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Interview With Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY); Immigration Crisis; Abortion Battles; Dangerous Paparazzi Chase Involving Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired May 17, 2023 - 13:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The agency says it will now review its security protocols.

Olympic gold medal figure skater Sarah Hughes looking to get into the political arena. She's filed papers to run for the House seat in New York currently held by Republican Congressman Anthony D'Esposito. Hughes is a Democrat, grew up on Long Island, and says she wants to tackle the rising cost of living, education, and gun safety.

Thanks for your time on INSIDE POLITICS. We will see you tomorrow. CNN NEWS CENTRAL starts right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: A near catastrophic car chase, that is what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's team are calling it after they say paparazzi relentlessly pursued the couple for two hours last night in New York, even driving onto sidewalks.

The scary event triggering many emotions more than 25 years after his mother's death in an auto accident as paparazzi chased her car.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Plus, abortion battles across the United States. In court, judges are hearing arguments over the fate of the nation's most commonly used abortion pill, as lawmakers in South Carolina debate a bill that could make most abortions there illegal.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Breaking his silence, but no apology. Ja Morant speaks out after another suspension for flashing another gun in another social media post. Will the NBA put up with this?

We are following these stories and many more, all coming in right here to CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

KEILAR: A spokesperson for Prince Harry says the duke of Sussex and his wife, Meghan Markle, were involved in a near-catastrophic car chase in New York, adding, it was a relentless pursuit by paparazzi that lasted more than two hours.

Now, to be clear, there was no car crash, but an NYPD source says a paparazzi swarm blocked off streets near the 19th Police Precinct and the couple's protective detail had to figure out extraction plans. This happened after the Women of Vision Awards at the Ziegfeld Ballroom, where Meghan Markle was being honored. We're also getting some new video of Meghan and Harry arriving at that


CNN's Max Foster is following all of this.

Max, you just spoke to a member of Harry and Meghan's security detail. What have you learned?

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a two-hour ordeal late last night around midnight in New York after the award ceremony that Meghan had attended.

And, immediately, there were dozens, about a dozen vehicles chasing their grouping. So, there was a limousine, obviously, the support cars involved in the royal motorcade, as it were. And they were being chased immediately as they left. There were -- there were different types of vehicles, and it could have been fatal at one point.

The way they describe it is that the -- it was very chaotic. There were people on sidewalks that were crossing the road, and then these paparazzi were jumping red lights, and everyone was very concerned that someone could die.

They weren't concerned about the principals in the car, as they called them, Harry and Meghan, but also Doria Ragland there. They were more concerned about the public. But it was very traumatizing, obviously, for Meghan and Harry and Doria as all of this unfolded, particularly with Harry's background, where his mother died in almost exactly similar circumstances.

But I spoke to Chris Sanchez on the phone. He was part of the security detail. He used to be with a Secret Service. He told me: "I have never seen, experienced anything like this. What we were dealing with was very chaotic. There were about a dozen vehicles, cars, scooters and bicycles. The public were in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal."

So, that's what they were dealing with, Brianna. And they're clearly very shaken up.

KEILAR: They clearly are.

Max, if you could stand by for us.

I do want to bring in CNN's Jason Carroll. He is outside of the 19th Precinct.

Jason, what more are you hearing from police and local officials?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a number of new details emerging, including about exactly what the duke and duchess were dealing with.

You heard some of the details there from Max as well, but, apparently, according to the duke and duchess' team, some of the violations included things like driving on the sidewalk, going the wrong way down a one-way street, running red lights, and also including some what they called near-collisions.

Again, right now, we are at the 19th Precinct. And just to give you the lay of the land, this is located about a mile from the Ziegfeld Theatre, where Meghan Markle was being honored by the Women

of Vision Awards.

In order to get from there, Brianna, to where we are now, you have got to go through more than a dozen tight New York busy streets, even at that hour. As you know, New York is the city that never sleeps.

After, apparently, they walked the red carpet, they took the pictures that they normally take during events like this, they were apparently swarmed by paparazzi, swarmed by paparazzi for several blocks, until they could get to the 19th Precinct, where we are now, last night, and sort of reevaluate and try to figure out a way to get away from the paparazzi.


Again, there was some sort of an NYPD protective team that was there during the course of all of this. And, at one point, they tried to figure out a way to maneuver around the paparazzi. That didn't work.

