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Live: CNN The Inauguration Of Joe Biden; Trump Pardons Likely Come With Strings Attached; Bannon Likely Player In Trump 2.0; Trump Rescinds His Own Anti-Lobbying Order In Major Reversal; Trump Era Comes to An End in Less than 11 Hours. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 20, 2021 - 01:00   ET



PREET BHARARA, CNN SNR. LEGAL ANALYST: As I said before, the greatest gift you can get from a sitting president, and that is a pardon.

I also note -- I've been looking on the Internet myself. And with respect to the pardon of Steve Bannon -- there's some write-up with respect to each of these pardons.

It appears that one of the sentences that comes in connection with the pardon of Steve Bannon is, "Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen."

What that has to do with the conferral of a pardon or a commutation on someone makes no sense to me at all.

CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, THE INAUGURATION OF JOE BIDEN: Makes all the sense to you, Preet.

BHARARA: (Inaudible).

CUOMO: Because the only reason that Trump would want to do this is because he may need Bannon going forward so his political acumen -- which I think is suspect -- and his role of being able to mooch off of any kind of cleavage of the conservatives, that's exactly why he's been given the pardon. They were just, frankly, honest in that.

BHARARA: Yes. Look, Trump for a long time has said out loud what most people keep to themselves --

CUOMO: That's right.

BHARARA: -- when they're engaging in corruption or criminal activity.

But the other thing -- some of these pardons are going to be futile.

With respect to Steve Bannon who has not been convicted, whose charges are pending, the statute of limitations has not run. The nature of the crime, it's a straightforward fraud, it's wire fraud under the federal statute.

Any one of a number of local jurisdictions, any one of a number of district attorneys can take the file or do their own investigation and probably charge Steve Bannon for the same conduct in short order.

CUOMO: That's an interesting take. And now we look at what isn't on the list or who isn't on the list.

No Rudy Giuliani, no Julian Assange who had been rumored to be in consideration. No Donald John Trump, no Trump children or son-in-law. Notable?

BHARARA: I think so. Just because there's been so much speculation about it. And I ventured into the arena of prognostication and suggested that he probably would go for it.

Look, we still have a few hours left. There is still some argument that he wants to mess with the storyline of tomorrow's coverage of all of you at CNN and other networks and bust into the coverage of the inauguration of Joe Biden.

And maybe some of those more controversial parties will come tomorrow at the last minute.

But I've always assumed that President Trump has no shame, doesn't care about how things look in and wants maximum protection for himself and his hide and his family and those pardons would issue. But maybe I'm wrong about that.

CUOMO: Well, so far he hasn't done it. And I guess he could do it at some time before the inauguration. But I think this was supposed to be their big final dump on this information. We'll see. But here's what we know right now.

Preet, thank you very much for walking us through this and what stands out to you. Appreciate you. Preet Bharara.

All right. Let's talk more about this. Who's there, who isn't there.

Norm Eisen, John Dean. John, we were just talking about this before.

Norm, thank you for joining us. John, he didn't pardon himself, he didn't pardon his kids, he didn't pardon his son-in-law. Why not?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Not yet. First of all, you've got to put a caveat. That he doesn't have to announce a pardon.

It could be done in private and stuck in his pocket and we wouldn't know it until he was indicted and pulled it out for defense. Same with the kids. They could hold it tight. So -- we assume we didn't do it though.

That's the only way I can be sure on that, I can't give you a definitive he didn't do that one.

CUOMO: Oh, that's a good one. Norm, that would be a sneaky move. Although if there's one thing we can count on with this White House is that it's a sieve so I'd be shocked if it didn't leak out very quickly, that he had done that.

No Rudy Giuliani, no Julian Assange. But yes, Steve Bannon. Your take, Norm?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Bannon is a perfect encapsulation, Chris, of everything that's wrong with the pardons that Trump has done over the past four years and this wave, about 150 of them.

Bannon is a crony of Trump's, going back to the campaign. So in that respect, it's like the pardon of Mike Flynn or Roger Stone or Paul Manafort.

It's a pardon that smacks of quid pro quo, Chris, which is, if proven, a crime. That Trump is trading. Bannon knows an awful lot about him, including about the insurrection.

So is Trump trading this pardon for silence on ban's part? And then the third, see, Chris, is corruption. Trump wants Bannon's help, perhaps on starting a new political party, that's the rumor today in Washington.

