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New Day Saturday

Witnesses: Trump Refused To Take Action During Capitol Attack; DHS Has Launched Criminal Probe Into Missing Text Messages; W.H. Doctor: Biden Improving, Taking Extra Medication To Treat COVID; House Passes Bill To Codify Same-Sex Marriage; CNN Poll: 30 Percent Of Americans Support Biden's Handling Economy; Oxford Police Arrest Suspect For Murder Of University Of Mississippi Student; Massive Heat Expected To Bake Much Of The U.S. This Weekend; Russia Missile Strikes Continue Just Hours After Deal Reached; U.K. Intel Chief Says Russia Is "About To Run Out Of Steam" In Ukraine; Satellites That Hunt Polluters From Space. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired July 23, 2022 - 08:00   ET




ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your New Day. I'm Alex Marquardt.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Amara Walker. Secret Service investigators scrutinizing the phones of 10 agents who exchanged text messages around the date of the insurrection. What we're learning about those messages and where the investigation into why they weren't saved, goes from here.

MARQUARDT: The White House is saying that President Joe Biden's COVID symptoms have improved but he is taking additional medication to help fight off the virus. The latest on his condition and the questions over why we haven't heard directly from the President's doctor.

WALKER: Also Mother Nature cranking up the heat. More than 85 million of us are under heat alerts today and it's only going to get hotter tomorrow when will finally start to cool down.

MARQUARDT: And no one matched all of the winning numbers in last night's Mega Millions drawing. The astronomical jackpot now on the table in Tuesday's drawn.

It is Saturday, July 23rd. Thank you so much for waking up with us. Very nice to be back with you, Amara.

WALKER: Very good to be with you, Alex. Well, we have a lot of news to get to. And the January 6 committee says it will hold its final public hearing in September. This after our primetime presentation outlining President Trump's inaction during the attack on the Capitol.

MARQUARDT: Now former White House aides who are lifelong Republicans, they outlined how for 187 minutes President Trump watched televised coverage of the carnage at the Capitol on TV while refusing pleas from everyone around him to call for an end to the violence.

CNN's Tom Foreman takes us through that timeline.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Amara, hey, Alex. What emerged out of this latest hearing was the notion that the President, even though he ended his speech, urge people to go up to the Capitol, saw it turned violent, still held off for hours before doing anything about it. Did he know it was violent? All the witnesses say, yes, he did.

Not only did his staff know about it, not only was he told about it, but also he could see it as he sat for hours in this dining room just off the Oval Office, watching it on Fox News.

And yet, even as violence erupted, even as Secret Service agents fearing for their own lives, according to witnesses, were trying to get the Vice President out of the middle of this. The President continued to refuse to take any action.

His own White House counsel was saying to the Chief of Staff, look, they want to hang the Vice President. And the response from the chief of staff was, well, President Trump thinks maybe he deserves it. He's not doing his job.

And in fact, his response to all of this, even when this was happening, was the President put out a tweet that said, Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done.

Mike Pence couldn't do what Trump wanted him to do. That's not his role. It's not the law. But Trump said he should stop this election from being certified. Pence did not do that. And witnesses say that amped up the violence even more. You see how it's building here.

So much so that soon there was a flurry of messages coming in from members of Congress saying, please tell the President to calm these people down from members of right-wing media.

The President needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home and on it went. The President's own son, Don Jr., sent a message to the chief of staff saying he's got to condemn this S-H-I-T ASAP. Still, no result from all of this.

The President by all accounts kept watching TV, kept trying to call senators to tell them to stop the certification and simply refused to make any effort, as far as anyone knows, to call the military, to call police, to call Homeland Security, to call anybody who could stop this.

In fact, he did tweet a couple of times about the idea that this should be peace -- what he said remain peaceful, not really acknowledging the violence there. It was clearly violent when he was saying remain peaceful.

[08:05:07] And this, according to witnesses, had to be coaxed out of him by his own daughter because he didn't even want to talk about peace, and all of these. And beyond that, there is the notion that as all these people testified, he remained frustrated about the whole idea, even the next day outtakes, showed him talking about what had happened the day before.

And even then, refusing to acknowledge that he lost the election, perpetrating the very lie that led to all these people gathering at the White House, all these people marched into the Capitol to all this violence. A lie that he's still yet to push aside.

Alex, Amara?

