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New Day Sunday

Democrats Make Their Case For Removing Trump From Office; Team Trump Lays Out Legal Team Defense Strategy; Strong Winds, Snow To Impact Millions Across Great Lakes And Northeast; Arctic Blast To Slam Eastern U.S.; Warehouse Full Of Emergency Supplies Discovered In Puerto Rico; Bodies Of 11 Victims Of Downed Jet Returned To Ukraine; DHS Sounds Alarm On Potential Iranian Cyber Attacks; Detained U.S. Navy Veteran Details Prison Conditions In Iran; Thousands Turn Out For Fourth Annual Women's March; Harry And Meghan Give Up Royal Titles And State Funding. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired January 19, 2020 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have the first official look at how President Trump's newly assembled legal team plans to attack the charges that led to his impeachment.

PAM BONDI, FORMER FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: There is absolutely nothing there in the articles of impeachment. It's an insult to the American people.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He gave us no choice, the president was self-impeaching almost every single day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When his march 2020 aimed at a target date -- November.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the most important thing is to get out to vote and whatever you do, vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After expressing a desire to step back from the royal duties, it's been decided that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will leave their royal lives almost completely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're now stepping back as working members all together in this shock announcement from Buckingham Palace.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Always so grateful to see you on a Sunday morning early 6:00 a.m. I'm Christi Paul.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Martin Savidge in for Victor Blackwell.

PAUL: So, it is the framer's worst nightmare. That's how House Democrats are making their case for removing President Trump from office.

SAVIDGE: The president's legal team has until noon tomorrow to layout their arguments. But they're already on the defense calling the impeachment charges constitutionally invalid.

PAUL: His impeachment trial now only two days away a source tells CNN the president appears -- quote -- "distracted" and -- quote -- "can't understand why he is impeached." CNN Kristen Holmes live for us in Washington. We are getting a preview, I know, Kristen, of what this trial is going to look like. Help us walk through it this morning and good morning.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, look these are the first briefs that have been filed in the Senate ahead of this hearing, which will begin in earnest on Tuesday. And it really shows you how politically charged this trial is going to be overall. And just to break down for our viewers, I kind of want to talk about what this is.

When we talk about the House managers those are essentially the prosecutors. They are the ones who are presenting the case. When we talk about the senators those are the jurors. They are the ones who are going to decide whether or not President Trump should be removed from office.

So this is what we saw yesterday. The House managers, the prosecutors, putting forward their case over 100 pages of why exactly they believe President Trump should be removed from office. And just to give you one quote here it says they are calling on the Senate to -- quote --"eliminate the threat that the president poses to national security." So you can hear, again, politically charged.

The charges are as follows. The House Democrats laying out that they believe President Trump abused his power when he withheld not only the $400 billion of security aid to Ukraine, but also that White House meeting while President Trump and his associates on another thread were pressuring Ukraine to open an investigation into President Trump's political rivals. I.e., Joe Biden. Of course, we know this.

Now, moving forward, they say that there is another charge, another article of impeachment here, which is obstruction of Congress, that the president, the White House moved to block Congress from their investigation by stopping these subpoenas for witnesses and documents. So what we saw last night, they put out their case.

As you said President Trump reacting -- his legal team putting out a response just to the articles of impeachment. This is not their response to the charges here. This is not the response to the actual filing, but to the charges -- to the articles of impeachment. They say that there is no basis for either of the articles of impeachment and that the president did nothing wrong.

So again, these are basically the outline for what those opening statements are going to look like here. What happens next? Well, on Tuesday, the Senate is supposed to argue whether or not the rules will have -- what the rules will look like. So, think about this. Like scheduling, what hours they're actually going to work. But the big point of contention is over those witnesses.

McConnell says he wants to follow the Clinton model, which means they will not vote on those witnesses until after opening statements. And he says he has the votes to do so. Democrats say they want a commitment of witnesses now. So, we're obviously going to watch how this plays out.

And there are some Republican senators that we are watching closely who say they're opening to witnesses, but they still kind of want to wait until after they hear those opening statements. Well, take a listen to what Pam Bondi, a member of President Trump's legal team said about those Republicans last night.


