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Judge Frees Britney Spears; Urgent Warning for Pregnant Women; Milley Privately Blames State Department for Botched Exit; Michelle Maldonado is Interviewed about Rejecting an Endorsement. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired September 30, 2021 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER (voice over): Other aspects of her life.
Inside Wednesday's hearings, Spears' attorney, Mathew Rosengart, calling her father, quote, a cruel, toxic, abusive man. Adding, quote, she wants him out of her life rather than a learning and toxic presence.
MATHEW ROSENGART, BRITNEY SPEARS' ATTORNEY: Britney Spears has been faced with a decade long nightmare, a Kafkaesque nightmare, orchestrated by her father and others. And I'm so proud of her for her courage.
MELAS: Rosengart also accusing Jamie Spears of, quote, unfathomable behavior, citing behavior first reported by "The New York Times," including claims he placed a recording devices inside of his daughter's bedroom. An attorney for Spears' father responding, quote, it's not evidence, it's rhetoric.
The change in conservator coming after Spears made an emotional plea to the court in June, describing her frustration and anger, saying, quote, the conservatorship is doing me more harm than good, adding, quote, I just want my life back. It's been 13 years, and it's enough.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we want?
CROWD: Free Britney.
MELAS: Meanwhile, outside the Los Angeles courthouse, fans rallying in support of their favorite pop star.
Erupting into cheers after months of calls to free Britney.
TAYA KENDALL, BRITNEY SPEARS' FAN: I know this isn't about me, but I just felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Like, this is finally going to end for her.
MELAS: Following the ruling, the singer posting this vide of her in a prop plane to Instagram, writing, on cloud nine right now.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MELAS: All right, well, John, the next court hearing is going to be on November 12th, and that is when Judge Brenda Penny is expected to terminate this conservatorship completely. So, somewhat of a formality right now. But Mathew Rosengart, Britney's attorney, saying that the reason that Jamie Spears did not want to be suspends is because now he's going to have to hand over all of his accounting, all of his paperwork and bookkeeping from the last 13 years. And you better believe Mathew Rosengart and his legal team, they're going to be poring over everything because he says wants to see if the father took part in any financial mismanagement over the decade plus.
But, in the meantime, it's a victory for Britney. But she could be just a month or so away from no more constraints at all.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: As we said, major developments. I know you'll be in that courtroom later, too.
Chloe Melas, thanks so much being with us.
MELAS: Thank you.
BERMAN: So the CDC's new urgent warning as only 31 percent of pregnant women are vaccinated.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, just in, a brand-new interview with Monica Lewinsky. She talks about Bill Clinton, yes. She also talks about why she considered taking her own life.
KEILAR: The CDC is urging an urgent recommendation for pregnant women to get vaccinated. The agency says pregnant patients with coronavirus symptoms have double the risk of admission into the ICU and may be more likely to die.
CNN's Kristen Holmes is with us now.
I mean it's a staggering number of women, Kristen, who are unvaccinated.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. And this isn't the first time we're hearing this. I mean health officials have been stressing this for a while. But there is a renewed sense of urgency and that's because of that 31 percent number. The data showing that only 31 percent of pregnant people are vaccinated.
And on top of that, the highest amount of COVID-19 related deaths in the entire pandemic of pregnant women happened in August. I mean really take that in. That's a year and a half of deaths and destruction that we've seen from this virus. But the highest amount of deaths for women that are pregnant happened just in August. So that's why you're hearing from all these health officials. We heard Dr. Fauci yesterday stressing just how safe it was to get the vaccine. And I want to read you what the CDC says because this is really important. They talk about the risks not only to the mother but to the baby. They say, in addition to the risk of severe illness and death for pregnant and recently pregnant people, there is an increased risk for adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes. Other adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as stillbirth, have been reported.
Now, of course, despite the known risks of COVID-19, as of September 18, 2021, 31 percent of pregnant people were fully vaccinated.
And, of course, we were just talking about this. As you know, I'm eight and a half months pregnant. Being pregnant can be scary. And there are a lot of questions, dos and don'ts, what exactly can you do? But this shouldn't be one of them because all health officials agree that it is safe to get this vaccine. It is the best way to protect you and to protect your baby.
KEILAR: I thought a lot about this and I also think, you know, once the baby is born, they now have that chance to have some immunity that they may not have for a while. The vaccine may not be ready for them. It's a really different way of life, right, to have a small baby who you know has immunity or to have one who doesn't.
MELAS: Absolutely. And that's what women are contemplating now. And that's what we're seeing with some who actually gave birth and didn't get the vaccine, now regretting it, wishing that they had, to give their baby those antibodies.
But, again, this shouldn't be an issue of whether to do it or not. All of these medical experts agree the safest thing you can do is get the vaccine.
KEILAR: Kristen, thank you so much. It's such an important report.
