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New Day Saturday

U.S. Urges Americans in Ukraine to Leave Immediately; CNN Poll: Nearly 6 in 10 Disapprove of Biden's Job Performance; WAPO: Some Trump Records Taken from White House Labeled "Top Secret"; U.S. States Move to Lift Mask Mandates as Omicron Subsides; Protesters Defy Judge's Order to Clear U.S. Border Crossing; International Olympic Committee Pledges Swift Action in Russia Doping Case; Rams and Bengals Clash for Finals of Super Bowl LVI. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 12, 2022 - 06:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: 6:00 on this Saturday. Good morning to you. Welcome to your "NEW DAY." I'm Christi Paul.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Phil Mattingly in for Boris Sanchez.

A diplomatic standoff is unfolding between the U.S. and Russia during a Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border. But U.S. officials are warning Vladimir Putin could decide to invade at any time on the high stakes talks set for this morning amid rising tensions.

PAUL: And disappearing mandates. Governors across the country ending school and indoor mask mandates. The data behind the decision and which states are keeping them at least for the time being.

MATTINGLY: And not backing down. Canadian protesters blocking a critical supply route to the U.S. are now defying a judge's order and could be forcibly removed.

"NEW DAY" starts right now.


PAUL: We're always so grateful to have your company on this Saturday, February 12th. Thank you for waking up with us. Good morning to you, Phil.

MATTINGLY: Good morning, Christi. It's not a slow news day by any means on this Saturday.

PAUL: It's a packed one, right?


PAUL: Let's start with those new developments that we're getting this morning in the crisis in Ukraine. The State Department now ordering all non-emergency staff to leave the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. U.S. officials were already urging all Americans in Ukraine to get out of the country.


JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We encourage all American citizens who remain in Ukraine to depart immediately. We want to be crystal clear on this point. Any American in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible.

If you stay, you are assuming risk with no guarantee that there will be any other opportunity to leave and no prospect of a U.S. military evacuation in the event of a Russian invasion.


MATTINGLY: A grave warning from the National Security adviser. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is warning that a Russian invasion, quote, "could begin at any time" even while the Winter Olympics are still going on in Beijing.

Now Blinken speaks with his Russian counterpart this morning ahead of a call between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

PAUL: We're covering this story as only CNN can.

Our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joins us from Moscow.

Senior international correspondent Sam Kiley, live for us from Kyiv, Ukraine.

Sam, I want to start with you. Secretary of State Blinken calls this a pivotal moment. Talk to us about the situation, what it's like in Ukraine right now following this call for U.S. citizens to leave and the warning that Russia could launch an invasion at any time. Help us understand what it's like there right now.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, the atmosphere here is one of inevitably of tension in the capital Kyiv. The mayor has reissued a statement to the population there, saying that plans are in place for mass evacuation. They would hope to evacuate close to half the city, roughly 4 million people in total.

On top of that, they're reopening the Soviet-era bomb shelters that were originally built for protection in the event of a nuclear war with NATO, now being reopened to protect against the potential war with Russia. And also, the mayor of the capital saying that there were communication systems in place backup, energy generating systems and so on.

Here in Kharkiv which is the sort of industrial heart of Ukraine in many ways. It's only 30 from the Russian border where the Russians have some elite forces at least a division, we understand, on the other side massing close to the border, potentially on the invasion route. Certainly, that was a concern expressed by Ukrainian President Zelensky at the end of January. The atmosphere is again one of tension. They're rushing out, rebuilding T-64 tanks, they have training home guard and reservists. But they haven't called them up. There isn't a sense of mass panic. There isn't a sense in a - in a strange way that the reaction of the United States and Britain, both of whom are drawing down their embassies down to getting rid of all nonessential staff, essentially skeleton staff in those locations and simultaneously along with another -- a number of other countries including Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and others, telling their citizens to get out while it's still possible to do so on commercial flights.

Not that sense here in the Ukrainian system. The government still saying to its population, there is plenty of space still for a diplomatic solution here. They are very much focused on some of the efforts being made by the French president who's due to speak with Russia President Vladimir Putin later on today.


