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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Trump: Governors Who Aren't Opening States Should Be; Bob Costas On Miami Marlins' COVID-19 Outbreak; BLM Protester Shot And Killed By Driver In Austin, Texas. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 27, 2020 - 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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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: You can, of course, watch all of it, starting at 10:00 A.M., tomorrow morning, right here on CNN.

Tonight, you get, Chris Cuomo and CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: I'll take it. Anderson, thank you very much.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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CUOMO: If you want schools to open, if you want to get some control of the pandemic, the key is the "We." You must do what you can. You have to, think about you and your family, think about your community, and push your local leaders.

I frame it this way because help is not coming from on high. Proof? There's no plan for better testing. I hear you all over this country saying you can't get results fast enough. I know. There's no plan for it to get better. There's no plan to help us reopen schools.

And there is a reason for this inaction, and it has a name. Trump! Last week, he said, it's going to get worse before it gets better. Now, he says this.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I really do believe a lot of the governors should be opening up states that they're not opening, and we'll see what happens with them.

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CUOMO: You know it's going to get better. You're not helping them to reopen. They're asking you for help. And then you say, "But they really should be reopening." We are seeing what's happening, death, too much of it, cases, too many, too fast, too many places.

In fact, there's a word for it, comes from the Greek, "Pan," meaning "Everyone," "Demos," "People," "Pandemic," as in affecting all people. That's what we're seeing happening. That's what Trump knows is happening.

The White House can't contain the virus within its own walls. Major League Baseball can't keep players from catching COVID instead of balls. How can this President and his CDC still argue it's safe enough to reopen schools in the fall with no plan?

There is no irony in the fact that Trump's National Security Adviser now has COVID, Robert O'Brien.

Listen, I wish Mr. O'Brien well. I hope he is asymptomatic. And if his daughter has COVID also, as is being reported, I wish her well. And I hope the rest of the family is spared, and anyone that he was around, especially the President.

O'Brien was briefly in the White House, last week, after returning home from a business trip to Europe. Several pictures show him neither practicing social distancing nor wearing a mask.

Think about it. The guy tasked by Trump with keeping our country secure isn't taking safety precautions, and gets hit with what is arguably one of the biggest threats to our security right now.

Trump said today, he trusts all Americans to do the right things. His own National Security Adviser didn't. And many others aren't because of what he was selling them just before last week.

The person you must question trusting on this is Trump. You must be outraged by the inaction.

You must call on him, to tell the experts around him, "Make a plan to increase our testing efficiency." Do it smarter. Get us results faster. Seven days, 10 days doesn't help anybody.

Have them make a plan to help states open schools. That's your damn job. You're getting killed in the polls in large part because you're not taking charge in a pandemic, again, a virus affecting all people.

More proof that all will suffer, if we don't do the right things, now, the newly kicked-off baseball season, a source of just a flickering moment of joy, for all of us, it could be in jeopardy less than a week after it began.

ESPN says 11 Marlin players, two coaches, just tested positive, forcing the team to postpone tonight's home opener and tomorrow's game. The Phillies-Yankees game also postponed. The MLB is now conducting additional testing.

This is the Manager of the Washington Nationals today, and he has a heart condition. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE MARTINEZ, WASHINGTON NATIONALS MANAGER: I'm going to be honest with you, I'm scared. I really am.

My level of concern went from about an eight to a 12.

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CUOMO: The Major League had a plan before it - before putting players on the field. Again, there's no guarantee here.

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There's major money in baseball. All that planning, all that money, these great athletes, and yet we're supposed to say, "Yes, the President's right, we should just open schools. States should just open them." How are they going to keep them open?

Oh, I'll tell you what's great incentive, and if you, underfunded schools, don't open, the President's threat to make you do it, is to withhold funding that goes to the neediest of you, in large part, for feeding them. Seriously?

Look, look at the reality. Players get tested all the time, OK? Trump's own testing - these players in baseball, they get tested a lot. Trump's own Testing Czar says testing is not where it needs to be.

And that is a gross understatement, right? He's got to be careful what he says. Otherwise he'll lose his job.

So, just look at the reality. You only control what you do, for your family, what you can influence in your own community, and what you can demand from local leaders. I'm telling you, if you're waiting for Trump to use the Federal government, with all its power, and influence, don't, because it's not happening.

