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Semi-Truck Crashes into Emergency Crews in Texas; FDA Officially Raises Minimum Age for Tobacco Purchases to 21 in the U.S.; Christina Koch Sets Record for the Longest Spaceflight By a Woman. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired December 28, 2019 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wreckage of a missing tour helicopter in Hawaii has finally been located.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had air and ground operations dispatched.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this time we have no actionable information on the status of the passengers. Our ground and air crews continue to search for survivors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Behind the scenes at Mar-A-Lago, President Trump is increasingly frustrated with the stand still in the impeachment process.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a perfect case. They had no case.

CHUCK SCHUMER, MINORITY LEADER OF THE SENATE: We say to President Trump, if you are so confident you did nothing wrong, why won't you let your men testify?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't remember if I was recording at the time or how the camera was framed. I just -- I saw that trailer coming and I knew I had to run away from it.


ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day Weekend" with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: I want to wish a good morning to you and thank you for being with us. We want to start with a developing story out of Hawaii this hour. The remains of six people have been recovered after that tour helicopter crashed on the island of Kauai on Thursday. But there is still one person this morning who is unaccounted for this morning.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Police say that debris was found in a remote area of a state park north of the city of Hanapepe. The FAA and the NTSB, they are investigating. CNN's Josh Campbell has more now from Hawaii.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The search for the location where a tourism helicopter went down here in Hawaii with seven people on board is now over. Officials announcing a search team has identified the location of the wreckage. The crash site in a remote area inside a state park in the northwest section of the island of Kauai. Now, this tourism helicopter was one of many that you typically see here in Hawaii, a popular attraction that allows tourists the ability to look inside volcanoes, at waterfalls, to get a sense of that state's landscape and wildlife; a routine tourist excursion ending in tragedy.

This all began Thursday afternoon. The Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, as well as Kauai fire and rescue, were alerted after the tourism helicopter failed to return to base at its allotted time. Now, that missing aircraft report launched a massive search and rescue effort involving multiple agencies throughout the night, working some 16 hours by sea, air, and land. Now, as far as the cause of this incident, that remains under investigation.

We're told that officials from the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration, are currently on their way here to Hawaii to launch that investigation to get to that root cause. We are told that early reports possibly point to inclement weather, especially high winds. Now as far as those who were on board, sad developments we are learning today from officials. We are told that in addition to the pilot there were two families aboard, including four adults, two children. Officials announcing that remains from six of those people have been recovered. A search for the seventh continues. Josh Campbell, CNN, Honolulu.

BLACKWELL: President Trump's demand for a speedy impeachment trial appears to be at least, thus far, going nowhere and that's mainly because of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and she won't move forward until she knows how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to run the trial.

PAUL: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and McConnell cannot agree on the ground rules for a Senate trial. Until that happens, the U.S. is essentially at an impasse. CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood joining us from south Florida right now. The president appears to be stewing over his impeachment while on Christmas break. What is the mood at Mar-A-Lago, Sarah?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, guys. And President Trump is showing signs of increasing frustration with this extended state of limbo surrounding his Senate trial. As neither Congressional Democrats nor Congressional Republicans are showing any signs of budging. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to withhold those Articles of Impeachment from the Senate. President Trump is it clearly agitated. He does not want to have this kind of uncertainty surrounding his trial. He does not just want to be acquitted by the Senate but he wants a chance to clear his name, to have his symbolic day in court.

Now, while he's heading into the second week of his trip down here at Mar-A-Lago, sources tell CNN that he's been quizzing aides and allies here at his resort about who should represent him during the Senate trial. Now, the only thing that's certainly about the White House's strategy is that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone still expected to take the lead in terms of presenting the president's defense. But there may be roles for outsiders on that team. Perhaps for the president's fiercest defenders in the House. There have been talks about adding conservative allies to the team perhaps to present a minority response to what democrats will present. But, again, Democrats not showing any signs of relenting. Take a listen to what Deputy Whip Dan Kildee, a Democrat, told CNN last night about just how long this standoff could last.


REP. DAN KILDEE (D-MI): I think we have to wait until we have some assurance that the trial is not going to be some sort of a sham or a joke.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I'm talking extremes here. Like into February?

KILDEE: Well, I mean, that's certainly possible but I'm not going to get ahead of the speaker.


