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Rep. Nancy Pelosi Answers Audience Questions at Town Hall Meeting. Aired 9:15-10:15p ET

Aired October 4, 2017 - 21:15   ET

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


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: Good evening. I'm Chris Cuomo. Police in Las Vegas have just released new details about that massacre in Las Vegas, saying the shooter had a, quote, "secret life" and that he had been stockpiling weapons for decades. The sheriff also revealed that authorities assume that that murderer had help in carrying out his plan, but they have not identified any accomplice. In fact, they established a tip line; they're saying they can't get too many leads. So please help them.

There are a lot of questions that remain unanswered. But one thing we know for sure is that there was way too much loss, once again. Fifty- eight Americans' lives taken, stolen, 500 people injured. And the hope of a nation certainly bruised as we all wonder, is there anything we can do to stop this from happening again?

So tonight we welcome House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for a CNN town hall. She's going to answer questions about the tragedy in Las Vegas in addition to other pressing issues. Our audience is made up of Americans from across the political spectrum.

Leader Pelosi, thank you for being here.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, D-CA, MINORITY LEADER: Thank you.

CUOMO: We've had this on the books for a while, but obviously, once again, it is a week that actually demands this type of discussion. So thank you for being here with us.

PELOSI: Thank you for your invitation.

CUOMO: Appreciate you taking the opportunity.

All right. So this isn't about you and I talking. It's about getting questions from the audience. And we start with a very, very special guest. And I wish that that we didn't have Bob Patterson with us tonight. Bob Patterson lost his wife in Las Vegas. And he joins us tonight. He has his 16-year-old daughter next to him.

Bob, I was speaking to you before. Thank you for having the strength to take this opportunity. I am so sorry to have to have you under these circumstances. Our thoughts and prayers, our condolences are with you, your beautiful daughter, and the memory of your wife. Thank you for joining us. What would you like to say tonight?

QUESTION: Thank you for having me. Leader Pelosi, I am not opposed to having a gun for protection. My wife and I had a gun for that reason. We talked about guns and both felt that there is no reason to own the type of guns and the amount of ammunition that the shooter had. There was Sandy Hook, Florida, San Bernardino. How many more lives have to be taken before something is done? Congresswoman Pelosi, as a leader on Capitol Hill, what are you going to do to stop this?

PELOSI: First of all, thank you for sharing this time with us. Amber, to you and your dad, again, the condolences of all America are with you.

Your question is one that everyone is asking. In fact, John Lewis asked it on the steps of the Capitol today over and over again. Before I answer, though, I want your permission to pray for your family. May I have your permission? Thank you. I feel honored by that.

QUESTION: Of course.

QUESTION: I would love that.

QUESTION: Please.

PELOSI: I feel honored by that.

We have been trying for a very long time to get really commonsense gun safety, gun violence prevention legislation passed. As you asked the question so well, children in a classroom, people in church, young people in a nightclub, many more thousands listening to music, coming together as a community. How many more incidences of this should it take?

It's important to note that people -- it is defined, a mass murder is defined as four murders or more at one episode. And there are one a day in our country, 270-some mass murders. And so all we're asking for is to say, can we have background checks so that people who shouldn't have guns don't have them?

That may not have prevented what happened in Las Vegas. We don't know all of the details of that yet. But it could prevent and has prevented many, many other murders.

We've asked the speaker, if you don't want to take that suggestion -- which is bipartisan -- it is -- please, let's put together a select committee, a 60-day term, to say let's find our common ground. We take an oath to protect and defend the American people, and we're not doing that.

So your impatience and your -- the weight that you bring to your question is a real challenge to the conscience of all of us. And we're never going to rest -- we've said this to the families over and over again -- we're never going to rest until we get this done. But we have to shorten the distance between what is inevitable to us and inconceivable to others. We have to bring that closer together.

So thank you for turning your grief into power to make a difference in other people's lives. And thank you for the honor to be able to pray for your family.

QUESTION: Thank you.

CUOMO: Bob Patterson, Amber, thank you for joining us tonight. Let us know how we can help going forward.

QUESTION: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. So a heavy perspective there to this. But it is one where there are many people, Bob Patterson, his wife, they now have a new extended family of people who feel for them.

PELOSI: That's right.

CUOMO: And then at the same time, there is this hope for a remedy that has eluded us. And it raises the question of, well, what is this one thing that we could have done? What could have been done?

And that leads us to our next question. We have Dan Hinkson. He's a retired U.S. Marine captain, now owns a small gun store in Virginia. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for your service to the country. What's your question, sir?

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Cuomo, for taking my question.

PELOSI: Thank you, Dan.

