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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Dealing With Cybersecurity War; NATO Meetings in Brussels; Government Misses Immigration Children Deadline; Interview with Rep. Scott Taylor. Aired 9-10p ET.

Aired July 10, 2018 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[21:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thank you, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

The southern district of California commanded the Trump administration to do what it promised, reunify at least the youngest of the kids they took from their parents by today. President Trump has failed. Barely half are being returned. Is this about incompetence or intentional harshness?

I've got an activist here who's been fighting tooth and nail to get these families back together. The name? Luis Miranda. Yes, the dad of "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Putin is fine, subject number two. You NATO guys, you're the problem. Pay up or defend yourselves.

Is that really the message to send to the allies that have kept peace in the world since the Cold War? The administration says everything is going according to plan, begging the question, according to whose plan? Putin's?

Former Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff is going to answer that.

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

(MUSIC)

CUOMO: All right. So, as of this broadcast, thousands of kids remain in limbo. We just had the first deadline that was court-ordered to reunite migrant families. It's come and gone.

The fate of our NATO alliance also seems to be in some kind of limbo as President Trump arrives in Brussels to meet with some not so happy U.S. allies. It is sure to be an uncomfortable couple of days.

Let's get some perspective on the war abroad and at home. Former secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff, also the author of the book you must read, "Exploding Data." You're worried about cyber security? Read the book.

All right. Welcome to PRIME TIME, Secretary.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, FORMER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Good to be on.

CUOMO: Pleasure.

All right. Let's start with the immediate and then we'll get to what's going to happen in NATO and then we'll get to the book and how we deal with this other war at home, cyber security.

Separating kids -- you were one of the architects of Operation Streamline. You had a problem with illegal entrance then during the George W. Bush administration. You had to figure out how to deal with it. You looked at the problems of families and kids, and you made a decision.

What was it?

CHERTOFF: Well, we actually kept them together. We actually created facilities that would allow us to keep the families together while they were being processed and ultimately deported. Now, one thing I have to make clear is most of our problem with illegal migrants were economic migrants. They were looking for a better job.

Now, we have a different sort of migrant. We have people who are seeking asylum. They are actually fleeing from violence and disorder in their home countries, usually in Central America.

CUOMO: Mostly fakers, we're told. Was that your experience?

CHERTOFF: No. I think asylum seekers, they're not all telling the truth. But I think a lot of them do flee.

Now, some of them are not qualified under the existing law, but many of them believe they may be, and certainly they've got a fair shot. Basically what happens is the border patrol makes an initial determination about whether they have a credible basis or not.

When you're dealing with asylum seekers, deterrence doesn't work the same way because the choice is either go to jail or get killed, and most people will prefer jail. So, I think that creates a different spin on the problem now.

CUOMO: When you heard that zero -- what zero tolerance was going to mean under the Trump administration and what they were doing with the kids, what went through your mind?

CHERTOFF: Well, I'm not really sure what was meant by zero tolerance. My understanding originally was they were talking about prosecuting everybody who came in illegally for a misdemeanor and then ultimately they wind up getting time served. I did not understand it to mean frankly that you're actually separating the families in order to send a message, and I think that's a big mistake.

So, they've got to unravel that now, and I think the more quickly they can do that, the better off everybody is.

CUOMO: When you look at the situation, is it clear to you that they did not prepare for their own productivity? CHERTOFF: I have to say, I mean, I think the problem they're having

now is they did not process these people from the get-go with an understanding you have to keep track of -- even if you believed that you had to separate families to some extent -- and there may be some cases where that's appropriate, you still have to make absolutely sure you know who goes with whom. And it looks to me, again from a distance, as if the lead time that they had, the preparation they did, has now put them in a position where they're having a great deal of difficulty matching parents and kids, and that's the problem we have now.

[21:05:00]CUOMO: Incompetence, insensitivity, intentionality?

CHERTOFF: I doubt it was intentional. I don't want to characterize, you know, level of competence. It seems to me that this was done very quickly.

And I can tell you from having done numerous types of challenging programs when I was at DHS, these things take an enormous amount of preparation. I mean, you have to decide what kinds of records you're going to keep, how you're going to track people.

CUOMO: If you care about who you're separating and what happens to them.

CHERTOFF: Correct. And if you realize at the end of the day you're going to have to bring them back together.

So, this looks to me like it was done probably in haste, without adequate preparation. Why it happened so quickly, I can't answer. But I think what they're trying to do now is reconstruct something that would have been easier if they had had a program up front.

CUOMO: NATO. Let's talk about this because it's something that you have taken acute interest in. We know that you're working with former V.P. Biden and a former head of NATO, an E.U. leader, in terms of what to do about U.S. Russian meddling, how to deal with cybersecurity --

CHERTOFF: Right.

CUOMO: -- here at home.

So, NATO looms large, what's going to happen in Brussels tomorrow and the day after.

I want to play for you this mash-up of where President Trump has been on NATO and get your take. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you look at NATO, we protect them for a tiny fraction of what it would cost, which is unfair also.

I'm going to tell NATO, you got to start paying your bills. Because I told the people of NATO standing right behind me, while they

were standing behind me, they've been delinquent. They haven't been paying.

