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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Resisting Calls from New York Lawmakers to Resign Due to Accusations of Sexual Harassment and Nursing Home Coronavirus Deaths Scandal; Immigration and Customs Enforcement Requesting Help to Manage Surge of Immigrants along U.S.- Mexico Border; Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-TX) Interviewed on Her Experiences with Biden Administration's Immigration Policies; Health Experts Warn Increasing Travel for Spring Break Vacation May Cause Surge in Coronavirus Cases; Galveston, Texas, Mayor Craig Brown Interviewed on City Efforts to Reduce Coronavirus Spread; President Biden Gives Speech on Passage and Implementation of American Rescue Plan; Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson States He Did Not Fear Capitol Hill Rioters But Would Fear Black Lives Matter and Antifa Protestors; Events Planned across U.S. on Anniversary of Killing of Breonna Taylor. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 13, 2021 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We're always so grateful have your company on this Saturday, March 13th. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. You are in the CNN Newsroom.
And despite calls from so many of New York's top Democratic leaders, Governor Andrew Cuomo is resisting calls to resign. He says he will not bow to what he calls cancel culture. He's asking New Yorkers, really everybody, to hold their judgment until investigations have been completed.
PAUL: Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand added their names to the growing number of prominent Democrats who are calling for the governor to step down. The senators released a joint statement, in fact, saying this, "It's clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York."
CNN's Polo Sandoval following the latest on this. So, what is the governor saying this morning about these calls to resign?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In short, Christi, Governor Cuomo saying that those allegations of sexual assault and harassment, that they certainly should be heard, but at the same time he's also maintains that he's innocent of any sort of misconduct. And he also continues to double down on his position that he will not step down as the governor of the state of New York, this in spite of that ongoing state impeachment investigation, and also, as you mentioned, that growing chorus of Democrats, those folks within his party that are calling for him to resign.
I want to hear directly from the governor, his latest position when it comes to the growing call for him to step down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I did not do what has been alleged, period. Look, it's very simple, I never harassed anyone, I never abused anyone, I never assaulted anyone. And I never would, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: There have been multiple new allegations against the governor here from many women that state, or at least they've been describing these unsettling encounters with the governor going back for several years, the very latest one at least coming from a reporter who is now in Miami but used to be assigned to the statehouse. In 2014, Jessica Bakeman saying she was 25 years old when the governor touched her without her consent. That's a mounting list of allegations against the governor.
Now, when it comes to those Democrats that are calling for him to step down, there are simply too many to name, not just within New York State House of Representatives or at least the State Assembly, but also in Washington, D.C. You mentioned two prominent, or at least two significant voices within the Democratic senators as well that are calling for his resignation. Again, the governor right now maintaining that he will not do that. He wants the investigation to continue, guys.
BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval for us in New York. Thanks so much.
Let's bring in now Michael Scherer, national political reporter for the "Washington Post." Michael, good morning to you.
MICHAEL SCHERER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": Thanks for having me.
BLACKWELL: Let's put the full screen back up of the Democrats in the New York Delegation who are calling for the resignation of the governor. Would you look at these faces, you've got the majority leader of the Senate, you've got Senator Gillibrand there as well, Jerry Nadler, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congressman Espaillat, a long list here. How much more tenuous is the governor's tenure after hearing from these Democrats than it was when we heard from Democrats on the state level?
SCHERER: Well, one thing we know is that it's harder to remove by force a governor than it is to push someone out of, say, the Senate or the House where you can just vote to deny them committee assignments. So Cuomo is in a position where he can stay, he can choose to stay until he is impeached and removed. And the state legislature in New York, even though there's a majority of members of the Assembly and the Senate who have signaled they want him to go, they're unlikely to move forward with that until there is some sort of investigation, which is basically what Cuomo is demanding right now. So I think he's in a position where it will become more painful for
him to stay in office, he may be less effective as a governor the longer he stays, but it's unlikely he'll be forced to remove himself in the next couple of weeks or month.
BLACKWELL: One notable name and face absent there was the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, Representative Hakeem Jeffries, who released a statement, did not go as far as everyone else. He said that the governor must seriously consider whether he can continue to effectively lead the state. That relationship and the calculation there?