Let's bring in someone who can give us a giant dose of reality, because we need it, Dr. William Schaffner.

Look, I don't know about you, I'm a big baseball fan. I'm an even bigger football fan. And I knew this was going to happen, Doc. You get people in any proximity, the pandemic is going to manifest itself. Are you surprised by any of this?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, CDC ADVISER: Chris, I'm surprised that the Yankees game was canceled tonight, but it was canceled for good reason, obviously. COVID got into the opposition.

And any time people gather together, in any kind of circumstance, whether it's a baseball circumstance, or a religious circumstance, for example, or a neighborhood barbeque, statistically speaking, COVID is attending that event with someone, stealthily, because they have no symptoms, but the COVID virus is spreading. And that's the sort of circumstance we're in today. The virus is still

ahead of us over most of the United States. We're still chasing afterwards. And opening up quickly, that's cart before the horse.

You know if we could get control of this virus, and then we could open up carefully, and that would assure the restoration of our economic life. But this COVID - this COVID virus has got to be dealt with first, because it's not going away.

CUOMO: So, the testing piece, I'm sure you're hearing this.

More and more, even if people have access to tests, one, some of these tests, especially the faster the turnaround, the less accurate, and they're getting tested multiple times, because they're like positive, negative, positive, negative, and the good - the better the testing, the longer the time. So, people are saying, "It's taken me five days, seven days, 10 days, more than 10 days."

Are you hearing that as well? And how problematic is that?

SCHAFFNER: Well it's hugely problematic. And, of course, I'm hearing it, because it's true in many, many places across the country. Some laboratories are having difficulty with their reagents, so they're having to slow down. Other laboratories are so swamped with tests that they can't turn them around in time, and that's why you have this long waiting period before the test comes back.

CUOMO: Yes.

SCHAFFNER: And what use is the test then.

CUOMO: Right.

SCHAFFNER: So, yes, this is a problem across the country.

CUOMO: Imagine that in the school context.

So, look, I've made no bones about it, I want my kids to go back to school. It is very hard for us having them home. And I know, for a lot of families, it's way harder for them because they're not blessed with the same means that I have.

But I got to tell you, Doc, just on testing alone, God forbid, a kid in a class gets it, you know they're going to, now you have to test that kid. How long does it take to get the result back?

So, you go to a hybrid method, few days in class, few days at home. To me, that's like the worst of both worlds. Now, it screws up your work life, because you have to be home sometime, so you can't be on regular hours, and the kids getting exposed in the classroom.

I don't even know how they get to school. What does the bus driver do, Doc? And it seems to me that the solutions here have to be about public spaces, and finding more staff and more spaces, but I hear nobody talking about it.

What's your take on schools?

SCHAFFNER: My take on schools is, the countries that have done it well, of course, have controlled the spread of the virus--

CUOMO: First.

SCHAFFNER: --first in the community, right?

CUOMO: Yes.

SCHAFFNER: They did that first. Then they opened their schools.

We're in the midst of all this brouhaha and we're trying to open up our schools.

Our schools are going to try to do the very best they can. They're trying all sorts of different things. And we all hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and worry a lot because we can't predict, even we, medical types, can't predict exactly what's going to happen.

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So, we'll be in a responsive mode, trying to change course, kind of in midstream, adjusting to local events as they occur. And gee, there's no wonder that parents are anxious, on both sides.

CUOMO: Yes.

SCHAFFNER: As you say, they would like their children to go to school for lots of good reasons, but at the same time, they're cautious and indeed, many times, afraid.

CUOMO: And you know what we're going to see?

More inequality, because communities where you see the virus being better controlled, are going to be wind up being more affluent communities. And their kids are going to get in school faster, in more school.

And now, the kids that are in harder-hit areas, and I'm telling you, they're going to correspond with poverty--

SCHAFFNER: Yes.

CUOMO: --are not going to be in school as much. They're not going to be as educated. And they're already at an imbalance.

I just don't understand why the Federal government doesn't step up, Doc, and make testing more of a priority, use all the assets of this economy to get the processing better, use its assets to help these schools.

We're staying on them. As we get more information, I will always look to you to help us process it. Dr. William Schaffner, be well and thank you, Doc.