WESTWOOD: Twitter, President Trump is still venting on a nearly daily basis about how Pelosi is handling the Articles of Impeachment. For example, writing this week, so interesting to see Nancy Pelosi demanding fairness from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell when she presided over the most unfair hearing in the history of the United States Congress.

But Pelosi, again, showing no signs of backing down so President Trump, at this moment, caught in between a standoff between Republicans and Democrats. Pelosi hitting back on the president wrote on twitter. The facts are clear and every witness told the same story despite the president's attempts to cover it up. President Trump abused his power for his own personal gain. #defendourdemocracy. Now, the president will continue to be surrounded by a rotating cast of staff members during his last week here at Mar-A-Lago. There is still a lot of unanswered questions that remain about the White House's strategy for the Senate trial.

PAUL: All right. Sarah, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: With us now, CNN political commentator, Errol Louis, also political anchor for "Spectrum News". Errol, welcome back to you.


BLACKWELL: Let's start here with this suggestion from Representative Kildee that potentially this could stretch into February. At what point does this strategy that's being executed by the speaker start to become counterproductive? I mean, do they want an impeached President Trump there on the 4th delivering the State of the Union address with a cudgel of having held up the Articles of Impeachment for five, six weeks?

LOUIS: It's entirely possible it could come to that. Don't forget, Victor, you also have the first -- well, the Iowa caucuses kick off the election season in ernest starting in February as well. All of that could happen around the same time if they can't reach some agreement on how the trial should proceed and actually get through it. I mean, the reality is if you get more than a couple of weeks into January without having even started a Senate trial, there's almost no way you could expect it to be done by February. So, yeah, timing is going to be everything here.

BLACKWELL: So let's turn now to the Senate and I want to, first, read this op-ed that was written by a Constitutional professor, a Boston law professor, I should say. His name is Kent Greenfield, a Kentucky native talking here about Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And he writes, this is not a time for political cynicism or Constitutional faithlessness. McConnell's loyalty to Trump should not overwhelm his loyalty to the Constitution. If he fails in this, he is not only violating his Article I oath but his Article VI oath; one being to support the Constitution, VI to do impartial justice. Any indication that his strategy here could hurt him in any significant way?

LOUIS: Well, yes. I think there is some possibility of that as well. And let's keep in mind that being hurt doesn't mean just kind of declining in the polls. Mitch McConnell is up for re-election. So are a good one-third or so of his conference. And some of them are not going to fare well if this looks like a partisan spectacle. If it looks like he's not taking seriously the Constitutional responsibilities of the Senate.

So when members like Lisa Murkowski and others say we want you to do this right, Mitch McConnell, what they're saying to him is you're going to cause political problems for your whole conference and with a fairly-slim majority, you know, he doesn't need to lose more than two to four of them to suddenly have a real problem. And let's keep in mind although it takes two-thirds of the Senate to actually remove our impeached President Trump, if that's what it comes to, it takes only a simple majority vote to put the rules in place, to name the managers, to make crucial decisions on evidence and in that case, he's going to have to really hold his folks together. So, yes, being a little too partisan could, in fact, cause major problems for him going into the impeachment trial.

BLACKWELL: Speaking of major problems, I wonder what point favor tips when it comes to the president and I mention it because of this. We've seen the president go after, you know, Speaker Ryan when he had the gavel, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Jay Powell with the Fed Reserve, the head of the FBI, on and on, GOP, House leaders, Senate leaders. But thus far, there's not been that kind of condemnation for leader McConnell. If the president wants a speedy trial, he wants witnesses, there is an impasse and the White House counsel and McConnell, right now, say no witnesses. Is McConnell consistently above that condemnation because he's been this effective thus far or do you expect this could even turn for McConnell?

LOUIS: Yes. Sooner or later, everybody gets their turn in the barrel with -- with President Trump. If he doesn't like what you're doing, believe me, he's going to let all 68 million of his Twitter followers know all about it.


It's one of his more potent tools and, frankly, it just signals ahead of time who he's going to go after. I don't think he's going to turn on Mitch McConnell publicly because as the -- the majority leader has said, he's going to simply do whatever the White House tells him to do. Now, the White House may change their minds. The president may change his mind and McConnell might find himself on the outs. He wouldn't be the first ally of President Trump to sort of get caught by his changing mood or his changing strategic political considerations. But, you know, look, Mitch McConnell is a pretty sharp operator himself. So I -- I'd be surprised if he got caught out there.

