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CNN This Morning

Recovery Efforts Begin In Storm Ravaged Southeastern U.S.; Thousands Still Without Power In Alabama And Georgia After Deadly Storms; 25 Million People Under Flood Watches In California. Aired 7- 8a ET

Aired January 14, 2023 - 07:00   ET




ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR (voice-over): "We want Livvy." She didn't compete due to an injury, but she did greet those fans inside. Dunne then taking to Twitter though asking her fans to not disrupt any more meet saying, "I will always appreciate and love the support from you guys, but if you come to a meet, I want to ask you to please not be disrespectful to the other gymnasts."


SCHOLES: Guys, there are a lot, lot of young men wanting to get up and meet Livvy.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Those TikTok kids, yes. Andy Scholes, thanks so much, Andy, we appreciate it. The next hour of CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. I'm so sorry --

SANCHEZ: Did you forget my name?

WALKER: I can't put sorry and Boris together, and I said sorry. So, sorry Boris, I didn't mean to step on you. But good morning.

SANCHEZ: It's all good. Great to be with you, Amara.

WALKER: Well, officials in Alabama say they are now in recovery mode this morning after severe storms swept through the state, killing nearly a dozen people. The latest on the recovery efforts just ahead.

SANCHEZ: Now, the White House is trying to go on with business as usual amid mounting questions over President Biden's handling of classified documents. What we're learning about the special counsel investigation and why Republicans in Congress say they are now looking into the Department of Justice's response.

WALKER: And new details in the case of a missing Massachusetts woman. What police are now looking into their search for clues. SANCHEZ: Plus, new questions about America's aging infrastructure

after a massive FAA software glitch grounded planes across the country. That's ahead on CNN THIS MORNING.

WALKER: Good morning. It's a great morning. Welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. It is Saturday, January 14th. Boris, I don't know why, but I felt like I needed some Boris time and I'm getting it. So, it's a treat for me. Good to see you.

SANCHEZ: Yes, it had been a couple of weeks. I was sick for a while; my voice is still recovering. So, if you hear squeaking later this morning, I swear, I'm not going through puberty, I promise. Yes, exactly. Let's get serious for a second because this morning, there are recovery efforts underway in the southeast, especially in Alabama and Georgia, after some severe storms killed at least nine people on Thursday night, including one young child. Some 37 tornadoes were reported with one twister wrecking parts of Selma, Alabama -- a historic American city, known for its role in the civil rights movement.

WALKER: Yes, thousands in the region are still without power. Temperatures dipping below freezing at night and Selma's mayor is asking residents to conserve water and prepare for the next few days.


MAYOR JAMES PERKINS, JR., SELMA, ALABAMA: We just completed an aerial viewing, assessing the damage, of the city. Still, a lot of people are hurting. The devastation is real. We've got a lot of work to do.


WALKER: Obviously, very emotional there for the mayor. Let's go now to CNN's Ryan Young who is in Selma, Alabama surveying the damage.


GOV. KAY IVEY (R-AL): Roofs are just gone, and trees are like toothpicks. A lot of work to be done here.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alabama Governor Kay Ivey visiting Selma today witnessing the catastrophic damage left behind by violent tornadoes that ripped through the state Thursday afternoon. Residents left without homes and businesses.

CORETTA SMITH, SELMA, ALABAMA RESIDENT: It's a lot to take. I've been trying to salvage what I can all day and it's just hard, it's hard.

Oh my, God. Yes. Oh my God, this used to be beside us.

YOUNG: At least nine deaths have been reported following the severe storms that spawned more than 45 reported tornadoes across the southeast. Seven of the deaths in Autauga County, Alabama.

RICKY ADAMS, DIRECTOR OF FIELD OPERATIONS, ALABAMA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: It was a very intense storm and may have even been on the ground more than 50 miles.

