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CUOMO PRIME TIME

Rudy Giuliani Voted By Affidavit Ballot, Process He Bashed In Failed Effort To Overturn Election; FBI Vetting National Guard Troops Amid Fears Of An Inside Attack On Biden Inauguration; U.S. Health Officials Warn Of Surge In COVID-19 Variants As Cases Rise And Vaccinations Lag. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 18, 2021 - 21:00   ET

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


[21:00:00]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: They have to get that clinical proof. And eventually, they may get there. But for now, Fauci says stick with full doses, if you can get them, or as soon as you can.

News continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

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

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

This week will be remembered for a long time. The question is, how? Hope with me that today, Dr. King's example, inspires the many, striving for better, and enlightens the toxic few, determined to be their worst.

We could not have a better reminder that you can't kill an idea with violence. Only a better idea can prevail. Equality and justice, as Dr. King taught us, they are the best ideas.

Darkness can only be removed by the light of truth. And love is the ultimate form of truth. But also that racial progress can enrage some in the majority, and that violence can be used, as a refuge, for those coming from a place of animus and ignorance. And that democracy, even in America, is a fragile, fragile thing.

At last, reality has the Capitol, and this country, in a state of high anxiety.

The Inaugural Committee lighting the "Field of Flags" on a deserted National Mall tonight, illuminating 56 pillars of light, representing every state and territory. Some 200,000 U.S. flags standing tall, representing Americas, unable to attend the Biden Inauguration, due to the pandemic and now, due to the disease of division.

25,000 National Guard members must protect our democracy from ourselves. We can no longer boast "Peaceful transfer of power." There is no peace. We must be suspicious of even the peacekeepers. All are being vetted

by the FBI, ahead of Wednesday, to ensure that none will turn on their country, and pose an insider threat. We used to have to do that in Iraq, by the way.

This is where we are, four years of Trump, the only place his demagoguery could take us, chaos capped off by a Capitol coup.

Candidate Biden warned us we were in for a battle of the soul of our nation, seemed dramatic at the time. Now seems more prophetic.

How do you restore a soul? How do you unify those who see benefit and power in division? That alone would be a daunting, daunting task. But that is just one of the problems on Biden's plate. Literally a sea of tsunamis, thanks to the worst president in my lifetime.

The man who made it cool to be cruel, in too many places in this country, who ignored a pandemic that is getting worse, killing more, and he could care less, as the economy he falsely bragged about is now really in distress. He leveraged fear and lies to blind million to the facts, to put racism on the rise, replace dialog with rage, and motivate masses to become monsters.

So, let's follow the mandate of Martin. Let's shine the light. Let's reveal the truth of his efforts. Inside the Trump insurrection, we will show you tonight, in a way you have not seen before.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're outnumbered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a fucking million of us out there, and we are listening to Trump, your boss.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Defend your Constitution! Defend your liberty!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Defend your liberty! Defend your Constitution!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Defend your Constitution!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 1776!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're afraid of Antifa? Well, guess what? America showed up!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Knock, knock. We're here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this the Senate?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where the fuck are they? Where are they?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While we're here, we might as well set up a government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And look here, look.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ted Cruz's objection to the Arizona--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Ted Cruz's objection. He was going to sell us out all along.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection to counting electoral votes of the state of Arizona.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I get a photo of that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait, no that's a--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no that's actually OK.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, all right.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's with us. He's with us.

JACOB CHANSLEY, "QANON SHAMAN" CHARGED OVER U.S. CAPITOL RIOTS: Yes!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Capitol building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a good one. This is a good one.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pending roll (ph) or whatever. Hawley, Cruz.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Cruz would want us to do this, so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[21:05:00]

CUOMO: What an ugly, ugly joke they've made of this country, of what they say is their country. They couldn't even read the papers correctly.

