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CNN This Morning

8 Million People Under Flood Watches Across California; At Least 19 People Killed In California Amid Historic Flooding; Heavy Rainfall, Snow And Wind Expected Across Parts Of California; Biden Approves Disaster Declaration For Alabama After Tornadoes; Five More Pages Of Classified Material Found At Biden Residence; Treasury Secretary Warns U.S. Could Default On Debt As Soon As June; McCarthy's Concessions To Secure Speakership Likely To Complicate Debt Limit Negotiations; 64 Killed As Yeti Airlines Flight Crashed In Nepal; Rescue Teams Search For Survivors Of Bombed Dnipro Apartment Building; U.K. Recalls Ambassador After Iran Executes Dual British Citizen. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired January 15, 2023 - 06:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Buenos dias and welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. I'm Boris Sanchez.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Amara Walker.

President Biden signs a disaster declaration for California as storm after storm rips through the state causing flash flooding and more mudslides. And it's not over yet. We're tracking another round of heavy rain moving in.

SANCHEZ: Plus, days from hitting the debt ceiling President Biden and the new Republican led House could soon be sparring as the country inches closer to defaulting on its debt. How Kevin McCarthy's concessions to become speaker could complicate talks.

WALKER: And the death toll continues to climb in Dnipro after Ukrainian officials say a Russian missile struck an apartment building. We are live in Ukraine this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very difficult. We just got over paying back the landlord. You're just a hamster spinning on a wheel.


SANCHEZ: For millions of small business owners who took out loans to stay afloat during the pandemic, it is time to pay up. We'll tell you how many are fighting to stay open.

WALKER: Can you believe it? It's already mid January, Sunday, January 15th. Thank you so much for waking up with us. Good morning to you, Boris. SANCHEZ: Great to be with you as always, Amara. Time just flying by in 2023.

WALKER: I know. It really is. Well, let's begin this morning in California where right now some 8 million people remain under a flood watch, and thousands are without power as heavy rains continue to batter the west coast.

SANCHEZ: It has been a rough few weeks for the region. At least 19 people have been killed in California in these historic floods, and the risk is actually much higher now because the ground is so saturated it's too soaked to absorb any more water.


ZACK RONKIN, CALIFORNIA RESIDENT: I woke up. Everything was fine, and within a matter of minutes, it just started flooding. And my girl started screaming there was water coming in the house. I got up and ran to look, and the next thing I know, the creek (INAUDIBLE) is flooding into my backyard, and my whole house just had water running through it.


WALKER: The heavy rains have caused some roadways to collapse with many streets, as you can see, and highways closed due to flooding and rock slides. And officials urging residents to beware of dangerous conditions after rescuing a woman overnight who was trapped by the fast moving waters.


SHERIFF TINA NIETO, MONTEREY COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: Rivers are dangerous, you know, the fury of a river. You don't know standing water. You don't know how deep it is.

You know, one foot of water can move a car. You know, we've lost life up and down the state from people who have driven into flooded areas, thinking it was safe, and caught in their cars. People, you know, trapped in their homes, not heeding our evacuation orders and warnings.


SANCHEZ: And officials like Sheriff Tina Nieto are closely monitoring the Monterey Peninsula, because rising waters are threatening to turn it into an island, to cut it off from mainland California. CNN's Natasha Chen is in Fairfax now with the very latest.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Amara and Boris, we have seen a lot of urban flooding around with signs telling drivers to please slow down and be careful when there is flooding around. And there was a mudslide here in Fairfax on Friday morning where multiple trees crashed into the back of an apartment complex, causing 19 people and all of their pets having to evacuate. And thankfully everyone was OK. But we have also seen evacuation orders from Santa Cruz County, from Santa Clara County, places that are prone to flooding. Now, we talked to one of the residents that had to evacuate his home here in Fairfax. He describes the moment that mudslide happened.


MARK FLEISCHER, APARTMENT RESIDENT: I thought I heard thunder. It was not thunder. It was a hillside giving away behind the two flats behind us. Trees went into their bathrooms. There were little kids there.

