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GOP Rep. Chip Roy Says He Wants "18 More Months Of Chaos"; Reuters: Police Chief Says Some Of The Attackers In Haiti Leader's Assassination Killed, Two Suspects Detained; Britney Spears' Mom Petitions Court To Allow Daughter To Hire Own Attorney. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 07, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It's worth pointing out that the former president won Texas handily, during last year's presidential election.

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

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

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Hey, did you hear the new 2022 campaign slogan for Congress? Here it is. "Vote for me. And I promise to do nothing." It's not a cynical thing. It's not a joke. And it's not some backroom promise.

It is the ugly, and the obvious of our reality. Here it is.


VOICE OF REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Honestly, right now, for the next 18 months, our job is to do everything we can, to slow all of that down, to get to December of 2022.

18 more months of chaos--


ROY: --and the inability to get stuff done.


ROY: That's what we want.


CUOMO: Now, the key is, why is 18 months of chaos and getting nothing done, what a Republican or really a Trumper would want?

Opposition is a position of strength against a perceived malicious force. You see? And that's the part you need to know. Too many, on the Left, leave that out. OK? They'll just be like, "Listen how stupid this guy is. He's saying all he wants to do is oppose." Why? Because that's the part that will beat you.

The Left is the enemy, and the key to the white fright campaign. "The BLM marauders are coming along with the bad hombres. They are the muscle for the Democrats. And the media are their agents. Pushing everything is OK, the more radical, the more reasonable. Only we can save you."

"Only we," sound familiar?


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.


CUOMO: "I alone! We alone!"

Chip Roy is a chip off the old block. He was asked about this, just to make sure that he wasn't taken out of context.

He says, "I don't apologize one bit for pushing back," here it is, "against the leftist mob." Mob, see, because January 6th can't be about them. It's got to be a mob on the other side, too. That's the key.

"The leftist mob that seeks to destroy America from within," this from the man that doesn't believe January 6th was a big idea. "Was no big deal, no big idea there. It's just what it was."

"I am proud of this country, not embarrassed by it. And I will obstruct the agenda of those that are with everything I've got."

You see? It is a holy war. It's a holy war. That's what this is for them. And it's working. And the question is what do the Democrats do in response?

Proud? Well can you attack it? Easily. Let's do it now quickly.

Proud of the country, yet, you want it to remain for 18 months in chaos? You will allow its Capitol be attacked, without recourse, but you're proud of it? You will deprive money to people who need it to survive. You will deprive them of fixes to their health care, but you care about your country?

You see? The argument is easy. It's about how you make it, and where you make it. And that's who will - that's what will decide who comes out on top, in the midterms.

Now, yes, it sounds like Chip Roy is more cut out for a role in a militia than a Congress. But he's just an echo of an alarm that was sounded long ago by McConnell.

Listen to McConnell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Our top political priority, over the next two years, should be to deny President Obama a second term.

100 percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.


CUOMO: Now, good news is you can isolate what it is. In fact, you can now say, it is what it is.

The problem is do you have a counter? Because there is no shame in their game. They don't need to be about something virtuous, or pretend to be about something virtuous, for their side. It's more of a purity test. Are you really all in?

McConnell opposed the latest COVID relief bill, right? Remember, he said, "I won't do it. I won't do it." But then what? "It's too costly."

Now, in Kentucky, he is telling people about the benefits of all the money that's coming to them. Listen.


MCCONNELL: Not a single member of my party voted for it. So, you're going to get a lot more money. I didn't vote for it. But you're going to get a lot more money.

If you add up the total amount, that will come into our state, $4 billion. That's twice what we sent in last year.



CUOMO: Now, I hear too many on the Left missing this for what it is. In fact, President Biden missed it. Listen to his take.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mitch McConnell loves our programs. Did you see what Mitch McConnell said? He told me he wasn't going to get a single vote, in order to allow me to get, with the help of everybody here.

