Return to Transcripts main page

Cuomo Prime Time

Trump To Georgia Official: Recalculate Vote So I'm The Winner; Biden: Politicians Can't "Take Or Seize" Power, The "American People" Grant It; Senate Balance Of Power Hangs On Tomorrow's Georgia Runoffs. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 04, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: --just how serious things are, the Defense Department, today, approved a request, by the D.C. Mayor, to deploy National Guard forces, to support local authorities, during any demonstrations. And there's a chance President Trump will address some of those demonstrators.

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Happy New Year, brother. Good to see you, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Top of the New Year, and our collective fate, in 2021, will be greatly influenced by what happens this first week.

The Re-Trump-licans, they are insistent. They just want to ignore reality. Do you know that every 33 seconds, someone now dies in America of COVID, every 33 seconds? There is desperation everywhere.

The vaccine is being wasted. The distribution is a mess. There is no word of or worry about how to improve it by this leadership. And instead of obsessing over the reality, Trump & Co. are engaged in the fantasy that our election was a fraud.

And yet, these same men and women, who say they're so worried about manipulation of votes that they must, they must, try to stop our constitutional transfer of power, the same people are stubbornly resistant to the strongest evidence of irregularities that we have.

What is the strongest evidence of irregularity? What is, in fact, a smoking gun? This.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: There is nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you've recalculated.

All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes.

Flipping the state is a great testament to our country.


CUOMO: If only on this, Trump is the worst we have ever seen. "Find me the votes," "Nothing wrong with that?" With pressuring Georgia's top election official to overturn his defeat?

Listen. Put a pinky ring on this guy's little hand. He is nothing but a mob boss. Listen to this.


D. TRUMP: You should want to have an accurate election, and you're a Republican.

It's more illegal for you than it is for them, because you know what they did and you're not reporting it. That's a, you know, that's a criminal - that's a criminal offense. And, you know, you can't let that happen. That's - that's a big risk to you and, to Ryan, your lawyer.

It's going to be very costly in many ways.


CUOMO: He has no proof of any of that. He offered no proof of any of that, but it's going to be costly. Is he going to sleep with the fishes? Scorsese never had a more obvious malefactor in his films.

Look, it's a new year, all right? Just try to start open. Does this pass the smell test what he's doing with this guy? No! You having trouble with that?

Pretend Biden was saying it. Now you got those eyes popping, right? Jim Jordan is moving his tie, rolling up his sleeves, right? Biden would be impeached, on this alone, if they had the numbers. The Senate would be holding hearings announced yesterday!

But the Re-Trump-licans, they're just pawns to a garrulous gangster. He even game them mobby nicknames, right? "Lyin' Ted." "Little Marco." Now they're ignoring the realities in their own states, and all over this country.

We are in pain, and they are intent on causing more. They want to focus on a fiction that is nothing but an effort to tear us apart, when we need to be together, and they know that.

Remember them. Remember their names. Remember their faces. Remember their places, and what they failed to do in this moment.

You know? Many Re-Trump-licans were elected or re-elected on the same ballots they now object to. Think about that!

They're crying fraud for Trump, but not their victories. Those are legit! How stupid do they think we are? They argue, "Stop the steal," alongside Trump. And now he's on tape, literally trying to steal the election, again.

Remember, this ain't his first perfect call. Remember him with Zelensky in Ukraine? "Yes. We're going to help you. But I want you to do a favor for me," and he wanted him to go after Biden. This is who he is.

He's the worst. But it's about everybody else around him that put him first. They are who you must focus on because they remain. And remember this, their rationale for ignoring their reality, here it is. "Listen, we have to focus on the fact that the election was fraudulent because that's what has people angry."


The people are only angry about that because you have lied to them. You lied about this election, and you know it. How do we know you know it? Because your big-brain people, who are arguing about it now, they don't have any proof.

They've never offered you any, and they've had dozens of chances to make it true, in courts, all over the country, at every level, with conservative judges, with Republican state officials, with Republican legislatures, each and all negating their nugatory nonsense. And they know it.

This has never been about law, in fact. They've never had it on their side. It's about how angry can they make you? How inimical to your own interests? How much can you hate me such that you ignore what they are doing to you? It is the worst president and political poison we may have ever seen.

And, no. No, it's not something they all do. There are problems in our political culture. Full stop! There are problems with these parties that I would like to discuss, but it is beyond my mandate. I think this two-party system is killing us.

But be very clear about where we are in this moment. This is about the Re-Trump-licans. Period!

Exhibit A, the top Republican in the House, this morning, listen to this guy.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): What I read about, the President has always been concerned about the integrity of the election. And the President believes that there are things that happen in Georgia, and he wants to see the accountability for it. But, look, does anybody in America think the last election was done well?


