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Fighting Intensifies For Control Of Eastern City Of Bakhmut; Heavy Snow Forecast For Parts Of Northeast; Alex Murdaugh Sentenced To Life In Prison For Killing Wife And Son; Conservatives Hold Dueling Events In Maryland And Florida. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 04, 2023 - 07:00   ET



ANDY SCHOLES, CNN REPORTER: I tell you what, guys, it's going to be so much fun watching baseball this year, all the players, the pitchers learning how to adjust to that new pitch clock.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Got a feel for them because we're always up against the clock here as well, Andy, so, we got to go, but good to see you. Thank you so much. And the next hour of CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

PAULA REID, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. It's Saturday, March 4th. I'm Paula Reid in for Boris Sanchez.

WALKER: Good to be with you, Paula. I'm Amara Walker. Thank you all for waking up and sharing your part of this morning with us. Paula, good to be with you. I can't believe it's already spring-ish. I mean, I've been checking the pollen forecasts every day and it hasn't been good here. How about you?

REID: No, not too great here either. But we will maybe get the cherry blossoms in the next few weeks. So, excited about that.

WALKER: Oh, beautiful. Yes, for sure.

REID: Now, here's what we're watching this morning. The White House rolls out another $400 million in aid for Ukraine as fierce fighting continues in the eastern part of the country. Our Alex Marquardt has a look at the battle for Bakhmut.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounded like a freight train, just like -- go on by the house.


WALKER: At least 10 people dead after severe storms hammer the Southeast. The damage caused by those storms and where we're seeing impacts from that system this morning.

REID: Alex Murdaugh will spend the rest of his life in jail. The judge's words for Murdaugh during the sentencing and why the former South Carolina will likely find himself in court again on dozens of other charges.

WALKER: Also, CNN still in East Palestine, Ohio as residents there begin to recover from that toxic train derailment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Customers that buy grass-fed beef directly from a farmer, they care about their food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to know what they're getting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want to know what they're getting is top notch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And healthy for them.


WALKER: One farmer now concerned his cattle may not be safe to eat. That's just ahead on CNN THIS MORNING.

All right, and good morning again it is Saturday, March 4th. As we said, we begin this morning with the fierce fighting in Ukraine. The Russian Wagner Mercenary Group says the city of Bakhmut is all but surrounded. Russian troops also launched artillery fire north of the city but Ukrainians says its forces are holding their ground around Bakhmut.

REID: Attorney General Merrick Garland made an unannounced visit to Ukraine. He joined President Zelenskyy at the United for Justice Conference. Zelenskyy is calling on international prosecutors to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine and the crimes that they've been committing. Now, let's get the latest on the ground from our CNN Senior National Security Correspondent, Alex Marquardt, he joins us live now from eastern Ukraine. Alex, what's the latest?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Paul and Amara. This is a very difficult fight. Ukrainian commanders admit that, and it is a fight that is getting even tougher. Russian forces have been trying to surround Ukrainian forces around, around Bakhmut and circle them, and they have had some success in doing so surrounding those Ukrainian forces on three sides to the north to the east and to the south. Ukrainian military is saying that their troops have managed to repel a number of attacks, but it is getting much more difficult.

There is only one main supply route into Bakhmut from the west, from a town of (INAUDIBLE), which we recently visited, we were on that very road. And now that main supply route has been cut off. The Russians overnight, the night before last, bombing a key bridge on that route. It was really the last paved road towards Bakhmut, towards the front that Ukrainian forces could use to resupply to pull civilians out. There, some four to 5000 civilians still in Mariupol, that is the road that they would have used if they wanted to withdraw. So, now, the situation much more difficult. If Ukrainian troops want

to do any of those things, they have to use dirt roads or open fields. That, of course, more difficult than fields are very muddy, and it leaves them much more exposed. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Head of Wagner, and remember those Wagner forces have been leading the Russian charge around Bakhmut, he called on President Zelenskyy in a video just yesterday to withdraw Ukrainian forces saying essentially save your troops lives, they only have one or two more days before they will be surrounded.

Now, Ukraine has called that a part of Russia's disinformation campaign. There is no sign for now that Ukraine plans on withdrawing. We have seen a top Ukrainian commanders visiting Bakhmut. It's unclear when those, those visits happen. But for now, no sign that they plan to withdraw. Ukraine says that they are standing their ground, they will continue to fight for this very important eastern city. Paula and Amara.


