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Senate Passes $1.9 Trillion COVID Relief Bill, 50-49; Some Stages Begin Rolling Back Coronavirus Restrictions; Governor Cuomo Fights For His Political Life; New Film Tells Story Of Slain Black Panther Fred Hampton. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired March 07, 2021 - 08:00   ET




ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST (voice-over): Senate Democrats muscle through a historic COVID relief package.


PHILLIP: With zero Republican votes.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: It is the job of this government during this evil pandemic to assist American families, businesses and workers.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: This is a wildly expensive proposal, largely unrelated to the problem.

PHILLIP: We will get reaction from Democratic Senator Alex Padilla.

Plus, with vaccinations speeding up, a new partisan battle over when to lift COVID restrictions.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: It is now time to open Texas 100 percent.

PHILLIP: Biden health officials say it's still too soon.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Now is not the time to pull back. Now is the time to really crush this.

PHILLIP: And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo facing two major scandals, but says he won't quit.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: I was elected by the people of the state of New York. I'm not going to resign.



PHILLIP: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. I'm Abby Phillip. To our viewers in the United States and around the world, thank you for spending part of your weekend with us.

After a last-minute snag and all-nighter on Capitol Hill, the Senate has passed President Biden's $1.9 trillion American rescue plan.


JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It obviously wasn't easy, it wasn't always pretty, but it was so desperately needed.

This plan puts us on a plan to beating the virus, this plan gives those families who are struggling the most the help and the breathing room they need to get through this moment. This plan gives small business in this country a fighting chance to survive.


PHILLIP: Similar measures have now passed both houses of Congress with exactly zero Republican votes in either chamber.


MCCONNELL: It's a parade of left-wing pet projects that are ramming through -- they're ramming through during a pandemic.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): They've chosen a partisan path and the reason we're not doing it together now is they don't want to do it together.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): Every dollar that we're using to do this is a borrowed dollar. The Democrats have a wish list that goes on forever.


PHILLIP: The House is set to vote Tuesday on the final version. Here is what is in it, $1,400 checks for most Americans including children, a boost in unemployment aid through September along with more funding for food stamps and help for those facing eviction, a beefed up child tax credit the Democrats say will cut child poverty in half, plus, big pots of money to reopen schools, distribute the vaccine and expand COVID testing.

As for that last minute snag, centrist Democrat Joe Manchin insisted on narrowing some provisions to win his vote, that means a slightly fewer people will qualify for the stimulus checks and instead of $400 a week in extra unemployment aid it will be $300.

Some progressives were frustrated by Manchin's move, but say final passage will still be a huge achievement.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Let's be clear. This bill that we are completing now is the most significant piece of legislation to benefit working people in the modern history of this country. The people are hurting and today we respond.


PHILLIP: Joining us now with their reporting and insights, Rachael Bade from "Politico" and Michael Shear from "The New York Times."

Michael, big morning for Joe Biden. Banner headline in the "Washington Post" this morning about this sweeping relief bill that he was able to pass. Heading for his desk this morning, it was not easy and it was not without a little bit of pain this past weekend, but no doubt, Michael, a huge win for the Biden administration.

MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, a huge win. And sometimes we all here in Washington get wrapped up in the sausage making itself, the last minute delay because of Joe Manchin, the -- you know, the trimming back from $400 to $300 on unemployment benefits, but at the end of the day that's not what the public remembers. The public remembers that Joe Biden got something done.

It's very similar to the way Barack Obama's Affordable Healthcare Act was passed after an awful lot of negotiation and back and forth and to-and-fro, but at the end of the day I think what the -- inside the White House, the people that I talk to say is that they were well aware that details could change, but that what they needed to do, what Joe Biden needed, was to show the American people that at this moment of multiple crises that he could respond.


PHILLIP: Yeah, and, you know, we were just discussing a little bit of the pain. Some of it was caused by one of their own, the Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, and, you know, Friday as we were waiting those ten hours for this vote to go through, the question was what exactly is it that Joe Manchin wants?

