tv CNN Newsroom With Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul CNN March 13, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST
have your company on this saturday, march 13th. i'm christi paul. >> i'm victor blackwell. good to be with you. you are in the "cnn newsroom." despite calls from so many top democratic leaders, governor andrew cuomo is resisting calls to resign. he says he will not bow to what he calls cancel culture. he's asking everyone to hold until investigations have been completed. >> chuck consumer and kristen gillibrand added their names to the number of democrats asking for the governor to step down.
the senators released a joint statement saying it's clear that governor cuomo has lost the confidence of ice governing partners and the people of new york. what is the governor saying this morning about these calls to resign? >> reporter: in short, governor cuomo saying that those allegations of sexual assault and harassment, that they certainly should be heard, but at the same time he's also maintaining that he's innocent of any sort of misconduct and he also continues to double down on his position that he will not step down as the governor of the state of new york in spite of the ongoing state impeachment investigation and also, as you mentioned, the growing chorus of democrats that are calling for him to resign. here is the governor's latest position when it comes to the growing call for him to step down. >> i did not do what has been alleged, period. look, it's very simple, i never harassed anyone, i never abused
anyone, i never assaulted anyone. and i never would, right? >> reporter: there have been multiple new allegations against the governor here from many women that state, or at least they've been describing unsettling uncounters with the governor going back for several years, the very latest one at least coming from a reporter who is now in miami, but used to be assigned to the statehouse. in 2014, jessica bateman saying she was 25 years old when the governor touched her without her consent. that's a mounting list of allegations against the governor. now, when it comes to those democrats that are calling for him to step down, there are simply too many to name, not just within new york state house of representatives or the state assembly, but also in washington, d.c. you mentioned at least two
significant voices within the democratic senators as well that are calling for his resignation. the governor maintaining that he will not do that. he wants the investigation to continue, guys. >> paulo sandoval for us in new york. thank you so much. let's bring in national political reporter for the "washington post." good morning to you. >> thanks for having me. >> let's put the full screen back up of the democrats in the new york delegation who are calling for the resignation of the governor. when you look at these faces, you've got the majority leader of the senate, you've got senator gillibrand there as well, jerry nadler, alexandria ocasio-cortez, a long list here. how much more tenuous is the governor's tenure after hearing from these democrats than it was when we heard from democrats on the state level? >> well, one thing we know is that it's harder to remove by force a governor than it is to push someone out of, say, the senate or the house where you can just vote to deny them committee assignments.
so cuomo is in a position where he can stay, he can choose to stay until he is impeached and removed and the state legislature in new york, even though there's a majority of members of the assembly in the senate who have signaled they want him to go, they're unlikely to move forward until there is an investigation, which is basically what cuomo is demanding. he's in a position where it will become more painful for him to stay in office, he may be less effective the longer he stays, but it's unlikely he'll be forced to remove himself in the next couple of weeks or month. >> one notable name and face absent there was the chair of the house democratic caucus, hakeem jeffries, who released a statement -- did not go as far as everyone else. he said that the governor must seriously consider whether he can condeffectively lead the st. that relationship and the calculation there? >> there's been a real debate going on behind the scenes and
there are a couple things at play. one is people are more loyal to cuomo than others and his enemies were the first to call for his resignation. the other is the specter of the al franken resignation in 2018 continues to hang over this. this is a concern among democrats and activists and survivor groups that there needs to be investigations in these cases. if you get a resignation before an investigation, before all the facts are shown, it can actually work against the movement to end sexual harassment and this sort of behavior in rooms of power. and so there are a lot of the women's groups that have been emphasizing the need for an investigation. so there are conflicting precious on people behind the scenes. but i think just the number of accusations that have come out, the number of articles that have really pretty comprehensively portrayed an environment in the governor's office of real hostility and abuse separate
from sexual harassment has just become too much for a number of these elected leaders. >> in your latest write, you said that the governor's advisers told you that he's planning to rely on his support from black voters as democratic leaders are accustomed to doing. what is the relationship there with the black community that they think is going to sustain him? >> well, he has had a very strong relationship with the black community in new york for a number of years. there's also a greater concern among the black community, at least in some corners for due process. there's a long history here of african-americans feeling like they've been mistreated by the justice system by not getting their full day in court. but we don't really know where the public continue is right now. the last really good poll we had was about ten days ago and it showed, you know, a slight majority wanted him not to resign, 55% of new yorkers, even though most new yorkers didn't want him to run for re-election for a fourth term. but ten days is a long time.
