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Cuomo Prime Time

Secretary Of State Denies Taliban Is Blocking Americans With Proper Documents From Leaving Afghanistan; Britney Spears' Father Petitions To End Her Conservatorship; Texas Governor Signs Sweeping New Restrictive Voting Law. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 07, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: At the time, Kennedy was running for president.

Sirhan told the parole board, last month, he values his life, and quote, "Would never put myself in jeopardy, again."

News continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Appreciate it, Anderson. I hope you had a good weekend.

I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

First, Happy New Year, to my Jewish brothers and sisters. Shana Tovah!

Now, sadly, there is no similar fresh-start, to celebrate, in Afghanistan. We don't even know how many Americans and allies are being kept from leaving.

Now, that's the phrase we're going to focus on, "Kept from leaving," some, by the Taliban, as expected. And, in the latest development, here's our troubling question. Is our government actually hindering the effort to get Americans out of Afghanistan?

Tonight, as we promised you, we will continue our coverage, including the saga of the translator, we call, "Sara," who is still trying to get home. We have an update from her that you're going to want to see.

Now, as to the political side of this, the top Republican, on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, alleges that Taliban now isn't letting some Americans, and Afghan allies, leave, who were stuck at Mazar-i-Sharif airport, in Afghanistan.

McCaul used the phrase, "Hostage situation." But our Secretary of State rebutted it earlier.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: We've been able to identify a relatively small number of Americans, who, we believe, are seeking to depart from Mazar-e-Sharif with their families.

We have been assured, again, that all American citizens and Afghan citizens with valid travel documents will be allowed to leave.

We are not aware of anyone being held on an aircraft or any hostage- like situation in Mazar-e-Sharif.


CUOMO: Mazar-e-Sharif, that's where they are. The question is how many, and for how long?

Now, here's the problem with what we just heard from the Secretary of State. It all makes sense, except for the level acceptance of the source, not Blinken, but the Taliban. What does "Valid travel documents" mean to them?

Now, he says, America has been assured by the Taliban, that citizens and allies can get out. But I don't get how they can be so quick to accept that, when they're hearing differently from the ground.

And remember, these are the guys that they say they just trust.




CUOMO: You know what that person is running from? The Taliban, acting like barbarians, firing on crowds, of protesters, large numbers, of women, in Kabul. That's what we're going to rely on? You're just going to take their word? The same Taliban who allegedly just murdered a pregnant Police woman, in front of her family?

Now, it's not just a Republican hate parade. On the Democrat side, one of the senators, on the Armed Services Committee, is calling out the State Department.

Richard Blumenthal, you don't get more Democrat than him, OK? And he says his staff has, quote, "Worked night and day to secure the safe passage of two planes waiting in Mazar-e-Sharif. I have been deeply frustrated, even furious, at our government's delay and inaction."

So now, before you, Biden supporters, attack me, for being unfair, to the administration? That is a Democratic senator saying the same damn thing, because that's what the reality is, on the ground, and it has to be remedied. This isn't Left or Right. You have to be reasonable, right now.

Four American citizens, thankfully, were apparently just able to escape. And Tony Blinken says "We should thank the Taliban."


BLINKEN: They've upheld that commitment, in at least one instance, in the last 24 hours, with a family that was able to leave through an overland route.


CUOMO: Now look, I get that it's a tough spot. I get that they're in control, the Taliban. But this is a dangerous game.

And, by the way, a Republican, on the House Intel Committee, has a very different account. Markwayne Mullin, you've seen him on the show, he identifies this family as an American, named Mariam, and her three kids. He says they're from Amarillo, Texas.

Listen to him.


REP. MARKWAYNE MULLIN (R-OK): We had her at the gate, multiple times. Multiple times, we were on the phone with the State Department, over the last two weeks, trying to get her out, and they wouldn't even open the gate for us.

We had her there for 24 hours, before the State Department was even aware she was there. They didn't show up, until a few hours, after we had actually, or before we got her across.

And so, for them to say they facilitated it is absolutely a lie. We had to go through over 20 checkpoints.


