Return to Transcripts main page

New Day Sunday

Police Identify Two People Killed In Multiple Shootings In Virginia; Virginia Beach Police Say Officer Who Shot A Man To Death Did Not Activate His Body Cam; Health Officials Warn Of Avoidable Surge As Variant Cases Rise; CDC: U.S. Averaging Nearly 2.7 Million Daily Shots; Companies Begin Testing Coronavirus Vaccines on Children; Rutgers University To Required COVID Vaccine For Students This Fall; Six States Open Vaccinations To General Public Tomorrow. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired March 28, 2021 - 06:00   ET



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

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Sunday morning, it's still dark but it's early and we are with you. And we're so glad to have you with us.

As we learn more this morning about the night of violence that left two people dead, eight people injured. This was in Virginia Beach. It happened on Friday night. And one of the people who was killed was a 25-year-old black man. Donovan Lynch is his name. He was shot by a Virginia Beach police officer.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, police say a gun was found in the area but the circumstances surrounding the death now, they're still raising some questions. The officer did not have his body camera turned on. It's not clear why.

CNN's Brian Todd joins us now from Virginia Beach. Brian, what are you learning about this shooting and the circumstances surrounding it?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Christi, we're learning that there's an investigation ongoing. That there are not many answers forthcoming from police this morning, as you guys mentioned in your introduction there. There's still a lot of unanswered questions.

We do know that 25-year-old Donovan Lynch was shot and killed by a police officer on Friday night in the third shooting incident among three very chaotic incidents, and we're not even clear whether those were related. They appear at this moment that they were not related to one another. But police did confront Donovan Lynch a few blocks away from where the initial shooting incident occurred on Friday night.

And, again, as we have mentioned the police chief, Paul Neudigate, did not have many answers. There were reports that Donovan -- initial reports that Donovan Lynch was not armed. However the chief pushed back on that in a news conference last night talking about a weapon at the scene. Here's what the Chief Paul Neudigate had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF PAUL NEUDIGATE, VIRGINIA BEACH POLICE: I've seen some of the community concerns about Mr. Donovan being -- or Mr. Lynch being unarmed. What I can tell you is that there was a firearm recovered in the vicinity of where this incident occurred.

We would like to be more forthcoming but unfortunately we do not have body cam footage of this incident. The officer was wearing a body cam but for unknown reasons at this point in time, it was not activated.


TODD: And the chief said that that officer has been placed on an administrative assignment pending an investigation, that that is standard procedure. But, again, the fact that that officer did not have a body camera on is really telling here.

It's telling in the aspect that we just are not getting very much information on the details of this shooting. They are investigating it. They also have not released the identity of the officer involved in this shooting.

It was a very chaotic night, a chaotic few moments on Friday evening. Three separate shooting incidents that left at least 10 people injured. Another young person was killed in a second shooting incident. Again, Donovan Lynch killed in the third shooting incident among the three.

Right before that, a young woman named Deshayla Harris was killed, 29 years old. Police said she was a bystander at a second shooting. And several people were injured in an initial shooting along the ocean front in Virginia Beach.

So it was a very chaotic and violent night on Friday night, still piecing together the circumstances around Donovan Lynch's death at the hands of police, guys. But, again, we're going to try to get some more answers. They have not been able to provide us many from the police side of things, and we're going to be pursuing those answers.

PAUL: Brian Todd, thank you so much. We really appreciate all your work.

We want to go to the coronavirus pandemic now and the race toward a surge in COVID vaccinations before the U.S. sees another avoidable surge in COVID cases.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The CDC reports more than 140 million doses have been administered in the U.S. That's according to the White House, 73 percent of seniors, 36 percent of adults have at least their first dose. But just around 15 percent of the company -- the country, rather, is fully vaccinated. So we're still far from reaching herd immunity, obviously, that's needed to end the pandemic.

