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CNN This Morning

Train Collision in Greece Kills 36; Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Loses Reelection Bid; Snow Storms Hit Parts of Southern California; Donald Trump's Presidential Campaign Reportedly Lobbying House Republicans for Endorsements; Eli Lilly To Cut Insulin Prices, Cap Costs At $35 A Month; Rupert Murdoch Admits Fox News Hosts Endorsed Election Lies. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired March 01, 2023 - 08:00   ET



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What they find, interestingly, though, is with intense activity, you also make a lot of cortisol, a stress hormone, so that can inhibit that miracle-grow for the brain. So both types of activity good for the body, but intense activity probably better for the heart, whereas moderate activity, where you're not releasing as much cortisol, better for the brain.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good to know. Sanjay, as always, we love having you on. Thank you for that.


COLLINS: Yes, absolutely.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: The brain guy.

COLLINS: Who do you trust better? Also a reminder, for everyone else who wants to hear more of Sanjay, season six of his podcast "Chasing Life" is out now.

And CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.

Good morning, everyone. We are following breaking news this hour out of Greece. A train full of passengers colliding head on with a freight train. So far at least 36 people have been confirmed dead. We are hearing harrowing stories from survivors who say that the train cars quickly filled with smoke and with flames.

LEMON: Worried that the death toll could go up with that. Plus, one of America's most prominent mayors has lost reelection. Lori Lightfoot failed to make the cut for Chicago's runoff. How big a role did rising crime play in her defeat.

HARLOW: And first on CNN this morning, a major announcement of the price of insulin that impacts millions of Americans with diabetes. That is just moments away.

COLLINS: But we're going to begin with that devastating train crash that we were just talking about in Greece. It has killed more than 36 people and injured dozens of others. You can see the images here of the aftermath. It's a passenger train. It was carrying about 350 people at least. It collided head on with a freight train. Multiple cars derailed and several caught fire just north of Athens where this happened. It left carriages and heaps of debris in its wake. According to state broadcasters there, both trains were traveling on the same track for several miles before the collision actually happened. First responders have been racing to find survivors in the twisted, melted wreckage that you see here.

Eleni Giokos is covering this tragedy for us. Eleni, I know that the prime minister was there on the ground. What more are you learning about the recovery efforts that are underway, though?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and the recovery efforts are still underway. And you have about 150 firefighters and first responders on the ground just outside of Larissa where the two trains collided. You mentioned the fire. Those two main carriages at the front caught alight. The fire department just came out with a statement that the fire was so intense and reached such high temperatures that inhibited the initial response teams. Thirty-six people have lost their lives.

DNA testing is now required to try and identify the victims. There are people gathered outside the hospital in Larissa waiting for news of their loved ones. We also understand about 200 people were taken to safety, 72 people injured, seven of whom are in critical condition.

Now, the question becomes, why would two trains traveling on the same track when there are two tracks available? And that now has become the big issue. How did this happen? Was it human error? Was it a technical fault? The prime minister going on the ground saying that he will spare no effort in figuring out what happened and what went on. But then, importantly, on the flipside of this, many experts are appearing on state TV saying that they are concerned about the overall process, the modernization of the railway systems, 350 people, Kaitlan, were on that passenger train. And we are waiting for more news. Rescue efforts are still currently on the go. Three days of national mourning also announced.

COLLINS: Yes, there are going to be major questions about the decisions that were made here. Eleni, thank you so much for that update.

LEMON: Now to Chicago where the mayor there losing reelection in a race that was dominated by the issue of rising crime. Lori Lightfoot failed to make the cutoff for the runoff. A Democrat who was endorsed by Chicago's police union received nearly double her votes.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT, (D) CHICAGO: I am grateful that we worked together to remove a record number of guns off our streets, reduced homicides, and started making real progress on public safety.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So under Mayor Lori Lightfoot's watch, violent crime spiked in Chicago. It made national headlines and became a talking point for Republicans and the former president. Shootings and murders dropped last year, but other crimes, including carjackings and robberies, are up, that's according to police.

So the candidate who won the most votes had a tough on crime message and made it a focus of his campaign.


Omar Jimenez live for us right now in Chicago, the windy city. Called the windy city not because of the wind but because of the hot air and its politics, and now that is coming to the fore. Good morning to you, Omar.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Don. Yes, politics here in Chicago is a unique scene when it comes to major cities. When you look at what happened here, violent crime has been an issue, obviously, for a long time in the city. But I spoke to Mayor Lori Lightfoot midway through her administration, and she told me point blank, if people don't feel safe, literally nothing else matters. And this appears to be at least in part a referendum on that. She was the city's first female black mayor. She was the first openly gay mayor here in Chicago, and now is set to be the first full-term incumbent mayor in 40 years to lose reelection here in Chicago.