BONDI: I think that they're going to see, especially after opening arguments, maybe before that when they see truly the lack of evidence that has been brought to them. I think they're all going to go the right thing. And I think they're going -- they're ready to get back to work, too, and do the business of the Senate --


BONDI: --instead of sitting there every day --


BONDI: -- listening to this trash.



HOLMES: OK. So, I just want to note one very important thing and this is to all of our viewers, you hear Pam Bondi there calling this trash. You've seen President Trump and his allies saying this is a hoax, that this is a big joke.

Make no mistake that this is not a joke. America is about to enter a trial to potentially remove the president of the United States. The president, one of only three who have ever been impeached. This is a very serious time for this country.

SAVIDGE: It is, indeed. Kristen Holmes, thank you very much for outlining the legal battle lines as they are drawn. Thank you.

PAUL: I want to bring in CNN Political Analyst, Julian Zelizer with us now as well as Michael Moore, former U.S. attorney for the middle district of Georgia. Good morning, gentlemen.



PAUL: Julian or Michael rather, I want to start with you real quickly and I want to get your response to what Pam Bondi said there, saying this truly -- they lack -- there is a lack of evidence that's been brought to them. So, when we look at treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors, there are questions that have been put out there about what exactly that means. Does this really come down to, no, there is not enough evidence or does this come down to deciphering whether that evidence is actually impeachable?

MOORE: I think it's really more about deciphering. What you have to realize, this has been a part of the administration's talking points as they move forward in the impeachment process.

The House is the one who decides the articles of impeachment. It's like an indictment in a grand jury. If are you the grand jury, you don't put forth all the evidence, you don't bring in all the witnesses, you bring in maybe an investigating officer and he or she talks about the underlying crime. The grand jury decides is there going to be indictment.

Then you move to a trial jury. That's when you put the meat on the bones of the case. That's essentially what is going on here and that is the reason that the White House is so insistent the witnesses and the Republicans in the Senate want to block witnesses in the Senate. The meat on the bones will come out during the trial.

So to talk about it being trash, to talk about it being not proven or the weakness of the articles being brought is an effort to skew the process going in. And really has no merit at this point. Again, there are two functions going on.

The Senate now will undertake the in depth part of the trial. There the a reason that caused the deliberate bodies will, they need to flesh out ultimately what this case is about, hear the witnesses, let the jury, let the trial jury, the senators, hear evidence and make a decision on the articles.

PAUL: OK. So, Julian, I want to get to a piece that you wrote on Alan Dershowitz who, of course, is -- Alan Dershowitz is part of the defense team here. And you took offense to some of the things that he said apparently in the last 48 hours, particularly regarding whether abuse of power is an impeachable offense.

You wrote, "The founders created the system of Democracy explicitly meant to check any single branch of government from accumulating excessive power and authority. This was spelled out in the constitution, which imposed restraints on the executive branch by giving Congress the power of the purse, for example, as well as the ability to declare war."

Is Dershowitz's arguing do you think that it's not impeachable because it's from a sitting president and the president's powers are in his view perhaps omnipotent?

ZELIZER: Almost. And Dershowitz is tapping into a line of argument. We've heard from Trump's supporters and from conservatives now for several decades that the restraints on the president are few. They've challenged a lot of the notions of checks and balances that are put into place and they have a very bold view of presidential power.

And I think that's going to be at the heart of their defense in the impeachment not that we don't know what the president did, but to argue that the president has the ability to make these kinds of decisions and use foreign policy in this way. And I think there will be many people watching who might be surprised at just how strong Trump's legal team argues the president can be.

PAUL: OK. So here is to that point, to some degree, Ken Starr spoke to "Politico" back in September of 2018. This was during the Mueller investigation. And here's what he said -- part of what he said.

He said, "You're not above the law." Speaking about the presidency, anybody in the presidency. He said, you think that you've got a timeout based upon your service as president. We respect you. You are occupying the presidency. You have a very important job, Starr said, but there is no timeout. You have to respond when you are summoned to the bar of justice. That's the way I respond to all this. You have to be a rule of law person if you're going to occupy a position of trust.

