tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN March 17, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
you are watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin, thank you for being here. we are learning really disturbing new details in that deadly murder spree in the atlanta area. a gunman targeting massage parlors killed at least eight people. police say as of right now, they're not calling this a hate crime even though six abused women were asian women. the sheriff's office indicated he may have visited these spas in the past. >> this is still early but he does claim it's not racially motivated. he apparently has an issue what
he considers a sex addiction and sees these locations as something that allows him to go to these places and it's a temptation for him that he wanted to eliminate. >> you heard him, a temptation he wanted to eliminate. but the atlanta mayor is praising police for acting so quickly because they say this could have been so much worse. the suspect indicated that he was heading down to florida perhaps to carry out similar crimes. we have much more on that. other top stories this afternoon, president joe biden is defending the administration's handling of the thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, urging anyone considering migrating to the united states to stay home. >> i can say quite clearly don't come over. and in the process of getting set up, don't leave your town or city or community. >> and exciting news in the fight against the pandemic. access to covid vaccines is expanding to any person 16 or older in multiple states. as of now, all 50 states have
fully vaccinated at least 10% of their adult populations. but 14 states are reporting an uptick in case counts and the warnings remain stay vigilant to all of pus. we want to start in atlanta where this investigation is under way into the horrific murders of eight people most of people were asian-american women. cnn's natasha chen is live for us. natasha, as of now, what are police saying, why did this happen? >> reporter: that's what everyone wants to know, brooke. what they were able to share with us today, it's based on an interview that the suspect gave investigators after he was brought into custody last night. as we know, there are three massage parlors involved here. one in cherokee county, one directly in front of us and one behind us in atlanta. we've seen more and more people in the community come up to these locations bringing flowers. you can tell how much this has
shane the atlanta community that this violence happened in such a short span of time. what investigators are learning by pittsburghing to the suspect that 21-year-old robert aaron long tells them he did commit the shootings that he perhaps was motivated by targeting places that he felt were temptations for his sexual addiction and not necessarily a racially motivated act. cnn has spoken to a former roommate of long who told us they had spent time in a transition house together. that long had spent time in rehab for sexual addiction. so, a lot to go through there, as far as investigators' work is concerned. like you said, this is not being called a hate crime right now. especially what law enforcement have just said about his potential motivations. but the fact still remains that the majority of the victims are women of asian decescent.
and that is in the broader context of the rise in recent hate crimes across the country. and that has created anxiety in the asian-american community and that fear is real. and we spoke to a state representative who will said that the white house even this morning reached out to him, an asian-american member of the georgia legislature to just see how the administration could help offer support for the asian-american community, brooke. >> people are understandably furious. and fearful. and want to know why this is happening, or maybe more importantly how we can stop it. natasha, thank you very much. again, functioning in facts waiting nor the results of this investigation, vincent velasquez, a rehired homicide detective. detective, nice to have you on. you heard natasha saying that the suspect told investigators he had issues, potentially, specifically, sexual addiction issues. may have frequented some of those spas in the past. you hear all of this. what's your main takeaway?
