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Texas High School Shooting Injures Four, Suspect In Custody; Source: Law Enforcement Found Remnants Of A Campsite In Area Brian Laundrie Is Known To Have Spent Time In; Idaho's Governor Accuses Lieutenant Governor Of Power Grab When He Left State. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 06, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: News continues right now. Want to hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, Anderson, thank you very much.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

I have brand-new reporting, in the Petito case. I know why there was a renewed search in the, Carlton Reserve, today, in Venice, Florida, for Brian Laundrie. It's because police found a new clue.

We'll go through what it is, and what it could mean, and also, the latest, on the Laundrie family's legal situation, in a moment.

But first, I know the news seems unrelentingly negative. But instead of cataloging the latest step-down, here's the real question that we face. It's not about what to do. It's about whether the will exists, to do what must be done. The question for you to be asking is why does nothing get better?

Another school shooting. Most shrug it off. I used to be at almost all of them. Now, we rarely travel to them, because you only notice them, if there's a shocking number of dead. That's the truth.

Today, no one died, at Timberview High School, in Arlington, Texas. But there they are, in the morning, supposed to be the place they should be safest. Thank God, no one was killed. But four were hurt, three taken to the hospital.

Police said there was a fight in a class. Teenager opened fire. An 18- year-old suspect is in custody. He had a .45 handgun. Under Texas law, you got to be 21, to carry a gun. The laws don't work.

2021 is on pace to be the worst year, for gun violence, in decades. More than, 14,000 dead, from guns, just this, year. No movement on national gun legislation. If you're lucky, your state does something.

I don't even know what laws would make it better. Check all sales? No more semi-automatic rifles, like the AR? Maybe. But I doubt we'll ever know. We choose instead to literally kill ourselves, at a greater rate than ever before. Why?

The United States has now recorded our highest increase, in our nation's homicide rate, in modern history. The rate rose 30 percent between 2019 and 2020, according to data from the CDC. The FBI has similar numbers.

Went from about six homicides per 100,000, in 2019, to 7.8, per 100,000, in 2020, the rate still remains, about a third, below the rate, in the early 90s, but it's a sharp spike. Why?

For context, the steepest increase prior to this one was 20 percent. That was from 2000 to 2001. And Guess why? Because the September 11th terror attacks were homicides.

Now, are there politics to play here? Sure. But they're not being played right. People are blaming Biden for this, on the political right.

This happened on Trump's watch. Once again, it's like "Oh, we're not going to let them spend. We won't raise the debt ceiling." It's about the spending, you did. Biden's responsible for 3 percent of it.

These crimes are not happening on Biden's watch. The crime rate on Biden's watch is actually going down. The homicide rate is aberrant. And it was developed, during Trump, if you want to point to that. But I think that that's not the real direction.

The real direction is why. What does this say about us? It's a problem for all of us to solve, if there is an "Us," an "Us," meaning a collective will, to be better, better than just to sit and watch others fail.

Think about this. In a world of threats, and tyrants, and terror, you know what our biggest enemy is, in America? Our fellow Americans. The pandemic is dispositive proof of that.

The number of new COVID cases, going down. Deaths, did you know that deaths, this year, already surpassed 2020's? 352,000. Now, we're higher than that. And we have vaccines!

How can we be dying more after we have what keeps you from dying? We have what can save us. But far too many are still in the anti-vax camp, digesting misinformation, literally making themselves sick.

Listen to what happened when Republican Lindsey Graham tried to encourage some of his constituents to get the shot.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): If you haven't had the vaccine, you ought to think about getting it, because if you're my age--


GRAHAM: I didn't tell you to get it. You ought to think about it.


GRAHAM: 92 percent of the people in the hospitals in South Carolina are unvaccinated.




CUOMO: This is what happens, when you feed defiers of ignorance, and animus. They are now at a point, where facts don't match their feel? Forget it. Booed for suggesting to, think, about getting a vaccine.

Our politics reflect our national forced failure. This is where we are. And it is all preventable. Deaths from COVID? No-brainer. Deaths from guns? No-brainer. But not as simple. And we're not a law way. But we don't even try.

And the question is does anyone want better? You rush to "Yes," right? Good. I want to also. But then why are we forcing all this failure on ourselves? Why is everybody's pitch for power about how the country will be getting worse?

