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Incoming Top Biden Cabinet Tested Positive; Virus Excuses No One; Rep. Katie Porter Self-Isolating; Relief Package Waiting to be Approved; Joe Biden Picks Two More Cabinet Members; Vaccine Delivery Encounter Challenges; All Eyes on January 6th. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired December 17, 2020 - 22:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: It's time for the big show, CNN Tonight and the big star, D. Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, we're friends because we're always honest with each other, right?

CUOMO: This is a set up.

LEMON: No, I am not setting you up. No, I'm setting you up. I was just going to say, what did you mean this is a set. You think you know me, don't you?

CUOMO: Yes. Yes, I do.

LEMON: What am I doing to tell you?

CUOMO: I don't know, I am not a mind reader.

LEMON: I was going to say Chris Christie is doing a great job of rehabbing reputation. He's on reputation rehab right now. And that's what he's doing. I didn't believe a word of what he said to you.

CUOMO: You don't think he wants you to wear a mask?

LEMON: He doesn't he says, he says, when he says he wants you to wear mask what he said before is that, you do that, some people do that if you want to. That's what -- that's the caveat within there. And then when it happened to him all of a sudden, he's now maybe you should wear a mask.

CUOMO: Well he's not maybe you should wear a mask. He's like, you got to wear a mask.

LEMON: You got to wear a mask.

CUOMO: He's not maybe you should wear a mask. But I hear you. I hear you.

LEMON: Before he was like, well, I think the country should open back up. We should do it with masks and gloves. But you can, you know, you know, that is your own opinion about whether you do it or not. No, it's not. Not you should wear a mask. It should be mandated to wear a mask.

CUOMO: But it's not.

LEMON: The science -- I know. It should be. And that's the point. That's what he should be saying. And he should be saying instead of, well, I have a friendship with this person and I standby them.

CUOMO: That's different. That's different.

LEMON: But that's wrong.

CUOMO: I agree.

LEMON: That does not excuse his behavior.

CUOMO: I agree.

LEMON: Because what he's doing instead of saying, you shouldn't drive, I'm taking away the keys.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: He's getting -- he got into the car with the president. He went into the meeting with him.

CUOMO: The friend thing -- the friend thing doesn't work for me the same way but that's what the audience decides.


CUOMO: The mask thing does work for me and we'll disagree. I don't believe in a mask mandate in terms of universal one for 100 days or any amount of days except when the context warrants that all places have to be treated equally. Meaning, right now, if you have case explosions all over the place, OK, you can mandate it. You can say everybody has to wear a mask and here is why.

But you can't just leave it up to people because they're not doing the right thing. We have less 50 percent compliance. The mistake was talking about a mandate when a lot of places didn't have a community spread. And it allowed --

LEMON: Like where?

CUOMO: Well, I mean, there were a lot of time in this country up until about two and half months ago where different portions of the country were doing all right. And they would move up and down.

I'm just saying that you have to be careful with must, Don. You have to be careful with must and it's easier if people arrive at the right behavior by their own conclusion.

LEMON: Well, no, I don't believe that. I think you must. Look, I love my mother very much. You love your mother very much. If you are going to be around my mother, you must wear a mask.

CUOMO: Must wear a mask. Yes.

LEMON: If you are going to be shopping in a grocery store with me or anywhere that the public is allowed to go.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: You must wear a mask.

CUOMO: Right, you don't need the government to tell you that.

LEMON: You must wear a mask. They don't need to tell you.

CUOMO: You are not doing it because the government made you.

LEMON: Well, some people maybe they should, maybe they would get fine. Maybe they suffer some --


CUOMO: How would you even enforce it? You'd never ever be able to enforce it.

LEMON: What do you mean how would you enforce it? Do you enforce it when people speed down the highway?

CUOMO: No, not at all.

LEMON: Do you enforce it -- do you enforce it when people jaywalk in some cities? People do it. Just because you don't do it that often it doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to enforce it. Just because people may not comply it doesn't mean that you shouldn't enforce it or you shouldn't have a mandate for it. people don't -- you have a mandate to have a driver's license. Not everybody does it. You have the -- you have the --


CUOMO: Do you think Biden is going to make a mask mandate?

LEMON: I don't know if he's -- I don't know what Biden is going to do, you're going to have to ask him

CUOMO: But what does it tell you?

LEMON: I am not talking about Biden.

