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Kyle Rittenhouse Claims Self-Defense For Shootings: "I Intended To Stop The People Who Were Attacking Me"; Judge Scolds Prosecutor Repeatedly Over Rittenhouse Cross-Examination: "Don't Get Brazen With Me"; Trump Denied Again In Executive Privilege Case. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 10, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: That means Texas schools can again set their own face mask rules.

The order comes after months' long legal dispute, between parents, and Disability Rights organization, and Texas officials, over whether the State was violating the 1990 law, known as the ADA, by not allowing school districts, to require mask.

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thanks, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

The Kyle Rittenhouse trial took a major turn today. The 18-year-old, who killed two, injured a third, with a semi-automatic rifle, during a riot, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, took the stand, in his own defense. That is a very rare choice. And he put on one hell of a show.

However, he was almost upstaged by the side show, of the judge, fighting with the prosecutor. This thing came close to a mistrial, today, with the judge going right at the prosecution's line of questioning.


JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: I was astonished, when you began your examination, by commenting on the defendant's post-arrest silence. That's basic law. It's been basic law, in this country, for 40 years, 50 years. I have no idea why you would do something like that.


CUOMO: Now, the main moments, we have for you, and we're going to go through, because I think we likely saw today, what could influence the jury most.

And just to make sure we're all on the same page, this is the trial, for what happened, in the wake of the Police shooting, of Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020.

Kyle Rittenhouse was then 17. He traveled to Kenosha, from a neighboring state, armed, to help protect the community, he said on the stand. He wound up shooting three people. He killed two. The third survived.

This happened during a "Black Lives Matter" protest that turned into a riot. Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum are dead. Gaige Grosskreutz was injured.

The situation immediately politicized. The Left jumped on Rittenhouse as the face of White hate. The Right made him the poster boy for White fright, and self-defense. But now, at trial, notions from the Left and Right must stay outside, and all we know is what can be made as reasonable, by the prosecutor.

We only know what the prosecution can show. In the instant case, that means can the prosecution show that Rittenhouse is guilty of murdering, and injuring, beyond a reasonable doubt?

Now, the surrounding circumstances are not helpful to Rittenhouse. He claims he was at the protest, to help, to provide medical support. But he was posing as an EMT. He's not one.

And he brought an AR-15 he wasn't allowed to have, to a place he was not from, with no right or authority, to protect any property. Now, he says the property owner asked for his help. That is not what the owner says.

Nevertheless, for the jury, the key part is likely not why he was there, but whether it was reasonable for him to shoot three men in self-defense. Early notions were that Rittenhouse was chasing down, and shooting at people. Those were reversed by him on the stand today. He told a very different story.

He sounded scared, got choked up, while recalling the fatal encounter, with one of the victims, Joseph Rosenbaum. Listen.


KYLE RITTENHOUSE, DEFENDANT: I was cornered from, in front of me, with Mr. Ziminski. And there were--


RITTENHOUSE: --there were three people right there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a deep breath, Kyle.


RITTENHOUSE: That's when I--




CUOMO: Rittenhouse claims he was ambushed. He says he was cornered, and did what he had to do, to stop the deceased, from attacking him.

He testified that Rosenbaum, seen here, threatened to kill him, twice, earlier in the night.


RITTENHOUSE: He screamed, if, sorry for my language, he screamed, "If I catch any of you (BLEEP) alone, I am going to (BLEEP) kill you."

He said, "I'm going to cut your (BLEEP) hearts out and kill" -- I'm not going to repeat the second word, but "Kill you n-words."



CUOMO: Now, is it reasonable to believe that someone's saying they're going to cut your heart out, on a street, is something that you have to prepare, to defend your life against? The jury will decide victim or vigilante.

Now, the reason that this trial took a major turn today was in part because of Rittenhouse's testimony. It's very unusual for a defendant, to take the stand, in their own defense, let alone in a homicide case, let alone in a double homicide case.

But there was something else. The cross-examination of him, by the prosecution, and the cross-examine of the prosecution, by the judge.

