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New Day Saturday

Pence: "Trump Is Wrong" To Say Election Could Be Overturned; U.S. Marks 900k COVID Deaths as Cases, Hospitalizations Decline; January Jobs Report Crushes Expectations Despite Omicron Surge; Veteran NFL Coach Takes on League Over Diversity; Human Rights Abuses, Global Politics Cast Shadow Over Games; D.C. Sniper Lee Boyd Malvo's Maryland Life Sentences Under Review; Demonstrators Call For Pro- Ukraine Unity Against Russia. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired February 05, 2022 - 08:00   ET



CHRIS HADFIELD, FMR COMMANDER, INTERNATIONAL SPACE 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. And that's what NASA is handing over Earth orbit to. And there are at least four different space stations that are in early stages of funding now on the commercial side, and that'll free up the rest of the universe for NASA to go explore.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Nice. Commander Chris Hadfield, we always appreciate you taking time to be with us. I always learned from you. Thank you, sir.

HADFIELD: Thank you, Christi. Have a good day

PAUL: You as well.

All right, well, good morning from Earth. I can say right now. Welcome to your "New Day." I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hey Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez.

Mike Pence, striking back his most forceful rebuttal of former President Donald Trump yet saying that Trump is wrong and claiming that he could have overturned the last election.

Plus, we're learning new details about who Trump was speaking to, in the hours before the insurrection.

PAUL: Also, a blockbuster jobs report provides a much needed momentum boost for the Biden administration. What it says about the overall strength of the economy more than two years now is a pandemic.

SANCHEZ: Plus, the NFL is under fire and in legal jeopardy following allegations of discrimination from one of its former head coaches, now others are speaking up. What this could mean for the league moving forward. PAUL: And the Winter Olympics going on in Beijing, but diplomatic delegations from around the world, they're sitting out. How China's human rights record is looming large over this year's Winter Games.

Saturday, February 5th, you've made it your weekend. Thank you so much for spending some time with us this morning. We always appreciate it. Thank you, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Hey Christi, always great to be with you.

PAUL: Yes. So, let's talk about something that a lot of people were not quite expecting from former Vice President Mike Pence, he called out his former boss by name, saying that, quote, "President Trump is wrong" in claiming that he meaning the vice president could overturn the 2020 election.

SANCHEZ: Now, Pence has previously defended his actions on January 6, but since Trump has ramped up his push up the big lie and even suggested that he might pardon some of the insurrectionists if he's reelected, Pence has come out with his most forceful pushback of the former president yet. Listen to this.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election. But 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 than 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: Meantime, the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection now has records that provide new details about a phone call that former President Trump made to Republican Congressman Jim Jordan.

PAUL: And the company is really drilling down on the many ways that Trump and his allies, including those in Congress, tried to overturn the election results. CNN's Annie Grayer is with us now.

Annie, thank you so much. You actually spoke with Jordan concerning that call, I understand. What did he tell you?

ANNIE GRAYER, CNN REPORTER: I did but before we get to what I talked about with Congressman Jordan specifically, I want to give some key contacts. We reported yesterday that the committee, January 6 committee has in its possession. White House call records that show that Donald Trump requested to speak with Jim Jordan in the morning of January 6. That the pair spoke for 10 minutes that morning, while Trump was in the residence of the White House.

Now this is significant because Jim Jordan is a key ally of Donald Trump on Capitol Hill and was helping the former president in his mission to try and stop the certification of the election. So, the fact that the pair spoke for an extensive period of time that morning before Congress met to certify is really significant.

Now, Jim Jordan has said himself that he spoke with Donald Trump that day, but he's been very unclear with his answers. He's ranged from saying he can't remember to saying he only could -- he only remembers speaking with Trump later in the day. And I asked Jim Jordan directly to try and nail down when he spoke with the former president yesterday. Take a listen to what he had to say.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): As I said I had no more calls with -- I talked to the president couple times that day, but I don't remember the times.


