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Trial Of Derek Chauvin Starts Monday In Minneapolis; President Biden's COVID Relief Bill Passes Senate And Goes Back To Congress; Coronavirus Vaccinations Accelerate; Donald Trump To Campaign Against Sen. Lisa Murkowski; Oprah Winfrey Interviews Meghan Markle And Prince Harry; Economy Is Starting To Recover; CNN Original Series Lincoln: Divided We Stand. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 7, 2021 - 17:00   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Top of the hour, you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York and we begin this hour with an American family's pursuit of justice.

The family of George Floyd, the man who died nearly a year ago in police custody on the ground with a policeman's knee on his neck, tomorrow that former officer, Derek Chauvin, goes on trial in Minneapolis.

That city is bracing for possible protests, erecting high fences around the court house, deploying extra police and even National Guard units ahead of what the governor of Minnesota is calling the most important trial in the country.

George Floyd's heartbroken family spoke this weekend telling reporters that their pain and their loss has not diminished.


PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: I think about my brother over and over again. I have no choice. You all have no choice. You see him every day on somebody's TV, somebody's t-shirt and it is pain that we're feeling every day.

My brother said I can't breathe multiple times. But the officer sat on his neck with a smirk on his face. My brother screamed, "Tell my kids I love them" if his soul left his body. I can't stop thinking about that.


CABRERA: And now just this weekend there's a new video emerging of another man also in police custody, telling officers "I can't breathe." Police body camera footage from Fresno, California -- this was taken in 2017, three years before Floyd's death. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNKNOWN: Stop, Joseph, knock it off.

UNKNOWN: Please. I can't breathe.

UNKNOWN: Knock it off. Knock it off.

UNKNOWN: Joseph, can you breathe?


UNKNOWN: All right.

UNKNOWN: Uncuff this left one here

UNKNOWN: I can't breathe.

UNKNOWN: We got to --

UNKNOWN: Get on that board. Let get these feet down first, yes.

UNKNOWN: All right.

UNKNOWN: Once we get his feet secured, then we can work on his arms from there.

UNKNOWN: All right.

UNKNOWN: (Inaudible) strap him --

UNKNOWN: Joseph, just relax, okay? Come on, buddy. Joseph, are you okay? Joseph, are you all right? You all right, dude? Joseph?


CABRERA: That man was Joseph Perez. According to the Fresno police chief, Perez went into medical distress during the arrest process and life-saving efforts in the ambulance failed. County coroner ruled his death a homicide, saying a high level of methamphetamine was also a contributing factor.

Let's go live to Minneapolis now with CNN's Omar Jimenez. And Omar, much of the country will be watching when Chauvin's trial starts tomorrow. How is the city preparing?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana. They are preparing on a number of fronts. This is the beginning of a process that's been a long time coming and the beginning of a process that is not expected to be an easy one.

Well, for starters, cameras will be allowed in the courtroom, but no jurors or prospective jurors will be shown. This will be a sequestered jury selection process, meaning that any prospective jurors will be examined separate from one another.

And each prospective juror has been sent a 16-page questionnaire, asking about everything from their prior knowledge of the case literally down to what new sources they consume primarily as this trial gets under way.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): Some calling for justice to letting the justice system play out. Derek Chauvin, the former officer seen on that know infamous cellphone video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nearly eight excruciating minutes.

He is standing trial for second degree unintentional murder and second degree manslaughter, both of which he's pleaded not guilty to, but the first carrying a weight of up to 40 years in prison if convicted.

The case is likely to bring protesters and renewed attention to George Floyd's death. His family remains at the center of it all, balancing grief with the weight of a racial justice movement.

Now, with the trial on the horizon, preparations are under way on a number of fronts, including closing the intersection where some of Floyd's final moments played out, leaving it as a central grieving point as it was in the immediate aftermath of his death.


JACOB FREY, MAYOR OF MINNEAPOLIS: We fully expect our Minneapolis residents to engage in the time-honored tradition of their first amendment rights and speech and we want to make sure that that right to protest is protected in every way, shape and form.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): But what some protests over the summer devolved into is still fresh in the minds of city officials. It's why they say to expect an increased law enforcement presence over the next weeks, even months with up to 2,000 National Guard prepared to respond.

MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS CHIEF OF POLICE: We cannot allow for any sorts of unlawful activity.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Not to mention the physical barriers going up around the government center where the trial will be taking place. Then there's COVID-19 protocol.

