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Key Lawmakers: White House And 10 Senators Reach Agreement For Bipartisan Deal On Infrastructure; Britney Spears Pleads With Judge To End Her Conservatorship; FBI Director: Bail Reform Among Causes For Homicide Spike. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired June 23, 2021 - 21:00   ET




WILLIAM "BILL" SCOTT, SAN FRANCISCO POLICE CHIEF: But we're going to cut the police budget too, because then, we're in chaos.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Anderson, "chaos" is really the word a lot of people, here in San Francisco, would describe the current situation.

In the short-term, what the city is trying to do is they're trying to reduce the number of tents you see on the street. And they have made some progress in that area, but still hundreds of tents. They're also increasing the police foot patrols.


SIMON: And Anderson? As for that Walgreens shoplifter, police arrested him while he was allegedly trying to shoplift at another store. He hit that same Walgreens, four days in a row.


SIMON: Anderson?

COOPER: Dan Simon, appreciate it.

The news continues. Let's go to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: The pandemic is part of it. Policy is part of it.

San Francisco, New York City, it sounds good, bail reform, let's not just lock up people forever, and make them sit for months, or even longer, before a trial date. But you do too much too fast, you get what's happening there, and then across the country, in New York City.


CUOMO: People are being arrested, but they can't be kept in jail. COOPER: Yes.

CUOMO: It's a problem. And we'll keep covering it, and I know you will as well. Anderson, have a great night, brother.

COOPER: You too.

CUOMO: I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Multiple stories are breaking on our watch, OK?

First, I have more evidence for you tonight, that the Party of Trump really has no shame in their game, and they are lying to you about their belief, or their suggestion that January 6 is being overhyped.

It was a terror attack on the citadel of our democracy. And the Justice Department wants you to know that. They are releasing never- before-seen bodycam and surveillance footage that shows exactly what happened.

You tell me if this looks like people on a tour, if this just looks like angry patriots, if this just looks like nothing, compared to what you saw with Black Lives Matter.

Take a look.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, don't do that.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're an American. Our people died for this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Troops, bring backup (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't, buddy. You're going to have to kill me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here to send a message.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to kill me.


CUOMO: Now look, let's deal with two obvious things, OK?

When a White guy says to a cop, "I'm sorry, buddy, you're going to have to kill me, if you want me to move," it's in the middle of chaos, they move. Black guy says the same thing? You would have the Party of Trump going crazy on you, about how serious it is.

But I just want you to see the game that's being played, OK? This is the reality. These Trump supporters, misguided, lied to individuals, came there, looking to kick ass, and that's what they did. And they wanted to do worse, and these same men and women kept them from doing it.

And you would never see the members of that party, in Congress, mitigating, playing down anything like this, if it didn't play to their advantage, or disadvantage, depending on how you look at it.

The federal judge who handed out the first sentence, to one of the rioters today, talked to lawmakers, who were trying to rewrite history. And the guy is a conservative judge appointment, Judge Royce Lamberth.

"I don't know what planet they were on," he said. "Utter nonsense," is what he called it, to call these people tourists, walking through the Capitol. That's a conservative judge, who hasn't been co-opted, by something corrupt, in the name of Trump.

This is the reality. And this is what you need to see. And you need to hold them to account for playing a game.

Meanwhile, 24 hours after the Party of Trump tanked the most expansive voting rights bill in generations, saying "We won't even debate it. We won't amend it. We have no ideas, because there's nothing to fix," even though all these Republican states are saying just the opposite, however, there may be progress, nonetheless.

President Biden may be close to a legislative victory on infrastructure. Breaking tonight, there is agreement we are told, on a bipartisan deal, according to senators Romney and Manchin.



SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Republicans and Democrats have come together, along with the White House, and we've agreed on a framework. And we're going to be heading to the White House tomorrow.


CUOMO: Is it a done deal? No. But it is "Getting there," according to a source.

Look, the Democrats are going to have problems with the progressive/left/fringe part of their party, OK?

Because this does not have, our understanding is, a lot of what they wanted, in terms of revenue offset and generating, in terms of taxing the rich, and a lot of things that they call infrastructure that traditionally people would not. But they do say they have an agreement with the White House and 10 senators.

