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Former Albany Reporter Accuses Gov. Cuomo Of Sexual Harassment; Officials Warn Of Ongoing Threat And Spring Break Travel Spike; Johnson: I May Have Felt Unsafe If Rioters Had Been BLM Or Antifa; DOJ: Guilty Pleas For Capitol Rioters Could Be Weeks Away; Stimulus Package Includes Billions In Aid To Black Farmers; Royal Rift Between William And Harry On Display; NFL Hopeful Finds New Dream After Accident. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired March 13, 2021 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:00:14]

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining me.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin this hour with a new allegation of inappropriate behavior from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as the political pressure for him to resign grows. In "New York Magazine", a former reporter who covered the Cuomo administration says the governor sexually harassed and embarrassed her in front of colleagues on multiple occasions.

At least six women are now coming forward with allegations against Cuomo. Congressional and state leaders in his own party say Cuomo can no longer govern effectively and should resign. But Cuomo remains steadfastly defiant saying in a teleconference Friday that he is not going anywhere and flat-out denying the allegations against him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR 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. Now -- and I never would, right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Let's start with the new allegations coming from a former reporter. CNN's Polo Sandoval is following the latest developments. Polo, what are you hearing?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes Fred, you're referring to Jessica Bakeman. She really is just the latest to the growing list of women who have come forward recently with these allegations of sexual harassment and assault against New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo.

As you mentioned earlier, these are accusations that the governor continues to deny and continues to refuse to step down over, instead saying that he wants the investigation to proceed.

But Bakeman recounting when she was a reporter, she's now a reporter in Miami. So basically she self-penned a piece, a first-person piece in "New York Magazine" in which she recounts multiple occasions in which she alleges that she was touched by the governor without her consent.

She specifically recalls one evening in 2014 when she was a 25-year- old reporter covering the New York statehouse in which she recalled, se was attending a holiday party, when she writes that the governor put his arm around her waist and held her firmly in place while indicating to a photographer that he wanted to pose for a photo with her.

Bakeman writing that this was one of the -- in her words -- one of the most egregious ways that she was sexually harassed by the governor.

CNN has reached out to the governor's office for his reaction, or at least his response to this latest round of accusations, but we should note that earlier, it clearly was a while ago, just yesterday the governor responded to the general allegations that have come forward about him saying that he obviously denies any form of misconduct and he certainly welcomes this investigation that's moving forward. And as he said, he would like for all of the facts to eventually emerge here.

But, still, we are already getting a huge chorus of critics from within his own party, not just at the New York State capitol house but also in Washington D.C. It's a growing list of lawmakers on the Democratic side calling for the governor to step down, and that includes of course, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

We should also mention that again, he continues to maintain not only that there was no misconduct on his part, but also refuses to resign from his position as New York's chief executive, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much for that.

All right. So what happens now? Joining me right now is New York state senator Alessandra Biaggi, who is a former attorney in the Cuomo administration and is now calling for him to resign.

So good to see you. So what's your reaction to this now latest accusation coming from a former reporter about multiple occasions in which she felt uncomfortable?

ALESSANDRA BIAGGI (D), NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: So thank you for having me and good morning. I think that what we're seeing is, as the details continue to pile on, this continued case for the fact that this governor is someone who has engaged in a pattern of abusive behavior, not just in the past year, or in the past tenure of his latest term, but for the past decade and perhaps even before that. I think that the same attitude that emboldens you to target a 25-year-old also emboldens you to scrub a nursing home report.

This is literally all connected in a way that leads many of us, myself included, 60 plus members of the legislature to not only call on the governor to resign, but also to move forward with impeachment proceedings.

WHITFIELD: So you're also quoted in a separate "New York Magazine" article, the latest accusation coming from that reporter is in a "New York magazine" article and in a separate article you were quoted as saying and corroborating that the atmosphere in Cuomo's office was toxic. You even describe yourself as having some uncomfortable interactions with him.

[11:05:03]

WHITFIELD: Can you describe them? Are they similar, different from what we've heard from these now what -- six women who have come forward with allegations?

BIAGGI: So I didn't experience the same sexual harassment or sexual assault experiences that a lot of the women who have come forward have discussed.