Let's discuss with a much better mind, Michael Smerconish.

First, let's start with what should be the easy answer. Do you believe there is the will to make things better in America?


I share your frustration. But my glass is half full. Call me naive, I still believe there's more that unites us in this country than divides us. You would just not know it, from looking at the political class.

But, Chris, I'm telling you anecdotally, and based on data, I believe there's more commonality, in this country, than you would otherwise suspect. And I can cite the data for you. I can point to the polling information.

Yes, some of the issues that you've identified seem insurmountable. If we could only dislodge the loudest voices, and take back from them, the real conversation, in this country, I remain convinced that we could actually get things done.

CUOMO: I guess we have to figure out what the definition of "We" is.

Because I'll give you, your point, all day long, Michael, in terms of, on the local level, communities, all across this country, galvanize. They come together. They help each other, in ways big and small. We see it all the time. But that doesn't translate to the national.

And the pandemic will stand the test of time in history, as one of the greatest, if not the greatest failure, in American history. You had the way to get better, and you intentionally made yourself sick. Our vaccination rate is the lowest among people, with the level of vaccine access that we have.

Why, Michael?

SMERCONISH: Well, I think partisanship has a lot to do with that.

I think like so many other issues, we suited up, in our usual armor, because we heard leaders, on opposite sides of the spectrum, telling us either to get vaccinated, or to be vax-hesitant. And unfortunately, too many followed the latter.

I look at this Facebook story, this week, as the microcosm of all that Chris Cuomo is describing. From a variety of different angles, Chris, we are rewarding conflict. Conflict sells. And agreement is cast aside.

It's all about eyes and ears, and mouse clicks, and getting people to hang in there, largely because, whoever is the spreader of information, so-called information, has a profit motive, to keep us going back for more. And we need to recognize that about ourselves before there can be any progress.

Look, you mentioned the gun issue. I mean, we're saddled with the Second Amendment, in this country. There are other institutional factors that are weighing against us. It's dark money, and it's closed primaries, and a half a dozen other things that I could rattle off.

But look at the data of Morris Fiorina, at Stanford, where he documents that in the last 40-plus years, there hasn't been a sea change, on issues or ideology, among Americans.

We haven't had some radical change in our position on the death penalty, or abortion, or the social safety net. We're pretty much where we were before. It's who now is orchestrating the conversation. And that's what upsets me the most.

CUOMO: Only thing I'd add to the gun conversation is we're not a law away from fixing it.

There is a culture of violence. There is a culture of homicide, in this country, that is unlike, yes, we have more guns than anywhere else. And somebody is going to pull out some random study that says, "You know, we're really not any more violent than everyone else."

We are, when it comes to the gun crime. And we are about the suicidal homicidal tendency. And it's about something in our culture that we need to discuss, and have better minds, figure it out.

But here's where I am. I'm an Ameri-CAN, brother. I'm pointing this out, because the question is, why aren't things getting better?


That was Biden's pitch, right? "I can heal. I can heal." We look at his poll numbers. He's upside down. He's got 45 percent approval at best, right? Different polls say different things, but he's underwater.

Why do you think he's underwater? And what does that mean?

SMERCONISH: So, let me address your first question.

I think the problem is, I believe that something you and I have in common is that we're both very passionate, although we're centrist or independent. I don't want to speak for you. You can speak for yourself. But we're a bit unusual in that regard.

And I think that while most of the country is vested somewhere, toward the center, center-left, center-right, doesn't really matter, you'd never know it, because these are the folks, who take a pass, on getting involved.

So, who puts up the yard sign? Who writes the check? Who rolls up their sleeve, to go get signatures for a candidate? It's far-left folks. And it's far-right folks. There needs to be engagement by those of us, who are somewhere in between, because we could have the votes.

Look at Gallup. Look at the data. More people identify as being Independent, in this country, than look at Republican or Democratic affiliation. So, we're here. There's strength in numbers, if only we would exercise it.

CUOMO: So, why do you think Biden's underwater?

SMERCONISH: I think Biden's underwater, because he doesn't have a victory he can point to.

I think that the Democrats blew it, by, at the end of last week, not giving him the $1.2 trillion victory, and instead, holding back and hoping that they can get a $3.5 trillion win, that I don't know that the majority of Americans are really supportive of.

