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CUOMO PRIME TIME

100-Plus House Republicans Support Trump-Backed Texas Lawsuit Seeking To Invalidate Millions Of Votes; FDA Panel Recommends Authorization Of Pfizer Vaccine; House Adjourns With COVID-19 Relief Unfinished. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired December 10, 2020 - 21:00   ET

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


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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Sick of you? Death first!

COOPER: Yes.

CUOMO: Death first! Coop, thank you very much.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

First, happy Hanukkah to my Jewish brothers and sisters. I am mishpocha. I am your extended family. And I wish you a beautiful start to the Festival of Lights. And the celebration, the remembrance, could not be more indicative of where we are collectively.

Once more, there is unholy darkness descending upon the land. Once more, there is a struggle by a tyrant to keep power. Once more, I am afraid we will need something bigger than ourselves to keep our wicks lit, to burn away darkness in the temple of our democracy.

So, pray for us, my Jewish brothers and sisters, we need the help, now as ever.

More than anything, we will need justice. Why? Here's the latest. The full Trump mob has amassed for their final assaults on America. And that is what this is. It's not due process. It's not letting it play out. This is saying "We don't like what happened, so it must not stand."

This country is nothing without democracy being respected. So, this is an attack on America at her core. Period!

Rogue attorneys general from states that have already certified their votes signing on to a corrupt cause. Now, joining them, more than half of House Republicans, over 100, now endorsing what they can offer no credible proof about.

What else is asking the court to allow you to stop the transfer of power because you don't like how it happened? Not liking it is all they have. They have become Re-Trump-licans. There should be no collective cover for them when this is done. They

must all be remembered for this and as this. There is nothing right or righteous. Their actions are the death knell of decency. They do not want unity. They do not want cooperation. They do not want law and order.

They want nothing bigger than what they can steal for themselves. They show urgency for a bad cause while ignoring the good fight to help people during a goddamn pandemic. Shame on them!

Attacking what is best about us in the name of a man who represents the worst in us, a man who dared to lie in his own brief, before the highest court in the land, saying "No one has ever won Ohio and Florida and lost." Nixon did, in 1960!

Then today, the lie is exposed. What does he do? He does his worst. He doubles down on dumb, saying "No one has ever won Iowa, Ohio, and Florida and lost."

And again, he is wrong. You see, adding more BS to BS does not change the stench. Nixon won Iowa too, Nixon, the last GOP liar who disgraced this country, a fitting analog to Trump. And now, all you who support his cause are just like him.

And while, before the Supreme Court, they should not succeed, they can't succeed, why?

How can a court that found 9-0 that you can't come late and say "Another state doesn't like how a different state chose to run their election" how can that same court now give a different ruling when the same thing is argued about multiple states?

But even if the outcome is that this election must stand, this assault on us cannot. The effort alone must be unforgivable. They are attacking America at her core, and the timing matters. It is when we are at our weakest. When we need unity the most, they bring disunity. And they know it.

It should speak volumes to you that Texas' own Solicitor General, the Solicitor General is who is supposed to argue, before the Supreme Court, for a state, the Solicitor General in Texas won't put his name on this case. What does that tell you?

It is brought by the Attorney General, who is currently under indictment for fraud as it is. OK? No senators have filed an amicus brief or signed on to this suit by Texas.

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Even the senior senator of Texas, John Cornyn, says he's struggling to understand the legal theory behind the lawsuit. Of course he is. There isn't one. And remember, Cornyn used to be the State's Attorney General.

And Texas, the state that wanted to restrict every county to one ballot drop box, a month before the election, to suppress turnout, this is the state barking the loudest about fraud?

More than 20 other states and Washington D.C. are standing up for democracy. They are submitting their own amicus brief, deriding this sham, urging the Supreme Court to deny it.

But how can we be divided on this? How can it be enough to say that you don't like it and have nothing to show?

So, here we are. Will the highest court in the land rescue our rectitude once more as it did during the last plot, like this, by this Party? Will this mass of McCarthys be turned away in the name of the law as it was during the Red Scare?

If not, if the court were to aid this toxic cause, if elections only count if you like the outcome, what becomes of America?

And so, while the Re-Trump-licans do their worst, during a pandemic, luckily, there are those still doing their best to help the common good.

