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CUOMO PRIME TIME

President Trump Speaks At Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Swearing-In Ceremony; Amy Coney Barrett Sworn In As Supreme Court Justice; Coronavirus Outbreak Worsens As Election Nears. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 26, 2020 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:00]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: And across the country, our "Election Night In America" special coverage will start at 4 P.M. Eastern, next Tuesday.

The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, thank you, my friend.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Brothers and sisters, we're living history once again. And it's going to happen on our watch tonight. The Supreme Court is about to be re- shaped for years to come, decades to come, maybe, a 6-3 conservative majority.

Trump's nominee, Amy Coney Barrett just confirmed by the Senate, one Republican didn't vote, the Maine Senator Susan Collins. However, 52- 48, obviously the nomination a shoo-in.

And now, the Justice will be sworn in at the White House, one month to the day of her nomination gathering that ultimately turned the White House into a cluster, and despite the fact that, once again, there is an outbreak of cases within the White House ranks that they intentionally tried to keep you from knowing about.

So, are they doubling down on dumb by having yet another event like this? Well, they seem to be aware of that mistake. And tonight, masks are required. So, maybe there is a learning curve.

And in that move, you must ask yourself, if they know enough, and obviously they do, they generate the messaging about masks, and the science behind them, and social distancing, if they know enough politically, to make this time different than the last time.

Why hasn't the President's messaging changed at any of his rallies? Why is he OK with so many people still not having masks, still not, social distancing? Think about that.

Tonight, when this happens, at least five members of the Vice President's team will have tested positive. Right now, they're positive. And they are a reflection of what's happening in this country.

COVID has never been worse than it is tonight. The daily case counts are at their highest levels ever.

And this White House has chosen, even if they are doing it differently, and better, than the last time, and it's fair to say they are, but to have an event at all in the middle of a pandemic, to crowd together once again, because you can see the seating, they're smart not to light it, by the way, but we'll show it to you. What message does it send?

The President's Chief of Staff told us "Coronavirus will not be controlled." Think about that. They are admitting to you that they don't think they can do anything about Coronavirus. Now, that tells you two things at once.

First, it explains why they're not doing anything, why there is no wall mentality, why they're not throwing everything at it, putting their arms around it. Trump doesn't think he can win against COVID. So he doesn't want to have the fight. He wants to pretend the fight doesn't exist.

Secondly, it shows you what their preference is. They'd rather get the Judge done. McConnell would rather get the Judge done, and we understand why, politically, in terms of the historicity, in terms of the impact that will last decades. So, McConnell says "No relief bill. It's not going to happen, White House. I'm going to get this done."

Think about the preference. And I'm not saying one matters and one doesn't. But in terms of the emergency, they could have gotten this Judge passed. They think they're going to do fine, right? They think they're going to keep the Senate.

But what about your relief? What about all the pain? What about the people in food lines? What about the closed businesses? Think about it. Instead, this was the priority.

And tonight, Justice Clarence Thomas will deliver the constitutional oath of office to soon-to-be Justice Barrett eight days before an election that the Supreme Court could decide if contested.

They're still getting ready. Let's get a little scene-setter from Kaitlan Collins, live at the White House.

I am correct that masks are required this time? What does it look like, because they didn't light the seats? Are people closely seated? Are they observing the mask rule? What's the deal, Kaitlan?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Most people are wearing masks, Chris.

It's actually something that we have not seen on the South Lawn in this way before. You think of the Republican Convention when there were hundreds of people, over a thousand people out here, in chairs that were tightly packed together.

And these chairs are actually distanced. You are seeing most people wearing masks though we've seen a few people not wearing them.

And who is here? Several Republican senators, members of this Administration, allies of this Administration, cabinet officials as well who are here on the front row that we just saw come in, people like Elaine Chao.

And so, you are seeing different measures taken that were taken exactly one month ago, today, at that event in the Rose Garden, when the President was announcing that he was picking Amy Coney Barrett, where chairs were not distanced, of course.

[21:05:00]

That was about a 150 people at that event and nobody, there were very few people were wearing a mask there, where you saw Chris Christie, Mike Lee, people like that. Mike Lee is here tonight, a Senator of course, after they just cast their vote for Amy Coney Barrett for this swearing-in.

So, it does look different. But we should know there are still hundreds of people out here on the South Lawn, at least over 200 chairs that we counted, earlier, in addition to a band being seated on the other side of the South Lawn from where from I'm standing right now.

So, one question we do still have about attendance is whether or not the Vice President Mike Pence is going to be here. I saw his National Security Adviser.

CUOMO: Oh, here they come.

COLLINS: But we have not seen the Vice President.

And, of course, now here comes everyone else for this swearing-in.

(AUDIENCE CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CUOMO: Well look, the Vice President should be quarantining. He's been in close contact with people who have tested positive. There was the question that he would still be campaigning. The optics are terrible. The science is terrible. It's bad practice. So, we'll see.

We just saw the first lady come out. Obviously, the applause are for her. And the guess is that this will be taking place now shortly thereafter. We didn't get any kind of indication, Kaitlan - oh, let's listen.

(BAND PLAYS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States--

CUOMO: All right. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --accompanied by--

CUOMO: So, as we go through the ceremony--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

(AUDIENCE CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CUOMO: --we will take you through it. I just want you to listen to what's going on. And now we have another introduction. Let's see who comes through the door here.

(AUDIENCE CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CUOMO: OK. Here is Judge Barrett, and the President of the United States, and Justice Clarence Thomas, who will do the swearing-in.

(AUDIENCE CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CUOMO: Now, a very unusual occasion that we're having, here, right now. It's not unusual for the Justice to be sworn in at the White House.

But with this kind of pageantry, is this just about Trump's flair for the dramatic in reality TV presence, or is this about an overt politicization, the politicizing, making political, of this Judge position? Because that's the way the President has played it, even though she was duly nominated, and voted on, and will now be sworn in.

Let's listen to what's happening.

Still applause, OK. So, he's going to make some comments. Let's listen to a couple of - couple of seconds of it.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: --this is a momentous day for America, for the United States Constitution--

CUOMO: Yes, of course--

TRUMP: --and for the fair and impartial rule of law.

The Constitution is the ultimate defense of American liberty, the faithful application of the law is the cornerstone of our republic. That is why, as President, I have no more solemn obligation and no greater honor than to appoint Supreme Court justices.

