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Cuomo Prime Time

Sources: Trump Adviser Hope Hicks Tests Positive For Coronavirus; Mary Trump: President Trump Is A "White Supremacist"; Texas Governor Limits Election Drop Boxes To One Per County. Aired 9- 10p ET

Aired October 01, 2020 - 21:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Rallies coming up this weekend, so you've got to wonder if it changes that travel schedule.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Yes, Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it, Dr. Celine Gounder as well.

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




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

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

As you just heard, we have breaking news on COVID. CNN sources say another one of the President's closest aides, actually the closest aide to date, has tested positive for Coronavirus.

It is his Adviser, Hope Hicks. And she traveled with Trump to and from the debate on Tuesday, and also to his rally, in Minnesota, yesterday. Hicks has traveled with the President multiple times this week.

This video was taken yesterday. You see Trump getting on Marine One. And about 30 seconds later, you'll see Hope Hicks following behind, wearing a tan coat. This is a still. The video will keep rolling at whatever point they are able to make it roll.

Here is the White House statement on this.

"The President takes the health and safety of himself and everyone who works in support of him and the American people very seriously.

White House Operations collaborates with the Physician to the President and the White House Military Office to ensure all plans and procedures incorporate current CDC guidance and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure to the greatest extent possible both on complex and when the President is traveling."

That is a lot of words to explain away what we know. This President is cavalier when he goes to rallies about whether people should have masks, about socially distancing. He supposedly had had his staff doing things the right way because he was worried about himself, and they get tested all the time, and they do contact tracing when there is a case.

But Hope Hicks is often seen without a mask. And now, our President, at a time during an election, has been in close proximity to someone who tested positive. And the timeline doesn't make a lot of sense.

So, let's bring in Kaitlan Collins, our White House Correspondent.

Kaitlan, thank you for joining us, at such short notice.

Wednesday night, we are told that they became aware that Hope Hicks was sick. So, she's with the President. She tests positive after they're together? In Minnesota? Or was she tested before and they got the results? And they say but she was quarantined on the plane. So, that timeline is odd.

If they knew she had COVID before, then she wouldn't have gone. If they found out while she was there, she was then quarantined. The timeline doesn't make sense. What do you know?

COLLINS: No. That timeline doesn't make sense.

And we're still reporting it out to figure out exactly when this test was administered because if that was the case, and she didn't find out, until they were already on their way to Minnesota last night, that would mean they're testing people later in the day, and not which as we have been told was first thing in the morning, basically as soon as they walk in the door, if they are going to be around the President.

And so, of course, it just goes to show you that despite this White House repeated insistence that everyone is fine, they don't need to wear a mask or social distance because they're tested every day, it shows you the dangers of that because now we have learned, this is one of the closest people to the President.

Hope Hicks is about as close as it gets, Chris, and she is someone who has been constantly around the President this week, flying with him to Minnesota last night, where you are on an enclosed airplane, not wearing mask, not social distancing, but also in Cleveland, on Tuesday night.

She was there for the debate. She helped the President with debate prep, as he was getting ready to go there, and has been on several other trips that he's taken recently, all where we have seen videos of her boarding Marine One, not wearing a mask, in the West Wing, not wearing a mask.

All of these situations that, of course, the main question is has this put the President's health at risk, 30 days out from the election?

And so, those are the questions we're still trying to figure out, the timeline of exactly when this happened. But we were told today that officials who have been around her were notified she had tested positive.

CUOMO: Now, Kaitlan, a couple things.

One, this is information that we really should have gotten from them and before now. They've known since Wednesday night that the President has had his worst risk of exposure yet, 24 hours later, and it had to be leaked out. So, that's a concern.

Have you heard anything about her condition and whether she is symptomatic?

COLLINS: We are told by one source that she is experiencing symptoms. She is here, back in Washington, we're told. But, of course, the extent of that is still not known, what are those symptoms, how bad are they?

But it does go to show you that it's not one of those cases, where she is asymptomatic and then of course only found out because of the White House testing system. That is how it's obviously confirmed because we are told by one person that she does in fact have Coronavirus symptoms.

CUOMO: And look, you can be contagious, if you don't have symptoms, what we call asymptomatic obviously. But if you have symptoms, it then raises questions. Was she coughing? Were they in close proximity when she was doing it?


And again, this is not a blame game. I know I speak for you and all of us. I hope, Hope Hicks has a mild case and I hope that her youth and her vitality gets her through it quickly, and I don't think anybody else should worry about anything else, except the President.

