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Britney Spears' Father Files Petition To End Her Conservatorship; Licenses Of Seven Nursing Homes Revoked After Deadly Evacuations; Blinken Meets With Afghan Refugees At U.S. Air Base In Germany; CNN Goes Inside Ramstein Air Base; Biden Saddled With Trump Remain-in-Mexico Policy On Asylum. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired September 08, 2021 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: I think a lot of people are wondering was this his way of getting out of trouble? Can he avoid further scrutiny by ending this conservatorship?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It could have been his way, but it would not have been an effective way.
It's very important to note, Ana, that we're talking about two separate issues.
The one issue is his overseeing and guardianship of the conservatorship itself. In the event he believes she's able to do that and she goes forward and is successful in that regard, he's out.
There's another issue, and that's the issue of accountability. That does not leave him as a result of leaving or saying he has enough and will move to the side.
There could still be pursuit of lawsuits or depositions and anything else that her attorney seeks to find out with respect to how he went about his business, how he managed her affairs, what if anything he did with any money that was mismanaged, what were his priorities, were they consistent with her priorities.
So important to note they're two separate issues. One, the conservatorship itself. He says, you what, I'm stepping aside. The other, his accountability. That is very much on the table.
CABRERA: This is sort of the culmination, it feels, of that movement Free Britney that popped up. People following this case, showing support for Britney Spears.
What role did that public pressure play here?
JACKSON: You know, I think it plays a significant role. Just stepping back briefly, Ana, you know, conservatorships are very important. Sometimes people go through whatever issues, generally older people maybe becoming incapacitated in some record. So we have this legal vehicle. We know about 1.3 million people in the country have these
conservatorships, $50 billion in assets. So it serves a good purpose. But when that purpose is abused, right?
Let's take the notion all of us have the right and ability to manage our affairs if we're capable. If not, the law provides for family members or interested parties to come in and say, I got this, we'll take care of this.
When there's a change in circumstances and that need is no more, then a lot of people have something to say about it.
To the core of your question, not only did she have something to say about it, her lawyer, who she was recently able to appoint -- but of course, there's this whole movement about let her manage her life, get out of the way.
I think public pressure does have a role from being involved in the fourth estate. That's what they call the media, which certainly plays a major public voice.
CABRERA: Joey Jackson, as always, thank you.
JACKSON: As always, thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: Richmond's historic Monument Avenue with one lest statue today. One of the nation's largest remaining Confederate symbols just came down.
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CABRERA: Welcome back. The new Texas abortion law and Governor Greg Abbott's rationale for its strict provisions drawing a passionate response from a prominent progressive lawmaker.
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls it disgusting and from a place of deep ignorance.
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REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): And people like Governor Abbott and Mitch McConnell want to have more control over a woman's body than that woman or that person has over themselves.
And the ease with which these men seek to do that to other people is atrocious. It is morally reprehensible.
They cannot even begin to understand the agonizing decisions that people have to make, including in cases of miscarriage, rape and incest.
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CABRERA: This new Texas law bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. It makes no exception for incest or rape.
When asked why, Governor Abbott said Texas will eliminate rapists and get them off the streets through tougher enforcement.
For the first time in 130 years, a 12-ton statue of General Robert E. Lee no longer looms large over Richmond, Virginia. The monument to the Confederate general was taken down from its pedestal this morning.
The governor announcing plans to remove it in June of 2020 citing the collective pain felt after the murder of George Floyd. But the removal was delayed by a lengthy court fight.
Now the statue will sit in storage at a state-owned facility until a decision is made on its permanent home.
Now to Louisiana where seven nursing homes that evacuated residents to a warehouse during Hurricane Ida have lost their licenses. This, after several seniors died in their care.
CNN obtained 911 phone calls describing deplorable conditions within that warehouse facility.
Martin Savidge is there.
Martin, what have you learned?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hundreds of nursing home residents were evacuated, including some from here in New Orleans, to this warehouse located about an hour north of New Orleans.
Reportedly, nursing staff told them they were going to an alternate health care facility. You could only imagine their shock when they pulled up to a warehouse.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The deaths of seven nursing home residents at a hurricane evacuation warehouse are sparking outrage in Louisiana.
