Return to Transcripts main page

Cuomo Prime Time

McCarthy Hot Mic On Cheney: I've Had It With Her; Biden's New Goal: At Least One Shot To 70 Percent Of Adults By July 4; Facebook To Decide Whether To Restore Trump's Account. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 04, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It's live Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, 6 P.M. Eastern, or any time on

That's it for us. 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.

You care about student loan reform, immigration reform? Well, neither will probably happen. And it doesn't matter what the Democrats say. Why? Pay attention to what's happening in the Re-Trump-lican Party, specifically with Liz Cheney.

Now, don't get this skewed. I know the media and some on the Left are starting to talk about Representative Liz Cheney like she's some martyr. She isn't. Cheney is not a cause. She is just proof of Trump's effect on the perversion of her party.

She is apparently out, on her way as the number three. No more. She's on the way out. Why would the number three leader be out as soon as next week? That's the key. Why? Because unlike the QAnon kook, she won't say that January 6th was a hoax "Pulled off by some Lefty group to cover up that Trump really won."

And here is the man, who is making that happen, Kevin McCarthy. He used to say, he's about, "You know, big tent. This is about the Conference losing faith," not him. He wants everybody here. No, he's not about the big tent. He's about the circus, a freak show of fealty to one man.

"Prove it," you say? I'll let him prove it. Here.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I think she's got real problems.

I've had it with her.

I've lost confidence.

Well, someone just has to bring a motion.


CUOMO: That's him on a hot mic. You see, he doesn't say that on TV. But he was dumb enough to say it when he was still miked. He wants her gone. It's not about the Conference. It's not about him capitulating to the masses.

And it's because she will not do what he did, which is lie about the Tower - Terror of January 6th, a day he started by telling people around him he cursed at Trump, "Call off your dogs."

But he ended soon after, like this, paying fealty, homage. Why?

Why now say that Trump called you, and then sent people to stop the Insurrection, "Which really wasn't an Insurrection, because there weren't enough guns, and not really to be considered terror, because the BLM protests, the summer before weren't."

Cheney at least sees the reality that her fellow Re-Trump-licans are desperately trying to pervert.

"This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6th. Liz will not do that. That is the issue."

That is true. And the answer is that you will only have people in leadership, like McCarthy, and like this one, Representative Elise Stefanik, who may replace Cheney, because "As long as it's a woman, it's an even swap," right? No, there is more than gender.

It is inherently skewed to make Trump happy, like he was with Stefanik for defending him during his impeachment. Listen to him.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Most incredible, what's going on with you, Elise.

But did I not realize, when she opens that mouth, you were killing them, Elise.


TRUMP: You were killing them.



CUOMO: She pleases the President. She says "No, no, no. The election was a big lie," and he likes it. Listen to her.


REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): Tens of millions of Americans are rightly concerned that the 2020 election featured unprecedented voting irregularities, unconstitutional overreach by unelected state officials, and judges, ignoring state election laws, and a fundamental lack of ballot integrity and ballot security.


CUOMO: Now she knows that that is all poppycock. They were only worried because people like her were feeding her, false notions of perfidy.

But when the States that were largely run by Republicans went through their own numbers, and why would they lie? They wanted Trump to win. It came not to be. But this is what passes for a Republican now.

So, what does that mean for any chance of progress on anything that all of you say you want worked on? Let's take it to the better minds, David Gregory and Charlie Dent.

Charlie, good to have you back. First, do you disagree with any of the premise? Am I wrong about what's happening in your party?



Leadership wants her out, and they're trying to push her out. My heart says she can hang in there. But my brain says that she's in real trouble. And it's all because of the fact that she won't yield that she's strong-willed and that she will - she wants to state the truth.

And too many of the members find it easier to condemn - easier to, you know, to criticize and throw out the woman telling the truth rather than condemn the man, who's been spreading this big lie and these false narratives.

CUOMO: David, the last time, there was a huge difference between the people who publicly said that she had to go, and the people who said, the 140, who said "January 6th, it was a fraud," and those who voted in private.

There's only like 60, 70, something that went against her in private. That's why she survived. Do you think that's still the play, the state of play in that party? Or do you think now you must be loud and proud?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, AUTHOR, "HOW'S YOUR FAITH?": Yes, that's what worries me is that you do have to be loud and proud.