Dr. Anthony Fauci will be here on what's next after this critical FDA vote that we've been waiting for. Pfizer's COVID vaccine got the OK tonight from a key panel recommending authorization for emergency use. So now what?

When will the FDA finally approve? Then what happens? When will the shot be available to everybody who needs it? And how about all the questions we have about what the shot means? What it means for our future? When? We'll break it all down with Dr. Fauci ahead.

But let's start with this legal battle because it could change everything, and probably has, no matter how it turns out. Better minds, David Gregory, Michael Smerconish, joining me now.

Gentlemen, thank you once again.

On the legal side, am I right that I looked at the suit, and it is basically "We don't just dislike how Pennsylvania did this, but we believe that all the states that matter, did things in a way that weren't about the legislature, so we don't like how they ran the election, and we want you to overturn it."

Michael?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, "SMERCONISH," CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, HOST, "MICHAEL SMERCONISH PROGRAM" ON SIRIUSXM: So, let me put it in practical terms. They say all politics are local.

In my extended house, my wife and I have four children, and a son-in- law, seven votes. Seven votes all lawfully cast. This litigation, Texas, seeks to throw out all seven of our votes.

And for what reason? Well, first of all, it's totally at odds with Republican adherence to federalism, this idea of deference to the states, because we allow the states to run all of their elections. So strong is the belief in federalism that the Trump administration

has added a Tenth Amendment question to the brand-new naturalization exam. But not here! They've thrown that out the window. And based on what logic or illogic? Chris, it's junk science.

The argument that they make is that as of 3:00 A.M., on the morning after the election, that Wednesday A.M. that the likelihood of Joe Biden winning the popular vote was less than one in a quadrillion. Well, that sounds awfully compelling, if true.

But it assumes that the vote tabulation will continue to be exactly the same. In other words, ignoring what we all knew was coming, that so many Democrats were going to vote by mail, in contrast to Republicans, who were voting in person.

The answer to your question as to how could they get away with it is because most Americans are working, and don't have the time to do what I did, all afternoon, was to wade through all of these briefs.

It's absolute garbage. And the best the President can hope for is that it's dismissed without comment. Because if any opinions flow from it, I think they'll be scathing.

CUOMO: David, how do we come back from this?

I mean, even listening to Rick Santorum saying "Look, I don't like the way they put out these conspiracy theories. But, you know, the Party Chair, down there in Georgia, you know, he's got a good lawsuit. He showed that maybe 7,000, 8,000" - he hasn't even shown the proof yet. It's in superior court.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, AUTHOR, "HOW'S YOUR FAITH?": Right.

CUOMO: He won't show the proof to the media. These guys are banking on the division. How do we come back from this?

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GREGORY: Well, first of all, this old chestnut, in Republican circles, about voter fraud, that they don't have the evidence to back up, and people like Ben Ginsberg, who is an election law specialist, who has said that repeatedly, that there's no there, there that there's not fraud here, but this is such a part of the arguments that a lot of Republicans make.

And now, Trump and his allies have taken it to a more dangerous level. They're trying to use democracy to undermine democracy. And that's the question of where we - how do we come back from that, because this is someone who does not respect the presidency.

This is someone, in Donald Trump, who came to providence - prominence politically, on the back of a racist lie, saying that Barack Obama wasn't born in this country, and is just using another chapter of that here to delegitimize elections. Look, we had a great success in this country. During this awful pandemic, we had a very successful election, record number of people who participated, Republicans, Democrats, pro-Trump, pro-Biden. People showed up.

You had Republican attorneys general or Republican secretaries of state, like in Georgia, standing up for their results, and certifying that vote, with all this pressure.

I think we come back from it because I think this is - this is a marginalized group. That includes the President. People are not paying attention. And unfortunately, there aren't enough Republican leaders to say "This must stop" because it does potential damage to those people who choose.

CUOMO: Not enough.

GREGORY: And it is a choice to believe it.

CUOMO: I'd take one of consequence.

Michael?

GREGORY: Yes.

CUOMO: I mean is it any mystery why, in March, everybody was able to come together, and put together an Act, to help with relief, and now they can't?

And now, the number keeps dropping, and now McConnell wants to walk away? I mean, is it any secret why? They've obviously put something above the pandemic in terms of their priority.

SMERCONISH: Look, this is something that a lot of folks are going to be shaken to hear, but Donald Trump is good for Republican business.