And I was really struck by this, by your colleagues, Rachel, in "Politico," the headline of this piece is, I have no idea what he's doing. You know, it says the valuable West Virginian was talking with his colleagues but even after Senator Kyrsten Sinema implored him to move forward on a compromise approach to President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID aid bill, she and Tester weren't getting anywhere.

Tester didn't understand where Manchin was coming from, as he resisted what Democratic leaders had already marketed as a popular compromise. These are two Democrats, Tester and Sinema, who are living in a red state world and still couldn't understand what he was getting at and what he ultimately wanted.

He did, ultimately, Rachael, get this bill to be a little bit more slimmed down. What is Joe Manchin up to?

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, clearly, he was trying to signal to the White House and to his fellow Democrats, you need to take me seriously, I'm here and I'm going to flex and you need to be working with me closer in the coming weeks and months.

I mean, clearly, Joe Manchin going into these talks was pushing the White House to cut a bipartisan deal with Republicans. He expressed concern about the broader $1.9 trillion bill package number, he wanted more slimmer, targeted checks.

And, you know, this bill was largely a progressive win. I mean, again, we focus a lot on the minimum wage, the increase to $15 an hour, that was not included in the bill and, sure, progressives were not happy about that, but overall this bill has a lot of progressive wins, the size of it, the expanded child tax care credit.

And that means for people like Joe Manchin who was a moderate from West Virginia who wanted something different, he clearly was not super happy about that. So tying up the Senate for ten hours was perhaps an annoying way for him to remind Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden that, hey, you need me here going forward.

PHILLIP: And Republicans were quick to jump on that delay, but they have their objections to the bill, you heard it in the intro. Here is what else they were up to, here is Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I am Sam. I am Sam. Sam I am. That Sam I am, that Sam I am, I do not like that Sam I am.


PHILLIP: Lots of culture wars happening over on Capitol Hill over this Dr. Seuss issue, but Joe Biden seemed to kind of hint at some of this in his comments, celebrating the passage of his bill yesterday.


BIDEN: When I was elected I said we were going to get the government out of the business of battling on Twitter and back in the business of delivering for the American people, of making a difference in their lives, giving everyone a chance, a fighting chance.


PHILLIP: So, Michael, what is the play for Republicans here? Are they -- have they decided that the culture war is more sexy to their base than, you know, talking about the debt and how much money this bill is going to cost in the long term?

SHEAR: Well, I think they're -- I think they're testing out that thesis, right? For the last four years, Donald Trump led the Republican Party deep into the culture wars, deep into a kind of arena where policy really wasn't as important as the kind of, you know, Twitter-fueled, you know, angst that he regularly dished out.

The Republican Party is going to have to figure out whether that was a moment in time because of Donald Trump and who he was or whether they -- it is successful to kind of continue to orient their party around those kinds of grievances. And, you know, no doubt there are going to be some -- some members in Congress, some senators, some national political leaders who find that the kind of culture war, cancel culture rhetoric is going to be successful. The question is whether writ large the Republican Party can orient itself around that.

I think the Democrats are betting that in a time of crisis, economic crisis and health crisis, that, you know, most Americans will recoil at the idea that that's -- you know, that the minority leader is spending his time reading, you know, "Green Eggs and Ham" and not participating in the effort to help the country get back on its feet.

PHILLIP: And, Rachel, from a policy and a political perspective, this bill has a lot in it for working Americans.


A lot of just cash, frankly. The "Washington Post" calculated about $22,000 for a family of four where one parent had lost a job. That's a lot of money over time. If you look at how popular this bill is, it's one of the most popular bills ever passed in recent history. It is number three on that list, 71 percent of Americans support it.

So, is there a risk here politically for Republicans, Rachel, in opposing this? The DCCC is already cutting ads about their opposition.

