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CNN This Morning

Soon: GOP To Put Spotlight On Biden's Afghanistan Exit In Hearing; Two Americans Found Dead, Two Survived Kidnapping In Mexico; Starbucks' Howard Schultz Agrees To Testify At Senate Hearing. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 08, 2023 - 07:30   ET



REP. MIKE WALTZ (R-FL): And you're also going to hear from these veterans, many of them, who have exhausted their personal savings, their kids' 529 plans, are going into divorce because they refused to ever leave a comrade behind.

And then finally, Kaitlan, you're going to hear from a Marine sniper and an Army medic who were at Abbey Gate. You're going to hear about the Afghans that were throwing themselves on barbed wire to commit suicide rather than to go out back to the Taliban. And that one of these snipers actually had the Abbey Gate bomber in his sight and was not given permission to take him out, and now we have 13 more dead servicemembers.

So today is about accountability. Today is about answers. Even as I say this I'm getting upset and frustrated.

And all of this has been boiling up for the last two years and finally, these veterans, these Marines, and soldiers that had to endure this are going to have an outlet today. They're going to be heard. And the entire community that was involved in this I think will be channeling their frustration through these hearings that we're going to hear from today.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. I mean, we all watched it play out in real time seeing these stories and witnessing what you're talking about there.

When it comes to the GOP criticism overall of the Biden administration's exit when they left, you know some of the pushback that you're going to get from the White House is, in part, talking about how they believed the stage was, in part, set because of the agreement that was signed by the Trump administration in Doha with the Taliban.

What are -- what's your response to that?

WALTZ: Kaitlan, that is such -- I'm so sick of that excuse. The Biden administration had no problem walking away from the Paris Accords, the Trump administration's policy on Iran, Title 42, or the Remain in Mexico and the border. We can go down the long list of Trump policies that they walked away from. Yet, on this one, we want to believe that their hands were tied. I don't buy it for a second.

And I've got to tell you, you're going to hear today from these veterans who were so morally injured to hear their commander in chief rather than say we could have done this better -- we could have done better in this withdrawal that this was just an outstanding success. It's politics and spin at its worst when so many people are dead. And those Gold Star families deserve accountability and they haven't had a single question answered by this administration, and come hell or high water we're going to get it for them.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, I mean, we do hear from them that is something they believe that they had to commit to. Something President Biden has said. Also going to be rejoining the Paris Climate Accords.

I want to move on though because you --

WALTZ: Yes, all right.

COLLINS: -- have introduced a joint resolution giving the -- you want to give the president the authority to use the U.S. military against cartels in Mexico.

WALTZ: Sure.

COLLINS: How do you envision that actually working? What does that look like? Is that boots on the ground? What's the purpose -- what's the point of that and what do you want that to look like?

WALTZ: No. It looks like -- yes, we've done this before, Kaitlan. We did it in the 1990s against the Medellin and Cali cartels.

It looks like the tremendous supporting assets that the -- only the military has. Offensive cyber to start disrupting the cartel networks. Tools that can begin going after their money. Disrupting their logistics. Targeting their leadership. Intelligence space and other types of packets that -- assets that law enforcement doesn't have access to.

And we want to provide that authority. We've got -- we have to start thinking about these cartels more like ISIS rather than the mafia. And if ISIS and al Qaeda, through chemical warfare, killed 70,000 to 80,000 Americans we would begin thinking about this and attacking it far differently.

So that's what we're looking to -- that's what we're looking to do. We want to give those authorities to the president if only he would take more meaningful action to go after these cartels that are behind the human trafficking, the fentanyl, and right now effectively control our border and 30 to 40 percent of Mexico by some estimates. We cannot have an ungoverned narco-terrorist state right there on our border and do nothing.

And from the Mexican government's standpoint -- we did this with the Colombians as well. We sent a message we're going to do this with or without you. Eventually, the Colombian government got on board in the '90s and I believe the Mexican government will too.

COLLINS: Yes. We'll see what the White House -- their response on that. They've said that they are working on those investigations when it comes to the citizens and what we've seen -- the two that were killed. The two that were -- have been returned to U.S. soil.

I want to also ask you about something that we saw -- some of your fellow Republican colleagues responding to yesterday, which is after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy gave Fox News access to 40,000 hours of footage at the Capitol on January 6. Fox then portrayed it saying that they were essentially mostly peaceful chaos, sightseers.

Is that how you saw what happened that day?

WALTZ: Yes. Look, I was on the House floor. It was a riot and anyone who injured a police officer or committed a crime should be prosecuted.


I also believe we should have full transparency that day and I believe Speaker McCarthy is giving those videos to multiple outlets. I think the American people need to see everything that happened, not things that were selectively edited to tell a political narrative by a highly politicized committee, Kaitlan.

So look, everybody is going to see what happened and in some places in the Capitol it was an absolute riot and terrible and disgusting. And then why in some places were the police just waving people in and then actually escorting them? So I think we also had a breakdown in security protocols that we need to fully understand. And I have no issue with everybody seeing these videos on that terrible day.