But what I will say is that it is connected to what I did experience, which is a culture of fear, a culture of toxic behavior where the governor and the people who are closest to him in his inner circle not only condescend to those around them but they berate them. They belittle them.

They do insert into the people around them fear in a way that not only prevents people from being able to do their job. But it prevents New Yorkers from receiving not only the best leadership from a governor and his governmental staff with the primary mission to be to serve the people of New York, but it prevents people from being able to enter a workplace and to be safe. And so --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: So why now?

BIAGGI: -- in my experience --

WHITFIELD: I mean you say this is a long pattern that spreads over a course of years. Why now this culmination?

BIAGGI: So just to like reframe us here, right, we have not only a cover-up of a cover-up of nursing home deaths during COVID-19, we also have -- I believe it's actually seven women now who have come forward.

We also have allegations and whistleblower accounts of one of the bridges in New York actually not even being stable enough to have cars driving over it.

This collection of misdeeds and others that have not come to the public light really have not only broken the trust of the legislature, but also of the public.

And we have to have a governor and an executive who holds himself to the highest standard.

And right now that trust is broken and we have to have accountability. WHITFIELD: So CNN has only been able to authenticate six of the

allegations coming from six different women.

So we're also seeing this extraordinary, you know, push from some of the most prominent Democrats in Congress in addition to state legislature calling for Cuomo to resign.

Has this in your view become an untenable situation? Do you believe this is impairing his ability to govern?

BIAGGI: There's no doubt that this is impairing his ability to govern. It's not only a distraction to the work that we need to be doing every day, but every single day that we wake up to serve the people of our districts and the state, there is another controversy, another scandal that we have to face and deal with on a regular basis.

Our job is not only to serve the people of our district and the state, but it's also to pass a budget on time. And this is budget season. We have to really make sure that we are thinking about COVID recovery and relief. And frankly, a lot of us -- most of us have now lost trust and faith in the governor.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: And that deadline -- that budget deadline, that's April 1st. But how is this -- all of these allegations impairing the governor from doing his job, from governing?

BIAGGI: So as I just mentioned, every single day that he is not only showing up to work, he is being required to spend a majority of his time defending his bad behavior. Not only that, he is not thinking about the best interest of the state of New York. Why? Because he is constantly on the defense. He is constantly in the public spotlight defending the behaviors, not only again, of the sexual harassment allegations, but also of the nursing home cover-up and death.

And that alone should be enough for not only the legislature, but all of New York to say this is somebody who is trying to keep the numbers lower so that he can actually have a good public perception. That is not someone who has the best interest of New Yorkers at heart or at hand.

WHITFIELD: So when I spoke with you in February, you did believe that there should have been some restriction in his reach, his executive order as a result of the nursing home debacle.

But what specifically has changed your mind now about he either resigning or being impeached?

BIAGGI: So I think we should look at again, the pattern of abusive behavior, but let's just focus on some of these allegations that have come forward from the women who have spoken out.

Not only has our governor not denied them, he consistently shifts the blame to the women, accusing them of political motives. Now this, again, consistent pattern of abuse, important to highlight here because as a sexual abuse survivor, I am very clear about what it looks like when someone who has not only done the behaviors that he's being accused of, he or she is being accused of, but also is in a position where they feel like they need to defend their honor, defend their perception. This is a governor who cares deeply about his image, the control of how the information is disseminated.

[11:09:52]

BIAGGI: And so when we look at all of these things collectively -- because it is a collection of misdeeds -- the reality is here now that we do not have a governor that the people of New York can trust.

WHITFIELD: So the most recent polling from Quinnipiac about a week and a half, two weeks ago showed about 55 percent of voters still have confidence in the governor. So what happens in your view if the governor remains defiant?

BIAGGI: So if the governor remains defiant, then we have to move forward with impeachment proceedings. One thing I just want to be really clear about with the public is this.

Right now we have the assembly, which is responsible to begin the impeachment proceedings by drafting up the articles of impeachment. As I'm sure many people have seen, right now the assembly is actually engaging in an investigation, which is actually not a necessary step. Why? Because the assembly is responsible for drafting the articles of impeachment, sending them to the senate.