WALKER: All right. Alex Marquardt, always appreciate reporting there from the ground. Thank you so much. And the Biden administration is sending Ukraine more security assistance. The latest package of weapons and artillery totals about $400 million. CNN White House Reporter Priscilla Alvarez joining us now with the details. Hi there, Priscilla, what are some of the weapons in this aid package?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, look, this is primarily ammunition, and support equipment, but it is significant. This is the 33rd drawdown of U.S. inventories to support Ukraine. So, a little bit of what that includes artillery, artillery rounds, demolition munitions, along with other equipment that Ukraine already has to support that and assist them as they go into that second year of war.

You heard there from Alex, that this is still very active, the invasion, of Russia into Ukraine, and the U.S. is signaling here that they -- are going to continue to provide that military assistance, and it is a top priority. Just yesterday, President Biden met with German Chancellor Schultz where they discussed Ukraine and reaffirmed their support for Ukraine. And during their meeting, President Biden said that they were quote, or thanks, I should say, Schultz for their "strong and steady leadership."

Now, Schultz is a critical partner. He has become a crisis leader in Europe as this war has been ongoing. And so, the two as you see they're sitting down and talking yesterday at length where senior administration officials said that Ukraine was going to be a top priority, especially against the backdrop of intelligence that suggests that China may be providing or at least considering providing lethal aid to Russia.

So, all of this happening against the backdrop of those concerns, but also, again, as Ukraine goes into that second year of war and the U.S. showing here that they are going to continue to provide that military assistance with this $400 million package. REID: Priscilla Alvarez, thank you. And this morning, more than 1.3

million people are without power in the eastern United States as a deadly storm system pushes northward.

WALKER: Yes, in just the last 24 hours, at least 10 people were killed in multiple states due to the severe weather that brought tornadoes and major flooding to parts of the South. And now, the Northeast is bracing for heavy snow that can bring some dangerous conditions. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is following all of this from the CNN Center. All right, Allison, what do we need to know?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We are talking pretty significant amounts of snow. When you take into account the snow that's already fallen in the last 24 hours, and adding on top of it the extra snow we anticipate to get today. Most of the focus really is going to be for areas of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire up through areas of Maine and Massachusetts.

This is a live look at the radar. And you can see right there along the coast, it's still mostly rain. Those temperatures, too warm, but just a little bit further inland, that's where all the snow is. Already, areas of Maine and areas of New York have already picked up at least half of a foot of snow.

Now, we're going to be adding on top of that, widespread accumulations going forward, you're talking four to six inches. But some of these areas could pick up eight, nine, even 10 more inches on top of what they've already caught, on top of what they've already picked up. So, do keep in mind that you are going to have to give yourself some extra time out there on the roadways.

In addition to the snow, wind is also going to be a big factor. We've talked about the power outages, that number likely to go up today because a lot of these areas still looking at those 60, even 70-mile- per-hour wind gusts. So, that could bring down some additional trees triggering some additional power outages. And that's not just for the Northeast, that's also areas of the central Appalachians.

The good news is this system finally exits the region once we get to tonight. So, by the time we get into tomorrow, you'll finally start to see some clearer conditions. The next big system is actually going to arrive into the West Coast today, bringing additional rain there and snow. And again guys, they've had a tremendous amount of rain and snow so this could cause some additional factors in terms of travel issues for the latter half of the weekend.

WALKER: A lot going on. Allison Chinchar, thank you. Former South Carolina Attorney, Alex Murdaugh will be spending the rest of his life behind bars. He was given two consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole, at a hearing yesterday.

REID: Murdaugh was taken for processing immediately after the sentence was handed down. He'll undergo medical tests and mental assessments before being sent to a maximum-security prison. CNN's Dianne Gallagher reports


CLIFTON NEWMAN, SOUTH CAROLINA CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE: I sentence you for a term of the rest of your natural life.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Two consecutive life sentences for disgraced attorney, Alex Murdaugh, for the murders of his wife, Maggie; and his son, Paul -- the end of a dramatic six-week trial. Murdaugh spoke in court again saying he did not kill his wife and son.

