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Sen. Mitch McConnell: "100 Percent Of My Focus" Is Stopping Biden; Facebook Oversight Board: Trump Will Remain Banned For Now; GOP State Lawmaker Praises Racist Three-Fifths Compromise. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 05, 2021 - 21:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Appreciate you, Coop. Thank you, very much.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

There is a proverb that some say came from Italy, but all of us know it to be true. And here it is. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." If you'll remember, we all had it cemented in our minds, as right, when a certain president reminded us by getting it wrong.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again.


CUOMO: Look, now we all know the proverb, OK? And in fact, that former president George W. Bush is among one of the few Republicans left, who get the reality that his party is in a position of doubling down on a bad thing, a toxic tailspin.

And it is time for all of us, especially the Democrats, to realize that they are about to get bitten by the Minority Party again, and they need to figure out what to do about it. I want you to remember, 2010, then Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, made it clear what his mission was, as it pertained to President Obama.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Our top political priority, over the next two years, should be to deny President Obama a second term.


CUOMO: And he meant it. People didn't believe it. They thought it was just talk.

Today, he said it again, what is his mission with respect to President Biden. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL: 100 percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.


CUOMO: This is why I say "Don't pet the snake." And you know who knows all of this, and yet seems like he is willing to pet the Python again? The man who was Obama's Vice President for all that, President Biden, listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: He said that in our last administration, with Barack, he was going to stop everything, and I was able to get a lot done with him.


CUOMO: Was he? I mean, the President may be right on some essentials. But on the big ticket items that this president, Biden, now wants, let's remind.

McConnell killed Obama's jobs plan. Never happened! Obama's infrastructure plan never happened. No to comprehensive immigration reform. Universal background checks never happened, even with Aurora, Sandy Hook, Charleston, the Pulse nightclub tragedy.

He never held a hearing for Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court, and refused to fill more than 100 other judgeships. He then flipped the rule, when they had power back. And we know what happened with the Supreme Court, and we know what's happened with the judgeships.

Look, Biden should get this, because he gets what the impetus for all this obstinance is. The party is all-in on opposing Biden as a way to show fealty to Trump, and the President knows it. Listen.


BIDEN: They're in the midst of a significant, sort of, mini- revolution.

I don't ever remember any like this.

We badly need a Republican Party. We need a two-party system. It's not healthy to have a one-party system. And I think the Republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought they would be at this point.


CUOMO: Now first, not only is he right that you need two parties, but I think it's time for a real conversation about whether we should have three, four or five legitimate parties, and have more stakeholders in our representative base of government. But that's not right now. Right now, we're in a crisis.

Biden is right, which is why he and the Democrats need to figure out how to get things done, and fast, or they will be fooled again.

Instead of moving toward compromise, the GOPQ or the Re-Trump-licans, whatever you want to call them, they're becoming more intent on "Us" and "Them," no "We," the politics of lie, defy and deny.

You know what we're all watching right now, the latest illustration, Liz Cheney, the number three in the House, right, of VP Cheney pedigree, now getting ousted, why, refusing to advance the big lie about the election. That's all. That's all it's taking.

The current number three, she just put out a response tonight, in this effort to stop the party from purging her from leadership. "We're at a turning point. We got to remember our values. We got to remember our principles." It's going to fall on deaf ears, why, because this is all about being square with Trump and what he wants.


Now, on the outside, the same Re-Trump-licans, who are trying to silence Cheney, by taking away her right to speak, as a leader, are crying victim that their speech is being silenced by Big Tech. You see? This is what motivates their opposition. They attack, but then play the victim.

They're now crying about Facebook, that the Oversight Board ruled to keep on banning Trump, over the big lie, and inciting a violent insurrection, with the caveat that a permanent decision needs to be made within six months.

We're going to get into it and deeply tonight. Why? Why? Is being online, in this platform, Facebook or any of them, is it a right or a privilege? Is it their rules, or is it yours, or is it somebody else's? We're going to take that on, and we have a key player.

But first things first, we have the main Democrat to talk to, in discussing what to do about the GOP double down on blocking a Democrat president, Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia.

Good to see you, Senator. They won't know it by your name, but they should know it by your good looks, and your heritage, you have Italian--


CUOMO: --Italian blood in you. You know this proverb.


CUOMO: Do you think that your party is being set up to be fooled again by Mitch McConnell?