WALKER: It's still shocking every time you hear these accounts. Thanks so much for that, Tom Foreman.

Well, when the January 6 committee resumes its hearings in September, some possible key evidence will likely be missing, text messages from Secret Service agents at the time of the insurrection.

MARQUARDT: And now the agency is a subject of a rare criminal probe. CNN's Whitney Wild has more than that.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT 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.

In Washington, I'm Whitney Wild.

MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Whitney Wild for that. A lot more coming on that angle. Now former President Trump's adviser, a senior adviser, Steve Bannon, he could soon be headed to jail.

WALKER: In less than three hours of deliberations, a federal jury handed down a guilty verdict in his criminal contempt trial. CNN's Katelyn Polantz has more.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Steve Bannon, that adviser to former President Donald Trump, he was convicted on Friday by a jury in federal court in Washington, D.C., as they weighed whether Bannon was in criminal contempt of Congress for failing to appear for testimony or to turn over documents to the House Select Committee's January 6 investigation.

After this verdict was delivered in court, the chair and the vice chair of the House Select Committee applauded it. They said that, "The conviction of Steve Bannon is a victory for the rule of law and an important affirmation of the Select Committee's work. Anyone who obstructs our investigation should face consequences. No one is above the law."

So this was about punishing Bannon today not trying to get information out of him at this time. This was about a prosecution in criminal court. Now, Bannon is going to be back in court in late October for his sentencing. His attorney says he wants to appeal on court. He was smirking as the verdict was read, after the prosecutors presented this case.

The jury clearly agreeing with their simple take on the matter that you have to show up, you have to turn over documents when Congress wants you to, when they subpoena you. But after court, he reiterated that he stands with Donald Trump still.

Katelyn Polantz, CNN, Washington.

WALKER: All right, Katelyn, appreciate that. Thank you.

Turning now to the coronavirus pandemic, the White House urging Americans who haven't already to go get a COVID-19 booster shot as cases continue to surge nationwide. In just the last two weeks, the number of people living in a county with a high COVID community level has nearly doubled to 60 percent.

Cases are highest and rising fastest in the south with the Midwest and Northeast also seeing an uptick in infections. But when you look at the pace of vaccinations, less than a third of the population has received a booster shot.

And we're also following President Biden's condition this morning after he tested positive for COVID 19 on Thursday. White House official say Biden is taking the COVID antiviral medication Paxlovid.


MARQUARDT: CNN's Jasmine Wright is at the White House this morning. Jasmine, what do we know about the President's condition this morning?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, the President is entering day two of a five-day isolation period here at the White House.

And doctors say that he is improving and his symptoms are improving as the days go along. But we are waiting for an update just this morning on the President's condition for Saturday.

Now, we learned yesterday that in addition to the President's symptoms improving that he has been prescribed additional medication to deal with some of the outlining symptoms, and that included that he was prescribed Tylenol after his personal doctor, Dr. Kevin O'Connor found that he had a 99.4 elevated temperature on Thursday night. So he was prescribed Tylenol to deal with some of that discomfort.

He was also using his Albuterol inhaler. Although the White House told reporters he had used it a couple of times since testing positive on Thursday to deal with some of those discomforts from coughing and things like that.

Now, the President does not use the inhaler regularly. The White House told reporters but he uses it incrementally, especially when he has a viral conditions as he does now.

Now we just heard from Dr. Anthony Fauci on CNN air a few moments ago, and he said that he talked to Dr. Kevin O'Connor, Biden's personal doctor last night, and he provided us with a bit of an update here. Take a listen.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The President continues to improve and we have every reason to believe that he will do very well for the obvious reasons, he's vaccinated, doubly boost. He's 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. He has no trouble breathing at all right now.


WRIGHT: So there we heard the President -- excuse me -- heard Dr. Fauci talking about the inhaler, saying he doesn't have breathing problems at all. But of course, we are waiting here at the White House to hear more about his condition on Saturday.

MARQUARDT: All right, good to hear that positive diagnosis from Dr. Fauci. Jasmine Wright at the White House, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

WALKER: Coming up, we'll tell you exactly which Republican lawmakers support the bill to codify marriage equality in the Senate and which ones do not. And as millions brace for record temperatures this weekend, another fire has broken out near Yosemite National Park in California. The details ahead this hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


WALKER: Lawmakers are working on a bill to codify same-sex marriage following the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

MARQUARDT: And the House of Representatives just passed the Respect for Marriage Act this week, but it needs at least 10 Senate Republicans to move it forward. CNN's Congressional Reporter Daniella Diaz is live on Capitol Hill. So Daniella, what happens next?