SCHERER: There's been a real debate going on behind the scenes, and there are a couple things at play. One is people are just more loyal to Cuomo than others, and his enemies were the first to call for his resignation, his political foes.
The other is the specter of the Al Franken resignation in 2018 continues to hang over this. This is a concern among Democrats, even among activists and survivor groups, that there needs to be investigations of these cases. And if you get a resignation before an investigation, before all the facts are shown, it can actually work against the movement to end sexual harassment and this sort of behavior in rooms of power.
And so there are a lot of the women's groups have been really emphasizing the need for an investigation. So there are these conflicting pressures on people behind the scenes. But I think just the number of accusations that have come out, the number of articles that have really pretty comprehensively portrayed an environment in the governor's office of real hostility and abuse separate from sexual harassment has just become too much for a number of these elected leaders.
BLACKWELL: In your latest write on this, you said that the governor's advisers told you that he's planning to rely on his support from black voters, as Democratic leaders are accustomed to doing. What is the relationship there with the black community that they think that is going to sustain him?
SCHERER: He has had a very strong relationship with the black community in New York for a number of years. There's also a greater concern among the black community, at least in some corners, for due process. There's a long history here of African-Americans feeling like they've been mistreated by the justice system by not getting their full day in court.
But we don't really know where the public continue is right now. The last really good poll we had was about 10 days ago, and it showed a slight majority wanted him not to resign, 55 percent of New Yorkers, even though most New Yorkers didn't want him to run for reelection for a fourth term. But 10 days is a long time. There have been a lot of accusations since then. I think what happened yesterday with so many of the congressional delegations and state senators coming out against him could really shift those numbers. And we'll see. The idea that he still has a strong base of support is untested at the moment. So next week could be a different situation.
BLACKWELL: I read something from a political consultant overnight in prep for these conversations in which he suggested that the governor could adopt some of his critics' policy proposals. If they want a millionaire tax, maybe he could bring that in as they look toward the budget. Do you think it's too late for that now?
SCHERER: Yes, I think -- in individual situations, maybe that's true, maybe he can leverage some legislative deal for certain member support. But the fact is, almost half of the state legislative delegation, Democrats, have signaled they want him to go. A majority of the people in the Assembly and Senate have signaled they want him to go. There is an investigation happening right now in the Assembly. It will bring findings forward, and if they show he did something wrong, it's very likely that they'll move to an impeachment. So that's sort of a buying time tactic at this point, unless there are investigations that show what he's been accused of just is not true. But the sheer number of accusations I think suggest that's unlikely to happen.
BLACKWELL: Michael Scherer, thanks you so much.
SCHERER: Thank you.
PAUL: Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it needs serious help now to manage the surge of immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border.
BLACKWELL: It's asking for agency volunteers to help with security for migrant families and unaccompanied children. Deployments could start as soon as this weekend along the southwest border. CNN's Rosa Flores takes a look at how critical the influx has become.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are the faces of the immigration surge on the U.S.-Mexico border. Maria (ph) Mendoza (ph) is from El Salvador and hopes to reunite with her family in Maryland. Roxana (ph) Rivera (ph) is from Honduras and lost everything during a recent hurricane. She says that her dream is to have a house, and that that's why she made the trek to the United States.
Maria (ph) and Roxana (ph) are among the tens of thousands of migrants who have been encountered by U.S. border authorities in recent weeks. One area alone saw more than 500 migrants enter during an eight-hour period last week, according to a federal source, to expedite processing. Authorities started fingerprinting them under this bridge.
Many unaccompanied children and families are bussed to this new temporary immigration processing center in Donna, Texas. Maria (ph) Delarosa (ph) lives across the street and says buses packed with people arrive around the clock, and at night she hears children crying. You're scared?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. FLORES: From there, some migrants are dropped off by immigration
officials at bus stations like this one in Brownsville.
That's where we met Roxana (ph), Maria (ph), and her six-year-old daughter, Kaitlin (ph). She says she evaded a snake during her journey to the United States and fell off a raft while crossing the Rio Grande.
Why is there a surge right now, you think? Both Maria (ph) and Roxanne (ph) say they learned from news reports in their home countries that the Biden administration is allowing migrant women with children to enter the U.S.
And you believed that that was true?
