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CNN NEWSROOM

Michigan Governor To White House: Surge Vaccines To Hotspot States Now; Rep. Gaetz Defiant In Face Of Sex Trafficking Probe And Calls To Resign; Voting Rights Battle; Second Week Of Chauvin's Murder Trial Comes To A Close; Britain Mourning The Passing Of Prince Philip; Biden White House Setting Up Commission To Study Supreme Court Reform. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 10, 2021 - 11:00   ET

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


[10:59:52]

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Of course, so happy for you, and you know, Alisyn and her team are so lucky to have you. I know, Christi, you have already conveyed that.

I'm not going to get teary or anything like that because, you know, you're only a plane ride away.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: True.

WHITFIELD: But I have to say that you really are the consummate professional. You have been dedicated to the craft of storytelling and journalism overall and so you're a fantastic example and they're just so lucky to have you.

And we'll miss you down here, but we'll all be sharing the airwaves, so it's not like you're going away.

BLACKWELL: Fred, thank you so much for that.

WHITFIELD: Ok.

BLACKWELL: This is the whole Atlanta contingency right here for all of the shows.

PAUL: It is.

WHITFIELD: I know. I know.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

WHITFIELD: But I had to wish my fellow Howard University (INAUDIBLE) brother the ultimate best and you'll be fantastic. Continue to soar.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much, Fred. Thank you. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much.

And Christi, I'm here with you -- arms locked always.

PAUL: Yes, together always.

WHITFIELD: All right. Have a great day, y'all.

PAUL: You, too.

BLACKWELL: You, too.

WHITFIELD: That's what we say in Atlanta, y'all.

All right, the CNN NEWSROOM begins right now.

Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin today with new warnings from the CDC as cases of the coronavirus are on the rise and Michigan is now seeing the worst of it. The governor begging the White House for more vaccines to help stop the spread in her state. Michigan leads the nation in cases with a positivity rate now of 18 percent.

And there are new concerns this morning about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC saying it is aware of adverse side effects now being reported in four states. Dizziness, rapid breathing and sweating seem to be the most common complaints. And now Johnson & Johnson shots in some states are being pulled and put on hold.

Despite what the CDC is saying, it is not recommending health departments stop administering any lots of COVID-19 vaccines, saying it has performed vaccine lot analysis and has not found any reason for concern.

All right. That was the backdrop. Now, there is some good news today. The FDA is considering whether to allow Pfizer to move ahead with vaccines for kids ages 12 to 15.

Let's go first to that new surge in Michigan. CNN's Polo Sandoval is in Detroit for us. So Polo, just how bad is the situation there today?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Fred, handling this latest surge has certainly been quite a challenge for Michigan state officials. As you mentioned, they have been asking the federal government to expand vaccine supplies so that mass vaccination locations like the one you see behind me here in Detroit will have more to cover more ground with.

In the meantime we're also, of course, monitoring hospitalization numbers. We know during one of the most recent surges, hospitals definitely were struggling to try to keep up, especially during the fall and winter.

But my colleague Sara (INAUDIBLE) checking in with Michigan's Health and Hospital Association which we're being told by them at this point they're certainly not worried by the number of ventilators that have been used. They're not seeing any sort of shortage in that.

And also comparing the numbers to what we saw most recently, they're certainly still below what we saw during the fall and winter spikes.

So that's certainly not too concerning for officials right now. But what is -- the number of pediatric cases, at least 237 percent increase in the last couple of months since mid-February.

Just look at this rundown of what the challenge has been for Michigan officials here. Hospitals have even had to delay some of their non- emergency procedures. And also most notable here, just yesterday the governor here urging schools, specifically high schools, to turn to remote learning after spring break for at least the next two weeks.

Governor Whitmer also calling on the -- at least on a volunteer basis to suspend certain youth league sports as well. And also calling on residents throughout the state of Michigan to only dine outdoors and also takeout, and try to avoid indoor gatherings and indoor dining at least for now while they try to get control of this.

And as you mentioned a little while ago and as I want you to hear directly from the state's chief executive, calling on the federal government to increase their vaccine supplies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): I made the case for a surge strategy. At this point that's not being deployed, but I am not giving up. Today it's Michigan and the Midwest, tomorrow it could be another section of our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: So again, right now what the governor is doing is simply making these recommendations that she did yesterday for the entire state of Michigan. But at the same time, also stopped short of calling this an order or any kind of mandate as well.

