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Cuomo Prime Time

Liz Cheney Survives Vote On Staying In GOP Leadership; Vaccination Rate Isn't Enough To Keep Ahead Of New Variants; Democrats Move To Fast-Track Biden's COVID Relief Package. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 03, 2021 - 21:00   ET



RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is still a portion of the Party that believes it's time to move on.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Ryan Nobles, appreciate your reporting tonight.

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Breaking news. The House GOP conference just voted on ousting Liz Cheney from leadership for standing up against the incitement of an insurrection.

Cheney survived the vote. But I want you to hear the numbers. She got 145, OK?

But 61 Republicans in the House voted against her for her telling the truth about the accountability of Donald Trump for what happened on January 6th that we just remembered last night.

Those men and women were hunted, too. And yet, they voted against somebody, who decided to vote her conscience, not her fealty to Trump. One vote was present. Think of that! 60 out of that number!

Let's go to Capitol Hill. We have Manu Raju there now.

An historic vote. There was a lot of talk during there. The feel of it Manu, as you were reporting earlier, was like "Cheney might lose." Give us the dynamic.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. She went behind the scenes for several weeks, in the aftermath of the vote to impeach Donald Trump, talking to Members, trying to get them on their side, explaining her vote. And it appears to have paid off.

She was listening to the concerns and she did not back away from her vote. In fact, today, she said that she does not regret voting for - to impeach Donald Trump. She made that clear to her Conference.

But there were an outspoken contingent of Members, who came after her, very aggressively, through the course of this more than four-hour closed-door meeting. And, at the end of the day, the Members decided that it's more

important to unite, at this moment, than engage themselves in a divisive leadership fight, and the ouster of the highest-ranking Republican woman in leadership.

Now, at the same time, this debate tonight, Chris, was not about Marjorie Taylor Greene. Yes, that was part of it. Her comments that have gotten so much attention, over the last couple of weeks, last week in particular, her conspiracy theories, everything else, that was really not the focus here tonight.

Greene addressed those controversies, seemed to walk back from what she has said, said that doesn't represent her. That seemed to be good enough for the Republicans.

Instead, the focus was almost exclusively on Liz Cheney and whether she is to continue to serve as the Republican Conference Chairwoman.


RAJU: The number three person, because she voted to impeach Donald Trump.

CUOMO: Manu, first give me a little context, and then I want you to take me in the room. On context, 145-61, one present, ordinary circumstances, she won by a healthy margin.

But given what they had her up on charges for, essentially, which was voting to impeach the President, what do you make of that margin that 61 votes plus one present were trying to oust her for the vote of impeachment?

RAJU: Yes. It shows a sizable and healthy influence that Donald Trump still has on the Republican Party. Now, this thing to remember about this, though, Chris, this was a secret ballot. So, we will never know how people actually voted in the room.

And I talked to many Republicans, who left, who just refused to comment one way or the other how they voted. And we'll never be able to know because there is no record of their vote.

But there was a majority of the House Republican Conference, on the night of the riots, after the riots, that voted still, to get rid of the electoral results.

CUOMO: Right.

RAJU: For Arizona and Pennsylvania. But, still, not a majority of the Conference to get rid of Liz Cheney.

So, I'm not sure how to interpret that other than the fact that a lot of this is personal relationships. She has personal relationships. And she went behind the scenes to ensure that that paid off. At the end of the day, it seems like it did.

CUOMO: She was very quiet and straight in her statements when she came out. She was like "Look, I want to take on these hostile Democratic policies," you know? But she seemed a little browbeaten, to be honest. She was not the normal energy we're used to seeing from her.

Now, behind closed doors, is it true that the vibe about Cheney was completely the inverse of what was up there with the QAnon lady, that she got people supporting for her, and applauding, after she spoke?

RAJU: Yes. I mean I talked to several people who were in the room, who told me that after Marjorie Taylor Greene addressed the Republican Conference, which was actually about a couple hours into the session, she finally addressed the room.

She contended that her statements that she's made, all the conspiracies, including QAnon, don't represent her. She said she said some things in the past before she was elected that she does not necessarily agree with now.

And that seemed to be good enough. That actually led to this round of applause that I'm told, about half of the Republican Conference, actually stood up and applauded her, for those statements.

So, that seemed to be good enough for them. And then there were others, who came out and defended her through the course of this session.


Now, I want to emphasize though, this was not the focus.

Even though it got all the attention, over the last several days, including from the Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell, who said that, Marjorie Taylor Greene's views, amounted to a cancer, for the Party, that was still not the focus here.

It was almost all about Liz Cheney and just goes to show--

CUOMO: Well McCarthy, the Minority Leader, didn't hold a vote on the QAnon lady?

RAJU: Yes.

CUOMO: Did he?

RAJU: Yes. No. He--


CUOMO: He decided not to.

RAJU: Yes. He decided not to.

