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New Day Sunday

Senate Passes COVID Relief Bill, Legislation Heads Back To House; Biden To Sign Executive Order Expanding Voting Access; Trump Sends Cease-And-Desist Letters To GOP Fundraising Entities; Third Female Former Staffer Accuses New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Of Inappropriate Conduct; U.S. Averaging Around Two Million Shots Per Day, 29 Million Americans Fully Vaccinated; Pope Expected To Celebrate Mass In Erbil, Iraq Today; Palace Braces For Harry And Meghan's Interview With Oprah. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired March 07, 2021 - 06:00   ET




SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): The bill as amended is passed.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We made a promise to the American people that we were going to deliver the real relief they needed and now we have fulfilled that promise.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: This isn't a pandemic rescue package. It's a parade of left-wing pet projects that they are ramming through during a pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the current pace the U.S. could reach herd immunity by late summer through vaccinations alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a light at the end of the tunnel.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Derek Chauvin, the former officer seen on that now infamous cellphone video standing trial for second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The video is enough. Chauvin showed you he was the judge, the jury, and executioner all at once.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now that is a beautiful way to start your day. Good morning, Pittsburgh. Good morning to you. Thanks for being with us.

This morning one of the largest emergency relief bills in American history is another step closer to becoming law. The Senate passed President Biden's nearly $2 trillion rescue plan largely intact, but with no Republican support.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. The initial help that would go to millions of people under the bill is significant here. Eligible Americans would receive $1,400 checks. The jobless would receive a $300 weekly boost to their unemployment benefits through September. Food stamp recipients would see a 15 percent increase in their benefits and most families with young kids could claim a larger child text credit.

Now, there would be funding to help those behind on rent or mortgage as well and money to help small businesses, reopen schools and boost vaccinations.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today I can say we've taken one more giant step forward in delivering on that promise that help is on the way.


PAUL: CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is on Capitol Hill right now. Sunlen, it's good to see you. Help walk us through what happens next and how this could finally reach the president's desk this week.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Christi. Yes, the next step in all of this is this bill now heads to the House of Representatives where Democratic leaders have already announced that they will move to vote on this on Tuesday, and that is the final step before this bill is sent straight to President Biden's desk.

Now, all eyes this week will certainly be on progressives in the House. They have already expressed some unhappiness with many of the changes made to the Senate bill, changes made that they needed to make in order to get it through over here in the Senate and get all Democratic support. So progressives' support of this will be absolutely critical and they are unhappy about the removal of federal minimum wage hike, the fact that less people will get the $1,400 stimulus check and the fact that you saw some reduction in unemployment benefits in the final compromise of this bill.

Now, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, he says although there is some unhappiness, he is calling on the House to move this bill forward this week.


SCHUMER: People have new differences all the time. But, you know, what is the overwhelming point here? That everyone in our caucus realizes we have to pull together and get it done and we're a team. And sometimes is takes some discussion and sometimes it takes some work, but we don't let our differences stop us from achieving success.


SERFATY: Now, even with considerable grumbling from many House progressives about the compromises in this bill, House Democratic leaders are confident that this will pass this week on Tuesday, Christi and Victor, when they vote on this. And notably, they are going towards a goal of, of course, getting this passed before you see some of those unemployment benefits expire on March 14th.

PAUL: Yes, March 14th, no doubt. Sunlen Serfaty, we appreciate. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Let's go to the White House now. CNN's Jasmine Wright is there. So, obviously, the president is happy about yesterday's vote. What is he saying?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Listen, President Biden is one step closer to his first major legislative victory. But the process of getting to that point, it wasn't painless yesterday.

President Biden acknowledged as much in those remarks yesterday. And because, listen, Victor, the way that moderate Democrat from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, was able to hold up the day in those hour-long negotiations ultimately requiring some intervention by President Biden, talking to him on the phone call, it is a great illustration of how the potential problems can arise when trying to govern with this slim majority that Democrats have both in the House and Senate.


Now, our own Joe Johns asked President Biden about that potential yesterday.


BIDEN: I'm going to succeed. We're going to success moving forward.

Look, the American people strongly support what we're doing. That's the key here. And that's going to continue to seep down through the public, including from our Republican friends.

There's a lot of Republicans who came very close. They've got a lot of pressure on them. I still haven't given up on getting their support.


