Return to Transcripts main page

Cuomo Prime Time

President Biden Signs Executive Orders On Economy: "We Cannot, Will Not Let People Go Hungry"; Senate Leaders Haggling Over Power- Sharing Deal; FBI: Texas Man At Capitol Riots Threatened To Kill His Family If They Turned Him In. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 22, 2021 - 21:00   ET




GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, is there any chance you could see him being a good president?


TUCHMAN: So, you've given up on him already?

MASSEY: I don't know. I had faith in him 47 years. And I'm only 44- years-old.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But others are hoping they end up being pleasantly surprised.

TUCHMAN (on camera): You think you could be happy with him, potentially?

DEBBIE HOWARD, TRUMP VOTER: There's potential there, yes.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, Roberts County, Texas.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, appreciate it, John.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Got to be honest with you, I was worried about this week. I was worried even the day of the Inauguration. But we were able to inaugurate a new president in America without more bloodshed. That is a low bar. But it is where we are.

What matters is where we go next. Biden must do better, and we will watch those efforts.

But we also have to hold those, who did their worst, to account, and that starts with Trump. Here's the latest. His trial is going to be delayed several weeks. Both sides seem to want this for very different reasons.

Here's the part that matters for us. I think that increases the trouble for Trump. Here's why. Time creates opportunity. And the more we learn, the worse it looks, OK?

New information, Trump was reportedly going to replace his Acting A.G., according to "The New York Times," with a loyalist, who would pressure Georgia to change its vote. He reportedly considered firing Jeffrey Rosen, the Acting A.G., after he allegedly wouldn't comply with the request to back the election fraud conspiracy theory.

So, why didn't Trump do it? Once again, the threat, of mass resignations, at the DoJ. We've heard that before. Trump doesn't like that optic. He was worried the publicity over his malfeasance would overshadow his fake fraud ambitions.

So, we'll stay on that, because more like that is going to come out.

But let's turn from the worst to the new burst, energy from the man in charge. Biden has a team of pros.

A team makes all the difference. See, Trump was a solo act, so all you got was what he could give you, which was very little, other than that which put the media in a paroxysm of pain.

They're putting out proposals, on Biden's team, in all these different directions. It's the advantage of having a team. Yet, they cannot get anything done beyond executive orders, and that is not the way for this government to function, for two reasons.

One, you know, Re-Trump-licans, GOP members insistent on opposing Biden for their own advantage, impressing this infamous base.

Now, the second is what I really want to talk to you tonight. I don't think a lot of you have ever heard about what is happening in the Senate, and what always happens in the Senate, but it's the game within the game that they don't talk about, OK? It is a deal that they make, which arguably undercuts your own vote.

You keep hearing, "They're making a deal. What kind of deal? How they share power? How they share power? What's the deal? They won't make a deal. McConnell has the deal." You've heard this, right?

What deal? You decided the deal. You voted. The numbers are what they are, right? It's not how it works in the Senate. I don't think most of you know that the power struggle on the Hill was not settled by the Georgia runoffs. It's this weird "Game of Thrones" thing.

The Senate leaders did reach a deal today to kick the Trump impeachment trial to February, to allow for action on nominations and COVID relief. But it's not like a one-off deal, one issue by one issue. There is a whole framework, a whole contract.

So, Biden can sign executive orders. But in terms of getting legislation, there is a problem. So, on one side, you have Biden, OK, dealing with the hunger and poverty that plays in this pandemic. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We cannot, will not let people go hungry. We cannot let people be evicted because of nothing they did themselves. We cannot watch people lose their jobs. And we have to act. We have to act now.

We're in a national emergency. We need to act like we're in a national emergency.

We have the tools to help people, so let's use the tools, all of them. Use them now.


CUOMO: He's right, of course. So why isn't it happening if it's so obvious? Because, in the Senate, McConnell and Schumer, haven't figured out, how to share power yet.

I know. You're like, "Wait, I don't understand, why?" You shouldn't understand it.

Again, this is a Senate rule, goes back many years, I have someone tonight, who is part of the last Senate power-sharing deal, where they decide how the Minority and the Majority will work together.


And if you don't go according to the deal, then the rule is you have to go back to the state of play of the last deal, which shares power with the Minority, and would allow the Republicans and McConnell to stymie any efforts to get anything done in the Senate.