CUOMO: Do you think that Democrats will try a mask mandate?

LEMON: I don't know. This is not about Democrats or Republicans. But I'm saying --


CUOMO: I'm saying why do you think they're not doing it?

LEMON: You have a mandate for a lot of things that people don't do but that doesn't mean that you should not mandate it.

CUOMO: The only mandate we have that's anything like this other than the fact that you have to wear clothes, is when you have to wear seatbelt, and in some states a helmet.

LEMON: No, you don't.

CUOMO: Those are laws.

LEMON: Well, that's -- we are making the same point.

CUOMO: No, there is no law here.

LEMON: You are contradicting yourself.

CUOMO: And there is no law here. What are you talking about?

LEMON: No shirts, no shoes, no service. So why can't you say no mask, no service? How would you enforce it if someone goes into the grocery store naked?

CUOMO: By the way, no shoes, no shirt, no service is not a law.

LEMON: All right.

CUOMO: It's a private business' policy. This is --


LEMON: OK. All right. If somebody goes into the supermarket naked, what's going to happen? They're going to call the cops and what are they're going to do?

CUOMO: It depends on how they look, if I'm running the supermarket. Whoa.

LEMON: Most likely it's going to be you in the supermarket, and I am going to be like. But you know what, look, I'm just saying there were a lot of things that Chris Christie could have done to help the country when he had the opportunity to help fewer people get sick and fewer people die. And he didn't do it. And when he got sick, he rushed to the hospital and maybe took a bed from someone who would may not have been there if he had said the president is wrong.


CUOMO: We don't know that. We don't know that. That's a torture analysis.


LEMON: Yes, we do. Yes, we do. Yes, we do know it.

CUOMO: He got sick. He deserved the bed.

LEMON: A lot of people get sick. And I'm not saying, and some people wear mask and they do get sick. I'm not saying he didn't deserve the bed.

CUOMO: He said he was wearing a mask, too, except for those few days because he was getting tested all the time.

LEMON: What does that matter. Honey, I didn't wear them on and that one time --


CUOMO: He made a mistake. He says I made a mistake.

LEMON: -- I'm supposed to do it. When you're -- but that does not excuse him from his behavior. That does not help --


CUOMO: But he said I was wrong. What do you want him to do?

LEMON: I wanted him to say what the president did wrong. I wanted him to stop making excuses for the president's behavior and trying to say that his friendship somehow excuses his behavior and his wrongdoing. He's a grown man. What he should have said is I should not have gone into that room. I should have told my friend the truth at the time. I should have distance myself from him when he was exhibiting the wrong behavior.

I don't say Chris, guess what, I think my Chris, I love my friend Chris, I am going to stand behind him and I'm going to let him drive drunk. I'm not going to do that, and I'm not going to stand by you if you the wrong thing. Now publicly I say I'll be your friend, but you screwed up.

CUOMO: Right.

LEMON: You did the wrong thing.

CUOMO: He's saying the same thing.

LEMON: I'm not going to get in the car with you. No, he is not.

CUOMO: He is, he said, I don't think you are listening to the interview. But anyway, --

LEMON: I did listen to the interview.

CUOMO: Here is what he said. He said, I am not going to not be friends with the guy because he does things I don't agree with and I think he's wrong.


LEMON: But I'm going to advice, I'm going to continue to advice the person in a room not wearing mask for a debate where he is going to laugh and make fun of the person who is standing in the stage next to him --


CUOMO: I'll take you --

LEMON: -- for wearing a mask.

CUOMO: I'll take you to the same place but on a different analysis, OK? Which is this. Trump is not just a friend doing things that you have an honest disagreement with. OK? Trump is lying his ass off about something that is fundamental to our democracy --


CUOMO: -- and Governor Christie knows it and he knows Trump knows it. He knows that this time --


LEMON: Is he calling him out on it?

CUOMO: No. And that's why I agree with you about that. That the friendship thing doesn't hold for me. Because if all of a sudden, I started talking about Mexicans in a way that they were a threat to America, our friendship would be over. You would come to me you would try to explain, you know what you are saying, right, you know that it's wrong, do you get it? Or if you don't get it, let me help you get it.

Once I said, yes, I get it, Don, and this is what I'm going to say because it works for me. The friendship would be over. That's not happening here and my opinion is that that is not a compelling thing to hear from Governor Christie. But that's my opinion. I'll let other people decide. The friendship point didn't work. He is doing something, Don, that almost no one in his party is doing even if they got sick.

