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CNN This Morning

Biden Criticizes House Lawmakers For Taking Two-Week Break During Aid Discussions; More than 400 People Detained In Russia For Attending Navalny Vigils; U.S. Threatens To Veto New Gaza Ceasefire Resolution At U.N. Security Council; Sources: Russia Trying To Develop Nuclear Space Weapon To Destroy Satellites; Trump Rails Against Judge's Nearly $355 Million Ruling At Michigan Rally; 27M+ California Residents Under Flood Watches; Ionescu And Curty Shine In First NBA- WNBA Challenge; McClung Soars Over Shaq For 2nd Straight Slam Dunk Title. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 18, 2024 - 06:00   ET



AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And good morning. Welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. It is Sunday, February 18th. I'm Amara Walker.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thank you for joining us. Here's what we're watching for you this morning.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, I'm going to fight until we get them the ammunition they need and the capacity they need to defend themselves.


BLACKWELL: President Biden doubles down on his commitment to get aid to Ukraine. He lays blame for the delay directly on Congress. What he said to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a phone call.

WALKER: Donald Trump hit the campaign trail for the first time since being ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties in the New York civil fraud trial. And he did not hold back his response and how he's now raising money as the fines add up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am happy to be alive, but I don't want to be the product of a fraud.


BLACKWELL: A really uncomfortable discovery, in a case of what lawyers call fertility fraud after a doctor is accused of secretly using his own sperm to impregnate patients.

WALKER: Evacuation orders have been issued for parts of California and millions are under flood warnings as the state braces for days of storms. We will have your forecasts.

BLACKWELL: President Biden says that he is confident the U.S. will send aid to Ukraine, even though the plans are stalled on Capitol Hill and the House is on a two-week break.

WALKER: But as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy reminded everyone on an international stage, war doesn't take a break.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Please, everyone remember that dictators do not go on vacation. Hatred knows no pause. Enemy artillery does not fall silent due to procedural issues.


WALKER: Biden himself is putting Congress on blast as well. CNN's Camila DeChalus joining us now from Delaware. Hi there, Camila. Tell us more about what the president had to say.

CAMILA DECHALUS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, President Biden did not hold back in expressing his frustration in Congress' inability at this point in time to pass additional funding to give to Ukraine. Now, he really stressed that time is of the essence especially in light of the recent developments of how the Ukrainian military had to retreat from one of its key battleground cities, ceding it to Russia because it was low on ammunition. Take a quick listen of what Biden had to say yesterday.


BIDEN: Look, the Ukrainian people have fought so bravely and heroically. They've put so much on the line. And the idea that now, when they're running out of ammunition, we'd walk away I find it absurd. I find it unethical. I find it contrary to everything we are as a country.


DECHALUS: Now, Biden made it no secret that he is frustrated with Congress and he wants them to immediately come back from recess and pass this legislation now.'

BLACKWELL: Camila, the president there in Rehoboth Beach, what else did he say?

DECHALUS: Well, the president also had a call with Zelenskyy. And on this call, he really just stressed that he's confident that Congress will pass this aid. And even after he spoke to him, Harris also -- Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Zelenskyy and she really just reiterated the US's continued support of Ukraine. And just saying that its unwavering and that they are going to stand by them as they fight Russia. Victor, Amara.

WALKER: All right. Camila DeChalus there with the president in Delaware. Thank you so much. So, right now unrest is growing in Russia. A human rights group there says authorities have detained more than 400 people across the country for attending vigils and rallies for Alexei Navalny.

BLACKWELL: CNN's chief international security correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is in Germany where Navalny's death and Russia's war are under scrutiny on the last day of the Munich Security Conference -- Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: We continue to hear stark condemnation from western nations over the death of Alexei Navalny, in a prison colony near the arctic circle on Friday morning. We're hearing more details too from his team saying that his mother went to that prison, tried to get the body or confirmation of the death, receive a telegram to that effect, went to a nearby town to the morgue there, which they've been told the body was, was told there that it had been moved elsewhere.