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: The plan, Alex, is for the Senate to try to take this up. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer actually took procedural steps to move this legislation forward.

But really it's as you said, the goal is to get at least 10 Republicans along with all 50 Democrats to advance this legislation to break that 60 vote threshold for the filibuster.

And right now, this is what we know about who's supporting the legislation on the Republican side.

Right now, there are five Republican senators who have said they will likely support this legislation, those five being Rob Portman of Ohio, Susan Collins of Maine, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina.

Now we also know that there are a Republican senators that have said they will not support this legislation, and it will pose this bill. And 15 Republican senators who are still undecided. 15, of course, they just need five more to add to that 10 to advance that legislation.

But Democrats are incredibly hopeful. Of course, this comes after the Supreme Court struck down Roe versus Wade. They want to codify same- sex marriage, make it into federal law.

And these senators appear to be able to -- the Democratic senators are going to appear to be able to advance this legislation. It's just the clock is ticking. Of course, this could become a major issue in the midterms that could help Democrats, which is why they want to try to do something on this in the next two weeks before the Senate goes on a month long recess in August.

But, of course, remember it already passed the House, 47 House Republicans supported that legislation when it passed the House last week. Now we'll go to the Senate. They've moving forward to try to advance this. So we'll see whether Democrats are able to do that. Alex, Amara?

WALKER: All right, Daniella Diaz, appreciate it. Thank you so much.

MARQUARDT: That's all about the filibuster. Now here with us to discuss the latest developments in the political world, our CNN political analysts, Maria Cardona and Alice Stewart. Maria is a Democratic strategist and Alice is a Republican strategist. Thank you both for joining us this morning.

Alice --


MARQUARDT: -- I want to start with you and what we just heard there from Daniella. You had 47 House Republicans who voted to codify same- sex marriage. Now we have only eight House Republicans voting to protect access to contraceptives. How do you account for that split on the issues?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A lot of it comes down to what the polls show and the latest polls, Gallup polls show that 71 percent of people in America would do support legalization for same- sex marriage and Republicans are fully in favor of that and support that. And I expect to see more Republicans come on board to sort of codify what we see in that regard.

I do believe that it's important that we keep a lot of these measures up to the states and let the state's decide what is the best option for these issues.

But with regard to a federal codifying of same-sex marriage laws, I think they will get the Republican support. And when it comes to contraceptives, look, the pro-life issue in the pro-life movement has been very active against abortion.


But while they are against abortion they are not against contraceptive. So I think it's important that they come on board and support issues such as that, that help to avoid the abortion issue because there is universal support for the most part in support of contraceptives.

MARQUARDT: And speaking of polling, Maria, a scary number, almost half of Americans think that it's at least somewhat likely that elected officials will successfully overturn the results of a U.S. election in the next few years, simply because their party didn't win. And now we have a bipartisan group that just reached a deal on a bill that would make it harder to overturn elections like that.


MARQUARDT: Do you think that that is enough to prevent any potential future messing with those elections and help restore faith in them?

CARDONA: No, Alex, I don't think it's enough. I actually think that it's kind of jaw dropping that at this day and age, the United States of America, the sort of, you know, foundation of democracy in this world has to pass a law codifying protection of fair and free elections. I think that just goes to show how dangerous what Donald Trump did last cycle was, but it's still not enough that this law was passed, Alex. Why?

Because you still have way too many conservative, extreme Republicans that are running at the state level that believe in the big lie, that are running for positions where they will be in a position and will have the power to overturn free and fair elections if they don't think it went their way.

And so I think what needs to happen is for this to be an issue, an electoral issue, an election issue for Americans, as they go to the polls this November. And they realize what will happen.

If they give Republicans control of the House and the Senate, our elections, our democracy is on the line, because so many of these folks who are running at the local level, at the state level and even at the congressional level.

You had 147 House Republicans, Alex, let's not forget this, that voted -- did not vote to certify the elections in 2021. And so that to me, this bill, it's a great start. It's jaw dropping to me that we had to pass it. It's not enough.