If this is the foundation, Michael, of -- from which Ken Starr practices, we would expect cooperation then from the president, which is something that we haven't seen if he is being advised by Ken Starr.

MOORE: I think Ken Starr is a in a unique position. Now lawyers are trained and we're expected to argue that both side of the facts of the case.


Therefore you can argue for a plaintiff in one day and a defendant on another day or a criminal defendant one day and a state on another time, depending on your job. What we don't do we don't shift around hypocritically on how we argue about the process.

Remember that Ken Starr had Bill Clinton testify. They had witnesses in there. I mean, he went from a financial investigation down to finding body fluids on a dress. And -- I mean, his entire background as it relates to impeachment is one that is not congruent with the position that he's putting forth now. They're going to argue against witnesses.

I mean, for Ken Starr to come in today and argue against witnesses is sort of like an elephant saying that you don't need a trunk. He is so whetted to the position of an in-depth investigation of putting evidence forward at the time. And, again, he had -- he had Clinton testify back then.

PAUL: He did.

MOORE: He subpoenaed Clinton actually then Clinton agreed to come and testify and the subpoena was withdrawn. So he's taken positions that are contrary. The problem with that is that it causes you to lose credibility usually with the trier of fact. And I think ultimately this time, I mean, we remember that while the senators are jurors, the trier of fact, the people that we're talking to and I think you will see much of this trial focused on are the American people.

PAUL: Right.

MOORE: And he's taken positions to me that may be called into question the sincerity of the positions he'll be putting forward.

PAUL: Yes because Kristen Holmes is right. This has only happened three times in history. This is important and the American people are certainly watching.

Julian Zelizer, Michael Moore, I appreciate both of you. Thank you.

MOORE: Great to be with you.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

PAUL: Our impeachment special coverage continues tonight. By the way, be sure to watch The Impeachment Trial of President Donald J. Trump. It airs at 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

SAVIDGE: Another news. That winter storm that swept through parts of the U.S. is finally making its way out to sea this morning. But the lingering conditions are still dangerous. Strong winds and lake effect snow are impacting millions across the Great Lakes and Northeast today. No travel advisories. That is no travel advisories have been issued for parts of South Dakota and Minnesota.

PAUL: There's an arctic cold blast pushing into much of the eastern half of the country starting today as well which means Florida you are not exempt here. You're going to get hit with temperatures well below normal.

CNN Meteorologist, Allison Chinchar has a forecast from the CNN Weather Center. And because of this temperature there's another little aspect to that --


PAUL: -- that's quite interesting you might not know about.

CHINCHAR: Yes. This is an equal opportunity cold snap. Meaning it's really going to impact a lot of people even ones that weren't necessarily normally be impacted. But it's coming off the heels of snow. Which means a lot of that snow that's already on the ground is likely going to stay there for a while. And we're talking a lot of snow.

Take a look at this. At least three states picked up over a foot of snow in just the last 48 hours. Wisconsin, Minnesota and even Michigan, just some of those three. The thing is there is actually more snow on the way. You still have winter weather advisories, winter storm warnings and even some lake effect snow warnings for some of those lake effect enhancement bands that are expected to set up as we go through the day today.

Look at some of this, especially upstate New York, portions of Pennsylvania, even Ohio, could still pick up an additional several inches of snow on top of what they've already had. Behind that system, though, a lot of cold air and very windy conditions. And when you combine the two of those, you're set up for very dangerous wind chill numbers.

This area up here, 30 to 40 degrees below zero is what it's going to feel like. Even just a little bit farther south, 20 to 30 degrees below zero is what it's going to feel like.

But here's the thing, we talked about this. This cold air is going to spread. It's going to spread east and it's going to spread south. Yes, even as far south as Florida.

Take, for example, a city like Miami, waking up Wednesday morning -- Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, that temperature could drop down to 43. Now that may not necessarily sound like that bad of a cold morning, but it is for down there. Not just for people, but also these critters. This is an iguana, it looks like it's dead, but it's actually not.

Here's the thing they become almost cold stunned or they go dormant once the temperature drops below 45 degrees. But people will often do it -- this gentleman is -- picked them up, try to do things like that because they think they're dead.

