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Milley: Esper, Miller, Meadows, Pompeo Knew About China Calls; Petito Family Urges Brian Laundrie To Turn Himself In; WSJ Report Exposes Facebook Efforts To Target Preteens. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 28, 2021 - 21:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: It's a shame. It can make a difference. Back in May, James had refused to say, whether he was vaccinated at all.

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thank you, John. Appreciate it.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Here's your headline. The nation's top general was set up. He was the victim of a classic political hit job. And we know it.

You were told, by political malefactors, and by media, including me, that a new book would reveal no less than the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Milley, directly contacted a hostile foreign nation, China, to calm fears about Trump.

"Treason!" cried the righteous senators, on the Right.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): He does need to resign. He needs to resign. And if he won't resign, he needs to be fired.

VOICE OF SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): If it happened, he should be immediately relieved of his duties and court-martialed.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): This is a constitutional violation. It's a violation of his oath to the Constitution, but it also is treacherous.


CUOMO: "Because he went outside, he did it alone, he was on his own. He went rogue," and it was all a lie.

The next day, we learned General Milley had told people, had done it the right way, had other people in the room, had sent out different briefings on it, to the Intel community.

And people, like me, reported that to you. But the Trumpers and the opportunists never relented.

Milley, first in statements, then himself, and now today, told the reality. Secretary of Defense Esper knew at the time. Acting Secretary of Defense Miller, after him, was told. Chief of Staff Mark Meadows? Told. Secretary of State Pompeo? Told.

Milley confirmed all of it at a Senate hearing. Yet, nobody, none of those people said anything, when he was being attacked.

Here was Milley today.


GEN MARK MILLEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: The calls on 30th October and 8th January were coordinated before, and after, with Secretary Esper, and Acting Secretary Miller's staffs, and the interagency.

I am certain that President Trump did not intend to attack the Chinese. And it is my directed responsibility, and it was my direct responsibility, by the Secretary, to convey that intent, to the Chinese. My task, at that time, was to de-escalate.

At Secretary of Defense Esper's direction, I made a call to General Li, on 30th October. Eight people sat in that call with me.

Shortly after my call ended, with General Li, I personally informed, both, Secretary of State Pompeo, and White House Chief of Staff Meadows, about the call, among other topics.


CUOMO: So now, we have two problems.

Why didn't Hawley apologize to Milley, at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing? He was there. He had it wrong. He called for the guy. He said it was treason. He said he had to resign.

Why didn't they call Secretary of State Pompeo, Secretary Esper, Chief of Staff Meadows, and Miller? Don't they want to know why these guys didn't reveal that they knew? They were closer to the President than Milley.

And does anybody really believe that these senators had no idea, in the incestuous Trumpy world, that, these other guys didn't know what Milley was doing? They hadn't been told?

After they started making accusations, you don't think anybody clued them in? Instead, they just jumped to conclusions, dragged Milley through the mud, knowing that he followed protocol.

And Secretary of State Pompeo, he was even worse. He was told directly, by Milley, says the General, and then pretended he didn't know anything. Listen.


MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Unconstitutional, incomprehensible and completely out of line, for any military leader.

This would be dangerous and an usurpation of authority.

We need to get to the bottom of this just as quickly as possible.

If General Milley called, and said, "Told the Chinese Communist Party, I promise you, I'll give you a holler before we attack," this is something that is deeply inconsistent with his responsibility.


CUOMO: What about your responsibility, sir?

And don't, please, "Oh, Pompeo is a stupid Trumper." No, he isn't. Top of his class at West Point, everybody who's been around him talks about his intelligence.


It's like people calling Senator Ted Cruz, "Dumb." He's not dumb. That guy's a legal genius. Senator Hawley, he was a Supreme Court clerk. These are smart people. They're intelligent. They're educated. They're making political calculations.

Pompeo had to know that he knew that everything he just said there, and so much more, was wrong. The only thing that makes sense is he wanted to see the Joint Chiefs Chairman go down.