We know that that certainly has led to some criticism in the past. But at this point the governor feeling that what she's doing is hoping that Michiganders will actually look at those numbers that we just discussed, and get the message that the next few weeks could potentially be extremely difficult for the entire state of Michigan, Fred.

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

All right. Here with me right now, Dr. Syra Madad. She is a pathogens preparedness expert and a senior director of the New York City Health and Hospital Systems special pathogens program. So good to see you, Dr. Madad.

[11:04:58]

WHITFIELD: So let's begin with the issue of Johnson & Johnson and this vaccine. The CDC saying it's aware of the four states -- Iowa, Georgia, Colorado, North Carolina -- reporting some people experiencing adverse reactions after receiving that dose. A few of the states have paused administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Just a reminder to everybody, this is the one-dose vaccine.

So how worried are you about this reaction and whether this might impact people who had already been hesitant about getting a vaccine?

DR. SYRA MADAD, PATHOGENS PREPAREDNESS EXPERT: I think the vaccine is a remarkable vaccine. I think the FDA and CDC is looking into the situation and I think it's important to see what are seeing. Are these consistent with side effects that we normally see after vaccination?

And as we look at blood clots here in the United States, we have about 300,000 to 600,000 Americans that develop blood clots generally every year. So we're going to continue to see that.

But what's important is has that increased from the baseline compared to what we're administering for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. So that's the kind of the key that we need to kind of hone in on. But right now the benefits certainly outweigh the risks, but more information hopefully will come out to the general public.

WHITFIELD: So removing the availability of Johnson & Johnson means a lot of people who had appointments this week or next are directly being impacted, and adding to that shortage, you know, next week the number of Johnson & Johnson shots allocated by the federal government is expected to drop 84 percent because of this manufacturing delay.

And Maryland's governor says he is worried that that will potentially put his state a quarter million doses short. So how much of a setback is this in your view?

DR. MADAD: Certainly it's a setback and we know that right now it's a supply issue and as more states are expanding eligibility to more people, we need to have more supply. And anything that is going to take away from that supply in the middle of us seeing, you know, this fourth surge, is certainly very, very concerning.

So we need to not only increase supply but we need to increase the vaccinations in arms. So this is certainly not good news for the nation.

WHITFIELD: All right. So now let's talk about the Pfizer vaccine in children. The acting chairman of an FDA vaccine advisory committee says that it is highly likely the FDA will allow use of Pfizer's COVID vaccine in children ages 12 to 15. So how hopeful should families be?

DR. MADAD: We should all be very hopeful. This is very welcome news. We know that children are still vulnerable to infection.

Hospitalizations and infections, they certainly are rising in cases. So I think that this is really good news, especially knowing that we can see a vaccine authorized for this age group as early as fall.

So as a parent myself of three children, I'm very excited.

WHITFIELD: Ok. We're also seeing this new wave of states experiencing these variants. In New York City data shows the variants could make up 80 percent of the city's new cases. What does that tell you and how do people brace for what's ahead?

DR. MADAD: It's very concerning being in New York City and being part of the response. We're certainly very much keeping our eyes and pulse on this. I think that this is where we keep saying to everybody, this is a race between vaccinations and variants. We're seeing a higher proportion of cases with these variants of concern. We just need to make sure that more people are getting vaccinated.

You know, I think the other thing to just probably note is, you know, as we are expanding vaccinations, we need to continue to do more (INAUDIBLE) analysis. We're not doing enough of it and so we need to just increase that to kind of look at the breakthrough cases that are predictable that we are seeing and get a better picture.

WHITFIELD: You helped to write an op-ed in "The Washington Post" this week. And in it you say vaccination by itself will not be enough to stop the virus' spread in places with high rates of transmission until a lot of people get vaccinated.

That means that until we get there, there will be many unnecessary infections, hospitalizations, and deaths among people who could have been just a few weeks away from being protected by the vaccine.

The CDC says about one in four U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated. So does it appear in your view that the U.S. is vaccinating enough and fast enough?

We're certainly vaccinating a large portion of the American population. Every single day we're seeing upwards of close to four million doses. But I think it's important to understand that in these four million doses administered per day, half of them are going to people getting the second shot, the other half is, you know, getting to new people that haven't gotten the vaccination before.

