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Gazans In Rafah Warn There Is Nowhere Left To Go; Joe Biden Lashes Out Against AG After Searing Special Counsel Report; Trump Celebrates Role In Tanking Border Security Deal; Living Underground: Impact Of War On Ukrainian Children; Bitter Battle In New York To Replace George Santos; Chiefs And 49ers Set To Face Off In Big Game Tomorrow; Fast Food Chains Face Backlash Over Rising Prices. Aired 6- 7p ET

Aired February 10, 2024 - 18:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. Good evening.

Today, Palestinians in Rafah tell CNN they have nowhere to go, that's after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed the Israeli military to evacuate the population of the last major city not occupied by the IDF, calling it "Hamas last bastion." Tonight, the city is under siege after a series of Israeli airstrikes have reportedly killed dozens, including three Hamas militants.

Here in the US, the attorney general is facing fresh scrutiny from his boss, President Biden privately lashing out against Merrick Garland after a searing special counsel report called him an elderly man with a poor memory. Biden is reportedly telling advisers that Garland did not do enough to rein in the report.

And tonight in South Carolina, it is getting personal between Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, despite his wide lead in the polls two weeks before the South Carolina Republican primary, the former president is taking shots at Haley, mocking her husband for being absent on the campaign trail while he is deployed overseas.

Joining me now is Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic." Ron, that's a long wind though it is not the reason why my throat is hurting, it is because I have got -- I'm batting a little bit of a cold.

Let me take a quick sip of tea. It is a Saturday evening, I think that is okay.


ACOSTA: Ron, Nikki Haley -- yes. I needed that tea 30 seconds ago.

Ron, Nikki Haley slammed Trump for his remarks earlier today saying in a post on X: "Michael is deployed serving our country, something you know nothing about. Someone who continually disrespecting the sacrifices of military families has no business being commander-in- chief."

You know, Ron, Trump has repeatedly mocked people serving their country in uniform.


ACOSTA: What do you make of this?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I mean, and this is part of the strangeness I think of the entire Republican primary. I mean, that language from Nikki Haley is in line with much tougher criticism that she is offering of him on a variety of fronts that simply was not there in all of 2023 when she had the forum of Republican debates in Iowa and New Hampshire in the early stages of the race when the media attention was most intense and the concrete had not hardened in this race.

She was not criticizing Trump in anywhere near the terms that she is across the board, and it is really not just her. You know, we know, General John Kelly, who served as Trump's own White House chief-of- staff and his head of Department of Homeland Security, that Trump, he has confirmed in statements, the reporting originally in "The Atlantic" that Trump referred to military servicemembers as losers and suckers.

ACOSTA: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, is John Kelly going to go on camera somewhere and discuss that rather than issue a statement? I mean, Trump has had this kind of you know, Ron DeSantis is described as a Praetorian Guard defender in conservative media, but certainly the Republicans inside the GOP coalition who have reservations about his conduct and behavior and inclinations have not exactly been telling their voters, sharing those concerns with their voters in an unvarnished way.

ACOSTA: And Ron, is Trump going to pay a price for this?

BROWNSTEIN: I think it depends -- I mean, a lot of it is baked in, Jim, obviously, you know, I think he already is paying a price. You have a president in Joe Biden whose approval rating is stuck at 40 percent, but the two of them are essentially in a dead heat that's what I call the Trump tax that Biden runs further ahead of his approval rating than presidents typically able to do, and we saw that in 2022.

There already is a price, but the real question is, whether those senior officials in a Trump administration, like General Kelly, like Mark Esper, who I think you will be talking to shortly, Bill Barr, James Mattis, John Bolton -- are they going to go out in a more visible way and share their concerns with the public that you know, they believe Donald Trump is not fit to be president.

And you know, the question of whether they are going to be willing to say that in a highly public way, I think will answer your question of how much cost there ultimately is for him on these crazy things.

ACOSTA: And Ron, earlier today, Trump was taking credit, bragging once again for tanking the bipartisan border deal. Let's listen to that.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This week, we also had another massive victory that every conservative should celebrate. We crushed Crooked Joe Biden's disastrous open borders bill.

Mike Johnson did a very good job and the whole group did a great job in Congress. We crushed it. We saved America from yet another horrific Biden betrayal.