This comes on the other side of what she described as a once-in-a- lifetime set of challenges from the peak of the pandemic, spikes in gun violence not just here but in places across the country as well, civil unrest, and more.

LEMON: Yes, first time in 40 years. The last one was Jane Byrne. She didn't win because she didn't plow the streets during a snowstorm. So again, there's always politics in Chicago.

Listen, let's talk about the two men who are going to be facing each other in April. You have Brandon Johnson now and then you have Paul Vallas. One is a progressive, has the progressive teachers' union support, the other one has the support of police, a really tough on crime stance. What do we know about them?

JIMENEZ: Yes. So this is essentially turning into a battle between the police union and teachers union. Paul Vallas, former head of schools here in Chicago and Philadelphia, he ran largely a campaign on public safety. Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner and former teacher has the support of the teachers' union. Take a listen to them both as they celebrated their projected victories.


PAUL VALLAS, (D) CHICAGO MAYORAL CANDIDATE: We will make Chicago the safest city in America.


BRANDON JOHNSON, (D) CHICAGO MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Months ago, they said they didn't know who I was.


JOHNSON: Well, if you didn't know, now you know.



JIMENEZ: And Johnson, obviously, very excited and went on to talk about how he wants to end the tale of two cities here in Chicago where one side of the city sees investment and the other doesn't. Both of them headed to an April 4th runoff.

LEMON: That's going to be interesting to watch. Omar Jimenez live for us in Chicago, thank you, and stay warm.

HARLOW: This morning the devastating winter storm that dumped several feet of snow on some parts of southern California is now moving east. This as San Bernardino County declares a state of emergency after residents in mountain communities were left stranded. Our Stephanie Elam is live in San Bernardino with more. Such a shock to so many people there.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Definitely, Poppy. It's been a long time since I've seen anything like this in the San Bernardino mountains. We know that they already got seven to eight feet of snow in the last system that just came through over the weekend, and right now you can see it's torrentially raining where I am, and now another three feet is expected before this system moves out.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Heavy snow near Los Angeles in the San Bernardino mountains, potentially life-threatening blizzard warns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is by far the most I have ever seen while being here.

ELAM: Across California more powerful winter storms are slamming the west coast and heading into the southwest. More than 30 million people across the country are under winter weather alerts today, most in the western U.S. In the San Bernardino mountains, some residents snowed in with seven to eight feet of accumulation are unable to dig out of their homes. Some say they are running out of food, gas, and supplies.

In this part of southern California, three times the annual amount of snow that they get here fell in just three days. You see this red flag here. It's actually because the owners want to make sure that the snowplow sees it's actually a car.

Lake Arrowhead just east of L.A., an area that usually gets five inches of snow in February, was buried under 68 inches in just a matter of days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just started coming down with high winds. There was cars going up, and they were slipping and sliding.

ELAM: And several more feet of snow are on the way. In northern California, snow in the Sierra Nevada is falling at a rate of two inches per hour, and wind gusts could reach up to 60 miles an hour. The snow storms, rockslides, and blizzard conditions are making travel extremely hazardous. The National Weather Service issuing a travel warning this week saying first responders may not be able to rescue you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stay home. Don't come up here, please.

ELAM: One father with two young girls trying to travel home says he was stranded on a Sierra mountain road for 13 hours before being rescued by snowplows.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a crazy storm.

ELAM: Elsewhere in southern California, a happy homecoming for more than 600 students returning home this week after being snowed in at their camp in the San Bernardino mountains.



ELAM: Obviously, a lot of precipitation here in southern California. These mountains now, the snowpack standing at more than 220 percent of their annual records. So that just shows you how much snow, how much rain we have gotten this season. Such a difference from last year when the first three months of the year were the driest on record in California, Poppy.

HARLOW: Just one extreme to the next and both very dangerous. Stephanie, thank you to your team being out there in the middle of all of it.

COLLINS: All right, we have new CNN reporting this morning on how allies of former President Trump are privately working to get some of the further right House Republicans to put their support behind his campaign to be the next Republican nominee, hoping to put momentum behind that race that he announced last fall. But they seem it have their work cut out for them. Listen to what some of those Republicans that are privately being lobbied told CNN yesterday.


REP. DON BACON, (R-NE): I am looking for someone that attract more voters, and a little less divisive message I think is important.

REP. NANCY MACE, (R-SC): We've got to have someone that can appeal to independent voters, not just Republicans, not just Democrats.

REP. TIM BURCHETT, (R-TN): A lot of times our leaders, maybe their morals aren't where we need them to be, but the leadership skills and putting people in place are. So that's kind of what everybody is concerned about.


