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Memorial Event Marks One Year Since Breonna Taylor's Death; New Accusation Of Sexual Harassment Against Gov. Cuomo Surfaces As Calls For His Resignation Grow; Air Travel Hits New Pandemic Record Despite Expert Warnings; CNN Investigation Finds Starving, Dying Children Packing Yemen Hospitals Amid Civil War; CNN's "Lincoln, Divided We Stand," Airs Tomorrow Night At 10 P.M.; Grammy Awards Ceremony Returns After COVID-19 Delay. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 13, 2021 - 13:00   ET

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


[13:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin this hour with the city of Louisville, Kentucky in mourning marking the one-year anniversary of that deadly police shooting of Breonna Taylor. Live pictures right now from a memorial and march happening this hour. We will have a live report coming up in a few moments.

Taylor was shot by police during a botched raid at her apartment one year ago today. Her name has become a rallying cry for police reform across the country. Her mother telling CNN that she is still fighting for justice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TAMIKA PALMER, MOTHER OF BREONNA TAYLOR: Crazy that it's been a year. It's still unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would justice for Breonna mean for you?

PALMER: To have these officers arrested and charged and convicted. Like, that's it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Plus, mounting allegations of inappropriate behavior against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, claims the governor is flatly denying. But there's a growing list of congressional and state leaders in his own party saying Cuomo can no longer govern effectively and must resign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALESSANDRA BIAGGI, STATE SENATOR, NEW YORK: 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, should not only call on the governor to resign but also to move forward with impeachment proceedings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Let's start with the accusations against the governor. CNN's Athena Jones following these developments. Athena, what more you know about these newest allegations?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. Well, this is coming from Jessica Bakeman. She is a reporter who formerly covered Albany, the capital here, for several years. And she describes in a self-penned article for New York Magazine, she alleges multiple instances of sexual harassment by Governor Cuomo towards her.

She says that her job was to report on the governor's every move, and she alleged that he often touched her on her arms, on her shoulders, on the small of her back, on her waist, in a way that made her feel uncomfortable.

She describes an incident in 2014, during a party at the governor's mansion, she was 25 at the time, she says the governor came over, put his arm around her, put his hand around her waist and held her firmly in place while indicating to a photographer that he wanted to have a picture taken with Jessica Bakeman.

She says at one point, he said to her within earshot of her colleagues, I'm sorry, am I making you uncomfortable? I thought we were going steady. It was a moment that Bakeman described as humiliating. She said she never felt that his actions were about wanting to have sex with her but about wanting to show that he had power over her, wanting to make her feel powerless.

She also goes on to write in this in this self-penned article, "It's not that Cuomo spares men in his orbit from his trademark bullying and demeaning behavior. But the way he bullies and demeans women is different. He uses touching and sexual innuendo to stoke fear in us. That is the textbook definition of sexual harassment."

Now, CNN has reached out to Bakeman for comment. We've also reached out to the governor's office for comment on this specific incident. He spoke broadly about these allegations, though, during his tele-news conference on Friday. Listen to what he had to say then.

(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 now, and I never would, right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: So, there you have the governor, again, denying that he has done anything wrong, that he ever touched anyone inappropriately. And he says look, women have the right to come forward, but let's wait for the facts. Let's wait for these investigations. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, Athena Jones, thanks so much. Happening right now in Louisville, Kentucky, a memorial event for

Breonna Taylor, the young black woman shot and killed by police in her apartment one year ago today. This after Taylor's mother files internal affairs complaints against six Louisville police officers in connection with her daughter's death.

Jason Carroll is at the event in Louisville. So, Jason what happening?

[13:05:01]

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the rally is about to get underway just a few moments from now. But just a little earlier this morning, I had an opportunity to speak with Tamika Palmer, Breonna Taylor's mother, again, just a few moments ago as she was heading up here, Fredricka.

And I asked her what she's going to be saying to the crowd when she takes the stage behind me just a few moments from now. And she says she's going to speak from the heart. She's going to do what she can to reach out to the crowd and to honor her daughter.

There have been some changes here in the city of Louisville since Breonna Taylor's death. They ban no-knock warrants here in the city. Body cameras are now mandated for police officers when they go out on the searches. But to date, none of the officers who were directly involved with that raid have been charged with Breonna Taylor's death. And so that's why the marching, that's why the protests continue.

