Return to Transcripts main page
Cuomo Prime Time
Eight People Killed In Shooting At Indianapolis FedEx Facility; Far-Right GOP Forming New Caucus To Push Nativist Ideas; New Protests Over Police Killing Of 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired April 16, 2021 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: --Samaria Blackwell, 66-year-old Amarjeet Johal, 64-year-old Jasvinder Kaur, 68-year-old Jaswinder Singh, 48- year-old Amarjit Skhon, 19-year-old Karlie Smith, and 74-year-old John Weisert. Our thoughts are with them and their loved ones tonight.
The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thank you, Anderson.
I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.
Protests over the police-killing of Daunte Wright have stretched into a sixth night in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
And now, there are also protests, tonight, in Chicago, echoing the laments of those on the streets of Minnesota, about a life taken too soon. This time, it was a police shooting that happened last month, involving 13-year-old Adam Toledo. Body cam video of his killing was released yesterday, hence the protests now.
In the video, he appears to comply with the officer, who is yelling at him, after chasing him down an alley, to drop - drop his guns, show his hands. And as he does that, the officer shoots him. The question now is was the officer justified in believing the suspect may still have the weapon in that split-second decision?
If nothing else, this country is finally united. We have all had it. There's just too much pain. Too much hurt. We are all frustrated. We're all exhausted by the same.
From fears of the vaccine, to fears, to the victims of police shootings, mass shootings, mass refusal to mask-up, all the BS politics, pandering to the weakest among us, the tunnel just gets longer. We're at the point where even the sharpest eyes can barely see a glint of light in the darkness.
Forget about whoever you think is "Them" for just a moment. Take the time to consider if there is anything resembling an "Us" anymore. Does anyone see America the way you want her to be? Do any of you see a people with a purpose that resembles anything like "The Dream?" You got to ask yourself that, because otherwise, what the hell is it all about? What are we doing here? Why are you watching? Why are you doing anything? Why watch anything? Why care about anything? What is your "Why?" What matters?
The FedEx tragedy, sure, I could take you all through it tonight. It's the 45th mass shooting in this country in a month. Will it change your opinion? Will it make you feel a need for something?
Yes, if you're one of the family members, or loved ones, of the eight people who died, or people who died in the other 45 mass shootings. The number will never be enough. The number of dead will never be enough.
This time, this gunman killed eight, injured at least seven more, took his own life. His mother warned the Feds about him last year.
They took it seriously. They heard her say he might try to commit suicide by cop. What more of a red flag do you need? They went. They took a shotgun of his. But they couldn't find a criminal violation. You don't punish thought, not yet.
The laws and the system are not set up to help someone like this. And you know that is the exact person that we need to help before they hurt. And you know that the system doesn't do it because the system "Worked." But it didn't, because it's not enough.
This comes on the heel of a mass shooting at a cabinet-making company in Texas, a supermarket in Boulder, a spa-shooting in Atlanta. It doesn't matter where you are, it doesn't matter who you are, these happen everywhere, all the time. And you know that access to guns by the wrong people has a role.
And no, I cannot tell you the law that would have stopped this shooting. But I can tell you this. President after president has been forced to address the bloodshed, Republican, Democrat, whatever they are these days, they've all recognized the need to do more than just pray.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The majority of those who died today were children.
And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No child, no teacher should ever be in danger in an American school.
It is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference. We must actually make that difference.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Congress has to step up and act. The Senate has to act.
It's a national embarrassment and must come to an end.
Who, in God's name, needs a weapon that can hold 100 rounds, or 40 rounds, or 20 rounds? It's just wrong. And I'm not going to give up until it's done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Then he won't give up, but it won't get done, because all you have is prayer. I'm one of those people who've said, "Prayer is not enough." It's all we have. Nothing else will get done.
And I'm not some cynic. I wouldn't do this job, if I were. This job is hard, makes life suck on a lot of levels. But it matters because the good fight matters. And making ourselves safer is the good fight. Protecting the dream, expanding the dream, that is the fight. That is the country. That is or "Why." But we're not letting it happen.
The NRA, exposed as a sham, but it hasn't changed the Sham that "Any change, any law, it's going to end the liberty of the Second Amendment." That's still alive and well.
Even after Vegas, in 2017, stood out there, in that cold morning after, people crying all over me, 60 dead, so many injured, that the blood flowed freely as sin on the Strip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think it's premature to be discussing legislative solutions, if there are any.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: There's no measure on the agenda, in the remaining weeks, of this session of Congress. 45 shootings, dead all over the place, people crying in the streets, there's nothing that would pass anyway.
