Over the weekend we learned Donald Trump Jr. was approached by an “acquaintance” who arranged a meeting with a Kremlin-linked Russian attorney. After months of denying any contact whatsoever with any Russian contacts, Don Jr. not only confirmed the meeting after being approached by the New York Times, he went on to confirm both Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort attended the meeting and the purpose was to get information from this Russian contact that would simultaneously damage Hillary Clinton and help the Trump campaign. Another word for that is “collusion.”
In response to the obvious evidence of collusion creeping into the Trump family itself, the White House has done two things in the last 24 hours which give off an increasing sense of panic at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The first is pushing a story that James Comey leaked classified information. Spoiler alert! He didn’t.
It was based on a misleading report from Fox News. Nevertheless, the story did provide a brief distraction from the meeting between Trump’s inner circle and a Kremlin-linked attorney promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.
The second sign of panic is that Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s top spin master, was personally sent out to the morning news shows to try and change the narrative, something she’s exceedingly good at … until today. In an absolutely bonkers interview, one that lasted an astonishing 35 minutes, Kellyanne tied herself up in knots trying to deflect and change the subject to something, anything other than Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian attorney. The entire interview and transcript can be seen below, but let’s first unpack some of the more intriguing parts of the interview.
For starters, Kellyanne Conway first tried to spin Trump’s epic fail this weekend with the proposed joint Russia-U.S. cybersecurity unit. After Conway offered the White House version of the Trump-Putin meeting, offering digs at CNN in the process, New Day host Chris Cuomo asked whether Trump explicitly told Putin to quit interfering, then he pivoted to the Don Jr. story. Watch this rather incredible exchange:
Let’s stop right there. Cuomo brings up an important point—if this meeting was a favor to a friend, with a person unknown to him, why would he bring in Jared Kushner and then-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort? This meeting took place only two weeks after Donald Trump secured the Republican nomination. The very same day as that meeting, Trump and company brought Reince Preibus, then the chairman of the Republican National Committee, to Trump Tower for an all-hands-on-deck meeting about financing the Trump campaign. It was a big day for the campaign, and we’re now led to believe this was a no-big-deal meeting in which Trump’s inner circle gathered to meet with an unidentified person? Kellyanne goes on to lay out their entire defense (for now), which seems to be that the Trump campaign didn’t actually get any information from the meeting, so no harm, no foul. In her words, "no information provided that was meaningful."
Does that mean that if they had gotten “meaningful” information out of the meeting it would then be considered a crime?
For the record, here is Don Jr.’s original statement, which, based on Don Jr.’s statement the next day and Kellyanne Conway’s confirmation in this interview, appears to be a complete and total lie.
"I asked (Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner) and (then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort) to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at that time and there was no follow up," Trump Jr. initially said in a statement.
Getting dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Kremlin-linked attorney, set up by a spokesman for Emin Agalarov, son of Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, both of whom have very close ties to Vladmir Putin, seems like a terrible idea. In fact, it sounds like a direct effort to collude with the Russians. There is simply no way Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort did not know they were entering very murky legal and/or ethical waters.
Donald Trump once bragged about an impending partnership with the Agalarov family to build a Trump Tower in Moscow:
Back to the Kellyanne Conway interview on CNN, it really was a thing to behold. For roughly 35 minutes, it was painful watching her twist, turn, and pretzel her way through the interview, avoiding the very obvious conclusion that this Don Jr. story is big, big news. She pulled out everything in the book, flinging mud at CNN, talking about the president’s amazing agenda of something, something, Jim Comey, veterans, and of course, she reverted back to her favorite point of deflection—demonizing Hillary Clinton. The official White House position on possible collusion with the Russians boils down to two main defenses, “It was no big deal, everyone meets with the Russians!” and “Look! Squirrel! Shiny object over there!”
The full, bizarre interview and transcript can be seen below. I highly recommend watching it because if nothing else, it seems to be an indicator the White House is running out of answers when it comes to the endless undisclosed meetings between the Trump camp and the Russians.
CUOMO: Up first, president trump's son changing his story about the meeting with a lawyer who supposedly had dirt on Hillary Clinton. The Kremlin says they're not aware of this meeting. Why would they want help from the Russians?
CUOMO: After facing huge criticism for proposing working with Russia on cyber security. We have White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, joining us now. It is good to have you this morning.