Which is not entirely true. The Biden administration says it's allowing unaccompanied minors to remain in the U.S. pending immigration cases, and some families are allowed in on a case-by-case basis. That perception could be driving some of the surge, which has more than 3,700 unaccompanied children in Border Patrol custody in jail-like facilities. Health and Human Services is caring for about 8,800 unaccompanied minors while they're reunited with family and is even considering using a NASA site to expand bed space. And some nonprofit migrant shelters like Los Posada where Margarita (ph) Hernandez (ph), a migrant from Nicaragua is staying, has seen a spike in the flow of mothers, children, and pregnant women. Cindy (ph) Johnson (ph) has volunteered to help thousands of migrants across the river in Matamoros and collected hundreds of postcards with their story.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This child is saying that they witnessed people dying, people getting beaten.
FLORES: Cindy (ph) says she scanned them and sent them to then- candidate for President Joe Biden.
What was the goal of sending these letters to Biden?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The goal was they wanted them to see their humanity.
FLORES: Rosa Flores, CNN, along the U.S.-Mexico border.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
PAUL: Congresswoman Veronica Escobar is with us now. She represents El Paso, Texas. She's a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Congresswoman, we appreciate you being here. Thank you so much. And I understand you visited an immigrant processing center yesterday, and you actually spoke with some of these children. What did they tell you? And what did you witness there?
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): I did. Thank you so much for having me on your program. It's a pleasure to be with you. And, yes, I've been keeping in close contact with members of the Biden
administration, with my local officials, and yesterday I toured the processing center. And many of the kids that I spoke to, and this is true for kids that I've spoken to not just inside the processing center, but outside of it as well, many of them are wanting to finally be reunited with their parents. Their parents have been here for a couple of years. One child I spoke to told me both his parents had been here for five years. And they are -- their parents are mostly essential workers, frontline workers. Many of them are the very people who have helped us during the worse days of the pandemic.
PAUL: So, what is stopping these parents from being -- or these parents from being reunited with some of the children that are still being detained, particularly children who are being detained that long?
ESCOBAR: It is really an unacceptable situation to ever have a child detained for longer than what the law allows. And what the law is saying is 72 hours is the maximum. The Biden administration is working hard to try to expedite that process, but they're dealing with a system and an agency that was decimated by the previous administration. We all know that the administration of Donald Trump did everything possible to disassemble any humanitarian process available to the government. And so, the Biden administration, in addition to dealing with a continued flow of folks who are arriving, especially unaccompanied children, they are trying at the same time to rebuild a system that was broken down.
But I do feel hopeful about the work that they're doing, and we're seeing some of the fruits of the labor of the Biden administration. They have shaved down the time that children in shelters are staying there waiting for reunification with their parents. And just as context, under the Trump administration, some of the children were in shelters for three months, six months. I had met children who had been in shelters for a year. The Biden administration has cut that down to between 30 and 35 days.
But, still, it's a process that while they are making it more efficient and keeping it safe, we're dealing with the fallout from four years of incompetence and cruelty.
PAUL: We also hear there Rosa Flores talking to children and women who are saying we heard that we would now be allowed, women and children, to come into the country per the Biden administration. That's what they're being told.
I want to get to one thing real quickly before I let you go, because I know you led the Texas Democratic Congressional Delegation in writing this letter to Governor Greg Abbott. This has to do with FEMA funds that are designated, particularly for your district, El Paso. What did that letter say? And have you heard from the governor?
ESCOBAR: I have not heard from the governor. I do want to say a quick something about what we heard in Rosa's
story. I have spoken to a number of migrants here in El Paso. I have yet to hear a single one of them even mention Joe Biden's name. So, I think it's important to understand that there's a lot of factors at play, including people who have been waiting on the other side of the border for two years under the Trump administration.
But to the governor and the letter that I wrote, the governor went on television a couple weeks ago and essentially used the really racist and xenophobic tropes that immigrants are bringing in disease. What he didn't tell you was he, himself, is standing in the way of FEMA providing support and assistance to communities like mine to help test migrants to make sure that they are COVID negative, and to quarantine anyone who is COVID positive. And because he's rejected that help, local communities like ours are having to take it upon ourselves and find our own resources to do it.
It's really unconscionable what the governor has done. He's not responded, and I continue to call on him to accept FEMA's help to allow humane processing, but processing that keeps everybody safe.