Manchin and Romney both said it's fully paid for and offsets the new spending. Now, that's different than having additional revenue from additional tax increases to have additional spending. [21:05:00]

Remember, this is a brokered deal. It's not what you are used to hearing about. It's not going to be as big. So, what happens if a deal is not finalized, ahead of the two-week Senate recess? Probably nothing. Or, will Democrats tried to go it alone?

Let's turn to someone, who knows the state of play, the Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, key Democrat senator, Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota.

Good to see you.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thanks, Chris. It's just great to be on. I remember being on your show, on infrastructure early on, when I put my plan out, in the presidential campaign. And here we are, again.

I think it is really, really important, to move on infrastructure. I'm glad that the bipartisan group have been working together, and working with the White House.

And at the same time, remember, there's a second effort going on. And that is about human infrastructure, and things like childcare, and making sure there's adequate funding for housing.

And my view of this is you can do both things at once. But we need some general agreement on both things, to move forward, because they're equally important. And I'm glad that they're making progress.

CUOMO: So, let's simplify this for the likes of me.


CUOMO: So, there are two paths here. The Democrats, especially the left wing of the party, wanted it all in one. Is it your understanding that the deal that we're hearing from Manchin and Romney are really just on one aspect of this, not the childcare and the other things?

KLOBUCHAR: OK, Chris, I know, it doesn't make for a good TV, but there's three paths. There's all in one, yes. There's just doing the infrastructure that they're talking about. But there is a third path.

And the third path is allowing this bipartisan effort to go forward, and at the same time having a general agreement on a second package that would use reconciliation, and that that way, we could make sure that we are focused on things like broadband.

And I lead that bill. I'm so glad they put significant funding in for broadband, so we can get - have access, regardless of your ZIP code, in this country. But also, we have a second track going on through reconciliation. To me, that is the third path that makes the most sense.

CUOMO: So, your understanding is that what Romney and Manchin, the bipartisan one is really just let's call it traditional roads and bridges. The WiFi and infrastructure that I agree with you, by the way is every bit as important as infrastructure, they're--

KLOBUCHAR: No, no, the WiFi is in their package, I believe.

CUOMO: So, WiFi is in the package, they're talking about?



KLOBUCHAR: And things like ports and waterways.

CUOMO: Right.

KLOBUCHAR: It's more traditional infrastructure, including broadband.


KLOBUCHAR: But there are other things this nation needs right now. Anyone that had trouble getting childcare, during the pandemic--

CUOMO: Right.

KLOBUCHAR: --knows exactly what I'm talking about.

CUOMO: But that is not subject to this deal. And you say it may be a path of reconciliation.

But do you have any reason to believe that the conservative Democrats, let's call it Manchin et al., maybe Sinema, maybe Tester, maybe one more, is there any agreement that they would do reconciliation on that second bill?

KLOBUCHAR: I think they will. And that's what we need to negotiate. They've done this once before. And they are open to this.

And I think we need to go hand in hand here, maybe not dot every "I" and cross every "T," but have some general agreement on the funding. And I think we can do that at the same time.

CUOMO: OK, we'll see on that. This is some good sign of progress. We'll see if it gets nailed down.


CUOMO: We'll see the pushback, from your brothers and sisters, on the farther left flank, especially in the House about this.

Now, let me ask you quickly about the video we had at the top.


CUOMO: What do your brothers and sisters, on the Right side of the aisle, tell you in private? Don't give their names, obviously.

But how do they justify being quiet or selling the tripe that this is just tourists taking a tour, and this is not so bad, and it's being overhyped? How do they justify it, in private?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, first of all, in private, they say things that are very similar to what they said that night, that this was an invasion of the capital, an attack, an insurrection.

And what bothers me is the necessary things we have to do right now, not all of them are happening. We should have an independent 9/11 style commission.

And I'm glad we did our report that was focused on changes we need to see, to the leadership of the police, that the line officers get the respect they deserve, if we ever would have anything like this happen again, and so we make improvement.

Secondly, we should be supporting the efforts of the Justice Department. We should be doing expanse - extensive work on the rise of white supremacism. And that could be of course, part of this 9/11 style Commission on what happened on January 6th. All of that should be happening.

