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Remembering Kobe Bryant; The Coronavirus Spreads; Bolton Book on Ukraine Freeze; Winter Weather Hits Northeast; Democratic Race Heats up in Iowa. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 27, 2020 - 06:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Overnight, there was a vigil outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Thousands of people gathering to pay tribute and say good-bye to Kobe Bryant.

CNN's Martin Savidge lakes a look back at Kobe's career and his legacy.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For basketball, at 6'6", Kobe Bryant wasn't particularly tall. But by every measure, as a player and a person, he was a giant.

Kobe Bean Bryant was born August 23, 1978, the son of former NBA player Joe Bryant. He started playing basketball when he was three, but it was his spectacular high school career at Lower Merion High School just outside Philly that earned him national recognition. He was quickly drafted into the NBA. At the time, the youngest player in the league's history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one talking about any shortness or a weakness in his game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greatness lies ahead for this young man. Thought he was going to be absolutely fantastic.

SAVIDGE: The Charlotte Hornets selected Bryant as their 13th pick and immediately traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers.

KOBE BRYANT (December 9, 2000): I think a lot of people, even when I came out of high school, I think people were kind of -- kind of giving me the cold shoulder to begin with, because I think, unfortunately, some people wanted me to fail because I defied the odds.

SAVIDGE: Bryant would not just beat the odds, in his 20-year career with the Lakers, he would crush them. His amazing talent and fierce competitive nature made him one of sport's most famous and decorated athletes. He would win five NBA championships, earning superstar status with a generation of fans. He also won two NBA finals MVP award and a regular season MVP in 2008. The same year he won his first Olympic gold medal as a member of the U.S. team.

Here he is talking about what that Olympic thrill felt like.

BRYANT (August 7, 2008): I'm feeling excited and it's a great opportunity and, you know, I think for us to draw the first game playing against a host team is a little tough. But we understand the enthusiasm here in the city and, you know, and we're proud and just we really can't what to get going.

SAVIDGE: Bryant would strike Olympic gold again in 2012. He would also earn 18 NBA all-star selections.

It was Bryant who was at the center of one of the NBA's most memorable games, January 22, 2006, when he scored 81 points with the Lakers, defeating Toronto.

But there was also controversy.

In 2003, he was charged with sexual assault, accused of attacking a 19-year-old hotel employee. The charge would later be dropped. The case settled in civil court.

Recovering from adversity would become another Kobe trademark. Bryant refused to admit he was hurt, even when he was. Famously shooting free throws after rupturing his Achilles tendon. Time would eventually prove to be his greatest opponent.

In the fall of 2015, he announced his plans to retire. The black mamba, as he called himself, played his final game April 13, 2016. He did not go quietly. He made a jaw dropping 60 points on 50 shots in a Lakers win against the Utah Jazz that sent the Los Angeles Staples Center into a frenzy.


BRYANT: The coolest thing is that my kids actually saw me play like I used to play. You know what I mean? It was like -- like, whoa, dad! I said, yes, I used to do this pretty often. They're like really? Like, dude, YouTube it.

SAVIDGE: His answer that night would tip his hand to the accomplishment for which perhaps he was most proud, being the father of four daughters, 17-year-old Natalia, 13-year-old Gianna, three- year-old Bianka and seven-month-old Capri.

Bryant himself said after retirement, he didn't watch too much basketball, but his daughter Gianna's love of the game sparked his interest in coaching.

BRYANT: Coaching the kids is fun. It just kind of came out of nowhere because my daughter just decided she wanted to play about two-and-a- half years ago, you know. And so I started coaching her a little bit and then she made a local all-star team.

We really just kind of sit back and let them process things and figure things out because we are playing for the long game of them being the best basketball players they can be. But it's fun to sit there and watch them hoop.

SAVIDGE: Father and daughter were on their way to one of Gianna's games when tragedy struck.

Bryant was not just an award winner on the court.

BRYANT: Five, four, three, two, one.

SAVIDGE: In 2018, he won an Academy Award for his short film "Dear Basketball," based on the poem he wrote when he was retiring from the game.

BRYANT: Love you always, Kobe.

SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, my gosh. I mean, obviously, it's a devastating loss for everyone that's feeling it, but his family. I mean I just can't stop thinking about Vanessa, his wife, and his other kids for your life to change in a split second like that.

BERMAN: He had three daughters, the eldest 17. The youngest just 7 months old at this point. And everyone's seen the video of Kobe Bryant talking to Gianna on the sidelines of a Laker's game. And the way they were communicating is how I think every parent would like to be able to talk to their child. You know, having a --

CAMEROTA: The ease. The delight that they have with each other.