They were so worried for a moment that one of their patron saints had done them wrong. They referenced Cruz and Hawley and Trump as their inspiration. "Cruz would want us to do this." All on tape put out by "The New Yorker."

And what is most evident of all in that is that they felt entitled. They thought that they were empowered to be there that they weren't just like all the other criminal scum that decided to transcend law in the name of protests.

And that "Wall of Shame," that's why they felt empowered. Cruz, Hawley, 145 Re-Trump-licans, and yes, that's what you are, until you show yourself to acknowledge what you did wrong, and be something that shows you as being right.

You people did what the terrorists couldn't. You left a stain on the actual democratic process. You voted to overturn an election based on lies, the darkness, the lure of more power, of being the next demagogue.

Today, we remember what is true about men and women like them. We need leaders not in love with money but justice. Not about publicity but humanity. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.!

MLK dreamed of a day when people would be judged by character over color. All these years later, we are still haunted by the nightmare of White supremacy, even worse than in King's day in this way.

Today, we have a president, who actively coddled and loved them, while demonizing those fighting against racism and systemic inequality. Think about that! We are in a worse situation, in that regard, than in the maelstrom of the '60s.

"When the looting starts, the shooting starts," Trump said, about people fighting systemic injustice.

But now, he says he loves these people, so he owns White-hate, and so do you in his Party. Why? Because too many of you ignored it, and therefore empowered it. And many of you were complicit in his illicit acts.

Today, see them pose as apostles of King. Witness the frauds. Cruz writing, "Now more than ever we are reminded of the power of King's words, calling on all of us to have the courage to face uncertainties of the future."

Yes, Ted! The uncertainties that you helped cause, for America's future, and you thought it would pay off with power. I think you will be opposed, by many in your Party, for years to come, because you will be seen as what not to be.

Senator Lindsey Graham tweeting, King's dream addressed words "Mean as much today as when they were delivered." And yet, he called Trump a healer yesterday. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): President Trump never said "Go into the Capitol, and try to interrupt a Joint Session of Congress."

President Trump is trying to heal the nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: What is wrong with that guy? Just when you think he has remembered his personal history, and his intelligence, he just becomes a ghost again, just this kind of empty echo of a madman.

Graham, Cruz, a laundry list of others, they are anti-Martin. In a world that should be about brotherhood, responsibility, and justice, they are more Martian, in that world, than Martin.

I told you in the beginning. We had new evidence to further expose the lie that started all of this, all right? You can thank CNN's KFILE.

They dug up proof that Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who tried to get this election overturned, by the courts, personally voted in this election, in New York, using a method, he argued was fraudulent elsewhere. He voted by affidavit ballot, a provisional ballot.

[21:10:00]

Can you believe the insanity? Yes, you can. Because lies are obvious and ugly when set against the light of truth.

King gave us the keys to the kingdom. He showed us the way, and told us that we will overcome challenges, like those today. But it wasn't automatic. Who will do the work? "Let nobody give you the impression that only time will solve the problem," said King.

So, are we about to do the work of coming together, in a quest, for a more perfect union? Because time alone will heal nothing by itself!

Deeper insight now, from Abby Phillip, and David Gregory.

We say this every year, Abby, on MLK Jr. Day, which is "I wonder what Dr. King would say today!"

And it is an impossible thing to answer, except in moments like these, that do, that are completely concordant with what he was up against then, except he had a President - he has a President now, who may have posed the biggest opposition to him.

What should we remember?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well I think that this Martin Luther King Day is one of the most, I think, it's sad the way that people are trying to use Martin Luther King to further the perception that they are in favor of the things that he stood for, even while doing everything within their power to do exactly the opposite, even while constantly lying and provoking violence, and trying to undermine this democracy.

I mean, I think that has never been so stark, as it was today. And I think it should be called out in the way that you did.

But it's clear that Martin Luther King would not - obviously would not want to see the really vile display that we saw, at the Capitol, two weeks ago, in which White supremacists and anti-Semites, and conspiracy theorists, and all kinds of the worst kinds of people, converged upon the Capitol, in the name of doing something fundamentally anti-democratic in nature.

