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New Day Saturday

Call Records Show Trump And Jordan Spoke On Morning Of January 6th; RNC Censures Cheney, Kinzinger For Investigating Capitol Riot; GA Prosecutor Facing Threats, Racist Attacks Over Trump Probe; CDC Recommends FDA-Approved Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine For Adults; U.S. Marks 900K COVID Deaths As Cases, Hospitalizations Decline; Uyghur Activist: International Olympic Committee Makes It "Impossible" To Watch Games Without "Engaging In Complicity" With China's Abuses. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 05, 2022 - 07:00   ET



ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Get through the weekend first. Even as far south as Texas, you've still got freeze warnings in effect and these areas also tend to even 20 degrees below normal. We have the potential for some record low temperatures in these areas tonight. Again, also dealing with incredibly low temperatures but those areas, Boris and Christi, like Dallas, for example, could get to 70 by next week.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Look forward to that. Allison Chinchar from the weather center. Happy National Weather Persons Day.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We appreciate you.

CHINCHAR: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Buenos Dias. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

PAUL: And I'm Christi Paul. Former Vice President Pence strikes back saying former President Trump is wrong in claiming that he could have overturned the last election. Also, we're learning new details about who Donald Trump was speaking to and the hours just before the capital attack.

SANCHEZ: And the United States marking another somber milestone of the pandemic, but there is some promising news in the fight against Coronavirus. The hopeful signs we're seeing across the country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three to one -- yes! Go! Move! Move! Move!


PAUL: Going on the offensive, the intense act of threat training. Some congregations are going through in the wake of attacks of places of worship. SANCHEZ: Plus, the end of an era. NASA planning to retire the International Space Station in less than 10 years. It's going to come crashing down to earth. Will tell you, tell you where and what this means for the future of space and space exploration.

We're so grateful that you're waking up with us this February 5th. Good morning. Good morning to you, Christi.

PAUL: Good morning, Boris. Let's talk about what's happening this morning particularly with former Vice President Mike Pence caught a lot of people off guard, let's say. They weren't sure what to expect from him. But he called out his former boss by name saying that "President Trump is wrong" in claiming that he, meaning the vice president, could have overturned the 2020 elections.

SANCHEZ: Yes, now Pence has previously defended his actions on January 6th, but Trump has recently ramped up his push of the big lie, even suggesting he might pardon those who took part in the January 6th insurrection if he's reelected. Yesterday's remarks are Pence's most forceful pushback on Trump yet, listen to this.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I heard this week, that President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election. President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people and the American people alone. And frankly, there is no idea more on American in the notion than any one person could choose the American president. Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election.


SANCHEZ: So, meantime, the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection now has records that provide new details about a phone call that former President Trump made two Republican Congressman Jim Jordan.

PAUL: and the committee is drilling down on the many ways Donald Trump and his allies, including those in Congress tried to overturn the election results. Here's CNN's Ryan Nobles.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Christi, this is new information. We knew that Jim Jordan had some level of communication with former President Donald Trump on January 6th, but we still don't know how many times he talked to him, but we now know for sure that there was at least one phone call that was initiated by President Trump on the morning of January six. That was taken a note whereas it is of the White House and lasted for 10 minutes.

Now, basically, every time Jordan's been asked about his communications with Donald Trump, he's given a different answer. At one point he said he couldn't remember, he thought maybe you talked to him in the morning, maybe after the attack, maybe during the attack. He then told the House Rules Committee in October that he believed he only talked to him once and that was after the attack.

Well, the chairman of the Rules Committee, Jim McGovern saw our report, saw what Jim Jordan said in response to our report and said that that directly contradicted his testimony to the Rules Committee back in October. In fact, when we asked Jim Jordan about our new reporting on Friday, he had yet another answer to when he spoke about when he spoke to the former president. This is what he told us on Friday.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): As I said, I had a number of calls with -- I talked to the President couple times that day, but I don't know the times. So, I remember the times --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, do you not -- you don't remember if it was the morning? If there's one in the morning before --

JORDAN: I don't recall, but I know I talked to him after we left off the floor, but I don't know if he called.