YOUNG: Alabama residents describing the sound of the storm as something like no other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just out of nowhere, I heard a sound I've never heard before. It sounded like a freight train come through here, and the wind picked up so strong. I had to jump out and I ran up because everything was shaking like, like never before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a sad day for Selma. We were -- we've got a lot of healing to do here.


YOUNG: Many roads are blocked with fallen trees and debris making it unsafe and difficult for some residents to get back to assess damage at their homes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have not been able to get back there to see what it looks like. The road that leads to my house is blocked and I couldn't even go around otherwise.

YOUNG: In Georgia, a 5-year-old boy was killed when a tree fell on the vehicle, he was traveling in.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Unfortunately, it's been a tragic night and morning in our state.

YOUNG: Tens of thousands of customers in Alabama and Georgia are still without power. And officials are warning residents that just because the storm has passed, the threat of damage from the storm has not.


YOUNG: Yes, Boris and Amara, this is one of the scenes of where all the destruction is when it comes to this tornado. People said they were inside this store. When they heard that tornado sirens, the roof started to shake and the windows went out very quickly. They all got that on the ground to try to ride out the storm. But as you can see over here, they were cards that were caught on below the roof that fell on top of them. They only got out with seconds to spare because of the powerful winds from this tornado. People tell us they're going to be trying to get through this for the next few days.

SANCHEZ: Ryan Young, thank you so much for that report. The National Guard is no longer assisting with the search for missing 5-year-old boy in California who was swept away by rushing floodwaters earlier this week. But local rescue teams are still looking for the boy as some 25 million people in that state remain under flood watches because of heavy rains this weekend. Officials also say to expect hail and powerful winds in some areas as well.


NANCY WARD, DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICE: We are not out of the woods yet. The threat to communities remains and waters will continue to rise even after these storms have passed.


WALKER: Now, the recent storms have killed at least 18 people and officials are worried the massive flooding could cut the Monterey Peninsula completely off from the rest of California. California is soaked and it is still seeing rain. A second system bringing even more rain. It's moving in later this morning.

SANCHEZ: CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar has been tracking it all for us in the CNN weather center. Allison brings us up to speed on where that storm is right now.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And it's the second of three storms. So, even after this one moves out, there's yet another one that will arrive in the latter half of the weekend. This one right now was bringing rain across portions of Northern and Central California, and also Southwestern Oregon. This is where the focus is going to be for today. You've got flood watches that are in effect for over 25 million people. So, again, it goes to show you the scope of this next round of storms.

But here's the thing, it may be focused in the northern portion of the state right now, but that's going to shift down into Southern California by the time we get to the evening tonight. So, no part of California is really going to be spared by this next round.

It's just all about the timing. Then, you get a very brief, and I emphasize the word "very" on that brief break before the next one arrives late set Sunday into the day Monday. And that one likely to have even more moisture with it than this first system will. In addition to rain and snow, you're also talking winds, you've got wind advisories out. Where we're looking at wind gusts up around 50 miles per hour, those higher elevations could be as much as 70 miles per hour. So, likely, to have some additional trees and power lines coming down as well.

Here's a look at the rainfall forecast: most of these areas, especially along the coastal region, looking at two to four inches of rain over the next several days. Snow will be measured in feet -- you're talking two to three feet just in the next 24 hours. But by the time we get to the end of the day, Monday, you're talking three to six feet of snow possible. So, again, extremely high amounts of rain and snow. That's why you've got these winter storm warnings. And they're not just for California, but that system will spread into the intermountain west. So, you also have some of the watches and warnings that extend into those areas for when we go into Sunday and Monday before the next system arrives.

But the good news is there is light at the end of the tunnel here for the Californians. Once we get to the end of the upcoming week, and especially into the following week, we finally start to see a drier period of time for much of this region. Now, how long it lasts? We don't really know that but Boris and Amara, the good news is at least there will be a decent period of drying out in the future.

SANCHEZ: And some relief for those folks. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

President Biden and the White House are on the defensive this weekend as questions mount over his handling of classified documents. And a powerful House Republican has begun probing the Justice Department's response to the matter.