But first, the prosecution, taking on, Rittenhouse, listen.



Joseph Rosenbaum never touched you in any way during that incident, correct?

RITTENHOUSE: He touched my gun.

BINGER: He didn't touch your body in any way, did he?


BINGER: He didn't kick you?

RITTENHOUSE: No. BINGER: He didn't punch you?


BINGER: Other than that plastic bag, he didn't throw anything at you?


BINGER: He didn't have a gun on him?


BINGER: He didn't have a knife on him?


BINGER: He didn't have a chain on him?


BINGER: He didn't have a bat on him?


BINGER: He didn't have any weapon of any kind, correct?

RITTENHOUSE: Other than him grabbing my gun? No.

BINGER: Well, he didn't have possession of that gun. You did.


CUOMO: This was effective. The prosecutor getting to admit the first guy he shot and killed had no weapon. That means did he have to use the force he did, to defend himself, in the situation.

Here's more from the cross-exam.


BINGER: Everybody that you shot at, that night, you intended to kill, correct?

RITTENHOUSE: I didn't intend to kill them. I intended it to -- I intended to stop the people who were attacking me.

BINGER: By killing them?

RITTENHOUSE: I did what I had to do to stop the person, who was attacking me.

BINGER: By killing them?

RITTENHOUSE: Two of them passed away. But I stopped the threat from attacking me.

BINGER: By using deadly force?

RITTENHOUSE: I used deadly force.

BINGER: That you knew was going to kill?

RITTENHOUSE: I didn't know if it was going to kill them. But I used the -- I used deadly force to stop the threat that was attacking me.

BINGER: You intentionally used deadly force, against Joseph Rosenbaum, correct?


BINGER: You intentionally used deadly force against the man, who came and tried to kick you in the face, correct?


BINGER: You intentionally used deadly force against Anthony Huber, correct?


BINGER: You intentionally used deadly force against Gaige Grosskreutz, correct?


BINGER: With regard to Joseph Rosenbaum, you fired four shots at him, correct?


BINGER: You intended to kill him, correct?

RITTENHOUSE: I didn't intend to kill him. I intended to stop the person, who was attacking me, and trying to steal my gun.


CUOMO: Now, this is why a defendant does not go on the stand, let alone a young one. Because saying that you used deadly force on purpose that you were aware, deadly force inherently means what it sounds like, force that you're saying you understand, can kill the other person. Was the threat that he faced something that made using deadly force, reasonable?

Now, that last part is going to be a problem, I'm telling you. Self- defense, in Wisconsin, is about imminent threat. You have to fear, to use deadly force that someone is going to really hurt you, serious bodily injury or death.

Was it reasonable under these circumstances? Is someone trying to take your gun that -- if that's what even was happening? Was it reasonable to believe that that may happen? That's the standard to use deadly force, in Wisconsin. He admits he intended to use deadly force. So, he is going to have to convince a jury, or the jury will have to feel convinced, that it was reasonable. The jury has the difficult job, here, of balancing two very different faces of a killer.

The one that I'm showing you now, weepy, cherubic child, Kyle, fearing for his life, being pursued by angry men, or, the cool customer in Kenosha that night, who was described as cold and calm, and telling officers that he had just killed people, that he was using live rounds, pretending that he was one of them, saluting them, taking water from them, hanging out, taking pictures, proud of his involvement.


This matters for him. This matters for the victims, their families. But the verdict is going to reverberate far beyond the walls of this courthouse. So, it matters.

Let's take it to the better minds, criminal defense attorney, CNN Legal Analyst, Joey Jackson, Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City State's Attorney, prosecutor of the infamous Freddie Gray case, 2015.

I start with you, Counselor Mosby. It's good to have you.


CUOMO: Dicey call, to put a defendant, on the stand, especially in a double homicide case. Was it the right move?