I mean, many of us need to get out of our bubble, and look at what's going on here. You wonder why would more than half of Republicans, in the House, sign an amicus brief that's based on the junk science that I've referred to?

And the answer is because they picked up seats in the House, arguably held on to the Senate, won the Montana Gubernatorial Mansion, controlled state legislatures, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So, they actually had a very good election.

The only thing they couldn't do was get Donald Trump over the finish line. And so, I think, Chris, it's selfishness that's keeping them tethered to him, because they're afraid to cross him.

CUOMO: Gentlemen, thank you. Thank you for the better minds. Thank you for helping the audience understand, just where we are. We are living history together.

Now, one of the reasons this matters is with this kind of impasse how are we going to get the money to make sure that the vaccine is distributed right? We're just at the beginning of the spending for that. That's part of this bill that they now say that they don't want to deal with anymore.

Now, the good news is we just took a major step closer to a potential pandemic exit ramp. Why? Pfizer's Coronavirus vaccine has been recommended for authorization by an FDA panel. So are we done? No. Why not? I've got the guy to answer the questions.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is going to talk with us about where things stand, where we need to be, what are the bumps, and what does it mean for how life looks going forward. Next.

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CUOMO: We're getting closer. That's the good news. Pfizer's COVID vaccine took another step.

There was a long day of deliberation, and a key panel, this evening, recommended that the FDA grant the so-called EUA, the Emergency Use Authorization. The FDA now has to decide whether to take that recommendation. But even if it does, then the CDC will have to give the final sign-off on Sunday.

Anticipation is high. COVID cases and deaths are higher. The vaccine is not the end. It is not a cure. In fact, if you're sick, you probably shouldn't take it. But you're going to be able to ask a doctor that in just a moment.

We are at the potential beginning of the end. Let's discuss what is and what may be, with the man, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Welcome back, Sir.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Good to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: Two state-of-play questions.

First, why so much alphabet soup? Why FDA to CDC and then CDC back to FDA, but then you've got to wait for these - why so much alphabet soup? Why couldn't this have been streamlined?

FAUCI: No, it's really important, Chris.

The fact that the FDA's Advisory Committee, the Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, or VRBPAC, the one that met today, and voted to recommend to the FDA to grant an EUA, that's really important, Chris, because what it shows is that the process that we have here, in the United States, is decisions and recommendations are made by independent bodies.

Just the way the Data and Safety Monitoring Board looked at the data, a while ago, and said "It looks good. Let's examine the data and see if we can get an EUA," the Advisory Committee to the FDA now has made that recommendation.

A reason I think this is so important is that we want to make sure that we impress the American public that decisions that involve their health and safety are made outside of the realm of politics, outside of the realm of self-aggrandizement, and are made, in essence, by independent groups.

So, it was a very important step, this evening, late, you know, around 5 o'clock or so, when the decision was made. Now the FDA will take under consideration that recommendation, and will very likely act on it quite soon.

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CUOMO: OK. And look, you're now at about 60-30 of people in favor of taking the virus, which is an improvement over what it had been. The more information comes out, frankly, the less, Trump seems to have to do with it, the better it may be get. But, of course, this has to be about science, not sentiment.

Now, why are things so bad right now?

FAUCI: Well, it's a conflation of things, Chris that you and I have spoken about in the past.

We have a very high baseline of infections, over 200,000 a day. We now have - reached 3,000 deaths yesterday. We have over 100,000 hospitalizations. The baseline was bad to begin with. When I say baseline, I mean the community spread of a certain number of infections per day.

You superimpose upon that the colder weather, which drives people indoors, and those who don't wear masks, and don't pay attention, to what we say about not congregating indoors, without masks, that adds to the problem.

We've just gotten past, a week and a half ago the Thanksgiving holiday. Sometime, in this coming week, we will likely see the full brunt of what happens when you travel, and congregate, in seemingly innocent settings, like dinners and gatherings with family and friends.

CUOMO: So, this is on us?

FAUCI: If that - well it is on us in so many respects, Chris.

And then, we're going to be entering into the Christmas holiday with the same sort of travel, and the same sort of congregating, again, innocent things like with family and friends. So, we expect that we likely will see, yet again, another surge upon a surge.

So, the months of December and January are going to be very challenging for us, unless we realize that, as I've said so many times, Chris, there are things we can do about it.