There is -- fortunately a lady across the street is an EMT, fire person in San Francisco. We had no idea what was happening until I came outside. And there were floods.


This is nothing. It was coming down this broad and about this deep. All mud flow.


CHEN: Fleischer told me he's lived here since the 1980s, and he's never seen anything like that. Thankfully, everyone there was OK. But there are a lot of warnings city officials are giving because of dangers like that.

And like this road, what we're seeing in Pescadero, Cal fire shared pictures of this when part of a road collapsed and fell off a cliff. There is a lot of saturation in the ground and in rivers because of the storm after storm that we've seen over the last couple of week.

So even if there isn't as much rain this weekend, as Californians have been seeing, it's not going to take much for the flooding and those mudslide risks to happen. And so, at one point on Saturday, there were more than 30,000 customers out of power, more than 25 million people under a flood watch.

Amara and Boris, back to you.

WALKER: Natasha, thank you for your reporting. The danger in California is not over yet. There is more rain ahead today.

SANCHEZ: Let's get a look at the forecast now with CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar. She is chasing all these storms in the CNN weather center. Allison, California will soon get a reprieve but we're tracking yet another round of storms.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that's right. The reprieve is not here just yet. We have one more final atmospheric river to get through this weekend. It should arrive later on this afternoon and into the evening for areas of California.

The bit of good news is that it's not going to have as much rain as some of the previous atmospheric rivers. But as Natasha mentioned, that ground is almost complete saturated in a lot of spots. So it would not take much.

Here's a look at the radar now. We still have some rain across areas of northern, central, and even southern California. So really not much area is spared at this moment.

You've got two separate systems, the one that's pushing rain and snow into the Pacific Northwest. And then see this chunk of clouds here? That's going to be the next system that pushes into areas of central and southern California as we go through the rest of the day today.

Because we talked about it, that ground is already saturated, you still have flood watches in effect for San Francisco, San Jose, stretching down into Monterey. Even though the bulk of the rain is really going to be focused over the central and southern part you will still have some rain in the forecast in northern California. And then, obviously, also still going to get some rain and some snow across areas of the Pacific Northwest today, too.

Here's the thing, though. Once that system finally pushes out, maybe getting a little bit of a break to the middle of the week, still looking, though, Amara and Boris, for significant amounts of rain and snow until we finally see things dry out at the end of the upcoming week.

WALKER: I have to tell you when I saw the video of the air rescue in Laguna Hills, California, that's where my parents live. And so, I looked up. I saw it on the TV and I called my parents immediately to make sure that they were OK. I mean, I just -- you just don't expect that much rain for this many days in California, you know.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

WALKER: So, President Biden has approved a major disaster declaration for Alabama following the deadly storms and subsequent tornadoes that killed seven people in the state on Thursday. Cleanup efforts are ongoing in Selma, Alabama, where a tornado tore through the city known for its role in the civil rights movement. And an even stronger tornado hit neighboring Autauga County where at least 20 homes were either damaged or destroyed. Now, the newly released disaster funding will go toward grants for temporary housing, home repairs, and other programs to help people recover.

SANCHEZ: We want to pivot to politics this morning. There are more documents and more questions. The Biden administration says that aides found five additional pages of classified material at the president's home in Delaware. They were discovered on Thursday, the same day that a special counsel was appointed to take over the Biden documents investigation.

WALKER: CNN White House correspondent Arlette Saenz joining us now live from Atlanta where the president will be speaking this morning. But, Arlette, first about this latest disclosure of once again new documents, even though we thought -- at least the White House counsel had said that the discoveries were complete.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Amara and Boris, good morning. The White House -- there have been so many twists and turns in this classified documents saga. And the latest came as the White House revealed that there were actually more classified materials found at President Biden's residence in Wilmington, Delaware, than was initially stated. This is just the latest example of the shifting explanations that have come from the White House since the story broke on Monday.

Now overall, it appears that there are approximately 20 classified documents that were found during searches at both the president's residence in Wilmington as well as a former office that he used when he left the vice presidency in Washington, D.C.