I mean, Kevin McCarthy, who came up in a different Republican Party, and is now completely laying himself, at the altar of Donald Trump, is the only way to hold the party together, the only way to unify the party, which in his mind is "How do I win the House and become Speaker?" All of that is by getting Trump's blessing. I mean, let's think about Liz Cheney, what she represents, and where the Republicans are uniting. It's not around conservative principles, which you could do in taking on the progressive Biden agenda.

It's not even around what you might think, if you're a conservative or an otherwise a critic of the excesses of the Left, on culture wars, on cancel culture and the like. That could unify people. That's not what we're talking about.

It's unity simply around the lie that the election was stolen, which conservatives on the Supreme Court, and elsewhere, and judges on other levels, all said there was no basis for that. So think of how narrow the "Unity" point is.

CUOMO: So, look, we have the facts that support the move, Charlie.

We have - put up the numbers. 23 percent of Republicans admit Biden won, OK, not that they like that he won, that he did win. 28 percent of Republicans say Trump had something to do with the Capitol riot. So, this is the underpinning of the big lie. The lie itself is not the concern for me, because it's demonstrably false. It's the implication.

If that many people in your party, believe those things, then doesn't that mandate, that those in power, those in the rank-and-file, within Congress, do not work with Democrats? Because if they do work on anything, they are therefore going against the big lie, by showing that they believe that Biden is president, so don't they have to not cooperate?

DENT: Well, I think it's very hard for them to cooperate. For many of these members, their political safety is tacking hard to the base. It's that simple. They feel that that's their political reward will be, not seeking consensus or compromise. That's the bad news.

The good news is there are enough members who represent more moderate or centrist districts, where actually they do need to compromise, in order to survive. You talk to those members of the House, Problem Solvers Caucus, in the House and the Senate, there are classic examples of why.

But Chris, this problem has been around for a long time. I remember going to a White House Super Bowl party, right after Barack Obama was elected, being criticized by people in my district, my Republican friends, first telling me that I was somehow a traitor, for watching the Super Bowl with the President of the United States, when the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing for Pete's sake. I mean, that's how crazy politics is these days.

CUOMO: David, what's your take?

DENT: That was '09.

GREGORY: Well and I don't think the question is--

CUOMO: I hear you. But David, what's your take? GREGORY: I don't think the - well, I think this question of cooperation is not about this new version of the Republican base, which is just the Trump base. I think a lot of conservatives have decided to stop cooperating with Biden. They gave him the, you know, he was able to get through the second COVID relief bill.

I have real questions about infrastructure and some of the other progressive policies that the President is going to pursue. And I think Republicans made a decision, early on, in Biden's term, as they did with Obama, which is, "We have to oppose, almost from the start, to keep people together."

But I do think that's a separate question from what you're talking about, which is "How big does this Trump base get?" He already demonstrated he can't get re-elected based on that, but it's still a big enough number.

CUOMO: But Charlie, here's the thing. You say these moderates and these some of these positions they have to. I don't see it. First of all, we haven't seen it. But also going forward, they will be savaged by their own.

This is a party that will hang with Matt Gaetz, and I'm all for due process, but he'd be a dead man on the Left, because it's all about optics. But here, they stick with him. They stick with the QAnon kook, and they kill Liz Cheney. So, if you're a moderate--

DENT: Right.


CUOMO: --if you put your toe in the pool, Charlie, aren't you DMW, Dead Man Walking?

DENT: Well, look, let me just push back for a second here.

CUOMO: Please.

DENT: I do think that a lot of these members, a lot of these members, for example, on infrastructure, I think these people in the Problem Solvers Caucus are going to put forward a real proposal, just like they did on COVID, at the end of last year, that became the basis of an agreement.

I think they're going to try to do the same thing on infrastructure, and that could force the leadership, that could force their hand, to deal with a real compromise. Look, I realize it's a stretch, but it is a possibility.

And I completely agree with you about what you said about Marjorie Taylor Greene. The fact that somehow Marjorie Taylor Greene wasn't dealt with forcefully, I mean, they threw Steve King out of - off committees, as they should have, for his, incendiary--

CUOMO: Eventually.