According to what we're hearing, some of the paparazzi were driving on the sidewalks, pedestrians trying to get out of the way as all of this was happening.

New York City's mayor weighing in on all of this and saying that he is going to get to the bottom of it.


ERIC ADAMS (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: The briefing I received, two of our officers could have been injured. New York City is different from a small town somewhere. You shouldn't be speeding anywhere.

But this is a densely populated city, and I think all of us -- I don't think there's many of us who don't recall how -- how their -- his mom died. And it would be horrific to lose an innocent bystander during a chase like this and something to have happened to them as well. So I think we have to be extremely responsible.

I thought that was a bit reckless and irresponsible.


CARROLL: And also we also have this statement coming from Prince Harry and Meghan.

Part of it says: "Last night, the dukes and duchess of Sussex and Mrs. Ragland" -- that of course, is Meghan Markle's mother -- "were involved in a near-catastrophic car crash at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi. While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone's safety." Police will be reviewing any sort of video that they can get their hands on in terms of what happened last night. They will be reviewing red light cameras, et cetera.

Meanwhile, in terms of Prince Harry and the duchess of Sussex, we are told that they are staying at a private residence -- guys, back to you.

KEILAR: All right, Jason, thank you so much.

Let's bring in now CNN royal historian Kate Williams.

Kate, if you read Harry's pretty recent memoir, a lot of it is a referendum on the paparazzi, obviously, about how they treated his mother, but also about how they treated him, how they treated his brother, people that he dated, certainly his now wife, Meghan Markle.

He's spoken a little bit about it. I want to listen to that.


PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back.

So, in that respect, it's the worst reminder of her life, as opposed to the best.

I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the people that chased her through the -- into the tunnel were the same people that were taking photographs of her while she was still dying on the back seat of the car.


KEILAR: It's hard not to hear of this most recent event in Manhattan without thinking of what he has said and what has happened in his family, Kate.


It immediately takes us back to 1997, when Diana died in the Paris tunnel being chased by the paparazzi. And, as Harry has said, the last thing that she saw were these flashbulbs in her face.

And, very interestingly, also, he spoke to Oprah, and he said to Oprah that his earliest memory of his mother, his biggest memory, was one of her trying to drive her car with Harry and William in the back as children, and she was crying because she couldn't drive. There were paparazzi everywhere.

So Harry himself was chased as a child by the paparazzi trying to get pictures of him. And, I mean, really, what's happened in New York is terrifying. Just as the mayor was saying, this is a densely populated city, people walking around back from restaurants and bars. And Harry and Meghan were being -- and Mrs. Ragland -- were being chased, chased up and down the street for two relentless hours. This is taking Harry immediately back to his childhood, his terrible experience of his mother dying when he was just a little boy, having to walk behind the coffin.

And, of course, Harry said the reason why he left the royal family was because he didn't want history repeating itself. He didn't want to see his wife and, of course, his children threatened by this possibility that they could end up like his mother, in severe danger.

And so Harry seeing this today is going to be terrifying for him, and I think this is a watershed moment. I think Harry is really someone who is going to now come down with every legal recourse he can to stop this happening ever again, because he was in danger, the people around him were in danger, and this was their first appearance since the coronation.

I think it shows that there was a desperation to get pictures of them just after the coronation. And this is going to continue now that Charles is king. Harry is so close to the throne. It is simply terrifying for him and his children. And thank goodness the children weren't in the car, because that would have been horrific.


KEILAR: Yes, and for all the people around them in the city as well, when you hear about what the paparazzi were doing, putting people potentially in danger.

Kate, thank you so much. We do appreciate it -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: All right, it is a pivotal moment in the battle over reproductive rights in this country, right now, day two of marathon debate sessions over a six-week abortion ban, that in the state of South Carolina.

Democrats have tacked on some 1,000 amendments to make the process as grueling and long as possible for the GOP majority looking to pass that ban. The chamber worked until 2:00 in the morning. They still have some 800 amendments to go through.

In neighboring South -- North Carolina, rather, Republican lawmakers there voted to override the Democratic governor's veto of an abortion bill. This means, in North Carolina, most abortions after 12 weeks will now be illegal in that state.

And on the national level, access to the widely used abortion pill mifepristone is once again on the line. A federal appeals court is hearing arguments over a nationwide ban on the medication, which, we should note, has been on the market for more than two decades and has been deemed safe and effective by the medical community.

CNN's Jessica Schneider, she's tracking all these developments.