ACOSTA: Ron, in the previous hour, I tried to press Congressman Tim Burchett on this. He would not accept what I was saying that essentially Trump pressured the Republicans into killing this. He did not want to go there. But isn't the case?

BROWNSTEIN: Sure. I mean, it was a clear indication that this is a Trump party, and you know, I think it is important to look, not only at Trump's action here, but what the alternative is that he is putting forward, you know, because of the way the Republican primary has played out, and the narrative I was talking about, there really has been extraordinarily little debate about Trump's agenda for a second term.

But he has put forward a much more militant and very specific agenda compared to what he ran on in 2016 or 2020, and one of the areas that is the most militant and specific are his plans on immigration.

I mean, he has talked -- you know, he said on Friday night, Jim, Friday afternoon at the NRA that "within moments" -- within moments of taking office, he would begin a mass deportation program.

Stephen Miller has put out extraordinary detail about how they intend to do this with large-scale raids in major cities, moving people to internment camps in Texas and removing them from the country in constant flights.

I talked to a former ICE chief-of-staff this week who said that would take a hundred to a hundred fifty thousand law enforcement personnel plus another 50,000 people to run these camps and one of the ways they are talking about doing this, openly and explicitly is requisitioning National Guard troops from red states and sending them into blue states whose governors won't cooperate.

So you're talking about the National Guard from Texas or Arkansas going into the west side of Chicago, potentially, to deport people, and think about what that might -- how that may play out in practice.

And I think this is -- could you imagine scenes of federal law enforcement and national guards from out-of-state in conflict with local police that are defending a church where migrants have kind of you know, rushed for safety?

The question of what a second Trump term would mean, across the board, really has not been engaged by anyone, including Biden, but certainly not by the other Republicans, and it is an open question, how much a part of the debate that is going to be between now and November.

ACOSTA: Well, and Ron, the Senate also had an unusual weekend session this weekend to try to pass aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.


ACOSTA: And you know, one of the issues is, is Trump going to take that deal as well?

You know, earlier this afternoon at this rally in South Carolina, he was essentially saying to Russia, go ahead and invade NATO countries if that is what you want to do, if these NATO countries aren't putting enough money into NATO, this is the way he describes it.


ACOSTA: Then, he is not going to defend them, he says, as president, if they are attacked by Russia.

I mean, you juxtapose that with -- I mean, I was speaking with Patti Davis, the daughter of former president Ronald Reagan, the late president...

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I saw that.

ACOSTA: ... in the previous hour, that is not Ronald Reagan's Republican Party.

BROWNSTEIN: No, yes, and I don't think Trump has to tank this deal in the same way of direct intervention, because so many of the Republican senators have moved in that direction.

Now, there may be 10 willing to move this forward, kind of the remnants of the Reagan party that saw the US standing up against aggression -- Russian aggression, as a central part of the GOP identity, but you know, this again is part of what I was just saying, we are not really at a point where there has been much discussion or debate about what a Trump second term would mean.

And one of the reasons -- you know, he says he would settle the Ukraine war within 24 hours, and I think most people understand that to mean that he would force Zelenskyy and Ukraine to accept Russian control over a significant part of the country by threatening to cut off their aid, and I think that what many of the critics ultimately in the Republican Party envision. It is just one of many.

You know, we could talk about tariffs. We could talk about using the Insurrection Act to send federal forces into blue cities to fight crime, or roundup the homeless. There is a broad array of issues on which he has laid out a very specific agenda that simply has not been addressed much yet in the context of this presidential race.

ACOSTA: Right. Well, there have been other things we have been talking about in the news over the last several days and I am glad that Ron, you are highlighting the issues because that is where voters are going to be looking to try to parse out where they are going to stand when it comes down to these two choices coming up in November.

Ron Brownstein, as always, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: Still ahead, a big week in legal news. Former President Trump's lawyers in front of the Supreme Court trying to keep him on the ballot in Colorado and a scathing special counsel report for both Biden and Trump on keeping confidential documents, but the report had the White House team scrambling to do some damage control. We will talk about that next.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: Attorney General Merrick Garland is facing fresh scrutiny from his boss after a searing special counsel report called President Biden an elderly man with a poor memory.

Biden reportedly telling advisers that Garland did not do enough to rein in the report.

Joining me now to talk about all the legal developments, and there have been plenty -- we probably don't have enough time in this segment to cover them all -- are Shan Wu and Jeffrey Toobin.

