Return to Transcripts main page
CUOMO PRIME TIME
Trump Echoes Giuliani: "Collusion Is Not a Crime;" Judge Temporarily Blocks Plans for 3D Printed Guns; Aired 9-10p ET
Aired July 31, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the news continues. I want to hand it over to Chris. "Cuomo Prime Time" starts now. Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "COUMO PRIME TIME": Thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to "Prime Time."
Collusion is not a crime except when it is. And remember this isn't about words. It's about behavior. We have a lawmaker who is going to tell you the facts of what could be headed for anyone who did collude. He was also in that hearing today, and you will not believe what the government admitted about its plan to force families apart. There's Senator Coons. We'll be with him in a second.
The Mueller probe faces its first courtroom test today with Trump's former campaign chair on trial. We're going to give you the truth about what Manafort might mean to the wider Russia investigation.
And with just hours to go, a judge blocked those blueprints for homemade, untraceable 3-D guns before they were published. But guess what? They're already out there, and the ruling is only temporary. So we have the man who wants all of you to be able to make your own gun. He's going to argue his case, and I am here to test it. I missed you, my friends. What do you say? Let's get after it.
So today the President tweeted, collusion is not a crime. But that doesn't matter because there was no collusion except by crooked Hillary and the Democrats. Now, of course, the President has repeated his no collusion mantra many times. What matters in all this? Let's bring in Democratic Senator and Member of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Chris Coons. Good to see you, sir.
SENATOR CHRIS COONS (D), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Great to be with you again, Chris.
CUOMO: What do you make of the confusion over collusion?
COONS: Well, I think it's perfectly clear in federal law, and in fact I've got the statute with me. It's title 52, Section 30121, that says it is a crime to solicit or accept anything of value from a foreign national in order to influence the outcome of a federal election. It's a longer section. I'm taking a sentence here and there, but that's the outcome. That's what it means. You can't accept or solicit a cash contribution or a thing of value from a foreign national in any way related to a federal, state, or local election. That's clearly a crime.
And elsewhere in the criminal code, conspiring in order to commit a crime like that is also, itself, the crime of conspiracy. So while I'm not using the specific word "collusion," I'll remind you what the whole Mueller investigation is about is whether or not the Trump campaign worked with Russian intelligence officers to solicit or accept a thing of significant value, thousands of hackeded e-mails that might have been used in order to determine the outcome or influence the outcome of the federal Presidential election.
CUOMO: Now, while you started off there being a little narrow, right? You were being a little generous in terms of what collusion can yield as a crime. It actually starts to get very broad depending on your facts. Look at Paul Manafort. You got 30-plus charges there. It can go lots of different directions depending on money, activity, and intent.
So then you get to, what's your bar for Mueller? I would argue that the Mueller probe is supposed to be about what happened with Russian interference, who helped, and what crimes arise in the pursuit thereof, right? That's his mandate. If the bar is whether or not the President or any of his people were involved in those Russian efforts, don't you think whoever wants that to be the bar is going to be disappointed based on what we know so far?
COONS: Well, we don't know what the Mueller investigation is ultimately going to produce in terms of clear, dispositive, public proof. But it has certainly gotten closer and closer in recent months as the Mueller investigation has produced indictments both of Russian nationals, of specific GRU military intelligence officers, and he has called out in great detail how they conspired, how they worked in order to undermine our election in 2016, and the Manafort trial has already begun. There's been a series of indictments for other related actions by senior members of the Trump administration or the Trump campaign team.
CUOMO: Do you think Manafort means anything to the wider Russia probe?
COONS: He may very well. Manafort, as you know, is in part being accused of failing to report and laundering millions of dollars from a Kremlin-supported Ukrainian President, Yanukovych, a strong man, leader of Ukraine who was closely allied with the Kremlin. So there may be ways in which that relationship and the ongoing payments that he received from Ukraine is connected. It might end up being independent. That's really the challenge in front of Special Counsel Mueller is to connect all the dots.
CUOMO: Then you have this broader array of influence that we see in Facebook today, them shutting down accounts that they are now identifying, which you could argue they could have been doing all along. The idea that they don't know who's doing what on their platform is denied by the reality that if you and I were on Facebook right now talking about what type of bass rigs we're using, all of a sudden I would get an ad for them popping up on my screen.
[21:05:17] COONS: That's right.
CUOMO: So they can know, yet you have the Vice President saying we know the Russian interference didn't alter a single vote. No. We know there is no proof that any of the tabulation machines and the voting machines --
COONS: That's right.
