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New Day Saturday

At Least 16 People Killed In Catastrophic Flooding In Kentucky; DHS Watchdog Knew Of Missing Texts Earlier Than Previously Thought; California's Oak Fire Near Yosemite Now 48 Percent Contained; Chinese Rocket Debris Could Fall to Earth Next Week. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired July 30, 2022 - 06:00   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Buenos dias. Good morning and welcome to your New Day. I'm Boris Sanchez.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Sara Sidner. Sixteen people are confirmed dead following devastating floods in Kentucky. The governor there says the death toll could potentially double. This morning, we're hearing from survivors as the state braces for even more rain in the coming days.

SANCHEZ: Plus, a CNN exclusive. We're learning the Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security knew for months about missing and deleted Secret Service text messages sent during the insurrection. What that could mean for the January 6 committee's investigation?

SIDNER: And Senator Joe Manchin breathes new life into President Biden's domestic agenda. How this latest string of legislative wins could play in the crucial midterm elections as Democrats fight to stay in power?

SANCHEZ: Plus, somebody might be waking up a billionaire this morning. The latest on that mega jackpot and where things stand right now.

SANCHEZ: We're so thrilled that you're with us this Saturday, July 30th. Welcome to your New Day and welcome to one of CNN's finest, one of my favorite people, Sara Sidner. Good morning, Sara.

SIDNER: Thank you. Buenos dias, otto. We're both Miami people. That's where we grew up.

SANCHEZ: That's right.

SIDNER: So it's wonderful to be here. I need a quart of detail though. I'm not a morning person.

SANCHEZ: Yes, you got to ramp up the energy for these early hours. Sadly, this morning we start with tragedy --

SIDNER: Yes. SANCHEZ: -- and some catastrophic flooding in Kentucky. At least 16 people are dead including six children. Authorities warn though the death toll is almost certain to rise.

SIDNER: Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says it's hard to get a fix on the exact number since self-service is out in many areas. Rushing water ripped homes off their foundation and wiped-out roads across parts of eastern Kentucky.


PASTOR PETER YOUMANS, DAVIDSON BAPTIST CHURCH: Our church was a cement, the first floor was a cement and it completely wiped everything out. It's all that you see is scraps of cement.


SIDNER: The fast-rising floodwaters forced many people to evacuate, you see that there. But the storms caught a whole lot of people by surprise in the middle of the night.

SANCHEZ: We're learning about this heartbreaking story in Knotts County. Four kids died when they and their parents were forced to climb to their roof to escape the rising water. Neighbors say the parents tried to hold on to them but the young kids were swept away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a house there and this trailer with this family of six and it just washed them away.


SIDNER: CNN's Mike Valerio joins us live from Hazard, Kentucky. Mike, give us a sense of what you are seeing. I see that it's dark there. Still very, very early but the devastation seems to be really serious.

MIKE VALERIO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Sara and Boris, good morning to you. And what we are seeing as we zoom out here are homes that have been torn clear off of their foundations. As our picture widens, you can see these eight lines of the white concrete foundations. And also, Sara and Boris, you can see this line of debris, this 45-degree angle that's right in front of me and over my left hand shoulder, and it shows you the line where the debris was pushed by this creek, the grape vine creek here in Hazard, Kentucky, overflowing its banks and then just pushing the home clear off its foundations careening into the creek behind me.

We actually, guys, have some drone video captured during the daylight hours yesterday, just showing you where this home ended up 100 yards away from where we're standing, again, showing the power of these floodwaters, a tame and docile creek in normal times, just going above and beyond what homeowners expected.

So, Sara and Boris, we're really looking to three things in these early morning hours into the afternoon today. As you mentioned, the death toll stands at 16 with six children part of that death toll. Yesterday during a news conference, Governor Beshear said, hey, we think that the death toll could at least multiply by two. He said at least, so we are holding our breaths, wondering how much more devastation this town can possibly take.

