Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Biden Facing Challenges On The Campaign Trail; E. Jean Carroll Wins $83.3M Jury Verdict Against Trump; Georgia Senate Launches Probe Into Fulton D.A. Fani Willis Amid Allegations Of Affair With Lead Prosecutor; Robitussin Syrups Recalled Over "Microbial Contamination"; "The Many Lives of Martha Stewart" Premieres Sunday At 9:00. Aired 7- 8a ET

Aired January 27, 2024 - 07:00   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Saturday, Saturday, Saturday. I think of a finish that. We got to pay somebody.


BLACKWELL: Yes, it is.

WALKER: You just sound like you're being repetitive.

BLACKWELL: Good morning. Welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. Saturday, January 27. I'm Victor Blackwell.

WALKER: This is why we never do karaoke together. That is why, I guess. I'm Amara Walker. Thanks for joining us. Here's what we're watching for you.


WALKER (voice-over): Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are courting voters and endorsements this weekend as they push ahead to the South Carolina primaries. But we expect to hear from the candidates including President Biden's plan to take direct aim at Donald Trump.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): A deal to help slow illegal border crossings could be unveiled as soon as next week. But it's already facing some huge hurdles. White House Speaker Johnson describes it as dead on arrival.

WALKER (voice-over): Donald Trump is vowing to appeal that monumental jury verdict in the defamation case involving E. Jean Carroll. What both he and Carol are saying about the $83 million judgment, and how Nikki Haley is hoping to capitalize on it?

BLACKWELL (voice-over): And the 737 Max-Nines are getting back into service three weeks after that door plug blew off in an Alaskan Airlines flight. What airline CEOs are saying about the planes and their relationships with Boeing?


BLACKWELL (on camera): The top presidential candidates will be out across the important states as it relates to the beginning of the primary looking for votes. Former President Donald Trump will be in Las Vegas while his last GOP rival Nikki Haley, she's going to be in South Carolina. Now, this battle between them is growing more bitter by the day. Trump is warning her donors that they will be ostracized if he gets the nomination and she's needling his campaign over Friday's verdict that he must pay more than $83 million to E. Jean Carroll.

WALKER: It'll be a busy day in the Palmetto State. President Joe Biden and Representative Dean Phillips will be campaigning there today as well. Robert -- while Robert Kennedy Jr. has further north to West Virginia.

Now, South Carolina's primaries are next month. First, the Democrats on February 3 with a Republican primary on the 24th. And while it's looking more and more likely the presidential election will be a Trump versus Biden rematch, Biden's team is adjusting to the reality that their campaign will be a lot different this time.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The hyper-focus on reproductive rights is getting derailed at times by both protesters and shifting support from the Democratic base. CNN's Camila DeChalus is joining us now from outside the White House. The president will be in South Carolina today, obvious focus there. It's an important state as we move forward to the primary process.

CAMILA DECHALUS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Victor. Biden's really hoping to use his visit to South Carolina to draw a bigger contrast between himself and Trump, and particularly what his administration has done for communities of color. Now, we know at this point in time that Biden is polling relatively well with black voters.

There's a recent poll I want to take you a quick look at. It's from Quinnipiac, and it shows that at this point in time, Biden has a 62 percent approval rating among black voters. And that it does in contrast to what he won in 2020 when at least 87 percent of black voters said they cast their ballots for Biden. So, there's a little bit of a gap there. And Biden really wants to use this visit to try to find more ways to reconnect with black voters, not just in the state but in the country in general, Victor.

WALKER: And as you know, the president has been frequently, Camila, interrupted during events by people protesting the administration's handling of the war in Gaza. What does that say in terms of the reelection challenges that he'll be facing?

DECHALUS: Well, look, Amara. This could be a potential issue for Biden's reelection efforts. I've spoken to several progressive groups and Arab American and Muslim voters who say that they refuse to support Biden and are disappointed by his continued support for Israel and his refusal to support a permit ceasefire in Gaza. And this really could play out and it could impact his chances of winning states like Michigan that he narrowly won in 2020 because Michigan is home to more than 200,000 Muslim American voters.