WRIGHT: So as Sunlen said that bill now goes back to the House. The White House will be tracking that progress closely waiting for it to potentially get to President Biden's desk.

PAUL: Speaking of President Biden, of course, today is the anniversary of "Bloody Sunday." We have to point out the day when African American demonstrators who were demanding the right to vote were attacked by police in Selma, Alabama. I know that the president is going to be at this Unity Breakfast today. What is he expected to say?

WRIGHT: Well, President Biden is expected to sign an executive order that the White House has called an initial step in their actions to help expanding voter rights access. That is today on this day, this anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," the first time that we have this tragic day without the late John Lewis. And that is going to be President Biden's actions today.

Now, for the rest of the week he's going to continue taking that victory lap from this bill. We're going to see him going to a small business that would benefit from the PPP loans. We're going to see him going to vaccination centers, meeting with Merck and Johnson & Johnson's CEOs. Ultimately, he is expected to culminate the week marking the one-year anniversary of those COVID lockdowns that take place this week -- Christi and Victor.

BLACKWELL: Jasmine Wright for us there at the White House. Thank you so much.

Eugene Daniels is "Politico's" White House correspondent. Also co- author of "Politico's" "Playbook," he is with us now.

Eugene, good morning to you. Let's start with the messaging behind the Recovery Act. That was in 2009. Vice President Biden then was urging the president to sell it. Here's what he told his caucus this week that gives us a hint of what's coming after the signature he is going to add to this bill that passed yesterday. Watch.


BIDEN: Barack was so modest, he didn't want to take, as he said, a victory lap. I kept saying, "Tell people what we did." He said, "We don't time. I'm not going to take a victory lap." We paid a price for it, ironically, for that humility.


BLACKWELL: So tell us what you expect we will see from President Biden.

EUGENE DANIELS, CO-AUTHOR, POLITICO PLAYBOOK: Yes. Some of that modesty from the first black president is probably a little bit about him being too careful not to be too braggadocios as people are struggling, that President Biden is talking about there. But how they message this bill is key to how the American people see it, right?

It's this huge influx of cash at a time where people are still struggling. So this is Biden's chance to go out there and tell people, hey, we did this. And because we are all virtual and sitting at home, he can reach more people at different ways throughout the time as they do this, as Jasmine was saying, this week and beyond. Because with this being a party line vote, Democrats have an opportunity to say, hey, we are the party that gave you some money in your pocket. As a matter of fact, it was the biggest check you got this entire pandemic, and Republicans voted against that for you. So that's what we're expecting to hear from President Biden and Democrats at large.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about that, what we are going to hear from Democrats, because some Democrats, progressives especially, are not going to sell this as some great boon for the American people. Let's put up the tweet from Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman in which she tweeted, "This trend is outrageous. Eliminating $15.00 an hour, reducing thresholds for payments, cuts to weekly payments. What are we doing here? I'm frankly disgusted with some of my colleagues and question whether I can support this bill."

It's headed back on Tuesday to the House after the changes from the Senate. It passed the first time with a slim majority. Is there any credible expectation that there is going to be any more than just disappointment, some deflation from House Democrats? They are going to send this to the president, right?

DANIELS: At this point, it's impossible -- we don't have a crystal ball. However, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi -- Pelosi, excuse me, has been quite bullish about this, right? She wouldn't be as bullish, Chuck Schumer wouldn't be as bullish, the president wouldn't be as bullish if they didn't feel like the caucus and the House was together.


They do, like you said, have that slim majority there as well. And the progressives, and even some moderates, are a little bit upset with Joe Manchin that he was the one, a fellow Democrat who kind of tied this up on Saturday and made this a much slower process, took out some of those pieces, lowered some of the money that people will be getting. But there's no huge -- there's not a huge appetite for this not to go through, and Democrats want to own that they were the ones to put money in the pockets of American people, and I think that's going to go through.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about minimum wage. Some Democrats in the Senate have said now that it's time to increase the minimum wage and they are using that desire as a reason or an argument to get rid of or reform the filibuster, the threshold of 60 votes. But before they get to 60 votes, they need to get to 50 Democratic votes for an increase to $15.00 or even something more modest. How close are they on a stand- alone bill to at least having some solidarity in the caucus?

