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Inside Politics

Gov. Cuomo Waiting Two Weeks To Leave Office; Judge: Congress Should Be Able To See Some Trump Tax Records; Viral Moment: Sen. Booker Rails Against "Defund The Police." Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired August 11, 2021 - 12:30   ET



DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: About two months, we had cancelled elective cases at the beginning -- at the very beginning of the pandemic. We're seeing that happen now in the worst parts of this country now during the surge. It has very impactful, negatively impactful consequences on communities when people can, you know, get their heart catheterizations, they can't get their bypass surgeries, they can't get their hip or knee replacements. These have significant impacts on public health.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: I want to ask you lastly, your perspective, it's back to school season is beginning in parts of the country.


KING: I'll be everywhere pretty soon. This is from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital Association. It may be difficult for viewers to see the exact numbers at home. I just want you to follow the lines, 93,824 new COVID-19 cases among children last week. Dr. Reiner, there are people out there who say, well, look, it's been much worse, this is the peak back in the horrors of the winter, 211,000 plus cases COVID-19 among children that week comes down. And so there are people who would say, well, it's been much worse, you people are hyping this.

My response to that is you don't want anybody in the hospital and vaccines were not widely available here. Many of these children are eligible for vaccines, or many of them if they're not eligible for vaccines are in households where the parents are not vaccinated, correct?

REINER: Right. And here's the thing, it's really bad now, before schools are largely open in the United States, so schools are going to open over the next few weeks all around the United States. And we're going to put particularly for 12 and under, we're going to put entirely unvaccinated kids together in relatively small spaces at a time and in places where the virus is surging.

What I would say is for children over the age of 12, every one of these children needs to be vaccinated. We have the ability to protect them. Every state requires childhood vaccinations before going to school. Some states require as many as 10 vaccinations. This is important now, parents need to basically protect their kids and get them vaccinated. They could still do it now and get vaccines on board before kids go back to school around Labor Day.

KING: Right. It's nuts, nuts. That's caught up in politics as well. Dr. Reiner as always grateful for your insights and we're going to follow those numbers you mentioned at the top over the next few days. I hope you're right. I hope we're beginning to see at least some progress out in those key states --

REINER: You too. Thank you, John.

KING: Appreciate it, sir. Thank you.

Up next for us, we're about to hear from a woman who will be the next governor of New York. Lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul says she is ready to lead so then why is Andrew Cuomo waiting two weeks to step aside.



KING: In about an hour we will hear from the woman who will soon be New York's first female governor. Kathy Hochul, ready to lead is her message one day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he is resigning effective August 24th. Why wait two weeks for the transition is one big conversation in New York today. Who is Kathy Hochul is another.

With me to share the reporting and their insights, CNN's MJ Lee and Gloria Pazmino of New York1, Gloria, let's start with who is Kathy Hochul. And first I just want our viewers, some viewers around the country maybe have never seen or never heard her voice. This is her speaking back in 2019 at an event about women advancing in politics. Let's listen.


LT. GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): To the younger women in this room, I guess I don't count myself on that anymore. That's all right, state of mind. You know, it's because of you and all of us working together that we've finally started to achieve real progress.


KING: A friend of hers Brian Higgins is in the state legislature from Buffalo, a Democrat, says Kathy is perceptive but does not suffer fools. She knows when she's being bamboozled and will not tolerate it. It's the same toughness, but compassionate toughness. Who will -- who is the next governor of New York?

GLORIA PAZMINO, REPORTER, NY1: Well, first and foremost, she is a daughter of Buffalo, best known in western New York. She was a former member of Congress. And she represented the Buffalo area. And for the last couple of years she has been Governor Andrew Cuomo's lieutenant governor. He tapped her to run on his ticket back in 2014, when he was running for reelection.

At the time, it was seen as an effort to campaign besides a woman alongside a woman and also a campaign with someone who had connections to the rest of the state to Western New York, to other parts outside of New York City. That is where she is best known. She might not be known to a lot of New Yorkers, but she spends a lot of her time making her way around the state.

In fact, every year she makes it a point to visit all of a New York's 62 counties. And I think Kathy Hochul has been someone who really has not been seen, has not been heard. But she has been building a lot of relationships. And there's a lot of goodwill that I think she's going to try and build on.

KING: And that will be tested as she comes out in next hour, MJ Lee, to tell the people in New York, I'm ready. I know we've had a time of crisis. I know the governor is resigning in this sexual harassment scandal. I'm ready to lead. Which has many New Yorkers including Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney, former top aide to Senator Chuck Schumer here in Washington, asking this question.


PREET BHARARA, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Taken aback that he said his resignation is effective in 14 days, and it may be overly cynical, but I believe that Andrew Cuomo was a person of mischief.


KING: Why 14 days? Why not today?

