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CNN This Morning

Zelenskyy Makes Dramatic Japan Appearance As G7 Leaders Take Aim At Russia And China; White House, GOP Resume Debt Ceiling Talks After Brief Breakdown; Pentagon Leaks Suspect To Remain Detained As He Awaits Trial; Montana Becomes First State To Ban TikTok; TikTok Creators Sue Montana Over App Ban; Red Alert Issued In Northern Italy Over Deadly Floods; Colombian Authorities Race To Find Four Children Missing In Amazon Jungle. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired May 20, 2023 - 06:00   ET




AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. We made it. I'm Amara Walker.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: We made it. It's Saturday. I'm Victor Blackwell, thank you so much for joining us. There's a story coming up that has 95,000 comments across the country.

WALKER: Really?

BLACKWELL: The USDA considering banning chocolate and strawberry milk in school.

WALKER: Outrage?


WALKER: Really?

BLACKWELL: And some people saying listen, this is how to get their calcium. If you have to sweeten it, at least they get it so we've got that for you. Here's what else we are focusing on. high stakes summit. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives at the G7 summit to boost support as Russia escalates the war. He's expected to meet with President Biden who faces challenges of his own here at home deadlocked on the debt limit. And the deal will be reached before time and the money run out.

WALKER: Plus, signs of possible survival. Colombian officials race to find four children they say may have survived a plane crash in the Amazon, but could they still actually be alive.

BLACKWELL: Basketball star Brittney Griner is back on the court for a first regular season start. We'll show you her emotional return.

WALKER: And a judge rips into the Air National Guardsmen accused of leaking a trove of classified documents to social media the defendant remains in custody as he awaits trial.

BLACKWELL: All right, off the top this morning. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in Hiroshima, Japan meeting with world leaders assembled for the G7 summit. Zelenskyy is making an appeal for support to beat back attacks from Russia out of unexpected spring counteroffensive. He has so far met with Prime Ministers of Italy and the U.K. today. He set to have a one on one with President Biden. The Ukrainian leader is expected to address the entire group tomorrow.

WALKER: Providing military and economic aid to Ukraine is one of the many items on the agenda for G7 members leaders of Japan, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, are also coordinating our response to increasingly assertive military and economic action from China.

Now ongoing negotiations over the debt ceiling have also been a, quote unquote, subject of interest at the gathering during a meeting with Australia's President Biden was asked about those talks and he said the negotiations are progressing as he expected.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It goes in stages. And what happens is the first meetings weren't all that progressive. The second ones were, third one was. And then what happens is the carriers go back to the principles and say this is what we're thinking about. And then people put down new claims. I still believe we'll be able to avoid a default and we'll get something decent.


WALKER: We have team coverage. CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright standing by in Washington with the latest on the debt ceiling, but we're going to begin with CNN international correspondent Marc Stewart in Hiroshima. Marc, we know that the Zelenskyy, President's Zelenskyy of Ukraine has arrived. And he will be meeting with President Biden and the other leaders this weekend.

MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, good morning, Amara. Hi there, Victor. Let me just set the stage for you. It is just after 7:00 Saturday evening here in Japan, President Zelenskyy has only been on the ground for just a few hours. And yet already he has met with the Prime Minister of Italy as well as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

We'll talk about the substance of all of this in just a moment. But I really do need to stress the symbolism of this visit. This is President Zelenskyy's first visit to Asia since the Russian invasion, and he's coming to the region at a time when many nations such as Japan feel vulnerability especially as China asserts itself in the region, especially in the waters off the coast of Japan off of Taiwan of the Philippines.

As far as President Zelenskyy and his goal, we don't have a specific timetable of events but he did send out a tweet not too long ago pretty simple message which simply says G7, Japan, important meetings with parties and friends of Ukraine. Security and enhance cooperation for our victory. Peace will become closer today.

So that is his objective. He also is hoping to get some more assistance from the G7 nations in particular the United States, as we expect sometime the next 48 hours or so, he will have a meeting with President Biden.


