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NC Family Only Allowed To View "Snippet" Of Shooting Video; Arizona Republicans Reviewing 2020 Election Ballots In Effort To Undermine Results; Sources: Biden To Announce New CDC Mask Guidance Tomorrow. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 26, 2021 - 21:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, appreciate you, Coop. Thank you.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.


Twenty seconds worth of transparency. That's all authorities in North Carolina will allow, so far, in the police shooting death of Andrew Brown, last Wednesday. And that 20 seconds of video, by the way, was only for Brown's family.

We, however, have just gotten the first citizen cell phone footage that shows officers crowded around Brown's stopped car. Here it is. It's not much, but it's better than nothing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What, ma'am? I'm right here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the car. She can't call the cops on the Feds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They - they shot him?



CUOMO: Now obviously that is - those are a couple of neighbors talking. That is her present-sense impression of what happened. Why is that instructive? Well, literally, we are craving context here. And you see the officers around the car.

Now interesting about this video is that they're issuing commands. The question is to whom, because Brown may have already been dead, from one of the many bullets, fired at him, while the 42-year-old was trying to drive away, from police, after they served arrest and search warrants.

The family and the community deserve to know more, five days after the fact.




CRUMP: --of the video.

This family was disrespected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never been talked to like I was talked to in there.

Mr. Cox told me, a grown Black man, that he was not (BLEEP) going to be bullied.

One bodycam, 20 seconds, an execution.

HARRY DANIELS, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: 20 seconds is not transparency--


DANIELS: --when you got multiple officers, gunning down a man, with his hands, on the steering wheel, and trying to get away.

CHANTEL LASSITER, BROWN FAMILY ATTORNEY: He had his hands firmly on the steering wheel. They run up to his vehicle shooting.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My dad got executed just by trying to save his own life.


CUOMO: Now look, those are angry, those are inflammatory, those are righteous, those are outraged suggestions. But this is what happens when you don't put out the video.

The only thing, of course, the people in the crowd are going to react, of course the people within earshot, of the - of the sound, from the lawyers, and the family members, are going to react, with a heavy heart.

They haven't seen anything else. They have to rely on people, who are connected to the case and, obviously emotionally connected to the situation. It's their father, and husband, who was killed!

Now, lawyers say, as you heard there, calling it an "Execution," was a heavy words. But again, I can't challenge them. I haven't seen anything. Lawyers say shots were already being fired at Brown by the time the video started, so it is impossible to know how this all began. Now, what do we know? We already know that this was not an armed face-

off with a suspect, OK? Brown reportedly had no weapon.

CNN obtained Brown's death certificate, and it says he died from a gunshot wound, to the head. We also heard dispatch audio saying he was shot in the back. Seven deputies have been placed on leave, two resigned, one retired. That's a universe of 10 that we know about, so far.

Now, we have reason to suspect that the head-shot would have come from behind. Why? Because we had a witness to the event, tell us, right here.


DEMETRIA WILLIAMS, EYEWITNESS TO ANDREW BROWN JR. SHOOTING: It was about 8:40, when I heard a shot, and I woke up, and ran, proceeded to run down the street.

And when I got close to his house, I seen officers standing behind his car, as Andrew Brown is trying to flee away, to leave the, you know, leave the scene, and they are shooting.

CUOMO: And he's driving away from the officers?


CUOMO: And they were actively firing at the car?



CUOMO: Bad facts, why? You can't shoot at somebody for fleeing. You can only shoot at someone, while fleeing, if they pass the standard of being perceived reasonably, by the officer, as an imminent threat to the officer or to another. Now, what do we need in order to make that judgment? The video.

Look, the authorities have to know that refusing to let people see what happened, five days later, drive suspicions.


These are not the old days, where you get to tell us what you want to tell us, when you want to tell us. This is not about you being bullied. You work for these men and women, who want to see what you have. It is not yours to keep.

The ongoing lack of transparency is clearly why people are back on the streets of Elizabeth City tonight. There is a state of emergency now declared to help keep the peace. And there is peace, thankfully.

The County Attorney maintains, "Hey, I'm acting within North Carolina law. You need a court order." Yes, I'm sure they would have gotten in big trouble, if they released it on their own accord, right? The Pasquotank Sheriff's Office says that order was filed today.


CHIEF DEPUTY DANIEL FOGG, PASQUOTANK COUNTY, NC: We will comply with the judge's order.

