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New Orleans Mayor Signs Parishwide Indoor Mask Mandate; Call Notes: Trump Urged DOJ To Declare 2020 Election "Corrupt"; Medical Groups Call To Mandate Vaccines For Health Care Workers. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired July 30, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Like, I said, something to make you smile, or maybe cringe, a little bit. I cringe.

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

What do you think, Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Did - did you - Coop? Did you just accuse the President--

COOPER: No, I didn't. I just - I just asked.

CUOMO: --of the United States?

COOPER: I asked the question. I'm doing that old thing. "Oh! I'm just, just asking the question."

CUOMO: Some say.

COOPER: But I mean, you know? We've all, you know, we've all done the--

CUOMO: Would you tell me if I had something in my big choppers?

COOPER: I would absolutely tell you. Yes.

CUOMO: You're one of those?


CUOMO: That'll tell me?

COOPER: Yes. I believe in just saying it, the person. I've said it to people in the most awkward situations. I feel like it's, you know what? It's just good to just like rip the Band Aid off.

CUOMO: I still think you kind of accused the President of the United States.

COOPER: I didn't. CUOMO: I think you said, "Did he just?"

COOPER: I - it was a question. I don't know.

CUOMO: All right.

COOPER: I couldn't tell.

CUOMO: I'll give it to you, because I need you.

COOPER: I think that's some other camera cutaways? I don't know.

CUOMO: That's all right. I'm sure it'll wind up being some Deep State conspiracy in another two days.

COOPER: They'll try.

CUOMO: Brother, have a good weekend.

COOPER: All right. Have a good night, you too.

CUOMO: My teeth all right?

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to the PRIMETIME COVID Command Center, OK? I'm going to be tracking the cases where they are, but more importantly, why they are.

Now we start with what remains the same. The more of us, who are vaccinated, the sooner this will end, OK? That is the major control mechanism. The more, people who, get vaccinated, the sooner this suck ends. Period!

Good news. Delta, as a variant, could be a four-week to eight-week issue, according to experts, so a month or two months, why?

If we upped the vaccination rate, and if, and then there's this whole chain of permutations of thought for them, about how the vaccinated transmit this, and what that will mean, and herd immunity, but it all starts with people getting vaccinated. So, what we do right now, may determine what happens, weeks and months from now.

And, to be clear, by "We," I mean, you, who are not protected for yourself, and loved ones, yet. You guys are the issue, not the majority of the country that has already taken upon this task, and now is being held hostage, OK?

More good news, this message seems to be landing, because the pace of new vaccination shows more than 400,000 are initiating vaccinations each day. Now, if you look at the numbers, that's more than one in three over, right, 36 percent over last week's pace. But we have to do much better because we were behind, all right?

Here is the tale of the tape. A third, one in three, of those of us, who are eligible, are not vaccinated. And now, what too many of them see, as this perverse flecks of freedom, they are affecting the freedom of the majority, who protected themselves, and their loved ones.

Now, all must mask up again, because Delta can spread by the vaccinated as well. And for those, who are saying "No masks for me, and no vaccinating other," you better get ready to hear that "No" answer as well, at school, and at many of the places, we work and play.

There is going to be a consequence for irrational resistance. Disney is now among the companies requiring vaccinations for all its employees, Walmart's corporate employees, in America as well. These are two of the nation's largest employers. Disney is also requiring staff, and all guests, to wear masks regardless of vaxx status.

Now, big news today, from where we are, here in New York City, Broadway, all 41 theaters, in New York City, will require audience members and staff, to be vaxxed, for all performances, through the month of October.

Look, you don't have to go. You have the freedom not to go. But if you want to go, you have to play by the rules, because you, being unprotected, hurts my kids, hurts my mother. So, there's going to be a consequence.

The Delta variant is spreading like wildfire, especially in Louisiana. There's a dramatic spike in hospitalizations in the New Orleans area. Take a listen.


MAYOR LATOYA CANTRELL, (D) NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: Thanks to the Delta variant, the COVID pandemic is once again raging out of control.

We currently do not have the capacity to respond to 911 calls that come from our community right now.