CUOMO: -- were affected by the hacking. But we don't know the impact of the propaganda. It's impossible to know. Are you concerned about where we are in the next election and what might happen from the same people?
COONS: I'm very concerned, Chris. I worked hard in a bipartisan way to get $380 million in election grants out and distributed to states. That's something Senator Klobuchar, Senator Lankford and others really fought for.
And I'm trying this week in the election -- excuse me -- in the upcoming appropriations votes we're having in the Senate to get another round of $250 million in grants to states so that they can strengthen their cybersecurity defenses so they can procure new voting systems and equipment. Senator Klobuchar was just on in the previous segment with Anderson Cooper.
COONS: She and Senator Lankford have a great bill, The Secure Elections Act that I think we should take up and pass that is a corollary (ph) or a complementary bill to these election grants. We need to be doing more.
CUOMO: But you have to get back to the big providers, though. I'm all for social media. More is not always better, but certainly these platforms are part of our present and our future. That meeting with Zuckerberg where he came down and talked to the members of Congress, they didn't know what they were talking about.
You have to have these guys come back and force them to provide solutions for their own good and the safety of the people who were on there. They can do it. The question is, will they? And we saw a little nod to the marketplace reality. You know, Facebook took that big hit when they suggested that they were going to do this. There's a bottom line that can't come before the top interest for the American people.
Now, let's go quickly, Senator, from what we want to find out about, which is what's going on with the Russia probe, to what we know for sure now. That hearing that you where in today, you had somebody who worked for three different administrations admit he told the Trump administration if you do this type of zero-tolerance, you will wind up splitting kids from their families. You will wind up with this kind of hardship. They knew what would happen, and they did it anyway.
COONS: That's right.
CUOMO: Do you agree? And if so, what will you do about it?
COONS: That's right. What I think we heard in today's hearing from witnesses across a number of agencies was that the Trump administration had no clear or coherent plan for how to reconcile, how to reunite parents and children. They barreled into this zero- tolerance policy and its harmful impact on parents and children as a way to deter folks who might seek to enter the United States to seek asylum, but they had no real plan for how they would reunite parents and children. They didn't track them as closely or professionally as they should have.
As you mentioned earlier, if Facebook knows exactly where you and I are, if Amazon can track packages anywhere at any time in our country, the idea that our government forcibly separated parents and children and then could not account for them and couldn't reconcile them in time is just a very disheartening sign that this was not a well thought out policy.
And the individual you're referring to, Chris, who testified today, clearly a career professional, was someone who had given clear warnings to the Trump administration that this zero-tolerance policy would have heartbreaking impacts on children and would not end well.
CUOMO: And it is completely reflective of a definitional change in who America is supposed to be according to this administration. It's part of our closing argument, but I wanted to thicken it out with your understanding of what happened in this hearing. Senator Coons, thank you very much.
COONS: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. So this idea of what Rudy Giuliani said, what the President tweeted, and what the law might reveal about any collusion -- those three things, one of them is not like the others. And I'm going to point it out for you in a whiteboard to undo a whitewash, next.
[21:12:50] CUOMO: Tricky when something can be true and untrue at the same time, and yet both aspects of it matter, right? We're going to explain right now. Here's your premise. Collusion does not equal a crime. Here's what Rudy Giuliani, lawyer to President Trump, said to CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: Which I don't even know if that's a crime, colluding about Russians.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
GIULIANI: You start analyzing the crime. The hacking is the crime. The hacking is the crime.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That certainly is the original crime. GIULIANI: Well, the President didn't hack.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course not. That's the original --
GIULIANI: He didn't pay them for hacking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Collusion is not a crime. Rudy's right. Collusion is not a statutory crime under the federal code in this context. There will likely be no charge of simply collusion.
Now, one fine point for you legal eagles out there. Yes, collusion is a crime for the SEC and the FTC, proscribing certain antitrust behavior. But like I said, that's out of context, OK?
What we're dealing with here is a distinction, OK, without a difference, OK? What does that mean? It's a big deal. It's that he's saying they're different things but really they are the same. The media is stuck on this word game, a gotcha game. The key's being missed. It's a distinction without a difference. Why? The key is the behavior, not the word. Therefore, while Rudy is right, this tweet by the President is wrong.
Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn't matter because there was no collusion except by crooked Hillary and the Democrats. How? How can Rudy be right and Trump be wrong? Here's why. The behavior. The behavior is what matters to the legal analysis, not the word.
