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Biden Tells Macron The U.S. Was "Clumsy" In Its Handling Of Nuclear Submarine Deal; FDA Authorizes Pfizer's Vaccine For Children 5 to 11; Lawyers: "Rust" Armorer Has "No Idea" How Live Ammo Got On Set. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 29, 2021 - 21:00   ET




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

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

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME, live from the G20, in Rome, the meeting of world powers, trying to tackle major economic crises.

Roma is called "La Chita Eterna," "The Eternal City." But there's only a fleeting moment here, for President Biden, to show key allies that America can be trusted, once more.

Biden went full mea culpa with a leader of France, admitting to President Macron, the U.S. was clumsy, to use his word, in its handling of a submarine deal, with Australia that did deprive France, of billions, in defense contracts. But that was not the moment of the day.

The United States President had a moment with the Pope that may have been a first. The two most powerful Catholics in the world met for 90 minutes. Now, that's long, when it comes to a Papal meeting. Francis met with former President Trump, for example, for less than half that.

Now, the Pontiff did Biden a solid, said he was a good Catholic, and should keep receiving Communion, a papal skippity pack, to the conservative cranks, the bishops, in the U.S., saying otherwise, over Biden's support, for women's reproductive rights.

And the President returned the favor to the Pope with something I've never heard of, with a Pope before.

Let me show you the moment, and then I'll explain it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And with your permission, I'd like to be able to give you a coin.

Well, I know my son would want me to give this to you, because on the back of it, I have the State of Delaware and the 261st Unit my son served with.

Now the tradition is--


BIDEN: --and I'm only kidding about this.


BIDEN: If next time I see you, and you don't have it?


BIDEN: You have to buy the drinks.


BIDEN: I'm the only Irishman you've ever met who's never had a drink.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Irish people love whiskey.


CUOMO: OK, so backstory, President Biden had been consoled by the Pope, when his son Beau died, OK?

Hold on for a second.

And this Challenge coin, a Command coin, is something that a lot of military leaders have. Usually it has, who you're with, on one side, and a state, or some other information, on the other. And they're given as gifts.

The Commander-in-Chief also has one. The 261 is the division, the detachment that his son Beau served with. So, it's a very endearing thing to give.

But it is true that when one of the commanders gives you one of these coins, it means that the next time they see you, if you don't have it, you buy them a drink. And Biden actually said that, to Pope Francis, and also shared information maybe you didn't know that he doesn't drink.

And then the Pope said, "OK, Irish love whiskey." Probably get canceled for that, in America if he said it. But it was an interesting joke, and a moment of warmth, between these two men that was very important for the American president.

Because, overall, here, so far, President Biden, is on message, why? This trip is about projecting power. He's close with the Pope. He can mend fences with an ally. He is a President in-charge.

But does the image here match the reality at home? Democrat infighting may be spun to the media as a good thing, in process, but what does it mean to the masses?

The governor's race in Virginia is going to be the first true measure. It is in a dead heat. And no one predicted that even a month ago.

Terry McAuliffe has no business being tied with Republican Glenn Youngkin. He's a former Governor, McAuliffe, popular, in a Blue state, where Biden won by 10 points, just last year.

You combine what, COVID consternation, with McAuliffe not being able to brag, about his party delivering, no infrastructure, no much-needed spending, and it hasn't been a whole.

Is Virginia the first measure of the midterms to come? Let's take that question to the better minds, Republican and Democratic strategists, Stuart Stevens, and James Carville.

Good to have you both.

Jimmy, let me start with you. What do you think of Virginia? Do I have it right that what's happening with McAuliffe is the first look, at the measure of Democrat power?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, CO-HOST, "POLITICS WAR ROOM" PODCAST: Well this is one hour from that has had (ph) a drink, Chris. But yes, I mean, it's an important election.

CUOMO: I know you have.


CARVILLE: And it's a very important election. It will be bad. It's bad to lose in the election. I wish they would have had to just make - been able to consummate this deal, prior to Tuesday. But that looks like it's unlikely to happen.

