Our President, the Russian agent

As much as I’d like to spend my time this evening talking about Donald Trump and his 300 hamburgers, I think our time together might be better spent discussing the two big pieces of news that broke over the weekend concerning the Russia investigation. First, the New York Times reported that, just after Donald Trump fired FBI Director Jim Comey and then celebrated the fact by sneaking a Russian delegation into the White House, the FBI opened an official inquiry into whether or not the President of the United States was working on behalf of the Russian government. Then, the Washington Post reported that Donald Trump, after his private meeting with Putin this past July in Helsinki, actually confiscated the notes of the interpreter who had accompanied him, and demanded that no one in his cabinet be told what was discussed. And, apparently, those two stories, coming as they did, one right after the other, were enough to break through all the noise, and capture the attention of the American public and the press. This morning, on the White House lawn, President Donald Trump was asked whether or not he was, in fact, an agent of the Russian government.

And, here, for those of you who haven’t yet read the two stories in question, are excerpts from both.

The New York Times:

In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence…

Agents and senior F.B.I. officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude…

The Washington Post:

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. U.S. officials learned of Trump’s actions when a White House adviser and a senior State Department official sought information from the interpreter beyond a readout shared by Tillerson…

So, yeah, over the past few days we’ve learned both that our President was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation, and that he sought to keep government officials from discovering what he’d said behind closed doors with Vladimir Putin. Will it make a difference to the Republicans in Congress, who have continued to look the other way over the past two years, even as mountains of evidence have become public? Probably not. But at least now we know that, before Mueller was appointed as Special Counsel, the FBI already had reason to suspect that Donald Trump was acting as a foreign agent. And, as former FBI officials have pointed out, they likely had a whole lot more than just “reason to suspect”, as members of the U.S. intelligence community wouldn’t just open a counterintelligence investigation against the President of the United States without hard evidence.

One last thing… Donald Trump, since becoming President of the United States, has met face-to-face with Vladimir Putin five times, and, according to the Washington Post, there are not detailed records of any one of those meetings. It’s strange enough that the President of the United States would go out of his way to meet an adversary five times in a two year period, let alone if said adversary had, in the unanimous opinion of every U.S. intelligence organization, sought to interfere with our election. It is doubly strange that, having held five meetings, there would be no detailed notes as to what was discussed during these meetings. Make of that what you will.

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49 Comments

  1. stolen from the webs
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Former top DOJ counterintel official @DavidLaufmanLaw on the recent Trump/Russia revelations: “The evidence points to the inference—and it’s a painful thing to acknowledge—that the president is a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.”

  2. stolen from the webs
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    video: https://twitter.com/MaddowBlog/status/1085005691763466240

  3. Sad
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    With McDonalds current deals serving burgers could be a fiscally sound move on the presidents part.

  4. stupid hick
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    “As much as I’d like to spend my time this evening talking about Donald Trump and his 300 hamburgers”

    Yes, let’s talk about this. Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Burger King. Anyone else notice who is not invited to Trump’s table? Taco Bell. Of course he’s racist. Even FF can’t ignore it any longer.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    It was 1000 burgers, dammit! Fake news MM can’t get it right. And pizza. And salad. The best salad.

  6. John Brown
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Wake up sheeple. If Agent Orange is ordained by “god” then she must be a ruskie stooge too.

  7. Donald Trump weighs in
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    The rank and file of the FBI are great people who are disgusted with what they are learning about Lyin’ James Comey and the so-called “leaders” of the FBI. Twelve have been fired or forced to leave. They got caught spying on my campaign and then called it an investigation. Bad!

  8. M
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    It was Trump who said that he’d bought 300 hamburgers with his own money. Later in the evening he upped the number to 1,000.

  9. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    “And, as former FBI officials have pointed out, they likely had a whole lot more than just “reason to suspect,” as members of the U.S. intelligence community wouldn’t just open counterintelligence investigations against the President of the United States without hard evidence.”

    In my opinion not serving Taco Bell was border-line moronic. How many calories are in this nada-burrito?

  10. Sad
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    If he were really a Russian agent he would have been serving those young people Borscht and blini.

  11. EOS
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Some in the FBI were very concerned about the paper trail they left when they lied to get the FISA warrant to spy on the Trump campaign. Therefore, they accuse the victim of perpetrating the same crimes that they (and their friends) are guilty of. Drill the accusation to the public, day in, day out, until many believe that there might be some merit to the false accusation. Then, maybe 3 or 4 years later, when the investigation is over and everyone finds out there is no credible evidence to back up this accusation, there will be no will to investigate the real perpetrators of crimes. Clinton worked on behalf of the Russian government when she accepted massive contributions to her foundation in response to selling Uranium One to them. There is ample evidence of this. Her defense was that she was not the only one who approved the sale. Seems the FBI agreed with her assesment. Hmmm.

  12. iRobert
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Last week I spoke to a guy I know who used to work tracking visitors to the US from adversary nations who were suspected of being spies. Most were considered primarily industrial/corporate spies, and not the highly trained ones assigned more political objectives. Many of the individuals he was assigned to watch were Russian or Chinese. He told me that Russian intelligence tends to give up the goods they have on their blackmail victims once they’ve outlived their usefulness. I questioned whether or not even a former US President would ever outlive their usefulness. He seemed to feel they would, and that it would be considered if greater value to leave a former president utterly destroyed and disgraced.

    US intelligence has without a doubt done exhaustive analysis of Trump’s statements, demeanor, mannerisms, and every possible ‘tell’ as to what is going on. The intelligence of every other major world power has certainly as well. They have been aggressively developing their methods and technology for doing such analysis for many decades now. Additionally, Trump is one of the easiest reads of any adult any of us have ever seen. He’s absurdly obvious in his behavior. US and foreign intelligence agencies undoubtedly have very good ideas about how compromised Trump is and very likely as to the nature of it. I am certain the extent of the profile which has been developed would be stunning in depth, scope and specificity. None of this is the guessing game it is to the casual observer.

  13. iRobert
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Trunp’s behavior around Putin in Helsinki was embarrassingly obvious and telling. It doesn’t take an expert to see they have something on him. But apparently all it takes to ignore it is a deep hatred of Hillary and the Democrats.

    Trump’s behavior is as impulsive and transparent as that of a young child. I want stricter immigration policies and better trade agreements, but having a character like Trump in the Presidency isn’t worth it. He needs to be challenged in the GOP primaries. He’s dangerous.

  14. Lynne
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I think it says a lot about the immorality of many in our country that so many still support this man. We are not the moral nation we like to think of ourselves as and a very good many of us are downright mean. I hope that changes.

  15. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Bongino explains what is happening in reality.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su3i3QnAahQ

  16. Daily Beast
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Daily Beast: “Bongino has personally benefited from Trump, too. His ascendancy as a media personality and a man who wields presidential-level influence has been aided by the odd media consumption habits of the commander in chief and the Republican Party’s own embrace of the unapologetically pugnacious, if sometimes outrageous, political style that Bongino embodies. The approach that made him virtually unelectable in a previous era has turned him into a trusted ally in the current one.”

  17. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Bongino makes some interesting connections but members of the U.S. intelligence community wouldn’t just open counterintelligence investigations against the President of the United States without hard evidence, because members of the U.S. intelligence community wouldn’t just open counterintelligence investigations against the President of the United States without hard evidence. Additionally, members of the U.S. intelligence community wouldn’t just open counterintelligence investigations against the President of the United States without hard evidence because members of the U.S. intelligence community wouldn’t just open counterintelligence investigations against the President of the United States without hard evidence. In conclusion, members of the U.S. intelligence community wouldn’t just open counterintelligence investigations against the President of the United States without hard evidence, because zero calorie burritos.

  18. iRobert
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    The video has a lot of good information, HW, and I agree people should watch it. Still, it brings up details which beg so many more questions. It’s just a sliver of what people should pay attention to in this. I guarantee even the individuals, who we’d identify as being heavily involved, only understand a fraction of what is going on around them. Our challenge viewing from so far outside o it is considerably more difficult.

    Thanks for posting the link to the video. I’ll be interested to see what others have to say about the details which are mentioned in it.

    FF, do you have any impressions you’d like to share?

    I think it would be cool if we could get a very serious discussion going on this blog regarding the issues involved with this situation. I won’t hold my breath, but still think it would be incredibly cool if we could do it. This bullshit of mocking each other and accusing each other of being the enbodiement of evil is just getting boring and annoying. I’d like to try a serious exchange, if anyone else is.

