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District Attorney: Deputies "Justified" In Shooting Andrew Brown Jr.; Arizona Auditors Found Files They Claimed Were Deleted; NY Attorney General Adds "Criminal Capacity" To Probe Of Trump Org. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 18, 2021 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: That's it for us. The news continues. Want to hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right Anderson, thank you very much. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

You got to put your eyes on Elizabeth City, North Carolina tonight. Demonstrators were on the streets. And it is because of today's decision by the district attorney the deputies were justified in the deadly shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.


Meaning officers had a reasonable fear that Brown was trying to seriously hurt, or even kill them, or somebody near them. The prosecutor suggested it was all fairly obvious.


ANDREW WOMBLE, PASQUOTANK COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Mr. Brown's death, while tragic, was justified, because Mr. Brown's actions cause three deputies with the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office to reasonably believe it was necessary to use deadly force, to protect themselves and others.


CUOMO: And then the District Attorney said the tapes tell the story.

And I will show you what he showed us, in these boxes, four different vantage points, of edited clips that the public could record. But nothing was given, and nothing more was offered despite many angles, and officers wearing cameras.

And that's the way it will stay, for now, thanks to this odd state law, restricting public access to police footage, a case that cries out for transparency is being cast in doubt by the lack of it tonight.

Now, I know emotions will run high, and it serves no interest to have any violence, by anyone, on the streets, in that city or anywhere else tonight. But the outrage is understandable. And the best way to engage it is to look at what the D.A. said and what he showed, as proof of his conclusion, and see if it makes sense. The D.A.'s conclusion means that there is not even probable cause, from all the facts and circumstances available. And that's just about the lowest standard of proof in the criminal system that there's not enough, even to meet that burden, to suggest that officers may have done the wrong thing here.

What is the basis for that assessment? Video. Now, some of you might find it disturbing. But, as I always say, the whole situation is disturbing. If you want to understand it, watch for yourself. And here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go, go, go.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go! Let's go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop! Stop the car!








UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey? Turn that down (ph).




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get him out (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) gunshot wound.


CUOMO: Do you see a reasonable threat to the officers that warranted the use of deadly force? Do you see non-compliance? Absolutely. But what about what followed? Was what followed reasonable under the circumstances? Remember, the standard is not, and will never be, and can never be, comply or die, OK?

So, let's look at one moment that the prosecutor points to as a life- and-death danger to the officers. Here's how he describes it. A deputy is trying to open Brown's car door. He lost his grip, when Brown backed up. And the D.A. claims the deputy was yanked across the hood in that moment. That's his description.

Let's see another bodycam view that he uses as justification.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, go, go, go.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me see your hands! Let me see your hands! Hey? Hey?



CUOMO: You didn't see it, right? Let's watch it again, in slo-mo, OK?


CUOMO: Now what we're seeing, what am I highlighting for you? That's the deputy's hand. It did brush across the hood. Brown did back up, while he was doing that. Now let's play it again.

Do you see where the District Attorney comes up with, and he rolls across the hood? Did you see that?


CUOMO: You know what the D.A. is describing was scene that you see in a movie, where, as the bad guy tries to get away, the good guy tries to stop him, and he goes over the front of the car. Did you see that?

Brown isn't going very far, very fast, because he's blocked by his house, right? The District Attorney argues both that Brown was putting deputies at risk such that he was a reasonable threat of serious injury, enough to use deadly force, but that he was also trying to escape.


And it raises the question, having that, kind of, paradoxical sense of the situation, does the D.A. know that it is his job to investigate charges? Or does he think it's his job to defend the police from any such suggestion of charges? And I put it that way, because I want you to watch again, as Brown goes forward. The standard is they had to shoot to kill him because he was trying to hurt them.


CUOMO: Now, don't complain to me about "Well I can't see the angles." The D.A. has access to all the footage, from all of those officers, who were there, and all the different angles. And this is what he chose to show.

If anything, it must be assumed that the D.A. believes this is the most self-serving evidence, to support his own judgment that no charges are warranted, that this shooting had to happen the way it did. It was justified.