MOSBY: So, I think, overall, I think it was very much the defense strategy, to put Kyle Rittenhouse, on the stand today, and to portray him as the innocent young man, not looking for any trouble, but rather vested, into the safety of his community that never wanted to resort to killing anybody.

This was the reason, in my opinion that we got that disingenuous, and this is my opinion, disingenuous breakdown, on the stand that the jury could easily sympathize with.

However, I was really, really, really disappointed with the judge that did not allow the prosecutor, to call into question, the sincerity of Rittenhouse, and his sentiments, and his credibility, about the killings.

And I have to say that honestly, I felt like Rittenhouse opened the door, with his mental and emotional state, and breakdown, that could and should have been challenged, in light of him posing, four months later, after the shootings, in selfies, with the Proud Boys, wearing a "Free as F" T-shirt, with cuts against his current state -- which totally cuts against his current state of emotion and overall credibility.

But I would say, if you asked what the call is, this case will come down, as you've already indicated, to what the jury believes whether it was reasonable, for him to use and necessitate that deadly force.

And so, yes, it was effective to have him on the stand, at least providing justification, for his actions. He testified that Rosenbaum tried to take his gun. He was going to be given, if he didn't take his gun, he felt like he would be potentially killed.

So, I felt like the defense was effective. But I also felt like the prosecution, overall, did its best, as they could, into calling into question, Rittenhouse's credibility.

They established that he lied about being a certified EMT. He lied about going there to protect the businesses, and then ended up leaving the property, to antagonize the protesters. He lied about not going there, looking for trouble. But he and his armed friends were there pointing guns, at people.

He lied to the crowd, when he said that the first man that he shot had a gun. He lied to the crowd, when he said that he didn't shoot anyone, knowing that he had shot several people.

And I'd argue, if I was the prosecution that he's lying now, to the jury, and that he's -- now that he's claiming that he was in fear of his life, from two unarmed people, who he shot and killed, in close range, with an AR-15 rifle.

CUOMO: So Joey, obviously, Counselor frames the seminal issue here. Will the jury believe that it was reasonable, for Kyle Rittenhouse, to use deadly force, which he admits is exactly what he thought was going to happen, when he pointed the weapon and fired it. He didn't think "I was going to hit him in the leg." He didn't think

it would just hurt him. He says "I used deadly force."

Do you think it is reasonable, when these men are coming at you, and one of them puts the hand on the gun? How does that play?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Plays in a big way, Chris. Good to be with you.

Excellently argued by Counselor Marilyn Mosby. Of course, can tell she's a prosecutor, of long-standing. I see things a different way as a defense attorney. Let me tell you how.

I think it was a game-changer to put him on the stand for the following reasons. Number one, you humanize him. Behind whatever he did that whatever shots he fired, he is a human being, he is a person, who feels miserable, about what he did.

There'll be the debate about whether they were crocodile tears, about whether he was doing that, it was an act et cetera. But you want to introduce your client to the jury, and let them know what they do. He takes graffiti off of places, and all that other stuff, very important.

More important, number two, he explained his uses of force. If someone raises their arms, and has a gun in their hand, is one of the people that he shot and killed, did, right, the fact is -- excuse me, he shot this person, and he shot him in the arm, actually. He didn't kill the person who had the gun.

CUOMO: Right.

JACKSON: But if they have an actual gun, you're going to shoot. I don't know that you need more. Was he pressing the trigger at the time? He indicated he shot, because he was, you talk about imminency of the threat, Chris, what's more imminent than that?

CUOMO: But he's got three.

JACKSON: Right, exactly. Let me move to the other.

CUOMO: He's got three. But I want to -- I want to play some sound for you.


CUOMO: To -- because I know I got to stop you, when you get on the roll, because you're all about momentum.

Mosby, he's all about momentum.

Now, let me play -- let me play a little bit of sound that gives context to what you're arguing, right now.

Play P-one, about Rittenhouse, on firing shots, after shooting Joseph Rosenbaum, the first victim who died.


RITTENHOUSE: Not a crowd, a mob was chasing me.