How crazy is that! But that's where we are, all right?

So, what does that mean for us tonight? It means that we have to expose what this is, and why it is happening. And I want to talk about that right now. And we have two great people to do it, OK? We have Doug Heye and Michael Smerconish.

It's good to have you both here. Now, you guys are smart, and you are part of the inside, which is good. You're sophisticated guys.

I'm telling you, nobody, Doug, I'll start with you, on my radio show today, Sirius Radio, POTUS channel, they didn't know what the heck I was talking about with "Well what do you mean there's a deal? What deal?"

Explain to people, Doug, what we're talking about. Where did this come from and why does it matter?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR ERIC CANTOR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Yes. One of the first things that every Congress has, this is true in the House, but recently with what we see in the Senate, right now, true there as well and important is the rule structure for how they're going to move forward.

What the organization - it's basically, the organizing rule. How does the Senate operate? How will the House operate?

With a big majority or even a smaller majority, but clear win for Democrats in the House, that's pretty easy.

50/50 in the Senate, this is Mitch McConnell's leverage that he has, right now, to extract any bit of power that he can, in the coming days, before it goes to Democratic control. At some point, that's going to happen.

But McConnell is trying to get every last bit that he can. And obviously, the big thing for them, right now, is the issue of the filibuster.

CUOMO: So, we'll get to that in a second. But Michael, just to help people understand, why would McConnell have any leverage? He lost. It's 50/50, and the VP can break any ties. So, why would Schumer have to negotiate any kind of power deal?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, "SMERCONISH," CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, HOST, "MICHAEL SMERCONISH PROGRAM" ON SIRIUSXM: Because the Vice President is not a constancy. She's not there at every step of the way. She's got other responsibilities. And the deadlock remains.

It's an explanation as to why, in his first three days in office, President Biden signed, I think, the number is 29, it might be 30 by now--


SMERCONISH: --executive orders, in comparison to five for President Obama, one for President Trump, in the same time period.

And it creates this situation, where it kind of plays into the hands of Mitch McConnell, who says "Well, wait a minute, Mr. President. I thought you were the guy, who, on Wednesday, spoke of the need for unity. You're getting it all done yourself, or at least trying to."

But, of course, the response is that the President can't count on any modicum of cooperation because of what you are describing, and so he feels that he's got to do what he's doing right now.

CUOMO: All right, so Doug, let's just still, because I'm telling you, people don't get this, and they shouldn't. We never talk about it, which is weird.

Why does McConnell or any Minority Leader have the right to a negotiation about how they will be influenced after an election? Where does this power come from in the Senate? And what happens if Schumer says "I'm not making any deal?"

HEYE: Yes, look, the reality is if the numbers were at all different, McConnell wouldn't have that same - that same ability that he does right now. And it's a bit like the quote in the movie, "Office Space," "There is a glitch." And what they're trying to do, when it's 50/50, is fix the glitch.

And McConnell, as I said before, this is his last point of leverage. If they're not able to reach some kind of a power-sharing agreement, crazy as it sounds, even though Democrats should control the Senate, 50/50 with that, then extra vote for Vice President Harris, the reality is the Committee Chairs will remain Republican.

And that is what influences legislation, as it goes through the United States Senate, or as we've seen over the past 10 years, legislation that doesn't go through the United States Senate.

CUOMO: Right, the phrase from every political show we binge on, "You know? It will never make it out of Committee."

But, then Michael, the question, again, for any reasonable person, is going to be "But who says you have to live by the old agreement? It's not in the Constitution. This isn't a law. This is a rule they came up with for themselves."

How could it be that you have a new Majority but they're bound by some pact among inter alia, among the senators, so that you don't have the Majority be the Majority in the committees?

SMERCONISH: It's a horrible outcome, except for all the alternatives. In other words, what else can you do? If it were 51/49, we'd be having a different conversation. But it's a 50/50 deadlock, when all is said and done.

It's also, I think, the explanation as to why there was an agreement reached today. It seems as if Schumer & Co. gave into McConnell in so far as pushing off the date for the impeachment trial.

CUOMO: Right.


SMERCONISH: They probably want to try and use that as a little bit of - a little bit of carrot, keep him happy. Frankly, they're hoping that McConnell ends up in the same place that they are. But that's the explanation. You're now putting your finger on it.