He could have, if McCarthy wanted her off those committees, he could absolutely have done that, gotten this Steering Committee, which is a group of Republican Members, who essentially are loyal to him, to push her off those committees. He decided he did not want to do that. Now, he did propose something else to the Democrats, to swap committees, so she could serve on something besides the House Education Committee. That's what's gotten a lot of criticism given the conspiracy theory she said about those school shootings that happened. But that offer--

CUOMO: Right.

RAJU: --was not taken by Democrats. They want her off all committees all together, and they're going to move tomorrow to do just that.

CUOMO: All right, let's play a little bit of the Minority Speaker McCarthy talking about this, because literally he made Gumby look like he's stiff in terms of how he twisted around to make this into a point of integrity. Listen.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I denounce all those comments that were brought up.


MCCARTHY: Everybody - and she came to the floor - she came inside our Conference and denounced them as well. She said she was wrong. She has reached out in other ways and forms. And nothing that she said has been based upon since she's been a Member of Congress.



MCCARTHY: The voters - the voters--


MCCARTHY: No. The voters decided she could come and serve.

Denouncing QAnon, I don't know if I say it right, I don't even know what it is, any from the shootings, she said she knew nothing about lasers.


CUOMO: Boy, there is a page of the Trump book I can't wait till it gets turned. "I don't even know what QAnon - I don't even know what it is."

Yes? Oh, you should just remind him, next time you see him, "Remember all those signs that the people were holding up, as they savagely attacked our Capitol? Remember it said QAnon? That's QAnon." Boy, the lies!

So, he relies on two bases. The first one is "She denounced all these things." There has been no public statement to my knowledge of her saying that to anybody outside this Conference. And I wonder if anybody asked her "Well what exactly do you renounce and denounce?"

RAJU: Yes, that is - I'm not told that anybody asked her that. It may have come up. But I really don't believe there was a back-and-forth based on the sources that I'm talking to - I talked to.

She made her statement. They applauded her, what she said. Other Congressmen voiced support for her. And they moved on. I don't sense there was any sort of exchange with her. But what McCarthy said is that he does believe she should say this publicly.

And other Republican Members I talked to, even ones, who are supporting her, staying on the committees for now, still want her to go out publicly, and denounce QAnon, and say that she doesn't believe these conspiracies that she has said that she just as recently as 2018 and 2019 believed.

So, will she do that? We don't - we just don't know because we've tried to - we've been asking her questions, Chris, for the last two days, in the halls, everywhere she's gone. She has refused to answer any of our questions. So, will she say it publicly and actually do that? We'll see.

And I tried to ask McCarthy, some of that exchange you played, Chris, was my back-and-forth with McCarthy, as I was trying to get him to explain how he appears to be endorsing this woman, whose views that Mitch McConnell called a "Cancer to the Republican Party."

I said "Well how could you just take one private comment and suggest that this long pattern of things that she said, that one private denial is enough to wipe away everything she said in the last couple of years?" He did not answer that question I tried to ask him towards the end.

So, that is a question here, too. Was that enough for the Republican leaders? They're saying if she says that now as a Member of Congress, they may act differently. They're giving her a pass now because they said she just said it before she was elected.

CUOMO: Yes. There's a new rule for them. You can say whatever you want before you get elected. But once, you're elected, even though, you say the same things, during that campaign, supposedly, that's still OK for McCarthy. Boy oh, boy!

Now, what happens tomorrow? What votes happen tomorrow? And are they open or private?

RAJU: They're public votes on the House floor. The House Democrats are making clear they are moving forward.

A vote will be out on the House floor, a simple majority of the House. Democrats have the majority in the House to strip her from those two committees, the House Education Committee and the House Budget Committee.

CUOMO: So, will we--

RAJU: And they have the votes.

CUOMO: We will know tomorrow which Republicans want a QAnon member to be promoted within their ranks.

RAJU: No question about it. And I'm expecting very few Republicans are going to side with the Democrats. A vast majority will side with Marjorie Taylor Greene.

But just like we're seeing with the impeachment trial, Chris, they are making a process argument. "This has happened before she was a Member of Congress. We should not set the precedent."

To be fair, Democrats, too, are a bit concerned about the precedent that they are setting, too. What if the Republicans take the Majority in 2022 and go after their Members? That seems to be a possibility here with this vote tomorrow. So, it is a bit of a risk that Democrats are taking, but they're still moving ahead.


I expect only a handful of Republicans to break ranks. A vast majority will make that process argument say "Don't go after our Members on our Committee. We make decisions on who sits on our committees, and don't go after them for things they said before they were elected."

CUOMO: I think the Democrats should have learned a lesson that hoping that the Republicans won't do something wrong to them, so they'll play it nice doesn't get you very far.

Manu, thank you very much. And thank you for asking the questions to McCarthy that count. What he wouldn't answer says as much about what he did answer.

Let's bring in John Kasich and Michael Smerconish.

So Gov., do you think tomorrow, we're going to have an introduction to the new QAnon wing of the Republican Party when the Democrats put to a vote? You think the Republicans--


CUOMO: --are going to stand by this QAnon member?