CONWAY: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: So, what do you make of this switch, apparently, from the President of the United States? First, he said a day ago that he's considering discussing -- he was discussing with Russia working together on cyber security, guarding elections. Everybody attacks it. Then he tweet this is morning, no, no, no. It was just an idea. I know it can't happen.
CONWAY: Well, what else did he say in the tweet? He talked about how -- what did happen, a cease fire and part of Syria. A very big development out of that two-plus hour meeting with president Putin. That's a tangible. That's relevant. That will affect people's lives. Look, they had a broad conversation. CNN spent a full week plus doing nothing but having these headlines saying President Trump is not expected to bring up Russian interference with President Putin. He made it top of the agenda. It was first on the list. He pressed him early and often.
CUOMO: Did he press him or ask him whether he did it?
CONWAY: But that's not good enough. Did CNN say he wasn't going to mention it at all or didn't they? Oh, they did. We have these great montage. People say stuff that isn't true.
CUOMO: I stand by my reporting on it. The day before the meeting, the president was very squishy on Russian interference. He said okay, it was Russia, but it was other people. Nobody knows for sure. That was his last public statement about it before he went into a meeting. And then a meeting in which he didn't allow a notetaker to be in it. We don't have any readout from it. We hear he confronted them about it. He said we know you did it. Then we know you asked him about it. Which is it? Did he say I know you did it, stop? Or did he say did you do it, Mr. Putin? Which is it?
CONWAY: Chris, let's back up. So, you're saying -- you used the word squishy which, itself, is unusual to describe the president's state of mind. So, somehow that makes people on CNN insist that the president is never going to raise this with Putin. Why is he still in there --
CUOMO: It's not about CNN. It's about what the president said, Kellyanne.
CONWAY: No. It's about people stating things that they want America to think are facts. Aren't you the least bit reluctant, if not embarrassed that you now talk about Russia more than you talk about America?
CONWAY: Doesn't this bother anybody there?
CUOMO: Donald Jr. Went from saying I never met with anybody from Russia.
CONWAY: I think America matters.
CUOMO: Never met with anybody having to do with Russia. Now he met with someone to get oppo research on Hillary Clinton with somebody connected to the Kremlin?
CONWAY: He never said he was doing research. Nobody needs to look very far.
CUOMO: These are Don jr.'s words. Not mine.
CONWAY: Don Jr. Has said.
CUOMO: It's about what was said and what matters.
CONWAY: It's about all of the above. So, let's break it down bit by bit. Don Jr. Has very explicitly stated he didn't even know the name of the person with whom he was meeting. He agreed to the meeting based on a contact from the miss universe pageant. They get into the meeting and it quickly turns into a pretext for Russian adoption, according to his statements, that the comments this woman is making about any type of information on Hillary Clinton were vague. They were meaningless. Others exited the meeting very quickly. The meeting itself was very brief. There was no information given. There was no action taken. There was no follow-up. Let me respectfully say as well as I can, I don't think anybody had to look very far to find damaging information on Hillary Clinton.
CUOMO: That's beside the point.
CONWAY: She provided it -- no, no, it's not beside the point.
CUOMO: He brought in Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with him. It's not just let's have lunch. It was a credibility issue as to who he knew he was meeting with. I don't know what should be more troubling with you, that he didn't know who he was meeting with, that he thought he should bring in Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner or that he knew that he was meeting with someone to get information about Hillary Clinton. There are huge legal and ethical implications as you know.
CONWAY: No, I'm not going to agree with you. You're saying opposition research as often as you vomit words like collusion. We cannot -- if you and I were in court right now --
CUOMO: DNC and Russians and funding Hillary. What do you call it?
CONWAY: Chris, you were just -- okay. Listen. You were just able to speak two minutes uninterrupted and I frankly think it was more punditry than reporting. So I would like to respond.
CONWAY: If we were in court your side would not even survive a motion to dismiss because you've got nothing. On this one, don Jr. Has very clearly said he was told that there would be some kind of information helpful to the campaign. It quickly became very apparent there was not. Let me say something about who goes into these meetings in the trump campaign. We were a very small operation. I was not involved in June. I was involved in July. And became the campaign manager in August. It's very typical to have principals in the meeting. We had a fraction of the staff than Clinton had over there. You're trying to have your viewers think because these three principals were in there, it was viewed with some type of seriousness that simply is not true. This was standard operating procedure for the campaign. Let's focus on what did not happen in that meeting. No information provided that was meaningful. No action taken. Nothing.