CUOMO: Right. All right, so now, the other big issue is what's happening within the Republican Party, Doug.

There is an internecine struggle there, right? "Do we stay hard-line opposition? Everything but us is bad and must die?" Or do they jettison Trump and allow some green shoots to come up in their Party, and some other leaders to evolve?

What do you make of that state of place vis-a-vis any eventual trial?

HEYE: Yes. One of the constants that I - that I saw, when I worked in the House Majority, was we had what would call a "Vote No, Hope Yes Caucus." And this is exactly what we're seeing with a lot of Republicans right now. They want to put Donald Trump in the rearview mirror. They know it's

best for them to put Donald Trump in the rearview mirror. But they're scared to make that call themselves. And they know that if they do so, they put themselves on the firing line for fundraising against them, for potential primaries.

And as we talk about what Senate Republicans may do, in a trial, whether or not 17 Republicans might vote to convict Donald Trump, let's keep in mind there are a lot more House Republicans than there are Senate Republicans, and very few of them voted to impeach Donald Trump.

And they're seeing what's happening, right now, as those Republicans, who were true patriots, and stuck their neck out, to do the right thing, are facing real opposition, from their own colleagues, who are trying to remove Lin Cheney as the - Liz Cheney, excuse me, as the Conference Chair, and those other Members who are being threatened with primaries.

And we know, or, I know, from conversations I've had, with folks in leadership, that one of the reasons that leadership didn't support the impeachment, and didn't come out against Trump's plans, on challenging election results, was because they wanted Donald Trump to help fundraise for them in 2022.

CUOMO: Do you think we're wasting our time following this trial because they're never going to convict, Michael?

SMERCONISH: No. I think it's got to play itself out. I think you've got to follow the process. It's serious business when the House passes articles or, in this case, an article of impeachment. I'm dubious as to whether they get to 17.

I'm not sure Chris that you have the right answer when you say that time is against the President, because more information might be forthcoming. That's true. More evidence like the story that you talked about tonight with Justice, might be coming forward.

The other side, however, is that memories begin to fade, and there's the risk that it appears a little bit vindictive that maybe more and more Republicans will say "Hey, come on, Joe Biden is now the President of the United States. He's begun his administration. Why are we still talking about Donald Trump?"

Final thought, if it were a secret ballot, I maintain that the vote would be in the high-80s, low-90s.

CUOMO: Right. Right, but we can't have secret ballots. They have to be on the record. And people have to see it. As frustrating as it is, if you can't do the right thing, in the light of attention, then you're not about the right thing.

Look, the only other permutation that I'm hitting on, Smerc, and then I got to go, and I appreciate you guys, especially you, Doug, it's good to have you on the show, Michael's here, I'm begging him to be here all the time, is time could mean something else. Time is opportunity for people to think about themselves, and their own ambitions. And Republicans may get tired of getting hit over the head with Trump, as the sum total of what they're about. And with time, that could get frustrating.

We'll see. You're usually right. But we'll play it out together.

Doug Heye, thank you very much.

Michael Smerconish, have a beautiful weekend, brother.

HEYE: Thank you.

CUOMO: Appreciate you. All right.

SMERCONISH: Thank you.

CUOMO: So, I wanted you to understand this. Because we're at 50/50, they have to make a deal with each other.

I know most of us thought, and I did, before I did the research, "Yes, but the VP breaks it. So that's it. It's not really a tie," because people were telling you, all along, "Here's what the numbers are. Here's what they need."

50/50 is not a clear win. They have to make a deal. It is the game within the game. And Mitch McConnell has power, and he'd stand in the way of the Democrats, and that's just the truth.

The good news is we have a former star player, from the Senate, who knows what this game is about, and what it takes to outplay the other side, even a McConnell, in a game like this.

Former Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle, next.



CUOMO: There are a lot of calls for unity. I don't think that's what we're about in our politics. This is about a culture, at least in Congress, of overt opposition. And that isn't going to change any time soon, especially in the Senate, given this power-sharing deal dynamic.

Here's the bottom line. When you don't have a clear majority, OK, and the Democrats don't. It's 50/50. Yes, the VP breaks the tie, but she's not there day-to-day.

