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New Day Saturday
New Details on Victims of Deadly Spa Shootings in Atlanta; President Biden and VP Harris Meet With Asian American Leaders and Condemn "Skyrocketing" Hate Crimes in Wake of Atlanta Shooting; Experts Warn Variants & Vaccine Hesitancy Could Slow Progress as States Roll Back Restrictions; NYT: FBI Investigating Whether Top Cuomo Aides Gave False Data on Nursing Homes; Russia Reacts Angrily After Biden Calls Putin "a Killer and a Liar"; March Madness Starts with Historic Upset. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired March 20, 2021 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): A CNN special, "AFRAID: FEAR IN AMERICA'S COMMUNITIES OF COLOR," Monday at 9:00.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hate and violence often hide in plain sight and it's often met with silence. Our silence is complicity
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): He is speaking to this issue. It's a big change from our former president.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ultimately this is about who we are as a nation. This is about how we treat people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): The CDC updating guidelines for schools. Just three feet of space between students, down from six.
ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: These recommendations are specific to students in classrooms with universal mask-wearing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): This is the first time we're hearing from a woman who has allegations against the governor who is still working in the Cuomo administration.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The governor has lost the confidence of his governing partners and many New Yorkers. He should step down.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So, the lights are on in Atlanta after the visit, of course, of the President and Vice President here yesterday. 6:01 is the time. We are so grateful to have your company this morning, as always. It is Saturday, March 20th. I'm Christi Paul. BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Boris Sanchez in today for Victor Blackwell. I am here in D.C. Always a pleasure to join you bright and early, Christi.
PAUL: Just wait, Boris. Just wait. He's going to be joining us on a regular basis, so he's getting ready to wake up call. I know. All righty.
SANCHEZ: Can't wait.
PAUL: Yes. Let's get into -- we are too. We're excited. Thank you, Boris. Let's get into what we're talking about this morning with another moment of reckoning in America that we're seeing. There are so many eyes opened to the fear and the frustration that's felt right now by Asian Americans as we learn more about the victims of Tuesday's spa shooting in the Atlanta area.
SANCHEZ: Yes. Their loved ones are sharing details this morning so that their stories don't get lost in what will likely be a long and painful investigation. Xiaojie Tan was the owner of Young's Asian Massage. She was remembered as loving and unselfish. Delaina Yaun was a recently married mom of two kids, including an eight-month-old daughter.
"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" is reporting that Yong Ae Yue was excited to be working at a spa again after she had been laid off because of the pandemic and Hyun Jung Grant leaves behind two children who are now the only members of their family in the United States.
PAUL: In all, eight lives that were lost. You see their names here. Six were Asian women. CNN's Ryan Young is in Atlanta. He has the latest on the investigation and the call for law enforcement to classify the attacks as a hate crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigators are actively working to piece together the exact movements and motive of the suspect who confessed to Tuesday's attack on massage spas in metro Atlanta.
CNN obtained the arrests warrants for Robert Aaron Long from Cherokee County. He faces 11 felony charges, four counts of murder with malice, one count of criminal attempt to commit murder, one count of aggravated assault with intent to rape, murder or rob and five counts of possession of a firearm during commission of a felony. For victims like Mario Gonzalez, who lost his wife to Delaina Yaun during the shooting, the charges do little to fill the hole left in their hearts.
MARIO GONZALES, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: About an hour in, almost at the end, I heard the shots. They took the most valuable thing I have in my life, I had because she was taken from me. He left me with only pain. The killer who killed my wife, something needs to be done.
YOUNG (voice-over): The medical examiner revealing the names of the other four victims who were gunned down -- Soon Chung Park, Hyun J. Grant, Suncha Kim and Yong Ae Yue. Police say at least three of the victims were shot in the head and are still working to determine the shooter's motives.
DEPUTY CHIEF CHARLES HAMPTON, ATLANTA POLICE: It's just very important just to let you know that we are not done. We're still working very diligently to ascertain all the facts so we can have a successful prosecution because that's what's most important now.
