Return to Transcripts main page

Cuomo Prime Time

Biden Slams Trump For "Phony Populism" At NATO Summit; McConnell: "Highly Unlikely" I Would Allow Biden To Fill SCOTUS Vacancy In 2024 If GOP Flips Senate; FBI To Lawmakers: QAnon Followers May Turn More Violent. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 14, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And Christiane, we love you, and we offer all our support to you and your family. Courage defines you. It has your entire career, and it does now. And as you face this battle, we have no doubt you will fight and win. We love you.

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: She wins by fighting. And it is so characteristic of her to use something that ordinarily would consume any of us, right? The last thing you'd be thinking is "Other people." And that's exactly where her head and heart takes her. That's why she's a legend.

Coop, thank you for letting people know about that. Very important!

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

President Biden trumped the last guy on the world stage today, at the NATO summit. Listen to this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The leadership of the Republican Party is fractured.

I think it is a shock and surprise that what's happened, in terms of the consequence of President Trump's phony populism, has - has happened.

And it is disappointing that so many of my Republican colleagues, in the Senate, who I know, know better, have been reluctant to take on, for example, an investigation because they're worried about being primaried.


CUOMO: On the world stage, Biden blames phony populism for undercutting an insurrection investigation, and called out irrational resistance, on the Right, like this, if you heard the latest from Senator Ron Johnson, "Rioters on January 6th weren't rioting. They were staying within the roped lines, and were in a jovial mood."

So no one breached the Capitol? The Trump-appointed FBI Director did not call it an act of terror?

Trumpers and Putin, another topic at NATO, seem to back each other.

Listen to Putin.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): They came to the Congress with political demands. Isn't that persecution for political opinions?


CUOMO: First, irony, Putin saying that this was OK. Can you imagine what he would have had done to people attacking the Kremlin, as they did the Capitol? Look, but the play that the Right is too quick to comfort, not just Putin, but his playbook is an interesting one.

Take a look at Senate Minority Leader McConnell. What did he defend today? The secret seizure of personal records of fellow members of Congress by Trump's DOJ.



SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Our colleagues are among the same Democrats who spent years demanding repeated investigations of a Republican president, while turning a blind eye to the clear abuses of power that infected the investigation of his campaign.

So, any outrage from Democrats that alleged criminal leaks within their own ranks rightly drew the attention of federal investigators, rings completely hollow.

It's particularly disappointing that our colleagues have taken to attacking former Attorney General Bill Barr over investigative decisions that occurred when he wasn't there yet.

A witch-hunt in the making.


CUOMO: So, the first thing for you to remember is this. McConnell just showed you the game.

"I am not going to take offense to something that I would, if Democrats did it, because I don't believe they police their own, the way I'd like them to. So, even if the investigation, that I'm referring to that I don't like what they did with it, is nothing compared to what we're looking at now. I won't have a principled position." Because that's the game. Hate the other side. Blame the other side.

And that's enough. The position is opposition. "I'm against them." That's the game.

And look, we know the fact. "I don't like that they're going after Bill Barr." Of course - of course, you don't. Of course, you don't. He played the game too and hooked up President Trump for you.

Barr re-ordered gag orders, fact, demanded leak investigations be continued, fact. Doesn't matter if he likes that people are looking at Barr with scrutinous eye or not, that's the fact.

The real play here though, is for McConnell to squash any real probe of what happened about anything that could be dangerous to his own power, OK? So, he can't have you look at the Department of Justice. He can't have you look at January 6th. Those could be bad for him.


There is no shame in his game. And that's why I don't get why you people, especially in the media, find it shocking that he threatened again today to block another potential Supreme Court nominee, if there's a vacancy in Biden's term, and it happens when McConnell is in control of the Senate.



MCCONNELL: I think in the middle of a presidential election, if you have a Senate of the opposite party of the president, you have to go back to the 1880s to find the last time a vacancy was filled. So, I think it's highly unlikely.

HUGH HEWITT, THE HUGH HEWITT SHOW HOST: If you were back as the Senate Republican Leader, and I hope you are, and a Democrat retires at the end of 2023, and there are 18 months, that would be the Anthony Kennedy precedent. Would they get a fair shot at a hearing, not a radical, but a normal mainstream liberal?

MCCONNELL: Well, we'd have to wait and see what happens.


CUOMO: That's BS. There is no wait and see. You know exactly what would happen because you've seen the play before.

He will lie, if he's in the minority, and say, "You know, oh, this is wrong what they're doing to us." Then if he's in the majority, he'll do exactly that, like he did with Merrick Garland.

Lie, then deny, then defy, and do whatever is good for you, and smile all the way through. That is the game. Biden is calling out the game. Good! But here's the real test. Can he and/or the Democrats do anything about it?

Let's take that question to a better mind, Senate Democrat, Jeff Merkley, from Oregon.

