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Nearly 40 Million Under Flood Watches Across California; U.S. And U.K. Carry Out Strikes On 36 Houthi Targets Saturday; Biden Cruises To Victory In Nation's First Democratic Primary In South Carolina; Gov. Abbott Hosting 14 GOP Governors At Texas Border; Pentagon: U.S. Struck 84 Of 85 Targets In Iraq, Syria; Officials: 99 People Dead In Chile Wildfires, Hundreds Missing; "What Whales Tells Us" Airs Tonight At 8PM ET/PT; Heavy Rains Expected In LA During Grammy Awards. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired February 04, 2024 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA STEWART, CELEBRITY CHEF, ENTREPRENEUR: I thought that things are going along just great. A wonder family, a beautiful daughter, a fantastic business.
LARRY KING, TV HOST: What have you had that was a failure? Because you've been so successful there has to be something that didn't go right.
STEWART: In business, not much.
KING: Not much?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martha Stewart was at the height of her wealth, the height of her glory. She could do no long.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then something like this happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Questions these days from Martha Stewart.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: A federal prosecutor tells CNN that Martha Stewart is among those under investigation for suspected insider trading.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden here was Martha Stewart, a picture of perfection, and she is under investigation by the feds. It was shocking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Indeed. Well, be sure to tune in, the final two all-new episodes of "THE MANY LIVES OF MARTHA STEWART," air tonight 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on CNN. All right, hello, again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield, and we begin this hour with several developing stories around the globe.
Right now severe storms are sweeping into California. An atmospheric river is inundating the state and expected to bring heavy rain, hurricane-force wind gusts and potentially life-threatening flooding. Nearly 40 million people are under flood watches right now and evacuations are underway in some areas. We have live coverage of this major storm.
Also, new developments at the U.S. southern border. Republican governors from more than a dozen states showing their support for Texas. The state is feuding with the federal government over the border crisis and access to the border itself. Texas officials refusing to tear down barriers despite a U.S. Supreme Court order. We'll have the latest from the ground.
And new reaction from the latest U.S. strikes in the Middle East. The U.S. and U.K. hitting at least 36 Houthi targets in Yemen on Saturday. Houthi rebels vowing to retaliate. And it follows U.S. strikes on Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq. A response to a deadly attack on U.S. troops in Jordan.
All right. We begin with new evacuation orders over the threat of mudslides in Los Angeles County. The second of back-to-back storms bringing potentially life-threatening floods to California. And now portions of the Owens Brush Fire burn scar zone must evacuate through Tuesday. Strong winds and intense rain causing flight delays and cancellations at San Francisco's airport and leaving more than 180,000 without power across the state.
CNN's Camila Bernal is live for us near at the Los Angeles River and meteorologist Elisa Raffa is tracking this major storm system from the CNN Weather Center.
Camila, you first. It looks like the wind gusts are starting to pick up.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fred, yes. A little bit of wind and some light rain. But really authorities saying these are the last hours at least here in Los Angeles County where people can get ready for the storm. They are asking people not to travel if they don't have to. They're asking people to maintain just an eye on all of the information to make sure they have an emergency kit in place.
And if you're under those evacuation orders, they are asking you to pack your things and go to a shelter or go to a friend's house. The concern here in Los Angeles area is anywhere near the river areas that flood and the Canyons, because of the high potential for dangerous debris, for landslides. And so people in those areas need to know or need to make the move as soon as they can.
There are evacuation orders here in Los Angeles, further north in Santa Clara County, in San Jose, also in Ventura County and Santa Barbara County. Classes in a couple of districts in Santa Barbara County have already been canceled for tomorrow. So really authorities just telling people to keep an eye out and to be prepared because overall we are expecting power outages throughout the state.
So authorities telling people to prepare to be without power, maybe for a few hours or even longer if that ends up being the case. The idea here is to get everyone as prepared as possible. Officials here in California say they already have about 8500 people ready to go in case things get worse. That includes swift-water rescue teams, helicopter teams, and just people ready to go in case the situation gets worse.
