tv Cuomo Prime Time CNN February 25, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
we did find a way to do that, reparations. >> i agree with what elizabeth said. >> so you would support reparations. but read what she said. she means, i don't want to put words into her mouth. is what i said, okay. in other words, as a result of a legacy of massive levels of inequality it has to be addressed now. >> well, again, it depends on what it means and i know that you don't want to. >> let's go to samantha, a student at catholic university. she's from massachusetts. >> thank you. as a strong advocate for raising the federal minimum wage to $15 i had many discussions with my peers in regards to this matter. many expressed concerns that small business owners would have to lay off employees because they don't have the money and income to support workers at that rate. how do you reassure them that
this would not be the case and it is, in fact, possible. >> you're right in 2016 when i ran for president and we talked about $16 an hour. a lot of people said it's radical and extreme. now you have a lot of states in this country that passed $15 an hour minimum wage. but it means phasing it in. not tomorrow. i believe in the richest country in the history of the world if you work 40 hours a week you should not be living in poverty and i believe if we raise that minimum wage to $15 an hour, workers will have more money to spend in their community and create jobs doing that. so i think raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do and i think sit good economics and i'm very delighted to see the kind of progress we're making in states and cities all over this country. by the way, i believe that the house of representatives will,
in fact, pass -- i can't guarantee it, but i think they will pass a $15 an hour minimum wage and we're going to fight as hard as we can to see that pass in the united states senate. but we should not have to have in this country working people working two or three jobs. [ applause ] >> we have a lawyer here in washington. >> a lawyer, all right. >> thank you, wolfe. senator sanders, every texas resident has two senators and a member in the house. every florida resident has two senators and a member in the house. every ohio resident has two senators and a member in the house. i live in washington d.c. and have no such representation. what will you do to help me and my fellow 700,000 washingtonians to receive full representation?
[ applause ] and you pay taxes and your young people serve in the military, right? >> yes. >> well, i think it would be -- i come from one of the smallest states in america. about 620,000 people in the beautiful state of vermont. it would be -- it would be a little bit hypocritical of me to suggest that washington d.c. should not become a state. and i strongly support statehood for d.c. [ applause ] >> so what can you do to make that happen? >> well, everything that we possibly can. look, i mean, i think, this is a political issue. it's political. it's hard to argue the facts that the gentleman raised. people pay taxes. they live here. the size of this community is larger than some states. why don't they have senators and
a member in the house. the answer not shockingly is republicans kind of guess that this will be two democratic senators given the fact that the city consistently votes overwhelmingly democratic. that's the opposition right there and i hope that my republican colleagues do the right thing. people here are in entitled to representation in washington. >> we have a question from a sophomore at the george washington university. she is from pennsylvania and an active member of the college democrats. >> hi, senator. we're arguably living in one of the most polarized political environments in american history. the democratic party is shifting more to the left and the republican party more to the right but most americans tend to fall in the middle. how do you plan to unite such a polarized country if your policies are moving further away from where most americans stand? >> i look at it differently. that the country is polarized, i agree. and that has a lot to do with trump's division and hatred to
be honest with you and it concerns me very much that the level, the number of hate crimes are going in this country. but here's the other side of that story is that if you ask people in red states, you go to oklahoma, you go to missouri, and you say, do you think that it makes sense to give huge tax breaks to billionaires and then cut social security, medicare and medicaid, which is what the republican leadership wants, do you know what they say? you're crazy. of course we don't believe in that. do you believe health care is a right? yeah, we do. do you think we should raise the minimum wage? >> yeah. >> do you think we should rebuild -- >> well, of course we could. >> do you think we should deal with climate change? yeah, we should. should we address racism and sexism and homophobia.
