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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Senators Schumer and Gillibrand Call on New York Governor Cuomo to Resign Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations; U.S. Reaches COVID-19 Vaccine Milestone of 100 Million Shots; Biden Admin. Dismisses Criticism Of Immigration Policy As Large Number Of Migrants, Unaccompanied Children Arrive; Migrant Numbers Surge With 3,700+ Unaccompanied Children U.S. Border Patrol Custody. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 12, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAURA LEWINGER, LOST HUSBAND TO CORONAVIRUS: Even a student reached out, based in New York City, remembering the COVID victims this Sunday, and his former student reached out and asked if he could be a part of that, and she filled out the application and put his name and picture in.
So, all these little acts of kindness and remembrance of him. It means so much to us, because all I want to do is honor my husband. I feel like I can't do enough. His birthday past February 2nd, and to honor him, I established an e-mail that was dedicated just to stories, people could tell stories and memories people could tell about them and Joe, and the impact he has had.
And it's the smallest thing from using their first name and an e-mail and/or when he would talk to somebody on the phone, checking in with them and seeing how they were not just getting down to business, and the impact that he made on his students stories.
I was laughing and laughing reading these e-mails, and also crying and crying because it's such a touching stories and just such an amazing man that --
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And Maura, you know, I just want to thank you because, you know, you've bared your grief in a way that so few would have the ability to do and there's no right or wrong way to handle grief.
But the way that you have chosen to share yours with all of us has brightened all of our lives. It truly has.
And I know that's the gift of him, but it is the gift of you. And I thank you.
LEWINGER: It is a gift of him. Thank you, Erin. Good talking with you again.
BURNETT: Thank you, Maura.
And thanks to all of you. Anderson starts now. ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We begin with the growing calls for New
York Governor Andrew Cuomo to step down from some of the heaviest hitters in State and national politics. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz joins us now from the State Capitol Albany.
So, talk about the latest figures in the Democratic Party calling on the Governor to resign.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's the most senior, the leaders of the Democratic Party here in New York State. Of course, I'm talking about Senator Chuck Schumer, the Majority Leader and then Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
Just to think, Anderson, we started today by hearing from congressional members and leaders in Congress calling on the Governor to resign and then we end the day with these two top Democrats also now calling on the Governor to resign.
COOPER: We're going to come back to you in just a few minutes for more in-depth coverage. But just quickly, how many allegations are there as of tonight against the Governor?
PROKUPECZ: So, CNN is reporting on six allegations. There's a new allegation now coming from a reporter who covered the Governor back in 2014, where she accuses him of inappropriately touching her at the time and inappropriate behavior. That is the latest individual that CNN is reporting on -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Shimon, we'll have more on this shortly.
Right now, first, for the first time in a long time, the COVID milestone we crossed today was neither cause for sadness as well as it was at half a million fatalities, nor an occasion as it was last night to remember what our world used to be like a year and a day ago.
Instead, this latest marker of where we stand signals better times ahead. Today, the country crossed the 100 millionth vaccination mark.
As of tonight, more than 101 million shots have been administered. Now the goal was reached on the day that President Biden signed his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, Day 52 of his administration, 48 days ahead of the schedule he originally set, eight days ahead of the revised version he unveiled just last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When I came into office, you may recall, I set a goal that many of you said was that kind of way over the top. I said, I intended to get a hundred million shots in people's arms in my first hundred days in office.
Tonight, I can say we're not only going to meet that goal, we're going to beat that goal, because we are actually on track to reach this goal of a hundred million shots in arms on my 60th day in office.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: It's not exactly accurate that the goal was not set
particularly high compared to what the previous administration had said was going to be done. Nevertheless, they have surpassed it.
Just a day later, we're there, with the country now topping two million vaccinations a day, it certainly was one of the safer predictions to make is. It is also welcome development wherever you stand politically, red and blue states alike are benefiting from growing vaccine availability and Republican Governors are saying so.
Yet to Republicans in Washington and on FOX News, one thing matters more, giving all the credit to the former President.
House Minority Leader McCarthy tweeting, quote: "President Biden's plan is to rely on the work that has already been done by Operation Warp Speed."