So, don't complain to me that "Well, I can't see it from that." I know. That's the point. That's the point. I see what you see, right? This isn't about expert eyeballs. He's driving away. Was he driving away in a way that made it reasonable to think that he was really trying to hurt one of the deputies?

Another close call! And yes - by the way, no, I do not think it's a close call. I'm saying the officers that were in front of the car, it's a close call. He moves. And they have to get out of the way. It's no question. But they move and they get out of the way.

Could he have run one of them over? I guess, if they didn't move. But they did. So, does that create a reasonable risk, in their mind, that they now have to use lethal force, against him, almost completely, while he is moving away, and cannot reasonably be argued to be a present threat?

Three of the seven deputies present decided that yes, what he did warranted them firing at him, while he was still there, moving away from them, and then as he continued to move, some 14 shots, many of them, after he was definitely driving away.

Listen for yourself.











CUOMO: Again, it's a simple question. Why did you fire? Did you fire when you did, and how you did, at whom you did, because you reasonably thought they were going to hurt you or somebody else?

Brown drives across the field, as he's being shot at. He winds up crossing a street, and stopping in a driveway. Everyone keeps yelling. But by all accounts, he is dying and no longer a threat. I mean, they don't know that. So, they're going to yell, as they come up, as they would, when they approach any situation like this.

But Brown is dying from his wounds, one to the shoulder, the other, to the back of his head. Meaning what? What you think, that he was shot as he was going away.

The bullet exploded into three pieces, which means without further investigation, you're not going to know whose bullet it was that killed him.

And that's not especially important at this point, because there seems to be no detailed analysis of what officer did what, and where there is any responsibility, for those actions being wrong, because the District Attorney just said it was all fine.

What we do know is that this was supposed to be a drug raid, on a local dealer, who the police know well enough to say, "Hey, you know, this guy has resisted before. And people in the neighborhood knew that yes, he was in the drug game."

But he had resisted. But he had turned himself in. He had spent time. He was not known to have guns. We have been given no stated suggestion that he would be armed, or that he would be with others, who would be armed.

Yet man that was some show of force! Went down more like a SEAL Team 6 event on bin Laden than just some local dealer!

Now, we get what the local D.A. thinks about all this, but why is he the last word on justice for the state? What happened to the state role here?

The State Attorney General says "I want all the video released." He said that here. He has been saying it for weeks. So now what? He's not making it happen. Can he?

The Governor says "Public confidence would have been better-served by putting a special prosecutor on the case." He wants all the video out there, he says.

Is he really powerless to do anything else, the Governor of the State of North Carolina? Have you even seen him take to the national stage? Was he anywhere tonight saying what must be obvious to so many in his state?


The media is doing what it can. Just yesterday, a judge blocked a request from CNN, and other organizations, to get more of the video.

Look, I want more of the video because I don't understand how the District Attorney justifies his proof of justification, based on what we saw. I just don't see it. So, what we're left with is the same question the Brown family has had since April 21st.

Why did they have to shoot him? And if this is the best answer what the D.A. showed today, how did he arrive at this conclusion, on the basis that he just showed us?

Let's go to the better minds for what they see, Elliot Williams, and Anthony Barksdale.

Bark, I'll start with you, because you did the job. You were the Acting Commissioner in Baltimore.

This was the D.A.'s decision to put out this footage, this way. He's got access to more. He doesn't want us to have it, doesn't want the public to see it. This is what he wants them to see.

Now, if this is his best reckoning of the situation, Bark, do you see where he gets the conclusion that they had to act the way they did?

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Chris, I have no idea how this D.A. stands there, at the podium, and delivers the message that he did today. It is unbelievable.

And you say I did the job. Well let me go a little further here. I was what was called a cover-man in Baltimore. I was in a highly-active drug unit. So, I made the decision, as a cover-man, to shoot, or don't shoot, in several hundred search warrants.