there have been a lot of accusations since then. what happened yesterday with so many of the congressional delegations and state senators coming out against him could really shift those numbers. and we'll see. the idea that he still has a strong base of support is untested at the moment. so next week could be, you know, a different situation. >> i read something from a political consultant overnight in prep for these conversations in which he suggested that the governor could adopt some of his critics' policy proposals. if they want a millionaire tax, maybe he could bring that in as they look toward the budget. do you think it's too late for that now? >> yeah, i think -- you know, in individual situations maybe that's true, maybe he can leverage some legislative deal for certain member support. but the fact is, almost half of the state legislative delegation, democrats, have signaled they want him to go. a majority of the people in the assembly and senate have
signaled they want him to go. there is an investigation happening right now in the assembly. it will bring findings forward, and if they show he did something wrong, it's very likely they'll move to an impeachment. so that's sort of a buying time tactic at this point, unless there are investigations that show what he's been accused of just is not true. but the sheer number of accusations i think suggest that's unlikely to happen. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. the immigration and customs enforcement says it needs serious help now to manage the surge of immigrants along the u.s.-mexico border. >> it's asking for agency volunteers to help with security for families and unaccompanied children. deployments could start as soon as this weekend. cnn's rowsa florez takes a look at how critical the influx has become. >> reporter: these are the faces of the immigration surge on the u.s.-mexico border. maria mendoza is from el
salvador and hopes to reunite with her family in maryland. this woman is from honduras and lost everything during a recent hurricane. she said that her dream is to have a house and that that's why she made the trek to the united states. they are among the tens of thousands of migrants who have been encountered by u.s. border authorities in recent weeks. one area alone saw more than 500 migrants enter during an eight-hour period. to expedite processing, authorities started fingerprinting them under this bridge. many unaccompanied children and families are bussed to a temporary immigration processing center in donna, texas. maria rosa lives across the street and says buses packed with people arrive around the clock and at night she hears children crying. you're scared? >> yeah. >> reporter: from there, some migrants are dropped off at bus
stations like this one in brownsville. that's where we met maria and her 6-year-old daughter, kaitlin. she says she e vvaded a snake fm her journey to the united states and fell off a raft. why is there a surge right now, do you think? both maria and roxanne na say they learned from news reports in their home countries that the biden administration is allowing migrant women with children to enter the u.s. >> and you believed that that was true? which is not entirely true. the biden administration says it's allowing unaccompanied minors to remain in the u.s. pending immigration cases and some families are allowed in on a case-by-case basis. that could be driving some of the surge, which has more than 3,700 children in border control custody in jail-like facilities.
health and human services is caring for billion 8,800 minors and is considering using a nasa site to expand bed space. some nonprofit migrant shelters where this migrant a nicaragua is staying has seen an inflow of mothers, children and pregnant women. cindy johnson has volunteered to help thousands of migrants across the river and collected hundreds of postcards with their story. >> this child is saying that they witnessed people dying, people getting beaten. >> reporter: cindy says she scanned them and sent them to then-candidate for president joe biden. >> what was the goal of sending these letters to biden? >> the goal was they wanted them to see their humanity. >> rosa florez, cnn, along the u.s.-mexico border.
congresswoman veronica escobar is with us now, she's a member of the house judiciary committee. we appreciate you being here. thank you so much. and i understand you visited an immigrant processing center yesterday and you spoke with some of these children. what did they tell you and what did you witness there? >> i did. thank you so much for having me on your program. it's a pleasure to be with you. and, yes, i've been keeping in close contact with members of the biden administration with my local officials and yesterday i toured the processing center. and many of the kids that i spoke to, and this is true for kids that i've spoken to not just inside the processing center, but outside of it as well, many of them are wanting to finally be reunited with their parents. their parents have been here for a couple of years. one child i spoke to told me both his parents had been here for five years. and they are -- their parents are mostly essential workers, frontline workers.