BADE: Yeah, I mean, absolutely there is a risk. I mean, I've talked to Republicans on the Hill, Republicans running campaigns and basically what they're hoping is that this is going to be a lot like, you know, about eight years ago when a large bill was passed under President Obama and then a year later the thing -- you know, the popularity sort of sunk. The difference here is that we are in the middle of a pandemic so absolutely that's very risky, very popular with the public right now.

Is that sentiment going to change?

Republicans are very much betting on it, but obviously privately, they are also admitting that this is a big concern. I mean, is this like after 9/11 where, you know, Democrats had a really hard time running against a Republican Washington, a Republican White House because we were in a post -- a time of war basically.

There is a private concern amongst Republicans that running against this White House and specifically against this pandemic relief, they don't even know if it's going to work because this is sort of like a time of war. So, yes, it's a very risky strategy, but Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy are betting if they can stay united and keep their troops in line they can paint this effort as partisan and sort of sell to the base like Democrats are ramming through progressive priorities, ignoring bipartisanship and try to use that to win in 2022.

PHILLIP: Of course, what's interesting also about this is that Democrats are going to say, you know, we passed this big bill, maybe went into debt to give you cash. They're going to contrast that to Republicans and their tax cuts just a couple years ago and we will see at the end of the day how the voters feel about those two forms of governance in Washington.

Rachael Bade, Michael Shear, thank you. Michael is going to stay with us. And coming up next, a red versus blue divide on loosening COVID

restrictions. Are states like Texas moving too fast?

First, though, a poignant milestone. Today marks 56 years since Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, and for the first time, a key participant isn't with us to remember. So here is the late Representative John Lewis in 2015.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): This city on the banks of the Alabama River gave birth to a movement that changed this nation forever. Our country will never ever be the same because of what happened on this bridge.




PHILLIP: The political wars over COVID-19 restrictions are back with a vengeance.


GOV. TATE REEVES (R), MISSISSIPPI: The numbers in Mississippi simply no longer justify government overreach. Mississippians can make their own decisions.

GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D), KENTUCKY: Please continue to wear a mask. What other states are doing is reckless.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: It is now time to open Texas 100 percent.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: You can't safely reopen your economy until we get this disease behind us.


PHILLIP: Meanwhile, the number of Americans who have received a vaccine is speeding up, averaging more than 2 million shots a day this past week.

And back with me now, Michael Shear of the "New York Times" and we're joined by former Baltimore health commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen.

Both of you, thank you for being with us this morning.

Michael, you know, Texas has become as they often like to be at the forefront of this issue, wanting to reopen pretty much fully, having not apparently really brought this pandemic under control.

Take a listen to one local state politician who seems to diagnose what he thinks is behind this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERIN ZWIENER (D), TEXAS STATE HOUSE: This was a political attempt to appease a very small minority of our population who is loud and angry about masks. I'm disappointed that our governor gave into those folks instead of providing clear, consistent information about protecting ourselves from the virus to the rest of the state.


PHILLIP: My apologies to state rep, Doctor -- State Rep Erin Zwiener for misstating her gender there. The point is that Dr. Abbott -- Governor Abbott is making a decision that seems to be based on Republican voters who really want this pandemic to be over and they want to move on as quickly as possible.

SHEAR: Yeah, I mean, I think one of the things that's really interesting is that implicit in Joe Biden's campaign and then victory was that we would not -- no longer have a kind of patchwork approach to the pandemic. That's what Donald Trump was famously sort of shrugged it off and said, well, it's all up to the states and one state went one way and another state went another.

I think people thought when Joe Biden came in they would change, and the reality is what the current president is realizing is that it's very difficult to impose a kind of top down national strategy.


They're trying, they're trying to do that with vaccines and pushing out federally-run vaccination centers and the like, but what you see is that politics is a powerful force in America and, you know, in Mississippi, in Texas, in a lot of the red states they are reacting to their Republican base, to the sort of people who don't want to wear masks, who don't want to be restricted, who want to reopen those businesses.