GRAYER (voice-over): So --

JORDAN: So, I don't remember.

GRAYER (voice-over): -- you do not --

JORDAN: I don't remember.

GRAYER (voice-over): 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 recall.

GRAYER (voice-over): So, you don't remember if there was one before the violence started?

JORDAN: I don't.

GRAYER (voice-over): And that it was 10 minutes?

JORDAN: I don't.


GRAYER: So, as you can see, Jim Jordan is not confirming the records that is on file with the January 6 committee, but it is significant that he told me that he spoke with Trump after he left the floor. That's the most specific he's been in any answer he's given. But clearly, you know, Jim Jordan has key details that are of great interest to the committee, which is why they asked Jim Jordan to speak with them. But that request was voluntary, and Jim Jordan has not accepted it.

So now the committee is weighing whether to subpoena Jim Jordan and take that unprecedented step. But the big picture here is the January 6 committee is building a key timeline of the events leading up to and specifically on the day of January 6th, and this 10-minute phone call is a new piece of information for that timeline.

SANCHEZ: And of course, it leads to questions about what they discussed, and specifically what Trump was trying to relate to Jordan at that time.

Annie Grayer, thanks so much for the reporting.

The Republican National Committee has voted to censure representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, the two Republican members of the January 6 committee.

PAUL: Heavy attack on the Capitol has led the largest investigation FBI history. There have been more than 700 arrests, hundreds more suspects on the run, several people died. But according to the RNC resolution Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger are participating in a Democrat led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.

SANCHEZ: To be clear, these two representatives are participating in a thorough investigation into what happened in the days leading up to and on the day of January 6, where there were 700 arrests, dozens of convictions, people died, Capitol police officers were killed. In response, Cheney tweeted this video from January 6, writing quote, this was January 6, this was not legitimate political discourse.

PAUL: Well, there are signs of hope this morning that the surge of the Omicron variant is over. Both COVID cases and hospitalizations are declining here in the U.S. and some states and counties are now weighing whether to scale back indoor mask mandates. Whether it's over now, we don't know. But that is the greenest we've seen this country in a very long time. So, whether it is completely over, maybe in question certainly slowing down.

SANCHEZ: It is good to see the green on that map.

President Biden said yesterday that the country is quote, come back stronger despite the Omicron variant as the economy added 460 -- 467,000 jobs last month.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I know that January was a very hard month for many Americans. I know that after almost two years, the physical and emotional weight of the pandemic has been incredibly difficult to bear for so many people. But here's the good news, we have the tools to save lives and to keep businesses open and keep schools open. Keep workers on the job.


SANCHEZ: Let's bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval for more on this. Polo, that map we just showed clearly there is good news and yet we also hit a somber milestone.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nine hundred thousand lives lost to COVID in the last couple of years now that great milestone that you mentioned a while ago. But despite that, as you guys also mentioned a while ago, there absolutely is hope especially when you look at the number of new infections throughout the country that continues to drop plummeting by more than half since that spike that we saw last month.

Hospitalizations those are also on the decline giving those health care workers that have been working tirelessly for the last couple of years now, some time to finally recover. But still we are losing an average of roughly 2,400 Americans a day. That is a number that has declined significantly in the last couple of weeks.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): 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 nearly 39 percent decrease since last week. COVID deaths, however, remain high with the U.S. averaging 2,400 a day at a 6 percent increase over last week.

LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: 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 (voice-over): 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.

MATTHEW DALEY, ADVISOR, COMMITTEE ON IMMUNIZATION PRACTICES: I still have a sense of wonder on what's been accomplished here that in a deep sense of gratitude. You know, we now have two vaccines against COVID- 19 that are fully licensed in the U.S.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): 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.

F. PERRY WILSON, YALE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: The rates of coronavirus in the wastewater goes up before the cases start coming to attention in the 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 (voice-over): But nearly two years later, a new analysis paints a clear 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 U.S. 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.