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We'll look, John, I think there is first and foremost a real practical consideration here. Governor Cuomo is going to have to move himself out of the Governor's Mansion in Albany. You would assume that is not going to be a small undertaking considering that he has been governor for many years.

This is a three term governor. But to Preet's point that he was making there, it's interesting when you talk to folks here in New York, which I've been doing earlier today, the thing that people say about Andrew Cuomo, and sometimes it's in a half joking way, but sometimes it's very serious. It is that they wouldn't put anything past Andrew Cuomo.


So when they're speculating about anything related to the governor, there's sort of this tone of, we don't know what he's going to do. We genuinely can't predict. So are there things that he might do in the coming days while he is still the sitting governor, in terms of taking some executive action, making appointments? I think people are pretty reticent to make any predictions because the person we are talking about is Andrew Cuomo. And by the way, I think that goes to the 2020 question too, the 2022 question as well. KING: 2022 question as well and I just have a letter here a statement from the Republicans on the State Assembly Judiciary Committee saying even though he's resigning, they want to continue the impeachment inquiry. So still a lot of pieces to fill in this drama. MJ Lee, Gloria Pazmino, thank you very much for your time today. We'll continue to stay on top of this.

When we come back some breaking news involving the former President Donald Trump's taxes and efforts in Congress to get a peek.



KING: An important court ruling today that opens a big door for Democrats. A federal judge here in Washington says House Democrats can now access some of former President Trump's tax records through subpoenas to his accounting firm. Let's get the latest from CNN's Kara Scannell. Kara, this is a long fight and a big deal.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Yes, John, this is a long fight. And this is now the latest opinion on this the federal judge in Washington D.C. saying that the House Oversight Committee can obtain some of Donald Trump's tax returns and other financial records. This was the subpoena to his accounting firm, Mazars. So the way that it breaks down is that the House Oversight Committee, according to the judge, will be able to have access to documents relating to the Trump Washington D.C. hotel. That's because they've oversight of the GSA which has entered into this lease.

So the Trump Organization will have to -- documents relating to the Trump Organization, to the President all relating to that D.C. hotel will have to be turned over. In addition, the accounting firm will also have to turn over information that fit under the umbrella of emoluments. So the judge saying that that pertains to certain documents involving the years 2017 and 2018. But where the House Committee lost on this ruling is that the judge is saying that they cannot have access to documents that that records that pertain to the period before Donald Trump was in office.

So a split ruling, but certainly the big issue here is that Donald Trump hasn't wanted any of these records to be turned over and now this judge saying that they will reach out to Trump's attorney for comment and haven't heard back yet. John?

KING: Kara Scannell, appreciate the hustle on the breaking news. There's another drama related to the former president playing out in Washington today, the central player, well, you probably won't recognize his name. But B.J. Pak, the former U.S. Attorney in Atlanta could be a hugely important figure now in the investigation into Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Today, Pak is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. On January 4th, he abruptly resigned his post remember, that was two days after the former president on the phone instructed Georgia Secretary of State in Trump's words to quote, find votes. So Pak will surely be asked today what made him step down and what did he see before he left.

The panel is back with us. There are some people who don't want to have this conversation at all, but particularly this investigation both on the House side and the Senate side is turning up some very damning details about the former president. Why is it important?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It's important because we're learning more really day by day with every piece of information the Oversight Committee is getting on the House side. It's filling in more pieces of the puzzle here about what the former president knew, what he was doing, et cetera.

So this testimony this afternoon is very important, because as you said it came after that phone call with the Georgia Secretary of State. January 4th, it stopped me there for a second. We almost forget about what happened right before January 6th, but a lot happened before that. That's why it's important.

KING: Right. That's a key point that build up to Trump's anger.


KING: Trump's anger he was calling into Georgia, we could put up on the screen the three justice officials B.J. Pak was the U.S. Attorney in Georgia, and you have the acting Attorney General at the time, the Acting Deputy at the time. We know from Mr. Rosen and Mr. Donoghue, they have told the Committee they were trying to, you know, essentially telling the president go away. We have no evidence of fraud. Stop asking us to do things that are outside the facts. What Mr. Pak can add to that, given that we know how central Georgia was to the president's desire, former president desire is important.

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. I mean, so much of Donald Trump's effort to steal the election after he lost it was conducted in plain sight, or was revealed at the time, including his call to the Georgia Secretary of State.

But I think there may have been some people who are tempted to dismiss it as bluster, right? Or him not being serious, him just kind of talking as he tended to do. And so all of these details are filling in piece by piece, as Jeff was saying, exactly how serious he was, how much pressure he was putting on people behind the scenes, how much he was doing, to really try to make this happen to overturn the election.

KING: Right. Important to know for historical purposes, even more important in my view in the here and now to know because he says he wants to run again and he says he wants to come back, a president who was trying to subvert democracy says he wants to be president again and important because the legacy of the big lie continues.

