Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Bills and Bengals Meet in Playoffs; CIA Chief Briefed Zelenskyy on Russia's Potential Spring Offensive; New York Officer Known as Baby Whisperer. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 20, 2023 - 06:30   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone.

So, it's going to be an emotional rematch on Sunday when the Buffalo Bills host the Cincinnati Bengals for a playoff game just a few weeks after their last game against each other. Now, that game was canceled following the sudden and terrifying collapse of Bills' safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered a cardiac arrest.

So, straight now to Coy Wire, out in the elements, live in Buffalo for CNN THIS MORNING.

Good morning to you, sir.

Yes, I hope you're wearing your weather gear there. What's the feeling in Buffalo ahead of the rematch?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Very cold. I'm getting blasted at the side of my head. Pelted by snow. A wintery mix, Don, we'll call it.

But feelings are metered here, Don. Players, you know, they're managing their mindset for this huge playoff game, but also those lingering emotions from the last time they played the Bengals. A family spokesperson for Damar Hamlin tells ESPN that Damar still requires oxygen. He gets winded easy. A long recovery ahead, but players say, across the board, that spirits are lifted now that Damar Hamlin is back in that building.


JOSH ALLEN, QUARTERBACK, BUFFALO BILLS: It's been good to see him, you know, a smile on his face. And, you know, guys love having him back in the building.

WIRE (voice over): It's been a welcome sight to see Damar Hamlin back at the Bills' facilities on a daily basis this week.

DION DAWKINS, OFFENSIVE LINEMAN, BUFFALO BILLS: To see three just smile and just wave and just, you know, put his hearts up and keep a pushing, you know, it's a - like it's a positive energy bubble that's just floating around the facility.

WIRE: It's been just over two weeks since he suffered cardiac arrest on the field in Cincinnati.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't like how he went down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to need everybody. All call. All call.

WIRE: The NFL ultimately canceled that game, but this Sunday, the Bills and Bengals will face each other for the first time since that horrific scene. And there's no question it will be on the players' minds.

TRE'DAVIOUS WHITE, CORNERBACK, BUFFALO BILLS: Just something that I can't get - I can't unsee. Every time I close my eyes I - it replays.

WEIR: That tragic moment, though, has also brought out the best in humanity. Fans have donated millions to Hamlin's charity, and others are using the moment to help raise awareness for heart health.

ERIN OLIVER, CO-CREATOR, "HEARTS FOR HAMLIN AND HIGGINS": Go donate blood. Go get CPR certified. Whatever you can do, just do one thing that can make a small difference in one person's life. And that's all we ask.


WIRE: A huge wave of support for heart health and, of course, for Damar Hamlin.

Don, check these out. The team will be three-ed up, as Dion Dawkins says. Roger Saffold, Von Miller, all posting these pendants yesterday the team will be wearing.


And on the back, Don, a quote from Damar Hamlin saying, if you get a chance to show some love today, do it, it won't cost anything.

Back to you.

LEMON: Nice. I'd love to have one of those, Coy, buy I guess it's just for the team. You can get one made, but that's really amazing.

Thank you, sir. Stay warm. Stay dry, if you can.

WIRE: You got it.

LEMON: All right, thanks.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this morning, it is time for - if you were watching yesterday, a key outfit alert. The results are in. They might be a little mixed. Don's sweatshirt suit debut that he wore yesterday morning. This is what Stephen Colbert had to say about it.




COLBERT: You know, Don's a dear, dear friend, a Soul Cycle emergency contact. And I -- of course, I always watch the CNN -- what's it called? CNN THIS MORNING. CTM, we call it. CNN THIS MORNING. And I was watching this morning and I was a little taken aback because I didn't - I didn't expect this. Could you show what he was wearing. There you go.


COLBERT: You know, I believe a great man once said, what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) is that? Because he looks - I know they want to add some comedy to CNN, and this is hilarious. But how do you report the news in that outfit? How do you actually talk about tragedy wearing that because what could be more tragic than that look he had this morning.

