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January 6 Committee Votes To Hold Steve Bannon In Contempt Of Congress; Biden Meets With Democrats To Push Economic Package; Conservative Radio Host Claims He Hugged Strangers To Catch COVID, Wanted To "Achieve Natural Immunity". Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 19, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: President Biden, House and Senate Democrats close - are apparently close to agreement on infrastructure and social spending bills.

A quick reminder, Thursday night, 8 Eastern Time, we have a special CNN Town Hall. President Biden is our guest. We'll be taking your questions, and might have a lot to say about a deal in the making. I'll be the moderator. That's Thursday, 8 P.M., Eastern Time, on CNN.

Right now, the news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thanks, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

We do have breaking news tonight, the January 6 committee unanimously voting to hold Steve Bannon, in contempt of Congress, because he is defying his subpoena.

Bannon is echoing Trump's efforts to delay. They don't want to be under oath, about January 6, apparently, hiding, in Steve Bannon's case, under an imaginary cloak of executive privilege that provides him no cover whatsoever.

The panel isn't having it!


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): It's a shame that Mr. Bannon has put us in this position. But we won't take "No" for an answer.

If other witnesses defy this committee, if they fail to cooperate, we will be back in this room.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): It appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advanced knowledge of the plans, for January 6, and likely had an important role in formulating those plans.

There is no conceivably applicable privilege that could shield Mr. Bannon from testimony, on all of the many other topics, identified in this committee's subpoena.


CUOMO: Cheney, very aggressive, on two points. First, this one, about what she thinks Bannon could offer. Here's Exhibit A for her.



STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST AND SENIOR COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. Just understand this. All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.


BANNON: It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen, OK? It's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is strap in. The war room, a posse, you have made this happen. And tomorrow, it's game day. So, strap in.


CUOMO: Now, Cheney also dropped something that I have not heard offered up yet, in this situation. Listen to this.


CHENEY: Mr. Bannon's and Mr. Trump's privilege arguments do, however, appear to reveal one thing. They suggest that President Trump was personally involved, in the planning and execution of January 6. And this committee will get to the bottom of that.


CUOMO: That means that Trump and Bannon - because remember, even if there were a privilege here, and there isn't, Bannon can exercise it. Trump can exercise it. So, Cheney's argument is that trying to get the privilege is proof that you have conversations, about your knowledge that you want to hide.

That's aggressive. We're going to test this assertion with a key member of the committee coming up, as well as the timing for the next step. You're going to have a full vote now, in the House. Then, Pelosi would refer it, certify it to the DOJ.

We understand that vote may come as soon as Thursday. Is that accurate? Assuming the DOJ takes any potential referral, from Speaker Pelosi, how long would a grand jury take? How long before there would be any kind of prosecutorial action?

But, as for right now, the most pressing question is what these events mean, from today, to other Trumpers, about trying to duck justice?

We'll take the case to Dan Scavino's attorney tonight. He's here on the show. He's the longtime Trump loyalist, Scavino, who evaded his subpoena, until Congress finally caught up with him.

But first, let's bring in a key member of the committee, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, of Florida, January 6 select committee member.

It's good to have you. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): Great to be with you, Chris.

CUOMO: First, the idea of voting, for Bannon, to be held in contempt, was it a close call, for you?

MURPHY: It was not a close call at all. After all, the mission of the January 6 select committee is to secure all of the facts, around the January 6 insurrection, and to move forward.

Clearly, Steve Bannon is somebody, who has information, about the planning of and the day of January 6. And he was given an opportunity to present his side of the story, to the January 6 committee. And he chose not to.

And so, we are moving forward, as we intended to, which, is that, this committee means business, and nobody is above the law. So, we are going to use criminal contempt, to respond to his lack of willingness, to work with us.

CUOMO: Quick step of conjecture, on Bannon, and then I want to ask you about what Vice Chair Cheney said.

Why do you think Bannon doesn't just come on and plead the Fifth?


MURPHY: One would think that if he has nothing to hide, he would show up, before this committee, and share the perspectives that he has had.

If he believes he's in the right, as it sounded like he did, on the day before January 6, as he was rallying people up, to bring the fight, to Washington, he sounded like he felt very confident in his positions.

And so, one would have thought, that, he would just come, to the committee, and present, his perspectives, if he was so, in the right. The fact that he hasn't, is really problematic.