We refuse to address the violence. We refuse to address the shootings and the violence as a figurative disease. This is a disease. Why would we address that? We refuse to face a real disease.
We have a real pandemic stalling our civilization. We are the only civilized nation, whose leaders actively try to promote not doing what the science says.
"Cancun" Cruz, he says "I'm done wearing masks in the capital."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): At this point, I've been vaccinated. Everyone working in the Senate has been vaccinated.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: He knows that's not the science. The guy went to Harvard!
Not everyone in the Senate has been vaccinated. And he knows it, staff, reporters covering him, he knows. Even his boys, fellow senators, Rand Paul and Ron Johnson, you know why they aren't vaccinated? "I'm not getting it. Not telling me what to do."
Close to 40 percent of your Party now expresses hesitancy. I wonder why. Here's a hint.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): You don't think Americans' liberties have been threatened in the last year, Dr. Fauci? They've been assaulted, their liberties have.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I don't look at this as a liberty thing, Congressman Jordan.
JORDON: Well, that's obvious.
FAUCI: I look at this as a public health thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: 566,000 dead in this country, all from the pandemic. I don't even believe the number, by the way. I don't. I guarantee you there are people who die that were wrote off as not COVID that it was something else.
Jordan's decided he's had enough! He wants to pretend that "I just want to get my Liberty back, man. And everything else will be fine." Really? When that type of behavior is exactly what has us in the position? He knows it makes no sense. He's just banking on you not giving a damn.
How many more die of the pandemic, dying from police shootings? George Floyd, Daunte Wright, I wonder if you'll remember their names, six months from today, because there'll be replaced by so many others.
You're here people. What are you going to do when you see these shootings? You know what you're going to do. "That George Floyd, did you hear about him? That Daunte Wright, did you hear about him? That 13-year-old Adam, you know he was a gangbanger."
Why do that? Because you want to make the problem "Them," takes the onus off the idea that you're wrong about policing not needing to change. "Forget that. Police are trained to deal with non-compliance, with force that is not lethal. Hey, comply or die, you know what I mean."
And you know what the answer is. You really do. You don't like it. I don't like. It scares me. Shootings, gun laws, access to weapons? Oh, I know when they'll change. Your kids start getting killed, White people's kids, start getting
killed, smoking that doobie that's actually legal, probably in your state now, but they don't know what it was, and then the kid runs, and then "Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!" Cop was justified.
"Why'd you run?" "Oh, he had a baseball game tonight." "Oh? White kid? Oh, big family, that house over there?" Those start piling up, "What is going on with these police? Oh, what? Maybe we shouldn't even have police!" That kind of mania, that kind of madness, that'll be you. That'll be the majority, because it's your people.
See, now Black people start getting all guns, forming militias, protect themselves? "Can't trust Deep State!" Whoo-whoo! You'll see a wave of change, in access and accountability. We saw it in the 60s. That's when it changes, because that's when it's you.
My job is to show you in them because there but for the grace, and the grace is forgiveness that none of us deserve for the blessings that we're wasting in this country. That is our reality. And the reality is clear, and the state of play is unchanging, and that is not a recipe for any type of longevity.
And what do we do here? What do I do here? I get lost in the next, the next name, the next iteration. The "New," in news, dominates, because you get bored. "I've heard enough. I've heard enough. I cared about George Floyd. It was wrong. But I've had it with the trial, it's too long. Just let me know when they have a verdict."
We pretend that we're not just seeing the same lying, and lack of leading, and bleeding, and death, and pain, new names, new faces, new places. Same problems, you know it, I know it. I know that you know.
The testing, the voting, the vaccines, the dying, the shooting, the drugs, the suicide, the teaching, the testing of education, all of it, it all hits the poor, and the poor of color worst, and we know it. And we've always known it.
I remember my father preaching about this, when my teeth were two inches apart, when I was a fat kid, waiting to eat, on the steps of my house, while he was talking to people that he was asking to vote for him, in one of the elections that he lost like five, six in a row.
"Us and Them!" "Us and Them!" There's never a solution that doesn't begin with "We." "We the people," they started it. Every copy you see of the document blows those letters up. Why? Because that's all we have is the interconnectedness and the interdependence. If you give up on one another, that's it.