To fire a weapon, when you're saying you're concerned about fellow officers, and these officers are down the corner, sitting in vehicles, and you shoot at them, that is a huge problem.

This D.A. is trying to pull a Jedi mind trick on the nation, and the DOJ needs to dive-in, because those shots from behind are a huge problem.

CUOMO: All right, so the shots from behind, we get. And I think even the uninitiated here, not in law enforcement, not a lawyer, will understand why shooting, as they're going away, has a higher burden, and makes it harder to argue that there was a reasonable risk to themselves or others.

Elliot, when you look at this, the D.A. was very certain that the guy had his hand on the handle, and he moves the car. The guy goes rolling over the hood. "It was life or death! There were some moments that it was life or death!"

Do you see a basis that you think would stand up in court that obviously, this is the opposite of that, he's keeping them out of court by saying this? But do you see the justification for his justification?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Look, Chris, he could do himself a huge favor by just releasing the damn videos to the public, and let people see what's in there. If they are that convinced of the certainty, of what went on in the case, then just - then just release the videos, and do yourself a favor.

The simple fact is that today's public, in the age of the cell phone video, and the bodycam, simply will not be satisfied by a prosecutor almost twisting the facts, or at least selectively presenting them, in the way that happened today.

So, from where we sit right now, no, it doesn't seem clear on its face. Now, perhaps the prosecutor is seeing something we don't know.

Now, look, certainly there isn't a bright-line rule about shooting into a parked vehicle, as he seemed to suggest today that the fact that a car can be a deadly weapon doesn't mean that the mere fact that someone's in one automatically renders it a deadly weapon. And so, there's a number of questions that need to be answered.

There's an evidentiary record that exists. We just haven't seen it. And so, we should leave it to the prosecutors to get it out there. But no, based on the information we have with us right now, it does not appear to be the kind of slam-dunk that the D.A. said it was today.

CUOMO: But see, a D.A. shouldn't be saying it's a slam-dunk, unless he's saying it's a slam-dunk that they did something wrong. That's his job. I mean, did it seem peculiar to you that this District Attorney, Elliot, seemed to be acting like their defense counsel?

WILLIAMS: Right. There's all kinds of peculiarities.

Even, look, Chris, he cited to a Supreme Court case today, this case, Plumhoff versus Rickard, where he says that this provides the basis for the fact that these officers, in the heat of the moment had, you know, were justified in shooting into this vehicle.

What he doesn't tell you is that that case involved, number one, a 100-mile per hour car chase--

CUOMO: Right.

WILLIAMS: --down a highway, 29 cars getting hit, two police officers getting rammed, and then they shot the guy. So, the idea that somehow there was this license to open fire, just simply isn't the case.

There's so many errors, or just, flaws, in judgment, I think, in this press conference today, that they used more to dirty-up the victim and the victim's family.

There was even a point, at which the prosecutors were saying, "You know, look, I would have - I would have worked - I would have worked with the victim's family. However, they just weren't nice to me."


So, this was more successful as a PR operation than an operation to explain what actually the law was, and what their basis was, for not proceeding with this case.

CUOMO: I mean, Bark, I'm OK with you not liking it, with me not liking it, with Elliot not liking, with the public, not liking it. Very often, people will disagree.

But the prosecutor doesn't want the evidence out there, which is only really OK when he doesn't want to chill his own investigation. That's clearly not his motivation, right?

"I don't want to let people know what I have. Shut up! You'll see it when I show it to you in court." That's not what's happening here.


CUOMO: And for him to cite cases, and justify why everything's OK here, while not giving you the best basis to draw that conclusion, what does that mean to you, in terms of what the cops need, to have confidence from the community?

BARKSDALE: That's destroyed. I honestly feel that way right now. Womble has done so much damage to transparency, from honesty, from just being sincere with the public, with his actions.

The video should have been released. Elliott nailed it. You're nailing it. Release it.

You can't just take snippets and say, "Well, you know, our guys did what they were supposed to do, and you should applaud them." No, we have to look at the entire incident, beginning to end, and that's not being done.