QUESTION: Leader Pelosi, thank you. You know, this is very difficult for me, you know, as a retired Marine, to see these kinds of travesties happening in my country. And then on the flip side of that, as someone who is in the firearms industry, who caters to clients who support the Second Amendment and are trying to acquire firearms for their own personal protection, you know, it's very difficult.

And my condolences go out to those who have been injured and killed and their families.

My question is, given the totality of the events surrounding this latest incident, you know, we have potentially a lone wolf shooter, although that's being questioned now, I think, for very good reason, you know, someone who's a multi-millionaire. , spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to acquire his means of destruction, you know, legally, from all -- everything that we can see. You know, someone with that kind of motivation, what new law can we put out there that would stop something like this?

PELOSI: Well, first, let me thank you as a Marine, your service to our country. And thank you for your thoughtful question, Dan.

We had come together in a bipartisan way to put together what we thought would save the most lives, and that is to have background checks, gun violence prevention, background checks, and to have them be effective.

I believe that when the surveys are taken about this, Dan, overwhelmingly members of the National Rifle Association support background checks. Gun-owners, the chairman -- the person who's the head of our task force, Mike Thompson, Congressman Mike Thompson of California, he is a Vietnam vet, wounded in Vietnam, a gun owner, hunter. We all support the right of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

So it isn't a question of that. It is a question of saying, the people that you sell guns to I'm sure would not object to having a background check.

QUESTION: They're checked.

PELOSI: Hmm?

QUESTION: They all get checked.

PELOSI: They all get checked. They all get checked. But there are loopholes.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

PELOSI: There are loopholes on Internet and loopholes at the gun shows. And we want to -- and there's one other loophole...

CUOMO: Person-to-person sales sometimes.

PELOSI: And so if we could include -- expand the background checks to include those, it would save lives. But it isn't the complete answer. We'd have to do many other things, as well. And people have to be vigilant. We don't want people reporting on each other. We respect people's not only Second Amendment rights, but their Fourth Amendment rights. But something must have been obvious to someone about this along the way.

CUOMO: Right.

PELOSI: But thank you your -- for what you do and for saying your folks get checked.

CUOMO: You know, and, also, Dan, I hear where you're coming from on this. Unfortunately, as one of many unwilling students of this problem in this country, because I've been to well over a dozen of these mass murders now, often it does come down, well, but he wasn't adjudicated mentally ill. And it's almost always "he," right? So he didn't have a criminal background. So they would -- he would have cleared any kind of background check that you have. And there is that frustration.

But this time's different, Madam Leader, and here's why. The bump stock that this man bought legally -- it is allowed, it's a little bit of an end-run around the spirit of the law of modifying weapons, but it exists. And it allowed him to increase the rate of firing of his weapons. We know he used them, and we know he did it to increase how many bullets he could put out there.

That is something that if they were illegal, he would not have been able to do that, he would not have been able to have the killing power that he brought to bear on Bob Patterson's wife and 57 other people and 500 others who were injured. What about that as a measure?

PELOSI: Well, that is something that we should do right away. People were not aware of the bump stock or the bump fire stock, whatever, people call it one thing or another. And I do think there would be bipartisan support coming together to pass a bill to make it illegal to sell those, because you can buy them now, as he had...

CUOMO: Completely legal.

PELOSI: Yeah. But there are many people who are killed without that kind of capacity on the streets of our cities every night. We have to recognize that we -- again, the responsibility we have to protect people is to have laws which do not endanger them. And again, by respecting -- as Mr. Patterson said, he had a gun for protection. He wasn't anti-gun ownership. But yet he was posing the question, what are we going to do about...

CUOMO: Well, the bump stock is different, right, because it allows for what's basically what this man was doing, which was suppressive fire, inaccurate fire that was just bursts of bullets...

PELOSI: Horrible.

CUOMO: ... to do as much destruction imprecisely as he could. Do you think you can get Republicans to sign on...

PELOSI: Well, I hope so.

CUOMO: ... to that measure as a quick first step?

PELOSI: Some people are signing on right now. Some Republicans are expressing in the press their interest in perhaps supporting it. There is -- you know, there are all kinds of -- so many people introduced bump stock bills or plan to this week, because it's outrageous. Most people didn't realize this capacity was so accessible and what it could do from having it be one shot to being hundreds of shots.

So -- but something that we did with President Bush when I was speaker was we had the digital -- in terms of the background checks, digitizing, the funds to do that, so that people would -- it was more serviceable. Now, somebody said -- I saw somebody -- I think somebody in the White House was saying, oh, Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the country but still they have the most murders on the street. Well, all you do is cross the line into Indiana, open up your trunk, fill it up, and take it back. So we have to have a national law to do that, if you're going to a gun show or buying on the Internet.

CUOMO: So let's talk about that, how we could weave together policy. Our next guest is somebody who thinks about this a lot, Colin Goddard. We first met him during the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.

