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Biden Stands By Commitment on Troop Withdrawal; Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) Announces Resignation; Buckingham Palace, Legal Team Refuse to Comment. Aired 2-2:45a ET
Aired August 11, 2021 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. And I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead, the multinational effort to battle the fires burning throughout Greece. We ae live in the hard-hit island of Evia.
China sentences a Canadian businessman to an 11-year sentence over espionage charges. The lasers case that's raising diplomatic tensions.
Plus, counting down to Lionel Messi big debut for Paris Saint Germain.
Good to have you with us. And we begin with the wildfires raging across parts of South Eastern Europe. And now turning deadly in North Africa. Satellite data from NASA shows the vast expanse of the crisis. European officials estimate more than 620,000 hectares have burned so far this year.
Turkey has made progress bringing almost 240 wildfires under control in the past two weeks, but several fires are still burning along the Aegean Coast. But in Greece, there's little relief close to 1000 firefighters have been brought in from other countries to help. The government is pledging almost $600 million in emergency aid. So let's go now to CNNs Eleni Giokos. She joins us from the island of Evia in Greece.
So, Eleni, what is the latest on this massive operation to bring these wildfires under control?
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We caught up with some firefighters on the way to the sites in (INAUDIBLE) this is northern part of Evia. And this and this is really still ground zero in terms of the fires. They tell us that they've been working through the night they barely sleep, sometimes they don't sleep for two days. And when they do they sleep on site. Now it's not as simple as getting these fires under control because we witnessed the burning of this particular forest yesterday.
And it was unbelievable to see just how many people it required the firefighters, the Greek firefighters as well as firefighters from Slovakia that were assisting here. The whole point was to try and ensure that it doesn't spread to a pristine forest, which is just across the road. Sadly, one pine (INAUDIBLE) jumped from one tree to the other and it did spread. Now what we're seeing is rekindling of fires.
And I just want to show you how it's still burning. And you're seeing the heat emanating, you can feel it, Rosemary. You can smell the smoke. The issue right now in Greece and in various parts of Greece, including the Peloponnese is that you're seeing a rekindling of fires. One firefighter told us that this could take months to get truly under control that the slow burning of forest could continue for many months to come.
And that is what makes this absolutely scary. This is completely unprecedented for Greece. Right now we're hearing from authorities that they saw over 500 wildfires that are burning in various parts of the country, in terms of the firefighters and boots on the ground, over 850 people. And then you're looking at almost 300 fire engines. Now the issue is because what -- this is very difficult to get to.
You need assistance from aircraft. If you could just see the air quality, the atmosphere, you can barely breathe here, there's no visibility. So, that means it just hinders the work from above. When it's nightfall, the aircraft can't carry much needed water. Firefighters have to do everything by foot to try get to these difficult to reach areas. You mentioned the measures by the government we're talking about thousands of years of compensation for farmers and for the victims as well as remuneration in terms of the losses.
The economic losses for businesses as well as people who have lost their homes. But the catastrophe, the despair, the destruction of forests and private property has been unbelievable to witness. We have seen people crying as they watch the plantations -- olive plantations burn to the ground, Rosemary. And I think what makes this even more devastating to see is that we still are not close to seeing the end of this.
CHURCH: Absolutely. And the heartbreak that people have lost everything. Eleni Giokos bring us the latest from Evia in Greece. Many thanks.
Well in North Africa, at least 42 people have died from wildfires in Algeria since Monday. Local media report 25 of those were military members who died helping to find the blazes. Algeria's Prime Minister says the government is working with European partners to hire planes to help put out the fires.
CHURCH: The country's interior minister believes the fires are a criminal act saying 50 wildfires at once is impossible.
Well, Canada's Prime Minister is calling it absolutely unacceptable and unjust. China's conviction and sentencing of the Canadian businessman on espionage charges handed down just hours ago. So let's bring in CNN's Kristie Lu Stout. She joins us live from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Kristie. So what legal avenues are available to Michael Spavor at this juncture?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Michael Spavor, his family, Canadian diplomats are all trying to process this right now after more than two years in detention in China. The verdict is finally in the case of the detained Canadian businessman Michael Spavor in a court in Dandong, China. That's the north eastern part of China on the border with North Korea.