Good to see you as always, sir.

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): Great to see you, Chris.

CUOMO: Now, I am sure that you don't like what McConnell was saying today. But talk to us about it, in the context of what you can do about what you don't like?

MERKLEY: Well, you're absolutely right. I don't like it at all.

And it is not that long ago that I was on the floor, for 15 hours, saying "Don't steal a Supreme Court seat." Never before in our history has the Senate failed to hold a debate, and a vote on a nominee, including during an election year. Always, always happened. That is our responsibility.

And so, here we are, with the - McConnell saying previously, the proud thing - he's proud of it's in life is having stolen a seat from President Obama, and delivering it to President Trump, and that he'll happily do it again.

And the damage to the court is enormous. It turns it into a warfare, a partisan warfare. We already had plenty of politics around the court, but he has put this on steroids. That's an order of magnitude more intense now, the partisanship of the court, and the effort to stack it with Federal Society members.

So, what can we do? Well, we can make sure that McConnell is not in the majority in 2023, and 2024, because if he's in the majority, he's played this game before, and his party rewarded him for it, for the deep, deep damage to the Supreme Court. And so, he feels comfortable now, extending on that model, whenever he gets a chance to do so.

CUOMO: Are you in favor of going to some of the older, they're all pretty old, except for a couple new conservatives, going to the judges, and ones that were appointed by Democrats, and saying, "You should retire now. And let us fill the vacancies," and then try to make a power play if you can get your own members on board?

MERKLEY: Well, I'll tell you I'm not comfortable doing that, because I don't think the Senate should be telling the members of the Supreme Court when to retire, in terms of the separation of power.

I, you know, my secret heart is that some members, particularly the 82-year-old Stephen Breyer--

CUOMO: Right.

MERKLEY: --will maybe have that thought on his own, that he should not let his seat be subject to a potential theft, that that was not the type of damage he'd like to see happen to the court. But not my place, not the Senate's place, to carry that message.

CUOMO: Well, decorum aside, separation of powers doesn't mean you can't make a request. And as beloved as she is, among Democrats, and many, who respect the

Supreme Court, RBG, the "Notorious," although there was nothing notorious about Justice Ginsburg, may she rest in peace, with reflection, do you wish that she had decided to retire, during the Obama administration?

MERKLEY: Oh, a 100 percent. And I wish that her illness had not taken her life, when it did, and she made it a few months longer. I'm sure, in her final thinking, she was probably hoping she could hold on. And that's not the way the world worked out.


And so, it's delivered a court, now stacked with Federal Society members, which to sum it up, that means court members, who believe in a court that favors corporations, over consumer interests, and environmental interests, in terms of civil rights, voting rights, you name it, it's not a "We, the people," philosophy, it's "We, corporate power," philosophy. And that is just so damaging to the vision of a nation founded on the idea that power flows up from the people, not down from, from the powerful.

And I'm really stunned that these Federal Society members, particularly ones that talk about originalist, there were no corporations that looked anything like a modern corporation, at the founding of our nation. They have so twisted that to give themselves this false facade of legitimacy for supporting corporate power over the people.

So, I certainly wish we could have filled that seat that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had retired a little earlier. In my heart, I wish that for Stephen Breyer. But I won't be calling - I won't be calling him up, and asking him to do so.

CUOMO: It's the difference between your side and the other side. Either you play to advantage, or you don't. But Senator, let me check a couple of other boxes, while I have you.

One, the talking filibuster, have you approached - everybody wants to know what you have with Biden on that. Biden's not your obstacle. It's Manchin. Have you gone to Senator Joe Manchin and said, "Let's keep the filibuster. But let's put back the old rules, so it's not an inexhaustible effort?"

MERKLEY: Well, I can tell you, I did briefings for every member of my Caucus that talked about these different strategies, to restore this broken instrument, called the filibuster. But a filibuster means you want more debate. But this is the no-debate version of obstruction, no show no effort.

CUOMO: Any buy-in?

MERKLEY: And so, since then, I haven't had conversations with him about it. He did speak publicly, at some point, and said he supported the talking filibuster. It makes sense that those who want to obstruct-- CUOMO: Right.

MERKLEY: --have to show up, and have to be speaking, on the floor of the Senate, to earn that right to a delay.

CUOMO: So, why don't you do it?

MERKLEY: Well, I certainly think it's one of our potential pathways. But the pathway, to overcoming this no effort, no show obstruction, on something as important as voting rights, is going to be whatever pathway 50 senators can agree on, in a room.

And maybe it's the - maybe it's the Senator Harkin version, where after every few days, a number goes down, from 60 to 58. Maybe it's the 1973 version, wherein the Senate decided it was going to take the deficit out of - out of control of the filibuster, because our voting rights is important as--

CUOMO: But you have many different iterations of it. If Manchin's position is "I won't vote to get rid of it," he never said he wouldn't modify it, but I don't understand the delay here, among Democrats.

