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New Day Saturday

January 6th Panel Will Reconvene In September After Bombshell Hearings; Ex-Insiders Detailed Trump's Refusal To Stop Capitol Riot; Unnamed Official Said V.P.'s Security Feared For Their Lives; Outtakes Show Trump Struggling To Address Riot Next Day. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired July 23, 2022 - 07:00   ET



CAROLYN MANNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The final time last night. Sue Bird is retiring after this season. Both are five-time Olympic gold medalist. Bird has four titles with Seattle, Taurasi three in Phoenix. Last night, it was Taurasi who came out on top, outscoring Bird 14-2, and a huge win for the Mercury for that eighth and final WNBA playoff spot. Bird's storm are suddenly in at the fourth spot so the pair's friendship going back a quarter century guys. While Sue Bird was a college star at UConn, she hosted Diana Taurasi as a high school recruit. The two go back a very long way. And so, a very touching moment there in the WNBA. Two legends, that's really the only way to describe it. Just fantastic.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: A really nice moment there. Carolyn, thank you so much for all that. And the next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you all and welcome to your NEW DAY, I'm Amara Walker.

MARQUARDT: And I'm Alex Marquardt. Secret Service investigators are scrutinizing the phones of 10 agents who exchanged text messages around the date of the January 6th insurrection. What we're learning about those messages and where the investigation into why they weren't saved goes from here.

WALKER: More than 85 million people under heat alerts today, and mother nature is only cranking up the heat as we go through the weekend, where we could see dozens of record set tomorrow.

MARQUARDT: And the White House is saying that President Joe Biden's COVID symptoms have improved, but we still haven't heard directly from the President's doctor about how he's doing. We'll be joined live by Dr. Anthony Fauci, this hour, for an update.

WALKER: Good morning to you and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Saturday, July 23rd. Good to be with you, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Great to be with you, Amara. We haven't done this in a while.

WALKER: No, we haven't. Well, we begin this morning with a lot of news and the fallout from the latest January 6th Committee hearing.

MARQUARDT: Well, on Thursday night, the panel gave me a minute-by- minute account of then President Donald Trump's refusal to call off the attack on the Capitol. Former White House aides who are lifelong Republicans, they outlined how for just over three hours, 187 minutes, Donald Trump watched televised coverage of the carnage at the Capitol while refusing pleas from everyone around him to call for an end to the violence.

Now, we saw and heard new disturbing video and audio that showed the danger that was faced by Vice President Mike Pence and his security detail as they tried to get him to safety. A witness testified that Pence's security detail was so concerned that they made calls to their loved ones.

WALKER: The committee played outtakes showing Trump struggling with videotaped remarks about the riot the next day. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And to those who broke the law, you will pay. You do not represent our movement. You do not represent our country. And if you broke the law, I can't say that. I'm not going to -- I already said you will pay, but this election is now over. Congress has certified the results. I don't want to say the election is over.


WALKER: Well, the hearing ended with a direct message from the panel's Vice Chair Liz Cheney to voters.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Can a president who was willing to make the choices, Donald Trump made during the violence of January 6th, ever be trusted with any position of authority in our great nation again?


WALKER: When the January 6th committee resumes its hearings in September, some key evidence will be missing. We're talking about text messages from Secret Service agents at the time of the insurrection. CNN's Whitney Wild has more.


WHITNEY WILD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Two sources tell CNN that of 24 Secret Service agents whose text messages were requested by the Inspector General last year, 10 had metadata that showed text messages were exchanged around January 5th, and 6th, 2021, but the content was lost due to a data migration that started three weeks after January 6th.

Investigators at the Secret Service found that another 10 of those agents had no text messages at all, three had only personal text messages. And one person did save a text message exchange. The big question had been: what was the Secret Service doing to try to find these text messages? And for several days they had been conducting a rigorous probe at the request of the House Select Committee who sent a subpoena to the Secret Service saying, you must find these records and conduct a rigorous investigation.

And what the Secret Service had told the House Select Committee in a letter on July 19th, was that investigators had planned to conduct forensic exams of any available devices that were used by the identified individuals and additional follow up interviews with the identified users to determine if messages were stored in locations that were not already searched by the Secret Service. However, those efforts are now at a standstill because the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security has launched a criminal probe and has told the Secret Service to stop investigating.