PAUL: Health officials are closely watching the rise in cases, though, of the variant, the one that was first seen in the U.K. Now, Dr. Fauci has said the variant is more contagious and may likely be associated with more severe disease. The concern of a new surge is driving the plea for people to keep their guard up, get their shots if you can. CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on that.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In south Los Angeles, if there wasn't a way, there was definitely a will to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got our shots.

SANDOVAL: This is Angelina Spicer, comedian and local activist who says she pulled resources together to shuttle some of her community's most vulnerable to a vaccination site.


A shot in the arm while on a bus was the only way Claudia Harper says she could get her shot.

CLAUDIA HARPER, LOS ANGELES RESIDENT: I wouldn't have been able to make it at 90 years old. I couldn't stand in those lines. So this is really great for me.

SANDOVAL: The riders on this bus can now count themselves among the more than 90 million people to receive at least one dose of the COVID- 19 vaccine. At a seven-day average rate of about 2.7 million shots a day the White House is confident it will reach 200 million administered doses in the first 100 days of the Biden administration. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, expects not only that we'll reach that mark, we'll surpass it.

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The last couple of days, we've been giving 3.4 million shots per day. So we will easily beat that.

If we do 300 million shots per day which we have shown the capacity to do then in that first hundred days we will have given 230 million shots so we will certainly surpass that number.

SANDOVAL: A CNN analysis found that as of this morning only two states, Arkansas and New York, are yet to share when they plan to open up vaccine eligibility to the general public. As states expand vaccines to older teens, Pfizer says it plans to have its shot ready for children ages 12 to 15 by the start of the next school year.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It's important that we do the trials on children to make sure that the vaccines are safe and effective and those trials should be done because children should also not be denied the benefits of vaccination. I certainly would feel more comfortable with my child back in school if they're vaccinated, although it should not be a precondition to in-person instruction.

SANDOVAL: Also coming this fall Rutgers University not only encouraging students to get their shots, but they're required for in- person classes.


SANDOVAL: Six states have already expanded vaccine eligibility so far. Come tomorrow, there will be six more that will be joining the list. Those include Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, North Dakota, Louisiana, and Kansas as well. All of them now going to be including the public or at least the general public in terms of vaccine eligibility.

We mentioned New York and Arkansas, just a little while ago. In the piece Arkansas saying they are still hoping to potentially meet a May 1st deadline here. New York Governor Cuomo says he first wants to look at their stockpile or at least the vaccine supplies, before deciding when that will actually happen, Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval for us. Thank you so much.

Now, the U.S. is the country with the highest number of deaths due to COVID in the world. And that's what makes this reflection from Dr. Deborah Birx so painful for so many families. You know, she was the former White House coronavirus response coordinator. And she told Sanjay Gupta that she thinks the majority of U.S. deaths could have been prevented.

PAUL: Yes. And also in this exclusive conversation that airs in full, by the way, tonight on CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci praises one big decision made back then that he says is paying off now. Take a listen.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Was there a moment, Dr. Fauci, when you said, OK, this is the big one?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty percent increase in New York hospitals in just 24 hours. That's a big number.

FAUCI: When I saw what happened in New York City --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Refrigerated trucks are now being mobilized as makeshift morgues.

FAUCI: -- almost overrunning of our health care system, it was like, oh, my goodness. And that's when it became very clear that the decision we made on January the 10th to go all out and develop a vaccine --

We have a number of vaccine candidates --

-- may have been the best decision that I've ever made with regard to an intervention as the director of the institute.

GUPTA (voice-over): The lifesaving and record breaking vaccines that Dr. Fauci oversaw were a giant success for the doctors, for science and for the world. But remember, a vaccine does nothing for the patient on the table. In this case, the hundreds of thousands who perished before science could save them.

(on camera): When you look at your data now and you think, OK, had we mitigated earlier, had we actually paused earlier, and actually done it, how much of an impact do you think that would have made?

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: I look at it this way, the first time we have an excuse, there were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.