I understand this stuff. I mean I really do understand this stuff. NATO is obsolete.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: NATO is obsolete. True or false?

CHERTOFF: False. I have to say NATO is more relevant now than was the case 10 years ago.

CUOMO: Why did Trump say that?

CHERTOFF: I can't explain why he said it.

CUOMO: You must.

CHERTOFF: I can tell you what I see now is 10 years ago we thought, well, the Russians are no longer a threat. NATO was mainly operating in Afghanistan and other parts of the world. NATO is back now. We actually have troops deployed close to the border precisely to send a message to the Russians that they should not try to invade the Baltics or Poland.

CUOMO: But the president says that Putin's not a problem.

CHERTOFF: Well, I --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Putin (ph) is KGB, but he's not a bad guy. Everybody is going to be OK. He's fine.

CHERTOFF: I would have to say Putin has been a problem. Obviously, he's been a problem for his neighbors. He's been a problem even for other parts of Europe, and he's been a problem for us because we've seen -- and I think there's no real debate about this. Even the Senate Intelligence Committee reaffirmed this the other day, that they have tried to influence and meddle with our elections. And I expect they will do it again.

CUOMO: The president says it's an excuse. That you're joining the Democrats even though you're a lifelong Republican and just coming up with an excuse for why they lost the election.

CHERTOFF: This has nothing to do with proving who won or lost, or who should have won and who should have lost.

CUOMO: It does to him.

CHERTOFF: There's no question as far as I'm concerned, as an American, as a voter who wants to have my vote count and have Americans decide these things and not Russians. There's no question in my mind that the Russians have conducted information operations to try to affect our social cohesiveness and our elections. And, by the way, not just with us. This has been going on in Europe for a decade.

CUOMO: Sure.

CHERTOFF: It's not news.

CUOMO: So the idea of this summit. The summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-un was really mostly upside for President Trump just because he made it happen. This seemed like a remote possibility at best. It happened. How he handled the situation and the rights abuses and the despotic nature of that regime, fair criticism.

Here, however, the bar, I believe is different. I want your take, though. It matters much more.

With Putin, does the president of the United States have to say, I know what you did to my election. It was wrong, and I will stop you, and you will pay dearly.

What you did in Crimea is wrong. You've got to get out. I'm part of NATO. They're afraid of you because of this.

You shot down that plane, MH-17. It doesn't stand on my watch.

Must he talk tough?

[21:10:00]CHERTOFF: I think the president actually has to lay down some very clear red lines along what you just said. He's got to make it clear that occupying parts of the Ukraine is not acceptable. Shooting down a civilian airliner is not acceptable.

Meddling with elections or social fabric here and in Europe is not acceptable. And not just that we're going to criticize it, but we are -- we have troops on the line. NATO is going to stand together, and we're going to defend ourselves.

Now, that doesn't mean we can't talk to the Russians. Even during the heat of the Cold War and the height of the Cold War, we did have conversations. And there are some areas where we can have a discussion about what we can agree upon, what we disagree.

But this is the important thing, Chris. You've got to understand in your own mind what you can give and what you can't give. And ironically, one of the president's criticisms of the Iran deal was that President Obama was so eager for a deal, he closed his eyes to problems. And that's certainly not a mistake we should repeat here.

CUOMO: Of course they're going to have that private meeting, and you can almost feel what's going to happen, Secretary. They're going to go in. Trump is going to come out. He's going to say, I said, this, this, and this, and within a matter of hours if not days, it's going to leak from the Kremlin side that none of it happen and we'll deal with that unfolding. And that's why so many of us are going or want to be there, put my own eyes on it. Now, problem back here at home -- how to deal with cybersecurity. You wrote this book. There is a theme in it that is very counterintuitive. You say don't worry about big brother, the government coming and stealing our data, although a real risk and something we have to deal with in private and public sector.

You say worry about little brother. Worry about yourself and how you behave on the Internet, what you put out there, that that is one of the keys to our complaints. How so?

CHERTOFF: Not only what you put on the Internet, but what effect else around you put on the Internet. In other words, when you go out and people upload pictures of you or you buy something at the store, and your credit card data winds up being sent to a credit card broker, or you've got locational information coming as the exhaust of your cell phone.

All of this gets collected and gives a picture of your daily life far more detailed than the government could ever want or hope to do.

CUOMO: So, is it all about us or does there have to be law as well?

CHERTOFF: I think there has to be two things. I think we have to take some responsibility for what we sign up for and be careful about it and be mindful. But I do think we have to level the playing field with some laws.

You know, 100 years ago when photography was invented, it created new threats to privacy, and ultimately the law changed. Interestingly, Chris, right now, the Supreme Court has taken some cases that have demonstrated they're now beginning to look at whether the law has to change again.

CUOMO: The carpenter case with the police, about their needing a warrant to get your cell data.

CHERTOFF: Exactly, because what the court's now saying is, you know, it's not just about keeping your data hidden. It's about who controls the data after it's been collected. I think that's an important step forward.