Jessica, first, let's talk about this appeals court. It is a conservative appeals court, these three judges there. As they look at this case, what's your best guess as to how they will approach this?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you said, all eyes are on this three-judge panel.

It's made up of all conservative nominees to this court, so we will be closely watching how these judges react to the arguments. Notably, two of the judges were nominated by President Trump, one of them nominated by George W. Bush. Two of the Trump appointees, they were extremely outspoken against abortion before they actually came to the federal bench.

So these judges will actually be weighing this argument whether the FDA didn't follow the proper procedures in putting this abortion pill into effect more than 20 years ago in the year 2000. What's interesting here, though, this -- this is the most conservative federal appeals court in the country.

And at an earlier stage of this litigation, they did seem to side with some of the arguments that these doctors who are saying...


SCHNEIDER: ... that the pill should be taken off the market, they have sided with some of those arguments.

So, it will be interesting to see...

SCIUTTO: Could be indicative.

SCHNEIDER: ... which -- which arguments play out here.

SCIUTTO: OK, if this court does rule to impose such restrictions...


SCIUTTO: ... Supreme Court would be next. Where does that stand? Do the -- would the restrictions immediately come into effect or not?

SCHNEIDER: They would not.


SCHNEIDER: And the Supreme Court was already clear about that in the order that it put forward last month.

So, any changes, any restrictions that the Fifth Circuit say need to be imposed to this pill, the Supreme Court has already said, well, hold on. We're going to decide whether to take up this issue.


SCHNEIDER: And we're not going to let any of those restrictions go into effect while we decide that.

So, it wouldn't take effect immediately.

SCIUTTO: So, they still -- won't take effect, but they can still decide at a later date to uphold them.


SCIUTTO: Just quickly, now we have two state -- well, we have one state, North Carolina, which is really a purple state in this country, Democratic governor, but now will have a 12-week ban, and South Carolina considering a six-week ban.

I mean, it is showing you that you are having states following the overturning of Roe v. Wade that are severely restricting, right up to banning in some cases, this procedure.

SCHNEIDER: And this really falls in line with what we have seen around the country...


SCHNEIDER: ... ever since Dobbs took effect, ever since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

We have seen this play out all through the past several months, as these legislatures came back into session. We're seeing it now play out in rapid fashion in South Carolina and North Carolina.


SCHNEIDER: But the point is, Jim, this is what the Supreme Court not only allowed for...


SCHNEIDER: ... but pretty much said, this is what should be happening.

SCIUTTO: Return to the states.

SCHNEIDER: This should be playing out in the legislatures.

SCIUTTO: A principle that would be challenged if there are nationwide bans, for instance, with this court here...

SCHNEIDER: For sure.

SCIUTTO: ... which would, of course, break that rule. But, well, we will see if it happens.

SCHNEIDER: We will see how it plays out.


SCIUTTO: Jessica Schneider, thanks so much -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Right now, President Biden is on his way to Japan for the G7 summit, but he's postponing the second leg of his trip, losing stops in Australia and Papua New Guinea, to focus on the debt limit crisis and that fast-approaching deadline of June 1.

Remember, that is the earliest date that Treasury has warned the United States could default on its debt. Now, the president spoke just a short time ago before boarding his Air Force One flight. He expressed optimism. Listen to this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had a productive meeting yesterday, and with all four leaders in the Congress. It was civil and respectful, and everyone came to the meeting, I think, in good faith.

I'm confident that we will get the agreement on the budget, that America will not default. And every leader in the room understands the consequences if we fail to pay our bills, and it would be catastrophic for the -- for the American economy and the American people if we didn't pay our bills.



SANCHEZ: Let's get some perspective from Capitol Hill now with CNN's Manu Raju, who is there live for us.

Manu, the White House initially said that they were not going to negotiate with Republicans on this. They wanted a clean debt ceiling raise. But, obviously, something changed.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this has been a major reversal by the White House and by Democratic leaders who had insisted no negotiations, pass a clean debt ceiling increase. They had told that to Kevin McCarthy time and time again.

McCarthy resisted, said that there must be spending cuts, there must be conditions attached. They passed a bill in the House. Democrats in the Senate said that was dead on arrival. And, ultimately, they led to this point. With -- just days before the first ever debt default could occur in this country, the White House is sitting down, having negotiations with Speaker McCarthy's allies at this moment.