Or this from the Republican Chair, Ronna McDaniel: "On vaccines, he is claiming Operation Warp Speed never existed."
Here is Sean Hannity last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Joe, you want unity? Why don't you just thank Donald Trump? You want to want us all to get along, you say. No Trump, no vaccine, Joe. Stop taking credit for something frankly you had nothing to do with, nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And the former President put out this statement just a couple of days ago. Quoting now: "I hope that everyone remembers when they're getting the COVID-19 often referred to as the China virus vaccine that if I wasn't President, you wouldn't be getting that beautiful shot for five years at best and probably wouldn't be getting it at all. I hope everyone remembers."
That is how he spoke, isn't it? Keeping them honest, Operation Warp Speed pumped billions of dollars into the effort and is credited for taking the financial risk out of testing and manufacturing vaccines for companies that might otherwise not have been willing to take the chances they did. It was wildly successful.
If the former President wants any credit for that, which he certainly deserves, he also has to accept responsibility for the failures of his administration, which were many on testing, prevention and leadership which contributed to the sickening death toll.
He also has to own up to the lies and the string of wild promises and moving goalposts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We expect to have a hundred million doses of vaccine available, certainly before the end of the year.
We'll have manufactured at least 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year, and likely much more than that.
We will deliver 100 million doses of a safe vaccine before the end of the year.
If authorized, tens of millions of vaccine doses will be available this month.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, plenty of promises, not much follow through. Vaccine delivery began in mid-December. Just a few days later, here was the headline. "The head of Operation Warp Speed apologizes for shortfalls in vaccine deliveries to at least 14 states." And so it went, all throughout the closing days of the last administration, this was not a priority for the outgoing President who was focused mainly on overturning the election and making what was a life-saving effort by so many dedicated people all about himself.
Reading a tweet since taken down from just after the election, "The @USFDA and the Democrats didn't want to have me get a vaccine win prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later, as I've said all along."
Never mind ending a pandemic, where was his Election Day shot in the arm? The irony is, a President who has successfully handled a dire national emergency and brought the country safely through it would likely have won re-election in a landslide.
Instead, he made recognizing the very existence of a killer virus, a test of political loyalty and did the same for mask wearing, holding one dangerous rally after another as the outbreak accelerated. He turned his own brush with the virus into another chance to teach all the wrong lessons, which absent a vaccine were lessons in how to get sick and possibly die.
I mean, think about that? Without a vaccine, modeling safe behavior is all you can do, yet, he did the opposite all the time and reveled in it.
And unlike the current President, as well as Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton and Carter, when the time came for them to get vaccinated and set the example for as many vaccine hesitant followers, he got his in secret, so did his wife and they never said a word.
The former President also made a point of publicly dissing a number of Democratic Governors including Jay Inslee of Washington State who joins us now.
Governor Inslee, I want to talk about where you think we are in the nation when it comes to the pandemic in a moment. But first, just what do you make of the former President's allies lashing out at President Biden over what was in many ways a speech that was frankly, very light on partisan politics, no bragging about getting a massive bill just passed. It was heavy on medical science and public health.
GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): It's disappointing, perhaps not terribly surprising. The Republican leadership still wants to be on the Titanic with the former President. And I thought Joe Biden's speech was so refreshing because it really did speak to all Americans, not just to his base, and I think that's one of the reasons he is doing so well in the approval ratings that he enjoys which are tremendous right now.
Because he is speaking to all Americans, and he also is delivering big time on these dosages. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to see what he and his administration have been able to accomplish of increasing the dosage at such a rapid clip, in part because he has been willing to do what the previous occupant refused to do, use the Defense Production Act, personally take responsibility, be active on a daily basis, the contrast could not be more clear.
So, I'll just tell you, I'm thrilled having Joe Biden in this leadership position and I just can't feel really warm and fuzzy about the previous occupant whose total neglect meant hundreds of thousands of people never had a chance to get this vaccine because they died before it was available.
INSLEE: Look, we could have saved hundreds of thousands of people had we had some leadership out of Washington, D.C. that we did not have. And we, Governors did all we could, but when he fought against us on mask and social distancing and everything else, that means hundreds of thousands of people never had a chance to get this vaccine.
But I prefer to look forward now rather than back, though.