The senate actually is the body that will oversee not only an investigation, but also an ability for witnesses to come forward, for evidence to be heard, for that due process that the governor is alleging that he's not getting because many of us are calling for him to resign.

After that, then this impeachment court will vote on whether or not we believe that there is enough evidence to come forward to remove the governor from office.

But this is a step we have got to take because again, it is distracting from the work that we are here to do.

WHITFIELD: But in your view, all of that in addition to the investigations that do continue from the attorney general's office?

BIAGGI: Correct, that's right, exactly. And just to remind everyone, right, there are two federal investigations currently going on with regard to the nursing home cover-up. There is an attorney general investigation with regard to the sexual harassment allegations that have been forth.

And in addition to that what I am also making the case for and many of my colleagues are making the case for is to have impeachment proceedings as well. Why because we do not believe the governor should continue to serve in this current circumstance, and all of the controversies that are surrounding him. WHITFIELD: Of course, but you don't believe those things should come

after the investigation, allow the investigation to complete from the attorney general first?

BIAGGI: No, I don't. And I want to make one case for this that I think is an important point. Calling for the governor to resign and having impeachment proceedings is not a directly send-to-jail, right. This is -- what e are asking is that this is a person that steps down so that we can continue the work of the state.

The lieutenant governor will take over the duties of the governorship and we will be able to do our work. It is not a call for the governor to step down and then be sent to jail or be punished. The process will still continue, but the distraction will go away.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now. New York State Senator Alessandra Biaggi -- thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it.

BIAGGI: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, a surge in travel for spring break could mean a new surge in coronavirus cases. Could spring break be the next super spreader event?

[11:12:42]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. More travelers taking to the skies. The TSA screened the highest number of travelers since the start of the pandemic on Friday.

More than 1.3 million people passed through U.S. airports, the highest number since March 15th of 2020. That number showing spring break is in full swing, despite the CDC warning that even fully vaccinated people should avoid travel for now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: We are very worried about transmissible variants, a lot of them have come through our travel corridors. So we're being extra cautious right now with travel and we will follow that and update it as soon as we have more data.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN's Natasha Chen joining me now from Miami Beach. So Natasha, officials there are pretty concerned about the spring break as well, aren't they?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, Fred, there are cheaper flights, discounted rooms, and so a lot of people are coming into town. Some folks told CNN yesterday that they came because they heard about the rules and really it's a lack of them. The city of Miami Beach actually has a mask requirement, but the mayor told me it's impossible, according to Florida state rules, to actually fine anyone for not wearing a mask. So Mayor Dan Gelber told me he's really just trying his best at this point, having people hand out free disposable masks and hoping to send the message so that this doesn't become a super spreader event.

Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: I don't want our brand to be "Let Loose", you know, and no offense to Las Vegas, whose mantra is, you know, whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. That's not what we're aiming for here.

We're not telling people to come here and do stuff you would never do in your hometown. We're telling them to come here and enjoy. We have the beaches. We have the restaurants. We have the venues. We have all that stuff.

Just follow the rules and you'll have a great time. If you don't follow the rules, especially right now, you're really in for trouble.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: and there are a lot more police out there trying to make sure people are behaving, sticking to the curfew. So the curfew is at midnight.

You know, it's really something that you can see as far as numbers of people coming to town when you look at hotel occupancy statistics as well. We got this from the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors bureau showing the difference between 2019, 2020, 2021. The projected numbers this month and next month, much, much higher than last year when the pandemic first started.

Still not quite to 2019 numbers, but you can see that's more people that are coming here than these businesses have seen in a long time, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Ok. Big difference. Natasha Chen, thanks so much.

All right. Let's bring in now Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst and emergency physician. She's also a former Baltimore City health commissioner. Dr. Wen, So good to see you.

All right. So you sounded the alarm about this looming threat of the coronavirus, you know, on this program one year ago. Here's a piece of what you had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: We are not even close to the peak of the epidemic yet. The problem is we just don't know how many patients are going to be coming in all at the same time. We simply don't have enough intensive care unit beds, we don't have enough ventilators.

[11:19:57]

DR. WEN: Most of these life-saving equipment are already occupied. There are already patients who are in need of these supplies and we just don't have nearly enough.

