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CNN This Morning

First Plane Arrives In Abu Dhabi With Children From Gaza In Need Of Urgent Medical Care; U.N. Calls On Israel To Grant Access To Investigate Claims About Al-Shifa Hospital; Water, Sewage Systems On Verge Of Collapse In Gaza; Judge Rejects Effort To Boot Trump From Colorado Ballot; Speaker Johnson Says He Will Release All Non- Sensitive January 6th Footage; House Ethics Chairman Introduces Resolution To Expel Rep. George Santos From Congress; Global Warming's Effect On The Country And Your Health; Soon: SpaceX Starship Set To Lift Off After April Explosion; Glitzy Las Vegas Grand Prix Back On Track. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired November 18, 2023 - 07:00   ET



ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST (on camera): So, if you are driving, maybe have some flexibility with your plans and cannot go on Tuesday, that might help. Chicago, down through Atlanta, over into New York, all of these areas going to be looking at the potential for delays, not only on the ground, but also in the air.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Allison Chinchar, watching it all for us. Thanks so much. Next hour of CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

Good morning. Welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. It is Saturday, November 18th. I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Amara Walker. Thank you so much for being with us. Here's what we're watching for you. The first plane carrying people injured in the fighting in Gaza arrived in the UAE this morning as we are learning of a worsening situation at hospitals in Gaza.

BLACKWELL: A Colorado judge says former President Trump did engage in an insurrection but the rules say that he can stay on the Republican primary ballot. The reason for the judge's ruling and what comes next.

WALKER: A new report says climate change is impacting every part of the U.S. and that includes our health. The top health issues caused by climate change and what you can do about it.

BLACKWELL: SpaceX will try again today to launch its Starship rocket, the most powerful ever built. Details on the launch and what it could mean for human exploration of the moon and of Mars.

WALKER: This morning, 15 people from Gaza, including children with urgent medical needs, have arrived in the UAE. They are the first of 1,000 children who will get treatment under an initiative by the UAE's president. The Palestinian Ministry of Health says the crippling fuel and water shortage in Gaza has led dozens of hospitals to close. The Al-Shifa Hospital says most of the ICU patients who were on

ventilators have died. Heavy shelling continued in Northern Gaza overnight where Israel Defense Forces continue their ground incursion into Gaza. Hamas officials now put the Palestinian death toll at more than 12,000 people with an estimated 5,000 children among those killed.

BLACKWELL: Today marks six weeks since the terrorist attacks in Israel that led the country to declare war on Hamas. Israeli police say that the death toll from the Nova Music Festival has now reached 364. It's up from 270. The IDF says, they will advance anywhere Hamas is found, which includes the southern parts of Gaza, where Palestinians with nowhere to go were forced to move into bombed out homes. CNN's Nada Bashir is in Jerusalem with us for more on that. Nada, good morning to you.

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Amara. Yes, we have seen these families now across northern, central, and southern Gaza being forced to live in the structures of what once were their homes, rubble now as a result of those ongoing airstrikes.

And of course, as we have seen across the Gaza Strip the humanitarian situation is deteriorating by the hour. We are still seeing shortfalls in fuel and food in medication and clean drinking water. And of course, as we know we are still hearing those calls for civilians to evacuate from northern Gaza to southern Gaza but there are widespread concerns that the situation in southern Gaza simply isn't safe enough for any civilians to evacuate to.

Hospitals there are overrun, airstrikes continue in southern Gaza. And while the IDF says it is targeting Hamas across the Gaza Strip, as we have seen this civilian toll is mounting and now what we are beginning to see is civilians running out of places to take shelter. We saw from one family yesterday in our reporting, now having to live in the rubble of what once was their home because there simply isn't anywhere else to go. Take a look.


BASHIR (voice-over): In the central Gazan city of Deir el-Balah, heavily bombarded by Israeli airstrikes for weeks now, the Naji family is forced to live amid the ruins of what once was their home. Khaled and his wife were rescued from beneath the rubble. Miraculously, they survived. But now, with nowhere to go, this family must make do with what little they have left.