COOPER: Yes. So let's talk about where we are right now in this effort. How are things in your state? What needs to happen? What are you most concerned about at this moment?
INSLEE: Oh, it's just about dosages. Our logistics have been quite successful. I feel really good about that. We have way more logistical capacity to get shots in arms.
The only limiting factor is the amount of dosages we're getting. And it has gone up so dramatically, about -- I think about 44 percent just even this month. It took us about two months to get a million in the first two months of the effort; now, in less than a month, we've got the second million and moreover, I think about 2.2 million now.
So it is accelerating rapidly and I feel confident we'll be able to match our logistical ability.
The challenge for all of us in our states though, is to make sure we do this in an equitable basis, to get those people who live at, you know, the end of the road who do not have transportation, might have language issues, might have some hesitancy about and those are the challenges we are all working a very, very dedicated way to make this equitable. We have a program in our state to reach folks in 32 languages. We're
doing pop-up clinics to go to where people are, who have transportation limitations, and President Biden's administration is helping on this, too.
So those are things we've got to focus on, but I'm just thrilled at the progress we're making.
COOPER: You announced just today an emergency proclamation for schools in Washington that will mandate in person teaching to return by April while still having the option for remote learning.
Why do you think it was an important distinction to make for families not to be required to have their children back in school, if they deemed it unsafe?
INSLEE: Well, we want this to be a win-win. There are some families that still do prefer a remote situation, there are some children that this is actually working for them. And the family circumstances, if that works, there's nothing wrong with this.
And allowing parents to make that decision rather than, you know, the School Board of the Governor is a win-win situation.
What we have found though, is when schools do reopen, the confidence goes through the roof and the ability to do so, about half of our students are on-site education now. It has been extremely safe. We have had minimal in-school transmission.
And what we have found is that when the schools do reopen, both the parents and the teachers and the community very rapidly get on board and the vast majority of students go back and prefer an on-site situation.
But we want to give everybody options. This makes sense. I'm very excited about this progress we're making here on this subject.
COOPER: And just lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you about your Democratic colleagues in New York, Governor Cuomo, as you know, the calls for him to resign are mounting among Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
I'm wondering what your reaction to this and at what point does any Governor dealing with controversy have to rethink his or her ability to effectively lead?
INSLEE: Well, listen, we know these are very serious allegations. The number of them are most concerning. They all deserve a very serious investigation that needs to happen in New York.
But it's probably not for me to sit in Washington focused on COVID and schools right now to make a judgement. This is a judgment that New York is going to have to make and I'm sticking to my COVID effort here in Washington today.
COOPER: Governor Inslee, I appreciate your time. Thank you. Coming up next --
INSLEE: You bet.
COOPER: We'll have more on Governor Cuomo, the growing allegations and calls for him to resign and how pieces of his past may have foreshadowed some of what we're seeing from him tonight.
Also, a new precedent facing the latest manifestation of a long running and emotionally searing crisis involving children at the southern border, the similarities, also the contrast between this administration and the last.
COOPER: More now on the growing calls for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign, that and his resistance so far to the notion that he isn't going anywhere. He spoke out earlier today on a conference call.
For more on than that and everything he is learning from his sources at the State Capitol, let's go back to CNN's Shimon Prokupecz in Albany, New York.
So what is the latest on the calls for the Governor to step down and talk about his response?
PROKUPECZ: Yes, and so those calls keep growing. All day, we've been hearing from congressional members and all day, we've been asking, well, what is going to happen with the senior level people, the senior leaders of the Democratic Party here in New York State? That's Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Gillibrand. Were they finally going to put out a statement and they did?
They are now also calling for him to resign. The Governor today lashing out against his own party, saying that they have formed conclusions, that in essence are reckless and dangerous, that they should allow the investigation to play out. Here is more of what he said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Part of this is that I am not part of the political club. And you know what? I'm proud of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROKUPECZ: And Anderson, all of this really, leading up to what led up to all of this today was that both the senators saying that because of the multiple credible allegations that the Governor has lost confidence of his governing partners and the legislators here in the state and that is why they have finally come to the conclusion that he needs to resign.