SHERIFF TOMMY WOOTEN, PASQUOTANK COUNTY, NC: This tragic incident was quick, and over, in less than 30 seconds. And body cameras are shaky, and sometimes hard to decipher. They only tell part of the story.

FOGG: We continue to ask for patience as we follow the important process to proceed.


CUOMO: Why'd it take so long to file the order?

Now look, body camera footage can be those things. That's for you to judge, OK? It is not for somebody else, who works for you, to make a determination that it's better that you don't see something because you may get it wrong. That is not a righteous disposition.

The Brown Family lawyers are calling for all the bodycams, of those involved, to be released. You know you got a universe of at least 10, right? They also say there's dashcam video and footage from a camera on a light pole at the scene. What about that?

Let's bring in one of the attorneys, Benjamin Crump, and also Montre Freeman, City Manager of Elizabeth City.

It's good to have you both. Thank you.



FREEMAN: --it's good to be on your show. It's not a pleasure to be here, though.

CUOMO: No. I don't like the circumstances any more than you do.

But Mr. Freeman, in your capacity, the understanding of a court order, to release the videos, who has the right to ask for the order? Could the prosecutor have released it themself? And why was it only asked for today?

FREEMAN: Those are all great questions.

CUOMO: I lose him?


CUOMO: Ben, you heard the same questions. Do you know any answers? CRUMP: And repeat that question, Chris, sorry?

CUOMO: The prosecutor couldn't just release the video on their own accord, who has to ask for the order? And why was it only asked for today?

CRUMP: Well, I would tell you this, Chris Cuomo, the fact that if Andrew Brown would have done something illegal, or incriminating, I guarantee you, that video will be all over CNN, and every other news station.

It's only when they do something that is damning, and unjustly kill an unarmed Black person, do they start to try to hide behind all these technicalities, saying, "Oh, we have to wait to get a court order."

Chris, they could have gotten a court order long ago before today. It's been five days now that this family and the community have been demanding transparency. That's all they're asking for. They want to know, how did the police kill their loved one, how did they kill their father?

CUOMO: Well, look, this is a pretty limited universe of fact.

It's well what triggered - no, you know, sorry for the use of the word, but what initiated the need for deadly force? Because we're told that Mr. Brown didn't have a gun, which would only leave him trying to run them over because a vehicle can be a deadly weapon. But, after that, it's why shoot a man leaving in a vehicle?

Am I right about the law that you can't shoot for fleeing? You can only shoot on reasonable suspicion of imminent threat of that person?

CRUMP: You're absolutely right, Chris. And the fact that the video, as my co-counsel, Attorney Cherry-Lassiter, told us, and she took copious notes while she watched the video, she said that there was no point in the video, where Andrew Brown had the vehicle come in the officers' direction.


In fact, she said he did everything, in his power, to evade the police officers, going away from them, which begs the question, Chris, why is it when a Black person is running away from the police, that's one of the most dangerous things to a police officer, but yet, when it's young White men, who are confirmed murderers, whether it's the young man, who shot up the Parkland school, they can take him alive?

Whether it is the young White man, who shot up the Atlanta spa, they can take him alive. Whether it's Dylann Roof, who shot up the church in South Carolina, not only did they take them alive, but they took him to get a burger and fries.

But yet, when it's Andrew Brown going away, they say "We got to use deadly force." When it's Jacob Blake Jr. running away from them, in Kenosha, Chris, they say, "You got to use deadly force," it's Terence Crutcher, walking off, his hands up, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, they say "We have to use deadly force."

If it's Walter Scott running away, deadly force, Laquan McDonald, deadly force, Christian Hall in Pennsylvania, deadly force, Anthony McClain, in Pasadena, California, deadly force. These are all Black men, within the last year, that have been killed by the police, shot from the back.

When are we going to say "We can't keep killing innocent Black people?" Can we just have one week that the police don't shoot Black people in America, unjustly, Chris Cuomo, just one week?

CUOMO: I hear you, Counselor.

Mr. Freeman, are you able to hear Counselor Crump and myself?


CUOMO: So, look, my suspicion is, looking at the letter of the law, in North Carolina, if the prosecutor had released this body camera footage, nobody was going to come after him, for doing so.

What do you make of the situation, where they're saying, "Well, we need a court order," and it was only asked for today?

FREEMAN: I'm just - I'm just--

CUOMO: All right. We got a bad connection, Counselor. I'm sorry about that. But I can't control the comms.

