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New Day Saturday

Houston PD: 1 Deputy Killed, 2 Others Wounded In Ambush Attack; Study Shows Major Drop In J&J Vaccine Effectiveness By August; Chicago Police Fully Staffed As mayor, Union Chief Fight Over Policy; U.S. Capitol Police Officer Indicted In Connection To Jan. 6. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired October 16, 2021 - 08:00   ET



ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The bit of good news here is that number was 41 yesterday, so they've made big improvements on the containment numbers on a lot of those fires. Now in the eastern half of the country, we're also dealing with some strong winds but this for a different reason.

This cold front here is going to be bringing severe storms to areas of the Northeast in the Mid Atlantic. This does include New York, Philadelphia, even Albany, New York, damaging winds, Boris and Christi are going to be the biggest concern there, especially this afternoon and evening.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: We appreciate you watching all of that for us. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

Good morning and welcome to your "New Day." I'm Boris Sanchez.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christi Paul. We are so grateful to have you here.

And we're following a developing story by the way out of Texas. Police say three officers have been shot in an ambush style attack. What we're learning about how this unfolded.

SANCHEZ: Plus, more COVID booster shots are on the horizon following FDA advisors recommendations. Will tell you why one group in particular could be eligible for a booster right away.

PAUL: And the gunman in the Parkland school shooting now plans to plead guilty to murder charges in that massacre. We're joined live by one Parkland father, get his reaction.

SANCHEZ: And a bitter battle raging on in Chicago as the city's police union squares off against the mayor over vaccine mandates. We're going to be joined live by one local leader urging everyone to take a breath even as the war of words heats up.

Thank you so much for waking up with us this Saturday, October 16th, another hour Christi, another hour in the books.

PAUL: I know. And just a couple more to go for this Saturday.

Listen, we are following some developments out of Texas this morning too, right Boris?

SANCHEZ: Yes, authority you see that one deputy was killed and two others were wounded in a shooting early this morning outside Houston sports bar.

PAUL (voice-over): Yes, police officials say the constables deputies were quote, ambushed and shot from behind by a suspect with a rifle, while working a police related extra job early this morning.

CNN's Jean Casarez has the latest. Jean, do authority -- so what do we know about the suspect here?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that somebody is in custody they're not sure if it's a witness or someone of interest that they believe is associated with this. But here's what we know. This is a very critical moment right now because we are learning that one of the deputies that was shot in the back is currently in surgery right now another one shot in the foot is headed to surgery any minute. And we also know that one of the deputies has passed away.

Now this all happened that was a police related activity that they were focused on in the early morning hours of this morning. And they noted that there was a disturbance outside. And so, they went out and they tried to contain it, disperse it even detained people. All of a sudden, they were ambushed and they were shot. And that's how this all happened. I want you to listen to the constable from the Houston Police Department, Mark Herman, who spoke earlier this morning.


MARK HERMAN, CONSTABLE, HOUSTON POLICE: I just left out of the hospital here I've got one deputy that is shot in the back in surgery. We've got a deputy shot in the foot, he's fixing to go into surgery and left my third deputy who is deceased here in the hospital. Probably one of the toughest things I've done in my career.


CASAREZ: Now obviously, whoever did this, it's someone that is armed and dangerous. They believe that the person responsible is in their early 20s. And as we said there is someone that they do have in custody now. They're not sure exactly what role that person may have played even a witness is something that could help them right now. But they're asking anyone in the Houston area that has any information at all to go to the police department.

And Christi and Boris we will think good thoughts for those officers that are in surgery right now.

SANCHEZ: Yes, prayers to them and their families. Will keep you updated with the latest news. Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Jean. That shooting by the way in Houston comes just hours before President Biden is paying tribute to fallen police officers. He's scheduled to speak at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service with flags at the White House and across the country are half-staff in honor of law enforcement officers today, officers who died in the line of duty. In a proclamation, the president also praised the courage and dedication of officers who protect and serve their communities every day.

We'll keep you posted on what's happening there in Houston as well.

Listen, the FDA advisory committee recommended yesterday all adults who received the single dose Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine should get a second dose at least two months after their first shot.

