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A Record Number Of Americans Are Quitting Their Jobs; "Star Trek" Legend William Shatner Becomes Oldest Person Ever In Space; Bannon's Lawyer Says He Won't Provide Testimony Or Documents Until Executive Privilege Claim Resolved. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 13, 2021 - 21:00   ET






And I think it's going to be a long, long time. And I think it's going to be a long, long time. And I think it's going to be long, long time.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Saturn Awards, 1978. What can I say?

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Strong cigarette game he had in that, where he held it, looking at it? Looking at it is key.

COOPER: And there are a lot of looking at it.

CUOMO: And then--

COOPER: There are a lot of looking there.

CUOMO: --talking out.

COOPER: He's got a new spoken-word album out.

CUOMO: Strong!

COOPER: Just in case you didn't know.

CUOMO: He is on the show, with me, tomorrow night. Is there any song that you would like to have him speak?

COOPER: Well, he has a - he has a new album out, so he very well might want to speak something of that. CUOMO: But I want to give him one that he doesn't have on his album.

COOPER: Well try "Rocket Man" again.

CUOMO: That's very original, Coop. Thank you very much.


CUOMO: I'm trying to give him something, and we want to throw him a little bit, you know?


CUOMO: He's going to be - he's going to be riding high, no pun intended, right, because he just came down from space?

COOPER: The "Tiny Dancer." How about "Tiny Dancer?"

CUOMO: There's my man!

COOPER: There you go.

CUOMO: There's my man! Thank you very much. Also my nickname in high school!

All right, I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Tonight, the biggest pandemic problem no one has really talked about until now.





REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The supply chain issue.


CUOMO: The supply chain, what is it? The issue is like a blob from those early sci-fi movies, this mysterious mass of manpower, motivation, and business maneuvers that is moving slowly, smothering our economy, and more.

This video of cargo ships in the water of L.A. port, they're not just sitting. They are stranded.


CUOMO: Why? No one to receive, no one to upload, and no one to export.

Do I sound like Shatner right now? Back to news. This is the mark of the blob. And that's why the man, who is most threatened by the blob, President Biden, went there to take it on.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The Port of Los Angeles announced today that it's going to be - begin operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

This follows the Port of Long Beach's commitment to 24/7 that it announced just weeks ago.

24/7 system.


CUOMO: L.A. and Long Beach are key factors in this, because they control about 40 percent of all the shipping of American goods.

But now, listen, why am I calling it the "Blob?" It's not to be funny, certainly. This is a nebulous thing.

We know that there are a combination of economic indicators that are conspiring to create a slowdown. But it depends on where, and what, to get you to a "Why." So, let's deal with what we know and what the factors are, and what people think the fix may be.

But I'll tell you this now. This is something that is going to haunt us through the holidays. Remember that. This will only get worse between now and the holidays. So, if you want to shop for Christmas, I would do it sooner rather than later.

40 percent of all the shipping containers that come into this country come in through those two ports. That's why they're doing this. Get another 60 hours of operation, just this year. Hopefully, that will help with the backlog of more than 50 ships that are waiting to dock.

But when we talk about the blob, or the supply chain, there are many links. And you know what they say about chains, right? Only as strong as the weakest link. Forecasts for home heating just came out. Why are they going up? Because everything will that needs to be produced or transported.

Just like it already does, to fill up your car, heating oil's expensive. Propane is going to be expensive. Gas is expensive. I went to two different gas stations today. Both were changing their price numbers, as I drove in.

Why? Look, feeding your family, same thing, you're going to see food costs go up.

Not having the people and equipment to make and move product affects everything. That's why everything seems to cost more, why it's harder to take care of your family. So, let's deal with the "Why?" Why are we short labor and equipment? Well, the equipment is the easier part of the analysis. Why? Because it's about making, and people make, right?

You have to make the parts. So, you're going to hear about a lot of people, waiting on parts, OK? Whole product, you'll hear that also. But look for parts. You're going to hear about parts, cars, different, the trucks that are used for long-haul supply.