COOPER: So, if the Governor refuses to resign, and then the State Attorney General's investigation, I guess, would take some time, does the focus now shift to what the legislature might seek to do? [20:20:04]
PROKUPECZ: That's right. It would focus on the state legislators here, the Assembly. They have started an impeachment investigation that's going to give them subpoena power. They are going to be able to depose witnesses, interview witnesses, it may rest with them, ultimately.
There is a growing number of Assembly members that are also saying that they want to see the investigation play out, but they also are calling for his resignation.
Remember, Anderson, that investigation also involves the nursing home scandal. So there are multiple investigations and multiple things that they are looking at -- Anderson.
COOPER: Shimon Prokupecz, I appreciate it. Thanks again.
Perspective now from CNN political analyst and "New York Times" White House correspondent, Maggie Haberman; also CNN senior legal analyst, Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Maggie, now that both Democratic senators from New York have called for Governor Cuomo to resign joining many other New York Democrats, has -- I mean, has it kind of reached a critical mass? And if he doesn't resign, is there any way he can effectively govern?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So, I don't think it's reached a critical mass. It's reached a growing mass, I think it still has room to grow. And I think that Andrew Cuomo is digging in, which is what he does. We have seen him over time, politically bide his time, take his time, see where things go.
So, I don't expect him to change his stance, you know, over the next couple of days on resigning. I do think that this is going to become more untenable, depending on what else comes out. There was a question at his press conference or conference call whatever it was, earlier today from a WABC reporter asking him if any of these relationships had been consensual?
I assume that question didn't come out of nowhere. Andrew Cuomo noticeably didn't answer it.
So, I think we have to wait and see what else comes out. I think at minimum, it does become very hard for him to continue saying he is going to do business as usual, especially with the answers that he gave in that conference call today, Anderson.
He was raising questions about the women's motives for, you know, suggesting that he had been improper and engaged in sexual harassment and misconduct.
He was suggesting that people are out to get him essentially. He was suggesting that it is unfair that he is a political outsider, which that son of a three-term Governor who worked for Bill Clinton and was married to a Kennedy is not. So, I don't know how long this can go. But I don't expect him to go on
his own, barring something like President Biden asking him privately to go.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, Preet. I mean, you as a U.S. Attorney investigator, Governor Cuomo over the Moreland Commission, a commission charged with rooting out corruption that the Governor shut down abruptly. What -- how do you see this? I mean, how do you see this playing out?
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look, I think it's very important to understand what Andrew Cuomo is like based on reporting, based on experience, based on his track record, and one of the things I can tell you from my time looking at the Moreland Commission issue was that Governor Cuomo does not like to be investigated, he does not like his allies to be investigated and he likes to control things.
And if there's any amount of public reporting with respect to that Commission, which was supposed to be independent, and was supposed to be looking at public corruption in New York State, that behind the scenes, he and others affiliated with him, tried to direct what they did, tried to reject certain things that they were doing, and then summarily shut down that Commission prematurely halfway through its intended tenure, because he likes to control things.
He also likes to retaliate against people, and so, you saw that even at the beginning of this saga, with respect to the sexual harassment allegations, he was trying that playbook. He tried to pick the person who was going to be the outside investigator. He tried to pick one of the people who was going to pick the person to be the outside investigator.
And so I think it's incredibly important that Letitia James has taken her mandate and appointed two outside independent people who cannot be intimidated by Andrew Cuomo and his allies, who cannot be bullied by Andrew Cuomo and his allies. And I think we will get a fair result probably before not too much time has passed.
COOPER: Maggie, I also thought it was interesting that the Governor's kind of referencing cancel culture as though this was sort of just another example of, you know, just rampant canceling of people in public life.
HABERMAN: I think that he is using a playbook that there's been a lot of comparisons that people have been making to other governors, who have faced, you know, allegations of impropriety.
Ralph Northam was one, Mark Sanford, another, I don't think those are the playbooks he is using. I think he is using the Donald Trump playbook, which is, you're coming after me, you can't make me do this. I am not going to give into your will.
I think it's worth noting, Anderson, that what he is accused of here relates to two laws that he signed into law about sexual misconduct that he is accused of breaking by these women's allegations. That's essentially what this comes down to. And so, I think that will factor into the investigation. I think Preet
is right that there will be an investigation with answers sooner rather than later because I think the officials around the state recognize that having this hanging over all of their heads is problematic.