CUOMO: You're going to be hearing this story all over the country, unless the rate of vaccination continues, and increases, from where it is here, daily, right now. Because what do we know? All data to this point tell us that if people are in the hospital, they're probably not vaccinated.

Now, the Mayor there signed an emergency order to expand EMS capacity, to confront the crisis.


To make matters worse, a new variant is showing up in Florida. This is a variant that was first discovered in Colombia. It has yet to receive a Greek letter designation.

Now, Florida is a very interesting case study of the new normal. Cases jumped 50 percent this week from last week. There are more than 110,000 new infections reported statewide. Now, it's interesting, because of the response. Ron DeSantis, the governor there, is running in the opposite

direction, vowing to reject mask mandates for school-aged students, saying he's soon going to issue an order, allowing parents, or guardians, to choose, whether their child wears a mask in schools. Because they're doctors or scientists?

And what about all the kids and elderly and vulnerable, who are compromised by parents, who make the wrong choice, especially at this governor's urging? Because, again, it's this disinformation campaign, that "Resistance is strength."

Now, the best way to test that case is to examine the proof, especially the new findings from the CDC, on vaccine efficacy. Now, they changed the guidance, for the vaccinated, to mask up indoors, right, in most places? Happened Tuesday. They didn't publish the data.

I criticized it, then, and I'll iterate it now. We have to trust but verify. If you want us to believe something, give us the backing, at the moment, you want us to believe it.

Now, we have it. It cost themselves some bruising, though, and created some opportunities, I'll talk to you about in a second. But now we have the data.

According to the new CDC data, if you are vaccinated, you are 25 times less likely to die. Shouldn't that be the end of this consideration, assuming that you're not immune-compromised, and you talk to your doctor?

Reduce the risk of hospitalization? 25 times, less likely to be hospitalized, even by the variant. And an eight-fold reduction in the risk of infection.

Now, that squares with the hope, because the vaccine is not perfect. Obviously, nothing is. And it was never supposed to be this immunity bubble that people on the Right tell you it was said to be. It's not. You can get sick. You likely won't get very sick, and you should not die. That's what the vaccine is about.

Now, look, we need that protection more than ever, because Delta, we now know, spreads faster than the common cold, faster than the seasonal flu.

And while the vaccinated aren't getting as sick, like I just said, they may be as contagious as unvaccinated people. Why? That is the price of allowing the virus to populate, is that it learned and it got stronger. That's what led to the new mask changes.

Data from an outbreak in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, what happened there? 469, it's on your screen, were infected in July. If you want to take a screenshot, go ahead. I know a lot of you were doing that, so you can read things later. Keep it. Do it. The more you know the better for you.

July, this happened, Provincetown, OK? Three quarters of that number were fully vaccinated. Of those cases, 79 percent reported symptoms, five were hospitalized, four of them were fully-vaccinated. No death.

OK, so again, you see it. You get sick. Not that sick, not so much hospitalization, thank God, no death. There was a big cluster. And the vaccines did work to prevent serious illness, leading to death. But it also showed Delta is no joke. And it can spread now among the vaccinated.

So, let's bring in a better mind, someone who's helped fight this war head-on, as the Coronavirus Testing Czar, under President Trump, Admiral Brett Giroir.

Good to see you, sir.


CUOMO: Given the totality of the circumstances, now, do you want the message to be to people, "If you are not vaccinated, you will get the Delta variant?"

GIROIR: Well, I think you're delivering all the messages. And the message I would say is if you are not vaccinated, and if you have not had COVID, before, you're going to get the Delta variant.

On average, one person will transmit this to nine people, unlike the original virus, which got transmitted to two or three. It's about as contagious as chickenpox. And we saw what happened, even among vaccinated people.

And let me just say, I'm very concerned about those with natural immunity. Natural immunity is real. It provides protection. But there's more and more accumulating evidence that that immunity wanes, and it's not so good against Delta.

So, I'm very concerned, and I do support the recommendations that even if you had COVID, you need to get vaccinated as well.