And it doesn't matter how impressive, or resonant, or you feel the words to be, because all you have is prayer. All you have is hope that at some point something, make some iteration, a generation of us, realize that the only solution is not less, but more, more people, more enabled, to do more with talent, to make more pie for all of us. That is the only way that this country ever approaches what she is
supposed to be. And the only question for us is what will it take to get there? And for that, I have better minds. I have Van Jones. And I have Michael Smerconish. Now, these two men are mentors to me in different ways.
Michael has got a great mind for understanding the simple in the complex. He did it today on his show, about how they're stopping the vaccine, because you've had less than one in a million deaths. "Shutting it down, studying it, we got to be safe!"
You get eight people dead at the FedEx factory. They don't even take a breath, in terms of what to do in government.
And Van is the manifestation of hope for America. He believes! He believes!
And I need them both, because I don't share their sentiments on either. So, we'll start with the head and we'll go to the heart.
Michael, the logic is pellucid. It is clear and obvious.
Eight people die at the FedEx. Not even a yawn. They had to argue with me to include it in the top of the show tonight. Because I said "Well, who - where is it? It's not - where's anybody talking about it?" But the vaccine, seven out of 7 million, "Shut it down. We got to think of a better way."
How do you explain it?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST, "SMERCONISH": I thought your commentary was brilliant, and depressing.
And you're right. I sent out a tweet today, and I said, six individuals out of 7 million, who had the J&J shot, developed complications. We don't know if that's causation or correlation. But we immediately shut down that entire program in the midst of a pandemic.
And then comes, the news of what transpires in Indianapolis. Eight folks are dead. And I hate to say it but I buy into your logic. I don't think anything changes.
Here's an embarrassing thought. I was driving to work, very early this morning, having heard the news, and running through my mind, "When did this last occur?" I couldn't place it. I knew it was Boulder. But I couldn't remember that it was a supermarket. I couldn't remember that 10 had died.
When I got to work, I looked up all the other recent incidents. And Chris, I'm a news junkie. It's amazing how many of them I'd forgotten. I guess what I'm really frightened about is the ease with which we're all now so willing to just move on to the next day's news cycle. CUOMO: And Van, you preach hope. And you're right. Everybody who leads from their heart does. And a marriage of head and heart, like yours, makes you a very valuable asset to the cause.
But at some point, hope can be defined as, as yet undiscovered disappointment. Because if you don't have a plan, and you don't have a way to implement the plan, you could hope all you want, you wind up with a new name--
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
CUOMO: --and a new face, in a new place, with the same fate. So how do we do better?
JONES: Well, I think that - I think you're speaking for a lot of people right now. I think the level of exasperation, the level of just depression, people are really hurt. And people are hurting and uncertain about how we're going to go forward.
I do think that we've fallen into a particular kind of a trap that comes from the dimmer switch is going up on some of this stuff. For all we know, there could be fewer of some of these shootings, and some of these bad things that are going on, when it comes to the police.
But there's a lot more evidence of it now. So, we're getting more illumination on the problem. And we're not seeing illumination on the solutions. So, I understand that part.
But I will say this. This is what I know for sure. I don't have to guess. There are a bunch of awful people in the country. There's a lot more awesome people in the country.
There's a lot more good people, who just don't know what to do, Chris, that the awful people are screaming, and yelling, and blocking everything, and tweeting, and canceling, and acting like complete lunatics. And they get all the attention.
The vast majority of people are good folks, in both parties, all races, all face, they just don't know what to do yet. They are waiting for some instruction.
And what I believe is it's - what you got to see is, we're hitting now, you just, I have never seen you like this tonight. You are speaking--
JONES: Yes, yes, I mean, listen, seriously, I think we're hitting peak division. I think now, once we get past this, this trial, I think you're going to start seeing, at the grassroots level, a bottom-up movement, to restore some stuff. We can't fix it up at the federal level.
But I'm going to tell you, I'm hearing it everywhere. People are tired of the crap. And they're looking for things to do. It's going to start off small, and it's going to start to grow. It's going to be people coming together, tired of the noise.
But I think you're speaking for millions and millions of people tonight. But anybody who's got a solution, at the local level, this is the time to speak up.
CUOMO: You can't say it because they'll say you're making a threat. But you know, if there were kids, in White neighborhoods, getting killed by cops, for running away, and yes, every one of them, you know?
Look, I don't want to say this. I don't want to wish bad for anybody. I love my kids. They're all that matters to me. They're all that matters to me.
And, Mike, I know you're the same way.
But you know if it was the people that we know, in the places where we live, and their kids start getting taken out, one here, one there, one here, "Well, they were leaving late that night from that party. And they came to break up the party. And those kids ran out. It looked like a gun. It was a bottle. He shot them. Hey, justified, you know?" things would change.