PAUL: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed is with us now. He's an epidemiologist and former Detroit health commissioner. Dr. El-Sayed, always good to have you with us. Your reaction, first of all, to what you were hearing there from Dr. Birx?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, Christi. It's astounding, 550,000 people, and it's a reminder that all of this could have been handled so much differently we did not have to go through that kind of pain, that kind of agony.


And not just the lives lost but the livelihoods destroyed, and all of the people who are the ripple effect, the loved ones, the sisters, the brothers, the mothers, the fathers who mourn people who should not have been lost to us. We know that in public health it's not just about how you respond, it's how you prepare.

And not only were we ill prepared but our response was hampered by the fact that we had decision makers who cared more about their perception in the moment than about whether or not we could act, and seeing it reflected on by one of the people in the room when it was all happening. It brings back that heart ache and I know that there are families all over the country who wince when they'll hear something like that.

PAUL: Well, and I want you, if you would please, to compare what we just heard there with what she said. This is from August 2nd, 2020 to Dana Bash about the government response during the summer surge. Let's listen here.


DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Is it time for the federal government to reset?

BIRX: I think the federal government reset about five to six weeks ago, when we saw this starting to happen across the South. And that's why we have done these very -- rather than generic federal framework, we've gone to very specific state and local, city by city, county by county, showing out which counties and which cities are under a particular threat and what mitigation has to be done. And what we're starting to see across the West and across the South, which the American people should find a little bit reassuring, is these mitigation efforts are beginning to work.


PAUL: What do you make and can you reconcile what she said back then in light of what she is saying now?

EL-SAYED: You know, Christi, it's really hard to do. If you're being generous you'll say, well, that was the fog of war and she was in a situation where she was trying to make decisions in real time, and now she's however many months behind and is watching this with hindsight, which of course is always 2020.

The other point here though is it wasn't just her. I mean, we continue to be in the grips of a governing philosophy that tells us that being open at all costs is the way to go.

You have governors across the country despite the fact that cases are ticking upward in their states wanting to reopen, wanting to rescind mask mandates. And so that governing philosophy which wasn't hers, which was the president of the United States is, continues to hamper our ability to deal with this. There continue to be people who suffer and die because of it.

And so I don't think it would be fair to put it all at the feet of Dr. Birx but rather to look at this holistically as she has right now and say, you know what? This is what happens when instead of uniting the American people around a challenge that we all face instead you think about how you can divide people and turn it into political gain. And it's still happening now.

PAUL: You talk about where we are now. Let's discuss that for a second because there are five straight weeks of growth in cases in Michigan. And as I understand it, correct me if I'm wrong, part of that is because of the B.1.1.7, which is most prevalent there. Fifty percent, of course, more transmissible.

The CDC has Michigan showing here. There's the state map. It is the second state with the highest numbers of that variant. Florida is the first. First of all, why do you think Michigan and secondly, does the state have a handle on it?

EL-SAYED: Well, I'll tell you this, I live in Michigan. And if you compare the number of B.1.1.7 cases to the size of the population we have the highest per capita rate of B.1.1.7. We know that B.1.1.7 is both more transmissible and it's also evidence suggesting that it's more deadly.

And so this is the moment where we learn the lessons from the last year of COVID-19, and recognize that when it's starting to increase, we're already too late. You have to meet this virus at the head. And I think we have a responsibility to be asking whether or not some of the rescinding of the anti COVID-19 measures that our governor was so quick to engage with, which was the right choice. Whether or not maybe we should be rethinking coming off of those things and whether or not perhaps it's worth stepping back and asking, is there more we can do to prevent the spread of B.1.1.7, not just within Michigan but across the country? And recognize that as much as we have vaccinations on the way, they're still just on the way. We done have the level of herd immunity that we need right now to know we're secure.

And so we have got to concentrate on continuing to get the vaccinations in arms but at the same time masking up, staying physically distant, making sure that we're washing hands, and doing the things at the government level to protect people, I think, continue to be important as the number suggest.