SCHAFFNER: Be well.

CUOMO: All right, so let's take another beat on what happened in the MLB, and the NFL, by the way, but Florida Marlins, the baseball team, professor - players and coaches, on that team, coming down with the virus.

Why? You heard the Doctor. Yes, and you know it by now too, right? I mean, if you have people around, a lot, right, in bigger numbers, what's going to happen? My point is, isn't this what schools' going to look like?

Sports Journalism Legend, Bob Costas, with what this means for the MLB, what it means for the NFL, this breaking news out of the League, I've got the perfect guest in the perfect kitchen, next.

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CUOMO: Breaking news, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced preseason football games are canceled.

And we all know why, Coronavirus fears. This comes as Major League Baseball postpones three games in a so-called regular season that barely started, and you know why, a COVID outbreak.

We're seeing a ripple effect. And is it going to get worse, like we saw after the NBA suspended its season, back in March? Let's bring in Legend, Bob Costas.

Welcome back to PRIME TIME.

BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, HALL OF FAME BROADCASTER, HOST & ANNOUNCER, MLB NETWORK: Hey, Chris.

CUOMO: So, you have to assume that a League, sophisticated as MLB, sophisticated as NFL is, they have to know that this was likely. So, what is the adjustment by MLB in context of what you would have imagined?

COSTAS: Well, Rob Manfred said, a couple of hours ago, that he does not view this as a nightmare scenario. They did expect that it would happen, some place, to some extent. They think they're just doubling down on the extensive protocols they have will get it done. But to put it in some kind of perspective, the Marlins had 11 players

test positive, plus a couple of other staff members.

CUOMO: Right.

COSTAS: None of them are symptomatic at the moment.

And, also broader picture, less than 1 percent of total personnel, players and everybody else involved, had tested positive, since they got together for workouts, prior to the resumption of the season, and then this weekend, when the season resumed.

But now, you have a team with more than a third of its active roster set aside, those players would have to test negative twice before being cleared to play. So, they'll dip into their Minor League system.

They've got 30 extra players, each team does. They'll bring them up. They'll cancel the two games they were to have played in Miami against the Orioles. And, as coincidence has it, they happen to be in Baltimore, Wednesday and Thursday, they intend to play those games.

The reason the Yankees-Phillies game is postponed tonight is that the Yankees would have had to use the same clubhouse that the Marlins were in yesterday, when they played the Phillies, and all the Phillies players, have to be tested.

So, I've said from the beginning, Chris, there's all kinds of needles to thread. Even with the best expertise, the best intentions, the most humane intentions, it's a tightrope walk. And to get from one end to the other, is just a fingers-crossed situation.

And there is the possibility that eventually, somewhere along the line, there's going to be a match that turns into a tinderbox and turns into a forest fire. That's always a possibility.

CUOMO: Right.

COSTAS: I hope not. You know how much I love baseball.

CUOMO: Of course.

COSTAS: Every time I crossed paths with your dad that was all we talked about. We talked baseball.

So, I hope they can get it done. But there's a whole lot of needles to thread.

CUOMO: And look, just to emphasize a couple of things, again, they have access to the kind of testing, where they can get answers fast.

COSTAS: Yes.

CUOMO: And they still have to deal with it.

COSTAS: They expect answers by early tomorrow morning.

CUOMO: Most communities can't.

COSTAS: They expect answers by early tomorrow morning.

CUOMO: And they knew this was going to happen. So, they have different layers of insulation, and had to deal with the permutations of outcome. I'm laying it out that way because with our schools we have none of that. We can't get fast test results.

COSTAS: Yes.

CUOMO: We don't know what to do if we do. And it's done not with one League, but every community is its own League, nightmare scenario.

So now the NFL says "No preseason games," in an open letter because of COVID. Now, what does that speak to--

COSTAS: Right.

CUOMO: --to you?

COSTAS: Well the players pushed for that before they would come back to camp.

But let's look at this. The NBA is in a bubble, so is the NHL. And the NHL was in Edmonton and in Toronto, and Canada has substantially flattened the curve. Neither the NHL nor the NBA has had a single positive test since they entered into the bubble.

But baseball is not in a bubble. 30 teams, in their respective locations, football, 32, and the best guess, and everything is a guess, as you know, but best guess is that there might be another surge in the fall, and the winter. That's when the NFL season is.