NOBLES: And that was Jordan talking to our Annie Grayer glare, and that was the first time he's revealed to anyone that he had a conversation with the former President as he was leaving the house floor on January 6th. So, this is of great interest to the committee.

They want to know exactly what Jordan was talking to Trump about, in part because Jordan was one of the leaders of the effort to object to the election results and deny the certification of the election results on January 6th. The committee believes that played a big role in leading to the violence in chaos on January 6.


Now, they've asked Jordan to appear in front of their committee voluntarily. So far, he's turned down that request the committee now wrestling with whether or not they have the ability and can enforce subpoenas to force their fellow members of Congress to appear before them. Boris and Christi.

PAUL: Ryan, thank you so much. Listen, yesterday, we also need to point out the Republican National Committee voted to censure representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. The two Republicans members, of course that are on bad January 6th committee.

SANCHEZ: Yes, remember, the attack on the Capitol led to more than 700 arrests, but in that resolution at censures Cheney and Kinzinger, the RNC called the attack on the Capitol legitimate political discourse. Let's take you now to Capitol Hill and CNN's Daniella Diaz. Daniella, really historic this moment but also a startling response from the RNC.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Startling indeed, Boris and this marks this unprecedented move, by the RNC marks the first time a National Party has rebuked an incumbent congressional Republican, much less to and with its formal censure of these two members. Of course, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, for their role in investigating the January 6th insurrection on that House Select Committee. You know, they're the only two Republicans that sit on the committee,

they were appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And it's all because they continue to speak out against that big lie that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, that Republicans continue to push and whitewash the events surrounding the January 6th insurrection.

And as you referenced that language in the censure, so did Cheney in a tweet, she said with a video of the of the events of what took place on January 6th. She said this was January 6th, this is not "legitimate political discourse." And she tweeted this shortly after the censure took place in during the RNC meeting in Salt Lake City.

And she obviously is referencing that language in this censure that calls it the January 6th insurrection, political, legitimate, legitimate political discourse, where of course, you know, more than 700 people were arrested, people died as a result of the insurrection. So, certainly, continuing -- Republicans continuing to whitewash those events.

But there were some moderate Republicans that defended Cheney and Kinzinger, namely, of course, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, he tweeted, of course: "Shame falls on a party that would censure persons of conscience, who seek truth in the face of vitriol. Honor attaches to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for seeking truth, even when doing so comes at a great personal cost."

Look, Boris and Christi, this is really complicated for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, some conservatives in the House Republican Conference, namely of course Adam House Freedom Caucus want to primary Liz Cheney, want to endorse a primary challenger to Liz Cheney.

Now remember, Adam Kinzinger is not running for re-election, and this really puts House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in a sticky situation as Republican leaders are not -- normally don't wait into primary challengers for especially if there's an incumbent running. But of course, most of the Republican Party continues to be against Liz Cheney for her speaking out against them white washing the events of January 6th, Boris and Christi.

SANCHEZ: Very indicative just 10 years ago, Mitt Romney was the candidate for president from the Republican Party and now he's shamed by the actions of those within his own party, Daniella Diaz from Capitol Hill. Thank you so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Daniella. Now, Atlanta area District Attorney looking into former President Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia is laying out now this timeline for her investigation. A grand jury we understand is expected to begin its work now at the start of May.

SANCHEZ: A Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the panel could see a lot of activity in June and July. CNN's Jessica Schneider reports.


out, really giving extensive comments about what's to come in this criminal probe of Trump and his allies. She also talked about the racist attacks that she's received and the fact that they've ramped up in recent weeks, especially after Trump lashed out against her and the two other investigators in New York, all of whom were black at a rally last weekend. So, here's what that D.A. Fani Willis, she told the Atlanta Journal Constitution about what she has endured really over the past year.

FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: You know, I get called in very regularly is really silly to me that they believe that by trolling those kinds of insults that is going to impact the way that we do our investigation is not going to impact me to do something faster. It's not going to impact me in treating the former President or anyone else unfairly, and it's not going to make me stop what I have a lawful duty to do.


SCHNEIDER: And the D.A. also disclosed here that she's begun the conversation with the FBI about that letter that she sent them earlier this week, where she asked them to do a risk assessment of the government buildings in Atlanta where their special grand jury will be doing its work starting in early May. She's also asked the FBI for federal protection.

And in addition, she's laying out a more specific timeline for the special grand jury, they will start at the beginning of May, they'll consist of 16 to 23 people exclusively focused on this criminal probe whether Trump or his allies committed election fraud, or illegally interfered with the election. They'll have one year to issue subpoenas for people who have so far been unwilling to talk that could happen fairly quickly.

They'll also be able to compel the disclosure of documents, but the DEA saying that there could be legal challenges along the way that could stall this process. Either way, this probe expected to ramp up this summer. Ultimately, the special grand jury will issue a report at the end of their service with any recommendations after that is when a regular grand jury would issue any of these potentially against Trump or his allies. Boris and Christi.


SANCHEZ: Jessica, thanks so much. The U.S. marking 900,000 COVID deaths yesterday despite that, there are finally signs of progress the trends we're seeing across the country that show states are heading in the right direction.

PAUL: Also, the Winter Games are going on in Beijing right now, lingering just under the surface though of all of that fanfare and the events. China's record on human rights, we'll tell you what's happening that's coming up when NEW DAY continues. Stay close.


SANCHEZ: A shooting at a Hookah Lounge near Virginia Tech's main campus have left several people injured. Police responded to a report of shots fired at the melody Hookah Lounge in Blacksburg just before midnight. It prompted a lockdown for several hours at the university which has a history of shootings and is sensitive, understandably, to this sort of thing.

Virginia Tech's campus, fortunately, has now been deemed secure. It's still unclear exactly how many people were injured and the extent of their injuries or whether anyone was arrested. The Blacksburg Police Department urges anyone with information to contact them immediately as they continue their investigation.

So, there are promising signs this morning in the fight against the Omicron variant. COVID-19 cases here in the United States are trending down in all but one state, and hospitalizations have also dropped 16 percent in the last week according to HHS data. This comes as the CDC backed Moderna's two-dose vaccine for adults named Spike Vax.

PAUL: Now, there is still some concern for the unvaccinated who are at much higher risk of dying from the virus. Right now, the country is averaging more than 2400 COVID deaths each day. CNNs Polo Sandoval has more.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A somber marker of the pandemics impact on Friday as the U.S. surpassed 900,000 deaths from COVID 19. But still, there are signs of progress as nearly every state in the country now seeing decreases in key COVID-19 metrics. New COVID cases in the U.S. now averaging about 350,000 a day, a nearly 39 percent Decrease in last week. COVID deaths however, remain high with us averaging 2400 a day. That's a six percent increase over last week.

DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: Every single death of these 900,000 is so tragic. And I also think about the fact that so many hundreds of thousands of deaths occurred after vaccines became widely available.

