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New Day Saturday
Nearly 55 Million People Under Winter Weather Alerts; Travel Advisories and Bans Issued Ahead Of Snow Storm; P.A. Governor Declares Disaster After Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse; Top General Warns Russian Invasion Would Be Horrific; New Jersey Under State Of Emergency As Snow Storm Slams East Coast; Stormy Daniels Finishes Testifying In Criminal Trial Of her Former Attorney Michael Avenatti; Rogue Rocket Booster Could Crash Into The Moon In The Coming Weeks. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired January 29, 2022 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: As the storm begins to slam into the northeast and states are bracing for hurricane force winds, flooding, potentially as well record-breaking snow.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Also, the NTSB is arriving at the side of the Pittsburgh bridge collapse. We have the latest on that investigation live.
SANCHEZ: Yes, and a grim warning from top U.S. military officials on tensions between Russia and Ukraine. How the White House is making a full court press to dissuade Russia from an invasion.
PAUL: And have you heard about this rogue rocket booster? It's on a crash course to the moon. We're going to talk to a space expert about what that means.
SANCHEZ: Buenos dias. We're grateful to have you this Saturday, January 29th. How are you doing Christi, staying warm?
PAUL: I am. I think, I was thinking you were going to get more snow than we did here in Atlanta.
SANCHEZ: It sounds like you did get more than us. We just got a light sprinkling, but you didn't have any issues getting in.
PAUL: No. Thankfully, I did not, other than the street racers running around. Those are the more dangerous than anything else. But yes, yes.
SANCHEZ: But that's a good point.
PAUL: I am thinking about all of these people under these winter storm alerts.
SANCHEZ: Yes, sadly, we can't say the same but our friends in the northeast and 55 million people under these winter storm alerts, a powerful bomb cyclone expected to bring heavy snow vicious wind, and potentially coastal flooding as it hits the Northeast. Let's take a look at some live pictures now. from Boston, you can see the snow coming down there, in some parts of the Northeast are expecting from a foot and a half to two feet of snow. Of course, we have reporters fanned out getting all the latest information on what's happening on the ground, and we're going to get to them in just a moment.
PAUL: We will, but you can see that snow and the wind. I was just going to say, you know, the good news is we don't see a lot of cars. And look what happens: three cars just go right through this screen. So, everybody please stay safe. There's another one; several states have issued these states of emergency. Snow crews and emergency management teams, we know are on high alert. They've been out there already. And officials are just saying please, please stay home and keep off the roads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R-MA): This is going to be a very big storm, probably one of the biggest we've experienced in the last few years. This kind of storm is nothing new for Massachusetts. But we have not had one like this for quite a while and everybody needs to take it very seriously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: And I heard it described as this could paralyze travel. Well, nearly 3400 flights have already been canceled across the U.S. and that's on top of the thousands of flights that were canceled yesterday.
SANCHEZ: Yes, let's get to CNN's Brynn Gingrass, she's live in New York standing by. But actually, let's go ahead and get to CNN Meteorologist Tyler Malden first, he's got the big picture of the forecast. Tyler, what are you seeing this morning?
TYLER MALDEN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You could see in that live picture from Boston that the snow is already accumulating. We picked up roughly three inches of snow in Boston already. In Rockland, Massachusetts, which is right in between Boston and Plymouth, four inches. Then, you go a little farther south, New Jersey, Fort River, New Jersey, already more than a foot and a half of snow.
A little birdie tells me that we'll be adding to those totals as we go through the next 24 hours. We have winter weather alerts stretching from the Carolinas all the way up into the Northeast. We're going to hone-in on the blizzard warning here. Boston is in a blizzard warning. New York, you're not in a blizzard warning, nor is Philadelphia. New York and Philadelphia, you're in a winter storm warning.
We have roughly 11 million people under this blizzard warning though, going from the coasts of Virginia, all the way up through the coast of Massachusetts on into New Hampshire and in Maine. This is for heavy snow, 40 to 70 mile per hour winds lasting for more than three hours and that is going to lead to whiteout conditions and absolutely snarled traffic out there in any travel.
