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Potential Superspreader Events Threaten U.S. Progress On COVID- 19; LeBron James Launches New Campaign To Defend Voting Rights; Biden Signs Executive Order On Voting Rights As Nation Marks 56 Years Since "Blood Sunday;" New York Governor Cuomo Says He Won't Resign Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations; Palace Braces For Harry And Meghan's Interview With Oprah. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 7, 2021 - 16:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Got to find a little moment or two to have a little fun.

All right. This programming note, when the Civil War started, Lincoln quickly felt the weight of the war. See his struggles with loss and find out what led to the Emancipation Proclamation when "LINCOLN, DIVIDED WE STAND" continues tonight at 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

All right, thanks again, everyone, for joining me this weekend. I'm Fredricka Whitfield and CNN NEWSROOM continues with Ana Cabrera right now.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Thanks for joining us in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

First, the fight against the deadly coronavirus. We are finally moving a few steps forward. But every day we see unfortunate things around the country that threaten to take us a few steps back. Right now COVID cases and hospitalizations here in the U.S. are down, and the CDC is reporting more than two million people per day last week got vaccinated. 2.4 million vaccine shots, in fact, were administered in just the last 24 hours. That is triple the vaccination rate from a month ago. That is momentum in the right direction. But at the same time, this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not all at once. Hold on.



CABRERA: Boise, Idaho, a rally this weekend to burn masks. Parents encouraging their children to add masks to the flames. They are protesting state-wide rules put in place to help keep people from being infected.

Plus this. Police breaking up a massive gathering of people partying near the University of Colorado in Boulder. Police say three SWAT officers were injured while responding. They were hit by rocks and bricks. No social distancing at this party, almost no mask, in a state where nearly 6,000 people have died from COVID-19.

And look at Daytona Beach, Florida. It's bike week and a lot of people traveled there from other states, specifically because Florida's COVID prevention rules are relatively lax.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why we came. We've been locked up for a year. We had to do something to get out of town and do something fun.


CABRERA: Meantime, this just in to CNN. The "Wall Street Journal" is reporting details of an active misinformation campaign traced to Russian intelligence agencies, designed to make people around the world not trust Pfizer and other COVID vaccines made in the United States and Europe. We are following developments on that.

Let's begin, though, with CNN's Natasha Chen in Atlanta right now where the NBA All-Star Game is being played tonight.

And Natasha, the mayor of Atlanta, for weeks, stressed she wanted the all-star game to be a television only event and asked people to stay home. Is that the way it's working out?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nope. Ana, that's the short answer. A little more context here. Yes, it's supposed to be a TV only event. And that's why here at State Farm Arena, it's really quiet. There's nobody here. The downtown streets are blocked off around the arena, but outside of that, throughout the city, that's where the activity is. And right now the NBA has sent approximately 200 cease and desist letters to promoters. "The New York Times" says some of them are using the NBA All-Star logo to draw people to their events.

Let's take a look at some of the ads, for example, that we're seeing online. We've reached out to these venues and promoters, and CNN has even reached out to Shaquille O'Neal's agents to see if he is aware that he's on this ad. And in one of the cases, the Web site,, that had some of these events promoted, someone did pick up the phone when I called but gave no comment when I asked about any their rules to keep guests safe.

And this is all really in opposition to what NBA commissioner Adam Silver was trying to tell people just a couple of days ago on our air.


ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: I do feel it's important to say to your viewers that there will be nothing that we will be doing in Atlanta, unfortunately, that's open to the public. So I want to discourage people from coming to Atlanta for the all-star festivities. The players will be only at the hotel and the arena, and there'll be no other events other than essentially a made-for-TV show coming at State Farm arena.


CHEN: And right now, do keep in mind, Georgia has a reduced capacity for its bars, 50 people or 35 percent of the listed fire code capacity, whichever is higher, and restaurants as well as bars have to maintain social distancing between parties. So it's really a struggle right now to try and enforce that if you're law enforcement. Atlanta Police told us that there were some shooting incidents overnight, but right now they don't have any total count for us on the number of arrests made -- Ana.

CABRERA: OK. Natasha Chen, thank you for that reporting.

I want to bring in CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington, and Dr. Leana Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner.

