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Prince Philip Dead at Age 99; Pulmonary Expert Says George Floyd Died Due to Low Level of Oxygen; First GOP Member of Congress Calls on Congressman Matt Gaetz to Resign; Vaccine Advisors to the U.S. Government Say They would Not Take the AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired April 9, 2021 - 09:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto. Breaking news this morning. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband to Queen Elizabeth, has died at the age of 99.

HARLOW: He was married to the Queen for more than seven decades, making him Britain's longest serving consort.

Let's go to our Anna Stewart in London with more. Good morning.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, both. Well, this news only broke a couple of hours ago but already you can see crowds are beginning to gather outside the gates of Buckingham Palace. The flag is flying at half-mast. This is a nation going into mourning.

The legacy of Prince Philip is absolutely extraordinary. Of course, he'll be best known for being married to the Queen for some 73 years. As you said, he's the longest serving consort in British history. Once the Queen on the golden anniversary said he was quite simply her strength and stay for all of those years. He's always been two steps behind but performed with her tens of thousands of engagements. He's been the head of over 600 charitable organizations.

He has touched the lives of millions of people here in the U.K. and right around the commonwealth. Prime Minister Boris Johnson described him like this.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Like the expert carriage driver that he was, he helped to steer the royal family and the monarchy. So that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life.


STEWART: He described him there as a carriage driver. He was also a passionate polo player in his younger years. He had a real, I don't know, passion for life, I would say. He had lots of amusing comments. He once described himself as the world's greatest plaque unveiler and his legacy is something we will be analyzing I think for the next few days while we try and figure out what happens next because, of course, as a result of the pandemic, the future plans in terms of a funeral will be much more complicated than on any normal given year.

SCIUTTO: Anna Stewart, thanks very much.

And joining us is CNN contributor Sally Bedell Smith. She's the author of the book "Elizabeth: The Queen."

So good to have you this morning. You know this family so well.

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good to see you. It's a very sad moment.


BEDELL SMITH: But he had a full and rich and a life of really extraordinary contributions. I mean, he was not only the Queen's strength and stay and supporting her in every way, but he had so many interests of his own. I mean, even 10 years ago, he was still doing 300 engagements a year. And you know, he would never have called himself an intellectual but he wrote nine books. He was an expert on ornithology. He was really quite a good painter in oils.

He designed jewelry. I saw the beautiful bracelet that he designed for the Queen for their fifth anniversary. She fell in love with him when he was 18 and she was only 13 years old.


BEDELL SMITH: And I remember talking to one of her cousins, Margaret Rhodes, who grew up with her, and, you know, she never looked at anybody else. Her parents knew Prince Philip's family well. They were the Greek royal family. They had been expelled from Greece in a coup in 1922 when he was just a toddler.


BEDELL SMITH: They moved to Paris, but they were -- King George V was always helping them and aware of them, so they knew who Philip was. So, you know, he was -- he wasn't a classic hunting, shooting British aristocrat who would have sort of melded into the British family very easily.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Yes.

BEDELL SMITH: Prince Philip was his own man.


BEDELL SMITH: He had a really independent mind and he was a modernizer. I think people will focus on how much he modernized the monarchy. SCIUTTO: He had a common touch, did he not, and, of course, listen,

he's married to the Queen of England, but he had a reputation for having a common touch. He answered the phone himself, which broke with protocol.


SCIUTTO: He bought Queen Elizabeth a washing machine. He carried his own suitcase.


I love this quote. He would tell the footman, "I have arms. I'm not bloody helpless." How much -- I wonder if you could talk a little bit about his personality.

BEDELL SMITH: Well, his -- he was very quick. He had a very quick wit. And I think people often misinterpreted that as gaffe, But, I mean, I had an encounter with him in Malta, 2015, when we were at a reception, and I was there because I was working on a book. And I had credentials around my neck and he walked up and he looked at me, said, what do you do? I said I write books. And he said what kind? And I said biographies.