Doesn't he need to account for his complicity? He knew Milley was being set up, and said nothing. Give me a good reason, a good reason to bash Milley, when you knew he did not deserve to be bashed.

Now, Milley also addressed two other big items. One is his - it's a corollary to this first part, which is his conversation with House Speaker Pelosi, after January 6, when she feared Trump would launch a nuclear war.

Pelosi made no secret, then or now that she thought Trump was mentally unstable, and narcissistic, to the point of doing anything, in his own self-interest.

Milley said he immediately informed, Acting Defense Secretary Miller, about the conversation, and at no time was attempting to usurp authority, or insert himself, into the chain of command, and also submitted memos, with all the background information.

Now, if Miller says that's not true, where is he? If the memos don't exist, where is that? And yet nobody, at that hearing, was going to tell Milley anything about "OK, you did the right thing." That's the problem with our politics right there.

The other big reveal from Milley came about the Afghanistan exit. He confirmed the military wanted to keep 2,500 or so, on the ground, to keep Intel flowing.

Now, why is this important? Well, one, because it didn't happen, and it's going to make a difference, in the state of our national security. Everybody who knows what they're talking about worries about exactly that.

Second, President Biden said he was never told that. Then he added, to his recollection.

Milley also had an interesting epitaph for the exit. Listen.


MILLEY: And I think one of the other senators said it very well. It was a logistical success, but a strategic failure.


CUOMO: What does that mean, "A logistical success and a strategic failure?" Logistical success, because of the amazing evacuation effort.

Now, why did you need to make that amazing effort? Because of how you exited, and how you read the situation wrong, and strategically leaving without having anybody on the ground, to let us know what's happening. It's tough to justify that.

So, two big questions. Why did the Right set Milley up, and what should be done? And what is the final word on what the withdrawal, from Afghanistan, will mean to you, here at home?

We have a man, who knows the terrain in Afghanistan, and knows the players, and political terrain, of this hit, on Milley. Former Trump National Security Adviser, John Bolton, Author of "The Room Where It Happened."

Welcome back, sir.


CUOMO: First, you were on TV, right after the election, warning about the same types of things that Milley was worried about.

Tell us, why were you concerned?

BOLTON: Well, I think it had become increasingly clear that Trump was so fascinated with this notion that he was spinning that the election had been stolen, that there were things that he would do, we, probably none of us would have predicted, but in an effort to try and reverse the election.

Now, I'm not saying I foresaw anything like what happened. But I think people were nervous. And I think Milley and others were properly nervous, too.

It's been reported that he, and Mark Meadows, and Mike Pompeo, began holding morning calls, for what was called the "Landing the plane" exercise.

Now, that may have been one of those situations that you mentioned, a moment ago that where Milley said he spoke with Meadows and Pompeo. I don't know. But I am sure he was in regular contact with them. And I think that was simply a very prudent thing to do.

CUOMO: After hearing his testimony, and the reporting surrounded, do you have any question, as to whether or not he followed the proper protocols, and brought people, into the loop, and what he was doing, on those calls, and otherwise?

BOLTON: Well, if somebody has different evidence, let them bring it forward.

I haven't heard anything, from anybody, who knows how this works, at that level. And there are a lot of people, talking about it, who obviously don't have the slightest idea how it works. I haven't heard anybody say anything to the contrary of what Milley said today.

And one key point. It was mentioned, apparently, in Woodward and Costa's book. I haven't read it. But I've read the press reports.


And Milley himself today said it that he was motivated, and Mark Esper, then Secretary of Defense, motivated by Intelligence reports that the Chinese leadership worried that in this kind of chaotic environment, they saw, they might be subject to a "Wag the Dog" style attack.

Now, Esper and Milley, both concluded, absolutely correctly, that if the Chinese leadership, is in that kind of mood, they could make a miscalculation. They could also believe that we were in disarray, and they might seek to take advantage of it.

So, the notion that through a number of different levels that the U.S. government would communicate, to China, "Don't misread the situation"--

CUOMO: Right.

BOLTON: --"We're going to make it through it. There's no hostile intent here. Take it easy," it would have been a dereliction of duty not to have made those calls.

