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CDC's New Guidance For Fully Vaccinated People Offers Ways To Go Without Masks Outdoors Safely; FBI Opens Civil Rights Investigation Into Brown Shooting; New Census Data Triggering Massive Redistricting Fight. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 27, 2021 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: But I like to believe that they can see him. I imagine them all together, arms around each other, smiling and laughing, and watching, looking down on us.

Happy to know that their love is alive, in me and, in Wyatt and that, our family continues. New life and new love!


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And here is the birthday boy himself today! Oh, look at that!

Happy Birthday, Wyatt! And congratulations Anderson! We could not be happier for both of you.

The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."

Be blessed!

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful! Healthy babies, birthdays, we want to get back to all of this. I'm happy for Anderson, I'm happy for the little boy, and I'm happy for you, J.B. You enjoy that.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Look, we all want to get back to normal. And that's why today was such a big day. We were going to hear the new CDC guidelines, and they're out, and they do show we have made progress.

You can do more, whether or not you're vaccinated. But they do raise a question. Does the vaccine make you immune or not? 97 million of us or so are now fully vaccinated. Many are old and infirm.

But a lot of you have gotten the vaccine, even though it's not easy, even though you might have the pain of the "Fauci Ouchie," whatever they want to call it. Why? Because of, the data and, the representations, from the government, and even Trump, about how, this vaccine would be a game-changer, for you.

They would allow you to get back to life on your own terms. And yet, as of these guidelines today, which may be all we hear, for the rest of the summer, that's not allowed.

The guidance says fully vaccinated people can unmask outdoors, walking, running, hiking, biking, alone, or with members of your household.

The 29 percent fully vaccinated in America, so far, can also go mask- free while dining outdoors with friends from multiple households. But they still require masks or recommend them in crowded outdoor settings. What does that mean? Stadiums, concerts.

What about beaches? Do you have to socially distance even if you're vaccinated? And how do you let anybody know that you're vaccinated? What about museums, malls? There also they recommend the mask.

So the question is, is this enough? Will it help incentivize the rest of the population to get their shots? President Biden is making the push.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The bottom line is clear: If you're vaccinated, you can do more things, more safely, both outdoors as well as indoors.

For - so for those, who haven't gotten their vaccination yet, especially if you're younger or thinking you don't need it, this is another great reason to go get vaccinated.

Go get the shot. It's never been easier.


CUOMO: It's never been easier. But it's still different than every other vaccine you've ever gotten, which means it's not "Get it and, forget it. You're good to go."

And what will that mean to the pace of vaccination? Because it is slowing, it's averaging out at about 2.7 million shots a day. The peak was 3.4 million shots a day. That was on April 13th.

Scientists estimate we need herd immunity. That's between 70 percent and 85 percent of the U.S. population needs to be fully vaccinated. So, it raises the question - I wonder if they should have done this differently.

Should they have showed, "Here's where we are now. As we get more vaccinated, here's the next tranche. Then we're going to do even more relaxed restrictions. And then if we get to the next one, it's going to be even better. And if everybody gets it done by summer, middle of summer, we could be all the way here, which is almost what life was like before," should they have done it that way, incentivize? Why? Because we know a lot of people still need urging, particularly among conservative and rural voters, in the Southeast and Mountain West, who may not ever want to get one.

Now, we know this isn't about whether the vaccine works. We know it's helping. Take a look. Even with variants spreading much more rapidly, than we had early on, we're averaging around 55,000 new cases a day, and that's a lot.

But you don't have the hospitalizations, you don't have people dying the same way, you don't even have bad cases the way you're used to. And that's because the vaccine rollout has definitely helped slow the virus since January.

So, what are the obstacles that we see? There is good reason. But there's also bad reason.

The bad reason is ugly and obvious. It's COVIDiots, like this guy, playing politics, saying things that they would never say, if Trump were still there, like this tripe.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: So the next time you see someone in a mask, on the sidewalk, or on the bike path, do not hesitate. Ask politely, but firmly, "Would you please take off your mask?"

It's repulsive. Don't do it around other people.