Now, his campaign realizes this is an issue and is trying to strategize more ways to conduct outreach with these voters. But so far, those efforts have failed. Just yesterday, a group of Arab American and Muslim leaders in the state of Michigan announced that they declined a meeting with Biden's top campaign manager, Amara, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Camila DeChalus for us at the White House, thanks so much. So, this morning, some Republicans are pushing back on the bipartisan border agreement backed by President Biden on Capitol Hill. Biden contends that this legislation is crucial for achieving more stringent border control. And some Senate Republicans, they agree.

WALKER: But in the House, Speaker Mike Johnson has said it could be dead on arrival. And former President Donald Trump is telling Republicans not to hand the White House a political win. CNN's Melanie Zanona has more on where this border bill stands.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are fresh signs that senators are moving closer to a deal to secure the southern border. We're told that negotiators have reached an agreement on at least one key area, which is to shut down the southern border if migrant crossings reach a certain level. We're also told that they have reached an agreement on another provision that would speed up the process for migrants seeking asylum. Now, negotiators are still planning to work through the weekend. They're just putting some final touches on the bill text which they're hoping to release early next week.

But there are still big questions in the Capitol about whether enough Republicans are going to be lining up behind this deal, especially now that Donald Trump has urged Republicans to reject any compromise, in part because he does not want to hand President Biden or Democrats a victory in this area. And a sign of just how challenging the path is for any deal here, House Speaker Mike Johnson is making crystal clear that this emerging deal is likely dead on arrival in the House. He put a letter today to his colleagues, spelling all of that out.

And I want to read you part of that letter. He said I wanted to provide a brief update regarding the supplemental and the border since the Senate appears unable to reach any agreement. If rumors about the contents of the draft proposal are true, it would have been dead on arrival in the House anyway.

So, this is going to provide even less incentive for those Senate Republicans to back this deal knowing that Trump is against it and knowing that it is going nowhere in the House. And all of that leaves critical aid to both Ukraine and Israel hanging in the balance in the meantime. Melanie Zanona, CNN, Capitol Hill.

WALKER: Melanie, thank you for that. Let's bring in New York Times Congressional Reporter Luke Broadwater for some analysis. Good morning to you, Luke. Can we just focus on President Biden's shift in tone regarding the border?

I mean, this was significantly that -- this bipartisan proposal in the Senate was significantly restrict illegal crossings and also give this new power to the DHS to you know, shut down the border if it reaches the illegal crossings reached a specific threshold. Biden has called this a tough and fair deal. I mean, what does this tell you about their evolving thoughts on the border?

LUKE BROADWATER, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Right. Well, I think now, almost everybody from both parties acknowledges that the border -- the current status of the border is untenable. We're having, you know, an average of more than 10,000 crossings a day throughout December. That -- the system is simply not built to handle that number of people.

And so, there's the -- there's this debate now about what you do about it. And the bill that's being negotiated in the Senate is to increase the capacity of the border to actually process people in a fair and humane way, while also being able to shut it down if the numbers get too big on any single day. Whereas House Republicans essentially want to -- want even a much greater shutdown.

And they want anybody crossing, they have to remain in Mexico before they can even come into the country and have their cases adjudicated. So, you have a real -- a real policy difference here. It's hard to see how these two chambers can ever come together.

WALKER: Yes. I mean, it's been so painstakingly put together and it has to still get past the House and of course, Trump. As we said, House Speaker Mike Johnson said the border deal is dead on arrival. You have the former president, Trump, trying to blow up this deal and this has some Senate Republicans really angry about it. Listen.


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I think the border is a very important issue for Donald Trump. And the fact that he would communicate to Republican senators and congresspeople that he doesn't want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for it, is a -- is really appalling.

SEN. TODD YOUNG (R-IN): I think James Lankford has been working very hard to secure the southern border to give the next president whomever it is more authority so that we can secure the southern border. So, anything that interrupts that negotiation, I think would be tragic.



WALKER: James Lankford being one of the three lead negotiators. So, what happens next then?

