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Cuomo Prime Time

Pfizer Briefs Health Officials On Potential Booster Shots; Texas Democrats Leave State To Block Voter Suppression Law; Branson Rockets To The Edge Of Space. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 12, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: That's it for us. The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: That does square with some of our Intelligence agencies, who believe that this may have been a narco move, on the President, to try and get something that he wasn't giving them.

Confidential informants, obviously they're coming out of that world. We'll keep digging on it. Anderson, always a pleasure, happy Monday.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Let's start the week by clearing up some confusion, shall we?

First, we have Fauci. He's just out of the Biden administration's new briefing. So, what is the deal with boosters? And how did we create more confusion where there should be none? How real is the variant for this fall, and on what basis of proof?

And this new vaccine alert for the J&J vaccine, the FDA putting a warning that that single-shot vaccine could raise the risk of a rare nerve complication. Then you look into it, and everybody says, "Oh, but it's - this Guillain-Barre, it's very rare." Then, why put the warning? We'll get the straight-talk from him.

The investigating along with the CDC matters, but the government still stresses it is better to get vaccinated than to get COVID. So, you see? It all confuses you. Be worried. Don't be worried. We need straight-talk.

We already know the biggest concern, when it comes to COVID sickness, a lack of vaccinations. That's what's happening here. Less than half the country is fully vaccinated.

We knew. That's why they were talking about herd immunity. It's a little bit of a magical number, 70 percent. It doesn't really exist that way, as a metric, that you can nail to a specific number. But when you don't have a fully-vaccinated population, the pace is going to grow.

So vaccinations, the pace has dropped, right? The peak was in April. It's down 84 percent, since then. 84 percent! So what are cases doing? They're climbing, averaging nearly 20,000 a day, 47 percent increase from last week. 47 percent from last week, why? These are gone.

Why do you know so many people were getting sinus infections? "Oh, how does he know?" Yes, because I got one, and everybody around me. Why? We don't have masks anymore. We're in close contact. We're getting back to life. We're going to get sick. COVID is going to keep spreading. This is what you've said is OK.

So, 36 states are trending in the wrong direction. Most of these cases are attributed to the variant. The vaccine is said to be effective against it. How did they know and how much?

Now, here's a big problem. And the biggest part of the problem is something we absolutely know already. There is no unknown.

America is the only country that I know of where you can get the vaccine, if you want it, but people are choosing not to. And they're doing so, not out of legitimate fear, but for bogus political reason.

And if there is any doubt that what I'm saying is true, here's the proof.


REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): Now they're sort of talking about going door-to-door to be able to take vaccines to the people.

They could then go door-to-door to take your guns. They again could go door-to-door to take your bibles.


REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): Don't come knocking on my door with your Fauci Ouchie. You leave us the hell alone.

ALEX BERENSON, AUTHOR: The government was hoping that they could sort of sucker 90 percent of the population into getting vaccinated. And it - and it isn't happening, right? There's a--


BERENSON: --younger people are--


CUOMO: Now, you hear the cheers, right? If this isn't mindless political resistance, then help me understand this. They cheer for the United States falling short of its vaccine goal. That's what that guy was talking about, OK?

Then - then this is what happens. Then Trump comes on, and starts bragging about creating the vaccine, the thing that they are against, they were just cheering, and this happens.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We produced three vaccines to end the pandemic in record time.

And if we didn't have that, we would be - we would be in a position like, perhaps over 100 years ago.


CUOMO: They were cheering. I don't know. It was a lousy edit.

My point is this. They cheer Trump saying, "Hey, I got you the vaccine. Thank me, because we'd be in really rough shape without it."

By the way, true. By the way, true. He did push it. He did push the funding. He did tell them, "Just do it. I don't want to hear why you can't do it." That's all good. He gave you the vaccine. That's good.

But now you also think at the same time, that it's good that you're not taking it, to thwart the government trying to have a hand in your life? This doesn't make any sense, because it's not about reason. It's about animus. It's about resentment.

Shame on Trump for not being the biggest booster of the vaccine he wants all the credit for. Warp Speed was his only move to help. He was banking on it, and the vaccine. Why did he do so little to promote it?


