Return to Transcripts main page
Asians Feeling More Fearful Following Deadly Spa Attacks; Interview With Atlanta, Georgia Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D); Biden Now Aims To Administer 200 Million Doses By His 100th Day; Cuomo Faces Claims Of Sexual Harassment From Current Aide; Biden Administration Off To A Combative Start With Russia, China; Interview With Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL); Trump Confidant, Roger Stone Appears In New Court Filings; NCAA Apologizes For Disparity In Workout Equipment. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired March 20, 2021 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining me.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
We begin this hour with the nation still grappling with the aftermath of those deadly Atlanta spa shootings and we're learning much more about the victims who lost their lives in the attack.
In all, eight people were killed on Tuesday, six of the victims were Asian women. The owner of Young's Asian massage Xiaojie Tan (ph) is being remembered as someone who made you feel like family.
Delaina Yaun was a mother of two and recently married. Her youngest child just eight months old. Her family is understandably heartbroken.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIO GONZALEZ, WIFE KILLED IN SHOOTING: They took the most valuable thing I have in my life I had because she was taken from me. He left me with only pain, the killer who killed my wife, something needs to be done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Hyun Jung Grant (ph) was a single mother of two. A GoFundMe account has raised over $2 million for her sons.
And Yong Ae Yue was a licensed massage therapist. The "Atlanta Journal Constitution" says she was thrilled to finally be back at work after being laid off because of the pandemic.
All right. Coming up, we'll speak with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms about the shootings. But first let's go to CNN's Natasha Chen in Atlanta and Jasmine Wright at the White House. Natasha, you first. What's the latest in the investigation?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right Fred. Well, CNN obtained some surveillance video yesterday from a business that was next door to Young's Asian massage, in Acworth, Georgia. That's north of where we are.
If you can take a look, the vehicle that you're seeing coming into the screen and parking there, that's the suspected shooter arriving on scene. Now, this information has come in also from the Cherokee County authorities.
The arrest warrant shows that he's being charged with 11 felonies, that includes four counts of murder with malice, one count of attempted murder, one count of aggravated assault with intent to rape, murder, or rob, and five counts of possession of a firearm during commission of a felony. So a lot going on there.
That's in Cherokee County though. And then over here in Atlanta, this is a separate situation, two different spas across the street from each other. This is being handled by Fulton County.
Atlanta police say that they are still investigating everything, including his motivation, and nothing is left off the table. Of course, a lot of discussion right now about whether hate crime will actually be considered in this investigation.
In talking to a lot of the people who are coming up and honoring the victims, laying flowers at the doorsteps of these spas, there is, of course, a great deal of concern in the Asian-American community regardless of what the determined motivation is as far as police are concerned.
There is a palpable feeling of fear in the context of the past year of anti-Asian incidents and the rise of anti-Asian reported assaults.
So here is what one person told me as they came up to drop flowers about her feelings, walking around here in her neighborhood as an Asian-American.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
XINNUI LI, ATLANTA RESIDENT: Right now I really feel very insecure because, even before this, when I was on the street sometimes people will ask me questions, like, why you here. ARE I feel speechless. After these things happen, I really feel scared walking on the street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: And so the visit from President Biden and Vice President Harris yesterday meant a lot to these people, at least in terms of being recognized and acknowledged for what they are experiencing right now, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Natasha, thanks so much.
Jasmine, to you now at the White House. President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were in Atlanta yesterday. They paid tribute to those victims. What more did they have to say?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well Fred, in his remarks you really saw President Biden trying to reflect the rise of violence against Asian-Americans in this country.
But both he and Vice President Harris stopped short of declaring it a hate crime. As we heard from Natasha, that isn't a term that the authorities are using. So they haven't gone that far yet, despite pressure from the AAPI community for them to do so.
WRIGHT: Instead, in a nod to that really, they linked the idea that these are the facts, that this is what happened, linking Tuesday's shootings to that rise in anti-Asian hate in the country. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They've been attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed. They've been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed. Documented incidents of hate against Asian-Americans have seen a skyrocketing spike over the last year.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Racism is real in America and it has always been. Xenophobia is real in America and always has been. Sexism, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: Now, before they gave these remarks, Fred, they met with AAPI community leaders in Georgia and one attendee told us that President Biden brought up the contributions of former President Trump in this rise in anti-Asian hate in the country.
