Return to Transcripts main page

Cuomo Prime Time

McConnell Joins GOP Fight To Stop January 6 Commission Months After Condemning Trump's Role In Deadly Capitol Insurrection; NY A.G. And Manhattan D.A. Both Investigating Key Trump Ally; "QAnon Shaman" Lawyer Disparages The Disabled While Defending His Client For Storming The Capitol. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 19, 2021 - 21:00   ET



GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people still believe in various conspiracy theories about that day. A lot of people are still sympathetic to Donald Trump, in regards to his role about that day.

But it does seem that most of the people we talked to do not feel that same that it was a tourist visit--


TUCHMAN: --was a good thing to say. They think it was a bit strange.

COOPER: Gary Tuchman, appreciate it. And we appreciate all those folks who talked to you.

The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Appreciate it, Coop.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

35 members from whatever the former GOP is now called, voted to tell the truth, and have the January 6th Commission. What does that number mean?

What does it mean that they voted for a Commission to study the terrorist insurrection of January 6th? The Democrats could have done it themselves. They may wind up doing it themselves.

So, what do these 35 mean, 35 out of 211? I argue what matters is the result, not the ratio. The leadership and the Party of Trump, the PoT is all against it.

McCarthy, who started, on January 6th, by telling Trump to call off his dogs, telling everybody he could, about the call, now says there is no January 6th problem to look at, that "Antifa! That's the real problem."

And his echo in the Senate, McConnell, who also started by saying Trump was at fault for the insurrection, is now scrambling to kill this bill in the Senate.

Just listen to the then, and now.


TEXT: NOW/Earlier Today.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I've made the decision to oppose the House Democrats' slanted and unbalanced proposal.

TEXT: THEN/February 13.

MCCONNELL: Fellow Americans beat and bloodied our own police. They stormed the Senate floor. They tried to hunt down the Speaker of the House. They built a gallows and chanted about murdering the Vice President. They did this because they'd been fed wild falsehoods by the most powerful man on earth, because he was angry he lost an election.

TEXT: NOW/Earlier Today.

MCCONNELL: So Mr. President, it's not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another Commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement, and Congress.

TEXT: THEN/February 13.

MCCONNELL: If President Trump were still in office, I would have carefully considered whether the House Managers proved their specific charge.


CUOMO: Same demeanor, same hair, you know why? Because he's just playing the same game. He says what he needs to say when he needs to say it.

And just so you know, on this Commission, the Right was given every concession they asked for except for one.

They wanted, as a condition of looking at January 6th, and the groups that were involved, to also investigate non-January-6th-related events and non-related groups. It's basically like saying, "Sure, we'll look at 9/11, but only if we look at the Oklahoma City bombing." It's just a game.

The reality remains, this is what they want you to believe never happened and shouldn't matter to you. Two newly released videos from the FBI showing what it calls some of the most violent offenders in the January 6th insurrection, because they remain on the loose, and need to be found.

The first clip, the attacker tries to rip off an officer's gas mask, then grabs a tactical baton, and hits police. "Blue Lives Matter! Blue Lives Matter!" Right? "Forget about Black Lives Matters," no reason to respect the minority, "Blue Lives Matter!" These are the people who say it.

Then there's the guy who punched officers while wearing gloves with metal knuckles.

"Got to protect the police from those Black Lives Matters savages! See how they yell at the police, way they touch them? They're savages. They don't respect us. They don't respect America."

The same people, who cheered Trump at the rally, when he talked about people fighting systemic inequality, fighting for rights, like they were animals, they were less than you, there they were, on January 6th.

"So let's forget. Let's forget. Let's forget members of the Right doing cops dirty, like we've never seen. Now there's no need for answers."

90 people charged with assaulting 100-plus officers. "You don't need to know. There's no new facts, or no new questions," says Mitch McConnell. Tell the family of the late Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood. Tell the Liebengoods, "No need! No need!"


Liebengood died by suicide after trying to protect the Capitol and its public servants. Family calls a thorough, non-partisan investigation essential. They say "Howie's death was an immediate outgrowth of those events."

Do Blue Lives matter or not? This is the game.

Remember how different the GOP felt about Benghazi? Two years longer than Congress probed 9/11, Watergate, JFK's assassination, Pearl Harbor. Found nothing except opportunity.

McCarthy infamously said, "Remember how strong Hillary Clinton was? Did Benghazi! Now look at her numbers!"

The Democrats, they're not forgetting that either, especially now.


REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Holy cow! Incoherence! No idea what you're talking about.