But the cancel culture line and the one that I referenced earlier about how he is not part of the political club, among his other pieces of curriculum vitae. He leads the National Governors Association. He is the political club.
Now, other members of the political club in New York State don't necessarily like him, but until recently, they had really feared him and that is the big change right now.
COOPER: And Preet, Governor Cuomo into the press conference or press call by referencing what he called the last allegation didn't specify which allegation he was referring to, but said is, quote, "not true." And, quote, "I have not had a sexual relationship that was inappropriate," end quote.
The Governor used to be Attorney General. He knows how to be precise with his words. In this sort of investigation, who will decide what is or is not inappropriate?
BHARARA: Look, I think the investigators are not going to necessarily make that determination. I think they're going to lay out the facts.
You know, if there's a violation of law, they'll make a referral of some kind, and the Governor knows how to choose his words, and as I've experienced in my own time dealing with him in his office, he will say things one day and say the opposite thing the next day if he thinks it's in his political interest.
And the other thing that's sort of interesting to watch is the degree to which he engages in retaliation, even in this case, so far over the last number of days, his office has conceded that they have released publicly and to members of the media, portions of personnel records with respect to one of the people who is accusing him of misconduct.
You know, that alone is part and parcel of the way he conducts himself and is going to be probably outlined at some length in the report, and it is probably not going to be good for him at all.
COOPER: Preet Bharara, Maggie Haberman appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up: a landmark civil settlement approved by the Minneapolis City Council with the death of George Floyd in police custody. This, as another juror is picked in the trial of the former officer charged in his death. Details ahead.
[20:30:28] COOPER: The Biden administration is under an increasing amount of criticism for the way it's handling a surge of migrants along the southern border, many of them unaccompanied children. Today rescinded a policy by the previous administration to discourage sponsors of these children while also stating that it believes it's sending a clear message to migrants that now is not the time to come to this country. At times the back and forth politics can be a loud jumble of voices. One voice often missing from the conversation is that of migrants themselves.
CNN's Rosa Flores tonight has their story.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the faces of the immigration surge on the U.S.-Mexico border.
FLORES (voice-over): Maria Mendoza (ph) is from El Salvador in hopes to reunite with her family in Maryland. Roxana Rivera (ph) is from Honduras and she lost everything during a recent hurricane.
(on-camera): She said that her dream is to have a house and that that's why she made the trek to the United States.
(voice-over): Maria and Roxanna are among the tens of thousands of migrants who have been encountered by U.S. border authorities in recent weeks. One area alone saw more than 500 migrants enter during an eight-hour period last week. According to a federal source to expedite processing, authority started fingerprinting them under this bridge.
Many unaccompanied children and families are bused to this new temporary immigration processing center in Donna, Texas. Maria de la Rosa (ph) lives across the street and says buses packed with people arrive around the clock. And at night, she hears children crying.
MARIA DELA ROSA (PH): (INAUDIBLE).
FLORES (on-camera): You're scared?
DELA ROSA: Yes.
FLORES (voice-over): From there, some migrants are dropped off by immigration officials at bus stations like this one in Brownsville. That's where we met Roxana, Maria and her six-year-old daughter Caitlin (ph).
FLORES (voice-over): She says, she evaded a snake during her journey to the United States and fell off a raft while crossing the Rio Grande.
(on-camera): Why is there a surge right now you think? (FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
FLORES (voice-over): Both Maria and Roxana say they learned from news reports --
FLORES (voice-over): -- in their home countries, that the Biden administration is allowing migrant women with children to enter the U.S.
(on-camera): And you believe that that was true?
(voice-over): Which is not entirely true. The Biden administration says it's allowing unaccompanied minors to remain in the U.S. pending immigration cases. And some families are allowed in on a case by case basis. That perception could be driving some of the surge, which has more than 3,700 unaccompanied children in Border Patrol custody in jail like facilities. Health and Human Services is caring for about 8,800 unaccompanied minors while they're reunited with family and is even considering using a NASA site to expand bed space.
