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Cuomo Prime Time

Biden Gives Intel Agencies 90 Days To Probe COVID's Origins; Eight Dead In America's Latest Mass Shooting; NY Trump Probe: Prosecutors Tell Witness To Prepare To Testify. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 26, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: President Biden has, again, urged Congress to take, what he called, immediate action, on gun legislation.

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, appreciate it, Coop.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

I have a very important show-and-tell for you, at the end of the show. Can't do it now, get too emotional. But we have important things to discuss first.

90 days, new deadline set by President Biden. That is for the United States Intelligence agencies and all the assets to get answers on the genesis of COVID-19. What's the problem? The problem is China won't comply in the effort. So, how can we discover if they don't let the world have a good look?

Nevertheless, POTUS has ordered Intelligence to redouble efforts to collect information, suggesting that Intel "Has "coalesced around two likely scenarios," but hasn't reached a definitive conclusion," and there's not enough "sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other." That takes us back to the China point.

However, there's also a political point here. The two, COVID was passed from animals to humans, or it originated from a lab accident.

Now, the second is a newer notion, OK? The government had not been open to the lab theory. That is why it is so politically charged. It was dismissed as a conspiracy early on, but now is under serious consideration, why?

An Intel report determined several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology were hospitalized for an unknown illness in November 2019, the month before China reported its first COVID case. Suspicious!

So, why is it politically charged? Because Trumpers, who were complicit in playing down the pandemic reality in America, are now seeing more interest in the China lab theory as some kind of vindication, enough to play "I told you so" with Fauci. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Why did you dismiss the lab leak theory as credible?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: I didn't dismiss anything. I just said it's a high likelihood that this is a natural occurrence from the environment of an animal reservoir that we have not yet identified.

No one knows, including me, 100 percent what the origin is, is the reason why we're in favor of further investigation.


CUOMO: Tony Fauci answers the questions.

Why won't you Senator Rubio? Why don't you come on and answer? Why did you ignore President Trump making light of the pandemic, when all the science was against it?

Why did you ignore when President Trump was saying that "It was a hoax, it was just a bad flu," that "it was too much testing that had people worried," where was your concern then?

If you were so confident, why did you fail, along with Trump, to get inspectors on the ground in China, in the early days of this pandemic, if it was such a real thing for you, so not to be ignored?

We know the answer, because at first, you were all about praising China. Certainly Trump was. Here's his tweet. "China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well."

So what changed? Only when Trump's pandemic hoax "Just a bad flu, too much testing is the problem," BS failed, and we were way behind on the fight against a deadly pandemic, they needed to distract. China, a convenient target.

Notice, you never hear from any of these guys that Trump cut CDC staff in China, pre-COVID, by two-thirds. So guess what? We were more reliant on them for information.

So, when he or his Mini-Mes now say they want credit for being right on China, all along, remember the fact that they were wrong, before they were right, on China, and absolutely on what to do about the pandemic. Even still!

There's no justifying Trump's "China Virus" slurs that fed more violence here, without any pushback from the concerned citizen you just saw there, or any of the other Trumpers.

They are now also blaming Biden for shutting down a Trump administration effort to vet the Wuhan lab theory, over concerns about politicized evidence.

So, how will Biden do better than what the Trump posse wanted? Can any of this be free from politics? And in the mess of this division, will we ever know how COVID-19 was born?

Let's turn to a better mind, Jamie Metzl, Advisor to the WHO, World Health Organization. He's been pressing for answers on COVID's origins, also a former National Security official.

Good to see you, sir.


CUOMO: Right move for Biden to close down the Trump probe?


METZL: No, obviously. And I listened to your intro, Chris. We need to - I'm a Democrat. I'm a progressive. As you said, I've been on this case from very early on. And we're going to get stuck in the he-said- she-said.

Definitely both parties made mistakes. We can go back and we have a lot of things that maybe both parties aren't proud of. But right now, we can agree that there's a big problem.

And the biggest problem is China, which has been engaged in a massive cover-up, since day one, involving destroying samples, and hiding records, imprisoning people asking questions, a gag order on scientists.

And so, I think it's OK for us, as even Democrats, progressives, to say "Maybe the Republicans, maybe even Trump could have been right on one narrow thing." It's - but important of saying, "Well, China has to be held accountable. And we have to hold ourselves accountable."