COLLINS: Melanie Zanona is one of the reporters on this story. She joins us live from Capitol Hill. Melanie, I listen to some of these lawmakers. Some of them were Trump's biggest allies when he was last in office. What is your sense of why they aren't ready to support him yet? Why are these lobbying efforts so far not being successful?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, it is really interesting because this is Trump's base of support on Capitol Hill, these MAGA members, these members of the Freedom Caucus. And Manu and I interviewed around roughly two dozen of them, and most of them were reluctant to commit to Donald Trump for president right now. Some of them said they want to wait to see how the field develops. Some of them admitted there's concern over Donald Trump's electability. Some of them said they just want to see a fresh face, and others were openly gushing about some of Donald Trump's potential rivals. Congressman Ralph Norman, he has already officially endorsed Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, and Congressman Chip Roy, a conservative, said he was very impressed by Governor Ron DeSantis who was a founding member of the Freedom Caucus here on Capitol Hill and actually met with members of the group in Florida earlier this month.

So clearly Trump is going to have his work cut out for him in winning back his coalition. But endorsements are something on his mind. I'm told that people are lobbying these House Republicans to back him. He is paying very close attention to who is and is not endorsing him, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: He always is. That is guaranteed. Melanie Zanona, great reporting, thank you.

LEMON: A CNN THIS MORNING broadcast exclusive on the price of insulin. The CEO of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly joins me next with an announcement that could impact tens of millions of American, including many who may have had to ration their own medicine.



LEMON: Very important here, so, please pay attention because millions of Americans are affected by this major news this morning for millions of people suffering from diabetes and high prescription drug costs. The pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, cutting the price of insulin, so that none of their customers will have to pay more than $35.00 a month for the drug. No more than $35.00 a month for the drug. Let's talk about why this is such a big deal OK. According to the CDC, in the U.S. alone, more than 37 million people now have diabetes, and another 96 million Americans are pre-diabetic, you talk about why that happens. Millions of Americans rely on insulin to survive and that costs money.

So, here in the U.S., the average price for a vial of the drug costs about $100. That's magnitudes more expensive than other countries around the world for a drug that does not cost much to make. And that high price tag has forced more than a million Americans to ration the life-saving medication. So, let's discuss this. Now joining me is the CEO and the chair of Eli Lilly and Company Dave Ricks. Thank you so much, I appreciate you joining us this morning. This is really important news.

DAVE RICKS, ELI LILLY & COMPANY CEO & CHAIR: It is, and thank you for having me on. You know, today we're announcing a 70 percent price cut on our most commonly used insulins, which will phase in over this year. And effective today a $35.00 cap, as you said, on out-of-pocket cost of a pharmacy counter.

LEMON: Why now?

RICKS: Yes, so, this is a culmination of about seven years of work we've been doing to reduce the price of our insulins, launching our own a generic to our own best-selling brand. But with a change last year in the Medicare Part D benefit, the Senior benefit to $35.00. We think that should be the new standard in America. And so, what we could wait for Congress to act or the Health Care System in general, to apply that standard. We're just applying it ourselves. Lilly's going to buy down all of our customers out of pocket cost to $35.00 at the pharmacy counter automatically.

LEMON: OK, let's talk a little bit more when you said, buy down $35.00 cost at the counter automatically. So, tell us more about --


LEMON: -- how this is going to work? How does the insurance coverage factor in? And could it drop the price even more?

RICKS: Well, the average price people pay for our insulin in our studies is about $21.00. So, if that was your price before, there won't be an effect. But we've heard about in your reporting about people who, unfortunately, can't afford their insulin, or they're forced to ration it because of the price point. That's because of the growth and what we call high deductible plans or plans that people have to contribute out of pocket, early in the year to the full cost of their medical care, including insulin. So, in the case of Lilly insulin now, that they won't be subjected to those high deductible costs. They'll just pay $35.00 for about $1.20 a day when they go to the pharmacy counter. No matter how much Lilly insulin they use.

LEMON: Yes, OK, good. I'm glad you mentioned how much Lilly insulin they use because I'm wondering how it's going to -- how many people it's really going to affect. Because seven in 10 Insulin users don't use your company's medicine. So, what do you say to other manufacturers about their prices? Because in order to bring it down for the majority of Americans to really make a dent, it's going to have to be more than just Lily.

RICKS: I'm glad you raised that point, Don, because it's, you know, we have a big complicated system. The other manufacturers will have to make their own decisions, of course, but we're calling today on our partners in the insurance industry, government policymakers, employers, who set the policy for their own insurance, to match this new effort, to reduce the cost to no more than $35.00 a month for insulin for all Americans.


We're doing that for our products that's what we can affect. But we call on everyone, to meet us at this point, and take this issue away from, you know, a disease that's stressful and difficult to manage already. Take away the affordability challenges.