WALKER: CNN Chief White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly with more.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the first full day of a president under investigation, an attempt to focus on business as usual.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, we need a remarkable moment on our lines.

MATTINGLY: President Biden welcoming Japanese Prime Minister Kishida, to the White House to highlight a transformational shift in the Pacific nation's security posture.

As he ignored questions about the special counsel now investigating his handling of classified documents after his time as vice president and his press secretary continue to deflect or declined to answer critical, outstanding questions.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not going to go into any specifics from here. If you have any questions, anything further that's related to the review or I refer you to the Department of Justice, or my colleagues over at the White House Counsel's Office.

MATTINGLY: For Biden, who has maintained this --

BIDEN: People know, I take classified documents or classified material seriously.

MATTINGLY: Even as the scale, the problem has mushroomed into a crisis over just five days.

BIDEN: We're cooperating fully and completely with the Justice Department's review.

MATTINGLY: The outward appearance of normalcy serving to cover what has been described by officials behind the scenes as a scramble to adjust to a new normal. All as new details emerged from the initial batch of 10 classified documents discovered at a Biden affiliated Think Tank, stored in Biden's office there. Floor plans show a small closet to the left of Biden's desk and storage spaces in the adjoining conference room. The documents include a memo from Biden to then President Obama, as well as two briefing memos prepared for Biden phone calls with the British Prime Minister and the President of the European Council.

PIERRE: We have been transparent in the last couple of days -- remember there's an ongoing process, and we have spoken when it is appropriate.

MATTINGLY: Even as details of another set of classified documents found at Biden's Wilmington home in his garage and in an adjacent room remain under wraps after their existence was publicly revealed nearly a month after their discovery.

BIDEN: My Corvette's in a locked garage, OK, so it's not like it's sitting on the street.

MATTINGLY: Just one of the many questions that remain unanswered for a White House facing a most perilous moment.

PIERRE: And we have said that we are going to continue, to continue to fully cop cooperate, we have been. The President's lawyers and team has been fully cooperating with the Department of Justice, and we're certainly, they're certainly going to do that with the special counsel.


MATTINGLY: Well, President Biden's closest advisors and lawyers both inside and outside the administration have been quietly meeting trying to figure out how to navigate this very new reality. When you talk to many inside the West Wing, they acknowledge they have no involvement, most of them have been surprised every step of the way.

And in large part, they're trying to maintain some semblance of business as usual. In fact, senior White House advisors say, they believe that when this process plays out, the facts that have been laid out will show that the President did, and his team, did what they were supposed to do: follow the correct protocol when it comes to actually alerting people to the existence of these classified documents.

And in the meantime, they acknowledged there's not much else they can do then try and implement the very strategy they had before all of this happen just five days ago. Whether or not that's possible, seems somewhat aspirational, but certainly this this, at least at this point in time, business, as usual, is the primary goal. Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.

SANCHEZ: Phil, thank you so much for that. For more on the growing controversy over President Biden's handling of classified documents, we have CNN Political Commentator, Errol Louis with us this morning. Errol, always great to see you. Let's start with these two separate special counsels investigating a sitting and a former president over the handling of classified documents. A historic moment -- this has never happened before.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Boris. That's exactly right. And, and it's certainly unfortunate. I think future holders of the office will certainly be very clear about what's supposed to happen with classified documents. Is it apples? Is it oranges? Is it serious? Is it not serious? What makes it so difficult, Boris, is that by definition, we can't have a full thoroughgoing public discussion about what these documents are or how important they might be. And so, it's either a criminal charge, or it's a mystery. And right now, we're in the mystery phase of all, of all of this, and it's not going to be good for the White House for sure.

SANCHEZ: Well, there are significant differences between Donald Trump's legal issues related to classified documents and Joe Biden's. Republicans have been quick to point to Democrats and Joe Biden and say that it's hypocritical the way that they've spoken about Donald Trump's issues. What do you make of the White House's handling of messaging here? Are they doing enough to draw a distinction between the two?