Benghazi, you guys chased the former Secretary of State all over the country, spent millions of dollars.

We have people scaling the Capitol, hitting the Capitol Police with lead pipes, across the head, and we can't get bipartisanship. What else has to happen in this country?


CUOMO: I don't know if Ryan's going to make it, because he gets too upset by the game. I've had him on. You've seen him. This bothers him. He's in the wrong place at the wrong time, because this is what it is

all about, until you ask for more, until you start ignoring the players, focusing on the game, and changing it.

Hillary Clinton was grilled for 11 hours on Benghazi. I'd never seen anybody stand up through a duration of questioning the way she did. A 11 hours, and they got nothing new, on her, any kind of wrongdoing.

Here's what I think matters. The game has just changed. And let's see how the Trumpers fair. Forget about the 35 votes. It's the need to take an oath, when this Commission happens, and held to be account, under oath, about what is real, and what is really disgusting about politics.

See, the game changes, under oath. McCarthy will have to testify. Which version of his call with Trump, is he going to give, under oath? He said today, "No concern about being subpoenaed about that day." You know who else said that? Trump. Remember that? You ever see him sit?

He's not worried about testifying on that profanity-filled call with Trump, the one where lawmakers say, lawmakers say, OK, because that means they're going to be up there too, that you told them that Trump told you "Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."

And you insisted it was profanity-laced. The rioters were Trump supporters. "Call off your dogs," you said.

And then you said "No, no, no, no. He said he'd come and he'd help. And he did."

The vote today is just more proof of the perfidy. But accountability is going to come, because it was real. It happened. It will never go away.

Because look, if this fails in the Senate, and it might, Speaker Pelosi is signaling she's all but ready to let House Democrats handle it themselves with a Select Committee. Listen.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We will find the truth.

It's a question of, if they don't want to do this, we will.


CUOMO: It's not about the truth. You know the truth. You can't avoid the truth.

This is all going to be about time and money to see if they can get the Party of Trump to own that they're lying about the truth. It seems to me, they'd rather do anything than that. Who knows, maybe they'll even go to jail for it.

So, if you're a Senate Party of Trumper, or whatever you call, the PoT, I don't know what to call it, you guys should tell me, they've got to make a choice.

Vote for transparency and accountability in a forum that gives your party a say, a bill your party negotiated, or watch, as Democrats get the chance, to do exactly what you fear most. Ask all their questions, and take their time doing so, with all that evidence growing by the day.

What does this mean? I see a tremendous waste of time coming, but maybe not.

Let's take it to the better minds. Michael Smerconish, John Kasich.

So John, Gov., when you see, this, and you see what it's about, the 35 House members, from the Right, saying they want to see the Commission, but it's not really about the 35, where do you think this leads, and what does it mean for your party?

JOHN KASICH, (R) FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: I think 35 is a big deal, Chris, that this is the first time we've seen this kind of a crack.

These are people that stood against the leadership, stood against McCarthy. They stood against McConnell, in a way. They stood against Trump. It's a very, very big deal.


And it started, when they started to kick Liz Cheney out, and it started - the people started to say, "You know, this is kind of getting ridiculous."

And now, for 35 of them to march out there, and I'll tell you what happens next, there's going to be some Members tomorrow, whose staff is going to say, "Why didn't you vote for this?"

It's pretty simple, isn't it? It is an investigation, a bipartisan investigation. And the Republican, who helped put it together, said it was a bipartisan non-political investigation.

Their staff's going to say, "Why didn't you support this?" They're going to get calls from the local press, "Why didn't you support this?"

So, this 35 gives some super-octane, as this thing moves over to the Senate, where senators are going to have to think, "Do I work for Mitch McConnell, or when I go home, do I have to answer for constituents?"

CUOMO: I hear you.

KASICH: So, Chris, I think it's a very big deal.

And finally, one other point I wanted to make here, and that is, the Capitol Police wrote a letter, asking, pleading with Congress to have this investigation. They never have done anything like that that I've ever been aware of. These police said, "Investigate it, please," and that's powerful, as you pointed out. CUOMO: The Capitol Police leadership haven't endorsed the letter. But some of the membership may have written it. But point stands.

So, let's take it to the Court of Smerc. John says "This is high- octane!" I say "It's weak sauce!" But it's going to happen anyway. And you can't deny the reality. It's all about how they want to play it in the seat. Does any of this matter, Mike?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: The 35 is higher than I thought it would be.

I have to say that when your staff called me earlier today, Chris, I said it would be in the 20s. In fact, I may have said it would probably be closer to 20. So, I think - I think Governor Kasich's right, when he says that it's exceeded what the expectations were.