many believe we should. we're not quite as divided as some would think. the reality is that what goes on here in washington is that many of the folks that come here really are not reflective, in my view, of the people they represent. they're much more reflective of the billionaires that fund their campaigns and the lobbyists that get them to do things. so i think, i honestly believe that we can bring the american people together around an agenda that works for working families rather than just the 1%. and that's my -- that's what i believe is how we can deal with some of the positions. >> if you're elected president of the united states, how would you reach out to trump supporters to try to unite the country. >> i just indicated that. for example, one of the crises that we face is -- and i'm giving you an example. taking place as we speak, in
eerie, pennsylvania, there's a company that makes locomotives. something that we need if we want to rebuild our rail system. a new company came in and took it over from general electric. and as soon as they came in, do you know what they did? they said to their workers, we're going to have mandatory change scheduling and substantially lower the pay for new workers and meanwhile, as a result of the merger, they gave tens and tens of millions of dollars in bonuses to ceos and high ranking officials in the company. that's what is going on all over this country. large corporations cut health care and benefits for their workers and the ceos make 300 times. you go to trump country and ask people there whether they think that makes sense.
i am very worried about artificial intelligence and robotics and what it will mean to working people in this country. we need to have a long discussion to make certain that millions of workers are not thrown out on the street because of robotics. technology is a good thing, but it has to be a good thing for workers and not just the people who own that technology. and the trump people believe that as well. i'm not going to say that within trump's camp there aren't some people that are racists and sexists. there are. we have seen that. but i don't believe that is the case for most of those folks. many of these people are people that worked hard their entire lives and their standard of living is going down. in many cases they're making less today than 30 or 40 years ago. they're looking at their kids and they're seeing that their kids will have a lower standard of living than they do. in fact, in many rural
communities in america, if you can believe it, life expectancy is going down. opioid epidemic. what doctors call the diseases of dispair. heroin, opioid, suicide, alcoholism, serious problems all over those communities. we have to reach out to those people and we have stand with them for decent jobs, decent health care, decent education and i think we can win many of them over. >> very quickly, senator, democrats want a candidate that can beat donald trump. why do you think you're the most qualified to beat donald trump? >> well, first of all, let me say that there are a lot of really good candidates in this race and many of them are personal friends of mine. i have known elizabeth warren for like 25 years. and i'm going to do everything i can to make sure that we discuss policy and not personality and not make it ugly.
but as i look at what happened in the last election, i look at states like pennsylvania, michigan, wisconsin, florida, i think we could win those states. i think the message of our campaign is that we have to bring our people together, black and white and latino, bring our people together around an agenda that creates a government that works for all of us. that we deal with the horrific trade policies that we have. that we raise the minimum wage. that we make education available to working families. child care available. guarantee health care to old people. i think that is a message that will resinate in many of the countries, in many of the states that trump won. >> thanks to senator bernie sanders and thanks to our audience members for our questions. our coverage continues right now with chris cuomo.