YOUNG (voice-over): Crabapple Baptist Church, where Robert Long worshiped, released this statement about the suspected shooter. "No blame can be placed upon the victims. These actions are the result of a sinful heart and depraved mind for which Aaron is completely responsible."
As investigators struggle to put the pieces together, there are growing calls in this community and country to protect the memories of the women involved.
HELEN PARK TRUONG, ATLANTA RESIDENT: To target three Asian businesses and to kill six women who look like me, could be me, could be my mom, could be my sister, could be my aunt and then to not call it a hate crime is dehumanizing.
SARAH TANG, ATLANTA RESIDENT: To say that it is unclear what the motivations were is -- it's ...
TRUONG: It's dehumanizing.
TANG: It's silencing. It's taking away our story.
TRUONG: We keep trying to scapegoat one person and fail to see this is actually part of a larger issue. This was incredibly predictable. It has built up over the course of many years.
YOUNG: There's a growing Asian community here outside of Atlanta and a lot of the people that we've talked to over the last few days tell us they are tired of the abuse and they want more stories about what's happening in the community. They hope this sort of turns a light on some of the challenges they face. Reporting in Atlanta, Ryan Young, CNN.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SANCHEZ: Ryan Young, thank you for that. President Joe Biden is condemning the skyrocketing hate crimes against Asian Americans, noting the uptick in anti-Asian violence since the pandemic began.
PAUL: Yes. CNN's Jasmine Wright is with us now. Jasmine, always good to see you this morning. We know that the President is taking on a role that he's familiar with, he's had to take on several times already earlier in his presidency. Kind of the consoler in chief I guess is what you would call it. Talk to us about what he said to the folks in Atlanta. JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christi, you really saw President Biden trying to use his remarks to reflect the moment of the rise of Asian American violence, violence against Asian Americans, and these were really his strongest remarks yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Too many Asian Americans have been walking up and down the streets and worrying, waking up each morning the past year feeling their safety and the safety of their loved ones are at stake. They've been attacked, blamed, scapegoated and harassed. They've been verbally assaulted, physically assaulted, killed. Documented incidents of hate against Asian Americans have seen a skyrocketing spike over the last year, let alone the ones that happened and never get reported.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: Now, he stopped short of calling it a hate crime as federal authorities haven't designated it as such, but as we heard from Ryan, right? These folks in the AAPI community want to see that designation made and they have been pressuring Biden to do so. So those remarks that we heard for him were a nod from him to do that but weren't going as far.
Now, for Vice President Harris, the first vice president of South Asian descent, we heard from her really using the history of America to track the rise that we're seeing right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: Racism is real in America and it has always been. Xenophobia is real in America and always has been. Sexism too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: Now, Vice President Harris has been vocal about the experiences with racism that she has faced as a woman of color in this country. Now, before they gave these remarks, they met with AAPI community leaders down in Georgia and one attendee told CNN that Biden spoke about former President Trump's contribution to this flash point that we are seeing and Biden said that his administration is trying to roll those flash point -- that flash point that we're at right now, roll it back.
But the question is, Christi, is what exactly comes next? White House officials have told us that listening sessions with the AAPI community are ongoing and we know that President Biden has called for the passage of the COVID-19 Hate Crime Act that would speed up federal authorities responding to these hate crime -- hate crimes.
PAUL: Jasmine Wright, we appreciate it so much. Thank you. CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson with us now. Joey, it's always good to have your perspective and your insight here. I want to go over, real quickly just so we're all on the same page, what Georgia's hate crime law actually says because it just went into effect actually last year. It was less than a year ago. It was in June when Governor Kemp signed it and it was in the Ahmaud Arbery -- after he was killed in South Georgia that that happened. So this allows judges, as we know, to impose sentences that would increase punishment against people who target victims based on these specific parameters -- race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender and mental or physical disability. Based on those parameters, Joey, does this fall under a hate crime in your opinion?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Christi, good morning to you. I don't think there's any question that it does, and I think, in having this discussion, certainly it's important because it occurred in Georgia, but to be mindful that there can be a dual prosecution.