Even when we have the workers, a lot of the equipment is down. Why? Because they can't fix it. And without people working, things don't get made, and the things needed to take things, to make them better, they don't get made. Double delay!

Apple announcing production shorts on the new iPhone, why? Can't get them made! So, less product. And then, anything that does get made doesn't get where it needs to be, certainly not fast. Why? You don't have the people, to load, process and transport.

Now, the next "Why," why is that true what it is? Why are we short so many workers? One answer. People are quitting their jobs, like never before. This is a stat that you haven't heard much of at all, I would expect, 4.3 million. That's how many people quit their job in just August.

So, why did they quit? "Vaccine mandates!" No. It's mostly just a few thousand. Surprising, right, for all the talk it gets? That's politics, not reality.

Now, 4.3 million, it's huge, unusual, why? People normally only quit, when things are really good. They have more options, more chances for better pay, they're controlling the market. But that's not the case. Unemployment is still high.

For industry after industry, the story is they can't find enough workers. "Well, that's because everybody stayed home because they're getting fat on those government checks." Unlikely. Why? They stopped months ago. And they brought most people to minimum wage. I mean, it's hardly Easy Street, it's hardly retirement money.

We learn more about the "Why," when we go from how many are gone to who they are. We're talking mostly about people who work in food, retail and health care. The last one, we're talking 524,000, since February.

Now, one of the side notes, in this big debate, about letting insurance companies negotiate directly with Big Pharma? Keep your eye on Big Pharma and health care's labor numbers.

Because if they don't get, what they want, they're going to start talking about sweating employees, laying people off. They're already dealing with the shortage. But they are one of the biggest employers in the United States. And they're going to have tremendous leverage. Keep that in mind. Now, let's dig deeper, and you'll see how it's all connected. You take the truck drivers we need, to get those packages, from the ships, to your house. Burnout. Huge problem for years. We were 60,000 drivers short before COVID. That number could swell to 100,000, in less than two years.

Across the spectrum, when you look at why people are quitting, yes, money plays a role. But the far bigger reasons are people don't feel valued. Something may have changed during COVID. Either they were overworked, to the point, where they couldn't bear it, or they had time to think, and process, what mattered to them.

This frustration, this unease, with the status quo, is something I hear a lot from you guys. It's a feeling we've seen amplified, for profit, by right-wing media, and companies like Facebook. The current Republican Party uses those feelings to fuel its entire reason for existence.

It's why you see so many, on the Right, playing up fears about inflation. They want to be the agent of your anger, at circumstances that seem beyond your control, fears that seem to hit home, when you see Joe Biden's numbers, on the economy.

That's why this moment, what we do right now, is critical. Almost 80 percent of adults in this country are vaccinated. Shots for kids may be coming soon. Possibly a pill, so if you get sick, you don't get that sick.

Do we capitalize on these added ingredients? Will that drive the next chapter of pandemic recovery? And if we don't get it right, will it drive Chapter 7 and 11 bankruptcy cases that we will see all over this country?

Few know the stakes better than economist and "New York Times" Columnist, Paul Krugman.

Paul, good to have you.


CUOMO: The analysis at the top, good enough?

KRUGMAN: I think the one thing I would say is we talk about a slowdown. It's not actually the case that less stuff is getting through to people.

You look at consumption of consumer durables, sorry, economists' jargon here, but stuff like refrigerators, buy exercise machines, whatever, that's actually way up from before the pandemic. The problem is that people want to buy so much stuff that the supply chain can't handle it.

So, this is - a lot of this is because people were not able to do, still in many ways, are not able to do what they were doing before. And so, they've turned to things to take the place. You can't go to the gym, so you buy some exercise equipment. You can't eat out, so you remodel your kitchen. And that has - is what's placed the strain on the system.