JONES: I think--
CUOMO: We start seeing gangs of Black militias, to protect their neighborhoods that have legal firearms? Things would change.
CUOMO: We saw it in the 60s. Van, last word for you, and then to Michael.
JONES: Yes, look, look, if African Americans start creating militia, all of a sudden, we're going to have gun reform, just like that.
CUOMO: Oh, yes!
JONES: That'd be the quick - the quickest way to get there.
CUOMO: They think we're kidding.
JONES: But let me - yes but--
CUOMO: You know we're not kidding.
SMERCONISH: No, it would happen just like that. That'd be the quickest way to get there.
But just, let me just point out. You talked about the fact that vaccine's been shut down. That's the bad news. The good news is we have a vaccine, and a lot faster than people thought.
You talked about the fact that we have these horrific murders that are being shared. But the reality is it's also creating, I think, a big, big demand for some kind of change. Congress hasn't moved, but there's a - been another (ph) 25 years. I've never seen as much awareness as possible.
So, right now, in this moment, this may be the breakdown. But breakthroughs are possible, because tomorrow always comes.
SMERCONISH: If Black folks, for militias, for the first time, in our nation's history, we'll begin reconsidering the Second Amendment, and the language that pertains to militias.
The silver lining in all of this is that I agree with Van, there's more that unites us. There are a lot of folks, who are centrist, who are turned off, by the profit-engineered folks, who benefit from fomenting dissent. And if we can take back control of this conversation, maybe, maybe we can see our way out of it.
CUOMO: More people like you, more good ideas, there'll be more progress.
The question is how do I get guys like you, to want to have guys like me, beat them like pinata, so you can get into public service, on the full scale, and have me trying to destroy your life, on a daily basis? Now, god forbid, god forbid!
Keep doing what you're doing, fellas. Thank you for helping me do my job. Thank you for helping my audience. The best for the weekend, to both of you, Van Jones and Michael Smerconish.
SMERCONISH: Thank you.
CUOMO: And look, I'll never be a cynic, except as Diogenes meant it, kind of looking at society askance. I do this job because journalism is an act of faith in the future. The day I believe that things can't get better is the day that I hang up, all 11 of these ugly suits.
Programming note. "SMERCONISH" is starting a special time tomorrow morning. He is a unique commodity in the media. On one level, everybody should be like him. But they're not. He's special. 8 A.M. Eastern, here on CNN.
Today is 100 days since the attack on our Capitol. Put that on the list of things that people just don't care about!
And on this day, prosecutors secured the first guilty plea by a rioter, a big player, founding member of the Oath Keepers. They ain't a part of the solution, I'll tell you that. What will his cooperation with the government mean for the hundreds of others charged, and the former president, who inspired the mob?
And you hear all that nothing? That's every member of the GOP, who isn't saying a damn thing about the worst riot we've seen in modern history. That's the problem. Next.
[21:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CUOMO: Just between us, I know you care. Watching a show like this, on a Friday night, I know you care. I care too. I'm not trying to bring you down. I'm just trying you to see which way is up, because we're all drowning right now.
And yet there is progress, is a first, in the massive domestic terror investigation at digging into the attack on the Capitol. Remember, it was an act of terror, right? Just because they were White doesn't mean it's not an act of terror, just because they're not Muslims. More than 400 people have been charged.
But they just had the first flip. His name is Jon Schaffer. He admits he was one of the first to breach the Capitol, and armed with bear spray. Schaffer acknowledged in court that he's a Founding Member of the Oath Keepers. He's now working with federal investigators.
What does that mean? Let's bring in Deputy Assistant Attorney General, has been invaluable in covering the George Floyd murder trial, Elliot Williams.
Good to see you, brother.
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Hey?
CUOMO: Why do I care that this Oath Keeper goon flipped?
WILLIAMS: Well, it means that there's more charges coming.
Look, Chris, it's really common to think that the whole point here is to flip, and move up the chain, to get the next big fish or something like that. But I wouldn't think of it in that way.
Think of it, it's one of two things, either a ladder or a jungle gym, right? And either they're trying to go up the ladder, or around the jungle gym, to charge other people.
Think about the hundreds of people that were there, on the grounds of the Capitol, on January 6th, that simply haven't even been identified by the FBI yet. And someone like this, as a Founder of the Oath Keepers can help identify others, to bring charges there.
CUOMO: But your insight goes to not individuals, as much as to organizations, and loose affiliations, that they may have trouble tracking down, because a lot of them are new, right?