ALEX MURDAUGH, CONVICTED FOR MURDERING HIS WIFE AND SON: I'm innocent. I would never hurt my wife, Maggie. And I would never hurt my son, Pau-Pau.


GALLAGHER: But Judge Clifton Newman offered a different take.

NEWMAN: It might not have been you. It might have been the monster you become when you take 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 opioid pills, maybe you become another person.

GALLAGHER: Judge Newman saying this trial was "one of the most troubling cases" of his career.

NEWMAN: I know you have to see Paul and Maggie during the night times when you're attempting to go to sleep. I'm sure they come and visit you. I'm sure.

MURDAUGH: All day and every night.

NEWMAN: Yes, I'm sure.

GALLAGHER: The prosecutor, again, pointing out Murdaugh's lies.

CREIGHTON WATERS, SOUTH CAROLINA CHIEF PROSECUTOR: The lack of remorse and the effortless way in which he lies, including here sitting right over there in this witness stand.

GALLAGHER: Friday sentencing comes just one day after the jury found Murdaugh guilty of two counts of murder and two weapons charges.


GALLAGHER: One juror spoke to ABC News about the jury's decision, saying the cell phone video placing him at the scene sealed Murdaugh's fate.

CRAIG MOYER, JUROR: The evidence was clear. We hear his voice clearly, and everybody else could too.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, it took basically 45 minutes for you guys to come to a decision?

MOYER: Probably about 45, maybe an hour.

GALLAGHER: Craig Moyer also saying Murdaugh's reactions during the trial, were not convincing.

MOYER: His responses, how quick he was with the defense and his lies, steady lies. I didn't see any true remorse, or any compassion or anything.

GALLAGHER: Murdaugh's defense team spoke to CNN, Friday, about their decision to put their client on the stand.

JIM GRIFFIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR ALEX MURDAUGH: But putting him on the stand, I think the jury also got to see his emotions about Maggie and Paul, which are very raw and real. But then, you know, the next day on cross examination, you got to give credit where credit is due. I mean, they clearly painted Alex as you know, a liar.

GALLAGHER: Vowing, their fight is not over.

RICHARD HARPOOTLIAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR ALEX MURDAUGH: We're appealing, and we feel good about an appeal. He's a liar and he's a thief, and he admitted that. He's not a murderer.


GALLAGHER (on camera): Now, the defense team says that they believe the fact that the judge allowed the inclusion of the financial crimes that Alex Murdaugh is accused of to be used as evidence in this murder trial, well, it tainted the jury's perception of their client. And if they weren't included, the defense team says maybe we could be looking at a different outcome.

Now, Alex Murdaugh, maybe now in state custody, but he still has to face those pending charges, about 99 of them mostly related to those financial allegations against him. The Attorney General tells me that just because he was sentenced to life in prison for these murderers does not mean that they are not going to go after him for the financial crimes as well. Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Walterboro, South Carolina.

WALKER: It's been quite a remarkable last several weeks with that trial. Thank you so much, Dianne. A Michigan man will remain in jail for threats against Jewish lawmakers. Coming up, how the FBI tracked him down and we look at what's fueling this rise in anti-Semitism?

REID: Conservatives are gathering in Maryland for the annual CPAC conference. The divide emerging among some in the party as presidential candidates and potential candidates make their pitches



REID: A man accused of threatening to kill Jewish officials in Michigan is set to appear in court again on March 15th. At a detention hearing yesterday, the court determined Jack Carpenter will remain in custody. The FBI, FBI says a tweet traced back to Carpenter threatened to kill "anyone that is Jewish in the Michigan government." This is just the latest high-profile case of threats against elected officials and anti-Semitism.

In Los Angeles, prosecutors charged a man with hate crimes for allegedly shooting two Jewish men in Los Angeles. In New Jersey, police arrested a man who threw a Molotov cocktail at a synagogue in an alleged arson attempt. A new report for the Anti-Defamation League says anti-Semitic attacks reached a record high in 2021, up 34 percent from 2020.

Joining me now to discuss this is Cynthia Miller-Idriss, the Director of Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University. Thank you so much for being with us. Let's start out by just talking about what you believe is behind this rise in threats against Jewish people in this country.