Look it up, man. He's bragging about in Kentucky: "It's a great thing for Kentucky. It's getting $4 billion to help poor." That's amazing.


CUOMO: It's not the right read. McConnell's not saying he loves the policy. He's saying it's bad policy.

But he knows how to have it both ways. He's saying, "Look at all this money that's going to come in, you're going to get it." So they know it as a matter of fact, and they will attach it to him telling them that. There will be currency for him in that.

But he gets to check that box of opposition. "Not me, I didn't vote for it. It's still coming here anyway." Somehow, it's like he delivered without delivering, or he delivered twice. Either way, it's working for him.

So, Biden is aware, right? He called it out, played to the irony. But does he, or do he, and the Democrats have an answer that will help them win in the midterms? Because the Democrats, to my eye, seem more intent on giving the Party of Trump more chances than to secure another chance for themselves to continue to lead.

The proof of the suggestion, why allow a Trumper like McCarthy to add five seats to the House select committee on January 6th? "Bipartisanship!" You already tried. You know that McCarthy and the others have willful blindness because they only have eyes for what benefits Trump.

You gave them everything they asked for, to make it bipartisan. McCarthy and the others balked, because January 6th is bad for business. Now, you're going to give him five more seats, so they will be able to bash anything that is developed within the commission?

So, they're going to be able to be there, while saying it's illegitimate, and you expect something to good - to the good to come out of this? How can it be to the good?

Let's bring in the better mind of Michael Smerconish.

Smerc, what am I missing? Let's start with this. Let's go backwards, from where I was in the open, allowing McCarthy to have five seats, after they said "We're not doing this bipartisan. This is a joke. You won't look at the real riots. You only want to look at January 6th."

Now, who do you imagine he'll put on it? And what will be the net effect?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: I think he'll put Trump loyalists on it. I don't know how. From a political standpoint, he can't.

But let me wind the clock back a little bit further, because there's a lot to unpack, from what you just offered. Think about this, Chris. 2020, the presidential election was the first time since 1865, that the Republican Party didn't put forth a party platform.

How come? I think you have put your finger on it. Because it's much easier, to unite in opposition, to things, than to be advocates. You don't have to pass anything. You don't have to get anything done. You just need to state your case as to what you oppose.

You oppose critical race theory, whatever that might be. You oppose Obamacare, even though you don't have a replacement for it. And it's a bad strategy for the country. But it's a pretty good political strategy, as scary as that might sound.

CUOMO: Do the Democrats, you think, have a grip on what they're against? And do you think they have a counter that will help them in the midterms?

SMERCONISH: I think they're between a rock and a hard place, because the only thing they can really get done with the control that they have in the House, and the 50-50 deadlock, plus the Vice President in the Senate, is through reconciliation.

Because of the presence of the filibuster, it really means that the President, in large measure, is going to go into the midterm election, without being able to lay claim to legislative accomplishment, for all the things that he promised.

So, unless you're prepared to redo the numbers, on the filibuster, no, their hands are tied. And I think that's what Mitch McConnell, I think that's what Kevin McCarthy understand and recognize that they can continue to be successful by just standing in opposition.

One other - one other point, if I might, think about some of the strange bedfellows that now emerge on the Republican side of the aisle. The one-percenters and the White working-class, what unites them? Not what they're for, but what they're against. It's not a bad strategy, but bad for the country.

CUOMO: Eighty percent, in the May Q poll, 80 percent of Republicans say their party is acting in the interest of democracy. 90 percent of them say Democrats are not. You think you would get reciprocal ratings like that, in the Democratic Party, about feelings, about their, own?


SMERCONISH: No, they're all getting their news and information from the same source, right?

I mean, here, because we think it's a public service, we run the footage of what transpired on January 6. If you were to go somewhere else tonight, you're not going to see it. And frankly, you haven't seen it.

I think that people are oblivious to what's transpired, as large as the stakes may be. It's part of the problem of being siloed in, and not getting news and information that is a balance.