Time is of the essence for you guys to get something done. Are you going to go into the midterms hobbled?

MERKLEY: There are a lot of intensified conversations and dialog taking place, as time is evaporating very, very quickly.

CUOMO: One quick thing. On the Right, they say to you, "Hey? Slow down, Merkley et al., and others. Wait for the I.G. report, on the DOJ, and then we'll decide if we need to talk to anybody." Do you accept that?

MERKLEY: No, I would like to - I'd like to see us go forward with a really robust investigation.

This is a big deal. Yes, call on an I.G. accelerate their report. But this idea that a president used the instruments of power to spy on Members of Congress is something every Member of Congress should revolt over.

I think about Nixon using his campaign instruments to spy on members. But this is a president using the actual powers of the Executive branch, which is so much, I guess, more corrupt, worse.

And so, let's find out if - let's find out the details, was what did the grand jury hear that that led to this? Is there some legitimate explanation? Or is this a profound abuse of power, which I suspect it is.

CUOMO: The best asset you have here, or really, we have here, is many of the top people, who were involved, are still in the DOJ, which means they should cooperate with the I.G., as long as there's no criminal implication, which we don't see here.

MERKLEY: That's right. CUOMO: Senator Jeff Merkley, I look forward to hearing anything that comes, in terms of unearthing what that was about. And I appreciate your thinking about what's going on, on the Democrat side.

MERKLEY: You're welcome. Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Be well.

"Trust the plan!" You heard that yet? You're seeing it online? That's what the QAnon kooks built their cult of lies around. "Trust the plan!" Now, the Feds are issuing a new very serious warning about the danger, some of the kooks may pose, in the aftermath of the attack on the Capitol.


Why do I call them kooks? Because they deserve no respect. There is no truth, and they have acted only in the way of animus. They get no respect from me. Did they get respect from the FBI? We'll see.

Andrew McCabe, on the threat, next.








CUOMO: All right, we have breaking news that will help us understand, I think, something that we just lived through, all right?

So, first on CNN, an unclassified report, from the FBI, warning lawmakers, QAnon conspiracy theorists may carry out more acts of violence. Why? Because the "Digital soldiers," are disenchanted, with a lack of progress and the lack of delivery on the BS that's been fed to them.

Let's bring in Andrew McCabe.

Good to see you, Andy. Thank you.


My question is the report was first requested in December, before the January 6th. Does that make January 6th an Intel failure, because they had reason to look, and then they disregarded the social media messaging, in the days leading up to January 6th? Is it an Intel failure, because they didn't take it seriously enough,

soon enough so they discounted it, in the days before, when maybe that had - would have helped them stop it?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FBI: It very well could be. We don't know, because we don't - they didn't actually produce a product, in December, when it was asked of them.

It'd be interesting to see what that product would have been, in December, prior to January 6th, what the conclusions about QAnon and more broadly, Trump supporters, and their propensity for violence would have been back then.

I suspect that the FBI thinks very differently about that population, those groups of people today, than they did back in December. But in any case, I think, Chris, this report, delivered now, months after it was requested, indicates that the FBI realizes they are watching a train that is about to crash, right?

These QAnon supporters, they believe very deeply in this, whatever you want to call it, movement, philosophy, whatever it is. Some of them will eventually become disillusioned, by the repeated failures of Q's predictions.

But others, disillusioned with Q, will maintain their beliefs, and march forward, and try to carry out some of these acts of violence against this infamous cabal they're constantly talking about.

CUOMO: The risk is right. What is the remedy? What can we do about it?

MCCABE: That's a really good question. I don't know that anyone has an acceptable answer for that. You can--

CUOMO: You think Trump could stop them?

MCCABE: You can keep - it would help. I mean, quite frankly, it would help.

CUOMO: You think?

MCCABE: It would help if Trump, and I think it would help if all of the Republican politicians, who refuse to call this out for the absolute fraud that it is, would step up, and take on responsibility, and try to do something, to mitigate this threat.

Every time Trump kind of breathes more life into these - into these lies, and people like Republican politicians on the Hill, don't come out and call it out for what it is, they validate these people's belief. It gives them a kind of a wink and a nod to go forward. And that is just encouraging the bad state of affairs we're in.

CUOMO: Brother McCabe, thank you for the quick hit and the understanding. I appreciate you.

MCCABE: Thanks, Chris. CUOMO: All right. So, here's a question for you. It's almost rhetorical. Why would any lawmaker be against looking into what could still pose a threat? Right? And the answer should be "Well, they shouldn't," right?

We're going to ask a House Intel Committee member, who voted against a January 6th commission, and why isn't he more outraged that two of his committee members had their records secretly seized by an equal branch of government? This man has been outspoken about how we investigate fellow citizens.

