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CNN This Morning

U.S.-Led Coalition Launches New Round Of Strikes In Yemen; Houthis Say They'll "Meet Escalation With Escalation" After Latest Round Of U.S.-Led Strikes In Yemen; U.S., U.K. Conduct Strikes On At Least 30 Houthi Targets In Yemen; Iran Growing Nervous About Actions Of Some Of Its Proxies; Rare "High Risk" Of Flooding Expected Across Parts Of CA; Border Battle Impacting Special Election To Replace George Santos; U.S. 2024 Election; After Winning Democratic Primary In South Carolina, Biden Travels To Las Vegas Today; Biden Takes Action To Bolster Vital Support Among Black Voters; Senate Anticipated To Release Immigration Legislation Today; House To Vote This Week On Standalone Bill For Israel Aid; Chaos Erupts From Nevada's Competing GOP Primary And Caucus; Grammys Has New Category For African Music; How Antarctic Ecosystems Being Affected By Climate Change; Graduates Of Rosenwald School Struggle To Preserve Their History; New Wave Of Attacks In Yemen Launched By U.S.-Led Coalition. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 04, 2024 - 07:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Good morning. Welcome to CNN This Morning. It is Sunday, February 4th. I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: And I'm Amara Walker. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

We begin in the Middle East where the U.S. carried out more than more strikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. U.S. Central Command says it conducted a strike in self-defense and destroyed a Houthi anti-ship cruise missile that was prepared to launch.

Now, earlier Saturday, the U.S. and U.K. jointly launched airstrikes targeting Houthi rebels in Yemen in response to the group's continued attacks in the Red Sea.

BLACKWELL: Officials say the strikes hit more than 30 targets at 13 locations associated with the Houthis' deeply buried weapons storage facilities, and other weapons used by the Houthis to target international shipping lanes.

The Houthis responded to the recent strikes by saying we will meet escalation with escalation. Those strikes were just a day after U.S. strikes in Iraq and Syria, which were in response to the drone attack that killed three American soldiers in Jordan.

CNN National Security Reporter Natasha Bertrand joins us now. So what can you tell us about the latest round of strikes?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, Victor. So this was the third time that the U.S. and the U.K. conducted joint strikes on Houthi targets inside Yemen, including command and control centers, underground storage facilities, as well as other weaponry and equipment, including radars and helicopters that the Houthis have been using to carry out.

There are dozens of attacks on Red Sea shipping since November. And we are told that the strikes hit 36 different targets in 13 locations. And the U.S. used FA-18 fighter jets from the Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier that is stationed in the Red Sea, as well as Tomahawk missiles from USS -- from U.S. destroyers, including the USS Kearny and the USS Gravely to launch these attacks.

Now, these attacks are separate from the strikes that the U.S. carried out in Iraq and Syria just one day prior, which were in retaliation for that drone attack earlier this month that killed three U.S. service members and wounded dozens others.

These are part of a broader plan and strategy to attack Houthis inside Yemen, who have been launching these strikes on commercial shipping and a part of a broader strategy to try to deter them and degrade their capabilities. And the U.S. is framing these strikes as in self- defense because the Houthis have been targeting commercial shipping as well as U.S. naval vessels in the Red Sea, including a missile, we should note, that came extremely close to a U.S. warship just last week.

And so, the U.S. strategy right now is to try to degrade as much of the Houthis capabilities as possible. But as we noted in our reporting last week, the U.S. doesn't have a great idea of even how much capabilities the Houthis actually have.

And so, when they're looking at how much they have destroyed, for example, a percentage of the weapons that they have destroyed, it is difficult to gauge just how much -- many capabilities the Houthis actually have left and how long they could continue to launch these attacks on the Red Sea.

WALKER: Time will tell. Natasha Bertrand, thank you very much.

The United Nations Security Council meeting will meet Monday to discuss the recent U.S. strikes.

BLACKWELL: Russia's foreign minister says they requested the meeting and criticized the U.S. for inflaming conflict and sowing destruction and chaos in the Middle East. The criticism comes, excuse me, as Russia continues to wage its war in Ukraine.

Let's go to CNN Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman in Amman, Jordan. After these strikes, Ben, the Houthis say that they will meet escalation with escalation. What more are you hearing?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they've said -- we've heard this from a senior member of the politburo, so to speak, of the Houthis, Mohammed Bukhaiti, who said that they will continue to target navigation in the Red Sea.