And once that concludes, the feeling is that there will be an announcement about a $375 million aid package, very military focused on things such as ammunition, such as military equipment, as well as rocket launchers. That's something that we will expect to see in the hours ahead.

And finally, it is also important to stress that while the big focus here is on the G7 nations itself. There are other invited guests, other invited diplomats from Indonesia, from India, from Brazil, South Korea and Vietnam. These are nations also very important in this broader picture of global stability.

President Zelenskyy has this rare opportunity to meet face to face with him to have these one on one conversations, certainly talk about military about diplomacy, but also their economic role in all of this, especially trade and other financial agreements with Russia, which we have seen, have proven to be a big funding source for Russia's war machine, Amara and Victor.

BLACKWELL: There's a lot to get done in this short visit. Marc Stewart thanks so much. And now let's talk about those debt ceiling negotiations. As we said, the talks between White House and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's office, they appear to have stalled.

WALKER: Let's go now to CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright in Washington. So Jasmine talks ended Friday with no clear indication that they would meet again and if they do when and again in person. Where do things stand?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHTIE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, well, we heard from the President just a few hours ago, he projected optimism about the state of negotiations really, as we're hearing kind of a different tone from basically everyone here in Washington, including some folks even at the White House. The President said that he was not at all concerned about the state of negotiations, basically describing this sort of kind of stalling as you said there, Amara, as just a part of normal negotiations.

Obviously on Friday, we saw kind of a whiplash movement at the capitol where we saw negotiators hit a snag, take a pause, leave the room kind of frustrated saying that no progress is being made. Ultimately, they got back in the room had a candid conversation, according to people inside of that room, but then left, as you said, with no indication that there was a deal or no indication of when they could meet again.

Still, President Biden said that he wasn't concerned about this. But of course, we're hearing deep frustrations among people on both sides of the aisle here in Washington, including from person and owns White House Communications Director -- communications director Ben Lebow, who said this, in a statement really slamming Republicans, he said Republicans are taking the economy hostage and pushing us to the brink of default, which is -- which could cost millions of jobs and tipped the country into recession after two years of steady job and wage growth. There remains a path forward to arrive at a reasonable bipartisan agreement if Republicans come back to the table to negotiate in good faith.

So there we go, kind of a demonstration of that frustration, saying that they believe that that path is still available. They said that repeatedly on Friday after those negotiations kind of stalled and broke down a bit. But again, they believe that Republicans have to come to the table on the Republican side, of course, there is a lot of frustration about the fact that they believe that the White House won't move off their talking points when it comes to spending caps and spending overall for fiscal year 2024.

Now, of course, there are still a long, long way to go here. And the fact of the matter is, is that even though President Biden describes these kinds of stallings as the natural ebb and flow of these major type negotiations, the time just isn't there.

Remember, June 1st is that possible X date where the country could default the first time ever in the nation, bringing about as the White House has said repeatedly, really catastrophic outcomes when it comes to the economy, people's jobs, people's money, and therefore they don't really have the time to come negotiate back and forth with these pauses and stops.

Ultimately, both sides want to see a deal they say, and so it's going to take them coming back to the table to do so. But of course, when that happens is unknown at the moment, Victor and Amara.

WALKER: And I guess at this point, Jasmine Wright, thank you very much. Let's get some perspective now from CNN political commentator on Spectrum news political anchor, Errol Louis. Good morning to you, Errol.

All right. So we heard there from Jasmine and look, there was optimism at the beginning of the week, when Biden and McCarthy met out at the White House and on Friday, the talks hit a snag it looks like talks broke down last night after they met after for only an hour. Where do things go from here Errol?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Amara. This is where fear starts to enter the equation. We've seen a lot of standard negotiating tactics walking away stalling, delaying calling for more talks, bringing new negotiators into the room and kicking some of the other parties out of the room so that we've got basically a one-on-one negotiation between the President and the House speaker and their top aides.