And that's the reason why all of us have to take matters into our own hands now and do our best to reduce the rate of transmission.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So that was an ominous warning and now here we are one year later. Do you see things differently?

DR. WEN: It was really difficult actually to watch that clip because the worst case scenario, Fred, of what we predicted actually happened. And I mean looking back, of course there are things that we should have done differently with hindsight.

We should have known about masks earlier. That would have saved a lot of lives. If we didn't have mixed messaging, if we had better coordination and the role of the federal government be clear, I think it would have made such a big difference.

But I also hope that people will see that if we didn't take those matters into our own hands as I was saying last year, if people didn't do our part, we could have had so many more deaths and I really hope that people will see that going forward, to that as dire as things have seemed and continue to seem in some ways, there are things that we can do right now to protect ourselves and everybody around us, too.

WHITFIELD: And so what is your outlook now? We've got three vaccines, you know, available to Americans and at the same time just ahead of this, the conversation we're talking about, spring breakers and how, you know, coastal towns, people are flocking, feeling like, all right, it's all right, we can just go back to what we think is normal. So how do you see the next year ahead, given those factors?

DR. WEN: I think in general I have a very optimistic outlook about the months and certainly the years ahead. I think it's really remarkable and I think we need to take a step back and celebrate these scientific achievements of having three safe and highly effective vaccines. That's really wonderful.

This time science is delivering, will help us out of this. But at the same time I also worry about having a fourth surge. I think we are letting loose a bit too early because we're talking about lifting mask mandates, which is something, again, I understand reopening businesses, I want our businesses and schools and churches and other institutions to reopen.

We can do that if we keep in place mask mandates. And I also do think that the travel that's occurring, the spring break travel, I'm very worried about that. It's not so much the travel, the going on planes and trains. It's what are people doing afterwards. And gathering outside, much better than gathering inside. But bars are

open at 100 percent capacity. If people are going to bars and restaurants, not wearing masks, crowded together. We could have a fourth surge.

WHITFIELD: And then now, you know, a new CNN poll finds that about seven in ten Americans have received or plan to get vaccinated while a new Marist poll finds that 49 percent of men who identify as Republicans say they have no plans to get vaccinated. How do you factor in those issues?

DR. WEN: That is extremely concerning. And I just want to point out, too, that in that same poll they also looked at African-Americans, Latino Americans.

Yes, there is increased hesitancy in those populations, too, but actually the population with the highest rate of people who say that they will not get vaccinated are Republican men.

And so I think this is where former President Trump can do a lot with his message and his voice, because there are many millions of Americans who will listen to him.

And so I think moving forward we could factor in --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: He had that opportunity in January when he and Melania, you know, got their vaccines, but didn't say anything and still. Now that that has been made public, he still has been silent on that front.

DR. WEN: Right, and there's so much that President Trump can do. As in he could say, and rightfully so, he could take credit for the development of these incredible vaccines and then say also how he encourages everyone to do this because this is our ticket back to normalcy. It's masks for now and getting your vaccine as soon as you can.

Imagine how powerful it would be if President Trump urged his many, many millions of supporters to take this -- to take this on for themselves so that it could help all of America get back to normal.

WHITFIELD: All right. Dr. Leana Wen, good to see you. Thank you so much.

DR. WEN: Thanks Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Straight ahead, a Republican senator admits that he would have reacted differently had the rioters who stormed the Capitol been Black Lives Matter or Antifa protesters.

SENATOR RON JOHNSON (R-WI): 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) WHITFIELD: And the rift between Prince Harry and his brother William deepening after Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah this week. Details straight ahead.

[11:24:50]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: As rioters stormed the capitol on January 6th, hunting for lawmakers and threatening to hang Mike Pence, senators and congresspeople were literally running for their lives down the halls. But one senator says he wasn't worried because they were Trump supporters.

In a new radio interview, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin claims he might have been concerned if the protesters looked different.

Here are his own words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: I knew those were people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law. And so I wasn't concerned.

[11:29:56]

JOHNSON: Now, had the tables been turned, 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)

WHITFIELD: Daniella Diaz joining us now on Capitol Hill. So Daniella, tell us more about what Senator Johnson had to say. And, you know, I have to point out that he did say in the interview that this will get me in trouble. So he actually knew that it was going to be offensive.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: That's right, Fred. Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin invoked race in this interview he had on Friday with "The Joe Pags show where he said he would have been more concerned had the protesters been involved with Black Lives Matter and Antifa.