CUOMO: Yes, McCarthy. A lot of people think the election was done well, like the courts, like the 50 states that certified them, including your own. That's Exhibit A. Here's Exhibit B. Trump's Homeland Security

Department says what I just told you, OK? His Cyber Chief, his own Attorney General said "No mass fraud," what happened to them?

They don't get the McCarthy treatment. They don't get to talk to the smiling faces on the couch, right? Gone within days, for what? Telling the truth. You want to stick around? You got to be like Mr. Mendacity there. Play the game. Play the game.

David Perdue, one of the GOP senators, in the spotlight, in Georgia, right, fighting to keep his job, he was asked about this tape. He says it's "Disgusting," not what Trump did, the Secretary of State recording and releasing it. Leave it to a moneyed stock jockey to hate the exposure of an inside game!

The truth literally sickens these people. And remember this. I'm not telling you something that isn't known, that you don't even know by now. The truth is known.

Their own party members confirm it, takes us to Exhibit C.


GABRIEL STERLING, GEORGIA VOTING SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER: There is no shredding of ballots going on. That's not real. It's not happening.

No one is changing parts or pieces out of Dominion voting machines. That is that's - that's not a real. I don't even know what that means. It's not a real thing.

Secretary Raffensperger does not have a brother named Ron Raffensperger. That is also not real. The President tweeted that - that out as well.


CUOMO: That guy is a Republican, by the way.

It is the night before the runoff elections in Georgia. They will decide the balance of power in the Senate.

Now, look, I don't know who wins. And frankly, to me, it doesn't matter because I know what has to change. It doesn't matter which Party wins. The focus is what has to change, and it has to be on you.

Congress has to get off of their inside game and back on to you. That's part of my job. And it's really the responsibility of you, in watching me, to create the mandate of checking them.

Your problems are real. They're resonant. And the people gifted the ability to do your business and bidding, and it is a gift you give them, they need to remember who put them there.

So far, this President-elect does seem to get that.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Politicians cannot, assert, take, or seize power. Power is given, granted by the American people alone.

We're a nation built on honor, decency, dignity and respect.

That's who we are.


CUOMO: That's who we are at our best.

Now sometimes, you got to go through a test to get to your best. And I, for one, hope there is a really ugly and obvious event on January 6th, in Congress. Why? I don't want drama. But I want you to see the truth.

I want you to see who stands up and, on what basis, and remember the names and faces, who try to give the bums' rush to Uncle Sam. Make no mistake that's what's happening.


They are attacking our democracy and, therefore, our country's foundation. Be clear. There is no way to qualify an opposition that's based on no proof. It can only be a brazen broadside. That's how they set it up.

But here's the good news for 2021. We won. I don't care what Party you are. Again, I think that whole system is part of the problem. We'll get to that another time.

The institutions that secure our democracy won. They got the rust knocked off of them, by revolt, and they withstood the worst blows from these people that we've seen in the modern era.

Uncle Sam was too much for Trump & Co. I was looking at this picture of him, and I got to be honest, I never got it. I never got the look. Why so wisened? Such garish clothes, why?

But now, doesn't Uncle Sam seem perfectly suited for the moment? He's got that COVID look that everybody has now.

He's got this scraggly beard. He's got the long hair, because he can't go get a cut. He's got the added wrinkles. Even the outfit, it's kind of cool, man. Turns out, fighting for democracy never goes out of style.

And that look in his eye, that's what gets me. A lot of us have that look now. Check it out, pointing at you, why? It's the stink eye. He's sick of it. He's sick of being sick. He's sick of people trying to make us sick.

Uncle Sam is us, United States of America, Uncle Sam. There has never been a time that calls for us to remember that we have to come together, that our strength is in the collective than right now.

So, let's point forward. Let's find a better course, and let's get after it. Tonight that means starting with an election official in the state making the most headlines.

Matt Mashburn is a member of the Georgia Election Board. He is a Trump voter, OK? He has been investigating the fraud claims, and he wants to come on, to tell us what the reality is in his state, on the eve of it being the focus of the nation.

Welcome. Best of the New Year to you and your family.

MATT MASHBURN, GEORGIA STATE ELECTION BOARD MEMBER: Well happy New Year to you, Chris. Glad to be here.

CUOMO: I know people have been talking to you about your position, and saying, "Man, I'm sorry you're in such a jam." I don't feel like that. Yes, you're a Republican. You should be proud of it. And your Party does not have to be co-opted by one man and his interests.

What do you have for this audience, to understand, in terms of how the election was conducted, in the state of Georgia, and how you feel about the results?

