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Cuomo Prime Time

House Strips Rep. Greene Of Committee Assignments; Johnson & Johnson Asks FDA To Authorize Single-Shot Vaccine; Some Republicans Challenge AOC's Account of Capitol Riot. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 04, 2021 - 21:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thank you, my friend.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Turns out, the GOP is pro-diversity after all. They voted overwhelmingly today to become the GOP-Q, adding a wing dedicated to the advancement of QAnon kooks, who choose to believe that my Jewish family is shooting lasers at us from space, and that even more are drinking the blood of babies.

199 Republicans voting to uphold conspiracies tonight, over truth, a 199! Only 11 Republicans would not defend the indefensible, voting with 219 Democrats, in an open vote, not a secret ballot like that Cheney nonsense last night.

So, the QAnon kook won't be on committees, but she clearly has the warm embrace of the GOP-Q. Very notably, Liz Cheney was among the 199 who voted to keep the QAnon Rep on her committees. I guess that was the price of Cheney staying in power. But what a price to pay!

You have the guts to vote your conscience and impeach the President for inciting the January 6th insurrection. But you vote to keep important committee assignments with a QAnon person, a group all over the ugliest acts of that day, and someone who personally echoed desires to kill Democrats and who, by the way, says you are no better than they are.

So, how crazy is this? The QAnon lady has more support in that Party than Cheney, by a lot. How do we see this? 61 Republicans voted to remove Cheney from her leadership post, for her vote to impeach Trump. 61. 11 voted to remove the QAnon lady for her insanity and lies. Almost six times the support.

Now, for her sake today, she admitted that everything she has said is a lie.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): School shootings are absolutely real. I also want to tell you 9/11 absolutely happened.

I never once said, during my entire campaign, "QAnon." I never once said any of the things that I am being accused of today, during my campaign. I never said any of these things since I have been elected for Congress. These were words of the past.


CUOMO: No, no such thing. You're not accused. You said them. But I like the defense. "I didn't kill anyone. Today!" Great!

So, tell us this. Why did you lie about it all? Where is that piece in this? This transparency? Where is your why, saying school shootings were fake, JFK was killed by the Clintons. And now you say 9/11 is real. Oh, great!

But what about the Pentagon part of the attack? Are you going to clear this part up?


GREENE: So-called plane that crashed into the Pentagon, it's odd there's never any evidence shown for a plane in the Pentagon.


CUOMO: She didn't mention that today, or echoing calls to kill Democrats. Didn't matter to 199 Republicans!

And did you see the new mask? "FREE SPEECH." What happened to the ordinary mask? Look at her. "STOP THE STEAL." She still believed that toxic lie that led to the insurrection as much or more of any of the other poison she spewed recently?

"FREE SPEECH." I don't think she gets that having a right to say something doesn't make anything you say right. Free speech doesn't mean free from any consequence. When you spread poison like "Stop the steal!" and "Trump won!" there's a consequence. We saw it. We lived it.

Here it is.


CUOMO: People get hurt. Cops die. Cops get maimed. A democracy gets shaken. People lose fingers. Lawmakers like all but her because she's part of this crew, they get hunted. They hide.

But let's be honest. You've not seen many Republicans talking much about the 6th, have you? Think for a moment.

You see any teary addresses, people standing up, and swearing their life blood to go against those, who tried to destroy the rest of them? No, no, certainly not like they did when there was violence and protests about race. I wonder why? I wonder if the QAnon lady would get such support if she were a Black person.

Now, for what it's worth, her statement on the floor of Congress today was a lie. She said she was led to believe things. No, no, she chose to believe things, when it worked for her, to stir up the ignorant and vulnerable.

And she lied today about when she stopped. Listen.



GREENE: Later in 2018, when I started finding misinformation, lies, things that were not true, in these QAnon posts, I stopped believing it.


CUOMO: She did, huh? So, you stopped it in 2018? OK, so what about this interview in July that our friends at the KFILE found?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the video, you say, quote, "Q is a patriot." Do you believe that? Is that what you believe?

GREENE: I've only ever seen patriotic sentiment coming out of that source.


CUOMO: Drinking babies' blood? No 9/11? That's patriotic to you, and to your new party, the GOP-Q. "QAnon members are patriots," just months ago, thought it was not 2018. It's so easily discoverable. 199 votes!

Now, another lie, because the truth is supposed to matter, right, especially on the floor of Congress, now she says this about school shootings.


GREENE: School shootings are absolutely real.

I know the fear that David Hogg had that day. I know the fear that these kids have.

Our children are our future and they are our most precious resource.


CUOMO: You know his fear, huh? Is that why you chased him down the street, reminding a kid, who is deathly afraid of guns, that you have a loaded one on you?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GREENE: I'm a gun owner. I have a concealed carry permit. I carry a gun with - for protection.


CUOMO: That's David Hogg she's chasing down the street. Bad video cut. But that's where he is. She chased him down the street. Now she says, "Oh, I feel for him."

Look, she is the worst of us. This is easy, what I'm doing. I could beat her down all night long, with her own words. Easily! The point is the GOP-Q forgave it all! She's lucky that the real party died recently, reborn as the GOP-Q.