It wasn't clear where it was. And Navalny's team now essentially saying the investigation by Russian officials here is a fake as you might expect. And while there isn't direct evidence at this point that the kremlin ordered Navalny's death certainly in the most generous interpretation, they miserably failed to keep a man in poor health alive in those prison conditions. And that I think is behind some of the statements we're hearing now from western officials. The most recent, the most strident U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, saying this is another extraordinary reminder of the brutality of the Putin administration.

Now, Navalny's death has provided a very clear reminder to western nations here of the threat of Russia to its own dissidents, but also potentially to European nations, too. Remember, there have been concerns that recent remarks by former President Donald Trump about the NATO alliance, about how he might not necessarily honor it if NATO members didn't contribute to their own defense budgets. That's kind of been swept aside by the tragic death of Navalny, providing a clear focus on what Moscow is capable of. And that provided some sort of dark assistance really to Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

He took the stage today to remind people of the threat Ukraine is facing and how that might be a threat that European nations face from Russia, if indeed Ukraine doesn't have some kind of prevalence on the battlefield. He also had to unveil the complex news for Ukraine that they have had to withdraw from a town in the east, Avdiivka. The scene of fierce fighting over the past weeks and months they announced this morning they had to pull troops. Zelenskyy said that was the most logical thing to do to preserve human life.

And while he did say that Ukraine has lost one soldier for every seven Russia has lost in that fight, according to his information, that may suggest superior Ukrainian tactics perhaps, but also too, it shows you the remarkable waste of human life Russia is willing to throw callously in a relatively minor strategic objective like Avdiivka. But it's also most clearly too here a reminder to those European powers that the lack of U.S. aid, the $60 billion held up by a friendly Republican dysfunction in Congress that is having a real impact on the Ukrainian front lines.

Other areas too, we are hearing now of potential Russian advances. And so, Munich here, really, I think starkly reminded of the threat Russia poses from the tragic, awful death of Alexei Navalny, Russia's leading opposition figure. But also, too, the immediate impacts on Ukraine's frontlines of a slowdown in western aid. A deeply dark atmosphere here, frankly, and acute focus on how the Russian threat is intensifying.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Munich, Germany.

BLACKWELL: Nick, thank you very much for that. New this morning, the U.S. is warning that it will veto any resolution calling for humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza if it comes up for a vote at the U.N. Security Council.

Algeria has proposed such a resolution. And U.N. ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement that the U.S. is already working on a deal between Israel and Hamas that would bring a release of hostages and a pause in fighting for at least six weeks. She went on to say that the proposed resolution would not achieve the same outcomes so the U.S. will not support it.

Joining us now is CNN's political and national security analyst, David Sanger. David, hello to you. Do you think voters in the U.S., the president's party, the wing of the party that wants a ceasefire is paying close enough attention to the U.N. that that will have any political cost for him?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, I don't think so. If he is successful at this negotiation, Victor, which they are trying to get the hostage swaps and then what would be a six- week pause. They're not calling it a ceasefire. They're calling it a pause because if it was a ceasefire, it would mean essentially that Israel was giving up on its objective of routing out all of Hamas.

Fact remains that Israel set itself a pretty maximalist objective there. And by the assessment of most of the people I have spoken to intelligence officials, military officials here in Munich they really aren't very close at this point to achieving that objective. And of course, they don't have the top leadership of Hamas that plan the October 7 terror attack.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the death of Alexei Navalny, which was just a stunning start there at the Munich Security Conference where you are. And I want to play for you what President Biden said, this is 2021, would be the consequence for Russia if Navalny died in Russian custody.



BIDEN: I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia. I'll go back to the same point, what do you think happens when he's saying, it's not about hurting Navalny, this -- you know, all the stuff he says to rationalize the treatment of Navalny -- and then he dies in prison?


BLACKWELL: Devastating consequences. And that was before Putin invaded Ukraine in 2022. So, many of those potential consequences have already been -- have been imposed. But what is the ability, potentially the likelihood that the president or the allies there where you are in Munich, will make those words real now that Navalny is dead?