SANCHEZ: Yes, the FDA still has to decide whether to grant emergency Use authorization followed by the CDC giving its recommendation on who's eligible for those doses.

PAUL: Yes, a new study by the Department of Veterans Affairs vaccine effectiveness that's giving some people cause for concern. Researchers found J&J's vaccine protection against COVID-19 drastically fell from 88 percent in March to a mere 3 percent by August. This study has yet to be peer reviewed that we want to point out.


SANCHEZ: About 15 million Americans have received the J&J vaccine, according to the CDC, and nearly 91 percent of them got their shots more than two months ago.

PAUL: CNN's Nick Watt has more on this and the CDC his new recommendation, as of course, we're all heading into the holiday season.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris Christi, those FDA advisors gave their thumbs up for a second shot of Johnson & Johnson at least a couple of months after the first. Now of course, the CDC still needs to sign off on that. Now in general, the numbers in this pandemic are going in the right direction, but still new guidance from the CDC for the upcoming holiday season furthers under news you probably didn't want to hear but apparently outdoor gatherings are still best. If you're indoors, still wear a mask but top of the list, just get vaccinated.

Now, some good news for the U.S. tourist sector, from November 8, all double vaccinated foreigners will be allowed into this country. And while the arguments continue over vaccine mandates here in the U.S. some news from Italy, from Friday, every worker is going to have what they call a green pass, which is proof of vaccination or proof of recent recovery from COVID-19. Guys, back to you.

SANCHEZ: Nick Watt, thank you so much.

Let's bring in former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, she filled that key role during the Clinton administration and most recently served in Congress representing Florida's 27th district.

Good morning, and thanks for sharing part of your weekend with us.

Let's get to the FDA advisors this week. And part of their discussion involving openly questioning whether authorizing boosters for too many people potentially giving the impression that vaccines are not protecting from the virus unless they have a booster. You've obviously been in a position where you've had to take public messaging into consideration. How should the Biden administration approach messaging on boosters?

DONNA SHALALA, FMR SECRETARY, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: Well, first of all, thanks for having me. With consistent messages, one of the problems we've had right through this pandemic, is that we've gotten mixed messages. But, you know, this is complicated because we have three different vaccines. Each of them have different properties. The J&J for example, we -- most people have known you had to have a second vaccine. And frankly, only two vaccines have ever been one dose, yellow fever, and the flu vaccine. So two doses, I think is going to be required for the J&J vaccine. So I'm not surprised by that.

Boosters, sort of finish the job. And the administration will explain very carefully, who absolutely should get boosters immediately. And eventually, I think everybody's going to get a booster shot. Because we just don't have the data on how long this lasts. We do know a little bit. So, I think we should get comfortable with the idea of boosters, Look, little kids don't get one shot when they get measles and mumps and all the other shots that we recommend. Often they have to come back three or four times for a wide variety of shots. So we shouldn't be surprised about this. We should explain it calmly and clearly.

SANCHEZ: So, I want to ask you about something that's happening in Florida because the state's health department this week find Leon County three and a half million dollars for its vaccine requirement for government employees. The county administrator standing behind that policy. I'm curious about what you make of that situation, how local leaders can keep people safe when it comes at a price of literally millions of dollars.

SHALALA: You know, this is a very sad situation. Republicans aren't used to leave it to local government officials to make decisions, state governors, who are Republicans used to stick with that. Local officials, every public official has a responsibility to protect their workers and to protect the people in their community. These local officials are making science based decisions to protect people's lives and their families, and it's really tragic.

I think it's criminally negligent define that those set of leaders in that community. All they're trying to do is to protect people's lives and to protect the people they interact with. I'm particularly upset by our Governor's position on mandating masks in schools. If a governor has any responsibility, it's to protect the future and the children are our future. And it's really on unconscionable that he would put the children in our community at risk.


SANCHEZ: I also want to ask about the FDA Commissioner, or the lack of an FDA Commissioner. CNN learned this week that the White House is vetting a former FDA Commissioner Rob Califf, to potentially lead the agency again. The White House has been struggling on this for months, not only to find someone with the qualifications, but also someone that could be confirmed by the Senate.