[ crowd chanting bernie ] [ applause ] hello, everyone, i'm chris cuomo. welcome to primetime. there it is. bernie sanders making his case to voters at our cnn town hall tonight. is he the best the democrats have to offer or is socialism a boogie man that will haunt him in a general election? our table is full on this matter. with michael cohen heading to testify tomorrow, what can he say tomorrow? and tsuggesting the mueller report should not reveal anything damaging about unindicted people. let's start by breaking down
bernie's big night. shall we give night. shall we give a grade? >> bernie sanders. i'll save my grade for later. what did you think? >> listen, i think that he -- for the people that continue to be hungry for a progressive agen agenda, he argues why are you going to go for the newbies, why are you going to go for the copies when you have the classic progressive guy. which is what he is. he did lay these issues on the table first in a national way. he had been doing it, toiling around in the senate for a long time. not a lot of people paid attention to it and they did it in a big way in 2016. and he answered questions. he answered tough questions. things like sexual harassment in his campaign. these are issues beyond what he would do for the country. things that are really, you know, potentially hurting his campaign and he answered them
head on. >> so you got message and messenger. they matter. especially in the democratic party. that party has to love their messenger. where do you think things stand versus 2016? do you think bernie is the best iteration of the message they have to offer? >> he's the best iteration of bernie's message. the programs he layed out. some of the legislation he illuded too. some of the foreign policy stances he said he would take was bernie's greatest hits. a couple of questions about the question on reparations, i don't think he really fielded before but it's a new question for the democrats right now. but i think this was sort of a wake up call to the bernie faithful. i don't see him making outreach to people that hadn't heard it before. i think people that are attracted to this message have perhaps heard it before. they might have heard some of it from elizabeth warren. they might have heard some of it from kamala harris. they might have heard it from
p pundants. >> voters like the new. he is a principled politician but they like the new. how does he deal with that challenge and how did he deal with it tonight? >> the sign of his success is not watching his presentation but any of the other town halls because they all sound like bernie sanders. the democratic party has moved toward him. i have been covering him for years. he hasn't changed in decades but when it comes to the big issues like health care, education, and minimum wage, the entire democratic party sounds way more like bernie sanders. >> is that a good thing? >> it could be a bad thing though. he's not going to stand out the same way he did in a one-on-one against hillary clinton. >> he lost that race and the difference between now and then is that people, wrong or right, particularly on the democratic
side thought that hillary clinton was inevitable if she were to go up against donald trump or maybe even some of the other republicans. now it's a democratic electorate fired up with one thing in mind which is defeat donald trump. >> do you think socialism is a barrier? that's something that trump is playing with for his base and won't resinate on the left at all? >> it could resinate on the left but the thing is that you could get some of the policies that bernie sanders is offering from other people that voters might consider more electable against donald trump. that's one thing we didn't hold a convincing case for. when he says bring a lie detector to the debate, that's cute. a lot of people tried that with
donald trump. whatever you want to do, its going to take more than having a list of handy facts to point out he is wrong. a lot of people tried it. all of them failed. >> i read an analysis of how do you go toe to toe with trump. how do you figure it out? i would have guessed when i saw marco rubio make the great line of if he weren't here he would be selling fake watches on 34th street. i thought somebody gave him a great line. we learned you can't be trump. there's only one. does he offer something. we here, look, let's be honest. all democrats are saying the same thing. whoever they is they have to beat trump. that's all i hear from people in that party. does he answer questions for people? >> i don't think he layed it out clearly yet but he does seem to think about and he talks about
trump voters as having a home in the party. he tried to show sympathy and didn't want to paint all trump voters as trump-like and he does believe that he has a kinship with those voters on the issues. that's his argument. >> he's going grass roots. let's put up the fund-raising numbers. this is something, to your point, 10 million raised in less than a week. now that is chicken feed but it's about the rate and the number of donors. 359,914. 38.76% came from new e-mail addresses that hadn't given to him before. relevance? >> relevance is those donars, if they're doing this correctly, inside the campaign, is email
address and voter outreach. that's why so many of all of these campaigns and the trump campaign as well on the republican side go for small dollars because small dollars equals grass roots, equals voter contact, equals actual votes on taxes they want something redistributive of actually targeting the middle class. then you have secondary issues. when people go to the ballot box it winds up not being one of the first boxes about why they went there. it comes down to the person versus the person. maybe in this election more than we have seen in recent cycles. >> there's the person and it's not just sort of personality in a superficial sense. there's a question of do you trust this person to actually get the ball over the line? do you trust this person, for
example, to work with other parts of government to make this happen? when you hear him talking about venezuela, that's how we're going to deal with that humanitarian crisis, that doesn't sound like what other candidates might say. >> not muscular enough. >> not detailed enough. i think he can be beaten on the details. she has thought this through and about legal implications and federal and state implications of what she wants to do. like wise with some of the other candidates. he's not just going to sort of have this to himself. people will start out saying yes morally i'm with him. around redistribution and taxes, even around the ultimate foreign policy goals however i have a different path to get here and
he's going to have to compete with that. >> the blind spot he had in 2016 that he spent work trying to adjust is understanding howdy verse the democratic party is right now. as a white guy from vermont, he didn't really understand all the issues that were important to every racial ethnic group in the democratic party. he got a lot of blow back over that. he has done a lot of work, and we saw it tonight, to try to address issues of race and identity but very interestingly, he did not endorse reparations which has suddenly burst into the democratic primary as an important issue and you have two of the top candidates, kamala harris and elizabeth warren that said they're for reparations. he didn't want to go there to endorse that. >> but he was making a good point. we often get caught up with buzz word answers.