As I'm running past Mr. Huber, he's holding his skateboard, like a baseball bat, and he swings it down, and I block it with my arm.

As I'm getting up, he strikes me, in the neck, with his skateboard, a second time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then what happened?

RITTENHOUSE: He grabs my gun. And I can feel it pulling away from me. And this -- I can feel the strap starting to come off my -- my body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what do you do then?

RITTENHOUSE: I fire one shot.

As I'm lowering my weapon, I look down, and then Mr. Grosskreutz, he lunges at me, with his pistol, pointed directly at my head.


CUOMO: Now, this is his best scenario, except Joey, in putting in those details, we never saw a picture of him having any injury. And you would have one, if you got hit in the neck, with a baseball bat/skateboard, the way he describes it.

However, to your point, the guy has a gun. He's getting hit. Is that enough?

JACKSON: I think so. Because number one, you talk about the person, who had the gun. That wasn't the clip there. But so you -- justifies that.

Now, you pivot to the skateboard. As Marilyn Mosby knows, because prosecutors do it all the time, anything could be a dangerous weapon. If you're using a skateboard, as a baseball bat, to hit someone, that's problematic.

The final person that he shot was grabbing at his weapon. And so yes, that provides what you need, in order to establish self-defense.

Last point, consider the context. Consider the context of the people, who were angry. There's fires. Tensions are flaming. People are saying to "Get you, I need you," et cetera.

And after that, what does he do? He turns himself in, so you lose the element of consciousness of guilt. If he did something wrong, why wouldn't he run away? He didn't do that. He went to the Police, to surrender himself.

So, I think, on balance, they made, that is the defense, the case for self-defense. And I would be very, I mean, I'd be surprised, if he were convicted, in this case.

CUOMO: Mosby, give me a quick counter.

MOSBY: So, the only thing I will say is that is ultimately is going to come down to credibility. And that's why that sort of ruling and admissibility of that, four months later, his credibility was so incredibly important.

I think that when you look at whether or not it was a life or death matter, I think you have to consider the fact that you have a young White boy, openly carrying, and illegally possessing, an AR-15, loaded with 30 rounds, to a "Black Lives Matter" protests matter, in order to defend businesses.

Not his business, not his life, not his liberty, but defending someone else's property, for rioters, which are code name for criminals, where he subsequently shoots, and kills two unarmed people, wounds another.

And yet, he approaches the Police, his arms up, AR-15 strapped to his body. And the Police, they drive past him. Why? Because he's in no way form or fashion is this young White boy carrying an AR-15, who just shot three people, was perceived as a threat.

And so, the question really becomes, now, how does he get the advantage, of hiding behind a broad disingenuous interpretation, of self-defense and the Second Amendment?

CUOMO: I'll tell you what. That judge would have never allowed you to say half of that, Mosby.


CUOMO: I'll tell you that right now. But I appreciate you saying it here. There are points that need to be made.

Joey, thank you for the analysis.

JACKSON: Always.

CUOMO: Joey Jackson, Marilyn Mosby, the best, thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you, Chris.

MOSBY: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, more to come, this is a heavy day that happened in court. The judge was very fired up. We don't know this judge. Is this just the way he is?

Was he right, on the law, in what he was doing with that prosecutor, not once but multiple times? Now, that's an issue too. Where is the line? When should he have dismissed the jury, and just had a conversation? Did he do it the right way? That's the question.

We have someone, who knows the system very well. A retired State Supreme Court Justice. What is her take? Her Honor, next.









CUOMO: Kyle Rittenhouse sobbing on the stand wasn't really what determined the state of play, today, in that trial. It was a big factor. Don't get me wrong. But there was this sideshow, with the judge, going at the prosecutor, multiple times. And he was doing it in a state of high dudgeon.

He questioned the timing of the prosecutor's questioning about whether or not Rittenhouse refused to speak, after his arrest, saying that, "Hey, that's his Fifth Amendment right." But the way he said it, he was very hot about it.