I've spoken to doctors and health experts who say that having an acting commissioner doesn't really impede progress on the pandemic, and I'm wondering how critical you think it is to find someone to fill that role in an official capacity without the acting title?

SHALALA: I think it's absolutely critical. I think I had everyone confirmed by March 1st, no ethics. And it's absolutely critical, particularly for the scientific agencies. I mean, you cannot leave the FDA uncovered. The acting person is competent, but you need a confirmed FDA Commissioner. The person they're looking at is quite qualified. But, you know, we're hundred deep for the kind of person that can leave the FDA, and it needs to be a priority. And obviously, there's some energy going into that appointment now.

SANCHEZ: And I very quickly want to ask you, because you served in Bill Clinton's administration, and obviously the former president was hospitalized this week with a serious infection. I'm wondering if you've heard from the Clinton family about how he's doing.

SHALALA: I have not directly for the president, himself. But my understanding is that he's improving every day and they expect him to be released soon. I don't know whether he was released last night, but they're going to keep him there because of his age and, and his pre- existing conditions, frankly, until they're absolutely sure that he can leave. But it looks like he's improving. Apparently he was in very good humor.

SANCHEZ: As to be expected. Former Secretary Donna Shalala, thank you so much for the time.

SHALALA: You're welcome.

PAUL: For the January 6 committee has some questions for people involved in the Capitol siege. And now Capitol Police officer has to answer obstruction charges that have been filed against him. That's ahead.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Plus, Manuel Oliver his son Joaquin when in the Stoneman Douglas Massacre in 2018. After the break, he's going to share his thoughts on the news that the gunman now intends to plead guilty.



PAUL: Seventeen minutes past the house right now. You know the person charged in the deadly 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida now plans to plead guilty. That is a shift there the attorney for Nikolas Cruz made that announcement yesterday during a hearing related to a fight that he had with a prison guard. Seventeen people were killed, 17 others were injured in that Valentine's Day shooting. And there are the victims.

Cruz's defense team had previously offered a guilty plea in exchange for life in prison without the possibility of parole. We should say prosecutors rejected that they are saying they were seeking the death penalty.

Manuel Oliver is with us now. He lost his 17-year-old son Joaquin Oliver, better known as Gwoc (ph) to all of his family and friends.

Mr. Oliver, first of all, I'm sorry, I know that this does not get easier by any means. I'm wondering what you've got reaction has been to this announcement that Nikolas Cruz is going to plead guilty.

MANUEL OLIVER, FATHER OF PARKLAND SHOOTING VICTIM: Well, thank you for having me here. There was a lot of confusion yesterday, waiting for what was going to be the final decision and about the pleading guilty for whatever of that happened yesterday has nothing to do in any level with what happened to our (INAUDIBLE). So, I've been in a few interviews, and they always talk about two cases like it was kind of the same thing, but is that not all.

So, pleading guilty for what happened yesterday that I get. We need to wait for next week and see what happened. This person is criminal, it's killer. It's monster. I was not allowed to call him like that. If I was in a trial, but now I can because there was a chance it was so good to be any trial. And still, we can have the death penalty.

So, for me, is good -- it's good that we can move forward and probably move things a little faster. And get this chapter out of the way.

PAUL: Do you hope to be in the courtroom on Wednesday?

OLIVER: No, I don't hope and I don't, I don't -- I won't be there. I don't think there's anything for me to add overtake by being there. We got a lot of things. We got to (INAUDIBLE) our son Joaquin and all the kids that follow what we do find, save lives.


So, to be honest, all these, it's, it's only on my way. We appreciate, myself, we need to keep on with our lives. This is part of the process, the process is not over. Some people might think that this is good, because now it's going to be a relief that it won't, won't be a relief. There is nothing that will bring our loved ones back and not any deal. Not any amount of money in any plead guilty will make us feel any better.

PAUL: What kind of conversations do you have with other parents who know exactly what you're going through? Because there are 17 of them. But other than that, I mean, there are people around the country that know as well. But your situation is very specific in that school shooting. What do you talk about? And what do all of you collectively want? Do you want the same thing?