In the meantime, though, there are many people here in Los Angeles, and around California, who are preparing, going to grab maybe sandbags from their local fire station because that really is some of the things that you can start doing now before the storm comes.
I want you to listen to what one L.A. resident told me about what he was doing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREENE, LOS ANGELES COUNTY RESIDENT: We have done a lot of work around the house and now we've got sandbags that are going to hit some of the places where we think there'll be an excessive amount of flooding.
We've had heavier storm a few weeks ago and we had a little bit of flooding outside in the yard into the neighbor's yard, and we decided this time, since the storm is going to be a lot heavier, or expected to be a lot heavier, that we would -- we'd sandbag a lot more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNAL: And we are waiting for officials to give us the latest information in a press conference soon. They are asking people to take it seriously because the next couple of hours, the next couple of days things could get dangerous here -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: Indeed. Camila, thank you so much.
Elisa, so what should people expect weatherwise?
ELISA RAFFA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We're looking at that intense flooding, incredibly gusty winds and the possibility of landslides. So an active next 24 to 48, even 72 hours. You could see the kind of plume there that just continues to pull into parts of central and northern California. And you see the little lightning strike. That's where the center of the storm is and it's deepening and it is intensifying and that's where those winds are picking up.
A lot of the heaviest rain so far has been from San Francisco into Sacramento there. And that's where we've had problems in the air with some problems at the airport in San Francisco. Wind gusts have already been 75 to 80 to 85 miles per hour in some of those mountain peaks. So just incredibly gusty. And that's what's knocking out power. The latest count is over 180,000 customers in California without power.
And again, the worst of it has not pivoted south yet to L.A. and San Diego, where you have those huge population centers, too. This is that high risk of flooding which is incredibly rare not just for California, but really for the entire U.S. Fewer than 4 percent of our days have that excessive high risk. But they are responsible for 80 percent of our flood damage and 40 percent of our flood deaths. And it's not just today. We also have a high risk that includes Los Angeles again tomorrow as that heavy rain just continues to pile into Southern California.
So it's a multiple day event here. We're looking at dangerous and life-threatening flash floods, river and urban flooding, the mud debris and the landslides over the burn scars in the downed trees and power lines that we've already seen has knocked out that power.
Look at the wind warnings. All of that deep red there gusts up to 80 miles per hour. The first time ever hurricane-force winds warning for the central coast of California. As you could see the winds really packing there today and into tomorrow. So you could see the rain and notice in Southern California how it lasts for days on end. Look at that firehose of moisture with that heavy through at least Tuesday, Fred.
WHITFIELD: And so what makes this storm system so unique?
RAFFA: It's packing so much rain because it's stalling over such a long amount of time. In the last storm system L.A. already got more than two inches of rain. When you tack on this event alone, parts of the L.A. area could see over eight inches of rain. Now to put that in perspective, L.A.'s annual rain for severe rain the entire year they get about 12 inches so if we get six inches totals, that's six months' worth of rain.
If we get anything more than that, we're getting near annual totals. So just incredibly heavy rain from the system that is stalling, toppled with the wind and the snow. You just got multiple threats here, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Elisa Raffa, Camila Bernal, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
All right, now to the Middle East where the U.S. is vowing to continue operations in the region after it carried out more strikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen Saturday. U.S. Central Command says the strikes were conducted in self-defense and included Houthi anti- ship cruise missiles that were preparing to launch. The strikes hit 36 targets across 13 locations.
They were aimed at military storage facilities as well as other weapons used by the Houthis to attack shipping lanes in the Red Sea. A day earlier the U.S. launched a series of airstrikes on Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq, and that was in retaliation for last week's attack in Jordan which killed three American soldiers. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is in Tel Aviv.