Chauvin will be the only of the four former officers on trial this spring with Judge Peter Cahill citing physical limitations of the courtroom "make it impossible to comply with COVID-19 physical restrictions in a joint trial involving all four defendants beginning March 8, 2021.

Given the number of lawyers and support personnel the parties have now advised the court are expected to be present during trial." And the judge said it's the largest courtroom they have. Tied to that, only one member of the Chauvin family and one member of the Floyd family will be allowed in the courtroom at a time, a decision the Floyd family called disappointing.

FLOYD: The video is enough. There's nothing else to talk about. You can make a judgment off of that, because Chauvin showed you, he was the judge, the jury, and executioner all at once, right then and there, when he took my brother's soul from his body.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): And with jury selection beginning March 8th, opening statements weeks later, a country watches as a test of police accountability gets under way, which many see as a major step toward justice for George Floyd.


JIMENEZ (on camera): And reminders of that central message are being kept central by the people here in Minneapolis who were out marching over the course of this afternoon, again, trying to keep the name of George Floyd alive amid a trial to hold someone whose neck was pressed under the knee of accountable (ph) over the course of this trial.

Now, I mentioned that it is set to begin with jury selection is set to begin tomorrow. It will start around 10:00 a.m. eastern time and go until 6:00 p.m. basically up until March 26th. That is the last day they have to try and to get to 12 potential jurors. And then opening statements in this long-awaited trial are set to begin March 29th. Ana?

CABRERA: Omar Jimenez, thank you for your reporting from Minneapolis. Joining us now is L. Chris Stewart, an attorney representing George Floyd's family. I just want to take a second to remind people of the human side of this and play a moment with George Floyd's daughter they still remember so vividly.


GEORGE FLOYD, VICTIM: That's right. Daddy's changing the world.

UNKNOWN: He did what?

UNKNOWN: Daddy changed the world.


CABRERA: Chris, how is the Floyd family doing?

L. CHRIS STEWART, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING GEORGE FLOYD'S FAMILY: They're tough. They're hanging in there. We were with them yesterday in Houston fighting for the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act and Gianna was there with her smiles, with her energy, with that spirit that has just infected the whole world, showing the beauty that can still survive.

CABRERA: Yes. She's such a beautiful person inside and it shines right through. The judge in this trial is going to allow cameras in the courtroom. So the nation is going to be reliving this again, along with the Floyd family. I'm wondering, do you believe we will learn any new information that hasn't already been made public?

STEWART: I'm sure. You know, in the Walter Scott case, that was public and the whole world watched that when we were fighting that case. New information always comes up. But in this case, you know, that video, I think it's going to be really, really big. CABRERA: It's not easy to find somebody who hasn't been touched by the

death of George Floyd. What do you think that means in terms of jury selection and finding a fair and impartial jury?

STEWART: Jury selection, I mean, it's going to be an extended selection. I don't know how many juries I've had to pick and it's a tough thing trying to get to the core of people's beliefs. You don't want anyone on there who has already made up their mind.

We have a great judge in this case, probably one of the best in the country handling this type of situation. And they're going to take their time and make sure they get people who are unbiased, people who, you know, won't be on the jury and say I could never convict a cop. People who just want justice.

CABRERA: Chauvin's trial is separate from the other former officers involved in Floyd's killing. Was that the right call to try the others together but Chauvin separately?


STEWART: I've learned throughout my career never question a judge and definitely not going to do it this time.

CABRERA: We know at least, it was in part because of the coronavirus pandemic, you know, leading to difficulty in terms of the number of people who can be in a courtroom at once. Is there anything other than a guilty verdict that the family will accept as justice?

STEWART: No, I think the justice is, in this situation, a guilty verdict. This is going to be a true test of our legal system where our eyes, our information, things that we saw, the only result is justice in this country. And this will be a great test of how this justice system works.

CABRERA: What if the opposite happens? What if he's acquitted?

STEWART: Hopefully, that will never happen. I don't even want to speak that into existence but we can't forget the Justice Department still is investigating. That's what happened in Walter Scott. The justice department also came in and brought charges.

So, you know, I have full faith in this situation, in this case, in the hearts of these prospective jurors and that they'll do what Gianna said, you know, change the world.

CABRERA: You mentioned the bill that passed the House of Representatives. This was a bill named after George Floyd aimed at preventing police misconduct. I want to play for our viewers what Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said yesterday. You were at this press conference.


REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): In the midst of the outcry of the Floyd's about how kind they were to embrace others who were in pain, right while they were in pain, Breonna Taylor came. Her family was in pain. They're still crying. Jacob Blake's family. He lived, but he is paralyzed and he was simply trying to protect his children.


CABRERA: Deaths and injuries at the hands of police didn't end with George Floyd. And just yesterday, we get video from 2017, three years before George Floyd's death, of a man in custody, telling officers he can't breathe before dying. Take a look.


UNKNOWN: Uncuff this left one here

UNKNOWN: I can't breathe.

UNKNOWN: We got to --

UNKNOWN: Get on that board. Let get these feet down first, yes.

UNKNOWN: All right.


CABRERA: And as we mentioned earlier, there are significant differences between these two cases but those words, "I can't breathe" the same, three years before George Floyd. This issue is still going to be with us regardless of the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial. How do you solve the larger problem of preventing these types of instances from occurring?

STEWART: The answer is before the Senate's feet. This bill is a positive thing. You know, I may be a civil rights attorney, but I have absolutely no problem acknowledging the phenomenal police officers across this country that actually love the community, protect people and do their job. There are a lot of them out there.

But then there's a lot of rogue officers also. This bill would cut down on those officers' behaviors. It will monitor them. It would create a data system, monitoring bad behavior. It would eliminate some tools and some actions that officers use that lead to these tragedies.

Good bills like this is what will stop all the protesting, marching, animosity, but it may just be politics right now. But if they want to solve it, then they will pass it. If they don't, then they don't care about the people.

CABRERA: L. Chris Stewart, I appreciate your time today. Thank you very much.

STEWART: No problem.

CABRERA: Back in Washington, the House is poised to pass Joe Biden's massive COVID relief bill. How soon you can get your $1,400 check, next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: If you are struggling, maybe you lost your job or you're a small business owner wondering how you'll make it to next month, help is coming, and soon. The nearly $2 trillion coronavirus relief package which cleared the Senate just yesterday heads back to the House and Tuesday is when we expect the final vote.

And if all goes as planned, it will head to President Biden to be signed into law as soon as this week. Let's go now to Capitol Hill with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. Suzanne, when are Americans then going to receive their next stimulus checks?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, it could be as early as in a couple of weeks or so if it goes as planned Tuesday, as you had mentioned, is when the House will get the legislation back to them before the president's desk.

But it really was a struggle across the finish line for Senate Democrats. We saw 11 hours and 50-minute delay, a standoff if you will with fellow Democrat, Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, a moderate. Ultimately that impasse was broken, the vote being 50 to 49 along partisan lines.

The negotiation, the compromise, a $300 unemployment benefit, that weekly benefit to be cut off early by one month and fewer Americans able to write it off on their taxes, at least a portion of it. Manchin saying that everybody needs to compromise, including within the Democratic Party.

Ana, it really does portend to what is next that is going to be a tough battle potentially for other legislative pieces, big items on their agenda like infrastructure and immigration. Manchin saying today that there has to be room within the Democratic Party for compromise.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): To be fair for the people out there working all the time, paying their share of taxes. That was something we were concerned about also. So, we limited it to $150,000. We capped it that anybody over $150,000 could not use that offset. Anybody below it that's struggling and working, more than middle class, is able to do that. That was a fair compromise. We worked through that and got it done.


MALVEAUX: And Ana, notably, no Republican signed on for this. They did introduce a number of amendments that were all rejected. Senator Susan Collins putting forward $650 billion plan to replace it, roundly rejected.


Also Senator Mitt Romney putting forward, actually, cutting back billions of dollars on the state aid. And also rejected, independent Senator Bernie Sanders putting forward again that minimum wage increase of $15 an hour.

Not only Republicans turning that down, but also eight Democrats as well. What did make it into the COVID relief plan that is $1,400 checks, direct payments, unemployment benefits, 15 percent increase for food stamps, bigger child tax credit, more loans and grants for small businesses, housing aids, state, local, tribal government aid and more funding for COVID vaccines.

As I had mentioned, Ana, the plan now is for the House to vote on this on Tuesday. Ana?

CABRERA: Okay, thank you, Suzanne Malveaux on Capitol Hill.