CYNTHIA MILLER-IDRISS, DIRECTOR OF POLARIZATION AND EXTREMISM RESEARCH AND INNOVATION LAB, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Well, thank you for having me. I mean, this rise in anti-Semitism, the, the real spike began during COVID with a number of conspiracy theories that were anti- Semitic, but it's also part of a broader spike over the last five to 10 years of white supremacist, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, a number of far-right conspiracy theories, disinformation and propaganda that's been circulating. But now, I think we're seeing the real violent fringe results of that. So, I think at root is a lot of circulating propaganda that has seen spikes for years. And now, that people are back out and about after COVID, we are seeing the violent repercussions of that, unfortunately.

REID: And CNN has been doing a lot of reporting on this. I want to take a listen to some of the news gathering, some of the interviews that we've done on this. First of all, let's take a listen to what an official with the Anti-Defamation League told my colleague, Amara Walker, this week.


OREN SEGAL, VICE PRESIDENT, ADL CENTER ON EXTREMISM: Unfortunately, whether it's in Michigan or other parts of the country, we are seeing the confluence of anti-government, COVID, and other conspiracy theories, combined with anti-Semitism. And we see how this is animating people to action. It's not only operating in spaces online, but in the fantasies and imaginations of people who are willing to then take action.


REID: And then, of course, there was a Jewish state lawmaker targeted in the Michigan plot, Samantha Steklov, she talked to my colleague Poppy Harlow, about the current fear in the Jewish community, which she likens to 1930s Germany. Let's listen to what she said.


STATE REP. SAMANTHA STECKLOFF (D-MI): We've seen the rise in anti- Semitism pretty much since the Charlottesville, when President Trump came in 2016, we saw this rise and wave of this Christian national group. And it really, really, really hit the fire when Kanye West said he was going to go DEFCON III on all of the Jews back in October, November.


REID: What is your reaction to that?

IDRISS: Well, first of all, I think, I think it's really important to acknowledge that sense of fear and terror, that members of targeted groups feel every time there is a threat like this. And we're seeing that across the board with, with marginalized minority communities in the U.S. and abroad. And this rise in anti-Semitism is at the root of a lot of it. And I also think, you know, since, since we mentioned Germany in the 1930s, it's really important to point out that in the wake of the Holocaust, Germany invests incredibly heavily in public civic education.

So, they don't just have ministries of education that monitor, you know, that that teach K to 12 educations, they have public agencies that focus on how to equip the public with the tools to reject propaganda and disinformation. We saw an entire new agency get created after 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security, to help us with our national security. I think we need that scale of investment to think about how do we defend democracy from the threats that we, that are because we lack the skepticism and the healthy ability to reject propaganda that we need to cultivate in the public.

REID: All right. Cynthia Miller, thank you so much. I truly appreciate you joining us.

IDRISS: Thank you.


WALKER: All right, coming up, the largest annual gathering of conservatives and the world also known as CPAC is happening this weekend and some high-profile Republicans or potential 2024 hopefuls are skipping it. We'll explain.


WALKER: 2024 Republican presidential candidate, Nikki Haley, made her pitch at CPAC telling GOP voters: "If you are tired of losing, vote for me," while also highlighting her political history of reaching across the aisle.


NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Americans deserve better than the way we're living today, and I'm confident we can take our country to her best days. The plan on calling for will do just that. It's fundamentally conservative and profoundly American. And I know we can unite our people. But real unity doesn't come from faint hearts or watered-down compromises, real national unity comes from boldly proclaiming our national purpose. It comes from standing on principle and persuading opponents to stand with us, like I did when I was Governor and when I was Ambassador.



WALKER: All right, let's get some perspective now on the day's top political headlines with Democratic Political Strategist, Howard Franklin; and Republican Political Strategist, Stephen Lawson, who also served as Communications Director for Ron DeSantis's 2018 campaign for Florida Governor. What a treat to have you both here in studio with me? So, Steven, let me start with you first because you know, unlike Donald Trump, two possible 2024 contenders, former Vice President Mike Pence, and of course your old boss, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, they decided to skip conspicuously this weekend's CPAC. And like, this used to be like this premier stopping -- stop for serious contenders for office. What is their no-show say to you?

STEPHEN LAWSON, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Well, I think it says that they're trying to build their own brand, right. They're trying to create their own lane. And I would argue that Governor DeSantis has done that. His record in Florida, taking Florida from a purple state, right, where Donald Trump won by a point, maybe a point and a half, to winning by 19 points, right -- this, this massive landslide victory. So, I think he's continuing to build his own brand to do his things his own way. And I think you're seeing that in the dynamic that plays out. It'll be interesting to see over the days and weeks ahead how that plays out, but I think it's an effective strategy.