COLLINS: So are you calling on Speaker McCarthy to give it to everyone because so far he has not provided it to multiple media outlets?

WALTZ: I think it should be -- I think it should be released across the board.

COLLINS: I want to ask you about something former President Trump said as well. He called on the January 6 defendants to be released. He said they were convicted or are awaiting trial today. That they were done so and based on a giant lie.

What is your response to what President Trump is calling on to happen?

WALTZ: Well look, as I just said, folks who committed a -- people who committed a crime should be prosecuted but we also have due process in this country. And when some of them have been held for months or over years now without going through some type of due process, that is incredibly concerning.

And then further, you have people that -- you know, for example, I had two 72-year-old twins. They came by my office and prayed. They were never even near the Capitol that day and they have been hounded and harassed by the FBI. They have this cloud hanging over them. Their reputations have been damaged. We have case after case like that and that's not due process or justice either.

So look, if you committed a crime, if you hurt a law enforcement officer, if you participated in a riot you should be prosecuted, but we have a Fourth Amendment and they deserve due process as well.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, I don't think anyone's arguing they shouldn't have due process. But Trump was saying --

WALTZ: But yet, we have people that are sitting in jail in D.C. pretrial detention for over a year. Why is that? And I think that's what a lot of people are calling for. They're asking those questions and those are fair questions to ask.

COLLINS: Yes. And Trump's argument was about also people who have been convicted of crimes from that day.

Congressman Mike Waltz, we will be watching your hearing today. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

WALTZ: All right, thank you. Appreciate it.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: More on our top story this morning. Two Americans killed in Mexico after being kidnapped at gunpoint. Two others survived. The family of one of the survivors will join us live next.



LEMON: Two Americans returning to the U.S. from Mexico after their group was kidnapped last Friday. They had traveled there so that Latavia Washington McGee could undergo a medical procedure. Now, McGee is back in Texas this morning uninjured.

Eric Williams was shot three times in the leg. The two others who were kidnapped, Shaeed Woodward (sic) -- Woodard, I should say, and Zindell Brown were sadly killed.

I want to bring in now Barbara McLeod Burgess. She is Latavia Washington McGee's mother. Also with us is Ammonie Washington, Latavia's 13-year-old daughter. And along with Latavia's sons, Cadence McGee and Junior. They are joining us for their first live interview.

And I'm happy that you guys are here to bring a light to this. I'm sorry about what happened. Barbara, good morning to you and everyone.

Have you spoken to Latavia and, if so, how is she doing?


She was doing OK. I talked to her last night.

LEMON: What did you guys talk about?

BURGESS: And I thought she was done. She was telling me that they hardly -- they were hostile and how they had her in that little place, and it stank with her brother in there. And all of them was hustled in and were staying together. And they were moving here from place to place.

LEMON: Did she understand? Did they understand what was happening to them at the time?

BURGESS: No, because she said when they had drove they was going through and a van -- they was driving through and a van came up and hit them and that's when they started shooting at the car. Shooting inside the van or whatever. And I guess that she said the others tried to run and they got shot at the same time.


BURGESS: Shaeed and Zindell -- they all got shot at the same time. And she watched them -- she watched them die.

LEMON: And you helped to raise Shaeed, right, who died. Can you tell us about him?

BURGESS: Yes, yes. I had -- I had -- his mother had passed away when he was like 15 and I had him ever since then. And Latavia -- it was -- he was in the house and so she treated him as his brother -- her brother, which is her cousin. But it's her brother and her cousin. It's my nephew and my son.

And he was -- he was a little person. And, you know, I miss him, I love him, and nothing I wouldn't do for him.

LEMON: Did you -- were you watching? Did you see the video of -- on the news?


LEMON: What was going through your head when you saw it?

BURGESS: Well, lots of bad stuff -- bad stuff.


LEMON: Ammonie --

BURGESS: When I see them threw my daughter on that truck that's where --

LEMON: Go on, Barbara -- sorry. You were saying what?

BURGESS: Especially when I saw them threw my daughter up on that truck. Just grab her and throw them up on like trash when they threw them on the trucks. And I didn't -- I didn't like it and I wanted to get to her.

LEMON: Ammonie --

BURGESS: I wanted to get over there to her.

LEMON: Ammonie, you saw it. You must have been worried about your mom. What were you thinking?


AMMONIE WASHINGTON, DAUGHTER OF MEXICO KIDNAP SURVIVOR: I was just thinking, like, why did they get kidnapped and stuff like that.


Do you guys -- do either of you know about what happened and why because they believe at this point that it's a case of mistaken identity? Have they told you anything beyond that? Have you spoken to authorities at all, Barbara?

BURGESS: About the kidnapping?

LEMON: Yes, ma'am.

BURGESS: I talked to -- I talked to someone who was asking me a question about when it first -- I guess after a day or two after it happened and he was asking me something about it. And I told him -- he was asking me a question about Latavia and that she was in danger.