Now, initially the White House had said that on Wednesday the personal lawyers had discovered one document amounting to one page at the Wilmington residence in a room that was adjacent to the garage. But then yesterday, the White House said in a statement that the following day on Thursday after the special counsel had been announced that five pages of additional classified material were also found at the residence.

Now, this all comes as the White House has come under scrutiny for the way that they've shared information relating to the situation. First on Monday, when it was revealed that documents were found at that private office, they did not include that there were also documents at the residence. That did not -- information did not come until later in the week and then now they have provided this explanation about the additional classified materials.

Now, Bob Bauer, the personal attorney for President Biden, has tried to respond to some of that criticism saying that they can't release all the information at once. He said in a statement -- quote -- "The president's personal attorneys have attempted to balance the importance of public transparency where appropriate with the established norms and" -- institutions necessary -- sorry -- "norms and limitations necessary to protect the investigation's integrity."

But this all comes as the White House is really facing a political and possibly legal headache especially now as that special counsel has been appointed.

SANCHEZ: And, Arlette, President Biden is headed to where you are in Atlanta soon. He's visiting a very important church. Tell us about that visit.

SAENZ: Yes. In just a few hours, President Biden will be speaking here at Ebenezer Baptist Church. This is the church where Dr. Martin Luther King was pastor at the time that he was assassinated.

Biden will be the first sitting president to deliver a sermon here. It is expected to touch on both Dr. King's legacy as well as talk about voting rights and access to democracy. But, of course, this is an official trip but it also has political undertones.

Georgia is a state that President Biden narrowly flipped back in 2020, and as he considers launching his own presidential bid, this is a state that could be pivotal to reelection as well as gaining more support from Black voters. Now, it's also an example of the White House's willingness and desire to try to keep the focus on their issues, on their messaging, even as this classified documents saga continues.

WALKER: All right. Arlette Saenz, thank you very much, live for us there in Atlanta.

So, a battle over raising the debt limit could happen sooner than anticipated. The Treasury Department now says the U.S. will reach its debt limit this week and default as soon as June.

SANCHEZ: Yes. There was a warning from treasury secretary Janet Yellen about this. And with Republicans now in control of the House dealing with the debt ceiling will not be an easy task for President Biden.

CNN congressional reporter Daniella Diaz joins us now live from Capitol Hill. Daniella, good morning. Speaker McCarthy he made a lot of promises to secure the speakership, and that could wind up being problematic for him.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Boris, a lot of promises, indeed, including addressing the debt limit, but in the conservative Republicans way. He told that group of holdouts, about 20, that he would pass a proposal that would tell the Treasury Department which payments should be prioritized if the debt ceiling is breached.

We heard this directly from Congressman Chip Roy of Texas. He is one of those Republicans that was a holdout to support speaker for the gavel, or excuse me, support Kevin McCarthy for the speaker's gavel. He said that McCarthy committed to passing this proposal in hopes of limiting congressional spending.

That is one of the priorities of this new Congress of the Republican majority. They don't want as much spending. They don't want to increase the debt limit.

And look, there are several versions of this proposal floating right now in the House Republican conference. And look, McCarthy is stuck in the middle. That's the bigger picture here.

He's going to have to get all of his Republican conference to support any proposal to deal with the debt limit should the country default on its debt in June. He has a razor thin majority. And really, the other bigger picture here, Boris and Amara, is that whatever proposal he puts on the floor of the House to pass, that would address the debt limit before June it's unlikely to pass the Senate, especially if Republicans wrote this legislation and be passed into law.

So, McCarthy will likely have to negotiate with his Democratic counterparts in the House and in the Senate to be able to deal with addressing the debt limit, and hoping that, of course, that the debt limit -- United States does not default on its debt before June. Boris, Amara.

SANCHEZ: It will be a huge debate playing out before our eyes over the next few days. Daniella Diaz, from Capitol Hill, thank you so much.

A lot to discuss on politics. For more on the debt ceiling debate and the classified documents investigation, let's bring in Daniel Lippman.