    I know lots of commenters, including myself, like to mock HW. Still, I believe he brings some interesting questions to the table and focuses on some interesting details. I also understand where Mark is coming from and many others make some very good points and raise questions. I think, theoretically, we could all discuss these things thoughtfully, even if we consider the opinions of others here as terribly misguided.

  19. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    iRobert,

    You are right. I am at such a distance to the whole Russia-gate thing I have no idea how it will play out. I assume everyone else here is at the same impossible distance more or less. I should mock less. I however, am not sure how else to slow down the unjustified claims machine. I appreciate people who take a let’s wait and see approach. I can’t stand Mark’s headline. I think the supreme faith in the intelligence community is just downright weird. We have a documented history of all sorts of covert operations. What in the world did the average Ann Arbor democrat read when they were in college? The subversive New York Times? Watch? CNN and Maddow?

    I have hit the insider-information-mega-millions-jackpot exactly once in my entire life. That one time was enough to be skeptical about what our media, intelligence community, and leaders tell us–FOREVER.

  20. John Brown
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Bonobo has NRA and Ruskie cum dripping down his cheeks…..

  21. iRobert
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    FF (and JB), I too usually just feel like mocking, and enjoy it really. I can appreciate the mocking other folks here do as well, regardless of the ideological slant.

    Whenever I comment about how it might be interesting for us here to try having a purely constructive, thoughtful conversation, I feel it’s necessary for me to confess that I’m not that hopeful or even serious about it. It appears to be an extremely difficult thing for a group of people to pull off online. So, in a way, I’m kind of mocking the culture of the internet by suggesting such a thing. Still, I enjoy a good challenge and like to think I’m up to it, if other are.

    I get a kick out of imagining what it would be like if we were all sitting around a boardroom table in business attire, having the sorts of exchanges we have here. The internet has enabled the most absurd and obnoxious amongst us, and in all of us.

    As rediculious as it sounds, I feel like I am often trying to find a balance between mockery and serious discussion here. I enjoy both, but not so much when mixed together in a disrespectful way.

  22. EOS
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Be the change you want to see in the world.

  23. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    iRobert,

    You have a gift for being able to mock in a funny way that does not come across as offensive. The people do not have that gift just need to keep plugging away.

  24. Alice Krum
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Rudy Giuliani last night on CNN.

    “I never said there was no collusion.”

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-giuliani-cuomo-cnn-collusion_us_5c3ff0a1e4b027c3bbbdf224

  25. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Misquote.

  26. Alice Krum
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    It’s an exact quote. You might be able to make the case that there’s insufficient context, but you can’t say it’s a misquote.

  27. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    “it’s a misquote.” –Alice Krum

    I am glad you are aware that it’s a misquote.

  28. Anonymous
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Next, if the President has a rallying cry about the Russia probe, it’s no collusion. Well, what did his lawyer just tell us, next.

    (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

    CUOMO: Let’s be clear. The President’s rallying cry first was, no contact with anybody. But then it was, no collusion. But here’s what his lawyer just told us.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    GIULIANI: I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign.

    CUOMO: Yes, you have. GIULIANI: I have no idea — I have not. I said the President of the United States.

  29. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Mr. Mayor, false reporting is saying that nobody in the campaign had any contacts with Russia. False reporting is saying that there has been no suggestion of any kind of collusion between the campaign and any Russians. Because now you have Paul Manafort giving poll data that winds up leading to this coincidence —
    RUDY GIULIANI: Well, you just misstated my position. I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign —

    CUOMO: Yes, you have.

    GIULIANI: I have no idea — I have not. I said the president of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC.

    CUOMO: First of all, crime is not the bar of accountability for a president. It’s about what you knew —

    GIULIANI: Well, he didn’t collude with Russia either!

    CUOMO: — what was right, and what was wrong, and what did you deceive about? Those are going to be major considerations.

    GIULIANI: The president did not collude with the Russians.

    (CROSSTALK)

    CUOMO: He said nobody had any contact, tons of people had contact. Nobody colluded, the guy running his campaign —

    GIULIANI: He didn’t say nobody —

    CUOMO: — was working on an issue at the same time as the convention.

    GIULIANI: He said he didn’t. He didn’t say nobody. How would you know that nobody in your campaign —

    CUOMO: He actually did say that, Rudy. He said, nobody, and then he said, as far as I know.

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIULIANI: Well, as far as he knows, it’s true.

    CUOMO: But I don’t know that it’s true.

  30. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    “But I don’t know that it’s true.”

    Hahaha.

  31. Anonymous
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, “CUOMO PRIME TIME”: Thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to Prime Time.

    First, it was, no one in the Trump campaign had any contact with Russia. The President said that too. The truth, many people had tons of contacts. Then it was, no, no, no proof of collusion between the campaign and the Russians. The truth? How do you explain the Manafort allegations as anything but collusion? Tonight, an exclusive one on one with President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

    And the other big story, the shutdown, getting bloodier by the day. More pain for people who don’t deserve to be in the middle, more signs we’ll all feel the pain of the economy. And now the President is feeling it, too. The Speaker of the House pushes the President to postpone the State of the Union. Valid security concerns or political power play by Nancy Pelosi. That’s our great debate.

    And four Americans died today in Syria. Proof the President is right about leaving or wrong about ISIS being done and guaranteeing things get worse if we do leave. We’re going to ask a veteran on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It’s a big night. Let’s get after it.

    All right, so we’re going to keep it tight tonight. Here’s the issue, Mueller has Manafort at the nexus of two troubling incidents. He alleges that Manafort was meeting with Russians about taming U.S. policy in Ukraine, and at the same time, he was running the Trump campaign, and at the same time, the party was softening its platform on helping Ukraine.

    The second, that the same faces and places being targeted by the campaign were targeted by Russian trolls. Is that thanks to Manafort giving poll data to bad guys? These questions come as the Senate considers the nomination of a new man to oversee the investigation, who says the findings should come out and that this is not a witch hunt, the special counsel still wants to question the President in person. His lawyers are standing in his way.

    And again, we have one tonight, the main man, Rudy Giuliani. Good to have you on Prime Time. Thank you for doing it.

    RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP’S PERSONAL LAWYER: How are you, Chris?

    CUOMO: I’m doing well. Good to see you.

    GIULIANI: Good to see you.

    CUOMO: First, let’s do some housekeeping. Have you been speaking, interchanging with the Mueller team? Is there any news about whether or not the President will answer more questions?

    GIULIANI: We told them six weeks ago that we would not take anymore questions. That was at the time we found out a lot of very disturbing things about how they’ve conducted themselves, including one today that’s devastating to Mueller. And basically, you know, destroying the 19,000 texts that were all done during the period of time of the Mueller investigation. Every single one of his text messages has been destroyed by Mueller’s people.

    CUOMO: Well, just to get the facts straight, Mr. Mayor, you said something I don’t think you meant. They recovered 19,000 texts —

    GIULIANI: No, they’ve also —

    CUOMO: From Strzok and Page.

    GIULIANI: They’ve also not been able to recover almost an equal number.

    CUOMO: But how do they know how many they couldn’t recover?

    GIULIANI: Well, they’re assuming. It’s actually between 9 and 19,000, if you want to be specific. And we don’t have those. And those are the ones that he would be texting to Page, the one he was texting things like, “We have to prevent him from being president,” “we have to become an insurance policy if he becomes president.”

    CUOMO: Right, those all came out.

    GIULIANI: “He’s a disreputable, sick, insane man.”

    CUOMO: Right. They didn’t like Trump.

    GIULIANI: No, they didn’t like Trump. They hated Trump. Hated.

    CUOMO: Hate’s your word. But clearly —

    GIULIANI: No, when you say that a man —

    CUOMO: But the inspector general, two of them, said it didn’t affect their work.

    GIULIANI: Well, maybe if we had these texts, we would find out it did affect their work.

    CUOMO: Maybe you wouldn’t.

    GIULIANI: Because we don’t have the texts when he was working for Mueller. Mueller’s people erased them, even knowing that they would have this history. CUOMO: Right, but why?

    GIULIANI: You tell me what they would think of us if we did that. They knew that Strzok and Page had texted these inappropriate things.

    CUOMO: Yes, and they removed them from the team because of them.

    GIULIANI: They know — and that’s the reason they should have retained the texts.

    CUOMO: But why? They already took action against them and they had no reason to question the animus the way you are right now, not at that time.

    GIULIANI: Well, of course they did, they read the text. The reason they were fired is because of his inappropriate texting.