So can we vaccinate our way out of this pandemic? We can certainly if we have more supply. I think that when we look at the cases and the surge that we're seeing, I'm hopeful that we can -- you know, not see this fourth surge, but we will see hot spots as we're seeing throughout the nation.

So we just need to be much more mindful, continue to do COVID-safe behaviors and get vaccinated when they're eligible.

WHITFIELD: All right. Dr. Syra Madad, thank you so much.

DR. MADAD: Thank you.

[11:09:50]

WHITFIELD: All right. Tonight on CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta learns why some people are afraid of vaccines. CNN's "SPECIAL REPORT: THE TRUTH ABOUT VACCINES" airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern time.

All right. Pressure is mounting on Congressman Matt Gaetz to resign as he faces a federal sex trafficking investigation. The Florida Republican is remaining defiant, vowing to fight back and deny any wrongdoing. At a conservative women's event held at the Trump Resort in Doral in Florida last night, Gaetz said he is not going anywhere.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): They lie about me because I tell the truth about them and I'm not going to stop. So when you see the leaks and the lies and the falsehoods and the smears, when you see the anonymous sources and insiders forecasting my demise, know this, they aren't really coming for me. They're coming for you. I'm just in the way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Gaetz in Doral last night.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz is here with more on this. So Katelyn, what do we know about the investigation and where it's going?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Hi, Fred. Well, there is a lot that is boiling around Matt Gaetz right now. There is a legal situation and then there is also political fallout that he's beginning to face.

So what we learned over the past several days is that there's a federal investigation into Gaetz that is looking at whether he had sex with a 17-year-old, that's a minor, and whether he had provided women -- that women provided sex to him in exchange for favors.

There's also a federal investigation that is looking, as part of this, into whether he was provided with travel and women in exchange for political favors. So that's a bit of a campaign finance or a campaign angle to it, a political angle.

All of this comes at the same time as another investigation, an investigation that we know of, that we've seen in court already, where a friend of his, a tax collector in Florida, was charged with sex trafficking and several other different types of crimes and that person this week, indicated that he may be interested in pleading guilty. He may be interested in cutting a deal with prosecutors and potentially cooperating.

Now, this is an ongoing investigation so it's not exactly clear what investigators are learning and whether the person this man in Florida, Joel Greenberg, has anything to share that could be of interest to investigators about Gaetz.

Now, among all of this, Gaetz's office is denying it. He's denying it. He's saying he did not have sex with minors and he did not pay women for sex. And his office is saying that the allegations are blatantly false and that they haven't been validated by anyone at this point.

Now that's the legal side of things. On the political side, the House Ethics Committee wants to look into all of the same things that the criminal investigation is said to be looking at and other things such as whether Gaetz was showing pictures of nude women that he says he slept with to other lawmakers on the house floor.

That ethics investigation comes as there are members of his office who are leaving the office, who are resigning, and that one Republican colleague, Adam Kinzinger, has said that he should be stepping down.

Now, of course, Gaetz did give that speech in Florida last night, his first public appearance. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GAETZ: I do know that there is something special, tangible, and powerful in what women have, and I've known it all my life. There is a sentiment among some women in the workforce that men are hired and promoted based on potential, but women are hired and promoted based on what they've done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

POLANTZ: Of course, that was before a friendly crowd of his supporters. Back to you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Katelyn Polantz, keep us posted. Thank you so much.

All right. Coming up, the fight over voting rights is heating up across the country. And a new video showing how Republicans in Texas are targeting minority communities.

Plus, the medical examiner testifies in the Derek Chauvin trial. What he revealed about George Floyd's cause of death.

[11:14:10]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. In Texas, new concerns about repressing the vote and the campaigns to do so even outside of proposals and laws. Video from a presentation by a Harris County Republican official is surfacing online, leaked by the voting rights advocacy group Common Cause.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're trying to build an army here of 10,000 people in Harris County that are motivated and highly confident folks to serve as election workers and poll watchers. I'm trying to get -- you know, encourage and recruit as a precinct char about 30 people in my precinct that will have the confidence and courage to come down in here in these areas where we really need poll workers, because this is where the fraud is occurring.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: It's being called problems by that presenter, but the areas highlighted with the red dot are predominantly minority communities in Houston where the voter turnout was significantly high last November. The Harris County Republican Party says the video, quote, blatantly mischaracterizes a grassroots election worker recruitment video to bully and intimidate Republicans.