I want to talk about the remainder of the 211, who didn't go along, because something I think that needs to be said is, I don't think they were seeking to do Donald Trump a solid.

I don't think this is about fealty. I don't think that they're their compatriots. I think it's about fear. I think frankly, they probably wish that they could be among the 35. But they don't want to incur His wrath.

Because, in the end, I hate to say it, today is all about an exercise in self-preservation. The paramount goal is to make sure that they get re-elected. That's the cynicism that I bring to the table. But that's how I see it.

CUOMO: But it's not cynicism. It's not cynicism. Of course, that's what it's about. It's not like Trump is Mr. Charming, right? He might have won John Kasich over, if he really had any bona fides to be in the position.

I'm just saying, John, the game is so obvious and so ugly.

KASICH: It is.

CUOMO: You got Kevin McCarthy saying on one minute, "Hey, this Trump called me. And we had an F-bomb exchange, right? I said "You better call off your dogs." And then he just says, "Yes, you know, he actually said he was going to send help. I'm OK."

McConnell sober one moment saying, "You know, if he were still in office, I'd be thinking about this." Now, "No new questions, no need to look at," it's just a game.

And I guess the only question is do the people ever demand that it stops being played?

KASICH: Well, you heard, as you were ready to do the hand-off from Anderson Cooper, the people reacting in that Congressman's district, who said it was like a "Tourist visit," and they're fed up.

CUOMO: I don't know that they were fed up. KASICH: See Chris, here's what happens down there.

CUOMO: I don't know that they were fed up, John.

KASICH: Well sound - sound like it to me.

CUOMO: They seem - they seem like--

KASICH: Sound like it to me.

CUOMO: He seemed like he did pretty good. But go ahead.

KASICH: Well, look, what happens is, once you have 10, then you have 12, then you have 20, then you have 35. You see what's happening, is people begin to realize they can be their own people. They don't have to check their conscience at the doorway.

They, in fact, can go out there, defy the leadership, which is what they did today. They defied them. And they're going to live till tomorrow, and they're going to walk around, and their chests are going to be puffed up, and their staff is going to be proud of them.

See, this is a growing change. That's what we've been looking for, cracks in the dam, an ability to stand up against the nonsense. And we're beginning to see it grow. It didn't grow all at once, but it's growing.

And I think part of it started when they - when they threw Cheney out. And I think these people are going to be emboldened, and this is going to be trouble for the House leadership.

CUOMO: All right.

KASICH: I believe it.

CUOMO: I got to leave it there.

Smerc, I owe you one. But you'll be able to have the whole show at some point, so don't worry about it. You'll get the time back. You'll get the time back, and then some. Michael's a blessing.


CUOMO: To the show. He steps in and improves it, on a regular basis now.

Look, one thing though, Gov. We don't know that they've lived another day. Let's see what happens, once this--


CUOMO: --vote gets processed. And let's see what names join the Scarlet Letter crowd.

Smerc, appreciate you, brother.

Governor, thank you.

KASICH: Thank you.

CUOMO: New developments in a widening criminal probe of the Trump Organization.

The simple answer is, it's never good, when something goes from civil to criminal, or you see combining of assets, between an Attorney General in a state, and a prosecutorial arm, like the District Attorney. It can't be good.


The question is why isn't it good? Where is it going? What are the directions of exposure that are most likely to be discussed, and soon? We have insight for you straight ahead.








CUOMO: More heat on Trump-world. Tonight, we know, in addition to the Manhattan D.A., the New York Attorney General is also looking directly into the CFO of the Trump Organization. This is no longer just potentially civil, but also potentially criminal.

The state's dig into Allen Weisselberg's taxes is a criminal investigation. It's been going on for months. That's in addition to the news that we broke here last night, that the A.G.'s questions about Trump lying about the value of his properties has moved from civil to criminal.


Is this just heat, or is there going to be light?

Let's go to somebody, who knows the office, the players, and what it would take to be successful in a prosecution, like this, former Assistant New York Attorney General, Tristan Snell, who did go after Trump, effectively.

Good to see you.

TRISTAN SNELL, FORMER ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, NEW YORK: Good to be back, Chris. CUOMO: So, on the outside, when you look at this, it's "These white- collar crime things, it's so hard to get anybody. There's so much paper. There's so many people in between. You have to show intent, where maybe there was none."


CUOMO: "Maybe Trump doesn't even know." How hard is this?