They're not folks. And once they start to warm up, they can get very aggressive. So cautionary warning, please don't touch them, just let them warm up on their own, which should happen once the temperature gets back close to about 50 degrees. So maybe about mid morning.

PAUL: Thank you for the warning.

SAVIDGE: Yes. I'm very much the same way.


SAVIDGE: Yes. Allison Chinchar, thanks very much.

PAUL: Very nice.

Oh, I don't know if you have seen these pictures. Do you know what you are looking at here? This is in Puerto Rico. When residents found a warehouse full of emergency supplies. This is aid that has been there for more than two years. And there is a lot of shock that goes around with it.

SAVIDGE: Meanwhile, across the pond, speaking of shock, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are giving up their royal titles.


Details on the deal they made with the queen ahead. Plus the controversial MMA star, Conor McGregor made his return to sports last night and got a convincing win. Coy Wire is going to join us with the details.


SAVIDGE: Fury and disbelief growing in Ponce, Puerto Rico, after residents discovered a warehouse full of emergency supplies. It is thought that that aid has been sitting there since Hurricane Maria hit two years ago. The supplies were found during a building inspection. People came to the warehouse yesterday hoping to get water, cots and emergency radios. You see Ponce is just one of the many cities on the island damaged by recent earthquakes.

PAUL: Can you believe these pictures? Puerto Rico's emergency director was fired immediately after the aid was reveal. He denies mishandling the supplies. He claims the water wasn't passed out because it had expired. The governor says the situation is unacceptable and is investigating.


SAVIDGE: The remains of Ukrainians killed in that passenger jet downing by Iran are back in their home country this morning. The caskets were received in a somber ceremony at the airport in Kiev a short time ago. Ukrainian president Zelensky and some members of his cabinet were in attendance.

PAUL: All 176 on board were killed remember when the Iranian military says it mistook the plane for a cruise missile earlier this month. Iran is currently examining the plane's black box. They've rejected earlier reports that it will be returned to Ukraine for analysis though. The government says it hasn't decided whether to send the flight data recorder to another country.

The Department of Homeland Security updated their terror threat advisory systems. It's warning that Iran maintains a robust cyber program and can execute cyber attacks against the U.S. That's a quote.

SAVIDGE: The original advisory detailed the missile attack as a potential threat from Iran including previous plots against U.S. infrastructure and other cyber targets. Currently, there are no specific threats, but officials say they are operating with an enhanced posture.

Well, CNN has been given an exclusive access to a phone call. A U.S. Navy veteran Michael White's mother recorded. White you will remember is serving a 10 year sentence in Iran on charges that he insulted Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

PAUL: He is believed to be the first American imprisoned by Iran during the Trump administration. His family obviously worried President Trump's hard line approach to Iran is not helping. CNN's Nick Valencia has the story. NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In July 2018 Michael White took a trip from California to Iran and never came back. His mother says he was going to visit a woman he called his girlfriend.

According to his attorney on that trip, White, who is a U.S. Navy veteran was detained on charges he publicly posted a private photograph. Details about the trial are slim but his lawyer also says that the then 46-year-old was convicted of insulting the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. According to his attorney he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. His family says the last time they heard from him was a phone call just after Christmas.


MICHAEL WHITE, U.S. NAVY VETERAN (on the phone): They've done everything to press me. They really have. I mean, they put me in isolation. They, like I said, subjected me to torture conditions, depravation of food and water numerous times.


VALENCIA: This is the first time we are hearing White's voice from behind bars. The audio was recorded by his mother with his content. It was given exclusively to CNN.


MICHAEL WHITE (on the phone): I'm going crazy. This place is a junk hole. Right now I'm in a cell that's overcrowded big time. Here's the thing. They don't really bring me food. The prisoners have to pay for it. But I don't have money to be paying for that.


VALENCIA: According to his family, White has reoccurring cancer and other undisclosed chronic health problems.


MICHAEL WHITE (on the phone): There's another thing I didn't tell you, mom. It got so bad. I didn't know they were ever going to let me out. I tried to hang myself there.


