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CUOMO PRIME TIME

SCOTUS Rules Trump Asylum Restrictions Can Take Effect; New CNN Poll: Biden Leads Democrat Field With 24 Percent Support; Trump Administration Moves To Ban Flavored E-Cigarettes. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 11, 2019 - 21:00   ET

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


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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: --and our eternal pledge that your loved ones will never, ever be forgotten.

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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Also, at the Pentagon today, former President, George W. Bush, who was President, obviously, on 9/11, laid a wreath at the Memorial. He was joined by Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, and former Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

At the Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Vice President Pence honored those who've died on Flight 93. The crew and passengers, as you know, fought back against the hijackers, and protected our nation's capital.

In New York, where the attacks first happened, when Flights 11 and 175 slammed into the World Trade Center, bells were rung at the footprints of the Twin Towers.

Loved ones read a solemn roll call of the dead.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fairbanks-Barbosa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keith George Fairben.

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COOPER: 9/11, 18 years later, we remember.

The news continues. Want to go to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Always a tough day, and it should always be that way. Anderson, thank you very much. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

We got breaking news tonight. Our Asylum laws were just changed by the Supreme Court, and it could keep a lot of people from ever having a chance to come to America. We're going to get reaction from a key U.S. Senator tonight, on the next step for this country, in that case, and on his role in a potential gun deal. We also have brand-new numbers to show you on the eve of the next big debate. Someone's closing in on Joe Biden, and that someone is gearing up to take him on directly for the very first time, tomorrow.

And, of course, as Anderson was telling you, and as you should need no reminder, it is 9/11. And I want us to recall what was supposed to be learned and what I fear has been forgotten. As ever, I am so sorry for those who are pained by this day. We must always remember.

Let's get after it.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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CUOMO: All right, so the Supreme Court is now allowing this Administration to shut the door to many Central Americans seeking asylum while the legal fight over that case continues.

The case is styled or named Barr versus East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, and you can look it up. But it is really Trump versus Them.

The new rule would prohibit migrants who've resided in or traveled through Third Countries, those people now cannot seek asylum in the U.S., if they decline to request protection at the first opportunity.

In other words, they have to ask and be denied asylum in places like Guatemala, or Mexico, first.

Now, I know Senator Richard Blumenthal is among those not happy with this decision.

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TEXT: ONE ON ONE.

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CUOMO: Let's bring in the Judiciary Committee Member about this and his big role in a potential gun deal.

Senator, thank you for joining, especially on this day.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: What is your case against this case? As we both know, and for the - you know this very well, as an established prosecutor. But for the public, you are supposed to seek asylum in the first available forum.

BLUMENTHAL: The rule that the administration is trying to implement is, in fact, you have to seek asylum in the country that you travel through--

CUOMO: Yes.

BLUMENTHAL: --before seeking asylum here.

Think for a moment what that would have meant during World War II. My dad came to this country in 1935, seeking to escape persecution in Germany.

He would have been required first to seek asylum in those European countries that he traveled through, as would have been many other asylum-seekers and refugees. He was 17 years old. He spoke no English. He had not much more than the shirt on his back. This country gave him a chance to succeed.

The people covered by this rule, barred from seeking asylum here, are similarly seeking to escape persecution, violence, condoned by the governments in their countries, drug trafficking, and threats.

And this kind of rule contravenes the spirit, if not the letter of this law, and the intent of Congress in passing it.

CUOMO: Well let me hold on the spirit for one moment. I want to address that. And I accept your premise.

And I surrender the point on what it would have meant for people, like your father, to have to travel to other European countries. But it's why that would have been an undue burden on him. It would, because those countries would have been similar threats to him, because of their vulnerability at that time.

Can you make the same constructive argument here? Do you believe that Mexico is such a dangerous place that people in Central America that are contiguous to it, next to it, shouldn't have asylum there?

BLUMENTHAL: Mexico already is a dangerous place for asylum-seekers as--

CUOMO: G20 country.

[21:05:00] BLUMENTHAL: --as the President himself has outlined. The human traffickers, the gang warlords, the geographic distances in the place itself and the potential for exploitation make it dangerous now.

But it would be even more so if Mexico had to deal with every one of the asylum-seekers coming or seeking to come to this country. And so--

CUOMO: We have heard reports, just to bootstrap your point, from DHS and CBP that Tijuana, and other places, where people have been waiting have been getting more and more dangerous, and that those people - there has been a predation on the people who are waiting to get into this country. Things are getting worse because of volume.

BLUMENTHAL: That is exactly right, Chris.

As the volume increases, and Mexico loses control, potentially, of its own Asylum process, and parts of the country right now are essentially lawless, those asylum-seekers become more and more at the mercy of the human traffickers and drug cartels that would seek to exploit them for money, and for other serious criminal victimizations.

CUOMO: So, the appeal is going to be on that basis, having read some of the early pleadings that these countries are similarly situated, and there is no safe forum until these people seeking asylum come to the U.S.

I really do believe though the ultimate remedy should be legislative. Of course, that depends on the ability of you guys to make a deal.