But I am very worried. I'm very concerned. Every Democrat should be, and should be making phone calls to people, in Virginia, and get as many people out as we can, to vote. It's going to be a very tight election.

CUOMO: Now, let's talk tactics, for one second, Stuart, before I get your macro on it.

Some people showed up, at a Youngkin event, posing as Charlottesville protesters. A group you're with, "The Lincoln Project," owned that it was them that they posed this way, because they wanted people to remember. You're getting crushed, by people, on the Right, as a dirty tactic. Do you stand behind what was done? And is that being what you guys say you oppose?

STUART STEVENS, FORMER ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN CHIEF STRATEGIST, FORMER REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST, ADVISER, THE LINCOLN PROJECT: No. Listen, every day, I hear people pleading with "The Lincoln Project," to help show Democrats how to win, how to play hardball. This is an example.

The question here is it's not about some guys, who showed up at a rally. It's, why hasn't Glenn Youngkin denounced Donald Trump, for saying that "There were good people on both sides." I mean, that is absolutely outrageous. And it's because Glenn Youngkin wants it both ways. And I think that's the message that needs to be driven here.

"The Lincoln Project" was the first in this race, to put Charlottesville in an ad. And some people thought maybe it went too far, but we did it. And it worked. And then McAuliffe campaign followed us, and put Charlottesville on a very good ad they did.

So, I think the question here is we can't ignore what happened in Charlottesville. The question is why hasn't Glenn Youngkin denounced Donald Trump?

CUOMO: No, look, I hear the question. It's a legitimate one.

But Jim, James, the Democrat Party, in Virginia, has said, "Look, we weren't part of this. It shouldn't have happened." What about the Democrat disposition, in terms of how to win these upcoming battles?

CARVILLE: Well, let me - first of all, "The Lincoln Project" is independent of the Democratic Party of Virginia. I happen to know the Chairwoman very, very well.

And I kind of agree what Stuart said. It was to illustrate a point that Youngkin has not denounced Trump saying "There were fine people on both sides," in Charlottesville. I think this is a kind of a 10 percent of teapot like that (ph).

But, Terry's campaigned hard. He's raised a lot of money. And it's just a tight election. And traditionally, only one time since 1965, where we follow a presidential election, heads the party that won the presidency, won the Virginia governorship. And that was in 2013.

So, that - it's a race. Virginia is a state that Democrats have done considerably better in. But this is a tough cycle that we're in right now. And hopefully, we can win this. Well some people think we got to do a slight favoring up. Myself, I'm too nervous to think right now.

CUOMO: Well, do your best, brother, because I'm in Rome, and I'm half- asleep. It's the middle of the night.


CUOMO: But the one metric we know, James, is that eight out of the last 11 times, you've looked at Virginia, and you've seen what has been predictive, in the midterms, in terms of what kind of party changeover, you're going to have?

How big a problem is it, for the Democrats, in your mind that they get something done now, or no matter when they get it done, James, will it still be a big victory that they can campaign on, for the midterms?

CARVILLE: Yes, and interesting is it kind of started just February 1, and it's we've had a gestation period of nine months. It's time to "Let's get this thing done," you know, like?

Yes, sure. And when they do, it's going to - it's going to help. They're going to show action. And it's difficult with these, razor- thin non-majority in the Senate, and barely, a majority in the House, to get this done. It's very difficult.

The President has been extremely involved in this. People have come in. The minutiae in the detail that he knows about this, he's very involved. And if, and when, this thing gets done, he should get enormous credit for that. He's getting a ton of blame right now. But when it gets done, he should get a ton of credit also.

CUOMO: Stuart, what is your read on what it means that Adam Kinzinger, Republican, Illinois, veteran, stand-out, as a Trump critic, has said, "I'm out."

STEVENS: Look, it's a sad reality of where the Republican Party is now. It's a difficult place, for honorable men and women to serve, and be able to keep their conscience.

Right now, to rise in the Republican Party, you have to be a Trump Republican.