Dr. Reiner, when you see parents cheering on little kids as they burn masks or those massive crowds in Daytona or the block parties in Colorado, what's your reaction?


DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Disappointment. You know, anyone who's ever, you know, run in a race knows that you don't walk across the finish line. You run across the finish line. And that's what we have to do now. We've gotten to where we are now where we can legitimately look forward to putting this pandemic away finally because more people than ever have been wearing masks and socially distancing, and now getting vaccinated. And to see this sort of breakdown and the kinds of things that have finally gotten us here is very disappointing.

Now I see people in clinic every week with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And when their numbers get better they ask me if they can stop their medications. And I say no, the numbers are better because they're on the medication. We're doing better because we're wearing masks.

Actually when I look at those pictures of the kids throwing masks into that fire, to me, it looks very close to child abuse.

CABRERA: Wow. Dr. Wen, like Dr. Reiner, you've talked us through the hardest moments of this pandemic. I just want to give you a chance to respond as well and just talk to our viewers, to the American people, about how close we are if we just buckle down a little bit longer.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: And that's exactly right, Ana. That we are so close. I mean, a year ago, even a few months ago, if you had said that we would have three safe, highly effective vaccines that are available, I mean, it would have been miraculous. And that miracle has actually happened. We are at the point now of reaching almost three million vaccinations a day. And so at the rate that we're going, thanks to the Biden administration's superb work, and to so many people, we could get to the point of reaching herd immunity this summer.

Now I am concerned that vaccine hesitancy is going to become a much bigger issue. As in right now we're working on the supply. The supply is the limiting factor. But at some point very soon, the demand for the vaccine is going to be the problem. And I do think that we need to do a lot better messaging around vaccines and around masks. That vaccines and masks together, they're our ticket out of this.

And that's what we need to focus on. We need to illustrate to people the freedoms that will come their way very soon once they're vaccinated but we also have to keep up these measures in the meantime.

CABRERA: Dr. Reiner, just coming back to what you said there at the end, my mind kept thinking about that child abuse comparison.

Can you speak to the people then who were at, you know, those burnings of the masks, these events which they were proudly throwing their masks into the fire? Why do you think that's like child abuse?

REINER: You know, they bring their kids there to make a political statement about masks. Masks aren't political objects. They're basically a public health tool. You know, we -- you know, children depend on us to set an example, and the last administration, the big -- the first big lie from the last administration was politicizing masks and creating doubt in the public's mind that this pandemic was real.

So, it's so real, it's killed half a million people in this country. And our way out always has been to wear masks and wait for science to deliver us a miracle, which it has. But, you know, to bring children in, to make a political statement is really, really awful. You know, it also reminds me of places that don't vaccinate children for childhood illness or don't vaccinate children for things like HPV. And if you look at a state like Idaho, less than half of the kids in Idaho are vaccinated for HPV, that's a cancer vaccine.

So we need to think bigger in this country. We're much smarter than this. We've been poorly served by our leaders in the past and it's time to be better.

CABRERA: Dr. Wen, this morning Dr. Fauci said the guidelines for vaccinated people are coming imminently, possibly in the next couple of days. You've expressed concern that this guidance hasn't come sooner. What's your worry?

WEN: Well, I worry that we are squandering a really important opportunity here. And first of all, people are already making decisions about their lives. And so the more that the CDC keeps on waiting to put out this guidance, people are already taking matters into their own hands, and it's essentially rendering the CDC advice when it comes out irrelevant.

The other thing, too, is we have a real opportunity to explain the benefit of getting the vaccine and specifically in getting your freedoms back. And right now we're seeing all these states already open up. And so if the guidance comes out after that and people can already do whatever they want to, regardless of the vaccine, they're going to think well, what's in it for me? And it's -- you know, I wish that that's not the mentality that many people have. But if that is what it is, then we need to be giving people that incentive.


And I hope that the CDC guidance will be -- will take that into consideration and really talk about all the freedoms that people can have once they are vaccinated.

CABRERA: Yes. Dr. Reiner, we spoke last weekend about you and your wife were vaccinated, you were very excited to go eat inside a restaurant for the first time in over a year. What is your advice to those who've been fully vaccinated? What's safe for them to do right now, do you think?