I want to note that the majority of the protesters that stormed the Capitol on January 6th were white and more than a hundred police officers were injured and five people died including a police officer as a result of this attack.

And he has faced a lot of criticism following his comments on this issue. He is not the first politician to draw a false equivalency between what happened on January 6th and the protests that took place last summer when black people died at the hands of police officers.

And I want to note that he has received criticism for some of the comments he's made in the past. This is not his first one, including when he said that what took place on January 6th was not an armed insurrection, when there's plenty of evidence that shows that it was an armed insurrection.

And he has not responded to multiple requests for comment by CNN why he made these remarks and why he invoked race in this interview, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. So it's still just the beginning of this new mystery. Daniella Diaz, thank you so much.

The U.S. Justice Department continues to move forward with what is quickly becoming a historic investigation. The DOJ now say more than 400 people could end up being charged.

Marshall Cohen is following this investigation in Washington. So Marshall, what are you learning about those who were being charged and what the charges look like?

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Fred, we learned a ton of new details about the investigation yesterday in a new court filing. I'm going to walk you through some of those numbers. They're breathtaking.

So as you mentioned, more than 300 people, they've been charged already. Another 400 could be coming. Investigators are looking through 15,000 hours of surveillance tape and body cam footage. Think about that. That's a tremendous amount of footage.

They've examined 1,600 electronic devices. They've executed 900 search warrants across the country, almost every single state. And they've received more than 210,000 tips from the public.

Also, Fred, prosecutors said in court yesterday they're preparing to offer plea deals to some of the rioters. This could always change as things develop, but some of those first guilty pleas, Fred, they might just be a few weeks away.

WHITFIELD: So a conspiracy investigation into the far right group the Oath Keepers also seems to be expanding. Give us the latest on that.

COHEN: So far more than a dozen members of the Oath Keepers have been charged. That's the far right extremist anti-government group. Prosecutors said this week that they plan to expand their conspiracy case and arrest more members. They didn't say when.

But there were some developments across the country this week with the Oath Keepers. One man charged, Joshua James of Alabama. Investigators said that he provided security for Roger Stone, the Trump associate, at a Stop the Steal event one day before the attack.

And Fred, another alleged Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell, of Virginia, he convinced a judge yesterday to release him from jail. The judge pointed out that this man, Thomas Caldwell, was one of the few Oath Keepers who didn't actually enter the Capitol during the attack and apparently that was a big differentiator for why he can be released.

But we've seen this investigation with the Oath Keepers really fan out across the country, multiple defendants from multiple states. The Justice Department has said this is a priority, these extremist groups. They want to crack down, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Marshall Cohen, thank you so much, from Washington.

All right. Straight ahead, President Biden's coronavirus relief package just passed for all Americans. So why is Senator Lindsey Graham characterizing aid given to black farmers as reparations? I'll talk live to one of those farmers about why this assistance is so important for all Americans.

[11:34:25]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right.

President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package is now law and it includes a historic provision for $5 billion in assistance to black farmers. The money will go toward paying off the debt of disadvantaged black farmers. It will also fund a racial equity commission in the USDA to address what critics say is long existing discrimination in the department.

But Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has another name for this assistance, reparation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Let me give you an example of something that really bothers me. In this bill if you're a farmer, your loan will be forgiven up to 120 percent of your loan, not 100 percent, but 120 percent of your loan if you're socially disadvantaged, if you're African-American, some other minority.

But if you're a white person, if you're a white woman, no forgiveness as reparations. What has that got to do with COVID? God help us all if we don't check and balance them in 2022.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. With me now is John Boyd Jr. He's a fourth generation farmer and the founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association. So good to see you, John.

So what was your reaction when you heard the words of Lindsey Graham, the senator?

[01:39:45]

JOHN BOYD JR., FOUNDER/PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BLACK FARMERS ASSOCIATION: Fred, thank you for having me.

It's very disheartening to listen to those comments from Senator Lindsey Graham and I've lobbied him and Congress both as a congressman and as a senator about the discrimination that many black farmers faced, including myself.