New call logs obtained by CNN reveal at least 63 911 calls, including some from nursing home staff and residents, shining a light on horrific conditions inside the facility.
STEPHEN RUSSO, DIRECTOR OF LEGAL, AUDIT AND REGULATION AFFAIRS, LOUISIANA HEALTH DEPARTMENT: Let's be clear. There's no emergency preparedness plan that allows for residents to be kept in such an unsafe, unsanitary and unhealthy condition.
SAVIDGE: About 850 residents were evacuated just before Hurricane Ida made landfall. And Tuesday, state health officials announced the licenses of the seven nursing homes have been revoked.
In the 911 leg, one caller requested emergency transport for a diabetic patient who had not eaten due to no more supplies.
Another 911 caller reported a patient is having trouble breathing. Another called about a person that is having seizures.
One dispatcher took a call from 66-year-old Debbie Strickland, who thought she'd been kidnapped.
CNN later spoke to Strickland, who said the staff refused to let her use her wheelchair, claiming, "They wouldn't let me get out of the bed or nothing."
Another caller said, he's at the warehouse and he's a stroke patient and he's lying on the floor and being treated poorly.
Two nurses at the facility told CNN evacuees were crammed into the warehouse on cots, on air mattresses, on the floor. They said some were even caught in knee-high water after a smaller building on the site flooded.
And with limited electricity from a generator, switching between powering lights, air-conditioning and wall outlets, the facility was plunged into darkness in the hot, humid conditions.
The Louisiana Department of Health said inspectors were sent to the warehouse last week after being notified of the inadequate conditions, but they were, quote, "expelled from the property and stopped from conducting a full assessment."
One nurse tells CNN, "We were put in a situation that we did not know, but we handled it."
Loved ones want answers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just feel guilty. (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why didn't you contact anybody for help? Let somebody know what was going on? Contact one person?
People shouldn't be treated like that. You should be held accountable.
SAVIDGE: CNN hasn't been able to reach the executive of all seven nursing homes, Bob Dean, for comment.
But he told CNN affiliate, WVUE, "We only had five deaths within the six days. Normally within 850 people, you'll have a couple a day. So we did really good with taking care of people."
The lieutenant governor of Louisiana calling the situation unthinkable.
GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): How can this happen after we've gone through Katrina and had those deaths in the nursing homes then and set things in place so this would never happen again? I promise you, there's going to be some changes here in Louisiana to
where this could never happen again.
SAVIDGE (on camera): The city of New Orleans also had its own tragedies regarding seniors after the storm.
About five days after the hurricane, the city's Health Department began going door to door in buildings that were known to have a high population of elderly residents.
Tragically, they found five people who had died and hundreds of other elderly, who had been trapped in their buildings with extreme heat and no electricity and apparently no help.
Martin Savidge, CNN, New Orleans.
CABRERA: Thank you, Martin.
Escaping Kabul was just the start of their journey. CNN goes inside Ramstein Air Base in Germany where thousands of Afghan refugees are waiting to come to America.
CABRERA: In Afghanistan, the Taliban have issued strict new rules prohibiting protests without prior permission.
Just today, caught on video, the Taliban seen using sticks and whips to beat women and journalists in Kabul. The women were protesting the new hard line all-male government just announced yesterday.
These scenes playing out as Secretary of State Antony Blinken tours Ramstein Air Base in Germany where Afghans are currently being housed, refugees who narrowly escaped a life under Taliban rule.
CNN senior international correspondent, Sam Kiley, is in Doha, Qatar, another place where refugees have been taken.
Sam, what is the latest in the resettlement process?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, 58,000 refugees were processed through the base here in Qatar. A staggering number of the some 125,000 people who were airlifted out of Afghanistan. Almost all of them have now been moved on to places like Ramstein.
But the need, the energy behind people wanting to leave remains as do large numbers of people with special immigrant visas. The U.S. State Department still trying to work out how many people that might be that still want to get out of Afghanistan. All this coming at a time when the Taliban have shown no interest in
the sort of messaging that they have been getting, particularly here from the Qatari government, to moderate their attitude and be inclusive in their government.
There has been the international horror really at the makeup of this new government, including an expression coming from Mr. Blinken himself.
This is what he said.
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ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: Yesterday, the Taliban named a new interim government. We're assessing the announcement.