But now, you know, we really are down to the wire. And the consequences of not reaching a deal are going to be felt. I mean, the G7 summit and other places economic leadership of the planet depends on the stability of the United States. And there can be very serious consequences.

I mean, as it is, when this happened back in 2011, the U.S. debt was downgraded for the first time. And there are in fact, some companies out there, Microsoft, I think, is one of them, Johnson and Johnson, whose debt is considered superior, more reliable than that of the United States, that in itself is both tragic and something not to be repeated.

But they are going down a path where, you know, what has been a pretty good economy 3.4 percent unemployment rate, inflation coming down every month, that it could be tipped over into recession with the stock market crash to boot. That's very, very possible. And it could all happen in the next 10 days, Amara.

WALKER: OK, so let's talk about, you know, these talks, then, because something has to give right. And we know that Republicans, one of their main demands, of courses, is spending cuts and looking taking a hard look at the federal safety net programs like food stamps and Medicaid, this is what President Biden's response was, when he was asked about that this week. Listen.


BIDEN: I'm not going to accept any work requirements that's going to impact on medical health needs of people. I'm not going to accept any work requirements that go much beyond what is already what I voted years ago for the work requirements that exist. But it's possible there could be a few other non-anything of any consequence.


WALKER: Few others, not any with many consequences. What is President Biden keeping the door open for? And obviously, is that something, you know, that could really hurt him when it comes to 2024, especially with his own members of the Democratic Party?

LOUIS: Well, yes, I mean, look, the President is laying out what are some pretty clear boundaries for him. He is not going to be a president who, while running for reelection gets 1.5 million people kicked off of Medicaid, that's the estimate of what would happen according to the Congressional Budget Office.

He's not going to put work requirements on people who are already low income, just so that they can have health care, that's just not going to be something he can do. And it really points to the needle, though, that he's trying to thread.

What the White House's strategy is going to be, Amara, is to try and make it so that a few Republican votes fall off of the House bill that was passed by McCarthy, and that they'll need Democratic votes in order to shore it up and get to a final deal. So it's a very particular very meticulous process of trying to find some places where, for example, the Republican budget calls for slashing support for renewable energy. While there are some Republicans were not going to go along with that, especially in the Midwestern states, where they're using, you know, biogas and other kind of, you know, ethanol, other kinds of renewable energy projects where they do want some of that federal money and they're not necessarily going to support the budget. So they're going to have to go sort of program by program, but big broad entitlement programs like Medicaid, food stamps, you know, work requirements, as you just described, that's just not going to happen.

WALKER: Can Biden do this without Congress? I know that, you know, there, I think at least 11 Senate Democrats, led by Senator Bernie Sanders, who are pushing for the idea of Biden invoking the 14th Amendment, which in theory would allow him to raise the debt ceiling without Congress, obviously, a very controversial idea, which would be met with swift legal action, but how do you rate the chances of this happening?

LOUIS: You know, that was considered in 2011. And it was rejected. It's not -- there's not a very strong argument there will probably lose in court and the White House is saying both publicly and privately, they don't even want to raise that Specter, because that would, in fact, create the very instability that a default would create. So as a negotiating tactic, and as a legal matter, the White House is trying to rule that out.

WALKER: All right, June 1, the earliest date that the U.S. could default on its debt obligations less than two weeks away. Errol Louis, thank you.

What more than a dozen counties, excuse me, in New York have issued states of emergency in response to New York City Mayor Eric Adams plan to relocate asylum seekers out of the city. The city says it currently has about 35,000 migrants in its care.

BLACKWELL: But neighboring counties say they don't have enough food and resources for the migrants already in their care, according To the emergency orders officials have forbid hotel owners from accepting migrants.


CNN's Polo Sandoval has more on the migrant crisis in New York.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): And Victor and Amara, good morning to you. We'll be getting another very busy weekend for New York City officials as they deal with the increasing number of asylum seekers who continue to arrive in New York City to seek refuge. This despite what I witnessed just last week on the southern border, which is a decrease in the number of migrant apprehensions though that has really done nothing to help the situation here in New York City.