And it was Ron Johnson, in my committee hearing that literally said, that I was chairing, at that moment, that literally said, diminished this, and said they were just out for fun, and going down - going down, quoting someone saying this, where he clearly was sending the message that he didn't take this seriously.


Anyone that was here, my staff that was in a closet, in the Capitol, with a fork in their hand, as they heard the insurrectionists going through the door, only yards away from them, the police officers, many of whom you have interviewed Chris, including the officer that was called the N-word, multiple times, and turned at the end, to another officer, and said, "Is this America?" ask them what really happened. They'll tell you what happened.

This was an all-out attack. And I'm glad the Justice Department is strongly pursuing these charges. And I know there's more to come.

CUOMO: One other thing, how do you get a deal on infrastructure, but you can't get the same hearts and minds to get a deal on protecting voting rights in this country?

KLOBUCHAR: OK, that's the third one. And that is the - when you look at our democracy, as I said at the Inauguration, it is the moment where we basically brushed ourselves off, stood up and moved forward.

Well, part of that moving forward is passing the torch on, to understand that this is also about our elections and our democracy. 22 laws have now been passed, in states across the country, limiting the right to vote, since the last election, with more to come.

The Governor of Texas, just calling in for a special session, to once again force those legislators, to try to do something which is inconceivable to me, to making it harder to do early voting, and hurt people who have disabilities, from voting. That's what's happening now. And that is why when they blocked us from voting, on that package, I thought it was one of the saddest moments for our democracy. They literally wouldn't even let us debate it for a week, or three days, or even a day. They stopped the debate.

But for your viewers out there that care about democracy, Democrats, Republicans, Independent, I can tell you, we're not giving up. I'm taking the Rules Committee.

We're going to have a field hearing in Georgia, because maybe if we get out of this place, and people start listening, to people, who stand in line for 10 hours, and then aren't allowed to be given water and food, by volunteers, maybe that's going to change some hearts and minds.

At the same time, we've got to work on changing the filibuster. I would abolish it. I have come to that decision, after seeing all of the gridlock and all of the inability to move on the important issues of our time, like immigration reform and climate change.

And we are just not giving up. And that's why I just - that's the most important thing for people to know. No one should give up on our democracy.

CUOMO: Thank you very much, Senator Amy Klobuchar. Appreciate you.

KLOBUCHAR: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, more breaking news, one of the world's biggest pop stars is fighting to get, quote, her life back.

Now, I don't cover entertainment. And you've never heard me say the words "Britney Spears" before. But this isn't just about some pop star. This is a real legal battle that's going on.

This conservatorship that is present in her life demands explanation. This is very, very rare what has been done to Britney Spears. I understand this area of law very well. And in truth, I've never seen anything like this exactly.

She's lived, under more than a decade, of being told what to do, by her daddy, forced to perform, drugged against her will, mandatory birth control, kept from having relationships. This is what she says. Very disturbing, as a matter of law!

And then we get to the fact that it's Britney Spears, and wait until you hear what she told the judge today. We have her former lawyer, next.








CUOMO: Britney Spears says she's fighting to get her life back, her words, as she spoke remotely to an L.A. County courtroom today, before saying, "After this, I want these proceedings to be private."

The conservatorship, it's an unusual word. It does exist in the law. It's usually for the mentally disabled, or the elderly and disabled. Sometimes, there could be a limited one. Often they are full. But I've never heard of one like this.

Her father, Jamie Spears and others have controlled her estimated $60 million estate since 2008. That's 13 years ago.

Now, you'll remember, she did suffer a mental health crisis. Was she adjudicated mentally ill? Was there any kind of due process to have her removed of her rights, to run her own choices?

So, this was reawakened in our public consciousness, because of a documentary that was released this winter, shined a light on this guardianship, this conservatorship, fueling a movement to "Free Britney." It raised very serious concerns, which the 39-year-old spoke about, in court today.

Spears called her conservatorship "Abusive." She said she's traumatized, not happy, can't sleep, because of it. She alleges she was put on lithium, a medication obviously, against her will. It's about emotional or mood dysregulation. It's a very strong drug.

She also revealed that she wanted to have another child, and that she is right now on a form of contraception, called an IUD, and she wanted to take it out, but the team won't let her go to the doctor to do so. And she said she was told "We don't want you to have any more kids, and we don't want you to get married."