But we can't allow him or any other person that we seek to subpoena, and get information out of, to avoid appearing before the select committee.

CUOMO: I know. But he could show contempt for the proceedings, by showing up, and just pleading the Fifth. That's what I'm saying. He's taking another route. And it's an interesting one, especially given the level of contempt, for his position of contempt.

Vice Chair Cheney said something I haven't heard before that playing at the privilege, for Bannon, and for Trump, Representative Cheney believes is proof that they had knowledge, of what happened before January 6.

How so? How is trying to play at the privilege, proof that former President Trump and/or Steve Bannon knew what was going to happen?

MURPHY: Will playing out the privilege, in this case, doesn't actually fully apply. But it does indicate that there's something that they're trying to hide.

Look, privilege only applies to elected officials' conversations with the president. And it's unclear whether or not the President can even - that the former president, I should say, can even call on executive privilege, in this case.

And certainly, Steve Bannon cannot, as somebody, who was not an elected - not an official of the U.S. government, at the time, when he had this conversation.

So, if there's any conversation to protect, it must mean that the President, and Bannon are trying to hide, they were having conversations that were related to January 6. And they're trying to hide behind these general statements that the president - the former president is making, around executive privilege, so that they don't have to respond to the subpoena.

But we're not going to let them do that. The reality is that nobody is above the law. If you are subpoenaed, as an average citizen, you respond to that subpoena. If you don't, there are consequences.

And what you saw, the select committee do, tonight, is to move forward, in the next step, to ensure that we move forward, on criminal contempt, so that there are consequences to what Steve Bannon has done.

CUOMO: Consequences are in part, a function of speed of process, especially if you're trying to send a message, not just to Bannon, but to other people, who have been subpoenaed.

How quickly do you think a prosecution could happen? Is it true that there may be a vote on Thursday? Let's start there.

MURPHY: I believe that there will be a vote on Thursday. At least there will be a vote by the end of this week. The House will act on this and then refer it to the Department of Justice.

I can't speak for the Department of Justice. But I believe this Department of Justice shares our values that nobody is above the law, and that they are there, to evaluate the facts, the circumstances, legislation in the Constitution, and to act accordingly. This is too important for them to sit on.

CUOMO: Is there any indication that the move, on Bannon, by the committee, has registered, with Meadows, or Scavino, et cetera.

MURPHY: To be clear of the 11 people that we have subpoenaed, Bannon is the only one, who's taken this unusual step, to defy the subpoena. The others are engaging with the select committee, in different ways, and have not yet tripped the wire, so to speak, of needing to--

CUOMO: What does "Engaging" mean?

MURPHY: They--

CUOMO: Just so we understand.

MURPHY: They are working with the committee.

CUOMO: Are they offering documents? Or like what? What does that mean?

MURPHY: Documents. Some are coming in to do interviews. We are working with them, to shape the context of the information that they are giving to the select committee.

So really, Bannon stands alone, at this moment, of defying the subpoenas.

CUOMO: What do you make of the argument that the reason to push back against these subpoenas is that they have no legitimate legislative purpose?

MURPHY: We have legitimate legislative purpose based on the House Resolution that was passed that gives the select committee, its scope of work, as well as the objectives that we are out to secure.

We are trying to lay out a set of facts, around the run up to, and the day of, January 6, so that we can prevent this, from ever happening again.

Our democracy is at stake, in this moment, when if people believe that it is OK, to try to overturn a free and fair election, through the use of political violence, then, our democracy is at real risk.


And so, that is a very clear mission. And it has been passed by the House of Representatives. So, we do have the legislative cover, for what it is that we're doing.

CUOMO: Bannon's biggest problem, in terms of his argument - he's making a constructive argument, of accommodation.

He's saying "The former president is going to," although the former president's lawyer keeps calling him, just "President," which is, of course, a little bit of a play, on who gets to exercise the privilege, he's saying, "Because Trump is going to exercise the privilege, I can't - I can't comply."

Of course, it doesn't work that way. But more importantly, is it true? Well, we know it's true.

Bennie Thompson, the Chair, said, in his letter, to Bannon's lawyer, Trump has not asserted privilege. The lawsuit is only about going after the Archive, and the documents.

Is that true that he has not tried to protect anybody that Bannon's alone?