SANGER: Pretty small for the reason you laid out. Since the war went on there are not many sanctions left that Europe and the United States can impose. And in fact, the talk here in Munich has been had to close the many loopholes that the Russians have quite successfully exploited in their effort to build up their own arm supply again.

You know, I remember I was at that press conference when the president said that. It was right after he had met -- if I remember it correctly, it was right after he had -- had met Putin for the first and probably only time of his presidency. And I don't think the president at that time imagined the scale and scope of the kind of confrontation he would find himself in with Russia at this stage.

And, you know, you've mentioned two things so far as the loss of territory in Ukraine, the Navalny death. But perhaps the biggest one that was sort of dominating everybody's attention here is this American intelligence report that they believe the Russians may be prepared to put a nuclear weapon into space, in orbit. And that wouldn't necessarily be that detonated. I don't think the Russians would do that, but it's to remind everybody that if you press those sanctions too hard, if you press the Navalny or Ukraine issues too hard, they have the capability to disrupt the entire global communication system by putting a nuclear weapon essentially in low- earth orbit with other satellites.

BLACKWELL: Yes, this would interrupt governmental, commercial satellites, would interrupt banking, and all parts of life that use those satellites. The question is Secretary Blinken is trying to reach out to the Chinese, reach out to India as well to try to pressure Putin to back off that. Are they reliable partners in that effort?

SANGER: I don't know if they're reliable, but they're self-interested. Secretary Blinken went to Wang Yi, the foreign minister of China. He went to his Indian counterpart as well. And he said, look, if Vladimir Putin ever set off a nuclear weapon in space it wouldn't just take out American satellites. It would take out Chinese satellites. It would take out Indian satellites. It would also take out, of course, probably Russian satellites, but the Russians have less to lose than China and India do here.

So, the theory is that they would go to Putin who listens to them in a way presumably that he wouldn't listen to the United States and say, you know, this is just wildly too reckless. This worked, or at least the administration thinks it worked, in October 2022 when you'll remember, we were concerned that Russia may be getting ready to deploy and detonate a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine. And Xi Jinping and others, Prime Minister Modi, talked him down. BLACKWELL: David Sanger joining us. Thanks so much David, enjoy the Sunday.

WALKER: Well, there's much more still ahead on CNN THIS MORNING. Former President Trump is back on the campaign trail on the heels of a $355 million fine. He's once again going after the judge who made that ruling.

Also, a Virginia home explodes with fire crews inside. Now, one first responder is dead, four others are in the hospital.

Plus, she hoped to learn more about her family's history, but then a DNA test turned into a nightmare. The disturbing story of fertility fraud, that's ahead.




DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to win this state. If we win Michigan, we win the election.


BLACKWELL: That was Donald Trump last night stressing Michigan's importance during a rally in that battleground state.

WALKER: Trump rinse and repeat speech slammed President Biden, stoke migrant fears. He aired his litany of legal grievances, including new attacks on the judge who just fined him $355 million. CNN's Steve Contorno was there.

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Victor and Amara, if there was any question whether Donald Trump would address the $355 million ruling against him on Friday, well, he answered that very early on his speech on Saturday night. Speaking to a crowd in Michigan, he went after the judge who presided over the case, the attorney general in New York, and attacked the American justice system at large.


TRUMP: We will have no higher priority than ending the weaponization of this horrible legal system that is developed around us. It's a horrible, horrible thing that's taking place. You talk about democracy. This is a real threat to democracy. And restoring, fair, equal, and impartial justice in America, we have to have that because we don't have that now.

The decision yesterday in New York, you may have read about it -- cooked judge, crooked judge.


He's a crooked judge. By a radical left-wing judge was a lawless and unconstitutional atrocity that sets fire to our laws like no one has ever seen in this country before. That happens in banana republics. It doesn't happen in this country. The case is a complete and total sham.


