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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Calls for More Help during Historic U.S. Trip; Benjamin Netanyahu Informs Israeli President He Has Formed Government; Uncertain Future for Migrants with Title 42 in Limbo; Former FTX CEO Due in Court Today. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired December 22, 2022 - 10:00   ET




VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Your support is crucial, not just to stand in such fight but to get to the turning point to win on the


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ukrainian President Zelenskyy will get the Patriot missiles he wanted after his

historic visit to Washington.

Moscow's response was swift and predictably late. We will have details ahead and some live reports.

Also, Benjamin Netanyahu beats the deadline to form a new government in Israel. Returning to power, his coalition is described as the most right

wing in Israel's history. We will bring you live to Jerusalem.

And former crypto boss, Sam Bankman-Fried due in a New York court any moment after being extradited from the Bahamas. We will go live to the

courthouse in Manhattan.


KINKADE: Hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade at the CNN Center. Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. Good to have you.

With no surrender, a global message for a U.S. audience from Ukraine's wartime leader. Volodymyr Zelenskyy offering his gratitude to the American

people during an impassioned speech to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.

He also made a plea for more help fighting Russia, saying his battle is also America's and everyone's to hold back the tyranny.


ZELENSKYY: Our two nations are allies in this battle. And next year, will be a turning point, I know it, the point when Ukrainian courage and

American resolve must guarantee the future of our common freedom, the freedom of people who stand for their values.


KINKADE: At an emotional peak of his speech in the House chamber, Mr. Zelenskyy handed Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris a

Ukrainian flag retrieved from the battlefront of Bakhmut the day before.

President Zelenskyy, we are also learning that he also met with Poland's president. He stopped at Poland on his way back to Ukraine from the United


His visit to Washington was his first known trip outside of his homeland since being invaded by Russia back in February. CNN's Jeremy Diamond brings

us a closer look.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A historic visit to the United States, Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy,

meeting face to face with President Joe Biden for the first time since Russia's invasion of Ukraine nearly one year ago.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Three hundred days you've been going through this. (INAUDIBLE) a brutal assault on Ukraine's right to

exist as a nation.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Zelenskyy expressing gratitude to the Biden administration and the American people.

ZELENSKYY: All I bring, all my appreciation, from my heart, from the heart of Ukrainians.

BIDEN: The American people are with you every step of the way. And we will stay with you.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Biden making good on that promise hours later, announcing a fresh package of military aid.

BIDEN: A $1.85 billion package of security assistance. It includes both direct transfers of equipment that Ukraine needs.

DIAMOND (voice-over): That equipment includes the highly sought-after Patriot air missile defense system.

ZELENSKYY (through translator): What is going to happen after Patriots are installed?

After that, we will send another signal to President Biden that we would like to get more Patriots.

DIAMOND (voice-over): President Zelenskyy's meeting ending with a primetime address before a joint meeting in Congress -- it received a

rousing welcome and delivered a show of gratitude to the American people.

ZELENSKYY: I hope my words of respect and gratitude resonate in each American heart.

DIAMOND (voice-over): In his upbeat speech, Zelenskyy trying to shore up public support in the U.S. and back home in Ukraine.

ZELENSKYY: Ukraine did not fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking. Ukraine holds its lines and will never surrender.

DIAMOND (voice-over): A big promise in times of celebration for many around the world.


ZELENSKYY: We will celebrate Christmas. We celebrate Christmas and, even if there is no electricity, the light of our faith, in ourselves, will be

not put out.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Despite his optimism, Zelenskyy argued that Ukraine must continue to defeat Russia on the battlefield in order for the war to


ZELENSKYY: Your support is crucial, not just to stand in such fight but to get to the turning point to win on the battlefield.

DIAMOND (voice-over): And he argued that defeating the Russian invasion is a worthy investment.

ZELENSKYY: Your money is not charity. It is an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.


KINKADE: Jeremy Diamond joins us now live from outside of the White House.