On this October evening, and it is so beautiful, the first lady and I welcome you to the White House to bear witness to history. In a few moments, we will proudly swear in the newest member of the United States Supreme Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

(AUDIENCE CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: She is one of our nation's most brilliant legal scholars, and she will make an outstanding justice on the highest court in our land. Justice Barrett's oath will be administered by the Court's longest-

serving member, currently on the bench, a man whose allegiance to the law has earned him the respect and gratitude of all Americans, Justice Clarence Thomas.

(AUDIENCE CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Our country owes a great debt of thanks to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. We appreciate it very much, Mitch. Thank you.

(AUDIENCE APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And we are grateful as well to the Senate Judiciary Chairman, Lindsey Graham. Thank you, Lindsey.

(AUDIENCE APPLAUSE)

CUOMO: All right. When the swearing-in happens, we'll come back to it. Let's bring in our panel.

We have Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Why? Because, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and the numbers are worse than ever, and this is what we are watching. Absolutely no attention to the crisis!

Dana Bash, David Axelrod, why, because we have to talk about the politics at play here, and why this was a power move. We also have NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent, Nina Totenberg.

Nobody understands the history of the Supreme Court better, more thoroughly, certainly in the context of what Barrett will represent on this bench, going forward. 6-3 majority conservative could last half a generation, if nothing is done, by Democrats, to change that.

[21:10:00]

Now, Dana, on the reporting side, why this was the right play, and to do it this way?

We know the words that the President was just reading are not his own, all right? He's tied to the teleprompter because the sentiment is as artificial as the color of his pallor. He is not a constitutionalist. He is not somebody who embraces it, but he does embrace a power move, and that's what this was.

What are you being told?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's what you said earlier. He's embracing power. He's embracing pageantry. And he's doing it because he can.

And Coronavirus be damned. That's the way that this President has operated, for the most part, over the past 10 months. It hurt him, and his inner circle, tremendously, to a point that they - many of them got this deadly virus.

But he - that's not how he operates. You know this, Chris. You've known him for longer than most of us have. He wants to take this moment, and seize it, because he understands that this is something that plays well for the people that he has visited, just today, in Pennsylvania, and other swing states.

The issue, though, is, I will tell you, Chris, before coming on with you, I checked in with a Republican pollster, who's in the field, in battleground states, all over the country, who said, just politically speaking, it's not sure how much this is going to help, because the base is already really excited about him. It's not a Kavanaugh situation. It's quite different.

CUOMO: All right, well Axe is nodding his head, in agreement, but this is a big deliverable. If you got the relief check done, sure, that has more acute application to people's lives. But those checks come and go. This Judge is for decades.

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well you're raising two different points.

One is the historical meaning of it. And this is going to be a big part of Trump's legacy, three Supreme Court justices who have turned the court far to the right. Nina knows far better than I, about that.

But, as a matter of pure politics, I agree with what Dana said. I don't think it's going to have much impact on the election. And frankly, Chris, passing a stimulus might have because 72 percent of Americans support that, a majority of Republicans. And it is on the story that everyone is talking about now.

I think the President was - welcomed the opportunity to change the subject tonight because the story is not going well for him. But on the major story, which is this raging pandemic, this doesn't have any relevance right now.

CUOMO: Nina Totenberg, thank you very much for being with us.

The legacy for the President, true. The legacy for the court, and for the country, may have much longer roots. What could a Judge Barrett mean to jurisprudence going forward?

NINA TOTENBERG, LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, NPR: Well, I think you're about to look at a court that is more conservative than any court had been in 80 years or 90 years, dating back to the 1930s.

And what that means is that there is going to be a 6-3 majority. That means that even if one of the conservatives, flakes off, which they do from time to time, they don't go in lockstep on every issue, but if one of them flakes off, there is still a five-justice majority.

It also means that Chief Justice Roberts who is, I think, it's fair to say, painfully aware of the danger to the courts, if the Supreme Court is viewed as just a partisan institution, if it means that he no longer has the kind of control he had, in the last term, when he was the fifth vote and could occasionally modify things somewhat.

So, on questions from - that range from the right to privacy, and that includes not just abortion but contraception, questions about a death, what can - what kind of right to privacy do you have in terms of, for example, deciding that you're not going to have any extraordinary measures to keep you alive? It means in questions of IV fertilization.

All of those issues, I think, will be on the table in front of the Supreme Court eventually, certainly Roe versus Wade, but many others that most people don't think of as somehow connected to Roe versus Wade.

In addition, there are questions of presidential power. Can - can President Trump keep his finances secret from the Congress, from a - from a grand jury investigation? So far, the answer has been no, but there are more of those cases the President keeps appealing back to the Supreme Court on these very issues.

And then there are countless other issues that are part of Americans' everyday lives that they don't think of, as liberal or conservative, but may end up very much controlled by a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

CUOMO: And now we deal with what we're not discussing.

[21:15:00]

Sanjay, as you know, you and I work a lot of the same sources.

Everybody is baffled that the case explosion has happened this quickly, this early, in the season, despite what a lot of states have been doing, best efforts, to keep it down, and absolutely no response from this White House or the broader Administration other than the Chief of Staff saying "We can't control it."

Your reaction?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well when they say that "We can't control it," that, you know, the sort of waiving the white flag, I mean, I think it's worse than that, Chris, because it's not even so much surrendering to the virus, saying "We can't control it."

I think all along, as we've talked about, there has been, even though it's not explicit, there has been this sort of this idea that the herd immunity is sort of the strategy to adopt here, which is not even saying "I surrender."

It's like saying "Here's the door. I'm opening it, you know, virus come on in, and run amuck through the country," which is a terrible strategy. I mean I think most of your viewers know that by now. But that would - could lead to the death of 1.2 million to 1.5 million people. Hospitals would become overrun.

CUOMO: All right, Sanjay.

GUPTA: And we're not even sure how long the immunity lasts.

CUOMO: Let me go - let's go to the swearing-in, and I'll come back to you.

Here we are. History in the making.

AMY CONEY BARRETT, SWEARING-IN AS SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: I, Amy Coney Barrett, solemnly swear--

CLARENCE THOMAS, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

BARRETT: That I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

THOMAS: Against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

BARRETT: Against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

THOMAS: That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.