DENT: --comments. What's happening is--

CUOMO: Eventually. He said plenty of stuff.

DENT: Yes, but they're marginalizing.

CUOMO: And they were mum.

DENT: But they're marginalizing - what's scary to me is that they're marginalizing rational, thoughtful members, like Liz Cheney, and instead of marginalizing the whackjobs. That's the problem.


DENT: When Boehner was Speaker, and Ryan, they were pretty good about pushing out the kooks and empowering the mainstream.

CUOMO: David, in a weird way--

GREGORY: I just don't see, yes.

CUOMO: Go ahead.

GREGORY: Well, I would just say I want to build on that, which is, how do you build a governing party, where you marginalize, as Charlie is saying, actual conservative Republicans, like Liz Cheney, who are - who is not going to support a lot of what Biden is proposing here?

CUOMO: You know, how? I know how. I have the answer.


CUOMO: I got the answer for you. You want to know? You will be--


CUOMO: --bound together by your collective victimization. And here's how it happens. This is now in the Democrats' lap, right? And what are their people pushing for, on the Left flank, especially? "Blow up the filibuster, muscle it through. These people won't work with you."


CUOMO: "You know, we're making the case right now. They won't work with you. You have to do this."

But the moment that they do, I think Joe Manchin is right, and I don't think there's just one Joe Manchin in that party, either, they're just letting him do the talking for him in the Senate, they will revisit upon you, this blown-up filibuster, in a way that Democrats can never get together and martial power.

McConnell will make you pay. This kind of Republican Party will make you pay. And that is going to scare the Democrats.

And if they do get past it, and force Manchin, somehow find a way to blow up the filibuster, you will victimize the Republicans. And they will be able to go into the midterms saying "We're the victims. We're the victims. It's not that we're crazy. Forget about the QAnon kook lady. They victimized us."

So, the Democrats have to play this right, as obvious, ugly and egregious, as the Re-Trump-lican state of play. Your take, David?

GREGORY: I agree with that. And I think that the victimization is already happening, right?

The argument that you're hearing from the Trump base, and by the way, a lot of Republicans would rather not have Trump, but they want his supporters, and that's why all this feeds into it.

They want people to believe, "Look, this is not on the level, and that the election was somehow rigged, and Democrats are messing with our voting systems. And that means that there's going to be more people of color who are voting, and probably illegally," I think this is their argument, the victimization argument, and that "You're going to be marginalized and you're going to lose elections, in the same time you're going to be marginalized in society, so it becomes very social, very existential."

So, I think all of that is already happening. And yes, you want to layer on the idea that then they've stacked the deck, by using the levers of power, like the filibuster? Yes, then they just - then they dig in.

CUOMO: Happened so fast! Forget about calling Cheney a RINO, literally untrue, given her family lineage. And yet, she went from talking about 2024, Charlie, to be an out maybe next week. What a fast change in the party? Trump changed it faster out of power than he did in power.

David, Charlie, thank you both. Appreciate you. Especially back-to- back nights, Charlie, thank you for doing it.

GREGORY: Thanks.

CUOMO: Always good to see you, brother.

DENT: Sure thing, you bet, thank you.

CUOMO: The President just announced his new vaccine goals. But isn't the game over? There's so much hesitancy now that seems to be baked in. Why? The Wizard of Odds says the answer is in the numbers, next.








CUOMO: President Biden says "July 4th, that's the big day we're going to celebrate Independence and independence from COVID as well. That's when we reach 70 percent of U.S. adult population with at least one shot." That's his hope.

But where are we? 56 percent of adults having at least one shot, it's OK. 35 million more people would be needed to want the vaccine, to reach the 70 percent goal. Doesn't sound that much does it?

But it may be unreachable, despite the Administration shifting strategies, and we'll find out what that means, in our next segment, with the big COVID Guru for the Biden Administration.

But there is also a steep decline in vaccination rates. Why? Why might it be unreachable? Harry Enten, the Wizard of Odds is here.

Make the case.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER & ANALYST: Here's the problem. And I think you got a really good idea by just looking at the rate in which we are seeing the vaccinations take place, new people getting a first dose, and taking a look at the people who want a first dose immediately. And what do we see here?

What we see here is pretty clear. That is the people who have gotten the first dose has been climbing rapidly since early March, 25 percent, 36 percent, 47 percent, 56 percent.