GOP Congressman Chris Stewart, next.









CUOMO: Using the power of the government to target political opponents, nobody likes it, except when it works for them. Remember how it used to infuriate Republicans?


REP. CHRIS STEWART (R-UT): It's unfair. In fact, I think it's un- American to make accusations about people without evidence.


CUOMO: Chris Stewart is exactly right. Just two months ago, when the target of the investigation was the same QAnon supporters the FBI is warning may turn violent, the fear was the government.


STEWART: I think the American people should be scared to death of this.


CUOMO: Being investigated by the government. Of course, now we've learned probably should have kept more of an eye on these QAnon conspiracists, 20 of whom were just arrested, at the Insurrection that nobody wants to investigate.

Now, that outrage used to also extend to reporters, congressional staffers, kids. Does it anymore?

I'm joined by the man in those two clips, Representative Chris Stewart from Utah.

It's good to see you, sir.

STEWART: Good to be with you.

CUOMO: So, the question is - let's deal with where your concerns lie. What we learned in this unclassified report, from the FBI, about QAnon conspiracists, perhaps being more violent, because what they were expecting hasn't been delivered on. Does that concern you, sir?

STEWART: Well, of course it does, Chris. And I got to go back to the lead introduction, before the break, when you indicated "Well, why isn't - why aren't some people like me more outraged by this?" Look, you don't know if I'm outraged or not.

CUOMO: So, tell me.

STEWART: The truth of the matter is, look, I've been very consistent on this. And I remain consistent on this.

The powers of the federal government should not be abused against U.S. persons, whether they're Members of Congress or not Members of Congress, whether they're members of the press, or not members of the press. I've been very consistent on that.

If there is reason for investigation, and apparently there is here, I would support finding out the truth. Were these powers abused? And if they were abused, we should recognize that, and punish those, who are responsible for it.

So again, Chris, I think you expect me to say "Well, no, let's only do this when it works to our political advantage." That's not my view.


STEWART: I think we should be consistent.

CUOMO: No, I don't. Representative, I expect you to say not much, because it's about your side.


CUOMO: And if I think it were about Democrats, I think you'd say a lot.

And to my point, you've known about this DOJ situation, for a while. You've expressed no high dudgeon. You have been measured, and said, "Well, let's see what we learn."

I do not remember you being that measured when it was what was being done to Republicans that was at issue.

STEWART: Well? CUOMO: You were very forthright about it. And I'm not saying that's right or wrong. I'm just saying it's different.


STEWART: Well, no, and I'm telling you it's simply not different. I'm here talking to you about it tonight. This has only been in the public - in our public view for a few days. And I'm here talking to you about it tonight.

So, I've been absolutely consistent. And you can measure my rage on the Rage-o-Meter, if you want. Again, I'm consistent on this. And I think it should be equally concerning, regardless of what side we think maybe abusing their authorities.

CUOMO: I think that is good and fair. And I don't see you as a rager, by the way.


CUOMO: One of the reasons I appreciate having you on the show is I believe that you're measured.

Now, when it comes to, you're concerned about the QAnon conspiracists, here's my concern about your concern. The only real check we have on what's driving them, is members of your party, calling out things that feed them.


CUOMO: And do you believe you have done enough to disabuse of the notions that Trump may get reinstated, because I can't find you talking about that?


CUOMO: Or of what's come out of the QAnon person in your ranks?

STEWART: Yes. Look, the reality is I can't address every conspiracy theories out there. And I know absolutely nothing about QAnon. I think some people do.

I think they're obviously in the media to some degree. But I don't follow them at all. I don't - I have responsibility to speak on them, just like I don't have responsibility to speak on everything the Antifa says, or anything that--


STEWART: --any other political point says. But this is what we can agree on. And again, I think you're trying to put some type of measurement against this, that I don't know how you'd possibly pass the test.

I think actually your previous guest, Andrew McCabe made a fair point about what do you do about this? That's a fair point. What do you do about anticipated violence? You can't stop it before it

happens. You can discourage it, but you can't go arrest people, because you're afraid they may become violent, at some point. And by the way--

CUOMO: I agree. You can't punish thought.

STEWART: --and by the way, this isn't just one side. I mean, when Rand Paul is attacked by his neighbor, when you have people who we finally got the FBI to admit, this was a political attack, on Republicans, at the Republican baseball field, it was a political target in which people were shot. It doesn't matter where the source of the violence is. It's always wrong, and should always be dealt with.

CUOMO: Congressman, I agree, except I believe that you are bringing up a balancing principle, where there need not be one.

You say, "I don't know QAnon. What could we do? I can't punish thought." You could say, "Trump's not getting reinstated. There is no congressional or constitutional mechanism for that. It will never happen."


