Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

U.S. Nears 400,000 Cases a Day, Shattering Records; NYC EMTs Directed Not to Transport Patients with Flulike Symptoms; Twitter Permanently Suspends One of MTG's Two Accounts; "Firsthand Testimony" Trump Watched Insurrection on TV, Cheney Says; Interview with Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA) on January 6 Events and COVID-19 in Schools; At- Home Tests May Be Less Sensitive to Omicron Variant, FDA Says; President Biden to Speak with Ukrainian President; Record-Setting Colorado Wildfires; Officers, Neighbors Rescue Babies after Kentucky Tornado. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 02, 2022 - 15:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The accelerated spread having far reaching impacts on American lives. Short staffed airlines along with winter weather, forcing the cancellation of thousands of flights again today.

A travel nightmare for people returning from the holidays. And parents now worry, as classes are set to resume for their children after the winter break. Several school districts announcing they are switching to online learning to start the semester.

The White House feverishly working on plans to address and mitigate COVID's daily disruptions, while acknowledging those disruptions will only get worse as the virus advances.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: So it's kind of like a very interesting, somewhat complicated issue, where you have a virus that might actually be less severe in its pathogenicity.

But so many people are getting infected that the net amount, the total amount of people that will require hospitalization, might be up. So we can't be complacent in these reports, which are likely accurate that it is, ultimately, in the big picture, less severe. We're still going to get a lot of hospitalizations.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Ryan Young and Polo Sandoval are monitoring the COVID-19 situations around the country.

Ryan, you're at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, more flights being canceled.

How are travelers dealing with the frustrations?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, more flights are being canceled across the country. Happy New Year.

When you think about it, everybody wants to get the new year started off on the right foot. But when you add this sprinkle of travel into it, it made things quite hard. Think about the fact that, when you walk into some of these airports, there's not even concession stands open in a lot of places because they're dealing with the COVID outbreak.

When you add all this together, you can understand why frustrations are starting to rise. Take a look at some of the video we shot on the inside.

The lines on the inside, especially at the ticket counter, are very long as people try to get rebooked and to try to go to different places. You can understand why people are upset because not only is the weather impacting this but you do have COVID impacting flights and the flight traveling community, especially when it comes to flight attendants and pilots.

Everyone got together for the holidays and now we're starting to see that impact going on. Take a listen to these travelers, who have been delayed several times and now are just hoping to get home.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We tried to leave on Thursday and then they canceled it. Then we tried to reschedule for Saturday night and they rescheduled it again or canceled it. Then today, they canceled it on the way to the airport. And then now we're rescheduled for tonight.

YOUNG: Have they given you any kind of lodging or anything at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not yet. So, yes.

YOUNG: That's got to be frustrating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is. But as long as we can get back west, we'll be good.


YOUNG: Fred, you traveled to this airport before, so all along the windows here at the airport, there are people with similar stories. We talked to one family of seven, who has been delayed since yesterday, they've actually been sleeping next to the window here. So you understand that -- seven. I don't know how they do it.

But about the cancellations, so far today, 2,300 flights canceled. Yesterday over 2,700. And in the last 10 days, you're talking about more than 14,000 flights. So you understand the impact that's going on. We did this last Christmas when we talked, just about how weather was

impacting these. You had weather, COVID, the increased people coming to the airport and the long security lines. And you have a domino effect that people just can't stand.

So a lot of those smiles that people had about, ooh, happy new year, 2022 is going to be our year, that's sort of going sideways on the inside, with people being frustrated, as you can understand.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my goodness. But that last traveler, she was awfully understanding. I applaud her patience.

YOUNG: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: OK, thank you.

YOUNG: I would want something.

WHITFIELD: Yes, that's right. I could tell. That's why you're asking.

All right. Polo, to you now. OK. I mean, this is putting quite the strain on people and in every corner in every industry.

What are you finding out?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Once again, Fred, we're reminded that those frontline workers, especially those emergency responders, they are certainly not immune and many of them calling out sick, especially here in New York City, for example.

