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Nearly 1,000 Flights Already Canceled as Ice Storm Hits U.S; Two More Memphis Officers Out, Three Fire Personnel Fired Over Response; Trump, Current 2024 Candidate, Facing Slew of Investigations. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired January 31, 2023 - 07:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Man, this is all so disturbing. Good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. The Memphis officer who said that he wanted to stomp Tyre Nichols now off the streets along with another officer and several EMTs. We're going to have more on the latest firings and the fallout continues to grow here.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Also this morning, millions of Americans across the south waking up to a brutal ice storm. We'll tell you when and where to expect the most treacherous conditions, including some sub zero temps.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And former President Trump now facing the real possibility of criminal charges over hush money payments to the adult film actress, Stormy Daniels.

LEMON: We're going to begin with what Poppy just told you about, with dangerous ice, ice storm that is sweeping the south, the governor of Arkansas declaring a state of emergency. A live look near Fayetteville, Arkansas, nearly 40 million Americans from Texas to Virginia are under winter weather alerts this morning. Dallas preparing for another round of freezing rain and sleet, and nearly a thousand flights have already been canceled today.

Pete Muntean standing by for us this morning. Good morning, Pete. How bad could these flight cancelations get today?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Don. This is going to have a huge impact on air travel because Dallas is a huge hub not only for American Airlines but also a major hub at Dallas Love for Southwest Airlines. The FAA says also expect ground stops today in Austin all the way to Memphis, which is the major must be for FedEx.

Look at the numbers from yesterday. We saw 1,800 cancelations yesterday. Today, that number is expected to go even higher. We have seen about 970 so far today. Outsized impact on Southwest Airlines, 40 percent of all cancelations nationwide were by Southwest yesterday, about a third so far today. I want you to listen to passengers who are really trying to take this in stride. They are understanding about this. They know that the weather is out of an airline's control. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had a flight this morning at 9:20, and they canceled that flight due to weather.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were taking a trip to a conference in Orlando, and I looked at the weather before we left, and I told my wife, I said, I have a feeling flights might get canceled. Should I do this or not, but I went ahead and did it anyway. And lo and behold, flights got canceled.


MUNTEAN: Let's put this all into context, Don. 16,700 cancelations, that's what we saw by Southwest over their major holiday meltdown. So far, southwest has only canceled 4 percent of that. So, not that big just yet, although this storm is only just beginning.

LEMON: All right. Pete Muntean, thank you very much.

COLLINS: All right. This morning, two more police officers in Memphis are on leave after the beating death of Tyre Nichols. One of them has been identified as Preston Hemphill, who is white, and allegedly deployed his taser during that confrontation. Hemphill was also a member of the now deactivated SCORPION police unit with the five other officers who are facing second-degree murder and other charges.

Hemphill, we should not, has not been fired or charged. The Shelby County district attorney, Steve Mulroy, says the investigation is ongoing. More charges could be filed.


STEVEN MULROY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR SHELBY COUNTY, TENNESSEE: We're extraordinary quick. Within less than three weeks, we went from the incident to filing charges against the five officers who are primarily responsible for the death of Tyre Nichols and who were on that scene. Now, as to everybody else, it's going to take some time, as we do that investigation, but I assure you the investigation is ongoing.


COLLINS: Also new, the Memphis Fire Department has fired two EMTs and a lieutenant after an internal investigation, which they found, quote, failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols after he was pepper strayed. And in just moments, Don is going to speak one- on-one with the brother of Tyre Nichols, Jamal Dupree.

HARLOW: Well, happening now, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is walking a diplomatic tightrope as he meets privately with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. The two hoping to dial back what has been really escalating tension between Israelis and Palestinians after weeks of deadly violence. On Monday, Blinken met with Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jersulem.

Our Nic Robertson is live from Ramallah on the West Bank. Nic, good morning to you. Good afternoon to you. I mean, when Blinken planned the trip, they did not know the level of escalation and violence that he would be descending on.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: They did not. So, he's walked into a really tough situation, not only dealing with Israeli's most right-wing government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in decades but now coming to the Palestinian authority president, who has suspended security cooperation with Israel, a very significant move.