Those efforts are now at a standstill, because the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security has launched a criminal probe and has told the Secret Service to stop investigating. In Washington, I'm Whitney Wild.



WALKER: All right, Whitney, thank you for that. So, the Select Committee hearings are increasing public pressure on the Justice Department to bring charges against officials in the Trump White House or Donald Trump himself.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): We've proven different components of a criminal case against Donald Trump or people around him in every hearing. And I think taken in totality, this represents the greatest effort to overturn the will of the people, to conspire against the will of the people and to conspire against American democracy that we've ever had, frankly, since the Civil War. So, yes, I think we've proven that. It's up to justice now to make a decision.


WALKER: Joining me now is former U.S. Attorney Michael Moore. Good to see you, Michael. Do you agree with what Kinzinger had to say? I mean, do the committee's case, so far, make it more likely that Trump could face criminal charges?

MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, I'm glad to be with you this morning. Let me, and I don't mean to be sort of a wet blanket on the committee but let me tell you that their work is continuing, and they still have some things that they're going to have to prove. What I heard in great detail was a lot of things that should have been considered and argued during the impeachment trial.

And that is whether or not these three hours and seven minutes delay was somehow a violation of Trump's role as president. Was it a derelict in his duty? Was it a misfeasance said not to call in people? But what I'm missing is sort of that direct evidence of his intent, specifically at communicating other people. And, and let me explain sort of why, why I say that.

There's testimony from Pat Cipollone, who's been -- he's, you know, he's, he's deemed sort of the Darling right now at the Democrats as they talk about, you know, Trump and what was going on, and they want to rely completely on his testimony. Well, he also said, and this part has not been played publicly. He also said that he believes, he genuinely believes that Trump honestly believed that the election was stolen.

And if that's the case, then that is going to be a little bit of a hurdle, because they talk about certain crimes, like commit conspiracy to defraud the United States. You know, one of the things that you would have to show is that the President had, had the intent to do that, but by honestly believing that he was committing a crime.

And so, that's -- you don't get around the element of intent. There's a lot of clamors. a lot of discussion, a lot of requests that the department move fast. I'm certain that Merrick Garland is thinking about these things.


MOORE: And he's thinking about the ramifications of these things.

WALKER: And excuse me for cutting off there, but a lot of talk about intent, right, to prove intent, to have a criminal case. I'm just curious, because you mentioned Pat Cipollone, who, who was the White House Counsel at the time, and he told the committee that he had no knowledge of Trump placing any calls to law enforcement to the military to respond to the violence.

We also heard from General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who testified during his closed-door deposition, which was videotaped and then shown that he was basically astonished that he never heard from Trump. It was actually Mike Pence, the V.P., who make those calls to respond. Does the inaction speak to intent? The fact that he refused to act.

MOORE: You can -- you can derive intent from circles, circumstantial evidence. I mean, that is true. But the question here is, is, is the fact that he was a lousy President or the failure of a president. During that 197 minutes and beyond, people will argue, but especially during that 197 minutes -- is that failure for him to do his presidential duties as commander in chief? Does that make him a criminal? And that's going to be the hurdle that they have to crawl. So, that's going to be the thing that they've got to prove. Remember, it's very easy to charge people.

WALKER: Right.

MOORE: You know, the old story is that a good prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich in front of a grand jury. So, it's easy to charge people. But with your prosecutors, a good prosecutor is going to be thinking about: can I prove this beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury at trial?


MOORE: And the, the ramifications and the implications of charging a former president for conduct that occurred while he was president of the United States, those, those are serious and grave concerns that a good prosecutor will be thinking about, and I think that's what's going on within the walls of the Department of Justice right now.

WALKER: Well, there seems to have been a lot of circumstantial evidence presented over the past eight days. When you talk about direct evidence, though, speaking to intent, give me an example. Like, you need to see a text message or an e-mail from Trump saying, this election 100 percent was, was stolen and because he said that many times on, on Twitter and on in other avenues.