KASICH: In listening to this, Chris, if this lady had, you know, she wanted to try to make things right, she should go down into the well of the House, and she should apologize to everybody, including Nancy Pelosi, and the comments she has made that were in the area of violence, and denounce all that she said because I understand she had a tweet out the other day saying "I'm not going to apologize for anything."

CUOMO: That's right.

KASICH: So, I don't really know what happened in there. But what I can tell you is if she were to go down into the House

floor, and say, "Look, this, I'm going to tell you everything. Give me the extended time, and let me explain everything and let me apologize," you know, she may survive it. But without that, I don't see how they can - they can support her.

I went home tonight, Chris. We all talk about family. And my wife looked at me. She's been - she's on her computer.

She said, "All I teach my daughters how to behave. And I look at the comments from this woman, and from the Party, and I don't even understand why I'm a Republican. How do I change that if I want to?"

I said, "Well I'll get you the details of how you do that, sweetie." She says, "I can't teach my daughters one thing and then see our elected officials behaving in another way."

So, this is a really serious matter. And I hope that they that - I don't think she is going to apologize. And if she doesn't, she should lose her committees. I was the first one to say that that this woman should be isolated and lose her committees.

CUOMO: Right.

KASICH: Let's see what she does tomorrow. It's up to her.

CUOMO: Well if somebody can make the case, it will be Smerconish, because he is "Mr. It's Good For Business" when it comes to all of these ugly trappings of the new Republican Party.

But I don't understand - first of all, I get what the Gov. is saying.

But Michael, we both know she can't go down on to the floor, and say "All right, when I said the Jewish laser beams thing, yes, I didn't mean that. I shouldn't have said that.

When I said that killing Pelosi is a good thing, and I like that, yes, I shouldn't have done that either.

And the drinking the baby blood, yes, I don't really think that they do that. And JFK's plane, yes, I don't think the Clintons killed it. And the 9/11, yes, I think it hit the Pentagon."

I don't think that she is going to go down there and say that. And I don't think the Party will require her to. So, how does this work what McCarthy did tonight? How is this not establishing a QAnon wing?



SMERCONISH: Those 61 votes would have been a hell of a lot higher, if it had been in the light of day. It allowed Republicans to exhibit their beer muscles, among colleagues, talk tough, please the base, then go behind the curtain, and vote their conscience, for what's in the Party's best interests.

I think that the big picture is they're dopes. I mean, do they really want a public record tomorrow of how they stand on Marjorie Taylor Greene? If they had disciplined her, in their own House, they could not then therefore have been held accountable the way they will tomorrow.

And Chris, I want you to think about something. You might not think this, apples-to-apples. But 61 Republican House members were willing to vote against Liz Cheney behind closed doors.

Do you remember the number 147? That was how many Republican House Members were challenging the Electoral College votes on that infamous day of January 6th. I think it's a similar mindset.

And what I'm pointing out to you is the difference how they act behind closed doors versus when the light is on them, and they think that the base is paying attention, and they better behave for the base, or there could be repercussions.

CUOMO: All right, two quick takes. I don't have a lot of time.

First, for you Michael, how does this work for McCarthy what he did tonight?

SMERCONISH: I don't think it works well for this reason. There are parts of the country, I guess, where, to be against Liz Cheney, but supportive of the QAnon Congresswoman, plays well. But that's not where I live.

And in Suburbia, which is where John Kasich runs well, a Kasich-type Republican, this is a non-starter. All you're going to do is keep the base coming back, and you will continue to lose those areas that allowed Joe Biden to become the President of the United States.

KASICH: Right.

CUOMO: And Gov., last question to you, which you absolutely will not answer.


Did you tell your wife after this happened, today, "Oh, shoot! I got to get ready. I have to run because I'm going to be the only kind of candidate that can win for this Party in four years for the next presidency?"

KASICH: I didn't tell her that because I wanted to get home. She'd have locked the door and not let me in.

But here's the interesting thing, Chris. You remember when Trump said, during the debate, to the Proud Boys, "You stand back and stand by?"

And what McCarthy is doing is playing a very dangerous game. He doesn't want to make these people angry, who support people like Greene, and there are people like that in this country. But you know what? Getting power and being in charge for what? To play

this kind of a game? I know him. Shame on this!

This is a very bad move, and it is not going to help the Republican Party over time. If these kinds of things - these kind of things damage the Party, it shrinks the party. And they've lost their sense of ideas. We'll see if they can get them back.

CUOMO: Trump said "Stand back and stand by!" And McCarthy all but told them tonight, "Come ahead and come strong!" doing this the day after we commemorated January 6th, and the man who gave his life that day.

Governor Kasich, thank you. Michael Smerconish, as always, appreciate you, brother.

KASICH: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Another big story, the CDC Director warns COVID variants, OK, that's our race, it's vaccine versus variants, all right, and the variants are getting more and more troubling, they could reverse the only good trends we've had lately in this pandemic fight.