Is he willing to overlook the fact that Bannon ripped off Trump followers to line his own pockets, that's what he's being prosecuted for in order to get his help going forward.

It stinks Chris. Like so many other Trump pardons it reeks to high heaven.


CUOMO: Well, if you wanted to join something called the Trump Party, it would be easy for you to swallow that Steve Bannon was falsely accused.

John, you were talking to me earlier about somebody -- as being someone who drafted these. What do you make of the fact that in Steve Bannon's pardon, it says that he is noted for his political acumen and that he has been a long-standing member of the conservative party?

DEAN: That may be a mistake for a presidential award of some other sort that they got in that language, it has nothing to do with a pardon. That may even be press release material, rather than the actual language of the pardon.

Chris, I also did kind of a ballpark count on Trump versus the others. It looks like he's done totally about 250 commutations, pardons and commutations combined, clemency. Whereas that's a little bit less than Obama who did a lot of commutations for criminal justice reasons and about the same area, just a few more, than Bush too.

So he's not doing high volume at this point.

CUOMO: Interesting. So I guess it's quality over quantity. Does any of this matter for impeachment, Norm?

EISEN: I think it does. Bannon is one who was stoking the flames of insurrection, Chris, on his show and there's reports he was discussing this with the president. Talking about, falsely, how the election was stolen, working those

Trump followers into a frenzy. And then -- you played it earlier, you referred to it earlier -- very violent language the night before the insurrection itself that seems to key people up.

The senators that are going to be sitting in judgment of Trump were the victims of that mob, they were the targets of the sedition and their lives came within a very close brush with danger, perhaps even death.

They're not going to look kindly on a pardon to an insurrectionist particularly one who -- I read that language in the press release about conservative party, Trump doesn't want to refer to the Republican Party. It's a threat about striking out on his own.

I think that's going to alienate the Republican senators.

CUOMO: Thank you very much, Norm Eisen. Thank you very much, John Dean. Appreciate you, gentlemen.

Let's get some political take on this. S.E. Cupp, Frank Bruni, Ron Brownstein.

S.E., the idea that he didn't pardon himself although I like this John Dean little info nugget --


CUOMO: -- that he doesn't have to tell you, that he could have a pocket pardon that he could throw out. But like I said, this place is such a sieve, I can't believe that word wouldn't get out that he did it.

But are you surprised that he didn't do it, at least not yet? He's got a few more hours.

CUPP: Well, I was just talking to a friend of mine who is an attorney about this before I came on and he said exactly that. That we might not know Trump pardoned himself or his kids or other people until he needs that protection.

And I said surely that can't be the case because I haven't heard anyone say it and there you just heard John Dean go ahead and say it. So that's that sort of chilling and ominous.

But, in addition, to your point about the sieve that is the White House the Trump Administration, he also likes to brag about that sort of stuff. So I can't imagine him being able to just kind of sit on one of those nuggets for too long.

He likes to use those to inflame people and get us to sort of light our hair on fire.

CUOMO: No shame in his game, to be sure. Ron Brownstein, what does this move mean in terms of where he's headed? RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SNR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it really is just

another gauntlet in front of everyone who believes he should be held accountable, in both parties.

Not only the Bannon and Broidy but multiple, more Republican elected officials who have been convicted on various crimes, embezzling and misusing campaign funds, and so forth.

He basically is flaunting it till the final hour. That I can -- the constitution gives me the authority to do whatever I want and I will do it no matter how improper it seems.

And so I think he's waving a red flag in front of senators in both parties and basically daring them to act in any way against his corruption.

CUOMO: The timing doesn't scream, Frank, that he wants it in their face, right? He's releasing this early, early on inauguration day morning. But what do you think the Republican play is on this; be quiet, say nothing like you have all along for much more heinous acts?

Or do they play the McConnell card that he just did and start talking about this, separate from Trump?


FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, if they've been looking for a reason to separate from him and for four years they haven't done that, yes, then I think they talk about it and they cite all of this and more as reasons why they're moving away.

I'm just suspicious that they're going to move away. It's been four years and only -- take McConnell for an example, it's only been in the last couple of weeks that Mitch McConnell seems to have realized who Donald Trump is or, at least, has been willing to kind of face that beast.

And so I've gotten pretty cynical about what Republicans will and won't do when it comes to calling out Donald Trump for what he's done and who he is.