BLACKWELL: Former Vice President Joe Biden told the "Des Moines Register" that he will not comply with a subpoena if called to testify in the Senate trial. I mean, this is, you know, after all that we heard from House Democrats that subpoenas are not optional and that these people must show up. How does now a former Senator, former president of the Senate, a former vice president, want to be President of the United States, just flout a Senate subpoena, even if he believes that the -- that it's invalid?

LOUIS: Well, you know, it -- it's -- it's one of the more interesting outcomes that could happen here where this un -- the unusual part of this whole Senate trial, when it does happen, Victor, is that we already know most of the facts -- almost all of the facts and we actually know the outcome so the rest of it is simply the spectacle. Joe Biden is signaling he doesn't want to be part of the spectacle. He doesn't want to have his political career damaged going into the election season by simply being paraded in the well of the Senate and having a bunch of Republican Senators get up and make all kinds of baseless accusations not because they're true, not because they advance the outcome of the trial in any way but because it's intended to damage him politically.

Perfectly understandable. Your question, though, is well taken. How do you then refuse, you know, with the eyes of the world upon you, the Senate issuing a subpoena, the chief justice of the Supreme Court presiding over the whole -- the whole operation, how do you then say, no, I'm not going to come in? And what would be the consequences for saying no? That is a very intriguing possibility and one hopes that it won't come to that -- that they'll arrive at some sensible list of witnesses and not just turn it into a political spectacle.

BLACKWELL: Or any witnesses at all. We'll see. Errol Lewis, good to have you.

LOUIS: Thank you.

PAUL: Police in Idaho are continuing their search this morning for two young children who have been missing for months. What officials are saying now about the kids' parents and why they're looking to speak with them. BLACKWELL: Plus, this video is unbelievable. A semi plows through an

accident scene in Texas. There's someone in that SUV. I just want you to know - there's someone there. We're going to tell you how this whole thing happened and you're going to see it on tape from the beginning and hear from the photo journalist who had to run for his life.


PAUL: We have breaking news out of Somalia. Suicide bomb in Mogadishu has left at least 76 people dead. Authorities say 70 were injured when a suicide car bomb attacker detonated at a busy checkpoint near a taxation office this morning. A government spokesman says university students are among the victims there. That location, by the way, has been targeted before the Al Qaeda linked Al- Shabaab group has claimed responsibility for this.

BLACKWELL: In Iraq, defense officials say a U.S. civilian contractor was killed in a rocket attack. Several U.S. and Iraqi military members were also hurt. This attack happened at base near Kirkuk where U.S. service members and contractors were Iraqi security forces found a homemade launch pad for rockets that targeted the military base that houses U.S. troops in northern Baghdad. Rockets were found on an abandoned vehicle in a remote village.

PAUL: The family of two missing children in Idaho is pleading for them to be returned safely. Joshua, "JJ" Vallow you see on the left and Tylee Ryan on the right there haven't been seen - here's the kicker - they haven't been seen in months.

Their mother and stepfather are also missing and police are really eager to speak with them. We've learned a religious website, which features content produced by that stepfather, is pulling his work off of their platform. Here's CNN's Lucy Kafanov with more.


GROUP: (Singing) Happy Birthday dear "JJ," Happy Birthday to you.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Joshua "JJ" Vallow celebrating his 7th birthday just four months before disappearing. Authorities say the boy, who has autism, and his sister, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan were last seen in Rexburg, Idaho, on September 23rd. JJ's grandmother is pleading for the children's return.


KAY WOODCOCK, GRANDMOTHER OF MISSING KIDS: I pray they are alive. There is nothing -- no indication either way so we are trying to be positive. There's some days where we can hardly function because we're just fearing the worst.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KAFANOV: The FBI and police in multiple states are searching for the missing siblings. Police are also asking the public for help in locating mom, Lori Vallow, and her new husband Chad Daybell after the pair abruptly disappeared from their home last month. Rexburg police say the disappearance may be tied to a suspicious death investigation.

On October 19th, Chad Daybell's wife, Tammy Daybell is found dead in her home. Authorities initially thought she died from natural causes but police now believe her death was suspicious. Her body exhumed. The medical examiner's report is still pending. Just weeks after Tammy's death, Chad Daybell marries Lori Vallow, the mother of the missing children. On November 26th, police conduct a welfare check at Lori's home after a tip from concerned relatives. Police say she and Chad Daybell misled authorities by saying JJ was staying with a family friend in Arizona. When investigators returned the following day with a search warrant, Vallow and Daybell were gone.