You'll see all their faces in the bottom corner of the screen, malformed, in the image of Mr. Mendacity himself, the man who made lying, like she did today, totally acceptable in their ranks.

You know? He's the real "Q," isn't he? Trump? He's your daddy, the bellowing bloviator of most of the BS that now defines that Party. And just like his poison protege today, when called out, to stand by lies, with a price attached for lying, he wilts.

Trump once again refused to testify under oath today at his upcoming trial, just like with Mueller, just like in his first impeachment. "I'd love to. I can't wait." Remember? Then he wouldn't do it because lies carry a price under oath.

But he is no different than everyone in that party now. They all want to duck the impeachment. So, the question becomes, what do these men and women, on the Right side of the aisle, think they gained by this, today, and what did it cost them? And what did it cost all of us?

We turn to better minds, Jonathan Swan and Charlie Dent.

GOP-Q Charlie, that is now the diversified party name that you belong to. Sentiments?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, SENIOR POLICY ADVISER, DLA PIPER: Yes. My quick thought is I mean it's really an act of political malpractice that Republicans had put themselves in this position, where the Democrats did what they should have - what Republicans should have done themselves, which was to never have allowed Marjorie Taylor Greene into the Republican Conference or on to any committees.

They should have done that from the get-go. They know it. And what's even worse, is that now - now there's a vote.

Democrats are very good at saying that moderate Republicans are right- wing nuts, and frankly, Republicans do the same things to the Democrats. They call centrist-Democrats, left-wing nuts.

Well now there is a vote, and a recorded vote that will be - that can and will be used against Republicans as QAnon Republicans, Marjorie Taylor Greene-Republicans. This should have never come to a vote on the House floor.

Good luck arguing precedent, good luck arguing process in defending allowing Marjorie Taylor Greene to serve on the Education Committee. It won't work.

CUOMO: So, brother Swan, first of all, love the work, love the interviewing, good to you have on the show.


CUOMO: What is the linking thought that makes these men and women, take this vote today, vote to say that the impeachment is unconstitutional, and refuse to recognize the events of January 6th the way they were recognizing events all summer long? What is the linking thinking?

SWAN: The linking thinking is they are voters.


And we did a poll at Axios, which we published last night, which shows that Marjorie Taylor Greene is vastly more popular among Republican voters than Mitch McConnell or Liz Cheney. So just think about that for a moment. That's just a stone-cold fact from our polling.

It wasn't even close. This is far outside the margin of error. Republican voters in the polling were three times more likely to align their beliefs with Marjorie Taylor Greene than with Liz Cheney.

So, Kevin McCarthy is stuck in the middle. He's got his base, his activists, who are much more aligned with Marjorie Taylor Greene than they are with the Establishment wing. And they're all giving these small-dollar donations, and lot of energy online. And then he's got his corporate donors, who are repulsed in many cases by Marjorie Taylor Greene and the views she espouses.

So, he is trying to fight off losing his corporate donors, but then also trying to manage the base of the Party, and where the real energy and popularity is. So, that's the situation, that's the politics of this situation.

CUOMO: So, a quick follow, is it the attitude that she conveys more than the substance? And it makes me think of that amazing piece you guys had, taking us inside the room of people arguing to Trump about what was going to happen and what wasn't going to happen.

The idea of "Renegade! Reckless! Blow it all up! They all suck!" is that what the appeal is to someone like her, regardless of the fact that she thinks people drink babies' blood?

SWAN: Well you used the word "Substance" and it seems misplaced in this instance, because I'm not aware of really policy views that she has besides the usual, you know, "I stand for Second Amendment, and guns, and whatever Trump says."

It's an attitude. I think what you're saying is right. It's an attitude, and it's a sort of "Screw them" attitude, the middle finger to Washington. But more than that, it's also easy simple solutions.

Part of the reason - that meeting you just described in the Oval Office, I mean this was one of the most deranged meetings in the Oval Office, in recent history, maybe the most deranged in recent - I can't think of one, I've been covering Trump for five years, nothing like this, Sidney Powell in there telling him to basically commandeer the U.S. government to seize voting machines, potentially use the military to do that.

But, again, it comes back to this - when the realists tell you, "No, actually you lost the election, and here are the facts, and sorry, you're going to live with it," that's not good enough.

The appealing - the appealing message is the person who can came to you and say, "Actually, here is a conspiracy theory that explains everything, and here is a path to victory. It's so easy. Just give me the keys."

CUOMO: Charlie, what changed? I got uncles in your Party. I married into your Party. Conservative, value, less government, think about taxation, it matters how you treat people, core conservative values. How did you guys get to this point?

DENT: Well it's clear to me that what's happened over the years is that we stopped debating public policy. It's not about policy. As was said, it's about attitude. It's about anger. It's about tribalism. That's where this Party is.

The sad part now is that what will happen, I fear, and it's depressing to hear those numbers that Jonathan cited, that the Republican Party will fracture that it will be factionalized. There'll be a minority, people like me, who are appalled by what's going on, or so that there'll be a faction, or there'll be a complete schism, where there'll be a break.