This may be a degree of hoping against hope because, of course, ultimately even the 200,000 troops that Ukrainians have here will be overmatched by the sheer firepower potentially of the Russians should it come to that.

MATTINGLY: And Nic, Sam gets at this, but, you know, the contrast between how Ukraine's posture has been with the U.S. or the Western posture has always been very noticeable, but the tempo and the rapid increase of the warnings over the course of the last 24 hours on the Western side of things has been jarring. President Biden and Vladimir Putin are set to speak by phone today after Secretary of State Blinken speaks to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. These seem like two pretty significant calls. What are we expecting out of them based on your report?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I don't think we're expecting a huge change out of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's call Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, for a couple of reasons.

We know from Antony Blinken that he plans to present to Sergey Lavrov exactly what's been presented to Russia until now, which were there, two tracks. It has a track for diplomacy, and we can work. And were things that are possible to discuss there. And if Russia chooses the other track, then there will be very heavy sanctions. It will be a reiteration of that. And I think it's worth pointing out that Russia's foreign minister probably does not have a huge amount of influence inside the Kremlin.

The person who has - or one of the people that has a lot of influence there, the - the Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu met with the British secretary of Defense yesterday. Sergey Shoygu really part of President Putin's inner circle. So if there was going to be a diplomatic message that was going to get through to President Putin other than a direct phone call, that was probably going to be it, and that was a pretty frosty meeting yesterday by the two Defense secretaries. That phone call between President Putin and President Biden, it's not clear that there are many sort of useful diplomatic strands that can be pushed forward at the moment. And I say that because right now it's understood that President Putin is due to have a call right at this moment with President Macron of France.

And we heard from Russian diplomat just two days ago, now saying that essentially the Western diplomacy so far is failing, and that was a reference directly to President Macron's visit here at the beginning of the week, and that sit down he had, the long conversation he had with President Putin, more than five hours of talks, various ideas put on the table. But the Russian conclusions seems to be that that track didn't work. So it's not clear what avenues are open at the moment other than restating what has been stated to the Russian leadership very clearly that if you invade, there are going to be huge consequences. Phil?

MATTINGLY: Yes. What shifts the dynamic. It's the big question as President Biden faces probably his most significant phone call, this administration, so far.

Nic Robertson, Sam Kiley, two of the best in the business. Thanks so much, guys.

PAUL: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Now on to the growing domestic headwinds facing President Biden this morning. New poll numbers show an increasing number of Americans are dissatisfied with the president's performance since taking office particularly when it comes to the economy.

PAUL: These numbers follow the news that inflation just hit a 40-year high, up 7.5 percent just over the last 12 months.

CNN's Jasmine Wright live at the White House with details for us. So Jasmine, listen, the president has a full plate, but this is one of those things too that is hitting people who are sitting at home right now watching this very hard. What do we expect from the White House in terms of response?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. That's right, Christi. And look, the president had little to celebrate in this latest CNN poll. So first step in his response was really to show compassion, trying to show the American voters that he understands how inflation hurts them day in and day out. And second, it was really to show that his administration, trying to message that his administration is doing everything that it can, utilizing every tool that it can to help American voters.

But we learned quite a few things in this CNN poll that are really not in favor of the president. First, we learned that when it comes to the economy, that is something that is on the top of a majority of Americans' minds. And it's going to be a big consideration for them when it comes to the midterm elections. And his poll numbers in that department are slipping right now on the screen, you see that. 37 percent approve. He's under water there. And so, the president attached with that reality in addition to what we also learned, which is that there is a lack of enthusiasm when it comes to Democratic voters heading into the fall, heading into this midterm season. So those two things coupled together really create a grave reality for both the president and his party.

Now, this week in an interview he was asked how long he thought inflation would be around, and he said he thought it would come down soon. Take a listen.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: According to Nobel laureates, 14 of them who contacted me and a number of corporate leaders. It's hard to be able to start to taper off as we go through this year.

