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New Day Sunday
Senate Votes Trump Not Guilty Of Inciting Deadly Capitol Riots; McConnell Votes "Not Guilty," Then Blames Trump For Riots; Biden Team Looks To Move Forward With Agenda In Wake Of Trial; WHO Wuhan Mission Head Reveals New Details Of COVID Origins; Trump Faces Long List Of Post-Impeachment Legal Problems; Winter Storms From Coast To Coast, Impacting 170 Million People. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired February 14, 2021 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And, yes, be sure to tune in to the all-new CNN original series "LINCOLN: DIVIDED WE STAND," premieres tonight at 10:00 p.m., only here on CNN.
The next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY weekend with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
PAUL: You are waking up looking at the Capitol there and the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump over.
The debate over accountability for the Capitol Hill insurrection though and how the GOP handles the former president moving forward, that's still an open case.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Forty-three senators voted to acquit the former president after a five-day trial. Seven Republicans joined all 50 Democrats to vote guilty. Now, this was the most bipartisan impeachment vote in history, but still, ten votes short of what was needed to convict.
PAUL: In the statements on the verdict, both the former and current presidents signaled a focus on the future. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell suggesting more legal is ahead for the former president. He called Trump, quote, practically and morally responsible for the January 6th attack despite having just voted not guilty.
BLACKWELL: Would witnesses and testimony have changed any minds? There was some brief chaos over a vote to call witnesses, but in the end, House managers and the former president's legal team jumped right into those closing arguments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): The Senate will convene as a court of impeachment. REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Over the last several days, we presented
overwhelming evidence that establishes the charges in the article of impeachment. We have shown you how president Trump created a powder keg, lit a match and then continued his incitement even as he failed to defend us from the ensuing violence.
REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): If we don't set this right and call it what it was, the highest of constitutional crimes by the president of the United States, the past will not be past. The past will become our future.
MICHAEL VAN DER VEEN, TRUMP'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It is an unprecedented action with the potential to do grave and lasting damage to both the presidency and the separation of powers and the future of Democratic self-government. This has been perhaps the most unfair and flagrantly unconstitutional proceeding in the history of the United States Senate.
For the first time in history, Congress has asserted the right to try and punish a former president who is a private citizen. Nowhere in the Constitution is the power enumerated or implied. Congress has no authority, no right, and no business holding a trial of citizen Trump, let alone a trial to deprive him of some fundraiser civil rights.
LEAHY: Senators, how say you? Is the respondent Donald John Trump guilty or not guilty?
A roll call vote is required.
The yeas are 57. The nays are 43. Two-thirds of the senators present not having voted guilty, the Senate judges that the respondent Donald John Trump, former president of the United States, is not guilty as charged in the article of impeachment.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): This was the most egregious violation of the presidential oath of office and a textbook example, a classic example of an impeachable offense worthy of the Constitution's most severe remedy. I salute those Republican patriots who did the right thing. It wasn't easy. We know that.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): President Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office as an ordinary citizen. Unless the statute of limitation is run, still liable for everything he did while he was in office. He didn't get away with anything yet. Yet.
We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being accountable by either one.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It was a very disingenuous speech. I say that regretfully because I always want to be able to work with the leadership of the other party. I think our country needs a strong Republican Party. It's very important. And for him to have tried to have it every which way, but we will be going forward to make sure that this never happens again. (END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: So, CNN's Daniella Diaz is following the latest on Capitol Hill. We just talked about their about the vote to acquit the former president. It was a dramatic week in Washington.
Talk to us about how it all ended, and good morning.
DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Good morning, Victor and Christi.
Yes, it was a very dramatic week, indeed. The Senate voted to acquit Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial. In the end, all Democrats and seven Republicans voted to convict Trump, but that wasn't enough. The Senate needed a super majority to convict him. So another ten Republicans needed to sign on to convict him.
This came after a dramatic three-hour delay when Representative Jamie Raskin, one of the House impeachment managers, surprised everyone and voted to have witnesses. There was a vote in the Senate for witnesses, and behind closed doors Senate Republicans and Democrats met and decided that this was not -- they didn't want to proceed with this and this came after Senate Democrats warned the impeachment managers that if they proceeded with witnesses, it could drag the trial and they decided not to move forward with that.
But I really want to emphasize how remarkable it is that seven Republicans voted to impeach -- or to convict Donald Trump. This comes after only one senator, Mitt Romney, voted to convict Trump in his first impeachment trial, and this also comes after Mitch McConnell was very critical of Trump in his floor remarks, and he suggested that Trump could be criminally prosecuted.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a surprise appearance in a press conference with the impeachment managers yesterday where she slammed McConnell for delaying this impeachment trial and said he is the reason why this trial didn't happen until Trump was out of office. Take a listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Mitch McConnell, who when this distinguished group of house managers were gathered on January 15th to deliver the articles of impeachment, could not, we're told, could not be received because Mitch McConnell had shut down the Senate and was going to keep it shut down until right until the inauguration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: So, as you can hear from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she was having none of it. She called the Senate Republicans that voted to acquit Donald Trump cowards and she said that a censure for Donald Trump was just going to be a slap on the wrist and wanted to move past it.