BARRETT: That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.

THOMAS: That I take this obligation freely.

BARRETT: That I take this obligation freely.

THOMAS: Without any mental reservation.

BARRETT: Without any mental reservation.

THOMAS: Or purpose of evasion.

BARRETT: Or purpose of evasion.

THOMAS: And that I will well and faithfully discharge.

BARRETT: And that I will well and faithfully discharge.

THOMAS: The duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

BARRETT: The duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

THOMAS: So help me God.

BARRETT: So help me God.

(AUDIENCE CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CUOMO: There it is. We have a new Supreme Court Justice.

The court power structure now goes 6-3 in favor of conservatives, meaning that Chief Justice Roberts, even if he wanted to have an influence, better make a friend because even if he doesn't vote with conservatives, they still have a 5-4 majority.

Huge historic implications, Nina Totenberg was talking about that and what this could mean. BARRETT: Thank you. Thank you so very much.

CUOMO: The Justice is now making remarks.

BARRETT: Thank you all for being here tonight.

And thank you, President Trump, for selecting me to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. It's a privilege to be asked to serve my country and this office, and I stand here tonight, truly honored and humbled.

Thanks also to the Senate for giving its consent to my appointment. I am grateful for the confidence you have expressed in me, and I pledge to you, and to the American people that I will discharge my duties to the very best of my ability.

This was a rigorous confirmation process. And I thank all of you, especially Leader McConnell and Chairman Graham for helping me to navigate it.

My heartfelt thanks go to the members of the White House staff, and Department of Justice, who worked tirelessly to support me through this process. Your stamina is remarkable, and I have been the beneficiary of it.

Jessie and I are also so grateful to the many people have supported - who have supported our family over these last several weeks. Through ways, both tangible and intangible, you have made this day possible. Jesse and I have been truly awestruck by your generosity.

I have spent a good amount of time over the last month at the Senate, both in meetings with individual senators, and in days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The confirmation process has made ever clearer to me one of the fundamental differences between the federal judiciary and the United States Senate. And perhaps the most acute is the role of policy preferences.

[21:20:00]

It is the job of a Senator to pursue her policy preferences. In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside. By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give into them.

Federal judges don't stand for election, thus they have no basis for claiming that their preferences reflect those of the people. This separation of duty from political preference is what makes the judiciary distinct among the three branches of government.

A judge declares independence, not only from Congress and the President, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her. The Judicial Oath captures the essence of the judicial duty. The rule of law must always control. My fellow Americans, even though we judges don't face elections, we still work for you. It is your Constitution that establishes the rule of law and the judicial independence that is so central to it.

The oath that I have solemnly taken tonight means, at its core, that I will do my job without any fear or favor, and that I will do so, independently of both the political branches and of my own preferences.

I love the Constitution and the Democratic Republic that it establishes, and I will devote myself to preserving it. Thank you.

(AUDIENCE APPLAUSE)

CUOMO: OK. Let's bring back the panel.

Nina Totenberg, those comments are the correct and perfunctory ones to be made by an arbiter of the Constitution.

What do we know about this Judge that gives confidence or lack thereof in her ability to keep policy preferences, which all too often seem to conform with, the Party, that puts a judge on the bench from being any different than what we've seen in the past?

TOTENBERG: Well, I guess, there is no Supreme Court Justice, no Judge, who has a completely unified ideology that always results in uncontradictory answers.

So, you just heard the newest Justice talk about how important it is for Congress to make policy choices. Well, Congress made policy choices in the ACA, Obamacare. And she has indicated, in her writings, that she disapproves of the Supreme Court's analysis of those policy choices, and would reach a different conclusion, and would strike down at least some aspects of the law.

So, she's about to, in all likelihood, unless she recuses herself, which I highly doubt, be the perhaps deciding vote in the case - the latest case, that - Obamacare - it is the third challenge to Obamacare.

CUOMO: Right.

TOTENBERG: And even the lawyer, who represented the challenges to Obamacare, thinks it's a bit of a stretch.

CUOMO: Right. Nina, let me ask you something quickly before I get to Sanjay, because I'm running out of time here. Do you think Justice Barrett, now, Justice Barrett, made a mistake, allowing herself, to become part of a political spectacle like this?

TOTENBERG: Listen, let's get real here. You don't get an offer to be a Supreme Court Justice more than once, and she couldn't very well control the timetable.

She conceivably, let's say, just for the sake of argument that there is - that there is a big dispute about the election returns, and the case ends up in the Supreme Court, I suppose she could recuse herself. But then the Court might be evenly divided, and that's not good either so.

CUOMO: No, I mean - I mean this. She didn't have to be sworn in this way. This is not what we're used to seeing, let alone in the middle of a pandemic.

TOTENBERG: And you don't see the Chief Justice there either. Unless he's in--

CUOMO: Right. What does that mean?

TOTENBERG: --unless - I think that means that, A, he doesn't want to be at a super-spreader event or an event that is quite overtly political.

And so, my assumption is that he will administer the judicial oath, at the court, either in public, or in private, in the coming day or days, as has happened in recent past with other nominees to the court.

But having said that, I don't think that when the President has just selected you, his White House has fought tooth and nail, along with Mitch McConnell, to get you confirmed that realistically, you get to say, "No, I'm not going to show up for this."

CUOMO: Right. No, I'm just it's just--

TOTENBERG: I mean maybe but I don't.

[21:25:00]

CUOMO: We've just never seen a Justice be more of a political player in the pageantry of their confirmation, not confirmation, but the swearing-in, as we did tonight. Think of one for a second.

But I want to go to Sanjay. They've got their Justice. It's done. What does this Administration need to do, tomorrow morning, to deal with what's happening in this country, which again, Sanjay, I know you are hearing it. I'm hearing it.

Coast to coast, north to south, east to west, people are worried that they don't have what they need. They don't have community buy-in. They don't have capacity, and they don't have funding, to do what they need to do, to stave off the case load and hospitalizations even before the flu hits.

GUPTA: Right. I think - I think it's really important, Chris.

And the thing is that, at some point, I don't know that the sort of prophylactic or preventative decisions are really going to be in our hands anymore. And what I mean by that is that you are starting to see situations where hospitals are becoming increasingly overrun.