Now, segue on that point. You're supposedly working with Senator Lindsey Graham to get something done on guns. The House passed a couple of more bills, a red flag variety, and another background variety.

Do you really believe that you can work with Senator Graham and get something done with this President?

BLUMENTHAL: I absolutely believe that Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee is a serious and diligent partner.

After months of negotiation, and crafting, and drafting a bill, we are on the verge of introducing a measure that preserves due process, but takes guns away from people who are dangerous to themselves or others.

And I'm very proud to be from Connecticut the first day--

CUOMO: Yes.

BLUMENTHAL: --to adopt such a statute, an emergency risk protection order statute that enables a police officer or another law enforcement official to go to court, take a gun away from someone, who is about to commit suicide, or kill a spouse or intimate partner, as well as commit a mass shooting, like Parkland, whereas Lindsey Graham says, the shooter all but took out an ad in the newspaper.

And I believe that due process is preserved by the subsequent hearing. We've carefully crafted this law to provide grants and incentives, so that more than just the 18 states that have them now will follow Connecticut's lead.

And I think the White House, and specifically, the President, would be denying an overwhelming seismic political dynamic, 90 percent of the American people--

CUOMO: No question.

BLUMENTHAL: --favor this kind of law.

CUOMO: No question. But Senator McConnell won't move on it unless the President says he will. The President has been sheepish about this. He's vacillated on it.

Can Leonard - does Lindsey Graham who, let's be honest, has been unapologetic, in terms of a fixing himself to this President, in terms of what the President wants, does he believe this President will come on board?

BLUMENTHAL: Lindsey Graham is a pretty good advocate. He's an experienced trial lawyer, as I am. He knows how to make the case.

And I think what is as important as Lindsey Graham's advocacy is the overwhelming numbers of American people, almost 90 percent that support emergency risk protection orders, and they work, they save lives, as do universal background checks.

And our goal is to do both, I mean speaking for myself, together because both keep guns out of the hands of--

CUOMO: Does Lindsey want--

BLUMENTHAL: --dangerous people.

CUOMO: --universal background checks?

BLUMENTHAL: I'm not going to speak for Lindsey Graham.

CUOMO: I will. No.

BLUMENTHAL: Well I think that there is an really seismic political dynamic, a political movement, that's been generated by groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, Brady, Giffords--

CUOMO: Yes.

BLUMENTHAL: --and many other groups across the country that I think has gotten the attention of the White House as well as my colleagues in the Senate.

CUOMO: Well--

BLUMENTHAL: But it will be the President--

CUOMO: Now--

BLUMENTHAL: --who has to lead or get out of the way.

CUOMO: No - no - no question about it. Well you know he's not going to get out of the way because it's got to be about him on some level.

But, you know, you talk about - this is an unusual situation because you have a consensus in the country that isn't being echoed by its Representatives, in terms of action.

Now, one last question for you, Senator, because there's another issue like that, but the reverse is true. There's this big impeachment vote tomorrow to give the House more tools to go forward with what seems like an impeachment inquiry.

They're playing with the language. They're playing with the objective. You do not have a national consensus on people wanting impeachment.

What do you think of that vote tomorrow?

[21:10:00] BLUMENTHAL: The House should move forward with its investigation, call it an impeachment inquiry, call it an investigation, oversight. What's important is that the American people see and hear what the President has done in violating the law.

And it's not only what Mueller found in his investigation. It's also his defiance of the Constitution, as I have shown in the lawsuit that we've brought, based on the emoluments clause, because he's taken foreign payments and benefits without consent of Congress.

There is a pattern of law-breaking. The House has to vindicate it. And I hope it will.

And just on the issue of bipartisanship, part of my hope, for this gun legislation, is the fact that we did achieve a bipartisan compromise on immigration reform. Just a few years ago, Lindsey Graham, and I, and others helped to lead in an overwhelmingly passed measure that reformed a broken immigration system.

So, you're absolutely right. We need legislation. And it's time for us in the Senate to come together, and end the epidemic of gun violence, just as we must end the epidemic of vaping.

CUOMO: Look, on the - on a day like this, I'm not going to be the enemy of optimism. And maybe there is a carry-through, and if they want to protect kids from something that could be a danger, like e- cigarettes, maybe they'll see the same rationale in dealing with guns.

Senator, thank you very much for fighting these fights. They matter--

BLUMENTHAL: Yes.

CUOMO: --to your constituents--

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

CUOMO: --and the country. Be well.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, so it is the eve of the next big debate. We have a new reading of the pulse of Democratic voters.

And there's one person you're going to really want to watch tomorrow because when she is on stage with the former VP, Joe Biden, for the first time, it could make all the difference.

Why? That takes us inside the numbers with the Wizard of Odds, next. Whiz.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: So, we are on the eve of the third debate between the Democratic presidential candidates. But it will be the first big showdown.

You got Joe Biden at 24 percent, Senator Elizabeth Warren gaining steam, 18 percent, virtually tied with Senator Bernie Sanders, 17 percent.