And even, frankly, in some blue states you've seen some governors lift some of the restrictions not as aggressively as those in the red states, but, you know, we still have living in a country where, you know, Joe Biden can say as much as he wants about urging people to wear masks 100 percent of the time for the next, day, 60 days, but he doesn't have the kind of control that I think he and others would like.

PHILLIP: And yet the federal guidance is very important.

Dr. Wen, we are at a really critical point where people are looking -- first of all, things are getting better objectively, people are looking for guidance. You have written about the CDC impending guidance about vaccinated people that every day that passes without guidance the CDC becomes less relevant to their decision making.

This overly timid approach also means that public health officials continue to undersell the incredible benefits of the coronavirus vaccine. Dr. Wen is there a risk here that if the CDC doesn't sort of acknowledge the -- on the horizon what is possible for people that people could start to just simply ignore them? DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: That's exactly what's happening

right now, Abby. So we have, what, 30 million people who are already fully vaccinated. That's almost 10 percent of the population. And we have not been giving guidance to these individuals who want to know what is it that I can do now?

In the absence of information, they're making decisions anyway. Some people are throwing away their masks, which is not a good idea. Others really want to visit their grandchildren which is something we should be able to tell people please do that.

I'm also very concerned that we're squandering an opportunity to specifically tie these reopening that's already happening in various states with vaccination status. This is the time now to be saying as an example maybe you can reopen 100 percent for people who are vaccinated but maybe people who are not vaccinated if you are not checking vaccination status you can only open at 25 percent. Keep masks on, but continue to -- but we really need to be looking at how vaccination status is tied to reopening.

And every day that goes by without that kind of specific guidance from the CDC, again, governors as you were just discussing and, Michael, were just discussing, governors are making these decisions anyway. So, let's give them the tools to do so.

PHILLIP: And, Dr. Wen, before we go, Dr. Fauci this week said that he thought that the threshold for beginning to loosen restrictions would be 10,000 new COVID cases a day. What do you think about that benchmark? What is it based off of? It seems like just a number and I think people want to know if 10,000 really is where we ought to be. We are at 56,000 at this point.

WEN: From a purely infection control standpoint maybe 10,000 makes sense but we also have to weigh the cost with everything else, too. The risk of not reopening the economy, the risk of mental health and isolation.

So I think that there are other considerations here as well and, again, I think 10,000 may be a bit arbitrary, but you tie that with percentage of people who are vaccinated, I think that's the critical part of the equation that's missing here and that we really need to inject into the policy and public health conversation.

PHILLIP: Well, thank you both very much for being with us this morning. I think it's great where we are headed. I hope people hang on for a little bit longer so that we can get there by maybe the Fourth of July. Looking forward to it.

Dr. Wen, Michael, thank you for being with us.

And coming up next, how do progressives feel about the changes that Senator Joe Manchin forced into the COVID bill? I'll ask California Democrat Alex Padilla.



PHILLIP: The Senate yesterday passed a sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill after a marathon all night voting session. It was a pure party-line vote and only after changes demanded by centrist Democrats, most notably Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

The Senate bill doesn't include a minimum wage hike, it further limits who is eligible for those $1,400 stimulus checks and it trims the weekly boost in jobless aid. Both bills include more than $60 billion for vaccines and COVID testing, hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to states and local governments and to help reopen schools, plus programs to fight child poverty and protect families facing eviction.

Joining us now with his reaction is Democratic Senator Alex Padilla from California who was up for those all nighters in the Senate and is joining us now nevertheless.

Thanks for being with us, Senator.

You voted for this bill despite the modifications that we just described, but you do wonder, from the perspective of progressives like yourself, do you think that Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden are bending over backwards too much to please moderates like Joe Manchin?

SEN. ALEX PADILLA (D-CA): Good morning, Abby. Thanks for having me on the show.