And everything around that, I think, really exposes what King has been trying to say, about American society, in the first place, which is that we need to look within ourselves to find the ways in which, you know, we don't treat people the same based on what their skin color looks like.

The way that these rioters were treated at the Capitol is not the way that "Black Lives Matter" protesters were treated six months ago, and he would have called that out.

And the people who are not willing to even see that, not willing to acknowledge the racism, in these election fraud lies, I think really have no business talking about Dr. King today.

CUOMO: David, the meaning of this week could go two different ways. What do you think?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, AUTHOR, "HOW'S YOUR FAITH?": Well, I think we're in the middle of so much, the obvious concerns, the anxiety about more violence, not just protests, but mob actions, actual violence, attacks upon symbols of our democracy, symbols of our government, I'm hopeful and prayerful for quiet.

I think the Capitol, where we live here, is a target that's been hardened considerably. I hope it's the same around state houses. But we have to look at this ongoing threat beyond big days like an Inauguration.

We have to look, not at the people, who scream the loudest, and are taking selfies, and recording themselves. We have to worry about the people in the shadows.

I think about the '90s, and the Oklahoma City bombing. And Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols had associations with militia groups, but they kept to themselves, and they secretly plotted a mass casualty event. We have to be watchful about that.

But I think it gets back to governing, the legacy of Trump, among those legacies, incompetence and corruption.

And I think the incompetence, when it comes to the virus, is what's really going to get Biden started governing again, being normal again, using the power of the federal government for good, and using the power of the presidency for good, to mobilize against a common threat, which we're still seeing in this pandemic, which we're seeing in the economic destruction from the pandemic.

CUOMO: Also, on a day like today, I think we should also give thanks for people, who lived the legacy, and who tried to do the job for society. And I certainly count you two among that number.

Abby, David, thank you. And be well.

[21:15:00]

So, what are we seeing in these final hours? Shameful administration losing to the end and, with the help, of its proxies, gaslighting in the extreme, race, religion. Everything that should be common ground, they have made a battleground. And they are pouring salt in the wounds of division.

Michael Eric Dyson understands the history, the politics, and the challenges of the present. How do we do the work? We can't overcome without effort. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Republicans are under fire for various tweets, quoting and praising Dr. Martin Luther King, because you can't talk what you won't walk. And they are not embodying any of the actions on unity, peace, and equal rights that King espoused, and they know it.

Less than two weeks ago, we saw our democracy take a major hit. Not talk, not spin, violence and bloodshed in the streets, and in our Capitol. It was a moment for truth and reflection. And I believe it will be something that may take us away from the brink, ultimately.

But many Republicans condemned the attacks. But they need to do more, because we got to that attack with their complicity.

[21:20:00]

So, what do we do? I want to talk to someone, who knows all about, of course, Dr. King and his legacy, but how that will or will not, should or should not be made manifest today.

Michael Eric Dyson, preacher, Distinguished Professor, of African American Studies, at Vanderbilt University, Author of the new book "Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America."

Good to see you, brother.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR, AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY, AUTHOR, "LONG TIME COMING": Great to see you, my man.

CUOMO: Are we reckoning?

DYSON: We are to a degree.

After the death of George Floyd, many White brothers and sisters, for the first time, many of them began to grapple seriously with moving from the ideal of liberal resistance, or conservative complicity, with structures of society that would help the race problem, to getting involved in the streets. Many White brothers and sisters were removed of any excuse, were absolved, in one sense, of any intention, to avoid the racial issue head on.

When George Floyd lay on that ground, begging to breathe, begging for the knee of Derek Chauvin, to be removed from him, it was an irresistible metaphor for African-American people, who felt that the knee of America had been - the knee of America had been on their necks collectively.