The Republican base is actually shrinking. Yes, it's more loyal to these extreme elements like Donald Trump, but it's shrinking. And long-term, this is not a way to win majorities. And everybody knows it. So, the Party's in a deep, dark place right now. And we could thank Donald Trump for that.

CUOMO: Now, we look at the impeachment, Jonathan. I said in the opening that Trump is really "Q," and he might as well be, because there is none, and certainly he is as much of a father of a lot of this toxic thought as anybody is that's identifiable.

What will the impeachment mean in terms of how this all comes to a head in your analysis? The trial?

SWAN: Well the funny thing about it is it's completely different from the first impeachment of Donald Trump, in the sense that when I talk to Democrats, whether it be on the Hill, or in the Biden administration, they just want this done quickly.

They really think - they're of a view that this is not helpful to them that they don't believe they're going to find 17 Republicans to convict Donald Trump and, I think, that's anyone with common sense, who's observing the dais (ph) of the Senate would agree with that.

So, Joe Biden sees it as a distraction to his agenda, and something that would make them look like they are looking backwards, trying to punish the previous president, rather than moving ahead with the agenda.


So, when you talk about things like subpoenaing the President to come in and testify, I tend to think that's all theater, that's not really going to amount too much, because the dominant mood from Senate Democrats is "Let's just get this over and done with and move on," and sort of understand that "We're not going to actually succeed here."

CUOMO: Charlie, you think there's any chance that this type of GOP-Q wants to do any kind of deal with the Democrats? Or is this 2000, 2009, - 2008-2009, to an exponential power of opposition?

DENT: I think there's an appetite to do some deals. I think they would like to do some deals on cyber security, even COVID. I still think there's a possibility they can do a deal on COVID. I know that the move is towards a reconciliation bill. But I could see the China, infrastructure there is plenty of opportunity here.

And I have to say though, back in 2008 or 2009, 2010, the Democrats had big majorities. They really weren't trying to get a whole lot of Republican buy-in. They were pretty clear. "Screw them. They had, you know, we have the votes."

CUOMO: We remember what happened --

DENT: That was their attitude.

CUOMO: -- with that first relief bill, 2008, 2009. Jonathan Swan is still young and good-looking.

DENT: It --

CUOMO: But you and I looked like him back then.

DENT: Yes. But they --

CUOMO: And the Republicans said they wanted to work with him. And all they wanted was the tax cuts, and they didn't move one vote to help Obama with that. It had to be a cram-down.

DENT: Well yes, but they presented us with that bill at the time. They said "Here's the bill. How many of you guys want to vote for it?" And we said, "Well can we make some changes?" And they said "Well the bill is written." I was there for that. I mean I remember being - that the bill with no input on the process or the substance.

CUOMO: Well that doesn't make it --

DENT: It was -- CUOMO: -- that doesn't make you any different than the Democrats

either. Another problem Jonathan, that you guys isolate very well, in your reporting, very often, and I'm out of time here, but the point matters, the leadership does everything now.

You literally have a room of four people. The Majority, you have the House and the Senate, and the Minority, House and Senate, they do all of it.

And you get guys like Charlie, unless he was in a position of authority, but a lot of these senators will tell you, "Yes, I didn't even get to see it. I don't even know. I don't even know if they're going to take any of my changes." The problem screwed up, but today, did not help.

Jonathan Swan, again, big friend, big fan, good to have you on the show.

Charlie Dent, as always, appreciate the perspective, brother. Thank you.

DENT: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, so look, you got to look at this question, because it's going to shape - it's got to be our next six months, eight months.

Why Republicans are happy to stand with a QAnon kook? They have to be banking on hate, anger, fear, and whataboutism? "What about Omar? What about Maxine Waters?" You remember them inciting an insurrection on the Capitol?

But let's test the argument with someone who voted to keep her on those committees. He's next.

And later, Dr. Anthony Fauci is here. There's breaking news on the vaccine front, J&J, Johnson & Johnson, asking the FDA to authorize its single-shot vaccine. If they get it, how soon, how big a difference? Also, where is our best hope right now? And schools. Deep talk, ahead.



CUOMO: 199 Members of Congress voted against stripping Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon person, of her committee assignments. Why? Let's ask one of them. Congressman Markwayne Mullin, Republican, Oklahoma.

Good to see you, Sir.

REP. MARKWAYNE MULLIN (R-OK): Thanks for having me on again, Chris.

CUOMO: What's the answer, brother? Why would you vote to protect somebody who believes what she does?

MULLIN: Well listen, what she said was before she was a Member of Congress. And she stood up, and apologized to the Conference. And she explained it. She denounced QAnon. And she was very - she was very open about what happened.

And I don't know. But I'm not perfect. I've made mistakes. And I ask people to forgive me and move on. And when she asked it, I felt like it moved the Conference.

But, at the same time, it's unprecedented what the Democrats have done here. And you said this, going in the commercial break, you said "Well - well what about Omar."

What Omar has said back in 2012, when she says, "Israel has hypnotized the world." You have Tlaib that said, when she's talking about the Holocaust, "It gives her a calming feeling." You have AOC that said the whole point of protests is to make people uncomfortable.