MANCHIN: I don't think so. I really don't. And, first of all, Chris, it's always good to be with you. And next of all, I don't. And I'll give you a few examples.

The Hate Crimes bill we just passed, two weeks ago, 94 to 1, I don't think there was a Democrat in Congress, or a Senator in Congress, or especially in the Senate that thought that that would pass, but 94 to 1.

We had an amendment process on the floor. I commend Chuck Schumer for allowing the amendments to be on the floor. The Republicans put their amendments up, which would have altered the bill. They fielded those amendments. We voted on the bill in its entirety, and it passed.

I'll take you clear back to 2013 - when was it, 2013 or 2015, I think? No, no, I'm sorry. 2017, John McCain at that time, they were trying to get, under President Trump, trying to do away with Affordable Care Act. And they voted that down, didn't do it.

So, I still have confidence, and I have faith that we will come together. I have faith that democracy will survive. But it can only survive, as the republic that we know here that we live in, is if there's a two-party system, at least a two-party system, but also a Senate that has minority input.

And I'll remind you again, there was every year, since Donald Trump was president, every year, he tried to pressure my Republican colleagues to get rid of the filibuster, so they could pass overreaching, overwhelming bills that would not be good for our country. I didn't think so. And they pushed back on that. And we're talking to a group of them right now. We continue to have good dialog.

So whatever Mitch McConnell - Senator McConnell, I'm sorry, from Kentucky, said, as you just - I just heard, I don't know what his reasoning is for that. But I can assure you, there are Republicans working with Democrats to want to make something happen and something--

CUOMO: But will they vote? Just for some context that you laid out in the history, McCain was the one vote that stood before - between Trump getting what he wanted, and not.


CUOMO: There was one soul of conscience. And I take your - so I don't see that as working together. But I do agree with you about process. I think it's the right thing to do--


CUOMO: --to put it into committee, have the amendments, see the markup, because then--


CUOMO: --you allow good faith of process that, is, minority involvement, as envisioned by the Founding Fathers, with respect to the Senate. The filibuster was not. You know your history. That comes out of Jim Crow. And even though the great senator from your state-- MANCHIN: Right.

CUOMO: --was one of the authors of how to use it--


CUOMO: --it was not from the Founding Fathers. It's not in the document. And it arguably has never been used to make anything great happen, in this country.

MANCHIN: Well, I think my argument - my argument to you on this, and for the sake of discussion, the Senate was designed to be different. I think you'll agree on that.


MANCHIN: And Bob Byrd used to - Robert C. Byrd used to explain to me because when I was Governor, we were talking. He was a great mentor, and a great friend. And I said, "Senator, I don't know much about this Senate. Explain to me that why is the Senate so different?"

He said, Joe, the best way for me to explain it is that why does every state, can you imagine little state of Rhode Island, little state of Connecticut, I mean, of Delaware, having the same representation in the great body of the Senate, as California or New York, all these larger, much larger states, and landmass and population. There's a reason for that.

So, how all this has evolved in some of these rules, I don't know, I mean, the intent of why they would have done Jim Crow is not acceptable. It wasn't acceptable, then. It's not acceptable now at all. And I think that we have to have a process.

But also, I think you have to have minority. If not, then what we have is basically chaos. What goes around comes around here. I've been in minority. It's not fun in the minority, I can assure you.

But, on the other hand, we had some opportunity to stop some things that basically we didn't think that would be good for America. That was what our position was and--

CUOMO: Listen, I hear you about that. And I do think you're right, that look--


CUOMO: And all due respect to your party, I don't think you guys played power politics as well as the other side.


And I think that if you were to get rid of the filibuster, McConnell would use it against you guys, when he gets back in power. And it's only a matter of time in a way that you never even thought of using it. So, I hear you on that and yet--

MANCHIN: Well he could have used it already.

CUOMO: But I'm just saying--

MANCHIN: Chris, he could have used it (ph).

CUOMO: --Senator, right now, you have infrastructure, you have needs for families, you have a lot of gross deficits that you're dealing with, there's a chance that you get none of it passed. Forget about background checks or anything like that. None of them--

MANCHIN: Let's see what we've done already, Chris.

CUOMO: Yes, sir.

MANCHIN: Look what we've done. $1.9 trillion, look what we did last year, in all bipartisan way. Look, what we've done this year. We didn't do it with bipartisan way. But we did it.

