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Enes Kanter is Interviewed about Sports and Vaccines; Karina Ruiz is Interviewed about Kyrsten Sinema; Noem Pressured State for Family Favor; Chef Teaches Visually Impaired How to Cook; Mary Robertson is Interviewed about Britney Spears' Freedom. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired September 30, 2021 - 08:30   ET



ENES KANTER, CENTER, BOSTON CELTICS: I would just say it as, you know, obviously, everyone has a choice to make. But in this pandemic, our choices actually can hurt others. So -- so getting vaccinated is not just saving yourself or saving others around you. So because we are playing a team sport, right, and, you know, there are so many players are for (ph) living with their grandpas and grandmas and with their families. So you need to think about not just yourself, but other teammates and their parents too. So I feel like it is important to use this platform to be a good example.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So you play in the low post. I mean you got guys all over you, sweating on you, breathing on you, spitting on you.

KANTER: Exactly. Exactly.

BERMAN: How do you feel about the fact that some of those players might not be vaccinated?

KANTER: That's what -- that's actually we're talking about it in the locker room and I was, like, listen, we are not -- we are not playing a ping pong. This is actually a contact sport, right? In 48 minutes, a non-vaccinated player will be sweating and, you know, just breathing all over me all game. So I don't know -- or -- and I don't think the players who are vaccinated will be comfortable to go against those guys. But I feel like, you know, they should definitely do something about that.

BERMAN: What are some of the reasons that people give you for not being vaccinated?

KANTER: I mean -- I mean -- I mean I -- I - I respect people's decisions, you know. But I talk to many of them and they just want to see that, hey, they just want to wait a little bit and see what's going to happen to those people who are vaccinated. And the sad part is, you know, in summertime I sit down and some of the NBA players have talked and I asked them like, what is the reason that, you know, you're not getting vaccinated. I mean some of the reasons that they give you was just mind blowing and they were just saying that -- these conspiracy theories, that -- that tried -- government trying to put a chip in us or something. I just lost words when I heard it. I was like, you know, I had nothing say.

But I think it is -- like I said again, it is so important to, you know, do our research and just, you know, get vaccinated and impact people around us.

BERMAN: Well, NBA center, philosopher and vaccine evangelist Enes Kanter, it's great to have you on. Thanks so much for what you're doing.

KANTER: Thank you, brother.

BRENNAN: Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema staying quite about why she wants to see -- or what she wants to see in the reconciliation package, frustrating progressives and now some of her own supporters.



KEILAR: As Democrats seek unity over two key bills, all eyes are on two holdout Democratic senators, that would be Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. But there is added pressure for Sinema in her home state, because a group that helped get her elected has launched a campaign to raise money for a potential 2024 primary challenger to her.

Joining me now is one of the organizers of this campaign, Karina Ruiz. She helped register thousands of voters ahead of Sinema's 2018 election.

Karina, thanks for joining us this morning.

You actually -- you volunteered for her campaign, knocking on doors, registering voters.


KEILAR: And, obviously, you did that because you wanted her to be elected.

How do you feel about Kyrsten Sinema now?

RUIZ: Disappointed. It's frustrating that we are not getting the support that she said she would give immigrants. We have said that -- and in the filibuster -- reforming the filibuster, it's one of the ways to really get immigration reform done and get a pathway to citizenship for people and DACA recipients and my mom. My dad passed away last year because of COVID waiting on an immigration reform, waiting to see and meet his grandchildren. And every day we lose people on both sides of the border.

And she knows our pain. She organized the marches in 2010. I walked with my son, who's now a voter, ten years later, who's going to be voting for someone in 2024 that represents immigrants like myself, and we need a better presentation. KEILAR: You came as a teen to the U.S. You're a DACA recipient. And

the Senate parliamentarian denied a bid to put a pathway to citizenship into this much larger bill yesterday, which I know was a disappointment for you. That's one of the issues that you have with Senator Sinema, among others.