And it's worth noting, until now, they've been pretty successful. Four of the world's five biggest shipping companies have now paused sending their ships through the Red Sea and are now sending them around the Cape of Good Hope. In addition to BP, British Petroleum, which is also doing the same thing, the Houthis have made it clear that they began these targeting of navigation in the Red Sea as a result of Israel's war in Gaza.

And according to this politburo, they will continue to target ships in the Red Sea as long as Israel carries out what they describe as its genocidal war in Gaza. The Iranians have also come out essentially saying the same thing, accusing the U.S. and the U.K. of sowing -- rather, fueling chaos, disorder, insecurity, and instability by supporting Israel's war in Gaza.

Victor, Amara?


BLACKWELL: Ben Wedeman for us in Amman, thank you so much.

Joining us now, CNN Military Analyst, Major General James "Spider" Marks and CNN National Security Analyst, Peter Bergen. Gentlemen, good morning to you. And General, let me start with you. The Saturday strikes were against the Houthis to deter them from continuing to attack commercial vessels in the Red Sea. The Friday strikes were in retaliation for the drone strike in Jordan that killed three Americans and injured dozens of more.

Separate groups here responsible. But I wonder when we're talking about their motivations and their sponsor, are we having one conversation about what success is and strategy or are these two separate conversations because we're talking about two different groups?

MAJ. GENERAL JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, Victor, great question. No, there are two different groups, but there's a common thread and that's Iran and the backing from Iran. So this is very much what I would call a campaign that's being prosecuted by the -- not only this administration, but specifically the central command.

Look, tactically, these are independent of each other. But the success that's going to be achieved, both in the Red Sea against the Houthis in Yemen and elsewhere in Syria and Iraq against the proxies that exist there, and then the greater fight that's taking place in Gaza, are all connected in terms of the administration's capacity to wage this fight against Iran and its proxies. It's all tied together.

BLACKWELL: Peter, a member of the Houthi political council posted this on social media, "The U.S.-British coalition's bombing of a number of Yemeni provinces will not change our position, and we affirm that our military operations against Israel will continue until the crimes of genocide in Gaza are stopped and the siege on its residents is lifted, no matter the sacrifices it costs us."

The Iranian foreign minister says that these strikes make it harder now for a political solution. After that statement, was a political solution really ever plausible with Iran, with the Houthis, with these proxies?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I mean, on the Houthis, you know -- thank you for having me on, Victor. You know, their slogan I'm summarizing is death to America and death to Israel, which is a slogan they've been using for two decades. It's worth recalling that they've also been fighting wars since 2004 against the central government. And it's also worth recalling that the Saudis got involved in the war in 2015 and dropped a very large amount of ordinance on the Houthis.

25,000 bombing raids, which killed around 28,000 people, 9,000 of them civilians. So when the Houthis say they're willing to keep fighting, I think you have to take that seriously. Obviously, the United States and U.K. have better, more precise bombing capabilities than the Saudis and will certainly degrade their ability to carry out these attacks.

But will they deter them from carrying out the attacks in future -- in the future, I sort of doubt it because the Houthis have been at war now for two decades and they control the capital, they control the major port in Yemen. And they've taken a tremendous beating and have kept going.

BLACKWELL: General, what do we know about their capabilities? The first spate of attacks before this continued campaign, the president acknowledges they didn't work.

MARKS: Well, what we see with the Houthis, as Peter just described so well, is an incredibly deep bench. What we don't know is over the interregnum between when Saudi Arabia was conducting its operations against the Houthis and this current state of a challenge that we have in the Red Sea from the Houthis.

What has Iran done and what have others done to increase that inventory of capabilities and capacity to prosecute these kinds of operations? These terror attacks will continue only because the Houthis have got some -- they've got some capacity here. And the United States, again, as Peter indicated, has done a significant effort -- has taken on a significant effort and has done some damage against the Houthis.

But you have to evaluate where that was relative to the starting point and what's going to happen going forward. That's going to take some time. And when you describe is -- I'm trying to describe a campaign here. The only way to campaign works is if you can achieve some level of deterrence. And deterrence is only going to be achieved as you evaluated over time.