President Biden's Pentagon versus his State Department. CNN is live from Afghanistan as we get word who General Mark Milley is blaming, behind the scenes, for the botched exit.
BERMAN: Liz Cheney going off on her Republican colleagues during a hearing with them in the room.
KEILAR: We want to update you on a segment that we aired yesterday. It is a happy update. This was a segment that we had about more than 100 American citizens and green card holders who were evacuated from Afghanistan on a charter flight by a nonprofit that's called Project Dynamo, made up of combat veterans, including one who was a 9/11 responder. The group's co-founder told CNN they got held up in Abu Dhabi after escaping Kabul when U.S. government officials revoked their flight clearance for a separate charter flight that would have taken them on to the U.S., their homes.
State Department officials arrived at the airport in Abu Dhabi to help them after an initial Reuters report on their situation, as well as our segment here on CNN. And they are now in the air, according to organizers, on their way home, booked on commercial flights by the U.S. government. Among the passengers, 59 children, including 16 kids under the age of three, and they are going home to states including Washington state, New York, Texas, and Illinois, among others.
BERMAN: That is wonderful news.
Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley is blaming the State Department for the messy evacuation from Afghanistan. According to "Axios," in a private briefing with senators, Milley said State Department officials waited too long to order the evacuation of U.S. citizens and allies through the Kabul airport.
In his public testimony, Milley said the question of why the order didn't come sooner, quote, needs further explanation.
CNN's Clarissa Ward is live on the ground in Kabul.
And, Clarissa, from where you're standing this morning, what do you make of the finger pointing from the Pentagon to the State Department?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting because the reason that had been given by the White House as to why they didn't start those evacuations earlier was that the government of the former president, Ashraf Ghani, had repeatedly begged the U.S. not to start evacuations too early because there was a real concern that would look back, that that would impact morale, that it would seem that the Taliban was already winning.
At the same time, you have to remember, Ashraf Ghani, one week before the fall of Kabul, was talking about hydrodam (ph) projects and, you know, U.S. officials privately had been talking for a long time about whether or not he was fit competent. There were serious doubts about his ability to really lead this country through this turbulent time. And so one does naturally ask the question of, given the fact that the Taliban was moving so quickly in its offensive and given the fact that it was very clear that the government of Ashraf Ghani was unable to adequately respond to the situation, should then a decision have been taken earlier by the State Department to sort of contravene what Ashraf Ghani had asked for and really start to get those evacuations moving much more quickly.
It's clear General Milley feels, according to "Axios," that that should have been done at a much earlier time. It will be interesting to see, though, John, how the State Department responds to that.
BERMAN: Indeed it will.
So, Clarissa, you've been on the ground doing some really terrific reporting on what's changed since the last time you were in Kabul, about five weeks ago, since the Taliban took power. And one of the things that you've seen is something that's disappeared, music. I want people to watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: This neighborhood used to be full of musicians and music stores selling instruments. Now you can see almost all of the shops here have been shut down.
Oh, this is you singing. Yes.
WARD (voice over): Down the street, we meet musician Musfafa Nori (ph), who tells us he has been forced to sell street food since the Taliban took over.
The entire area of Corbat (ph) is full of musicians, he says. But since the Taliban came, they stopped the music and our work has ended.
As we're talking, a red car pulls up.
WARD (on camera): So it looks like the Taliban have arrived here.
Does it make you nervous to see them coming up and down the street like this?
WARD (voice over): Of course I am afraid, he says. When we see them normally, we go into our houses.
The Taliban haven't officially banned music. But the musicians tell us the fighters regularly threaten them not to play their instruments.
WARD (on camera): The Taliban are here again driving past us. You can imagine how intimidating that is for people in this neighborhood, just to have them with their weapons driving up and down the street all the time.
WARD (voice over): As we start to leave, a man invites us into his house. He says he hasn't taken his tabla (ph) out of its case the since the Taliban took over.
WARD (on camera): I imagine that music is part of your heart. It must hurt not to have -- not to be able to play anymore.
WARD (voice over): If we can't play, then we feel depressed and our hearts cannot breathe, he tells us. Nothing is left. The music has ended. He says he doesn't know how long they can continue to live like this. He starts to tap the tabla lightly. His reflexes take over. And for a brief moment, he is free.
WARD (on camera): That's beautiful. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: It's so sad, Clarissa.
WARD: It is. It's heartbreaking, John. And, you know, you see this everywhere right now in Kabul. These small acts of resistance, small, simple, but really courageous acts of defiance. Whether it's playing your instrument for just a few moments, or being an Afghan woman and going out on the street with a colorful scarf.
It's really difficult to communicate just how frightened people are of the Taliban here and just how frightened they are of what the future will hold. And so those small moments that you see, those -- those sort of extraordinary acts of courage by ordinary people, they are profoundly moving. The question is, how long they -- will they continue? How long before we really see the Taliban show its true colors, John?