CONTORNO: Now, the events of this week will serve as just a taste of what we can expect in the coming months as Donald Trump balances his court schedule with his campaign calendar. Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley says that this will be a distraction for him and for Republicans trying to win back the White House.

Trump's visit to Michigan is likely to be his last before the state holds its primary on February 27th. However, he is going to be here quite a bit because Michigan is a key battleground in 2024. Victor and Amara.

WALKER: All right. Let's keep the conversation going now with Julian Zelizer, CNN political analyst and historian and professor at Princeton University. Let's hear more of the -- some of the grievances that Trump aired last night in Michigan. Here's another.


TRUMP: Our court system is a mess. What's happening in our country, they have to straighten it out. All you see is bitterness and revenge and hatred. Judge Engoron just fined me $355 million for doing everything right, 355.


WALKER: Look, these are the same lines of, you know, complaints and criticisms aimed at the same types of people, judges, and plaintiffs. But this time around for Trump, I mean, this is much more personal. It hits at his reputation, at his financial capabilities. I mean, how devastating is this for him?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's very devastating. This is a lot of money. It's a measure of accountability that he can't erase. And whatever he says, the rallies on the campaign trail I don't think really negates how he must be feeling inside.

He will fold this into his campaign. He'll use the same rhetoric about a system out to get him. But this time it hits his money and business and he doesn't like that.

WALKER: When you talk about him folding it into his campaign, we should mention before heading to Michigan Trump was in Philadelphia at Sneaker Con. Why? He was unveiling his own sneaker line. Trumps sneakers. Including this gold colored, it's called the Never Surrender High-Tops sneaker. And on that Web site, which is selling those sneakers, apparently, it's sold out. It was selling for $399. Your thoughts?

ZELIZER: Well, look, he -- one level he wants to monetize whatever he can and he wants to make money out of what's going on, even if it's costing him money in the courts. It's also though part of the kind of MAGA swag that has been essential to his campaign into creating kind of movement or fandom that makes his campaign different from many others. Buy the sneaker, buy the hat, and it creates a form of attachment to him that other candidates actually can't replicate very easily.

WALKER: Do you think he's going to rely a lot on his supporters to help raise money for him to pay some of these penalties and legal fees that are ahead as well?

ZELIZER: He'll try to get the money however he can. We're talking about significant amounts. And simply politically, it is going to be a challenge.

So yes, the solicitations will continue. And smaller solicitations have been very important to him last time and now even more because of his own troubles.

WALKER: You know, you wrote an interesting piece titled "How America Became Immune to Scandal." And that's what were really seeing, right, especially with Trump's civil and criminal trials playing out. It really just bolsters and reinvigorates his supporters.

Why is that? Why have at least so many of his supporters become so resistant to Trump's scandals?

ZELIZER: Some of it is just broader that scandals have diminished in terms of their impact in a country that's more polarized, where trust of government is very low. Scandals are something people watch, but they don't necessarily have much of a political impact. We've become numb in some ways to one scandal after the other.

And with Trump himself, he has found ways to turn this scandal into something of political value to actually define himself around constantly being attacked. So, those things are all converging with, again, support for him, where the supporters are a very loyal. And regardless of what happens to him or what he is found to have done, their support for him only get stronger.

WALKER: And Nikki Haley is in South Carolina campaigning there ahead of the February 24th primary. And this -- among some of the criticism, this is what she had to say about Trump.



NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's siding with a dictator who kills his political opponents. Now, we know Navalny is another one that he has killed. Why isn't Trump saying anything about that? He had a lot to say in Conway, but what does he say about Navalny now?


WALKER: I mean, why has Trump remained silent? I guess, Nikki Haley is previewing, you know, what a second Trump presidency would look like. And of course, it would only embolden Putin and his ambitions.

ZELIZER: Oh, I think what she is hinting at or saying very directly is he is not going to have an adversarial position toward Russia. She's arguing he didn't during his first term. And more broadly, his America first platform is about withdrawing U.S. support from many parts of the world, including Ukraine.