There are also guys 27 members of the same hospital system who are still missing at this hour. And third, this is going to be the only dry day that we have in the next 48 to 72 hours.


This is the opportunity for rescuers to access these parts of the Commonwealth of Kentucky that are still cut off from the civilized world until we have rain chances and flood chances growing again, Monday into Tuesday. Guys, we'll send it back to you.

SIDNER: Mike Valerio, thank you so much for that report.

SANCHEZ: Survivors of the flood are sharing their stories and one woman says her home and her parents' home was badly damaged in the flooding. But this morning, she's grateful because she arrived just in time to save her elderly parents. Here's some of what you shared.


KAYLA FUGATE, KENTUCKY HOME DESTROYED BY FLOOD: So after about an hour, I got in my car, and I made my way to my dad. It took me about 45 minutes to make a 15-mile trip because it was so bad. The rain was horrible. When I got to their house, they were asleep. I woke them up. And we immediately went to the back porch.

And the river was rising incredibly fast. And it was close to their house already. And they had an elderly wheel-bound chair -- wheel- bound -- wheelchair bound lady with them. So we got them dressed, grab what they could and got them out. I'm very blessed that my sister and my niece and both of my parents are safe, because others are not so lucky.


SIDNER: When you look at those pictures, you can see why cars just underwater there.

CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar joins us live. Allison, there is relief on the way, I understand, for these devastated communities.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: There is, and they need it because you need time to clean up from this especially because flooding takes time. It's not more of an immediate effect like it would be saved from a tornado or as soon as the storm moves out, you can get right into the cleanup. We've had not one but two, one in a thousand-year flood events in the same week. The one we talked about in eastern Kentucky, and then also one earlier in the week that was around the St. Louis area. Both of these areas need time to clean up.

This is a live look at the radar. The point is there's nothing there. And that's a good thing. They need this dry time to be able to clean up and allow that water to begin to recede. The thing is they're still flood warnings. And the reason for that is we're talking about the creeks, the streams and the rivers because those things aren't as quick to recede as say the roadways would be or the water in your home.

So, you'll notice here, this is the Kentucky River near the town of Ravenna. Again, notice we're still at that cresting point right now. So in some of those places, the water is still actually rising before it should finally start to come back down later on today, allowing that water to begin to recede. The thing is we've got more rain on the way, not in the short-term. For today, it will remain dry from that St. Louis over towards hazard Kentucky region.

But this same next system that has the potential for some flooding is going to begin to shift back in. Starting as early as Sunday morning, we'll begin to see some of those waves of rain move in. And then as we go into the afternoon and the evening, Sara and Boris, we'll really start to see those rain bands begin to pick up.

SANCHEZ: A difficult situation for those folks in Kentucky. Allison Chinchar in the CNN Weather Center, thank you.

SIDNER: Now we turn to the January 6 investigation. CNN has learned exclusive new details about those missing Secret Service text messages sought by the select committee. According to multiple sources, the Inspector General for Homeland Security knew about the missing messages months earlier than previously believed.

SANCHEZ: And that revelation is adding to the pressure on Inspector General Joseph Cuffari. CNN Law Enforcement Correspondent Whitney Wild has the details for us.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Sara, Congressional Oversight Committee said that the Inspector General was aware of missing text messages as of December 2021. But sources tell CNN, the Secret Service notified Cuffari's office that text messages were erased and notified that office in May of 2021, seven months earlier.

The Secret Service has explained that text messages were lost in a previously scheduled data migration of agents' cell phones. The committee and Cuffari are very interested in these text messages because they could shed light on the Secret Service's response to January 6, as well as what they may have absorbed. The sources also told CNN that one of the main problems here is that key personnel within the Secret Service didn't realize the texts were totally gone.

And when they did realize this, they tried to go back to the cellular provider to retrieve that information, but they couldn't do it. Again, that was back in spring of 2021. A few months later, in July of 2021, investigators with the Inspector General's office told the Department of Homeland Security they were no longer seeking these text messages.

