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“Unfit to Lead”: NY State Sen. Biaggi Says Gov. Cuomo Impeachment Proceedings Should Start Now
by Amy Goodman
DemocracyNow
AUGUST 10, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/8/10/ ... drew_cuomo

GUESTS
Alessandra Biaggi: New York state senator representing parts of the Bronx and Westchester.

Lawmakers in New York are preparing impeachment proceedings against Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo after the state attorney general found Cuomo harassed at least 11 women in violation of the law — including unwanted touching and kissing, and inappropriate remarks. Cuomo’s former executive assistant, Brittany Commisso, has filed a criminal complaint against him, and other cases are expected to follow. “The governor is unfit to lead,” says New York state Senator Alessandra Biaggi, who first called on Cuomo to resign in February. She says the damage Cuomo has inflicted goes beyond sexual harassment and includes the state’s COVID relief programs, nursing homes deaths, transit funding and more. “It is very important that we act with a serious sense of urgency.”

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

New York state lawmakers are moving ahead with preparations for impeachment proceedings against Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo after the explosive report from the New York Attorney General’s Office found Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women in violation of the law, including unwanted touching, kissing, inappropriate remarks. The New York state Judiciary Committee is wrapping up its own impeachment investigation. Last week, Cuomo’s former executive assistant, Brittany Commisso, filed a criminal complaint against him. Other lawsuits are expected.

We’re joined now by Alessandra Biaggi, New York state senator representing parts of the Bronx and Westchester. She first called on Cuomo to resign in February. Now his top assistant has just resigned.

The circle is closing very quickly, state Senator Biaggi. Can you talk about what’s happening in the state Legislature and what you’re demanding of Governor Cuomo now?

SEN. ALESSANDRA BIAGGI: Sure. So, thank you very much for having me on, Amy. I really appreciate being here.

I think that the most important thing for your viewers and also especially for New Yorkers to know is that right now the governor of New York, who has been found to have violated both state and federal laws, not only for sexual harassment, but also for retaliation, amongst other things, including a toxic workplace environment, is in a position where those around him, those closest to him are starting to resign. He has not resigned, as I just mentioned. So that means that myself and many other lawmakers are calling on impeachment to begin immediately.

Why do I say immediately? Because the moment upon which the Assembly begins the impeachment process — the impeachment process, by the way, begins in the Assembly, who votes on the articles of impeachment — the moment that they do that and hand those articles of impeachment to the Senate is the moment that Governor Cuomo has to step aside, and the Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul has to step in, until the end of the proceedings. And so, that is a very important process to begin, because, as evidenced by probably not only this report by the AG, but probably many other things that New Yorkers and your viewers know, the governor is unfit to lead.

And so, the delay in the impeachment proceedings, which we are seeing happen in the Assembly right now, is just delaying the accountability of Governor Cuomo, because the AG’s report is not a full accountability. It is simply a set of findings. It’s a very substantiated, credible and important set of findings, but it is only that. It is only findings. It is not a method of accountability.

And so, it is our job as legislators in New York to move forward as quickly as possible, because the harm that Governor Cuomo is causing every single day that he’s in office does go beyond the 11 women that he’s sexually harassed. It extends into things like COVID relief. It extends into things like our MTA. It extends into things like accountability, again, for nursing home deaths. There are so many things that this governor has been involved with that lead us to understand that he is no longer fit for office. And so, that is why it is very important that we act with a serious sense of urgency.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Senator, I wanted to ask you about the issue — you worked in the governor’s executive chamber at times, and you’ve described it as, quote, “the most dark period I have lived through in a workplace setting.” Could you talk about that? And also, you mentioned resignations. The importance of Melissa DeRosa, the top aide to the governor, suddenly resigning over the weekend? Could you comment on both of those?

SEN. ALESSANDRA BIAGGI: I would be happy to. So, I think I would like to begin just by commenting on the resignation of Melissa DeRosa, who I’m sure you both know, but maybe your viewers don’t know, is somebody who has really been an enabler of the governor. The governor has not acted alone. He has acted with impunity, with the help of the people who are closest to him. And Melissa DeRosa is absolutely one of those people. In fact, her name appears in the AG’s report many times. And you see her trying to not only make efforts to retaliate against Lindsey Boylan, one of the 11 accusers, but what you see her do also is make comments that are not only outside of the realm of public service or outside of the ethos of public service, but are absolutely antithetical to public service.