REINER: You know, I think if you and your companion have both been fully vaccinated and it's a couple of weeks after your second vaccination or it's been more than a month after the single J&J vaccine, you can eat in a restaurant. I think you can go visit your grandchildren. I think you can get on an airplane. I say you could be out in public. You know, you can wander through stores.

I say this while reminding people, you should do all of this while wearing a mask. But the vaccination should give you a very strong sense that you're not going to get ill or you're not going to get seriously ill. The vaccines may not be perfect from preventing, you know, mild to moderate illness but they're very close to perfect at preventing hospitalization and death. And this is what's going to open up society.

And I completely agree with Dr. Wen, that the CDC now needs to tell people exactly how to open up. Because we'll be opening society, and we're going to do it in a smart way. And it'd be best for the CDC to get ahead of this.

CABRERA: Dr. Wen, really quickly, I know last week you were hoping to learn this week, as part of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine trial whether you were part of the placebo group or got the vaccine in the trial. What did you find out?

WEN: I still haven't found out. I wish I could give you a different news because I really want to know, too. But I am very excited to find out and if I in fact got the placebo, I'll be very excited to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All three vaccines are safe and very effective. And I'll be excited to get the one that I first have access to.

CABRERA: Awesome. Dr. Leana Wen, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, good to talk to both of you. Thank you.

Coming up, the push to protect voting one year after the late civil rights icon John Lewis made his emotional return to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.



LEWIS: We cannot give in.


LEWIS: We must keep the faith. Keep our eyes on the prize. We must go out and vote like we never, ever voted before.





CABRERA: Today marks 56 years since the events of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, when peaceful protesters famously marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in a demonstration for voting rights. Only to be attacked by state troopers. The events of that day shocked the nation and helped galvanize the fight against racial injustice.

To commemorate that historic moment, President Biden signed an executive order today expanding voting access and among other things it directs the heads of federal agencies to submit proposals that promote voter registration and participation. And the right to vote is one of the most sacred parts of American democracy. Right now, it's under attack, again. Republican leaders in dozens of states are considering new legislation that would restrict voter access and make it harder to vote.

But not if LeBron James has anything to do with it. His organization, More Than a Vote, is out with a new ad campaign, "Protect Our Power." And it will premier during tonight's All-Star Game in Atlanta. Take a look.


JAMES LEBRON, FORWARD, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: So this isn't the time to put your feet up or to think posting hash tags and black squares is enough. Because for us this was never about one election. It's always been more than a vote. It's a fight that's just getting started, and we've been ready.

Are you with us?


CABRERA: CNN's sports anchor Don Riddell joins us now in Atlanta.

Don, tell us more about what LeBron and other celebrities are doing when it comes to voting? DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, you may

remember the More Than a Vote campaign which was spearheaded by LeBron James last year in the run-up to the presidential election, which was all about educating the league's fans about the importance of participating in a democracy, the importance of being registered to vote, educating them on how to do that and then actually getting themselves to the vote and get to the polls, to cast the vote and trying to assure them that this would make a difference. And of course you saw with the way the election went that arguably it did make a difference.

The "Protect Our Power" campaign is now slightly different because this is in response to the voter suppression you've just described. Legislation is being considered in 43 states across the country. Critics of the plans in Georgia in the NBA describes Georgia as ground zero in this fight against voter suppression.

Now the All-Star Game might not have even happened this year because of the pandemic. It was canceled last year. It just so happens to be happening in Georgia, in Atlanta, and so the players have decided in collaboration with the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association and also the NAACP locally here in Georgia, that this is going to be that campaign. And, of course, LeBron has been asked about it in the build up to the game. This is what he said just a couple of hours ago.


JAMES: It's been a great thing and we've been able to do with More Than a Vote. Continue to highlight and continue to educate people on what's going on in a lot of our communities with the voter suppression and things of that nature. And, obviously, you know, making sure that people don't think that the job is done.

The work is not completed, is never completed even if you have a victory. It's never completed and, you know, we just want people to know that even with the election that happened, and obviously it happened a lot in our favor in November, that there's still more job -- there's still more work to be done.



RIDDELL: Athletes now in many sports, Ana, not just the NBA, are realizing the power that they have. They are harnessing it and they are doing their best to try and make a difference.