LEMON: After the Electoral College --


CUOMO: Even now they're no doing it.

LEMON: After the Electoral College --

CUOMO: No, no, no. He was saying before the Electoral College, he was saying that the lawsuits weren't --


LEMON: But now he's out giving interviews and speaking about it.

CUOMO: And I think that that's about trying to get to the front of the line. Doing the right thing but trying to get to the front of the line within the party which is part of politics at least he's doing it in a positive message. These people who got sick and know why they got sick and should be telling people differently like Mike Pence


CUOMO: -- are not doing what he's doing.


CUOMO: That's all I'm saying.

LEMON: I got to do. But you don't reward bad behavior for bad behavior. And you tell people when they are wrong in the moment. That's how I feel.

CUOMO: I do not think that's a unique standard.


LEMON: And in the moment -- in the moment you are wrong right now.

CUOMO: You may think that I am wrong.

LEMON: I got to go.

CUOMO: Laughing the laugh of the damn. D. Lemon, I love you, day in, day out. Right and wrong.

LEMON (on camera): I love you more. That's what I think. We're always going to be onto it. I love you too. I'll see you soon. be safe out there.

This is CNN Tonight. I am Don Lemon.

And this country is in the middle of a crisis that cannot wait 34 days. Tell people they're wrong when they're wrong not when it's just convenient for you. Thirty-four days that's when there is going to be a new president. But until then we have to live and die with the one that we got right now. The one who is doing nothing about the virus that's killing us, thousands of us every single day, every day.

Here is our breaking news. The most Americans in the hospital tonight since the beginning of the pandemic. The one who is doing nothing about a stimulus bill to save millions of Americans terrified that they won't be able to put food on the table with time running out. The one who hasn't spoken on the massive cyber breach that we are learning tonight is much, much worse that we knew.

More breaking news. Homeland security warning tonight the suspected Russian hacking campaign was much bigger than previously believed. We can't wait 34 days until Joe Biden takes the oath of office. We need it help and we need it right now. And the current president is MIA, missing in action, whining about his election lost. Chris Christie saying this just moments ago.


FMR. GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ): This is who he is. He was not going to accept losing lightly or easily if losing came. And that's what's happening. (END VIDEO CLIP)


LEMON (on camera): Well, he was never going to accept losing. Never. Never going to accept the result of our free and fair election. Never going to accept the will of the people. How can you support someone like that? A person who doesn't care about democracy. A president who does nothing as America passes another terrible milestone.

More than 17 million cases of the virus. One of those is Congressman Cedric Richmond, Joe Biden's incoming White House senior adviser and director of the Office of Public Engagement, who is tested positive for COVID. And I spoke with him just a little while ago. And I'm going to fill you in of what he said about his case and what contact he did or he had with the president-elect.

I also talked to Congresswoman Katie Porter who told me that she is quarantining now at home with her kids after being exposed at work. And now we are learning that the Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar's wife has tested positive.

So, listen. I am not damming anyone. Anyone can get it. I mean, the virus is insidious, right? But this is all about the behavior of our leaders and what they have said and how they have behaved, what they are saying now and how they are behaving now because they are our leaders. They set the example.

This virus is everywhere. It is spreading everywhere. That as an FDA advisory panel recommends a second vaccine, one that could be used as soon as next week. But the fact is, we are facing a very dark winter. Remember this warning from the CDC Director, Dr. Robert Redfield?


ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: We are in this time frame now that probably for the next 60 to 90 days, we're going to have more deaths per day than we had in 9/11.


LEMON (on camera): Think about this. Three -- three thousand six hundred fifty-six Americans were reported dead in just one day yesterday. If we continue to see a horrific toll like that every day, even if we don't see a surge after Christmas. That means more than 124,000, more Americans would be dead by the end of this president's term.

President Trump needs to get out there and tell people to wear masks and sit tight. Stay home. Wait for their vaccine and stay safe in the meantime. Gee, why wouldn't he not do that? On the hack, should he at least call out the Russians? Gee, I wonder why he wouldn't do that, ever. But what do you expect from the president who said this about Russian interference two years ago in Helsinki?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me, and some other. They said they think it's Russia. I have President Putin, he just said it is not Russia. I will say this. I don't see any reason why it would be.