Why? Because the term itself not being present as a statute is irrelevant. The side note to Trump's tweet is does Trump get that he just said in a tweet that what Hillary did with the dossier is not a crime? To his mind, you think he believes that? Nope. He won't tweet that again if he thinks about it. Be clear. If it were to be proven that Trump or any of his people were doing what amounts to collusion with any of those who were intent on interfering in our democracy, there's plenty of potential criminal exposure because the behavior would be criminal.
[21:15:07] Like what? Conspiracy, OK? I'm going to truncate these things but I'm going to put up the statutes on there for you. You'll see it at the same time. What kind of conspiracy? Well, to defraud the United States government. You can do it on a tax level.
Look at Manafort. 30-plus charges related thereto. How out of this one type of behavior? Because that's what can happen when they think you're colluding with somebody. Russia, what they were trying to do, was defraud the election. If you were in agreement with them or trying to help them, then you're going to get stuck for that collusion, an agreement to break any law, hacking, theft, distribution of stolen goods, information, would all be criminal and would be an extension of acts of collusion.
Aiding and abetting, OK? Now, aiding and abetting has its own section under the criminal code, OK? Why? Because it goes to all types of being too helpful to the wrong people in the wrong types of situations. All of that is in the family of collusion.
All right. Now, what about money? Money takes us into a whole other universe of when collusion becomes criminal. How was any money used in an exchange? How was it sent? How was it accounted for? Bank fraud, wire fraud, laundering of money. Many of Mueller's team are experts in these areas. Why did he pick them?
So these laws, the statutes you saw, all stem from behavior that is collusion. So collusion is not a crime, sure, by name. But the behavior of collusion can get you in a lot of deep water. What's the conclusion? Keep your eye on the ball. Collusion isn't a specific crime, per se, but it's not OK, and it leads to all of this mess and more depending on the facts and the proof. And that's where we must always stay focused. That's why I was talking to Coons about what the bar for the Mueller probe is. What can they show that is the only thing that we will know? That's the bar. Nothing else matters. So there you have it.
So what Rudy said, what the government admitted about tearing families apart today, controversies or non-troversies? It is a great debate, and it is upon us next.
[21:21:27] CUOMO: Today was jam-packed with news, but what does any of it mean? The President tweeted that collusion is not a crime for the first time, and a health and human services official testified that he warned the Trump administration that family separation at the border would happen and would be dangerous.
Let's get to the great debate. We've got Jennifer Granholm and David Urban here. Dave, let's see if I can shortcut this. You saw the whiteboard. Admit that I am right about all of it, that this is just wordplay, and that the behavior of collusion at the end of the day can get you in plenty of poo-poo.
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. So, Chris, you're right. Look, the behavior of collusion and the right set of circumstances obviously can, right? But as you pointed out correctly, it's all about the facts. It's all about the facts, brother. Brother Cuomo, right? We could hypothesize about a lot of things but let's wait and see what director Mueller uncovers.
Conspiracy is a pretty broad word, and as you point out correctly in this case that's being tried in Alexandria against Paul Manafort and conspiracy there to defraud the government, there's an Overt Act. It's pretty easy to prove. It has nothing to do with the Russians. And so we'll wait and see. We'll just have to wait and see. It's all about the facts.
CUOMO: Well, we don't know that it has nothing to do with Russians. It's just which group of Russians and what they were doing and whether it really has anything to do with the probe is what we don't think we'll see.
URBAN: No, no, no. Chris, in this case we do know because on July 10th, in response to a motion filed by Paul Manafort --
URBAN: -- the government here, you know, Director Mueller's probe, they replied in a response in their brief saying this has nothing to do with Russians or collusion or Russian interference in this election --
CUOMO: Right, in the election.
CUOMO: But that doesn't mean that no Russians were involved with what happened with him --
URBAN: No, no. All right, absolutely.
CUOMO: That's right.
URBAN: I can't --
CUOMO: That's the distinction I was drawing. All right, enough.
Let me get you in here, Jennifer Granholm. The idea of what the President is tweeting about and whether or not it matters, matters to you why?
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, because we have a President who is constantly gas lighting the American public. He says that something is when it is absolutely not. I just -- it's so -- it's beyond words how horrible this President has been to the truth. We all know that. So when he says, oh, there's no collusion, and he tries to get his followers to believe that the word "collusion" is not going to appear in an indictment when Manafort issues one against somebody, well maybe this were collusion doesn't --
GRANHOLM: Excuse me. When Mueller. You're right, when Mueller does. So maybe the word doesn't admit, but you had as professor Cuomo up at the whiteboard a list of actual laws that could be broken if there's a conspiracy.