MURPHY: Well, the former president believes that, things, that he says in the media and, in the public is somehow writ of law. And unfortunately, that's not how things work here.

So, he has not formally asserted privilege. And so, none of them can hide behind random statements, out there, if they're not going to, follow a real process.

Our country is a country of laws and rules. And if you want to do that, you have to do it in the right way. And they haven't even taken that bare minimum step. And so, what this all comes down to is that they are trying to deter, and delay, and play games, with the select committee.

And we're not here to play games. We are going after the information that we need to lay out this case. And we will use every tool, at our disposal, to do so.

CUOMO: Congresswoman Murphy, thank you very much, for joining us, on this important night.

MURPHY: Great to be with you.

CUOMO: Good luck doing the work of the people.


CUOMO: All right, so none of the others, subpoenaed, in the Trump crowd, is putting up this kind of fight. You just heard that, from the member of Congress. In fact, we learned a little bit more that they're offering documents. They're trying to create a context of a conversation, with Congress.

But it did take Congress more than two weeks to track down one of them, Dan Scavino. Remember that whole thing, like "Where is he? Where did he go?" What was that about? What is the legality? And what is the practicality here?

We're going to get fresh insight, from somebody who knows exactly where he was, or should, and what it's all about, next.









CUOMO: All right, the Bannon case isn't just about him. Remember, there's almost a dozen other people, who've been subpoenaed, by the January 6 committee.

Lawyers, for all of them, are going to be watching, to see how this contempt process, plays out, and how they advise their clients, going forward. That includes my next guest, Stanley Brand, who is now representing Trump's former Deputy Chief of Staff, Dan Scavino.

Counselor, welcome.


CUOMO: So, one step backwards, then we'll get to the current state of play.

What is your understanding of why your client was hiding from the subpoena?

BRAND: I don't have one. I was just hired, in this case, two days ago. So, I don't know what went on, with respect to service of process.

CUOMO: Really? You've had no conversations? I know it would be privileged. But, just in terms of the universe of discussion, there was no talk about where he was, all that time they were trying to find him?

BRAND: I wasn't involved, as I say, until two days ago. And there's nothing magical about them having to serve process. I mean, this happens all the time. And I don't know what caused the delay.

CUOMO: Well what caused the delay was that he was in hiding. They couldn't find him. You're absolutely right. Service of process is pro forma. Ducking it is a little extraordinary.

BRAND: Well yes - no, not really. I mean, he was wherever he was. And it's up to the Marshals Service, to find him, and serve him, in an appropriate way. So, I don't even know why that's an issue.

CUOMO: It's not an issue legally, unless he was really extending the purpose. It's just--

BRAND: Well that's what I'm here to talk about, is the law. That's what I'm here for.

CUOMO: I understand. But this is--

BRAND: And so, he was - he was served. He was served. He accepted service. And now, that process is complete.

CUOMO: Right. He didn't make it easy, though. And it does sound like he's not making it-- BRAND: There's no law - there's no law requirement that says he has to make it easy, any more than a person in a civil suit has to, or anyone else.

CUOMO: Right.

BRAND: The Congress has the capability, to find people, and serve them properly, according to the rules. And that's what they finally did.

CUOMO: Well, here's the constructive argument. The constructive argument is those, who have nothing to hide, comply. They don't try to duck service. And they don't try to--


CUOMO: --not work with Congress.

So, what is your understanding, in terms of whether your client is going to, offer up documents and testimony?

BRAND: Well, the President has asserted privilege, over the documents that were conveyed, to the Archives, after the end of the administration. So, they will be guided by whatever happens there.

In terms of his, own legal position, we're evaluating that. And as you pointed out, there are several issues here, not the least of which is privilege, and not the least of which is whether this exercise, by the committee, pursuant to the recently-enunciated standards of the Supreme Court, in the Mazars' case, as a proper legislative purpose, for which these documents and testimony are necessary.

CUOMO: What confidence do you join from Mazar that would make you feel that the resolution creating the committee, that, explicitly outlines legislative purposes, of understanding January 6, and trying legislatively, to stop it from happening again, how does that not check the box?


BRAND: Well, because in the Mazars' case, the committees thought they had checked the boxes, on investigating money laundering, and other crimes, or other parts of the statute, and subpoenaed the President's business records.

And the court said they had not made a sufficient showing that they were entitled to those. And in fact, the case is back in court, where they're trying to establish that.