MASHBURN: Well, the first thing I'd like to point out, in Georgia, is for the first time ever, we've had voter-verified paper receipts that each in-person in-precinct voter looked at, and verified that, "Yes, this was my vote."

Now, traditionally, every election that we've had computerized voting, for 20 years, we had about 300 to 800 complaints that the machine flipped the vote, because of re-calibration or calibration issues or whatever.

But this time, we didn't have a single report. I didn't even get a single report of a voter, who said "The machine printed out the incorrect candidate that I did not choose." And we've never had that before.

CUOMO: "The signatures were fake. They found ballots thrown out, and they found ballots that were - that were played with. And Dominion has taken stuff out of its machines in the county that count."

You look at those, and what did you find?

MASHBURN: Yes the - we - the signature check was the largest mobilization, by the GBI, in its history, to examine signatures. And there was a specific complaint about Cobb County. So, we investigated Cobb County. And they didn't find a single instance of fraud.

They did find two voters, who probably should have been notified, of a signature mismatch, and they tracked it down, and the voters confirmed, "Yes, that was my vote." So, there was zero evidence of signature fraud in the largest examination of its type, in the GBI's history. CUOMO: "You are a RINO. You are a Republican In Name Only. You have been duped and paid off, and that's why you are ignoring the obvious." That's what you will be told. Your response?

MASHBURN: I actually have been told that.

CUOMO: I know.

MASHBURN: About things that I witnessed myself.

And so, it's kind of awkward when, for example, I was at the English Avenue tabulation center, when the Election Director announced "We're counting again at State Farm," to everybody in the room.

And then people will come to me, and say "There was secret voting at State Farm," and I was like, "Well that - that was a terribly-kept secret because everybody at English Avenue, five miles away, in a different building, knew about it." So, that was a pretty terribly- kept secret, if it was supposed to be secret, because we all knew about it.


CUOMO: What do you say to members of your Party, or supporters of Trump, who say, "If you say what you are saying right now, you keep saying this, especially to Cuomo, you are not one of us. You are going bad on your own Party." What do you say to them?

MASHBURN: Well, there are people who are upset and, as we talk to - as we talk to them, they're very - they're very passionate about the election.

But most of them are involved in things like tabulation for the very first time. So, it's like when you are on an airplane, and you're on the airplane, with a first-time flier, and the landing gear goes up, in the wheel well, and you hear this thump.

Well, for a first-time flier, that's very disturbing and, you know, they'll say, "What's that? What's that? The plane is going to, you know, the plane's got a problem, and it," and I've been doing tabulation for 25 years, so a 25-year frequent flyer will go, "No, that's just normal. That's OK."

And so, give an example about the shredding of the ballots, those were, in Cobb County, at Jim Miller Park, out, you know, it took me five seconds, and that's all - that's the white - that's the white envelope. It does have the word "Ballot" on it.

CUOMO: Right.

MASHBURN: But it's the white ballot envelope that the ballot goes in.

CUOMO: Right. Every good conspiracy--

MASHBURN: And so, once you take the ballot out of it, the envelope is worthless. CUOMO: Every good conspiracy has a little bit of truth in it.


CUOMO: There is an envelope.


CUOMO: It says "Ballot." Just wasn't a ballot.

Lastly, it is no small irony, I'm sure, to you, or to me, that the same men and women, who are saying, "Ah can't trust that Mashburn. There were real problems down there," are ignoring what Trump said to your Secretary of State on a recorded call.

Have you ever heard anything like that from somebody in high office? And how do you explain members of your Party, in Congress, ignoring it?

MASHBURN: Yes. First, I thought the Secretary and Ryan Germany did a really great job.

If I have an employee, who needs to tell someone, in a position of positional authority over them, that they're wrong about something, I would like to use that as a training model. I thought they did a remarkably good job in doing that.

But the - I'm glad - there are people that are upset that the tape was released. But I'm glad that it was because when the Lindsey Graham thing happened, I didn't know who said what to who?

But here, I was able to listen, word for word, who said what to who, and the things that I knew personally, from my own personal knowledge, that were related by Ryan and the Secretary were correct.

CUOMO: Would you have voted for Trump--


CUOMO: --Mr. Mashburn, if you had heard a call like this, before you cast your vote, him saying "Find me the votes. Come on. Look, I know I won. Just find me the votes. It'd be a good thing. You know you can just say you recounted. And give me the votes. It could be bad for you, if you don't do it."


CUOMO: Would you have voted for him?

MASHBURN: Yes. Yes, the recounting - it was recalculating. The recalculating is a real problem.

We are - election lawyers, election contest lawyers are used to hearing margin plus one, margin plus one. That's the holy grail of an election contest, so that can get the remedy. But that's of illegal ballots. That's not going to switch margin plus one or go to recalculate--

CUOMO: Right.