They sentenced Spavor to 11 years in prison for espionage, but also said that he could be deported. And some Western observers I've been talking to says that that ambiguity could open the door to some sort of negotiation. Nonetheless, Canada's ambassador in China firmly condemned this verdict. I want you to hear what he had to say. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOMINIC BARTON, CANADIAN AMBASSADOR IN CHINA: We condemn in the strongest possible terms this decision rendered after a legal process that lacked both fairness and transparency. Our thoughts are with Michael and his family during this difficult time. We've maintained from the beginning that Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are being detained arbitrarily, and we will continue to call for their immediate release.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Ambassador Dominic Barton also said that they interpreted the sentencing as being 11 years in prison for Michael Spavor followed by deportation. The Canadian Ambassador also said that he spoke with Michael Spavor right after the verdict and as Spavor had three core messages to share namely "Thank you for your support. It means a lot to me. I'm in good spirits and I want to get home."
Now it was in June last year and Michael Spavor and fellow Canadian, the ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig, they were charged with espionage in China. They were arrested in December of 2018. Shortly after the detention by Canadian police officers of Meng Wanzhou. She is of course the Chief Financial Officer of the Chinese tech giant Huawei and the daughter of the Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei, she is under house arrest of Vancouver fighting extradition to the United States.
She says she is not guilty. China is also insisting that there is no link between the detentions of these two Canadian men and the case of Meng Wanzhou, but Western observers have said that this is not the case. This is a case of hostage diplomacy. I want to bring up a statement for you that we've got the last couple of hours from the U.S. Embassy in China also condemning the proceedings in it.
It reads as follows, "These proceedings are blatant attempt to use human beings as bargaining leverage, a practice roundly condemned by the global community and inconsistent with China's international human rights commitments. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Canada and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of both Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor." Now, as for the fate of the former diplomat Michael Kovrig, still no word yet on when his sentencing would take place. It should be noted that in China courts have a conviction rate of over 99 percent, Rosemary.
CHURCH: All right. Kristie Lu Stout bringing us up to date on all of that. Appreciate it.
Well, the legendary Lionel Messi who once said he wanted to finish his career in Barcelona. Now says everything about his new club matches his football ambitions. Messi ended all these events Tuesday signing with Paris Saint Germain for two years and some $80 million. PSG in turn are betting he will propel them to the top of the Champions League. The new number 30 will appear before the media in just a few hours.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Elated PSG fans who have been cheering for Messi at his hotel at the stadium and at the airport are of course, overcome with excitement. So let's bring in at World Sports Don Riddell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Good to see you, Don. So can Messi live up to all the hype and propelled PSG to Champions League glory?
DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Well, I think you'll live up to all the hype even at the age of 34, he's still a fabulous player. Barcelona are a team in decline, and yet he scored nearly 40 goals for them last season. He's going to be the heartbeat once again of an incredible team. The question is, will that bring them the Champions League which is the one trophy that has eluded this highly ambitious club.
You're looking at extraordinary images by the way of Messi's last 24 hours. This is yes one of the most famous and successful athletes on the planet but he's also notoriously one of the most private. You don't get to see him like this.
RIDDELL: He rarely speaks to the media. He rarely gives interviews. And yet, this is like the Truman Show. You've had cameras with him in the car, on the plane, back in the car, on the way to the stadium. We've had cameras in here, seeing him get his medical and his exams and his scans and his vitals being taken. You don't see this kind of footage with any major athletes, certainly not one of the most private.
So this really is just an extraordinary time in European football. And as you say, the gamble is the Champions League. This is the one they so desperately want. Clearly, they've been making great strides in the last couple of years. They actually got to the final a couple of years ago, and were beaten. They're hoping that was Messi in the middle of this team that now they can finally get over the line. It is a star studded team, it's not Messi.
There's Neymar who he played with at Barcelona, they're going to be reunited again. Kylian Mbappe, French World Cup winner. One of the youngest stars, and accomplish stars in the game is in this team. These are the players they've signed just in the last couple of months. This summer, Ramos coming in from Real Madrid. The goalie Donnarumma coming in from Italy. He just helped Italy win the European Championship against England in their final in London.
And they have so many other amazing stars, Mauro Icardi, Angel Di Maria, another Argentine star. A lot of these guys are going to find it really hard just to get in the first 11. That's how competitive this team is going to be. But if they can't deliver the Champions League, that is going to be a problem. That's why they've spent $41 million each year over the next two years because that's what they so desperately want.
CHURCH: Wow, the pressure is building. We'll see what happens. Don Riddell, many thanks as always. And do stay with CNN because our World Sport team will bring you special coverage of the Loonel Messi PSG news conference. That's coming up in just a few hours from now.