LEMON: What are you hoping comes out of this? I know I can't bring -- no one can bring your loved ones back, but what are you hoping happens from here, Barbara?

BURGESS: I hope that get all of them and put them all in jail -- the one that did it. Put all of them -- every one of them that has something to do with, I want them locked up.

LEMON: Ammonie, did you -- have you had a chance to speak to your mom?


LEMON: What did you talk about?

WASHINGTON: I was -- all I did was say hey and tell her that I missed her and I was ready for her to come home.


Listen, I don't -- I can't begin to imagine when families go through situations like this and your whole life is sort of put on display in front of everyone. I know that is disconcerting but to have someone die and then get on television and talk about it -- at least members of your family -- your mom and your daughter didn't die, it's got to be tough for you.

Can you explain, Barbara, what your family is going through at this moment? BURGESS: All I know is I know that this hurt and that's -- this hurt because of what happened to Shaeed and -- which he died, and the one that had kidnapped him. They was all hurt about everything.

LEMON: This is, Barbara, I understand, the second time that your daughter went down to the area in Mexico for a medical procedure. Did she, at any point before, say that she felt unsafe about it?

BURGESS: No. No, she didn't.


BURGESS: She didn't tell me nothing about it. She was -- didn't.


Listen, the CDC is warning against medical procedures outside of the country. They are calling it a level four warning -- the State Department is.

Do you have a message for other people who may be considering the same thing, Barbara?

BURGESS: No. I just wish that for the family member that I know is hurt and feeling sad and stuff about it, and so many people out in America that probably do too.

LEMON: How are you guys -- are you guys going to go to -- are you going to Texas or how are you going to it -- is she going to come home -- Latavia? Are you going to go see her or wait until she comes home?

BURGESS: We are going to wait until she comes home. She's supposed to come home today.

LEMON: Ammonie, anything you want to say before I let you guys go because I can see that J.R. (sic) and Cadence are getting restless?


WASHINGTON: All I got to say is that they helped to find my momma and that's it.

LEMON: Yes. I should say Jr.

So thank you so much for joining us, Barbara. Thanks, Ammonie. Thank you, Cadence. Thank you, Jr.


LEMON: You guys be as well as you can --

WASHINGTON: You're welcome.

LEMON: -- under these circumstances.

WASHINGTON: Say you're welcome. BURGESS: Say you're welcome. Look, say you're welcome.

JR.: You're welcome.

CADENCE: You're welcome.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you -- Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Don. Thank goodness their mother and, of course, her daughter are coming home. Don, thank you for that.

Ahead, a development. The CEO of Starbucks has agreed to testify before the Senate. What Sen. Bernie Sanders says he wants to hear from Howard Schultz.

COLLINS: Plus, a look at how the rise of the Taliban back in power has impacted girls in Afghanistan on this International Women's Day.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am Salma Abdelaziz in London. For the women and girls of Afghanistan, all hopes of a future were shattered by the Taliban takeover. The group has imposed rules that essentially erase women from public life. Barring girls and women from secondary university education, barring them from most workplaces, and ordering females to veil in public.


In fact, the United Nations says these draconian rules by the Taliban could amount to a crime against humanity.


HARLOW: All right, an update this morning on the Howard Schultz- Bernie Sanders back-and-forth we have been covering. The Starbucks CEO will now testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee later this month. The company and Sen. Sanders announced that agreement yesterday just a day before Sanders' committee was set to vote on whether they should subpoena Schultz to appear.

At issue is Starbucks' resistance to labor unions. Sanders has repeatedly accused Starbucks of engaging in illegal labor practices by refusing to negotiate with union organizers. Starbucks denies that and says they have offered to negotiate in person -- they just won't do it over Zoom.


Here is what Sen. Sanders said he wants to hear from Schultz.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I want Mr. Schultz to tell us that at long last he is going to stop his illegal activity. That he's going to sit down with the union and negotiate a contract.


HARLOW: There are some 285 Starbucks stores out of about 9,000 in the U.S. that have voted to unionize. Starbucks has denied all allegations of union-busting. When I spoke with Schultz last month he remained adamant unions are counter to Starbucks' vision.


HARLOW: Do you see the union push as an existential threat to the Starbucks that you built?

HOWARD SCHULTZ, CEO, STARBUCKS: No. It is not an existential threat.


SCHULTZ: No, not at all. I recognize the right that Starbucks partners have -- the right if they want to try and unionize their store or their district or whatever. But we have a right as a company to create the vision for the company, which the large vast majority of Starbucks partners embraces.


HARLOW: Schultz will appear for that testimony March 29.

In a statement, Starbucks' top lawyer wrote in part that testimony, quote, "Will endeavor to provide a deeper understanding of our culture and priorities."

COLLINS: Later today, also a new batch of video is going to be released of that deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols. Shimon Prokupecz has been on the ground in Memphis covering this. He's going to join us live on what to expect next.