BERMAN: And every loss of something like music is a little bit of a loss of humanity.
Clarissa Ward, thank you so much for being there for us.
So the Manchin bomb that just exploded within the Democratic Party. New reporting of what the White House is trying to do about it this morning and the high drama facing Nancy Pelosi today.
KEILAR: Plus, get off my lawn. Wild video of a Florida man relocating an alligator, I guess you could say, with a trash can.
KEILAR: A Democratic candidate for Virginia state legislature declining an endorsement from an abortion rights group over its stance on defunding the police, tweeting, I'm declining the endorsement of NARAL Virginia.
While I do align with NARAL Virginia on the issue of choice, I do not align with their position on defunding the police. For years I've worked professionally with law enforcement and I am proud of that work. And that is from Michelle Maldonado, who joins us now to talk a little bit more about this.
You explain it a little bit there, Michelle -- and thank you so much for joining us in studio to talk about this -- but tell us why you made a decision to reject an endorsement from a group whose, you know, primary focus you certainly do agree with.
MICHELLE MALDONADO (D), CANDIDATE FOR VIRGINIA HOUSE OF DELEGATES: Absolutely. And, first, thank you for having me here to have this important conversation.
And what I want to say is that I am 100 percent firmly, squarely, always have been and continue to be supportive and pro-choice. I am endorsed by Planned Parenthood of Virginia and pro -- Vote Pro-Choice. So these things are very important issues around how we protect women's reproductive rights.
I don't think that this is about that. It's important for us to think about how do we protect all people in our communities. And when we attribute slogans -- the three word slogans that don't do justice to such complex, difficult issues, where we are really needing to have collaboration and cooperation with folks inside of law enforcement and outside of law enforcement, it becomes a divisive and distracting way to go about that change.
KEILAR: The election coming up November 2nd, your down ballot from the governor's race, and Terry McAuliffe, who's hoping to become governor yet again, he has accepted the endorsement of NARAL Virginia.
How problematic is NARAL's wading into the defund the police debate for obviously candidates like you, but also for the governor, which could affect candidates like you?
MALDONADO: Well, I that that everybody has to make the decision based on the demographic makeup of their districts. In my district, it is clear when we were knocking on doors that this is an issue that is not just top of mind but people are very passionate about. What do we really mean when we say defund the police, what do we really mean when we are talking about women's reproductive rights? And the two are not mutually exclusive. You can believe that we want to support women's reproductive rights and we can believe and feel very strongly that we also want to help reimagine or -- sort of reform policing and public safety. They're not diametrically opposed.
When -- so I think -- you know, my decision was made on the demographics of my district. And I think that every candidate has to decide that based on their district.
KEILAR: We saw the second gubernatorial debate this week. I'm sure you were paying attention to it too. And there was a moment in that that Glenn Youngkin, the Republican, seized on, seized opportunity in. Something that former Governor McAuliffe said. And he's now, Youngkin, made an ad out of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to let parents --
GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: But you vetoed the bill.
MCAULIFFE: Come into schools and actually take books out --
YOUNGKIN: You veto the bill.
MCAULIFFE: And make their own decision.
YOUNGKIN: You vetoed it.
MCAULIFFE: So --
YOUNGKIN: You (INAUDIBLE) parents. You vetoed it.
MCAULIFFE: Yes, I stopped the bill that I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Obviously, he's talking about --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNGKIN: So upset because there was such sexually explicit material in the library.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I decided to check the titles at my child's school. Both of these books include pedophilia.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Graphically describes engaging in fellatio with male minors.
YOUNGKIN: You vetoed the bill that would have informed parents that they were there.
MCAULIFFE: Yes, I stopped the bill that I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.
I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.
YOUNGKIN: I'm Glenn Youngkin, candidate for governor, and I sponsored this add.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: This has to do with a previous bill about sexual content. But it comes at a time, as you're aware, certainly I know in your -- in your district there's a lot of discussion of crucial race theory or what kind of teaching there is about racism in schools. It comes at a time when there is this fight going on about the input parents can have over education. Is that problematic in your district? Is that problematic for you, and down ballot Democrat?
MALDONADO: Well, first of all, I want to say that I support Terry McAuliffe 100 percent. I think he is the best person we have seen in a tremendous record that he has done in his last administration. And I think that doing it again will really serve the best interest of our commonwealth.
For a down ballot candidate like me, what we're seeing in my district is people who are asking the questions around, what is critical race theory? We have not had the kind of explosive interactions that we've seen in other school sort of districts but people are concerned.
And what I -- what I often want us to do is sort of move to a place where we can have that civil conversation that looks at what people are concerned about. The -- the myth that needs to be debunked it that critical race theory is not taught in Pre-K, you know, to 12, or K-12.
[07:00:02] It is something that's done at graduate levels in most -- most commonly and some things at the undergraduate level as it becomes more well-known.