And just to hear you on CNN, South Korea is grappling with its most severe COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic began. And setting new caseload records. We'll have a live report just ahead.
Plus, American children are headed back to school amid the latest COVID wave. But numbers show this time they are a lot more likely to get sick.
CHURCH: COVID cases of soaring across parts of East Asia fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant. Here's a look at the situation in South Korea. And you can see that about a month ago cases suddenly skyrocketed to their highest level so far. Meantime, China's leaders COVID outbreak shows no signs of slowing down. On Wednesday, officials reported more than 100 new cases for the third day in a row.
CHURCH: And journalists Manisha Tank joins us now from Singapore. Good to see you, Manisha. So South Korea, China and Australia had all done so well in the initial stages of this pandemic. Now the situation appears worse than ever. What went wrong and what's the latest on this?
MANISHA TANK, CNN INTERNATIONAL PRESENTER: Yes, well, I think you sort of alluded there to this, you know, we were looking at the numbers from South Korea. And what they show is a -- just a place in recent history where new restrictions came into place in order to restrict the spread of that Delta variant. This is what has come to the region. But now we see that there are more than 2000 cases being reported over the last 24 hours, 2200 more than that.
And what health authorities over there are saying, the health ministry spokesman saying that this isn't just the Delta variant this is also pandemic fatigue. Let's remember that people have been having to endure these ongoing lockdowns and restrictions. And this is something that is having to be tackled on many fronts. The health ministry also saying they're keeping across the economic and the social ramifications of ongoing restrictions.
The President Moon Jae in also asking people to adhere to the kind of restrictions that are in place, but also expressing concerns over this new daily caseload. All of it despite the fact that South Korea is trying to crack down on the spread of the Delta variant. Let's zip over to China where more than 111 new cases have been reported. And the concern here is that we're seeing these outbreaks across six provinces in terms of the newest case load.
And officials in China have been blamed for not keeping the Delta variant under control. But others are asking questions around whether or not it's actually feasible or sustainable for China to maintain a zero COVID policy. Is it better to say that we have to live with COVID-19? That will be a question that will come up more and more. It's certainly one that Singapore has decided answer saying yes, we're going to have to look to a future where we live alongside this disease, Rosemary.
CHURCH: It's certainly looking that way, isn't it? Manisha Tank brings the very latest there. Many thanks. Well as children here in the United States are returning to class, schools nationwide, and now debating mask mandates with just over half of all Americans fully vaccinated. Many believe it's a necessary step to keep kids safe. CNN's Nick Watt has a report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: See little kids, I mean, four or five, six years old in hospitals on ventilators. The reason children are becoming infected is because in most cases, they live in low vaccination rate states and communities.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Like Florida, where the governor doesn't want masks mandated in schools.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Ultimately, my view is it's a parent's decision.
WATT: And Governor Ron DeSantis is threatening to withhold salaries from school officials who mandate masks.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If you're not interested in following the public health guidelines to protect the lives of people in your state then get out of the way and let public officials, let local officials do their job to keep students safe.
WATT: Broward County School Board despite protests and the governor's threat this afternoon voted to keep their mandate anyway.
ROSALINA OSGOOD, CHAIR, BROWARD COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD: People's lives are invaluable, even if it means that I'm not going to get a paycheck. WATT: Meanwhile, in Texas, the Dallas County Judge says there are just two pediatric ICU beds available in the area. He wants masks everywhere inside, not just school.
CLAY JENKINS, DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS JUDGE: Mask suck but it's a small sacrifice to save lives.
WATT: Baltimore just reenacted an indoor mask mandate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For anyone that's frustrated about wearing a mask and you're not vaccinated then look in the mirror, it's your fault. If you're not vaccinated, shut up. Don't complain.
WATT: Big Picture. We're now averaging well over 100,000 new cases a day up 37 percent in just a week, and just over half of Americans are fully vaccinated.
GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): You're taking a hell of a risk if you're not vaccinated. That's all there is to it.
WATT: Andres Perekalski from Texas young and healthy did not get vaccinated nearly died. Now regrets it.
ANDRES PEREKALSKI, HOSPITALIZED FOR COVID-19: You do it for your kids, do it for your family, do it for yourself.
WATT: Arkansas has just eight ICU beds unfilled. In Mississippi --
NICHOLE ATHERTON, ICUNURSE, SINGING RIVER HOSPITAL, MISSISSIPPI: There are going to be children, children in my own community that are orphans. And it could have been prevented.
WATT: Many hospitals now feeling the strain, particularly in states with low vaccination rates.