CUOMO: Right, there's a factual discrepancy--

BRAND: So, the Mazars' case--

CUOMO: It was different. It's not apples-to-apples because--

BRAND: The Mazars - the Mazars--

CUOMO: Well let me - let me reframe it, and then you can answer it.

It's not apples-to-apples. Here, what they're looking for is information directly to the subject that they're investigating.

In Mazar, the issue of pushback was, "Well, what do these business records have to do with what you're looking at? These are not directly related to that matter." That was the litigable issue. That's different than here, as you know.

BRAND: Right. But the issue still has to be litigated, under the Presidential Records Act, with respect to whether these records have any aspects of privilege that they're entitled to. And that has to be determined.

CUOMO: Privilege is a separate issue. I'm just saying, and just for the audience, if you look up the case, it's M-A-Z-U-R (ph). And it actually reaffirmed congressional - Congress' oversight role, in these matters.

Now, in terms of privilege, I don't see this as a very deep well. We've never had a former president, exercise privilege. It has been established in law, that this is a privilege that goes with the Office, for the benefit of the Republic.

BRAND: That's not right.

CUOMO: Really?

BRAND: That's not right, Chris. You keep saying that.

CUOMO: The Supreme Court was wrong?

BRAND: You need to read - yes, no. You need to read GSA versus Nixon--

CUOMO: Oh, I've read it.

BRAND: --which unequivocally says that former presidents are entitled to claim the privilege. Now, whether it applies or not, is a separate issue.

CUOMO: Ah, exactly!

BRAND: But they are--

CUOMO: See? But that's--

BRAND: They are entitled - they are entitled--

CUOMO: But that - you're being--

BRAND: --they are entitled to claim.

CUOMO: You're being clever.

BRAND: Claim it.

CUOMO: You're being clever.

BRAND: No, I'm not. I'm being - I'm reading the Supreme Court case.

CUOMO: No. But you're not reading it in context. Does a President have the privilege, a sitting president have the privilege of executive immunity? Yes.

In all cases? No, which is why the primary holding of Nixon versus GSA was seizing and examining records, related to a former president that are still within the control, of the Executive branch, does not violate the separation of powers.

BRAND: And--

CUOMO: The privilege is not for the benefit--

BRAND: Well no, and the president--

CUOMO: Excuse me.


CUOMO: Is not for the benefit of the president, as an individual, but for the benefit of the Republic.

BRAND: Correct.

CUOMO: Which means it has to make sense in context, he's not even a president. He's a former president. So, when have you ever heard--

BRAND: He can still assert--

CUOMO: --a former president, assert the privilege successfully?

BRAND: The privilege doesn't vanish, because he's not in office, any more than the attorney-client privilege vanishes, when the client dies, in the Vince Foster case, or a member leaves Congress, under the Speech or Debate Clause.

The issue is whether the functions, of seeking confidential advice, from advisors, survives the president leaving office. And it does. Whether or not these particular documents, in toto, fall within the privilege is a separate issue. That's the issue that will get litigated, in his lawsuit.

CUOMO: I understand the argument. But I don't see any basis of precedent for it, because it's not like the attorney-client privilege, because with that, the privilege goes with the client. Even if the client dies, it's always theirs.

This goes with the office. So, if you are no longer president--

BRAND: This is but--

CUOMO: --you don't have it.


CUOMO: And the proof of that is Counselor, the only time a former president has gotten the privileged protection, is when a current president has offered it, which is why Trump's guys asked Biden.

BRAND: Well look?

CUOMO: And Biden said, "No."

BRAND: That doesn't end the issue, because there's still the question of whether any of these records convey a record of the confidential conversations, about matters, within the Office of the President. And that has not been determined yet.

CUOMO: But it doesn't - it has been determined, by the sitting president, who has the right--


CUOMO: --to assert the privilege, not a former president. You have literally no precedent that this has ever been established, under law. I get your argument. You can make it. But that doesn't mean it's there.

And also, you have a factual problem. You haven't had an assertion of this imagined privilege, by the former president, on behalf of your client.

BRAND: Well, you've had - yes, you have. You've had two - you've had several.

CUOMO: Really?

BRAND: You've had the filing of the lawsuit, and in the letter to the Archivist, where he's formally invoked it.

CUOMO: But that's not about Scavino.

