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70 Plus Capitol Police Officers have Left Force since Insurrection; Rep. Eric Swalwell, (D) California, is Interviewed about Capitol Police, January 6 riot, Commission; 3 Dems Oppose Security Bill because "Underlying Threats" of Radicalism haven't been Addressed; Senate GOP Poised to Block Bipartisan Jan. 6 Commission; British Police to Reexamine New Evidence in 1995 BBC Princess Diana Interview. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 21, 2021 - 14:30   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: More than 70 rank and file Capitol police officers have left the force since the Capitol insurrection in January. And the officer's police union suggests low morale within the ranks following the deadly riot is a major factor in the decision to leave. A watchdog report says that more Capitol police staffing is needed to assess threats as caseloads have ramped up.

And adding to staffing concerns, the police union says about a quarter of Capitol Police officers are eligible to retire in the next few years. So, let's talk about this with Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He's with us now.

Congressman, thanks for being with us.

Let's start with the obvious question considering those resignations, those departures. Are you concerned about your safety?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Well, I'm concerned about the safety of visitors around me. Look, I didn't know what I signed up for, but the Capitol has to be open to visitors and the public and the staff who work for us.

And Victor, these cops who protect us, they're hurting and they're grieving right now. And what they want to know is that the lawmakers who they are protecting and have on January 6, that you understand 100 plus officers were injured, that an officer lost his eye, that an officer lost fingers, three officers are dead. So, they're really looking at us and saying, are you on the side of the cop killers or are you on the side of the Constitution?

BLACKWELL: So then, what do you do? And listen, I know that you empathize with these officers and their families. You're the son of a retired police chief, but you have a thin force there and wearing them thin. So, what is happening in Congress to refill these ranks? We learned from the report from General Honore that there are hundreds of open positions well below the authorized levels. What is Congress doing?

SWALWELL: We passed legislation yesterday that would increase the funding for the security presence that's needed at the Capitol, as well as, you know, the protective details that are going to be needed for members who continue to face threats. But I hope we also can provide, you know, counseling and therapy for the officers as they continue to grieve and struggle. We need that to pass in the Senate now.

And again, it's just disheartening to see that Republicans in the House have voted against the Congressional Gold Medal for the brave officers. They voted against the police funding. They voted against the commission. And this used to be an issue that united Republicans and Democrats and frankly, that Republicans used to be better on Law and Order, I think, than Democrats were.

BLACKWELL: But Congressman, this is not just Republicans who oppose this legislation. There were several progressive members of your party. And this is the almost $2 billion security bill you're talking about passed by a single vote in the House.

There's the statement from Representatives Omar, Bush, and Presley who voted no and they say that, "A bill that pours $1.9 billion into increased police surveillance and force without addressing the underlying threats of organized and violent white supremacy, radicalization and disinformation that led to this attack will not prevent it from happening again."

So, what's your case to not Republicans, not a single one of them voted for it, but the progress in your caucus who say that this is the wrong path to stop this from happening again?


SWALWELL: The message is -- I hear you on that, but we're also on the Homeland Security Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the intelligence committees, we are looking at, you know, domestic violence, extremism. These groups that pose a threat and all of our communities, not just to the Capitol, and you know, we can walk and chew gum at the same time. And so, let's work to fund that.

But let's -- we can't walk away from the police officers that defended us who may be called again to defend the Capitol if it's under attack. But you know, that's four or five members on our side, and you're talking about 175 on their side. I wish it was unanimous, frankly, but we can't walk away from these cops.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And in walking away from them, these three members also point out that just a half million dollars for trauma counseling for these officers when there's $200 million for the new quick reaction force. Let me move on, though to the commission. Do you think the 1-6 Commission in the form that it was passed out of the House, is that dead?

SWALWELL: Better not be because, you know, officers in their morale are dying every day. They're leaving the force, as I said, they're grieving, they're having real issues, and they talk to me about it. I'm friends with a lot of them. I went to dinner with a couple of them on Thursday evening, and they're counting on us to get to the ground truth of this.

And Victor, the perfect thing about an independent commission is that right now, we're in a divided country where people, they literally choose the news that agrees with them. You can't spin a commission. This is going to be facts that will come from the people who were on the front lines, unimpeachable testimony that will help us make sure this never happens again.

So, if there's anything worth breaking the filibuster, it's for a commission. It's for having, you know, voting rights reforms. It's for making us more democratic, not less democratic.