Now, he's on his way to Wisconsin, right? Does this change that plan at all?

COLLINS: Well, those are the big questions. I mean, the President had this dinner that he attended tonight, where he - not a dinner he attended, a dinner he had scripted remarks for.

But before that, he went to a fundraiser today, and behind closed doors, so we did not see the President, while he was there. But he was interacting with people, so it didn't halt his travel schedule today to go to that.

Of course, he's got another rally that I'm scheduled to go to, in Orlando, tomorrow night, and then, it's Wisconsin, this weekend. And of course, those rallies have raised questions, given rising cases inside the state. And so, this just - the big question is also does it change the

President's travel schedule here and does it change this comfort level in the West Wing?

Because before when we reported first that the Presidential Valet had tested positive, it kind of threw people off. Then it was the National Security Advisor, also a top aide to the Vice President.

But this is so much closer to the President. It's really hard to overstate, when you say that Hope Hicks, someone who spends an enormous amount of time, one-on-one with the President, not wearing a mask, has tested positive.

So, the White House is giving us this generic statement tonight, talking about the health precautions they take, when it comes to the President, but they're not giving any other details, and they've been reluctant to do so, ever since, Chris, that we first reported on that Valet testing positive.

And instead, they've only confirmed other aides testing positive when the President himself has blurted it out in press briefings or when he's been asked about it. So, there is a lot that we don't know and that the White House has not been forthcoming about.

But we have confirmed this through other methods that she has tested positive, and so want to see how this does change things inside the White House, and whether or not the President does continue to make these trips, despite knowing aides sitting next to him on Air Force One could be positive for Coronavirus.

CUOMO: Now look, we're showing this group shot as they went into Marine One. Nobody has a mask. Now, why does it become relevant? It's not a "Gotcha" contest.

Kaitlan, do me a favor, stay with us, and let's bring in Dr. William Schaffner.

The reason it matters, of course, that they're not wearing masks is that now you have to worry about who got exposed to Hope Hicks, especially if she is symptomatic, Doc that you can be asymptomatic and be contagious, but you are certainly contagious if you are symptomatic.

And now, why do we question the travel schedule? Well, first of all, travel reduces your immune system, especially all that flying. And we don't know who can be around him because we don't know who has it because you may not test positive right away.

Am I getting the immediate concerns right, Doctor?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER, CDC ADVISER: Yes, you certainly are, Chris. And I wish Ms. Hicks well. We want everyone who gets infected with this virus to get better as quickly as possible.

But this is another example, where you can demonstrate that testing does not prevent infection. They do a lot of testing in the White House, but you need to wear the mask. Testing detects infection. You need to wear the mask in Air Force One, in the White House, at all times.

When you get into these large groups, whether they're fundraisers, or these large rallies, I promise you, the virus is there, and is being transmitted.

Now, the interesting thing is, everyone who is associated with Ms. Hicks, in the recent past, should be quarantined at home, and stay at home and not go out anywhere. That would be routine public health practice. We'll see if it gets done in the White House.

CUOMO: So, for context, you see there, Stephen Miller, Jared Kushner, I don't know who else. Kaitlan, if you identify other people in the video, just speak up. But if they were with her and she--

COLLINS: Dan Scavino is another one.

CUOMO: Dan Scavino and whoever else, I mean, whoever the close quarters crew are, if they were around Hope Hicks, and she tested positive, and she had no mask on, you are saying that those people should not be by the President's side. They should be in their own homes and quarantined. Yes, Doctor?

SCHAFFNER: Everyone who was in close contact with her recently should now be sheltering at home.

CUOMO: Recently meaning what?

SCHAFFNER: I beg your pardon.

CUOMO: Recently meaning?

SCHAFFNER: Within the last week for sure.

CUOMO: Wow! The last week!

Kaitlan, any indication from the White House that they are planning to have anyone else quarantined?

COLLINS: No. We have gotten zero indication of that.

And I should note also the fact that Hope Hicks was on Air Force One, last night, she is not someone who often interacts with the media, certainly not in a public way, where she would come back to the press cabin, like other officials typically do.

But she still is on the same plane with these reporters, sharing the same air space. And yet, the White House did not inform the reporters, who were on Air Force One that an official had tested positive for Coronavirus.


And obviously that would typically be a protocol, if you worked in any other kind of situation, or if you took a Delta flight, you would expect them to let you know if someone who is sitting in Row 14 had tested positive, but that is not the indication that we got from the White House.