It's not that we've fallen short of the deliveries, we were achieving before. It's that people are trying to buy more stuff, because they're still scared of the virus, and that is what's straining the system, to the brink.

CUOMO: So, how do you factor in the attrition, what we've seen in people quitting their jobs, and not wanting to return to the workforce?



KRUGMAN: That's a different - I mean, it's all - it's all pandemic- related. And - but in a way they - that's really hitting some of those various services that people weren't able to consume, and now they're starting to go back to them. But the restaurants can't hire.

And then I think, it's because people, you know, the pandemic, led a lot of people to sort of look at what - look at their life. "What am I doing with myself? I really hate my job. Do I really need to go back to it?" That's - that, I think is the best way to think of it.

CUOMO: Where does it go from here?

KRUGMAN: Well, to some extent, if the vaccinations, the Delta wave seems to be receding, if vaccinations continue to expand, and people start to return to normal life, some of that pressure, people won't feel as, you know, people won't feel the need to buy things, to replace the experiences they can no longer have. That will take some of the pressure off.

Places, which are really short of workers, will raise wages. That's supply and demand. And they will eventually raise the wages enough, so that people will come in. We may end up with several million fewer people working than we had before, because they've decided they actually don't need or want to do those jobs, and will come to live with it.

But it's - this has been such a shock to everything, to the whole psychology of work, to the whole structure of things, we buy, that we're having a hard time adjusting to it, but it's not permanent. In the end, we have a resilient economy. It's just a little overwhelmed at the moment.

CUOMO: What does it mean for the Biden agenda? How important is this?

KRUGMAN: That's really hard to say. I mean, right now, the Biden agenda, legislatively is, is not being held up by supply chain problems. It's being held up by a little fraction of his party. But a lot of it depends really on what happens in the next year or so. I mean, if, these things are alleviated, then, by this time next year, we could be looking at a really clear economic boom.

And people finally having, you know, Biden thought we'd have a summer of joy. And that didn't happen. But maybe we'll be having a spring of joy, next year, and people would be feeling good.

That's what really what - where we are. It's all about whether - this thing will get resolved. Whether it will get resolved enough to bring Biden's popularity up to the point, where Democrats can hold on in the midterms? God knows.

CUOMO: What do you think happens, if this demand creates a price spike, and you start to get inflation? What would that do, in the near-term, to his fate?

KRUGMAN: Well, that's an interesting question. My guess is that it will hurt some. But, I think, mostly people - it's more a question of how people are feeling about life, and if life is starting to get some of its appeal back.

I mean, jobs, it's a good job market. Workers are quitting, in part, because they feel that it's safe to quit. And that's actually a good sign. And we're not in anything like the kind of real livelihood- destroying inflation that we had in the 70s. And I don't think we're likely to get there.

There is a question about whether we, you know - we could talk about that. But the question is really whether this spooks the Federal Reserve, which raises interest rates too soon, or, just in general, whether - whether this - the kinks in our system may actually get worked out, in time, to help Biden politically.

CUOMO: Well, Moody's Analytics reported, Monday, supply chain disruptions, quote, "Will get worse before they get better." Several analysts say this will last until late 2022 or mid-2023.

KRUGMAN: I mean, by all means, let's take these things seriously, and try to plan for it. But did any of these analysts see this coming? I think there are a lot of - there's a lot of tendency, to extrapolate, from where we are right now. And I just find it hard.

And that's sort of abstract level to believe that a modern economy, with all the resources ours has, and all of the ingenuity that ours has, is going to be unable to, to fix these, what are fundamentally short-term problems for that long.

I mean, it is true. There's a kind of a, you know, I think if - I keep looking at this supply chain stuff, I keep on thinking about the old children's song, "There's a hole in the bucket." You can't fix this, because you can't fix that, because you can't fix that, and so on down the line. And there is an aspect of that.

[21:15:00] But in the end, really, a whole year of, or more than a year of, from here, of not being able to get this stuff, at least somewhat under control, is hard to believe.

