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Democrats, Trump Team Outline Impeachment Trial Arguments; Biden Administration To Ship Vaccine Doses Directly To Pharmacies; Officer Who Died In Riot Lies In Honor At U.S. Capitol. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired February 02, 2021 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Sorry we ran out of time with the breaking news about the Marjorie Taylor Greene meeting.
The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: We'll pick up the ball, Anderson. As we get--
COOPER: Thank you.
CUOMO: --any news about what the Republicans decide to do, I'll do my best Coop impersonation. All right, thank you very much.
I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.
Look, it's my argument to you that all of you have to worry about the GOP identity crisis, whether it's your party or not, or you're not about party. Why?
Well we have to know if this Party is going to at least try to return to the likeness of Lincoln or continue to court forces that are many akin to the man that killed him. Because that's what these extremists and conspiracy cultists are about, animus and violence.
For a Party that is consumed with division, with defining "Us" versus "Them," well here is your chance. "Us" are those who live under the laws and intolerance of one another. This is "Them."
(VIDEO - RIOTERS AT THE U.S. CAPITOL HILL ON JANUARY 6TH)
CUOMO: Do you see them? Do you see what they did? This is the only "Them" to worry about in American society.
So, as we watch a Party, in search for its soul, the answer is cloudy because we already know what the man to many of them pay fealty to, the former president, wants to come of them, and of these people, and from them.
He is on trial for his incessant incitement for the angry to take action. That's the case of incitement, for the angry to take action, to fight for the election to be overturned.
And before anyone tries to make this about anything else, "But what about this? What about the summer?" remember this, remember what you are seeing. We have never seen anything like it. It is the worst. Period! And they are our worst. Period!
Too many have hidden from the truth about Trump's intentions for too long. January 6th was the price of that. The same people, who are silent about January 6th and why it happened are now also quiet, as a QAnon kook rises in their ranks. Think about that.
Tonight, we stop, and we must remember January 6th and the disaster let loose on our democracy.
One of the heroes of that day is about to be posthumously honored on our watch, Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. He's going to be lying in state, he's going to be lying, in a position of honor, tonight, at the U.S. Capitol. He valiantly fought an armed Trump mob nearly four weeks ago. His family arrives soon with his remains.
Why is this the first commemoration tonight of January 6th?
Back in 1988, we had two Capitol officers that died trying to stop a gunman. Everybody was on board then, everybody talked about it, and why its significance was so great. Not now! Why didn't the death of this officer cause the outrage in the GOP ranks of so many others?
We, on this show, will not allow the Capitol attack to be forgotten.
I will carry the ceremony for you tonight. Every time there's a moment there, we'll go to it, so we can share it and remember it.
Now, one of the strongest voices in the House Republican Caucus tonight is making a stand. And we'll have him on the show to talk about his Party, and what is going on, and what this night should mean for all of us.
We're exactly one week out from the trial of the accused inciter of the insurrection and now have our first look at the extensive arguments from both sides.
"President Trump is singularly responsible for the violence and destruction, personally responsible." That's for the nine House Impeachment Managers in their 80-page brief. "Incitement by Trump," they argue, that went on for months, before January 6th, by baselessly claiming the election was stolen from him.
The response? Take a look at this. His people can't even spell "United," let alone make the case that this president was about anything to do with properly leading the United States of America.
"Oh, just a typo!" First of all, no, not on something of this magnitude, you don't make a mistake on page one. And it isn't something they did just once. They did it twice OK? There is another mistake on page nine.
And again, maybe it's Freudian that they can't even spell "United" because the word bears no resemblance to anything the former president was about. Here's their argument. "There is no basis on which to say Trump's claims that the election was stolen are wrong."
Really? No claims? All the lawsuits, all the members of the states that are Republicans and Democrats, Congress certifying the vote, there's no basis for saying that he's wrong?
Remember, it's not just about him and his mouth. It's about the reality of who, and what remains, a Party that is acting more like a gang. Many, too many, being more careful about how they speak about a QAnon kook in their ranks than they were about how they spoke about Trump during the primary.
Listen to Senator Lindsey Graham.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Are these postings accurate? I want to hear from her. Before I judge what to do about her, I want to know what the facts are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: He knows the facts. She literally walks around with a camera, taping herself spewing bile, and he knows it.
This is the same guy that said Trump was hell-bound, remember that, for what he believed during the primary. He didn't seem to show any hesitancy about him. Why about her? Trump wasn't even talking about drinking baby blood!
Look, this is the hand Biden was dealt. He can't just act, ignoring the reality of everything in half of Congress. It doesn't work. So, we have to pay attention.
Democrats earn a spot. They are forced to decide, "Do we wait on sanity to return to the Right?" Or "Do we do what we believe is right on their own?"
Now, one of the most influential voices, on the way forward, in the Senate, is Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia. What does he think of this moment we share tonight of what is right coming out of tonight? And what would be the way forward to get people the help they need? The Senator joins us now.