What do I mean? I mean it's very good that Georgia has a law in place that you just indicated that covers so many things and when you look at that, you can check at least two boxes. Clearly these were women or, you know, by and large women, one man, but when you look to target women, it clearly falls within the ambit of that statute and so that's one thing. And then you get, of course, to the issue of the victims being Asian and it checks another box.
And so therefore, based upon that approach, you can go after this particular person who did this just insane, unfortunate and despicable act, I think you could go after them in Georgia on two counts, right? As it relates to them being Asians, as it relates to them being women, but I think we also have to be mindful of a federal statute and as a result of that, you can go after this person under -- the federal authorities can under federal law as well.
And so, I think accountability and justice is very important, particularly to our Asian community and particularly to deter this from occurring again and for calling it what it is.
PAUL: The suspect says it wasn't a hate crime, it was a sex addiction and the Atlanta police department has not characterized it -- as Jasmine says, has not defined it or designated it as a hate crime as of yet and I guess it filters down, what we know about the legal system, that prosecutors have this task of trying to get into somebody's head. How difficult is that to do, Joey, and what parameters will they use or what evidence will they try to search to try to prove their case?
JACKSON: So, any prosecution, Christi, to be clear, presents challenges, right? And whenever you're going after someone, if you're a prosecutor, you're looking at the mental state, right? The mental state generally is designed to show how a person acted. Usually when we're having a discussion about a crime, we're talking about did they act intentionally? Did they act negligently? Were they reckless with respect to their actions? That is a suspect.
And then of course you look not only at the mental state, but the specific act they engaged in. When you're talking about hate crime issues, you're talking about adding another element to what motivated that intent, what motivated the actions that took place and so with regard to the evidence you look at, you look at a number of things.
Number one, the act, right? The fact is that you have something called circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is evidence. It's evidence of the circumstance. It's evidence of the context. It's evidence of how you engage in the as compared to, who did you engage in the act with or to, who were the victims of the act and what was in your mind?
And so, I think they'll look at, right? The act itself, they'll look at his past history, they'll look at the statements that he made, they'll look at his social media blueprint, they'll speak to witnesses and other people and, by and large, clearly he's already confessed as it relates to -- you want to call it sex addiction or whatever else, that clearly falls again in the ambit of gender. Now we have to get he's stereotyping Asian women and so as a result of that, I think it falls into that.
Look, police have a job to do, they'll continue to investigate, I get that. Prosecutors will piece together every bit of information. Yes, there are challenges, Christi, but there's also a strong will here to get justice and I think that'll happen and I think certainly, at the end of the day, you'll see hate crime enhancements and you'll see him held accountable with regard to his actions and what he did and the peoples whose lives he's affected forevermore.
PAUL: Joey Jackson, your expertise is really valued here. Thank you so much.
JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.
PAUL: Absolutely. And be sure to watch CNN Monday night. There's an exclusive, in-depth discussion about the fear in America's communities of color right now. It's at 9:00 P.M. on Monday night for that conversation.
SANCHEZ: Look forward to that. The CDC is out with new guidelines for school children, saying they no longer have to be distanced six feet apart, but could the changes get all kids back to school safely?
PAUL: Also, there are new allegations of harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo now. Why the latest accusations stand out from what we've seen already.
SANCHEZ: And one of these things is not like the other. The NCAA apologizing after pictures of the women's basketball training room reveals a stark contrast with the men.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEDONA PRINCE, BASKETBALL PLAYER: The NCAA came out with a statement saying that it wasn't money, it was space that was a problem. Let me show y'all something else. Here's our practice court, right? And then here's that weight room and then here's all this extra space. If you aren't upset about this problem, then you're a part of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
PAUL: Right now, there are several states that are pushing forward with easing COVID-19 restrictions. Now experts are warning there's a potential spike in cases here that we need to be concerned with.