CABRERA: They are people who have influence, they have power, and they have a huge platform. Thank you, Don Riddell, for that reporting.

I want to bring CNN political analyst and White House analyst for "The Grio," April Ryan.

April, Republicans at the state level are trying to make it harder to vote for a lot of Americans. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, more than 250 bills aimed at limiting voter access have been filed now in 43 states. Let me just give a few examples. In Georgia, as we were just discussing, the statehouse there passed a bill that eliminates no excuse absentee voting and limits early voting days, especially on the weekends.

Legislators in five states, Connecticut, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire and Virginia, have all introduced bills to eliminate election day registration. And I could go on and on. But, April, what's this really about?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Ana, it's what it was about in 1965 when the Voting Rights Act was passed into law and signed into law by then President LBJ. It's about voter suppression, suppressing people from speaking, having a voice, wanting to be heard, to say what they want. At the end of the day, today in 2021, 56 years from Bloody Sunday, we are seeing many of these legislatures in these 43 states that are Republican trying to suppress the vote. Why? Because they don't want to see the other party succeed.

And we know from data, data has shown us that Democrats have a tendency to early vote. Democrats are the ones who put Georgia over the top, a Republican state. Democrats made a noise in Texas. They were fearful. Many Republicans were fearful that they were going to lose Texas. So this is a groundswell game that Stacey Abrams, LeBron James and so many others have put in the forefront. And there's a fierce fight, a fierce fight, in 2021 by these Republican-led state legislatures to change the dynamic, to change it back to red.

CABRERA: We mentioned President Biden's executive order today to expand voter access. And that comes just after the House passed a bill, HR-1, that has provisions expanding early and mail-in voting, restoring voting rights to former felons and easing voter registration for eligible Americans. Can this bill pass the Senate?

RYAN: I believe that Republicans are going to fight. They want to fight. Republicans are going to fight like they're fighting in their Republican states. But at the end of the day, if we have the majority and we have Vice President Kamala Harris, it will pass. But at issue, the question is, if there is a Republican Senate in 2022, what will happen? Will they bring up new legislation? Will they change?

This has been such a back and forth, a paddle game. Look at what happened with the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, it was gutted in 2013 by the Supreme Court. And now the House has HR-4 to try to fix that. So it's a back and forth, these political back-and- forths on voting rights. One vote counting is in play. And the question is, how long will it be? How long will we be able to say, I can vote freely and easily? That's the question.

CABRERA: And it's horrible to have to ask that question.

RYAN: Horrible.

CABRERA: In this day and age. But you think about Congressman John Lewis today, right? Because it's the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. And I just want to play a part of the speech he gave in Selma last year. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEWIS: We cannot give now.


LEWIS: We cannot give in.


LEWIS: We must keep the faith. Keep our eyes on the prize. We must go out and vote like we never, ever voted before.



CABRERA: It was his life's mission, April. And now more than ever, John Lewis' mission seems so incredibly relevant.

RYAN: Yes. It's not just relevant for this generation, for all of us who witnessed John Lewis, from people my age in the '50s. You know I grew up watching John Lewis. I'm -- a couple years away from -- I was born a couple of years away from the Voting Rights Act being passed into law. I know about him. But for the generations to come, I think about those in these three books for the young people that he made this trilogy.


And the last one, "March," dealing with Selma, dealing with the Voting Rights Act, and talking about the importance and what they had to go through, the dog fights, the sting of the ropes, the crack of the billy club on his skull and others just for the right to vote in the South by black people. And that was in 1965 on a racist named bridge, Edmund Pettus Bridge. And what are we going through in 2021?

So Congressman John Lewis made it a point, he understood the significance of his work, his life's work. So what he did, he decided to come together with the trilogy. And this is one of the books so that young people could understand the history and the importance of what they went through peacefully, nonviolently, to give us the right to vote that is challenged today.

And what we get out of this in his efforts for peace and nonviolence, for first class citizenship, is that each generation has to maintain and curate their equity and equality.

CABRERA: April Ryan, good to have you here with us. Thank you.

