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Democrats Ramp Up for Intense Cycle of Presidential Campaigning; Elizabeth Warren Expected to Announce Presidential Run 11:00 a.m. ET; Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax Faces Second Sexual Assault Allegation; Virginia Delegate Threatens to Impeach Fairfax Unless He Resigns; Trump to Meet with North Korea Dictator Kim Jong-un on February 27-28; White House Skips Congress Deadline on Khashoggi Killing; Ronan Farrow Says He Also Faced Blackmail Efforts From Tabloid; Bezos Publishes Threatening E-mails From AMI, Including Detailed Description Of Private Texts And Explicit Photos; Spectators Throw Crumbs As Lookalike Ivanka Vacuums. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 9, 2019 - 07:00   ET



[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coach!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's his granddaughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Group hug, group hug.



COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: There you go. That is what it's all about. Happy Saturday, guys.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So sweet. You, too. Thanks, Coy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This new accusation by the separate woman is very serious that Justin Fairfax raped her. The entire Virginia House Democratic Caucus has called on the lieutenant governor to step down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inquiring minds maybe in legal trouble. Federal prosecutors in New York are reviewing claims that the National Enquirer attempted to extort and blackmail Jeff Bezos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People want a new generation of leadership. I'm going to bring a vision for the country that represents the future.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm one of the few people that actually had to run something.

MATT WHITAKER, ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have not talked to the president of the United States about the special counsel's investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you? Where did you come from, and how the heck did you become the head of the Department of Justice?


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, ready or not, it's the 2020 race, and it is on. A growing field of Democrats already fighting over who will be the one to take on President Trump next year.

PAUL: The latest entry into the field, Senator Elizabeth Warren, formally. She's expected to announce the official start of her run later this morning. And she won't be the only Democrats making those moves today. Official announcements, well, whether she has that or not, the campaign stops are underway from South Carolina to Iowa. So, let's look at some of the early numbers here. CNN's Senior Political Writer and Analyst, Harry Enten, is with us. Harry, always good to see you. What stands out to you in these numbers just given to us?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER: I mean, its just how many people are freaking running at this point. My God, I think my mother is actually throwing her hat in the ring later on in the day. I mean, most of the people who have declared so far, right, they are not so high in the polls. In fact, most of them are in single digits with the exception of Kamala Harris who just jumped up to 11 percent in the most recent poll. But I think, right now, the candidate that's towering over the race isn't even in (INAUDIBLE) Joe Biden, who' s up around 30 percent of the vote, but the rest of these people who are in it so far, they are very low down. Most people don't even know who they are, except for you and me.

BLACKWELL: So, we just had the poll numbers up. If we could put those up again by Joe Biden's numbers, it appears that he's becoming more popular amongst the Democratic voters as we get closer. Now, at 62 percent, if he should run for president, what's that say about the field?

ENTEN: Well, I mean, I think it says, you know, it's very interesting I was listening in the intro to Julian Castro, people he was saying: people want new leadership. In fact, if you look at the numbers on the Democratic side, they don't actually want new leadership. They're not saying that that's anywhere close to the most important issue. And I think the fact that Joe Biden is polling so well at this point is an indication of that. You know, I think that we expect that voters may want one thing, but in fact, they're telling us they want something entirely different. They would rather have a steady hand that they believe can beat Donald Trump in the fall of 2020.

PAUL: So, that's my question, is the focus for Democrats staying on policy points or is it beating Donald Trump?

ENTEN: It is beating Donald Trump. And indeed, I went back and I looked at all of the polls at this particular point in the campaign, and they asked in the past few cycles whether or not issue importance is more important or beating the president of the United States, the incumbent president was more important. More people said that beating the president of the United States is more important than issue agreement than in any primary since at least 2004. So, Democrats hate, hate, hate Donald Trump, and they desperately want any candidate they can possibly find that they believe is most likely to beat him.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I was speaking with some officials in South Carolina, Democratic officials, who said that they've heard from Kamala Harris' people, from Sherrod Brown's people, from others, but they haven't heard at the time from Joe Biden's potential people, and there's going to be a snatch up of all the talent. I mean, there's a finite amount of people who can work these campaigns. What are they waiting for? What is Biden waiting for? What is Sanders waiting for?