SANCHEZ: Yes. They say there are two barriers that are standing in the way of reaching herd immunity. First, the number of variants that are out there, the U.K. variant, the South African variant, and then people that are apprehensive about getting vaccinated, vaccine hesitancy. New guidelines from the CDC, though, are giving many hopes that a return to normal is potentially getting closer. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro has been following the latest for us. Evan?
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Big news for schools Friday. New guidance from the CDC halving the distance most students need to be spaced in the classroom.
WALENSKY: Layered mitigation strategies, including strict use of masks among students and a distance of at least three feet between students, were common factors among the schools in these studies that demonstrated decreased transmission from COVID-19.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO, (voice-over): The new guidance heralded by local government leaders who say the updated rules mean more kids in school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is going to really help us to reach more kids.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO, (voice-over): It's not just throwing open the doors, however.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Are they going to still ensure that you have good enough ventilation in those places? That's going to continue to be a priority. Obviously masking going to continue to be a priority. All those things. So yes, great news, I think it's going to open the door for a lot of schools to be able to reopen, but don't forget the basics still. Masks, ventilation, all of that.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO, (voice-over): Optimism mixed with vigilance as the Biden administration announced a major achievement this week -- 100 million vaccine doses administered in 58 days.
BIDEN: We have nearly doubled the amount of vaccine doses that we distribute to states, tribes and territories each week.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO, (voice-over): States across the country are making the vaccine more available and with that, some are lifting restrictions. In Kentucky this weekend, bars can serve until midnight and close at 1:00 A.M. at 60 percent capacity. On Monday, Massachusetts reopened stadiums at 12 percent capacity and raises limits on public gatherings.
Signs that Americans are feeling more secure are everywhere, especially at the airport. The TSA screened more than a million passengers per day for the last eight straight days. That's a record for the year, but it doesn't mean the pandemic is anywhere near over. Dr. Fauci warning the variant first discovered in the U.K. is spreading in America and people still need to take the basic measures to protect themselves.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as expeditiously as possible with a vaccine that we know works against this variant and finally, to implement the public health measures that we talk about all the time.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Boris and Christi, as Dr. Fauci mentioning there, one of the big things needed right now is more vaccines in people's arms and that's why I'm here at the Javits Center in Manhattan where hopefully we're going to see that happening soon.
Senator Chuck Schumer, of course the Majority Leader in the Senate and the Senator here from New York, saying that 33 percent more vaccines will be coming to New York in what he's calling a supercharge of the vaccination efforts here, the kind of thing we need to get that herd immunity going, but until it happens, we got to keep doing those masks and stay socially distant because this pandemic is still really very much with us, Boris and Christi.
SANCHEZ: Yes. It certainly is. Evan McMorris-Santoro reporting from New York. Thanks so much. Joining us now to share his insight is Dr. Rob Davidson. He's an emergency room physician and the executive director for The Committee to Protect Medicare. Doctor, thank you so much for spending some of your Saturday with us.
Let's start with the CDC relaxing recommendations for social distancing at schools from six feet to three feet. Understandably, some teachers have been grappling with how to protect students and themselves. This guidance relies heavily on schools using other measures like universal masking and contact tracing. In your eyes, is this change safe and, perhaps more importantly, is it sustainable?
DR. ROB DAVIDSON, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Well, I think it is safe as long as everybody is wearing masks and they talk about, in the older kids in middle schools and high schools, if there's significant community transmission, they should maintain the six-foot distancing, but we've always said, and I think teachers unions have said and doctors have said and we've all said, you know, we should follow the science.
And, you know, nothing is airtight, nothing is settled science. Really in any medicine or public health, there's no settled science, certainly in this, but the available evidence now from the studies they've cited would tell us that the relaxation is appropriate.