Sir, welcome back to PRIME TIME.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Great to be with you Chris. How are you?
CUOMO: Why do you believe it is important for us to have the family and the remains of Officer Sicknick and for it to be something that all of our elected officials recognize? MANCHIN: Well it's a day we must never forget. And it's a day that basically the Officer's family will never forget and never recover from, because he'll always be lost to them. And it's just - it's such a sad scenario.
But when someone basically gives their life defending our democracy, defending our Capitol, and defending each one of us, who were in there, that's what they were defending. They were defending the government.
And we were the government that day, trying to make do our job, and do what we're taxed to do. And here's a man that stood there and gave his life. So, I think it's very appropriate that we pay respects, and we never forget him or his family.
CUOMO: How do you make sense of the fact that the Republicans and Democrats were equal that day? You were all being hunted.
CUOMO: You were all in legitimate fear of what was to come. And yet, on the basis of party, if you're a Democrat, you talk about what happened on the 6th, and who it did it, and what it should mean.
CUOMO: On the Right, the silence is eerie. What does that tell us about the state of play in that Party?
MANCHIN: Well you know what? I'm very hopeful, and you've got to be optimistic and hopeful, Chris that the good people in the Grand Old Party will take back their Party. It's not the Party.
I mean I've always - I've always gotten along good with everybody. And I've always tried to have good dialog, and have differences, and try to work through our differences. But it was always a good input.
But right now, they're almost afraid, they're muzzled, and afraid to speak, because they don't know what's lurking ahead, if someone's going to be basically primarying them, and if someone's going to come after them, or whatever, I don't know.
I really feel sorry for a lot of my friends that are caught in this situation. There's a lot of good people, and they just need to speak up. The worst thing can happen is we can get defeated, and that's not a - that's not a - that is not a big price to pay for your integrity and your soul.
CUOMO: And yet, here you are now. The Democrats have to figure out the way forward. Ideally, it would be nice, if both sides could make deals--
CUOMO: --and have progress, be quick, because this isn't going to be as fast or as easy for the Democrats as people seem to suggest, if they go it alone.
MANCHIN: No, yes.
CUOMO: What is the chance that you can actually get a significant number of Republicans to sign on to a relief package now?
MANCHIN: Chris, I've always believed in and I really thought that this is wrong for us to go down this path.
But I respect the President's decision, because he said, he said, Joe, he says, "We've done this before."
And he says, "You know? Back in 2013, trying to pass the Affordable Care Act, about eight months, or nine months, we dealt in good faith. And at the end of the day, no one was there for us. So, they remember that. And we can't wait that long."
So, I respect and appreciate that. I still think there is - are Republicans that will come to a responsible, reasonable agreement.
I was very, very encouraged that the first meeting he had with any Congress, any Members from Senate or the Congress was 10 of my Republican colleagues, for over two hours, in the White House, two nights ago.
That was tremendous. And I can tell you, they were so appreciative. And just what a breath of fresh air to see some - just to see some civility and respect that that Office really has. And it's - I've got good hope. I really do.
We have to, and I've said this, Mr. President, I want you to know, and I've told my side of the aisle that we're going to do this in a bipartisan way. Chuck Schumer said on the floor this morning, this will be done in a bipartisan way. And I can assure you that.
We're not going to bust the filibuster. We're not going to bust the "Byrd Rule" that basically protects the filibuster. We're going to work with each other, whether they like it or not. We're going to, if we want to get a bill done.
CUOMO: Remind people what the "Byrd Rule" is and why reconciliation wouldn't be all one-sided.
MANCHIN: Well, the "Byrd Rule" basically keeps you in the middle of the road. It keeps - that's got the guardrails on. And you can't go too far left, too far right. It basically says it can only be for a budgetary - it's a budget reconciliation. It can only--
CUOMO: Cedric Richmond told me last night, Senator, you know, Biden's senior official? You know him from Congress.
CUOMO: Said "No, no, no, doesn't apply. This is not about the budget. This is all emergency spending. None of that applies, so reconciliation would be fine. There's no reason for a 60-vote on this." Is it that simple?
MANCHIN: Not that simple at all. Not on our side. Maybe it is on their side. I don't know how their side operates and the rules they were - that they work under.
Our side basically, there will be called to the Chair. The Parliamentarian will be called to rule "Does this go through the Byrd Rule?" And the "Byrd Rule" basically says "It has to be within the budgetary means."
People try to - try to expand that, I'm sure. But then the Chair will be called on. The Parliamentary procedural and the Parliamentarian will be called on. She will make a ruling based on the rules. They can challenge that. Then there will be a vote on it.
MANCHIN: So, we'll see where it gets.
CUOMO: How many votes do you need to beat the Parliamentarian?
CUOMO: So, it's a simple majority even if they contest along those lines.
MANCHIN: Simple majority even trying to - trying to protect the rules is a simple majority.
CUOMO: So, I know that we're still early in this process. But you're being defined by it.