CUOMO: Well, I'll tell you what. I think part of the confusion is going to be enlightening, because the corporate sector hasn't had to think about how to please workers, for a long time.


CUOMO: And I'm hoping that this creates a leverage shift, where these people have choice, these workers. They have leverage.

And they have to be addressed, as people, who matter, as not something to mitigate, and keep as a cost point, as low as possible, but to treat with the respect that many workers in this country crave.

All right, Paul, I got to jump up. But I'd love to have you back. And I'd love to have you on, on a regular basis. You're a man in high demand! But the economy is going to be a big story for the next 12 months, 16 months. It'd be great to have you.

KRUGMAN: Thanks a lot. Take care.

CUOMO: All right, take care, and thank you.

Now, those cargo ships that are stalled off the shore are all headed in the same direction. Segue. Why can't the Democrats? They face an existential threat from a party that has decided it's OK to lie, and devastate a democracy, in order to win. Do they get that?

One of the top progressives on Capitol Hill, he's getting fed up too. What does he think about the blob that is threatening our economy? What does he think about the blob that is his party right now? Next.









CUOMO: Supply chain crisis will get worse, before it gets better, because it's also global. And we're going to have to deal with inadequacies across. The blob is not salt-averse. It'll go across the ocean.

And we are not helping ourselves with what's happening in Congress. Listen to this.


BUTTIGIEG: We are relying on supply chains that were built generations ago. It's one of the reasons why, this entire year, we have been talking about, and working on infrastructure, and are eager to see Congress act, to get this infrastructure deal through.


CUOMO: So, aspects of the bill would make a difference, in terms of assisting the supply chain, which is an issue, if not dire, but of major significance, to the midterm elections, and to Biden's reelection. And yet, the Democrats are still slow-walking it.

We've told you how transformative, passing just a piece of the proposed bills, could be to American life. And yet, Democrats remain mired. Is it robust debate in the battle of ideas that Democrat voters want? Or is it something less than that?

Yes, the main holdup, it's not about the party. It's not endemic. It's individual. Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, some people in the House. But even they aren't - they're on the same page with each other. Nobody knows what's going on with Sinema.

So, what does that mean for Democrats down the line? And are they getting anywhere? Top progressive congressman, Ro Khanna, joins me now.

It's good to have you.

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Good to be back on.

CUOMO: I want to talk about what you just heard from Paul, what it means.

But just on the existential level, the idea that your opponents, right, in a binary system, it's half, are all in, on saying you guys cheated the last time. They are changing the laws, in states, to allow you to not cheat this time. And they are going to do everything they can, to find out ways, to change elections that they lose, in the midterms.

Do you believe that your party is aware of the threat and preparing for the same?

KHANNA: Yes, we are. And that's why it's not just, Chris, about the January 6 commission. We not only have to hold Trump accountable and defeat Trump. We have to address the conditions that led to the rise of Trumpism.

And that is the systematic deindustrialization in this country. That is the systematic disrespect of the working-class. That is the lack of pride and hope that so many millions of Americans had.

And that's what the President's agenda, the "Build Back" agenda, is all about. It's about restoring hope and dignity, in this country, so that Trump's xenophobia doesn't resonate, so we don't have the conditions that gave us Donald Trump.

CUOMO: So, where does it stand, in this state of play? Is it checking all the boxes, about how much money for each? Or is it about making choices about which aspects programmatically, you will fully fund?

KHANNA: It's about making choices. And it's about following this president's lead. Every member of Congress, including me, the progressives, we've had our say. It's time that we unify behind this president. He has a compromise. Let's get behind it. Let's get it done. We need to deliver. And now is the time for us to do that.

CUOMO: Is it all of the boxes checked, and how much money for each? Or are you going to leave some programs out to fully fund others?

KHANNA: I rather we do all of the President's vision that we give people childcare, so they can get back to work, that we make sure that every kid can have preschool, that we make sure our seniors can afford to go to a dentist, or get eyeglasses.