WALKER: Does it underscore though how the party is divided when it comes to its allegiance to Trump?

LAWSON: Well, I think that there's obviously two paths going right now, right? And I think that's very clear -- I think, and Ambassador Haley laid it out: Republicans are tired of losing. We saw it in 18 and 20. And, and we're, you know, if we want to continue down that path, there's one path, and there's one person that I think is going to take us there. If we want to start get back to winning and do things a new way and a new fresh perspective, I think that there's a on alternate path here.

WALKER: Speaking of winning or not winning, speaking of a fresh perspective or not so fresh perspective. You know, President Biden, right, I mean, the Democrats seem pretty united in his renomination even though majority of Democrats will tell you: we don't want him to run. Where do you think he stands? I mean, do you think he's leaving wiggle room to potentially then back out even though there's really no alternative?

HOWARD FRANKLIN, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL STRATEGIST: I don't believe he's leaving any wiggle room. And I do think the party is united. And now, obviously, we haven't entered into the fray yet, right. He's, he's had two years as president. I don't think he's spent any time or real, real resource, really reminding Americans what he's been able to deliver on their behalf. And I believe that when he does, you know, finally accept this renomination and does actually get on with the campaign trail, I think Americans will rally behind him.

[07:30:00] And I think Americans will rally behind him. And I think your point is a really salient one, the fact that there isn't another challenger. We have seen, you know, weaken political incumbents in the White House be challenged from the right and from the left. The fact that no one has arisen to challenge him, I think says what we need to hear.

WALKER: Yes, it does. And I think that might be frustrating for a lot of the rank-and-file Democrats as well. Right?

FRANKLIN: I'm sure.

WALKER: Let's talk about the D.C. crime law, you know, speaking of Biden, because, you know, clearly, we're seeing -- we're seeing the president, basically siding with the Republicans.

And for those of you who don't know, the background, look, I had to do a lot of research on this, because I just couldn't wrap my brain around this.

But a lot of people may not know that Congress, the U.S. Congress has legislative power that's been laid out in the constitution to block laws passed by the D.C. Council.

So, there is this D.C. crime law that the council passed that would basically reduce penalties for violent crimes.

Republicans in the Congress are trying to repeal this law. They say, look, it's soft on crime. And obviously, a lot of people in D.C. seeing a huge spike in crime, like we're seeing in a lot of major cities across the U.S.

And President Biden, said, look, if Congress moves to overturn this law, I'm not going to veto it.

How do you, Howard, reconcile the fact that you have this president who is almost contradicting himself. He says, look, I support D.C. statehood -- D.C. home rule, but I also support the U.S. Congress stepping in and overturning this law.

FRANKLIN: Unfortunately, for the D.C. Council, I think they're just out of step with where most Americans are. I think there has been a very well documented movement toward decriminalizing or lessening penalties for non-violent crime.

But if you're lessening penalty for violent crime during the crime spike, I think there's two issues here. One is the fact that you're out of step with I think we're most Americans are.

Now, I think secondarily, you know, President Biden would essentially be taking -- putting himself in harm's way for an issue for three electoral votes that he knows he's going to get in two years that he really doesn't have to compete for.

And so, I think it's kind of the tail wagging the dog. And I think it's a smart political move not to step into this.

WALKER: What are your thoughts, Stephen? And how is this playing out amongst the Republicans?

STEPHEN LAWSON, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Well, I think it's obviously putting the Democrats in a very tough spot, right? They've got a very liberal progressive wing of their party that wants to see these soft on crime policies.

But I think you've got President Biden, who realizes that he's got to play to the middle. He's got a reelection campaign potentially coming up. And this is an area where public safety -- where the Democrats are in trouble, and the Republicans I think, are rightly seizing the ground.

WALKER: Yes, and I'm sure Lori Lightfoot's loss as well -- you know, the mayor of Chicago, you know, is also something that's concerning Democrats as well when they see what's happening across this country.

Thank you so much, gentlemen, Howard and Stephen.

FRANKLIN: Yes, it's good to be here.


LAWSON: It's great to be here.