ENTEN: I mean, I think what they're waiting for, at least in Biden's case, is he's desperately afraid of entering and then losing. I mean, you read a ton of source on that. He wants to get in and he wants to win. He doesn't want to get in and then fall flat. He's already run two presidential campaigns in which he fell flat, either leaving the race before Iowa began or leaving it right afterwards when he came in a distant, you know, fifth or sixth place. So, of course, though, as you mentioned, talent on the Democratic side, the people who could potentially help out your campaign, those people are getting snatched up. But Biden, as this poll shows you is so far on ahead that I think he has a little bit more time to wait than some of the other candidates do.

PAUL: OK. So, does it come down to name recognition at this point? Because let's face it, we are so very early into this game.

ENTEN: I mean, a lot of it, I think, is name recognition. I think the fact that Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, two people who have run for president before re out in front of the polls; Joe Biden specifically, who's the former Vice President. But the one think that I will point out, I think that a lot of us, especially me, when I look at those numbers say, OK, Joe Biden is out in front, not a huge surprise; he's the former Vice President. But if you look at our CNN poll this week, it asked people to list the most important issues. The three top three, whether it'd be beating Donald Trump, having the right experience or being able to reach across the aisle, those are three qualities that fall right under Joe Biden bread and butter. So, I'm not quite sure it's name experience, but it certainly does help him.

PAUL: Yes, very good point. Harry Enten, always appreciate your insight. Thank you, sir.

ENTEN: Thank you for having me. You two have yourself a lovely, lovely day.

BLACKWELL: We will do our best.

PAUL: You as well.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you. [07:05:48] BLACKWELL: All right. Joining with me now to discuss: Wesley Lowery, National Reporter for The Washington Post; and Robby Mook, former Campaign Manager for Hillary Clinton. Welcome back to both of you. Robby, let me start with you, because there are a lot of comparisons that are being made to the 2016 Republican race -- we had such a large field.

But for most of that time, almost every week, Donald Trump, a single candidate, was at the head of the pack. Do you expect we'll something like that with the numbers we're seeing about Vice President Biden, or something more like what we saw in 2012, where, you know, Michele Bachmann had a week, Herman Cane had a week, and then Rick Perry had a week where it's the flavor of the moment?

ROBBY MOOK, FORMER CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR HILLARY CLINTON: Yes, to be honest, Victor, either could happen. It is so incredibly early today. You know, what I was thinking about, is I was listening to that polling presentation was when I showed up to work for Howard Dean in 2003 at this time in the cycle. Joe Lieberman was leading the polls by a huge number. And again, that was only in recognition. And the other thing that I think is important to remember is that Donald Trump got in the summer.

Early summer, but we're still have a number of months to go until we're at that same time in this cycle. So, it really could go either way. And I do think, just to reinforce what you were talking about before, name recognition is driving so much of this right now, and it is so early. And I think, you know, voters may even start to change their minds in November, December, January of next year, a lot of this happens very late.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I believe it was actually February 10th of 2007 when then Senator Obama got into the race. So, 12 years from tomorrow. And now, we've already got a long list of people who have declared, who have launched their exploratory committees. Wes, let me come to you, with Senator Elizabeth Warren who will be -- as she's expected this weekend to formally announce her candidacy. Has she put aside or settled this question of identity, and treatment of identity, as we saw this week, with the publishing of that Texas bar registration card from 86, where she said she was an American-Indian, in her words; has she sufficiently dealt with that as she tries to officially now get into this race?

WESLEY LOWERY, NATIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think Senator Warren likes to believe that she has. I think it is still kind of an open question about whether or not democratic voters are going to find this extremely important. This is something that Republican operatives, and Republican candidates, the president himself likes to harp on it. I mean, it will be really interesting to see if this is something that really comes into play.

In the Democratic Primary, if democratic voters have questions about this -- but you know as Harry was talking about earlier, the polls we've seen thus far show that Democratic voters care first and foremost about who can beat President Trump. That the Democratic, you know, grassroots and base cares a lot about unseating President Trump, having a Democratic president. So, if Democratic voters think this is a vulnerability of Senator Warren's, it's going to be something that harms her and her ability. One thing I think is going to be really interesting in we're still so early in this process is that we don't have candidates engaging each other yet.