He's a White House reporter for "Politico." Daniel, always appreciate seeing you bright and early for us. Let's start with these five additional pages of classified documents, classified material found at the president's Delaware home. What's your reaction to this latest discovery?

DANIEL LIPPMAN, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes, this is a, you know, constant drip, drip from this White House which is, you know, previously have not seen these types of scandals and controversies. They -- you know, this was kind of the responsibility of those aides who were packing up the White House when Joe Biden was vice president. And so, this undermines their message that they are a competent operation, and it makes it harder politically for them, given that President Trump is facing his own investigation into classified documents and other government records.

And so, a lot of Americans may not make the distinction between the two investigations even though Trump's had hundreds of documents. He's refusing to give them up. And Biden -- you know, he immediately told the National Archives and Records Administration, hey, we found some documents in early November but did not tell the public then.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and notably President Biden's personal attorney is trying to explain why the White House was not more forthcoming earlier, essentially saying that limitations on public comments are being -- are done out of consideration for the investigation, the integrity of the investigation. How might this impact the White House from that standpoint?

LIPPMAN: I think, you know, it's an interesting dynamic they have had because they're usually, you know, pretty good about transparency. But I think they were worried that it would become this huge controversy for -- throughout November and December, as long as they were continuing to look for documents. And so, they wanted to try to get this investigation over with, find out all the documents that were in President Biden's different locations.

And so, they -- and they also had the Georgia runoff. They're not of course going to say that, but, you know, that might have played some role in the back of their heads. But I think it's a question of why they didn't do searches of the locations, other locations right after they found those documents in the Penn Biden Center in early November.

SANCHEZ: Yes, there were six weeks between when initial the documents were discovered in early November and the second batch that was found in December. Daniel, let's talk about the debt ceiling. How do you see this debate playing out in Congress? We're just about four days removed according to Janet Yellen from hitting the debt ceiling.

LIPPMAN: Yes. Well, the Treasury Department is going to take those extraordinary measures to keep the debt being paid for the next few months. Probably it might get hit in June when actually the rubber hits the road, but this is going to be a test for both Kevin McCarthy and the Biden White House, since the full faith and credit of the government is on the line.

And there's a real test about whether, you know, how these negotiations play out. Because McCarthy only became speaker because he had kind of cut a deal with those holdouts, and saying, hey, you'll get more influence. But these people want to kind of have strict fiscal discipline, even though, if you ask Americans, they are not that interested in that -- those types of issues anymore.

With the debt just climbing 40 percent under President Trump, under every president, Democrat or Republican, I think the public has viewed fiscal austerity as not in their best interest but also you can't have this go on forever in terms of these, you know, the debt increasing rapidly. But you also don't want to default on the debt right now.

SANCHEZ: Yes, the White House is essentially saying that this is a debate that has to play out in Congress. The White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre essentially saying that they have to resolve that debate. But what role, if any, do you see President Biden playing in this?

LIPPMAN: I think he'll probably come in at the end in terms of trying to be a closer. But right now, the White House's posture is, hey, we don't negotiate over the debt. Just send us a clean debt ceiling increase.

That is probably not going to happen. There are going to be some negotiations. But the White House position is they want to have a strong negotiating hand right now. And then down the line, then they can give some concessions, try to find some spending programs to cut, to mollify Republicans.

SANCHEZ: Daniel Lippman, we have got to leave the conversation there.


Thank you so much for the time.

LIPPMAN: Thank you.

WALKER: We are following a developing story this morning out of Nepal where a commercial airliner crashed shortly after takeoff. You can see the video of the fiery scene coming into CNN right now. We're going to have the very latest.

Also the death toll continues to climb in Dnipro, Ukraine, after a Russian missile hit an apartment building. Live in Ukraine, next.


WALKER: We're following a developing story out of Nepal. At least 64 people are dead after a Yeti Airlines plane crashed in the Pokhara region of Nepal. Video shows plumes of smoke coming up from the burned remains of that ATR-72 plane. Seventy-five people were on board, including 15 nationals -- foreign nationals, I should say. In a statement, Nepal's prime minister said he was deeply saddened by the crash and appealed to both the government and the public to help with the rescue efforts.