In the meantime, I'm going to do everything in my power to deal with the big points that are impacting most people and their homes.


WRIGHT: Now, Phil and Christi, I have to point out that this comes after Biden originally said that he thought that inflation would peak in December. Of course, that did not happen. And that phrase that he said, "in the meantime," that's a real thing that we have to look at. Because that's where that messaging comes in where he's trying to show compassion and understanding.

But the reality is here, Phil and Christi, is that there's not a lot that the president and presidents before him can do to tackle inflation. So that is a very, very hard place to be in as the midterms grow closer and closer. Phil, Christi?

PAUL: Jasmine Wright, we appreciate it so much. Thank you, ma'am.

So let's talk to Nicholas Wu. He is the congressional reporter for "Politico" now talking about all things President Biden. And Nicholas, it's good to have you with us this morning.

I want to jump off the portion that Jasmine was just talking about regarding inflation, the president's response to that. 18 percent of Americans say they have a lot of confidence in the president's ability to deal with the economy. That was the number this week. 18 percent. What do you think has been the embrace or not for the American people in the president's response to that in that interview we just saw with Lester Holt?

NICHOLAS WU, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": Well, the concern for the administration is what steps they're actually able to take to alleviate a lot of these like more pocketbook-type issues. I mean we saw Biden talk about the things that his administration could do. But Democrats that I have talked to on the Hill really point to elements of the Democratic agenda there, really stalled out for now, like the Build Back Better plan as ways to really have damned inflation. So the number of things they have in their toolbox to fix this are pretty limited.

I mean -- and - and this is an issue that carries a great deal of political risk. I mean it was -- you might remember that whole scene where Josh Lyman digs himself into a hole with a secret plan that affect inflation. And so, this is going to be a persistent problem for Democrats heading into the midterms. The question is whether or not they're going to be able to convince the American people that they've dealt with inflation enough to try to keep them in the majority.

PAUL: With the president's numbers, what they are as Jasmine just highlighted, 37 percent approve, 62 percent disapprove. What does history tell us about how the presidents' approval numbers will bleed over into Democrats and the party as a whole, particularly as we head into midterms?

WU: Regardless of the year, regardless of, you know, who is in office, if the president's approval rating dips below certain amount, you know, say below 40 percent, that's really end up being a drag on the party in power heading into the midterm election since a lot of people end up seeing the -- you know, the election for their local representative or senator as a referendum, really, on the president's leadership rather than a referendum on that particular member of Congress.

Now there are some exceptions there on members of Congress who managed to survive those sorts of years. But, you know, the prevailing political wisdom anyway is that as the president's approval rating dips lower, this can lead to, you know, a so-called wave election where you will see massive losses for the party power.

PAUL: One of the issues that may give him -- I don't know, may give him a little bit of leeway here is when it comes to a Supreme Court pick. We understand that the president is going to be taking more face-to-face or conducting more face-to-face interviews, I should say, with some of the final contenders for the Supreme Court nomination. That that could be happening as soon as next week. He has four picks that he's seriously looking at we know. How much of a boost could that Supreme Court pick be to turning some of the numbers around we're looking at right now?

WU: It's certainly something that could help Democrats and in particular help shore up key constituencies, black women among them. Of course, Biden has pledged to appoint a black woman for the Supreme Court. We've seen black female members of Congress come out in support of that to commend the president for keeping to that promise. Regardless of it ends up being.

The thing is, though, when it comes to an election, the Supreme Court always ends up being a little bit of a wash because, yes, this is something that energizes Democrats right now, but it's also something that will fire up Republicans who will likely very much oppose, you know, Biden's appointee.

And, you know, just look at what happened with Amy Coney Barrett two years ago. This was, you know, seen as some sort of big midterm fight -- election year fight that could boost Republicans. Trump and others saw it that way. But, of course, Trump still lost the election.