As for forcing children to wear masks outside, that should be illegal. Your response, when you see children wearing masks, as they play, should be no different from your response to seeing someone beat a kid at a Walmart. Call the Police immediately, contact Child Protective Services.


CUOMO: Look, I think the guy's a joke. But millions of people watch him. And that message is not his. He's just picking up what's being echoed by all these fringe people.

They want you to fear government control over you. They - he talks about a mask like it was an affliction. Science, any notion of you being told to do something, "That's mind control!"

And I can't make this point firmly enough. I don't believe anybody who watches this show pays attention to that guy. I really don't. I have more faith in you than that.

But Fox's own lawyers argued in open court that quote, no reasonable viewer, would believe Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson, as a credible source of news or anything else.

They are spreading over there, what they know is poisoned, because they know the fear sells. It's as simple as that. And if you think there's some better reason, show it to me.

There is however, legitimate reason for some to slow-walk getting the vaccine. If it's so safe and effective, why can't the vaccinated do whatever they want to do? It's a legitimate question.

White House Senior Adviser for COVID Response, Andy Slavitt, joins us tonight.

It's good to see you.

Look, this is a nice step. First, what do you think about the idea of showing the road ahead to people? "Here's where we are now. If we get to this level, it'll be this much better, and then this level, this much better," so they can see where they're going, if they do the right thing?


I think that's exactly what the President has been doing and is going to continue to do. I think, a month and a half ago, or so, he said, we have it in our sights that by the Fourth of July, we could be having outdoor gatherings without masks.

Look where we are today. We are - we are now having the CDC in a place, where I don't think anybody could have imagined we're - here we are in still in April. And we're already at that place. And we're going to go further.

Because, why? Because we are beating everybody's assumptions about how quickly we will be vaccinating the country. California is down 90 percent from its peak in terms of deaths. We are much, much further along than we ever thought we would be.

So, I would expect that the CDC, whose job, remember, isn't to think about just the person who has been vaccinated, but to think about all of us, is going to make these steps, maybe not as fast, as some people would want, but certainly faster than people ever could have imagined we'd be at, in my opinion.

CUOMO: It's one thing - I don't disagree with the assumption. And I understand you, when it comes to people, who aren't vaccinated, because then all you have is prophylaxis of masks and distancing.

I'm talking about the vaccinated. By your own numbers, 10 percent of cases happen outdoors. It's 18.7 times higher odds of transmission indoors. Combine that with your own data, 87 million fully vaccinated, just over 7,000 breakthrough investigations, it's like 0.005 percent.

The research was that you take the vaccine because it gives you immunity. Then why not treat it that way, and let the vaccinated live their lives?

SLAVITT: Yes. Well, look, think about all the things that you can do, if you're vaccinated today. You can gather. You can go to restaurants. You can do all these things. And if you aren't (ph) vaccinated, it's just simply not safe for you.

Just watch the news, and look what's happening in India, if you need some motivation to get vaccinated. This thing is still lethal.

And the CDC - I think it's one thing for a guy like me to go on Twitter and say, "Oh, let's just get rid of everything, because I've been vaccinated." But if you're the CDC, the cost of a misstep, the cost of going too fast, and having to go backwards, is you lose everybody in the process.

So, they're taking their steps, and I think they're doing a great job. They're bringing the country along. Their job is to get it right for the disease, and for the country, not for any one individual. And I think, in doing that, I think we'll find that these things will come off more and more.

I walked around today outside without a mask. I think it was great. There's more and more things we can do without a mask. And I think if you're not vaccinated, that's not the principal reason you should do it. But that's one reason you should do it.

CUOMO: But I think that people don't understand. Now you have people who don't want to get the vaccine, right? Some of them are anti- vaxxers. Some of them are just making a political play. They're taking their own risk.

But, there are a lot of people, who need to know, that it's worth it, for them, and not just because this way you don't die. They don't think they're going to die. Otherwise, they would have already done it.


I just don't understand why it's different than other vaccines. You give your kids the vaccines, and you don't still protect them, in certain ways, going forward. Either the vaccine makes you immune, or it doesn't. And the research suggests it does. Doesn't it, Andy?