One of the men who have been out here leading a number of these protests is Pastor Timothy Findley. Pastor Findley, you're going to be speaking to the crowd in just a few moments from now. Tell us what you plan to say.

TIMOTHY FINDLEY, SENIOR PASTOR, KINGDOM FELLOWSHIP: Well, this isn't just about her memory, this is really about a rally call. This is a saying that when we say the name, Breonna Taylor, it's a cry for justice not only in our city, but around the country. That we've got to see better policy, we've got to see police transformation. We have to see those officers arrested. That's really what healing is all about.

CARROLL: You know, when I spoke to Tamika Palmer, she was saying -- and it really has to do at this point with accountability. The feeling is that, from her eyes, not enough has been done in terms of police accountability.

FINDLEY: Absolutely not. We have a culture of a police department that's able to operate with reckless abandon. Although there has been a change in leadership, there's still that culture that persist. So, we got to have better leadership. And the truth is this has to set a message, send a message around the country that you cannot do what has been done, handcuff an entire city, murder a young woman in her apartment, and then nothing be done.

CARROLL: Very quickly, can you give us a tick-tock of what we're -- what we should be expecting out here today. FINDLEY: Nonviolence, people talking through their feelings, but

sending a message to Tom Wine, to Mayor Fischer and others that we will not forget what happened in 2020. This is not the culmination of demonstrations and protests. This is really just getting started. We are invigorated. We're inspired. And we're going to get justice for Breonna Taylor.

CARROLL: Pastor Timothy Findley, I want to thank you so very much. We'll let you get on with doing what you need to do. Thank you very much for that. And again, Tamika Palmer saying that she will be taking the stage and again, Fredricka, she says she's going to do what she can to speak from the heart. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, Jason. And if you still can hear me, we had a little audio problem there for a hot second, I'm wondering if you can elaborate any further on the complaints from Taylor's mother against the six officers in internal affairs.

CARROLL: Right. She filed a complaint with the professional standards unit against six of the officers with the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department alleging that they filed false information about her daughter Breonna Taylor related to that raid.

Now, we've got a statement from the department last night. The department is saying that they're taking these complaints very seriously, that they believe in transparency, and that it will be fully investigated. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, Jason Carroll in Louisville, Kentucky, thanks so much. We'll check back with you.

So, as rioters stormed the Capitol on January 6th looking for lawmakers and shouting hang Mike Pence, elected officials were literally running for their lives sheltering from harm. But one senator says he was never worried because in his view, they were law- abiding 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)

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break a law, and so I was concerned. Now, had the table has been turned, Joe, this could get me in 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: All right, Marshall Cohen is joining us now from Washington. So, Marshall, help set the record straight. Senator Johnson, you know, has been trying to pin the riots on anyone but right-wing protesters for months now. So, what does the evidence say?

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: He's just wrong, plain and simple. He's pushing a narrative that is completely debunked by the facts. So, here's the evidence. We've reviewed charging documents for nearly all 300 defendants that are publicly known. Members of the mob were not peaceful. They certainly didn't respect law enforcement. Some rioters attack police with bear spray, baseball bats, hockey sticks, tasers, basically anything they can get their hands on.

[13:10:06]

Nearly 140 officers were hurt that day, one was killed. Other rioters as you mentioned threatened to assassinate lawmakers. Dozens of them are affiliated with right-wing hate groups and extremist militias. Some even flaunted neo-Nazi symbols and have previously promoted white supremacist views.

So, Fred, these are the people that Senator Johnson is defending.

WHITFIELD: And prosecutors are moving forward now, aren't they, with more charges from the riots. What's the latest on the scope of the investigation and the number of people that they are trying to net or have netted?

COHEN: It's massive. It is a massive investigation. The Justice Department said yesterday in court filings that this might just be the largest and most complicated criminal investigation in American history. And here's why. Take a look at these numbers, Fred. 300 people have been charged so far. Another 100 people could be charged in the future.

Investigators are looking through 15,000 hours of surveillance tapes and body cam footage. They've already looked at 1,600 electronic devices, they've executed 900 search warrants across the country. And here's the good thing. They've actually received more than 210,000 tips from the public.