SANDOVAL: The push to vaccinate Americans also continues, health officials hoping full FDA approval and CDC recommendation of the Moderna vaccine could help motivate the roughly 20 percent of eligible unvaccinated Americans to finally get their shots. CDC director Rochelle Walensky signed off on a Friday vote from her agency's vaccine advisory panel recommending the FDA approved Moderna COVID vaccine for adults after the FDA granted the vaccine full approval on Monday. Prior to Friday's vote, the vaccine was only recommended by the CDC on an interim basis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still have a sense of wonder on what's been accomplished here. That, and a deep sense of gratitude. You know, we now have two vaccines against COVID-19 that are fully licensed in the U.S. SANDOVAL: The CDC also released fresh data on a COVID surveillance approach first announced in 2020, one that relies on wastewater to help identify high COVID infection and communities. It's called the National wastewater surveillance system and includes 400 sampling sites in 19. States with more to come. Researchers say the new data flags possible future COVID surges to get resources into place and to warn hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rates of Coronavirus in the wastewater goes up before the cases start coming to attention in the hospital, hospital or in the clinics outside really interesting. And the reverse is true to those levels start going down even before the case level start going down in the local area. So, it's a really great indicator of what's going to happen and the truth is cases are going to continue to decline.

SANDOVAL: But nearly two years later, a new analysis paints a clearer picture of the human toll of the pandemic. More than 200,000 residents and staff at long term care facilities died from COVID-19 Since March 2020. That's nearly a quarter of COVID deaths in the US. Despite the global progress on the vaccination front, more than 100 countries are projected to fall short of the World Health Organization's goals set in December. to vaccinate at least 70 percent of their population the United States is among the high-income countries on the list as are many central European nations. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.



PAUL: Polo, thank you. Professor of Medicine and Surgery at George Washington University, and CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. Jonathan Reiner with us here. Doctor, thank you so much for being here. We always appreciate your insight. I want to show something. It was quick, but I want to show it again, because it's something we have not seen in a really long time.

All of that green across the country with the exception, obviously, of Tennessee there, I wanted to ask you, do, do you believe that we are now on the edge of an endemic versus a pandemic? And how does that change daily life for us, in your opinion?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi. I, I think we're still far from calling this an endemic. So, the definition of endemic is when there are relatively moderate levels of disease in a population that have reached an equilibrium. So, we're right now dropping rapidly, we've had all these spikes, and we've, we've yet to see whether there'll be another surge after this one.

So, I think it's too premature to call this the beginning of sort of the endemic stage of this virus. But I will say that the map looks terrific. And it's going to continue to recede across the United States, in a wave. Places like D.C. where I live in New York City have seen dramatic drops. New York City right now is seeing about just about a 10th of the number of cases that they saw a month ago, same, same here in D.C. So, the toll has been horrible and will continue to be horrible for

several weeks as deaths lag cases. Yesterday, there are about 4000 -- excuse me, as deaths lag hospitalizations. Yesterday, there were about 4000 new deaths in the United States. So, we're going to continue to see that horrible death toll continue to rise for another week or two and then it too will start to drop.

PAUL: OK, so, I want to ask you about something you actually retweeted a fellow doc, who says he's not going to get the vaccine for his young children. Jeremy Faust, he wrote, "I've organized large portions of my life around avoiding my 3-year-old getting COVID. But I'll not be giving her two doses of anything that doesn't work. If they show me three doses works, she'll get three.

Until then, she gets zero doses of something ineffective." That's the word that stood out to me, ineffective. Is, are there questions in in the medical community about the science behind this particular, or these particular vaccines that are targeted to young children?

REINER: Well, the problem is that in December, Pfizer released initial immunogenicity data, that's the data that shows how much antibodies you produce after you're given a vaccine. And although the kids in the six-month to 2-year-old group had a really good response in terms of antibody production. The kids in the 2 to 5-year-old range did not.

So, both the little kids and 2 to 5-year-olds got the same dose, three micrograms of RNA, that's a 10th of the dose of adults. And when you think about the two populations, a 6th month old, you know, infant might be 18 pounds, and a, you know, 4.5-year-old might be 55 pounds. And Pfizer got the dose wrong for the 2 to 5-year-old group, which is why they added a third dose.

When the FDA reviews this data, they're not going to have data for the third dose. Now, it's possible that Omicron has somehow given Pfizer more data because of the number of cases and perhaps they have clinical data that suggests that even with reduced immunogenicity, there's still good protection in the 2 to 5-year-old group. And if that's the case, yes, absolutely, then I will enthusiastically endorse this vaccine, and I'm sure Jeremy Faust will as well.