Now, where are they getting support from? What does it mean going into tomorrow night, especially with Biden and Warren on the same stage? Our Wizard of Odds, Harry Enten, has the answers.

What do you see, Handsome?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER & ANALYST: What do I see! Well it takes two to tango, my dear friend.

Look at this. So, this is the trend line. And I think this is rather important because there's a noticeable trend for one of these candidates, and that is the Senator from the great state of Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren.

Back in May, she was only at 7 percent in our poll. Then she jumped to 15. She was kind of right around there. And now, she's up to 18 percent. That is the largest amount of support she has had in any poll that we have conducted since late last year.

CUOMO: Bernie Sanders says she's taking my ideas, she's riding the female momentum wave, and people didn't know who she was, that's why she's built up, but basically the same place I am, because we're equal.

ENTEN: No. Here's what I would say. I would say the reason that Elizabeth Warren is rising is take a look at this question.

Which is more important to potential Democratic primary voters, a strong chance of beating Trump, or strong positions on the major issues? A strong chance of beating Donald Trump is the number one issue for Democrats right now. They so desperately want to beat him.

And so, we broke down the poll like this way. So, if you take a look - if you prefer a candidate who can beat Donald Trump, if that's more important to you, take a look at the movement that we've had over the last month, between now and August.

We've seen Biden fall in that. He's only getting 26 percent among that group now versus 35 percent in August versus Warren has jumped from 15 percent in August to 21 percent now. She, it seems, is convincing more voters, at this point, that she can, in fact, beat the President of the United States, and that I believe is a large reason why she's moving up, versus Sanders, who's actually falling backwards on that.

CUOMO: All right give me more that gives us some context going in how big tomorrow is.

ENTEN: Here. I - I think that this is, to me, rather important.

And - and this is the whole question for me is whether or not Elizabeth Warren can break out from her base of support among White Democratic voters because, right now, she's leading among Whites.

She's at 23 percent. Biden's at 21 percent. But take a look at Hispanics and African-Americans. Elizabeth Warren is in fourth place right now among African-Americans, tied for fourth, with just 10 percent and among--

CUOMO: Why?

ENTEN: --Black Democrats, she's tied for third, 10 percent.

There are multiple reasons why. Number one, White Democrats tend to be more liberal, which is where Elizabeth Warren's base is. They tend to be better-educated. That's where her base is.

But it's more than that. It's also the fact that African-American Democrats, specifically, who we keep honing in on, they really love Joe Biden because they are more moderate, but also because of his connection with Barack Obama.

And Elizabeth Warren, right now, it's simply put, not connecting with them.

CUOMO: So, what do you think - here's the final question. When you have to balance this potential reality with what you put weight on, which is "Can I beat Trump," how big a deal is it for them to see Warren and Biden on the same stage?

ENTEN: This is huge. If she can convince them that she can beat Donald Trump, and Joe Biden can't, that's the ballgame. That's Joe Biden's path to victory. That's Elizabeth Warren's path to victory as well.

CUOMO: Shalom.

ENTEN: Shalom, Brother.

CUOMO: The Whiz. It's not what Wizards would usually say, but it's what our Wizard says.

ENTEN: A Special Wizard.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

The President is now taking on the growing vaping crisis in America. That is good. But here's an interesting question.

If the policy for intervening at this point is it seems like it's dangerous, we know that kids are getting hurt, and there seems to be a connection, so let's act before anything else happens, why doesn't he apply that to gun violence?

That will be the start of our Great Debate with these two Great Debateurs, Next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: So the Trump Administration is now moving to ban flavored e- cigarettes. Why? Concern for children.

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TRUMP: They're coming home, and they're saying, "Mom I want to vape." And the parents don't know too much about it and nobody knows too much about it, but they do know it's causing a lot of problems. And we're going to have to do something about it.

But people are dying with vaping.

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CUOMO: Now, we can expect legal pushback from the companies. We've been through this before. But here is the debatable question for us tonight, the premise for action.

You heard this President. People are dying. At least six people have died from lung illnesses linked to vaping. Hundreds more are sick. But if the President is so concerned about something that's potentially lethal to kids, and that seems like it's a danger, why doesn't that rationale apply to gun violence?

That's the start of tonight's Great Debate.

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TEXT: THE GREAT DEBATE.

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CUOMO: We have Ana Kasparian and we have Steve Cortes. Good to have you both. Ana, first--

STEVE CORTES, MEMBER, TRUMP 2020 RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: Thank you.

CUOMO: --if you agree with that premise that it should apply to gun violence, why?

ANA KASPARIAN, HOST & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE YOUNG TURKS": Well I think that it makes sense to legalize and regulate things. So, I am not against getting rid of or banning all guns. But it makes sense to regulate, have common-sense regulation for guns.

[21:25:00] The same goes for substances. Banning substances has not worked out so well for Americans or American history. We have imprisoned so many non-violent drug offenders in our so-called drug war.

