Return to Transcripts main page


Stimulus Aimed at Tackling Economic Hardship Beyond the Pandemic; Many Black Parents Weigh Remote Learning Versus Classrooms Amid Health Fears; Biden's Dogs Sent Home to Delaware After Biting Incident; NY Prosecutors Subpoena Firm that Loaned Trump Organization Millions. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 9, 2021 - 15:30   ET




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: The $1.9 trillion COVID relief package is expected to go to a final vote in the U.S. House tomorrow morning. The stimulus is not just aimed at the financial hardship created by this pandemic, this bill has been carefully designed to tackle endemic poverty in this country.

And CNN's Jessica Dean is live on Capitol Hill with more on what's in it. And let's just first talk about, Jessica, these $1,400 checks. Who qualifies and how will people know if they should be expecting one?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Right, and this is such a key question for so many people across the country, Brooke, so let's get into the numbers here.

That full $1,400 stimulus check is going to any single filer that makes $75,000 or less or any joint family, joint married couple filing that makes less than $150,000. So if you fall within that you're getting $1,400 for each person in your family. That includes children, dependents.

Now there is a little bit of a gray area. So if you're -- if you make less than $160,000 as a joint filer or less than $80,000 as a single filer, that's where it phases out is above those. But if you're in between that 150 and 160 or 75 and 80, you're going to get a portion of a 1,400 check.


Again, this is going to you and then any dependents that you have in your household as well. It's important to note that these checks are expected to go out very quickly once this hits President Biden's desk. He signs it into law.

We expect those checks to start going out within days and that a lot of families, a lot of people will see checks coming to them and money coming to them in this month of March.

And Brooke, something interesting to note as well. We heard from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki today just a little bit ago that President Biden's name will not be on the check unlike he is predecessor former President Trump who wanted his name on the checks. Jen Psaki saying that President Biden's priority here is for these checks to get out as quickly as possible and that he does not care whether his name is on it or not -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Great. We'll look for the vote tomorrow. Jessica Dean, thank you very much for the update there.

School shutdowns one year later as classrooms slowly start to fill up again. We'll look at why so many black families in this country are not sending their children back.



BALDWIN: It is an agonizing choice for so many parents. Keep your kids in remote learning or send them back into the classroom amid this ongoing pandemic.

New data suggests that African-American parents are more likely than white patients to keep their kids in remote learning. There are some deep-seated fears and mistrust, fears the school districts won't protect them or their kids from getting sick, a reflection of the devastating disparity and impact from the coronavirus that it's had on the non-white communities. More now from CNN's Ryan Young.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): COVID-19 has already taken so much from Jasmine Gregory, a mom of three boys. She's not ready to send her kids back to the classroom.

JASMINE GREGORY, MOM OF THREE BOYS: I'm a mom and I don't feel safe. And I know what the CDC says but in my heart my children's safety is priority.

YOUNG (voice over): Black families who continue to be hit harder by COVID-19 now also grappling with the idea of sending their kids back to school for in-person learning.

GREGORY: Honestly, I don't think that it's worth it right now. Risking is children's lives will be worth it. Even though they, you know, they need to be in that setting to learn.

YOUNG (voice over): The CDC says returning to classroom is safe and opening schools has become a priority nationwide. But many minority parents aren't ready to trust systems that haven't always heard their voices.

The CDC in a recent study found that 62 percent of white parents strongly or somewhat agreed schools should reopen that fall, compared with 46 percent of black parents.

PAM GADDY, BALTIMORE TEACHER, PARENT: All people are saying is just throw them back into the building, throw them back into the building. Well I would love your child to come back, I just don't want to die coming home to do it.

YOUNG (voice over): Pam Gaddy, a mom and longtime teacher in Baltimore is still puzzled by all the mixed messages teachers and parents are given about returning to the classroom.

She wants the district to be up front about their strategy before she makes her own decision.

GADDY: We should have already had these plans. And you're waiting for the governor to threaten his teachers and educators. Let me see the plan as the teacher. Let me see the plan as a parent.

YOUNG (voice over): For years educators and black parents say they've had to deal with severe underinvestment in school buildings and classrooms in underserved districts leaving them in bad shape and COVID further highlighted this inequity.

GADDY: As educators, how we're being so devalued, but then as a parent I feel that you are underestimating me. I do want my child back in school. My children are literally suffering emotionally and socially.

YOUNG: Are you scared that some of these kids are going to slip beneath the cracks?

LISA HERRING, ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT: Yes, and I think that that's a question that any educational leader, particularly if they are serving and leading in an urban school system, that is exactly what we worry and think about.

YOUNG (voice over): Atlanta public schools new Superintendent Lisa Herring is leading one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia and knows there's an uphill challenge to get minority kids back into class.

HERRING: Data lists that the vast majority of our families who have chosen face to face are families that are white, Caucasian. Trust or lack thereof surfaces to the top. Let's just be candid and honest about that because that's the truth

YOUNG (voice over): In a year full of uncertainty, many minority parents remain skeptical that schools are truly safe.


BALDWIN: Ryan Young, thank you so much for that.

President Biden's dogs have been removed from the White House after an incident. We'll talk about what's going on with the first pets and why the problems are apparently not that uncommon.


BALDWIN: From the White House to the doghouse, President Biden's two German shepherds have been sent home to Delaware after one of them, Major, got aggressive with a member of White House security.

Major is the darker one on the left you see in the picture. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last hour that Major is still getting used to his new home and all the new people and that someone he didn't recognize surprised him. And Major then inflicted a minor injury on that person. That's the official explanation.