But you are part of this group that is raising money to launch a primary challenge to the senator if she doesn't get behind getting rid of the filibuster.

Do you have someone in mind to challenge her?

RUIZ: You know, right now the politics in Arizona are very tough. And we didn't want to wait to see if we had like this candidate. We want to send the message to her that we're being serious, that we will seek a better presentation. And we know 2024 is a ways, still, but we're willing to send the message that we're serious and we're going to put our money where our mouth is. So we launched this to say, hey, you have this opportunity to do the right thing and it's a pledge. Those pledge won't really go in unless she doesn't deliver for the people.

KEILAR: You've raised about, I think, $26,000 in the course of a day.

RUIZ: That's correct.

KEILAR: When you look at her position in these negotiations over this $3.5 trillion bill, do you, someone who, you know, supported her election, do you know where she stand on this bill?

RUIZ: What I have heard is that she doesn't support it. And, to me, it's -- it's disappointing, frustrating, because the Biden administration is trying to deliver. Like, we see the House passing all these bills and then they get stuck in the Senate. And she's part of that problem and that conversation. She -- she's talking about bipartisanship, when we hear Mitch McConnell saying that they're going to stop anything that the Biden administration wants to move forward, from climate change to border rights, to child tax credit, like we see it in this bill.


Like, it's helping the climate crisis. So it's not just one item, and one topic, as immigrants we have different identities. Like, I care for the planet that I'm going to leave for my children, and, like, I want to be, one day, a citizen and be able to participate in the process. In Arizona, our legislature has made it harder for us to participate in the voting (ph) process as a minority. So once I become a citizen, it's going to be hard for me to participate in the process if we don't take action right now to protect voter rights.

This is why it's so important for our Senator Sinema to understand and listen, that the people who elected her have the best solutions to this problems. And she shouldn't be listening to corporations. Like, we see -- it was -- to me, it was so disappointing to see that she was receiving money from corporations and meeting with this small businesses, while she doesn't meet with people that walk in 110 degrees weather to get her elected.

KEILAR: Karina Ruiz, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

RUIZ: Thank you.

KEILAR: South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem accused of pressuring a state official for a family favor. How's the governor's office responding here?



BERMAN: New this morning, South Dakota's attorney general is looking into reports that Governor Kristi Noem strong armed the state into giving her daughter a real estate appraiser license.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov joins us live with the latest on this.

And I want to know, Kristi Noem isn't just governor there, she's also someone with national, political aspirations.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She certainly is, which is why there's been so much attention to the story, John. And it's not just the attorney general. CNN has also learned that a South Dakota legislative committee will be investigating what happened as South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem fights off allegations that she abused her power by using her office to help her daughter obtain a real estate appraiser license.

Here's what we know.

Governor Noem's daughter, Kassidy Peters, was applying for the license back in 2020. We know that on July 27th of 2020, Governor Noem called a meeting in her office with employees of the agency in charge of that certification.

We did speak to the former executive director of South Dakota's appraiser certification program at that time who confirmed that her boss texted her the night before asking her to show up at this meeting. She did not say what actually took place in the meeting, but she did confirm that both Governor Noem and her daughter, Kassidy, were in attendance.

Shortly thereafter, November of 2020, Kassidy Peters obtained her certification. And, separately, the woman that we spoke to who was in charge of that program was forced into early retirement.

Now, there are a lot of questions about what happened, what was discussed there, why was Governor Noem's daughter, who is not an elected official, who does not hold public office, why was she present at that meeting?

Governor Kristi Noem did not initially address the allegations that she abused her power, instead claiming that the media was attacking her. She tweeted this on Monday. She wrote, listen, I get it, I signed up for the job, but now the media is trying to destroy my children. She also claimed that there was a double standard in the media.