But if this president says, "Look, we have to have certain compromises, we have to be flexible, we have to realize that this will be a transformational agenda," let's get it done.

One thing, Chris, I think we have to ask a very threshold question. Are we better off today than we were one year ago?

Let's just remember one year ago where we were. We had no control over this pandemic. People couldn't go to football games. We had unemployment at 7 percent.

Now we have 200 million Americans vaccinated. We have this pandemic under control. It's going to get better after Delta. We have unemployment at 5 percent, and in the right direction. People are back at football games.

It's not perfect. There've been mistakes. But we're a year into it. And this president has made life better.


CUOMO: Do you have any better idea about what it takes to get your two difficult senators to be less difficult?

KHANNA: I think we just have to continue to say "We're flexible. We're behind this president," and isolate them and say, "Why are you not for compromise? Tell us what you want." And what you're hearing from progressives, what you're hearing from friends, they all--

CUOMO: You still don't know what they want, really?

KHANNA: I don't know what Senator Sinema wants. And she says she only tells the White House that. I mean, she doesn't tell the Speaker. She doesn't--

CUOMO: Do they then tell you? I mean, what is going on here, Ro? How can it be that you guys don't know, what each other, wants?

KHANNA: The President knows. And that's why the President needs to make the deal. And we need to get behind him. I think if he gets Senator Manchin, and others, on board, and then we isolate it to one senator, Senator Sinema, I think we will get it done.

And what we have to do is show flexibility and a trust in his judgment. He went across this country. He heard the pain of the working-class. He has a vision to make life better. We need to deliver. And we'll be proud, once we deliver these two bills. I'm confident we will.

CUOMO: Speaking of confidence, last question, Pelosi set the date, to have that first vote. You and I discussed it a couple of different times. I didn't understand it. It didn't work out well.

Now she's saying she wants it by the 31st. Again, why is she creating a deadline, when you guys are not ready for one?

KHANNA: Chris, because if you don't have a deadline in Washington, nothing happens. Now, we both know, you don't always meet the deadline. But you have to have a deadline, to have any possibility, of getting something done.

I am confident that we're going to get this done. Whether it happens exactly on this deadline or not? I don't know. But we will deliver this. And if there weren't for that deadline, we wouldn't have progress.

CUOMO: Congressman Ro Khanna, appreciate the straight talk.

KHANNA: Appreciate it.

CUOMO: Good luck in doing the work of the people.

KHANNA: Thank you. Great conversation with Krugman! You should have him on all the time.

CUOMO: That guy is smart, huh? That guy is smart.

KHANNA: He really is.

CUOMO: I need him. Lifts up my I.Q.!

All right, Captain Kirk. He's done it. He went to space, 90-years-old, oldest person to be in space, an iconic space voyager, TVs, movies, decades, right, "Star Trek."

The experience was something that even he had a hard time putting into words. He had some reaction! And, I think, it's probably the closest to what it would feel like, for us, to have this experience, even though he's a big star.

Let's see it, next.









CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK, FICTIONAL CHARACTER PLAYED BY WILLIAM SHATNER, "STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES": They used to say if man could fly, he'd have wings. But he did fly. He discovered he had to.

Risk. Risk is our business. That's what this starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her.


CUOMO: Deep, for more than half a century, William Shatner has been inextricably tied to space, as the iconic Captain, of the Starship Enterprise, on the most legendary sci-fi TV series of all time, "Star Trek."

Why am I laughing? Because he's funny, that's why, and it's his attitude towards life, and making fun of himself, and making fun of what stresses people out.

He went into space and he had a ball at age 90. He got to finally make a real trek, to the stars, or close enough. Boldly going, where no man or woman, his age, has gone before, the edge of space, this was a voyage to watch.

A show in the sky, over a West Texas desert, Shatner blasting off, with three others on board, a New Shepard spacecraft, developed by Blue Origin, a rocket company, of course, owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, the same craft that took Bezos himself, to space, this summer.