Guys, great to see both of you.

Shan, you're in the studio. Let me start with you first. Your sense of that special counsel report, Robert Hur. Obviously, you know, the big headline is that they are not going to prosecute the president for classified documents, but to include this mention of Hur's assessment of Biden's mental fitness, is that out of bounds? Should that have been in there?


SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: That is out of bounds. I mean, he is not a doctor to make a diagnosis, and I think President Biden is right to be angry with Merrick Garland because the special counsel still reports to the attorney general and Garland had a chance to, not just rein in the conclusions of the report, but that type of gratuitous language is improper. That is out of the norm at the Justice Department.

Eric Holder is already opining on that. When I worked for the attorney general, I worked on independent counsel investigations as did Jeff, that is not the kind of language you put in there. You stick to the facts and his opening should have simply been in that report, the summary that they looked at evidence and they found there was insufficient evidence to find a crime.

ACOSTA: Yes, Jeff, what do you think?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, AUTHOR AND FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, you know, there is this weird thing that Democrats do. They think that if they appoint Republicans to investigate them, they will somehow get credit for it and it never happens.

You know, Barack Obama appointed Jim Comey, head of the FBI and Jim Comey in several different ways sabotaged Hillary Clinton's campaign for president.

Here, Merrick Garland appoints someone who was a Trump appointee to investigate President Biden, and he does what the evidence demands, which is that this not be a criminal case, but at the same time, he inflicts political damage on President Biden.

I don't know why Merrick Garland out of all the lawyers in the United States had to pick this one, but you know, this is what happens when you appoint people who have political agendas against your boss to investigate your boss.

ACOSTA: Yes, and Shan, I mean, there is also this question of -- and this has been something you and I have discussed for some time now, and that is the pace with which Merrick Garland, the Justice Department, and the Special Counsel's Office, brought forward some of these cases against Donald Trump.

I mean, I would have to think, a lot of this is frustrating President Biden. Are we starting to see a Merrick Garland legacy take shape here? Has enough time past for you to offer your own judgment as to what happened here with Merrick Garland's time as attorney general?

WU: Yes, I think, unfortunately for Garland, a lot of the legacy will be shaped by people's perception of whether he took too long on the Trump issues, whether he, as Jeff was pointing out, made a big mistake by appointing these Republican folks to do the investigations, things that dragged on forever, including the Hunter Biden investigation.

Garland has done a lot to try to repair the Justice Department and he has succeeded. There is movement on the Civil Rights section, he brought back to normalcy, no one is ever going to criticize him for being sort of too partisan.

But the problem for him is, in leaning so far backwards, in some ways, it has become a partisan problem, and that has hurt, I think his legacy.

ACOSTA: Yes, I mean, Jeff --

TOOBIN: But Shan, that is exactly what Republicans have done. They have called him a partisan over and over again. Trump calls him a partisan. He says the Justice Department is

weaponized against him. It is not true, but it shows that Garland had this naive belief that, if he acts to bend over in a nonpartisan way, he will get some kind of credit for it, but he has got no credit for it from Donald Trump, and he has jeopardized the political standing of his boss by appointing a Republican.

I mean, this is this mythology that you somehow get credit from Republicans by being nonpartisan. They were going to attack him no matter what and that is what they have done.

ACOSTA: And Shan, I mean, earlier today, Trump once again was complaining about the fact that Joe Biden was not charged in the classified documents matter pertaining to him, while he was.

WU: That's right.

ACOSTA: And so to Jeff's point, I mean, you can bend over backwards all you want, at the end of the day, it may not satisfy the most partisan of partisans, but yet, in the special counsel's report, it lays out, okay, this is why President Biden was not charged and it even makes mention of, this is why Donald Trump was charged.

WU: Yes, it does do that very plainly. It makes those differences, although actually, I have some qualms about why Hur laid it out that way.

ACOSTA: Interesting.

WU: It actually gives Trump a perfect roadmap to say, look, he did this, I did that. It is like the prosecution --

ACOSTA: Yes. And Jeff, what do you think, was that a good thing to include in there? Go ahead.

TOOBIN: I did think it was a good thing to include because there are such profound differences will between what Trump did and what Biden did. I mean, just to repeat them for people who are not familiar with it.