And you look at the Ohio Senate race, where you have Josh Mandel, and J.D. Vance, and they're each, wake up every day, saying, "What can I say that's more extreme, that's more crazy?"


It's just a race to the bottom, and that's where the Republican Party is now. And it's not going to change, until you defeat these people.

So, I certainly understand why the Congressman did this. I think it's a sad day, what it says about the party, but it is the reality that we live in.

CUOMO: And Stuart, what do you think will be the best change agent?

STEVENS: The best change agent is to beat these Trump people. You have to beat people, like Glenn Youngkin, who was Donald Trump's hand- picked candidate, who said that one of the major reasons he was running, was to pursue the Trump agenda.

You can't have it both ways. Look, the Republican Party does not believe that Joe Biden is a legal president. They don't think we live in a democracy. And how do you negotiate with that? How do you meet that halfway? You can't. You just have to beat these people. You have to have more days, like January 5, in Georgia. And until you do that, it's going to be a struggle.

And it's basically not between two political parties anymore, not the way James and I used to fight, this stuff out. It's between one party that's pro-democracy. And that's the Democratic Party. And there's one party that is pro-autocracy. And that's the Republican Party.

And I hope the Virginia governor's race is a good sign of how they're going to be able to defeat that.

CARVILLE: Chris? Stuart's making a point here.

CUOMO: Well James, let me give you the last word on this, because--


CUOMO: --you did beat Trump. And yet, this harshness continues, and is in fact growing.


CUOMO: So, what are you really up against? And how do you beat it?

CARVILLE: Well, Stuart, I'll make the point is, the Republican Party is not a party. It's a cult. The Democratic Party is a coalition.


CARVILLE: Coalitions are tough to manage. Cults just follow the leader of the cult.

So, it's difficult. It's messy. And the only thing I know how to do, after anything else, is try to win as many elections, as we can, to try to fight as hard as we can.

I think I sent out 47 fundraising emails for Terry. And I'm just hoping and praying that we win here, November 2, in Virginia. And we'll have to dust off, and get up, and fight another day. But there's no other way to do that, then, as Stuart points out, to win elections, and try to win elections, that's just what we got to do, for now.

And they're not even - they're trying to take people's right to vote away. So, it's tough out there. But we owe it to the country, we owe it to everybody else, to just keep trying, and try as hard as we can, and continue trying.

CUOMO: As we learned with Hillary Clinton, though, money doesn't always beat a movement. A better movement does. And we'll see what the Democrats can come up with.

James Carville, Stuart Stevens, I'll tell you what, I couldn't ask for better guests, to discuss this. I wish you both well, and thank you.

CARVILLE: Well thank you, Chris. STEVENS: All right. Thank you, buddy.

CARVILLE: Thanks, Stuart.

CUOMO: All right.

STEVENS: Good to see you, James.

CUOMO: Of course.

So, President Biden already showed here, and to you, at home, he's No Trump. He can admit mistakes. And the Pope doesn't look dour, in his presence. But something else must happen here before he heads home. What is it?

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE) after this. This is Italia. We go a little at a time here. I got to have a little sip of cappuccino, and then I'll give you the answer, right after the break.









CUOMO: Everybody was wondering how Biden would deal with the French situation. And you know what he did? He dealt with it the way we tell our kids to do it. "If you did something wrong, say you're sorry, and move on."

Take a look.


BIDEN: The answer is I think what happened was, to use an English phrase, what we did was clumsy. It was not done with a lot of grace.

I was under the impression that France had been informed long before that the deal was not going through, honest to God did not know you had not been.


CUOMO: This was about that submarine deal that went to Australia. It's billions of dollars that France was counting on. Didn't get it. Now, what was the power of that? Comes, at the beginning, of a marathon of meetings, with world leaders, in the hopes, of delivering a simple message, but one, that's going to be, hard, to give assurances on, "We're going to be OK. And the United States can be trusted."

Did that help with Emmanuel Macron, the French President?

I have Jim Sciutto. Nobody understands the issues better. Always a pleasure. Thank you very much, my brother.