DANIELS: Not very close, it would seem. We saw this weekend that eight of the Democratic caucus voted no on that $15.00. I think that was a surprise for most Democrats. They seem to have a bigger battle to wage within the party to figure out what that number actually is.

There's the question of did these senators feel safe to vote no on that amendment because the parliamentarian had already kind of ruled that it didn't pass muster. But if not, Democrats have to go back and battle this out on their own.

Joe Manchin, senator from West Virginia, whose name people and viewers are going to hear a lot over the next two years, he has said that he can go with $11.00. So is that something that progressives are willing to take, or will they be able to move him up to $12.00 or $13.00? Either way, this is as Jasmine was saying, proof of how precarious this 50-person majority is in the Senate, and also Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona said they're not into getting rid of the filibuster.

So it seems that they're going to have to work with Republicans on this to raise that minimum wage and Republicans have thrown out $10.00. So there is a lot of back and forth that's going to have to go before we see a bill on the floor.

BLACKWELL: Quickly before I let you go, let's look across the aisle and this "Playbook" scoop. Former President Trump sending out cease- and-desist letters to fundraising arms of his own party. Explain what's happening here.

DANIELS: So on Friday, President Trump sent out a cease-and-desist to the RNC, the NRCC and the NRSC. These are the groups that raise money for Republicans around the country and get a war chest for 2024 and 2022.

It's not abnormal that they would use the leader of their party's name in all of their information, trying to get money from people, especially because President Trump is so popular in the Republican Party, and, more importantly, has that stranglehold on the party as kind of the king maker still. So we reported, like you said, on Friday we said -- we showed people that Trump was furious that his name had been thrown about by the organizations and without his permission.

This is a person who has built his fortune, made his money in licensing. So he knows how important his name is. But it also doesn't appear to have worked, these letters, because the RNC on Saturday sent out an email saying that they needed some money to defend the president's legacy. So this fight back and forth is far from over, it seems.

BLACKWELL: This is a mess. So much for that promise that the minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, says he has from the former president that he will try to get those Republicans back into majority. If they can't even use his name to raise money to try to get a Senate majority, we will see where this goes. Eugene Daniels, thanks so much. Enjoy the week.

DANIELS: You too. Thanks so much.


PAUL: So "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting a third former staffer to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has come forward with accusations of inappropriate conduct. Now according to the journal, Ana Liss says the New York Democrat made unwanted advances toward her. Now she says she never filed a complaint but later asked for a transfer to another office.

A photo shown by "The Journal" shows Cuomo's hand around her waist. Now in response to the claims made by Liss a senior adviser to Cuomo issued this statement -- "quote" -- "Reporters and photographers have covered the governor for 14 years watching him kiss men and women and posing for pictures. At the public open-house mansion reception, there are hundreds of people, and he poses for hundreds of pictures. That's what people in politics do" -- unquote. Now, remember, there are two other women that have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment earlier this month. The governor apologized for making people uncomfortable and denied touching people inappropriately.


BLACKWELL: Police in Colorado are called to break up a party with hundreds of maskless college students, and when officers arrived things get violent.

PAUL: Also, tense, empty, boarded up Minneapolis bracing for unrest ahead of the start of the Derek Chauvin trial next week. The security measures that are being put in place, how they're getting ready for this we have that ahead. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: The University of Colorado at Boulder is condemning some of its students. Police had to break up a huge party that turned destructive and violent.

PAUL: Yes. A spokesperson for the Boulder Police Department says SWAT teams were called in to help respond to the situation and they estimate as many as 1,000 people were there.

BLACKWELL: According to police, three SWAT officers were hurt after being struck with bricks and rocks. The police department says they are reviewing body camera footage and social media to identify people involved.


PAUL: So let's talk about COVID because we have seen the numbers declining the last few weeks, but the number of cases now seem to be plateauing. Yesterday the U.S. recorded fewer than 60,000 new cases. There is an expert though who is warning that the U.S. could be at a tipping point of another surge and that's due to highly contagious variants, he says.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The U.S. surgeon general says the country is now at a time where it's -- the priority is to get the shots into arms before those variants take over. Right now more than 29 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, 57 million have had at least one shot.

CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is following the latest on the pandemic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need you to relax your arm. OK?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The official White House timeline for getting enough vaccine doses for most Americans remains the end of May, a person familiar with the matter told CNN. Though President Biden referenced the middle of May during his remarks on Saturday. Biden unveiled the end of May timeline last week when his administration helped broker a partnership between Merck and Johnson & Johnson to produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The U.S. could reach herd immunity by late summer through vaccinations alone with the current pace being about 2 million vaccine doses being administered per day. With more people getting vaccinated there will be more people who are protected against COVID-19, and that means more state and local restrictions will be lifted.

It's a balancing act. Now seen in southern California where some mass vaccination sites at stadiums and other venues will be sharing space with those businesses as they are allowed to reopen at reduced capacities. State Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly announced Friday that all California's amusement parks including Disneyland, Magic Mountain and Universal Studios along with sports and concert venues, will be allowed to reopen with limited capacity starting on April 1st.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really think it's time. I think enough people are starting to get vaccinated. I think California needs it. Like, look at how dead it is out here.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: In Magic Mountain's parking lot people have been getting COVID-19 vaccinations daily, Kenichi Haskett, a section chief at the Los Angeles County Fire Department told CNN Saturday.

KENICHI HASKETT, SECTION CHIEF, LOS ANGELES COUNTY, FIRE DEPARTMENT: We what like to keep vaccinating here. We will have to work with our partners here at the park at Magic Mountain. They want to continue this relationship. So if it doesn't work, we have other sites identified in Santa Clarita that will be able to open.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: But some health officials are worried about states relaxing measures as the number of variants circulating in the U.S. continues to grow.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: There are these other variants. The variants coming from South Africa and Brazil, the B.1.351 and P 1 respectively. They are a bit more concerning. The vaccines that we have may work less well against them. But they still will work very well.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Some states are completely lifting mask mandates Mississippi, North Dakota, Iowa, Montana and Texas. One ICU nurse in Texas thinks it's not quite time to lift the mandate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not everyone has been vaccinated. Who wants to get vaccinated first? Second, we're about to have spring break and we removed masks at the same time. I think it's going to be too much, too fast.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So, Victor and Christi, it's nice to see a conversation about having the economy open and having vaccines go into people's arms all at the same time. It's a very nice thing to see a year after this pandemic began.

But the question is, can we do it without seeing another surge? That's what experts are worried about and they're keeping a very close eye on.

PAUL: All right. Evan McMorris-Santoro, so good to see you. Thank you, sir.

So jury selection is starting tomorrow for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd. We're going to preview what you can expect to hear. That's next. Stay close.



BLACKWELL: Jury selection in the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin starts tomorrow. He is accused of killing George Floyd last May by kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes.

PAUL: Well, last week the House again passed a George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. It aims to ban both chokeholds and neck restraints. Now the Floyd family's attorney says this is a major step towards police reform.


BEN CRUMP, FLOYD FAMILY'S ATTORNEY: It took your homeboy, a young man who grew up in Cuney Homes. A young man who is a native son of Houston to sacrifice his life and his soul (INAUDIBLE) to finally move the soul of the United States Congress to get the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act finally passed. So we say his name. George Floyd. We say his name. George Floyd. We say his name. George Floyd.


PAUL: The legislation now heads to the Senate where it still needs 10 Republican votes to pass.

BLACKWELL: Now there are concrete barriers and chain-link fences and razor wire already installed around the courthouse where Chauvin will be tried and around some police precincts in downtown Minneapolis.

PAUL: City officials are hoping to avoid the same violence and unrest that followed Floyd's death last May. CNN's Omar Jimenez has a preview of what we can see.


JIMENEZ: Some calling for justice to letting the justice system play out. Derek Chauvin, the former officer seen on that now infamous cellphone video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nearly eight excruciating minutes, he's standing trial for second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter, both of which he has pleaded not guilty to, but the first carrying a weight of up to 40 years in prison if convicted.


The case is likely to bring protesters and renewed attention to George Floyd's death. His family remains at the center of it all, balancing grief with the weight of a racial justice movement.

Now, with the trial on the horizon, preparations are underway on a number of fronts, including closing the intersection where some of Floyd's final moments played out, leaving it as a central grieving point, as it was in the immediate aftermath of his death.