Jeremy, are we getting a sense yet of the kind of impact this is making?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is hard to judge right now exactly what the impact of these strikes was. We know that the intention was to try and degrade the Houthis' capabilities to continue launching these attacks on ships in the Red Sea, but here are the facts that we know. 36 targets struck at 13 different locations. Launched from U.S. and British warships as well as fighter jets. What they were targeting was these deeply buried weapons storage facilities that the Houthis have as well as missile launchers and air defense systems. And Jake Sullivan, the National Security adviser, said that he believes that as of now that these strikes did have a, quote, "good effect" in reducing the Houthis' capabilities.
It's notable that this is really the second largest strike that we have seen the U.S. and the U.K. carry out on the Houthis since that initial strike on January 11th. But we know that after even that first strike, which was larger than this one, that the Houthis have remained determined to continue carrying out these attacks on commercial as well as U.S. Navy warships in the area. And in fact these strikes perhaps they were as significant as they were because it came after a week during which the Houthis launched a significant number of drones as well as missiles targeting those commercial vessels as well as U.S. Navy ships in the area.
WHITFIELD: And U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to arrive in the Middle East for his fifth trip now to the region since October 7th. How might this visit be different?
DIAMOND: Well, you know, three and a half weeks ago when the secretary of state last came here, he was focused on hostage release issues, he was focused on trying to prevent this regional -- these regional skirmishes from escalating into a full-on regional war and he was also focused on longer-term peace and security of the region, and yet right now he's focused on those very same issues.
It is against a slightly different backdrop. There has been a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks to move towards the next hostage deal and we know that the United States is -- the Israelis, the Egyptians, and the Qataris all agreed to this kind of broad framework that Hamas is now looking over and a response from Hamas could potentially come while the secretary of state is in the region.
We know that as it relates to trying to prevent this war from escalating further in the region that it comes against the backdrop of these attacks that the United States has carried out not only against the Houthis in Yemen but also against Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria. And so there is -- there are a lot of really critical issues for the secretary of state to be addressing here and notably these are thorny issues that have been sticking around for weeks now that the secretary of state is going to try and alter in some way this week -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Jeremy Diamond in Tel Aviv, thanks so much.
All right. Let's bring in Lieutenant General Ben Hodges. He is a former commander of U.S. Army Forces in Europe.
Good to see you. So are these strikes on the Houthis significantly degrading their ability to attack ships in the Red Sea?
LT. GEN. BEN HODGES, FORMER COMMANDER OF U.S. ARMY FORCES, EUROPE: Fred, it's hard to tell if they've actually been degraded. Honestly, I don't see how they are. You know, what our great Air Force and Navy are able to do is incredible. The number of strikes they are making simultaneously, multiple countries, it's incredible. But that is not going to solve our problem. What I miss in all of the conversations and analysis is what is America's objective here? What are we trying to accomplish --
WHITFIELD: Well, I thought that was the -- I thought that was the objective, which was to degrade their abilities.
HODGES: That's not a strategic objective. That's -- these are tactics, policy decisions about whether or not to strike something. But what is the strategy that actually drives it? What is the end state that we are trying to create in the Middle East? And it's got to be something more specific than, well, we want peace. Obviously, freedom of navigation for commercial shipping, that is a strategic interest of the United States.
But just going -- and I am not against killing all of these terrorist organizations. But there needs to be a strategic purpose that this should help accomplish, and I don't hear what that is.
WHITFIELD: So there are two different -- you know, two things going on here, right? I mean, in terms of the shipping channels, that's one issue that you just mentioned and the continued threats there in, you know, the Aiden Sea and the Red Sea, and then separately they are the retaliatory strikes as a result of the three U.S. soldiers being killed in Jordan.
Do you see those as separate missions or do you see it as one giant mission by virtue of being in a similar region and involving, you know, say, militia groups?
HODGES: I think these are -- all should be considered as parts of a larger whole. What is America's interest in this region? What is the end state that we're trying to accomplish with our allies and partners in the region, by the way? And of course, what Iran is doing. Remember, Iran is the most important and reliable ally to Russia. Who's benefiting the most from all of this U.S. attention being diverted to deal with Iranian proxies, the Houthis or Hamas or Hezbollah, and the others? It's the Kremlin.