The average number of daily asylum seekers arriving here about 600, according to the Adams' administration, that is a sharp increase from the roughly two to 300 that we were seeing just a couple of weeks back, in fact on Monday, but one city official saying that they received over 900.

So it certainly gives you a sense of that urgency, as authorities here on the ground tried to find more room for these asylum seekers. That's one of the reasons why, on Friday, they opened up the asylum seeker arrival center here in Midtown Roosevelt Hotel. This is a facility that will serve at least or at least be used in two separate ways.

One, sort of a central location where many of these migrants will be processed will be offered some of those resources by some of those nonprofits, and then those families traveling with children, many of them with an opportunity to actually shelter long term at this facility.

Meanwhile, authorities here in New York City continue to plead with other elected officials to try to find other similar spaces as at this point, it doesn't seem that the needs of these asylum seekers will subside anytime soon. Back to you guys.


BLACKWELL: Polo, thank you. Up next, Disney cancels its planned for a billion-dollar complex that would have brought thousands of jobs to Florida. How this move up the ante of Disney's feud with Governor Ron DeSantis days before he's expected to announce a presidential run.

WALKER: Plus, a mystery in Colombia. What was first reported as an extraordinary survival story in the Amazon jungle now has much of the nation that confused.



BLACKWELL: Accuse Pentagon leaker Jack Teixeira will stay in jail as he awaits trial for allegedly posting dozens of classified documents on the social media platform discord.

WALKER: 21-year-old Air National Guardsmen appeared in court Friday where a federal judge sided with prosecutors who argued against his release saying he continues to be a threat to national security CNN's Jason Carroll has the details.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): At one point during the proceeding, the judge raised his voice in order to make his point saying that this was a defendant who simply did not care who he put at risk. He said several things he said for example, what the record shows is a profound breach of the defendants' word that he would protect information and the security of the United States and its allies.

Judge David Hennessy went on to describe who was hurt. Because of what Jack Teixeira had done. He said who did he put it at risk. You can make a list as long as a phonebook soldiers, medical personnel, Ukrainian personnel, Ukrainian soldiers, we do not know how many people he put at risk.

The government has said if you disclose this information, you put the United States at serious risk. And the defendants' response was I don't give a expletive. Now, Teixeira's family has also put out a statement saying that they are disappointed about the outcome, but they are going to continue their steadfast support of Jack Teixeira.

The judge had also indicated that he did struggle with one portion of this saying that he was confident if he had released Jack Teixeira on bail that he was confident that that he would abide by the conditions of that release. But then he also went on to say but when I look at him, I think what if I'm wrong? What are the consequences of my decision? Jason Carroll, CNN, Worcester, Massachusetts.


WALKER: All right. Jason Carroll. Thank you. And new this morning, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says there is zero chance he heads he backs down from his ongoing dispute with Disney.

BLACKWELL: Yes, those comments from DeSantis, who is expected to announce the 2024 presidential run in the coming days came after Disney said it was scrapping plans to build a $1 billion office complex in Florida. CNN's Natasha Chen has more on this.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Disney has said in a memo that this decision was difficult based on changing business conditions and new leadership. Not mentioning politics at all. But it certainly has become part of a major political story just days before Governor Ron DeSantis is set to officially launch his presidential campaign.

The Governor was making a stop at a diner in New Hampshire on Friday when he referenced the Disney issue, talking specifically about the company's special tax district around the Walt Disney World Resort. Here he is.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R) FLORIDA: The people are going to govern and to put one corporation on a pedestal and let them be exempt from the laws. It's not this policy. It's not free market economics. And it's not something that our state is going to be involved in and so you will not change from that. So they can do whatever they want. I know people try to chirp and say this or that chance of us exactly down to zero,

CHEN: But certainly, DeSantis his potential 2024 rivals are weighing in the Trump campaign account on Twitter, called him Rhonda Sanctimonious in the mousetrap. Former Vice President Mike Pence spoke on Fox Business on Friday saying that he likes Walt Disney not Woke Disney but disagrees with the strategy of any government going after a business for disagreeing with its politics.