CUOMO: Right.

MANCHIN: Because it needed to be done with the Pandemic that we had. We did it at $1.9 trillion. We did have input from the--

CUOMO: But you didn't do it bipartisan.

MANCHIN: No, we had a process of bipartisanship, to a certain extent. I wish there would have been.

CUOMO: But then no votes.

MANCHIN: But there wasn't. But there was one - well, we never - we didn't try. We had some votes as far as in the - in the process--

CUOMO: But they went through the reconciliation process, Senator, as you know.

MANCHIN: --that we were going through with amendments.

CUOMO: You went through reconciliation because they weren't going to work with you on it. McConnell had it--

MANCHIN: Yes, but then basically we--

CUOMO: --locked down.

MANCHIN: Then we did the Hate Crimes bill. And we went through a process where we had amendments on the floor.

Let the bills go through. Let's look at this infrastructure bill, truly on traditional infrastructure, and then one on human infrastructure, and basically look at the pay for ruling to (ph).

CUOMO: And what if none of the Republicans will vote--

MANCHIN: Let it go through the committees.

CUOMO: --at the end of it? Would you reconsider how to get it done, because you know--

MANCHIN: Well they'll vote this--

CUOMO: --how important it is?

MANCHIN: Well, then - then you have to basically look at what package we put forth that was reasonable, that basically everybody had input. And even if we made adjustments, let's say with amendments, and at the end of the day, they don't vote for it, then, we'll have another discussion then.

CUOMO: So you're open to another discussion, if they show bad faith after you give them due process?

MANCHIN: Well, you're talking about reconciliation. You're talking about starting out with reconciliation--

CUOMO: No, I'm not.

MANCHIN: --where there's very little input.

CUOMO: No, I'm not.

MANCHIN: There's very little movement there.

CUOMO: I have - I had argued your point consistently. I think you guys are making a mistake by forcing the process, and allowing them to claim high ground, and saying, "Look, they won't even let us look at these bills. They give us no input." I think you should have the amendment.

MANCHIN: We got Joe Biden - Joe--

CUOMO: I think you should have the markups in committee.


CUOMO: Go ahead, sir.

MANCHIN: We agree on that. Joe Biden has got more done in 100 days than--

CUOMO: But not with them.

MANCHIN: --I think any president in my time that I can recall.

CUOMO: Not with them.

MANCHIN: Basically, he got more done. He's put a plan out there. And he got more done.

CUOMO: But not with them.

MANCHIN: And we got it done, OK?

CUOMO: But not with them. MANCHIN: And we're moving in the right direction. Well you've heard--

CUOMO: Not with them.

MANCHIN: --but you've heard Joe Biden. He wants it to work. It will work.

CUOMO: But they don't want it to work.

MANCHIN: I know it will work. I have all the conference and faith.

CUOMO: He just told you, "I'm stopping the administration." He just said it to you, Senator.

MANCHIN: You don't know. You don't--

CUOMO: He just said it.

MANCHIN: That was one person.

CUOMO: He's the head.

MANCHIN: That's one person.

CUOMO: He's the leader.

MANCHIN: He doesn't - he is not controlling all of that. I can assure you, we would not be having the discussions. There wouldn't be an offer on the table, $500 billion, or $600 billion, of infrastructure, some in starting point, which I think is a good starting point.

Let's look at what we've done. We've got to hold ourselves accountable, and responsible. Let's make sure that the numbers we're putting out there is really going to--

CUOMO: I have no problem with you guys being fiscally responsible about it.

MANCHIN: --do something that's going to be concrete for us.

CUOMO: But I would ask you one thing. I've heard you talk to me about Senator Byrd a couple of times about how the Senate was set up to have a minority be part of the power play. And I understand that.

However, I don't know that they envisioned where you are in the Senate today, where you guys are 50/50. But 50, on the Right, are representing about 20 percent of the country. It's so skewed. And that 20 percent has such extreme views, that that's why you have this party in disarray the way it is.

You have 70 percent of the Republican Party--

MANCHIN: Well, those people--

CUOMO: --saying that Trump won, that Biden didn't win. You really think that that's the kind of setup-- MANCHIN: That - and that is that's--

CUOMO: --where they'll work with you?

MANCHIN: Well, that's a horrible situation. And basically, the extremes, on both sides, there's people on both sides saying that we have 20 percent on each side, or 30 percent on each side, that's extreme. OK?