BLACKWELL: Well, it looks like you don't have the votes or Democrats don't have the votes in the Senate to either pass the commission or get past a filibuster, or even within its own caucus to change the filibuster.

Let me ask you if the commission dies, and there's the creation of the Select Committee, which House Democratic leadership has says that they will -- they will do. What's the depreciation of actionable information? I mean, what do you lose from going from this bipartisan, nonpartisan commission to members then leading this select committee?

SWALWELL: Well, Speaker Pelosi has said she'll do whatever we have to do to understand what happened and make sure it doesn't happen again. I think the value, the difference, though, is we still have the subpoena power for a select committee. So we'll still learn what happened.

I think the challenge will be, when you want to implement the reforms to make sure that no democracy has ever attacked again, it's going to have more credibility if you have bipartisan buy in of independent states person, scholars and experts outside of the Capitol who are looking at this and making recommendations. And that's why it's so important that, you know, we don't walk away from what happened. We show the cops who were there that we care what happened to you, and we don't want you to ever be in that position again.

And so, if you voted to -- if you voted to convict in the Senate, there were seven Republicans who did. I hope every single one of those senators would recognize the gravity of what happened that day and why we would need an independent commission.

BLACKWELL: Well, we've already heard from some of them that in the current form that it's getting to them, they are not supporting it.

Congressman Eric Swalwell, thanks so much.

SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks, Victor.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Now to this story, Victor, Princess Diana's sons are blasting the BBC after these revelations about that decade's old Princess Diana interview. And Prince Harry details his past drinking and drug use in a very candid new interview. All of that, next.



BLACKWELL: Princes William and Harry are blasting the BBC after a report that the British Broadcasting Corporation lied and conspired to secure that infamous 1995 interview with Princess Diana. You remember this, the late princess's family members are drawing a direct link between Martin Bashir's interview and Princess Diana's death.

CAMEROTA: Prince Harry says, "The ripple effect of a culture and exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life. Our mother lost her life because of this and nothing has changed."

Harry's older brother William had this scathing rebuke.


PRINCE WILLIAM: BBC employees lied and use fake documents to obtain the interview with my mother made lurid and false claims about the royal family. Displayed woeful and competence when investigating complaints and concerns about the program. And were evasive in their reporting to the media and covered up what they knew from their internal investigation.

It is my view that the deceitful way the interview was obtained, substantially influenced what my mother said. The interview was a major contribution to making my parents relationship worse. It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC's failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.


CAMEROTA: Harry is also opening up about how the trauma of his mother's death and the pressures of royal life have affected his mental health. So, there's this new series premiering on Apple T.V. and Prince Harry told Oprah Winfrey that he struggled with drugs, alcohol, and panic attacks.


PRINCE HARRY: I was wanting to drink, I was wanting to take drugs. I was wanting to try and do the things that made me feel less like I was feeling. But I slowly became aware that -- OK, I wasn't drinking Monday to Friday, but I would probably drink a week's worth in one day on a Friday or a Saturday night. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: Diane Clehane is a Diana biographer and the Royal's Editor for Best Life. And Trisha Goddard or Goddard, I'm sorry, is talking -- she's a talk show host and journalist. Thank you both for being with us.


Let me start with you, Diane, just your reaction to hearing from Prince William, the linking between this interview and his mother's death, the breakup of his parents.

DIANE CLEHANE, ROYAL FAMILY BIOGRAPHER: I think it was extraordinary for him to come out and say things he did because as we know Harry's the more emotive, more truthful, you know, more sort of out there. William, I'm sorry, William is truthful, but he's very much more reserved.

So, for him to put himself out there and stand in the gardens of his mother's apartment in Kensington Palace and say those things, I mean, it's heartbreaking to hear that he says that those colored the final years that he had with her, and that it hasten the demise of his parents' marriage.

It's really quite extraordinary. I think he has endured so much trauma, and so much suffering. But he's done it silently. And people tend to think that, you know, Harry lost his mother, William did too. And he hasn't said very much about it until now.

CAMEROTA: Yes, absolutely.

Trisha, this is incredible. I mean, just in the past, you know, however many weeks it's been since that Oprah interview, the floodgates have opened, and now we're learning just more about what these boys and their mother endured.

TRISHA GODDARD, TALK SHOW HOST & JOURNALIS: Or both of the boys, royal boys, have been involved in mental health charities. So, it's not surprising that Harry is finally speaking out. And I think it's really important to note Harry's remarks that the -- a lot of the practices that were uncovered during, you know, looking at the Martin Bashir interview and how he led Diana to believe he was trustworthy. A lot of those quote unquote, "journalistic ways" of getting information have not changed.