many of them are the very people who have helped us during the worse days of the pandemic. >> so what is stopping these parents from being -- or these parents from being reunited with some of the children that are still being detanined, particularly children detained that long? >> it is an unacceptable situation to have a child detained for longer than what the law allows and the law says 72 hours is the maximum. the biden administration is working hard to try to expedite that process, but they're dealing with a system and an agency that was decimated by the previous administration. we all know that the administration of donald trump did everything possible to deassemble any humanitarian process available to the government. so the biden administration, in addition to dealing with a continued flow of folks who are
arriving, especially unaccompanied children, they are trying at the same time to rebuild a system that was broken down. but i do feel hopeful about the work that they're doing and we're seeing some of the fruits of the labor of the biden administration. they have shaved down the time that children in shelters are staying there waiting for reunification with their parents, and just as context under the trump administration some of the children were in shelters for three months, six months. i had met children who had been in shelters for a year. the biden administration has cut that down to between 30 and 35 days. but, still, it's a process that while they are making it more efficient and keeping it safe, you know, we're dealing with the fallout from four years of incompetence and cruelty. >> we also heard rosa florez talking to children and women who are saying we heard that we would now be allowed, women and
children, to come into the country per the biden administration. that's what they're being told. i want to get to one thing quickly before i let you go because i know you led the texas democratic congressional organization in writing the letter to greg abbott. what did the letter say and have you heard from the governor? >> i have not heard from the governor. i do want to say a quick something about what we heard in rosa's story, i have spoken to a number of migrants here in el paso. i have yet to hear a single one of them even mention joe biden's name. so i think it's important to understand that there's a lot of factors that play, including people who have been waiting on the other side of the border for two years under the trump administration. but to the governor and the letter that i wrote, you know, the governor went on television a couple weeks ago and essentially used the really racist and xenophobic tropes
that immigrants are bringing in disease. what he didn't tell you was he, himself, is standing in the way of fema providing support and assistance to communities like mine to help test migrants to make sure that they are covid negative and to quarantine anyone who is covid positive. and because he's rejected that help, local communities like ours are having to take it upon ourselves and find our own resources to do it. it's really unconscionable what the governor has done. i continue to call on him to accept fema's help to allow humane processing, but processing that keeps everybody safe. >> representative veronica escobar, i'm sorry we're out of time. thank you for being with us. we appreciate hearing from you. spring break time for a lot of people and the new numbers reveal that millions of people are ready to travel. the new pandemic record that has a lot of health officials
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cnn's natasha chen is in miami beach and i know there's a real fear about a loss in progress down there as people let their guard down. what is it like at the moment? >> reporter: well, when we walked through miami beach yesterday the restaurants were just packed. in one case we saw people really excited, getting up and dancing and the servers there were trying to motion to them, if they were going to get up from their table, please put a mask back on. it was just a few servers against a crowd of energized people and i was walking along the beach with miami beach mayor dan gelber and we were wearing masks, but we were the few who were. it's a requirement to wear one on the beach, but he said with state rules he can't fine anyone. they've got ambassadors handing out free disposable ones to
people who will take it. here is mayor gelber talking about this last night. >> there are cheap flights and cheap rooms, and we're getting too large a crowd and an unruly crowd and the result is we've told people through social media don't come here, if you plan on doing that, here are the rules. we've got big signs saying it's arrestable to play loud music. we're trying to do everything we can to create a sense of order but i don't know that we're doing a sufficient job because last night it was incredibly unruly in one of the worst nights we've had since spring break has started. >> reporter: and just to show the number of people coming, let's look at some statistics of hotel occupancy from the greater miami convention and visitors bureau. you can see the projected occupancy for this month and april is way up since last year at this time when things were starting to shut down. not quite up to 2019 numbers, but certainly more people than this area has seen in quite some