You know, when Biden's people discovered that there were classified information in his office where he worked after his presidency, they called in the Archives, they cooperated, they turned over everything, they behaved entirely appropriately.

Donald Trump did not return a multitude of classified information and when he was asked to return it and subpoenaed to return it, he not only didn't return it, but he obstructed justice and told people to lie about the nature of the storage of the classified information. That is the charge against him in Florida.

The differences between the two on the question of criminal intent are enormous. ACOSTA: Well, guys, I am sure we are going to continue to talk about

this in the days ahead. I don't think the controversy over this special counsel report has died down at all.

Shan and Jeff, great to see both of you tonight. Thank so much for your time. Appreciate it.

All right, still ahead, President Biden says Israel's campaign in Gaza has been "over-the-top" as the IDF is prepared to evacuate more than a million people from the city of Rafah. We will talk about that next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: This week, President Biden delivered his sharpest rebuke yet over Israel's military campaign in Gaza.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The conduct of the response in Gaza -- in the Gaza Strip has been over-the-top.

There are a lot of innocent people who are starving, a lot of innocent people who are in trouble and dying and it has got to stop.


ACOSTA: Those stark comments come as Israel's military prepares to evacuate civilians in the southern city of Rafah for its next read operation. More than 1.3 million people are currently taking shelter there.

And joining us now to talk about this, retired US Air Force Colonel, CNN military analyst, Colonel Cedric Leighton.

Colonel Leighton, what do you make of this evacuation operation? Is that feasible? And can you put it in the context of what President Biden said just the other day? For all the talk about Biden mixing up Egypt and Mexico, and all the other things that he said at that news conference, I think one of the most significant things that he said at that news conference was that this has been over-the- top.


ACOSTA: What the Israelis have been doing in Gaza.

LEIGHTON: Yes, absolutely, Jim, because that clearly showed that Biden was in command of that situation.

ACOSTA: Right.

LEIGHTON: Because, what President Biden is saying, and this is a divergence from his normal comments on Israel, what he is saying is that what the Israelis have done is not in concert with US policy, it is not in concert with international law, and it is not in concert with proper military procedures.

So, the idea of being able to evacuate 1.3 million people civilians out of an area that is very small into somewhere else where we don't know where that is, strikes me as completely unrealistic because the Israelis --

ACOSTA: And this is where they have been moved to...

LEIGHTON: Exactly.

ACOSTA: ... in many cases.

LEIGHTON: Yes, exactly, because the vast majority of this people come from northern Gaza or central Gaza. Basically the original population of Rafah was somewhere around a hundred and fifty two or so thousand people. Now they have 1.3 million people there. They are approaching nine times the size of the original population of that town.

And the Egyptians are not going to open the border because they don't want these Palestinians to become a permanent part of their population, which they think they fear will happen and historical precedent actually is on their side in this case, and then you look at where these people might go.

The only thing the Israelis can do is move them back to areas that they had originally come from, but the Israeli military, the IDF, is still conducting operations in those areas, so it is not safe for them either back in central Gaza or back in northern Gaza, so there is really no place for these people to go unless they move them into Israel which I don't see happening.

ACOSTA: That's not going to happen, and hospital officials in Gaza say at least a dozen civilians were killed in Rafah by an Israeli airstrike. The IDF claims, they killed two senior Hamas militants.

Colonel Leighton, can you talk about how much longer do the Israelis need to prosecute this campaign in this fashion to achieve their military objectives from your point of view? And how is that going to impact these civilians moving forward?

Can you make an assessment from where you are sitting that maybe they have about achieved as much as they are going to achieve and there is not a whole lot left to do? That the military standpoint of, going into these areas, bombing and doing his house-to-house, street-to- street operations that they are doing.

LEIGHTON: Right, so one of the things that we talked about even earlier in this military campaign is the idea they have run out of targets from an air perspective. You know, on the ground, it is a little bit different, but basically, the Israelis have leveled about 85 percent of Gaza, either severely damaged or destroyed, 85 percent of buildings.

ACOSTA: Leveled.

LEIGHTON: Leveled them completely in an area that had 2.3 million people living there, and when you look at that effort, there is really not much more from a military perspective that they can achieve.