If we have uniform adherence to the public health measures of universal wearing of masks, avoiding congregate settings, keeping distance, doing things, to the extent possible, sometimes, it's difficult with the weather, do it outdoors versus indoors, and wash your hands frequently.

If we just did those things that we would certainly have an impact on the trajectory. If you look at, the curve is really quite disturbing.

CUOMO: At this point though, you got to believe it's not going to happen. So, really, it comes down to the vaccine. I mean, you're not a politician, but you got a bunch of states lining up to nullify an election.

And wearing a mask has become the act of omission of wearing a MAGA hat. You wear a MAGA hat, you're for Trump. You don't wear a mask, you're for Trump. It's been politicized. I don't know that we get to a better place, so the vaccine then has even more pressure on it.

What do you see, as the concerns, about distribution of this vaccine? Context, I'm worried about states picking winners and losers. That they don't get enough doses, they don't get enough money, so they have to make choices, and that they'll choose hospitals in affluent areas.

FAUCI: Right.

CUOMO: That they'll choose White emergency workers over Black ones that they won't help the poor groups, who are already disproportionately affected. They'll be picking winners and losers. That usually doesn't go well for people who are already hard-hit. What's your concern?

FAUCI: Well, I hope, Chris that we don't see that happen.

The distribution from the places where the vaccines have been filled, and finished, and put into the vial, to the local places, that's going to take place through, as I mentioned previously, on the show, through the United States Army, under General Gus Perna, to get the material to the local places.

Once it gets locally, to the state, and city, and local areas, it's going to be up to the local health officials, to make the determination of how it's distributed.

Now, there are recommendations that will come from the CDC, through their Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that will say these are the individuals who should have the first shot at the first priority. That's the 1a group. That almost certainly will be health care providers and those, for example, in nursing homes.

The next level will be individuals that are much, well let's say, people with essential jobs. And then, there will be people, who are elderly and people with underlying conditions.

CUOMO: Right.

FAUCI: And you go through the priority. We hope that that's followed in an equitable way, in a way that, as you said, is not favoring one group versus the other.

CUOMO: Well we'll see. That's part of our job to watch it.

I got a short answer section for you here, all right, just some questions that keep coming up.

FAUCI: OK.

CUOMO: Why do I have to keep wearing the mask after I get the vaccine? I thought it was going to protect me from the vaccine. What's the answer?

FAUCI: Well, the answer is unless you get the overwhelming majority of the country vaccinated, and protected, and get that umbrella of what we call herd immunity, there's still a lot of virus out there.

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So just because you're protected, so-called protected, by the vaccine, you should need to remember that you could be prevented from getting clinical disease, and still have the virus that is in your nasopharynx because you could get infected.

We're not sure, at this point, that the vaccine protects you against getting infected. We know for sure it's very, very good, 94 percent, 95 percent in protecting you against clinically recognizable disease, and almost a 100 percent in protecting you for severe disease.

But until you have virus that is so low in society, we, as a nation, need to continue, to wear the mask, to keep the physical distance, to avoid crowds. We're not through with this just because we're starting a vaccine program.

Even though you, as an individual, might have gotten vaccinated, it is not over by any means. We still have a long way to go, and we've got to get as many people as possible vaccinated, of all groups.

CUOMO: What does that take? When are we fully vaccinated?

FAUCI: Well, the projection that I've made, and I hope it works this way, it's going to depend upon the people's willingness to come up, and step up to the plate, and get vaccinated.

If you go now through December, January, February, March, you likely will have the people, who fall into the high priority groups get vaccinated.

When let's say you get into April, I would project, by the time you get to April, it will be, I guess, you want to call it open season, in the sense of anyone, even the non-high priority groups could get vaccinated.

If we get the vaccine doses coming in at the projected rate that we had hoped they will, and I believe it will, as we get into April, May, and June, you'll get more and more of the population.

If 75-or-more percent of the population decides they want to get vaccinated, I would hope, by the time we get to the end of the second quarter, into the summer that we will have enough people vaccinated that by the time we get to the fall in the third quarter of the year that we will have that veil of protective herd immunity that would--

CUOMO: Will my Bella--

FAUCI: --really essentially protect all the vulnerables.

CUOMO: Will my Bella be able to start--

FAUCI: Excuse me?