what's your gut as a former detective tell you? >> well, brooke, i have to follow my instinct and my experience in 17 years of working homicide, i've never seen a case like that. you know, it's not to say that's not indeed what this motivation is. it's just not something that we're used to seeing or hearing. and in fact, in 17 years i've never even had a case inside of a massage parlor, much less a homicide. now, we have a suspect who is giving a narrative to law enforcement that his motivation is sexual addiction. but we can't ignore the fact that six out of the eight victims happen to be asian women. so, i got a feeling more is going to wash out of this, the investigators right now are doing a heavy scrub on his social media, his acquaintances, his family, his associates. to try to find out who this guy, robert long, really is. >> you know atlanta so well. what do you know about these spas? >> so, atlanta has a good
geography of concentrated areas that have sex shops. and in this particular area, there's events not far from there just that. as early as january of this year, we've had shop owners, shop owners charged with prostitution, masturbation for hire. that is that element that exists in atlanta. that's not to say this is the case. i heard keisha lance bottoms saying they're looking into it to see that there's no illegal activity going on. i suspect that cherokee county and atlanta are going to work heavily together to find out exactly who robert long is. and if he frequents these places. we don't even know if he had a personal relationship. most of these mass shootings are grievance-related. if it's a work-related shooting, someone got hired, a
relationship, i think there's more to learn about who robert long is and how he plays into these three particular spas. >> the fact that, you know, he is talking, it sounds like he is cooperating with investigators at least to that degree. we learned that, you know, he was planning to get to florida. but the fact that he is talking. what does that tell you? and then if you're, you know, sitting on the other side of the table from him, how do you find out if this was some sort of sex addiction or a need to kill off these women in an effort to kill off this part of him, versus something to do with the race of these women? >> well, what's happened so far, i believe cherokee county investigators had the first crack at him. i highly doubt at this point going forward whoever his attorney is going to allow him to speak to investigators. atlanta investigators certainly want to talk to him. a trained homicide detective who has interviewed hundreds of
people, that's a very delicate situation. and it's not an interview you want to challenge him in the interview too much because the more he talks, the more you can learn. what he's saying doesn't necessarily mean it's truthful. it can be self-serving. many, many times, these shooters commit suicide. this was not obviously the case. he was in a car chase. he was fleeing, actively resisting and taken into custody. not only do the investigators have to figure out what happened, but also keep in mind they need to have all of the tools, all of the evidence for a successful prosecution. who knows what the stories are later even if he even has an opportunity to tell, for now, that's what he's sticking with. >> my last question is overarching, we're having to be cautious because we're taking the lead from police. the police not connecting the dots on this being an asian hate crime. but the asian community as you've been following the
attacks over, really, the last year, right, they're furious and fearful for good reason. because investigators say it's too soon to know the motivation here, how can law enforcement help the asian community in this country feel safer? >> i think in this take particu case they need to be as transparent as possible. we have seen an increase in assault against our asian citizens in our country. and that's documented. so, when something like this happens, you know, the default is to always be cautious. you have to expect the worst case scenario, and hope for the best. and in this case, just because robert long is saying this is a sexual addiction motivated shooting spree. that doesn't necessarily mean that's true. if you're an asian-american in this community, you should be cautious and law enforcement needs to be as transparent as they can in getting that information out. especially if we find anything out about this being motivated
towards asians, that information needs to be put out to the asian community so they know how to deal with that and inform the citizens of what they can do to become safer. >> so appreciate your perspective as a former detective in atlanta, vincent velasquez, thank you, sir. let's get you to the other big story, thousands of migrants making their way to the southern border. president biden sending a message to those hoping to make their way to the states, he's saying do not come. >> first of all, the idea joe biden said come -- i heard the other day they're coming because i'm a nice guy. good they >> they're saying this. >> well, here's the deal, they're not. >> do you have to say quite clearly, don't come? >> yeah, i can say quite clearly, don't come. in the process of getting set up, don't leave your city or town or community.
>> cnn chief white house correspondent kaitlan collins is with me now. when you hear him saying don't come a side from that message. what do you know just about what the administration is going to do when it comes to this crisis at the border. >> reporter: well, somewhere, brooke that biden's own top immigration officials have admitted sometimes their message is drowned out by other messages that these people are receiving and still trying to come to the border. and doesn't appear to be slowing down the search yet. even though you've heard officials repeatedly say now is not the time to come to the border including president biden saying so last night in that interview with abc news. look at what like the mexican president are saying, yes, these people are trying to cross the border which we're told by the dhs secretary is a record number in the last two decades, last 20 years, you have the mexican president saying the reason that's happening is because they view president biden as the, quote, migrant president. now officials have said that's
not the way they believe they're taking a more humane approach to the border than his predecessor was. but the reality is this is a problem that is facing them. and biden is coming under increasing scrutiny not just from republicans but also members of his own party who are saying what is happening to thousands of migrant children crossing the border and being held in border patrol facilities for longer than legally mandated is not a solution either. i think that's where you see the administration and where they are right now, and with even the dhs secretary testifying on capitol hill today, facing tough questions what the response is going to be not in the long term, but in the short term. >> we'll have a bigger conversation about this in just a little bit. kaitlan, thank you in washington. as for covid in this country, vaccination appointments are opening up for more americans here. it comes as a dozen states report a jump in cases. more details ahead. and president biden taking his strongest stance yet on