And - could you put it back up? He looks like he went for like -- he's like a high school track teacher who went for a run and then got a little hungry and stopped at a restaurant, but it was too nice of a restaurant and they said, sir, you have to wear a jacket. So, he then -- then he - he stole a jacket from an extra from "Guys and Dolls."

Anyway, Don, you've got a lot to answer for. I hope you talk about this tomorrow morning on the show. I'll be watching.


LEMON: A challenge.

COLLINS: Well, Colbert got his wish. Do you want to respond to him?

LEMON: I do. I do, I do, I do.

I mean, look, for a man who wears - I wear a pink suit. I'm wearing a pink suit. It's not white, by the way. I've worn it before.

OK, so, look, I love Stephen Colbert. I think he's funny. Obviously, I love comedians to have a little leeway.

It was interesting. I didn't expect that reaction. It's -- for me it was sort of like a Rorschach test to -- about wearing that outfit when people thought -- first of all, it's not a sweatshirt or whatever. It was a sweater that had a hood on it. Anyways. I don't know. I don't know if I want to get into it. Because I was actually really surprised by it.

Look, Stephen - Stephen, here's the thing, that I wear - I make lots of different outfit choices, right?

COLLINS: Yes. LEMON: And when I -- when I took this job, one of the things was, we

want you to relax and be more comfortable and sort of go with what the - what is happening in the world right now. People aren't wearing suits as much. Our -- lots has changed since the pandemic, right. So, I just found it interesting that there was such a reaction but online I got a lot of negative reaction. But, hold on. So, give me a minute.

COLLINS: Yes, but that's online. You always get negative online.

LEMON: Negative reaction. But I just want to say that, a lot has changed. I understand more of how you feel when women talk about -- when they talk about women's skirts and women's outfits and their hair and their makeup or whatever.

COLLINS: Women get scrutinized. Yes, and you see what it's like.

LEMON: Because I never get scrutinized. Men never get scrutinized that much.

COLLINS: That's a really good point.

LEMON: So, I think that -- have fun with comedy. I think if Barack Obama can get criticized for a tan suit. If Volodymyr Zelenskyy can fight a war in a hoodie. If Trayvon Martin can start a revolution in a hoodie. Then Don Lemon can tell the news in a hooded sweater.

COLLINS: I think John Fetterman wears a hoodie on Capitol Hill.

LEMON: If John Fetterman can become, yes, a senator of Congress, a senator in a hoodie, then Don Lemon can tell the news in a hoodie.

COLLINS: The question is, would you wear it again?

LEMON: Of course.

COLLINS: Tomorrow?

LEMON: And I will wear it again.

COLLINS: Monday.

LEMON: I will wear some version of that. I may not wear the same thing. I don't like to repeat outfits. I do every once in a while. I wore this on purpose to -- because we always say, you know, men can't wear pink. Women, you know, are supposed to wear certain colors. Pink is a woman's color that you're wearing. It's not. We have to get over that stuff. Men used to wear dresses and wigs. Things change. Styles change.

So, Stephen, I love you, I'm glad you started this conversation, but it is like a Rorschach test. I was actually surprised at who said what about what I wore yesterday.

COLLINS: I think people -

LEMON: And I -- by the way, I don't just roll out of bed and not think about it. I think about exactly everything I wear. I have a pink overcoat that goes with this.

COLLINS: Did you wear it today?

LEMON: I did not bring it. It's not cold enough. And it's raining and I don't want to get it missed up.

COLLINS: I think people should wear whatever they want.

LEMON: Thank you, Kaitlan Collins.

COLLINS: Anyway. All right.

LEMON: Thanks, Stephen.

COLLINS: We've got a lot going on this morning.

LEMON: Russia's former president and top security council official has threatened nuclear - the use of nuclear weapons if Russia were to lose its own war. From the front lines to our studio, our Will Ripley is here to discuss.


There he is on this side of the pond.




VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Time remains a Russian weapon. We have to speed up. Time must become our common (ph) weapon, just like air defense and artillery, armored vehicles and tanks, which we are negotiating about with you.


