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New Day Sunday
Senate Passes COVID Relief Bill, Legislation Heads Back To House; WSJ: Third Female Former Staffer Accuses New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of Inappropriate Conduct; White House Aiming For 300 Million Vaccine Doses By End Of May; Pope Expected To Celebrate Mass In Erbil, Iraq Today; Monarchy Braces For Interview With Harry And Meghan. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired March 07, 2021 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: NEW DAY continues right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bill as amended is passed.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
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're ramming through during a pandemic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the current page, the U.S. could reach herd immunity by late summer through vaccinations alone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Now is the time to really crush this.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A war of words is well underway between the royal family and the duke and duchess of Sussex.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meghan Markle accusing the royal family of spreading lies about her and Prince Harry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're taking on a lot of trappings of a big media PR story. But at are the heart of this are real people really hurting.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul. PAUL: Lots of sunshine around the Capitol. We hope it is for you, as
Good morning to you.
This morning, one of the largest emergency relief bills in U.S. history is a big step closer to becoming law. The Senate passed President Biden's nearly $2 trillion rescue plan largely intact. There was no Republican support.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: So, the bill will help millions of Americans. Here is a look at some of the help. Eligible Americans will receive $1,400 checks, $300 a week boost to unemployment benefits through September, 15 percent increase in benefits for food stamp recipients. Most families with children could claim a larger tax credit. Also funding to help people behind on rent or mortgage and more money to help small businesses reopen schools, boost vaccinations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I can say we've taken one more giant step forward into delivering on that promise that help is on the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is on Capitol Hill.
Sunlen, good morning to you. What happens next now and when could this reach the president's desk?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This now, Victor, moves to the House of Representatives where they will be voting on this bill on Tuesday of this week and that's the final step before this bill is signed into law. It heads to President Biden for his signature.
Now, key this week on Tuesday when they hold that vote is watching house progressives, many are been very unhappy with the contours of the compromises that have come together. Specifically, the removal of the federal minimum wage hike, the fact that less people will be getting the $1,400 stimulus checks, and some reduction in the unemployment benefits. Their support here so critical for this bill to go forward.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer acknowledging some are unhappy in the House, but calling for the House to get this done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: People have new differences all the time. You know it's 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 it takes some discussion and sometimes it takes some work, but we don't let our differences stop us from achieving success. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: Now, despite this grumbling, House Democratic leaders are confident that this will pass on Tuesday when they vote on this. Notably, they are trying to reach, of course, that March 14th deadline where we could potentially see some unemployment aid programs expire. This bill then, Victor and Christi, will head to President Biden for his signature.
PAUL: Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much.
I want to go to the White House now with CNN's Jasmine Wright.
Jasmine, good to see you this morning.
President Biden, you would think, is quite happy about yesterday's vote. But what is he saying? How confident is he?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Christi, President Biden says that he is one step closer to his first major legislative victory. But the process of getting there was not painless. We saw West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin really hold up that vote on hours, requiring intervention from the president himself, talking with him during that process. It is an example of how potentially difficult governing will be with these slim majorities both in the Senate and the House. Our own Joe Johns asked President Biden about it yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I'm going to succeed. We're going to succeed 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 is a lot of Republicans who came very close. They have a lot of pressure on them. I still haven't given up. I am getting their support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: Now, this bill, as my colleague Sunlen said, goes to the House before it gets on President Biden's desk -- Christi.
BLACKWELL: I'll take it, Jasmine.
Let me ask you before we let you go, it's jubilee Sunday, anniversary of Bloody Sunday, African American demonstrators demanding the right to vote, attacked by police in Selma, Alabama. President Biden is marking the day. Tell us how.
WRIGHT: President Biden is expected to sign an executive order expanding voting access, and what the White House calls an initial step on the administration's actions on voting rights. Of course, this going to be the first Bloody Sunday that we have without that great civil rights giant, the late John Lewis. Now, later week, President Biden will continue that victory lap that
we saw yesterday over this COVID relief bill. He will be meeting with vaccine, Johnson & Johnson vaccine makers as well as Merck vaccine -- excuse me, the production company that makes the vaccines. He will be meeting with a small business that benefits from the PPP loans, and it will all end up as expected in a moment he marks the year-long anniversary of the shutdown orders on Thursday. So, that is what this week looks like at the White House.