So, they went 65 miles up, at more than 2,000 miles an hour, OK? And the most captivating show ended up being on the ground after. Why? Because of Shatner's completely authentic human, just sense of being overwhelmed, by what he just experienced.

It's worth a watch.


WILLIAM SHATNER, "STAR TREK" ACTOR: So moving to me. This experience is something unbelievable. It was so moving to me. This experience is something unbelievable. You see, yes, you know, weightless, my stomach went up. This is so weird but not as weird as the covering of blue. This is what I've never experienced. Oh, it's one thing to say, "Oh, the sky, and the thing, and then fragile," it's all true. But what isn't true, what - what is unknown until you do it is--


SHATNER: There's this pure. There's this soft blue. Look at the beauty of that color. And it's so thin. And you're through it in an instant. It's what a - how thick is it? Do we know?


SHATNER: Is it a mile, two miles?

BEZOS: No, it's - it depends on how you measure, because it thins out. But maybe 50 miles, not even.

SHATNER: But you're going--


SHATNER: --2,000 miles an hour. So you're through 50 miles at whatever the mathematics is--

BEZOS: Fast, yes, really fast.

SHATNER: --you know it's like a beat and a beat. And suddenly, you're through the blue.

BEZOS: And then it's black.

SHATNER: And you're into black.

What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine. I'm so filled with emotion about what just happened. I just - it's extraordinary, extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope that I can maintain what I feel now. I don't want to lose it.


It's so - so much larger than - than me and life. And it hasn't got anything to do with the little green and the blue orb, and the - it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the enormity, and the quickness, and the suddenness of life and death, and the - oh, my god.

BEZOS: It's so beautiful!

SHATNER: Beautiful, yes, beautiful in its way, but.

BEZOS: No, I mean your words.

SHATNER: Oh, my words!

BEZOS: It's just amazing.

SHATNER: I don't know. I can't even begin to express.

The vulnerability of everything, it's so small. This air, which is keeping us alive, is thinner than your skin. It's a - it's a sliver. It's immeasurably small, when you think, in terms of the - of the universe.

BEZOS: And you shoot through - what's your say about shooting through it fast?

SHATNER: So quickly! 50 miles.

BEZOS: And then you're just in blackness.

SHATNER: And you're in death!


SHATNER: The moment--

BEZOS: This is life.

SHATNER: This is life. And that's death. And it's in - in an instant, you go "Wow, that's death." That's what I saw.

BEZOS: That's amazing. That's amazing. And wow!

SHATNER: I am - I am overwhelmed.


CUOMO: Right? I mean, it's just so real. And it's just it's so interesting on so many levels, right?

He's an actor, but he's not acting. This is completely authentic off from somebody, who spent so many years, trying to make us believe that he understood what it was to be in space, when he never had any idea. But he does now.

So, I'm going to give him some time to process. And I have found that when somebody goes through something like this, that really was shaping, was a shaping experience, for him, it'll be interesting to give him a moment, and then talk to him about it, right?

So, tomorrow, we have the Captain. He's going to be live on the program. Now that he had a chance to process, what does it mean to him? What does he want it to mean to us? How did it change him?

Because at 90-years-old, with all the life he's had, all the experiences, all the fame, all the iterations of his existence, the chapters, why did this one mean so much to him? And what is the lesson in that, for the rest of us?

I can't wait to have the conversation. Hopefully, you'll have it with me. Now, we'll bring him on, tomorrow night, and it'll be fun. And I want to kind of tee us up for that. Let's bring in a real astronaut, former NASA astronaut, Massimino, one of mine, Italian, about what does it mean to him, to see how overwhelmed Shatner is, and by what? Are those the things that a real astronaut still pays attention to? Next.









CUOMO: Shatner set a new record as the oldest person, to reach space, at age 90. It was clear though, the real moment, for him, was back on Earth, when he got to process it, and express it. He's deeply, deeply moved in a very human and authentic way.