JACOB FREY, MAYOR OF MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA: We fully expect our Minneapolis residents to engage in the time-honored tradition of their First Amendment rights and speech. And we want to make sure that right to protest is protected in every way, shape, and form.

JIMENEZ: But what some protests over the summer devolved into is still fresh in the minds of city officials. It's why they say to expect an increase law enforcement presence over the next weeks, even months with up to 2,000 National Guard prepared to respond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We cannot allow for any sorts of unlawful activity.

JIMENEZ: Not to mention the physical barriers going up around the Government Center where the trial will be taking place. Then there's COVID-19 protocol. Chauvin will be the only of the four former officers on trial this spring with Judge Peter Cahill citing physical limitations of the courtroom.

"Make it impossible to comply with COVID-19 physical restrictions in a joint trial involving all four defendants beginning March 8, 2021. Given the number of lawyers and support personnel, the parties have now advised the court are expected to be present during trial."

And the judge said it's the largest courtroom they have. Tied to that, only one member of the Chauvin family and one member of the Floyd family will be allowed in the courtroom at a time, a decision the Floyd family called disappointing.

PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: The video is enough. There's nothing else to talk about. You can make a judgment off of that. Because Chauvin showed you he was the judge, the jury, and executioner all at once right then and there when he took my brother's soul from his body.

JIMENEZ: And with jury selection beginning March 8th, opening statements weeks later, a country watches as a test of police accountability gets underway, which many see as a major step toward justice for George Floyd. Omar Jimenez, CNN, Minneapolis, Minnesota.


BLACKWELL: Up next, the pope prays for victims of war in a city that was once controlled by ISIS. We'll have the latest on the pontiff's trip to Iraq. PAUL: And be sure to watch an all-new episode of the CNN Original Series, Lincoln. Tonight's episode examines the Union Army struggling is Abraham Lincoln faces personal tragedy at home.


EDNA GREENE MEDFORD, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, HOWARD UNIVERSITY: In his paper, in his public addresses, whenever he got the opportunity, Frederick Douglass was telling Lincoln, we're not doing well in this war, and you have the opportunity to turn it around. But you're not willing to do it because you are so wedded to protecting these people's property.

ERIC FONER, HISTORIAN: Lincoln is fearful that if he takes direct action against slavery, it will alienate many Northerners. But by the middle of 1862, Lincoln realizes that slavery is the fundamental foundation of Southern society. It's slavery that's keeping their armies in the field. And so you want to win, you've got to attack slavery.


PAUL: Lincoln: Divided We Stand airs tonight at 10:00 right here on CNN. We'll be right back.



PAUL: Well, today, Pope Francis is celebrating mass in Erbil, Iraq. Now, earlier he met with top Kurdish officials and faith leaders before visiting a church that ISIS had destroyed.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Ben Wedeman is following the Pope's visit. He's with his life now from here, Erbil. What's the latest, Ben? Good morning.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, well, we are waiting now, Victor, Christi, for the pope to actually arrive in Erbil. But already it's been a full day of very moving events by him. In fact, just a little while ago, he delivered a sermon in which he had a town that had been destroyed by ISIS essentially.

He said, "Our gathering here today shows that terrorism and death never have the last word." And those are -- that's a sentence that really has so much meaning here, especially in a particularly -- particular town that was ravaged by terrorism.


WEDEMAN (voice over): ISIS was here and here and here. Their reign of madness in the mostly Christian town of Qaraqosh ended more than four years ago. Services have resumed at the church of the Immaculate Conception. Rituals conducted for centuries, once again part of the rhythm of daily life.

Almost all the towns inhabitants fled before the onslaught of vices, the joy of return clouded by the shock of what was left of their homes.

You can't imagine, says Imamah Abdullah (PH). It was empty, destroyed. They left nothing.


In April 2017, shortly after liberation, we attended the first mass in the scorched and vandalized Cathedral.

This church has been repaired since then, but still damaged is the confidence of this ancient community that it will be able to live and prosper in this land.

Pope Francis is scheduled to hold prayers here. Father Ammar Yako will show the pope some of the damage ISIS left behind. He worries decades of trauma have left a deep, still raw wound.

Iraq is in a dark tunnel, he says. There are challenges caused by wars by the terrorism still present in some areas by economic problems and by the corruption so widespread in Iraq.