WILLIAMS: Yes. Yes, no, absolutely. And their connection to the Oath Keepers might be tenuous.
The most interesting thing though, Chris, about this plea deal for him, and folks may not know this, he's not limited to just testifying, or identifying people, on January 6th. Anybody connected to the Oath Keepers, anybody back home, any unlawful activity that he knows about, he's under an obligation to provide the federal investigators. So, they could open - pretty much Feds own him at this point. And anything he knows about, in any capacity, is fair game. And he ought to start providing it, even if it's not about January 6th, and it's just about Oath Keepers, or any unlawful activity.
CUOMO: And what is the hope that this guy being the head of an organization, a lot of people are going to ask for deals, right? This, for everybody, this falls, into the category of "It seemed like a good idea at the time," and now, they're all going to be begging for deals and asking for organic food.
But what does this mean that it's this guy?
WILLIAMS: Yes, I mean, again, it can mean - the simplest explanation is he might just be the one that they got to first.
Now, he first made himself available to the FBI, on January 17th. This isn't somebody who came out of the woodwork the other day, and maybe this is just the person they brought charges about, or he has information on other people that he's continuing to provide.
I mean, I think, it's hard for folks to get their heads around the fact that investigations just take a long time, to put together.
And even in my hometown, right here, of the District of Columbia, there are these signs on the street that say "Have you seen this person? Have you identified this person, from January 6th?"
They still don't know, and haven't identified hundreds of people, who were there. And individuals like this can help finger them, essentially.
CUOMO: Elliot Williams, thank you for being one of the helpful people. Appreciate you.
WILLIAMS: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, so this isn't about creating problems, about fomenting tension, where it doesn't exist. It's about identifying the obvious.
January 6th was a terror attack. It was an insurrection. You won't hear half the political aisle even talk about that. And that leads us to our next BOLO, Be On the Look-Out, as cops call them, OK?
This QAnon kook, not only are they not going to take her off any committees, not only are they just going to be quiet on her, she just vetoed - vetoed - she just voted against a bill to help cancer patients. Why? Because they've got ideas about cancer. They're in QAnon. And now, she wants to form a Caucus. And guess what it's about, and guess who's proud to join her?
I'm telling you, the threat is real. I'll show it to you, next.
CUOMO: BOLO, acronym, means "Be On the Look-Out."
QAnon kook, Marjorie Taylor Greene, forming a new group, for the fringe-right called "America First" caucus.
"Punchbowl News" obtained a seven-page flyer, outlining its nativist platform that means only for native-born Americans, describing the U.S. as a nation strengthened by "Anglo-Saxon political traditions," arguing that "Societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country."
They said this BS about my grandparents, when they came from Italy. I'm no Anglo-Saxon. Now, we know she's talking about Brown immigrants, the ones not from Norway.
The document also backs infrastructure projects, but listen to this, if they befit "the progeny of European architecture."
Several Republican Congressmembers are already involved, including none other than Congressman Matt Gaetz, who is still under federal investigation. That's going to be a long story with a long way to go.
But don't roll your eyes because it's not just the outsiders. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. SCOTT PERRY (R-PA): --be happening, or what they believe, right now, is happening is, what appears to them, is we're replacing national-born American, native-born Americans, to permanently transform the political landscape of this very nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: You know this is a nation of immigrants, right? You know it's written on the foot of the Statue of Liberty, right?
Now, that wasn't some kook. That's a guy you never heard of, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, just a rank-and-file Republican, spreading an ugly racist theory that native-born White Americans are being purposefully replaced by immigrants, as a way to change the culture of the country.
Our culture is made up of immigrants. How many of you are here, more than two generations?
This is the same toxicity amplified, and legitimized, over by the fop on Fox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: I know that the Left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term "Replacement," if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters, from the Third World.
Let's just say it, that's true.
I mean, everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it. "Ooh, the, you know, White Replacement Theory," no, no, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Whites, white supremacists, never want to say it's a racial issue.
The guy with four names, Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson, anti-elitist, look up his daddy! You find me something about the guy that isn't elitist.
Look, White Replacement Theory is what it sounds like. It's a white supremacist movement. Google it, you can hear their chants for yourself. "They will not replace us! Jews, Blacks," fill in the blank.
(VIDEO - HBO/VICE NEWS - CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - PROTESTERS CHANTING "JEWS WILL NOT REPLACE US!")