The Kremlin benefits from all of this. So our strategy all to be about isolating Iran so that it cannot support Russia, so that it cannot support these various proxies that really cannot do much without the resources and support they get from Iran.
So I think that we have to clarify what is our objective, and then apply the necessary resources to do that.
WHITFIELD: Understand. All right. Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, thank you so much.
HODGES: Thanks for the privilege.
WHITFIELD: Coming up, Nikki Haley's bold move? Will her late-night cameo help her pull off a win in South Carolina? And the high stakes U.S. Supreme Court hearing that could have major implications for the 2024 presidential race.
WHITFIELD: All right, President Joe Biden is heading to Las Vegas today for a campaign event ahead of Nevada's primary on Tuesday.
The stop comes just after Biden cruise to an expected but still significant win last night in South Carolina. It was his first official primary victory of the 2024 campaign season.
With me now to talk about all this and more is Julian Zelizer, he is a CNN political analyst and a historian and professor at Princeton University. Also joining me is Lanhee Chen, he is a former policy director for Mitt Romney.
Great to see both of you gentlemen.
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Nice to be with you.
LANHEE CHEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Julian, you first. Biden won easily in South Carolina, picking up just over 96 percent of the vote against two longshot challengers. So what are the takeaways for the Biden campaign after this win?
ZELIZER: Well, it shows once again there isn't really a contest for this nomination. The Democratic Party, though there are divisions, though there is disapproval, is behind him, and, you know, he still is pulling the votes that he pulled last time around in 2020. So I think he feels good. It closes the door to more conversations if this is going to be a 1980 somehow with Kennedy challenging Carter back then. That's not happening this time.
WHITFIELD: Lanhee, voter turnout, you know, for yesterday's South Carolina primary was low and recent polls have shown that Biden support among African-Americans is down compared to the past. So how concerned should the Biden campaign be about enthusiasm, especially among this critical voting bloc? CHEN: Well, I think this is their single biggest challenge, frankly,
is getting voters who are part of that base, part of that Democratic base, getting them engaged and focused on the task at hand as far as they are concerned. And so that's not just by the way African-American voters. We're seeing it with Hispanic voters. We're seeing it with younger voters. And so the big question in any election in terms of the outcome, in terms of how well a candidate performs is always how enthused and how interested that base of support is going into an election.
And so I think the Biden campaign has reason to be concerned. They're going to have to figure out a way to motivate those voters and to really encourage them. Now some of this will come naturally. Donald Trump being the opponent I think will certainly create some measure of motivation. But the campaign has to do its work as well to make sure those key constituencies show up if Joe Biden wants to do well in November.
WHITFIELD: And Julian, a new poll from NBC News, you know, finds former President Donald Trump narrowly leading Joe Biden 47 percent to 42 percent in a hypothetical 2024 matchup, and that poll also found that Biden, you know, with a 20 percent deficit on handling the economy.
So why do you think the president has been unable to get voters to give him credit for some of the positive elements of the economy, such as low unemployment and strong jobs numbers?
ZELIZER: Look, some of it has to do with the way Americans get their news information. And people have talked about the impact of TikTok, for example, and younger voters, which presents a more negative view of the economy than the numbers suggest. Part of it is, even if the numbers are good, there are real problems there. Inflation has raised prices. Many Americans perpetually feel that security, economically, is not what it was.
And I think those numbers register in the kind of polls. And finally, we live in a polarized era, and I think that polarization affects how many Americans are going to hear and see the numbers. I think he is going to have to win, frankly, despite these numbers rather than changing them.
WHITFIELD: And Lanhee, let's talk about a Republican candidate here, Nikki Haley, you know, making a bold move with a surprise appearance on "Saturday Night Live" last night. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AYO EDEBIRI, ACTRESS: I was just curious. What would you say was the main cause of the Civil War and do you think it starts with an S and ends with a "lavery"?
NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I probably should have said that the first time. And live from New York it's Saturday Night.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: So, Lanhee, how might this rest, you know, with voters? Sometimes people really love to see some charisma, they love to see self-deprecating, you know, some of, I guess, you know, the former President Trump himself doesn't necessarily like, you know, "SNL." Many of the -- you know, his base and many conservative Republicans aren't that keen on it either. But what might this appearance do for a Nikki Haley?
CHEN: Well, look, I think it was nice, a nice move. I think it was actually a bold move in some ways because you're putting yourself into an -- relatively unscripted environment. You're putting yourself into an environment maybe where you wouldn't expect to get, you know, easy questions, obviously. They're going to be poking fun at you. But at this stage of the campaign, look, it's important for Nikki Haley to put herself in these positions.
It's important for her to be out there more broadly presenting herself as the alternative to Donald Trump within the Republican Party. It may not have an impact on the primary race. We'll have to see. But certainly, in order to turn the tide, she has to be in these situations where she makes herself known to voters. Voters want to know who they're voting for fundamentally. That is the most important element of this.
And I think allowing people to get to see that part of her, maybe getting to see a different side of her, I think it's a net positive and something that I think critics of Nikki Haley would say she didn't do enough of going into New Hampshire a few weeks ago. And so I don't think she wants to make the same mistake twice going into her home state of South Carolina on February 24th.
WHITFIELD: You talked about some of the younger voters, who are rather apathetic. This might get some of them excited about the race if they, you know, find a little humor in all of it, too.
All right, Lanhee Chen, Julian Zelizer, good to see you both. Thanks so much.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
CHEN: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Today in the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas, Governor Greg Abbott hosted and talked with about a dozen Republican governors as he continues his standoff with the federal government over access to the border. What he had to say about the immigration battle between Texas and the federal government.
WHITFIELD: At any moment now leaders in the U.S. Senate are expected to release the final text of a long-awaited bipartisan deal aimed at addressing the crisis at the southern border. It's all part of a massive national security package. That has been months in the making. And it comes as more than a dozen Republican governors from across the country have just received a briefing from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, in the small border town of Eagle Pass. That city has become a flashpoint in the immigration crisis.
The governor's visit comes amid a battle with the White House over the state's construction of barriers on the border. Texas is continuing to build the barricades, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of federal access to the border.
CNN's Rosa Flores is an Eagle Pass Texas. Rosa, I know you had your running shoes on, you had to run over to the meeting. And have you run back in front of the camera. So, what did you learn?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, well, this was quite an extraordinary press conference because Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and these about dozen governors said that they're banding together for state rights. In other words, that states have the right to enforce border policy. Now that's extraordinary because the Supreme Court has upheld that immigration is a federal function. And what these governors are saying is that they're citing with what Texas Governor Greg Abbott is doing.
Now I'm in Shelby Park. This is the park that the state of Texas took over a few weeks ago. Imagine your central park wherever you are around the country. This is their central park here in Eagle Pass. And what the state did overnight one day is they wrapped it with razor wire. And they blocked the entrances with gates and they plopped Humvees and soldiers with long guns.
And so, this community no longer has access to their public park and border patrol was also denied access. So, I asked Governor Greg Abbott, his rationale for not allowing Border Patrol to gain access to this park since what he's arguing is that the federal government is not enforcing border policy. But how can Border Patrol enforce border policy, if they don't have access?
Here's what he said. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): To be clear, from the very beginning, and to this moment, they have access to the boat ramp, and they have access to the razor wire area if anybody's life is in danger. On top of that, however, the area where we are is an area where the federal -- federal government was using to further criminal activity. They were involved in violating the federal laws of the United States of America on this land. We will not allow this land to be used for illegal purposes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: Now, Fred, to fact check the governor there, we are not aware of the federal government doing any sort of criminal activity in this park or along the river. What I can tell you is from being the border reporter that GAO that goes from border town to border town covering this issue. What I've seen is that Border Patrol agents, the brave men and women that work along the border, they enforce the federal laws that are in the books right now. Do those federal laws perhaps need to be updated? Absolutely, most likely and the last time that comprehensive immigration reform happened in this country was 1986. Ronald Reagan was president.