CUOMO: With opportunity comes responsibility. The book is "Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our Cybersecurity in the Digital Age" -- Secretary Chertoff, thank you. While we were in handshake mood, please promise to come back and help us understand what happens at the summit.

CHERTOFF: Absolutely, great.

CUOMO: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

CHERTOFF: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. So, another war to keep your eye on is the escalating non-trade war with China because we're told it's not a trade war. However, the U.S. government just followed through on President Trump's threat, $200 billion more in tariffs against China.

So, now, what happens after this announcement today? The price of goods are going to be affected. Like what? Air conditioners, fruits and vegetables, rain jackets, random but real. U.S. companies say they're getting slammed. Tesla just announced it's going to raise prices on cars in China.

What will be the response? You know what happened with Harley- Davidson saying they may have to move production outside. Trump attacks the most American of all companies.

So, have we officially hit trade war territory? You decide.

Up next, a great debate. The president's pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, and the fate of the kids on the border in our sights with these two.

[21:15:00](COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: June 20th is when we saw President Trump's executive order that he was going to fix the problem. Of course, that's not what that fugazi executive order was about and I'm going to take you through that later in the show.

But today was an important day. You had a court out in California say they had to reunite at least some of the youngest kids by today, and they missed the deadline. And that is the beginning of a great debate with Van Jones and David Urban.

So, let's get it on right now.

David, must you own that what we are seeing is more proof that this is incompetence at a minimum, insensitivity in the main, and maybe a desire to be harsh playing out in real-time?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. So, Chris, just like secretary Chertoff said, look, let's first -- we could do better. We should be doing better.

CUOMO: He said a lot more than that, Dave.

URBAN: No, no, Secretary Chertoff said, and you heard it. I listened intently.

CUOMO: Thank you.

URBAN: He doubted this was intentional, OK? I do agree they should have done better up front in matching folks when this took place and we wouldn't be in the case we are now. But the district court in California, Judge Sabraw today said -- according to the CNN reporting, I didn't read her opinion, but said that the government was pretty close to getting this done substantially close --

CUOMO: Just one tranche. So --

URBAN: Right, exactly. Well, in this case, well, we're talking about today, that they're supposed to get about 100 kids reunited.

CUOMO: Right, they're about halfway there.

URBAN: They're going to get 63, and according to her opinion, according to the reporting, her opinion says that she believes they will move to get the rest of them reunited.

CUOMO: Right.

URBAN: This isn't a Republican judge in California. This is a Democratic appointed judge.

[21:20:00]CUOMO: Who is supposed to just be judges, right? But hold on --

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: Chris, I get it, I get it.

CUOMO: But let's extend our understanding first.

URBAN: This is no friend of the Trump administration saying -- again, we could do better. We should do better. Not saying that we shouldn't. But they're doing -- now that it was broken, they're trying to put humpty dumpty back together again.

CUOMO: Right. But they broke it, Van Jones. That's the issue, is that they broke it. They broke it on purpose. They had every reason to know that when they broke it, they would have these problems and they didn't prepare for it.

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: Chris, you can't say they broke it on purpose, Chris. I'm not going to let -- I'll push back on that.

CUOMO: All right. Well, you can push back. But, Dave, here's my simple case but I want to give it to Van because he's the better mind, they knew that they wanted zero tolerance. They knew they were going to separate kids from their families. We know that because John Kelly was saying it a year ago, that that was their plan.

And if they talked to anybody in border patrol, I did a documentary. You can watch it on HLN.com about what they were doing down there, HLN on demand. And they will tell you, we told them this was going to happen. We told them they needed to prepare, and they didn't.

Van Jones, gross negligence at the minimum?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, listen, absence of malice is not the standard when you're talking about babies, OK? Let's just be clear. It doesn't matter if they meant to do it or they didn't. If somebody takes your kid from you, loses the kid or --

CUOMO: I agree. JONES: Or as you now have affidavits with children being returned,

covered with lice, children being returned -- we're talking about the children you can't find. Let's talk about the kids they have found.

They're returning kids covered with lice in America. They're returning kids that haven't been bathed in weeks. They're returning kids who were perfectly health healthy kids before who now have psychological disorders.

The parents feel like they're having to adopt a brand-new kid. They don't know what to do. These are the kids they can find.

And so, we shouldn't be playing footsie with this type of stuff. You are a conservative Republican --

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: Van, I'm not disagreeing with you, buddy. I'm saying we should do better, absolutely.

JONES: All I'm saying is, I'm talking to my conservative friends. This should be your nightmare -- a government grabbing children, abusing children, losing children, and they've deported 19 parents without their kids.

They brought -- they took the kids from the parents, and then they sent the kids -- sent the parents back across the border knowing they didn't have their kids with them. This is an outrage.

URBAN: To be fair, in some of those cases I think -- I'm not quite sure of all 19, but I do believe some of those folks asked those children to be left behind so they could be reunited with some family members here.

JONES: Listen, I -- so there is a whole bunch of different kinds of scenarios. Here's what I know. This is the worst case of child abuse, child neglect, child mistreatment that you could imagine, but it's America's government doing it to babies. And so --

CUOMO: That's why it matters. In fairness to Dave Urban, he comes on this show, Van, and he owns the harshness of it. And that's not something we want.