SANDOVAL: Here New York State Governor Kathy Hochul also updating numbers saying that we've seen at least a 19 percent drop in new COVID cases here in the state alone. Now, the National Guard they're still manning their posts at various health care facilities throughout the state, but hospitalizations here they're also on the decline, Boris, Christi.

PAUL: Polo Sandoval, thank you so much for the report. Really appreciate it.

SANCHEZ: President Biden is celebrating January's better than expected jobs report. The United States adding nearly half a million jobs in January, a sign that the economy may finally be breaking free of the pandemic.

PAUL: CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans has more on the surprising job growth.

CHRISTINE ROMAN, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDET: Christi and Boris, surprising strength in the jobs market even with the disruption from the Omicron wave, the job market powered ahead in January, adding back another 467,000 jobs almost half a million that crushed expectations. The unemployment rate rose slightly, it's because more people searched for work. And wages jumped up 5.7 percent from a year ago.

The trend here is really important. The government revised higher job creation at the end of the year. In December up to 501,000 net new jobs instead of just under 200,000. And in November, jobs growth was almost tripled the first read. For the first 12 months of the Biden administration some 6.6 million jobs added the most since the Great Depression when record keeping began. About 87 percent now of the jobs lost in the COVID crash had been recovered, leading the way in January leisure and hospitality, business and professional services, retail and trade and warehouse jobs as the economy works through the supply chain mess.

The strong report a surprise here since about 12 million people were out of work either sick, quarantined or taking care of family in mid- January when the government collected this data. It shows an economic recovery resilient and companies eager to hire workers. The strong job market puts more pressure on the Federal Reserve to keep the economy from overheating now and will have to raise interest rates. Christi and Boris. PAUL: Christine, thank you so much.

The chief economist of Moody's Analytics, Mark Zandi is with us now this morning, Mark, good morning to you.


PAUL: So I understand that you believe the economy is going to be back to pre COVID full employment numbers by the end of the year. Does inflation throw a stop stick into that though? Do we know where this is going?

ZANDI: Well, inflation is a problem. You know, but I think that's also related to the pandemic, particularly if you go back into last summer and fall when the Delta wave hit, it really did a lot of damage to the global economy, particularly Asia where a lot of these supply chains began.

So, as the pandemic fades and feels like it's moving in the right direction here and continues to wind down, I do think those supply chains will iron themselves out, labor markets will continue to improve, labor shortages will abate, and inflation will moderate. That'll take some time it's not going to happen next month, next quarter but I think by this time next year inflation will be in a place where it still may be a bit high, but not to the place where it's top of mind, then people are very upset about it.


So, you know, hopefully, the pandemic (INAUDIBLE), the job market continues to improve inflation moderates, that feels like the most likely scenario going forward.

PAUL: OK. So interest rates, obviously, we know are rising in an atmosphere is we're talking about, it's really uncomfortable with all of this inflation right now. When a question, I know the question that is looming in that regard, is how high is it going to go and how fast are those interest rates going to escalate there. Two things I want to talk about. First of all, let's talk about the housing market. How would you advise sellers and buyers right now?

ZANDI: Well, good point about interest rates are going up because the economy is strong, it is coming back to full strength to full employment. And right now, interest rates, at least interest rates, the reserve controls are close to zero, but, you know, doesn't make a lot of sense in the context of that federal economy. So the Fed needs to raise rates just to normalize and get them back to a place where it's more consistent with a well functioning economy.

As that happens, of course, parts of the economy that are sensitive to interest rates will have to adjust. So housing, you know, home buying is very dependent on mortgage rates and interest rates. And as mortgage rates rise, that all combined with the higher house prices that were -- we've seen in markets, and affordability become more of an issue. So the kind of the balance of negotiating power within the housing market is going to shift. I mean, since throughout the pandemic, when interest rates are low is really in favor of the seller. And now that's going to shift in the favor, excuse me, that was more in the in the favor of the seller, now it's going to start shifting.