reparations, for or against? but what does it mean? how would it work? how long have we been looking at this question? 120 years? i was okay with him saying well they said it but what do they mean? how do they mean it? that's the kind of issue where that can work as an approach. don't just say you're for it just to check a box for people where you'll never be able to deliver because you don't know how to get that done. he has that same problem on other issues where persuasion does matter. >> as much as i just said and we all just said that there's so much of the focus among democratic voters is practical electability and so forth, it's a fact. democratic voters, they like to fall in love. they like to have passion for their candidate and people fell in love with bernie sanders in 2016. they just did and those people -- >> they felt the bern.
>> they felt the bern and a lot of them still do and the question is whether that flame will stay alive or whether it will be different this year because of these other candidates that he considers bernie lite but might be potentially a person that could look at both of those issues. fall in love but also be practically electability. >> people fell in love with him for and against the democratic establishment that's for the clinton organization. they may have a resurgence but the clintons are not dominating. nobody is trying to clear the field for any of his rivals so maybe people aren't so much in love with him. maybe he doesn't represent an attack on an establishment that seems to have dispersed. >> they have a lot of things to figure out. this is a first step tonight. one of the big names we brought you tonight. bernie sanders, can he make you a pitch that will make him a president? always good to have you. i'm usually lonely. less than 24 hours from another major event in washington.
michael cohen is going back to lawmakers. he did lie to them before. and should andrew mccabe, should he be believed over the president? what does he think about michael cohen? what does he think about what the acting ag rosenstein told us about what should and should not be in the mueller report. andrew mccabe, next. ♪ t-mobile will do the math for you. right now, when you join t-mobile, you get two lines of unlimited with two of the latest phones included for just one hundred bucks a month. just as important as what you get out of it? our broccoli cheddar is made with aged melted
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show. we need to prove it. belief is irrelevant. prosecutors in america don't get to decree which facts are true. that's the standard for those still in government. my next guest is no longer there but remains a figure in this whole russia probe drama. his new book is called the threat. how the fbi protects america in the age of terror and trump. andrew mccabe. welcome to primetime. >> thanks. good to be here. michael cohen comes tomorrow. where do you expect this to register? >> that's hard to tell. it's been recalibrated recently. i have been watching these developments as intently as everyone else had. i'll be watching it wednesday.