CUOMO: This is just engaged in semantic play. And when the President tries to pull the wool over America's eyes in so many ways, it just proves again and again that honestly, I can hardly wait till November comes so that we can give him at least the first taste of the back of our hand, in 2020, the rest.
CUOMO: Dave Urban, you see the back of the hand coming?
URBAN: Listen, unfortunately I do in these midterms, right? Midterms aren't necessarily -- these are a snapshot as the Governor knows and you know, Chris. Look, congressional districts are very small, very insular little islands of the population. So, you know, the President's going to do poorly in places like New Jersey, the New York suburbs, the Philly Suburbs.
[21:25:10] I don't think the President's going to do poorly in kind of the, you know, down in Florida, in Pennsylvania, in Iowa, Michigan. The President's not going to do poorly there. So the midterms are going to have an effect on the Congress.
GRANHOLM: I don't know.
URBAN: Well, that's your -- I know --
CUOMO: We'll see. Look, all of this is speculative. It's all about turnout. That's what's going to determine the midterms. It always does.
GRANHOLM: Well, but --
CUOMO: It's manifest intention of the reaction formation, right? I know those are all big words, but what we saw in '94 and 2010 is I know you're upset about what's in there right now. Here's what I want to offer you that's better. Now get out there and vote for me. That's the equation, and we won't know until the polls open and close --
URBAN: And Chris, this is --
GRANHOLM: It's very true. Wait, Chris, it's very true. But let's be clear that when you see Russian interference like we saw today through Facebook, Russian interference against Claire McCaskill and Russian interference writ large in 2016, getting out the vote is going to be super important, yes. But there was a poll out today that showed that there are some Republicans who think that interference by the Russians to help the Republicans is not such a bad thing.
URBAN: Oh, come on, Governor.
GRANHOLM: Come on.
URBAN: Come on, Governor. Look, if you're going to blame the Democrats for poor performance -- \
GRANHOLM: I'm just citing a poll.
URBAN: OK. If you're going to -- but you can't blame the Russians on Democrats poor performance if they win or lose, I mean, you have to accept some responsibility for not having a coherent message across your party.
GRANHOLM: No, listen --
URBAN: Right now there's federal going on.
GRANHOLM: There's a whole array of things. We don't have to relitigate this. But I'm just saying --
URBAN: Well, you can't blame the Russians for the Democrats failing.
GRANHOLM: Yes, I can blame the Russians for interfering in this election.
URBAN: You can blame them for trying to interfere.
GRANHOLM: They did interfere, and they sent thousands and thousands of ads to social media in places like Detroit, where they held up pictures of Aziz Ansari with a text saying, hey, avoid the lines, text your support here.
URBAN: All right, OK.
GRANHOLM: If that's not a voter suppression ad, I don't know what is. Oprah Winfrey, Photoshop, holds up a sign -- let me just finish.
CUOMO: Hold on Dave, let her finish her point and then you'll go.
GRANHOLM: Let me just finish. When Oprah Winfrey holds up a sign that says, first-time voter, you vote on Wednesday. Those are voter suppression ads. Those were issued hugely in 2016 in Michigan. Hillary Clinton lost by 11,000 votes. The purpose of the Russian intervention is to cause people to be not just divided but to cause them to stay home.
URBAN: Right. And you know what?
GRANHOLM: That's what happened. That's one of the reasons.
URBAN: In the Obama administration, the Democratic Barack Obama administration should have shut those down.
CUOMO: It would have been easier if McConnell would have worked with them.
URBAN: Listen, they should have work with Facebook and others just like they're doing it now.
GRANHOLM: -- the Trump administration. OK, listen --
CUOMO: And McConnell could have work with the Obama administration also. Obama should have done more, but McConnell shouldn't have blocked his efforts. And now Trump, it's on him now to see what he does. He's the President.
GRANHOLM: You're right. And today Secretary of DHS, Kirstjen Nielsen said we need to prepare for a category 5 event.
GRANHOLM: What is he doing?
URBAN: So, Governor --
GRANHOLM: We're not doing anything.
CUOMO: He's been saying he doesn't believe there was a storm coming. He's been doing that for a long time, Dave, and now they're starting to change their tune in the administration. We'll see what they do.