BROADWATER: Right. Well, so we still haven't seen the bill text yet. So, we don't know exactly what's in this bill. But James Lankford and the Senate Republicans -- at least the leadership of the Senate Republicans have been negotiating for months on this deal, and they say they've been doing it in good faith.

And it's really to cope up with a policy solution that would actually work and have an impact. And what you're seeing, I think, actually is that politics are playing some role in affecting that deal, right? You have a number of people who think it's better to run on the issue of the border and to bash the Biden administration and to blame them for the problems, rather than to embrace this potential solution that could actually fix the border, send a lot more money to enforcement, send a lot more money to processing people, actually do it in a humane way while keeping the numbers down.

So, again, it looks like we're really at an impasse. It's hard to see how anything becomes law. And unfortunately, what we see a lot on Capitol Hill is a lot of spinning of wheels, a lot of talks, a lot of negotiation, and not a lot of real answers or solutions.

WALKER: What will you be watching for next week, as House Speaker Mike Johnson has indicated that they will move pretty aggressively ahead with the impeachment of Alejandro Mayorkas? Have they laid out any specific impeachable offenses?

BROADWATER: Well, nothing that would meet the constitutional definition of impeachment. Remember, the Constitution says that's to be high crimes or misdemeanors and even cites bribery as a potential -- a potential crime. But to date, House Republicans have not done anything like that. What they have alleged is that he's doing a bad job at the border, that he has not enforced the laws aggressively enough. And this just shows you the divide between the House and the Senate here.

You know, the House is busy trying to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas, who has been negotiating with the Senate on this border deal. And so, you can see how just completely out of step the two chambers are. They want to throw this guy out of office, they want to appease the base, which really wants to see him kicked out, and they also want to ensure that -- or Mike Johnson is supposed to ensure that he keeps that hard right faction in his chamber at bay.

And this is something that they want and will keep them happy. And he's concerned about his own job security. So, that's -- it's almost a completely different world than the Senate, where there are bipartisan talks going on and things have been handled in, I would say, a more traditional way in Congress.

WALKER: Yes. Seems a lot more politics happening in the House. Luke Broadwater, we'll leave it there. Thanks so much.

BLACKWELL: Donald Trump says the verdict in the E. Jean Carroll case is absolutely ridiculous and he promises to appeal. Yesterday, a New York jury determined the former president should pay Carroll $83.3 million for defamation. Now, Carroll's attorney says the verdict sends a message to other women who have been victimized by powerful men.


ROBERTA KAPLAN, E. JEAN CARROLL'S ATTORNEY: She is overjoyed. She cried. She showed more emotion and I've known her for a long time now than I've ever seen her show.

She feels that she got justice from the jury today and from the court. And she feels she's really stood up. And she has stood up for almost every woman who's been defamed, who's been kicked down, who's been shut up.


BLACKWELL: Here's CNN's Brynn Gingras.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor and Amara, a significant verdict in this case. We know that it is $83.3 million in damages awarded to E. Jean Carroll by this jury. This is how it breaks down.

18.3 of that is compensatory damages. That is dealing with the emotional harm that E. Jean Carroll had faced against Donald Trump. And also includes money used to repair her reputation that was also harmed. Now, $65 million of that is punitive damages.

And it's very clear that jurors were really listening in to closing arguments from E. Jean Carroll's attorneys when you see that number. And that's because, in those closing arguments, Carroll's attorneys were essentially saying that this verdict is meant to punish Donald Trump for what he has done in the past and what he has said about Carroll, and what he still continues to do. But they also went further than that, saying that this needs to send a message that rules apply to everyone, including Donald Trump.

Now, we know that this verdict came in in just under three hours. Trump was not in the courtroom when it came down, but he was quick to go to Truth Social and say that this verdict was ridiculous and that he plans to appeal. As for E. Jean Carroll, she was in the courtroom, was holding hands with both her attorneys, hug them both after the verdict was read out loud. But I do want to hear more from Trump's attorneys about what they are saying comes next.



ALINA HABBA, DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: We will immediately appeal. We will set aside that ridiculous jury. We were stripped of every defense -- every single defense before we walked in there. And I am proud to stand with President Trump because he showed up, he stood up, he took the stand, and he faced this judge.