PAUL: All right. Good to know.
Jasmine Wright, thank you so much.
Lynn Sweet is with us. She's the Washington bureau chief for "The Chicago Sun Times", of course.
Lynn, it's good to see you.
So, President Biden asked for $1.9 trillion. It looks as though he is going to get it. It could be, obviously, a huge success. What kind of early -- what kind of early precedent or momentum does this give the president, if this does go through?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, it gives him a political victory. A win's a win. But it also gives him a policy win, and that is his policy is that the Biden administration is going to deliver money in the pockets of Americans.
Now, while there was disagreement over how much, the point is you are going to see some immediate relief and that will give momentum. If nothing had happened, it would have been a major setback that there is going to be a deal means that he can move ahead with the rest of his agenda.
PAUL: And because of that, what is the Republican takeaway?
SWEET: Well, the Republicans in the House and the Senate gave this a solid thumbs down. But here's what's going to be tough -- these benefits are going to everyone in a few weeks, presuming the House signs, you know, passes the bill and sends it to Biden to sign.
How do you, as a Republican lawmaker, go back and say, that $1,400 you got, $2,800 if you're a couple, more than a thousand if you have kids, that's bad policy? Are you as a Republican going to go home and say, your unemployment benefits were extended and, I'm sorry it's not $400, only $300?
Quick point to make, Christi. When the Republicans are so against this, just think, a few months ago when the Republicans cut back the second stimulus to just $600, it was President Trump that said, no, it should be $2,000. That's why the number is $1,400 right now.
In a sense, if you are a Republican, you could say we're just making good on what President Trump set up.
PAUL: OK, OK. We see how it goes. "The Washington Post" is saying this. And this is interesting. They
say, unlike many other significant anti-poverty measures passed by Congress in history, this one has a short time horizon, with almost all of the relief for families going away at the end of the year. That could be an abrupt awakening for Americans have grown to financial support since Congress moved swiftly to create a stronger safety net at the start of the pandemic a year ago.
Certainly, nobody wants to be tied to constantly getting a handout from -- or help, we should say, the government. People want to be out there. They want to be working.
But when this runs out at the end of the year, and if that $15 minimum wage increase does not gain some footing, how potent is the potential danger for Democrats in 2022?
SWEET: Well, just as a practical matter, that $15 minimum wage was not going to happen right away. It was going to be phased in. It would never be fully at $15, even if it were to pass, to 2025.
So I put that out there just for people who think, my gosh, I need that $15 tomorrow. It's not going to happen in any case.
You know, this is just a case of politics. Let the perfect be the enemy of the good. This is a safety net. This is what Democrats believe government is there for.
I think the big gamble that the Biden administration has is that the vaccines will get in the arms of so many people that we could reopen schools, businesses, and the economy will bounce back. So, you know, giving these payments to people won't be necessary after a few months, after the end of the year.
PAUL: Good point. And as Sunlen had pointed out earlier, the progressives are in question here to some. And the progressive caucus said this about the bill in a statement. They said: Despite the weakening of a few House provisions in the Senate which is both bad policy and bad politics, this package provides essential aid to keep people in their homes, put food on the table, reopen schools, ensure access to child care and keep small businesses afloat.
It sounds as, though, they are behind it, certainly, but they do mention bad policy and bad politics. There is a thin margin of error as we know here, and they, I mean, they had to utilize the reconciliation to get the COVID bill passed as we expected them to do in the house on Tuesday.
But what is this revealing about what is ahead for the Democratic Party when we talk about looming legislation for infrastructure and immigration that is coming soon enough?
SWEET: Well, first of all, are progressives are not all of one mind. They are not monolithic, one. Two, infrastructure is easier because it's more of just dealing, horse dealing, projects, if they bring -- if the Congress decides to bring back earmarks, that's the stuff that makes -- helps deal work, if you give lawmakers control over projects.
