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Obama Condemns Trump Stalling: "We're Not Above The Rules"; U.S. Reports Record 160,000-Plus New COVID-19 Cases; John Kelly Warns Delaying Transition Could Be "Catastrophic". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 13, 2020 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Coop, and he said that "Hard times make strong people, and it takes strong people to make good times." So, hopefully, all of this cataclysm will somehow lead us to take one another to a better place but that remains to be seen. Have a good weekend, my brother.

COOPER: You too.

CUOMO: I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

It is over, again. CNN now projects Biden wins the State of Georgia. This is a vitally symbolic flip for Democrats, because they're dreaming of a Senate majority, and that will take winning two run-offs in Georgia in January. Chances are iffy but, for Biden, this is a big flip.

He also flipped Arizona last night. That gives President-Elect Joe Biden 306 electoral votes. That's the same number Trump had in 2016.

Remember what Trump said about the margin in the past?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had a tremendous landslide Electoral College victory, like people haven't seen in a long time.

Not only did we win the election. We had an Electoral College landslide. OK? It was a landslide.


TRUMP: We had an Electoral College -- as you know, Congressman, we had a landslide. 306-223, we had a landslide.

They lost an election and they lost it big. It was really a landslide from the Electoral College standpoint.

He only got upset about it after the results were very conclusive, 306-223.

And then it got bigger and bigger and wilder and wilder. And then we won by a lot. Don't forget. It was 306-223, that's a lot.

We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College.

This was an excuse for the Democrats who lost an election, who actually got their ass kicked. 306-223, that's a pretty good shellacking.


CUOMO: It's a shellacking. It's an ass-kicking, fair enough. And now you received it.

But remember, he also got worked by Clinton in the popular vote. But the margin there, over 2 million votes, was actually competitive compared to the historic 5 million vote advantage that President-Elect Joe Biden has as of today.

Remember, that number is still growing. More votes are being counted. It's already like the entire State of South Carolina or Alabama voted for Biden, all of them.

Biden's win also changes the state of play between the parties.

In Michigan, his vote margin is well over 10 times the amount that Trump won in 2016. 10 times! Biden's margin, over Trump, in Pennsylvania nearly 20,000 more than Trump against Clinton. Wisconsin, slightly smaller margin than Trump had but still clear flip.

And so it stands, on Friday, the 13th, and that's the day that Trump decided to show his face after more than a week of just tweeting tripe. And he once again embarrassed his office and supporters by denying the obvious.


TRUMP: Ideally, we won't go to a lockdown. I will not go. This Administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully the -- the -- whatever happens in the future, who knows which Administration it will be, I guess time will tell.


CUOMO: Time will tell?

The only things that time will tell is how long it takes us to turn around the misanthropic mismanagement of this pandemic and how poorly Trump will be viewed through the lens of history for literally making masks a sign of weakness at a time of record numbers are getting sick.

Still worse, in a way, are those who know how to be better and choose to enable Trump and spread disinformation. Remember them when they try to be something else in the not-too-distant future. Exhibit "A."


STUART VARNEY, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR, "VARNEY & CO.": Are you prepared to say that the President will -- President Trump will definitely attend the Inauguration?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the President will attend his own Inauguration. He would have to be there, in fact.

VARNEY: You really think you can turn this around?

MCENANY: Absolutely.


CUOMO: "Never lie to you!" Perfect spokesperson for this President, peddling BS!

The truth is if you want to claim irregularities, you should. All irregularities, any sense of fraud should be exposed. But all such showings take proof. And Trump has been trumped by that reality.

Sure, he can tweet "We won PA because the Constitution says so." But that only works on Twitter. You see, we decide matters of fact and law in court.


And while Trump and his friends keep saying they're "Going to court," they don't reveal what happens once they get there. 18 times, at least, so far, they have gone and lost. Nine times today alone. Courts in states all over the country, all for the same reason, say it with me, "No proof."

In Pennsylvania today, judges tossed six different cases filed by the Trump campaign designed to invalidate nearly 9,000 absentee ballots. And we learned about that only after a law firm, who was representing the Trump camp, withdrew from the case. They were left with a single lawyer. It's not easy to find even lawyers to front farce. And there's not going to be a recount either. Why? The margins weren't close enough.

In Detroit, a judge today rejected a bid to block the certification of Biden's win, while debunking claims of fraud. Why? No proof.

In Arizona, the Trump campaign just gave up its lawsuit demanding a review of all ballots cast on Election Day. Why? Not enough proof to shake a vote margin that is simply too wide.