SLAVITT: Well, for the 15 percent to 20 percent of people, who describe themselves as being on the fence, we've done a lot of research, we've done a lot of listening to them, and here's what we hear.

We hear basically, that they make their decisions, at different paces, that it takes them a little bit more time. They want more information. They want to talk to people that have been vaccinated, to see what their experiences are like, to understand that the side effects were not terrible. They want to talk to their doctor locally, and they want to get information.

What they don't want, is they don't want to be manipulated by the government, or pressured, or labeled. They want to be respected for going through the process at their pace.

And so, you'll see in our strategy, we are bringing lots and lots of local physicians, and people, up to speed, to have these conversations with people, because they're going to have it on a measured time.

I don't think that the CDC's job is to say, "Hey, let's create an incentive. And that'll make people want to get vaccinated." I think their job is to do the safe thing and make the right call.

I think our job is to get people reliable answers to their questions, because we're finding that little by little, as that happens, more people are getting vaccinated, because they're talking to other people that have been vaccinated, and it worked out well for them.

CUOMO: I'm with you. But let me just take more - one more swing at this. I still don't understand the sell on the vaccine.


CUOMO: "Get the vaccine. You won't die." "I don't think I am going to die." "Get the vaccine. You will kill somebody else." "I don't think I'm going to kill somebody else."

"Get the vaccine because you will be able to get back to work and, to life, on your own terms." That's what Trump said. That's what Fauci and everybody else said that the vaccine is our way through it.

These guidelines say "Yes, kind of, kind of, but you still can't go to"--


CUOMO: --"ball games and do things the way you used to, even if you're vaccinated." I don't understand why you slow-walk that part.

SLAVITT: Yes, I think we're in the middle of a process. But I think what people want to understand is this. 140 million or so people have gotten vaccine shots, overwhelmingly safe, dramatically good results.

CUOMO: I agree.

SLAVITT: That's what they care about.

CUOMO: 0.005 breakthrough illness, point--

SLAVITT: That's what they care about.

CUOMO: --like--


CUOMO: --0.0009 people died. That's almost your--


CUOMO: --standard deviation of randomness.

SLAVITT: Yes. Right. And for most people, what really matters is they're - who have not taken the vaccine yet is, is there a side effect? If there's not, they're confident that we will be getting back to normal life.

They can see these signals. They can see these signals from the President, from the CDC, what he says about Fourth of July. And what I will tell you is he will say more. You can expect him to continue to say more, as things come in.

And it will probably be faster than people who are very conservative, want it to be, and slower than people, who've already had their shot, and are done with this thing want to be, but the job isn't to make everybody happy.

The job is for them to follow the data, to listen to what the CDC has to say. And they're doing it in a measured way. I think they're doing a very good job. Look where they've gotten us.

CUOMO: I'm not bashing the CDC.

SLAVITT: They've gotten us from a place where we had 600 people dying--

CUOMO: I'm trying to help.

SLAVITT: I know. I know that.

CUOMO: I'm trying to help. I'm saying "Here's the side effect."

SLAVITT: I know that.

CUOMO: "Here's the side effect to the vaccine that you need to worry about most. Check out Andy, Chris and all their friends, in this bar, having drinks and laughing their heads off, because they're fully vaccinated. And you can't be there, because you're not." That's the side effect is--


CUOMO: --you get to live life more, if you have the vaccine. That's why I'm saying why don't you, unless the science supports it in a way that I haven't seen, from you guys, why put any restraints on the vaccinated?

SLAVITT: Well, let me roll it up this way. Everything you do is safer, if you're vaccinated, everything.

Go to a wedding, go to a restaurant, hang out with friends, go to a barbecue, go to work, everything you do, is it much, much safer, if you've been vaccinated. If you haven't been vaccinated, those things are still dangerous. And that is, I think, the overarching point.

CUOMO: Agreed.

SLAVITT: Forget about the steps because we'll be there, you know, one week will be this step, next week will be another step.

But the fundamental point is we are going to get back to normal. And it's going to be normal for people who've been vaccinated. And it's going to be more risky for people who are not. And that's the message that I hope people hear.