And at the same time, after we've wasted so much in government resources, in doing so, we created a black market. And so people are going to turn to an unregulated black market where these drugs, and in this case, the e-cigarettes, are much more dangerous. And let me just note--

CUOMO: Well is it the same thing with guns that if you were to start--

KASPARIAN: Well--

CUOMO: --really restricting access, you'd create a secondary market where certainly the bad guys would go.

KASPARIAN: Well the whole point is to pass common-sense regulation, robust gun control regulations that, let's say, for instance, you have background checks without the loopholes, the gun show loophole, the loophole that gives the FBI a maximum of three days to conduct a background check. There's a loophole when it comes to private sellers.

Again, the point is common-sense regulation. Banning things does create a black market. And, in this case, the fact that Trump is so quick to go toward banning something which, by the way, six people have died, all of them have been adults.

And they purchased the products on the street, which means that we need better regulation. But banning it isn't going to solve the problem.

CUOMO: All right, so let's just stick with the through thread here, Steve. Obviously, part of the momentum here is people are concerned, people are concerned, you know the--

CORTES: Sure.

CUOMO: --the - and the President's picking up on that. He's got a great gut for sentimentality. So, why doesn't he follow it through with you got 90 percent of people who say "All checks - all sales should be checked when it comes to weapons."

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: And who say "We need red flag laws." If - if you have a reasonable - you got to have due process.

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: But if you have a reasonable suspicion that someone you know is in a bad way, you should remove their access, and remove their weapons for a while. That has huge consensus in this country too.

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: Why not follow the thinking through and pass those as well?

CORTES: Right. No, and it does as long as there's due process. But--

CUOMO: Right.

CORTES: --but here's the problem, I think, with - we're trying to draw the parallel here, Chris, between vaping and guns. You know, I'm no constitutional law scholar. But when I read the Bill of Rights--

CUOMO: True.

CORTES: --I don't find vaping anywhere in there. But right after the very sacred First Amendment is the equally sacred Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. So, we're talking about a constitutional right versus a, you know, a cigarette, basically.

CUOMO: But it is not an absolute right.

CORTES: There's no - there's no parallel.

KASPARIAN: We do--

CUOMO: It's not an absolute right.

CORTES: Of course, not. No, no right--

KASPARIAN: We do have constitutional rights.

CORTES: No, no right is absolute.

KASPARIAN: But I - I do want to note that, for some reason, we keep forgetting the - the second part of that constitutional protection, which means we need a way - you need gun control, well-regulated militia.

CORTES: Right.

KASPARIAN: I don't think that the situation we have in place right now is a well-regulated militia. There needs to be - every single constitutional right--

CORTES: OK. But Ana, here's where-- KASPARIAN: --has its limitations. And, in this case, for some reason, while we have even limitations on the First Amendment, we have a party in this country, the Republican Party who refuses to acknowledge that there are meant to be limitations in the Second Amendment, well- regulated militia.

CORTES: No.

KASPARIAN: Let's repeat it again.

CORTES: OK. First of all, to that point--

KASPARIAN: Well-regulated--

CORTES: OK. No, no, no--

KASPARIAN: --militia.

CORTES: --OK, if you're going to keep repeating that, you have to know what it means, and you have to know the history--

KASPARIAN: I do know what it means.

CORTES: --of the context there.

And - no, I don't think you do. Because a well-regulated militia meant at that time of the right in the Constitution, it was any male who was healthy, was considered a member of the militia, so every citizen is part of the militia, by the definition--

KASPARIAN: Oh, I understand that. But--

CORTES: --of the Constitution. OK. So we are - so I am a militia man in that--

KASPARIAN: --I - I'm talking about the well-regulated part.

CORTES: --I'm a--

KASPARIAN: Well-regulated.

CORTES: --I am a militia man in that regard. And we also know from the other writings outside--

KASPARIAN: I'm not questioning the militia part of it. I am talking about the regulation--

CORTES: OK.

KASPARIAN: --part of the Constitution--

CORTES: Both--

KASPARIAN: --that, for some reason, everyone seems to forget.

CORTES: No, hold on. And that's my second point that I'm going to get to here is no, we're not forgetting about that. For example, machine guns have been illegal in this country for a 100 years.

You know, of course, no - no right is absolute. You know, we know that.

And we know, for instance, that you can surrender your rights, for example, the right to vote if you're a felon, in the case of guns, if you're a felon, the right to own firearms. If you've had a domestic crime, even if it's not a felony, you lose your right to firearms.

And a perfect example of that, by the way, I - I am fine with talking about, and so is the President, with talking about expanded background checks. But what's really more important--

CUOMO: Wait. Hold on a second, Steve.

CORTES: --is that we enforce--

CUOMO: Don't - don't speak for the President. Where do you get the idea that he's OK with expanded background checks?

CORTES: No. I say he's--

CUOMO: He's run away from it several times.

CORTES: --with - no, with exploring it. He has - he has said that he's--

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CUOMO: Well what does that mean, exploring?

CORTES: --and discussions - and discussions are ongoing. We need to do it in such a way where it does not infringe on the - on the constitutional rights. Again, we're not talking about vaping here.