new york governor andrew cuomo saying if the allegations are true, if, then he should resign and he could be prosecuted. president biden is changing his stance on a totally game-changer for his agenda. and senator minority leader mitch mcconnell is ordering a scorched result. i'm brooke baldwin. learn more at phoenix.edu
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you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. former president donald trump who got his covid vaccine off camera back in january, he's urging his supporters to roll up their sleeves but in doing so, he also highlighted, quote, our freedoms. >> i would, i would recommend it. and i would recommend to a lot of people that don't want to get it. and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly but, again, we have our freedoms and we have to live by that. and i agree with that also. >> here is cnn's nick watt with the very latest covid developments today. >> all day long. >> reporter: tough to tipple with the mascot. despite mitigation measures, celebrating st. patrick could spread this virus and two more variants are now officially of concern to the cdc. both first found in the united states. here in california. >> we are until a race to stop transmission. and the emergence of variants that spread more easily has made
that even more challenging. >> reporter: this past week, all these states averaged new case counts climbed by more than 10%. in michigan up over 50%. >> i think we're seeing a new wave. it's starting in the north. >> reporter: the country is still averaging well over 50,000 new cases every day. >> when we see a plateau like that, whether that's been here previously or in those european countries, that predicts another surge. >> reporter: predicts, not for certain. here's the bright side. >> there are two things working against this virus right now. one is the weather. as it gets warmer and more humid it is more difficult for this virus to be transmitted. and more and more people are getting vaccinated. >> reporter: every single state has fully vaccinated at least 10% of their adult population. >> my concern is is that we prematurely pull back and don't give the vaccines time to continue to protect the country. >> reporter: two weeks ago, mississippi's governor signed an order that removes all of our
county mask mandates and allows businesses to operate at full capacity. >> reporter: average case counts in the state had been falling, but rose nearly 20% this past week. >> opening businesses just makes sense but doing that at the same time that you release mask mandates just doesn't make any sense. >> reporter: and some good news on schools. the federal government is going to funnel $10 billion into testing for kids k through 12. and also the cdc hinting again that they might tweak their guidance and say that with masks three feet of social distance is okay in the classroom. and finally, brooke, a ray of sunshine from here in california, disneyland will reopen the end of april. it has been closed for about a year. >> my best friend's daughter will be happy to hear that. nick watt, thank you. back here in new york, just a couple hours ago, new york
gopher andrew cuomo publicly received the covid vaccine. just a few months ago the scene might have been received very differently. and this is usual for one of the pandemic's most prominent governors but now cuomo faces several allegations of inappropriate behavior and harassment from a growing list of women. his future in politics is uncertain at best. while president biden gives his strongest repudiation of the governor yet. here was the president last night. >> if they affirm the claims of the women, should he resign? >> yes, i think he'll probably end up being prosecuted too. >> a woman should not be scapegoated and being victimized by her coming forward, number one. but there should be an investigation to determine what she says is true. >> >> tara palmeri joins me.
so nice to have you on. tara, just because of your history in conferring the governor from your "new york post" days. just what do you remember about that time and when it comes to office culture and what staffers would tell you? >> right. i remember that there was a culture of intimidation and bullying and it extended to the press. you so, simple conversation could turn into shouting. i also thought and i'm sure you have this experience as well, staffers tend to act like their bosses a lot. and they look up to them. that was an experience that i had. some of the former staffers i've spoken with recently about his conduct have said, you know, gross jokes, inappropriate comments were pretty regular. not just with junior staff, but senior staff. just accepted as part of the culture. one of the former staffers i spoke to as a woman said there was a lot of pressure to look good. so much so that she would be
wearing high-heels while running around the capitol. you and i both know that is no fun wearing high-heels all day long. but if you feel like your appearance is factored into your job, that's obviously an issue. basically, this person just seemed to say that a lot of the staffers were talented, on-the-rise, a whole generation. almost traumatized by the culture. and difficult to stay in government. and cuomo runs the state with an iron fist and has so much control over so many agencies but it was hard to move out of his inner circle into other places in government. as to the extent of those specific allegations of harassment. i just know that the culture there, that it felt like a bit like a boys' club for a long time. >> given all of that, and, you know, the governor has so far resisted -- you obviously call these calls to resign. and now we have this interview
with president biden how he's weighing in as far as he has with george stephanopoulos, do you think that changes the calculus with governor cuomo or not whatsoever? >> i think it does. he's still the number one -- joe biden is the president. and just having your name and the words "resign" even though he said obviously should resign if the investigation proves to be true. you just don't want that out there. you don't want those two words together. and hours later, you have the number two, most powerful democrat in the country, nancy pelosi saying the exact same thing. not just that, but the entire -- almost the entire delegation of democrats in new york state put pressure on him, launching an impeachment trial. it seems untenable in some ways. a politically sound situation especially with a crisis like covid. this isn't the only scandal to come his way.