That happened in the past couple of days, and that's likely to be one of the things that Secretary Blinken asked Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian authority president, to do, to go back, begin cooperating security level with Israel. It benefits both communities. That will be the message.

The message Secretary Blinken will hear from the Palestinians very likely, look, please try to convince Israeli officials, politicians, Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, not to expand settlements. That aggravates the Palestinian street, and as well to not come into Palestinian cities, Jenin where, on Thursday, before that Palestinian gunman went on to kill seven Israelis the day before 9 Palestinians had been.

So, that's something that they're going to (INAUDIBLE) talk to people on the streets here about what Secretary Blinken says about the importance of a two-state solution.

Here, a lot of people, particularly young people, I talked to an 18- year-old young man here earlier today, and he said, look, we really don't think this two-state solution is viable or is going to happen. And another thing you hear from a lot of people here, they just feel that the Palestinian authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, is no longer fit for the task, fit for the job. So, these are accumulative issues. So, for Secretary Blinken, that's a lot of heavy diplomatic lifting to shift this in a meaningful way.

HARLOW: There's a lot of questions about what action can actually be taken and what Blinken can actually do in this situation. We'll hear from him in just about two hours during that press conference. Nic, thank you very much. Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Yes. Also this morning, as former President Trump is embarking on his third presidential run in 2024, he is still facing several ongoing investigations. There is the investigation being led by the special counsel, Jack Smith, who is looking into two cases, the one, the potential mishandling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, and Trump's actions during the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

A federal grand jury is currently hearing testimony in Washington, and as CNN first reported yesterday, prosecutors are actively working to gain access to files on a laptop belonging to at least one Mar-a-Lago staffer close to Trump, basically trying to see if there's any kind of electronic paper trail when it comes to the classified documents he took with him.

The Department of Justice is also looking into the effort by Trump and others to overturn the 2020 election and incite an insurrection, which has already resulted in hundreds of criminal indictments and nearly 500 guilty pleas.

Also, the Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis, who is looking into Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, she has said that grand jury in that case has recommended multiple indictments. Her decision about whether to bring charges is also imminent.

New York State's Attorney General Letitia James is suing former President Trump and his three eldest children and the Trump Organization for fraud. According to James, they misled lenders, insurers and tax authorities to enrich themselves. I should note, the Trump's have denied any wrongdoing in that case.

The Manhattan district attorney has also started presenting its case to a grand jury about Trump's role in hush money payments to former adult actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential race. That's according to The New York Times. Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges related to those payments Cohen facilitated while he was working for then-Candidate Trump.

For more, let's bring in CNN Correspondent Kara Scannell. This is a pretty big escalation given -- we initially thought this hush money payment situation wasn't going anywhere, the broader look into Trump's business practices.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. I mean, what's old is new again, right? I mean, this hush money payment was the -- that's how they started this investigation back in 2019, looking into the hush money payments, and then it expanded, and they took this broader look at the business practices.

You know, there's been a change in the district attorney. Alvin Bragg is now the D.A. He paused that previous investigation because he didn't believe they had enough evidence to bring a criminal case against Trump, because the burden of proof so much higher.

They just had this big conviction last month of two Trump Org entities for tax fraud. They seem to be emboldened and they have really picked up the pace with this focus now on hush moneys yet again. I mean, we first reported that Michael Cohen went in two weeks ago, and we first reported that David Pecker, the former chairman of the National Enquirer, which is involved in those catch and deals, was going in this week. So, we're definitely seeing the pace picking here and they're reemerging this focus on hush money.

COLLINS: But Allen Weisselberg is by behind bars now. Trump has been complaining about this nonstop. I think he did so while he was on these campaign stops over the weekend. On Truth Social, he has been talking about it a lot. Is it harder to bring charges against Trump potentially if they don't have his cooperation? I mean, it seems difficult to actually bring a conviction potentially here.

SCANNELL: Well, I mean, they have some Trump Organization insiders, but, obviously, Allen Weisselberg would be the key witness.