And so, through my experience in the chamber, which I, again, have talked about many times — my experience, almost from day one, was one where it was very clear to me that the executive chamber was run solely to serve the needs of Andrew Cuomo. It was not to serve the needs of New Yorkers. And so, this was carried out in a way that was undermining of staff, yelling at staff. It was what felt like, in so many ways, a whiplash between you have value, but you are valueless. And that experience of really what was gaslighting made many people live in a constant state of fear, a fear that maybe you would lose your job, a fear that you would be embarrassed, a fear that you did something wrong and would be sidelined and no longer included on projects. And that collective experience, of course, is what is part of the toxic workplace environment. But really what it lends itself to is the point that the executive chamber is run where the loyalty to the governor is the currency that is the most important currency in the chamber.

AMY GOODMAN: You have your own experience with Governor Cuomo outside of working for him, when you saw him after you worked for him. And you talk about his actions to you as continually trying to show who has power. Can you describe that very briefly?

SEN. ALESSANDRA BIAGGI: Absolutely. So, I saw Governor Cuomo during the 2018 election cycle at a wedding. When I went to go say hello to him, he pulled me into him. He kissed my forehead twice. He kissed my eye twice. And he turned — while he was still holding onto me, turned to my fiancé, who is now my husband — and at the time — and he said to him, “Are you jealous?” That was not him, in my opinion, sexualizing me. That was him asserting power over me and trying to make it very clear, not only to me, but to my fiancé, that he was in control and that he was in charge.

And that kind of behavior is exactly the kind of behavior that we see described amongst the 11 women, amongst other people who have been inside of his executive chamber, and beyond. And so, I think what this is very clearly demonstrating is that this pattern of abuse of power is something that has been going on not just now, not just in 2019, ’18 or ’17, but for decades. And so, this is the thing that I believe not only will lend itself to accountability, but it is important because if we do not hold this person accountable, effectively, what we are saying is that there are no standards for sexual harassment in the state of New York. And that is an absolutely unacceptable conclusion to make.

AMY GOODMAN: And you have said, if he goes through these impeachment proceedings and doesn’t resign before — by the way, he has three daughters in their twenties — they will widen the investigation to include, for example, covering up nursing home deaths. We have 30 seconds.

SEN. ALESSANDRA BIAGGI: Yes. And so, you know, there are things beyond, again, just the sexual harassment claims, which are serious and sufficient in their own right to begin impeachment proceedings, but the nursing home deaths, where he covered up the deaths, the number of deaths, so that he could make it seem as if he had done a better job than he did. Why? So that he could get a book deal, a book deal that allowed him to make $5 million and profit during a time when the state of New York not only was the state with the largest number of deaths, but the state that had the greatest amount of need, with a leader who was more concerned, again, with serving his own needs rather than the needs of New Yorkers and protecting the most vulnerable, those who were in nursing homes. And the result of that was that we lost 15,000 elderly because of decisions that he made that were uninformed and irresponsible.

AMY GOODMAN: Alessandra Biaggi, we want to thank you for being with us, New York state senator representing parts of the Bronx and Westchester, called on Andrew Cuomo to resign since February. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. Stay safe.
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Re: Harvey Weinstein: 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenbe

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Biles and Her Teammates Rip the F.B.I. for Botching Nassar Abuse Case: Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, apologized for “inexcusable” failures in the investigation of Lawrence G. Nassar, who sexually abused hundreds of women and girls.
by Juliet Macur
New York Times
September 15, 2021


Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney and Maggie Nichols testified before the Senate on the sexual abuse investigation involving the former U.S.A. gymnastics team doctor Lawrence G. Nassar. The gymnasts also received an apology from the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for the handling of the case.

“I don’t want another young gymnast, Olympic athlete or any individual to experience the horror that I and hundreds of others have endured before, during and continuing to this day in the wake of the Larry Nassar abuse.” “I was so shocked at the agents’ silence and disregard for my trauma. After that minute of silence, he asked, ‘Is that all?’ Those words in itself was one of the worst moments of this entire process for me, to have my abuse be minimized and disregarded by the people who were supposed to protect me just to feel like my abuse was not enough. But the truth is my abuse was enough, and they wanted to cover it up.” “It is unrealistic to think we can grasp the full extent of culpability without understanding how and why U.S.A.G. and U.S.O.P.C. chose to ignore abuse for decades, and why the interplay among these three organizations led the F.B.I. to willingly disregard our reports of abuse.” “I’m sorry for what you and your families have been through. I’m sorry that so many different people let you down over and over again. And I’m especially sorry that there were people at the F.B.I. who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed. And that is inexcusable. It never should have happened, and we’re doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”


WASHINGTON — Sitting at a witness table alongside three of her former gymnastics teammates, Simone Biles broke down in tears while explaining to a Senate committee that she doesn’t want any more young people to experience the kind of suffering she endured at the hands of Lawrence G. Nassar, the former national team doctor.