[21:25:00](CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Your friends over on Trump TV, on Fox, they call it a playground. They say the kids are in summer camp. That's the kind of insensitivity that raises suspicion that that's what it was always about, Dave.

URBAN: Well, listen, Chris --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: They want the harshness. They want these people to live in fear not to come and they want to treat them badly when they do. URBAN: OK, I don't believe that to be the case. I'm on this network,

you know, not on the other. And, you know, I don't believe that to be the case.

I think we can do better. We should do better. This is America and it's a shame what's happening right now.

CUOMO: All right. So, let's pivot topics on the idea of how well we can do in a circumstance.

Brett Kavanaugh, Van Jones, as a Democrat, how do you feel about this choice in terms of the bad spectrum? We get that the Democrats aren't happy with any of the choices that were on the Federalist Society list, but where is Kavanaugh in your perspective?

JONES: Listen, he's not the worst possible choice among a bunch of -- he's not.

URBAN: Whoo!

JONES: I get a cookie for that?

CUOMO: You see what Dave just did? He did that. You know what? It worked.

Continue.

JONES: Listen, he's not the worst possible choice, but he's a bad choice, and part of the thing we have to remember is there was this whole hue and cry from the Republicans saying, hey, listen, if you're going to replace Scalia, you know, we have a problem with Obama doing it close in time, but also we want to make sure we put somebody back in there that's going to be honoring the Scalia tradition.

You've got a problem now. This is a swing vote. It's a swing vote. You're changing the character of the court probably for a generation or more.

We no longer are going to have the 60-vote requirement. You're doing stuff that is going to reduce people's confidence in the Supreme Court, and let me tell you why. We haven't talked enough about this. You're in a situation now where people are looking at the Supreme Court, a 5-4 decision on marriage, et cetera, et cetera, where they at least felt the court was basically fair.

You get in a situation where Trump gets a bunch of appointments and at least one of them feel like that appointment was not fair, people start feeling the court is just political. Once you're in a country where you feel the court is just political, it's a kangaroo court, they're not wearing referee's jerseys, they're wearing the other team's jerseys, people start trusting the rule of law.

I think you really -- I think Trump or any president in this situation needs to go far above and beyond the call of duty to consult with both sides to make sure it's not just the Federalists that are happy. None is actually happy. CUOMO: You think Kavanaugh poses like all these guys do on left and right, men and women -- let's be honest. This confirmation process is a joke. It's a farce, and both parties allow it to continue because they benefit in turn.

So do you think with Kavanaugh, who is very politically savvy, he'll get up there, he'll say all the right things. He won't say any of the wrong things. He gets on the bench --

JONES: Listen, I --

CUOMO: -- and then he's going to be just like -- let me get Dave back in here.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: And then he's going to be just like Gorsuch and he's on that list because he wants to get after Roe v. Wade if he gets the chance.

URBAN: Yes, look, so I dismiss that, right? I think that's a giant herring, Chris. Look --

CUOMO: Roe v. Wade?

URBAN: No, listen, the beautiful thing about federal judges as you both know, because you're both esteemed lawyers, right? Lifetime appointment, right?

CUOMO: Right.

URBAN: Once they're on there, they can do whatever they want. Look at David Souter, right? He was put on the court and not a darling of the right.

CUOMO: That's like your one example that you got. You guys love Souter now for that reason.

URBAN: Guys, listen, it's real. Lifetime appointment is real.

Listen, Brett Kavanaugh is an incredibly qualified jurist. I've known Brett since 1998.

CUOMO: You think he'd overturn Roe-Wade?

URBAN: Listen, I think -- listen, as you know this, my former boss, Chris, was a guy named Arlen Specter, right? He talked about some of these --

CUOMO: Yes, we're waiting. We're waiting for you to answer the question, Dave.

URBAN: Well, listen --

CUOMO: But go ahead. I love hearing your bio.

URBAN: OK, listen, there's a thing -- my former boss used to refer to it as super stare decisis, right? Something that's been reviewed and reviewed so many times that it's settled law.

I think that that's may be the case with Roe. I don't think there's any case that's coming up --

JONES: Chris --

URBAN: Listen, when Brett Kavanaugh gets sworn in, it doesn't automatically get overturned, right? That's not how the court works as you know.

(CROSSTALK)

[21:30:00]CUOMO: No, but it is in every state. Now that he's getting on it, every state that wants it overturned is going to put in their own laws that ban it and they're going to be praying to get in front of that court.

URBAN: And you know what? Why don't we give -- listen, why don't we give -- let's give Brett Kavanaugh a benefit --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: But it's a big chance to take for a lot of people that believe in reproductive rights.

URBAN: Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Let's give him a hearing, right?

JONES: Let me just say --

URBAN: No, no, hold on. The Democrats, Senator Casey, Bob Casey of my state --

CUOMO: Right.

URBAN: -- whom I'm friends with as well, very disappointed. Three hours before, four hours before the president even nominated said, I'm voting against him. He didn't even listen --

CUOMO: But you got to go through the process, but that process is largely bogus.

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: Guess what, that's what happens, Chris.