"When we saw the catastrophe before us, we tried to find shelter at a school or anywhere safe, but it was already too crowded," Khaled says. "There isn't anywhere safe to go here. As you can see, it's been raining and there is no aid getting in. I just want somewhere to shelter my family, my children."

The U.N. has warned that some 70 percent of people in Gaza are now forced to drink contaminated water, raw sewage said to be flowing through the streets in some areas. And while the Israeli government says it will now allow two fuel tankers a day to enter Gaza to support water and sewage systems, the entire strip is said to be facing the immediate possibility of starvation, according to the U.N. World Food Program.

There is no electricity and no running water here. And as temperatures drop, this family has no choice but to sleep in the cold. Khaled's daughter says she put this sheet of nylon to protect her from the wind and the rain at night. These blankets, all the family has left to keep them warm. The rest of their belongings, tangled and buried amid scorched blackened rubble.


Across North northern and central Gaza, scenes of destruction are all that remain. Civilians told to evacuate southwards. The Israeli military says it is targeting Hamas and allowing for evacuation corridors. But even in the south, there is no escape from this punishing war.

The ruins you see here are homes in the southern city of Khan Yunis. Amid the destruction, members of the Abu Zanad family standing helpless, loved ones still buried under the rubble.

"Every second of every minute, there is another massacre," Hani says. "Where are the humanitarian ceasefires? Displaced people, women and children, our family members are here buried underneath this home. They escaped the massacres and war in northern Gaza. They told us that the south would be safe."

On the grounds of southern Gaza's Nasr hospital, another funeral prayer is held, closed with a message of peace amid unfathomable loss. With fears growing of an expanded ground incursion said to be targeting Hamas in the south, after Israeli forces dropped leaflets near Khan Yunis, warning people to move to known shelters on Thursday.

But with some 1.5 million people already displaced, there is nowhere safe to turn. And as each hour ticks by, there is only more uncertainty and more tragedy. The wounded rush through the hospital's crowded halls. Children battered and bloody, sharing whatever space is left in this panic-filled emergency room. But as doctors in the south race to rescue the wounded, survivors further north, just like Khaled and his family, struggle to come to terms with this now shattered reality.

Khaled says neighbors thought he was dead when they pulled him from the rubble. Now, he says, he wishes he too had been killed in the airstrike. In Gaza, only the dead are at peace.


BASHIR (on camera): And of course, at the same time as we're seeing the humanitarian situation deteriorating, we're also seeing the situation inside of hospitals across Gaza deteriorating by the hour. There has been a lot of focus on the Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest where we have seen that ongoing Israeli military raid, focused on what the Israeli military believes to be a Hamas command and control center beneath the Al-Shifa Hospital. That has been denied by Hamas medical officials on the ground and of

course CNN isn't on the ground, it isn't able to independently verify either side's claims but there is mounting concern over the situation facing patients, facing medical staff across Gaza's hospitals as the situation deteriorates. We're hearing warnings of some patients now starving as a result of the lack of food and clean drinking water.

And while we are hearing those repeated calls for civilians to evacuate from northern to southern Gaza, medical teams and doctors on the ground have said it is simply not safe enough to do that and there are many patients who simply cannot be evacuated without specialist medical evacuations and guarantees of safety.

And as you saw in that report, there are now mounting concerns around the situation in southern Gaza, the potential for an expansion of that ground incursion and what that could mean for the 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza who are now internally displaced.

BLACKWELL: Nada Bashir reporting from Jerusalem for us. Nada, thank you. Let's bring in now former State Department Middle East Negotiator, Aaron David Miller.

Aaron, good morning to you. Let's start with these hospitals. Nada just gave us a picture of what's happening there. The primis are being kept warm with foil blankets and warm water. The people who are on ventilators have died at Al-Shifa.

There is some disagreement within the Netanyahu government about if the fuel trucks, the tankers, should continue to come in on a regular basis. That has just begun. The War Cabinet allowed it. Members of the Israeli cabinet disagree.