CUOMO: "It shouldn't be said. It shouldn't be thought about."

STEWART: Yes. Well, I could.

CUOMO: You could say that.

STEWART: Well, I could. But there are all sorts of things out there that are ridiculous. And you know?

CUOMO: But that is their big one. They're waiting for it. And Q keeps, or whoever it is, I don't even know if there is somebody, but they keep moving--


CUOMO: --the date. But you don't weigh in, because you say--

STEWART: Right. Look?

CUOMO: --there are too many things to worry about.

STEWART: I'm never going to weigh in on QAnon. I don't care what they are.


STEWART: I don't care what they say. They're a small part of some society somewhere. They haven't moved any political needle here at all. And there are hundreds of groups just like them. And I don't weigh in on them either.

Why some of the media have taken QAnon, and elevated them to this stature that they frankly don't reserve - they don't deserve at all?

CUOMO: We've elevated QAnon?


CUOMO: You putting one of their members, in your ranks, and going after Cheney more than you police her--


CUOMO: --is us as the problem.

STEWART: Hey, I'm - hey, I'm happy to - I'm happy to have that debate with you.

CUOMO: It's not a debate, brother.

STEWART: And I didn't--

CUOMO: You put both arms around Marjorie Taylor Greene.


CUOMO: And you brought her into your Conference. That's what you did.

STEWART: Well, no we - no, I didn't. I didn't vote for her in her district. The people in her district--

CUOMO: Did you vote to have her removed from the committees?

STEWART: I actually did. And the people--

CUOMO: Good. That's a good thing for the audience to know.

STEWART: --and the people - just like I did with some other Members, including some other Republican Members. I've been consistent on this.

But you say I put my arms around and embraced her. That's not true at all. The voters in her district did. We're troubled by some of the things she said. I feel the same way about her that I think the Democrats should feel about Ilhan Omar and some of the members of the "Squad."

There are Members in Congress who say things that are just frankly, outrageous. They should be held accountable for those things. They don't reflect the best heart and minds of the American people.

CUOMO: I don't disagree with any of that. Although I do find it curious, Congressman, that I say "QAnon," you say "Antifa."


CUOMO: I talk about MGT. You bring up Ilhan Omar. You see what I'm saying?

STEWART: Well? Yes. Absolutely. But that-- CUOMO: Implicit in that is a defense of your own by attacking the other.


CUOMO: Do you see that?

STEWART: Well, of course it is, which is why you do that, which is why I do that. You're--

CUOMO: No, you did it. You did it.

STEWART: No. No, we both--

CUOMO: I don't - I didn't bring up any balancing tactics.

STEWART: --we both - we both did it. And by the way, how much--

CUOMO: No, I did not do it. But go ahead.

STEWART: --how much more damage has been done by Antifa versus QAnon? How many nights of riot - how many--

CUOMO: I don't know. Did they attack the Capitol?

STEWART: --how many nights of riots did we see night after night after night, in Portland, and Seattle, and other places? They didn't attack the Capitol, but they attacked federal courthouses again and again and again. So, I mean--

CUOMO: You think that's the same as attacking the U.S. Capitol, hunting you, by the way, in an attempt at an insurrection--


CUOMO: --that the FBI that is Trump-led--

STEWART: Of course--

CUOMO: --called it "An act of terror"--


CUOMO: --which is the only act of terror--

STEWART: I think - I think it's--


CUOMO: --I've never seen you guys jump on to investigate.

STEWART: --I think it's at least as bad.

CUOMO: At least as bad as an attack of the Capitol?

STEWART: You can't take - listen, Chris, listen. Listen, Chris. CUOMO: Go ahead.

STEWART: Listen to this. $2 billion in damage, dozens of people killed in these riots, and you're discounting that completely.

CUOMO: No, I'm not.

STEWART: Well then - well then you tell me. Which is worse? Which is worse?

CUOMO: Attacking the U.S. Capitol in an insurrection--

STEWART: Why? Why is that worse?

CUOMO: --that was called an act of terror.

STEWART: Why is that worse than $2 billion of damage?

CUOMO: Because we--

STEWART: And dozens of people killed riots night after night after night.

CUOMO: Because--

STEWART: Why is that worse?

CUOMO: I'll answer it.


CUOMO: Because it was a coup attempt. And it was called an act of terror. And none of the other criminal acts, which is what I believe, when a protester touches property, or touches a person, they are no longer a protester. They are a rioter. They are a criminal.


CUOMO: So, every time that happened on the West Coast, or anywhere else, it was criminal activity.

STEWART: I can tell you that--

CUOMO: They were not called "Acts of terror."

STEWART: I can tell you--

CUOMO: This was. And you won't even investigate it. Explain.

STEWART: Well look, I can tell you that the vast majority of the American people consider these nightly riots, the dozens of people killed, billions of dollars in damage, they consider that at least as dangerous as the one event on January 6th. And--

CUOMO: The one event? Come on, Chris!