we've also seen a manipulation of the numbers of deaths in nursing homes. this is just a new wave of issues for andrew cuomo. and i know that his thinking is right in the middle of a crisis, it's wartime, he needs to stay in position and carry new york to the finish line. but it's going to be difficult for him, when he doesn't even have the support of his own party. >> i appreciate all of your time, having covered him and your knowledge of the staff and the culture. and we shall see, right? we shall see what happens. tara palmeri, thank you. let's get back to the story of the day. the shooting rampage in atlanta. as asian-americans fear for their safety. really, across the country. i'll talk to a congresswoman who says she knows who is to blame for this rise in racist violence.
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back to our big story, the murder spree in atlanta overtight that left eight dead, the majority of those victims being asian women. police say the man arrested for the rampage has admitted to the shootings but still unclear if anti-asian hate and racism was the specific motivation. with me california congresswoman judy chu. congresswoman chu, a pleasure.
welcome. >> thank you so much. >> it is my understanding you think there is one person responsible for anti-asian hate. and that is donald trump. explain. >> since the start of the pandemic, he's been calling this the china virus, wuhan virus and flu. despite the fact the world health organization has said not to use such a name that deals with geography or ethnicity because of the stigma that causes to use a looser term covid-19. but he doubled down on that usage and insisted on it even as a few days ago and so have his republican followers. so, now, we have had a spike in anti-asian hate crimes and incidents. as of now, 3800 anti-asian hate crimes and incidents have occurred. and 68% of them have been against women, hence, we are not
surprised by what happened yesterday. it is the aftermath of all of this. >> do you think, congresswoman, because we're talking about this, also because of what happened in atlanta, and again, police aren't connecting the dots, but are you? do you think that happened because of donald trump? >> look, i am connecting the dots. all three of these businesses were asian spas. the first place that the shooter went to was called young asian massage. six of the victims were asian immigrant women. now, we have been concerned because most recently, these anti-asian hate crimes and incidents have been against the elderly and the vulnerable. and who can be more vulnerable than immigrant asian women which these women were. so, yes, i am connecting the dots here. and saying that this kind of anti-asian hate has to stop.
we all have to stand against it. >> i hear your perspective, again, just these investigators, they're not directly linking race to these crimes at least as of yet. the suspect told investigators that he had issues potentially, sexual addiction and may have frequented some of these massage parlors, these spas in the past. obviously, we know members of the asian-american community are furious and are fearful. would it give you any peace of mind to learn from investigators that this was not racially motivated? >> well, there is what he will admit to versus what may be the truth. and in fact, a person may have multiple reasons for committing a crime, but only talk about one of them. i just have to think that there is something having to do with ethnicity here, because of the venues that he chose to target.
nonetheless, what i really want is for a whole of community response. i want law enforcement to prosecute a person who was responsible. but i also want the community to protect the neighborhood and the victims and for the families of these victims to make sure that they have all the resources that they need. and most importantly, we all have to stand together in speaking out against this anti-asian hate that is increasing around the nation. >> i so appreciate your words. and, of course, the call to action, congresswoman judy chu. thank you. >> thank you. >> president biden has a warning for russia. he says vladimir putin, quote, will pay a price for trying to undermine the 2020 election. what those words might mean, next. of ransomware. ah, i'm the head of i.t., my name is paula.