CUOMO: --college as a freshman in the fall?

FAUCI: I hope so, Chris. I mean, I hope so.

I mean, one of the things we want to do, and we've said it before, is to get the children to get back in school. We're talking about K to 12, as well as obviously the college. But to not only get them back but to keep them in school. That's the default position that we should try.

CUOMO: We're with you. I mean I thought it was surprising--

FAUCI: If we get a good--

CUOMO: --Tony, not to cut you off, but I thought it was surprising that Biden put it out as one of his big three plans. But obviously that's all about how.

Everybody wants kids in school. I know the data now is starting to get a little bit scary because there's more exposure in schools than we thought, especially when you get up in age, and they're still not testing smart there because they don't have enough tests to test smart.

But it all comes down to how, because if you don't do it right, are we going to have graduations next May, June?

FAUCI: I don't know about this time, this cycle, as we go into the spring. It's really going to depend again - Chris, I don't want to keep repeating myself, but it's the truth. It depends how quickly and how many people want to get vaccinated. If we have a smooth vaccination program, where everybody steps to the plate quickly, we could get back to some form of normality, reasonably quickly, into the summer, and certainly into the fall.

My hope and my projection is that if we get people vaccinated en masse, so that we get that large percentage of the population, as we get into the fall, we can get real comfort about people being in school, safe in school, be they K to 12 or college. That's what I hope and project we would do, if we get everybody vaccinated.

CUOMO: Dr. Anthony Fauci, I know you had a very long day. It's late now. Thank you for, once again, giving me your time, and my audience, your time, at this hour in this moment. Thank you, Sir.

FAUCI: Good to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: Always.

FAUCI: Thank you for having me.

CUOMO: Always a pleasure.

Now, Dr. Fauci just said to you he believes the supply will be there. OK. But there's an "If" on that that he doesn't control.

Will Congress put the money where it needs to be to get the doses that we need made so it could be distributed to the states? Will they give states the relief that they need so that they can handle the distribution? It will not be all military. States will be involved. Congress must be involved.

That's why we invited Congressman Maxine Waters on tonight. She says this fight, this struggle, is real in this country, and it is not being respected in Congress, and she is worried, probably even more tonight, after what happened with all of her colleagues signing up for this corrupt battle in court.

Maxine Waters answers next.

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CUOMO: Dark times, people need help, and it seems less likely it's going to come.

Let's bring in Democratic Representative Maxine Waters, from California.

Congresswoman, as always, a pleasure. Thank you for being with us.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): I'm delighted to be with you. Thank you for having me on this evening.

CUOMO: Am I right to have this tone of urgency that it looks less likely that something's going to get done after today?

WATERS: You should be very, very concerned. I'm very concerned.

I'm reduced to the point of pleading, not only with my colleagues, but with the American public, to plead with the Members of Congress to get something done, to make sure that the negotiations end with the people of this country being taken care of, as they expect their government to do.

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People are hurting out there. People are in lines begging for food, looking for food for each meal for their children. And the renters are absolutely terrified that they're going to be evicted. And so, we have the unemployed, we have the renters, we have families that are food- insecure, and we are basically fiddling while Rome is burning.

And the Members of Congress have got to get over this. We have got to conclude with a stimulus for the American people.

And tonight, I'm begging, I'm begging the Members of Congress to get it done. I'm begging McConnell to get off of holding up everything. I'm begging the Problem Solvers to come in with the right amount.

And I'm saying to my Democrats, you have done a good job on making concessions. You have compromised. Stick with it, and work with everybody, and let's get the money out. Let's get the stimulus checks out. Let's take care of the American people. We are desperate. I am desperate.

CUOMO: Maxine, what changed? In March, $2.2 trillion, everybody came together, got it done.

Now, the pandemic is worse, the need is greater, and the line is less than half that amount and a chunk of that less-than-half-the-amount is from the money that wasn't spent the first time and no checks for people.

What changed?

WATERS: Well, I don't know everything that changed, but I know one thing.

The President of the United States has absolutely ignored this. He's focused on himself, and all of the lies that he's telling about the fact that he has won this election.

He doesn't care. He doesn't offer any leadership. And he's left Mnuchin there to negotiate, and McConnell has absolutely, you know, absolutely been obstructionist in all of this.