And so, one of my questions specifically on this issue of Senator Warren, is this something that other Democrats are going to attack her on? Or does it remain something that Republicans are largely kind of beating her over the head with. And again, we've got to wait until we actually get towards debate stages, do we have a set field of candidates, and that is months away. But it's going to be really interesting to see how these candidates engage each other and if this is something that really comes into play in the Democratic Primary.

BLACKWELL: Yes, once we get into that phase, that's what they call a drawing contrasts with the other candidates. Robby, we could see nine democratic senators in this race. I mean, how does that typical collegial relationship between senators, you remember when it wasn't so collegial during the 2008 primary, how does that play into what we expect to see from these senators as they move into that phase of drawing contrast?

MOOK: Yes. Well, and I would also say you might start to have a contrast of candidates from D.C., and not from D.C. as well. Look, when we were running the 2016 primary, Clinton versus Sanders, there was never a negative ad run at all. And, you know, it's maybe hard to see with so many candidates in, us getting that lucky. But I think that this will probably be a lot more collegial for a lot longer than people might imagine.

Partly because I think it will take time for the race to engage, as we say, for voters to really start to see differences, for people to start to move in shifts in the polls, and there's so much to talk about. There's been a lot of talk about this Green New Deal. Every candidate is defining that differently. So, I think that there will be a lot of interest in those policy differences, in those differences of stories long before voters are going to be interested in, or these officials are going to feel the need to start drawing those contrasts. They've got to focus on building their own name recognition for the time being.

[07:10:47] BLACKWELL: Robby, let me stay with you, you mentioned the Green New Deal now pitched officially by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- I was going to call her AOC, I guess we do that now. Dozens of members, democratic members, on the hill from the House and Senate have now backed this. And I think we have a picture, a list here, of the 2020 candidates and potentials who have backed this. Now, some of these ideas -- you'll remember back in 2016, were pie in the sky, will never happen, are far too left, and the country can't afford them. How did the party get to this space and is it a good space for the party to be in?

MOOK: Well, part of what's happened, too, is we have a crisis on our hands. If you look at the weather patterns that we've seen just this -- just in the past year in 2018, we're in the crisis now. It's no longer something to think about in the future. NASA said that themselves. This past week. And if you think about the fact that Trump's in office for two more years, we're in a contest to decide who's in for the next four years. If we delay this, another six years, that crisis is going to get even worse.

So, I think part of what we're just facing right now as a reality is how much worse the problem has gotten. I also think that there is growing consensus that something has to be done. And many people feel like there has to be a really high bar set. I think the Green New Deal language that came out from the congresswoman this week acknowledged that there are going to be challenges to trying to get to zero emissions.


MOOK: So, I'm less worried about, you know, this or that specific policy is possible. Because I don't think these contests are decided by specific policies. I think the bigger question is going to be which one of these candidates appeals to Democrats as a leader, who can make change.


MOOK: Who can bring people together to get something passed in the Senate.

BLACKWELL: Let's put that slate of endorsers of the Green New Deal back up. And Wes, as that come to you, I mean, some of these things that are named in this, this resolution as it is, you know, guaranteed jobs, guaranteed health care; refitting all public -- all buildings across the country. And really not a lot of talk about how to pay for this, beyond the primary, has this become a Litmus Test? And what kind of, I guess, weapon does this give the president when he goes after socialism in this country?

LOWERY: Well, a few things. I mean, I think, first, it's going to be very interesting to see the extent to which, you know, the so-called Green New Deal or any type of legislation, specifically just in climate change in a massive way does become a Litmus Test on the left and in the Democratic Primary. But I think it also speaks to both the practical urgency of this issue, the amount of time we no longer have to address it, as well as the electorate.

And you know, we're approaching almost 20 years sense of inconvenient truth, right? This is something that on the left, specifically in young voters, climate change is an extremely mobilizing issue. It's something that a whole generation of young people and young voters have come up believing to be an urgent problem, because it is an urgent problem. And so, I think that's going to speak to what many democratic voters want and are looking for in their candidate.