    CUOMO: Right.

    GIULIANI: Then go erase the phone?

    CUOMO: Well, that’s their policy though.

    GIULIANI: And you want me to accept that was in good faith when you have a guy like Weissmann in there?

    CUOMO: But that’s what the inspector general said.

    GIULIANI: Well, the inspector general actually didn’t know at that point that these things have been removed.

    CUOMO: No, but in the report, I just —

    GIULIANI: And the inspector general can be wrong, too. He’s not god, you know.

    CUOMO: Well, I know you say that, nobody is god. We all understand that. There’s only one higher power. But what I’m saying, Mr. Mayor is that, they looked at it, they were concerned about it, and they revealed that there is a policy in place, when you surrender your phone, it is erased and given to somebody else.

    GIULIANI: Not if it’s evidence of misconduct, if you do that.

    CUOMO: But they weren’t looking at it that way, the way you are, they had already removed them.

    GIULIANI: Maybe they were so damned bias, they weren’t looking at it that way, because they were involved in a witch hunt to get Trump from the very beginning. So today we find out, in “The Hill,” John Solomon’s article is devastating. I didn’t see your report on that, Chris. That article says —

    CUOMO: Right.

    GIULIANI: That from day one — CUOMO: I saw it.

    GIULIANI: We didn’t know this yet but from day one, they knew that the dossier was bought and paid for by Hillary Clinton and the DNC, $1.1 million. That it was a phony document.

    CUOMO: They did not think it was a phony document.

    GIULIANI: Well, how about, it put Cohen at places he wasn’t. How about he have said that —

    [21:05:00] CUOMO: And that may have been wrong. But there were a lot of different memoranda in it that had different sourcing and some of it was right, some of it wasn’t.

    GIULIANI: There is not a single piece of that document that has been substantiated.

    CUOMO: That’s not true.

    GIULIANI: Strzok testified to that.

    CUOMO: Strzok did not testify to that.

    GIULIANI: Lisa Page testified to that. She certainly did.

    CUOMO: No, they —

    GIULIANI: He certainly did.

    CUOMO: They were testifying as I remember it, they were testifying on the idea that it was the soul premise of the investigation. You had nothing else. This is what your FISA application was.

    GIULIANI: No. No, no.

    CUOMO: This is all you had. And they said, that’s not true.

    GIULIANI: Well, you know what it was? It was a completely fraudulent affidavit. Because the affidavit fails to mention that the dossier on which the case was based, at least in part, whether it’s whole or in part, it was a false statement. It did not say to the court that this was an op research.

    CUOMO: That’s not true also. There was a footnote about —

    GIULIANI: The footnote doesn’t mention Hillary Clinton, doesn’t mention the DNC. It says that a law firm —

    CUOMO: Right.

    GIULIANI: It says, “a law firm paid for this document.”

    CUOMO: As opposition research.

    GIULIANI: Didn’t say opposition. CUOMO: Not in the footnote.

    GIULIANI: Chris, let’s be truthful, let’s be truthful!

    CUOMO: Always.

    GIULIANI: Come on now.

    CUOMO: Always.

    GIULIANI: Let’s stop all of this false reporting.

    CUOMO: What false reporting? What have I said that’s false?

    GIULIANI: What you said is they revealed it. They did not reveal it. They revealed something false. They said it was paid for a law firm, not that it was political op-ed research. Not that Hillary Clinton provided money for, not that the DNC provided money for it. That would make it highly suspect.

    CUOMO: No, they said that it was paid for to get opposition research on a political opponent.

    GIULIANI: No, they did not! They said it was paid for by a law firm seeking information on Donald Trump. It did not say, opposition research, did not say it was paid for by Hillary Clinton. You don’t think that’s relevant? That it was paid for by his —

    CUOMO: I think it’s relevant. That’s why I’m having a discussion with you.

    GIULIANI: And they knew it and knew it at the time. They were briefed by Bruce Ohr, who testified under oath. He’s hardly a friend of Donald Trump. Bruce Ohr testified that he explained it to Andrew Wiseman, one of Mueller’s chief deputies who have been cited for ethical misbehavior so often. It’s disgraceful that he’s working for the government and getting paid for the government, should have been fired 10 years ago, when he screwed up the Enron case, when he screwed up the (inaudible) case, when he refused to provide documents exculpatory to people who were let out of jail.

    CUOMO: I hear you on all of this and I get the questions. And you have made them before. You have made them clear on this show before.

    GIULIANI: No, I didn’t know, I did not make them before.

    CUOMO: This stuff about the dossier being bogus and paid for by Clinton, the faces of everything, that’s been made many times on this show.

    GIULIANI: I did not know that they knew about that from day one. They lied about that, they concealed that. I did not know that the Strzok and Page texts have been eliminated.

    CUOMO: What you do know is that the inspector general looked at them, they had a chance to review the texts, and it was found by an independent body, actually two, who take a look at it, that they didn’t believe there was animus that affected the work.

    GIULIANI: That’s totally ridiculous! When somebody says I hate somebody —

    CUOMO: Because you don’t like it?

    GIULIANI: That’s totally ridiculous! When somebody says, “I hate that person,” as a prosecutor, I’m not putting him in charge of that investigation. That is sick.

    CUOMO: I hear you.

    GIULIANI: That an absolutely sick, totally biased statement! You tell me you would like to be investigated by someone who hates you?

    CUOMO: I wouldn’t want to be investigated by anybody and it was the right move to remove them.

    GIULIANI: Do you think it’s fair to have somebody investigating the President of the United States who has expressed opinions hating him? Only after he —

    CUOMO: They found out.

    GIULIANI: Only after he started the investigation.

    CUOMO: And the inspector general said that that work was not done —

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIULIANI: Only after he submitted the false affidavit.

    CUOMO: Mr. Mayor —

    GIULIANI: He had done tremendous damage by the time he did that. The amount of false reporting about this case is despicable!

    CUOMO: Mr. Mayor, false reporting is saying that nobody in the campaign had any contacts with Russia. False reporting is saying that there has been no suggestion of any kind of collusion between the campaign and any Russians. Because now you have Paul Manafort giving poll data that winds up leading to this coincidence —

    GIULIANI: Well, you just misstated my position. I never said there was no collusion between the campaign! Or between people in the campaign —

    CUOMO: Yes, you have.

    GIULIANI: I have no idea — I have not. I said the President of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the President of the United States committed the only crime you could commit here, conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC.

    CUOMO: First of all, crime is not the bar of accountability for a President. It’s about what you knew — GIULIANI: Well, he didn’t collude with Russia either!

    CUOMO: — what was right, what was wrong, and what did you concede about?

    (CROSSTALK)

    CUOMO: We said nobody had any contact, bunch of people have contact, nobody colluded, the guy running his campaign was working on an issue at the same time as the convention.

    GIULIANI: He said he didn’t. He didn’t say nobody. How would you know that nobody in your campaign —

    CUOMO: He actually did say that, Rudy. He said, nobody, and then he said, as far as I know.

    GIULIANI: Well, as far as he knows, it’s true.

    CUOMO: But I don’t know that it’s true. How did Paul Manafort do all of these things and nobody knew?

    GIULIANI: He was only there for six months or four months.

    CUOMO: He was there for the convention when they change the platform. He gave the polling data, Cambridge Analytica. You don’t have the same questions about them as you do the dossier.

    GIULIANI: And they ended up — how about reporting this, and they ended up with a stronger platform on Ukraine than they started with —

    [21:10:03] CUOMO: No, they didn’t.

    GIULIANI: Yes, they did.

    CUOMO: They wanted to put in there that we would give help with lethal weaponry and they changed it to soften it.

    GIULIANI: GIULIANI: And they took it out and then they put back in that they were going to give substantial help to Ukraine —

    CUOMO: Right. But not the same.

    GIULIANI: — which was not —

    CUOMO: It was not even soften —

    GIULIANI: — the Democratic platform, by the way.

    CUOMO: It was softened. Who did it?

    GIULIANI: — which was not the Democratic platform.

    CUOMO: And why they did it? We don’t know.

    GIULIANI: And the President had no knowledge of that. I happen to know that. I question him about —

    CUOMO: He didn’t know about his own party’s platform?

    GIULIANI: Chris, come on, you’ve been around politics. They don’t — candidates don’t know a damned thing about the platform. They don’t pay any attention to their platform.

    CUOMO: I was raised by a guy who would have corrected the punctuation in the party platform.