And so, I think she's trying to draw a very clear policy distinction between her generation of Republicans or her cohort of Republicans, and the America first Trumpers who have really dictated the tone of the debate recently on Capitol Hill.

WALKER: You know, President Biden said he had a call with Zelenskyy on Saturday and he reiterated his support for Ukraine and said he's -- quote, unquote -- "confident" that the foreign aid for Ukraine will come. Of course, this coming on the heels of losing that key town on the eastern front by Ukraine to Russia.

What is going to come of this Ukraine aid when there's so much political dysfunction, and the speaker of the House has said very explicitly that he will not put that bill, that bipartisan bill passed by the Senate to the floor for a vote?

ZELIZER: I don't know. The administration is going to try to make some kind of deal to get it through. Even if it gets through this time though the sense of commitment is much weaker than it has been and no one knows what happens next.

WALKER: That is the concerning thing, at least for Ukrainian officials. Julian Zelizer, thank you very much. Good to see you.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, you got to see this out of Virginia, a firefighter was killed, more than a dozen others were injured when a home exploded with the crew inside.



WALKER: Three days after the mass shooting at the Chiefs' Super Bowl parade in Kansas City that took one life and wounded over 20 people, residents gathered to mourn and rally for gun violence prevention. Many who spoke at the gathering demanded meaningful gun reform and chanted enough is enough.

The mayor of Kansas City also addressed the crowd reflecting on Wednesday's tragic event, saying he never thought he and his family would be running for their lives on that day.

BLACKWELL: The funerals for two U.S. Army soldiers who were killed last month in a droned tack on an outpost in Jordan were buried yesterday. 24-year-old Sgt. Kennedy Sanders, 23-year-old Sgt. Breonna Moffett were remembered at separate funerals in their hometowns in Georgia. The third soldier killed in that attack, Staff Sgt William Rivers was buried Tuesday in Carrollton in Georgia. All three soldiers were awarded promotions and ranked after their deaths. The investigation is moving forward this morning into why a home in

Sterling, Virginia exploded. One firefighter was killed, 13 others were injured. The first responders arrived at the scene. This was Friday night after a 911 call to check a gas leak from a 500-gallon underground propane tank on the side of the house.

WALKER: And you can see the video in here showing the aftermath and the severity of the devastating blast with a huge plume of smoke coming from the leveled home and debris scattered into the street.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is following the story for us. Polo?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amara and Victor, local fire officials have been offering updates to Friday's deadly explosion saying that this is the worst kind of call that firefighters would respond to. It initially came in as a call of a smell of gas on Friday evening at a home in Sterling, Virginia, which is not far from Washington's Dulles Airport. Crews there able to locate a 500-gallon underground propane tank that they say was leaking, so they called a hazmat team. It was shortly after that that was being described as a catastrophic explosion happened.

When you look at these pictures, they really tell you everything you need to know about, the sheer intensity of the explosion with smoke seen billowing from the flattened home. We know one firefighter was killed in the incident. Officials identifying him as 45-year-old Trevor Brown from the Sterling Volunteer Fire Department. His death being described as devastating, not just to his family, but really the community in general.

About at least a dozen others were injured, two civilians who were inside the home, the rest of them firefighters who are expected to survive from their injuries. The cause of this still under the -- under investigation, though, officials are hoping to reassure the community saying that there is no -- no more threats to the actual community, that this was an isolated incident.

Amara, Victor?

WALKER: Polo Sandoval, thank you very much.

Lies, corruption, bribery, prostitution, in the new "CNN ORIGINAL SERIES, UNITED STATES OF SCANDAL." CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper dives into some of the most sensational political controversies and talks to some of the most infamous political figures of the modern era to dissect the truth from the spin. Here's a preview.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're here to get your side of the story.

Where are the weapons of mass destruction?

How do you view your time as governor?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had 2,896 days in prison to ask myself a thousand questions, including that.

TAPPER (voiceover): For 30 or so years, I have shined a bright light on the inner workings of American political power.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It never occurred to him that extorting a hospital might harm people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I engaged in a consensual affair with another man.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: How did you end up with a sex tape in John Edwards and Rielle Hunter?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They say, get on the phone and find some pits.