LOUIS: Well, look, there's, there's messaging and then there's substance. I mean, look, the, the Biden White House has not been perfect on this by any means. I mean, there's information that they did not disclose that they knew before the election. And clearly, they wanted this to sort of blow over or at least come to light after the election have concluded.

Even when they talked about the documents that were found in the think tank, they knew that there was a question about what had been discovered at his home and that wasn't really disclosed until, until later. So, I think they're going to have to really get their ducks in a row and figure out how much they want to disclose and when, and be a little bit better at putting it out quickly.

But yes, there are certainly differences that you know that -- first of all, you're talking about two administrations ago. So, any information that, that might have been in those documents, presumably, if anything bad was going to happen, we would have known about it by now. That's probably the biggest difference. And then, secondly, there is the matter of how you respond. I mean, the statute, if you look at it, that makes it a crime to withhold or possess a lot of this material really also specifically says that when asked by a plausible or competent authority, like the National Archives, you're supposed to turn this stuff over.


So, you know, clearly Trump reacted very differently to this than Mr. Biden has. The President, when asked about it, again, not perfect, maybe not instant, but he's turned over the materials. At least that's what we know so far. Donald Trump, by contrast, went to court and argued and tried to hold on to the documents as long as possible.

SANCHEZ: So, let's switch gears now, Errol, because the debt ceiling is quickly approaching. The country is set to reach it by next week, in just about five days. The Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the U.S. could default on its debt by June. She wrote a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, writing: "Failure to meet the government's obligations would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy, the livelihoods of all Americans, and global financial stability." How do you see this debate playing out in Congress?

LOUIS: Politically, the House majority, I think is going to be tempted to do what they like to do, which is force the government to slow down, perhaps even come to a halt, people miss their paychecks, to basically be disruptors. The problem, of course with that is that we just watched a national drama and even international drama of them simply trying to select a speaker.

If they're going to crash the government every time something comes up something important, like picking a Speaker of the House, or making sure that existing debts are covered by the United States government, it's going to further this narrative that this is not a group that is ready to govern or interested in governing.

And you know, when federal workers start missing paychecks, and different kinds of programs start closing down and you have to shut the national parks and we're going to cover it all, all throughout the media. It's going to be a really, really bad luck. So, you know, we'll see whether or not they're serious about this showdown, but it really might blow up in their faces.

SANCHEZ: Errol, while we have you, I wanted to ask about a congressman in your state, Republican George Santos. Yikes, a lot of fabrications on his resume. It's interesting the way that he's handled this. It's also interesting that Kevin McCarthy, has seemed to stand behind him, obviously, the calculus, the very slim majority that he holds in the House has something to do with that. Do you think something can happen that might change that dynamic?

LOUIS: I don't see how. I think the dynamic, unfortunately, that that is most likely to, to evolve here is that we in the media and others will go from asking George Santos, what are you doing here? And when will you resign? To asking him, you know, what are your thoughts? And how do you plan to vote on the next piece of legislation? And then he's made unalterably clear that while he may not be running for re- election, he intends to stay. And that, you know, the only five members of Congress have ever been voted out of the house, and three of them were confederates. You know, that's how long ago it was. It's been a generation since anybody was actually thrown out. So, those who have the power to remove him are either the voters two years from now, or George Santos himself resigning. And so far, he says he's not going anywhere.

SANCHEZ: Yes, notably, a source tells CNN that there were concerns over his background and, and those fabrications well before the election. So, it's interesting to see how these investigations might play out, what they might reveal. Errol Louis, we hope you'll come back and talk to us about it once we have those details.

LOUIS: Absolutely. Thank you, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Thanks.

WALKER: All right. Still ahead, police released new details in the case of a missing Massachusetts woman. What we're learning about her disappearance, some of the inconsistencies from her husband and of course all the questions surrounding him.