Now the FDNY reporting that roughly 30 percent of their EMS workforce is currently on sick leave. Important to point out all of those aren't necessarily confirmed COVID cases. But it certainly speaks that they are short-staffed on many levels, to the point that fire commissioner started the year off issuing a directive to the first responders not to transport any patients that are stable but are experiencing influenza-like symptoms.

There are some exemptions for the younger patients and the older patients and those with other conditions that could make them vulnerable. That certainly doesn't apply here. But this is mainly because they have seen an increase in nonemergency calls, people that, in some cases even asking for a ride to the hospital for a COVID test in an ambulance.

Because of that they're now having to reassess and make sure they are able to respond to all actual emergencies.


SANDOVAL: So that's why this directive has been issued.

On the other side, you have schools and many students preparing to head back to class. We heard from the head of the Department of Education, saying that there is a right way for the students to return to class amid this growing increase in positive tests. When you hear from the head of the Department of Education, he's

urging schools to take important, mitigating steps to make sure that those students and staff are as safe as possible in the coming days.


MIGUEL CARDONA, U.S. EDUCATION SECRETARY: The message hasn't changed. We need to make sure we're following mitigation strategies, we're supporting our educators by providing a safe learning environment, we providing vaccination for our students as young as 5, so that whole school community is safe.

We need to double down now, that Omicron is higher, to make sure we're doing that. But it works. We went from 47 percent of our schools open in person in January of last year, to 99 percent in December.


SANDOVAL: We're hearing of school districts all over the country that are taking several steps. For example, in D.C., students and staff are required to come to school with a negative COVID test.

Here in New York, those positive students and staff or those who test positive will be sent home with at-home COVID tests to see when they can actually return.

And then when you are in Atlanta, we know of at least five school systems that are deciding to simply go back to remote learning. But as we heard from the secretary earlier today, Fred, he expects bumps in the road, as students and staff get ready to head back to school for the spring semester.

WHITFIELD: Boy, lots of bumps we're all experiencing, that's for sure. All right, Polo Sandoval, Ryan Young, thank you so much.


WHITFIELD: All right. Then there's this breaking news. This morning, the vice chair of the January 6th committee, Liz Cheney, went public with some damming firsthand testimony about former president Donald Trump's inaction while the insurrection was going on. Listen.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): The committee has firsthand testimony now, that he was sitting in the dining room next to the Oval Office, watching the attack on television. We have firsthand testimony that his daughter, Ivanka, went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence.

At the same time the violent assault was happening, he's watching television; he's also calling at least one senator, urging delay of the electoral vote.


WHITFIELD: I want to bring in Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill.

So how significant is this?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a significant revelation, Fred. First of all, it shows that someone close to Trump is talking to the committee.

And that's important because, up until this point, there had been some serious and legitimate questions about whether this committee could seriously conduct its investigation and work, given that so many high- profile witnesses have refused to cooperate.

Second of all, the fact that Ivanka Trump asked Trump to call it off shows that the former president did, indeed, have the power to stop it and he didn't, at least not for 187 minutes.

Now the big question is whether this amounts to criminal action. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the Select Committee, was pressed by Dana Bash earlier today, take a listen.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D), CHAIR, U.S. HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON JANUARY 6 ATTACK: The only thing I can say, it's highly unusual for anyone in charge of anything to watch what's going on and do nothing.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Is it criminal?

THOMPSON: Well, we don't know. We're in the process of trying to get all the information. But I can say if there's anything we come upon as a committee, that we think would warrant a referral to the Department of Justice, we'll do that.


ZANONA: It's unclear what Trump's mindset was or what his intent was for refusing to act during those 187 minutes. But that is certainly something investigators are trying to determine. And it could play a big role in whether or not they do make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for the former president.

WHITFIELD: Melanie, we know the committee wants to continue ramping up public hearings in the coming weeks and months.

Have you learned any more about that?

ZANONA: Yes, the committee plans to move their investigation into a much more public phase this year. That includes hearings throughout the year as well as an interim report in the summer and a final report in the fall.