CUOMO: So, was that a surprise that Biden came out, and said "No. That was wrong. And I'll take care of it right now."

SCIUTTO: Listen, the French wanted a mea culpa. I've spoken to French diplomats. They were insulted by this. They thought it was consequential that their close ally, America, had kind of pulled the rug out from under them. So, they got it.

And, by the way, it's interesting to hear Biden there. I mean, he threw his team under the bus a bit. He said "I thought that was taken care of. We clearly didn't communicate with the French. That's significant." They got it.

Did he make any other assurances to in effect, make up, for what was a significant loss, for the French, in terms of this nuclear submarine deal? We don't know that.

But the mea culpa has consequences. I think the big challenge for Biden here is the difference between what he can accomplish, short- term, in this weekend, in the coming weeks and months, and what's lasting?

Because what I hear from European diplomats is where is America's lasting position in the world today? Are they the leader that they were going to be, in the past? Or are they going to retreat, from the world stage?

Looking at Afghanistan, for instance, and their concern is that this is not a short-term thing, for America, right, that America will not be the leader it was before, and that we, Europe, have to step up and do more on our own.


CUOMO: Now, interestingly, and life's not fair, neither is geopolitics. But they're basically saying, "Hey, you're like us now. You're transient. Your leaders come and go. You guys reverse course, you know? You're not solid, the way we used to see you."


CUOMO: That's a tough burden to carry. But what does Biden do to show that the United States can?

SCIUTTO: It is. But you do have European leaders, who want to not supplant the U.S., but be more prominent.

And Macron, by the way, one of them, right? I mean, particularly with Merkel, Angela Merkel, leaving, who was kind of a putative leader, of Western Europe, Macron, he, wants to be that guy, right? And he wants France to be that nation. And he's spoken openly about Europe, for instance, having more responsibility, for its own security.

And to your point, right, this is something that Europe kind of has to do, right? I mean, they've been leaning on the U.S., in a whole host of ways. So, there is a positive there. But the negative, or at least the reality, for the U.S., is that even our closest allies don't have the same confidence that they had in the U.S. before.

And again, Afghanistan was a concrete example of that, for them. Yes, they knew the U.S. was going to withdraw, at some point. But the way it happened, they were not happy. And you can say all the nice things you want, as a President Biden. But the fact is the U.S. is out of there. And now, we and Europe have to deal with the consequences.

CUOMO: Does that, plus his own party, not giving what he wants?


CUOMO: Make it a done deal for Biden, before these meetings, even start, or does he have a shot?

SCIUTTO: Listen, he didn't get what he wanted. He didn't get - and, by the way, the President, and his team were, they articulated this themselves. They said, "You got to send him to Europe with something," right, with this deal.

He got close. They do have a framework agreement. We shouldn't - we shouldn't forget about that. And the progressives are on board, and that kind of thing. And it looks like they'll probably have a deal, though.

I'm not going to bet money, on Vegas on it, given past deadlines being broken. But they're probably going to get it. Now, I would guess that that's what the Europeans believe will happen.

But again, that raises a question long-term, for instance, the climate piece of that, big deal. G20, top of the agenda is climate, as is with the Climate summit that you'll be at next week. Does that commitment last, through the next guy, right, the next president? Obama put us in the Paris Climate Accords. Trump took us out. Biden put us back in.

Are U.S. agreements, around nuclear deal, are they things that survive presidencies and administrations? Or are we on a bit of a yo-yo, here? And then that's a genuine question that the Europeans have, and many others around the world have.

CUOMO: Well we'll see what kind of answers the President provides.


CUOMO: You're watching it in real-time. It's good to live history with you, brother.

SCIUTTO: Let's see, yes.

CUOMO: All right, now, another big issue, here, was with the Pope, will be with the G20 countries, is how we handled the pandemic.

Now, what they want is access to the vaccine. What we're struggling with, at home, is that we have access, and we don't want it. We don't want to take it. You now have 70 percent, 75 percent of people, who say they're unvaccinated, saying "I'd rather quit my job than get this vaccine."