With that being said, you've got to find the middle. The middle has been eroded. We're trying to bring it back to where there's compromise, you can sit and talk, and give and take, and come up with a piece of legislation. You're not going to get 100 percent of everything.

Joe Biden understands this Senate better than anybody. I've got confidence and faith that he understands it, and he'll help us make it work. He's given us some openings now. He said, try to make it work. Have some votes. If you don't like it, vote it down, but at least get in the process. And that's all I'm trying to do.

CUOMO: I have no problem with the process.

MANCHIN: Trying to get the process to work.

CUOMO: I'm just assuming that there's going to be--

MANCHIN: Let's start the work then.

CUOMO: --there's going to be bad faith. But I'm all about the process being played out. I don't think it should be a force of reconciliation. I've never suggested that.

And I appreciate you being here. I look forward to seeing the process play out, and get your views, as it moves along. I appreciate your candor, Senator. Thank you.

MANCHIN: Sure. And you're welcome. You know this, Chris that we're all--

CUOMO: All right, God bless and be well.

MANCHIN: Well thank you, my friend, enjoyed being with you.

CUOMO: Always, a pleasure.


All right, so now, another way to look at why we have the tension within the Right that we have right now, OK? This big lie thing is toxic. It is a poison. And it stems from this President's pattern of perfidy.

His perfect call with Ukraine's President, that's what got him impeached the first time, OK? That's what birthed, remember, the rigged election stuff? Remember, that's what it was about that there's fraud, and it's coming through, and Rudy's running around.

Now, we're going to get closer to the truth. Rudy Giuliani made a key call before the perfect call that Trump made, to the President of Ukraine. And it left a top adviser to President Zelensky in "A state of shock." Why?

That Ukrainian adviser is here tonight to tell us what Rudy was asking for and, more importantly, what if anything he was offering in exchange? Sure the FBI is listening, so should you. Next.









CUOMO: Will Rudy Giuliani and, maybe by extension, former President Bush face legal consequences for their political actions?

What did I say? Former President Trump, not Bush. I have him on my mind for the proverb. I shouldn't be fooled twice either.

So, the latest reporting is this. Rudy Giuliani's friends are pushing Donald Trump to pay the former mayor for his work on the big lie. Why? Well, one Giuliani is looking at a growing pile of legal bills. And it really is true that Trump is not necessarily great, when it comes to paying bills.

But also, this all started with what Giuliani told you himself he was doing, on this show, listen.


RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: I was investigating, going back to last year, complaints that the Ukrainian people, several people in Ukraine, they were trying to get to us, but they were being blocked by the Ambassador, who was an Obama appointee, in Ukraine, who was holding back this information.


CUOMO: Now, he's talking about Yovanovitch.

There are two things for you to remember in the setup to the interview we're about to do. One, there was never any shame in the Rudy-Trump game. They were

always open. Trump lied about it a little bit in the beginning, but eventually owned that Rudy was there for him. And Rudy always said, Rudy Giuliani, "I was there to get them to do things, to find out what he believed they had on Biden." OK? Remember that.

Now, the only reason that the FBI gets permission to search Giuliani's apartment is to see who he was working with in Ukraine. My next guest is uniquely situated to help answer those questions, because he was on the phone, when Giuliani tried to push his conspiracies to and on the Ukrainians.

Igor Novikov is now former adviser to Ukraine President Zelensky, and joins us now.

Igor, thank you for joining us.


CUOMO: So, is it accurate, that Rudy Giuliani was initiating the requests and feeding Ukraine's President, and others, in authority, in Ukraine, what he wanted to be true about, then former VP Biden and his son?

NOVIKOV: Well the, first of all, the transcript is out there. So, I mean, we can actually assess Rudy Giuliani's intentions, in his own words. That's issue number one.

Issue number two, yes, we obviously got the sense that he was pressing hard to, to get not only those investigations started, but to make a lot of public statements.

So to - I kind of, to me, it felt more about public statements than investigations. I felt like he had something already, whether it was Russian disinformation, or whatever, and he just wanted Ukrainian officials to validate that.

And plus, he threatened our national security and many other in a peculiar way. So, I think "Time Magazine" will be running a story next week--

CUOMO: Right.

NOVIKOV: --about his involvement with a major defense contractor, and the acquisition of it. And it was actually lobbied on behalf of some American investors by the infamous Mr. Derkach, who's a - who's been designated as a Russian asset, Russian agent, so.