PAUL: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, we appreciate the time you're taking with us and walking us through all of these changes for all this time.


Thank you so much, sir.

EL-SAYED: Christi, thank you so much for having me.

PAUL: Always.

And tonight, be sure to watch an unprecedented event. You saw glimpses of it there, but tonight it is Dr. Sanjay Gupta when the medical leaders of the war on COVID break their silence. The CNN Special Report "COVID WAR: THE PANDEMIC DOCTORS SPEAK OUT" airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern.

BLACKWELL: And we have the latest for you from Tennessee. There are reports of water rescues, cars being swept away by flash flooding, and the rain is still coming down there.

PAUL: Also, President Biden is hitting the road this week to unveil his $3 trillion infrastructure plan. What we know about where that money would go and if Democrats think they can get it through.


BLACKWELL: There's dangerous flooding in parts of Tennessee this morning. Water rescues across parts of the state as well. Now, flash flood warnings are up in Nashville.


There are reports of water rushing into homes south of the city and people are trapped in attics. Emergency officials are warning drivers to stay off the roads because more cars are stalling on flooded streets and highways.

PAUL: Now, the flooding is following a tornado that actually ripped through that state. It destroyed homes, pulled up trees and smashed power lines. CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is with us now. I understand there are 80 million -- more than 80 million people in the south that are under a threat of some sort of severe storms today?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it's kind of a two-fold, Victor and Christi. You've got the flooding aspect on one side, the severe aspect on the other. And unfortunately for the state of Tennessee, they have a little bit of both or a lot of bit of both in the last 24 to 48 hours.

Here's a look at the last six hours. Again, you can see that heavy line of rain moving through. But also what you can't really see is all the back building, how the rain just kind of trained over the same locations over and over again, which is why they got so much rain in a short period of time.

The red color indicates flash flood warnings. Those are valid for at least the next three hours or so. You also have the green color. That's the flash flood watch. That's going to remain in effect likely for the rest of the day today.

Look at this widespread area of red. That's over 6 inches of rain, guys. That's just the last 24 hours. Here's a look, too. That's the -- in Nashville, they totaled with just about 6.69 inches for their two- day total. That's their second highest two-day total since 2010 when they had their epic devastating flood back in May of that year.

We're also concerned about a lot of the rivers, the creeks, the streams in this area because not only are they a little bit swollen some of them overrunning themselves. And so you have these areas like this one in particular, Mill Creek. Look at that sharp rise as it goes up.

Now the good news is the National Weather Service does believe that this has crested and should begin to start coming back down shortly. Here's the thing, though, that makes it the second highest crest on record for that particular creek, and it's not alone. There are so many others around the area that have so much water in them right now.

But we also talked about the severe storms. Again, they weren't just hit with heavy rain. They were also hit with hail, damaging winds. And, again, we had over a dozen tornado reports as well, across areas of the southeast. That is likely to continue as we go through the day today.

You already have some severe thunderstorm warnings in effect right now. Those are those orange boxes you see there as the main line continues to slide off towards the east. It will take with it the threat for severe weather for Alabama, Georgia and into the Carolinas as we go through the rest of the day.

So, here's the target point for severe storms for today. You're talking a few tornadoes, some large hail. We had reports of baseball sized hail yesterday. Maybe not quite that big today but certainly quarter, ping-pong ball, golf ball sized all very possible for today. Damaging winds also expected for today, Victor, and Christi. Again, cities that we're mainly focused on Charlotte, Raleigh, and even around the Washington, D.C. area.

PAUL: My goodness.

BLACKWELL: Allison Chinchar, thank you so much for that report and we'll continue to check in with you.

PAUL: So this week President Biden is gearing up to sell the next big ticket item on his legislative agenda. We're talking about a massive infrastructure bill. Here's the question a lot of people have, is he going to be able to find bipartisan support this time around?