TAPPER (voiceover): You can't write this stuff. Looking back, I can't help but feel that we were all so quick to embrace the headline that we may have forgotten to dig a little deeper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy was a crusader against human sex trafficking is actually a customer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone at the White House blew the cover of a CIA operative.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is horrifying.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The South Carolina Governor is missing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His staff said he was hiking the Appalachian trail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bottom line is this. I've been unfaithful to my wife.

TAPPER (voiceover): Why do we keep ending up here?

TAPPER: I never truly understand it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've always been on the reporting side of things. Welcome to how we all handled it then.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got to get a therapist if they're having an interview with Jake Tapper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back-to-back premiers tonight at 9:00 on CNN.



BLACKWELL: A woman took a DNA test to learn about her family history, but she discovered a fraud that changed her life.

WALKER: A Connecticut woman found out that she had dated her half- brother. Their biological father, a fertility doctor, is now accused of using his own sperm instead of anonymous donors without the consent of multiple patients over at least a decade. CNN's Kyung Lah has more.


VICTORIA HILL, DISCOVERED FERTILITY DOCTOR WAS HER BIOLOGICAL FATHER: I mean, I'll just put it out there. I mean, I was intimate with my half-brother.


V. HILL: We didn't know, yes.

LAH (voiceover): They couldn't have known. In the early 2000s, they were two teenagers growing up in Wallingford, Connecticut, a suburb like any other where Victoria Hill met her high school boyfriend.

V. HILL: This I think was junior year.

LAH: Obviously, you're dating here.

V. HILL: Yes.

LAH (voiceover): What Victoria didn't know then --

MARALEE HILL, MOTHER OF VICTORIA HILL: My husband and I tried for a while and it wasn't working.

LAH: What was the infertility world like back then?

M. HILL: Back then everything was quiet, was kept not really secret- secret but it wasn't advertised.

LAH (voiceover): Her mother, Maralee Hill, turned to a New Haven, Connecticut fertility specialist Dr Burton Caldwell. She says Dr. Caldwell told her he would inseminate her using an anonymous medical student sperm. Hill got pregnant.

V. HILL: There's babe me.

M. HILL: I kind of erased it in my mind that they weren't my husband's biological children.

LAH (voiceover): Until recently when Victoria took a commercially available DNA test curious about her health history. To her shock, she found half siblings she never knew existed. One of them reached out revealing their biological father is Dr. Caldwell.

V. HILL: When I opened it up, it basically just kind of put out there. What you're seeing is some half-siblings because we believe that the doctor that did your mother's fertility treatment might be our biological father. And I just -- I just remember sitting there just being like -- just like what? What is happening?

LAH (voiceover): Victoria's high school boyfriend who asked his identity be concealed was also donor-conceived. His parents also used Dr. Caldwell. The boyfriend took a DNA test.

V. HILL: He texted me and it was a screenshot of the 23andMe connection and it said you were my sister. What? We're siblings? So --

LAH (voiceover): She continued to find more brothers and sisters all discovered through DNA.

LAH: All connected to Dr. Caldwell.

V. HILL: Yes. I've slept with my half-sibling. There were four of us that we know of in the same high school. Another half-sibling, we went to the same elementary school. And that's just in the 23 that I know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to go boom?

V. HILL: My children have 41 first cousins that we know of, most which are local. So, how many could there be?

LAH (voiceover): Victoria's story is a worst-case scenario in the fertility field. The FDA regulates sperm and egg donations but doesn't limit the number of donations nor the amount of offspring, vastly behind some Western countries with tighter controls. And when it comes to doctors using their own sperm without patient consent, there's currently no federal law and only 13 states with existing fertility fraud laws.

V. HILL: I consider you guys sisters, or I'll say like half-sisters.

ALYSSA DENNISTON, DISCOVERED FERTILITY DOCTOR WAS HER BIOLOGICAL FATHER: A lot. More people than I think we know struggle to conceive. And that's why all of our moms did what they did because they wanted -- they wanted babies. They would do anything.