CUOMO: When he gets asks, do you think Roe v. Wade, how should it have been decided? How -- Judge, how do you think Roe v. Wade should have been decided?

If he says, I can't answer that question, it's already there, it's stare decisis, you've got to respect precedent, then you know he's not going to be forthcoming.

URBAN: What did Elena Kagan, what did anybody --

CUOMO: They all play the same game.

URBAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: But now, as Van was saying, he's so important because the seat that he's filling.

Final point to you, Van.

URBAN: Elena Kagan wasn't important?

CUOMO: They're all important.

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: We got to where we are today with 51 votes because of Harry Reid. Democratic Senator Harry Reid blew up the system.

CUOMO: No, because the Republicans were being --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: That's fair political assessment.

URBAN: He blew it up.

CUOMO: But, Van Jones, last word.

JONES: Last word here, listen. You're never going to be able to convince people that this guy is not qualified. That's not the point. The point is on issue after issue that is important to the American people, where the majority of American people are on one side, whether it has to do with a woman's right to choose, whether it has to do with health care, he's been on the other side.

So, this is a -- this is a very dangerous moment for the country and for the prestige of the court. I think the president of the United States in a situation like this, when the Republicans stole a seat and gave him one, and now he gets to do the swing vote as well, I think for him to pick someone like this -- he's not the worst, but he's the best of a horrible list. It's going to blow up in our faces going forward.

URBAN: So quickly, Chris --

JONES: I had the last word, buddy.

CUOMO: Yes, no, I got to go.

URBAN: I've been talking about the institution in the Senate. It's sad to see. I wish there was a 60-vote minimum still.

JONES: They could do it tomorrow. They could do it tomorrow.

CUOMO: Yes, but they won't.

JONES: David Urban, don't you do it. (CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: They play to advantage.

JONES: If they wanted to, they could say we want 60 votes tomorrow.

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: If I was the majority leader, that's what would happen.

[21:35:00]CUOMO: The only judge -- run for office. The only judge that's more important than a Supreme Court judge is the one in my ear right now. I'm out of time. I got to go.

Van Jones, David Urban, thank you very much for making the case.

URBAN: Thanks, guys.

CUOMO: All right. So, long before his son changed how we look at American history with "Hamilton" -- there go the songs in your head -- Luis Miranda Jr. was giving the Hispanic population hope for a better future. Now with some of his fellow Americans under attack across the country and immigrant families still torn apart tonight, he joins us with his take on the situation, why he thinks it's happening and what needs to happen, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:40:00]

CUOMO: All right. You got to get beyond the headlines when it comes to the situation on the border. And our next guest has been very outspoken about child separations and the government's deliberate efforts to not reunite these families.

His name is Luis A. Miranda Jr., founding partner of MirRam Group and longtime political activist for Hispanic rights, joining us. Also, yes, the father, he's probably more proud of this than anything, of "Hamilton" playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.

It is good to see you, sir.

LUIS MIRANDA JR, POLITICAL ACTIVIST FOR HISPANIC RIGHTS: Nice seeing you.

CUOMO: Full disclosure, I've known you a very long time and it is good to see you here.

Now, we've just had Secretary Chertoff on. You remember him, second secretary of homeland security --

MIRANDA: Yes.

CUOMO: -- during George W. Bush.

MIRANDA: Yes. CUOMO: Operation Streamline.

He says we exempted people with kids because even though we built facilities and thought ahead, we knew the capacity would be too great, the legal restrictions to significant. We didn't go there.

This administration made a different reason. They say it is bad laws and good law enforcement in conflict. Do you believe that the intentions were innocent?

MIRANDA: No, of course not. The intentions are clear, and I think the president and his administration has been very clear. We're doing this to tell families not to cross the border.

That has been the intention from the very beginning, so this was one more way of making sure that we send news back to Central America and our countries of origin that if you cross the border, we're going to separate you from your kids and use that as a deterrent for immigration.

CUOMO: Now, they missed the deadline today. That goes to a second level of the situation. I pushed the secretary on, isn't this incompetence on display?

If they talked to the border patrol, they'd know this was going to happen. They wanted to do zero tolerance. They were talking about it a year ago. They had to know this was going to happen, and yet they didn't prepare.

Do you believe that that's the situation?

MIRANDA: They did not prepare. They were not going to prepare because the intention was to create fear.

CUOMO: Trump says no, and he wrote an executive order saying, I will show you that I want to fix it. The executive order was called an opportunity for Congress to fix it, by the way, not him.

MIRANDA: After people outcried --

CUOMO: Yes.

MIRANDA: -- that this was inhuman.

Many of his supporters, anybody who loved families and kids, understand that there's an inhuman treatment of any family. So, it is the outcry that made him change his mind and then sign that order.

But there's no intention of reuniting. They continue to present this, and you see the headlines all over Latin America.

It's a way of showing Latin America: don't come. You're not welcome. And there are horrible consequences if you come to the country, particularly if you come to get asylum with your kids.

CUOMO: Now, Trump supporters will say, good. That's what we want. Stop people from coming illegally. Come legally. Our problem is solved.

What do you say?