MOORE: Well, remember that you've got the White House Counsel, or you're saying that he actually believed that it was stolen.

WALKER: Right.

MOORE: So, for him to say that publicly, he's just expressing his belief which he has, like, he has a constitutional right to have a belief about it. He may, it might be completely irrational and unfounded, but he is expressing what even his lawyer said at the time what was his actual belief about it.


We often think about intent being channeled by things like direct witness statements by e-mails, by text messages by letter, you know, those kinds of things. It's like, hey, I want you to do X, Y, and Z. This is why it was so difficult to prosecute organized crime problems, and that's because the person at the top often didn't communicate in those ways. And they warrant these direct orders to people to do certain things.

And so, you're able to see underlings charged, so foot soldiers, if you will. And I think that's kind of what you're seeing here. You're seeing that they don't have just yet, they don't have this direct evidence. They're using circumstantial evidence talk about Trump's intent. But they have these underlings, who were doing things, and who were communicating and who you have lawyers, you have people filing phony things, you have this whole discussion about what went on at the White House lawyer meeting.

And so that's, you know, that, to me, is the kind of thing that the prosecutors are wrestling with right now. Again, you can have intent, proven by circumstantial evidence. I'm not suggesting that they can get there.

WALKER: Right, right.

MOORE: What I'm saying is, we have a political process. We have an impeachment process. That process the Senate voted to acquit him. I disagree with that. I thought that the case was proven at that stage, but that's where they're at. So now, do we --

WALKER: Well, we will see.

MOORE: -- face, but it turned into a criminal process.

WALKER: Yes. And we may see more evidence when the hearings resumed in September. I appreciate you joining us, Michael Moore, we're out of time. Thanks so much.

MOORE: Great to be with you. Thank you.

MARQUARDT: All right, and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon could soon be headed to prison after less than three hours of deliberations, a federal jury, jury handed down a guilty verdict in his criminal contempt trial. CNN's Sara Murray has more.


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Amara and Alex, a jury here are finding Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's longtime ally, guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to show up to testify before the House Select Committee investigating January 6th and failing to turn over any documents.

They did not buy into Team Bannon's argument that somehow the date of this subpoena was flexible. They were not distracted by his last- minute offer to testify publicly before the committee. Instead, they went along with the prosecution's view of the case. The view that if you get a subpoena, you have to show up.

The prosecution argued that Steve Bannon valued his allegiance to Donald Trump more than he valued the rule of law. Now, Bannon faces at a minimum of 30 days behind bars as well as fines, but his sentencing is not going to be until later in October. In the meantime, his attorneys have already said that they plan to appeal. Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


MARQUARDT: All right. Our thanks to Sara for that. Now, we could see record highs across parts of the country this weekend, and it's not just the U.S. that is baking under this heat. Cities around the world are really feeling it as well. How the climate crisis is impacting all of us? And what scientists are saying needs to be done now.

WALKER: The White House says, President Biden is improving after being diagnosed with Coronavirus. We are joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci. For more on the president's condition. How the White House is responding in the case surge we are seeing across the country.



MARQUARDT: This morning, more than 85 million Americans are under heat advisories and excessive heat warnings, and many are bracing for a weekend which could see new record temperatures set all across the country.

WALKER: Yes, officials are now urging people to take precautions when outdoors, as local leaders take steps to help their residents cope with the oppressive conditions. CNN's Polo Sandoval with more details.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The National Weather Service predicting the dangerous July heatwave is far from subsiding after blistering parts of the nation south this week forecasters expecting this weekend's temperatures in the northeast will soar above normal for this time of year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I sat outside here until 10:00 to 4:00 this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Too hot inside, just sitting outside

SANDOVAL: Expected record setting temperatures prompting various heat alerts in the Northeast Corridor throughout the weekend, including in Boston and in New York, where the forecasts calling for a high at or near 100 degrees in the city on Sunday.

JAMIE MCSHANE, CONEDISON: We're entering an extended heatwave. We're concerned about, you know, the consecutive one day after the next of high temperature, high heat.