SNELL: This can be difficult. You obviously have the numerical misrepresentations allegedly that were made.

But then the defense to that is "We screwed up. We didn't know. It was an accident. Somebody prepared the one document. Other people prepared the other one. The right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing," et cetera, et cetera.

Being able to show that it was actually a knowing or intentional act, that's what's going to level this up from being civil to criminal.

But let's get one thing straight. The civil investigation itself is a very big deal. It could cause huge economic penalties with restitution being paid to the parties involved, with penalties being paid to the state. That alone is a big deal. If it goes criminal, then we're talking imprisonment.

CUOMO: Right.

SNELL: And if you're going to get that, then you need to get emails, you need to get testimony, you need to get something else, to corroborate the numerical misrepresentations themselves.

CUOMO: So, the outside theory is the CFO always knows everything. And you squeeze the CFO, and he or she--


CUOMO: --has to give up the goods about the other people that you're asking about. In this case, the CFO was Weisselberg.


CUOMO: The risk is that if you're on him too hard, Trump says, "Yes, you're right. It was Weisselberg. But it wasn't me."

SNELL: Right. Right. That's the risk there is that then - that Trump will just scapegoat Weisselberg, say, "Yes, Allen did everything. I had nothing to do with it. He went rogue. I don't know what he was doing. I don't know what he was thinking. He lost it. He, you know, he was never that good to begin with." That would be the Trump line to say.

CUOMO: Now, here's the one--

SNELL: "Oh, you know, he was never that good."

CUOMO: Here's the one avenue of exposure. The only time people learned about Weisselberg--


CUOMO: --up to this point, heretofore, as we say in the law, was about the payments to the women, and how it was done. Michael Cohen, the former bagman, had always said "Weisselberg knew. Weisselberg knew. Trump knew."

And then, on this show, we got a piece of tape that certainly showed that he was right about Trump. And here it is.


MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend, David, you know, so that - I'm going to do that right away. I've actually come up and I've spoken--


COHEN: And, I've spoken to Allen Weisselberg about how to set the whole thing up with--

TRUMP: So, what do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?

COHEN: --funding. Yes. And it's all the stuff.

TRUMP: Yes, I was thinking about that.

COHEN: All the stuff. Because here, you never know where that company - you never know what he's--

TRUMP: Maybe he gets hit by a truck.

COHEN: Correct. So, I'm all over that. And, I spoke to Allen about it, when it comes time for the financing, which will be--

TRUMP: Listen. What financing?

COHEN: Well, I'll have to pay him something.

TRUMP: Well I'll (ph) pay with cash.

COHEN: No. No, no, no, no, no, no. I got it. No, no, no.

TRUMP: Check.


CUOMO: This is about how to pay the Enquirer guy. "The financing"--


CUOMO: --was Cohen trying to be sophisticated. Trump is like "What's financing?" He says, "Well, you know, we're going to have to pay him at some point." And he said, "We'll pay cash."

So, you got Weisselberg, not on that call. But Trump's certainly aware of what was happening. But that's not enough.

SNELL: No, that's not enough. I mean, the kicker is, a lot of it's going to be, let's just, say things like meeting notes.

If you had meeting notes, and somebody took down notes, about what Trump said in the meeting, and you can actually prove, when the notes were taken, there's an exception to the hearsay rule, called a present sense impression.

And if you can show that the notes were taken contemporaneously with the thing occurring, and somebody wrote down notes, about what Trump said that in theory, can be something that's admissible.

But let's just - let's just be clear about one thing here. If this is going criminal, if the A.G.'s office believes that there's enough here to open a criminal probe, that is a tell that they have something that they believe allows it to go criminal. They would not be wasting their time--

CUOMO: Right.

SNELL: --and wasting the time of the people, in the Criminal division, and which is a very small elite unit of folks, who focus on predominantly white-collar crime and political corruption. Those are the two big beats that they cover.

You're not going to waste those folks' time unless you really have something that popped up during the civil investigation.


CUOMO: Zero to 10, what's the chance that you think a charge comes down on Trump? 10 is yes.

SNELL: I'd say a nine. I just don't think it'll be by Christmas. I think it's going to be next year. But I might be wrong about that.

CUOMO: Tristan Snell?

SNELL: I think it's going to be 2022.

CUOMO: All right. Tristan Snell?


CUOMO: Hopefully we'll still be alive, Lord willing, we'll have the conversation then.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is back with us tonight.

SNELL: Absolutely.

CUOMO: Because he said something that we need to understand more. When he says people are misinterpreting the mask guidance, what does that mean? Next.