The race to vaccinate people in the U.S. against COVID-19 is picking up pace. The CDC is saying 2.4 million shots have been administered in the past 24 hours. But disturbing new reports are emerging. The "Wall Street Journal" is reporting Russian intelligence agencies have launched an online disinformation campaign to undermine public confidence in Pfizer's vaccine as well as other vaccines made in the U.S. and Europe.

And also this weekend, fresh signs that some are defying COVID restrictions. Police on Saturday breaking up a large party in Boulder, Colorado. A lot of the partygoers were not wearing masks or observing social distancing guidelines.

Let's got to the West Coast now and CNN's Paul Vercammen joins us from Los Angeles. Paul, what are you seeing and hearing today on California's vaccination efforts?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're getting mainly rosy reports and right here at Cal State Los Angeles, they're vaccinating away. They're outpacing their original projections. And let's talk about vaccinations in California because they are linked to the state reopening theme parks, baseball stadiums and the rest.

If you look at the graphic, you now have 10,600,000 people vaccinated. Most of those are first doses. Why that's important is, the governor has said once 2 million people are vaccinated in low-income and vulnerable neighborhoods, he will then clear the way to ease restrictions, and that's why we could see the reopening of the theme parks and the rest on April 1st.

And if you look down and over my left shoulder, this is the vaccine site at Cal State Los Angeles. Just a couple of weeks ago, they told us that their peak projection was for 6,000 Pfizer vaccines per day. They are outpacing that -- 7,000 on some days, 8,000 on a couple.

And this was just a pilot program to begin with. This is a Biden/FEMA/Cal OES Department of Defense site. Well, they now say this doesn't feel like a pilot program at all. They're ready to stay here for the long haul if need be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VERONICA VERDE, FEMA SPOKESWOMAN: So, originally, this is a four to eight-week project. We're looking to see if we're going to go beyond that, depending on the need. So far here, L.A County, there's over 450 vaccination sites as more vaccines are starting to come in. And this infrastructure is just another way to help complement L.A. County and their vaccination sites to get people vaccinated.


VERCAMMEN: And in Los Angeles, another tactic. They are going to open up at the University of Southern California, the city is. And among other things, they are going to give free or half-rate Uber rides to low-income people who could otherwise not get themselves to the campus to get the vaccine. So, a lot of moving parts here in Los Angeles. Back to you now, Ana.

CABRERA: And sometimes it takes a village. Paul Vercammen, thank you.

It's a moment of deja vu. More than 25 years after Princess Diana's explosive TV interview, her daughter-in-law, Meghan Markle, is giving a tell-all of her own. This time with Oprah. How worried is the palace? That's next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: Well, Trump's revenge tour on Republicans who voted against him in the impeachment trial is in full swing. This time, he's taking aim at Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski saying, "I will not be endorsing, under any circumstances, the failed candidate from the great state of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski.

She represents her state badly and her country even worse. I do not know where other people will be next year but I know where I will be, in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad senator."

Joining us now is CNN senior political analyst, John Avalon, and CNN political commentator and host of "Firing Line" on PBS, Margaret Hoover. Margaret, in his statement, Trump goes on to cite Murkowski's vote to advance Deb Haaland for interior secretary as some of his reasoning. But I have to wonder if this is really about her vote on his impeachment to convict.


MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I wonder. I wonder. No, but obviously, what that shows is that he's got political pollsters who are in the field saying this is where she could actually be vulnerable if you really want to take her out.

And he's signaling that he's interested in going for it. I'm sure Lisa Murkowski is sitting at home saying, bring it on because nobody spent more time in Alaska than Lisa Murkowski and frankly the Murkowski family. Recall, Lisa Murkowski succeeded her father who held that seat for many, many years. So the Murkowski's have been serving Alaskans for decades, many decades. On top of that, Alaskans have passed some electoral reforms in the last several years -- ranked-choice voting and open primary.

So, Lisa Murkowski is never going to get primaried from the right and she won an independent race for the Senate last time that was write-in vote where Alaskans across the country had to spell Murkowski correctly and she still beat her opponent.


So, I'm also dubious about how much money and energy Donald Trump is really going to put in two years from now.


CABRERA: That's a good point. Although, she's up in 2022, which is already next year. Hard to believe. John, let me talk to you about the coronavirus relief bill that just passed the Senate this weekend. I thought it was interesting when former President Obama reacted by saying elections matter and we are seeing why.