But again, Fred, these are about a dozen governors and their stance is that they stand with -- with the state of Texas in the states enforcing immigration law. Fred?
WHITFIELD: All right, Rosa Flores. Thank you so much in Eagle Pass, Texas.
All right. In this breaking news right now, we're learning new details about the initial us airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria following the deaths of three U.S. soldiers in Jordan.
Joining me right now is CNN's Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann. What are you learning Oren?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, we're getting the first battle damage assessment of the U.S. strikes in Iraq and Syria, four locations in Syria, three in Iraq. Worth noting this is the first time the U.S. has struck both countries simultaneously. Normally, it's just one or the other. But that was the powerful response to President Joe Biden the administration had promised after one week ago an attacked in Jordan killed three U.S. service members and wounded scores more.
As for that battle damage assessment, the U.S. carried out strikes at 85 targets nearly all of them 84. So, all but one were destroyed or functionally damaged according to two U.S. officials who were looking at this battle damage assessment, a complete post-strike analysis is still underway. It's only a couple of days since these strikes have been carried out. And they're still working on the number of militants and casualties as a result of these strikes.
But as of right now, there is no indication that any Iranians were killed in the strike. And the reason I say that, specifically, is because the U.S. has said these strikes targeted Iran Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated militias. So, what that saying, according to the officials we've spoken with, is that no members of Iran's IRGC were killed as part of the strikes. But the administration had come under some criticism, because it took five days to respond militarily to the drone strike that killed three U.S. service members. But the administration also pointed out that weather was one of the big factors here and Friday was the earliest opportunity to carry out those strikes.
Still, it appears there may have been time for Iran and the proxies to move around their personnel. We'll learn more about that in the days ahead. But of course, it's also important to note that, that President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the National Security Adviser, they had all said that those strikes on Friday were just the first step of the U.S. response to the drone attack that killed three U.S. service members. Although they won't say how else or what else will be targeted as part of the response. That's something we're very much waiting to see here.
But again, Fredricka, the first indication, the first battle damage assessment as a result of those strike that were carried out on Friday.
WHITFIELD: All right. Oren Liebermann, thank you so much for that reporting.
And we'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: Officials in Chile are expecting the death toll to arise from wildfires that are ripping through parts of the country right now. Just moments ago, officials announced at least 99 people have died and the mayor of one hard hit city estimates that nearly 400 people are missing. A state of emergency has been declared as smoke rolls into central regions of the country forcing some to leave their homes.
The fires come as Chile is in the midst of a summer heatwave. Scientists say climate change and hot dry El Nino conditions are being blamed for making the wildfires possible.
And tonight, CNN takes you to the four corners of the earth for a special report on the climate crisis. CNN's Bill Weir embedded with a team of researchers exploring how the crisis is impacting wildlife.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We finally get a chance to go ashore and are greeted by thousands of Gentoo penguins.
(on-camera): How can you not love penguins? My little boy is obsessed with penguins. And I'm obsessed with penguins because they walk like my little boy, like toddlers on land. And they're so chill and curious. We had a log jam of the passengers on the ship because one penguin was standing in the middle of the trail. And we got to be respectful little local. This is their neighborhood, we're visitors.
(voice-over): But our delight turns to worry. As we learn that these birds are building nests for chicks that have no chance of survival. The warming climate brought enough freakish spring snow this year that it delayed nesting season for weeks. Chicks born this late won't have enough time to grow feathers and fat needed to get through winter.
(on-camera): Of course, what connects these little guys to the seals and whales is krill, that little shrimp like critters that needs sea ice to both reproduce and to feed, and the problem is sea ice is going away down here. And scientists are really concerned about what that means for the future these ecosystems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: Bill, you're killing me here. I mean, chief climate correspondent Bill Weir. I mean first close encounters with the whales, and now close encounters with the penguins. I mean, it makes me think Happy Feet except that this is a very sad commentary about what is happening, you know, with our penguins. So, you got to see up close and personal. Tell me more.