“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar, but I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Ms. Biles, 24, said Wednesday as her mother, Nellie Biles, sat nearby, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

Ms. Biles and hundreds of other girls and women — including a majority of the members of the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics teams — were molested by Mr. Nassar, who is now serving what amounts to life in prison for multiple sex crimes. His serial molestation is at the center of one of the biggest child sex abuse cases in American history.

McKayla Maroney, an Olympian in 2012, also testified, describing in detail how Mr. Nassar repeatedly abused her, even at the London Games, where she won a gold medal. She said she survived a harrowing ordeal when she and Mr. Nassar were at a competition in Tokyo, certain she “was going to die that night because there was no way he was going to let me go.”

“That evening I was naked, completely alone, with him on top of me, molesting me for hours,” she said.

In 2015, when Ms. Maroney was 19 years old and before she had even told her mother what Mr. Nassar had done, she described her abuse to an F.B.I. agent during a three-hour phone call from the floor of her bedroom. When she finished, Ms. Maroney said the agent asked, “Is that all?” She said she felt crushed by the lack of empathy.

“Not only did the F.B.I. not report my abuse, but when they eventually documented my report 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what I said,” Ms. Maroney testified. “They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me but countless others.”


Image
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California hugged Maroney after the hearing. Credit...Pool photo by Graeme Jennings

In a remarkable turn, the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, acknowledged the agency’s mishandling of the case and apologized to the victims. He said the F.B.I. had fired an agent who was involved in the case early — the one who interviewed Ms. Maroney. It was the first time anyone at the agency had submitted to public questioning about the F.B.I.’s failure to properly investigate a sexual abuse case that shook the sports world to its core.

Mr. Wray, who became the F.B.I. director in 2017 said he was “heartsick and furious” when he heard that the F.B.I. had made so many errors in the case before he took charge of the agency.

“I’m sorry that so many people let you down again and again,” Mr. Wray said to the victims. “I am especially sorry that there were people at the F.B.I. who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed, and that is inexcusable. It never should have happened, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”

Mr. Wray said that one of the agents initially involved in the case, Michael Langeman, was fired two weeks ago. When asked why the case was mishandled in the first place, Mr. Wray said the agents had made many basic mistakes that clashed with how the F.B.I. usually conducts investigations.

“I don’t have a good explanation for you,” Mr. Wray said, later adding, “On no planet is what happened in this case acceptable.”

Mr. Wray said that as a result of the Nassar case the F.B.I. had strengthened its policies, procedures, systems and training, including emphasizing that agents report abuse cases to state and local law enforcement. He promised that steps in future investigations would be “quadruple checked” so that there was not “a single point of failure.”

Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, said Mr. Wray’s answers would not provide any solace to the gymnasts who testified before the Judiciary Committee, and that they weren’t good enough “for the American people,” either.

Like the gymnasts who testified, Mr. Leahy and several other senators on the committee expressed outrage that the agents who mishandled the case have not been prosecuted. He said sports and government officials and anyone else who “turned a blind eye” to Mr. Nassar’s abuse should face criminal charges.

“A whole lot of people should be in prison,” Mr. Leahy said.

The Justice Department was not at the hearing to address the lack of criminal prosecutions. Senators said they had asked Justice Department officials to attend, but those officials declined.

The hearing came two months after the Justice Department’s inspector general released a report that sharply criticized the F.B.I. The agency’s errors allowed Mr. Nassar to continue treating patients at Michigan State University, where he practiced, and in and around Lansing, Mich., including at a local gymnastics center and a high school, even though he had left U.S.A. Gymnastics under a cloud, with both gymnastics officials and the F.B.I. aware of the abuse accusations.

Mr. Nassar was able to molest more than 70 girls and women under the guise of medical treatment while the F.B.I. failed to act, the inspector general’s report said.


Image
“To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar, but I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse,” Biles said. Credit...Pool photo by Graeme Jennings

To open the hearing, Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois and the committee chair, scolded the F.B.I. for its “dereliction of duty,” “systematic organizational failure” and “gross failures” in the case.

“It shocks the conscience when the failures come from law enforcement itself, yet that’s exactly what happened in the Nassar case,” Mr. Durbin said.