Let's talk about what this does to the family, Ben. They go in there. They say they're going to be able to see it. They wind up coming up with a restriction, only two. Already you're going to have a sensitivity problem there. You got a family. They want to know. Only two.

The prosecutor's supposed to be an advocate for the victim's family. The prosecutor prosecutes on behalf of the State. Obviously, Counselor Crump knows this. But for you, at home, the case here for justice is by the state, by the people, but they are supposed to be advocates for a victim's family.

So, they start off on the wrong foot there, only two of you, and only 20 seconds. How was that explained by authorities, why only a couple of people and only a few seconds?

CRUMP: It was not explained about the 20 seconds, Chris. They said they wanted to show us the "Pertinent parts." Why is it that they would determine, what are the pertinent parts? This statue, in North Carolina say the family, the victims, the immediate family of the victims have the right to see the video.

And then, they redacted the faces of the officers. But yet, they did not redact Andrew Brown's face? They put out the search warrant. They tried to put out his entire criminal history. But Andrew Brown didn't kill anybody. So, why are we protecting the killers here? Why didn't we put out their information? You remember, in the Derek Chauvin case, killing George Floyd, they tried to not put out his history, neither. We have to have equal justice, transparency.

CUOMO: I've never heard of--

CRUMP: The fact that they would not let--

CUOMO: I've never heard of covering an officer's face in bodycam footage before. I mean, obviously, you're going to know who the officers are. They're public servants. There's really no sensitivity issue here, unless there was some specific threat that we don't know about.

Now, the state has taken over the investigation. I'm sure that's something, given the disposition of the Governor, saying that he wanted more transparency here that should be good.

But we'll see what comes with it, because today, this decision was still kept in the local, the County Prosecutor's hands, so the County Attorney's hands, so we'll see what changes and when.

Counselor, thank you. I apologize for the comms issues. I'll reach out to City Manager Freeman myself about that.

CRUMP: Yes, sir. We have our autopsy reports, from an independent autopsy, release tomorrow morning, at 11 A.M.

CUOMO: Counselor, you know how to get me. If I can help, advance understanding of this situation, I'm always a call away.

CRUMP: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. And please send my best to the family.

All right, look, this happened less than 24 hours, after the Floyd murder verdict. Now why does that matter? It matters because people were too quick to say "OK, you happy now? See? The system worked. You got your justice. Shut up!"


It was never about one case. That point has been made consistently. And no, the system didn't work. The system was forced to work. There's a difference.

And tonight, we have the man, who led the prosecution, against Derek Chauvin. He forced the system to work, because the situation was removed from the locals and to the state. That man, Minnesota A.G. Keith Ellison.

Now, why did that happen? What did he think about the effect of that happening? What does he see in the echo of that situation, now in North Carolina?

The A.G., who made the difference, on the George Floyd case, with us, right after the break.









CUOMO: I hope by now we all get the need to see the footage in North Carolina. It's a simple proposition. Transparency builds trust. And experience has taught us it's not wrong to want to verify police claims. Trust, but verify.

Remember, George Floyd was murdered. And initially, it was passed off by police as quote, a "Medical incident."

Freddie Gray, Baltimore, police initially said, "Was arrested without force or incident." Then what did we see? The video, Gray so beat up, they had to drag him in to the back of the van, where we were initially told he had a "Medical emergency," otherwise known as being slammed repeatedly into the sides of a van.

Laquan McDonald, police said he, "Continued to approach the officers." 13 months! Then you see video, and what do you see? Which way is he walking? He was shot in the back.

We only know what videos show. All understanding stems from the visual. We are way past time, where bodycam footage should be a question. "Oh, I don't know. We'll have to see if we have it, whether they were on," all that is gone. That's a bygone era. We have to have bodycam. And there can be no question about when it is released. It must be released.

My next guest knows the reality, because he is the prosecutor, who investigated the murder of George Floyd. But for the decision, to remove that case, from the local, to the state, who knows what would have happened?

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, it's good to have you on PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: Really powerful interview, with Pelley, on "60 Minutes!" Really gave a good feel for the context of how doing it right matters so much right now. Take us back, for one second, before we go to where our future is

here. When you first learned that the police assessment of George Floyd, which was medical incident, was anything but, based on what you saw on the video, what did that mean to you?