CUOMO: By U.S. Intel as well.

NOVIKOV: Yes, there's plenty to that rabbit hole.

CUOMO: And this was something that Rudy Giuliani knew.

NOVIKOV: Yes. CUOMO: But let's - let's do this step by step.


CUOMO: One, Rudy comes to you and says, "I would like it if Ukraine's President or the government puts out certain statements about Biden." That's what you just said.

You also said that he made certain threats about your national security. Was there a quid and a quo here? Was he asking for something? And was he offering something?

NOVIKOV: Well, if we're talking about the conversation that happened on July 22nd, I would say that was an attempt to the quid pro quo. So basically, he was asking for investigations, and public statements, and many other things.

And in return, towards the end of the conversation, he mentions that that would make it possible for him to go and speak with President Trump, to solve a problem that he admits to kind of putting in President Trump's head. So, I mean, that's pretty much the gist of our conversation.

And to kind of, to assess the level to which he's threatened our national security, let me remind you, we're a country fighting an active war with Russia, for many years.

So anything to do with swapping favors within our bilateral relationship, in exchange for trying to get us involved into U.S. domestic politics, is just ,wrong on many levels, morally, ethically, and probably even legally.

CUOMO: So as far as you know--

NOVIKOV: So that was what happened there.


CUOMO: --Ukraine's President, and none of the people in power in the government, went to Rudy and said, "We have truth about the Bidens that needs to come out?"

NOVIKOV: Definitely no one from the Zelensky administration, at least initially. I mean, we had some people, obviously.

Rudy was tempting a lot of people. So, I am familiar with a few cases, when people got tempted, and tried to flirt with him. But I would say that initially, no, nobody from Zelensky's administration approached them - him with that information, I mean.

CUOMO: Now, the big political play for Rudy, vis-a-vis Ukraine, involved, then Ambassador Yovanovitch. He wanted her out. And as he said to me, on national, world, television, he didn't like that she was in the way, and she was an Obama appointee, et cetera, et cetera.

What was your experience with then Ambassador Yovanovitch? And was she someone that Ukraine wanted removed?

NOVIKOV: Well, Ukraine, I mean, I didn't have the pleasure of meeting her, because I joined the team, after she left, unfortunately. But from what I've heard, from people who worked with her, and knew her that, it was a definite loss for Ukraine, and for our bilateral relationship.

And there's more to this story, because I've had a couple of conversations with people, from the President's inner circle, and there was a lot of negativity towards Ambassador Yovanovitch.

And when we kind of dug deeper, it turned out there was no basis for that negativity. So, it was a question of who was feeding that as well. So, I mean, there are many mysteries left unsolved in this whole story.

CUOMO: Who do you think was feeding Giuliani information other than Derkach, who, again, is somebody that the United States Intel agencies believe is a Russian agent?

NOVIKOV: Well, initially, we have the duo of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. To my knowledge, to my factual knowledge, they approached numerous members of Zelensky's inner circle.

And Lev Parnas was present in the meeting with Andrii Yermak, then aide to President Zelensky, and now his Chief of Staff, in Madrid, the infamous meeting. Unfortunately, I was supposed to go to that meeting, but so happens, I didn't.

So although initially we kind of we had this game plan that, when it comes to Rudy Giuliani, there'll always be two people present, so we had the witness. But Madrid, unfortunately, it turned out the other way, so it was just Andrii Yermak.

Then once Parnas and Fruman got indicted, we had substitutes join the playing field. So, we had Andrii Artemenko and Andrii Derkach and obviously, a deputy called Mr. Dubinsky, as well. But to my knowledge, he wasn't playing as much of an active role as Derkach and Artemenko.

CUOMO: You mentioned earlier, Mr. Giuliani's potential involvement in a defense contracting firm. "Time Magazine," a lot of people are reporting on it.

But in terms of what you know, or have heard, or believe is credible as a suggestion, the idea that Giuliani may have been engaged in undisclosed foreign lobbying, either for officials in Ukraine, or business interests in Ukraine, at the same time that he was seeking the ouster of the U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch, do you believe that those are questions worth pursuing? And do you have any reason to believe that?