Two F.B.I. agents who took the initial abuse reports no longer work for the agency, including Mr. Langeman, the supervisory special agent in the F.B.I.’s Indianapolis office who first spoke to Ms. Maroney. Mr. Wray said the agency had been waiting to receive the inspector general’s report and had to go through the proper disciplinary process before firing Mr. Langeman.

Mr. Langeman, who was not immediately available for comment, was not named in the inspector general’s report, but his actions and multiple crucial missteps were carefully described. The report said that Mr. Langeman should have known that Mr. Nassar’s abuse was probably widespread, but that he did not investigate the case with any urgency.

After Mr. Langeman interviewed Ms. Maroney — who was just one of the three elite gymnasts who gave U.S.A. Gymnastics details of Mr. Nassar’s abuse — the agent did not properly document that interview or open an investigation. In an interview report that Mr. Langeman filed with the F.B.I. 17 months after he spoke to Ms. Maroney, who was not named in the report, he included statements she did not make, according to the report.

Like other agents initially involved in the case, Mr. Langeman did not alert local or state officials about the allegations of abuse by Mr. Nassar, violating F.B.I. policy that says crimes against children “invariably require a broad, multijurisdictional, and multidisciplinary approach.”

Mr. Langeman later said he had filed an initial report about Mr. Nassar, asking for the case to be transferred to the F.B.I.’s Lansing office. But the paperwork wasn’t found in the F.B.I. database, the inspector general’s report said.

W. Jay Abbott, a former special agent in the Indianapolis office, also is no longer with the F.B.I. after voluntarily retiring in 2018. The report said he had made false statements to Justice Department investigators and “violated F.B.I. policy and exercised extremely poor judgment under federal ethics rules.”

According to the report, Mr. Abbott had been angling for a job with the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, which he discussed with Steve Penny, who was then the president of U.S.A. Gymnastics. Several senators expressed surprise and disgust that Mr. Abbott was able to leave the F.B.I. without being disciplined.


Hundreds of girls and women who were abused by Mr. Nassar have been waiting for years to hear from the F.B.I. about the mistakes in the case. Ms. Biles has been vocal about wanting to know “who knew what, and when” about Mr. Nassar. She said the effects from his abuse linger. She won a silver medal and a bronze this summer at the Tokyo Olympics after dropping out of the team competition, saying she was struggling mentally.

“The scars of this horrific abuse continue to live with all of us,” she said at the hearing, referring to all the victims, including Maggie Nichols, who also testified. Ms. Nichols is often referred to as “Athlete A” because she was the first national team athlete to report Nassar’s abuse.

Image
The gymnasts being sworn in. Credit...Pool photo by Saul Loeb

Aly Raisman, an Olympic gold medalist who testified at the hearing, has publicly asked for an independent investigation of the Nassar case. She pressed senators for that on Wednesday, saying that it was hard for her to speak at the hearing, but that she did so to protect others and force change within sports and law enforcement.

“The F.B.I. made me feel like my abuse didn’t count and that it wasn’t real,” she said.

Ms. Raisman, 27, told the senators that she wondered if she was going to be able to walk out of the hearing room after the proceedings.

After the first time she spoke publicly about her abuse, in 2017, she said, she was so shaken that she couldn’t stand up in the shower and had to sit on the floor of the tub to wash her hair. Since then, she said, there have been times when she was so sick from the trauma that she had to be taken to a hospital by ambulance.

Ms. Raisman said testifying on Wednesday would set her back, too.

“This might take me months to recover,” she said. “I just wanted to make that clear.”


**************************

FBI director details "totally unacceptable" failures in Larry Nassar case
by Jeff Pegues, Nicole Sganga, Stefan Becket
CBS News
UPDATED ON: SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 / 7:05 PM

Washington — FBI Director Christopher Wray said federal investigators made "totally unacceptable" errors in failing to investigate allegations of sexual assault by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar in 2015 and 2016, telling senators on Wednesday that an agent who failed to act on one gymnast's accusations and later lied about his actions has recently been fired.

Wray appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee alongside Inspector General Michael Horowitz to testify about the bureau's July report in the case against Nassar, who has been sentenced to over 100 years in prison for sexual abusing dozens of young gymnasts and child pornography. Wray said Michael Langeman, formerly a supervisory special agent in the FBI's Indianapolis field office, was fired two weeks ago.