    GIULIANI: Well, that will maybe was different. But I’ve been where a lot of presidents and a lot of presidential campaigns. And their platform, they pay no attention to it. They care about their acceptance speech. That’s what they spent their time off.

    CUOMO: Fine.

    (CROSSTALK)

    CUOMO: There are two coincidences to answer for. The first is, is Manafort is viable at the head campaign when that’s going on. Then he’s viable at the head of the campaign giving polling data that winds up having the same faces and places targeted by the campaign that are targeted by Russian trolls. How is that not collusion?

    GIULIANI: It’s not collusion.

    CUOMO: How is it not?

    GIULIANI: Well, because polling data is given to everybody.

    CUOMO: What?

    GIULIANI: I mean he shouldn’t have given it to them. That’s wrong to give it to them.

    CUOMO: So it’s given to everybody.

    GIULIANI: And I can’t speak for Paul Manafort. Of course, it is. First off all, the most inappropriate, the most the inaccurate stuff in internal polling data. All of it is cooked and contaminates —

    CUOMO: They wound up coming to the same conclusions about whom to target and where. If you give people who are trying to interfere in election information about where to target and whom, you don’t see that as collusion.

    GIULIANI: Not with the President of the United States, not with Donald Trump, Trump —

    (CROSSTALK)

    CUOMO: But with at a minimum with his campaign, —

    GIULIANA: He didn’t know. He didn’t know.

    CUOMO: — and the question becomes, what did the President know?

    GIULIANI: He and I didn’t know about that until —

    CUOMO: You — I’m not saying you did. I’m asking about the President.

    GIULIANI: And he didn’t. He did not know about it until it was revealed a few weeks ago in an article. I still haven’t seen the testimony. I’ve seen the article, which is based on leaks.

    CUOMO: Question.

    GIULIANI: So, I don’t know what was actually said, —

    CUOMO: Question.

    GIULIANI: — what was actually done.

    CUOMO: Question for you.

    GIULIANI: At this point, I have no real solid knowledge anything like that was done. All I have is what was leaked to a newspaper, probably unethically —

    CUOMO: Question.

    GIULIANI: — leaked to the newspaper.

    CUOMO: Question for you.

    GIULIANI: Like that counterintelligence report was leaked to the newspaper and the reporters never bothered to ask, if they started to encounter —

    CUOMO: It wasn’t a leak. It was in the filing, by the way.

    GIULIANI: If they started an investigation, a counterintelligence investigation a year and a half ago, don’t you think as a reporter you would ask, what was the conclusion of that investigation?

    CUOMO: No, they handed it off to Mueller.

    GIULIANI: No, they didn’t. You can’t hand off a counterintelligence —

    CUOMO: Sure, you can.

    GIULIANI: — national security investigation to a prosecutor —

    CUOMO: That’s —

    GIULIANI: Absolutely, not.

    CUOMO: But that was —

    GIULIANI: That’s means you found, no — no, Chris. I’ve got — I worked to the Justice —

    CUOMO: I know. Look, I know you did. I’m not telling you, you don’t know the protocols. I’m saying that, that was —

    GIULIANI: Let me explain.

    CUOMO: Go ahead.

    GIULIANI: Let me explain to your audience the truth about that.

    CUOMO: Please.

    GIULIANI: The truth about that is that if you’re doing a counterintelligence investigation and you find any evidence of breach of national security, you’ve got to follow up on it. You can’t refer it to a prosecutor because you have to quickly report that to people in authority so that they can protect America against the national security breach. They found no such breach. None.

    CUOMO: All right. Look, I take your opinion.

    GIULIANI: None.

    CUOMO: I take your opinion on it.

    GIULIANI: And if “New York Times” less the innuendo —

    CUOMO: Let’s see what’s in the report.

    GIULIANI: The “New York Times,” less the innuendo that they might have, because they didn’t report that that investigation found nothing.

    CUOMO: All right. And I take your opinion on that.

    GIULIANI: And that’s the kind of stuff —

    CUOMO: And the audience has heard it. We’ll see —

    GIULIANI: That’s the kind of stuff —

    CUOMO: We’ll see —

    GIULIANI: That’s the kind of stuff they’re doing to this President.

    CUOMO: All right. Well, let’s — I have two more questions, OK? And then I’ll let you go. First one is that —

    GIULIANI: I can stay all night.

    CUOMO: I know, I know. But, you know, I’ve got — I have to take commercials and I don’t want to hold you over break. It’s very weird to do that. So the idea of transparency, everybody should be on the same page.

    GIULIANI: Yes. I agree. CUOMO: Whatever does not compromise national security and that should be a very tight definition, should be made public all the findings that the people can see for Mueller. Do you agree?

    GIULIANI: I agree.

    CUOMO: You have been quoted as saying you should get to go through it first. Is that a fair assessment of your position (ph)?

    GIULIANI: Of course, I should. I should be allowed to respond.

    CUOMO: Should you be able to change the report?

    GIULIANI: But also I’ve been misquoted about it also.

    CUOMO: How so?

    GIULIANI: I said — because I don’t want to change the report.

    CUOMO: OK.

    GIULIANI: I want to respond to the report.

    CUOMO: OK.

    GIULIANI: Wouldn’t you want to respond —

    CUOMO: Separately.

    GIULIANI: — to the report if it were about you? And don’t you think it’s fair that we get an opportunity to do that?

    CUOMO: Absolutely.

    GIULIANI: So, I have no control over what Mueller is going to say. Let him say whatever he wants. I have no control over what’s national security, what isn’t. The government is got to decide that. As his lawyer, I honestly like you to see the whole report.

    CUOMO: Me too.

    GIULIANI: Because I think, I think Jay and I can knock the hell out of it.

    CUOMO: Well, look, and you should have that opportunity —

    (CROSSTALK)

    CUOMO: I’m just saying, nobody should change the report itself —

    GIULIANI: Of course not.

    CUOMO: — before the people get to see it and you agree with that, on that record?

    GIULIANI: Of course, yes. And to have one of those senators yesterday suggest that, is totally ridiculous. First of all, they wouldn’t let me change the report. Secondly, I’ve been a lawyer too long to think I would ever do that. And third, I want them to write the garbage they’re going to write, because I want to answer it. Unless they surprise me and they do a fair report, which I’m hoping to, god, they do.

    CUOMO: Look, and you heard what Mr. Barr said yesterday, right about Bob Mueller, right?

    GIULIANI: I have listened about Bob Mueller.

    CUOMO: He cannot imagine him doing anything that would justify removing him or improper conduct. Do you agree with that about Bob Mueller?

    [21:15:04] GIULIANI: Well, I would not say I can’t imagine. I would say that the President has not removed him and this whole idea of obstruction is really stupid because the investigation has come to an end and nobody has obstructed it.

    CUOMO: I don’t think the investigation has come to an end. Look how much was redacted in those Manafort —

    GIULIANI: OK.

    CUOMO: — papers.

    GIULIANI: If it hasn’t come to an end, it’s certainly come to an end on collusion. They either have it or don’t have it.

    CUOMO: How do you know? We just learned the Manafort stuff and that’s the most damning stuff today —

    GIULIANI: Well, that’s not collusion and hacking the DNC —

    CUOMO: But that’s not the bar. That’s where you —

    GIULIANI: That is the bar.

    CUOMO: — doing something inappropriate — no. Look at the mandate for the special council, Rudy. It doesn’t just say crimes. It says contact. It says coordination. It’s not just crimes. The American people —

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIULIANI: The Justice Department doesn’t do ethics investigation.

    CUOMO: A special counsel can.

    GIULIANI: No.

    CUOMO: It could be part of their mandate and you know that it’s right in Section 600.

    GIULIANI: No. They’re doing a criminal investigation. And it’s — it leadings to an impeachment has to be a high crime or misdemeanor.

    CUOMO: That’s true.

    GIULIANI: Not an unethical violation.

    CUOMO: That is a political standard.

    GIULIANI: They have gotten so beyond, they have gotten so beyond their scope that it’s absurd.

    CUOMO: How has he gone beyond the scope?

    GIULIANI: The ethics and ethics — how has he gone beyond the scope?

    CUOMO: Yes.

    GIULIANI: At least four degrees of separation. It begins with collusion, he goes to a completely phony obstruction investigation which Barr —

    CUOMO: How is it phony with all of the things that the President has done with respect to this investigation?

    GIULIANI: Because he didn’t obstruct —

    CUOMO: I you were in the DOJ, Rudy, and you watched the President doing these kinds of conversations with Comey, asking people to leave, asking for loyalty, asking to go —

    GIULIANI: Every right to that.