And Senator Lindsey Graham never spoke out against our discrimination or anything that affected our black farmers where we were not participating in all of the federal programs, including subsidies and loans.

And he never spoke out against it. He never used his megaphone to support black farmers and he has 6,000 black farmers -- we checked our membership list -- 6,000 black farmers and he's never once supported us.

WHITFIELD: In South Carolina.

BOYD JR.: In South Carolina. So he's never supported us, but he's used his megaphone quickly after a report for 30 years to get relief in Congress to speak out against us and play the race card here, where he knows that we haven't been participating in the farm subsidy programs, farm loans, all of these programs we've been totally shut out.

And he used this opportunity to play the race card here, Fred.

WHITFIELD: So this bill, this loan provision is intended to -- I'm quoting now, you know, address the historical discrimination against socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and address issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, you know, according to the text in that bill. And I know you have had issues with the agricultural secretary Tom Vilsack. You've expressed your reservations about him.

How comfortable are you that he is supportive of this provision that it will be policy implemented?

BOYD, JR.: Well, I spoke to Secretary Vilsack yesterday. He called me late yesterday afternoon to congratulate me on the bill. And I spoke to him about swift implementation of this act, that black farmers have been hurting and we need -- now that it's become law and I would like to also recognize the president for that.

needs to act swiftly to make sure that these farmers get the debt relief and also set up the commission and those things to make sure that black farmers get technical assistance and outreach, something that's been lacking at the United States Department of Agriculture for a very, very long time.

So I'm hopeful that he's going to act and act swiftly based on yesterday's call.

WHITFIELD: And black farmers are great beneficiaries of this, but also Hispanic farmers, native American farmers, Asian-American farmers -- all can look forward to debt forgiveness, 120 percent.

Also, another few billion will be dedicated to outreach and training. How do you see this making a significant difference or making an impact on your livelihood?

I think it's the most significant result for black farmers in this country since the voting rights act. And also I think what's important here, too, Fredricka, is a look at those senators who put out ten amendments, so out of this $2 trillion resolve bill, they chose to pick on black farmers.

49 senators voted to pull that language or reduce the language so that it wouldn't help our black farmers and farmers of color. So we're very disappointed in those persons and one of them was Senator Lindsey Graham.

So when people say that elections don't matter, they do, because I think if the shoe was on the other foot, farmers of color wouldn't have got this major victory.

WHITFIELD: Lindsey Graham was among those critics of this provision who said, what does this have to do with COVID. How did the pandemic impact you, hurt even further black farmers who were already feeling the pain?

BOYD, JR.: Yes, black farmers were told that we had to destroy crops, Fred, in order to get crop insurance. And when the restaurants closed up, many black farmers lost their contracts in the local communities.

So we were struggling. We were told that we didn't qualify for PPP resolve. All of these things -- we didn't get emergency loans, farm operating loans. And that's what I think the American people don't understand. When the monies are out there, they never seem to find black farmers and farmers of color.

And this isn't a new -- this isn't a new issue. I've been trying to get debt relief for black farmers for over 30 years and it just made it into this bill. So it isn't something that was new. It's something that the pandemic really escalated for America's black farmers and farmers of color.

WHITFIELD: You answered my next question which was, you've been at this for a really long time and now after those many decades, you are now seeing some of the fruits of your labor, not just for yourself but for thousands of black farmers, Asian-American farmers, Hispanic and Native American.

John Boyd Jr., thank you so much. Good to see you.

[11:44:59]

BOYD JR.: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Straight ahead, cracks in the bond between Prince Harry and his older brother, Prince William. More on the fallout over Harry and Meghan's bombshell interview about the royal family, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:49:54]

WHITFIELD: All right. The rift between Prince William and Prince Harry even more apparent in the days after Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah where Harry accused the royal family of being racist.

There have been reports of turmoil between the brothers ever since Meghan and Harry stepped down from their royal duties.

Here's CNN's Max Foster.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, have you both -- have you spoken to your brother since the interview?

PRINCE WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: No, I haven't spoken to him yet, but I will do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you just let me know, is the royal family a racist family sir?