LEMON: OK, so why? -- listen, one of the key groups are likely to ration insulin, I have to be honest with you, African Americans are one of the key groups who --


LEMON: -- have to ration insulin, black Americans. How do you make sure that black people with diabetes, know that they will not have to pay as much for insulin? Can you promise that this price drop is going to be equitable?

RICKS: That's such an important issue. So, two things we're doing, first, this price drop will this $35.00 cap, will be automatically applied at about 85 percent of U.S. pharmacies. Why not the rest? Because they don't subscribe to the electronic system that allows us to intervene at the -- at the pharmacy counter, even if the patient doesn't ask for 85 percent it'll happen automatically. What about the other 15 percent? They'll need to go to or website, and they can download a barcode, and use a quick coupon themselves. But to get the word out, and thank you, CNN for putting us on air today, to get the word out. We need to make sure that for those where it's not automatically applied, people can find out about that. We're going to launch a big media campaign later this spring, a bus tour, other things to get into those communities and make sure people know about the savings that are available to them.

LEMON: There is just a picture up on the screen, I need to explain to people what that was, that was my dad who died in the late 70s due to complications from diabetes. And it happens to so many families, especially African American families, and I understand it is personal. So, it's personal to a lot of people who are watching here. And then we talked about the effects on African Americans. But it's also personal to you.

RICKS: It is. Yes, thank you, for -- I'm sorry to hear about your father. But diabetes is a common condition that touches millions of Americans, as you mentioned, and, of course, even more families. So, that's why this issue I think, has been such a hot topic, and why the kind of become insulin has become such a pivotal issue in terms of drug affordability. So, we're proud today to lead again, in reducing the price to consumers. And hopefully, the rest of the system can match us and really take this issue and put it behind us.

LEMON: Listen, a lot of people wish that this would have happened a lot sooner, but we are where we are. And so, we'll go from there. And we thank you for joining us, the CEO and the Chair of Eli Lilly and Company David Bricks. Thank you, sir. Appreciate you coming on CNN.

RICKS: Thanks, Don. Thanks for having me on today.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: We have new details this morning, about the lawsuit against Fox News. How members of the Fox Corporation and their board, could even face more legal exposure if they fail to act.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: So, we're going to speak to an attorney who says his former client suffered from what he called Foxitis and Fox mania. And said the lies, that his client his former client heard on the network, partly inspired him to storm the Capitol.



HARLOW: Welcome back. There are new questions this morning after just stunning revelations from the $1.6 lawsuit against Fox News. The Network's Chairman Rupert Murdoch knew the outlet was spreading lies about the 2020 Presidential election. Legal experts are calling on Fox News, to take immediate action like removing high-ranking personnel, and settling its case with dominion, or else the legal exposure could increase. Oliver Darcy is here with a lot more. This is interesting, you wrote about it in your newsletter last night. Paul Ryan's on the board.


HARLOW: Right? and some other big-name individuals. The question is, is there culpability of the board? And if there isn't, there was no action, what is then potential legal liability for these individuals?

DARCY: I think we have to remember that Fox Corporation is a publicly traded company. And so, they have a board of directors who owe responsibility to the shareholders to make sure that, you know, there's some sort of corporate governance. And I think what you're seeing in these documents that are coming out of Dominion, is there's no semblance of normal corporate governance at Fox Corporation. Where you have people like the CEO of Fox News, seemingly engaged in massive wrongdoing. And so, when I was talking to Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, who's the renowned professor at Yale management school.

He was saying that the Board of Fox people like Paul Ryan, need to take immediate action, including possibly removing people like the Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, to at least attempt to clean up this wrongdoing. Because they have a responsibility to shareholders. And by their lack of corporate governance, they have effectively opened up, Fox News and Fox Corporation to --

HARLOW: To a huge financial hit.

DARCY: -- to huge legal exposure. And so, they have to do something, and I was talking to him and said, Paul Ryan, you know, he privately warned the Murdochs. And he said, that's not enough. He needs to take more action. He has a responsibility just as shareholders, not the Murdochs. So, we'll see what happens, but there is, you know, some history here. Murdoch's News the world scandal. There were some high- profile resignations there including James Murdoch, Murdoch's son. So, this story is only getting started, I think.

LEMON: Can you imagine if this actually goes to trial, and those people have to get on the stand for some of the Fox, high profile personalities?

DARCY: It will be devastating for Fox, I mean, this is a taste of what's to come. Imagine Rupert Murdoch on the stand, Lachlan Murdoch on the stand, Sean Hannity on the stand, Tucker Carlson on the stand. This will be weeks and weeks of damning headlines, which could really damage Fox's Brand. I mean, they have, you know, to preserve these business relationships, they have to at least have a some reputation. They're a legitimate news company and I've been saying obviously that, that's not the case. But the perception that they are a news company is crumbling and this could result in damage to the actual Fox Corporation brand, and really result in problems for shareholders, their shoulders.