We, we, were negotiating back and forth. The State Department was actually told, at one time, actually told the embassy, in the country, not to assist us, in any way.

For them to take credit, and say, they negotiated with the Taliban, it is absolutely a lie.


CUOMO: Now look, could he be wrong? Yes. But he could also be right, how?

Listen, you're going to hear from other people tonight, who are Veterans, who are trying to do the right thing. And they are encountering either silence or resistance from the State Department.

I am not ascribing animus. I'm not saying the State Department is trying to hurt people, Americans, in Afghanistan. But that doesn't mean that they are doing the job as well as they can, and being straight about it.

Now, we have someone, who helped pull off this family's escape tonight. He was on the ground with them.

But first, let's keep it close to home here, with our own situation, OK? Remember Sara, the translator? She didn't want to leave because she wanted to help these other SIV-eligible people, and their kids? She's an American. We've been tracking her. She has been desperate to

get out. And things are getting harder. She's been on the move with more than a dozen Afghan allies and kids, since last week.

Now, we blur the faces to protect them, because God forbid, they don't make it out, somebody sees the video, they got trouble. So, then why show the video at all? To keep you interested. To show you the reality. To show you the desperation.

Sara is exhausted. But she recorded a new video for us, to tell us just how hard this has been, and may still be. Listen.


"SARA," AMERICAN TRAPPED IN AFGHANISTAN: I don't know where to start. There's so much pain. And it's heartbreaking.

So, I tried everything, in my power, to leave this country, going gate to gate, walk gate to gate, show them my passport, screaming to the people, who were controlling the gate.

I cannot leave this country since August 16. I tried everything to leave. I don't know what - what went wrong, and why I couldn't leave.

But I just want to record this for my family, and my friends, so they know what's going on. I have young kids, and I have women, I have guys, who are - been waiting for SIVs, for so long. Since 2017, 2018, they've been waiting.


CUOMO: It's a long video. But that's the main thrust of it. Sara doesn't sound great, because she's not great, not just emotionally, but physically. She's been sick.

And the guests that I want to bring in right now, they're not just better minds. They know more about the situation. And they're absolutely better men.

Sam Rogers, a former Afghan war vet. He's Coalition's Director with the Concerned Veterans for America Foundation.

And Harvey Graham-Green, Co-Executive Director, of, which has been working directly with Sara, trying to get her to where she is right now. So look, there's been progress.

Gentlemen, I hope Labor Day weekend was good for you and your families. I know you were working all through it, because we were texting. So, thank you for continuing to do the job.

Sam, let me get an update from you on Sara. She was sick. You were trying to get her help on the ground. Some of the kids are now not feeling well. Any idea what it is, and whether or not she can get remedied?


But for folks, who are exhausted, many of whom, who have been injured, they're low on cash, they're low on food, they're low on clean water. They don't have power. This is a - these are - this is an austere environment, where illness can turn sideways very quickly.

And Sara is just terrified that she's going to get left behind again. And why shouldn't she be, you know? She crisscrossed the country, with all these kids, and folks in toe.

The State Department outreach has continued to be an occasional email, or robotic phone call that says "Shelter in place." You might as well say, "Wait and see." And that's the only messaging she's ever heard from the State Department.

CUOMO: Harvey, you guys do all this logistical work. You get her to a place, where you're willing - ready to get her out, and then you can't.

Are these complaints about the State Department valid, in your mind?

HARVEY GRAHAM-GREEN, CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALLIEDEXTRACT.ORG: Yes, absolutely so. As you saw, from the overland operation, the impossible is happening every day.


Sara, looking after 22 children, being moved to safe houses, being moved across the country that is in a state of incredible flux, yet, achieving all the things that are being achieved, and getting to a point, where they are good to go, and then not having that end stage, because the State Department won't clear these aircraft, because they have tied themselves into a knot, is it is incredibly frustrating.

We will, of course, keep doing everything that we can do, to support Sara. But this is not a situation that times out and resolves itself. As Sam said, this is a situation that only get harder by the day. And that is something that the State Department absolutely have to understand.