He got it, kind of kept it quiet from you, when he did, why? His family got it. Why didn't he care enough to sell the legitimate need as much as all the illegitimate crap he sold them? I still don't understand that. For all the BS he did, that has never made sense.

So, let's go from the problem to finding solutions to problems. Let's bring in a man, who is still in the game, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Adviser to President Biden.

It's good to have you back.


CUOMO: So Doctor, you just came out of the meeting. First things first, the booster, my understanding is nothing has changed. This is about how Pfizer is explaining its own Phase 3 look at its own data.

Tell the audience what's the deal with the booster after this meeting you just left?

FAUCI: Well, I think you said it correctly, Chris. There's nothing has really changed.

This was a courtesy briefing, on the part of Pfizer, because they had come out, a couple of days ago, talking about data that they had from the Israeli study, and the fact that they thought that we would need a booster.

The CDC and the FDA said that based on the data that we know right now, we don't need a booster. That doesn't mean that that won't change. And that we might - we might need, as a matter of fact, at some time, to give boosters, either across the board, or to certain select groups, such as the elderly, or those with underlying conditions.

CUOMO: So, let's deal--

FAUCI: We don't know that now. What the meeting--

CUOMO: --let's deal with the fact basis.

FAUCI: --what the meeting was--

CUOMO: Let's deal with the fact basis. Tell us, for the meeting, help us understand why we don't need it, if they do need it in Israel, and Pfizer agrees that they need it in Israel.


CUOMO: What's the difference?

FAUCI: Well, the difference is, Chris, you're dealing with one small bit of data, which is an important piece of a much larger study, and much larger puzzle. The CDC themselves are following over 20 cohorts of people asking the exact same question.

And when you want to have, what would be a recommendation, a guideline, from a regulatory organization, like the CDC, together with a - I mean, a public health organization, like the CDC, and a regulatory agency, like the FDA, you're going to have to get considerable amount of clinical trial, clinical data proof. And we will get that. And when we get that, then recommendations will be made.

I think it was a very good meeting today. We heard their data. We made it very clear that their data is a part of a much larger puzzle. And we will be gathering data, as the weeks go by. And if in fact, there's a decision, if and when, to give boosters, then we'll hear about it.

But it will be based on a comprehensive study, not on the announcement from a pharmaceutical company. And I don't mean that in a derogatory way, because it was a very good meeting, very informative. We exchanged information. And I think it's an important step in the right direction.

CUOMO: What does Israel have wrong?

FAUCI: I don't think Israel necessarily has anything wrong, Chris, just because they're looking at data that they had in their cohort, where it looks like they've had a diminution, we need to look at the entire picture before you make a policy change, for the United States.

Having said that, it may well be that when you look at all the data that the recommendation will be that we will have to give a booster. But based on the data that we have now, the totality of the data, they're not ready to make that recommendation. CUOMO: So, on this issue, you have a two-front battle. I understand one of it, and I think it's getting the better of you guys again. The other part, we'll discuss afterwards.

The first part is messaging. They're coming after you about this booster, on the Right, because it's proof the vaccine wasn't as good as you say it is. That's what this is about.


CUOMO: "Ah, you see? You need a booster. See? This vaccine sucks. I knew it didn't work. And they're forcing it on all of us. And now we need a booster, and then we're going to need another one. They don't know what they're doing. They're not being straight with us."

It's messaging. And are you concerned--

FAUCI: Right. Well--

CUOMO: --that the narrative is getting away from you?

FAUCI: No - well, let me state something pretty clearly. And I think it's a clear message, Chris.

First of all, the vaccine is extraordinarily effective, in real-world effectiveness. 99.5 percent of all the people, who've died from COVID, were unvaccinated. Only 0.5 percent of the people, who were vaccinated, died from COVID. The vaccinations and the vaccine work spectacularly well.


What we're talking about is not necessarily how good they are, because they are unquestionably terrific. It's the durability of the response that's in question, which is a perfectly reasonable thing, when you're dealing with a vaccine. You don't know how long that extraordinarily high degree of protection is going to last. And that's what we're talking about.