That is the essence of what we see right now. The United States must be able -- with its allies, must be able to maintain the pressure.

BLACKWELL: Peter, more than the tactics and capabilities, you have a new piece, an opinion piece on Title is, "U.S. Bombing Strikes Are Sending The Wrong Message." Which message is that?

BERGEN: Well, you know, we keep hearing from the administration, we're sending a message. The question is, you know, how is the message going to be received in the way that it's intended?


And, you know, it's worth recalling also that these Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have themselves been fighting for two decades. And we, you know, the United States killed one of their leaders in downtown Baghdad just at the beginning of last month. That didn't deter them.

We killed -- you know, the United States under the Trump administration killed Soleimani, who was that most important military commander, the most important Iranian military commander in decades. A week later, you know, the Iranians launched ballistic missiles at American bases in Iraq and up to 100 Americans had traumatic brain injuries of some kind or another.

So the point is, as Major General pointed out, you know, you're trying to achieve deterrence. But so far, these groups haven't been very deterred. You know, and the Major General also pointed out that there's going to be a campaign. Maybe the campaign will deter them, but I'm somewhat skeptical.

And also, I think at the end of the day, it's pretty obvious that if you can get a ceasefire in Gaza of some kind, rescue the hostages, and come to some kind of political accommodation in Gaza where there's real security. Ultimately, that will bring that down the temperature more than anything else that we could -- the United States and its allies could possibly do.

BLACKWELL: General, the U.S. has made it clear that there will be no strikes against targets in Iran. Do you think the U.S. should have said that ahead of the campaign that they are now waging against Iranian proxies? They could have certainly never targeted Iran. But to say from the start, well, this is is our line. Is that effective?

MARKS: Well, I don't -- Well, the effectiveness is how you evaluate the change in behavior in terms of your enemy. I mean, there's a action, reaction, counteraction dynamic that takes place. The effect of this is the United States is still attacking against the proxies. The proxies will, over the course of time, either decrease their activity or will remain doing what they've been doing.

So, again, the declaration a priority that you're not going to attack something or you are going to attack something simply is for a diplomatic narrative that may or may not play out. So the efficacy of something like that remains to be seen. I don't think it's absolutely essential.

And, in fact, you don't need to declare what it is you want to do. What you need to declare is just -- what you need to do is just do it.

BLACKWELL: Major General Marks and Peter Bergen, thank you for the conversation. Enjoy the Sunday.

Still to come, millions in California, they're getting ready for heavy rain, severe flooding. How communities are preparing to weather what's coming.

Plus, early voting has begun in New York to replace expelled Congressman George Santos. We'll have more on the Democrat and the Republican candidates who are running to fill that seat.



BLACKWELL: This morning, parts of Southern California are under emergency evacuations. A rare, powerful storm system is posing a severe flooding threat. Local authorities are ready with more than 7 million sandbags to protect potential flooding or protect from it. Several school districts have canceled classes for tomorrow.

CNN's Camila Bernal has more from Los Angeles.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Amara, Victor, officials here in Los Angeles saying there are a few easy ways to prepare. Avoid unnecessary travel, have an emergency kit ready to go, stay informed, and go to your local fire station before the storm to maybe pick up some of those sandbags if you live in an area where it normally floods.

Take a look here behind me. A lot of people have been coming throughout the day to pick up those sandbags and to fill them up. Now that is the before the storm. During the storm, officials are saying that your personal safety should be your first priority. Avoiding those areas that normally flood and avoid going into whether it's in your car or walking through areas that are flooded because they say those currents can be extremely deceiving.

Officials here also saying they are preparing and ready to go. Take a listen to what the fire chief had to say.


CHIEF KRISTIN CROWLEY, LOS ANGELES FIRE DEPARTMENT: We've got our swift water rescue apparatus boats. We also have our teams that will be fully staffed, ready to respond to any water-related emergency. Now, these teams are highly trained in swift water technical rescues.

They stand ready to respond on a moment's notice. We've also bolstered our air apparatus, our helicopters, our air resources, adding skilled pilots and rescue teams to our helicopter fleet.


BERNAL: And officials also say they have crews ready in case there are power outages. There have also been outreach teams that are going to the homeless population to tell them to seek shelter, especially those that are currently in areas that normally flood or that are near the river.

Overall, officials telling people to take this seriously because it could be dangerous. Amara, Victor? BLACKWELL: Camila, thank you.