CUOMO: Let's focus on what did happen. The woman stated she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the democratic national committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. That's from Donald jr.'s statement. That's why he went to the meeting.
CONWAY: Right. And apparently she didn't.
CUOMO: That is a problem, though. Taking that meeting. Because it goes to one of the questions of this investigation, which is was Russia trying to get to your campaign for purposes of affecting the election? This is don jr.'s own statement about it. A statement which has changed now twice about what this meeting was. That doesn't raise legitimate concerns?
CONWAY: Chris, you keep on saying Russia. What did this woman say? Why was she there?
CUOMO:This is the word that trump Jr. Used. Russia.
CONWAY: Excuse me?
CUOMO: He used the word Russia.
CONWAY: In what context?
CUOMO: She had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the democratic national committee and supporting Ms. Clinton.
CONWAY: And then he went on to say --
CUOMO: This is why he took the meeting.
CONWAY: You have to give the whole statement, to be fair to him and your viewers. Let's stop chopping it up and try to go viral with the nonsense.
CUOMO: Put the statement up. You're the one who is parsing.
CONWAY: Put the whole statement up.
CUOMO: Our faces are nice. Put the statement up. After pleasantries were exchanged, the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia, his words, funding the democratic national committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided.
CONWAY: There you go.
CUOMO: Or even offered. It quickly became clear she had no meaningful information. Two points. Even if you accept everything he says as true, and there's a credibility issue because he has changed his story twice.
CONWAY: No, it's not. I do.
CUOMO: He changed his story twice. You talked about being in a court of law, not good when you change your story. There are big implications when you change your story like this. Second of all, even if it is true, whether or not it was good information, Kellyanne, doesn't mean it was a smart move to take a meeting with a
Russian-connected person who was going to give you negative information about your opponent. That could create huge legal issues. You know that.
CONWAY: I admire your moxie, sitting there with the CNN chyron next to you.
CUOMO: I could not be more proud to have that CNN chyron next to me.
CONWAY: I cannot be more proud representing the white house.
CUOMO: And I'm glad you are. It's not supposed to be an argument.
CONWAY: Chris? Chris?
CUOMO: Why did the president change his position about working with Russia? You spun it over to this. That was my original question.
CONWAY: Wait. The president? The president? What do you mean the president changed his story? The president had nothing to do with this meeting.
CUOMO: I understand that. I asked you originally --
CONWAY: You wanted to produce something because you're invested in months now as a network in something that simply doesn't exist.
CUOMO: That's an assumption by you.
CONWAY: In case we have to go --
CUOMO: Unfair premise.
CONWAY: No, Chris. That's not true. Here is the unfair premise. That we are talking about this again. Yet again. That you talk about Russia more than you talk about America. That the big bombshell of the day is Jim Comey having classified information, conversations with the president of the United States.
CUOMO: How do you know that?
CONWAY: In his memorandum. I read -- he has a credibility issue I read the article on the hill.
CUOMO: The article that has officials familiar with the documents. So unnamed sours are okay for you on Comey but not anywhere else, huh?
CONWAY: I didn't say that.
CUOMO: You said it many times, my friend.
CONWAY: You're putting words in my mouth.
CUOMO: Unnamed sources is the code word for you guys on fake news but it's okay for Comey.
CONWAY: I never uttered those two words either. That is a bombshell people should know about that.
CUOMO: That report is a bombshell based on unnamed sources.
CONWAY: You just want to interrupt me today.
CUOMO: No, no.
CONWAY: As my grandmother would tell me --
CUOMO: No, my mother would tell me. She's a fan of yours.
CONWAY: I love her back. But listen, that's a bombshell by Jim Comey. The whole country watched him testimony, supposed to be some big super bowl like event. We learned him say I felt as a private citizen I should release this information. Oh, but I also gave it to my friend so he would leak it to the media with the expectation it would trigger special counsel. What was in that information? Apparently it contained classified information.
CUOMO: Right. I just think it's humorous that --
CONWAY: Having nine conversations with the president.
CUOMO: Look, if it's true --
CONWAY: This doesn't concern you at all?
CONWAY: That the FBI director is doing what Hillary Clinton did the year before?