RYAN: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: We are following breaking news today. The governor of New York responding to calls for resignation as another former aide -- another former aide steps forward with allegations of inappropriate conduct. Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: Breaking news: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will not resign amid a mounting sexual harassment scandal.

I want to bring in CNN's Alexandra Field here in New York.

Alexandra, the governor held a briefing by phone just a short time ago. Fill us in.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is like the longest break.

CABRERA: Unfortunately, she can't hear us. Clearly, we'll check back with Alexandra in just a minute. Stay with us.

You're watching CNN.



CABRERA: We're back with our breaking news.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he will not resign as another woman comes forward to accuse the governor of inappropriate behavior.

I want to bring in CNN's Alexandra Field in New York.

Let's try this again, Alex. The governor held a briefing just a short time ago via phone? Fill us in.

FIELD: That's right, Ana.

And we are actually hearing along with the new accusations, we're also hearing new calls for the governor to resign, most recently this afternoon from the state's Senate majority leader, Andrea Stewart- Cousins, saying that Cuomo has to go for the good of the state. Before she put that statement out we did hear from the governor who said that the state's attorney general, Letitia James, must be allowed to conduct her investigation into sexual harassment allegations.

He had this to say.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: I was elected by the people of the state. I wasn't elected by politicians. I'm not going to resign because of allegations. The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic.

The system is based on due process and the credibility of the allegation. Anybody has the ability to make an allegation in democracy and that is great. But it is in the credibility of the allegation.


FIELD: These latest statements coming from the governor after "The Wall Street Journal" published an account from one of the governor's former aides. She's one of three former staff who have come forward to allege inappropriate conduct from the governor. She talks to "The Wall Street Journal" about Governor Cuomo calling her sweetheart, asking if she has a boyfriend, placing his hand on her lower back, even kissing her hand as she got up from her desk at one point.

Ana, she says that she never filed a complaint at the time but she did come to see the behavior as inappropriate for any context and she did request to be transferred to another office. Today, in light of these latest accusations, Governor Cuomo responded by saying he was sorry if he made her feel unwelcome.

Earlier in the week, we heard him defending himself against other accusations, apologizing he said, for making any women feel uncomfortable but saying it was unintentional and maintaining that he never touched anyone inappropriately -- Ana.

CABRERA: Alexandra Field, thank you.

After weeks of build-up, Oprah Winfrey's much anticipated interview with Harry and Meghan, the duke and duchess of Sussex, airs tonight. Based on the preview clips, we will hear about a family feud of majestic proportions.


MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us. And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, I've -- there is a lot that has been lost already.


CABRERA: Joining us now, royal historian Ed Owens.

And, Ed, this is their first interview since Harry and Meghan stepped back as working members of the royal family last year, and Oprah teased that no topics were off the table. What is the royal family bracing for?

ED OWENS, ROYAL HISTORIAN: I think they're bracing for certain number of revelations. I think certain degree of upset. Whether they'll be anything explosive, remains to be seen. I think they're certainly on tenterhooks this evening.

CABRERA: We heard Meghan referred to the royal family as the firm there in that clip. In another appearance with James Corden, Prince Harry talked about how they talk online with the queen and that she sent a waffle maker for little Archie.

Is this for more of a firm or a family?

OWENS: I think the term the firm is being used by Meghan who is now very much an outsider. When she and other members of the royal family refer to the firm, they were referring to, if you like, called the group of royals, but also all of the people in and around the court. So the court, the publicist, the media specialists and strategist, that is the firm.

And I think what we're going to hear from Meghan later on this evening is her describing how she feels very much an outsider of that entity now. No doubt there are some persistent family connections there as we've heard and as you referred to. Meghan has had a continuation of communication with the -- with her relatives. But just how worn those relations are, well, it remains to be seen.


CABRERA: In one of the teaser clips, Prince Harry made it clear when it came to Meghan, he was very worried about history repeating itself. Let's listen.


PRINCE HARRY: To me, I'm just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side. Because I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself. My biggest concern was history repeating itself.


CABRERA: Ed, do you see parallels between Meghan and what happened with Princess Diana?

OWENS: I think, certainly in the case of Meghan and Harry, the way that they've been pursued by a very sort of aggressive British tabloid culture, that is disconcerting. And there are, if you like, disconcerting echoes down the years that remind us of what Princess Diana had to put up.