MARQUARDT: Yes, it is jaw dropping. Of course, we were reminded this week with the January 6 committee of how dangerous things can get when people feel like an election was stolen from them.

And Alice, looking ahead to 2024, we did see President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who, of course, have a terrible relationship right now.

They were both in Arizona yesterday supporting different candidates in the Senate primary on the Republican side. What did you see there that tells us what a potential 2024 showdown would look like between these two men?

STEWART: It shows one man that's looking to the future. And what is best for people have -- in this case, Arizona, or in the 2024 case, the people of America, what's best for their future and a candidate that is campaigning and running on policies for the future as opposed to grievances of the past. And we need to get past that.

There are far too many Republicans are still re-litigating the 2020 election and we need to move on from that. I'm encouraged to see Mike Pence and other rational Republicans out there supporting strong conservative Republican candidates on the issues and not campaigning on the false election claims of 2020 that the election was fraudulent.

And this right here will be a good test case and a showdown with regard to where Republicans are moving forward, not just in the midterm elections, but in 2024.

And what I'm hearing and seeing is, the more successful cases like we have in Virginia, a candidate that will run on the issues and policies that impact the American people as opposed to grievances of the past, that's the way to move forward.

And I'm encouraged to see people like Mike Pence, we have Ron DeSantis, we have other, a good strong bench on the Republican Party of candidates that will focus on policies as opposed to personalities and past grievances. MARQUARDT: And speaking of the midterms, Maria, you just mentioned them that, you know, they're -- Democrats who are desperately trying to cling on to both Houses and do have a better chance in the Senate than they do in the House, aren't getting any favors from President Biden, whose approval rating has only been sinking, particularly when it comes to his handling of the economy.

What do you think President Biden can do ahead of the midterms to get more Americans on his side and what Democrats can do to get them on their side?


CARDONA: There's a couple of things here, Alex. First of all, I think Americans understand the headwinds that this President -- I think, the historic headwinds that this President has been dealing with.

But I think what you're also seeing, Alex, is that Americans are seeing the midterm elections as a contrast between the person who was running in their own district or in their own state and their own local election, on the Democratic side versus the candidate on the Republican side.

And what you see is a vast contrast between candidates on the Democratic side, who are there to focus on issues and fight for working Americans for middle class Americans on the economy, and, frankly, on issues like privacy, like freedom to focus on trying to undo the extreme that has become the Republican Party in this country.

And what you're seeing in the polls, Alex, is that Americans are starting to decouple what has been the historic coupling of a President's approval rating and how his party does in the midterm elections, because you're seeing now Democrats and many polls, take the lead on the generic ballot.

And when you focus on the actual elections district by district and state by state, the Democrats are doing a lot better than what you would --


MARQUARDT: I think we've lost Maria there. And we have to leave it there. That's all the time we have. Maria Cardona and Alice Stewart, thank you so much. Alice is still with us.

STEWART: Thanks, Alex.

MARQUARDT: Thank you for being with us this morning. Amara?

STEWART: Thanks, Alex.

WALKER: All right, Alex. Parts of the Northeast could see triple-digit temperatures today. We'll tell you where heat records are most likely to be broken next.


MARQUARDT: Welcome back. Here is a look at some of the top stories we are following this morning. Police in Oxford, Mississippi have arrested and charged 22-year-old Sheldon Timothy Harrington Jr. in connection with the disappearance and murder of the University of Mississippi student Jimmy 'Jay' Lee.

WALKER: Lee went missing on July 8th and his vehicle was found three days later, but his body still has not been recovered. Authorities say the investigation is ongoing and are asking the public to contact them with any tips.

In California, a large wildfires spreading dangerously fast is destroying parts of Mariposa County. Right now, the Oak fire is 0 percent contained. And authorities say more than 4,300 acres have been burned.

The fire started yesterday afternoon, has already spread all the way to the Sierra National Forest. The county sheriff has forced evacuations and road closures for some surrounding areas.

MARQUARDT: And the Mega Millions jackpot got even bigger. Now people will have a chance to win a whopping $790 million next Tuesday after no ticket matched all six winning numbers in last night's drawing.

Now, the nights $630 million prize was the equivalent of about $388 million in cash. And if someone is lucky enough to walk away as a winner in the next drawing, they will get a paltry $464 million in cash.