And if he were to testify about his conversations with Michael Cohen, with the former president around this, that would be significant for the government. I mean, he is in Rikers right now serving this term. They obviously would still like his cooperation. He's no longer employed by the Trump Organization, although sources tell me he got a generous severance. He's obviously someone that they would want and would be so helpful to their investigation.

You know, otherwise, they're looking to building it around all of these other people using documents, records there, and Michael Cohen, of course, although he is a bit of a tainted witness, if they can corroborate what he has, they think that that would help their case.

COLLINS: Were you surprised by this or did you kind of see it coming based on the conversations you have had with sources?

SCANNELL: I mean, I think we've seen that this was something that they were, you know -- they're still interested in this case. I'm not surprised that they're moving forward with the grand jury. This is something that we've expected. They are bringing in people. They've made outreach to Stormy Daniels' attorney. They're really ramping this up.

So, I think whether -- just because they're presenting does not mean they made a decision to charge. We should just be clear about that. But I think we're going to see this develop over the next several weeks and months.

COLLINS: All right. Kara Scannell, thank you, great reporting.

LEMON: So, there's a new study that is warning that the planet could reach critical global warming thresholds even sooner than previously predicted and even if the world takes serious action to fight climate change. With the artificial intelligence, scientists were able to predict future temperatures based on current climate models. They say that the models show that the world would exceed a crucial temperature threshold between 2033 and 2035 even if pollution is cut down.

To help us get through all of this, explain it to us, CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir is here to do all of this.

Okay. So, explain, artificial intelligence -- good morning.


LEMON: And what does that have to -- artificial intelligence? WEIR: It's machine learning. You're hearing about the future of A.I. and how it's going to change everything for us. These scientists, one from Colorado State, one from Stanford, they took all of the climate models that science uses to predict what's going to happen. They put that with the historical record, and they realized the doom is coming faster than previously predicted.

It agrees with the latest IPC assessment that we're going to hit 1.5 degrees Celsius. That's the sort of crucial tipping point that the world has decided on, by the middle of the next decade or so, by 2035, 2036.

But beyond that, where this machine learning differs from the consensus science, is that even if everything is done, a certain amount of warming is already built in, and we could hit temperatures by 2065 that a lot of people thought weren't coming until the end of the century.

LEMON: Well, that's the whole thing about 2065. That's when the world is supposed to reach -- it was predicted the probability of 80 percent, right? The 2 degrees warming will be reached before 2065 even if the world reaches net zero in the next 50 years. So, what does all that mean?

WEIR: So, the number -- here is the thing to think about. The number 2 degrees Celsius, the prime minister of Barbados, that's a death sentence for island nations. She just said that at the last COP27. That number was decided on, when it was decided that 1.5 degrees, if we stopped warming there, it would obliterate island nations, low- lying nations. So, they moved it 1.5.

But now it seems that so much momentum is built into the system, so little is happening globally, politically, that a certain amount of warming is built in, and the lesson to policymakers is both brace and try to stop the worst warning. There is still so much can be done to cut the emissions.

LEMON: We were showing the river there. The federal government called on seven western states to agree to a water conservation plan, cut between 2 and 4 million acre feet of water uses to save the Colorado River last year. What is going on right now with the Colorado River?

WEIR: Basically, you've got a fight between California and everybody else. Seven states in Mexico share the Colorado. They share it by a compact that was made a century ago after one of the wettest years. First in line is the Imperial Irrigation District, farmers around Southern California. They are entitled to more water than Nevada and Arizona combined, if you look at the old record.

But the new argument is we don't live in that world anymore. Everybody has got to cut back in order to keep the system from crashing, to keep Lake Mead from hitting dead pool. And for that to happen, California has to cut more. This is headed to the Supreme Court, it looks like, as all of these states line up to force more mandatory cuts for California.

LEMON: Fascinating, Bill Weir. And what A.I., the role that A.I. is playing in this whole climate crisis --

WEIR: Don, it's a tool. It's like a knife or a flame. It could heal or kill depending on who's holding it. So, that's what we've got to think about with these new tools.

LEMON: Bill weir, thank you, sir.

WEIR: Good to see you.

LEMON: Always a pleasure. Good to see you.