But now, on Wednesday evening, she again took to her official Twitter page, writing, I never asked for special treatment for Kassidy. Others went through the same process that Kassidy did. Here are the facts. I have heard for years how difficult it is to become an appraiser in South Dakota, making it harder for South Dakotans to purchase a home. I have been working for years to fix that process and I signed legislation to that effect this past session.

Again, John, a lot of unanswered questions here. And as I mentioned, both the attorney general and a state senate committee will be investigating this matter.


BERMAN: Yes, keep us posted. The sequencing there I think is what's raising so many questions.

Lucy Kafanov, really appreciate it. Thank you.

KEILAR: A classically trained chef lost her eyesight. In this week's "Human Factor," meet a woman who turned her blindness into a way to help others gain independence in the kitchen.


REGINA MITCHELL, CHEF: OK, pull my knife out. I'm putting my knife at the top of the cutting board.

My name is Regina Mitchell. I am a chef who happens to be blind. I teach blind individuals how to cook amazing foods for themselves.

I graduated top of my class. I was able to study under other master chefs globally.

Thank you.

My right eye was giving me a little pain. The pain grew worse. And I couldn't see. I was diagnosed with bilateral panuveititis. It felt like I was losing everything. I lost my independence. I lost my career that I loved. I lost my eyesight.

I did not cook for a while. My vision was so poor that I was nervous about it. So I understand when someone that's low vision and blind can say, I'm scared, I'm not getting back in there.

When the pandemic happened, we know that Zoom started happening. And I realized that I can do this. Here's a whole community that's forgotten. So I have to be very descriptive so that they can actually see what I'm doing in their mind's eye.

STAN MITCHELL, HUSBAND AND SOUS CHEF: My wife's amazing. And I'm just very proud of her and proud of what she's doing.


KEILAR: And so are we.

And next, the January 6th committee issuing a new round of subpoenas. Hear who they're targeting.

BERMAN: Plus, a judge finally freeing Britney Spears from her father's control. What's next for her now?



BERMAN: After a contentious court hearing, a Los Angeles judge has suspended Britney Spears' father, Jamie Spears, as the conservator of her nearly $60 million estate and career. For 13 year Spears' father controlled every aspect of Spears' life in a way that Britney has described as abusive. Accusations have emerged in a documentary that her father even placed secret recording devices in his daughter's bedroom.



: It really reminded me of somebody that was in prison. And security was put in a position to be the prison guards, essentially.

Their reason for the monitoring was, you know, looking for bad influence, looking for potential, you know, illegal activity that might happen. But they would also monitor conversations with her friends, with her mom, with her lawyer, Sam Ingham.

Her own phone, and her own private conversations, were used so often to control her. I know for a fact that Jamie would confront Britney and say, hey, why did you text this person?


BERMAN: Joining me now is Mary Robertson. She is the executive producer of that documentary, "Controlling Britney Spears," by "The New York Times" Presents on FX and Hulu. She was also the show runner on a previous documentary called "Framing Britney Spears" that was released last winter.

Thanks so much for being with us.

Your reaction to this huge news in this saga.

MARY ROBERTSON, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "CONTROLLING BRITNEY SPEARS" ON FX AND HULU: It is huge news, as you say. Britney Spears has been asking since nearly the inception of the conservatorship to have her father, Jamie Spears, removed as conservator. But it was only yesterday that we saw this be effectuated.


BERMAN: Do you think any of this would have happened if not for the somewhat organic groundswell of support from fans that she saw, and also documentaries and people like you exposing what was going on?

ROBERTSON: Well, all credit, first, goes to Britney Spears, and after that I would say to her supporters and her attorney, Mathew Rosengart, who moved aggressively to have Jamie removed as Britney's conservator.

Mathew Rosengart did cite my colleagues, Liz Day and Samantha Starks, with "The New York Times," they cited -- he cited their findings in his court filing over the weekend. And yesterday in court, he referred to Alex, who you saw in the clip, as a hero whistle-blower.