(on-camera): How is it to be a mom?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
FLORES (voice-over): And some nonprofit migrant shelters like La Posada where Margarita Hernandez (ph) a migrant from Nicaragua is staying have seen a spike in the flow of mothers, children.
FLORES (voice-over): And pregnant women. Cindy Johnson (ph) has volunteered to help thousands of migrants across the river and Matamurus and collected hundreds of postcards with their story.
CINDY JOHNSON (PH), VOLUNTEER: This child is saying that they witness people dying, people getting beaten.
FLORES (voice-over): Cindy says she scanned them and sent them to then candidate for President Joe Biden.
(on-camera): What was the goal of sending these letters to Biden?
JOHNSON: The goal was they wanted them to see their humanity.
COOPER: Rosa Flores joins us now from Donna, Texas. So Rosa, last time we talked you were trying to get access to that processing facility. Have you been allowed in?
FLORES: You know, Anderson, the short answer is no. I've contacted Border Patrol through Customs and Border Protection, asking for not only access to the processing facilities like the one that you see behind me but also for ride alongs along the border so that we can get eyes on the situation. It's very unusual for us not to get access, which really stands out.
Now, the other thing that I did was I contacted the Texas Department of Public Safety you probably remember this. Earlier this week, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was here in the Rio Grande Valley, attacking the Biden administration claiming that the Biden administration is quote downplaying the crisis. The governor even sending the Texas Department of Public Safety here to this area and Anderson I asked the state of Texas also to give me a ride along to grant us access in either the federal government nor the state of Texas has granted that type of access. Anderson.
COOPER: Rosa Flores, thanks very much appreciate it.
Let's get perspective on this now from author journalist and Univision anchor Jorge Ramos. Jorge, you wrote in a New York Times op-ed back in January the migrants could become the new administration's first major international crises certainly seems to have come to pass. Do you think the Biden White House should have seen this coming?
JORGE RAMOS, ANCHOR, UNIVISION NEWS: Absolutely. Now, as you know, they don't want to call it a crisis. And that's a political term being used by Republicans nowadays. So, but we can safely say that is a significant surge. The numbers are really staggering. In January 78,000, undocumented immigrants cross the border to the United States. In February, it was 100,000. So, these are incredible numbers. If you don't want to call them a crisis, I do understand what they don't want to do that. But it was really an unavoidable situation when you have after the pandemic, when you have people in Central America facing violence, and gangs, extreme poverty, and then when they cannot even find the vaccine.
And then when this they see a new president, President Biden, that is proposing immigration reform to legalize 10 million undocumented immigrants, TPS for Venezuelans. And that is bringing refugees from Mexico to the United States. The message is very clear. The United States is becoming again, a country of immigrants, and that's why they're coming.
COOPER: So do you think -- I mean, you're saying essentially, that because the former president was considered so hard line against immigration, the fact that President Biden is not somebody who is viewed that way, you believe migrants from Central America have come here thinking they just have a better chance now being able to stay in the U.S.
RAMOS: Look, the potential immigrants, they are experts on the U.S. immigration system, they know absolutely everything. And remember, they spent months and months on the Mexican side, just trying to find out when to come and when they detect our vulnerability, our weakness and opportunity, they take it. So, what has happened in the last few weeks when now they realize that the Biden administration is not deporting children? So, what is said that we have seen, we have seen in two months, 15,000 children 15,000 children coming from Mexico to the United States, alone, unaccompanied minors, and they are also realizing that some families are not being deported.
So, exactly what happened is that if this is a crisis, it was a crisis created by Donald Trump. Donald Trump created a bottleneck and now Joe Biden is opening the bottle. And this is exactly what we're seeing.
RAMOS: Certainly, Republicans who are opposed to President Biden's policies will say, well, you know, and listening to what you just said, they'll say, well, he's weak on immigration. And that's why you're having all these people now coming across.
RAMOS: Well, I wouldn't call him weak on immigration, I would say that he's doing exactly the American thing. But what we can do is criticize Donald Trump for being the most anti-immigrant precedent indicates reportedly probably ever and we are seeing, we're seeing the conference. So of course, elections have consequences.