SANCHEZ: Now, kids are still going to be able to take off their masks for lunch or for other activities. I think of my nieces and nephew. They're young and they're rambunctious and I don't know that they would be keeping a mask on all of the time. They're typically mingling with their classmates. Is it realistic to have these students wearing masks inside all the time?
DAVIDSON: I think that should be the expectation, understanding that nothing can quite be 100 percent. And the reality is, in the vast majority of cases that pop up in schools, and it's true here in our district, the kids are getting this from outside of school. So it's so much about what they're doing at home, what their parents are doing, what their guardians are doing.
You know, that is part of the messaging that we're doing in our district that people need to do across the country so that they're not bringing it into school because we just haven't seen the spread within schools that people feared.
SANCHEZ: Yes. That's a very important point. I want to look at the big picture now. Nationwide, cases have dropped significantly, but they do seem to have plateaued. I think we have a graphic to share with you. How concerned are you about the trends that we're seeing as we start hitting this plateau?
DAVIDSON: Yes. Here in Michigan, we've had a 50 percent increase over the last week in the number of positives. I know in West Michigan where I practice, our system is reporting nearly 10 percent test positive rate. Now, we were near 20 percent back in November, but we were down below 3 percent just about a month or so ago. So it's happening, we have more cases.
We know there are variants and that's probably driving some of it and what we've seen in the past, you know, two spikes after that initial wave is that once cases start going up, then we have hospitalizations, then the deaths unfortunately follow. We just don't know, with vaccines rolling out, with significant numbers of people over 65 and I think about two-thirds of people here in Michigan are vaccinated that are over 65, we don't know what's going to happen in the next phase.
You know, I don't want to find out, so I really wish people would continue to distance and wear masks and do the things that are simple that we know will drive down those case numbers while we're getting more vaccines.
SANCHEZ: Yes. An important message we know you've been pushing since the very beginning. Dr. Rob Davidson, thanks so much for your time. We appreciate it.
DAVIDSON: Thanks, Boris.
PAUL: So new allegations this morning of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, but why this latest accuser is different from the other women who've already come forward. SANCHEZ: And you will want to tune in for this. "LINCOLN: DIVIDED WE STAND" continues tomorrow night right here on CNN at 10:00 P.M.. In this all-new episode, tragedy strikes the country just as the Civil War comes to an end when President Lincoln is assassinated. "LINCOLN: DIVIDED WE STAND" airing Sunday night at 10:00 on CNN.
SANCHEZ: "The New York Times" is reporting on new details of the federal investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his handling of nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic. They report the investigation is now focused on whether the governor and his top aides gave the Justice Department false data about COVID-19 cases and deaths. The "Times" cites individuals with knowledge of the investigation saying, quote, "agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation have contacted lawyers for Mr. Cuomo's aides, interviewed senior officials from the State Health Department and subpoenaed Mr. Cuomo's office for documents related to the disclosure of data last year.
PAUL: Now, the governor has defended his handling of the pandemic and denies any data was inaccurate. CNN law enforcement reporter Mark Morales joins us from Albany here. Mark, good to see you. No doubt investigators have their hands full in this case, what is the latest this morning?
MARK MORALES, CNN REPORTER: Definitely, and good morning to you both. And if you remember, it was this issue that initially put Governor Cuomo under fire in the first place. And it's just piling up at this point. And as you said, "The New York Times" has been reporting that the focus of the investigation in recent weeks has been on whether the governor or aides had provided false data to the Department of Justice. Now, agents have already interviewed senior members of the Health Department, they've talked to attorneys who represent the aides. They've even subpoenaed for records.
Now, if you remember, this all stems from how they were categorizing the data from nursing home statistics. They were initially only counting residents who had died within the four walls of a nursing home. So, if somebody were taken to a hospital and died there, those numbers weren't accounted and weren't officially released until January. And the governor's office is always leaned on the fact that according to them that it was that they did not vet those numbers, and that's why they didn't include them. And I want to read you a statement that was provided by an attorney for Governor Cuomo about the situation. He says, "the submission in response to DOJ's August request was truthful and accurate and any suggestion otherwise is demonstrably false."