And so, whether we're blaming the President, or we're blaming McConnell, or we're blaming the Problem Solvers, they have got to get together and get this done. And we cannot leave this session of Congress, this lame duck session that we're in, without getting it done. The American people are desperate and they're depending on us.

CUOMO: How can you expect these guys to make a deal when the 100 of them signed up today to overturn the election?

WATERS: It's absolutely disgusting and disappointing that they don't have any guts that they fear the President of the United States, and they all want the President to think that they have got his back.

And so, they have signed this amicus, for this case, to go before the Supreme Court. And they know that the Supreme Court is not going to entertain this at all.

They're not going to - they're going to tell them that they're not going to even listen to arguments about it because they are not a Supreme Court, as mandated by the Constitution, to overturn elections in all of these states.

And so, I don't know. The President is raising a lot of money. He's got - I think he's up to about $200 million now. And I suppose all of this money is designed to be used to continue to control the Republican Party.

The Republican Party is in disarray. It's no longer a Republican Party. And he owns it. He's taken over it. They're afraid of him. They're doing whatever he wants to do.

But the American people must not allow this to happen. Their voices have got to be whole - held - heard, rather. They've got to use social media, all of the platforms of social media, to persuade the Members of Congress, to get this done, to get a stimulus package out, to have saved the American public.

You heard what is going on, how many cases of the virus have been infected - how many people have been infected every day.

CUOMO: It's worse than ever.

WATERS: And so, we're in a terrible position. And I want the public to weigh in on it.

And I and many others in Congress, some on both sides of the aisle, mostly on the Democratic side, that are doing everything that we can to encourage the negotiations to go on, and people to negotiate in good faith, and not follow McConnell for sure.

Because he, one man, on the Senate side, absolutely leading the opposition, the obstructionist, who is absolutely interfering with the ability for this to be concluded, and it's all based on liability. He doesn't want anybody to have any liability, responsibilities.

CUOMO: What is your argument against McConnell's position that you need to do liability for employers now, otherwise they'll be taken down by people suing them for getting sick on the job?

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WATERS: Well, I think that there can be some concessions made but not totally. And that's what needs to be worked out. Where you can limit or reduce liability and where you have to have it. And that's what I expect them to do.

And so, it is not one way or the other, either no liability or all liability. And that's what has to be worked out. You cannot simply say that there can be absolutely no liability.

CUOMO: I've watched you do the job for a long time. I've never seen you like this. I've seen you passionate. But I've never seen you this worried.

WATERS: Well--

CUOMO: Why?

WATERS: Yes, I'm absolutely worried. I can't sleep.

I'm watching, you know, the millions of people, I think there are about, what, 20 million people, who have not been able to pay their rent since August. And there's about $25 billion in back-pay to these landlords that will rise to about $70 billion by the end of the year.

And I'm worried that in all of these negotiations they're talking about extending the moratorium on evictions, but they're not talking about what happens at the end of the year, when there's no longer a moratorium, and the landlords are left without any money, and the fact that evictions are going to take place.

Even the $25 billion that now is in this part of, you know, the bill that is being negotiated, certainly is not enough.

CUOMO: No.

WATERS: In the - it really should be about $100 billion. But even if it's $25 billion, and the moratorium does not last, beyond the end of the year, that $25 billion is not going to go very far.

CUOMO: Right.

WATERS: And we won't be able to get it out to the people until probably February or March.

CUOMO: Another aspect--

WATERS: So, what do we-- CUOMO: --another aspect to the relief bill - first of all, I want you to know, you're welcome on this show to make the case from now through the finish. We're not going anywhere either. We're going to be covering this all the way through.

WATERS: Thank you so very much.

CUOMO: And you're welcome on.

But something else to remind people of in terms of why they should be watching this is even if you're not in a bad way, you want the vaccine, you need this bill. The money for the distribution for the vaccine and the production to get where we need it is in this bill. So, we need it to get done.

WATERS: Absolutely. Absolutely. I was looking over that this evening. And I think they put about $6 billion in there.

CUOMO: Right.

WATERS: To deal with the vaccines, yes.

CUOMO: So, I hope it happens. We need it to happen. We'll stay on it. And you have a platform when you want it. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, thank you.

WATERS: Thank you. And thank you for your passion. You've been doing a great job on this. And that's why I'm so pleased to be here with you tonight. Thank you very much.