MICHAEL WHITE: I wanted to kill myself I was that distraught.

JOANNE WHITE: I am so sorry, Michael. That just breaks my heart. It really does.

MICHAEL WHITE: I went to this appellate court thing supposedly, and they had a phony hearing. Then they bring up allegations of spying that they said before. I'm like what the hell are these guys doing? They have zero evidence. They made stuff up.


VALENCIA: CNN reached out to Iran for comment about White's allegations, they did not respond. But in a statement a year ago called similar claims untrue.


JOANNE WHITE: It's like you are having a nightmare at night but you never wake up from that nightmare.


VALENCIA: His mother Joanne White is overcome with grief and worry.


JOANNE WHITE: What Michael told me is they took a whip to his raw feet and he now has problems with his feet. He also had a gun held to his head. I want my son brought home before it's too late.


VALENCIA: White is believed to have been the first American imprisoned by Iran during the Trump administration. Earlier this month in an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press" secretary of state Mike Pompeo was asked about bringing home imprisoned Americans.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We continue to work on that process to get very American held anywhere in the world, including probably kleptocrats and theocrats in Iran, to get them to return American hostages. We will never give up on that mission.


VALENCIA: That may be but White's family worries President Trump's hard line approach to Iran isn't helping. The irony, White's mother says, is that her son is a Trump supporter. In his last phone call home he even defended Trump against impeachment saying it's making it harder to bring him home.


MICHAEL WHITE (on the phone): Let's put the blame where it belongs on Iran, not Trump.



JOANNE WHITE: He is a negotiator. Tell him to get my son out of there then.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VALENCIA (on camera): In a statement sent exclusively to CNN the State Department said this, "We are aware of press reports that a U.S. citizen was charged and convicted in the city of Mashad in northeast Iran." They went on to say, "We condemn Iran's continued use of secretive sham trials in defiance of international norms. We call on the Iranian regime to conduct open, transparent trials before a fair and impartial judge in all criminal cases.


They went on to say that they have no further comment because of privacy considerations -- Martin, Christi.

PAUL: Nick, thank you so much. We appreciate that.

There's a blockbuster announcement, of course, out of Buckingham Palace. Meghan and Harry no longer working members of the royal family. So, when we come back, what their new life is expected to look like. We are live for you in London.



PAUL: You are listening to some of the thousands of people marching around the White House, despite the cold, wet weather, although you can see it cleared up by then. Demonstrators turned out for the fourth annual Women's March. The main event took place in Washington. But sister marches were held across the country and the world, really, in fact.


SAVIDGE: Yes. In fact, we can show you what it looked like in New York. Marchers gathered at Columbus Circle. They heard speeches advocating for reproductive rights, immigration reform and environmental justice.

And it was the similar scene Los Angeles, where supporters marched to city hall.

PAUL: Well, Harry and Meghan are getting out of a family business. As you know, Buckingham Palace made this huge announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are no longer, quote, working members of the royal family.

So what does that mean? Well, come spring, the couple will no longer use the titles, his and her royal highness. They are also stepping back from royal duties, no longer officially representing the queen. They're expected to pay back British taxpayer money recently spent to renovate their official residence and they'll now spend the majority of their time in North America.

Most Londoners are supporting the couple's declaration of independence.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not the best P.R. call for the royal family, especially Meghan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, a bit rough there to (INAUDIBLE). Because as much as they're probably still is racism towards her on there, I feel like it's mostly Britain that are tormenting her and telling her, so saying that (INAUDIBLE). So I feel like it's better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she also had to give a lot to be with Harry. And I think it's pretty cool that she gets to be an American and do what she wants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe it's racism, to be honest though, because it's quite different the way they treat William and Kate compared to Meghan and Harry.


PAUL: So to help us understand what this means really for the royal family at the end of the day, two experts, CNN Royal Correspondent, Max Foster and Richard Fitzwilliams, a CNN Royal Commentator.

So good to have both of you gentlemen with us.

Max, I want to start with you. Despite no longer being working royals, as it's been dubbed, they're clearly still part of the family, of course, so what does that mean really at the end of the day?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it means that the couple wanted to have a hybrid role. They outlined on a website in a statement there where they'd be earning private money but at the same time retaining some of the royal duties they currently carried out to representing the queen.