CUOMO: Just to be fair to the officers, because he just put out clips that make them look bad. You know what I mean?



CUOMO: From what I know, there are officers right now saying, "Whoa! Let me tell you what happened. I ran out there. I could see in his eye. He was coming right for me. He turned," I don't know any of that.

WILLIAMS: So, Chris?


WILLIAMS: But to that point, it's not inconceivable that there could have been a threat there.

CUOMO: Yes. WILLIAMS: Right? Look - and this is a lot of people are made uncomfortable by this point. But officers are there to execute a search warrant. They don't know what they're going to find. And yes, it might have been a dangerous or unsafe situation. If that's the case, let us know about it.

CUOMO: Right.

WILLIAMS: And release the evidence that makes it clear to, at least, to the prosecutor as to how they're coming to that conclusion. But I think, like you've said, they released this 44 seconds of footage that doesn't quite seem to support the narrative that they're putting out there.

CUOMO: No, and it's not fair to the cops. It's not fair to the public. I just I don't get what is going on here, if people want peace. I just I don't get it.

Anthony Barksdale, Elliot Williams, thank you very much.

And that's the concern. You got protesters back on the streets in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. I get why they're there.

This doesn't make any sense. It's not that I don't like what he came up with. It didn't make sense. It's not fair to the cops. It's not fair to the community. Transparency has to be the rule. And why would this state pass a law that keeps transparency from the public?

Brown's family attorney says that D.A. came after them for a reason, because this is about a whitewash. This is about making the unjustified justifiable, because of who it happened to.

One of the attorneys joins us here with the reaction, and what's next, coming up.









CUOMO: An insult, and a slap in the face, that's how Andrew Brown Jr.'s family described the local D.A.'s announcement that Brown's shooting was justified.

Family attorney Harry Daniels joins me now. Harry, thank you for taking the opportunity. When you watched what the D.A. not only said--


CUOMO: --but the proof that he confidently provided, though he wouldn't distribute it, in the form of the video, do you believe that the excerpts, and the D.A.'s understanding pass muster?

DANIELS: Absolutely not, Chris. This D.A. sound more like a criminal defense attorney.

He's cherry-picked and unilaterally picked what he wants to show, to try to make a justification of these officers' act. In fact, even with the attempt to do is that - to do that, he's still - the video seems clear that this is not a justifiable shooting.

So, even in his efforts to try to cherry-pick, you don't really have anything to cherry-pick because it still shows an unjustified killing of Andrew Brown.

CUOMO: He said something else. He had a different determination he wanted to make, which was this has been too much about the officers. It is now time for me, as the District Attorney, to tell you a little something about who got shot that day.

And this is what he said.


WOMBLE: Detective Johnson contacted Pasquotank County, and confirmed Mr. Brown's identity, and that he is a known drug dealer.

The team was briefed on Mr. Brown, and his past involvement with law enforcement. It was relayed to the team that Mr. Brown has multiple resist arrest charges, and convictions, dating back to 1995.

Additionally, Mr. Brown has assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and assault inflicting serious injury, convictions dating back to '95.


CUOMO: Now, to this point, there had been no suggestion, even from the D.A., and the Sheriff, that yes, resist arrest, but that they should have anticipated he may have a deadly weapon, or might use a deadly weapon.

But the D.A. made sure to say that today, to give an explanation of why the officers would have been on edge. What do you think of that decision? And do you think it adds a layer of protection to the officers' judgment?

DANIELS: Absolutely not. In fact, he further said that the officers knew that Mr. Brown was not to known to carry any weapons.

[21:25:00] And Chris, the misdemeanor - the assault, he was talking about, is in fact a misdemeanor that took place in 2001. So, it's not a felony, misdemeanor whatsoever. He failed to tell the media and the public that.

But what you find is the same old story that you try to dirty-up the person, who's assassinated, instead of talking about the assassination.

Looking at the video, it doesn't matter what Mr. Brown did before. His constitutional rights are still protected. He's still afforded the same rights. And his rights were violated. This man was killed, unjustifiably.