So it's really important, a big step forward today, the Biden move, to call for a full investigation by U.S. Intelligence. I think that's great. And there's a lot more work that also needs to be done.

CUOMO: All right, first of all, I want you to explain why it was wrong for him to cancel the probe. Was he just replacing one of Trump's with his own?

METZL: Well, when the Biden team came to the State Department, like with any new administration, there were a lot of decisions that needed to be made.

And there was this probe that was looking into the origins of the pandemic. As a matter of fact, I spoke earlier today with one of the leaders. And I think there was just some administrative decisions that were made. And this process was shut down.

I think it was a mistake. That doesn't mean that everything should be condemned, because I think we need to be really digging.

CUOMO: Right.

METZL: And there was groupthink, across the board, on the origins of COVID. And that's certainly why I and others have been doing so much work, over the past year and a half, to say, "Hey, wait a second. Let's not accept that we know answers to questions that are still outstanding."

CUOMO: Right.

METZL: "We can't say so, so definitively that it's natural origins. Let's look at the lab leak."

CUOMO: I think that they canceled it, because that's what you do, when you come in, and it was a mistake. They didn't think. They made a bad move.

METZL: Yes, it was a mistake.

CUOMO: And now they're trying to play catch-up. But hold on a second.

METZL: Yes, I agree.

CUOMO: But there's another thing here. Trump was not early on to get after China. He didn't go after China until he was getting blamed for the virus here.

I just put up the tweet. He was praising China for containing the virus. So, it can't be true that he thought China was responsible for weaponizing it, and leeching it on us, and at the same time fighting it. So he was a late-comer to that idea.

And he had cut, as you know, CDC staff in China by two-thirds, prior to COVID. So we didn't have as many eyes as we used to have on the ground.

And certainly now, Senator Marco Rubio, do you remember him saying, "Let's get investigators on the ground ASAP," at the beginning of COVID, for China?

METZL: No. So, you're absolutely right. And there were a lot of things that Trump did wrong. And I was a massive critic at that time.

And even today, of all of those things, and frankly, that's why whatever the origins of the pandemic, there's a big reason why we've had so many deaths here in the United States relative to pretty much most of the--

CUOMO: I'm just saying they had a year.

METZL: --other country, and that has to do--

CUOMO: I'm just saying they had a year--

METZL: No, they had a year. But there were-- CUOMO: --to act on their China suspicions, if they want to now say they was so right, you had a year to do something about it. That's all I'm saying.

METZL: Well, yes, but there were. I mean, let's say Trump was late. He was earlier than a lot of other people, people like Senator Tom Cotton. And again, I'm a Democrat. I'm a progressive. But Tom Cotton had some pretty strong statements early on.

And I think that again, whoever we are, Democrats, Republicans, whatever, we're ultimately all Americans, we're all humans. And we should try to evaluate our own behavior and the data as best we can.

So, I think it's OK for us to say that, on a lot of things, last year, Trump and the Republicans got it wrong, but they were earlier than the Democrats--

CUOMO: Yes, they should have just--

METZL: --maybe even for all the wrong reasons, and maybe doing it a nasty way, in calling out China.

CUOMO: They should have just searched then, and pushed to get on the ground. They should have done something--


CUOMO: --instead of just weaponizing it politically, as an offset to what they weren't doing in this country. So now, here we are. And my skepticism is--

METZL: Yes. Well please let me - let me just - if I can just?

CUOMO: Go ahead.

METZL: If I can just add one thing, because that's a really important point.

Because last year, when President Trump was making all the noise about "China's the problem, and WHO is the problem," China actually took control of a process, at the World Health Assembly, which is the governing body of the WHO.

And Australia had a pretty strong resolution that they were supporting. And China turned that into something that was very supportive of China, and really let China off the hook.

And the Trump administration, which was saying a lot, actually, about the origins of the pandemic, and blaming China, blaming the WHO, they in fact, didn't do the hard work, at the World Health Assembly, to try to set up the kind of full investigation that we needed.

CUOMO: All right.

METZL: And that's why it's so significant that President Biden now is calling for the kind of action that's required. [21:10:00]

CUOMO: Now, you had Pompeo at the time saying he had seen clear and convincing proof that it was in the lab. Where is the proof? You have the same Intel people there now. They just had redoubled their efforts. Don't they already have the proof that Pompeo said that he saw?