And Biden said that this is something that his administration is trying to roll back. But the question is, what comes next? It could be this COVID-19 hate crime bill that is moving through congress. President Biden has put his endorsement on it, calling for Congress to pass it. And it would allow federal authorities really, to start reviewing those hate crimes done during the pandemic a lot quicker, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Jasmine Wright and Natasha Chen, thanks to both of you ladies. Appreciate it.
All right. Joining me right now is Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who met with President Biden during his visit yesterday, along with the vice president.
Mayor, good to see you and thanks so much for being with us.
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Thank you for having me. Good morning.
WHITFIELD: So President Biden pledged, you know, to help the city of Atlanta and the Asian-American community as a whole, heal in this wake of this horrible tragedy. Where does that healing begin? What did the White House commit to do to help your city?
BOTTOMS: Well Fredricka, the fact that we had the president of the United States and the vice president here yesterday meeting with leaders speaks volumes. It is a recognition of the severity of this issue, and also an acknowledgment that the AAPI community is hurting.
And the meeting was so moving. There were tangible recommendations that were made, but also heartfelt stories relaying the fear and the concern that's being felt by Asian-Americans.
And what was most encouraging, a number of the things that were brought up as concerns, the administration has already contemplated and has attempted to put things in place to address some of those issues. But, clearly, there's still so much more work to be done.
WHITFIELD: So the gunman is facing eight counts of murder but so far no hate crime charges have been filed. Georgia passed a new hate crime law following the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks. A hate crime conviction would add two years to sentencing for each felon.
And here is how some Atlantans feel about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HELEN PARK TRUONG, ATLANTA RESIDENT: To target three Asian businesses and kill six women who look like me, could be me, could be my mom, could be my sister, could be my aunt -- and then to not call it a hate crime is dehumanizing.
SARA TANG, ATLANTA RESIDENT: But to say that it is unclear what the motivations were, it's silencing. It's taking away our story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So as you see, it's baffling to many. So what will it mean to you if a hate crime charge does come?
BOTTOMS: Well, Fredricka, in Georgia, as you know, a hate crime can be based upon race. It can be based upon sex. It can be based upon national origin. So I will be very surprised if hate crime charges are not brought.
The steeper penalties will come with the murder charges and with aggravated assault charges. But as you heard from the people who have just spoken, it matters. The acknowledgment that this was a crime built upon hatred or a particular community matters. And I think that it's important that prosecutors and police consider that in making those charges.
WHITFIELD: Atlanta's Asian community makes up about 4 percent of the city's population and many Asian-Americans, just like the two that we just heard from, are expressing fear following a growing trend of violent attacks against their community, and that's really across the country.
And now with the spa shootings, this only illuminates a feeling that many Asian women have been feeling, a feeling of being invisible, undervalued. So what do you say to them and what can be done?
BOTTOMS: Well, that's why yesterday's meeting was so important. We hear you, and we recognize that there's still so much more to be done. And even as we've talked about in Atlanta increasing patrols.
And Fredricka, you know Atlanta is the center of a larger metropolitan area that has a much larger Asian-American population. Some of the feedback that I received is that sometimes communities are distrustful of seeing law enforcement because we are not always treated with dignity by law enforcement.
So this is not particular to our Asian-American brothers and sisters. We hear this from black and brown communities as well.
So while it seems as if our differences and our concerns may be different, they really are the same. People want to be treated with dignity. They want to be treated with respect. And they want to have a partnership with law enforcement.
So in Atlanta, the FBI is assisting us with the language barrier. One of the tangible recommendations that was shared yesterday by one of our state representatives was a cheat sheet that translates into various languages to give to law enforcement to help break down barriers.
So there are things big and small that we will continue to do, but right now we have a community that's hurting. We have eight people who lost their lives and family members are mourning, those who have been injured, and there's still a lot of healing and work to do.