And what we can see also is that the system is not working simply is not working. It hasn't worked since 1986, when we had the amnesty with Ronald Reagan. Just recently, the President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, he estimated when he had these virtual meeting with Joe Biden, he estimated that every single year the United States needs about 800,000 new immigrants just to function. And we have to remember that there were immigrants, many of them undocumented immigrants who helped us during the pandemic, nurses, in the agriculture in construction. So now we're going to need new immigrants for the recovery.
COOPER: It's interesting, because back in 2014, then Vice President Biden was asked during a trip to Guatemala about what could be done to stop unaccompanied minors, women, with children from going to the border. He said, first make clear in each of our countries in an unrelenting way, not just with the public service announcement that there's no free pass, that none of these children are women bringing children will be eligible under existing laws in the United States of America. It's interesting, comparing that to relative silence from President Biden now on this latest surge.
RAMOS: Yes, yes, I understand exactly what you're saying. But he has a plan, for instance, that he's trying to invest $4 billion in Central America because he wants to attack the origin of immigration, but that's going to take time. And also, he's proposing a program in which children can apply in their countries of origin on Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, instead of coming all the way crossing Mexico and coming to the United States. So, they are trying but that's, that's going to take years.
So, we're going to have to get used to what's happening at the border. Remember, for because of the pandemic, for over a year, we have almost 60,000 refugees waiting on the Mexican side. Don't interrupt change, change the rules. And now the rules are changing. Some of those immigrants are coming to this country. And we're going to have to get used to these new normal. This is the new normal. It's what we've been having for decades.
COOPER: Jorge Ramos, appreciate your time. Thank you.
RAMOS: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up next, the attorney for George Floyd's family on the multimillion-dollar settlement we just learned about and the trial the former police officer charged with murdering Mr. Floyd's death.
COOPER: There's news just in the Minneapolis city council is unanimously approved as store $27 million civil settlement to the state of George Floyd who died last May when an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. This is the trial that former Officer Derek Chauvin ended its first week with half the jurors selected. A seventh juror was seated today. Chauvin has entered a plea of not guilty to second degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. He's also pleaded not guilty to a charge of third-degree murder that was reinstated on Thursday.
Joining me now is Benjamin Crump, the attorney for George Floyd's family. Mr. Crump, thanks for being with us. First of all, I want to ask you about the settlement that you announced today. It's the largest pre-trial settlement in a civil rights wrongful death case in U.S. history. How important is that precedent? And what message do you hope it sends?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY OF GEORGE FLOYD'S FAMILY: Well, I think it's very significant Anderson, we have to remember that when George Floyd was killed in the horrific manner that he was by Derek Chauvin by having that knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds on May 25th, 2020. It was a watershed moment in America. And it was one of the worst most egregious documentation of a American citizen, been tortured to death by a police officer. And history will judge us on how we respond to this tragedy.
So, when you have the city leadership (INAUDIBLE), a grant to pay the family of $27 million. It speaks to the fact as when we met with President Biden, we said it's not enough to say America says that George Floyd's life matters. They have to demonstrate that George Floyd's life matters through their actions. And I believe the city leadership of Minneapolis demonstrated that George Floyd life matters, and that black lives matter to them.
COOPER: So, jurors are now being chosen for the trial of Officer Derek Chauvin. The seventh juror was chosen today. What we know so far suggests jurors of color may ultimately be fewer number than white jurors. I'm wondering, a, is that your understanding as well and is that any concern? What How do you see things so far in jury selection?
CRUMP: Well, we're always concerned when the jury is not diverse, are reflective of the community. And as a civil rights lawyer, and being black all my life, I understand historically that police officers rarely are held accountable for killing black people in America and (INAUDIBLE). But this video was so graphic, it has so much evidence there that we will hope that whatever juries and panel that can be fair and impartial, and they will not lose our focus or be distracted by the character assassination that they're going to try to do on George Floyd to say that his life didn't matter and not look at what happened on that video.
COOPER: Tomorrow marks one year from the day that Breonna Taylor was killed by police while in her home. In your mind has have things changed since then.
CRUMP: Well Anderson, as I believe, we are always in a constant quest for on a journey to justice. Sometimes we take two steps forward, and then we take a step back, but we can never lose focus. And we have to remember Breonna Taylor was so significant even though the Attorney General there did not put forth charges. Breonna raise the consciousness level in America. Just like Trayvon Martin raised the consciousness level, to Black Lives Matter where Brianna Taylor did that for black women in America.