And again, it's not necessarily going to be about specifics; the exactly how you're going to cross the Ts and dot your Is and pay for it -- for some folks, it will be. But in the same way, this is something that voters were coming to the ballot box want to hear someone leading, someone who's going to make it an urgent priority to address climate change, especially the time when the current president is not prioritizing that.

BLACKWELL: All right. Wes Lowery, Robby Mook, thanks so much. I enjoyed the conversation.

MOOK: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, this Tuesday, watch a special presidential town hall. Former Starbucks CEO, Independent, Howard Schultz, I should say, will be live in Houston with Poppy Harlow talking about the 2020 election. This will likely come up, that Green New Deal; that's Tuesday night at 10:00, right here on CNN.

PAUL: Well, this morning, Virginia's lieutenant governor is dealing with another accuser. Coming forward, a second woman, saying that he sexually assaulted her. There is a growing list, also this morning, a Virginia democrat, saying lieutenant governor, you need to resign. We'll talk more about it.

[07:15:07] BLACKWELL: Plus, if you have to ski to the grocery store, you should just move. Powerful storm is coming through the Pacific Northwest. Coming up, how some people are making it through the roughest part of this extreme winter weather.


PAUL: 19 minutes past the hour on this Saturday morning. Good morning to you. There are growing calls right now for Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax to resign, because a second woman has now accused him of sexual assault. The woman says Fairfax raped her while they were both students at Duke University back in 2000. This, of course, is in addition to another accusation from someone else, another woman that said he sexually assaulted her back in 2004. Now, Fairfax is denying both of these allegations. One Virginia delegate is threatening to impeach Fairfax if he doesn't resign by Monday. CNN's Ryan Nobles has more for us.


[07:20:07] RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It seems in many ways that the situation here in Richmond, Virginia is getting more complicated by the day. Already, the governor and attorney general under a cloud of scandal because of accusation of racist photos appearing in Blackface in their past. And now, the lieutenant governor, who had already been under fire because of a sexual assault allegation is now facing accusations from a second accuser.

That woman, Meredith Watson says, that Justin Fairfax raped here when they were both college students at Duke University back in 2000. Watson even goes on to say that she believes that Fairfax targeted her because she was a previous rape victim. Watson's attorney supplying the media with e-mails that they say show that Watson has told people for many years about Fairfax raping her when they were in college.

In fact, one of those e-mails came as Fairfax was beginning his political career. A group of Duke alumni asked for donations from fellow alumni. Watson responded to that e-mail chain by saying: "Justin raped me in college and I don't want to hear anything about him. Please, please, please remove me from any future e-mails about him. Please, thank you." Now, Fairfax is vehemently denying this claim by Watson. He says that this is absolutely not true. And he also says that he plans not to resign.

Even though Fairfax says he does not want to resign, the calls for him to do so are coming from all corners of Virginia's government. A number of the state's congressional delegation saying it's time for him to go. The former Governor Terry McAuliffe also saying he should go. And to take it a step further, a Democratic Delegate from Arlington, Virginia, Patrick Hope, says that he will file articles of impeachment against the lieutenant governor on Monday, if he does not resign beforehand.

Now, of course, all of this comes as the state is still reeling from the controversies involving the governor, who in his medical school yearbook, there was a racist photo that appeared under his name, and the attorney general who admitted that he appeared in Blackface in college as well. The only update on those two stories, is that the governor doesn't appear to be going anywhere. He told members of his cabinet in a meeting on Friday that he plans to serve out the balance of this term. Ryan Nobles, CNN, Richmond, Virginia.

PAUL: Ryan, thank you so much. And as he just mentioned there, Virginia has delegate, Patrick Hope, talking late last night about impeachment. Hope says, he believes the two women's allegations and that the lieutenant governor is unfit to serve.


PATRICK HOPE (D), VIRGINIA HOUSE DELEGATE: As a father of three young girls, I cannot stand by silently while the lieutenant governor is facing multiple, credible allegations of sexual assault. I believe these women. He needs to resign immediately. Should the lieutenant governor fail to do so, on Monday, I intend to introduce articles of impeachment on Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.


PAUL: Meanwhile, the president of the National Black Farmers Association is choosing party over principles in this Virginia controversy. He says, Governor Northam deserves a second chance. We're going to talk to John W. Boyd, Jr. at 10:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN "NEWSROOM."