This is not going away. Every day is going to get harder for Sara. And I wish that the State Department were displaying some of the fortitude that she is showing at this point.

CUOMO: Sam, the pushback would be, "Listen? I appreciate what you're doing. But you don't know who these people are. You may know who Sara is. But she's not the problem.

It's all these other people you want to bring with her. What if they're ISIS-K? What if they're just not supposed to be qualified? And other people are going to get left behind, because we're dealing with them? Can't do it!"

Is that fair pushback?

ROGERS: Well that's the entire point of the SIV process. That's the entire point of having these planes filled with people land in a third-party country, where the State Department can conduct some rigorous vetting, in coordination with other agencies.

But instead of any of that happening, it's just a flat "No." There's nowhere to land. There's nowhere to go. And hoping that the problem will go away, this is not checking blocks at the DMV, for a driver's license.

This bureaucratic problem-solving, it's not going to solve this. We need decisive action. We need these barriers torn down, to getting folks out, getting them vetted, getting them processed, instead of having more barriers erected in our path, which is what we're seeing.

CUOMO: All right, look, the pledge continues. As you give me information, I'll repeat it. I'm here, because I've got to echo your efforts, and what you're trying to do for people, who are citizens, and just who need help.

Quickly, Sam, where do people go, if they want to help contribute to your efforts?

ROGERS: Well, I would check out Allied Extract, our partners that Harvey is a part of. They've done an amazing job.

And it's just critical to remember that leaving Afghanistan was the right decision. And we are going to hold the people accountable, who have botched this process, for the last 20 days, and the last 20 years.

But we have to fulfill our obligations, to these translators and their families, for moral purposes, right, as a country of character.

And because we're going to need folks like these, in future wars, and they're going to look back, and see the way that we botched this, and refused to own it, and fix it, and they might not help us protect our service members, on the ground, in the future.

CUOMO: Allied Extract is your organization, Harvey Graham-Green. Thank you for the help that you're providing. Sam Rogers, thank you very much. I'll be back with both of you. You know how to get me, all right?

And later in the show, we're going to talk to somebody, who's on the ground, in Afghanistan, who's been dealing with exactly this, to talk about how big the challenge is, and what time means.

Now, back here at home, we have our own time-sensitive battle, COVID. And the numbers are getting worse. We kind of expected that post Labor Day. But now, this is a new phase.

All our kids are going back to school. I know some are back already. And we're going to use their experience, to go to school, figuratively, on what we're seeing as problems, because infections are rising among kids. Again, we thought we'd see that. And again, staff. Again, we thought we'd see that, but not like this. We have a school district in Georgia that has returned to online learning, why? Deaths. We're back with the Superintendent for that district.

The problem, the solution, next.









CUOMO: All right, it's post Labor Day. We know what that means, if you're in the kid game. It's time to go back to school.

Officially, back to school, for most of the places, around the country, of course, some have already returned. And that's very important, because we can go to school, on their experiences, pun intended.

This usual time of anticipation, celebration for some, not in my house, but it has certainly marked this year, by hesitation, and reservation, for many. Just look at the rise of child COVID cases. And you'll see why.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids now make up more than one in four weekly COVID cases in this country. You remember when we used to say, "Yes, but at least it's not the kids, thank God." No more! A 250 percent increase, from July.

COVID has now caused one school district to shut down, in-person classes, already. Because of what? Cases leading to a lack of transportation. Three of their transportation employees died, within a two-week period, after reporting COVID complications.

Could there have been comorbidity? Yes. Do you know how much of this country's adults have what could fit into the category of comorbidity? Like what? Obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension.

So now, students are going to go back to virtual instruction, which, yes, sucks. The district has also reported 116 students, who have tested positive, 452 kids, in quarantine, for close contact.

We have the Superintendent for Griffin-Spalding County schools, Keith Simmons, who's dealing with this problem.

Thank you, especially with what you're dealing with, thank you for taking the opportunity, on PRIME TIME.


CUOMO: Now, and when you're looking at the problem, the idea that you know what it's being caused by, and how to remedy it, is that true?