And when you consider the size of the rosters, and the nature of the sport, contact on every play, if baseball, only a few days into their resumption, is running into some sort of problem, the Commissioner says it's not a nightmare, but it is a problem, then just what does common sense tell you about the possibility of getting through a full football season? Doesn't make much sense.

CUOMO: And look, I know a lot of sports insiders are saying, "The players never liked the preseason games." That's not what this is about. Do you believe that they're using--

COSTAS: No.

CUOMO: --this as leverage to get something they always wanted or their fears are legit?

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COSTAS: No, I think their fears are completely legitimate.

And just as an aside, there's still talk, and still some intention, to play college football. These players are young people who are not compensated, and they have no Union to protect their interests. And if you don't have a normal campus situation, if students are not

at the games, if they're not attending classes in a normal way, doesn't that blow the cover on the whole idea of student athletes?

We're just going to play for television money? That seems like the worst idea of all.

CUOMO: So, Bob Costas is living his life. He gets stopped all the time, and someone says, "We need sports. It is huge to our national morale. And we need it now, more than ever. It shows normal. And these are our heroes. We need this, Bob."

COSTAS: Yes.

CUOMO: "Don't play to the risk. Play to the reward." What does Bob Costas say?

COSTAS: We want sports. We don't need sports.

And if I have to prove my credentials, as a guy who is interested in sports, then people haven't been paying attention. I watched a lot of baseball this weekend. I found it interesting, even with nobody in the stands, and the cardboard cutouts. I hope they can play baseball.

But there are legitimate issues here. And when people said, "This will mark a return to normal," really? When you're getting reports like this?

When you're watching a game, and the Manager comes out, to the mound that he's wearing a mask, and he has to socially distance? And they've got a 100-plus page protocol, and it doesn't make sense to believe that every one of these young people will adhere to those protocols on an ongoing basis? Certainly not in baseball and football because they're not in a bubble?

To me, it's a reminder, every time you watch a game, maybe if you're - even if you're enjoying it, of how abnormal circumstances are.

CUOMO: Although conversely, in a way, Bob, it is the new normal, because until we get the--

COSTAS: Yes.

CUOMO: --pandemic out of our way, everything is going to be affected. And--

COSTAS: Agree. It's the new normal.

CUOMO: Yes.

COSTAS: But it's not a return to the old normal.

CUOMO: No way. I don't know that you can, until you get at least a year from now, assuming we don't keep screwing it up.

I mean there is one theory, among epidemiologists, that if you keep playing it this way, it actually won't go away. And their understanding of herd immunity is bifurcating.

Some are saying, "Well eventually, it will just get us where we need to be." And others are saying, "No, actually, you'd need such a high percentage of the population, you can play it out like this, and get killed by death by a 1,000 cuts, if you don't take it seriously."

I wonder if the sports will be a catalyst for communities to think, "You know what? If they're getting sick, we have to take it seriously." What do you think? Last thought to you.

COSTAS: Well, very often, sports focuses people's attention. It may seem relatively unimportant, but it cuts across all demographic lines.

I think that baseball - and I don't have to stipulate how much I love baseball, my fingers are crossed that they'll be successful.

But baseball might have been better off, taking a look at the big picture, and saying, even before they started, "There are too many whys and wherefores here. We can't play a full regular season. There are health concerns. Fingers crossed for a vaccine. No season in 2020. We hope we can come back and play a full year under safe conditions in the spring of 2021. In the meantime, God bless you. Good luck and goodbye."

They would have actually looked more statesmen like than anybody else in this circumstance, if that had happened. But here we are, and we'll see what happens now, going forward.

CUOMO: Well, look, if this is any indication, if schools just open, we're going to see a lot of problems, in terms of what they're prepared for, and what they're not.

It's as good a chance that it goes out without a hitch, as it is that the Nationals call up Tony Fauci to be their new reliever.

COSTAS: Yes. That - that first pitch was "Just," as Bob Uecker would say, "Just a bit outside."

CUOMO: Hey, here's my defense. Tony Fauci was a shortstop, Bob. He was going to first. He was going to first.

COSTAS: Yes.

CUOMO: That was the throw. It was to first.