SEAN P. BARTHOLICK, REXBURG POLICE: We're trying very hard to provide and come up with the evidence that is necessary to take care of this and one way or the other, come to a conclusion, either find somebody innocent of all of these accusations or if guilty, then proceed accordingly.



KAFANOV: How worried are you about the safety of the kids right now?

WOODCOCK: I am -- my -- on a scale of 1 to 100, I'm at 200.


KAFANOV: In a statement issued to their attorney, Vallow and Daybell said they look forward to addressing the allegations once they have moved beyond speculation and rumor. Lori's estranged husband, Charles Vallow, was shot and killed by her brother in July. Police say in self-defense; he was not charged. Her previous ex-husband and Tylee's father, Joseph Anthony Ryan, died in 2018. The pair's son, the missing kid's brother, posted this message on YouTube.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys have no idea how hard this is for us. Every week or two weeks has been something new news that just sinks your heart through your stomach. Like, this has been horrible.

Everybody's focus should be Tilee and JJ. Everybody's focus should be figuring out if they're okay, where they're at and how we can make sure that they're safe.


KAFANOV: Idaho police say they're worried time is slipping away to find the children cutoff from loved ones this holiday season. Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Denver.

BLACKWELL: Well, when you hear the word politics, right now at least, there is a lot of talk about impeachment. Well, impeachment is not the only major political story we have covered in 2019 of course. Coming up, we'll show you what else made the top nine list.


PAUL: Well impeachment may have been hanging over our heads for most of the year here in the U.S. It's not the only political story believe it or not.

BLACKWELL: Of course.

PAUL: Headline 2019.

BLACKWELL: CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, has the top nine political stories of the year.

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has been quite the year in politics. Here are the top nine political stories of 2019.

It didn't get as many headlines as other big political stories but make no mistake about it.


TRUMP: Conservative judges.


BASH: The president's success in getting his judges on the bench will have implications for years to come. Thanks to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is focused like a laser on this, the Senate confirmed a record 50 circuit court judges. McConnell took to Twitter boasting that is already the most in any president's whole first term since 1980.


TRUMP: Constitution of the United States.


BASH: President Trump announced his re-election campaign the day he was inaugurated, a historically, early start that his team took advantage of raising more than $165 million, nearly $100 million in this year alone.


BRAD PARSCALE, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It's much more efficient two years out to try to find a possible voter or possible donor. It's just a considerable advantage that the other side won't have because you just can't replace time.


BASH: Control of those big coffers not only the election campaign but the Republican Party's contributed to the president's firm grip on the GOP, which in various ways became even more clearly the party of Donald Trump in 2019.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We take back our democracy...

BASH: (voice over) The Democrats' 2020 presidential field took shape early in the year as the most diverse ever. More women and candidates of color running for a single party than ever before; the first openly-gay candidate a major contender.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The top 12 Democratic presidential candidates are at their positions.

BASH: (voice over) It was also the biggest. CNN's October debate was the most crowded stage in the history of presidential primaries.

KLOBUCHAR: I want to give a reality check here to Elizabeth because no one on this stage wants to protect billionaires. Not even the billionaire wants to protect billionaires. We just have different approaches. Your idea is not the only idea.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think as Democrats, we are going to succeed when we dream big and fight hard not when we dream small and quit before we get started.


BASH: That shrunk to seven in December thanks to the party's increasing fundraising and polling thresholds. No question defined the Democratic primary fight this year more than this. Do voters want an ideological revolution or a candidate focused on relief from Donald Trump? At the top of the field, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the revolutionaries, promising sweeping change. While former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Senator Amy Klobuchar say incremental change is more realistic. Nowhere was this more on display than healthcare.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Build on Obamacare, add a public option.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Seventy-one percent of Democrats support Medicare for All.


BASH: Stay tuned for the answer in 2020. 2019 started with the historic new class of House Democrats. A record

number of women sworn in and many more firsts. The first Muslim- American woman, the first Native-American women and the first female House speaker in history reclaimed the gavel.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I am particularly proud to be the woman speaker of the House of this Congress, which marks the 100th year of women having the right to vote.


BASH: Speaking of Nancy Pelosi, going head to head with President Trump is one of the 2019 story lines starting with the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.


PELOSI: Federal workers will not be receiving their paychecks. The president seems to be insensitive to that; he thinks maybe they can just ask their father for more money but they can't.