OLIVER: That's a great question. And I got a text yesterday from Bryan. Bryan lost his daughter in (INAUDIBLE). And we were talking about what was going on and how he felt and how we feel, (INAUDIBLE) was in that conversation too, Max and it's funny that you're saying that it's more than 17 because it is way more than that. We are fathers that lost our son. But it's all different. The fact that this is apartment and the kids came out very loud at the apartment, and we made like a statement four years ago, it hasn't help since Joaquin was shot, more than 140,000 people have been shot because of gun violence. Hundreds of school shootings have had. And we have done nothing.

So, back to my initial answer, we need to get rid of this segment of the process, that it really doesn't matter. I don't care about this monster killer that that ended the life of 17 innocent beautiful people. So again, hopefully, all these delay of four years. Are you kidding me? How many cases have been solved already in these four years? To finally, we might see the end of story.

PAUL: And what do you ever think about what your son would want?

OLIVER: I always think about what my son will want. My son wants exactly what his mother Patricia (ph) and his dad Manuel does. She's fight back gun violence, prevents this from happening in all levels. This is not only about keeping the schools safe, or keeping the nightclubs safe, or the concert venues safe. This is happening right now while I'm talking to you. And it's going to take a while but I promise you that I don't see the solution. At least I will be part of that beginning point that solution.

PAUL: I have the feeling we will be seeing you again in that mission that you're on. Manuel Oliver, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us and we wish you, you and all of those parents really all this parents everywhere, everything that can heal. Thank you.

OLIVER: Thank you very much.

SANCHEZ: There is a tense war of words in the city of Chicago right now, as the city's mayor faces off against its police union over vaccine mandates. The mayor threatening to pull officers from the streets if they don't report their vaccination status. We'll talk live to one local leader urging both sides to take a deep breath and bring the rhetoric down. Stay with us.



SANCHEZ: Officials in Chicago say the city's police force is fully staffed this weekend despite a disagreement between the city's mayor and the president of the Police Officers Union. Up to half of Chicago's rank and file officers could be placed on unpaid leave over a city requirement that they disclose their vaccination status.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has accused the Police Union president of telling officers to ignore the deadline to report their status. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LORI LIGHTFOOT, MAYOR, (D) CHICAGO: What we've seen from the Fraternal Order of Police in particularly leadership is a lot of misinformation. A lot of half truths, and frankly flat out lies in order to induce an insurrection. And we're not having that.


SANCHEZ: So, last night, a judge ordered FOP President John Catanzara to stop making public statements about the city's vaccination policy. Notably, the union says its president has never engaged in supported or encouraged a work stoppage. Our next guest is calling for both sides to hit the reset button.

Joining us now is Brian Hopkins. He's a Chicago City alderman.

Brian, we're grateful to have you this morning. Thanks for joining us.

You say the city should stand by its vaccine requirement but you suggest that an incentive should be offered to get more officers to comply. Part of the reason that we have mandates across the country is because incentives haven't really been that effective. So what kind of incentives do you think might make a difference here?


BRIAN HOPKINS, CHICAGO ALDERMAN: Well, that's clearly a point of negotiation. This has taken the form of a classic labor dispute now with lawyers from the union and lawyers from the city facing off in court on Friday.

It did give us some time to return to the bargaining table, so we can talk about things like incentives. You know, to add a carrot to the stick that we have been wielding over all of our municipal employees. For three months now, this mandate was announced three months ago, so we've all had time to prepare for it.

The deadline to report your vaccination status as a city of Chicago employee was midnight, midnight last night. So we don't know quite yet. But we will probably within 24 hours, what the non-compliance rate is. The 50 percent figure that the FOP mentioned in your opening segment, I do not believe is accurate. I think it's going to be closer to somewhere around 30 percent. But that's still a significant number of police officers that so far have not for whatever reason gotten vaccinated.

So, if we can provide some type of incentive, and get that figure down to a more manageable numbers, say 15 percent, we're all going to be better off for that.