Clare Sebastian is standing by for us in London.

Thanks for being with us.

I will start with you first, Jeremy. The Ukrainian president speaking in English, not his first language, but making a very compelling case for

continued support of his country.

How are lawmakers responding today to that speech?

DIAMOND: Yes, it was a very intentional effort by the Ukrainian president to address the American public and lawmakers in English. You heard that

although his English was halting at times, he was clearly reading from his script, it was powerful.

It was an emotional moment for the Ukrainian president to talk, not only about the conditions in Ukraine but what it means for the United States to

continue supporting Ukraine throughout this war.

Zelenskyy was delivering this message at this key inflection point not only in Ukraine, where you are seeing Russia battering Ukraine's energy

infrastructure, crippling it ahead of a very tough winter, but also here in the United States, there is going to be a change in the political dynamic.

Republicans coming into the majority in the House. Some of those Republicans, including the potentially incoming House Speaker, Kevin

McCarthy, have cast doubt on the future of U.S. aid to Ukraine, saying there will be no more blank checks.

So it was very evident that Zelenskyy's speech was intended to try and shore up public support by addressing not only the lawmakers and Americans

directly, capturing the hearts and minds.

A senior White House official this morning said they believe that Zelenskyy made a very effective case to those lawmakers, to the American public and

they certainly hope it will help in the funding battles ahead with Republicans to continue to aid Ukraine.

A lot of lawmakers have said they felt Zelenskyy's speech was very powerful. Whether or not that will sway Republican lawmakers on the far

right who have opposed aid to Ukraine altogether is one question.

But clearly in terms of those Republican lawmakers who have questioned the need for as much aid or who have said that there would be more strings

attached, you might think that Zelenskyy's words may have had an effect on them.

KINKADE: No doubt all of Ukraine hoping that is indeed the case thank you. Jeremy.

I want to go to Clare Sebastian in London for some reaction from Russia.

We did hear from Zelenskyy saying Ukraine is alive and kicking. In response we have heard from various Russians, including the Russian ambassador to

the U.S., who sounded like Russia was the victim from their perspective.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is something that we see fairly often in Russia's view in their responses to the war, this narrative

flipping, presenting themselves as the victim, blaming others for the suffering inflicted on Ukraine.

Today it really was very similar. Russia, defiant, unrepentant, unsurprisingly. The Kremlin spokesperson speaking today, saying that the

U.S. and Ukraine are not listening to Russia's concerns when it comes to this conflict, accusing Ukraine of barbaric shelling in the Donbas, saying

the West is ignoring this.

And with the provision of weapons, the U.S. is now de facto fighting against Russia. That is a line we have seen gain traction in the last few

months as Ukraine's counteroffensive has really borne fruit.

This is what he said directly in response to the Patriot missile battery by the U.S. to Ukraine.

He said, "This does not contribute to a speedy settlement of the situation. On the contrary, this leads to the fact that, unfortunately, the suffering

of the Ukrainian people will continue longer than it could have."

So shifting the blame onto the West and the U.S. for the suffering -- which is, as we know, inflicted by Russia.

Was it counter programming?

We don't know. Certainly there were optics at play in Russia on Wednesday. President Putin addressing a roomful of his defense top brass, touting the

fact that they are now planning, he said, extensive expansion of the military.

More personnel, faster provision of new weapons, including hypersonic missiles. He talked about improving the readiness of the nuclear arsenal.

All of that painting a picture of a conflict.


SEBASTIAN: Where both sides are now doing everything they can to retool their forces. This is not something that smacks of any kind of peace talks

or end in sight.

KINKADE: Clare Sebastian for you, in London.

Jeremy Diamond, outside of the White House.

Thank you very much.

We are going to stay on the story. I want to talk a little bit about how this latest package of military aid for Ukraine may change things on the


Joining me now is retired U.S. General James "Spider" Marks.

Good to have you with us.

GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Thank you very much. Appreciate. It

KINKADE: We did hear Zelenskyy making the point that the money coming from U.S. and the West is not charity. This is an investment in democracy. That

is how he painted it.

With that, some of that investment, which includes this $1.85 billion, the latest security assistance package from the U.S., can you take us through

what that includes?

MARKS: Absolutely. First of all, his speech was rather Churchillian, very inspirational, great imagery, the poetry of imagination. He laid out how

Ukraine is really conducting a fight that affects the globe.

So if you will allow me those comments I thought he did just a spectacular job. A lot of pundits will tell you what he didn't say. I would love to

focus in on what he did say.

What he's clearly asking for is additional help from the United States. He knows that this war, his combat and the world's resolve as a result of that

are in the balance. Our Congress is changing out. There is a narrative that our Congress may not be as supportive as it has been.

Still, we have the same president going forward. But that is going to be a tougher nut to crack in terms of budget requirements that he, Zelenskyy

says, will be necessary in order to continue to fight.

Where he is right now is in a defensive posture, with real tactical gains - - those gains in direct combat with the Russians -- which have been phenomenal. But in order for him to take the fight to the Russians, to push

the Russians out, which is what he has stated is his objective, he's going to need tanks.

He's going to need F-16 fighters. He's going to need long-range fighters. And the combination of those three, long-range fighters, maneuver warfare

and then support from the air, that synchronization is critical.

He is getting none of those from the United States. What he is getting is point defense, air defense capability in the form of the Patriots, which is

wonderful. But he needs far more of those than the battery that he is getting right now.

So there is a lot of green on that pool table, as they say, between the success he is having now at the tactical level and the operational or

strategic success that he wants to achieve against Russia (ph).

KINKADE: Of course, this $1.85 billion package is in addition to the almost $20 billion in U.S. aid given for the purposes of security

assistance. In terms of the Patriot missiles that will be sent, as part of this new package, training is needed for the troops on the ground in

Ukraine who will be using these systems.

Explain for us what sort of impact that will make on the ground and how long before they will be operational?

MARKS: Great question. In order to be completely trained on a Patriot, you need to be in the training process for many, many months, six-plus months.

Looking at how the United States trains its Patriot operators, it's well beyond six months.

Using that as a figure -- I have to assume, I don't know this -- there probably already has been some training going on, either in Germany or in

Poland, to train up a certain cadre (ph) so they can get familiar with the Patriots. They can accelerate the training down to the soldiers necessary

to operate that battery.

Those 6-8 launchers which will be in Ukraine. So there is a long tail that is necessary. But if it has been going on already, we may be able to see

Patriots operational within the first quarter of 2023. That is a guess on my part. Because if it's a cold start from today, we will not see the

things in operation until the summer.

KINKADE: Wow, yes, that is quite a long timeframe. In terms of the war, as it stands right now, this war is headed toward its second year, headed, in

the coming weeks, for a very long, dark winter.

In recent weeks Ukraine has managed to hold ground but hasn't managed to gain ground.

How do you see this war playing out in the coming weeks and months?

MARKS: Yes, that is the point. I hate to use the term stalemate but what we are seeing is great creativity at the tactical level.


MARKS: That means unit on unit combat by the Ukrainians. Everytime the Russians engage with the Ukrainians, the Russians lose. They know that. So

the Ukrainians are having some success at the tactical level.

But this right now is what we are seeing, is probably a picture, what I think is the picture of what the desired end state should be in Ukraine.

Irrespective of what President Zelenskyy has said, I am certain he's also getting counsel that says, Mr. President, how much longer can we afford to

lose so many citizens?

So much of our infrastructure?

Our economy is completely collapsed. We have to be able to be in a position that says we need to move forward with some type of cease-fire, a brokered

cease-fire by a third party, that allows us to allow the temperature to come down; normalization of where the Russians are now in Ukraine -- they

have been there since 2014.

And the world didn't care. Over the course of the last eight years, the world did not care. Now we care.