GRANHOLM: Can I just say --
CUOMO: I got to go.
GRANHOLM: -- this is another case of classic incompetence. He had incompetence in Puerto Rico. He has incompetence --
URBAN: Incompetence in the Obama administration --
GRANHOLM: -- in the separation of the border and you're going to see another --
CUOMO: I hear you. I hear you and we have to go but look, Dave has a point to.
URBAN: Governor, incompetence of the Obama administration?
CUOMO: Dave has a point.
URBAN: Listen, my head explodes when I see James Clapper and all these former intelligence officials on this network complaining about Russian interference when they were at the wheel when it all happened.
GRANHOLM: We're talking about 2018, Dave. You cannot continue to look in the rearview mirror.
URBAN: If you're talking about the past election the Democrats --
CUOMO: That's true.
GRANHOLM: I'm talking about the future election.
CUOMO: Yes. But here's the thing. We got to end it here. But it's all true.
URBAN: But, Chris, you can say, Dave Urban has a point.
CUOMO: I just did. I said it two points. You don't hear me because you're yapping.
CUOMO: What I'm saying is this. It all is true. It started in 2016. The Obama administration didn't do enough. Why? They didn't know as much as they eventually would know. They were worried about outcomes, and Mitch McConnell was pushing back on them. They weren't going to get cooperation. It was going to be a partisan move. Then the Trump administration had this ball in their hands a long time. Trump wanted to pretend it doesn't exist because he thinks it's bad for him. And now the election is upon us, and we'll see how safe they can make us.
URBAN: We need to protect Americans' democracy --
CUOMO: We'll see. They got to do a lot more than they've done.
GRANHOLM: All right, we can agree on that.
GRANHOLM: I lot more.
CUOMO: Let's end on agreement. Jenifer Granholm, David Urban, thank you very much.
URBAN: Thanks, Chris. Thanks, Governor.
CUOMO: Last minute, federal judge puts a block on printable blueprints to make untraceable 3-D firearms. The founder of the group that wants you to be able to make your own weapons with a click of the mouse wants you to hear his case. We're going to test it, next.
[21:33:55] COOPER: The 3-D gun dispute. Here's what happened today. A federal judge stepped in with a temporary injunction, OK? And that's what it sounds like. This is not over. But for now, there will be no more blueprints to make 3-D printable weapons online but only for now.
Now, what's the White House position on this? They say the guns are already illegal, which is true. However, it is also true that the federal government settled a lawsuit that allowed these instructions to be posted online.
Alan Gottlieb's Second Amendment Foundation was part of that lawsuit. He joins us now.
Alan, welcome to "Prime Time," and thank you. The government role in this is very confusing. I say we focus on what is more simple for people to absorb. You tell me why is it good for people to be able to download blueprints to make 3-D printable weapons? Why is this a good thing?
ALAN GOTTLIEB, FOUNDER, SECOND AMENDMENT FOUNDATION: Well, first of all, Chris, this is a first amendment issue that just happens to deal with firearms that are protected by the second amendment. Putting computer code on the internet is a language. A language is speech, and speech is protected by the first amendment.
[21:35:12] You know, the reason why we're so concerned about being able to do it we've got places like San Francisco now where there are no gun stores now for people to be able to buy a gun or places like Alameda County in California where zoning ordinances put gun stores out of the county, or places like Seattle that put taxes on guns and ammunition, driving guns towards out of the city, so people have no way to buy a firearm.
What this does for the future is, it allows people to ensure a way to be able to have a firearm. You know, if you're allowed to own a firearm in your own home, you should be able to make the firearm in your own home if you can't buy one locally because of crazy restrictions. CUOMO: OK. So two arguments. One is if anybody right now -- and they should -- not while we're speaking of course but in the commercial, Google availability of firearms in California, they will find nothing that is speaking to a shortage of weapons in California, OK? Plenty of guns. Plenty of guns per capita. Plenty of gun crime in that state as a result. And you're leaving something out in your first amendment analysis, which is the right to have what you're dismissing as speech. Not everybody has a right to a gun, right? Certain people fall into categories where they can't get them. Certainly people fall into categories where they should not get them. And what you're trying to do apparently is give everybody a chance, even if they're in those categories. Is that good?
GOTTLIEB: No, Chris, that's not what we're trying to do. In fact, all the laws that prohibit that stay on the books. We're not removing any of those whatsoever.