CUOMO: Two more points. One, I don't know how Milley and Pompeo, not Milley, how Meadows and Pompeo, knew what Milley was doing, and guys like Cruz and Rubio didn't know that.

You know how close all these players are. You were there. And for them to sit quiet, especially Secretary of State Pompeo, when he was told directly, according to General Milley, and say, "Oh, this looks bad. This looks bad," don't you see that as shameful of him?

BOLTON: Yes, look, in situations, where we've made a decision that you're going to have a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs call, to his counterpart, and I participated in several of those, you discuss it among the principals of the NSC, informally, the phone calls and whatnot, and there's generally agreement, and it goes ahead.

So, I find it very hard to believe that Pompeo, Meadows, perhaps others, Gina Haspel, the Director of the CIA, the Director of National Intelligence, wouldn't have known about it, and concurred with it.

So, I was stunned, a few days ago, to hear this interview, by Mike Pompeo that you just played, because Pompeo had to be reading the same Intelligence--

CUOMO: Right.

BOLTON: --as Milley.

CUOMO: And Milley told him.

BOLTON: About the Chinese leadership. And I--

CUOMO: Shouldn't Pompeo?


CUOMO: Shouldn't Meadows, shouldn't Miller, and Esper, be put in that same position, as Milley, today, and say, "Why didn't you tell us? When you heard us, making the accusations, why didn't you tell us that you knew that he had done this? And why was it OK for you?"

Because, if it was wrong, for Milley, to do it, it would have been, wrong, for them, as well, in different ways. Shouldn't that be done now?

BOLTON: Well, I think - I think we know why they haven't said it. Their political ambition is at stake here. Pompeo is running for president, and I think that's pretty clear.

CUOMO: But what about the senators?

BOLTON: He wants Trump's support.

CUOMO: Rubio, Cruz, Hawley, how can you have these questions, for Milley, and not have them, for the people that he told, who you now know, didn't let you know that they knew?

BOLTON: Yes, may I just say? I'm not sure Pompeo would have communicated to those people, or Mark Meadows that Milley was calling the Chinese, or anything like that, because it was so standard operating procedures, so regular orders, so by-the-book. It wasn't a big deal--

CUOMO: And yet, Pompeo pretends that "It would have been wrong. And it's got to be investigated."

BOLTON: --until it appeared in the Woodward-Costa book.

CUOMO: I mean, look, there's a - it's really obvious that this was a hit, on Milley. And I really have to believe that if there's going to be--

BOLTON: Yes. Look?

CUOMO: --integrity, John, you got to call it straight. And those guys have to answer questions now that they wanted to see Milley answer.

BOLTON: Yes, look, in politics, in Washington, we know there's ample ambition. Everybody's got it. Nobody can deny it.

Hopefully, there's principle too. And principle ought to outweigh ambition. And when in the case of an aspiring presidential candidate, ambition comes out, on top of principle, that's bad news.

CUOMO: Well, you're talking about Pompeo. And let's see how he answers for himself.

John Bolton, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

All right, we turn--

BOLTON: Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: Absolutely.

We turn from the chaos, of the Trump White House.

And I got to tell you, look, politics is dirty. John Bolton is right. Ambition can often come first. But I - look, this time, in our life, is going to be remembered, all right? Politicians are loose with the truth, not like Trump and his crew.

People play dirty, not like what you're seeing, right now, with Milley, OK? They had to know or had reason to know that they were chasing him, for going rogue, when they had reason to know, at least, that he didn't go rogue.

And you're going to have a guy, who was a sitting Secretary of State, say, "Oh, yes, it was bad. You got to look at it," think about what that means. The arrogance that he had to know what was going to come out that he was told, and he played Milley that way, anyway? That's who we are now?


The Trump White House is one thing. President Biden is now there, and he's got problems, especially with his economic agenda. Afghanistan is in the rearview mirror. That's not going to decide the midterms. What's happening, right now, may. And his party has problems.