ARTHUR CAPLAN, DIRECTOR, MEDICAL ETHICS AT NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: There's outbreaks following the unvaccinated strategy all over the place with hospitals just about to tip over. The moral equation has to shift, stop protecting the unvaccinated. They're selfish. They are greedy. They're not doing the right thing by their neighbors.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WATT: There is some good news the rate of vaccination in the United States is back on the rise. Average daily shots in arms above half a million for the first time since June. Nick Watt CNN, Los Angeles.
CHURCH: And for a closer look at the challenges facing the U.S. we are joined now by Infectious Disease Expert and epidemiologist Dr. Ravina Kullar. Thank you so much for being with us.
RAVINA KULLAR, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT AND EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Thank you for having me on. CHURCH: So not only are some governors banning mask mandates, but Florida's Ron DeSantis is threatening to withhold the salaries of anyone who dares to put a mask mandate in place. And this comes as nearly 94,000 cases of COVID-19 in children have been reported in the past week. And as children's hospitals become COVID hotspots. What do you say to leaders who block masked mandates for kids?
KULLAR: Quite honestly, this is very disgusting to see, you know, they're going against science, they're going against what we know that works. They're going against what we -- what we know, protects it -- protects individuals, including those innocent children, where they cannot even get vaccinated. They need those masks to protect themselves from getting the virus. And it's very disappointing to see leaders which should be the role model and that should be actually guiding individuals for the right thing to do that they're just telling them to do the wrong things.
CHURCH: So we know that the American Academy of Pediatrics is now urging the FDA to speed up COVID vaccine authorization for children under 12. Is that what needs to happen now, particularly with some of these governors banning mosque mandates?
KULLAR: That's correct. I mean, if there are governors, which are banning these mask mandates, which are going to protect those children that cannot even get vaccinated, the alternative is that those children are going to have to get vaccinated. And the only way mechanism for this is to complete those trials quicker. And to get those vaccines available into those arms of those children that need the protection from this Delta variant.
CHURCH: And Republican Senator Rand Paul has just been suspended by YouTube for seven days after posting video containing false claims about masks not protecting us against Joe COVID-19. He is a doctor. And yet he doesn't appear to understand the science behind mask. How is that possible? And what's your message to him and your message about masks?
KULLAR: Yes. My message to him is that he rightfully so should be banned. I think that, you know, him, especially being a doctor, a healthcare professional, where we have taken that oath to protect each individual person in society, he's going against that oath. And my message to him, my message to society is that face mask we know have protected us from transmitting the virus and from getting the virus as well.
Whether you're vaccinated or not, especially if you live in those communities where the risk is quite high, you should mask up indoors in those settings. That is what is going to protect you from getting the virus and that is what is going to lower our case numbers that are at a substantial high rate right now.
CHURCH: Doctor, we are also learning that the federal government sent hundreds of ventilators to Florida in the midst of this surge in COVID cases. And yet Governor DeSantis says he was unaware of this. How is that possible that a state governor wouldn't know that his state had received all of those ventilators? KULLAR: I don't believe that the governor did not know this. I believe that that is his cover up in terms of to just protect him. I'm sure he knew that these ventilators are there. I'm sure he knows that individuals are getting drastically affected by this virus. And in my opinion, it seems like he's turning his back on his own -- his own residents that live in his own state and he is not doing what a leader should do and protecting those individuals, protecting them from not getting ventilated, protecting them from not dying in the State of Florida.
CHURCH: I just want to quickly look at the numbers because we know at this stage that just over 50 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, over 70 percent now have had at least one COVID shot. So how many more weeks would we need to wait to see that actually be 70 percent or more fully vaccinated Americans and when you then add in those people who have been infected by COVID and recovered, could we move closer to that 80 percent required for herd immunity, do you think?
KULLAR: I mean, I think it's going to take a nationwide effort, it's going to take every single state really advocating for everyone to get vaccinated. And to get fully vaccinated. We know that one dose is not as effective as two doses against -- especially this Delta variant. And it can, you know, in my opinion, the positive outlook, it can happen in weeks, if we all work together as a nation, if the governor's turn their negative opinion around and they actually advocate for vaccinations.
And that is a way that we can get out of this pandemic. And I feel like we're honestly at a tipping point right now. And it's going to take every leader to advocate for everyone getting vaccinated.
CHURCH: If we could just get politics out of public health policy, we might have a chance here, Dr. Ravina Kullar, thank you so much for talking with us. Appreciate it.