But that isn't really policy. Immigration is much tougher for Democrats, much tougher for Republicans because that's one of the biggest hot-button issues in Congress right now. Infrastructure is easier because, as they say, roads, bridges, airports are green, not red, not blue.
PAUL: Good point.
Lynn Sweet, always good to have you with us. Thank you for taking the time.
SWEET: Thank you, Christi. Take care.
PAUL: Of course. You too.
And be sure to watch "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" with Abby Phillip. It's today at 8:00 a.m. Eastern. Much more on the COVID relief bill with her.
BLACKWELL: "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting a third former staffer to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has come forward with accusations of inappropriate conduct.
According to 'The Journal," Ana Liss says that the governor made unwanted advances towards her. She says she never filed a complaint but later asked to be transferred to another office. A photo published by the journal shows Cuomo's hand around Liss's waist.
In response to her claims, a senior advisor to Cuomo issued this statement: Reporters and photographers have covered the governor for 14 years watching him kiss men and women 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.
Two other women accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. Last week, Cuomo apologized for making people feel uncomfortable and he denied touching people inappropriately.
PAUL: So we know the experts tell us wearing a mask prevents the spread of the coronavirus. So you might be wondering why so many states are getting risk of mask mandates or so many people don't want to wear one and refuse to do so. We are talking to a medical expert about that after the break that.
BLACKWELL: And today, Pope Francis prayed for victims of war in a city that was once controlled by ISIS. We are following his four-day visit to Iraq.
BLACKWELL: Well, after weeks of declines, the number of new COVID-19 cases seem to plateau. So, yesterday the U.S. recorded fewer than 60,000 new cases, one expert is warning that the U.S. could be at a tipping point of another surge because of this highly contagious variants, all of them.
PAUL: Yeah, the U.S. surgeon general says the country needs to get shots into arms before these variants take over. We know that 29 million Americans now have been fully vaccinated. Another 57 million have had at least one dose.
CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is following the latest on the pandemic.
Evan, we know that the numbers might feel promising to people, but there is an unease about restrictions that states are starting to ease. What do you know?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi.
Look, I have been standing outside here in New York City for an entire year talking about this pandemic, and to be talking about vaccines and reopening the economy is really nice to be talking about. But another thing that we're talking about that we've seen throughout this pandemic is states going their own way on this thing and that makes experts nervous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need you to relax your arm, okay?
MCMORRIS-SANTORO (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 two 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 states 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 were amusement parks, including Disneyland, Magic Mountain, and Universal Studios, along with sports and concert venues, will be allowed to open with limited capacity starting on April 1st.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really think it's time. I think people are starting to get vaccinated, I think California needs it, like, look how dead it is here.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: In Magic Mountain's parking lot, people have been getting COVID-19 vaccinations daily, Kenichi Haskett, the section chief of Los Angeles County Fire Department told CNN Saturday. KENICHI HASKETT, SECTION CHIEF, L.A. COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: We would
like to keep vaccinating here. We're going to 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, if we have other sites identified in Santa Clarita that we 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, 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.
BRITTANY SMART, ICU NURSE IN TEXAS: Not everyone's been vaccinated who wants to get vaccinated, first. Second, we are about to have spring break and we have removed masks at the same time. I think it's going to be too much too fast.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO (on camera): So, look, the headline this Sunday, actual bright shining light at the end of the tunnel. But we're still in the tunnel and the problem is politics seems to be getting back into how we are dealing with this pandemic and that has a concern for public health experts watching the changing rules and worrying the numbers could go back up.
BLACKWELL: And to stretch out the analogy, is the tunnel getting longer? Evan McMorris-Santoro for us this morning, thank you.
Let's bring in now, emergency medicine physician, Dr. Richina Bicette. She is the medical director at Baylor College of Medicine.
Let's start where you are there in Texas. The governor is yelling "olly olly oxen free", Texas open, 100 percent mask mandate be damned the changes in the average of new cases daily, the average of deaths are going up. Let's put those on as I ask the question here.