We have a progressive here, to tell us why there are these problems and why - you look at him. He looks like a very clean-cut guy. But he's said he is "A hard F-ing no," on going along with Pelosi's plan, to put infrastructure first.

Why does a guy, who looks like he should be clapping erasers, say something that hard about the state of play? Let's find out why, next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)







CUOMO: The President canceled his trip, to Chicago, tomorrow, because he has to get his party, on the same page, with his economic agenda. It is in jeopardy. This isn't just about robust debate. His race is against the clock as well. He's got meetings with senators Manchin and Sinema.


But, on the House side, there is almost as much mishegoss. You got Speaker Pelosi making a decision, to press on, with Thursday's vote, for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, as a standalone.

Now, Pelosi is tough and smart and good at this. And yet, today, she was under fire, from liberals, for de-linking the bill, from that larger reconciliation, social safety net, "Build Back Better" spending plan.

My next guest, Democratic Congressman Jared Huffman, of California, says he is "A hard F-ing No," and I keep repeating it, because the media loves salacious things, and he used the F-word, so, we're saying it, because he doesn't want to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill alone.

Let's discuss.

First of all, all respect, Congressman, I'm just playing with you, about being clean-cut, and looking good. I mean no disrespect.

I would like to game out this situation.


CUOMO: Let you and I be like the Manning brothers, on Monday Night Football, who I believe, are the biggest gift, to that sport, and to us, since John Madden, and kind of diagnose what's going on, from two people, who understand the game.


CUOMO: If you don't vote, for the standalone infrastructure bill, what do you gain, and what do you lose?

HUFFMAN: First, Chris, it's great to be with you.

And let me just say, with regard to my word choice, didn't actually use the F-bomb. But, look, saying the word, "F-ing," you're a New Yorker, so that's like, "Please, and thank you." I knew you would understand.

In terms of what do we gain, and what do we lose? It's all about leverage. It's really important for people to understand, if we pass that Senate bill, on Thursday, it's done. It goes to the President. It becomes law. We give up an enormous amount of leverage.

And why is that leverage important? Because we need both parts of the deal. That was always the deal. It was always--

CUOMO: OK. So, wait, hold on. So, Congressman, fair point.


CUOMO: But let's just take a look at that point. The - you're making it sound like opportunity lost. However, you would deliver the largest infrastructure bill, we have seen, in a generation, which would be one more big achievement than President Biden has thus far.

So, even if the spending bill went away? And I don't think there's any good chance of that right now. It's about how much, and when. That would be a huge win for Biden.

HUFFMAN: Thankfully, our choice is not between that Senate bill, and nothing. The choice is between the full package and something that needs to be negotiated. So, it's just not that simple, Chris.

And the truth is, if we wanted to talk about the details of that Senate bill? Yes, we have neglected infrastructure, for several decades. And there are some good things, the broadband investment, in particular, in that Senate bill.

But we may be missing our last best chance to do something on the climate crisis. And that Senate bill is not only lacking. It would take us backwards. It's fossil fuel business, as usual. So we've got to have the other half of the deal, to make this package climate- positive.

CUOMO: You need the spending bill to balance out the deficiencies in the infrastructure bill.

HUFFMAN: That's right.

CUOMO: Now, that is a novel argument, Congressman Huffman. I haven't heard that.


CUOMO: What I've heard from the progressive/whatever, left, liberal, I don't know what we call anybody, these days, but is, "Oh, no, no, no, no. We promised the people we were going to do these things. We finally have the numbers. They're all popular. We want all of it." Not that it had to be done, to make anything correct, but it's about advantage.

HUFFMAN: Yes, on the social investments, that is absolutely right. But on the climate piece, we've always needed to go through budget reconciliation, to get the things that we need to seriously confront the climate crisis.

You can't do it with Senate Republicans. I wish you could. But if you want it to be bipartisan, there are no Senate Republicans that will take bold action with you.

CUOMO: How worried are you that if Thursday comes, and you guys flex, and don't let Pelosi get it done, that it sends a message of weakness, and inability to govern, that may haunt you in the midterms?