WHITFIELD: And Mayor, this has been a tough year. I've been anxious to talk to you for a host of things. This has been a year of tumult in so many ways. You've had to be on the front lines, and that includes COVID hitting your household.
You've said that, you know, you've been feeling good, but how is your husband because I know he seemed to have been kind of a long-hauler in all of this. How is everyone doing?
BOTTOMS: Well, thankfully we're doing better. My husband is still having lingering headaches and his headaches are now getting worse, he says.
But all things considered, looking across the country at the number of people who have lost loved ones and who are suffering a much worse fate, our family is doing fine and we're grateful for that.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much for being with us. Continue to be safe. Appreciate it, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.
BOTTOMS: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM, President Biden eyeing a new coronavirus vaccine goal after putting 100 million shots in arms. Why health experts say we aren't out of the woods just yet.
Plus, trouble at Mar-A-Lago, the resort partially closed because of coronavirus.
Then, later, a current aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo accuses him of sexual harassment and she's speaking out in a new interview. What she says happened behind closed doors.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
President Biden is now aiming to get 200 million COVID vaccinations in the arms of Americans by his 100th day in office. The president doubling his goal after administering 100 million doses in just 58 days. After a briefing yesterday at the CDC, the president emphasized the urgent need to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Things may get worse as new variants of the virus spread. That's why we need to vaccinate as many people as quickly as we possibly can because it's the best thing we can do to fight back against these variants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro joining me live now from New York. So Evan, what more are you learning?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're in a very critical moment for this pandemic fight, Fred. You know, I'm in New York at a mass vaccine center. There are more vaccines going out. You can see a steady line of customers behind me as they're going to get their shots.
But while that's happening, states are also loosening restrictions, opening things up. We're seeing in Kentucky starting this weekend, you can go to the bar a little bit longer, more people can go, they can stay open a little bit later.
In Massachusetts starting Monday, we're going to see stadiums reopening to small crowds and public gatherings being able to expand.
All of this is because we're seeing some actual progress against the virus, letting people kind of go out and lead some more normal lives. But at the same time, we're also seeing a spread of these variants and that's very, very concerning. Dr. Fauci talked about it yesterday. He calls it the U.K. variant, the one that's spreading right now. He called it B-117 and he talked about the spread of it and what we need to do as Americans to try and stop it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGIES AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The way we can counter 117 which is a growing threat in our country is to do two things. To get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible with a vaccine that we know works against this variant.
And finally, to implement the public health measures that we talk about all the time and that was on Dr. Walensky's slide. Masking, physical distancing and avoiding congregate settings, particularly indoors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: This is a very, very delicate moment. There's good news all around us, good news in schools, good news in vaccine centers, good news basically everywhere. But in order to keep that good news going, people like Fauci say we have to stay vigilant, get out there, get our vaccines, and also keep wearing our masks to try and keep this virus in check while we're fighting it off, Fred.
WHITFIELD: That's right, every little bit counts every day. Thank you so much, Evan McMorris-Santoro.
All right. Former President Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort is partially closed due to a coronavirus outbreak. The club has closed its dining room and suspended some services due to an outbreak among some staff members. An email shared with CNN says the decision to close was made out of an abundance of caution.
WHITFIELD: And this taking place as updated guidance from the CDC cuts recommendations for safe social distancing in schools from six feet to three feet. Officials say the new guidance relies on masking and other measures like testing, contact tracing and required hand washing.
And despite a massive effort to vaccinate service members, the U.S. military's opt-out rate may be far higher than the 33 percent figure defense officials have used publicly.
CNN has learned that the current vaccine rejection rate may be closer to 50 percent.
Still ahead, a new claim of sexual harassment from a current aide of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing a new claim of sexual harassment. According to "The New York Times", this new accusation is coming from a current aide.
Multiple women have now accused Governor Cuomo of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior, sparking investigations and calls for his resignation.
For more on this, let's bring in Dan Merica in Albany New York. So Dan, what more do we know about this latest accusation?
DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes. According to "The New York Times", this accusation is coming from a woman named Alyssa McGrath. And you noted correctly what sets this apart is the fact that she's a current employee of Governor Cuomo's office. She works as an executive assistant in a pool of executive assistants for the governor's office.
And her accusation echoes those made by other women who worked for Cuomo, including a former Cuomo aide Ana Liss (ph), who actually sat down with investigators this week.
Now, it's important to note that McGrath does not allege any inappropriate touching by the governor, but does lay out accusations of sexual harassment ranging from the governor staring at her to making comments about her marital status.
I want to read to you a quote she gave to "The Times". She said, quote, "He has a way of making you feel very comfortable around him, almost like you're his friend. But then you walk away from the encounter or conversation in your head, quote, "I can't believe I just had that interaction with the governor of New York".
Now, Cuomo himself has not responded specifically to this allegation. He actually spent much of the week ignoring questions or not answering questions about the allegations against him, citing these ongoing investigations into the matter.
But a Cuomo lawyer did respond to this specific allegation and let me read to you what they told "The Times". Quote, "The governor has greeted men and women with a hug and a kiss on the cheek, forehead or hand. Yes, he has posed for photographs with his arm around them. Yes he uses Italian phrases like Ciao Bella.
None of this is remarkable, although it maybe old-fashioned. He has made it clear that he has never made inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone", Fred.
WHITFIELD: And then Dan, "The New York Times" is also reporting on new details into the governor's handling of the nursing homes during the pandemic. What can you tell us about that?
MERICA: Yes. CNN has previously reported that the FBI and U.S. attorneys are looking into the way that the Cuomo administration handled nursing home data during the coronavirus pandemic. But "The New York Times" is now reporting that that inquiry looks specifically at whether Cuomo and his top aides reported false data to the Department of Justice.
Cuomo has repeatedly defended his handling of this matter and you'll remember the coronavirus pandemic is actually what made Cuomo so popular a year ago. And his lawyer in this matter responded to "The New York Times" with this quote. Let me read it to you.
The submission and response to DOJ's August request was truthful and accurate and any suggestion otherwise is demonstrably false."
Now, the reality for Cuomo is that he has now two investigations facing him. Obviously one on the nursing home data and the other against the sexual harassment and one of touching allegations against him. And he spent much of the week largely looking to distract from these issues.
On Monday he went to a mass vaccination site. He got his own coronavirus vaccine on Wednesday at a historically black church and he made announcements about baseball coming back to New York on Thursday.
All of this, Fred, is to show that the governor is continuing to work on his duties at this low point in his political career.
WHITFIELD: Trying to show or demonstrate that all these allegations are not a distraction.
WHITFIELD: All right. Dan Merica, thank you so much in Albany, New York.
All right. Coming up, rising tensions between the U.S. and Russia after President Biden calls Vladimir Putin a killer. I'll talk about it with House Intel member Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi next.
WHITFIELD: The Department of Homeland Security says it will now expand the number of border crossings with Mexico where migrants can be processed. The Biden administration now wants to have three ports of entry for migrants forced to remain in Mexico.
And the crisis at the border continues to grow, with more than 2,000 migrants apprehended by border patrol Thursday alone. And at least 4,500 children are now waiting in border patrol custody.
CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is in Dallas where hundreds of migrant teens have been moved to the city's convention center.
Priscilla, how many kids are they expecting to be able to handle?
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: This massive convention center here behind me can now accommodate more than 2,000 minors who cross the U.S.-Mexico border alone. This is what the administration is doing to keep up with the sheer number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone.
So now we know that there are more than 4,500 children in border patrol custody. Now, these are facilities that look more like jail cells. They're concrete walls, concrete benches and they're intended to process adults, not to take care of children.
But we are hearing from sources that children are alternating sleeping schedules to try to get some rest in those facilities, border patrol agents are putting up bunk beds, cots, mats, to take care of these kids.
So the administration looking for sites like the one behind me, the Dallas Convention Center, to start to accommodate these kids here. The kids will work with case managers that will work to set them up with their families here in the United States, as well as provide them entertainment, showers, medical services, all of that happening here behind me as again the administration races to accommodate the kids that are crossing the border.