You see this in El Paso. They're looking at a Convention Center in Wisconsin. They got these field hospitals in Utah. They - the Governor is tweeting out, last week, "It's not sustainable what's happening here right now." I mean, they've got to break this cycle of transmission, Chris.

And the virus is spreading too rapidly, and we're going into exponential growth, which means we're going to look at a line, in a few days, maybe a week, which is going to look like it's going straight up, kind of like we're seeing in the European Union right now, and it's going to become overwhelming.

What do we need to do? To your question, I mean, Chris, it's the same strategies that we have been talking about for some time. It's the universal wearing of masks. I mean when we look at Arizona--

CUOMO: But you know what they'll say, Sanjay.

GUPTA: --I just make this point really quickly.

CUOMO: They'll - they'll give the answer, and then make your point. They'll say "Well Sanjay just said it. It's going straight-up in Europe also. It's not us. We're not doing anything wrong. This is what the virus does. Look at Europe."

GUPTA: And there's plenty of places around the world where that's not the case, so it depends. Are you going to compare yourself to the worst places or are you going to say, "Hey, aspire to be the best." I find it hard to believe that the best we could do, in this country, was be the worst in the world. I really do.

I mean, that aside, we saw what does work. In Arizona, after they lifted the stay-at-home orders, they got into trouble. They had 150 percent increase in cases.

And they basically said "We're going to do mask mandates. We're going to limit large outdoor gatherings," kind of like the one you're just seeing here at the White House, "And we're going to, certain businesses like bars, in particular, we're not going to open."

And what happened within three weeks? A 75 percent decrease in new cases. It's a hyper-local example of a strategy that works. And I bring up a U.S. example because everyone always says, "Well, that's a different country. You can't do that here." It was three basic things, and it made a huge difference.

BASH: And a Republican Governor.

GUPTA: So, we need to do that.

CUOMO: And a Republican Governor.

GUPTA: And a Republican Governor.

CUOMO: Yes, Dana is right.

Now, Dana, thank you for that. The idea that you are a week out, and your intention, as the incumbent, is to not discuss that you were at the worst point, in the most pressing crisis, in a generation, how does that work? BASH: It doesn't. It doesn't work, unless your strategy is what the President's strategy is, which is just to turn out every single possible human being, who is eligible to vote, who likes hearing that we turned the corner, even though it's not true, who likes hearing the other guy is going to shut down the government - the country again, which is not true.

And the idea that he's going to change minds right now, nobody believes that in his own Party. So, he's doubling - tripling down on the way that he governed for four years, which is really going straight out to people, who like him, and trying to make sure every one of them vote, and it's very much an open question about whether or not that's enough.

CUOMO: Hey, Axe, you know?

AXELROD: Yes.

CUOMO: If you guys had come out in the Obama administration, David, and said, "Yes, we didn't want you to know that this guy got sick. And, look, we're not going to be able to control this thing that's devouring the country, that's how it is," you would have been run out of town on a rail by the media, let alone by anybody else.

AXELROD: We don't have time to - we don't have time to discuss all the things that if we had done, that they have done--

CUOMO: But I'm saying you're a week away from an election.

AXELROD: But - but--

CUOMO: And this is their play?

AXELROD: Listen.

CUOMO: Ignore a pandemic?

AXELROD: Let me just say - let me just say that the math does not work, and that's their problem. There aren't enough people who support that. Sure, they turn out to the rallies, and there are his supporters who support that.

But most Americans, 72 percent of Americans support requiring masks. He is on the wrong side of history here. And I guarantee you that every rational Republican who you talk to, who I talk to, who Dana talks to, will say "This is not how we wanted to finish this race."

BASH: Yes.

AXELROD: "This is not what we want to be talking about."

But this is what he chooses to talk about. He has spun things for his whole life. And what he's finding is what we've said so many times, "You cannot spin a pandemic." And I think he's going to learn that--

TOTENBERG: Even to the stock market. AXELROD: --come next day.

CUOMO: Say again, Nina?

[21:30:00]

AXELROD: Yes.

TOTENBERG: You can't even spin it to the stock market today, either.

AXELROD: Yes. Yes, exactly. The markets are down, which of course is his barometer of how things are going in the country.

So, I think he's - I think the dye is cast. This is that way he's going to play his hand, and I think he's already laying the groundwork for alibiing for an excuse, you know, "The vote is fixed. The vote is rigged."

CUOMO: Right.

AXELROD: And so on.

CUOMO: Well, look, the stock market is highly reactionary to fear. And, Sanjay, there is a lot of fear to go around right now. Interestingly, I actually think the President is benefitting from collective fatigue here.

The numbers of increase, across the country, are really frightening. But people have been afraid for a long time, Sanjay. What kinds of things do you think you're going to hear from around the country in just the next week, in terms of case growth, pretty much everywhere?

GUPTA: Well, I'm pretty focused on hospitals, Chris. I think that, first of all, I think it's the truest--

CUOMO: Hospitalization rate.

GUPTA: --hospitalization rates, because I think it's a true measure of just how significant this is.

I mean we are seeing a dip. The numbers are going up. But, as you say, people are sort of inured to that a bit. They - what does - what does 86,000 people becoming infected versus 60,000? These are all crazy numbers.

I mean the same number, of people were infected in the White House, arguably the most secure house, in the country, as were infected in the entire country of New Zealand, over the last 24 hours, so just to give you an idea of how significant that is, the numbers.

But you're right. I don't know that people pay attention to it. They will pay attention to hospitals, because when you get into a situation, which I hope we don't get into, we saw some of this in New York, early on, where there may just not be enough hospital beds.

I mean you're calling because your loved one is having a hard time, breathing, and you're saying, "We need to go to a hospital," and they're like "There is not one in the region. We're going to have to like take you outside the region to get you a hospital bed," that's going to really, I think, that's going to be very alarming, as it should be, to people.

We could still avoid that situation. But, as we just mentioned, it's already happening in some cities, across the country. So, the hospital numbers, I think, are going to force the issue a bit.

I mean you're going to have hospital directors, who are calling their local leaders, saying, "Hey, we're in trouble here." We're talking about not enough beds, not enough personnel, not enough of the basic resources.

We don't know that we can take basic care of the citizens, if they start to get sick from this disease. Again, most people won't get sick. But if the numbers are as large as they are, Chris, then the absolute number of people who get sick is going to obviously increase as well.