CUOMO: So, going into the midterms, I mean, don't you have to believe - look, we know historically, that the--


CUOMO: --sitting president doesn't do great, for his party in midterms. Do you think this will be that more often - more so than usual? Or do you think the Democrats can make some kind of progress?

SMERCONISH: I think that Republicans have more difficult seats to defend in the Senate. I think there's a possibility that there's actually a Democratic gain in the Senate.

But in the House, history tells a pretty consistent story, that the Democratic Party, because they control the White House, will be in trouble.

I'll tell you what I don't expect to change. Because I'm paying attention to the former president's rallies, he's not out there as, and he's the titular head of the party, right, until proven otherwise, he's not out there advocating anything other than his opposition to the status quo.

And frankly, that's the way that he ran the 2020 campaign. You think about it, Chris. He would go on that other network. And he would be encouraged to articulate an agenda for a second term. Never did it.

CUOMO: Never.

SMERCONISH: Never took that bait, I guess, because it's easier to just say what you're opposed to.

CUOMO: Well, why? What do most people agree with, about government and politics, Mike? You hear it all the time on your radio show, and on your TV show here.

"That we hate it, that it stinks that they're all bums, that they all lie, that they all cheat, that they don't care about me, and that everything's getting crazy. And they're all about what's weird, and no longer about what is American."

It's all you need. The question is is it just that they claim the high ground before the Democrats could get it, and get into the anger game? Or did the Democrats just not know how to fight to win, the way the Republicans do?

SMERCONISH: Well, I guess the Democrats have to decide whether they want half a loaf, rather than going for the full loaf.

I mean, is Joe Manchin - are Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema actually a good prism, a good barometer, into what's going on with White working- class voters that the Democrats need? Maybe they ought to be more welcoming of whatever can pass their muster, instead of trying to appease the most progressive elements in the party.

CUOMO: I really think that at the end of the day, and look, it's not that it's complicated. Mike and I talk about this all the time. It's not that it's complicated. It's about whether or not you know how to make it happen.

The obvious pitch, to the White working-class is almost the exact same thing as to the Black or Brown, or any ethnic group, or race, working- class. They want and need the same things. And if you were to make that pitch that you are for them, and these guys are just stopping it from happening, that would probably be very compelling.

The question is how do you pitch the message? How do you get through the noise of them having been just washed, and bathed in every kind of fear and animus, for so many years now? And that's the challenge.

But that's the group, Mike. The group is not just college-educated, White suburban people. It's working-class people. Whoever wins them, wins.

Appreciate you being here. We'll have a lot to talk about.

Last word to you, brother. I saw something coming through of that maw. What did you have?

SMERCONISH: OK. OK. I want to say this. I don't know when I became sort of the elder-cocker. But I have to say, what happened to the days that you would go into a midterm election, and you would have to explain what you accomplished, what you actually passed, instead of what you opposed? We need to get back to those days.

CUOMO: You're an elder-cocker, but you're also an Altacocker! You're higher, not just older. Thank you, brother. All right.


CUOMO: As for the leader of the Trump party, is this fact or fiction?

A new book claims Donald Trump once told his former Chief of Staff John Kelly, that quote, "Hitler did a lot of good things." It was allegedly set on a 2018 trip to Paris, to commemorate the World War I Armistice. The book is by a reporter at "The Wall Street Journal." That's a Murdoch paper.

Trump's camp denies the quote. John Kelly hasn't denied the quote. Judge for yourself!


Ahead, the Trump-loving QAnon kook is at it again. "Oh, I went to the Holocaust Museum. I'm so sorry." Five minutes! Nazi-era comparisons once again, why? Because they work. Because she wants the effect of cheapening, and using it, because, it works.

We'll lay it out for you, next.








CUOMO: Here's a helpful suggestion. Look, can we just please stop trying to make a conspiracy kook look competent, OK? Why did you all cover and pay attention to her going to the Holocaust Museum? What do you think she's about? Of course, the Trumper, from QAnon, went back to Nazi references about

Democrats. This is what she is about! The tweet calling plans to reach the unvaccinated, quote, "Medical brown shirts," of course, she was going to go back to it.