And secondly, if China doesn't want to comply, isn't this a dead letter?

METZL: Yes, so, when you - when we go back, and listen to exactly what Pompeo said, there's always a little word that I believe nobody, at least in our government, as far as I know, has seen conclusive proof. There is no smoking gun.

There are allegations. I personally believe that the case for a lab- leak incident, as a possible origin, is much stronger than the other possibilities. But they don't know--

CUOMO: But will you ever know if China doesn't let you in, and doesn't help, and hasn't already destroyed the evidence?

METZL: So, the answer to that - yes, so the answer is we don't know. I mean, certainly, it's much better if China gives us full access to all the records, samples and personnel that they're hiding. It's unlikely.

But over the last year, I have worked with a group of about two or three dozen experts, leading scientists from around the world. And very quietly, we and people in our group have been gathering information, including about the mine in Southern China, where a lot of these viral samples came from that were brought to Wuhan, a lot of other things.

Yes, we'd love to have access to China. But there's a huge amount that we can do. And that's why what the position of the United States and the world community should be, is we would like to have a full investigation with full access to China. If China is not on board, we need to set up a parallel process, with all the resources that we have.

Let's have public hearings. Let's get to the bottom of this, because the last thing we can do is live through the world's worst pandemic in a century, and just say, "Oh, I guess we should stop looking to understand why this started, and how we can address our greatest vulnerability."

CUOMO: Agreed.

Jamie Metzl, to be continued.

All right, there was another mass shooting today. And I'm going to be honest with you. It wasn't a no-brainer that we'd cover it. You know why? Because the truth. Do you care? I'm not saying that you wanted eight more precious lives taken, or that you like it, I'm not saying that. I'm saying something else. Are you numb to what happened in San Jose, California? Do you have compassion fatigue? Do you believe "Look, nothing's ever going to happen, this is who we are now. This is how it is." I think the answer is yes.

And I don't think there's any chance for bipartisan action on the gun crisis. I think it's only going to get worse. Certainly the numbers show that, and I can make that case for you right after this break.

Van Jones says I'm wrong, and there can be progress. How? Next.









CUOMO: You probably heard that we had eight people killed this morning in a mass shooting, on the job, at a public transit rail yard in San Jose, California.

Investigators don't know the gunman's motive yet, but they do know that he worked for the rail yard. He went to the rail yard to commit this act of violence, murder, and he knew the victims well.

Of the eight people, who were dead, six bodies remain inside two of the transit buildings. Crime scene is still being processed, after police spent hours, sweeping the area for explosives, after some devices were found.

This tragedy, this senseless violence, well what can I say? What can I say that you haven't heard? What could I tell you that would make any difference? Nothing has changed.

And it doesn't matter what I bring up to you. Here, you want some statistics? Bring in Van Jones. He knows the stats.

Gun violence in 2021, 7,500 deaths, 200-plus mass shootings, I think this was the 232nd. There's a 23 percent increase over 2020. That's from the Gun Violence Archive.

And it's a little tricky because we don't keep real national statistics on that because we like to hide from problems. That's why we don't have national standards on what is equivalent to an abuse of force in the use of force by police. And we don't have uniform reportings that we avoid what we don't like. And yes, Governor Gavin Newsom, I thought was particularly passionate today, after meeting with the families, and saying "What the hell is wrong with us? What the hell? What is going on?" And yet, he knows the answer, Van, so do you.

You got 18 percent of this country owns about half of Congress. They are vestigial, when it comes to their romanticism of the gun. They think that it's the bad guy with the gun, and we need as many good guys with guns as possible. They control the political power. They don't want it to change. And therefore, it will not.

Your take?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, first of all, it's horrible. And you said that you're afraid that people are getting numb. I think that people are getting numb.

And I think people are starting to give up and accept the unacceptable. And I think it's important, for those of us, who have platforms, and who have opportunities, to push back against that, to do so, and I appreciate the opportunity.

First of all, if you listen to the right-wing media, they're talking about a rise in gun violence, too. They ignore the mass shootings. They talk about this rise in street violence. And they're all about it.

They talk about it. But they throw their hands up. "Nothing we can do about it. It's just the liberals making the cops miserable, bad liberal mayors," or whatever, but they're talking about violence.