KULLAR: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, the speed of the Taliban's land grab has Western officials on alert. Coming up, what we are learning about diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire. We're back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: The Taliban seizure of territory in Afghanistan is happening so quickly. It's raising concern in the U.S. and Europe. A top European union officials says the militants now control 65 percent of the country. Eight provincial capitals have fallen in recent days. The Taliban are patrolling the cities they've taken over and they are doing it with what looks to be captured U.S.-made military equipment.
Meantime, Afghanistan's president is trying to get regional militias to join with government forces to stop the militants advance. The U.N. estimates nearly 360,000 people have been displaced by the fighting this year, raising European fears of another migrant crisis.
Well as security deteriorates U.S. officials are considering a drawdown of personnel in the embassy in Kabul. But President Biden says he has no regrets about the decision to withdraw US troops by the end of this month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: We spent over trillion dollars over 20 years, retrained and equipped with modern equipment over 300,000 Afghan forces.
And Afghan leaders have to come together. We lost thousands -- we lost -- thousands lost death and injury, thousands of American personnel. They've got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM: And CNN's Christiane Amanpour spoke with NATO's former secretary general and with Pakistan's former ambassador to the U.S. about the pressure on Washington to change course. Both agree the Taliban should have met certain conditions before a date for troop withdrawal was set.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, FORMER NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: We should leave it to the Afghans to decide the future of Afghanistan. We shouldn't be there forever. It's not an occupation force. But we should have told the Taliban we will leave but not until you stop the attacks on the legitimate government.
And the mistake was to approve a so-called peace deal, where the United States promised to leave Afghanistan on a certain date, because the Taliban just waited us out, and that's what we are witnessing now.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: So let me turn to you, Ambassador Haqqani, who are in Pakistan, obviously, who has a huge experience at least to your country, its military forces, its intelligence, with what the Taliban are up to. Do you agree that it is the wrong time? And how did the United States get hoodwinked into allowing the Taliban to simply continue without making any of the promises and commitments that Secretary Fogh Rasmussen is talking about?
HUSAIN HAQQANI, FORMER PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: First of all, a lot of said is about America's longest war, but the truth is that America at never planned to stay in Afghanistan for 20 years. Instead, what we had were 21-year plans, and this is the latest of it. Let's turn it over to the Afghan government without talking to the Afghan government about what were its needs and how it will take over the fighting from NATO troops.
As far as the Afghan government's ability to withstand Taliban pressure is concerned, I think we will see stiffening of resolve (ph) in Kabul and the people of Afghanistan will resist the Taliban. But from the American perspective, it was a mistake to prolong the war without a plan and it was a mistake to rely on Pakistan the way the reliance was had. And, lastly, it's a mistake to leave without making a transitional arrangements, as the secretary general said, allowing the Taliban to wait the withdrawal out.
AMANPOUR: So I'm interested, you are a former Pakistani ambassador. And you say it was a mistake to rely on Pakistan. Is that because of what everybody knows, and that is the Pakistan, frankly, had the Taliban's back throughout this?
HAQQANI: Well, you do know, Christiane, that I have been a critic of Pakistan's Afghanistan policy. But that said, let us understand what has been happening for the last many, many years. Pakistan's concerned in Afghanistan is what it sees as an existential threat from India. And the west never agreed with Pakistan's perception. But then they never did anything about recognizing, that as long as that perception exists, Pakistan will do what it sees in its interest rather than join what the rest of the world tells them to do.
So this whole game that has been played for 20 years of telling the Pakistanis that we know you are supporting the Taliban but not recognizing why they are doing it, and at the same time on not giving up on hoping Pakistan will help in ending the military capability of a group that they see as acting in their benefit. That, I think, has been a huge policy mistake in Washington D.C.
CHURCH: Meanwhile, in the Qatari capital, Doha, American diplomats are reportedly trying to get the Taliban to halt its offensive and revive peace talks with the Afghan government. But, so far, there is no indication the militants are willing to stand down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAVID FAISAL, ADVISER, AFGHANISTAN NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: We would have welcomed additional pressure on the Taliban get politically because bombing is not going to solve anything. Bombing did not going to solve anything in the past. It is not going to solve anything in the future. We want peace. We want the Taliban to come to the negotiating table. And we want our partners, the people that were here were responsible directly for everything that we heard today.