There are only a handful of states getting even a fraction, a small fraction of the data that we need to know how far the strains are spreading. The need for testing and contact tracing never went away. It never went away. We've never caught up with the need.

So, will the vaccines do the catching up for us? We have the Chief Doctor on that and whether we need to rethink who gets the shot first. How? Answers ahead.



CUOMO: It's variants versus vaccine. And we're losing, OK?

The vaccine and the variants, which one, will make us sicker, or which one will get us to a place, where the variants can't hurt us, OK? It's no longer a question of when people start dying from these mutated COVID strains. It's happening. And the pace at which it is spreading, these different variants, they, is scary.

Remember how long it took for COVID to move from the coast to the heartland, OK? This is exponentially faster. Why? Because that's what the variant is. It's an improvement on the virus that allows it to spread more quickly. That's how it survives, OK?

The variant found in the U.K., those cases have almost doubled in the last week. And we're not really even looking for it the way we should, OK? Once someone tests positive for COVID, then the states can take the test, and go to sequence it, or dig into the genetic makeup of the case, to know what they're dealing with.

Ballpark experts, they tell us sequencing is like 5 percent to 10 percent of the cases. So, we're not even looking. Now, does that matter? Are cases, cases? Only six states have done even 1 percent. The national average is just over 0.3 percent.

So, we're not really even looking for the most dangerous aspect of the virus. Why? "Because we're stupid!" No. Resources. Manpower and resources.

I know it gets tired. And I know that the Re-Trump-licans did a great job of mess - this making look like a Blue state bailout. If you don't have the money, the laboratory access, the funding for it, and the testing kits, and the genetic tracing materials, you can't do it, even if you want to.

So, are we getting better at the vaccine? Yes. Not everything has to be bad or good, all right? There is subtlety here, this complexity here. And we have to deal with that. But we're not making up enough ground with the vaccine in the communities that are hardest hit.

We have systemic inequality. And it affected who got sick. OK? More poor people. More Black people. Who are the essential workers? By percentage, more Black people, more poor people. Now, who is getting the vaccines? Not them.

In all 23 states that we actually have data for - remember, again, there is no central clearing house of data. We're not looking at it on the national level. So, how are we going to know? State by state, if you trust them.

Black people are getting a smaller share of vaccinations relative to how many of them are getting sick. It is wrong. We are not QAnon. Not yet. OK? We care about each other. Same thing for Hispanics. 21 out of 23 of those states, it's not equitable. It's not fair. And it's not right.

And we're not going to be able to get ahead, if we don't treat the communities the right way. Listen to this.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY and INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're not, because the situation is we still have a demand that far exceeds the supply.


CUOMO: You have more people who want the vaccine, who need the vaccine than we can supply. Look, we're lucky that's the problem, because if you had to really create demand, if we were really that dumb that we didn't want this, we'd be in worst place.

So, key question, we've been asking this from jump on the show. How much vaccine do we have?

The Biden team came in saying "We don't even know where to look." OK. That was 10 days ago, all right? We've heard a lot of talk about how much more is coming. I still don't know what this number of 16 percent that then move to 20 percent. I know that the Biden administration said "No, no, no, that's not the

difference between five shots and six that we can get with this extra syringe that some - for some reason we never make, but we can now, for Pfizer." That's 20 percent. Five to six is 20 percent.

The number more, that states are going to get, went from 16 percent to 20 percent. Is that that number we've been told? No. I think we should ask again. And I think we should be asking how much supply do you have? Why don't you know?


Let's bring in Chief Doctor Sanjay Gupta.

It's good to see you, brother. Again, I'm not beating up on somebody who just started. But you got to get your hands around your own inventory.

If you had gone and worked for the Administration, which I know every administration asks you to do, lucky for us you stay with us, that's the first thing you need to know is what you have. So, we do have to press about that.

I want to move from the variants just for one other thing. There is no way we're going to beat the variants, if we don't mask-up. No way.

There is pressure for more masks because you can't be wearing your fishing sock. You have to wear the N95 or the KN95. The Defense Production Act is the best way for the federal government to get more of them. Is that in the atmosphere of discussion?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, very much. And I'm surprised that it hasn't come up earlier because we've been talking a lot about masks for some time.

And the idea that not all masks are created equal, we did a report, a couple of weeks ago now, basically showing what would happen, if people wore the N95 masks regularly in high-risk situations.

Not all the time, but when you're out in public, in population-dense areas, if you wore N95 masks, according to Abraar Karan, at Harvard, he says it could - that, not talking about vaccines, just that could essentially end this pandemic in four weeks. Masks are almost more surgical in how quickly they could work.

And there is discussion now. Senator Sanders and others have written a letter to President Biden, basically saying, "Invoke the Defense Production Act. Make enough of these masks. Get the Postal Service to distribute these masks, so households all have them, can use them regularly" and that could make a big difference.

Wearing a mask is the most important thing. But wearing, the right kind of mask, also very important. And it is a discussion that's happening.