And, look, if it means pulling more all nighters in the weeks and months ahead to get more resources and help for families and communities that are hurting, I would be happy to do it, again, over and over.

As far as the final version of this bill, look, a couple of things that I wish we wouldn't have, you know, flexed on. But the bottom line is this -- this is a huge deal, as you just mentioned, tremendous amount of resources that are now closer to being on the way to families through direct assistance, to families through the expansion of child tax credits, to small businesses and not just school districts, but state and local governments whose budgets have been devastated by the economy because of COVID, and, of course, huge infusions to expand vaccine programs, testing and tracing programs.

This is the type of comprehensive bold action that we've been needing since the beginning of the pandemic and we're finally moving on it now.


PHILLIP: In just the past few weeks House Democrats have pass a slew of bills, big Democratic priorities like the minimum wage hike, like voting rights, police reform and LGBTQ protections. But as we look toward the Senate, none of that will go anywhere as long as you need 60 votes in the Senate.

Now, this COVID relief bill was passed through a reconciliation process which only needs 50 votes, but last week Senator Joe Manchin said again, he would, quote, "never" eliminate the filibuster. What options do you have as a Democrat if you want to move forward on some of those other priorities?

PADILLA: Look, at the end of the day action on those key items, whether it's raising the minimum wage, policing reform, other types of criminal justice reform, action on climate, health care and more, there's multiple ways to get there. We will exercise all options.

Look, I agree. You have heard me say this before, I'm in favor of abolishing the filibuster. There are a couple Democratic senators who have said they are not there yet. If we continue to see obstruction from our Republican colleagues as we saw through this COVID relief package I think the patience is going to wear thin, even on moderate Democrats. But we will see.

In the meantime we will exercise as many options as we can, whether it's through straight legislation, budget reconciliation or otherwise to continue to make progress.

PHILLIP: Do you think voting rights should be the issue as a lot of progressives have put forward that voting rights should be the issue that they eliminate the filibuster for.

PADILLA: Look, there is a lot of strong contenders, whether it's climate or health care. For me voting rights, as you know, is very personal, I spent my prior six years working as California's secretary of state, I think advancing the model not just for maintaining the security and integrity of our elections, but maximizing access to the ballot from the registration side to the voting side and to model that I think would serve the country great.

A lot of the elements that were implemented during the November 2020 elections because of COVID, let's hope they're permanent shifts in that direction, not one-time shifts just because of the health pandemic.

So strong contender, I think for, you know, reforms on the Senate side. It's not about Democrats, it's not about Republicans, it's about our democracy. Let us remind -- let me remind us all on January 6 we saw a deadly insurrection at the Capitol. Our democracy -- confidence in our democracy is under attack and requires bold action to defend it.

PHILLIP: So let's talk about another thing that you have really prioritized which is the issue of immigration. You have a bill that would grant citizenship to five million essential workers. I think given the pandemic we all understand how important essential workers have become to our society, but that is less than the 11 million who would get a path to citizenship under the -- President Biden's comprehensive plan.

I wonder is there a risk that passing something like this could make comprehensive reform more difficult in the long run from a strategic point of view?

PADILLA: Look, I'm glad you asked that question. First a point on my first bill as a U.S. Senator. I think it's a great idea, of course, but it touches on two key issues.

Number one, COVID response. We're talking about essential workers here, people who are recognized by the federal government as being essential, protecting our communities, keeping the economy going.

But second immigration reform which is long overdue in this country. You know, for all the Facebook posts, all the tweets, all the gestures of gratitude that you have seen this last year praising essential workers for their service, for their courage, my God, they have earned not just protections in the workplace, but a pathway to citizenship.

So that's the main point of this proposal. But I also think it serves a purpose to continue to build support and momentum for comprehensive reform.

The big Biden package with the House and the Senate should be acting on sooner rather than later, it's not about dreamers versus TPS holders versus essential workers or anybody else. It's about a comprehensive reform that brings some sanity and humanity to our immigration system.