PAUL: So President Biden is set to move on to his next big ticket agenda item this week, infrastructure. Now, the president is expected to unveil a two-part $3 trillion infrastructure and jobs package this week.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The White House is keeping the focus on jobs, but of course they've got to still watch immigration, and there are people calling for changes to gun laws. CNN's Jasmine Wright joins us now from the White House. What do we know about what's going to be in this package?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Frankly, Victor, it's a lot. As you said, CNN has learned that this bill is expected to cost a hefty $3 trillion. And it's so big because this is the recovery part of President Biden's economic agenda. And the White House really sees this as a vehicle to jump start the economy, and give Americans jobs.

So let's get into what's in this bill. From what we know so far, reported by our own Phil Mattingly, the bill will be broken up into two parts. The first, focus on infrastructure and clean energy. Traditional things like updating roads, railroads, bridges, and money for climate measures among others. The second part is what -- is kind of a catch all, what they call the Care Economy, focused on domestic economic issues like universal pre-K, child care and care giving, along with more.

Now, Victor and Christi, next week, as Biden rolls this out we know that the administration is facing pressure to deal with the societal issues like voting rights after that Georgia law we saw this week, as well as gun control after those two mass shootings. But Thursday, in that press conference Biden gave, he was adamant that for his next priority, infrastructure is next. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The next major initiative is, and I'll be announcing it Friday in Pittsburgh in detail, is to rebuild the infrastructure both physical and technological infrastructure of this country so that we can compete and create significant numbers of really good paying jobs.


WRIGHT: So in that sound bite Biden mistakenly said Friday now we know the event is going to be Wednesday.


But, listen, the idea here is that if the White House gets the economy rolling, gets people's jobs, that means that voters especially Republican voters are going to approve of Biden and therefore that legislation, those things like voting rights are all going to flow from there.

But of course, we know that anything getting done in Congress is going to be difficult because of the Democratic slim majority. So, while the White House would like to get this done quickly, we know that this is going to be a month-long effort all starting Wednesday when Biden makes his first pitch in Pittsburgh. Victi, Christor -- Victor, Christi?

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: You know what? Sometimes --

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We've gone so long without it.

WRIGHT: So long.

PAUL: No, it's OK. Sometimes we just need a little chuckle. And I appreciate you giving it to us, Jasmine. We do. We need it. You always do such a great job.

BLACKWELL: Jasmine Wright.

PAUL: Jasmine Wright for us, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you so much.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring in now Toluse Olorunnipa, CNN Political Analyst and National Politics Reporter for the Washington Post.

Toluse, let's start here. Infrastructure really is the issue on which parties say we can negotiate, we can come to some bipartisan agreement. On policy, is that likely? On politics, are Republicans -- is it plausible they're going to give this president a $3 trillion win after his $1.9 trillion win?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, if you would have asked me that on January 20th, I may have said that it's potentially likely that maybe Republicans will come together, move beyond the Trump era and try to work with Democrats on infrastructure.

But after watching what happened with the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan and how partisan it ended up being with no Republicans signing up for it, I don't think it's likely that we will see very many Republicans, if any, sign on to trillion -- $3 trillion in spending. Not only because of the politics, they have made the decision that opposing everything that this president proposes will help them to politically in the Midterms as well as on policy.

There is a lot of agreement that we need to update the infrastructure of this country but how to do it, how to pay for it, the fact that the Biden administration is looking at raising taxes on corporations and high wealth individuals, that's something Republicans are not supporting. They don't want to roll back the Trump tax cuts.

So, there's a lot of disagreement on policy. And when it comes to the politics, Republicans have decided that they are going to oppose everything that Biden is for and hope that helps them in 2022.

BLACKWELL: So, if Democrats can get this through the Senate through Budget Reconciliation which requires only -- well, I shouldn't say only, all 50 Democratic senators and the Vice President who was the president of the Senate to break that tie, do they have all Democrats? Is Joe Manchin going to go along for a $3 trillion party-line vote for infrastructure?