They're saying "But for Joe Manchin. We respect Joe Manchin. But for Joe Manchin." Is Joe Manchin, not to speak of yourself in the third person, but are you on an island here, or do you--
MANCHIN: I don't know.
CUOMO: --believe that you are speaking for other Democrats in the Senate that are not comfortable with some of the things going on?
MANCHIN: There's others. There really is. And maybe they're not - I mean my 10-year voting record puts me where I am. And I think I'm the most centrist person in Congress, out of 535, voting in the middle.
And I've always said, "If I can go home, to my beautiful state of West Virginia, and tell my friends, if I can explain it to them, I can vote for it. If I can't explain it, I can't vote for them."
It's not about Party or Party lines. If it makes sense, it makes sense. If it doesn't, it doesn't. And I try to - I've always tried to operate under those rules. And I will continue to.
And I told my friends in the Democrat Caucus, I said, "I'm not going to proceed unless we do it in a bipartisan way. There's no reason for us."
The President of the United States knows my position on this. I respect him. I consider him my friend. I want him to succeed, and do extremely well, and I think he will.
He has the demeanor for it. And he has definitely the knowledge and the experience for us to come together and work together, as much as humanly possible. If anybody can bring us together, it's Joe Biden.
MANCHIN: He's the right person, right time, right place.
CUOMO: So, you probably noticed, especially for me, I'm not going after what happened with you and them sending the Vice President down there.
MANCHIN: Yes. That was a mistake.
CUOMO: And what the internal politics is.
MANCHIN: That was just a mistake, Chris.
CUOMO: But here's why I'm not even going there. I want this process to be the best that it can be and give it the best chance of having cooperation on both sides that happens fast.
CUOMO: Before it gets ugly. I know this isn't over. You are welcome here to discuss where this winds up and why, and what it means for you, and for the rest of the country, and those voting. You have that opportunity.
MANCHIN: Well Chris, I appreciate it.
There's a lot of rules and basically structures that we have to work within. And you have to respect that. And with that, I'm sure they'll be pushing their limits because everybody has pent-up aspirations. I understand that.
But I am going to defend the seat of my dear friend, the late Robert C. Byrd. He gave his life. And I've explained it this way.
He said "Hey, Joe, why do you think we have two senators for Rhode Island and two senators from California? Why would we have a government like that? Why would we have a part of our Congress for the big and little - no matter how big or how small, same representation? No difference in the filibuster. The Minority has input. No difference in the rule, the Byrd Rule," he said, "they named after me. So, we can protect it, so people can't go around it and destroy it."
I am going to defend Robert C. Byrd's legacy in the Senate.
CUOMO: You're going to have headwinds coming your way. And we'll see how it plays out. MANCHIN: I will.
CUOMO: And you're always ready to make the case here, you'll get the invitation. Be well, Senator.
MANCHIN: Thank you, my friend, thank you Chris.
CUOMO: All right, take care.
CUOMO: All right now, we are on watch, OK? We have been watching in the Control Room. We're starting to see the authorities come. The officials are coming.
They're getting ready for something that we haven't seen since 1988, OK? That was when you had two Capitol Police officers were lost in the line of duty, trying to stop a gunman from entering the Capitol. Since then!
But now, this was January 6th. This wasn't a one-off. This wasn't some rogue person. This wasn't a lone wolf. This was a group, a mob that came to attack our democracy, and it is shocking, the silence about this.
This is the first time we've had a commemoration tonight. Why? Why isn't this the talk that knitted us back together? We will take every moment of this. You will see what happens tonight, so that we can remember January 6th, and why we want to be in a better place.
Also tonight, we have news about the COVID vaccine, OK? There's been a big piece of news about how you can get the vaccine, and a big piece of news coming out of the U.K., about concerns about what the vaccine actually protects it against.
But pharmacies are going to be huge for us here, right, why? We're all comfortable going to the drugstore. We trust our pharmacist. In fact, most people trust a pharmacist more than a doctor. But, like everything else in this pandemic, the pharmacies and their role in here hasn't been simple.
We're lucky tonight. We have the Chief Medical Officer of one of the key players, all right? Walgreens. Walgreens has played a big role, is about to play a much bigger role. What are the realities? What are the challenges? Next.
CUOMO: All right, first, let's remember where we came from, and then we'll talk about where we're going, specifically with the pandemic.
We are waiting on Officer Sicknick's remains to show up with his family. This is the first time we commemorate what happened on January 6th. Part of the shame of where we are today is how quickly some have wanted to forget what happened and why it happened.
Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick lost his life that day. Others did, too. But he was in the line of duty. He was protecting men and women, who were being hunted, who now almost deny the existence of that day, but more importantly, its significance.
But we won't. We have to remember what happened, because we all know the adage, "You don't learn from your history, you are doomed to repeat it."
And January 6th was not another protest gone wrong. It was orchestrated and it was indicated by a lot of ugly language to do exactly what they did. They didn't attack a storefront. They attacked the sacred space of our democracy with an intention to stop the election process, to stop the certification, to stop our democracy.