Yohana Saqr's two daughters gave up and left, went to Sweden, the other to Australia. The visit of Pope Francis, he hopes, will spark a change of hearts and minds.

Maybe there will be love and peace, Yohana tells me. Maybe it will soften and melt frozen hearts.

The sun shines once more upon Qaraqosh as townspeople busy themselves preparing for the Pope. Hoping darkness will not descend upon them yet again.


WEDEMAN (on camera): And the Pope's final event will be, of course, to attend a mass with up to 10,000 people at a stadium here in Erbil. Now, this visit has really allowed Iraqis at least for a few days to really almost forget the problems this country is facing whether they be COVID, and economic crisis and frequent violence.

Nonetheless, at least during the Pope's visit, they've been able to actually enjoy a bit of good news. Victor, Christie?

PAUL: And they'll take it. Ben Wedeman, good to see you today. Thank you so much for the report.

It's the most popular story right now in the Wall Street Journal's website. It's not COVID, it's not the relief bill, it's Oprah's interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It airs tonight. We're going to talk about what they're talking about next.



BLACKWELL: So, after weeks of buildup, Oprah's interview with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex airs tonight.

PAUL: Royal watchers are expecting some serious revelations about their decision to step away from the work of the Royal Family, to move to the U.S. And Harry is expected to discuss how his mom's experience with the media affects him today.


PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: You know, for me, I'm just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you, with my wife by my side. Because I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago. Because it has been unbelievably tough for the two of us, but at least we had each other.


PAUL: CNN's Chief Media Correspondent and Anchor of Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter, with us right now. Stelter, good to see you this morning.


PAUL: I know a lot of people have big expectations about what they think they're going to hear tonight. Do we have a realistic gauge of how much we're going to learn from these two?

STELTER: Well, we know that Oprah Winfrey originally announced this to be a 90-minute special, an hour and a half on CBS. Then it was expanded to two hours long after the interview was taped. That indicates to me that Oprah's producers came away believing they have a lot of new material, a lot to share with the world. And this is a special that's been snapped up all around the world.

It's going to air first here in the United States, then tomorrow in the United Kingdom and many other parts of the world. There's been intense interest in this from television networks. And I think that's because Harry and Meghan have been so low profile. They have stayed out of the press or at least they've tried to.

Meghan has only given to broadcast interviews since joining the royal family, since marrying Harry. So, there's a lot of mystery around this family and around this couple, and that void has been filled with gossip and rumor and innuendo and lots of criticism and all these claims. But rarely do we actually hear from individuals involved.

I think that's why this interview is going to be important. And as you mentioned, the Wall Street Journal leading their Web site all weekend. The Wall Street Journal reports that this was valued by CBS at seven to $9 million. They bought this special from Oprah. And they're charging premium pricing for advertising. All these signs just indicate that the people behind this special believe it's going to be big.

BLACKWELL: Such a poignant point that Prince Harry makes in the comparison to his mother and leaving the family and her doing alone. Also, I expect that we'll hear about the fears of how her life ended, and potentially what he expected could happen or what he obviously did not want to happen to his family.

STELTER: Right. One of the -- one of the targets, I think, one of the subjects we're going to hear about is the British press and why Harry and Meghan have felt under attack from tabloids from paparazzi, from this onslaught of news coverage.

You know, you look at the way they are treated by the British press versus other members of the family. You know, there's going to be -- there's a lot to say that Harry and Meghan have to say about the role of the press really in upending their lives. That's the way they see it.

And rarely do they talk about this publicly. So, I think this is going to be a reset and a reintroduction for Harry and Meghan. Let's think about the stakes the consequences here. Harry and Meghan have moved to the United States. They want to start a new life. They have a deal with Netflix. They're launching podcast. They have a foundation.

They want to use their celebrity status in new ways and create a media brand of their own. I think this is kind of an introduction of their new lives via Oprah later today.


BLACKWELL: All right, Stelzer, I know that millions of people in the U.S. and more around the world will be watching. Thanks so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: We'll see you later this morning. Also watching tonight, folks will be watching the NBA All-Star game close to the public, but it is not stopping businesses from trying to cash in. And it's caught the attention of the NBA and their lawyers.

PAUL: First though, you want to check out an all-new episode of Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. And tonight's episode, he basically eats and drinks his way around Milan.