CUOMO: You're always invited. Best to the family. We'll do our job. You do yours. Take care.

WATERS: Thank you. You're welcome.

CUOMO: All right, we got to stay on things that matter. And how government is working through this pandemic is got to be in sharp focus because there's a lot of bullying and bad stuff going on.

And we have new video of the raid on that COVID data scientist's home in Florida. We show what she shot herself in the moment. Now we got the video of the other side but it doesn't tell that different a story.

Rebekah Jones says she was fired for not fudging numbers on the pandemic. Now there's all this reporting that there was pressure to fudge. And now, the more she talks, the more heat she's getting.

So, Rebekah Jones is back to take us through what she lived through there. And we're hearing more from the authorities as well. The latest, next.

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TEXT: CUOMO PRIME TIME.

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[21:45:00]

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CUOMO: Florida police say they have been, quote, vilified for their raid on the home of a former state COVID data scientist. They're putting out some but not all of the body cam footage of that raid.

When you watch this, keep a few things in mind. Rebekah Jones has not been charged with any crime.

According to an affidavit, authorities suspect she transmitted a message on a private Department of Health messaging system, something she denies. And the legitimacy of it being private, meaning no one from the public could access it, is also in dispute.

The body cam footage begins with officers ringing the doorbell and knocking on her door. The officer even mentions "It doesn't look like anyone's home." Take a listen.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see any sign that someone's here.

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CUOMO: About eight minutes go by. An officer calls Jones. She appears to hang up on him.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She answered. And I said "Hey, this is so and so, with FDLE (ph). Is anybody at your residence? We're trying to make contact with somebody." And I heard a little kid, like a baby, and then she hung up.

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CUOMO: So, they knew there were kids there. Remember, keep that in mind based on how they did enter eventually.

20 minutes, after knocking, the officer, holding a sledgehammer, begins discussing forcing their way in.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you do or do you want me too?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can't say they didn't know. Make sure the whole block hears us.

(POLICE OFFICER KNOCKING ON THE DOOR)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police! Search warrant. Open the door!

(POLICE OFFICER KNOCKING ON THE DOOR)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police! Search warrant. Open the door!

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CUOMO: Now, it's interesting. You heard the officer there say "Police! Search warrant. Open the door!" They didn't say that the first time. That's something we're going to want to discuss.

But, at this point, Jones comes to the door, and one officer is seen pulling out his weapon. Keep in mind, we don't see body cam footage from the officer who pulled his weapon, or when he entered the home with the gun out. We're told what we're seeing is all the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has.

Keep watching.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open the (BEEP) door now.

REBEKAH JONES, FORMER DATA SCIENTIST, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: Coming out right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open the door!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open the door!

JONES: They have a gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open the door, Ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who else is in the house, Ma'am?

JONES: My two children and my husband.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring your husband out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call him down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Jones?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call him down.

JONES: You want the children now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call them all down.

JONES: You want me to do that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Jones, come down the stairs. Now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell him (ph).

[21:50:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police! Come down now!

JONES: Do not point that gun at my children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rebekah? Rebekah? Rebekah?

JONES: He just pointed a gun at my children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rebekah? You stay right there. You stay there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Search warrant. Come down the stairs.

JONES: Why is he pointing a gun at the stairs? There are children up there.

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CUOMO: The husband, the children come downstairs. The officer puts the blame on Jones for the escalation.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're making all the wrong decisions. You understand what I'm telling you?

JONES: Pointing a gun?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I spoke to you on the phone--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just keep eye on them (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --I told you who I was. And you needed to come to the floor.

JONES: You say you needed to make contact with somebody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You looked out the window. You said park your car (ph) right there, OK?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no need for this at all.

(CROSSTALK)

JONES: Why are you here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to explain everything to you about why we're here. But right now we're off to a pretty rocky start. All you had to do was answer the door. There was no doubt who we were.

JONES: Yes. We don't.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK?

JONES: We were told we didn't have to answer the door for you. That's what our lawyer told us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK.

JONES: Not to answer the door to you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who? Just now, your lawyer told you don't answer the door?

JONES: No. The last time that you guys came.

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CUOMO: We again reached out to Governor Ron DeSantis. The FDLE is overseen by him directly. The idea that his office didn't know this was happening sounds a little too trumpy to believe. He, again, declined to defend his own forces.