And he said who have you written about? I said, well, her majesty. And he said, oh, you must be desperate. And then he said who are you writing about now? And I said Prince Charles. And he said you must really be desperate. But I mean, you know, it was all in good fun. And -- but he would say things like that and most people took them with spirit.

I watched the two of them at an event, and he was watching her like a laser. He never kept her out of his sight, and he would, if he saw somebody, a little kid in particular who was having trouble seeing the Queen or getting close to her, I saw him literally pick up a child and put him in front of the barricade so the Queen could say hello.

And then I would see them afterwards and they'd be in the car and they'd sharing stories about maybe things that might have gone wrong. But one of the Queen's closest friends said to me, you know, you always have to remember that there was always a laugh around the corner. So they --you know, they shared many duties, but they also shared, you know, a great sense of humor. And there was a moment after the very solemn coronation in 1953 when the -- when Prince Philip turned to the Queen and he said, where did you get that hat, looking at her crown.

So, you know, he was quick on the uptake, but he was also a serious man. I mean, I was amazed when I went into his private secretary's office in the palace and they gave me, you know, six books that he had written. I think by the '80s he had written nine books. He was the first person in the royal family to use television. He did a television documentary. He persuaded the Queen in 1957 to televise her annual Christmas message.

And he even taught her how to use a teleprompter. He was the first member of the royal family to use a computer. As you alluded to earlier he picked up the phone but he also wrote all his own e-mails. He wrote his speeches. He was a man of searching intellect. Great curiosity. And people -- some people found him to be a little precocious because he was very strong minded. But on the other hand, if somebody really knew what they were talking about, and they argued with him, he would -- he could be turned around. He had a very open mind. He was a (INAUDIBLE) very, very early. And you know, he just had the most really wide ranging --



HARLOW: Sally, thank you so much, and again for our viewers, you have written just the seminal biography of the Queen. I'm sure many more people will be reading it now. And I'll just leave us with this quote from Prince Philip.

"I think to try and create a memorial for yourself or your life is slightly indecent," he said. "I'd rather other people decide what legacy I leave. I am not trying to create one."

Sally Bedell Smith, thank you.

BEDELL SMITH: You're welcome.

HARLOW: Next hour, testimony resumes in the Derek Chauvin murder trial with a critical witness expected to be called today. That is the medical examiner who performed George Floyd's autopsy. He ruled Floyd's death a homicide but did not, in his report, mention asphyxiation, a key point made yesterday by the prosecution medical expert.

SCIUTTO: That expert ruled out pre-existing conditions and drugs as the cause of Floyd's death, but revealed this stunning news. Derek Chauvin's knee remained on George Floyd's neck for more than three minutes after he had already taken his last breath. It was quite a moment in the testimony yesterday.

CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates joins us now to discuss this. The significance of this.


Dr. Martin Tobin, he's a pulmonary expert, he described in great detail yesterday watching the testimony, and I think in ways that laymen like myself and crucially the jurors could understand. The process of breathing and how Floyd's breathing gradually stopped and making a direct connection between that and the use of force. From your point of view, how crucial was that testimony?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, this was, by far, the most compelling testimony that we've heard in this trial. And Jim, that includes the very emotional, heart-wrenching testimony of bystanders. Why? In part because perhaps people didn't see this coming. His methodical cadence. The way in which he was so informative. He seemed to not try to influence but essentially just inform. And when he did, we learned so much.

There are probably many jurors who had no idea what a pulmonologist was. The expertise in the respiratory system and the chest cavity and the lungs. And he broke it down in such a way, in a digestible way that people were actually, through his demonstrative statements like touch your neck, feel here, follow along this area. They were following along.

When you're a prosecutor trying to meet your burden of proof and needing these very technical experts to help the jury understand the torturous conditions by which you are alleging Derek Chauvin left and inflicted upon George Floyd, to have somebody with that expertise having the jury so captivated that they're following along, this is what you want in order to meet your burden.