Now, this is a very interesting legal question. This is about best interests of this individual. This is about whether or not she has been found mentally fit or not. So, what's going to happen here? And how did we get here?

Joining us now, Britney Spears' former attorney, Adam Streisand.

Good to see you, Counselor.

ADAM STREISAND, BRITNEY SPEARS' FORMER LAWYER: Thank you. Good to see you. Nice to have been reached out to, thanks.

CUOMO: To your understanding, was Ms. Spears ever adjudicated mentally ill, or was she ever found by a court to be non compos mentis or, to the uninitiated, not competent mentally to run her own affairs? [21:20:00]

STREISAND: The proceedings have been closed and sealed, which raises an important question, as to why. But I don't think so. As far as we know, she never was adjudicated as being mentally incompetent.

And look, you and I can't decide on this program, what, if any, problems Britney has. But what we can decide is there's been a terrible miscarriage of justice. She has really been deprived of her rights, and particularly because she's never had anyone, who's advocated for her.

She's got a court-appointed lawyer, who clearly has not advocated for her. He's supposed to be a zealous advocate for her. And you'll remember, at a prior hearing, the judge asked, "Well, what does Britney Spears think, about this conservatorship?"

CUOMO: Right.

STREISAND: And he said, "Well, Your Honor, she's like a comatose patient, who can't even sign a piece of paper, to say what she wants." Well, Britney blew that out of the water today.

CUOMO: And is that your understanding as well, that she's had her ups and downs. She's had struggles with mental health, but that she is not some vegetable or non compos mentis, meaning not able to think for herself and do for herself?

STREISAND: Yes, it's really fascinating, because, look, when I met with her, a couple of times, and we spoke on the phone, when she retained me, I thought she was making sound judgments. Clearly, there were issues, but she was making some sound judgments.

She understood that she had these issues that a conservatorship, at least on a temporary basis might come to pass. The one thing that she was clear about was that she did not want her father to be in control of her life.

And what we've seen in court documents that have been leaked in "The New York Times," in the last couple of days, and certainly in her statements today is this is not somebody, who is so non compos mentis that a conservatorship should be appropriate.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean, look--

STREISAND: That's the real--

CUOMO: --sometimes with kids, you'll see this, minors or again, severely mentally disabled, and adjudicated as the same, or elderly, and past the point of being able to run your own affairs.

I can't find an analog that's anything like this Britney Spears situation. She's going to be 40. And you hear these rumors about "Well, she's not all there." That's not the standard.

That takes us to the Father. What is your understanding about his good faith in this situation?

STREISAND: About Jamie Spears? I think there are real questions about, and I think there are real questions about whether he is simply trying to control his daughter for his own profit.

He's profiting enormously, as are everyone who's involved in this, profiting from Britney, while, Britney, by the way, is not even allowed to see what's being filed in court. It is really unprecedented.

CUOMO: So, what is the standard, necessary for Britney Spears, to undo this legal arrangement?

STREISAND: Right. So, she's got to show that she's able to manage her affairs, or that she can resist undue influence.

But the key also is, under law, you cannot have a conservatorship, except as a last resort. In other words, if there's any less restrictive means, of being able to help her, to protect her, a conservatorship can't stand. And the judge has an independent duty to review that, and to terminate it.

And certainly her lawyer, when she says to her lawyer, "I want this thing over," he can give her advice. But it's go-time. You go and you seek to terminate the conservatorship. And in 13 years, he's never done that.

CUOMO: So, why didn't you do it? And why aren't you still with Britney Spears?

STREISAND: I didn't do it, because when I showed up in court, after Britney retained me, the judge refused to allow me to represent her.

Under California law, the law says if the conservatee or the post conservatee is unable to retain counsel, the court can appoint counsel for her. It's really unclear what that means, "Unable." Is she unable to articulate who she wants to be her counsel? Or is it--

CUOMO: But didn't you say "I've been retained. Here is the - here's the proof of that."

STREISAND: I said "Here, I've been - I've been retained."

But the judge said to me, "Mr. Streisand, I have a medical report from Dr. James Edward Spar that says that she is mentally incapable of retaining. I'm not going to show you that report. But I'm telling you that she's mentally incapable, based on the evidence I have." But I would make this--

CUOMO: But she was not adjudicated as such?