HUFFMAN: I think confronting that messaging challenge, and I agree there will be many, in the media, and elsewhere that will pronounce chaos and disarray and failure, but it's not.

A Thursday no-vote, on the Senate infrastructure bill, is not the end. It's maybe the end of the beginning. We've got more work to do, to get both pieces, of this, ready for success. And we will set about doing that work. Nobody's giving up. Nobody's walking away.

CUOMO: The criticism is that you're hurting Biden. You're making it look like he doesn't control his own party. Something is better than nothing. Perfection should not be the enemy of progress.

If you guys got a $1 trillion spending bill, instead of $3.5 trillion, and I'm not saying that's--



CUOMO: --what's going to happen, you would still be way ahead of the game.

Trump's big achievement that wasn't about dividing the country was, about a tax cut that people, didn't even like that wasn't even paid for. And it still wound up, redounding to his benefit with his base. This would be way more than that. And you may be jeopardizing it.

HUFFMAN: But again, Chris, we don't have to settle for just any old something. We can do a lot better than that.

The deal that came to us, from the President, that came out of the Senate, to the House, was for a lot more than just that one piece. So, when folks suggest that we should decouple them, dozens of my colleagues, and I, feel very strongly, "No, that's a terrible idea. We need the original deal."

And if we have to vote "No," on a vote, Thursday that we think is counterproductive, and shouldn't even happen, we'll do that. But we'll also roll up our sleeves, and get to work, to try to get this done. CUOMO: Two more quick things. One, how do you get a Sinema, and a Manchin, to the table, with this? I don't know Senator Sinema's posture, as well as we know, Manchin's. But threatening him does not seem to be working well.

What's your take?

HUFFMAN: I don't want to threaten him either. I think we're going to lean heavily, on the President, to try to, to deliver those two senators, in particular.

I do think though, we're at a point, where it's long past time, to just talk in generalities, about "I don't like this number," or "I'm not quite there." They've got to show their cards. And we're going to need the President, to lean in, and get them to show their cards, so we can get this done.

CUOMO: Just quickly, do you think there's any chance that you guys pass nothing?

HUFFMAN: No. I think we will land this plane, Chris. And we're going to have plenty of critics, and plenty of people, wanting to declare failure. But we're going to get there.

CUOMO: I'm not here to hate. I want to understand, because this matters, what, you guys are doing.

Congressman Jared Huffman, appreciate you being with us.

HUFFMAN: Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: Please come back, and let me know the state of play.

HUFFMAN: Will do.

CUOMO: Be well.

HUFFMAN: Thanks.

CUOMO: One point of exception. New Yorkers are not like this symbol of crassness and crudeness, all the time. Plenty of people use bad language. We didn't create it. And we don't own it.

Now, we heard from the family of Gabby Petito today, all right? They had a memorial, this weekend that really made you realize what family is about, what loss is about, and how desperate they are, to make something purposeful out of their pain.

Right now, they have turned focus, and they want the fiance to turn himself into the FBI.

What about the fiance's family? What do we know? What questions must be asked? There is new information that is helping understand where the family was, when, and then leads to the big question, why? Next.









RICHARD STAFFORD, PETITO FAMILY LAWYER: The Laundries did not help us find Gabby. They're sure is not going to help us find Brian.

For Brian, we're asking you to turn yourself in, to the FBI, or the nearest law enforcement agency.


CUOMO: It's latest plea, from Gabby Petito's family, to her former fiancee, in their search for answers. But you do have to wonder, how much of that is a message to the fiancee's family?

It comes, as we're learning new details, about Brian's whereabouts, in the days, after he returned to Florida, without her.

Why does that matter? Well, it doesn't matter, in terms of the potential commission of a crime, but it does go to consciousness of guilt. And it does go to what those around him may have known, or even done.

A county official tells us, he, and his family, actually stayed, at a campground, together, about 75 miles away, about an hour, from their Northport home, between September 6th, through the 8th. Camping is what this family does. So, this was not a one-off.

