The ultimate Fredo clip: Chris Cuomo tries to disprove Trump's claim about overhearing phone calls -- live on the air

As you watch this, bear in mind that he’s only called “Fredo” because there wasn’t a fourth Corleone brother who was developmentally disabled.

If there had been a “Rico Corleone” who had trouble dressing himself, Chris would be Rico, not Fredo.

This ill-conceived experiment was his way of addressing a point of dispute in today’s impeachment hearing. David Holmes, Bill Taylor’s aide, testified that he was sitting next to Gordon Sondland at a restaurant in Kiev in July while Sondland had a phone conversation with the president. Trump mentioned certain “investigations” he was interested in to Sondland, according to Holmes. How does Holmes know that? Because, he said, Sondland had taken to holding the phone out away from his ear so that Holmes could hear. He didn’t have Trump on speakerphone, but between the volume of the earpiece and the president’s penchant for speaking loudly, Holmes was able to hear clearly what Trump said.

Trump questioned that in a tweet this morning:

It’s a weird point to dispute, as Ed noted earlier, since we already know that Trump was interested in the investigations. He brought them up in his phone call with Zelensky a day earlier per the White House’s own transcript. If anything, Holmes’s testimony proves *how* interested he was in them, that they were on his mind even in discussions with his own diplomats, not just the Ukrainian president. Cuomo could have made that point. Or he could have dug into the truly juicy part of Holmes’s testimony, the claim that Sondland told him Trump didn’t care about Ukraine except to the extent the country could benefit him — like by reopening the Biden investigation.

But Rico — I mean, Fredo — had something else in mind.

Watch this and tell me it doesn’t have a distinct “Chris Darden asking O.J. to try on the gloves” feel to it. You can see the risk of a backfire coming like a train in the distance barreling down the tracks, but darn if he wasn’t determined to carry out this experiment to the bitter end. On top of that, it’s just … deeply weird to interrupt a national newscast to call your mom to prove a point. Poor Dana Bash, forced to talk to Cuomo’s mother, looks like she might literally die from embarrassment. If Cuomo was so set on doing this, he could have just arranged for a producer to call him when he gave the signal and then held the earpiece up towards a mic.

Except that really wouldn’t have proved anything, since critics would have said that the microphone was more sensitive than the human ear and picked up sound that the average person couldn’t have detected. But at least the viewing audience would have been able to hear the audio through their TVs in that case, thus lending some plausibility to Cuomo’s point.

Instead we got this. His mom is completely inaudible through the phone (except for when he briefly puts her on speaker), thus seeming to prove Trump right. Cuomo claims Bash could hear his mother just fine, but we can’t — in which case what was the point of this stunt?

Why didn’t he just say to the audience, “Next time you’re on the phone, hold it a foot or two away from your ear and see if you can still hear it”? That’s all he had to do.

I can’t believe I have to ask this, but is Andrew actually “the smart Cuomo” after all?

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