NOVIKOV: Well, I definitely think that worth pursuing. I mean, I wouldn't go as far as to evaluate them, because I don't have enough legal backgrounds - backgrounds within legal profession to kind of to assess it. But definitely, that episode needs to be pursued further, as are a couple of other episodes. So the defense contractor acquisition needs to be looked at.

The Derkach tapes, the infamous Derkach tapes need to be looked at, because I mean, that was a definite attempt to get Ukraine, once again, one - another attempt to get us involved into U.S. domestic politics. And thank God, we - and we contained that threat as well, again.

CUOMO: Are you open to working with the United States Department of Justice?

NOVIKOV: I said it publicly, as long as I can do it within my legal limits, as a Ukrainian citizen and as long as it's non-partisan, non- political.

So it's a criminal investigation of something that I believe, threatened kind of our national security, threatened the security of our relationship, and I think, to a degree, security, in Europe, in general, given Russia's aggressive moves towards Ukraine, and towards in other countries, I would say yes, I definitely would.

CUOMO: Igor, one last question, quickly. Why now? Why are you speaking out now?


NOVIKOV: Well, I mean, I've - people ask me that question many times. So, let me give you this answer. I mean, I'm a former adviser, so I can speak truthfully, honestly, and without any correction for my political views.

So, I'll tell you this. Look, I mean put yourself in our shoes. What happened to us on that phone call, on the perfect phone call after that, with all the pressure that we experienced, I mean, we did nothing to displease Mr. Giuliani, and that still happened to us. Can you imagine what would have happened to my country, if we pushed back?

CUOMO: Understood.

NOVIKOV: Before the election was over.

CUOMO: Understood. I don't like it, but I understand it. And from your perspective, I understand it. Mr. Novikov, thank you very much for coming on the show tonight, and good luck going forward.

NOVIKOV: Thank you.

CUOMO: Now--

NOVIKOV: Thank you very much.

CUOMO: --that is a big reason why the federal government is investigating Rudy Giuliani. That perspective of what he was doing there does not square with what he wanted us to believe and what former President Trump wanted us to believe. What will they be able to prove? We'll see.

Now, on another level of controversy, Trump is no longer on Facebook, for at least another six months. That's what their Board decided. Is that the right choice?

Let's bring in a congressman, who is in the center of this controversy, Congressman Ro Khanna, of California. His district located in the heart of Silicon Valley, but the issues matter very much to him.

Was this the right move? And what's the next move? Next.









CUOMO: You know the headline by now. Former president Trump is still banned from Facebook for at least six more months. So Trump and Co., and many on the Right, are crying "Big Tech Tyranny! Free speech! Free speech!"

First, look at the most popular sites, and posts, on Facebook, OK? When it comes to politics, most of the top ones that get the most wattage are all from the Right. So, I don't know what they're complaining about.

But also, I don't know what they're complaining about legally. The First Amendment doesn't say nobody can tell you what to say ever anywhere. It's about the government, right? You've read it. The government may make no law restricting your speech.

But this is a business. So, is this OK? Is it OK, even with an official, let alone a president? Or is Facebook and the other social media platforms different than other businesses?

This is a long conversation. But let's stick to this specific instance right now. Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna, whose district is right in the heart of Silicon Valley, but he cares about this issue. And it is something we'd have to deal with.

You believe this was the right call for Facebook. But let's talk about why. Do you believe that they are just like any other business, and they are entitled to judge service as a privilege? And as long as it's not a protected class that they're excluding, they can say "No shirts, no shoes, no service."

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Chris, yes, as long as they're being consistent about it. And, as you pointed out, the top sites on Facebook are all conservative sites, Ben Shapiro, Sean Hannity, Fox News. They're not discriminating based on viewpoint.

Here, they're making a judgment that they don't want speech that's going to incite violence that led to the death of a police officer. I think that's perfectly appropriate.

CUOMO: Now, people will say, "Well, they're a publisher." I don't get it. I don't see it legally, because CNN, Time Magazine, these are publishers, in terms of how the law sees them, because they control the content.

This place, they just basically own the building, Facebook, right, metaphorically, and then anybody can come in there. And they don't know who's saying what. They wouldn't be able to check it in real- time.

So, what do you think is the right fix to balance people's interests in what they're exposed to, and the interest of the business to run a business?

KHANNA: I think you need more competition. You should have not just Facebook, where you have Zuckerberg and one Board making a decision. You should have multiple social media sites. And that's why I thought the merger of WhatsApp and Instagram was unfortunate.