of course i don't know what mr. cohen will say but as investigators typically look at witnesses, he is a person who had extraordinary access to multiple people who are most likely of interest to investigators of this matter and the possibilities are limitless. >> if he ties the president to what he did with payments to women, how big of a deal is that legally and in terms of what that might mean for our political process. even putting that aside, i think it's enormously significant for a participant in those schemes to step forward and indicate that one of his cohorts, co-conspirators was the current president of the united states. that will be a remarkable thing to hear from a witness if that's what we hear. >> but people expect that
already. you know about the doj guidance better than i ever will about why they don't believe in indicting a sitting president. the southern district could have been much more about the president. is there any -- what could the government do with that? what could politicians do with that information? >> well, i can't say what politicians would do with it but i think there's probably folks that believe that the evidence of the president's conduct is relevant in the minds of the men and women of this country. whether or not the justice department decides to go forward and indict that conduct is a separate issue and it's one that as you noted constitutional scholars and folks at the justice department have resolved by saying that a sitting president cannot be indicted. that's current policy. >> right. >> but even considering that fact, assuming that to be true, it seems to me, as a citizen of this country, it's relevant to know whether or not the president engaged in conduct
that would be considered evidence of a crime were he not the president of the united states. >> what are your concerns about his credibility? >> mr. coe haehen's credibility? >> yes. >> he has credibility issues and he's lied to congress. but i will say that this is not unusual. we frequently conduct investigations and build cases and prosecutions on the bases of co-op r cooperators and businesses that have problems. there's ways to address those problems in court as long as the witness admitted the misdeeds and the lies he stated prior to that fact and has taken some sort of responsibility and culpability for it they can provide testimony compelling and relevant to a prosecution. >> from what you heard from the southern district where they gave him a kwaqualified check,
was helpful to us, the mueller probe, saying that he was credible and the information he gave us was helpful. how does that wash out for him? >> well, i think it -- he's clearly getting help for providing information that's relevant and of no interest for them in their investigation. maybe not so much so for the southern district prosecutors looking more broadly at mr. cohen's past activity and people that he may have been involved with that have nothing to do with the on going russia probe. so that explains the difference in the two reviews as it were by the prosecutors and their reports. >> what would you want to hear most? >> you know, as an investigation, that illusive element you're trying to uncover is the element of intent. i think mr. cohen has been in a position to have heard conversations and see actions taken and be able to provide that insiders view on what the
intent of the folks at the center of this investigation truly was. that's been something that we have not seen to date. >> mr. mccabe, let me ask some questions. credibility is a problem for cohen. arguably it's a problem for you as well. they found you at the fbi to be lacking candor. i know you don't like the basis for that judgment. and a lot of other things in that igs report that came out. but, you know, he's an obama appointee and he came to those conclusions. there's a criminal reference to prosecute -- to investigate -- not to prosecute. to look at your matter. what is your case for your own credibility? >> as you know with civil litigation on its way and also with the current investigative efforts underway, i am limited in what i can go into detail with you tonight. >> people are going to watch and if they're on the fence, a lot of our viewers are on fence.
the fbi said you lie. what do you say to those people? >> a 21 year career in the fbi, unblemished career until the president decided and communicated to several people that he wanted me to go. what i can say about that ig report, which as you noted i deeply dispute is that i never lied, never deliberately mislead anyone, not in the igs office, not in the fbi and certainly never a director of the fbi under any circumstances at any time. >> how do you explain that guy who is not a trump guy, right? he was put in there by obama and you were there a long time. people respected you there. him coming to a different conclusion? >> i don't can't explain why th process is so deeply impacted by politi politics. i can't explain to you why even
now as my team attempts to uncover the igs own processes and policies and rules that should guide a fair and impartial process, we had to sue them in federal court to get access to information that, as i understand, they are obligated to provide to the public. >> do you think the ig did what they did with your findings because of the president? >> i think the president had an impact on the igs process. i know that the process that i went through was one that was unfair and was one that left out multiple pieces of relevant information. the testimony of witnesses that were never referenced in the report. i have great surveillance pigs th -- suspicion that the president's clear desire had a impact on it. >> he said mccabe had it out for me. he opened up this investigation with it, you're making a similar
