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Federal Judge: January 6 Committee Should Have Access To Trump Records; NFL Issues Fines To Aaron Rodgers, Packers & Allen Lazard For Violating COVID Protocols; Radio Host Says He Won't Eat Until Congress Passes Voting Rights Bill. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 09, 2021 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

Tonight, we have the Head of the January 6 committee that just dropped 10 new subpoenas, on key players, in Trump-world. The question is, will any of them, say anything worthwhile? How does Representative Bennie Thompson expect to get compliance?

The DOJ is yet to bring the panel's recommended contempt charge, against Steve Bannon, for defying the committee. And we don't know how the committee will address Jeffrey Clark's, done on Friday. You hear what he did? He appeared for his deposition, but he didn't answer any questions.

So, here's what we do know. There's some big Trump names, from the White House, in this batch. You got Stephen Miller, Kayleigh McEnany.

You got Miller, the Senior Advisor. He helped prepare Trump's remarks, on January 6, and was with Trump, at the "Stop the Steal" rally, McEnany, former press secretary, reportedly with Trump, at times, while he watched the Insurrection unfold.

There are eight others, follows the six subpoenas, dropped on Trump- world players, yesterday. It's a grand total of 35. The GOP, the so- called party, of law and order, trying, to, block this investigation, even though, it was a terror attack, on our Capitol.

The Vice Chair, of the January 6 committee, Liz Cheney, GOPer, called out her own party, again tonight.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Political leaders, who sit silent, in the face of these false and dangerous claims, are aiding a former president, who is at war with the rule of law and the Constitution.

This nation needs a Republican Party that is based on truth. That millions of Americans have been tragically misled by former President Trump, who continues to this day to use language that he knows provoked violence on January 6.


CUOMO: And they know it too. That's the sick part of all this. They're just doing it to play to advantage.

You don't really believe that the Republican leadership, and all these people, who are sitting quiet agree with Trump, do you? And they're not just silent. Many were actively still fueling the "Big lie" that led to the violence, because it works for them, at the polls.

This has become the party of sabotage. When not fueling or ignoring outright frontal attacks, on the Capitol or the democracy, they're undercutting it. They're a party that says nothing, when Representative Paul Gosar makes a cartoon, depicting himself, killing AOC, attacking the President, with swords.

So now there's pressure, from the Left, of course, mounting on House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, to take action. He's not going to take any action against Gosar. He may reward it. This is the same guy, who changed his story, to protect Trump and Co., from scrutiny, for attacking the Capitol.

They're not going to go after one of their own. Only you do that, on the Left. Sure, you're going to hear from Republican outliers, like Adam Kinzinger. He's not even running again.

But the big brains, like Senator Ted Cruz, are smart enough, apparently, to play a stupid game. He'll pretend that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was saying that "Roads are racist." It's garbage! Cruz knows it. He knows the truth.

He knows that Buttigieg's point is sound that this infrastructure bill is going to help address racial inequalities, inequities in the United States that were echoed in highway designs, roads and bridges that were carved through their communities, because they didn't have the will to fight back, to divide White and Black neighborhoods. That's the reality.

No wonder Cruz and others are against teaching history, like this, in schools. That's what it's about, helping our kids understand that this was done, so that they can never let it happen again.

But you don't want people to know the truth, if you want to know how to manipulate them. So, maybe that's why they don't want it taught in schools, so that Cruz and others can run this BS, and create problems, where they shouldn't exist.

But they're not going to punish any in their ranks. But I'll tell you who they will punish, in their ranks. If you put country first!

But politics doesn't have to be poisonous. This hasn't gotten a lot of attention in the media, and it's a mistake. It's wrong. I wasn't on TV, when the infrastructure deal passed. So, I'm going to give myself a pass.


But, if not for the baker's dozen, the GOP House 13 defectors, who voted for the infrastructure bill? Can you believe I'm calling them "Defectors?" But Biden wouldn't have gotten this infrastructure bill passed, if it weren't for those 13 Republicans in the House. That should be said.