TRUMP: The State of the Union speech has been cancelled by Nancy Pelosi because she doesn't want to hear the truth.


BASH: In October, a clash over the president deciding to pull troops out of Syria ended in a Pelosi walkout. The president Tweeted a photo of Pelosi having what he called an unhinged meltdown. She owned the image, making it her social media cover photo.


PELOSI: Article I is adopted.


BASH: The year ended with the speaker reluctantly leading the House and making Trump only the third president in history to be impeached.


PELOSI: I pray for the president all the time.


BASH: After nearly two years, Robert Mueller concluded his Russia investigation with a 448-page report. On the key question of collusion, Mueller's probe did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in the election interference activities. It noted ten instances where the president may have obstructed justice. Writing, while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him. Much to the outrage of Democrats, Attorney General William Barr tried to play it as exoneration.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The evidence developed by the special counsel is not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction of justice offense.


BASH: Democrats were hoping Mueller would clear it up. But his nearly seven-hour testimony, slow moving and drama-free, did not. Then a whistle-blower complaint that Trump urged the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in exchange for nearly $400 million in U.S. military aid.


TRUMP: That call was perfect.


BASH: Moderate, vulnerable House Democrats who had resisted impeachment before changed their minds and called for an inquiry. An equally reluctant House speaker announced the House would do just that.


PELOSI: The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution.


BASH: A day later, the White House released a rough transcript of that July conversation. In it was what Democrats would focus their impeachment inquiry on, an apparent quid pro quo.


The impeachment inquiry would make its way through the House Intelligence Committee with close-door witness testimonies followed by several days of notable public testimony.


GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: Was there a quid pro quo? As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes.


BASH: Former Trump Russia advisor, Fiona Hill, called out some of the president's team for carrying out a, quote, domestic political errand and sent a warning.


FIONA HILL, FORMER TRUMP ADVISOR: Russia's security services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them.


BASH: Republicans attacked the process generally sidestepping the facts.


REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): You can't make your case against the president because nothing happened.


BASH: Democrats drafted two Articles of Impeachment -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, which passed the committee and later the full House on party line votes.

The year ending with Donald J. Trump, the third president in history to be impeached. So how does it all end? You're going to have to wait till 2020. Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Dana. Now, look at this. It is terrifying. You got emergency crews there for a crash and then this semi just barrels through. And I want to remind you there is someone in that SUV when it flips. We'll tell you what happened to that person and everyone else in this video next.


PAUL: Winter storms sweeping across the country this week. Oh my gosh you know the travel nightmare it's been for so many people. We've seen cars and trucks stuck in the snow. Stuck would probably be a better version though of what we've seen - what's coming up here.

BLACKWELL: Fog has been a major problem, too. Now, let's go to Texas. The low visibility led to a crash and it's horrific caught on tape by local crews. We're going to stop and just let you watch it.


CALEB HOLDER, KCBD PHOTOGRAPHER: I couldn't remember if I was recording at the time or how the camera was framed. I just -- I saw that trailer coming and I knew I had to run away from it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Been a photographer for the news Channel 11 for nine years.

HOLDER: Part of my job as a news photographer is to go out to breaking news and shoot video of whatever it is. That includes car crashes sometimes. (END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So he went to a crash on Highway 84 and county road 3600.

HOLDER: I was looking that direction. That's where I was focused.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Little did he know, another crash was about to happen right in front of him and he was going to capture it all on camera.

HOLDER: Then that's when you could hear more tires screeching and then just barely see headlights coming through the fog.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A semi-truck coming straight at him.

HOLDER: That's when the semi overturned and then slid on its side on to the shoulder and on top of that pickup.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But Caleb wasn't the only one there. Take a look at this video again. Watch as this trooper runs for his life away from the truck and ends up tripping.

HOLDER: As I was running away, I remember looking back and seeing the trooper also running and then he -- I could see that he had fallen down and that the trailer was coming really close to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The trooper was hit by the semi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trooper that was struck is going to be OK. He does have some serious injuries but nothing life threatening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Also, in the video, you can see a man jump into his car right before he was pinned underneath the trailer for a few hours. He was eventually saved by officials who had to use the Jaws of Life to free him from the wreckage.

HOLDER: I've never seen anything like that in person.


PAUL: Oh, my gosh.

BLACKWELL: It's remarkable that everyone in that video survived.