CUOMO: They're going to hear it loud and clear. You said it plenty. And I'm happy you said it here, Andy Slavitt. Appreciate you.

SLAVITT: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. I'll speak to you soon. Be well, and thank you.

Look, it's good news that we're moving in the right direction. What am I pushing for? Transparency. If there's something about the vaccine that we need to know, and I don't believe there is, then go big, because that's why we're getting it.

I didn't want to get it. I already had COVID. They told me I probably don't need it. I have the antibodies. But I took it anyway, why, even though I knew I was going to have this Boogeyman effect that I know a lot of you are having, and we're talking about it online, that you do feel like you might have COVID again.

I know. It was spooky for me too. But then it passed. So, I did it because I want the freedom. So, give it to us. That's all I'm saying.


That matter, that mechanism matters in everything. That's the problem in North Carolina right now, to transition to that story. The lawyers are speculating. People are speculating.

I'm showing you - I'm going to show you a new little snippet of the video that will just make it clear to you that you don't know anything. That's where we are, why? Because even though this case has been handed over to the State, supposedly, there's still no video. Put out the bodycam video!

The FBI is now getting involved in the deadly shooting of Andrew Brown. They're going to see if it was racially-motivated.

Get us the bodycam videos. That's what we need. No speculation. Don't take the family's lawyers' word for it. Don't look at a little piece. They're doing this to us. Why?

Now we have the Mayor of Elizabeth City involved. She is here, along with our policing vet, on the new questions that are raised, by what we know, what we don't know, and a private autopsy. Next.








CUOMO: There is new video to show you. A source says that it shows Sheriff's deputies arriving in a pickup truck, to serve a warrant, on Andrew Brown Jr. This happened last Wednesday, as part of a Drug Task Force probe.

Now, the new video comes to us on the same day that the FBI announced it's opening a federal civil rights investigation into the deadly shooting.

This will be a review to see if they were using the color of authority, the color of law, which means the power invested in them, and using it, or abusing it with racial animus. It's a very high bar, but it's indicative of the concern the situation is raising.

Also, an independent autopsy, OK? This is one that was commissioned by the family. It shows that Brown was shot five times. The autopsy suggests the death shot was one at the back of the head, while he was driving away.

We still don't know why deputies took that action. If it turns out to be confirmed, then we will know that this is one situation to answer for.

But we don't get what happened here, because nobody is telling us, even though they have the ability to do so. Even the family only got 20 seconds of the bodycam video, which did not help them understand what happened.

Elizabeth City's Mayor, who has put the city under curfew, this evening, has joined the Governor's calls, for the bodycam video to be released. We asked her to join us tonight with Anthony Barksdale, the former Acting Commissioner of Police in Baltimore.

Madam Mayor, thank you for joining Anthony and I tonight.


CUOMO: So, just to be clear, I was thrown by this North Carolina law. I didn't know it was in place. I had never heard it in North Carolina or somewhere else being exercised as a delay factor, on transparency. Had you?

PARKER: No. I didn't know anything about the law until this came about. And as I've talked with others, I've talked about that. Our community is just torn apart.

The family is devastated. And each chance that I - each time I get up close (ph), I always send out my condolences, because I know they are just - they're awestruck, as to why they have not received the bodycam as of yet.

I did not know anything about this law, whether you - where you have to wait on the Superior Court to release it.

CUOMO: Why couldn't it have been fast-tracked the first time the County Attorney said "This is why it's not happening," basically, last Thursday.

Couldn't the Governor just overrule or send an order to the court? I mean, in North Carolina, like most States, that's the ultimate authority, or is there something that you could do? Why do you have to wait on this underling county attorney and the local police?

PARKER: We don't have any recourse. We simply have to wait. We have to follow the law. We have to go through the process, until the law is changed. This is what I'm being told. In fact, I have not had very much conversation with the county officials.

Of course, I know, you know by now, that there's a difference between - there are two law enforcement agencies, here in Pasquotank counties, the Pasquotank County Sheriff Department, and it's the Elizabeth City Police Department.

We were not involved in it. But because it happened in our City, of course, we are marching, the protests, that were - that's going on.