SANCHEZ: Brian, some of your colleagues are saying that they believe everyone should be vaccinated, but they also think the mayor needs to back down from the mandate in the interest of public safety. They don't think the city can afford to lose 30 or 50 percent of its officers. What's your response to that argument? HOPKINS: Well, that's a valid argument. Right now, actually, we're down probably about 10 percent from what would normally be our fully staffed levels that has nothing to do with vaccination and everything to do with the difficulty in recruiting and training police officers in what really is an anti-police environment, you know, nationwide. So, we're leaning in against that right now.

And we have a crime epidemic in Chicago. You know, we're seeing an increase in armed robberies carjackings, daytime shootouts in residential neighborhoods, and crowded downtown streets. The citizens of Chicago are tense, based on what they're seeing is this increase in crime. And in that environment, to have the leadership of the police department and the mayor of the city, engaged in this very bitter personal fight in public is really upsetting everyone. It's unconscionable to have that happen right now, and to have police officers threatening to stay home in some type of labor action.

You know, we just -- we can't have that, we can't have that at a time when we need police officers to stand up and uphold their oath to protect and serve society now more than ever.

SANCHEZ: And there's something that strikes me about the policy, it's actually more lenient than a lot of other mandates, like the one President Biden announced for federal workers, there's an option for officers to remain unvaccinated but just go through a process of testing. So, it's actually like a testing mandate, and the opt out is to just get vaccinated.

Why do you think this issue has caused so many problems if they can just get tests and avoid the vaccine if they don't want it?

HOPKINS: Well, that's a great question. In my opinion, there is absolutely no logic or rationality to the police union drawing such a hard line against getting vaccinated. The president of the police union himself has been vaccinated. His predecessor, who was a man I knew well and was a good police officer and a good family man, he tragically died on Tuesday of COVID. And he was unvaccinated. So for people to pick this fight, and to say I refuse to get vaccinated when the evidence is overwhelming, that it's the right thing to do for public safety reasons as well as personal reasons, it literally defies logic in every sense of the word.

And, and I agree with Secretary Shalala's remarks on the previous segment where she said it's inevitable that we're going to get to the point where not just vaccines, but boosters are mandatory, they're mandatory parts of life that is clearly in the future of our society. And some of us are kicking and screaming on the way there, but we'll have to get there. We literally have no choice, you know, as this virus continues to mutate and evolve, it's not going anywhere. We're all going to have to come to terms with the fact that vaccine requirements will be a part of public life for, you know, for the unforeseeable future going forward.

SANCHEZ: It's just tragic that this argument over what is so obvious that vaccines work and that they help can lead to so many issues and now potentially more crime and violence in a city that does not need it.

Alderman Brian Hopkins, thank you so much for your time.

HOPKINS: Thank you, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

PAUL: Well, U.S. Capitol Police officer is facing charges now in a case tied to January 6. The prosecutors say Michael A. Riley obstructed justice when he told a rioter to remove posts on social media showing that they were in the Capitol back day. Riley's arrest is notable among the more than 600 insurrection cases because this makes him the first police officer on duty on Capitol Hill charged with attempting to help a rioter.


CNN's Katelyn Polantz joins us live from Washington right now. Katelyn, it's good to see you this morning. Talk to us about what you know.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, we have not seen a case like this before in the more than 600 cases we have seen so far related to the Capitol riot on January 6. This is a charge against U.S Capitol Police Officer Michael Riley, a 25-year veteran of the police force who was on duty on January 6, he wasn't assigned to the Capitol building itself. But he was listening over his radio to colleagues under duress, under siege by the rioters and had been responding to a bomb threat on Capitol Hill that day.

And then the following day, he reached out allegedly, according to his indictment to another person he had been in contact with on Facebook, whom he had seen post selfies from inside the Capitol. And he wrote to that person in a direct message. I'm a police officer who agrees with your political stance. Take down the part about being in the building. They are currently investigating and everyone who was in the building is going to be charged, just looking out. That's according to the indictment.

And Riley was talking to a person who ultimately ended up just being another one of those people charged for going into the building. This man he was talking to on Facebook, Jacob Hiles was charged with a crime on January 19th. He has pleaded guilty since then, and spoke to the FBI. Riley then after this man he was in touch with was arrested, deleted his Facebook messages. That's an accusation in his indictment, and now he's facing two obstruction charges.