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from the pandemic to u.s. policy in the middle east to immigration, president biden in this wide ranging interview, shed new light on some of the most pressing issues facing our country. he also for the first time since taking office public little expressed report for reforming the senate filibuster. >> i don't think you have to eliminate the filibuster. you have to do what it used to be when i first got to the senate back in the old days when you used to be around there. and that is that the filibuster, you had to stand up and command the floor. and you had to keep talking on. you couldn't call for -- you know, no one could say, you know, quorum call. once you stopped talking, you
lost that. and someone could move in and say, i move the question of, so you got to work for the filibuster. >> so you're for that reform? you're for bringing back the talking filibuster? >> i am, that's what it's supposed to be. >> that is the view for the president. as for the senate minority leader mitch mcconnell he's not threatening to grind the senate to a full halt if democrats make any changes to the filibuster. let's discuss with former congressman charlie dent and sabrina siddiqui, to filibuster, sabrina, to you. how significant is it that the president is throwing his weight behind changing the filibuster rules and what could that mean for the agenda? >> well, it's interesting because this is the first time that president biden is publicly calling for some form of filibuster reform. now, it's important to note the backdrop here that a growing
number of democrats have called for eliminating the filibuster altogether, and that is doing away with the 60-vote threshold to pass most in the senate. president biden isn't going far, talking of filibuster under which a senator from the minority would have to stand on the floor and keep talking to maintain a filibuster. but this is an idea that even senator joe manchin, one of the party moderates suggested he could support. even if they were able to get all 50 democrats behind, we could see them move to enact. and all depends on the republicans, the growing sense in the administration, a lot of policies in immigration, voting rights, gun control simply don't have support from republicans. so this is a way to saying to mitch mcconnell who has said that republicans are united in
opposing president biden's g agenda, if that's the way it is to be, that would make it harder to block immigration. >> hold that for a minute. charlie, you mentioned mitch mcconnell is threatening senate gridlock, this scorched earth response. what can mitch mcconnell actually do about it? >> well, if the democrats do pull the trigger on eliminating or significantly changing the filibuster, he can grind the senate to a halt. you know, he'll get rid of these unanimous consent agreements. they won't agree to them. and it will bring the place to a standstill. if the senate wants to make changes to the filibuster, they must do it on a bipartisan basis. the senate is the one part of the capitol that has the ability to put together bipartisan agreements that ultimately become law. take that to the guy who served in the house. the party will pass a bill
that's no chance of becoming law, we always had to rely on the senate come to the agreement. if the filibuster is dramatically changed and the senate is starting to look like the house with a majority body, i think they'll lose that capacity and put together at agreements and the last for bipartisan cooperation in washington. >> what about, coming back to you, sabrina, with the border, they tried and failed to make the border a winning issue, here in 2020, chanting build that wall, right? but given all of the children, the thousands of migrants detained at the facilities at the board, how big of a challenge will this be for democrats politically? >> well, it's certainly emerging as a challenge, and i think that's why you are hear president biden and a number of democrats publicly urging people not to come to the border. that was president biden's message in that interview with george stephanopoulos. i think that's sort of two-fold. one is because the white house and democrats are warning that
the journey itself is dangerous. but they're also saying that the federal government simply does not have the resources to deal with them right now, there are roughly 4,000 migrant children in border control custody. and they're running out of shelter space. and have enlisted fema in helping receive, transfer and shelter migrant children. so, i think a big question moving forward is going to be what action the administration takes to try and stem the flow of migrants or at least deal with them once they do arrive. it's worth repeating that these are people who are fleeing violence and poverty in central america. many immigration advocates like to underscore that they're not crossing the border illegally, they do have a legal right under international law to present themselves at the border and to at least seek asylum under a process. but for now, with the biden administration is saying they simply do not have the capacity
to deal with them. that could, of course, emerge as a political challenge as well. just given the politics of immigration we have seen over the last few years. >> definitely could for the democrats. charlie, over to you, i want to get your take on what president biden -- when he was asked about vladimir putin. here's the clip. >> he will pay the price. we had a long talk. i know him relatively well. and the conversation started off, i said, i know you and you know me. i established that this occurred then be prepared. >> i don't have to tell you this, this is a mighty departure what we heard in the trump administration. charlie, quick answer, what does putin paying a price mean look like under the biden administration? >> well, the biden administration ait will probabl be more sanctions. i suspect a greater cyberdeterrent. we're better than this than the russians, we're more connected. but i think at the end of the
