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Interview with West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R); President Biden to Reverse Rule Tying Immigrants' Legal Status to Federal Benefits; Buckingham Palace Reacts to Harry and Meghan Interview. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 10, 2021 - 10:30   ET



GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): I'm very, very hopeful with what's going on with the vaccinations and everything, that we'll be able to get rid of that really soon. But by really soon, I mean probably 30 days, 45 days, if things continue to go well.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Wow, let's hope so.

I want to talk about stimulus. You have said, including on this broadcast a couple week ago, that we should go big or don't go at all in terms of stimulus. You saw that all Republicans have voted against, both in the House and the Senate. Do you think they got the politics right here? I mean, there's broad public support, even among Republicans, for a lot of elements of this plan.

JUSTICE: Well, Jim, again, I'm a business guy, I don't want to be a politician. And what goes on in Washington is despicable in lots of different ways because our people, our people are really hurting.

Now, if you look at anything -- I mean, from the standpoint of do I think we should bail out pensions? No. Do I think we should put all kinds of money in -- you know, COVID money into pet projects? No, absolutely, I don't, you know?

But at the same time -- I really, truly know this because I've done this so many times in the business world -- if you budget X number of dollars, it always costs more. And we've got a lot of people out there that are hurting, a lot of individuals, a lot of businesses and everything, and it's our chance, our chance right now to right-side this economy and let it explode, explode to the future, you know?

And so with all that being said, you know, I'm a real believer, you either go big or don't go.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Joe Manchin, of course one of your colleagues, state of West Virginia, Democrat, you've been critical of him, particularly on this COVID package. Of course it was his vote that delayed it, at least from the Democratic side, reigning in some of the continuation of unemployment benefits. But you said that he's selling his influence in Congress. That's a serious allegation, I wonder what you're basing that on? JUSTICE: Well, Jim, here's just all there is to it. You know, Joe

wants to be in control of too many things. And in my -- you know, I know Joe very, very well, and you know, in this situation of what's going on in West Virginia today, I mean, just to tell like it is.

You know, Joe was unhappy with some things that I did right off the get-go in my administration on the first go-around. He is absolutely, you know, tried in every way in the world to defeat me in the last election, and I won every single county in the state of West Virginia.

And now, all this is, all this is, is just to hit back. And hitting back, when you put in things, you know, that is in regard to the tax situation and all that in the stimulus package, it's just a hit-back, it's childishness. And Joe needs to grow up and get by that (ph).

I mean, for God's sakes, the limit (ph), he's hurting his own people in the state of West Virginia. You know, that's just all there is to it. The only reason that this -- you know, this language is in there about, you know, you can't do this and that with -- in regard to new -- getting rid of taxes? It's Joe Manchin, you know?

And with all that, you know, I just do not -- I do not condone it, I do not go along with it, it is absolute childishness and a continuation to try to just hit back at me. You know, in all honesty, he's sending stuff to all the Democrats in the HOuse and the Senate here, and he's taking claim that this was his doing.

At the end of the day, all this is going to do is hurt West Virginians. I don't think he ought to be doing that.

SCIUTTO: Well, goodness. Well, we'll reach out to Senator Manchin, get his response. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, thanks so much for joining us.

JUSTICE: No, thank you, Jim. Appreciate you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: That was quite an interview, Jim. I mean, hopefully Senator Manchin will come on the show and talk to you about it.

SCIUTTO: We're going to ask him, for sure.



You have seen the lines, you have heard the stories and for some of you, you're living this reality right now. Hunger in America, exacerbated by the pandemic. But for one group of people in this country, Trump-era policy has made it even harder on them. Their story, next.


SCIUTTO: Well, day two of jury selection is under way in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd. This as CNN has just learned that none of the other three former officers charged in the Floyd case will testify in the Chauvin trial -- this is significant.

Thomas Lane, Alexander Keung and Tou Nmn Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second- degree manslaughter. All three are scheduled to go on trial themselves in August, and all have pleaded not guilty.

HARLOW: Well, overnight, the Department of Homeland Security announced it would abandon a Trump admiinstration rule that made it harder for immigrants who access federal benefits including food assistance to change their legal status.

The story of food insecurity is one we've brought you on this program over and over. We've shown you these lines at food banks that stretch for miles, you've heard from people who have waited hours, sometimes even sleeping in their cars just to get food to their families.

We've told you about the staggering number of people who have had to ask for help for the first time in their lives, we've told you the story of an eight-year-old girl who told her class over Zoom she was literally starving.


Hunger is not a new story in this country, but it is a worsening story. And what we've told you, those are the stories that many of you can see. Now, to a story of hunger in America many don't see.


HARLOW: What's your favorite food?


HARLOW (voice-over): Six-year-old Alejandro (ph) and eight-year-old Anthony (ph) love pizza, especially pepperoni.