Oh, and Trump's celebrated -- celebrated "Voter fraud hotline," they shut it down. Too many prank calls!

But here is the real prank. All these GOPers, pretending to be acting on principle when they are just pawns, remember them, and what they tried to do during this time, and listen to how President Obama just called it out for what it is.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States. Kamala Harris will be the next Vice President. There is no legal basis, there's no --

GAYLE KING, CBS NEWS HOST, "CBS THIS MORNING": But he's getting support from members of the Republican Party, who are not challenging him.

OBAMA: And that has been disappointing. They obviously didn't think there was any fraud going on, because they didn't say anything about it for the first two days.

But there's damage to this, because what happens is that the peaceful transfer of power, the notion that any of us who attain an elected office, whether it's dog-catcher or a president, are servants of the people. It's a temporary job. We're not above the rules. We're not above the law. That's the essence of our democracy.


CUOMO: And that must be remembered.

Now, Mr. President, if you're listening, let your final act carry a dignity that you have failed to evidence in the years before it. For once, put the American people, put the pandemic before your, own selfish and fleeting interests. Do the right thing. All it takes is accepting reality.

Any chance that that's going to happen anytime soon? Let's bring in Van Jones, and Kaitlan Collins.

Kaitlan, what are you hearing up in those daunting hills and walls behind you on Capitol Hill and in the White House? Any word?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's kind of becoming an untenable situation for them to keep up this front.

As you noted, as, you know, the public relations aspect is a lot more difficult to maintain when your court cases are falling apart, and your legal challenges are disintegrating before everyone's eyes, where we can see that you're withdrawing a lawsuit in Arizona and your attorneys are leaving the case in Pennsylvania because it's seen as such a long-shot and all of these law firms are getting such public pressure for representing the President.

And so, the question that I'm hearing again and again in Trump-world is really how long can, this last? And so, you heard from people at the beginning of this week say they thought that maybe it could go until December when they started certifying these results.

But if they continue to start losing these lawsuits, as they have been, or having them thrown out, in the way that they are, it's going to be a lot harder to maintain now that Joe Biden has won Arizona and he's won Georgia.

And so, it's not like those states were too close to call, and Pennsylvania could have been a deciding factor. Now, it's becoming more and more difficult. And the President seems to be inching closer and closer to at least acknowledging the fact that he is not going to be President after the next two months.

CUOMO: What is the best thing that you hear in terms of an argument for why it's OK that they're doing this?

COLLINS: There's no argument. Basically, the President is -- you have to handle things with him delicately.

That has always been the situation when it comes to Russia, when it comes to money, when it comes to other things with the President. People just will not go and talk to the President about it because they don't want to anger him.

And this is kind of one of those situations where no one is going to the President, and saying, "You've got to stay in this. You have a legitimate basis for fighting this." Instead, they're kind of working around what the President wants to do.

And so, the question is, how long do you humor the President while you're misleading millions of people, because that is what the President is doing by pushing these false claims. People actually believe him. His supporters believe him.

We know what's going on. The President knows what's going on. And people who work in the White House and the Trump campaign know what's going on. But he is misleading people by pushing these claims and fundraising off of them.


CUOMO: Van, on a macro level, this is hurting the ability for the country to come together, because this is an artificial continuation of the division.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes. Well, it's certainly that. It hurts the country internally because you need a concession speech. Your guy or your woman needs to step forward the way Hillary Clinton did.

I'll never forget Corey Lewandowski, the night that Trump won, excoriating Hillary Clinton for not coming out, that night, that minute, that moment, "Where is she? Where is she?" Giving her just that 24 hours that she needed to get herself together, they thought, was horrible.

We are now a week out, and we haven't heard from the President. It hurts because you need that concession speech for people to come together. But it's worse than that. It's dangerous, because a transition of government is the hardest thing you can pull off in the very short period of time you got to do. Imagine throwing somebody up in the air, with a trapeze artist. That's

what you're throwing the entire American government up in the air. Somebody has got to be able to catch that thing on January 20. It is brutally difficult.

It is 19 hours, 20 hours a day of dozens, and hundreds of professionals. None of those people are being allowed to have the money or the access to do their job. That puts in danger every soldier, sailor, air force member, marine, on planet earth, because all that has to be transferred.

This is not just stupid and petty. It is dangerous internally and externally for the United States. That is not "America First." That is not -- that's the opposite of "America First."

CUOMO: Trump -- hey, look, "America First" has only been that when it means "Trump First" as well.