PELOSI: The bill that we passed was right following Virginia Tech. It was a result of that. CUOMO: Colin was shot four times there. Ten years after the

shooting, he's still getting surgeries for it. That's why he's on crutches right now. They just removed some fragments from his hip joint. The surgery was successful, Colin says, and that's good news. You understand the issue. You're -- beyond your own personal experience, you've done a lot of homework on this. What's your question?

QUESTION: Leader Pelosi, I, like so many Americans, continue to watch more shootings, worse, and more shootings unfold in this country, and then listen to some elected officials say now is not the time to talk about making change, and then watch them inevitably do nothing.

You know, here in D.C., we've had debates, we've had hearings, we've had votes in the Senate, but nothing in the House for years. So my question is, why has the House ignored this issue as more and more Americans have been killed? What can House Democrats do about it? And what can we in the public do about it, as well?

PELOSI: Well, all we want is a vote. I feel quite certain that there would be bipartisan support to pass the background check bill. It is Thompson-King, Peter King of New York, Republican. And we have a number of people who have said they would support the bill.

Let me just say to the Speaker Ryan: Just give us a vote. If you -- the only reason you won't give us a vote is if you think we would win, but that's a reason to give us a vote.

So I think -- you know, President Lincoln, he said public sentiment is everything. And this is a time for the public, really, to weigh in. And we just have to keep persisting, because we have these moments of silence, and certainly we want to be prayerful and respectful in a moment of silence. But people are impatient of that. They want action.

And action is possible. We have the bill. It's bipartisan. Give us a vote. And again, the more that people will speak -- overwhelmingly, the American people support the background check bill. This is not an extreme. This is common sense, would save the most lives.

CUOMO: There's an offset to the optimism, though, isn't there? I mean, when you had the majority, you couldn't get this done. Even the bump stock. I'm not saying it was a White House initiative. But it first came through 2010. That was, obviously, the Obama administration, there were Democrats in control. Why confidence that if you couldn't get it done when you had the numbers, that now that you don't have the numbers, you could get it done?

PELOSI: Well, you have to remember that you have to have 60 votes in the United States Senate to do anything that is not, shall we say, under reconciliation, which is getting into another subject. So the people in the Senate are reluctant to vote for something they think is not going to pass in the House, same thing in the House, if it's not going to pass in the Senate, because there's a strong influence of the National Rifle Association in the Congress of the United States. There's just no question about it. There's some thought that the National Rifle Association gave George

Bush's manifestations of his campaign $30 million. Thirty million dollars. So this is -- I think one thing we have to do is take money out of politics, and that would be very wholesome. Reduce the role of money in politics.

But apart from that, we have to just take it to the public and just say, how can you say now is not the time or we're not ready yet? How many more lives? As Mr. Patterson said, how many more times does this have to happen before we just say -- and, you know, I say to my colleagues, your political survival is not as important as the survival of little children in Newtown or the prayerful people in South Carolina or the kids in Pulse or the people in Nevada or you at Virginia Tech. Political survival, what? Who cares? We're talking about the lives of the American people.

And we just have to -- you know, we just -- and we promised -- all of the families come to see us all the time, moms of kids shot in the street. Little children, 4 years old, drive-by, or something, come to see us all the time, and we keep saying -- I'll just tell you one thing, the most beautiful day was when Gabby was there and children from Newtown and the rest and Vice President Biden came. And he was such a consolation to the parents, because he had lost a child, and now he's lost another child. He lost a little child in a car accident, and then this was after Beau died. So the empathy that they had was a beautiful thing. He could appreciate their pain better than the rest of us.

But we just all -- I think if we call -- I know hunters in California, my friends, all -- they keep saying we want to have the background check.

CUOMO: But it gets complicated, right? Because there's a culture of self-defense and of belief in the Second Amendment.

PELOSI: Well, that's fine. Nobody's denying that.

CUOMO: But it leads us to our next question, Amanda Collins. She became a Second Amendment activist after she was the victim of a sexual assault at gunpoint as a college student. She now runs an organization that advocates for victims and women's rights to self- defense. Amanda, thank you for joining us. What's your question?

QUESTION: Thank you for having me. Leader Pelosi, you've been talking about needing to pass as many laws -- or the laws in order to save the most lives. The very law that was passed in order to ensure my safety while I was on my college campus was, in fact, what guaranteed my attacker an unmatched victim the night he raped me at gunpoint less than 50 feet away from the campus police office, on the same floor of the parking garage where they park their cruisers. And so my question to you is, how does rendering me as a law-abiding citizen protect anybody else from a violent crime?

PELOSI: I'm sorry, I missed the verb. How does limiting...

QUESTION: How does rendering me defenseless, me meaning a law-abiding citizen, by taking away my ability to defend myself in the manner in which I believe I should be able to choose to, where I want to, how does rendering me defenseless protect anybody else from a violent crime?