LEMON (on camera): President-elect Biden with this warning. Our adversaries should know that as president, I will not stand idly by in the face of cyber assaults on our nation. But that's exactly what the current president is doing, standing idly by. Mr. I alone can fix it. He's not lifting a finger to fix any of this. Not the hack, not the pandemic, not the crashing economy. Did you see those unemployment numbers?

Whatever happened to the president who love to tell us that he is the biggest expert on well just about everything?


TRUMP: I, alone, can fix it.

I am the chosen one.

People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said how do you know so much about this. Maybe I have a natural ability.

UNKNOWN: How is it that you don't trust your experts, do you think you know better than they do?

TRUMP: No, I think -- I think I have, yes, in many cases, I do.

I know more about ISIS than the generals do.

I think nobody knows much more about technology, this type of technology certainly than I do.

Nobody knows more about technology than me.

Nobody in the history of this country has ever known so much about infrastructure as Donald Trump.

I understand money better than anybody.

Nobody knows that better than me.

Look, I know about renewables than any human being on earth.

I think I know more about the other side than almost anybody.

I'm very highly educated. I know words, I have the best words.

I know a lot. I know more than I'm ever going to tell you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [22:14:54]

LEMON (on camera): He's not even an expert on the election that he lost. The one he is complaining and lying about while feeding bogus conspiracies to his supporters.

How do you believe anything that comes out of this man's mouth? And to the point with Chris, how do you -- how are you friends with someone who just lies and misleads people? Just lies at will, has done such a horrible job with the pandemic. I can't seeing wear a mask not with the dictators and -- the Resolute desk.

Freedom, open up, open up the country. Don't take my liberty away. People are, it's a hoax, it's going to go away. He's attacking everything, even the electoral process, attacking anyone who doesn't bow to his will. It is ridiculous, people.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a frequent Trump target, interesting because he carried water for so long for the man. He's telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution Trump supporters are even harassing his children. Saying, quote, "we have -- we have the no crying in politics rule in the Kemp house. But this is a stuff that if I said it, I would be taken to the woodshed and would never see the light of day."

The governor, you are right, you are right about that. And you should not be getting threats from any -- and no one should be talking that way. But guess what. It's been happening to a lot of people for years. And many of you said absolutely nothing. Nothing. Now it's happening to you. And now you understand so I'm glad at least you understand how it felt to be the target of such things for the past five years. It doesn't feel good at all.

No one should go after him or his kids. The thing is that Governor Kemp knew the president spread dangerous lies and conspiracy, he knew it. Somehow it only matters to him when it's his career and his family who are impacted.

The current president is not doing his job. He's not protecting American lives but things are going to change and we are learning more tonight about who will be serving in Joe Biden's government. OK? Sources say that Biden has picked New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland for interior secretary. She's a -- she would be the first Native American cabinet secretary. Michael Regan to head the EPA, he'd be the first Black man to head that agency.

This is about environment justice, right? Get ready to hear a lot more about that. Joe Biden promised you a cabinet that looks like America.


BIDEN: I promise you it will be the single most diverse cabinet based on race, color, based on gender that's ever existed in the United State of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON (on camera): This is what America looks like. Black and brown

people, LGBTQ, straight, women, and men. Things are going to change in this country. But that change can't come soon enough. And tragically, an awful lot of people are going to die before it does.

So, as I told you just a short while ago, top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond testing positive for the virus, I talked to him tonight. You are going to hear what he says. That's next.



LEMON: The pandemic getting worse and worse. Time running out for the stimulus. And we are learning tonight that the Russia cyberattack is much, much worse than we thought. I want to bring in CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, and senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny.

Good evening to both of you. Good to see you. Kaitlan, you first. Is anyone on the White House working on multiple crises facing the American people right now?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, that's a big question. And of course, it ultimately starts with President Trump and what he is doing. There are definitely people who are focused on it.

But Don, what we've heard from multiple people is there are more people who wish the president would be more involved in this public education campaign about the vaccine and encouraging people to get it. Given that ha been one of the biggest concerns besides the logistic of administering the vaccine is actually getting people to want to take it.

And you have not seen the president take a public face role in that. He tweeted about the vaccines earlier today but it mostly was talking about how it's being viewed and how the roll-out is going. Often how the president sees thing which is -- sees things which is to the lens of how they are being covered and not really talking about people getting it.