But we can go back farther than that. We can go back to President Joe Biden, in 1977, when he said, "Integration via mandatory bus would create racial," quote, "A racial jungle."

CUOMO: You and --

MULLIN: You have former Mayor --

CUOMO: Yes but hold on a second. Congressman?


CUOMO: The idea of running away from what she said by naming other things that people said is not a great defense. And here's why.

MULLIN: No, I'm not - Chris, I'm not saying it as s defense. But I'm saying it's a double standard.

CUOMO: But hold on a second. It's not a double standard.

MULLIN: If the --


CUOMO: It's not a double standard. It's not a double standard.

MULLIN: Well it is because --

CUOMO: Congressman? Here's why.

MULLIN: -- I didn't see you, calling these people out, when they said these things.

CUOMO: Because they did nothing that compares with someone --


CUOMO: -- being at the center of an insurrection against the Capitol of the United States. And you know it. Here's what bothers me.

MULLIN: How do you say Chris --

CUOMO: Here's what bothers me.

MULLIN: -- that she was in the middle of that riot?

CUOMO: Here's what - QAnon was all over the place. I'll show you pictures --

MULLIN: She denounced - she denounced QAnon back in August.

CUOMO: -- all night long.

MULLIN: Back in August, on Fox, she denounced QAnon. So, she wasn't --

CUOMO: I have never heard her denounce anything. In July of 2020, she said --


CUOMO: -- she's never seen anything but patriotic themes from QAnon.

MULLIN: Well I --

CUOMO: In July of 2020. I'll play it for you right now. You have her wrong. But more importantly, Markwayne, you know she's full of it. You know what she said today was the absolute minimum that she was "Led to believe." She chose to believe. She was wearing a mask that said, "Stop the steal!" up until today.

MULLIN: Chris?

CUOMO: That's as ugly a lie --

MULLIN: Chris?

CUOMO: -- as any of them.

MULLIN: Hey, Chris, I'm not trying to defend of what she said in the past. I'm not - no one --

CUOMO: Yes, you are.

MULLIN: No, no, no, no one can defend what she said in the past. That's hers.

CUOMO: You did with your vote.

MULLIN: She asked for forgiveness. And we're going to move on from there because --


CUOMO: Because it's inconvenient. That's why you're moving on.

MULLIN: -- and I --


CUOMO: You would never move on --

MULLIN: No, no, no.

CUOMO: -- if she were a Democrat.

MULLIN: Chris, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that once at that point, she said "What I said in the past isn't who I am," I'm going to believe her from there. But I don't see the same --

CUOMO: She just said it in July.

MULLIN: -- accountability happening to the other people on the Democrat Party. This is a one-sided deal. Where was your outrage, Chris, when you started talking about what Tlaib and Omar and Cortez has said? Where is your outrage about them inciting violence like Maxine Waters?

CUOMO: None of them --

MULLIN: The double standard, it doesn't stop.

CUOMO: Look, none of them were doing anything like what this lady, and what this group is about, and you know it.

MULLIN: Wrong is wrong.

CUOMO: You know it. Mark?

MULLIN: It doesn't make it --

CUOMO: She was calling to kill Democrats.

MULLIN: So, we're going to --


CUOMO: Markwayne, you know this stuff. You don't need me to tell you. What I want to know is this.

MULLIN: I do not.

CUOMO: What are you getting out of this? What are you getting --

MULLIN: Excuse me?

CUOMO: -- out of defending something as ugly as she is? Why?

MULLIN: I'm not defending what she said. I'm defending - what I'm defending is the Republican Party. And the double standard that the media puts out.

CUOMO: Is she part of your Party?

MULLIN: It judges Republican Party different than they judge their own Party. And that's including you, Chris. You don't call out the all Members of the Democrat Party.

CUOMO: Markwayne Mullin?

MULLIN: But you still want to point out everything --


CUOMO: If any Democrat said that Republicans drink babies' blood or that Christians shoot --

MULLIN: She didn't say that. She didn't. Chris? She did not say that.

CUOMO: She endorsed the beliefs of QAnon.

MULLIN: Chris, you're putting words, and you're - you're better than that.

CUOMO: I'm not putting.


CUOMO: Listen to the July sound bite.

MULLIN: Chris, you're better than --


CUOMO: Listen to the - listen to this sound bite.


CUOMO: I don't want to argue with you. It's not productive. Just listen to this sound bite. I got one more question. I don't want to berate you. Go ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the video, you say, quote, "Q is a patriot." Do you believe that? Is that what you believe?

GREENE: I've only ever seen patriotic sentiment coming out of that source.


CUOMO: Mark? Markwayne? Come on.

MULLIN: Sure, I saw.

CUOMO: It's right there. These are ugly beliefs. She used them for convenience. She is changing them now out of convenience, and you know it. And you wouldn't even vote on a House resolution to condemn QAnon. Why do you need these people?

MULLIN: Listen, I am not defending them. They are not part of our Party and not so -- CUOMO: Why wouldn't you condemn them?