So, of course, it's raising questions about that, and whether or not these other aides, some of these aides that we saw getting on Marine One yesterday, we also saw going with the President today on his trip. So, that's another question that we still have to figure out is exactly what their protocol is going to be, if they do anything with this.

CUOMO: And look, that is a relevant consideration that Kaitlan raises, Doctor. You had 24 hours. They didn't say anything. We can only surmise why they wanted to keep it quiet.

But by doing so people who may have been exposed to Hope Hicks - and again, this is not Hope's fault. I know people will take issue with the mask. She should have been responsible and wearing it.

It'd be hard for her to do so, although there is a report in "The New York Times" that an official says she is one of the only ones who, occasionally does wear a mask, but be that as it may, she has it now.

And by not telling, who knows how many media or whoever else she was in contact with, in the last 24 hours, have gone about their own normal lives and other people may be at risk, fair consideration or concern, Doctor?

SCHAFFNER: Oh, for sure, Chris. This is not a model of a vigorous, insightful public health investigation.

You want to notify people immediately. Tell them to shelter at home. We'll start their testing process and watch what happens. We need to prevent the further transmission of this virus. And that's routine public health practice. That's the way it would be done here in Nashville.

CUOMO: My friend, were you around Hope Hicks, at that rally? Were you on that trip, Kaitlan?

COLLINS: No, I wasn't on that trip. But I am going on the trip tomorrow. And so, of course, it just raises questions for our colleagues because we've been really vigilant here in the White House Press Corps about this.

We wear masks when we're inside the building, of course, in the briefings. When we're on Air Force One, we, despite being tested also that day, reporters keep their masks on, when they are on the flight, to and from these rallies.

CUOMO: Good.

COLLINS: So, you just see the difference in a level of caution.

And, of course, like you said, it's a highly contagious disease. That's what the medical experts have told us, and that's why people say that you should wear a mask, even though you've got all these other precautions you just never know.

And so, that is also going to be a question of whether or not it changes that attitude, because I've been back in the West Wing, for a few meetings, recently. People back there are not wearing masks because they do develop this level of comfort because they get tested.

And this is likely something that's going to really jolt them awake to see that someone they interact with and work with and meet with has tested positive.

CUOMO: Well, look, Kaitlan, you're smart, you're young, and you're strong. So, the chances are, if you did get it, you'd be OK. But listen to your old friend here. You don't want it, if you can avoid it. Stay vigilant.

Doctor, our concerns for the President, he had to have been in close contact with her. Period! I won't accept any other explanation. There's no way that that close an adviser was nowhere near him during any kind of window that is relevant.

So, what is supposed to be done for and with this President?

SCHAFFNER: Well, if the President were a normal person, they would stay at home. They would be - their symptoms would be monitored. They would be tested periodically. And it would be sure then to shelter him from others, so he doesn't potentially transmit this infection to others.

You don't know whether this - all the contacts, including the President, may have become positive because it will take a number of days before that test becomes positive. And so, during that period of time, you want to take yourself out of circulation, so you don't infect yet a next generation of people. It's elementary public health practice.

CUOMO: And so, the idea of going to rallies and having some of the same staff still moving around, new populations is de facto irresponsible.

SCHAFFNER: Not the thing to do. In fact, it's exactly the wrong thing to do, because whenever you get into a crowd, or bring others into a crowd, obviously this highly contagious virus, this is not a political statement, the virus doesn't care.

This is a simple public health statement. The virus will spread. And I promise you, in these large rallies, the virus is there. It's contagious. And it's spreading. Just as sure as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, that's correct.

CUOMO: All right, Dr. William Schaffner, thank you very much. With any luck, the President does not get sick. We don't hear about any other cases. We don't need any more drama right now.

Kaitlan, do you have anything else? Are we straight?

SCHAFFNER: Exactly. COLLINS: We'll keep you updated on what else we're learning about this timeline of when this happened and what other details. But so far, this is what we've got that she has tested positive.

CUOMO: All right, thank you very much.


And again, timeline doesn't make sense in this situation. She went with the President on Wednesday. Wednesday night, they say, they knew that she was positive.

We have to assume that's true because I can't believe they'd let her go on the trip, if they had known Hope Hicks was positive, wouldn't be healthy for her or the other people around her.

So, when did they find out? Well we knew Wednesday night. So, when did she get tested? They say they get tested in the morning. So, they waited all day with the kind of resources they have? That sounds unusual. That needs clarification.