PHILLIP: Can I ask you about a brewing issue at the border? We're seeing what seems to be an emerging crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the border and CNN is reporting that there just isn't room for all of these children. Quote, "We're apprehending more kids than we can release," that's according to a senior homeland security official.

DHS has also acknowledged that the number could reach record levels this year. This is a humanitarian issue especially for the children coming across this dangerous passage. Do you think that the Biden administration is doing enough to discourage families from sending their kids on this journey, especially at a time when resources are thin and on the verge of being overwhelmed?

PADILLA: I think the question better asked is are we doing what we can. As long as the numbers keep coming there's always room to do more. But I think we're doing what we can for now.


PADILLA: Let's also recognize that the numbers are up but nowhere near the huge numbers that we saw maybe under the Obama administration once upon a time.

And we're also being dealt a horrible hand from the Trump administration. You remember the children being locked up in cages and families being separated at the border. We will not repeat those actions.

Add to that COVID-19 protocols that should be in place to protect the health not just of, you know, those seeking asylum or refugees, but the employees of these facilities, et cetera. It's looking a lot worse. I don't want to diminish the challenge of it, but resources again, are on the way.

New leadership within the Department of Homeland Security and at USCIS to just handle the situation much more humanely and responsibly.

PHILLIP: Just real quick before we go. The Biden administration is still using this Trump era pandemic health order Title 42 to turn back most immigrants. Do you think that they should stop using that order now?

PADILLA: Yes. Look, I think that's being revisited, but when you do it properly through the administrative process it takes a minute. Yet another reason why we need to also continue to confirm the Biden appointees as quickly as possible.

You know, when you delay something like the secretary of Health and Human Services, that does not help. These are qualified individuals that President Biden has put forth, a lot of my Republican colleagues, yet again, trying to drag their feet, drying to delay, trying to obstruct when their service and their leadership in the administration is urgently needed.

PHILLIP: Senator Padilla from California, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

PADILLA: Thank you, Abby. Hope to be back soon.

PHILLIP: And coming up next, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo facing not one, but two major scandals that threaten to end his political career.



PHILLIP: A weekend of more bad news for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. A third former aide came forward yesterday to describe inappropriate behavior toward women.

She tells "The Wall Street Journal" that the governor asked if she had a boyfriend, called her "sweetheart" and kissed her hand. And "The Washington Post" described a broader pattern by Cuomo. Quote, "Many former aides and advisers described a toxic culture in which the governor unleashes searing verbal attacks on subordinates. Some said he seemed to delight in humiliating his employees."

The new reports come after 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett described Cuomo's treatment of her last year when she worked in his office.


CHARLOTTE BENNETT, FORMER AIDE TO GOVERNOR CUOMO: He asked me if age difference mattered. He also explained that he was fine with anyone over 22.

NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS NEWS HOST: And how old are you?

BENNETT: I'm 25.

O'DONNELL: What were you thinking as he's asking you these questions?

BENNETT: I thought he's trying to sleep with me. The governor is trying to sleep with me.


PHILLIP: Cuomo has apologized for his behavior and said he didn't realize he was making women feel uncomfortable. And it's not just the harassment allegations, new reports late last week detailed how Cuomo aides revised an official report to hide the true number of COVID deaths in nursing homes.

All of this was enough for the "Albany Times Union", his home state paper which on Saturday called for the governor to resign.

Joining me now is Republican strategist Alice Stewart and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona.

Maria, that apology seemed to not only not satisfy anyone but it may have even galvanized more women to come forward. Do you think Cuomo survives this?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it's difficult for him to survive this, Abby. And you say apology -- but really what apology?

What that sounded like to so many women who understand the position that these staffers were in, whether personally or through stories of their own or through friends is that that wasn't an apology. That was a, hey, if I did something to offend you, you know, I guess I feel bad about it.

He didn't outright understand what he did. And that I think is a huge problem, Abby, as well, because he went on and on about how he didn't understand that his behavior had offended people and that if it did that he was sorry.