CUOMO: You know, S.E., as a true Republican, I have heard -- as you know, I married into a Republican family --

CUPP: Yes.

CUOMO: -- and there are so many in your party and of the political fate of conservatism who are also relieved today. They wanted this to end.

They are embarrassed and they want their party back and they hate being defined by Trump even though they do not like a lot of what they see as wacko, lefty, radical policies and whether or not Biden can fight it off.

Is there a measure of relief? Do you believe that will be measurable in terms of what we see from the different echelons of your electeds?

CUPP: Look, I've got to be honest. The reason so many of us were wary of Trump in 2015 was we saw the damage he would do not just to the party but the country that would be long-lasting, way after he was gone whether that was in four or eight years.

So I'm relieved mostly because I think COVID is going to be addressed in a way that makes sense and that's what we need like immediately, five minutes ago. But there is so much work to be done, both within the Republican party and in this country.

And there's good news and bad news. The good news is Joe Biden wants to unite America and Trump did not. Trump actively sought out ways to divide American and pit neighbor against neighbor. The bad news is just because Joe Biden wants to, doesn't mean the feeling's necessarily mutual.

There's a lot of anger on the far right and unwillingness to listen to any Democrats or anyone not named Trump, there's an unwillingness on the far left to compromise at all with Republicans -- they somewhat, understandably, think they aren't great -- good faith actors.

And then there's people in the middle who distrust both parties.

So I love that Joe Biden wants to heal the country, we need that. But we all have to want to engage in that project.

And I think that's going to take a long time, a lot longer than just sort of the snap of the fingers and a new president.

CUOMO: It takes two to tango but it takes everybody to line dance. So we'll see what happens. Everybody, thank you very much for your take, especially on this historic occasion.

So the Trump pardons are out, there could be more. But much more importantly than what is ending is what is beginning today is a huge morning in America.

Sam Donaldson offers his late night or early morning insight on our new president, Joe Biden. Next.



CUOMO: Breaking news on this inauguration day. Just minutes ago, President Trump pardons 73 people including Steve Bannon.

Whom he did not pardon, as far as we know -- because as we just learned from John Dean, you can have something that we'll call a pocket pardon. Trump could pardon himself, could pardon his kids, could pardon anybody and not disclose it.

But the way this administration has been a sieve and the White House as well, you have to believe we would know -- and as has been said, Trump likes to brag. But he is the short side of the story today. Today is the day that

things change in America.

Joe Biden will be president at noon today Eastern, at our capital, Kamala Harris will be vice president. What that change will mean, what it will augur in, we don't yet know.

But it is all happening under a cloud that you can't miss and we can no longer mistake.

Let's bring in one of my mentors, the legendary news man, Sam Donaldson. Even you have never seen one like this, big brother.

Surrounded by 25,000 National Guardsmen --


CUOMO: -- a non-peaceful transfer of power, happening in seclusion from the American people because the American people must be on guard for the American people. What do you make of it?

DONALDSON: Well, I agree with people who say not since Herbert Hoover gave up the presidency to Franklin Roosevelt have we seen the kind of transition and makes a big difference in what this country stands for, what happens in this country, what happens with our relationship with the world. It's really transformative.

As Ronald Reagan said before his reelection in 1984, "It's morning in America," and I think we can all celebrate it without believing that everything's going to be fixed overnight, it's not; that we're going to come together as one people, we won't. But we're on the road to those good things in the future.

CUOMO: How do you know?

DONALDSON: I know because I feel it and I feel I know something about the American people. Something I had to learn in the last few years because I never thought that Donald J. Trump who I've known for 35 years, interviewed him a long time ago in an interview in which he called me rude and ignorant -- I probably was both -- and out to get him, which I wasn't, as a reporter.

Then times changed, of course. And I know that the majority of the American people, as shown in this election, get it. We want the country that we've had, we want the morals and the ethics, we want the way we associate with each other and the world that we had really since the time our founding fathers put it all together.

And so I just feel -- I don't know, I can't prove it but I'll bet on it.

CUOMO: What makes the difference going forward? You see in the polls right now, for what they're worth, so many people who voted from Trump still believe the election was rigged --

[01:20:00] -- even in the absence of a scintilla of proof to that effect that had been demonstrated in any court.