At the same time, the language that Harry is using there, this sort of appeal for sympathy, that is nothing new. That's something that the royal family are doing all of the time. They are constantly reminding us just how difficult their lives are in the limelight as public figures. And I think we're going hear a lot more about that this evening.

CABRERA: In the past, opening up on camera hasn't really gone well for the royal family. There was Princess Diana's infamous tell-all interview in 1995 when she said there were three of us in this marriage, and then there was the fallout for when he admitted on camera that he had been unfaithful, and then the disastrous interview Prince Andrew did about his ties to convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein.

So what is the best and worst case scenario for Harry and Meghan in the fallout of this interview? OWENS: Well, as you say, these things -- they get a lot of hype and press in anticipation of the interviews taking place. And then they don't always go as planned.

And that is the fascinating thing for a commentator and historian like me. I imagine there will be sections of the public that feel very moved but by what they hear this evening and there will be other sections of a global public tuning in either tonight or tomorrow night when it's -- when the show and when the interview is played in Britain, for example, and they might be slightly less sympathetic.

So I think if you like, we're going to see a digging in of heels from both the supporters of Meghan and Harry, but also those people that aren't necessarily sympathetic to them either. And I think the interview is going to do a lot to bring out the sort of the emotion from both sides.

CABRERA: Actually feel really nervous for them about how this is going to be received. I appreciate your time. Thanks for the insight.

As we just mentioned, Harry's mother, Princess Diana also famously sat for an interview that stunned the royal family. Here is Max Foster with a look back.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It was the interview that rocked the monarchy and caused a worldwide sensation.

MARTIN BASHIR, BRITISH JOURNALIST: Do you think Mrs. Parker Bowles was a factor in the breakdown of your marriage?

DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.

FOSTER: Confirmation that Prince Charles' extramarital relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles and an admission of her own infidelity.

Diana also went on to question Charles' suitability and desire to be king.

Why exactly did Diana do the interview? How was she convinced to lift the lid on what was really going on behind palace walls?



BASHIR: Why have you decided to give this interview now? Why have you decided to speak at this time?

FOSTER: The recurring allegation is the BBC journalist Martin Bashir knew exactly why, that he had used forged documents the suggested the palace staff were working against her and being paid to spy on her.

A graphic designer then working for the BBC Matt Wiessler admits he mocked up the statements, but on Bashir's instructions and without knowing how the forgeries would be used.

Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, claims Bashir use the false bank statements to trick him into getting an introduction to Diana.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, his point is that the whole premise of the interview was set up on false and dodgy grounds.

FOSTER: Then there was the question of the BBC's conduct. An internal BBC inquiry in 1996 concluded that Diana had not been misled. Whilst documents were forged, the inquiry found they played no role in Diana's decision making.

But Charles Spencer has continued to build his case against those findings.

In 25 years, Bashir hasn't defended himself publicly. He hasn't responded to our requests for comments either. But in another statement, the BBC said that Bashir is signed off work by his doctors recovering from heart surgery and complications from COVID-19.


And while the metropolitan police have decided no criminal charges will be brought against Bashir, and an independent investigation launched by the BBC new director general Tim Davie and led by a retired judge is ongoing. A reinvestigation that's been publicly welcomed by Diana's son, Prince William.

For 25 years, there have been calls from within the palace, but also within the BBC, for a full independent investigation into exactly how Martin Bashir secured the biggest media interview in modern British history. Where was the oversight? Was it ethical for the BBC to investigate itself? Was there a cover-up?

CHARLES ANSON, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II 1990-97: On the human level there's a there's a perfectly valid interest on the extent to which perhaps, you know, the methods used to get the interview might have added to the princess' concerns that she was being followed or perhaps being monitored or at a phone being listened to, or whatever it may be, which would have increased anxieties.

FOSTER: If it's found that Diana and her brother were convinced by the BBC to think she was being spied on, that it raises the profound question of whether her path would have been different in the final months and years of her life.

Max Foster, CNN, Hampshire, England.


CABRERA: Now I want to take you to a frozen lake where political divisions melt away.