For my kid's sake, I hope you get the tall gene.

LAH (voiceover): Victoria and two of her half-sisters say they are Caldwell's biological children all born within four years in the 1980s. It's only through commercial genetic tests that they can track their growing numbers.

V. HILL: None of us knew. And every single time it comes up, we end up having to relive what that experience was like.

LAH: So, Janine, you went and saw Dr. Caldwell.


LAH: You snapped a picture? Why did you take a picture?

PIERSON: I wanted proof but I still when I see that picture, it's this sick feeling. I felt strongly that I had to meet him to make him and the whole situation real and try to make it make sense.

LAH (voiceover): Janine Pierson filed a civil lawsuit against Caldwell last year. It's all she can do for some sense of justice.

PIERSON: We don't want this to happen to anybody else.


LAH: Dr. Caldwell stopped practicing sometime in the early 2000s, but he still lives here in Connecticut. So, we decided to stop and see if we could chat with him.

OK, so I saw Dr. Caldwell. He appears to be frail, quite elderly. I chatted briefly with his wife who did not want to talk.

MATT BLUMENTHAL, ATTORNEY FOR VICTORIA HILL: The law is frankly way behind technology in this area.

LAH (voiceover): Attorney Matt Blumenthal represents Victoria Hill, her high school boyfriend, and Hill's mother. There are dozens of reported cases like this of other fertility doctors accused of impregnating their patients. Hundreds of offspring who only recently discover the truth because of DNA testing.

BLUMENTHAL: It's been kept from them for so long. They can't do anything about it because the legal system may not provide them a remedy.

V. Hill: It's insane to me that there's just no justice, there's no recourse. The reason why I'm telling the story -- I mean, for me coping, I need to make meaning of this somehow. I am happy to be alive but I don't want to be the product of a fraud.


BLACKWELL: Kyung Lah, thank you for that reporting.

Up next, California is preparing for another round of storms. We'll tell you when and where the next, I guess, flood event is coming.



WALKER: All right, one storm down but a second bringing more heavy rain for the west as millions in California brace for another round of flooding and landslides in a region that's already saturated.

BLACKWELL: Emergency officials issued evacuation warnings on Saturday for parts of Santa Barbara County ahead of this system. Meteorologist Karen Maginnis is tracking it all for us. So, when is it coming?

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, this is the lull before the next atmospheric river will move across California. Not just California, also Washington and into Oregon. But it is really going to wreak havoc in a lot of areas. Just to give you some idea, what we typically see for San Francisco for a year is about 23 inches of rainfall. But with this next system, we could collect between two and five inches of additional rain.

So, if you're traveling anywhere around the Bay Area all the way down towards Los Angeles, and it's going to affect a wide swath of territory across California, you could encounter some dangerous conditions. Not just a rainfall which will make the roads very slick, but also some gusty winds. And in the mountains, I know a lot of people are planning on going skiing into the Sierra Nevada, we're going to see between two and five feet of snowfall in some of those regions.

While this weather system moves on shore, this atmospheric river carries deep amounts of moisture. That moisture makes its way on shore. And as a result, that's why we're seeing such a several rounds of wet weather. This goes from all the way from later on this afternoon into Tuesday, possibly lingering into Wednesday.

Yesterday's computer model suggested it had slowed down a little bit and that's why we're seeing such tremendous expectation for between two and five inches of rainfall in San Francisco, Los Angeles, but in particular for Santa Barbara. Computer models have been saying you could see a couple of inches of rainfall here as well.

Already, Sycamore and Mission areas, they're saying that evacuations already expected for that area. If you have any immediate problems, you should evacuate right away because of the onslaught of this atmospheric river.

Back to you Amara and Victor.

WALKER: All right, Karen Maginnis, thank you so much.

Still ahead, a shooting showdown in All-Star Weekend. The best in men's and women's hoops go down -- go head-to-head in the Three-Point Contest. But who came out on top?