BRAND: And the attorney for the president--

CUOMO: That's about documents.

BRAND: The President - if you let me finish?

CUOMO: Go ahead.


BRAND: The President has directed a letter, from his lawyer, to the witnesses, asserting privilege, with respect to their communications, in the Oval Office. That's as good as an assertion as you need. I don't know any rule of law or any--

CUOMO: But then why it hasn't that been offered to the committee?

BRAND: It's public. CUOMO: But the Chairman of the committee-

BRAND: The letter to the Archivist is public.

CUOMO: --said that Trump has not told them he will assert privilege over any individuals that any claim he's even making is only with respect to documents, and vis-a-vis the National Archives.

BRAND: Well, his lawyer has written to the witnesses, and instructed them, to respect his assertion of the privilege.

CUOMO: But you don't find it odd that a former president would try to exert, to assert a privilege, and not tell the committee?

BRAND: Well, he's not - he's not in privity with the committee yet, because they haven't subpoenaed him.

CUOMO: But it - but that's--

BRAND: And, as I said--

CUOMO: No, no, no, no, no. Hold on. He doesn't have to be subpoenaed.

BRAND: --Mr. Scavino was just served.

CUOMO: He doesn't have to be subpoenaed. By your own argument, Counselor, these other people would be covered by the privilege, if he asserts it, with respect to what they're being asked to do. It's not about privity. Privity is not an issue here.

BRAND: I'm not sure how formal his assertion of the privilege has to be. I don't - I don't know that there's any--

CUOMO: Well he doesn't even have a privilege.

BRAND: Well, you say that. But we haven't really determined that in any court yet.

CUOMO: But where have you ever heard it determined, otherwise? When have you ever heard it determined that a former president has any privilege, like this, to assert?

BRAND: In the case of GSA versus Nixon, for one.

CUOMO: He was President, at the time, Counselor, and you know that.

BRAND: No, he wasn't. The case, go look it up, Chris. It's 1977.

CUOMO: I know. But that was the chain of litigation.

BRAND: The case was brought after the--

CUOMO: It's about what he did, as president, and what he could be protected as then.

BRAND: It was after his records were sent, under the Presidential Records Act, to the Archives.

CUOMO: Right.

BRAND: It arose after his presidency.

CUOMO: But it was about what he wanted to do, during the presidency. And even then, he lost.

BRAND: Well so is this.

CUOMO: But he lost!

BRAND: So is this.

CUOMO: But he lost, Counselor.

BRAND: He lost on some--

CUOMO: Nixon lost.

BRAND: No. No. He brought the claims. And the court found that the statute provided a mechanism, for him, to challenge production of those records. And that case was litigated.

CUOMO: But he lost.

BRAND: And then he gave up.

CUOMO: They got the records. And that's why, in the holding, the court went out of its way, to say, "This privilege is not about protecting you, as an individual. It's about protecting what would matter to the Republic."

BRAND: He's not asserting it as an individual. He's not asserting - he wasn't asserting - he's not asserting it as individual. He's asserting it is a function of his office, to communicate, with people, who worked for him.

CUOMO: But that's why, it would be up to Biden, as an extension of the office, to give the accommodation, to Trump. Otherwise, Trump would have never asked him, right?


CUOMO: Why did Trump ask Biden? Because he likes him?

BRAND: Well?

CUOMO: Because he wants his good counsel?

BRAND: No, because - because the - no, the statute requires him to ask.

CUOMO: That's right.

BRAND: The statute provides a mechanism, for him, to ask the former president, which had President Biden determined, to assert it, would have strengthened the claim. But it doesn't eliminate it.

CUOMO: Well, that's your argument. And we'll see how it plays out. And I appreciate you spelling it out for us here.

Just one last quick question. Does Scavino want to cooperate? Doesn't he believe he's operating with high ground here, and that he has nothing to hide?

BRAND: Well, I haven't - I haven't discussed with him yet, all the legal issues and questions that he may have with respect to this. We haven't engaged with the committee. And we may do that.

CUOMO: All right, look, I appreciate you doing this, not the easiest conversation to have.

I misspelled Mazars. It's M-A-Z-A-R-S. If you want to look up the case, and see what's going on? Not you, Stan. I know you know it. The people at home, just to, Google it, and you'll see it's all laid out.