So how much can Zelenskyy afford to keep pushing and pushing when, right now, the only support he's getting from NATO, which is quite considerable,

it's phenomenal, is to achieve this end state of a stalemate right now, a frozen conflict. That is what we are seeing and that is probably what we

are going to see going forward as an end state.

KINKADE: All right, we will leave it there. Retired Major General Spider Marks, always great to have your perspective. Thank you for joining us. We

wish you a merry Christmas.

MARKS: You as well. Merry Christmas. Thank you.

KINKADE: Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, a hard turn to the right. That is the direction Israel could be taking now that Benjamin Netanyahu

has announced his cabinet picks.

Why some of choices are raising eyebrows.

And cities along the U.S. southern border brace for a deluge of migrants as a Trump era policy to expel them remains in limbo. We will look at how

officials in Texas are preparing.




KINKADE: Welcome back.

Benjamin Netanyahu has announced he has managed to form a coalition government. The prime minister's designate ministerial choices could take

Israel further to the Right. Some of his picks for top ministerial posts were once considered extreme nationalists, on the fringe of Israeli

politics. One has been convicted of tax offenses.

Netanyahu barely beat the deadline to inform the president that he was able to establish a government. CNN's Hadas Gold joins us now from Jerusalem.

Certainly, that did come down to the wire. About the last 10 minutes before the deadline. Netanyahu presented this government really the most far-right

government yet, right?


HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies did much better than the polls were showing him to

do on the November elections, especially for those far-right nationalist parties, that once could barely get a handful of seats in the Israeli


Doing much better than expected on November 1st. Despite that great showing, it still took Netanyahu essentially up into the wire. He had a

midnight deadline last night to inform the Israeli president he had managed to form this government.

Something within the last hour, a few minutes before midnight is when we were notified that he actually made the call and informed the Israeli

president he managed to form the government.

As we have been seeing how these ministerial positions are being handed off, it is causing some alarm among Israel's allies, who are now bracing

themselves for what the next few months could bring. Here is why.


GOLD (voice-over): The new Israeli government setting off alarm bells around the world. Even allies warily eyeing Benjamin Netanyahu's new

ministers, who will make up the most right-wing government in Israeli history.

A stark change from the last coalition now made up of all men and all orthodox except for Netanyahu himself. Most recognizable is Itamar Ben-

Gvir, once convicted of anti-Arab racism and supporting a Jewish terrorist group; now national security minister in charged of Israeli police.

Eager to allow Jews to pray at Jerusalem's holy site where only Muslims are now allowed to worship, a place that has sparked intifadas and even wars.

Former Israeli ambassador to the United States Danny Ayalon warning Washington will be on high alert.

DANNY AYALON, FORMER ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: If they will perform what is conceived warning them as the provocations, for instance, change of

status in Temple Mount or unchecked enlargement of new settlements, this could be a very, very big problem for Netanyahu and for the government.

GOLD (voice-over): Then there's Bezalel Smotrich, another far right settler lawyer turned politician has been named minister of finance and has

also been given power to appoint the head of the Israeli body which controls border crossings and permits for Palestinians.

Smotrich supports abolishing the Palestinian Authority and annexing the West Bank.

Israel's staunchest ally, the United States, perhaps hoping the rhetoric won't match the actions.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: We will gauge the government by the policies it pursues rather than individual personalities.

GOLD (voice-over): Other appointments causing uproar include a gay rights opponent, who has vowed to ban pride parades, to a position in the

education ministry and proposed changes to the law of return, further restricting who was considered Jewish enough to be permitted to emigrate to


Netanyahu, for his part, has repeatedly claimed that the buck will stop with him.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, INCOMING ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I've had such partners in the past and they didn't change an iota of my policies. I

decide the policy with my party.

GOLD (voice-over): But as the government has taken shape, his critics, like this cartoonist, say he's creating a monster he won't be able to



GOLD: Before this government can take power, they actually need to pass three separate bills that would even allow some of these ministers to

either have their purveyors (ph) even serve as ministers.