And you can read more about the study on Poppy?

HARLOW: Well, in France, hundreds of thousands of protesters are taking to the streets. The unions have once again called for nationwide strikes, disrupting everything, from schools to transportation. They are very angry about the government's plans to raise the retirement age two years to 64.

Let's go to Melissa Bell. She joins us live in Paris this morning.


For a lot of people, I think they will look at this and say, haven't we seen this, and they have, but the government hasn't changed its position.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: No. In fact, Poppy, it's been explaining its determination to see through this reform. This is at the beginning of the march that students set off in about half an hour's time. They're setting up themselves there, as you can see, a lot of noise generally within these demonstrations, and they're preparing to march from up there across Paris.

One of the big questions is going to be how many people they can get out on the streets. The 19th of January was the last big demonstration against this pension reform. More than a million people came out on the streets. This time, the trade unions say they intend to get more. Their plan, to have Emmanuel Macron back down from this reform that he's pledged to get through by this summer.

It's extremely ambitious given the levels of opposition out on the streets, the unity of the French trade unions, but he's determined that it will be through by this summer, so that by the autumn, Poppy, the French retirement age will be raised by two years.

The point of the streets and the trade unions is to cause enough trouble, enough disruption over the course coming weeks that this most reformist of presidents is obliged to back down on what was always one of his key reform pledges, Poppy.

HARLOW: Always was. Melissa Bell, thank you very much, live for us in Paris. Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Also this morning here in the U.S., two of America's biggest auto insurers, Progressive and State Farm, are refusing to write policies for some older Hyundai and Kia models, that's because they say they lack the theft prevention technology known as electronic immobilizers, basically making them too easy to steal.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is here now. Is this temporary or what is Hyundai and Kia saying about this? It's kind of remarkable that they're saying it's that easy to steal it, that they just can't offer these policies anymore for them.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. For any new insurance policies on Kia and Hyundai vehicles made from 2015 to 2019, they found that it was twice as likely that their models, Kia and Hyundai, would get stolen than a regular vehicle, and it's because of these electronic immobilizers. It's basically a chip in the car that connects to an actual physical key. And the models from 2015 to 2019 don't have that. So, you saw a lot of theft, especially in certain regions around the country. They wouldn't identify which regions. So, this is affecting certain regions in certain states.

But this became a trend. We saw it on TikTok. There was a Kia challenge, where people would essentially show you how easy it was to steal a Kia. They would use USBs to steal the car instead of having --

COLLINS: It's not even a key.

YURKEVICH: It's that easy. So, Progressive and State Farm that saying no new policies. If you do have a current policy, though, they will certainly honor that. And they are also saying that their new vehicles, the ones with the little sort of push buttons, those are good. It's just the ones with the physical keys made between that time period.

COLLINS: So, basically, if you own one of these cars and you go to get an insurance policy, there's nothing you can do?

YURKEVICH: Well, you can obviously look for another insurer, but Kia and Hyundai are offering sort of enhanced security for the car. They're not going to fix the problem. They're offering enhanced security. Hyundai also saying they will give you a free steering wheel lock.

HARLOW: But who wants to do that every time?

YURKEVICH: I mean, that's pretty old school.

LEMON: Back to the '80s with the big bar, is that what they're talking about?

COLLINS: Also, imagine you're on a date and you're like, wait, one second, let me just --

YURKEVICH: Right. So, they're not offering you a new car. They're not offering you a better system. But, you know, if you still love your Kia or Hyundai from 2015, 2016, and onwards, they'll give you that free lock, at least Hyundai will.

HARLOW: Thanks, Vanessa. LEMON: Thank you, Vanessa. I appreciate it.

Up next, a sit-down interview with Tyre Nichols' brother. We're going to get his reaction to more officers being taken off or officials, in general, being taken off the streets after the violent beating and what he thinks should be done to the officers who are now facing murder charges. Jamal Dupree joins us live. That's next.



HARLOW: Welcome back to CNN This Morning. Authorities in Lakeland, Florida, are asking for the public's help and offering $5,000 of reward money after a drive-by shooting on Monday left ten people shot, two of them in critical condition. Police say the suspect fired from a four-door Nissan with tinted windows and temporary tags.