STANLEY TUCCI, ACTOR: What are you making?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Polenta. And what we do, and this is a recipe of the house, I didn't know where it comes from, we put in the water. These are the garlic. It will leave (INAUDIBLE) flavor.

TUCCI: Yes, yes, it's nice. Yes. But you know a lot about the food of memory in this area.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Polenta in the ancient time, it was like the bread. You eat it warm with meat if you're lucky, or you would have eaten with cheese, or you would eat it just with butter. My favorite dish as a child was (INAUDIBLE). Warm polenta and cold Latin meal.

TUCCI: You know, people from south of Italy call us from northern Italy (INAUDIBLE) because --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, is that true?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Usually your company will choose. And in this case we have --

TUCCI: Yes, what is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- brasato, braised with wine, onion, carrots, celery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's being cooked for like, hours and hours.

TUCCI: My, God, it just falls apart.


PAUL: It looks good even at this hour in the morning, doesn't it? Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN.



PAUL: So, the NBA and city of Atlanta are promoting tonight's All-Star game as a "made for TV event."

BLACKWELL: Yes. That means stay home and watch it on television. But that has not stopped businesses from trying to take advantage of the crowds that show up in person. Coy Wire is with us. Coy, listen, the crowds are out. Driving in today, there was traffic. And now we know lawyers are getting involved.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and tonight like maybe the biggest or worst night of them all. Good morning to you Victor and Christi. In a normal year, the NBA All-Star game would be a week-long celebration filled with parties and events for even the players and fans.

So, this year all on-court festivities, though, they're on one night, supposed to be on one night because of the pandemic. But a source tells CNN that the NBA has still had to send out hundreds of cease and desist letters ahead of tonight's game here in Atlanta.

According to The New York Times, businesses have been using the All- Star logo without the league's consent. Several of the businesses staying open late in anticipation of drawing crowds. Add all of that on top of the fact that LeBron James and other players didn't even want to have an All-Star game this year amid a pandemic. Commissioner Adam Silver was asked yesterday if he ever felt pressured to make this game go on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ADAM SILVER, COMMISSIONER, NBA: There was not pressure certainly from the teams. In fact, teams end up being largely on the side of players. It's a bit lonely as the commissioner because the extent their players are saying we'd rather not play, often the teams reflect those same sentiments.

But it's my job to look out for the overall interest of the league. And as I said earlier, I've haven't made a secret out of the fact that economic interests are a factor.


WIRE: All right, on a positive note here, Sixers' big man Joel Embid is giving all of his $100,000 in All-Star earnings to three organizations combating homelessness in Philadelphia. According to the Sixers, it's enough to provide meals and clothing for thousands of people, COVID treatment for a thousand more, and education, health, and employment services for dozens of formerly homeless families. It'll also be enough to fund a six-week summer camp for 50 at-risk youth.

All right, staying hoops, March Madness is upon us, and Morehead State is going dancing for the first time in a decade. A huge win of a once in Belmont in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship game yesterday. It earns them an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Six foot 10 freshmen Johni Broome here scoring career-high 27 points. But check him out. The sportsmanship, he breaks away from celebrating with teammates to track down the opponents to show some respect, selected Sunday just one week from today.

Now, listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that's where it's heading, just a little bit longer. This appears to be hammer.


WIRE: Bryson DeChambeau throwing his arms in the air, sending the crowd into a frenzy, after smacking a monster 370-yard drive at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, nearly driving the dream on a 555 yard, par-five, longest drive on the six-hole Bay Hill in 18 years.

I mean, this is a touchdown with a Gronk Spike. This is Mariah Carey hitting a high note. When he saw it clear the water, he throws his arms up again. DeChambeau just one stroke behind the leader, Lee Westwood, heading into the final round. After golf's three-months shut down, Victor and Christie, last year, during the pandemic, he showed up in the PGA Tour, his first event with 25 to 30 more pounds of muscle. It's still showing. That's pretty good.

PAUL: Wow. I need that line showing where it goes because otherwise I don't even see it. I'm just saying. I'm just saying. WIRE: 200 miles per hour. Yes, it's moving.

PAUL: Good for him.

BLACKWELL: The crowd was into it.

PAUL: Coy, thank you. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bill as amended is passed.