That went into discussion with a wider family. The palace authorities, government authorities as well and the outcome from the queen is you can't have that. You either need to be in or you are out and the couple chose out. So they've left their royal positions, which is seismic for the royal family, also has an impact on the remaining members. You have to pick up the work load or decide to do less.

PAUL: Right. So what was interesting with all of the rumors going around about what the relationship is between Harry and Meghan and the queen, the queen put out a statement and she made a point to praise Meghan. She wrote this, quote, I'm particularly proud how Meghan has so quickly become one of the family.

So the queen seems to be defending Meghan from the tabloid rumors that Meghan has blamed for splitting up the family. Do we have a better sense of that relationship between the queen and Harry and Meghan now?

FOSTER: You can certainly look at the statement as a peace treaty as well to a certain extent, because that was reaching to Meghan, being very clear that she's a central part of the family, when I know, behind the scenes, they haven't felt supported by the rest of family or the palaces, a massive breakdown in the relationships across the board, which is why all this exploded out to the public.

And some in the palace on the Sussex side of things feel actually the institution should have done more to stop this earlier on. It's too little too late. But, ultimately, the queen did come in, and whilst the language of the statement is very soft and speaking as a grandmother, what she is actually saying is extremely firm, this is where I am drawing the line.

You are out. You can't use your titles anymore and you are not getting any more public funding and you have to pay rent on the cottage and pay back the cost of the renovation to the cottage. If you take it in its complete form, it's actually a very dramatic, hard, firm line from the queen.

And we've seen her out today, actually, at church, she's with Prince Andrew, and that's interesting because we obviously had the scandal with Prince Andrew earlier in the year and she did the same thing. She tried to close the situation down.

He spoke about his association with Jeffrey Epstein. It went horribly wrong for the public and she asked him to step back completely from public duties altogether. So this shows how she is very much still in charge of the monarchy and she is the one that decides things behind the scenes. They call her the the boss.

PAUL: And at the end of the day, he's the son, so there is that. As many people can put themselves in that position in terms of how they would react if their son did something that might have been seen obviously as very wrong.

I want to go to you, Richard, because a lot of people look at this situation with Harry and Meghan and they think could they have not done everything they want to do with all the causes that they want to support in even a more high profile position had they stayed in the royal family in their roles?


RICHARD FITZWILLIAMS, ROYAL COMMENTATOR: I think that this would have been a very considerable problem. This is why the statement from the queen was necessary. And has just been pointed out, I mean, it was pretty brutal, to be frank. I don't mean the wording. It was very emollient, I mean, what it actually states regarding not using their titles and stepping back from royal roles and so forth.

Had they continued on a part-time basis so that they would, on the one hand, be doing roles in power and attempting to balance duties and path of the queen with same endorsements and various commercial products, possibly Meghan could have gone back to acting? We simply don't know. Certainly, the voiceover for Disney is something that has been considered. And then Harry might take on certain roles and jobs.

Now, the problem with this was that every single thing they do or would have done and remember their hatred of past intrusion would have been scrutinized by the press in its minutia. And who would have been there to say if they endorse something that turned out, for example, to be a bad buy or commercially undesirable in the opinion of some, there is no one to adjudicate. This really could have caused endless problems over years. So I think it's very important that the queen has drawn a line very, very strongly on this.

In a statement I have to say took me by surprise, because it was extremely blunt in the facts that the effect it will have on their lives. And I fear that Harry will feel somewhat past adrift.

PAUL: We'll have to wait and see. Max Foster, Richard Fitzwilliams, we appreciate your perspectives, both of you. Thank you very much.

SAVIDGE: Trump's defense team will be doing double duty when the impeachment trial begins. Coming up, a high profile team of lawyers expected to argue the president's case on television.



PAUL: 51 minutes past the hour. We're so glad to have you with us.

The president's legal team is in place. They are ready to argue their case when the Senate trial begins Tuesday. The president apparently doesn't want them to just defend him on the Senate floor though.

SAVIDGE: No. Sources tell CNN the president one of the roster of high profile lawyers who could also perform well on television.