Plus, Southwest Airlines response to a letter from lawmakers demanding answers following that massive travel meltdown over Christmas. What their saying about how they'll make sure it doesn't happen again?


SANCHEZ: There is a recently unearthed police report that's drawing attention because it reveals the husband of a missing Massachusetts woman was accused of threatening to kill her in 2014 before the two got married.

WALKER: Ana Walshe, a mother of three has not been seen since New Year's Day. Her husband, Brian, has been arrested and charged with misleading investigators. CNN's Jason Carroll has more now on the couple's troubled history.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amara and Boris, disturbing details emerging from that police report dated back from 2014. In that report filed in Washington, D.C.


CARROLL (voice-over): Ana told police there that at the time that Brian Walshe, "Made a statement over the telephone that he was going to kill her and her friend." Making threats like that is a felony but Walshe was never convicted. He was never even charged. The reason for that, again, according to the report is because the victim refused to cooperate in the prosecution.

Meanwhile, out here a candlelight vigil held for Ana Walshe. The people who came out here wanting to say prayers not only for her, but also for her children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're all clinging to some little bit of hope. But as days go by, it just gets -- it's such a sad situation. We're still hoping for the best, but preparing for the, for the worst.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a farmers market every Thursday in the summer. I remember seeing him down here with his children. And it's, you know, I feel, I hope they're at peace. I hope they have somebody helping them get through this.

CARROLL: The children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The children, right. You know, the mother's gone, the father's gone. And, yes, I'm very concerned about them.



CARROLL: Those that we spoke to say one of the most important things to them is to make sure that the children stay together. They are currently in the custody of the state. Amara, Boris.

WALKER: So many disturbing and heartbreaking details here. Joining me now to talk about this is retired FBI Special Agent Jennifer Coffindaffer. Welcome to you this morning. I mean, first of all, so we just heard Jason there lay out this disturbing history of this apparent death threat between husband, from husband to wife. And then of course you know, all the other stuff in the affidavit and prosecutors about Brian being seen at a Home Depot, you know, wearing a mask and surgical gloves, buying cleaning supplies worth $450 in cash, blood being found in the couple's home -- their basement. At this point, would investigators be working from the theory that Brian Walshe is a suspect in this case?

JENNIFER COFFINDAFFER, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Absolutely. They're working from the theory that he was involved in this case and involved with not only her disappearance, but likely her murder, based on the indicia that was found also in the trash, specifically a hacksaw and bloody towels, all of that, that was found from that disposal area and the area in and around his mother's house. So, that combined with the details that he gave police that have since been disproven in terms of where he was that day, he was really at Home Depot, not necessarily just taking his son out for ice cream. The fact that he said he got lost on his way to his mother's house. All of that showed that he is not being truthful about his whereabouts.

So, that doesn't paint a pretty picture combined with that prior report, which could come in as what we call for, for be evidence. Evidence showing that this wasn't just some accident that happened, but that it would have been intentional.

WALKER: Yes, and if you look at the timeline, right? So, Brian Walshe telling police that he lost his wife on the morning of January 1st. It wasn't until January 4th, that her co-workers reported her missing. She was allegedly later supposed to get on a flight from there, from Massachusetts to D.C. for her work. And then you have investigators saying that Ana Walshe's phone pinged near the couple's home on January 1st and 2nd, what do you make of this timeline?

COFFINDAFFER: Well, exactly another thing that shows just inconsistency and his unwillingness to truly tell the truth in this matter. If she was gone, and supposedly had taken a ride share as he exclaimed, why was her phone left behind? So, again, another inconsistency that adds to this timeline, showing that Ana was gone well before he reported her.

WALKER: And what about you know, again, this history, right? So, we had we learned about these this threat he made over the phone allegedly in 2014 to his wife that he would kill her and her friend, but also, you know, there was this this dispute over his father's will after his father passed away. And you had in affidavits, friends and family, describing him as a sociopath, as very angry and physically violent. He's also pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges. I mean, is there any significance in his past in investigating him today?