But despite professing that a new government would be inclusive, the announced list of names consists exclusively of individuals or members of the Taliban who are their close associates and no women.
The Taliban seek international legitimacy and support. Any legitimacy, any support will have to be earned.
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KILEY: One way they can earn that, and it's also why I think Secretary Blinken is somewhat muted in what would be more strident condemnation of this, is that the negotiations for American citizens, green card holders and other people who want to travel to the U.S. is still ongoing with the Taliban -- Ana?
CABRERA: Sam Kiley, in Doha, Qatar, thank you.
As the Biden administration deals with those evacuees from Afghanistan, it's also facing an unsolved crisis at the U.S./Mexico border.
President Biden trying to deliver on his campaign promises for compassionate reforms for asylum seekers.
But he is also under a court order to enforce a controversial Trump- era policy that requires them to remain in Mexico until their applications are processed.
Joining us now is Anita Kumar of "Politico."
Anita, you just wrote about this remain in Mexico policy which has been so controversial. You say the Biden administration is trying to turn this into remain in Mexico light. Explain.
ANITA KUMAR, SENIOR EDITOR, STANDARDS & ETHICS, "POLITICO": Yes, that's right. What I'm understanding is that the administration is having -- is discussing what to do about this. You mentioned the court order. They have to restart this program in some fashion. What they're looking at doing is making it more humane or more just.
Now, you'll have advocates who say there's no such thing.
But what we're talking about is allowing them to have better living conditions in Mexico while they wait, allowing them to have access to attorneys, and making a smaller subsection of the population.
CABRERA: What is the situation at the border right now? Has the summer surge continued?
KUMAR: Numbers have continued. They have been extremely high for months now.
As you know, generally, those numbers dip in the summer. And they have continued to be high for a lot of different reasons, including when you talk to some of these migrants that are trying to come because they heard the president, President Biden, talk about being -- that the United States would be welcoming to immigrants.
CABRERA: I'm just wondering, though, are we still seeing more unaccompanied minors or are these families? Are they single men? What does it look like?
KUMAR: Yes, we are seeing all of those different things. If you'll recall, the Biden administration has kept in place this Title 42 provision.
Which means they're sending back the single adults. They are keeping the unaccompanied children. And they're keeping some families for humanitarian reasons.
We're not hearing about it as much as we did six months ago, in part, because the administration has done a better job with finding housing and processing them. It's not -- it hasn't taken them by surprise.
They have been able to go ahead and do the processing and housing so we're not hearing as much about it. But the numbers continue.
CABRERA: We're talking about potentially a million-plus encounters at the border this year. That number is really unprecedented in more modern times. And we're still waiting on the August numbers to come through.
"The New York Times" had some reporting this week that some DHS officials were relieved by the rulings that have kept at least a couple of Trump-era immigration policies in place.
What are you hearing?
KUMAR: Yes, it's been very, very difficult for the Biden administration because, remember, the president did say he was going to reverse all these Trump policies.
But what he found out when he came into office is that it's very difficult to do that. You can't just turn things right around and expect to be able to welcome all these migrants coming in. So I am hearing some people are saying, OK, good, this gives us a
little bit more time to try to figure out how to handle these numbers of people coming in.
But of course, this flies in the face of what President Biden said and what he did on day one, which he tried to stop this Remain in Mexico policy on the very first day in office.
CABRERA: And quickly, because we have about 30 seconds, but he did that on day one. Since then, his vice president has said, "Do not come." The DHS secretary said, "Do not come."
Is that messaging having any effect?
KUMAR: Yes. When you talk to migrants on the border that are trying to come, many of them still cite what the president said on the campaign trail, what he said when he first came into office, what he did on his very first day.
So it doesn't look like it's having the effect that the administration wants because these people are still trying to come here. They still are trying to flee the poverty and the violence and the natural disasters in their home countries.
So those numbers continue. And the Biden administration still needs to figure out how to handle these numbers and what message they want to send.
CABRERA: Anita Kumar, thanks for the update and your reporting.
KUMAR: Thank you.
CABRERA: That does it for us. Thanks so much for being with us today. See you back here tomorrow at 1:00 Eastern. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter, @AnaCabrera.
The news continues with Alisyn Camerota.