WHITFIELD: All right. It's a tremendous effort and a big situation going on right there only growing.
Priscilla Alvarez in Dallas, thanks you so much.
All right. And this combative start this week for the Biden administration on two fronts the president will need to address, the fraught U.S. relationships with both Russia and China.
China's top diplomat is calling two days of high-level meetings with the U.S. quote, "candid and constructive despite the meetings' tension".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We'll also discuss our deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyberattacks on the United States, economic coercion toward our allies.
The alternative to a rules-based order is a world in which might makes right and winners take all. And that would be a far more violent and unstable world for all of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And earlier this week when President Biden said in an interview on ABC that he believed Vladimir Putin was, quote, a killer, the Russian president responded by wishing Biden, quote, "good health" at a news conference.
I want to bring in now Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. He's a Democrat from Illinois and a member of the House Intelligence and Oversight Committee.
So good to see you.
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL}: Good morning, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: So let's begin with Russia and listen to what President Biden said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I know him relatively well and the conversation started off, I said I know you, and you know me. If I establish this occurred, then be prepared.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: So you know Vladimir Putin. Do you think he's a killer?
BIDEN: I do.
STEPHANOPOLOUS: So what price must he pay?
BIDEN: The price he's going to pay, well, you'll see shortly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: So these comments prompted Russia to re-call its ambassador from Washington for the first time in 20 years. What do you make of that?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think that sometimes you have to dispense with diplomatic niceties and I think that Biden called a spade a spade. In this case, you know, it's clear that Vladimir Putin murdered people, such as a Alexander Litvinenko, who was a dissident, poisoned to death in Britain.
He attempted to assassinate or poison Alexei Navalny. And so this type of behavior is completely acceptable outside the international rules- based norm of how we should conduct ourselves, and I think that Joe Biden did the right thing.
WHITFIELD: So ultimately do you see that Biden's approach with Putin might be more effective in keeping Russia in check? You know, will it stop Russia's interference in U.S. Affairs?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Yes, I think that when Donald Trump, you know, basically called the Russian interference in 2016 a hoax and then we learned through declassified documents, as well as classified documents, that essentially the Russians did engage in a systematic interference of not only the 2016, but the 2020 elections.
And Joe Biden is going to stand up to the Russians on this count because the hoax was not a hoax, then the Russians will learn that they can't just interfere in our elections, conduct themselves in ways that are completely intolerable to other countries and to conduct these gross violations of human rights on the scale that they have. And so we have to stand up against them.
WHITFIELD: Do you decipher anything ominous from Putin when he wishes upon President Biden, you know, good health after Biden, you know, said in that interview -- described him as a killer?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I don't know. I think that right now Joe Biden has to present a very united front with our partners and allies against Russia's interference in our collective democracies. You know, this recent declassified report shows that, once again, in the 2020 elections, the Russians tried to promote Donald Trump and denigrate Joe Biden through intermediaries.
Thankfully, the report does say that they were unsuccessful in tampering with our election infrastructure and votes. But nonetheless, we do need to make them pay a cost for what happened in 2020 as well.
WHITFIELD: Turning to China now, was taking such a vocal stance on China, you know, at those talks the right thing for Secretary of State Blinken to do?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think both the weather and the talks were frosty in Alaska for good reason because, you know, basically the Chinese government, again, has conducted gross violations of human rights against the Uyghurs and in Xinjiang.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: They've engaged in a crackdown in democracy in Hong Kong, engaged in aggression against their neighbors, including folks like Taiwan, as well as India, for that matter.
And they're engaging in widespread industrial espionage, cyberattacks and theft of intellectual property against Americans.
And so, yes, the Americans have to -- Joe Biden and Tony Blinken, acting on his behalf, have to speak up and be very firm about what we would like to see changed in the Chinese government's approach and their relationship with us and others.