CUOMO: But we already have--

CORTES: We're talking about a Constitutional right.

CUOMO: I mean I don't know if you're a gun owner. But--

CORTES: Yes.

CUOMO: --let me tell you how the process works. When you go in there, they run a background check on you, if you buy it at a gun store.

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: OK?

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: Why wouldn't you apply that same thing to all commercial transactions?

CORTES: Right. Well it's - it's only private transactions right now that are not subject to the - to the NICS laws. And I - listen, I think it would make sense to extend it there.

CUOMO: No. That's not true.

CORTES: But I would also--

CUOMO: When you go to gun shows, it doesn't count. You don't have to do it.

CORTES: No. A gun - if a deal - if a dealer's at a gun show--

CUOMO: No. But there are a lot of people--

CORTES: --a dealer still has to do it.

CUOMO: --who aren't dealers there.

CORTES: I - right. And I said--

CUOMO: And they can sell guns.

CORTES: --private sales that - that is correct about private sales. But here - let's - let's hold on to - let's talk about the efficacy for a moment.

[21:30:00] In the recent horrific shootings, particularly the ones that we had just a few weeks ago, you know, that awful weekend in El Paso and Dayton, both of those criminals passed background checks. Now the - I'm not saying that means we don't have background checks.

KASPARIAN: No.

CORTES: I think we should have them. But the idea that it's a panacea or that it's a silver bullet--

CUOMO: But wait hold on a second, Steve.

CORTES: --I think--

CUOMO: Steve, here--

CORTES: Yes.

KASPARIAN: The second weapon it--

CUOMO: Hold on, hold on. Ana, Ana, just the - just one simple point.

KASPARIAN: Yes.

CUOMO: What happened in Odessa when the guy got dinged on the background check was he exercised the loophole, and he bought it--

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: --privately. And that's why--

CORTES: Right. KASPARIAN: Exactly.

CUOMO: --we're saying "All commercial transactions should be checked," and then he wouldn't--

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: --have slipped through.

CORTES: Right. And I'm saying I didn't--

CUOMO: Steve, I mean the logic there is--

KASPARIAN: Yes--

CUOMO: --in con--

CORTES: I think that's a good idea. And I--

CUOMO: --incontrovertible.

CORTES: And I think we're going to end up there. And the President has said that he is open to it. But my point is even that--

KASPARIAN: Not if Wayne LaPierre--

CORTES: Well--

KASPARIAN: --keeps having conversations with him because while Trump says, you know, he - he is for common-sense gun legislation, he says this after every mass shooting, all that happens afterwards is Wayne LaPierre will pull him aside, have a conversation, and remind him of the $30 million the NRA spent on getting him elected, and Trump immediately changes course.

I mean the NRA Twitter account brags about it. They had a pinned tweet from when Wayne - Wayne LaPierre talking about their conversation.

So, look, Trump is easily corruptible. He might have the right instincts right after a mass shooting, but at the end of the day, money talks. And--

CUOMO: All right, so--

CORTES: What the--

KASPARIAN: --it influences him.

CUOMO: --so let's end on this.

KASPARIAN: And that's why we don't get the regulation we need.

CUOMO: Ana Kasparian says it's not going to happen. What do you say, Steve Cortes? Do you think this red flag law, do you think that universal background checks will pass?

CORTES: I think expanded background checks will.

Red flag law, that's a whole different can of worms. And that worries me greatly because there we are talking about, I fear, that we're talking about local governments having far too much power to take away constitutional rights from individuals, so that's a different conversation.

But expanded background checks, yes, I believe it's going to happen. But I would also caution people that I do not believe that that's going to solve the - the core problem of mass shootings because almost all of these mass shooters have - have gotten their guns, either legally, because they could pass background checks, or they chose to get them illegally--

CUOMO: Right.

CORTES: --by stealing guns, for example--

CUOMO: Yes.

CORTES: --the Sandy Hook killer.

CUOMO: That's true too. There is no silver bullet. But we just had a shooting that would have been changed if all background checks were available. That's all I'm saying. And that's a good start.

Ana Kasparian, Steve Cortes, good to have you both on this show, welcome back.

CORTES: Thank you.

KASPARIAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, so the President spent part of this 9/11 doing the absolute right thing. He was conveying empathy and remembering what needs to be remembered on this day.

Then, he started doing other things, trashing polls, trashing his latest top aide to exit this White House, John Bolton. We're now learning that he could make a very unconventional pick to fill his role.

We have reaction from a national security bigwig in Congress. What are his concerns on 9/11? What does he see as the course forward? Next.

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CUOMO: 9/11 plus 18 years, and we're learning tonight that this President may ask his Secretary of State to pull double duty as the next National Security Advisor.

Congressman Mike Rogers is a Republican from Alabama.

Congressman, it's good to have you on PRIME TIME, especially today.

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TEXT: ONE ON ONE.

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REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-AL): Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: Now, thank you for taking the invitation. I hope we do it even more often. Now, one of the reasons that you have these different positions around a President is because you want checks and balances, you want people around him with different influences.