CUOMO: How, you're not removing the law --
GOTTLIEB: Hold on.
CUOMO: You're removing the mechanism for enforcement because you're giving people an ability to cut out all the necessary middlemen so they can't be vetted. They just have to take the blueprints. They make their own weapon. That's the point.
GOTTLIEB: Chris, a criminal who is going to break a law or commit mayhem is going to get a gun now anyway like they always do or there would be no gun crime right now.
CUOMO: But they're probably not going to make a very expensive 3-D printable gun. They'll just get one off the street.
GOTTLIEB: A few years ago when Cody Wilson in Defense Distributed, put these plans on the internet.
GOTTLIEB: There were 100,000 to 200,000 downloads of the plans to do it. Lots of people have already made these guns. Not one has been used in a crime. Not one. So a lot of this is hysteria out there --
CUOMO: Do we know that or we don't know that any have been caught committing a crime with a gun?
GOTTLIEB: Well, we know it because they'd have the gun and be able to show it, and here's a 3-D printed gun.
CUOMO: That's if they were caught.
GOTTLIEB: There's no crime report anywhere in the United States where anybody has misused one of these guns to begin with.
CUOMO: But how would you know unless somebody were apprehended and was proven to have used one of the them, right?
GOTTLIEB: Well, you would know it by the ballistics or the bullet and everything else. And it's pretty obvious.
CUOMO: It tells if it's a ghost gun?
GOTTLIEB: You mentioned, Chris, in California, there are guns all over right now and this gun crime. There's also a lot of self-defense with firearms in California as well, which you don't want to talk about. But the truth of the matter is we both know in California every year the restrictions get tighter and tighter and tighter. And there's less places to buy guns and less guns for availability in California because hand gun last and gotten state that keep taking guns off and no new guns are going to added to it. So we're looking at it to protect second amendment rights in the future by using first amendment rights to do so.
CUOMO: But it is assumes a need that outweighs the national security interest, which is what we've seen different courts say now. You have to balance it. How it will come out, we'll see on the merits.
But I'll tell you what bothered me about this, and it wasn't you. But when one of the designers of the code, there was a restriction, why is it illegal? Well, you've got to be able to detect these weapons when they go through a metal detector, and these have no metal. So they made a part that was metal in the weapon so it could be detected. However, that part is removable, and the weapon sometimes still functions. What the hell is that about? Why would anybody want to make it so that you can remove what makes it detected and the weapon still works? Why would you do that?
GOTTLIEB: Well, first of all, if the weapon had a bullet in it, it would still be detected because the bullet would be detected. So again this is a little bit of hysteria. This isn't what happened.
CUOMO: It's not hysteria. It's a question. And what if you transport it without the bullets and you get the bullets somewhere else?
GOTTLIEB: Well, if you're in a secure area where you're not supposed to be with a gun --
CUOMO: But why would you do that, Alan? Why would you stand behind somebody doing something as pernicious as that?
GOTTLIEB: I don't.
CUOMO: I hear you on the first amendment. I get that. But that just seems so afoul of what we want to protect against, which is a deceptive practice. Why stand behind --
GOTTLIEB: Well, this is not a deceptive practice. If somebody breaks the law, they should be prosecuted for it. By the way --
CUOMO: You gave them the plans to do it is what I'm saying. Go ahead. What's your last point?
GOTTLIEB: The TRO is not against defense distributed, Cody Wilson or the second amendment -- CUOMO: Right.
GOTTLIEB: -- foundation, who was against the federal government --
[21:40:00] CUOMO: Right.
GOTTLIEB: -- actually these plans can still be put on the internet --
GOTTLIEB: -- because there is no TRO against us doing it.
CUOMO: Well, what the judge said was for now he wants this held in abeyance so it should stay according to the reckoning of the Washington state attorney, where it was before all of this. That's what they're hoping for right now, but in any case, it's certainly temporary.
GOTTLIEB: The plans have already been up and downloaded several thousands of times.
CUOMO: That is true. Like 2,500 times they've already been downloaded, and the question is how does this make us better and safer? We'll see how it plays out in the courts, and then you, sir, are welcome to come back and tell me why it's a good thing.
GOTTLIEB: Thank you.
CUOMO: Be well.
GOTTLIEB: I'll do that. Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: I appreciate it.
All right. So what happens now to anyone who has already downloaded these plans for guns? You get the flaw in the argument. Well, we haven't seen any used in crimes. That's assumed that they were caught and apprehended as such. What are the legalities? What are the ramifications? Cuomo's Court in session, next.