You can see the snow on radar here stretching from the Northeast all the way down to the south. We have snow continuing across South Carolina, North Carolina, even parts of Georgia as well. And then this is the big area here. This is the bullseye up here across the mid- Atlantic and the Northeast guys, this is where we are going to see especially in eastern Massachusetts around Boston, we could see more than two feet of snow, you add in that wind, and it's going to be hugely impactful.
PAUL: Tyler Malden, we appreciate it. Thank you. So, let's take a look at another city. The Big Apple New York, Brynn Gingrass, is there and she was -- well there's somebody welcome behind her. But you were telling us last hour that you saw a jogger this morning. You look cold, my friend.
BRYNN GINGRASS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, within the last hour we saw another one, Christi.
PAUL: We did?
GINGRASS: Yes, these people are out about, honestly. Yes, there's actually a lot of people out. We're going to pan over. You're seeing the Central Park Conservancy plowing this area of Central Park. This is the entrance you can see someone walking we've seen a few people with their dogs. This is like the pretty time in the morning, right, when everybody's sort of waking up on a Saturday morning happy it's snowing out.
And then as my producer, Brandy Cab, said this is when everyone's happy and then sort of New Yorkers get pissed off as the day goes on because the snow isn't cleared away. And right now, it's not so bad though. As we go over here to the street, you can see that the streets are somewhat plowed. We've seen a few cars slipping and sliding. But again, conditions not as bad as certainly what is being, being expected in other parts of New York and into New England. I want you to hear from the governor about that.
GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): We think long rounds be one of the hardest hits. So, 10 to 16 inches across Long Island and it also comes down -- that happens over a course of a few days. You can handle it. It happens in a few hours, a one to two to three inches an hour, that's when it becomes very treacherous. So, we could end up with anywhere from six inches to two feet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRASS: Yes, and that's a lot of snow in a short amount of time. That is the major issue that officials are warning about right now. Again, the snow continues to fall. It's the wind really that is biting the very cold temperatures. Officials, of course, saying stay inside, let these plows get out, get to the roads before anyone travels and again causes some serious accidents. Hopefully people just enjoy the Saturday mornings and in, though, guys.
SANCHEZ: Yes, I'm not sure how those New Yorkers are going to feel in a few hours when that snow starts to turn brown, gray and just accumulates for several days. Good luck out there, Brynn, stay safe with the crew. Thanks so much.
GINGRASS: All right.
SANCHEZ: Parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island could see as much as three feet of snow with blizzard conditions. And this is a live load from Providence, Rhode Island, where the snow has been coming down. Last hour, I spoke with the Acting Director of Emergency Management for the state. He said that now is the time to hunker down and wade out the storm listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM GUTHLEN, ACTING DIRECTOR, RHODE ISLAND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: We don't want the plows out on the road or cars where you know they could create a problem interacting with each other basically. So, that's why the governor and his emergency management team came together, and he placed the travel ban as well as a tractor trailer truck ban across the state. You didn't prepare that.
You know, the time is passing out here. We already have three inches of snow on the ground, the wind is starting to pick up. So, a lot of the roads are still very snow covered and slippery. Again, it's a 24- hour storm, you know hunker down for 24 hours and sometime tomorrow, you'll be able to go back out and resume some of your normal activities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: We're of course going to continue to follow the storm all morning with our team of reporters so makes sure to stay tuned in to CNN for the very latest. This was kind of a really timely disaster. Yesterday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf issuing a disaster emergency for Allegheny County in response to the collapse of a bridge in Pittsburgh. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident and it left 10 people, fortunately, with only minor injuries. But it was during a visit to this site on Friday afternoon that President Biden pushed to quickly rebuild the bridge. It averages more than 14,000 vehicles a day in traffic.
