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Interview with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) Divide Between White House and Democrats on Eviction Freeze; New York AG Finds Gov. Cuomo Sexually Harassed Multiple Women; Biden to Update U.S. Vaccine Efforts as Delta Surges. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 3, 2021 - 15:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Congresswoman Cori Bush will spend another night sleeping outside the Capitol to protest after Federal moratorium on evictions during the pandemic has expired.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just released this statement, here's part of it.

I also salute Congresswoman Cori Bush for her powerful action to keep people in their homes. All Democrats know that inaction is not an option.

And the White House says President Biden is doing everything he legally can to help families, challenging landlords to hold off on evictions the next 30 days. But some Democrats are saying that the White House can and should do more.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters is here with us. She's a Chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee. Chairwoman, thank you for being with us. I want to start with the most important question for the people who are in danger of losing their homes.


Who can do something about this right now? I mean, you say that the White House, this administration has the authority to do it. I want you to listen to one of the advisers, senior advisers to the president, Gene Sperling, who's coordinating the COVID Rescue spending. Here is his defense of the White House's position.


GENE SPERLING, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: I would say that on this particular issue, the president has not only kicked the tires he has double, triple, quadruple checked. He has asked the CDC to look at whether you could even do targeted eviction moratorium that just went to the counties that have higher rates and they, as well, have been unable to find the legal authority for even new targeted eviction moratoriums.


BLACKWELL: And you say he's wrong, and explain why?

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Well, I do believe that the president of the United States has the authority through executive order, work on CDC, as he has done previously, to extend the moratorium and I know that people are using what happened at the Supreme Court as justification for his not having the authority. That was a different case all together. There has been no ruling on this emergency matter that we have before us with the evictions that started as of Saturday night when the moratorium ended.

And so, we are asking and pleading with the president of the United States to use that authority and if there is some objection to that, if someone disagrees with that, let whoever is disagreeing make the case. And if they have to go into the court, what have you. But it is important that the president takes care of this emergency.

We have 11 million families out there who are at risk. We have children and families who may be sent out on the street and become homeless and that is not acceptable.

I was in the leadership of putting $46.6 billion into operation to support this project and support our renters. There's no reason why they should not get the kind of assistance that they need. The governors have to play a role in this. We gave the money to the states and to the local municipalities. And they have not been able to get that money out in the way that they should. So, the president must step up to the plate.

BLACKWELL: Madam chairwoman --


BLACKWELL: -- let me go back. And for people who have questions about that Supreme Court decision that you talked about at the end of June and explain a little bit about this.

This was a petition from a realtor's group that thought that the president's effort to stop the evictions was too broad. There was this concurring opinion from Justice Kavanaugh in which he said, it's clear and specific, Congressional authorization would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31st.

That's what the White House is saying is blocking them from acting. But there's no question that Congress can do something about this. You and Speaker Pelosi tried at the end of last week to get enough support within the caucus to do something about this. You could not do that. Why can't you get the Democrats, alone, to do something about this?

WATERS: Well, it's too late to even talk about it that way. The Democrats are out of session. Yes, we did try. We were not able to get my bill up on the floor. And so, as we were working it, we do know that some of our members were asking questions. They were not ready, et cetera.

But that's behind us. What's before us now is the emergency. And we're all working together with the president to move forward and to get this extension. And I am confident that the president understands the seriousness of this. And I do believe he's going to do everything that he possibly can for an expansion. And that's what we're supporting right now.

BLACKWELL: Is a special session possible?

WATERS: I beg your pardon?

BLACKWELL: Is a special session possible? You said this is behind the Democrats. Cori Bush is sleeping in front of the Capitol.

WATERS: Yes, that's right.

BLACKWELL: She's hoping that there will be one.

WATERS: No, absolutely not. There's not going to be a special session where you try and call all of the Democrats back into session. Knowing that we have problems, perhaps, with the Senate, knowing that we still have work to do with the Democrats.

But knowing more than anything that people are at risk. And that they are frightened. And there's a lot of anxiety out there about families, about what's going to happen to them. That's what's before us. An emergency that must be attended to. And we're looking to the president to use that executive authority to do it.

BLACKWELL: All right, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, thank you so much for your time.

WATERS: You're so welcome. Thank you for having me on.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Great conversation. OK, we are just getting this in. the New York State Assembly Democrats are meeting in emergency session after the New York Attorney General outlined a series of sexual harassment claims against Governor Andrew Cuomo. So, we are going to speak to one of those State Senators and a fellow Democrat who says it is time for Cuomo to go.


BLACKWELL: An investigation by New York Attorney General Latisha James found that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women.

Governor Cuomo is refuting the allegations in the report saying that he never touched anyone inappropriately. The report now goes to the New York State Assembly who will decide if they want to pursue an impeachment. My next guest says that Governor Cuomo can no longer stay in office

serving as the Governor of New York State. The Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stuart Cousins is with us now. Madame, thank you for being with us, I first want to know your reaction to this report and the findings from the AG's office.


ANDREA STUART COUSINS (D-NY) STATE SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I mean, the -- my reaction was frankly just outrage and pain that here we are, in 2021 and 11 women who have come forward -- 11 brave women who have come forward and found that their claims were substantiated by the highest law enforcement figure in our state.

It's a really, really a very, very sad day. But you know that's why I've been really very clear that given this, given the substantiation of the allegations, given the independent investigation by our Attorney General, I don't think there's anything more to be said. And I do believe that for the sake of the state, the governor resigns. He should resign.