SANDOVAL: A similar weekend in store for parts of the Southwest with daytime temperatures in some areas likely to exceed 110 degrees according to forecasters. In all, roughly 85 percent of Americans will see temperatures above 90 degrees over the next week. Arizona officials report at least 29 people died from heat-related issues since March, Dallas recorded its first heat associated death of the year: a 66-year-old woman with underlying health conditions.

All across the country, authorities asking people to take caution, staying indoors and hydrated limiting sun exposure and checking on the most vulnerable.

ADAM PALUKA, EMSA PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Don't think you're invincible because of your age. Don't think you're invincible because of your fitness level. Everybody could succumb to the heat. There's nobody who is immune.

SANDOVAL: The heat has only compounded drought conditions out west. New NASA satellite imagery is showing Lake Mead at its lowest level since 1937. It's a source of water to millions across seven states, tribal lands and parts of Mexico. Compared to the image in 2000, the recent photograph from this year shows what may be the worst drought in 12 centuries. The extreme heat in the U.S. continues to be matched by deadly summer conditions overseas.

Authorities in Spain estimated more than 510 heatwave-related deaths this week, scorching temperatures melted the roof of a museum in central China and Chinese state media showing COVID workers desperately trying to keep cool in sweltering suits. And in the U.K. rail workers paint attracts white to absorb less heat to keep them from expanding. Operations at a London Airport were temporarily suspended to repair a small section of runway damaged by the summer sun, and the heat also adding to wildfire concerns. 19 European countries are on extreme danger alert.

Back here in New York, the threat of this unrelenting heat has prompted city officials to reduce the New York City triathlon that is scheduled for Sunday draws in well over 2000 participants. The concern is overheat-related illness, they have shortened both the cycling and the running portions of it. They're very similar concerns also in the city of Boston, where city officials decided to simply postpone the event up to next month, citing what they described as historic weather conditions. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


MARQUARDT: Our thanks for, to polo for that report. Joining me now is Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel, the Director of Climate Science at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dr. Ekwurzel, thank you so much for joining us this morning. Now, we do know the planet is warming, we know climate change is happening, is that the only factor that you are attributing to this, all these different heat waves that we're seeing not just here in the United States, but around the world?


Dr. BRENDA EKWURZEL, DIRECTOR, CLIMATE SCIENCE AT THE UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: One of the signature fingerprints of climate change is the more extreme heat waves. So, you know, we've had heat waves over the eons. What's really remarkable is how long they're persisting how dangerous they are two populations that don't have infrastructure that protect them in this type of temperature. I mean, when you're talking about the United Kingdom, having a temperature about 40 degrees Celsius, that's around 140 degrees Fahrenheit anywhere in the U.K., that is an extremely rare event. And the first time this past week, the U.K. MET Office recorded that temperature in several places in the U.K.

MARQUARDT: So, when you see temperatures like that in the U.K., the triple digit temperatures all across the United States, the pace and the scale of what we've seen over the past few days and weeks. Does that mean that that climate change is happening faster than, than what had been predicted?

EKWURZEL: Unfortunately, this is right in line with all the the climate assessments that we have been studying. As climate scientists, we know this is happening. And we expect these types of temperatures. What we didn't expect, was some of these very, very high triple-digit numbers that are coming out of this recent heat wave. And what's disturbing is that people underestimate that anyone as your story shows, can succumb to heat waves.

In fact, in many places in the northern hemisphere, it's just too hot to work outside during certain parts of the day. And we have to recognize that with climate change of this level, is too dangerous in the northern hemisphere, in certain parts of the day for people to be working outside. And that is something we aren't adapting to because we should not lose any life. We can protect people's lives during these heat waves. They're temporary. They're dangerous, but we can do better.

MARQUARDT: Some officials have talked about adapting, is that possible? Is that what you expect people to do?

EKWURZEL: Well, we're seeing that. Unfortunately, there's loss of life in, in many parts of this recent heatwave. And so, we can do better about that. For example, if you're working outside, you can do shift work, which is in work in the evening and cooler hours or in the morning. So, those type of adaptations aren't really happening. It's pretty disturbing to see that the women's Tour de France is happening after the men's Tour de France going in the hotter part of the season. These type of adaptations for the temperatures in Paris are when you're exerting that much energy. It's very hard for the human body to cool off if you can't evaporate into the air that is basically -- it can't, you're not losing your heat the way the human body needs to, that's why it can be very dangerous.

