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Hawaiian Airlines Return to LAX 3 Times Before Being Cancelled; Racist Photo Backslash: Yearbook Photograph Shows People in Blackface and KKK Outfit; Virginia Governor Apologizes for "Racist and Offensive" Costume; Pressure on Ralph Northam to Resign as Allies Pull Support; Super Bowl Weekend: Atlanta Mayor Discusses Preparations for Football's Biggest Game; Russia to Produce New Medium-Range Nuclear Missile; Cold War Reheating?; Trump White House: Trump, Pelosi remain at Odds Over Wall Funding; Cyberwar Special Report: Inside the Pentagon's Fight Against "Deepfake" Videos; Virtual Reality Game Gives Fans Lessons in Decision Making. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired February 2, 2019 - 8:00   ET


[08:00:00] Now the airline says the problems were caused by three separate and unrelated faults with different systems. Good thing, everybody's fine.

BLACKWELL: Virginia's Democratic Governor Ralph Northam is facing growing criticism and calls to step down after this racist photo emerged Friday from his 1984 medical school yearbook page.


GOV. RALP NORTHAM, (D) VIRGINIA: That photo and the racist and offensive attitude it represents, does know reflect that person I am today.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We don't know if he was the one in blackface or we don't know if he was the one wearing the KKK garb.

NORTHAM: I accept responsibility for my past actions and I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is planning on continuing his term and not resigning.

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If you go after Donald Trump for his racism, his bigotry, there's no way you cannot call for Ralph Northam to resign.

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- does not necessarily deserve is to remain in a position of trust and authority, which is what the governor's office is.


ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day Weekend" with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul. VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Good Saturday morning to you, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is facing pressure from all sides to resign, after a racist yearbook photo surfaced from his 1984 medical school yearbook showing men in blackface and Ku Klux Klan robe.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: And the Democratic Governor has not said which figure in that picture is him, but he has confirmed that he is in the picture. His apology for that past did little to calm the controversy or stop the demands for him to step down. Joining us now from Richmond, CNN Politics Reporter, Dan Merica joins us live. Dan, good morning.

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Good morning, Christi and Victor. It was a remarkable day yesterday here in Richmond. And Ralph Northam, the Governor of Virginia really does wake up behind me at the Governor's Mansion as a man without a party after a series of democratic caucuses and organizations and top lawmakers here came out and asked for his resignation after he admitted that he appeared in a photo that appeared in his yearbook at his medical school where there was a one person in blackface and one person in a KKK outfit.

It really shifted throughout the day. Very clear early on that some thought Ralph Northam was going to be able to hang on, and he issued at least two statements saying that he apologize for the photo and -- but that he was going to hold on to his job. Take a -- listen to the video statement he released last night.


GOV. RALP NORTHAM, (D) VIRGINIA: --I have spent the past year as your Governor fighting for Virginia that works better for all people. I am committed to continuing that fight to the remainder of my term and living up to the expectations you set for me when you elected me to serve.


MERICA: But what followed was a cascade of calls for his resignation, not just from here in Virginia, but throughout the nation a number of 2020 democrats Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand all called for his resignation over this photo.

But really what shifted the ground from underneath Ralph Northam was the fact that both sides of the -- both Democratic Caucuses here in Richmond, the Senate and House Democratic Caucuses called for his resignation after speaking with the Governor.

An additional blow to him was that his predecessor Terry McAuliffe who was -- who Northam served as under -- as Lieutenant Governor, also called for his resignation and we are told that came after the two had a long conversation, described to me as a difficult conversation. And that McAuliffe actually informed Northam that he was going to call for his resignation.

The reality here is that Northam wakes up in a very tenuous position and there are many democrats here in Richmond who think it is hard to see how he hangs on to his job. That will turn the focus to his Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax, a 30-year-old African-American Lieutenant Governor who was elected at the same time that Northman was elected.

He is popular. He is liked here in the Capitol. And if he were -- if Northam where to step down, that would mean Fairfax to become the Governor of Virginia. Guys?

BLACKWELL: All right. Dan Merica for us there in Richmond, thanks so much.

PAUL: With us now Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief, Chicago Sun- Times and CNN Contributor, Wesley Lowery, National Reporter for The Washington Post. Thank you both for being here, we appreciate it.