PAUL: Survived - yes. And authorities say the dense fog in that area actually brought visibility to less than a quarter of a mile and there were a handful of crashes. Two people were hurt in the crash, by the way, as we said. The good thing is that they are expected to be okay.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Well, it's now illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy tobacco products across the U.S. Now the change is part of the massive $1.4 trillion spending bill signed by the president on December 20th. Now, this covers all tobacco products - cigarettes, cigars, E-cigarettes, too. The new restrictions come as public health advocates and lawmakers debate how to handle the youth vaping epidemic. Nineteen states already have their own laws restricting tobacco sales to people 21 and older.

PAUL: Big day for NASA, for one astronaut in fact who is earning a page in the history books. After the break, we'll go into the international space station. Christina Koch is who you are going to hear from because she is breaking the record for the longest space flight by a woman.



PAUL: So one NASA astronaut is making history as we speak here today. Christina Koch breaks the record for the longest space flight by a woman. She's been on the International Space Station, think about this, for 288 days. She's coming home in February. Now, back in October, I want to show you some video that I took when I was at the Johnson Space Center in Mission Control there in Houston. That was her preparing for this groundbreaking spacewalk that she took in October. So when I talked to her recently, I asked her how she feels about this new place in history.


PAUL: Oh, my goodness. I have to tell you that I was in NASA with my daughter and we watched you prepare for your spacewalk -- your historic space walk in October. You have -- you know, here you are. You're going through eclipse the last person we know, Peggy Wilson's record of 288 days in space. How are you feeling knowing that you are going to be -- you're going to break the record for the woman who has spent the most time in space thus far?

CHRISTINA KOCH, NASA ASTRONAUT: Well, having the opportunity to do that and to be up here for so long is truly an honor and Peggy in particular is one of my heroines and she's been a mentor to me. So it's a great reminder to try to make her proud and then also, to do mentorship when I get home to sort of pay that back. I hope that breaking the record is both, you know, good for outreach and also inspiration. Outreach because it kind of gets the conversation going about state of the art, where we are in human exploration and inspiring because I think kind of as a milestone, it can motivate people.

I know for me, personally, it motivates me every single day, you know, on those rough days remembering that, yes, this might be hard because it hasn't been done before and I do have to bring my best to every single day.

And on that point, I like to think of the record as it's not so much how many days you're up here but what you bring to each day, so another great reminder to just bring your best. It's a wonderful thing for science. You know, we see another aspect of how the human body is affected by microgravity for the long-term and that's really important for our future spaceflight plans going forward to the moon and to mars. You know, overall though, I have to say my biggest hope for the record is that it's exceeded as soon as possible again and that's because it just would mean we're continuing to push those boundaries. PAUL: I know that in October, you had this historic all-female

spacewalk. Tell me what that was like.

KOCH: It was an incredible honor. I have to say that it wasn't necessarily something on my radar from the start of my training but then in the end, to have the opportunity to do that and to do it with another crewmate of mine who I have been training with for so long, Jessica Meir, was truly just inspirational both for us but it was our honor to be able to hopefully inspire the next generation of human space explorers. And also to pay homage for those that paved the way for us to be here not only our heroines who had actually done spacewalks in the past but our training teams and the teams that we work with to make space walks happen so it was overall just an incredible honor and I just feel privileged to be a part of it.

PAUL: Astronaut Koch, I think a lot of people look at you even right now in the space that you're in And they think what do you do all day long from, you know, March 14th when you got there. I know you're not coming back until February. That is such a long time to be there. Talk to me about what happens on a daily basis for you.

Koch: You know, on board here, we have similar lives to what you might have on the ground. We come to work every day and those workdays consist of a lot of things that both bring benefits back to earth like the science that we do up here that benefits life on earth as well as a lot of maintenance and upgrades to keep the station running at its peak performance.

In our off time, we get to spend time with each other, time, you know, keeping in touch with our family and friends, and of course, looking out the window and taking pictures of earth and kind of reflecting on our place there. So it's really a mix. Life on board, in some ways, like I said, is just like life on earth. You have some of the same challenges up here and some of the same rewards and I think all that works together to make it an incredible and very enriched experience.

PAUL: How do you handle holidays in space? We just, of course, had the Christmas holiday and New Year's is coming up but what is that like there? Because you talk about wanting to be with your family and there's only so many ways to do that obviously based on where you are.