COSTAS: But the throw - the throw wouldn't have made it that far.

CUOMO: It was--

COSTAS: Now, a parenthetical aside, I know you got to - I know you got to go. The Minnesota Vikings' Head Trainer and Infection Control Officer tested positive. So too did members of his family. Doesn't that tell you where we are, to a certain extent?

CUOMO: Yes, it does. And we keep learning the same lesson. When will we do something about it? Bob Costas, value added, thank you very much.

COSTAS: Thanks CC.

CUOMO: All right, horrible situation that is made more horrible by how it's being approached, a Black Lives Matter protester, OK, shot and killed this weekend, Austin, Texas. You can hear the gunfire in this video.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody back up.

(GUNFIRE)

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CUOMO: Now, how do you make something like that worse? Well the bizarre nature is that it seems to be processed through the lens of politics. I say, this matters, this situation, and it must be framed through the facts.

We have a witness to the shooting, next.

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CUOMO: A man protesting police brutality was killed Saturday night in Austin, Texas. His name was Garrett Foster. And he went to the demonstration with his wheelchair-bound fiancee.

Foster was legally carrying an AK-47-style rifle, something he was actually interviewed about on social media. Take a little listen.

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GARRETT FOSTER, PROTESTING POLICE BRUTALITY, AUSTIN, TEXAS: They don't let us march in the streets anymore, so I've got to practice some - some of our rights.

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CUOMO: This was not the only time he did this, OK? He was kind of known within that Protest Movement before coming this way. Now, here's the salient part. At some point, a car got involved with

the protesters. Some say, it was just driving through an intersection. Others say it burst on to the scene. Either way, Foster was in a crowd of protesters that surrounded the car.

Then, this happened.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody back up.

(GUNFIRE)

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CUOMO: What do we know?

The driver opened fire. They told police that when they called 911, so we know that. We know someone else in the crowd also opened fire. Not the man you just saw being interviewed, though. There are no reports of Foster firing his weapon.

All of the guns were legal. Take that off the table. This is not a conversation about "Was it right to have the gun, wrong to have the gun?" Under Texas law, everybody there was OK, legally.

Nobody has been arrested. Why? Police say they are investigating.

And the application of "Stand your ground," which is a defense to any homicide charge that you were in reasonable fear of serious injury, does that exist here? If it is, there's not going to be any more to the investigation. There won't be any charges. That's not uncommon in Texas.

What we don't know? The identity of the shooter, who killed Foster? Why? Well if there's no charge, if there's not a suspect, they won't name the person necessarily. Cops say they won't release that name until someone is arrested.

We don't know if Foster ever raised his weapon, or even spoke with the driver. You will though, because there were a lot of people there. You will know that. Police will find that out, if they endeavor to.

We also don't know what the driver was doing before the car was surrounded. But we will, because there were a lot of witnesses. Let's start piecing this together. It matters too much.

James Sasinowski was there. He heard the gunfire. He saw what went down.

Welcome to PRIME TIME. I'm sorry you had to live through this. But I appreciate you taking the opportunity to help us understand it a little better. Simple question, when it comes to this, what did you see? JAMES SASINOWSKI, WITNESSED SHOOTING AT BLM PROTEST: We were marching north up Congress Avenue. There was a jet black luxury sedan headed east on Fourth, to turn right on to Congress, where there were - head south where there were hundreds of protesters.

The thing I want to make extremely clear, and any witness will tell you this, but many of them are dealing with their things, they haven't come out like I have, the driver intentionally and aggressively accelerated their vehicle into a crowd of people. That is extremely clear.

CUOMO: Wait, let's question--

SASINOWSKI: The driver--

CUOMO: --let's question that as we go, James, because this is an important detail.

Because there are others who say that the driver was there according to normal traffic, blocked by protesters, became spooked, and was trying to get away from a threat. And that's what you're calling accelerated?

SASINOWSKI: No. No. No, no, no, no. That's not true at all. Not even close.

He was at the intersection. Wanted to turn right, I don't know if he used his blinker. We were coming up Congress. We were going perpendicular to the way that his car was facing, and he accelerated into and through his turn, and almost ran a bunch of people over.

This, like I said, this was intentional. It was aggressive. And he accelerated into a crowd of protesters.