PRINCE WILLIAM: We're very much not a racist family.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): A reporter, breaking protocol with unsolicited questions. Answered by a brother, still not ready to talk.

The royal rift never more apparent than just days after a scathing, no holds barred interview in which Harry made allegations that will live with the British monarchy for years, if not decades.

Prince William, still the heir; Prince Harry, no longer his stand in. An ocean apart but the distance between the two, even greater.

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: The relationship is spaced, at the moment.

FOSTER: That space, confirmed it seemed on Thursday by the future king of the United Kingdom, a far cry from this.

PRINCE HARRY: He's definitely got more brains than me. I think we've established that from school. But when it comes to all -- I'm much better hands on.

FOSTER: -- when the gentle ribbing and teasing of two brothers who have been through so much, showed just how inseparable their bond seemed to be.

PRINCE WILLIAM: It's pretty rich, coming from a ginger.

FOSTER: These two young men who had grown up being watched by millions living through the unimaginable tragedy of losing their mother as young boys. And emerging on the other side, together, side by side, candidly exposing their pain.

PRINCE WILLIAM: We have been brought closer because of the circumstances as well, that's the thing. You know you are -- you know, uniquely bonded because of what we've been through.

FOSTER: Making mental health a joint centerpiece of their royal platform.

At the time, both men aware of the duty on William's shoulders as future king. Their grandmother, the Queen, committed to a slimmed down future monarchy, only adding to the burden they were meant to share.

PRINCE HARRY: There's a lot of times that both myself, and my brother, wish obviously that we were just, you know, completely normal. But, we've been born into this position, and therefore we will do what we need to do.

FOSTER: But after a period of smooth sailing -- royal tours, engagements, weddings, and births -- rumors of turmoil within. Becoming reality as Harry and Meghan, took steps last year to stand back and ultimately, to stand apart.

Prince William, reportedly, saddened by the couple's decision. According to "The Sunday Times", saying to a friend, "I've put my arm around my brother all our lives. And I can't do that anymore. We are separate entities."

Harry, solidifying that separation in a sit-down tell-all with his wife to Oprah Winfrey.

PRINCE HARRY: He's my brother, we've been through hell together. And we had a shared experience, but we, you know, we were on different paths.

FOSTER: Max Foster, CNN -- Hampshire, England.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Straight ahead, a winter storm warning for nearly 5.5 million people. Now multiple states are bracing for blizzard-like weather.

But first a young man's dream to become a star football player was derailed by tragedy. So he sought out another dream, motivating others to be their best.

Here's Dr. Sanjay Gupta with "The Human Factor".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Timothy Alexander realized at a young age he was very good at football.

TIMOTHY ALEXANDER, MOTIVATIONAL COACH: I wanted to grow up and play ball, not just to play but have a career and do something for myself and for my family.

DR. GUPTA: But in his senior year of high school an accident changed everything.

ALEXANDER: We swerved, hit first into the telephone pole, the car went down a cliff which left me paralyzed from the neck down. DR. GUPTA: Eventually, he did regain the use of his upper body but

depression plagued him.

ALEXANDER: I've tried to take my life three times in one week and it did not go as planned. I said to myself there must be a reason why I'm here.

I told the head football coach my dream that I was going to be one of the best tight ends that ever came to UAB football but I probably would never touch the field. And he said I want to invite you out to a practice.

DR. GUPTA: The honorary player worked out and did mental reps with the players. The coach was so impressed by his drive, Timothy earned a full football scholarship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham motivating everyone with his positivity.

After getting a masters degree, UAB hired him as director of character development.

ALEXANDER: My job is to remind them why they decided to play this game.

DR. GUPTA: His motivational speaking skills have led to bookings by pro sports teams and Fortune 500 companies.

ALEXANDER: It is our positive response that allows us to be unstoppable.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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[11:59:40]

WHITFIELD: All right. Overnight we spring forward, but don't store away your snow shovels just yet.

Nearly 5.5 million people are under severe snowstorm, blizzard and flash flood warnings, potentially historic weather conditions expected to move eastwards throughout the weekend. Heavy snow in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska is expected to start later on today.

And tomorrow night here on CNN, Stanley Tucci explores the beautiful region of Tuscany.