Now the latest Mega Millions jackpot marks one of the highest prizes in history with only three lottery jackpots, everyone with higher. I hope you have your ticket, Amara.

WALKER: Not yet, but I will. That's too late.

MARQUARDT: I'm going to get as well.

WALKER: Yes, let's do it.

MARQUARDT: Now, on a more serious note, millions of Americans are under heat warnings or advisories today as several cities are set to see record high temperatures.

WALKER: Yes, it has been brutal. Let's go now to Meteorologist Allison Chinchar with more in the weather center. Allison?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right. Yes, look, it's summer, we get it. It's supposed to be hot in a lot of these places. But you have to keep in mind for some of these areas.

It's been triple-digit temperatures for weeks on end without much of a break. So continuing that trend, it's why you have things like heat illnesses really starting to tick up in a lot of different places.

Here's a map showing where all the current excessive heat alerts are. And you can see we're talking over a dozen states here.

Basically what this means is yes, it's hot, but these temperatures are well above where they normally would be this time of year. You're looking at the heat index for this.

So the temperature today in Richmond, Virginia at 95. But when you factor in the humidity, it's going to feel more like 102. Same thing for Philadelphia, Norfolk that feels like temperature getting up around 100.

The thing is tomorrow, it's expected to get even warmer. So D.C. going from a high of 97 today to near triple digits for just the temperature tomorrow.

Boston likely topping out at 98 tomorrow. And if they do, it will break a nearly 90-year-old record and it's one of many records that could be set either today or tomorrow. But 35 different locations have the potential to break records in the next 48 hours.

Now the good news. Some areas will finally start to get at least a little bit of a temporary relief and that's going to be in some Midwestern locations, Omaha, Chicago, even St. Louis.

You are going to finally start to see a little bit of a dip in the temperatures but it comes at a cost. You have to go through the potential for some strong to severe thunderstorms today and tomorrow.

Damaging wind gusts, very large hail. We're talking golf balls are even larger. And yes, even the possibility for some tornadoes.

Minneapolis, Chicago, Des Moines, Green Bay, even stretching over towards Detroit, that's what's going to have your temperatures cooled back down once this system finally moves through.

The hope is, Amara and Alex, that we don't have too much damage in the short term before we get those cooler temperatures.

WALKER: Yes, exactly. All right, Allison Chinchar, thank you.


MARQUARDT: Scary maps. Now the head of British intelligence believes that Russia is about to run out of steam, he says, in Ukraine. Is he right? We're going to be discussing that next.


But first, here's a quick preview of the next United Shades of America where you will see W. Kamau Bell in the legendary sports town of Boston. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, spend away. I've heard Yankee Stadium, I've heard of that pack bell I mean, that's people think I've paid this money and I have this right to now do this. W. KAMAU BELL, CNN "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" HOST: I'm paying for the right to express myself.


BELL: And also, there's something I get, baked into sports in this country where booing as a part of it. And nothing but abuse is a part of it. Not just like it's OK. It's actually a part of the ritual.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, that's toxic. That's about as toxic as it gets. And this idea that somehow your health is irrelevant, that your job is to be a show horse and get out there and entertain the people and you make a lot of money to do that. You know that ugliness is impossible to divorce from what professional sports is.


MARQUARDT: And be sure to watch the full episode tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN. We'll be right back.



MARQUARDT: After more than five months of Russia's war in Ukraine, the head of the U.K.'s Secret Intelligence Service known as MI6, he's now saying that he believes that Russian forces are getting tired. And that very soon, Ukraine may have a moment to strike back. Take a listen.


RICHARD MOORE, MI6 CHIEF: I think they're about to run out of steam. I think our assessment is that the Russians will increasingly find it difficult to supply manpower and material over the next few weeks.

They will have to pause in some way. And that will give the Ukrainians opportunities to strike back. The morale is still high, they're starting to receive increasing amounts of good weaponry.


MARQUARDT: But at this moment, Ukraine is still being hit with Russian missile attacks. Just this morning, the port city of Odesa on the Black Sea was struck by Russian missiles. Now, no injuries have been reported yet.

But the attack has raised questions about a grain deal that was just reached with Russia less than 24 hours ago.