I think, to go back, to, where I began, a large part of the country is wondering, how are we going to pay for all this? He should have taken the win.

So, beyond saying "I'm not Donald Trump. And I've restored some semblance of normality to this conversation," like, really, what can he point to?

We're out of Afghanistan. It came with a pretty significant cost, at the end. Nothing's gotten done on infrastructure. Nothing's gotten done on the new Voting Rights Act. There's a lot of things that he promised that he hasn't been able to deliver.

And frankly, he, better start herding cats, and getting these progressives to play ball, with moderates, or we're going to head into 2022, and it'll be even worse.

CUOMO: I think that you're right about his task, except I would flip the suggestion. I think you have to get the moderates, to play with the progressives, because Biden's with them on the spending. And the only thing I don't understand, Michael, is the spending is popular, Red and Blue, North and South, every place, every face. These programs, when you talk to people? That's what they're beating Joe Manchin over the head with.

You go to West Virginia. You ask the Republicans, Trump won by 40 points, "Do you need help with daycare? Do you want free community college? Do you want help with prescription drugs?" Everybody's "Yes," on the spending bill categories.

Why do you say you don't think people wants it? Price tag?

SMERCONISH: I want all those things. But I'm looking at different polling data than you are, if you're suggesting that the country is lock, stock, and barrel, on his side, in this. I don't think that's the case.

I think if you ask any American, "Do you want community college," or the other things that you've identified for free, the answer is going to be "Yes." But sooner or later we're going to have to pay the piper.

We haven't had a conversation in this country about debt since Simpson-Bowles, back in what was it, 2010?


SMERCONISH: On Obama's watch.

CUOMO: It'll never happen. Here's why. Politicians--

SMERCONISH: Chin up. Listen, my message for you - my message for you is, chin up, OK? Don't be so despondent. There is good news out there, if you just read these tea leaves.

CUOMO: I - yes, I don't agree. I'll tell you why.

I am an optimist. Otherwise, this would be my last show, OK? Because the reality ain't enough, Michael, I'll tell you that right now. And the life that comes with it sure as hell ain't worth it. What I'm saying is I believe that the effort is worth it, because there is better to come.

I'm saying right now, we need to ask ourselves why aren't things getting better? And I think the simple answer is because we're insistent on making them worse. And you have to look at it macro.

Right now, everything is about seeing someone else fail, in the larger kind of discussion of our politics. That's what's got to shift. The question is what will make it shift.

And that's why I brought you on. And then, you just beat me up for my disposition, which is OK. I'll take that. I had a good day.

SMERCONISH: Not at all. Listen? Listen? Just a final--

CUOMO: I caught one of the biggest fish, in my life, today, Michael. SMERCONISH: --a final word, if I might?

CUOMO: So, this is all gravy.

Last point to you, then I'll go.

SMERCONISH: OK. So, let's stop incentivizing not getting things done.


SMERCONISH: Let's start rewarding actual achievement.


SMERCONISH: And accomplishment.

CUOMO: Amen!

SMERCONISH: Old school. Get to Congress.

CUOMO: Amen!

SMERCONISH: Bide your time. Establish seniority. Become a committee chair, and pass something.


SMERCONISH: Not be - not be a superstar because you said something bombastic.


SMERCONISH: And raised a boatload of money.

CUOMO: Amen! Amen! Amen!


And I'll tell you what. If you get rid of these parties, and you have multiples, instead of just two, you'd have a different spectrum. You'd have more stakeholders. You'd have a better system. And you don't have to change the Constitution to do it.

Smerc, I love you. Thank you for keeping me in check. And thank you for checking in.

SMERCONISH: The fish - the fish was this big. It was this big, I'm told.

CUOMO: I will send you a picture of the fish. And you can decide for yourself how big it was. I'll tell you what, though. You both had the same haircut.

I'm coming back with more, on the brand-new information, on our watch, a new clue, in the manhunt for Brian Laundrie. Now, this matters. And there's also information out there that I don't think matters. We'll go through both, next.








CUOMO: All right, we do have breaking news, in the Gabby Petito case. A source close to the Laundrie family has told me that law enforcement says they found fresh traces of a campsite in the Reserve.