As we saw this over the last two weeks, what do you expect these numbers will look like two weeks from today?
DR. RICHINA BICETTE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Well, we're seeing what the numbers are looking like with weak mask mandates in place, and with business restrictions in place, so one can only assume that they are going to continue to go up. Texas has consistently ranked within the top three in terms of number of daily cases, number of hospitalizations, and, of course, the number much total deaths. And, again, that's with a mask mandate in place.
So, a lot of us health care workers and those on the front lines are petrified of what's going to come.
BLACKWELL: We've got video. This is from Boise, outside the capitol in Idaho, where families, I say families because they have the participants there, children, participating in an old-fashioned mask burning. I imagine, if these numbers continue to surge in some places, if the trajectory changes, it's going to be hard to get people to put these back on after we've had the relaxing of these mandates.
BICETTE: It was hard to get people to put them on in the first place. And this is what really shot us in the foot in this country. It's been all of the mixed messaging since the very beginning of the pandemic. We have been told that this was just a flu, that it was going to go away whether we had vaccines or not, that if you were young and healthy you didn't have anything to worry about.
All of those things have been proven to be false. There are still some people that have those ideals in their head and won't let them go.
BLACKWELL: The CDC has not yet released its guidance for people who have been vaccinated, received the shots. What are you telling your patients?
BICETTE: For right now, there is no change that when you are in public you should still wear a mask and still socially distance. That does a lot to protect those who are not vaccinated and does a lot to slow the rate of disease spreading throughout the community.
What we're thinking and expecting that the CDC is going to mention in the new guidance is that for those who have been vaccinated and those who are fully vaccinated, let's make a distinction there, you may be able to gather within small groups with other people who are also fully vaccinated.
But we are waiting on the CDC guidelines to come.
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about some good news.
Merck and Ridge Back Bio Therapeutics announced the findings of a phase 2 a trial of an experimental anti-viral treatment. The company says that there was a quicker decrease in infectious virus among adults with early COVID-19.
Of course, the scientific effort has been focused on vaccines and we're grateful to have them. But discuss, if you would, how the development of therapeutics would change the trajectory, the timeline of getting back to some degree of normalcy.
BICETTE: Well, in terms of controlling the pandemic, therapeutics is the one arm that is probably gotten the least attention. We don't really have any great drugs or any great treatment therapies to combat COVID. So, that's definitely an area that's ripe for research and ripe for a new drug to come on the market.
It's not a necessity, but anything we can get will help us in combating what coronavirus is doing to our country and, you know, the long-term side effects that we are seeing. So definitely positive news coming of this Merck trial.
BLACKWELL: One more thing that gets, unfortunately, less attention, and that's mental health. Listen to the director general of the World Health Organization.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WHO DIRECTOR GENERAL: After the Second World War, the world has experienced mass trauma because Second World War affected many, many lives. And now even with this COVID pandemic, with bigger magnitude, more lives have been affected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Mass trauma. What mental health concerns should we all be prepared that will need to be treated and what does that treatment look like?
BICETTE: You know, I'm so glad that you brought this up. This is an important part of the pandemic that I don't think we talk about enough.
Actually, one of my hospitals, we are in the process of publishing a study and writing a paper about the increased number of psychiatric visits during the pandemic. Not only are people suffering from trauma, but imagine the circumstances. There were months on end where people were isolated.
And for those who may live alone, you know, we are telling people don't gather with anyone not in your household, so there are people who went months without having any physical contact with another human being.
That could be very detrimental to someone's mental health, people who lost jobs or had changes in lifestyle because of financial issues. That's definitely another impact on mental health. So we definitely have seen an increase in visits in the emergency department for mental health issues, and it's an important point that I don't think we talk about enough.
BLACKWELL: And that's before with we have the conversation about children.
Dr. Richina Bicette, thank you so much for your insight. Enjoy the week.
BICETTE: Thank you.
PAUL: There are thousands of people who have turned out to greet Pope Francis today. He is visiting the largest Christian city in Iraq. We have some riveting pictures to show you about what's happening there.