And I think from a macro level, Bennie Thompson has said, what the committee wants to show they want to paint a picture about just how coordinated and planned this attack was.

As far as witnesses, he said we can expect to hear from state and local election officials, DOJ officials, who were pressured by the Trump administration at the time, as well as the National Guard.

What's less clear is whether Republican lawmakers, who spoke to Trump on January 6th, will come voluntarily to speak in front of the committee. But Bennie Thompson said subpoenas are something that's on the table.

WHITFIELD: And then there's this today, involving Twitter. Twitter permanently suspending congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene's main Twitter account earlier, nearly a year after the former president was also banned on Twitter.

What more can you tell us?


ZANONA: Well, Marjorie Taylor Greene has violated the Twitter policy multiple times. She's been suspended at least once before for spreading misinformation about vaccines and COVID.

And her latest tirade against vaccines was the final strike for her. So her personal account has been permanently banned. She still does have access to her official account for Congress.

But look, Greene is punching back, falsely suggesting that this is just an example of Big Tech trying to censor conservatives and hide the truth.

And a number of conservatives are rallying to her defense, urging people to get on alternative conservative social media sites like Gettr. But I think the big picture here is how rampant the anti- vaccine sentiment is within the Republican Party.

Republicans will try to tell you we're not anti-vaccine, we're pro vaccine, we're just against the federal mandates. But I think that's a harder argument to make when you have people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who are vocal voices in the party, out there spreading misinformation about vaccines.

WHITFIELD: All right, Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.

All right. Still ahead, President Biden is holding a critical call with Ukraine President Zelensky this hour, as he tries to prevent a possible Russian invasion. More on that.

Plus stunning video of the aftermath of a tornado. How two babies in Kentucky survived the twister in a bathtub.




WHITFIELD: Stunning revelations are being released as we near the one-year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection on the Capitol. The vice chair of the House Select Committee investigating January 6th saying this about then president Trump today.


CHENEY: We have firsthand testimony that his daughter, Ivanka, went in at least twice to ask him to please stop this violence. Any man who would watch television as police officers were being beaten, as his supporters were invading the Capitol of the United States, is clearly unfit for future office, clearly can never be anywhere near the Oval Office ever again.



WHITFIELD: Joining me now, someone who had to shelter in her office the day of the insurrection, Congress woman from Washington state, Kim Schrier.

Good to see you.

REP. KIM SCHRIER (D-WA): Good to see you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: When you hear Representative Cheney talking about his daughter trying to get Trump to stop the attack on the Capitol going into his office twice, even as you and your colleagues were being rushed to safety, what are your thoughts?

SCHRIER: Oh, my thought is that I'm not at all surprised. I suspected this was the case all along, that this is -- this was the president who loved to hang out in front of the TV and that he probably found this entertaining and he probably found this to be a great compliment from his supporters, that they would do this on behalf of him.

So no surprises here.

WHITFIELD: What are your concerns or suspicions about what senator, the former president called, to try to delay the certification?

SCHRIER: I have no speculation but I am sure that the January 6th commission will get that information and will follow through.

WHITFIELD: What do you think should happen to that person, once the identity is revealed?

SCHRIER: I think from a general perspective, I am not a lawyer, I am a pediatrician and a mom. And I can tell you that if you don't want bad behavior to continue, that there have to be consequences.

And so appropriate consequences are really the only way to make sure this does not happen again. It would be devastating to me to see a lack of consequences and an emboldening of this type of behavior.

WHITFIELD: Now back to your hats as pediatrician and mom, let me ask you your thoughts about the rising number of children now infected with COVID and hospitalizations and schools about to return from the winter break. We know that, in some cases now, school districts are saying there

will be at-home remote learning.

What are your concerns right now about where we are as a nation with this pandemic and with the growing threats?

SCHRIER: Well, Fredricka, I can tell you again, as a mom and pediatrician, I'm concerned about the rising numbers but I'm not surprised. We have an incredibly contagious Omicron variant circulating right now. And there is no doubt in my mind that putting children back into school will increase the spread of this.