PELOSI: Well, let me be a consolation to you. No one is advocating that. We're not talking about taking guns away from people. What we're talking about is to make sure that people who have guns register and that there are background checks on that to prevent other people from being in harm's way. But no one is questioning your right to have a gun or to limiting your safety at all, not at all.

So hopefully that clarification -- because that is part of the argument the other side uses. Well, you're going to take away my -- nobody's taking away anybody's guns. All we're saying is you should have a background check. And people, responsible gun owners from the hills of Arizona to the duck blinds of Minnesota, all over, say we're all law-abiding, we have many guns, we have as many guns as he had, but we have background checks. I think she has a...

QUESTION: If I may just follow up with that, I respect what you're saying about not wanting to take away our firearms.

PELOSI: No.

QUESTION: I didn't have my firearm that evening because my university is a gun-free zone. So bringing into -- I'm asking about the gun-free zones that are advocated for...

CUOMO: Right, Amanda, just because you don't have the mic, I'll repeat the question, so everybody at home can understand. She's saying there was a law that had a gun-free zone, which is seen as obviously a deterrent. Amanda is saying it worked in reverse, in her case, because she wasn't allowed to carry, the bad guys can always get the guns, because they get them illegally, they don't worry about doing it the way a lawful citizen would, so they have an advantage. And should you be creating laws that give advantage to the wrong people?

PELOSI: Would you have had a gun if you...

QUESTION: Absolutely.

PELOSI: You would have been carrying a gun?

QUESTION: Yes, at the time of my attack, I had a concealed carry permit. However, being a law-abiding citizen, I followed the law and did not have my firearm with me.

CUOMO: Right. And, look, you know, just statistically, Amanda was a rare breed, right, that you had a concealed carry permit, and you could have been in a position to have a weapon, but the law kept you from doing it and you followed the law to your own detriment.

PELOSI: And the other person broke the law.

CUOMO: That's right. But in general, most people don't have concealed carry permits. But the principle stands. When you make it harder for someone like Amanda or me to get a gun, then you are making it easier for bad guys because they don't follow the law.

PELOSI: Let me just go back to what I said. We're talking about a bill that would say you have to have a background check.

CUOMO: Right.

PELOSI: It's 72 hours. It's a very short background check. So I'm not making it harder for you to have a gun. All we're just saying is that you have to have a background check.

That somebody was on the campus with a gun is a violation of that, and they should have had better protection for you. But people are generally trying to protect as many people as possible. Your situation is heartbreaking. I sympathize with you. You're my daughter's age, so I put myself in that kind of a situation as a mother. How I would feel about that?

But it isn't -- as horrible as the incident was, we're trying to protect -- stop as many other incidences. And the evidence is clear that when we did have the background checks before all of this, gun shows and Internet purchases and the rest, hundreds of thousands, if not a couple million sales were prevented from happening, and that saved lives.

CUOMO: All right. We need to take a break. Appreciate the questions. I appreciate seeing both sides of this issue. It's a conversation we need to have. So we're going to be right back with more of CNN's town hall with Leader Nancy Pelosi. Please stay with CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. Thank you for joining us at the CNN town hall. We have Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. We just had a very thoughtful and robust debate over what to do about gun laws in the wake of Las Vegas. But there's a lot of other news to unpack with the leader, as well.

For instance, what's going on with the secretary of state and his relationship with the president? We've almost never seen this kind of perceived disconnect playing out in public. Lots of people have disagreed at that level in private, but CNN is reporting that President Trump heard about this report or someone told him or he read something that the secretary of state had called him a moron during a meeting at the Pentagon this summer and that there was a push to want him out, that maybe the chief of staff had pushed back. And then we had that bizarre press conference today from the secretary of state who basically just came out to say, "I like the president."

PELOSI: You know what I said about people who want to go work in the Trump administration? Know your blood type. This is a very awkward place to work. So I don't know what the reality was, if he said it, if he didn't say it, or whatever it is. But it's a tough place to work. And it's not about your contribution to the country. It's about your loyalty to the president.

CUOMO: But let's assume that everything the secretary of state said today is true, OK? He never said that or he doesn't want to talk it, it's petty, it didn't happen, they don't have a problem, he loves the president, he loves his service for the country, and it's fine.

There is a basic energy that is happening around the president that seems to be counterproductive. And there's a question for you as Democrats. I understand that on one level of political analysis that it's, in quotes, "good" to have instability around the White House because it gives you some operating leverage.

But when you're talking about it at this level and the concerns that are on the table with North Korea, even with what we saw in Puerto Rico and with the storms, with the people there, maybe it's not a time for political leverage. Maybe it is a time to reach across in a way that may not be politically advantageous but is the right thing to do for people.