GINGRAS: And this will be finalized by the judge. We do expect that in the next few days. Important to note. Before the court ended, the judge did thank the jurors for their service. But he also said that they don't need to speak out, and even advised them that they don't. Amara and Victor, back to you.

BLACKWELL: All right, Brynn, thanks so much. Still ahead. Former President Trump is now joining the fight to get Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis dismissed from the 2020 election subversion case against him.

WALKER: Plus, the safe takeoff and landing of a plane full of passengers is usually not a headline, but we'll tell you why does this morning.



WALKER: The Georgia State Senate took a significant step on Friday initiating a special investigation to the actions of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Now, the probe comes amid rumors of an improper relationship with her chief prosecutor in the controversial case against former President Donald Trump over the 2020 election.

BLACKWELL: Willis has also informed Republican lawmakers that her office is firmly against releasing any documents pertaining to Trump's alleged election interference in Georgia. CNN's Nick Valencia has more from the courthouse. Nick, good morning.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Amara, this is the latest in a long-standing back and forth between D.A. Fani Willis and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Republican Jim Jordan has long tried to undermine the credibility of Fani Willis's case parroting things from the former president, calling this a political persecution rather than a prosecution. And in his latest efforts to try to get documents from Fani Willis, the D.A. here in Fulton County has again rebuffed these demands.

And this is what she's saying in part of her response to Jim Jordan. Your requests implicate significant, well-recognized confidentiality interests related to an ongoing criminal matter. Your requests violate principles of separation of powers and federalism, as well as respect for the legal protections provided to attorney work product in ongoing litigation.

Since this alleged romance was first made public, Fani Willis has been facing criticism. And now, it's coming from all sides not just foes but also allies calling on her to step down. She has yet to directly address this alleged romance, but she has previously defended her selection of Nathan Wade as the top deputy in this Trump case.

Meanwhile, she is facing a deadline from a judge who has asked her to respond in writing to these claims by next Friday. The stage is also set for a potential dramatic evidentiary hearing on February 15. Recently, we reported that subpoenas have been sent out to people believed to have firsthand knowledge of this alleged affair. And if they are called to testify, their testimony would be broadcast live for everyone to see, Amara, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Nick, thank you so much. The first Boeing 737 Max-Nines returned to the skies on Friday, three weeks after a door plug in the fuselage blew out of an Alaska Airlines plane mid-flight. Alaska Airlines CEO was on board the flight from Seattle to San Diego and sat in the seat next to that door plug.

WALKER: This week, the Federal Aviation Administration cleared the way for the 737s to continue flying after approving a set of inspection criteria the airlines must meet. CNN's Pete Muntean is following all of this. Pete.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Amara, airlines are trying to put this chapter behind them. They had to cancel thousands of flights during the FAA's 19-day-long emergency grounding of the Boeing 737 Max-Nine. That officially ended on Wednesday. And now the onus is on airlines to do the final and grounding inspections to make sure that these planes are safe.

Alaska Airlines says it has done the first few inspections meaning its Max-Nines are carrying passengers again. United Airlines says its Max- Nines will be back on the schedule on Sunday. The first Max-Nine to fly since the grounding, Alaska Flight 1146 on Friday flew from Seattle to San Diego exactly three weeks to the day since that door plug violently blew off of Alaska Flight 1282.

The FAA is now requiring what it calls detailed visual inspections of the door plug and for any abnormal conditions to be corrected. Remember both Alaska and United Airlines found loose door plug bolts over the 19-day grounding period. Since then, and going forward, the focus will be on Boeing's quality control.

Boeing paused production for a whole day on Thursday at 737 Plant in Renton, Washington. They call it a quality control stand down. And they're planning to do more of them on their other production lines.

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun wrapped up two days of meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Thursday. One of those meetings with Senator Maria Cantwell. She chairs the committee that oversees aviation. She's now calling for public hearings about the Max-Nine which means we haven't heard the last of us. Victor. Amara.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Pete. Joining us now to discuss. CNN transportation analyst Mary Schiavo. We should note that she is involved in ongoing litigation against Boeing from a 2019 crash. Thanks so much for being with us.