So, buyers and sellers are going to have more of a difficult time adjusting to this. And we're going to see much weaker housing activity and less house price growth. So it's going to be a bit of an adjustment. But that absolutely critical to make sure that the economy does not overheat as Christine Romans was describing.

PAUL: So when you say interest rates will go up to normal rates. What are normal rates because they were so low for so long?

ZANDI: Good question. That's a fair -- that's a debate in regard to see exactly where things land as the current interest rates do rise in the economy adjust. But having said that, the Federal Reserve thinks that for the rates that they control the federal funds rate, which is now as I said, at zero, in a well functioning economy, in the long run up about two and a half percent. So we need to go from zero to 2.5 percent.

Historically, the Fed has raised rates in times like these by about a quarter percentage point every quarter or so. So if they kind of stick to that script, we'll go from zero to 2.5 percent by mid 2024. So over the next, you know, couple, two and a half years.

PAUL: Couple of years. Yes. All right. Mark Zandi, appreciate your expertise here. Thank you for taking time for us.

ZANDI: Sure, thank you.

PAUL: Sure.

SANCHEZ: Coming up, an athlete from China's Uyghur population was one of the torchbearers who lit the Olympic cauldron. Was this a passive aggressive show politics of the opening ceremonies in Beijing?

And next, former NFL coach Brian Flores says he was never truly considered for a head coaching position after the Dolphins let him go. Will his lawsuit against the league stand up in court? We'll ask an expert after this.



SANCHEZ: The NFLs hiring practices came under intense scrutiny this week alleging that the National Football League runs like a plantation. Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores filed a class action lawsuit just days before the Superbowl. He claims that job interviews with teams in New York and Denver were discriminatory. A sham designed to get around league policies meant to boost the hiring of minority candidates. He also claims his ex-boss, the Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, broke league tampering rules and offered him money to lose games. Here's what Flores told CNN about what he wants to come from this lawsuit. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN FLORES, FMR HEAD COACH, MIAMI DOLPHINS: I'm not looking for fluff policies, I'm looking for real change. And that to me that starts in the hearts and minds of people who make those decisions. And that's got to come through dialog that's got to come from communication that's got to come through keeping an open mind and being willing to talk to and get to know people that are different than then you're not used to.

And quite frankly, I think that if an owner is not willing to do that, then he's not fit to own. In this league, this league is better than what they've shown.



SANCHEZ: Some background, because of a lack of diversity in leadership positions, the NFL established the Rooney rule in 2003. It requires every team to interview at least one diverse candidate. Notably, it was amended in 2009 to include general manager and front office positions.

To take a closer look at the lawsuit and the impact of the Rooney rule is N. Jeremi Duru, he's a professor of law at American University, where among other things, he teaches employment discrimination law. He's worked extensively to champion diversity in the NFL, and notably, he's also the author of the book, Advancing The Ball Race Reformation, And The Quest For Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL.

Jeremi, we're grateful to have you this morning. Before we get into the Rooney rule and the details that Flores describes in the lawsuit, I just want to ask you, when you read the lawsuit how you feel about the strength of it? Does it have a chance to be successful perhaps at a discovery where documents are subpoenaed and people were interviewed, that may have answers?


N. JEREMI DURU, PROFESSOR OF LAW, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY WASHINGTON COLLEGE OF LAW: Sure. So yes, thanks very much for having me. It's a strong lawsuit. This is not a lawsuit. When you read it there was just cobbled together over the course of a couple of days. It's not a lawsuit. It was designed to get immediate splash and be otherwise relatively. And this is a lawsuit that is designed to go the distance now whether it will, it's hard to say, and it's good that you pointed out the discovery phase of litigation. The key right now, the key question is not whether Flores will end -- win at the end of the lawsuit. The key question is, will he be able to get past the motion to dismiss which is going to be a preliminary filing that the defendants are going to file seeking to get rid of the case right off the bat?

If he does that, then he gets into the process, you describe discovery, where he will have access to league and club documents, information, e-mails, everything related to the allegations. And if he gets to those, then he's in a place where he can really try to prove his opportunity to prove his case.