And those Forces are alive and well, and now online, with all new feeding sources, because they've been put into the political dialog by our former president. And they're radicalizing online at a rate that we have not seen before, just ask the men and women, in charge of keeping us safe.
So tonight, we will remember. We're going to wait, see if the President shows up, who comes, the commemoration, the solemnity of the occasion, the remembering of the pain, and the significance, because that's how we learn.
And that's how we look at through the lens of accountability for the men and women who remain in power, who were there that day. How they speak, and how they don't matter.
Now, what else matters? What this Administration is doing to get us to a better place. It's all about the vaccine. Now we have variants versus vaccine. We're going to take on both parts, OK?
Here is big news that came out today. Beginning next week, the federal government is going to ship vaccines directly to thousands of retail pharmacies all across the country to begin Phase 2, OK?
Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, those are big chain names, OK? White House officials caution, it's going to take time before every major store can get it.
CVS, they're going to get about 250,000 doses next Thursday to vaccinate across 11 states. It's not that much. Walgreens expects around 170,000 doses to distribute across 15 jurisdictions.
So, how soon will this make a difference? And what is the role of the pharmacy in this? Why is this the best way? Let's get some answers about what's happened and what needs to happen from Walgreens' Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kevin Ban.
Good to see you, Sir.
DR. KEVIN BAN, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, WALGREENS: Chris, good to be on the show, thank you.
CUOMO: Can Walgreens and other big chains handle this mandate from the federal government to start moving into Phase 2? What does this mean for you?
BAN: It's important, Chris, to know that we don't start from scratch here. We have been building our vaccine program for the last 10 years, and we've got infrastructure. So, this is a big deal.
We started with Phase 1. That was the long-term care facilities. And now, we'll be receiving vaccine directly from the federal government. And then, the idea is that we'll take that vaccine, and we'll go into vulnerable communities that really need it most.
CUOMO: Criticism. "The pharmacies kind of found their way into the federal government because this is an opportunity to you get into revenue streams."
What is the reality for Walgreens and why you're involved?
BAN: OK, so that is inaccurate. This was not a commercial play.
We were collaborating with the federal government around testing. And they knew that if they collaborated with us, if we worked together on the vaccine program that we would be able to be successful because of our footprint.
Now, our instinct with this Chris was that we wanted to lean immediately into our stores. Instead, the federal government, OWS said, "Look, 40 percent of the pandemic deaths have occurred in these long-term care facilities, and that's where we need to start."
So, quite honestly, that for us was a steeper mountain. But we talked about it, and we decided it was the right thing to do. Not the easy thing to do, but the right thing to do, and that's why we started there.
CUOMO: So, instead of doing it in the stores, where you have the infrastructure, and you know how to do it, because you do it already, you went into the long-term care facilities.
There wound up being two really interesting issues for the audience, in looking back to how we got here. One, what did you find in terms of what you had been told versus the reality in those places? And - let's start there. What did you find?
BAN: Yes, well, look, when we went after - when we went into these long-term care facilities, we had to estimate how much vaccine we would need. And the idea there was that we wanted to have more vaccine.
The worst-case scenario would have been that we didn't have enough to vaccinate people. So, we knew we had a little bit more than necessary. When we got there, what we learned was that the occupancy of these
facilities was much less than we thought, and not only the vaccine hesitancy, particularly among the employees was high. Just yesterday, Chris, the CDC reported that it was as high as 60 percent.
So very quickly, we found that we had excess vaccine. And we did two things there. Number one, we pushed vaccine to the next eligible clinic.
And then we let the states know, we don't control the vaccine. They do. And we said to them, "Do you want us to vaccinate based on your eligibility, or do you want the vaccine back?" And Chris, if you asked any state, you'll find that it is in fact the truth.
CUOMO: Now, when we talked to the Governor of Utah, he said, "Yes, we had to go there. And I said I'm coming with the National Guard, and I'm coming, or you can give to it me." Was that the nature of the relationship? Were you trying to hoard vaccine?
BAN: That's the last thing. Like I said, we found ourselves in the situation where we had more vaccine than we needed. The last thing we would do is ever hold it. And so, immediately, what we did was get in touch with the states to make sure that we were compliant with their wishes.
Walgreens does not determine who gets vaccinated. We're the last mile of this. We're the ones who actually distribute and administer it, but only based on state eligibility.
CUOMO: Something interesting happened today. There is a report out of Ohio that there was a problem with storage, a mishandling because of the temperature sensitivities and that you guys are putting it out there that this happened.
That's an unusual degree of transparency. So, I want to exploit it. How difficult is it to handle this cold chain, and how likely are problems?
BAN: Let me pick up on that point about transparency, Chris.
From transparency comes trust, and that is one of the most important things that we can build, as we work our way through this program. So, transparency means that you have to call balls and strikes.
In this particular situation, and I'm learning more about it, it would seem that our systems failed. Now, we're trying to figure out exactly what happened there, so that we can protect it from happening again in the future.