BERMAN: So the conservatorship has been suspended, not eliminated, and that was at the request of Britney Spears and her legal team. And one of the reasons for that is that they want to go through the documents. They want things to be investigated.

Where do you think that might lead?

ROBERTSON: It's hard to say. We shall see. I think we need to stay tuned and see what Mathew Rosengart unearths.

BERMAN: What questions do you have, though? What questions would you like to see answered?

ROBERTSON: I think that there are many questions certainly surrounding the finances of the conservatorship. And I imagine that we will learn more about that in coming weeks and months.

BERMAN: What do you think she does now?

ROBERTSON: That's a great question. Britney Spears spoke very passionately in June about her desire to have her father, Jamie Spears, in jail. She's also spoken throughout the years about her desire to regain control and agency and to achieve some measure of privacy. Perhaps she's now positioned to achieve those things.

BERMAN: In terms of her father, is that something you feel like she is passionate about and will aggressively pursue?

ROBERTSON: Again, in June, she did -- I mean she spoke very clearly. She made strong declarations that she would like to see her father in jail.

BERMAN: And just taking this larger than Britney Spears for a moment, do you think there are larger lessons about conservatorships here?

ROBERTSON: Absolutely. Certainly. You know, I think that this is an area of our legal system that has received scant scrutiny, perhaps until now, and deserves more attention.

BERMAN: What about this surprises you most?

ROBERTSON: You know, Britney has been asking for the action that occurred yesterday for nearly 13 years. So, to see it finally effectuated is surprising to some extent. BERMAN: I mean the level of control, though. You know, just in the

documentary, and, again, we've seen -- all seen those clips so many times, but when you hear it again, it's just stunning. The -- you know, the allegations of just deeply intrusive behavior.

ROBERTSON: It was an intense surveillance apparatus. We detailed this intense surveillance apparatus in our documentary, "Controlling Britney Spears."

BERMAN: Well, Mary Robertson, one chapter is over, right? We'll see what happens next.

We thank you for joining us and appreciate the work you've done so far. Thank you very much.

ROBERTSON: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: So, before we go, the White House says that by tonight there will either be a dramatic soaring -- well, let me back up here for a second.

All right, they say -- they're talking about the infrastructure deal, whether or not there will be a deal or a vote in Congress on the bipartisan infrastructure plan. And they say by tonight there will either be an Aaron Sorkin narrative or a laugh riot (ph) joke.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, this is why we all came to Washington. It's like an episode of a TV show.

QUESTION: Which TV show?

PSAKI: Maybe "The West Wing" if something good happens. Maybe "Veep" if not. I'm not sure.


BERMAN: All right, it is a big day on Capitol Hill. And I asked Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm earlier today about the possible infrastructure vote, the timing of which is still in flux, and she quoted the show "Ted Lasso."



JENNIFER GRANHOLM, ENERGY SECRETARY: If it happens in a couple of weeks, you know, as I like to quote Ted Lasso, you know, we all have memories of a goldfish. Whatever it ends up being, it will -- that's what will be remembered.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, ACTOR, "TED LASSO": You know what the happiest animal on earth is? It's a goldfish.

You know why?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got a ten-second memory. Be a goldfish, Sam. Yes.


BERMAN: Be a goldfish, Brianna. I need to be a goldfish today.

KEILAR: Right. The happiest animal on earth. Because they're basically living in a state of being lobotomized, right?

BERMAN: Well, look, you know, I guess what Jennifer Granholm was saying was that, once this is all over, we'll forget all the process that went into making it, like the goldfish would forget that all, but I -- but I don't know.

KEILAR: Yes, because they've got to get this done, right? I mean she's talking about two to three weeks here. I love the Ted Lasso quote. I will say that. We love Ted Lasso here at NEW DAY. But they've got to get this done and she's saying two to three weeks. You know, putting it off could mean peril.

BERMAN: We'll see if goldfish are good negotiators.

CNN's coverage continues right now.


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you at the top of the hour here. I'm Erica Hill.