Stan Brand, thank you very much. I appreciate you coming on the show.

I'll take silence as acceptance.

The current president is back, trying to fuse his party together, around his stalled economic agenda, to hammer out a deal. Biden has worries about going abroad, and showing America's face to the world, with nothing in hand.

We're going to ask one of the progressives, who met with Biden today. What was said? What message was conveyed? And what is the chance of getting something done, before the G20, or the big Climate summit thereafter? Next.









CUOMO: The President is open to dropping some of the key parts of the "Build Back Better" plan.

Like what? Tuition-free community college, and adding limits to the child tax credit and elderly care. Now, these are all very popular things. But they don't have the consensus within, his, own party. So, another day of meetings, lunches, phone calls, just among Democrats. I know this looks like how Washington should work, if you had two parties involved.

But let's talk to a progressive, who was in today's meetings, Wisconsin Representative Mark Pocan.

Congressman, thank you.

REP. MARK POCAN (D-WI): Chris, thanks for having me.

CUOMO: So, what do I have right? What do I have wrong? What was the President's posture today?

POCAN: I think he's anxious to get this done. Not frustrated, but anxious is the right word. Because, this is his agenda. He's extremely well-versed in it. He wrote it. He's got every detail in his head on this.

And most of the final negotiation is really with a couple people in the Senate. But there are hundreds of Democrats, in the House, and 48 in the Senate, who are ready to go on this, as soon as we can.

And I think once we get the final few, to join us, we're going to have two really big bills that are going to deliver for the American people.


CUOMO: Well look, the good news is, whatever you pass, if the number is even a fraction, of what was originally suggested, and the majority of boxes are checked, it'll be spending, like we haven't seen, on meaningful programs, based on polls of how people feel about it, since the New Deal.

The problem is you guys keep fighting off success, by figuring out what's going to be in the bill.

The balancing is it's all but two of you, as you suggested. How do you quell the frustration of people, like you, and other progressives, who are like, "Don't talk to us, Mr. President. Love you. Respect you. Go talk to Sinema and Manchin, because they're killing us."

POCAN: Well, first, the President is doing just that, while he's meeting with us.

And I think we're having almost what I'd call part-celebratory, part- strategy sessions, on what, this bill is going to get done.

Because as you said, Chris, I mean, this is going to be as big as the New Deal, bigger than the New Deal, when we get this done. It's going to improve people's lives. 40 million Americans will continue to see a tax cut, through the child tax credit.

You're going to see reduced costs, for Americans, through lower cost prescription drugs, through being able to get their child care, at no more than 7 percent of their income, through expansion of Medicare, so many other things that the average person is going to actually benefit from.

Finally, from Washington, it's going to create millions of jobs, many tackling climate change. And the best part is it's paid for, right? That's the part that everyone gets lost. They're saying, "What's the final number going to be?" The final number is actually zero, as far as cost to the average person.

CUOMO: And the numbers never helped you anyway.

POCAN: Because people make more than $400,000--

CUOMO: I know it worked--


CUOMO: I know it worked well in-house, inside Washington. It was a big price tag. It's a big "Wow." But as - you know how people, I mean, you know, from back home, people get sticker shock. So, I think the more you guys sell the programs, and not the price tag, the better for you.

One last quick question, Congressman Pocan.


CUOMO: And I appreciate you being here.

Do you think you can get a framework done, whatever that means, before he goes, Biden goes, the President goes, to the G20, such that you could have a vote on the infrastructure bill, and send him, to face the rest of the G20, with something in his pocket?

POCAN: I think the vast majority of us want to get this done as soon as possible. I think the next couple days are going to be crucial, with a few of those folks, over in the Senate that we just talked about.

But the President is working extremely hard. He and his administration are very committed to this. And, in Congress, our leadership and members, in our Progressive Caucus, we're ready to celebrate this, what we've delivered for the American people. And we want to do it as soon as we possibly can.

So, we're hoping that the few holdouts that are still out there, the rest of us are rowing together. We just need them, to pick out, what kind of wood, they want their oar made out of, and we'll all be together.

CUOMO: That's a good line!

Congressman Mark Pocan, thank you very much. Good luck doing the work of the people.

POCAN: Thank you. CUOMO: All right. Another right-wing anti-vaxxer just announced he has COVID. I don't know if he really did. But radio host, Dennis Prager, is bragging that he got it on purpose, so that he could show it's no big deal.




