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Cuomo Prime Time

Trump Sues To Try And Block January 6 Investigation; Former Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams On Colin Powell's Legacy; Murder Trial For The Killing Of Ahmaud Arbery Begins. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 18, 2021 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Special programming note. This is a critical time for President Biden, as he works, behind-the-scenes, to press Democrats, on a sweeping infrastructure and social legislation.

President Biden is going to talk about that, and take questions, in the CNN Town Hall, this Thursday, at 8 P.M., from Baltimore. I'll be the moderator. That's Thursday, 8 P.M. I hope you join us.

The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: That'll be great, Coop! I can't wait to watch!

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Donald Trump is a big headline. Everybody's talking about it. But I think we got to get the context right.

Donald Trump is suing the January 6 committee and the National Archives, why? We'll go into the details and the legalities, or lack thereof. But here's the real answer. He's doing it to delay. And before you take any satisfaction in that, it may well work.

The former president's not putting any muscle behind blocking, banning, or any of the other people, the committee wants to testify. Why? Well, instead, Trump's lawyers are focusing on stopping, what they may really be worried about, what they call, quote, "Sweeping requests for documents and records."

Why? Because people can control what they say. They can spin. They can say they don't recollect. They can explain. Documents don't.

So, keep in mind, for all the bluster about executive privilege, when it comes to Bannon, Committee Chair, Congressman Bennie Thompson says, quote, "The former president has not communicated any such assertion of privilege," when it comes to his conversations, with a man, who at the time, was the host of a podcast, not a close counselor, as part of the government, meaning the only legal claim of privilege, we've seen from Trump, is about the documents. So, the party that he is targeting, the National Archives told him, quote, "Absent any intervening court order," they plan on handing the records over. And they should. Why?

Because in a statement, from the White House, Joe Biden, President, now, is standing by his decision to not assert privilege, because, quote, "Former President Trump abused the office of the presidency, and attempted to subvert a peaceful transfer of power."

Remember, everything about how this privilege, and how it has been exercised, suggests it is the sitting president, with the power to assert executive privilege. Period! Sitting president.

Again, why does this matter to Trump? This isn't about why Biden does or doesn't want to exercise. He can do whatever he wants, OK? He doesn't even have to explain it, when it comes to the privilege.

Documents can't plead the Fifth. They can't suddenly claim not to remember. If anybody knows the value of documents, it is Donald Trump. He spent his presidency, fighting to keep documents, like his taxes and bank loans, away from you and Congress.

The one document he was quick to hand over, remember the transcript of his so-called perfect phone call? It got him impeached. My next guest knows the importance of documents. He was Special Counsel in that impeachment.

Norm Eisen, welcome back.

Neither of us is surprised by this move. But maybe the form the move takes is a little surprising to you. What do you think of it, in terms of its tactic, and its likelihood of success?


We talked about this, as one of the strategies, would the committee be forced to make the first move, to enforce, or would Trump go to court, to block? I do not think that this lawsuit that was filed today is going to result in the withholding of these documents.

The President is essentially making two arguments, Chris. He's saying, first, "This is an overbroad subpoena. The committee is asking for too much." And second, that even if it's not overbroad, these documents are protected by executive privilege, the confidentiality that the law enshrines, for presidential communications.


But Chris, when you look at the underlying purpose, of this committee, and the law that applies that you need to have a valid legislative purpose, what could be more important than investigating an insurrection against the United States? So clearly, this is not overbroad. They're doing their job. And then, on executive privilege, the complaint talks again and again, about "The President." But Donald Trump is not the President. Joe Biden is the President. Joe Biden is the one, who decides, whether to apply these confidentiality rules. And he said "No," as to the initial set of documents.

So, I don't think it will work. And as you point out, it's a delay game. Nobody's had the hutzpah to make these arguments before. And Donald Trump is hoping to tie up the courts, in the aspiration that Congress flips, and he gets out of his subpoenas.

CUOMO: Let's litigate. The delay works. Because even garbage takes time to be thrown out.

He's going to put it in. They're going to have to calendar it. They're going to have to have hearings. They're going to have to have pre- trial hearings. They're not going to do, what you and I would call, an Article 78 proceeding, which is some speedy one and done.