You see Republicans already trying to demonize Biden, make him a boogie man -- I don't know why he wants to start any kind of immigration discussion right now but they're jumping on that as an opportunity to go to square one of the Trump playbook. What will make it better?

DONALDSON: What will make it better is that we watch Biden. What he says is great, he has a heart, we know that that's there, he cares about people, we know that that's there. And he's not insane, we know he's not insane. And we listen to him but we watch what he does.

And I think slowly the American people understand that we now have a president that's certainly a normal president and maybe better than that, under the circumstances.

But I agree with you. There are a lot of people who still think Donald J. Trump is a messiah, they would follow him to the gates of hell and maybe even into it. Might not be a bad idea.

But in any event what do we do for and with them? I don't know.

Because let's take the Republican leaders of the state of Arizona. They continue to insist that the election was rigged, stolen in their state and they're very angry at the Republican governor, Governor Ducey, who had been a Trump person until he certified what his election officials brought him as the facts that Biden had won the state.

And so now these Republican leaders in Arizona are going to have a measure of commendation (ph), they're going to censure two people, the governor and Cindy McCain.

Now I'm not certain why they're angry at Cindy McCain. Her husband, her late husband, was a war hero, he was a great United States senator, he was a candidate for the presidency and lost it, but we honor John McCain. Why would they want to censure Lindy (ph) McCain is beyond me.

I think they're mad -- with a virus of some sort if not rabies, thank God not. But something that makes people like them unaware of their existence in this country.

I don't know what to do about them Chris, I don't know how to reach them. I think maybe they're unreachable.

But the mass of the 74 million people who voted for Donald Trump -- again I can't prove it but I'll bet you many of them in the last 80 days in watching him -- have already deserted him. They wouldn't vote for him again.

And I hope he does get convicted -- the senate so it's ironclad that he cannot run for the presidency or any public office, federal office, again. CUOMO: I didn't want --

DONALDSON: I just feel that we're on the right road. But I can't prove it.

CUOMO: Well, as we always say, time will tell. One thing is for sure --

DONALDSON: Could be, yes.

CUOMO: -- this is an inauguration. Today there will be a change in America. What it yields? We'll watch and we'll watch together.

Always a pleasure, Sam Donaldson. Be well.

DONALDSON: My pleasure too, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. It is 1:22 a.m. in the East. I'm going to give you a reason to stay awake if you're in the East. And if you're out West, I'm going to give you a reason to pay attention.

Donald Trump just did something that his party is going to have to live -- I'm not talking about the pardons -- I'm talking about something else. That will tell you everything that he has always been about. And his party will have to own.




CUOMO: Boy oh boy, we have news just in to CNN on this inauguration morning. It's about Trump and you want to hear it.

Because if you voted for him because he was going to change things, it's a swamp.

These people go in government, they go into the agencies, they go into the White House, they go back out, they work in the private sector now, they have all these contacts. It's wrong, this lobbying. Remember?

And he said you're right, I'm going to change it, I know this game, I pay these people. I'm going to fix it, I'm going to drain the swamp, remember?

And remember what his big move was; a five-year lobbying ban for administration officials. Remember? This was his own rule. Trump signed the order with his first week in office because it was so important.

Now you could argue that it actually weakened some ethics rules put in place by the Obama Administration but that's just facts, right? So this was about how it felt. OK. What did Trump just do? Take a guess. He just said that all his

advisers who are leaving the White House can now lobby. He removed the ban.

Now you would say, well, he did it the right way. He did it so that while they were in government they can't lobby their own administration.

That wasn't his point, he never said that. He said that this is about the swamp about the revolving door. They come in and out and they use their contacts for years and that's where they do. And it's wrong. Special interests.

Now he clears the way to allow those officials to begin lobbying, right when they leave today.

He did nothing about the swamp because he never wanted to. And that's the difference. And now you know because of what he did with his own hand on his way out.

Maybe one of his last official acts. And if so, it is a fitting one.

Perspective now from Phil Mudd and Asha Rangappa. We know what this is.

Let's deal with our broader concern about the end of the Trump presidency is that it doesn't end the risk, it doesn't end the anger.

Phil Mudd, we've talked about this. You have the Oathkeepers being brought up on conspiracy charges.

When you open Pandora's box, when you invite the ugly to come out into the open, you don't just get people who are upset about paying their mortgage and upset about jobs and upset about different culture issues, you get the extremists.