Now, we have seen throughout this investigation, that the there are writers that have claimed that they were being helped by police or that the police were sympathetic to them. But this case specifically shows you how seriously the Justice Department is investigating these following things on social media following what even the minor names of rioters were doing, and being willing to charge criminality.

PAUL: Wow. All right, Katelyn Polantz, thank you so much for keeping us updated there, we appreciate it. A Texas school official has sparked an uproar about what can be taught in class. Why she asked teachers to bring in books with opposing views on the Holocaust.

SANCHEZ: Plus, tomorrow night's all new episode of "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING" shows how conspiracy theories have been around for decades. Here's a quick preview.


LISA LING, CNN HOST (voice-over): Whether we're old or young, we can probably remember a time in our lives when something we thought was true, was exposed as a lie.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON, FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Peace will be necessary for our final success. We will do this because our own security is at stake.

RONALD REAGAN, FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Let me just say that I have never obstructed justice.

We did not repeat, did not trade weapons or anything else for hostages.

LING (voice-over): The erosion of trust took its toll. By the end of the 20th century study showed that over 50 percent of Americans believed in at least one conspiracy theory.


SANCHEZ: A fascinating episode of "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING." It's on tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN.



PAUL: Well, a Texas school district is apologizing this morning after an administrator set up a firestorm telling teachers to balance books about the Holocaust, with books that include opposing views.

SANCHEZ: Unreal. It happened after a training session for teachers confused over a new state law.

Correspondent Brian Todd has the details.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A dust up in Texas over the teaching of Holocaust history in schools. The superintendent of the Carroll Independent School District in northern Texas has apologized for comments made by an administrator at a recent teachers training session. School administrator Gina Peddy was taped telling teachers that if they have books about the Holocaust in their classroom libraries, they should also include books that have quote, opposing views of the Holocaust. GINA PEDDY, SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR: Make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust that you have one that has opposing, that has other --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you oppose the Holocaust?


PEDDY: Believe me, that's come up.

TODD (voice-over): The audio secretly recorded by a staff member first reported by NBC News and obtained by CNN caused an uproar on social media and concern among groups that monitor hate and extremism.

OREN SEGAL, VICE PRESIDENT, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE CENTER IN EXTREMISM: The idea that opposing views of the Holocaust would in some way sound legitimate to anybody. Is a sign of the time perhaps. It's anti-Semitism. It's Holocaust denial. And it's the thing that animates extremists. There are no two sides to this issue. There are no two sides to the Holocaust.

TODD (voice-over): In apologizing, the school district superintendent said quote, the comments made were in no way to convey that the Holocaust was anything less than a terrible event in history. We recognize there are not two sides of the Holocaust.


At the root of this incident, a law signed by Texas's Republican Governor Greg Abbott, which took effect on September 1st. The law says a teacher cannot be forced to discuss a quote, widely debated and currently controversial issue of public policy or social affairs. And if a teacher does engage in that kind of discussion, the teacher is required to quote, explore such issues from diverse and contending perspectives without giving deference to any one perspective.

A source told CNN many teachers in the Carroll School District found the law confusing, which Gina Peddy alluded to in that training session.

PEDDY: We are in the middle of a political mess, and you are in the middle of a political mess. No one knows how to navigate these waters.

TODD (voice-over): This comes at a time when some politicians are putting strange and often inaccurate spins on watershed events. In May, a Republican congressman from Georgia said this about the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

REP. ANDREW CLYDE (R-GA): You know, if you didn't know the TV footage was a video from January the six, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's all of one piece. It is all rooted in this messaging that says, your America the America of kind of white Christian 1950s America is being taken away from you. And we have to use extraordinary means whether it's limiting what's said in the classroom, or storming the Capitol to prevent that. TODD (on-camera): CNN has reached out to Gina Peddy that Texas school administrator who made those remarks about Holocaust books for any comment on this story. We've not gotten a response.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


SANCHEZ: Thanks, Brian for that report.

We have an ambitious new mission by NASA to tell you about exploring ancient asteroids. The details after a quick break. Stay with us.