He got angry at the prosecutor. He thought he was going around one of his rulings, and trying to sneak in evidence. Take a look.


SCHROEDER: I was astonished, when you began your examination, by commenting on the defendant's post-arrest silence. That's basic law. It's been basic law, in this country, for 40 years, 50 years. I have no idea why you would do something like that.

Don't get brazen with me.

You know very well that an attorney can't go into these types of areas, when the judge has already ruled, without asking, outside the presence of the jury to do so, so don't give me that.

I don't believe you. There better not be another incident. I'll take the motion under advisement.


CUOMO: Now, look, that is not usual behavior for a judge.

This judge is the longest-serving Circuit Court judge, OK? 75-years- old, he's been there a long time. This is his reputation. Now, that means the prosecutor should have known who he was dealing with.

But you got to remember, this is in front of the jury. They are hearing this. How can they feel about the prosecutor?

Now, here's a little secret, when it comes to legal analysis, on television. If somebody doesn't know the job, or know the situation, they're talking about, they don't have much credibility.


You are very lucky, because you have someone, who is not just a judge, from that state, who is not just a Supreme Court judge, but is a judge, who did trial court, for a dozen years, and did homicide cases.

So, this Justice checks every box, retired Justice Janine Geske, again, served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Marquette University law professor.

Great to have you, Your Honor.


CUOMO: What's your take?

GESKE: Well, everybody's nerves are frayed. That's my first take.

In terms of the judge's reaction today, I think there are a couple of things that are going on. One of the things, that, happens, during a high profile, tough homicide case, is everybody gets more tired, and more angry, and more on edge, as the trial goes on. And I think that's happening in this trial. Judge Schroeder -- I actually was appointed two years earlier, than Judge Schroeder, to the bench. So, if I'd stayed on the bench, I'd be longer than him, on the bench.

He is a tough, no-nonsense judge. That is his reputation. He was angry today, and I think, rightfully so. The risk of mentioning or alluding to a defendant's right to remain silent, is somehow inferring guilt, is one of those basic rules, as he stated, and really--

CUOMO: Why do you think the prosecutor did it?

GESKE: I think the prosecutor was looking at in a different light. He was trying to use what happened, to say that Kyle had adjusted his statements, because he had heard all these witnesses.

And so, he had the opportunity, his first chance to talk about it, was under after having heard all the witnesses, all day. And I think he was thinking along that line, and probably was not thinking about Kyle's right to remain silent. I think the judge just saw it.

The judge is very protective of his record. He is -- it's clear to me, with his rulings, he does not want to give Rittenhouse a grounds for appeal, if he gets convicted. And so, he's been very careful, in his rulings.

CUOMO: Right on the law, OK. But right in terms of how he handled it, would you have done it the same way?

GESKE: Yes, well -- that's why -- that's why I was saying everybody's nerves are frayed. He's obviously very tired and exhausted.

My response to that is the answer is "No." The judge sets the tone in the courtroom. The judge has to be able to bring tempers down. And he was just exploding with rage, over what he believed the prosecutor have done.

And legally, I think he was right. But I -- but all that does is excite everybody else. And people that are watching, are thinking, "Is he biased because of this anger?" I think he was just simply anger -- angry about the ruling.

So, there's nothing legally wrong with what he did. But I think stylistically, it's a dangerous thing, for a judge, to lose his temper, during a trial.

CUOMO: Do you think there is a risk that going after the prosecutor that much, in the most important phase of this trial, may have colored the perception of the jury?

GESKE: Well, most of this was done, outside the presence of a jury. The problem -- we have multiple problems with this case. But one of them is that we live in a world of social media.

The jury has been told not to look at social media, to not get in touch. We can pray that they all not do that. But it's pretty tempting. They would know most of that. They probably know that the judge is tough, been tough on the prosecutor. I don't think it's going to change anything with the jury.

The jury is going to take a look at Kyle Rittenhouse's testimony, and some of those videos, and make a determination. And I think it is, in part, going to come down to his credibility, today.