SIMMONS: Not necessarily. I think, I have ideas, about what the problem is. But because some - in some of those, the target appears to be moving, the remedies are also as elusive.

CUOMO: So, when you look at the problem, why did you get here?

SIMMONS: In some ways, we got here, because we were trying to provide a quality educational experience for our students.

And for whatever reason, unfortunately, this particular variant has attacked the adults at a faster rate. It's attacked our student population at a faster rate. And unfortunately, we've had losses of life.

And it's hard to put those things into words. I remain heartbroken for each of those families and their loved ones. But that's where we are.

CUOMO: Losing your life to COVID complications, that's the way it's reported. Now, look, there could very well have been comorbidity, but COVID certainly seems to have been a factor.

Does that drive kind of a breakthrough, for people, in your area that "Hey, listen? This is more serious than we expected. The vaccine, I have to consider it."

SIMMONS: I hope that it does. I believe that it does. But - and that's the reality, Chris. At the end of the day, while people will listen to what you say, they believe what they see.

And while I hate that, these are the experiences that have been cast upon, our community, our school district, these are the realities. And we've got to find a way to mitigate them.

Many would say that closing schools would be the best way to go about that. Many would say that vaccines would be the best mitigation effort. But, in some ways, we've observed vaccinated employees come down with the virus. And we've observed those, who've not been vaccinated, who've been able to avoid it.

So again, it's been an elusive process, and we're doing the best that we can, to mitigate it, and ensuring that our students and our staff remain healthy, and well, during this process.

CUOMO: Now, when I said that virtual instruction sucks, I'm really speaking to parents.

I know that teachers are trying. I go through it with my three kids. And now, two of them are going back to regular school. The other one's in college. I get that everybody's trying. It's just not as good, especially for kids, who need the direction, and who have trouble with attention. I mean, you know all these things.

So, how are parents responding, to going back to virtual learning, not even mentioning homecare issues, and what this means, for their ability to work?

SIMMONS: Those are the challenges. And those challenges are real.

I'll be honest. I'm exceptionally proud of the way that our families have responded. They understand that on any given day, we're going to put our best foot forward, to provide a quality educational experience, and service to them.

But, at the same time, when we get to a point, where our capacity will no longer enable us, to do that, for in-person learning, this is what we resort to. It is not preferred.

We're built to provide in-person instruction. We've allocated our staff to do that in the buildings. This is our effort. This is the need to be pivotal. This is a need to be agile. And so, that's where we are. We'll make the most of it. We'll make the best of it. And my hope is that we won't have to do it long-term.

CUOMO: That's going to be the key. How long until they can get back?

Listen, Mr. Simmons? I appreciate your candor. And we're a call away. We'll update your story, when you tell us there's a change, OK?

SIMMONS: Yes, sir. And thank you so much.

CUOMO: God bless, and good luck, and stay healthy.

SIMMONS: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, we told you earlier about four Americans, who were just able to escape Afghanistan, with U.S. troops now gone, OK, a mom and her three kids.

The State Department says, or makes it sound like, they made it happen. An organizer of the private mission to free them says otherwise. He was on the front lines.

He's, next.









CUOMO: All right, so let's make it post Labor Day-packed. Let's forget the Left and Right. Let's just be reasonable, when it comes to how we get people out of Afghanistan, who belong in America.

We need the State Department to make this happen. The Military is all but out of the game. At least that's what they tell us.

The State Department's saying they helped facilitate the departure of four American citizens, via an overland route, meaning traveling by land, to a third country, is great.

An official tells us "Our Embassy greeted the Americans as they crossed the border into the third country." The question is, is it true? Because we have to have the Department of State more involved, and we're hearing so much reporting from the ground that they're not getting it right.

Republicans involved in the rescue effort, like my next guest, are telling a different story. They say the State Department actually thwarted the efforts, of the Veterans, on the ground, who are helping to get a woman and her three kids out.

Army combat veteran Cory Mills joins me now, from a bordering country with Afghanistan. We should note Mills is also a Florida congressional candidate, and a Republican.