CUOMO: All right. This 3-D gun thing, the fundamental merits of the case were not argued in court. So let's hash it out in Cuomo's court. We have the perfect counselors. CNN Legal and National Security Analyst Asha Rangappa, and Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus, Alan Dershowitz, author of,"The Case against Impeaching Trump." Thanks to both of you. For the prosecution, Rangappa, why is this wrong?
[21:45:1] ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, this is wrong on so many levels. So first there is a law that prohibits the possession of undetectable firearms, so these plastic firearms. So as you noted, Chris, in your earlier discussion, by definition, anyone who is downloading these instructions and actually makes these guns is going to be an illegal gun owner of said gun. The first amendment argument, I don't think really goes anywhere. There are public safety exceptions. In 1997 after the Timothy McVeigh bombing, Senator Feinstein passed an amendment making it illegal to post bomb-making instructions. So there are public safety exceptions to this.
But I think really the practical effect is every day when you get on an airplane, you now have to worry about someone who may be sneaking in a plastic gun, and this is really just asking for potentially another 9/11. And I think that should be concerning to all of us.
CUOMO: Alan, the man who was just on argues, no, it's about speech. You should have the right to these ideas. These words are speech. These prints are speech. These designs are speech, and they should be protected.
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: Well, this is a terrible form of speech. These blueprints are awful, and I want to totally dissociate myself from what your previous guest went earlier said about this is good speech. It's terrible speech. But the question is, is it terrible speech that's protected by the first amendment? And the answer is clear. We don't know. We don't know. We've never had a case like this go to the Supreme Court.
The earlier case called the progressive case, where they wanted to print instructions for how to make a hydrogen bomb, ended up being moot, and being moot for the reason that will probably make this case moot. By the time the case came to the court, the instructions were all over the place. Anybody could easily find how to make a hydrogen bomb. And now --
CUOMO: How about the argument that they haven't seen it used in a crime?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, you know, that's not a good enough argument. Look, the answer is that the court may very well say the instructions, the blueprints, are protected by the first amendment. But you should disable any machine from making this kind of weapon, not only prohibit the weapon, which we've already done, but also prohibit any 3-D machine from being capable of making the weapon. That would raise a second amendment question.
DERSHOWITZ: But second amendment issues are easier than first amendment issues. So in the end, I think the blueprints will be allowed to be shown, and that's a moot issue because they've already been shown. And anybody who wants to have access to this is going to be able to get it one way or another.
CUOMO: And you have all the terrorist handbook stuff that's out there that falls into the same kind of categories.
DERSHOWITZ: They're already out there. I don't want to compromise the first amendment.
RANGAPPA: And Chris, can I --
CUOMO: Go ahead, Asha.
RANGAPPA: I can add one thing here?
RANGAPPA: You know, right now federal law protects gun manufacturers from tort liability, from being sued by people who get shot by the weapons they make.
DERSHOWITZ: That's right. Terrible law. Terrible law.
RANGAPPA: These people are putting these instructions on are now -- there are now reasonably foreseeable consequences to what they're doing. And I think that if any of these guns end up being used in a crime, they can expect to have their hands sued off of them and they should.
CUOMO: Well, we will see. That's an actually interesting point. There was a strain of first amendment thought.
DERSHOWITZ: You know, but --
CUOMO: We got to go. We got to leave it there. But, you know, I was doing some research on this, and there was some jurisprudence early on in discussion of the first amendment that, you know, the first amendment's purpose isn't just to justify the most ugly and vile things that can be said that that's not the standard always for enforcing the first amendment. It will be interesting to see if a judge takes that on at all.
DERSHOWITZ: I think it is.
CUOMO: But we'll see. Alan Dershowitz, Asha Rangappa, thank you very much.
Don Lemon is standing by with a preview of CNN Tonight just minutes away. You know, this case really does strike at what could be so frustrating about the first amendment.
We often ere on the side at least legally, on allowing things into the public discourse, even if we hate them, even if we hate what they're about. But this is an interesting twist, because this isn't about just what you're going to say to me. It's about what you allow me to do.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Uh-huh. Well, and we do that because honestly, it protects what you and I do, right? And I'm sure you've been watching with Jim Acosta what he's dealing with and what we deal with all the time. But yes, this is quite different. I don't even really know how to categorize this one. I'm just going to sit back and watch. But it's frightening. It needs to be protected.