Cuffari's office then appeared to restart that probe into the text messages in December of 2021. These new details show just how many people realize this information was gone in the months following the riot and further it will go to show that if they were gone then, if they were gone in May of 2021, it's going to be so much more difficult now more than a year later to try to get that information back. Meaning what could be important information could very well be lost for good. Boris, Sara?


SIDNER: It was Whitney Wild for us there. The Justice Department is preparing for a legal fight with former President Trump's White House officials as it looks to compel several members of Trump's inner circle to testify about the former President's actions and conversations surrounding the attack on January 6th.

One major point of interest is the 25th Amendment. We're learning the committee is seeking testimony from Cabinet members who discussed the possibility of removing then President Trump from office.

SANCHEZ: And key witnesses include former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and the former DNI John Ratcliffe. At issue our claims of executive privilege that prosecutors are expecting the former president is going to invoke to try and shield some information from the federal grand jury as the criminal investigation deepens. CNN's Ryan Nobles walks us through those details.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Department of Justice is inching closer and closer to former President Donald Trump. New CNN reporting reveals that prosecutors are girding for big fight over executive privilege, to force witnesses to testify about the role Trump may have played in the events leading up to January 6th.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When courts have considered these separation of powers issues in the context of criminal cases, they haven't really looked favorably toward the White House and the presidency. Now, the biggest and the most obvious one is the United States versus Nixon.

NOBLES (voice-over): Trump himself is not considered to be a target yet, but the list of Trump officials who have already cooperated with the select committee and are now cooperating with the DOJ is growing. It comes as the select committee has begun the process of handing over transcripts from their interviews to federal investigators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have indicated they want to have access to a certain number of transcripts and we've negotiated back and forth, and the committee seize a way to make that available to them.

NOBLES (voice-over): The committee has also stepped up their outreach and engagement with Cabinet officials. Former Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney met with the committee Thursday and said investigators are very interested in the players pushing false claims of election fraud and their access to the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That sort of inner circle of people that have been described by others as the crazies, how did they get the access that they did when they did.

NOBLES (voice-over): Among the other Cabinet officials they've spoken to, former DHS Secretary Chad Wolf. Washington Post reporting that text messages from both Wolf and his deputy Ken Cuccinelli, were lost from their government issued electronic devices. In a tweet thread in response to the story, Wolf said he handed over his phone intact when he resigned after January 6th.

Meanwhile, the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who Cassidy Hutchinson said was among the Republican leaders who pleaded for Trump to call his supporters off, claimed he doesn't remember calling her.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): If I talked to her, I don't remember it. If it was coming up here, I don't think I wanted a lot of people coming up to the Capitol. But I don't remember the conversation.


NOBLES: And Boris and Sara, we're learning more about the timeline of when the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security first learned that these text messages may have been deleted, and it's much earlier than when he informed Congress. In fact, we're told Joseph Cuffari knew and was informed of the fact that these text messages could be gone as early as May of 2021. That's more than a year before he informed the Congressional Oversight Committees that were interested in this information and also the January 6th Select Committee.

I spoke on Friday with Jamie Raskin, a member of the committee. He told me that he is very suspicious about the way these texts were deleted, and he believes the committee needs to know more about why they were deleted. And if it is possible to retrieve these messages in any way, shape, or form. Boris and Sara?

SANCHEZ: Ryan Nobles from Capitol Hill, thank you so much.

Sara, have you checked your Mega Millions tickets?


SANCHEZ: Yes, part of the reason I think we're both here this morning is because we don't think anybody won. We're still waiting to see if anybody took home that $1.28 billion jackpot last night. The Mega Millions website lists the next drawing prize as pending because it could grow if nobody won. A spokeswoman tells CNN the draw team is still waiting for results from some of its jurisdictions.