Currently Texas has 49 bills moving through the state legislature which change or limit voting rights.

Last night our CNN's Chris Cuomo spoke with voting rights activist Brianna Brown of the Texas Organizing Project about why the video is so concerning.

[11:19:46]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: The bill, Texas senate bill 7, limits extended early voting hours, bans drive-through voting and drop boxes, allows poll watchers to record some voters, makes it illegal to proactively send mail-in ballot applications. Why are those so onerous to you?

BRIANNA BROWN, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, TEXAS ORGANIZING PROJECT: The essence of those bills is about fundamentally making it harder to register to vote and harder to actually cast your ballot. Those things equal voter suppression.

You led this segment with Harris County. Harris County in the 2020 election had innovations, in part in response to the pandemic, but in part because the county government there is interested in expanding the electorate. So innovations like 24-hour voting centers and late- night voting. Those all expanded the electorate, allowing working families and students opportunities to go to the polls.

So the laws that are making their way right now through the Texas legislature are a blatant attempt to shrink the electorate, and that's what the Texas Organizing Project is part of a larger progressive movement to expand the electorate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Meantime, in Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp is continuing to rail on what he says is a misunderstanding of his newly- signed Georgia voting law.

CNN's Natasha Chen joining me right now. So Natasha, what did the governor have to say?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Fred, Governor Kemp held yet another press conference to defend this voting law that was recently passed. He said the narrative by some Democrats calling this Jim Crow on steroids was false and he said that's a big lie on steroids.

Now, this law has been criticized for making it harder for minorities to vote, especially in urban areas, but Governor Kemp's point here today was that MLB's decision to pull the all-star game out of Georgia has disproportionately hurt minorities and minority-owned businesses. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): These are the same minority businesses that are now being impacted by another decision that is by no fault of their own. And it's being moved to a city -- or from a city in a metro area that is 51 percent African-American, to a city that is 10 percent African-American.

So who is getting screwed in this? It is the little guy and it's the minority-owned businesses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: He's referring to the game being moved to Denver. Now, I did clarify that the business we were standing in is not minority-owned. And when I asked whether there were minority business owners in the room to talk about the negative impact, Governor Kemp said that he did not know who all was in the room with him today.

The attorney general of Georgia, after the press conference, talked to me. I asked specifically what instances of fraud in 2020 have now been solved by this voting law. He said to me that there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election that would have overturned the results. But he said given complaints by Stacey Abrams in 2018 and by Republicans in 2020, the elections systems can always be improved, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Natasha Chen, thank you so much.

All right. The second week of testimony in the trial over the death of George Floyd came to a close on Friday. The Hennepin County chief medical examiner saying the restraint was more than Floyd's heart could take as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd's neck last year.

Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second degree manslaughter charges. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

The prosecution shifting focus to the medical analysis of Floyd's cause of death as the defense argues that Floyd died of a drug overdose and pre-existing health conditions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANDREW BAKER, HENNEPIN COUNTY CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: Had Mr. Floyd been home alone in his locked residence with no evidence of trauma and the only autopsy finding was that fentanyl level, then yes, I would certify his death as due to fentanyl toxicity.

Again, interpretation of drug concentrations is very context dependent.

DR. LINDSEY THOMAS, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: The activities of the law enforcement officers resulted in Mr. Floyd's death and that specifically those activities were the subdual of the restraint and the neck compression.

DR. BAKER: Mr. Floyd's use of fentanyl did not cause the subdual or neck restraint. His heart disease did not cause the subdual or the neck restraint.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. So these are items that may have contributed, but weren't the direct cause?

DR. BAKER: Correct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. joining me right now to discuss is Elliot Williams, a CNN legal analyst and a former federal prosecutor. Elliot, so good to see you.

[11:24:45]

WHITFIELD: All right. So this was another very powerful week of testimony in the case that the prosecution is putting on. How does the defense rebut such powerful testimonies from these medical experts who say in no uncertain terms that George Floyd died because of his interaction with this police officer and others?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So there's a few ways they do that, Fredricka. One, they put their own experts on. And certainly in trials often you see the battle of the experts, where everybody brings out their PhDs or doctors to fight with each other, in effect, about what the cause of death was. This was incredibly compelling, believable, credible testimony.