Pence said that he believes both sides should stand down and that DeSantis should take the victory for parent's rights and move on. Of course the whiplash for Disney employees is also huge here because some of them a couple 100 had already started to move to Florida. For those individuals they will be given out options including the possibility of moving back here to Burbank in Southern California.


I'm also told that some employees had actually found other jobs because they knew they did not want to move to Florida. And now those jobs are staying here in the Golden State. So, a lot of whiplash here for those individuals and in the political world. Natasha Chen, CNN, Los Angeles.


BLACKWELL: Natasha, thank you for that. Coming up, we're going to get into this TikTok crackdown in Montana. It's the first state to ban the app on all devices, legislation that was already facing legal fights, but how strong are the arguments. We'll get into it.


BLACKWELL: Montana is now the first state to ban TikTok even on personal devices. So the new law was signed this week by the state's Republican governor it would find TikTok and online app stores from making services available to Montanans.


This goes into effect next year. It's already facing legal challenges, a lawsuit filed this week by TikTok users argues that Montana can no more ban its residents from viewing or posting a TikTok than it could ban the "Wall Street Journal" because of who owns it or the ideas it publishes.

More than half of U.S. states have banned TikTok on government devices over privacy and security concerns. But Montana's new law could mark the beginning of a new phase. With us now, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson, always good to have you on a Saturday. Sir, let's start here with the basic question here, that this lawsuit poses.

Montana cannot simply ban something based on what it thinks U.S. foreign policy should be. Question to you is, can it?

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Victor, good morning to you. I think it's troubling and very problematic for a number of reasons. The first reason is the obvious one, right? We're a country that values very much the First Amendment protections. What does that mean? The right to express yourself, the right to have access to information, the right to have a forum in which to have that access.

So that's the first thing. And then you pivot to the other things, is that certainly, we can have the discussion, Victor, as to there being limitation with respect to the First Amendment. Can't yell fire in a movie theater, right? You can't defame someone. So there are limitations, then you get to the third issue as to whether or not this goes too far.

You already indicated that there are about half the states that banned TikTok on government devices. You can argue that, that potentially, right, is legal and lawful. Why? Because it's narrowly tailored to an important government objective, the legal and privacy concerns as we look there with respect to the different bans in different parts of the country.

The issue with this is, does it go too far? Last point to your question, you know, in the event that you have certain foreign interests that you want to protect states from, that's an important governmental objective. The issue here though, is whether or not there are specific identifiable things the Chinese government is doing that we could point to and say we're fighting against that, not just an abstract concept with respect to the Chinese government potentially spying upon people. I think that, that in and of itself is troubling.

BLACKWELL: On the allegation of violations of the First Amendment, the attorneys who filed this, they invoked prior restraint claims here. Explain what that is and how that might be applicable to this.

JACKSON: So what ends up happening is that the government has to be careful with respect to what it is attempting to regulate, right? Let's start there. In the event that you're looking, and as a government, to try to ban speech, you have to ban speech and it has to be predicated upon some compelling and important governmental objective.

Now, you can argue that certainly spying is an important governmental objective if you could touch and identify specifically, what the government is doing. In the event that you can't, you just cannot preempt speech and decide to ban it outright prior to actually people actually accessing the information or having the ability to express themselves.

To the extent that you're trying to preempt the ability to access or otherwise express, that becomes troubling and problematic. You know, we saw that with the Pentagon papers and the release and attempt to not get that to be published, et cetera, back in an era of Nixon.

So whenever you're dealing with something that relates to the First Amendment that you just have to be very careful, tilter it to an important and compelling government objective and make sure that there's identifiable specific targets and information that you do, and even when you do that it has to be limited.