CUOMO: All right, one other point for tonight. These disparities, based on color and ethnicity, is there any good answer for it?

GUPTA: No. There really isn't. I mean I have to say that since the beginning, first of all, as you pointed out, there is still not enough data being collected, which boggles the mind, because this was a problem at the very beginning of the pandemic.

People didn't even - they suspected there was going to be significant disparities in terms of who was being affected, who was more likely to be hospitalized, or die from this. But we weren't even collecting the data initially.

Now, when it comes to vaccinations, we are collecting some data, but still less than half the country.

If you think about medicine, as just overall, the idea that you would provide the best, whether it be a therapeutic, or preventative, as the case of the vaccine, to the people who have the highest disease burden, that's always what's - that's what's logical.

It's what's driven how we think about this. Older people more likely to die, give them the vaccine first. Health care workers more likely to get exposed, give them the vaccine first.

Black Americans, Brown Americans, three to four times more likely to be hospitalized, they should be at the front of the line. They're not. Part of it's access. Part of it's hesitancy. And part of it is that there are still these structural inequalities that exist and must be addressed. That may be one of the biggest lessons that comes out of all of this, Chris.

CUOMO: Look, the hard part for Biden is - actually I don't think. I think it's a blessing, as much as it's a burden.

Trump would have run away from this. He would have lied, and said it wasn't true, and he would have said it was some radical reckoning. It's not. It's the truth. And Biden knows it's the truth. Will he do what he needs to do in this situation? We'll see.

GUPTA: Right.

CUOMO: One quick thing just because I'm afraid now of getting sick as much as anybody with the variants.

I don't see how we're going to stay ahead of it in a society that doesn't want to mask-up, and wants to get back to restaurants. All these states are getting ready to open back up. The case flow is worse now than when they shout down.

What's going to be the reality of what these variants are going to do to our case numbers in the coming months?

GUPTA: Well Chris, I share your concern. And I think about you a lot, when I look at these numbers.

I think the tough news, first of all, is that I think these variants will become the dominant strains in this country. It's just the way it goes. If you have something that's more transmissible, it crowds out the other - the other circulating coronavirus.

We know that as you increase the numbers, even if the virus, the new variant is less lethal, it's more likely to get into vulnerable communities, and that's why you got to vaccinate those communities first. That's the bad news. We're going to have more of it. The case numbers will go up.

The good news, I think, Chris, and I think it's worth pointing this out, and reminding people that the vaccines do work well. It is this race, as you point out, but the vaccines work well.

If you go back and look at the five trials that people have really focused on, over the last several months, out of 75,000 people, in those trials, the people who got the vaccine, none of them died. There were a few hospitalizations but none of them died. And that - it counts for variants, as well. So, I think that's what matters the most.

Does the vaccine protect against people getting really sick, being hospitalized, and dying? Yes. I'm not suggesting you want this virus, as you well know, Chris.

CUOMO: Right.


GUPTA: Because that's just about living or dying. But I think that the vaccines protect against some of those awful metrics, the hospitalizations and deaths that we've seen tick up over time.

CUOMO: I'd take being a little sick any day. I am definitely going to get the vaccine. I'll be interested.


CUOMO: I don't know what - I don't know that I could take a second round of that illness. We'll see. Dr. Gupta, always a pleasure, brother. Thank you.

All right, so look?

GUPTA: You got it, Chris, thank you.

CUOMO: We know that it's got to be on the federal government, OK?

You can't undo that the states have to handle a lot of this. It's too late. There is too much infrastructure and planning that's gone into that. It was a bad decision early on. Should have always been federalized from the start.

But the relief bill top-down help is therefore huge. And we have a perfect guest to discuss the relief bill, and the need for relief in our political culture. We have Senator Tim Kaine, key voice on whether Joe Biden can keep his Majority together, and in shaping policy during these two years.

Senator, good to see you. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Thank you so much.

CUOMO: Senator, in terms of what's making us sick, we have the pandemic, and then we have the disease of our own making in our politics. What do you make of what you saw out of the House GOP tonight?

KAINE: Well, I am - there is just so much denial about the need to excise bad behavior, cut it out, you know?

We've got a political virus just like we've got a health virus. And if you're not willing to take the steps to beat the political virus, the body politic is going to stay sick. And so far, the GOP doesn't show signs of being willing to deal with the political virus, and they're often challenging us, in trying to deal with the health virus.

CUOMO: And, on the Senate side, you and, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who I also invited on the show, she's always invited, you tried to get a censure bill to go after the President, to hold him account that way. You didn't have support on either side of the aisle for it. What does that tell you?

KAINE: Well Chris, we didn't. And it was censure but more than that.

We were going to - we had a bill that was going to make two factual findings under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution that would have barred Donald Trump from running again.

It would have found that the attack on the Capitol was an insurrection against the Constitution, and it would have found that Donald Trump gave aid and comfort to the insurrectionists.