BLACKWELL: Live pictures now. This is Erbil in northern Iraq. About 30 minutes, Pope Francis will hold mass. It's an area still recovering after years of occupation by ISIS militants.
PAUL: Yeah, look at the lines there, with the children and the families.
Earlier this morning, the pope visited the Immaculate Conception Church. Take a look at this. This was used as a shooting range by ISIS, and the group destroyed statues. They damaged art. They burned the church's bibles.
Today, the pope, obviously, delivering a message of hope.
John Allen is with us now, CNN senior Vatican analyst and editor of -- for "Crux", an independent Catholic news site.
John, it's always so good to have you back with us. He is also, by the way, author of "The Francis Miracle".
Talk to us, will you, please, about this moment because I want to show a moment in Mosul as well where the pope was standing, I believe it's in front of four churches that were just destroyed by ISIS, and here we have this red carpet to welcome him.
What does this mean to the people of Iraq to know that this pope coming off a worldwide pandemic chose Iraq as his first trip there, and how is he being received?
JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Well, I think the clearer sense from the images we are seeing on the ground and also from what our colleagues who are traveling with the pope are reporting is the pope's reception is off the charts. I mean, I was hearing from one colleague today that the most viral tweet in the nation of Iraq right now is from a young Muslim who sent out a tweet saying he hopes the pope comes every year.
I mean, this is, in part, because the atmosphere in the country is joyous, in part because things are relatively calm right now, and in part also because Iraq has chance to present a positive face of itself to the outside which is, frankly, a fairly rare occurrence.
You asked about the red carpet. I think the reception of the pope not only by ordinary folks on the ground, but also at the highest levels of the country, have been extraordinary. This only the second time the pope has traveled to a majority Shia nation. He visited Azerbaijan a couple of years ago. Of course, yesterday he traveled to Najaf to meet the Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani and had a very warm meeting with a man would was widely recognized as the global leader of Shia Islam.
And the fact that at the top and bottom in this society they recognize the pope as a friend, and also as someone who is a bridge to the rest of the world, to a sympathetic hearing in the rest of the world make a testament to the fruits of eight years of outrage to the Islamic world and to the developing world by this pope.
BLACKWELL: There were once more than 1 million Christians in Iraq. That number is dwindling. You wrote that Christians and Muslims are natural partners. Explain what you meant by that.
ALLEN: Well, I was referring to Shia Muslims. Of course, the Islamic world is guide divided into two branches, the Sunnis and the Shias. The Sunnis are the majority.
The Christian world is likewise divided into main branches, Catholics and Protestants. And Catholics are the majority. But if you look at the similarities in these two worlds, Catholics and Shiites have the strongest sort of parallels.
That is, they both have a clerical hierarchy. They both have a tradition of saints. They both have a strong theology of martyrdom. They believe in scripture and tradition, and on and on. They have popular devotion.
And so when Christians and Muslims come together, often Catholics and Shia Muslims find themselves drawn to one another because of the physiognomy of the two traditions is quite similar.
Of course, given the fact that Shia Islam is so incredibly important in the Persian Gulf, and in places in the Middle East such as Iraq, that means that this kind of Kismet if you like between Catholicism and Shia Islam isn't simply a religious interest. It also has deep strategic importance and you see that playing out during these four days that the pope is on the ground in Iraq.
PAUL: John Allen, we always appreciate your insight and your perspective here. Thank you so much.
ALLEN: You're welcome.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, John.
So in a few hours, later tonight we will see Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan with Oprah Winfrey. We'll hear what they discussed now that they are free to talk without restriction from the palace. We got a live report from London, next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:40:58]
PAUL: So, just hours from now, the world will be captivated by the British monarchy. Queen Elizabeth is expected to speak with a message on unity. That, of course, is striking because we are seeing this growing rift inside the royal family it seems.
BLACKWELL: Now, soon after the speech, Harry and Meghan, their highly anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey, that will air, airing tonight.
CNN's Anna Stewart is live in London this morning.
Anna, how are Britons reacting to the Sussexes doing this interview even before we hear what they're going to say?