PAUL: CNN's Athena Jones is live in Pittsburgh for us right now. Athena, how are things there? And what are you learning?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi, this is -- the sun is just beginning to come up until you can make out kind of the remains of the structure behind me. You can still see the railings. There's also a local port authority bus still wedged against the railing. But I want you to hear from a witness who lives in a house about 50 feet from where I'm standing. What the, what the collapse sounded like and felt like early yesterday morning. Take a listen. This is Howard Engelberg.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD ENGELBERG, WITNESS: You feel vibration through the house. And because I'm built on the cliff, at first, I thought maybe the house was slipping. And we were going to go down into the park ourselves, and it was until I glanced over to the left side and realized that the bridge was caving from within itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And so, he, he thought his own house was falling down the hill. And a lot of the folks around here I heard, they didn't know what to think, when they heard that loud sound. But I can tell you that the National Transportation Safety Board dispatched a team of 13 people here to begin this investigation, which is going to take a long time, it's going to be structural engineers, material engineers. As the sun gets higher in the sky and there's more light, they're going to be using a drone. That's the first order of business to get a drone to map out the incident scene.
So, they can take a record of what happened before they begin to move anything. They'll of course be looking at, you know, where the where the failure began, where the collapse began, where there were points of deterioration on the bridge where there were fractures, and investigative says will take about 12 to 18 months, at least that's our current estimate. We can tell you this though, we do know that this bridge, this particular bridge was built in 1970, and the State Department of Transportation had already given it an overall poor rating, poor condition rating -- and this is not an uncommon thing.
We're in a county with a whole lot of bridges. And if you look at this the American Society of Civil Engineers, they have said that the state of Pennsylvania the bridges in the state are on, on, on average about 15 years older than bridges in the rest of the nation. So, a lot of that infrastructure money that was passed in the bipartisan bill is going to be very welcome here to repair the bridges.
PAUL: Clearly, Athena Jones, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
Listen, still to come. Fears are intensifying over a possible Ukrainian invasion. We're going to tell you what President Biden is saying about U.S. troops movement in Eastern Europe.
SANCHEZ: And later, a rogue rocket booster apparently on a crash course with the moon, not as scary as it may sound but still a warning about space jump as we discuss with an expert. Stay with us.
PAUL: So, President Biden's attempting to keep the pressure on Russia in the crisis over Ukraine. He says he's preparing to send us troops to Eastern Europe in support of Ukraine.
SANCHEZ: Yes, but the president of Ukraine is downplaying whether an invasion by Russia is imminent. A top U.S. general says, if Russia does invade, it could result in significant casualties. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: The civilian
population will suffer immensely. They would be horrific. It would be terrible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: CNN White House Reporter Jasmine Wright with us now. Jasmine, always good to see you. What are you hearing from the White House about the deployment of U.S. troops?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christi and Boris, it is a full court press from top U.S. officials here trying to dissuade Russia from invading Ukraine. First, we heard from the President who, as you rightly said, really outlined a rough timeline of when he expects to send up to 8500 or as many as 8500 troops that were put on heightened alert this week to Eastern Europe. Here is a president really outlining that timeline in exchange with reporters yesterday when he returned to D.C. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you decided how soon you would be moving U.S. troops to Eastern Europe?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STAES: We're moving U.S. troops to Eastern Europe or the NATO countries in the near term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: So, that we heard from the President talking about that near term timeline, but also it wasn't just him, his top U.S. generals really chimed and we heard just then before the President we heard Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley talk about really the grave situation laying out a really great warning. He said that if Russia did invade Ukraine, that it would be horrific, and it would have terrible, terrible results for Ukraine that it would result in significant casualties. He was talking to reporters on Friday, and he said about the Russia buildup that it is larger than before and it feels different. So, there we heard from really all top U.S. officials in that effort try to dissuade Russia from any more aggressive behavior.
SANCHEZ: And Jasmine, that, that grave assessment that we heard from General Milley, a very different assessment than the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He doesn't believe that an invasion is imminent. What more can you tell us about that?
WRIGHT: Yes, that's right. Look, that kind of assessment has put the U.S. and Ukraine at odds and it really boiled over Boris, after that Thursday call with President Biden and Ukraine's President Zelensky, where it resulted in differing accounts from both sides. A Ukrainian official told CNN that it did not go well and that Ukraine is upset over the U.S. continued use of that word imminent when they describe a situation saying that it is potentially imminent that Russia would invade Ukraine. They said that it goes against their efforts trying to calm people
down to the country that it's an overreaction. But overall, the U.S. is responsive that first of all, they slammed down that assessment. They said the call went fine. But also, they said ultimately, Ukraine has their support. And right now, that looks like military equipment, shipping shipments, and also funding. So, yes, it seems like these two allies are really at different odds right now at a very critical, critical time. Boris and Christi.