As you know, authorities are currently searching for Brian Laundrie, in the Carlton Reserve, in Venice, Florida.

An attorney, for the Laundrie family says the parents believe that's exactly where he's located. "They don't believe he's in another area. They believe he is in the preserve." Why did they believe that?

Now that goes to a huge aspect of speculation, and curiosity, about this story, about what the parents knew, when they knew it, and why they refused to communicate, with the Petito family, and why they won't speak to authorities about what may, or may not have happened, between their son and Gabby Petito.

CNN has reached out about this information, to North Port Police. They say the FBI is the lead on the case, and would be the ones to confirm new details. FBI has not gotten back to us.

Let's bring in Joey Jackson.

First of all, this - always good to have you, brother. This is the kind of thing they are looking for, right now, some trace that the kid is actually there. I have to believe that even if they did find remnants of a campsite, that is, very different than finding him.

But this is what the search is all about, right?


And so, obviously, you may find remnants of a campsite, but the question becomes whose campsite. It's a large world. And so, we can't automatically presume and assume that it's his.

I think investigators, in my view, Chris, are doing three separate things.

Number one, obviously, they are still really dealing with the autopsy issues, relating to, right, first point in issue, the victim, here, Gabby Petito. They're looking for information, as it relates to her, and what they found, what the autopsy shows, what the crime scene shows.

I think number two, Chris, they're presenting that information, before the grand jury.

And three, to circle back, to your initial point, with respect to finding Brian Laundrie, they want to find him. They need to find him, if they ought to bring him to justice. The issue is whether there's someone to find, or whether something, some other thing happened to him, which would be obviously meaning that he wasn't alive.

And so, a lot to ferret out, a lot for investigators to do, but we can't speculate because they were remnants of a campsite that they had any connection or nexus to Brian Laundrie, at all, at this point, without further information.

CUOMO: Right. I mean, look, I think it is a possible step for them. But I think we would know, if they were anywhere close, to finding him, in that location. And we haven't seen that.

Gabby Petito, we know that her body was found near a used campsite.

Now, that goes, once again, Joey, to this act of passion that this may well have been someone she was familiar with, because this is where she was staying. This is where she was. She wasn't found buried somewhere, or secreted somewhere else. And that goes also pointing to Brian Laundrie.

Now, a finger at him is also a finger at his family. And people can't get past that they wouldn't talk to the Petito family, when they were saying, "We don't know where the kids are," and that they won't talk to the police, about what might have happened. They say that has to mean that they knew something, and that something has to be bad.

Your take?

JACKSON: Well, you can't blame people, right?

Because let's talk about before we get into the niceties of the law, the human nature, which you and I have discussed. You talk about a relationship between two parties. That relationship was supposed to be predicated upon love, mutual respect, trust, protection.

And so, you're the one person, who was with their daughter. Would you not think or believe that you would have information that could help the police, to find her, if you believe she was alive, or to protect her, in some way?

And so, if you don't reveal that information, right, human nature would suggest, now let's get into the law of circumstantial evidence, consciousness of guilt, state of mind of the party, that, would all suggest that, "If you're not part of the solution, sir, you're part of the problem."

And so, you can't blame people for - I don't think they're jumping to a major conclusion. They're drawing an inference that if you didn't assist, it must mean you did something wrong.

And I would hasten to say that if I were prosecuting the case, that's exactly the inference, I would ask a jury to draw. And not there yet, but speaking with respect to how you prove this case, Chris, this is a circumstantial case, so far.

CUOMO: Right.

JACKSON: You go in a nature preserve--

CUOMO: Well most are, right? 97 percent or so, of your cases are going to be circumstantial.

But here's the last point I want us to go through, Joey.


CUOMO: Is that when you're talking about the family, "Oh, they changed the timeline. How did they get a day wrong?"

Look, my reporting hasn't changed. The lawyer for - the authorities - the lawyer is not the issue here. It's the timing. And yes, they were told not to talk. "So, they changed the timeline."

Look, if they - if the Feds believe they changed the timeline, by buying this kid, a day, you can't lie to the Feds. It's a crime. So, we would see something moved on them, real fast.


But my reporting stays the same. The night of the 13th, or the morning of the 14th, the federal authorities were told that the kid hadn't come home. What they did with that information, when they communicated it, at all, to the North Port Police, that's on the Feds, not on the family.