COFFINDAFFER: Absolutely. It just shows his frame of mind. And it also shows, possibly, a situation where he was diagnosed as a sociopath. And that sort of personality can lend itself to this sort of behavior. So, it's something that's going to be looked at because the bottom line is, even though you don't have to prove it in court, a jury always wants to understand why -- why could a husband take his wife, the mother of his children away from this world, especially in such a gruesome way that is indicated by the evidence that's been left behind? So, they will definitely want to look at that and explore those options in terms of his mindset at the time.

WALKER: Yes, and not to mention that, that search he allegedly made online how to dismember and dispose of a body of 115-pound person. Just so many gruesome details. Jennifer Coffindaffer, appreciate you. Thank you very much.

COFFINDAFFER: Thank you so much for having me.

SANCHEZ: Los Angeles police start 2023 investigating three officer- involved deaths, including the death of a high school teacher who also happens to be the cousin of one of the founders of Black Lives Matter. The outrage in the body camera video of what went down is next.



WALKER: A 31-year-old father, who was an English teacher and the cousin of a Black Lives Matter co-founder, died from cardiac arrest last week, after he was repeatedly tased by police. That is, according to the Los Angeles Police Departments.

SANCHEZ: Keenan Anderson's death, marks the third officer-involved death in the city so far this year. A body cam videos which show the use of force by officers capture exactly what happened. And we have to warn you, some of the footage is disturbing.

Stephanie Elam has more.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. I'm going to tase -- I'm going to tase him.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The end of a police encounter, the beginning of a nightmare for the family of 31-year-old Keenan Anderson. The cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who posted, "Keenan deserves to be alive right now. His child deserves to be rai sed by his father."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit with your legs crossed.

ANDERSON: Please, they're going to trying to kill me. Please.

ELAM: Police say began with a traffic accident that witnesses said, Anderson cause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That guy right there, he caused that accident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that guy is in very paranoid state.

ELAM: Anderson was running around near the scene, police say, when an officer caught up with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off to the side here.

ANDERSON (text): Somebody is trying to kill me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): Have a seat against the wall over here.

ANDERSON: I don't want to be in the black. I want people to see me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): Sir. OK, you can sit right there then.

ELAM: He initially comply, dropping to his knees and putting his hands behind his head, as he pleaded with the officer.


ANDERSON: Please sir, I didn't mean to sir. Please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on, hold on. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): Come here. I don't want you in the road. Come here.

ELAM: Anderson, later jogged into the middle of the road.


ELAM: Where police restrained him and eventually tasered him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn over on your stomach right now!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch your elbow, partner.

ANDERSON: They're trying to George Floyd me. They're trying to George Floyd me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop. Stop it or I'm going to tase you.

OK, stop it or I'm going to tase you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop resisting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop it or I'm going to tase you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop resisting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop resisting.

ANDERSON: Please, please, please!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. I'm going to -- I'm going to tase him. I'm going to tase him.


ANDERSON: They're trying to kill me. They're trying to kill me. ELAM: The video, edited and released by LAPD shows Anderson is tasered five times. He died later of cardiac arrest at the hospital.

MELINA ABDULLAH, CO-FOUNDER, BLACK LIVES MATTER LOS ANGELES CHAPTER: Keenan Anderson said they're trying to George Floyd me. They are trying to George Floyd me. And guess what happened? They did.

ELAM: Police say early test results indicate cocaine and marijuana in Anderson system.

Keenan Anderson was a high school English teacher in Washington, D.C., visiting L.A. during winter break.

His death is one of three, involving LAPD officers last week.

MICHAEL MOORE, CHIEF, LOS ANGELES POLICE: This cluster of events while miles apart deeply concerned me.

ELAM: But police say, officer involved deaths are falling to all-time lows. The chief vowing of full investigation, as Anderson school calls him, "a deeply committed educator and father of a 6-year-old son." He was beloved by all.