But to the original first amendment about what we say and what we do, can we talk about the President a little bit and talk about Lebron James? I missed you yesterday. I wanted to talk about -- to talk a little bit.
[21:50:03] CUOMO: Yes, I love watching it. I love what he's doing but I loved the interview.
LEMON: It was a great interview, and you Know, I expected -- well, a lot of people attacked him, but the question is why is the President attacking him? Because that's part of his strategy, we've been told by the folks at the Trump administration, and sources that he's going to continue to use this whole athlete's thing and kneeling as a wedge issue up until the midterms, which is -- we've been talking about it. Is it -- does it, you know, right to freedom of expression? Does it go against these athletes? So I don't know.
But I think Lebron James is doing a great thing. He speaks his mind. He knows what the first amendment is about and what it means to him. So I miss talking to you about that yesterday.
CUOMO: I'll tell you, what I loved was what a demonstration of putting your money where your mouth is.
CUOMO: That's a such a common criticism of athletes and entertainers and boy, is he showing people that I'll put my money there and it will be great to see if people follow suit. Good job, Don.
LEMON: Yes, thank you. I got to tell you real quick before you go, I like that he's not concerned that he's going to tick some people off. He just feels that this is the right thing for him to say and do and that's what he's doing. I'll see you in a little bit.
CUOMO: All right, bud.
LEMON: All right, thank you.
CUOMO: Immigration officials were grilled today on the Hill over family separations. We learned something that I knew was going to come out. It's been denied and now it's known as a fact.
I'm going to give it to you in the closing argument because it raises such a fundamental question about who we are.
[21:55:40] CUOMO: 559. That's how many kids are waiting for their mommys and daddies. But at least it wasn't intentional. Right? Wrong. Today we learned the government apparently knew it was coming. Knew full well it was heading down a reckless path of inhumanity. How do we know? A top HHS official, he has served three presidents. He told the Senate Judiciary Committee about red flags raised.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN WHITE, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: During the deliberative process over the previous year, we raised a number of concerns in the ORR program about any policy which would result in family separation. Due to concerns we had about the best interest of the child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: There was plenty more he said that made it clear that they knew what would happen. He was told simply family separation wasn't an official policy. Nope? True. The official policy was to deter. That's what AG Sessions said as much on TV. And deter how? Fear, trauma, taking kids from parents. The message in never come back and let others know they will get the same.
Think about it. Deported and your kids kept by the USA. We don't care if you are desperate for a better life or desperately fleeing a dangerous home or fleeing a community or government. You came illegally. That's all you are to us. That's the response from the administration. Deny the act, deny the severity, the intention and the outcome. We just saw it today, from the head of enforcement and removal operations for ICE.
Listen to what they told the committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW ALBENCE, IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: The best way to describe them is to be more like a summer camp. These individuals have access to 24/7 food and water. They have educational opportunities. They have recreational opportunities both structured as well as unstructured. There's basketball courts and exercise classes and soccer fields we put in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: They got all those things in prison too, like a summer camp. Giant windowless former big box store in Texas. Doesn't look like a summer camp I'd send my kid to, and I get these are different situations.
But think about it, diminishing those conditions, how do you justify it? Easily if you don't care about the people who are in there. The U.S. attorneys are told to use the back handed legalese slur of alien as in illegal alien. I know it's in the law but it speaks to something else. Why don't they want to say undocumented? To innocuous, not harsh enough. That wording was important enough for the Justice Department to send out an agency wide e-mail.
So here's our argument. If the Trump administration wants to make America the home of the highly educated and the land of the economic engines, is that the only people you're going to welcome? Then just say it.
Now, Mr. President, don't try to sell that where we both come from in queens, New York, because it's filled with the people that you don't seem to want anymore. So take down the words on lady liberty. Your adviser Steven Miller said the poem was added on later, that it isn't a statement of policy, and you know what? Miller is right. Those words are more than policy. They are the core of who we are, our quiescence. We are the unclean, the unwanted, the poorly bred, those yearning to be free, and we will do whatever the hell we can to make it if we're given a chance. It is the exception among us who doesn't have that in their blood. Remember who we are because who we are is the key to what we are and why this country has always been great.
That's our closing argument. Thank you for getting after it with us tonight here. I'll see you tomorrow night. D lemon picks it up from here.
LEMON: And it's a great closing argument. Number one, Lebron James talked to me about that, about the kids being separated at the border. Again, he is saying that's not who we are.