I want to ask you about what Dan was just talking about, Lynn that the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus met with him, Terry McAuliffe, Former Governor met with him. Let's -- I want to read what the Black Caucus released in terms of the statement.

They said, "We just finished meeting with the Governor. We fully appreciate all he's contributed to our Commonwealth. But given what was revealed today, it's clear he can no longer effectively serve as Governor. It's time for him to resign, so Virginia can begin the process of healing". What does it say to you that they have met with the Governor and the Governor still could not convince them to support him, Lynn?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, the Governor -- sometimes you see when a political figure has a crisis that they -- that there is an impulse to try and wait a little bit to see if you could tough it out.

[08:05:00] In this case, since it is a Democratic Lieutenant Governor waiting in the wings, Justin Fairfax, as we just talked about the second African-American to win statewide office in Virginia, only the second in Virginia history is waiting in the wings to become Governor, you still will have a democrat in charge.

If it were a Republican who would become Governor or maybe that would be a little more of a political calculation. But the Democrats will still be in charge, that the Black Caucus in Virginia said that the Northam's tenure is over is telling.

I think, though, the time will have to -- a little bit of time will have to go, maybe even a few hours more before the Governor realizes that there is no way out. People have consequences for a picture like that. And it would also provoke them to say which one in that picture he was.

PAUL: Yes. In between the Senate and House Caucuses and the Legislative Black Caucus, I mean, that leaves him with virtually no support in the legislature. With that said, how does he -- how would he even govern? How would he even conduct business if he refused to step down Wesley? WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Of course, And I think that's one of the major challenges moving forward, right? So far, the Governor has postured as if he wants to try to hold on to his elective office, but it seems clear -- I mean, there has been almost unilateral condemnation of these photos and calls for Governor Northam to step down.

How does he maintain legitimacy as a Governor and as a leader of the Democratic Party in Virginia when so many of the folks who he's supposed to be leading have called for him to step down? I'm not sure that this is politically tenable at all. I think it's probably just a matter of hours, if not days, before he steps down as a result of this.

In part, as Lynn noted, because there's no political reason for Democrats to continue supporting him here. If he were he to step down you would have a young popular Black Governor who would assume the mantle. This isn't a case where him stepping down might imperil the Governor's Mansion in Virginia. In fact, there would be another Democrat that could step in to.

And so Ralph Northam, someone who had a lot of support in the race -- I mean, he was just very recently elected. But that said, there just isn't much of a reason for -- if you're a democrat -- for him not to step down.

PAUL: So, Wesley, let me ask you this and can we put the picture back up -- the picture that's in the in the yearbook here. He has not specified which person he is in this picture. But he has confirmed he is in the picture. Does it matter, Wesley, that he do so?

LOWERY: I don't think it -- I mean, I think she should let us know for her own purposes and if only to avoid more cornels (ph) about Governor won't tell us if he is the Klan guy or the blackface guy.

I was in a group text with some friends yesterday and it was almost a joke, right, which one would be worse? Which would be worse than the 80s? To be dressed up as the Klan's member, to be just in the blackface?

I'm not sure that it substantively matters. I do think that he should let us know. I mean, part of apology, part of making something right is it's kind of being full-throated, acknowledging and explaining why you understand something might have been wrong previously.

I think some of his statements have gone close to that, but I think kind of something a little more full-throated explaining what was going on, what the context of this was, and why he specifically understands what the issue is might be helpful in moving forward.

PAUL: Okay. So let's listen to part of his statement here.


GOV. RALP NORTHAM, (D) VIRGINIA: That photo and the racist and offensive attitudes that represents does not reflect that person I am today or the way that I have conducted myself as a soldier, a doctor and a public servant. I'm deeply sorry. I cannot change the decisions I made nor can I undo the harm my behavior calls then and today.


PAUL: Lynn is it fair to accept that he is not the same person today that he was back then?

SWEET: It is.

PAUL: And so what is missing from this apology?

SWEET: What's missing is that you can't take it back. So let's say that picture was a sum total of five minutes of his life. Let's say those costumes were put on and taken off. The issue here is that he is an elected public official and it's hard to be forgiving when your job depends on the public will and support on it.