General John Kelly just came out and said the same thing you did, Van that they have to do the transition. It doesn't hurt the Administration to help them. And you need, I think what he called, beachfronts or something, you know, you need quick, small groups to get into the agencies that matter --

JONES: Yes, absolutely.

CUOMO: --so they can get up to speed on what's happening, you need the security clearances.

Kaitlan, all of this is known all of this is obvious, and probably relayed to the President. What is the best reckoning you have of how he is able to not care about any of this?

COLLINS: "The President is a petty person." And that is how people around him will describe him in situations like this, where he will acknowledge he's a sore loser, he said as much on Election Day.

And in a situation like this, he doesn't want to give Joe Biden the validation of him acknowledging that he's President, in a way where it's in a concession speech, or a tweet, or anything like that, or even in a matter where it's giving them access to email addresses, and government space that is rightfully theirs, as the new Administration is coming into office.

They have space in the State Department, for example, that is just for the Biden transition team. But they are not able to use it. So, no one is using it right now.

And it's basically because the President doesn't want to give Joe Biden that sense of victory, the fact that he beat him. And so, that is basically the way people have described it.

And there's been all this talk about what Republicans on Capitol Hill have been saying, "Give Joe Biden access to these daily Intelligence briefings," I don't really think that they should be awarded any points for that, because that is such a small facet of transitioning the government.

CUOMO: They won't even call him President-Elect.

COLLINS: They won't call him President-Elect. They'll just say "If he wins," even though, of course, we all know he has already won the election. But daily Intelligence briefing is a very small part of what Joe Biden's job is about to be.

CUOMO: Right.

COLLINS: Joe Biden knows that. He's been in government before.

And so, them just acknowledging that small teeny part of reality is not really equivalent, to actually acknowledging what is going on, as they are pretending to basically look the other way, and not see that there is a new President who is coming into office, just because they don't want to upset the current one.

CUOMO: I mean, look, that's what it has to be, because look, when you're not anchored by principle, you could easily drift into a bad position.

Van, they're saying "Well we got to see it out." On what basis? See what out? "Oh, lawsuits." On what basis? Trump tweeted tonight, "We won Pennsylvania because the Constitution says so. We weren't allowed to see 700,000 ballots." It's just a lie.


CUOMO: They've had tons of litigation in Pennsylvania before today, and today, that completely vanquishes that idea. There's nothing there. So, what are they holding on to?

JONES: Well they're not holding onto anything at all except for just their fears that Trump is going to be mad at them. They're afraid -- they're more afraid of a mean tweet from Donald Trump than they are for the health and safety of the American people in a pandemic and the well-being of the country in the middle of a transition.

Here's what should actually happen. There should be a small delegation, quietly, privately, of key Republicans, who go to the White House, and sit down with the President and say, "Let's talk about how we get you off of this cliff.

Let's talk about how you saved the Republican Party. You've saved us. You held -- we held the Senate. We expanded our reach in the House, all these governorships. You saved the Republican Party.


How do we have that speech where you declare victory and get you out of here, because what we don't want to happen, is there something terrible not happen on your watch, something terrible could happen overseas, there could be something terrible happen here, and you're going to be blamed for it." You got to give him a permission structure to get out of this posture, and it's got to be done by key Republicans. And if they do not do that, this entire catastrophe that's now looming both with COVID, possible terrorism, overseas adversaries taking advantage, will be on the Republican Party's -- not Trump, the Republican --

CUOMO: Right.

JONES: --Party's head.

CUOMO: Well here is the problem. That already happened. And it's called the pandemic.

Last question, Kaitlan, are they acutely aware in that White House that things are really bad, and they are clearly seen as doing nothing about it?

COLLINS: I think that some people are. But I also think that a lot of people in this Administration have been pretty dismissive of the pandemic.

And obviously, all eyes look to the President, because he is the President. He is in charge. That's where you've looked for the last several months, when that leadership has not been there, where the President has denied what's going on.

But it is not just the President. There are other people inside the West Wing, inside this Administration, who have also downplayed it, and thought that these models were overblown, that they were -- there was too much faith put into them, and how -- and to how many people could die from this.

And we've seen how this has played out, where it wasn't 50,000 people who died, like the President first guessed in the Rose Garden. Now we are at a quarter of a million people that have died in this country because of this.

And so, just one more thing, though, on the way that they have been denying what's going on.

The White House had to spend so many years pushing back on Democrats, and people in the Left, who said that Donald Trump was not a legitimate president that Russia helped him get elected, that all of these things happened, attacking him as not a legitimate President.