MARQUARDT: There have been some setbacks here in the United States when it comes to implementing a green energy plan, efforts to combat climate change. President Biden has not been as successful, as he certainly would have liked with challenges both from Republicans as well as members of his own party, like, like Joe Manchin from West Virginia. Can the world make progress and get to where it needs to be meet, meeting those crucial benchmarks that have been so clearly laid out? Without the United States?

EKWURZEL: The United States is really key because historically, we are the largest contributor to the level of global warming we have today. Right now, we are the second largest emitter after China, for current level of emissions. So, doing lots of actions within the United States is critical for the world and also ourselves, because many people, the inequities of who is bearing the burden of these heatwaves, who's most at risk, who can recover, who has access to health care, who has access to air conditioning, who has access to cooling centers, is really heterogeneous. And that's where the inequities of climate change exam are exacerbated during dangerous heat waves is just one example.

MARQUARDT: We all need to heed the warnings, and we all need to heed them together, the warnings by you and your colleagues. Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel, thank you very much for your time this morning.

EKWURZEL: Thank you.


WALKER: Chief medical adviser to President Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci will join us next to discuss the President's experience with COVID, how he's doing as cases are on the rise across the country.


[07:30:12] WALKER: This morning, the White House says President Biden is keeping busy in isolation, working through his illness after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

WALKER: According to the president's physician, he is improving but taking additional medications for his temperature and cough. And administration officials are using Biden's breakthrough infection to urge all Americans to get vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19, as cases are continuing to climb nationwide amid a summer surge.


DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: I think what we're seeing across the country is there are a lot of infections. But when people are vaccinated and boosted, they tend to have far less serious illness. This virus is going to be with us forever. It's really, really important that people build up their immunity against this virus.


WALKER: All right, here with me now to discuss this further is chief medical adviser to President Biden, and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Good to see you this morning, and thanks so much for joining us. So, it -- first off, how is the president doing? How is he feeling? When did you speak with him last?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: He is doing very well. I haven't spoken directly to the president, but I'm in very close contact with Dr. Kevin O'Connor, who is the primary physician to the president.

And I spoke to Dr. O'Connor last night at 10:00 to get an update. And just as you've said, in your herd, the president continues to improve, and we have every reason to believe that he will do very well.

For the obvious reasons, he is vaccinated, doubly boosts, he is on an antiviral drug that has a very good track record of preventing people to progress to disease that is serious. So, he's doing very well, and he continues to improve.

WALKER: So, what kind of symptoms is he continuing to experience right now? I know that I understand he's also taking an inhaler. Is he having any breathing issues?

FAUCI: No, no, not, not at all. So, I think we want to make sure we put things into context. He has an upper respiratory infection right now. Having a runny nose, having someone who has a history, when he does get colds that have nothing to do with COVID.

He has a history of asthma, and he uses a bronchodilator to make sure he just breathes well. He has no trouble breathing at all right now. And I think that would be a misinterpretation to say that. That's something that he does regularly, when he gets an upper respiratory infection.

WALKER: I'm just wanted to clarify that. Thanks, Dr. Fauci. You know, as you know, White House reporters are not very happy that the physician, Dr. O'Connor, who's treating the president wasn't and hasn't been made available to answer questions from the media.

Will we hear from him at some point? Why haven't we physically seen and heard from him? I know that he did send a letter out on Friday.

FAUCI: You know, that's the communications department decision. You know, I really can't address that. I speak to Dr. O'Connor frequently. Why he's not out there in front of the T.V.? I think that's just a communications issue. You'll have to ask the communications people that.

WALKER: So, correct me if I'm wrong. BA.5 is the most contagious form of COVID, yet, right? Although, evidence shows that it doesn't cause more severe disease.

But as you were saying, cases are surging. And I feel like I know so many people who have COVID right now or had it in recent weeks. And during this time, we have seen President Biden in meetings, he's also been in the Mid-East. You know, without a mask indoors, considering Biden's age, should the president and White House at the very least, if not the country, go back to masking and social distancing, considering the surge that we're seeing?