It's not clear what led to that crash. Now, rescue teams are combing through the rubble of a bombed out apartment block in Dnipro, Ukraine, right now trying to find anyone who may have survived a devastating missile attack there.

SANCHEZ: At least 20 people are dead, dozens are missing following this strike. New video shows crews standing atop the rubble searching for survivors. At least 73 people were injured, four of them critically, according to local officials.

WALKER: In the wake of the attack, a young girl was spotted helping to clean the rubble, clean it up, doing what she could to help after the tragedy. Just heartbreaking to see.

CNN correspondent Scott McLean is in Kyiv this morning. Scott, tell us more about what you're learning about this attack.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Boris, Amara, good morning. And tragically, there are children both among the dead and the wounded, and the numbers that continue to rise are the death toll. And amazingly, the number of people who are actually being rescued from that building, because as you said, there are dozens of people unaccounted for, presumed trapped under the rubble, whether they're dead or alive is another question.

And so, the rescue efforts have been frantic, involving hundreds of people, and an immense amount of equipment, and it is extremely delicate as well. Case in point, there was one woman whose voice that they heard just early this morning, around 1:00 in the morning. They were trying to communicate with her. It was not until 11:30 today, so 10 hours later that they were actually able to pull her out of the rubble.

And when you look at the video of this scene, it is difficult to imagine how anyone frankly could have possibly survived something like this. Imagine this building had about 300 apartments in it. More than 70 of them are not there today. They were completely obliterated. Obviously, the rest of them were damaged as well.

Yesterday was a very active day across the country in terms of missile strikes. The entire country put on air-raid alert. More than 30 missiles were incoming, according to the Ukrainians, 2/3 of them were shot down, and of the 1/3 that actually landed most of those were aimed at energy infrastructure which was hit in five separate regions across the country, which means more emergency power cuts and a power deficit that is even worse in the country.

Now, it is not clear why this particular building in Dnipro would have been targeted or if it was the target or if there was even a legitimate military target in the vicinity. But the Ukrainians say that they are confident based on the speed and altitude of the incoming missile detected on radar that they know what type it was. They think that it was a Kh-22. This is significant because this is the same kind of missile that struck a shopping mall last summer in Kremenchuk killing 18 people.

Now, the apparent target in that case was a facility to repair military vehicles, a few hundred yards away. But western military analysts say the reality is that this type of missile is meant to sink ships and frankly it is not very accurate, has an accuracy of around only 500 yards or so. And the Ukrainians have no ability to shoot it down. There have been more than 200 of those missiles fired at this country since the war began. Not a single one has been shot down. Boris, Amara.

SANCHEZ: Scott McLean reporting live from Kyiv in Ukraine. Thank you so much.

The United Kingdom is temporarily recalling its ambassador to Iran after the execution of a dual Iranian-British citizen.

WALKER: Alireza Akbari was reportedly hanged on Saturday. His alleged crimes included espionage and -- quote -- "corruption on Earth." He was charged with working as a spy for British intelligence.

SANCHEZ: CNN's Nada Bashir is following the incident that sparked backlash internationally. Nada, what's the latest?

NADA BASHIR, CNN JOURNALIST: Look, we are still hearing widespread condemnation internationally, but crucially here in the United Kingdom as well where we are learning more about how the British government is planning to hold the Iranian regime to account. The foreign secretary James Cleverly just yesterday laying out the measures that the British government is taking over Twitter, namely calling and summoning Iran's charge d'affaires and also placing sanctions on Iran's prosecutor general.

The foreign office has described as being at the very heart of Iran's use of the death penalty in the country. But now, of course, as you laid out there we are learning that Britain will be recalling temporarily its ambassador to Iran for consultations. But in response to this and in turn, the Iranian regime says it has also summoned Britain's ambassador to Iran over what it has described as expansive interference in Iran's internal affairs.