The idea to say, if you might ultimately need a booster, that the vaccine isn't any good, is like apples and oranges. It doesn't have one thing to do with the other. It's an excellent vaccine that may need a boost for the durability of the response.

CUOMO: OK, so then the other front of the war is, "OK, if you're so sure that it's so good, and you have all these millions of millions of data points, and all these months of watching it, why hasn't it been approved?"

Because you have a lot of people out there, yes, you have the political people, who are not taking the vaccine, because they think that means something, about how earnest they are about, how they feel about government, about Trump, or whatever. Put them to the side.

FAUCI: Right.

CUOMO: There are a lot of other people--

FAUCI: Right.

CUOMO: --who are saying--


CUOMO: --"It hasn't been approved. I don't want to hear about mandates. And I'm not giving it to my kids, if it's not approved." Why isn't it?

FAUCI: Well, that's a good point that you made, because that is the source of some concern and misinformation, when people say, it's not been approved. That is merely a technical issue, with the FDA having to dot all the I's and cross all the T's.

They hear the word "Emergency use," and they think, "Well, maybe we're not so sure about it." Chris, we are positive, that this vaccine is extremely effective in the real world. And relatively speaking, when you talk about the risk benefit, it's quite safe.

The idea that it hasn't been approved yet, is a technicality the way the FDA does business, about having to dot all the I's and cross all the T's. But if you look at the data, I would be astounded, if this did not get full approval.

CUOMO: But then it still took too long. And it creates misgivings. Cross the T's, dot the I's, this is a pandemic. You got it made in record time. You can't get it approved?

Let's look at the poll to give some context to it for people. I know you've seen these numbers, Tony, but just so people understand.

More likely to get COVID vaccine, if, full FDA approval, 49 percent, entered into million dollar lottery, 31 percent, mobile clinic came to your neighborhood, 22 percent.

Look, there's a little bit of wisdom. You already went with that middle part. A lot of different states are trying to boost people to get them, different gimmicks. That's fine.

49 percent, and then they hear something like what else I need to get your comment on? The J&J vaccine, it may make you vulnerable to a rare neurological disorder, significant enough that they want to put a warning on the shot now. Now, how big a deal is that with people factoring in what to do?

FAUCI: Well, Chris, of course, there is a indication of a signal of a rare neurological adverse event, associated with the J&J vaccine. That's been looked at. It's been examined.

And the judgment will be, of course, it's going to be looked at carefully, that the risk of the disease, when you balance, the risk of the disease, versus the risk of this very rare adverse event, overwhelmingly favors the fact that you should get the vaccine. You are always going to find some adverse event associated with

vaccination. When you vaccinate tens and tens and tens of millions of people, you will find an unusual or a rare event.

You've always got to make a decision does the benefit of the vaccine outweigh the very, very unusual risk of an adverse event? And thus far, with these vaccines, it's always been decided that the benefit of the vaccine outweighs the risk of an adverse event.

CUOMO: Dr. Anthony Fauci, I appreciate you asking these questions. I know it's not a pat on the back. But people want to know. And I appreciate you being straight with them. Thank you very much.

FAUCI: Good to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you.

Texas Democrats did something radical tonight. Did you hear about this? They went to D.C. Lawmakers have fled their state, in the middle of a special session, risking arrest, to block the GOP, from pushing through new voting restrictions. Why did they do this? Why did they choose to go where they are?

Let's get both sides of this controversy. We have a Democrat, who made the run, looking like she's on the lam, right now, on the way out, can't let you know her true location, because they may arrest her. And then, we're going to have a Republican Texas lawmaker, who's back at home, on what this means and what happens? Next.









CUOMO: Democrats in Texas say they're exercising their only option to stop a new voter suppression bill. They left the state. Most of them are in D.C. They landed about an hour ago. Why did they walk out? Well, a quorum, so Texas, and the state legislature, doesn't have enough attendance for there to be a vote.

So, let's get after it, with representatives from both parties tonight, because the issue matters. This is about how voting rights are being handled at the state level. We're going to begin with Democratic State Rep. Claudia Ordaz Perez, who just landed near Washington. Look at you, out on the street, on the run. What this is about?