The Laundrie family attorney confirms to CNN that they were there on the 6th and the 7th, but that the family left the campground together.

Now, I know there's a lot of speculation, about the campground, and this, and that. I think it's a red herring. I don't think it's what's relevant here. I think the state of mind discussion is what matters.

Did they return home together? That is a question. I think we know the answer. The account is raising more questions, though, as officials seem to be at an impasse, on the search. Two weeks is a long time to evade authorities.

We now know that Laundrie's parents have consistently maintained they don't know where he is. Now, have they offered to help? Is that a fair question? Let's bring in Joey Jackson.

Let's start with, look, it is not the Petito family's job, to investigate, to find this guy. They're doing this because they're in pain.

And two weeks, Joey, is a long time.


Chris, first, as to the grace of the family, as to the humanity of the family, during that press conference, giving their thanks, to the FBI, all of law enforcement, for coming together, and dedicating the resources, to their child, being so humane, Chris, that they're talking about other missing people.

We know that it's a problem in this country. Over 550,000 people went missing last year, 600,000 the year before.

And think about it at a moment like that, to not make it all about you, but to think about what Gabby's life, meant, and how you can make life better for others. And I thought it was very compelling, the press conference, we saw.

As to the activities, involving the Laundrie family, I think, you nailed it. It goes to the issue of consciousness of guilt.


Is this what you do? Your son comes home. And he comes home, after he's traveled around the country, with his fiancee, the one he loves, the one he's supposed to protect, the one he's supposed to be with, the one he's supposed to give his life for, he comes home without her?

And what you do is you release a statement today, indicating your concern, indicating your hopes.

But would you not have expressed that concern, more appropriately, if you went to the authorities, if you spoke to the authorities, if you gave the authorities, information, if instead of going camping, you conferred with Gabby Petito's family, as to her whereabouts, or where she potentially could be?

So, as to what you noted, at the outset of this, this all goes to that issue of "You know what? You know you didn't do it, because maybe you had something to do with it." That's what we call consciousness of guilt, very problematic and very troubling.

And that - I raise that issue, because that's what prosecutors will be using, moving forward, to establish, "You know what? This just does not comport with how a person would or should act, under similar circumstance."

CUOMO: Well, two things. One, how much cover does the "My attorney told me not to talk," give them? And two, what exposure would the family have?

JACKSON: So, as to, one? And look, to be clear, and I always tell clients "Don't speak to anyone." I've expressed that. And I'll continue to express that. I know what I said. I don't know what you heard, right?

So, when you speak, you get yourself into issues. I get that. That's one thing. But on the other, then why are you releasing a statement, talking about how concerned you are, and how you know, you wish, the best, and you wish the FBI does the job.

Well, maybe you can express that wish, by activity, by doing something, by communicating with the family, by communicating with the FBI. Don't be disingenuous, in releasing a statement, with respect to your hopes and wishes, if you're not going to back that up with activity. And that's my beef as to the statement that they've released.

CUOMO: Yes, I agree with you, except in terms of timing. Now, all they can do is put out the statement, because this is about PR, because they're getting killed. The time to help was in the beginning. If they knew anything--


CUOMO: --it was about reaching out to the Petito family. It was about going to authorities. It would have been then.

I don't know what they can do to help now. If they haven't heard from the kid, and the kid didn't leave his - left his cell phone, and all that other stuff, I don't know what they know about investigating that park that the experts would know.

But what they did in the beginning, and did not do, I think, will come back to be a big part of this story.

Joey Jackson, I'll be doing that story with you. Thank you, brother, for helping the audience. You're always a plus.

JACKSON: Thank you, Chris. My pleasure.

CUOMO: All right.

There's another new tell-all book, out, on the Trump White House. You eye-roll! No, I think there's something instructive in it.

It was written by the only Trump press secretary, to never hold a briefing, Stephanie Grisham. Now, I don't think that she's got to get so much credibility, about those things, because I don't know that she was such a great press secretary. But she was there.

And she may have helped clear up a big mystery, on that Trump hospital visit. You remember? They didn't want us to know about it. They were giving all these typical trumpery about it.