MASHBURN: --margin plus one.

CUOMO: If you--

MASHBURN: So that's problematic.

CUOMO: I'm with you. But if you had heard this, if you were aware that this is where Trump's head was, on this, would you have voted for him?

MASHBURN: I would have to - I would have to - I would have to - I can't answer a hypothetical, but I would have to first say who - who is advising him, and telling him how contests work? And so, you know.

CUOMO: Why does he have to know how a contest works to know that you don't cheat and don't ask somebody--


CUOMO: --to cheat for you. That's what he's doing in the call, is he not?

MASHBURN: Well you got this margin plus one, margin plus one, and everybody has heard about it. I need that and so.

CUOMO: But he never even mentions that, Matt. He just says--

MASHBURN: Yes, but.

CUOMO: --"Find me the votes."

MASHBURN: Right. But he doesn't know that the remedy of an election contest is you don't declare the true winner.

The remedy of election contest is if it's a state race, you order a new election. If it's the President, you just don't seek the electors. So, he's still stuck on this idea that somebody can still, at the state level, declare him the winner, and that's just not true.

CUOMO: Well, he's wrong about the process. But he's also wrong about asking somebody, from his own Party, to cheat for him.

But Matt Mashburn, look, you did your job the right way. You are willing to talk about it, in a time where that can carry a heavy price. So, I wish you well and I thank you for your candor.

MASHBURN: Well thank you for having me. And just I - I would rather, people put their passion into standing in the voting lines, and go vote, rather than be on Twitter.

CUOMO: And it's good to know that you can tell them it will be carried out the right way. Be well.

[21:20:00] MASHBURN: Yes, yes. This will be the most looked-at election that's ever been possible, in Georgia's history. And so, I have no - I have no - there is nothing that has caused me to - that's proof to doubt the outcome.

CUOMO: Good. Thank you very much.

All right, so there you have it, OK? Another Republican, voted for Trump, looked at these things, says there is nothing there. And, by the way, he's still given a lot of cover to Trump. "Oh, he doesn't understand what it is." Guy is asking for them to cheat. Trump understands more than well. I promise you that.

The question is what he did on that call, how wrong is it? Is it a crime? Should it be investigated? I think it's a legit question. We have two perfect guests, a former Trump impeachment counselor, and former Trump White House lawyer, next.








CUOMO: Another perfect call by Trump, another perfect call that raises a bunch of legal questions.

The reality is his time, as President, is running out, and that's probably a good thing for what he's put this country into. That leaves us, on January 20th, with some 150-plus Members of Congress who've actively engaged in a plan to undercut your vote.

What do we do about it? Should we do anything about it? Let's bring in the legal minds.

Norm Eisen, you know him, friend of show, worked on impeaching Trump. Jim Schultz, you know him, friend of show, worked in Trump's White House, on the legal team.

Gentlemen, good to have you both.

Jimmy, let me just start with the point of fascination.


So, we got Matt Mashburn, right, has the gumption to come on, tell the truth about what he found, even though he knows people are going to jump on him. Hears the call, doesn't like what he hears on the call. And when I ask him, "Would you have voted for Trump again if you knew that this kind of stuff is what he'd say?" he gives him a break.

What is it with you people that keeps giving Trump a break no matter what he says or what he does? How can Mashburn, or any of you guys, hear what he says on that tape, and not find it damning?

JIM SCHULTZ, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: No. I don't think we are giving him a break.

I think people like Pat Toomey and Liz Cheney are doing the right thing. They're speaking out against that call, and saying the right things, and saying that it is dangerous, and saying that it's troubling, and saying all the things that they should be saying because it's the right thing to do.

I think Liz Cheney coming out was tremendously beneficial for the Republican Party. And I think people should be paying more attention to what she's saying because it matters.

I also think what the heck was the President of the United States making a call to a second-tier elected official in a state?

I was General Counsel to a Governor, in a pretty big state, in Pennsylvania. When the President of the United States called in, when I was General Counsel, it was President Obama, I don't care what Party you are in. It's a big deal when the President calls.

The President doesn't call second-tier elected officials. It wasn't the right call. He shouldn't have made the call to begin with, and certainly shouldn't have had that dialog.

CUOMO: Norm, the least of Trump's problems is that he had the audacity to call a second-tier guy, although, of course, the Secretary of State is in charge of the discourse - the discharge of the election in that state.

But, Norm, him making the call was the least of his problems. What he said on the call should be examined. What do you see?


When he asked he just wants 11,780 votes, that triggers the federal election fraud statute, and IVA statutes. And, even more troubling, Chris, this is also against the law in the state.