AOC and five others went bad on their own bill.

Even Mitch McConnell put politics aside, for one fleeting moment, today, to acknowledge this moment of bipartisanship, of doing the work for you.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I was delighted that the House finally found a way to pass the infrastructure bill, last week.

Passed on a bipartisan basis, and I think it was the right thing to do.


CUOMO: He's right. We say when he's wrong, and say when he's right, he's right. Now, sadly, this is the exception, not the rule in politics.

Will the hunt for answers, about January 6, make things better or worse? It's a heavy question. Let's get an answer from the Chairman of the January 6, House Select Committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson.

It's good to have you back, on PRIME TIME, sir.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Thank you for having me, Chris.

CUOMO: So, tell the audience, please, sir, why these efforts are worth it?

We see that with time, people's sense of urgency, about January 6, is declining. You still have over 50 percent, well over 50 percent, of the population want to see action on this. But it's not what it once was.

Why is it worth it?

THOMPSON: Well, it's worth it, because it's how we save our democracy. And people really need to know how close, we came, to losing it all. And we need to know the people, who participated in this effort, how they manipulated the system.

And all those people, who came to Washington, under the guise of stopping the steal, when really, they were pawns, in a bigger game, to be used, and weaponized, against the Congress of the United States of America. So, that's where we are. And so, our job is to plod along, get the facts, understand the rule of law, as we get the facts. We are not denying due process, to anybody. Through our subpoenas, we are negotiating. Trump has already sued, as you know, which is his - is how he operates his businesses, and other things.

But we are going forward with it. It's slow. We've interviewed over 150 witnesses, so far. We have people in Georgia now, working, in Pennsylvania, in Arizona, in Michigan. And so, that getting the evidence, and talking to all the people, who participated, in this, is what we are doing.

And so, the people we subpoenaed, this week, majority of them was right around Trump. Trump's--

CUOMO: But do you think you'll get any of them to talk?


CUOMO: I know you put out big names, Congressman. But you got the DOJ, still sleeping, on what you sent them, about Bannon.


CUOMO: And you got Jeffrey Clark, who showed up, but didn't give you any answers.

THOMPSON: That's right. And, which, that's their right. But obviously, we are pursuing the criminal contempt proceedings, on Bannon. We will probably do that, on Clark, and anybody else, who refuses to come before the committee.

CUOMO: What if Garland doesn't make a move on Bannon?

THOMPSON: Well, then, we got a problem.


THOMPSON: We have put the evidence there. We have done all we can, as a committee, to force the hands of the individuals. But we feel very good about it. We feel we are on sound-footing.

But the wheels of justice, as you know, sometimes move slow. But we are steady moving. People have started contacting us. Our tip line is constantly being flooded, with individuals, saying "This is somebody you need to talk to."

CUOMO: Right.

THOMPSON: Full of volunteering information. So, we are collecting the information. We have several thousand pages of information that we've gotten from other sources.

We've talked to virtually every federal agency, about what went on. And we have a - we're putting the premiere together. I think we have to do it right. We can't do it in haste. And so, the impatience we hear, from people, we understand. But we have to get it right.


CUOMO: The--

THOMPSON: So, that's who we are.

CUOMO: The reporting from Jonathan Karl, from ABC News that Mike Pence, the Vice President then, had a photographer with him, the entire time that he was hiding, capturing images, of the entire scenario.

Have you heard of those photographs? And if so, do you want them, and are you trying to get them?

THOMPSON: We've heard of them. We will get the photographs. We will talk to the security detail that protected the Vice President, on that afternoon and evening. No one has talked to them yet.

We have worked out the particulars to talk to them, because that's part of our work. And obviously, they did an excellent job. But we need to know what they knew, and what they experienced, and what they heard, so we can tell the truth. So, the Republic will know.

If those individuals came to do harm, to the Vice President of the United States, who was a Republican, then the public needs to know who, if we can document it, made that happen. It's almost unbelievable that individuals, who disagree with you politically, would want to have you hurt, or unfortunately, killed.