The problem now is that we've told the public we will not release a vaccine that isn't safe and effective. And the FDA needs to evaluate data that shows that this vaccine is not just safe. But is, is effective. Only about 25 percent of parents have vaccinated their, their children between the ages of five and 11. There is an enormous amount of vaccine hesitancy.

So, if we're going to reach out to them and convince them to do what I want them to do, which is to give their kids shots, we need to make sure that the vaccine is effective. I'm hopeful, I'm hopeful that Pfizer has unreleased data that will point us in that direction. But the promise that we're going to start giving kids shots and then we'll see what the third dose shows is not going to be good enough.

PAUL: OK, that's Jonathan Reiner, your expertise is so important right now. Thank you for taking time for us. [07:25:04]

REINER: My pleasure.

PAUL: Of course.

SANCHEZ: The Winter Olympics is officially underway but looming large over the games is China's record on human rights, specifically its treatment of religious minorities. An important conversation, still ahead on NEW DAY.


SANCHEZ: The Winter Olympics began yesterday in Beijing, under the shadow of an alleged genocide. China's egregious human rights abuses include allegations of forced labor, detention, and the torture of Uyghur Muslims and other minority groups. Here with us to discuss and shine a light on the situation is Rushan Abbas, she's the Founder and Executive Director of the Campaign for Uyghurs. Rushan, we're very grateful to have you this morning to get your perspective on this. Help our viewers understand what you and your family and other Uyghurs have faced in China.


RUSHAN ABBAS, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CAMPAIGN FOR UYGHURS: Thank you for giving me this opportunity. The Uighurs currently facing genocide because of our ethnic background. And my own sister, Dr. Gulshan Abbas, 59 years old retired medical doctor, was taken by the Chinese government.

When I speak out against the government's genocidal primes in my homeland and outlining faith of my in laws. My husband's entire family is missing 24 people.

Since then, we have not heard anything about my sister, or my husband did not hear anything about his family. It has been more than 42 months now. Myself, my brothers and her two daughters are suffering with our daily torment.

So, what's happening to Uyghur right now, if you ask the Chinese government is holding more than 3 million Uyghurs in concentration camps, and also, glorifying the modern day slavery, sending millions of Uyghurs to the forced labor facilities.

For Uighur women, even if they just wear a headscarf and just the like long tonic shirts, which covers behind, and for men having a facial hair like beards, or not drinking alcohol, they're all viewed as illegal and Islamic extremism. And these can be the reasons to take them -- and take them to the concentration camps.

SANCHEZ: Rushan, I want to share with our viewers something you wrote in an op-ed this week. You wrote, "We have no confidence in the IOC -- the International Olympic Committee, and neither should its athletes, sponsors, or you. To do nothing is to have blood on our hands. The future will never forgive us. We are all responsible for what happens next."

So, what can the average person do to make a difference in this situation with so many powerful players at stake? How do we help Uighurs?

ABBAS: Well, the International Olympic Committee is once again complicit with genocide, just like what they did in the 1936. While the Uyghur women are facing forced marriage, mass rape, and the sexual torture, and the forced abortions, force sterilizations, you don't see a lot of people being vocal. That's what frustrates me.

I ask everyone to do the right thing and do not watch the Beijing Olympic Games. And to be vocal, speak about China's crimes against humanity. Be the voice for those millions of voiceless people, share the Uyghur stories in your social media.

You know, I asked where are the celebrities in Hollywood, NBA, and the NFL who are normally so vocal against any sort of social injustice. When the perpetrator is Chinese government, and that they have a money and the power, are they going to choose the money over humanity, and to be continued to be silent?

Please break your silence and use your freedom in this country. Do not allow China to wage war against the freedom and against democracy, while controlling everyone in the world by the blood money they are making from the Uyghur slaves.