So, Mary, the Max-Nines are back in the air. At least they will be this weekend. Alaska sent one yesterday. United on Sunday.

They're offering waivers if people don't want to get on these flights. Are after the 19 days of the pause -- are safety concerns warranted? Should people still be a little concerned?


MARY SCHIAVO, CNN TRANSPORTATION ANALYST: Well, people will be concerned whether they should or not. I think this inspection protocol and the fact that the Federal Aviation Administration grounded the aircraft, that's a rare step that the FAA doesn't take off and the planes cannot fly until this -- it's about 12 hours inspection goes forward for each individual aircraft where they look for the bolts, the fittings, the rivets, the whole section of the fuselage that blew out. And they have to fully inspect that.

And again, it's the airlines that are now carry out -- carrying out the inspection. And that adds another layer. Because after all, Boeing is under a tremendous cloud now, and Pete said, at best, their quality control does not have much of a reputation right now. So, this is the airline inspecting as well.

Now, in the end, Boeing will have to pay for these -- you know, these new aircraft that were grounded and inspected. But yes, I think the ones that have been released to fly again after these thorough inspections will be OK. And Boeing was probably smart to put the chief operating officer right next to the door plug to say that Boeing has confidence in the inspections as well. So, that was a good move.

BLACKWELL: So, beyond the inspections of just these models, the 737 Max-Nines, there was this day -- of what's it called? Quality stand down at this Washington State product -- production facility.

I know what it sounds like, but practically, what are they doing? Is it just a day of seminars, and hey, guys, let's do better?

SCHIAVO: Oh, yes. It was -- it was the day of, get your head in this quality control and safety game. However, there was a whole lot more going on behind the scenes because the FAA, by the way, which answers of course to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in addition to the president, they're talking about hearings. And remember last week, the FAA dispatched 24 least around two dozen additional inspectors to Boeing to go out there and look at these assembly lines in the safety control because they have great concerns about their safety oversight and the inspections.

And the FAA said, Boeing, you cannot ramp these assembly lines up and produce more planes until we're happy. So, Boeing is far from out of the woods yet. And they shouldn't be if they have problems with quality control. And there are a lot of whistleblowers coming forward too with some alarming information.

There's still an awful lot to be done. And remember, there's also inspections being required on the 737 900 Extended Range planes. There are about 490 of those. So, there's a lot of inspecting going on both on the Hill and the FAA and at Boeing.

BLACKWELL: More than what we've seen.


BLACKWELL: Does this moment call for structural regulatory change?

SCHIAVO: Oh, I think it does. I mean, the Boeing had -- you know, has managed to come through several disasters by reassuring the Hill, by reassuring the FAA, and at some point, the -- you know, the reassurance and the patience with Boeing wears out. And the fact that the Boeing had to make the rounds on the Hill last week and reassure senators and the FAA has dispatched more inspectors, that says to me that a revamping of their inspection, their oversight, their quality control, and really what the how closely the government is going to put them under scrutiny is coming down the pike.

And Boeing's actually going -- they probably don't think they're lucky. But this additional scrutiny if it prevents another disaster, Boeing's extremely lucky if that's what's going to happen here. That they're going to make them safer. And I think it will.

BLACKWELL: Mary Schiavo, always good to have you. Thank you.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Still ahead. An important recall you'll want to hear about for a cough syrup you might have in your cabinet. That, plus, your other health headlines is up next.



AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: There is a nationwide recall of certain Robitussin cough syrups. The FDA posted a recall on honey cough syrup due to possible microbial contamination.

Using the affected products could lead to severe or life-threatening adverse events such as fungus in the blood. For immunocompromised consumers.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: The recall involves honey syrups with expiration dates through 2025 or 2026. Now, it says it has not received any reports of adverse reactions related to the recall.

Joining us now, Dr. Jayne Morgan, a cardiologist and executive director for health and community education at Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta.

Good to have you back doctor. Of course, they don't want to wait until they start getting reports of some of these really severe reactions to this. But tell us more about what's happening here. And people should just throw this out, right?