Look, Chris, if you told someone "Ro Khanna is a horrible guest. My ratings go down. I never want him on the show again," I don't have any First Amendment right to protest. I could write letters. People could complain. But ultimately, it's your decision. And it's ultimately Facebook's decision. We just don't want them to be a monopoly.

CUOMO: Because you want to have people to have alternatives, if you don't like their rules, because at the end of the day, legally, you believe as it stands without legislation, it is a privilege to be on there. It's not a right. Even if you're a president, even if you're a congressman, that they can prescribe what you're saying, are you OK with that?

KHANNA: Actually, if you're a president, or a congressman, you have a lot of other venues and avenues. The bigger risk is if you're just an ordinary citizen.

And I think that's why they said, "We have to be very careful before permanent de-platforming," and I thought that was judicious, because you don't want a situation, where many people could be platformed - de-platformed, for life. But yes, they have the right to make these determinations, as long as they're being consistent.

CUOMO: What do you think happens next? Do you think there's any chance that there will be a move to legislate what can and can't be done there?

KHANNA: I do. I think we have to be very careful in reforming Section 230. But here's what I think we can do.

If a court finds that there is speech that is inciting violence that's actually going to lead to a threat that's actionable, then I think the court should be able to order these social media sites to take it down. That's not the current law.

CUOMO: Ro Khanna, thank you very much. There's more conversation to be had. As we see what happens next, you're always welcome here to make the case. And thank you.

KHANNA: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

Now many on the Right, are arguing something else, when it comes to what's real and what isn't. "There is no systemic racism in America."

There are far too many who don't understand what racism is. And one of them, I think, is a lawmaker from Tennessee. Our job is to expose and oppose injustice. That will happen here, next.









CUOMO: I hope you get why I harp on the "Big lie" as much as we do on the show here. I know it's easy to show that it is a big lie many different ways. But it's because the big lie is an "And." It's not an end in itself.

This isn't just about warping reality with the election. It's about warping reality. Period! They get you on that, then, it's easier to get you on the next thing, rewriting history. Why do I say this, such an ugly suggestion? Because it's happening.

This Tennessee State Representative, Justin Lafferty, he suggested that the infamous, and it is infamous, not famous, infamous, notorious, Three-Fifths Compromise was actually a good thing.


STATE REP. JUSTIN LAFFERTY, (R) TENNESSEE: The Three-Fifths Compromise was a direct effort to ensure that Southern states never got the population necessary to continue the practice of slavery everywhere else in the country.

By limiting the number of population in the count, they specifically limited the number of representatives that would be available in the slaveholding states, and they did it for the purpose of ending slavery.


CUOMO: That would be true if Three-Fifths applied to all men, then it would have been a move to put in a formula, to reduce participation, and value of the same. And then he would be right. But that's not what they did. They only did it for Black men.

The worst part, he walked off the House floor unchallenged and to applause.


Now, this is not the first time we've heard this from the Right. Glenn Beck, 2010, to another lawmaker, just two weeks ago, in Colorado.


REP. RON HANKS, (R) COLORADO DISTRICT 60: The Three-Fifths Compromise, of course, was an effort by non-slave states to not - to try to reduce the amount of representation that the slave states had. It was not impugning anybody's humanity.


CUOMO: What does it do to tell somebody they are three-fifths of a person, and not every person, only Black persons? Come on!

Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, said enslaved people were three-fifths of all other persons. You know why? Because it was about keeping them unequal.

Just think about how high that is, in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 2! It was in the second part behind "Legislative powers being vested in Congress." That's above your rights. It's above the amendments, free speech, freedom of religion. Those are all add-ons.

It wasn't about ending slavery. Historians say it did the opposite. It sanctioned - it sanctioned it at a new level, a national level.

What this comes down to is power, and they wanted Black people to have less. The South only wanted enslaved Blacks to count to boost their voting number at a time only White land-owning men could vote. Why? More money from the Feds, more representation in Congress, more power.

Northern states didn't want the South to be too powerful. And so, they compromised. The result, America's original sin was put into its most sacred document, the Constitution.

Why is it being brought up now? A half dozen are taking up measures that would ban or limit the teaching of systemic racism in their curriculums. It is a literal attempt to whitewash history for the purposes of power. This is why you have in the vernacular, "History or His story," meaning the story of the White man that wants to whitewash what was done.