STATE REP. CLAUDIA ORDAZ PEREZ (D-TX): Yes. On - on the run! We literally just landed about an hour ago. We're here. We're ready to work. We're ready to fight.

It's been - it's been a long session. And as you know, the Governor called another special session, but there's nothing special about it. It's a voter suppression session is what we're calling it.


CUOMO: So, let's do this. Deal with the criticism, and then you tell me how you think it's constructive.

The criticism is "You want to get to work? Go back to Texas. This is a publicity stunt. You ran to D.C., because you can't do the job back home."

ORDAZ PEREZ: Absolutely not. We're using the tools that we have, in our toolbox, to ensure that we're going to protect the rights of not only Texans, but Americans, for their right to vote, their freedom to vote.

This is happening all over the country. This isn't just happening in Texas. The Trump administration was not happy with the results. So, you're seeing states, from all across the country that are taking these drastic measures, in trying to suppress the vote.

So, we're here. We're here to really lobby our Democrat colleagues, our Republican colleagues, here in Congress, the Biden administration, that we need help. We can't do this alone.

This is the second time we've done this. As you mentioned, we're risking arrest. We're risking a whole lot to be here. But we all know we've come unified, that this is that important.

CUOMO: What are you hoping to achieve in Washington D.C.? And are you really going to stay there for the month until they finish their session?

ORDAZ PEREZ: Whatever it takes, Chris. We're here. We're here to fight. We're here to work. Like I said, we use all the tools that we could.

We fought. It was - it was a depressing session. We worked so hard to even get amendments on the bill, to not make it a - it was a bad bill. And it was still - we still worked so hard to get these amendments to make it somewhat tolerable. But it was still a bad bill. And all of those were stripped. And they just rammed this through.

It was a 24-hour hearing. There were four - over 400 people testified against this harmful piece of legislation. And they just rammed it through. There's just no other choice but for us to be here to fight. And we're hoping, and we're urging our colleagues, in Congress, to join us in that fight. CUOMO: I'll take on the problems with what they're doing in Texas with a Republican in a second.

But there is an interesting - help me understand the mind of the Democrat here, on this level. You're going to Washington, to basically tell the Democrats, in the Senate, "Listen? Forget the filibuster. You got to blow it up and pass this, because it's too important."

And yet, you're kind of availing yourself of the same remedy, on the state level. You're a minority. And you are gumming up the works, because you are afraid of what will happen, if you go there, and the votes predominate.

So, aren't you asking, on the federal level, for them, to take away the exact kind of tool that you are using right now, to stop something from happening in Texas?

ORDAZ PEREZ: I mean, what options are we left with here? I mean, we're, you know, there's folks that are upset that we - that we left. They quote, unquote, say that we're abandoning our ships.

And we're actually doing the opposite. I mean, we're exhausted. It was, like I said, a terrible, terrible session. We know that the power really rests, at the end of the day, with this administration, with Congress, to help us.

We shouldn't have a piecemeal system with different voting legislation. It should be across the board. And we need that help.

CUOMO: State Representative Claudia Ordaz Perez, I don't want you to stay in one place too long. That's how they find you! No, I'm kidding.

I appreciate what you're doing. I understand the stakes. I got, you know, I'm going to ask you the questions about the tactics, because I'm not crazy about it. But I understand what's behind it. And we'll see how it turns out. Thank you. And good luck.

Now, let's switch to the other side of this, the Republicans. They got the votes, OK, because they had an election, they're in the majority, and they will make the rules. But why do they need to make these rules, especially after an election that GOP officials called smooth and secure? That's the quote.

Republican James White is a Texas State Representative.

Good to have you, sir.

STATE REP. JAMES WHITE (R-TX): Thank you for having me, Chris. Great to be on with you, this evening.

CUOMO: "Democrats had to run away, because it is their only way to stop you from restricting the rights of people to vote in Texas." Do you accept the criticism that those are the stakes?

WHITE: No, I do not accept that criticism. And first, let me just say, I don't want to cast any unnecessary aspersions or assertions on my Democrat colleagues.