And, so, we've seen already that the - perhaps the greatest imminent criminal threat to Donald Trump is the Manhattan D.A., Cyrus Vance, and his investigation.

Guess what, Chris? Trump just inherited a bookend, and that is the Fulton County D.A., Ms. Willis, she is going to be a thorn, I predict, in Trump's side, because he has exposed himself criminally, under the Georgia laws, forbidding solicitation for election fraud.

CUOMO: But you know they're not going to get him, Norm. And the better question is do you think that they should even go after him? Do you think it does any good, in the interest of justice, in the interest of America, to have more people going after him for what he just does all the time anyway?

EISEN: Well, Chris, you have talked about the pattern here. That's what's so, so troubling. We had "Russia, if you're listening, you'll be mightily rewarded. Ukraine, can you do us a favor, though?" Now we have "I just need 11,780 votes."

And I do think there, in a rule of law system, there has to be consequences. I think he's exposed, Chris. And I think they may well go after him. And I think it's good that it's done in the states. Let it operate at a distance from the federal government, so there is no miasma, no taint, of the next president, going after the last one.

CUOMO: You know?

EISEN: So, I think there is serious exposure.

CUOMO: No, look, and that's why I want your head on this because you understand it. I have been just made cynical by this.

I mean I really believe that the President is right. I think he could shoot somebody, in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and somehow get away with it, because everybody around him, Jim, ignores, or empowers, whatever he does.

I mean, you have men and women, in your Party, right now, who are hell-bent for leather that they've got to hold up the transfer of power because the people demand it because there are irregularities. But they ignore this tape? They ignore the fact that nobody has--

SCHULTZ: Look, I thought - I thought it was--

CUOMO: --presented any proof at any court?

SCHULTZ: In 2004, and in 2016, when some Democrats did it, I thought it was garbage then. I don't think it's a good idea this time either. So, no, I don't think we should be holding up, holding up this election.

I think if people want to talk about the individual voter laws, in each individual state, that can be done, if the people of that state--

CUOMO: Right.

SCHULTZ: --want it. They're going to speak through their legislatures.

CUOMO: Right.

SCHULTZ: They can hold hearings.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: They can change laws. They can make voting more secure. That's the dialog that needs to be happening-- CUOMO: Absolutely.

SCHULTZ: --in this country right now.

CUOMO: That's fine. And look?

SCHULTZ: At the state level, and at the federal level, to a certain extent.

CUOMO: And look?

SCHULTZ: But at the state level, we need to be protecting elections.

CUOMO: I have no problem with that. I have a problem with the fact that--


CUOMO: --when these issues came up, in Georgia, in 2016, members of your Party said it was just sore loser, did nothing about it, encouraged nothing about it. The state Republicans encouraged nothing about it.


So, I have no problem with fixing what's wrong. The election process is imperfect, and that's being gentle. We know it. You just don't get to complain about it, only when it doesn't work to your advantage.

What I don't get here is you say "You know, when the Democrats did it, I didn't like it either." I got to reject it, Jimmy. You've never heard a Democrat say anything like what Trump just said, on that tape, and what he just said moments ago.

Listen to what just came out of his pie hole. Listen to this.


D. TRUMP: And I hope Mike Pence comes through for us, I have to tell you.


D. TRUMP: I hope that our great Vice President--


D. TRUMP: --our great Vice President comes through for us. He's a great guy. Of course, if he doesn't come through, I won't like him quite as much.


CUOMO: So it's Pence's fault. I mean, look, Jimmy, just there.

SCHULTZ: No, hold on, hold on. CUOMO: You know?

SCHULTZ: Let me clarify what I said. In 2016, and 2004, there were Democrats, on the floor of the House that did this - are doing this - did the same thing then that the Republicans are doing now.

CUOMO: They never challenged the electors.

SCHULTZ: And that was the point I was making.

CUOMO: They never challenged the electors.

SCHULTZ: They didn't?

CUOMO: No. You didn't have a January 6th tantrum--


CUOMO: --where they held it up, and had debates on a vote.

SCHULTZ: Well you did - you did - they didn't hold it up because they didn't get a senator to do it. But there were Members of the House that did it in 2016, and had a senator going along with it, they probably would have--

CUOMO: Yes, but they didn't.

SCHULTZ: --would have done the same thing. But I think it was garbage then.

CUOMO: The point is they didn't do the same thing.

SCHULTZ: Well because they didn't have a Democrat in the Senate--

CUOMO: But don't make a false equivalency because it--

SCHULTZ: --that would--

EISEN: Well Jim--

CUOMO: --mitigate--

EISEN: It was--

SCHULTZ: I'm not making a false equivalency.

EISEN: It was--

CUOMO: All right, well hold on, hold on, hold on. Jimmy, I hear you.