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has really split opinion. You get a very different perspective depending on which newspaper you read and which social media accounts you follow. It's really interesting how people have taken sides on this.
In the last few weeks that the debate has really shifted. It was seen very much as a Harry and Meghan versus the British media at one stage and increasingly it appears to be more of a Harry and Meghan versus the royal family debate. Now, part of that is fueled by the teaser clip in which Meghan says that the firm, which is a term referring to the royal family, have played an active role in perpetuating falsehoods.
Now, we actually asked Buckingham Palace for reaction to that comment, but they said no comment at all. They are not reacting yet. Perhaps they are waiting to see that sound bite and the others in the full context of the interview, as are we all. But today, it's business as usual for the royal family, marking Commonwealth Day, but this year without Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex.
PAUL: And without Prince Philip. He's still hospitalized. What do we know about his health at this point?
STEWART: Poor Prince Philip has been in hospital for three weeks. He's 99 years old and this is by far and away, his longest hospital stint. He had a procedure on Wednesday for a pre-existing heart condition. That was at a different hospital, and two days later he was transported back to King Edward VII Hospital. This is a small private hospital in Central London.
Now, he is expected to stay here for a number of days, the palace said, for continued treatment and, of course, recuperation. One hopes perhaps he is not getting the newspapers at the moment and isn't watching the news because royal news come dominates and it really isn't very positive.
PAUL: All right. Anna Stewart, thank you so much. We appreciate the update.
I want to talk about something that Anna just said as well, Meghan, duchess of Sussex, speaking candidly about the royal family or the firm, as she calls them, and the role that she says the palace played in spreading falsehoods about her and her husband. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us. And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, I've -- there's a lot that's been lost already.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Diane Clehane, royals editor for "Best Life Magazine" with us now.
Diane, it's good to see you. Thanks for being here. She's also the author of "The New York Times" bestseller "Diana: The Secrets of Her Style."
Thank you again for having here. So, I understand you told our producers --
DIANE CLEHANE, ROYALS EDITOR, "BEST LIFE": Thanks a lot.
PAUL: -- that you understand this interview, which is a couple hours long, is 75 percent Meghan and 25 percent Harry. Do you think that was something that was planned, or did that just happen organically based on what we know going in?
CLEHANE: I think it's very much the plan. If you look back, Oprah and Meghan have been friends or started to get to know each other before the wedding. And Oprah has been courting the idea of doing this interview and speaking with Meghan for all that time. One of the clips that we saw, they actually talk about the fact that she wasn't allowed to speak to her for a pre-wedding interview.
So, I think the intent was to get Meghan because she is, obviously, the focus of the attention, especially here, and Harry would come in at the end to talk about the safer topics, even though he does weigh in on the reason that they left.
PAUL: So what does this reveal, do you think, this interview, about potential cracks in the monarch?
CLEHANE: Well, I think it's very interesting. I think the lesson here is that you can't enter into a centuries old institution not fully aware of what the responsibilities are. I think it's interesting because Meghan was not a teenager. She is a, you know, 30-some-odd- year old person who's been out in a public eye. She equated royals with celebrity. American celebrity is not the same as being a member of the British royal family. PAUL: Where does this leave Harry at a time when prince Philip is so
sick? We know that he had a -- he had or maybe has still a very strong relationship with Prince Philip, who isn't well.
CLEHANE: It's really sad. I think that's the saddest part for many people. He had an extremely close relationship with Phillip, and it's very curious to everyone why he hadn't gone over to see his grandfather up until now. I have been told that he was self- quarantining for a while in anticipation of going to England should things have take a turn. But it's going to create more distance -- it's going to create more distance between harry and the entire family. So it's really a bit of an open question as to what happens after this interview.
PAUL: Do they talk at all about Princess Diana? I mean, what do we know about that? Obviously, when they talk about the media, I mean, those two things, sadly, go together.
CLEHANE: Well, it's very interesting. Harry has always talked about how the media has been so intrusive and played such a large role in his mother's death. He said to ITV last October 2019 that every time he sees a flash bulb, he is brought back to that moment. But I think that, I all in all, I think Diana's death had a huge impact on Harry and William.