Does that reality give you any concerns about having someone fill two slots, even someone, who I'm sure you hold in high esteem, like the Secretary of State?

ROGERS: Yes. I served with Mike Pompeo before he left to go to work with the Administration. He's an incredible intellect and a great fella.

But the President needs to have the kind of team he wants. You know, it's - it's not unprecedented for the Kissinger model to be used where both Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor are one person.

I think the President should - got to make a decision about whether or not that's going to fit his style. And I don't think that he's made that decision yet.

CUOMO: Concerns, given that this is your universe of thought about how safe are we, what should the policies be, you know, here we are in 9/11. We have an incomplete team. We've been through three already. This will be the fourth, assuming that even if it's Pompeo. Any concerns about that?

ROGERS: No. I - I think the President's got great instincts about what works for him and what - whether or not the - the - the workload can be managed by one person.

This is a - a new story that's just been circulating. I haven't heard the President say he wants to do this. And I'm not sure Mike Pompeo would be comfortable with that even if it was suggested.

CUOMO: How do you feel about the state of our national security? ROGERS: I feel good. I feel proud that we've made some great strides to - to - particularly, when it comes to our homeland, to keep us safe and secure.

We've got great Intelligence apparatus now to - to protect from events like what we suffered 18 years ago. We've done a great job of training our first - and equipping our first responders, and it's just - it's been demonstrated repeatedly.

We've got though a very dangerous world out there, not just domestically, but internationally, with more threats than - than we had 18 years ago, so that's pretty sobering.

CUOMO: Certainly, there is a danger with "Out." More and more we've been hearing about the danger within.

ROGERS: Right.

CUOMO: Do you share concerns about the rise of extremist Right-wing violence in this country?

ROGERS: I sure do. We had a hearing yesterday in the Homeland Security Committee, talking about that very fact that while we have to keep our eye on these foreign threats, the growing threat here at home is disturbing, and it - it's - it's given rise to our - paying a lot more attention to it.

This online radicalization and these rogue websites have really energized an element of people that - that - that can cause us great problems if we don't find a way to - to deal with it.

CUOMO: Why now?

ROGERS: It's just - because it's growing. It's just that - has a lot to do with Internet, and social media, and these - these websites that are starting to use recruitment techniques that foreign terrorists used to use internationally, now these people are using it - using it to red light - radicalize here in the country.

[21:40:00] We had a report from the FBI in May that they currently have over 1,000 cases open on people on our soil that are terrorists but - dome - domestic terrorists that may be radicalized by foreign terrorist organizations or from Right-wing or Left-wing groups here in the country.

But this is a growing trend. And I think it has more to do with the way information is communicated than anything else.

CUOMO: I don't understand the partisan apportion that - on this thing. For us, hate is hate, right?

ROGERS: Right, right.

CUOMO: I'm sure you and I agree on that. But there seems to be a partisan instinct of saying, "Well if we're going to talk about Nazis, or Right-wing extremists, you got to talk about those people in Antifa also."

Not only do the statistics not support that. But the killing is clearly coming from one aspect of this. Why make it partisan? You know, these people aren't - you don't own the Right-wing extremists in the Republican Party.

ROGERS: Right.

CUOMO: Antifa isn't part of the Democratic Party. Why not just focus on them instead of playing politics with it, as we've seen from the President.

ROGERS: Well that's not what I've seen. And I know I didn't see it yesterday in our hearing.

We had a great panel that - that - of tremendous experts. And they didn't paint that picture. They painted it as one that - where we have to look at the complete spectrum.

You're exactly right. The largest percentage of the - of the terrorism has come from Right-wing groups. But they made the point we have to keep our eye on the full spectrum because the others are getting more aggressive too.

CUOMO: Sure.

ROGERS: And that was the only point that was made. And it wasn't a partisan point.

I was tickled by the fact because I've been on this Committee since it was established, in fact, when it was still a Select Committee. And we generally aren't very partisan. In yesterday's hearing, there was no partisanship.

CUOMO: Great.

ROGERS: We took this with a very sober approach.

And, at the end of the hearing, both the Chairman and I made the comment that this is one of the best hearings we ever had because we took it as Americans. We were looking at this problem as Americans. And there was not a scintilla of partisanship in this hearing.

CUOMO: Well, look, that is a gift on 9/11.

ROGERS: It's - it's rare.

CUOMO: And hopefully, an indication of a way forward. I'm all fine with you guys having partisan fights, as long as it winds up with finding some common ground, actually do something--

ROGERS: Right.

CUOMO: --for the rest of us. And let me--

ROGERS: Right. CUOMO: --do my part. Congressman Mike Rogers, you are always welcome on this show to talk about policy--

ROGERS: Well thank you.

CUOMO: --and what matters. Even if there's a disagreement on the questions, there will be decency that motivates them all. I promise you that.

ROGERS: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, be well Congressman.

ROGERS: Thank you.

CUOMO: So, just how far would you go? All right, hear about this. This is a - this is a good turn. You're going to like this. You want to take the perfect picture. You want it to pop on Instagram. You want people to really come. Would you do something death-defying or just dumb?