PAUL: And with that said, when we look at the investigation into former President Trump and his handling of documents in the final days of his administration this week, of course, learning that the former president often ripped up pages, maybe flushed them down the toilet when he was done reading them. Do these revelations have any impact on the January 6th Committee, how they're going to move forward, what kind of information they're going to be able to get, and at the end of the day, what they've -- how public, what they find, will be and whether that will impact midterms, this whole January 6th Committee?

WU: The jury is kind of out on how much these BBC revelations and documents will affect the January 6th Committee without exactly knowing what sort of documents the former president was potentially tearing up or flushing down the toilet or taking with him to Mar-a- Lago. Note they could be - could just be relative mundane things. They could be, say, his correspondence with North Korean Leader Kim Jong- un. They could be, who knows. And it's up to the archives of the parts the government to try and recover this and rebuild the whole picture here.

The thing is with the January 6th Committee, they're trying to build a timeline out of what exactly happened that day. And these documents could be the key to that, depending on what exactly they are. As to whether or not this will impact the midterms, the committee has generally denied that there's a political motivation behind what they're doing.

But I mean, they won't just look at the calendar, right? They want to hold public hearings this spring with a report coming sometime later in the year. Regardless of what -- of the timing of this, I mean, this is something that will come heading into a midterm year and will probably, will paint a very unflattering portrait of the former president.

And so, it will be up to the American people to determine whether or not this is something that they want to make an election issue. Democrats certainly seem like they might want to make it one.

PAUL: Nicholas Wu, boy, we appreciate you, just rapid fire, getting through all of those questions. There's so much to talk about this morning. We appreciate you, Nicholas. Thank you.

WU: Thank you so much.

PAUL: Of course.

MATTINGLY: Still ahead, as COVID cases decline, states across the country are rolling back mask mandates, but is it too soon, and are people getting mixed messages from officials?

Plus, a potential showdown along the U.S.-Canadian border after trucker inspired protesters refused to back down. Now officials are warning demonstrators, the consequences will be severe. We'll have a live update coming up next.



MATTINGLY: A growing number of states are planning to end their indoor or school mask mandates in the coming weeks as COVID-19 rates continue to drop significantly.

Now the move has drawn the attention of the CDC which has yet to change its guidance for all Americans. Now the agency says, U.S. citizens should continue wearing mask in areas of high or substantial transmission. Notably, that's about 99 percent of U.S. counties.

PAUL: Much of the United States still isn't boosted against COVID-19. Only about 27 percent of the U.S. population has received the coronavirus vaccine booster shot. That's according to CDC data.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has more.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From coast to coast, governors are rolling back their mask mandate. According to a CNN analysis, only these six states as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., still have such a requirement in place. However, California, Illinois, and Oregon already announcing plans to lift that requirement in the coming weeks. That leaves only Hawaii, New Mexico, Washington State, Puerto Rico and D.C. with no announcement on when they'll end their mask mandate.

Then there's masking up in the classroom. School systems in these eight states have either moved toward ending mask requirements or expected to do so by the end of March. However, local governments and school districts are still free to keep making masks a must even after state requirements are lifted.

DR. JAY VARMA, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, WEILL CORNELL MEDICINE: This is really a decision for elected officials, and they've made the decision to remove this, which is their right. So what I would like to see is to make it easier for individuals to protect themselves. And so, what does that mean? That means basically making high quality masks, like the N95 masks, as widely available as, you know, toilet paper and soap and water are in every facility.

SANDOVAL: Governors in states scaling back have pointed to an improvement in COVID metrics when making their decision. That includes lower infection rates and COVID hospitalization numbers that are dropping. Some doctors worry the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could be falling behind.

DR. ALI RAJA, EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIRMAN, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: Right now, we've got the state saying one thing and the CDC saying they're looking at this again. And that's just not enough. SANDOVAL: Dr. Ali Raja of Massachusetts General Hospital urging the CDC to issue revised masking guidance to help improve confidence in that agency.

RAJA: My patients every day come to me and say, well, I'm hearing this from the federal health agencies, I'm hearing this from our local town health agency, I don't know what to do. And the confusion between what we're hearing on the federal level and what states around the country are doing is just damaging to the trust and the psyche that the population has in our health officials.