So, what happens next week, with what shouldn't be a huge movement for us? Parents may be able to start booking appointments, for kids, 5 to 11, to get the vaccine.

Is this is a good thing? Or is it going to create more trouble? We're going to ask the COVID Czar, for Testing, under President Trump, next.









CUOMO: All right, it's a haunting question, but got to ask it. Is the fact that we may be able to soon vaccinate our kids, 5 to 11, going to help or hurt, the situation, in America?

Now, let's talk process first. There's still a couple of more steps, before the CDC gives the final go-ahead, but it is looking like next week.

What will people do when they are able to vaccinate kids 5 to 11? My wife and I are in this group. We're going to do it. Why? We've done the research. We've talked to our doctor. And we believe it's the right thing.

Many parents, take a look at your screen, "No," very different, than it is, with adults.

I say this all the time. When it comes to me? I'll basically do anything, if you tell me I got a good chance of getting better. But I'm - not my kid. We're worried. We're worried about safety. We're worried about how necessary. Messaging matters. Is it consistent? Does there seem to be confidence behind the data?

Admiral Brett Giroir was the White House's COVID Testing Czar, under former President Trump.

Admiral, always good to see you.


CUOMO: So somebody comes to you, and says, "What do I do, Doc? Should I give my kid this vaccine?" What do you say?

GIROIR: Well, the first thing I'll say is the data look really, really very good.

In the 5- to 11-year-old group, even though it was only one-third of the dose, the protection against symptomatic infection was over 90 percent, which is an outstanding result. And there were no serious adverse events, among the children, in that age group. And that's just fantastic.

And we know that children can get severe disease. We've had over 6 million children get COVID. About 1 percent of them wind up in the hospital. And if you don't get severe disease, from COVID, you can get this terrible inflammatory syndrome.

So, this is a great day, to give parents, the option. It's highly effective. It appears safe. And it is a great day, for children, and a great day for America.

CUOMO: What do you make of that low number of parents, who say they're in automatically?

GIROIR: So, I think we should take a deep breath. The numbers I've seen is about a third of parents will immunize their children immediately.

I would imagine that after the vaccine is out, and it starts getting, within the public, when people talk to their pediatricians, I would expect another 40 percent or 50 percent of the American people, to get the vaccinated, and then there'll be some that don't.


And I think we really need to continue to work with the positive messages, to be transparent, with parents, to be transparent, with children, because a 10-year-old or 11-year-old child has a say in this as well. We need to talk to them and get their understanding. But I think you'll see that needle move very dramatically, as this gets rolled out into the public.

CUOMO: Not in my house. I know Cha Cha's probably watching right now. You got no say. If the doctor says you're getting the shot, you're getting the shot.

Now, the question that becomes a real practical concern, though, Doctor, is the messaging.

People are going to say, "This is only emergency use. That sounds experimental to me. You're not going to guinea pig my kid. And we've never really done anything like this before."

And then, what cuts against it is, "But we already mandate vaccines for our kids, if they want to go to public school."

I'm not using the M-word! But in terms of messaging here, how important is it that the government is consistent, and constant in messaging?

GIROIR: It is the most important thing, Chris, and not just the government, but public health professionals.

And parents are right, to an extent. And we need to acknowledge their concern. Everyone wants their child to be safe, and to grow and be healthy. This is an emergency use. It's not the standard of a final approval. And we should admit that. But then explain to parents about the risk benefit.

The risk of getting COVID, among even normal children, is substantial. If your child is obese, has any lung disease, heart disease, immunosuppression, this is a no-brainer. You need to get vaccinated now. For the rest, do, like you said, Chris. Do your research. Talk to your doctor, and make a good decision.

And I think most parents, if you don't pressure them, if you're transparent, and give them the right information? They're going to do the right thing, for their child, and for almost all situations. It's to get vaccinated.

CUOMO: A big item of resistance, especially for people, who are supporters of the former president, the administration that you served under, they say, "Well, then I want to take the mask off. I want the mask off my kid, then. If I'm going to get vaccinated, then they don't need the masks."