    CUOMO: — easy on Flynn.

    GIULIANI: Every right to do that.

    CUOMO: And then he says — then brings in Rosenstein. They write up a memo about why he’s got to go. The President says, include Russia, he says no, he gets upset, they get rid of Comey, he then says it was about Russia. If you were hearing those kinds of things at the DOJ, you wouldn’t say, what the hell is this guy doing? Why is he doing all of this?

    GIULIANI: And then I would — then I would calm down and read the law and I find out that Article II of the constitution of the United States which I’ve took an oath to uphold which apparently Mueller’s people have forgotten gives the President the authority to fire people —

    CUOMO: Not for any reason.

    GIULIANI: Well, for any reason but a criminal reason. It have to be like something like — obstruction is not based on something like, oh, please go easy on Flynn which he never said, by the way. He disputes saying that. Let’s just say he said it.

    CUOMO: But Mr. Mayor, — GIULIANI: I did striking cases.

    CUOMO: — can how can we take his word —

    GIULIANI: Here’s what an obstruction case is. Well, let’s say he said it. Let’s say he said, —

    CUOMO: OK.

    GIULIANI: — please, Mr. Comey, go easy on the poor general. Look, when I was a prosecutor that must have happened at least a hundred times. It is not obstruction.

    CUOMO: Not by somebody who could take you out.

    GIULIANI: Oh, absolutely.

    CUOMO: Who?

    GIULIANI: Absolutely. By any — I’m not going to tell you who. They’re all privilege conversations. But fact is obstruction is something like this, every case I ever saw. I’m going to break your legs, I’m going take your money away, I’m going to hurt your family, that’s what obstruction is. It isn’t giving your opinion on the law.

    CUOMO: Rudy, I hear you about the basic law, but again, adding to the circumstances. He keeps meeting with Putin, he takes the interpreters’ notes.

    GIULIANI: Who?

    CUOMO: He won’t talk to — he met with Putin twice.

    GIULIANI: The President.

    CUOMO: No, he’s met with them several times —

    GIULIANI: — conversation meetings — when the summit meeting was the only real big meeting.

    CUOMO: But he’s on the phone with him, he’s meeting with him.

    GIULIANI: Not really. Not really. He’s not on the phone with Putin.

    CUOMO: But several times where he hasn’t talked to his staff about what happened. He took an interpreter’s note. They don’t want to impart what was the — in the conversations —

    GIULIANI: But that was — that’s up to the President. I mean, there are — President has to conduct our business with some degree of confidentiality. He can’t be, he can’t — you can’t take notes on everything. I mean, —

    CUOMO: In this context? The interpreter takes notes and you say, give me those, —

    GIULIANI: Look —

    CUOMO: — don’t talk to anybody at the office.

    GIULIANI: But either — if the collusion happened, it happened a long time ago. It’s either provable or it’s not. It’s not provable because it never happened.

    CUOMO: What do you mean? I thought you used to say, there’s absolutely no chance it happened.

    GIULIANI: I’m telling you there’s no chance it happened what the President of the United States.

    CUOMO: How do you explain Manafort? But it’s his campaign, Rudy, doesn’t that matter?

    GIULIANI: I have no idea. I have no idea, never have, what other people were doing.

    CUOMO: But he ran his campaign! It’s not like the guy who he met at the shoe shine shop.

    GIULIANI: He also had, he also may have had an agenda of his own. Didn’t these guys owe him a lot of money? That he gave us —

    CUOMO: But who else knew what he was doing? He didn’t change a party platform by himself.

    GIULIANI: He didn’t change the party —

    CUOMO: He didn’t get polling data my himself.

    GIULIANI: By the way, Manafort wasn’t involved in that, either, by the way. Go talk to the people who are —

    CUOMO: What a coincidence, they changed the party platform in the same way that the Russians wanted.

    GIULIANI: Well, whatever. The President didn’t know about it. It was changed back to a very acceptable position.

    CUOMO: It was softened.

    GIULIANI: A stronger position than present government policy. Absolutely not, much stronger than the Obama position.

    CUOMO: And now they’re trying to relieve sanctions

    GIULIANI: And Trump has been harder —

    CUOMO: — on one of the guy who are being locked up in the probe.

    GIULIANI: And Trump has been harder with sanctions on Russia than Obama was.

    CUOMO: Congress forced his hand and now they’re trying to relieve sanctions on one of the guys that Mueller’s looking at.

    GIULIANI: Congress did not force his hand.

    CUOMO: Why would you do that?

    GIULIANI: He recommended the sanctions originally. And by the way, you can’t let foreign policy and the conduct of foreign policy get hobbled by this unfair witch hunt. I mean, that’s one of the reasons that this should come to a conclusion. And don’t you think it would be fair, whether you think he’s concluded or not, that Mueller finally be asked, show us what you got? Put up or shut up? You and your witch hunt —

    [21:20:00] CUOMO: But he’s never denied us that access. I want concludes, he puts out the report and then we get and we see ahead.

    (CROSSTALKK)

    CUOM0: I’ve always seen this is a false argument. The idea of, he’s not showing us what he has.

    GIULIANI: Well, let’s do it.

    CUOMO: It’s not over.

    GIULIANI: Well, let’s do it.

    CUOMO: But he’s got to finish —

    GIULIANI: It’s over enough. We —–

    CUOMO: What does that mean, “over enough”?

    GUILIANI: How much longer are you going to let him do it?

    CUOMO: He just put out that your campaign chairman was playing with the Russians!

    GIULIANI: But we don’t — That isn’t — We don’t need a special counsel to investigate a campaign chairman. We have them because the President of the United States is involved.

    CUOMO: You do when the President of the United States seems to be —

    GIULIANI: So let him —

    CUOMO: — a little hyperactive about the probe and it may not be fair and the guy was the head of the A.G. at the time was his campaign guy.

    GIULIANI: I’m hyperactive about the probe because I think it’s the most inappropriate investigation I’ve ever seen, conducted on an ethical level that’s disgusting and allowed to do so because you have a compliant press that loves the idea that Manafort’s house was invaded. That Manafort’s in solitary confinement.

    CUOMO: I don’t love any of that. GIULIANI: Well —

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIULIANI: Who complains about the man being in solitary confinement? They’re not the people a terrorist, they’d complain about it.

    CUOMO: They shouldn’t have messed with the witnesses, Rudy.

    GIULIANI: Unbelievable. The —

    CUOMO: You were harsh with people who messed with you that way when you were a prosecutor.

    (CROSSTALK)

    GIULIANI: He didn’t threaten to kill anybody.

    CUOMO: You put guys in cuffs and march them by in white-collar crime.

    GIULIANI: I do not push, I sure did and I think they went to jail for three years or four years. I didn’t put them in solitary confinement.

    CUOMO: All right, so you could be tough too when guys mess with you.

    GIULIANI: I did not put them in solitary confinement the way Manafort —

    CUOMO: Would if you wanted to keep them from communicating with people, if they were tampering.

    GIULIANI: I would tape record them if I wanted to keep them from communicating. And by the way, in prison, everything is tape recorded. Every phone call is tape recording —

    CUOMO: He still managed to do it.

    GIULIANI: — if the conversation except with your lawyer.

    CUOMO: All right.

    GIULIANI: Except with — He didn’t do — no, he didn’t do it while he was in prison, he did it while he was outside. That’s why they put him in prison, even though they could have taped him —

    CUOMO: That’s true.

    GIULIANI: — they could have put a monitoring on him. That’s what’s usually done by fair prosecutors. Not by Andrew Weissmann, who several times has been caught doing this to other people and been abraded by courts. And Mueller went and hired him, an act of supreme bad judgment.

    CUOMO: The prosecutors are not bad guys when you’re looking at the context of —

    GIULIANI: Go look at Weissman’s record, my friend.

    CUOMO: But to me I want to —

    GIULIANI: Go look at —

    CUOMO: Rudy, I always want to stick with the facts in front of my face in these circumstances. I don’t judge people by their past. It’s what you did here. It’s what’s going on here. But I appreciate —

    GIULIANI: What’s going on here is an investigation that should be reported on now, it’s gone far enough. Let’s see if he’s got anything. I challenge him to show us some evidence that the President was involved in anything approaching criminal conduct. No.

    So end of you if you want to do an ethics investigation, fine. Do an ethics investigation. But you don’t need a special prosecutor for that.