Let's get some perspective. What did that reaction mean to somebody, who's like a real astronaut? NASA astronaut, Mike Massimino.

It's good to see you, brother.


CUOMO: So, what is that like for you, to listen to a Shatner? Is it like, being a pro-guy, listening to somebody, who's it's their first time, or, what do you get from him?

MASSIMINO: I thought it was magical, Chris. It was my favorite moment, from the day as well, is hearing his expression of what he saw, what he felt. I felt very similar. I think most astronauts do.

As professional astronauts though, we're there to do a job, and repair things, and fix stuff, and explore, and so on. But we also get that emotional part of it, the experience of being there.

I kept mine in check, I think, my emotions. And even when I got on the ground, and it hit me, Chris, when I got back to crew quarters, after we've got medically checked out, had a short press conference, and I got back to my room, and crew quarters.

I was thinking about this today. I got back to that room. It was the same room that I had left that morning, two weeks earlier that I left for - left the planet. And everything looked the same. But I had changed so much.

And I thought about the beauty I had seen, during my mission, and I broke down and started crying. All that emotion just was built up inside of me for two weeks, and it just let itself out. And I had a long good cry, got myself together, put on my jeans, and - my crew members, my crew mates, for lunch. That's the way it went for me.

But that emotion of seeing our planet, it's a - it's a paradise. I thought I was looking into heaven.

He also mentioned the blackness that you see there. You have a blue sky. But the stars are always out. We just can't see them because the atmosphere is in the way.

You get above that, you see the stars in a black sky, you see the sun in a black sky. And you look out there, and you realize that there's no other option for us. We've checked out the - we've checked out the neighborhood.

You have darkness in one direction. And in the other direction, you see our beautiful planet, with the thin atmosphere. And you realize we have to make this planet work. It's beautiful. And it's also very fragile. And I thought he expressed it very well.

CUOMO: Are you OK, with people going on these spaceflights?

MASSIMINO: Yes, I think it's great. I have--

CUOMO: Because some people, in your field are like, "Leave it to the pros. This is like tourism."

What do you think?

MASSIMINO: I think that anyone, who can go and get that perspective, is worthwhile. I think it makes the world a better place. I think we also have different perspectives and different ways of expressing what we've seen.


He went up there, William Shatner went up there, as a professional actor, a person who can express his feelings, as a 90-year-old person that's lived on our planet for a long time, and had a chance to view our planet from space, and what it's like up there, even just for a few minutes, and he can come back, and explain it to us, and get us excited, and make a difference, in our lives, by hearing what he saw.

And I look forward to what he's going to tell you tomorrow night too.


MASSIMINO: So, I think that that makes our world a better place. And so, it doesn't just have to be professional astronauts.

And I think the great thing about the technology we have now and the automation that makes the training time smaller, so you don't need to train, for years, like I did, to get an experience, in space, is wonderful.

And hopefully, the reusability will help bring the cost down, so more and more people can experience this.

CUOMO: Well, Mike, shoot me a message about what you want to - want me to ask, from your perspective--


CUOMO: --of Captain Kirk, tomorrow night.


CUOMO: And look, thank you for your service to the country. And it is an added source of pride, one Italian American to another. You make us proud.


CUOMO: Be well.

MASSIMINO: Thanks buddy.

CUOMO: And I'll talk to you soon.

MASSIMINO: Great seeing you again, thanks.

CUOMO: Always, always.

Big news on the January 6 front, the House Select Committee, investigating the Capitol attack, just subpoenaed a central figure, in Trump's coup attempt, someone who may have been trying to help him overturn the election.

The panel spoke, for hours, today, to another Trump DOJ official, this one, who didn't cave to pressure, put on him, by Trump.

What does it all lead? Next.









CUOMO: All right, this is just in. Steve Bannon's attorney has issued a new response, to the January 6 committee.