Oh, and, you know, frankly, another way to do it is to attack the credibility of the prosecution's witnesses. They couldn't really do that because the folks that got put on were all unquestionably experts, unquestionably credentialed and believable.

So really this comes down to either a, a fight amongst the experts, or b, just trying to plant enough doubt in the jury's mind about either the cause of death or the reasonableness of Chauvin's actions.

Remember a big part of this trial is also how was he trained, how are officers supposed to behave? And if you get enough jurors -- or at least one juror to believe that, then perhaps they could get an acquittal.

WHITFIELD: But it seemed very believable, the testimony of the former police chief who said no, that is not a method that we sanction nor train. That Chauvin has 19 years under his belt, so he wouldn't be fearful of a crowd gathering.

And the pulmonologist alone, I mean he apparently wrote the textbook on, you know, the science of pulmonology. So attacking his credibility and all of the credibility of those witnesses thus far is going to be very difficult. So what do you expect the defense, who they will call in order to try and change the minds of jurors? WILLIAMS: Right. look, you know, I'm trying to get in their heads here

and I think you find other doctors who can muddy up this question of what asphyxia is and so on.

But look, this week Fredricka, even the evidence that wasn't that helpful to the police -- to the prosecution, for instance, the fact that the medical examiner's report doesn't use the word "asphyxia". But it does say --

WHITFIELD: Homicide.

WILLIAMS: -- that the death was complicated by actions of police officers.

WHITFIELD: Right.

WILLIAMS: And so, even if it doesn't use the word -- that's the weakness in the prosecution's case, the mere failure to use one word. But it clearly says that police officers played a role in the death. And given that the legal standard here, the three words we all need to burn into our heads watching this trial is, "substantial causal factor".

Not the only factor that led to George Floyd's death, but were the actions of the officers, the substantial -- a substantial causal factor in the death. And all of these experts that the prosecution is putting on are going to be incredibly hard to rebut on that point because everybody seems to agree that, regardless of whatever health conditions Floyd might have had, the actions of officers helped put in place his death, and that should be enough, I think. We'll see what the jury does if that's standard.

WHITFIELD: The defense not only will it try to undermine the credibility, as you put it, of the prosecution's witnesses, they're likely to also take the approach of either trying to, you know, demonize or undermine the man who is no longer here, George Floyd. Yet at the same time, they will try to convince the jurors that they didn't hear what they heard from the experts.

WILLIAMS: Yes. Look, this is the -- this is the second year of law school criminal procedure class playing out right now, right? And this is how the reasonable doubt standard works. Defense attorneys have an obligation, I think, to their client to attempt to muddy up the waters as to what jurors hear or as to what the prosecution put on.

They don't have an obligation to prove anything. That burden is on the prosecution. They just have an obligation to suggest that the prosecution didn't meet its burden, which is a very high one in the law. It just looks here that, you know, the prosecution is hitting the jurors over the head with experts and eyewitnesses that are all saying the same thing.

You often do trials where your witnesses, even within the same police department, are disagreeing with each other. Everybody is saying the same thing here. So this will be fascinating to see how it plays out -- WHITFIELD: We saw it with the experts --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: -- yes, we saw it with the experts, the consistency and the viewpoint of the eyewitnesses as well. Many of them using the same kind of language, you know, in what they saw and the agony of what they witnessed.

Elliot Williams, good to see you. Thank you so much.

WILLIAMS: Take care, Fredricka. WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up, tributes to Prince Philip across the United Kingdom. A closer look at his relationship with Queen Elizabeth and what we're learning about his funeral arrangements.

[11:29:51]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: The U.K. united in mourning today after the passing of 99- year-old Prince Philip. 41-gun salutes echoing from locations around the U.K. to commemorate his passing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Among the tributes pouring in, the Queen saying she considered him her strength and her stay. After all, they were married 73 years. Prince Harry and Meghan posting a simple tribute and thanking him for his decades of service.

[11:34:53]

WHITFIELD: The royal family has not confirmed funeral arrangements yet, but the prince is not expected to lie in state and will be buried in a private ceremony at a chapel in Windsor.

Sally Bedell Smith is a CNN contributor and author of the book "Elizabeth the Queen" and she's joining me right now. So good to see you. So how do you --

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good to see you, Fredricka.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Yes. Thank you so much. How do you see that Prince Philip will be remembered and his life celebrated?