BLACKWELL: Well, the time and place they have set, President Trump says he will meet Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 27th and 28th. And since his first meeting with the North Korean leader, President Trump claims Pyongyang is no longer a nuclear threat, but his intel chiefs disagree.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, we signed an agreement. It said, we will begin the immediate denuclearization. DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: North Korea will seek

to retain its WMD capabilities. It is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities.


BLACKWELL: CNN's Sarah Westwood live from the White House. Sarah, what else do we know about this summit, and what the president is saying about it?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, we know now that a city, Hanoi, has finally been selected for this long- anticipated meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un. Now, the selection of Hanoi as the site of this second meeting could actually be a sign of a bit of concession from the Trump administration. CNN has reported that North Korea preferred Hanoi as the venue, because they have an embassy in that city, and that the U.S. actually wanted the summit to be in Da Nang, another finalist to host this summit, because Da Nang was the site of a recent economic summit, so that city had been swept by U.S. officials.

And the announcement of this meeting comes just days after intelligence officials revealed that conclusion that North Korea, in all likelihood, is not going to give up its nuclear weapons, not going to give up its ability to produce them. Nonetheless, the President Trump is touting the tremendous progress that could take place during this second summit. He previewed it in his State of the Union address, which tells you a lot about just how high a priority of the administration sees this meeting. And announcing it in a tweet last night, the president wrote: "My representatives have just left North Korea after a very productive meeting, and the agreed upon time and date for the second summit with Kim Jong-un.

It will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27th and 28th. I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim and advancing the cause of peace." Now, North Korea hasn't tested a missile or made provocative threats against the U.S. since Trump and Kim Jong-un met in Singapore last year, but we've also seen little signs of progress towards that complete and verifiable denuclearization that Trump says he wants to see from North Korea. And Victor and Christi, there are few signs at this moment that we'll see concrete steps towards that goal at that meeting in a couple of weeks.

[07:25:42] BLACKWELL: And hopefully, we'll see what the parameters of what they want to talk about, what they want to accomplish this next summit will be. Sarah Westwood, thanks so much there at the White House.

PAUL: Well, a congressional deadline has come and gone. President Trump is refusing to say whether the White House believes the Saudi crown prince is to blame for the killing of Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA says the Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder. But so far, the president is refusing to blame him, although he has sanctioned 17 other Saudi nationals for the murder. Here's what CNN National Security Analyst Juliett Kayyem had to say. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The other is, of course, because their interests aligns with the Trump White House interest, they might have every reason to believe as they did with the Khashoggi murder that they get a little slap on the wrist and that's about it. The difference between a royal family running a government and a democracy like ours is, there's accountability here.


PAUL: Now, Khashoggi was killed last October, a brutal murder, in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

BLACKWELL: President Trump's doctor says he is in very good health. We'll have more on what we know, not many details but we'll tell you exactly what we know about the president's annual health checkup.

PAUL: Also, Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is celebrating reports about Amazon's proposed New York headquarters. The celebration, it might not be what you would expect. We'll tell you.


[07:31:24] PAUL: Well, sources tell CNN, federal prosecutors are now reviewing the National Enquirer's parent company about these explosive allegations from Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos.

Bezos, of course, accusing tabloid -- the tabloid magazine, the National Enquirer and its publisher AMI of attempting extortion and blackmail.

The Southern District of New York is reportedly determining whether AMI has violated a cooperation deal it had with them that they had reached last year. Bezos shared the details of several e-mails from the publisher in this tell-all blog post claiming, the tabloid threatened to release explicit and intimate photos of him and a woman that he's having an affair with.

In return, AMI apparently wanted Bezos to end investigations into the Enquirer. CNN Business senior media reporter Oliver Darcy, with us now. Oliver, thank you so much.

A lot of people might hear that and go, wait a minute, what are the political connections here? Can you kind of connect all the dots for us?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, there's a huge web, it's a complex web of characters that are involved in the story. And I think the most interesting connections or players to speak are really Bezos though and Dylan Howard, who is the chief content officer at the National Enquirer.