So, they have a rule in place, OK, that you either make a deal about how it will work, between the two parties, or you are bound by the last deal that was made. And that would mean that the Committees stay in control of the old Majority, meaning the Republicans.

So, the Senate does this, at the beginning of every new Congress, to figure out committees, ratios, membership, budgets. But now, it's more complicated because it's 50/50. So, Minority Leader

Mitch McConnell has the leverage again. And he won't do a deal until the Democrats agree in writing, to keep the filibuster, which what, again, allows the Minority to have power, and push things to need 60 votes.

Now, McConnell got - they got rid of it, and that's how you got the Supreme Court justices, on a simple majority, 50-plus-1. So, the question is, should you keep it?

Now, it doesn't matter because the Democrats don't even have the numbers to get it passed. So, it's a problem. The promise of any legislation, or movement, on COVID relief, or anything is therefore in limbo.

What is this going to turn out to be? And what does it mean about the larger state of play? I have the perfect guest for you, when it comes to this power-sharing deal and the dynamic of the Majority party having the impeachment of its own president ongoing.

Who better to ask than former Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle? He went through this deal on his own 50/50 power-sharing plan with then Minority Leader Trent Lott.

It's great to see you, Senator.


CUOMO: First, big politics, having sat through the Clinton impeachment, what do you think, the chance is, that 17 Republican senators go bad, against Trump, despite all the evidence?


DASCHLE: I don't think the chance is very great. My guess is there will be Republicans. It will be bipartisan. I just can't anticipate, I don't really think there's a possibility of reaching at 17.

CUOMO: And to the argument that "Constitutionally, it's dubious that we should even have a trial, because he already left office," your take?

DASCHLE: Well, I think there is constitutional questions about it. But I think there is ample precedent. I think it was 1868, the Minister of War was in - resigned, and was impeached, and convicted, in spite of his resignation.

So, we have examples, on both sides, to make the argument. I don't think there is any question. There will be a trial, and we'll go through with this process.

CUOMO: I had a law school professor today, tell me, "It'd be a great law exam question, because you can argue it two ways. But the right answer is to have the trial." Now, the idea of the dynamic within the Republican Party, the idea of what to do with an influence like Trump, and where that Party will decide, what do you think of the dynamic inside that Party?

DASCHLE: Well, I think there is a lot of division, just an enormous amount of question about the future of the Republican Party, and the direction it takes. I think it all really will depend on the kind of consensus that they're going to have to reach, within the Republican Party, in the Senate especially.

Mitch McConnell is in a good position, I think, to help direct that approach, and ultimately, the decisions that the Caucus is going to make. But it's really going to be a tough job, to overcome the divisions that exist today. It's as deep as I've seen it in some time.

CUOMO: Why do you think that is?

DASCHLE: Well I think because President Trump had enormous influence in the Party. And because, in large measure, it's the primary, not the general election that dictates for a lot of members what they do in their political life.

That base is very powerful. And that base is drawn, in large measure, around support for President Trump today, and it will remain a question until that's resolved.

I think, at some point, in the future, Republicans have to make a real decision about whether they're really a Trump party, or whether they're a Republican conservative party. And that's a decision that only they can make.

CUOMO: You think they should get rid of the filibuster, and just accept the reality that this is about power politics, and 50-plus-1? You're not going to get 60 votes on anything.

DASCHLE: Well my preference is to go back to the old rules.

For 50 years, we only had about 37 filibusters, in part because you had to hold the floor, in part because you didn't get off a bill. We've changed all of that and we've now suffered the consequences.

I'd love to go back to the old rules. That is still an option before we get rid of it entirely. I think that's possible.

CUOMO: The problem is he doesn't have the leverage.

So, help us understand, why did you guys have the constitutional right to cut a deal like this, in the first place, the last time you had 50/50?

DASCHLE: Well, we had - we had - first of all, I had a wonderful partner. Trent Lott was my partner in all of this.

We trusted each other. We communicated with each other. We had been through a lot of fires, including an impeachment. And so, we understood what we had to do. It took us three weeks to get there. But I really think that made the difference. We had that chemistry.

There is - there is a reason, there is a motivation, for both sides, to want to get a deal. We can't live under the old rules.

We've got to come up with the operating manual for the 117th Congress. That's what this operating resolution is all about. It's the manual that the Senate will use for the next two years to do everything. And that is a powerful motivation, for both leaders, to find a way to come together and get this job done.