Norm, take it this way. What the President is asking for--

SCHULTZ: So, I want to talk. Let me--

CUOMO: Wait. Jimmy, hold on a second.

What the President is asking for that Pence do the right thing, what is he asking for, and what's the reality?

EISEN: When the President says he wants Pence to do the "Right thing," which we know is the wrong thing, he's telling Pence when he goes in the chair, on Wednesday, January 6th, in the purely ministerial role, Chris, of the Presiding Officer, over this Joint Session of Congress, that he wants Pence to recognize these phony allegations, and to strike down the legitimately-elected slates. We know he's been pressing Pence to do that.

CUOMO: All right.

EISEN: And it's just as shocking as that call. It's a betrayal of the Constitution. It's a betrayal of his oath. It's a call for a coup, with a gavel, instead of a rifle. Let's hope that, and we expect that, the Vice President will not do that.

CUOMO: Well, look, I got to - I got to jump. I appreciate you guys' take on this.

SCHULTZ: Chris, let me - let me jump in here though. I think--

CUOMO: All right, hurry up.

SCHULTZ: --I think the Vice President is going to do - is going to do the right thing, and carry out the duties, as he's required, which is those ministerial duties that Norm is talking about.

CUOMO: Right.

SCHULTZ: I think the Vice President is going to do the right thing.

CUOMO: No, it's a--

SCHULTZ: Not what the President's asking.

CUOMO: --point worth making.

The Vice President has been invited on the show many times. And I will say this. Mr. Vice President, you are being set up, by the President, and it's not fair. It's not within your powers to do what he's asking you to do. And you shouldn't have even been asked to do it. It's beneath the dignity of his office and yours.

Norm Eisen, thank you very much. Jimmy Schultz, appreciate you. Appreciate you both.

All right, so Trump wants to be President very badly, very badly, why? Why? He's ignoring the pandemic. He always has. He's got 16 days left.

The vaccine, which I would argue, would be his biggest positive contribution to this country. He got behind Warp Speed. He made the bet, and he won. But now, the rollout is a disaster, and he's not doing anything to fix it. He won't even address it. That's what we have to address. Let's get after it, next.








CUOMO: Operation Warp Speed was a strong move, and it paid off, in the form of a gift, the vaccine, early. Why are we wasting it? Why are we allowing distribution to suck?

Re-Trump-licans nodded to claims of herd immunity this year, OK? Here is their reality. They said, "Yes, yes, no, this year, we're going to get there." This pace gets us there in 2027. How many more dead, empty seats, empty hearts, sick who can't work, who will never fully recover, thanks to long-haul, how many will it take?

Our team jumped on the vaccination effort, early, not - cynicism, but because no process benefits from the combined vacuum, created by a lack of transparency, and no clear structure, of who was in charge of what. This was destined to fail and that's what's happening. And that's what these people saddled us with, and we're going to struggle.

But remember, the administration told you the goal was this.


ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: We expect that, in the second quarter, of next year, we'd have enough vaccine for all Americans that want it.


CUOMO: So that would mean administering 3.5 million shots a day, a day. The reality, 15 million doses have been delivered, but less than a third of that administered, OK?

We're way behind. That's 4.5 million shots over 21 days. They said we need 3.5 shots a day. You get it? We're failing. We're falling short. Why? Because it was an unrealistic goal. That's on them.

But we're also not fixing the process to make it as good as we can and that's on us. We got to push forward. They didn't walk the walk. Why? No plan, no transparency, just more trumpery. This is what you get from them.


DR. MONCEF SLAOUI, CHIEF ADVISER, OPERATION WARP SPEED: The holiday period is behind us. I am optimistic this number are going to go up.


CUOMO: Yes, it's not about optimism. It's about planning and follow- through.

Here is the fact. In the last few days, numbers have actually gone down, OK? Then, there is this.


SLAOUI: We'll work with the states. We need specific requests for help.

We are sitting here ready to help them when they tell us where to help them.

We are inviting them to ask them for help and we help them.


CUOMO: They don't even know what to ask for, and you don't get back to them very quickly, and they don't know who to call, and you know it.


No state is choosing to slow-walk this. Yet, only four states have managed to administer half of their doses. Why? Because it's hard, OK?

Now, some states dispute the CDC figures, OK? 11 states have more than 75 percent of their doses still sitting in the freezers. There is no question that this is a problem on many different levels, but it's hard on many different levels. You should have been prepping for this, in the months that you had.

And why is it hard? The paperwork. Each shot takes a long time, OK? You have freezer capacity. It remains a problem. This is very special storage, in a lot of places that doesn't have - don't have the capacity for it.