Now, as you laid out, Akbari was detained back in 2019 of allegations of spying on behalf of the United Kingdom. According to state affiliated media, he was identified by Iran's ministry of intelligence for allegedly providing important national information to the United Kingdom in return for large sums of money.


Now, Akbari and his legal representatives have long denied these allegations as well as the British government and his own relatives describing this as being politically motivated. And we have heard concern being expressed by the U.S. State Department as well as eight groups including Amnesty International over the potential mistreatment that Alireza Akbari faced while he was in detention, including torture, solitary confinement, and being forced to make false confessions.

But, of course, while this was in relation to allegations of spying, it can't be ignored that this comes after a series of executions and a brutal crackdown, which continues in Iran against protesters who have been demonstrating against the regime. And this is indicating and signaling a growing -- increasingly more brutal attempt by the regime to get a grip on any act of dissent in the country. Amnesty International now is calling on the UK Government to carry out a full and urgent investigation into those allegations, Boris, Amara.

SANCHEZ,: Nada Bashir reporting from London, thank you so much, Nada.

WALKER: All right, coming up. COVID disaster loans were lifelines for millions of small businesses during the pandemic, but now it's time to start paying them back, and well, that could be devastating for some business owners.



WALKER: While the worst part of the pandemic may seem like it's behind us, that's not the case for some business owners and their bottom lines.

SANCHEZ: Now, for those owners who receive loans to stay afloat, it's time to pay up. CNN's Gabe Cohen has more.


GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover) At Teddy and The Bully bar near downtown DC, business post-pandemic has never been the same.


COHEN: COVID closed two of Alan Popovksy's four restaurants, government loans, save the other tip. But with city centers struggling to bring back traffic, his revenue is still down more than 45 percent from pre-pandemic and Alan says they're struggling to stay open, and now it's time to pay back those loans.

POPOVSKY: It's very difficult. We just got overpaying back the landlord. You're just the hamster spinning on a wheel.

COHEN: At the start of COVID with business stalled nearly 4 million, small business owners took out what are called economic injury disaster loans or EIDL loans from the federal government, on average about $100,000, in many cases just to stay afloat, 30 years with a fixed interest rate of 3.75 percent. And unlike some other pandemic programs, EIDL loans were expected to be paid back down the road. Now, the first monthly payments are coming due, most businesses will owe money by the end of January.

POPOVSKY: It's daunting.

COHEN: Alan says he owes more than $3,700 per month, roughly $780,000 in all, a lot of which he says he spent on rent and payroll.

POPOVSKY: We can't afford anything but what we're doing is we're paying interest only right now.

COHEN: So, you haven't made a dent on the actual loan?

POPOVSKY: Have not made a dent in the principal.

COHEN: A new survey from a leading Small Business Association found only 36 percent of its members have reached their pre-pandemic sales levels amid staffing shortages, supply chain issues, and inflation. Now, add a possible looming recession just as these loans come due.

HOLLY WADE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NFIB RESEARCH CENTER: It is one more cost that they're going to have to deal with. Some small business owners, unfortunately, are going to struggle in kind of meeting those obligations.

LISA KLEIN, PHYSICAL THERAPIST OWNER OF KLEIN INTEGRATIVE PHYSICAL THERAPY: Let's open up your diaphragm here a little bit and see if it helps.

COHEN: Lisa Klein says COVID is still keeping some clients away from her physical therapy practice making it tough to pay off her EIDL loan, nearly $1,000 each month with 80,000 to go.

KLEIN: All the costs of everything have gone up. We can't pay the staff but we'd like to pay the staff. The whole business is still suffering and this is just kind of adding insult to injury.

COHEN: The Small Business Administration says struggling businesses can declare hardship and make small partial payments for six months. But interest keeps accruing, forcing the owners like Lisa Klein to weigh short-term protection against a big bill down the line.

KLEIN: We have no choice because if we don't keep paying it, it's going to accrue more interest.


COHEN: And another survey from that same Small Business Association found owners right now are feeling less and less optimistic about 2023, and that potential looming recession. And, Boris, Amara, those uncertainties are just adding to the stress of paying back these loans.