And in the e-mails that Bezos' shared, were Dylan Howard basically saying that if you do not drop your investigation until how we obtained text messages showing that you were having this affair with someone else, we were going to release more of the content that we have. And those content are apparently compromising pictures of Bezos, photos of them at risque positions, I guess.

They're just not things that I don't think basis wants out there. So, those are the two main players. Now, there's a whole bunch of other things. We know that for instance, Trump is a long time good friends with David Pecker, who is that chief executive over at the National Enquirer and there are a lot of overlaying factions as well.

I think there's a few things though that we can look at going forward. We really don't know how the National Enquirer's obtained these text messages between Bezos and his mistress. That's still unclear. And Bezos was investigating this and looking to see if there any political motivations with someone trying to go after him politically because of his ownership of the Washington Post. We don't know the answer to that yet.

We also don't know whether the National Enquirer is going to lose their immunity deal with federal prosecutors. They are working with that our prosecutors on the Michael Cohen catch and kill stories case, and them in cooperating. But, their cooperation, their immunity deal hinges on them not breaking any more laws.

And now, the Southern District of New York, prosecutors there are looking at whether this mounted to blackmail extortion. And if it did, whether they could lose their immunity deal. And finally, I was talking to a source the other day when this broke and he was basically saying -- you know, there are -- there are other instances where the National Enquirer has behaved similarly.

And we don't know whether anyone else might step forward, and he -- and this major name, celebrities, come forward and say, "Yes, I have in blackmail as well by the National Enquirer."

Ronan Farrow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who did a lot work on me too and Harvey Weinstein, he came forward and said when he was reporting the National Enquirer that he was blackmailed. But, he is really one of the only household names I'm interested to know whether anyone else comes forward.

Bezos said that he had been contacted his investigative team, had been contacted by others. And so, it's going to be interesting moving forward whether anyone else speaks out.

PAUL: It's a really bold move for Bezos to put this out there. You know, because he couldn't do it without incriminating himself in some capacity in terms of his mistress. And with that said, is there a sense publicly that he won this game over AMI?

[07:35:03] DARCY: I think a lot of people are looking at it and saying, you know, that he did come out on top, at least for now. He basically said that these photos are only powerful against me if I am embarrassed by them. And he came out and he dumped it on the Internet, and said, "You know, I'm not really embarrassed by this." You know, he made them show their hand. And I think a lot of people are looking at that and saying, that's -- it's great. Particularly, because I think a lot of individuals, particularly in 2019 have, you know, engaged in some sort of photos or flirtation on the phone. And might have sent photos like this to others.

And I think they might relate, you know like they don't like the idea that this is being used as blackmail against them. It seems as -- at least, as of now, we only have his side of the story for the most part. But it seems, as of now, he's come out on top.

PAUL: All righty, Oliver Darcy, I appreciate you walking us through all of that. Thank you, sir.

DARCY: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, sticking with Amazon here, Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is celebrating reports that Amazon may be reconsidering its plans for a New York headquarters. The issue is exposing fissures in the party. CNN's Alison Kosik has more.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Amazon is said to be reconsidering its plans to open a new headquarters in New York City. A Washington Post report says Amazon executives have been considering alternative locations as the company faces a wave of opposition from local residents and politicians.

Amazon told me in a statement, "We're focused on engaging with our new neighbors, small business owners, educators, and community leaders. Whether it's building a pipeline of local jobs through workforce training or finding computer science classes for thousands of New York City students. We are working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbor we will be."

But opponents of Amazon's second headquarters which a split with already approved Arlington, Virginia, object to billions of dollars in subsidies being given to the company. There is also concern about the headquarters driving up prices for housing and rent, along with the congestion from an additional 25,000 workers who would converge there.

While U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez celebrated the news that Amazon could be scrapping the deal. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, said it's irresponsible to allow political opposition to overcome sound government policy.

Amazon says it will hire workers within New York, offer career training for local residents and bring in over $27 billion in tax revenue that could help improve subways and buses. If the deal does fall through, some fear it could have broader repercussions on New York's ability to attract top corporations. In New York, I'm Alison Kosik.

PAUL: Alison, thank you. So, what are you seeing out your window today? I'm hoping you're not seeing something like this. I know. Record-breaking snowfall, and it's going to continue for all of you folks in Seattle. How long are you going to have to deal with this, though? Stay close.