Now, again, they've always leaned on the fact that the numbers needed to be vetted but Governor Cuomo has always maintained that the full number of COVID-19 deaths has always been released, it was just it was not in this category. SANCHEZ: Now, Mark, you alluded to some of the other issues that
Governor Cuomo is facing. And last night, "The New York Times" reporting that there's a new harassment allegation against Cuomo. This time by a current aide. What more can you tell us?
MORALES: Right, and this is the latest allegation in a string of allegations, the only difference here is that this is somebody who is a current staffer. "The New York Times" has identified this victim as Alyssa McGrath, and they say that she was one of a number of aides who would be called upon to assist the governor either at his mansion or in his office. And as part of that, they say that there was this one instance where McGrath was in the office of Governor Cuomo with him alone, where he had alluded to her having a nice necklace. Now, McGrath tells "The New York Times" that she thinks that, that was just a ploy for him to look down her shirt.
And this goes along with what a lot of other victims or alleged victims have said. They've said that Governor Cuomo has had -- they've had dealings with the governor that he had inappropriate behavior, at times inappropriate touching. And a lawyer for Governor Cuomo, I just want to read you their statement, what they released last night to "The Times". "The governor has greeted men and women with hugs and a kiss on the cheek, forehand or hand. Yes, he has posed for photographs with his arm around them. Yes, he uses Italian phrases like ciao bella. Miss Glavin added, 'none of this is remarkable, although it may be old-fashioned. He has made clear that he has never made inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone.'"
And again, what a lot of these accusers say is that they've had inappropriate dealings with him where he's maybe said something inappropriate or had inappropriate touch. And for Miss McGrath, what she alleges is that there are instances where he would call her beautiful in Italian, and make references to her being -- her marital status because she was in the process of getting divorced.
SANCHEZ: All right, Mark Morales reporting from Albany, thanks so much for that. To discuss the governor's mounting challenges, let's bring in CNN political commentator Errol Louis; he's the political anchor for "Spectrum News" and host of the "You Decide" podcast. Errol, thanks so much for joining us this morning. Before we get into the politics of the situation, let's talk about the legal pressure that Cuomo is facing with the FBI looking into this nursing home data. What kind of consequences could he face?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's very serious when the Justice Department is looking into this, what you're talking about is potentially a federal crime. If they determine or decide that the state has been dishonest in providing data on this very important matter, in the middle of a pandemic, there would just be -- there would be consequences to say the least. What the Cuomo administration has said pretty consistently is that they wanted to wait. They wanted to make sure that the data was correct and accurate, and that's what caused the delay. They also have said, by the way, it's an important -- it's an important point, Boris, that this was a malicious inquiry, that it was the Trump Justice Department that began asking these questions and that they were doing it for political reasons which is of course entirely possible.
So, if everything is as the administration says, then the Cuomo administration will provide the data. The Justice Department will look through it and that will be the end of the inquiry. We still don't know though what the outcome of all of this is going to be.
SANCHEZ: Yes, and he's facing a lot of issues, you know, multiple fronts of pressure for Governor Cuomo. There are mounting calls for him to resign including from New York's two senators and a majority of the New York Congressional delegation, some of them have been calling for patience, for due process. The governor understandably sticking by them. Former Congressman Charles Rangel appeared at an event with the governor this week, this is what he told CNN about what Cuomo should do. He said, quote, "you go to your family and you go to your friends because you know they are going to be with you. If he is leaning on black leaders now, then he has been leaning for a long damn time."
You wrote about this dynamic in the "New York Daily News" in a column about Cuomo leaning on black leaders. What do you make of this?