If this blockade resumes, what do you expect that means for pressure on this government to allow some aid, and specifically U.S. pressure, considering how far the president is and is not willing to go now?

AARON DAVID MILLER, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT NEGOTIATOR: Well, I think as the humanitarian situation deteriorates, and as it appears that the Israelis are no closer to achieving their ultimate objectives, this could go on for weeks. The weather's turning. You already have a humanitarian catastrophe. And I think pressure is going to grow. Fuel is critical.

I mean, it powers desal facilities. It's used for generators. It's used to deliver and distribute humanitarian aid in trucks and vehicles. So, I think it's critical. Obviously, there is a debate within the Israeli government and a hardline view that Hamas is largely responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe. Hamas has ample stocks of fuel.


So, the Israelis should be relieved of their responsibilities. But again, I think you have two wars going on here. You have the operational war that the Israelis are conducting, understandably, and then you have the war for public opinion. And that international legitimacy, I fear, which is critically important and will prove to be so the longer this conflict continues, is eroding rapidly.

And I think over time, the President has been incredibly supportive of Israel. That I think the pressure will actually grow in discrete areas like for humanitarian causes and fuel distribution.

BLACKWELL: Speaking of public opinion, focused here in the U.S., NBC News is reporting that the President is sending out separate messages, different messages to Americans on the war. He sends one message out to recipients who are deemed to be pro-Israel and another message out to people who are deemed to be pro-Palestinian. These are letters in responses to correspondence that comes into the White House.

To those deemed to be pro-Israel, the letter focuses on the pure evil of the October 7th attack, references the Holocaust. For those who are deemed to be pro-Palestinian, it focuses on protecting Gaza civilians, focuses on aid. Their form letters, they do not contradict one another or the president's policy, but is it typical to have two separate messages on one issue depending upon the inclinations of the recipient?

MILLER: Obviously, this is a question of persuasion. I've written, I can't tell you in 25 years, hundreds of talking points. And the problem, of course, is yes, you can emphasize one point to one constituency and one to another, but in the end, that really does involve, I think, a loss of credibility.

And there's no reason, frankly, that the administration can't take a position which basically is designed to protect both Israeli and Palestinian interests. And frankly, that's where the balance is here. And that's the problem. People are driven to their corners right now.

And part of messaging, part of the moral authority of the president is to deliver a message, frankly, that is real and that addresses the pain and suffering of both communities. I think that's critically important, and it's going to be even more important, Victor, as the longer this conflict goes on

BLACKWELL: Yes, five countries now: South Africa, Bangladesh, (INAUDIBLE), Djibouti, and Bolivia have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate whether crimes have been committed in the Palestinian territories, war crimes are discussing. Neither Gaza, certainly not Hamas nor Israel, they are members of the ICC. So, what's the significance of the request?

MILLER: Neither is the United States, frankly. And the ICC is already investigating war crimes, alleged war crimes by both Hamas and Israel, dating from 2014. So, I think, again, it's another parallel track. I don't think it's the dominant one that will create the kind of pressures on both parties to figure out a way to at least create a ceasefire.

And again, a ceasefire is critically important but there has to be a quid pro quo, there has to be a significant release of hostages. Otherwise, I suspect not only the conflict that will go on, but Hamas initially responsible for the horrors of October 7 is going to claim victory. And frankly, I don't think that's in anybody's interests. BLACKWELL: Aaron David Miller, thanks so much.

MILLER: Thank you, Victor.

WALKER: Donald Trump will be on the ballot in Colorado's Republican presidential primary. Last night, a judge rejected an effort to disqualify him based on the 14th amendment's ban on insurrectionists running for office. The judge says, Trump did participate in the January 6th insurrection, but the ban does not apply specifically to presidents. CNN's Marshall Cohen has more.

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Amara, good morning. A major, major ruling in Colorado last night. The judge concluded that Donald Trump engaged in the January 6th insurrection and that he incited violence that day.

That is a stunning finding. But Judge Sarah Wallace in Denver said that the 14th amendment's ban on insurrectionists holding office does not apply to the presidency. The provision mentions senators, representatives, and other office holders, but it doesn't say anything about the president.