SIDNER: If you've been having trouble checking your lottery ticket, you're not alone. The website, as you might imagine, when it's like a billion box has been crashing, ever since Friday night's drawing at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. People are trying to refresh and still there could be a chance maybe for you to win. The winning numbers are 13-36-45-57- 67 and the Powerball number is 14. Good luck.

[06:15:09] Still ahead, after months of stalled progress, President Biden's domestic the agenda gets a boost on Capitol Hill. Will the potential turnaround impact the Democrats strategy heading into the midterms?

SANCHEZ: Plus, the economic bounce back begins to slow. Is the United States headed for a recession? And what does this mean for your wallet? New Day continues in a moment.


SIDNER: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is off on a trip to Asia. The big question though is whether that trip will include a visit to Taiwan. Uncertainty over the potential visit is heightening tensions between the United States and China.

SANCHEZ: If Pelosi does visit Taiwan, China has vowed to take, quote, resolute and forceful measures. Don't forget, President Xi also recently warned President Biden in a call to not play with fire on the issue of Taiwanese sovereignty.


Let's take you now to the region. And CNN Correspondent Blake Essig who joins us live from Tokyo. Blake, bring us up to speed on this potential visit. It seems the stakes are pretty high.

BLAKE: Incredibly high, Boris. So, we know that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is going to visit Japan, South Korea, Singapore, or Malaysia, excuse me. But the big question, as you guys pointed out, we don't yet know whether or not Nancy Pelosi is going to visit the self- governed island of Taiwan. We do know that the prospect of her visit has absolutely infuriated China and that Beijing has vowed, as you mentioned, to take resolute and forceful measures if the trip goes ahead.

We also know that it puts the White House in a tough position as U.S.- China tensions continue to get worse. This was the backdrop for a more than two-hour phone call on Thursday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. During that call, she said that China firmly opposes Taiwan independence and warned that the U.S. by saying that those that play with fire will be -- will perish by it.

Now if the trip does happen, it would be the highest-level U.S. visit to the island in 25 years with Pelosi being second in line to the presidency. And even though her trip to Taiwan is still uncertain, earlier this week, the Pentagon said that it's developing a security plan involving ships and aircraft to the region to keep Pelosi safe. Experts tell CNN that a military operation to get Pelosi to Taiwan would likely include ships or land-based assets with high powered radars to provide a protective bubble around her airplane that could warn of any potential threats.

Now, although, senior military officials say that no military assets have moved towards Taiwan, the U.S. currently does have an aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group conducting routine operations in the South China Sea. While officials said that -- while, excuse me, while officials said, and lawmakers in both the United States and China have weighed in on Pelosi visiting Taiwan, Boris, Sara, it's worth noting that experts say Taiwanese authorities are likely keeping a low profile to avoid the perception that Taipei is encouraging the Speaker's visit, which could provoke Beijing.

SIDNER: Yes, there's a lot of heat around this and a lot of people begging her off. Blake Essig, thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: So, President Biden's agenda got an unexpected boost in a flurry of activity on Congress. Let's take a look at some of his wins. There is the passage of the CHIPS Act that boosts U.S. production of semiconductors. A deal on the climate change and tax package that was reached by Senator Joe Manchin and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and the House passage of an assault weapons ban late yesterday.

Joining us now to discuss all the action in Congress is Daniel Lippman, he's the White House Reporter for Politico. Daniel, good morning. Let's start with this ban on assault-style weapons the House passed last night. It has almost no chance of overcoming a filibuster in the Senate. Who or what exactly is standing in the way there?

DANIEL LIPPMAN, WHITE HOSUE REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, what standing in the way is the 10 Republicans that they need in the Senate, and they're uniformly against this assault weapons ban. They view it as a cultural issue. Their voters -- their base voters are against it. And so, there's no reason for them, that they see to give Biden a win on this.