KOCH: Celebrating the holidays up here is a lot of fun and it's because it's so unique. So it's an opportunity to bring those traditions from our families at home on board and share them with our crew mates and that's exactly what we did. We each talked about how we spend Christmas at home with our friends and family and we each kind of incorporated that up here.

So it was a really unique day to be in space and a special one and we did have the chance to sort of video chat with friends and family on the ground. So I felt like I was part of that Christmas celebration as well. So it's a really special time up here and again, just such a privilege to be on board for that and have that memory.

PAUL: You have shared some really remarkable images from your vantage point on social media. Has there ever been a moment for you where you saw something and -- and you were just in awe? That probably happens often but I'm asking if there's one -- one thing in particular that you have seen in your time up there that will always stay with you or that changed you.

KOCH: There are several to pick from but if I had to say just one, I would say it is seeing the northern lights and the southern lights; the aurora from above on the planet. I have had the opportunity to work in Antarctica and in the arctic where we commonly see the northern lights and southern lights from the ground looking up into the sigh and it's absolutely inspiring even to see that there. And so to see it from above and kind of on that planetary scale and to recognize how it looks and how it forms from both perspectives really just was an absolutely awe-inspiring sight and one I will never forget.

PAUL: You mentioned at the beginning of our interview that you're looking forward to coming back and being a mentor. So I'm wondering what you're hoping girls learn from you once you come back and speak to them. What is your hope for them?

KOCH: My hope for people that are pursuing their dreams is that they're following their passions and that they're always reaching out and reaching a little farther than what they think they can do. One piece of advice that I often offer is do what scares you and I say that because I think everyone should think about what intrigues them and what sort of draws them in.

And those things can kind of be scary a little bit but they usually mean that you're interested and if it's just outside what you think is attainable for you and then you reach that goal, it really pays off dividends in more ways than one. It can be rewarding for you personally and it usually means that you're giving back to the world in the maximum way possible. So that's a piece of advice that I'd like to share with everybody.

PAUL: All right. We saw earlier when you were talking, you let go of your mic and we saw your microphone -- we saw it kind of flip as it was floating in space. Anything cool that you can show us? Oh, my goodness.

KOCH: Well, I did think about conducting the entire interview upside down but I thought that could be a little bit confusing.

PAUL: Well, Astronaut Christina Koch, thank you so much for taking time for us and congratulations. This is such a big record and it really says a lot I think to the women and girls that are watching about what's possible for them and you're leading that way. Can't wait to hear from you when you're back and hear more about your experience. Thank you so much. And happy New Year.

KOCH: Thank you so much. Thanks for your interest and Happy New Year to you, too.


[06:50:00] PAUL: So think of this, ten Grammy's, 11 platinum albums, the first artist to simultaneously top the pop, country and R&B charts, Linda Ronstadt musical legend in her own time. The new CNN film "Linda Ronstadt, The Sound of My Voice," tells the inside story of her rise to fame and Anderson Cooper recently sat down with her.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I hadn't realized how early you started singing. I mean, it seems like music from the earliest memories were part of your life.

LINDA RONSTADT, MUSICIAN: I remember trying to write a song when I was two on the piano.

COOPER: When you were two?

RONSTADT: Yes. It was called, "Tweet, Tweet, Tweet." It was about a bird.

COOPER: Did you ever plan on, I mean, becoming a superstar?

RONSTADT: I never thought about that. I thought I wanted to sing and I thought it would be nice if I could make my living singing and then paying the rent and groceries. I wouldn't have to work in a bank or something else. I always managed to do that. I never had to get a different job. But, you know, when I was getting paid $30 a week to sing, I thought I was doing fine. I thought that was really success.

COOPER: What did you feel when you were singing? Especially, early on.

RONSTADT: I just felt like I wanted to make myself feel like music I like made me feel. You know I hear (inaudible) and Lewis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald and I go on and do that. I want to feel that way.

COOPER: The act of singing. Was it - was it joyful?

RONSTADT: Well, it was something because people used to turn around when I'd sing. You know, in school, you're supposed to pretend to sing. You kind of la-la-la but I was going let's sing. You know? Because my family sang so I sang with my older brother, who was in the Tucson Arizona Boys Choir and one of the soloists. He was wonderful.

COOPER: And he taught you about vibrato.

RONSTADT: Yes, he did. We learned harmonies. We didn't have to be taught them. We just knew how to sing harmony. We used to sing in the back of the

car; we used to sing with our hands in the dish water. I think everybody should do their own singing. You don't have to be a professional. You don't have to delegate your sorrows to professionals.