Listen to progressives. We're talking about the mass shootings. But then we throw our hands up, "There's nothing you can do, and the NRA," et cetera.

Is it time for Biden to call for a national summit on violence? Pull the right-wing in, because they're on the hook now. They're saying they're concerned about all this street violence. Pull the progressives in because we're concerned about the mass shootings. And is there anything that could actually bring us together?


For instance, I think what may be happening here is a mental health implosion coming out of, all these COVID deaths that have been frankly un-grieved, all the disruption that happened to us, through the lockdowns, and everything else.

There's something happening here that we're not talking about as Americans. But both sides now are acknowledging too many funerals, too much death, too much violence. So, I do think that there's a possibility to try to bring us together with the broader topic of violence, to see if we can find any way forward.

CUOMO: Well, a couple things. One, you got the slippery slope. You've had the Right say before, "It's all about mental health. Just get rid of these crazy folks, and we have no problem," but they didn't really do anything about it.

JONES: Sure.

CUOMO: "Red flag" laws, they're not really in places. I think they'd be an excellent tool. But they did that to not deal with access.

Because in the Heller case, in 2008, or whenever it was, they said that was the case, by the way, Van knows all this, that was the case that found that the Second Amendment involved an individual right to self-defense. It had never been found before, in the history of the jurisprudence--

JONES: Right.

CUOMO: --on the Second Amendment. It was always seen as a collective right for a militia, never an individual right, not until Antonin Scalia did that decision. The man who said "Don't go outside the four corners of the Constitution" did exactly that. May he rest in peace!

Now, they say "Mental health! Mental health!" People who are mentally ill are more likely to be victims of gun violence than perpetrators. And also, you have a suicidality problem that is way bigger, when it comes to gun crime than any kinds of mass shootings that we deal with.

JONES: Right.

CUOMO: And any kind of gangland shootings that we deal with. But it doesn't qualify as violence, Van.

When you kill yourself, although it is perversely a crime, it does not count as a violent act that we're afraid of in society. How do we change that? How do we get it right on mental health?


CUOMO: Instead of demonizing them--

JONES: Sure.

CUOMO: --motivating change--

JONES: Right.

CUOMO: --from a collective concern?

JONES: Well, look, everything that you just said, I agree with 100 percent. I'm trying to solve a different problem, which is the problem of despair, and cynicism, and resignation, on both sides, while looking at funerals of Americans. That is dangerous. That is new. That is frightening.

And I think that Biden might be well-positioned, in other words, I think he got - listen, let's acknowledge. You got people in politics, who just score points, they don't care. But I think you got a lot of people in America who do care, they just don't know what to do, or they feel frustrated.

I wonder if you - what if you had some of the Black grand-mamas, who are burying too many folks, in the hood, in our communities, what if you had some of these people who - you got a lot of police officers, who are concerned about the rise in crime, what about the people who are concerned about these mass shootings and the surviving family members of that?

What if they're all at the White House talking to each other? And we're now talking to each other, not about each other? There might be something that emerges. I don't have a magic answer, neither do you. But I believe that the magic comes out of dialog.

And what's happening now is we aren't even talking to each other. We are talking about each other, impasse each other, about a rise in American death. That is dangerous. And so, I appreciate you, continuing.

I know a lot of people, "Why are we going to show another mass shooting?" We have to do it. And also, there are options, when both sides are talking about this rise in violence. Let's talk to each other, not about each other, maybe we can find a way forward.

CUOMO: And I'll tell you what else. Ordinarily, when I do these things, the first time I've ever not done it, I had a run, where I had been to every mass shooting, when I was at ABC News, and we started to cover them. I was on morning on the Anchor show at the time.

And you talk to the families, "I'm sorry for your loss," not doing it. I'm not going to politicize their loss and make them the latest string of players in a game that they desperately now want to influence, because they don't want this to happen to another family. And they'll get nowhere.

So, I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to put them in this mix. Of course, everybody feels for those who lose people, no matter what the reason, but they deserve better than to be thrown into a game that nobody can win.

Van Jones, be well, my brother, and I appreciate you--


CUOMO: --for believing. That's why I have you on. Make them believe because I can.


CUOMO: All right, Democrats. You think they're going to push hard for gun control ahead of the upcoming midterms? Do any of you vote on it? I'm not a cynic, OK? I'm not even really a skeptic. I'm a realist.