Why didn't they tell us for 24 hours? What does that mean to all the people who were around Hope Hicks? What does it mean for the President? What does it mean, if he continues to go out when they don't know whether or not he has it?

I mean, this is one, singular leader that we have, one president we have, during an election year, in the middle of a pandemic with social unrest and a failing economy. If nothing else, he has to be healthy. This is not a time for secrets.

We will stay on this breaking news, try to make more sense of it because the timeline doesn't make sense, OK?

Now, we get a window into why it doesn't make sense because often things are hidden, and often things are scripted, the way this President wants. We have the good fortune of having the President's niece to talk about what she knows about him.

And, by the way, she happens to be a psychologist. So, by training, and experience, what is her window of perspective into why these things are handled this way? Her take on the debate, the other night, and what we saw in her uncle, and what he might really be capable of in terms of the control of this election?

Mary Trump, here, next.








CUOMO: All right, we're going to stay on breaking news, this matters, sources reporting Hope Hicks, one of the closest members of President Trump's inner circle, she has been traveling with him, tested positive for Coronavirus. There is also a source saying that she is experiencing some symptoms.

First of all, I wish her well. I hope that her age and her vitality makes this a quick case. And I really hope she didn't get anybody else sick, especially the President.

We are in the middle of a pandemic. And for this President to get sick, especially as a byproduct of his own negligence, making masks not a must, none of them had masks on, in the video we see of the cadre with him, including Hope Hicks, into Marine One, all right? Helicopter small, and then it's a - so obviously massive plane, but in close quarters with him.

This is why it matters. This is why responsibility has to start at the top. It's not a scolding. It's pleading. Please wear a mask, when you're in proximity to people. The President's refusal to do so, I hope it doesn't cost him right now. It certainly costed us.

Now, another of the President's refusal to cover - if I get any new information on the Coronavirus case, I'll give it to you immediately.

But I do want to address the President's refusal to forcefully condemn racism, White supremacy. And it is now having an effect of fanning the flames of hate.

The Proud Boys, if you haven't heard already, literally were jumping up and down, and celebrating, and creating paraphernalia, swag, off of the President's tacit approval of their existence within his camp.

Why couldn't he just say, "Proud Boys, you're disgusting! You're the worst of us. I do not want you in my ranks." Why? Why couldn't he say that? "I'm against anyone who mistreats other human beings." Why?

Let's ask someone who knows him better than any of us. She is family. His only niece, Mary Trump, just wrote a bestseller on how the Trump family created, quote, "The World's Most Dangerous Man," "Too Much and Never Enough," the Author joins us now.

Welcome back to PRIME TIME, Mary.


CUOMO: So help us. You are also a psychologist. People should know that. So, he has a pattern.

"David Duke? Never heard of him."

"OK. Now that we just told you who he is, which is almost impossible to believe that you didn't know, what do you think of him supporting you?"

"Oh, you know, I don't know. I mean I don't know."

What kind of answer is that? It's an easy one. It's a lay-up in politics. "David Duke? Hate him. Don't want anything to do with him. Get away from me."

Charlottesville, "Good people, both sides, both sides, and you know it, and you know it."

No, we didn't know it.

Now, the Proud Boys, "Well, yes. I tell them, stand back, stand by. But you better talk about Antifa."

Why? Why this reluctance? What do you think is going on with how he sees it?

M. TRUMP: Well, first of all, I see a progression. He used to hedge his bets and be a little bit more careful. I didn't see him being careful the other night. I stand - I experienced that phrase "Stand back and stand by" as an order.

But we didn't understand what he was ordering them to do until later in the debate, when he called on his people, to show up at polls, to make sure that fraud wasn't committed or something. But that's called voter intimidation. So, that is alarming.

Quite simply though, his inability to condemn them is that he is a white supremacist on the one hand, on the other hand, he doesn't care what kind of racism they engage in because they support him. And that's all he cares about.

CUOMO: I heard him at a rally. He pointed out one of his supporters. I guess the guy must have been big and jacked or something like that. He was like "Look at this guy. No one is going to fight with you. That's for sure."

He has a tough-guy talk aspect to him, from time to time, "Grab that guy. Knock the S out of him," that kind of stuff. Do you really believe that he has within his character the ability to let people be violent on his behalf?


M. TRUMP: Oh, yes. And that's because he is so incredibly weak on his - in his own right. He's absolutely capable of that. You don't talk like that lightly, especially when you have the kind of power he has.