[07:42:34] BLACKWELL: Millions of people from Northern California to the Canadian border are experiencing -- you can't call it anything other than extreme winter weather this weekend.

PAUL: And you can't deny it when you see pictures like this. Seattle, yesterday, record-breaking snowfall, major traffic backups throughout that area, and that poor guy changing a tire. Oh, it's got to be miserable.

In Northern California, there were entire communities covered in snow. I want to show you some of the images from near Mammoth Lake, California, guess were snowed in? For five days because of the weather.

I keep wondering, the Yosemite Valley received between 18 to 24 inches of snow just this week. We understand that it closed roads, it brought down trees, power outages there. People were staying in a hotel, and I keep thinking, do they have to pay for those nights?

BLACKWELL: Yes, you have to pay.

PAUL: But, you can't get out.

BLACKWELL: Think you're something out.

PAUL: CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is with us now. I know people there are going, please, please, how long is this going to last?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, that's a thing. They are lucky if they got out yesterday because they're now about to get another 30 inches of snow.

PAUL: 30!

CHINCHAR: In that exact same location where those people were trapped for five days. And look, they're used to snow, there's just not that much in a short period of time. And now, yes, we're going to be adding a lot more to it.

And not just even there, but also other places. Look at Washington State. Again, these top two locations here are in the Northwestern tier of the State, picking up over 10 inches.

These numbers are likely to go up. Even the Seattle Airport, 7.2 inches. For a frame of reference, that's more than they get in an entire year, and they've gotten that in 24 hours. They are likely to get over eight inches, and if they do, it will be the first time in nearly 30 years that they've been able to get that much snow.

It's coming down pretty heavy across portions of Washington State, as well as Oregon right now. And it's likely going to continue for the next 6 to 10 hours. That's why you have winter storm warnings, winter weather advisories, and even that orange, that's a blizzard warning. Because not only is you have the heavy snow coming down, you also have very gusty winds.

But those winter weather alerts stretch all the way down towards Nevada and even into California. Yes, again, including portions of the Sierra. The storm will move from the north down to the south. Kind of an odd track that's partly why Seattle is actually getting a decent amount of snow out of this.

But the highest amounts of snow are actually going to in the Sierras, where yes, we talked another 30 to 36 inches of snow is going to fall over the next couple of days. And to also put this in perspective, it's just going to stay cold for a lot of these areas.

The high temperature in Seattle over the next week is actually going to be where their normal low temperature should be instead. So, again not exactly puissant weather, and also means that a lot of that snow is going to stay put for several days.

[07:45:15] PAUL: So, let's talk about this farmer in Western Michigan. He found -- you know, this beautiful reminder of -- look at this, isn't that something of this -- you know, this week's freezing weather? It's Andrew Sietsema, he was pruning apple trees and he found what's -- that -- you know what that is? That's a ghost apple. What, what is that?

CHINCHAR: It's just a very interesting phenomenon that is very cool. So basically what happened is they had freezing rain, which is that falls as rain and then freezes on contact to whatever it touches. That could be your cars, the roadways, or in this case, apples.

PAUL: An apple.

CHINCHAR: The thing is, it turns the real Apple into mush on the inside. So, it slides out the bottom but keeps that outer casing of ice so that still takes the shape of the apple. And this happened is he was kind of pruning the bushes, he would shake them and the apples would slide out from the inside but it keeps that beautiful what almost looks like just a glass apple on the trees.

PAUL: Ornament, yes.


BLACKWELL: That is very cool.

PAUL: That's beautiful. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Thanks so much.

CHINCHAR: You're welcome.

BLACKWELL: We'll be right back.


[07:50:21] BLACKWELL: So, let's open up the what could possibly go wrong file and place it there.

PAUL: Yes, a look-alike Ivanka Trump here vacuuming in a Washington Art Gallery where the public is invited to throw -- toss crumbs on the carpet.

BLACKWELL: Here is Jeanne Mouse.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ivanka Trump as you've never seen her vacuuming, vacuuming breadcrumbs thrown by spectators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I felt a little bit disrespectful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's really cathartic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thought I give her something to do.