But where are those people coming from? They're coming from the people who wanted the doses as soon as possible. That number has been shrinking from early March, from 30 percent, back then, to just now 7 percent.


So basically, we've gotten the low-hanging fruit, that people who wanted that vaccine, who are lining up, who are willing to go at midnight, those people have mostly been baked into the pie. And now, the real question is can we get the people, who are perhaps more difficult to get?

CUOMO: And more difficult means the vaccine-hesitant and vaccine- resistance. What are that - what - how do you delineate those?

ENTEN: So essentially what we're talking about here, when we say vaccine-resistant, we mean the people who say, "I'm never going to get that vaccine. I don't care what you do to me. I'm not going to get it." And that number has been fairly stable. Look at this, back in early January it was 19 percent, 19 percent, 21 percent. Now, it's at 20 percent. That number has not moved.

The real people we should be focused on, at this point, if we want to get more people vaccinated is the vaccine-hesitant group. That number in fact, has been shrinking 39 percent, 30 percent, 24 percent, now 17 percent now.

What that shows me is that if you get the right messaging, you can get these vaccine-hesitant folks. That 17 percent of the population is who we should be focusing on. We should not be necessarily focusing on the vaccine-resistant group, because that group, to me, is just not gettable.

CUOMO: All right, so if the resistant group, now, the question for me becomes how much of this is politics? So, what do you know about the leanings of the hesitant?

ENTEN: Yes, I think there is a lot of folks out there, who are saying that "The hesitant group are people who are hardcore Republicans. That's why we need Donald Trump to go out there and give a message."

But take a look here. And I'll explain this slide. This is the vaccine-hesitant group that is that say, 17 percent, 18 percent, of the population, who will wait and see whether or not they'll get the vaccine, look at their political preferences, among that particular group.

Only 31 percent of that group actually supported Donald Trump, back in 2020. 20 percent supported Joe Biden.

But look at the vast majority, that 48 percent said they either supported someone else, didn't vote at all, or they didn't have an answer to that question. These are people who are separated from the political process.

These are not the people that you can reach through normal channels. It's going to take a new innovative thinking, to really get a lot of these vaccine-hesitant people to actually get the vaccine.

CUOMO: Now, you and I were talking in the office about, and that means doughnuts, beer, or bonds, as we see being offered in different places to incentivize.

Now, I'm going to have the whole incentive conversation, next, with Andy Slavitt, who's obviously the big-shot for the Biden Administration.

But you said, "No, look, there's some other hesitancy factors here, to also put in," and let's show that, the concerns about COVID-19.

ENTEN: Yes, look, if you were to essentially say, OK, among this vaccine-hesitant group, why are they saying they don't want to get the vaccine? Look, a lot of it is side effects. They're very worried about the vaccine.

74 percent said serious side effects, 43 percent, they were afraid that they get a side effect and miss work, then there's 36 percent, who said that they might get COVID-19 from the vaccine itself, which is not possible, right? And then there's 28 percent, who say they can't get it from a trusted source. But essentially, what we're seeing here is it's not necessarily that people can't get the vaccine, it's that they don't want to. We have to incentivize them. We have to give them knowledge.

We have to basically say, "If you get this vaccine, you know, we'll give you a free doughnut, as they do at Krispy Kreme, or maybe you can get some beer."

And we need to give them the knowledge, let them be able to go into their doctor's office, where the doctors can inform them on what the truth is about the COVID-19 vaccine, and not some garbage they might read on the internet.

CUOMO: Harry, thank you very much for laying out what it is, and what it is, in the numbers. Appreciate that for keeping us straight.

The Wizard of Odds, everybody!

ENTEN: Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: All right, so what is this incentive argument? Should there be more perks for the vaccinated? I say yes. Are there? No. We're leaving it to the private sector. Is that OK?

So, Biden announced some earlier some new ways to do it. And we have a Senior Adviser for COVID here, to explain what the new ambitions are, how they can get it done, and how he'll deal with what Harry just laid out. Next.









CUOMO: Now it's hard, as those of us, who couldn't wait to get the vaccine, start to ebb. Now what?

So you see governors offering everything from cash to beer to encourage people to get a shot. The problem is you also have governors outlawing efforts by businesses to incentivize vaccination, why? This is about politics as well.