BEDELL SMITH: Well, I think, as you can tell from the tributes that are pouring in from around the world, so many people appreciate the breadth and depth of his contributions over 800 charities that he supported, the Duke of Edinburgh's awards theme, which has given opportunities to something like 6.7 million young people.

And all of his contributions very, very early, to the environmental movement, to science and technology. He was a real prince (ph) at the end -- it's hard to believe it but there is something about him that young Lilibeth, Princess Elizabeth saw when she was 13 years old.

WHITFIELD: I read that. She saw him at -- she was 13, he was an 18- year-old cadet. And she was smitten is how it was described. And then somehow over time they would connect and then they would have these love letters between them during World War II.

BEDELL SMITH: Yes.

WHITFIELD: So tell me about, what was the magic of their relationship? I mean, that's such a young age to find love.

BEDELL SMITH: It is, and it was really the one big decision that she made in her life and she never wavered. I remember her cousin, Margaret Rhodes, her first cousin said that day of 1939 when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the great mother and Elizabeth and Margaret came to Dartmouth Naval College where Philip was a cadet. And he was 18, he was 6 feet tall, blond. He looked like a Greek god, although he was Nordic. And she completely fell in love with him. And he obviously, too.

They spent an afternoon together. The family (INAUDIBLE). They were third cousins. You know, they shared the same great, great grandparents in Victoria and Prince Albert. So her parents knew his family very well because they were all family.

I was just recently looking through some diaries from World War II, and I found something from 1941, which is just two years later, where Elizabeth confided to her friend and she said Philip is my boy.

And he was homeless.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Oh, my gosh -- what a tragic story.

BEDELL SMITH: His mother had a nervous breakdown when he was 10 years old. His father abandoned the family. He was taken in by his British relatives. But he really had -- he used to sign visitor books and (INAUDIBLE).

And during the war he visited Windsor Castle, I think, a half a dozen times, and he did show up and they gave this wonderful Christmas performance, they were like musical comedies. And Elizabeth starred in one in 1943 and somebody who was there said, you know, I think she's going to marry him.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh.

BEDELL SMITH: And you know, they continued their romance, and three years later, the royal family invited him up to Balmoral, their estate in the Scottish islands. He was there for a month. At the end of the month he proposed to her. She accepted on the spot.

But her parents said, whoa, wait a minute, wait until you turn 21. And they went to South Africa, she (INAUDIBLE), she gave a famous speech and the rest is history. They got married --

WHITFIELD: What a story.

BEDELL SMITH: -- they got married in September of 1947.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Yes. He certainly represents a resilience in so many ways. He being the longest serving consort in British royal history.

And before I let you go Sally, of course, you know, this passing of Prince Philip, of course you can't help but think about Prince Harry. And reportedly, he will be making his way to the U.K.

BEDELL SMITH: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Do you have any sense as to what that is going to be like, particularly after splitting with the royal duties and, you know, just the family falling out the way it has?

[11:39:49]

BEDELL SMITH: Well, you know, I was recently talking to someone who has known William and Harry for a long time, and he said beneath the anger William -- and I'm sure Harry probably feels this way as well -- but William really wants to repair the rift.

And I think various cousins have already sort of begun mediating. So this could be during this terrible sadness -- this could be an opportunity for healing for the two of them -- for the two of them in particular -- and with his father and his grandmother and the rest of the family. So it's a sad occasion and it is very much a family funeral (INAUDIBLE).

WHITFIELD: It is sad. But doesn't the world at the very least want these two brothers, whatever it takes somehow, these two brothers' blood get back together again and have the kind of, you know, relationship they once had? At least the public, that we got to see.

BEDELL SMITH: Yes.

WHITFIELD: All right. Sally Bedell Smith, thank you so much.

BEDELL SMITH: Pleasure.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:45:07]

WHITFIELD: All right. The White House is setting up a commission to study the U.S. Supreme Court and whether it should be changed at all. A team of legal experts will spend the next six months looking at ways to reform the court, but the commission won't give the White House any firm recommendations when done, but instead provide assessment.

Jasmine wright joins us live now from the White House. Jasmine, so good to see you. So what does this mean, providing assessment?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Look, this is President Biden fulfilling a campaign pledge, Fred. In October of last year he said that he would start a commission to look at the Supreme Court after folks on the left really wanted him to support adding more seats to the bench to try to bring it more balance. Right now it exists as a conservative majority.