CUOMO: Justice Geske, I appreciate you very much. You also have a reputation. And it was that you handled things the right way. You were right on the law.

GESKE: Right.

CUOMO: And you were right in your demeanor as well. And that's why you were the perfect guest, tonight. Thank you for adding value to the audience.

GESKE: Thank you. Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

All right, I got breaking news for you. A federal court has just delivered another ruling, on Donald Trump's fight, to keep documents secret, from the January 6 committee.

The latest decision, right after the break.







UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.



CUOMO: Donald Trump denied, again. He went back to the same judge, who denied him, yesterday, and said, "Are you sure?" And Judge Chutkan said, "Yes, I'm sure."

And the reasoning is interesting. She says "Look, they don't deliver this information, the National Archives, until the 12th. And between now and then, you can appeal. If you want to go and appeal my order, that's fine. But I'm not changing my order for you."

Let's go to Norm Eisen.

Norm, this should not come of a surprise. The question is why did they go back to the same judge, a day later, and ask her, to overrule herself?


Donald Trump and his lawyers are not exactly famous for their legal acumen. The shrewder move would have been to go straight to the D.C. Circuit. There is an argument that under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, they're required to exhaust efforts, in the District Court.

But Judge Chutkan clearly was having none of it. They tried to dress up their argument as something different, Chris, as a stay. Judge Chutkan rejected that out of hand. She said "You want another injunction? I just told you, you had a junk case. Goodbye."

And so, they fail, yet again. Now we'll see what happens. They'll undoubtedly rush to the Court of Appeals, to the D.C. Circuit. We'll see what happens there.

CUOMO: What do you think happens there?

EISEN: Well, a lot will depend on the panel of three judges that they draw. There have been different panels, deciding things lately. So, it's possible that they'll get a very short administrative stay, while there is rapid briefing, emergency briefing, on whether there should be an injunction, pending appeal.


And, Chris, we've talked about this before on this show. This is one of the most urgent questions, that is, facing us, as a legal system and, I think, as a democracy, today.

If Donald Trump is allowed to, run out the clock, with his usual strategy, of delay, lose all the battles, but win the war, by running the clock out that, means that the committee may not get to the bottom, of what happened on January 6. They won't be able to prevent the next Insurrection, won't be able to consider legislation.

And Chris, Donald Trump is still doing it, that same incitement, that same big lie. So, it's of the utmost urgency that the D.C. Circuit decide this immediately. I think they should rip the band aid off, "This is a garbage case. No injunction."

CUOMO: How would he run off -- run out the clock, assuming that they take it, three-judge panel? The fancy way of saying it is, en banc, for lawyers. It means that you get the whole three-judge panel.

If they do it, who's to say that the Supreme Court would take this case?

EISEN: I don't think the Supreme Court will take it, Chris.

And Trump's play here, what he's going to try to do -- and again, the D.C. Circuit must not countenance it. And the parties must insist that this not happen, what happened in some of the litigation, I was involved in, in the first Trump impeachment, the McGahn case.

He gets a stay, pending appeal. And then there's a long appellate process. There's briefing, there's argument, multiple arguments, before you know what, years have gone by. We can't allow that.

These issues are too important to the health and the very survival of our democracy. So, it can be decided quickly. Watergate, a little over three months, from subpoena, to Supreme Court decision, we can go fast here. We should. We must.

CUOMO: A professor, like you, Norm, once taught me that equity abhors a forfeiture, meaning that the Appellate court is going to have to say whether or not the Archives can give it over, on Friday, the 12th, or whether or not they have to wait.

So, we should get an answer quickly. When we do, I will beg you to come on, and review it with me. Norm Eisen, thank you.

EISEN: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: All right.

The President took a victory lap today, on the infrastructure bill. Yet, even in triumph, he acknowledged the hard reality of an economic problem. Inflation is a problem. Why? What is it? How did it happen? How did we get here? And what can he really do? And what does that mean for the rest of us?