WALKER: CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is here tracking those storms. Allison, we're talking about a significant storm and obviously dangerous storm moving in.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. The key thing is rare for some of these areas. We're talking extremely rare occurrence over the next 24 to 48 hours. Right now, this is where the rain and snow is located. You can see it's raining right now across portions of Sacramento, San Francisco, down through the big serve alley, and then starting to see some of that moisture spread into areas of Southern California as well.

For today, this is going to be the main area of concern of flooding, and you can see it's a lot of areas. You're talking Redding, California, all the way down through San Diego.


The target point is along the coast here, and especially over portions of Los Angeles, including Oxnard, Santa Barbara, where we have a very rare high risk. That's a level four out of four, the highest you can possibly get for flooding.

And these are issued on fewer than percent of the days annually on average, but they're responsible for more than 80 percent of the flood damage and nearly 40 percent of the fatality. So this is a very serious situation, especially for Los Angeles, because they're not only in a high risk today. But when you fast forward to tomorrow, they also are under a high risk.

So it's not just for one day, but two days in a row. And it's that cumulative effect of all of that rain that really has officials that are concerned because there's just not much time for all of that water to run off as it usually would if you had a much more fast duration type of event.

So you're looking at dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding. Also your river in your urban flooding concerns there. You're talking mudslides, landslides, debris flows, especially in some of those burn scar areas, down trees, power lines, that could lead to pretty significant power outages across several of these areas as we go through the next couple of days.

Winds also going to be a big concern. That's how we're talking about those down power lines. You've got high wind warnings. Wind advisories for several of these areas and the very first ever issued by the National Weather Service, a hurricane force wind warning. You could have those gusts upwards of 90 miles per hour. Also, the possibility of some water spouts and tornadoes.

WALKER: Wow, a lot going on. Allison Chinchar, thank you very much.

There's a closely watched special election in New York where the Republican candidate is calling out her Democratic opponent for what she says is his open border migrant policy. The details after a quick break.



BLACKWELL: The Senate is expected to release a long awaited bill to impose new restrictions on the border today. And it's already playing out as campaigned issue in a pivotal House special election to replace George Santos.

CNN's Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju joins us now. Good morning to you. So how is the border crisis affecting that race in New York?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's actually a very significant issue in animating voters and actually putting Democrats on the defensive in this key race that could determine the size of the Republican majority in the House, whether it would be even narrower and have significant national implications.

This race, the special election is held on February 13th. And Tom Suozzi, the Democratic candidate there has been facing a barrage of attacks on the air over the issue of immigration, going after Joe Biden, trying to tie him to Joe Biden. He has tried to push back, present himself as a more moderate alternative and push and said that he has pushed a number of proposals that he hoped would become law.

And one thing in particular that he is embracing is the Senate proposal that is expected to come out today and saying that the Senate should move on this and that the House should move on it. It shows you how Democratic candidates in particular are planning to message this issue now that the Senate deal is expected to be released.

In particular, because House Republicans have said that this bill should not go forward and Donald Trump has said that the Senate deal should be, is a betrayal to Americans, even before the text has been released. That is what the -- Mr. Suozzi told me on Friday, that he believes that the bill should go forward as he took aim at Republicans.


TOM SUOZZI (D), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I would like the president to do a better job regarding immigration. I've said very publicly, I want the president to do what President Clinton used to do. Take the issue they're attacking you on. Make it your own. Propose a comprehensive bipartisan solution. And if the Republicans go along with it, great, we move forward as a country.

If they don't go along with it, you say, hey, are you just playing politics? Are you just trying to weaponize this? Well, that's what's happening right now in America. The Republicans are saying, op, we want to wait and see if President Trump wins. You want to wait a year before you address it? That's absurd. That's appalling.

(END VIDEO CLIP) RAJU: So Suozzi in the meantime has tried to go after his Republican opponent Mazi Pilip, who's a newcomer to the scene. She's a county legislator. She's an Ethiopian born Israeli immigrant who is fighting for this seat. Now, he is trying to draw her out on some of her positions, attacking her, saying that she supports a national ban on abortion.

I asked her about that. She says she does not support a national ban on abortion as we talked about her views.


MAZI PILIP (R), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: This party, the Democrat Party, will do everything to gain power. That's all. They don't have rules or nothing.