ELLISON: Well, it quite candidly, was not a surprise. I mean, usually there is a period of time, when the official story and the actual story are not aligned.

In this particular case, it became clear, very clear, certainly right after Darnella Frazier posted her video, that the initial report was, to say the very least, minimalization and actually to the degree of deception.

CUOMO: My point about transparency, I think it's obvious. Am I missing anything? Is there any kind of consideration--


CUOMO: --or a hindrance of an investigation, which we're hearing be used in North Carolina? "We don't want to hinder the investigation." How, when it involves the police, how do you hinder?

ELLISON: Well, I will say this. There - the video does need to be released. But I will say that, if you're trying to investigate the case, and you are trying to interview witnesses, it's better if not all the witnesses know what you have.

So, if I have a video that shows that the decedent was walking away from you, I might want to interview you, without the benefit of videos, just to see what you're going to say. Because if you lie, that means that there's consciousness of guilt, and willingness to deceive.

But I do think that as soon as possible, the video does need to be released, so that the public can have confidence.

CUOMO: Right. And, look, I hear you about that. But you're also talking about fluidity of fact that you don't have here. You have a whole group of people--


CUOMO: --around one car, one incident. The cops are savvy. They know that people saw it. They know what's on TV. They know what's going on. And we know they talk to each other also.


CUOMO: And I don't mean that in a cynical way. People talk about incidents all the time, on the Force, to figure out what happened.


CUOMO: Because things happen so fast.

So in terms of, let's start with your case, in Minnesota, one of your cases, the idea of the DOJ coming in, to investigate policing there, how big a deal, and is that a complete cure?

ELLISON: I would say it's not a complete cure. But it is a very big deal.

One of the things that I thought the Obama administration did is got into many consent decrees that actually made a difference in important ways.

When Jeff Sessions got into office, he pretty much canceled them all. And then the President, Trump got up there, and said, "You know, don't be so gentle with them, putting them in the car," and that sent a certain kind of a message.

So, it is good to see Merrick Garland is going back to having the DOJ be a player in human and civil rights, with regard to policing in local communities. That's a good thing.

They need to work with the locals. They shouldn't do the normal Fed thing, where they step all over the locals. But they should work with them in a cooperative way. But I am glad that they're here.


CUOMO: What do you say to the observation that "Well the George Floyd team, Ellison put together like the Avengers, you know? That's not what usually happens. You don't have those resources. You don't have that talent. You don't have that direction. And that's why a few cases go the way this one did." Fair?

ELLISON: No, not fair. As a matter of fact, look, we had great lawyers, there's no question about it. But what we mostly had is a will to get the story right. I mean, that's what we had, the will. And I'm afraid that in so many cases, that's what's missing, in some of these cases.

If you have a District Attorney, or Attorney General, or U.S. attorney, who says "We're going to get to the bottom of this," that is the ingredient that you need. And if you do that, your chances for success go way up, and your chances for building the community trust that you've referred to go way up as well. But when you kind of mail it in, that's when community trust really goes down the hill.

CUOMO: I'm asking because Ahmaud Arbery, still no trial date, in that case. Local prosecutors declined to charge. Now there's a special prosecutor.

Took more than four years, and a special prosecutor, to get the Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke--


CUOMO: --up on charges. So that is something that is consistent.

Looking at North Carolina, do you think it was the right move to remove the case from the local to the state? ELLISON: Well, I'm still learning about the North Carolina case. After the verdicts came in, I had to get back to my other work, at the A.G.'s office. So, I am sorry, Chris, but I'm not totally up on it. I am aware of it. But the details, I'm not up on right now. And I do apologize for that.

CUOMO: You have nothing to apologize for.

Last question though, respond to this observation that we're hearing a lot right now.

"This is your fault, your fault, media! You cherry-pick, you're only showing cases that are controversial. You still only have a handful, still better chance of getting struck by lightning. Still should be focusing on Black-on-Black killing. Still should be focusing on what happens in Chicago. You're demonizing the police. These are a minority of cases."

ELLISON: Completely untrue. As a matter of fact, these very difficult, unhealthy relationships, between police and Black communities, go back at least till 1990. The Chicago - there was a Chicago race riot in 1919, where police-community relations exploded in a negative way.

And there have been report after report, commission after commission, including the Kerner Commission in 1968, and also the Christopher Commission, after the Rodney King, and then all the way up into after Ferguson, President Obama has the 21st Century Policing Commission.