Negotiations happened last night. McCarthy told me that he attended those meetings. He's expected to attend some of these meetings today. He has dispatched Congressman Garret Graves as his top negotiator on this issue. The White House has three top aides as well.

Can they get to an agreement? The push is to try to get one by the -- by this weekend to have something in principle before they can actually draft legislative text. And when I asked the speaker earlier today about the president's plan to come back early from his overseas trip and have a press conference on Sunday on this issue, McCarthy pushed back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): No, it's doable. But this is for a guy who didn't want to meet with us for 97 days, and leaves the country, and says he wants to come back Sunday to have a press conference?

I really want a president that's engaged and working through. I mean, if he just wants to be the press conference guy, why doesn't he become the press secretary, instead of the president?


RAJU: And there are still significant differences between the two sides, one of which involves work requirements on social safety net programs like the Medicaid program for low-income individuals.

Republicans are demanding some level of work requirements as part of this bill. The Democrats are saying that is a nonstarter, but the White House has been sort of playing a middle road here. President Biden earlier today said there would be more -- there could be some work requirements of no consequence.

It's not clear exactly what he meant with that. McCarthy and Republicans have laughed off that suggestion. So, what does that actually amount to? And still disagreement about the length of spending cuts on domestic programs, other policy measures that should be included in it, and how long to raise the national debt ceiling for.

So, major disputes still are in the horizon, as they got to figure this out in a matter of days, or debt default could be waiting in the wings.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and a potential global economic meltdown that comes along with it.

Manu Raju, thank you so much for the reporting -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: A public backlash.

New York City officials are facing criticism for planning to house migrants in public school gyms. Why parents are angry and how city leaders are responding.

Plus, America depressed more than ever before. Details on a stunning new study. Thankfully, it's not all bad news.

And the Florida teacher who showed her class a Disney movie that has a gay character. How the state is now ramping up an investigation of this teacher.



KEILAR: The immigration crisis is expanding far beyond the Southern border. Riverhead, New York, which is on Long Island, just declared a state of

emergency that outlaws its hotels, motels, bed and breakfast facilities, inns, cottages and campgrounds, or short-term rentals from accepting migrants and asylum seekers.

This is a town of about 36,000, and it's responding to reports that New York City will relocate undocumented people there. And that's just some of the backlash confronting New York's mayor. He has been trying to find places to house these new arrivals from the border, including in public schools.

Let's bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval.

So, Polo, tell us about the pushback that has been happening when it comes to schools.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly has been coming from not just parents, but students as well.

Now, as of this hour, this ongoing effort by New York Mayor Eric Adams to use gymnasiums to at least temporarily house some of these migrants, that's still ongoing, though it could certainly change at any point. Some fresh numbers just into CNN really speak to why the city is turning this.

The mayor's office saying that, in the last week, they have received some 4,300 asylum seekers and still about 47,000 in the city's care. The city says they're out of options.


PROTESTERS: We want our gym back! We want our gym back! We want our gym back!

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Outrage, anger and frustration, parents protesting outside a Brooklyn school in response to the city's plan to continue housing migrants inside current and former school gymnasiums.

PROTESTER: You're not going to do this to us. You picked the wrong neighborhood and the wrong school.

SANDOVAL: Some upset parents and grandparents refused to drop off their kids at school after learning of the situation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm taking them home. Why should they be in there with those adults? Those are men and women. We don't know where these people come from.

SANDOVAL: Mayor Eric Adams, who says New York City is in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, says the city is considering using 20 school gyms for migrants, as New York City sees an increase in asylum seeker arrivals.

ADAMS: None of us are comfortable with having to take these drastic steps.

SANDOVAL: Adam says all these gyms are separate buildings, and the migrants would not interact with schoolchildren.

ADAMS: We have an order, almost an order of where we have to go as the crisis continues. This is one of the last places we want to look at.

SANDOVAL: Parents argue school gyms are not meant for housing.

SAMANTHA CLARK, PARENT AND PTA CO-PRESIDENT: I would like other places to be considered, places that have adult full-size showers, large spaces. Our school is tiny. We can barely fit in it as it is.

SANDOVAL: A source familiar with the planning process telling CNN that, so far, about 300 migrants have been placed in gyms throughout the city.


RAY DENARO, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: We have a crisis that's been brought to our country, our state, our city, and now it's in our schools. And how soon it's -- until it's in our homes? These children deserve better.