And I know the scientific explanation for it, why you just want the added protection. "You don't really know yet. They're in such tight confines." I've heard it all.

But how do you convince people, who say, "Well, if I'm going to give you that my kid gets the vaccine? I have to get something out of it. Their situation has to improve. I don't want masks."

What do you make of that trade?

GIROIR: It's an artificial trade. What you really get, out of vaccinating your child is a high degree of protection that your child won't die, become hospitalized, or get a terrible inflammatory syndrome. That's a pretty good deal, two shots for the health of your child. But secondly, masks aren't going to be forever. And I think the CDC would even admit that. Right now, we see Delta going down. We see vaccinations going up. And there will come a time, and I think the time is very soon, where masks will be reduced.

Now look, right now, only about 40 percent of people in the country actually wear masks, when they're in public places. That's down from 70 percent to 80 percent, in January and February. So, mask use has gone down.

But we're still beating the virus, with Delta going away. It's because of vaccination, and it's because of natural immunity. So, vaccines will be the nail in the coffin to the pandemic.

And masks are not forever. They are temporary. But right now, particularly in indoor crowded spaces, especially if you have a high degree of transmission, they're still a reasonable measure for you to take.

CUOMO: And, of course, all of those boxes are checked in school.

Admiral Brett Giroir, thank you very much. Appreciate you.

GIROIR: Thank you.

CUOMO: Now, something that's being played, as a surprise, but any lawyer, even a lousy one, like me, had to see this coming.

If it's all about in the "Rust" movie shooting, where Alec Baldwin accidentally wound up shooting, and killing his cinematographer, it's always going to come down to how did, live rounds get on a movie set. So, that means that the person, who was responsible, for the rounds, on set, was either going to own it or deny it.

We now know how this situation is going to be played, by the attorneys, and the team, surrounding the 24-year-old, who was in charge of the ammunition.

Let's bring in a veteran armorer. What makes sense? What does not? Next.








(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: The "Rust" movie set, investigators say, they're still waiting to hear from the armorer on that set, Hannah Gutierrez, about getting a follow-up interview.

That is the key in any investigation, by the way. It's not what somebody says the first time. It's what happens once investigators learn more, and can go back with different questions.

Now, here is the statement from her lawyer.

"Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from. Hannah and the prop master gained control over the guns and she never witnessed anyone shoot live rounds with these guns and nor would she permit that.

They were locked up every night and at lunch and there's no way a single one of them was unaccounted for or being shot by crew members."


So how does that square with what we know, about those final moments, and what we have heard about the guns being used? The guns were in her care. Somebody handed it to Alec Baldwin, and said it was a cold gun, meaning safe, and it wasn't.

Let's bring in Dutch Merrick. He is a veteran armorer and prop master.

It's good to have you back, brother. Appreciate it.


CUOMO: So, if the investigation demonstrates that what killed Halyna Hutchins was a live round, and that is what the Sheriff said, last night, on this show, then, how could the armorer not be responsible, for a live round, making its way, onto the set?

MERRICK: Well, there's still a question of the chain of custody. Everything I've read, so far, shows that Hannah had the gun, all the way, till the set. But, and then, it also says that the first A.D. handed the gun to Alec Baldwin.

So, there's a bit of a missing piece of the story. Was the armorer actually, inside the church? Did she hand it to him outside? It's still a little - a little vague. There's a little missing time lapse there that I, myself, I haven't quite figured out.

CUOMO: So, the A.D. says he didn't check the gun himself. Because, in order to explain the lapse, either, there was a live round, put in the gun, intentionally, or by mistake, before or after he got it. So, if he says he didn't check it, either, he didn't put it in, or he is lying, and then did put it in.

What seems most likely to you, in terms of live ammo being on a set, and yet the guns were completely accounted for, all the time, and locked away, and nobody could have ever used them?

MERRICK: Well, there's still the story about crew members firing the guns. Now, according to the armorer, the guns were locked up at all times. And she knows nothing about firing - firing them.

So - but the Sheriff had said that they had heard the crew may have been firing them. I think that's still either a rumor, and a red herring, or a key part of the story. We're not sure which it's going to be.