MOOS: The real Ivanka has plenty to do. Launching a women's development initiative, Thursday. This is a look-alike dressed in an outfit similar to what actually Ivanka wore to the G20 summit in Germany.

But you'd think vacuuming Ivanka was real the way some conservative web sites have reacted. Violent art exhibit invites people to throw trash.

I mean, people are not throwing crumbs at her.

JENNIFER RUBELL, CONCEPTUAL ARTIST (via telephone): So they throw them onto the carpet.

MOSS: Fistful sometimes two hands full deposited on the pink carpet. Artist Jennifer Rubell's work is on exhibit at a Washington, D.C. gallery.

RUBELL: A lot of people throw the crumbs and then, they are really expecting her to hop to it and vacuum them right away and are a little disappointed by that.

MOOS: That is nothing worst really than having your crumbs ignored. Look-alike Ivanka vacuums two hours at night. Tossing her hair, flicking the cord her expression blank, unplugging every once in a while to take a break.

You definitely can't accuse the artist of sucking up to Ivanka. Jennifer Rubell got called onto the carpet. Ivanka, tweeted, "Women can choose to knock each other down or build each other up, I choose the latter." But the artist says the peace doesn't knock her down or build her up. She says she chose Ivanka as an icon at the crossroads of feminism and femininity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was about nerving actually, just seeing her being completely expressionless.

MOOS: Do you think, Ivanka Trump has ever vacuumed? RUBELL: I have no idea.

MOOS: Facing a Mount Everest of bread crumbs, Ivanka, the look-alike is going to get a lot of practice. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


PAUL: All righty then.

BLACKWELL: And let's leave it there.

PAUL: Yes, why not. Let's leave it that. Up next, former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsay Buckingham, says he suffered vocal cord damage from an emergency surgery. We'll tell you what we've learned.


[07:57:36] BLACKWELL: Coming up on the top of the hour now, there are a lot of smokers who turned to e-cigarettes as a way to try to quit avoid health issues. But, are they safer for your heart? The senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen looks into that in today's "HEART BEAT".

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: E-cigarettes are an epidemic among youth today, experts say. But adult smokers hope vaping can help them quit cigarettes and lower their increased risk for heart disease. The problem, research suggests vaping may also pose a risk.

DR. LAWRENCE PHILLIPS, CARDIOLOGIST, NEW YORK: We're seeing more and more evidence that e-cigarettes do have a relationship with increased chance of having a heart attack.

COHEN: Nicotine raises your heart rate and blood pressure, constricts blood vessels, and interferes with platelets that caught your blood.

PHILLIPS: And with that, the risk of heart disease can increase.

COHEN: Traditional nicotine replacements lower the amount of nicotine until the person is no longer addicted. But in e-cigarettes --

PHILLIPS: What we're finding is that there's a wide variation in the amount of nicotine that people are exposed to. We don't know the long-term risk of e-cigarettes.


PAUL: Well, Prince Charles is set to visit Cuba this spring. And this is going to be the first visit to the island by the royal family. But Senator Rick Scott of Florida, says Prince Charles is making the wrong choice. Scott, says the Prince of Wales should visit Florida, instead. He said the Cuban population in his state could teach Prince Charles about the brutality of the Cuban regime. A visit to Cuba, Governor Scott says, shows support for a ruthless dictators.

BLACKWELL: A jury has awarded $123 million to the victims and families in a deadly duck boat crash. In 2015, five people died, 50 others were hurt when that duck boat hit a charter bus filled with international students -- this was in Seattle.

Lawyers who represented the victims accused the ride -- accused the ducks of -- or ride the ducts of failing to maintain its fleet of duck boats that can travel on land and water.

Now, the jury's decision comes just months after 17 people were killed in the duck boat accident in Branson, Missouri. Nine came from the same family in Indiana. A lawsuits are still pending in that crash.

PAUL: Former Fleetwood Mac singer and guitarist Lindsey Buckingham recovering at home this morning after he had open-heart surgery. The family says, the 69-year-old suffered vocal cords damage though, during that operation last week. Doctors have said, they don't know if the damage is permanent.

Fleetwood Mac tweeted this. "We are saddened by this news. Our thoughts and love go out to Lindsey and his family -- his entire family. We're hopeful for his speedy recovery."