And now the President is doing that very thing. And so, he seems incredibly hypocritical for that because that's what he's doing and, in turn, that's what his allies are doing. And I've talked to many people, in the President's orbit, who recognize that, and realize that it is a problem.

CUOMO: He is hypocrisy-proof. It is those in Congress and the cronies around him who are going to be remembered for this. Because they're going to try to pretend they're something else and not in the -- too far in the future and people must remember.

Kaitlan Collins, thank you very much.

Van Jones, my kumbaya cousin, always good to see you, thank you for being with me tonight, and have a very good weekend, all right?

Coronavirus, that's the pandemic that happened on this President's watch. The numbers are going crazy. And they're saying, "Well, the vaccine." It's not going to help us now. It's not going to help us for a long time. It will help, but not now. How many people have to die?

This President clings to the "Rounding the corner." I keep telling you, the only thing we're rounding is circling down into deeper circles of hell in this pandemic. What we need to know about our nursing homes? How do we avoid what happened the first wave?

Former CDC Director, his analysis, next.









CUOMO: The Chief of Operation Warp Speed announced two drug companies, Pfizer -- Pfizer and Moderna will likely seek Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA within the next few weeks. And the FDA is supposedly on target to fast-track.

The hope is that 20 million people could be vaccinated by the end of the year. Now, it's not nearly enough but it's something.

And the real question is when will the vaccine be ready for the general population? We're being told April. The progress is absolutely remarkable in terms of the development. Now, how will they do in the distribution? We'll see.

But where was the President's acknowledgement of the reality today that is not fixed by a vaccine?


TRUMP: Case levels are high. But a lot of the case levels are high because of the fact that we have the best testing program anywhere in the world.

We test far more than any other country. So it shows, obviously, more cases. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: Look, I don't know why he keeps lying to you even now when all of you know the truth, all right?

But for the one or two, who still believe that tripe, we don't have more cases because we test more, all right? If that were true, then the positivity rate wouldn't be going up. If we were just evidencing what's out there, that's -- that would be a reality, the more you test, the more cases.

It's the positivity rate, that's what's increasing. And it's increasing faster than the number of tests being conducted, which means the number of cases we're showing with tests is probably not even close to indicative of the number of cases that are actually out there.

And sure enough, that's why we're seeing near exponential growth. For the 11th straight day, we surpassed 100,000 new cases a day, another record, more than 160,000. Look at the curve!

And now, what were we hoping? Well, that the curve will come, it will peak, and then it will go down again. But what do you have to build into that? But people haven't been masking up the way they needed to in the places where they did, or socially distancing.

Now you're back in school. And for whatever they want to tell you about schools, those kids may not be getting as sick, but they can spread, and that's what they're doing; colleges also.

So now, maybe this doesn't go down the way we hoped, after a peak. Maybe now it plateaus. This is scary. And you should be afraid. And we need leadership to get out of this.

Some much, much more savvy take on this, former CDC Director Tom Frieden is here.

First of all, Tom, I'm sure you were listening to that. Do I have the analysis right about why people like you were worried about this constant peak now coming, one, as early as it has come, and two, because of the external factors that may make it not go down the way it did the first time?

DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR, PRESIDENT & CEO, RESOLVE TO SAVE LIVES: It's extremely concerning. We're seeing more cases in more places, all over the country.


We've hit the highest hospitalization rate we've ever had, more than 60,000 people in hospitals today for COVID. And unfortunately, at the current trend, it's highly likely, within a month we will pass 100,000 people hospitalized in the U.S. for COVID.

This is going to get worse before it gets better. And it's coming at a terrible time. We're going into the holiday season. People are traveling, thinking of getting together. That's going to accelerate spread. And we have the abdication of federal leadership. And that's going to make it much, much more difficult.

CUOMO: So, when the President says today, and people around him echo, "But the vaccine is coming, so we're going to be fine," what does that miss?

FRIEDEN: Well I think you got it right, Chris. Actually the news on the vaccine is very encouraging. None of us expected 90 percent effectiveness. This is something that is encouraging. It suggests that multiple vaccines may be effective.

There's still a lot we don't know. We don't know if it's going to be lasting immunity, whether it protects the elderly, whether it will be safe when we've given it to hundreds of thousands of people.

But it is encouraging, and it gives us hope that over the course of 2021, we'll see vaccine rolling out, and beginning to get to a new normal with COVID.

But it's not going to bring a fairy tale ending to this pandemic. And it's not going to be here in time to deal with the terrible times we're going to go through in the coming months.

But Chris, there's still a lot we can do. Wearing a mask, watching distance, washing our hands, and in lots of places, restaurants and bars are going to have to shut for indoor dining and service.