time. and as you mentioned, tsa screens 1.3 packages yesterday, the highest number really almost in a year. so higher than those holiday crowds even. victor and christi. >> natasha chan in miami beach. the cdc doesn't want people to travel because officials fear a fourth surge could happen. thousands of spring breakers are heading to texas and florida. one of several states, texas, that has fully reopened without mask mandates. the beaches are particularly popular, obviously. >> craig brown is the mayor of galveston. good morning to you. >> good morning. >> so atlanta mayer keisha lance bottoms, ahead of the all-star weekend, she said she did not want thousands of people coming to down, she posted the hashtag, we full. do you want the thousands of
people coming to town? >> well, the matter is, it's spring break, so you're going to have a vast number of people coming to the beach because of that. we're welcoming them, we know the governor's order has relaxed the mandatory mask order. we are requesting that our visitors, we encourage them, highly encourage them to maintain social distancing and wear their masks when they can. >> so i want to show you some video from our houston affiliate, ktrk. the police department recently arrested a woman for refusing to wear a mask inside a bank and then refused to leave when she was asked. i believe we have the video here of that arrest. this is by a galveston police officer. now, the businesses, they still want to enforce the mask mandate or social distancing, at least some of them do. is there any way that the city can help make that happen? >> that's a good question. many of the businesses and restaurants and shopping areas here on the island are enforcing
still or requesting that all their clients and customers wear masks. this particular incident was a lady that refused to do that, the bank had said that's their policy. and she was arrested on trespassing charges, not on not wearing a mask. >> the texas attorney general has sued the city of austin for continuing their mask mandate. you have said that you have to honor the governor's orders. do you think that mayor adler is wrong to continue the mandate there? >> well, i think each community makes their own decision. i think austin, round rock and that area there, they're one of the few areas in the state that has been pushing back on this and we'll see how that plays out. we consulted with our city attorney here in galveston and the consensus was that we do not
have any flexibility with this order, so we are honoring the governor's orders. >> we talked earlier to dr. joseph verone in houston, and he was saying that he has a real fear of a surge coming after spring break. do you have that same concern, and are your medical teams and your hospitals prepared for something like that now? >> we are prepared for that. we have our hospitalizations, i would say, covid hospitalizations have been dropping here in our area, so that's good. we are prepared for that and we'll see how that plays out. it's a delicate balance, as we all know, when opening up and maintaining safety. that's why we still encourage everyone on our island to maintain social distancing and wear their mask. >> speaking of balance, let me ask you about vaccinations. the vaccinations in galveston county are open to everyone, not
just county residents. what is your degree of concern that people who live there can fall to the back of the line if people from neighboring areas come in to try to get a vaccination in galveston county? >> well, those hubs, as we call them here in the state of texas, they are open to everyone. it's been our experience, though, that most people that are seeking the vaccine, they stay in their locale there. so we don't have a lot of people coming from outside of our area and getting vaccinated. >> so before we let you go, i wanted to ask you how you are all recovering from that winter storm that just wreaked so much havoc on your area. >> thank you for asking. the winter storm was disastrous for our area here. you know, we're used to hurricanes, we're a coastal city and we've had some very severe hurricanes here. i would say in many instances,
though, this winter storm wreaked havoc on our community far more than any hurricane. we're coming out of it. we have electricity, we have water. but we're hoping here that this concern is an anomaly for our area and not so much a trend. we are preparing, though, for the future, for these type of concerns in the future, and hopefully we'll be prepared if this happens again. >> the winter storm is behind you. the spring break is ahead. you've got the crowds coming whether you want them or not. mayor craig brown, thank you so much for your time this morning. >> thank you. >> thank you, sir. coming up, president biden is aiming for independentlice d as a target date for people to get back to normal see. coming up, what he says is possible if people do what they're supposed to until then.
