CNN's Ana Navarro vs. Steve Cortes: How Much More Evidence Do You Need To See On Trump-Russia Conspiracy?

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CNN: CNN political commentators Ana Navarro and Steve Cortes spar over President Trump’s statements following his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Navarro exploded on Cortes after he pointed out people on the left, like her, still can't get over Trump's victory in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

"Listen, every time you are on, Steve, you like to call me part of the left. Let me remind you that I have been a lifelong Republican," Navarro said.





"Well, you are," Cortes said.

"Let me remind you that I was a Republican," Navarro said as she attempt to begin her diatribe.

"There's a lot of leftist Republicans," Cortes added.

"Listen, I don't interrupt you. Don't interrupt me. You know I can't stand that," Navarro snapped.

"I was a Republican when Donald Trump was a Democrat," she said. "I was a Republican when Donald Trump was independent. I have supported every Republican that's run for president. And I can tell you today that Ronald Reagan who had the strength of his convictions when he was confronting Russia during the Cold War, when he was confronting Gorbachev, would be rolling over in his grave today if he saw the behavior of Donald Trump and this administration, and he saw the number of so-called Republicans who turned the other way and somehow find a way to excuse this inexcusable behavior."

The full debate:

CUOMO: All right. What do you say? Let's get after it. It's time for the great debate with Ana Navarro and Steve Cortes.

Good to have you both.

Steve Cortes, here's the proposition.

STEVE CORTES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thank you.

CUOMO: I can't trust the president when it comes to Putin. I can't trust him to do the right thing. He's done it too many times the wrong way.

Make the case.

CORTES: Well, I'll tell you this. I think in your last segment I think you asked for I believe the word you used was the signature move to show that he's serious in confronting Russia. I'll tell you the signature move. It was the United States military in Syria literally slaughtering hundreds of Russian mercenaries in the battlefield.

So, that -- I mean, if nothing else tells you that he is serious about taking on Russia when it's an adversary to the United States, that certainly does. This is a president who -- and listen, I was critical of his words in Helsinki. I thought he had a poor performance at the podium.

But his actions are the opposite. And in terms of the actions, and I think there's a lot of actions that show his toughness against Russia, I can think of none, though, more serious than actually taking on paramilitary forces from Russia and, again, slaughtering them in the field of battle in Syria.

CUOMO: All right. The counterfactual is the war is far from over there and President Trump wants to pull the people out. But let's take your premise as it stands.

Ana Navarro, is that good enough for you?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, of course not. Look, if you take a look at just what's happened in the last seven days, it should be of extreme concern. It should be disturbing. It should be worrying.

We should be scared about what's happening here. The breadth and scope of the conspiracy of the Russians with the United States, with the elections, with what's going on in our nation is very, very scary.

What have we seen in the last seven days? We've seen a debacle in Helsinki, a president of the United States slobbering over Putin, a murderous, corrupt oligarch, like if he was a poodle.

What else have we seen? We've seen a Russian spy get detained, arrested, with, you know -- who had worked her way into the NRA and other conservative circles and gotten very close to the Trump circles. We have seen for the first time in four years that the State Department did not issue a condemnation against Russia for the downing of MH-17. The anniversary was two days ago.

We have seen that this White House is actually considering, has not absolutely ruled out the idea of turning over an American citizen, a former U.S. ambassador, McFaul, to the Russians for questioning because they want him there? I mean, how much more do you want to see? And this is just in the last seven days.

And add to that, you know, what we have seen, the zigzagging of Donald Trump on this, you know, failed cleanup attempt on aisle Russia. It has been a disaster. And I'm just talking about the last seven days.

CORTES: You know, Ana --

CUOMO: So, Cortes, let's do one of your favorite things to do. Let's play the "if Obama did it game".

If Obama had that list of accomplishments over the last seven days, you wouldn't even use his last name. You wouldn't use his first name. You would only call him by his middle name. All you'd be saying is Hussein all the time because you would believe that somehow he had some type of nefarious connection and that's what it was all about.

How do you justify it?

CORTES: No, I wouldn't be saying that. Listen, as much as I disagree with his policies, I would never question his patriotism and his love of our country. Even though on a mike that he didn't know was hot he promised, quote, flexibility to Medvedev, who said I will transmit that to Vladimir Putin --

CUOMO: Winds up looking like Conan the Barbarian compared to what we saw in Helsinki in terms of the weakness of that move.

CORTES: But, listen, here's what's going on. I really believe here's what's going on with Ana and with a lot of people on the left right now, is this has become the birtherism of the left, because it really has --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: -- and racist and bigoted.

CORTES: Right, agreed. And so is this.

CUOMO: Where's the racism and the bigotry --

(CROSSTALK)

CORTES: Hold on. Chris, I was on record saying it was fake and it was nonsense. It was an attempt to delegitimize President Obama because we didn't beat him at the ballot box and the way to counter that is not by resorting to falsehoods. This is the exact same tactic.

CUOMO: How?

CORTES: Because the left still can't get over -- because the left still can't get over --

CUOMO: Trump lied about Russian interference. He said he agreed with Putin.

CORTES: No.

CUOMO: He said it might be somebody else. Come on, man.

NAVARRO: Chris, let me just say this.

CUOMO: Hold on.

(CROSSTALK)

CORTES: That's a key word that --

CUOMO: Ana, weigh in. I don't want to dominate the debate.

NAVARRO: Listen, every time you are on, Steve, you like to call me part of the left. Let me remind you that I have been a lifelong Republican.

CORTES: Well, you are.

NAVARRO: Let me remind you that I was a Republican --

CORTES: There's a lot of leftist Republicans.

NAVARRO: Listen, I don't interrupt you. Don't interrupt me. You know I can't stand that.