STREISAND: She was not adjudicated.

CUOMO: There is no court finding. This was just the judge relying on a single opinion about her? STREISAND: Exactly. Now, look, could I have tried to obtain another opinion that contradicted Dr. Spar? By the way, Dr. Spar is one of the leading geriatric psychiatrists--

CUOMO: Right.

STREISAND: --and the Head of the National - of the Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA, very highly regarded, right? So, let's assume that I got another opinion. Well, which opinion do you think the judge was going to believe?


I didn't want to make it about me. If the judge had questions about why I was being involved, who was - who was behind me being involved, OK, appoint a lawyer. I'm not the only lawyer around. But this lawyer has really fallen down on the job.

CUOMO: Adam Streisand, thank you very much. I appreciate this.

STREISAND: My pleasure.

CUOMO: Again, it finds its home in a major celebrity's life that people are very interested in. But this is a legitimate legal issue. I've never seen anything like it.

This is not what conservatorship was meant for. And it is what our legal system is supposed to be able to distinguish. This is really weird what's happening, and it is worthy of our attention.

Now, there is another legal case, very different, also very worthy of attention. A high school cheerleader has just taught us something about this Supreme Court. She certainly got a lot to cheer about, even though a lot of people may not like how she cheers.

She just got the Supreme Court to say "Yes. She can curse, until her face is blue, and you can't do anything about it, high school." Hmm, I thought it was so conservative! This is a great indication of what conservative means when it comes to jurisprudence versus politics.

We'll talk to her about what this means, next.









CUOMO: The Supreme Court taught us something about itself, its last couple of decisions. It's going to be strong on the First Amendment, regardless of whether it's conservative or liberal in its disposition.

So, this school cheerleader, a case underscores this First Amendment right. The case first began in 2017. 14-year-old Brandi Levy failed to get a spot on her High School's varsity cheerleading squad.

While off school grounds, I emphasize those, because they were dispositive, in the court's finding, meaning that's what mattered, off school grounds, she and a friend sent out a Snapchat to about 250 friends. Their middle fingers were raised, and the post was loaded with F-bombs. "F school! F softball! F cheer! F everything!"

School officials soon learned of it, suspended Levy, from cheerleading, for a year.

It is now four years later, the decision of SCOTUS, 8-1 that the Pennsylvania school went too far, when it punished Levy for an off- campus rent.

Brandi Levy joins me now along with Witold "Vic" Walczak.

It is good to have you Mr. Walczak. Appreciate you.


CUOMO: And Brandi Levy, your life has moved on. You are now in college. But this mattered. And when it happened, did you think that it was something that the school could police, when you went on Snapchat with your friend?

BRANDI LEVY, CHEERLEADER WHO WON SUPREME COURT FREE-SPEECH DISPUTE: When all of this first happened, I sat in my room after, and I thought to myself how they were able to do that, since I wasn't on school grounds? And not once did I use the school's name specifically in the post.

CUOMO: Now, we know about other things about how culture is evolving in high school, like if you were bullying somebody else, or that kind of stuff, schools can be more aggressive about it. But that's not what this was.

What did it mean to you when the Supreme Court, 8-1 decided, "No, you can't go after her for her free speech. Whether her parents liked it, whether it's how you want to be heard by people or not, you had a right to say it." What did it mean to you?

LEVY: It meant a lot that the Supreme Court ruled in my favor. And it was - I feel like it wasn't only a win for me, but it also was for 50 million other students.

Because I was frustrated at the time, I was 14-years-old, and I expressed my frustration, the exact same way teenagers do today. And I feel as if young people need to have the ability to express themselves, without worrying or being scared of being punished by the school.

CUOMO: We have.

LEVY: And--

CUOMO: We have a two-step test right? Do you have the legal right to say it? And then is what you say right or wrong? When you found out about the decision today, did you take to social media, and go off on an F-bomb-laden rant?


CUOMO: Good. Good. Make your parents happy!

Let me bring in your counselor for a second. Why does this matter, this decision?

WALCZAK: It's hugely consequential. The Supreme Court has never before ruled on school districts' right and authority to punish what kids say outside of school that may impact the school.