And now we have them, and how difficult is it to get them back into the shadows?


PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think it's going to be really difficult. We've made one step. And that is if you want to get these people out of the shadows you have to remove the person who gives them the spark for action. I've been surprised even personally at about how quieter even this household is where I lived since the president's been Twitter.

The inability whether you are in an extremist organization overseas or an extremist organization in the United States -- the inability to recruit without a megaphone is really critical.

So I think I'll make sure there are going to be debates about the free speech aspect of this but it makes it a lot easier when the megaphone is gone. One quick final piece of what I find really interesting. This also gives the federal government an opening to start investigating more and to start -- to start looking into these groups with things like FBI informants. By what they did on January 6th, some of these groups accomplished exactly what they would not want to accomplish. That is, telling the government our actions are seditious. That proves that we are a group violating federal law.

In my own rule, that's PC, probably cause. I can now look at them. so they gave the government an open door to start looking and I think that also makes it even easier for the government.

We will be at this for years, Chris, but we are taking a few steps.

CUOMO: Well, we have also been warned about it, Asha by people in your line of work, in the intelligence community, for many years. That was always the old -- the eye popper when we were dealing with al-Qaeda and ISIS, and the Taliban before that.

And you'd say, well, you know, domestically our biggest threat is actually these extremist groups of white nationalist. Eyes would pop. No, no, no -- it's got to be the Muslim threat. That's what it has to be.

So what do you think about where we are left at the end of the Trump presidency in terms of the threat going forward?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, there's going to have to be another shift like there was after 9/11. I went into the bureau after 9/11 and there was a massive shift going on internally, not just in terms of the official priorities, but also a culture shift going from a reactive criminal organization into one that is intelligence driven and focusing on, at that time, the foreign terrorism threat.

It was hard. I mean even in the FBI Academy, they were struggling to kind of change how they trained new agents to come in to align with these priorities.

I think it's going to be similar going forward, you know realigning the priorities, and as Phil said, getting the culture to change to make sure that the actual focus of the cases that the agents work on is looking at this, because we have been so conditioned to think of terrorism as, you know, (INAUDIBLE), right like the outside threat.

This was what the Muslim ban was about. And so it's going to take a mindset change as well as a policy change.

CUOMO: Thank you both for this point. As we go to break for you at home, you know, very often Trump people feel -- Trump voters feel victimized. You are getting the benefit of the analysis that much of the violence was perpetrated by people that weren't there as an extreme act of their political will. That these were poisonous people who are here to do damage, who are here with real insurrectionist incentives. That that's what they are about. They are hateful people. You are getting the benefit of that with this analysis of what happened on January 6th. This is a benefit that you never gave to people fighting for systemic injustice. Every time you were told that there were insurgent groups in there, hateful groups in there that were mixing in and using it as an opportunity.

You never gave them the benefit of that. Think about it. You are getting the benefit of it now, why? Because e pluribus unum. We are one out of many. And the job in this country is not to find ways to bring you down.

You should be giving benefit of the doubt to your fellow Americans, especially in the interest of our common cause. Just think about it.

Today is a new beginning, and Joe Biden is facing huge challenges as he prepares to serve us.

Are we going to make it better or are we going to make it worse? The responsibility is on him, but not him alone, right.




CUOMO: It's going to be less than 11 hours and history will be made. Joe Biden will raise his hand and swear an oath to defend the constitution as he becomes the 46th president of the United States of America.

His words this afternoon will hopefully mark a new beginning that gets us to a better place. Let's get some perspective on that from Jessica Dean. It's good to have you.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Good to be with you, Chris.

We are actually getting some new details about what the president- elect's schedule is going to look like tomorrow. and it really illustrates the contrast, the stark contrast that we're going to see between President Biden and President Trump, the man that he, of course, is replacing.

So it's going to start with a church service, and I reported earlier today, he invited Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as the rest of congressional leadership to attend the church service with him. Again, really it going back to tradition, to relationships. We know that that relationship tween Biden and McConnell will be important.

Then from there, he will be going to for the actual the oath of office and the inaugural festivities themselves, we know he has been working on his speech. And it will reflect a theme of unity, something that we have heard from him again and again.

Then he's going to go to Arlington National Cemetery for a re-fling former president Bush, Obama, and Clinton.

And then following that, they're going to have executive orders and appointees. He 's he's going to be signing those executive orders, Chris we've learned from the Oval Office.