MIRANDA: The fact is that we have been a country of waves of immigrants as far as you could think of the creation of the United States. There's always been racism and discrimination for the ones that are coming.

So, this is clearly not new in the United States. What is happening now is that it's being sanctioned by the president of the United States and by the entire administration with no pretension that this is not happening.

CUOMO: So, the question becomes how do you fix it? The court can set deadlines. HHS can stumble along trying to fix it. I can't give you exact numbers because they won't give me proper access.

MIRANDA: Correct.

CUOMO: I don't know that their accounting is intact. I have some pretty decent contacts in New York, and the system here seems to be one of confusion at a minimum.

So, how do you fix it?

The Democrats, I have a hard time getting them on the show to talk about this. I know they're not in power, but sometimes you fight just because something is right, not because you're going to win necessarily, not because you have the advantage.

What can be done to fix this? Should the Democrats be doing more?

MIRANDA: You fix it by the outcry of the people. When you have marches, 700 marches all over the country, in every single city, urban center throughout the country, that's how you change it. When you show those in government, Democrats or Republican, that the people are thinking differently and that they want action, that's when you change policy.

[21:45:00]CUOMO: But are you surprised that the Democrats aren't more on top of that movement?

MIRANDA: I think the Democrats have led -- some of the Democrats have led this movement at the state level, at the city level, throughout the country.

CUOMO: Yes, state and city. But I'm talking about federal. That's where this got done.

MIRANDA: And you do have some Democrats that are fighting hard and creating consciousness of this. You said it. They're not in power, and it's not going to be until the people move everyone, Democrats and Republicans, to change the policy. It is then when it will happen.

CUOMO: All right. So, on the theory that if the people care, the government will care, Puerto Rico, all right? We were down there during the storms. We saw it. It wasn't getting the treatment or the respect that it need.

People don't even think Puerto Rico is part of the country. They don't know it's a U.S. territory. And once we got past that basis of ignorance, it still wasn't brought back with the resources that it needed.

What is the situation now? You just came back.

MIRANDA: The situation, it's much better --

CUOMO: Sure.

MIRANDA: -- when I compare it to what I saw the many, many times I've been there since Hurricane Maria.

But there is so much to be done. We went to a restaurant looking for venues when "Hamilton" goes to Puerto Rico this coming January. And what you see is a third of the homes have blue FEMA tarps.

CUOMO: Yes.

MIRANDA: So that's not a country that it's ready and it's better. It's a country in development, and we have to do so much better at the federal level to make sure they get the resources. But when you think about it, it was estimated that $90 billion were going to be needed to deal with the situation in Puerto Rico. A little under $20 billion have arrived in terms of federal aid.

So, there's so much more that we have to do to get it there.

CUOMO: We will keep our eye on the situation. We will keep reporting on the status.

MIRANDA: Thank you.

CUOMO: Every time there's a new wave of storms, every time there is a wave of need, those are American citizens. We will report on it, and we will use your help to do it among others.

MIRANDA: Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

CUOMO: Senor Miranda, thank you very much for being with us. I appreciate it.

So, what do we have next? The president is now on his way to Brussels. This is a big deal. It's the first NATO summit since 2016.

And President Trump is posturing the way he likes to best, it seems -- lots of tough talk for his friends and soft hands for his foes. Is that the right move? We're going to get after it with Republican Congressman Scott Taylor, served the country with distinction -- next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Button jacket and go.

President Trump is trashing NATO again. Here's what he says. This is on Twitter.

The E.U., European Union, makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe. And then they want us to happily defend them through NATO and nicely pay for it. It just doesn't work.

Well, first of all, he should look at his own tariffs. Second of all, NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It is not about trade. That makes his assertion, what we call in the law, a red -- what's that? That's a fish, Bob. A red herring, OK?

What is NATO about? It was made in the '40s to deal with what eventually became the Cold War. Russia -- Russia has always been what it was about, OK? And NATO became the main shield against Russia during the Cold War.

So, imagine the fear of heading into the Brussels summit tomorrow and Thursday and hear Trump dismissing the meeting with Putin as easy and hearing him say this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, President Putin is KGB and this and that. You know what? Putin's fine. He's fine. We're all fine. We're people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: He's not fine. Not fine. Annexing Crimea.

MH-17, they shot down a civilian plane. I was there. I saw the disrespect for the dead. I saw men in Russian military uniforms not letting them be collected.

What's happening in Syria is not fine. The U.S. meddling of the election is not fine.

So, what's the main point here? He's making it about something very different. He doesn't want to talk about any of these things.

He says here's the problem. We pay too much. I know that resonates with a lot of people. Yes, people take advantage of us.

But let's look at it because it's misleading, all right? First of all, there is a commitment to pay 2 percent of your gross domestic product into your own defense. Nobody pays into NATO. That's not the way it works. You make a commitment to build up your own defense, and that's part of the motto of being stronger together.

Who pays the most? We do. America pays the most. Why? We're the wealthiest and the strongest nation in the world. That's why.

NATO figures indicate that defense spending for all 29 alliance members in 2017 was $917 billion. All right? The United States represented 67 percent of the total. We spent $618 billion. But remember, that's on our own defense. It's a separate situation.