And so, we know the vice president is going to get it on camera tomorrow morning. We still don't know when the president is actually going to get it himself. He's committed to getting it but no one have said when or whether or not that will be on camera.

And so many people have thought that would actually be critical to encouraging his supporters who of course, we saw how it went with wearing a mask how the president encouraged -- or did not encourage people to do that and it did not, you know, translate down to his supporters. And so that's a concern we've heard from people about the vaccine as well.

LEMON: Jeff, you know, just a while ago I spoke with the incoming White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond who tested positive for COVID. He told me he's going to isolate at home for at least 10 days and you know, see how he test right after that. And he's following all the rules of the transition and their COVID protocols.

He said president -- the president-elect at that rally on Tuesday outside and they didn't get very close according to him but they were both wearing masks. He said, quote, "I'm feeling fine, I have mild symptoms, no fever. "

How does this affect the Biden and his close associates, the president-elect and his close associates?


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, it's a stark example, yet another stark example of how the different sides handle this differently. This was announced by the Biden transition that Congressman Richmond did test positive.

You know, there is a protocol in place. So, we have seen really obviously throughout the course of the campaign, certainly since election day and on and their policies, but more importantly in their actions. And this is going to, you know, it's certainly a reminder of the fact that this virus is very much alive out there.

I was at that rally in Atlanta on Tuesday. It was an outdoor rally. Everyone was distanced. They were apart from each other. But of course, he did come into contact with some people. So, it's, look, you know, a huge reminder that even politicians are susceptible to this.

But what it also shows that the president-elect is going to get his vaccine, we're told early next week, likely on Monday, perhaps a day after that or so. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also planning on getting heard sometime next week. Again, to set an example and show that this is a safe vaccine and that, you know, there should be social distancing and masking, et cetera.

But we certainly don't know how far this is going to go. One thing that the president-elect Biden does virtually every day, his staff announced that he has tested negative for coronavirus. We've not seen a result from him in about 24 hours or so. They may do it tomorrow. But this is something that really is a stark different. But we'll just have to see how this goes.

I mean, this is an ongoing thing. We see the numbers just rising across the country. And it seeps into politics as well, but in a policy matter so different how team Biden is handling it than the Trump administration.

LEMON: That's why our leaders need to get the vaccine as soon as possible. I mean, he's about to be the leader of the free world, he should get it. He should have gotten it already, in my opinion. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

The pandemic is spreading. No one is safe from the virus. Congresswoman Katie Porter says she is self-quarantining after being exposed to someone who tested positive. She's here, next.


LEMON: Breaking news tonight, Congresswoman Katie Porter tells me she is in self-quarantine at home after coming in contact with a coronavirus through someone at work. Porter is on the show to talk about the rush to get the stimulus deal on Capitol Hill. All of a sudden now, it's a rush, right?

And she finds herself like millions of other Americans exposed to the coronavirus and concern for her family.

And this just in. All members of Congress will be eligible to receive the COVID vaccine, that's according to a memo from the capitol -- from the capitol attending physician and the press release from the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who says she'll get the vaccine within the next few days.

As far as the business before Congress goes, the bill they are working on has a price tag of $900 billion with money for vaccine distributions and schools and extension of jobless benefits at $300 a week. Money for small business loans, and perhaps around $600 per person in stimulus checks depending on how much money you make.

Joining me now Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter from California. Congresswoman, I really appreciate you joining me. Thank you so much.

You just told me as we were preparing for this interview, right, you just told me that you were exposed to coronavirus, what can you tell us about it?

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Well, I mean, I think it's an experience that's all too familiar for all too many Americans at this point. I was exposed to someone who's tested positive. I'm doing my very best to quarantine here at home. I'm hoping my kids can figure out how to heat up the dinner that I'm thankful that I had already premade for them luckily enough. But I'm little lock myself in my bedroom for the next couple of days.

I got a test. It will be a couple days until I get a result. But I think the important thing for people to understand is, it's not just about wearing a mask, it's not just about washing your hands. It's most importantly about staying at home. And I was exposed in my workplace.

LEMON: Yes. And you were exposed by someone you work with, am I correct?



PORTER: And we have a very big -- very serious telework policy but once in a while we have to do things in-person.