But we have no recourse as to what to do with the shooting - what the - I'm sorry, what the City Council did was put a request or requested to the Sheriff's Department, to the D.A., and also to Superior Court, to release the bodycam. And I think a lot of media outlets have done the same thing. But that's all we could do.

CUOMO: CNN is part of that media effort to do it. Thank you.

And I'm going to show Anthony now the latest piece of footage, and please feel free to - free to weigh in, Madam Mayor, as you see it.

Well Bark, I've never heard anything like this. And here's the latest video, OK? You see the guys pulling down? I haven't been able to find out if these guys were SWAT, Special Weapons And Tactics and training. We all know what SWAT teams are. I don't know if they're SWAT or not, or they're just up in their gear.

But you see them come around the corner. They stop. We have it highlighted for you. Another cruiser comes behind them. And then they get out, and you hear some kind of talk. But I don't know what's going on.


The family attorney suggests Anthony that within four seconds, they started to shoot, and they don't believe that that's enough time to comply, which is another brick, in their wall of argument that this was an execution.

I don't know how much you can take from this other than the fact that we should be able to see more at this point.

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I look at this, and I just see what I call a bunch of cowboys. And the Mayor is left with a horrible incident, in her city, that was caused by a county element.

One of the biggest things is something in when, especially when working narcotics, any of these task forces, you have to de-conflict. The jurisdictions need to know when another jurisdiction is coming in to their area.

And if the Mayor, if her Chief, didn't know, that's a problem. It's disrespectful to her city, to her, as Mayor, and her constituents. So now, we've got that issue, which is, just unacceptable.

And now, when you talk about - you talk about this bodycam, and they show 20 seconds, we know that it's longer. We know that there's so many other angles that we need to see. Come on, what are you hiding? What is going on here?

And now, you've got a Mayor that's had to put in a curfew because of their actions, and they're walking around like, "Oh, well!"

So, we've got problems. I'm so happy, Chris, that the FBI is down there, because they will get down to business. And that's what's needed.

CUOMO: Well look--

BARKSDALE: And, I have to say, Chris. I feel sorry for the Mayor and her city. I do.

CUOMO: I hear you. I appreciate you. And we now know from an independent autopsy, which I've never seen an independent autopsy be this wrong, in terms of, the identification of wounds.


CUOMO: And you know all the entries are on the back side. So that means he was shot from behind. And we know they have a very narrow window of legality, in order to justify that. So the questions are obvious, Bark.


CUOMO: It's the lack of transparency that is keeping us at a standstill.

And Madam Mayor, I can't do any better than Bark did, in terms of articulating the position you've been put in. I hope the people on the streets stay patient. But it is hard to ask people to be patient, when they know they're being denied information.

If we can help with anything we learn, please let us know, Madam Mayor.

PARKER: Thank you, sir. Thank you so much.

CUOMO: Good luck to you. PARKER: For at least (OFF-MIKE) be able to say this much to the public. Thank you.

CUOMO: Yes, ma'am.


CUOMO: And Bark, look, they can delay hoping we're going away. It's not going to happen.

BARKSDALE: Yes. Chris, we're - let's go.

CUOMO: I'll see you soon.


CUOMO: We'll stay on it. We want transparency. If the officers need to be cleared, let's get them cleared, because they're killing their reputation right now.


CUOMO: By hiding this.


CUOMO: All right, Madam Mayor, Bark, thank you.


CUOMO: Transparency!


CUOMO: I don't want to do it to you that way, show you that little corner of video. What the hell does that help us understand? They came rolling up? They say it's four seconds before they shoot? I don't know.

"Well, then don't show it to us." No, it's not how it works. There's somebody dead here. There's a family grieving. It doesn't make any sense. The community is destabilized, not by this, not by us worried about it, but by what's obvious. This is like a throwback situation. It doesn't make any sense.

"There is a law." What kind of magic key law is this that like there's some process that nobody can get around any faster? No emergency order, really? Never heard of it before! Never! Let's see how the FBI does.

All right, the census, it's going to be a big deal, why? People are losing seats. And there's going to be a redistricting fight. And it may be the biggest one in American history.