CUOMO: Sanjay, thank you very much, Dana Bash, David Axelrod, and Nina Totenberg. We are living in history. We have never seen anything play out the way this election is.

Now, the President had said to you earlier, handling the pandemic, "One, I do very little differently than I have done," frightening, "Two, I deserve an A-plus for the handling of it," frightening, especially where we are today.

We just got our grades. We're failing all across this country. Why not take on a crisis head-on when you say you are a "Wartime President," and the war is against COVID?

We have a key player from the Trump Reelection team, the messaging man, Communications Director, Tim Murtaugh, next. Let's get after it.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:35:00]

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: I cannot show you a piece of data, or what we look at, as a metric for analysis, to prove that the pandemic is not getting worse. This goes beyond just raw case counts. You want to look at positivity rate? No good. What's positivity? What

it sounds like, how many cases as a percentage come back positive. It's climbing, which undermines the idea of, "Well, we only have a lot of cases because we test a lot."

That would be true if the rate of positivity stayed the same, no matter how much you tested, but it doesn't. It increases, which means the testing isn't the problem. The virus is the problem.

Hospitalizations, very lagging indicator, why? First you get sick. You get tested. Then if it gets bad, god forbid, you go into the hospital. Record-level hospitalization, 15 states. And despite what we've heard from the President about a cure, we are nowhere near one, and we see that reflected horribly in the mortality rate.

Our mortality rate in the United States is worse than Peru, Spain and Ecuador. Only 10 countries on the planet are worse. This is the truth, a week out from the election. Yet, you have a White House Chief of Staff saying "COVID? Can't control it."

Have we ever heard an Administration quit on a problem, let alone in the heat of crisis, literally trying to hide a second outbreak, this time, centered around, the Vice President? We wish him and his family well.

An outbreak so bad, that the VP wasn't at his actual job today, presiding over the Senate for the vote to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice, like he did for both Kavanaugh and Gorsuch? But he was essential enough to be on the campaign hustings.

Do you see the problem here? Is it obvious enough, what's being valued here, in the middle of a pandemic? And sure, they took care of all their VIPs, at the White House tonight. They had masks on. They knew the optics were horrible otherwise. Not at these rallies. Not at these rallies.

Why do, the rank and file, who are literally putting their health on the line not deserve the same messaging that you gave to the fat cats at the White House tonight?

[21:40:00]

So, let's see if we can have a conversation, if now is the time, now that you got the Judge, now that the numbers are at their worst, will we hear something from the Trump Campaign about a plan to help us get through a generational crisis.

Campaign Communications Director, Tim Murtaugh, welcome to PRIME TIME.

Saw the Judge be, sworn in, just moments ago, by Justice Clarence Thomas, not by the Chief Justice. Why? Well obviously, there was something about the event, whether it was a health concern or otherwise. He didn't go there. So, we'll wait for the installment (ph) oath to be given when she's at the court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

So now that that's done, will the Campaign take on the worst situation with Coronavirus that we've had to date?

TIM MURTAUGH, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN: Well, I don't know what you have been paying attention to, Chris, but the President has been taking this problem head-on, since the very first week of January. That's when the CDC began issuing travel warnings to China, and then also screenings at major American airports.

And it was by the end of January, when the President restricted travel from China, which I would point out again, that is something that we know that Joe Biden would not have done, because he called it xenophobic, and fear-mongering.

So, if Joe Biden had been President, at that time, we know that would be - we would be in a worse situation today, in this country, as a result of that. And I think there needs to be a greater focus on some of the good news, which I don't think you guys spend a whole lot of time talking about.

When the President says "We've turned a corner," it's because just recently, in just the last few days, the FDA has approved Remdesivir, which is a therapeutic and very effective at treating this.

We are this close to having a vaccine, which will be distributed in hundreds of millions of doses, and the first ones who will receive the doses will be the most vulnerable in our community.

And if you ask Joe Biden, what would he have done differently, from what President Trump did, he doesn't have an answer. He can't point to anything. His COVID plan is pretty much word for word exactly what President Trump has been doing--

CUOMO: OK.

MURTAUGH: --over the course of the last nine months.

CUOMO: So, Tim?

MURTAUGH: And the approach is different.

CUOMO: Tim?

MURTAUGH: President Trump is optimistic. He wants to reopen the country.

CUOMO: Right.

MURTAUGH: Joe Biden is the candidate of lockdowns.

CUOMO: Right.

MURTAUGH: That's not where we should head as a country.

CUOMO: All right, I got you. I let you make six points there before I cut in.

You have to close things down when you are left with no other choice because nothing else is being done, and cases are out of control. That's called science, OK?

We don't have a choice. Nobody wants to shut down. You'd be foolish to have to shut down. Everyone is suffering. The question is what kind of suffering are you going to preference, economic suffering that you can recover from, or loss of life?

Now, going in reverse order, "Biden is no different than Trump," demonstrably false, and you know this from the last debate. He said several things.

MURTAUGH: No. That's not true at all, Chris.

CUOMO: Tim, I let you speak.

MURTAUGH: That's not true at all.

CUOMO: I let you - Tim?

MURTAUGH: What would he have - what would he have possibly done differently?

CUOMO: I let you speak. Now you do the same or this will be really short. I promise you that.

So, in the last debate, the Vice President, the former VP said, "I would be doing a lot more of coordinating funds to help the schools do what they need to do to open and businesses need to do to open, and to work with those communities." Now, we hear that echoed by Republican and Democratic Governors all over this country.

The vaccine, you are correct, we will have a vaccine. You will have doses. But not anywhere near close enough for it to be any kind of cure. Remdesivir has been approved for people who are in acute distress.

My brother, let me tell you this. I hope you never need it, not just that you never get COVID, which I hope for you and your family, but that you never need Remdesivir, because you will be in a state of near-pneumonia, and you don't want to be there. So, the idea that Remdesivir is a cure, it is at best, a treatment for people, who are in extremis. So that's that.

Biden was against the China thing. His Campaign says time and time again he was not against the move. He's about being against how the President spoke about it. Now, what was--

MURTAUGH: Oh, come on!

CUOMO: But hold on, Tim.

MURTAUGH: You don't buy that, do you?

CUOMO: And Tim and here's the question. Here's the question.