Normally, in America, we settle our differences at the ballot box. But obviously, Donald Trump would not accept the wishes of the American people. And so, he fostered, and encouraged, what occurred on January 6, by inviting people, to come to Washington, and weaponized those individuals, at the "Stop the Steal" rally, to come to the Congress of the United States, and attack, so, in full view of American citizens.

And so, our charter, as a committee, is to get to the facts and circumstances. And we plan to leave no stone unturned. We plan to subpoena everyone, and use the power of the law, to the fullest extent that we can. Some areas are weak. But we still plan to use it, as much as we can, to get all the information possible.

CUOMO: Bennie, what do you think, gets us out of this period, of heightened division, of heightened animus? What will get out of this? We don't allow anybody to be heroic figures anymore. We're about zeros, not heroes. You don't get to stay up long, enough to make a real difference.

THOMPSON: It's about--

CUOMO: But what do you think gets us out of it?

THOMPSON: It's about leadership. Anybody can be a jerk. But in order to be a statesman, you have to be a leader. And so, what I see is the demonization, of the ability, to provide real leadership. There was a time, in Washington, where Democrats and Republicans went to dinner, after votes. Some went for drinks. But now, if you're seen eating with a member, of the opposite party, in certain instances, you become persona non grata, to your own party. And we are a better country than that.

So, it's about leadership. It's about the Republican and Democratic leadership, in this United States, deciding that America sets the standard. And the standards should be higher. But right now, as you know, based on all facts--


THOMPSON: --the standards are very low.

CUOMO: They are low.

THOMPSON: And that's unfortunate.

CUOMO: The last thing we have, as a claim here, is the rule of law.

I actually have breaking news that you're going to want to weigh in on.

Control Room, I don't think we should take a break. If we have breaking news, we should go with it right now.




CUOMO: Congressman Bennie Thompson, help me out with this. We just got word that there is a decision, on the situation, involving President Trump's exercise of privilege.

Trump will lose this round. Federal judge Tanya Chutkan has ruled that the U.S. House Select Committee should have access to records, from his presidency, about January 6.


Here's a quote from the holding. "The court holds that the public interest lies in permitting - not enjoining - the combined will of the legislative and executive branches to study the events that led to and occurred on January 6, and to consider legislation to prevent such events from ever occurring again."

It's a 39-page opinion. That's the crux. The National Archives is set to begin turning Trump - key Trump White House records, over to the House, on Friday.

How big a decision is this for you? What do you believe is to be gained from these documents? THOMPSON: Well, it's a big deal. We have a lot of information, we've requested, with now, based on a judge's decision that - Donald Trump brought the lawsuit.

We fought him in court. We have the law on our side. And we are a nation of laws. So, if you take your issue to court, and lose, then you need to man up, and deal with it, and not be a spoiled brat.

So, I look forward to getting this information. I look forward to our investigators going through it, with a fine-tooth comb, to make sure that our government was not weaponized against its citizens. And so, we can only do that, by getting access to the information.

I applaud our lawyers, who defended us, in this court setting. I applaud the expeditious ruling that we got, because, we have to get to this. And so, you can have your day in court. But there's no guarantee that you will win, even when you're in court.

CUOMO: So Bennie, people will say to you, "You're not going to change anybody's minds." I know you've heard this from people. "You're doing this, for the Democrats, because the Democrats are interested in knowing how this happened."

People, who voted for Trump, Republicans, as they lean Republican, they don't even want the FBI, to look into this anymore. I mean, they're barely at 50 percent interest. It's going down every month.

You're not going to change minds? Or do you think you will change minds?

THOMPSON: Well, we'll get to the facts. And we will present the facts. And we'll be able to defend the facts.

Right now, it's innuendo. But whatever we produce, for the public, at the end of our work, we will be able to defend it, to the letter. And I think that's important, because the public needs to understand how close, we came, to losing our democracy.

CUOMO: Now, people will like the premise, Congressman.