STEVE PACHECO, ASSISTANT CHIEF, LAKELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT: This is something that doesn't happen in Lakeland. I have been here 34 years, and I can tell you I have never worked an event where this many people have been shot at one time, ever.


HARLOW: Officials say it was a targeted shooting, and they are now looking for least four males who may have been wearing face coverings.

LEMON: As U.S. sees mass shootings on a regular basis, more stories are emerging of bystanders who put their lives on the line to disable their attackers. Federal guidance says that to run, hide, fight in an active shooting situation. But now, experts are beginning to rethink that advice.

CNN's Brynn Gingras reports now.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is the moment Brandon Tsay fought back --

BRANDON TSAY, MONTEREY PARK SHOOTING HERO: He was preparing his weapon to fire.

GINGRAS: -- disarming a gunman in Monterey Park, California.


In Colorado Springs, it was an Army veteran who helped wrestle away a gun from a shooter at Club Q Nightclub, saving countless lives. James Shaw Jr. disarmed an active shooter inside a Tennessee waffle house in 2018.

JAMES SHAW JR., WAFFLE HOUSE SHOOTING HERO: The decision to fight was because there was nothing else for me to lose in that moment.

GINGRAS: With seemingly daily mass shootings in America, more people are fighting their assailants, heroic acts that now have some in the law enforcement community openly saying --

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The time is now to rethink how we prioritize what we're telling people who might find themselves in a mass shooting.

GINGRAS: You've probably heard these three words, run, hide, fight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can survive a mass shooting if you're prepared.

GINGRAS: Those tactics from the FBI are echoed to law enforcement agencies across the country. They're used to teach civilians about how to react if confronted by an active shooter. Security Expert Juliette Kayyem penned in a recent article that advice may be dated.

KAYYEM: Look, run if you can. Get away if you can. But what we have seen is that engagement with the shooter, trying to distract him, trying to demobilize him, trying to prevent him from reloading his gun, all of those things can help in minimizing the harm.

DEPUTY MICHAEL FETHERHOLF, FRANKLIN COUNTY OHIO SHERIFF'S OFFICE: 50 percent of active shooter events end before law enforcement get there. It doesn't even matter how much we train for these active events, but it matters a lot on how we train our civilians.

GINGRAS: Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Fetherholf has already adopted a different way of teaching his community on what to do in an active shooter situation.

You teach avoid, deny, defend.


GINGRAS: How is it different from run, hide, fight?

FETHERHOLF: Hide, that's the big part that is different. These people go around looking for targets. And when you have a hero step up, it saves all of those targets from being potential victims.

GINGRAS: Experts recognize fighting back hasn't always worked. In 2019, a North Carolina college student charged a gunman and died. A week later, a Colorado high school student met the same fate. For Shaw, who lived when he fought back --

SHAW: Everybody is not wired like that. But if that's the only thing that you can do in that situation, that's the only thing that you can do.

KAYYEM: The more we understand what tactics of engagement do work, the more we can empower people to help and protect themselves.

(END VIDEOTAPE) GINGRAS (on camera): Look, this is not a comfortable conversation to have. It's not one where you want to tell people just fight, and that's really what you should be doing in these active shooter situations, but everyone I talked to for this story basically says, listen, this is where we are right now. We're seeing active shooting situations almost daily. And so now, it's really about changing the mentality, and that's what the focus is on this, getting sort of a different plan in your head of what actually might be working.

And what they're looking at, there's no statistics for this, it's just anecdotal what they're seeing, because that fight option has actually been working as you've seen in just in recent cases.

LEMON: This is awful that we even have to think about it. Do you know what I mean?

GINGRAS: Exactly.

LEMON: Thank you, Brynn, I appreciate that.

Well, up next, I'm going to speak with Tyre Nichols brother.

Plus this --


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: This campaign will be about the future.


COLLINS: Former President Trump is promising to focus on new beginnings for 2024, but he's still dwelling on past grievances. The concerns I'm hearing from his allies and his inner circle, that's next.