Well, what does that say about his judgment, Abby? How can somebody in his position, who is supposedly so experienced and so brilliant, not understand the kind of power dynamic that he was thrusting upon his underlings in the kinds of conversations that he was having.

PHILLIP: Well, to that point --


CARDONA: That is a huge (AUDIO GAP) about his judgment.

PHILLIP: Yes. And you know, to that point, he claims that he didn't understand how this would be interpreted. You know, Charlotte Bennett seemed to imply that this was clearly a pattern that he was emboldened by his power in the office, but also his power nationally.

Take a listen. This is Andrew Cuomo two and a half years ago talking about MeToo versus Andrew Cuomo now.


GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I believe sexual harassment has gone on for decades. And I believe society has been slow in the response and I believe powerful people have gotten away with sexual harassment for a long, long time.

I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.


PHILLIP: So, Alice, doesn't he know better?

ALICE STEWART, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He certainly does. Or if he doesn't he certainly should. And if you listen very carefully to his statements with regard to this, he has never apologized for his inappropriate behavior or acknowledged and accepted responsibility for it. But rather he simply characterizes them as a misunderstanding on the part of the woman.

And this is a further conversation that needs to be had whether or not this is illegal or legal. It is a question politically and in the business world whether or not this is ethical or unethical or immoral. And that's the conversation that we need to have.

And look, it's really important in all of these cases where allegations are made that the women be heard and the person accused has due process. We need a full and transparent investigation, but the point of the matter here is that he is in a position of power talking to people that are subordinates of his and it needs to be looked at.


STEWART: And it's really also critical that we look at the reason why Governor Cuomo has gone from the darling of the Democratic Party to an albatross of the Democratic Party in a New York minute is because we not only have these allegations of sexual impropriety but other actions on his part where he has covered up numbers dealing with COVID and that is also a major concern.

So he has two big distractions in what I see as a failure of leadership.

PHILLIP: I do want to talk about that because, you know, this nursing home scandal is profoundly important, especially to the families who lost loved ones in this crisis.

Where does this go, Maria, for him? I mean on some level these are just as important. Does there need to be more accountability for what happened there and also more accountability for what happened in New York broadly and whether all of the fame that he seemed to receive as a result of it was deserved at the end of the day?

CARDONA: Yes, absolutely it needs to be looked at, Abby. Imagine the families of those nursing home patients who died and who are now reading these horrendous gut-wrenching reports about how their governor and his aides tried to cover up those numbers.

That is something I think that is probably worse, you know, as gut wrenching in a different way, but worse from the standpoint of leadership and pure public policy. And that I think is going to be something that he may not survive.

But look, this is all up to the people of New York and if you look at a Quinnipiac poll that came out a couple days ago 25 -- I'm sorry, 55 percent of New Yorkers right now don't think that he should resign. That may very well change as we are seeing bad news after bad news after bad news continues to come out on the sexual harassment scandals.

More aides are coming out saying, yes, he sexually harassed me. He acted inappropriately. He is abusive with his power. And then more is going to come out on the investigation of the nursing home scandal.

So I think it's going to be very difficult at the end of the day for him to survive this. And you now have many Democrats in New York either in the congressional area or in the state legislature that are calling for his resignation.

PHILLIP: We will see what the next few days bring. Alice Stewart, Maria Cardona -- thank you for being with me this morning.

And coming up next, I will speak with Golden Globe winner and actor Daniel Kaluuya and director Shaka King about their new movie "Judas and the Black Messiah".



PHILLIP: More than 50 years ago, 21-year-old Fred Hampton, the leader of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panthers, was shot dead by the Chicago police after the FBI infiltrated the group. Now his death and the Black Panthers are being re-examined in a new movie, "Judas and the Black Messiah" from CNN's sister company Warner Bros.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can murder liberate if you can, murder liberate you. You can murder revolution, man but you can't murder revolution. And you can murder (INAUDIBLE) and you can't murder freedom.