PAUL: Representative Veronica Escobar, I'm so sorry we're out of time, but thank you for being with us. We appreciate hearing from you.
ESCOBAR: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Spring break time for a lot of people, and the new numbers reveal that millions of people are ready to travel. The new pandemic record that has a lot of health officials concerned about the potential for a new surge.
PAUL: Speaking of spring break, the mayor of Galveston, Texas, is with us next. His city is getting ready for crowds of beachgoers, and we're going to talk about his plans to keep it safe, and how the restrictions in the state have been lifted now.
BLACKWELL: Air travel just hit a new pandemic record. We've got some new numbers from the TSA that were released this morning. More than 1.3 million people they screened at airports yesterday. This is part of an upward trend of travel that's happening despite the call from the CDC that people should not travel, even those who are fully vaccinated.
PAUL: Another trend that's concerning health officials right now, too, and could explain a lot of this travel, are crowds starting to go to these spring break hot spots. CNN's Natasha Chen is in Miami Beach, and I know there's a real fear about a loss in progress down there as people let their guard down. What is it like at the moment?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi and Victor, when we walked through Miami Beach yesterday, the restaurants were just packed. In one case we saw people really excited, getting up and dancing, and the servers there were trying to motion to them that if they were going to get up from their table, please put a mask back on. But I felt for them, because it was just a few servers against a crowd of really energized people.
And I was walking along the beach with Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, and in the public space, the two of us were wearing masks, but we were really one of the few people who were. There is a requirement to wear one on Miami Beach, but he said it's hard with the state rules, he can't actually fine anyone for not wearing a mask. So, they've just got ambassadors handing out free one, free disposable ones to people who will take it. Here is Mayor Gelber talking about what he observed last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR DAN GELBER (D-FL), MIAMI BEACH: There are cheap flights and there's cheap rooms, and there's not other places open, or they're too cold. So, we're getting not only too large a crowd, but an unruly crowd. And the result has been we have through social media told people don't come here. If you're planning on doing that, here are the rules. We've got big signs saying it's arrestable to play loud music. We're trying to do everything we can to create some sense of order, but I don't know that we're doing a sufficient job, because last night it was incredibly unruly in one of the worst nights we've had since spring break has started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: And just to show the number of people coming, let's look at some statistics of hotel occupancy from the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. You can see the projected occupancy for this month and April is way up since last year at this time when things were starting to shut down. Not quite up to 2019 numbers, but certainly more people than this area has seen in quite some time. And as you mentioned, TSA screens 1.3 million passengers yesterday, the highest number really almost in a year, so higher than those holiday crowds even. Victor and Christi?
BLACKWELL: Natasha Chen for us there in Miami Beach, thank you.
PAUL: Thanks, Natasha. Now, the CDC doesn't want people to travel because officials fear a fourth case surge could happen. But thousands of spring breakers, as she was just talking about, they're heading to Texas, they're even going to Florida. One of several states, Texas, specifically, that has fully reopened without those mask mandates. But the beaches are particularly popular, obviously.
BLACKWELL: Craig Brown is the mayor of Galveston. Mr. Mayor, good morning to you.
MAYOR CRAIG BROWN, GALVESTON, TEXAS: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: So, Atlanta Mayer Keisha Lance Bottoms, ahead of the NBA all-star weekend, she said she did not want the thousands of people coming to down. She posted the hashtag, "We Full." Are you all full in Galveston? Do you want the thousands of people coming to town? [10:25:00]
BROWN: Well, the matter is, it's spring break, and so you're going to have a vast number of people coming to the beach because of that. We're welcoming them. We know the governor's order has relaxed the mandatory mask order. We are requesting, though, that our visitors, we encourage them, highly encourage them to maintain social distancing and wear their masks when they can.
PAUL: So I want to share some video here from our Houston affiliate, KTRK. The police department there recently arrested a woman for refusing to wear a mask inside a bank and then refused to leave when she was asked. I believe we have the video here of that arrest. This is by a Galveston police officer. Now, the businesses, they still want to enforce the mask mandate or social distancing, at least some of them do. Is there any way that the city can help make that happen?