SANCHEZ: The discrepancy over that word imminent, and just how urgent a reaction is needed. Jasmine Wright from the White House, thank you so much. So, with that dire warning from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and President Biden preparing to send U.S. forces to Eastern Europe, the crisis between Russia and Ukraine is obviously escalating. So, let's discuss with an expert: Jim Townsend, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO policy is with us this morning.
Thanks so much for being with us, Jim. Let's take a step back. Because when I speak to a lot of friends, folks that aren't quite as immersed in foreign policy, or specifically Eastern Europe, they're not clear on why Vladimir Putin is doing this. So, from your perspective, what are his aspirations? What is he trying to achieve by threatening and potentially invading Ukraine?
JIM TOWNSEND, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Well, he's got a number of things on his agenda. One is certainly particularly Ukraine, he wants to be able to call the shots in, in Kiev. He looks on Ukraine as being a part of Russia. And in his attempt to kind of rebuild the old Soviet Union in terms of those nations that are not in NATO, Ukraine is big.
And so, he wants to be able to have control on Ukraine. And then a bigger point is, he wants to try to roll back the things that the NATO allies have done since the end of the Cold War, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in terms of force posture in Europe. He wants us to go back to the way things were in the early 90s, and the Alliance isn't setting for that.
SANCHEZ: I think the, the point that is underscored there is that he essentially wants to extend his reach into Eastern Europe and re- establish some of the authoritarian regimes the authoritarian power that the Soviet Union had over what are now Democratic countries, right?
TOWNSEND: Well, he certainly bullies those nations that were once incorporated into the Soviet Union, the three Baltic nations that are part of NATO and are thriving democracies. They get intimidated and bullied by almost on a daily basis, misinformation, cyber-attacks, just to try to intimidate and to shape what those three nations think about Russia and how they might act on a regional basis. So, yes, he wants to have influence and those nations around him whether they're NATO or not.
[07:20:32] SANCHEZ: So, without capitulating to his demands, are we past the point of diplomacy? Is it too late to deter Vladimir Putin from an invasion?
TOWNSEND: Well, the, the diplomatic road is coming to an end. It now rests with Putin. We've provided written, written responses to their draft treaties that they had laid out a few weeks ago, the reception has been lukewarm in Moscow. So, really, it's up to Putin. I think he has to figure out what does he want to risk to achieve his goals?
Is it really a big full-on invasion of Ukraine and all the suffering and pain that will come from that both for Ukraine, as well as for Russia, and the cost from sanctions that follow? Or can he get some other goals that might be a little bit less in terms of the magnitude of his goals? Is there something that he can do less that that might be more on the diplomatic point? It's up to Putin, we have to wait and see what he does and says in the next few days.
SANCHEZ: Jim, is this an indication to you that American power, the power of the United States, the influence of the United States, is waning in the world?
TOWNSEND: Well, I think what it shows is in Putin's mind, as he looks at Europe, as he looks at the United States. He sees domestic problems in the U.S. that we've seen for a number of years now polarized politics. He looks at Europe, and there's been changes in European politics, Brexit, there's been a weakness and in some ways in Europe. So, I think he feels that if he wants to do something radical to rebuild that old Soviet Union, that now's the time to do it. So, it's really the perceptions that Putin has more than anything else.
SANCHEZ: And part of the reason that I asked because there were recent launches out of North Korea, Kim Jong-un continues to test a series of new weapons. And there are voices in the administration that have essentially said that the two are unrelated. But in my mind, it's hard to believe that a leader like Kim Jong-un isn't emboldened by watching the United States essentially, cede ground when it comes to Vladimir Putin and a potential invasion of Ukraine.
TOWNSEND: Well, we haven't ceded ground to Putin. And so, if the North Koreans think that's the case, they're absolutely wrong on that. But your point is essentially correct in terms of, of the North Koreans saying, number one, we are here too, not all about Russia. And also, the North Koreans wanting to take advantage of the U.S. being now focused on Europe, to do these things to cause trouble.