He could have waited for us to pass, or he could have gone slowly, and we would have allowed him to go through, wouldn't have been a problem. There was other traffic here and there. It was mostly blocked off. But he could have made it through just fine.

He intentionally accelerated into the crowd. He incited the violence. Period!

CUOMO: So, when he did that, that's when protesters started to surround the car. Did you see Foster?

SASINOWSKI: I did not see Foster specifically.

Yes, protesters, of course surrounded the car, because he almost ran over - ran people over. They started smacking his windows and stuff. Eventually, a bunch of people jumped in the way. Car had to stopped - had to stop abruptly, suddenly, which is what happened.

I was about 20 feet away from the window, a little bit, I was kind of in the - behind the car, almost, off to the side a little bit. And I was kind of looking forward, looking back over my shoulder, forward and back. While I was looking forward, I heard the first few shots. And then, I

turned over my shoulder, and I saw sticking out of our - fully extended out of the driver window, was his left arm, with a handgun in his hand, and I watched several more shots get fired.

I saw the orange flashes off the top of the gun. In the moment, I thought that he was firing indiscriminately into the crowd. Obviously, now we know that he was aiming specifically at Garrett. I--

CUOMO: But we don't know - we don't know what he was doing. We know he hit Garrett.

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And the issue became why did he fire at Garrett? Now, on that, Garrett Foster, the deceased, on that, you can't help us. Isn't that the truth, because you didn't see what happened before?

SASINOWSKI: So, I didn't - I don't know whether or not Garrett pointed his gun at the vehicle.

The driver called 911 the moment he started driving away. He knows how to play the system, clearly, because he called the authorities. He got his story in first. That's how you play these things, and try to get in as least trouble, the smallest amount of trouble possible. He knew how to - he knew how to play this.

What I saw was his arm was perpendicular. Like I said, it looked like he was indiscriminately to the crowd. Out of the five bullets that he shot, three of them went into Garrett. You cannot tell me that that was not intentionally aimed at Garrett. It obviously was.

CUOMO: I understand.

SASINOWSKI: Now, it makes--

CUOMO: What did people tell you about what happened before?

SASINOWSKI: It was - from the moment the car stopped, to when the first rounds were fired, was less than 10 seconds.

It was extremely rapid. There was not a lot of turnaround time there. It was just people screaming at the car, obviously. I don't imagine that there was any kind of real conversation going on. I--

CUOMO: Did anybody tell you that they saw the victim point the weapon at the shooter?

SASINOWSKI: Nobody has told me that. I have not heard any witnesses say that they saw Garrett point at the shooter or at the vehicle.

But I want to be very clear that the driver incited the violence. He accelerated into the crowd of people, and he shot first.

CUOMO: I understand. James, look, I know this is going to hit you in waves. This is a very

hard thing to be around, when it happens, and know what the result was. I know why you were there. I know you were there to fight for justice. And justice is what we should all want, in this situation, after a thorough investigation.

Thank you for helping people understand what you saw, what you heard, and what you didn't see, and what you didn't hear.

James Sasinowski, yes, last word to you, quickly.

SASINOWSKI: I want to emphasize that this comes back to Black Lives Matter. If Black lives mattered in this country, we would still have Garrett today. It is in your own self-interest, as a privileged person, to support marginalized groups of people.

Thank you, Chris. I will see you soon. You have a nice night.

CUOMO: James, you too, be safe.

SASINOWSKI: I will.

CUOMO: All right, so our next guest says "Look, Foster may have been there for good reason. But he did something bad in this moment. He had it coming." Our next guest used to be a member of the Austin PD. He now leads the Austin Police Department's Union.

What is his argument, and why is he making it, next.

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CUOMO: Investigators in Austin, Texas are still sorting out what happened at the BLM protest shooting that resulted in one man being killed, as well they should.

However, at the same time that the investigation is ongoing, the Head of the Police Union there tweeted this out, saying, Foster "Was looking for confrontation and he found it." That man is Kenneth Casaday, President of the Austin Police Association.

Thank you for joining us on PRIME TIME.

KENNETH CASADAY, PRESIDENT, AUSTIN POLICE ASSOCIATION: Good evening, Chris. Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: All right. Mr. Casaday, is an officer, to your understanding, is there an Austin police officer involved in this?