Everything he says is magnified a million-fold. People listen to him. This is not an accident. He is doing it intentionally. And I wish there were more pushback, because this is dangerous. CUOMO: Where Mary and I grew up, not far from each other, in Queens. We actually know some of the same people.

There are a lot of people who talk smack there. You know what I mean? "Oh, you come up on me, I'll blah, blah, blah, blah," all that smack talk. And that's what I've always dismissed his as.

But now, the combination of him saying "I think the election is rigged," which we both know intellectually, he can't believe. Nobody has given him a substantive basis for that.

M. TRUMP: Right.

CUOMO: He is getting the Governor of Texas, obviously, to follow suit. We'll talk about that later in the show.

M. TRUMP: Yes.

CUOMO: But that with going easy on the Proud Boys, plus "I want you at the polls," that's a scary recipe, he is coming up with there, no?

M. TRUMP: It's incredible that this is happening in America, and that his entire Party says nothing. We are on the edge of a cliff here. And every Republican - elected Republican seems to be willing to go over that cliff.

It's very difficult, at this point, to understand, given the seriousness of all of the situations you mentioned earlier. We find ourselves in between COVID, and the civic strife, and the economy, and now his threatening of free and fair election.

It's - I don't think people understand how bad this is going to get. And I don't say that to scare people away.

I say it because we need to go into this with our eyes wide open and understand that the only reason he is stirring up this nonsense about the election results being a fraud essentially, if he doesn't win, is because he knows how powerful your vote is. So, that's the only reason he is doing it.

CUOMO: For those who haven't read the book yet, what we saw at the debate the other night, or whatever you want to call it, the debase, as I've been calling it--

M. TRUMP: Yes, yes.

CUOMO: --was a portrait from - right from Mary's book, of what he is capable of, how he respects rules, how he respects any kind of standard, how he will not allow someone to compete with him.

It's not good enough to win. He literally has to sabotage any kind of competition. It was right in the book. But that is very different than he may not do a peaceful transfer of power that he may not respect the outcome of an election. That is hard to fathom.

Do you believe that is in the realm of possibility that he could be told, "Look it's over. We lost," and he might say, "I'm not going. Let's, you know, let's get our people. Let's go?"

M. TRUMP: I think it depends upon a couple of different things, the margin of a Biden victory, for example, and when we get the results, which hopefully will be soon.

But I absolutely believe that, in most scenarios, he will refuse to accept the results of the election, to which I say, "So what? It's not up to him. The results are the results." The danger is in exactly what you just said. What will other people who support him do? Will anybody--

CUOMO: Especially the Department of Justice. That's the big concern.

M. TRUMP: Yes.

CUOMO: All of these former staffers.

M. TRUMP: Yes, yes.

CUOMO: Literally hundreds and hundreds of them came out to say "We're worried about Bill Barr manipulating the system to help him."

M. TRUMP: Yes.

CUOMO: That's something we're going to have to watch.

Let's do this. Let's take a break. I appreciate your patience, by the way. Obviously, the breaking news--

M. TRUMP: No problem.

CUOMO: --created a different set of exigencies for us. Let's come back because--

M. TRUMP: Yes.

CUOMO: --I got to get your take on the taxes.

You obviously have a lot of information into this. You've been a party to litigation about finances within the family, obviously. What did you make of what was in there, what is your perspective on all of it, that would be tremendously helpful to the audience.

Mary Trump, please stay with us. There's a lot more to discuss. We'll be right back.









CUOMO: All right, we're back with the President's niece, Mary Trump, who is also a psychologist, who patiently waited tonight because we had breaking news. Hope Hicks, very close Adviser to the President of the United States, has contracted COVID.

Supposedly the White House has known about this for over 24 hours. They didn't alert the media, even though she was in contact with the media. We don't know what they've done in terms of her quarantine. Supposedly she is at home.

A source says she is experiencing symptoms. I am sorry to hear that. I hope she gets over it as quickly as possible. But now, what's the larger concern? She's young and strong. The President is not. They had to have been in close contact.

Are they quarantining him? Have they tested him? Do we have a result that they can share? These are very important questions, especially in light of the fact that the President is supposedly scheduled to go to other rallies.

Should he go, and expose more people if we don't know whether or not he has it? And just because he doesn't test positive today is not enough, as we know from the science of it now.

And what about the other staffers and who else she was around? So, this is a significant concern. This is the closest this virus has gotten to the President as far as we know.