SANDOVAL: Also losing the masks, Amazon. This week, the company announced fully vaccinated warehouse workers can go mask-less in states that have eased off indoor mask wearing. The new policy does not apply to the unvaccinated or those working in the few states where masking indoors remains in place for now.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


MATTINGLY: Joining me now to talk about this is Dr. Susannah Hills, pediatric surgeon at Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Hills, thanks so much. I know you're going to provide perfect clarity that hasn't existed for the better part of two years on this issue.


But I think in Polo's piece really gets to this. We've all been dealing with it. You know, across the country, you have local mask mandates that are going away. On a national level, the guidance obviously hasn't changed. What advice do you give patients, or would you give someone in an area with high community transmission but no mandate on masking right now?

DR. SUSANNAH HILLS, PEDIATRIC ENT AND AIRWAY SURGEON: Well, no matter what I think, right, this is happening, and you hit the nail on the head right there by talking about what the local transmission rate is. That's the key. People need to really look at what their local rates of infection are, what their local rates of positive tests are in combination with what their local vaccination rate is. It is different for somebody living, for example, in Alabama where the positive test rate is above 30 percent right now, vaccination rates just barely hovering at 60 percent versus another state where - where infection rates, the positive test rates like New York, New Jersey are approaching 5 percent, lower than 10 percent with vaccination rates above 70 percent or so.

So it matters where you are. And if you're in an area with a high transmission rate, low vaccination rates, then it's just really important to pay attention to the vaccination status around your kids, to consider masking kids if they're indoors, if they're in classrooms. So just really be aware of - of what is happening with infection rates around you, and you always use those protective measures if the infection rates are high.

If infections rates are lower, then I think it's not unreasonable to move toward loosening some of these restrictions because we have to start living in a world where we are comfortable ramping up protections when we need them and where we have an off-ramp when infection rates and cases are lower.

MATTINGLY: There's two interesting things that I kind want to dig in to. One is, you know, this isn't a monolithic moment, right? Communities are different. Localities are different. States are different right now. But it's also a moment where I think the population is very ready to move on. People are very tired of everything despite the fact more than 2,000 people are dying on a daily basis at this point, but it gets to that kind of political/exhaustion question of is it time for the CDC which isn't responsible for just the locality, it's responsible for guidance for the entire country to shift that guidance maybe to reflect where people may be more broadly.

HILLS: Absolutely. And people need to plan for the next step. I think a huge part of the issue is not having a next step. And I think across the country, case rates are still high enough. Positivity rates even in the best areas still are above 5 percent. We really want them lower than 5 percent to feel comfortable, but within the next couple of weeks, you know, case numbers have been dropping so precipitously. By the end of the month, early March, a lot of places will be very ready to have much more - much more liberal freedom in not masking and really seeing some of these protections.

And so, the CDC really does need to give that next step to people so they understand what they should be looking for, what is the CDC recommending people pay attention to, and when might we move forth from this. We've got to have a next step. I think we're getting there because case rates have been dropping so much. And really, people are looking to the CDC or have been to provide the next step. And if the CDC isn't going to give it, then they are going to look as they probably should to do to their local and regional government.

MATTINGLY: When it comes to kids -- look, I've got three young kids. I live in a perpetual state of confusion and reading guidelines in different schools that generally I don't understand. You talk about the next step. What's your view right now in terms of kids, masks, classrooms, and what should happen?

HILLS: Yeah. Again, like we were just saying, it does depend on some of them where you are, and what its case rates are in your local area, what the vaccination rates are. But if you're in an area that is relatively well protected, your district or your school has a reasonable vaccination rate, your case rates are coming down. Then, yes, districts, I think, can move forward with lifting mask mandates and going without in the coming weeks.

I strongly urge parents, families who are in areas of high case numbers who haven't gotten their eligible kids vaccinated to go ahead and get them vaccinated. That is another really important step for families to take, to feel comfortable releasing some of these mask mandates, giving their kids more freedoms.