COLLINS: That's Ukrainian President Zelenskyy just moments ago calling for more support, speaking to ministers of defense of several nations at the Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.

We're also learning this morning of a secret meeting that happened between the CIA director here in the U.S., Bill Burns, and President Zelenskyy, where Burns briefed Zelenskyy in Kyiv last week on what the U.S.'s expectations are for Russia's battlefield planning in the spring, according to sources.


That meeting comes as U.S. officials are closely watching a potential Russian offensive in the coming months. That's what they were talking about.

Joining us now to talk about this, who better, CNN's senior international correspondent, Will Ripley, who we are so happy to have here in studio.

You know, we've been watching what President Zelenskyy was saying all morning with Defense Secretary Austin. A fight basically is happening right now, this standoff between the U.S. and Germany over sending tanks to Ukraine. And he's saying, you know, you can give us a thousand thank yous, we need tanks basically.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Ukrainians have been saying they need more weapons from the very beginning. I mean the rest of the world, the west, is - is pumping billions of dollars into this war, but the Ukrainians are paying with their lives every single day and a lot of people are dying. And the lines have been essentially holding for months.

You know, you have horrific attacks by the Russians. You have huge numbers of fatalities that go unreported. When I was there, I mean, every day in front of our hotel there's a funeral happening. And with every funeral, with every death, the Ukrainian anger and hatred grows and the resolve grows to, you know, take back what Russia took nine years ago, to take back Crimea and retake the territory that Russia is currently occupying. And they say they can't do that with the weapons that they have currently. They need more. And that's what you hear from President Zelenskyy.

LEMON: As you know, Will, the - the -- one of the big concerns with the war is the possible use of nuclear weapons. And you hear, you know, people like Vladimir Putin threatening it. Russia's former president suggesting that nuclear war could happen in Ukraine if Russia is defeated. I mean there have been several threats like this.

RIPLEY: There have. And the Russians have been - and Putin himself have been talking about nukes because it is one of the few cards that Russia knows they have that they can play that they hope will intimidate the west to not give Ukraine the kind of weapons that they need for these counteroffensive to take back territory.

You know, the Russians have been losing on the battlefield, but they are regrouping. We were up, you know, to the northern border in Belarus where the Ukrainians have been digging trenches, the kind that we saw 100 years ago. You know, these World War I fighting techniques. But the Ukrainians are bracing themselves for this possible, ferocious Russian ground invasion that could happen from the north, in addition to the front lines, you know, in the east and to the south.

So, their resources are stretched thin. They have - they're certainly trying the best they can. It's the dead of winter, but things could get very difficult. And that's, I think, why there's this real urgency to get more weapons in as soon as possible.

COLLINS: And, luckily, we got you here on set before you're flying back to Taiwan in just a few hours, where you report from. And one thing that has happened with Russia's invasion of Ukraine is, there's questions about the global questions. And, obviously, Chinese President Xi Jinping, there's a threat of him invading Taiwan. We know he's watching closely what has happened with Putin. You know, what are you going to be watching when you go back? RIPLEY: Well, certainly we want to see what the Chinese military

activity near Taiwan is. They've been flying planes. They've been conducting military drills near the island. They have drones that they're flying for reconnaissance.

And the Chinese have refused to condemn Putin's actions. You know, Xi and Putin have publicly at least, a close relationship. And even though China hasn't provided direct military support to Russia, they certainly are helping to buffer the impact of sanctions by supporting the Russian economy.

Xi Jinping has stated repeatedly and clearly that he intends to take Taiwan, to take control of Taiwan, an island that the communist leaders have never actually controlled but they have claimed as their own territory for more than 70 years. And for more than 70 years, the Chinese military has been preparing. They've been training for what they view as an inevitable attempt to retake the island. They say they would, you know, like to do it peacefully if possible, but there's certainly no interest in Taiwan to just simply be reabsorbed by China, which is what Xi Jinping says needs to happen. He wants it to happen while he's in control.