BERMAN: There it is right there. Look at that. Talking about something they both love deeply to someone they both love deeply.

CAMEROTA: NEW DAY will be right back.



CAMEROTA: New numbers to tell you about with this outbreak. The Wuhan coronavirus has killed at least 80 people in China. And the country's health minister just declared the virus can be spread before those infected ever show symptoms.

David Culver joins us live from Beijing with the latest.

This is worrying -- more worrisome news.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is really concerning, Alisyn. You've got to think about this because he -- he says, the Chinese health minister that is, that this incubation period of one to 14 days in which somebody is potentially exposed to the virus, not only could they then develop symptoms and contract the virus themselves, but they could be carriers that transmit it to other people.

So why is that so worrisome? Well, look at the screening mechanisms that are currently in place. You've got folks who are coming through rail or train, even on the airports. They've got these thermometers that they're checking temperature. But you would get through that and still be a carrier. So that's what's really worrisome.

Meantime, I want to walk you through some of the containment efforts because they're still going forward with a lot of them. You've got President Xi Jinping, who has really pushed this hard, and the construction of two new hospitals that are rapidly underway. You can see some state media video of that. One of them expected to open in just a few days' time. Combined, they'll have about 2,000-plus patients.

Then you've got deployment of medical military personnel. They are already on the ground within that lock down zone, which incorporates some 57 million people, and that personnel, they've got another thousand on standby who are ready to respond and get in there quickly.

They're also extending the lunar new year holiday. So that's the big festival, which we always talk about the great human migration. You've got hundreds of millions traveling. They're extending it at least until February 2nd.

But, Alisyn, we also hear that they're going to potentially extend it even further.

And, John, as I toss it back to you, I want to tell you that Americans who are to be evacuated, we're earning they're going to be likely taken to a military base in the West Coast. I've just learned that. They'll have to be in quarantined anywhere from 72 hours to 14 days within they arrive.

BERMAN: David, every new thing you hear about this story as it develops makes it more concerning.


BERMAN: We thank you for being there and your persistent excellent reporting on this. Keep us posted, please.

So, overnight, we learn that John Bolton has written that the president told him that Ukraine aid was linked to investigating the Bidens. Well, there is new reporting this morning on when the White House was aware of what Bolton was willing to say and all the implications surrounding that. Jonathan Swan of "Axios" joins us next.



BERMAN: Breaking overnight, explosive, new allegations that really could change the course of the Senate impeachment trial. And if they don't, the question is, why not?

"The New York Times" reports this morning that former National Security Adviser John Bolton, in a draft manuscript of his new book, says that the president personally tied aid in Ukraine to an investigation of the Biden.

Joining us now is Jonathan Swan, national political reporter for "Axios."

First of all, Jon, long time listener, first time caller. I think this is the first time we've had you on NEW DAY. That's a climate in and of itself.

You matched Maggie and Michael Smith's reporting and have some additional reporting on a little bit of the timing here.

December 30th was the date that Bolton and his team submitted this to the White House for the national security review, basically.


BERMAN: But "The New York Times" knew about the content of the Bolton book before you say the press shop at the White House did.

What's the significance there?

SWAN: The significance there is it helps explain why this rattled the White House so much when "The New York Times" approached them for comment yesterday. The White House press and communications shop, the people who are charged with crafting narrative, responding, getting out if front of damaging stories, did not know about the existence of this manuscript, let alone the details. So Maggie Haberman, Michael Schmidt at "The New York Times" found out about the manuscript, found out the details -- the relevant details of the manuscript, which contradict the central claim of the Trump defense that he never explicitly tied the holdup of aid to investigations of his potential political rival Joe Biden and the people who are charged with responding this find out from "The New York Times."

So, I mean, it sort of shows a number of things, the lack of coordination inside, but also just the way this is moving and the fact that this story, more than any other story during impeachment, actually has the potential to change the dynamics on Capitol Hill.

CAMEROTA: But, Jonathan, just help us explain this.

SWAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Did John Bolton's people give it to the National Security Council or to the White House? And if they gave it to the White House --

SWAN: Correct, the National Security Council.

CAMEROTA: OK, so they gave it to the National Security Council that then, we understand, shared it with the White House. So did the president know about this before last night?

SWAN: Well, that itself part I don't -- so the second part that you just said, I haven't personally confirmed. I don't know who -- so they -- there's a -- there's a specific pre-publication team.