case which is trump was out to get you so he persuaded an ig, somehow, who is an obama appointee to say bad things about you. >> i don't think that's the case, chris. on the decisions that i made and on the decisions that we made in those faithful days in may right after the firing of the director, we relied on our training, our authority, our processes. we had facts in our hands that indicated quite clearly that we had a basis to believe that a crime may have been committed or that a threat to national security might exist. >> so wait, explain that to my audience. >> sure. >> because that's a mouthful and i get it. but the idea of why did they start the investigation. politically, the argument is they had nothing. they just didn't like him. you don't want to talk about specifics. i get it. but you just said a phrase there that i want you to explain to my audience. what did you feel that you knew that justified your decision? >> right. so first thing you need to know
is the fbi does not make decisions based on politics. we make our decisions based on facts and by the time the director was fired and then with the president's own comments of the fact that he was thinking about russia when he fired the director and the statements he made to the russian foreign minister in the oval office, this all on the heels of his multiple comments to the director, one particularly in which he asked us to stop investigating mike flynn which we of course refused to do. when those circumstances culminated with the firing of the director and the statements of the president, at that point, we had the facts in our hands clearly observable by anybody that's watching this to be concerned that a federal crime, that of obstruction of justice may be taking place and that a threat to national security may have happened. that's the fbi standard for
opening a case. when we're in that place where we have those facts in our hands, we're obligated to conduct an investigation. doesn't mean that anybody did anything wrong. doesn't mean we're convicting anybody of a crime or throwing them in jail. it's simply, we're the investigators. it's time for us to do our job. whether that's the president of the united states or anybody else. >> do you still believe that the president might be compromised by russia or be some kind of asset? >> i think that that is possible. that's why we opened the case. i think we turned those investigations over into the most capable hands they could possibly be in and i await the results of that investigation as does every other american. >> walk down this road with me one more step. i get the idea of it looks like he is really messing with this and you'd have an argument about whether or not a president can obstruct justice. i'm sure that was a familiar conversation with you but then, all right. maybe he's somehow compromised, based on what do you think that
you can tell this audience gave you a suspicion that the president might be compromised by russia. >> let me address the thing that you just said there chris. we don't sit around at the fbi and discuss or make decisions about whether or not a president can commit a crime. whether or not a president can be inindicted. those are issues for the department of justice. our responsibility is investigatio investigations. >> so nobody discussed it? >> we had discussions about the facts in front of us and the things concerning us about the facts and what we thought we were obligated to do under the circumstance. i would say that the deputy attorney general was absolutely shoulder to shoulder with me during those days. we talked this through several times. he knew what we were thinking and how we were thinking about it and the decisions that we
were making. he agreed with those decisions. he and i both briefed these steps to the gang of 8. the leadership on the hill. >> you say nobody pushed back. >> no push back. >> including republicans. >> that's correct. as to why you think he might be a spy and you're still suspicious about that. why? >> the initial suspicion comes from the potential crime itself. if you think that the president of the united states may be trying to obstruct justice by cutting off the fbi investigation into russian meddling in the campaign, why would the president do that? there's no clear reason why any president would want to impede the fbi's ability to understand what our most formidable foreign adversary is up to, especially activity that threatens the health of our electoral process and democracy. >> one other quick thing. i understand the fbi practice of
if we don't indict you, we're not going to trash talk you. we're not going to give out information about what fuelled our initial allegations. there's a suggestion from rosenstein and others that that won't be done with mueller and his findings. do you believe that rule should be interpreted more loosely? >> we are in a remarkably unique situation. i don't know that anyone would dispute that. you have, i think, accurately summarized what doj kind of practice has been and policy, general policy is my personal belief is his work should be shared in the most robust form with congress and after that takes place i deeply hope that the mueller's teams results are shared with the public in the
most expansive way possible. we all recognize there's going to be information in there that cannot be shared. classified information, sensitive information. things like that but i think the american public has a right to know what the special counsel team has uncovered i appreciate you. >> thank you, chris. >> it's going to be michael cohen's word over the president once again on capitol hill. who is lying and what are they lying about? will cohen have evidence to back him up? where could it lead if he does? cuomo's court, next. with a barbershop quartet? [quartet singing] bum bum bum bum... pass the ball... pass the rock.. ...we're open just pass the ball! no, i can't believe how easy it was to save hundreds of dollars