In fact one of them, Aryeh Deri, right now there is a question of whether he could even serve as a minister because he has been previously convicted

of tax offenses. There is now an effort on the way to get a bill passed that would allow him to serve.

All of those bills are expected to pass the Israeli parliament because Netanyahu and his allies have a pretty comfortable majority. They're

expected to be sworn in. And Benjamin Netanyahu will become prime minister, once again, sometime within the next 1.5 weeks. Lynda.

KINKADE: All right, Hadas Gold, we will check in with you around the time. Thank you very much.

Now to the humanitarian crisis unfolding at America's southern border. Migrants are braving cold weather and uncertainty, lining up for hours at

the U.S.-Mexico border. They are hoping to get asylum as they wait for a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on the Trump era policy.

Meanwhile, border cities are scrambling to deal with the influx. In El Paso, Texas, the National Guard put up barbed wire fencing to deter

migrants. The city is also setting up cots in a convention center preparing for a major surge when the Title 42 is ultimately lifted.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is on the border town of El Paso. Ed joins us now.

Good to have you with us. Texas National Guard erecting more fences, trying to deter migrants.

Is anyone getting in right now?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That was a razor wire fence that was authorized by the governor of Texas.


LAVANDERA: He's a Republican who's been a staunch critic of the Biden administration for, in his words, not doing enough to secure the border.

Quite frankly, there has been a great deal of criticism about that razor wire fence.

It only extends maybe a kilometer or so along the border there. Essentially what migrants have done is moved a little bit further down to stand along

the border wall and turn themselves into border authorities here in the El Paso area.

We see that continuing today. Last week, in that surge that came here ahead of the possible end of Title 42 public health policy, there were about

2,500 migrants crossing per day in the El Paso area. The number is down to between 1,500 and 1,700. It is fluctuating. But it has scaled back a little


But right now, the humanitarian teams and relief efforts are underway, preparation is underway in El Paso for the possibility for the ending of

the Title 42 policy. The expectation is that there could be anywhere between 9,000 to 14,000 migrants crossing the U.S. southern border, per


That is the prediction by the Biden administration. And that is what humanitarian groups and migrant advocacy organizations are bracing for.

Here in El Paso, they have been opening up space, shelter space, to be able to house these migrants as they come through here. To be clear, the

migrants who would be staying in this El Paso area for a brief amount of time, they would've been processed by Border Patrol agents and given

authorization to remain in the United States while their immigration process moves through the court system.

But that is a lengthy process here in this country, right now, for the thousands of migrants. But there is a great deal of concern for what this

would look like if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the rule can be lifted. That is what they are bracing for.

All of the officials here, Lynda, say these efforts -- these humanitarian efforts can be done for the short term. But it is not sustainable.

KINKADE: No, it certainly isn't. Ed Lavandera for us in El Paso, Texas. Thank you very much.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD, a president unafraid of the fight. We will look at how Volodymyr Zelenskyy's courage has inspired a nation.

Plus, disgraced crypto boss Sam Bankman-Fried is set to face a judge in U.S. federal court today. We are live in New York for more.




KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade at the CNN Center.


KINKADE: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. We are turning, once again, to our top story. Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has been making

his way back to Ukraine after his visit to Washington.

Video just emerging from Poland a short time ago, where he met with the Polish president. Just hours before that, he was receiving a hero's welcome

from the U.S. Congress.

President Zelenskyy telling U.S. lawmakers that military aid to Ukraine is not charity but an investment in democracy. His speech coming on the heels

of an announcement from the United States of a further $1.8 billion security aid, including their sophisticated Patriot missile defense system.

Mr. Zelenskyy's visit lasted just hours but was a dramatic show of unity and his first trip outside of Ukraine since the war began. President

Zelenskyy's visit to the U.S. is helping to cement his image as a defender of democracy in the face of Russian aggression.