Are you thinking about that on the leadership level of the Democrats to say, "We want to reach across more, we're not going to sit back and watch, we're going to try to help, we're going to try to make this better"?

PELOSI: Well, we have a responsibility to the American people that we honor, that we have a responsibility to find our common ground, and where we can't, we must stand our ground. We worked very closely with President Bush who did one of the worst things in American history, took us into the war in Iraq on the basis of a false premise. It wasn't true, weapons of mass destruction. They knew it wasn't true.

But nonetheless, when we took the majority, or even in the minority, we worked closely with him. We passed the biggest energy bill in the history of our country. We passed legislation to help poor kids, PEPFAR for AIDS drugs. The list goes on and on of what we did with President Bush. That's our responsibility.

But it has nothing to do with whether the president likes his secretary of state or doesn't like -- I mean, that's almost trivial compared to the challenges that our country faces and that -- we want our president to succeed. But again, we have to honor our values as we weigh the equities on any of the decisions we make.

But, no, we have a responsibility to find common ground. This isn't even a debate. It's actually who we are. And actually quite different from when the Republicans took the majority, when President Obama was president, and Leader Mitch McConnell said the most important thing we can do is to make sure he doesn't succeed. That is unheard of. I've never heard of such a thing in our country. We wouldn't engage in that.

But, yes, we've already reached across the aisle with the president for DACA, to save the DREAMers, to talk about how we keep government open. We've already had that conversation.

CUOMO: The reason I ask is, you know -- and people can hear the question, can hear the comment, and say, well, that's not true. But it's not the Democrats who are saying it. Republican Senator Bob Corker said today that he thinks Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, and Chief of Staff Kelly are the people that, quote, "help separate our country from chaos."

Now, that is a remarkable statement on several levels. But I'm asking it to kind of double-down on this proposition. The president, if asked about this, I suspect, because he's said it in the past, would say that you guys are freezing him out, that you are oppositional. I know what happened on DACA; we'll talk about that later tonight, about the realities of that.

But I'm wondering, when you see something like a Corker say that these men are so important, that this stability is so fragile, does it motivate you to do more to reach across than has been done to date?

PELOSI: Well, we have to have our common ground. We all bring our values to it. For example, now we're engaged in the battle of the budget right now on the floor of the House and tomorrow, as well. Tied to that is the -- what the president and Republicans in Congress are proposing on taxes. We'd love to come together to have tax reform, work together in a bipartisan way. Instead, they did their tax cuts for the high end, sent it over, and said this is our first and last offer, take it or leave it. Well, that's not any way to have bipartisanship.

But this is very important. The battle of the budget, the budget is the statement of our national values. Show me your budget, show me your values. What is important to us as a nation, to invest in the education of our children, in science, and protecting the environment, the rest of it, all of the things, building the infrastructure of America, instead of a budget that takes us well into debt, trillions of dollars into debt, in order to give a tax cut to the wealthy, and while they're doing it, to cut $1 trillion out of Medicaid and $500 billion out of Medicare in order to give a tax cut to corporate America and to the high end.

So that's not -- we don't have -- that's a fight. That's a fight. Can we find common ground on true tax reform? Yes. Will we have to work together to keep government open? Yes. But we just don't say because you can't get along with your cabinet that we're going to give away the store to you? No.

CUOMO: So in terms of places of common ground, one place where there seems to be absolutely not a grain of sand that unites you is on the Russia investigation. And just hours ago, the senators in charge of the probe announced they're still looking into whether President Trump or anyone on his campaign colluded with the Russians, which isn't a legally operative term, but could mean something politically.

There's new reporting from CNN showing that Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted people in Wisconsin and Michigan. And obviously, we know those states loomed very large in the decisiveness of the election in 2016. So with that as a context, let's bring in Cheriz Cajita. She's a communications specialist for the University of California in Washington program, and she has a question about this. Cheriz, what's your question?

QUESTION: Good evening, Leader Pelosi.

PELOSI: Hi, Cheriz.

QUESTION: It's very nice to be here with you. On behalf of myself and my colleagues and the students here from the University of California, it's an honor to be here this evening.

PELOSI: Wow.

QUESTION: So my question is, with the growing prominence of tech companies like Facebook and Twitter and the roles in the dissemination of sometimes true, sometimes false information, what do you feel their civic duty is? Should there be screening? And if so, does that ever impede upon freedom of speech?

PELOSI: Well, thank you very much, Cheriz, for your question. We are blessed with the advances in technology in terms of communication and so many other advances. I really do believe some of the advances in technology enabled us to have advances in biomedical research and the rest and in just sharing medical data. It's been a wonderful, beautiful blessing. However, it has its dangers. And we're learning more about what they are.