Now, on the back of an election that they lost, because a lot of people came out, who don't usually come out, and a lot of them weren't White, and in the middle of a reckoning with race, this is their front. Culture war. "You're being lied to as White people. You're being made to feel shame that you shouldn't."

Lafferty's office didn't respond to multiple messages from CNN, seeking comment. I would have had him on tonight to have this. During his speech, he admitted he hadn't looked up the Three-Fifths Compromise, before delivering his remarks, saying he was "Rolling off of memory here."

Let's take it to the better minds. How do you change minds in America? How do you deal with this? What is the context? What is the move? Good people, good minds, next.









CUOMO: The Three-Fifths Compromise is coming out of conservative faces again, and as a good thing! Why? Let's bring Van Jones and Ashley Allison in right now, to discuss.

Allison? Ashley Allison, let me start with you about this. Why now? And what does it mean?


The Three-Fifths Compromise was really the first time or one of the first times America said "Black lives didn't matter." It was an example that Black lives did not have the same value, in the people, who had power, at that time, as their White counterparts. And so, it is connected.

Lafferty, who made these comments, and these other representatives, who made these comments, they are connected to the big lie. It's a lie that the Three-Fifths Clause was what Lafferty said it was. It's a lie that it was an effort to end slavery.

We know that the Three-Fifths Clause actually gave Southern slave states more power and more representation, exploiting Black bodies. But it also is connected to the voter suppression attacks that we see in this country, the discrediting of the election that Trump is continuing to push.

So, I'm not surprised that it's coming up now, because it's all connected in an effort to whitewash history, and continue to perpetuate the big lie.

CUOMO: I make no joke Van, about Lafferty and laughable because this isn't funny. It's dangerous. And it's being echoed. Now, what do you think they want to get out of it?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I just think that - first, let me just echo my colleague. I mean, it's literally ludicrous. And he said that this was an attempt to end slavery. Well, it took 90 years afterwards. So, if that's what they were trying to do, they were really bad at their job.

Worse than that, you know how bad the Three-Fifths Compromise was? Go to the Jefferson Memorial, and read in marble and stone, his words.

Jefferson says, "I tremble for my country, when I reflect that God is just." And his reflection on the failure of this country, as a slave- owner, to abolish slavery, is that profound. He says he trembles for America. He thought.

Now why should we feel better about the Constitution than Jefferson did, when he was there to help write it?

Why is this party so interested in trying to polish this up? It's because they don't want to deal with the present. They don't want to deal with the fact that you have an African American community that is mobilizing, that is voting, that is exercising our full humanity.

And I'm a ninth-generation American, by the way, wants our family's history to be reflected, in the history of the country. And that makes them uncomfortable in the present. So they go back and come up with ludicrous, ludicrous stuff.

The Founders themselves called it a compromise. They didn't say this is some great thing. When you're saying something, "Well, here's the compromise"--

CUOMO: Right.

JONES: --that's probably means it's not that awesome.

CUOMO: Well--

JONES: And so, it's - that's where we are.

CUOMO: True. Last word, to you, Ashley, within the context of this. "It was a compromise for White people." JONES: Exactly.


CUOMO: It's easy to compromise when it's not you who's going to get sliced as a fraction of your own humanity. So, what is the move now? How is this to be responded to?

ALLISON: Well, I think one of the most important things we have to do is call out lies, and call out a whitewashing of history when we see it.

People sometimes criticize progressives, or activists, or protesters, who want to demand justice, and not wait, and not let it linger, but to address it, head on. We have to do it in our education system.

I'm a former teacher. And when I was teaching my students, even when conversations were challenging, we have to be courageous and bold.

The people who are pushing this are elected officials. They are supposed to be our leaders. And they are failing the children that they're supposed to be leading this country for. They're failing their constituents. And they're failing our country.

So, we have to address it head on. We cannot turn a blind eye when we hear things like this being pushed.

CUOMO: I hear you.

ALLISON: And I think one of the conversations that's been raised right now is the addressing it through a critical race theory lens, and being comfortable with saying "Racism was a part of this country's origin story," and it still exists in this country.

CUOMO: Continues today.

ALLISON: And you can't be afraid to talk about it.

CUOMO: That's why we're here. Thank you for exposing and opposing.

Ashley Allison, good to have you.

Van Jones, always a pleasure, brother. Thank you.

We'll be right back.