How big of a deal is it that Democrats passed this alone, they didn't get any votes from Republicans?

AVLON: It's a big deal, because it's obviously signature legislation from Joe Biden. They actually reigned in the bill on several levels, including removing the minimum wage and some elements that had been controversial, like funding for very rapid transit.

But they still weren't able to get any Republicans. Look, especially insulting about that is that this bill is broadly popular, in fact, it's massively popular for 70 percent of Americans. Almost 50 percent of Republicans support it and they couldn't peel off a single vote. That says more about the Republican Party than it does about Joe Biden or this bill and --

CABRERA: And Margaret, when you think -- sorry, John. I didn't mean to interrupt. Go ahead.

AVLON: No, I just think that at the end of the day, it is a signature item for this administration. It's going to cut childhood poverty by a lot, but it shows that the Republicans still are reflexively embracing the no reaction to a Democratic president like they did under Obama.

HOOVER: I actually think that's unfair and I don't think that's accurate. I think what's happened is, Republicans had a principle disagreement about how to deliver COVID relief to the country. Not that the country needed it. They know the country needed it.

I think it will be hard to find a Republican senator that doesn't think the country needs any COVID relief. There were principle differences on exactly how to do that. And I think at the end, Republicans just couldn't get there. And that's okay, right? I mean, elections do have consequences. They have the ability to

barrel this through. They chose to do that. We move on to the next thing. But the paradigm that somehow Republicans are in a reflexive no position isn't true. Ten Republicans went to meet with Joe Biden. By the way, Republicans influenced with Manchin, the removal of the minimum wage flank of this bill.

AVLON: Well --

HOOVER: So Republicans I think had a lot of impact in terms of softening elements of the bill. Although, of course, it wasn't theirs to change.


CABRERA: But I will say, though, Margaret, that, you know, Democrats can say we alone are getting your family, if you're a family of four making less than $150,000, we're giving you a $5,600 check. Republicans voted against that. And they could, you know, theoretically, go out there and make that their message and Republicans don't really have a counter because they did vote against that.

But let me move on, let me move on, because while the debate over this hugely consequential relief bill was happening this past week, it's amazing how much time Fox News dedicated to talking about Dr. Seuss.


UNKNOWN: As you know, Dr. Seuss has been canceled.

BEN CARSON, FORMER HUD SECRETARY: I do not like to cancel books. I do not like how that looks.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): First it was Kermit the Frog and the Muppets, Mr. Potato Head, then now, you know, Dr. Seuss.

CARSON: I do not like it here nor there. I do not like it anywhere.

UNKNOWN: A 2017 tweet from Vice President Kamala Harris praised Dr. Seuss.

CARSON: I don't like it in the store. I do not want it anymore.

UNKNOWN: Let me just quote Barack Obama in 2015 saying, "pretty much all the stuff you need to know is in Dr. Seuss."

DONALD TRUMP, JR, SON OF DONALD TRUMP: This week alone, they canceled Mr. Potato Head. This week alone they canceled the Muppets. You know, they're canceling Dr. Seuss from reading programs.

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST: Hitler's "Mein Kampf" is for sale on eBay, but six Dr. Seuss' books deemed offensive were pulled from the online auction sites.

UNKNOWN: Just when you think life can't get any weirder, here we are discussing Dr. Seuss and Hitler in the same sentence.

PERINO: People might say why? Why are you covering this Dr. Seuss story so much?


CABRERA: All I can say is wow.

HOOVER: Why? Why are we -- let me tell you why they're covering the Dr. Seuss story so much.


HOOVER: Republicans -- if Republicans had ideas, if they wanted to argue the principles of the COVID relief package and (inaudible) know it, maybe we didn't vote for that relief package because it should had more, you know, the policies, right?

It should have had more liability relief, for example, or the state and local funding should have been directed into different proportions. They're not talking about ideas because their ideas are falling flat. It has to be a war, cult of personality around Donald Trump and the culture wars --


HOOVER: They're trying to use the culture wars to unify the base of the party and that's all they've got.

AVLON: But this isn't even Republicans in Congress, right? This is Fox News. This is the conservative culture war distraction play, you know, it is something that (inaudible) name, called another (inaudible) text, boot bait for bubbas.

Look, let's have the reality check about Dr. Seuss for one second, and I love Dr. Seuss. It was not canceled, okay? His estate decided they would stop publishing several books because they contained illustrations that most people, if looking at them objectively would say that's pretty racist.