CUOMO: I think it's fair to say that the mask thing is now a mess. A bunch of states lifted the mandate since the CDC said to, because how do you keep them in place, when the CDC has said you don't have to, right? People are going to get upset at you.


More still have them in, but they're reevaluating. Businesses are doing it all different ways. Some never did it at all, right? So, it's just all over the place, why, because the guidance has been all over the place.

And now what's our big concern? Schools. Younger kids won't be vaccinated in the fall. You could argue that they don't really need to be the same way because the case rates are so low.

And then they'll say, "Well, what about the Kawasaki?" But there's so few cases of that. "Yes, but kids have died!" Yes, you've had hundreds of kids die, 300, but on what scale?

And what does that mean, in terms of the price, and the systemic inequality, and the kids getting left behind, and years, precious years, and memories, lost, because of how stinky this school year was?

States like Texas, Utah, they want to ban mask mandates in schools.

It's clear the CDC did not consult with any of these folks before changing the guidance. Odd, because here's the CDC Director on how they make these decisions.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: As a matter of practice, the CDC engages with stakeholders, with consumers, who take our guidance, who use our guidance, before it is finalized, so we can understand whether it addresses their needs. For our school guidance, we did that with 50 different stakeholders, over 50.


CUOMO: Didn't happen this time. In fact, we had the CDC Director on, at night. She said "Wait and see, wait and see, wait and see." They changed the guidance the next morning. Odd!

My next guest has been asked about the rules. He's playing clean-up now.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, welcome back. It's good to have you, sir.

You told "Axios," people are misinterpreting the CDC mask guidance, but you added it's not their fault. I agree.

And not to be kind, but to be accurate, I think it's the Administration's fault. I think it's the CDC's fault. What do you think?


But I believe that the source of the confusion, Chris, is the fact that the CDC made the change in guidelines purely to allow people, who've been fully vaccinated, to realize that the scientific data itself indicates that it is safe for them to go without a mask, not only outdoors, but also indoors. That was meant for those who are fully vaccinated.

What happened is that that triggered an interpretation that we can now just throw masks away, and nobody has to wear masks, which is obviously not the case, because for those who have not been vaccinated, their original guidelines stay exactly the same.

CUOMO: Right. There's just no pressure on them now.

FAUCI: And what you are seeing in the situations--

CUOMO: Tony, the only problem is--

FAUCI: Right, exactly. So--

CUOMO: Yes, go ahead. Finish your point, and then I have a question. Go ahead.

FAUCI: No, no, the point I'm making is that that does lead to confusion, Chris. You're absolutely right.

And I think the people that are on the particular stress are people who own establishments, in which since there's no passports to show you're vaccinated, there's no way to prove that you have or have not been.

So what happens, if you have an establishment, in which there'll be vaccinated people, and unvaccinated people, you might have people come in, who were infected, who have the risk of infecting someone else.

So, what the establishment owners, several of them, have said, "You know, the CDC recommendations were fine that people who were fully vaccinated don't have to wear a mask indoor. But since I don't know who's vaccinated or not, if you come into my establishment, you still have to wear a mask." So, where the confusion is that the people are saying, "Wait a minute, some people are saying you don't have to wear masks, when you're - when you're vaccinated. And now you're telling me, when I go into an establishment, I have to wear a mask?"

And you're right. It is confusing. In fairness to the people, who are trying to make heads or tails of that, it can be confusing.

CUOMO: I don't think it's confusing. I think it's simple. If you're vaccinated, you don't have to wear a mask. The science is there. Could you be contagious? Yes. But the chances are so low.

"What about my kids at home?" They're going to be fine. If you can get them vaccinated, do it.

If you're not vaccinated, nothing has changed, but you will cheat. And the fix here is something--

FAUCI: Right.

CUOMO: --that has been studiously avoided by the Administration. And I don't know why, except for just basic politics.

You have to have a tracking mechanism. You have to have a vaccine passport. Otherwise, this will never work. There is no way to differentiate--

FAUCI: Right.

CUOMO: --the vaccine from the unvaccinated. Why do they avoid the passport?

FAUCI: It's a complex reason, I believe, Chris. And one of them is that if you in fact, require a passport, you're going to be discriminating against people, and putting people at a disadvantage, of essentially forcing them, in many respects, indirectly--

CUOMO: Well how so?

FAUCI: --to get vaccinated.

CUOMO: Look, it's one thing if you don't give me the chance to get the vaccine.

FAUCI: Because if--


CUOMO: If this is people saying--

FAUCI: Right.