It's a -- you know, this happens regularly for these kind of books, you know, checking for classified information. They're career bureaucrats. And I don't know yet. I still haven't been able to confirm exactly who within the broader White House knew about this manuscript, saw the manuscript. I just don't know. We haven't had on the record a comment yet from the White House legal team, the White House Counsel. It's hard to fathom that they haven't seen it. But, again, I don't have reporting to confirm that they had seen it.

BERMAN: Yes. And, of course, the big question is, does the president's defense team in the impeachment trial, have they seen it? Because when you have a lawyer --

CAMEROTA: It doesn't sound like they did this morning.

BERMAN: When you have a lawyer --

SWAN: Right.

BERMAN: We don't know. You have a lawyer saying there is simply no evidence anywhere that President Trump ever linked security assistance to any investigations. Either he knew and is lying when he says that --

SWAN: Right.

BERMAN: Or he didn't know. We simply don't know the answer to that.

The big picture, though, Jonathan, you said, this has the potential to change the course of the impeachment trial. Does that mean you think this brings it closer to having the 51 votes to get witnesses?

SWAN: I do because you already have two Republican senators, Mitt Romney of Utah, Susan Collins of Maine, who have strongly signaled that they want to see witnesses. So you need two more. And we know that Lamar Alexander of Tennessee has been equivocating. We know that Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has been equivocating. And, again, I thought, based on all my reporting in conversations with Senate Republican aides as of 24 hours ago that there was virtually no chance that they could get the four votes for witnesses. But if anything was going to change that, it was going to be first-hand revelations from someone who actually had a conversation with President Trump.

Everyone I've spoken to in the last 24 hours think it moves the ball closer. But, again, you never know with these things. The Trump team obviously is heading to The Hill today to try and persuade those four or five Republicans that they have everything they need and that they don't need to subpoena John Bolton.

CAMEROTA: Jonathan Swan, thank you. We really appreciate you sharing your reporting with us this morning.

SWAN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: One week to go until the Iowa caucuses and Bernie Sanders is surging. A live report from the ground in Iowa, next.



BERMAN: Heavy snow and potentially dangerous winds could hit parts of the Northeast.

So let's get right to meteorologist Allison Chinchar.


ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that's right. We're taking a look. And the heaviest snow right now appears to be across portions of upstate New York, as well as Vermont. But it's not out of the question to have some of those flurries make it all the way over towards cities like even Boston and New York.

Now this was brought to you by the Ninja Foodi Deluxe pressure cooker. The pressure cooker that crisps.

Now, another big concern that we have for this morning is after a lot of those snow showers move through, you're still going to have some very gusty winds throughout much of the day for a lot of those northeastern cities. Down to the south, rain is going to be your big factor this morning for your commute. Cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Charleston, even Knoxville could be looking at very heavy rain at times. And that rain is going to continue as the next system slides in. So, unfortunately, Alisyn, those cities may be getting rain for several days.

CAMEROTA: Allison, thank you very much for that warning.

All right, one week to go before the Iowa caucuses and Bernie Sanders is surging.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is live in Iowa with the latest on the 2020 race.

What's happening there, Jeff?


Bernie Sanders is on a roll, and that is precisely what is worrying his rivals and is rattling the Democratic Party establishment. Several polls out in the last several days, including this new weekend poll in "The New York Times" shows that Senator Sanders has risen to the head of the pack.

Let's take a look at some of these numbers. Senator Sanders now at 25 percent in that "New York Times" poll. Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren up slightly behind him there, but bunched together as well. It was clear last night here in Sioux City as Bernie Sanders finished his final campaign stop of the weekend that he believes the Democratic establishment is getting nervous about him. He was talking about it again and again, almost relishing on that anxiety that is coursing through the Democratic Party establishment.

Now, some of his rivals were very blunt hitting back. Amy Klobuchar says, look, this is about electability. I do not come from a blue state like Vermont. Pete Buttigieg sent a note to his supporters saying Bernie is rising here in Iowa. I need your help. So it is all about electability.

Senator Sanders answered all of that question with this. He says, excitement is the key to electability. He can bring in newer voters, younger voters, a new coalition that will help Democrats beat President Trump in November.

So, John and Alisyn, no question here in the final week of campaigning, as Senator Sanders is back in Washington with those other senators who are running for president, it is up for grabs in this state. Too close to call. But one thing is clear, Bernie Sanders on the rise, his rivals are nervous.


BERMAN: All right, Jeff. Jeff Zeleny in Iowa for us. Thanks very much.

CAMEROTA: We're following breaking news.

There has been a big development in the impeachment trial.

NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kobe all the way. Reverse layup is good.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kobe Bryant, the five-time NBA champion, has been killed in a helicopter crash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His loss is epic and the grief incalculable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He inspired a whole generation.