But we can, if we're really careful, we can keep more things open. We can, for example, keep retail open, if we use masks, increase ventilation, reduce the number of people in one place. Maybe we can keep hair salons open, since that's really important to most people.

And most of all, we can keep our hospitals and healthcare system open, and if at all possible, let's keep kids going to school, and learning in-person, because it makes a really big difference, especially for K- 6.

And we've seen that when there is spread around schools, it's not from the classroom. It's from the pizza party after school. So, we're going to have to forego some of those social events, so we can continue the education of our kids, in-person, for as long as possible, for as many kids as possible, and as many places as possible.

CUOMO: Tom, COVID cases in nursing homes are popping again. And they're up 40 percent in certain places in recent weeks. They face dangerous long waits for test results.

You have 40 percent of the nation's nursing homes have yet to adopt rapid tests. A look at 13,000 facilities showed that only 17 percent could provide turnaround in less than a day.

Why does test turnaround matter? And what should we be doing that we're not?

FRIEDEN: Well, this is just another example of why you can't have this idea of "Well let's just protect the vulnerable, and let it run through society everywhere else." That's a formula for disaster. That's what's happening now.

But there is a lot we have to do to protect nursing homes. That means restricting visitors. That means universal masking. That means tests that come back, PCR tests, within 24 hours, so we can rapidly find cases and cohort them. There have been --

CUOMO: How do you do that?

FRIEDEN: Well you -- anyone who's got symptoms needs to be tested immediately and assumed to be positive while they've got symptoms.

Staff need to have paid sick leave, so they don't have any incentive to come to work when they have symptoms. You have to reduce contact staff have because they may bring it in. Visitors need to be controlled or reduce or eliminate visiting.

CUOMO: What about test turnaround time?


CUOMO: What about test turnaround time?

FRIEDEN: Test turnaround time, you really would like it to come back within hours, so you can isolate people quickly.

We all are interested in these antigen tests, these rapid tests, but they're not so accurate, and not for screening of asymptomatic people. So, they can have a role, but maybe not there. We have to figure out what that role is, try it out, see it.

But rapid PCR testing means you can isolate someone quickly, you can find out who else is infected, cohort them, and protect the other people, in the nursing home, and stop the outbreak in the nursing home.

We can stop outbreaks in nursing homes, homeless shelters, prisons. It's been done. But it requires quick, expert work, rapid testing and rapid action based on the results of those tests.

CUOMO: Dr. Tom Frieden, thank you very much.

FRIEDEN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Tom actually gave you a keen insight there. So, it's not just that "Oh, you have to make a better test." It's what you do while you're waiting for the test to come back also.


See, that's part of the alchemy here, of why you need federal guidance and leadership, somebody who has a central brain, who says "Here's what's worked better. Here's how many people you have to put aside. Here's how you deeply you contact trace with this kind of person. Here's what we learn from another place." There has to be somebody coordinating, and thinking, and distributing information and know-how to different places as they suffer.

See, that's what federal leadership is about. It's not just money and manpower. It's know-how. It's data. It's analysis. These places are flying blind all over the country, and we just don't learn to do anything but cry more.

So, another question we have. What is going on with why this President has to stay where he is? I can't name a good reason. Can you? Here's where I may not be thinking the right way, and maybe you share me -- are with me on this.

Chris Cillizza says "Don't think of the good reasons. Think of the bad reasons that he's trying to avoid." He has at least six, six reasons the President does not want to leave office, next.









CUOMO: Ego, false pride, delusion, maybe none of that is the real reason Trump is holed up inside the White House. Maybe it's because he doesn't want to go from there to the big house.

Chris Cillizza has been digging through the looming legal threats, and he has a list of worries.

Good to see you, my brother. What do you have?


OK. Let's go through it, man. Quickly, I'll note, as you -- a president's got a lot more legal protections than a former president. So let's jump through where we're at. OK, now these are active investigations.

Number one, the Manhattan District Attorney, this is Cyrus Vance Jr., this one is pretty well along. This is a big, broad investigation.

But we know it deals with at least the hush money payments that Michael Cohen paid to both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 election, both who actually had affairs with Donald Trump. Michael Cohen testified, under oath, on Capitol Hill Chris, that Donald Trump knew about these payments.

Now, this is a broader investigation. It's just not the hush money. It's possible bank fraud, possible tax fraud. But that's number one.

CUOMO: Unindicted co-conspirator number 1.

CILLIZZA: Correct.