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so president biden is getting ready to take the first legislative victory lap of his presidency. help is here, that's the white house slogan this weekend as $1,400 stimulus payments start hitting the bank accounts of all eligible. >> the president touted his almost $2 trillion rescue plan as historic and transformational at the white house yesterday. now his administration plans to take the message across the country to the american people. cnn's jasmine wright is about the president in weilmington, delaware. what comes next in this rollout? >> reporter: well, victor, the president now turned his focus
to actually implementing this large covid relief bill. as he said yesterday in the rose garden, the devil is in the details. >> it's one thing to pass the american rescue plan. it's going to be another thing to implement it. it's going to require oversight to make sure there's no waste or fraud and the law does what it's designed to do. and i mean it, we have to get this right. details matter. because we have to continue to build confidence in the american people that their government can function for them and deliver. >> reporter: now, a few things are going to happen this week when it comes to implementation. first, on monday the white house says that they will hold an event focused on it. we know that president biden has yet to declare who will oversee this roll, something that he says he was going to do. but whoever does it, it's going to be a big task, they're going to be busy because this is a
complicated bill. now, also this week we will see president biden going on a victory tour, really both touting the popularity of this bill, but also trying to tell americans exactly how they will benefit. we know that right now this bill is popular and the white house wants to keep it that way. so we will see both the president, the vice president, and top people crisscrossing in vegas, georgia, and really make the case and spread the message. something that americans can look to before then is this weekend when the white house says that those $1,400 stimulus checks will start to hit bank accounts, specifically those who have already gotten that direct deposit from the irs. victor, cristi. >> federal prosecutors say they may charge more than 400 people in the capitol insurrection.
the investigation is being called one of the largest and most complex in american history. more than 300 have already been charged in the assault by pro-trump rioters in january 6th. >> we've learned the justice department is right now preparing some of the first guilty plea offers and the agency is bringing prosecutors in from across the country to help with this. cnn's marshal cohen is with us from dc. what do we know about the status of any of these potential plea deals in connection with the riot? >> reporter: good morning. prosecutors said in court yesterday that they're preparing to offer plea deals to some of the rioters, early discussions have occurred between prosecutors and defense attorneys. things could always change. but they did say yesterday that those first guilty pleas might be coming within the next few weeks. we also learned a ton of new details about the investigation from a new court filing and i want to walk you through some of the numbers because we're really eye-popping. as you mentioned, 300 people have been charged, another 100 could be coming. investigators are looking
through 15,000 hours of surveillance tapes and police body cam footage. they've examined 1,600 devices, they've executed 900 search warrants across the country and they've received more than 200,000 tips from the public. massive investigation. they said this is perhaps the most complicated in the history of this country. so clearly a lot has been done, but there's a lot more ahead of us, guys. >> marshall, ron johnson, senator johnson said something that is, let's say, revealing about the fear that he might have had if this had been a different group. talk us through that. >> reporter: yeah, well, guys, it was pretty interesting. ron johnson from wisconsin, he's had a bunch of controversial comments over the last couple of months since this attack. and amazingly, he is part of a group of republicans that are
still trying to downplay this. listen to this and then we'll break it down. >> i knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so i wasn't concerned. now, had the tables been turned, this could mean trouble. had the tables been turned and president trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of black lives matter and antifa protesters, i might have been a little concerned. >> reporter: yeah, so he's making it about race in kind of an ugly way. he praised the mostly white crowd and said he would have been afraid of black protesters. guys, it's obviously -- you know, it's disturbing. but also, it's just wrong on the facts. he said the crowd was peaceful and supported law enforcement. look at some of these latest arrests in the last few days. really undercuts the narrative. the doj charged one of the men who allegedly attacked police officer fa known who told the
gut-wrenching story about how he was dragged into the crowd and pleaded for his life. the man that was charged allegedly stole his badge and buried it in his back yard and the feds this week charged a member of the far right extremist group the oath keepers. these were folks that were trying to train people to come to washington and cause all kinds of trouble. so really ron johnson is not right on the facts and there's big questions about his tone, too. >> yeah, and why he felt so comfortable with the people we saw on the screen that they would respect law enforcement and love the country and would never do anything to break the law. marshall cohen, ron johnson is telling on himself. thank you so much. so i don't know if you're aware of this, but it was exactly a year ago today that breonna taylor was shot to death. >> i'll never get to a point where i'm over what happened to