WALKER: Appreciate your time. Thanks for the conversation. Paula.

REID: And coming up, anxiety is looming over residents in East Palestine, Ohio, who live near the site of that toxic train derailment. Many folks are still without answers more than a month later, and some say they feel stuck.


SAMUEL WEGNER, RESIDENT, DARLINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA: We live paycheck to paycheck. We live within our means and we don't have the financial luxury to pack up and move.



WALKER: Work has begun on the removal of the tracks in East Palestine, Ohio, one month following that toxic train derailment. Once the tracks are up, Norfolk Southern will begin the process of removing the contaminated soil underneath.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you care about us, get our grandkids out of here, now! Get my children out!



REID: This, as residents demand the company relocate them at a town hall. Saying the spill has made many of them sick and destroy their property values.

A new community health assessment reveals the most common symptoms for residents include headaches, anxiety, and coughing. The assessment surveyed nearly 170 residents near the site of the derailment.

WALKER: Yes, it's a tough situation for the people who live there and they believe the derailment may have long term effects no matter the plan.

REID: They are concerned that potentially toxic chemicals may have seeped into the ecosystem. And as CNN's Miguel Marquez found out, they're not sure their lives will ever be the same.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Amara, Paula, look, people want absolute certainty and answers that they can count on. But it's very clear talking to people hear, a month on, those answers are going to be very hard to come by.


DAVE ANDERSON, OWNER, ECHO VALLEY FARM: Come out girls. Come out girls. Come out girls.

MARQUEZ (voice over): Dave Anderson raises grass fed beef 4 miles downwind of East Palestine, Ohio. After the derailment, fire, and venting of toxic chemicals, this is what drifted over his Echo Valley Farm.

ANDERSON: As far as the smoke, you could probably see 100 yards, you know it was dark.

MARQUEZ: And what did you experienced?

ANDERSON: Burning eyes, burning throat, burning mouth.

MARQUEZ: The cloud from the toxic spill settled on his pastures and ponds. The question he now cannot answer, are the cattle he's raised for years, OK for human consumption.

ANDERSON: Customers buy grass fed beef directly from a farmer. They care about their food.

MARQUEZ: They want to know what they're getting is top notch.


ANDERSON: They want to know what they're getting, and healthy for them.

MARQUEZ: He has now sued Norfolk Southern. He also wants testing. A process a way to certify his livestock is safe.

ANDERSON: The lawsuit is about peace of mind to start with.


ANDERSON: And information to make decisions.

MARQUEZ: Solid information here, tough to come by. Officials have established a 2-mile zone around the derailment site as a priority. Because Anderson's farm is farther away despite being directly in the path of the plume from the toxic spill, he is yet received little support and no answers from Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection, DEP.


What will assuage your concerns?

ANDERSON: Like star? Like, testing, but there has been no testing.


ANDERSON: None. So --


MARQUEZ: DEP has not been out here at all.

ANDERSON: DEP came yesterday for the first time -- four weeks after the event. A little more than four weeks after the event.

MARQUEZ: They -- do they test? They take samples?

ANDERSON: They did not. They were investigating whether they should be active in this area outside of the 2-mile ring.

MARQUEZ: The crash occurred just feet from the Pennsylvania border. The winds typically blow east toward Pennsylvania.

The state is going house to house, testing soil and water in areas closest to the derailment.

What did you see that night?

WEGNER Standing at the end of the driveway, I saw a huge plumes of smoke. I saw flames above the treetops, well over 100 feet in the air, and it was terrifying.

MARQUEZ: Samuel Wegner and his wife Joyce had their fourth child, Jackson Hayes a week ago. He says the state's response has been too slow and lacking in information to know whether his town of Darlington, Pennsylvania is still a safe place to raise a family.

Have you tested your well or that hasn't been tested.

WEGNER: It was tested today, and we were told it will be another three weeks until we get results.

MARQUEZ: Wegner, who works in landscaping says they evacuated for four days. But moving permanently isn't an option.

How tough was it to come back to this house, knowing that you bring a newborn here?

WEGNER: I feel like I possibly regret the decision every day. But, here, we live paycheck to paycheck. We live within our means and we don't have the financial luxury to pack up and move. We just -- it's scary.

MARQUEZ: The CDC is now conducting a health survey in and around East Palestine, trying to determine the long-term effects on human health.