SANCHEZ: Rushan Abbas, it is a very powerful message and we appreciate you speaking up and sharing your story with us. Thank you so much for the time.

ABBAS: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

Don't go anywhere. CNN NEW DAY is back with more after a quick break.



SANCHEZ: Remember, when a gunman took members of a Texas synagogue hostage last month, they were able to escape because of training that they received.

Synagogues around the country are undergoing active shooter and active threat drills now.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Yes, CNN national correspondent Gary Tuchman gives us this inside look now at how one congregation is preparing for an event that they hope never happens.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What you're about to see inside this Dallas synagogue is not a real threat. But it sure looks like it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one. Yes, go, move, move, move.

TUCHMAN: Scores of people running, the social hall plunging into darkness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have 30 seconds to save your life, move.

TUCHMAN: What are these innocent victims of an approaching gunman in the hallway about to do? What do they need to do? Just a bit earlier, in the sanctuary of Congregation Shearith Israel, these members of Dallas's Jewish community were told you can't freeze.

STUART FRISCH, REGIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR, SECURE COMMUNITY NETWORK: If you can get out, get out. If you can't get out, locked down. Hard locked down.

If you can't get out and you can't lock down, you've got to fight for your life. You have literally no other choice.

TUCHMAN: This is active shooter and active threat training for the Jewish community here. The trainers are from the military, the FBI, the police, all part of the Secure Community Network or SCN, a nonprofit group that calls itself the official safety and security organization for the Jewish community in North America.

MICHAEL MASTERS, NATIONAL DIRECTOR, SECURE COMMUNITY NETWORK: The act of hiding, prone, and playing dead is the last act of a desperate person. It's not something that we can abide by.

TUCHMAN: The SCN has a command center in Chicago, where it monitors Jewish facilities such as synagogues, schools, and camps.


TUCHMAN: It was here where they were in contact with the FBI and DHS during the recent hostage situation in nearby Colleyville, Texas.

That synagogue had its SCN training this past August.

MASTERS: I had the opportunity to meet with Jeff Cohen a little bit earlier today who was one of the hostages, and he really emphasized what he said on television was that they escaped, they weren't rescued. And they were escaped because of the training they received. Exactly the type of training that we're going to go through this evening.

TUCHMAN: The classroom instruction is now over, time to get ready for the drill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to practice hiding, locking down, and we're going to -- we're going to talk about what we would do if we had to fight for our life.

TUCHMAN: Pile up furniture against the door, turn off the lights, make it harder for the shooter to kill. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The purpose is to lock the room down, to prevent physical access, as well as line of sight access.

TUCHMAN: And now, once again, what they learn to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gunshots are coming down this hallway, people are starting to panic. In five, four, three, two, one, go! Go! Move! Move! Move!

TUCHMAN: The lights purposely turned off by one of the congregants to foil the terrorist's vision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have 30 seconds to save your live. Move! Move!

TUCHMAN: When the drill ends, furniture is up against the door. The participants did it by the book.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you guys did fantastic? You guys did fantastic.

TUCHMAN: And the security expert added this. Be creative with how to defend yourself, like hitting a terrorist on the head with a fire extinguisher or spraying it in their eyes.

FRISCH: You're going to pull, aim, squeeze. OK? Pull, aim, squeeze, side to side. What they can't see, they can't kill. OK? That's why my favorite improvised weapon next to a fire extinguisher is a cup of hot coffee.

One of the best weapons of all.

TUCHMAN (on camera): What happened in Colleyville, exactly 27 miles west of here, of course, is very frightening. Everyone we've talked to who came here tonight feels much more prepared if something like that ever happens to them in the future.

BARBARA STEIN, TRAINING PARTICIPANT: I knew nothing coming in. And the fact that they said turn off the light, barricade, run, hide, you know the gave in -- yes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Number of things that was so crucial to saving your life.