BROWN: That's a good question. Many of the businesses and restaurants and shopping areas here on the island are enforcing still or requesting that all their clients and customers wear masks. This particular incident was a lady that refused to do that. The bank had said that's their policy. And she was arrested on trespassing charges, not on not wearing a mask.
BLACKWELL: The Texas attorney general has sued the city of Austin for continuing their mask mandate. You have said that you have to honor the governor's orders. Do you think that Mayor Adler is wrong to continue the mandate there?
BROWN: Well, I think each community makes their own decision. I think Austin, Round Rock, and that area there, they're one of the few areas in the state that has been pushing back on this. And we'll see how that plays out. We consulted with our city attorney here in Galveston, and the consensus was that we do not have any flexibility with this order, and so we are honoring the governor's orders.
PAUL: We talked earlier to Dr. Joseph Varon, who is in Houston, and he was saying that he has a real fear of a surge coming after spring break. Do you have that same concern? And are your medical teams and your hospitals prepared for something like that now?
BROWN: We are prepared for that. We have our hospitalizations, I would say, of COVID hospitalizations have been dropping here in our area. So that's good. We are prepared for that, and we'll see how that plays out. It's a delicate balance, as we all know, on opening up and maintaining safety. That's why we still encourage everyone on our island to maintain social distancing and wear their mask.
BLACKWELL: Speaking of balance, let me ask you about vaccinations. The vaccinations in Galveston County are open to everyone, not just county residents. What's your degree of concern that people who live there can fall to the back of the line if people from neighboring areas come in to try to get a vaccination in Galveston County?
BROWN: Well, those hubs, as we call them here in the state of Texas, they are open to everyone. It's been our experience, though, that most people that are seeking the vaccine, they stay in their locale there. So we don't have a lot of people coming from outside of our area and getting vaccinated.
PAUL: So before we let you go, I wanted to ask you how you are all recovering from that winter storm that just wreaked so much havoc on your area.
BROWN: Thank you for asking. The winter storm was disastrous for our area here. We're used to hurricanes. We're a coastal city and we've had some very severe hurricanes here. I would say in many instances, though, this winter storm wreaked havoc on our community far more than any hurricane. We're coming out of it. We have electricity, we have water. But we're hoping here that this concern is an anomaly for our area and not so much a trend. We are preparing, though, for the future, for these type of concerns in the future, and hopefully we'll be prepared if this happens again.
BLACKWELL: The winter storm is behind you. The spring break is ahead. And you've got the crowds coming whether you want them or not. Mayor Craig Brown, thank you so much for your time this morning.
BROWN: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you, sir.
BLACKWELL: Coming up, President Biden is aiming for Independence Day as a target date to let some people get back to a degree of normalcy. We'll explain what he says is possible if people do what they're supposed to until then.
PAUL: So, President Biden is getting ready to take the first legislative victory lap of his presidency. Help is here, that's the White House slogan this weekend as $1,400 stimulus payments start hitting the bank accounts of all of you who are eligible.
BLACKWELL: The president touted his almost $2 trillion rescue plan as historic and transformational at the White House yesterday. Now his administration plans to take the message across the country to the American people. CNN's Jasmine Wright is with the president in Wilmington, Delaware. So, what comes next in this rollout?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Victor, the president now turns his focus to actually implementing this large COVID relief bill. As he said yesterday in the Rose Garden, the devil is in the details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's one thing to pass the American Rescue Plan. It's going to be another thing to implement it. It's going to require fastidious oversight to make sure there's no waste or fraud and the law does what it's designed to do. And I mean it, we have to get this right. Details matter, because we have to continue to build confidence in the American people that their government can function for them and deliver.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: Now, a few things are going to happen this week when it comes to implementation. First, on Monday the White House says that they will hold an event focused on it. We know that President Biden has yet to declare who will oversee this role, something that he says he was going to do. But whoever does it, it's going to be a big task. They're going to be busy because this is a complicated bill.
Now, also this week we will see President Biden going on a victory tour, really both touting the popularity of this bill, but also trying to tell Americans exactly how they will benefit. We know that right now this bill is popular, and the White House wants to keep it that way. So we will see both the president, the vice president, and top surrogates really crisscrossing the country, in Pennsylvania, in Vegas, in Georgia, really to make the case and spread the message.