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>> you're going to see very different things on capitol hill. you have michael cohen, the man that knows the ins and outs of the trump organization. he was involved in all kinds of things that lawyers usually aren't. he's going to be grilled by lawmakers three times. wednesday is going to be public view. his lies, the implications about what he said about the president, they're all going to come down to what he can show. that's going to be the big differentiator. let's talk to two people on this topic. mike rogers and jeffrey toobin
here in cuomo's court. he lied to congress. he's coming back now. that has to hurt him but he's armed with different things than he had last time. he has opened up about things and said he is truthful with us and the big x factor is what does he have to corroborate what comes out of his mouth? >> in criminal cases it's often that a bad guy flips and spills the beans on the guys he has been working with in the past. it state's exhib jurors often believe those people because they were on the inside. but the thing that they really need is corroboration. are there e-mails or text messages or tape recordings that were sent or received from the issues that are being testified
about. that's what is usually -- that's the thing that really gets juries to believe them and then that would be valuable in front of congress as well. >> you can always know what he can show. that's the hurdle. you make no secret that you think he's damaged goods because of the past. if he comes with documents, there's one thing i know about michael cohen having gone through the events of the last couple of years, he likes to keep records of things. he likes to record things and have documents and e-mails and proof of things that he thinks might be interesting. this could be that day. if we see whether that's true or not. what's your take? we have already seen he had a propensity to take notes and make recordings. all of that is probably in that
material that would corroborate it. >> he had the tape that established the most direct link between the president and what was done in his name. he had his voice on tape knshowg that he knew. that has already been cohen's biggest contribution to this point. so mike, though, to your ear, what are you waiting to hear most out of this testimony? >> everybody gets five minutes. i'd try to give one or two people 15 minutes so you can get some depth of questions and then the follow up questions. if everybody takes five minutes, this is going to be a lot of panderring and a lot of this is my youtube moment and i don't think we'll find out much. if they're smart and start asking questions, to me what is
interesting is the finance side. that's where he really brings a lot of intimacy with the trump organization, over a decade of time, including the things that might lead to that trump project in moscow. so if i were an investigator, i'd want to know, well, tell me, how did all the other financial dealings work and when they called you in, tell me why. what was going wrong by the time you got involved in it and oh, by the way, now let's start talking about what this trump tower was and it's still to me a little bit of a mystery. i don't think there was anything wrong with it as long as you were transparent about it but they weren't. so something must -- there must be more to that story. i'd like to know what that is. >> i'm sure that our heads are on the same page there is that there's been so much lying by the president of the united states and if there's one guy that michael cohen is going to definitely have a shot at, its going to be his old boss and is
that the same way that you're feeling about this? if michael cohen can explain why the president lied about the big ticket items surrounding this probe, that would be something? >> it would be a very big deal but remember the attack on him is going to be but the question that always comes back is, well, if i'm such a terrible person, why did donald trump trust me for ten years? >> mm-hmm. >> you know, the line you always used in summation as a prosecutor is like, this witness is not my friend, not the government's friend. he's the defendant's friend. >> mm-hmm. >> you know, he's the one who chose to confide in him. he's the one who chose, you know, to negotiate with his supposed girlfriends and pay them off. i mean that's -- that's the, you know, the thing that cohen has going for him. you know, if he was such a terrible person, why did donald trump give him all these responsibilities? that's a tough thing to answer. >> as somebody who worked with these folks, i tend to work with
organized crime folks and pretty bad people involved with murder and kidnaps, the whole nine yards. one thing is if they get on the stand and basically say, yeah, i was a bad person, i did bad things, and i feel sorry, remorseful for it, here's why, i think that's always a better approach to these things than trying to say, well, you know, i was kind of a good guy. he misled me. i really wanted to do -- no. you were a bad guy. you did bad things. you lied. >> yep. >> now, let's get that on the table, throw that up, and then let's talk about the things and the relationships you had and why did you make those certain decisions to do bad things. i think that is a lot more credible for a witness like that. >> i appreciate it. thank you very much both. we're going to know the answers very soon, and i'll beg you to come back. all right. did you see the oscars last night? spike lee calling on voters to choose love over hate in 2020. the president did, and you know what he took it as? a racist hit.