Rebekah Jones is back exclusively with us tonight.

What is your reaction to seeing the tape?

JONES: It certainly didn't help them. But I'm glad that people are finally seeing, even from the police perspective, how outrageous everything was.

CUOMO: Now, they say, "No, no. It's on you, Rebekah. You knew we were there. You didn't answer. You took too long. This is what happens." Fair?

JONES: No. They called me, and as the officer mentioned, said to - they needed to make contact, wanted to know if anybody was home. I hung up the phone. I got dressed. I was down in less than six minutes after that phone call.

As far as I am understanding, unless there's a warrant, you don't need to open your door, or talk to the police, and he did not say that in that phone call. As soon as they banged on the door, and said, "Police! Search warrant. Open the door!" I was down and I opened the door.

CUOMO: Now, it's interesting what you say about the warrant. So, when he called you on the phone, he didn't say he had a warrant?

JONES: No, and it's actually previous - at an earlier point in the tape that they released where he describes that phone call saying, "Hey, I'm at your front door, is anybody home? We need to make contact." CUOMO: So, you didn't hear about a warrant then. And then, later in the tape, there is also something that made you suspicious about the color of authority of their ability to be there regarding a warrant. What did you hear on the tape?

JONES: On the tape, at I think about the 6 minute 30 second mark, one of the officers asked the lead investigator, if they were ready to go, if they had a warrant, and he responds, "No, not yet."

CUOMO: So, you're saying even if you did delay, it doesn't matter because they didn't have the warrant anyway, so he shouldn't be putting it on you.

JONES: Yes, the first I heard of warrant was when they were banging on the door, and that's when I came to open the door. I warned them there were children inside. They knew there were children inside, because hearing my daughter, in the background, on the phone call, that was six minutes before I was down.

CUOMO: And obviously what was most upsetting to you is that when the officers entered, one had a weapon drawn. And on the tape, we can't see, but where did he go with that weapon drawn?

JONES: That's where you can see the video that I've already posted. Two officers went in. One pulled out his gun, after I said my kids are upstairs. The other one was the one who was pointing it at me when I opened the door. And they went around to the stairway and were pointing them up the stairs at my husband and my two kids.

CUOMO: Do you have more video to help clarify anything that happened?

JONES: I think it's pretty clear. I do have the full video. I never released it because the next step in that is my children walking - coming downstairs with my husband, and I didn't want their faces plastered all over the news, which has now happened.

CUOMO: Nobody should show their faces. They're minors, and they're not involved in the situation. That's pretty straight protocol. But I understand your sensitivity.

What do you understand about where this stands as an investigation?

JONES: I - nowhere. It went nowhere.

CUOMO: Meaning?

JONES: Nothing's happened with it. There are no charges. I've made my warning clear to the people who have been communicating with me from state agencies that they're at risk because they have my phone now. And we haven't heard anything else back.

CUOMO: Has anyone that you've talked to said they've been contacted?

JONES: One person, yes.

CUOMO: So, you think they're using your phone to go through your contacts?

JONES: I think they're trying to flush out people that they view as being disloyal within state agencies.

CUOMO: And you put out a document that you said shows that they can't even know who would have put out that message because it's not all private. Explain.

[21:55:00]

JONES: So, I actually found out about this through a news article.

Apparently, the Department of Health has seven different PDFs that are publicly accessible through their public website that have both the user name and the password to the account that they said sent these messages. So, it is a public available and accessible account.

CUOMO: And you stand by your earlier statement to us that you did not put that message out, you had nothing to do with that?

JONES: Correct.

CUOMO: And you haven't been told when you can get your equipment back so you can continue to put out what the numbers are of cases in the state?

JONES: I have already replaced by equipment, and I started updating yesterday.

CUOMO: Rebekah Jones, thank you very much. I know this is not a comfortable situation for you, and your family, especially with the young kids. But I told you we'd stay on it until the end and we will do that.

JONES: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Be safe and thank you. Best to the kids.

We'll be right back.

JONES: Thank you.

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TEXT: LET'S GET AFTER IT.

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CUOMO: Thank you for watching. Time for the big show, "CNN TONIGHT" with the big star, D. Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: How you feeling about our democracy?

CUOMO: Um, uh, I'm in a wait-and-see mode brother. I've never seen anything like this before. And when you haven't seen anything like it before.