Importantly, none of the patients, who received vaccine, were injured, and we quickly got in touch with the manufacturers. And what we've learned is that we just need to re-vaccinate those people.
But again, it's important to realize, that this is a really tricky process.
BAN: This cold chain takes a lot of - I mean, literally it takes cryogenic gloves. And so, these things will happen. We just need to be transparent and we need to fix them.
CUOMO: I have been hearing about a lot of things happening. What was so shocking to me is that you guys didn't deny it.
We're coming out of this phase, where everything was denied, everything is a lie. So, I find it refreshing that you guys, at least, I didn't have to chase you around about it. And, if you can fix it, great, because if you're having problems, I'm sure they'll be instructive to other people who are handling it.
So, my last question for you, Doc, is in terms of what you've learned about how complicated this is because we look around, there are always - always different rates. No one can seem to get the supply. And it seems like state by state there's always like a different story. What did you learn?
BAN: Well, the important thing here is that we actually do learn through the process, and that we give the feedback, so we can fix it. One of the decisions that was made early was to allow all of the states and jurisdictions to have autonomy over how they wanted to determine eligibility.
Well instead of having one stakeholder for Walgreens, now we have 66. There are 50 states. There are 16 jurisdictions considered, you know, the Washington D.C., Puerto Rico. And now, we have to work with 66 different stakeholders to make sure that we're doing the right thing. Now, that's not 64 - 66 times more difficult. That's some power of it.
CUOMO: I get it.
BAN: You know? Look, what I would say here is simplicity will equal speed. We're trying to simplify it.
CUOMO: Listen, I appreciate you being transparent. You have a platform here to make the case of what you're seeing that works and what needs to work better, because it's going to be vaccines versus variants.
Dr. Kevin Ban, good luck at Walgreens, and thank you for being straight with us.
BAN: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, be well.
All right, this is the moment tonight, and we have to live it together. We see that we've had the vehicle drive up. And the family is coming with the remains.
(VIDEO - FALLEN OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK TO LIE IN HONOR AT CAPITOL HILL) CUOMO: The Officer was cremated. So, they're bringing his remains, so that the Officer can be in a position of being memorialized and remembered for his sacrifice.
You see officers there assembled on their bicycles. You see them lining as phalanx. Again, we haven't lived a moment like this together since 1988. That is when two officers were lost in the line of duty trying to stop a gunman from entering the Capitol.
But it was nothing of this magnitude. This was no lone wolf. And that's why you're seeing it's being treated with the solemnity that this occasion deserves. There's several different phases to this. And I want you to see each one of them.
Let's just listen and watch for a few moments.
(VIDEO - FALLEN OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK TO LIE IN HONOR AT CAPITOL HILL)
(CAMERA SHUTTERS CLICKING)
CUOMO: While we wait for the Officer to gather the remains, and the family, and make their procession, up into the Capitol, let's bring in Charles Ramsey and David Gregory to reflect on why we're doing this, and why it matters.
Chief and Commissioner, you've held so many positions in law enforcement. You know the Force down here intimately well. Why does this matter so much tonight? And why does it demand this kind of attention?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER WASHINGTON, D.C. POLICE CHIEF: Well, it's part of the healing. I mean it means an awful lot to the family of Officer Sicknick, but it also means a lot to the men and women of the U.S. Capitol Police and police across the country, quite frankly.
I mean, for an officer to lose their life, in the line of duty, there is nothing that's more traumatic to a police agency than that. And of course, January 6th was something that all of us need to remember, and not forget.
And this Officer died protecting the lives of our - of our country, of our Members of our Congress. And he should be paid this kind of tribute.
CUOMO: David, I can never - I can't remember another time that something like this happened, and there was such quiet, on half of the political aisle, let alone when you add the fact that many of them were being protected by officers like Sicknick that day.
And yet, this is the first time we've commemorated the occasion. There's very little discussion about why it was wrong and what must be learned from it. It's the first I can think that's being treated this way. You? DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, AUTHOR, "HOW'S YOUR FAITH?": Well, I think there is certainly agreement about the solemnity of the night, of the occasion, and the sadness and the horror of the day.
I think where it quickly devolves and descends is who's to blame, what's to blame, how do we hold those accountable?
And you look at the backdrop of this Capitol where, you know, this occasion is a time to lift up someone, who died in the line of duty. And yet, the political overtures, the political duties, kind of overtake it in a way that they can cheapen these moments.
But, as the Commissioner just said, it's a reminder too. I mean, we're living in an age where there's so much scrutiny of our police officers. And often, that's appropriate.
But what's also appropriate tonight is to celebrate police officers, doing their job, protecting institutions like our United States Capitol, and in this case, Officer Sicknick losing his life in that process.
CUOMO: In the defense of the lawmakers themselves, and the cradle of our democracy, something unlike anything we've seen since 1812, you just saw the officers, arm-in-arm with the Sicknick family.
And now, you see the officer carrying the remains of Officer Brian Sicknick, lost in the line of duty at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.