    CUOMO: I hear what you’re saying. Your arguments are on the record and before the audience. And Rudy Giuliani, I appreciate you taking the time —

    GIULIANI: Thank you. Thank you, Chris.

    CUOMO: — and laying it out. This is very helpful to the audience. God bless and be well.

    GIULIANI: Thank you for the opportunity.

    CUOMO: All right. Rudy Giuliani, ladies and gentlemen. So that is one big story and it’s a big mess, right?

    There’s another big story and it’s a big mess. The farcical solution of a wall that has led us to a shutdown. Now we hear that the economy may suffer as much as the wall may cost if the President gets his way. Is that a right thing? Why didn’t he take the Democrats’ offer last year? Would had his wall and we would have had a lot more. Should he consider Nancy Pelosi’s proposal now to post state — postpone the state of the union because of the shutdown? Key questions, great debate, next.

    (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

    [21:26:46] CUOMO: House Speaker Pelosi flexing her constitutional muscle early in her speakership. How? Well, you could argue by what’s happening with the State of the Union speech. The speaker is suggesting that the State of the Union must be rescheduled when the government is reopened. Why? She says security concerns. That a letter from the DHS secretary some time ago about this called it a high-security event. You need to have everybody, and they don’t because of the shutdown.

    So is this politics or is this security? What do you say we debate? S.E. Cupp and Steve Cortes. Great panel. Good to have you both. S.E., welcome to the show. STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you.

    S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST, S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED: Thank you.

    CUOMO: So S.E., what do you think? Power play or price of the shutdown, we can’t keep you safe?

    CUPP: I think it’s pretty political and craven and fairly transparent, actually. I think it makes Democrats look afraid of Donald Trump. And, you know, I’m loathe to say that, but frankly, I think it’s pretty irresponsible of the speaker to say that Secret Service and Capitol Police cannot adequately secure the Capitol for a night. I think that’s not in evidence and I think it’s kind of a gross allegation to cast. And she doesn’t need to do that. It’s unnecessary. They’re winning. Don’t get gross.

    CUOMO: So, Steve, what about the God forbid scenario. Let’s not go through what could happen, but what happens if you have it and something does happen and you didn’t have the kind of security you usually would?

    CORTES: Well, look, I don’t want to get into those hypotheticals.

    CUOMO: Me either, but I’m saying that’s the good reason why she would be doing this.

    CORTES: OK, but —

    CUOMO: The bad reason is what S.E. says, it’s a power play.

    CORTES: Right. But here’s why we know she’s being really brazenly political, is because DHS Secretary Nielsen told us, look, we can fully secure this the way we always do. So we’d — of course, our government can do that. I mean, come one, Chris, this is the United States, of course, we can provide security.

    Now, nothing’s ever fail-safe, but we can provide security. What this is about is the secretary — excuse me, is the speaker of the house saying that we want to silence the debate. We don’t want to give you the platform that you’ve earned as president of the United States and the State of the Union, while yes —

    CUOMO: Well, you don’t earn it, you get invited, right? It’s up to them to invite you.

    CORTES: No, but hold on. But, Chris, you know very well that this has become part of the pageantry of our democracy.

    CUOMO: Absolutely. 100%.

    CORTES: It is a ritual of the United States.

    CUOMO: I can see the point.

    CORTES: It’s very important, whether it’s President Obama or President Trump. And he earned that right. CUOMO: I can see the point.

    CORTES: And my point to the White House is this. If they want to be that petty, and if they want to try to shut you down, go to the Senate Chamber and do it there. Let’s do the State of the Union there. And by the way, Nancy Pelosi not invited over there. But my hope would be that she can be bigger than that and say that we’re about more than resistance. We’re about more than obstruction. Let’s have a conversation. They get to have a reply, as they did the other night from his Oval Office speech. They can reply after.

    CUOMO: Look, that’s true. And look, S.E., to your point, why do anything to jeopardize —

    CUPP: Yes.

    CUOMO: — the fact that this shutdown is owned by the president. He said it on national television. The price is getting worst and worst. They had already offered him $25 billion over a number of years for the stuff that he wants. He walked away from the deal. They’re in decent position in terms of —

    CUPP: Yes.

    CUOMO: — don’t put it on us.

    CUPP: Yes, it’s unnecessary. Public polling blames the president. That might not always be the case, if you look back at the 2013 shutdown.

    [21:30:01] CUOMO: And when you look intraparty, if you look at the right, he’s still doing OK. The right largely believes in this fight.

    CUPP: Right.

    CUOMO: It gets very close about whether a wall is everything, but he’s not getting hurt there the way he is overall.

    CUPP: No, no, no, that’s true. And what I was going to say is in 2013, if you look at that shutdown —

    CUOMO: Right.

    CUPP: — the immediate polling blames the GOP, but that bled pretty quickly over into Democrats and Congress in general. People just get sick of a game of chicken. And they end up sort of blaming everyone. Democrats, in fact, had their then record-high unfavorable rating of 49% —

    CUOMO: Right.

    CUPP: — right after that 2013 shutdown. So, this could bleed into democratic bad polling, but right now, they hold all the cards and the American people are on their side of it. It seems, to use Steve’s word, petty, but also a real unforced error. I just think most people can see through this. And again, it makes Democrats look scared of Trump having a big platform on a big night and a lot of people tuning in.

    CUOMO: Right. So, Steve, what do you think? Do you think there is any chance that may be seeing the coast guard and the reaction to that? You know, you’re saying you shut down the government because you want to have a fight about keeping us safe and now the people who are keeping us safe aren’t getting paid. Do you think —

    CORTES: Right.

    CUOMO: — that as time goes on, it becomes more attractive to the president to say, look, I’m going to reopen the government. And then figure out some kind of deal. He says he’s the best dealmaker we’ve ever had as president.

    CORTES: Right. Look, I’ll be the first to tell you that, yes, that it’s a terrible optic, obviously, to have people who risk their lives for our country in the coast guard not getting paid, because, of course, they should be. I’ll tell you this. I think the president’s willing to negotiate. Certainly, all the reporting says that he is. That he’s willing to come off of his $5.7 billion number. Who’s not willing to negotiate? Speaker Pelosi. She said $1. I mean, how insulting to American people —

    CUOMO: They’ve given over a billion. And it goes to physical barriers and other —

    CORTES: OK, but she said $1 for the wall. That’s where she stands now (ph).

    CUOMO: Right, but if we held our leaders to that standard, you would be explaining what the president means all the time on this show. You brush —

    CORTES: OK.

    CUOMO: — aside his words all the time. They have over $1.3 billion that —

    CORTES: Here’s the deal that —

    CUOMO: — it’s just not as much as he wants. That’s all, which is (INAUDIBLE) provide.

    CORTES: Here’s the deal that I think makes tremendous sense, is the wall for DACA, a clean one for one. Not the kind of grand immigration reform that was attempted before, but a clean one for one, full wall funding that he requests right now for protection for DACA, even if the Democrats hate the wall, I would hope that they love these DACA young adults more than they hate Trump and that they’re willing to give them protection more than they’re unwilling to give the president a political win. It’s a true compromise that neither side loves, which is the definition of a compromise. But where America wins.

    CUOMO: Well, as Adam Kinzinger says, in situations where both sides hate what they did, the American people usually love it. Let’s see if we can get that outcome here. It would be good for the people to win for a change.

    S.E., what a welcome addition.

    CUPP: Oh, thanks.

    CUOMO: Steve Cortes, thank you as always.

    CUPP: Thanks.

    CUOMO: All right. Four weeks ago, the president declared victory over ISIS in Syria. Now, we’ve seen this mission accomplished movie before and it had a deadly ending. And here we are again. Today, four Americans were killed by a suspected ISIS attack in Syria.

    Now, is that proof that we should go or that we must stay? A man who knows the reality on the ground and the politics has a provocative take that the president is going to want to hear, next.

    (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

    [21:37:19] CUOMO: All right, the video I’m about to show you is graphic, but I’m not one to shelter you from what we’re forcing our fighting men and women to face. This is the moment that four American lives were lost in a deadly explosion in Syria today.

    All right. There’s no sound and you don’t need it. ISIS is claiming responsibility for this blast. Two American troops dead, a defense contractor, and a Department of Defense civilian. Today, we mourn the loss of life, but we have seen two very different messages, even from the GOP about what to take away from this.