Schools have a lot more authority to regulate what can say inside the school, which makes sense. But this is the first time they've ruled outside the school. And as Brandi says, this will impact 50 million students.

And they rejected a very aggressive ask by the school here that they be given the same power outside of school to regulate what kids say, inside the school. And the Supreme Court, in an 8-1 decision, said "No way." Free speech is much more important.

There are other interests at stake, the parents' rights. Kids need to have some place where they can speak freely. And schools have an obligation to teach about the importance of free speech. And to do that, they need to model it, and recognize that sometimes what kids say outside of school may be upsetting.

CUOMO: And may be upsetting is the key. People heard this, and they thought conservative judges would say, "Well cursing is, you know, that's bad value. You shouldn't be doing it." It's not how the law works. Either you have the right to say it or not. Whether people think it's right or like it, very different determination.

So is there any concern for you, Counselor, about what this could mean going forward?


WALCZAK: Yes. So, we think it's hugely helpful. And look, this is not the last word on what the law is going to be about what young people can say outside of school. It is only the first word.

But the Supreme Court set down a very important marker by saying that when schools regulate what students say outside of school, they've got a heavier burden to justify that. And they made a note of saying that if that speech involves political or religious topics, they have a, quote, heavy burden to be able to justify that.

At the same time, I just want to be clear that the Supreme Court did not foreclose the possibility that schools could regulate certain categories of speech, like if it's bullying--

CUOMO: Right.

WALCZAK: --cyber bullying or harassment, or potential violence.

CUOMO: But there's a victim involved.

WALCZAK: Right, exactly.

CUOMO: But there's a victim involved. And the words are seen as taking active effect, meaning they have a damaging effect on the person that they're delivered to, distinguishable in terms of fact. I know that was part of the argument, as well.

Listen, Counselor Walczak, thank you very much. I know this is important to the ACLU.


CUOMO: And Brandi, you want to be a lawyer now?

LEVY: No. After what I see--

CUOMO: Do it.

LEVY: After what I've seen them do, I feel like it's a lot of work.

CUOMO: Well, listen, it was an important thing. And you're young in life. But now you've had an impact. And it's a good instruction that everybody's life can have meaning.

I know that you don't want to be known forever as the F-bomb person. But having, the right to speak freely in a society matters, even if people don't like it. Thank you for talking to us about tonight. Good luck with your life going forward.

Counselor, appreciate you.

LEVY: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, next story, President Biden--

WALCZAK: Thank you.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

He is taking on the fact that crime is up. Deadly summer, yes, crime goes up in summer. But is this really about summer? He has a plan to take on a surge in violent crime across the country. Is he going at what matters here, the why?

The murder rate is soaring in lots of places, especially America's largest city, New York. A top NYPD veteran is here. Is this just about summer? Is this about the pandemic? Or is there a root to this crisis that we need to be honest about? Next.









CUOMO: The Director of the FBI was on the Hill today, talking about the staggering rate that Americans are killing Americans. Listen.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: I think one of the causes of the violent crime spike are certain kinds of prosecution practices.

I think there's nothing more disheartening to a law enforcement officer to see somebody that you worked hard to arrest, promptly back out, committing a crime again.


WRAY: There's enough people to go after the first time.


WRAY: Without the same person over and over again.


CUOMO: He's talking specifically about a law in New York that you will see gathered under the idea of bail reform.

So, as we examine the surge in murders, happening in cities across the country, let's focus on the nation's biggest city, and one that I know very well politically, legally, and journalistically.

Joining me now is former NYPD Chief of Department, Terence Monahan.

Good to see you, Chief. Thank you for joining us on PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: Now, as I told you once before, we don't fake the funk on this show.

My brother is the Governor of New York. He worked with the legislature, specifically, the Democrats, specifically the progressive wing of the Democrats, to get bail reform. And the criticism now is that it went too far.

And police are being blamed for not doing their jobs, because of all the "Blue Lives Matter," "Black Lives Matter." And cop after cop tells me it's not true.

And the stats show that arrests are being made, guns are being confiscated, but people are not being kept in jail. How big a reason for this reality is the law?

MONAHAN: The 100 percent, this is what's behind it. It's a combination. It's the law, and it's the court system moving at a snail's pace right now, because of COVID. It was not operating quickly.