SANCHEZ: And Jeremi, describing the NFL business model as a plantation economy, that's a hefty accusation. And I'm sure there are a lot of folks that might be watching that think they'd love to be paid millions of dollars to play sports for a living. Would you agree that there is systemic racism in the NFL, specifically when it comes to these positions of power like head coach?

DURU: Yes, I think there's no way to deny that systemic racism exists. The complaint identifies a number of places where the double standards where black coaches have shorter tenures and white coaches, where black coaches are more likely to be terminated after a winning season than white coaches. Where black coaches have a hard time getting a second job as a head coach, than white coaches.

So without question, there is systemic discrimination. And Flores really identifies that, it takes that systemic discrimination that is statistically based, and he wraps around that his own anecdotes, his experiences in Denver, and in Miami, and in New York, and his allegations brings them all together in the lawsuit, which is the core of this challenge against the league.

SANCHEZ: Is it time to re examine the Rooney rule, because it seems like it -- at this point, it's just a hurdle for some teams to hire whatever candidate they want. And they just run through this process of humiliating someone like Flores going into an interview that he knows, isn't well intentioned.

DURU: So, it is always important to reassess equal opportunity to initiatives and to not get stale in one's approach. With that said, I think the Rooney rule concept is sound. The idea as you described a few moments ago, was that you let someone in the door in the interview room or otherwise wouldn't have gotten it, give them an opportunity. That's the idea. I think it's a sound idea and a sound policy.

The challenge, Boris is with respect to implementation, if clubs don't implement the rule, and Flores is out, alleging that's exactly what happened in New York, if clubs don't implement the rule, and the league doesn't punish clubs that don't implement the rule, then other clubs aren't going to view the rule as something that's important that they need to attend to. And then they won't implement the rule properly. And then the rule really will suffer. So for me, it's not a question of the rule. It's a question of implementation.

SANCHEZ: And Jeremi, I should let you know, I'm actually a huge Dolphins fan myself, and I was upset when the team fired Flores because he was a good coach. The team won a lot of games. They had no business winning --

DURU: Yes.

SANCHEZ: -- even though he alleges that the owner offered him 100k per loss, effectively tanking. He's putting his career in jeopardy here. Do you think he coaches in the NFL again? DURU: Boris, I hope he has the opportunity to -- you, as you point out, he's a fantastic coach. He's well respected throughout the league as a coach. So I hope he has the opportunity to coach again. But you're absolutely right that he has unfortunately, put his career in jeopardy. It shouldn't be that way. But we found that when individuals challenge sports leagues across the landscape of American sport, with these sorts of challenges, challenges alleging discrimination, they often don't get another opportunity, you know, to ply their trade.

So, you know, it may be that he's risking his career. I really hope he has a chance to coach again because he wants to coach again.

SANCHEZ: We got to leave the conversation there. Professor N. Jeremi Duru, thank you so much for sharing part of your weekend with us.

DURU: Thank you, appreciate it.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

PAUL: Well politics are a play at the Winter Olympics. Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Beijing for the opening ceremonies. We're live from China for you, next.



PAUL: 34 minutes past the hour right now, the game have begun, but the Winter Olympics in Beijing taking place under that shadow of China's human rights abuses and a diplomatic boycott by several countries including the U.S.

SANCHEZ: Of course, one of the major issues is China's treatment of the Muslim minority Uyghurs, which the U.S. has labeled a genocide.


And a move apparently intended to brush off the controversy. One of the two Chinese athletes who finished the torch relay is a member of the Uyghur community.

PAUL: CNN Correspondent Selina Wang has more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Foreign Language).

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vladimir Putin bringing the eyes of the world with him to Beijing, like the Russian President who has silenced his critics at home and threatened his enemies abroad. Many of the dignitaries at the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics do not have a glowing record when it comes to human rights and freedoms. It's a constant charged level to host China.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: We should not be here at all. WANG (voice-over): While athletes from 91 teams will compete, far fewer represented by visiting VIPs at the opening ceremony. And most of those places are considered either not free or only partly free by U.S. rights group Freedom House. They're all filling a gap left by the United States and like-minded countries who are staging a diplomatic boycott.