    First, from the vice president shortly before the White House confirmed the deaths.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we are bringing our troops home. The caliphate has crumbled and ISIS has been defeated.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    CUOMO: Later, this from Senator Lindsey Graham.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: My concern about the statements made by President Trump is that it should set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we’re fighting. You make people who are trying to help wonder about us, I saw this in Iraq. And I’m now seeing it in Syria.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    CUOMO: So which is it? Where should the party be? Where should we be? Let’s talk to an Illinois congressman on the Foreign Affairs Committee who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Adam Kinzinger.

    Congressman, thank you for joining us.

    REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: You bet, Chris.

    CUOMO: You know, first, let’s say what we must, which is, God bless the troops whose lives were lost, those who were injured, and their families who serve right alongside the men and women who were on the battlefield. That must be said.

    KINZINGER: Yes, it’s a stark reminder.

    CUOMO: Yes. And one you know better than I ever will, because of the experience you’ve had in serving this country. And it’s why I thank you for your service every time I see you.

    KINZINGER: Thank you.

    CUOMO: Now, out of respect for them, let’s deal with the politics here, because you have very different messages. This bombing is proof that you need to get out. You don’t belong there. The bombing is proof that you have to stay, because it’s not over. ISIS isn’t done. How do you see it?

    KINZINGER: So I think the bombing is proof you have to stay. So when we know more about whoever this evil person was that did the bombing, they may not even be Syrian. They may be there because they just want to kill people that think differently than them. Undoubtedly, they targeted this cafe because there were Americans there.

    So if you think about somebody that would be willing to do that, maybe, possibly travel to Syria, we know a lot of ISIS travel to Syria to fight the west, they’re going to be willing to travel to the United States to fight the west, too. I’ve always said, and I believe this, fighting terrorism is not a choice we have. What we can choose is where we fight terrorism. And I think when you make a statement like ISIS is defeated and the caliphate is defeated, what you’ve done is empower the recruiters of ISIS to say, look, we did it, we outlasted the United States. I told you we could do it. We had tough times, like was prophesized, but we’re going to come from back from this even stronger.

    [21:40:26] What’s essential is to say there’s a military component that is probably going to be ongoing for a while and then it’s a whole another discussion. But there’s a soft power component, giving the next generation of Muslims hope and opportunity so they reject this philosophy within their own religion.

    CUOMO: One more beat on this. The President says, we’ll never have enough people there to make a difference. They have tens of thousands, the Turks have tens of thousands, Assad has all of his guys. ISIS to the extent that they exist, they come and go. We’re outmatched. It’s not our war. It’s a civil war. We should get out.

    KINZINGER: Well, it sounds like Rand Paul talking points. And I’ll tell you, the great thing about being the United States military is that we can be outnumbered, but never outgunned. Our presence in Syria, for instance, and Iraq even is about a force multiplier. It’s about equipping and training and emboldening the people on the ground to do the fighting too. Now, no doubt, our troops are exposed. But the bulk of those 2,000 troops are there to stiffen the spine of people that can do the fighting that otherwise we would have to do.

    I actually think Syria is a great example of leveraging Special Forces and other people to help irregular forces in the region win the fight that otherwise 100,000 American troops would need to do. We’re not engaging in attacking the Russians and the Iranians all over Syria, but what we are going to do is have a seat at the table when the negotiated solution to Syria comes forward. And I have no idea why we would want to give up that leverage and allow Iran, allow Vladimir Putin to carve up Syria as they see fit.

    CUOMO: Thank you for your perspective on what certainly is a hard day for the fighting men and women today and it begs perspective. Thank you for providing it.

    All right. Let’s take on another tough issue right now. The shutdown. You believe the shutdown is a mistake, that that’s not the way to leverage a negotiation. The President disagrees. What do you say?

    KINZINGER: This is a government of the most powerful country in the world that shutdown. Now, look, there’s enough criticism in my mind to go to both sides of this debate. I think there’s an easy way to compromise on immigration and I think 80% of Americans would be happy if we did it and happy with the bill. But we’ve gotten into this stupid point in politics where everybody thinks that the only way you can win is if the other side completely loses.

    And that’s where we’re at. We’re not budging. The reality is, we have to get back to saying, there can be win-wins. I don’t care if you call them lose-loses. But what I’ve learned is wherever Republicans and Democrats actually can put their differences aside and get something that maybe nobody likes, the American people typically really like it. This is an embarrassment, our inability to have this debate is an embarrassment, frankly, around the world that looks at us as this model democracy and this is on all of us.

    And I would say to your viewers, they have to demand more of their politicians too. Compromise is not a dirty word. We can get to where we all have something in this we like. But it means putting our pride aside for a bit.

    CUOMO: How many Republicans think as you do?

    KINZINGER: I don’t know. I think a good number, maybe. I think a good number of Democrats think like I do. But we’re kind of hostage to this, I don’t know, I don’t want to call them necessarily the extremes, but this viewpoint that you can never compromise. And guess what, if you can never compromise, we’re going to be stuck in this, and there’s a lot of innocent people not getting their paycheck.

    CUOMO: Do you think that Republicans like you can get the President to make a move that on the Senate side, they can get Mitch McConnell to put something on the floor so the men and women there can be held accountable for what they want?

    KINZINGER: I hope so. I think it’s going to be something that probably ultimately comes out of the Senate. And I have to — look, I have to be fair in hitting my Democratic colleagues too. To say that the starting position is absolutely, we will never do anything that has to do with a wall, the President has never said that, unlike DACA, for instance, and Dreamers.

    So I think there’s an opportunity, if we all can say — you know, both sides can declare victory. It doesn’t matter. But if we can say some money here, let’s fix the DACA situation, which we all want to do, Americans would actually look out here and go, OK, well, that was a stupid 30-day shutdown, but at least we got something good out of it.

    CUOMO: All right, Congressman, thank you so much for joining us tonight. And thank you for your service to the country.

    KINZINGER: You bet. Take care.

    CUOMO: And credits where it’s due. I mean it’s good to have a Republican congressman or any congressman saying, hey, let’s vote and be a little disappointed and let’s figure something out. Fine. But facts first. Democrats have a little bit of a mixed message here, but here’s what we understand. They have offered money and a lot more than $1 for border security. Right now the number’s at about $1.3 billion, including more bollard fencing, which is what we call the wall.

    [21:45:00] Now, it’s just a fraction of the $5 billion that the President is asking for, but it’s not nothing. Now, part of this is on the Dems, not because they did the shutdown. This was the President’s doing he told you all on national television. But they do keep saying they don’t want to fund the wall. In fact, you heard Senator Schumer say exactly that, it will never pass in the Senate. He’ll never get the money for his wall. They’re talking about the amount, not the wall at all. It is a messy answer, fair point, and it’s a messy situation. The end the shutdown movement should be the reality for everybody.

    Next, if the President has a rallying cry about the Russia probe, it’s no collusion. Well, what did his lawyer just tell us, next.

    (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

    CUOMO: Let’s be clear. The President’s rallying cry first was, no contact with anybody. But then it was, no collusion. But here’s what his lawyer just told us.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    GIULIANI: I never said there was no collusion between the campaign or between people in the campaign.

    CUOMO: Yes, you have. GIULIANI: I have no idea — I have not. I said the President of the United States.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    CUOMO: How, here’s just one of dozens of Trump tweets. The Russian hoax was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. It never did.

    [21:50:02] The President, his positions must be owned by his attorney. D. Lemon, what do you see here?

    DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I was just doing some homework. He’s moving the goal post. Of course, he’s moving the goal post just as in the conversation that you’ve been having about the shutdown. The President is moving the goal post as well and his supporters are catching on and using the same thing. But, yes, he is moving the goal post. Remember, I think it — wasn’t it with you that he said truth is not truth?

    CUOMO: No.

    LEMON: He didn’t say that to you? Not tonight.

    CUOMO: No.

    LEMON: In a previous interview, I thought he said truth isn’t truth.

    CUOMO: No, it wasn’t me. He banged on my table a lot. He was upset. But, listen, I am not —

    LEMON: Collusion is not a crime.

    CUOMO: This is not about Rudy Giuliani not understanding or misspeaking. He has to own what the President has said.

    LEMON: Right.

    CUOMO: The original position was nobody did nothing.

    LEMON: Right.

    CUOMO: Then it turned out that a lot of people did a lot of things. Then it was, well, nobody colluded. Where is the collusion? Show us the collusion.

    LEMON: And then it was not the President.

    CUOMO: Manafort passes the duck test for collusion. Remember, collusion isn’t a crime. And that isn’t moving a goal post. Well, if it’s not a felony, it doesn’t count, Don.

    LEMON: Yes.