Where are the Democrats, in terms of the long game here? You know why they want to get things done? You know why they're worried about Manchin and the filibuster? If they don't get big things done, what happens in the midterms? How are they doing in that campaign? Insight from two legendary Democratic strategists, almost guaranteed to not like half of what I say, Axelrod and Carville, next.









CUOMO: History has shown that the President's party often performs poorly in the midterms. Why? Balance. Balance. We like the balance. We don't trust anybody having too much power. Republicans are right in there. They only need to pick up a handful of House seats.

Remember, Biden won by a significant margin. But the Democrats did not have a great race. Or just one Senate seat next year, to usher in divided government. On the other hand, Dems have never faced a fractured GOP, and its conspiracy lovers like this. Is what they're doing enough to keep them in power in 2022?

Veteran political strategists David Axelrod, and James Carville, both join me now.

My brothers, good to see you. Quick show of hands, do either of you feel that the Dems are right on target?


CUOMO: Either of you? Are either of you loving it?


CUOMO: All right, hands down, hands down. Good.

We'll start with you, Axe. What's the state of play? And why don't you like it? And why do you like it?


AXELROD: Look, structurally, Democrats have a big challenge in 2022, because of the census, because of redistricting, because of the historical forces that you mentioned, and because of the slim margin that they have in the House right now. You'd have to bet right now, on Republicans taking the House. As

fractured, and as absurd as they are, there are structural reasons why they have an advantage, going into that election.

Democrats have profited from Joe Biden. And I think there's a great sense of relief, among many Americans, that a decent, rational human being is in charge of the country now. And I think that redounds to the party in power, when the President is popular.

But I don't think I'd be at all sanguine about this. And even though he's accomplished a great deal, with his initial actions, particularly relative to the virus, and the economy, the next pieces are going to get harder.

And as we've seen, and events intrude, and so, you know, I, the hope is that the, from the Democratic side, is that the economy is such that there's a tide in his favor in 2022, and in favor of Democrats, but you wouldn't bet on it right now.

CUOMO: The Ragin' Cajun had a sly smile on his face for a moment. I can't believe you survived going after cancel culture, and everybody for being woke, on the Left. But you did! So what does that mean that you survived? And how do you see it?

CARVILLE: Well, I just had something I thought was necessary to say. And I said it. And I hope it had some impact.

Because I - you know, and a main thing, it was the people that we want to communicate, our own people, we have to speak the language that they speak, and they don't use this kind of language. So, if we want to be effective communicators, I think we have to do that.

But in any time, I can agree (ph) with David Axelrod, it's a real thought. And he's right, we have structural disadvantages. We have to win the House vote by probably six, seven votes.

AXELROD: Likewise, brother.

CARVILLE: Just as even, so.

But our problem now is we got too much growth and too many vaccines, which, would have taken that this past October, so that there is a, you know, there are significant headwinds there. But if we're smart, and Biden's approval stays like it is, like 54 percent, then you're in the hunt.

CUOMO: You're in the hunt, David, but are you as good at the game? Look at how McConnell keeps them in line. Look at how the House knows how to play away--


CUOMO: --from its difficulties, and ignore and have a position of opposition, which in a democracy that is now based on division is the right way to play? How do you win?

AXELROD: Well, first of all, let me just say that right back at Carville, who is one of the most profound guys--

CUOMO: Ah, with the lovefest!

AXELROD: --that I know in politics, and have ever known. So, no, it is.

CUOMO: I'm glad you like each other.

AXELROD: But what he - what he had to say is really, really important.

CUOMO: You're both going to be on a losing team.

AXELROD: Because--

CUOMO: This may be the last time I have you on together. Go ahead.

AXELROD: Because--

CUOMO: Go ahead, Axe.

AXELROD: Because - no, no, no. There is a real problem, I think. As Democrats - Democratic strength is growing in the aggregate. Democrats have won seven out of the last eight national election popular votes. But that's not how we elect presidents. We elect - every state has two senators.

And as we become more and more of a metropolitan party, and we write off large segments of the country, I mean, Donald Trump won 80 percent of the counties in this country.

And what James said is really, really important that what Biden understands that a lot of Democrats don't, is he understands that people who work with their hands, people who work with their back, people who farm, are entitled to the same dignity as people, who sit in front of a computer screen all day. But that's not always the attitude of the Democratic Party. And I think there's a price to be paid for that.