Washington says China's rights record particularly the alleged genocide of its Uyghur Muslim minority means it cannot contribute to the fanfare of the games. Despite mounting evidence, the Chinese government says it's not persecuting the Uyghurs.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the PRCs egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang. And we simply can't do that.

WANG (voice-over): A far cry from 2008 when George W. Bush sat shoulder to shoulder with Chinese officials.

BRENNAN: Saying basically to China, we despise your repressive, awful regime. We hate what you're doing with human rights abuses. We are not going to validate your Olympic Games. And we're not coming, but we're sending our athletes to do what they do. So it's really the perfect answer.

WANG (on-camera): The 2008 games were a moment for China to prove to the world what it was capable of. But this time around, the country isn't asking for approval and the world is well aware of China's might.

(voice-over): The U.S. believes its diplomatic snub will keep Beijing's rights record in focus. But as the West turns its back on China, Xi Jinping is finding friends elsewhere, friends who won't be so quick to criticize.


WANG: And Beijing made a very provocative decision in choosing an athlete from the Xinjiang region as one of the Olympians to light that Olympic flame. This is a defiant move, a message to the U.S. and some of its allies that are staging this diplomatic boycott because of human rights abuses allegations in the Xinjiang region.

And it is reflective of a China that under leader Xi Jinping is more authoritarian increasingly at odds with the West. When we saw China host the games back in 2008, China was trying to meet the world's terms. Now the message from Beijing is that the world must accept China's. Boris, Christi?

PAUL: Selina Wang, we appreciate it. Thank you very much.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Selina.

Up next, a story that terrorized the nation two decades ago. We're going to be joined by the first victim of the D.C. sniper as Lee Boyd Malvo could be granted parole. We'll get this victims thoughts about that next.



PAUL: Starting Monday, the three white Georgia men convicted of murdering 25-year-old black jogger Ahmaud Arbery will go on trial for federal hate crimes charges. This comes after Gregory and Travis McMichael both withdrew their guilty pleas after the federal judge overseeing the case rejected those plea agreements.

SANCHEZ: Remember, Arbery was out jogging back in 2020 when he was chased down and shot to death. His murderers have all been sentenced to life in prison after their convictions in a Georgia State court.

Arguments begin next week in D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo's request to have his life sentence reduced. 20 years ago this year, Malvo was 17 when he and John Allen Muhammad went on a killing spree that terrorized communities in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. 10 people were killed and three wounded.

Muhammad was executed back in 2009. And Malvo was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. But a Supreme Court ruling bars mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders. And Malvo's attorney's believe that he should benefit from a new law in Maryland, enabling prisoners convicted as juveniles to seek release once they've served at least 20 years.

Joining us now is the first victim shot by the D.C. snipers, Paul LaRuffa. Paul, we appreciate you being with us this morning. You've been an advocate for juvenile offenders who have been sentenced to life without parole to get an opportunity for rehabilitation. I'm wondering what's motivated that especially being a victim of this kind of heinous crime?

PAUL LARUFFA, SURVIVED D.C. SNIPER SHOOTING: Well, most people think that victims automatically think, well, throw away the key, put the person in prison and don't let them out. And actually at the time, I was shot and shortly thereafter, when they were caught, when Malvo and Muhammad were caught, I felt that way too. Now, I -- my mind changed along the way when about four or five years ago I came in contact with CFSY which is the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing Of Youth.


And I happen to meet people who committed crimes when they were juveniles and they were quite rehabilitated. And after serving 20, 30, 40 years in jail, I met them, I talked with them, they were released. And I realized that they are different people than they were when they were teenagers. And that life without parole for a child under 18 isn't justice.