So I do so strongly believe in giving people second chances. I believe in reformation. I believe in change, evolution all that. And so I take his apology as heartfelt and sincere. What's missing is that you can't take back time and you can't take back the moment.

PAUL: All right, Lynn Sweet, and Wesley Lowery, so appreciate you both being here today, thank you.

SWEET: Thank you.

LOWERY: Thanks for having us.

PAUL: Sure.

[08:10:00] BLACKWELL: All right, let's bring in now Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta, thanks for being back with us on "New Day".


BLACKWELL: We brought you here to talk about the Super Bowl and we will, but, first, your reaction to the discovery of this photo of Governor Northam.

BOTTOMS: It's disturbing on so many levels. I was thinking about 1984. For me, I was in 9th grade in 1984. But what was happening in our country, "Purple Rain" was the number one album and movie, Vanessa Williams was Miss America, Jesse Jackson was running for President.

So we're not talking about 1964, were in some circles it was okay to be racist. It was not okay in 1984, and it was not okay to be openly racist in 1984. And so I believe in forgiveness. I believe that people should be given a second chance, but there are also penalties that have to be paid and you don't get to continue to be Governor and have something like this in the public record.

BLACKWELL: So you think he should resign?


BLACKWELL: Okay. Let's talk now about the Super Bowl. Big weekend for Atlanta, for you as the Mayor of this City, there's a lot that goes into the big show like this. But Atlanta is not new to hosting big shows. How has the city prepared and is it ready?

BOTTOMS: The city is more than ready. We have been preparing since 2016 when we were awarded the game. So we've had coordination of over 40 agencies, federal agencies, state agencies, and local agencies and it's wonderful to see it all in progress.

So you can't be too careful in 2019. The public still plays a huge part in how we manage our public safety in terms of being aware. But in terms of our preparations, I'm very proud of the coordination.

BLACKWELL: Okay. Let me talk about investment here, because there has been some criticism. A writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes this, "Super Bowl is not worth what Atlanta is spending". This is from Michael Cunningham.

Reportedly, the city and state invested $700 million in the new stadium, committed $28 million public dollars to get the game. The Host Committee estimates that the economic impact is about $200 million -- correct the numbers if they're wrong.

Now Cunningham writes this, "If we accept the $200 million in impact, we can subtract that from the $728 million in cost and see that economically the Super Bowl is a big loser for taxpayers. Lance Bottoms said public spending on sports facilities is "worth the investment", but it is not." Why is he wrong?

BOTTOMS: He's wrong. I've seen numbers upwards of $400 million, and we didn't build the Mercedes-Benz Stadium for one game. We hosted the MLS Championship. We hosted National College Football Championship in January. We will host the final four next year.

So it's about an investment in our city. And by virtue of the fact that I'm sitting here talking to you about how great Atlanta is and how prepared we are, means that we will have even more visitors and investments. We have more than 53 million visitors who come into our city each day, and so you have to spend money to make money.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about a couple of other political elements here. Senator Cory Booker announced his run for presidency -- for the presidency yesterday. And it seems like that's the first day of Black History Month. Senator Kamala Harris announced her run on the King Holiday.

It seems like we're seeing with the 2016 cycle, even with Kirsten Gillibrand running as a mom, what we didn't see in 2008. So Hillary Clinton didn't run as a woman, Barack Obama didn't run as you know an African-American.

As the inspiration for everything Keisha -- Atlanta got a Mayor named Keisha, the mugs, the t-shirts -- if you haven't see them, they're online. What do you think about the leaning in of what makes these candidates different this time that we didn't see before?

BOTTOMS: It's about who we are as Americans. It's reflective of who we are and what we value. So when you have an African-American man, an African-American woman, when you have a mother, when you have a Hispanic -- I mean you name it. We will have just about every group in this country represented in this race.

And I think that really speaks to the hope that we have as a country. That despite all that we see and hear that's going on in Washington right now, there's still good people who represent everyday people, willing to serve at the highest level of office.

BLACKWELL: So you're obviously going to the game, right?

BOTTOMS: I am going.