Do you believe the timeline change makes a difference? And do you believe the family is staring at any kind of legal exposure?

JACKSON: So Chris, it has to make a difference, right? Going back to the issue of human nature, which we lawyers always say, you know, this right very well, right? We argue common sense and good judgment.

There are certain events in your life, you cannot forget. Your son leaves. Do you not know what day of the week that would be? The day you got married. Do you not know what day that is? Your birthday? How about that? Do you know what day that might be?

And so, there are certain days, on a timeline that are so significant to us, as a matter of our human experience that when they're altered, it makes us go, "Was there some nefarious reason as to why?" And so, my take on that is that it's highly problematic, at best, and criminal, at worst.

Last point, Chris, and that's this. I'm not ready - well, I'm almost there, in terms of indicting the family. But I would have to think that they would--

CUOMO: On what?

JACKSON: Because?

CUOMO: On what - what charge?

JACKSON: When I say indicting them, I don't mean - when I say indicting them, I'm using that, I have to be careful, in a layman's term, right?

CUOMO: Oh? Yes.

JACKSON: My layman's term with respect to what they knew, what they didn't know, what they shared, what they could have shared, what they specifically did, and what they did not do.

CUOMO: But even if they know all of it?

JACKSON: And so, when I say it--

CUOMO: Even if they know everything, Joey, that's not a crime.

JACKSON: No, it's not a crime at all. But it would be a crime, in the event, let's talk about hindering prosecution. Let's talk about obstruction of justice. Let's talk about accessory after the fact.

What do those terms mean? In the event that you're--

CUOMO: Nothing, if you don't ever put charges--

JACKSON: --giving false information--

CUOMO: --against Brian Laundrie.

JACKSON: Well, listen? That will be contingent upon whether he's found, right?

CUOMO: That's right.

JACKSON: That's number one. But I think with regard to the family, in the event, you know, information and you're given faulty timelines, that's obstructing justice.

CUOMO: If it's a faulty timeline?

JACKSON: That's hindering prosecution.

CUOMO: They may have messed up their dates. Apparently, they did.

But if the authorities, the federal authorities - the cops were told, the local cops, on the 17th, and that got everybody upset, "Oh, he's been missing since Monday, and you don't tell us for all this time? Why? Why? Why?"

If the reporting stands that they told the federal authorities, the night of the 13th, or the morning of the 14th, that the kid was not coming home, what difference does it make, if they mess up the dates?

JACKSON: The difference is, is it, what we call, and not to get fancy, is it a material misrepresentation? Again, you have to establish that you--


JACKSON: --knowingly and willingly misrepresented.

CUOMO: That's what would trigger--

JACKSON: And you cannot just say.

CUOMO: --a federal offense of lying to the FBI.

JACKSON: You got to know certain dates, Chris.

CUOMO: I'm with you. I'm just saying, if they told the cops when they say they told - if they told the FBI, when they say they told the FBI, then I don't know how the FBI can be upset about this. But we'll see.

Joey Jackson, I appreciate you. You are a better mind.

Let's go to Idaho.

JACKSON: Not better than yours!


JACKSON: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: It's the first thing you've ever said that's false on this show!

What's going on in Idaho? There's a feud between the state's two top leaders. Its governor goes out of state for a short trip. The lieutenant governor swoops in, takes power, and takes action.

Now, it's a very interesting question. Did she have the right to do it? Maybe. But did she do something that was right?

We're going to bring in someone, who spoke with that lieutenant governor, today, next.









CUOMO: You want a window into how ugly it's getting, on the right side of the political aisle? The Republican governor of Idaho is accusing the state's lieutenant governor, also a Republican, of going rogue.

The Governor is Brad Little. He was visiting the border, with other Republicans. So, he leaves, right?

The Lieutenant Governor, Janice McGeachin, who's also running for his job, in the primary, next year, tried to make his COVID rules tougher, and even asked about possibly deploying the National Guard to the border.

She does have the power under the state constitution. It's not unlike this, in most states, if not all, the governor is out of the state. The lieutenant governor is the governor.

Of course, the governor says he's going to change it back, when he gets home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, your reaction to the actions by your lieutenant governor?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to - we got to go, Gov.