Even if he gets an unusually conscientious judge, who deals with this, with all celerity of dispatch, very quickly, then he can appeal. And then he likely can appeal that appeal. And this kind of question, who knows that the Supreme Court doesn't think it's interesting to talk about?

What are your thoughts about that?

EISEN: Well, it's a risk. There's no doubt about it. He had success with it, when he was in the White House. But Chris, he's not in the White House now. He's bringing this lawsuit. The burden is on him.

And the courts can move fast, when it's an emergency.

CUOMO: Is it?

EISEN: In the historic Nixon White House tapes case, four months, Chris. We - this is an emergency. You and I've talked about this. Our democracy is under attack. Donald Trump's attacks, his "Big lie" driven assault, on our democracy, has not stopped. It's intensifying.

The courts need to handle it with dispatch. Congress needs to ask them to move very quickly. And Chris, it's going to be up to us. It's going to be up to Americans, to say, "Hey, this is important. Don't drag your feet." It can move quickly, if the courts decide to do it.

CUOMO: It is a novel question, though. This has never been litigated. We only have the course of performance that we've never seen an exercise, of this privilege, by a former president. They always ask a sitting president.

But this idea about the President has no precedent in the law. And that means even if it's four months, Norm, that's a long time, in this current climate, isn't it?

EISEN: Well, if they can move that quickly, Chris, that'll be a modern-day miracle. We should insist on it. And - but I think that the, you know, when you look at the underlying arguments here, they don't have to cause the courts, to delay.

Simply because Donald Trump is the first one to have the hutzpah to make some of these arguments, doesn't mean it should slow things down. That's why we started with the urgent national imperative, to get at the truth, of the ongoing assault, on our elections, and on our democracy.

So, these - the novelty of these questions does not have to be, the mere fact, Chris, that no former president has ever asserted separation of powers, that these kinds of arguments are being made, none has ever taken on a current president, on the assertion of executive privilege.

It does. The courts can reject it. And they should, because they're not good arguments.

CUOMO: Right. But I'm not talking about the conclusion. I'm talking about the timing. And it seems that just by doing this, hasn't he bought himself, and his main guys, who are subpoenaed, until after the holidays, at a minimum?

EISEN: Not necessarily. What's going to happen now is - when I checked the docket, it was not in the docket.

If he wants this to move quickly, he's going to have to seek a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction. He's going to have to ask the court to make a fast decision. He's going to bear a heavy burden in doing that, Chris. He's going to have to show a strong likelihood of success on the merits.

We've just talked about--

CUOMO: That's a good point.

EISEN: --the reasons that a former president--

CUOMO: That's a good point.


EISEN: --can't do that. So, he's got to meet that hurdle. He'll have to meet it again. Look, the Supreme Court, if it ends up there, they rejected his attempt, to get a second bite at the apple, in the Mazars' case, about his financial documents, summarily.

So, things can move quickly. We need to treat it as an emergency. Congress needs to ask the courts. It's incumbent on the courts, to listen and, on all of us, to say, "Hey, this is not business as usual. We want the rocket docket for the sake of our democracy."

CUOMO: That's a good point. Just very quickly, Norm, who decides whether or not he needs a TRO, or a preliminary injunction, in order to stop the subpoenas, from being enforced?

EISEN: Well, he's going to have to move for it. So, in the first instance-- CUOMO: But why would he?

EISEN: --it would be him and his--

CUOMO: What if - what if he says--

EISEN: --and his lawyers.

CUOMO: --"Let's just litigate this, and do the ordinary course of time, and not ask for anything like that."

EISEN: Then, as you quoted "The Archivist," if there's no binding court order, then--

CUOMO: So that's what they'd have to do.

EISEN: --then this complaint is - does not take effect. And the documents can be turned over. So, he's going to have to move, if he wants to block it.

CUOMO: Right. So, he's going to have to move.

EISEN: We'll see if he - he knows these are not good arguments. He knows this is a delay game. So, we'll see if he tries to do that or not.

CUOMO: So, he's going to have to move for this type of relief. And so, he will be actually setting up an accelerated timeline, because those things have to be handled very quickly, and even the appeals are handled quickly.

That - those are good points that I hadn't focused on. And that makes me feel differently about the timing.

Norm Eisen, as always, you are value-added and a plus. Thank you.

EISEN: Thanks, Chris. Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, so maybe it won't be as good a delay tactic, as it looks at the outset. We'll see. And we'll see sooner rather than later. Norm is right.