But many White people said, "Look, there are no more excuses. He wasn't running. He wasn't shouting. He wasn't cursing. He didn't have a gun. He wasn't threatening. He was not a menacing Black man. He was there, laying prostrate, on the ground."

They hit the streets. They flooded the cities of America. It swelled the numbers of protests to epic proportions, the greatest protests in the history of this nation against racial injustice.

And yet now, six months later, it has died down. I think it's removed to a different state, if you will, a different plateau, a different plain.

In the midst of reckoning with race, because it is not the sexy stuff, Chris, it's not the stuff you do on the streets. It's the normal stuff.

When you first fall in love, you are attracted to somebody, you feel compelled to take them out to dinner, and to show them love and romance. And then it gets to, "Did you put the toothpaste on there? Do you squeeze it from the bottom or the top? Is the toilet paper out?"

But it's the unsexy stuff, taking kids to school, trying to deal with the trainer, talking about what we do on an everyday level in our home.

That's where we are, in terms of White brothers and sisters saying, "We have to deal with constructive criticism in conversations we have with Black people. We got to talk about Corporate America. What do we do at home? How do we deal with this on our jobs?"

At the same time, we have the buffoonish, the lunatic, the idiocy of a White-supremacist president, with the complicity of these spineless and feckless senators, who are manipulative of the rhetoric, here today, as you said, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., knowing full well they stand tooth and nail against everything he represented.

And not only that, White evangelicals are more White than evangelical, have used religious authority to justify the subordination of Black people. When they saw "Black Lives Matter" coming, they felt that they were the antithesis of everything democratic.

Now, they embrace White insurrectionists, who go to the Capitol, to desecrate the democratic ideals that have been inherited from Athens.

And yet, here we now - here, we are now, in the midst of a civil war that shows the blood-letting and the shedding of blood, by vulnerable people, because of the willingness of this democracy, to cede its legitimate authority to the hands of many White senators and politicians, who don't have the vision of the Founding Fathers. That's where we are today.

CUOMO: What do you make of Trump getting attention on this day, something he didn't write, he probably didn't even read, but he has chosen, to put out there, which is "Hey, you know, some people believe that this country was founded on slavery and, therefore, founded on a lie. No! Not true!

Slavery has been the reality more than it has been the exception for many, many thousands of years. And therefore, we must accept that, as our starting point, here as well. It's not a problem. It's just how it is."

That's what he put out today.

DYSON: Yes.

CUOMO: Now, they'll say he didn't say it. It was somebody else. But the timing matters. And that message is resonating as quickly as any in this country. Every time somebody says "Black lives matter," what's the answer now? "So does mine!"

DYSON: Right. Well--

CUOMO: And how do we get past that?

DYSON: Well, that's a great point.

Number one, it's a - it's a mendacity that is colossal. But let's examine it here.

[21:25:00]

Even if you read Orlando Patterson's book, "Slavery and Social Death," a comparative analysis of 16 societies that had slavery, this society was especially vicious because of chattel slavery. And here is why it was especially vicious, because they brought god in.

The Greeks didn't have to claim that the gods were motivating them, in the same way that the Christian god was co-opted, put into the script of American hegemony, and dominance, and racial superiority, to say god is a co-conspirator with White supremacists.

So now, it's divine authority. "You know? God sent us to Africa, to slave - to save you savages from your rot in your Heathenistic outlook. Now, we bring you here, to America, to become Christians."

So, the justification for enslavement, here in America, was especially different, because chattel slavery meant unlike Greek society, you couldn't buy your way out.

You couldn't be an indentured servant, as a Black person, and then buy your way to freedom. And then the very kids, that you taught, who were, the children of the Slavemaster are now your friends. That's not what happened here. So, they're being disingenuous.

But for Donald Trump, let's be honest, even though he didn't mouth those words, there's a ventriloquist effect of White supremacy. His mouth is open, White supremacist ideals are flowing through his tongue.