GOV. BRAD LITTLE (R-ID): All right, we have to--


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you just going to us - brief something about it?

LITTLE: I - we'll - we'll take care of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think it's political?

LITTLE: It could be political.


CUOMO: Any good flak - did you hear his guy there? "We have to go, Governor. We have to go." They never want the people in power to answer tough questions. That's like that person's job.

The Lieutenant Governor, was on the radio, this morning, saying it is her job. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LT. GOV. JANICE MCGEACHIN, (R) IDAHO: We are the second-in-command of the State of Idaho, that if anytime the Governor leaves the state or, God forbid, something were to happen to the Governor, and we pray for his safety and well-being every day, that I need, I would be, it's my obligation and duty to step forward and be the commander of the state.


CUOMO: McGeachin made those comments to our guest, Host of the "Kevin Miller" show, on KIDO Talk Radio.

Kevin, it's good to have you, brother.


CUOMO: So, what do you make of this situation? What's really happening here?

MILLER: Well, Chris, in Idaho, the Republican Party has a super- majority.

So, the Republican Party is so big that the primaries, the general election, as we've seen in other states, you have the governor, who's a pragmatist, but he's an establishment guy, going up against the Liberty folks, led by the Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin.

They don't like each other. It's getting personal. And it will continue to get personal.


And this happened in May, the first time the governor left the state. She signed an executive order, eliminating mask mandates, in the state. When he returned, he scolded her publicly, and rescinded the order.

And he just arrived back tonight, so he rescinded the order already.

CUOMO: McGeachin, not McGeachin, thank you for correcting me. Apologize.


CUOMO: So, in terms of what this says, about the state of play, of party politics, on the right side of the aisle, what's your take?

MILLER: Well, again, you have the governor, who has the business community.

And the Governor's a pragmatist. Governor Inslee, of Washington, Chris, has criticized him, said "The State of Idaho has not done enough." There was never a statewide mask mandate. There was never a vax mandate. And the governor is very shrewd about that, in how he handles things. On the other hand, you have people, like the lieutenant governor, who have said he hasn't done enough. He empowered health districts, during the COVID first phase, and deemed what was and what wasn't essential.

She has called, and others, in the Liberty movement, within the Republican Party, in Idaho, have called for the end of the state of emergency. He has not rescinded that. Because, Chris, as you know, there is big money, from the Feds, from COVID relief.

CUOMO: Yes. And if you don't do what they want you to do, you don't get the relief money, obviously.

All right, so Kevin, looking at you a little bit, you are a real conservative, OK? You are what I only used to know as a conservative. Now, it's changing. Liberty Party seems to me to be code, really, for fringe/Trump.

As a real conservative, or what it used to mean, to be conservative--

MILLER: Right.

CUOMO: --what is your take on this power struggle, and how it is being reflected, really, in the GOP, overall?

MILLER: Well, Chris, that's a great point. I'm a Buchanan conservative, from the old days. I'm a populist, a social conservative.

The Liberty movement is "Let's legalize marijuana. Let's eliminate aid from the federal government." It's very extreme. And they don't have a problem expressing that. There's been a lot of protest, as you've seen, mask mandates and the others.

And the Establishment, on the other hand, they have the money. They have the control, Chris. So what do they do? They try to squash it.

And we'll see that in the primary, where not only do you have the Lieutenant Governor McGeachin, but you have a familiar friend of yours, Ammon Bundy running, in Idaho as well.

CUOMO: I think he brought a dead lamb, on my show, once, to make a point about what was happening on his ranch. And we wound up getting into a fight about why the lamb had died, because obviously, he was keeping himself from being able to feed any of his animals.

But look, this is going to be an interesting laboratory for you guys about which way your party is going to go. Because, you don't hear this that often, but the way Idaho goes, maybe the way the GOP goes, on the national level, as well. So, we'll be watching.

Kevin, look forward to having you back. Good luck, brother. And thank you.

MILLER: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, here's a question that you only would be asking these days, given our politics.

Have you seen this former Trump aide?


CUOMO: That's Dan Scavino, of Twitter fame.

Congress has been looking for him for more than a week. Why? Because he is dodging, apparently, a subpoena. Why? Because he doesn't seem to want to talk about what he knows about January 6th.

Why do this, if there's nothing wrong about January 6th? Can we expect more of this? And what happens, if they don't comply?