And he actually says one of the reasons that he decamped, if you like, to California, was to get away from that. He gets -- literally gets panic attacks, anxiety in going back to London, because it takes him back to those days of being chased by paparazzi, as of course, Princess Diana was on the day that she died.

BLACKWELL: Trisha, this interview was 25 years ago. What prompted the investigation now?

GODDARD: Well, there was an investigative group of journalists who looked at how Martin Bashir had come to get this interview. And that was back in 1996. And yet things were -- there was a lot of authentication (ph), there was a lot of almost covering up or, you know, moving things around smokes and mirrors, if you'd like, to keep things quiet. But I don't think it's ever gone away.

And I also think, although it's interesting, because a lot of the tabloids have gone reverted, if you'd like, back to those sort of mean spirited, almost bullying ways that Prince Harry associated with having driven his, literally, driven his mother to run away from them, and unto an untimely death. But there's always been an under bubbling of how did this come to be.

CAMEROTA: And this revelation, Diane, I think does put make it clearer the Oprah interview. Some of the things that Harry and Meghan said in the Oprah interview. So, here is his latest on "The Me, You Can't See." Here's more of him talking about that struggle.


PRINCE HARRY: Because of their headlines, and that combined effort of the firm, and the media, just (INAUDIBLE). I was woken up in the middle of the night to her crying in her pillow, because she doesn't want to wake me up because I'm already carrying too much. That's heartbreaking. I held her. We talked. She cried and she cried and she cried.


CAMEROTA: I mean, he's talking obviously, about Meghan there. And it's just -- it's deeper and worse than we thought. What did you think, Diane?

CLEHANE: I really was astonished when I saw those trailers yesterday and today. And I think it does shed new light on why Harry feels so strongly about speaking out.

And when he first was with Meghan, and when she first became pregnant, that's when I started to notice that more and more of -- there was a change in Harry. He was becoming more agitated and just very sort of, you know, down sort of, not as the happy, cheerful Harry that we knew. And I think it was because all of that brought that back to him, you know, just immediately. And listening to him now talk about, you know, the post-traumatic stress that he has carried all these years, but it was really, it's astonishing.

I mean, every time you think he doesn't have anything else to disclose, he says these things that really make you go back to that time when he was a 12-year old boy walking behind that casket.

CAMEROTA: Right. Because it's never gone really for him, you know?

Trisha -- yes, Trisha Goddard, Diane Clehane, thank you both very much. We really appreciate your insights.

And then, Victor, there's this, Lady Gaga, revealing for the first time that she suffered a total psychotic break after a sexual left her pregnant at 19 years old. More on what she wants people to know.



CAMEROTA: Now from this new revelation from Lady Gaga, she opened up to Oprah about her struggles with mental health. The singer says she got pregnant after being raped as a teenager causing her to suffer a total psychotic break.


LADY GAGA, SINGER: A producer said to me take your clothes off. And I said no and I left. And they told me they were going to burn all my music. And they didn't stop. They didn't stop asking me and then I just frozen. I just -- I don't even remember.



BLACKWELL: Lady Gaga went on then to describe how she used self-harm after the assault and what it was like to be diagnosed with PTSD years later.

Clearly the wrong video there. But listen, we know that it takes a lot of courage to be able to talk about something like this after something like that happens. And there's help for people, Alisyn, you're not alone here.

CAMEROTA: Here, we want to put some of this on the screen for you right now. If you're struggling with any mental health issues, any trauma you can call the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, that number is on your hotline, I mean, on your screen 800-656-4673 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK.

And Victor, I mean, I think that the point is that you never really know what somebody is going through. You know, when we sit with Harry and Meghan, in front of the lights, people are smiling. Lady Gaga continuing to perform through all of that. And you never really know until you ask somebody and they sit down with you what really they were going through.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And even if, at some point, you want to have that conversation, another person is not ready. It takes time to reconcile those feelings and those emotions to be able to talk about things publicly.

Listen, we're following more big stories including the fallout from the body cam video, this arrest of Ronald Greene. It shows what happened to him in his final moments. His mother is calling for his son's death to be considered and categorized as a murder. And she says the officers need to pay. And what a new piece of body camera video is revealing now, still ahead.

CAMEROTA: Bur first, a programming note, on "United Shades of America" with W. Kamau Bell looks into what the gap between the rich and the poor really looks like in America. This all new episode begins Sunday night at 10.