THOMPSON: We are the--

CUOMO: When you hear it from the - from the center--


CUOMO: --then all parts to the Right, will say, "Oh, come on! Look, people got out of hand. They did things they shouldn't have done. But this was basically another protest gone awry. And there were certain rioters, certain bad aspects. But this was not that different than stuff that the whole Left and the media forgave, the entire summer before."

Do you agree with that assessment? Of course not. But why?

THOMPSON: Absolutely not. When you threaten to kill the Vice President of the United States, when you start looking for the Democratic leadership, in the United States House of Representatives, by name, we have a serious problem. And you can't--

CUOMO: But the penalties that they're handing out to people, so far, Bennie, are not impressive.

THOMPSON: Oh, not impressive at all. I disagree with it. But look, I'm getting - going to the facts.

I think the Justice Department should prosecute those individuals, who broke into the Capitol, to the fullest extent of the law. I think the slaps on the wrist that many of them are getting is an embarrassment.

I know people, who write bad checks, who get more longer sentences than this. I know individuals, who get caught shoplifting small items, who get longer--

CUOMO: You know people, who've done nothing wrong, who get longer sentences than this.

THOMPSON: Yes, so that is a question. But again, it's the separation of powers. We are the legislative body. We have the judicial branch of government. They have to manage that.

And we have stayed away from dealing with the Justice Department. We kept the firewall up.


We presented the evidence on Steve Bannon. It's our hope that the Justice Department will present that information, to a grand jury, and indict him, and ultimately, have him held accountable, for ignoring our subpoena. We feel very good about it. But it takes time, so just like it took--

CUOMO: How much time?

THOMPSON: Look, I don't have a crystal ball. That's another aspect of our system of justice that we can't influence, as members of Congress.

CUOMO: I hear you.

THOMPSON: We can only present the facts. And, look, I'm happy that we got a good decision, from the judge. It says we are on sound footing, by getting this information. And if somebody is hauling this hard, and this loud, then I am to assume that undoubtedly you have something to hide.

If we have access to the records, they will speak for themselves. So, we look forward, as a committee, to getting it. And we will let the evidence, based on what we look at, determine guilt or innocence.

CUOMO: We both know why the former president went to protect the documents, before he went to protect testimony. People can spin. They can agree, for good reason or bad reason, not to answer questions. Documents can't do any of that. They only say what they say. THOMPSON: Let me give you - let me give you--

CUOMO: Go ahead. Last word to you, Congressman, go ahead.

THOMPSON: If in the midst of an insurrection, it takes you six times, to get the film right, to ask the people to go home, something's wrong with it. I want to see what the other five videos said, that even your own people say, "You can't say that." But you know?

CUOMO: Wait, hold on. Congressman, I don't understand what you're talking about. When you say "Six times," what do you mean six times?

THOMPSON: The President, it took him six times, for the video, to say to the people, to go home, that this is not the way.

CUOMO: He did six takes, you mean?

THOMPSON: He did six tapes. Well, six tapes.

CUOMO: What was wrong with the other five tapes?

THOMPSON: Well, we want to see what he said. We - his own people say, to him, that "This is not good enough. You're not telling these people to go home."

We want the public, to know, what the President of the United States was saying, to citizens of the United States, in the midst of an insurrection. We will now have access to those videos, because they were filmed by people, paid by the taxpayers of this government. And so, those records are archived.

And so, there are a lot of things that have been said and written that we will have access to, based on this court decision.

CUOMO: Congressman Bennie Thompson, thank you very much.

The National Archives says, on Friday, based on this judge's ruling that just came out now, federal judge Tanya Chutkan, there will be no preliminary injunction, on behalf of former President Trump. She will not enjoin or stop the efforts, of the National Archives, to turn over key White House documents, during the Trump Administration, to the House, starting Friday.

He is likely to appeal, and to continue asking courts to block the situation. But for now, he lost, and the documents are coming through.

Our thanks to Congressman Bennie Thompson.