And based on that, which some people have called the technicality, the judge said that Trump must remain on Colorado's Republican primary ballot. That means this is another victory for Trump; he has already beaten back similar constitutional challenges in Minnesota, Michigan, and New Hampshire.

The liberal watchdog group that filed the lawsuit in Colorado has said that they are going to appeal the decision. Most experts believe that this will reach the Supreme Court in some fashion, one way or another. But look, this 102-page ruling offered a searing condemnation of Trump's conduct after the 2020 election.

The judge said that Trump "actively primed the anger of his extremist supporters" and that he "acted with this specific intent to incite political violence and direct it at the Capitol."

Now, Trump's lawyer in the case, Scott Gessler, took issue with those findings but he did praise the ultimate decision to keep Trump on the ballot. Here's what he said last night to our colleague, Caitlan Collins. Take a listen.


SCOTT GESSLER, ATTORNEY TO DONALD TRUMP: We're respectful that the judge made the right decision. I understand she threw a lot of shade on President Trump and we're not happy about that, and we disagree with it. But at the end of the day, she at least --

CAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: But I guess my question is --

GESSLER: And we're respectful of this, that she's respecting the Democratic processes. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN: And by the way, in that ruling, the judge also said that Trump's actions on January 6th were unlawful, but this was not a criminal case. Trump is separately facing state and federal charges in connection with, his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. And to those charges, he has pleaded not guilty. Victor and Amara.

BLACKWELL: Marshall Cohen, thanks so much. As for Trump's ongoing legal case in Georgia, Fulton County prosecutors want the election subversion trial to start on August 5th, 2024. That is right in the middle of the presidential election campaign.

In a court filing, prosecutors said that date balances possible delays from Trump's other criminal trials and other defendants' right to a speedy trial. Ultimately, the judge will decide the timeline.

Four of the defendants in the case have pleaded guilty; 15 are still facing trial, including the former president. Prosecutors have previously estimated that the case would take about four months.

Coming up, House Speaker Mike Johnson says that he will publicly release all Capitol Hill security footage that does not contain sensitive information from the January 6th Capitol insurrection.

WALKER: And Republicans are ramping up their calls to expel Congressman George Santos in the wake of a scathing ethics report. We're going to have a much closer look.



WALKER: House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will publicly release all Capitol Hill security footage from January 6th that doesn't contain sensitive information. Republican lawmakers Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Chip Roy are pushing to have the recordings released, and Johnson is hoping to stay in the good books of right- wing Republicans after using a stopgap bill to prevent a government shutdown.

BLACKWELL: The first lot of the 44,000 hours of footage was posted Friday and Johnson says the rest will be released over the next several months and waves. When he ran for speaker, he promised to release the video from January 6th.

Now, the top Democrat on the panel that maintains custody of the video is criticizing Johnson for making the security footage public.

Some House Republicans want Congressman George Santos out of Congress. The Republican House Ethics Chairman introduced a resolution Friday to expel Santos after an ethics report alleged he had broken federal laws, stolen from his campaign, and lied to voters and donors.

WALKER: Lawmakers are expected to address the resolution once they return from their Thanksgiving break. CNN's Melanie Zanona has more. MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, guys. The House is moving closer to expel George Santos from Congress, which would be a largely unprecedented and dramatic step if they were to succeed. But on Friday morning, Michael Guess, the Republican chairman of the House Ethics Committee, filed a resolution that would expel George Santos and that is going to tee up action potentially after the Thanksgiving break.

Now, past efforts to expel George Santos have failed. It is a high bar. It requires a two-thirds majority for passage but having the weight of the House Ethics Committee and the weight of this damning report behind it is significant. And already, we have seen a number of Republicans, new Republicans, come out and say they will now support expulsion after previously voting against it.

And meanwhile, the new Speaker, Mike Johnson, is essentially giving members a green light to vote their conscience. I want to read you part of the statement that came from his spokesman, Raj Shah. He said, "The Speaker has reviewed the report and it's very troubling findings. As members from both parties, members of the Ethics Committee and Representative Santos return to Congress after the Thanksgiving break. Speaker Johnson encourages all involved to consider the best interests of the institution as this matter is addressed further."