Joe Biden won by 7 million votes nationally, but he really won by 44,000 votes in three states. And if those states had gone another way, if he had 45,000 votes had gone Trump's way, in those states, this would have been thrown to the House. And under the rules, Trump would probably have been re-elected president.

CUOMO: Right. All right.

AXELROD: That's how close the election really was. So, Democrats can't be sanguine.

CUOMO: Carville, give me a last word here on the one thing that Democrats should be saying to White Americans that they're not.

CARVILLE: Well, I think they should speak plain English. And it is what David said that the nature of being a Democrat is you respect everybody and you particularly respect people's labor. And so often Democrats come across with this Metropolitan arrogance or

Urban smugness that people feel. And it hurts us. And, by the way, it even hurts us with people that live in cities that don't speak this jargon-y faculty lounge language.


I mean, David is an associate at the University of Chicago. The people in South Chicago do not speak the same language that the faculty at the University of Chicago speaks. It's just that simple.

And we're Democrats, and we're trying to persuade people, and we have to rack - to persuade a lot of them, because you're right that 18 percent of the country elects 52 senators.

And we have to be communicators and we got to take every word and every chance to communicate as precious, and communicate with everybody, and don't be so smug about everything.

CUOMO: Last time I had Jim on, Axe, he said 95 percent of the Republican districts that they win are White, over half the country is White.

Do you really want to have the majority of White people think the Democratic Party is against them? Right or wrong, because that's how they're being boxed in. It should be an obvious problem to address. We'll see if they do.

James Carville, David Axelrod, thank you, fellas. Appreciate you. See you soon.

CARVILLE: Thank you. You bet.

CUOMO: All right, now, we have developments--

AXELROD: Good to see you.

CUOMO: --in the criminal probe against Donald Trump. I told you about him last night.

A witness was just told to prepare to appear before a grand jury, reportedly convened in New York, so that means the reporting seems to be right. Should Trump be worried? Have prosecutors already gotten someone in Trump-world to flip?

We'll talk to a man who knows the players, and has a good guess at the odds, next.









CUOMO: Former president Trump now looking at a pair of criminal grand juries. "Pair? I thought it was just about the New York one."

No, remember, back in March, the D.A. in Atlanta impaneled one to look at Trump's effort to overturn the election results, specifically, his calls with local officials. Could they be construed as criminal obstruction? Unlikely.

Now, we have this special grand jury, however, scheduled to meet for six months, in New York. The focus there is on his business. And this is absolutely more serious business for Trump, a subject few journalists know better than Tim O'Brien, Author of "TrumpNation."

Good to see you, brother.


CUOMO: Let's go through the three things that Trump should worry about here. Number one, prison, why?

O'BRIEN: Well, because this is the first time in his 74 years, about to be 75 years that he's been looking at the possibility of a criminal indictment and criminal charges and an orange jumpsuit. That is new in his world.

And he has nine lives. He has escaped rigorous investigations, and two impeachments before. But this is a very - this is an order of magnitude different than anything he's encountered before.

CUOMO: And also, in the last two trials, they were political. He had people there, who were invested in making sure he got away with it. And he had leverage to use against them. Here, we don't know that to be the case. And that takes us--

O'BRIEN: And he was still president.

CUOMO: Yes, sir. Absolutely, which is that leverage on high. And that takes us to the difference between fealty, which is you have to do for Trump, otherwise he will do against you, to whether he can really secure enough loyalty, to stay out of water. That goes to the CFO and any other people with information about his knowledge of criminal wrongdoing.

O'BRIEN: That's right, Chris. And there's - it is a small network of people. The Trump Organization is not a complex Fortune 500 Company. This is a mom-and-pop shop. It's smaller than most grocery stores, in terms of the number of people who work there. Trump put his hands on everything of substance. So, anything of

substance, that Cy Vance or Tish James are looking at, involves Trump. And there was a small nexus of people around that who mattered.

Allen Weisselberg has gotten a lot of attention. But there's people like Jason Greenblatt, the former in-house counsel of the Trump Organization, his administrative assistant, Rhona Graff, who handled emails for him, and as well and obviously his children as well.