(VIDEO - FALLEN OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK'S REMAINS ARRIVE AT CAPITOL HILL)
(CAMERA SHUTTERS CLICKING)
CUOMO: You see that this is a very elaborate ceremony. There are so many officers there.
The family was at the top of the stairs of the Capitol, arm-in-arm with other members of the Capitol Police, as Brian Sicknick's remains were removed from the hearse and walked up. Officers on either side of him, a flag folded behind.
And now, you see the Detail coming out to escort him in, where he will be revered and remembered as a "Fallen hero" in the line of duty, protecting not just the cradle of our democracy, that would be more than enough, but our lawmakers, who were inside its walls.
And this is where the Officer's remains will be. And people can come to remember, to think about what January 6th took from us, and what should be learned from it.
(VIDEO - FALLEN OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK'S REMAINS ARRIVE AT CAPITOL HILL)
CUOMO: Let's bring in Congressmember Adam Kinzinger, Republican, Illinois, Veteran.
Always good to see you, Congressman.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): You, too!
CUOMO: Ordinarily, when we're commemorating and memorializing people, who died in service of this country, I talk to you about your own service. You play a different role here now. You were being protected by this Capitol policeman.
And I'd tell you, I have to apologize. I didn't hear you tell the story of your experience that day until recently. I should have thought to ask you about it.
And it is really frightening, brother. I am sorry that you had to get to the point, where you felt you had to arm yourself and think, "This may be it." After the events ended, what changed in you, in terms of what you carry forward about that day?
KINZINGER: Yes, I mean, it was a day that there was so much confusion, obviously, but a day that when you look back, and the dust settles, you just wonder how we got here.
I mean, you look at the mess of the Capitol, the anger, and the pure evil that was being yelled at, that that was being shouted at these officers, you know?
And I recently talked to one of the offices there, and he just basically relayed the whole story of what it was like to me (ph). He happens to be a Metro P.D., which is the D.C. Police. And they rushed like 800 of them here. And they defended democracy as well.
And he talked about just masses of humanity fighting against each other, he said, it was basically medieval but that they were in armed in basically hand-to-hand combat. And you think about the sacrifice. Nobody went to work that day thinking it would end up like that. Democracy changed.
But I think it's important to say that because of Officer Sicknick, and the others, democracy held. I mean we continued and we did our votes that night. Democracy held. And it's a wakeup call to just how fragile it could be.
CUOMO: It's interesting. While you're speaking Congressman, I just want you to know what we're seeing. We just saw the congressional leadership enter.
I saw Pelosi, I saw McCarthy, obviously the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader. I saw Steny Hoyer, another senior member of the Democratic ranks. Senator Schumer, obviously the Majority Leader now.
And now, here come the remains. Let's honor this with quiet as they present Officer Sicknick in the Capitol.
(VIDEO - FALLEN OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK'S REMAINS ARRIVE AT CAPITOL HILL)
(CAMERA SHUTTERS CLICKING)
CUOMO: All right, the shot's going to come back of what's happening inside. And when it does, we'll bring it to you.
Congressman, we're watching the solemnity of this, and the leadership coming together, to remember what was. And yet, the reality outside these walls is a complete division.
I've never seen an occasion like this almost denied, by half of the political membership, where they don't want to talk about January 6th. "We should move on. Who really knows what it was? It kind of gets complicated with impeachment."
There's nothing complicated about this. There's nothing complicated about what's happening in your Party right now. The shocking part is that you were among such a small number willing to take risk.
I don't even understand why this is so risky for to you stand up and say, "Hey, I'm a Republican. I'm the Party of Lincoln, not John Wilkes Booth. You know, QAnon is not for us. The people who went that day, who thought they were helping us, we got to deny them loudly. We're not about them."
Why is this a challenge for you?
KINZINGER: I think we've forgotten the art of leadership or really how to lead, I guess.
Leadership isn't always going and figuring out what the polls say and doing whatever we need to, to get elected. It's sometimes leading in dark moments.
It's sometimes calling out things like QAnon or saying that the idea of an election being stolen with widespread, you know, widespread whatever is false. It's not real. And it's difficult to say that because you're going to have to take some immediate blowback.
But this lesson from this, that, you know, is a painful and tragic and costly lesson is, if you continue to not tell people the truth, they eventually believe totally - totally off-the-wall things, and will find themselves being motivated to go into, as an example, the United States Capitol.
An officer is murdered. Many, I mean, close to 100 officers injured, and destroy the place, and try to say "It's the equivalent of what happened last summer" or anything like that.
It is so incumbent, right now Chris, on leaders to call out these dark divisive conspiracies, and just look with a sober eye, and say, "How did we get here and how do we get out of here?" It's - we have to do that. CUOMO: I mean, did you ever think that it would be, as a Member of Congress, where you'd have to pull your side arm, and think about defending your life against people coming to kill you for what you represent?
KINZINGER: I never would have imagined having to do it here. And there was a period of about a half hour, where I thought the whole place had been breached and that I was going to have do that.