But those dummy rounds should be in the custody of the armorer at all times. And they go from the safe, to the cart, to the gun, to the actor's hand. If she confused a dummy and a real round somehow, it's hard to imagine.

CUOMO: So, well, you've said that. And let's iterate that for the audience that you don't believe it is easy, for someone, with any experience at all, let alone being a master, to confuse a blank with a live round. It's crimped at the end. There is no slug. They feel different. So, we would assume that's not what happened.

What do you make of her position of blaming the producers?

Let's put up their statement, or I'll just read it, from her attorneys.

"Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer. She fought for training, days to maintain weapons, and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department."

MERRICK: So, I talked to a prop master that was offered that job, and he had submitted a budget, and a labor outline. And that labor was going to be five people, in the prop department, to manage all of the props, and the guns. And that would include an armorer.

Now, the producers said, "We don't have that kind of money. It's going to be you, plus two assistants. And, by the way, one of those assistants is going to be the armorer." So, it sounds as though they did understaff that show, based on the other prop master's breakdown.

The training, it seems to me that she was asking for a day to, or a period of time, to train with the actors, in gun handling. That's my guess, because it's a little unclear the way she said it.

Additionally, the - all reports is there weren't enough or maybe no safety meetings. It's standard practice, in filmmaking, to have a safety meeting.

If you're going to do pyrotechnics, or stunts, or firearms, or anything that could potentially be dangerous, you have a safety meeting, in the beginning of the day. And then, you have safety meetings, throughout the day, where the entire crew circles up. We describe what's about to happen.

And they might say "Well, this is the stunt coordinator. This is the armorer. They're going to describe their course of events. Does anybody have any questions?" And once there are no questions, and everyone's satisfied that this is totally safe, then, we can proceed.

If they were not having safety meetings, that's a major concern, Chris.

CUOMO: Dutch Merrick, you know the job. You know the reality. And you know when things go wrong.


One thing is for sure. There may not be charges. We don't know yet. But there will be changes.

Appreciate you, brother. I'll talk to you soon. Be well.

MERRICK: Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: All right, let's go back to, well where we are, the G20.

We had a moment today that is unlike any I've ever even heard of, with a pontiff, let alone with a president, OK? Very special moment, when Biden tried to convince Pope Francis, that age is only a number.

Right back.









Delia Gallagher and I are already talking. You can't come to Rome without having Delia Gallagher. And I was lucky enough to live history, with her, today, between Pope Francis, and President Joe Biden.


So, in one exchange, as I already told you, earlier in the show, the President gave him this Challenge coin, this Command coin, and said "Hey, you got to buy the drinks, the next time." And the Pope said, "Yes, the Irish, they like whiskey."

But then, Joe Biden told him a story, about age, being just a number, in a matter of perspective, told through the story of this very famous pitcher, in baseball history, named Satchel Paige.

Take a listen to this.


FRANCIS: Thank you for that.

BIDEN: There's a famous African American baseball player in America.

And he didn't get to play in the Major League Baseball, until he was 45-years-old.

And usually pitchers lose their arm when they're 35.

He pitched to win on his 47th birthday.


BIDEN: The press walked into the locker room, and said - his name was Satchel Paige.


BIDEN: They came in. And they said, "Satch, no one's ever pitched a win at age 47! How do you feel about pitching a win on your birthday?"

And he looked at them, and he said, "Boys? That's not how I look at age."

"I look at it this way. How old would you be, if you didn't know how old you were?"

BIDEN: You're 65. I'm 60.


BIDEN: God love you.


CUOMO: Vatican Correspondent Delia Gallagher with me.

We enjoyed that moment together. I felt bad for the translator.


CUOMO: He's like "Lost an arm."

GALLAGHER: Yes, it's tough.

CUOMO: And it's like - she's like "What?"

GALLAGHER: Baseball.

CUOMO: But what a moment, right? GALLAGHER: OK, look, so that moment, what does it tell us? The complete ease of rapport.