MULLIN: And she said the same thing. I'm not defending her remarks either. What I'm saying is that she publicly came up and said that's not who she was that she's learned from her lessons on that, that she was - she was moved by untruths. And there was a lot of people on both sides of the party that approved --

CUOMO: And when Omar apologized, it meant nothing to you? And when Maxine Waters was asked, if she wanted people to be violent, she said "No." But you bring them up as if they meant every word of it, and it's unforgivable.

MULLIN: Did Omar apologize about --

CUOMO: But her, you forgive, even though she lied today about wanting forgiveness. Really?

MULLIN: Did Omar apologize about saying that "Israel has hypnotized the world?" Did Tlaib apologize for saying that "Holocaust gave her a calming feeling?"

CUOMO: First of all, they like were killing themselves to get out of those statements and bending over backwards to say they never meant it. It was taken out of context, and everything you politicians say. What I'm saying is this lady doesn't even do that.

MULLIN: That's not - that's not taking out of --

CUOMO: And you're going to say you're upset about that, but we're just days away, weeks away, from an insurrection, had QAnon all over it, you guys won't even talk about that day. You'll talk about protests that turned into riots over the summer, until you're blue in the face.

MULLIN: Chris? I was --

CUOMO: But when our Capitol is attacked, you say nothing. And a woman who is a member of a group that was at the center of it, you protect. I don't get it.

MULLIN: Chris, I was there. I was on the floor. You saw pictures of me being there. I know exactly what happened. And I'm not defending that. That should have never happened. It's a dark day on history. And you would think that all of us, politicians and media alike, would learn from that.

CUOMO: You voted to empower somebody --

MULLIN: And we would learn a better way to debate.

CUOMO: -- who's part of the group that attacked you, brother.

MULLIN: We're not empowering - we're not empowering her. What we're saying it's unprecedented that they're punishing her for something she said before she was a Member of Congress.

CUOMO: First of all, where does that come from? Where does the line --

MULLIN: You can - if you want to take - if you want to take --

CUOMO: Where does the line come from? If I say horrible things --

MULLIN: Her - her constituents --


CUOMO: -- then I get elected, and I say I don't want to say those anymore, that's OK with you?

MULLIN: No. Her constituents are the one that she has to answer to. And it's not us to punish.

CUOMO: That's not true. You guys have your own rules of what you accept and what you don't.

MULLIN: They do what she's saying --


CUOMO: And you know it. You have your own ethics rules.

MULLIN: No, I don't. I'm not --

CUOMO: You have your own standards.


MULLIN: Don't put words in my mouth please. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth. I'm trying to be cordial here too. Don't say I know it. I'm telling you exactly what I believe.

CUOMO: Does the House have its own rules and standards for conduct?

MULLIN: I believe that --


MULLIN: -- same equal standard.

CUOMO: Does the House have its own --

MULLIN: Sorry?

CUOMO: -- rules and standards for conduct? Yes or no?

MULLIN: Yes, they do.

CUOMO: And you don't believe her beliefs violate those standards and conduct?

MULLIN: It was prior to her being in Congress.

CUOMO: She was just saying it in July. She just said the other day -- MULLIN: She wasn't elected in office in July.

CUOMO: -- McCarthy is no different than these other guys.

MULLIN: She - when - I'm sorry. When was the election? November 3rd. That wasn't July of 2020.

CUOMO: So, if she hasn't said it --

MULLIN: That was November 3rd, 2020.

CUOMO: -- but today, when she was asked to refute it, she didn't say, "I'm sorry for saying to kill Democrats. I'm sorry for saying it's patriotic to say that Democrats drink babies' blood and that Jews shoot lasers from space."

MULLIN: She never said that Chris.

CUOMO: She said I've never heard anything but patriotic themes out of QAnon.

MULLIN: Hey? But don't say that Marjorie said that. I'm not trying to defend what she said.

CUOMO: What? You're making me sweat.


MULLIN: Like I said, what she has said in the past it's undefendable.

CUOMO: Markwayne, I agree with you.

MULLIN: But what she --


CUOMO: I agree with you.

MULLIN: -- being a Member of Congress is what we have to judge her on.

CUOMO: But you know it doesn't --

MULLIN: Because --


CUOMO: You know the clock doesn't stop. You guys go after people five years, 10 years ago, for what they said, when it's convenient. It just was --


CUOMO: -- convenient for you not to do so today.

MULLIN: Chris?

CUOMO: But I don't want to --

MULLIN: You guys do the exact same thing.

CUOMO: Look, it doesn't make it good. If the Left does it --

MULLIN: It doesn't. So why don't we - why don't we --

CUOMO: -- then let them get taken after it. Don't be what you oppose.


CUOMO: Don't be what you oppose. Don't be the worst of us. That's all I'm saying.

MULLIN: Chris, I don't want to --

CUOMO: Congressman, I appreciate you being here.

MULLIN: I want to move forward - I want to move forward as a country. I don't want to go back and continue having these fights like this --

CUOMO: Then --

MULLIN: -- among ourselves, because the only thing it does is hurt the country. Here is what I agree. Here is what I believe, Chris. Do you believe that flag over my shoulder out here is beautiful?