CUOMO: --"Oh, here's more systemic inequity." But if you make sure the vaccine is available, now everybody gets to make a choice.

FAUCI: Right. CUOMO: And why shouldn't I--

FAUCI: Right.

CUOMO: --get opportunities, as vaccinated, that you don't get as unvaccinated?

FAUCI: Right. Chris, you make a reasonable point. What the administration is saying is that they're not going to mandate a passport for vaccines centrally.

But you're going to see, I'll guarantee you that there're going to be organizations, there already are, colleges that are saying, "If you don't show proof of vaccination, you're not coming on campus"--

CUOMO: But why put it on everybody else?

FAUCI: --"for face-to-face."

CUOMO: Why not do it centrally? You guys have the best way to do it.

FAUCI: I don't have any--

CUOMO: You got the most data, the most manpower.

FAUCI: Chris, I don't have the answer for you, Chris. I don't have the answer for you.

CUOMO: Fauci doesn't have the answer?

FAUCI: I'm an honest guy. Yes. To your question--

CUOMO: Fauci doesn't have the answer?

FAUCI: You bet! I don't have.

CUOMO: Holy cow! They call the vaccine the "Fauci Ouchie." Now you don't have the answer!


CUOMO: So look, I know that this is politics.

FAUCI: I don't - I mean--

CUOMO: But just look what's happening.

FAUCI: Right.

CUOMO: New York State's got the Excelsior Pass. Other people have it. You can't expect me to show you proof, when I come into some place that I've been vaccinated.

FAUCI: Right.

CUOMO: You know? I just I really believe-- FAUCI: Right.

CUOMO: --that they got mixed up with science and politics here. If you want to preference people who are vaccinated--

FAUCI: You know?

CUOMO: --you got to give us a way to distinguish between those who are and those who aren't?

FAUCI: Yes. I understand. And you could make a good argument for that, Chris. I'm not arguing with you.

But the policy is they don't want to do it centrally. They don't want to have a central dictate that you have to have a passport, because they don't want to put people in compromised position.

I hear your argument. You're saying "Well, then get vaccinated. Period!"

CUOMO: I think you compromise them by not having it.

FAUCI: I mean that's what everybody should be doing. If everybody--

CUOMO: But I wanted to ask you one other thing that's in your bailiwick.


CUOMO: Because I've been hearing a lot about it, then I'll let you go. I promise.

FAUCI: Sure.

CUOMO: I hear that the data on a booster shot - I know. Now, I'm like playing down the reason to get vaccinated, which is not my point. But I hear that the data on booster shots is BAFO (ph). It's great.

And then, if you get a booster shot, like six months out, from a vaccine, you get such multiples of antibodies that that literally could be the kill-shot against the virus, and really give you long- term protection. Is that true?

FAUCI: Well, yes, well, what's true is that when you get a booster, you increase dramatically, the level of antibodies that would be protective. So, the question is will we be getting boosters?

It's highly likely that within a reasonable period of time, we're going to wind up requiring booster. And the reason that will trigger it is that when the level of protection starts to dwindle down, as happens over time, or when we start seeing more breakthrough infections, you're going to see boosters.

And when you do get a booster, you're absolutely correct. What you're hearing is correct. There's a major increase in the level of antibodies following a booster. CUOMO: I'll bet you a slice of pizza. You know what problem you're going to have when it's time for people to get the boosters? How are we going to know who got the booster, and who didn't? We're going to have to have a way to track it.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, it is not your job to find the solution. But you will have to deal with the fallout. Thank you for being on the show, as always.

FAUCI: Good to be with you, Chris. Thanks.

CUOMO: All right, Doc.

We showed you where the capital riot fallout, it's an insurrection, it's really not just a riot. It was an act of terror. But we saw you where it's going on, on a Congressional level.

We're also watching the court cases, including the so-called "QAnon Shaman." His defense lawyer is trying something very interesting now, in defense of Jacob Chansley. He's looking at his brain as part of the case.

And his lawyer's assessment is as unflattering of a client as I've ever heard. I smell a tactic. Let's see what he's got. Next.









CUOMO: This is interesting. The attorney for the so-called QAnon Shaman is drawing fire for recent remarks he made, in defending his client. Al Watkins is the lawyer's name. He says his client, Jacob Chansley's mental state made him more susceptible to Trump's propaganda.

Then he said this. "A lot of these defendants, I'm going to use this colloquial term, perhaps disrespectfully, but they're all effing short-bus people. These are people with brain damage. They're effing retarded, they're on the goddamn spectrum," or something like that.