BLACKWELL: Okay. So people won't have to get through this. We got a picture of it guys -- another dish to this -- this thirsty macaroni and cheese that you've been serving people -- this from your Instagram picture on Christmas. This won't be at the Super Bowl Party, I assume.

BOTTOMS: Well, I hope it's at somebody's Super Bowl Party, because that Mac and cheese was good.

BLACKWELL: No, I think you need at least a half stick of butter in this.

BOTTOMS: That Mac and cheese was delicious. But I am very proud to say that we are doing more than Mac.


[08:15:00] BOTTOMS: We have announced a campaign to address hunger in Atlanta. So we are asking people to round up to the nearest Dollar, at their Kroger stores and those proceeds will go to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which by the way, saw a lot of people coming through during the federal shutdown.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely, and we appreciate you being a good sport about what -- well that macaroni and cheese. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, thanks so much.

BOTTOMS: You want stylus or stick (ph).

BLACKWELL: Well, both. All right. Christi back over to you.

PAUL: --I'll take some of it. It looks good to me -- looks good to me, especially since we've been up since 1 o'clock this morning. So it did a return. Here's the question this morning to the cold war era arms race. President Trump says he's being tougher on Russia by withdrawing from a nuclear treaty, while an expert on U.S.-Russian relations says this might actually be a gift to Russia.


[08:20:00] PAUL: Listen, this video -- I mean, please just take a look at what this is. Regardless of what you're doing, take a moment, look at your screen. This is the dam collapse at a mine in Brazil as it's happening. It broke last week. That is toxic mud you're seeing that then ran through the city north of Rio de Janeiro.

BLACKWELL: More than 100 people are confirmed dead, hundreds more are still missing. Because when it's moving this quickly, you cannot get out of the way. I mean, it is just coming for you. Brazilian officials say they're investigating the company that owns that mine. But the distance that it covered in just a few seconds, it's remarkable.

PAUL: And you could see on the right-hand side of your screen a couple of cars or vehicles of some sort that worked kind of going towards it and then they immediately took a turn--


PAUL: --we don't know if they got out of the way, but it is something.

BLACKWELL: All right, breaking news now. This morning Vladimir Putin is suspending the INF Nuclear Missile Treaty. He says that Russia will start constructing a new medium-range supersonic nuclear missile.

PAUL: Now Russia's move comes, of course, after the U.S. announced its going to nix the treaty, because Russia has been violating it since 2014. The INF agreement was signed with the USSR during the Cold War with an intention to prevent an arms race.

CNN's Oren Liebermann, live from Moscow now. Oren what do you make of this very swift action or reaction I should say from Russia?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems Russia was very much expecting the U.S. to make this move or very similar move when it comes to the INF Treaty, either suspension or outright withdrawal from the treaty and Russia's response was lined up.

President Vladimir Putin meeting with his Defense Minister and his Foreign Minister, saying this was a tit-for-tat exchange with the Americans. Saying, Russia would also suspend its participation and its compliance with the INF Treaty.

He did say about an arms race -- and this is the major concern of analysts here. That there should not and there will not be an arms race. That being said, he followed that up by saying that Russia would further develop, what's known as its Kalibr missile. In its current form, the missile is a sea-based, medium-range, hypersonic missile. That does not violate the INF Treaty.

But Vladimir Putin said they would develop it to be a ground-based missile and that would be an outright violation of the INF Treaty. That, perhaps, signaling Russia's intentions with this treaty that doesn't seem to hold any water either for the Americans or for the Russians at this point.

Putin did also say they wouldn't deploy any of these missiles unless the U.S. did so first when it comes to Europe. For Europe that is NATO backing the U.S., saying Russia has violated the treaty in the past and this was the right move. But they don't seem too optimistic about any way forward at this point.

Russia has again accused the U.S. of violating the treaty for decades now. Russia has said in the past it might be open to some sort of multilateral agreement instead of the current INF Treaty which was just a U.S.-Russia agreement.

But Putin also made it clear it wouldn't be the Russians initiating those conversations. It would have to be somebody else. Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right, Oren Liebermann, thank you so much for the update.


RONALD REAGAN, 40TH U.S. PRESIDENT: The maxim is "doveryai no proveryai" -- trust but verify.