I was a Republican when Donald Trump was a Democrat. I was a Republican when Donald Trump was independent. I have supported every Republican that's run for president. And I can tell you today that Ronald Reagan who had the strength of

his convictions when he was confronting Russia during the Cold War, when he was confronting Gorbachev, would be rolling over in his grave today if he saw the behavior of Donald Trump and this administration, and he saw the number of so-called Republicans who turned the other way and somehow find a way to excuse this inexcusable behavior.

CORTES: Look, here's I think the reality. This idea that Donald Trump is somehow a Russian agent, this is the birtherism of the left. It is.

I mean, that is the reality of the situation. And why? And let's be honest about this, Chris, because you and many people still can't believe that he won in 2016. And instead of analyzing why --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: You couldn't believe won in 2016. You didn't think he was --

CORTES: It's not true.

CUOMO: You didn't think he was going to win.

CORTES: It took me a while, but I did in the end, Chris. I did.

CUOMO: Like after the results is when you thought he could win. Come on, Steve.

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Listen, you've got to do better than this. You've never heard me say that Trump is a Russian agent. I get criticized all the time because I practice this I only know what I show edict. I don't know if it's my legal training or just journalism. I don't get into the speculation about what we know. I just say the probe should end.

I'm not saying he's a Russian asset. I'm saying that he sat on his asset when he was supposed to be confronting Putin. That's why he went there, to be man to man, Steve. Remember? Nobody can be in the room.

CORTES: Right.

CUOMO: One on one. And he came out of there and said really bad things that hurt the country. And you know that.

So don't put it on me. Don't put it on fake news. Put it on the president where it belongs.

CORTES: I agree with you. And I was very public about that, that I think he performed poorly --

CUOMO: Well, then don't say we think he's a Russian asset. Don't say that. It's not true.

CORTES: Hold on. NAVARRO: Reason people have questions --

CORTES: No, but this is being said all over -- hold on.

CUOMO: Not here. We're having a reasoned debate.

NAVARRO: The reason people --

(CROSSTALK)

CUOMO: Poppycock.

NAVARRO: The reason people have questions is because it is hard to explain. It is impossible to explain and understand this behavior by a U.S. president, to undermine his own U.S. intelligence agencies over and over again. This is a guy who likes to pick a fight with just about anybody.

CUOMO: True.

NAVARRO: And he picks a fight with dead people. And yet when it comes to Putin all we see is deferential treatment.

CUOMO: That's the weird part, Steve.

NAVARRO: So, you begin to ask yourself, you have to ask yourself, if you're a reasonable person who is not a cult member --

CUOMO: That's the weird part.

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: What? What is the reason?

CUOMO: I'll tell you what the problem is.

NAVARRO: I mean, it could be he's compromised in some way. Whether it's golden showers or whether it's money laundering, we don't know, but there has to got to be a reason.

(CROSSTALK)

CORTES: Here we go. Here we go.

CUOMO: I don't put any stock in any of that stuff, by the way, because I haven't seen any proof of it. But I'm telling you the curiosity is contagious because it doesn't make sense on its face, Steve.

And you guys think that he's doing the right thing by going on Trump TV to the mother ship over on Fox where they don't ask him any questions and he gets to lie about whatever he wants and that's good because it reinforces the base. It doesn't expand the tent. It doesn't reassure the American people, the majority of whom did not vote for him, that he has their best interests at heart.

And that's where you should be focused, not on blaming me with birtherism. That's nonsense, Steve.

CORTES: No, this -- I believe this is birtherism. But by the way, he went on CBS News tonight. He's not only going on Fox TV. So, that's an unfair criticism of him.

And CBS News has been no friend to him. But, look --

CUOMO: You think that interview was like what happens when people are on here? You think it's the same standard? You think it's the same job that's being done? You know he picks his venues very carefully.

CORTES: I think CBS News has -- look, I'd like him to come on CNN.

CUOMO: Me too.

CORTES: I'm a CNN person.

CUOMO: It's an open invitation.

CORTES: I think he can handle it. He'd do great.

CUOMO: He would. He's his best advocate. No offense.

CORTES: Yes. And I hope he does. It's one of the reasons he's president, right?

CUOMO: But all I'm saying is this --

CORTES: Here's the thing too.

CUOMO: Go ahead, make your last point. I've got to go.

CORTES: When you talk about -- by the way, the American voters, and you say the majority and the popular vote didn't vote for him, that's true. But you know what? The Electoral College, which is how we elect our president, which is not insignificant, the reason he won the Electoral College vote is he spoke to voters who don't care very much about Moscow, Russia.

They care about Moscow, Idaho. They care about their wages. They care about jobs.

CUOMO: That doesn't mean they --

NAVARRO: Moscow, Russia cared about the elections. And we have no idea what their influence led to.

(CROSSTALK)

CORTES: All of those metrics, on all of those metrics he's succeeding immensely as president.

CUOMO: He has good things going for him, but they should not be used as an excuse for the bad.

NAVARRO: He has succeeded in carrying Vladimir Putin's water all over the world. Attacking --

CUOMO: Ana Navarro --

NAVARRO: Attacking Montenegro.

CORTES: This is birtherism.

NAVARRO: Ridiculous.

CUOMO: It's not birtherism.

NAVARRO: Well, did you object when the birtherism was carried out by Donald Trump?

CORTES: I sure did. I sure did.

NAVARRO: Really?

CUOMO: I'm going to check it, Cortes.

CORTES: Yes, I did.

CUOMO: Thanks to both of you.

NAVARRO: How ironic to throw out birtherism when Donald Trump is the guy who birthed birtherism.

CUOMO: This is the birth of irony.

Ana, Cortes, thank you.

NAVARRO: The death of shame.

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