To our other top story, the great loss of a great statesman and, a Military hero, General Colin Powell, gone, at age 84. Powell warned the Republican Party, about Trump, before he chose to leave it, or maybe it left him.

Now, he's left us, at a time when the country may need him most. And maybe, in passing, from this life, his life will be something that can pass on, to the rest of us, about what the message is, and how he lived.

You're about to hear what may have been the former Secretary of State's final interview, and the reason that he matters now as much as ever, even because of how he died. I'll explain, next.









CUOMO: Colin Powell looms large, in passing. The flag is now flying half-staff, at the White House, in his honor, and in the hope that his family takes some measure of solace, in knowing that the General mattered so much, in so many different ways.

I hope they will see his example, even in passing, will serve as testament to his leadership. And I'll explain.

I hope by now, you understand that Colin Powell was a man in full. He was a public servant, patriot, warrior, leader, Ameri-CAN, of the highest order, son of Jamaican immigrants, again, a four-star general, Purple Heart recipient, statesman, shattered racial barriers. He was a minority, who rose above the majority.

First Black National Security Adviser, under President Reagan, then the first Black Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, under the first President Bush, then the first Black Secretary of State under the second President Bush, also a two-time recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His list of accomplishments, I mean, you can Google it. It's just fascinating.

Powell was only 84, gone too soon. But you know what? Sometimes things happen, when they do, for a reason. And I believe his death should establish him as a leader once more, because Powell's death is going to serve as a reminder of the risks that COVID poses.

Powell was vaccinated, but he hadn't gotten his booster. And he likely needed it, because as we're just learning now, Colin Powell was very sick. He had a bad form of cancer. He was also fighting Parkinson's disease. So, when he was exposed to COVID, he just did not have enough protection.

Powell was adamant, about being vaccinated, because he was at high risk. He was obviously immunocompromised. The vaccine may have bought him time. The booster, if he had been healthy enough to get it, may have bought him some more. But he was too sick to take it.

His loss is a reminder of why we all need to get vaccinated, not just to protect ourselves, but the vulnerable, like him. There are many who can't get vaccinated. But even people, like the General, and there's so many, in that generation, even when they're vaccinated, the vaccine is not perfect, and they are vulnerable. And if they're exposed to somebody, they can still get sick.

Powell was strong, in the face of a challenge, medically and politically. I don't want to talk about him, just as he died. But that matters too.

He did something that we never see today. He admitted he was wrong, for passing bad information, and making the case, to go to war, in Iraq. And that gave him accountability. It gave him credibility. And that allowed him to call out others.

And he did it once again, very uncommonly, when no one was doing it in his party, he condemned the cowards, in his own party, or what was his party, for refusing to stand up, after the "Big lie," January 6.


CNN just got our hands on what may have been Powell's final interview, on July 12. It's with Bob Woodward, legendary journalist, for his book, "Peril."

Take a listen.


COLIN POWELL, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: We've just gotten rid of a president--


POWELL: --who was not re-elected.


POWELL: Refuses to know that he wasn't re-elected. He has people who go along with him on that.


POWELL: Now, we had a Congress, who is ready to elect him, or do something with it, and make him a hero again.


POWELL: These guys all bad-mouth him, right after the riot, in the White House.


POWELL: But two weeks later, they were all back in his camp.

WOODWARD: What did you think of that riot and assault on the Capitol?

POWELL: It was awful. He was going in there to overturn the government.


CUOMO: Now, I last, spoke with the General, back in June of 2020. It was in the wake of Trump's ugly response, to the George Floyd protests. And I just thought, as a leader, and obviously, African American, this would resonate.

So, I called him, to book him on the show. But in saying, "No," he invited me into a very long conversation, about the nature of purpose, specifically, making things better, as he explained to me, "Exposing lies is good. But just exposing lies, scoring points, that doesn't fix division. Do you want to fix the division?"

He was very worried that even the well-intentioned weren't helping, why? He explained to me that people don't change their mind, when they're simply told that they're wrong, even if the facts are clear.

This is about feelings and politics. "Speaking truth," he told me, "was only valuable as a change agent, when it comes at the right times, and in the right way." And while he wasn't sure about what that meant, in that crisis, after George Floyd, he was sure that the dizzying pace of media, and political narratives, played more to stoking fires, than putting them out.