"When I received the inspector general's report and saw that the supervisory special agent in Indianapolis had failed to carry out even the most basic parts of the job, I immediately made sure he was no longer performing the functions of a special agent," Wray said. "And I can now tell you that individual no longer works for the FBI in any capacity."


[x]
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the inspector general's report on the FBI's handling of the Larry Nassar investigation on Capitol Hill on September 15, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
GRAEME JENNINGS / GETTY IMAGES


The first half of Wednesday's hearing featured emotional testimony by four elite gymnasts — Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols — who said Nassar sexually abused them under the guise of medical treatment during his time as a USA Gymnastics doctor.

Maroney recalled speaking with the FBI in the summer of 2015 and providing "extreme detail" about Nassar's abuse during a nearly three-hour phone interview. But the bureau failed to proceed with an investigation into his alleged misconduct until more than a year later, as revealed by a blistering inspector general's report in July.

Maroney said her interview with the bureau was not documented until 17 months later, and she accused the FBI of making "entirely false claims" about what she told them.

"They chose to lie about what I said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me but countless others," she said, accusing the bureau, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee of working together to conceal the allegations against Nassar.

Wray said the FBI agents "betrayed the core duty that they have of protecting people" and "failed to protect young women and girls from abuse."


The July report by Horowitz's office harshly criticized the supervisory special agent in the FBI's Indianapolis office, now known to be Langeman, and Jay Abbott, the agent in charge of the FBI's Indianapolis field office, for bungling the Nassar case and later lying about it. Abbott retired in 2018.

The report said the FBI's Indianapolis field office first learned of the accusations in July 2015 after USA Gymnastics conducted its own internal investigation. But the FBI did not open an investigation in Michigan, where the abuse occurred and where Nassar was still working at Michigan State University, until October 2016. The FBI did not take action until USA Gymnastics filed a new complaint in Los Angeles following months of inactivity in Indianapolis, the report said.

Citing civil court documents, Horowitz testified that "approximately 70 or more young athletes were allegedly sexually abused by Nassar under the guise of medical treatment between July of 2015 — when the FBI first received these allegations — until September 2016."

Nassar abused additional athletes after the allegations were first brought to the FBI's attention, the report said. The inspector general also accused the FBI of failing to "formally document" the initial meeting when the allegations were brought to their attention.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said he was infuriated that FBI agents "made material, false statements and deceptive omissions." Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, the committee's chairman, called the FBI's botched investigation a "dereliction of duty" and "systematic organizational failure."

"It shocks the conscience when the failures come from law enforcement itself, yet that's exactly what happened in the Nassar case," Durbin said.
The senator added that he was "disappointed" by the Justice Department's decision not to testify at Wednesday's hearing.

Horowitz testified that he referred agents' conduct for criminal prosecution to attorneys at the the Justice Department. When asked by CBS News about top department officials' absence, a Justice Department official cited longstanding department policy against testifying to Congress about declining to prosecute cases. No charges have been brought against the agents, a fact that infuriated senators.

"I don't have a good explanation for you," Wray testified, noting he felt "heartsick and furious" when he learned of the FBI's failures in the Nassar investigation. "It is utterly jarring to me. It is totally inconsistent with what we train our people on and totally inconsistent from what I see from the hundreds of agents that work these cases every day."

Wray added that over the past five years, the bureau and its partners "have made 16,000 arrests of people like Mr. Nassar."

"It gives you a sense of just the sheer scale of this kind of abuse in this country," Wray said. "Because I have no doubt that for the 16,000 arrests that we made, lord knows how many other predators that are out there that we didn't get."

"It's not just about these survivors. It's not just about gymnastics. It's not even necessarily about the Olympics," Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas said Wednesday. "This challenge is pervasive in our country, in our society, in our culture."

Melissa Quinn, Jordan Freiman and Andres Triay contributed to this report.

**************************

Gymnasts Testify That The FBI Failed To Protect Them Against Nassar
by Ailsa Chang
NPR
September 15, 2021, 4:53 PM ET

Gymnasts testifying on Capitol Hill on Wednesday repeatedly said that the FBI failed to protect them from Larry Nassar.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Larry Nassar, the former Olympics team doctor convicted of multiple cases of sexual assault, is currently serving up to 175 years in prison. Today in Washington, a Senate hearing made it clear that there are still many outstanding questions about how the FBI handled their investigation of that abuse.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ALY RAISMAN: It disgusts me that we are still fighting for the most basic answers and accountability over six years later.