The one thing they are lacking is the actual capture or killing of the supreme leaders of Hamas that are in Gaza. You know, people like Yahya Sinwar, for example. That would be their ultimate goal, but you do that kind of a mission with special operations forces, with strikes like we did in Iraq against the Kata'ib Hezbollah and their leading officials, so that is the kind of thing that should be done there in Gaza, but this is not what the Israelis are doing.

They are basically taking a sledgehammer to a fly and that is a real problem.

ACOSTA: All right, Colonel Leighton, thank you very much. Appreciate those insights, as always.


In the meantime, for many children living in Ukraine, every day is full of uncertainty. Things like going to school are filled with moments of terror as children are suddenly rushed into bomb shelters. And CNN's Fred Pleitgen gives us a glimpse of that.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Foreign language).


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Extra special braids is what six-year-old Elmira (ph) wants for school because simply going to school is special here in Kharkiv. And it's dangerous, so dangerous, they had to move classes underground.


PLEITGEN (on camera): For many children here in Kharkiv, this is the reality of their school day. They go down into the subway because everywhere else in the city is simply unsafe.


PLEITGEN (voice over): The city built classrooms here. They call it the metro schools.


PLEITGEN (off camera): How were you this morning?

ELMIRA: I'm fine, thank you. How are you?

(Foreign language) --


PLEITGEN (voice over): Here, we won't hear anything she says.


PLEITGEN (off camera): (Foreign language) --

ELMIRA: Mm-hm.


PLEITGEN (voice over): "Hear what?" I asked.


ELMIRA: (Foreign language) --


PLEITGEN (voice over): "The bangs," she says.


PLEITGEN (off camera): (Foreign language) --


PLEITGEN (voice over): Bangs happened nearly every day here in Kharkiv, Russia's army shelling the city, killing and wounding hundreds since the beginning of the invasion.

But down here, kids can be kids. The classrooms are soundproof locking out, not just the noise of the subway that's still running, but also the thunder of the war that has already affected these youngsters so much.


ELMIRA: (Foreign language) --


PLEITGEN (voice over): "On my birthday for some reason, a war broke out," Elmira (ph) tells me.

February 24th 2022, all Elmira (ph) wanted was to celebrate her fifth birthday. But Vladimir Putin's troops were already storming Kharkiv.


PLEITGEN (on camera): Firing from Russian territory towards the territory, I would say around Kharkiv.


PLEITGEN (voice over): Reporting from the Russian side of the border, I saw the invasion firsthand.


ELMIRA: (Foreign language) ...


PLEITGEN (voice over): On the receiving end, instead of the birthday party, Elmira (ph) and her friends had to go to the bomb shelter.


ELMIRA: (Foreign language) ...


PLEITGEN (voice over): "I even started crying," she tells me. "I thought it would be the end."

"They try not to talk too much about the war in the subway school, but the children coming back here now have been scarred for life," the teacher says.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Foreign language) ...


PLEITGEN (voice over): "They had the look of adults who had already experienced hardships," she says, "experienced the hard days and months of this war."

There are no regular functioning schools in Kharkiv, either the subway or online classes. And the city doesn't believe that will change soon. They're building bunker schools because children here wouldn't even have enough time to get to an air raid shelter, the mayor tells me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language) ...


PLEITGEN (voice over): "The S-300 missiles reach Kharkiv in about 35 to 40 seconds," he says. Therefore, no air alarm can work. And the only way out is to build such underground facilities, real underground schools.

Back at the subway school, every day, a minute of silence for those killed by Vladimir Putin's war against Ukraine.

But then the kids sing their national anthem, showing the Russians and their leader that no matter how many missiles they fire, Ukraine is growing stronger, brighter every day.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kharkiv, Ukraine.


ACOSTA: Still ahead, who will replace disgraced New York Congressman, George Santos? Voters head to the polls on Tuesday. We'll break down the numbers with Harry Enten.

Plus, counting down to the Super Bowl, we'll go live to Las Vegas next.

Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: It may not be as consequential as the presidential race, but New Yorkers are biting their nails over who will replace George Santos in Congress this Tuesday's special election. Pitting Democrat Tom Suozzi against Republican Mazi Pilip has been bittering. At this point, it's considered a toss-up.

Joining us now to run the numbers, our Senior Political Data Reporter, Harry Enten.

Harry, how's this race shaping up?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, I could tell you, as someone who watches and listens to New York television, how many ads are they putting on the gosh darn TV? My goodness gracious, I'm sick of it already. But let's get the voting going.