It is a role he has embraced since his swift evolution from comedian to wartime leader. To get some perspective now from CNN's Will Ripley in Kyiv.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): I remain in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine, my children are in Ukraine.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From that moment on February 24th, Volodymyr Zelenskyy became the symbol of

Ukrainian resistance, even as Russian forces poured into Ukraine.

Amid speculation he would be evacuated, Zelenskyy said he didn't need a ride; he needed ammunition. A week into the conflict, in his bunker in

Kyiv, Zelenskyy told CNN it was about much more than Ukraine.

ZELENSKYY (through translator): It's very important for people in the United States to understand, that despite the fact that the war is taking

place in Ukraine, it's essentially for values in life with democracy for freedom.

RIPLEY (voice-over): A message he has repeated in dozens of video appearances at the U.N., NATO, the U.S. Congress and countless parliaments

around the world. From the early days of the war, Zelenskyy told his visitors, Ukraine cannot fight Russia alone. It needs money and, above all,


Whenever one type of weapon arrives from Western supporters, he asks for another; a 100 percent air shield for Ukraine, he says, will be one of the

most successful steps against Russian aggression.

His resolve and that of Ukrainians was hardened by atrocities committed by Russian forces, especially north of Kyiv in March. Even as the city of

Lysychansk was about to fall this summer, he went there to award soldiers medals.

Slowly, the tide of the conflict turned, thanks to advanced U.S. and NATO weapons and some brilliant generalship. Last month, Zelenskyy went to the

only regional capital the Russians had taken, Kherson, hours after its liberation.

ZELENSKYY: People waited for the Ukrainian army, for our soldiers, for all of us.

And so what can I say?

When they're ready, great job.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Zelenskyy's spontaneous and relaxed presence among Ukrainians, in sharp contrast to Vladimir Putin's staged and grim-faced


After his election in 2019, Zelenskyy is, in some ways, the ideal leader to rally his country in wartime. A former comedian with a gift for finding the

right words. Also, youthful stamina and resolution to resist when the odds and casualties have been so great.

Zelenskyy has a well honed popular touch. He has welcomed Hollywood to his office, posed for selfies with wounded soldiers, met children under fire.

But Zelenskyy is keenly aware: nothing is won yet. He and his generals expect a new Russian offensive early next year. At real personal risk, he

continues visiting the front lines.

ZELENSKYY (through translator): First of all, I would like us to thank those who are not with us with a moment of silence. Let us honor all heroes

who died.

RIPLEY (voice-over): That was Tuesday, in Bakhmut, where soldiers signed a flag, thanking the United States for its weapons.

Within hours, Zelenskyy was carrying that flag across the Atlantic for a whirlwind Washington tour, presenting a war heroes medal to President Biden

and securing billions of dollars in aid and weapons; meeting with members of Congress, who gave him a more than two-minute standing ovation.

ZELENSKYY: Your money is not charity. It is an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Zelenskyy's powerful primetime address, compared to Winston Churchill in World War II. Back home in Ukraine, this war is far

from over.


RIPLEY (voice-over): More than 300 days on, many fear it may be just beginning.

RIPLEY: As triumphant as this moment is for Ukraine's president, he comes back home to the reality that most people here didn't get to see it,

because they don't have electricity. Many of them don't have heat or running water.

Also, the speech was in the middle of the night here. But when the sun rises, people will undoubtedly be proud of their president but also living

with the reality of life under constant bombardment -- Will Ripley, CNN, Kyiv.



KINKADE: Let's get you up to speed on some other stories on our radar right now.

The U.S. congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection have begun releasing some of the evidence it compiled over the last 17

months. So far, 30 transcripts of witness interviews have been released, including several Trump confidants, who refused to answer any questions,

even when asked how old they are.

More transcripts and evidence are expected to be released today.

The U.N. Security Council quoted on Myanmar to release all of its political prisoners, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. It is the first

resolution on Myanmar since its independence.