So, we'll see what Santos decides to do. At this moment he says he will not run for re-election in 2024. He is claiming that he will stick around and serve out his term as long as he is allowed, but some Republicans are at least hoping that he resigns before they have to expel him.

Santos, for his part, has been defiant, says that he is innocent, deserves his day in court, and has also announced that he will hold a press conference on the Capitol steps on November 30th, but we'll see if that winds up being his last press conference here on Capitol Hill. Victor and Amara.

WALKER: All right, coming up, the new studies show that climate change isn't just affecting the environment, it's also impacting your health. We're going to discuss next.



WALKER: Two new studies explain the widespread effects of climate change on your environment and your health. The first is the National Climate Assessment released after four years of research from around 500 authors and 250 contributors from all 56 states.

It says that while pollution in the U.S. is decreasing, it's not decreasing fast enough to meet with national or international targets to limit global warming. This year's report warns that people across the U.S. will feel the effects of climate change because no part of the country is safe from the effects of climate change, also from the disasters that come with it. The second study shows that climate change not only affects

communities, but also the health of individuals. The Lancet annual countdown report says inaction on climate change will lead to a nearly five-fold increase in heat-related deaths by 2050.

Joining me now to discuss is Dr. Kari Nadeau, Chairman of the Environmental Health Department at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Doctor, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

A lot of the talk around climate change is around how it affects where we live, but this also talks about how it impacts our lives and our health specifically. Can you tell us what global warming means for global health?


DR. KARI NADEAU, CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, HARVARD SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: That's an excellent question. Global warming means that as we have the planet that warms up, unfortunately, there are some extreme weather events that occur with that global warming. And with those events, we have direct and indirect effects on our health. And this is now, this is urgent, this is affecting children, grandchildren, as well as many different ages.

And those health effects can be from allergies to cancer, to heat related stress, to infections, to kidney disease, to lung disease, and mental health.

WALKER: Yes, we have a list that you provided for us in terms of you, know, how climate change is directly and indirectly related to our health.

I heard you say cancer there. Tell me more about that.

NADEAU: Yes, they have published data, where in communities where there is been a lot of exposure to wildfire smoke, they can actually see an increase in cancer, and that was published in Canada.

WALKER: So, what can we do, then? I mean, obviously, we need to take steps to, you know, lessen impact of climate change. But anything else we can do, at least to protect your health, as you know, we are seeing the effects of climate change impacting our lives?

NADEAU: Right, I'm worried and we are in a state of urgency to be able to help people with these issues around climate change and their health. And with that, I need to make sure that we can also focus on solutions.

I'm a doctor, when patients come to me and they say that they could have heatstroke or they're dizzy, because of heat, I let them know what those solutions are on the individual as well as the population level.

So, on the individual level, you can hydrate, you can make sure that you stay away from heat and go into a shady area. As well as if you don't have air conditioning, use a fan, put a bowl of ice water underneath, and that will cool the room as well.

And make sure that you see a doctor right away if you have any illnesses that are associated with heat, for example, there other solutions too or smoke.

WALKER: Yes, let's talk more about that. Because when you talk specifically about heat, you know, we're seeing a lot of extreme heat events around the country because our climate, our Earth is warming.

We -- you've talked about heatstroke, but you also talk about the increased likelihood or higher rates of suicide, is that correct?

NADEAU: Right. Unfortunately, in 2022, we had 1,700 deaths due to heat stroke. In the U.S., 2023 was the highest rate of heat-related deaths we've ever seen. And that's direct relationships of heat to our bodies, and especially the elderly are at risk.

But in addition to that, there is an increased rate of suicide as well as an increased rate of violence in any place where the heat has risen. And there are many solutions to that as well. So, we need to really focus on solutions and try to help people at all ages with heat stress.

WALKER: Yes, there are direct impacts to our physical and mental health, clearly, when it comes to climate change.