We have a lot of work to do in that area. Our 5 to 11-year-olds are still only at about 23 percent in terms of vaccination rate across the country. And our 12 to 17-year-olds are just above 15 percent of those kids are vaccinated. So we have a lot of room where we can work on getting kids vaccinated. That will help them be safer without masks in school as well.

MATTINGLY: Yeah. The tools exist. I think if there's one thing that's so clear about this moment compared to the last two years, the tools exist. Dr. Sussanah Hills, really appreciate your time and perspective. Thanks so much.

HILL: Thank you so much, Phil.


PAUL: Well, a judge orders trucker inspired protesters to back down after days of blocking the U.S.-Canadian border. Why some say if the demonstrations do not end soon, they could cripple the U.S. auto industry specifically.


PAUL: So, we're now hours after a judge ordered them to clear out protesters, are still blocking traffic at the busiest international crossing in North America. There are cities now along the U.S.-Canada border that are preparing for what they believe are going to be even more disruptions.

MATTINGLY: Yes, and Christi, that border blockage is putting more stress on the supply chain, causing millions of dollars in lost business.


Now, the so-called Freedom Convoy started as truckers protests by drivers who are fighting vaccine mandates in both Canada and the U.S., but it has since become a protest of just about all COVID-19 health restrictions. Now, CNN's Miguel Marquez is live for us in Windsor, Ontario. Miguel, you've been covering this pretty much nonstop for the last several days, you also look very cold. But a judge ordered protesters out by 7:00 p.m. last night. What are you seeing on the ground right now?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now, it is a much-reduced presence here by protesters. There are about 70, 75 vehicles here over the last couple of days, overnight since that order went into effect. There's about 50 vehicles at this point, but, you know, I spoke to some of the folks here -- if we can just show you what's happening here at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge. There's a handful of people there, they are staying warm.

Look, they feel that they are on the right side of history, like both sides feel over this stuff. They want all those coronavirus restrictions to go, including that vaccine mandate -- up to tyranny, the premier of the province here, so the state's governor basically, Doug Ford says there's now an emergency order as well at the state level or the provincial level, and it is time for these protesters to go.


DOUG FORD, PREMIER, ONTARIO: Your right to make political statement does not outweigh the rights of a million people in Ottawa to live peacefully, free of harassment and chaos in their own homes. So, let me be as clear as I can. There will be consequences for these actions, and they will be severe.


MARQUEZ: And they are talking about very severe reaction and fines and jail time, towing their vehicles, taking their licenses away, as well as arresting and all the court proceedings. My senses in the next hours ahead, hours and days ahead, you're going to see police ratchet up the tension here, ratchet up the pressure for these protesters to go, and will see how it goes. Many of them say they are not leaving no matter what, but we have seen some leave already overnight.

It's also going to get much colder. It's cold now. It's going to get much colder in the next few days ahead. So, it may be more difficult for any protester to stay out here just by mother nature having her vote in it. Back to you, guys.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it's been something officials on both sides of the border have been watching very closely, both economic and political repercussions. Miguel Marquez, you've been doing great reporting, thanks so much.

PAUL: Miguel, thank you.

MATTINGLY: And still ahead, one-on-one with three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White. The legendary American snowboarder opens up to CNN about his emotional good-bye to the Winter games.



MATTINGLY: Right now, time is quickly ticking away to find any kind of resolution to the doping scandal that had stolen just about all the headlines at the Winter Olympics.

PAUL: Yes, Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva is the 15-year-old at the center of this scandal. She's going to be back on the ice in just three days to compete in the women's single event. I want to go live to China and our own Coy Wire who has the very latest for us. Coy, good morning to you.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Phil. The International Olympic Committee doing everything in its power to not allow this to potentially taint the rest of these games. Moments ago, the Court of Arbitration for Sports released an update about the cases involving the world, an Olympic-record breaking 15-year-old Kamila Valieva, and it says that the court will have a video conference here on Sunday for the IOC, the world, anti-doping agency and the International Skating Union as Valieva and -- versus Valieva and the Russian anti-doping agency who had chosen to lift the skaters provisional suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, December 25th, that allowed her to compete at these Olympic games.