So, the public is heeding the call for help, because so far, it's a nationwide dragnet. Prosecutors are looking in all corners of the country. Almost every state has had at least a few people charged. So, it's massive, it's continuing, and we will be staying on it every step of the way.

WHITFIELD: All right, Marshall Cohen, thanks so much.

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?

Plus, a CNN investigation reveals at least 400,000 children in Yemen are on the verge of starving to death because Saudi Arabia is blocking food and other supplies. A closer look at this devastating and heartbreaking situation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:15:00]

WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. Restaurants in Los Angeles County will be able to resume indoor dinner at limited capacity beginning on Monday. The state of California adjusting statewide guidelines after reaching its goal of administering two million vaccine doses in the state's hardest-hit areas. CNN's Paul Vercammen joining me now outside of a vaccination site in Los Angeles.

So, Paul, characterize the mood in California right now.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's one of just sort of cautious optimism. People are feeling better about things now that we're hearing that there's going to be a reopening. You alluded to the restaurants. We're also going to see an opening of museums, aquariums, movie theaters, all of those at a limited basis, Fred. And down the road, theme parks, baseball stadiums.

If you look behind me, how did we get here? Well, this is a brand-new site, vaccine site at USC in a parking garage. What they're doing is they're having people both drive up and walk up. And here's what's unique about this site. The city of Los Angeles has combined with Uber and people are allowed to punch in a code given to them by the city if they do not think they can get here.

And off-camera just a short time ago, this poor woman had to get her Uber ride. She told me it was extremely simple. She put in the code and got her first Moderna vaccine. She said she could have taken the bus, but it just made it so much easier for her to put in this code.

So, this is one of the ways the city of Los Angeles and the county have been chipping away and getting themselves to the key thresholds that are allowing for this reopening. Also coming up soon in Los Angeles, people with serious medical conditions such as cancer survivors, or extreme obesity, will be able to get the vaccine. We're going to see that on the horizon on Monday.

And then tomorrow, we're going to see these restaurants throughout the city of Los Angeles get ready to allow back inside their customers. Many of them have been braving the cold, for example, as they've allowed only outside dining in L.A. And of course, this is a tourism town, so they are looking forward to ramping back up with all of these different businesses. Back to you now, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Right. I bet there's a lot of encouragement with some of that in-person dining returning. Thanks so much, Paul Vercammen. I appreciate that.

All right, more people boarded airplanes, in fact, Friday than any other day since the start of the pandemic. More than 1.3 million people pass through TSA checkpoints, the highest numbers since March 15 of 2020.

Joining me right now to discuss is Dr. Esther Choo, a professor of Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. Doctor, it's so good to see you. So, while a lot of people are really excited about the flying again, where are you on this spike in air travel? ESTHER CHOO, PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, OREGON HEALTH AND SCIENCE UNIVERSITY: Well, I think we have to remember that although national trends are really positive, we still have to consider that how we behave is still really local. There are certainly still areas where we are seeing very serious levels of COVID, where the transmission rates are high, where test positivity is more than five or 10 percent, and so we still need to be really cautious.

And of course, globally, the vaccine effort is going really well, but that doesn't mean that we are anywhere near herd immunity. And we still need to do those same behaviors that we've needed to do all long, wear face masks, make sure we do social distancing. Those things haven't gone away and won't go away for a long time.

So, I think the key thing is the cautious optimism and also kind of a graded return to normal. So, it's not going to be from zero to 100. I think we slowly return to activities as makes sense in our communities and based on our own risk factors and when we've gotten vaccine.

[13:20:04]

WHITFIELD: And now, the CDC has released new guidance for childcare programs, which emphasizes mask-wearing and ventilation. And you joined Don Lemon one year ago today to discuss the Coronavirus and the issues of childcare, and this is what you had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHOO: Communities need to be creative in finding childcare options that are affordable for people so that they have -- don't have to lean on grandparents putting themselves at risk. It's not a good time for snuggles and open mouth kisses. I think -- I think you try to keep people at arm's length and use as much hand hygiene and avoid, you know, direct and close contact for sustained periods of time as much as possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So, what goes through your mind as you listen and watch yourself from one year ago and what your point of view was?