And so they, you know, Congress did pass that bipartisan, you know, gun reform bill a few weeks ago, but Republicans are unwilling to take this extra step because remember, when you're a politician in Congress these days, the biggest worry you have is fighting off a primary, not in a general election. And so that is something that is a no-go zone for Republicans.

SANCHEZ: Daniel, perhaps, one of the biggest surprises of the last week is that Biden's domestic agenda was resuscitated, news that Senator Joe Manchin struck a deal this wide-ranging reconciliation bill, widely seen as the most progressive environmental and tax legislation in decades. But now we wait for Kyrsten Sinema, right, the senator from Arizona because her vote is going to make or break this bill. What factors go into her decision?

LIPPMAN: I think, you know, the factors are that, you know, she doesn't want to embarrass Biden, she doesn't want to probably go down in history as the Senator that is the blocks important climate change action. You know, everyone looks to their legacy, and Sinema is in that group of senators. And, you know, this would be a historic bill, you know, almost $370 billion in funding for climate change.


Remember under Obama, it was less than $100 billion. And so I think, you know, she is seen as, you know, more liberal than Joe Manchin. Remember, she started off as a Green Party type person --


LIPPMAN: -- in Arizona. And so, this is kind of her bread and butter, or used to be. And so, you know, she doesn't want to face the wrath of the left. Remember, she might have a primary in a few years. And so, I think, that will factor in.

And, you know, how -- this is -- this could really help Democrats chances in November in terms of getting the Democratic base more excited, because they've been worried about not having a lot of wins recently.

SANCHEZ: Yes. I did want to ask you about Democrats chances in November, but November 2024, because as my CNN colleague Alisyn Camerota heard in her conversation with a group of Democratic voters, some of them have views, the White House likely won't like hearing. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I only saw Joe as a one-term transitional figure. And I'm hopeful that the Democrats can feel another nominee who was even stronger than Joe.


SANCHEZ: That coincides with this new CNN poll that shows some 75 percent of Democratic voters want someone other than Joe Biden to run for their party in 2024. A poll, the White House says, they are not worried about. Daniel, should they be?

LIPPMAN: Well, there's no chance of any democratic, you know, serious democratic opposition in a primary against a sitting U.S. President. And so, I think it's more a factor of Democrats feel like, you know, Biden has not gotten enough done. And so, this could actually help his case, the flurry of action on the hill.

But there aren't -- there isn't a wide democratic bench. And I think Democrats are waiting to see if Donald Trump runs again. And if he's the nominee, you know, Donald -- Joe Biden feels like he is probably the only and best chance for Democrats to defeat Trump again. If it's another nominee like a Ron DeSantis, or Nikki Haley, that might change his thinking, but we're still way too early in terms of how the Republican Party shakes out and how that affects Biden's decision making.

SANCHEZ: Before we go, Daniel, on behalf of myself and the team at New Day, I just wanted to say congratulations. Daniel was recently engaged to his girlfriend, Sophia. So thanks for joining us and congrats in your engagement.

LIPPMAN: Thank you very much, Boris. I really appreciate it.

SANCHEZ: Of course. Of course.

SIDNER: The U.S. markets ended the month on a high note but fears of a recession are looming. We'll take a look at the U.S. economy just after the break.



SIDNER: All right, we've got a couple of today's top stories for you now. California's fast-moving Oak Fire near Yosemite National Park has consumed more than 19,000 acres. It is now 48 percent contained. Officials say lack of rain, drought conditions and dead trees have been factors in the fire spread.

SANCHEZ: And fire crews have been working around the clock in dense woods and steep terrain for the past week, patrolling for hot spots. More than 160 buildings, including homes, have been destroyed. Meantime, the remnants of the 20-ton Chinese rocket booster that delivered a new module to its space station this week is now expected to fall to earth in the next few days.

That's the latest from U.S. Space Command who are tracking the rocket. Apparently, it's in an uncontrolled descent and it's not clear exactly where it's going to land or when. This is the third time since 2020 that China has been accused of not properly handling space debris.