CUOMO: So, the idea that "Well it's 50/50, but the VP breaks the tie, so that means the Democrats win. They're the majority," it's just not that simple?

DASCHLE: It isn't that simple. I mean you really have to - there is nothing you can do, on a simple majority, in the Senate without - you need a lot of the unanimous consent agreements.

You need a lot of opportunity to decide what the agenda is going to be, both in nominations and legislation, in treaties, in all of the things that the Senate is required to do.

In order to do that, you need a framework. And that framework can't happen without an organizing resolution. And that resolution can't come without agreement from the two leaders.

CUOMO: It can be done for good, it can be done for bad, or it can be a very mixed picture in between.

I got to tell you, I got to impose on you, on national television, I'm going to need you back, Senator, to understand this, in the weeks ahead, because I know it's going to play a big role in what happens in the dynamic, and people just aren't going to understand it the way you do.

So, please come back. And I appreciate you being on tonight.

DASCHLE: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

There is this whole game inside the game. I know. I know that you were being told, during the election, "If they can get to 50, then they'll be," it's not that simple. And that's why Biden is being held up. Period! So, that's the politics.


Now to the reality, outside the politics, we do have some good news when it comes to the pandemic, in the form of the vaccine. The CDC reports 1.5 million shots went in arms today. That's the biggest single-day increase reported yet.

Now, there's still a lot of work to be done. You had Fauci here, last night, saying he thinks it can get done by summer. But that assumes a huge rate of increase. And we still have too many vaccines, going into the wrong places.

Who's to blame? How do you fix it? What's the state of play? We are doing this vaccination effort, and we're doing the Vax-track. We're tracking it. We have new data, next.


CUOMO: All right, so here's the state of play on the vaccines, all right?

Pfizer says it's going to be sending fewer vials of vaccine at a time that we need more, not less.

It was a welcome surprise, last month, when pharmacists figured out that they could squeeze an extra dose out of each vial. Remember that? So now they get six doses instead of five. And that will help make up for the shortfall.

But the federal government pays by the dose, not the vial, so Pfizer is going to wind up OK anyway, because once they find out about more doses, it's fine. But that's one thing that's going on.

If you want to see why this is a problem, you just look at Dodger Stadium. You see that line of cars, snaking back and forth in the parking lot?


CUOMO: Most of these people are over 65, and they're waiting hours, to get the COVID vaccine. Why? Not enough. We should be opening more of these mass vaccination centers. Instead, in city after city, we see them closing.

Red and Blue, big state, small state, governors and mayors, all agree on what the problem is. Listen.



GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): We will still have far more demand than we have supply.

GOV. KIM REYNOLDS (R-IA): Demand for the vaccine will be much greater than the supply for some time.

GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): In order to vaccinate more people, we need more vaccines.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, (D) NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: The bottom line is supply is not even close to keeping up with demand.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI, (D) LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: We simply don't have the supply coming in.


CUOMO: Now, here's the good news, OK?

When we started this, several weeks ago, I told you that I knew that this was going to be a mess. Why? Because I knew there was no planning, from the people around Operation Warp Speed. They weren't planning for their own success in the last administration.

And I knew that once people started to see that the vaccine was safe, but also, that it was a safe way to getting back to normal, in a community, which hasn't even happened, yet, the demand would be a flood. So, it was always going to be about supply. So, that shouldn't be a surprise.

But now that you have a new administration, how do you make up this supply issue?

Now, you get into problems. Governors, and yes, my brother is the Governor of New York, and he does believe that given the lessons of desperation, and what he saw with PPE, that states should be able to go to manufacturers, because they got it done more efficiently than the federal government, OK?

But the federal government is saying "No. It's not just about needing more. It's about the need for consistency." And that's why it's such a pain to schedule an appointment. I don't know if you've tried. But we've had to try in my family with my mom and my in-laws, and it's not easy.

So, when you hear about seniors, who aren't lucky enough, to have younger kids, able to go online for them, having to refresh a web page, for hours and hours, just to get a slot, before they even do the paperwork, to see if they qualify, to even see if they even have enough vaccine, for that appointment to mean anything, it's just a terrible process, in too many places.

Nobody can make a plan without a consistent flow of shots.