CNN's Bill Weir goes to an ice fishing spot in Minnesota where the local talk about Trump and Biden is pretty revealing. That's next. Plus, Stanley Tucci eats and drinks his through the second biggest

city in Italy. Explore Milan on the new CNN original series "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY", tonight at 9:00, right here on CNN.



CABRERA: It is no secret the U.S. has some deep political divisions right now so we thought he would bring you some tranquility from a still frozen lake in Minnesota where ice fishing of all things is helping bridge the divide.

CNN's Bill Weir reports.


BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the end of ice fishing season. The one sport so slow it demands food, drink, seating and conversation.

Are you more optimistic for the future as an American or?

VALDO CALVERT, MINNESOTA RESIDENT: I am way more optimistic than I was two years ago.

WEIR: But in conversations on the Lake Minnetonka these days, hope is mixed with worry.

V. CALVERT: I don't see it smooth sailing for Biden. I see it's always going to be obstructionism, but it's more calm, and I think it's going in the right direction.

CINDY GARIN, MINNESOTA RESIDENT: I'm really happy with our new president, Mr. Biden coming in. And he's vaccinated, I don't know how many people in the first not even 60 days.

WEIR: Well, a love for Biden is not hard to find in this blue suburb. Young Democrats like Ben see a lot of promises unkept.

BEN CALVERT, MINNESOTA RESIDENT: They're putting that stimulus check on the back burner and the minimum wage hike raise on the back burner, and they're dropping bombs on Syria right now, and those bombs are kind of expensive for a dude who owes $2,000, you know?

WEIR: But whether left or right, to a person, they all worry about division.

TIM DELANEY, MINNESOTA RESIDENT: There's no common grounds any more, right?

WEIR: Right.

DELANEY: And everyone's so angry about it. I think we're just tired.

LEAH BEAMISH, MINNESOTA RESIDENT: You know, I'm all about love. Everybody should be loving each other. There shouldn't be this --


L. BEAMISH: So divided. You know, there doesn't need to be that ask I just think it's really sad.

B. CALVERT: We all got along and then now it's like those guys aren't my friends any more because I know what they really think.

WEIR: That's heartbreaking.

B. CALVERT: Right. You can't hang out with someone who's like, yeah, I think I'd be a good thing to assassinate the sitting House majority leader.

WEIR: But then over by the smoker, a group that renews hope that barbecue and brotherhood could be stronger than politics.

But you guys are at different parties or?

DELANEY: Oh, yeah.

WEIR: Is that right?

DELANEY: Oh, yeah.

We're not going to go there.

WEIR: But Tim can't help it. He goes there.

DELANEY: What if Trump ran for Congress or House, the House reps and he got elected in the house and then we took the house and we took the Senate and then he sent impeachment to both, you know, the president and the vice president and he would be president for the next two years, plus, then re-elected for another four. Good idea?

WEIR: That's a new one. I hadn't heard that. He would be speaker of the House, is that what we're saying?


WEIR: All right.

KEVIN BEAMISH, MINNESOTA RESIDENT: It's the old story of you don't talk politics or religion with your friends or your family.

WEIR: Yeah, the good fences make good neighbors theory of politics, while at least here for now, the arguments are followed by laughter.

DELANEY: It's going to be difficult for me to be here after all --

WEIR: Oh, no. I'm sorry.

DELANEY: Oh, it's OK, it's OK. It's all right.

WEIR: Nobody ruins a barbecue like Bill Weir. Bill Weir, CNN, Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota.


CABRERA: This year marks the 15th anniversary of CNN Heroes, and this week, we are introducing you to very first hero of 2021.

Growing up in Maine, Lynda Doughty developed a passion for the array of marine mammals living along its beautiful coast. So in state and government funding vanished and working organizations working to protect these animals closed their doors, she dove in to fill the gap. Meet the seal rescuer.


LYNDA DOUGHTY, CNN HERO: Releasing a seal is really bittersweet. And as much as I'm excited to see that animal be released, it's also hard in the sense of seeing the animal now gone.

You know they're going back to the ocean.

So any seal that we rescue, the ultimate goal is to be released back into the ocean.


I feel this intense responsibility to help these animals and really this is what I was put on the earth to do.



CABRERA: To see the threats to these seals and how Lynda helps them and to nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero, go to right now.