He talks about this officer in the way of the vehicle. You can look at the video over and over again. The officer clearly was to the side of the vehicle. And once he passed all officers, they unloaded their weapons. There's no justification whatsoever.

I'm not going to get into Tennessee Gardener (ph). We can talk about that till we're blue in our face, Chris. We're both lawyers. But we can look at it as - a layman can look at this, my daughter can look at this, just to show there was - there was no justification - no justification whatsoever.

CUOMO: Didn't even meet the standard--

DANIELS: And for the D.A. to--

CUOMO: --according to the D.A., of probable cause, not - forget about beyond a reasonable doubt, or any specific charges.

But here's the problem. What do you do now? The District Attorney can only be removed, if he asks to be removed, or if there is proof of actual conflict.


CUOMO: Working closely with the Sheriff, doesn't count.

The Sheriff said he wants the video to come out for what it's worth.

The District Attorney certainly hasn't said that.

The A.G. said "I can't act unilaterally."

The Governor, apparently by his silence, is saying there's nothing else he can do, but say it would have been nice to have a special prosecutor.


CUOMO: Are you only left with civil remedies now?

DANIELS: We hope not. Josh Stein, the Attorney General for North Carolina, called me

directly, and informed me that there's nothing they can do, unless this District Attorney relinquishes or requests for a special prosecutor to be appointed. He has not - he has not done so.

The laws in North Carolina is codified to when you have a issue, when you have a Sheriff, and a District Attorney, or deputies, they're so intertwined, that this law - these laws should be in place, where something can be done. You don't - you just can't give exclusive or original jurisdiction to a District Attorney to make that unilateral decision.

He is effectively prosecuting, or not prosecuting, his own officers. He knows these people. They work in the same exact building, Chris, same exact building. He knows them. And from the beginning - from the beginning, we knew that he was not going to take any steps to bring any charges.

Now, I know we talked about the Department of Justice. And the Department of Justice, although that's a very viable remedy, but everybody knows that it's very difficult for the Department of Justice to come in, embracing civil rights claims, embracing not through claims (ph) because you got to show some type of willful intent.

In the heat of the moment in this thing is clear that this was unjustified. But, as of right now, we may be only left with civil remedies that myself and the attorneys can take, to try to get a civil judgment for this family. And it's sad in America that we do not have another recourse, in North Carolina, to bring these killers to justice.

CUOMO: And look?

DANIELS: It is very sad.

CUOMO: I understand. I appreciate the perspective. And I have sympathy for the family. But I have to tell you, I have sympathy for both sides, in this situation, for one reason. This lack of transparency is not fair to the officers either.


CUOMO: If there was some kind of threat, that we can't see, that was evident from another angle that gives us a reason to understand how the D.A. came to this very close-ended understanding of this, he's got to put the proof out, if the community is going to have any confidence. I just - I don't understand how you can justify the decision, without the transparency.

Harry Daniels, we are here for the conversation. And we are not going away. Thank you for being with us tonight.


CUOMO: Send my best to the family.

DANIELS: Thank you, Chris. Thank you.

CUOMO: I mean, look, I think, who was it? "The New York Times," it says "Democracy dies in darkness," or whatever, it is, look, a lot of these things sound trite, but can be true. And they can sound like platitudes and cliches and something that should be hanging on your refrigerator. But they come from somewhere.

If you don't get to see what this man just made this judgment on, because it doesn't make sense based on what we've seen. How's he doing, the officers a favor that have to work in that community? Now look, this winds up being pervasive, what we want to look at, and what we don't.

Now investigating domestic terror is controversial with the Republicans or whatever you call them now.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republicans used to want to call everything terror, go after everything, "Why isn't it terror? Why isn't it terror?" Now, for one reason, he opposes a Commission to look at January 6th. And you know what that reason is. And the "What" is a "Who."

How long is this going to keep going? Next.