SANDOVAL: Some parents feel that schools should be off-limits, while others just fear for the safety of their kids.

ROBIN WILLIAMS, PARENT: We not knowing nothing about these people and where they came from, we want to protect us. My message for the mayor and the governor, you all should be ashamed of yourself.

SANDOVAL: Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso says parents are basing most of their opinions on fear and says that the migrants are not increasing crime in New York City.

ANTONIO REYNOSO, BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT: These folks have not caused in any way, shape or form an influx or an increase in crime. So, this narrative about safety is just one that is being made up right now.

These parents, again, I think are misinformed.


SANDOVAL: We should note that the latest numbers that were just released by New York City officials, they do show a sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers that are arriving here in New York, Brianna, though, you recall just a few days ago I was on the U.S.- Mexican border, where they noticed a significant drop in the number of apprehensions.

So, while it's still too soon -- still too soon to tell, the question still remains if that drop might translate to a potential decrease in arrivals here in New York City, decreasing the -- really the need to turn to school gyms. So we will have to see how that plays out.

KEILAR: All right, we certainly will.

Polo, thank you -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Let's discuss further with someone who represents New York City. Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis represents Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn.

Thanks so much for taking the time this morning.

REP. NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS (R-NY): Good to be with you.

SCIUTTO: Before we get to the situation in New York, I do want to talk about the broader immigration picture.

Encounters are now down at the border by more than half, to about 4,000 a day from 10,000 or so prior to the expiration of Title 42. Migrants along the border are telling our reporters there that they have, in effect, heard that message from agents, from the Biden administration that, if they enter illegally, they face penalties, including the possibility of being banned for five years.

I wonder, what do you, following this issue closely, credit that drop in encounters to?

MALLIOTAKIS: Well, I'm hoping that they take the step even further. I know that you're saying that there's a momentary drop here at the border, but you're still seeing this influx of individuals coming to New York City.

And so, therefore it's still a crisis. Whether they are not specifically being encountered by CBP or they're going through other areas of the border undetected, we don't know the answer to that right now.

But what I would say is, it's a combination of making sure that we give our Customs and Border Patrol agents the tools that they have asked for, certainly making sure that we are reinstating the message that the Biden administration has now said, that they are going to have to apply from their next country that is safe for them to apply for asylum, not skip six, seven countries to come to the U.S. border.

SCIUTTO: Uh-huh.

MALLIOTAKIS: That should be helpful.

But we also know that the Biden administration is appealing a decision by the court, which Florida had a lawsuit, and the decision basically said that they could no longer release individuals into the country without a court date or without knowing their whereabouts.

And so that, I think, has temporarily helped as well, even though the Biden administration is appealing that decision.

SCIUTTO: Well, the issue with that is numbers, really, because the Biden administration is saying that their holding areas along the border, if they -- are just not big enough to handle the influx, right? So the question is, you have supported legislation that will add agents along the border. How about judges? If you have more judges, you could hear more cases more quickly, and, therefore, folks wouldn't be waiting as long in the country to have their cases adjudicated.

MALLIOTAKIS: Yes, and that is something that I have also suggested. I think that it's a combination of these things.

You need to have stricter border security provisions. You need to streamline the process to make sure that judges and asylum officers can differentiate between legitimate asylum seekers and those who are not. We know, in our courts, under the Biden administration, two- thirds of individuals over the past year were denied actually asylum, which means that there are individuals using asylum to enter our country.


MALLIOTAKIS: And it's also creating a tremendous backlog for true asylum seekers. In New York City, it's about a decade wait now to get a court date as a result.

So, you're actually hurting legitimate asylum seekers by having this type of process in place that is not strict enough.

SCIUTTO: You know that the law as it stands, right, is that, if you have a case that is deemed -- well, if you're not turned around right away or entering illegally, you have a chance to be heard.

And while that case is being heard, you can remain in the country. At the end of the day, if folks want that law to be changed, they got to sit down at the table and pass a new law to change the law. Would you be willing to sit down with Democrats? This is the thing we haven't seen, right, is Democrats and Republicans try to pass a bipartisan reform act.

Would you be willing to sit down with Democrats to negotiate such potential changes to the law?

MALLIOTAKIS: I have already spoken to Democrats about this.

Obviously, the border security that the House passed last week, that's a major part of the problem. We need to stem the flow first. We could deal with the other issues. But, certainly, we should be looking at increasing the number of work visas, of -- of family-sponsored visas