I know it was just a few weeks, since her trip to the Holocaust Memorial Museum, she came out, and she was like this. Take a look.



REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): The Holocaust is - there's nothing comparable to it.

There is no comparison to the Holocaust.


CUOMO: She's full of it! Stop covering her, like she should be taken seriously. She doesn't care. She's an extremist. She seeks to divide. She is not about who gets hurt, or history, or being rational.

Here is the truth. Because of people like her, we are the only country in the developed world that purposely slept on the pandemic, and did so for political reasons. Think about it. We literally made ourselves sick. If you care about the country, you have to care about what helps and hurts.

Look, Greene, she's a kook, but she's not alone. We reached out to her fellow vaccine deniers on the Right, Massie, Cruz, Paul, Johnson. I offer them this show as a platform to have your case that the vaccine isn't necessary, test it. They won't answer. They only want a pat on the back because they know they are BS.

But we can't let it go because you have to keep exposing it. The game that they're playing is killing us. It's as clear as the numbers that Harry Enten, the Wizard of Odds, has for you, right now.

It's good to have you, young sir.

Hospitalizations, let's start with that as a very important metric. Sick, sick enough that you have symptoms, sick enough with - sick enough with symptoms that you have to go to the hospital, all right? What do we see about where we're seeing them?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, I mean, look, we know that the Blue states, the states that Joe Biden won, in 2020, have higher vaccination rates than the Trump-won states.

And what do you see right now, over the last 30 days and change, right? We see currently that the Biden states have fewer hospitalizations than the Trump states. But it's not just that they have fewer, it's that the rate of hospitalizations is dropping.

Look at that decline in the Biden states, 32 percent drop versus just a 4 percent drop in the Trump states. And this to me is a sign that the vaccines are really working, given that the Biden states are so much further along in the vaccination process than the Trump states.

And the hospitalizations is a key metric because you've really hurt yourself, if you ended up in the hospital. And more than that, hospitalizations are often a leading indicator of deaths. So, let's see where we are in a few weeks.

This type of graphic really troubles me, because we know the vaccinations work. We know they're out there. And it's easy, at this point, to get one. Yet, there are a ton of people, for whatever reason, simply put, are not getting one.

CUOMO: Right. Well, we're going to get to it in a second because it's not just "For whatever reason." It's that they have a very particular reason, which is based out of a political animus and misinformation or disinformation. And it's putting us literally in a position of being sick.

The percentage of June deaths, let's take a look at where they're coming from.

ENTEN: Yes, look, it's clear as day. It's on your screen right now, folks.

Look at that, the share of COVID deaths. Unvaccinated folks make up more than 99 percent of the Coronavirus deaths in this country, in the month of June. Less than 1 percent were among the vaccinated. You rarely ever see anything like this.

This is one of the biggest signs that these vaccines work. If people would just go out, and get vaccinated, we could avoid so many of these deaths. Fortunately, deaths are lower than they were, say, in January, but they could be even lower.

Every single death that we now have because of the Coronavirus in this country, pretty much every single one was avoidable. Yet, as I just keep hammering in on, some people, for reasons, as you're going to point out later on, have not gotten the vaccine. And honestly, it's quite upsetting to me, because no one wants to see anyone die from this.

CUOMO: And look, before we get to the last slide, we know that by party, the people who say that they have gotten a shot, or they will get a shot, in the Democratic Party is up over 80 percent, and in the Republican Party is somewhere between 45 percent, close to 48 percent.

What other explanation is there other than politics?

ENTEN: I mean, look, you pointed out right there. If you look at all the states that reached Biden's 70 percent adults vaccinated goal by July 4th, they were all Blue states. 20 of them did. None of the Trump States did. Politics is playing such a key factor in this.