Dr. Kari Nadeau, thank you for your time.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up, the most powerful rocket ever built is about to attempt the second launch. We're live the launch site. Next.



BLACKWELL: At the top of the hour, it's a go for launch. SpaceX's Starship is the largest, most powerful rocket ever built. It's set to blast off in Texas. This is the second launch attempt after the rocket exploded during its first test flight. This was back in April.

WALKER: CNN's Kristin Fisher, joining us now live from South Padre Island in Texas.

Kristin, this comes after months of rebuilding and clearing a lot of red tape and learning from the last launch in April, at the first launch, I should say, tell us what's happening and what we're expecting.

FISHER: Well, just yesterday, they had to fix one final piece of this rocket. That's why the launch was delayed one more day. But now, all systems are go for launch. We are now just about 20 minutes away from the launch window opening.

And Elon Musk said just a few months ago that he believes there's only about a 50 percent chance of this rocket actually making orbit. So, we got to prepare ourselves for what we're about to see. There is still a good chance that this rocket could explode again, because this is just another test flight.

SpaceX needs lots of test flights in order to get this rocket to do what ultimately it is designed to do. And this rocket is so important, because not only is it the biggest, most powerful rocket ever built, but ultimately, this is the rocket that Elon Musk plans to use to colonize Mars someday.

I mean, this rocket can fit 100 people inside. So that's the ultimate goal. And then, before he can do that, Victor and Amara, the thing he wants to do is help NASA land NASA astronauts back on the surface of the Moon for the first time, in 50 years since the Apollo program.

NASA has invested about $4 billion in this rocket just behind me, and there is a lot at stake here, because they cannot land astronauts on the moon until they've proven that Starship can fly.

So, NASA watching this very closely, there's some real geopolitical and even national security implications at play with this launch here today.


But the other thing about it, Victor and Amara, is it's just cool to watch a rocket this big, fly for only the second time.

There are -- there are thousands of people now lined up on this beach and up and down South Padre Island. Some people have been camping out overnight. I met people who've come from England and France, just to see this launch today.

And we only found out about it a few days ago, some people have been camping out overnight at a place called Rocket Ranch, which is over in Boca Chica behind me.

And, you know, there is obviously a chance that this could blow up. So, most people have to get out. There is an evacuation zone in place. But some people staying at rocket Ranch have signed waivers, so they can stay up close, and stay inside the evacuation zone to get the best possible view of this launch.

I mean, that is the level of fandom that you can see here. People are just so excited to watch this launch. And then, of course, you kind of have the other people who aren't so thrilled about this launch.

You have the environmentalists who say that Elon Musk and SpaceX have come out here and kind of ruined this stretch of pristine beach by putting up all of these rockets and launch pads. The Fish and Wildlife Service has been conducting a long investigation after that first explosion.

The first test flight ended in an explosion back in April. They concluded that investigation just two days ago, giving SpaceX the green light to fly. And then, of course you have the potential safety ramifications. The FAA conducted a mishap investigation after that April failed test flight. Because the rocket's dead in flight termination system, essentially, the self-destruct button took too long to work.

So, I mean, just imagine you have this huge rocket lifting up. If it veers off course into these more populated areas, you have to have a way for the rocket to self-destruct.

So, SpaceX has made that changes. They are now in compliance with the FAA, Fish and Wildlife, they got their launch license. And now, we are 20 -- 19 minutes away from the opening of that launch window, Victor and Amara.

And so, what we're going to see, 33 Raptor engines igniting. These are big, huge engines, all kind of coordinated and moving in sequence with one another. And then, it's going to rise off the launch pad, and that really critical moment is going to happen at two minutes and 30 seconds, Victor and Amara. When we see if the two stages of the rocket can separate. So, watch for that.

Victor and Amara?

BLACKWELL: We certainly will. Kristin Fisher, thank you so much. Joining us now is former NASA astronaut, Leroy Chiao.

Leroy, good morning to you. Veteran of force space missions. And it really is remarkable how much relies not just the private sector space exploration, but the future of NASA missions on this program, this test, and what happens in the next 20 to 40 minutes.