CUOMO: Party of Trump, PoT, the most powerful pot stir in the House, no longer in favor of investigating terrorism, when it involves people he wants to like him. You need to see the game, and Kevin McCarthy is playing it, by not supporting the Commission to investigate the Capitol attack.

"Why don't they investigate Antifa?" What did they have to do with January 6th? I know you tried to spread some BS that that's who started it, but there was never any proof.

The truth is as obvious as it is ugly. And we're going to not let time dilute reality. Remember, "Liz Cheney had to go! Unity! Too important!"

Ask House Republican John Katko, how united the party is. He negotiated with the Democrats on what a Commission would look like. He handed McCarthy everything he asked for, even numbers of both parties represented. Both sides get a say on subpoenas.

Not only did the House Minority Leader throw him under the bus, the Party Whip Steve Scalise is actively trying to get members to vote against Katko's deal. Scalise's move is not surprising, OK? He's, you know, look, we know why he's doing it.

We know why they're all doing it, because it's all about Trump. And January 6 is bad for Trump, because January 6 was what Trump was talking about happening. And that's why they're doing it.


The excuse? "It's about scope!" McCarthy says, "Given the Speaker's shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence, I can't support this."

That's what this means. "If you want to investigate 9/11, well, then you better look at the Bay of Pigs too. If you're going to do 9/11, you better do some other bombing that bothers us in a different way too." Have you ever heard of that before, the so-called party of limited government, limited scope?

Are you kidding me?

This is the game. This show exposes the game, so you can decide what to do about it. But for the love of God, don't decide to play it. You see how funny it is that they want the scope to be broad now.

Remember with Russia, and that investigation? "Don't go too broad. Don't go too broad." Remember this?


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): It was a witch-hunt.

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): Wasting it all on this witch-hunt.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): More the sense of a political sort of witch- hunt.


CUOMO: But now you want it as broad as it can be, right? Why? Because you're playing the game.

And that's why McCarthy won't agree to anything, because he's waiting for Mar-a-Lago's OK. It's not just because he's going to be a witness, which he would, seeing how he has obviously told two stories about one phone call.

He was never going to be in favor of doing what the boss doesn't want him to do. He's already told you what he thinks the purpose of congressional investigations are.

Remember when? Benghazi.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): What you're going to see is a conservative Speaker that takes a conservative Congress that puts a strategy to fight and win.

And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee. A select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable.

But no one would have known any of that had happened had we not fought--


MCCARTHY: --to make that happen.

HANNITY: That's something good.


CUOMO: Of course, Hannity agrees. That was six years ago. He told you what he thought investigations were about. Political attacks. So, why would he want to be part of one now?

Look, he's got one goal. "I want to be Speaker." He believes he has one way to get there. Trump. And that's why this is all about the game. See it for what it is. Don't focus on the players. Hate the game.

Now from that mockery, we turn to the injustice being committed against the election, in the name of advancing the interests of the same lie. One of the most outlandish claims in the Arizona "Fraudit" just got debunked. Why are some Republicans still bent on embarrassing themselves and their state?

We're going to talk to one, who's standing up to his own party. What does it mean that he stands up? What is the destiny of the big lie, as it fills a coliseum? Next.








(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Why is what's happening in Arizona a "Fraudit?" Well, here's an example. Auditors demanded a hearing to get materials they claimed were deleted from Maricopa County servers. They then realized they're wrong.

Instead of acknowledging the obvious problem, the State Senate is looking to expand the circus. Why? Because that's what it is. It's about feeding the big lie, and giving a good-faith basis to disbelieve the truth.

They may end up taking a look at down-ballot races in Maricopa County now, races that happened to include the county supervisors, who are calling this mess out. That includes my next guest, Supervisor Clint Hickman.

"Not too subtle there, Clint. You want to keep saying we shouldn't do this? Now we're looking at your races." Did you get the message?

CLINT HICKMAN, (R) MARICOPA COUNTY SUPERVISOR: Yes. Oh, hey, they - listen, anybody can look at my race. I seem to be pretty popular in my district, so have at it, if you'd like. I represent a lot of people in the West Valley, and happy to do it, proud to do it.