RAJU: Would you support codifying Roe v. Wade?

PILIP: It's already -- the Supreme Court already took it to the state. Each state's making that decision. That's all.

RAJU: The Dobbs decision, did you think it was the right decision?

PILIP: Again, the Supreme Court, I have faith in the Supreme Court. They make the right decision to move it to the state.

RAJU: It comes out of the Senate. Do you think the speaker should put this bill on the floor so you can have a vote on this bipartisan proposal on immigration, on the border?

PILIP: Absolutely. We have to have a deal as soon as possible. A deal that's going to protect --

RAJU: The -- I'm talking about the Senate proposal. You're open to that.

PILIP: You know, the House gave the Senate about 200 days ago, H.R. 2. It's explained really how they can protect the deal. I believe that is a plan to stop the illegal immigration right now. And that's what I would like to see.


RAJU: And that last point is key because if she were to win this race, it could potentially be right around the same time as the Senate acts on this bipartisan bill. But there's a dispute, there's a fight between House Republicans and Senate Republicans on this issue because the House GOP passed a bill last year known as H.R. 2, it's a conservative border policy bill that is viewed as a non-starter among Senate Democrats in particular.

So the question will be, if it comes out of the Senate, this new bipartisan deal, will Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House, put it on the floor of the House. As you heard from Mazi Pilip right there, she did not go as far as saying that that should happen. She said she wants to look at the details of the bipartisan deal, even as she advocated for the House GOP plan that Senate Democrats say is going nowhere.

BLACKWELL: Manu Raju, thanks so much. Be sure to catch Manu on Inside Politics Sunday, coming up later this morning at 11 Eastern.

We'll be right back.



WALKER: Later today, President Biden heads to Nevada to campaign ahead of the State's primary on Tuesday. The stop comes fresh off his first primary win of the election season in South Carolina. He went decisively, and while the win was expected it is still significant. It is the first time South Carolina has kicked off the Democrats nominating calendar, and it's an important victory as Biden pushes to shore up crucial support among black voters, 60 percent of South Carolina's Democrats are African-American.


Let's talk more about last night with Mychael Schnell, congressional reporter with "The Hill". Hello, Mychael. Good to see you. So, what is the biggest takeaway regarding Biden's win in South Carolina last night, especially when it comes to turnout, and are we seeing that he is maintaining the black voter support that we saw him do years ago in South Carolina?

MYCHAEL SCHNELL, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE HILL: Hey, Amara. Good morning. Yes, significant night last night for the Biden campaign in South Carolina. The first time they picked up delegates in this primary cycle, because of course it's the first time we saw, as you mentioned, South Carolina go first.

That came after the DNC approved a new lineup for the primary season, one that was endorsed by President Biden that put South Carolina first, and notably took Iowa away from that first slot. And that of course comes after, back in 2020, that botched Iowa Caucus, we had to wait days for results. And also, President Biden's lackluster finish, he came in fifth place not where he wanted to be.

So, then this year we saw South Carolina come first. President Biden easily locks down that win against some of the, you know, long shot Democratic challengers, Congressman Dean Phillips, Marianne Williamson. And so, I think it shows that Biden still has, you know, firm support and enthusiasm within the party. We still saw a turnout even though he is an incumbent and the runaway front runner in this race. And it also, you know, helps set off his campaign.

Now, he has delegates under his under his arm. He can go ahead with the rest of the primaries. And he can say, look, I still have the support here and my challengers didn't even come close.

WALKER: Let's focus on the Hill now since that is your beat. So, the Senate is expected to release its text on their border bill and foreign aid package sometime this week. But in the House, House Speaker Mike Johnson says, they're going to vote on a standalone bill that would provide aid to Israel. No mention of a security bill -- border bill.

How does this play out then in the Senate? I mean, it's going to obviously put pressure on the Senate to -- I don't know, abandon their months-long negotiations over this bill that's tied to foreign aid, and will they take up the House's standalone bill instead then?

SCHNELL: Yes, this is such a curveball in the entire conversation, Amara, because we knew that this weekend, we would finally see texts of that long-awaited national security supplemental which includes aid for Ukraine, aid for Israel, aid for Indo-Pacific allies. And then of course, this long-awaited border security legislation which has been the subject of high-stakes negotiations for months. Schumer said that would come out by the end of the weekend. We are still waiting for text.