CHOO: It really just makes me feel so, I don't know, sad, maybe nostalgic. I think of how little we knew at that time. I mean, people had a lot of concerns about childcare. I mean, a week ago -- I'm sorry, a year ago this week, my school announced that we would have a school closure because we had our first case of Coronavirus, actually in the state was a custodian in my school.

So, we announced -- the principal announced that our schools would be closing for five days. So, Fred, we thought we were -- we thought we were stepping away for five days, so they could clean the school, and then we'd come back.

And of course, we were out for a year and just went back two weeks ago. We just had no idea what we were headed into. We didn't even know we'd have tens of thousands of deaths, let alone over half a million deaths. And so, you know, I think of that kind of naivete, that anxiety without really knowing what was coming.

And also just the feeling we had that there were some gaps in our society and in our healthcare system that we were just understanding. I mean, that childcare crisis that was alluded to by the question that a viewer sent to Don turns into really an exposure of how little we support our workers who also have caregiving responsibilities at home, you know.

So, we lost -- you know, we lost two million women from the workforce this year because we had no way of supporting the childcare needs, even of our essential workers. And that showed up in the health care side too, you know. Even as our hospitals were maxed out, we had staffing issues because people needed to be home taking care of their children.

So, there were a lot of things that conversation hit on that we were kind of, you know, speculating about and then turned out to be really about as bad as we could have imagined.

WHITFIELD: Yes, it's been unchartered territory and it continues to be so, you know. So, YouTube has recently removed over 30,000 videos containing misinformation about Coronavirus vaccine. You were very critical of the last administration for departing from the science, not taking the Coronavirus seriously. So, how damaging is this misinformation as it pertains to vaccines?

CHOO: Yes, that's something that's plagued us all along. We often put our faith in the wrong things. And we were very focused on Coronavirus treatments, which really haven't panned out to make that much of a difference. And yet we're -- there's so much messaging that's derailing really the miracle of this pandemic, which is how quickly we were able to develop highly effective vaccines. And really over the past couple of months, how quickly we've been able to ramp up dissemination.

We are still really lacking in vaccine distribution equity. So, unfortunately, it's not completely -- it's not going to, you know, areas of the country and populations that need it the most as fast as we would like. So, we really need to hit hard on the equity piece. And yet, we're ahead of you know, initial first 100 day projections for the Biden administration.

There is likely a fourth vaccine going to be approved by the FDA very soon. You know, we're on track to get vaccine into open season starting from May. All those things are so positive and really are the main thing that will get us back to the kind of behaviors that we've been talking about. But we have to constantly fight this steady stream of misinformation and disinformation, information that's being put out maliciously, in order to intentionally derail this process.

And I think everybody needs to know that that is -- that is out there and that we need to be very wary of kind of the malicious messaging.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Still a significant barrier. All right, Dr. Esther Choo, thank you so much.

CHOO: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, next, 400,000 children are now at risk of dying in Yemen as a six-year civil war rages on. We'll take you there next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:25:00]

WHITFIELD: 400,000 children are at risk of dying right now in Yemen as its six-year civil war rages on. That's according to the United Nations World Food Programme. And now a heartbreaking news. CNN investigation shows just how dire the situation really is. The Biden administration says it wants to bring an end to the war which was partially funded by American tax dollars by no longer backing the Saudi-led coalition which has been fighting Iranian-backed Houthis.

The U.S. backing of the war started under Obama and escalated under Trump.

[13:30:00]

CNN's investigation has found it has been more than two months since the U.S.-backed Saudi blockade has allowed tankers, packed with fuel and supplies to reach starving Yemenis, is to dock at the port of Hodeidah, which is controlled by the Houthis.

Fourteen tankers schedule to dock there are also currently being held off the Saudi coast, according to the vessel tracking app.

This goes against the United Nations agreement and is making the situation on the ground desperate for innocent parents and children.

CNN's Nima Elbagir made a very dangerous trip on a small boat to get inside Houthi territory in northern Yemen, a place few foreign journalists have ever been in order to show the world what is at stake.

We do want to warn you, some of the images will be tough to watch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The derelict coastline of the north of Yemen, rusting hulks tell a story of war, blockade, and devastation.

For years now, the Houthi-controlled north has been increasingly isolated from the outside world.

We secretly travelled through the night by boat after our previous reporting here led the government to deny us entry.