But something that Americans can look to even before then is this weekend when the White House says that those $1,400 stimulus checks will start to hit bank accounts, specifically those who have already gotten that direct deposit from the IRS. Victor, Christi?
PAUL: Jasmine Wright, we appreciate the update, thank you.
BLACKWELL: Federal prosecutors say that they may charge more than 400 people in the Capitol insurrection. The investigation is being called one of the largest and most complex in American history. More than 300 have already been charged in the assault by pro-Trump rioters in January 6th.
BLACKWELL: We've learned the Justice Department is right now preparing some of the first guilty plea offers, and the agency is bringing prosecutors in from across the country to help with this. CNN's Marshall Cohen is with us from D.C. So, Marshall, what do we know about the status of any of these potential plea deals in connection to the riot?
MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Good morning, guys. Prosecutors said in court yesterday that they're preparing to offer plea deals to some of the rioters. Early discussions have occurred between prosecutors and defense attorneys. Things could always change. But they did say yesterday that those first guilty pleas might be coming within the next few weeks.
We also learned a ton of new details about the investigation from a new court filing, and I want to walk you through some of the numbers, because they're really eye-popping. As you mentioned, 300 people have been charged, another 100 could be coming. Investigators are looking through 15,000 hours of surveillance tapes and police bodycam footage. They've examined 1,600 electronic devices. They've executed 900 search warrants across the country, and they've received more than 200,000 tips from the public. Massive investigation. They said this is perhaps the most complicated in the history of this country. So clearly a lot has been done, but there's a lot more ahead of us, guys.
BLACKWELL: Marshall, Ron Johnson, Senator Johnson said something that is, let's say, revealing about the fear that he might have had if this had been a different group. Talk us through that.
COHEN: Yes, well, guys, it was pretty interesting. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, he's had a bunch of controversial comments over the last couple of months since this attack. And amazingly, he is part of a group of Republicans that are still trying to downplay this. Listen to this, and then we'll break it down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON JOHNSON, (R-WI): I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn't concerned. Now, had the tables been turned, and Joe, this could mean trouble. Had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and Antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: Yes, so he's making it about race in kind of an ugly way. He praised the mostly white crowd and said he would have been afraid of black protesters. Guys, it's obviously -- it's disturbing. But also, it's just wrong on the facts. He said the crowd was peaceful and supported law enforcement. Look at some of these latest arrests just in the last few days, really undercuts the narrative. The DOJ charged one of the men who allegedly attacked Police Officer Michael Fanone. He is the officer who told his gut-wrenching story about how he was dragged into the crowd and pleaded for his life. The man that was charged allegedly stole Fanone's badge and buried it in his backyard.
And the feds also this week charged a member of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers. These are folks that were trying to train people to come to Washington and cause all kinds of trouble. So really Ron Johnson, he is not right on the facts, and there's big questions about his tone there, too.
BLACKWELL: Yes, and why he felt so comfortable with the people we saw on the screen that they would respect law enforcement and love the country and would never do anything to break the law. Marshall Cohen, Ron Johnson is telling on himself. Thank you so much.
PAUL: So, I don't know if you're aware of this, but it was exactly a year ago today that Breonna Taylor was shot to death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMIKA PALMER, MOTHER OF BREONNA TAYLOR: I'll never get to a point where I'm over what happened to her. (END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Still ahead, we talk to Breonna's mother and her continuing fight for justice.
PAUL: It was a year ago today that police shot and killed Breonna Taylor in a Louisville, Kentucky, apartment. This was during a flawed forced entry raid.
BLACKWELL: And there are events planned across the country today to both honor her and demand justice. CNN's Jason Carroll is in Louisville this morning. I understand you spoke with Breonna Taylor's mother as she marks the one year of her daughter's killing. But also, it looks like there's something starting behind you. Let's talk about that, too.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, first let's talk about Breonna Taylor's mother. She is frustrated. She still feels as though justice is something that has not been achieved for her and for her daughter. And so that's why just about a few hours from now she'll be on the stage behind me taking that stage to remind the city, to remind the nation that the fight for justice continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
TAMIKA PALMER, MOTHER OF BREONNA TAYLOR: It's been a year for people, but every day has been march the 13th for me still.
CARROLL: Every day?
PALMER: Every day.