CUOMO: It all concerns me.
CONWAY: Being so Willy nilly with classified, confidential information?
CUOMO: It all concerns me. I just have to smile at the suggestion from the same white house that calls unnamed sources not a legitimate basis for journalism, now you're leaning on it so heavily because it suits you. It all matters to me. But the president saying that he wanted to work with Russia on cyber security and then saying, no, he doesn't want to, was just a discussion. That is a concern. That's why he got so much criticism for it. That's what I asked you about originally.
CONWAY: You don't want to talk about the Syria cease fire, you don't want to talk about these two countries, Russia and united States, may be able to come together on other issues vexing our world like putting in retreat to ISIS, for example.
CUOMO: Both matter.
CONWAY: Talking about energy.
CUOMO: If there's a real cease fire in Syria, it matters. This working with Russia on cyber security matters. Don Jr. Changing his story about meeting with Russians when he said he never did -- he said it openly and publicly. Called the suggestion fake news. Then he says he did meet. Then he says it was to get bad information about Hillary Clinton. This all matters. And sheds light on an investigation that you say doesn't matter. But it proves that it does matter.
CONWAY: What light does it shed? Hold on. Hold on. Hold on. You and I are lawyers CUOMO: I practiced law for several years but continue.
CONWAY: What light has been shed on this investigation because of all of this? Don Jr. Sent out an entire statement. I want everybody to read the entire statement.
CUOMO: Make sure they pick the right ones because he's changed it twice.
CONWAY: Tell me what you learned. Tell me what you learned.
CUOMO: I learned that it's not true that he never met with anybody with Russian connections. I learned that it's not true that he didn't take a meeting that mattered to investigators.
CONWAY: And you learned that it was vague, ambiguous, completely meaningless and the pretext for why the woman was actually there --
CUOMO: The fruit of the meeting is irrelevant to taking the meeting.
CONWAY: About Russian adoption.
CUOMO: None of that is relevant.
CONWAY: He added to the account of what happened in a meaningless meeting and three of your colleagues were fired because they changed their story.
CUOMO:Don't you want to know?
CONWAY: They went with a story that was thinly sourced.
CUOMO: Now it's thinly sourced. We're backed to thinly source.
CONWAY: No, no, no --
CUOMO: Five sources of advisers close to the president and the words of don Jr. Himself. "The New York Times" has five sources close to the white house. These are your people who are talking about this. This is don Jr. Who is talking about this.
CONWAY: Do you think that there was -- do you think that anything that you're talking about changed a single vote anywhere?
CUOMO: I don't know why your head has to go there. I want to know if Russia --
CONWAY: My head has to go there because you've been talking about it for months.
CUOMO: Because you don't care if Russia was trying to get inside your campaign to affect the election?
CONWAY: You don't know what I care about.
CUOMO: I just did. That was a question. There was a question mark at the end of it.
CONWAY: I care.
CUOMO: You don't care if Russia was trying to get inside your campaign to affect the election?
CONWAY: I do care. But you seem to forget the Russian connections we do know about. Bill Clinton, not don Jr., gave a speech in Russia for half a million dollars. We know that Hillary Clinton had one of the nine votes that allowed 20% of the U.S. Uranium rates to go there.
CUOMO: Those are all pursued and looked at.
CONWAY: We know in the summer of 2016 that people who knew about possible Russian interference in the election weren't at the trump campaign. They were in the Obama white house. None other than president Obama, John Brennan. They were informed about this. What did they do? Nothing.
CUOMO: The same thing that the president of the United States now did. They wound up doing the same thing that the current president did. They went to Putin and said stop it. Obama went to Putin and said stop T one of the versions at the Putin/Trump meeting is I know you did it. Stop T that's what Nikki Haley says. They've done the same thing to this point.
CONWAY: Don't you think that's a huge improvement over Hillary Clinton having that gi Joe looking toy, Ruths reset button and handing it over as secretary of state? Didn't you feel the least bit embarrassed?
CUOMO: I don't even know what that means.
CONWAY: Her idea of a Russian reset and president trump sitting down with President Putin --
CUOMO: I don't get it.
CONWAY:Trying to find how these two countries can work together is a very positive development.
CUOMO: On cyber security? You think working with Russia on cyber security of our election is a good idea?
CONWAY: No. Here is what I -- no. Here is what I think.