"Gotcha mode has got to go," he put it. So, he took a pass, on the show, but he gifted me with that truth.

And so, out of respect, for that conversation, and, it hit me, when the General died. I mean he's such a massive figure, my father, Mario Cuomo, was a huge fan of his. You can look online, what he said about Powell, while he said, "Powell was perfect for either party, but he wanted him to be a Democrat."

But I didn't really do with that conversation, what I could have, or should have. So, I'm going to do it now.

Out of respect, for General Powell, what I just did was report the truth, of why he got vaccinated, and why he really needed others, around him, to be vaccinated. Because he, like so many, even though he's a giant, and a warrior, was too sick, for his body, to protect itself, even with the vaccine.

That is the truth. And nothing else about his situation is true, but that, when it comes to the vaccine. So, if you respected Powell, respect, what the truth was, about his life, because that'll make something better.

Now, I have a guest with us now, for perspective on Powell's life. Powell was a personal mentor to him. Dr. Jerome Adams, Trump's Surgeon General, when COVID arrived, in America.

What does he make of the vaccine concerns that are being spun out of Powell's death? What does he want you to know about the General? Next.








CUOMO: I know what you're hearing. But the fact is, anybody who knows what they're talking about, who's trying to make things better, will tell you that Powell's death reinforces exactly why we need to get vaccinations.

Because there are a lot of people, who need protection, and they can't provide it themselves, people like General Colin Powell. Fully vaccinated, but he had a bad form of cancer, and an advanced case, and he was battling Parkinson's disease, and he was 84-years-old.

He needed those around him to be able to give him protection. And they didn't. I'm not talking about his family, God forbid, or anything like that. I'm just saying, the data continues to show us the power of vaccines.

You can't win on the facts. That's why this is about feel. And you have to ask yourself, why would people on the Right, specifically at Fox, Will Cain, John Roberts, why suggest otherwise?

John Roberts deleted this tweet. And that should matter, by the way. And he's tried to walk it back. And that should matter, too.

But why would he even think about saying that his death "Raises new concerns about how effective vaccines are long-term?" Why make it a legitimate concern, when he knows the root of it is illegitimate?

And I'm not connecting him, or Will, or any of the other ones, to the "Big lie." I've no reason to do that, especially where John Roberts is involved.

But the idea of saying "Hey, you know, people have questions about the election," yes, because you're telling them they should have questions, without basis. That's what's happening here.

"Hey, you know, this is raising questions, you know?" Because the people in the primetime lineup, who once again, Fox never really tells you that they're not part of the news division, right? It's entertainment. They're just allowing people to entertain you with things that are making you hate other people in this country.

[21:30:00] So tonight, they'll make mention of Powell's age, but nothing of him battling an advanced form of cancer, and Parkinson's disease. And that's not just intellectually dishonest. It's proof of somebody, who doesn't want to make things better, except for themselves, and their fortunes.

Let's bring in former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams.

Welcome back to PRIME TIME. And I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sorry for the loss of your mentor.

And I'm sure as well, as you knew him, you could imagine his reaction to people, trying to spin, the conditions of his demise, as some kind of proof about vaccines, one, being something that should be, skeptical about. But we'll get to that.

You lost a mentor, and a man who meant a lot to you. What do you want the audience to know, about, why Powell is so special to you?

DR. JEROME ADAMS, FORMER SURGEON GENERAL UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP, MENTORED BY COLIN POWELL: Well, thanks for having me on, and allowing me to talk a little bit about General Powell.

I came from a Military family. I grew up idolizing Colin Powell. I didn't care what party he was a part of. I just cared that he was someone, who looked like me, standing next to the President of the United States.

And even in the current administration, the most diverse ever, it's still rare, incredibly rare, to see a Black man, someone from a group that is more likely to be incarcerated, than to be in medical school, being highlighted by the White House. And that's why representation matters.

Colin Powell, he paved the way for all Black people, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, to be able to be, in these high-profile government positions, like Secretary of State, like Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, like Surgeon General.

And I think about that every single time, someone ask me, "Why did you stay?" I think about Colin Powell. I think about the fact that had he not stayed?

And one of the things that he and I often talked about, was that how - was how he was often ridiculed, was often talked down to, because he was part of a Republican administration.