Now, they're going to think I'm kind of blurring your face, and kind of not Cory. This is just the lighting. You're backlit. It's fine. And I appreciate you being with us. And I appreciate your efforts on the ground.

What is the truth about the State Department knowledge, and role, in your extraction?

CORY MILLS EVACUATED AMERICANS FROM AFGHANISTAN, FORMER STAFF SERGEANT, U.S. ARMY, BRONZE STAR RECIPIENT, U.S. ARMY, (R) CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, Chris, thanks so much for having me. Yes, I apologize for the backlighting. This is about as good as I can get from around that.

CUOMO: It's fine.

MILLS: So, bottom line is, is that I think that when it comes to the amazing guys, who are here in country that I'm operating out of, I think the State Department has been very helpful and supportive.

I think the issue is that D.C., and State Department, and the Swamp, they're really where the problem has existed.

[21:30:00] We had the ability to go in, in the very beginning days, to land a aircraft that we've evacuated 25 Americans out that we had already identified that we had already coordinated with.

And we had already had approved PPR. We had fly-over approvals. I mean, everything necessary, to put the aircraft, on the ground.

Had an hour's time on the ground, could have loaded our staff that were just out, our team, excuse me, that were just outside the gates, got them in, got them on, and got them out. And that was the original plan.

That was thwarted by these - the State Department, and then the DOD, where they essentially tried to deny our PPR, put us in pattern, for almost 15 minutes, and then even said that, "If you land this aircraft," that "We are going to go ahead, and take the aircraft certificate. We're going to ground the pilots," and then even have an F-16 go ahead.

I mean, look, the bottom line is that that would have been 25 Americans. So, this land bordering crossing wouldn't have even been necessary, if they could let us land at that time.

On the second occasion, where we finally had to get these families, out of Kabul, and into a different location, they were manifested on another aircraft. That aircraft had been approved by the Taliban, had been approved by the DOD, had been approved by the State Department.

And right before the Nth Hour, when it was ready to fly, the State Department went ahead, and canceled that flight, or disapproved that flight, because they wanted to "Vet the manifest," which I can understand and appreciate. But these are Americans, who are basically being left behind.

Now, again, one of the statements that you made, which I completely agree with, this isn't a time to throw mud, and be a political animal that says, "OK, well, the Left did this, and Right did that."

We welcome the State Department support. We actually received some of that support, when we were in this bordering country, once we're kind of on that 99-yard line.

I think that the amazing guys that I've been able to be on this team with, you know, I don't lead this team, I'm not the organizer, but I am a member of this team.

And what we've been able to do here, I think, sets the white paper, that proof of concept that with a little bit of help, from the U.S. government, I think that it's a joint-joint kind of public-private partnership that can help these Americans to get out.

CUOMO: So Cory, a couple things, because you did an overland, which I was just talking to these other vets, who are doing that. And they're like, "That's so hard," that it's so much easier to get them to a place, where you can fly them out, because for all the obvious challenges that are absolutely common sense to you. Now, the State Department side of the argument is, "Listen? We want to do everything we can. But what if Cory Mills, or your buddy, Sam Rogers, or any of these other groups, are smuggling out ISIS people? Or people with fake papers? Or people who want to hurt us? We have to be able to check."

What's the answer?

MILLS: I mean, I can agree with them a 100 percent. I mean, when we worked with the State Department here, in this certain country, we provided passport photos. We allowed them to try and check the biometrics. We had done all of our due diligence. We identified, where and which district these individuals were from. For example, they are from Texas 13.

Yes, I understand that there is a near-far recognition piece of this. I understand that there - we cannot allow any type of terrorist, to get onto aircraft, or to try and get across borders, at the help or behest of any of the Americans.

But I do think there's an answer. There is a validation. There is a verification point, which we can all kind of come to an agreement on.

And so, I don't want that to be kind of, you know, the devil's in the details, obviously. But I don't want that to be the thing that prevents us, from saving Americans, and keeping them in harm's way, when I think that's a relatively easy way for us to go ahead, and gather necessary documents, and then allow them to vet--

CUOMO: Got you.

MILLS: --as we're moving them across the land.