SANCHEZ: An update for you on a serious accident. Four people suffering minor injuries after an Amtrak train hit a car hauler truck Friday evening. Officials say the train was traveling from Texas and collided with a truck right outside of Oklahoma City. The driver of the tractor trailer and his dog are shaken up but luckily everyone is alive. The remaining train service was canceled and customers were helped with alternative transportation. The cause of the accident is still being investigated.

This morning, the first NASA mission that will fly by eight ancient asteroids successfully launched on its ambitious journey.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lift off Atlas V takes flight. (INAUDIBLE) to uncover the fossils of our solar system.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): The Lucy spacecraft will embark on a 12-year mission to explore Jupiter's Trojan asteroids swarms, which are remnants from the early days of our solar system. So far, our only sightings of the Trojans have been artist renderings, or animations.

PAUL: You know, for a lot of us the pandemic changed our relationships. We all get a lot of resetting, as I call it, the reset deciding what's important to us. And it may have been particularly hard for those of you who are single or dating.

Well, Mandy Hale is a New York Times bestselling author who Wrote Don't Believe This Swipe. She's single and she had a revelation during COVID. Posting this on Instagram, being alone and enjoying your own company is better than being surrounded by the wrong people.


PAUL (on-camera): How did you learn to be alone?

MANDY HALE, AUTHOR, DON'T BELIEVE THE SWIPE: OK, some people are really uncomfortable with it. Leading into the pandemic was probably one of the most social times of my life. We had just come off of the holidays. And then all of a sudden, it was just silence. I ultimately ended up being so grateful that I had that opportunity to spend that amount of time with myself and to learn, OK, here's what's important to me, here's what I'm really looking for out of life. Here's what I love about myself. Here's what I need to change about myself. It really brought into focus what was really important, the relationships that were really important.

And for me, you know, I think for most people, I think that number one relationship that we tend to neglect is the one with ourselves.

PAUL (on-camera): The book, it's so smart, Don't Believe The Swipe. Well, during COVID all we had was the swipe.

HALE: Right. Yes.

PAUL (on-camera): So how did you determine what to believe in what not to believe?

HALE: I think it's really sort of brought into perspective who's really down with you and who's not like who's and who should be in your inner circle and who should not. And I think part of Don't Believe The Swipe, the book itself is all about, you know, simplifying the process of dating, breaking it down to a place where it's not scary. It's not intimidating. You don't have to be overwhelmed. You don't have to be on five dating apps talking to 12 people at once.

PAUL (on-camera): Did it change the way you date?

HALE: Oh, for sure. Simplifying, OK, here's what I want to do, I want to cultivate one or two meaningful connections at a time. Instead of being on Match, and Bumble, and Tinder and all these different sites at one time, I'm going just maybe invest in one. And then on that one, I'm going to invest in maybe one or two, three connections at a time and really cultivate those connections before I just swipe and move on to the next.

PAUL (on-camera): Do most of them want to find genuine connections?

HALE: I think that's a great question, because I think that that has shifted. I think if you had asked me this, a year and a half, two years ago, I would have said a lot of people aren't maybe looking for the right things. A lot of people are just wanting to see how many people they can match with.

Now people are really genuinely realizing, hey, life is short and it's precious. I think we're realizing, hey, I want to find something real for myself. I think the number one thing is always, you know, being honest with yourself, not just about the people in your life but about what's going on inside yourself as well.


Sitting down and writing your mission statement, OK. If I was in an elevator and I was pitching myself and I had 30 seconds to tell somebody, what am I all about? What would that look like? What would I say about myself?

I'm sure single people in general are sort of dismissed in a lot of ways and in online and in culture and in church. And, you know, there's all these different areas of life where I think single people, what are -- who are we? Why should I listen to what you're saying? Why should I take your advice, you're single, and it's like, OK, but I still have a brain, you know. So I think that just the way single people are looked at in general. I think I'm really hoping that that's evolving.


PAUL: She does have a brain. She's an incredible writer. Go ahead and check it out. It's good stuff.

Smerconish is up next for you.

SANCHEZ: Yes, don't go anywhere. We're going to be back in an hour. So, just standby.

Have a great morning.