PHILLIP: Joining us now the star and director of the film, Daniel Kaluuya and Shaka King. Daniel and Shaka, thank you both for being with us this morning.

I have to say, I watched this movie a little while ago, absolutely loved it, was kind of shaken by it in so many ways. It's a profoundly powerful movie.

But Daniel, I should also say Golden Globe winner, Daniel Kaluuya. Congratulations on the win.

But this is a time for Hollywood where they are grappling with, you know, racism in the industry, a lack of diversity in the industry. What was it like for you as a black man to win this Golden Globe and for a role where you played someone so complex and influential as Fred Hampton?

DANIEL KALUUYA, ACTOR: The fact that we are able to tell this story and uphold and check Fred on his legacy, you know what I mean, is absolutely (ph)_ incredible by it.

The fact that we have got this film together and a major studio with everything that is being said and everything that happens within it.

But you can see with what Chairman Fred and the Black Panthers stood for which is like free medical care, free education, and feeding the kids, you know? So for me, for that, (INAUDIBLE) bigger audience is incredible.

PHILLIP: And Shaka, you've talked a lot about the parallels between the late 60s and today. The FBI would make a false equivalence between the KKK and the Black Panthers, famously in a line in the movie, you talk about that and how that is similar to the arguments that are being made about the Capitol rioters, comparing them to Black Lives Matter protesters.

You wrote this film, started working on this film years ago. But did you think that it would have the resonance that it has today?

SHAKA KING, DIRECTOR: You know, as my editor Christian Sprague once remarked when we were working. He said, you know, these topics are evergreen. And so, you know, unfortunately, I can't envision a world where this movie isn't relevant.

PHILLIP: One of the things that is so striking about the film is seeing that Fred Hampton was 21 years old when he was killed around the age of some of these protesters who were out in the streets today.

What was it like for you to learn about America's racial politics as you inhabited this character. And what did you learn about the Black Panther? Did it change how you approached that character at all?

KALUUYA: I think I was very -- I mean, I studied the civil rights struggle in school so I knew quite a bit about it. But we didn't study the Black Panther Party. But I kind of arrived to the Black Panther Party in a very organic way like from just being a young black man navigating a white country and the challenges that brings.

So I arrived to it not from a different perspective. So for me, this process deepened what I was feeling about myself and about my friends and about people that I (INAUDIBLE), life in America, it kind of deepened that and got me a better understanding about the self-love that they had and the love that they had for the black community and they were uncompromising about it.

PHILLIP: Yes. And to that point, you know, Shaka, so many Americans never learn about the Black Panther Party really at all or about Fred Hampton. What do you think people should know about Fred Hampton's life and legacy? I know that you have launched an educational program to that end.

What should people take away both from the film and from what they might be Googling right now about the Black Panther Party?

KING: We made the movie to counter the propaganda that has been put forth, you know, in history books and articles about them being, you know, racist, terrorist, militant group when, in fact, they were community organizers.


KING: And as Daniel alluded to, we are building medical clinics, you know, busing children in there, you know, their families to prisons to visit their incarcerated loved ones, you know? They did clothing drives. They fought against slumlords.

You know, they essentially were trying to provide, you know, poor folks with the services that the government was supposed to be providing for them and that they weren't providing. And so that is one, you know, piece of info we want to put forth.

And then in terms of, you know, Fred Hampton, the man and the leader, just that, you know, he was a person who really loved his people and was unafraid.

PHILLIP: And thanks to Daniel Kaluuya and Shaka King for being with us. And I really encourage everyone. If you haven't already watched this profoundly powerful story, to take a look at it when you can. And you can learn more about the issues explored in the film at

And that is it for INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. Join us back here every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time.

And coming up next, "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER AND DANA BASH". Jake's guests this morning include Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

Thank you again for sharing your Sunday morning with us. Have a great rest of your day.