CUOMO: Remember, Fox told you, in court, that guy is not to be seen as credible. They know they are selling you poison for profit. And it led to this, the insurrection. A 100 days since and none the wiser. The very same QAnon kook, who empowers them, is growing in power.
Now, my next guest wants Greene gone from Congress, yesterday. But you know what the Right is going to do? They're going to play the Left's own game, and say "Hey, Congresswoman Jayapal? You're trying to cancel. This is cancel culture! We're victims!"
Now, how is she going to play that game? How is she going to make change on her side of the ball? Let's talk, next.
CUOMO: The Right has fallen down a hole. The QAnon kook has growing influence. So, what do you do if you're a Democrat?
My next guest signed a resolution last month to expel Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress, for her past violent remarks, and only made her a victim on the Right. "What about our First Amendment? They just want to cancel!"
So, now what? Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is here now. It is good to see you, best to you and the family.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: So, here is the difference between your Party and their Party.
Here is the putative leader, Kevin McCarthy, in the House.
Put up his tweet, please.
Here's what he would say about this person, who believes crazy stuff, OK?
"America is built on the idea that we are all created equal and success is earned through honest, hard work." OK. Their policies don't reflect that. The fact that they don't care about an insurrection doesn't reflect that. The fact that they don't care about the shootings doesn't reflect that. But it's OK.
"It's not built on identity, race, or religion." True, although that's all their Party is playing at, right?
"The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunity for all Americans, not nativist dog whistles."
So, that is the best he will do. They are the party of staying in line, which is why they beat you.
Matt Gaetz, they could investigate him for a million things. His party will not move on him, until the DoJ makes a move. I have no problem with due process. But I'm talking about politics.
You guys are not like that. You wanted to move on her. You have no success. So, what can you do to fight back against the tide that is coming?
JAYAPAL: Well, Chris, I have not tweeted, or talked, about Marjorie Taylor Greene, in more than a month. I came on your show to talk about the refugee cap, about shots in arms, about kids in schools, about getting people into jobs.
I am not wasting one minute of time on Marjorie Taylor Greene, because what she is doing is disgusting. But it is a reflection of what the Republican Party has become.
The fact that not a single Republican was able to vote for the American Rescue Plan that 70 percent of the country supported is a travesty. But that is what the Republican Party has become.
So, what are we doing about it as Democrats? We're passing a rescue plan that has 76 percent approval across the country. We are getting shots in arms. We are getting kids back in schools. We are helping small businesses. We're going to pass a giant jobs bill, to put people back to work.
JAYAPAL: And we are going to make sure that we open our Refugee Assistance Program again, because as even evangelicals have said, it is the crown jewel of American humanitarianism. And so, that's what I've been concerned with today.
I don't care about Marjorie Taylor Greene. If you all on TV, want to talk about her, that's fine. But that's not my concern.
CUOMO: Well you did - hold on.
JAYAPAL: And that's really, the fact that Kevin McCarthy is not even interested--
JAYAPAL: --and decrying it is that, that's just what the Republican Party is today.
CUOMO: I'm with you. I'm just saying - and not about the Party. That's your opinion.
What I'm saying is there are only one of two possibilities. One, I made up that you and other Democrats made a move to get her out of Congress - out of the House, or I'm telling the truth. And I'm telling the truth. That's why I brought it up.
But I'll play on your own footing. I think you guys are being exposed as "All walk - all talk, no walk" on immigration. And I'll tell you why.
The problems have always been there. And we saw that there is no real plan to do better yet. It's early in the administration. Biden's got a ton of things on his plate. But you guys don't have any great plans either.
And him saying "I am going to play with the number of people who come in, wait, no, I'm not," why? Everybody jumped on him, and said, "No, no, no, you have to let in more. Remember what we said about Trump that he was limiting access to The Dream?"
Now, why did his first instance, say "I'm going to leave it where Trump did?" You know why? Because, the system is overburdened. Because, for all the talk, you didn't give them money for more resources.
They don't have the people to process the cases. The rules make no sense. There's no real Central American Liaison. You don't have the people doing the job, and you don't have a plan to do it better.
JAYAPAL: It's just not true. I mean we have a plan, and it's being put in place.
And we wrote a letter, to the Biden administration, with 69 Democrats that signed it. I led that letter. And we gave every single piece of what we need to do, both in the short-term and the long-term.
There's no question that Trump left us with a mess on immigration. You've been reporting on that. We've been fighting it for four years. He's destroyed every legal avenue for immigration.