DEAN: Again, that powerful visual, showing President Biden -- by then President Biden going to work. That's what they want to telegraph to the American people, and then after that, of course, they will celebrate with special people -- celebrities, fireworks, all of those fun festivities of the day.

And we are also learning more about what exactly he is hoping to do with those executive orders. So they delve into that just a little bit.

We've talked a little bit about this in the last couple of days. But immediately, he's going to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. Immediately, he's going to roll back the Trump administration's ban on majority Muslim countries. He is also going to extend that student loan payment that they had stopped those for people who are struggling financially, extend the restrictions on evictions, again helping people who are struggling with COVID.

And then finally, that federal mask mandate, so putting in place a mask requirement for all federal property. And Chris, this is so important and worth noting. There will be a press briefing by the new press secretary Jen Psaki at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow.

So on the first day, we are going to get a press briefing from the Biden administration. They had promised to bring back daily briefings. And Psaki has said time and time again she really sees her job as building back trust in that room, in that press room.

If the press and the American people know that what she's saying are facts. Of course, it is up to us to hold them accountable but that's what she is saying that she hopes she can do.

Again, just a lot of differences there from what we have seen, Chris.

CUOMO: If you are straight, you get a straight take. If they play games, then they get trouble. That's the nature of our business. We're not here to be friends.

A quick thing. Is there any concern in the administration about the hold up on early appointments? As we know, traditionally, people get fast-tracked so that the new administration can hit the ground running.

Senator Hawley, infamous name right now, given his invitation to what happened on the January 6th, stopped the Homeland Security Secretary, very vital right now in these days. What is their level of concern?

DEAN: Well, they are concerned, Chris. And they have talked time and time again. And when I have spoken with them, they have expressed they want these people specifically, and that's one of them, the Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. They want him confirmed as soon as possible.

They wanted that before what happened on January 6th, the insurrection at the capitol. They certainly want it even more now. You can expect to see much more of a public pressure campaign to get those key nominees confirmed.

We did see saw a slew of hearings up on Capitol Hill today, but of course, as you well know, that's just the beginning part of it. Now, they have to get confirmed by the Senate. And Biden will take office without any of his nominees confirm. That's certainly how it looks right now, Chris.

CUOMO: It may be an early test of the god faith of Mitch McConnell. We will see.

Jessica Dean, thank you very much. Good luck going forward. I look forward to seeing you do the job.

Let's bring in Douglas Brinkley and Jeff Greenfield. Good to have you both, Gentlemen. History will be made. Which steps we take, which direction we go? We don't know.

Let's talk history and then let's talk political implications.

Douglas, no peaceful transfer of power. We can't claim that anymore after what we lived through on January 6th. Where does that place us in history?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: That perhaps this was just an ugly aberration that we might be able to start a new day tomorrow. you know, I think just the idea that Kamala Harris is being sworn in, the first woman vice president; that Joe Biden is going to be talking about unity.

That that great report we just heard that people -- that the Biden administration is going to be about the U.S. federal government is back. That the government is your friend, just the way John F. Kennedy had a moon shot or, you know, FDR did social security. I think you're going to see Biden try to motivate the country around fighting the menace of COVID-19.

And is like out of the vice presidency, as you know Chris, he did the moon shot for cancer and I think he might be the right voice right now, Joe Biden, to pull us together to start the healing and America can move forward.

We certainly have to be upbeat on inauguration day after the horrible licking our country has taken over the last year.

CUOMO: Yes. But obviously, in times like these, you can't avoid the obvious either. And there is another cancer, right. And it has grown very effectively in our culture, in our political culture to be sure. Jeff Greenfield, you make a very interesting and you know, eyebrow raising point that democracy can't be taken for granted anymore. There're too many people in this country that are not just sick of parties. They don't even believe in the democracy. We are seeing that in real-time.


JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I have no insight into what he was actually going to say but's this is definitely, in my view, not the time for the kind of flowery poetic inaugurals that' we have been hearing ever since Ted Sorenson (ph)and John F. Kennedy crafted that 1960 speech.

This is not a time to talk about marching through the valley of despair, to the mountain top of hope, from dangerous show of obstructionism to the (INAUDIBLE). That stuff doesn't make sense at the time when we have been in situation where the very platform on which Jo Biden's was the theme of a mass assault that came close to being an

advanced killing.