BLACKWELL: Have you spoken with the governor today?

COUSINS: I have not.

BLACKWELL: Do you intend to reach out to the governor, to his office?

COUSINS: Well, you know, I mean, let me say this. My feelings on this are not new. When this happened early on in March and it became clear then that there were a number of things we were facing, whether it was the COVID pandemic, and trying to get the budget done, and there were just so many allegations and so many different corners that people were looking into. I knew then that for the sake of New Yorkers and what they expect of us, it was time to keep the focus on them and off of these allegations, and he should resign. So here we are I mean --

BLACKWELL: But we know that he's not going to. I apologize for interrupting.


BLACKWELL: But we know that he's not going to resign. He has signaled that in the recorded statement that played earlier. So now the question is of impeachment. Do you support moving forward on impeachment?

COUSINS: Well, I would certainly support the Assembly moving forward on impeachment. It does not happen. It's very much like the Congress.


COUSINS: The Senate, you know -- so the Senate would act on the impeachment. But certainly, I think the Assembly will take a look at the facts and hopefully if that's the way to do it, then move forward with that.

BLACKWELL: Do you have the votes in the State Senate if those articles come to you to convict?

COUSINS: Well, again, if the articles come, they will come in the form of a trial in the very same way that it happens on a national level. And so, I am sure that the case would be prepared, and we will listen to the case. I do not have a vote. Because I am the majority leader. So, I don't have a vote.

But I know that my colleagues will be more than willing and ready to listen to the presentation of the case and make their judgments from there. But obviously, what I am saying, and I think what many people are saying is that that is certainly a way to go. It will take some time. It takes energy.

And right now, I mean you were just listening to the Congresswoman who was talking about the eviction situation. It's a national situation and it's one in our state as well. So, we actually have do have work that we need to be focused on and I was hoping, frankly, that this wouldn't be one of those things.

BLACKWELL: All right, New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stuart Cousins, thank you so much for your time and insight on this.

COUSINS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, we are just moments away from President Biden's remarks on vaccination rates. Is there a new plan? And what will he say about Governor Cuomo?



CAMEROTA: Any moment now President Biden is expected to give an update on his administration's progress in getting more people vaccinated here in the U.S. and in poorer nations around the world.

So, with us now to talk about all of this and what to expect, we have CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, great to see you.


CAMEROTA: OK, so let's look at where we are. More than a third of the country is still unvaccinated, and many say they have no plan to get vaccinated. And I know that you've written this essay about the best way to approach a conversation with those who say no to the vaccine. So, what should we know about what to say?

GUPTA: Well, you know I think the first thing you have to realize is there's different reasons that people are saying no, being resistant or reluctant. A lot of it comes sometimes down to the concern about side effects. People still have concerns about side effects and safety overall. Fair question.

One of the things that's worth pointing out now as we look at this is that 4 billion of these doses have been given out around the world. As it turns out vaccines end up being from a real-world standpoint one of the most studied medical therapeutics out there and they have held up really well.

And, in fact, the sensitivity on picking up side effects is so strong that you remember that Johnson & Johnson concern, a couple of dozen people developed concerns about blood clots out of several million, close to 9 million people have received the shots.

My point is there's very sensitive sort of antennas to try to pick up these side effects and the vaccines have held up well. It's a fair question. But I think that that's an important point.

There are people who are concerned that the vaccine hasn't been approved yet. Well, it takes more data to get to an approval versus authorization. For authorization it took a couple months' worth of data. For approval it takes six months' worth of data. But they also look at all the manufacturing facilities.

You can market a product after it's been fully approved. Say look at how this might be actually marketed to individuals. So that's part of the approval process.

And finally let me just say something that always comes up, and I think is really important, I hear this a lot. An individual says I've had COVID in the past, therefore I don't need a vaccine. And again, I think this is a very fair question that science has been able to answer, but it wasn't an absolute clear-cut answer in the beginning.

What we now know is that even if you've had COVID in the past, the vaccine is going to provide you longer and broader immunity, meaning against some of the variants that may emerge, the vaccine's going to be a better bet.

So, these are some of the things that we hear. I've been talking to scientists and people all over the country. But those are some of the issues and some of the answers.

BLACKWELL: Hey, Sanjay, I want to get your response to what we heard from the NIH Director Francis Collins about how to protect kids who are too young to be vaccinated.


FRANCIS COLLINS, NIH DIRECTOR: Parents of unvaccinated kids should be thoughtful about this. And the recommendation is to wear masks there as well. I know that's uncomfortable. I know it seems weird, but it is the best way to protect your kids.


BLACKWELL: Wearing masks at home. What do you think?


GUPTA: I think it's going to be hard sell. I mean just keep in mind, even before vaccinations were there, we did not tell parents to wear masks around their kids, you know, I think this is very hard in the home.

I think the recent guidance on wearing masks even if your vaccinated in public settings is important because you can then come home and hopefully not need to wear a mask around your kids because you've protected yourself when you're out and about. So, I understand why he said it, but just from a practical standpoint hard to sell that one.

CAMEROTA: It's going to be really hard. I mean also it's regional. You know, it depends on if you live in a place with high transmission. I don't think that you can give that blanket -- I mean, I guess they are giving that blanket statement. But you make a point it will be a hard sell.

BLACKWELL: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much.

GUPTA: You got it, thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, President Biden is set to speak momentarily. And our coverage continues on THE LEAD after this short break.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: New York City's hottest ticket, vaccination cards.

THE LEAD starts right now.