Let's be honest. When we look at slavery in this country, and when we look at, what Donald Trump has said, Donald Trump has been a kind of manipulator, of the mindset of average, ordinary White brothers and sisters, who are looking desperately for some relief.

He has constantly, from the very beginning, been trying to demonize African-American people, Mexican people, Muslim people, Jewish people.

The anti-Semitism has been on the rise because of the fostering of a neo-Nazi, neo-fascist outlook that this President has fostered, and especially the White supremacist outlook.

Here is a man who has a White nationalist, as one of his advisers, who constantly is trying to bait Black people into response.

And when you say "Black lives matter," and you put up "Well Blue lives matter too," first of all, that's an ontological mistake, a big old word the philosophers would say. You're born Black. You're not born blue. You're not born. One is a job that one has as a police person. Another is a racial category that one inherits merely from birth.

So, when people say "My life matters too," of course it does. The fact that we say "Black lives matter" there is something missing, "Black lives matter also," "Black lives matter, too."

Black people would not dare say that only our lives matter. In fact, when you look at the history of African-American people, in this country, we have been the most gracious, the most loving, the most embracing people. We have been the most loyal people.

But even in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, noting the domestic insurrectionists, that's the name he gave, to those Africans, who were listening to British people, to say, "Look, in exchange for your loyalty, we'll offer you freedom." On the other hand, Indians, indigenous people were considered merciless savages.

Domestic insurrectionists, as Africans, merciless savages, as Native people, and yet, the greatest insurrectionist in this country, today, the greatest threat to democracy, was a man named Donald Trump, who had Thomas Jefferson's position, but Benedict Arnold's job.

Here was a man, who was engaging in the most anti-democratic force that we've seen unleashed, in the Oval Office, in the history of this nation.

And shame on Lindsey Graham, shame on Ted Cruz, shame on Marco Rubio, Ivy League-trained men, who know better, whose jurisprudential rationality understands that there is something manipulative going on here. So, you side with Donald Trump, in complicity with White supremacy, and have the nerve, on this day, to call upon Martin Luther King, Jr., to sanctify your religious beliefs. It is ignorant. It is lunatic. And it is fundamentally and fatally mendacious.

CUOMO: When you get ignorance and arrogance in that sweet spot, that's where you find men like that.

Michael Eric Dyson, when you shine a light of truth, and you put passion behind it, that's when we reveal men such as you. Thank you for helping me, and the audience, once again. Keep teaching. Keep preaching.

DYSON: Thank you, my brother.

CUOMO: Be well.

DYSON: God bless you.

CUOMO: Thank you, my brother.

Many in this mob of thugs, at the Capitol, are actually helping the Feds catch them. Their sense of entitlement is motivating self- incrimination, OK? They have a tool designed ironically to help the far-Right.

What am I talking about? We have been digging into the dragnet, and we have someone, who is figuring out what the root of this problem is, but it's also a remedy, next.

[21:30:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: The attack on the Capitol is likely the most well-documented terror attack in history. All those cell phones, all that live- streaming, all that braggadocio, all of that righteous fugazi indignation, the FBI has received almost 200,000 digital tips so far.

And good for you! Look, some of them are wackos and people trying to just mess with the FBI. But overwhelmingly, people are responding to what they saw, and wanting those people punished. Good for you!

I've yet to see a criminal indictment that doesn't include video or pictures of the accused in the Capitol.

Then there's Parler, the social media site that Trumpers are such big fans of, holds a huge cache of videos that will all be evidence for the political case, pointing directly at the role Trumpers had in this.

Donie O'Sullivan has been digging into all of it.

Thank you, first of all, for doing that, my brother.

Second of all, the idea of the sameness, of the uniformity, not just of thought, or intent, but of language, significance?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, absolutely. I mean, what we saw here, last week, was the physical manifestation of the online mob, of the online trolls.