BLACKWELL: Return it.

MORGAN: And we wanted to keep track of what these lots are. And so far, there aren't reported cases, which is very good. So, they are preemptively making certain that they pull these off the shelves.

But there seems to be something in the manufacturing process of this particular honey-flavored syrup. And so, we want to be careful. It sounds as if there is some type of yeast or fungus infection in the manufacturing process in the plant. And these plants are located within the United States. So, they are pulling these off preemptively. There have not been any reports of people being sick yet. But if you start to have any symptoms, make certain that you see your physician, but also make certain that is reported. And there is a web site to do that.

WALKER: Yes, I mean, so they must have figured this out through the manufacturing process. Right? That something had gone wrong for them to issue a recall without having any reported effects. Right?

And also, I just wanted to ask you in terms of symptoms, like what should people be watching out for if they say, oh, my goodness, I took a couple of you know, dosages of this.

MORGAN: Right. And so, the manufacturing process has inspections. And there was fungus noted in the inspection, higher than whatever their standard measures are for that

And if you were to get sick, generally, it doesn't impact people who are healthy. It's going to immune -- it is going to impact people who are immunocompromised people, who have some type of weakened immune system, by and large.


And therefore, they may start to have fever, and weakness, and cough and malaise, meaning they start to have decrease in energy.

These are the types of things that we need to make certain that you're aware of, and make certain that you seek medical attention, because it really can be fatal in those who are immunocompromised, and we always want to look out for the people who are vulnerable in our environment.



BLACKWELL: Speaking of looking out for people who are vulnerable, there is some changes to COVID regulations and advisements. Out in the West, and Northwest.

California and Oregon are no longer expected -- expecting people who've tested positive to isolate for a set period of time, and those without symptoms don't have to isolate at all.

I mean, is this, you know, test positive, go to work, treat it like it's a common cold? Where is the science on this?

MORGAN: And so, the science is one thing, and that the regulation is something else.


MORGAN: So, the science still shows that you are infectious, up to five days after you test positive and have symptoms. But what the reality is that people are either not testing or testing and ignoring the results and moving around. Because of any number of reasons, they don't want to miss work, or maybe not even wanting to put on a mask because they don't want to draw attention to the fact that they may be sick or infectious.

And so, this appears to be more of a practical consideration of how to manage the public, as opposed to a scientific consideration, because the science is still the science, and this is the infective periods.

WALKER: Do you feel like anecdotally that the flu season hit much harder this year than COVID did?

MORGAN: It appears that it did not so far in 2023. And we are now in January of 2024. So, we don't have the full January numbers yet. So, all the way through December of 2023, we had about 20,000 flu deaths. As compared to COVID, we had 73,000 deaths.

So, when we look at COVID, there were actually more COVID deaths than flu or even car accidents. And so, COVID continues to lead the charge of all of our popery of viruses. It continues to lead the charge for deaths, even though hospitalizations this month in January 2024 are lower than hospitalizations in January of 2023. And 2023 is a little lower than 2022. But we're still seeing these deaths. 73,000 in 2023.

WALKER: Surprised by that number. Well, good to know. Dr. Jayne Morgan, great to see.

MORGAN: Well, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

WALKER: Thank you.

All right, coming up, wrestling executive Vince McMahon steps down amid disturbing allegations of sexual assault, trafficking and physical abuse.



WALKER: All right. To your headlines this morning, police have now identified the last known victim of last year's massive wildfire in Maui, Hawaii. Officials say 70-year-old Lydia Coloma is the 100th person whose death has been confirmed. It took months of forensic DNA work to identify her remains.

The fire tore through Lahaina last summer, killing at least 100 people, and causing billions of dollars in damage to the historic town. Police there say three people are still missing but their remains have not been found.

BLACKWELL: One day after Turkish president, Erdogan signed off on Sweden's NATO membership, the Biden administration told Congress of its plans to sell F-16 fighter jets to the country at $23 billion, sale wraps up more than a year of behind-the-scenes negotiations, which also includes the sale to Greece of nearly $9 billion of F-35s.