The president said we pay 90 percent. He got his numbers wrong, but for a man who loves to say fake news so much, he's never been accused of hewing to the facts.

And remember this: the reason that NATO went from 14 to 29 countries was when the USSR fell. Many of them are eastern bloc nations and they live in existential fear of Russia.

OK. So what Trump says about lacks commitments from these other states, it's true. They need to be improved. They haven't been paying their share.

But to shake the foundation of the organization that has kept relative peace for decades and has only been used once in modern history and it was after 9/11, to support the defense in fighting back against terror.

If logic doesn't work for you, just listen to Trump's own position. It motivated something as rare as a unicorn, maybe more. Senate bipartisan agreement, a 97-2 vote today in support of NATO.

So, maybe the president would be wise to heed the words of another Donald. Donald Tusk, the head of the European Union. He said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TUSK, EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT: I would like to address President Trump directly, who for a long time now has been criticizing Europe almost daily. The America, appreciate your allies. After all, you don't have that many.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right. So where do things stand with our allies tonight? We've got Donald Trump heading to Belgium. He's got a summit with NATO there. He's got the British prime minister.

And then he has Russian President Vladimir Putin. Is he making the right play?

Let's discuss with Republican Congressman from Virginia, Scott Taylor, on PRIME TIME.

Good to see you, sir.

REP. SCOTT TAYLOR (R), VIRGINIA: Chris, always good to be with you. Congratulations on your show.

CUOMO: Thank you, brother. Good to have you here with me.

Now, it is true that other member states don't meet their 2 percent requirement. In fact, most of them don't. They have to do better, and that is a fact.

But the approach, it's not just stylistic, Congressman. When you shake the foundation of NATO like this, when you just had Secretary Chertoff saying it's never been more valuable, is that the right move?

TAYLOR: Well, as you very well know, the past two presidents had an issue with -- you know, with NATO not paying -- not their fair share, but just getting the correct percent, of course, of their defense spending.

And stylistically, yes, I don't agree with it. But I think we have to give this president space as a nation, and we have to come together and hope that he is able to get exactly what President Bush wanted as well as President Obama, for them to pay a little bit more of their fair share.

I understand what you're saying. And again, I don't think that's the right approach, if you will, to try to get people to do it. But you got to give him space. He's the president and he's going over there. And as our country, we need to come together and hope that he's successful.

CUOMO: Yes. But that obviously does not opt us out of criticizing what he does do in his attempted efforts.

TAYLOR: Of course, of course.

CUOMO: And for him to say, look, you know, Congressman Taylor, you're over there talking to these allies. Would you say, look, I got Putin, I've got the U.K. I've got NATO. I'll tell you what? Putin's the easiest of the three.

Would you say that on the eve of the Brussels summit when the overwhelming majority of the member countries in NATO live in existential fear of Russia?

TAYLOR: Well, I wouldn't say that because that's not my style, right? But this president, he's not going to change his behavior. We've been on the show and talk the about this many times. This is how he -- this is how he moves. This is how he starts negotiations.

CUOMO: If you punch a puppy, is it just stylistic or is it something a little bit more profound?

TAYLOR: Well, that's sort of a -- that's pretty dramatic. But I think -- let me say this, that while it's not my style, sometimes it's tough to have uncomfortable conversations with family and friends and allies. It really is.

And this has been something -- I mean, the last president was very strong in his words, calling them free loaders -- so, free riders, excuse me.

CUOMO: Free riders.

TAYLOR: But also President Bush. So, this is -- this is definitely an issue that has to be addressed.

CUOMO: But they never said that Putin was a better mix for them than those allies. TAYLOR: Well, I don't think he said it was a better mix because I

think that's a separate issue. I get that --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: He's saying he would have a good relationship with him. He's saying that he's not that bad. When confronted with the bad things that you know Vladimir Putin has spearheaded, he said, like they're not so bad.

TAYLOR: I think -- I think the context the president was saying about Putin is was how everybody is saying he's KGB and going to tie the president in knots and the president disagrees with that, obviously.

Now, I think that you pulled out some legitimate points. When you're talking about meddling in the election, that is -- and Ukraine, of course, and Syria, those are points that have to be discussed with Putin.

Now, again, this president has a different style on how he approaches before and during and after the meetings. So, I just think that as a nation, we have to give him space to see if he's successful, just like we did President Obama and President Bush.

CUOMO: I hear you on that. But, again, we're dealing with things that are so different than what we're used to that I don't --

TAYLOR: I understand.

CUOMO: -- I don't see it as being just style.

Why do you believe that of all the different state actors that President Trump could pick, Russia is the one that he has chosen to deal with the most gently?

TAYLOR: Well, look, I think Russia has been in the headlines, right, from whatever side of the aisle you're on, whoever you are on the country, Russia, Russia, Russia has been talked about so much.

The reality is this -- yes, NATO is -- we're much better together. No question collective defense. But conditions and things change over 70 years, the threats change over 70 years.

CUOMO: You think NATO doesn't work anymore?

TAYLOR: No, no, I think there needs to be more reorganization in NATO.

CUOMO: Trump says NATO doesn't work anymore.