I will note anxiously, awaiting. I will add, there's a lot of anticipation ahead of this text release. But then yesterday, Speaker Johnson, in a letter to colleagues, said that he would put a standalone Israel aid bill on the floor. And there are a couple interesting factors here. A, it comes after the House, last year, passed an Israel aid bill but it included $14.3 billion in cuts to the IRS. The GOP saw that as a way to offset the emergency foreign aid spending. That was a nonstarter among most Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer who said it would not come to the floor. They did not like the idea of including offsets in a foreign aid bill.

So, now as we're seeing that issue be held up, Speaker Johnson is going to put the standalone bill on the floor. But you mentioned it perfectly there. It's going to put pressure on these senators to support that standalone legislation, something that a lot of Democrats said that they wanted. They said, take out the offsets and we'll support aid to Israel. But that could muddy their situation with the supplemental which includes Israel aid and which is packaged with the other foreign aid and the border security that could jeopardize being able to have that passed.

So, you mentioned, how will the Senate handle this? That is really the key question here. I think a lot of it depends on how Republican senators take to the supplemental and the border security legislation that's been under negotiation for months. So, we're just going to have to see but absolutely, this is going to put a lot of pressure on the Senate and it's the House's way of saying, hey, we really do not like this national security supplemental.

WALKER: All right. Mychael Schnell, we'll leave it there. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

BLACKWELL: The Republican Party doing things differently in Nevada this election season. The state has a primary on Tuesday, then a caucus on Thursday, and it's causing some confusion among voters.

CNN's Kyung Lah has details.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be very confusing for people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't understand why we're doing it that way.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Nevada's primary, Republican voters are finding there's something missing. Donald Trump.

LAH: This is very much like the ballot you just turned in, right?


LAH: And what do you notice about this ballot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The person I wanted to vote for wasn't on this ballot.

LAH: So, do a lot of people understand what's happening this time in Nevada?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so. I don't -- I didn't.



LAH (voice-over): Former president Donald Trump said, no need for concern, just go to the caucuses.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Do the caucus. Not the primary. The primary is meaningless.

LAH (voice-over): Nevada passed a law in 2021 that switched from caucuses to a primary system that Trump didn't want to run in. So, now Trump is participating in the party run Nevada Caucuses on February 8th. Nikki Haley, is running in the state-run primary two days earlier. Outside of this Trump rally, his voters were still trying to make sense of the dual system.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Nevada, I think it's going to confuse a lot of people.

LAH (voice-over): Only the results of the caucuses award delegates towards nominating the Republican presidential candidate. The state party sets that rule. Its why Trump's campaign is pushing the caucuses.


LAH (voice-over): If you're lost, you wouldn't be the only one.

LAH: We're trying to talk to people about the caucus versus the primary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, there's a lot of confusion. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is confusing because I got the information, but it does not tell you when to vote.

LAH: You're looking up the difference between the two.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes, like caucus, primary, different stuff like that. I still don't know why he is not on there.

CHUCK MUTH, FORMER CLARK COUNTY REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN: It's hypocrisy that you couldn't cut with a chainsaw.

LAH (voice-over): Former Clark County Republican Chairman Chuck Muth voted in the primary but knows it doesn't matter.

MUTH: I believe that they set up the caucus because they wanted to assure that Donald Trump was not embarrassed in Nevada and secured Nevada's vote. This definitely smells of rigging the caucus on behalf of Donald Trump.

LAH (voice-over): He's talking about the leadership of his state Republican Party. Some of those leaders just happen to also be criminally indicted by the state for attempting to falsely certify that Trump won Nevada in 2020. He did not win. All six fake electors have pleaded not guilty to felony charges. Michael McDonald, Nevada Republican Party Chairman and close Trump ally.

MCDONALD: And we will deliver you 100 percent of delegates for the state of Nevada to Donald J. Trump.

LAH (voice-over): And Jesse Law.


LAH (voice-over): Clark County Republican chairman who sang at Trump's last Nevada rally.

Last November, we caught up with a caucus roadshow held by Republican Party leaders, Jim DeGraffenreid and Jim Hindle.

JIM HINDLE, REPUBLICAN PARTY LEADERS AND TRUMP ALLY: As a party, make sure that we're choosing the most competitive, the most representative candidate to be our nominee.