SIDNER: The latest GDP numbers mean we may be in a recession, but it's complicated. Inflation is soaring, but we have a pretty strong labor market.

SANCHEZ: As supply chain issues continue and the Fed is increasing interest rates, who makes the call on whether we're in a recession or not? CNN's chief business correspondent Christine Romans breaks it all down.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Boris, hi Sara. The R word topping the headlines and gripping the political conversation. Will we or won't we have a recession? Fanning those recession fears, the U.S. economy shrank for a second straight quarter.

Gross domestic product, GDP, contracting 0.9 percent in the Spring after shrinking 1.6 percent in the first quarter. An independent committee of economists at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the NBER, they're the ones who will make the official call. The NBER classifies a recession as a significant decline in economic activity lasting more than a few months, and judges each downturn on a case-by- case basis.

They weigh GDP, but also a wide range of other factors, including the job market. Recessions are typically accompanied by big job losses across the board. That's not happening now. What causes a recession? Inflation, when businesses hike prices due to an increase in production costs, deflation when companies are forced to slash prices because of a lack of consumer confidence and foot traffic and rising interest rates.

Now, the Fed has been raising interest rates to try to cool red hot inflation. The last recession was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was short, from February through April 2020, but it was one of the deepest recessions on record. A recession typically sees nervous consumers hoard cash to spend only on essential needs, businesses then begin to lose profits in a worse-case scenario, some go bankrupt, resulting in even more job loss.

One thing is for certain, history has shown that a recession can have scarring effects on a consumer and its effects are felt well after it's over. Sara, Boris


SIDNER: Christine Romans there, thank you.

SANCHEZ: Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, his media company just filed for bankruptcy, and he's in a middle of a defamation trial. So, how is that latest move going to impact the legal proceedings? We'll discuss after a short break.


SIDNER: Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones filed for bankruptcy protection for his company Free Speech Systems.


It's an unexpected move that comes as a trial is underway in Texas to determine how much in damages Jones will have to pay to the families of two Sandy Hook victims who sued him and won. Jones' decision to seek bankruptcy protection also comes after he was found legally responsible in a separate defamation case in Connecticut.

Joining me now to unravel all this is CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, and just a fabulous guy, Joey Jackson. Thanks for being here, Joey.

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Great to see you, Sara. Good morning to you.

SIDNER: Thanks for getting up early to unravel this for us. Can you give me a sense of how the bankruptcy filing is going to impact or not impact the trial that's currently underway in Texas? This jury is going to decide damages.

JACKSON: Yes, so it's a great question. So keeping in mind the context of this, right? Already, there was a default judgment issue. What does that mean? It means that, of course, he was accused of and found responsible for spreading lies and conspiracy theories regarding something very significant. The killing of 20 first graders, right, in December of 2012.

And so, for not cooperating, Sara, otherwise participating and default means that if you don't participate, you don't avail yourself to the legal process, you lose. And so based upon that, now, you stand to get into, right, liability having been determined for defamation, you get into the issue of damages. Damages are a jury making an assessment as to what monetary awards

come out of your liability. So, that's the process we're in now. In order to halt that, delay that, and otherwise impair that proceeding, now, we're seeing a bankruptcy filing. Keep in mind that bankruptcy is something that companies do avail themselves of in America, but they avail themselves of it because they want to see reorganization, they want to seek protection from creditors in the event, right, for example, that they owe money legitimately that they can't pay.

This seems to be done in the context of trying to avoid, evade and otherwise not bear responsibility. And so with regard to how it affects it, although it's early to tell, a federal bankruptcy court as we saw early this year when he did the same thing, can delay a state proceeding. But I think that in the event that there's delay, justice delayed would not be justice denied.

Again, very briefly, in the event you want to file bankruptcy protections, file them. But they should before legitimate purposes. And I think that the legal issues here will surround whether that was a legitimate filing, and if not, if he's found responsible, then he should pay up.