LOUIS: Well, yes, I mean, look, the reality is there's more support for Governor Cuomo among black Democrats in New York than almost anywhere else. And so, what Charlie Rangel; the former congressman is one of the people who has had a long alliance with Governor Cuomo, and he spoke up for him, he's one of the few who has. But keep this in mind, Boris, Charlie Rangel has been out of office for four years. The current--
SANCHEZ: Right --
LOUIS: Congressman Adriano Espaillat has called for Governor Cuomo to step down. There's a number of allies that he's called on, but many of them are not as powerful as they used to be, and there's a great number of black political leaders, very powerful ones, including the majority leader of the state's Senate who have called for Cuomo to step down. So, it's kind of a mixed bag if you want to say I have black support. When you look at the polling, and there's been some good polling that's come out just in the last few days, it shows a very dire picture politically for the governor.
It shows that 66 percent of registered New York voters do not want him to run for a fourth term. It shows that 48 percent disapprove of his job performance. That's the lowest number that he's had or the highest disapproval number that he's had since taking office in 2011. So, he's got -- he's got a number of problems that he's trying to work through all at the same time, Boris.
SANCHEZ: Yes, and I really thought this was interesting. In your column, you write about Cuomo announcing that New York State would provide half the funding for a new $240 million project in Harlem. And if that, that would typically draw a large crowd of politicians trying to edge in for a photo-op, but only one prominent leader showed up. That tells you everything you need to know. Doesn't it? LOUIS: Oh, it certainly does. I mean, look, the politicians who have
walked away from Governor Cuomo, it's remarkable. You know, even those who were saying let's wait for the investigation to be complete. They're not appearing with him. They're not --
SANCHEZ: Yes --
LOUIS: Speaking up for him. They're not even providing what you could call character witness statements, saying I don't know about whether this is true, but I think the governor is a good guy.
People are staying away. And here again, you go back to the polls, the public says he hasn't -- he's not -- they don't want him to step down. But they're also saying -- and this is a remarkable number, 58 percent in this latest Quinnipiac Poll say that he is not honest and trustworthy. It's very hard to govern when your partners in government, the general voting public are all saying we think that it's time for you to wind down your political career. That's in effect what they're saying. It puts the governor in a very difficult position. But of course, we've heard from him over and over again, he's not going to resign.
SANCHEZ: Yes, especially in the middle of a pandemic when you have very serious questions about your administration's handling of the data during that pandemic. Errol Louis, we have to leave the conversation there. Thank you so much, sir.
PAUL: So, President Biden has had a lot to say about Vladimir Putin as of late. Why he is not apologizing for calling the Russian leader, quote, "a killer".
SANCHEZ: President Joe Biden taking aim at Vladimir Putin, calling Russia's leader "a killer and a liar", while warning that he's going to have to pay a price for Russia's meddling in the 2020 election.
PAUL: Now, Russia was quick to respond. They pulled its ambassador from Washington, couldn't even challenge President Biden to a live debate. Here's CNN's Matthew Chance with more.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know you and you know me.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the moment U.S.-Russian ties fueled by fresh allegations of election meddling and the poisoning of a key Russian opposition figure plunged to a new low.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Do you think he's a killer? BIDEN: I do.
CHANCE: In just a few words, President Biden signaled his intolerance of Russian misdeeds. And unlike his predecessor who foamed over the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, the willingness to call out the Kremlin strong man. He looks relaxed, marking the seventh anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea. But Putin is clearly furious, facing the promise of yet more painful U.S. sanctions in the weeks ahead. He's re-calling Russia's ambassador from Washington for consultations. The first time that's happened in decades. And issuing a snide response to the killer insult.
I wish him well and good health, and I mean that without any joking or irony, Putin said of Biden by a video conference. Some have cast it's a veiled threat from a leader who kills his critics. But he looks more like a wink to rampant speculation on Russian-state TV, alleging that Biden's mental health is faltering due to old age. Maybe he just forgot to take his pills, one state anchor jokes about the Biden remarks. It's age-related dementia, says another, a triumph of political insanity. Putin also trolled Biden by citing an old Russian children's joke to deflect the killer tag.