HARLOW: Cheese, pepperoni?


HARLOW (voice-over): But their mother stuggled to feed them as the pandemic hit.

HARLOW: Did your children ever go hungry earlier in the pandemic?

ALEJANDRINA ORTIZ MORALES, SINGLE MOTHER (through translator): Yes, sometimes.

HARLOW (voice-over): Alejandrina Ortiz Morales tells us she worked cleaning bathrooms and floors at a department store until it closed.

A.O. MORALES (through translator): I cleaned the whole center, where people walk and the glass, and the bins where they put the trash. And the bathrooms. HARLOW (voice-over): She tells us she came to the United States from

Guatemala when she was 16 years old. She says she came alone, looking for work, her parents unable to support their family.

A.O. MORALES (through translator): I worked in the fields, in tobacco, picking apples or pears, and a tomato factory, too.

HARLOW (voice-over): She's been in the United States 15 years. Now, she volunteers at this food bank but she also relies on it for survival.

A.O. MORALES (through translator): I heard on the street that she was helping people with food. We didn't have food, and she's the one who helped me with food. And now that she's moved here, I come to help her.

HARLOW (voice-over): She is Xiomy de la Cruz. At seven months pregnant, Xiomy and her partner Ingmar are giving food to their hungry neighbors.

HARLOW: Baby girl or baby boy?

HARLOW (voice-over): When Xiomy came to the U.S. just over a year ago seeking asylum, she could barely get by.

XIOMY DE LA CRUZ, CO-FOUNDER, LA BODEGUITA DE LA GENTE (through translator): When I came here to the United States, I was starting from zero. I didn't have the economic support to buy diapers, formula. I didn't know how to feed my kids.

HARLOW (voice-over): She fled Peru, she says, afer severe violence from a family member.

HARLOW: Is it a better life here?

DE LA CRUZ (through translator): I'm sorry.

HARLOW: What is bringing the tears?

DE LA CRUZ (through translator): Because it's hard. A lot of things happened in my country. It's hard to be here, to be an immigrant, to be a single mom. But I don't regret it because I can live well, with dignity and happiness.

HARLOW: You live with dignity now?

DE LA CRUZ (through translator): Yes.

HARLOW (voice-over): What she didn't know is how hard life would be for her and her children, seven-year-old Diago (ph) and one-year-old Maya.

DE LA CRUZ (through translator): I walked more than two hours to go to the food pantry to get diapers, food.

HARLOW (voice-over): That need resurfaced when the pandemic hit and her hours working at a fast food restaurant were cut. Once again, she had to rely on food banks.

Out of her need grew an idea that would become a source of support, she says, for nearly 1,000 mostly undocumented immigrants in Hartford, Connecticut, many of them children. In her own living room, she started La Bodeguita de la Gente, the people's little market, supported by donations and now run from this basement below a mattress store.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The families are coming with three, four kids. Some of them have seven or eight kids. You might see a lot of this, but this right here, in one day, can just go out.

HARLOW: In a day?


HARLOW (voice-over): It's cold and damp, no extra money to pay for heat.

HARLOW: Could you ever imagine it would become this?

DE LA CRUZ (through translator): No, never. That's why sometimes I enjoy spending a lot of time here, because I can see everything that I've achieved.

INGMAR RIVEROS, CO-FOUNDER, LA BODEGUITA DE LA GENTE: My mom used to put me in different programs that were free because she didn't have enough money to support me. So I remember telling her one time, I was like, when I grow up, I want to help people too.

HARLOW (voice-over): La Bodeguita serves primarily Latinx families, many undocumented and scared to raise their hands for help.

RIVEROS: The landlords that they had, they were, like, threatening them.

HARLOW: Threatening them with what?

RIVEROS: If you don't pay me right, I'm going to call immigratin on you.

DE LA CRUZ (through translator): During the pandemic, we have many families that have chosen to pay the rent, and don't have anything to eat. And when Ingmar and I visit their homes, they tell us, if you hadn't come, it's already been three or four days that we haven't eaten.

They're afraid to ask for help from the government, or to receive it from other places. That they wouldn't get their papers.

HARLOW: Xiomy is speaking about public charge, a Trump-era rule that makes it harder for people to change their immigration status if they have access to public benefits, including food assistance. President Biden has ordered his administration to review the rule.

HARLOW (voice-over): And that leaves so many of these families leaning on each other to make it through each day in a pandemic that is already disproportionately hitting this community.

HARLOW: What do you say to people, Xiomy, who are critical of you helping undocumented immigrants, people who are not legally in this country?


DE LA CRUZ (through translator): I would just tell them to check their heart, and see that we only come here to work and not to hurt anybody, and that we do it for our children's future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): She helps me too much. She's a great peson. She's a good person, and we need more for La Bodeguita.