But take a look at this poll that came out from Siena College late this past week. We see Tom Suozzi with a small, tiny advantage over Mazi Pilip, a four-point advantage. I will note, of course, that this is a district that's a swing district. Joe Biden won it by eight points back in 2020. But in the midterm elections, the Republican candidate for the House, obviously George Santos, won it. He won it by about eight. You look at the Republican gubernatorial candidate. He won it by about 12. You look at the Republican Senate candidate, Joe Pinion, he won it by about four.

So this is a district that has swung back and forth between Democrats and Republicans. And this, I think a lot of people are looking to this seat, giving you some indication, where are the political wins going? At this point, Tom Suozzi does lead in the limited polling data that is out.

But again, a four-point advantage, Jim, I don't have to tell you, especially in a special election, especially when there's a potential snowstorm on Tuesday that could impact turnout, at least election day turnout ...

ACOSTA: Right.

ENTEN: ... is not something that I would necessarily take to the bank. So at this particular point ...


ENTEN: ... it's a race that is too close to call, but it's one in which I think that if you were putting a slight bit of pressure on one side of the scale, it would be on the Democratic side of the scale.

ACOSTA: No, this is going to go back to GOTV, get out to vote. I mean, both sides are going to have to do that work.


Now, Harry, a lot of Democrats say that even as the polls look kind of rough for the President, that Democrats do better when looking at actual voters like in this third congressional district in New York. What are you seeing that support that?

ENTEN: Yes, exactly right. We've known in the special elections, we know in the off-year elections in 2023, Democrats did pretty well, right? They won the Kentucky gubernatorial race. They won control of the House of Delegates down in Virginia. They held on to the Virginia State Senate.

And if you look at the polling data going into 2024, Trump versus Biden, right, you look at these registered voter polls and we see Donald Trump winning in most of them, right? You see that in The New York Times poll that was out a few months ago. You saw it in Ipsos poll out a couple of weeks ago.

But then tied it in, tied it in on ...


ENTEN: ... likely voters or those certain to vote.

ACOSTA: Right.

ENTEN: What do you see? You see all of a sudden Biden doing better. And that kind of matches what we see in these special elections or those off-year elections where the Democrats tend to do better. So to me, New York 3 (ph) is sort of emblematic potentially of what we're seeing in the polling nationally. That is Democrats do better when you look at those folks who are actually going to turn out and vote instead of that wider universe of registered voters.

And what's so interesting to me, Jim, is traditionally speaking, Democrats do better when turnout is higher. But that may not be the case going into 2024. It may be Republicans who do better when turnout is higher. And maybe if the turnout is smaller, which given the fact that we have two candidates who aren't very well liked, maybe the case, maybe Joe Biden does a little bit better than you might expect looking at these registered voter polls.

ACOSTA: All right. And Harry, let's talk about the thing that we all want to talk about. That is the Super Bowl. That's what's on everybody's mind right now. I'm not a huge gambler when it comes to betting on sporting events. What are some of the fun bets out there? What are some of the numbers you're seeing out there? It looks like the 49ers are favored to win it. Do I have that right over the Kansas City Chiefs? I would take that bet. I think the Chiefs are going to win.

ENTEN: I think the Chiefs are going to win, too. But there are a lot of people who watch the Super Bowl, over 100 million. Many of them aren't big football fans.

I was talking with your executive producer, Tim Carter. I was talking with my girlfriend, Sister Brooke, and they really like the prop bets. So what are some of these prop bets?

ACOSTA: Yes, what is that?

ENTEN: Yes. What is that? Like ...


ENTEN: ... let's say we want to bet on whether a player cries during the National Anthem. How many beers are sold at the game? Or who will the Super Bowl MVP thank first? Will it be ...


ENTEN: ... his mother, father, sister, brother, wife or maybe God, who knows?

ACOSTA: Taylor Swift.

ENTEN: But these prop bets ...


ENTEN: ... are - exactly, these prop bets are just a fun way to sort of get involved in the game if you're not a big NFL fan.

ACOSTA: Very interesting. All right, and what prop bets are you going to be making tomorrow, Harry? Can we pry and ask where your money is on some of these things?

ENTEN: Yes, how about Gatorade? That, to me, is the fun one, historically speaking.