Listen to Pam Bondi, a member of his legal team from last night.


PAM BONDI, TRUMP LEGAL TEAM: They're sending this basic trash over to the U.S. Senate. And the Senate is a lot smarter than that, and especially with Adam Schiff presenting, bring it on, because we're ready to go.


SAVIDGE: And joining us now to talk about all of this is Brian Stelter, CNN Chief Media Correspondent and Anchor of Reliable Sources. Good morning to you, Brian.


PAUL: Good morning, Brian.

SAVIDGE: So we know the president has been obsessed in his presidency and even before of coverage on television. So should it really surprise us that he would want a made for T.V. defense team?

STELTER: This does make perfect sense for the president. And I think he is doing it with an eye towards November, towards his re-election and toward the general election campaign even though it's the beginning of the primary season. We're at the three-year mark. This weekend is the three-year anniversary of the Trump presidency. And this is the logical outgrowth of a presidency that's been defined by his television watching and by his perceptions of what's going on that come through Fox News.

So, yes, he is going after Alan Dershowitz, who reportedly wasn't very interested in joining the legal time. Our colleague at CNN, Jim Acosta, saying there has been -- there was some reluctance on the part of Dershowitz to be involved, that he was pressured to get on board or at least have his name attached to the legal team.

Well, Dershowitz is a regular on Fox News. He is a regular in the president's orbit as a result. And so it makes sense the president would want Dershowitz there along with Pam Bondi, who actually even filled in on one of the Fox talk shows a while back. Pretty much every member of this legal is a familiar face to Fox viewers.

PAUL: So let me ask you this, Ken Starr spoke to Politico back in September of 2018. He was talking about the Mueller investigation. But he said at the time that he wouldn't want to take on representation with reasonably foreseeable that the advice would not be followed.

And that's one of the 'biggest questions in this, Brian, is will President Trump follow the advice of this defense team that he has set up? What do you expect we're going to see in the next -- do you see anybody on that team that you think could keep the president somewhat not so distracted on impeachment and not talking about it on Twitter?

STELTER: I can give you a long detailed answer but I'll just give you the short answer. No, I do not.

Look, the number one book in the country right now is The Very Stable Genius. This is the new Washington Post authored book and it's coming out on Tuesday. It's number one selling book on Amazon. The president has complained about it. But it is very clear, 400 pages long, I read the whole thing, about an erratic, sometimes dangerously misinformed president who will not take advice from anyone.

And this is not the first book to paint this portrait. We've been seeing this portrait being filled in for the past three years, as I mentioned, three years ago this weekend. The story remains the same. The players around the president sometimes change, but the president remains the same. And that is just to go back to the original point, partly due to Fox News and what he is hearing all the time from his favorite channel.


SAVIDGE: All right. Brian Stelter, thanks very much for that input.

PAUL: Thank you, Brian.

SAVIDGE: Remember, you can watch Brian later today, Reliable Sources. That will be at 11:00 A.M. Eastern. And, of course, it's only here on CNN.

PAUL: Less fruits and veggies, more pizza? Just ahead, why school lunches in the U.S. could soon become less healthy for your kids.


PAUL: There are millions of kids who eat at least one meal at school every day and sometimes it's the only meal they get. Well, the Trump administration now wants to allow, quote, more flexibility with the menu.

SAVIDGE: Interesting word. But while it would give children more lunch options, some worry that they're just going to pick burgers over broccoli.

Amara Walker has more.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Department of Agriculture tells The New York Times it was just a coincidence and that it did not intend to propose this roll back of Michelle Obama's signature lunch program on her birthday, which was on Friday.


The USDA says these proposed changes are all about reducing food wastes but by giving students school meal options that may be more appealing to them, that could mean less fruits and vegetables and more burgers and fries.


WALKER: When former First Lady Michelle Obama launched her Let's Move Initiative in 2010, her goal was to fight childhood obesity.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: We have improved the quality of food in our schools. That's where kids are eating many of their meals. And we have to do a better job of making sure that that food is quality.