And however we go forward with it, we have to calibrate the privacy of people as well as not to be exploited by -- there's no question the Russians exploited our electoral system. Now, to what extent? I keep saying, well, we have an investigation inside the Congress, with the Republican majority, so it has its limitations, inside the Congress, and we have an investigation inside the Justice Department, with those limitations. We need an outside independent commission to do an investigation, not so much about the past, but about the future, and that our electoral system's integrity will not be in doubt.

And it's a bigger question beyond the elections, as well, but it is something that our best minds, best ethical thinking as well as technology, technological experts have to apply themselves to. The senator said that they thought -- I think -- did they say that the commercial should be released, but they may not do it? I'm not sure.

CUOMO: Right.

PELOSI: But I think the American people will demand that. But there are many scores in terms of what is sold, what children are exposed to and the rest. And, again, we have our freedom of speech, we have our privacy protections, and we have the advances of technology that are inevitable. So this is a bigger question than just what the Russians did in our election.

CUOMO: But it gets to be a little bit of a sticky wicket, if I could team up with Cheriz for a second, just to scratch at this a little bit more, because they have a lot of technology now. And for whatever reason...

PELOSI: They being? CUOMO: The -- Facebook and Twitter and the social media platforms...

PELOSI: Oh, yes. I thought you were talking about the Russians.

CUOMO: ... they have a lot of -- well, they may, as well -- we'll see what your investigation is -- but they have lots of abilities right now that either didn't allow them or they decided not to blow up these efforts. So how you do this gets a little sticky.

I mean, you've got Democratic Senators Warner and Klobuchar, I think, who are saying they should keep track of anybody who buys ads in excess of $10,000 -- well, where does that number come from? And what does that do in terms of chilling speech? If you start keeping lists of people who do things, will that -- you know, will that disincentivize people? Will it scare people away? If they start screening content and saying, hey, we vet, we think this is fake, that gets very subjective very quickly.

PELOSI: It's a challenge.

CUOMO: Would you be for the Warner-Klobuchar thing, if anybody -- $10,000?

PELOSI: Yes.

CUOMO: You would be for that?

PELOSI: I would. But let me tell you why, because almost anybody who buys an ad that's on CNN or on TV or anything has an authority line. And we want fuller disclosure of who's buying the ads. That's why we are against the dark money that came from the Citizens United decision.

Where does this money come from? And so, of course, in California we have laws about this, but -- and in the rest of the country, usually when you see a commercial, you see who paid for the ad on TV. Why wouldn't you see who paid for the ad, to at least $10,000 on the -- on social media?

But again, all of a sudden, this revelation occurred, and it's a big issue. And I think it requires a big conversation. But the proposal that Senator Warner and Senator Klobuchar put forth is a modest, I think, approach to it. But it's an approach. We should see...

CUOMO: Well, it hits at the means, not the message. It goes at money, not the subjectivity of what Cheriz originally brought up about how do you decide what is real and what is fake? Who does that? It's a bigger conversation.

PELOSI: Yeah, it is. But if -- for example, if we were as Congress to say we're going to reveal these ads, which we may do, we're going to show these ads, because people should see what -- it's very interesting. It's very dangerous. But if you would see these ads -- but at the same time, we would have a responsibility to protect...

CUOMO: Right. PELOSI: ... people who are being used in the ads, as well. So it

isn't -- this isn't a frivolous thing. And many of us who are interested in the public knowing who's advertising -- and by the way, it's not legal for a foreign government to interfere in our election. That's a whole other thing as an in-kind contribution. They're subtle about how they do it. But nonetheless, one who works closely with our tech community -- I come from San Francisco -- and one who wants the ads to be identified, I see the balance that we have to have. But thank you for your questions.

CUOMO: OK. All right, let's take a break. A lot of people online are saying, what about Puerto Rico? We're going to discuss it at the CNN town hall with Leader Nancy Pelosi right after this quick break.

(APPLAUSE)

CUOMO: All right, welcome back to the CNN town hall. We have Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi with us tonight. We've been covering a lot of hot-topic issues in terms of the need for debate in this country about what matters.

Puerto Rico should be in sharp focus when you're talking about where the need is right now for Americans. The president just came back from Puerto Rico, and he said that he saw things were tough there but that the response was great and he was well received, except for some "fake reporting."

Let me tell you this, as someone who was just in Puerto Rico, the people come up to you, they all say the same thing: The need is great. There's a phrase on the ground there that's a new greeting for people: "Agua y luz?" "Do you have light and power?" "Do you have water and power?" That's what they're asking each other on a daily basis. The need is great. There's nothing fake about that.

Let's have a discussion about the reality right now. I want to bring in David Galarza, OK? He is Puerto Rican. He lives in New York. He still has not heard from some of his extended family in Puerto Rico.

David, what is your question for the speaker? Thank you for being with us.