CUOMO: You just said that.
CONWAY: These men meeting for two hours and 15 minutes on any broad range of issues -- read what secretary of state Rex Tillerson, doing an amazing job, said about that meeting. He sat in that meeting and gave a full briefing afterwards. You can read the entire transcript of that meeting. I V I've internalized it. Read it.
CUOMO: It would have been nice to have an objective observer in there. Taking notes like traditional you do have.
CONWAY: Who would that have been, your colleague who, instead of covering a beautiful speech in Poland called it fake news and then had to retract that?
CUOMO: What are you talking about?
CONWAY: The president gave a beautiful speech in Poland.
CUOMO: We gave it full voice, all different types of perspective.
CONWAY: What do you think the speech?
CUOMO: Why bashing of CNN is going to help.
CONWAY: I'm not bashing CNN.
CUOMO: Please. That's all you do is bash CNN. Thank you for the ratings but otherwise why do it?
CONWAY: You want to talk about you -- look. I'm on CNN right now.
CUOMO:And I appreciate that. It's not easy to get you here.
CONWAY: The media want to talk about you and I want to talk about Americans. Do you know why I'm in the white house? I'm there to help the millions of Americans who couldn't keep their doctor, who couldn't keep their health care plan, who are struggling with opioid addiction, military spouses who are under employed and unemployed, Ivanka Trump, my colleague in the white house, lead the way for this country to invest $50 million for the world bank to start a women's entrepreneurship investment fund. You didn't mention that in the last segment. You just tried to shiv her a little bit because she sat briefly at a table where her father, the president of the United States --
CUOMO: A very unusual thing to do, by the way.
CONWAY: Something that president Abe -- no, it's not.
CUOMO: To have your daughter sit in for you, representing the united States as a g20?
CONWAY: She's there as a senior adviser. You should be proud she's representing the United States everywhere she goes. As I just said, that you won't cover, helped to get the world bank to commit this women's entrepreneurship initiative. That's going to help women. I was a female entrepreneur for decades. It's not easy but worthwhile.
CUOMO: It's just not true.
CONWAY: You don't want to cover that.
CUOMO: It's a false premise.
CONWAY: It's not true that $50 million? She just had a whole segment about her.
CUOMO: You want the fact that we're covering the Russian investigation to mean we don't cover other things. It's not true. We spent two segments talking to brooks, Republican, talking about health care. And only then did we talk about the Russian stuff. It's not fair, not true and I don't believe it could be helpful to the president. I believe you are. Having you on the show is helpful to our audience and I appreciate it very much.
CONWAY: Oh, we appreciate the platform, Chris. But, look, I think CNN -- I'm not here to bash CNN.
CUOMO: Then don't.
CONWAY: As a matter of course -- be fair to me. Hold on. Hold on. But take responsibility and recognize that as a 24/7 cable station, I have great faith that you can cover all of the above instead of covering the same thing every five seconds, hour after hour, why can't you connect veterans with the information they deserve? Why aren't you telling the veterans of the country because of this president they now have a 24/7 hotline at the white house they can call? They're seen as the same seamless patient so they don't have to go through all this nonsense red tape of decades that treats them as two different patients? Why don't you tell them about the VA accountability and whistleblower protection act? The veterans choice act. If you can't access quality, timely care as a veteran in this country through the VA, you can access it through private care now? The president said when he was a candidate something that should animate everybody, including you. If we don't take care of our veterans who are we as a nation?
CUOMO That's absolutely true.
CONWAY: Tell me what we're doing on health care and jobs.
CUOMO: We talk about the jobs. We talk about health care. We had the veterans secretary on "New day." Thank you for watching the show.
CONWAY: 220,000 jobs created in June.
CUOMO: When the jobs report came out we talked about it.
CONWAY: Cover all the above.
CUOMO: We do. We had the VA secretary.
CONWAY: Have you seen these polls that say that --
CONWAY: That the country, the people want the media to move on from covering Russia? The we will. De are. S, carpenters, hairdressers, everything president trump is doing for them? $100 million for the apprenticeship program?
CUOMO: My conscience is clean. My mission is clear. What I do, I cover what I think matters to people. I test power and I take the consequences every damn day. And that's not going to change.
CUOMO: Thank you for helping us do that this morning.
