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GOP's Graham on Billions in Aid to Black Farmers: "That's Reparations"; RNC Rejects Trump's Request to Stop Using His Name & Trump Tells Donors to Send Money to Him, Not "RINOs"; Iowa's GOP Governor Signs Law Shortening Early & Election Day Voting; DOJ: Right- Wing Group's Founder Directed Rioters During January Attack; Probe into Trump's Finances Expands to Chicago Skyscraper Loan; Queen "Saddened" in 1st Response on Harry & Meghan Interview. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 9, 2021 - 13:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Back with me now is John Boyd Jr.

Thank you so much, John, for sticking around to talk with us. I'm glad we could get you back up.

You're a four-generation farmer. You're co-founder of the National Black Farmers Association.

And you've been fighting this battle for decades. I've been covering you for years now. Trying to stop discrimination and get fair treatment from the USDA.

I want to know what you think about Senator Lindsey Graham there -- h He says there's $5 billion assistance for black farmers in the COVID relief bill is reparations.

JOHN BOYD JR, CO-FOUNDER, NATIONAL BLACK FARMERS ASSOCIATION: Right. What's troubling for me is that 49 Senators with 10 different amendments voted to pull the language out of this spending bill.

So here you have a group of people who barely can defend themselves, and instead, these Senators are voting to support a historic measure like this where I've been trying to get debt relief for black farmers and other farmers of color for over 30 years.

I never heard Senator Lindsey Graham speak out on discrimination where I've been spat on, been called racial epitaphs, had my USDA applications torn up and thrown in the trash can.

He knows there's discrimination. He represents a state where there are many black farmers in South Carolina. I've never heard him speak out against discrimination. But he doesn't want us to get any justice here. So there's something terribly wrong with this picture.

KEILAR: Certainly, from your perspective, the 120 percent, I guess, being forgiven of loans, that is something that is necessary.

Explain, from your perspective, why that is necessary when someone like Senator Graham is essentially saying, why would it be 120 percent? It should be maybe 100 percent or it certainly shouldn't be 120, he would say.

BOYD: There's tax, too. What the Senator needs to understand is this is for farmers of color, black farmers, Native Americans, Hispanic farmers, whoever fits the definition of socially disadvantaged farmers.


So he didn't even read the bill here. This is something where black farmers should have been getting it the whole time.

After I lost my farm at USDA, there was a local farmer in my area, who received a debt write-off. And he said, John, you should have been getting a debt write-off for this.

My example there is black farmers haven't been getting those debt write downs, debt write-offs. And quite frankly, we haven't been participating in just about any of the other USDA programs.

There was a program that Trump paid out $16 billion. I've personally spoken to you about that before, Brianna. We're totally absent from all of these programs.

And here it is some 30 years later, we get to have a little bit of justice here. And instead of doing that, the Republicans are beating down on black farmers and farmers of color.

They need to look at history. We're going back to slavery, sharecroppers, Jim Crow when black farmers were able to survive and hold on during hard times in history. And we're still struggling.

This is America. And the United States Department of Agriculture should be lending a hand up to black and other farmers of color instead of helping to put us out of business.

We're facing extinction. And when animals face extinction, such as the brown bear, the black bear, the bald eagle, Congress puts laws into place until their numbers come back up.

Why can't we do that for the oldest occupation in history for black people in the country, which is the farmers?

KEILAR: John, I want to thank you so much for coming on. This was certainly a topic that we needed to explore after it really caught fire coming from Senator Graham.

John Boyd Jr, thank you.

BOYD: Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: Former President Trump wants GOP campaigns to stop using his name to fundraise and to send the money directly to him. The RNC just responded to that.

Plus, Tyler Perry's surprising role in helping Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Maybe not so surprising, some would say, after the royal family stripped them of their security.



KEILAR: Whether it is a loan or donation, the former president has no trouble asking for it. In a statement, Trump told donors to give straight to his Save America PAC instead of "RINOs," which is a term that means "Republicans in Name Only."

I want to bring in CNN chief political correspondent, and co-anchor of "STATE OF THE UNIONS," Dana Bash.

How do you see this statement, Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT & CNN CO-ANCHOR, "STATE OF THE UNION": I'm told, Brianna, that this came out of a conversation he had with some of his top advisers in which they were telling him that his likeness was being used to raise money.

Not so much about the RNC, meaning the National Republican Party, but for groups that are trying to elect Republicans to the House, to the Senate and other outside groups.

And we know that when the president hears about raising money or trying to elect people who have challenged him in the utmost way, for example, on impeachment, let's say a Liz Cheney, that he flies off the handle, and that that was the genesis of this.

What was really interesting, Brianna, is the response from the RNC, in particular, was cloaked in all kinds of saccharine language about how they respect him and how well he gets along with the RNC chairwoman.

But also in there, it said it is our right, our legal right to use the likeness of a public figure, and we're going to continue to do that.

KEILAR: It's going to be interesting to see how this works out. How do you see it playing out?

BASH: We'll see. It does put such a spotlight, or it's the latest spotlight, I should say, on the idea that he is somebody who helps bring in money, he helps bring in votes among the core Republicans.

And that is what they need to do right now. They're trying to get small-dollar numbers in particular, small-dollar donors. Small-dollar donors for the Republicans are Trump supporters. And that's what this is about.

KEILAR: Will he be OK with the RNC versus him controlling that money? We'll see.