There's also no doubt in my mind that we have the tools to keep our children generally safe and that, for children 5 and up, they can be vaccinated and those children should be fully vaccinated.

We know that kids ending up in the hospital, those are predominantly the not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated children and children under 5, who cannot be vaccinated.

So you know, the measures that we should be taking, because, frankly, our schools should be the last to close and the first to open, we all need to behave in a way that will keep us safe and keep our children safe.

And we need to get everybody vaccinated. And with good ventilation and masking, we'll minimize the spread.

There's that one other thing, Fredricka, which is rapid testing. If we had abundant rapid testing, we could test every child every day and guarantee that schools are safe.

WHITFIELD: In fact, you wrote, in "The Washington Post," an op-ed, talking about the failure, by not having the rapid testing available. And I want to quote a portion from your op-ed.

It says, "It makes no sense that federal and state governments continue to rely almost entirely on expensive clinic-based PCR testing, when staring them right in the face is a much less expensive, arguably more effective tool: rapid antigen tests you can take at home."

The White House announced plans to begin mailing at home tests to Americans starting this month, with the goal of shipping 500 million kits.

Given the current state of the pandemic, is that too little, too late, or is it still imperative that the administration do that?

SCHRIER: Well, look, first, I'll just say that it's amazing that we have these tests and that we can just go to the store and buy them. That would be my first underlying statement as, thank goodness these exist.

But my critique would be it is too little and it is too late, although it's not -- it's not too late to get started here. We really missed the boat in this country, both with the Trump administration and with the Biden administration, that we need something on the order of 100 million tests a day.

If we are going to tests kids in school, workers at work and we really want to keep our restaurants and sports venues safe, we need that capability.

WHITFIELD: Is it too late to play catch-up?

SCHRIER: No. I don't think it's too late.


SCHRIER: And here's the reason. We don't know if we are toward sort of the end of COVID or the middle of COVID or the beginning of COVID. But more variants will come as long as this is circulating.

And so you know, start now. Start manufacturing. Procure enough tests so that every American has multiples in their home, that they can check every couple days or even every day to make sure they're safe to be out and about.

It is doable. You can go to England and Germany and buy these things for less than a dollar each in any supermarket or pharmacy.

WHITFIELD: But here in the States, it's somewhere between $10 and even, you know, $20 or more.

SCHRIER: Yes. And you know what, Fredricka, I called our three local pharmacies this morning. And they're not available in any of them, which just shows there is significant demand and that you really can't rely just on the free market to do this.

Abbott stopped manufacturing when they thought they wouldn't be needed anymore. And here we are, empty-handed at a time when we need these tests more than ever.

WHITFIELD: We'll leave it there for now. Congresswoman Kim Schrier, happy new year.

SCHRIER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: President Biden is set to speak with Ukrainian President Zelensky this hour, just days after he warned Russian president Vladimir Putin against invading Ukraine. The latest on the escalating situation -- straight ahead.




WHITFIELD: This hour, President Biden is set to hold a critical call with Ukraine's President Zelensky.


WHITFIELD: They're discussing the ongoing threat from Russia and the tens of thousands of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine. Russian president Vladimir Putin says the possibility that Ukraine could join NATO is a threat to Russia, while President Biden has warned of severe consequences if Russia crosses the border.

Eva McKend is at the White House for us.

What do we expect from this call?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Fred, the primary purpose of this call is for President Biden to reaffirm America's support for Ukraine's sovereignty. This is another major test of President Biden's credibility on the world stage.

Another reason for this call, basically to keep Volodymyr Zelensky in the loop, make sure he understands the strategy as these conversations continue between Russia and America.

Now of paramount concern to the U.S. is for a diplomatic solution to evolve from all of this, so that Russia does not invade Ukraine.

Now what Russia wants from this is a legally binding security guarantee; no membership for Ukraine in NATO and a rollback of military deployments in Europe. Adam Schiff was asked about this today and he believes these are not hollow threats coming from Putin, that there is a very real possibility that Russia will invade Ukraine. Take a listen.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I fear that Putin is likely to invade. I still, frankly, don't understand the full motivation for why now he's doing this. But he certainly appears intent on it unless we can persuade him otherwise.