So Biden took it on today and talked about the new phase of the effort. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: In the next two months, our focus is going to be on three groups: kids between 12 and 15 who are awaiting potential FDA authorization to get a shot; two, adults who have had trouble locating a place to get a shot or who just haven't gotten around to it; and three, those who need more convincing be convinced of the necessity of getting the vaccine.


CUOMO: Andy Slavitt, White House Senior Adviser for COVID response is with us.

Good to see you.


CUOMO: Let me get a fact premise out of the way to make sure I'm on good-footing in the rest of the conversation. How much of the problem remains access in minority and underserved communities?

SLAVITT: Well, that's some of the problems still, Chris. I think, for people who work, and get paid by the hour, who don't necessarily get time off, from their boss, who have - don't have vaccines located in their communities, who don't take walk-in hours, there's still a number of people who it just needs to be easier.

So, I think one of the things that President announced today, walk-in hours, what he announced last week, tax credits to give people time- off, those things will help. It's not the entirety of the issue. But it certainly is part of the issue.

CUOMO: Now here's why I say that because, look, if this is a facet of systemic inequality, then you got to be very careful in creating preferences.


But if people do have access to it, and this is about just making it easier, then I don't understand why the full thrust of the effort isn't, "If you are vaccinated, you get preferences that others don't," like even in the list of things, working with private businesses, OK.

But how about like TSA lines, if people know, "If you're vaccinated, you get on one line at the airport. If you're not vaccinated, you're going to have to go in and get tested at the airport. And please come three hours to five hours before your flight?"

An incentive like that could make people who are on the fence think, "You know what? I know things are opening back up. But I need to get in there and get the vaccine." What do you think of that?

SLAVITT: I think carrots work. I think sticks are not what's appropriate right now. Other thing, the thing we have to understand, Chris, there's a bunch

of us, I think you're on that list, I'm on that list, to whom, getting a vaccination wasn't a tough decision. It was something we didn't need a lot of data, we didn't need a lot of consideration. We just did it.

For people like us, it's sometimes difficult to understand that there are a group of people, and Harry mentioned them, in his segment, that actually would just want more information.

They just take a little bit longer time making a decision. For them, this is a big decision. They don't necessarily want to feel like they're being manipulated, like a - like marionettes. They're not necessarily all pro-government.

What they want is they want information, and they want simplicity. Because, for them, it's not as clear. And so, they need to understand about the 150 million Americans that have been getting the vaccine. They need to understand that it's easier to get the vaccine.

And so, down the road, I'm sure those things you speak of will occur naturally. We're seeing in universities. We're seeing them in other places saying, "Really, you need to be vaccinated for all of us to be safe." But right now, we don't think that's the principal motivator.

CUOMO: Right. But I'm just saying that it has two outcomes. One is, OK, you don't want to force them. Great! But the people who have gone out, and gotten the vaccines, are waiting for them.

And you still got to wear a mask inside. The vaccine still doesn't make sense, in terms of "We thought this thing was supposed to be the magic. And we're not back to living any way we want. We're not really getting preferences, except business-by-business." So that group is waiting also.

And now you've got a new challenge, kids. Pfizer comes out and says 12 to 15, they are approved.

I have to tell you, even with me and my wife, she's vaccinated, I'm vaccinated, kind of knocked me sideways, but that's OK. I had COVID. I was expecting it. But with our kids, we're going to be a little bit, "I don't know." The big-shot, she's 18. She wants it. OK.

But that's a much bigger challenge. How do you expect to get that done anywhere near in time for school? And what happens if you don't? Can schools require it?

SLAVITT: Not only do we want to get it done in time for school, we want to get it done in time, so kids can really enjoy their summer activities, without having to worry, without having to wear masks. That's really what the goal will be.

Now obviously, we're going to wait for the FDA. And this is that - that comment shouldn't be interpreted as foreshadowing or even leaning on what the FDA should do. They'll make the decision based on the science. But if they do make the decision, parents say that one thing matters above all else to them. And I don't know if this is true for you and your wife. It's "What does the pediatrician say?"

CUOMO: Yes, it's all about safety.

SLAVITT: Pediatricians have been giving vaccines out for years.