ENTEN: If they do a Gatorade dunk, what's the color? It turns out, historically, orange is number one. Red has never happened. But maybe how about a surprise? There's no shower at all, Jim.

ACOSTA: Interesting.

ENTEN: But I like showers for myself anyway.

ACOSTA: Very good. All right. I can - maybe I'm an old fogey, but I like the classic green Gatorade, do they still have that one?

ENTEN: Sure. Yes, sure. Of course, they have it. I'll get you one. ACOSTA: All right. So just don't dump it on my head, please. Harry

Enten ...

ENTEN: We'll see.

ACOSTA: ... thanks a lot. Somebody (inaudible) to do that.

ENTEN: (Inaudible), buddy.

ACOSTA: Please. All right, thanks.

All right. Speaking of the Super Bowl, CNN Sports Correspondent, Andy Scholes is there for us ahead of the showdown.

Andy, sorry for all the tomfoolery there. I know you've been waiting around to do this live shot. What's the vibe there, 24 hours to kick off? Am I totally crazy to take the Chiefs in this thing?

I feel like that's the safe bet. I'm a little surprised the odds are saying San Francisco.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Well, I tell you what, Jim, so we're here at the Fanatics blue carpet. It's probably the most star-studded event of the entire weekend. We've been talking to a bunch of superstar athletes and celebrities, getting their prediction.

I tell you what, Jim, a lot of people picking Chiefs. Only a few for it. I mean, Michael Rubin, the CEO of Fanatics, he picked Niners, but lots of Chiefs. And, I mean, for good reason, right? Patrick Mahomes is playing in his fourth Super Bowl and just his sixth season as the starter. He's trying to win his third.

He's only 28 years old and, you know Jim, a lot of people thinking, like, if he could get number three already, could he possibly catch Tom Brady at seven? What Mahomes said earlier this week, you need to pump the brakes on those talks.


PATRICK MAHOMES: I've only won two Super Bowls, so there's a couple other guys in front of me before I even get close to chasing Tom. But, I mean, all you can do is just try to be your best every single game, every single day. And that's what I try to do is I try to go out there and play my best football. And hopefully, my best football is good enough to win this third Super Bowl. But all I can do is be the best me I can be every single day and then I'll do that again next year and the next year after that. And, hopefully, that's a - at the end of my career, I can say that I'm close to Tom.


SCHOLES: Yes. Now Taylor Swift wrapped up her Tokyo concert series earlier today. She's en route or coming this way at this point. And one person anxious to possibly meet Taylor Swift at Super Bowl LVIII, the Big Diesel, Shaq. He actually walked by here just a few moments ago. I got the chance to catch up with Shaq at his annual Super Bowl extravaganza, Shaq's Fun House.


And Shaq said he has one goal tomorrow at Super Bowl, meet Taylor.


SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, 4-TIME NBA CHAMPION: I've always been a Travis Kelce fan. I'd love to meet Ms. Taylor Swift.

SCHOLES: You never met her?

O'NEAL: No, I never met her. Congratulations to both teams, the chance to play for a championship. I did that six times, won four. So, may the best team win. But I'm a Cowboys fan. I can't come here and say I want this team to win. Cowboys.

SCHOLES: All right. Do you think Taylor Swift's been good luck for the Chiefs?

O'NEAL: I would say yes. They're in the Super Bowl, aren't they?

SCHOLES: Yes, they are.

O'NEAL: So, yes.

SCHOLES: All right. You looking forward to the game?

O'NEAL: I'm looking forward to just shaking her hand.


SCHOLES: So, Jim, we'll wait and see if that happens. And I know you just went through all those numbers with Harry there. I got one for you, Jim ...


SCHOLES: ... before I go.


SCHOLES: So, 16 of the last 19 Super Bowl winners have been wearing their white jerseys, okay?


SCHOLES: The 49ers are wearing white tomorrow. But, Jim, that being said, four years ago when the Niners played the Chiefs, Chiefs won. And the Chiefs were wearing red and the 49ers were wearing white. So make of that what you will.

ACOSTA: Man, that is - that's amazing. And you know what? You're speaking to a guy who is very superstitious about sports. I'm the guy who wears - if I wear the same Redskins or Commanders hat, when they win, I will keep wearing that every Sunday in the hopes that those vibes will somehow - I know, it's so crazy. But there's a lot to that and I wonder if there - you might be onto something there.