So, is it going to take the Biden administration some time, to get that all in place? Yes, it is. Is it - are there things that they could do better and faster? Yes, there are. We outlined them already.
But I wanted to talk about the refugee cap, because this is the most bipartisan piece of immigration.
My Governor, in Washington State, a Republican governor, was the one who allowed Vietnamese refugees to come into Washington State. That has been true across the history of this country.
JAYAPAL: We have had a very important refugee resettlement program--
JAYAPAL: --that has nothing to do with what's happening on the border, where people are sitting in refugee camps.
And Chris, I don't know if you've ever been to a refugee camp. I lived and worked in one. And I can tell you how devastatingly horrible it is. We cannot leave these refugees, sitting in these camps, for one day more than is necessary.
CUOMO: Right, but here's the thing.
JAYAPAL: And that's why--
CUOMO: I hear you.
JAYAPAL: --I've been tough on the President on this.
CUOMO: I hear you. Not tough enough.
JAYAPAL: And I don't think he should have changed.
CUOMO: Not tough enough.
JAYAPAL: He said in February that he was going to lift the refugee cap. And I believe that he needs to do that right now.
CUOMO: Yes. But he was - he was not going to play it that way, until there was pressure. Why? Because they don't have a fix for the system. And I believe--
JAYAPAL: No, no, no, that's just - that's--
CUOMO: But hold on. Congresswoman?
JAYAPAL: I just have to disagree with you, Chris.
CUOMO: You can say - you can say - you can disagree.
CUOMO: But where is the new plan? Where's the law? Where's the bill?
JAYAPAL: But you're-- CUOMO: Where's the bill that's in the Senate?
JAYAPAL: But you're talking about two totally different things. You're conflating what's happening at the border with the refugee resettlement program.
CUOMO: No, I'm not. I'm asking you from where--
JAYAPAL: The refugee resettlement program--
CUOMO: No, I'm not.
JAYAPAL: --is a completely different thing.
CUOMO: Listen, I appreciate your correction. But I am not doing that.
They are two different situations. But they are connected. And the idea that one doesn't influence the other is just not true. And you know that, not just in funding, but in political leverage.
And what I'm saying is, you show me the bill that improves the resettlement program, and gives the resources that they need, to have people live the way they can, and have the connections that they should have, and I will ask why the Senate isn't passing it, every day, every day.
JAYAPAL: Chris, the refugee resettlement cap is set by the President.
CUOMO: I know.
JAYAPAL: The bill is - the bill is about the resource--
CUOMO: But the whole program is in disarray.
JAYAPAL: But the bill is about the resources that are in the budget, which the President did send over, that does increase the amount of refugees.
And since February, actually since January, since he came in, the agencies have already been ramping up, when Trump had cut off the funding, and closed it down. We will be funding that program. And frankly, it's always gotten bipartisan support so.
And the President sent over a day one immigration bill, and we've passed DACA, and we've passed farmworker Modernization Act in the House. So, it's not like we don't have solutions to this. We know what the problem is.
But you know, what happens, Chris? The Republicans consistently pull, and some Democrats. You know I was an immigration activist, for 20 years, before coming to Congress. And I called out a former Democratic, several former Democratic presidents, for not being real--
JAYAPAL: --about the fact that we use immigrants-- CUOMO: Good.
JAYAPAL: --as political football.
JAYAPAL: And we can't do that again.
CUOMO: I agree.
JAYAPAL: And we can't do it with the refugee resettlement program.
CUOMO: I am with you. I was on the phone with somebody, who used to run it, not too long ago, today, to get ready for this interview. And she - they have big problems there. I know you understand that.
I'm just saying it is talk, and from you, it is a lust for action. I know that. Not everybody is you, Jayapal. And that's why I'm saying it's on you guys to make things happen in a way that makes you better than the last administration. That's all I'm saying.
JAYAPAL: I agree.
CUOMO: That's all I'm saying.
JAYAPAL: And no, I totally - I totally agree with you.
CUOMO: That's why I have you on.
JAYAPAL: And that's why--
CUOMO: That's why I have you on.
JAYAPAL: --that's why we passed the most progressive DREAM Act ever. That's why we passed a farmworker Modernization bill. By the way, Chris, those were both bipartisan bills that we passed out of the House.
Now we're working on the American citizenship act. And I have a number of bills that I'm working on, pushing through.
We sent a letter with all the specifics of what we think the Biden administration should do. Some of them, they're already working on. I want to give them some credit for that. But there are other pieces that we need to move along.
And frankly, at the end of the day, we need to invest, in the sending countries, because we've--
JAYAPAL: --got to get at the root causes of migration.