Iowa's Republican governor, Dana, signed into law -- signed into law a bill into law that will limit polling place hours. And it also reduces considerably the number of days for early voting.

It's not the first state to do something like this. How do you see this? Are we seeing a wave of voter suppression?

BASH: Yes. There's really in other way to look at it. When you look at Iowa, as you put up there on the screen. Similar in Georgia, which passed the Republican-led legislature by one vote.

What you're seeing play out are places where they have enough Republican votes on a statewide level where they are trying to limit the ability for people to vote.

So in Iowa, in particular, what they did was they made -- on Election Day, the polls close an hour earlier than before. But more importantly, they shrunk the number of days that people can vote early, from, I believe, 29 to 20 days.


There were a lot of other things that they did.

They did it in the name of a uniform voting system for all 99 counties in Iowa. But the practical effect of this is to make it harder for people to vote.

It's interesting, Bre, I talked to a senior long-time Republican in Iowa, who said he was actually concerned that this is short-sighted, trying to fight the false fight of 2020, instead of looking ahead to how much this could actually hurt Republican votes in the years to come.

KEILAR: Yes. I think that's quite a good observation.

Dana Bash, thank you so much for being with us.

BASH: Great to see you, Bre.

KEILAR: Great to see you.

Just in, new documents reveal the extent to which extremist group members gave directions before and during the January attack on the capitol.

And why are women reporting worst side effects than men after getting the COVID vaccine?


[13:50:29] KEILAR: This just into CNN. Federal prosecutors now say the founder of the Oath Keepers, which is a right-wing paramilitary group, was giving directions before and during the capitol riot to extremists already charged in the insurrection.

In the new court filings, prosecutors say group founder, Stewart Rhodes, was an essential presence among the Oath Keepers during the siege. Stewart has not yet been charged with any crime.

Let's go to CNN's Whitney Wild.

Whitney, what more can you tell us about these new court filings?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the filings lay out a list of examples that DOJ is using to build the case that Stewart Rhodes was involved in this sort of broader planning that was implemented prior to January 6th and then actually carried out on the ground.

So in the broader sense, they point out that Stewart Rhodes posted on the Oath Keepers' Web site, that everybody who could come to D.C. should go to D.C. He said it was critical that people go to D.C.

And then privately, he was on this group chat on the text-messaging app, Signal, telling people not to bring certain items. He was also saying that there were well-equipped sources on standby nearby if things got really, really bad.

Additionally, he did tell these people on the group chat what to bring. For example, he was saying bring flashlights, bring a helmet. He also suggested he would be a collapsible baton.

Finally, Brianna, he also gave a direction in that group chat to meet at the southeast side of the capitol.

All of this is evidence, the DOJ says, that there was a broader conspiracy. We know the DOJ has been working towards this conspiracy charge against the Oath Keepers.

So any evidence that there was a plan ahead of time and then that plan was carried out on the ground, DOJ is going to say, look, that bolsters this conspiracy case -- Brianna?

We have reached out to Stewart Rhodes but we have not heard back.

KEILAR: Whitney, thank you so much for that. Whitney Wild.

We do have some breaking news. Buckingham Palace just responded to explosive claims of racism by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. How the queen says she will address the matter, next.



KEILAR: Another indication the probe into former President Trump's finances is growing. Prosecutors now have questions about a company that loaned the Trump Organization millions of dollars for its Chicago skyscraper.

CNN's Kara Scannell has the details -- Kara?


KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Brianna, sources tell CNN that the prosecutors with the Manhattan's district attorney's office subpoenaed that lender, Fortress Investment Group, last year.

Fortress had loaned the Trump Organization $130 million for the Chicago Tower, but then they forgave $100 million of that debt.

Prosecutors are now looking into whether the Trump Organization had paid appropriate taxes on that forgiven loan.

Now, Alan Garten, general counsel for the Trump Organization, declined to comment, though, he previously had said the Trump Organization had paid all appropriate taxes on forgiven debt.

This is just another indication of how expansive this criminal investigation has become -- Brianna?


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: It is the top of the hour. I'm Brianna Keilar.

We're following breaking news from the royal family. Finally responding to Harry and Meghan's explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The palace saying it's saddened by allegations of neglect and racist treatment.

Max Foster is our CNN royal correspondent in Windsor, England. Sally Bedell Smith is a CNN contributor and author of "Elizabeth: The Queen."

First to you, Max.

Tell us, first, what this statement says.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: It's on behalf of the queen, so they make it very clear it's coming from the top. The queen is here at Windsor Castle.

It says, "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particular that of race, are concerning."

"While some recollections may vary, they're taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved members of the family."

So a of couple issues I would probably point out there is the different recollections about that conversation about race, Archie's skin color, effectively.

So Harry has his recollection but there's a different recollection from the person who was in the room at the same time. So there's a difference there.

But also how the whole family said it's saddened to learn the full extent of all of this.

When Harry and Meghan made it very clear they made their concerns clear to the family and to the palace, particularly about mental health and race.

And actually, there's different points of view from here that they didn't know the full story. That does undermine the Sussexes' story to some extent because they say the palace didn't act.


KEILAR: What part of the story didn't they know exactly? How severe -- how severe the racism issues were --


KEILAR: -- or the mental health crisis that Meghan was experiencing? Do we have a sense of that?