CUOMO: Yes, it's all about safety.

SLAVITT: Right? Yes. And 90 percent of - yes. So, I think the pediatricians, who are going to actually be giving out the vaccines themselves, I've been studying this, we've been talking to them. We've been on phone calls with them, in anticipation of this. So, we are hopeful that this will be something that parents will look at, talk to their pediatrician, if they need to.

CUOMO: But you can't have schools require it, this fall?

SLAVITT: And then make a decision.

CUOMO: Right, Andy? You won't - you won't be ready.

SLAVITT: Well, I think the 12-year-olds to 15-year-olds, with any - with any luck, we have a very good shot at being able to vaccinate over the summer. And even younger groups than that, I think things are progressing pretty quickly. So, we'll have to see, we'll have to let it play out. But I'm optimistic.

CUOMO: Is there a chance that schools could require it for certain age groups that have had the opportunity?

SLAVITT: Well, my understanding is that these are local decisions. I also think we there - that it - my understanding is that it can't be required, until it goes from authorization to approval from the FDA. Now, people may remember that we have an Emergency Use Authorization.

And by the way, Chris, not just with kids, but more broadly, people expect that once the FDA goes through the final approval process, which is expected this summer that there will be a pretty significant increase in the number of people that take the vaccines, because that's the signal some people are waiting for.

Once that's done, then employers and schools and others, in consultation with their lawyers, et cetera, they have more options in terms of requiring the vaccine.

CUOMO: You'll still have a situation where the elementary kids, in all likelihood, aren't vaccinated.

SLAVITT: Very true.

CUOMO: So, there won't be any mandate there. But that middle-school, high-school--

SLAVITT: Of course. CUOMO: --there is - so if the locals decide, "Hey, we're going to mandate that you are vaccinated," is that something that you would think is a reasonable measure, if the access has been there, in their communities and catchment areas?


SLAVITT: Well, I'm not going to make policy on that now, because I don't have the authority to make policy on that.

But I do think that everybody is going to be in a situation where they just want things to be safe. And I think that - the one thing we know for sure, is it if you get vaccinated, life is safer for you.

There's one thing that everybody who has died of COVID has in common, virtually one - one thing that virtually everybody has in common, and that's it, they're not vaccinated. People, who are, vaccinated, one of the things that they have in common, is they're not dying from COVID, and they're not spreading COVID.

And kids may not be likely to die from COVID. But they are likely to get sick. And they are likely - they are - some of them get long-term illness, as you may know, I think, you know personally, and then they can certainly spread it to adults. So, we think parents will hopefully see that.

CUOMO: Well, Andy, I look forward to seeing how the new set of ambitions, the new set of directives, and messaging, helps on people that may just be slow to the approach, as you were saying, because that's probably your best chance to get the 35 million new ones, because, if this is a Red/Blue thing, for them, then, it's not going to happen. And if they're hesitant, that's one thing. If they're resistant, they may be stuck where they are.

So, I wish you luck for all of us. And I appreciate you being here.

SLAVITT: Thanks. And I just add text your ZIP code to GETVAX, G-E-T-V- A-X or VACUNA in Spanish, and that will tell you where to get your vaccine right near you.

CUOMO: Say it again. I didn't hear you.

SLAVITT: Yes. GETVAX, just text your ZIP code to GETVAX. And you will get an immediate list of three places near you that have a vaccine in stock right now.

CUOMO: I couldn't believe - I can't believe you didn't start with that!

Andy Slavitt, thank you very much. Be well.

SLAVITT: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right.

SLAVITT: All right. CUOMO: It's a - the eve of a big Supreme Court decision, OK? The so- called Supreme Court of Facebook, will they allow Trump back on the platform, after a nearly four-month ban?

Who are these people with this power to give Trump a voice again on social media, and how Trump tried to get ahead of the decision, in the most Trumpy way? We have our Tech Titan, next.









CUOMO: You think Trump should be allowed back on Facebook? You think it's better for him if he isn't, right, more that victimization that he loves to feed on the Right fringe? The question has sparked a heated debate between those who cry "Free speech" and others concerned about public safety.

Remember, Facebook suspended Trump's account after the January 6th Capitol riot, citing the risk of more inciting. Now, a decision is expected to be made tomorrow, but not by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Instead, it is by this independent Oversight Board, also known as the Supreme Court for Facebook. That's who makes a ruling.