So, he not only disparaged his client, but also millions of others in the process, and that triggered the PC police, right? So now the media is going to come after him, because he's being offensive to groups of people, which is pretty clever because he got a lot of attention. And then he decided to defend it by pushing this.


ALBERT WATKINS, ATTORNEY FOR JACOB CHANSLEY: I was on Chris Cuomo, when he decided the way to respond to my suggestion that these people needed compassion, and patience, and help, was he called them crazy.

For five months, I acted professionally. I talked to the people that needed to know. I made sure that the Department of Justice had the opportunity, firsthand, to meet with my client.

Not once, not twice, but multiple times. And I got nowhere. All I had to do was get vulgar.


CUOMO: There's a difference between being relevant and getting attention.

Let's bring the Counselor in, and see if we can divine the difference.

Counselor Watkins, I will gladly buy you a tube of Brylcreem, or whatever you use, to smooth your hair so brilliantly, and luxuriously, back, if you can find me calling your client, or any of the insurrection people, "Crazy." I never did.

What I did was pick up on your own characterization that they were being deprogrammed from being in a cult.

I am not your excuse for what you've chosen to do here. We both know that. So, let's discuss why you're doing it. What do you think this gains you, sir?

WATKINS: All right, well, I'll issue a couple of things, first. I use 10W-40. It's an oil. It works really well on the hair.

CUOMO: Not 5W-30?

WATKINS: So you let me--

CUOMO: It is summertime. You don't want a lighter weight oil?

WATKINS: Hey, let me--

CUOMO: Continue.

WATKINS: --let me - let me know when your facial hair grows in. It's looking good.

CUOMO: Thank you.

WATKINS: But it's not quite there yet.

CUOMO: Thank you. Appreciate it.


WATKINS: All right. Now the fact of the matter is what I've done, and I do owe you an apology, the fact of the matter is I castigated you. I was critical of you, on the air, in January. I told you, it was not right, it was not appropriate to call these people anything. I, in fact, was critical of you.

CUOMO: I never called them crazy.

WATKINS: Well, I'll tell you, my memory is that you called them--

CUOMO: I have the transcript before me.

WATKINS: --or call my client crazy. Well, I'd love you share it with me.

CUOMO: I don't have to.

WATKINS: And I will tell you--

CUOMO: I'm just telling you, you're wrong. But I'll give it to you. Go ahead.

WATKINS: All right. You don't have to share anything with me. I'll share with you the following. I should have taken your tack early on. I should have been completely devoid of compassion, and patience, for our countrymen, those who truly were vulnerable.

By pointing that out, by trying to respectfully address the reality that we have people that are vulnerable, mentally infirm, they do have issues, that are currently being held in solitary confinement, 23 hours a day, in my client's case, in the case of Jacob Chansley, a man who--

CUOMO: You think that he's mentally ill?

WATKINS: Oh, I think my client's mind is slipping away--

CUOMO: No, no, no, no, no.

WATKINS: --right now.

CUOMO: No colloquy. Do you believe he is mentally ill? Do you have any doctor that has given a diagnosis of pre-existing illness, something that was treated, medicated, that would give a reason for not just his appearance, but for his behavior?

We know the law here. I don't want to make excuses--

WATKINS: Yes. If you know the law--

CUOMO: --for people who make bad decisions.

WATKINS: --if you know the law - if you know the law.

CUOMO: Bad decisions are not illness. WATKINS: Whenever you're done pontificating--

CUOMO: Go ahead. I just--

WATKINS: --you're good at it.

CUOMO: It's not pontificating. I want to give you some context. Go ahead.

WATKINS: In the law, under the law, you have a diagnosis, which you have to, it requires an examination, and you can get an opinion. Unfortunately, given COVID, given the fact that my client is in solitary confinement, I'm not in a position, as a counsel, to garner access, for a medical diagnosis.

I have garnered a medical opinion from an expert. I've also acquired, from the government, the military records that correspond to my client, which reflect, indicate and demonstrate concern for the mental health and wellbeing of my client.

CUOMO: There's a difference between worrying about the mental health, and wellbeing, because of the incarceration, and using it as a basis for his behavior. Having bad politics--

WATKINS: Oh, yes, no, hey, look--

CUOMO: --falling for animus is not an excuse. And it's nothing to confuse with mental illness. That's what I'm saying.

WATKINS: No. There's no doubt - there's no doubt about that. There's no doubt about that. I agree 100 percent with you.