FAUCI: Well, you have two questions here. First, when the president visits, goes to different countries, he respects the conditions and the traditions of what they're doing in that particular country.

With regard now to the United States, as you've heard, we are in a difficult situation. Because with B.A.5, which is a highly contagious virus, we're seeing an uptick in cases. When you look at the color map that the CDC puts out, you know, it's gone just from a few weeks or a month or so ago to being green and yellow. Now, there's a lot of yellow orange, and some red there which means cases are going up, hospitalizations are going up, and we still have about 300 to 400 deaths per day, which is an unacceptably high level.

And that's the reason why we continue to emphasize the importance of people getting vaccinated. And if you're due for a boost, get boosted and if you live in a jurisdiction a county, a city or a state where you have a high dynamic of infection, and the CDC recommends the use of masks in an indoor setting, we should do that. We should do the things we have.


The interventions that we have to prevent infection and to prevent us to progress to severe disease if we do get infected.

It's the utilization of tools we have. Those are the kinds of things that are going to prevent us to have an even greater number of cases than we already have. WALKER: So, what exactly -- Dr. O'Connor did say that -- in that letter that President Biden is being monitored closely. What exactly are doctors' monitoring over the next few days?

FAUCI: You just do the kinds of things that you do that I do with my patients. You come in, you examine their chest, make sure everything is OK with breathing, you do oxygen saturations to make sure there's not a decrease in oxygen. You monitor their temperature, you monitor their body. You know, their vital signs. It's the routine thing. That's what they mean, when they watch him carefully.

It's routine. We do that all the time when you have patients who have disease like this.


WALKER: And --

FAUCI: There's nothing special about that.

WALKER: Sure, sure. And Mr. Biden will be leaving isolation once he is tested negative, is that correct?

FAUCI: That is correct. That is correct.

WALKER: And the -- that's not the CDC guidance, though, right? Because if the president is testing to get out of isolation, why not urge the same for all Americans to do what the president will be doing it, and perhaps update the CDC guidance?

FAUCI: Well, I'll leave that to the CDC. But let me explain, you know, people have different circumstances in their lives. And it may be very difficult sometimes for people to have the access to keep testing before they can go back, or to be out for the entire 10 days, where some people need to put a mask on and get back to work because of their social or economic situation.

So, it really is a heterogeneity of circumstances. And you have to really go by the circumstances that you're in. The president is in -- is in a position to be able to test every day and wait until he becomes a negative before he goes back.

But that doesn't mean that everyone has to do that.

WALKER: Dr. Fauci, appreciate you joining us this morning. Thank you so much for your time.

FAUCI: My pleasure. Good to be with you.

MARQUARDT: Really interesting interview there. Thank you, Amara.

Now, it is a community that seemed to dodge the worst of the pandemic's economic effects.

But in Lansing, Michigan, as business booms, there is cautious optimism about what lies ahead. We'll have that story next . (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


MARQUARDT: Federal Express or FedEx announced that it is cutting back on Sunday deliveries in rural parts of the United States.

It's going to be trimming ground service to homes by about 15 percent. The company says that a shift in economic conditions is driving that decision.

It is scaling back its expanded delivery service provided during the height of the pandemic when e-commerce was strong, and everyone needed to order online and get deliveries at home. And that change begins later next month.

WALKER: Well, despite record inflation and high gas prices, one local economy in Michigan has managed to rebound from the pandemic's dire straits.

MARQUARDT: But as small cities thrive, many businesses and consumers are unsure about the future.

Here is CNN's senior national correspondent Miguel Marquez.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sloppy Joe night at the Dykstra home. Nate and Treya Dykstra emerging from the pandemic stronger than ever. They have a new baby, bought their first house three years ago, Nate took a new job with a 50 percent pay increase and promise he'd never have to go to an office again.


NATE DYKSTRA, RESIDENT, LANSING, MICHIGAN: My old employer was going to eventually force everyone back into the office. This new role is permanent remote. So, I can work from home forever.

MARQUEZ: Still, it was tough.