HARLOW: And they spent, Laura, about half an hour simply setting up how remarkable his credentials are before getting into that. I wonder what you make of the prosecutor's strategy, being a former federal prosecutor yourself, to have him go first before the medical examiner who actually performed the autopsy on George Floyd? I suppose today then they're going to have him respond to everything that Tobin said.

COATES: Absolutely. And when you're thinking about how to prosecute a case, the selection of witnesses is going to be important in telling the story. But the chronology of these witnesses is going to be so important because they're going to lead with your trump. You're going to put your best foot forward and you're going to let the person who can set the foundation, not through the argument of counsel, which isn't allowed to be thought of as evidence but through their own expertise.

And then you have essentially if there is a witness down the line in your list of witnesses that might not be as compelling or might not have the lockstep discussions or statements or conclusions that you are trying to establish, you lead with somebody they now have to bounce off of, feed off of. By creating this foundational expertise, Poppy, they have set up the medical expert, not to fail, but to now be in a better position to explain what he meant.

SCIUTTO: So much of yesterday, it struck me, was connecting the medicine, right? The science to those powerful images we've become so familiar with. This is one of them here talking about the weight applied to Floyd in those crucial moments when he was taking his final breaths. Have a listen to that, and I just want to ask you to briefly talk about the significance.


DR. MARTIN TOBIN, PULMONOLOGIST EXPERT: Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen. That's 91.5 pounds is coming down directly on Mr. Floyd's neck.


SCIUTTO: Talk about how the toe of the officer's boot was no longer touching the ground to emphasize that all of his weight was on him. Was that a key moment?

COATES: Absolutely. The minutia of the details is what's important here. Remember, all of us have been watching through laymen's eyes about what we saw. A disturbing nine-minute and 29-second video. Bystanders watching through laymen's eyes. Now the defense has to now defend against the expertise and the expert eyes of somebody who is looking not just at the overall scope of what happened, but the details and the manipulation of the handcuffs.

The details about using one's finger or knuckle or shoulder to try to breathe. The idea of what it means when that toe lifts and the amount of weight that now is placed on somebody's neck. This is somebody walking you through and saying you thought it was bad before. Here's how really bad it is.

SCIUTTO: The images become so powerful. Laura Coates, thanks so much.

And ahead this hour, the first Republican lawmaker has now called for Congressman Matt Gaetz to resign. This after a new report alleges Gaetz paid money to an accused sex trafficker who then sent the same amount of money to a young woman. We're going to get into the latest there.

Plus, vaccine advisers to the federal government tell CNN they do not think that the AstraZeneca vaccine will be used here in this country. And even if it was, they personally say they wouldn't take it.

HARLOW: Also, Georgia's new restrictive voting law has set off a firestorm over voting rights and corporate America not sitting this fight out. Levi's CEO is here to talk about why businesses need to take a stand on this now.




JIM SCIUTTO, CO-ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: The first Republican member of Congress is now calling on fellow Republican Representative Matt Gaetz to resign in the face of a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations against him. Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger urged Gaetz to step down on Twitter and linking to a "Daily Beast" article about Venmo payments Gaetz allegedly made to his associate and now indicted Florida official Joel Greenberg. CNN has not confirmed the details of the allegations in this story.


HARLOW: The transactions, this is according to "The Daily Beast", were from Congressman Gaetz to Greenberg in May of 2018. The next morning, Greenberg transferred money totaling the same amount that he received from Gaetz to three young women. None of the three women were under age, according to "The Daily Beast". Gaetz has repeatedly denied ever paying for sex. Our Ryan Nobles is following the story. Good morning, Ryan, that associate now appears to be willing to strike a plea deal and maybe --


HARLOW: Flip on his friend.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy. And that is why the pressure is really mounting on Matt Gaetz because Joel Greenberg who is the former tax collector in Seminole County, Florida, and is facing 33 charges, federal charges ranging from prostitution to human trafficking to stalking. He told prosecutors and his attorney telling a judge yesterday in open court that he is open to a plea deal, and if he's open to a plea deal, the next step would be a cooperation agreement. And if he begins talking to the feds about his relationship with Matt Gaetz, that could be trouble for the Florida congressman.