We need action. We need change. These videotapes are a remarkable benefit to society. And we need the institutional change to go along with it.

But I'll tell you this. I'm not saying that Newark, and Camden, New Jersey are some models, or some paradise of policing. But they have been able to put better numbers up than we've seen in a whole lot of places, showing me that reform is possible.

It's time to get serious. Pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act now. I'm in full support of it, and hope to see that happen.

CUOMO: A.G. Ellison, I appreciate you being on the show tonight. And I wish you good luck in Minnesota, and beyond.

ELLISON: Honored to be with you, sir.

CUOMO: All right, be well and thank you.

So, you just heard the A.G. say part of this is about Washington, to step up, to help foster change. Who thinks that that's the mindset in Washington right now?

Do you really believe that for all this talk, "We want unity," look at the Right side of the aisle, OK? Representative McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, he stopped talking about the Insurrection, OK? He's the guy that Trump called during the Insurrection. Just for

telling us about that, he had to wind up, going down to Florida, to kiss the ring of Trump, after the election. A 100 cops were hurt. How can you be pro-Blue and not give a damn about what happened on January 6th?

The state of play in politics will hold this country back. Or am I wrong? Smerconish's take next.









CUOMO: Hey first, you hear about the Census Bureau, and what the census is going to do? It's going to shift some of the seats in Congress. It's going to make a difference, especially for the Left. The House is about to get real skinny, real fast.

Of course, as you know, the Census Bureau uses its data to decide how many seats each state gets, in the House of Representatives, and their electors, for the Electoral College.

Biden, Democrat states, or the states that he won, they are going to lose three states. Given that Democrats only have a six-vote majority, in the House, three states - three seats could matter, right?

Few people know what is at stake better than my next guest, Michael Smerconish.

Smerc, always good to see you.


CUOMO: I want to start micro, then we'll go to macro, about the Census.

McCarthy is moving farther and farther away, from the reality of where he was, and what he said about January 6th. And I think it's instructive.

On the 6th, and shortly thereafter, the reporting was "McCarthy had been on," you remember, we did it together, "had been on with Trump. He was pissed at Trump. They were exchanging angry language about the need to get help." Here is the new version, as of yesterday, from the biggest Republican

in the House.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): What I talked to President Trump about, I was the first person to contact him, when the riots was going on. He didn't see it. What he ended the call was saying telling me he'll put something out to make sure to stop this. And that's what he did. He put a video out later.


CUOMO: Now, that is not just a cleanup job, but it is almost gross negligence, in this situation, is it not?


SMERCONISH: You remember that we had no witnesses, during the impeachment process. And the impeachment trial came to a grinding halt because there was the prospect of calling one witness. And who was it, Chris?

Congresswoman Herrera Beutler, from the State of Washington, why, because apparently, she was prepared to testify that Kevin McCarthy, had told her, that Trump was all bent out of shape, because of the perception that McCarthy was not on the side of the protesters, on January 6th. And, of course, in the end, she didn't testify.

Your Census story is really significant, because Kevin McCarthy wants to be the Speaker of the House. And you're right. For him, it's potentially a game of inches. So what's he decided to do? To cast his lot, with the former president, because he needs the base.

CUOMO: So, if you need the base, who wants to pass the George Floyd Act?

I know that there are polls that say, there is well over 50 percent. But as you've explained, so brilliantly, here, and on your radio show, and your TV show, the representation in Congress does not reflect the population of this country, that you have 50/50 in the Senate, and you're skinny margin in the House, but Republicans represent a fraction of the people that Democrats do, so the national polls are relevant.

Do they want the George Floyd Act, if they want the base?

SMERCONISH: Well, can I tie this into the census? Because I'm wondering if--

CUOMO: Sure.

SMERCONISH: --maybe the lead is being buried, right? The headline tonight is one of "Shift toward the South. The South tends to be Red. The takeaway seems to be this is to the benefit of the Republican Party." But when we get the demographic information, as to what populations are growing, my hunch is that you're going to see growth, among folks, who are Black, Latino, and young.

So maybe, in the short-term, there's advantage for Republicans, but in the longer-term, that demographic shift, there'll be more folks in the South than there will be in the Rust Belt, but they tend to be Democratic voters. So, where this heads in the long-term, I think is much different than where it goes in the very short-term.

CUOMO: But we have no indication that the new version of the Republican Party is looking to do big tent. There's no autopsy here. They're doing the opposite, right?