CONWAY: As do I. We're the same way. In we're in court right now --
CUOMO: I'm only trying to wrap you because your guys are saying you have to go. Just so you know.
CONWAY: Hold on. Hold on.
CUOMO: Go ahead.
CONWAY: If we were in court right now and you somehow survived the motion for summary judgment, motion to dismiss --
CUOMO: Different standard but go ahead.
CONWAY: What exactly would be your first piece of evidence? No, no. Who is your first witness to the jury or judge in the case you're trying to make day in, day out? I still don't see the evidence.
CUOMO: First of all, you shouldn't see the evidence because let's liken it to a grand jury investigation that's going on. We should wait for it to finish and see what they can bring out about it. That's what we should did be doing.
CONWAY: You're not waiting for anything.
CUOMO: We take the information as we get it. We can't know the full scope of the investigation. And that's the point. This is the last point I'm going to make.
Your people are saying you have to go. The reason that don Jr. Story matters is because you guys have been beating down the notion that an investigation into whether or not Russia was trying to find its way into the campaign, to affect this election, is a nonstarter. It's not worth looking at. It's ridiculous. Now we know it isn't, because don Jr., at best reckoning to him and to his cause, just got potentially setup by a potential Russian operative, to have a meeting. So, it isn't an illegitimate question.
CONWAY: Wrong. Incorrect.
CUOMO: By his own reckoning, that's what it is. He says he took the meeting with someone who promised information about --
CONWAY: She was vague, meaningless.
CUOMO: Not the delivery on the promise but the solicitation that's the issue legally, ethically and common sense wise. She said this is what I have for you and that's why he said he took the meeting. That's why they're investigating.
CONWAY: Chris, she had nothing.
CUOMO: Doesn't matter what she had. It's what she promised.
CONWAY: I've known who Hillary Clinton is and studied her, including the last couple of months of the campaign when I was campaign manager. You know where I went to find damaging, negative information about Hillary Clinton? Hillary Clinton. It was like -- she was like a walking loop of negative information.
CUOMO: Maybe so. But still he said he took a meeting with somebody who said she had bad information about the DNC and Hillary. He still took the meeting. He says he took the meet on that basis. What it led to, whether he needed it, whether he could have won anyway, whether Hillary has plenty of sources of bad information irrelevant.
CONWAY: You know he won because he won. She was a terrible --
CUOMO: Donald Trump is the legitimate president of the United States.
CONWAY: And you know he also --
CUOMO: You bring it up. Not me.
CONWAY: He also won in part because of that meeting that did have consequence, the meeting between Loretta lynch and Bill Clinton.
CUOMO: That meeting mattered also but you can't pick what you like and don't like. Unnamed sources that are good, unnamed sours that are bad. It all matters. It all has to be tested. That's what we do.
CONWAY: You can't take a meeting that lasted 20 minutes, to have reported to have lasted 20 minute that produced no information, we're told mainly about Russian adoption and spin that into some kind of tale and some type of evidentiary trail.
>> I don't see how that's at all what I'm doing. Don Jr. Changed his story and met with her because she had bad information on Hillary Clinton. He said it.
CONWAY: He learned nothing from that meeting.
CUOMO: Doesn't matter what he learned. It matters why he took the meeting.
CONWAY: Yes, it does.
CONWAY: It matters completely.
CUOMO: Not for purposes of the investigation.
CUOMO: They're looking into whether or not Russia was trying to get inside the election. He admits he took the meeting because someone was offering him that kind of information. It matters, period. It just does.
CONWAY: Americans think of Russia today they're thinking of the two conversation between the two presidents, not the lack of collusionn.
CUOMO: Maybe so. It doesn't mean the questions don't matter. You're pressed for time. You're women come back on the show.
CONWAY: It doesn't mean that you can't cover --
CUOMO: I cover it all.
CONWAY: Millions of people don't have health care.
CUOMO: We do health care every day. Every day.
CONWAY: Infrastructure. Where is infrastructure?
CUOMO: You tell me. Where is it? Where is your infrastructure plan, your tax policy plan? As soon as they come out, we'll discuss them.
CONWAY: You're kidding, right? Okay. We'll be back for that. The president has a huge infrastructure initiative. $100 million going to the apprenticeship program so people who don't go to college can support themselves with a high school diploma, community college.
CUOMO: It matter.
CONWAY: Why isn't this important?