When you're the first, or the second, to do something, there aren't many people you can go to, for guidance. And I was blessed. I truly was blessed that General Powell, at one of my lowest points, when I was being attacked, by all sides, reached out to me.

And he said - and he believed in tough medicine. He wasn't easy on me. He's a four-star general. He said to me, "You know, public service isn't easy, but it matters." And he said, "Why are you doing this? Are you doing it for the right reasons?" He said, "Do you think you can accomplish more good by staying than by leaving?"

And you brought up one of the points that he drove home to me. He said, "Fear of making mistakes is a bigger leadership flaw, than making mistakes for the right reasons, and then having the courage to own them."

And that's something that I really took with me, and I really tried to live, throughout my tenure, as Surgeon General, thanks to General Powell.

CUOMO: Well, his advice was good. But often, it's easy to give advice, hard to follow it. And he had followed his own advice.

ADAMS: It's easy.

CUOMO: And if you - if anybody needs one thing, to define, why he was relevant, politically? Find me another man, who was coveted, as a presidential nominee, by both parties. They both wanted him, on their tickets, to run for President of the United States. There's no one else that I can think of that you can say that about.

ADAMS: Exactly.

CUOMO: So, just quickly, Jerome, in service to his passing, and how he would want it understood, what do you say, about the idea that Powell passing, while being vaccinated, is proof that the vaccination is not necessary?

ADAMS: Well, it's absolutely untrue. And we've got people out there, who are in the vaccine-resistant crowd.

We've got people, who have completely different agendas, agendas that have nothing to do with vaccines, and, as you mentioned, want to divide us. We really do.

But we've got a lot of people out there, who are just prone, to react to misinformation, who just need the correct facts.

And so, to those people out there, to those of you, in the movable middle, I want you to know that there have been 7,000 breakthrough deaths, since people have been fully vaccinated, starting in about January of this year. That's compared to over 300,000 unvaccinated people, who've died in this country, 7,000 to 300,000. These vaccines work.

Of those are breakthroughs, we know about 6,000 of them reported, have been people over the age of 65, as General Powell is. We know a disproportionate number of them had been people with comorbidities, as General Powell had.

So, he was someone, who was primed, for a breakthrough infection. And he's someone, who did, what he was supposed to do. He got vaccinated.

But he proves that we can't just say "We're only going to protect the vulnerable. We're only going to worry about those people getting vaccinated, and everyone else doesn't matter." We all matter. [21:35:00]

And the fact is that General Powell died, because we didn't take the proper measures, to lower spread, in this country. We didn't do everything that we could.

And there are just some people out there that can do everything right. But they're still going to be in jeopardy, if we continue to let this virus run unabated. And that is why herd immunity is so important. That's why we all need to get the facts.

And then please, please hear me, for the sake of General Powell, and everyone else out there, who's vulnerable, and who's doing the right thing, please consider getting your vaccine, if you haven't yet.

CUOMO: Dr. Jerome Adams, I'm sorry for your loss. But thank you for honoring the legacy, and trying to make things better, by telling the truth, tonight, on this show. I appreciate you, and I wish you well.

ADAMS: Thank you.

And get your flu shot too, please, especially this year, flu shot. Get your booster, if you can. Get your COVID vaccine, if you haven't.

Talk to someone you can trust, because this isn't about politics. This is about us really rallying around, and making sure the virus is the enemy, and taking care of each other.

CUOMO: It's about making something better, to quote the General. Take care.

A big day, in the fight for justice, the start of a process, picking a trial, for the Ahmaud Arbery case. You remember him? Black man killed, while jogging, in Georgia, last year, a case I told you we can't let go? And I won't. The trial began today, for the three White men, accused of murdering him.

Now, Ahmaud Arbery's mother is here, tonight, along with the family attorney. They have concerns, heading into this trial. Why? Hear for yourself, next.








(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: Ahmaud Arbery, it's a case we said none of us can let go. And we shouldn't. It's horrible set of facts.

Jury selection began today, for the three men charged, with chasing him down, murdering him, while he was out for a jog, in their neighborhood.

Gregory McMichael, his son, Travis, and their neighbor, William "Roddie" Bryan Jr., are charged with malice and felony murder. They also face charges of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

The story - and now why? Remember, in a charging document, you go, from little, to high, in almost every general jurisdiction. You don't have to just charge the top thing. You can charge all the crimes that go along with it.