And the effect of that finding, in our view, would have barred him, from running for office, which is exactly the same effect of a conviction, which is very difficult to get. I mean I'm an optimist. But I think it's going to be really tough to get 67 votes. This is a simple resolution that we could have gotten done with 60 votes.

But you're right. Republicans didn't want to put a hurdle in Donald Trump's path. And Democrats didn't want to accept anything less than conviction in an impeachment trial.

And so, if it's - if the Republicans are saying "Nothing" and the Democrats are saying "All or nothing" well we'll go into that trial, and see what we see. But I am very, very concerned that we're going to get, to the end of it, and the headlines all across the country is "Donald Trump acquitted again."

CUOMO: Oh, yes. And you're going to be hearing it from him, and his new QAnon pal, and all the other kooks, who just attacked the Capitol. It's going to be a win for them. It's a dicey proposition.

Another dicey proposition, it's seeming all or nothing on the relief bill. Is that your feeling? Do you believe that the Democrat demand to go big makes a compromise

that is anything significant off of those $2,000 checks, or whatever it is, is any of that likely from the Democrat side?

KAINE: You know, Chris, here's what I think. I think you're going to see a bill. We're setting up this budget reconciliation process, which is not - which is neither, partisan or bipartisan. It's a tool that's been available to majorities of both sides since 1974.

We're setting it up. Budget reconciliation enables you to go big, and do it soon, when the nation needs it. And the nation needs it right now. And budget reconciliation has been used for some of the most bipartisan things we've ever done like--

CUOMO: You think you'll get past the Byrd Rule, and the Parliamentarian, in terms of whether or not these things qualify as emergency funding or budgetary funding?

KAINE: I do. There will be some. And you know the - you know the details of this. There will be some pieces, where there may be some challenges with the Parliamentarian. But as long as it's primarily budget--

CUOMO: Minimum wage is the big one.

KAINE: Yes. As long as it's primarily budgetary in nature, we should be able to do it.

And guess what? We are in dialog every day, with our Republican colleagues, and so is President Biden, to make sure that the bill, when it's voted on, is chock-full of priorities that are not just Democratic priorities, that are Republican priorities, too.

I don't know, at the end of the day, they may decide to do what they did when Obama and Biden first got into office, and say they're going to vote against it, no matter what it is.


But when you look at the substance of what we will do, unemployment, helping small businesses, vaccine deployment, more research, when you look at the substance of the bill, you're going to see a bill that is not a partisan bill, but that's a bill that will be good for Red states, Blue states, and in-between states.

CUOMO: I covered that. The Republicans were saying the same thing about the first relief bill.

This was before the ACA, 2008-2009. And they said "Work with us. Work with us. Don't cram it down." All they wanted from that bill ultimately were the tax cuts. And they wouldn't vote for any of it. Not one of them voted for it. And you wounded up needing the cram- down.

78 percent of Americans are in favor of $1,400 stimulus payments. 18 percent oppose. That's probably the best number you have going for it into that, if you can get Democrats to want to negotiate at all, and there is an argument for them, especially after tonight that these are not a group of people that you want to work with.

Senator Tim Kaine, thank you very much. Appreciate you.

KAINE: Chris, we will get this done. Thanks so much.

CUOMO: Hope so.

Let's turn to someone on the House side, Democrat Tim Ryan. Now, he is looking into what happened at the Capitol, and where you should have responsibility and accountability. What does he make of what just happened on the other side of his chamber? Next.



CUOMO: Truly sad developments on the Republican side of the aisle in Congress tonight.

Their Number 3, Liz Cheney, who had the audacity, to vote to impeach the man, who was arguably responsible for the insurrection on the Capitol, she was put to the test. They wanted her out. But she overcame, a wide margin, 145-61.

Now, remember, it was a secret ballot. Imagine if it weren't. I wonder if she would have survived.

The question is, whether Republicans will do the same tomorrow. The QAnon kook is going on trial basically in front of the whole House.

The Democrats don't believe she should be on a committee. The GOP Minority Leader says he doesn't know what QAnon is. "But she renounces everything she ever believed." Not to you, she didn't.

Now, who is QAnon? Do you remember all these signs in front of the Capitol, in the hands of people, who were hunting you? Believe me. They existed. OK? You go online, you'll find them. Not on this show. But you'll find them all over the place.


CUOMO: Not just jackets like this, signs all over the place in the hands of the people who were hunting you, Mr. McCarthy, and others that day. That's who they are.

Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan joins me now. And we are learning new information that they were even more brutal that day than we already knew.

What have you learned, Sir? And thank you for joining us.

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Hey, thanks, Chris.

Yes, I mean, I think we're seeing what you're seeing, as we review more and more of these videos.

You see, and I think everybody understands now, what could have potentially happened in the House chamber, or if they found a Member of Congress, especially somebody in leadership, a Nancy Pelosi, screaming about Pence, and all the rest.

They were prepared to be very, very violent and, we can assume, kill somebody. And I think - I think that's becoming more and more apparent and more shocking every day.