CUOMO: Why would someone do this? And why would someone want to send that kind of message? Supposedly, Prager is a statistics guy! You haven't seen how many dead there are? Why would you want to do anything to create more?

Let's talk to somebody, with some influence, in true conservative circles. How's this playing? Next.









CUOMO: The latest right-winger downplaying COVID is really trying to make a name for himself.


PRAGER: It is infinitely preferable to have natural immunity than vaccine immunity.

I so engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them, knowing that I was making myself very susceptible, to getting COVID, which is indeed, as bizarre as it sounded, what I wanted, in the hope that I would achieve natural immunity, and be taken care of, by therapeutics.


CUOMO: Now, look, what he really wanted is what I'm giving him right now, which is attention.

The 73-year-old conservative radio show host, Dennis Prager, he, says that that's what he did, to intentionally get it. He says he tested positive for COVID, last week. At no point, he says was he in danger of being hospitalized. That's the way the overwhelming majority of cases go. But why take the risk? Why do that? What message do you want to send to people? "Get sick. It's great?"

Over the past three months, at least five right-wing radio show hosts, who, like him, discouraged listeners, from getting the vaccine, have died of COVID.

This has never been about, of course, if you could have natural immunity, that would be great. And, by the way, often the task of a vaccine is to help your body create that kind of immunity. But when you don't have it, what are you supposed to do?

Let's bring a conservative insider, Mike Broomhead, Host of "The Mike Broomhead Show," on KTAR, in Arizona.

And look, why am I giving him the attention? Because I want to expose this, as something, that is not a good thing to do, and really dangerous, Mike. I mean, even if he's right, that he, like was around, like, licking poles, or whatever he had to do, to get sick here, hugging, and kissing, and coughing, or whatever it was doing, why?

MIKE BROOMHEAD, HOST, THE MIKE BROOMHEAD SHOW ON KTAR IN ARIZONA: I don't know the answer to why. 73-years-old, statistically, Arizona is no different than Wisconsin, or any other state, where it's older people over the age of 65 that are the most in danger, of serious illness or death. So, I don't know the answer to that.


He did say he's being treated with monoclonal antibodies, Ivermectin, maybe Hydroxychloroquine. Maybe the point was to show that those medications work. I don't know the answer to why.

CUOMO: And, by the way, they wouldn't even, show it. Ivermectin, there's been absolutely no proof that it can do it. We know that Hydroxychloroquine is about dealing with any kind of pneumonia condition, which is in a later stage of COVID.

But just in terms of the politics, here, Mike? And I appreciate you coming on brother, by the way. Why is this saleable in conservative circles, that the "Vaccine is a joke, and you don't need it, and everything's being overhyped?"

BROOMHEAD: I would - I would say - what I would say to you is I disagree that it's just conservatives.

Black Lives Matter came out and said that they're not in favor of vaccine mandates, either. We're looking at a lot of people that are balking at getting a vaccine. So, I don't know that this is political.

I do understand the concern about somebody that's 73-years-old, I think is what Mr. Prager is. And I certainly can't second-guess him. He's a brilliant man. The guy's a brilliant guy. I don't know why he's doing it. I wouldn't take that chance. CUOMO: This is not a brilliant move, Mike, you know?

BROOMHEAD: It may not be. But again, I don't think that this is conservative versus liberal. I don't think it's Republican versus Democrat. I mean, Black Lives Matter has come out and said that they're not in favor of vaccine.

CUOMO: Yes. But look, Black Lives Matter, I don't know. I haven't been researching them.

But I mean, look, it's not a coincidence that you've had these conservative radio hosts go down, and that you've had all of these elected representatives, on the Right, making this case.

I mean, you didn't see Black Lives Matter, or anyone on the liberal circles, going after Colin Powell, right after he died saying "This is proof that the vaccine doesn't work."

BROOMHEAD: Yes. And, just a side note, I know that's not the topic.

Let me say this about General Powell. He served his country honorably, under multiple presidents, including President Obama. He just was one of those guys that he - "Politics be damned. If my country needs me, I'll serve my country."

And he was suffering from a disorder, that myeloma that it - that compromises your immune system. So, I don't think there's an argument there, about the vaccine, because his immune system was compromised, at 84-years-old. It's more proof that someone that's older is more susceptible to serious illness or death.