We're all jumping ahead, and just using this as a political football. Nobody knows anything. So let's fix that, next.









CUOMO: You don't need me, or the federal government, to tell you the prices are going up. You see it every time you go to the grocery store.

It's harder to feed your family. Beef, 20 percent up, pork, 14 percent up. Price is up on just about everything. Cars, medical care, all up. Medical care, not that much. Cars, a lot, especially used cars. Gas, high. Keeping a roof over your head, up 3.5 percent.

Inflation, it's worse than we've seen in more than three decades, why?

Let's take a look at how we got here. The Labor Department's Consumer Price Index, that's the CPI, right, that's a part of the reality, all right? It confirms it for you. You already feel it. The money is not going as far as it used to. And they can tell you that wages are up. But when you adjust for inflation, they're not.

So voters, like in Virginia, they say this is our biggest issue, because this is what affects my family, most, right now. But rather than listening to what you're saying, too many in power, tying to tell you what it means. The truth? Almost none of them know what they're saying.

The President has spent months, offering up higher wages, as a counterweight, listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: When it comes to the economy we're building, rising wages aren't a bug. They're a feature.


CUOMO: Look, wages are up about a half a percent. It's not enough to keep up with inflation, OK?

It's like wages actually fell 1.2 percent, in the last year. Inflation, this year, was like, 6 percent. So, yes, they're up, but they're not really up, OK? That's political speak. That's how we get in trouble, in terms of respecting our leaders.

Meanwhile, the Right is hammering Democrats, claiming this proves government is broken.


SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): Despite rising inflation and increasing prices, the President is still marching forward, with his vision of Big Government.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Biden has forgotten about the inflation that's biting the budgets of families all throughout our country.

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): We simply cannot afford any more Bidenomics.


CUOMO: It's all BS, OK? The stick that they're swinging, at the GOP, is rotten.

The tax cut, the tax cuts, in 2016 that you didn't pay for, helped fuel inflation. And they sat silent, on the same problems that they're carping about now, when the Rs and Ds were reversed, in power.

Now, how do we get out of it? It's going to take people, who can see past the politics, and deal with the reality. We have one. Former Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers. Now, he's made some waves, on the Left, by speaking out against his own party, exactly on this issue.

Let's talk about the fix, next.









CUOMO: The last time inflation was this high, 6.3 percent, year-over- year, November 1990. A year later, it was less than half that. But the political damage may have been done.

By November of '92, Bill Clinton beat George H. W. Bush, read my lips, no new taxes. Once taxes were necessary, to deal with the inflationary environment, things went sideways.

My next guest would go on to be Clinton's Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers.

Now, in fairness to him, he was one of the few Democrats, who raised concerns, about inflation, back when Biden and the Democrats, were pushing through the COVID stimulus bill. In fact, Joe Manchin was basing some of his concern, on what Larry Summers had said.

Welcome back to PRIME TIME, sir. Good to have you.


CUOMO: So first, let's deal with your prognostication here, which is inflation doesn't come fast, doesn't leave fast. This is going to be with us for a while.

Listen to Janet Yellen spinning a different future for us.


JANET YELLEN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I think he's wrong. I don't think we're about to lose control of inflation.

I agree, of course, we are going through a period of inflation that's higher than Americans have seen in a long time. And it's something that's obviously a concern, and worrying them. But we haven't lost control. And, as we make further progress, on the Pandemic, I expect these

bottlenecks, to subside. Americans will return to the labor force as conditions improve.


And remember, the spending that we did that partially has caused this high demand, for goods, it's been very important, in making sure that the Pandemic hasn't had a scarring effect, on American workers.

It's given them enough income and support, to get through this, without -- while still being able to put food on their tables, and keep roofs over their heads.


CUOMO: What is Yellen weighing in a way that you are not?

SUMMERS: Look, I've got great respect for Secretary Yellen. But the Administration's budget and the Administration's forecast, with this stimulus, was that this year we'd have 2 percent inflation. And it's likely to come in three times that.