OLORUNNIPA: Well, we saw some of the difficulties that the Democrats had and making sure they had their entire caucus together as they were putting together the Coronavirus Relief Plan. There were some last minute high jinks with Joe Manchin trying to change some parts of the bills, objecting to some of the spending.

And he has already started to say that he is on board with a multi- trillion dollar spending plan, so that is good for Joe Biden and the Biden administration. But the devil is in the details when the numbers start coming out when some of the tax increases that Biden is proposing starts to be detailed whether someone like Joe Manchin will be able to get on board with it, whether he will want specific things.

He's already talked about bipartisanship when it comes to things like voting rights. Is he going to try to make one last stand for trying to get Republicans on board with its infrastructure package maybe by shrinking the size of the plan or curtailing or cutting back some of the tax cuts. That's something that remains to be seen.

And it's very, very thin margin that Democrats have to work with. They have to keep everyone on board. And when you have conservative Democrats like Senator Manchin with very progressive Democrats like Bernie Sanders, it's very difficult to keep that level of diversity in your caucus and keep everyone unified.

But I think the fact that they realize that this is potentially their last chance of doing something big with legislation before the midterms and telling voters that this is what we delivered for you in the Biden administration, that may keep them all on board especially the fact that they know Republicans are likely not going to help them.

And they either have to stick together or they'll fail together. And I think that may allow them to be unified around the idea of passing what will be landmark legislation to change a lot of things about the country including updating some outdated infrastructure. BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about immigration. The former president, President Trump was on Fox News last night and he told one of the hosts that he is considering going to the border. Here's the phrase we all have heard. "Over the next couple of weeks."

Now, we know the veracity of Trump over the next couple of weeks, the health care plan, the former First Lady's immigration process, tax cut, so it's unlikely to happen. But does the threat, does the tease of the former president go into the border hasten a visit from President Biden? He said that he would go "at some point." Bipartisan calls for him to go to the border to see what's happening there. What do you think?


OLORUNNIPA: It does sound like Biden is trying to keep the focus away from the border and keep it on his agenda, so I think him going to the border may make it harder for him to push forward this infrastructure plan that he wants everyone to focus on over the next several weeks.

So, I wouldn't expect him to go unless the situation either gets seriously worse or if it gets seriously better and he wants to prove and show you know everything is under control, I've handled the situation. So, if things remain at this at the status quo, I think he will try to maybe send the Vice President there and other top-ranking officials, but he wants his focus and his administration's focus to be on his legislative agenda.

And as we saw during the press conference last week, he tried to steer questions away from the border back towards his plan and what he wants to be talking about which is Coronavirus relief, getting, you know, vaccinations, money in people's pockets, as well as this new infrastructure plan which provide new jobs for a lot of people who are still out of work.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Well, this over the next couple of weeks is probably just a distraction. Those things never came over the next couple of weeks. It didn't come in the month of Sundays, so we probably won't see former President Trump going to the border. Toluse Olorunnipa, thank you so much.

OLORUNNIPA: Thank you.

PAUL: Well, the Wall Street Journal is reporting dozens of officials who have been subpoenaed as part of the investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Governor Andrew Cuomo. We have details for your next.



PAUL: There were more than 50 women outside Governor Andrew Cuomo's Manhattan office yesterday demanding that he be impeached. Several women have come forward accusing the governor of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct. The governor has denied any wrongdoing. BLACKWELL: Well, now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting the New

York Attorney General's Office has subpoenaed dozens of officials as part of its investigation into those allegations. CNN's Athena Jones is following those developments.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christy and Victor. The New York State Attorney General's Office has subpoenaed dozens of officials in Governor Andrew Cuomo is administration requesting they produce documents as part of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against the governor. This is according to The Wall Street Journal which is citing people familiar with the matter.