Joining me now is CNN National Security Analyst and former CIA Chief of Operations, Steve Hall. Steve, thank you so much for being with me this morning. I want to get to those comments by Richard Moore from the MI6 six in just a moment. But let's start with the news.

We have the strikes on the Odesa port this morning, less than 24 hours as I was saying, since this deal was struck to get grain out of that very port. Has this deal failed before it's even started?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, you know, anytime you enter into a deal with the Russians, you have to understand what you're getting into. I mean, we have to recall that the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, these are the same people.

We just a few months ago said no, there's no chance we're going to invade Ukraine, these are all just, you know, military maneuvers that were massing these, you know, forces on the Russian side of the border, so don't worry about an invasion.

So, obviously, I think all negotiators, the Turks, certainly the Ukrainians and the Western powers that were involved as well, the U.N., I think they understood that going into this, you know, any agreement that you reach with Russia, really, it's not worth the paper that it's written on, you just have to see how Russia behaves and how they decided to twist it.

And, of course, within 24 hours, they decided the first thing that they were going to do, was bomb Odesa, which would be a key port to get this grain out. So it's really not a big surprise, I think, for anybody that this has happened.

MARQUARDT: And the Russian official you see right there that Sergei Shoigu, he's the defense minister, and it's his forces who carried out that bombing today. But Steve, going back to those comments by Richard Moore, the head of MI6, he says that they have suffered an epic fail, that they're going to run out of steam in the coming weeks. How much do you think that this could be a turning point in this conflict?

HALL: You know, this conflict is sort of wending its way through a bunch of different turning points. Certainly, in chapter one of this, we saw the Russians fail miserably as they tried to take over the entirety of Ukraine to include Kyiv, that didn't go so well.

Then we saw a resurgence, where they've had a bit more success in the eastern regions of, you know, the Donbas regions, Luhansk, Donetsk. So they're still they're still doing quite well there, although the Ukrainians are putting up a stiff resistance.

Now things are moving towards the south, the headstone region and other locations like that. Will the Russians run out of steam? It's going to be hard for them to maintain this operational tempo, I think. But I think we also have to be a little bit careful of Western analysis on this.

Things that Western armies might not do, drive their troops into the ground, use their troops as cannon fodder, not be terribly concerned about how their troops on the ground are behaving. Those are all very, you know, western types of ideas that the Russians simply don't care about.

Vladimir Putin has no problems with driving his troops into the ground. And there's a long Russian history of simply using poorly armed troops, poorly trained troops, essentially for cannon fodder to try to push politically things where the Kremlin wants to get. So, yes, I think they are going to have trouble keeping this going, manifesting these operations. But at the same time, they're also going to push their troops right to the breaking limit, which is not something we would do in the West.

MARQUARDT: Steve, there has been a lot of speculation about President Putin's health, reading a lot of tea leaves and every piece of video that we get, but now we have both the director of the CIA Bill Burns and the head of MI6, both in the past few days, saying that they do not believe that President Putin is in ill health. For you, as someone who would have studied that back in the day, is this matter settled?

HALL: No, it's far from settled. You know, this is always a very, very difficult challenge for foreign governments to try to figure out, you know, what the relative health of the leadership is. In some senses, it's a little bit of a sort of a -- grasping at straws type of thing, you know, maybe he'll die, and then everything will be better.


In fact, in Russia, we don't exactly know who would come after Putin and certainly whether he would be any better. But I have to take the intelligence as it's being presented publicly for what it's worth, which is their -- as of right now, Vladimir Putin physically at least looks pretty good, psychologically, and how long he'll maintain that, we'll have to see.

But at least, it seems like both intelligence services from the United States and from Great Britain seem to agree that, as for right now, Putin seems to be doing OK.

MARQUARDT: And Steve, I just got back from Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have been raving about these HIMARS systems that the U.S. has been sending. The U.S. just announced four more systems will be going over.

But as some Ukrainians have noted, they are saying that if they'd had them from the beginning, that this war would look very different. Do you agree with that?

HALL: Well, certainly, if the Ukrainians had started out with the amount of weaponry that the West has provided for them just recently, yes, I think it would have given the Ukrainians a head start.

But I think one of the major challenges for Ukraine and really for the rest of the world is maintaining the focus on what's going on in Ukraine and maintaining the focus on what Russia is doing, because this is not just some small regional war that the United States and our Western allies are supporting and providing those weapons systems too.