CUOMO: Now, that's a very important point. I hear that all the time. "Hey, I had it, man. I'm good. I got the antibodies." You're saying "Not anymore?"

GIROIR: I'm saying we don't have perfect evidence.

And among the things, I would like the CDC, to come out with, is how many people, in the hospital, or who have died, had COVID beforehand? That's a really important bit of information.


But based on the laboratory data, and looking at people over time, I would be very concerned that natural immunity, particularly against Delta, wanes.

Remember, we have to get vaccinated, against flu, every year, not because our immunity so bad, but because the virus changes. And Delta is a whole new ballgame. It is a changed virus that is very dangerous and very deadly.

We can end this all by getting vaccinated. If everyone got vaccinated, we could put this to the end. But until that happens, we're going to be - we're going to be battling again, just like we did last summer. In fact, the number of cases, we have now, are more than this time last summer, which is unbelievable to me.

CUOMO: Now, you're right about - obviously, the changing of the flu, and the need for the new vaccine. But we don't have to take it. We choose to.

The question becomes now, do you believe - obviously, the private sector can do what they want. But do you believe there should be school/public authority/government mandates of the vaccine?

GIROIR: So, complicated question. Let me first say that I do affirm the ability and the rights of businesses, to mandate vaccines, for their employees. I do believe in the free market system. And this is something that they have the right to. And I do believe the federal government can do it for their employees.

At this point in time, I don't support, I certainly don't support federal mandates for vaccines. I think local mandates for vaccines, in a broad population, are still going to be counterproductive. I think we need to get the message out more and more and more.

And as people see their hospitals filled, their 911 calls not being answered, not being able to get a doctor's appointment, their friends in the hospital, and dying again, I think what you said earlier that the vaccine rates going up, we need to double, triple that. I think that's where we need to focus right now.

CUOMO: The question becomes, as a policy perspective, is how long do you allow the majority of this country, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, South, North, the majority of every group, and demographic, we have, have gotten vaccinated, how long do you allow them to be held hostage?

In states, let's say, like Florida, where, you have the governor saying, "Yes, I know, it's breaking out. We're going the other way. Don't Fauci this - My Florida, no mask mandates, I'll let the parents decide," I mean, where is that messaging going to get you?

GIROIR: So, I think we need to be clear on messaging.

And you've been very clear Chris, is, number one, get vaccinated. Vaccines will protect you against hospitalizations, and deaths. And if we could eliminate the incredible levels of this virus, we won't have the variants anymore.

But number two, for those people who are not vaccinated, and now even for those who are vaccinated, we have to use imperfect measures. And a mask is one of them. And I was pretty upset about the CDC not being transparent about their data, three days ago.

CUOMO: Should have put the data out. GIROIR: But having looked at it today, I'm really concerned. And I do believe even as a vaccinated person, the levels of virus, if you do get infected, are very high, and we'll transmit to other people.

Masks work 50 percent of the time in preventing it, 25 percent of the time, for you getting it, but it's something we really need to do, until more people get vaccinated.

CUOMO: Right.

GIROIR: I'm going to beat everyone over the head with this. Please get vaccinated. It is the way to end this. I can't believe we're going back into a summer of contagion, like we were last summer, when now we have the tools to stop it.

CUOMO: Admiral Brett Giroir, thank you very much. You're always welcome here to make the case. Appreciate you putting out the message.

GIROIR: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right.

There is a lot of new information on this virus, and a lot of new misinformation. By the way, some of that's on the CDC. You delayed in putting out the data. You allowed the opportunity for people to twist, for political advantage. And they took it.

Misinformation, disinformation, is literally making us sick again. Let's slice up the BS, shall we? What a way to spend a Friday night! See you next.









CUOMO: We have three realities that need to sink in.

One, you got to get vaccinated. If you don't get vaccinated, there's almost no chance this Delta variant will be four weeks to eight weeks, as they're suggesting right now, OK? It will be a battle that goes much longer, and begins variant vagaries.

Next, I know some are saying, "Maybe, but I don't see how our kids are going to go to school without masks." I know it's a "Maybe," for some of the experts. I just I don't see how we get there.