STEWART: Yes, that's right.

CUOMO: If this had happened the other way around, if this had been Antifa, at the U.S. Capitol, you guys would have wanted to start a civil insurrection against them, rooting them out.


CUOMO: It would be all you guys would be talking about.


CUOMO: And it would be everything you would demand action for, with Biden.


CUOMO: And you won't even investigate this.

STEWART: Chris, you keep - you keep--

CUOMO: That doesn't trouble you?

STEWART: --you keep projecting all these things, as if you read my mind, or you know what I'd say. I think--

CUOMO: Well you did say you don't want a January 6th commission.

STEWART: I've been--

CUOMO: Do I have that wrong?

STEWART: I have been consistent on this. We should investigate. And we should - we should denounce all of them.

CUOMO: But you turned down a commission, did you not?

STEWART: Yes, I did.


STEWART: Because it was very clear that it was - there was no intention for that to be fair. And also--

CUOMO: How? Wait, wait, wait, wait. Explain that.

STEWART: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, let me finish.

CUOMO: Explain that, Chris.


CUOMO: Because my understanding is they gave you guys everything you wanted.


CUOMO: So, please go.

STEWART: You know that's not true at all.

CUOMO: OK, tell me.

STEWART: But I want to finish my thought.

CUOMO: Please.

STEWART: And also because of the very thing that we're talking about here, because one side, in this case, it's the Democratic side and much of the media that says the only thing worth investigating here is January 6th.

And we said "No, no, no, we've gone through a year of violence, and chaos, you should investigate those as well." "Nope, not going to do that." And I think you should investigate both of them, which is, as I've said, here, I have been very consistent on this, investigate and hold accountable both.

CUOMO: But they are not even close to equal. The FBI called one an act of terror. Hey, look, if you want to investigate Antifa--


CUOMO: --and any of the other BLM groups, or any of that, go ahead. Knock yourself out. I look forward to covering the hearings.


CUOMO: What I'm saying is, why would you ever want to put anything on even footing with what happened on January 6th?

STEWART: Well, look, A, the FBI, from time to time actually makes mistakes. And I'll give you an example.


STEWART: No. Surely you're not going to say the FBI is impervious to error?

CUOMO: No, I want a--

STEWART: Because we both - we both know that's not true.

CUOMO: No, I want a hearing. Listen? If I have--

STEWART: So, don't go "Oh" with me as if--

CUOMO: --if you're asking a journalist - hold on. If you're asking a journalist--

STEWART: --as if that's impossible to comprehend.

CUOMO: --if you're asking a journalist to own the perfection of a government agency? STEWART: Yes, OK.

CUOMO: You're talking to the wrong.

STEWART: OK. So, you and I agree on that.

CUOMO: It's your job to oversee them, and catch them when they do the wrong things.

STEWART: Boy, let me - let me make my point.

CUOMO: So, go ahead.

STEWART: The FBI, for years, said that the attack on the Republicans, at the baseball practice, was suicide by cop. That is absolutely absurd.

He went there targeting Republicans. He had their names in his pockets. He had targeted and scouted this out for weeks. If you want to commit suicide by cop, you go shoot a cop. That's one example of where the FBI clearly got it wrong, in how they designated a crime.

CUOMO: OK. I accept--

STEWART: And I think for them to say--

CUOMO: I accept your position.

STEWART: --for them to say that the--

CUOMO: I accept your position.

STEWART: OK, thank you. But for them to say January 6th was an act of terror, but these other things aren't? If that's what they've said, then the FBI is simply wrong.

CUOMO: Not other things. You've made one example. I don't know what they were acting on. I would gladly hear it, if you want to bring it forward, in another segment.


CUOMO: But the idea of not wanting to look at January 6th, because guys won't investigate Antifa, seems like really brazen politics, when one was an attack, where people came looking to get you, and hang Mike Pence.


CUOMO: And the other one was an outgrowth of a demand for social and systemic justice, and people became criminal.

STEWART: Oh! Oh my heavens!

CUOMO: And people became criminal.

STEWART: I don't know what to say about that.

CUOMO: Listen, I'm calling them criminals, OK?

STEWART: Yes. Yes.

CUOMO: If you touch property, or people, you're not a protester, you're a criminal.


CUOMO: That's what that is.

STEWART: Well I think the attack--

CUOMO: And then you get arrested, and you get prosecuted. But--

STEWART: I think an attack on the judicial system is just like an attack on the legislative branch. They both should be considered acts of terror.

CUOMO: Except you didn't have anybody go in, chasing after a judge, and have to be stopped by people who supposedly you guys love, known as first, right, you know, first responders, police, a 100 of them hurt.


CUOMO: You don't even want to investigate it.