CUOMO: Who is saying it isn't important?
CONWAY: It's not as important as Russia. Here is where you and I are different. You want to talk about Russia. I want to talk about America.
CUOMO: I know but there are also reasons why you don't want to talk about Russia and I do. It is my responsibility to cover things that matter to the American people not just things that are poz for the president.
CONWAY: Have you seen the polling? What is CNN's polling say about what Americans care about? Do they care about jobs and the economy?
CUOMO: Americans care about themselves and their families, as they should. But often there are things going on in their loovs and things that affect their lives that matter as well. And, very often, they're not aware of them.
CONWAY: Like a 20-minute meeting that produced no information? I'm thinking somebody waiting in a jobs line right this second is wondering if he or she is going to get a job and health care and benefits.
CONWAY: Not what was produced in a 20-minute meeting last year.
CUOMO: Doesn't mean it doesn't matter. Just because somebody needs a job, and so many who do. Just because people are worried about their kids, education, nature of character, leadership in their country. All of these things matter.
CONWAY: Social security.
CUOMO: The president spends as much time tweeting about this as anything else. It's not filled with ideas for new jobs. He's on this stuff as well.
CONWAY: That's not true. That is not true.
CUOMO: He drives the conversation.
CONWAY: Every time he has -- every time is he producing something like the apprenticeship investment, every time he went to the department of transportation very recently with secretary Chao --
CUOMO: Slamming De Blasio. Comey leaked. Quoting Hannity. If Chelsea Clinton was asked to close the seat -- when I left the conference room here is why Ivanka sat down. All caps based on unnamed sources. Thought you weren't allowed to do that but it's okay. More "Fox & friends" and then goes into James woods. Where is jobs, health care? One tweet. Where is taxes? Where is his infrastructure?
CONWAY: Do you know where the jobs are? Chris, do you know where the jobs are? Do you know where the jobs are?
CONWAY: Almost everywhere. 800,000 created. Stock market loves this president. Economy is humming.
CUOMO: We reported it.
CONWAY: Small business confidence.
CUOMO: You're saying we don't care about these things. I echoed the president's own tweet thread to you. Don't make it sound like we're hiding his priority.
CONWAY: He cares about these things also.
CUOMO: He's the president of the United States. He is invited on this show.
CONWAY: Looking at his social media. Name three things he talked about at the department of transportation?
CUOMO: He doesn't talk about them and you guys don't come on to talk about them.
CONWAY:Yes, did he! I'll talk about it right now.
CUOMO: Your people say you have to go, by the way. Make sure the white house press office doesn't yell at me.
CONWAY:I'm not going to let this go.
CUOMO: Fine. Go ahead.
CONWAY: Stop being so sensitive.
CUOMO: I've got people yelling at me in my ear that you have to go.
CONWAY: But the president --
CUOMO: That's the two faces of reality we get. You say I want to talk to you. I have people in my ear yelling she has to go. Go ahead. Say what you want to say.
CONWAY: Okay, great. I want to talk to America for a moment.
CONWAY: This president and secretary Chao at the department of transportation very recently did a couple of amazing things. We have these projects that take eight years of the permitting process and they want to bring it down two to three years, saving billions of dollars and spur jobs. We have an air traffic system that was built when we had 100,000 passengers annually. We now have close to 1 billion. Can we not get any Democrats to say, hey, that's a good idea, to enhance our safety and security ooh and reduce our hassle on the tarmac and in airports. I traveled this country with secretary price and governor Christie. I was in Tennessee last th Thursday again on the opioid crisis. This is the scourge of our times. You want to go listen to the people?
CUOMO: We have a documentary coming out this fall about the opioid crisis.
CONWAY: I can hardly wait. Be fair and full about it.
CUOMO: Still hoping for help that was promised during the campaign.
CONWAY: So you know what? The opioid -- you want to talk about Russia. I want to talk about the opioid crisis.
CUOMO: We talk about it. A documentary is coming out this fall.
CONWAY: I want you to talk about the women's empowerment issues that Ivanka Trump is leading. I want you to talk about ISIS in retreat. I want you to talk about the ten bilateral meetings that the president had on this foreign trip and the three pull asides. What about the speech in Poland that tells them you are survivors. We share your spirit, your love of freedom, personal responsibility. This is just such a beautiful speech where the president of the United States appealed to people in Poland. We will stand with you. And then went to the g20. For a couple of hours, practically a couple of days. He will go back to Paris. So many things to cover. Please connect America with the information they need. You're in a great position to tell vetens, they've got help. They've got new hotlines. They have new ways to access care. You can tell people about the jobs that are being created.