People aren't getting vaccinated. Kids are going to be getting this Delta. They're getting it already. We're seeing more young people getting sick, and they're not going to have the vaccine available to them, for most of them.

So, I think you got to prepare yourself for that now. If you don't like it, fine. But I don't think your kid's going to be going to the school because there're going to be very few states, like Florida. I'll tell you that right now. I don't even think Florida is going to be able to stay that way. We'll see.

And we have a companion contagion that needs to stop now. This political manipulation of the unvaccinated, this disinformation has to stop.

Case in point!


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Less than 24 hours, after imposing the mask mandate, which again is not based upon a study. It's based upon a study in India, based upon a vaccine that isn't approved in America, that didn't pass peer review. Could this be a plan to try to keep our schools closed?



CUOMO: No, this is his plan, to scare you into doing something stupid. Don't let him! He just lied to you, OK? And I think he knew he was lying. The data - he had to. If it's a lie, you have to know. You can't lie by accident. You can just be wrong.

He has to know, because he's a big-shot, and has staff, that the data behind the CDC's change was the outbreak in Massachusetts.

They could care less about an India study, which hasn't been peer reviewed, one way or the other, by the way, yet. It just hasn't been. It's no more than a footnote in a CDC brief that was actually about a study from Houston, OK? That's the truth.

He's just trying to scare you, and to convince you, not to listen to anybody but him. Even if you want to say, "Well, hold on. They were saying this same stuff before the CDC put out its data. So, maybe they are trying to control us," two points.

Shame on you, CDC! You got to lead with the data. Trust, but verify, fine, but you better put out the information in real-time. Otherwise, this is what's going to happen. You create an opportunity for deception, in this climate? Someone's going to take it.

It got picked up by other Republicans, like Congressman Dan Crenshaw, claiming "Here is the truth America," before repeating a false claim about this India study. And then he claims "This is what erodes trust in public health officials." It's garbage!

It's garbage, like this, from him, who should, do better, the guy's a hero, that erodes our trust. Again, I know why he's doing it. I know why they're all doing it. "Sound strong! Resist! Government bad!" The rest of us are doing it, because we want to stay safe.

And the question becomes, how long will you, in the majority, Republican, Democrat, North, South, how long are you going to let the unvaccinated hold you hostage, because of this nonsense?

And we now, we know. Only a quarter of those, who refuse to get vaccinated, are wearing their masks, as much as they used to, just when they need to do it the most. And about half, never wore them.

Makes you wonder, is the new Trump motto, "Make America Sick Again," because that's what they're doing. This purposeful division is wholly ingrained in what used to be the GOP. The party tweets that "The Biden Administration wants vaccinated parents to wear masks at home with their kids!"

Even in the video, in the tweet, it doesn't say that. Look.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: For example, if you happen to have a lot of interaction with folks, who are unvaccinated, let's say you're a parent like me, who has young children at home, who are not vaccinated, that's a circumstance where being extra cautious, and wearing that mask, even if you are fully vaccinated, wearing it outdoor - outside, when you're in indoor public locations, is an extra step to protecting those at home.


CUOMO: So, they don't say it, OK? First of all, that McCarthy sound was from Wednesday. That's when he said it. It doesn't say here what they say.

Now, look, this is not just about applauding the administration, OK? Push the FDA. I don't mean rush it. I don't mean fake it. I don't mean manipulate it. Why hasn't the FDA approved the vaccine?

Over half of the people who are vaccine-hesitant, not the ones eating up, all this, political problem, but the ones who have real questions, and there are real questions, a big one is, "Why isn't it approved?"

And I'll tell you why else approval matters. If we are going to need this booster shot, people like me, who've been vaccinated, twice, you can't get a booster shot, until the FDA has approved the underlying vaccine. You need the license.

"Well why can't you do an emergency use?" Because you don't have the data on the booster the way you did with the original vaccine. They've got to get this done. It's a mistake that it's taking this long. It didn't have to. Now, in terms of what's being done with the disinformation, the circular nature is amplified by the Right's media machine, which is projecting ignorance as animus.