Now, the governor has denied any wrongdoing and the Attorney General's Office declined to comment on the Journal's reporting. When asked about the report, two lawyers representing the Cuomo administration in this investigation told CNN, "No one should be surprised that the AG's office is issuing requests for documents and interviewing witnesses, including several who work for Governor Cuomo. That happens in every investigation, and it's wildly premature to speculate what it means. Good, thorough and fair investigations take time."

One of the lawyers, Paul Fishman of a law firm Arnold and Porter would not confirm to CNN if Melissa DeRosa, the governor's top aide, was among those subpoenaed as the Journal reported. Several women have accused the governor of sexual harassment including 25-year-old former aide Charlotte Bennett, whose lawyer Debra Katz has said investigators must examine whether high-level aids enabled Governor Cuomo has behavior and swept evidence of sexual harassment under the rug.

Katz said Bennett spoke with investigators last week for several hours over Zoom answering detailed questions. This is just one of three separate probes Governor Cuomo is facing into various accusations of misconduct including his administration's handling of COVID-19 related nursing home data.

The independent investigators are expected to issue a public report with their findings when the investigation concludes likely months from now. Christie, Victor?

PAUL: Athena Jones, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: So, the argument for reparations for Black Americans that typically is the conversation we have a federal level, a national level, but there are some states, some towns that are not waiting for the federal government to do something about it. We'll tell you.



BLACKWELL: Reparations for slavery, once -- some would call a fringe issue, is now gaining momentum. The latest evidence, a Chicago suburb is becoming the first U.S. city to approve raise reparations for Black residents. PAUL: And this is happening after Congress held a hearing on reparations last month and of course the reckoning on race and social justice since last summer's Black Lives Matter protests. Here's CNN's Suzanne Malveaux on what could happen next.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A historic breakthrough for the black residents of Evanston, Illinois.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Evanston City Council approved adoption --

MALVEAUX: A vote to provide up to $25,000 in reparations for housing costs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think this step is going to pull all of America forward.

MALVEAUX: Cities like Evanston are not waiting for the federal government to lead on reparations despite the fierce debate.

DANNY GLOVER, ACTOR: I sit here as the great-grandson of four former slave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can we pay for your great, great grandfather being burned to death?\

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): No one currently alive was responsible for that.

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES, CREATOR, THE 1619 PROJECT: There's no other way to close the racial wealth gap except by transferring wealth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep you reparations. I do not want the dependency.

MALVEAUX: Across the country, in the throes of Black Lives Matter protests, last summer, Asheville North Carolina's city council took the lead by voting for $1 million in community reparations. Earlier this month, Georgetown University pledged an initial $100 million to educate the descendants of those sold by the college in 1838. That same week, a major U.S. bank announced its support for congressional action.

But even the suggestion of reparations is frowned upon by many Republicans.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Reparations, what does that got to do with COVID?

MALVEAUX: As Senator Lindsey Graham recently criticized aid for Black farmers in the COVID relief package, Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of The 1619 Project argues why reparations are necessary.


HANNAH-JONES: For 250 years, Black Americans were legally unable to gain any wealth. That was followed by a 100 year period where Black Americans were legally discriminated against in every aspect of American life.

MALVEAUX: Black people freed after the Civil War were initially offered 40 acres and a mule for compensation under President Abraham Lincoln, but it was soon scrapped. Today, scholars estimate that would be equal to between $12 and $35 trillion in value, but disagree over the individual amount.

HANNAH-JONES: About $70,000 which is the average gap in wealth between White Americans and Black Americans.

SHELBY STEELE, SENIOR FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTIONS: I'm supposed to put my hand out and -- what's my price?

MALVEAUX: For Professor Shelby Steele whose grandfather was enslaved --

STEELE: My biggest problem with reparations is that it undermines the dignity of those people like my grandfather and father.

MALVEAUX: Complicating the matter is who would qualify.