And I think nothing other than a level of sanctions that Russia has never seen will deter him. And that's exactly what we need to do with our allies.


MCKEND: Now President Biden is at his home in Wilmington today, so we are waiting to see what kind of readout we get from the White House on this call. Then later this month, January 10th, Russian and American officials will meet for an in-person conversation in Geneva -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Eva McKend at the White House, thanks so much.

What could happen next between the U.S., Russia and Ukraine?

With me is Jill Dougherty, an adjunct professor at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the former Moscow bureau chief for CNN.

Always good to see you.

So what kind of assurances or reassurances can President Zelensky really count on from the U.S.?

JILL DOUGHERTY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY AND WILSON CENTER: Well, I think he can count on -- he can't count on becoming a member of NATO. That, I think, everybody knows it; Putin knows it; Mr. Zelensky knows it and certainly President Biden knows it.

What he can count on is the unity that the United States has tried to create with the allies to support Ukraine, to say that, as you just heard, the sovereignty and the territorial integrity are sacrosanct.

And so that the United States is going to, you know, try to support as much as they can and that, if there were an invasion, there would be more weapons going into Ukraine, more troops conceivably going into NATO -- more NATO troops going into the region, new members of NATO and a strong position against Russia.

The main thing would be sanctions, and we've talked a lot about those, but these would be very serious sanctions.

WHITFIELD: When President Biden, you know, spoke with Vladimir Putin last week, it did seem to, I guess, convey -- or the president did convey that he talked about sanctions.

But does anyone believe that that, in any way, I guess, rattles the cage of Putin?

DOUGHERTY: Well, if it does, he's not going to talk about it. And in fact, the way he answered that from President Biden was essentially to say, look, if you do that, it's a colossal mistake. And that's basically a quote.

And then he said, we would end relations with the United States. This would be the end of the relationship.

So he's really, you know, painting a dire scenario, too. Now what he would do exactly if he ended relations with the United States, it's pretty hard to imagine how that would happen, because it would be relations with the entire world.

But let's say he did that. I think he's counting a little bit on China, that the, you know, recent relationship with China, which has been strengthening significantly, could help Russia in the long run.

But I don't think -- I think, right now, what he wants to do, President Putin, is to give the impression that Russia is very, very strong. You know, I've been watching Russian TV all day.


DOUGHERTY: And it's New Year's so there's not a lot going on. But there are -- there's a big series on the end of the Soviet Union. And a lot of it is, we were down, we were beaten but then President Putin pulled us back. So that's a very strong element for his domestic audience.

WHITFIELD: Wow. So it sounds like this is a lot of mind games being played here. This is Putin flexing his muscle, not just to the country of Russia but on the world stage, saying, hey, folks, look at me. Don't forget about me.

DOUGHERTY: Right. You know, I was looking also at the polling that's been taking place over the past few weeks.

And it's very interesting -- and I would say almost contradictory -- because you have, in Russia right now, a split between Russians thinking there is going to be a war in Ukraine and Russians not thinking that; 39 percent think it's highly likely.

And another 38 percent say it's unlikely and then there's another like 15 percent, who say it's not going to happen. So that's kind of interesting.

But who do they blame?

They blame overwhelmingly, 50 percent, NATO and the United States are at fault and only 4 percent blame Russia.

So, you know, domestically, I think watching TV, the constant stream of propaganda -- and it is sometimes skillfully done but it is propaganda -- is working.

You know, the -- but Fred, I'll just say one other thing that's really contradictory, is that the view of Russians of the United States has been getting better in the midst of all of this. I'm not quite sure what that all means.

But what will be important are these talks that are coming up as you heard, the 10th, 11th, 12-13 talks, U.S.-Russia, NATO-Russia and then the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Those talks are going to be important.

Whether they can actually come up with something to diplomatically solve this is another question. It's extremely complex.