CUOMO: Now, to what I should have asked first, but I'm insensitive and old. You are a Bronze Star recipient. You're a veteran. You served our country. And I respect you and appreciate you for that, as we all should.

MILLS: Thank you.

CUOMO: You went back into Afghanistan, under Taliban rule, to help these people get out. What's it like in there right now?

MILLS: Well, Chris, when we went across, it was just kind of - to that bordering area. It wasn't a full-fledged assault in the country.

Yes, you're taking that risk. Yes, obviously, you're coordinating to meet them at that bordering area. You're trying.

And, again, I've got a team member, who's with us, who's an amazing guy. He speaks five languages. So, he's able to actually talk with the Taliban commanders, and try and make these coordinating efforts.

Again, none of this occurs. It's not about Cory Mills. It's not about just our efforts. I mean, our whole team was really incredible with the strength and skill sets, from tier-one operators, all the way through to--


CUOMO: But you didn't know that they wouldn't go bad on you, once they got you on their turf?

MILLS: Sorry?

CUOMO: You didn't know that they wouldn't go bad on you once they brought you into their turf.

MILLS: No, no, we did not. But again, though, I think that we looked at it as a calculated risk. I think that the family was the one, who took the biggest risks, by us trying to coordinate, and get them into different areas.


Our team members, who are overseas, in Afghanistan, right now, who are assisting these Americans, by the way who are deserving, to come out of country, these are Afghans with SIVs that had - I've worked with for years.

They're the ones that's helping us to do a lot of this overland crossing. We're doing a lot of the coordination. We're doing that effort to try and get across that final goal line, to be able to get them back.

But, again, this is all going to be simplified, if we basically work together, with the U.S. State Department, and we come together, and try and get all these Americans out, because there are Americans who are stuck. The Taliban are holding them.

And there is no coordination, as it's being told, where "All, if you show a blue passport, you can be let in," I can confirm, Chris, that's just not true.

CUOMO: I hear you. I have heard it from others.

And look, let's be honest. You shouldn't be within 100 miles of this effort. This should be the United States. It's government. It's Military. They should be doing this.

I mean, when the history is written, of all this, we've never seen anything like this before, where Veterans are working with people, stateside, and other allies, to get people out of a country, because the United States officially left.

Cory Mills, as I've said all along--

MILLS: Well, it's essentially it's a Digital Dunkirk, Chris.

CUOMO: That's exactly right, #DigitalDunkirk. I know some people say that's not polite to say to Dunkirk but - and what happened there. But look, it's just the hashtag. It originated. We didn't think it up. But it is what's out there. And there is this huge effort, stateside,

and in country, being coordinated, largely by Veterans, and their allies, to get people out. That's the reality. And I'll keep covering it.

And thank God, you're safe. And I appreciate what you did, and your candor here today.

MILLS: Chris, thanks so much.

And again, my thanks to all the members of my amazing team. I'm honored to be a part of that. Thanks to the State Department personnel, who are here in country, who are willing to help us. They really support us a lot.

And again, we're volunteers. We're doing this on our own. It's all through donors and foundations. And we appreciate all the support that we can get.

CUOMO: And I hope you keep getting it. And I'm a call away to help. I'll give - make sure you have my number, in the break. Take care.

MILLS: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, I want to come back here, to a very different type of battle, but people are interested in it, and it does have implications beyond celebrity. That's why I covered it. As you know, we don't do celebrity stuff here, often, if at all.

This #FreeBritney thing, another hashtag, a surprise tonight! The singer's father, and longtime conservator, just made a move that I think surprised Britney's team.

What happened? What does it mean? Why did it happen? What's next? Next.









CUOMO: Surprising new developments in the Britney Spears' case. Her father, today, filed to end his daughter's 13-year conservatorship.

Now, just last month, Jamie Spears, that's the dad, did agree to step down, as conservator, but very reluctantly. And there was no real timetable.

In a court filing, he revealed he was concerned about his daughter's, quote, "Behavior," and overall mental health, and had gone as far as to discuss, a possible psychiatric hold, with co-conservator Jodi Montgomery. Montgomery denied it.