And that wasn't the only moment, right? I mean, President Biden was talking quite a bit at - that was towards the end, right? He was - having, to go out, but he kind of kept stopping, and saying these little sidebars. And so, that is what we saw, because obviously, we didn't see what they were saying, to each other, inside.

But certainly, all of those moments that we saw, even handing in the Command coin, and so on, I don't - I haven't seen those kind of things happen, when a Head of State meets the Pope.

This was a very different kind of meeting than - and I've been watching these things for 20 years. So, there was certainly an ease there. The Pope was very receptive to it. So I think, even the length of time, I mean, that's really impressive. And that was a long time.

So obviously, there were lots of, you know, there was policy discussions, OK. There were - but it's just points to me that this was really a very personal, intimate meeting, as we had suspected.

CUOMO: And something else happened that we thought they'd leave alone, like we thought the reproductive rights thing, and the Communion, they already dealt with that, they'd leave it alone, but, no.

GALLAGHER: That was the game-changer. When President Biden, afterwards, told reporters that, the Pope had said to him, "I am happy that you are a good Catholic. You should continue to receive Communion." Now, that's huge.

That's huge, on one level, yes, of course, because it's a response to what's been going on, in the United States, with some of the bishops, who want to deny Communion to pro-choice politicians.

But really, let's look at that. What does the Pope do there? His whole stance, on this question, Chris, is the question of Communion should be decided between the person involved and his priest.

So, it's a question of conscience, together with the priest, whatever your particular situation is. And he's even said this, for example, for Communion with divorced and remarried people, right? So, this is his whole approach.

What does he do? He doesn't come out and say that to the bishops. He shows it. He does it himself. "This is the example I want you guys to follow." And then, in doing that, he establishes - I mean, imagine it's the President of the United States and the Pope.

And he's saying, "I know your character. I know your heart. You're a good Catholic." I mean, that's outstanding kind of phrasing, for a Pope and a President. That establishes an intimacy. That establishes already, that's the Pope saying, "You know, this is somebody, who I know, and I've spoken with on that kind of a level."

CUOMO: Now, the Holy C has not echoed President Biden's reckoning of what he was told by the Pope yet, right?

GALLAGHER: Oh, well, they'll never do that. I mean, that's something that was said, according to President Biden, in the private discussion.

CUOMO: Right.

GALLAGHER: They will never talk about the--

CUOMO: So, won't go one way or the other.

GALLAGHER: They'll never.

CUOMO: But also, that's his second time that Francis has made it clear, to the bishops, in the United States that this is the way he wants this interpreted.

GALLAGHER: Yes, that's right. But there's a lot of leeway, with bishops, and what they can do, and how they want to handle these questions.

So, the thing is, it's classic Francis. He doesn't come out, and say it straight out. He shows it. And he sends the message via another route. And this was a very powerful one.


But what, again, what I find even more powerful about it is just, I mean, think back to John Kennedy. The whole debate then was "Oh well, you know, he doesn't want to be too Catholic," because then they're going to think he's under control, of the Pope.

And here, I mean, how times have changed, right? So, we see this very close relationship. And the Pope really reinforced that by going so personal. I mean, how more personal can you get, than to say, "I'm your priest. And I'm saying you're a good Catholic."

CUOMO: I mean, it was a big deal.

GALLAGHER: That's stunning to me.

CUOMO: You've done it 20 years. You may do it another 20. I don't think you'll ever hear anybody say "Drink's on you again," to the Pope, and have him ready to go.

Delia Gallagher, thank you so much. It's great to live history with you.

GALLAGHER: Thank you.

CUOMO: I appreciate you.

GALLAGHER: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, we're going to take a quick break, and then we'll come back with the handoff. I don't know how to say it in Italian, but I'll do it.


CUOMO: All right. I'm going to be in Rome, all weekend, as part of CNN's coverage of the G20 Summit. So, as they say here, "Ci vediamo domani, domani," I'll see you tomorrow, beginning at 11 A.M. Eastern.

But, right now, "DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts with its big star, D. Lemon.