ELAM: The Los Angeles Police Department says of the more than 2,000 times police officers used force last year, 31 resulted in death. And of that 31, 80 percent involve drugs or alcohol.

However, the police chief says that number is still too high, but it is a low for the department.

As for Patrisse Cullors, who is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter and who is cousin to Keenan Anderson, she posted on Instagram, in part, that her cousin was killed by the police. Los Angeles has no mental health care structure, no real social services, just cops, cops, cops.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.

WALKER: One flight fiasco after another from Southwest to the FAA. Questions are now resurfacing when it comes to America's ageing infrastructure. What can be done to prevent another meltdown? We're going to ask an expert, next.


SANCHEZ: Southwest Airlines has now responded to a letter from Senate Democrats, saying they're working to earn back the trust of customers and employees. Of course, this follows the mass cancelations and delays that we saw during the holiday season.

WALKER: Yes, the airline says, they are ensuring that actions are taken to mitigate risks of this happening again. The letter penned by 14 Democrats and independent Senator Bernie Sanders demands answers over what it's learned and how it's evolving after canceling nearly 16,000 flights in 10 days.

So, demand for air travel is returning to pre pandemic levels across the U.S. But, failures in the past month have really exposed the weaknesses, the vulnerabilities in the country's aviation industry. And of course, the automated system that it relies on.

On Wednesday, an FAA ground stop caused 10,000 flights to be delayed and another 1300 canceled. The FAA says the chaos created by a system outage was all sparked by a single corrupted file. And this comes just weeks after that major meltdown from Southwest Airlines that saw 1000s of flights canceled or delayed.

Joining me now is CNN transportation analyst and former inspector general for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Mary Schiavo. Always good to see you.

I first want to get your reaction to Southwest Airlines' vow to mitigate the risks from a meltdown happening again. I mean, do you trust that this nightmare is not going to happen again? I mean, what kind of changes are they even considering?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN TRANSPORTATION ANALYST: Well, the problem is, is this nightmare keeps happening for passengers.


SCHIAVO: Now, Southwest is the most recent one. They've had a number of glitches. And, of course, the glitch two weeks ago was not the only one. In 2022 and 2021, there are also problems.

And so, you know, the problem is, and they're -- and they're somewhat related, although they're not tied together exactly is the computerization problem at the FAA.

You know, airlines and the FAA and other systems, they have been allowed to just continue to expand. And they really haven't kept up at all with the demands on the computer information system, and especially the FAA, of course.

But without serious examination into what they are doing. And I think in case of airlines, some reregulation as to what they're doing and how they're serving the country, I think we can expect this to continue.

Literally, the FAA, and if necessary, Congress needs to get tough with the airlines and let them know they are not serving the American public and they're not serving the world.

WALKER: I mean, it's mind boggling to learn that it was an engineer who mistakenly replaced one file with the corrupt file that brought this whole system to a halt, grounded flights.

And then, of course, it was like hard to diagnose. I remember seeing you on the air, I was at Atlanta International Airport, you know, talking about the mess that ensued for a few hours. And it was that simple. I mean, how does this even happen? Where are the redundancies?

SCHIAVO: Well, you really have, have absolutely crystallized the problem. So, the problem is the FAA does not really run this system.

Yes, they're supposed to be responsible for it. But the computerization program on the United States National Airspace System is a huge computerization system information management system.


And this system that went down called NOTAM. Notice to Airmen now called, Notice to Air Missions.

By the way, it seems the FAA paid more attention to renaming the system than making the system work. But I digress is part of a bigger system called SWIM, System Wide Information Management. And that system runs all sorts of important information that airlines and pilots and an air operators literally around the world, because anyone coming into the U.S. has to access that system that's run by contractors.

They've been building out the National Airspace System and what's called, NextGen. How we will fly seamlessly around the world on computers, literally for 30 years.

And the FAA, when I was inspector general, and the -- and the inspectors general after me have all found that the FAA cannot manage these information system contractors.

And what they were supposed to do was have three systems, one that's running, one is a backup that could come online in real time. So, we didn't have this.