PORTER: So, that person is symptomatic. We're hoping that I won't have it, most importantly to me that my children don't have it.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, and we are thinking about you and your family. So, you didn't -- you didn't get a rapid test, right? You got a PCR test and you are awaiting the results.

PORTER: I got a PCR test. They are saying two to result -- days for the results. But our ICUs are full here in Orange County as they are in so many other places. And you know, I lost my grandmother to COVID- 19 on Sunday morning. And so, you know, I think families are feeling this really reverberate among them.

LEMON: And your kids, you don't know. And your family you have no idea because you just got the information. Wow.

PORTER: Yes, I am working on setting up appointments for my kids to be tested but they have a different doctor and a different healthcare system, all the publicly available drive-thru testing are booked up for about six to seven days out.

LEMON: Yes. Well, listen, you've always been very candid when it comes to everything and now you are candid about this. And I think you will agree just because there is a vaccine out there that's being districted, you still can't let your guard down in these moments.

PORTER: No. It's all the more important right now.


PORTER: Because you know, we're really at maximum capacity in our hospitals.


PORTER: So be vigilant, everyone. And we're all going to have to do our best to try to protect each other.

LEMON: OK. That's protecting people from getting, becoming infected. Now, let's talk about relief, OK? Can I ask you, you know, what a lot of struggling Americans are thinking right now, and that is, Congresswoman, where is the deal?

PORTER: Listen, I'd like to know too. The House put forward a deal back in July. We voted again. And for another deal we called it HEROES, that we voted for HEROES 2.0. Why are we leaving this to literally the 11th or 12th hour? We may even be facing a few hours of sort of government shutdown, or quasi government shutdown. Why are we leaving this long, I think is really shameful.

The other thing is we're not doing stimulus work. We are doing disaster relief work. That's the situation we're facing in our country, a literal economic and health disaster.



PORTER: The fact that we can't come together on a bipartisanship basis on what is essentially disaster relief I think is shameful.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, a lot of people are counting on you guys. There's been a late push for direct stimulus checks. This time it could be $600 for individuals depending on how much money they make.

Is that money for the stimulus checks impacting how long unemployment benefits would be extended? Excuse me.

PORTER: Well, again, these are not stimulus checks. These are survival, disaster payments. And Senator McConnell is trying to make sure that people who are getting unemployment don't also get the stimulus, get the survival payment. But the reality here is the most effective, the most fiscally conservative way to help people is to put money directly into their hands quickly.

And all of these different things that he's trying to do, all of these layers he's trying to put on it are going to slow the relief down. Are just going to leave people in an impossible situation here going into January and February.

LEMON: Yes. Jobless benefits could be $300 per week. Meanwhile, the domino -- domino pizza -- Domino's Pizza, I should say, is giving some of its employees up to $1,200 in bonuses. Is that going to be hard to explain to people? Three hundred dollars doesn't go very far these days, you know?

PORTER: Absolutely. It doesn't go very far. And I represent coastal Orange County and central Orange County. This area that won't -- that won't cover a weeks' worth of rep for most of our markets here in California. And so, look, I thought it was interesting that just a few minutes ago, I heard that, you know, President Trump wanted to do checks up to $2,000. And his aides had talked him out of it. Shame on them.

LEMON: Wow. Republicans are saying that they need more to get a deal done. But, I mean, and they said that don't happen. But the reality of much needed relief only hit Republicans when the Electoral College affirm that President-elect Joe Biden won and that was earlier in the week.

PORTER: Absolutely. These cries they are making that they need to get more for this group or that industry or whatever they're hawking really ring hollow. I think the American people who are literally going hungry tonight, many of them, understand the hypocrisy here.

This problem didn't just emerge. We needed to pass this bill back in June. We needed to pass a big bill back in June recognizing that COVID is going to be with us for a long time. And even now when we hear President-elect Biden say that whatever Congress does is just going to be a down payment. I mean, I think the American people who were trying to buy groceries tonight you can't make a down payment on food.

LEMON: There is a push by Republicans to restrict federal -- the Federal Reserve's emergency lending authority. Some Democrats say that could hamstring the incoming Biden administration. Why is that, Congresswoman? PORTER: Because what Congress did is, we allocated money to the

Federal Reserve to have in this lending, we call the lending facility. And basically, that money allows the Fed when there is a market crash or a need to stabilize a certain sector of the economy to moving quickly and do that.