WALKER: As part of Let's Move, she often promoted the White House vegetable garden and played a key role in bringing healthier food to the 30 million students who get their meals through the National School Lunch Program.

The Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act required more fruits and vegetables to be served while cutting sodium, saturated fat and sugar out of meals.

Now, the Trump administration wants to roll back these federal nutrition standards. On Friday, the U.S. Agriculture Department announced proposals that would reduce the amount of fruits and types of vegetables required in school meals, according to The Washington Post, giving the schools the flexibility to decide which meals would be appealing to their students.

The USDA says it's about reducing food waste, especially if students are throwing out what's being offered. In a statement, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, schools and school districts continue to tell us there is still too much food waste and that common sense flexibility is needed to provide students nutritious and appetizing meals. We listened and now we are getting to work.

Under the current standards, schools that participate in the school breakfast program must provide a half to one cup of fruit during breakfast from pre-school through high school. The new rule would allow meal providers to change the amount of food that is served and customize meal patterns. It would also allow schools to offer entrees, ala carte to reduce food wastes.

Critics argue the proposed changes could result in children eating less fruits and vegetables and instead getting foods that are greasier and higher in saturated fats and in calories.

Mrs. Obama had hoped the vegetable garden she had planted at the White House would live on as a symbol of a healthier nation for the children. That remains for now.


WALKER: No, a Harvard study in 2014 reported that under Obama's lunch program, kids ate 16 percent more vegetables and 23 percent from fruit. This would be the second move by the Trump administration to cut back on federal nutrition standards.

In 2018, a new rule allowed low fat chocolate milk and lowered the amount of whole grains that had to be served.

Amara Walker, CNN, Atlanta.

SAVIDGE: I don't know if you saw it, but it took about 15 months for UFC star Conor McGregor to return to fighting. It was a lot shorter in the fight. We'll tell you about it after this.



SAVIDGE: Well, it didn't even take one minute, actually less than a New York minute for a dynamic and controversial star show to come to a very decisive end.

PAUL: Yes, $60 for 40 seconds.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, $60 for it, yes, pay per view. But 15 months away from the sport, there were legal issues. There were -- you know, some were doubting whether or not Conor McGregor could win this fight. He was fighting upper weight class as well. Some doubt if he could ever be the same, what took just 40 seconds, as you mentioned, Martin.

But Tom Brady was there, the biggest names in sports coming out to watch this UFC 246 in Vegas. And in 40 second, McGregor reminds everyone why he's the sport's biggest star, a kick to the head TKOs Donald Cowboy Cerrone. It's McGregor's 22nd career win, 19th by knockout.

McGregor, he fell to his knees afterwards, really emotional about this journey back. The win got everyone's attention online, including LeBron James. He tweeted, welcome back, champ, after his Lakers victory over Houston last night. He wanted to check in.

Now, let's turn to baseball. Houston Astros stars were peppered with questions at the team's fan fest yesterday about the sign stealing scandal that tainted their 2017 World Series victory rocked Major League Baseball. They responded to the latest allegations that batters were wearing electronic devices under their jerseys, tipping them off to pitches.


REPORTER: I want to talk about buzzers, wearing electronic devices. Did that ever occur?


JOSE ALTUVE, HOUSTON ASTROS 2ND BASEMAN: The MLB did their investigation. They didn't find anything.

Believe me, at the end of the year, everything will be fine. We're going to be in the World Series again. People are going to believe it. We will.


WIRE: MLB's ongoing report found no evidence of such devices under the jerseys but did find Houston did use cameras to cheat during their World Series run. The Astros, Red Sox and Mets are all looking for new managers after learning their former managers were central figures in the scandal. More fallout could still come.

Now, it is championship Sunday in the NFL, and the 49ers-Packers rivalry is getting the blood pumping more than ever for the Packers' head coach Matt LaFleur, who was asked about his little brother, Mike, who is a coach for the 49ers. Listen.


MATT LAFLEUR, GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH: First of all, who said he is a good coach? I don't know. I never said that.


WIRE: LaFleur says his parents don't even care who wins this game because, either way, they are going to get a trip to the Super Bowl today's game to decide who actually makes it to the big game.


The AFC kicks off at 3:05.