CASADAY: No, there's not, from what I understand.

CUOMO: OK. Thank you.

My question is why am I talking to you in the context of what your role is here? Why are you putting out statements about this shooting, if it doesn't involve an Austin police officer? Why have you become the proxy for the man who shot this protester?

CASADAY: We've been battling back and forth with our City Council to stop allowing these protests.

Normally, you have to have a permit. And folks are coming down, and just marching up and down Congress Avenue, and various streets, on nightly basis.

And it makes it very difficult for us to keep up with the proper security that these folks need when they're - when they're expressing their First Amendment rights. So, that is one of the big issues that we've had.

And then also, the person that's been down there videoing, Gilberto Hiram that's been doing a fantastic job of getting the info out, the same gentleman has been showing up with AK-47, protesting in front of the City Manager's house, so it was a problem.

CUOMO: Well--

CASADAY: And you look like you're - you're picking a fight when you're out standing in front of the City Manager's house, intimidating them, trying to get them to--

CUOMO: Well hold on, hold on, hold on. I'm surprised to be hearing this from somebody from Texas. He has the right to cover the - carry the long arm, and he can--

CASADAY: Absolutely.

CUOMO: --he can carry it wherever he wants. And Mr. Foster had that same right.

What I'm saying is, as someone who represents Police Officers, who are in the business of protect and serve, why would you put out a statement that Foster got what he was looking for, as if he deserved to be shot?

CASADAY: All I was trying to put out was the information of his interview that was made a couple hours before this incident occurred. And I thought that it was relevant for people to see that.

CUOMO: Well how is it relevant for people to see that you think he was supposed to be shot based on his own behavior? CASADAY: It's relevant because--

CUOMO: It sounds like you just like the idea that the guy got shot, because you don't like that he was there, which kind of screams of insensitivity, which is fine, as a citizen.

CASADAY: Chris?

CUOMO: But as someone who reps Austin police officers, it seems like you shouldn't be putting that out there?

[21:45:00]

CASADAY: Chris, he was down there, peacefully protesting for several days with the firearm.

CUOMO: Right.

CASADAY: And then, he comes out, and interviews, and tells people, that no one's going to stop him from doing it, because everyone's a bunch of pussies. So that's, to me, is relevant.

And he said he would not point it at cops because he knew he'd get shot. So, when you tell the citizens of Austin that I'm going to march wherever I want to, and you can't do anything because you're a bunch of pussies, to me that's relevant.

CUOMO: But what I heard him say in the clip, we just played, was "They won't let us exercise our First Amendment right, so I have to exercise what rights I can. I have a Second Amendment right. So, I'm going to exercise that."

I didn't hear what you're suggesting.

But even if he did say that, even with your incredibly forgiving "Stand your ground" law that gives someone no need to, or requirement, to retreat, you still have to prove that the person in the car had a reasonable fear of serious injury before firing at the person. So, just having the AK-47 doesn't create that, does it?

CASADAY: No, it does not.

Like I said, in TV interviews, with our local news stations tonight, the difference will be, was he walking around with it, or were the witnesses correct that said that he came up and pointed it at the individual.

So far, neither person that fired rounds that night had been arrested. And this is most likely a case that will go to the either a Grand Jury--

CUOMO: Right.

CASADAY: --or a D.A. will refuse to indict.

CUOMO: Well they'll either charge or not. They let the guys go home. I am - I see that as one of the most bizarre things here.

And I know, if they - it's just so surprising to me that, in this instance, there's no probable cause, when you have a bunch of witnesses around saying that Garrett Foster didn't point his weapon at the man, and that, if anything, his belief was unreasonable, and yet, they get to go home.

No small irony, as people are arguing for better justice, for Black people in this society. Very rarely, you hear a story about Black people going home after killing somebody, because maybe they have a defense, maybe they don't.

But my last question to you, Ken, is, I want to make sure you're sensitive to this. The police are being looked at with a lot of scrutiny these days, fairly and unfairly. Do you think it's the right time to put out a message like the one you did, like "Hey, this is what you get?"