Why do you care? You know why. You control the districts, you control who gets in. You control Congress. We need to pay attention. And we have a great, great man coming up to tell us what game is

afoot. But first, the facts, next.









CUOMO: Census data is out. And it's going to lead to redistricting. Redistricting, gerrymandering, "Yes, what do I care?" Oh, you care!

You've seen the crazy maps, right? Like Maryland's 3rd District, or Texas' 33rd, Illinois' 4th District, they're like all these crazy things, why? Because they're trying to shoehorn in the people they want in that district. And of course, it's about how money gets appropriated and re-appropriated.

Now, you think "Well, why do I care, if it's not going into my checking account?" You're wrong.

These maps, as messed up as they look, they're not just proof of politicians, from both parties, playing the same old games. This is why nothing gets done. It's why the crazy is amplified like never before. This is how the people, who work for you, make sure they don't have to listen to you.

See, you want to gauge how much this matters, look at the speed of the lawsuits being filed. That speed speaks to how thin the margins are.

50/50 in the Senate, but remember, the 50 percent of the Republicans, the 50 seats they have, they represent a fraction of the number of people that the Democrats do. The six-seat spread in the House, again, you have a minority with as much almost representation as a much bigger majority, why? Redistricting.

In theory, those tight margins should shift, right? Power should go to the middle. Make folks work together to get stuff done. No. It's not happening. Why? You have to go back to the last census.

Here's what happened 10 years ago, all right? Way bigger jump for people of color, than for Whites, and they were moving to places that have long voted Republican. I believe that is going to continue in this census. Yet the GOP maintained power. How did they maintain power while relying even more on White people? Why? Redistricting, OK? The last time we saw it, it's where the Tea Party came from, Congressman like Ohio's Jim Jordan. His district is over 90 percent White, about 10 percent higher than the rest of the state. Geez, what a coinkidink!

And a year since, look at who joined him? The QAnon kook! That District didn't exist until the last census. And it was drawn as part of a map the late John Lewis called, quote, an affront to the spirit and letter of the Voting Rights Act.


We see the same thing playing out as we speak. Once again, most of the growth in this country is people of color. Once again, numbers are growing in the South and the West.

"So, what's the concern?" Who's going to get the power? Because Republicans, 10 years ago, were playing, to political advantage, at the state level, the party of today is working to carve America into an "Us" and "Them."

Whether it's restricting access to the polls, limiting constitutional rights to protest, banning treatment for Trans kids, it's all an active effort in States that are about to pick up congressional seats.

My next guest calls this a Republican acquisition and retention of illegitimate power. Recognize him? Former A.G. Eric Holder, A.G. of the United States. His mission, protect the right to vote, take this on. It's big!

We've got a lot to talk to him about. Let's get after it, right after this.








CUOMO: One person, one count! One person, one count! That's it, right? Every voter counts the same. Basic! But we see that idea being tested in the conversation about policing, but also about redistricting.


My next guest is uniquely qualified to go deep on both, former Attorney General of the United States, under President Obama, Eric Holder. Good to see you, sir.


CUOMO: Doing better than I deserve!

So Socratically, if we look at this, so you have 80 percent of the increase in eligible voters, between 2010 and 2020, coming from Latino, Black and Asian Americans. "What are you complaining about on the Left? These are your people. That's where all this White replacement BS is coming from?"

What is actually happening, despite the changes in the demographics?

HOLDER: Well, the demographics might be changing, but the distribution of political power is not changing. In fact, power is being taken away from those groups.

What the Republicans are trying to do is to maintain the illegitimate power that they obtained, during the redistricting, that happened 10 years ago, by voter suppression, and by engaging in gerrymandering, through the course of the redistricting process that we are just about to start.

CUOMO: Are they poised to take advantage of the redistricting process again this time? If so, why?

HOLDER: Well, they're going to certainly try, but they're not going to be as successful as they were in 2011. The Democrats are far more organized now.

I head the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. We have focused solely on this redistricting process since 2017. We've put in place commissions to draw the lines instead of politicians.