And so, I think we pay the ultimate respect to Breonna Taylor by not forgetting that black women should be treated with the same level of respect and equality as any other citizen in America.
COOPER: We appreciate your time. Benjamin Crump. Thanks so much.
(voice-over): Just ahead. The former presidents for years in office may end up aiding in investigation by New York prosecutors. We'll have details on that when we return.
COOPER: New development on the ongoing investigation by New York prosecutors the former president according to sources familiar with matter, his four years in Washington in Florida may end up benefiting how far back they may extend that investigation.
CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now with details. So, what have you learned so far?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: So, Anderson, this all has to do with a statute of limitations, the time from when a crime was committed to how long prosecutors have to bring a case. And source in New York, the statute of limitations for most felonies is five years. Now sources tell me that prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney's office have been discussing use of -- using a provision in New York criminal procedure law that says that if a defendant has been continuously outside of New York state, prosecutors do not need to count that time when they're calculating the statute of limitations.
That's fairly significant for the former president. I mean, he was a lifelong New Yorker. But since January of 2017, he's not spent much time in New York at all, in Washington. He has been at the White House, spending time in Bedminster, New Jersey and then at Mar-a-Lago and he officially changed his residency from New York to Florida. So, he has not spent a lot of time here that can give prosecutors a lot of days to work with or potentially years to work with. And that means that they don't have to count that time that they can look further back into some of his conduct. And some of that conduct being when he was at the top of the Trump Organization making a lot of these key decisions.
Now, prosecutors have used this before they used it in the Harvey Weinstein prosecution. In that case, they charged him with one sexual assault that occurred 68 days after that five-year statute of limitations. Now Weinstein's lawyers challenged that, but prosecutors prevailed because they were able to show the judge travel records establishing that Weinstein was out of New York far longer than 68 days during that period.
So, you know, this is another tool in the toolbox for prosecutors as they begin to look at the evidence here and decide what they're going to do.
COOPER: And Cy Vance, the Manhattan district attorney announced that he's not going to seek reelection. He's going to leave the office at the end of the year. How's that going to impact the timing of the investigation?
SCANNELL: Well, sources tell me that, you know, Cy Vance has known for a while that he was going to step down, and that he's looking to -- or he's very likely to try to wrap up this investigation. By the end of the year, that's when his term is up. And so make a charging decision of whether to bring charges against the President or any individuals that the company or not do that. And this investigation has really been underway since 2018. It certainly has picked up its momentum. More recently, they just last month obtained millions of pages of documents from the President's tax returns and communications. They've been interviewing witnesses, and they still have nine and a half months until Vance's term is up.
So, it sounds like according to sources that there -- he's looking to make a decision and then what happens after that if they do charge it will, how they will proceed at trial will be in the hands of his successor.
COOPER: What are the candidates for the DA said about the investigation in the past?
SCANNELL: Well, they've been really careful. I mean, there's a lot of former prosecutors for running and they have been particularly careful saying they're going to follow the facts. There are other candidates who are a little bit more progressive. And what they have said is that they don't think anyone a privilege should get any, you know, be treated any differently than anyone else. Anderson.
COOPER: Kara Scannell, appreciate the update. Thanks very much.
(voice-over): The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced a new charity giving to organizations dealing with very issues raised in their interview with Oprah Winfrey. Will tell you who they are supporting when we continue.
COOPER: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are announcing support for charities dealing with some of the issues raised in their interview with Oprah Winfrey, among them Color of Change described in a statement as the largest online racial justice group in the United States with about 7 million members.
Last year, according to their statement the Duke and Duchess back to coalition effort to rein in online hate speech that Color of Change helped lead. Other organizations targeted for supporter based in England and Wales and deal with mental health and one supporting diversity for young people wanting to become journalists.
A reminder: don't miss "Full Circle", it's our digital news show. You can catch it streaming live 6:00 p.m. Eastern cnn.com/fullcircle. You can watch it there on the CNN app at any time On Demand.
Time to hand things over to Jake Tapper for CNN Special: Back To School Kids COVID And The Fight To Reopen