While air and water testing is occurring daily, answers about long term health won't come quickly.

CAPT. JILL SHUGART, UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE: We are hoping in the next couple of weeks to be able to have collected all of the information that we need. And then, those results will be available in the coming months.

MARQUEZ: For Pennsylvania residents and business owners, downwind of the toxic fire, answers can't come soon enough.

But you are losing business because people aren't sure it's safe to eat your food?

J.C. SUMMERS, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER, DARLINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA: Yes, I think so. I lost the wedding over that. I have catering job.

They just -- they don't know. I mean, I don't think there's anything wrong with anything, but I don't know either.

MARQUEZ: It must hurt.

SUMMERS: Yes, it sucks. I'm sorry, I don't know how to put it. It's just the uncertainty.


MARQUEZ (on camera): But Pennsylvania officials push back pretty hard on the notion that not enough is being done in this area. They say they've tested nearly every private well within a 2-mile radius of the derailment site. They have a soil sampling plan to putting into effect, they've been working with vets and animal welfare experts to inform farmers of best practices in this situation.

They've opened up a health clinic, hundreds of people who say have already taken advantage of it, and are still welcome to take advantage of it.

And beyond that, everything. All the testing, all the information. All the results will be available to the public and is available to the public both online and in person. Amara? Paula?

WALKER: I'm so glad we heard from those people. Miguel Marquez, thank you for that. But so many lives and livelihoods just in limbo.

Still ahead, just 11 minutes of daily exercise -- just eleven if you hate exercising like I do, could help you live a longer life. That's next.



REID: Pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly is cutting the price and capping the cost of insulin for many in need.

Millions of people who suffer from diabetes depend on insulin to survive every day. But a study released in October found that more than a million people regularly ration insulin because of high costs.

Now, Eli Lilly says they will automatically cap out of pocket insulin costs at $35 for certain people who use it. The CEO calls this an effort to close gaps in the U.S. healthcare system, and cited CNN's reporting about the struggle, many Americans face to afford insulin.

And the secret to living a longer life could be just 11 minutes of exercise a day. I don't know, Amara, I'm not sure if I believe that.

WALKER: Oh, hey, I'm going to believe it. Because that's like the best news I've heard all week.

According to a new study, 11 minutes of moderate, not, you know, heavy -- moderate activity can have major health benefits. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the great news.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, this was a pretty interesting study. I think so many exercise studies sort of look at things in a bit of a binary way.

If you do this much activity, you get these benefits. And it's compared to no activity. And I think what the researchers here wanted to know was, what if it was less than the currently recommended amount of activity? What if you, for example, said what happens to people who do have that amount of activity? How much benefit do they get?

An0d first of all, they describe the types of activity as brisk activities. Think of these as moderate-intensity, walking fast, you know, pushing a lawn mower, playing tennis, things like that, things where you can still talk, but probably can't sing. They wanted that degree of breathlessness.

And they looked at 30 million people through this meta-analysis over 10 years. And here is what they found that was pretty interesting. The sweet spot really in the middle there, 150 minutes a week of activity, which is what is recommended, gave people significant reduction in mortality, as you see there.

But if you did have that, you still got a pretty significant reduction, 23 percent. Even more, if you do -- if you exercise 300 minutes. And you can see what happens to cardiovascular disease, do you get as much benefit? If you're doing 75 minutes of activity?

[07:50:01] No, but you're still getting quite a bit. And the same for cancer even. So, this was really interesting trying to give some context as what is the value of even a little bit of activity. Now, was interesting -- it wasn't sort of a curve where it kept going, the more you did always the better.

If you started to try and find what was the point of diminishing returns in terms of activity, and the benefit on health, you found that around 300 minutes a week, typically. So, double of what it's currently recommended. That's when the benefits really started to plateau.

So, again, not saying you can't do more activity than that, but if it's the benefit of health in terms of mortality and heart disease, and even cancer, around 300 minutes was the max but 150 minutes the sweet spot. But you get credit as this study showed for doing 75 minutes a week.

WALKER: Oh my gosh, I'm working out too much. That's great. So, now I'm going to cut it down to just a few times a week.

Sanjay Gupta. Thank you so much for that.

So, how did H.Q. trivia go from Internet obsession to total meltdown? The million-dollar question, what happened? Explored in the new CNN film, "GLITCH". Here is a preview.