And another one. So, if you're going to tinker or make put new files and put new software codes in, you would do it and then test it.

But here, what they did is they put the file, corrupted file into both systems. And so, when they went to, you know, to boot the system up again, both systems were corrupted. And that's not how it's supposed to work.

But remember, the FAA is supposed to be able to manage these contractors. They don't even know which contractor put this in the system. And that is literally the 30-year-old problem that has been going on at the FAA and NextGen since its inception.

WALKER: So, 15 seconds here. I mean, is the solution as easy as just overhauling the system with new software?

SCHIAVO: No. That because what we're going to have is the same problem. What you have to do is manage the system very closely.

And literally, the FAA may not be able to do this. The system is probably the most complicated information management system in on the civilian side in the world. And literally, they have got to get people on top of it, who understand it, and who manage it, before we throw billions more dollars at it.

WALKER: All right. Until then, it will be fun to fly, because you have no idea what you're going to be getting, right?

Mary Schiavo, thank you very much.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Ahead, unidentified aerial phenomenon. It went for being science fiction in the last few years to the subject of government investigation. A look at just how many of these the government can't identify. We'll be right back.



WALKER: A Pentagon report is detailing a dramatic increase in UFO sightings. More than 350 since 2021. Many of them are explained as being drones, birds or weather events, but about half of them remain unexplained.

SANCHEZ: And the office that tracks these sightings in restricted military airspace says that some quote, require further analysis. That's an understatement.

CNN space and defense correspondent Kristin Fisher has the details.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Amara, Capitol Hill has been waiting for this report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence or the ODNI.

And what this report found is that there have been more than 300 new sightings of what the government calls UAPs, or unidentified aerial phenomena, or, more commonly called UFOs, since the last time that the ODNI put out a report like this back in 2021.

Back then, the ODNI could not explain 144 sightings of UAPs. This time, now, they can't explain 171 of them. And one part of the report that really stands out is this one.

It says that some of these uncharacterized UAPs appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities and require further analysis.

So, is it advanced us technology? Is it advanced technology from a foreign adversary like perhaps China or Russia? Or is it extra- terrestrial in origin, or something else entirely? We just don't know.

And the U.S. government says that it doesn't know either, or at least, it will not say so publicly in this unclassified report.

But they did give some explanations for about 163 of the sightings that have been detailed in this report. And here is how they explain those. The vast majority are either balloons, or balloon entities. A handful were drones. Another handful were what they call airborne clutter. Things like birds, weather events, or airborne debris, like plastic bags.

So, the bottom line here, members of Congress say that this is a step in the right direction to reducing the stigma associated with reporting sightings of UAPs.

It's also a step in the right direction to enhancing national security. Because remember, a lot of these sightings happen right around military bases or assets.

But, well, it's a step in the right direction. Members of Congress say the Pentagon, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, still have a long way to go to giving them the answers that they ultimately want.

Boris and Amara?

WALKER: Yes, thank you very much for that, Kristin.

Still to come this morning, we will hear from one Alabama family trapped in their home for three hours before crews could rescue them. You also have to hear their story of survival really is a miracle.

And a quick programming note: Catch the CNN film "NAVALNY", airing tonight at 9:00. Here is a preview.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): Vladimir Alexandrovich.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (text): It's Alexei Navalny calling, and I was hoping you could tell me why you wanted to kill me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Remarkably, Vladimir Putin faces a legitimate opponent, Alexei Navalny.


NAVALNY (text) I will end that war.

NAVALNY: If I want to be leader of a country, I have to organize people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Kremlin hates Navalny so much that they refuse to say his name.

Passengers heard Navalny cry out in agony.

NAVALNY: Come on, poisoned seriously?

We are creating the coalition to fight this regime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are killed, what message do you leave behind to the Russian people?

NAVALNY: It's very simple. Never give up.

ANNOUNCER: "NAVALNY", tonight at 9:00 on CNN.