STEIN: That's right.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The rabbi of the synagogue also took part in the training.

RABBI ARI SUNSHINE, TEMPLE SHEARITH ISRAEL: I think that we'll all walk out of this evening better -- in a better position to deal with any crisis that might come our way.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Dallas.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PAUL: Still ahead, sky high prices, soaring deductibles, you've probably seen it yourself. A lot of people getting hit hard with this health care costs lately. Health care companies are seeing record profits, meanwhile. We'll tell you what we've learned. Stay close.



PAUL: Well, major health insurance companies are raking in record profits right now. People are paying skyrocketing premiums even higher deductibles for really the most basic coverage. You probably recognize this if you're one of those people.

SANCHEZ: Yes. So, you have to wonder what are those companies doing with all that extra cash? We asked CNNs Gabe Cohen to follow the money.

GABE COHEN: CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Inflation and pandemic hardships weigh on the wallets of Americans, health care costs keep climbing.


JESSICA JONES, FAMILY'S HEALTH CARE COSTS RISING: It doesn't cover 100 percent until we meet $12,000 out of pocket first.

COHEN: For Jessica Jones and her family, that's devastating with her son battling a chronic heart disease.

JONES: Making choices, are we going to pay this medical bill or are we going to keep the lights on? My husband and I have conversations about divorcing so we can get Medicaid for our son.

COHEN: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the price of an employer sponsored family policy is up 47 percent since 2011, outpacing wages and inflation, meaning premiums and deductibles now eat up more of the average family's income -- 11.6 percent as of 2020.

A December poll found 46 percent of insured adults struggled to afford out of pocket costs and 29 percent have not taken medicine as prescribed because it's too expensive.

ERIN BRADSHAW, CHIEF, MISSION DELIVERY, PATIENT ADVOCATE FOUNDATION: They have health insurance, but they still can't afford to get the healthcare that they need.

COHEN: Yet health insurance companies making record profits.

For UnitedHealth, the largest insurer in the U.S., net earnings had surged since 2015, reaching $17.7 billion last year as their business has rapidly expanded into other healthcare sectors.

WENDELL POTTER, PRESIDENT, BUSINESS LEADERS FOR HEALTHCARE TRANSFORMATION: Not bringing down the cost of care, not giving people relief from premiums and out of pockets, but enriching their shareholders and their top executives.

COHEN: The Affordable Care Act includes a rule that insurance companies must spend at least 80 percent of money made from premiums on healthcare cost and improvements. The other 20 percent can go to administration, marketing, and profits.

Last year, UnitedHealth returned more than $5 billion in dividends to shareholders, and other companies have done the same.

MATTHEW BORSCH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BMO CAPITAL MARKETS: But if you want to talk about the drivers and why deductibles are up, health insurance company profits, they're a piece of it but pretty small piece of it.

COHEN: It's part of a bigger debate about healthcare spending, which has soared in recent years.


COHEN: Prices set by providers like hospitals, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies are going up, even as fewer Americans have accessed medical services during the pandemic.

Administrative costs alone make up more than a quarter of U.S. healthcare spending.

BORSCH: The for-profit companies are taking on an ever-greater role within the U.S. healthcare system.

COHEN: It's a complex issue, but for Jessica Jones, it's simple.

JONES: If the cost goes up, we could lose everything, at this point.


PAUL: Gave Cohen -- well, Gave, thank you very much. And we -- we'll be following up family hopefully that will be OK.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Still ahead, NASA prepares a future crash landing for the International Space Station. We'll tell you where it's expected to land and ask a former commander of the ISS what it means for the future of space exploration.

Stay with us.



PAUL: Well, the International Space Station is retiring in 2031. NASA says it plans to bring the Space Lab back to Earth by crashing it into a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. It's called point MIMO. So, what can we expect to learn from it before this mission ends? Well, Commander Chris Hadfield is with us. Retired astronaut, former commander of the International Space Station. So good to have you back with us. Thank you so much. I should point out he's --



PAUL: Of course, he's also the author of the Apollo Murders. Commander, thank you so much.