On the road to the Hodeidah port, we get a sense of the humanitarian disaster kept from the outside world. Along the roadside, hundreds of stalled food supply trucks with no fuel to move. In a country in the grip of hunger, their cargo stands spoiling in the hot sun. The port of Hodeidah is the supply gateway for the rest of the

country. It should be bustling with activity, but today, it is eerily empty, a result of the U.S.-backed Saudi blockade.

The last time you get to dock here was in December.

In the echoing silence, it dawns on us, we are about to witness the terrible impact of this blockade.

(CROSSTALK)

ELBAGIR: Desperate patients and family members trying to get the attention of Dr. Khalid, chairman of the Hodeidah's hospital. If he signs these papers, they get some financial relief for their treatments and medicines.

He doesn't get far before he is stopped again and again.

DR. KHALID AHMED SOHIL, CHAIRMAN, AL THOWRA HOSPITAL, HODEIDAH (through translation): Nima, this is the pediatric emergency.

ELBAGIR: Since the Yemen war started six years ago, families have been in financial freefall. The fuel blockade has sped that descent into oblivion.

This is the main hospital for Hodeidah Province, and we're surrounded by doctors and nurses rushed off their feet.

(CROSSTALK)

ELBAGIR (on camera): Is this a normal day? Is it this busy all the time?

SOHIL: Not that busy throughout the day.

ELBAGIR: This is not a busy day?

SOHIL: It's a normal day.

ELBAGIR: Wow!

(voice-over): Dr. Khalid wants to show us some of his critical patients in the therapeutic feeding center. A 10-year-old girl whose growth has been so stunted by starvation she can no longer stand.

(on camera): Dr. Khalid says every hour of every day, they are receiving more and more cases of severe malnutrition that are this advanced because the parents can't afford to feed their children. They also can't afford to bring them to the hospital to treat them.

(CRYING)

ELBAGIR (voice-over): The U.N. says pockets of Yemen are in famine- like conditions. But it says Hodeidah is not considered one of them because it doesn't meet the metrics to declare a famine.

But Dr. Khalid thinks the reality on the ground has outpaced the U.N.'s projections.

The Saudi fuel blockade is biting. Malnutrition numbers are spiking. And at the same time, this busy hospital is running out of the vital fuel that keeps its generators running, which means that babies like Midian (ph), who doctors say at two months weighs the same as a newborn, would die.

Yemen has been devastated by a Civil War, which has pitted Iran-backed Ansarallah, known as Houthis, against the internationally-recognized government and a U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition.

We are in Houthi territory, some of whose officials have been designated as terrorists by the U.S., for targeting neighboring Saudi Arabia.

We've been granted a rare interview with a leading Houthi official. We must meet in an undisclosed location, because, his aides say, of the threat of assassination.

We ask him to respond to allegations they are escalating this war.

MOHAMMED ALI AL HOUTHI, SENIOR HOUTHI OFFICIAL (through translation): Not true at all. The battle is continuing, and it has not stopped.

ELBAGIR (on camera): Do you trust America to take forward negotiations to bring peace here in Yemen?

HOUTHI (through translation): Trust must come about decisions. And so far, we've not seen any concrete decisions being made.

ELBAGIR: You've spoken about being subjected as a nation to international terror, but three of the leaders within the Ansarallah Movement are designated by the U.S. as terrorists.

One of your key slogans talks about death to America. How do you see this as pushing forward the negotiation and the possibility for peace in the future?

HOUTHI (through translation): When we say death to America, they effectively kill us with their bombs, rockets and blockades. They provide logistics and intelligence support and their actual participation in the battle.

[13:35:08]

So who is bigger and greater? The ones who are killing us or the ones who say death to them?

ELBAGIR (voice-over): The Biden administration has announced it has withdrawn support for the Saudi offensive. But it comes after six long years of war.

And for the children dying of hunger, it's still hasn't brought peace any quicker. Peace and help can't come soon enough.

(on camera): Over half the hospitals in this district are threatened with shuttering. This is one of them. They need urgent support, urgent help.

Can you imagine what it would do to this community if this facility was shut down? Look at the chaos that there is already here, and that's while it's functioning.

(voice-over): For years now, the U.N. has been warning that famine is coming to Yemen. Doctors across Yemen's north tell us famine has arrived.