Thankfully, the officers fought, some to the end of their life. Two took their own lives in the aftermath of this. But defended democracy, and fought this mob, and did so honorably. Because democracy is not just worth defending for them, they found it worth, you know, Brian Sicknick found it worthy to give his life for.
And we have people that sit around and are scared to give their career for the same cause like, look, I'm not sitting here saying everybody has to be a hero at all times, but something basic like just doing the right thing and telling your constituents the truth should be the really basic part of the job.
CUOMO: I've been going light on the language about the war within the Party. I call it an identity crisis because I can't believe there's a legitimate dispute.
Lindsey Graham, on the Senate side, and so many on the House side, they were tougher about Donald Trump in the primary than they're being about an open QAnon supporter.
And you're putting together your own effort now to kind of re- establish principles.
We hear that there's a meeting with McCarthy and maybe other people to talk about her fate. I mean, what do you think happens within the Party with her and in general?
I mean we're in a split screen with the Capitol right now, and it seems to be an occasion that your Party can't get away from fast enough.
KINZINGER: Yes, I know. I don't know what the future holds in terms of this.
I know that I'm compelled to tell the truth and to say, "You know? Look, the Republican Party can be worth defending, and it is. But we have to remember where we came from. And we have to remember how to lead and be honest. We need a healthy Democratic Party and a healthy Republican Party."
But where we're at now is not - this isn't just about winning the next election, because honestly, if we continue down this path, there is not even going to really be a next election because the whole thing is going to implode. So, I think it's a - it's a wakeup call for some.
And I hope there are some that are just being quiet that stand up soon. But it's about painting an optimistic vision, and for the base voter, who, they love their country and they believe that Donald Trump was the person to defend the country.
And I think we all just need to step back, look at what happened in the Capitol, look at the lies that were told, and say, "You know? We can still hold to our principles. We deserve better truth and honesty to people." And it's easy to do. If you tell the truth, it's easy. You don't have to track your lies.
CUOMO: You are not a big mouth. You're not a loud guy. You're not about histrionics.
The only time I've seen you wide-eyed was when after you guys, thank god, survived unscathed, and you went back in, and did your work that night, which I thought was so brave, a little reckless actually, but I was very impressed that you guys decided to do that, so, soon after this incursion and they didn't even know what was left behind.
To see so many people stand up and say, "I support the lie. I support the big lie. I don't want to certify the election" that's when I saw you get loud and proud about what was going on around you.
How did you understand it then in the immediate aftermath of what you had to survive?
KINZINGER: I was shocked.
I mean to go down there, and see people automatically - already say that this was - they know for a fact now that this was Antifa, and to try to sweep this under the rug, and still vote to decertify these election results, and say that it's acceptable, I mean that actually was a real delineating moment for me.
The election and the lies about a stolen election was one thing, but then not learning this lesson after January 6th is really what's compelled me to speak out even stronger.
Because it's like, look - I mean, again, Brian Sicknick, this hero, gave his life for democracy. We have to be willing to at least make ourselves politically uncomfortable to tell people the truth at least.
CUOMO: You think there's a chance that the Party decides to be about progress and not do an Obama kind of opposition move that happened last time, in the middle of a pandemic at least? You think there's any chance? Do you think the Democrats are going to have to go through reconciliation, go one way?
KINZINGER: I think there is a chance. But I think it takes honest real conversations. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing with the "Country First" movement is just being honest to people.
Am I going to be overly hopeful that we're going to wake up and see that? I don't know. But being a loyal opposition is a good thing. You can oppose stuff. It's jobs of political parties.
But being loyal to your country above even any loyalty to your Party is what we need to get back to. And then this democracy, it will be frustrating for some people, but it will function, and it will work again.
CUOMO: I'm just hearing in my ear Congressman, the President has left in a motorcade from the Capitol - from the White House. He's coming to the Capitol. We're awaiting his arrival. And we will show it when he comes. It's important for him to be there tonight.
And it's important for to you stand up for what you think is right. And just as a reflection of the times, it makes sense that somebody's going to primary you from a more - from an extreme part of the fringe. That you had to expect may be any way.
But is there pressure within your own family about what you're doing right now?
KINZINGER: My immediate family is great.
But my - there are some cousins of my father that sent a certified letter, a handwritten two-page certified letter, said I was in the devil's army, and like a whole bunch of other stuff, and then they doubled down about a week or two ago with another certified letter reaffirming their belief.
And this is the kind of thing - I laugh about it because it doesn't bother me. I have been doing this job and standing up for stuff for a while.
But it's kind of indicative of what's happening in a lot of families, people that ascribe to QAnon or that take politics higher than any bond with family. That's what we've got to get away from. It's tough to survive that.
And this is a human moment tonight. Brian Sicknick gave his life to defend democracy. And I am not naive to think that this is going to be the biggest game-changer.