The court also says that it plans to have a decision on Monday one day before that women's competition begins. Valieva skated for the Russian Olympic Committee in the team event which took place on Monday. They won the gold, it was U.S. taking silver, Japan took the bronze medals for that event, still have not been handed out to any of the athletes who competed.

All right, 16 years after his Olympic debut, snowboarding legend Shaun White put a bow on his iconic revolutionary career here at these Beijing Winter Olympics. Three gold medals to his name. We talked about his emotional ride just a bit ago.


SHAUN WHITE, AMERICAN SNOWBOARDER: It's been far more emotional than most, just because I knew this was the last. I mean, I remember sliding into the bottom and just this rush of relief, and then seeing all my competitors kind of lined up, you know, with some really kind words to say to me, and I just like broke down.

WIRE: Yes --

WHITE: I couldn't handle it. Nice setup.

WIRE: It's great. The snow is falling --

WHITE: Snowing --


WIRE: We are in a snow glow view on the end of an incredible --

WHITE: Yes --

WIRE: Olympic career --

WHITE: Yes --

WIRE: It's a career spanning 20 years. Congratulations for that.

WHITE: Thank you so much.

WIRE: If you could describe the evolution of your career in terms of your hairstyles --

WHITE: Oh, wow.

WIRE: Oh, how would you do that, Shaun? WHITE: I don't know. I mean, I would have to say I remember being a

kid, and it was either like Ricky Martin started blowing up or somebody started to spike their hair --

WIRE: Wow --

WHITE: And you know, bleach the tips or frost them, and I remember being like, I can't do that, I'm not into it. And that's when I decided to be different, like grow my hair out, and then it just became like the signature thing.


This long red hair -- it's actually really funny story. I was in Las Vegas and I bumped into Carrot Top --

WIRE: Oh --

WHITE: And I had the comedian --

WIRE: Oh, I love to see that side-by-side --

WHITE: And it was so funny because he was like -- he said something to me and I was like, yes, I'm thinking about cutting my hair, you know, and he was like the -- what was it? The "Ghost of Christmas" future. He's like look, there's still time for you. Like I'm stuck like this. You've got to change. So, I was like -- and I went and -- I didn't tell anyone, no sponsors, parents, friends, anybody. I just went and cut my hair and posted it on my Instagram --

WIRE: Wow --

WHITE: And I was kind of in this place where people like -- you won't, you know, be recognized without your hair. You know, you have to keep it. And I was like, no, I have to do it, you know, I mean --

WIRE: Yes --


WHITE: Yes, totally. And so, I cut it, and then after that, it's been fun. It's just massive. It's so much less work --

WIRE: Yes --

WHITE: You know.


WIRE: Shaun donated that hair to charity, Christi and Phil. Over five Olympics, Shaun went away from that long-hair kid living a dream come true to the 35-year-old man who we see today who is helping to shape dreams of the next generation. What's next for him? He says he wants -- we're going to see his name on the slopes in the form of white space, that's his apparel and equipment line and is excited about sponsoring the next generation of Winter sports stars who can carry on his name.

PAUL: Best of luck to him, great interview. I haven't heard Carrot Top in a long time.


That was taking me back. Coy Wire, thank you so much.

WIRE: Thank you, guys.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, Coy. Now, the countdown is on to Super Bowl Sunday. We are going to tell you everything you need to know about the big game as the Cincinnati Bengals get ready to go head-to-head against the Los Angeles Rams.



PAUL: I know you've been waiting for it, if not the game, the food. Super Bowl Sunday, it's almost here, and it is going to be a big one. The Cincinnati Bengals -- all right, I'm an Ohio girl, the Cincinnati Bengals playing the Los Angeles Rams in L.A., Phil.

MATTINGLY: Yes, we're both Ohioans --

PAUL: That's right --

MATTINGLY: But neither of us are from -- like I can't figure out our team, the Browns or the Bengals because we're from different parts of the state.