I think we got the answer now, and I think it matters. Next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)








CUOMO: Most of the time, I don't care why Trumpers lie, by omission, or commission. But we learned something tonight that I think is instructive, of a point that should matter to leaders, going forward.

President Trump made this sudden visit, to Walter Reed Medical Center, in 2019, and it spooked us all, because they wouldn't tell us.

You may recall. The moment sparked all this speculation, on the state of his health. He was 73, clinically obese, heart disease. And the administration would say that they couldn't say. It was routine planned interim check. And there was nothing about it that suggested that this was nothing.

Trump himself claimed he went there, first and foremost, to visit a great family, of a young man, under major surgery, and that it was for phase one, of his yearly physical. And he is just not to be believed.

So now, Stephanie Grisham, Trump's former press secretary, who notably never met with the press, and we got to keep saying that because she was somewhat symbolic, of how lousy, they did the job there. But she does have details, in this new book, titled, "I'll Take Your Questions Now," which is ironic, right?

In the book, Grisham heavily implies that Trump's trip was for a routine colonoscopy. "So what? That's your big deal? The guy went from a colonoscopy, and that's a secret you had to know?"

She doesn't use the term itself. She describes what he underwent as a very common procedure, during which a patient is put under. She also notes Bush 43 got the same one, while in office. Now - so that lets you know it was a colonoscopy, because Bush 43 told us.

Why the secrecy? Grisham claims, Trump didn't want Pence, to be in power, while, he was sedated, nor did he, want to be, quote, "The butt," pun intended, "of a joke" on late-night TV.

The result?


TREVOR NOAH, HOST, THE DAILY SHOW: Was it a health emergency? Or did he need to get a marble removed from his nose again? We don't know.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: Grisham went on, emphasizing that Trump is as "Healthy as can be."


COLBERT: OK. But how healthy can be, be?


COLBERT: He is a 73-year-old insomniac, who eats nothing but fast food, who is afraid to go down stairs.


CUOMO: Now, they weren't the best jokes. But the point was either way he was going to be fodder for late night.

Here is why it matters. It is a window into how our former president did not see helping you as important. Why do we want our leaders, to say, when they get things that you may see as embarrassing, getting a colonoscopy, or prostate check, or whatever it is, if you're a man, or if you're a woman, whatever?


Because when he is open about it, he makes it easier for others, to be open and get it done. Imagine how much good could have been done, if he had been open about getting what can be a life-saving procedure, because so many people have a stigma of it, like he does.

Colon cancer is the number three leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. And you know what the worst part is? It's also one of the most preventable.

You know who knew that? His predecessor.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As you know, I've been recommending that Americans take precautionary measures, for their health, and that people should be screened, on a regular basis, particularly those of us over 50.

And tomorrow, I'm going to have, a colonoscopy, at Camp David. It is the third such procedure I've had.


CUOMO: Some could say every day as president is a colonoscopy!

But look, he was willing to put it out there, so it might make people more comfortable, to do it themselves. Trump's unwillingness to be transparent, and promote public health, in that moment will go on to be a major theme, throughout the pandemic. The man never put you first. He always took care of himself. He fed animus. He didn't dispel it.

Remember, all the living past presidents joined up to promote the vaccine, and say everything that he wouldn't, even though he bragged about bringing the vaccine, and said it was the magical panacea. Now, it's his supporters, who are disproportionately paying the price.

Now, it's time to take up the fight, OK? The time has come. Social media is out of control. And it can be under control. Facebook is under fire. We can have freedom of speech. Having the right to speak doesn't make everything you say, right.

This network, every major media outlet, has to think about what it puts out there. Shouldn't Facebook and Instagram have to as well, especially when it now looks like they're trying to profit off kids? Is that fair? And what can they do about it?

We have a better mind, who, was, once on the inside, of Facebook, next.









CUOMO: New focus tonight, on the impact Facebook has, on our kids.