WHITFIELD: And how do you think the U.S. should proceed with handling China?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think that on the one hand, we have to be candid about our differences and figure out how do we resolve them. And we have to keep in place, for instance, tariffs on certain Chinese goods, especially where those good are meant to drive out competition among American companies. But on the other hand, there are places where we can cooperate, whether it's with regard to Afghanistan or manmade climate change or other issues.
So we have to walk and chew gum at the same time. I'm confident that Joe Biden can do that.
WHITFIELD: And then I do want to ask you about this week's horrible shootings. You're a member of the Congressional Asian-Pacific American caucus and you've been hearing the stories and witnessed, you know, the racism that is taking place against Asian-Americans across this country.
Where do we go from here? What do you see the road ahead to look like? KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think in the immediate term the killer has to
be brought to justice and I think that it was a hate crime. I don't think that, as some people were saying, he was merely quote/unquote "having a bad day" or combatting a sex addiction.
You have to understand that Asian-Americans only comprise like 4 percent of the population in the Atlanta area. He knew what he was doing by going after these particular people. And it was because they were of Asian descent.
The second thing is in the medium and long term we have to pass legislation such as my own bipartisan Hate Crimes Commission Bill to finally study at the federal government level the rise of hate crimes towards various minorities, including Asian-Americans, and what do we do to combat it.
And then long-term, we have to educate people about the long history of discrimination toward Asian-Americans in this country, starting with the Chinese Exclusion Act from 100 years ago, to the Japanese- American internment in World War II, toward attacks against Muslims and South Asian-Americans in recent years.
And so these are the types of actions that need to be taken, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Congressman Krishnamoorthi, always good to see you. Thank you so much. Be well.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you, Fredricka. You too.
WHITFIELD: All right. Still to come, one of these things is not like the other. The NCAA apologizing now after pictures of the women's basketball training room reveals a stark contrast with the men's.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEDONA PRINCE, NCAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: The NCAA came out with a statement saying that it wasn't money, it was space that was a problem. Let me show you all something else.
Here is our practice court, right. And then here's that weight room. And then here is all this extra space. If you're not upset about this problem, then you're a part of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Show and tell and get results. That player, Oregon's Sedona Prince joining me live.
WHITFIELD: Roger Stone, long-time adviser to former president Donald Trump, has not been charged for the Capitol riot, but Trump pardoned Stone just two weeks before the insurrection and his name keeps popping up in court filings against members of a right wing paramilitary group charged for their alleged role in the Capitol Siege.
This coming as leaders of the far right group, the Proud Boys have also been indicted in connection with the January 6th insurrection.
For more on all this, let's bring in CNN's Marshall Cohen. Marshall, good to see you. What more can you tell us about why Stone's name keeps appearing in these documents?
MARSHALL COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred, let me just give it to you straight. He keeps popping up because he has really close ties to a bunch of the extremists that stormed the Capitol, really close ties. People that are now charged with very serious felonies.
So earlier this week, federal prosecutors included a redacted version of this photograph that you can see in a conspiracy case against the Oath Keepers. As you mentioned, that's the right-wing militia group that was involved in the attack.
So in this pic you can see Roger Stone along with two Oath Keepers that have been charged. Their names are Connie Meggs and Graydon Young. It looks like it's a book signing for some of Stone's books at a replica of the Oval Office down in Florida.
And also, Fred, we've obtained video of one of those Oath Keepers, Connie Meggs, providing security for Roger Stone that same day at a so-called Stop the Steal rally. It was back in December. During the speech Stone promoted all kinds of conspiracy theories about the election.
Those two oath keepers that were with him that day, Fred, they've been indicted. They're contesting the charges. Roger Stone says he knew nothing about any plans to attack the Capitol and he has not been charged with any crimes, either.
WHITFIELD: And I'm glad, Marshall, you explained that was a replica, because I was going to ask you, is that the White House? So a replica of.
WHITFIELD: Very good. All right.
COHEN: Pretty good replica, too, right.
WHITFIELD: Right. A pretty good one.
All right. So some of the fencing now around the Capitol is being removed this weekend. What can you tell us about that, and why?
COHEN: Yes. So, Fred, basically this has been in the works for a little bit of time. The lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been clamoring for this stuff to come down. They were notified yesterday that some of it will be coming down sooner than expected, as early as this weekend.