(CRYING)

ELBAGIR: Another hospital witnessing wave after wave of children in the red zone, severe malnourishment, impoverished mothers, desperate to keep their children alive, are forced to make harrowing choices.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): Just to get to the hospital, I stopped eating and drinking, not even water, just to get him treated.

ELBAGIR: These doctors are keeping track of the numbers spiking beyond what they ever imagined.

(on camera): The doctor is saying, in 2020, this population 23 percent of the children under 5 here, were severely malnourished. In 2021, they think that the number is going to go over 30 percent.

There's no doubt in his mind, he says, that they, here in Hodeidah, are in famine.

(CRYING)

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Nearly three years ago, the U.N. Security Council condemned the use of starvation as a method of warfare, demanding access to supplies that are necessary for food preparation, including water and fuel, be kept intact.

Here and in other conflicts, that clearly hasn't happened. What's more, the world has stopped caring.

The U.N. needs almost $4 billion to stanch this crisis. They received less than half that from donors. Numbers don't lie. But numbers also don't reflect the full tragedy.

This is Hassan Ali, 10 months, and struggling to breathe, he came into the hospital six days ago. He keeps losing weight, even with the critical care he's receiving.

Hours after we left, Hassan Ali died. One more child in Yemen that represents so much more pain.

The doctors here are desperate for the world to see and to help.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Hodeidah, Yemen.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: CNN has reached out to Saudi Arabia for a comment but has yet to receive a reply.

All right, coming up next, coronavirus, one year later, are we any closer to normalcy? We'll get an answer on the medical, mental health, financial questions straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:42:12]

WHITFIELD: All right, parts of the Texas panhandle are under an increased risk for severe weather yet again today. Take a look at what happened in Shallowater, Texas, just yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy crap! Look at that! It's a full condensed tornado.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And they are frighteningly close.

Numerous storms are expected later on this afternoon and early tonight from western Texas to western Oklahoma. The most significant severe weather threats include strong tornadoes and very large hail.

Abraham Lincoln is often hailed as one of America's greatest presidents who ended slavery and saved the country from collapse. But the truth is more complicated than that.

This week's episode of the CNN original series, "LINCOLN, DIVIDED WE STAND," examines Lincoln's evolution on slavery and equality.

Here is a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lincoln knows that once the war ended, there might not be enough political will to follow through with the end of slavery.

CHRISTY COLEMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JAMESTOWN-YORKTOWN FOUNDATION: So he is pulling every trick out of the book, every favor he can muster to get Congress to pass this legislation quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lincoln uses a lot of influence to try to get votes, particularly from border-state Democrats and northern Democrats.

Would he have been defeated for reelection or had decided not to run, lame ducks, because they wouldn't suffer any political retribution by voting for it, even though they voted against it the last time around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a monumental effort of political persuasion. Lincoln is not above twisting arms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Joining me right now, one of the historians you saw in that clip, Christy Coleman, the executive director of the Jamestown- Yorktown Foundation.

Thank you for being with us.

COLEMAN: Thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: Christy, as we have seen throughout the service, Lincoln Lincoln's position on slavery evolves over time. While he opposed slavery on moral grounds, there also political factors at play.

How did the 1864 election push him to embrace the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery?

COLEMAN: Right. So the 1864 election, he really thinks he is going to lose. And one of the things that they have to do pretty quickly is build a new coalition.

In fact, they don't even run under the Republican name so they can get some peace Democrats, they can get the more radical Republicans on board.

All of it is with the intent to continue to finish out and end the war but to make sure they are going to be able to end slavery and to get it done as a constitutional piece.

[13:45:08]

So that election of 1864 becomes absolutely critical. And the successes he has just months before the election actually make it happen.

WHITFIELD: So he is reelected. Lincoln, you know, is still resolved to pass the 13th Amendment before the end of the war. To what length does he make it happen?

COLEMAN: He does everything.

(LAUGHTER)

COLEMAN: As I said in the documentary, he pulls out all the stops. Calling in every political favor.

For those lame-duck politicians that were mentioned, he is guaranteeing them federal posts when they are done with the legislative work.

He is making sure that every soldier in the field is able to vote.

And in some areas, he is encouraging those newly freed people, who have moved into the north or into federal lines, who are able, those able-bodied men, also to vote. So it is a critical time.