BLACKWELL: That famous line from President Reagan came right before he sat down to sign the historic agreement. It was aimed at eliminating an entire category of nuclear weapons from Europe to lower the threat of annihilation for that entire continent.

Well, now as both Russia and the U.S. are walking away from the INF Treaty, there are fears it could jumpstart a new arms race. Our next guest argues that far from being tough on Russia, withdrawing from the treaty is a gift to Russia.

Joining us now Tom Nichols. He's a senior contributor at The Federalist and Professor at the U.S. Naval war college. Tom good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So let me start here with this -- part of the tweet. There was one part of -- I think, 21 that you tweeted out this week in which you said, "We don't know what we're doing. We're not thinking about why we would go to war, what scenarios we're trying to defeat. We're just playing tit for tat, without even knowing why we're just flailing around a alienating our NATO allies, then pretending we're tough". Why is this a gift to Russia?

NICHOLS: Well, because there's no penalty associated with breaking the treaty. The Russians can do whatever they want to do. We've said fine, keep doing whatever you're doing. Now, the Russians will say, "Well we weren't really in violation, but now we can start testing weapons and not be in violation of the treaty."

The Americans are now offering -- and by the way, I don't represent the U.S. government anyway here. But the Americans are offering a half a dozen different rationales about why they're doing it, including having to compete with the Chinese, as though, that has anything to do with Russia and the INF Treaty. And the NATO allies have had to kind of smile bravely and say, "Well, okay, I guess, this is this is a good move".

The Russians basically baited us into getting out of a treaty that they didn't like and to walk away from Europe and to start talking about China.

[08:25:00] This is a win for the Russians to get us to move out of something that we should have stayed with or at least tried to keep them in a bit longer and then exacted the price for leaving, but we didn't.

BLACKWELL: So why do you think this administration did not work with its NATO allies, put a collective pressure on Russia to try to change their efforts here instead of just saying, "All right we're out".

NICHOLS: Because this administration doesn't like working with allies, and it certainly doesn't have any particular affection for NATO. Now there's a lot of blame to go around here. I mean, I think you could argue that the Obama administration had kicked this can down the road a few times and the Russians have been in violation for years now.

They had been in technical violation, they were testing. Now, they're -- I think, they're in material violation of the treaty, and no one really wanted to take this bull by the horns and deal with it.

But the Trump administration is not a big fan of NATO, they've made that clear. They don't want to have a lot of consultations and coordination with them. And people, I think, like National Security Advisor Bolton and others have a long history of just not liking treaties that constrain the Americans in any way.

So for them it's all -- it was awash to get out of this thing. They there were people who wanted to get out of this treaty long before the Russia cheating issue arose and for them it was a convenient excuse. It really had very little do with NATO.

BLACKWELL: You brought up China and I think it's an important, at least argument for some of the people who support the U.S. withdrawing. But you argue that comparing Europe and Russia and the framework that led to the INF Treaty just does not work when trying to rebuff China and what theater would be argued that you're launching into or from?

NICHOLS: It doesn't even hold as an analogy when we're talking about deterring Russia. And one of the things that made the original INF deployment back in the 19 -- late 1970's and early 1980s, an effective deterrent, is that those weapons were placed in the path of what we assumed would be a Soviet invasion.

That meant that we would have to use them. But the enemy would know that we would really have no choice, but to use these weapons. Now we're talking about putting them in -- god knows where. We don't have targets for those weapons in Europe, since most of the targets are now actually in countries that are our allies.

And in Asia those targets would be in China themselves. So we're talking about launching a war against the Chinese Mainland. The analogy just doesn't hold, because there isn't a buffer of two alliances in which the superpowers we're going to fight this out, and I think people are trying to -- basically trying to hammer a square strategic peg into a round hole here over and over again.

BLACKWELL: Tom Nichols, we'll see where this goes after the announcement from Russia that they're now developing this missile. Tom Nichols, again, thanks so much for being with us.

NICHOLS: Thank you.

PAUL: Do stay with us, President Trump is hinting at a new border wall strategy, but he's slamming Nancy Pelosi in the process. We have more from his latest interview, that's next.


PAUL: Good to have you here at 32 minutes past the hour. President Trump hinting at a possible border wall announcement next week, he told reporters yesterday to expect to hear something during the State of the Union address. In the meantime, he did speak to CBS News and in that interview he called Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, of course, "Very bad for our country".