More breaking news, on our watch, this time, in the Aaron Rodgers controversy. The NFL just handed down fines. What happened to the Packers? What happened to Rodgers and another player? But what is ultimately, going to happen here, in terms of what this means for him?

He said today that he wanted to own and take full responsibility. Listen to what he said, and what he didn't say. And I have a huge star, who's all about standing up, in the face of controversy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Why he is very worried about Rodgers, hurting not just sports, but society? Next.









CUOMO: We got news on our watch. Former President Trump is not going to get to block the documents that the National Archives has, including, according to Bennie Thompson, the Head of the Committee that it took him six tries, to satisfy his own staff that he was sending the right message, on January 6, to get people to go home.

How could a president need that many tries to tell people to go home? So, we'll see what were in those other takes.

Now, we have more breaking news, on another story. CNN just confirmed that the NFL is going to fine Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers, and his teammate, Allen Lazard, for violating COVID protocols.

But the money here is not going to mean anything to Rodgers. It's less than $15,000. Same fine for his unvaccinated teammate. I don't know what his salary is. They were both cited for going to a Halloween party unvaxxed. But isn't that the least of it, in terms of Rodgers' deception here?

Now, the club's going to have to pay $300,000. But neither of the players is getting benched. They're both going to be able to play.

Now, Rodgers seems to be shifting his approach, in the wake of the controversy. On Friday, Rodgers defended his "Immunized" claim, where he was asked, "Are you vaccinated?" He said "Yes. I am immunized." OK, he wasn't vaccinated. That is a lie by omission, OK? It just is.

And he defended himself, by saying, "I'm in the crosshairs of the Woke mob." Look, wokeness has its challenges. Cancel culture is real, and has its challenges. This is not that. He is lying about a material fact, for whatever reasons, but not good ones.


Now he says he takes full responsibility, for his misleading comments. Here's how he says, "Full responsibility." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK: I misled some people about my status, which I take full responsibility of, those comments. But, in the end, I have to stay true to who I am, and what I'm about. And I stand behind the things that I said.


CUOMO: So, what does that mean? You stand behind the things you said? The things you said were misleading. You lied about not being vaccinated. So, that's what you're about? You're about lying about being vaccinated?

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joins me right now.

He is not taking ownership of what he said. He's playing games. He's talking to friendly centers there, who aren't going to question him. And he's kind of getting a pass, no pun intended, 14 grand. So what? He gets to keep playing!

Kareem, what do you think about it?

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, NBA HALL OF FAMER: Well, I think Mr. Rodgers really hurt his team. He put their livelihood, and their lives at risk, as well as the lives of his teammates, and their families.

And I don't think, by not getting vaccinated, and going maskless, he has put himself in a position, where someone could catch the COVID virus, from him, and give it to someone else, and they might not make it. They might get - they might not make it, and get killed. This is absolutely a possibility.

So, by having a casual attitude about it, it's not doing anything good, for him or professional sports. He's hurt professional sports by lying.

CUOMO: How does he - how does it go beyond him, in your estimation? Other than the possibility, as you put it, that he could get others sick, how do you think it hurts sport?

ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, Sports has some serious PR issues. And they're going to have to deal with it. There are investigations into the Portland Trail Blazers' General Manager, the Phoenix Suns' owner. The Raiders cut Damon Arnette and Henry Ruggs, for reprehensible behavior.

Rodgers lying, and touting bad logic, and even, worse science that, has added to the damaging perception. So, he's hurt a lot of people. And I think that the league did the right thing, at least showing that something has to be done about it.

CUOMO: Do you think that - you say you think they did the right thing, is $300,000, against the team, $14,000, against the two players involved, and a warning that if you do it again, it's going to get worse.

But isn't the only way to punish a team or a player with playing time?

ABDUL-JABBAR: Yes, I think - the players are there to play and earn their salaries. And if they're not playing, they're not earning their salaries.

But I think the real issue was, has to - had to do with dealing with his lying about it. His lie removed others, around him, from their choice of being around an unvaccinated maskless person.