Subpoena, "Sub poena" is Latin for "Under penalty."

A true BOLO! Next.









CUOMO: BOLO, Be On the Look-Out for Dan Scavino.

He was Trump's White House Deputy Chief of Staff. He's also missing. Congress apparently can't find Scavino, to physically serve him, with a subpoena, to come and testify.

He's one of four Trump aides subpoenaed by the select committee, investigating the January 6th attack, on the Capitol. That's in addition to 11 other Trump allies, who were involved in planning the rally that day.

Let's bring in Elliot Williams, to figure out where this goes.

The Elusive Scavino! We know what's happening here. This is not uncommon. The only way to quash the subpoena is going to be if the there's no true legislative purpose behind it. There is!

So, what do you think happens next?


The problem - if he has a basis - let's go into Fantasyland, for just a moment, and imagine that he has an argument that this is an illegitimate subpoena that it shouldn't happen, whatever, there's a way to challenge it.

You go to court. You don't just take your ball and your bat, and your documents, and go home. It is a disrespect, of the process, and of Congress. We've seen it, frankly, before, and we're seeing it again here.

CUOMO: But what do you think it suggests about what we're going to see, from Trump folk, in terms of how they regard this?

WILLIAMS: Yes, look, I think, Chris, if there's anything that President Trump will go down in history for, among many things, it's disrespect for Congress, as a co-equal branch of government. And we're seeing it yet again, with the subpoenas, with stalling and delaying and not showing up.

Now, look, Congress has ways of fighting this. They can, number one, file a lawsuit in civil court, to enforce compliance. Two, then go to the Attorney General, and seek criminal contempt charges. And there's also this old, more than a century year old process, of inherent contempt that Congress can go down.

They have tools, and they're trying to move quickly. And I wouldn't be shocked if they went down the road of pursuing one of them.

CUOMO: If they're trying to buy time?


CUOMO: Whom does time favor here?

WILLIAMS: It's really hard to say. It's clear that the committee really, really wants to move quickly, Chris.

Look, I think it's been about 14 years that I've been working in or around Congress. And I have never seen a congressional proceeding moving this quickly.

They have a deadline tomorrow for documents, testimony, next week. There's another deadline for documents, next week, testimony, the week after that, like they just doesn't move this quickly.


And clearly, Congress has a huge interest, this committee, in getting this done, and getting it wrapped up, by the spring, as sort of what we've all heard. Congress really needs to move.

So, perhaps they're penalized a little bit, or they suffer a little bit, if there is a delay. But I still think just based on the schedule, we've seen thus far, they're being very aggressive, and aren't going to let up on, if the President, and his allies, are going to not comply with these subpoenas.

CUOMO: A true BOLO! Be On the Look-Out for Dan Scavino!

Elliot Williams, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

WILLIAMS: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Despite January 6, and the incessant lies, support for Trump is only growing, within his party. You can call me Debbie Downer, like Smerc did. But the question is the same. Why can't anything get better?

Can the Wizard of Odds answer why? The negative seems to be growing. What's in the numbers? He doesn't know? He must! Next.









CUOMO: See, the Idaho story is interesting, the Republican and the Lieutenant - the Republican governor and lieutenant governor, fighting, because it's about the two different sides of this party.

The fringe, "Trump is here to stay," not because of Trump, but because of the animus that he played to. New polling shows support for him as the agent of that animus is only growing, even though he lost.

Republicans want him to retain a major political role, as well as to run again in 2024. You know, who tells me that? Harry Enten, here with the numbers.

Wiz? Prove it.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Here, I'll prove it for you.

Pew Research Center poll, just out today, "Should Trump remain a major political figure nationally?" What do we see? 67 percent now say that he should, among Republican leaners. That is up from 57 percent, back in January 2021. So, we're seeing that support grow.

Now, let's put this more in a historical comparison, right, and look at where Trump is right now, versus where he was four years ago, when he was president, and then also compare it to where he was, just as he was launching. This is Trump, as the first choice, in a GOP primary. A majority - he is the majority choice, for first choice, 53 percent. That's a little bit lower than it was in October of 2017, when he had the incumbency advantage.

But he starts out at a much higher level than he did, when he launched his first bid, when he was just at 3 percent. It seems just so long ago.