How difficult was it to get through the pandemic?

TREYA DYKSTRA, RESIDENT, LANSING, MICHIGAN: It took a huge toll on my mental health.

MARQUEZ: For them, it's still the pandemic, not economic concerns that color their outlook and guide their decisions. Today, saving cash a priority.

T. DYKSTRA: We stopped traveling for the pandemic. We started investing more in like the house and trying to build the equity in --

MARQUEZ: Lansing, where they live is booming. Michigan State Capitol G.M. makes five vehicles here and has announced it will invest $2.6 billion on a new battery plant for electric vehicles.

ANDY SCHOR, MAYOR OF LANSING, MICHIGAN: What an exciting day. MARQUEZ: Local companies expanding to Neogen. Specializing in food safety, announced a $70 million expansion, bringing more high-income jobs here.

Even downtown Lansing, near the capital, starting to hum.

SCHOR: We are seeing demand for housing like you wouldn't believe in our downtown.

MARQUEZ: Like the rest of the country?

SCHOR: Yes, yes, absolutely. Absolutely. We opened about 200 units right over there. We opened about 150 units over there. We opened a new grocery store with units above it.

MARQUEZ: Shawn Elliott is a Lansing builder, contractor, and commercial real estate owner. Today, he is helping build a new downtown restaurant.

SHAWN ELLIOTT, OWNER, S.E. GROWTH CORPORATION: This is actually going to be a vegan restaurant that we're bringing to the mid-Michigan area, it's going to be called (INAUDIBLE).

MARQUEZ: During the pandemic, he went down to three employees. Today he has nine and would like to add at least two more.

Rhea Van Atta owns a business dedicated to all things Michigan in Lansing's old town. She too is hiring. But --

RHEA VAN ATTA, OWNER, OLD TOWN GENERAL STORE: I'm nervously confident and enthusiastic about what's going. I mean, what you do? You have to stay.


MARQUEZ: You're nervously confident. You're nervous about what?

ATTA: I'm nervous of what might be. Like, what if I have purchased all these things for the holidays? And then, there's a big recession and no one wants to buy it.

SCOTT IMBERMAN It's basically, the subscribers. It's a very weird economy.

MARQUEZ: Michigan economist Scott Imberman says, coming out of the pandemic, businesses, and consumers, are being hit in ways we've never seen.

IMBERMAN: I'm not sure we've really experienced anything quite like this. Where you have an inflationary environment, with a really strong labor market.

MARQUEZ: For families like the Dykstra, the less the worries less about the economy, and more about the general direction of the nation.

N. DYKSTRA: Everything seems to be a controversy these days. And I'm just scared that it's going to be like a Civil War coming in, eventually, because --

T. DYKSTRA: Yes. Yes, you would --

N. DYLSTRA: Both sides politically are --


T. DYKSTRA: (INAUDIBLE) place, yes.

N. DYLSTRA: -- pretty angry at the other half of the country.

MARQUEZ: Despite the boom times, worries about where the nation is headed, keeping expectations low and some families staying close to home.


MARQUEZ: So, nervously confident seems to have sum up what a lot of people are feeling these days. And here in Lansing, which is in the middle of this boom, there are a lot of questions about what the future holds, both economically and politically.

One thing though was crystal clear, work from home, the mayor business leaders, they all said it either had to be pared back, or and if they want their community to thrive, but people love working from home. So, that is something that places like Lansing and the country are going to have to grapple with in the months and years ahead. Amara, Alex?

WALKER: Yes, got to change with the times, but a fascinating story there. Thanks so much, Miguel.

A quick programming note. CNN's Original Series, "PATAGONIA: LIFE ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD" continues tomorrow night with a journey into the Patagonian Andes.

MARQUARDT: All right, this is a terrific series. And in this episode, we're going to see the relationship between the puma and the gaucho.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The legendary hunter, Mirco Utrovicic has a female puma in his sights. But he is not here to kill the puma, he is here to protect it,

MIRCO UTROVICIC, GAUCHO AND PUMA TRACKER (TEXT): I used to hunt them. Now, I tracked them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A year ago, medical change sides. The puma hunter is now the puma guardian.