Congress is expected to approve both sales. Sweden still needs approval from Hungary before it can become a NATO member.

WALKER: Police in Philadelphia are on the hunt for a 17-year-old murder suspect who escaped custody three days ago.

U.S. Marshals say Shane Pryor broke free, while being transferred to a children's hospital for a hand injury on Wednesday. They say he had help. From an 18-year-old accomplice who was now under arrest.

Pryor was spotted on surveillance camera in a blue sweatshirt earlier this week. He is accused of killing a woman in 2020 and has been in juvenile detention since he was 14 years old. Police offering a $5,000 reward for his arrest.

WWE founder, Vince McMahon has resigned as chair of the wrestling company's parent organization TKO. A former staffer in a lawsuit, accuses him of sexual assault, trafficking and physical abuse.

Janel Grant says that McMahon gave her a job and promotions in exchange for sex and then trafficked her to other men.

Now, in 2022, Vince McMahon stepped down briefly from the WWE amid misconduct allegations.

WALKER: All right. "FIRST OF ALL", starts at the top of the hour. Victor, what do you have coming up?

BLACKWELL: So, we have a lot coming up today. There is a story out of Texas. This fight that's been going on for months that a student at a high school has been kept out of school for several months going back to September because of his hair. He wears his hair in locks.

Now, the school district says that this is against the dress code and he'll have to cut his hair to come back into the classroom.


What got me interested now is that the superintendent has just paid for or published -- someone else paid for it, a full-page ad, in which he says that being an American requires conformity. And he equates this young man having to cut his hair to conforming in order to be an American. So, he is with us and his attorney.

We also have the mayor of Dearborn, Michigan. There was this meeting that was scheduled with the campaign leadership Biden's reelection, as we've discussed on this show, and others that the Arab American, Muslim American community is very disappointed with the president's handling of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

And the mayor said he would not meet with the campaign chair and that meeting was canceled with other Arab American leaders. The mayor of Dearborn is with us.

Also, you might have seen online a school district was going to serve students with balances on their school lunch accounts, cheese sandwiches and milk. That would, of course, created some stigma. So, we have the woman who created a campaign to pay off the balances across the district. She is with us to talk about the need to provide funding and support for students who can't afford school lunches. So, we got a packed show.

WALKER: Very, very much so. Looking forward to it, Victor. Thank you. "FIRST OF ALL" starts with just a few minutes at the top of the hour.

All right, the man, the maverick, the legend, Dallas superstar Luka Doncic made basketball history and got a little revenge in the process.



WALKER: For decades, Martha Stewart has made her mark on American culture. The new CNN original series, "THE MANY LIVES OF MARTHA STEWART", traces her rise to success, staggering fall from grace, momentous comeback, and establishment as a true American icon.

Here is a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was so much anticipation. They wound up deliberating for three days. We were all lined up every network. We were really only inches apart. And I saw all these runners. And I said to our team, which was much smaller, I'm getting nervous, how are we going to keep up with them?

And I'll never forget it. There was a young producer who said to me very casually and confidently look at their shoes. And I looked down and many of them have heels on or whatever, and I looked over to our team, and they all had sneakers, and they were ready to run.

And I thought to myself, we're good, we can be good.

We are waiting word from inside the courtroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I saw my son fall and is all about the merry cure. Go, go, go.


WALKER: Be sure to tune in the all-new CNN original series, "The Many Lives of Martha Stewart" premieres with back-to-back episodes tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.

All right, it was a night to remember in the NBA, Maverick superstar Luka Doncic, scoring 73 points, more than all the two players in NBA histories.


WALKER: Andy Scholes joining me now.

SCHOLES: Yes. WALKER: I mean, he did it against the team that drafted him.

SCHOLES: Yes. Right. Drafted him on -- the Hawks drafted him on draft night and traded him to the Mavs. I think might -- I might say they might regret that, maybe a little bit, Amara.

WALKER: Slight.

SCHOLES: Especially the fans after watching what Luka did last night. But -- and what a night it was. 73 points. Tied for the fourth most in the game in NBA history. And then, we just mentioned did it in Atlanta, a lot of those fans, thinking, man, maybe we shouldn't have made that trade.