CUOMO: Is it true some of the injuries were more grisly than we knew that somebody lost several of their fingers?

RYAN: I didn't hear that report. But I will tell you there were cops that got hit up-side the head with lead pipes.

This was after a big campaign, where the Republicans were talking about the Democrats not liking cops, the Democrats being anti-blue, and all of that. And here, this crew is, lead pipes up-side the head.

I think it was 60 to 70 cops were injured. We know about the one that we memorialized last night, and honored last night, and the two others, who died by suicide and that just, is on a scale, and continue the issues with so many cops, who are exhausted, traumatized, and just want to get some reprieve.

So, they're from the beatings, the deaths, all the way down to some of the mental health issues that they're experiencing now. So, it's a complete spectrum of pain that has been pushed on to the Capitol Police here.

CUOMO: Yes. And there is another officer, who is still battling to keep one of his eyes. We'll be checking in on their situations, as the reporting comes out.

What more have you learned about why there was such a failure to respond, and whether or not there was any inside help?

RYAN: Well, we're looking into it, Chris. This is going to take a while, as you know. I wish I had a quick answer for you.

My Committee, the Appropriations Committee, led by Rosa DeLauro, we're going to be looking into this. The House Administration Committee, Congresswoman Lofgren is going to be doing it. Obviously, the U.S. Attorney, the FBI, they're all pursuing this.

The 2,000 cameras on Capitol Hill, and all of the film, going back for a number of days, it has to be reviewed. I think it's going to come down to people making a political decision. I can't say that outright.

But I just think that people were afraid to be prepared at the level we needed to be prepared. Why? I don't know. It's insane to think about. But it's why the Sergeant at Arms is gone. It's why the Chief of the Capitol Police is gone. And we have other people in place, and we're doing an entire review now.

General Honore is doing a phenomenal job taking this very, very seriously about how we move forward protecting the Capitol.

But it's going to be a bunch of bad decisions were made. And I think that's what it's going to come down to.


CUOMO: Sometimes the concern isn't who leaves. It's who remains afterwards. But we'll be watching your investigating, on this. You're always welcome here to talk about it.

And I love to get your take, even if it's tomorrow night, if you can make it, about what will happen, on this vote tomorrow, and how Republicans decide to stand up for a QAnon member in their own ranks. That organization was all over the insurrection. It'll be interesting to watch.

Congressman Tim Ryan, Godspeed. You're always welcome here.

RYAN: Thanks, Chris. Always great to be with you.

CUOMO: All right. And if you want to look at how bad the QAnon situation can be, wait until you see when we come back.


CUOMO: You have to get the right perspective on what's happening in the Republican Party. This isn't about fringe. This isn't about extreme conservative. These are extremists. These are cultists. These are conspiracy wackos. OK?


So, the fact that Joe Biden's Inauguration came and went without incident left believers of this conspiracy kook show "QAnon" stunned. So many bought into the baseless theory that Trump would declare martial law and that everyone at the event would be rounded up and arrested.

Donie O'Sullivan spoke to a former "Q" follower about how she reacted when none of the QAnon predictions came true.


ASHLEY VANDERBILT, FORMER QANON BELIEVER: When President Biden was sworn in--



VANDERBILT: I was just crying. I mean I couldn't stop like that ugly cry that you do. It just kept going. And I was like "Oh, my Gosh!" like I'm seeing the funeral of our country. And instantly, I went into panic mode. I had to call my mom. And I just told her it's like "We're all going to die. We're going to be owned by China." And I was like I might have to pull my daughter out of school because they're going to take her. I was scared to death.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN POLITICS AND TECHNOLOGY REPORTER (voice-over): Ashley Vanderbilt, a South Carolina mom, who says she lost her job, early in the pandemic, fell deep down the QAnon conspiracy theory rabbit hole before November's election.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): How did you get into this world and go down this rabbit hole?

VANDERBILT: Well, I started seeing TikToks, and I didn't know that it was conspiracy things. I just thought it was they were telling me something that nobody else knew. So then, I would reach out to different friends of mine that were bigger Trump supporters.

I would say, "You know? I saw this on TikTok, what you think?" And they'd start sending me YouTube videos. They would start sending me different Facebook Live videos. And one thing led to another, I just went down this rabbit hole learning all this stuff.

But I mean what have we heard the last four or five years, "Don't watch the news! Fake news! Fake news!" I don't watch the news. I don't read newspapers like I don't do anything.

I have always been someone that you just tell me what to do and I do it. I grew up being told we were Republicans, so I have always been that straight red ticket.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): How do you think that videos like this started showing up in your feed?

VANDERBILT: Well originally, I was just following like entertainment stuff. But some time when maybe people started like campaigning, I started liking a lot of Trump posts, and things that were anti-Biden, and the algorithm must have just brought that kind of stuff to me.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Right before the Inauguration, you didn't believe Biden was really going to get sworn in?

VANDERBILT: No, I expected a blackout. I expected the TV to go black, and nothing to work, and so we wouldn't see anything.