So, the Taiwanese, they are increasing their military conscription to a year. They're trying to get more weapons from the United States. But there's a lot that needs to happen to be prepared for what a lot of analysts view as inevitable, which is a Chinese attempt to invade Taiwan.

LEMON: It's so good to have you here.

RIPLEY: Thank you.

DLL: And, Will Ripley, you represent what CNN is all about. Watch you in Russia and to watch you in Ukraine, to watch you in Asia during the pandemic and just the great work that people like you, our international correspondents, are doing, going into danger and harms way almost every day. We really appreciate it and it's so good to see you.

RIPLEY: You guys are both reporters too. You've been to Ukraine. And, you know, I'll see you out in Asia hopefully soon. Thank you so much.

LEMON: Thank you very much.

COLLINS: All right.

LEMON: So, the former - the former House speaker, I should say, Nancy Pelosi, opening up about her husband's health after the October attack at their San Francisco home. What she told our Chris Wallace.



COLLINS: Police officers are often told, expect the unexpected. Many of them do. For an officer in Long Island, though, in New York, that advice could not be more true. He has helped deliver five babies over the last five years.

CNN's Brynn Gingras has more in this weeks "Beyond the Call of Duty."


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He's called -


GINGRAS: That's because Suffolk New York Police Sergeant Jon-Erik Negron has delivered five babies in the last five years.

NEGRON: I guess the record lives on. So, we'll see how many we can take it to.

GINGRAS: So many babies, a stork is now pinned to his uniform.

NEGRON: When I became a police officer it was because I wanted to help people, but I didn't know I was going to be helping people deliver their kids.

GINGRAS: While on duty, Negron always just seems to be in the right place at the right time.

NEGRON: Myself and the same paramedic that delivered baby number three, we pulled up to the house at the same time and he just looked at me, he's like, you've got to be kidding me. He's like, this is happening again with you?

GINGRAS: All jokes aside, Negron says this is the most serious call an officer can receive. He will never forget the first time it happened because it changed his life.

NEGRON: I was just doing some work on the computer and a call came over of a mother going into labor in her kitchen.

JANE PAPPALARDO, GAVE BIRTH IN KITCHEN: Only thing I remember is when he was born he - Mike put him on my chest and he was just purple.

NEGRON: The father of the baby, Mike Pappalardo, he was at the front door. He was covered in blood and said, the baby had been born, and he still wasn't breathing.

MIKE PAPPALARDO, FATHER, HELPED DELIVER HIS BABY: Jon came in through the door. I was like - I was like, I looked at him, first of all, I was like, this guy looks like he's like a young kid. I'm like, oh, God.

NEGRON: My training kicked in again and I said, we need to clear his airway.

M. PAPPALARDO: And he was like, do you have a turkey baster? I'm like, no. I have a syringe.

[06:55:00] NEGRON: So, he gave me that and I was able to extract whatever liquid was blocking the baby's airway, and then he took a breath shortly after that.

M. PAPPALARDO: Without Jon, I don't know if Bryce (ph) would be here.

GINGRAS: Bryce Pappalardo, a healthy boy. Soon after his birthday --

M. PAPPALARDO: Jon reached out to me and was texting me, hey, how's Bryce doing? And then we were like, he genuinely cares about Bryce. So, it was an easy decision to say like, hey, we want this guy in Bryce's life. I mean he's been there for him since day one and --

GINGRAS: And that's how Negron went from first responder to godfather.

NEGRON: What a sweet car. I wish I had a car like that.

M. PAPPALARDO: They're always together. They -- he comes for Christmas, birthdays.

J. PAPPALARDO: Birthdays.

GINGRAS: At five years old, it may be no surprise Bryce wants to be a police officer.

BRYCE PAPPALARDO: I want to save people like what he saved my life.

NEGRON: It's a special bond that I have with this family. He knows I'll be there for him forever.

GINGRAS: Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly. I think you're going to find there's nothing there. I have no regrets. I'm following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. That's exactly what we're doing.


There's no there there.


LEMON: So, good Friday morning, everyone. Kaitlan and I are here. Poppy is off today.

You heard what he said, no there there. He has no regrets.