"The Wall Street Journal," is out with the latest, in a series of reports, this one, looking at a project, Facebook launched, to target preteens, even exploring playdates, as a way, to get more kids using their apps.

While Facebook claims, it paused, Instagram, for kids, the reporting is the research, went, beyond that one app. Now, this comes as another report comes out from the Journal, showing Facebook has known, for years, the damage Instagram can do, to the mental health of teens.

The question is will our kids finally be the line where we say it is time to police what you put out? I'm not saying you have to censor. I'm not saying that you ruin the First Amendment. But the rest of the media figures out how to do it. Why not you?

Our next guest would know. He was once a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg, and an early investor in Facebook. He's also the Author of "Zucked."

Roger McNamee, welcome to PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: Two quick things. And I would like to pressure you, on live television, to come back, because this is a much longer conversation than one segment.

MCNAMEE: My pleasure.

CUOMO: So, two quick things. Give me your quick take on the reality of what they know, about the susceptibility, of kids, to social media, and what they are trying to do, to make money off them?

MCNAMEE: So Chris, the problem here is that products like Facebook, and Instagram, gather data, about us, not just on their platforms, but everywhere, our location, from cell phones, our medical tests and prescriptions, credit cards, app usage, web browsing, everything.

And with kids, it starts in third or fourth grade with Microsoft's Minecraft, or Roblox, or Fortnite, or TikTok, or Instagram, or cell phones, or Google Chromebooks. And it never stops. And they use this data to predict and manipulate our behavior.

So, on Instagram, they do it with filters that make everyone else look beautiful. And to catch-up, we have to buy stuff. That's the business model. That's how they make love, it's - or how they make money.

It is not an accident any more than scams against seniors, scams against vets, anti-vax, or even the preparation of the insurrection, were an accident. That is no accident (ph).

CUOMO: So, second point. So, they know the susceptibility of kids. And yet they market it anyway because it's profitable, which means that they know what is going out, and what's being said.

And we know that they know this, because we've all had the phenomenon, where you and I are talking, about different type of tuna tackle, and all the sudden we get ads. So, they know.

And if they know that, why is it too much to ask, for them to take, their technology, and look for things that are misinformation, and disinformation, and become a more responsible purveyor of content?

MCNAMEE: So Chris, the actual solution to this problem has nothing to do with the First Amendment. I don't want to censor them in anyway.

I want to force changes in their business model, the way we force changes, in the chemicals industry, to end the dumping of toxic chemicals, anywhere, the way we did when we banned child labor, or when we created the Food and Drug Administration, to police, the food supply and drug manufacturing. In this country, we have a long history, of making industries safe and protecting consumers from harm. And that's what we have to do now. And that's both the job of Congress, but also the Justice Department and states' attorneys general.

Because we live in a Wild West, in Silicon Valley, really, in the whole economy, and these monopolies behave like governments. They don't feel like our government is going to stop them.


And it's not that they're criminal. But I don't think they know where the lines are, and maybe they don't care.

And the result is they've done a bunch of stuff that is clearly wrong. I mean, "The Wall Street Journal" had a story about human trafficking. That is clearly a violation of the law. Obviously, aiding and abetting an insurrection is against the law.

CUOMO: Right.

MCNAMEE: And we need to prosecute these things, not because I want to put them in jail, but because they need to understand that we mean business, and they need to end this business model. If they do that, that will save democracy, that will help us in the pandemic, and restore public health.

CUOMO: So? So let's--

MCNAMEE: It'll protect our children.

CUOMO: So, let's do this. Roger McNamee, come back, and let's talk about what they could do.

I got your word?

MCNAMEE: You got it, pal.

CUOMO: Done. Appreciate it.

We'll be right back. Handoff!








CUOMO: People are going to say, "Oh, look? They want to censor on social media." No. And I know a lot of that comes from the Right.

You know who gets the most traffic on the Right? You know who has the most penetration? You know who's at top of the list? Members, of the Right, in the punditry class. So, I don't know what they're complaining about.

Don Lemon starts tonight, right now, with its big star, D. Lemon.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: OK. So, you know this one.