But look, just because some of the razor wire fencing is coming down doesn't mean that the security posture is changing. There are still National Guard troops and a large review is still under way to make sure that all the fortifications that they need will be in place permanently to make sure that nothing, nothing like January 6th ever happens again.
So some stuff is coming down but it doesn't mean that they are letting down their guard, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Got it. All right. Nobody wants a repeat of that. Marshall Cohen, thank you so much.
We'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: The NCAA is now apologizing after being called out for the stark differences between weight rooms set up for the men's and women's basketball players. Officials admitting that they fell short after the men were given a full set of workout equipment while the women were only provided with a set of free weights and some yoga mats. One player gaining national attention after calling out this double standard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE: The NCAA came out with a statement saying that it wasn't money, it was space that was a problem. Let me show you all something else.
Here's our practice court, right. And then here's our weight room and then here's all this extra space. If you aren't upset about this problem, then you're a part of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: It's so sad, but at the same time it makes you laugh just hearing Sedona say let me show you something because it's right there.
Joining me right now to discuss is Sedona Prince, basketball player for the University of Oregon. Sedona, so good to see you.
PRINCE: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
WHITFIELD: Well, congratulations for using your voice and then, you know, making some change happen right away. But I mean really, how appalling this is.
So how did you get wind of what it looked like for the men versus what you are seeing with your very own eyes, the women's set up?
PRINCE: Twitter first. I just saw it was going around and stuff and then when I saw it in person, I was like I got to put this out. Like I got to video it and put it somewhere to kind of show everybody somebody what's going on.
WHITFIELD: So what were your emotions when you saw that? I mean describe what you were feeling. You know, was the steam coming, you know, out of your ears or what?
PRINCE: Yes, I was a little bit (INAUDIBLE). Me and the rest of my team were like come on, you know, we deserve more than this. We lift more than this. and so it was surprising. It and shocking that that's all we got but, you know, the video put it out there and everyone was like, you know, now we have a new weight room that we just got so it, you know, definitely did the job.
WHITFIELD: Well, thank goodness, I mean. But, you know, your exasperation was felt by so many. I mean not just, you know, in the world of elite athleticism but, you know, beyond. Even Steph Curry with the NBA, you know, tweeted out. He was like, come on, you got to be kidding me. You've got former WNBA players, current WNBA players have who weighed in.
I mean did you expect to get this kind of response, and that the NCAA would make a change?
PRINCE: Honestly, I had no idea it would be this level. I just made a Tiktok and I put it on Twitter because I wanted to see more exposure. And as soon as Steph Curry kind of tweeted it out, I was like ok, this is going to be -- this is going to be pretty big.
And then I, you know, I didn't really know if there was going to be a change or not, but now there has been, that I'm really happen and all the rest of the girls here are very excited to use our new weight room.
WHITFIELD: Well, that's good, congratulations.
So Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president for women's basketball had this to say about what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNN HOLZMANN, VICE PRESIDENT, NCAA WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: I'm a former women's basketball student athlete and it's always been my priority to make this event the best possible experience for everyone involved.
So this is my passion. I care about women's basketball, and women in sports. We fell short this year in what we had been doing to prepare in the last 60 days for 64 teams to be here in San Antonio. And we acknowledge that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: I mean, she sounds mortified, you know, and really embarrassed about all this. but you know, big picture, when you think about how this mistake happened in the first place. I mean what's the message that you feel was being sent that this gigantic omission -- omission of equipment for, you know, equal elite athletes would be served up like that?
PRINCE: Yes, I think there's this big misconception that women don't need to lift weights, and especially at my level, if we don't, then we can't perform to our best.
And so, you know, with the weights -- with the weights that we're provided, we can't become, you know, the best of our abilities. And so that kind of message of you don't need it, you know, the men need it and all of that stuff, that was kind of portrayed.
PRINCE: But I mean the apology was, you know, it's all forgiven and now that there's action in place, it's all good now.
WHITFIELD: All good now. Ok, so the action is now you're getting a new weight room.