Do insurance companies endorse lying, such as telling their clients that they can lie on their medical forms? You can't do that.

So, what Mr. Rodgers has done, has to be reprehended, and hopefully, people will get the idea that it's important that we understand what - what the - excuse me. The whole science of inoculation has nothing to do with what Mr. Rodgers said. And we have to get to the truth, and protect people. And I think that that's what the issue is.

CUOMO: And I got to tell you, Kareem, you've made, as gigantic, as you are, personally, but as gigantic as your legacy on the court, your leadership off it, literally has been much longer, even than your time on the court.

You've been fighting big fights, standing up, taking scrutiny, sticking by your story and owning things.


CUOMO: That is a rare commodity now. And like it or not, Aaron Rodgers, and other sporting figures, I saw a thread today, about people, who were talking about, who's a good real male role model? They were all entertainers!


So, that's all we have, in this society, right now, and how people like, a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, or to a lesser extent, an Aaron Rodgers, how they represent themselves, redounds way outside the level of the game, does it not?

ABDUL-JABBAR: It absolutely does. And when the American public understands that you're honest, and you tell the truth, they can believe you, when you endorse a product. But when you have this type of activity, they must wonder, what the real facts are, what the real truth is.

CUOMO: Well Kareem, you know I'm a huge fan. But I'm a fan because of what you've done with your life, and even what you're standing in favor of, right now, because I know you live it yourself.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, thank you very much. As always, a pleasure.

ABDUL-JABBAR: Great talking to you. Thank you.

CUOMO: So, we get the perspective of a phenomenal athlete, right? And a real advocate. I don't have to tell you about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You know him. So, that's on the player side, being that figure.

What about the organizational ramifications? A fine of money, but not taking these players off the field, is that enough?

Bob Costas is next. What he thinks this controversy means, for the league, and really it means, for society, and was this the right reaction? Next.









CUOMO: Breaking news, in the Aaron Rodgers' situation. The NFL brought fines against Rodgers, another player, and the Packers. Is it enough? Let's discuss, with the legend himself, Bob Costas.

For context, this just came in, as a reminder, from my Cajun cousin, down in Louisiana. You'll know this. Last season, the Saints lost the sixth round draft pick, for 2022, because they broke COVID protocol.


CUOMO: No such penalty here.

COSTAS: Right.

CUOMO: Just money. And no more time, with Rodgers on the bench. Is that enough?

COSTAS: Well, I don't know what the particulars were that they discovered, by looking through all the videotape. What I've read is that they found some minor violations, but not serious infractions, beyond Rodgers not wearing--

CUOMO: Of the mask rules.

COSTAS: --a mask for his - right, right.

CUOMO: But he lied about being vaccinated.


CUOMO: Isn't that an infraction?

COSTAS: Yes. Yes, he did. I think that that subject has been pretty well-covered, across the spectrum, the sports media, and news media.

People don't like the fact that he was disingenuous, at best, and flat-out lied by omission, as you put it, at worst. And he's paying a huge price, in terms of his reputation, for that.

But here is a point that I'd like to make. And I don't think it's been made often enough. Very often, in fact, almost always now, in the present atmosphere, people retreat to their own favorite narratives. And they fit everything that happens, into that narrative, without making any distinctions.

And yet, there's one aspect of this, where the take should be the same, from MSNBC, to Fox News, and everywhere, in between. And that's from the football standpoint.

If Aaron Rodgers, not just any player on the team, the quarterback, one of the best quarterbacks, in league history, one of the single most important players in the league, if Aaron Rodgers had been vaccinated, he almost certainly would have played, this past Sunday, against Kansas City.

He would have been able to prepare, and practice, and play, at full alertness, and full preparation, against Seattle, this coming Sunday. He says he'll play. But he can't set foot in a team facility, until the day before the game.

The Chiefs beat the Packers, 13-7, on Sunday. The Packers scored seven points. If Aaron Rodgers had been there, it's reasonable to assume that the Packers would have won the game. They'd be eight and one.