How so? Like this.


PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, you said, "If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask." And it seems--


DOOCY: You did. I have the quote.

BIDEN: I said if you're fully vaccinated in an area where you do not have - well, let me clarify it.

DOOCY: In May, you made it sound like a vaccine was--

BIDEN: Well, in May, that's true.

DOOCY: --the ticket to losing the mask forever, and it--

BIDEN: That - that is true at the time, because I thought there were people, who were going to understand that getting vaccinated made a gigantic difference. And what happened was, a new variant came along. They didn't get vaccinated. It was spread more rapidly. And people - more people were getting sick.



CUOMO: Look, we all know that that's the truth. The only thing that changed is the situation. And the situation changes, you're going to have to change with it.

"Well, you said," come on! They know that's a stupid gotcha question.

Dr. Fauci gave you the straight read, right here on this show. Listen.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT: We're not changing the science. You know what changed, Chris? The virus changed. And the science evolved with the changing virus.


CUOMO: Now look, my point is they know what they're doing. So, the question is, why are they doing it? Why push political poison? Because there's advantage in division, and they are reaching out to people, they think, they can influence. And you know what? They're right. The biggest chunk of the

unvaccinated is White Republicans. Now, the question is, are they unvaccinated, because of this tripe? And imagine having that on your head and your heart? Anyway, you look at it, it's got to stop.

This isn't like convincing people that Trump is a victim, OK? "Deep State! Trust only us!" the rest of the BS playbook. They are victimizing people for profit. And they only have it half-right.

This is the land of the free. Freedom is the signature trait. But we are free, why, because this is the Home of the Brave. And there is no valor in being unvaccinated, and exposing loved ones, especially kids, and holding the majority of this country hostage. That is not going to work out well.

I know many of you, who are spinning this? You're trying to become the next Trump. But you are failing to learn the biggest lesson of his presidency. Playing people about a pandemic is a losing proposition. Do better!

Now, in terms of dealing with the latest suck, it's the new mask that we got to wear. The messaging from the CDC for the vaccinated is being met with a lot of confusion. You know why? It's a little confusing. How worried should we be, if we're vaccinated about this Delta variant?

We have a great medical mind, to answer the questions, I asked you to give me? Now we'll get answers. Next.









CUOMO: It's confusing.

"Am I supposed to wear a mask? Am I not supposed to wear a mask? When? What about my kids? What does this mean for the fall?"

A lot of you reached out to me with your questions. So, let's get some answers on the main ones, shall we? Let's bring in Dr. Leana Wen, for help on this.

Good to see you, as always, Doc.

She's got a new book out, just this week, "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health."

Good to see you. What is your take, on the latest from the CDC?


I really think that they messed up terribly, back in May, when they issued the guidance about what vaccinated people can be doing, because, as you and I have been talking about, it was understood by unvaccinated people, as they can do whatever they want.

And it actually disincentivized vaccines. And in fact, that's where - that's how we got into the position that we're in, with surges all around the country, because unvaccinated people started behaving like they're vaccinated.

Well the CDC, I think, should have said, on Tuesday, "We were wrong to issue that guidance. Now, we're seeing surges everywhere. Everybody needs to wear masks indoors, because the unvaccinated are driving the surge."

Instead, they came up with this new research, saying that there's something about vaccinated people, and transmission. And yes, it's true that with vaccinated people, you can get breakthrough infections. And as a result of breakthrough infections, you can then transmit it to others.

But let's not forget that the primary driver of what's happening with surges and the Delta variant are the unvaccinated. And so, I really think that that message has gotten lost and confused a lot of Americans.

CUOMO: Yes. I believe it's going to be, the new major demographic in America, is going to be the vaccinated, because you have over 50 percent, of every major demographic, have taken the step, to protect themselves and their families. And who's going to speak for them?

The unvaccinated get all the attention, which is fine. We want people to be able to understand their way, and get to the right place, if they're acting in good faith. But too many are not.

All right, so let's get to the questions, OK? Confusion, true, there is confusion. Let's go to the first question, OK?