Again, transparency is an issue, now, speaking of which, the President's taxes, big "New York Times" report, actually a series of them. Mary Trump intimately familiar with the family situation and problems with the taxes.


First question for you, Mary, when asked, "Is it true that you only paid $750 in federal taxes, over the last two years," he said, "I've paid millions in taxes."

Now, my guess is he is slipping the question by saying just in general he's paid so much.

Now, you have intimate information about what he pays and what he doesn't. Do you believe that that he has paid millions and millions in taxes and that if anything the $750 was an anomaly, an outlier?

M. TRUMP: I believe every word in that brilliant "New York Times" investigative report. Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner are the best at what they do, also hat tip to Mike McIntire, whom I don't know.

So, this latest story dovetails perfectly with the other extraordinary reporting they did two years ago, totally exposing the myth that Donald was a self-made man, who received practically no money from his father, when indeed he's, over the course of his life, received in excess of $411 million, plus whatever he inherited.

So, Donald can obfuscate all he wants. But when it comes down to it, he is going to have to make a choice. Either he admits to the American people that he is an utterly failed businessman, who's never been able to make a profit or he admits to tax fraud. It's going to be very interesting to see which choice he makes.

CUOMO: Now, he says, "Look, the system is what it is, and you pay accountants to figure out ways around it," and that's a goal that most taxpayers have. And if anybody is to blame, it's Obama because he set up the code the way it was, which allowed him to exploit it. Fine.

Another question is how he values things. Now, this is something you have had experience with. Do you believe that it is possible that he would exaggerate the value to a lender and exaggerate it down by minimizing it to the tax folks?

M. TRUMP: Of course. This has been a longstanding pattern in my family.

It started with my grandfather, just as the idea of paying consulting fees, so-called, started with my grandfather. He paid consulting fees through a fake entity called "All County" to his four surviving children, just as Donald allegedly paid, or not allegedly, I guess it's in the tax returns.

CUOMO: Right.

M. TRUMP: Paid in excess of $770,000 to Ivanka, when she was actually an employee. So, it doesn't - I have no doubt in my mind that that's what's going on.

CUOMO: Now, you filed, a week ago, a lawsuit, accusing the President and his siblings of committing fraud to deprive you of your interest in the family real estate business.

How much of what you are alleging in the lawsuit do you see being echoed in the current scenario with his taxes and frankly just in his presidency?

M. TRUMP: It's very similar.

We - I was in a fairly vulnerable position, 20 years ago vis-a-vis the family and the family business. I had inherited 10 percent, when my dad died. I got half of his share. And it was pretty much kept in the dark, most of my life, as to what any of that meant.

So, when it came time to settle a lawsuit that I had engaged in, back after my grandfather died, they valued those properties at such a low level, it was literally a very small fraction of what I was entitled to. So again, it's just another pattern.

CUOMO: For the people watching us, and obviously thinking you've got to understand this guy better than we do, what is your biggest concern surrounding the election, and what behavior your uncle is capable of?

M. TRUMP: Well I think we saw a glimpse of it in the debate.

He was - I believe he went in with a tactic, which was to interrupt. He clearly had memorized his talking points, lash attacks. He clearly believed that hammering on the lies about Hunter Biden was a good way to get Vice President Biden off his game.

But he also went into that debate knowing about this article that had just come out. So, in using those tactics, he got to the point, where he couldn't control himself anymore.

That debate felt like an assault on the American people. And there is nothing to suggest that he is going to have any reason to rein himself in over the next five weeks, because let's face it, things are going to continue getting worse for him.


And he will, I know this is going to sound hyperbolic, but Donald is annihilist, and he will do whatever he needs to do, in order to protect himself, no matter what happens to the rest of us.

CUOMO: When you say he is annihilist, you are saying that there is no higher value for him than his own satisfaction. He is not burdened by any principle other than his own satisfaction.

Now, you talk in the book about this about how whether it was how he was raised, and how he is himself, and how he's cultivated himself, you believe he gets to the point pretty easily, in behavior, where there is no more limit for him. He'll lie about anything, he'll say about whatever it is, and he'll do whatever he can do.

M. TRUMP: Yes, because he knows the difference between right and wrong. But if it's good for him, it can't possibly be wrong. And also, if he feels threatened, if he feels like he is going down, he'll take everybody else down with him.

CUOMO: And he has been talking again about other countries, North African countries, and how that it'll be flooded with refugees in Minnesota.