And the Chinese are doing that too, vis-a-vis Taiwan. So, at a time of global instability, these things can happen. And for the United States, we have to be able to chew gum and walk at the same time, we have to be able to handle what's happening in Europe, with what we're seeing in the Pacific too.
SANCHEZ: Yes, and there is plenty happening in the Pacific. Unfortunately, we don't have time for that portion of the conversation. Jim Townsend, we do appreciate your expertise this morning. Thanks for sharing part of your weekend with us. TOWNSEND: It's great to be --
PAUL: For that massive nor'easter we've been talking about is showing what it's got. There's Philadelphia, there are enormous amounts of heavy snow and intense winds along the northeast coast there that are expected. We have some live updates from Atlantic City as well. They were getting just pummeled. We'll show you what's happening now.
SANCHEZ: We are continuing to follow breaking news this morning. Right now, at least 55 million people are under winter weather alerts as a powerful and dangerous storm begins to hit the Northeast. You're looking at live pictures right now out of Boston, where it looks pretty miserable.
PAUL: Yes, that snow is going sideways. That much we can tell. We want to get straight to CNN Meteorologist Tyler Malden who has the big picture for us here but Boston is his kind of impact we're really watching today, is it not?
MALDEN: Yes, that's kind of like ground zero of sorts. And the snow is really coming down as you can see on that live image and also here on the radar as well. It's also cold here across the coastline. Atlantic City 25, New York, 19; Boston, 22; then you get inland, and we're talking about single digits.
Albany is currently at five, you factor the wind, it's making it feel much colder than it really is outside. And also, the wind is going to be problematic later on today. Once the snow starts to pile up because that's going to lead in your whiteout conditions for us. You can see in Nantucket, we currently have a sustained wind of 43 miles per hour and it gusts up to 54.
There are some of us up here along the eastern Massachusetts that could potentially see wind gusts as high as 70 as we get later on into the afternoon. Winter weather alerts continue for more than 50 million of us from the Carolinas up into Maine. About 11 million of us are under Blizzard warnings.
New York and Philadelphia, you're under a winter storm warning and you can see just how much real estate this system is taking up. It's taking up real estate from Maine all the way down into the Carolinas. We're going to see it begin to dry out from south to north. And guys, we're not going to see it end in Boston until after midnight.
PAUL: Oh, that's a long time to deal with this. Tyler Malden, thank you.
So, let's go to New Jersey now. Tyler was just telling us about 12 inches of snow there. Overnight, they're expected to get up to 18. Governor Phil Murphy has declared a state of emergency here. So, he says he's hoping for the best but is without question, "preparing for the worst".
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Let's head over to CNN's Brian Todd. He's live for us in Atlantic City. And Brian, earlier this morning, you were out on the boardwalk, things looked intense there, they look even worse where you are now.
The snow, as Christi said before, we were looking at pictures of Boston moving sideways. What is it like out there?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (on camera): Right. Boris, I can tell you it's getting more dangerous just to stand out here. You -- as you mentioned, it's pulling sideways, it is getting more intense. The snow is getting heavier.
This is about a four or 5-foot tall snowdrift. I'm going to try to kind of navigate over it here. It is not -- It was not made by plowing. It was made by just snow flying and accumulating here.
I got to the other side of it. I'm going to try to come back to the other side now just to give you an idea of the natural buildup of snow. This is blocking a driveway into a hotel -- into a hotel area here.
This is South Carolina Avenue. Visibility here as you can see, is almost nothing. And this is what we're told by city officials is especially dangerous now, in addition to the surface hazards on the -- on the road. This has just been ploughed but we are getting word from city officials that people are venturing out and getting stuck this morning.
They are imploring people, do not do that. As you can see, it's hard for me just to stand out here and walk. You know even my speech is affected when I get hit with a snow burst in at certain times.
Another update I can give you as we go down this way on South Carolina Avenue is that Route 40, one of the main arteries of the city, we're told by a city official a short time ago has been shut down due to flooding, because of, again, just high tides pushing water inland, big accumulations of snow, and heavy winds.