How dangerous is the Delta variant for the kids, who can't be vaccinated? And what does that mean about keeping them safe in school?

WEN: Yes, well, here's what we know about the Delta variant in children. We know that it's extremely contagious. We also know that in adults, at least, it could cause more severe illness.

And we keep on talking about how people have two choices, get vaccinated or get COVID. It's really unfortunate for our children. I mean, I've got two little kids, who are not eligible to be vaccinated. And so, as to how dangerous it is, chances are they're going to do

fine, chances are they will have mild symptoms, if they get COVID-19. However, some children will get severely ill, and tragically, a minority, but some children will die. And this is the reason why I do think it's a good idea for us to keep on the precautions that we know work.

And so, children should be back in school. They can be safely, back in school. But masks need to remain, in place, indoors, for unvaccinated children.

CUOMO: Now, the next question is, if we are vaccinated, are we still safe? I suggest a finesse point on this.

I get this question all the time, I know you do also, which is more of, were they wrong about the vaccine? They said, "If you're vaccinated, you'll never need a mask again that that's it. You'll be great if you get the vaccine. It's a magic pill." Were they wrong?

WEN: I think that message was wrong, because it wasn't nuanced enough. Even before Delta, breakthrough infections did happen. And some people who had breakthrough infections, they could have passed it on to others.

And so, I think a lot of us have been saying, since May, "Hey, you can't just keep saying, if you're vaccinated, you're protected." I mean, on the Town Hall, on CNN, just last week, I think it was, President Biden said, "If you are vaccinated, you're protected. You can take off your mask." I mean, that message just was not nuanced enough.

And so, here's what we know. We know that if you're vaccinated, you are well-protected against severe illness. You're also well-protected against getting a breakthrough infection. But it could happen.


And your chances of having a breakthrough infection increases, the more you are around unvaccinated people, who potentially carry COVID- 19. And so, I think we just have to have some nuance. People should be able to weigh the risks and benefits for themselves.

But we have to give them the correct information. And the correct information isn't that the vaccine is somehow bulletproof armor, is that it protects you very well. But you may choose to protect yourself, even more, by wearing a mask, in indoor settings, especially if you have unvaccinated children at home.

CUOMO: That's the main thrust. The next two I think we can "Yes, no."

If vaccinated people carry the virus, should we be testing and quarantining again?

WEN: Yes. I do you think that it's important for vaccinated people to also quarantine, and test. And, in particular, let's say that you're vaccinated, but you're going to a lot of bars and restaurants-- CUOMO: Right.

WEN: --and now, you're going to visit an elderly relative, who is immunocompromised, you should quarantine and test before you do that.

CUOMO: Yes. I went to - I went to meet someone, who's a little sickly today, and they tested me, when I got there. I was fine.

Can people who had prior COVID-19 infections get the Delta variant, or do the antibodies protect them?

WEN: The antibodies from prior infection protects you somewhat. But you certainly can get the Delta variant, which is the reason why we say, if you have been infected with COVID before, it is important to still get vaccinated now.

CUOMO: Dr. Leana Wen, you are a gift. Good luck with the new book. And thank you for joining me. And I hope your family stays safe.

WEN: Thank you. You too, Chris.

CUOMO: The House select committee investigating the January 6th attack, they now have evidence in the hands about the Trump conversation, a week and a half before the Insurrection

Look, I want to stay on COVID as much as possible. But as big things come out of this that help us understand exactly what led to that day, I'm going to give them to you.

So, we have new details, on what Trump was pressuring, his DOJ, to do, and how? You want to talk about Deep State? You want to talk about abuse and why you wouldn't trust a government entity? Listen to this. Next.









CUOMO: Hey, all you politicians, who are so worried about political overreach, when it comes to COVID, worried about government trying to control outcomes, worry about this.

Handwritten notes of a call Trump held last December, showing that Trump told Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, and his top deputy, Richard Donoghue, to quote, "Just say that the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me, and the Republican congressmen."

Donoghue's notes, which he took during the call, are now in the hands of the House Oversight Committee. This comes as the DOJ also ruled that Trump's tax returns must be released to another Investigative Committee.