Another factor that's linked to that, I should point out, is trust, trust in the government, and trust in what the government is telling you. And there's been so many seeds sown to not trust what the government is telling you, not trust what--

CUOMO: But even that one doesn't make sense. You're right. But in context, Trump came up with the vaccine as far as the Trumpers are concerned.

ENTEN: That--

CUOMO: So, why wouldn't you go get it?

ENTEN: It's--

CUOMO: Look at Tennessee, by the way. Show them that slide just to make the proof of the pathetic here.

Because look, I was told the other day on the radio, somebody was saying, "You know, shouldn't the Democrats want Republicans to not get vaccinated?" I was like, "What the hell are you talking about here?"

ENTEN: Wait--

CUOMO: It's just - it's just politics. We're all Americans.

ENTEN: That--


CUOMO: This is not about wanting people get sick. But you have to look at this for what it is. People who aren't getting vaccinated, they're going to get sick. This is very scary. And we see it in Tennessee.

ENTEN: Look, I studied politics, right? It's what I studied in school. It's what I've made my professional career long.

But we are all Americans. We should all want everyone to go out there and get their vaccinations, right? You see in a state like Tennessee, right? You can look at the National picture.

You can go in individual states, right, like Tennessee, just 2 percent of the vaccinated, they make up the share of the Coronavirus deaths from May 13th to June 24th. You go to a state like Maryland, it's 100 percent of the deaths in June were among the unvaccinated.

We see this on the individual state level. And this is what, again, it's just so upsetting to me. It boggles my mind. I feel like Mrs. White in Clue, with the fiery things going up my skull.

Because the fact of the matter is, you can go out and get a vaccine right now. Go to your CVS, go to your Walgreens, go wherever your drugstore that has a Coronavirus vaccine. If there's anyone out there, go and get one.

It's easy. They're safe. They work. The numbers show they work. There is simply no logical reason for most Americans, at this point, not to get a Coronavirus vaccine.

CUOMO: And I'll tell you what, though. And I'll tell you what. I've heard two things. And one is shame on Trump, and the Right, and the other is shame on the Biden administration.

One thing is I literally had somebody. Actually gave him a piece of my ice cream sandwich. And it's the best ice cream sandwich I've ever had from this place out in Greenport on Long Island. And he says, "Let me ask you, just off the record, have you heard that in these vaccines, there may be something that can track us?"

And this guy had a nice boat. He had a nice family with him. This was a guy of means. He had done well with his life. And he was asking me an honest question. "Is there a tracking device in the vaccine?" Now, the answer is not just "No." It's "Where did you get that craziness?"

Now, here's the part I don't like. And every time I get asked this, I say the same thing, Harry, and it's important for the audience to know you already know it.

When people say to me, "Hey, can states mandate it," no, they shouldn't. Why? "Can I take something when it's not approved yet?" "Yes, it's approved for Emergency Use Authorization."

But why hasn't it been approved by the FDA? This is a mistake. And it is on Biden's watch. I know it takes time. But talk to people about it, because, it is growing as a concern.

Why isn't it approved for ordinary use, if it's as safe as all the data says it is? And don't hang me up in process. Make the case to the people. It's making us sick. It's part of the problem.

Harry Enten, you're part of the solution. Pure information and insight. Love you.

ENTEN: Thank you, brother.

CUOMO: All right now, you hear what happened in Haiti? The Prime Minister shot, assassinated, his wife shot, struggling for her life.

This is a country obviously not far from ours. But the upheaval always affects us here, at home. Who did it? But what is going to happen now? The dynamic there is obviously fragile. But it's really important for us.

The United States will have to get involved, if it gets bad. And it may. Who says? Former CIA counterterror official, to go through, the variables, next.








CUOMO: Breaking news. Reuters reporting at least two suspected attackers behind the assassination of the Haitian President have been arrested. Other suspects in the attack, we don't know how many, have reportedly been killed. This information comes from Haiti's Police Chief.