This year, the NFL added a playoff team. Therefore now, there's only one by one. That's how valuable it is. And there is no home field advantage, in all the sports that's more significant than Green Bay, in January, during the playoffs. So, he put all that at risk.

If he had been vaccinated, it's possible, as we know, to contract, to test positive, if you're vaccinated. The symptoms are going to be non- existent, or very mild, almost always.

In fairness, a 37-year-old fit and healthy man, like Aaron Rodgers, unvaccinated, also is likely to have, not always, but likely, and in his case, it's obviously true, mild to no symptoms.

But the NFL has protocols, protocols not imposed by the League, but jointly agreed upon, with the League and the NFL Players Association. The same Players association that protects Aaron Rodgers' rights, and the rights of all the other players, in the league, and all of their benefits.

And those protocols would have allowed almost certainly a vaccinated Aaron Rodgers to play. And they almost certainly condemned him to not being able to play, this past week, and to play, under compromised circumstances, the following week. That is that - right there is the football issue.

It's as if Aaron Rodgers were to say, if we're just talking about competition, and his obligation, to a team that pays him $35 million a year, as reported, and to all of his teammates, it would be as if Aaron Rodgers were to say, "You know what? The league says that's an illegal formation. I think that's stupid. I don't think that's an illegal formation. So, line up this way." And they're going to penalize them 15 yards every single time. That makes no sense.

What if a baseball manager said "I hate the designated hitter rule. And so I'm not going to use a DH. I'm going to put my team at a competitive disadvantage, as long as the rule is there."

You can say, as some people have, "Oh, Aaron Rodgers is a hero of personal freedom." That's fine.

But if you're just talking about his job, and you're just talking about football, and what he owes his team, and his teammates, and the league, I would think that anybody, who isn't just retreating to their - to their preferred narratives, that looks at this, with a clear eye, and makes valid distinctions, can say that this is a failure.


You can't - you cannot defend what he did, in a football sense, because the rules are there. And he violated. He put himself in a position, where those protocols were going to be imposed, on him.

He's not the backup tight end. He's not the long snapper. He's the leader and the quarterback, on one of the best teams, in the league. They just lost a game. And who knows what lies ahead, as a result?

CUOMO: And I'll tell you what. He does not seem to have big regrets. He says, "I stand by what I said." Problem is, what he's standing by, doesn't make any sense.

But you're right. You know what, Bob? I have not looked at it through that lens. This made a big difference that he didn't play, especially in the league, the way it is now, and in terms of just momentum.


CUOMO: And who knows how his team's going to feel about him? I mean, they've been quiet. It's not like the Brooklyn Nets. But who knows, what happens, when it goes back in the locker room, and how they'll feel about this, going forward?

I appreciate your take.

COSTAS: Yes. Yes. Chris, you - very briefly, Chris, you and I, and most people, watching, do not agree with Aaron Rodgers' general take about the vaccines.

CUOMO: Right.

COSTAS: But what I said about what he did, to his team, is undeniable.


COSTAS: It is beyond dispute.


COSTAS: That part cannot be debated.

CUOMO: You're absolutely right. And that's got to matter, especially when you're the team leader.

Bob Costas, I appreciate the fresh perspective. Thank you.

COSTAS: All right, Chris.

CUOMO: All right.

COSTAS: Thanks a lot.

CUOMO: I want you to meet someone, who's a personal hero, not because of what he's doing now, but because of what he's all about. He is putting literally his health, on the line, if not his life, in the interest of our democracy.

You know, "The Black Eagle?" I do. Joe Madison, radio talk show host, is joining us now. He says he will not eat, until Congress passes voting rights legislation. I don't like this in terms of his health, because we know, where it stands in Congress.

What this means to him, how far he's willing to go, and why? Next.









CUOMO: Joe Madison is a truth-speaker. He goes by "The Black Eagle." And he just announced a desperate measure. Listen to this.