What does it mean? Former federal prosecutor, and CNN Legal Analyst, Elliot Williams is here.

Let's start with the big ticket. So, at the end of the day, does this mean Trump is going to be prosecuted, or Trump will ever be exposed to any legalities? I say no, as always.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, I mean, look, neither you nor I can answer that question. The most important thing today, Chris, and look, no one should be shocked by any of these revelations we see in these notes.

The President - former president had a pattern of conduct, going back to, I believe, June of 2020, casting doubt on the legitimacy of the election. On January 2nd, 2021, he calls the Secretary of State of Georgia, and leans on him, trying to get the outcome of the election overturned.

So, why should it shock anyone that he was calling senior Justice Department officials, and trying to put a thumb on the scale, with respect to the election?

The big revelation today is that the Justice Department is making that available to Congress. And that is how a functioning government should work.

We want a president to be able to talk to his cabinet officials, but we don't want him to be able to engage in misconduct. And when a president does, that information should be turned over to Congress.

CUOMO: Is there any question, as to, whether or not, what Trump did, with the Acting A.G., was obstruction, was wrong behavior, by a president?

WILLIAMS: Yes, there's absolutely no question about it.

Look, there's a long-standing tradition of presidents of the United States putting in place the Attorney General. Obviously, he nominates them. They come from his political party, in all likelihood. However, there's a long tradition of distance and separation.

So, for instance, when I was there, working on nominations, if there were White House people, in the room, you'd send them out, because you don't want discussing cases, because you do not discuss the particulars of litigation, with folks from the White House.

And so, even though they're sort of on the same team, there's an independence, a long history, and a tradition of it. And the President just violated that, and made that clear, over the course of his four years, in the White House.

CUOMO: How's Garland doing?

WILLIAMS: You know what's interesting? I feel like, for months, we've heard a lot of Joe Biden - Merrick Garland distancing himself from Joe Biden.

And today, over the course of this week, we've seen Garland distancing himself, from President Trump, by making a number of decisions, both with respect to executive privilege, and whether these individuals can come testify before Congress, with respect to the - there's another - the President's taxes.

CUOMO: Taxes.

WILLIAMS: Pardon me. Yes. Which just came out today, as well. These were big decisions that were made quite recently.

So look, I'm not in the business of pop psychology, and deciding what is in someone's heart. But if you notice, independence seems to be the common theme here, Chris, and both from Trump and Biden.

CUOMO: And, unfortunately, every time you see something like this, it just makes the game that much more obvious.

You have people chasing Biden, "You said the vaccine would mean the masks were gone forever," like they don't understand that situation. But they're quiet about what Trump did. That's why we're in the place that we're in today.

Elliot Williams, appreciate the legal analysis, as always, brother. Best to you and the family.

WILLIAMS: As always, Chris, good talking to you.

CUOMO: All right, back to the vaccination war, OK?


More and more hospitals are mandating vaccines for health care workers. But I got to tell you something, just because you work in a hospital doesn't mean that you're pumped to get vaccinated. Many are not. Of all people, who know what this virus does, and what the shots do, what do we make of that reluctance?

Let's take it to the President of the National Medical Association, next.








CUOMO: Now, people who are not vaccinated, all right, many are legitimately hesitant. And people need to understand. We have to get information out there, and deal with questions, as they come. It's not as simple as being uninformed.

Even our nation's medical workers are not all fully vaccinated, the people on the front lines, of the COVID fight, the people who are given first dibs. In New York State, nearly a quarter of hospital workers have not yet been vaccinated. And around 40 percent of U.S. nursing home workers are unvaccinated.


This week, a group of nearly 60 major medical organizations issued a call, for vaccine mandates, for all health care workers. But many of these workers are across the country, protesting these requirements. And look, there is an argument to be made. If you try to force it, you will create an emboldened resistance.

So, let's discuss with the President of the National Medical Association, Dr. Rachel Villanueva.

Good to see you, Doc.


CUOMO: I'll tell people why we're both smiling, at the end of the interview.