WALKER: I can only imagine. Gabe Cohen, thank you. Up next. The search for the unknown. A new government report revealing hundreds of UFO reports in recent years, and for many, there's still no explanation.


WALKER: A new report from the Pentagon shows more than 350 reports of UFOs since March of 2021, but only half of them can be explained.

SANCHEZ: Yes. While some of the "unidentified aerial phenomenon" can be explained by birds or balloons of some kind, what about the rest? Let's discuss with Janet Ivey. She's the CEO and founder of Janet's planet, which helps educate children about space. She's also fantastic with these backgrounds every time to stellar backgrounds.

Janet, always great to see you. Good morning. The number of UAPs or UFOs in this report spiked compared to the last one that was done in 2021. There's got to be a safety concern there. And also UAP versus UFO, what are the aliens like could be called?

JANET IVEY, CEO & FOUNDER, JANET'S PLANET: You know what, I haven't spoken to one lately, so I'm not really sure what could those be. In this Pentagon report, that it's gone from being unidentified aerial phenomenon to being called an identified anomalous phenomenon with -- which is a little bit of a change because now they're wanting to include anything that includes air, space, and maritime domains. So, we are looking at the kind of, you know, sort of national security issues here.

But you know, what I was really stunned to say is that some of these things that have been spotted as UAPs are actually Kroger bags that somehow have gone aloft, so I think that's a note to all of us. It's like, recycle those Kroger bags, right?


So, that's sort of interesting that some of it can be explained away very simply that it's just some debris that's floated up. It's an optical illusion at some heightened angle that we're seeing. Even that Navy report that came out that you know, object was going superfast by the certain physicist in this report, he says that could be explained by the height and the angle creating that optical illusion.

What I love about this, though, is that people are seriously taking into account. They're still about 171 in this 510 that they've included that are still unaccounted for. So, is it any other threat? Is it some other kind of like, you know, phenomena that is faster, and some kind of security risk? And I love the fact that they're still staying open to could it be something else.

I mean, if we ever find evidence of alien life, although I've met a few birds here on planet Earth that might be a good evidence for that. But right now, we still keep looking. So, nothing conclusive. But remember, this is the Pentagon's study, NASA's study of UAPs is due out this June or July so we'll see how they compare.

WALKER: I look forward to reading up on that.

IVEY: I do. WALKER: What about this green comet? You know, my daughter is fascinated by space. She's only four and a half. And I definitely want to look up at the sky if we can and spot that for her. Because the last time this green comet was seen flying through our skies was, what, 50,000 years ago?

IVEY: Right. And I'm not sure the Neanderthals knew what they were looking at but now we know. Just for everybody out there, let's remember a comment is -- you know ice and dust with this fabulous long tail. But what makes this green comet so special and rare? A., we haven't seen it for 50,000 years, we won't see it again for 50,000 years, so truly a rare event.

But it's got two interesting chemicals. It's diatomic -- oh, sorry, diatomic carbon. I was trying to get that all out in Cyanogen. And as it gets closer to the sunlight, that's what gives us that amazing green color.

And so, January 12, it was closest to the Sun, around February 1, 2, the end to January, first of February, it's going to be the closest to the earth. You're going to look up find Polaris, which if you find the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, the two endpoints on that bucket of the Big Dipper point down to Polaris, our North Star, look up between midnight and right before dawn and you just might see the green comet. I mean, between UAPs and green comets, we really are talking about things that are out of this world.

SANCHEZ: Oh, yes, quite the light show. And this is going to be a big year for NASA, isn't it? 2023. Artemis 2 has a big moment coming up.

IVEY: Yes. This is going to be exciting. It's like 2022, we saw Artemis 1 launch. In 2023, Artemis 2, the crew is going to be announced. And you're going to see so many other amazing things happen that are on kind of like a NASA's list.