JOE MADISON, HOST, "JOE MADISON, THE BLACK EAGLE," ON SIRIUSXM, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I have begun this hunger strike - I should say this - in solidarity, let me repeat, in solidarity with all those who are calling on Congress and the President of the United States to protect our voting rights.

I call it basically starving for voting rights. Just as food is necessary to sustain life, the right to vote is necessary to sustain democracy.


CUOMO: Joe Madison joins us now.

Brother, I got to tell you, I'm a big fan. You know that. And I respect the passion. You say you're in solidarity. Of course, you are. But they're not starving themselves. You are.

Why take this kind of step?

MADISON: Well, I'm reminded historically, what happened, with the compromise of 1877, when Southern Democrats, basically Dixiecrats, former slaveholders, ended the first Reconstruction, Chris, and the first thing they went after, was the voting right. And it changed this entire country.

And it took, darn here, what 60 years, 70 years, to get the '65 Voting Rights Act, and the amazing accomplishments to the point that in the last presidential election, particularly African Americans put Biden in office, helped to put Biden in office, turned a Ruby Red state, Georgia, Blue.

And then the very next thing that happened, the very next thing that happened, there were 400 bills passed, in 49 States that would suppress that vote.

And so, I'm doing this, as I've said to people - I've got four children, five grandchildren, a great grandchild. And I'll be damned if I'm going to sit back here, and allow their vote to be suppressed, and the world - in this - their world to change, the way that it changed our forefathers' world, in the 19th Century. That's why.

I mean, look, somebody once told me that, there's a difference, between a moment and a movement, and all movements require sacrifice. And that's a fact. And so, that's been my life. And that's exactly why I am doing this.

Look, Biden can do something. He's going to have to twist arms. But he can do something. And Lord knows that Manchin and Sinema, they've got to decide, do they want to be on the side of the Eastlands and, the Dixiecrats of the 20th Century? Or do they want to protect the right to vote?

So, they've got three choices. They can reconvene and try to pass the John Lewis voting rights bill. I don't think they'll do it. They can't even get a debate on it. They can kill or adjust the filibuster. And, as you know, Chris, they've adjusted this arcane law--

CUOMO: Many times.

MADISON: --I mean there's not rule - how many times? Two times, I think.


MADISON: For the budget, and then for Supreme Court justices.

And you're telling me that you can't adjust this, for something as basic as the franchise, the most precious, as John Lewis said, the most precious thing we have, is that right to vote. And he went to his grave, believing that.


CUOMO: There's no question. But Joe, look, and I'm not going to belabor this, but I do really want to keep inviting you back on the show, because I want to keep attention, on the fact that you're doing this.

Because three weeks is a second, in Congress, in terms of what it takes them to do. Three weeks, not eating? You're strong. You're great. But?

MADISON: I've gone - hey, Chris, I've gone three months, on a hunger strike. My mentor was Dick Gregory. And Dick Gregory and I - I did hunger strikes with him. I've been in, as I've always teased people, I've been in some of the best jails in America.

CUOMO: I know.

MADISON: And so, what I'm saying to you, the purpose of a protest is to draw attention.

CUOMO: I got it.

MADISON: That's the whole thing.

CUOMO: And I'm - and I'm giving you the attention. And I'm going to keep calling every week, and I want you to come on, so that we can remind people you're doing this. I'm all in.


CUOMO: Because I care about you, and your legacy, and the righteousness of your cause. But I hope it ends as soon as possible, OK?

MADISON: We've got the President's attention. We've got members of the Senate's attention. And people are asking, "Well, what can I do?" Well, you know what? That's the point. Everybody can do something.

CUOMO: I hear you.

MADISON: And that's what has to be done.

CUOMO: Joe Madison, "The Black Eagle," SiriusXM, I'm very happy to be a colleague of yours. And thank you for coming on the show tonight.

MADISON: Thank you, Chris. Love you.

CUOMO: All right, God bless. I hope it's a short strike.

We'll be right back with the handoff.