CUOMO: 100 percent. Look, neither of us are doctors. But I believe the value to having you on, with the audience, is to remind people, that there are real conservatives, out there, that are dealing with science, and dealing with fact.

And you may have different opinions about what should happen in our government, in our society. But you're coming from a place of head and heart. And I respect that. And I respect you. I appreciate you.

BROOMHEAD: And I appreciate being on, as always. And again, I'm fully vaccinated. I got fully vaccinated, as soon as I could. So, I'm not an anti-vaxxer. But I am someone that's against mandates.

CUOMO: Understood. And look, they're controversial in society right now. The problem is what do you do, when your society won't take it?


CUOMO: What are you left with?

We'll keep talking. Mike Broomhead, be well.

BROOMHEAD: You too, sir.

CUOMO: All right, we'll be right back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)








CUOMO: Race was the theme, on day two, of the jury selection, in the Ahmaud Arbery case.


CUOMO: Remember, these three White men have been accused, of chasing down, and killing Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, who was out for a jog, in their neighborhood.

While attorneys, for at least two of the accused killers, have denied race was a factor, they were keen to question would-be jurors, on that topic, for views on the Confederate flag, and on Black Lives Matter.

Let's bring in top legal mind, Joey Jackson.

So, we're looking at these questions. What stood out to you?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I mean, everything stands out to me, with respect to what people's feelings are, their beliefs are, what they believe about Black Lives Matter, what they believe about Confederate flags, what they believe about race relations in the country. And so, you want to be able to vet jurors.

And Chris, I'm one that believes, when you select a jury, I don't believe in stereotypes. There are so many stereotypes, we lawyers, have with respect to who should be impaneled.

I'm one that believes that you ask jurors, about what their views of life are. You get a sense for their fairness, their sense of justice, their families, them as individuals, what they like, what they don't like. And you select someone that you think is appropriate, and could evaluate a case, based on the merits, and based on nothing else.

CUOMO: What do you think the chance is that you can do that in this case?

JACKSON: I think the chances are very good. Our system depends upon that. Let's remember and remind everyone, Chris, that 1,000 members of the public have been called, to jury duty, for this case, right? That's 10 times more than the average case.

And why do you do that? Because you know, people have opinions, you know, people have thought about this, have discussed it, have formulated some pretty significant thoughts.

But the hope is that out of those 1,000 people that you don't get, not people, who've never heard about it, or who even don't have an opinion, but people, who can leave that aside, and can look at the facts, look at the evidence, and make a determination, based upon that, and not anything that they heard in the press, at some prior time.

So yes, it's a challenge, to be clear. We might be naive to state that it wasn't. But it certainly can be done. Our system depends upon it. And we have a pretty good system at that.

CUOMO: Help the audience get up to speed, on the defense relying, in part, on this now-defunct Civil War-era law. What is the law? And why would they do this?

JACKSON: So, what happens is, is that the defense is going to be relying upon self-defense. In order to do that, they're going to predicate that defense upon "We were making a citizen's arrest."

"Well, why were you?" Because the law would provide, for you see, that a crime was committed, in your presence. That crime happen to be a felony. What it would allow you to do is to otherwise detain someone, for purposes, of them violating the law.


JACKSON: In the event you had to defend yourself--

CUOMO: What's the Civil War aspect?

JACKSON: --doing so. What's that?

CUOMO: What's the Civil War aspect?


JACKSON: Well, the Civil War aspect is that's when the law was formulated. That's when the law came about. It was a citizen's arrest law that was - that was really, of long-standing. And that's the aspect of it.

And it was not thought of highly. And that's why it has since been repealed, because it could lead to things like this, these types of behavior, where you have someone dead, and they did not need to be.

And so, they'll be relying upon that. Even though the law has since been repealed, they'll be arguing that indeed a crime was committed, that crime being trespass, they believed that he was committing that crime, chased him down, as a result of that, and were acting lawfully, and had to defend themselves.

That's what the defense will be. I'm not suggesting that that defense will be successful, under the facts and circumstances, of this case.

CUOMO: They may not even let it in.

Joey Jackson, thank you very much. Appreciate you.

JACKSON: Always. Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Let's take a break, and then the handoff.


CUOMO: All right, thank you for watching. It is now time for "DON LEMON TONIGHT" with its big star, D. Lemon.