COOPER: You don't have to delegate your sorrows. RONSTADT: Some music is just for privacy, you know, it's just

something you sing in your bedroom and some music is something you play at the piano maybe to just a select group of friends. Not everything is meant for the big world.

COOPER: Were you confident as a singer? Did you know how good you -- you -- you are?

RONSTADT: I never thought I was good.

COOPER: You didn't?

RONSTADT: I always thought I might get a little better tomorrow. But I always felt my phrasing was kind of hopeless.

COOPER: In the -- in the documentary, somebody says about you that when you would be on stage, if you saw people in the front row, two people sort of whispering to each other, that you assumed they were saying bad things about you.

RONSTADT: Yes. Poor Linda, she can't sing.

COOPER: You really felt that? Even - I mean, you're on a stage in front of thousands of people.

RONSTADT: I try to keep my eyes closed. You don't see the audience very much because they're not lit but you are so you can pretend you are all by yourself. It's when I see the audience, I go why are all those people staring at me? Because in the animal kingdom, when another animal's staring at you, they probably want to eat you.

COOPER: It's a hostile gesture.

RONSTADT: Yes. It's just deep-rooted instinct. You know?

COOPER: Was there ever a point where you were satisfied with it -- with the quality of it?

RONSTADT: In the '90s, I sang better than I sang in the '80s. In the 80s I sang better than I sang in the 70s; that's the only thing. It's always a work in progress. It's very weird to hear recording because it's frozen in time and when you - I go oh I sang it better in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1978.


You know, you remember the moment you really achieve something. But it's not the whole song even; it's just a phrase or a note. You go oh, that was the gold standard.

COOPER: So it's just a little piece of a song that you feel, okay, that meets my standard.

RONSTADT: When I hear records, I go that phrase was nice. That measure was nice. That song sucked. You know, that song proves I never could sing my whole life anyway. COOPER: You weren't a songwriter but you picked songs and you made

them your own and I mean, in such an extraordinary way. How do you know what songs to -- because it seems like a number of them, you heard on the radio or you heard somewhere?

RONSTADT: Well, I'd hear something and it would speak to me urgently that that was like something I'd felt in my life. Sometimes it was only a phrase, you know, and then I have to figure out how I would make the rest of the song fit. And sometimes it was not musically terribly well suited to my style but I'd have to make it that way.


PAUL: CNN films "Linda Ronstadt the Sound of My Voice." It premiers New Year's Day at 9 p.m. Eastern.

BLACKWELL: So a big "Star Wars" fan was immortalized as part of the release of the new "Star Wars" film, "The Rise of Skywalker." Natasha Chen has the story.


LAUREN WESTMORELAND, RILEY HOWELL'S GIRLFRIEND: When I first saw you, it was like the sun game out, bright and beaming on the cloudiest of days.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Riley Howell's family remembers him as a ray of light and now, he'll also be known for fighting dark forces in a galaxy far, far away.

WESTMORELAND: Kind of like a really nice way to round out the worst year of all of our lives.

CHEN: Howell died in April, shot tackling a gunman at the University of North Carolina - Charlotte. His girlfriend, Lauren Westmoreland, shared a letter from Lucas Films to the Howell family saying they'd like to create a character in Howell's honor. They asked the family to keep it secret until later this year saying Riley's courage and selflessness brings out the Jedi in all of us.

It turns out Lucas Film has made Howell a Jedi master and historian. In "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," the visual dictionary, a book companion to the final movie of the "Skywalker" saga.

WESTMORELAND: It's still Riley Howell but it's spelled R-I-dash-lee - L-E-E. And he is technically just like a Jedi master historian who I guess has preserved these books.

CHEN: Fitting for a young Padowan who loved all things "Star Wars."

WESTMORELAND: Like his fifth birthday was all "Star Wars" themed. So his little cake had a bunch of figurines on it and he like named all of them. He like made everybody be quiet so he could name them all. CHEN: Mark Hamill, the actor who played Jedi Luke Skywalker tweeted

on Christmas Eve, this real-life hero has become Jedi master Ri-Lee Howell in the official "Star Wars" canon. May his memory live on from here to eternity. Just as Hamill's character says in the films...


CHEN: Closing out the letter to the Howells, Lucas Films wrote, the force will be with Riley and all of you, always. Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.