CUOMO: We do.
CONWAY: Define every type of work.
CUOMO: We do. Make your pitch to the American people. I'm happy you did.
CONWAY: Tell your panel --
CUOMO: The opportunity is always here. Hold on. Don't worry about the panel.
CONWAY: Six versus one anti-Trump panel we're sorry we cut into their time.
CUOMO: Tell the American people something else while you're here, that they shouldn't believe all of the white house and surrogates and all your friends that want to destroy the responsible media. Tell them that they shouldn't listen to that stuff, that the media matters and they should judge stories on their face and that they shouldn't think that there's some type of agenda out to get the president.
CONWAY: I know you're trying to go viral here.
CUOMO: I'm trying to go viral?
CONWAY: Watching this in your pajamas, writing about us --
CUOMO: That matters too.
CONWAY: Excuse me. You respect the first amendment.
CUOMO: But you compromise my ability to reach people with information.
CONWAY: No, I don't compromise your ability.
CUOMO: When you say whatever you like is fake. That matters, too. Kellyanne.
CONWAY: I never used that word.
CUOMO: Many around you have.
CONWAY: Chris, I believe --
CUOMO: You don't have to say the word without meaning the word and attacking CNN every time you don't like what they report.
CUOMO: What were you doing? Making your witness? What were you doing?
CONWAY: Oh, excuse me. It wasn't an infomercial. Telling people information they should have about jobs and apprenticeships.
CUOMO: That's relevant information also. The media matters. We should give each other the benefit of the doubt. First of all, it's my show. This is what I do. I talk through the television. And if it's not me, it's Allison. That's my show. We spent enough time on this show today.
CONWAY: You asked me about the media. First amendment, we, of course, believe and respect the first amendment and believe the press has a great role in this country. You've got to treat this guy more fairly. You've got to treat him more openly and honestly. The snarky looks, the furrowed brows, the rolling eyes from people on your panels -- you know it. You've made a business decision to be anti-Trump.
CUOMO: You made a decision to be antagonistic toward the media, to lump us all together, to rally your followers to think that we're bad people.
CONWAY: That's not true.
CUOMO: Attack us online and talk about our family.
CONWAY: That's not true.
CUOMO: And try to embarrass us. Look, it comes out from the white house all the time. It all matters. That's all. Everyone can do better. That's all.
CONWAY: You don't want to have said that we rally people to attack. You don't want to have said that. I don't want this to be about me. I know you like to say the word "I" a lot. I'm a 24/p secret service protectee. Not because it's fun or they flipped a coin.
CUOMO: You know how I feel about that as your friend.
CONWAY: Let's not go there.
CUOMO: You know how I feel about your friend.
CONWAY: I know privately.
CUOMO: And publicly also. I give you lots of time on the show.
CONWAY: We need to find a way to work together better.
CUOMO: I agree.
CONWAY: But, look, this -- with a free press comes a fair press and a fully responsible press. And the rush to judgment, the fact that you go with one source on things and then have to retract it --
CUOMO: That is not how we do things, by the way. First of all, whatever CNN has done wrong, it has owned.
CONWAY: I know.
CUOMO: In a way that is a symbol for accountability in this country, by the way. It would be nice if everybody who is wrong handled it the way CNN did. I was very proud of what this organization did. I know a lot of other news organizations and political people wouldn't have done it.
CONWAY: Think about what happened. It's the rush to judgment, the rush to be negative. Think about why it happened. That's all you need to do.
CUOMO: All I know is how it was owned and how it was handle sd a model for accountability.
CONWAY: Be more fair. Why aren't your panels more balanced? Why are there sometimes no --
CUOMO: I think they're plenty balanced. On this show they're mostly journalists. Alright? Washington Examiner, we’ve got everybody from all over the place.
CONWAY: Let me repeat my question then.
CONWAY: They have to be more balanced. You need somebody reflecting the --
CUOMO: If you want flattery there's another channel that can give you that. We tell it straight, go with both sides and test power. We have to get to a health care debate. You are welcome whenever you want.
CONWAY: Health care reform is coming.