Let's look at Ohio, OK? The first shipment was more than 98,000 doses. Some weeks, that number drops to 70,000, only to bounce up and down from week-to-week, so they can't plan in terms of appointments.

Like we keep saying on the show, distribution is only one part of the equation. You still have to get the shots in arms. For that, we look at two big numbers, doses distributed over doses administered, OK?

These aren't apples-to-apples. The top number, the one that the CDC can track, in real-time, OK, this is what we gave you. The bottom number is a lag, why, because it takes time to put it into the arm, sometimes 72 hours, if you're lucky.

Then there is the question of where the shots are going. You see, when you see the big number, of how many are distributed, "Ooh, that's good." Yes, but they don't all go to state health departments.

The latest data, that we have, shows that more than 4.7 million doses are going to pharmacies, like Walgreens and CVS. That's not good or bad. It's just more complicated.

And while, right now, overall, about half of the doses sent out, are going into arms, that rate is nowhere near high enough. Since the federal Pharmacy Partnership started, they've administered about a quarter of what they get. Why? It depends.

And you don't even have the kind of transparency, on the private side, CVS, Walgreens that you would through the state. And the bottom line is you have governors to answer to you.

But those are companies. They just answer to shareholders, right? Now, both of those companies, of course, have seen stock prices jump, right, because obviously, you're going to drive demand to them. You're going to go there. You're going to shop. You're going to go there for your vaccine.

As for the companies, I don't want to paint them in a bad light, Walgreens, respectable chain, says up to 80 percent of staff, at some nursing homes, declined the vaccine. Now, here's another problem, OK? Why are they declining it? Is this about being afraid? Or is this wanting to save it for other seniors?

Both companies put out press releases saying they are "On track." How, if they're at only 25 percent? This brings us to what needs to be done to fix it, OK? Right now, there is too much finger-pointing and not enough needle-sticking.

Let's dig into this with a Governor who is living the reality, next.



CUOMO: In Utah, this week, we learned some 32,000 doses went unused for more than a week. It's about 14 percent of the first doses that the state received.

My next guest is the man in charge, Utah Governor, Spencer Cox.

Gov., thank you for making time. I know you're crazy busy.

First, I wanted to give you a chance to respond to this, because it's been out there for a while, and I haven't seen you as much, being able to defend yourself in the State. And then I want to go on to the macro issues that you're facing.

So, the idea that "You wasted vaccines," is this on you? Do you not have your act together? What's the truth?

GOV. SPENCER COX (R-UT): I don't think any vaccines have been wasted.

Let me tell you what happened. On day one, as Governor, I said "We will use every dose of vaccine within seven days. And if you're not using those doses, within seven days, then, you shouldn't have the vaccine, or you have too much of it." Right now, so the first week, after making that decision, we

administered 65,000 doses of vaccine. That's - we had only done 60,000, in the first four weeks, so we more than doubled our capacity just at that time.

Now, here is the issue. We've done 97 percent now, of the vaccine that we have in our control, has now been administered that is - that is more than seven days old.

But you, Chris, you hit on the key, that Walgreens and CVS partnership with the federal government, that's where all the backlog is, in virtually every state right now. And there's a couple of--

CUOMO: Including yours?

COX: Yes, including ours. What happened was, first of all, they sent them too much vaccine. And then you recognize the problem, not - they sent them 100 percent for every resident, and every staff person, and not all of those are being used, right?

So, here's what we did. We just said, "Look, we need to know how many you've used." And they are on track. They've gotten through 85 percent of the long-term care facilities in Utah, and they have way too much vaccine.

We estimate they have 15,000 to 16,000 extra doses that they don't need and can't use right now. So, we're taking that back, and we're giving it to our local health departments, and it will be gone next week. And we--

CUOMO: So, they're agreeing to give you this stuff?

COX: Yes, they are, yes.


CUOMO: All right, so Gov., let me give you the floor. You give me the three things that you know, in your State, that have to be changed for you to up how many people you can get vaccinated.

COX: Well there is only one thing that has to be changed. We just have to get more vaccine.

CUOMO: You have enough people and enough places?

COX: Oh, yes, yes.

Look, we're doing - we're doing over 60,000 doses a week. That's chewing up the backlog that was stuck in these other places, right? We're only getting 33,000 doses a week. So, we're - next week, we will run out of doses on Wednesday. That's going to happen every week until we get more.