"You got together. You made a plan. You wanted to go after him. You wanted to do stop him. You wanted to hurt him. You wanted to kill him. And then you killed him." All of those things can be charged.

This story is as much what they did, as what it took to get here. 603 days, that's how long ago this video was recorded, by one of the defendants. Imagine if it were your family member!

You remember, his lawyer, from one of the defendants, who was on this show, he didn't want him to say much. Remember this?


TEXT: MAY 11, 2020.

CUOMO: All right, Mr. Bryan, you are known as "Roddie" to friends, correct?


CUOMO: And in the police report, the McMichaels referred to a "Roddie." I'm assuming that was you, yes?


CUOMO: Mr. Bryan, how did you come to be in the car videotaping that day?

GOUGH: OK. We're not going there.

CUOMO: You don't want to talk about that either. All right, so let's do this. You are afraid of the facts of this case, Counselor, why?

GOUGH: Sir, I'm not afraid of anything.


CUOMO: Yes, he is, or was. He was afraid of winding up exactly where his client is right now.

Remember, you have the right to tell people not to speak. We all have a right against self-incrimination.

Should think, about whether you go on television, if you don't want to answer any questions, because it looks like you've got something to hide. And that's not a legal point. It's a point of perspective that matters in society. And it matters in trials as well.

It took multiple prosecutors, and state intervention, to get this case to trial. Why? Because there were people, who didn't want to do the right thing.

I'm joined now by Ahmaud's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, and the family's attorney, Lee Merritt, whom we should point out, is running, for Attorney General, in Texas.

Welcome back to both of you.



CUOMO: And what does it mean to you that this trial is finally beginning, about who killed your son?

COOPER-JONES: I'm very thankful. The case has come from a very long way. I'm pleased in the direction that the case is going too. I never thought that the day that we would pick jurors would come. And the day has finally come.

CUOMO: What should it mean to people about the 603 days, about why it took this long?

COOPER-JONES: You want to take it, Lee?

MERRITT: Well, it shows - it's a reflection of COVID-19, in the delays, in the courtroom in that way.

But it's also where we are in our justice system. I feel like if the victim was different, if the victim was White, we would have had a much more speedy trial. We often see quicker justice. However, we're glad that we're here today.

CUOMO: Are you worried Wanda, that the jury will be fair?

COOPER-JONES: I have my concerns. And, like I said earlier, it took almost 600 days, to get to this day.

But with that being said, that, this is the same community, that elected D.A. Jackie Johnson to that office. This is the same community that stood up, Saturday, as I entered the courtroom, rallying for justice, for Ahmaud. So, I do feel confident that we will have success in this.

[21:45:00] CUOMO: Counselor, what does it mean to you that in looking at the laws, in this part of the country, where this case is going to be tried that some of these statutes date back to the Civil War.

MERRITT: It's something that the Glynn County community, and South Georgia, had to grapple with, over the past year that these archaic laws still existed on the books, and that they made Black people more vulnerable.

So, I'm grateful again, that the community stood up, finally passed a hate crime statute, in Georgia. And that was the work of so many organizers, and community supporters, that the community stood up and finally got rid of the citizen's arrest statute.

It still exists as a defense on the books. But, even on those terms, it doesn't - it will not prove helpful, to the McMichaels, because they don't even meet the relatively low standards necessary, to avail themselves of that defense.

Specifically, they are the initial aggressors. And in that law, it says, "If you're the initial aggressor, you can't then claim self- defense."

CUOMO: Counselor, I appreciate you, and thank you.

Ms. Jones - Ms. Cooper-Jones, I'm so sorry for your loss. I really am. I know this isn't some trial to you. This is about your son, and whether or not his legacy will reflect that there was truth, and that there was justice.

And we will stay on the story. I promise you that. And God bless the family. And I wish you strength, during this process.

COOPER-JONES: Thank you.

MERRITT: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

All right, back to COVID, and the battle over mandates. More police have died from COVID, since the start of this pandemic, than from gunfire.

Why is there pushback, on vaccines, in the law enforcement community? We're going to take it to a big city police veteran, next.









CUOMO: Over the past two years, the leading cause of death, for officers, in this country was what? Gunfire? No. It was COVID. Yet you have more and more officers, and their unions, resisting vaccine mandates.