In fact, Administrator Bill Nelson said that you know, really kind of quoted Carl Sagan that exploration is in our DNA and we're going to continue. And the James Webb continues to give us so many images that are astounding, from exoplanets to maybe deciding that the -- our universe formed earlier than thought and maybe it's not expanding as much as at other times. So, it's an exciting time to think about space and to look up.

WALKER: Yes, absolutely. So, many exciting things to talk about. Janet Ivey, it's such a pleasure to have you on as always. Thank you very much.

IVEY: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Janet.

WALKER: A playoff game for the ages. The Jacksonville Jaguars stormed back in one of the biggest comebacks in post-season history. The highlights are ahead.

Plus, pop culture impresario Andy Cohen and the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten join Chris for a new episode of "WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE" tonight at 7:00 p.m. on CNN.



SANCHEZ: The NFL playoffs kicked off yesterday in an incredible fashion. The Jacksonville Jaguars pulling off one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history, stunning the Chargers as time expired.

WALKER: Andy Scholes is here. Andy, what an exciting way to start off the playoffs.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: It's why we love the NFL playoffs every single year, guys. Good morning to you. You know if you've turned off that Chargers-Jaguars game in the second quarter last night, I mean you are waking up quite a surprise this morning. The Jaguars with a historic comeback. And they needed it because quarterback Trevor Lawrence, he threw four interceptions in the first half. He called it the worst half of his football life.

The Chargers took a 27-point lead in the second quarter. But give Lawrence credit. He would rally. He followed those four interceptions with four straight touchdown passes, the last going to Christian Kirk with just over five minutes to go in the fourth. That put the Jags within two and then they would get in position to kick a game-winning field goal with no time on the clock. Jags stunning the Chargers 31 to 30, completing the third-largest comeback in playoff history.


TREVOR LAWRENCE, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS QUARTERBACK: You know it's really cool to see what can happen when everybody believes in. You know I wouldn't have been able to do what I did today and what the offense was able to do in the second half to bounce back but also the defense. If we didn't believe in one another, that was -- you know through four picks in the first half, and those guys beside me on offense and the guys on another side of the ball didn't ever lose faith in me. And that's one thing that makes it easier when you know you got guys that believe in you.


SCHOLES: All right, on the other game yesterday, Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, continuing his fairy tale run with the 49ers. San Francisco is down a point to Seattle at the half but then they just turned it on. Purdy, four touchdowns in this game. This one right here to Deebo Samuel that went for 74 yards. That really put the game away in the fourth.


After being the last player taken in the 2022 draft, Purdy is now 7-0 as a starter. He's the first rookie quarterback to win a playoff game since Russell Wilson did it for Seattle back in 2012. 49ers rolled in that one, 41 to 23. Got three more games coming your way on Sunday including the Bills hosting the Dolphins, big question today is will Damar Hamlin be there with the team. He was reportedly at the Bills' facility yesterday, hanging out with his teammates. Hamlin released from the hospital earlier this week, just nine days after suffering cardiac arrest on the field. With Hamlin doing so well so fast, the Bills say it's been a big emotional boost for the team as they head to the playoffs.


DION DAWKINS, BUFFALO BILLS OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: Oh, there we just kind of just jumped off of our shoulders. And you could feel it like you can mentally feel it and you know like the brain is powerful. And when all that stuff is weighing on you, but like you can feel it. Like when you sleep, when you walk around, even in your everyday actions going into a weak light like this with you know, like the stress and all that other stuff behind us, it's a good thing.


SCHOLES: Yes, I'll tell you what, guys, it's going to be pretty awesome if Hamlin is there with the team even -- who knows maybe he'll lead them out of the tunnel before the game.

SANCHEZ: That would be something to see. Andy, I know you're not much of a predictions guy, but do you want to make any as we get into the playoffs?

SCHOLES: I picked Chiefs over Niners in the Super Bowl, so we'll see if that holds.

SANCHEZ: Wow. Amara, how do you feel about that?


SANCHEZ: Excellent insight. Andy Scholes, thank you so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

WALKER: Thanks, Andy.

SANCHEZ: The next hour of CNN THIS MORNING starts in just a few minutes.