In a written letter, he states that President Trump's former chief strategist will not be testifying, will not be providing documents, unless the executive privilege or until the executive privilege claim of Trump is dealt with.

The letter claims, quote, "That is an issue between the Committee and President Trump's counsel and Mr. Bannon is not required to respond at this time."

Now, I would argue to you that this is not legally sufficient that he does have to respond, because there is no executive privilege.

This comes with a fresh subpoena, issued for Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark. He's accused of helping Trump push the "Big lie," within the agency, ahead of the insurrection.

Let's discuss this with someone who actually knows the answers, Norm Eisen.

It's good to have you again.


CUOMO: Am I wrong? I don't - do you get to say, "Hey, listen, until you figure out this issue, we're not going to comply."

You don't have the right to withhold your response to a legal subpoena, because you think there's an existing legal issue.

EISEN: You're absolutely right. Of course, Mr. Bannon doesn't get to make up the law, as he goes along. This is a legally-binding subpoena. He needs to show up. Provide the documents. Provide his testimony.

And, Chris, if you look closely at that letter, it says over and over again, "Because the President is exercising executive privilege." Well, guess what, Chris?


EISEN: Donald Trump isn't the president anymore.

CUOMO: Right.

EISEN: He doesn't get to decide because he sends a letter.

We know the Biden administration has been waiving executive privilege, letting witnesses testify, ordering documents to produce. Bannon doesn't get to invent his own law.

CUOMO: Now, Jeffrey Clark is the most interesting character, in all of this, to me. The DOJ official, who helped assert lies, about election fraud, and really tried to architect a way, around legitimizing the election, how significant to you, and what do you expect of his response?

EISEN: Clark is a very significant figure. He was the most senior person, inside the Trump Justice Department, who was pushing for Trump's coup, under cover of law, making outlandish statements. He circulated a letter.

Chris? Thank goodness that his superiors, Mr. Donoghue, and Mr. Rosen did not go for it. They rejected it out of hand with the absurd notions that there was improprieties in Georgia, and that the Georgia legislature should come in, and overturn a lawful election.

Clark is a key figure. And he also needs to answer that subpoena.

CUOMO: You believe that the meeting with the Acting A.G., under Trump, Jeffrey Rosen, you believe that what came out of it is a sign that the committee is winning. Why?

EISEN: Chris, there's been a lot of focus on the coming contempt, likely criminal contempt, against those, who aren't cooperating, but there's much more cooperation that's happening.

You have Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Rosen, Mr. Clark's bosses, who've gone in, to testify, first to the Senate, then to the House Committee. You have the White House, authorizing the disclosure of executive privilege documents.

You have others cooperating, still confidential, providing information. That information is pouring in. And unlike the contempt litigation, Chris, if it comes, here, it's up to Donald Trump, to go to court, and shut it off. So, the burden's on the other foot.


And guess what? That information is going to go, when the committee writes its report, maybe sooner, right into the hands of federal and state prosecutors, including the Fulton County D.A., Fani Willis. Already reports, she's cooperating with the committee, investigating Trump, for solicitation of election fraud, in Georgia.

CUOMO: A little bit of color. Do you believe that the four lawyers that are reported to have turned down Trump did it because he doesn't pay? Or is that a reflection, of, that people don't want to get involved, with this kind of soup?

EISEN: Well, it's the worst of all possible worlds, representing Trump, Chris. You don't get paid. Your reputation gets dragged through the mud. You yourself might get enmeshed in his potential liability, civil or criminal. That's what's happened to Mr. Clark.

Now, I was one of a group of ethics experts, who filed a bar complaint, against Clark, here in D.C., where he's licensed. It is a mess for your career--

CUOMO: Right.

EISEN: --your wallet and your reputation, if you represent the guy. No-go!

CUOMO: Norm Eisen, you're always full-go! It's good to have you. Thank you again.

EISEN: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right.

EISEN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Let's take a break. And let's come back, and get after it, with the handoff.