TAYLOR: I disagree. I respectfully disagree.

I think it works, but I think there has to be some reorganization. There has to be more defense spent. You have to look at the difference of the threat. Right now, for example, 70 years ago, when it came into formation, you

had a potential Russian Soviet Union at that time threat coming physically over to Western Europe. Now, it's not like that. Now, you do have meddling elections, whether it's state, state sanctions or proxies or something like that, but that's the type of threat you have to address now.

Now, you do have -- you have a Russia, who is domestically doing -- they're not doing well economically speaking, but Putin is pretty popular domestically.

CUOMO: Yes, he is.

TAYLOR: So, he, of course, is moving externally, and that's a problem. And in our country, were - it's very divisive moment in our history right now, so we have to grasp with that. And I think sometimes when the president is speaking about Russia, when he's saying, look, there are things that we need to work with Russia on, when you are talking about Syria, nuclear arsenals and things like that, you -- there are things we do need.

We do want to move them from the influence and the sphere of potentially a rising China. That's 100 percent. Now, that is not to say that you shouldn't -- you shouldn't address the issues of Crimea -- excuse me, of Syria, and meddling elections, you should. You should. And we don't know that he's not going to. We'll see what happens.

CUOMO: We will see what happens literally. I'm going to Helsinki because you need to --

TAYLOR: I want to go.

CUOMO: -- you need to have eyes on it. You're too important here.

But, Congressman Taylor, please make me this process, after we see what happens in NATO, please come back.

TAYLOR: Let's do it.

CUOMO: You're one of the new voices, a new generation of leadership on your own party, we need your perspective here.

TAYLOR: Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.

CUOMO: Be well, sir.

TAYLOR: You too.

CUOMO: All right. Don Lemon is standing by with a preview of "CNN TONIGHT", just minutes away.

What do you have, my friend?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": How do we make America humane again? And you know what I'm talking about. Those kids, I think you covered it well. We're going to continue your great coverage and we're going to talk to the man who brought this lawsuit against the administration, to reunite these families, so far only a handful of the kids who are under 5, have been reunited with their families, they missed that deadline, as you know.

But there are 3,000 kids out there. There's another deadline coming up, what are they going to do? What does this deputy director of this ACLU's immigrant rights project, the one who brought this lawsuit, what does he see happening here? Does he see progress? What does he want? Is he going to keep on this administration?

We're going to talk to him about that.

CUOMO: That is an important and juicy conversation. I will be watching. Good to see you, my friend.

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: All right. So, something happened today. It didn't get a lot of attention. But you know very often news is what the powerful want to keep quiet. And there was a continuation of the pardoning spree that we have to look at, because this one is a complete 180 for the president.

Why the change of heart? What did he do? That's all ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Welcome back to CUOMO PRIME TIME.

Tonight's final fact is a segment that highlights a sign of the times. It's not a major headline, but often what you ignore, you empower. Scooter Libby, Joe Arpaio, Dinesh D'Souza, lying to protect your friends, flouting a law if it allows more harshness against immigrants. That's all OK to Trump because it is what his base, certainly less than a majority of the country, but relevant to him, wants.

Enter ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond. They were charged and convicted with setting fire to federally owned land.

What happened? They were in a standoff with the government about land use. They turned to criminal acts and threats. They were tried and convicted and rapped with what was arguably a tough sentence because the fires they set spread on to federal land and triggered an anti- terror law that mandated harsher sentences.

Dwight has served three years and Steven four of five-year sentences. Their cause, you may remember, was infamously picked up by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons who turned -- in turn launched an armed occupation of Oregon's national wildlife refuge in 2016.

I spoke to Cliven Bundy back then and I'll never forget the interview, because he showed up with a dead calf to attack the federal government for overreach. Here's a taste.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLIVEN BUNDY, RANCHER: This dead calf died this morning, he's been without his mother two weeks.

CUOMO: Why do you think that calf is dead? Is that calf dead because someone killed it? Let me finish the question. Is that calf dead because somebody killed it or is it dead because of your reluctance to follow through with the laws that every other rancher in your state complies with? Who's responsible for the death of the calf?

BUNDY: I'll tell you who's responsible for it, this calf would be -- would produce something for America. Now, this calf is dead. That what I do, produce -- what all of the rest of the ranchers do, is produce for America. They're producers.

We're not out here just having fun and having a party. We're out here trying to produce food for you people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: But he was also secluding himself and starving himself with resources and that was an impact.

Now, why does this sound like newfound religion for Trump in siding with these cattlemen? Because it is. During the Oregon occupation, Donald Trump at that time sided with the government.

He told "The New York Times", quote: You cannot let people take over federal property. At a certain point, you have to do something, you have to be firm, you have to be strong, you have to be a government.

But today, the Trump White House sided with ranchers and slammed the Obama administration in a saying -- in a sentence -- statement saying, the sentence was, quote, unjust. What's the formula, Obama bad, Trump good? And if you are angry and act on it, I will protect you, even if you break the law.

The message is as obvious as it is ugly. And it's a sign of the times we're living. So we shine the light.

That's all for us tonight. Thank you for watching.

"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon starts right now.

Don, you got to tell the story.