Last point, tottering back to what we discussed early and with regard to the government bans, right? Half the governments or half the states banning it on TikTok on government devices, security concerns, et cetera. But private devices, the argument is going to be that, that goes a bit too far.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's talk about this claim of a violation of the 14th Amendment. So, the lawsuit highlights some Montanans who have tens of thousands or in some cases hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok, they make money through the site, in at least, one case that I read, this tripled the family's income through their TikTok .site.

This lawsuit claims that this law deprives the users of their property, and by property, I mean, the account, the followers and the revenue derived from the platform. Is that a strong 14th amendment claim?

JACKSON: I think it is. I mean, remember, it's the nature of the collective arguments that were going to be made we talked about the other two relating to access and speech, relating to the freedom to express yourself, and now, you raise the other, and there are even more.


So when you talk about the issue of taking property or, you know, without due process of law, it means that if you're going to take as the government, right? You're going to intervene and you're going to impair someone's property interest or liberty interests, et cetera, you have to give them their right to be heard.

And so, to the extent that you're issuing this ban without, right, giving someone the ability to be heard with respect to taking that first, that constitutes a problem, right? We -- in addition to enjoying First Amendment rights, we in this country also enjoy the right to due process. That is the right not for the government to intrude upon what we protect as near and dear, whether that'd be property or liberty interest without otherwise having your day in court. This -- the argument is doing just that.

BLACKWELL: Joey Jackson, helping us understand it, thank you.

WALKER: Still ahead, northern Italy on red alert. The region now expecting even more rain, and as it deals with deadly flooding. We're going to go live to the country next.



BLACKWELL: The Colombian military is scrambling now to find four children they say may have survived a plane crash in the Amazon jungle nearly three weeks ago. Authorities say the missing children's father has been assisting in the search, and rescue teams have been playing a message recorded by the children's grandmother asking them to stay in one place.

WALKER: On Thursday, the Colombian Armed Forces said they had found footprints they believed belonged to the missing children in a remote part of the jungle after earlier reports that the children had been -- had been found were dialed back. A flooded region in northern Italy is under a new red alert for heavy rainfall today. The Emilia Romagna region is already struggling with what the World Health Organization says is its worst flooding in a century.

BLACKWELL: Yes, experts say the devastating floods after years of severe drought in the region are another sign of the accelerating climate crisis. Barbie Nadeau joins us live now from Rome. Barbie, the death toll rising now, more rain on the way. Tell us more.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's just devastating. Death toll now sits at 14, but there are communities that haven't even been reached yet. You know, there are 500 roads out and more than 200 landslides that have isolated in this picturesque Italian hilltop towns. And we're seeing incredible loss of life in terms of livestock.

This is a very important agricultural area for the country, and we've got local mayors saying we can't evacuate, you just go up to the roof of your house, try to find a floor, a higher floor, because there are so many rivers that are cresting right now running over their banks, and the rain is still coming. They received six months of rain in just 36 hours earlier in the week, and the rain is still coming out as hard as it was earlier in the week, but the ground is saturated. So it really has nowhere to go. Victor, Amara?

BLACKWELL: It's all for the people -- authorities are saying do what you can to save yourself because we can't get to you. Barbie Nadeau there for us, thanks so much. Well, still to come, a major step in the effort to protect infants from RSV. The FDA is now a step closer to approving Pfizer's vaccine. What parents need to know. That's next.

But first, follow a team of adventurers around the globe as journey into the wild and take on incredible challenges. The four-part documentary series "EDGE OF THE EARTH" starts tomorrow at 10:00 on CNN.



WALKER: One new death and six more cases of vision loss have been linked to infections from contaminated eye-drops. This now brings the total number of deaths to four and cases of vision loss to 14. This is according to the CDC.

BLACKWELL: Patients reported using more than ten brands of eye drops, the most common is EzriCare Artificial Tears. The eye-drops were first recalled in February. In total, there have been more than 80 infections, even four cases of eyeballs having to be surgically removed -- sorry for that detail at this hour. The FDA has voted to recommend a new vaccine for pregnant women aimed at helping newborns fight RSV.