In Chicago, about 4,500 officers ignored a mandate, to report their vaccine status, last Friday. If the Mayor follows through with her threat, roughly 35 percent of the force could be placed on no pay. That's not going to lead anywhere good.

Massachusetts State Police say they're down nearly 600 members. In Seattle, it's 300 and climbing.

While some Washington State Patrol officers are literally signing off.


TROOPER ROBERT LAMAY, WASHINGTON STATE PATROL, YAKIMA COUNTY: Wish I could say more, but this is it. So, State 10-34, this is the last time you'll hear me in a state patrol car. And Jay Inslee can kiss my ass.


CUOMO: Look, we see the same thing, when we're dealing with medical workers. Just because you work in a hospital, or you work in a community, as a police officer, doesn't mean you're immune from politics.

For some more insight on this, let's bring in former Police sergeant, Cheryl Dorsey. She's also the Author of "The Confidence Chronicles."

It's good to see you, Sarge.


CUOMO: Help me understand.

DORSEY: Well, I think police officers, by and large, are bothered by the hypocrisy from command staff. They tell us to do one thing, and then they do the complete opposite, here in Los Angeles.

Our Police Chief had a video up, for the troops, telling everybody to go out, and get the shot, wear your mask, at all times, even when you're off duty. And then you see him on a giant video screen, at a Dodgers game, not wearing his mask.

And so, I think, if they want officers, to comply, with this alleged mandate, they need to be better, at the messaging.

CUOMO: So it's an "And," though, right? It's, you say, but you don't do. But there's got to be something else.

Is this just politics, bleeding its way through policing, that "Yes, they're peace officers. They're policemen and women. But they're also citizens, and they have their own politics."

I just don't understand why people, who take an oath, to protect and serve, don't see the protection and service involved, in getting vaccinated.

DORSEY: Well I think it's a compilation of things. And so, let's not pretend that there aren't police officers, out there, active duty, who bought into believe the "Big lie."

These are, some of them, Trump supporters. And by that own affiliation, are questioning, and not believing, the science, and the information that's being disseminated about this. I mean, we saw law enforcement, in the January 6 insurrection.

And so, I think a lot of that has to do with the way police officers are politically-leaning.

CUOMO: So, what is the solution? If people don't like the idea that you're being told you have to do this, but you're only being told you have to do this, because you wouldn't do it, of your own volition, where does that leave us?

DORSEY: I think we're going to have to see who blinks first.

And listen, I mean, police officers have rights and due process. And there's City Charters and Police Officer Bill of Rights, and Memorandum of Understanding. I mean, there's a plethora of things that would prevent a police department from just willy-nilly fire with somebody because they won't get vaccinated.

And to say that, there's a rash of resignations, I mean, that officer that we heard on the radio, with that final, "Fare thee well," if you will, had 22 years on the job.

CUOMO: Right.

DORSEY: So, he's a tenured officer. You're going to have early retirements. It's what's going to happen. And I don't think that this is sustainable, for police departments, across these 18,000, to bring in alleged National Guards, to fill in the gap.


CUOMO: Well, that's, yes. That has a lot of problems that go along with it. They're not trained as peace officers. You know that Sarge.

So, you're a mayor. What do you do?

DORSEY: Well, you need to sit down, and have a real conversation, and find out what the angst is that your patrol officers have. Your Police Chief needs to have a better way of communicating what it is that he needs, and why. And you need to get compliance. You need to get compliance. To think now that officers are being retaliated against, and I imagine that, Blue flu is the thing. You understand that. And when you start talking about not paying officers, when you start talking about pulling the elephant hunters, out of patrol, and putting them on the desk, you're going to have rebellion.

How is it that police departments can pull an officer, out of the field, for not being vaccinated, but an officer can rank-up, 20-plus personnel complaints, kill people, at will, over and over again, and you don't get them out of patrol?

CUOMO: Priorities.

DORSEY: And so, I'm sure all of that is off-putting.

CUOMO: Priorities. Maybe instead of saying "No pay," maybe you get a bonus, if you get the vaccine. Maybe we go back to the carrot and the stick.

All right, I'm out of time. Sergeant Dorsey, thank you, as always. Be well. Stay healthy.

DORSEY: Thank you.

CUOMO: We'll be right back with the handoff.

DORSEY: You too.