WHITFIELD: Still, lots of questions in the air. Boy, Jill Dougherty, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Always good seeing you. Happy new year.

DOUGHERTY: OK, happy new year.

WHITFIELD: Colorado officials now say one person who was missing from the wildfire is now accounted for but they fear the other two may be dead. We're live from Colorado with the latest next.





WHITFIELD: At least two people remain missing after a fast-moving wildfire tore through Boulder County, Colorado. One person who was missing has been accounted for. The cause of the blaze still being investigated -- listen.


GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): The sheriff's department is involved with the active investigation. If there was any form of deliberate or accidental arson, I fully expect that any of those responsible will be held fully responsible under the law.


WHITFIELD: The fire marshal leveled entire subdivisions -- that fire that is -- destroying nearly 1,000 homes since Thursday. Natasha Chen is live in Boulder, Colorado.

What more did we learn from that briefing?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, we are actually in a different room now, just in the same building. We're expecting another update in less than 30 minutes from the Boulder County sheriff, perhaps a little more detail about that investigation into the cause of the fire that you just mentioned.

But at the previous press conference, we did hear from the governor of Colorado; Senator Michael Bennet was there, as well as the FEMA director that you spoke to. So they were talking a lot about resources available to the thousands of people who had to evacuate their homes.

We're talking about folks who cannot really get back into their neighborhoods yet. Some of those subdivisions, it's still an active scene, because fire crews are trying to put out hot spots and there could be hazardous materials in some of the homes that are still flaring up.

So it's not quite time yet for some of those families, who were very eager to see the conditions of their properties. One of the residents that we spoke to from Superior the other day told me that he was able to confirm his house is still standing. Even finding that out was a really emotional moment.


CHEN: Tell me what that was like the first moment you saw your house standing there?

SCOTT CUNNINGHAM, SUPERIOR, COLORADO, RESIDENT: That -- that was tough. You know, you prepare for that moment but it's like, I don't know, your kids, they grew up there. And it gets emotional when you see that. At that point you're like, well, my home is standing, we're lucky.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHEN: There are thousands of people displaced at this point and there's discussion, in the long run, about what to do in this very tight housing market in Colorado.

Where are all these people going to go?

So this is both a short-term trauma and a long-term problem to solve. In the meantime, as you mentioned, we're still waiting to hear more about looking for those two missing people and finding out more about the potential cause of the fire at this press conference here in the next 30 minutes.

WHITFIELD: So devastating. Natasha Chen, thank you so much.

All right. Well this is a story that is nothing short of a miracle and it was caught on video. Following the deadly tornadoes in Kentucky, sheriff's officers and neighbors helped rescue two infants from a bathtub that was thrown from a house. They'll join me, next.





WHITFIELD: In Kentucky, more severe weather hitting the state over the weekend just on the heels of those deadly tornadoes just weeks ago. The National Weather Service confirming tornado damage in multiple counties after severe storms passed through yesterday, four tornadoes, some with wind gusts of 100 miles an hour.

The governor's office saying 31 counties were impacted by the storm. In the same part of Kentucky, truly a miracle. In newly released body cam video, you can see Hopkins County, Kentucky, sheriff's officers and neighbors helping to rescue two infants from a bathtub that was thrown from a house that was destroyed by the tornado.

That happened just last month. Take a look.


CLARA LUTZ, TORNADO SURVIVOR: I was looking everywhere to see where the tub may be. I had no clue at all where these babies was. All I could say is Lord, please, bring --


WHITFIELD: So CNN affiliate WFIE spoke with Clara Lutz, who told the station she was watching her two grandchildren in the home when the tornado hit. As it was bearing down on the house, she put the 15-month old and 3-month old in the bathtub with a Bible, a blanket and pillow.

And Lutz grasped on the tub but then was separated from it as the tornado ripped the house apart. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the bathtub.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking for a 15-month old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 329, we got the -- I think a 15-month old.

Central, can you send us med center?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll try to get them to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Go ahead.






No cuts on the leg.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, baby. Both of them.