MURTAUGH: He said it was xenophobic and fear-mongering, Chris. And it took them two months to even address it. Your Network is the one who broke the story--

CUOMO: OK.

MURTAUGH: --about how he had reversed himself on that.

CUOMO: Listen, I will give you--

MURTAUGH: Of course he was against it.

CUOMO: --I will give you that Biden was against it. Now he says they weren't. But I'll give you the point, and here's why.

If you want to hold down Biden for being against that, where the hell has the President been, for months, of doing nothing additional, to help an emerging crisis such that his own Chief of Staff today said something--

MURTAUGH: Chris?

CUOMO: --I've never heard Tim, and never have you.

MURTAUGH: That's - that's patently false.

CUOMO: "We can't control the virus."

MURTAUGH: OK.

CUOMO: Go.

MURTAUGH: That - that was a long soliloquy here.

CUOMO: I just matched your ignorance, brother.

MURTAUGH: But you're ignoring everything - your own - listen?

CUOMO: Go ahead. Don't waste your time.

MURTAUGH: Chris? Your own - your own brother, the Governor of New York, said that every time he turned to the Administration, the federal government was there with everything that he--

CUOMO: He did not say that.

MURTAUGH: --everything that he asked for.

CUOMO: And that is not what happened.

MURTAUGH: Yes, he absolutely - yes, he absolutely did.

CUOMO: No. He said "I went to the federal government."

MURTAUGH: Every time, yes.

CUOMO: "They helped me with things. They did not help with everything. They're still not helping."

MURTAUGH: And he predicted - your brother - your brother - hold on.

[21:45:00]

CUOMO: Go ahead. My brother, what? Keep talking about it.

MURTAUGH: Listen, your brother predicted - your brother - your brother predicted a ventilator shortage. He said he needed 40,000 ventilators or people would die. That shortage never materialized.

CUOMO: True.

MURTAUGH: Because the President engaged the private sector and the government to create the equipment, the PPE, the gowns, the gloves and the ventilators that we need. And so, listen, Chris, I find it curious, speaking of your brother, you're going to ask me these--

CUOMO: Please!

MURTAUGH: --self-righteous questions and talk about people taking it seriously.

Does this look like a couple of guys who were taking it seriously? You had your brother on for the Cuomo Brothers Comedy Hour, though joking about the size of the Q-tip that you would need for his nose to get a test.

CUOMO: Yes, I did. It was funny as hell.

MURTAUGH: Does this sound like somebody, who was taking it very seriously?

CUOMO: Tim, let me tell you something--

MURTAUGH: Now, the President has done this every step of the way.

CUOMO: Tim? Tim? I got you.

MURTAUGH: Every step of the way. And he's done--

CUOMO: Tim?

MURTAUGH: --everything that states had asked from him.

CUOMO: All right, so let's deal with that. That's not true. And you know it. But you decided to say what you want to say.

MURTAUGH: It absolutely is true.

CUOMO: Tim, there is--

MURTAUGH: He sent a hospital ship to New York--

CUOMO: Tim? Tim?

MURTAUGH: --that they really didn't adequately even use.

CUOMO: They didn't need it. And thank god, they didn't need it.

MURTAUGH: The President provided--

CUOMO: Tim, listen.

MURTAUGH: There you go. And the federal government--

CUOMO: You are not going to flood the zone on this show. Tim?

MURTAUGH: --provided it even though it was extra assistance, Chris.

CUOMO: I'm telling you, I will cut you off. You are not going to flood the zone on this show. Now, you took your swing. It missed. So now let's discuss. That's the best you got, is that my brother didn't take COVID seriously? Are you kidding yourself, that I made fun with him--

MURTAUGH: Well I mean have you asked your brother about sending COVID- positive patients--

CUOMO: --in a time of such acute distress.

MURTAUGH: --to nursing homes, Chris?

CUOMO: First of all, he never - he never sent any.

MURTAUGH: Have you asked your brother about that?

CUOMO: And you know that. You know that New York State is 46th out of 50th.

MURTAUGH: No, well someone did.

CUOMO: But here's what you know most of all.

MURTAUGH: I thought he just wrote a book about leadership though.

CUOMO: You can't even talk - Tim? I know he did.

MURTAUGH: I thought that he was taking responsibility.

CUOMO: You should read it brother. And let me tell you why. You won't even talk about the President. You want to talk about my brother because you are coming from a place of weakness. You are in the middle of a pandemic.

MURTAUGH: No. I want to talk about - I want to talk about--

CUOMO: And your President--

MURTAUGH: --people turning, COVID and the Coronavirus crisis into a political weapon, which is what CNN does, all day long.

CUOMO: Your President - my President--

MURTAUGH: It's what Joe Biden and the Democrats do.

CUOMO: --told people--

MURTAUGH: Yet they absolutely--

CUOMO: --for months. Tim, you will never drown me out, brother.

MURTAUGH: Chris?

CUOMO: It's my show, and I'm loud as hell, especially when I'm righteous. And I have every ability to be, right now. You know why?

MURTAUGH: I can feel your righteousness.

CUOMO: Because the country--

MURTAUGH: Yes.

CUOMO: --well because here's why. Because spin doesn't cut it on this show, pal. And here's why. Look at the numbers. This President has said time and time again "Masks don't matter," time and time again, "We're rounding the corner. It's going away."

MURTAUGH: OK. So, let me ask you a question.

CUOMO: "Any spike that happens, leaves."

MURTAUGH: Can I ask you a question?

CUOMO: We've never been in worse shape.

MURTAUGH: What--

CUOMO: He won't do the testing. He says go back to school.

MURTAUGH: So, what's the - listen, Chris?

CUOMO: They won't help with schools.

MURTAUGH: You are advocating - what you are doing is advocating a complete and total shutdown. The only actual way to prevent any spread of the Coronavirus is to have no human interaction whatsoever.

CUOMO: Not true.

MURTAUGH: So are you seriously--

CUOMO: Not true.

MURTAUGH: --are you seriously advocating--

CUOMO: Not true.

MURTAUGH: --having people being locked in their homes for what, 6 months?

CUOMO: Not true.

MURTAUGH: 12 months? 18 months?

CUOMO: Not true.

MURTAUGH: In China, they welded people's doors shut, Chris.

CUOMO: Not us.

MURTAUGH: Is that what you're advocating?

CUOMO: Doesn't need to happen.