Ahead of it, Team Trump announced the launch of what his pals, at Hate TV, are calling a new "Communications Platform." The fact, it's a blog, on his website. So, BS aside, what is to come? And what will it be based on?

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan joins me now.

Good to see you.


CUOMO: I am right, right? For all the hype, it's just a blog on the website, right?

O'SULLIVAN: Yes, absolutely right. It's a total distraction. It's a blog.

His adviser, Jason Miller has been boasting, threatening for a while that Trump's going to set up a social media platform. This is not it. The fact that they dropped this, the eve of this Facebook decision is maybe them trying to show that they can do something. But this is it's a blog, it's a website, it's not a platform.

CUOMO: I still think, and you and I can bet a pint on it, that he doesn't have the wherewithal to capitalize and come up with his own media entity. His play is going to be getting a piece of one of the already existing ones, on the Righty fringe, and them getting his face, and time there, and him getting a big equity stake.

But let's deal with the present. These people who are going to decide the Facebook situation, who are they, this 20 group independent panel?

O'SULLIVAN: They are very esteemed accomplished public intellectuals. There are human rights lawyers. There's the former Editor of "The Guardian" in London. There's 20 of them in total at the moment. They are basically being described as Facebook Supreme Court.

Why did this get set up? Well, because, Facebook got in a lot of trouble, in the past few years, making these decisions, what to do with Trump, what to not do with Trump, whether to take down false information, whether to leave it up.

So Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, got tired of making these decisions themselves, said "We shouldn't make these decisions, we should not have all this power," and they set up this Board, which they claim is independents. Whether it is or not, we will find out, I guess, in the coming months ahead.

But this - what the decision ultimately comes down to is should Trump be allowed back on the platform? And the two sides are one side is should the guy, the former president of the United States, who incited an Insurrection, using this platform, be allowed back on?

And what does that message and precedent does that then set for other world leaders or dictators that if you let the guy back on, are you essentially saying "Well, Erdogan, or somebody else, elsewhere in the world, and another world leader, you can incite violence, but you will not be permanently banned from this platform." That's one side of it.

The other side of it, and it's a legitimate argument, is to say, "Should Facebook have this power? Should Facebook no matter how bad or what a world leader is saying, should a private company have the power to shut down, as they did, at the time, a sitting President of the United States?"

CUOMO: Well a private company does. But as we know, what we're debating here is these aren't just like any other private company. How many of the 20 have to decide to make it so?


O'SULLIVAN: So that's a - that's a very good question. There has to be a majority so. But the Oversight Board is not actually telling us how many of their Board members are going to vote on this. We also, unlike the Supreme Court, we're not going to know who voted what way.

So there - and we also don't know how much these Oversight Board members are being paid, which ultimately is being paid by Facebook. The Facebook pays into a trust that they say is independent that funds this Board.

But so there's a lot of things that is not transparent about this Board, which is trying to strive for transparency.

CUOMO: While the media is not filled with as much of noxious Trumpism as it used to be, just look at Congress, for the amount of influence he still wields. This will be interesting.

Thank you for helping us understand better and more, Donie O'Sullivan.

O'SULLIVAN: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: So now, there's a window in to Trump's current influence, even if he's not on social media, Liz Cheney. The Grand Old Party, can it still be called that?

We have a prominent voice, who has faced similar heat, as Cheney, Cindy McCain, Author and, of course, widow of Senator John McCain, the Republican icon, the real Republican Party, what would her husband make of this? What does she? Next.









CUOMO: Trump has proven he does not have to be in office to be in control. Just ask Liz Cheney. Her time as number three in the House may be very short.

Longtime Trump supporter and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy is declaring he's had - oh, he's not declaring, we caught him on an open mic. And he said what he hasn't been saying publicly, which is he's had it with Cheney.

Why? Her criticism of the former president, and refusing to lie about January 6th, which is fundamental to the Trump narrative, "He can't have lost."

So, what does it mean for any non-Trumper, in the current GOP? And why even say non-Trumper? What does it mean for anybody who just doesn't want to lie about what was obvious to everybody who was alive on January 6th?