LEROY CHIAO, FORMER INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION COMMANDER: Absolutely. This is a huge deal. Starship and Falcon Super Heavy will revolutionize the launch industry. NASA very much tied into it using -- having contracted with Starship to use Starship technology to develop the lunar lander for its Artemis program. So, everything is tied together as you said.

WALKER: So, tell us, you know, what happened -- what has to happen this time around. This is the second time that they're attempting this launch, and the first time was a spectacular failure. And a lot of things have to align, right? Because there are 33 engines that have to fire at the same time.

I remember the last time around, I think Kristi was mentioning this, that the launch pad, it was completely destroyed.

CHIAO: Right. So, I would characterize the first attempt, actually, is quite a success. Because Elon Musk said, you know, they have a philosophy of, hey, let's break it, fix it, and keep breaking it, until you know we get it right.

And so, he considered look clearing the launch tower that is not having the vehicle exploded on the pad a success. And it went through almost a full first stage burn as problems were developing. So, a number of changes have been made. You mentioned the launchpad itself, they have added a big iron, water cooled steel blader to help with that. They have added a water deluge system, similar to what NASA uses to, you know, control the vibrations. So, a lot of modifications to the vehicle.

The Raptor engines, as you mentioned, 33 of them. That's a lot. And they have installed electric actuators. So, they don't have to depend on hydraulic systems to gimbal or move those engines to steer. They have added a purge system, which will help to keep explosive gases from building up in that aft. And they've added a hot stage section where Starship will ideally light its engines before separation occurs.


CHIAO: Thereby, you helping to ensure a successful separation of Starship away from the stack.

So, a lot of things have been done. Ideally this mission will go off very successfully and we'll see a successful flight test of Falcon Super Heavy. But frankly, a lot of people consider getting through that hot staging criteria for major success.

BLACKWELL: If this goes off, as they hope, this first successful test of Starship, how long until manned tests of Starship?

CHIAO: If this -- if this goes off completely successful, that is Starship actually gets into space and splashes down as planned just off of the Hawaiian Islands, that would be a very successful flight test. And SpaceX has a reputation of moving quickly compared to traditional aerospace. So, I would expect human flights to be not that far away just a few years away, because they intend to keep up this cadence of testing. They can build and fly these vehicles quickly.

It's very much analogous in a way to the Gemini program, back when we were trying to get to the Moon.

We ran the Gemini program just a couple of years. Had a lot of launches. I can't remember the exact number off the top of my head, but well over 11 launches. We learned so much and that really helped bootstrap us to the Apollo program.

So, Starship, again, I think they can -- they can react very quickly. Just, the first test was in May and April. And here we are flying again. We -- the only holdup was the launch license. Right? So, SpaceX is a company can move very quickly.

WALKER: It's such a cool looking rocket. I think it's because it's black, and it's stainless steel, and obviously, it's just 400 feet tall, huge. And yes --


BLACKWELL: It's sleek, for as sleek of a thing that big can be?

WALKER: It's super sleek. Yes.


WALKER: But what would you expect, right?


WALKER: The maker of Tesla not having a cool looking rocket?

Leroy Chiao, thank you very much. Would you sign that waiver?


WALKER: I -- really?

BLACKWELL: I'd like to watch it on television. That's great. That's enough for me.

WALKER: I would love to be there and feel the ground shake.

Well, "FIRST OF ALL", is coming up at the top of the hour. What do we have coming up, Victor?

BLACKWELL: So, this week, we had the first Jewish Congress member call for ceasefire in Gaza. She will be joining us at the top of the hour. Also, the leader of a group of 900 black clergy members calling for a ceasefire as well. We know how important souls to the polls, were still legal after some voting laws have change.

Our important two democratic voter turnout. They are now calling for a ceasefire, and they also point to disappointment in not getting voting rights up past, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act as well. So, some disenchantment there.

We're also going to have a conversation about Andre 3000's new flute only album that came out last night.