SCOTT ROGOWSKY, AMERICAN COMEDIAN AND TELEVISION PERSONALITY: Honestly, I put a decade into the comedy scene in New York, grinding it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mind my laughing?

ROGOWSKY: I don't mind at all. I wish the audience would join you.

At the subway (INAUDIBLE) video, so that was like I had a little bit of recognition from that. But I had certainly not reached the point of getting offers from Comedy Central or network T.V. And so, I decided to give up on New York and move to L.A.

Maybe I'll be discovered. Yes, that was my romantic ideal.

Gave up my apartment. But what the hell, one last audition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scott, when everybody man just roll. Have fun.


ROGOWSKY: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do whatever you want.

ROGOWSKY: Hello there. I'm your host Scott Rogowsky. We're live from New York City and we have a full house here in the studio. I showed up looking pretty unkempt in this moth-eaten sweater, with my glasses, which I don't normally wear when I do those things.

Get ready, the first round of HQ starts in just a couple of minutes.

No one really knew what this was. Come up with a little intro for yourself.

Where am I? What is this?

Come up with some jokes up top, and then just read the questions.

First question of the day. Where was the viral video, titled double rainbow film?


WALKER: The new CNN film, "GLITCH: THE RISE AND FALL OF H.Q. TRIVIA" premieres tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. on CNN. Back ever this.



WALKER: It is an honor. Nearly 60 years in the making and really overdue. This week, President Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to retired Colonel Paris Davis for heroism while fighting in the Vietnam War.

Paris was one of the first black Special Forces officers. He was wounded several times during a major battle, yet still manage to pull American soldiers to safety while continuing to fight. Remarkable.

CNN's Oren Liebermann reports on the long overdue honor.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The early morning patrol behind enemy lines on June 18th, 1965 fell apart quickly.

Captain Paris Davis and his men were leading a team of inexperienced South Vietnamese, when they came under waves of attack.

COL. PARIS DAVIS (RET.), MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENT: There was a place on that battlefield. There were so many bodies you couldn't see the grass.

LIEBERMANN: What kept you going in that fight?

DAVIS: Others. I'll tell you, I'd only remember the first couple of times I got shot that day.

LIEBERMANN: Davis was in that fight for 19 hours.

DAVIS: The Viet Cong really had a good terrain just like we did. We were right across from.

LIEBERMANN: He later recounted that battle on "The Phil Donahue Show". We called in artillery fire, fought the enemy, and rescued three of his fellow soldiers, including this man, Billy Waugh.

DAVIS: I went out there and tried to pull him out, but he was in a lot of muck. And I couldn't get him out and he was tied up in some vines, and he got shot again, and I got hit right here on the arm.

LIEBERMANN: By the time Ron Deis arrived overhead in a small observation airplane, he says it looked like all hell had broken loose.

Deis was shot down, then, picked up the story in bits and pieces from one of his men back at camp.

RON DEIS, SERVED WITH DAVIS: He told me that he thought Captain Davis should receive the Medal of Honor for the heroism that he exhibited that day.

LIEBERMANN: And he said this back then.

DEIS: He told me that evening.

LIEBERMANN: Davis did receive an award for that day, the Silver Star. But to the men who saw him in combat, it wasn't enough. 58 years later, that recognition finally happened.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This secretary may be the most consequential day since I've been president.

LIEBERMANN: Paris Davis, one of the first black Special Forces officers received the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor.

He never liked being called a hero, but there is no denying it now.

BIDEN: This year, we celebrate the 75th anniversary of our first fully integrated armed forces, and named Paris Davis will still stand alongside the nation's pioneering heroes.

LIEBERMANN: Davis says to receive the Medal of Honor is nothing short of a dream.

DAVIS: It's my day to say thank you to all America for allowing me to be in the military. I'm serious about it. No B.S. Allowed me to serve the country. And then, she had been -- the country been pretty damn good to me.


LIEBERMANN (on camera): Davis harbored no ill will at all, but he hadn't received the Medal of Honor earlier. In fact, he stayed in the military for 20 more years after the day that would make him famous and ultimately earned him the Medal of Honor.

He rose to become a colonel and commanded the 10th Special Forces Group before he retired in 1985.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, at the Pentagon.