So, with bail reform, people locked up with a gun, were able to get out on the least restrictive bail. It didn't matter if that individual is dangerous or not, if they had a dangerous past, a judge could not use that, and determine whether or not they hold this individual in.

I think we're the only state in the union that does not give a judge discretion on dangerousness to keep an individual in.

CUOMO: Right.

MONAHAN: So, anyone out of jail that is not a priority, in a court system that is already overwhelmed because it really wasn't operating during COVID.

CUOMO: So how do you--

MONAHAN: So those cases--

CUOMO: --how do you balance the two, Chief?

Just so it gives, people some perspective. We just had some reporting tonight on San Francisco. They're dealing with a similar dynamic. But their judges still have discretion. They've emptied the jails also.

We do know that there has been a problem with people who can't make bail. They languish for months, sometimes even longer, before they get a court date. That was wrong. The correction is, did the fix go too far?

How much of this--


CUOMO: --is pandemic, Chief, where the court system was backed up, people want to get rid of cases and they couldn't keep people on the inside, because of worries about contagion?

MONAHAN: Absolutely. And those cases are no longer a priority.

I'll give you some quick numbers in New York. We have 4,500 open gun cases right now. 3,600 of them have been indicted. 85 percent of those individuals are out on our streets right now. These are guys caught on a street with a loaded gun.

That is the - that is how you prevent shooting. You keep people who are willing to carry illegal guns out on your street. You make them accountable for what they're doing.

CUOMO: Now, if the court gets back up to speed, and there's no longer the social distancing standards, of putting people back inside, is that going to fix the problem?


MONAHAN: We don't know. We're going to have to see.

Bail reform took place in January of last year. And three months later, less than three months later - two and a half months later, we were into COVID. So, we hadn't seen the uptick in violence.

Actually, we started seeing the uptick in violence, right after the protests, though there's, you have to add in the animosity towards the police, a belief in some neighborhoods that police aren't a true authority, and there are people willing to go against that authority.

And then you start seeing the shootings go up, people arrested with guns coming right back out on the street.

If one gang member gets arrested with a gun, and he's right back out, well, his opposition is going to say, "Ah! It's better for me to have a gun, because it's more dangerous for me not to have a gun, because going to jail, getting locked up, isn't really going to do anything for me."

CUOMO: Assuming he even stays in there right now.


CUOMO: Quickly, before I let you go, if you could change one of these three tent poles in this dynamic, the noise about policing, the noise about the pandemic, and how it slowed down the courts, and getting rid of cases, and the law, which one of them would you change?

MONAHAN: I'd change the law. I would give a judge, discretion. Let them have some discretion, and keep some dangerous individuals behind bars.

We know with the small percentage of people that do the violence. You keep that bad guy in, it sends a message to anyone else, who may be willing to pick up a gun that, "Hey, there is a consequence for my actions."

CUOMO: I'm trying to get the current mayor of New York City on, to discuss this, and why he is or is not in favor of this change. We will stay on it because I think it matters. I agree with the men

and women on the job, and those who are in the prosecutor's offices, who are telling me the same thing.

Chief, your word is good as gold. Terence Monahan, thank you very much. God bless you. I hope you're enjoying yourselves these days.

MONAHAN: Thanks, Chris. God bless.

CUOMO: Be well.

All right, our next guest was arrested today on Capitol Hill, Reverend, protesting the filibuster of the voting rights bill. What was he hoping to accomplish?

Plus, the message inside Congress that Re-Trump-lican Matt Gaetz did not expect when he thought he was just going to take a cheap shot against the Pentagon brass over tackling systemic racism. It's not the first time he spoke first, thought second! Next.









CUOMO: You see what happened in Congress, the senior general in the U.S. Military, smacking down this Republican who was questioning the Defense Department's diversity efforts? Watch this.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): How should the Department of Defense think about critical race theory?

GENERAL MARK MILLEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Could I make a comment, Secretary? I'm sorry.

GAETZ: I'm very limited on my time, General Milley.

MILLEY: Well, I just want to make a comment that--

GAETZ: Well, I know. But I've asked the question to Secretary Austin.

MILLEY: I do think it's important actually, for those of us in uniform, to be open-minded and be widely read. And the United States Military Academy is a university. And it is important that we train and we understand.