But Jamie Spears' filing today says, quote, "Recent events related to this conservatorship have called into question whether circumstances have changed to such an extent that grounds for establishment of a conservatorship may no longer exist. Ms. Spears has told this Court that she wants control of her life back without the safety rails of a conservatorship."

So, what changed? Joining me now is CNN Entertainment Reporter, with the scoop, Chloe Melas, and Lisa MacCarley, an attorney, who specializes in conservatorships, and a supporter of the #FreeBritney movement.

Chloe, you got the scoop. What do you know about the timing? And what do you see within the documents?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: I mean it's a 112-page petition, Chris. And I'll tell you that I don't think anybody saw this coming.

For 13 years, not one person, in Britney Spears' family has filed a petition, to terminate. Then it turns out that her father is the one, to file a petition, to end this over a decade long conservatorship?

So look, the next hearing is in just a couple of weeks. So, Judge Brenda Penny looks like she's going to hear this, if she sets this for a hearing. And the conservatorship is going to be terminated.

But why is her father doing it now? Well, we know that Britney said at two hearings, over the summer that she wanted to charge her father with conservatorship abuse.

Now, Britney Spears' lawyer, Mathew Rosengart's saying that he sees this as a victory that this is because of the mounting pressure, from himself, and the #FreeBritney movement, to step aside, and that he still wants Jamie Spears to sit for a sworn deposition.

I don't think that this is going to be ending, Chris, anytime soon. And we still haven't heard from Britney Spears tonight.

CUOMO: Lisa, you're nodding your head a lot.


CUOMO: I find Chloe very compelling also. But what does this mean to you legally?

MACCARLEY: So, it's very exciting that there is now a petition to terminate this conservatorship.

The problem is we don't know when it's going to be set for hearing. I'm hoping it will be joined with the other petitions set for September 29th. And if it is, and they'd give notice, it could very well be the end of the conservatorship, for Britney.

The only question is whether or not Jamie put in any requests, for example, that his petition be approved, or his accounting with all of the fees, and all of the expenses that he's paid, on behalf of the conservatorship. That's the big question.

CUOMO: Well Chloe, let me come to you for that. Do you know anything from those documents that are in there?

MELAS: Yes. So, Jamie Spears is asking for almost $2 million. That includes a salary for himself, of almost $0.5 million, and legal fees, to his legal team.

So, we know that Britney Spears' attorney, Mathew Rosengart, filed in a petition last week, Chris that they do not want to pay those $2 million, and have - and he has said that it's extortion of his daughter.


So, how is this going to be settled? I would love to know, on September 29th, if the dad isn't going to walk away, without his $2 million? And also, are we going to see a potential jury trial? Is this really over? Is Britney going to try to charge her father with conservatorship abuse?

She's so angry at so many members, of her own family, her sister, her mother, Lynne Spears, who have just kind of sat by, while all raking in money, from Britney Spears' multi-million dollar estate, while she's been on tour, and working, and albums.

Britney is angry, rightfully so. So, we'll just have to see what happens. But Chris, it ain't over yet. It's not over.

CUOMO: No. But look, nobody even saw this coming, till you alerted us that you got a tip on it. So, this is all developing in the moment.

Lisa, also, we have to find out what the co-conservator wants, Jodi Montgomery.


CUOMO: Obviously, that'll be a key a piece.

MACCARLEY: Right, exactly. Well, right now Jodi is serving as temporary conservator of the person.

And all he would have to do is take away Britney's petition that was prepared by Sam Ingham, and her conservatorship will terminate, by operation of the fact that it's set to expire in October. So really, nothing needs to be done.

And Matt should take advantage, and take off calendar, Sam Ingham's petition. Remember, Sam petitioned to have Jodi appointed permanently. So, all they have to do is take that off calendar. And Jodi's letters of conservatorship terminate in October. So, that's actually pretty close to being a done deal.


MACCARLEY: Again, on the--

CUOMO: Go ahead. Is there a final point that needs to be made?

MACCARLEY: Well, right. So, the final point is that Jamie can terminate the conservatorship of the estate, and you can be over with.