What we have to all look at, and the reality, is these people, not all of them, are great number of people that walked down Pennsylvania Avenue, had a vulnerability, and that vulnerability, put them in a position of being susceptible.

Susceptible to the words, to the actions, and to this incessant drivel that was being poured upon them, out of tweets, and out of the White House, and out of the mouth of our former president, and of course, social media, and all that went with it.

Those people who were vulnerable are our family members. They are our colleagues. They are the people that we see every single day. They have no criminal history. They weren't violent. They weren't destructive.

In the case of Jacob Chansley, he was helping law enforcement garner items that have been stolen from them, stopping a theft that was going on. We--

CUOMO: He entered the Capitol. He was flying in there with his spear. He was saying obnoxious things.

WATKINS: Oh no, well that's - that's a mis--

CUOMO: I'm not saying he's the worst of the worst.

WATKINS: That's a mischaracterization. And remember?

CUOMO: What's he doing there?

WATKINS: And we don't have to look at--

CUOMO: What's he doing in the U.S. Capitol?

WATKINS: I should share with you that that video presentation that we gave to the government, which shows Jacob Chansley, all through, his travels through the Capitol, and outside the Capitol--

CUOMO: He said all these obnoxious things. All I'm saying is this. This is why I had you on, Al. This is what I don't understand.

WATKINS: He said a prayer.

CUOMO: This is what I don't understand. You want compassion for people? That's great.


CUOMO: But there has to be responsibility for the choices that you make. And unless you are under some diminished capacity, all the colorful language that caught the attention of other media, that's not what it's about for me.


CUOMO: I don't care about all the different idiomatic expressions you use that people were offended by with political correctness. I'm talking about actual correctness, which is--


CUOMO: --if they don't have an excuse for their behavior, other than "I believed Trump," they should go to jail, if they broke the law. Do we agree?

WATKINS: Ah, OK. There's nothing - yes. You and I are--

CUOMO: Yes, we agree?

WATKINS: --absolutely on the same page.

CUOMO: All right.

WATKINS: Culpability. Culpability.

CUOMO: Last word to you, and I got to go.

WATKINS: Culpability is different than guilt. Culpability requires an assessment, as mandated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, all sorts of factors.


What we don't need in this country is a gulag, where we keep people, who are non-violent, perhaps criminals, non-violent people accused of a crime, in solitary confinement, for 131 days, when you know they have vulnerabilities.

No doctor in the world, ask Fauci, is going to say, "Oh, yes, the best way to treat somebody with a pre disposition"--

CUOMO: I hear you.

WATKINS: --"of vulnerability is to put him in jail alone."

CUOMO: I hear you.

WATKINS: "For forever."

CUOMO: I hear you.

WATKINS: That's what I'm talking about.

CUOMO: But you know which cases you should take? Forget about your buddy with the painted face. And deal with generations of minorities who have been incarcerated for non-violent crimes, and put in solitary--

WATKINS: And I - I have.

CUOMO: --and treated like animals. These people are the least of our problems.

WATKINS: I have. I do.

CUOMO: I know, Al.

WATKINS: And I agree with you.

CUOMO: But stick to them, because these guys don't deserve the benefit of your perspective on that. But I appreciate you coming on.

WATKINS: You and I disagree on that. We disagree on that.

CUOMO: That's fine. But let's just keep straight what I said.

WATKINS: Thank you.

CUOMO: And then we'll be fine. I'll talk to you. We'll be right back.

WATKINS: You and I, we're good.









CUOMO: A BOLO that's out of this world. Be On the Look-Out for former president Obama dishing new details on UFOs.



BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The truth is that when I came in office, I asked, right? I was like "All right, you know, is there the lab somewhere where we're keeping the alien specimens, and spaceship?"


OBAMA: They did a little bit of research. And the answer was "No."


CUOMO: Look, ha-ha-ha, but. The President is acknowledging something that the government has denied, for decades, up until recently, this.


OBAMA: What is true, and I'm actually being serious here is, is that there are - there's footage and records of objects in the skies that we don't know exactly what they are. We can't explain how they moved, their trajectory. They did not have an easily explainable pattern.


CUOMO: And you know what? I think that's exactly the point. Look, I'm open. I'm fine with you being open, OK? Look, I believe in God, all right? I'm open to things that can't be explained. But UFOs don't have to mean "Little green men," OK?

We're going to get answers from the government, in a report, next month. We have to be wise to what the technology is, from adversaries, before we have to pay for that price of ignorance with the blood of our best, OK?

So BOLO, we'll get the answers. Just be open-minded, not too open.

We'll be right back.