So, there's another woman, who has felt the Republican ire for speaking out against the 45th President, Cindy McCain. You know her, widow of Senator John McCain, an Author in her own right, brand-new book, "Stronger: Courage, Hope, and Humor in My Life with John McCain."

It is good to have you.


CUOMO: I miss the Senator ripping me to shreds before every interview I ever did with him.


CUOMO: And one of my favorite lines of his was, "Gee, I wish I was there," or "I wish you could just lean a little bit closer, so I could get a clean shot at your nose."

He had humor. But he had principle. And you knew that those were two things that you could count on.

Ms. McCain, do you think that you know, in your book, you said that you have hope that the Party can regenerate itself, and swing away from the disgrace it has become? I know you just wrote it.

But watching what's happened right now, can you still feel that way? Or do you think at least for now-ish this party is only going in the wrong direction?

MCCAIN: When John and I first started all of this, the Republican Party was really truly a wonderful place to be. It was the party of inclusion. It was the party of Abraham Lincoln, all the things that we know about it.

And I believe that even at the point that we're at right now, because we only have one way to go, and that's up, that the pendulum will swing, and we will regain what we have - have been good about, for so many years. I just have to believe that. And I believe that Republicans good - good moderate Republicans believe that too.

CUOMO: But they're being forced to be quiet, because the pendulum hasn't stopped swinging that one way.

You make another interesting point in the book about "Hey, you need more women in the game," right, which makes a lot more sense.

But you know what? Gender is not enough, because you have Boebert, and you have the QAnon lady. Not all ladies are the same as it turns out. And you see this Stefanik that's being groomed to take over for Liz Cheney? What does that tell you?

MCCAIN: Yes. Well, I think - I think our party does have to be careful in making sure that we are a party of inclusion, and that's not just women, but it's people of color, our gay folks, our folks that you know, folks of whatever gender they choose to be, all need to be a part and welcomed within our party. But we do need to be careful. We can't - it doesn't serve any good if we just oust someone, who's really is a good representative of the party.

CUOMO: But that's exactly what's happening right now. I mean, in a way you guys are kind of post-identity.

You can be whatever identity you want, as long as you go with what Trump said, which is that the lie of the election must stand. And it doesn't matter what you are, if you don't say that, you're going to be on the way out.

In fact, even what you say in the book, what you learned from John and Joe, meaning Biden, the President, of course, who was friends with your husband--

MCCAIN: Right.

CUOMO: --good friends, you got trouble on your hands. Cindy McCain, even with the pedigree of your family, and deservedly so, you can't talk about Joe Biden as being a good guy!

MCCAIN: Well, I have watched Joe and John work together, across the aisle, and the difference in those days were that they did it for the good of the country. Right now, we're seeing a party that is so misguided, that they're doing it for themselves, what's good for themselves.

We have got - as I said before, I truly believe that pendulum will swing back. I think we're going to - we're going to hit - hit some - hit some more bumpy roads, though along the way. Clearly, Trump's not going to let it go down easy.

CUOMO: If the Biden Administration offered you a position, would you consider taking it?

MCCAIN: I would serve in any capacity that if the President would ask me to do so, yes, I would.

CUOMO: OK, part of me, I didn't want to ask this question, because I didn't want to make trouble for you.


But I think in the interest of what you're talking about, people of good faith, who want to do the right thing, should not be held in check, by any kind of partisan affiliation. So, I just wanted you on the record for that.

I wish you well going forward. And I wish you well with the book.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

CUOMO: It is called "Stronger," and it's on sale right now.

MCCAIN: Thank you. CUOMO: Cindy McCain, I remember your husband well, and I wish your family all blessings.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Be well.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

CUOMO: We'll be right back.









CUOMO: By the way, I hear what you guys are telling me, on social media, and directly, and on the radio show, at SiriusXM, the POTUS Channel 124, 12 to 2 Eastern.

I get it that you're frustrated that you're vaccinated, and you're not able to do more of the things that you think you should be doing, and that now you don't like hearing that you have to wait for other people, and you don't want to see their feelings get hurt, because they want to go slow, but why should you have to wait. I get it all.

But these are hard decisions, and Biden will be measured by them. The question is will people take the vaccine, when things are reopening anyway? Let's put that question to the big show, and the big star, "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon.