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Trump Org & CFO Allen Weisselberg Charged In Alleged 15 Year Tax Scheme; SCOTUS Rules Arizona Limits Don't Violate Voting Rights Act; Pelosi Names Liz Cheney To January 6 Committee, Along With Seven Democrats. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 01, 2021 - 21:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Governor DeSantis is a deep-red Trump- supporting Republican, and potential 2024 presidential candidate. Joe Biden is likely to be his rival. That won't change.

What could change though is that others might do, as these two did today. And throughout this entire crisis, what they did was their jobs. How about that?

The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME."

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: And what you did was celebrate something other than negativity.

As we learn with our kids, you may want to be harsh with them, but it doesn't really change their behavior. Rewarding them for doing it right, usually gets kids where they want to be. Maybe it can work with politicians as well.

A little bit of a social experiment started by J.B., my man!

BERMAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Any way you slice it, this is not a good night for Donald Trump. And I'll tell you why. We now have the unsealed charges, in this charging document, known as an indictment, right? They are against the Trump Organization and its main moneyman. And they tell quite a story.

Most troubling for the former president isn't what's in these pages. It's that this story reads like it's just one chapter. And there could be more to come. In fact, the New York Attorney General basically told us as much today.

So, here's what we know now. The Trump Organization effectively is Donald Trump, OK? It is charged with 10 felonies, a scheme starting back in 2005, to defraud federal, state and city tax collectors, OK?

15 years' worth equating to 15 felony counts against the Trump Organization CFO, Allen Weisselberg, both for what he allowed himself to receive, allegedly wrongly, and what he paid out to others.

The question is did Weisselberg sign the checks? The answer is no. So therefore, what did the man who did sign them, Donald Trump, know? Who would know the answer to that? Allen Weisselberg.

That now draws attention to the main question. Can prosecutors put enough pressure on Mr. Weisselberg, to have him tell the truth about Donald Trump, that he hasn't told already, if the truth is, in fact, illegal conspiracy, grand larceny, falsifying business records, criminal tax fraud?

No joke. But I will be straight with you. These charges, on their face, don't blow me away. Anytime in prison is something that would scare any of us, and rightly so.

But even in the first degree, this isn't what some expected two years of earnest effort from the New York D.A., and the Attorney General, to yield. But again, it may not be the whole story.

In the main, prosecutors accuse the Trump Organization of giving Weisselberg some $1.67 million in untaxed compensation, meaning he cheated the government, at different levels, out of about $900,000, and falsely claimed more than $133,000 in refunds he wasn't entitled to.

He also allowed himself to be paid, in this alleged scheme, off the books, as a self-employed person by different Trump entities.

Now, this gets a little bit into the weeds. But I think it's worth explaining it to you, so that you can kind of get your arms around how dedicated prosecutors believe Trump folk were, to avoiding the law, which is, you know what a Keogh plan is?

It's named after this lawmaker, from the 70s, named Eugene Keogh. He came up with the idea of letting self-employed people and businesses that aren't incorporated, have their own benefit programs, contribution benefit programs, or defined benefit programs, retirement programs.

Weisselberg, they say, was allowing himself, to be paid by certain entities, connected to the Trump Org, as self-employed, even though he wasn't. He was working for the Trump Organization. And that enabled him to exempt certain amounts of money that he could then put into his retirement plan.

You see what I'm saying that that extended to him and, quote, other executives. What other executives? Member of the Trump family? Trump himself? We don't know. They're not named.

But we do know that Weisselberg's kids are involved, because they are explained as family, as people who derived benefit that the government, these prosecutors say is wrongful.

Now, that's key, because if the kids are brought into play, what will that mean for Weisselberg, in terms of what he's willing to speak about? Weisselberg and the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty. So, some of the questions. Where does it go? We're not going to know. And it's really hard to suggest from this. And even if you look at different cases of this nature, it's hard to tell where the path will go.

Tish James, the Attorney General of New York says "We'll go where the facts lead us. We'll follow the facts." OK, that's - we don't know. But she doesn't have to tell us either.


Unindicted Co-conspirator number 1, who is that? Also implicated in the alleged scheme, a source now tells CNN, it is Trump Organization Controller Jeff McConney, who recently testified before the grand jury, in New York.

Those called before a state grand jury get what's called transactional immunity, means you won't get prosecuted for their testimony, unless they lie. Now, that's always the case. If you lie, the immunity deal goes away.

So, what is Trump's response? No surprise. He doesn't discuss the merits. He doesn't give any plausible deniability. He doesn't define what the action was, and why it's OK. He goes right to division. "These are Democrats. It's a witch hunt. It's about dividing the country."

But think about it. If he didn't do any of this, if he didn't know anything about this, why doesn't he say that? Why doesn't he argue the merits? Why doesn't he tell you what the government is getting wrong? Think about that.

His attorneys allege that this has "Never happened before. Nobody's ever gone after anybody like this." Listen.



These cases are always resolved in the civil context. The IRS has never made a case like this.

If the name of the company was something else, I don't think these charges would have been brought.


CUOMO: True-ish. What does that mean? It's either true or not. No, it's about degree. Cases like this, not paying taxes, are often settled, are often held to the civil, and pled out. You've come up with a deal, you settle it.

But what about when you refuse to? What about when you refuse to work with the government? The IRS or the D.A. has never gone after people for tax fraud? Of course they have, especially when they're non- compliant, as is the case here.

You're going to hear tonight from someone who helped prosecutors bring these serious charges. We've got three different angles to come at you with this.

One is somebody, who prosecuted Trump before, at the A.G. level. What does he see in this, in the thinking, and the pattern of behavior? Important.

Then, we have someone, who worked at the Trump Organization. Do these charges smack familiar of what she saw going on there? And what did she know about who knew what, about these types of schemes, as alleged?

And then, we have the ex-wife of one of the Weisselberg sons. What does she remember about how benefits to her family were explained?

Much better minds. Let's start with former Assistant New York Attorney General, Tristan Snell, led the investigation of Trump University. He is joined by the one and only Norm Eisen, former White House Ethics Czar, and Counsel to Democrats, in Trump's first impeachment trial.

First to you, Brother Snell, when you read this indictment, what is your reaction about whether or not this is the beginning or the end, and what the depth of concern should be for those named and unnamed?

TRISTAN SNELL, FORMER ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, NEW YORK STATE, HELPED LEAD INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRUMP UNIVERSITY, FOUNDER, MAINSTREET.LAW: Well, there are a lot of interesting little bits to this, that they've gotten some attention. They should get more.

I think the one that leapt out at me the most, there was the discussion of altering documents. But it was what document it was. It was the Donald J. Trump Detail General Ledger, they reference in this indictment.

What is that! What is that? Does this mean that he had his own special set of books, that then he reviewed with Weisselberg? I mean, if so, that's potentially a absolutely critical document, in this whole case.

So, that's just one thing to start with. I have other thoughts beyond that. But that's one of the ones that I'm really fixating on right now, is I really want to see what the heck is in that ledger.

CUOMO: All right, so I'm going to come back to you in a second.

Norm, let's play the reciprocal angle here, is "What? Two years! This is all you got, is that the guy didn't pay some taxes? $900,000 worth of taxes, you think he's going to go bad on Trump, over $900,000? I'm not impressed." What do you say?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER HOUSE JUDICIARY SPECIAL COUNSEL IN TRUMP'S FIRST IMPEACHMENT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR: Well, Chris, I say 15, 15, 15. You have 15 felony counts in this indictment. You have a scheme that went on for 15 years. And you have a potential maximum penalty for these charges, for Mr. Weisselberg, of 15 years.

We talked about this earlier in the week. I thought it was going to be more serious than people believe. This is a very deeply detailed. It'll be very compelling to a jury.

It's a story of a greedy CFO, who profited over $1.7 million, big-city New York apartments, luxury cars, Mercedes-Benz, private school tuition, and a thoroughly corrupt company.


And the indictment is full of tidbits. One of my favorites was, and this is what the D.A. fought so hard for, twice to the Supreme Court, Chris. We often talked about it.

"The Trump Organization internally tracked and treated these fringe benefits as part of Weisselberg's annual compensation." This is on page 13. "And the corporate defendants falsified other compensation records."

Chris, two sets of books, this is going to be a devastating jury case. And I think Weisselberg is flinching. And he's going to have to very seriously rethink whether it's time for him to start cooperating. Donald Trump's worst nightmare!

CUOMO: Tristan Snell, what is the best-case scenario for how the former president would be implicated in this when you know the defense?

"Weisselberg did what he did. I didn't know. I signed the checks. I'm the face of the Organization. I'm out, bringing us in new business. I'm not keeping the books. That was him. Whatever happened wrong is on him."

SNELL: I think the kicker there is it's kind of be a whole puzzle that you have to put together.

Now, you can get a whole lot more of the pieces of the puzzle dumped onto the table all at once, if Weisselberg cooperates. But if he doesn't, then the rest of it comes down to this ledger, all of the different versions of it.

In this indictment, just this little bit of the broader case, we've now gotten a glimpse of this, where they doctored it. There was a notation in there. And then Weisselberg asked that it be taken out.

But all of those little edits that you made to a document, all of that metadata, is stuff that then gets recorded. You know when documents were created. You can see emails and how they reflect on a meeting.

Someone taking notes during a meeting and you know what date that document was created, so you know it was created during the meeting. If it was created during the meeting, it's potentially admissible as evidence.

There's a whole lot of things that you can do here, to piece this together that don't necessarily involve Weisselberg flipping, although Weisselberg flipping sure makes it a lot easier.

CUOMO: Right.

Norm, do you think it's fair - interesting the President didn't say, "How dare that Weisselberg?" or "I didn't know anything about this." He just went right to the politics.

And the flip play on that, from his lawyer, is "No one ever has been prosecuted for something like this before. These cases are always settled. This is political."

Your take on that?

EISEN: Well, Chris, in our big Brookings report, we laid out all the defenses we predicted the President, and those around him would go there. My take is it's a devastating indictment that now the evidence will have to be proved up, before the judge and a jury.

But if it's proved up, and the company is unrepentant, and its namesake, Donald Trump, is attacking this, refusing to admit anything was wrong, that is going to be something that will weigh heavily at sentencing. It won't work with a jury, Chris, because they've told a very compelling story here.

Again, they have to prove it. These are just allegations. But if they prove this, it's a story of greed, greed in a corporation, corruption in a corporation, theft from the taxpayers, grand larceny, from the members of the jury, the New York State taxpayers, to fund these luxury benefits, over $1.7 million.

So, I think that the prosecution has got an even better story to tell than Trump's tired witch-hunt narrative. But we'll find out in court.

CUOMO: Very good points from Tristan Snell and Norm Eisen. Thank you.

One thing they didn't mention that will be interesting to follow, to hear the former president, not go bad on Weisselberg, remember what happened with Michael Cohen, his bag-man, right?

Cohen got accused of doing these things, what did he say? "Cohen's not my lawyer. He's a bum." Right? Somebody else during the collusion things, "Well, yes," Trump, "Ah, that was a coffee boy. We don't know him."

Not a word, denigrating Mr. Weisselberg. Interesting, no?

So, what do these charges look like to people, who were inside Trump- world? One used to work at the Organization. The other is a Weisselberg. She lived this deal, over the last 15 years, and has been cooperating with prosecutors.

Let's get their perspective, on what this means, and what could happen next.









CUOMO: All right, this is an important moment. Now we've seen the 15 counts in the indictment. And basically they, in sum total, involve an alleged scheme, to beat taxes, to defraud taxes.

Assuming prosecutors have proof that can meet their burden, can they show that Donald Trump had knowledge of, or was part of this scheme? Now, he is not named. He is not charged. But people who know the workings all say the same thing.


STEPHANIE WINSTON WOLKOFF, PRODUCER, DONALD TRUMP'S PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURAL COMMITTEE: The former president, Donald J. Trump, knew everything that was going on.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP PERSONAL LAWYER: There is nothing that happened at the Trump Organization that did not go to Donald.

BARBARA RES, FORMER EXECUTIVE VP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION, AUTHOR, "TOWER OF LIES": Nothing big happens at the Trump Organization without Trump's knowledge.


CUOMO: But, at trial, you only know what you can show. So, now that we have the details of the indictment, let's bring somebody, who saw the game on the inside, and somebody who lived it, on the outside.

We have Allen Weisselberg's former daughter-in-law, Jennifer Weisselberg, and former Trump Org VP, Barbara Res. The book is called "Tower of Lies."

Good to have you both, thank you, especially on short notice.

Barbara, reading the indictment, what they say took place, from 2005, for about 15 years thereafter, and how it worked through Weisselberg, to others as well as himself, sound familiar?

RES: Well, it does. I mean, I haven't read the whole indictments over that. From what I can tell, basically, Trump has always been doing this kind of thing, evading - helping people evade taxes.

[21:20:00] Back when I was doing Trump Tower, he was paying people expense money, instead of a salary. "Oh, just give me any bills, and I'll pay for it." And that was his attitude.

CUOMO: Now, is that because that's how it works in that business, so that going after Trump for this is unfair, because everybody does it? Do you believe that?

RES: No. Sometimes it's unfair, but not in this case. Nobody does that. I've never had that come.

CUOMO: Second layer of it would be, "Yes, OK, maybe they're right. But that's Weisselberg. He had all the control of the books. He was the one, who was deciding what he gave himself and others.

You don't see me getting any of that money in there. Nobody's accused Donald Trump of getting anything wrong. I just signed the checks. But I signed whatever he put in front of me. I knew nothing."

RES: Well, I'm sure there are checks that he didn't know anything about. But if there was anything major, anything, like giving away a property, or paying for someone's school, or paying someone's rent, of course, that wouldn't happen, without Trump. Trump was the one who decided that. He's the one who came up with it.

CUOMO: Now, Jennifer, you lived it. And when the tuition was paid, or when the apartment bills were paid, Barry, your ex-husband, did you have any sense that this was something that the former president Donald Trump knew about, was aware of, and endorsed?


CUOMO: Feeling or fact?

WEISSELBERG: In Barry's deposition. And when he would come home, he would talk about every January, he would meet with Donald and Allen, and they would go over what his raise would be for the year. And it would be "I'll pay your daughter's tuition in lieu of a raise this year. I got it." Or, "There's apartment becoming available. I got it. I got it. It's available."

CUOMO: And this was Trump saying it to your ex-husband?


CUOMO: And was there an understanding by him or by you that there was something fishy about this, or was it just how they wanted to do it, at the company?

WEISSELBERG: I think we have to keep coming up with something to keep giving, in lieu of a raise. I think it's difficult for somebody, when you only make $200,000 for 21 years, right? It doesn't give you a lot of control. That was difficult for us.

I think that Donald decided, but he knew that Allen was going to put that down accordingly in Trump payroll quote-up (ph). He planned on him doing that.

CUOMO: Now, the other thing is, I've talked to both of you about this separately.

The idea that this is all there is, Barbara, the New York Attorney General today, was suggestive that we're going to keep this investigation going and follow the facts.

I'm not blown away by this level of charges. 15 felonies, I wouldn't want to be facing the time. But two years, all this intentionality, the New York A.G., and the D.A.'s office, and this is what you have?

Does it seem suspicious to you that this is all there is? And does it make you think there may be more?

RES: I'm sure there's more. And, to their credit, they're not saying this is all there is. They're just saying this is what we're doing now.

Now, I hear the talking heads. And some of them say, "Oh, that's it, you know? This is nothing. They're blowing things out of proportion." And others just say, "This is the tip of the iceberg."

And as far as I know, and can tell that at least one - I don't know why they're not going after the bank for an insurance for itself. And I'm thinking maybe that'll show up on the radar.

CUOMO: The Trump ledger, what does that mean to you?

RES: It doesn't mean much because everything was haphazard with Trump, when I was there, was not anything that really they took good care of.

CUOMO: Two sets of books.

RES: Yes.

CUOMO: Is that possible? Or?

RES: Absolutely. Of course, it is.

CUOMO: Well, but let's dig at it a little bit.

Because if it's really haphazard, if it's completely not organized, if it's completely ad hoc, as they'd say in the law, like you just did it, well then maybe he didn't have the intention, to have two sets of books, and be that deliberate, in defrauding the government.

What do you say to that?

RES: Maybe Donald didn't specifically say, "I want you to keep two sets of books." He knew Allen knew how to handle it. But Donald would say of course, we know that this has got to be on the two team. We can't publicize this, you know, this is.

CUOMO: Now, with you, Jennifer, people would like to be able to say "Well, this is the ex-wife. You know what I mean? They had a tough divorce. Of course, she's going to say these things."

You gave documents to prosecutors that showed these things. That was your value to them. It wasn't "I'm mad at my ex-wife - my ex-husband." It was "Look at these documents."

In light of that, and your understanding of the situation, and the family dynamic, the whole suspicion here is, is this serious enough, for Allen Weisselberg, to say, "Holy cow! This is going to be bad for me and my kids. I have to work with the prosecutors, even though I have a loyalty to Donald Trump."

Do you believe this is enough heat on him, for him to give up Donald Trump?


WEISSELBERG: Watching him, in handcuffs today, and seeing him walk, in handcuffs, I don't think he - I don't think he can watch his kids do that. I just don't think he can. That was - that was painful. I think it brought a real awareness and a stark reality to it.

CUOMO: What do you think?

RES: About whether he's going to give up Trump? It's just he's so loyal. I mean, if the man did something, to break the law, which I believe even whether, you know, I'm not the judge and jury, but why would you be loyal about that? Loyalty shouldn't have to do with covering up bad acts, you know?

CUOMO: It's exactly what it has to.

RES: No, no.

CUOMO: Right? When you're in a criminal organization, you know, if that's what's happening--

RES: Yes. Well see that's the very point.

CUOMO: --that's exactly what loyalty is.

RES: That's the very point, is you're not talking about a regular employee. You're talking about another criminal.

And so, in my mind, Allen, even though I'm sure he was involved, and he knows all these things, I hark back to when he was just a regular person, like anybody, be friendly, at lunch, whatever.

He wasn't like a Manafort, or a Roger Stone, or even a Michael Cohen. He wasn't an animal back then. So maybe he's evolved into that situation. And maybe he's like got the loyalty thing that's sort of like a "Godfather" thing going.

CUOMO: Well?

RES: But, from my point of view, loyalty is something that you offer, in terms of not working for someone else, or keeping the company's secrets, not covering up for a crook.

CUOMO: Yes, you're seeing loyalty as a form of integrity.

RES: Yes.

CUOMO: I think that this is more about just power dynamics.

But here's what we do know. He hasn't given him up yet, which means one of two things. One, it wasn't worth his time to do so, or two, he doesn't have what prosecutors need, to implicate the former president. We'll see.

But I do know this right now. You understanding, the inside, and you understanding the dynamic of how these gifts were received, and how they were understood, very helpful. Thank you very much, both.

RES: Thank you.


CUOMO: All right, so we'll keep following the facts, as the facts are laid out to us.

Now, another situation that we already know, painful facts about, the voting rights movement in this country is a problem. Not every law, not everywhere. But what the Supreme Court said today, did it just greenlight the Republican Party's complete plan to make it harder for many Americans to vote?

We have a key senator who really may be the bridge to getting any help on voting rights, before the elections. Senator Joe Manchin is here, the state of play on protecting voting, and the state of play in his own party, next.









CUOMO: So, how big a deal was the Supreme Court ruling today about Arizona? 6-3, right, party lines that two provisions of an Arizona voting law do not violate the Voting Rights Act.

And I must say this. The Biden Administration agreed, OK? They put out a statement saying that they didn't think they did. So, what did the court do here? What was the net effect? Did they make

it harder to challenge election laws? Yes. So now, the attention turns to Congress. The question is will they do anything?

We discussed with a key player.


CUOMO: Senator Joe Manchin, thank you so much for being on PRIME TIME.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Good to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, let's start with the big headline. So, the Supreme Court says Arizona's law changes, in terms of having to show up, at the right ballot place, on Election Day, or it doesn't count.


CUOMO: And limiting the number of people, who can collect ballots, to care workers' close family that those are not unconstitutional. You see that Mitch McConnell doesn't believe in the John Lewis Act.

So this combination means what, for the protection of voting rights, in this country, in your opinion?

MANCHIN: Well, first of all, the Shelby decision, based on the Voting Rights Act, was back in 2013, Chris.

We should have been working on this. And we've had an awful lot of time, for whatever reason, and never came up to the point to where people thought they had to do anything. Who would do something as outrageous as what we're seeing, after the 2020 election?

So, we could have gotten now the directions from John Roberts, who wrote the opinion, was basically correct, how you evaluate, and basically how you - what's your formula. We hadn't changed--

CUOMO: To remind the audience, Senator, because you and I are a little to read in on this.


CUOMO: So, you had John Roberts lead a 5-4 court majority, a narrow majority, as they say, saying there is no more need for pre-clearance of specific States, as provided in the Voting Rights Act. One of those States was Arizona. Instead, he said the legislature should craft a new solution.

The new solution was obviously nothing, or as you had suggested, very recently, even, pre-clearance for all States.

MANCHIN: The formula.

CUOMO: So that there is no bias involved.

MANCHIN: Correct. CUOMO: That never happened. So when - then you say "We never saw this coming, what happened after the 2020 election." Is that your way of saying that you believe that these election fraud protests, by the Right, are not in good faith?

MANCHIN: Well, I think that basically, when you say, they're going to prohibit counting a ballot, and you're a legitimate voter, in the State of West Virginia, you go to the wrong precinct, that's a provisional ballot. No one can deny you from voting.

And you might be voting out of the district for your congressperson, you might be voting out of the district, for a state legislature, or a local candidate, but the vote for your statewide election, and for the federal election, should definitely count.

So, those are provisional, and that's the way it should be done. And that's the way we intended to do it. We're going to have to rewrite the formula. And that's what we should have been doing all along.

John Lewis Voting Rights Act is going to be the vehicle, I believe, that we can put some guardrails back on to where people have fair elections, they're open elections, and they're secured.

CUOMO: Not if you don't do something to either get Republicans to vote--


CUOMO: --or modify the filibuster, because you can't pass it through reconciliation.


CUOMO: And again, Mitch McConnell has said "No need to change anything."


MANCHIN: Well, I'm hoping, you know, we've had 10 people working with us on many different things.

We've done a lot of bipartisan things, Chris, which no one really talks much about. We did the Endless Frontier Competition with China. We've done that in a bipartisan way. We did the Hate Crimes bill.

We're working and doing things, and Republicans are coming for it. We have a good group of moderate Republicans that want to work with us, are willing to work with us. And we come up with a bipartisan infrastructure bill, which we all worked with the President, and took to him.

So, I know it can be done. We just got to find this determination rationale. People have to understand voting is the bedrock to democracy. It makes the United States who we are. And we have got to make sure that that is open process. I can't believe - hey, Chris? When I was Secretary of State, with all the Secretary of States, all 50, as we say, have competitions, who could get the highest percentage of turnout?

We did everything we could. If someone had an idea, we took their idea, "Well that sounds good. Let's try that." That's where I come up with early voting. We didn't have early voting in West Virginia in 2001.

So, we were trying things. Why it's gone to the point of this, and I think people will push back, and I think when constituents push back, when Corporate America pushing back, legislatures will do the right thing, and they'll be gone.

CUOMO: So, let's take one more step down this road. And then I want to talk about your side of the ball. Politically, inclusiveness in voting is a negative, on the Right now, Senator.

MANCHIN: Never--

CUOMO: That's what these 17 States are moving as a premise. That's what election fraud that farce is about.

"We got cheated in the election. They didn't really win. And a lot of people voted who shouldn't have, especially those Black people in the cities." That's why they're passing the laws the way they are where they are.

So the idea that, "Hey, people are going to see voting as the bastion and we need more," that's not the take, on the Right. Why do you think they'll change and break ranks?

MANCHIN: Well, let me - let me just say this, Chris. If that's where we're going, and there's 40 million people, let's say that voted, thinking that their vote wasn't counted correctly, it was stolen from them, if we go down this, in truly a hardcore partisan way, Democrats only, don't you think it's going to make it worse in the 2022 or 2024 election, if we don't have?

CUOMO: Maybe.

MANCHIN: I think it will, I really do. We're so divided now, Chris, we've got to work a little harder, a lot harder, in trying to bring the country together.

I still believe when you put the facts out, which we did, voter ID, there's nothing wrong with a voter ID, but give people many alternatives. But still IDs are - when you talk to people about security, they think an ID is security.

We just want to make sure that the person lives where they say they live, and they are who they are. And that's very easy. We gave them many, many variations, very simple to do that. And all the people on my side of the aisle pushed back, and said that's just unfair.

CUOMO: The-- MANCHIN: Getting a voter ID.

CUOMO: The caveat is time that if you don't get this done, before the midterms, you're going to have these laws in effect, and they almost assuredly change the calculations, in places that could matter.

Some of them won't matter, because you're going to lose there anyway. But some of them might matter. And if those laws are in place, you're certainly not going to have bigger turnout.


CUOMO: All right, so now we go to your side of the ball, Senator, on infrastructure.

You guys put a deal together. The President likes the deal. Your party doesn't like the deal. They say "We need the companion bill through reconciliation to get all the things that the bipartisan group of senators couldn't find."

Is it in your mind something that must happen, the reconciliation bill?

MANCHIN: Well, nothing must happen, because this is the legislature, things that we think that would happen, and should happen sometimes doesn't happen. Is it something I think that we need? Absolutely. Both of them we need. I never get--

CUOMO: But the people on the Left flank, in your party, Senator, say they won't give you your compromise bill on infrastructure, if they don't get their bill, on reconciliation.

MANCHIN: Let me say this. If my Democrat colleagues, and friends, walk away from the largest infrastructure, traditional infrastructure, roads and bridges, and internet services, and rail services, and you name it, we did it, lead pipes, getting rid of all that, if they would walk away from that and let the perfect be the enemy of the good, shame on us now, I think. What the heck would happen in 2022, if we can't take a win?

CUOMO: Senator Joe Manchin, thank you very much.

MANCHIN: Thank you.


CUOMO: Here's the problem. I have had more than one Democratic House member say exactly that that they are not going to get this infrastructure bill, if the companion piece through reconciliation doesn't come.


The Democratic Party has some wood to chop on this to get a win. Will they do it? We will see. Now, also on the House side, Speaker Pelosi has named members for the new January 6th Select Committee. One name in particular has left Head House Republican Kevin McCarthy shocked.

Why is he shocked? What is his problem with this commission? Insights from the Chairman of the new panel, next.








CUOMO: I have new bodycam video, from January 6th, to show you. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, let go off the door, and leave the Capitol. Back off. No! Stop! Stop! Stop! Stop!




CUOMO: You see the officer there, bloody hands, them asking people to stop? They didn't stop. A pro-Trump mob wound up crushing him. You know how this ends. The officer pinned helplessly between a door and a storming mob, the Capitol overrun.





CUOMO: Tell me, how can someone say they support the police, and not want to find out who did this, and why? How can you not be curious when dozens and dozens of the Capitol cops that you say matter so much, and they're not going to get an investigation?

The Right would rather whitewash what happened. They want to say it's no worse than what happened the summers before. "It was really just tourists, really wasn't an insurrection. They really didn't have weapons," things they would never say, if it wasn't to their benefit.

The proof is what's left of any bipartisan means to investigate the truth. The Dem-led Select Committee formed in the wake of that failed commission, tanked by the Right, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, the only Republican on the panel.

Kevin McCarthy made clear what he thinks.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don't know in history where someone would go get their committee assignments from the Speaker, and expect to have them--


MCCARTHY: --from the Conference as well.

I was shocked that she would accept something from Speaker Pelosi. It would seem to me, since I didn't hear from her, maybe she's closer to her than us. I don't know.


CUOMO: Listen, it's not about us anymore. Not for him. In this binary system of these two parties, a system that I think has absolutely outlived its utility to us, he's all about opposition. And you're either with opposing the Democrats or you are dead to him, even if your name is Cheney.