Listen, the ISS, when we talk about 2031, and it crashing into the Pacific, some people go wait a minute, what is that going to look like? And how, how reliable is it?

And I say that because we know that there's a history of some uncontrolled reentries here. Skylab, for instance, the first U.S. Space Station, reentered Earth's atmosphere back in 1979. And parts of it hit Australia, if I -- if I remember correctly.

So, talk to me about your confidence in this going, right.

HADFIELD: Yes, that's the whole point, Christi. That's why NASA is already talking about it right now. I think whether it's in your personal life, or when you're launching spaceships, you need an end of life plan.

And for the Mir Space Station, which was the Russian station before this one, they drove it into that same sub part of the South Pacific.

But with Skylab, the first American Space Station, the one you mentioned, there was no end of life plan and the shuttle wasn't ready to bring it back. So, it just sort of randomly burned up, and then it could hit anywhere on Earth.

So, we'll be really careful with the International Space Station. I mean, the first piece was launched in 98. We had a big laboratory launch to it last year. It's good for, at least, another eight or nine years. But eventually, you want a good plan, and that's what we're going to do.

PAUL: So, as I understand the majority of it will incinerate upon reentry. Is that correct?

HADFIELD: Yes, something most people know -- don't know, the earth gets hit by about 40 tons of rock every day -- of meteorites hitting the world 40 tons a day. Then, they all burn up in our atmosphere.

And so, the space station will be like one of those. Most of it will just incinerate and turn to that fine dust that you see coming down in a sunbeam.

PAUL: Oh, so, we could be looking at a meteorite. Who knew? But, so, my question is, this does bring us to something we were actually talking to Janet Ivey about this last week, the space debris that's out there. I mean, there is some real concern for the risks and the threat of the satellites and the astronauts that go up into space at this point, because of that. What is your concern? And what do you think is the biggest threat from that space debris right now?

HADFIELD: Well, imagine while I was commanding the International Space Station, and if you wait quietly, you could hear little pieces of thing ricocheting off the hall.

So, yes, we have to think about space debris. And we need good regulation, so that anybody who launches something to space has a full lifecycle plan for it, and a way to deorbit it at the end of its life. And we haven't done that very well up until now.

But it's a really good time to start doing that. We need better regulation, especially since the cost of launch has gotten so much radically cheaper with what SpaceX is doing.

So, it makes it easier to get there. So, that just means we better regulation, taking care of everything. That's up there. And what's going to happen, you know, when they reached the end of their useful life.

PAUL: Right. So, whose responsibility is it to -- you know, clean up space, essentially?

HADFIELD: That's a big problem, actually, right now, Christi, it's like whose responsibility is it to clean up the oceans? You know, that the common ground on earth or common water, it's hard to make someone responsible.

So, you have to address it a couple of ways, but one is just no country's allowed to launch unless they have a plan. So, anybody that they issue a license to has to show that they have a plan.

But the actual cleanup? I'm actually involved with a few companies and operations right now to try and come up with the cleverest way we can just like cleaning up trash on Earth to try and do it as efficiently as we can with the problem we have, at the same time not making the problem worse in the future. Like we're going to do with the space station in eight or nine years or whenever we actually retire it.

PAUL: Yes, yes. The 2031 is not a heart out as I understand it. But real quickly before I let you go, the ISS has just done such remarkable work. What is -- what is the alternative then? Because it's something like that is certainly still needed.

HADFIELD: Well, what's really cool, Christi is since -- you know, I helped build this station 20 years ago, and commanded it 10 years ago, the cost of launch has gotten so cheap that now it becomes commercially viable.

For private commercial companies to put up space stations for research, for like, building things, and for tourism.