Now, the shots from Pfizer would protect babies up to six months old from the respiratory disease.

WALKER: Now, RSV is the number one reason for child hospitalizations in the U.S. And right now, there's no shot on the market to help protect kids from it. CNN's Meg Tirrell has more.

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, Amara, the positive vote this week is just a recommendation. The agency is set to decide on Pfizer's maternal RSV vaccine by August. But the need for a vaccine like this is high. We spoke with one mom who showed us why?


CHRISTINA STRICKLAND, INFANT SON HAD RSV: And when I went to pick him up, he was cold.

TIRRELL (voice-over): There had been no major signs that six-week-old Caleb Strickland was dangerously sick before his mom, Christina put him down for a nap one day last September. Just sniffles and less of an appetite.

STRICKLAND: And so, I picked him up, he was lethargic, he would open his eyes, he'll close his eyes, open his eyes, close his eyes.

TIRRELL: After a call to his pediatrician, they rushed him to the hospital.

STRICKLAND: Before I even knew what happened, he was being admitted and pumped with oxygen and trying to be stabilized.

TIRRELL: Eventually, Christina says Caleb tested positive for RSV, a respiratory syncytial virus.

STRICKLAND: That was the first time we had ever heard of RSV.

TIRRELL: The CDC says almost all kids will get infected with RSV by the time they're two years old. For most, it's like a mild cold, but for others, particularly young infants and those born prematurely or kids with weakened immune systems or other health conditions, it can be severe. The CDC says RSV puts as many as 80,000 kids younger than five in the hospital each year in the U.S.

COURTNEY BYRD, CHILDREN'S HEALTHCARE OF ATLANTA: We can see RSV really affect anything and any system in the body, but what seems to get children into trouble in the hospital with RSV is when it affects their breathing or their respiratory status.

TIRRELL: There is no vaccine against RSV for babies and kids, and the first for older adults produced by company GSK was just approved earlier this month. One of Pfizer's RSV vaccines that's being considered for approval would be a single shot given during pregnancy late in the second or third trimester, and could help protect babies like Caleb through the first six months of life.

BYRD: That is called passive immunity. Mother pass it to baby and baby now has some protection.

TIRRELL: Christina Strickland says it's something she wishes had been available to her to protect both Caleb and his twin brother, Andrew.


STRICKLAND: If there's any vaccination I could have taken out, I would have definitely taken it to protect them

TIRRELL (on camera): How are Andrew and Caleb doing now?

STRICKLAND: They are wonderful. They are fat and juicy and moving around, very healthy.


TIRRELL: Now, the FDA panel voted unanimously that the efficacy of the vaccine supports its approval, and 10 to 4 that the safety does. Specifically, they're focused on whether there is a risk of pre-term birth associated with the vaccine, although it's not clear that there is. In terms of efficacy, in trials, the vaccine showed it reduced the risk of severe symptoms of RSV in babies by 70 percent to 80 percent. Victor, Amara?

WALKER: Meg Tirrell, thank you. Up next, a highly-anticipated return in the WNBA, Brittney Griner officially back on the basketball court six months after she was released from a Russian prison.



BLACKWELL: Third round of the PGA Championship will tee off soon in Rochester, New York.

WALKER: Andy Scholes here with us now. And Andy, the tournament organizers are using golf to help veterans adjust to life after the military.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, guys. So on this week's difference makers, I'm going to shine a light on PGA Hope, which is a rehabilitated golf program for veterans and active duty military that enhances their physical, mental and social and emotional well-being.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is week one of PGA Hope. We appreciate all you guys coming out here.