All right. Andy Scholes, thank you very much. Really appreciate it. Have fun out there.

SCHOLES: All right.

ACOSTA: We'll be right back.



ACOSTA: The fast food chain McDonald's is acknowledging it's time to put affordability back on the menu and more options need to be added to its dollar menu. It's stock took a hit this past week after the fast food giant reported a recent drop in visits by its key customers, people who make $45,000 a year or less and many are complaining.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is $3 worth of food. This, for reference, is a potato, which you can get four to five pounds of these for $3.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're all supposed to be dollar menu budget friendly. When did you all get uppity? I need you all to take it back down.


ACOSTA: CNN's Nathaniel Meyersohn is here with more. Nathaniel, people are not having this. And I will tell you - I mean, I won't name drop the fast food chains that I go to from time to time, but you do notice the prices have gone up. It's not just McDonald's. It's a bunch of these places and you have to think that folks who really depend on places like McDonald's for an affordable option, they're really taking a major hit.

NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN CONSUMER REPORTER: They are, Jim. And you think about fast food restaurants, they're supposed to be cheap. McDonald's is supposed to be cheap. But it's not anymore. McDonald's prices this year have increased 10 percent. And that's a higher rate than we're seeing at supermarkets and restaurants.

So McDonald's is really facing trouble. People are not eating there as much. Instead, they're buying groceries and eating at home and so this is a real burden for McDonald's, and they're going to have to find some different ways to adapt to this. The customer called out $3 hash browns.

ACOSTA: Right.

MEYERSOHN: We've heard of a - an $18 Big Mac meal. I mean, that's - yes, it kind of causes outrage on social media, but it impacts McDonald's brand.

ACOSTA: Yes, I mean, $3 for hash browns. Come on. I mean, that is out - totally crazy and totally out of control. How is McDonald's responding to this?

MEYERSOHN: Yes. So the CEO acknowledged this week that they do have some affordability concerns among customers. So what we're going to start to see McDonald's do is they're going to be adding more items to their dollar menu. And, look, the dollar menu used to be just a dollar, but now it's $1, $2 and $3 items. So more hash browns, chicken McNuggets. So even the dollar menu has kind of changed.

And this is a common tactic among restaurants and grocery stores to add more discounts, not necessarily to lower the prices, but to just bring back more of the discounts. So we're not necessarily going to see the price of a Big Mac meal drop or some of these other meals, but more discounts and specials, particularly on the dollar menu.

ACOSTA: Yes, I mean, that's what you see when you go to some of these fast food chains is those combos. And the - there was a time when you would think, oh, the combo, I'm saving money here because it's a combo. Some of the - I'm not going to name drop again, but some of these chains, those combos are pretty darn expensive now: 8-, 9-, 10-, 11 bucks for a combo and that's really - are there other normally cheap items that are getting more expensive like that and are there any signs that - with inflation easing and so on that some of these prices might tick down a little bit?

MEYERSOHN: So, yes, Jim, this got us thinking, what are the other things that were supposed to be cheap but inflation has killed? One that comes to mind is dollar stores. There's no such thing as a dollar store anymore, now it's $1.25 stores.


Dollar Tree this - a couple of years ago, they increased their prices to $1.25.

What about the $1 pizza special, especially here in New York? You can't find a dollar pizza anymore. It's just about impossible. So, yes ...

ACOSTA: Right.

MEYERSOHN: ... inflation has hit a lot of the things that are supposed to be cheap, but there still are a few things that it hasn't. The Costco $1.50 hot dog soda combo ...


MEYERSOHN: ... that is still $1.50.


MEYERSOHN: That's a big deal for Costco. Yes, 2 Buck Chuck at Trader Joe's, that's also been killed. Planet Fitness' $10 a month monthly membership, that hasn't changed in 30 years. And, of course, the $0.99 Arizona iced tea, still going for $0.99.

ACOSTA: There you go. Do not touch that $1.50 Costco hot dog. Over my dead body, do not do that.

All right. Nathaniel Meyersohn, it's great stuff. It's a great bargain. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

All right, still ahead, Nikki Haley says, say it to my face. Hear her response. Moments ago, former President Donald Trump's attacks on her husband. Yes, that happened earlier today if you're just tuning in. Her husband is serving overseas. We'll show you some of these comments in just a few moments. Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.