CUOMO: "But you're not a real member"--

HICKMAN: Do I think they'd do it?

CUOMO: --"of the party. You're not a real member of the party, if you don't think that this audit has to go forward because the election was stolen. And if you don't believe that there's something wrong with you, Clint." You want to be on that list?

HICKMAN: Listen, thanks, Chris. You're bringing up history right now.

And I was Chairman of the Board for a year's time, during a pandemic that featured three elections, the presidential primary election, the primary election, and the general, all during a pandemic.

So, I believe strongly, as Governor Ducey told President Trump, Arizona runs great elections. And Maricopa County is larger than, I believe, 13 States. So, we have our elections down pat, featuring great people, multi-generational workers, in that department.

A supervisor that spent, I believe, 13 years of his life, I'm not quite sure of that but, of his life working in the Elections Department, before he went on to the Legislature, became a State Senator, and then came up to the big leagues, and went to Maricopa County Supervisor.

CUOMO: So, if you believe that things were done well, and done the right way, and according to law, and you've passed that up, why does the Senate Republican contingency want to expand? Why does the Governor sign a restrictive new voting law?

Do you think they just don't believe you? Or is this about something other than the facts? HICKMAN: No, the Governor, and the legislature, and the laws that they make, that's something that they do. County does not make laws. We enforce them or put them into place, when we talk about elections or zoning and other things.

So, as it - as it stands, I sent a letter. I think you even featured it in November.


HICKMAN: Calling--

CUOMO: Put up the--


HICKMAN: --and to let people calm down and--

CUOMO: --letter.


HICKMAN: Yes, I'm sorry. We - I asked to stop the rhetoric.


HICKMAN: That and - but I will tell you, yesterday, with all of the county electeds standing together, Democrat and Republican, answering some supposed partial findings, to this audit, should tell Maricopa County and United States voters, we believe strongly in the election that we ran, and we believe strongly and support the people that ran it.

CUOMO: Well, it is very important that real Republicans stand up for what you say your party is about, and tell the truth where the truth is, as a matter of principle, not party.

Clint Hickman, thank you. Appreciate it.


CUOMO: I'm going to take a quick break. We're getting together some breaking news that you're going to want to hear, on an important investigation that involves the former president of the United States, next.








CUOMO: Breaking news on our watch. The New York Attorney General is joining the Manhattan D.A.'s criminal investigation of the Trump Organization. That is in addition to the ongoing civil probe already started, on the state level, by the A.G.


The A.G. probe into the Trump Organization will continue as a civil matter as well. It has to deal with how valued assets were handled, and whether they were inflated one purpose, deflated in another purpose.

Her office, the A.G., Letitia James, has been looking into matters, including whether or not The Trump Org improperly inflated assets, on financial statements, to secure loans, and obtain economic and tax benefits, as well as how Trump Org employees were compensated.

Lawyers for the Trump Organization haven't responded to requests for comment. In the past, they've said it's politically motivated. But this move, are signals at a minimum, a new set of concerns, which I will explain, as we bring in Van Jones, for a twofer tonight.

One quick beat on this. Look, when things evolve, from civil to criminal, it's not good. It is just as likely that the D.A.'s office reached out to the A.G., as vice versa, to say "We'd like more resources on this."


CUOMO: "Let's see if we can combine understanding." And in the readout, it says that the A.G. has a couple of its staffers with deep knowledge of the Trump Org and criminal law working now with the D.A.'s team.

What does it sound like to you?

JONES: It sounds like bad news for the Trump Organization. Look, Letitia James is one of those kind of no fear, no favor, attorney generals. I mean, she's tough. She doesn't - she doesn't play around.

So, I don't think she'd be doing this as a stunt. This is not something that - she's not the kind of person to do this just for the headlines. I think this is a very serious development.

CUOMO: Now, let's talk about another serious development.