This is the Wisconsin Governor Democrat Tony Evers who yesterday vetoed the Republican legislature sent several pieces of legislation that would rollback voting rights and the Republicans are doing that because they say there was all this massive fraud in 2020. Remember, Biden won Wisconsin, the governor says, go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


GOV. TONY EVERS (D-WI): And Wisconsin has long been a laboratory of democracy. But in recent years, we've been put -- we are used as a petri dish for Republican plans to undermine that democracy. Well, not anymore. Not today. It's time for those that have stirred the pot to say, there's nothing there.


KING: There's the legacy of the big lie, but there's also the right now --

KNOX: Yes.

KING: -- ramifications of the big lie.

KNOX: Yes, it's the central justification for this nationwide Republican drive to rewrite election laws in ways that respond to Donald Trump's loss. I mean, if Donald Trump were to call up George's, would have called up Georgia's officials under the laws that are being passed now, it would have been a lot harder for them to resist what he was doing. You have situations which state legislatures now can take over the elections process in a way that they couldn't before.

So the big one is really important, not just because obviously was an American president trying to overthrow the results of an election, but because of what's happening now, these laws, this process, these laws are being passed now.

KING: Now.

KNOX: Now.

EVA MCKEND, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, SPECTRUM NEWS: These are all really important questions. But you know, Senator John Thune, top senator in here in Washington often says re-litigating the 2020 election is not a winning strategy. So Democrats have to be careful in how they navigate this.

KING: And Republicans don't want to re-litigate it. We'll see how it plays out with voters.

Ahead for us, the Senate gets interesting as a 14 hour vote-a-rama extends into the wee hours. A Republican thinks he has a clever amendment to put Democrats on the spot. Yet Democrat Cory Booker jumps for joy.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): This is perhaps the highlight of this long and painful and torturous night.



KING: The Senate calls them vote-a-ramas hours of back to back votes on amendments. Many of them more stunt than substance. It's mostly mundane, often monotonous. But in the wee hours last night, a viral moment a Republican who wants the Senate to go on record against defunding the police and then a response from Democrat Cory Booker rich with sarcasm and sprinkled with a sashay. See for yourself.


SEN. TOMMY TUBERVILLE (R-AL): I call on my colleagues to support our law enforcement by voting yes, for this amendment. Opposing my amendment is a vote in support of defunding the police and against the men and women in blue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gentleman's time has expired.

BOOKER: Madam President.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator from New Jersey.

BOOKER: I am so excited. This is perhaps the highlight of this long and painful and torturous night. This is a gift. If it wasn't complete avocation of Senate procedures and esteem I would walk over there and hug my colleague from Alabama. And I will tell you right now, thank God because there's some people who have said that they're members of this deliberative body that wanted to fund the police to my heart. And now this senator has given us the gift that finally once and for all we can put to bed this scurrilous accusations, somebody in this greatest team body would want to fund the police.

So let all of us, 100 people not walk but sashay down there and vote for this amendment and put to rest the lies and I have sure I will see no political ads attacking anybody here over to fund the police. And I would ask unanimous consent to add something else to this obvious bill. Can we add also that every senator here wants to defend the police, believes at God, country, and apple pie. Thank you.


KING: In the end, 99 senators present all voted for Senator Tuberville's amendment, he declared it a victory. Does he not understand he just got played?

MCKEND: Totally, totally. I mean, leave it to Senator Booker to really elevate and wake up the chamber there. I mean, he, Senator Tuberville totally walked right into that one. Democrats in the Senate do not want to defend the police. Senator Booker making that abundantly clear.

ZELENY: He clearly perhaps, he was thinking of House Democrats. Some do, but this is Joe Biden's Democratic Party. Defund the police is not supported widely. But interestingly there, the Senator from Alabama, the junior senator from Alabama got played that question. This is one of the consequences of living in an alternative reality when all you hear on "Fox," "OAN," "Newsmax" is that Democrats want to defund the police. It's not true for many Democrats. So the alternative reality was hit with the real reality last night.

KING: And we got sarcasm sashay. We don't get sashay every day on the Senate floor.

BALL: More days than you might think. No, I mean, the real political problem here for the Democrats, obviously, is the apple pie component of this because there are fans of pumpkin pie and cherry pie. Personally, I'm a pumpkin pie person. So having put the entire Senate on the record in favor of apple pie, they might have to answer for that down the road.

KING: I yield the floor, top that.

KNOX: You know if you want to make it a problem for Democrats, you would have gone with something immigration based, right, defund ICE, you know, don't support Border Patrol. I mean something, that would have been more problematic.

ZELENY: There are more vote-a-ramas to come.

KING: Hopefully, I was going to say hopefully the staff is watching and staff is watching they get to this before the next vote-a-rama.

Thanks everybody for your time today. We are allowed a little fun at the end. I hope you think so. We'll see you back here this time tomorrow. Ana Cabrera picks up coverage right now. Have a great afternoon.