Now, you can debate on individual books, but let's have the individual images that caused the estate of Dr. Seuss to feel uncomfortable and have people defend them. This is not a cancel culture moment. This is a distraction play and it should not be occupying so much head space, but it is because it's a proxy for real policy.

CABRERA: You heard them reading a lot of "Green Eggs and Ham" in some of those clips. That's not even one of the books that had been= pulled from the archives.

AVLON: By the way, the (inaudible) was genius, but anyway, go on.

CABRERA: We're witnessing quite a moment right now in the Me Too Movement in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo is right in the center of all of this. "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting on a third former aide now accusing him of inappropriate conduct.

The woman, her name is Ann Liss. She told "The Journal" that the governor asked her if she had a boyfriend, called her sweetheart, touched her on her lower back at a reception, had even kissed her hand when she rose from her desk at one point. This was a few years ago.

There are questions about whether he's going to survive this politically. But maybe, Margaret, the better question is, does he deserve to survive this?

HOOVER: No. I mean, the answer is very clear, Ana. We all know that men in power for too long have gotten a pass and have felt that they can use their power and their influence to victimize and belittle and make women feel terrible for their own ego and bravado, and this has to stop.

We are -- we have to demand more from our elected leaders and from men in office. And there are plenty of good men. We should shout out the good men. And people like Andrew Cuomo, if it is true, and there should be a process, a due process.


HOOVER: Should go.

CABRERA: Quickly, John, what did you think?

AVLON: Look, I think there should be an investigation. I don't think anyone should believe knowing Andrew Cuomo that he is going to resign of his own accord. I think what's really notable though is the way in which there have not been a lot of Democrats running to his defense.

And it's not only relevant (ph) to these accusations, but over to -- on overall tenor of his -- the flipside of his toughness is being rude and abrasive. And so people hear these accusations, they think they're credible and that, to some extent, is the chickens coming home to roost.

Despite the fact that on many measures, he's been an effective governor, he has not generated enough personal loyalty to help him survive at a time like this.

CABRERA: John Avlon and Margaret Hoover, we always cover so much ground. Thank you so much, guys.

HOOVER: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Overseas now, the British monarchy is bracing for fallout ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey. Coming up, what we expect to learn from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex tonight. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[17:40:00] CABRERA: The world will be watching tonight when Prince Harry and Meghan sit down with Oprah Winfrey and the couple's first interview together since they stepped back from their royal family duties. Oprah says no topic is off the table, and Meghan revealing that she is talking now because she's finally able to do so.


MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: As an adult, who lived a really independent life, to then go into this construct that is different than I think what people imagine it to be, it's really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege, in some ways, to be able to say, yes. I mean, I'm ready to talk.

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST: And to say it to yourself.


CABRERA: More now from CNN's Anna Stewart in Windsor, England.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, it is nearly time for what's expected to be an explosive expose, a two-hour broadcast, and Oprah Winfrey has said that no topic is off limits. This could make very difficult watching for the royal family. Not least is we've got an idea of what will be said in some of the teaser clips.


MARKLE: 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, there's a lot that's been lost already.


STEWART: We need to see this clip in context, but it appears Meghan feels the royal family could have done more to support the couple. We also know from another clip that Meghan feels liberated now she can speak freely.

We're going to get answers to some of the questions that we heard Oprah Winfrey asked Meghan. Was she silent or was she silenced? Was there a breaking point? Any further insight we get into the couple's relationship with the rest of the royal family will make headline news.

It's rare to get a glimpse of the private lives of the royal family and it's particularly interesting to get that perspective from an outsider. Joining the so-called firm has been difficult for many others before Meghan.

And that's why this interview is being compared to the one that Princess Diana gave to the BBC's Martin Bashir back in 1995. That's where she delivered the bombshell that there were three people in her marriage. Meanwhile, Prince Philip remains in hospital in London. And it was

business as usual for the royal family who took part in a special TV program celebrating the commonwealth. No mention of Prince Harry or Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, who were really conspicuous only by their absence. Ana?

CABRERA: Anna Stewart, thank you for that reporting. And now, here's Christine Romans with what Wall Street is watching in the wake of that massive COVID relief bill. Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. That $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill is now moving closer to becoming law. But the latest jobs report is more ammunition for lawmakers who are questioning whether it's really necessary.