CUOMO: Is it the American flag?

MULLIN: Sure, it is, absolutely.

CUOMO: Yes. I didn't see it.

MULLIN: It's the most beautiful flag.

CUOMO: Of course.

MULLIN: And would you defend that flag?

CUOMO: I would do all my best. I do not have --


CUOMO: -- I do not have the kind of honor and conviction and commitment that people who serve in the military have. I didn't have it.

MULLIN: But you would defend it.

CUOMO: I wasn't brave enough. But I respect them.

MULLIN: Hey, and you would defend it. I guarantee you, you would. And guess what? I would too. And we got a foundation to build upon right now. But if we keep looking at everybody's past, we're just going to be tearing each other apart.

CUOMO: Look, you want to talk about the fact.

MULLIN: We need --


CUOMO: But Congressman, then you wouldn't vote to certify the election, when you knew it was BS, when you knew there was no proof.

MULLIN: No. Chris?

CUOMO: When you knew you had dozens of cases.

MULLIN: Once again.

CUOMO: Come on!

MULLIN: Don't start putting words in my mouth because I'm not doing that to you.

CUOMO: You didn't vote to certify the election. Yes or no?

MULLIN: I'm - I was convicted by what I believe, that's my authority, given to me, and awarded to me, by the Constitution, that I swore to uphold, and I will defend with my death.

CUOMO: With no proof?

MULLIN: I felt like it was --

CUOMO: With no proof?

MULLIN: -- my obligation to defend that vote.

CUOMO: With no proof?

MULLIN: I don't believe in the way the electoral vote was counted, based on the way that the ballots were cast. The only people that get to choose --

CUOMO: What does that mean?

MULLIN: -- the way the election law was given, based on the Constitution, Article I, Section 2 --


MULLIN: -- is the state legislators, and you know that as well as I do.

CUOMO: Every state at issue either put the law through their legislature, or had the law contested by their supreme court, and then reviewed by the United States Supreme Court. No one agrees with you.

MULLIN: Supreme Court - Supreme Court --

(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: Including the Republican officials in those states. But you know something that is worth decertifying?

MULLIN: You know? There was 31 members that currently serve in the House of Representatives, in 2005, and the Democrat Party that also contested the George Bush election.

CUOMO: So what?

MULLIN: Where was the outrage then?

CUOMO: Why does that make what you did today OK?

MULLIN: Well what - no, no, no, wait a second.

CUOMO: All right, look, I got - I got to go. But Congressman?

MULLIN: You want to accuse me of going outside the - my constitutional authority but yet you're going to say "So what?" about those --


CUOMO: I'm going to say the vote was based on nothing but political convenience. And if you want to unite around the flag, don't make a mockery of it with a vote like that that undermines our democracy.

MULLIN: Hey? I'm saying let's move forward. And I did what I was felt convicted of. Why aren't you holding those 31 in 2005 as --

CUOMO: I deal with what happens today, and is in front of us. I don't make excuses for people by what happened in the past. I own what I do.

MULLIN: OK. Then why are you - why are you --


CUOMO: I don't say some news guy said something in 1997.

MULLIN: Back in 2018.

CUOMO: But look, look, what I'm saying is this. If that's your way of admitting that this is wrong too, then fine, I'll give it to you. But otherwise, we still got some room to do in terms of --

MULLIN: I never admitted. I never admitted --

CUOMO: We got to learn from what we did, if we want to get to a better place. But Congressman, I got to jump. You have a place on this show to discuss what matters.

MULLIN: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Markwayne Mullin, god bless and be well.

MULLIN: Good bless you too.

CUOMO: All right, next, we bring in Dr. Fauci, to deal with the other disease that's attacking our society, next.



CUOMO: An important milestone in the vaccine, what would be the first single-shot COVID vaccine, J&J, Johnson & Johnson, officially asking the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization. There are some more steps in the process, took Pfizer a little over three weeks, Moderna just over two weeks. What could it be now?

What do we know about the vaccine? It's shown to be 66 percent effective, in preventing moderate and severe disease, 85 percent effective overall, at presenting hospitalization and death. In fact, the most recent data showed no deaths, no hospitalizations. So, that 85 percent number is all severe illness.

Bottom line, hopefully, another way to find the pandemic, let's talk about it with Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Good to have you.





CUOMO: Too many numbers. But let's make up our own metric.

On the kind of Hope-o-meter, where zero is, "We're going to be dealing with this for a very long time," and 10 is "Right around the corner, we'll be in a better place," where do you think we are?

FAUCI: I think we're going to be in a better place. But I think we're probably right 6 or 7 in the sense that we have to deal with some things that are good news, but some things that are challenging.

The numbers you gave for the J&J vaccine actually, in the United States, the efficacy was higher than 66 percent.

CUOMO: Yes because that included South Africa.

FAUCI: It was 72 percent.

CUOMO: Yes, yes, yes.

FAUCI: That included - but yes, the important thing that you made - the point that you made was critical, Chris, is that although it wasn't the 94 percent and 95 percent that we've seen with Moderna and Pfizer, in the critical area of keeping people out of the hospital, and making sure they don't die, it did very, very well. So, we now will have, if the FDA gives it an EUA, they've put in their application for that, we'll know in a few weeks whether or not it's going to happen that if in fact it does that will be yet again another good vaccine, in the armamentarium of our tools to fight this pandemic.