BLACKWELL: We'll talk about that with hip hop writer from NPR.

WALKER: I love that. All right. Victor, thank you.



WALKER: It's tomorrow on "THE WHOLE STORY" that Nima Elbagir, makes it across the border into Sudan to report on the atrocities of civil war in her homeland.

Here is a preview.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As the sunsets, our situation becomes more precarious.

We've just been held at every -- almost every single checkpoint despite all the assurances we were given. It's now 10:00 at night, and we we're still hour and a half before our destination. Every moment that we are delayed, it gets more and more dangerous.

ELBAGIR (voice over): And delayed again, and again, and again. Luckily, we managed to get in touch with a distant cousin of my fathers, who allows us to bed down in her new, not yet, furnished home. The team is exhausted. We need to get some sleep.


WALKER: Wow. "THE WHOLE STORY WITH ANDERSON COOPER" airs tomorrow night at 9:00, right here on CNN.

Well, after quite literally hitting at least one major bump of the road, Formula One's Las Vegas debut seems to be back on track.

Andy Scholes joins me now.


WALKER: So, look, it's been obviously far from perfect in the desert so far.


WALKER: But it's supposed to be spectacular.

SCHOLES: Oh, yes. And Amara, you know, they spent hundreds of millions of dollars.


SCHOLES: And spent months preparing for this weekend. And to track, I mean, you have to admit, it's just so awesome seeing the cars zoom around the strip in Vegas. I mean, that's pretty good as it gets.

That it has some problems Friday night with the practice. Ferrari's Carlos Sainz' car was damaged, when he hit a loose drainage cover on the track.

So, they had to cancel the first practice. The second one was delayed for hours. The fans actually got kicked out of the stands because it got so late. Now, F1 didn't apologize, and they offered those fans actually just a voucher to buy merchandise.

So, some of them are not very happy. But it actually was smooth sailing for qualifying which wrapped up just few hours ago, actually. The race is going to start tonight 10:00 p.m. local time in Vegas.

Take advantage of all the cool lights there on the strip. It's the latest start time ever for an F1 race. Ferraris Charles Leclerc, claiming the pole, and he says he's excited to try to get his first one of the season in Vegas. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES LECLERC, FERRARI DRIVER AND VEGAS RAND PRIX POLE WINNER: I mean, a lot. I went -- I came here once in Vegas in the past, and it was to party. So, very different to what I'm doing this weekend. But hopefully, we work hard enough in order to win tomorrow and then have a good party to celebrate that that win.


SCHOLES: Yes. So, again, the race starts at 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time, Max Verstappen has already won his third straight title. He is going to start alongside Leclerc on the front row.

All right, in the NFL, just brutal news for the Bengals yesterday. The team says quarterback Joe Burrow is going to miss the rest of the season due to that wrist injury.

And there actually questions about when he hurt the risks, Burrow had to leave the Ravens' game, Thursday night, in the second quarter after throwing a touchdown. But, to this video of him wearing a sleeve on his wrist, getting off the bus when the team got to Baltimore, the NFL says they are investigating whether the Bengals were in compliance with the league's injury report policy, because, Burrow was not on the injury report heading into the game.


Now, the Michigan sign-stealing scandal taking another turn yesterday. The school firing linebacker Coach Chris Partridge.

In a statement the school said, in part, "We will continue to take the appropriate actions, including disciplinary measures, based on information we obtain.

Now, the firing comes a day after Michigan dropped their lawsuit and accepted the three-game suspension for coach Jim Harbaugh, and turn the big 10 has dropped their investigation.

But that NCAA investigation it does continue. Harbaugh has maintained he did nothing about the scheme the entire time. The third ranked Wolverines they play at Maryland later on today at noon, Amara. And we will wait and see what the next turn in this story is, because it seems like as more information comes out, it's just more bizarre as it goes.

WALKER: Yes, the saga continues.


WALKER: Thanks, Andy Scholes.

SCHOLES: All right.

WALKER: Thank you all for being with us this morning. "FIRST OF ALL" with Victor Blackwell starts after a quick break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)