Secretary Mnuchin is claiming without any even written opinion from a lawyer and he's not a lawyer that the law somehow requires him to give this money back. I think that is legally wrong.

I think that it is a terrible policy idea because what it's going to do is leave the Fed in the position of having to go back to Congress and ask for resources in the event of more economic downturn. And we've all seen, if there is one thing that we've learned about Congress in the last few months is that we're not good at responding quickly.

LEMON: So, are you going to get the deal?

PORTER: I think there is going to be a deal but I really think it's not going to be enough particularly on the issue of state and local funding and making sure that our cities and our states are able to continue to pay first responders.

LEMON: How much longer?

PORTER: I think we'll have a deal by Saturday.

LEMON: OK. That's what I wanted to hear. How much longer, and I think that's what the American they wanted to hear. As you said, June but here we are, we are where we are.

Listen, we are thinking about you. We thank you for being so candid. You be safe here and your family and be well. Thank you so much.

PORTER: Thank you.

LEMON: And FDA panel giving a green light for a second coronavirus vaccine desperately needed good news at a time when the pandemic has never been worse.



LEMON (on camera): So here is some breaking news. The FDA plans to quickly grant emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine. That can allow for up for 7.9 million doses to be shipped in the next week. two million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 5.9 million of Moderna's according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

There were over 222,000 new confirmed cases today. We have set the hospitalization record for the 16th day in a row. And more than 3,000 deaths were reported today alone.

Joining me now is Dr. Chris Murray. Dr. Chris Murray is the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. And we thank him for joining us. Thank you so much, sir. I appreciate it.

So, two vaccines under emergency use, what kind of impact is that going to have on those, on these soaring death tolls and case numbers?

CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION: Well, Don, eventually the vaccine is going to have extraordinary impact and get us back to normal. But the problem is that given the number of doses, given the time it will take to deliver those doses, we are still going to live through rising case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths probably well into February. So, we still see things getting worse and then we'll start to see the effect of the vaccine we hope really kicking in once we get into the middle of February.


LEMON: Man, I hope you are right. It would be great it could happen earlier. But, you know, it just doesn't work that way.

So, getting the vaccine delivered is key. Some governors are saying that they have notified and they're going to get fewer doses and they aren't sure why. They have been notified, they said they're going to get fewer doses and they're not sure why. Could follow-ups and delivery blunt the impact of these vaccines?

MURRAY: Well, you know, what we know from the history of rolling out new interventions, new vaccines is it takes some time to get it to the people who need it. But the sort of the saving grace here is that in every year with seasonal flu the U.S. is able to deliver about three million doses a day of just the regular flu vaccine and so that makes us think that it will take us a while but will ramp up to a pretty high rate in a matter of a month or two months to get up to the high level.

LEMON: So, it's been a couple of weeks, three weeks since Thanksgiving cases are out of control, we are setting records for hospitalizations and deaths on almost daily basis. Should anyone be getting together with extended family or households that are outside of their won bubble for Christmas next week?

MURRAY: Absolutely not, Don. We know that COVID is incredibly transmissible. It's really seasonal so it's much worse at greater risk of transmission in the winter months. As you say, things are getting worse particularly in the number of big population states. So, no. People should stay safe. They should stay with their own households and really avoid those gatherings that can be so risky.

LEMON: Chris Murray, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us. be safe.

MURRAY: Pleasure.

LEMON: Thank you. President Trump has spent his entire term speaking -- or excuse me --

seeking the spotlight until now. His disappearing act coming as the country faces unprecedented crisis.



LEMON (on camera): At least one incoming senator seems to be willing to keep trying to overturn the will of the people and the president loves to hear it.

I want to bring in now CNN senior political analyst Kirsten Powers, and political commentator, Charlie Dent, a former Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania. Good evening to both of you. Good to see you. Doing OK?



LEMON: Great. Great, great, great. Kirsten, so the Senator-elect Tommy Tuberville is not ruling out objecting to the election results when Congress tallies the votes on January 6. Watch this.


TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R), U.S. SENATOR-ELECT: Listen to me now. We have no choice but to win this election. They are going to try to steal it. They are going to try to buy it. They are going to do everything they can, lie, cheat, steal to win this election like they did in presidential election.

UNKNOWN: Are you going to fight to make this election right?

TUBERVILLE: We are going to fight hard.