D. Lemon, big on Instagram, how is he on this? Let's ask him, put him to the test, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: All right, now here's one of these situations where I feel we just have to say "Seriously?" Some people think they're daring. But it is - they're just being plain dumb.

The internet is embroiled in this heated debate over this photo. You see it? A young woman being held over the edge of a cliff in the Peruvian

Andes, the caption reads in part "There is a difference between risking your life and taking a risk at having one."

Now, couldn't you make that point without hanging off a GD cliff?

And it's not the first time the couple has come under fire for risking their lives, just for effect. In April, they posted themselves this picture in Bali. Take a look at this. We have it?

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(INSTAGRAM/@ POSITRAVELTY PICTURE)

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CUOMO: I mean are you kidding me? Can you zoom in on that a little bit just for those of us who aren't Eagles? There we go. I mean I hope he's got a good grip.

D. Lemon?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: What's your take on this?

LEMON: What do you want to know?

CUOMO: What's your take on this?

LEMON: OK. Here's my take. Are you crazy?

No, here's what I have to say. I - they are a beautiful couple. And there is so much hate on social media that I don't want to hate this couple. I think they're a beautiful couple. It's part of their brand.

Would I do it? Hell to the no. I would not do it.

CUOMO: So, you're saying that you are immune to the draw of doing the sensational to get attention on Instagram.

LEMON: Absolutely. I don't really--

CUOMO: You wouldn't do it?

LEMON: --I don't care that much.

I think this - I think that people - that - that's the picture. Would I hang over a mountain and - and let someone? Hell no, I wouldn't even do it - my - I wouldn't even stand on the edge of that mountain--

CUOMO: Nothing like it? Nothing close?

LEMON: --and take a picture.

CUOMO: Nothing like it?

LEMON: Nothing even--

CUOMO: It's not in you?

LEMON: --not even in me because I don't have that much to prove.

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(FROM DON LEMON - VIDEO OF DON LEMON JUMPING FROM A BOAT)

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LEMON: That is nothing. That's me just jumping off the side of a boat.

CUOMO: That is inherently dangerous.

LEMON: No, it's not.

CUOMO: Look at that. Look at all that moving up and down, as you're going down, just the momentum--

LEMON: That's not--

CUOMO: --of the belly alone--

LEMON: That was--

CUOMO: --increased the g-force.

LEMON: Oh, this is - this is payback for last night. That's me--

CUOMO: I mean that's crazy.

LEMON: --with my family. My family came to town and my friend offered us to go on his boat.

CUOMO: I don't see any family.

LEMON: Yes. My niece is--

CUOMO: I didn't see any family.

LEMON: --my nieces were on that boat.

CUOMO: I didn't see any nieces.

LEMON: My - my God Family was in that boat.

CUOMO: Go back to it again. Let's see who's there.

LEMON: Yes. He was on there staying--

CUOMO: The guys up there was so scared, you scared off half their bathing suits.

LEMON: They're behind the - see, my niece is back there. You can see them if you look at the - when it comes back--

CUOMO: I hear cries of help. And what else do we got from--

LEMON: Yes.

CUOMO: --D. Lemon's--

LEMON: So--

CUOMO: --Instagram that shows that he will do anything for a laugh. What else do we have? Watch this.

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(FROM DON LEMON - VIDEO OF DON LEMON JUMPING ON A POOL FLOAT)

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CUOMO: Watch this. Ladies and gentlemen, America's News Anchor.

LEMON: You know that pool. That's my backyard.

CUOMO: I mean - but the pool's not the problem. It's the fool, not the pool.

LEMON: Are you comparing that to hanging out the--

CUOMO: Oh, yes.

LEMON: --side of the mountain?

CUOMO: Oh, yes. It's all relative. Those people are like these young hard bodies. We're talking about guys like me and you. This is as dangerous as we get.

LEMON: I'm going to get - I'm going to--

CUOMO: I mean--

LEMON: --I'm going to get you, sucker.

CUOMO: --you are - don't make me hop after you.

LEMON: That's--

CUOMO: Listen--

LEMON: --listen--

CUOMO: I'm just saying, as your friend, you need to keep it in check.

LEMON: But that's--

CUOMO: It's not worth it, D. Lemon.

LEMON: --doing with hanging out.

CUOMO: It's not worth it.

LEMON: Oh my! Don't you think it's different than hanging off the side of a mountain? And I'm not--

CUOMO: Look, it's all relative. Squeezing yourself into them tiny little swimming trunks you had on, fitting that extra pair of socks in there too.

[21:50:00] LEMON: I know - you are paying me back for last night for telling Jimmy Kimmel--

CUOMO: I don't know what you're talking about.

LEMON: --that you ate steroids for lunch.

CUOMO: Who'd you say that to?

LEMON: Jimmy Kimmel said what - Jimmy Kimmel asked me, said, because you're such a big guy, and you work-out like he goes, "What does Chris Cuomo eat? Does he just eat raw meat?"