And so I became active with CFSY and trying to change the laws in many states to the one like in Maryland and Virginia, where it allows after 20 years, a chance, a chance, not a guarantee, but a chance at parole and freedom. So it gives hope to a kid who commits a heinous crime when they were a juvenile, it gives them hope that someday they might have freedom and they won't be sentenced -- they won't be doomed to 50, 60, 70 years behind bars.

SANCHEZ: I find it interesting. You note that there are others out there. And I'm thinking about the families of some of the victims that we noted previously, that might feel like their crimes that are too brutal to rehabilitate from and that parole, the very premise of it would be unacceptable to them for Lee Boyd Malvo. Do you think it's possible that he can be rehabilitated? And if so, what's your message to those families?

LARUFFA: Well, I respect that the decision and then the feeling of people who think it should be life without parole, however, one thing I always bring up is if you meet some of these people who have been released, you may change your mind because it's obvious that they are not the same person they were. Now, one big statistic that might help change people's minds is that more than 800 people have been freed or released under these laws where after 20 years, you get a chance to be released.

Now, 800 and some odd people have been released. And the recidivism rate is just about zero. So something is working here. These people have been rehabilitated. They're not going out after 20, 30 years in jail, and immediately displaying the same behavior they did when they were 16 years old.

So that's one fact that that is there to consider. But I respect people's opinions and I don't --


LARUFFA: -- I know what it's like to be a survivor. I don't know what it's like to lose a mother or father, brother or sister. Would I feel differently? I don't think so. But I understand their feeling and their feelings and their opinions should be considered.

And the thing with Malvo is it's not a guarantee. You know, will he ever see the light of day? I think a lot of other people will see the light of day before he does.

SANCHEZ: And quickly, Paul, have you spoken to Lee Boyd Malvo?

LARUFFA: I have not. I would like to speak -- have the chance to speak to him, but no, I have not. I have listened to his interviews and heard him and seeing him but I've never spoken to him personally.

SANCHEZ: Well, the hearing is on Tuesday. And if you do happen to have communication with him, we'd love to hear that story. So you're more than welcome to come back.

Paul LaRuffa, thank you so much for sharing part of your Saturday with us. Thanks.

LARUFFA: You're welcome.

SANCHEZ: And stay with CNN. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


SANCHEZ: Russia is showing no sign of de-escalation and its standoff with Ukraine. And happening right now in the region, there's a call for unity in the face of Russian aggression.

PAUL: CNN Senior International Correspondent Sam Kiley with us from Kharkiv, Ukraine. Sam, tell us what's happening behind you.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a city of 1.5 million people. At least three quarters of them are native Russian speakers. And it's only about 30 miles from the Russian border. Now, at the end of the last month, President Zelensky here said that he feared that Kharkiv could be high on the target list when it came to a Russian invasion.

Not only because it's a Russian speaking town, but it's quite close to the front line. It's close to the border. It's the center of the industrial heartland, really of Ukraine. But these demonstrators behind me, they're dwindling now but they came out today in a show of unity with the slogans here being east and west.

That's east and west Ukraine united. Of course, the east to the country or some of the east to the country was illegally captured by force by a Russian-backed separatists and indeed Russian troops annexed Crimea due south effectively of the capital city. So they're deeply concerned that they're trying to demonstrate to fellow Ukrainians that Kharkiv is in no way going to be a rollover to any potential Russian invasion.


And there have been people here from the far-right and the gay community, normally people who are loggerheads in this town openly in the state of friction. But here they're trying to say they're all coming together, particularly as Russian speakers to reject what they say are the Russian threats and aggression.

SANCHEZ: Vladimir Putin perhaps inadvertently galvanizing Ukrainian national identity. Sam Kiley reporting from Ukraine. Thank you so much, Sam.

Thank you so much for joining us this morning. Christi, I hope you're free in like an hour or so because we're supposed to come back.

PAUL: Do I have to be? Yes, I do. Yes. We will absolutely be back with these.

Smerconish, though, is up next. Go make some good memories today.