JASON KUIPER, PGA HOPE LEAD PROFESSIONAL: PGA Hope is to provide an opportunity for veterans to enjoy golf.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A new life. A new perspective. A new challenge, meeting new friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They let the PTSD, limb loss or whatever injury they've experienced while serving this great country, we're using golf as therapy to help them understand how to deal with that trauma, how to get released from that trauma and help them get back into everyday life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get you some clubs. Come on over here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lost my leg in a Marine Corp in 87, and doing adaptive sports since then. But what I found about golf is, golf is different from all the other adaptive sports because you really have to be singular-mind focused, you have to block everything out and just focus on striking that golf ball and not reliving the trauma I've experienced and the trauma I've been dealing with since getting back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I served the army for 14 years. I went through therapy, you know, I had a spinal cervical injury in 2010, and I was in a dark space of my life. And it was like I was in the woods and I couldn't find my way out. But golf brought me sunshine and hope and everything.


KUIPER: It's the best two hours of my week, spending time with the veterans and learning their stories and helping them have fun and just providing that environment where they want to come out and play the game that I love. It's just so rewarding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've had numerous veterans come up and say, had it not been for Hope, they're not sure they'd be here today. It's always been my why? Why did I survive? You know, why am I here? And it's here to do this. I truly believe that this is what I'm here to do.


SCHOLES: And sports world losing a legend yesterday, as Jim Brown passed away. When people are having conversation who is the best football player ever, the name Jim Brown is at the very top of that list. He only played nine seasons, but in those nine seasons, he led the league in rushing eight times, never missed a game.

He was MVP three times winning the NFL championship for the Browns back in 1964. Now, Brown retired at the height of his playing days at 30 years old to concentrate on his acting and social activism. He appeared in more than 50 films, starring in the World War II action movie "The Dirty Dozen". Jim Brown, a leader, a legend, 87 years old.

All right, to basketball we go. Celtics and Heat game two last night, Boston had a 9-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter when Grant Williams hit this three right here. He's pretty pumped up, had some things to say to Jimmy Butler going up the court, but that was probably a bad idea because that lit a fire under playoff Jimmy, he would hit multiple shots with Williams guarding him after that, leading the Heat on a 24-9 run to close the game.

Butler finishing with 27 points. Now Jayson Tatum had 34 points through the first three quarters, but then went over three, two turnovers in the fourth, Miami shocking that Boston crowd, winning again 111-105. It's taken two games to now lead in that series.

Now Brittney Griner meanwhile playing in her first WNBA game in 579 days last night. She along with her Phoenix Mercury teammates getting a little pep talk by Vice President Harris before the game. The eight- time all star receiving a standing ovation from the crowd as she was introduced, then Griner right away making her first jumper.

She played pretty good, 7 for 9 from the field, scored 18 points, her Mercury though would lose to the Sparks 94-71 in that one, guys. But pretty incredible --

WALKER: Yes --

SCHOLES: To see where she is right now back on that WNBA court playing great, considering where we were now six months ago --

WALKER: She's so resilient --


WALKER: Yes --

BLACKWELL: Certainly good to see her back on the court. And that Heat- Celtics game, that's the thing about trash talk. It can backfire.

SCHOLES: It could --

BLACKWELL: It can backfire.

SCHOLES: And Jimmy Butler had a great soundbite after the game, he's like what did you think about? He said -- he was like, I may not be the person to trash talk to --

BLACKWELL: Right, we saw it also with LeBron, right?

WALKER: Yes --

BLACKWELL: When he was called old, he went out there and showed what a 38-year-old can do --

WALKER: Are able to do --

SCHOLES: Yes, he did --

WALKER: Yes --

SCHOLES: And then Lakers-Nuggets game 3 of that series is later today, back in L.A., a must win for the Lakers.


SCHOLES: You know, they're down 0-2 in that series, cannot afford to go down, 0-3.

BLACKWELL: All right --

WALKER: Yes, 30s is old in sports, but I mean, geez, that makes me feel so old when they run stats on LeBron, yes --


SCHOLES: This is LeBron's 20th year though, he's got a lot of miles on those legs --



BLACKWELL: All right --

WALKER: Can't tell --

BLACKWELL: Thank you Andy. Next hour of CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.