You are what you call others, he says, it takes one to know one, in other words. The playground retort that sums up the worst diplomatic spat between these nuclear rivals in years. It was a falling out waiting to happen when Biden first met Putin as U.S. Vice President in 2011, he says he told him he didn't think he had a soul, and warned the Russian leader not to run for another Kremlin term. Ten years on, with fewer than 100 days in office, President Biden has toughened his Russia stance even more. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
SANCHEZ: Matthew Chance, thanks for that. The first round of the NCAA tournament isn't even over. And my bracket is already in the trash. Some top seeds going home. Andy Scholes is live from Indianapolis, next.
PAUL: March Madness. It is madness.
It's all I have to say.
SANCHEZ: Yes, unfortunately, one of Ohio's premier teams, the Ohio State --
PAUL: OK --
SANCHEZ: Buckeyes bounced yesterday in an unexpected upset. Andy Scholes is in Indianapolis following all the bracket busting. Andy, how is your bracket doing? ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, you know, mine is just
fine. Unless you had Ohio state in the final four, you'll be OK, but you know --
SANCHEZ: I do --
SCHOLES: I'm sorry, Christi because that's probably the case for you and a lot of people out there. But you know, guys, this year's tournament, it's so different. All 64 teams are staying here in Indianapolis. You see buses everywhere, you know, just not a lot of people. From being at the games and you know, people watching it on TV, you can tell this is going to be a different kind of tournament. But already, day one, reminding us why we love March Madness so much. The drama, the upsets. And we had a big one yesterday, a 15-seed Oral Roberts coming out hot from the get go against two-seed Ohio state. Max Abmas, the nation's leading scorer and a biomedical chemistry major scoring 29 points.
The Golden Eagles' other star Kevin Obanor dropping 30. Oral Roberts becomes just the ninth 15th seed to win a game, beating Ohio state's 75-72 in overtime. It's the school's first tournament win since 1974. And the upset to we're-not-done 13th seed north Texas taking on Purdue. The boiler makers trailing most of the way, but Trevion Williams falls up his own miss, puts it in. This one would go to overtime. But that's when the Mean Green's Javion Hamlet takes over, he had 8 in the extra period as North Texas gets their first ever tournament win, 78-69, knocking out Purdue, which was the only Indiana team in the tournament.
Welcome back to the big dance, sister Jean, the 101-year-old team chaplain for Loyola-Chicago get to go to her first Ramblers game this season. And it was a good one, Loyola outlasting Georgia Tech, it was about the ACC player of the year Moses Wright due to COVID. Ramblers winning this one 71-60.
Loyola is going to need extra prayers from sister Jean as they're going to play a one-seed Illinois now tomorrow in the second round. All right, in the meantime, the NCAA is apologizing to the teams at the women's tournament after Twitter pictures and videos on TikTok showed the vast discrepancy between the weight rooms here in Indy for the men, compared to what the women have in San Antonio. Officials saying they fell short and are trying to fix it as quickly as possible. Several companies that actually stepped in offering weight room equipment. Now, Oregon forward Sedona Prince went viral for her video calling out the NCAA. She told Don Lemon last night she was shocked when she started seeing the differences on social media.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE: All in all we've been seeing on social media like what the men have been getting versus what we've been getting, and we're all like, you know, sitting in the hotel, eating kind of crummy food and like, you know, what's going on, this is -- this is kind of unfair. But I think the biggest thing right now is just to make a change. To do something and to make it better for us would be something that would, you know, make it better for all of the student athletes here, not just my team, not just me, every team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: Yes, Christi and Boris, here's -- hoping the NCAA can quickly make a change and put together some sort of nice weight room for the women there in San Antonio.
SANCHEZ: Yes, you have to wonder in this situation, what were they thinking and maybe the answer is they weren't. Andy Scholes, thanks so much for the update. And hey --
SCHOLES: Yes --
SANCHEZ: Don't go anywhere, NEW DAY will be back after a quick break.