So, as you can see, Democrats are signaling that they want to move past this chapter of Donald Trump's presidency -- Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: Daniella Diaz on Capitol Hill, thank you very much.
Let's bring in now, CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen, former impeachment counsel to House Democrats during the first Trump impeachment trial, also former ambassador to the Czech Republic. And CNN political analyst Alex Burns, national political correspondent for "The New York Times."
Gentlemen, welcome back.
Alex, I want to start with you. You got this new post-acquittal write for "The New York Times" about the pivotal moment for the Republican Party.
I wonder, as the country watched the condemnation without consequence, how the dichotomy between Mitch McConnell's words and his actions inform how people should understand this moment for the party.
ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Victor, I think condemnation without consequences is really exactly the other way to think about this. I think that we can see this as one more episode in the long recent history of Republicans wanting to distance themselves politically and personally in their own minds from what they see as the most egregious conduct of the former president.
But for the most part they don't want to take the political risk and invite the anger of their own political base by taking the steps that that might be required actually banish former President Trump from their party. Daniella is absolutely right that the seven Republican senators who voted to convict is an extraordinary number in historical terms, but it's not an accident that most of them are either retiring from the Senate or only just won re-election last November and will not face the voters again for another six years.
I think what the picture that comes out of the party yesterday is a party that badly wants to get away from this man, but doesn't actually want to do the hard work of separating itself.
BLACKWELL: Let's listen to some of what Leader McConnell said last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: Former aides publicly beg him to do so. Loyal allies frantically called the administration. The president did not act swiftly. He did not do his job. He didn't take steps so federal law could be faithfully executed, and order restored. No.
Instead, according to public reports, he watched television happily, happily, as the chaos unfolded.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: Ambassador Eisen, I wonder what you see as the value of that because, and I described it earlier as Mitch McConnell being in the center alone of this Venn diagram.
You have the people who condemned him. Those Republicans voted to convict. The ones who voted to acquit mostly stayed silent. So who is this for? Who is this giving cover to, to, as Alex said, banish the president?
NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Victor, thanks for having me back on the program. McConnell is attempting to have his cake and eat it, too. He delayed the start of the impeachment trial until after Trump was out of office. Then he argued, we can't have the impeachment trial because Trump is out of office.
That was in his power. He could have called back the Senate while Trump was still in the White House. He voted against impeachment despite the overwhelming evidence that the managers put on, the incredible detail. There was no question as a matter of fact or law, this nonsense about an ex-president. Virtually every impeachment scholar agrees that an ex-president, particularly one impeached while office, can be tried, and yet he used that as a fig leaf to cover up his and his party's shameful abdication of responsibility.
I do think that there is some utility in those remarks. They have been heavily covered. They are helpful, but let's make no mistake. Mitch McConnell betrayed his oath as an impartial juror, his obligations as the minority leader of the Senate, and his duties under the Constitution of the United States with this twisted pretzel lodge is logic. And it leaves the country in peril as a result.
There are good news stories coming out of this impeachment, but Mitch McConnell is not one of them.
BLACKWELL: Alex, is he going to have to keep this up? I mean, the former president in a statement says he is coming back. We know he's going to be active in 2020, and Leader McConnell can't go pack to back to what he did in the Trump presidency of saying, I haven't seen a statement, I didn't hear the comment, I'm focused on what's happening here.
BURNS: Want to bet, Victor? You know, look, I think we should not be too quick to assume that Republicans will not return to that playbook. I think that your point about the midterm elections is crucial here, that Trump has said, his allies, direct staff and his political advisors have said he will be highly active in 2022 and part of his mission is going to be taking retribution against the people who voted to impeach him in the House and convict him in the Senate. That leaves actually one Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who actually facing the voters next year.
But even still, that's a significant test of the Senate leadership, how forcefully will they come to her defense. From what Mitch McConnell has been saying in private, the answer is that they will come to her defense quite forcefully and that McConnell and his advisors have been telling people based on my reporting that they plan to wage a nationwide campaign to try to block these extreme right candidates from getting nominated in Senate races, particularly in states where they could then go on either to win easily and become highly disruptive members of the Senate, or where they would likely lose to a Democrat.
But, Victor, as we have seen again and again, it is one thing for Republicans to make those kinds of vows in private. It is another thing for them to carry them out in public and we are just going to have to, in the words of the former president, see what happens.