MARQUARDT: Amazing. Catch an all-new episode of "PATAGONIA: LIFE ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD". That's tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time right here on CNN. Now, Odesa's port has become the latest Russian target just a day after a deal was reached to allow grain to be exported out of Ukraine. How the U.S. and Ukrainian officials are responding? That's coming up next.



WALKER: New this morning, Ukrainian officials are calling on the United Nations and Turkey to ensure that Russia complies with the deal, allowing grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

The call comes after it took less than 24 hours for Russian forces to resume missile attacks in Ukraine after reaching that agreement.

MARQUARDT: Now, one of those ports that Ukraine has been desperately trying to get grain out of is Odesa, right there on the Black Sea. And that's where officials today say there was a strike by several Russian rockets.

There were also rocket attacks in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv and another city in the region, where several people were killed and injured.

WALKER: The White House announced this week the U.S. is sending another $270 million to Ukraine, nearly five months after Russia invaded that country.

MARQUARDT: And this latest package which comes as the Ukrainians continue to ask the international community for more weapons to sustain their fight against Russia. This includes medium range rocket systems and tactical drones.

And the Biden administration has now sent more than $8 billion in aid to Ukraine, so far, since President Biden came into office.

But foreign countries like the U.S. aren't the only ones helping Ukraine's war effort as this fight drags on. I recently met one of the Ukrainian military's youngest supporters in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Take a look.


MARQUARDT: At a small folding table outside of busy Kyiv shopping center, Valeria Yezhova, just 10 years old, quickly and methodically dismantles every opponent who sits down at her checkers board.

Defeated, they dropped money onto the growing pile of bills in her box, next to a sign that reads, we are helping the Ukrainian army. What many who are playing her don't know is that for Valeria, checkers is no simple hobby. She is the world champion for her age, taking home the trophy last summer.

I really wanted to help our army and soldiers. And I asked my mother what I should do, she said. My mom asked me what I'm good at. I said playing checkers.

In nine days outside the shopping center, she raised more than $700. She then presented it to the head of a foundation that buys equipment for the military, Serhiy Prytula, a celebrity and activist whom Valeria calls her hero. He, broke down in tears.

She says that, at first, people hesitated to play her. Then, as they watched her beat everyone, more and more stepped up to try their luck.

Have you ever lost any of the games while you've been doing this?

I've never lost here, she says.

Word quickly spread about the young champion doing her part for her country. When this man heard from his wife that Valeria was playing nearby, he quickly left work and ran over.

Valeria is already a legend here, he says. He'd rather lose to her. She's doing a great job helping the Ukrainian army. She is probably touched the whole of Ukraine.

Other kids from her checkers' club have followed Valeria's lead. Ukraine's children feel this war profoundly.


MARQUARDT: Do you think about the war a lot, or are you just trying to live your normal life?

I would like to live a normal life, but during the war, it's difficult, she says. Of course, I'm scared. There are a lot of negative feelings.

The defeated ask for photos with the growing star. Valeria is poised, calm, and all too happy to oblige.

Shall we play a game?


MARQUARDT: She also obliges me. White first.

YEZHOVA: White first.

MARQUARDT: With zero hesitation in her moves. I forgot about going backwards. As my pieces fly off the board. There was nothing I can do.

YEZHOVA: Thanks for play.

MARQUARDT: Thank you for destroying me. Thank you very much for the game.

YEZHOVA: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: It was an honor to play with a champion.

YEZHOVA: Thank you.



MARQUEZ: And Amara, you know, what's really embarrassing is actually before I went out to meet her, I have watched a couple strategy videos on YouTube.


MARQUARDT: And that clearly had absolutely no effect and didn't help at all. But I got to tell you, what was really remarkable is how eager people were to meet her. They were really admiring of what she was doing and really just -- they loved running into her and getting to play with her, and like me, getting to lose to her.

WALKER: Yes. What a beautiful story and amazing that you found this precocious 10-year-old girl who is not just talented, but just so gracious to use her talents in that way.

What a beautiful story, Alex. Thank you for that.

MARQUARDT: Thank you. She was very, very sweet.

NEW DAY continues after this short break.