QUESTION: Sure. Thank you for having me. Leader Pelosi, the people in Puerto Rico have so much empathy and so much compassion and mourn the loss of all those lives in Las Vegas, but as I stand here today, people are dying in Puerto Rico. They're dying because, just what Chris said, they don't have access to water, to food, to even basic medicines.

I've been hearing reports about people burying their dead in their own backyards. These are 3.5 million U.S. citizens, and two weeks is way too long to be getting any of those supplies and food and basic supplies. What are you and your colleagues prepared to do to stem that, to stop those deaths, and address the humanitarian crisis going on right now?

In addition to that, what are you and your colleagues prepared to do to cancel the killer debt that's already strangling Puerto Rico right now and our ability to get on our feet and rebuild Puerto Rico the right way?

PELOSI: Thank you. Thank you, David, for your question. That's quite a wide range, going from the debt to the lack of water and power and -- as we said before the show, Rita and I, our college roommate, Sonia Zapata, is from Puerto Rico. We call her every day practically, and we can't reach her. I'm sorry you can't reach your family, but the communication, as you know, is down.

I think we have to -- as we look at it, relief right away, recovery to rebuild so that people can live. But then the ongoing economic health of the country. I don't think that they should rebuild the grid the way it is because it's so vulnerable. Let's give Puerto Rico a fresh start.

But in terms of the immediate need, which is the water and the light, the -- I spent the afternoon at FEMA headquarters today, and they gave a report about the progress that they have made. But no matter how much progress you made, there's still a long way to go in terms of meeting the needs of the people there. We did pass a bill at the end of the last week for the funding -- the first order of funding to go. We will pass another one probably within the next week for more resources to go.

What we think should have happened sooner, but nonetheless they're there now and we need more, is for the military to be there. The military knows how to set up places for people to live, to get supplies to people. They have helicopters. They have equipment. And they're very good at what they do in terms of disaster assistance.

Now they're there in a stronger presence than before. I wish it had been sooner. Just to point out that, when first storm -- when Irma came, Puerto Rico was hit, but it was not hit as hard as part of the Virgin Islands and part of Florida. And they assisted the other islands in the region. The Puerto Ricans were sending out supplies, being helpful, giving humanitarian assistance, even though they had been hit, but not as hard as the others. And now, boom, along comes Maria and they take the full wham. So these people know about compassion, know about humanitarian assistance.

We weren't there soon enough. We have to be there in a fuller way. If you go to FEMA, they'll tell you we're up to date on everything that we should have done by now. And that may be so. And as I said, that may be perfectly true, but it's also true, as you've described, that people there are still without complete access to food, to water. And not just bottled water, but water for all purposes, as well as communication and grid being -- the return of the energy, the generators and the communication system will go a long way.

But this is near and dear to my heart. Rita and I went there with Sonia when we were 18 years old, freshmen in college at Trinity College. We've been there many, many, many, many times. We know the city, the places there. And we worry very much about our roommate, as I know you worry about your family. But this is a challenge to the conscience of America. These are

American citizens. I mean, they're just God's children. That would be reason enough. These are American citizens. And when a natural disaster falls upon any of us, it is the responsibility of the government to come to the aid of the people to protect them. That's part of our -- that's our primary responsibility, really. Without that, what else matters?

Now, on the money side, we have a letter -- we have a letter that we're sending to ask -- we want the -- a letter came, not from us, from the board that was established to establish -- to re-establish the financial integrity, economic integrity of Puerto Rico. When I say integrity, success. That board has just written to us, the leaders, four leaders, asking us to pass a law to enable the Treasury Department to lend money to Puerto Rico to get through its governance until it can get back on its feet.

And what that board is doing...

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

PELOSI: No, I understand. But the board -- the board is established to help Puerto Rico get back on its feet. This is not easy, because, I'll tell you, the vultures are out there wanting to scoop up...

QUESTION: Some of them are on that board.

PELOSI: Well, but -- nonetheless, that's the same question. Did everybody sign the letter? Yes, everybody signed the letter, asking for that, because the government, they just -- whatever it was before the storm, it's much worse now, in terms of meeting the...

CUOMO: Well, you're going to have stages of need, and that's why when the president said we're going to have to cancel out that debt, Mick Mulvaney, who had...

PELOSI: Came right in and said no.

CUOMO: He said that you can't take that on its face, which is a little bit of a confusing situation. But nonetheless, let's leave that topic there for now, because I want to get to...

PELOSI: Well, let me just -- one more thing. So we have immediate need that we're talking about. We have the recovery, which will be ongoing, economic recovery and how can we be helpful there, but we also have that economic recovery. Part of that is to address the health needs in Puerto Rico, which we have an important, shall we say, appropriation that we have to make immediately to meet the Medicaid -- what is called the Medicaid clip. I mean, maybe more than most people want to know about the subject, but there are all kinds of ways that we're coming at it, with the disaster assistance, with the health needs, and then to help the board do its job.