CNN White House Reporter, Sarah Westwood with us now. What else, Sarah, did he say about the speaker?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christi, what we saw from President Trump was some clear frustration with Speaker Pelosi over the stalemate over the border wall fight, President Trump accusing Pelosi of playing political games with her opposition to the border wall. Trump also describing her as rigid during their talks over the course of the shutdown.

The two leaders haven't met face -- since that January 9th meeting during which President Trump stood up, he walked out when the talks weren't going his way. That's, of course, going to change on Tuesday when they meet at the State of the Union address.

But Trump is clearly still focused on Pelosi's refusal to give an inch when it comes to the border wall. Here's what he said to CBS.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think that she was very rigid, which I would expect, but I think she is very bad for our country. She knows that you need a barrier. She knows that we need border security. She wanted to win a political point.

I happen to think it's very bad politics, because basically she wants open borders. She doesn't mind human trafficking or she wouldn't do this because, you know the traffickers --

MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS MODERATOR: She offered you over $1 billion for border security.

TRUMP: Excuse me? BRENNAN: She offered over $1 dollars for security. She doesn't want the wall.

TRUMP: She's costing the country hundreds of billions of dollars, because what's happening is when you have a porous border and when you have drugs pouring in, and when you have people dying all over the country because of people like Nancy Pelosi, who don't want to give proper border security for political reasons. She's doing a terrible disservice to our country.


WESTWOOD: Now spokesman for Speaker Pelosi responding by slamming Trump for causing the shutdown in the first place and for leaving the door open to another one, writing in part, Democrats have put forward strong, smart and effective border security solutions in the Bipartisan Conference Committee, while the President still refuses to take a second shutdown off the table.

Trump, of course, has called that Conference Committee a waste of time. Democrats put forward their opening offer this week, but it included no money for the wall, which sort of lowered expectations for any kind of breakthrough from those talks.

[08:35:00] So with two weeks left in the negotiating period, Victor and Christi, President Trump is still threatening to use his National Emergency declaration to get that wall funding.

PAUL: All right, Sarah Westwood, always appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Coming up, the Supreme Court has temporarily blocked the Louisiana abortion law. We will tell you what this mean or could mean for women seeking abortion if it takes effect.


PAUL: Well, the Supreme Court has put the Louisiana abortion law on hold until Thursday. This law was set to take effect Monday. But Justice Samuel Alito says, the Justices just need time to review the case. So how could this law affect women seeking abortions, here's CNN Legal Analyst, Joey Jackson.

[08:40:00] JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: What happens is that for the short term this particular ruling by Judge Alito just says, "We're going to stay the decision", right. That means that we're not going to implement the decision until Thursday.

And that decision they're talking about is an abortion law in Louisiana that's set to go into effect. That was passed in 2014. That limits the privileges of women or I should say it requires doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of an actual place that the abortions being performed.

So what happened is that you had a Local Justice, a District Court Justice at the time and that District Court Justice says, "Hey, that's unconstitutional, because you're burdening a woman's right to have an actual abortion. That is her right".

And ultimately what happened was, is that that was appealed to the Fifth Circuit, which is very conservative, I should say. 10 out of the 15 Justices are Republican, and what they did was they struck down and they said, "No, the law can go into effect". And now you have the Supreme Court deciding.

And the ultimate question to your point is whether or not the law in Louisiana, as it's currently written, unduly impedes, interferes, and burdens a woman's right to choose, so that's the outstanding question. And what they're saying is that it's a law that's very similar in Texas that the Supreme Court struck down.

But that there's a tendency of the Fifth Circuit, again, very conservative to find a way to distinguish their ruling, which they did, from the Supreme Court ruling. And so we'll wait and see on Thursday which is when the stay is ultimately lifted to see what the Supreme Court does on the merit.

So very important Christi, there was no meritorious ruling at this point. The Supreme Court just said, "Let's put the brakes on it. We're going to evaluate all the papers and we'll have a firm decision for you on Thursday".

BLACKWELL: Up next, inside the Pentagon's fight against manipulative recordings called "Deepfake Videos". You will want to see this. They are potential danger to the U.S. elections and national security.