BLACKWELL: It's an interesting change to the All-Star Weekend. The first NBA-WNBA Challenge and it delivered some drama.

WALKER: Andy Scholes joining us now from Indianapolis. Hi, Andy! So, what was the atmosphere like leading up to that moment?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Amara and Victor, it was a great atmosphere. It was all anyone could really talk about was who was going to win this first-ever battle of the sex's Three-Point Contest between Steph Curry and Sabrina Ionescu. And I tell you what, it lived up to all the hype.

The two came up with the idea after Sabrina had scored a record of 37 points winning the WNBA Three-Point Contest over the summer. And Sabrina, she would go first shooting from the NBA three-point line and she just put on a show. She completely cleared the first rack and she would go on to finish with a great score of 26, which would have been tied for the best score in the real Three-Point Contest.

But she was going up against the best shooter of all time in Steph Curry. And Steph, he would get hot late, end up winning 29-26. Both saying afterwards the competition was just a great success and I asked Steph if he was feeling the pressure after Sabrina's great round.


STEPH CURRY, GUARD, GOLDEN STATES WARRIORS: It added a lot of pressure for sure. And she just wanted to you know get off to a good start, settle in. Thankfully, you know, I made a made enough to get over the top. But that was perfect the way -- I mean, great entertainment, great shooting.

SABRINA IONESCU, GUARD, NEW YORK LIBERTY: I think it's going to show a lot of young kids out there, a lot of people who might have not believed or even watched women's sports that we're able to go out there and put on a show. And so, it was really exciting to finally be able to do this. And like Steph said, it happened perfectly.


SCHOLES: All right, now, in the dunk contest, 25-year-old Mac McClung who's playing the G-League right now trying to repeat as champion and he dazzled the crowd once again with his incredible vertical. And Mac jumping over Shaq who was wearing his high school Jersey to win the contest beating Jaylen Brown in the finals.

Mac is the fifth back-to-back champ ever. And I caught up with him on the court right afterwards.


SCHOLES: All right, Mac, how does it feel to be back-to-back Slam Dunk champion?

MAC MCCLUNG, 2023 AND 2024 SLAM DUNK CHAMPION: Man, it's incredible. I really feel like I could have done a lot better job. I had some dunks I didn't execute right, but I'm super grateful to be right here and compete against these incredible dunkers.

SCHOLES: You jumped over Shaq to win it. I mean, how nervous you got to be to jump over a human as massive as Shaq?

MCCLUNG: Man, he looked at me and said, don't miss this dunk. All right, I was like, I can't miss it now that he told me not to miss. And he had my high school Jersey on which was really cool of him to do that. SCHOLES: Yes, some people say you know, anyone could win one dunk

competition. You now have won two. Do you think that really cements yourself as one of the best dunkers of all time?

MCCLUNG: I don't know. Really I don't think that's for me to judge. I just kind of go with the flow and have fun. I do it because I love it.


SCHOLES: Yes. Mac is a little disappointed there even though, you know, he did pretty good. 50 -- perfect 50 points uh to win in that final dunk. Two-time champion, don't be disappointed, Mac.

Now, as for that normal Three-Point Contest, it was Dame time once again. Damian Lillard coming through in the clutch making his last shot to beat Trae Young in the finals. He's the first back-to-back champ we've had since Jason Kapono back in 2008.

And guys, now, for the big game tonight, going back to its roots. We're going to have the Eastern Conference versus the Western Conference. The past six years, the team captains have been drafting the teams, but all the players we talked to this week say they're thrilled to be going back to the traditional format. Here's hoping we get a competitive game.

WALKER: That was so cool. I wish Shaq participated in that Three-Point Contest.

BLACKWELL: I love that floor.

WALKER: There would be a huge gap between him and Sabrina.

BLACKWELL: Oh, I love that floor. I hope they keep that.

WALKER: It is very nice. All right, good to see you, Andy. Thanks so much.

BLACKWELL: The next hour starts now.