Once you, you know, those are the people that have some of the closest proximity to Trump's decision-making. And I have to believe that Cy Vance has spoken to most of them, if not all of them, already. And we know that Weisselberg is the subject himself now of a criminal probe.

CUOMO: The third one, I actually wanted to put first, because I think it will be our first big indication of how strong a fight Trump is going to put up. And the third one is adequate legal defense.

When he was president, everybody wanted to get around him. He had all the best names that he could have, all the resources and manpower. Now we're going to see what kind of team he can assemble on his own.

O'BRIEN: And he has a long history of stiffing his lawyers for their legal bills. He has a notoriously bad reputation, in the legal community, for someone who won't pay up.

Now, obviously, there's going to be a lot of value to any attorney to defend a marquee client like Trump, in a case like this, if he gets indicted, and if it goes that far. I also think he believes in his heart of hearts, that legal counsel is almost the last resort for him.

The first thing he'll do is take his case to the streets. We saw him do this with the Mueller probe. We saw him do it with two impeachments. He is more than happy to try to burn the house down, and attack institutions, and the bonafides of people trying to hold him to account, if it saves his own skin.

CUOMO: Grand jury is a secret proceeding.

What would you put it out right now? More likely or less likely he gets indicted?

O'BRIEN: I just - I don't - I think there's a strong possibility that someone at the Trump Organization is going to get indicted. I think there's a possibility the Trump Organization itself will get indicted, as a corporate entity. I just don't know.

But I don't think that Tish James would have expanded her probe from a civil probe into a criminal probe, which carries the penalty of prison, along with it, if you're found guilty, which a civil probe doesn't, unless she had a rock-solid belief she had good evidence.


And Cy Vance would not be convening grand jury unless he was confident that he had evidence he could put in front of a grand jury and convince them that a crime was committed.

So, I do think this is - this is moving towards criminal charges. It's just unclear who and what and when.

CUOMO: They can squeeze out a win either way, though. If they indict anybody, or the entity, they can say, they found that Trump's person, Trump's Organization was criminal. They'll spin that. Doesn't mean they have to get the former president himself.

I got to jump. We'll have plenty more to talk about. This case is not going anywhere. We know we're going to have six months of developments along the way with this grand jury.

Tim O'Brien, thank you. Always good to see you.

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, the pandemic, it is on the retreat in America. But then you got to put your eye on the Olympics, in Japan, if that's where they are. Why? Well, COVID cases are on the rise there, very few people vaccinated. U.S. citizens are being advised not to travel there. What does this mean for the Games?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, next.








CUOMO: Could we be gearing up for the world's largest super-spreader event?


The Summer Olympics in Japan less than two months away, growing number of desperate voices, including a sponsor, are urging officials to cancel the games. An IOC member says cancellation is quote, essentially off the table, and says Organizers are confident a bubble can be maintained.

The State Department is allowing athletes to go, although it's warning Americans generally to avoid traveling to Japan. The best of us can go. Everybody else probably shouldn't. That sounds smart!

Only 2 percent of the population is vaccinated. So, how risky is this? Let's bring in Sanjay. So look, here's the metaphor. You got 2 percent of the people in Japan. It's reflective of the fact that we are way ahead when it comes to vaccinations than just about all other developed countries, let alone everyone that will be represented at the Olympics.

You think they should go forward?


CUOMO: Or not?

GUPTA: I think it's dicey right now. I mean, it's two months away. I think they've got some work to do, because they're talking about a bubble. As you mentioned, they're going to have basic protocols in place regarding masking and things like that.

They predict, Chris that even though 2 percent of the country vaccinated, 2.6 percent, the Village itself, they think, will be closer to 75 percent to 80 percent of people vaccinated, essentially creating a--

CUOMO: Are they requiring them?

GUPTA: They're not requiring them.

CUOMO: Should they?

GUPTA: They're encouraged but not required.

Well, some of the athletes have said that they think they worry that the vaccine could interfere with their performance. This is something that they've taken into account so that they're basically what they've sort of come down on the side of is encouraging them.

And when they do the calculations, because it's not just the athletes, as you know, Chris, the trainers, everyone else that's going to be a part of the Village, they think 75 percent to 80 percent of people will be vaccinated sort of functionally creating herd immunity there. I don't know. That's an estimate.

Also, as far as testing goes, something we don't talk about nearly enough, but they're going to require two tests within 96 hours of getting on a plane, another test when you arrive in the Village, and then testing for every day that you're actually competing, or training, and things like that. We'll see how that goes as well.

