.
CUOMO: Enjoy your weekend, sir.
GAETZ: I appreciate it. You as well.
CUOMO: Congressman Matt Gaetz from Florida.
All right. So, yesterday, I don't have to tell you what happened. You know. Five Americans were killed in another evil, senseless act of violence. Once again, we're hearing there were warning signs and they went on for years. Police knew about the suspect's threats, unfortunately, this is not uncommon in a situation like this.
We have a story that will hammer this home in a harrowing way, next.
CUOMO: Welcome back to Friday, Cuomo PrimeTime. So we are learning troubling new details about the suspect charged with killing five people at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. The 38-year old had a long running vendetta against the paper. You probably heard that and this was supposedly because they exposed some sick harassment he was doing of a former high school classmate.
That's the key part I want you to focus on right now. His obsession reportedly started with a Facebook friend request. He initially sent friendly messages about how she was the only person who ever said "hello" to him or was nice to him in school. But when he was rebuffed, he started calling her ugly names, told her to kill herself.
She was eventually forced to change her name, leave the state, she even warned police the suspect would be "your next mass shooter." As disturbing as that all sounds, its not that rare and it just so happens that the next installment of our original series "Inside Evil" this Sunday on HLN has this twisted story of what happened to another woman when her love story went wrong. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I was just looking for love. It became this whirlwind romance. He was saying everything that I would want to hear. We found out some stuff.
CUOMO: Bad stuff?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Bad stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to believe him because the feeling is so wonderful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a charming, good looking guy like a lot of psychopaths are.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember feeling scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Wait until you see what happened. If you date online, please watch "Inside Evil" this Sunday at 8pm Eastern on HLN. All right, it's Friday night so we are not ready to start the weekend just yet.