day, joe biden understands that vladimpuvladimir putin just wan push back and undermine us in any way he can. unlike donald trump was in a go bromance with vladimir putin. >> definitely seems like that. to the royals, after a year-long royal rift, prince harry and prince william are talking again but it doesn't seem to be going that well. and everyone seems to have an opinion including former president donald trump. no, buddy! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty. ♪
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the royal rift continues. prince harry has reportedly spoken to his brother prince william and to his father, prince charles, since his and meghan's interview with oprah winfrey but a friend of the couple, cbs host gayle king says those talks have been unproductive so far. royal correspondent max foster is live there in england and with me now. max, what do you know about these conversations? >> reporter: well, it's going bad to worse, isn't it. you just now trust wouldn't break down anymore than it did after that oprah winfrey interview because the queen is not want to sort this all out in private and the next thing you know gayle king on tv revealing private conversations between harry and william and charles. now the sussexes are pretty clear that they are frustrated with all the leaks on the other side, disparaging meghan, so they are saying, you know, it's fine for us to leak as well in this way and it's much more open
actually when we've got a friend out on tv talking about it. gayle king saying there were conversations but they weren't constructive or they weren't productive, same thing i guess. also some frustration that the family haven't actually spoken to meghan here, so trust really breaking down. i have to say on this side of the water people are say i go are they leaking this information from the sussex side, and there hasn't been any leaks this week, at least, from the palace side but it doesn't really, you know, encourage, you know, a private conversation, does it, when there are leaks on both sides so it doesn't seem as though there's much progress. >> okay. so not much progress there. what about -- we've heard, that you know, some, i don't know, rumors this week about meghan's political aspirations, but that is what caught attention of former president donald trump. what is he saying? >> yes. well, it's interesting because everyone is talking about meghan's future political career. she's never confirmed it. i think they are just looking at the type of work had a she's been focusing on, but as you say
president trump is one of those who has joined the conversation. >> if that happened, then i think i'd have an even stronger feeling toward running. i'm not a fan of hers. i think that what she talks about the royal family and the queen, i happen to think -- i know the queen, as you know. i met with the queen, and i think the queen is a tremendous person, and i'm not a fan of meghan. >> you ready for that, brooke, tremp versus meghan 2024. >> i'm going to keep my words to myself. max foster, thank you very much in england. if you have not started working on your taxes yet, hmm, some good news ahead. the irs has plans to push back this year's filing deadline. stay here. not everybody wants the same thing. that's why i go with liberty mutual — they customize my car insurance so i only pay for what i need. 'cause i do things a bit differently. wet teddy bears! wet teddy bears here! only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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all right. here it is. the breaking news out of atlanta. the police have charged the suspect in those spa shootings with four additional counts of murder. so in total here, he now faces eight murder charges and one aggravated assault charge for the sole survivor of the attack in cherokee county georgia. a little extra grace period for us this year to get the tax returns filed. an irs official tells cnn the
deadline will be changed to mid-may instead of april 15th. lawmakers suggested the delay to allow filers more time to navigate tax situations that have become complicated by the pandemic. last year the filing deadline was moved to july 15th. one caveat. even though the irs is extending its deadline, that doesn't mean individual states will do so, so just make sure you check those state deadlines. and an update here on major biden, yes, the president's dog who was involved in that recent biting incident with the secret service agent. george stephanopoulos asking the tough questions. >> is major out of the doghouse? >> the answer is yes. major was a rescue pup. major did not bite someone and penetrate the skin, and the dog is being trained now. our trainer at home in delaware, he was going home. i didn't banish him to home. jill was going to be away for four days and i was going to be
away for two so we took him home. >> president biden says major has an 85% approval rating at the white house which puts him well ahead of most human occupants. i'm brooke baldwin here in new york. thanks so much for being with me. to washington we go. "the lead" with jake tapper starts now. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper, and we begin today with the politics lead. moments ago democratic new york governor andrew cuomo tried to downplay the various -- very serious statement from president biden about the myriad allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior that have been launched against cuomo. president biden on air this morning said that if the allegations of sexual harassment against cuomo are proven to be true in the investigations going on, then cuomo should resign, and then biden, bringing up on his own with no prompting said, quote, he probably will end up being prosecuted,