We have not gaveled in yet. So, we do not know when we will have a quorum or not. I'm hearing these reports in the media. I guess we'll see tomorrow morning, when we gavel in, what's really the case.

CUOMO: Well, the numbers are either there or not. I mean, obviously, if you have the numbers, great. You have the quorum, you go forward. This is where the story stands tonight. Let's get to the substance of it.



CUOMO: The Governor came forward and said, "Look, we don't know about any fraud in this state. The elections happened. We've heard some concerns. But I have no reason to believe anything went wrong." He never offered any proof subsequent to that.

But now, you guys believe the most pressing concern is for you to make it harder to vote. What are you fixing?

WHITE: Yes. Yes, thank you for that, Chris.

Look, I've been in the legislature now, six sessions. Roughly 200 or so bills are filed every session, in the Elections committee. And they have addressed issues like fraud, mail balloting, ballot harvesting, making sure that our veterans in combat zones have the access to the ballot.

So, these bills are filed every session on these issues. And I really don't see any difference, in what we're doing this session.

CUOMO: Well here's a couple differences.


CUOMO: Everything you just named there about access and expansion, that's not what you're doing with this bill.


CUOMO: Most notably, I'll tell you, which one bothers me. We'll just limit it to that for time.


CUOMO: Why would you ever reduce the legal standard for state officials to overturn an election? Why would you go from clear and convincing to preponderance? Look, for most people, that doesn't matter.

WHITE: Hey--

CUOMO: But why would you lower the level?

WHITE: Right.

CUOMO: Why make it easier?

WHITE: Yes, thank you for that question, Chris.

That was probably some language in an earlier version of the bill, during the regular session. Right now, we're in the special session.

And I sit on the House Committee on Constitutional Rights & Remedies that heard this bill, for 24 hours, over the last weekend. That language is not in this bill. Let me tell you some of the language in this bill.

CUOMO: So, you took it out?

WHITE: Yes, that language is not in this - in this version of the bill. The bill that I'm reading, in some instances, actually increases hours for early voting, actually asks more of our counties to offer more time, for folks to early vote.

So look, that language was probably in some earlier versions, weeks ago, but that language is not in the House bill--

CUOMO: Are you sure? Because I'm being told it's in HB 3 and S.1.

WHITE: I don't know about SB 1. I'm not in the Senate. Maybe that's in the Senate. The bill that--

CUOMO: But is it in HB 3?

WHITE: That is not in HB 3. Lot--

CUOMO: You are sure of that?

WHITE: I am confident of that.

CUOMO: All right, because that undercuts the whole idea of making voting about people, because you're allowing the judiciary essentially, to take an election. And we all know that we really don't want politicians, or even courts, deciding our elections. We want people deciding them.

WHITE: Yes, absolutely.

CUOMO: But even the other things that are in this bill--


CUOMO: --there is obviously an eye toward making it harder.

Bills that would give poll workers access to the ballots, OK, prohibits them from being removed for breaking the law. It increases penalties for any election worker, who intentionally or knowingly refuses to accept a poll watcher.

These are not like the bills that you named originally, about "Giving more access to this, more access to that." It's making it easier to check, easier to chill, and easier to question the count. Those are not expansive, Representative, all they?

WHITE: Could I address those?

CUOMO: Please, sir.

WHITE: Could I address those?

CUOMO: Please. Last word to you.

WHITE: Poll watchers - yes, sir. Chris, poll watchers have been in our election code for some time.

The language that you're saying is, is that the election judge has to be able to see - the election judge, or one of the election workers, has to be able to see the illegal action, by the poll watcher, in order to remove the - have the poll watcher remove.

Also in the bill, there's expressed language that directs the election judge to call law enforcement, if they see the need to remove a poll watcher.

And poll watchers, their role is very, very narrow at the polling place, as well. They're only there to watch. They're not there to get in the way of the voter, to interfere with the voter. That's in statute now.

CUOMO: I understand that. I'm just saying the idea that it's expansive, it would ban drive-thru voting, and extended hours--

WHITE: Chris--

CUOMO: --during early voting. Harris County, you know, they're alone.