But you could tell Luka was in for a -- for a big night from the start. He scored a franchise record 41 points by halftime. And the game was close in the second half. So, all the buckets Luka was getting, they were contesting. He was even getting double team.

Check this one out in the fourth, just maneuvers his way, going to go glass. That gave him 65 and Luka saying they can't stop me. Even the Hawks fans at this point we're loving what Luka was doing.

There with a minute to go, split to the defenders hits the Euro step, the bucket plus the foul. That three-point play gave him 73 And put the game away.

Luka make 25 of his 33 shots. Eight three pointers. Mavericks win 148- 143. Luka having his career game against the team that traded him and on the four-year anniversary of the death of his one of his idols, Kobe Bryant.


LUKA DONCIC, DALLAS MAVERICKS FORWARD: Yes, it's amazing and it's very special. And you know -- you know, we all love Kobe, man. It's a -- it was a big tragedy. I can't believe it's on -- it's been four years already. So, especially, you know, you feel on the same day. Obviously, I wish he was here.


SCHOLES: Now, Luka is 73 points tied with Wilt Chamberlain and David Thompson for the fourth most in NBA history. He's the 10th player ever to get 70 in a game, and this comes the same week that Joel Embiid got 70 just back on Monday.

All right, Michigan, meanwhile, announcing that they are promoting offensive coordinators Sherrone Moore to replace Jim Harbaugh, the Wolverines head coach. Harbaugh left earlier this week to go back to the NFL to coach the Chargers.

Big shoes to fill. Michigan is coming off winning that national title but more he built in well this year going 4-0, while Harbaugh was serving a suspension including beating Penn State and Ohio State. And finally, we'll know the two teams playing in the Super Bowl by the end of the weekend. NFC Championship featuring the Niners hosting the Lions. Detroit never made it to the big game, and they've got a tall task trying to beat the Niners on the road. They are seven-point underdogs.

And San Francisco getting some good news. They are do it all receiver Deebo Samuel back at practice this week. Look like he may be able to play after leaving the Packers game last week, with that shoulder injuries. That would be huge for the 49ers. They went 0 and three without Deebo this season.

In the AFC, we're going to get Patrick Mahomes versus Lamar Jackson in the playoffs for the first time. Mahome is trying to win his third Super Bowl. Jackson trying to get to his first. And now, Jackson was asked what he likes about going up against Mahomes.



LAMAR JACKSON, BALTIMORE RAVENS QUARTERBACK: I don't like competing against him at all. Yes. But yes, I mean, he is a great quarterback. Definitely, a Hall of Famer. He is not even -- he is a no brainer, he definitely a Hall of Famer. But he is just -- I believe he is just too, too, too great. Upcoming grades just going toe to toe. You know, like a heavyweight fight.

PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QUARTERBACK: Going up against the best is what motivates you. I mean, they got the best defense, they got the MVP on offense. They have a great special teams' unit, and they were the best football team throughout the entire season.

So, it motivates you to -- in order to win the Superbowl, you got to beat the best teams. And this is the best team that we've played so far this year, and it will be a great challenge for us.


SCHOLES: Yes, that should certainly be a great game. Amara. You got Chiefs- Ravens first, then you got the 49ers and the Lions. And can you imagine, Monday morning, we could be waking up and saying the Detroit Lions are in the Super Bowl?

WALKER: That would be amazing. First time.


SCHOLES: That would be really weird. But that would be cool for their fans.

WALKER: Well, you know, I read about some guy who like, I think he put a tattoo of Detroit Lions Superbowl 2024.

SCHOLES: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. He did put 2024 at the very bottom.

WALKER: OK. So, then, that's something he can laser off.


SCHOLES: It can't be edited. It is snuck in right in the middle, which it was smart move on his part.

WALKER: Yes, that's a big change (PH). Come on. Andy Scholes, good to have you. Thank you. And thank you for being with us this morning.

"FIRST OF ALL WITH VICTOR BLACKWELL" is up next. Have a great day, everybody.