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usaa. what you're made of, we're made for. ♪ usaa ♪ it was a year ago today that police shot and killed broeonna taylor in a louisville, kentucky, apartment during a flawed forced entry raid. >> cnn's jason carol is in lous vil louisville this morning. i understand you spoke with breonna taylor's mother as she marks the one year of her daughter's killing. also, it looks like there's something starting behind you. let's talk about that, too. >> reporter: first let's talk about breonna taylor's mother. she is frustrated. she still feels as though justice is something that has not been achieved for her and for her daughter. and so that's why just a few hours from now she'll be on the stage behind me taking that stage to remind the city, to
remind the nation that the fight for justice continues. >> it's been a year for people, but every day has been march the 13th for me still. >> every day? >> every day. >> reporter: march 13th, 2020, the day taylor was killed during a botched police raid at her apartment. >> it will always be that sense of anger because you know that she should be here. >> reporter: none of the officers who raided taylor's apartment have been charged in her death. instead, a grand jury brought charges of felony one endangerment against one of them for firing through taylor's wall into a neighboring apartment. the state's attorney general defended the officer's actions saying they were justified because taylor's boyfriend, kenneth walker, fired at the officers first that night. >> the male was holding a gun, arms extended in a shooting stance. >> reporter: walker argued he fired in self-defense thinking someone was trying to break in. he says the officers never
identified themselves, but the officers say they did. just this week a kentucky judge permanently dismissed charges against walker who was initially accused with attempted murder. >> he's just supposed to say thank you and walk away? no, there has to be a consequence. there has to be accountability. >> reporter: accountability is key not only to people like walker and palmer, but to thousands of demonstrators such as pastor timothy finley, who protested last year calling for reforms in the wake of taylor's death and hands of other african-americans in the arms of police. >> it's not just remembering her name, but it's really become a rally call, a rally call for justice in our city, justice in our state. >> reporter: last year the city of louisville paid taylor's family $12 million in a civil settlement and passed breonna's law who bans no knock warrants
and the city's mayor says there has been a top to bottom review of the police department. >> there's a lot to do. we have done a lot. we're going to keep working at this. >> reporter: it's still not enough for palmer. with no officers charged in her daughter's death, she says justice is something that still alludes her. with the help of her attorney, she penned a letter to president joe biden in the "washington post" asking his administration to enact national policies to hold police accountable. >> i guess i'm hopeful, because we're at a point of reckoning where if we don't fix it, we're going to be in a lot of trouble. >> she's more hopeful than me. >> why is that? >> it's a trust thing at this point. i don't trust them. >> reporter: and, again, there is still an fbi investigation that's under way and so the hope is that perhaps they'll get some of the justice they're looking for with the results of that investigation. but meanwhile, out here today at
1:00, there will be a rally and a march. taylor's mother will be here on that stage once again to remind people just how important this day is to the family. guys, back to you. >> every day is march 13th for her mother. jason, thank you so much for that report. as jason said, there are events across the country today to honor breonna taylor and call for justice. as you said, there is that one in louisville at 1:00 p.m. and then there's a vigil at 5:00 p.m. that's in birmingham, alabama. in sacramento, california, there's a walk at 2:00. and a say her name memorial reading tonight, and that is happening online. so there are two nasa astronauts right now making a space walk outside the international space station. we'll tell you what's going on with this mission. ♪ ♪ now i'm ready for someone to call me mom.
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be sure to tune in to the latest episode of the cnn original series "stanley tucci searching for italy". but let me give you some advice, don't watch this show on an empty stomach, because it is tortuous if you are hungry. explore the beautiful region of tuscany from the food, the life, the culture. it airs sunday night at 9:00 on cnn. we've got to check back in on nasa's space walk outside the international space station, which officially began at 8:14 this morning eastern. it's supposed to last 6 1/2 hours. >> we've been trying to get live
pictures for you all morning. american astronauts hopkins and glover are making system upgrades to the iss. glover is the one with the red stripe on his suit. i don't know if you can see that. hopkins not marked there. nasa says this is the fifth space walk of the year. >> thank you so much. we appreciate you being with us. we hope you make good memories today. >> much more ahead in the next hour of "cnn newsroom." fredricka whitfield is up after the break.
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thank you so much for joining me. i'm fredricka whitfield. we begin this hour with a new allegation of inappropriate behavior from new york governor andrew cuomo as the political pressure for him to resign grows. in new york magazine a former reporter says the governor sexually harassed and embarrassed her in front of colleagues on multiple occasions. at least six women are coming forward with allegations against cuomo. congressional and state leaders in his own party say cuomo can no longer govern effectively and should resign. cuomo remains steadfastly defiant saying in a teleconference friday that he is not going anywhere and f