MURTAUGH: Listen, President Trump - President Trump wants people to be safe, take precautions, absolutely.

CUOMO: Please! Look at his rallies.

MURTAUGH: But we cannot allow ourselves to be locked back into the basement again.

CUOMO: As handsome as Tim is, while he talks--

MURTAUGH: Joe Biden, listen--

CUOMO: --run the video of the rallies today.

MURTAUGH: The health problems, every medical, every health expert will tell you.

CUOMO: Do what I said. Run the video of the rallies today.

MURTAUGH: Another of severe economic downturn would cause health problems on its own above and beyond unassociated with what the Coronavirus causes.

CUOMO: That - that is nonsense.

MURTAUGH: It will cause health anxiety problems in children.

CUOMO: That is nonsense. What calls--

MURTAUGH: It's absolutely true. Chris? Where I live in--

CUOMO: --what call - hey, Tim? Tim? Listen.

MURTAUGH: --Fairfax County, Virginia--

CUOMO: How many - how many weak points do you want to make before I get in? Now, in terms of anxiety and ancillary health effects that we're seeing from people--

MURTAUGH: You're not interested in having an actual conversation.

CUOMO: Tim? You're not letting me talk.

MURTAUGH: Because you're not. You're not.

CUOMO: I let you talk. You don't let me speak. Come on now. You could do better than this. I've seen you before.

MURTAUGH: Yes, I think it's about 80-20 here.

CUOMO: Listen - no way.

MURTAUGH: This is not - this is not - no.

CUOMO: I'll send you the word count. I'll - I'll send you the word count.

MURTAUGH: This is not an interview, Chris. This is lecture.

CUOMO: I'll send you the word count. I'm not trying to lecture. I'm trying to rebut what you put out there. You're the one who lectured me with a picture of my brother and I, which was very funny, and at a time that the country was hurting.

MURTAUGH: I don't think it was that funny.

CUOMO: And the country needed comfort.

Oh, I don't know that you're a good judge of humor because you think what the President is saying at these rallies is funny. I've seen you laugh about it. And he's telling people to mock the fact that they're putting their own health at risk time and again.

This was today, brother, in the middle of a pandemic.

MURTAUGH: Look, listen, all right, hold on a second, Chris?

CUOMO: In the middle of a pandemic, they have no masks on.

MURTAUGH: Let me - can we object some of these things that you're rallying off here?

CUOMO: He never said anything different.

MURTAUGH: You're - so, you're all about--

CUOMO: He's putting these people in these positions.

MURTAUGH: Listen, are you all about--

CUOMO: And he has no plan to do anything better.

MURTAUGH: You're all about rule-following and guideline-following, Chris?

CUOMO: No, I'm about a president--

MURTAUGH: Is this what you're advocating?

CUOMO: --sending the right message.

MURTAUGH: OK.

CUOMO: I'm about a president sending the right message.

MURTAUGH: Then why - why - why--

CUOMO: And giving states what they need to fight a pandemic.

MURTAUGH: --did you get reprimanded by your own apartment building? Chris?

CUOMO: Because I did the wrong thing.

MURTAUGH: Why did you get reprimanded by your own apartment building?

CUOMO: Because I did the wrong thing.

MURTAUGH: For failing to wear a mask after having been told before?

CUOMO: Because I did the wrong thing. Why won't the President adjust his messaging?

MURTAUGH: We know - listen, we know you broke quarantine, and went to The Hamptons.

CUOMO: I never broke quarantine.

MURTAUGH: Everyone knows you broke--

CUOMO: I never broke quarantine.

MURTAUGH: You did not? You deny that that happened?

CUOMO: I never - absolutely, 100 percent.

MURTAUGH: And then you came home, and you pretended to rise up from your basement like Lazarus, even though you had already broken quarantine--

CUOMO: Listen, you want to mock my getting sick?

MURTAUGH: --while you were COVID-positive.

CUOMO: You want to mock my getting sick? You can.

MURTAUGH: I'm not mocking you getting sick.

CUOMO: Of course you are.

MURTAUGH: I'm pointing out that you broke--

CUOMO: Of course you are.

MURTAUGH: --quarantine and went out to your place at The Hamptons.

CUOMO: I never broke quarantine.

MURTAUGH: While you were COVID-positive.

CUOMO: And you know it. I never did.

MURTAUGH: And now, you're going to lecture me about--

CUOMO: I'm not lecturing you.

MURTAUGH: --who obeys what rules?

[21:50:00]

CUOMO: Look, you want me to be the story--

MURTAUGH: Wow that sounds like a lecture!

CUOMO: --you want my brother to be the story, because you can't handle Trump. You're the - the numbers were supposed to disappear.

MURTAUGH: I have just told you what the President's accomplishments on this are.

CUOMO: What? What? The travel ban?

MURTAUGH: The President has fought this from the very beginning.

CUOMO: Then why are we in such bad shape?

MURTAUGH: All of this, remember this is a novel virus, Chris.

CUOMO: Why are we in such bad shape?

MURTAUGH: This had never been seen. The testing regime had to be created from nothing. And now, we lead the world in testing.

CUOMO: You do not lead the world in testing.

MURTAUGH: With public and private partnership on this.

CUOMO: You do not lead the world in testing.

MURTAUGH: The production of the equipment, the ventilators.

CUOMO: And the President says testing--

MURTAUGH: Absolutely.

CUOMO: --is the problem.

MURTAUGH: The development of the therapeutics. We are this close to a vaccine.

CUOMO: The President says testing is the problem.

MURTAUGH: And Joe Biden is trying to scare people away from taking the vaccine, Chris. That is politically reckless.

CUOMO: No, he isn't.

MURTAUGH: He's playing politics with people's lives. He absolutely is.

CUOMO: He said "I won't trust Trump."

MURTAUGH: Every time he talks about the vaccine, he downplays it, and discourages people from taking it. That is politicizing it when he says--

CUOMO: Because the President is grossly exaggerating when it'll be ready.

MURTAUGH: There you go. That is absolutely politicizing a vaccine that will save millions of lives.

CUOMO: The President says we are around the corner from a cure.

MURTAUGH: It will be very important to our senior citizens and everyone who is affected by this. It absolutely is.

CUOMO: And that is a material deception. It's a material deception.

MURTAUGH: You cannot defend that. Both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris--

CUOMO: I don't have to defend it.