We've elected people who will be involved in the redistricting process, such as governors. We'll be able to veto the maps put forward by Republican legislatures. And we've also galvanized our advocacy program. We have people all around the country, who are focused on this issue, in a way that we were not focused, in 2011.

Now, having said all that, it's going to be difficult, especially in states like Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, where they have a trifecta. They control both the governorship and both houses of the legislature. Those are going to be the most difficult states for us.

CUOMO: And what happens if they - if this goes against your interests?

HOLDER: Well, we've got litigation alternatives. We can certainly, where they engage in racial gerrymandering, we can certainly use the federal courts.

Where they engage in partisan gerrymandering, that becomes a little more difficult, as a result of the Rucho decision by the Supreme Court, which said you can't bring partisan gerrymandering cases, in the federal courts. A disastrous and terrible decision!

But we can bring partisan gerrymandering cases, as we have, in the state courts, based on the state constitutions. We've been successful in states like North Carolina, as well as Pennsylvania.

So, we still have tools. But our biggest tool would be for Congress to pass H.R.1, which is now S.1, the equal - the act - For the People Act that would do away with, outlaw on partisan gerrymandering, define what partisan gerrymandering is, and give us another tool just to make the system fair.

I mean, let me be clear here. I'm not trying to gerrymander for Democrats. I simply want the system to be fair, because I'm actually confident that if it's fair, Democrats, progressives will do just fine. Republicans have to cheat. And that's they're - they're comfortable with that. They're OK being a minority party that has a majority power.

CUOMO: Won't be worried if these Cyber Ninjas get involved in the redistricting process. If you hear the word "Cyber Ninjas," you've got a problem, Mr. A.G.

The facts, here, help me understand the context. 38 percent of districts are controlled exclusively by neither party. They're either independent commissions or split partisan control. GOP controls 43 percent otherwise, Democrats only 17 percent.

But states where Republicans control only added two seats. So, what do all those numbers mean?

HOLDER: Well, it means that the process, it might seem a little stark, 43 to 17. But the reality is that 38 percent that's controlled by commissions, for instance, or some other reform measure, that's going to be fine, for Democrats. Again, where the system is fair, Democrats will do just fine.

What I'm concerned about is when you see the increase in the population, as you said, with regard to Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, young people, people who live in the suburbs, those are people who tend to vote Democratic.

What they're going to do, I suspect, in Texas, is try to gerrymander, draw the lines in such a way to minimize the acquisition of power, by those groups, and maximize the retention of power by a Republican Party that doesn't have popular support.

CUOMO: Let's talk about fairness, in a couple of other contexts.

I have never seen anything like what's happening in North Carolina right now with this - this process for releasing the bodycam. I have to believe that if the County Attorney just released it, nobody would have said anything about this law.

I mean, you were the A.G. You ever hear of a law like this before that seemingly nobody can get fast-tracked?

HOLDER: I don't understand it. Not familiar with a law like that.


I have to think that if people in law enforcement, the D.A., whoever decided that this is material that they wanted to have put out in public that they could find a way to do that. By not doing that, they're fueling, suspicions, they're creating, disunity, in the community, down there.

If there's something that is problematic, you need to get it out there and try to explain it. If there's nothing to worry about, you certainly need to get it out there. But this leads to all kinds of conspiracy theories.

We don't really know what happened. We've seen bits and pieces of videos. But it seems to me that they ought to use the power that they undoubtedly have, to get this material in front of the public.

CUOMO: The DOJ is looking at it now. You were the Attorney General. I respect the position. I'm not going to ask you about investigations that are just starting. But I will ask you this, sir.

When we know more about what they want to do, and whether it's Louisville, or North Carolina now looking for racial animus, in the color of authority there, I'd love to have you back so, you can help people understand what the investigations mean, and don't mean.

HOLDER: Sure, be glad to. And these new pattern or practice investigations that they're announcing that they're going to be using, I think to a much greater degree than what used in the Trump Administration, is an important tool to bring the criminal justice reform, I think that the country really wants.

CUOMO: Well, there is certainly more under the administration that you were in. And once we see what happens in Minnesota, Louisville, North Carolina, we'll talk about whether we're moving the right way, and why.