WHITE: --could I?

CUOMO: You had 10,000, 15,000 votes that were cast, at 24-hour locations.

WHITE: But Chris, can I - can I address those?

CUOMO: Last word to you. And then I got to go. Go ahead.


WHITE: OK. Drive-thru voting is not expressly in the statute now. Drive-up voting is, for those seniors and folks that are disabled or ill, that's expressly in statute now. 24-hour voting is not expressly in statute now.

So, what I'm talking about is the expansion of voting hours, from current statute to what's proposed.

CUOMO: Right. But it will be less than what was during the pandemic.

WHITE: No, no. Well, again, drive-thru voting and 24-hour voting is not expressly in statute--

CUOMO: I know. But they were done - they were done without incident, without any reports of major fraud, and greatly increased participation. That's all I'm saying.

Look, let's do this. You haven't even gaveled in yet.


CUOMO: You guys gavel in.

WHITE: That's right.

CUOMO: Let's see what you come up with. You're invited back here to talk about what's in the final papers that's going to be voted on, OK?

WHITE: I hope so. Thank you very much. God bless you.

CUOMO: No need to hope. It's a given. If I say it's going to happen, it's going to happen.

State Representative James White, thank you for taking the opportunity. It will be offered again.

WHITE: Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

WHITE: My pleasure.

CUOMO: All right, look, we'll keep covering it. I don't see how it expands, everything about it.

He's right. It's not in the letter of law now. They changed the law because of the pandemic. And it wound up expanding voting. Why would you now want to create a law that does less of what worked? Ask yourself that.

OK, in the middle of what's happening at CPAC, you got Trump, who's all in on the "Big lie," but he did have a moment of truth. Listen.


TRUMP: If it's bad, I just - I say it's fake.


TRUMP: If it's good, I say, that's the most accurate poll perhaps ever taken.



CUOMO: Why doesn't this work for everybody? Honestly, why can't the rest of us admit that we only like what's good for us, and we will tell you anything we don't like, is fake and wrong? And you will laugh and enjoy it.

You know why it works for him? Me either. But we're going to discuss it. Now, if you look at one of the reasons it works for him, it's because he has dedicated outlets that do nothing but won't tell you the bad and emphasize the good.

Fox, state TV, hate TV, has to run a disclaimer, over part of Trump's speech, to counter his lies. You want to know why? I'll tell you, next.









CUOMO: Trump says "There was love in the air on January 6th," that they were "Peaceful people, great people." It's a lie! And you, Mr. Trump, and your minions, will never rewrite history. You will never change the reality.

This was the reality, and we will always show it.


CUOMO: Trump lying is like my dog having gas. It bothers me every time. But I'm never surprised. And he never lets on that he is the one fouling the air.

But here is what is interesting. Fox put this on the screen, when Trump was lying, in an earlier speech about voting fraud. "The voting system companies have denied the various allegations made by President Trump and his counsel regarding the 2020 election."

"Well, you see? At least they're doing the right thing there, at Fox. Moral move!" No, no, no, no. They're trying to stay out of legal trouble. They're getting sued for reckless disregard of truth, meaning they know that what they're allowing to be spread, without being checked, and fanned by all their people, they know it's not true.

And they can say, "You know, at nighttime, it's opinion. You know, it's not news." And they can say in open court, "You know, Carlson, he should not be taken seriously." But that's not enough when you keep doing bad things, and you know it's wrong.

Donie O'Sullivan is in Dallas, talking to people, who attended TPAC, Trump-PAC.

Donie, what do you hear about what's sinking in?


Yes, we spoke to probably about 20 or 30 people, here at CPAC, both inside and outside the event, this weekend. And look, pretty much everybody believes the election was stolen. They falsely believe the election was stolen. That's a pretty sad thing. They're losing faith in American democracy.

On the other sort of far end of the conspiracy theory spectrum, there is this conspiracy theory that the Department of Justice is very worried about this idea that Trump could be reinstated that in some way the election that was about eight months ago could be overturned.

Have a listen to this one woman.


O'SULLIVAN: What are you hoping to hear from Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That he is going to regain his rightful seat as president.