HERSCHEL WALKER, FORMER PLAYER, NFL: Do you go to 23andMe or DNA tests to determine the percentage of blackness?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): This was our life. The back of a beaten slave.

MALVEAUX: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee reintroduced H.R.40 in January, a bill rejected for more than 30 years, which calls for a commission to study reparations on the federal level.

LEE: It is a reckoning, that it is time. It is not a legislation found in anger.

MALVEAUX: But for Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, the debt to Blacks has long been paid.

MCCONNELL: We've been tried to deal with our original sound of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We've elected an African-American president.

MALVEAUX: For many years, reparations was a political non-starter.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The best reparations we can provide our good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed.

MALVEAUX: Former President Obama on reparations today.

OBAMA: Even though I was convinced the reparations was a non-starter during my presidency, I understand the argument that we should talk about it anyway, if for no other reason than to educate the country.

MALVEAUX: Now, some Democratic lawmakers see new hope for reparations under the Biden-Harris administration.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He supports the study of reparations and what the impact would be.

MALVEAUX: Reparations historically a fringe issue, now part of our national conversation as we struggle to address equity and race. Suzanne Malveaux, CNN.


BLACKWELL: Our thanks to Suzanne for that story. Now, H.R.40 has more than 170 co-sponsors. It would create that national commission to study reparations, has a good chance of passing the House -- in the House, rather. But like a lot of other Democratic House-sponsored bills, it's much tougher fight in the Senate. We'll be right back.



PAUL: So, wondering how you're feeling about March Madness? You know, upsets, buzzer-beaters, Cinderella stories, it's out there.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I mean, it's a little disappointing if you feel that a sensible bracket this year. Coy Wire --

PAUL: Are you as always sensible?

BLACK: No, they're not -- whenever I feel out, it didn't work this year, OK. Sensible in that. Coy Wire, come on in and help us out.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You know, you have usual magic this year, Victor. Good to see you and Christi. And one of the things we love most though about March Madness is that you can have those teams that no one gives a chance and they make a run and make the most of the moment.

Oral Roberts (INAUDIBLE) about 3400 undergrads, hoping to become the first 15 seats to ever advance to the Elite Eight taking Arkansas to the wire. Tied in the final seconds, Arkansas DaVonte Davis, hand in his face, hitting one of the biggest shots of his life.

Razorbacks up two and with just three seconds to go. The Golden Eagles call on their star Max Smith. Good look but it's barely a miss. Oral Roberts' Cinderella run is over.

And Sister Jean and Loyola Chicago are headed home as well losing to the only Cinderella still standing, Oregon State. The Beavers were picked to finish last in the preseason polls. But now with a 65-58 win over Loyola, they become just a second 12-seed ever to make it to the Elite Eight.

The last time Oregon State made it this far, 1982. Surreal moment for Coach Wayne Tinkle who grew up in Ramblers Campus when his dad was a dean there in the 70s. Now, he sends him packing. All right, to San Antonio we go. UConn and Paige Bueckers squaring off against her Team USA teammate Caitlin Clark and Iowa for a matchup of superstar freshmen and it didn't disappoint. Bueckers and Clark going shocker sharp. Clark, achievements with a team high 21, Bueckers with 18, but UConn's skill and depth make the difference.

The Huskies wearing down the Hawkeye starters who played all but 19 minutes yesterday, pulling away in the second half to a 92-72 as UConn's 15th straight trip to the Elite Eight.

And what a finish between Indiana and one seed NC State. The Wolfpack down three in the final seconds. Elissa Cunane even up a three to tie it, but misses. The Hoosiers with a huge upset in their trip to the Elite Eight for the first time in history.

NC State is now the first number one to get booted. It's a Hoosier party in the locker room afterwards, Victor, Christi. Four more women's games today, four men's, two of which on our sister network TBS.

PAUL: Good to know. Coy, have fun with it all. Thank you.

WIRE: All right.

PAUL: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.