But we can talk some more about it. It's very tough, because the vultures are out. CUOMO: Let's do that one more in the break, because I want to get to

another topic right now, OK? DACA, the deferred action rules that are going to expire now. What are we going to do about it going forward? You came out with Chuck Schumer and said we have a deal with the president on DACA. He then stepped back of it. From right now, do you think that there is a deal on the table right now? What's the political reality?

PELOSI: What we said when we came out of the room is that we have an agreement on the DREAM Act, that the president agreed to support the DREAM Act, and that we would have to talk about the security part of it, and that was the agreement we had. The bill is the DREAM Act. That's really important, because there are all kinds of little versions...

CUOMO: But is that still true?

PELOSI: ... of the DREAM Act. The president has never told it is not -- it is not true. And in fact, since you quoted Mick Mulvaney, I'll quote him again. The next day, he told the press, yes, that's what happened last night.

CUOMO: But there's been some backing off after. But let's get to an audience question...

PELOSI: He hasn't backed off to us, the president hasn't.

CUOMO: All right. Let's get to an audience question, Adrian Reyna. You have a question about this. Tell us about yourself, and what's your question?

QUESTION: Thank you. Leader Pelosi, I'm a DACA beneficiary, and I am terrified that a deal with Trump would mean that even if it protects me and my sisters who also have DACA would enable Trump's mass deportation agents to go after my family.

PELOSI: Yeah.

QUESTION: We need a solution, and we need it soon. Do you commit to pass a clean DREAM Act before December?

PELOSI: Yes. And let me tell you what we -- actually, you may recall that when we had this arrangement with the president, he called the next day, and I said -- early in the morning, and I said, Mr. President, you have to, it's very important for you to send a message to our DREAMers that you're not going after them, not to worry about this, because this is a worry we all have.

Our DREAMers, they make American dream again. They're so, so lovely. And we, frankly, owe a debt to your parents for bringing you here to be such a brilliant part of our future. A constant reinvigoration of America, that's what newcomers are. Your courage, with your optimism, with your commitment to making -- their commitment to making the future better for their children. That's what Americans are all about. And so our concern was everyone else's concern. If the DREAMers come

forward, their families are exposed for bringing them here. But we made a decision -- in 2010, we passed the DREAM Act in the House of Representatives. I was speaker. We passed the DREAM Act. It couldn't -- it got a majority in the Senate, but it couldn't get 60 votes. The same, old stuff. It couldn't get 60 votes. So we've been fighting that fight all along.

It was an exception because all along we had been saying we want to have comprehensive immigration reform. But at that time, the community said we've got to protect the DREAMers. Our concern is that the information that you have given as DREAMers, the families that you've now given visibility to must be protected.

CUOMO: Well, you've got people like Steve King who said that they'll only give protection to people like you if you tell them information about your parents.

PELOSI: Well, that's not...

CUOMO: So obviously, that would be...

PELOSI: ... use just anybody, like Steve King as an example (ph).

CUOMO: But there's a part of that party. There's a part of that party. That's why it was such a quick yes, which I know put a smile on your face, Adrian, but how can you be confident that you can have a clean bill on this without any add-ons that wind up exposing people to risk?

PELOSI: Well, let me say that what we've said to the DREAMers -- first of all, the president should never have done what he did in terms of giving the six month this or that, he's revoking and giving six months for us to pass a bill. He should never have done that. It was an inhumane thing to do.

But that's when we went to see him and said, hey, if we're going to have a values-based relationship, this is our threshold. This is our threshold, protecting these DREAMers and our country, because they have come forward, they have revealed their parents, they've revealed their information.

And the president, I think, because -- not because, as I say, Chuck Schumer had good table manners, it's because the American people believe in you. And overwhelmingly, the American people -- in the high 80s, 90s, believe that the DREAMers should stay here. Overwhelming majority believe on a path to citizenship, the remainder to legalization. I believe in citizenship.

So I think the president is not responding to us only, but he's responding to the American people and to the beauty of the inspiration that you are to our country. So we just have to be optimistic, because President Obama did what he did very beautifully and protected the parents. President Bush took us back and now saying we want to see Congress take action. We have to. And that's, as I say, our threshold issue. CUOMO: All right. We're going to take a break. When we come back,

we'll have more of CNN's town hall with Leader Nancy Pelosi. Please stay with CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: All right. Thank you for joining the CNN town hall discussion. I know it went late, but we started late. And there was great interest so we got through as much as we could. Our thanks to Leader Nancy Pelosi. Thank you for being with us. Appreciate it. And thanks to all of you for the questions and the participation. We're going to get right now to Don Lemon. "CNN Tonight" starts right now.