This is a struggle between democracy and autocracy. And that's what all of us in the West, I think, have to remember as we continue to hopefully see more and more reporting on this as the war continues.

MARQUARDT: All right, Steve Hall, always appreciate your expertise. Thanks so much for your time this morning.

HALL: My pleasure.


WALKER: All right, Alex. Great conversation there.

Just ahead, we'll show you how small satellites are fighting pollution by looking for gas leaks right here on Earth.



WALKER: It was quite a sight in California after a small plane there crashed into the waves at Huntington Beach. Local media reported that surfers and other onlookers rushed to the plane to pull out the pilot.

And that's a good spot to land, I guess, because that part of Huntington Beach has a lot of surfers gathering there.

The pilot was taken to the hospital with minor injuries so he did survive. The cause of the crash is being investigated.

MARQUARDT: Lucky guy.

WALKER: Right.

MARQUARDT: Well right now, satellites as small as microwave ovens, they're circling the Earth.

WALKER: Here is CNN's Rachel Crane to explain what they're looking for.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Orbiting far above Earth, satellites as small as microwave ovens, are on pollution patrol, hunting around the clock for emitters of an invisible potent gas, methane.

Emissions of methane account for 30 percent of global warming, according to the United Nations, driving climate change.

FRED KRUPP, PRESIDENT, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND: Methane is 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over the first 20 years of its release. That's an opportunity. When you reduce the methane emissions, you can quickly reduce the temperature impact.

CRANE (voice-over): Leaks from sources like gas pipes, oil wells and landfills often go undetected. Until now, new orbiting satellites, including six from Canada based GHGSat are making the invisible visible.

STEPHANE GERMAIN, PRESIDENT, GHGSAT: Space is really important because you can go anywhere anytime and see every corner of the world. CRANE (voice-over): GHGSat's President Stephane Germain invited us inside the company's Methane Mission Control, which is generating data 24/7.

GERMAIN: Our satellites working with third party satellites. We look at hotspots where there might be some areas of interest.

CRANE (voice-over): What they found are some of the biggest, previously undetected methane polluters in the world, including sites in Russia and Argentina, Germain said.

GERMAIN: We're looking at a high resolution map of a landfill in Argentina, where you actually see not one but two different plumes.

CRANE (voice-over): They then sell the data to paying customers, many of whom are in the oil and gas sector, with the hope that the polluters will then fix the leaks on their own.

GERMAIN: It's not always the aggressive sort of public shaming that worked best. Sometimes working privately with operators, or working privately through diplomatic channels can be as effective or even more effective.

CRANE (voice-over): If that fails, after a delay, the company makes some of the data public so the world can hold polluters accountable. GHGSat launched three new satellites in May, and they say they identified 140 million tons of methane in 2021 alone. But identifying methane is only the start.

Germain says less than 2 percent of those leaks were mitigated, despite more than 50 percent of the emissions being potentially fixable.

(on-camera): That's shocking, though, to learn that the mitigation is such a low percentage at this point that's frightening, frankly.

GERMAIN: Action is the hard part. Getting people to understand and then want to change their ways, takes time. It's complicated. But I'm an optimist.

CRANE (voice-over): Others aren't as optimistic.

ROB JACKSON, EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE PROFESSOR, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: It's naive, I think, to assume that just because we can find a source of pollution means that it will magically go away.

CRANE (voice-over): Rob Jackson, an expert on methane, thinks satellites can make a huge impact, but they aren't a silver bullet fix.

JACKSON: We'll be able to find super emitters in a way that we've never been able to before in real time. We'll know where they are and who's responsible for them. There will be cases where that happens, but there will be others particularly internationally, when I think it will require more work. CRANE (voice-over): GHGSat isn't alone in the methane reconnaissance game. The European Space Agency has had a satellite in orbit since 2017, and the Environmental Defense Fund and others are planning their own launches.

All in the hope of helping the more than 100 countries that have signed the global methane pledge to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030.


GERMAIN: It won't be as fast as we'd like, but I think we're going to get there.

CRANE (voice-over): With a lot of help from space.

Rachel Crane, CNN, Montreal.


WALKER: Fascinating stuff, but as we heard their action is key.

Well, thanks for joining me and Alex this morning. Smerconish is up next.

MARQUARDT: But we will be back just one hour from now and we hope to see you then.