CUOMO: They're trying to push "The Big Lie," in Arizona right now, on the micro level, and they don't even want their process to be revealed to anybody. Talk about lack of transparency! But--


CUOMO: --McCarthy can't be pushing the George Floyd Act, if he wants the base.

SMERCONISH: No, no. Chris, I don't - I don't suspect that Republicans are ready for a national coming-together or a Kumbaya moment.

I think that there's a mindset out there - you and I look at these videotapes, and we say, "How the hell could that have happened?"

There's a mindset, among others, that is looking at these videotapes, and saying, "Well, if there'd been no resistance, it wouldn't have had this tragic outcome." I think that's probably where we're headed in North Carolina.

So no, I don't see any prospect that Republicans are going to be on board for the George Floyd Act.

CUOMO: It's interesting. You're talking about the States. California and New York are losing seats. That is not a surprising phenomenon to me. Those are expensive states, people are moving away from them.

But Colorado, Oregon, Montana, North Carolina, Florida, all picking up seats, is that what you mean by "Who is it though?"

SMERCONISH: Right. I mean, they're growing because of what population within those states.

We presume that if there's a shift toward the South, in particular, it's to the benefit of Republicans. Nothing says that the seat that gets added, in certain of those states, is necessarily going to be a Republican state, not if they do it fairly.

Cook Political Report, and I trust their judgment, David Wasserman et al. say that the pen will be in the hands of 187, who control Republican districts, 75, who control Democratic districts, and the rest will be some type of a commission.

One other observation, if I can quickly make this. Like you, I'm very much attuned to the issue of gerrymandering. I think it's a very serious problem. But don't overlook Bill Bishop, and "The Big Sort," and the idea that people are choosing to live among the like-minded.

The number of blowout counties continues to grow. And we don't redraw the boundary line on counties, every 10 year. There's something else in the water here. It's not just the way we're characterizing congressional districts.

CUOMO: Michael Smerconish is right. And we will learn how right, in time. That's why I love having him on the show. He literally is going to give you--

SMERCONISH: Thank you.

CUOMO: --a little bit of an advance, because he thinks that much about these things.

Appreciate you, Smerc.

President Biden--

SMERCONISH: Thank you.


CUOMO: Well it's true. People, who spend a lot of time, reading and understanding, in the context of history, and his experience in politics, sometimes you can be a step ahead. He often is. If you watch or listen to his show, you know that.

President Biden is going to be marking his 100th day in office this week. Now interestingly, the election was nearly six months ago, right? Hence, we get into 100.

And yet the Riotous Right have been saying what all along, apropos of the conversation I just had with Smerc, "We want unity. Why are the Democrats trying to do it all by themselves?" what are they doing now?

You hear what I referred to in Arizona? A secret recount controlled by the GOP! And this is more than a stunt.

We're back to take on "The Big Lie," with the Secretary of State of Arizona, next.







CUOMO: So, did you hear about what's happening in Maricopa County, Arizona? It's been six months since the election, right? It seems reality has not sunk in for the State's Republicans. And they don't like that Biden won the State fair and square, even after several audits.

Let's be honest. I'm being too generous in this right now. It's because I didn't write it. That's why it's so fair.


Look, we know what they're doing, all right? This is about keeping "The Big Lie" alive. And here's the proof. They are forcing a hand recount of more than 2 million ballots without any legal mandate.

Now, how it's happening, is a secret. Who's paying for it? How is it being conducted? And why is a group called Cyber Ninjas, OK, "Ninja," "Expert," right? This group, no experience in a recount, it's CEO was tossing around election conspiracy theories recently. What the hell?

Let's get after it with Arizona Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs.

Hobbs? How is this happening?

KATIE HOBBS, (D) ARIZONA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think you hit it on the head that a group of Republicans are continuing to try to appease their base, who refuse to accept that Trump won - or that Trump lost Arizona, and that he's not the president anymore. And, a judge ordered that the subpoena was valid.

And we have so many concerns about this exercise. I kind of don't want to call it an audit. I think that's an insult to professional auditors everywhere, because they're making this stuff up, as they go along. It's clear that--

CUOMO: But why was the subpoena found to be valid?

HOBBS: I think the legal arguments were about the subpoena powers of the Senate. I think Maricopa County supervisors could have chosen to appeal that ruling. And they decided not to. So, this is where we are, at this point.