In a way, I feel that harry couldn't save his mother when he was 12 years old. In way, he is sort of conflated what's happening with Meghan with what happened to Diana. I believe he is trying to rescue Meghan from all of this because he was not able to rescue his mother.
PAUL: Do you have a good sense of what the intention of this interview is from Meghan and Harry's perspective?
CLEHANE: It's very curious. The timing is very curious because it comes out of nowhere. They had no control over it happening when Prince Philip fell ill. But I think it's just because they feel that it's time.
But I also think that no one does anything in this group by accident. So there is, obviously, something to be gained by Meghan and Harry doing this interview now and clearly, Oprah Winfrey is going to be at the top of the heap. This will be the most talked about interview of the year.
So, it's a very transactional sort of thing. I think both parties are going to get a lot. But the big winner, I think, is Oprah, not the royals and certainly not Meghan and Harry.
PAUL: Real quickly, depending on what's said, what is the expectation for reaction from the Brits?
CLEHANE: Well, sad to say that the Brits are very excited about Meghan when she first arrived in the country. Once she got married and the secrecy started, especially when she was pregnant with Archie, the relationship has really gone from bad to worse. So I feel that most of the people in Britain have made their minds up
about her. They are very unhappy. They feel that their behavior is disrespectful to the queen. So, I can't see her sort of reputation getting worse with the British people. But with Harry, it went from disappointment to sadness to now anger. They are very angry he is going along with this and they have no idea what his intentions are.
PAUL: All right. Diane Clehane, we appreciate you taking time to be with us and explaining this to us. We are all going to be watching tonight. Thank you so much.
CLEHANE: Thanks for having me.
PAUL: Of course.
BLACKWELL: Tonight's new episode of "LINCOLN: DIVIDED WE STAND", highlights the pressure Abraham Lincoln faced as a president of a country fighting a civil war. Here's a look ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDNA GREENE MEDFORD, AUTHOR, "LINCOLN AND EMANCIPATION": 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 whetted to protecting these people's property.
ERIC FONER, PHD, AUTHOR, "TEH SECOND FOUNDING: HOW THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION REMAKE THE CONSTITUTION": 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. So you want to win, you've got to attack slavery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: "LINCOLN: DIVIDED WE STAND" airs tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STANLEY TUCCI, CNN HOST: These fish that come from these lakes are really crucial to the diet here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly.
TUCCI: For centuries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know our tradition is -- is fantastic.
TUCCI: We're going to fish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course.
TUCCI: I'm very excited. I love fishing. I never catch anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today you will.
TUCCI: Today I will, I hope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope.
TUCCI: How do you know when you -- you can feel it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, you feel it.
TUCCI: You feel the nibble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you feel -- maybe you have. I think you have. Yes, you have. This is a nice one.
TUCCI: I could feel it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a nice one.
TUCCI: That's what I'm talking about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is the president?
TUCCI: Don't cut this sequence. Make sure it's in one shot so they know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: It's a fantastic feeling when you finally catch the first one.
Be sure to tune in tonight when Stanley Tucci explores Milan. "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY" airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific here on CNN.
PAUL: You sound like you speak from experience, just saying.
BLACKWELL: A couple of times. A couple of times.
PAUL: All right. Listen, we want to leave you with a smile here. A UPS driver in Pennsylvania moved to tears after residents on his delivery route showed appreciation in a big way. Look at this.
Chad Turns was handed $1,000 gift from his customers. They say it was a thank you for the hard work that he's done during this pandemic. The people there said Turns is well-known for his thoughtfulness and kindness and even leaves treats for the dogs when delivering packages.
Kudos to him. Kudos to that community, leaving us with some good stuff today.
We hope you make good memories wherever you are today.
BLACKWELL: Yes. If you can't spare $1,000, just say thank you.
PAUL: That's right.
BLACKWELL: Thank you for watching.
"INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" with Abby Phillip is up next.