Number two, the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, she's a Democrat, she is investigating whether Donald Trump and The Trump Organization, more broadly, overinflated and underinflated what he is worth. Overinflated it into make him look richer than he was, underinflated some of his assets because they wanted to pay less taxes. That is ongoing.

And I'll note, Eric Trump, one of Donald Trump's sons, testified, he had to give a deposition, he fought it, but he had to give it in October, so that one still active as well.

OK, number three, only halfway there, the Maryland and D.C. Attorneys General, in 2017, filed a lawsuit and said Donald Trump's hotel, which is right smack dab in the middle of Washington, the Trump Hotel, in the middle of Washington, violates the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution, which is a big word that simply means "You can't, as President, profit from foreign governments. Foreign governments can't -- you can't take money from them." And that he was, by having this hotel with his name, benefiting from that.

There's also another Emoluments suit that I haven't even mentioned but an Emoluments suit with restaurant owners, and a hotel operator, that's a separate suit, but also on the Emoluments Clause.

I'm going to knock these next two out, quickly, they're similar.

E. Jean Carroll has said -- has accused Donald Trump of raping her. He has denied it, his words, "She's not my type," yes, that words he used. She says that he has defamed her. And that suit is going through.

Number five, Summer Zervos, contestant on "The Apprentice," she said that Donald Trump sexually assaulted her. He denied it. She said that that denial caused her to be harassed. She has sued for defamation.

The last one of these six actives ones, Mary Trump, we know her from the book she wrote about Donald Trump that was scathing, bestseller. But she has also sued Donald Trump, as well as his sister, and his late brother, saying that they committed fraud in not letting her get a piece of Donald Trump's father, Fred Trump Sr.'s wealth.

Now, I want to make two notes here, Chris. Those are six active investigations.

There is one, which is, we remember, obstruction, Robert Mueller, when he was testifying on Capitol Hill, after his Special Counsel investigation, said he did believe a former president could be tried for obstruction, OK? That's just one. That's not an active investigation.

The other one I want to note is Donald Trump may well be tied up in the Southern District of New York investigation that is looking to Rudy Giuliani and Lev Parnas and others.

So, there's more than just the six potentially, but those are the six, I think, to really keep an eye on. And there is a real clear reason here why Donald Trump wants to stay in office for as long as he can. He retains significant legal immunity that he would not enjoy as a former president.

Back to you, Chris.

CUOMO: Chris Cillizza -- "Back to me." Thank you very much. Old school toss! Thank you very much.

CILLIZZA: Like that?

CUOMO: Have a good weekend. Well done.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, my friend.

CUOMO: And appreciated.

All right, so let's look at that now through -- we went through the kind of journalistic lens on it. Now let's go through the legal lens of what may stick there, what should be the priority concern. For that, we're lucky to have the legal brain power of former U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara.

It's good to see you.


CUOMO: If you're hired to be counsel for Trump, which on that list are you worried about? Or is it something else?

BHARARA: Assuming that I wouldn't decline the representation, which I would, for various reasons, I think the only one on the list of six plus the additional two that Chris mentioned that he would really care about is the only one that might result in jail time if a charge is brought.

Half of the list of six involve private citizens, and private suits, defamation, and the sort of internal family quarrel about money.

CUOMO: That's about money.


BHARARA: Yes, those are not going to result in a prison sentence. Those might be settled. I mean Donald Trump has spent his entire adult life engaging in litigation, suits, countersuits. So, I don't think that bothers him that much. And, in addition, I don't want viewers to be left with the misimpression that any of those things, that being President allows you to forestall those suits. Those have been going forward in the same way that the Paula Jones' suit went forward against President Clinton.

And with respect to number two and three, the Emoluments Clause case, and the New York Attorney General's case, those also appear to be civil cases as well. The thing Donald Trump gets protection from is being indicted for a Office of Legal Counsel opinion in the Department of Justice.

And I'm not making any prediction as to whether or not Donald Trump will be charged with any crime at all, by Cy Vance, but that's the one that would matter that's the one where he gets further protection, arguably, if he remains in office.

And then the other two, I think, are also the only potential ones, the Southern District, and some U.S. attorney, who would take the ball, meaning the Volume II of the Mueller report, and run with it, those also would be potential criminal charges that would result in the President of the United States, if convicted, going to prison, without the protection of the presidency.

CUOMO: So, the real trouble then is that Cy Vance is looking at something that involved Michael Cohen that was before he was president. And it sent Cohen to jail.

Now, Cohen had some bank fraud issues too. But the bank fraud issues were kind of tied up in part with how he got that HELOC, that home equity line of credit, that was part of the payment scheme that he said he was doing for Donald Trump.