STEWART: Chris, look, that's just not. For you to say something like people you supposedly love.

CUOMO: Don't you support the police?

STEWART: Of course, I do. So, why did - so why did--

CUOMO: Then why don't you want to investigate why a 100 of them got beaten up?

STEWART: So why did you insert the word "Supposedly" before--

CUOMO: Because you won't investigate the event. How are they supposed to think you support them?

STEWART: OK. I've explained that. And I think I've been--

CUOMO: Last word to you, go ahead.

STEWART: --I think I've been really clear. And I think as well as this. The American people don't distinguish between attack on the Capitol and nightly attacks on judicial--

CUOMO: I disagree.

STEWART: Well we agree to disagree.

CUOMO: Absolutely. And we always will. That's why I welcome you on the show to make your position heard, to the audience, and I appreciate you for doing it.

STEWART: Thank you.

CUOMO: Congressman Chris Stewart.

We'll be right back.








CUOMO: So, the House and Senate Judiciary committees are demanding answers, on the use of the DOJ, to target Trump's political opponents. The DOJ Inspector General is also going to be digging into it.

Well, shouldn't you wait for that until you do anything else? Congress has its own oversight responsibility here. There is no mechanism and there is no suggestion that there's a formal process of when they do their job.


Now, we know that when they do their "Job," it often turns into a political mess. And with an Inspector General, they only have authority over people who are still at the DOJ.

Very good, because the people who are doing a lot of this work that has been reported on are still there. That's good. But they do not have any of the attorneys general, acting or otherwise, who were in the big seat, during the time.

Let's bring in someone who knows the realities, and limitations, of both investigatory angles, to see which is more likely to provide answers, if either, former FBI Chief of Counterespionage, Peter Strzok. He has a book out, "Compromised."

Welcome back, sir.


CUOMO: Let's do the dialectic a little bit in reverse here. It's not fair to ask you, which is going to get you more answers? Oh, no, depends how dogged they are and what they come up with.

But let's reverse the argument for a second, which is "Ah, the Democrats! You did Carter Page. 17 definite problems from the Inspector General. Strzok, you were part of that. This is all just politics. You guys do it. They do it. Everybody does the same thing. You use the mechanisms to push your own agenda."

Fair criticism?

STRZOK: Fair criticism, but what I'd point to is the end result. The investigations of the FBI, whether done through the FBI, or under Special Counsel Mueller, result in prosecutions, or they don't.

And when you look at the record of what Special Counsel Mueller brought in, all the various people, from Paul Manafort, to George Papadopoulos, to Mike Flynn, to Roger Stone, all these different folks were convicted, or pled guilty, in a court of law. So, that is what the ultimate proof in the pudding is.

And so, when you look at that, I don't see this as a partisan exercise one way or the other. I see this as the Department of Justice, looking at violations of the law to determine whether or not they occurred.

The issue here is whether or not the Barr Justice Department improperly influenced that process, whether they took investigations that had found nothing wrong, and reinvigorated them, to pursue the President's enemies' list.

CUOMO: Two points of pushback. First one, how do we know that it was the DOJ, and not Mueller, specifically that put out these subpoenas? We just know they were grand jury subpoenas. We don't know who processed them through. Is there a chance that Mueller did it, and this is on him?

STRZOK: No, well, we don't know. But my strong sense is that this was done by the Department of Justice and the FBI. I mean, the Mueller report is published. There are significant portions that are still redacted. But broadly, the public understands and knows the contours of what Mueller did.

My belief, and it's backed up by a lot of the reporting you're seeing recently are that these are investigations of leaks of classified information. So, I do think this was Barr's Justice Department, and the FBI, and not Mueller.

That's not to say there aren't potentially legitimate investigations here. But I think there is a real question, as to whether or not these were improperly politicized.

CUOMO: It wasn't Barr, because it started under Sessions, and was carried through by Rosenstein, and then came Barr. So really, if you have any issue, it should be with them.

STRZOK: Well, there is some question about whether or not the legal threshold and the regulations were met, in terms of issuing these subpoenas, and other court orders. And that's something that the I.G. is going to find out.

What's also really important to find out is, at some point, the media reporting indicates prosecutors and investigators determined that there wasn't a case to be made, that they looked at all the evidence, and they didn't think they could bring a case.

There's some reporting that then Attorney General Barr came in and said, "Well, nonsense! I'm going to bring in an outside personally- handpicked political appointee, to take another look," to essentially put the political finger on the scales of these investigations, and redo them, to come up with a different solution that would be more pleasing to President Trump.

CUOMO: What is the chance that "The A.G. is too busy to know any of the details of any of these things. And that's why he can't recall any of the things that are being asked about here, about Schiff or Swalwell, or who did it or why? He doesn't recall. He doesn't remember. This was all below him."