It's an interesting argument to make there. They did have early experience, in that State, with Ethiopian refugees, and how they've become integrated in the community, and what it's meant plus and minus. So, it's a sensitivity there, to be sure.

How much of that is politics? And how much of that, do you believe, is actually deep-seated bigotry in your uncle?

M. TRUMP: Well there is always deep-seated bigotry for sure.

But it became a political strategy as soon as he recognized during the Republican primary, how well it played with a significant minority in this country, and then when he continued to experience absolutely no pushback from his Party, he does what Donald does, and he continued to double down. And now it's the campaign strategy.

CUOMO: Well I'll tell you what. I haven't seen members of his Party fight as hard for anything as they do to stay out of his way. We got to see that on the show last night with Senator Ted Cruz.

M. TRUMP: Yes.

CUOMO: Mary Trump, thank you very much for joining us. Author of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man."

Thank you for being with us tonight. And again, thank you for your patience in the midst of this breaking news that one of the President's closest advisers, Hope Hicks, has contracted Coronavirus.

We're also told she is experiencing symptoms. There is a messy timeline about when they say they found out, which was last night, so they didn't tell us anything for 24 hours until it leaked.

This did not come from the White House. They had to respond to it. And we will stay on it. What does it mean for the President? Will he self- quarantine?

For the first time in decades, Texas is in play in a Presidential election, all right? So, now what's going on? Controversial moves.

There are already two court cases that seem designed to limit access to voting there, two good rulings for the Governor's efforts to do just that. Now, he wants to squeeze down - no - he wants to have one ballot drop box in a County that has millions of people in it.

First of all, how is that keeping them safe? You want all those people trying to get to one drop box? And is this really just active voter suppression in the name of this President's wishes?

My next guest will make the case to you. She runs the biggest county in Texas. This will affect her constituents and she will make her case, next.









CUOMO: The Texas Governor just made it harder to vote by mail, again, less than two weeks before early voting begins there. By Executive Order, each county is now limited to just one drop box. So, what could this mean?

Keep in mind, five Texas counties are larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined, OK? It is in a place like Brewster County, it creates a situation, where you would have to drive three hours to the County Clerk's Office.

Then, it's not just about distance. It's about density. Harris County, for example, is home to more than 26 of these United States - home to more people than 26 of the states. That's the context. That's the potential impact. Now let's talk about what can be done.

Judge Lina Hidalgo is the Chief Executive for Harris County.

Judge, thank you for joining us.

JUDGE LINA HIDALGO, (D) HARRIS COUNTY, TX: Good to join you, Chris.

CUOMO: Argument, counterargument.

Argument from the State is "COVID. Can't be having people go everywhere. Too much spread, got to limit it. This is how we do it."

HIDALGO: Chris, there is no reason for this decision to limit us to one drop-off location other than voter suppression.

The way this works is you show up. In fact, several of our locations are drive-through. You show up. You meet an employee of the Clerk's office. They verify your ID. They verify your signature. And you leave your sealed ballot.

This is a secure process. It's a safe process. If they're saying that this puts people at risk of COVID, then why did this stand in the way of letting us send mail-in ballot applications to our voters?

There's been a comprehensive effort by the State, all along, from voter roll purges, to keeping us from sending mail-in ballot applications, to this now, to suppress the vote in the State, and also in the largest county in Texas, which, as you said, has 5 million people almost, 34 cities, and is almost the size of Colorado in population.

CUOMO: Six Texas counties have populations of over 1 million people. Four out of those six voted for Clinton in 2016, just to lay it out there, as context.

But back to the State's argument, "No, Judge, the only thing that we want to suppress is COVID and fraud. You have to be 65 and older OK, because they are so vulnerable. But everybody else, you can't just get a freebie because it's rife with fraud.


These write-in ballots, they can't validate the signatures. They always have problems. We had 100,000 of them thrown out in Texas, rather, 550,000 absentee ballots rejected in the primary. Rife with fraud!"

HIDALGO: These aren't just drop-off mailbox in some road somewhere. These are county offices and annexes that have been very thoroughly run. It's just as secure as voting at an Election Day location, at an early vote location. It's just more convenient.

And, look, it's not lost on me, and I don't think it's lost on the people of this County that there are people in Austin, and there are people in Washington D.C., who are terrified to see the electoral changes that are taking place in Texas, and that are taking place in Harris County.

And so, they're doing everything they can to keep people from participating. But I ask anyone, who's on the fence about voting, if these leaders truly are doing right by you, why are they so afraid of you voting?