Eric Holder, thank you. We will stay on redistricting. So, as there are developments, you have a place here, to make the case.

HOLDER: All right. It's an important subject. Everybody needs to be focused on it. We need to have a fair process, nothing more than that, just a process that is fair.

CUOMO: Thank you, sir. And be well.

HOLDER: OK. Take care.

CUOMO: All right. Now, what happens when the process isn't fair? Arizona. I mean, this is just a kooky attempt to keep "The Big Lie" alive.

Who wants to do an audit or a recount in secret? Just think about that! It's complete anathema. It's complete the opposite of what you want. You want people to know it was done right. So, let's bring in a top elected Republican in Maricopa County. Why doesn't this gentleman believe that this is good, even when it's been run by his own Party? Next.









CUOMO: Arizona Republicans desperate to keep "The Big Lie" alive, why else push a recount of 2020 election ballots in Maricopa County, in secret? That's the key phrase.

All the pledges of transparency, "We just want to make sure it was fair. We just want to make sure it's fair next time," listen to what the spokesman for this audit, OK, listen to what he said, and how they expect to pay this shady firm called the Cyber Ninjas.


KEN BENNETT, AZ STATE SENATE LIAISON TO ELECTORAL AUDIT: There's nothing about this audit that has anything to do with trying to overturn the 2020 election. It's only about - it's only about how to make elections better going forward.

They initiated the contract with $150,000. And they took some risk along with the auditing companies that the difference would be made up by contributions and donations from people all over the country. And that's exactly what's happening.


CUOMO: Why? Let's bring in Jack Sellers, Chairman for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

Thank you, sir. I hope the interview finds you well.


CUOMO: Help me understand. We want to make sure that our elections are fair and safe. And we do so by pushing transparency. Now your Party is advocating some kind of, I don't know, display that is being done in secret. Do you like this?

SELLERS: No, I'm certainly frustrated right now.

When this all started, I didn't really object that much, because anything, you know, whatever the number of people that are still questioning the results of the election, if we could do something, that would make them feel better about it, I was willing to do that.

But as this has developed, and the people that have been involved in the audit have been announced, certainly, it doesn't seem like we're on the path to make that happen.

CUOMO: And this is your Party. The Arizona Senate President says these guys are well-qualified, well-experienced, the Cyber Ninjas.

You go on their website, it's a joke. Nobody knows who they are. They've never done anything like this before.

What do you think's going to happen if they come up with suggestions of fraud?

SELLERS: I don't know how to predict that.

All I can tell you is that when we - when we learn, as much as we did, about how this was being handled, the subpoena that we had demanded that we deliver the ballots and the equipment to the Arizona State Senate. And we complied with that subpoena.

But in doing so, we ensured that everything that we delivered was received by the Senate, not by a contractor, but by either the Senate or someone, who had been given the authority, to sign for the Senate.

And they signed an agreement that they were accepting full responsibility for the material, at that point, and it certainly is not, at this point, our audit. We have nothing to do with it. We're not involved in it in any way.

CUOMO: What does it tell you that they want their methods to be kept secret?

SELLERS: I'm baffled by that. Because, as you probably know, everything we did, through the whole election process, we did very openly.


We had the press watching us. We had members from both major political parties involved. Anytime anybody was working with ballots, we always had both parties watching.

You know our - everything that we've done complied completely with Arizona law, every step of the way. That has been so important to us.

And it became a kind of a problem, as we worked our way through the Pandemic, because a lot of things changed, in having a safe, secure, efficient election.

And through that process, we contacted people, at the legislature, at the Secretary of State's office, at the Attorney General's office, to ensure that we were staying within the guidelines of the law, at every step of the process.

And we feel very confident in what we did. And we ran a very, very good, clean, efficient election, even given the Pandemic.

CUOMO: Well, listen. We've gotten no proof to suggest anything different.

But now, it is your party that is doing this, and it's doing it in a way that really does raise questions about whether or not this is just to poison popular sentiment about the election. So, we'll watch.

And I appreciate your desire that it be played straight. Jack Sellers, be well.

SELLERS: Thank you. Appreciate it.

CUOMO: We'll be right back.