And we have audio of the purported attackers posted to social media. It's too dark to see. But you can hear someone yelling that this is a "DEA operation." CNN cannot independently authenticate this footage. There has been no claim of ownership from anywhere in the United States government.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DEA operation, everybody stand down.

DEA operation, everybody back up, stand down.

DEA operation, everybody stand down.

DEA operation, everybody back up, stand down.

DEA operation, everybody stand down.

DEA operation, everybody back up, stand down.


CUOMO: Also new, we have video believed to be from outside the leader's home, showing a security convoy, right after the murder. CNN has also not confirmed this video.

The Haitian Ambassador says the suspects spoke Spanish and English with American accents. The State Department says the assassins' suppose DEA claims are absolutely false. Should the U.S. be stepping in now to prevent further turmoil? Or will they be forced to do so, in the not-so-distant future?

One of the top minds here to discuss, Phil Mudd.

First, DEA, any chance?


I think the easy explanation for this is it's somebody apparently pretty well-trained. You got to think through this, Chris, if you're going to do this with the sophistication we just saw. Somebody pretty well-trained said "How do I get the perimeter

security, around the President, for at least 10 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute, to think that this is a DEA investigation or raid, so that they stand down?"

Pretty good, if you're going into that facility, Chris. This is a serious group.

CUOMO: What do you think of reports from the Haitian police that they killed some of the suspects, and that they detained two.


MUDD: If I had to bet it in Vegas, I'd bet that at least a piece of this is true. I mean the first information in any instance like this has some element of untruth. But I can't believe they'd be out on the airwaves, saying "We've resolved a piece of this," and have to say tomorrow morning, they're wrong.

I will tell you, though, that there's a risk to this. Obviously, from the criminal investigation side, it's great to wrap up the crew.

What I'd be worried about Chris, in a country that's had a lot of instability is instantly that crew, by tomorrow, let's say, will it be identified with a rival family, a rival gang, a rival political group, and people on the streets will say "We want revenge."

It's great to start to wrap this up as long as it doesn't blow out into revenge, Chris.

CUOMO: Moise, the President, was not that popular.

MUDD: Yes.

CUOMO: He was also seen as authoritarian. He would say he - he's gone now. But he would say "No, I just want us to have our independence."

What was the likely kind of list of who would have come after him?

MUDD: Let me put two things together.

One, obviously, is a political list of people who would say he's overstayed his constitutional right to be there. A lot of people, including the United States don't support that view. But oppositionists in Haiti do. That's a simple political explanation, Chris.

But let me overlay a piece. People who make money off, being in power, some of those people were sidelined by Moise, I can easily see a scenario, where people, who were losing money, because they were sidelined, politically, said this guy needs to know.

Think politics, one, and add money to that, Chris, and you got a really nasty situation.

CUOMO: What's the chance it gets nastier? MUDD: Boy, if you look at the history of Haiti, not a lot of history of assassination, but history of instability, you add to that that the security forces have lost control in the past, the country still hasn't recovered from an earthquake, if you want to say three days, four days, from now, a week from now, the situation will be better than it is today, I would never bet on that scenario.

CUOMO: Then get ready to travel!

Phil Mudd, thank you very much.

MUDD: Thanks.

CUOMO: New developments in the Britney Spears saga. Her mom has now stepped into the fray. What side is she on? Lynne Spears made a request to the court today. Next.









CUOMO: Britney Spears has a new petitioner on her behalf. It's her mother, Lynne Spears.

In a newly obtained court filing, from July 1st, a week after Britney Spears pleaded with a judge, to end her 13-year conservatorship, her mother submitted this petition.

"Now, and for the past many years, Conservatee," that would be Britney, "is able to care for her person and in fact has, within the parameters of this conservatorship, earned literally hundreds of millions of dollars as an international celebrity."

The petition however, did not ask for the conservatorship to end. Only that Britney be allowed to choose her own attorney. Interesting! What weight does the petition have? What does it tell us?

Britney Spears' former attorney Adam Streisand joins me now.