You have too much of the heavy-lifting, falling on the backs of exhausted hospital workers. Why? Because they didn't give the states money, and the states don't have it, to hire more people to do this. They don't have the resources.

So, if this is a problem that the states could manage on their own, then wouldn't at least one of them be on pace, right? No state wants to be in this situation. Only the federal government has the resources to pull us out of this generational medical crisis.

Look, at the end of the day, economically, it's going to hurt. But only the federal government can print money, OK? Rather than focus on that, the Fed devotes their energy to what you just saw, destroying confidence and the ability of the states to do it, destroying confidence in our electoral process. The reality, even if there is a democracy left, when they turn to run again, unless they focus on the need, they're going to be running in another pandemic election, in two years.

The scariest part of the Trump intimidation of the Georgia officials is not what he's doing, but why he is doing it. That's what we have to get at. That's the symptom that matters.

We have a great guest. His niece is a clinician, and she thinks, "Don't worry about what he's doing. Focus on why he's doing it." And she has a personal and psychological take I have not heard before. Next.









CUOMO: Mary Trump, the President's niece, Author of "Too Much and Never Enough," Clinical Psychologist, welcome back to PRIME TIME. Happy New Year.

So, you spooked me again, because I thought that this was about your uncle, trying to exert authority, over everybody else, to show he's still got the power, to show he can manipulate the system. You say I've got it all wrong, again, that this is a fear response that we're seeing. Explain.

MARY TRUMP, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S NIECE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, AUTHOR, "TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH": Well, first of all, happy New Year, Chris. It's great to be here.

We are seeing a man, who is in a position he's never been in before. On the one hand, Donald has never won legitimately in his life.

But winning has always been the point, not the process. It doesn't matter if you lie, cheat, steal, use somebody else's power, connections. As long as you get the win, that's really all that matters.

Because, in my family, certainly according to my grandfather, the worst thing you could possibly be, is a loser, which is why we see Donald going to such great lengths, to at least sew doubt, in the minds of voters, enough so that he could perhaps get the results in one state overturned. Again, that still wouldn't be enough to change the results of the

election, but maybe it happened in other states, too.

So, while what he's doing is personal, as you have pointed out, he's not interested in doing the job. He couldn't care less about the job. He's interested in the power, and the protections it affords him.

So, the problem, though, is that because he's so desperate, and because he has so much to lose, he's willing to bend anybody to his will. None of this is performative for him. He literally wants to undermine the legitimate results of this election, so he can stay out of trouble, and not be branded the loser he actually is.

CUOMO: What was he thinking about making that call to the Secretary of State? Do you think that just he and the other big brains around him thought nobody would be recording them that that's just what he does?

M. TRUMP: He was thinking he's always done this. Why should now be any different?

If he believes that he deserves to win, no matter what it takes, no matter how many people have to commit sedition, and other crimes against our Constitution, then they should do it, because he's Donald, and he should get whatever he wants, because that's what his father always made sure happened. The problem is that it's causing incalculable damage to our system.

You said earlier that you think that he could get away with shooting somebody on Fifth Avenue. The problem is, he's shooting the Constitution, in the heart, on Pennsylvania Avenue, and people who could stop him are not stopping him. And we're in extremely dangerous territory right now.

CUOMO: When does it end?

M. TRUMP: The next couple of days are going to be extraordinarily interesting. And by that, I mean terrifying.

Because I think what happens, in Georgia, will in part determine, or at least influence what happens, in the Senate, on Wednesday. And either way, Donald - because Donald doesn't really care about Georgia, he only cares about what happens on Wednesday.

And the fact that he's got over 140 Republicans, in the House, and over 11 senators, willing to commit sedition, on his behalf, is probably making him feel confident. But, you know, I don't think it's going to happen.

But we need - what we need to keep in mind is that for the Republicans, this is a dress rehearsal. They're normalizing things the way things have always been normalized for Donald, so that the next time we have a close election, they're going to get away with it.


CUOMO: Something else I don't get. If he likes Mike Pence, why would he set him up the way he just did, moments ago? Is it just ignorance that he doesn't really get, at this point, even though all he's thinking about is Wednesday, how Wednesday actually works?

Because otherwise, he just set up Mike Pence to take the fall for it, not going his way, on Wednesday, when Mike Pence, as VP, has no role, other than a ceremonial ministerial one. He has no discretion to change anything that happens on that day.

M. TRUMP: First of all, we need to remember that every single relationship Donald has is transactional. If you can be of use to him, he likes you. If you refuse to be of use to him, he doesn't care about you, and will throw you under the bus.

What he's doing is making other people believe that Pence actually is capable of doing something, to save Donald, on Wednesday, even though, as you just pointed out, that is not at all the case.