What we need also is more insight into the manufacturing process. You mentioned consistency. It's not just consistency. But is it going to be ramping up. And if so, how fast is it ramping up? If we knew that we were going to go from 33,000 doses a week to, say, 50,000 doses a week, in three weeks, then we could repurpose second doses now, as first doses, knowing it would make up for it down the road.

Somebody has to be able to tell us, at some point, how the manufacturing process, is working and give us some insight, into what that looks like, down the road.

CUOMO: Quickly, do you want to be able to go to manufacturers yourself?

COX: That's not going to help anything. That's a - that's a huge mistake.


COX: Absolutely a mistake. And any governor that says otherwise is wrong, and they know it. Look, we shouldn't - this shouldn't be "The Hunger Games" like it was with PPE, right? That was ridiculous. And we all had to play that game.


COX: We are all in this together. Governors are in this together. We just need insight from the federal government and the manufacturers.

CUOMO: And you think Biden knows what the issues are, and his team does, and that you can trust him.

COX: Well they certainly know what the issues are, because we've all told them.

CUOMO: All right.

COX: So, trust is - trust is competence and ethical behavior, and we're excited to see if we get those two things.

CUOMO: Well I'll tell you what, Governor? I will be in contact with your office every week. Whenever you want to come on, you have an open invitation. I know you're busy.

COX: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: But I want to know if they're doing you right, and if they're not, why, so that I can hold power to account. That's our piece in this, all right? God bless and good luck.

COX: Have a great night.

CUOMO: All right.

Another facet of what's going on in this country that I really think is interesting for you, OK? These people that we saw mob the Capitol, they were monsters to us, but not to the families that they come from, their neighbors, their co-workers, their parents. Our next guest is a heartbreaker. Imagine being 18-years-old, you're a son, you love your father, and you hear him start saying things that make you feel so frightened about what he's going to do, or what's going to happen to him that you go to the FBI. Can you imagine being put in that position?

I want you to hear this kid describe how his father got to this point and what came next.



CUOMO: You want a window into a reality that you haven't seen? All these people sucked into Trump's lies and extremism, it's not just dividing us as a nation. Think of the families!

Case in point, Guy Reffitt, he's now been charged with unlawful entry at the U.S. Capitol, and obstruction of justice for threatening his own family.

According to FBI documents, he told his own son and daughter, "If you turn me in, you're a traitor and you know what happens to traitors. Traitors get shot." To his own kids, he said that. It didn't take long for the FBI to find him.

His 18-year-old son knew that his father had changed, and he feared for his own safety, and the safety of others. He feared enough that he tipped off the FBI about his own father. Can you imagine being put in that position?

Jackson Reffitt joins us now.


CUOMO: I know you love your family. And I know this is hard. So, help people understand why did you feel you had to let authorities know about what was being done to your father, and what was happening in his own head?

JACKSON REFFITT, FATHER ARRESTED AFTER CAPITOL HILL RIOTS: I don't really know how to explain it. It was - it was just, it just felt like the right thing, regardless of my emotions, and how I felt, and how much I loved my family and my dad.

I was worried. I didn't think he would actually do anything bad. But him saying anything even remotely threatening to me, and my sister, and my family, and government officials, it was just too much. And I just felt--

CUOMO: Now, this wasn't just one conversation, Jackson. Help people understand the context, like for how long had you been watching your father change? And what seemed to be the influence on him? And what seemed to be that change?

REFFITT: I wish I could tell you exactly what. But it's been definitely over the past four years that it's grown and just snowballed into what my dad has become now. And he's still my father but he's changed a lot.

CUOMO: How so?

REFFITT: He's been more active on his, on the internet, and obviously the militia, and the far-right extremists, he's been involved with recently. He's been a lot more, I don't want to say aggressive, but more, more scared.

CUOMO: Would he talk to you about it?

REFFITT: No. I actually never even knew he was going to D.C. until the day he left. I am sure it was because of my political views, but I'm not sure.

CUOMO: And when he would explain to you what he thought was going on, in the country, how would he describe it?

REFFITT: He said it - said it as if it was the end of times or that this country was on the brink of its own collapse. But I think it was just him trying to boost his own agenda, and make it seem more like what he wanted.