I think there was a high level of expectation that whoever had their hands on the ballots, and the equipment, would adhere to some level of security measures, and transparency. And that clearly has not happened.

CUOMO: So, all the real ballots are in the hands of a group of Republican-picked agents, to try to undermine confidence in the outcome. Is that the truth?

HOBBS: That is absolutely what's going on right now. Yes. CUOMO: And the people in Arizona are OK with this, because?

HOBBS: Well, it certainly doesn't seem like the Arizonians I'm hearing from are OK with it, which is why my office has been working to - with a lawsuit that's been filed, to try to address the securities concerns at a minimum.

But, at this point, what, this seems like such a farce, that it would be a good idea to stop it.

CUOMO: The State Democrats filed a lawsuit. The judge required them to post bond of a million dollars!

HOBBS: Yes, yes.

CUOMO: Because of potential costs of a delay!

HOBBS: Right.

CUOMO: What?

HOBBS: I mean that--

CUOMO: I don't even understand that legally.

HOBBS: Yes. Well I mean--

CUOMO: Let alone politically.

HOBBS: --it was a ludicrous amount, a ludicrous amount. I mean, the cost that's contained in the contract that's been made public is $150,000.

We don't know the actual cost, because the money that is being funneled privately is going directly to Cyber Ninjas, so that's not subject to any kind of public records request, although it should be.

And so, rightfully so, the Democratic Party didn't want to put up that money, because they had no guarantee that the auditors, the fake auditors, wouldn't lie about the actual cost, because all the costs are secret. We don't know so.

CUOMO: Well, I'll tell you what, the smile will be gone, if the ballots don't come back, you know?

Because it's one thing if they put out some fugazi number, about how many ballots they don't agree with, or whether they think they're fake, because you can always cross-index that, unless the ballots are gone, and then you're going to have to go through pre-existing records, and people won't know who - what to trust.

So, I'm going to stay on this. And Secretary of State Hobbs, I appreciate you keeping an - you have to keep an eye on it. It's your job. But just know we're watching, and we're a call away in terms of transparency on this.

HOBBS: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. Good luck!

HOBBS: Thanks.

CUOMO: All right, a new announcement is coming out tomorrow, from President Biden. It's good news that more Americans are getting vaccinated. It is true that we're starting to get close to people where now you have to convince people to get it.

The guidelines are about to change on what we should be able to do and not do. Is that really going to happen? Is vaccination going to be rewarded or not? The Pandemic state of play, next.









CUOMO: There's supposed to be new CDC guidance, on COVID, tomorrow. It'll likely be about whether we need to keep wearing masks, when outdoors. Now, this is just the latest proof of what? The vaccine does get us closer to normal. But let's play with proof here, OK?

New York City is the most densely populated part of the country. Theaters, museums, indoor dining, they are all open to an extent and, in fact, the state just expanded the extent today.

The variants now account for most of the new cases. But look at the number of cases. The media has been making a mistake. And me too! Slap on my bald head! We focus on the negative because that is the fear, OK?

But the good news matters too. Cases are plummeting in New York City, hospitalizations, deaths, plummeting. Not a fluke! New Yorkers are getting the shot at about a 10 percent higher rate than the national average. This is what we all want.

The problem for the rest of the country is that, in the last few weeks, we're starting to get away from the people, who wanted it, who were active, aggressive, going to figure out how to get it, deal with the pain in the ass.

[21:55:00] Now, it's getting to the reluctant. This is that tipping point that we knew was going to happen. The people who wanted to get it most got it, right? You, me, we got it. The goal of so-called herd immunity though isn't - we're not there. And it is not inevitable.

We know from multiple polls that right around 65 percent of us want to get it. That means now you get the hard part. You have to get the 15 percent of the remaining to get it.

All the progress that we're seeing was stuff like summer camps reopening, travel options coming back. Those are the carrots we need to be focused on, because this nation is going to rely on that 15 percent of our neighbors, rolling up their sleeves, and being Ameri- CANs, as opposed to Ameri-CAN'Ts, OK?

We have to count on ourselves. We have to bet on ourselves. We have not done this right. But we can still get it right, right now.

We'll be right back.








CUOMO: An important point as we all watch what's happening in our culture together. It is not about cherry-picking cases, OK? It is about showing you the reality and seeing how each case is dealt with.

The coverage continues now with "CNN TONIGHT," D. Lemon, the big star on the big show.