So, by making other people believe that, he thinks that he's putting Pence under more pressure. And again, I think it's going to come down to what happens tomorrow, and how much more the Republican Party thinks they need to continue appeasing Donald and his base.

CUOMO: Boy, I'll tell you. What an amazing, you know, bizarre, whatever kind of word that you want to put to it, that all of these hostile, aggressive, obnoxious actions are actually a function of fear.

Mary Trump, thank you very much for your take. I appreciate it.

M. TRUMP: Thank you so much, Chris.

All right, so Georgia is going to be a big deal, will decide what Congress looks like, and how it acts, little question about that. How will it turnout? How do the Democrats really think it may go for them? Could they really win? Georgia went Blue, in November, in the big race, but what will happen now?

Stacey Abrams, really, the person responsible, for shining a light on Georgia, and how things work there, that's the irony that the Republicans are now saying it's the problem, this Democrat is the one who lit that fire. What's happening now? Next.










D. TRUMP: Stacey Abrams, what's with this Stacey Abrams?


D. TRUMP: You know, your Governor, your Governor, and your Secretary of State, they're petrified of Stacey Abrams.

They say they're Republicans. I really don't think they are. They can't be.





CUOMO: What's up with this Stacey Abrams? Why don't we ask her? Here she is.

Look, this is the bizarro world that we live in. You are being actively weaponized, by this President, and we know why. You make a great foil for him with the people in Georgia.

What do you make of what we're seeing from him, and what is your take on what's happening in the state, in these elections?

STACEY ABRAMS, FOUNDER, FAIR FIGHT, (D) FORMER CANDIDATE FOR GEORGIA GOVERNOR: Well, first of all, I think he's forgotten who he's here to talk about. And it's a sad day when the best he can do, in order to rally the troops, is to spend too much time talking about me.

We are spending our time talking about Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. And we were proud to have Vice President Joe Biden, soon-to-be- president Joe Biden, here, in Georgia, to talk about how we win these elections.

And it's not by trying to re-litigate an election that he has now lost in Georgia four times. It's not by creating conspiracy theories, and spinning them out on hour-long phone calls.

It's by doing the work that we've done, on the ground, knocking on doors, talking to voters, and really connecting the dots, between COVID relief, good jobs, good access to health care, and justice. And those are only things we will get, if tomorrow, Democrats turnout, and vote for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

CUOMO: Two things, one, about the state of play, and then the next one, the election itself.

State of play, respond to the following. "Why is Stacey Abrams saying that Trump is wrong to raise questions about Georgia? She was the first one to do it. Now he raises the questions, and they're not questions anymore." What's your response?

ABRAMS: Number one, my questions weren't about the outcome of the election. I never challenged the numbers. I challenged the system. And I fought to make certain that every vote that got cast got counted.

I had no notion of whether those votes will be counted for me or not, but I fought to make certain every vote got counted. And once that process completed, I started Fair Fight, to ensure that we never had to question whether voters would be heard from again.

What he is attempting to do is the exact opposite. He only wants the voters he likes to be heard. He's doing his best to dismantle the system.

He's arguing against a system that we fixed, through Fair Fight, and through the Democratic Party, that meant that no matter where you lived, in the state of Georgia, if you filed an absentee ballot, and you needed to fix a mistake, you were notified.

In 2018, it was up to the local elections official, if you knew how to fix your ballot, which is why if you were Black, or Latino, or Asian- American, your ballot was twice as likely to be rejected. If you were young, it was five times more likely.

This election, that wasn't the problem. And so, there is absolutely no comparison, except that both of us used the word "Vote."

I'm fighting against voter suppression, to make certain that voter access is always available. And he's fighting to make himself the victor, by disenfranchising, and disallowing voters that he doesn't care for.

There is nothing common in what we're doing. And it's a deeply - it's a deep disservice to Georgians, to think that his allegations, his fraudulent allegations, should have any countenance, in the work that we do to make sure that every voice, every vote counts.

CUOMO: Do you think you have a chance of winning either of these special elections?

ABRAMS: Absolutely. We have seen record turnout. In 2008, the high watermark for a runoff election, 2.1 million voters cast their ballots.

As of today, more than 3 million have already voted early. And of that number, 112,000 are people who didn't vote in November, but believed it was so important that they showed up. 40 percent of those voters are Black voters, and 22 percent of those voters are under the age of 25.

Those are communities that wouldn't normally show up, but they understand how critical this election is, and we think that they are excellent harbingers of what can happen tomorrow, if every voter shows up, and if every voter believes that their vote matters.

CUOMO: Stacey Abrams, well-argued, and thank you. We'll be watching. Thank you all for watching.

ABRAMS: Thank you so much, Chris.

CUOMO: Every time. Thank you very much for watching--