SIDNER: Yes, a judge will have to approve, as I understand it, a bankruptcy. So they will probably look at all of these different things. He's tried this before, three smaller companies tied to Jones, declared bankruptcy earlier this year.


SIDNER: I am actually curious just about -- in the pain of these families have experienced because of some of the things that he has said. And will that be something that is really the jury really looks at, the emotional pain that they have been through after, you know, it's kind of torture for them. Their children were killed and he basically called it fake.

JACKSON: Yes, I really think so. I mean, certainly, we have first amendment rights in this country, but the first amendment rights fold when false statements were made that impair people in a very detrimental way, and they impact families as you noted. This was not a conspiracy. It was not families who were in cahoots with the government in order to deal with any or make statements relating to gun control, right? It happened.

And so when you do that and you affect someone by saying it's not real when they lost their child, that's problematic. Why do I mention that? Because it's not going to be lost on the jury, Sara, that has to assess damages, that is, money, and how much you're responsible for paying. What damage did you cause? How were they impaired, and what award should be given.

And so, just keep in mind as we have this discussion, the whole purpose of bankruptcy is to shield himself from any monetary liability. I think at the end of the day, the courts catch up with this maneuver, and while it may indeed delay it, again, I think at the end of the day, if you're doing it for false purposes, the law will catch up with you.

You will pay up if a jury so says. And I think clearly here under these facts, very sympathetic, the jury could award millions of dollars, $150 million was asked for.

SIDNER: This really does look like a pattern when you look at, you know, how this has gone on in the courts with Alex Jones in this declaring of bankruptcy for several of the companies that are linked to him. And now, here we are again having this happen. Is it a possibility that a judge will look at this and see that he's trying to potentially avoid having to pay these judgments and decide, no, you can't actually -- I mean, is that a possibility where a judge can say no, I am not going to agree to this bankruptcy?

JACKSON: Yes, I think that, that has to be a possibility, and that will be what attorneys will be arguing.


Again, you know, we have laws in this country and they're designed to protect companies and individuals, in the event you think you have to restructure, reassess your debts in order to accommodate creditors, and you're a debtor, right?

Owing money, you can do that. But if you do it under false pretenses, if you do it for false purposes, if you do it to shield yourself from legitimate issues, it becomes a problem, and it would be tough to say and see, Sara, how a judge doesn't see that, and how attorneys don't identify that as the real motivation for him doing that.

So, yes, I think that's very much a viable path that happens in this instance.

SIDNER: Joey Jackson, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

JACKSON: Always, great to see you, Sara.

SIDNER: And a quick reminder that you can catch the latest episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" tomorrow night, Kamau Bell is in California. He's trying to understand why catastrophic wildfires are happening and how we can all prepare for them better. Don't miss it tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN, and we will be right back.



SANCHEZ: We want to get you an update now from Baghdad because at least, 60 people have been injured there when protesters stormed the Iraqi parliament. This is inside the heavily fortified green zone where there are a lot of government buildings.

SIDNER: This is the second time in less than a week the demonstrators are rallying against the nomination of a new prime minister. CNN's Nada Bashir joins us. Nada, dozens of people have already been transported to hospital, 60. What more can you tell us about why and how this unfolded?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, look, Sara, we are seeing those stunning images once again this week of hundreds of protesters as you said there, breaching the heavily-fortified Green Zone, storming the Iraqi parliament in Baghdad. This is the second time this week. And these protesters are loyalists to the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Now, we still -- earlier this week, protests from those same loyalists in response to the nomination of rival, Shiite leader Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani on Monday. He was nominated by the parliament's largest Shia alliance for the position of prime minister. And this comes after months of political deadlock and stalemate.