STRZOK: I think that's nonsense. I mean, if you look, he is a very intelligent man and a very bright attorney. And if you look at his statements, and you parse them out, he is very careful to say things like, "I was not aware of requests for these records, while I was the Attorney General."

If you look at that, like a legal statement, like a legal contract, that doesn't exclude the possibility that he became aware of things, once he was the Attorney General that had been approved prior to his taking that office.

So, I don't believe, for a second, given his interest in these investigations, and all things Russia, I don't believe for a second, he wasn't aware of what was going on, in these leak investigations, and that he and his staff were not kept apprised on a routine basis. I guarantee you that was happening.

CUOMO: Here's the good news. The people who are near the top of the food chain that did a lot of the work and oversight are still at the DOJ.


And if we don't see them, resign quickly, in the next few days, to kind of create cover here, they're going to be able to talk, and we will know answers, of who knew what, and when, and why.

Peter Strzok, I look forward to asking you back on the show, to help us parse what we should learn about what happened there. Be well.

STRZOK: I look forward to it, Chris.

CUOMO: Thank you.

STRZOK: Me too.

CUOMO: Another scare in the air, because we have seen a big increase in people behaving badly at a minimum. This time, the unruly passenger worked for the airline. So, what happened here? And why are there so many of these cases?

Right back with someone, who saw firsthand, and took action, Ameri- CAN, next.








CUOMO: People are traveling again. I say it's good. I say it's all good, OK? I know that we have more problems to come with the pandemic. But it's nice to see life returning to normal, except you know what happens with normal life? Bad things!

The TSA is now having to report on more than 2 million passengers, right? Very good! Friday, again Sunday, for the first time since last spring, I dig it. But what happens when people get back to life? They start doing bad things again.


A jump in unruly passengers, the FAA reports nearly 3,000 in cases this year alone. Shouldn't you people be happy that we're getting back out there? Be nice, if you can.

Did you hear about this one? Not a customer. An off-duty Delta flight attendant apparently commandeered the intercom on a flight, Friday night. Police say he claimed he was going to take the plane down. Passengers, flight attendants, rushed him, led to a scuffle, forced the plane to land, in Oklahoma City, instead of Atlanta.

One of those passengers who helped in the chaos joins us now, Darren Genet.

First of all, appreciate you, brother. Thank you for stepping up and trying to keep people safe. Scary thing to do! Nice of you to do! Good of you to do!

What's your take on it?


Yes, I think we can get kind of distracted with our headphones on, and we don't realize necessarily what's going around us. And this was a gentleman, who was standing in the bulkhead, talking to

the flight attendants. And I went up. I was sitting in row five. And I went up to go to the bathroom.

And he was standing there, and he said "The bathroom's closed," to go in the bathroom. And that seemed strange to me. But I didn't think much of it, so I went to the back.

And then when I sat down, next, into my seat, there was an off-duty pilot next to me, and he was really concerned about what's happening up front. And then this gentleman got on. He was wearing a bicycle helmet and a hoodie. So, I wasn't thinking much of it.

But then this gentleman was expressing concern, and he said he wanted to go up there, and see what was going on. And I said that I would help him, and just kind of be his backup. And this gentleman then got on the intercom, started talking about oxygen masks, and prepare for putting on your oxygen masks.

CUOMO: Was he drunk? Or did he seem under some type of illness?

GENET: You know what, Chris? I didn't see him sort of acting in a way that made me think he was on drugs.

He, at first, I thought he was just a part of the maintenance crew, or something like he just seemed like he knew what he was doing. He knew his way around the bulkhead, and right in front of the cockpit. So, I didn't think much of it.

But then, as people started to get a little closer, and the stewards, and the flight attendants, were trying to get him to sit back down, he started getting more erratic, and then it started escalating. And then I realized that something was clearly wrong here.

And then, he started - and just started like fighting with people, and pushing, and he went for the big door, the big door to get in and out of the airplane, and that's when I personally sort of reacted, and the people around me, and we just grabbed this guy, and just tried to sort of take him down, and just immobilize him, so that he couldn't take this plane down.

CUOMO: How hard was it? Because it seems like there was a group of you, like how, how did - how rageful did he become? And what did you think of that?

GENET: He's a big, strong guy. So, it wasn't - it wasn't easy. And it took three or four of us because he was - he started to choke out one of the flight attendants.

CUOMO: All right.

GENET: And then we are grabbing him. And he's lunging--

CUOMO: Well I got to tell you.

(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: You did the right thing.

GENET: Stumped up (ph) on him so.

CUOMO: You did the right thing.

GENET: Sorry?

CUOMO: You did the right thing. It wasn't easy. And to me, we call you an Ameri-CAN. Thank you, Darren, appreciate you.

GENET: Thanks, Chris. Appreciate it.

CUOMO: All right, we'll be right back.