BLACKWELL: There is a major warning coming from the Pentagon about what could be a huge threat to the upcoming 2020 elections and national security. It's a new information warfare called "Deepfakes". Now these are videos -- and you've got to see these -- manipulated with artificial intelligence and they can be so convincing that it's practically impossible to know what is real and what is not. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan, explains.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: That might look like President Obama addressing the nation, but it's not. It's actually actor and comedian Jordan Peele, impersonating the Former President, mixed with old video of Obama that was manipulated to match Peel's words. This is an example of what's known as a Deepfake.

It's a growing trend that's sweeping the internet. The technology can be used for some harmless fun, such as editing actor Nicolas Cage in movies he's never even starred in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my world it means hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, here it's an "S".


O'SULLIVAN: Yes, this is actually a thing. The technology can even be used to make people with no rhythm look like they can dance.

But Deepfake technology also has a dark side. Both private citizens and celebrities have seen their faces pushed, without their permission, on to existing pornographic videos, posing a new challenge for privacy issues.

Appearing to say or do something one never, did can also have political ramifications.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump is a total and complete Deep----. Now, see I would never say these things. At least, not in a public address, but someone else would, someone like Jordan Peele.


O'SULLIVAN: It's easy to imagine how this can begin to cause problems. Now the U.S. government has taken notice, and they've given CNN an inside look at a program, they're sponsoring to get ahead of Deepfakes.

BLACKWELL: And Donie O'Sullivan joins us now. How dangerous does the Pentagon consider this technology and what are they doing about it?

O'SULLIVAN: Well, Victor, and the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee this week that it was probable that America's adversary's would start using a Deepfake technology in information warfare against this country.

The Pentagon, as we got access to in our story that you saw there, and that's online at, are working with researchers nationwide from California to New York, trying to build technology that can detect when a video is fake.

BLACKWELL: This is just fascinating. So for people who use the internet and are on social media, which is most people, how could they safeguard themselves against being duped by this technology?

O'SULLIVAN: Well, I mean, I think it's just a sort of matter of being skeptical of what you see online. I mean, we see already there are real videos that go viral on the internet that are just mischaracterized or how they're titled or don't show the entire scenario, think two weeks ago to what happened in Washington D.C.

So the problem, I guess, is throw Deepfakes into the mix, and you might have people questioning a real video online. Somebody might be able to say, "Oh, well, actually how do we know that's real. That's a Deepfake."

And one thing that experts have brought up time and time again is to say, imagine the scenario in 2020 if the Trump's Access Hollywood tape were to come out in 2020, he would have plausible deniability possibly. He could say, "Well, it's fake audio."

BLACKWELL: Well, he claimed the last one was fake. But -- I mean with the Deepfake we'll see what happens going into the next election. Donie O'Sullivan, thanks so much. And you can watch this full report on Deepfake technology at as Donie mentioned there.

Plus NFL players take part in a new virtual reality game for the Super Bowl experience. This weekend it'll be happening right there. New Orleans Saints Linebacker, Demario Davis debuts in the game or the game actually -- not in the game, that's actually a sore spot for the Saints fans. He's here with us next.


PAUL: All right. So look where we are kicking off Super Bowl Weekend with a New Orleans Saints Linebacker, Demario Davis, so good to have you here.

Demario Davis, Linebacker, New Orleans Saints: Thanks for having me on.

PAUL: So, listen, we want to talk about something that is dear to his heart. He's here with the United Way of Greater Atlanta for this new virtual reality game and it's called Character Playbook. It's really about teaching character to these kids. What did you see in this program Demario that was so important to you to get involved?

[08:55:00] DAVIS: Well, when you think about the times that we're in, it's important to be able to make good decisions when you're faced with some type of adversity or placed in a conflict and that's what this program is designed to do, is to teach our youth how to make good decisions.

And when they're faced with peer pressure and they're faced with fights and conflicts happening in their schools, when they're faced with bullying and cyber-bullying, how do you take a negative -- some negative and turn it into a positive. How do you make a positive response?

So the program pretty much is a module that gives you options to say, here's the situation, what would you do in this situation? And then based on that situation, you'll look at three different scenarios of how it will play out. So you see like the effect of decisions you make and how it changes the trajectory of your life.