CUOMO: I like that word, armamentarium. Thank you for that, Tony.

You said you think if it gets approved, and goes as it should, it will be available around March.

A lot of people say to me, "Why do you do all these comparisons to the vaccines? Nobody gets a choice. You know? You're just lucky, you can get an appointment to get any vaccine, and then they tell you which one it is, when you get there."

Will people have a choice at some point?


FAUCI: I don't think right in the beginning they will, because, right now, the demand is far excess of the supply. So people will, I think, gladly take whatever is available to them.

As we get through February into March and April and May, when the amount of vaccine becomes much more plentiful, there is certainly a possibility that people will know that this particular vaccine is may be given in the pharmacies, and this you might get in a clinic, or in your doctor's office, or wherever, they could potentially have a choice.

But right now, given the fact that the demand is so much greater than the supply, people are taking whatever vaccine is available to them at the time, which is actually a good idea, particularly now, since the two that are available are essentially identical. They are both mRNA vaccines.

CUOMO: Right.

FAUCI: They both have the same degree of efficacy and safety. So, it doesn't really matter very much, Chris.

CUOMO: If it's all about variants now, in terms of on the risk side, why isn't the Administration coming very hard with Defense Production Act, for masks and putting testing right out front?

Because until you have the vaccine, in everybody's arm, the best you can do is mask-up. Shouldn't they be more aggressive on that to fight the variance if they are so troubling?

FAUCI: Well what we're doing Chris, is the message is that we have the capabilities, we have masks. We're doing much better on testing.

Right now, you know, you probably heard just a couple of days ago, that there is a test now that's available, or will be soon available in pharmacies that were investing hundreds of millions of dollars to scale-up, so that you can have up to 19 million of them per month made.

And they're point-of-care. You can get them in a drugstore. You bring them home. It takes 15 minutes. It's a bit expensive now, $30, $35. The price will come way down, when we start ordering millions and millions and millions of doses. So, we are doing a lot.

I mean, the President himself said he wants a 100 days at least of everybody wearing a mask. And you know, we've discussed on this show before, Chris, that when you have really inconsistencies throughout the country, where some people don't wear masks, as some sort of a political statement, or whatever you want to call it, that doesn't work.

If you really want to get this outbreak under control, you have to have uniform and universal mask-wearing, physical distance, avoiding congregate settings like crowds, particularly indoor, washing your hands, as often as you possibly can.

We have some good news in that, as you know from the numbers, they've peaked and are starting to look like they are coming down. If we take that, combine it with the increased availability of vaccines, combine that with doubling down on public health measures, we could start going way, way down, to where we really want to be.

CUOMO: Even with the variants? Because the variants are like the chunk in the wheel of that progress. And you had --

FAUCI: Well you have --

CUOMO: -- the CDC had, the other day, said that she believes that not only will the variants create more cases, but maybe more death. Is that true?

FAUCI: Well absolute - yes, that is true. And I'll tell you why. Because what we're seeing were variants dominate. The variants don't dominate now in our country.

We have the variant that was dominating in the U.K. It's called B117. That one is one that is more efficient in going from person-to-person. And a recent study from the U.K. showed that it might be somewhat more deadly in the sense of making people sicker and certainly leading to death more.

So, we don't want that to become dominant in our own country. It might become dominant because it seems to be very efficient in spreading from person-to-person.

Chris, the best way to prevent viruses from mutating and developing the kinds of mutations that make them more efficient or more dangerous is to prevent them from spreading from person-to-person.

And you do that by public health measures and getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can, because viruses will not mutate, if they don't replicate. So, if you put the lid on them, and prevent them from going from person-to-person, you will blunt their capability of mutating. So, that's a challenge. I agree with you completely, the fact that we have mutants in this

country right now, we have mutations that are dominating South Africa, there are a few of them, very few, but they could still continue to expand.

And we have the mutants that have dominated in the U.K. So, we have a possibility and the capability of trying to stop them from becoming dominant.

CUOMO: Now we got mutants in Congress sitting on committees, on one side of the aisle.

Tony Fauci, thank you very much, for taking time with us tonight. God bless and Godspeed.

FAUCI: Yes, good to be with you, Chris. Thanks a lot.

CUOMO: Always a pleasure.

FAUCI: Take care.


CUOMO: Conspiracy theories get the OK from most Republicans, tonight, in Congress, a 199 of them, and you saw Markwayne Mullin. Look, I bring him on in good faith. But the best defense he has is "Well that was before" even though she just said it months ago?

Democrats and 11 Republicans though did vote this QAnon Congresswoman off of the committees. We're going to talk to one of those Democrats tonight. Katie Porter, on the drama, and a potential way forward, next.


CUOMO: So basically, the "Why" for Republicans in refusing to send a message against QAnon has two parts. One, "Democrats have people just as bad, and she did say all those stuff before she was in office," which isn't really true, and also, "Democrats are doing this the wrong way."