WEIR: Yes, it is what -- it was just the whole place, the whole (INAUDIBLE) experience. It's so wonderful. And you see waterfalls and you realize, wait, there shouldn't be waterfalls down here.
WEIR: It's really changing fast at both ends of the world. But before I could mourn our little Gentoo friends too much. I talked to some experts. It turns out that that is the one species actually thriving amid climate change. Why? Because they are moving with the changes. They're moving their nests further -- further south, other species like -- yep, Chinstraps or Rockhopper penguins are trying to raise their chicks in these flooded ancient nesting zones and their numbers are crashing.
So, there's a lesson for humans here. A humpback whales are kind of like the Gentoos, the most adaptable whale, you see them in every ocean. We saw one about a mile from Times Square a couple years ago that came up the Hudson River. And but there's a limit to how they can adapt because of that sea ice. And because of that, krill.
So tonight, I learned so much. I had my mind blown dozens of times making this special is beautiful, but also give us some real concrete signals of what's happening to our planet and we're all connected to these distant creatures as --
WEIR: -- as odd as that sounds.
WHITFIELD: Exactly. When humans need to pay attention if wildlife is having a hard time surviving. I mean, you know, it's -- that means that we too have challenges.
WHITFIELD: And so, we need to address those challenges that wildlife is meeting up with. So, you touched on that, you know, OK, while penguins are adapting it -- the food source is still really important. So, while they are adapting if, you know krill is -- is now in short supply or they're dangerous with that, what are they doing about food?
[16:45:08] WEIR: Well, there's actually new stresses now. So, the whale, the whale industry, industrial whaling has largely gone the way of the dodo. It's gone extinct now. But now these, these big pots of whales are competing with krill fisheries. Because the other animal that likes krill are humans both for omega three supplements.
WEIR: We use it to as fish food and pet food. And so, there was just a couple of months ago, the first ever high oceans treaty looking to protect the Antarctic Peninsula, at least regulate what's going on down there. There is enough krill and it would be great if we got more whales on the planet, the more the better. They -- they suck down carbon, they seed the oceans, they create marine life with their poo everywhere they go.
So, this is sort of a call to action both to be aware of that, but there are already mechanisms in place to try to protect these places before they're all gone. And that would be (INAUDIBLE) grim for a lot of reasons. This is a baleen whale.
WHITFIELD: (INAUDIBLE). Wow.
WEIR: (INAUDIBLE) that went down there. Anyway, lots of good stuff tonight.
WHITFIELD: Hey, so real quick, since we are seeing that video again, I wanted to ask you yesterday, but you know, there were the images, I guess. Are you all tagging? Are they tagging those whales?
WEIR: It looks like it with the with the crossbows.
WEIR: Those are actually pregnancy tests. They use these -- these crossbows with a little hollow tip to take a little plug above blubber. It's most like a mosquito bite to the whale. But they get so much valuable data out of that stress hormones, toxins, but pregnancy rates are the best way to tell how the sea ice, the good ice years relate to new baby whales. So that's the best, you know, testament to healthy population there.
So, it was so cool chasing these -- these big guys around saying hey, can we take a little pregnancy test?
WHITFIELD: Right. Amazing.
WEIR: (INAUDIBLE) really, really powerful.
WHITFIELD: Oh, it's incredible. I know. We will see it all in totality this evening. But I was -- I was getting a little anxious. I mean, I had another opportunity to head to find out now instead of waiting for tonight to find out what that was all about.
OK, but I'm going to watch the rest. Bill Weir, great to see you. Thank you so much.
Watching all new episode of "THE WHOLE STORY WITH ANDERSON COOPER." One whole hour, one whole story tonight 8 o'clock Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.