The assumption of what would happen would be that most of the Democratic leaders there, quite a few of the Republican leaders, all the Hollywood elite that had attended they'd all be arrested. The military is going to haul them off.

They said that Trump opened back up Guantanamo Bay, and then the military would run the country, put us in martial law, because the Left come too unhinged, and they'd be a danger to us. And then Trump would come back when the government was rebuilt. I know it sounds crazy!

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): But you believed it?


O'SULLIVAN (on camera): And then Biden got sworn in.


O'SULLIVAN (on camera): How did you feel?

VANDERBILT: I was devastated.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): The belief among QAnon supporters that Biden would not be inaugurated was wrong. Ashley Vanderbilt realized she had bought into a conspiracy theory.

VANDERBILT: Well, I was wrong.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): How do you feel now knowing that you believed all this stuff?

VANDERBILT: It's weird. I think I spent a lot of time this year, isolated from everybody. You know, I've just been home a lot. I've lost my job last April, in 2020, and I was super-depressed.

And I think, in a way, I probably lost touch with a little bit of reality, and that almost like common sense. And so, I'm not so much embarrassed for what I believed. But I mean I feel foolish.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): A spokesperson for TikTok said the company is committed to countering misinformation, and content promoting QAnon is not allowed on its platform.

After finding QAnon through TikTok, Ashley said the only thing that might have pulled her out of it, before the Inauguration, was if Trump spoke out against it.

VANDERBILT: I was the biggest Trump supporter there was. If he would have said something, and if he were to just say, "Q's illegitimate, nothing's real in there," I think some people would leave. Maybe not all the people that are way too far into it, but I think it would help a lot of.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): It would have helped you?

VANDERBILT: Uh hmm. I thought the world of him. So, if he would have said "That's not real. I am not coming back. It is over," I'd have believed him.


CUOMO: Donie O'Sullivan joins us now.

And that's exactly why Trump went soft on them. It's the same reason Kevin McCarthy is doing it now. They want people like her.

Now, people who watch this, Donie, and say "Oh, you know? She's not smart," or "This is all on her," how easy is it for somebody to become radicalized in this environment?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes, I mean, Chris, you heard it there. She didn't even realize she was being pulled into this QAnon rabbit hole, right? She started seeing some TikTok videos. And before she knew it, she was in Facebook groups, and watching YouTube live streams.

And she said to me, you know, she is a religious person. She's a Christian. And it struck her one day that she was spending more time in these groups every day, reading about this conspiracy theory, than she was going to church.

And she said she got to the point where she was wondering if she was putting Trump, this sort of idol figure, in the QAnon conspiracy, above God.


CUOMO: How dangerous is the placating of the QAnon cuckoos in Congress right now, in terms of what this does to the ability of that conspiracy group and others like it to find people like her online, and say, "We're legit. She's in Congress. Listen to us."

O'SULLIVAN: Yes. Look, and I mean, it's incredible, really. You have this 27-year-old mom in South Carolina, who's been able to do, what many Republican leaders are not, and to come out and say "QAnon is BS, and it's wrong, and disavow it."

And she said, I asked her, I said "What does - what message does it send when Republican leaders like Kevin McCarthy do not come out and totally disavow this sort of thing?"

And she said "It sends two messages. One, that they're endorsing it," that Republicans are endorsing this, "and two, most concerningly, it sends the message," she said, "to believers that if they're not coming out condemning this that there's something to it, that they should continue to believe in QAnon."

CUOMO: Donie, thank you so much. I appreciate you doing the digging and finding these people. And frankly, getting her to do this interview, and the way you handled it, really makes a difference for people and for her. Thank you very much.

O'SULLIVAN: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, remember that. It's not just wackos. People can be radicalized.

We'll be right back.


CUOMO: What a night! Thank you for watching.

The big show, "CNN TONIGHT" with its big star, D. Lemon, right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: I was watching your show and, I mean, Chris! What the--

CUOMO: Which part?

LEMON: When McCarthy came out and started blaming everybody but the lights in the room for the horrible decision that they had just made.

CUOMO: "I don't even know what QAnon is. Did I say it right? QAnon?"

LEMON: Is it QAnon?

CUOMO: Quinine?

LEMON: Come on!

CUOMO: Quick - Q?


CUOMO: Remember all those signs--

LEMON: That's like--

CUOMO: --in front of the Capitol, the people coming to kill you?

LEMON: Exactly.

CUOMO: That was QAnon.

LEMON: That reminded me of, do you remember what? "I don't know any David Duke?"

CUOMO: Every time!

LEMON: "David Duke, KKK, I don't know."

CUOMO: All the "Who dat?"

LEMON: All the - yes, "I don't know him."

CUOMO: All the "Who dat?" "Who? Who?"

LEMON: Yes. "I don't know him." It's just embarrassing. You know? You - we used to get into this, the playful tit for tat about I said "It should be called the Trumplican Party." You said "Re-Trump-lican." I have-