I am reminding our residents here in Harris County, our citizens that we are not to be intimidated that this is a time to participate.

And, yes, it's going to be harder and, yes, they're trying to confuse, and they're trying to suppress the vote. But for that very reason, we need to show everybody who's watching that we're going to participate, because it's about democracy.

CUOMO: Senator Ted Cruz said last night, "No, it isn't. It's dirty politics. You Democrats are weaponizing this pandemic, especially in Texas. And you want people to be afraid, and to think that people are out to get them, and you're going to encourage people to do anything they can to stuff ballots, and we can't have that."

HIDALGO: We've worked so hard with the State throughout this pandemic. When it's time of disaster, it also means that we put our partisanship aside, that we work together to put out this fire. That's been my attitude all throughout this crisis.

But this issue of voter suppression is just, it's not only sad, it's dangerous. It's dangerous because democracy depends on our participation.

And I do think, as you're comparing this to COVID, I do think there is some parallel there in obfuscating and confusing and not having a clear path forward. I wish they would put as much attention into fighting the virus as they're putting into suppressing the vote of people.

Look, these voter drop-off sites, they're all over Harris County. They're not in Democratic areas only. They're in all areas. They're to help all people. And all people in this County should be able to vote.

Voting should be easier, safe, secure, efficient, in the time of COVID, careful, and we're doing that. But this is very obviously, 30 days before the election, it's very, very obviously about confusing people, who already were planning on drop-off their ballots at these locations and about suppressing the vote.

CUOMO: What can you do, Judge?

HIDALGO: And so, I want folks to see that.

CUOMO: What can you do?

HIDALGO: Well starting tomorrow--

CUOMO: And will it happen fast enough?

HIDALGO: Yes. It's tough. So, the order comes into effect tomorrow. We have to close 11 of the 12 voting locations or drop-off locations because we don't want to risk anybody dropping off their ballots and then disenfranchising them--


CUOMO: You can't ask for an injunction?

HIDALGO: We are working with lawyers to see what steps we can take. I mean, there was an argument in the Court of Appeals that was just - the Court just upheld yesterday, saying that you can't make changes so close to an election. So, this is a pretty big change. It's a pretty big change.

So, that's one of the things we're looking into. But, for now, having employees at all the sites, directing folks to the one that exists, to USPS branches, and then reminding people, and reminding folks around the country, that this is not rhetoric from the President.

This is on-the-ground suppression that is happening in our democracy. And it's happening right here in the heart of Texas. And I think, very clearly, we know why, as these folks are afraid of people voting them out.

CUOMO: If this is a suppressive move, and seen as so, in the eyes of the law, then maybe the President is right, maybe election fraud is real because this would fall under that category.

Judge Lina Hidalgo, thank you very much. Please keep us aware of your efforts. We will stay on the story.

HIDALGO: Thank you.

CUOMO: We'll be right back.








CUOMO: All right, a little preview. We were supposed to have Dr. Anthony Fauci tonight. But we agreed with the White House. The President was going out and giving an interview tonight. There's no reason to have an official counterprogramming the President. It's a fair accommodation.

Tomorrow night, Dr. Anthony Fauci is going to have a huge bunch of time, on this show, with us, to discuss what matters to you.

Where do things stand in this country? What is being addressed and what isn't? What is the truth about the vaccine, and when we can look forward to it and what reservations there still are? OK?

For me, two big issues, schools. Why are we screwing our kids the way we are? Why aren't they changing the plan? Why aren't they changing the accommodations, at least helping these schools learn how to trace cases?

How many stories have you heard of one case, two cases, whole school shuts down? Society can't exist that way. We have to be more intelligent about it. Why isn't that happening?

And he understands that it can't just be the states. The CDC data, the resources, the understanding, the ability to coordinate response and learn from different situations, the federal government has to do that.

Then long-haulers, OK? This group is growing so fast, you can find it all over the internet. You can go on the Facebook. You'll see people coming together because there's nowhere else to go. How aware is the Doctor of it? What does he think should happen about it?

Now, of course, we have some urgent concerns about what's going on with those around the President. Does he know that everything is being done to keep our Commander-in-Chief safe?

So, tomorrow night, Dr. Fauci, big block of time, to go over everything that matters, so we know where things stand. I hope you join us, OK?

Favorite time of the night, time for "CNN TONIGHT" with its big star, Don Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: So, we have some breaking news, Chris Cuomo, and something that you would know all about.