And Greenberg's attorney even admitted so coming out of court yesterday, saying that Matt Gaetz should be pretty uncomfortable right now because his client is uniquely positioned to discuss Gaetz's activities that led to this federal investigation. And Greenberg and Gaetz, these are two men that were very close, political and you know, personal associates. That it was the investigation into Greenberg that led federal investigators into their investigation into Gaetz. Now Gaetz has maintained all along that he's done nothing wrong. He specifically said that he never paid for sex or that he's ever had sex with a 17-year-old as an adult. At this point, Jim and Poppy, Gaetz says that he's not going anywhere. He has no plans to resign.

HARLOW: Ryan Nobles, thank you for that reporting.

SCIUTTO: Let's discuss now with former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, he's also the author of the memoir, "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump". It's an important read. Andrew, good to have you on. You've been involved in plea deals in your position in the FBI and the Justice Department. Well, what kind of cooperation do prosecutors require to reduce sentence and charges in a case like this?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, sure. So, Jim, there's a couple of things to be aware of. First, there's only two reasons a defendant would ever plead guilty in the federal system. And the incredibly rare instance people come in and plead guilty to an entire indictment, they put on no defense and they just admit the charges.


MCCABE: Hardly ever happens. In almost all circumstances, if you are pleading guilty, it is because you are cooperating. It's also true that the -- in my experience, with many organized crime cases, working as an agent in New York, having gone through this process many times, the defendant usually has submitted to several proffers before the plea deal is officially made in court. So, it is highly likely that Mr. Greenberg has already been proffered or interviewed by prosecutors and investigators, people who are now taking the information he's given them and going out and trying to corroborate it with solid, hard evidence they can use in court. So this is a process that is probably already well down the road.

SCIUTTO: Given the involvement as well in this of Mr. Gaetz and his involvement with Greenberg, and the fact that Gaetz is a big target, do you agree with Greenberg's attorney when he says I'm sure Matt Gaetz is not feeling very comfortable today. Would it be likely -- again, we don't know the circumstances of this proffer, but would it be likely that prosecutors would look for him to give details about the involvement of someone like Gaetz?

MCCABE: No question. As a fundamental matter to get a cooperation deal in the federal system, you have to agree to provide prosecutors and agents with all of your knowledge of any criminal activity that you or anyone else you know of has been involved in. That is the only way to get a proffer agreement. You have to give up everything you know about criminal activity. That would, of course, include, in this case, allegedly, the congressman. It's also true that you can't -- it is part of U.S. Attorney's Office manual, you're not supposed to sign someone up for a cooperation agreement unless they can provide information about someone who is more significant or a bigger fish, a bigger target than they are. So all those things, I think, point to very serious consequences possibly on the horizon for the congressman.

SCIUTTO: Why would Greenberg's attorney advertise that publicly, right? I mean, for him to say that, I'm sure Gaetz isn't feeling very comfortable today. I mean, it's a little bit of a shot across the bow. I mean, what's his interest in making a comment like that?


MCCABE: Boy, that's a hard one to understand. I was shocked that he made that comment. I think typically attorneys say nothing. They certainly are loathed to speak about other defendants who they don't represent. So, that was a really strange thing for him to say. It may have just been a slip of the tongue, obviously, he knows more than we do about what Mr. Greenberg may or may not be telling investigators. So it's informing to us, but it was a strange thing, I think, for an attorney to do.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Well, a case we'll continue to follow closely. Andrew McCabe, thanks so much.

MCCABE: Thanks, Jim.

HARLOW: Vaccine advisors to the U.S. government say they would not take the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. Why? That's next.


HARLOW: AstraZeneca has yet to request emergency.