And it is proper and ethical to let Britney Spears have her civil liberties back, as soon as possible. And they can go on and fight about the money, as Chloe was saying, for years to come.

So, this isn't entirely over, no matter what happens in September.

CUOMO: All right. Chloe, thank you very much. Lisa, appreciate you, both, on this.

Again, great scoop! Chloe Melas, thank you very much for bringing it, to us.

We'll be right back.

MELAS: Thank you.









CUOMO: #BOLO, Be On the Look-Out, and it's a twofer.

First, voting is getting harder in Texas, with Governor Abbott signing SB 1.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): The Texas law, it does make it easier, than ever before, for anybody, to go cast a ballot.


CUOMO: Really? Is no more 24-hour voting making it easier?

Is no more of this, drive-thru voting, at places like the Toyota Center, in Houston, is that easier? Who knows how many people were saved from getting COVID, in a state, where it's exploding, because of simple solutions, like this, last year?

It's going to be tougher, for the elderly, the sick, the physically- challenged, to vote by mail. And public officials can't send in unsolicited mail-in ballot applications anymore, like they did in Harris County, which is where Houston is, by the way.

It does give cover though to partisan poll watchers, while making it harder, to help disabled voters, with their ballots. This is the game. And this is what happened while Democrats looked on, as Republicans targeted, and won State Houses.

SB 1 becomes at least the 31st state law, restricting voting rights, in this country, so far this year.

That's according to the Brennan Center, one of several groups, now suing Texas, over the bill that led Democrats to leave the state, twice, in hopes of stopping. Remember that? Until they hit a brick wall of 60 votes, in the U.S. Senate, to get a federal voting rights bill done.

The Texas bill is now law, built on the bull that is the big lie about the 2020 election. There was nothing to fix. There was no big fraud.

Speaking of bills with bull, at that same bill signing, Governor Abbott defended his abortion ban, which makes no exception, for rape or incest, with more of his misleading talk.


ABBOTT: Obviously, it provides at least six weeks, for a person, to be able to get an abortion.

Let's make something very clear. Rape is a crime. And Texas will work tirelessly, to make sure that we eliminate all rapists, from the streets of Texas, by aggressively going out, and arresting them, and prosecuting them, and getting them off the streets.


ABBOTT: So, goal number one in the state of Texas, is to eliminate rape, so that no woman, no person, will be a victim of rape.


CUOMO: What were you clapping about?

Of course, rape is a crime. What does that have to do with restricting reproductive rights?

Do you know under that bill, give me this answer, people who are clapping? So, if somebody raped somebody else, committing a crime, do they surrender their right, under this law, to sue someone else, who helps the victim of their rape, exercise their reproductive rights? It's not in the bill.

If you think, you're going to stop all rapes, because of this bill, take a look at your own data. The number of reported rape cases, a crime, long before this governor showed up, went up nearly every year, since he's been in office.

Now, if I were Abbott, I would probably connect the fact that it's going up, to this bill, because that's as much crazy irrationality, as him getting applause for saying, "I'm going to try to stop rape," to justify not including it, as a protection for people, if they are raped.

More people are coming forward. That's why you see more rapes reported. And let's hope the slight downward trend, in the most recent numbers, is a positive sign.


But, for now, this is about women feeling empowered. And women impregnated by rapists, in your state, just lost the right they have, to exercise control, over their own body, something they have right now, everywhere else in this country.

And about that six-week language, it's not how he describes it. Pregnancy is usually measured from the last day of the last normal menstrual period.

As the 19th News, or any doctor, might point out, "The first sign of pregnancy is often missing one's period. A typical menstrual cycle is about 28 days, or four weeks. A person can't get pregnant until they have ovulated, which generally happens halfway through the cycle."

So in reality, a woman has about two weeks, 14 days, to decide even if she's the victim of rape or incest. Come on!

We'll be right back.


CUOMO: Thanks for watching.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT," the big star, D. Lemon, right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Let me make some thing clear is that rape is a crime.

CUOMO: Look, here's what I got frustrated at.