The U.S. economy added 379,000 jobs in February, so that's much better than expected. And the unemployment rate slipped to 6.2 percent. Of course, context here, the job market is still in a deep hole, down 9.5 million jobs since the pandemic began.


The report, though, is evidence that the recovery is beginning. In fact, investors are worried the economy could eventually overheat, forcing the Fed to raise interest rates sooner than planned. That's why high-flying tech stocks have come under pressure as bond yields rise.

It's also why Wall Street will pay close attention to this week's inflation data. Reports on consumer and producer prices are due. Both rose in January with producer prices posting their biggest jump since 2009.

If those inflation numbers come in hot again for February that could give investors another reason to sell stocks. In New York, I'm Christine Romans.



CABRERA: A country at war. Men dying by the thousands on the battlefield. And a president forced to make an unprecedented decision. Tonight's episode of the CNN Original Series "Lincoln: Divided We Stand" looks at the pressures on the 16th president and the true motivation behind his emancipation proclamation. Here's a preview.


KATE MASUR, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY: Soon after the battle of Antietam, Lincoln issues what's called the preliminary emancipation proclamation.

It's a warning. And it basically is saying to the confederate states that on January 1, 1863 I'm going to declare that slaves in seceded states in places that are in rebellion are now free. But this won't apply to you if you give up arms and decide to come back into the United States between now and then.

UNKNOWN: The abolitionist and radicals rejoiced. Others lamented and feared. They tried to persuade him to withdraw it, to retract it. He remains steadfast.


CABRERA: Joining us now, Harold Holzer, a Lincoln scholar at Hunter College. His books include "The Presidents vs. the Press" and "Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion." Harold, great to have you with us. Lincoln was a brilliant politician, but he wasn't quite as good a military strategist. What missteps did Lincoln make that cost the union their first big battle against the confederacy?

HAROLD HOLZER, AUTHOR, LINCOLN AND THE POWER OF THE PRESS: Well, thank you, Ana, for having me on. Yes, he was totally unschooled in military strategy. In fact, he borrowed books from the Library of Congress to educate himself on military strategy. Remarkably, he ends the war knowing more about things like joint action than most of his generals.

But he sent union troops into Virginia perhaps too early. And his general said our guys are too green. And Lincoln's response was theirs are green as well, they're green alike. The result was a union disaster at the battle of Bull Run and the war that was supposed to be over in a day lasted for four years.

CABRERA: It's refreshing to hear that he, you know, worked really hard to educate himself knowing that that was an area in which he was lacking. While navigating then the country through war, Lincoln -- he also suffers a family tragedy. What kind of strain did that put on Lincoln to be dealing with both crises at the same time?

HOLZER: Well, it was horrific. His son, Willie, was 11 years old drank tainted water that was pumped into the White House directly from the contaminated Potomac and its tributaries. And he came down with what was likely typhoid fever. There was no cure. There were no antibiotics. So he lingered and it was a very painful death.

And Lincoln had seen other loved ones, his mother, his first sweetheart, die of these rampant diseases that were incurable at the time. Somehow, after a brief period of mourning, he got back into his focus on the war. And right after Willie dies, General Grant wins some battles in the west and then goes on to win the Battle of Shiloh.

And Lincoln is very much involved. It's unimaginable that he could do it. But he focused. I think he took one day off a week or one afternoon off a week on the anniversary of his boy's death to simply sit alone. But other than that, he just forced himself back into work.

CABRERA: Wow. I've only got 30 seconds, but what kind of vision did Lincoln have for freed black people? How did he see them fitting into American society?

HOLZER: Well, at the moment, the show we're going to see tonight, he wasn't certain. By the end of the war, he talked about giving African- Americans the right to vote. And John Wilkes Booth heard that speech and turned to a friend and said that's the last speech he'll ever make. This means Negro equality and he, you know, you can imagine, did not use the word Negro. It was worse than that.

And three days later, Booth killed him, I think for his aspirations to bring a biracial society into existence in these fractured United States.

CABRERA: Harold Holzer, I have so many more questions for you. It's been a fascinating discussion. Thank you for being with us.

HOLZER: You're welcome.


CABRERA: And be sure to tune in to an all new episode of CNN's "Lincoln: Divided We Stand." It airs tonight at 10:00 here on CNN. That does it for me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for spending some of your weekend with me. My colleague Pamela Brown takes over right after this. Have a great week.