And - and I said - I said "Besides steroids," and the whole audience were crazed (ph) I was like and I looked to the camera, and I said, "I'm joking, Chris," and I got "Well maybe I'm not."

CUOMO: Ooh that's nice.

LEMON: But that was it.

CUOMO: So that's - that's defamation.

LEMON: And then he said you guys must be friends in order for you to say that, so that's it.

CUOMO: All right.

LEMON: But you didn't have to - I'm going to start busting out your Instagram.

CUOMO: Listen, I don't do dangerous things.

LEMON: Really?

CUOMO: Not for attention. I just do them because I'm dumb.

LEMON: Oh this - just like when you're holding up your picture of the fish that you took with your shirt off, and you're like--

CUOMO: Yes.

LEMON: --"Oh, look at the picture of the fish." You can't even see the fish. All you can see is your bicep that--

CUOMO: That's you. That's on you.

LEMON: No, that's you.

CUOMO: That's on you.

LEMON: That's you.

CUOMO: That's on you.

LEMON: All right.

CUOMO: There's a fish in the picture. I have to go now. I'll do what you do best.

LEMON: Mark Sanford is going to be on, the - the President's primary challenger.

CUOMO: Fiss (ph).

LEMON: Oh, stop it. Don't be a hater.

CUOMO: Mark Sanford up at the top of the show on D. Lemon. We'll be with him in just one second.

Now, as we go to break, change of tone, it is good to smile. I love D. Lemon. He makes my life better, especially on a heavy day.

But I want us to look back at what we're remembering today, OK, and what never forget was supposed to mean, and what it means all too often, stay with me for this, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: CLOSING ARGUMENT.

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CUOMO: Never forget, that's what we say about 9/11, right? Certainly easy to say, but tough to do.

First, may I say how sorry I remain for the loss that far too many suffered on that day? I know it never goes away.

I know this day can bring the blessing of an occasion to remember loved ones, and often a haunting reminder of life-changing tragedy. And, most of the time, both come at once.

I was there. This dust, or ash, or amalgam, was given to me by a friend who saw me there. Some of it was on me, on all of us, for days. The stories of heroism and loss and pain and confusion shaped me, and so many, personally and professionally.

Seeing the emptying of optimism on the faces of those ready to help when no injured came, the cold reality that so many were gone. The little hospital that did see hundreds in the first wave, and rose to the challenge, amazing, the little hospital that could, NYU Downtown.

LEMON: The days of searching and hoping and praying. The surrender to the reality that there was no miraculous discovery to be made that so many being looked for were not in a hospital somewhere, but exactly where you would never want anyone to be.

What we all saw, and heard, and smelled, as those buildings fell, and that cloud, that dense all-consuming cloud that seemed to contain every physical and emotional piece of contents, covered everything, and then fell at our feet, and on our faces. The quiet, the cries, none of it will be forgotten.

I would be engaged a 11 days after 9/11, convinced that life was far too fleeting to wait, was the best move of my life, and it came from a place of seeing such abject pain.

It was made in a haze of uncertainty that would be clarified time and again with the additions of each of our kids, and the blessings of my life. A marriage and a family that bore testament for me to the possibility of better that fate had not forever surrendered outcomes of only the darkest kind.

We would get better and there was better that came quickly to counter the worst. There was unfathomable amounts of positive response. The tremendous admiration for the many who gave their lives that day, in saving whom they could, recovering those they couldn't.

2,977 gone, but remembered by family, and in the commitment of those who went to fight for the rest of us to make sure this would never happen the same way again.

There's never been, in my lifetime, a bigger demonstration of the best and worst mankind has to offer.

9/11, never forget. No one can who was there. And yet, it has proven to be much easier to say than to act on, hasn't it?

Look at the immorality and inequity and disgusting politics at play with the Victim's Compensation Fund. These men and women, who spend so many billions in Washington on things they can't even recall, felt it right to shortchange those who served the rest of us, on our darkest day.

The heroes we lionize that we trotted out everywhere for months and years, every big-shot wanted a picture with a first responder, and then our leaders became the picture of betrayal.

Thankfully, public shaming, some political will, got the money to the victims of that day, and the aftermath, just to pay for treatments that forced all the diseases that are killing them to this day, and for years to come.

Never forget. 18 years on, I would shift that motto to a positive opposite. Always remember the fragility of life, the need to stay connected to what happens here to anyone because there, but for the grace, it could be you.

And especially, these days, we need always remember that the differences plaguing us now are meaningless relatively. We know real threats. And they should not come from our politics.

Tearing at our fabric is anathema to the momentous mending we went through after 9/11. It is a poison to what saved us in the days and weeks after. We came together. We were all in it together. And that was made so painfully obvious. Always remember that. We have seen the worst. And we should always remember that the responsibility of living is to appreciate and make the most of what we have been gifted here in this country together, the freedom, the accommodations that some hate elsewhere, we must always embrace.

With so many so determined to take us down, we must always remember that our preservation as a nation depends on us protecting one another.

9/11, never forget, always remember.

Thank you for watching. CNN TONIGHT with D. Lemon starts right now.