Andrew Brown Jr. was justifiably shot and killed by police, according to the District Attorney, who very much sounded like somebody who was not looking to get police investigated for any criminality.

JONES: Right. CUOMO: The video he showed was uncompelling. And here we are, almost marking a year after George Floyd that was supposed to be a watershed moment, in what we demand in these situations. What do you make of it?

JONES: Well, it basically, this is exactly what happened with the George Floyd situation in that, don't forget, in that case, the local prosecutor didn't want to do it. The local prosecutor was trying to throw the case.

But in that situation, the Governor stepped in, took the case from the local prosecutor, and gave it to the State Attorney General Keith Ellison, who then put on a masterful show of force, and got the cop convicted.

In this case, we're right back where we started from. The local prosecutor doesn't want to put these cops in jail. It is obvious that these fleet - that this guy is driving away, when most of the shots were fired. But the local prosecutor, just like in George Floyd, just doesn't want to do his job.

And then the difference here is that despite all that we've been through, for the past year, nobody at the state level has stepped in, to this point, to take the case away from the local prosecutor.

CUOMO: It was interesting the D.A. took time today, to talk about Andrew Brown Jr.

JONES: Right. And--

CUOMO: "This guy was a known drug dealer, assault with a deadly weapon, assault going back to '95." The lawyer for the family came out and said that was a misdemeanor in 2001, by the way, for what it's worth.

And I'm looking at data in front of me, from The Hamilton Project, Brookings, and rates of drug use and sales by race. This is going to surprise people.

Drug use, you'll see a lot more Whites than Blacks.

JONES: Right.

CUOMO: Selling drugs, about the same.

JONES: Even-steven. Even-steven.

CUOMO: Prosecutions, the chance to be incarcerated for drug-related crimes, put that up.

JONES: Look at that.

CUOMO: This, all right, now the dark one represents dark people, the lighter one lighter people.

JONES: Right.

CUOMO: And there it is. Drug-related arrests, drug-related incarceration, drug-related incarceration, federal and state--

JONES: This.

CUOMO: --what is the story of the bars?

JONES: Well, this - people gotten really frustrated with this term, systemic racism. People - what does that even mean, systemic racism?

This is what we're talking about. You just saw that you have the same behavior, the same, literally the same behavior, when it comes to use, worse, in terms of White folks, same in terms of sales.

But by the time the cops decide, "Hey, I'm going to - I'm going to look at these Black kids over here, what are they doing in the park?" they're not looking at the White kids over there, who may be doing the same drugs. And then the judge says, "Look, here comes a Black kid, I'm going to be tough on that Black kid."

And you wind up with sometimes two times, three times, four times, even six times the rate of incarceration for the same behavior. I didn't say 20 percent more or 5 percent more, sometimes four, or five or six, depending on say, times the rate of incarceration for literally the same behavior.


So, the government will tell you the behavior is the same. And then you go the prisons, and it's completely out of proportion. That is systemic racism. At every step along the system, it's worse to be Black than White.

So, by the time, you get to the end of the pipeline, you got prisons full of Black and Brown folks, for doing the same stuff that White people get away with, in country clubs, yacht clubs, college campuses, backyard barbecues, and everything else. They're not going to prison at the same rate by anywhere near that you see--

CUOMO: And--

JONES: --with Black and Brown.

CUOMO: And here we are, a year later, when we thought the story was that the tape will save the system. And it will create transparency for officers and for the community that they place.

And here we are with a D.A. who won't refuse the tape, a weird state law that won't allow it to be public, and what he offered up today as a suggestion of his own conclusion, can only foster outrage, in a situation that is best - desperate for calm.

Van Jones, we'll stay on it.


CUOMO: We'll keep watching it because it's the only way we get to a better place. Thank you, brother. JONES: Thank you.

CUOMO: We'll be right back.








CUOMO: We got to see the game. It's being played all around us. And it's as bad as I have ever seen it. It feeds into literally every problem we face. The good news is we got one place that can make a huge change.

Thanks for watching. "DON LEMON TONIGHT" with its star D. Lemon right now.