Again, pushing the net high view, the water from the high tides to inland. High tide was about three hours ago. But again, flooding from that high tide is affecting a main artery into and out of the city, Route 40, So, they're diverting traffic to the Atlantic City Expressway.
So, you can see here, Boris, again, visibility horrible out here. And you know that just the snow drifts, the snow bursts. You cannot see maybe more than a block away from us here.
And people, we do see the occasional person walking or driving. That is really dangerous at this point.
SANCHEZ: Yes, a really terrible idea. We can hear the wind howling as you're speaking, Brian. It's rough out there. So, best to heed the warnings and stay inside.
TODD: I lost IFB.
SANCHEZ: We appreciate you being out there for us, Brian.
SANCHEZ: We hope you and the crew are able to stay safe.
There is some bizarre testimony in the fraud case of disgraced Attorney Michael Avenatti. Nothing was off-limits when it came to his cross-examination of his former client, Stormy Daniels. What he learned, next.
SANCHEZ: Disgraced Attorney Michael Avenatti finished cross-examining his former client Stormy Daniels in a Manhattan Federal Court on Friday.
PAUL: Yes, the exchange was contentious at times.
PAUL: (voice-over): -- as you can imagine, while discussing her relationship with former President Trump. CNN's Kara Scannell has the more -- has more details on the federal fraud trial.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER (on camera): Good morning.
Four hours of cross-examination on Friday and Michael Avenatti picked up where he left off.
SCANNELL (voice-over): Avenatti focus first on Stormy Daniels' beliefs that she experienced poltergeist phenomena. Her claims that she saw shadowy figures, heard sounds and had a vision of a woman crying in her kitchen.
Daniels didn't deny any of it. called spooky babes. Through questioning She said they made a whole show about it, Avenatti tried to suggest Daniels was lying on the stand because she lied in 2018, when she denied having an affair with former President Donald Trump in exchange for hush money payment.
Daniels said the statement she signed in 2018 was written by Trump's then-attorney, Michael Cohen, who himself made an appearance at the trial on Friday. She also called it complete B.S.
Avenatti sought to show the jury that he was entitled to money from Daniels. He went through bank statements, showing he paid her $26,000 at one point and paid $100,000 right before her "60 Minutes" interview to buy two videos, including one from a man called Bubba the Love Sponge. The jury was not told what was on the videos.
Daniels' testimony wrapped just around 2:00 p.m. on Friday. Avenatti ended by saying, Miss Daniels, thank you. SCANNELL (on camera): Prosecutors say they expect to rest their case on Monday. Avenatti is going to take the weekend to decide whether he will testify. He told the judge he is leaning in favor of it. Boris, Christi.
PAUL: Michael Avenatti, by the way, is charged with one count of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and he's facing a maximum of 22 years in prison if he's convicted.
Well, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson, with us now.
First of all, I want to get your take Joey on his grilling of Daniels. And are you surprised that the judge asks the judge here, judge from an actually ruled that, that kind of questioning of paranormal belief speaks to her credibility, and how effective might it be for a jury?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST (on camera): Yes. Christi, good morning to you. And so, what happens when you are interviewing a witness which is called cross-examination is you're really speaking to issues relating to their credibilities, and, you know, believability, can we trust you, in the final analysis, is what jurists have to decide when you're evaluating things.
So, to your question as to whether the judge could have or should have allowed otherwise permitted cross-examination in that area? Yes, the judge has wide discretion with regard to what the judge allows.
So, anything going through credibility is something that the jury can evaluate, assess, and determine whether it factors into what they ultimately conclude.
So, if you believe in the dead, you can question about that. If you believe dolls speak to you, you can question about that. If you believe your house is haunted, you can question about that.
The overall issue though, while that's very entertaining, of course, and may establish that she has different beliefs than other people might, it really doesn't go to the heart of the matter, what is the heart of the matter?
That doesn't explain whether or not there were payments from her, you know, literary agent that was sent to you, and that you did not send to your client, the timeline would reflect that the payments were given to you. Right? In installments -- in four installments. And they ultimately did not make their way in a timely fashion to your client, all the while with your clients asking where the money is, and you're saying it doesn't exist.