MURTAUGH: --have politicized the entire issue.

CUOMO: This is about your campaign.

MURTAUGH: Every single one of them.

CUOMO: And what the President has said to do.

MURTAUGH: Why don't you--

CUOMO: Go ahead.

MURTAUGH: Well, I missed that last part because you were shouting.

CUOMO: This is about - I'm shouting!

MURTAUGH: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, every - every step of the way--

CUOMO: This is about the President's campaign.

MURTAUGH: --every step of the way. Yes, and we reserve the right to talk about our opponent in this race from time to time, Chris. If you--

CUOMO: You should. I'm letting you. Why do you think I had you on? Your good looks?

MURTAUGH: That's what I'm attempting to do. Joe Biden, every step of this way--

CUOMO: Yes. MURTAUGH: --unburdened, by the way, unburdened, by the responsibility of leadership, has done nothing, from the very beginning, except politicize this. He did it with the virus itself.

CUOMO: And what has the President done, Tim?

MURTAUGH: He's doing it now with the vaccine. It's very--

CUOMO: What has the President done? He held a super - he held--

MURTAUGH: I have - you want me to run down the list he had? It starts with--

CUOMO: No. Because the list is - the--

MURTAUGH: --the stopping of travel from China, in January--

CUOMO: That was very months ago.

MURTAUGH: --which Joe Biden would not have done.

CUOMO: The country is in the worst shape it's been.

MURTAUGH: And then the incredible unprecedented ramping-up of the private sector and the federal government--

CUOMO: It is not unprecedented.

MURTAUGH: --to create gowns and masks and PPE.

CUOMO: He found one company in Maine to do PPE.

MURTAUGH: It absolutely is.

CUOMO: Tim, look, I gave you a chance to put your arguments out there into the ether.

MURTAUGH: Listen, that is absolutely absurd.

CUOMO: We'll let people do the fact-checking themselves.

MURTAUGH: The involvement - the using the Defense Production Act to involve--

CUOMO: Yes?

MURTAUGH: --the private sector, the--

CUOMO: When - what did he use that for?

(CROSSTALK)

MURTAUGH: --miracle themselves into existence, Chris?

CUOMO: Where did he - how did he use that to scale up testing?

MURTAUGH: The shortage--

CUOMO: How did he use it to help all these states?

MURTAUGH: The shortage - the shortage--

CUOMO: Tim? Tim?

MURTAUGH: This - you're just being absurd.

CUOMO: Look, I hear your arguments. Look, we're out of time, Tim.

MURTAUGH: If you want to be a Joe Biden surrogate, I'm sure they're still hiring over there.

CUOMO: I don't want to be a surrogate.

MURTAUGH: There are eight days left.

CUOMO: You guys can play that game. You can you take a shot at my brother.

MURTAUGH: There are eight days left. You missed your chance. You could have--

CUOMO: You can take a shot at me.

MURTAUGH: --you could have fit right in at the debate.

CUOMO: Listen, Tim? Tim? Tim?

MURTAUGH: You could have had another podium on stage in one of the debates, Chris.

CUOMO: Listen, listen, listen, I respect your efforts because that's the game. You want to go at Andrew? His legacy will stand for itself. His action will be judged at the ballot box. You want to come at me?

MURTAUGH: I suspect it will do that (ph).

CUOMO: I will own any mistake I ever make because I'm not this President, and I'm not in power. But I'll tell you what, brother, in seven days we'll see whether people think he did the right job on this pandemic, based on what you name, from many months ago. We'll see.

Tim Murtaugh, believe it or not, you'll be welcome back. You know why? Because here, we'll talk the talk.

MURTAUGH: Thanks, Chris. Yes.

CUOMO: You'll be welcome, no matter how you play it.

MURTAUGH: It was vigorous, I'll give you that.

CUOMO: Take care, Tim Murtaugh.

MURTAUGH: Thanks, you too. CUOMO: Why do I smile? Because I understand what's going on. This is an obvious game. You're a week out, and this is a point of desperation.

I'm not going to let people flood the zone on this show with things. I'll step right on them in the moment. Why? Because that's fairness. Fairness is you don't get to flood a zone with things that aren't true.

You want to make fun of my brother? Go ahead. You want to make fun of me? Go ahead. You want to ask me about what I did wrong and did right? I'll talk to you about it. Why? I have no interest in the dishonesty. But this campaign does because they have the worst numbers with this pandemic that we have seen.

And their choice of a plan, the only thing he prepared to tell you tonight, was a picture of me and my brother. And I don't care what anybody says. You know it, that Q-tip was funny, and funny, at a time that we needed it.

But we'll be right back with more analysis on where this campaign is headed, tonight.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: The campaign is in the last week. They're throwing out all the straw men, making it personal.

You just had the Head of the Campaign for Trump, the Director of Communications. He didn't offer a single thing that the President is going to do now to deal with the pandemic. Why? They got nothing. But is the pandemic going to be enough?

Let's get the state of play with the Wizard of Odds, Harry Enten, right now.

What can we tell about where we are a week out versus, I don't know, 2016, or a point-to-point analysis?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER & ANALYST: Yes. I mean, look, it's pretty simple, Chris. And that is that Joe Biden, at least in the national polls, holds a

significant lead right now, right? He's up by 9 points. Clinton's lead, at this point, had shrunk to 4 points. And more than that, Biden is over 50 percent. Clinton wasn't anywhere close to that.

And that, of course, means that in this year, what Trump needs to do, is not just win over the undecided voters, he has to take support away from Biden, and this lead so far has been so steady, Chris, steady, steady, steady. So, it's going to be tough for him to do.

CUOMO: The X factor here is how big does the pandemic play? They did not have anything like this, thank god, in 2016, on top of it. This was about Hillary's emails and who's liked less. You now have a major objective crisis. How big an X factor?

ENTEN: I mean that's a huge X factor. I mean, it's the biggest issue. It's been listed as the most important problem, according to Gallup, the last four months - five months.

And in every single poll, that I have seen, who, when voters are asked "Who is better to handle the pandemic," it's former Vice President, Joe Biden. It's just a very difficult obstacle for Trump to overcome in the final seven days.

CUOMO: Brother, I appreciate it. Be well. Thank you for your patience. And thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: Whoa! That was fast. How are you?