LAH (voice-over): Amy Tarkanian, former state GOP chair and lifelong Republican doesn't buy any of this.

LAH: What does it mean though if you have these indicted fake electors who are also behind pushing this caucus?

TARKANIAN: How do you trust it? How do you trust it? To me, it comes across as complete pro-Trump scam. That's it. Plain and simple. It's sad and it's disappointing. I think really, they've disenfranchised the Republican voter.

LAH: Since Nevada's Republican primary doesn't award any delegates, The best that Nikki Haley can hope for is bragging rights. Donald Trump, he's the only major name left in the caucuses which will award 26 delegates.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Las Vegas.


BRUNHUBER: Kyung, thank you.

The Grammys are tonight and this year it will showcase a new category, best African music performance. What else to look out for at the awards ceremony? We have it for you next.



BRUNHUBER: It's Grammy night. The biggest night in music to celebrate the best in the business. The show will be hosted by Trevor Noah. SZA, Billie Eilish, and Taylor Swift are all hoping for historic wins.

CNN's Senior Entertainment Writer Lisa France is here with us. big night. What are you most excited to see?

LISA RESPERS FRANCE, CNN SENIOR ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: I'm most excited about SZA. She leads the pack with nine nominations. And if she wins Album of the Year, it will be the first time that a black woman has won in that category since 1999. So, 25 years ago with Lauryn Hill and the "Miseducation of Lauryn Hill". So, that's possible history being made.

And also, if Janelle Monae wins, because it's a tough -- if -- that Album of the Year's tough this year.

BLACKWELL: Lord, I love that album.

FRANCE: I love the album of Janelle. So, Janelle Monae -- they -- if they win, would become the first non-binary person of color to win that. But they're up against some tough competition. Taylor Swift, she also could potentially make some history because if she wins then she will break the record for the most wins in that category.

Right now, she's tied with Frank Sinatra and -- I'm going to blank on name. Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.


FRANCE: I'm so proud of myself. I remembered that.

BLACKWELL: So proud. Even without a note. You all find "The Age of Pleasure" album, it is fantastic.

FRANCE: Fantastic. BLACKWELL: They kept my whole summer.

FRANCE: Right.

BLACKWELL: Big performances though as well. What are you looking forward to there?

FRANCE: Oh, well, Joni Mitchell at 80 years old, having survived a brain aneurysm in 2015, is going to perform for the first time ever. I mean, she's been -- she's a legend. She's been in the industry for more than 50 years. So that's exciting but a lot of people are really looking forward to Luke Holmes and Tracy Chapman doing "Fast Car". I mean, 35 years after she won Grammys for that hit record, she is reported to be coming back. We are being told that she's going to perform and people are so super-duper excited about it.

BLACKWELL: And she doesn't perform that often, does she?

FRANCE: No. She -- I mean, we never see her. We never see her. And last year that won a country music award and it was the first time that she had won one of those Awards, actually the first time a black woman had won for Song of the Year for that song.

And so, people are super, super amped to see her because she just -- she's completely out. I mean, she's beyond like Sade. Like Sade goes away, comes back and makes music at least every few years.


FRANCE: But Tracy Chapman is like, no, thank you. Minding my own business.

BLACKWELL: And I know it's a different note, but if Sade wants to come back for a tour at any moment, I am --

FRANCE: At any moment.

BLACKWELL: Anywhere in the world.

FRANCE: I'm -- me and you. Done.


FRANCE: Done, done. It's a date.

BLACKWELL: All right. Lisa Respers France, thank you so much.

FRANCE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: We'll be right back.



BLACKWELL: Climate change is impacting the ecosystem in Antarctica, which means that some species of animals and vegetation are struggling to survive. CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir visited the continent. Here's a look at what he discovered.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We finally get a chance to go ashore and are greeted by thousands of gentoo penguins.

WEIR: How can you not love penguins? My little boy is obsessed with penguins, and I'm obsessed with penguins because they walk like my little boy. They're like toddlers on land. And they're so chill and curious. We had a log jam of the passengers on the ship because one penguin was standing in the middle of the trail, and you got to be respectful of the locals. This is their neighborhood. We're visitors.