O'SULLIVAN: In 2024?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As soon as the election is overturned for the election fraud.


CUOMO: --who are thinking the wrong thing.

O'SULLIVAN: So, that's--

CUOMO: But you also have some people, who are thinking about what to do about it, if it doesn't happen. And if that takes the shape of violence, what have you heard about that?

O'SULLIVAN: Absolutely. And I mean, this is the dangerous thing, right? I mean, to be fair, most Trump supporters, we spoke to, even though they believe the election was stolen, they don't - they haven't bought into this idea that he's going to be reinstated.

CUOMO: Good.

O'SULLIVAN: But for those few people who have bought into that idea, it's very, very real for them. I mean, I spoke to a Trump supporter, two weeks ago, in Ohio, and he even mentioned this idea that there could be a Civil War, if Trump was not reinstated. That's exactly the same sort of rhetoric, I was hearing, we were hearing, in the lead up to January 6.

But allies (ph) in all of this, at CPAC, this weekend, I want to play a piece of sound for you, from one Republican, who has a grasp on reality. Have a listen.


O'SULLIVAN: So, you are one of the very few people, I am likely to meet here, this weekend, who will tell me that Biden won the election fairly?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's unfortunate.

I got to - I got to have the evidence. I got to see it. If you tell me you're going to release the Kraken, show me the freakin' Kraken, for crying out loud.

Show me the freakin' Kraken.

O'SULLIVAN: You got--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Show me - show me a piece of the Kraken, show me something. And don't tell me "Go to Mr. Pillow Man's website to get the information."



O'SULLIVAN: So, there you have it, the one guy who's - that we met this weekend, who has a grasp on reality. And look, I mean, I laughed. But it is a very serious thing.

It's pretty sad thing, Chris. I mean, a lot of folks that we have met, they truly, truly have bought into these conspiracy theories. And they truly believe that American democracy is a joke, and they're talking about that they might never trust an election again, because they bought into this big lie.


CUOMO: I'll tell you what. That guy's living up to the ethos of being a biker, you know? You saw that he had that Harley, that headband on. And that's what those guys are about, man. They're independent people. And you're going to make the case. And they're not going to believe anything just because it's said. That is part of the biker culture.

Donie O'Sullivan? That guy's in the wrong place, but he's thinking the right way. Appreciate you.

O'SULLIVAN: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, did you see the rocket show this weekend? Daredevil billionaire Richard Branson went where no space tycoon has gone before, out of this world, on a mission he funded.

Do you like it? Is this a good development, a new day, for space tourism? Or is it wrong and that money should be spent helping people back down here, on Earth?

What does someone who once attempted to go to space make of the feat? Lance Bass here, sure he was from NSYNC, but he's way beyond that now. And he's going to talk about what this all means. Next.









CUOMO: Richard Branson back from the edge of space. Good thing? Bad thing? No thing?

It brings commercial space tourism, a step closer to reality. Is that good? 250 grand a seat, that's a pricey privilege. Does it matter? This endeavor has been decades in the making. Space enthusiasts, like my next guest, think it's great.

NSYNC member Lance Bass trained for four months in 2002, with the hopes of reaching the International Space Station. He even had a surgery to fix an irregular heartbeat. Here's the flashback. Remember him, doing this stuff? There he is. Unfortunately, trip fell through, why? He couldn't raise the $20 million needed.

Former NSYNC star Lance Bass joins me right now.

It's good to see you, sir.


CUOMO: Better than I deserve.

Branson going to space?

BASS: Yes.

CUOMO: Like it? Don't like it? Why?

BASS: I mean, I love it, I think it's great. There's so many reasons that we should be doing this new space race.

Besides the inspiration it gives to millions of people, and innovation that follows, space exploration allows us to prove or disprove scientific theories, developed here on Earth. And it also leads to the development of several technologies that feed our economy, and improve our lives, here on this planet.

CUOMO: What do you say to the haters? "Oh, this is just opulence run amok. The problems aren't up there. They're down here. Use the money for that."