CUOMO: When you would talk to your mom about this, or any other family, could any of them explain it? Did they see this - it the same way you did?


REFFITT: No. I'm kind of on my own in my family right now with my own views about my dad.

And I do love him. And I do care for him. But that doesn't ignore everything else he's said and done. What he said, he said, and there's no taking that back. And the fact that he said that is enough for me to tell authorities.

CUOMO: This is not a political argument between a father and a son who are both strong-willed. You have real concerns about your father getting hurt?

REFFITT: Yes, Sir. It's - it wasn't just a political thing. It was - I was worried about what could possibly happen, even remotely. I was just - I was a nervous wreck.

CUOMO: What's your best sense of what was driving his change and his fear?

REFFITT: Obviously, the man in charge at the time, I feel like just really manipulated him into thinking what he is thinking now. I'm obviously not sure about that. But I can't know for sure. And he's - that's the only thing I can blame this - the politics he follows and idolizes.

CUOMO: Now, why couldn't you talk about it? When you heard that he was like messing with local militias and stuff like that, and that wasn't the man you knew, and you would talk to him about it, what would you get back?

REFFITT: I would get back, um, almost - only what would happen in the future, not what happened recently, or in the past. He would be hyping-up something.

He would be like "I'm about to do something big." And obviously that was Washington, the Capitol riots. I didn't know that at the time. But it's something he does. He's not very open with me or my sisters about it. But he was very, very private about it.

CUOMO: And he was never like this before?

REFFITT: No. Not even remotely. He would never say the stuff he did to me a couple years ago, me and my sister, not once would he even think about something like that.

CUOMO: And when you say "This stuff," when you started talking to him, about how upset you were, he started giving you ultimatums about picking a side?

REFFITT: He said "Choose a side or die." And if I chose a certain side, I would cross a line, and he would do something he didn't want to do. That can be open for interpretation, though. I did feel threatened at those comments. But it's still open. My sister can say otherwise, but I myself felt threatened.

CUOMO: You think your dad loves you?

REFFITT: I do think what he was doing, he thought, was right. But, in the end, what he was doing was not right, for himself, or his family, or the country even. And I hope he realizes that soon enough.

And if I could say to him, right now, I could - I would want to say I'm sorry what I've done. But I did think it was right as well.

CUOMO: Would you do it again?

REFFITT: Yes. I'd definitely do it again.

CUOMO: He wound up going to D.C., and he wound up getting arrested for what he did there. How does that make you feel?

REFFITT: Knowing it was probably my fault, but I do feel - I feel disappointed in him for making that decision even at all, to go up there, and risk his life, and endanger others, and put his family in this situation.

And it might be my fault for talking to authorities, but I don't want to think that. He's an adult and he made his own decisions.

CUOMO: That last point, my friend, is the only one that matters. I've got a kid your age. I'm a dad. Kids don't take responsibility for what their parents do. You didn't make him to go to D.C. You didn't make him choose to do

what he did that got him arrested. He didn't get arrested because you were worried about him. He got arrested because of what he did, and what he chose to do.

What you did was very, very hard. A lot of people wouldn't do it, even with the basis that you acted on, because they'd be afraid of offending family, hurting feelings, especially the man who raised you. And for you to put what's right, on top of that, is no small task. This is not your fault.

I'm talking to you because I'm impressed by what you did and, more importantly, why you did it, OK?


REFFITT: Yes, Sir, thank you.

CUOMO: No, thank you pal, because what you did was hard. Doing nothing would have been easy.


CUOMO: Now listen, Jackson wanted this opportunity. He's in college. He's 18. This is horrible.

And I want you to feel what I feel about it, that we can't be about this. I got a kid that age. I can't imagine ever being in that kind of state of mind about politics. And you have to think about it.

And one other little note of caution. If you want, to buck up Jackson, and you can find him, good for you.

If you come after this kid, because you believe that what he did was wrong, by your political ideology, I'm going to be watching people, who come to him, and I'm going to bring all the numbers of the people I have, who watch what I put out, to come at anybody, who goes after him, because it's wrong.

He's 18-years-old. He spoke his peace. He was put in a hard position. Respect that!

We'll be right back.


CUOMO: Aw! That's a tough one, on a Friday night, but I think it's an important perspective for us to have.