So President Biden didn't go that far, but said he would establish a commission. And here it is, as you said, but with one caveat, which is that it will not be providing final recommendations, which is likely to be a letdown for activists who wanted President Biden really to take a firm stand.

Now, White House press secretary Jen Psaki says that it will revisit all types of topics when it comes to the court, including adding more seats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The panel is being asked to do a number of -- take a number of steps, including the pros and cons on exactly that issue. But they will also be looking at the court's rule on the constitutional system, the length OF service and turnover of justices on the court, the membership and size of the court, and the court's case selection rules and practices.

And the makeup of this commission, which was vital for the president, is there are progressives on the court, there are conservatives on the court. People will present different opinions and different points of view and then they'll have a report at the end of 180 days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WRIGHT: Now Fred, President Biden has been critical of the court, saying it has gotten political and that it has gotten out of whack. But we will see how far he moves and if he moves closer to where some of those activists want him to be in adding more seats.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jasmine Wright, thank you so much at the White House.

We'll be right back.

[11:47:12]

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WHITFIELD: All right. Day three at the Masters is under way. Golf's biggest tournament is going ahead as normal, deflecting calls for a boycott in response to Georgia's controversial new voting law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRED RIDLEY, CHAIRMAN, AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB: We realize views be opinions on this law differ. There have been calls for boycotts and other punitive measures.

Unfortunately, those actions often impose the greatest burdens on the most vulnerable in our society. And in this case, that includes our friends and neighbors here in Augusta, who are the very focus of the positive difference we are trying to make.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk about the leaderboard.

Coy Wire is with me now at the Masters in Augusta. Usually, Coy, we see, you know, azaleas popping behind you. Not seeing that right now but we are seeing some stars and some new faces out there should make for a pretty exciting tournament.

COY WIRE, CNN WORLD SPORT CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Azaleas are indeed in bloom but it is a rose that everyone's talking about, Fred. Good to see you.

It's been a wild couple of days with some of the game's biggest names not even making the cut, including the defending champ, world number one Dustin Johnson.

It is Justin Rose stealing the show. His fore shot leads the way early yesterday but Rose rallied on the back nine to get to even par staying at 7 under for the tournament. He had a one-shot lead coming into today's round three.

But can he hold on this time? He is a two-time runner-up here. Back issues forced him to miss the last month coming into this tournament. and the only other time he led a major into the weekend was the Masters back in 2004 when he ended up finishing 22nd.

Now, one of the biggest surprises so far, playing his very first Masters, 24-year-old Will Zalatoris ranked 2006 in the world just 17 months ago. He skyrocketed into the top 50 with five birdies on the back nine yesterday. He was within one shot of the leader. No fear.

He told his parents that if he was stupid enough to think he can play here, he's stupid enough to think he can win it too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL ZALATORIS, GOLF PLAYER: I've wanted to be here my entire life. And you know, some people shy away from that, but I'm excited to be here. You know, I've wanted to be here forever.

So there's no reason to feel intimidated now. I mean, I've made it to here. And obviously, you know, job is not done by any means but I think, you know, standing on the first tee and you know, hearing your name called, that's something that every kid dreams of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: Fred, you have to see one more thing, Si Woo Kim is in serious contention despite breaking his putter after some frustrating misses on 14. All you weekend packers (ph) out there can relate to this. But no putter, no problem for Kim. He played his last four holes while putting with his 3 wood. Still gets the job done by parring in.

Never a dull moment here at Augusta National Golf Club, Fred. Anything can happen, especially when there are clouds lingering overhead as these players make their final push to winning a Masters.

[11:54:53]

WHITFIELD: Oh, that's true. And that's why the Masters is so exciting because just when you think you know what's going to happen, no you know, move over. It's always unpredictable.

Coy Wire, thank you so much in Augusta.

All right. Tomorrow, a powerful new series debuts right here on CNN. "THE PEOPLE VERSUS THE KLAN" tells the true story of a black mother who took down the Ku Klux Klan after the brutal lynching of her son.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then you got a black man hanging from a tree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike O'Donnell was an innocent good Samaritan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No doubt the Klan is behind this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was my baby, and nothing they do can bring him back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We must continue the fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The stakes could not be higher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an incredible story of courage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A powerful new CNN original series "THE PEOPLE VERSUS THE KLAN", tomorrow at 9:00 on CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:56:19]

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