It also doesn't explain an actual signature that is on that document indicating you could send it to an account that is not the signature of your client. So, again, and I'll sum here, while back questioning is very entertaining, very enjoyable, I'm sure the jury bought a lot of it in and said, wow, this is all nice, doesn't explain why you took the money and did not give it to your client when you should have.
And that's what the jury is evaluating with respect to, you know, as the wire fraud and the identity theft cases. And unless you explain that, there's trouble.
PAUL: Let's talk about Avenatti himself. I mean, it's bold, that he's representing himself, certainly. One, do you think he will testify? And two, what kind of image does he give the jury? Is it an image of confidence that hey, I'm innocent of all of this, and I'm going to tell you why, or is there the risk of some ego driving here?
JACKSON: Hey, yes, I would think, Christi, would be the latter. The bottom line is that, you know, that this -- the saying, of course, that a lawyer who represents himself is a fool for a client, you're entitled to represent yourself, then you certainly can do it, the judge permitted him to do it here, and he's doing so. And I'm sure as the skilled lawyer he is he's very effective.
At the end of the day, though, you need a dispassionate advocate who can fend for your interest, and you're so in the weeds of your own personal matter, that it may not be the wisest choice for you to do so. So, but he opted to do so, and that says, right.
However, at the end of the day, is it an effective move? And does the jury evaluate that in a way that, you know, that may not fend for his interest? And so, that's one matter.
The second matter, Christi, is, you know, ultimately, what does the jury believe as to what you did? Whether you representing yourself or not, whether you're questioning effectively or not. If he testifies to your second question, how was he going to explain getting those payments and holding them for months? How is he going to explain the actual signature that was on the document?
You can talk all day about? I paid my client money, I gave her X amount of 1000s of dollars, I covered expenses. That's not how it works. How it works is you get an agreement, you pay your client money, and if you don't go in the parameters of that agreement, you have some explaining to do.
So, we'll see what he explains if and when he testifies, I think he will.
PAUL: You do think he will. All right, Joe Jackson, we always appreciate your insight and your perspective. My friend, thank you so much.
JACKSON: Appreciate you more. Thanks, Christi.
PAUL: Thanks, Joey.
By the way, you can join CNN's Sara Sidner this Sunday night, as in tomorrow night.
She rides along to find out why driving while black in America can be deadly serious. CNN's new special report, "TRAFFIC STOP" begins tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
PAUL: We'll be right back.
PAUL: So, listen, there's something floating around in space for the almost -- for almost seven years at this point. It is what space experts say is a rogue SpaceX rocket booster.
And they're saying now it's on target to slam into the dark side of the Moon. Of course, the dark side.
SANCHEZ: Yes, according to NASA, this could happen by early March. So, let's discuss with an expert. Janet Ivey, the president of Explore Mars, Inc. is with us this morning to break it all down.
Known for her models and snazzy backgrounds. Janet, thanks for being with us.
NASA says that they're monitoring this situation. How soon do you think we'll have a clearer picture that the data that's needed to get a clearer picture of the actual track where it's headed and the timing?
JANET IVEY, PRESIDENT OF EXPLORE MARS, INC.: Well, we really owe a debt of gratitude to a gentleman named Bill Gray. He is with a company called Pluto Project. He helps professional and amateur astronomers monitor near-Earth objects.
IVEY: Funny enough Boris and Christi, nobody was really monitoring this. So, thank goodness Bill has been.
But what we know, it's too close to the sun right now. Around February 7th or 8th, we're going to be able to get a glimpse of this thing. It's about 49-feet long, it's 4,000 tons.
When it does impact the moon, it's going to be going about 5,600 miles per hour. So, we'll get a glimpse of it around February 7 or 8th, according to Bill's calculations, and he's a pretty great astronomer, it should impact the backside -- the far side of the moon, on March 4th.
He's got it down to the time, 7:26 Eastern. Give or take a few kilometers or a few minutes.
What we hope is -- now, we hope that it will land near the equator, that's where the trajectory looks like at this point. But remember, on the backside of the moon, China has a lander and a rover. So, it's the probability is low that the SpaceX second rocket booster will, you know, kind of second stage booster will impact that.