PAUL: Yes, yes. 3,700 schools saying it's pretty impressive. Okay, now, I know that we are looking at this gorgeous view of the stadium. Be honest with me. A little of bitterness, feeling like man, I should have been in there. There is a lot of people that feel that.

DAVIS: Yes, lot of people feel that way and it's been good to have that support. But I think Drew Brees summed it up best when he wrote a letter to our city and said, "We're not going to be bitter about this. We're not going to have any resentment. We're going to take it and use it as a positive. We're going to congratulate the teams that are -- these two great teams that are playing the Super Bowl. We're going to use this as a motivation for us going forward.

And I think that's a perfect example. He's a great leader of showing, like, how do you take a bad situation and turn into a positive. How do you take something bad to happen and have a positive response? And that's the same that we're doing with Character Playbook. Teaching kids like everything is not going to go the way you want it, and when it doesn't go your way, how do you take that negative and turn it into a positive.

PAUL: Have you had conversation any of these kids to see how it affects them?

DAVIS: Yes, I personally been able to take it into -- I do a summer enrichment program in Mississippi, so I've seen it brought to my summer program. I've talked to two schools in Texas and New Jersey and Arkansas and Mississippi, where these kids are doing these programs and talking about how it's changing the way they think about daily situations, and how they respond to them.

PAUL: Yes. And is there any one particular moment that strikes you, that you remember talking to some kid about how it might have changed course for him or her?

DAVIS: One kid got to talk about what was happening at school with bullying. And just like this shows me that I don't have to stand by and watch my friends bully. That I can stand up and do something. And so that was interesting, because that was something I didn't realize until like I was in my later years high school and college.

That if you're not -- if you're watching that incident happen, like you're watching somebody be bullied and you don't do nothing, you're just as guilty as the person that's doing it.

PAUL: So that's interesting because it does lead me into -- we can't get away from some of the controversy that's following the NFL and with Colin Kaepernick. Do you and your teammates have conversations about what you think is right or wrong kneeling, not kneeling? How do you manage all of that?

DAVIS: So it's interesting, because I get to work with the Player Coalition. And so when the kneeling protest was going on, it created a lot of controversy. But out of that, we've been able to turn controversy into a positive. We've created the Players Coalition and we are very solution oriented.

A couple of days ago, we had six grantees that we were able to award advocacy groups. That we were able to award $2 million to, based on this organization that the league and the players came up with, to be -- that's working on the grassroots and on the ground.

And so it was a very controversial time. But we were able to take that and turn into a positive. We've been able to effect legislation in Boston and Philadelphia and Louisiana where I'm at now and in New York. So to have players who play football for profession to be able to walk in and have changed legislation, that's amazing. And so --

PAUL: I've got to say, that had to be different. I mean, you just said, I just came to play my football.

DAVIS: But when you working with -- you see the power of collaboration and working together and everybody has a part to play. We get to partner with advocacy groups. We get to amplify their message. Legislation has a part -- I mean, the legislation has to play in clanging.

And so it's the same, it's all kind of -- that's why I'm so passionate about it all. Because it all kind of works together, right? And that was a very controversial time for our league, for the players, for the nation, because the topic --

PAUL: It still is. I mean, it just seems like it's kind of tainted, it's not going away.

DAVIS: Yes, yes. It can be. Then it's not okay, because every time you face with a negative, it's the choice that you -- life is 10 percent what happens to you, 90 percent how you respond to it. So that's what you get to teach these kids. The things we're teaching these kids are the same things they're going to need as adults that we need, right? Like, I can't --

PAUL: Such a good man and such a good dad, I can say as well.

DAVIS: Oh, thank you.

PAUL: Demario Davis, thank you for being here.

DAVIS: Oh, thank you for having me.

PAUL: Anybody in particular you're rooting for final that you're going.

DAVIS: No, it's just -- it will be a good game.

PAUL: Play it well.

DAVIS: So may the best team win.

PAUL: Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

DAVIS: Thank you. Thank you, god bless.

PAUL: Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Christi, thank you very much. More news straight ahead, Smerconish is next. We'll see you again in one hour.