Democratic congressman Bennie Thompson leads the January 6 Select Committee.

Congressman, I got to ask you. I understand why you think the committee is the right thing. But given how much acrimony there is, do you have any concerns that the Commission will actually make things worse?

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): No, I don't, Chris. Thank you for having me, by the way.

Some of these jobs, we do very hard. This commission that we will do, and work with, it will be difficult work. But as you've already shown, the majority of people in this country saw what happened, on January 6th.

Our charge is to figure out why it happened, who made it happen, and how do we make sure it doesn't happen again. So, it'll require some work. It's too bad, Republican leadership, at this point, has decided not to really participate.

But this is a participatory democracy. I would encourage our Republican colleagues to join us. As you know, I negotiated a much better deal that I thought we had. But Leader McCarthy deep-sixed it.

So, we have to do this. It's for the good of this country. We can't afford to have our United States Capitol, overrun by hooligans, on us versus them, stopping the steal. With our elections, Chris, somebody has to win, and someone has to lose. But losers don't tear the place up. They just say "We see you next election."

CUOMO: Right.

THOMPSON: That's why our Founding Fathers put this system of government together.

CUOMO: Let me ask you something. Will you call Trump?

THOMPSON: Well, let me say this. We have a good committee. We will have professional investigators. We will have the best that we have to offer, to help us, to conduct this investigation. And wherever the facts lead us, Chris, we will follow.

CUOMO: The facts will lead you to Trump. Will you call Trump?

THOMPSON: If the facts lead us there, and our investigators say that it's in their best interest, we'll look at it.

I'm not (inaudible). The other eight Members - the other eight Members of this committee so far, they want to get to the bottom of what happened. I was in the gallery, Chris. It was not a good day.

For all of the film that we show, none of it's been doctored. This was actually what occurred on that date. And so, we have to make sure that we protect the citadel of the democracy from this.

The other thing is I hope we can get bipartisan buy-in. Liz Cheney accepted the offer to participate on this Select Committee. I thank her for that. My committee, the Homeland Security Committee, is one of the more bipartisan committees in Congress. Democrats and Republicans, on my committee, work together.

Unfortunately, when this insurrection occurred, those folks came in wanting to hurt Democrats and Republicans. So, it's in our best interest to fix this. And as Chairman, I'm committed to making sure that happen.

CUOMO: And as the Anchor of this show, I am committed to giving you this platform, to tell us about what you're developing, as an understanding in that committee, and making the case to the American people, about the same.


Congressman Bennie Thompson, good luck and thank you.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

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







CUOMO: Update for you. The rescue operation in Surfside is back on tonight, following a day-long pause, over concerns that the remaining structure of Champlain Towers South could fall.

Officials now working on plans to demolish what remains of the building, this is sensitive. We're now on night eight of the search, the death toll stands at 18. A 145 is the number offered for unaccounted. We don't know that that number is accurate.

President Biden was in Florida today, acting as Consoler-in-Chief. He met with first responders, and spent hours, behind closed doors, speaking to grieving families.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I sat with one woman who had just lost her - her husband and her little baby boy, didn't know what to do. I sat with another family that lost almost the entire family, cousins, brothers, sisters. And to watch them and to - the - they're praying and pleading that, "God, let there be a miracle."



CUOMO: In a tragedy of this scale, leaders have to come together. And that's what we saw. And you should all see it. President Biden, Democrat, Republican Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, they met.

And listen.


BIDEN: Let me say just one more thing. You know what's good about this, the way you've cooperated? We're letting the nation know we can cooperate.

I mean, just the simple act of everybody doing whatever needs to be done is a - and it really makes a difference, Gov.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Well, thank you, Mr. President. And you've recognized the severity of this tragedy from day one.

And you guys have not only been supportive at the federal level, but we've had no bureaucracy.

This is the first response in Florida's history, outside of a hurricane, where all of our search-and-rescue teams were mobilized.


CUOMO: Biden was not wrong to forget that he's a Trumper. DeSantis is not weak, for talking to Biden. That was leadership, and it is strength, because they weren't playing to personal advantage. They were playing to what matters, doing their job.

We'll be right back with the handoff.