BASS: Yes, look, we can do - we can do it both, right? We can take care of our problems down here, but also use the space experience, to help solve those problems that we have on Earth. That's what we've been doing for decades. So, I don't know what is different.

I mean, I guess the only thing different about this is it's a private sector, trying to build these crafts that are going to be taking tourists everywhere. I think it's a great thing, because one, it helps the economy, and I guess one way that we can really tax our rich.

CUOMO: Well, that is - that's an interesting spin. You get them to put up the money to fuel the exploration.

BASS: Yes.

CUOMO: And then the rest of the society can kind of get a piece of any of the benefits.

So, this, new wave of opportunity, what does this mean, for you?

BASS: Well, for me, personally, I don't know if I'll ever make it into space. I mean, I wish I could. I'm definitely certified and ready to go. And it was way more than four months of training, by the way.

CUOMO: Oh, I'm sorry. Correct me.

BASS: It was very intense.

CUOMO: How long was it?

BASS: Oh, no, no, it was six months of training.

CUOMO: Ooh! All right.

BASS: And it was a condensed, you know, it takes years to train. But they condensed it in six months, because I had like a little timeline, to be on.

But it was - I mean, it was - it was crazy. The training was very insane. But I was going - I was going on a mission to the ISS, and live there for seven days. And I had experiments and all that.

So, it's completely different from the space tourism that's going on right now, where it's just a fun roller coaster, at this point, to go up and experience Zero G for a couple of minutes. But I had a -- I had a few things I really wanted to do up there.

CUOMO: Let me get your take on something else, while I have you. You came up with Britney Spears. You understand the ups and downs that she's had. We've been covering it on the show, not from a Britney angle, as much as "This doesn't make sense" angle.

BASS: Yes.

CUOMO: Can you help us understand any part of the dynamic?

BASS: Yes, I wish I could. We're all in the dark. All of our true friends have been in the dark for quite a while.

I definitely believe in the Free Britney movement. I don't subscribe to the Free Britney movement that she's been held captive, and she's trying to give cryptic messages out there, or Instagram.

I don't know if she needs a conservatorship. But I do know that the dad does not need to be a part of this. And she needs to be able to choose who helps control her business, and her conservatorship.

So, we're all looking out for her. We're all trying to help. And hopefully, she'll be free soon.

CUOMO: And as far as you know, though, she should be able to pick and run her own affairs?

BASS: As far as I know, yes. I think she could easily pick the people that will help her with her affairs. And she's smart enough. She's 40- years-old. Let's let her live her life.

CUOMO: Lance Bass, I appreciate you giving me a twofer here, talking to me about what's happened in the space, and then the spacey stuff happening down here, on Earth as well.

Appreciate you, brother. Good luck going forward.

BASS: All right. Thank you so much.


CUOMO: All right, Lance has a new show. It's a reality show called "Unicorn Hunters." Where is it? It's also on YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook video.

We'll be right back.







CUOMO: You see what's happening in a little part of the world called Cuba, just 90-plus miles off our shore? Thousands of Cubans took to the streets, to protest the lack of food, the lack of medicine, and a lack of freedom.

Things are spiraling there. You got the COVID surge that is exacerbating all the pre-existing conditions. No pun intended.

These are people, who live in a profound state of suffrage. For the past six decades, the government has snuffed out any opposition, and really any true sense of freedom, for the people who can't buy it.


The living conditions were always bad. They've become so dire that people are standing in line, for hours, to buy what little is available. And now, they are willing to rally and protest. And remember, this isn't America. You don't get to go on the streets, and question power, for free, in Cuba.

People are chanting for freedom, and for Cuban President Miguel Diaz- Canel to step down.

The violent clashes with police led Biden to express his support for the Cuban people. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States stands firmly with the people of Cuba, as they assert their universal rights. And we call on the government - the government of Cuba to refrain from violence, their attempts to silence the voice of the people of Cuba.


CUOMO: They haven't. The question is, what will this mean for U.S. involvement, if anything?

Cuba's President, he doesn't take the blame. He's pointing at the U.S., for the harsh sanctions that the Trump administration imposed, and has stayed on under Biden. Cuba's problems begin and end with that President.

We'll be right back with the handoff.