    CUOMO: So that’s an argument for this — for the attorney to make because this is a political contest and they’re trying to lower the bar, but it’s pretty obvious. LEMON: I think the collusion is not a crime thing. You know, when I say, Chris, you know what I’m talking about, right? It’s just the weight. It’s just the word or a phrase that sums everything up when you —

    CUOMO: Yes.

    LEMON: — say collusion is not a crime because it could be obstruction. It could be conspiracy, and that all falls under that.

    CUOMO: What the President knew is the ultimate bar.

    LEMON: Hey, listen, would you agree that Fareed Zakaria is smarter than both of us?

    CUOMO: Oh yes, combined, times two.

    LEMON: Yes, especially on in this information as well. He’s going to join me. That’s all I need to say.

    CUOMO: That is going to be impressive. Your head may explode from the kinds of thought he may impart to you.

    LEMON: He’s a smart guy.

    CUOMO: Good. Good for you, Don. That’s going to be a great guest. Another night to watch. Thank you very much.

    LEMON: See you.

    CUOMO: All right. President Trump still quiet about the hateful words of Representative Steve King. We have proof that silence is a problem, next.

    (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

    [21:55:52] CUOMO: So now Steve King’s hometown paper, “The Des Moines Register,” is calling on him to resign from Congress. But when the White House was asked about the President’s position, we got this.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Steve King’s comments were abhorrent, and the Republican leadership, unlike Democrats, have actually taken action when their members have said outrageous and inappropriate things. I hope that Democrat leadership will follow the very strong and rightful leadership that the Republicans have done over this.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    CUOMO: All right. So forget about the camera work. It wasn’t an answer, and that’s not acceptable. And there’s no whataboutism on my watch, not here. When a president will not take the opportunity to condemn a message of white supremacy, choosing to do nothing here sends a message. As the epic rock band Rush taught us, even if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. And this choice echoes to all who comprise America’s matrix of minorities, who fear being treated as less than, blacks, Latinos, ethnics, LGBT too.

    None is welcome in that message of hate. Still worse, the President’s quiet forces the suggestion that he supports what he fails to oppose. Factor this in. Karen Pence is the wife of the vice president. She’s teaching art at a place where the application requires would-be employees to initial next to a list of beliefs, including certain moral misconduct, includes homosexual or transgender identity as being disqualifying or any other violation of the unique roles of male and female.

    Now, don’t cheapen my argument by saying, Cuomo’s equating Christianity and white power. Please, that’s just a slip of an obvious point. I am a flawed, failing, repentant Christian, OK? If I had any bias, it would be in favor of faith.

    The point is that the value of exclusion is embraced here, and our vice president’s wife, in the place where she is, it does the same thing, and it adds to the anxiety for people around why this White House, why this president doesn’t speak out against a member of his party that embraces a message that isolates the same kinds of people that are being singled out with the vice president’s wife works.

    And remember, this all comes after the President said good people march with the KKK and all the other crap that makes the hateful grateful for this president. Either the President agrees with Representative King or he does not. The President finds time to tweet about myriad minutia. He can tweet about this, but he doesn’t.

    Is he really afraid of losing people who agree with such ugly ideas? How about this as a counterthought? Imagine how many people he might add to the fold from the tolerant majority if he were to show that he rejects this virulent minority. New argument.

    Maybe the time has passed, and maybe the passing of time has given us our answer. The next time my brothers and sisters on the right say it’s wrong to have people call them out about issues surrounding bigotry and intolerance, remember this moment. Remember what the President who heads your party refused to do. I won’t forget. None of us can. This matters too much.

    Thank you for watching. “CNN TONIGHT WITH D. LEMON” starts right now. Giving you the show early because you’re that good.

    LEMON: Well, I thank you for that. Still no response, right? You said that this was a moment for the President, a moment for his supporters to — and, what, crickets.

    CUOMO: She ducked it.

    LEMON: Yes, she did. Listen, this is what people should understand. Like you said, it wasn’t an answer. People from all different backgrounds, all different ideologies, Republican, Democrat, independent, whatever, people say stupid things all the time. That is different than a pattern and a practice of racist behavior or condoning it, people saying it, doing it, putting it in —

    CUOMO: There are moments when you do the right thing. God forbid, you and I are out which, you know, happens on a regular basis. Somebody comes up says something ugly to you, it happens. Who knows what happens to me for doing that?

    LEMON: You embrace them. You hug them.

    CUOMO: Buddy, I hug them. I hug them with –

  32. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, “CUOMO PRIME TIME”: Thank you, Anderson. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to Prime Time.

    [. . .]

    LEMON: You embrace them. You hug them.
    CUOMO: Buddy, I hug them. I hug them with –

  33. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Why not skip the fluff in the middle, Anonymous?

  34. stupid hick
    Posted January 17, 2019 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Did you read the fluff? IMO, Cuomo was convincing, Guiliani not.

  35. Jean Henry
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    FF is simply being honest about his inability to see other perspectives than his own

  36. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Yeah, because it is so hard to digest and make a judgment about Cuomo’s perspective. And the motivation behind using the very popular headline “I never said there was no collusion” is so hard to figure out.

  37. iRobert
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    We haven’t heard from EOS or HW lately. Have they taken cabinet positions?

  38. Jean Henry
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    FF– Would you were so discerning about GOP tendencies, Mr. Independent and Rational Thinker.

  39. iRobert
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I’ve been worried about FF, ever since he made some statements which hinted that he might be Trump’s grandson.

    With as many hookers and porn stars as Trump has paid to fuck over more than a half-century, he very well may have any number of illegitimate children and grandchildren all over the world.

    If FF has sent in his blood sample to “23 and me” and it turns out he really is Trump’s grandchild, all this ass-kissing will make a lot more sense to us. Who doesn’t want to defend their grandparents, after all.

  40. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    JH, I did wonder if G ever claimed that nobody in the campaign had Russian connections or could have possibly colluded (whatever vague thing that means). I could not find anything. It might be out there that G made what we now know would have been a false claim but I could not find anything. I seriously doubt he said it. Cuomo seemed to not know if G said it. Although he was Cuomo was willing to misrepresent G’s position as such. Cuomo even admitted that Trump qualified the statement “nobody in the campaign colluded” with the qualifier “that I know of”. Why would G make such a general claim about the campaign as a whole? He is representing Trump. Not the 100’s and 1000’s of people in the campaign…

    Cuomo and Lemon are confused. Their unyielding belief in their own narrative has caused them confusion.

  41. Anonymous
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the—if he—if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement.

  42. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Anonymous,

    I am not sure which claims you are referring to. Are you saying it depends on what meaning of the word ‘is” is, in these sentences?

    Mr. Mayor, false reporting is saying that nobody in the campaign had any contacts with Russia. False reporting is saying that there has been no suggestion of any kind of collusion between the campaign and any Russians. Because now you have Paul Manafort giving poll data that winds up leading to this coincidence

  43. iRobert
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    So it sounds like we’re all in agreement now that the Trump campaign colluded with Putin’s operatives. Except for HW and EOS, who are AWOL…

    …and the country is SOL and FUBAR.

  44. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    iRobert,

    Not to come off as a complete contrarian, but I actually think nobody here, at this time, actually believes that Trump or the Trump campaign is guilty of “collusion”, as that concept exists in their minds, with regard to a) the extent of contact; b) the extent of coordination; and c) the extent of maliciousness. The evidence we have falls very short of the standard for guilt the average Russia-gate conspiracy theorist has set forth in their own minds.

    I know what the headlines say but: What did Manafort do again?

  45. Anonymous
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Whoosh! You must be short.

    That is a famous quotation from a prevaricating president in a prior impeachment trial. The difference now is that the current president is using a spokesperson to make a similar legalistic argument because he does not have the ability to do so himself.

  46. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I know. I thought you were using it as a reference to Cuomo. :)

    Sometimes clarifying misrepresentation can appear as evasion depending upon one’s perspective.

  47. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 18, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Evasion is a key ingredient in misrepresentation.

  48. Jean Henry
    Posted January 19, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    It’s end times for the GOP unless they figure out how to offer something of value to more people. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/01/17/next-generation-voters-are-more-liberal-more-inclusive-believe-government/

  49. Jean Henry
    Posted January 19, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    The Trump’s may soon be known as the First Crime Family of America. If the President goes, they are all going to go. Trump’s reportedly nervous and is trying to divert attention with the usual tactics. It’s not working. Let’s hope he doesn’t feel a need to be even more dangerously provocative with North Korea or anyone else.

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