HARLOW (voice-over): Helped by a stranger, and now helping strangers, a community living largely in the shadows and relying on each other.

RIVEROS: We have a dream, and what we want is, we want La Bodeguita to be in every single city here in Connecticut.

DE LA CRUZ (through translator): Each time I come, I think, for this, I used to walk hours. But that's how it is.


HARLOW: And, Jim, the Hartford Mayor's Office there in Connecticut, where they're doing all this, said they're actually going to partner with them to help reach this community with vaccines in the middle of COVID, so it's just, I mean, amazing to see. They came with nothing, and what they're doing for all their neighbors.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and listen, it's great to put a spotlight because these are the kinds of folks that don't often get their story out there --

HARLOW: Yes, that's right.

SCIUTTO: -- they're the ones suffering the most. Appreciate you doing that --

HARLOW: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: -- I'm sure folks at home do too.

Other story we're following, the duchess of Sussex is pushing back against comments that the British broadcaster Piers Morgan made about her mental health, doubting her story. She's now filed a formal complaint. We'll hae new details, ahead.



HARLOW: This morning, the duke -- the duchess of Sussex, rather, has made a formal complaint to British broadcaster ITV over Piers Morgan's comments about her mental health. Morgan lashed out at Meghan following that stunning interview with Oprah Winfrey.

SCIUTTO: CNN's Anna Stewart and Max Foster join us now from Windsor. Begin with Max. Max, I mean, Morgan took the really incredible step of basically saying he doesn't believe Meghan's description of her own mental state, right? Throughout this. What's been her response?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you say, he basically says he doesn't believe a word she says. And specifically, he talked about mentail health as part of that after the U.S. showing of the interivew. So he was saying all this on his Monday morning show. Then he walked out of his show on Tuesday, and then he ends up resigning because of some sort of discussion he had with a chief executive at ITV.

I think that's -- well, I've had some converations since I last spoke to you, Jim, that was clearly -- I don't think he was fully aware of the Megan complaint at that point. He was aware, however, the tens of thousands of complaints to Ofcom, which is the regular, broadcast regulator here in the U.K. So the audience had a lot of issues with what he said.

But we've since learned that Meghan has made a complaint as well, directly to ITV, not about the personal attacks -- which had been there for some time from Piers to Meghan -- but about the -- her concern for the way he doesn't believe her mental health crisis story.

If other people start seeing that, she's concerned that they won't come forward and discuss their own mental health issues. So she sees this as a broad concern, really, about the mental health crisis in the world, as she would see it. So that was the basis of the complaint.

HARLOW: Anna, you do have now this statement from Buckingham Palace, reacting, particularly the queen, to the charges of racism that were brought up in the interview with Oprah. Tell people what their statement said and what you make of it.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we finally got this statement last night, Poppy, and specifically from her majesty, the queen, so it comes right from the top. It's succinct, it's a short three paragraphs. But you know what, it is absolutely loaded with meaning.

It starts saying, "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

Now, right from the beginning, it says that they are learning the extent of the challenges the couple faced, it suggests that the palace weren't fully aware. There's that line that is particularly loaded, "recollections may vary," it suggests that the account Harry and Meghan have given of certain events, of conversations are not accurate, but it doesn't specify which.

It makes very clear that it wants this matter to now be taken privately, and that is something we heard echoed from a royal source, speaking to CNN. They said this is a family matter, that it how it should be dealt, and they suggested that it should have been dealt in a private conversation originally. So a bit of a rebuke. Of course, that is not, though, in the official statement.

Where this goes from here, will people feel this statement is enough to sort of stem some of the outrage we've seen against the royal family, not just here in the U.K., but right across the world? If anyone was expecting an apology, they will be disappointed. This is more of an acknowledgement, I would say.

SCIUTTO: Max, this is clearly deeply personal for Harry, right? Given his mother's treatment by the media there, but also her own struggle with mental health issues. I wonder how that has factored into this.

FOSTER: It's deeply relevant. Harry was just 12 years old when his mother died, and he's utterly scarred by it and he blames the tabloid press, I think, for her death. Not just the photographers, b ut also the news desk editors back in London who were potentially going to buy those photos of his mother dying in a car crash in Paris. I mean, it's really, really deep-seated.


There were also the conspiracy theories that Diana had about palace aides effectively working against her, and he thinks now that's all been confirmed through what Meghan experienced. He's trying to protect Meghan from going through what Diana went through. It seems the palace hasn't learned, from his point of view.

HARLOW: Yes, a lot of pain there for them. Thank you, Max, thank you, Anna, good to have you.

And thanks to all of you for joining us today, we'll see you back here tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. NEWSROOM with Kate Bolduan starts right after a short break.