A military junta seized power in 2021. Russia, China and India abstained from the vote.

A hospital in Sao Paulo says Pele's condition has gotten worse. The Brazilian football legend is being treated for colon cancer. He's also

dealing with kidney and heart issues. Pele's family plans to spend Christmas with him in hospital.

Still to come, after the break, Sam Bankman-Fried has been extradited from the Bahamas and is headed to court in the U.S. today. We will go live to

New York for more.

Plus, a huge winter storm moving to the U.S. It will not lead to a white Christmas, everywhere but in many states it will be bitterly cold.




KINKADE: Welcome back.

In the coming hour, Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and former CEO of the now bankrupt crypto currency company FTX, is expected to appear in a New York

federal court. Bankman-Fried is back in the U.S. after being extradited from the Bahamas.

He was arrested last week on fraud and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors say he stole billions of dollars from investors. Court records show two of his

close associates have pled guilty to multiple charges.

CNN reporter Kara Scannell is following the story and joins us now from New York.

Good to have you with us. He is now back in the U.S., expected to face a court in Manhattan at any moment. But already two of his former top

lieutenants have turned on him.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Lynda. Those two top lieutenants, Garry Wang, the cofounder of FTX.


SCANNELL: And Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, the hedge fund intertwined in this alleged fraud.

They have both not only pleaded guilty but signed cooperation deals with federal prosecutors. That means they will be providing them all the

information that they need in order to build this case against Bankman- Fried.

Their announcement of their cooperation and guilty plea occurred while Bankman-Fried was in the air, flying back from the Bahamas after he waived

any contest to his extradition. He landed in the U.S., in New York, last night.

He is already inside the courtroom behind me. Hopefully a short while from now, he will appear in that court. Right now, he is doing some of what is

known as pretrial services within the U.S. He will be asked questions about his finances.

All of that is important for the judge when Bankman-Fried eventually appears before him sometime in the next few hours. Lynda.

KINKADE: Hoping for some sort of bail deal so he won't have to sit in jail until the trial, right?

SCANNELL: That is right. Sources tell me that lawyers for Bankman-Fried and the federal prosecutors have been in negotiations over the past days

about striking some sort of bail arrangement.

In this case it would likely be that someone would have to put up a substantial amount of money to secure his future appearances in court.

Under this deal that they are trying to negotiate, it would allow Bankman- Fried to be released on bail.

That is not that uncommon in these financial cases. A lot of people compare him to Bernie Madoff, the Ponzi scheme artist. He also was released on

bail. All of that will come up before the judge.

Even if the prosecutors and Bankman-Fried's attorneys reach some sort of arrangement, the judge will be the one which ultimately decides to sign off

on it.

KINKADE: Kara Scannell, good to get that update from you. We will check in with you again when we see him in court. Thanks so much.

U.S. weather forecasters call it a once in a generation type of event. It's underway during one of the busiest times to travel. The storm is hitting

the Midwest with heavy snow. In some areas, it's expected to become what is known as a bomb cyclone. That will happen Thursday evening into Friday.

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Montana shot this video snowfall on Wednesday.

Places that will escape the snow will not escape the cold. Almost every state will be impacted with wind chill alerts as far south as the Texas-

Mexico border. Thousands of flights have already been canceled or delayed as people try to make their way home for the holiday.

Finally, Christmas is upon us. Before Santa hands out gifts, he is getting ready for some fun. Decked out in his red scuba gear, Santa swam with the

fish and sharks at the Rio de Janeiro aquarium on Wednesday.

He explored the giant tank, home to about 2,000 fish, and said seeing the sparkle in the children's eyes is like Christmas magic.

He plans to make the dive each day until Christmas Eve, when he will trade the air tank for a giant sleigh.

Lucky for him all of those elves are hard at work right now, getting the gifts ready.

"WORLD SPORT" with Andy Scholes is up next and I will be back in about 15 minutes for another hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. Don't go anywhere.