And I'm wondering, for all the talk of unity, which is actually almost compulsory (INAUDIBLE). There ought to be some recognition that this democracy was put through a very big stress test and it came through but it was a near one thing.

I'm hoping that if Biden talks about that unity, he can talk about the need to acknowledge that this election was honest to get past the poisonous lies. And I think McConnell gave some help.

And to say if we really want to talk about unity, now let's look at what we face. Because in some ways, this was covered in the Roosevelt case. Not just because we're have going to have congressional but we've got the virus that it prevents the economy from going moving forward until and unless that's under control.

These are going to be very dark days. It's very smart of Biden to be saying this all through the transition. And that speech tomorrow has to be, in my view, a very long, forward-looking specific set of what we're going to do to unify the country, not on some who have strike level but in keeping people in their homes. And peeking through it on the table and preventing millions of people from falling into abject despair.

That's the challenge he has. And that's a very tough road to an inaugural ho try to work.

CUOMO: I'm with you.

And I think the button hole for him is going to be will be feel. I think it's going to be about empathy. When I think about one of the lessons I have learned in this administration is we didn't play to Trump's -- we didn't expose Trump's -- his absence of empathy that he never really made it about people, except to whip up their animus. And that's something that Biden can expose about himself, and Americans know pain. And they respect pain when they see it in others. And that's something that we have gotten away from.

But we'll see. We'll see soon.

Gentlemen, thank you for setting the table for us this morning. Appreciate you.

The nation is going to watch this inauguration, but so is the world. What will they think about this new president's message -- Moscow, Tehran, Pyongyang? Let's go live to London for the anticipation there. Next.



CUOMO: We saw this president turn on our allies and embrace our enemies. Remember Putin in Helsinki? I was there. It was an embarrassing moment as an American.

The DMZ? Now the globe is watching to see what President Joe Biden will say to the world in less than 11 hours.

Clarissa Ward is in London this morning. It's good to see you, my friend, especially on a day like this. it's good to share history with you.

The world watched aghast very often at what was happening in America and what it would mean for the international community. Where are our people on this day in terms of hearts and minds and the anticipation?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's so interesting, Chris. Because obviously it depends where you are, but here in Europe there is definitely a sense of palpable relief, frankly.

It's not jubilation. It's not celebration. It's palpable relief that the world order has survived the chaos of the last four years. And you can actually see that kind of reflected in some of the headlines in the newspapers today. I pulled a few of them for you to share with our audience.

You look at a London paper like Metro, which says simply, "At last it's the back of Donald Trump" last. Or one of Britain's famous tabloids that are a obviously, a little more colorful.

"Well, that was a weird dream," depicting President Donald Trump in a straight jacket. And finally, you know, the more respected broad sheet, The Independent, which says simply it's over with a silhouette of Trump and then the subheading is the curtain falls on the most tumultuous presidency in history.

So essentially, now, what European allies particularly and other allies the world are looking for is a message that America is going to return to the ideals and institutions that really underpins the entire function of the world order. That's what people so desperately want to hear.

And I should stress, Chris. That I'm not trying to make out like everybody in the world is happy to see President Joe Biden taking office today. There are plenty of countries that really thrive under Trump's presidency. That had a close relationship with him.

I think for many authoritarians, dictators, people like Kim Jong-un, you mentioned the DMZ there, the North Korean despot, also President Vladimir Putin. There is an expectation that the U.S. will now take a much tougher tone.

And then countries like Israel, Gulf Arab States like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates -- again, they enjoy very close relationship with President Trump, much more complex relationship with President Obama and so likely they will have some reservations about the relationship going forward.

But the main thing that we are seeing certainly here in Europe, Chris is palpable relief and, you know, how do we fix this ship and move on not just for the U.S. but for the security and stability, frankly, of the world order, Chris.

CUOMO: Understood. We are no island here, literally or figuratively.

Clarissa Ward, thank you very much.


CUOMO: So this is the day. We are living history together once again.

We hope you stay with CNN. We're going to have live inauguration coverage. It's just getting started.

You're going to have Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto taking it from here next.

Let's hope better things come for you and for everybody in this country. God bless America. Stay with CNN.



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning everyone. It is morning in America. I'm Poppy Harlow.


Inauguration Day in America.

Just hours from now, a presidential transfer of power with yes.