Just this specific request, put up the graphic, "Petitioner believes that a Guardian ad Litem is the only way to honor Britney Spears' wish to select counsel without a medical evaluation and protect her interests." Here's my question. A Guardian ad Litem, as Counselor Streisand, well

knows, is a specific purpose guardian, appointed by a court, or a judge specifically, to help in a situation, when someone cannot help themself, a ward, usually an infant.

Again, not really the fit for a situation that by Lynne Spears' own reckoning, she can take care of herself. This doesn't make sense either.


I agree with you completely that it doesn't make sense because a Guardian ad Litem is simply another in the long list of people who are going to be appointed by the court. And that is inconsistent with what we really want to see, which is Britney making her own free choice.

And so how can we trust that the person, another person appointed by the court, is the right person to help her make that choice?

The real problem is that good choices are the product of good information. And Britney has been cloistered from the outside world. She doesn't have access to good information. I believe the conservators have abused their authority, in preventing her from being able to have access to the outside world.

And how is she supposed to make that decision for herself, and to make an intelligent choice? I know she's capable of making an intelligent choice. She was capable of making that choice back in 2008. In the worst of times, we were able to agree on a strategy.

CUOMO: But look, we both know, all she has to do is - the problem here is that she's not allowed to make choices. She could just call up CAA, and get the agency to go and find a lawyer to do this. It'll be fine. It would just be rejected, because right now she's not allowed to make the choice.

What I don't get is, the missing piece here is, why isn't the judge saying what seems to be common sense, which is, "Hey, so I have this one report from this one doctor, who's a big shot, who says that at this time, which is not now, she was not basically compos mentis. She wasn't able to kind of run her own affairs. Obviously, things have changed. I want new doctors. I want new assessments right now."

Why isn't that happening? Isn't that the key?

STREISAND: Well, one problem is - one problem is that nobody has asked for that. Nobody has filed a petition to terminate the conservatorship. Nobody has asked for, for an evaluation.


And remember, Britney herself said she doesn't want to be evaluated. Now, I take that with a grain of salt, because I think the problem is that Britney hasn't had any space of trust and confidence with anyone around her. And I think if she had the right representation, she'd be able to have that trust, find the right person, who would be able to evaluate her, and bring evidence forward, to the court that this conservatorship needs to end.

CUOMO: But the fiduciary duty of the judge, they could do it on their own accord. It doesn't have to be a petition. They could--

STREISAND: Yes, right.

CUOMO: --they could do it themselves. That is their best interest analysis that they're in charge of. They could do it as well.

But once again, as always, Counselor Streisand, thank you for helping us understand this moment. We'll stay on it.

STREISAND: Pleasure.

CUOMO: All right, ahead, a big update on the U.S. sprinter suspended, ahead of the Olympic Games, over pot, which I don't understand how that could be considered a performance-enhancing drug.

Sha'Carri Richardson is not going to Tokyo. One of our fastest! Is this a right call? Reaction from a former Team USA Gold Medalist, remember this superstar? Of course, you do. Dominique Dawes, she's here, and she's ready to give us her take, next.









CUOMO: Well, it's official, our fastest woman, Sha'Carri Richardson is not going to be competing in the Tokyo Olympics, not because she took steroids, not because it turns out she's not as fast as she's supposed to be, because she took something to make her faster.

She lost her chance to run the signature event, the 100 meter, for failing a weed test, last week. There was some hope she could still be added to the relay team. But U.S. Track officials decided against it.

In a statement, USA Track & Field stands by Richardson, and calls for the rules on marijuana use to be re-evaluated. But it also defends its decision. "Our credibility as the National Governing Body would be lost if rules were only enforced under certain circumstances." Rules are rules. But not all rules are equal. And rules can be changed. And they can be understood differently. Separate but equal was a rule, right? And then it was changed. And it was seen as being wrong, long before it changed.

So, let's get some perspective from a really minted Olympic champion, OK?