CUOMO: Yes. I mean, I don't even think the June thing works anymore. I mean, he's been president since then.

So, how does this support around him, compare to presidents, when they lost an election?

ENTEN: Yes, I love this. Because normally, when you lose an election?

CUOMO: You're a loser!

ENTEN: You're a loser! You're a loser! But here's the thing. He's a winner in their mind.

Look, he's in first place. Compare that to H.W. Bush, in the first polls, after the '92 race, for the 1996 primary, he was in fourth. Carter was in third, after '80. And then, look at that, even Ford was only in second place. And that was a very, very tight contest. So, this is historically very, very unusual.

And I know what's your next question in your mind might be. "Why is that?" Because remember, in the Republicans' minds, he's not a loser. They think 2020 wrongly was fraudulently decided.

So, all of a sudden, if you don't think that the last election was legitimate, why not put Trump back in front? And the fact is that, at least at this point, in our own CNN polling, a bare majority believe he actually has the best chance of beating the Dems. And that number matches very nicely with that 53 percent, we saw, on the last slide.

CUOMO: So, the reason that I did the Idaho story isn't just that I want Kevin Miller's beard, but because what will win the soul of that party. The fringe-Trumper? Or will the real conservatives?

So, on the national level, you look at a Cheney, you look at a Romney. I won't include Kinzinger in there yet, because he's a little green.

But what do you think?

ENTEN: I mean Trump is the message that wins right now. And the fact is, if you criticize Donald Trump, you're not welcomed in the Republican Party.

In fact, if you look at the polls, what do, you see, in terms of should GOP - "Should the GOP be accepting of elected officials who critique Trump?" Just 36 percent of Republicans say they should be very or somewhat accepting. The clear majority, 63 percent, say "Not too," or "Not at all accepting." And look at that. That "Not too" or "Not at all accepting" has grown since March of 2021.

So, what we've seen actually, during the Biden administration, is that support for Trump has grown, and support for basically kicking those folks, out of the party, who critique him, has also grown.

CUOMO: So, what we know is, at this point, one of the best arguments, for Biden, in the primary was, "None of you people can talk to the people, who are angry, and frustrated, and disaffected, and who believe this country is being taken away, from them, personally, and collectively. I can."

It doesn't seem that he's been able to build that bridge thus far.

ENTEN: No, he hasn't been able to build that bridge, so far. I mean, the fact is, we know that Joe Biden's approval rating is at the lowest point that it's been in his presidency. We know that Trump's support, within the GOP, is only growing.

We know that among Independents now that Joe Biden's net approval rating, approval minus disapproval, is now at the lowest point, in his presidency, minus about 20 points. That's about equivalent to where Trump was at this point with Independents.

So, the idea that Joe Biden is the answer, at least at this point, in the minds of plenty of voters, who might have been not exactly in love with Donald Trump, but were skeptical of the Democratic Party, the answer so far is "Not really, no."

CUOMO: All right, so now let's really test your Wizard credentials.


CUOMO: What do you see as what could change the state of play, both for a Biden, and for whomever, his opponent is, even Trump?


CUOMO: What would be two big events to look for?


ENTEN: I think, number one, we know that the vast majority of voters, right now, don't believe that Joe Biden has accomplished very much.

So, I'm going to be watching both those pieces of legislation being negotiated, right now, in the United States House and Senate, both the $1.2 trillion bill, the infrastructure bill, and the $3.5 trillion, the large social platforms bill, seeing if either one of those can get passed.

If they can, now, all of a sudden, you think, "Oh, wait a minute. Joe Biden can actually do something." The other thing I'll be looking at, look, it's the same thing we've been looking at the last two years. That is the state of the economy and COVID. If both of those get better, I think Biden's approval could go up.

CUOMO: Harry Enten, the Wiz, well done, and thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: We're going to take a break. When we come back, the handoff!


CUOMO: I think Debbie Downer really goes to saying "Everything is bad." That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying, we need to start asking, "Why aren't things getting better?"

"DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now.


CUOMO: With its big star, D. Lemon.

LEMON: I think there are a lot of things that are getting better. I saw that Debbie Downer, I was like, "Oh, the Smerc is going - Smerconish is going after Chris."

I understand. And look, I see both sides. I know. You know.