WHITFIELD: And --

COLEMAN: And he is rallying.

WHITFIELD: Yes, he makes it happen.

So this week --

COLEMAN: Yes.

WHITFIELD: -- we get a look at the battle of Gettysburg, the deadliest battle and a major turning point in the Civil War. More than 50,000 soldiers on both sides killed.

Four months later, Lincoln gives the Gettysburg address and it is hailed as an instant masterpiece.

Tell us about the importance of the speech.

COLEMAN: Well, what's really funny and I think that most people don't understand is Lincoln was not the keynote address that day. That was actually Edward Everett. And he spoke for over two hours.

What made Lincoln's speech extraordinary is it is only 275 words. He spoke for about two minutes.

But in that two minutes, he is able to do -- he is able to not only talk about the sacredness of the land, that they don't need them there to consecrate it because the blood of the soldiers has consecrated it.

He's called upon for the first time in ways that people haven't heard that the Declaration of Independence is that moral center for the nation, all men are created equal, and that is what they are fighting for when he calls upon the four score and seven years ago.

Then he goes even further and talks about government of, by, and for the people. These are extraordinary things.

And, yes, it becomes an instant classic.

WHITFIELD: Christy Coleman, it's so fascinating. Thank you so much. And thank you for your part in all of this.

Be sure to tune in, everyone. An all-new episode of "LINCOLN, DIVIDED WE STAND" airs tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. only on CNN.

Talk about a job with a view. Live pictures right now outside the International Space Station where two American astronauts, Victor Glover and Michael Hopkins, are in the middle of the lengthy spacewalk.

NASA says the pair will be completing several system upgrades, including the station cooling and communications systems. This is now thing fifth spacewalk of the year. Pretty cool stuff. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:52:33]

WHITFIELD: All right, the biggest night in music is just one day today. The Grammys are tomorrow in L.A. and will feature the hottest names in the industry, Taylor Swift, UTS, Billie Eilish, just to name a few.

So the show is going on after being postponed back in January because of a surge in COVID cases.

Here now is CNN's Stephanie Elam.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(SINGING)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From Bad Bunny to Black Pumas, the Stallion to Styles --

(SINGING)

ELAM: -- hit makers are lined up to perform live at the 63rd Grammy Awards.

ANNOUNCER: Hosted by Trevor Noah.

ELAM: But who will be watching? The pandemic-era Golden Globes and Emmys were far from ratings gold. Yet, the Grammys has one advantage.

JEM ASWAD, DEPUTY MUSIC EDITOR, "VARIETY": You've got a whole lot of performances interspersed with the awards, which is awesome because it's what people want to see.

ELAM: The show is also coming off a tough 2020, which saw the Recording Academy accused in a series of scandals, including questions about its nomination process. The Recording Academy denied the accusations.

The controversy had been eclipsed by the death of Kobe Bryant the morning of the show.

This year, the noms controversy is back, swirling around The Weeknd.

ASWAD: The Weeknd not getting a single nomination is the biggest snub in Grammy history.

ELAM: In response, the singer, in response, calling the Grammys corrupt.

(SINGING)

ASWAD: The song "Blinding Light," it's been in the Billboard Top 100, the greatest metric of a song's success, for a year and no record has ever done that before. ELAM: The Recording Academy responded, saying they understand his

disappointment.

The interim CEO adding, "I was surprised and can empathize with what he is feeling."

(SINGING)

ELAM: Queen Bay leaves the nomination race with "Nine."

(SINGING)

ELAM: Roddy Rich --

(SINGING)

ELAM: -- Taylor Swift --

(SINGING)

ELAM: -- and Dua Lipa are each up for six Grammys, including song of the year.

(on camera): Moving from its usual home here at Staples Center, most of the Grammys will be filmed in and around the Los Angeles Convention Center right across the street.

And the only audience members that will be in attendance will be the other performers and some of the nominees.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: At the very least, it will be interesting.

[13:54:55]

All right, straight ahead, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo remaining defiant as he faces fierce calls for his resignation. And now another woman has come forward with new accusations. A live report, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:00:00]

WHITFIELD: Hello, again, everyone. I want to thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing a firestorm of controversy as a new allegation of inappropriate behavior comes to light.