PAUL: I know.

MATTINGLY: We'll take credit for it.

PAUL: Yes --

MATTINGLY: If the Bengals win, it's all us and Joe Burrow, clearly.

PAUL: Yes.

MATTINGLY: But it's the first time the Super Bowl has been in southern California and nearly 30 years in the NFL, of course, went all out. And of course, Andy Scholes is right in the middle of it all.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Wow, we're just a day away now from Super Bowl LVI here in Los Angeles, and it's certainly a game that no one predicted. The Cincinnati Bengals were the worst team in the NFL just two years ago. But you know, with that worst record comes the first pick in the draft, and that's how they landed quarterback Joe Burrow. But still even with Burrow, the Bengals had 120-1 odds of winning it all before this season.

You know, they've been underdogs for all, but one of their playoff games. Their slogan before the season was actually "why not us?", but they've since changed it to "it is us."


JOE BURROW, QUARTERBACK, CINCINNATI BENGALS: At the beginning, it was "why not us?", and kind of fed into the underdog narrative, and you can only ride that wave for so long, and I kind of got tired of the whole underdog thing, we're in the Super Bowl and we're a really good team that deserves to be here.


SCHOLES: The Rams meanwhile, the second team ever to play in a home Super Bowl, following the Bucs last season. Unlike the Bengals, they are full of veteran stars and were in the Super Bowl just three years ago. Their superstar defensive lineman Aaron Donald was on that team that fell short to the Patriots, he's been rookie of the year, three- times defensive player of the year, but says he wants a Super Bowl title more than anything.


AARON DONALD, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, LOS ANGELES RAMS: In eight years, I accomplished a lot in a short amount of time. And one thing that I feel like I'm lacking is, you know, being a world champion. So, it would mean a lot to me, I feel like it will be a goal that I've been chasing and trying to accomplish. I would be able to check that off and feel like, you know, there's nothing in this league that I didn't accomplish that I didn't want to accomplish. So, it will mean a lot.


SCHOLES: And be sure to tune in to CNN at 2:30 this afternoon for "KICKOFF IN LOS ANGELES", a CNN "BLEACHER REPORT" special, we're going to talk to Peyton Manning, Troy Aikman and more, getting you ready for the big game. Now, the Rams are 4-points favorites for Super Bowl LVI, and there are also of course all kinds of fun prop bets you can make on the big game. One of my favorites is what's going to be the first song played during the half-time show by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, the two favorites right now, "California Love" and "The Next Episode".

MATTINGLY: Yes, I could see that. I feel like the half-time show is like every mixed tape CD I had in high school and college.


It's going to be pretty great.

PAUL: Yes --

MATTINGLY: Tomorrow, I should also note, which is a problem for any Ohioans visiting, could be the hottest Super Bowl kickoff on record as one a time heat wave impacts southern California this weekend.

PAUL: Yes, meteorologist Allison Chinchar is live in the CNN Weather Center this morning. What are the odds, Allison? ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Actually, pretty high. And yes,

the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for many of these areas you see here in orange, keeping tourists in mind. In fact, that was actually written into the advisory that they wanted people who were unfamiliar with heat like this, this time of year to take that into consideration just because of how hot it's going to be.

And it's not just this weekend. It's actually been very hot the last few days. Take a look at some of the daily records that have already been broken.


These were all broken on Friday -- excuse me, Palm Springs hitting 93, beating their old record, Santa Ana looking at 88. It's several of these areas already looking at those record-high temperatures, and that's going to continue through the weekend. For today, high temperature expected to be about 83. Similar temperature on Sunday could be about that 83 to 84. The question is if it does hit that mark, where does it put it in terms of the rest of them? The record is 84, so we have a chance of not only tying that, but by far, Phil and Christi, we will definitely place in the top five.

PAUL: All right, Allison, thank you so much. Do stay with us here. The Biden administration says a Russian invasion could start at any time. In fact, it is official as of this morning, the State Department warning Americans to get out of Ukraine and get out now.