CASADAY: Chris, we put - I put that out, because I thought the community needed to know, and maybe in hindsight it wasn't the best thing to do. But I stand by what I did. And I--

CUOMO: But if it wasn't the best thing to do, why don't you, not to be what Foster was referring to people as, when they're too scared to do something, why don't you say, "I shouldn't have done it. It's the wrong message to say anything that seems in anyway, justifying violence where someone wound up dead, especially as someone who represents the police, I shouldn't have said that."

Don't stand by it. Step away from it, and say it was wrong. Why don't you do that?

CASADAY: Well, Chris, I put it out there, thought that it was important for people to see that, and I stand by what I did. Other people disagree.

And I just think that it was the best thing for the community to know, at that time, especially with the individual showing up and marching in front of City Council people's houses and the City Manager.

To me, that shows that you're trying to intimidate our sitting City Councilmembers and our City Management. So, I felt like that was important for them to know, and that's it.

CUOMO: Well you know what else is intimidating? Taking a handgun, pointing it outside a car, and firing into a crowd, and killing somebody, that's intimidating also. But Kenneth Casaday--

CASADAY: Sure.

CUOMO: --I appreciate you coming on the show to make your case. I wish you well. And I hope the situation resolved in the interest of justice.

CASADAY: Thank you, Chris. I appreciate you.

CUOMO: All right, we'll be right back.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:50:00]

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TEXT: CLOSING ARGUMENT.

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CUOMO: Congressman John Lewis, may you rest in peace. The conscience of Congress, now lying in State, at the top of the steps at the Capitol, so the public can pay respect to a man who made "Good trouble."

Arrested more than 40 times. He sat in the wrong places, used the wrong bathroom, on purpose. As a result, he was beaten, skull cracked open by cops' billy club, because he was fighting the "Good fight" through non-violence, letting the beatings, the brutality reflect the reality.

He did it for equal voting rights. Was heroic, patriotic, brave, and he also called it, famously, something else.

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REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): I would see those signs that say "White men, Colored men, White women, Colored women, White waiting, Colored waiting," and I would ask my mother, my father, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents, "Why?"

And they would say, "Boy, that's the way it is. Don't get in the way. Don't get in trouble."

But in 1955, 15 years old, the action of Rosa Parks, the words and leadership of Dr. King, inspired me to get in trouble, what I call "Good trouble, necessary trouble."

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CUOMO: And I was borrowing from Brother Lewis, when I said, "Who says protest is supposed to be peaceful and quiet and polite?" I know it says "Peaceful" in the First Amendment. But if you just go, and sing your songs, and go home, nothing changes. And that's what he was encouraging.

So, what's the difference between "Good trouble" and what, "Bad trouble?" All right, I'll tell you what the difference is. It's a test of where the trouble leads. Yes, that's right, ends and means.

What's gained by the trouble? Freedom Rides, marches, arrests, blood. They led to desegregation.

The ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, in one of his later interviews, Lewis called them "Good trouble."

[21:55:00]

Not the riots, not touching to hurt, not touching to destroy. That is criminal. That's not what Lewis did, and that's not what he was espousing, and cheapening what we're seeing now, by those abhorrent acts, is really "Bad trouble" at work.

You are ignoring the reality and you are picking on the aberrations for bad reason. And where do we see that? The other side, in Portland. This isn't about calling out men and women being sent in. It's about the man sending them in.

President Trump is making "Bad trouble." He says the Federal forces are protecting Federal property from violent anarchists. Local officials say they didn't ask. Local officials say they are making it worse.

So, what's gained? Oh, for Trump, we know what it is, this perverse pandering to White Americans, about law and order. And for the rest of us, nothing is gained.

When you abuse your power, you hurt your power. You hurt all of us. "Bad trouble!"

Same goes for the President's will-he or won't-he relationship with masks, "Bad trouble." Today, he wore one. Yesterday, he chucked MAGA hats into a crowd of supporters in Jersey. Why didn't he toss masks? Why didn't he even wear one?

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(VIDEO - PRESIDENT TRUMP CHUCKING MAGA HATS INTO A CROWD OF SUPPORTERS IN JERSEY)

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CUOMO: Why not? That's the question. That would have been "Good trouble." A week ago, he called wearing a mask patriotic. Now, who knows? "Bad trouble."

John Lewis put his life on the line for the "Good fight." He made "Good trouble." There's a difference between that and what we see with this President. And that difference means everything to our future.

We'll be right back.

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