We'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: Oh, the stars are out and on the red carpet even if that red carpet just might be a little soggy in some places. The Grammy Awards kicking off in a few hours and LA -- parts of LA and a good part of Southern California under a lot of heavy rain. Show organizers have canceled the limo cam due to the weather. So, we won't see the celebrities getting out of their cars. Darn. But we are seeing them here just like this.
I'd like to bring in now, CNN entertainment correspondent Elizabeth Wagmeister who's braving the weather there in Los Angeles. I mean it's really serious this weather very potentially dangerous. However, in this case, the show was going on. Tell me more.
ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: The show must go on. And I wish that I could take credit and say that I was braving the weather. But the red carpet is entirely tented Fred. As you see around me there is a full roof over here. So, we're actually staying dry, the stars will be quite warm and toasty. But where this can end up posing a problem is traffic. We know that LA traffic is a disaster as it is. Now you add in the rain in the potentially very serious weather. Are the stars going to make it on time?
I've got to tell you, this will not be the first time that we saw stars show up late. In fact, we just spoke with the executive producer of tonight's Grammy show who spoke about all the chaos. Let's take a look.
WAGMEISTER (voice-over): Music's biggest night is one big concert. Fun for us.
BEN WINSTON, GRAMMY AWARDS EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: You never know what's going to happen on a live show.
WAGMEISTER: (voice-over): Nail biting for executive producer Ben Winston.
WINSTON: I always say that doing these shows is like running off a cliff and just like hoping that the parachute opens.
WAGMEISTER (voice-over): Last year, Beyonce missed her first award, stuck in LA traffic. As was opening act Bad Bunny nearly throwing off the whole show. WINSTON: And then it happened that you can see as the show started last year, he's actually pulling his jacket as he begins because he literally, we went somebody drove down the traffic in a golf cart, grabbed Bad Bunny out of his and drove him and he got there with seconds to go.
WAGMEISTER (voice-over): This year, expect Billy Joel, Sza and Joni Mitchell.
WINSTON: First time she's ever been on the Grammys, which is crazy for me that 60-year career.
WAGMEISTER (voice-over): In a Grammy first, U2 will perform and present an award from the sphere in Las Vegas. And Taylor Swift could set a Grammy record. But will we see her on stage?
WINSTON: But Taylor one (ph) is tricky because she's actually got a show in Japan a few days later. Only three artists in the world have one album of the year three times, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra and Taylor. And so, if she was to win this year's album, that's the first time anyone's ever won four. And she'll be a big part of it just as she always is dancing in the audience enjoying herself and having a great time, I think.
WAGMEISTER (voice-over): A moving 16 minute in memoriam is planned with four performers honoring legends like Tina Turner, Tony Bennett and Sinead O'Connor. Expect unplanned surprises too, like that awkward Ben and Jen shot that went viral last year.
WINSTON: That I actually think was really unfair on them, because I watched them because obviously, I've got all 20 cameras where I sit, I can see. They were dancing, having the time of their lives. It was just unlucky for them that that one moment.
WAGMEISTER (voice-over): And Winston says, prepare to be shocked by the final presenter of the night.
WINSTON: They are a absolute global icon, I think jaws will drop to the floor, people beyond their feet. The only condition they gave is that it was a surprise.
WHITFIELD: Oh, that's we just said.
WAGMEISTER: You know, only 10 awards are going to be presented during the live show because they have to save time for all of the performances. But right now, as we speak, there are the rest of the awards that are being handed out. In our own CNN film, a documentary about Little Richard is nominated, we just caught up with the director on the red carpet.
Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA CONES, FILMMAKER, "LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING": Little Richard never received a Grammy during his entire career. He is the architect of rock and roll. And there are so many artists who owe their careers to the example, sound and then the performance that he gifted us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WAGMEISTER: Really an incredible career. Of course, made so much history and tonight we are going to see history made on that Grammy stage. Fred?
WHITFIELD: Well indeed. All right and go Lisa, hopefully this is Little Richard's night. OK. Elizabeth Wagmeister, thank you so much.
And thank you so much for joining me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. "CNN NEWSROOM" continues with Omar Jimenez after this.