Let's bring in Congresswoman Katie Porter, California, for perspective.

Good to see you.

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Good to see you.

CUOMO: I heard your recollection of events from January 6th. And I wanted to say I'm sorry I haven't reached out sooner. I'm sorry I didn't reach out to say that I heard what you went through and I feel for you.


PORTER: Well it was a workplace shooting. That's what it was. It was - there was a criminal attack on the Capitol building and on the Capitol complex.

CUOMO: And now?

PORTER: Those are tough experiences.

CUOMO: And now you lived through it.

January 6th can't be put in the rear view mirror fast enough by half the aisle. And they have a Member of the primary group that was all over the place of the ugliest acts of that day. And they say, "Well, she doesn't really believe it anymore." Is that good enough?

PORTER: No, I don't think it is good enough. I think the onus here is on Marjorie Taylor Greene, on Congresswoman Greene, to step up and tell us that she does not have those beliefs, to take ownership of them and to renounce them.

Not in some private meeting of the Republican Party, the night before she's about to get in trouble, but in public, to publicly acknowledge that she has wronged people, that she has spread lies and conspiracy theories, and to promise that she will stop doing that.

That's what responsibility from her would have looked like. And it's only because she didn't take it, the Republicans didn't take it that finally the House of Representatives took action.

CUOMO: Their argument of "You have people who say just as nasty things on your side," acceptable?

PORTER: This isn't about being nice or being nasty. I would definitely prefer that people be nice across the board. But that's not what this is about.

This is about somebody, who has fundamentally denied the reality of facts. We cannot solve problems like gun violence, in schools, if we suggest that the shootings didn't even happen. So, this isn't about being nice or who's not nice.

This is about "Are you able to look at facts and the truth and accept them," and then move into what Democrats and Republicans should be doing, which is debating different ways to solve those problems. We can't do that with someone who won't even admit to realities.

CUOMO: How do you explain so many Republicans standing up, after you guys were saved, and no longer having to hide, right after it, and voting to decertify the election, on the basis of nothing?

PORTER: Yes. It was an incredibly - the whole day was difficult. And it went on into the night. But the fact that so many of them continued down that path really was disheartening.

But there were some, there were some Members, who stood up, and said "I cannot do this. I will not do this." And I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for people like Liz Cheney.

I think that both parties, Democratic and Republican need to be continually trying to improve themselves, need to have debate within their parties. And I'm glad that the Republicans are having a spirited debate. I wish they had come to the right conclusion, though, which is that they need to stop enabling and repeating lies.

CUOMO: I call them the GOP-Q now, because if they're going to let her be on the committees, that's the exact kind of message these extremist groups love to hear, in their radicalization and recruitment efforts online.

Now, another angle attack, they have to get away from January 6th, which is just mind-blowing to me that they ignore the event the way they did is that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congresswoman from New York, faked her account. Do you think that is fair because she was in the adjacent --

PORTER: That is absolutely --

CUOMO: -- Cannon building.

PORTER: That is absolutely untrue. She relayed what happened to her in the Cannon Office Building and how scared she was when she was yelled at that she had to leave the building, "Where is she? Where is she?"

She came to my office building. I saw her. She asked if she could come into my office. And I am here to tell you and everybody, she was terrified.

I know her pretty well. I sit on committees like Oversight and used to sit on Financial Services with her. I have never seen her like that before. She was clearly very, very rattled and very, very scared.

And we barricaded in my office for six hours. We turned the lights off. We turned the cell phones off. We had no way to know if and when the people who had penetrated the Capitol were coming through the tunnels to get us. No way to know if the voices that we heard in the hallway were those of police officers or those of the mob.

CUOMO: What do you say to those, who are trying to delegitimize the trauma, and her feelings, and your feelings?

PORTER: I - look, we were there. She was there. Everybody is going to have - everyone did have a different experience of that day.


Some of my colleagues weren't even - were in their apartments during that time, watching it on TV. Some of them were in the Capitol itself. Some of them were evacuated by Secret Service. Some of them were on their own.

But there's no point in taking away her experiences.

The goal here is to make sure that the Capitol is a safe workplace, where we can focus on doing the job that the American people sent us there to do, which is helping to make sure that our economy is strong, that we're creating opportunity. That's what we should be doing. And all of the rest of this has just been a distraction from dealing

with the real problems facing our country, like COVID and the economy.

CUOMO: Well and the distraction on another level. I always come to you for the smart take, but even a meathead like me knows this. There's great reason to go after her. "You're delegitimizing one of ours? We're going to do it to one of yours."

And, by the way, they're still keeping warm on the back-burner Congresswoman, remember, I reminded you of this tonight, they're going to say you guys set up January 6th. There's no basis of it in fact, but I'm telling you, this is part of that effort today. I don't want to indulge in it.

But I want to thank you for being here, thank you for keeping it together and doing your job. Congresswoman Katie Porter, thank you.

PORTER: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, we'll be right back.

When I come back, I've got a story to share. It's going to be quick. I'll lead into Don Lemon, and it will make you realize why going after Katie Porter, or AOC is totally wrong. Next.