UNKNOWN: What can you all do on January 6th? Madison said you all had to tricks up your sleeve?

TUBERVILLE: Just wait. Just -- well, you see what's coming. You've been reading about it in the House of Representatives.

UNKNOWN: We're going to have to, we're going to have to do it in the Senate.


LEMON: Lordy, lordy, lordy. And President Trump is taking notice tonight, tweeting more Republicans should follow his lead. I mean, this plays into Trump's twisted narrative that he has been cheated and why is this guy going along with this B.S.?

POWERS: I don't know. I can't get into his motives, but you know, it's obviously completely made up. It's not -- it is going to create delays but it's not going to actually ultimately change the outcome of what happens. So, I don't think people should be too concerned about that.

But just the idea that you have, you know, people out there, somebody who is going to be a U.S. senator saying these kinds of things is so scary and, also, just to consider anybody who's been sitting here watching the news what is actually happening in this country right now in terms of this pandemic, in terms of needing a stimulus package.

And you have the President of the United States, you know, is tweeting about still this craziness with this idea that somehow the election has been stolen rather than actually dealing with the job of being the president rather than actually dealing with the fact of, you know, major hacking throughout the U.S. government.

I mean, it is just -- I'm kind of at a loss for words at this point.

LEMON: Yes. Charlie, listen. The number two Republican senator, John Thune, you know, the tall guy you always see behind in the background there, he's been there for a while. He is hoping that Tuberville doesn't do it. He says it's time to move on. Do you think the Republican Senate is going to stay in line?

DENT: I think that most Republican senators overwhelmingly will follow John Thune and Mitch McConnell on this. What Senator Tuberville is doing is not a great way to start your Senate career. He is a new guy. As Kirsten said he might disrupt things, slow things down a little bit. He is not going to change the outcome. It's a complete waste of time. I think the senators will be more disciplined than the House members frankly. I'm more worried about the House being disrupted at this point than the Senate.

LEMON: Really? Why so? Tell me about it.

DENT: Well, because I think there are more members. You saw, you know, I believe over 126 signed a letter --


DENT: -- basically supporting the Texas lawsuit that would have disenfranchised millions of voters in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. In many respects I think they are less disciplined in the House on these types of matters. They don't follow instructions as well from their leadership as do, as does the senators. So, I think you have a potential problem.


Now again, it'll be disruptive. It's not going to change an outcome. Joe Biden is going to be elected and he'll be approved by the House and Senate on January 6th.

LEMON: It's just one more delusional act to add to the circus that is already in Washington right now.

Kirsten, yes, I've got to talk about this because he, you know, Charlie just mentioned, you know, how Congress has to -- you know, he is concerned about -- well he talked about the 126 folks who voted for this crazy Texas, you know, lawsuit or at least signed on, I should say.

POWERS: Right.

LEMON: So, the president-elect picked Congresswoman Deb Haaland to lead the Interior Department. She is going to be the first Native American cabinet secretary but by choosing her Democrats will only have a three-seat vote margin in the House. So again, to Charlie's point, they have to stick together if they want to get something done and if they want to maintain a majority, right, a majority vote?

POWERS: Yes. Yes. Absolutely. I mean, I think, look. The thing about it is that Nancy Pelosi, there are people I know AOC has come out recently and said she thinks she needs to be replaced eventually. She is very good at keeping the Democrats together and very good at navigating those differences. So at least they do have somebody who has experience managing the different sort of personalities and different factions that are in the Democratic Party but that is a very narrow margin. That doesn't give you a lot to play with.

And you know, what's going on here even though ultimately all of this is going to end up with Joe Biden as President of the United States there's been a lot of damage done to democracy and there's been a lot of damage done to our systems. And I don't think we should overlook that. You know, I think that we don't realize sometimes how fragile our democracy actually really is.

You know, people who look at this certainly a lot of people I've been interviewing recently for a book I'm working on about the division in the country, people who are experts on this, experts on democracy and have looked at other countries are saying like, this is starting to look like a lot of other countries that ended up in civil wars. And so, you know, we have to be, we have to really take this seriously.

LEMON: Thank you both. Good to see you. Be safe.

POWERS: Thank you.

DENT: Thanks, Don.

LEMON: The Republican Party becoming more and more detached from the reality under Trump, under President Trump. Well, Biden is optimistic he will be able to reach bipartisan agreement. But will the road blocks be insurmountable?