CUOMO: Absolutely. But you-- JAYAPAL: Right?
CUOMO: But you have to do it with actual liaisons. It can't just be sending money. It doesn't work.
CUOMO: You have to set up infrastructure there that is--
CUOMO: --cooperatively controlled. That's what we saw that made a difference, when they had a couple of good guys working there, even in the Trump administration, because he made it hard for them, because his messaging was so harsh.
But just be very clear. I know what I'm talking about. I have you on because I know you're pushing for the right things. But I'm telling you, the White House played with that cap, because their interests aren't necessarily aligned, in terms of the political insistence, on getting things done.
JAYAPAL: Well if you--
CUOMO: And they're ordering that they see.
JAYAPAL: --if you saw my statement today, it was pretty clear about how I feel about this.
CUOMO: That's you.
CUOMO: That's why you're here, Jayapal. It's not just because I like your name, and it's I like to be corrected every five minutes.
It's because I know you're fighting for something that matters. And you have an anti-movement on the other side of the aisle right now that is every bit as robust as yours. That's why I have you on.
And I wish you well. And you always have a platform here to fight for what this country is supposed to be. OK?
JAYAPAL: Thanks, Chris. Good to talk to you.
CUOMO: Be well.
We'll be right back.
CUOMO: Video of watching a 13-year-old turn, with his hands in the air, and no gun in his hands, he gets shot by police? You're going to have people in the streets. And that's what we have in Chicago tonight.
Let's go to Martin Savidge.
How do you find that place, Martin?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's filled with emotion on the streets tonight. I mean, there were crowds that were out last night, of course, on the day that that video was released.
But now that the - more and more people have seen it, and now that the feelings have set in, I mean, it's just this crowd has been going by us now for minutes. I mean, so it's thousands and thousands of people that it was thought that there would be maybe a couple of hundred people that would show up tonight.
It started in Logan Square. We've gone a couple of miles since then. And the numbers are just really impressive.
And what you hear is, of course, one voice, one voice that is triggered because of the death of a 13-year-old, but is really pent-up voices, of people, who are upset over what they say, are many, many deaths that have occurred, here in Chicago, at the hands of the Chicago PD.
So, it's that anger, kind of reaching a tipping point. And of course, it is just that horrendous video of seeing a 13-year-old boy die, in front of your very eyes.
And though there are those that will point out and say, "Well, he had a gun," he didn't have a gun in the minds of many of these people, when his hands were raised in the air. They believe that Adam Toledo was only complying with the officer's demand, and that he died as a result of it. That is what their opinion is.
We've got helicopters flying overhead. Among them are police helicopters. It actually has been a very disciplined crowd, very organized crowd. They even have crowd marshals that are leading the way, directing people down the streets.
They have their own bicycle patrols that are running beside the crowd, to keep them in line, keep them off the sidewalk. So, they're doing their best to keep everyone - keep everyone safe, and at the same time, keep them in line.
It's boisterous. It's loud. And, at times, it's angry. But, for the most part, it has been completely peaceful. There's been no damage. There's been no harm done to anything.
The police are carefully watching. You can tell, they're only a few blocks away, and Force ready to move in, if need be. But so far, there's been no need.
Look now, you can see, it's "Take a knee." It's a moment of reverence. It's paying respect. And that's the way it's been, Chris.
CUOMO: Martin, the crowd looks very mixed to me. Is that your observation, in terms of seeing people--
CUOMO: --of different races?
SAVIDGE: It is.
CUOMO: Different ages?
SAVIDGE: Different ages, families that come out, come out with their children.
SAVIDGE: So yes, it is very diverse. It's Black members of the community. It's Latino members of the community.
SAVIDGE: Native American members of the community. It's Chicagoans in every way represented out on the street tonight.
CUOMO: Martin, thank you very much. You know we'll be in coverage all night. So, as things become, I don't have to tell you how to do the job. You're one of the best. Thank you for doing it for us tonight.
SAVIDGE: Thank you, Chris.
SAVIDGE: You bet.
CUOMO: All right. That's Martin Savidge in Chicago. We'll be following it.
We'll be right back.
CUOMO: All right. It is time for the big show, "CNN TONIGHT" with its big star D. Lemon.
People are in the streets. They were just taking a knee. But you know what I don't like? First of all, I'll tell you what I do like. Let's be positive.
I like seeing Black and White together. I like seeing old and young. I like seeing constituencies of a community coming together, even if they don't share a common experience.