LUTZ: I was looking everywhere to see where the tub may be. I had no clue at all where these babies was. All I could say is Lord, please, bring my babies back to me safely. Please, I beg thee.


WHITFIELD: Is that not extraordinary?

I mean, my goodness, and the extraordinary heroes right here, Hopkins County sheriff's deputies, Deputy Trent Arnold and Deputy Troy Blue.

My goodness, gentlemen. This is extraordinary. I mean, if not for your body cam video, people would have a hard time believing this actually happened. Here you are, searching after the tornadoes hit through, in the dark; the grandmother has told you that these two babies are missing and that you would actually find them.

Is it because you heard their cries? Tell me, you know, the moments.

How did it all unfold?

Walk us through it?

OK. It's not just me. I am not hearing you nor are any of us. All right. Deputy Blue and Arnold, stick around. We're going to try to work out this audio because we have to hear this story and how in the world you were able to rescue these two little babies. We're going to take a short break for now and work things out and be right back.





WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. We're going to try this again. Hopkins County, Kentucky.

Remember the huge tornadoes that ripped through the area last month?

Well, inside a bathtub for safety were two small kids, a 15-month old and a 3-month old, put there by their grandmother. She put a blanket in the bathtub and a Bible. And she was holding onto that bathtub; while the tornado ripped through, destroying the house, she lost the grasp of that bathtub. The bathtub went flying.

Not long after that a big search was underway. And Hopkins County sheriff's deputies Trent Arnold and Deputy Troy Blue were searching with their body camera there on and a flashlight and, unbelievably, they located that bathtub.

Now gentlemen, let's try this again.

Deputy Arnold, tell me what you were looking for, what you heard.

Did you have any hope that you would find these two little babies?

SHERIFF'S DEPUTY TRENT ARNOLD, HOPKINS COUNTY, KENTUCKY: Absolutely. You always try to help in these situations. And it was actually Deputy Blue that had heard the children crying, which was a very hectic scene at the time. We just kind of went toward that area and began searching. And that's kind of where the body cam starts.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh.

OK, so walk us through it, Deputy Blue. You heard it and your instinct said we're going this way.

And then what?

SHERIFF'S DEPUTY TROY BLUE, HOPKINS COUNTY, KENTUCKY: Well, when we was on the main highway and seeing all the houses flattened or partially flattened and trees and power lines down everywhere, somebody said, hey, a lady lost her kids, they had been sucked out by the tornado.

And at that time we all tried to get as quiet as we could, I guess, during all the chaos and listened. And I heard the screaming or crying from the infants in the distance. And that's when the crew and myself and Deputy Arnold all ran toward the sound of the crying and just started pilfering through all the damaged area.

And finally we got to the bathtub and located the kids.

WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh. And is it correct -- I was told the bathtub was actually turned upside down, almost like cradling, protecting these little babies from the debris on top of the tub.

BLUE: It was, yes, ma'am.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And, so, give me your reaction when you saw, you know, and reached in there, it looked like you saw a leg first of one of the kids and then reached in.

And then what?

ARNOLD: I mean, at that point it's kind of -- I mean, it is a sense of relief and then, of course, when we were able to find that second one, we knew that there was catastrophic damage to the area. We knew that this was going to be bad. This was within the first 30 minutes of that night.

So obviously we had a huge feeling of relief being able to -- with the grandmother. But also we had this sense to continue to help as well as the rest of the community.

WHITFIELD: This was the miracle that you all needed, right, after experiencing what everyone did in your area. I mean, these cries, these rays of hope that you came across must've been so uplifting.

But tell me, too, Deputies Arnold and Blue, you all weren't alone.

There were a number of people looking, searching, right?

BLUE: That's correct. Like I said, the two gentlemen I know of, that was up there with us, was Timmy and Michael (INAUDIBLE), who lived relatively close to the area. And there were more people than just that there that also performed a lot of heroic incidents or things that took place throughout the whole tornado aftermath.

It was a large stretch of damaged areas across our county.

WHITFIELD: So this was weeks ago. But I know it's still very fresh, as if it were just yesterday.