We want those countries and partners to press the points where we can get results for a long-term and lasting solutions, not quick term and easy solutions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: But the ongoing fighting is displacing and harming civilians. The U.N. Human Rights Commission is expressing concerns over growing reports of casualties as well as the Taliban's abuse of women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAVINA SHAMDASANI, U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION SPOKESWOMAN: We have received reports that women and girls in various districts under Taliban control are prohibited from leaving their home without a male chaperone.
And there are reports of women having flogged and beaten in public, because they breached the prescribed rules. In one case, in Blakh Province, on the 3rd of August, a women's rights activist was shot and killed for breaching the rules.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And she went on to say the Afghan people are terrified about a return to the human rights violations of the past.
Well, still to come, the sexual abuse lawsuit against Britain's Prince Andrew, how his legal team and Buckingham Palace are responding. We are back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: A stunning fall from grace, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announcing he will resign after a scathing report by New York's attorney general found the Democrat sexually harassed 11 women. Cuomo defended himself as he attended his resignation on Tuesday, claiming that he had never intentionally made anyone feel uncomfortable. But he acknowledged the scandal, which has unfolded for months now, has become too much of a distraction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): And I would never want to be unhelpful in any way. And I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing, and, therefore, that's what I'll do because I work for you and doing the right thing is doing the right thing for you. Because as we say, it's not about me, it's about we.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will replace Cuomo and become the state's first female governor, after he leaves office in two weeks from now.
Well, here is what's CNN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson had to say about the allegations against Cuomo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: In 2019, this governor signed legislation here in New York, which would make it more favorable for victims to come forward. How? Extending the statute of limitations from one-year to three-year, eliminating the component in the law, who it said it had to be persistent, right, and pervasive in terms of severe and pervasive discrimination, no, it doesn't have to be that at all. [02:40:08]
One incident, if the proper incident and the proper misconduct could constitute, in fact, a violation, and a whole host of other things that make it more likely that victims could come forward, including not even reporting, right? Before you have a reporting now, you don't have to report.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And stepping down doesn't mean the allegations go away. At least one of his accusers has filed a criminal complaint and there's a possibility of civil suits as well.
Buckingham Palace and the legal team for Britain's Prince Andrew are refusing to comment on a new sexual abuse lawsuit, but it's not the first time allegations against Prince Andrew have come to light.
CNN's Nina dos Santos has this report.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is Virginia Giuffre around the time she says she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew. A photo taken at the London house of socialite Ghislaine Maxwell facing trial for procuring minors with the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, charges she has pled not guilty to.
When the shot was snapped in 2001, Giuffre was just 17. Prince Andrew was around 40.
VIRGINIA GIUFFRE, PRINCE ANDREW ACCUSER: He knows what happened. I know what happened. And there is only one of us telling the truth and I know that's me.
DOS SANTOS: In a civil suit filed this week in New York, Giuffre alleges the prince abused her in three locations, including at Epstein's mansion in Manhattan his private Caribbean island. She says the prince knew her she was underage and she had been traffic there.
The complaint filed in the state child protection laws details allegations first described by Giuffre in 2015 and seeks damages and then announce to be determined at trial. Prince Andrew's legal team declined to comment on the development. In the past, the royal has strenuously denied he has ever met Giuffre. His maiden is Roberts and has suggested that the photo of them together could be fake.
PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK: I can absolutely, categorically tell you that it never happened.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you recall any kind of sexual contact with Virginia Roberts then or any other time?
PRINCE ANDREW: None, whatsoever.
DOS SANTOS: Prince Andrew offered to cooperate with investigators in 2019 in this disastrous T.V. interview and has since repeated that pledge in a written statement when resigning from royal duties. Giuffre's lawyer though say he has been stonewalling since.
But this author has written a book on the prince and Epstein, legal drama means it's unlikely Andrew will make it back into the royal fold soon.
NIGEL CAWTHORNE, AUTHOR, PRINCE ANDREW, EPSTEIN AND THE PALACE: The new lawsuit from Virginia Giuffre certainly precludes Prince Andrew from returning to public duties. It's very different to see how he can come back to the frontline of the monarchy, as he's expressed a wish to, with this suit pending, or if there is a court that filed against him in absentia.
DOS SANTOS (on camera): Buckingham Palace declined to comment on Giuffre's suit. In the past, it has issued statements asserting the prince's denials. But news of fresh litigation highlights uncomfortable questions about the prince's relationship with a known sex offender, long after Jeffrey Epstein's death.
Nina dos Santos, CNN in London.
CHURCH: And I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more CNN Newsroom in 15 minutes. But, first, World Sport is coming up next.