CHANG: That is Aly Raisman, who, along with three other Olympic Team U.S.A. gymnasts - Simone Biles, Maggie Nichols and McKayla Maroney - told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI mishandled its investigation of Larry Nassar. Here is Simone Biles.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SIMONE BILES: To be clear - sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Take your time.

BILES: To be clear, I blame Larry Nassar. And I also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse.

CHANG: McKayla Maroney said the FBI did not report her abuse for 14 months and falsified her testimony when they did.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MCKAYLA MARONEY: Let's be honest. By not taking immediate action from my report, they allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year. And this inaction directly allowed Nassar's abuse to continue. What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?

CHANG: Joining us to talk about the hearing and the athletes' testimony is John Manly. He's an attorney representing the women who spoke today. And also joining us is U.S. gymnast Jessica Howard. Thank you both for being here. I know it's been a really tough day.

JOHN MANLY: Thank you for having us.

CHANG: Jessica, I want to start with you. You know, as we mentioned, Larry Nassar is in prison. He almost certainly will never get out. But for you and the women who testified today, this is not at all over. Why do you think it is important to pursue this question of the FBI's failures here?

JESSICA HOWARD: You know what? It's been wild. And I, even today, have run through the gamut of emotions that I've felt over the last four years. But I think what has been underscored today and what was spoken about by the senators and what was spoken about by anybody who's read the report is that this isn't just Larry Nassar. This is a systemic problem that affects government-run organizations, the U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S.A. Gymnastics, all the organizations and now the FBI. There is no excuse. People talk about mishandling. This is the opposite of mishandling. This is dead failure. Like I - there's just no excuse.

CHANG: Yeah. Well, both Simone Biles and McKayla Maroney - they were very clear today that they do not trust the system. And I'm wondering, what about you? Do you ultimately trust the system? How do you feel?

HOWARD: You know, I don't. That's one of the difficult things that I've had to deal with personally as well. And I'm sure they're on their recovery journeys. And they were so powerful today that, I mean, I just - I can't imagine anybody not being affected after hearing their testimonies. But no, why would I believe in anything that's happened so far in this case? At every single turn, we've been diminished. At every single turn, we've been told we were not enough. At every single turn, we've been told we were lying. At every single turn, we've been told, oh, it's just Larry Nassar. It was just a few bad apples. And it's so far beyond that point now that, no, I absolutely do not believe in the system, in any of the systems.

CHANG: And yet...

HOWARD: I do believe in people.

CHANG: ...You still showed up at the Senate...

HOWARD: And I hope that they can make those changes.

CHANG: And yet you still showed up today at the Senate hearing. Tell me why you felt it was important to still show up and make an appearance inside the system, despite how you feel?

HOWARD: The team of people that have been working on this from the beginning, since it began to come out, have been nothing but utterly faithful to the gymnasts. And they have kept their promises, and they have shown us that this is not just something they're doing, you know, for a headline. And that's why we're here today.

And I'm here today because of the 120 victims that were served to Larry, trafficked to Larry Nassar, a horrible predator. And honestly, like, again, I hate just saying cliche things, but it is literally on a silver platter. And the youngest was 8 that we know of. 120 girls, 8-year-olds - they were all exposed to Larry Nassar during that five-month period where all of the communication that was happening between Steve Penny and the FBI was...

CHANG: 14 months, according to some reports about the failures for the FBI to take action. John Manly, let me turn to you in the last moments we have. What do you hope to see after this hearing? What is the next legal step, in your mind?

MANLY: Well, No. 1, I think there needs to be a - we're hoping that the Justice Department and the White House will insist that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate this. Anybody that thinks this was a couple of errant FBI agents that just, you know, helped Steve Penny cover this up is naive. This is clearly - there's clearly more to this story. And as Jessica said and Aly said and McKayla said and Simone said, no, we don't have answers. And you know, the fact that the FBI covered this up and literally these agents conspired with U.S.A. Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to cover up Larry Nassar - those aren't my words, that's the Senate and the Office of the Inspector General report on this - is beyond belief. McKayla reported her abuse, and they falsified her report...

CHANG: Right.

MANLY: ...To protect Larry Nassar. That's unbelievable. And if they can do that to these women, what hope does an ordinary American have? You know, Martha Stewart went to jail...

CHANG: All right.

MANLY: ...For lying to the FBI.

CHANG: All right.

MANLY: And these agents lied repeatedly, and they're not being prosecuted.

CHANG: I am so sorry. We will have to leave it there. That is attorney John Manly and U.S. gymnast Jessica Howard. Thank you both so much for your time.

MANLY: Thank you.

HOWARD: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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