How are you all holding up?

How is the community holding up? ARNOLD: I could say, you know, obviously our community is dealing with this loss.


ARNOLD: But I will say the turnout and people's attitudes, it is really amazing, folks that have lost everything. But they're physically OK and they're out, helping those, you know, that may have lost loved ones or that had loved ones injured. They're helping their neighbor next door.

And it's truly amazing to witness that. It's something that maybe not a lot of people can see. But it's going on every day and it still continues, even through Christmas and the new year.

WHITFIELD: Well, Deputy Trent Arnold, Deputy Troy Blue, you all are amazing and so glad you were able to bring us this miraculous find and so glad those little babies and the families have been reunited and everyone's doing fine. Thank you so much.

ARNOLD: Thank you.

BLUE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Have a great happy new year.

All right. And this is a different kind of life-saving story. Brian Hamilton, the equipment manager for the Vancouver Canucks, is thanking the woman who saved him from deadly cancer. CNN's Coy Wire explains what happened.


COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Perhaps one of the best stories from the sports world of 2022 already, Saturday, Vancouver Canucks equipment manager Brian Hamilton was able to meet the woman who saved his life.

In October a Seattle Kraken fan was holding up her phone toward Hamilton with a message that said, "The mole on the back of your neck is cancer."

No more communication after that. And after checking with the team doctors, though, Hamilton learned he had stage 2 skin cancer with maybe five years left to live. After a monumental effort to track down the fan, Hamilton finally met his guardian angel, 22-year-old Nadia Popovici.


BRIAN HAMILTON, ASSISTANT EQUIPMENT MANAGER, VANCOUVER CANUCKS: She needs to know she is the story. She is the person that did this. She saved the life. She doesn't know.

Like she needs to know her efforts were valid and bang on. And I'm happy that story's there but not for me but for her, because the world needs to know that she's -- like this woman exists, she's a hero. And we need to celebrate her and people like her, that take the time to do things like this and save lives.


WIRE: Nadia is just about to start medical school. And, get this, as a thank you, the Canucks gave her $10,000 to help her start her journey.


WHITFIELD: That's a beautiful story all the way around.

All right. Singer-songwriters James Taylor and Carole King's 50-year personal friendship and professional partnership have had a remarkable impact on American music. And now in this exclusive joint interview, the musicians discussed the unique experience of performing together.

Here's a look at the CNN exclusive film, "Carole King & James Taylor: Just Call Out My Name"



JAMES TAYLOR, SINGER-SONGWRITER: It was one of those songs that writes itself really fast.


TAYLOR: As soon as I heard it, I said, that's just it. That's a great, great song.

Peter sort of asking you, we want to put this on the album, what do you think?

And you were generous to say, sure. This fantastic tune she's recording herself. And she allows me to have the first shot at it.


KING: Your rendition of it for the first time, it was, like, oh, my God, it's perfect.

TAYLOR: What's funny is it was one of those things, we'd been in the studio, I think we had this extra time left over. We all knew the song, because we'd heard you play it because we were at The Troubadour, doing that gig together and you were playing it every night.

It was so loose, Lee's playing all over the place in it. It's the most notey bass part in the history of popular music. It's like she's playing arpeggios on the bass. And Russ just laid down a conga part to it. And Kootch was playing -- everything was very, very loose.

For one thing, I didn't assume that we were going to be able to release it, because we are (INAUDIBLE) professionals. But that's the back story to the back story, anyway. KING: Right. And then also, when we played it together, when we

played it in the reunion tour, basically, your arrangement pretty much, which is not that different from mine. But it is, because my piano, I had to change some of the chords to meet your arrangement.

But it was perfect, perfect. I wanted to do that. But the way your guitar blends with my piano part, it's just -- it's like that first time we played together. It's that. We did that.

TAYLOR: We did that thing.

KING: We did that thing.


WHITFIELD (voice-over): They did that thing because they are the It couple, the It musical couple. The all-new CNN film "Carole King & James Taylor: Just Call Out My Name" premieres tonight at 9 pm only on CNN.