Now, actually, Muqtada al-Sadr actually secured a majority -- not a majority, but he scored the largest bloc in October elections, although it fell short slightly of that key majority. And now, of course, we are seeing protests in response to the nomination of his rival. But this has been seen by some as the only way to bring an end to months and months of stalemate, much to the disappointment of his supporters.

Now, we heard from the outgoing prime minister already today, calling for calm, similar message he issued on Wednesday. We have seen a pretty serious security presence there, the security forces cracking down on protesters, using water cannons and tear gas against protesters, trying to push them back, outside the perimeters of the Green Zone to restore calm in the area.

But there are real concerns because these are the largest protests we have seen in Baghdad since those October elections. There are concerns that this could open the doors once again to further political instability in Iraq. We have heard calls for calm from international partners including the U.S. State Department. Sara, Boris?

SANCHEZ: Nada Bashir reporting from Istanbul. Thank you so much. So, there's a debate that's been reignited in the NFL. Is there a double standard for black quarterbacks in the league? A debate that's back in the news after the Arizona Cardinals included mandatory study time in a huge contract for Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. Now, another quarterback, a star is weighing in. Stay with us.



SANCHEZ: So Kansas City chief star quarterback Patrick Mahomes says he doesn't understand why black quarterbacks still seem to face added criticism when they make it to the NFL.

SIDNER: Coy Wire is with us. Coy, this is an issue that goes back a really long time, decades with the league. Tell me what's going on.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning Sara and Boris. There was a time when there were no black quarterbacks starting in the NFL, 1978 Warren Moon was Conference Co-Player of the Year at the University of Washington, Rose Bowl MVP, yet wasn't drafted into the NFL.

He eventually became a hall of famer. Things are different now. We could see 10 of the 32 NFL teams with starting black quarterbacks this season. One is Kyler Murray, but this new contract with the Arizona Cardinals put the topic of black QBs in the spotlight again. It included an addendum, requiring to do at least four hours of independent film study during game weeks.

Kyler called it disrespectful and a joke. The team mixed the clause after public blow-back, and yesterday, Mahomes was asked why he thinks black quarterbacks face criticisms others don't?


PATRICK MAHOMES, QUARTERBACK, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: Obviously, the black quarterback has a battle to be in this position that we are to have this many guys in the league playing. And I I think every day we're proving that we should have been playing the whole time.

We've got guys that think just as well as they can use their athleticism. And so, it always is where we see guys like me, Lamar, Kyler, kind of get that on them and other guys don't, but at the same time we're going to go out there and prove ourselves everyday to show that we can beat some of the best quarterbacks in the league.


WIRE: All right, to the diamond. Judgment day in the Bronx, Yankees' all star Aaron Judge making his presence felt right from the jump last night, 6 foot 7 behemoth robbing Royals MJ Melendez of a lead-off home run, stretching out like a panty-hose on a polar bear for that one.

Oh, yes, he can rig too. He launched that ball into orbit, soaring 449 feet into the night sky. A two-run shot in the third, his 40th of the season. One is good, twice is nice. Eighth inning, bases loaded, Judge unloads them, grand slam, thank you, man. His ninth multi-homer game this season and the most by any Yankee ever, and there's still two months to go.

And this one is for you, Sara. One high school football player has taken the college commitment ceremony to another level yesterday. Aidan Mizell thought what a better way to announce that he'll be playing for the Florida Gators and to bring out two live baby gators to the podium.

The boy star receiver from Orlando will be headed to the swamp next year, his mom and dad, the two, yes, ran track there. He's a speedster. And yes, I hear they have a pretty good journalism program there, Sara, at the University of Florida.

SIDNER: Yes, they do.

WIRE: Chomp, baby, let's go.

SIDNER: Chomp.


Let's go. You noticed the Gators' mouths were taped though. He's no fool --

SANCHEZ: Fortunately, right --

SIDNER: He knows what happens if you leave those mouths open we come for you. Coy --

SANCHEZ: Smart kid --

SIDNER: Thank you so much.

WIRE: You got it.