The beginning, though, is this. Why aren't medical workers, who we would assume know the most, not getting vaccinated, really that much more than the general population?

VILLANUEVA: Well, I think what it tells us, it just reflects that health care workers really just reflect the nation.

Not all health care workers, I think it's a misconception, but not all health care workers have a medical background, or a science background. We have an extensive team that makes up our hospitals and our health care systems, and that make them work. And many of these individuals have no medical background.

So, I think it just really reflects what is happening in our nation, that people have concerns that people have been subjected to a lot of misinformation. And I think it's done us a big disservice.

CUOMO: Mandates, yes or no?

VILLANUEVA: I think for health care workers, I think a mandate is necessary.

I think that's why the National Medical Association, along with nearly 60 other representative health care organizations, signed on to this letter, really, asking health care systems, and hospitals, to mandate vaccinations, not only to protect our patients, which, those are our priority, our patients, but really to protect those health care workers, as well, and to protect their families.

As you know, the National Medical Association represents Black physicians and patients, a lot across the country. And most of our patients represent underserved and under-resourced populations that have had low vaccination rates, and so are at higher risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID.

CUOMO: Now, it has also become a political football, is that when you hear people on the Right fringe, talking about who's not vaccinated, they'll say, "Well, they're mostly Black and Brown minority populations, who are in poor areas."

Now, we happen to know that the largest number of unvaccinated is 37 percent, in the current read, and it's White Republicans.

But when we do look at the reluctance and hesitancy, within the Black community, which is very real, and historic, what do you see? And what is the remedy?

VILLANUEVA: I see that that narrative has been played out a lot, I think, in the media. I think it really doesn't reflect what happens in our community, actually.

I think, in our community, when you have trusted messengers, such as faith-based organizations, community workers, your health care, your own doctor, many underrepresented minorities, many Black and Brown patients, will actually accept the vaccine, from those trusted messengers.

So, the National Medical Association was so pleased, yesterday, in the White House press briefing, when the Biden administration announced that we would be partnering with some of our local doctors, in underserved communities, to increase vaccine acceptance, and to get those vaccination rates up, for our community.

CUOMO: Another question for you, as a gynecologist, so we just got word from the CDC that all pregnant women should get the vaccine, because of concerns with complications. Do you agree?

VILLANUEVA: 110 percent.

I think today, we were very happy to hear that our leading organizations, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, our high risk doctors, actually came out to support all pregnant women getting the vaccine.

It took a long time for us to get that information. I think many local OB/GYNs, like myself, were advocating for these vaccinations, in pregnant women, knowing that they're at increased risk, for severe disease, knowing that they're at increased risk for poor outcomes in their pregnancy. So, we're just very happy that our governing bodies also agreed today.

And so, I'll continue to do what I do every single day, which is to ask all patients pregnant, and non, "Are you vaccinated?" If they say "No," I discuss with them why, what their concerns are. I really listen to why they're concerned, and hopefully try to encourage, educate, and advocate, for them to get vaccinated.


CUOMO: So, why the smiles?

Dr. Villanueva and I have known each other our entire lives. We went to the same grade school.


CUOMO: Nowhere Catholic school in the middle of Queens.


CUOMO: Then, I left to go to Military school. We then wound up going to the same college, went to Yale University, which like nobody, from where we came from, went to Yale. We both wound up going there.


CUOMO: And now?


CUOMO: Rachel is a big-shot, the Head of the National Medical Association, and we live right across the bay from each other. She's in Mattituck. I'm in Sag Harbor. What are the chances!


CUOMO: Anyway, Doc, I am so happy for all you've done with your life, your young life, and it's great to see you.

VILLANUEVA: It's really great to see you too, Chris. Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: Thank you for making the world a more healthy place. I'll talk to you soon.

We'll be right back.


CUOMO: That's it for us tonight. Together, as ever as one, we'll get through this pandemic. It's, never been, more true than now.

Lucky for you, on a Friday night, you get "The Upgrade," Laura Coates, in for Don Lemon, on "DON LEMON TONIGHT." Good to see you, Counselor.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Good to see you too. You know, it's my 10-year wedding anniversary.