did you catch the oscars last night? some real advances in recognizing the black experience and talent being rewarded. "blackkklansman," "black panther," if beale street could talk. green book was the best picture. moving forward to a place where we are all more embracing of differences as strengths. bravo, oscar. spike lee won for best adapted screen play and said this after jumping into samuel l. jackson's arms. >> the 2020 presidential election is around the corner. [ applause ] let's all mobilize. let's all be on the right side of history.
make the moral choice between love versus hate. let's do the right thing! >> political? sure. spike lee has zero love for this president, calls him agent orange. but last night lee kept it positive, choosing love over hate, urging people to vote, not even invoking the president's name. so what did the president do? this. tweet. be nice if spike lee could read his notes or, better yet, not have to use notes at all when doing his racist hit on your president. first, lee coming at the president isn't racism. second, the president invokes racism now? and then he mocks someone for how they read a script? has he seen himself on tv? listen, i doubt the president has seen "blackkklansman" but it ends with ugly scenes from the ugliness in charlottesville, tiki torches, nazi chants, you know, the truth. that was clear for everyone except two groups, white haters
and this president. >> you had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. >> did he know what that meant to everyone except the racists? i'd like to believe that the president of the united states just had an off moment, or he said it wrong. he doesn't mean it. but the facts slap that fiction in the face. he sees bigotry in a pretty ecumenical sentiment from lee. but when asked about his mentor on immigration and accused bigot congressman steve king, you get this. >> you know, i don't know anything about the situation. when did he announce that? >> today. >> i have not seen it. he hasn't told me anything. so we'll have to take a look. >> so this really isn't about the benefit of the doubt. the truth is i doubt there is any benefit to pretending this president doesn't love to stir the waters of division, including bigotry. and he knows that and yet says this. >> are you racist? >> i am the least racist person.
i am the least racist person that you've ever met. i am the least racist person, the least racist person that you've ever seen. >> now, many don't count these sound bites as proof of the argument of where the president is wrong on race. but i actually find them the most instructive. here's the argument. he knows this isn't true. he knows what he does, and he knows why he does it. so if he isn't racist, what is he? he ignores bigotry where it is unless literally forced to disown it, like with david duke. you remember that? he rushes out to basically defend white supremacists by saying there were good people on both sides. and what burned many about charlottesville, he didn't seize on the death of heather heyer. he seized on both sides and antifa, reducing the reality of the role of racism. why? if that bigot who killed heather were mexican, you think this president would have been similarly silent?
be honest. no, right? he would have used it. he would have used her death as proof of a wickedness, a problem, but not here. is entering illegally really worse than what heather heyer's death was about? the president played to the petty, bringing racism where it wasn't with spike lee. and he's poisoning us by ignoring bigotry where it is. but while it would be great to have leadership come from the top, last night in the oscars, we got to see how the rest of you can make things better on your own, recognizing diversity and talent, rewarding those who speak truth about our reality. that truth and embracing diversity, those are the best hope for america becoming greater still. and i hope that this president, if he's going to keep taking these shots, at some point he at least owns why he does it. just like as we always say on this show, why lie? if you have nothing to hide, why lie? that applies to russia. it applies to some ancillary matters around that, and it
applies to this too. if you're going to ignore somebody like steve king and ignore racism where it's staring us in the face, you should tell the american people why you do it because it's obvious to everyone. thanks for watching. "cnn tonight with don lemon" starts right now. >> so according to the dictionary, "racist, a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races or who believes that a particular race is superior to another." you can do that through your comments. you can do that by ignoring racism. you can do that through your actions. you can do that through your policies. you can do that through ignorance. you can pretend that you don't see it. all of that is racist material. that's all racist. and so you saw the back of my fat head there when i asked him a number of times -- >> i wasn't going to say anything