But I guess the good news, Chris, as you well know, we've talked about it, the NBA, they were able to create a bubble, even without vaccines. The NFL had good success. The Australian Open was able to do that.

CUOMO: But they kept them all there. And now you're going to have people flying home to their home countries--

GUPTA: That's right.

CUOMO: --and moving around. There's going to be a lot of intermixing there. It's a little bit different.

GUPTA: Yes, that's exactly right. That's the challenge. It's much bigger. And by virtue of the nature of this event, you're going to have a lot of piercing of that bubble back and forth.

CUOMO: Right.

GUPTA: In the NBA, they could really do that bubble. This is going to be more challenging.

CUOMO: Gupta, let me ask you something else, while I have you. Do you think we're going to get an answer out of China, or with their help, or without it, about how COVID started, all this political kerfuffle going on? Bottom line?

GUPTA: I think - I think the answer is knowable, Chris, whether we'll get it or not. If you presuppose that we don't get it because it's not knowable, I don't think that's the case. I think there is an answer that is knowable out there.

I'll give you a couple of examples, for, we knew about these people, who got sick, in November, even perhaps earlier, according to some of my sources, of 2019. Did they have blood samples taken? Do those blood samples show antibodies to the Coronavirus? If they do, that's - it's not a smoking gun. But it's pretty clear-cut evidence. The big question is--

CUOMO: You'd have to get them though.

GUPTA: You'd have to get them. And that's why I think it's--

CUOMO: And China doesn't want to let you have them.

GUPTA: --knowable. It's knowable. But we may not know because of that exact reason.

One of the big things that really caught my attention, a few months ago, when I was talking to Robert Redfield was just how quickly does a virus become contagious, and what does that tell us about it?

Listen to how he framed it to me, Chris.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: I do not believe this somehow came from a bat to a human.

Normally, when a pathogen goes from a zoonotic to human, it takes a while for it to figure out how to become more and more efficient in human-to-human transmission. I just don't think this makes biological sense.


GUPTA: Chris, I hope that makes sense.

CUOMO: Yes. It does.

GUPTA: But basically what he's saying is that at the jump, the point of the jump, the virus sort of sputters along for a while. It's got to figure out humans. This thing came screaming out of the gates at 90 miles an hour. And that's why Redfield and a lot of others believe that was because it was already--

CUOMO: Right.

GUPTA: --being exposed to human cells in a lab. So, I think it's a knowable answer to this. But man, we're 15 months in, Chris, and we're still not really any closer to--

CUOMO: Right.

GUPTA: --to absolutely convincingly ruling out any - ruling out one of these origins.

CUOMO: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appreciate you.

GUPTA: You got it.

CUOMO: All right, so let me give you a perspective shifter, and then I got a gift for you after the break, or at least it's a gift for me.

All right, here's a problem. We have COVID, have all this political - here's a problem you should be happy we don't have.

Look at what's happening in rural Australia. You know what those are? Mice everywhere, flooding farms, devouring hay and crops, scurrying through homes, even biting people in hospitals.


A pair of mice can create 500 more in a single breeding season. One farmer says "I've never seen anything like this in 40 years." How did this happen? So now, they want to use like stronger poisons, but they're worried about hurting native animals, and that can get into the food from the farms.

Look, can you imagine - how about that, dealing with that in your hometown? Just saying, a little bit of perspective, OK?

So, from the scary to the sublime, I just had something happen tonight that I have been waiting for, for almost 20 years. Picture alert! Right after this.







CUOMO: I've been waiting for this for such a long time! My big shot, Cristina and my oldest, Bella, is graduating from high school. She had prom tonight. I used to think I'd have to kill somebody in this night. But now, I thought I was almost going to die myself from just emotion.

Take a look at this. So, this is the picture she wanted. I saw, I said, see all those storm clouds, I told her "This prom's not supposed to happen. You should stay home. Let's get Chinese." This is the picture she wanted because she's artsy, turned to the side. But no, I'm too proud on this.

Look at my Bella, 18-years-old, graduating high school, going to prom, I just I can't believe it. Any parent will know this.

I'll bring in Uncle Don Lemon here. "DON LEMON TONIGHT" is going to start in just a second. Look at this moment, Don.