Three-time Gold Medal-winning Dominique Dawes, welcome to PRIME TIME.

First, thank you. Thank you for the thrills, the chills, and no spills, and giving my little daughter--


CUOMO: --dreams of wanting to be a gymnast. And she is still pursuing it today, because of you and that team. So, thank you for the gift you gave us, as Americans.

Now, let's talk about the policy at hand. What do you make of the decision?

DAWES: Well, I really do respect Sha'Carri Richardson, for coming out, and admitting her fault and really saying that she's human, that she made a mistake.

I think one thing to point out is really the decency of reporting today. That reporter was that individual, where that she knew about the death of her mother, I - when I read about it, and heard more about this story, that's just heartbreaking to think that someone would have asked her that, possibly knowing that she was unaware of her mother's passing.

I'm not saying it's OK how she responded to it with regards to breaking some rules. But I think that's something that is overlooked with regards to decency and reporting today.

These athletes are human. And you got to recognize that they are going to be affected greatly, by the questions that you ask.

And it really brings light to mental issues, and not just something that someone is possibly born with, but when they're going through a tragedy in their life, and how they respond to it. And that's something that we should address.

CUOMO: The rebuttal is "Rules or rules."

But isn't it - what were you worried about that somebody would be taking something that would make them more flexible, stronger, able to train harder, able to recover faster, you know, that would make it unfair.

This is weed. It doesn't do any of those things. It's not even a performance-enhancing drug. That's not me talking. It's a 2018 paper co-authored by WADA's Medical Director that found no evidence that marijuana is a performance-enhancer. DAWES: Well, Chris, like you said, rules are rules. And you're speaking to an Olympic gymnast. And we are very particular, and we are rule followers, for most cases.

And my last Olympic Games, there were rules out there with regards to the age that an athlete had to be. However, Chinese gymnasts were underage, and that truly affected myself and my teammates from getting on the podium, and getting a Bronze Medal, during the 2000 Olympic Games.

So, I'm a rule follower.

Also Andreea Raducan, who is from Romania, she won the all-round at the 2000 Olympics. She had found - there was found to be substance in her system as well. And then, she was disqualified, and lost out on that Olympic gold medal, in the all-around.

So for me, I do think, because it is a current rule, they need to follow the rule. And unfortunately, that does mean that Richardson will not be competing in these Olympic Games.

CUOMO: Should it change?

DAWES: I don't know. I'm not one to make that decision. I think the biggest thing is, is thinking about the decency of that reporter. That's what came to mind, when I read this article, and I looked up and did some research.

Did you know that that young girl was aware, was not aware of the death of her mother? You have to be concerned of someone else's emotional state, and decency, for them. A level of decorum should be - should be played out, when it comes to reporting. That's what I - that's what my gut really leans towards.

CUOMO: Why if it's but - is it not in conflict with rules are rules, because why should I feel one way or another about you, when I'm finding out what you put in your body that may or may not be legal?


DAWES: No, I think it was the question with regards to what triggered this. And it was her being told that her mother had passed away. You know that's going to affect someone's emotional state tremendously, tremendously.

This is very similar to even like Naomi Osaka, when she had a tough time in a match, and decided that she was not going to partake in an interview, and then was fined $15,000, and even was going to be further penalized, and possibly disqualified, from that competition.

You have to think about these athletes--


DAWES: --are humans, and to recognize that they will be affected emotionally. CUOMO: I think this is going to be a watershed moment, because this kid - you know, we're all - they're all adults. But she's young, by my standards. She did something that had nothing to do with making her faster.


CUOMO: It was just about her dealing with pain. And I don't know how it changes the rules.

But Dominique Dawes, you are a champion, and I appreciate you tonight.

DAWES: Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

CUOMO: The handoff, next.








CUOMO: All right, thank you very much, for giving us the opportunity tonight. Remember, see the game that is at play, in politics. That's the key.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT" with the upgrade, as D. Lemon tries to see if he can eat his weight in tacos. You get Laura Coates.