WEIR (voice-over): But our delight turns to worry as we learn that these birds are building nests for chicks that have no chance of survival. The warming climate brought enough freakish spring snow this year that it delayed nesting season for weeks. Chicks born this late, won't have enough time to grow feathers and fat needed to get through winter.

WEIR: And of course, what connects these little guys to the seals and the whales is krill, those little shrimp-like critters that need sea ice to both reproduce and to feed. And the problem is the sea ice is going away down here. And scientists are really concerned about what that means for the future of these ecosystems.


BLACKWELL: Watch a new episode of "The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper: What Whales Tell Us", that's tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern only on CNN.

Rosenwald schools were a lifeline for young black students in the South, but many of those schools are now gone. CNN's Isabel Rosales has more on the efforts to keep one of the last remaining schools in Tennessee standing.


ISABEL ROSALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Memories packed the halls of this nearly century-old schoolhouse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Radcliffe (ph), this was her side. And that was a hallway, and the window was not there.

ROSALES (voice-over): Now, in their 70s and 80s, these former students walk us through the ruins of their school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the interest way.

ROSALES (voice-over): It may not look pretty. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of these was desks.

ROSALES (voice-over): But this dilapidated structure stands tall in the pages of not only black, but American history.

GEORGIA HARRIS, FORMER LEE-BUCKNER SCHOOLHOUSE STUDENT: Just to think, that a lot of people and children don't know how it was and how important education can be.

ROSALES (voice-over): A unique partnership between Booker T. Washington, a former slave and black education pioneer, and Julius Rosenwald, a first-generation Jewish-American philanthropist led to the construction of nearly 5,000 Rosenwald schoolhouses throughout the Jim Crow South. The state-of-the-Art Schools a major force and improving the quality of education for black children. By 1928, one in every five rural schools in the south was a Rosenwald school.

RACHEAL FINCH, HISTORIC PRESERVATIONIST CONSULTANT: It's a place of community and it bridged the gap for African-Americans during a time when separate was definitely not equal.

ROSALES (voice-over): The schools not only revolutionized black education in the South, but alumni like Maya Angelou and the late Congressman John Lewis went on to make their own mark in the history books. But when the Supreme Court ruled separate but equal education was unconstitutional in 1954, Rosenwald schools slowly became obsolete. Only 10 percent of them still stand.

Located about 30 minutes outside of Nashville, Lee-Buckner is the last surviving Rosenwald school in the region.

MAUDY ADKINSON JOHNSON, FORMER LEE-BUCKNER SCHOOLHOUSE STUDENT: This little box sitting here on side the road, it might not mean a lot to a lot of people when they ride by. I always would come by and hope that it wouldn't just sit here and fall down.

ROSALES (voice-over): And it was special to these former students when a day of missed class helping their parents work was a sad one.

ROSALES: All of you guys worked the tobacco field --

JOHNSON: Yes, yes.

ROSALES: -- to help down with your parents?


Harris: Yes.

ROSALES (voice-over): After years of planning, the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County is restoring the one-room schoolhouse. Lee- Buckner will be relocated to downtown Franklin.

BARI BEASLEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, HERITAGE FOUNDATION OF WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TN: I think that we can have a better future if we understand even the difficult parts of our past. ROSALES (voice-over): Crafted to be a springboard to a better future and home --


ROSALES (voice-over): -- to those who walked its hallways.

HARRIS: I don't want to forget where we came from. We didn't have a lot, but we had teachers who cared.


ROSALES (voice-over): Isabel Rosales, CNN, Franklin, Tennessee.


BLACKWELL: That was a fantastic story from Isabel.

Let's start the next hour. Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell. Welcome to "CNN This morning".

The U.S carried out more strikes against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. U.S. CENTCOM says that it conducted a strike in self-defense and destroyed a Houthi anti-ship cruise missile that was prepared to launch. Now, earlier Saturday, the U.S. and U.K. launched airstrikes targeting Houthi rebels in Yemen in response to the group's continued attacks in the Red Sea. Officials say, the strikes hit more than 30 targets in 13 locations associated with the Houthis deeply buried weapon storage facilities, as well as other weapons used by the Houthis to target international shipping lanes.

The Houthis responded to these recent strikes saying, we will meet escalation with escalation. And those strikes came just one day after US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Those were in response to the three American soldiers killed in a drone attack in Jordan.