[21:35:00]

Chris, I was at a QAnon meeting, in Scottsdale, Arizona, a few weeks before the election. And everybody in that room was convinced that not only Trump would win but that he would win in a total landslide. And if he didn't win, it was sign of voter fraud.

Now, why did they think that? Well because Trump kept saying it. He kept tweeting about voter fraud every single day, for weeks.

And there were some - some of the people in that room, at least one guy in that room, ended up storming the Capitol last week, the guy in the horns on it - the guy with the horns on his head, that "QAnon Shaman." So, there was a precedent here that Trump was flirting with them all along.

And also that meeting that in Arizona came just a few days after Trump had his interview with Savannah Guthrie, that Town Hall, where he was asked to disavow QAnon, and he would not.

And actually that's what opened that meeting that day. They said "Did you hear Trump? Did you hear him this week? He said "We're great guys." He says "We're good people." As far as they're concerned, Trump was in on it.

CUOMO: Right. People must remember, as the history is written, QAnon, David Duke, whenever it came to any kind of extremism, Trump always feigns ignorance, and wants some kind of clarification, and rarely goes far enough, in the first instance, which is the one that matters most.

Donie, the idea of who was motivating, organizing, in terms of narrowing down the most influential actors?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. I mean, look, as we say, Trump, in the QAnon fantasy, Trump is the hero, right?

So, had Trump came out and said, "I want nothing to do with this," had he actually come out and criticized QAnon, it could have stopped it, it really could have stopped it, because central to the belief in QAnon, is that Trump is the hero and that Trump, in some way, involved.

But then there were very important sort of influencers, QAnon influencers, along the way, who were stoking and dragging people along.

And especially, I've been traveling the country, most of this year, the past four months or five months, and folks really bought into this, particularly around the time of COVID. People were locked in their homes. They had more time to spend on the internet. They were looking for answers to questions about this virus, like all of us.

And many of them, thanks to the social media platforms, instead of finding good information, they were being dragged down these dark, dark rabbit holes. I mean there is single - there is mothers, there is soccer moms, I've spoken to, across the country, who have totally bought into this.

So, there is culpability, I think, on so many levels here, whether it's coming from Trump, whether it's coming from the likes of Roger Stone, and Ali Alexander, the people who played into all these conspiracies, and to the social media platforms as well.

I mean QAnon has been going for three years. It was only this summer that Facebook and Twitter started taking action against QAnon.

CUOMO: Right. And remember, Trump, of course, but Cruz, Hawley, those 140-plus that stood up, they gave the extreme, in all of its different flavors and fantasies, a legitimacy they never dreamed of.

And Donie, the bad news for you, but the good news, for your sense of purpose, it is not going to be over when Trump leaves.

Donie O'Sullivan, thank you for staying on this.

All right, the FBI, talk about the sad state of the times, they have to vet the thousands of National Guard, who are now protecting our democracy, ahead of the Inauguration. Why? What are they worried about?

Does a former Defense Secretary worry about an attack from the inside? Where does this very distinguished Secretary Cohen feel that we are headed next?

[21:40:00]

CUOMO: As Secretary of Defense, our next guest oversaw the fight against terrorists abroad.

Secretary William Cohen, welcome to PRIME TIME.

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT CLINTON, (R) FORMER U.S. SENATOR, CEO, THE COHEN GROUP: Great to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: I only have one question. Taking a look at this moment, I just want your thoughts, on where we are, and where you think we go next.

Because we're doing something right now with the vetting of the National Guard that I haven't seen done since we were in Iraq, and we were worried about the loyalties in the ISAF troops, the combined troops in Iraq that people were worried about loyalties.

And now, we're doing it here. What is your take, Sir?

COHEN: Well, my fear is that we have had an inside threat for some time, at least four years that the biggest inside threat that I worry about is President Trump. He has, in effect, caused us to turn against each other, so that we don't trust one another.