How does Trump avoid going to jail for what the man who helped him do that went to jail for?

BHARARA: So, that's a good question. Instead of looking at it from the perspective of the Cy Vance case, we'll talk about the Southern District case, from where I come. I don't have -- no personal knowledge of the case at all. But you recall --

CUOMO: Cy Vance is the Manhattan District Attorney, by the way. Preet and I know this.

BHARARA: Correct.

CUOMO: That's a state -- he's the Manhattan District Attorney. Now we're talking U.S. Attorney.


CUOMO: Looking at the same issue. Go ahead.

BHARARA: Correct. And Michael Cohen was prosecuted by and sent to prison for pleading guilty to a charge brought by the Federal Prosecutor's Office, Southern District of New York, my old office. And in connection with his guilty plea, he stated it in a way that was very inflammatory for a lot of folks in court, that he committed one of those offences at the direction of and in coordination with Individual 1, Donald Trump. Ordinarily that suggests an understanding by the Prosecutor's Office that Individual 1, in this case Donald Trump, was somebody who participated in the crime.

Now, they didn't prove it in court. It wasn't a trial. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt to a unanimous jury, but that's an unresolved issue of how the Southern District will treat that matter if Donald Trump becomes a private citizen.

Now, part of the issue may be that Michael Cohen, they never signed up to a formal cooperation agreement. He's had issues with truthfulness. He's had issues with his cooperation. He begged to be a cooperator. They didn't sign him up.

And, in my experience you don't sign someone up because you have worries about what kind of witness they're going to be. And the only way you prosecute Donald Trump for that thing that I just described, I think is if you have Michael Cohen locked in as a cooperating witness.

So, that is sort of an unrealized suggestion, allegation against the President of the United States that I don't know if it will go anywhere but it should be remembered.

CUOMO: Also remember, Michael Cohen taped him, having a conversation with him about doing it that we had on the show here. And that is not good for the President either.

What do you make of the switch that we just learned about from Maggie Haberman over at "The New York Times" that the President has now put his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in charge of all election lawsuits?

BHARARA: I saw that tweet. And I replied to the tweet, not only all election lawsuits but all communication about those lawsuits, and I joked on social media just before coming on with you. That to me indicates that Donald Trump has basically conceded the race.

Because given the performance of Rudy Giuliani, once a great lawyer in his time, also ran the Southern District of New York, a number of years ago, based on how he's been defending the case, and based on how far away from the case Donald Trump's lawyers -- other lawyers are running, and how difficult it is to be recruiting other attorneys, and given the pace at which Donald Trump is losing pretty much every suit, not even losing them, but sometimes being almost literally laughed out of court by judges, you know, I don't understand the move as a strategic matter.

It seems like a political matter because Rudy Giuliani appears to be popular, like the President is, among the base. So, to me, it's a message to the base, it's not a strong legal move, and amounts to me to a concession.

CUOMO: Have you heard anything so far that would give any kind of substantial basis to a suit?

BHARARA: No, I haven't.


There was this business in Pennsylvania with respect to some of these ballots, the question was whether some of these ballots that were received or would be received, after the date of the election, would they be counted or not. And the Trump campaign and GOP officials joined a pre-existing lawsuit, and some of that was heard by the Supreme Court.

At the end of the day, that's not going to matter at all. And I may have missed the news flash earlier today where that has been resolved.

But otherwise, in case after case after case you have issues of people recanting. You have issues of the Trump campaign filing suit in the wrong court like the Federal Claims Court. They're suing the wrong party. There seems to be mistake after mistake, on top of not having any evidence. All of this seems to be a PR strategy, a face-saving strategy, not a successful legal strategy.

CUOMO: And again, the latest count, not completely done-done yet, not certified, in Pennsylvania, Biden is plus 63,005.

Preet Bharara, thank you very much for the analysis.

BHARARA: Thank you.

CUOMO: Especially on a Friday night. Have a great weekend.

BHARARA: You too.

CUOMO: All right, now, why this matters, OK, beyond the politics? You do have the legal implications for Trump, but what about the rest of us?

This President is stonewalling the election that he just lost. It's not just classless. It could be catastrophic. Well that's the warning from a man the President once trusted in the Oval Office, his own former Chief of Staff.

Why? Well, we're going to go into that right now with former FBI insider Andrew McCabe, on where these games put us at real risk as we've seen in history, next.









CUOMO: This is a significant development, or at least it should be. Trump's former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is now the latest to call for the President to order the transition process to begin immediately.