And I want to understand white rage, and I'm white, and I want to understand it. So, what is it that caused thousands of people to assault this building and try to overturn the Constitution of the United States of America? What caused that? I want to find that out.

I want to maintain an open mind here. And I do want to analyze it. It's important that we understand that because our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and guardians, they come from the American people. So, it is important that the leaders, now, and in the future, do understand it.

I've read Mao Tse-tung. I've read - I've read Karl Marx. I've read Lenin. That doesn't make me a communist. So, what is wrong with understanding, having some situational understanding about the country for which we are here to defend?

And I personally find it offensive that we are accusing the United States military, our general officers, our commissioned, and non- commissioned officers, of being quote, woke, or something else, because we're studying some theories that are out there.

That was started at Harvard Law School years ago. And it proposed that there were laws in the United States, antebellum laws prior to the Civil War that led to a power differential with African-Americans that were three-quarters of a human being, when this country was formed.

And then we had a Civil War and Emancipation Proclamation to change it. And we brought it up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took another 100 years to change that. So look it, I do want to know.


CUOMO: Damn! Now, I show this to you not just because of the genius of the General making common points, but see the game for what it is.

Gaetz and the other Trumpers want critical race theory to just be a foghorn. They're no more dog whistles. "This is about the woke-left making the white man pay for things!" It's not what it is. That's the ugly side.

Let's get the truth. Joining us now, Reverend William Barber, Co-Chair of the "Poor People's Campaign."

Reverend, thank you for joining us.


And amen to the General! My dad, an old Navy man would have loved to hear him say that just like that.

CUOMO: Well, look, we need to hear it. We need to hear it from all corners.


CUOMO: You didn't come here to talk about critical race theory.

You came here to talk about something that is a theory, which is that there is a very critical moment, for race in this country, which is if you don't stop these laws, from abridging the right to vote, and there's almost none of them that makes it easier to vote, you are going to take us back to 1960, 1961, 1962.

It was worth getting arrested for you. What do you want people to know?

BARBER: Well, I want you to know, in a real sense, this is about the law. And you used that critical word, "Abridge."

Today, I wasn't the only one that got arrested. White people from West Virginia, and Kentucky from - and Black people from the hood to the hollows, came here, started in West Virginia, last week, by the hundreds, came here by the hundreds today, to say "Listen, S. 1 is what we want." 79 percent of even West Virginians want it.


It sets minimal standards, so that in our states, we've got minimal standards that these states have to abide by, and they cannot continue to abridge and undermine the right to vote. This is not just a Black issue. It's not even Jim Crow pure. It's James Crow, Esquire.

Because when you start rolling back same-day registration, rolling back early voting, undermining mail-in balloting, putting limits on people, even being able to get water, doing racist gerrymandering, class-based gerrymandering, you hurt Black people, you hurt White people, you hurt Asians, Natives, Latinos, young people, and the disabled.

And so, that's why we came in Marvel Fusion (ph) to say this should not even be an issue. The 15th Amendment is the law of the land. No one has the right, no state, to abridge or deny the right to vote.

We need same-day registration. We need early voting. We need people to be able to vote freely and fairly. And so, the people led us today.

And they said since Manchin and McConnell wouldn't answer them for a meeting, they wanted a meeting, with their religious leaders, and voting rights lawyers, and they said "We're willing to put our bodies on the line."

This is - this is not optional. This is not optional. We cannot have voter suppression in this country, and especially when we know the voter suppressors are the same ones that suppress us, passing $15 living wage. They suppress health care. They suppress infrastructure that reaches all the way down, and lifts up poor communities.

And they end up hurting the 140 million poor and low wealth people in this country the most, and the 65 million poor low wealth people, who are eligible voters, in this country, nearly 30 percent of the electorate.

CUOMO: And they want to make sure that people in schools, maybe even just college, get to learn how it's all connected, and it is a part of systemic inequality.

Reverend William Barber, I respect you for fighting the good fight. And that's what it is. Be well, God bless.

We'll be right back.


CUOMO: Thank you for the opportunity to be with us tonight, and to get after it. It is now time for the big show, "DON LEMON TONIGHT," and the big star, D. Lemon.