But I hope we take a moment to realize that whether it's somebody in the military or a first responder, or whoever, anywhere that have stood up to defend your right to have an opinion, we have to see the humanity in everybody now. And I think we've lost seeing the humanity in the "Other side." And that's a problem.
CUOMO: I mean "Devil's army," and them attacking the Capitol this way, and what they were saying, I mean this is the kind of stuff that you defended the country from abroad, and that I was able to report on, with the protection of men and women like you abroad. I have never seen anything like this in the mainstream in America.
And my concern is, listening to the people, at the Intel agencies, as I know that you have much better access, they are really worried that these people, these extreme groups have been entered into the mainstream, the bloodstream of our political dialog, and are radicalizing like never before online. I mean I don't think that this is a one-off incident, in terms of what's been opened up here. KINZINGER: Yes. I'm a little worried about that, too. And I think part of that is like we have not been pushing back aggressively enough, early enough, openly enough. And so, I do worry about what's happening.
But I think that the more that people stand up and say something, I mean look, if you're buying into this idea that the government is run by pedophiles that swore an allegiance to Satan, or by Satan himself, and we actually talk about that, and not in a way that ridicules maybe somebody that believes it, but just as OK, let's think logically about this.
The best way to disinfect an infection is with sunlight, and with openness, honesty and optimism. And I think we need more of that.
I think we just need more of respecting each other as people. It's not going to magically happen tomorrow. But if we can just start to move that ship that way, we have a lot to be proud of in this country. We have a lot to be optimist about.
CUOMO: One hundred percent.
KINZINGER: Remember it.
CUOMO: One hundred percent.
But, boy, we should have gotten a little bit more of a wakeup call sooner than we have.
I mean look, we've known each other a while. I'm not a Left-Right guy. I'm a right-and-wrong guy. And I respect you standing up for what you believe is right, when it's not even popular, although I got to say, it's shocking to me that it isn't.
Adam Kinzinger, be safe. I'm assuming the holidays will be at your house this year given the state of play in your own family. You and the family are welcome over at my house. Just bring a helmet.
KINZINGER: All right, brother, thanks.
CUOMO: God bless and be well.
KINZINGER: You, too.
CUOMO: Little bit of levity so that we're not crying all the time, because this is so sad what we have been living through, and it's our own fault. Nobody did this to us. We're doing it all to ourselves.
And we see it all around us. The pandemic, we're making ourselves sick. We're fighting over what we can do to protect ourselves. Our politics, we're making ourselves sick.
We're making people so angry out of self-interest, and it's so obvious. And yet, it can't be called out and defended, on the basis of party, and it leads to what is on the split screen now. Not since the War of 1812 has any faction dared to come to the cradle of American democracy. And it was done by our own people. Sure they paraded Confederate flags and a lot of ugly material in that place that had no business in a house of secular truths, of law and of democracy.
But these were Americans that did this. And they did it as a battle- cry against their own. And now, we have half our political spectrum is quiet about it. "We should move on. It hurts unity, if you dwell on this." I've never disagreed with something said in politics more!
How are we to heal, if we don't acknowledge what was wrong, and why it was wrong, and who did it? I can't believe that the same men and women, who were being hunted, turned around, and wanted to forget, who was coming after them. And that's why tonight matters, and it matters that we're together for it.
Brian Sicknick was one man, who touched many. He put his life on the line, for men and women he didn't even know. His own family now is without and will always have a hole. And we can't even agree that it's got to be remembered as a low point and we have to come to a better place after it?
That's why it's so important that he is lying in a position of reverence and that, you know, we have political leaders in there.
I know on occasions like this there's a temptation to say, "Leave politics out of it." This is all about politics. "Well, leave it for now. Now just say nice things." No. It's time for truth.
If you're going to walk into this room, represent the same solemnity when you leave it. Fight for the same things that you think are represented in the room, that's leadership. That's what we need.
(VIDEO - PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN ARRIVES AT CAPITOL TO HONOR OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK WHO DIED IN RIOT)
CUOMO: And there's our President. We need him very much tonight to be at this event, to lead our intentions, and not under a veil of his adamance not to be there, and his not liking it, and being forced, and kind of agreeing with the bad side of a situation.
It has to be clear again. Not the policies, but the principles. We have to be about "Us" and "Them," "Us" being patriots and "Them" being traitors and people who will try to destroy us.
And this is a hard time to come into a position of leadership. But hopefully, all the experience that Joe Biden has lived personally, and professionally, will come together, in a mix to make for the right man in the right moment, because we are so desperate for leadership.
So, here is the President, first time since the 1980s that we've had Capitol officers being commemorated this way for losing their lives in the line of duty. Then it was one shooter. Now it was a mob. 1998? I think I had said 1988 earlier. I'm sorry if I did, and I was wrong.
But look, here we are now. And we've never seen anything like this before. This wasn't a lone wolf. This wasn't one deranged person who had access to a weapon. This was a mob that came with deadly intentions.
Let's watch and listen.
(VIDEO - PEOPLE PAYING RESPECT TO FALLEN OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK AT CAPITOL HILL)