I think they're just not recognizing just how much demand is being created by the tremendous wall of money, 15 percent of GDP, in one year, that they released, last spring.

And that, in conjunction with central bank, the Fed that keeps the interest rate at zero, that's buying all kinds of bonds and mortgages, when, the middle of a housing boom, just sets off a dynamic that, then the thing about inflation, is you start chasing your tail.

Rising inflation, of inputs, leads firms to raise their prices. That leads other firms to raise their prices. And the whole thing spirals. It can be broken. But it needs to be broken by some kind of dramatic action. And those kinds of dramatic actions often cause recessions.

So, I think we're speeding down the road, at a really rapid rate. It's kind of a downhill road. And it's not going to be so easy, to put the brakes on here. And that's why I'm concerned.

And I think the -- I think that the policymakers, in Washington, unfortunately, have, almost every month, been behind the curve.

They said it was transitory. It doesn't look so transitory. They said it was due to a few specific factors. Doesn't look to be a few specific factors. They said, when September came, and people went back to school that the labor force would grow. And it didn't happen.

So, I hope they're right. I really very, very much hope that the scenario that Secretary Yellen sketches proves to be the right one.

My experience is that you should hope for the best, and plan for something much less than the best. And I think that means stronger actions, by the Fed. It means the Administration has to be thinking about inflation. I

think it's great what they're doing to decongest the ports, and to get more through the ports. But I think it'd be much more important, if they removed some of the tariffs that are holding up prices.

They get a set of things to encourage energy production, so that gasoline prices could come down, if they were very conscious of costs, as they regulated, or if they had procurement rules about, buy America, and the like.

I think they've got to focus on the things they're doing that maybe--

CUOMO: What about the spending bill, Larry?

SUMMERS: I think it's fine. Chris, if you look at it, the 10 years of the two spending bills together, A, are less than the one year of what they did last spring, and B, unlike what they did last spring, are paid for by tax increases. So, I don't think that's an inflation problem.

I think a lot of it is vitally-needed investments in the future of our country. Look, why should it be the case that it takes me 20 more minutes, to take a flight, from Boston to Washington, than it did, when I started on the route, 40 years ago? It's all about our lagging infrastructure. And there are a ton of other examples.

I think we should be making it easier for people, to put their kids in daycare, and go back to work.

CUOMO: Do you think they means-tested these things enough, though, because that's one of the major criticisms.

SUMMERS: I'm sorry?

CUOMO: One of the major criticisms, among Democrats, the more moderate Democrats is, you didn't means-test all these policies, that there are too many people, who don't need the help that's going to come in this bill that will get help that they don't need that are making money that they shouldn't need this kind of support.

You think that's fair criticism?


SUMMERS: Look, I'd probably rather see more emphasis on public investment, and a little less emphasis on transfer payments. I think that's right.

But overall, if you gave me my choice, up or down, on this bill, I think up is much better than down, though yes, I'd like to see more of it be public investment. I'd like to see less of it be transfer payments. I'd like to see more revenue -- more revenue increases.

People like me, like you, Chris, who've been very, very fortunate, in life, who are in the top small part of the income distribution, we're going to get tax cuts, because of the changes that are being made. CUOMO: Right.

SUMMERS: We shouldn't be getting tax cuts at a moment -- at a moment like this. That's probably the biggest change--

CUOMO: Right.

SUMMERS: --that I make in this bill. But yes, I mean, that's a much bigger -- it's much bigger deal--

CUOMO: True.

SUMMERS: --to be raising our taxes than it is to be taken money from somebody, who's making $90,000 a year. I'd much rather focus on doing more for those at the very high-end.

CUOMO: Larry Summers?

SUMMERS: More -- more to raise taxes (ph) at the very high-end.

CUOMO: Larry Summers, thank you very much. Thanks for putting it in perspective, and talking to us about how we get out of it. Be well.

SUMMERS: Thank you.

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


CUOMO: All right, thank you for watching.