CARROLL: March 13th, 2020, the day Taylor was killed during a botched police raid at her apartment.
PALMER: It will always be that sense of anger because you know that she should be here.
CARROLL: None of the officers who raided Taylor's apartment have been charged in her death. Instead, a grand jury brought charges of felony one endangerment against one of them, Brett Hankison, for firing through Taylor's wall into a neighboring apartment. The state's attorney general defended the officer's actions, saying they were justified because Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at the officers first that night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The male was holding a gun, arms extended in a shooting stance.
CARROLL: Walker argued he fired in self-defense, thinking someone was trying to break in. He says the officers never identified themselves, but the officers say they did. Just this week a Kentucky judge permanently dismissed charges against Walker, who was initially accused of attempted murder for shooting at the officers.
STEVE ROMINES, ATTORNEY FOR KENNETH WALKER: He's just supposed to say thank you and walk away? No, there has to be a consequence. There has to be accountability.
CARROLL: Accountability is key not only to people like Walker and Tamika Palmer, but to thousands of demonstrators such as Pastor Timothy Findley, who protested over the past year, calling for police reforms in the wake of Taylor's death and the deaths of other African- Americans at the hands of police.
PASTOR TIMOTHY FINDLEY, KINGDOM FELLOWSHIP CHRISTIAN LIFE CENTER: When we think about March 13th now, it's Breonna Taylor, not just remembering her name, but it's really become a rally call, a rally call for justice in our city, justice in our state.
CARROLL: Last year the city of Louisville paid Taylor's family $12 million in a civil settlement and passed Breonna's law, which bans no knock warrants and mandates the use of body cameras during searches. And the city's mayor says there has been a top to bottom review of the Louisville Metro Police Department.
MAYOR GREG FISCHER, (D) LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY: There's a lot to do. We have done a lot, but we're going to keep working at this.
CARROLL: But it's still not enough for Palmer. With no officers charged in her daughter's death, she says justice is something that still eludes her. With the help of her attorney, she penned an open letter to President Joe Biden in the "Washington Post" asking his administration to enact national policies to hold police accountable.
LONITA BAKER, TAYLOR FAMILY ATTORNEY: I guess I'm hopeful, because we're at a point of reckoning where if we don't fix it, we're going to be in a lot of trouble.
PALMER: She's more hopeful than me.
CARROLL: And why is that?
PALMER: It's a trust thing. At this point, I don't trust them.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
CARROLL (on camera): And, again, there is still an FBI investigation that's under way, and so the hope is that perhaps they'll get some of the justice that they're looking for with the results of that investigation. But meanwhile, out here today at 1:00, there will be a rally and a march. Taylor's mother will be here on that stage once again to remind people just how important this day is to the family. Guys, back to you.
BLACKWELL: Every day is March 13th for her mother. Jason Carroll, thank you so much for that report.
As Jason said, there are events across the country today to honor Breonna Taylor and call for justice. As you said, there is that one in Louisville at 1:00 p.m., and then there's a vigil at 5:00 p.m. that's in Birmingham, Alabama. In Sacramento, California, there's a walk at 2:00. And a say her name memorial reading, that is tonight, and that is happening online.
PAUL: So there are two NASA astronauts right now making a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. We'll tell you what's going on with this mission.
BLACKWELL: Be sure to tune in to the latest episode of the CNN original series "Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy." But let me give you some advice, don't watch this show on an empty stomach, because it is tortuous if you are hungry.
PAUL: I can see that.
BLACKWELL: He explores the beautiful region of Tuscany from the art, the food, the culture. Nowhere on earth quite like it. "Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy" airs Sunday night at 9:00 on CNN.
PAUL: We've got to check back in on NASA's spacewalk, this is outside the International Space Station, officially began at 8:14 this morning eastern. It's supposed to last six-and-a-half hours.
BLACKWELL: We've been trying to get these live pictures for you all morning.
American astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover are making several system upgrades to the ISS. Glover is the one with a red stripe on his suit. I don't know if you can see that. Hopkins not marked there. NASA says this is the fifth spacewalk of the year.
PAUL: All right, thank you so much. We appreciate you being with us. And we hope you make good memories today.
BLACKWELL: Much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom. Fredricka Whitfield is up after the break.