Kelly is a retired four-star Marine general, of course, and he says, "The delay in transitioning is an increasing national security and health crisis. It costs the current Administration nothing to start to brief Mr. Biden, Ms. Harris, the new chief-of-staff, and ALL identified cabinet members and senior staff." He goes on to say, but not doing it could have "Catastrophic" effects.

Here to give us perspective on what the lack of transition could mean, Andrew McCabe, welcome back to PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: Not to be some Cassandra, or to be disastrous, but safety is about recognizing risk.

9/11, the 9/11 Commission report said the delay in transition mattered in terms of that Administration getting up to speed. Terrorists look for vulnerabilities. They look for gaps in coverage, and there was one there.

1993, I think that was in March during the Clinton Administration. So early on, when that Administration was still getting its feet under itself, and understanding the risks and profiles, you are vulnerable then. That's where we could be right now. Fair point?

MCCABE: Absolutely fair point. Yes, absolutely fair point.

Look, John Kelly knows this, right? He's been there. He's seen it before. Any of us who have worked through transition periods with different administrations have seen it before. It's happened before, right?

The Iran-Contra crisis really -- the Iran-hostage crisis came to a head during the transition between Carter and Reagan. And then, of course, between the transition from Reagan to Bush, you had the terrorist downing of Pan Am Flight 103. So, history is our guide here. It has happened to us before.

And Chris, generally, we know that the world and the threats don't wait for us when we're in a position of transition. They don't take a break. They don't give us a breathing room. You have got to stay up on national security every single day. That's why it's imperative that the outgoing team and the incoming team work together on a smooth handoff. CUOMO: Gina Haspel, Head of CIA, people around Trump dismiss his problems with her saying, "Well he doesn't like her. He can get rid of anybody he wants. And she's going to be gone anyway with the new Administration, so it doesn't matter if she's there or not."

Fair point?

MCCABE: No, not a fair point. I mean can he get rid of anyone he wants, including Gina Haspel? Absolutely he can.

But the question again is should he? Is that a good idea for the CIA? Is it a good idea for the safety and security of this nation? I think, pretty clearly, the answer to those questions, are "No."

Gina Haspel has done, by all accounts, a great job. She's a career Intelligence professional, a career distinguished CIA officer. The workforce loves her. She knows the job. She knows what she's doing over there.

There is no reason to take on additional risk by upsetting the apple cart at CIA for no reason with two, you know, three months to go in the Administration. It would be a bad idea.

And if done, you know why he's doing it. It's because he's mad. He's kind of trying to seek whatever retribution for whatever perceived offense, and that's just not a reason to put the country at risk.

CUOMO: Well let's assume that this President doesn't have coup ambitions, and that the next leading theory, other than just payback is he wants a lot of stuff from the Russia investigation declassified, because he's been told by Nunes and others, "The more comes out, the more it will look like you were framed."

What's the risk there, if a lot of stuff comes out? We've talked about sources and methods. But let me reverse the question.

From your knowledge, is there anything that could come out that people would look at it, and say, "Wow! I can't believe they ever included the President in this analysis. He and his people clearly did nothing."

MCCABE: There is some very, very serious, very specific undeniable Intelligence that has not come out that if it were released would risk compromising our access to that sort of information in the future. I think it would also risk casting the President in a very negative light.


So, does -- would he have a motivation to release those things? It's almost incomprehensible to me that he would want that information out. I don't see how he spins it to his advantage because, quite frankly, I don't believe it's flattering.

CUOMO: You think there's more bad stuff about him that we don't know? MCCABE: There is always more Intelligence. There was a lot more in the Intelligence Community assessment than what was ever released for public consumption.

I mean the original version of that report was classified at the absolute highest level I have ever seen. I'm talking about top secret, compartmentalized code word stuff. And it would be very -- it would be tragic to American Intelligence collection for those sources to be put at risk.

CUOMO: Andrew McCabe, thank you so much for shedding some light on this, especially on a Friday night, best to you and the family.

MCCABE: Thanks, man, you too.

CUOMO: Friday the 13th, but you know what I want for all of us? Less scary stuff. Let's hope that we are beginning a period of things getting at least where we could be clear-eyed, know what we're talking about. Together as ever, as one, we can get anything done.

Let's take a break. We'll be right back.








CUOMO: Friday the 13th is always supposed to be spooky because of the unknown. These days, what's so scary to us is what we're all too aware of, right? That's what we got to work on. And that starts with "CNN TONIGHT" and its big star, D. Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: I thought you were going to make some -- a cheap joke about me but you were right.