We don't trust Members of Congress, especially that don't have one (ph) ones that carry a gun onto the, maybe more than one, onto the Senate floor.

We are now turning against even suspecting our military, as being against us, or for the White supremacists. So, he's been successful in dividing America. And so, that's the biggest threat. It's a long- lasting one.

And so, yes, I think that the Inauguration will be safe. I think we have to rely upon our military to do their job, and they will.

But what he has done, by sending out the word, to try and divide us, even further, to overturn the election, to engage in a seditious act, and to send his people, and because there were former military, or active military, or police, or firemen, or doctors, or teachers, we say, "Well that's who makes up our society."

And the military is part of that society. So, yes, we have racism in the military. We have White supremacy in the military. We have anti- Semitism in the military.

But it's the military that does the most in our society, to bring good order and discipline, to those who join the force, to say "You bring your baggage, you bring your bias and bigotry, yes. But we are going to try and inculcate with you the values and virtues, of saying, "You obey the Constitution."

And the Constitution says you respect the rights of others. You believe in equal rights, opportunity, and justice. That's the kind of value we try to inculcate in the military, and, for mostly, we are successful.

[21:45:00]

But now, this President, because we feared that he might try to do something, before he departed office that he would use the military to try and overturn the election, ironically, we now have the military trying to protect the election.

So it's been - he's been very divisive. He has violated every rule that I can think of for the past four years. He has encouraged violence and hate.

And he has called people, Black people, "Thugs and terrorists," Black Lives Matter. He's called Mexicans, rapists. He's called Muslims, terrorists. He lumped, them all together, to say "But if you're White, you're OK."

And so, now, we have different degrees of Whiteness, but basically saying that "If you're Brown, Black, Muslim, Yellow, or Jewish, you're not White." And this is about White supremacy. And he's put that on the table right now. And we are left with it.

So, I think what we have to do now - your dad said something. He said "We should have less anger, which is easy, and more reflection." I think we need both.

I think we need to stay angry over what he has done, and what those, who are in the Senate, seek to replicate, by having the office themselves, in either four years, or eight years, by saying they are the heirs of Trump and Trumpism. That is what he has done for the country. And I think we have to sit down at the table.

You had Michael Eric Dyson, someone I admire a great deal, and a friend, talk about, you know, Blacks sit down at the table, and parents tell their children they have the talk. "Here's how you have to act in White society."

Now we have to have White people sit down at the table with their children. "Here's how you must act to be a citizen of the United States and a loyal patriot citizen."

White people don't have that talk. They don't have to. They haven't had to. And now, they do, because you've got White people turning against them as well. And not just killing Blacks. That's OK with them. Now they're killing White people.

So, we have to be afraid of that, and we have to have the talk, at the dinner table, saying "Here is what White people have to do," because as my wife likes to say "It's the hand that rocks the cradle."

We get them in the military, after they've been either all their values and ideals given to them, by their parents, or caregivers, where by the time they get to the military, they have some of that already baked in, and we have to un-bake it, as best we can, and send them back into society, with the values that we really curate and try to establish in the military and stuff, not always accessible.

We heard about the Oklahoma bombing with Timothy McVeigh and others.

CUOMO: Right.

COHEN: But they are the exception. And we have to keep that in mind. But yes, is there racism? Is there a White--

CUOMO: We've just never had a - we've just never had a president before that played to the extreme.

COHEN: Yes.

CUOMO: But Secretary William Cohen, your words hit heavy, and they are resonant at the right time. Thank you, Sir, and please come back to the show.

COHEN: My pleasure. Thank you.

CUOMO: Be well.

All right, we'll be right back.

[21:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: For those who have gotten tired of caring about COVID, know this. 60 percent of all the COVID cases in our country have been reported since Election Day, OK? It's not just a matter of testing and tracing anymore.

The infections are accelerating at a rate that we can't track. Researchers say COVID variants, variants, meaning new forms of the virus, could be making it worse because they are more contagious.