Sources have told CNN it was a bite. Psaki added that the dogs will return to the White House soon. Major is a 3-year-old rescue. The Bidens adopted him from a shelter so that their older shepherd, Champ, should have a friend. Sources have been told that Major has been aggressive with staff and security before.

So joining me now from Los Angeles is celebrity dog trainer and author Brandon McMillan. Brandon, good to see you. People watching might have seen you on the TV series "Lucky Dog." Welcome.


BALDWIN: Tell me just a little bit more about German shepherds specifically as a breed and just is aggressive behavior common?

MCMILLAN: Well, let's just put this out there. Every breed technically is territorial. You have to remember German shepherds, they are great guard dogs, but they are typically not that aggressive.


Now, when I heard -- when I read the story, the first thing I noticed there was there was incident, and it was a minor bite. Now when they say minor bite, what that typically means, that's not a very aggressive bite. That dog was not delivering a knockout fatal blow. It was delivering a little bit of warning. And most likely it was a fear bite.

You have you to remember, dogs are a lot like cats where they're not good with change. Now when you, all of a sudden, change their entire life, you've up and move and suddenly now they're in a very large house. They don't know where they are and there's, you know, potentially dozens if not 100 people around them every day, it takes some getting used to.

BALDWIN: Let me jump in on that. I think, obviously, you're the expert. You're right on the money. Because what we know about Major, Major was adopted from an animal shelter. He's three. The first lady said that the dogs aren't used to, you know, certain things around the White House like taking the elevator, having a bunch of new people around.

Major has in the past displayed behavior like jumping, barking, charging at staff and security. So do you think that's probably what it is, just simply being in a new environment at the White House could change the dog's behavior?

MCMILLAN: Absolutely. I mean, the reality is, whenever -- you can move the furniture around the house. You can literally take your couch and move it to the other side of the room and often I see it, it caused behavior issues in dogs because again dogs don't like change. Dogs like things exactly the way they are. And they don't like big changes.

So this is a massive change for these dogs. So acclimation is very important to any animal. Any animal you put in a new environment you have to slowly acclimate them in that new environment. So this is a massive change, and it's not surprising. This is very common with dogs all over the U.S. But, you know, unfortunately, this is a very famous dog, so which is why it's getting, you know, massive press.

BALDWIN: Do you think he'll be OK? You talk about acclimating. He's being sent back to Delaware. Is that the right move?

MCMILLAN: Well, I mean, right now I think it is the right move. Let's let things settle a little bit. I think with the right trainer and the right training in the White House and the right acclimation, that dog could easily get used to the White House and everyone in it. But it has taken, you know, the right steps. And so, the wrong steps could lead to bad things, the right steps, this could be a great dog.

BALDWIN: Brandon McMillan, thank you very much. Good to have you on.

MCMILLAN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: We have new questions today about the CDC's newly released guidelines for vaccinated Americans. Why recommendations about travel are causing so much confusion.

And more on the criminal and civil investigation against the former president. Prosecutors are now homing in on the Trump Organization and specifically its Chicago skyscraper.



BALDWIN: It is looking like the investigation into former President Trump's business dealings is growing. The district attorney's office in Manhattan wants to see documents from an investment firm that loaned the Trump Organization tens of millions of dollars for its hotel and condo tower in Chicago. Sources tell CNN that prosecutors subpoenaed Fortress Investment Management late last year while Donald Trump was still in office.

Kara Scannell has been doing some reporting on the story, and she joins me now. And so, Kara, why are these loan documents so totally intriguing to prosecutors?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, Brooke, prosecutors are really interested in what happened after this loan was made. So Fortress initially loaned the Trump Organization $130 million to help with the construction of that hotel tower in Chicago. But then the financial crisis his and real estate was, you know,

diminished. So Fortress renegotiated and they agreed for a partial repayment. But they forgave $100 million of that loan. And sources tell me that that is what prosecutors are interested in. They want to know whether the Trump Organization paid the appropriate taxes on that $100 million that was forgiven.

Now this also surfaced in the New York Attorney General's civil investigation into the Trump Organization. They have had questions for them, too, about whether they paid the appropriate taxes.

Now spokespeople for the D.A.'s office and Fortress declined to comment. Alan Garten the General Counsel of the Trump organization also declined to comment. But he has previously said that the Trump Organization has paid all appropriate taxes on all forgiven loans.

But Brooke, this is an indication of just how much this investigation is expanding. The D.A.'s office is looking into whether any banks or insurance companies were misled about the value of certain assets and buildings that the Trump Organization has.

They're also looking into tax deductions that were taken, specifically about fees paid to consultants, including Ivanka Trump. And they're looking into the hush money payments and how that was treated within the Trump Organization, both on the accounting side and for taxes. So this investigation is certainly revving up and it is expanding.

BALDWIN: So wide spectrum is what I'm hearing. Wide spectrum is what the prosecutors are looking at here as they're doing this investigation. Just quickly, is Michael Cohen still helping the prosecutors in the case?

SCANNELL: Yes, I mean, so sources say Michael Cohen has been meeting with the prosecutors. I think he's up to his eighth or ninth interview.


SCANNELL: He was a long-time adviser to the president. He certainly knows a lot of information, particularly about those hush money payments. He's also useful to prosecutors, if he can help explain how the company works and what the relationship is like between all of these players -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Kara, thank you very much. Kara Scannell in New York.

And I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me here. Let's go to Washington. THE LEAD with Jake Tapper starts right now.