But, again, things to look out for. It's not the first time we've crashed landed anything into the moon. In fact, Russia did it in 1962, just a couple of years after Sputnik 1. They have crashed landed something near the South Pole and discovered water ice.
But this is sort of the first time when something that hasn't been planned to crash into the moon is doing so. So, very interesting. And we'll keep watching.
PAUL: Well, and why is it as I -- as I've heard, why is it safer for the booster to slam into the moon versus staying in orbit? Is it because hey, the moon is the moon, but you know, God forbid it hits the ISS or something up there?
IVEY: You're exactly right. Here is the thing is the reason that it's sort of in this derelict chaotic orbit is that when they were depositing this Deep Space Climate Observatory, it needed the power of that second stage booster to get it into L 1 in its position.
By that time, that rocket booster was out of fuel. And then, it didn't have enough energy to escape that kind of Earth-Moon gravity. And so, at this point, it's much safer to let it crash land into the moon and try to have this chaotic 49-foot, 4-ton object, try to reenter the atmosphere.
Normally, we can't -- there doesn't have enough fuel. We don't have any controls over that. And so, to protect Earth, and its potential to maybe not completely burn up or explode in the atmosphere, it is much safer.
And there are scientists like the doctor and physicist at the Smithsonian. He's saying you know what, this gives us a great opportunity to learn more about that regolith on the far side of the moon that the Chinese have said it's some that regolith is stickier.
So, we might discover something, but it does bring up some policy. There is actually an independent set of researchers saying, wait a minute, we need to write kind of a manifesto, the declaration of the Moon's rights, which basically you're citing that it's like it should be unaltered, unharmed and unpolluted by human beings.
Whoops, we missed that by a galactic mile. So, it's time to think about -- it's time to think about. I mean, right now, it hasn't been a problem. But think about it. The next 10, 20, 30 years, we're on the moon there are astronauts' research stations. We're heading on out to Mars, there are at least 30 to 50 other objects out there that could be impactful in one way or the other.
So, it's time to start cataloging these things creating policy that controls them, and keeping an eye on them.
SANCHEZ: Yes, there's been a lot of talk about potentially an international treaty to deal with all that space junk. That likely a conversation for another day.
Janet Ivey, always appreciate the time. And again, the snazzy background. Thank you so much.
IVEY: Always a snazzy background. Keep looking up, everybody. Thanks for having me.
SANCHEZ: Of course.
PAUL: Thank you, Janet. So good to have you here.
So, there is a new women's Australian Open champion. Carolyn Manno breaks everything down for us.
PAUL: So, for the first time in more than four decades, the Australian Open Tennis title is stand down under.
SANCHEZ: Yes, just a few hours ago, Australia's own Ash Barty won the first Grand Slam of the year. Carolyn Manno is with us now.
And Carolyn, she was just dominant.
CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): She really was.
You know, Ash Barty has spent the last two weeks with the weight of Australia on her shoulders. And so, to be the undisputed favorite in a home major and win the trophy without dropping a set is just really a testament to her work ethic. Her ability to deliver on the biggest of stages. It does not get bigger than this.
MANNO (voice-over): I mean, the most dominant women's player in the world able to get out of a little bit of trouble in the second set against the 27th seeded American, Danielle Collins who leaves her first Grand Slam final, by the way, ranked in the top 10.
Barty's athleticism was simply too much. She had full command of her nerves in a tie breaks to win it all and start the Barty party, pretend this craze Aussies around the world.
She called the moment a dream come true. Barty has three major wins on three different surfaces now. So, U.S. Open when would complete the Career Grand Slam, just remarkable, especially, when you consider the fact that she put her entire career on pause back in 2014 for an extended period. Eventually making her way back to tennis and the pinnacle of the sport.
And we're set up for a men's final, featuring Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev now. A few months ago, Nadal contemplating retirement, now, he finds himself on the precipice of a record-setting 21st men's singles title.
So, it's been a great weekend in Australia so far.
MANNO (on camera): You guys -- and I expect more from Rafa. Seems very aware of how finite these opportunities are. So, he's not taking anything for granted.
PAUL: All, righty, good to know.
Carolyn, good to see you. Thank you.