Here's what we know. Nearly three weeks since the first case of the U.K. variant was identified here in the U.S., the CDC now says it's identified more than 120 cases across 20 states. It will only continue.

Dr. Ashish Jha joins me now.

So, this becomes a reinvigoration of the cause to combat COVID, because now there is a new strain that spreads more quickly.

So, while it is not more lethal in and of itself, Fauci says, it can cause more deaths, because it spreads more quickly, and therefore more people will have it, and if they are susceptible, they may succumb. Do I have it right?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Chris, thanks so much for having me on. You have it exactly right.

In some ways, it's much worse that it is more contagious, because it will infect many, many more people, and unfortunately, probably will end up killing more people, than the current main strain that we've been dealing with for much of 2020.

CUOMO: Any reason to believe that the vaccine will work differently or not at all, on any new variant?

JHA: Well, on this new variant, much of the evidence, so far, says that the vaccine is going to work. That's the good news.

But the problem is sort of a how much do we want to push our luck? If we have large outbreaks, we're going to see more variants. And one of them may end up being something that becomes less resistant or less effective against the vaccine.

So, I don't really want to push our luck. I want to bring these outbreaks under control, and get people vaccinated.

CUOMO: So, once again, the call will be "You got to mask up. You have to do these things." And I think you guys are going to have to do it in a world that is lockdown-free. I do not think you have the will in government or in communities to lockdown.

JHA: I think that's right. I think that's right.

Look, when the variant took off in the U.K., and in Ireland, the way they turned it around was by doing a very, very vigorous lockdown. I've been telling folks in public health community, I don't see that happening in the United States. I don't see that happening in states. I don't see that as a national thing.

So then, we've got to think about alternatives. One of the alternatives is getting all high-risk people vaccinated as quickly as possible. That will blunt the spread of the virus. It will also prevent the virus from filling up our hospitals.

CUOMO: Right.

JHA: And killing people.

CUOMO: Why were the numbers so wrong on the vaccine rollout? Is it that they just muffed the numbers, or did they assume access to supply that we wound up not having?

JHA: It's a bit of both, as far as I can tell, Chris.

[21:55:00]

It's frustrating because I think one part of it is undoubtedly that the current team, in HHS, and at the White House, basically assume that their job was to get vaccines to states, and then let the states figure it out, even though the states didn't have any resources, even though the states did not have the ability to do all of this by themselves.

They figured once again, if it doesn't work out well, they can always blame the states.

CUOMO: Right.

JHA: That was one part of the problem.

The second is they clearly weren't paying close attention to the vaccine production and stockpiles. That's why they kept saying things like "We have all these extra doses and reserves."

The production is working fine. The problem is, I think, they just have not been straight-forward with the American people about how many vaccine doses they had actually built up.

CUOMO: Should they let states try to source vaccine, the way they did with PPE. They left the states on their own, and we had that Wild West, that I was a part of, because of access to what was going on with my brother and the state. Should they let them do that with the vaccine?

JHA: This is not like we don't get through a pandemic because you have 50 states, and the District of Columbia, trying to out-compete each other. That just to me this is not a strategy. It's what happens when you have a failed federal government.

We're going to have a different federal government in about 36 hours or so. It's been very clear from the Biden team they don't want to do a federal takeover. What they want to do is they want to partner with states, and they

want to coordinate with states. And I think if the Biden team is effective in that, and I suspect they will be, I don't think we're going to need to see states competing with each other.

CUOMO: Dr. Ashish Jha, thank you very much.

JHA: Thank you.

CUOMO: We'll be right back with a special message.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: You ever heard this line? "God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time."

It's an African - it's a slave hymn. And it became the title of a book that rocked people's minds in the 60s, a collection of essays. And it was written by somebody, who was a colleague of King's, who was mesmerized by King, and frustrated as well. And it is a perfect statement of where we are today. Why am I saying--