BLACKWELL: Yeah, Mr. Ambassador, last night, Speaker Pelosi said that a censure is off the table because that would let Republicans off the hook with just a slap on the wrist. You know, Schumer, Leader Schumer, he has been non-committal on the 14th and there are so many questions about how that would be executed. Do you agree that censure should be off the table?
EISEN: I agree that these lesser measures like censure, which is simply a non-binding vote of the two houses of Congress saying, Donald, you have been a very, very bad boy. That is an insult to the seriousness of what has happened here.
In the prior impeachment, censure would have been a powerful remedy, and I actually had many conversations with Senator Manchin about using censure while Trump was still in office, when he had to run again. Unfortunately, the two of us were the only ones in the entire Senate chamber who seemed to be interested.
But here, it would not make sense. The 14th Amendment question, the 14th Amendment Section 3 does provide that an insurrectionist cannot serve in public office again.
That's a more complicated question, including because we are not sure exactly how to implement that remedy under Section 5 of the 14th Amendment. I expect there will be more exploration of that and that we will be talking about it again, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Alex, quickly to you, and turning to the Democrats, the Democratic base, many progressives, they want consequences for President Trump on issues beyond the insurrection on the 6th. They also want some movement on the campaign promises.
Is there any indication, and you get to this in your latest write, the energy with which the Democratic Party, which direction they are leaning? Will there be energy behind further investigations, or are they going to try to push through some of she's legislative measures.
BURNS: I think there will be further investigations particularly about the events ever the 6th and aftermath by the House and Senate, but certainly the big bet that the Biden administration is placing, that the Democratic leadership in Congress is placing, is that if they move fast to implement some of their big campaign promises starting with this massive coronavirus relief and economic recovery legislation, that that will buy them the goodwill of the Democratic base, which is, obviously, quite disappointed right now that the president managed to get off the hook again. The former president, I should say.
BLACKWELL: Alex Burns, Ambassador Eisen, thank you both.
EISEN: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Enjoy the week.
PAUL: So we are getting reaction from former President Trump on the heels of his acquittal by the Senate. What is he saying about the trial and his future?
BLACKWELL: Plus, now that the trial is over, how will historians look back on this unprecedented period on President Trump on us? We'll discuss, next.
PAUL: So, former President Trump is apparently plotting a return to politics after being acquitted in his second impeachment trial.
BLACKWELL: Yes, he struck an optimistic tone after surviving what he calls another phase of the greatest witch hunt.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is live with us now.
Boris, good morning to you.
And we have not heard much from the former president since he left office. What's he's saying in this new statement?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and victor. Yeah, that sort of quiet approach or more quiet than usual approach from the former president, not a surprise given some of his concerns. I will get to that in a second.
But really this statement just outlines relief from Trump and his legal team. They are pleased with the outcome of the Senate impeachment trial, though sources close to the legal team indicate that they were surprised about the number of Republicans, Senate Republicans, who voted to convict Trump, seven in total. That number higher than what they had anticipated.
Now sources indicate that Trump is concerned mostly about potentially facing criminal charges, and that's the reason we haven't heard much from him in the way of any comments about what happened on the Capitol on January 6th. There is no sign of that concern in the statement that was put out yesterday though.
Here is a portion of it that's foreshadowing what Trump could be doing in his future post-presidency political career. He writes, quote: Our historic patriotic and beautiful movement to make America great again has only just begun. In the months ahead, I have much to share with you and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all our people. There has never been anything like it.
Notably, this statement also includes a line about the 74 million or so Americans who voted for former President Trump and this foreshadowing about much to share with you, this all has to do with those Republicans who first voted to impeach and then voted to convict him.
Those that Donald Trump feels betrayed him. You can bet that in the coming months he is going to be campaigning as well as fundraising to get them out of office, to defeat them, and, ultimately, of course, the specter of another run for the White House for Donald Trump looms large over the Republican Party going into 2024 -- Christi and Victor.
PAUL: Boris Sanchez, always good to see you, sir. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Joining us to talk about the historical implications of the former president's second acquittal is CNN presidential historian Tim Naftali, former director at the Nixon Presidential Library.
Good morning to you, Tim.
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Good morning, Victor.
BLACKWELL: So, let's start here. You know, presidents, for better or worse, fair or unfair, their administrations, their contributions are often just reduced to sentences. Lincoln freed the slaves. Reagan ended the Cold War.
As we've looked over the last couple of weeks, the end of the Trump administration, do we know what that sentence is for President Trump?
NAFTALI: Well, there -- he is -- he will likely have a few sentences attached to his name. He will be held responsible forever for the consequences of the COVID pandemic on us. We could not have escaped the pandemic, of course, but the amount of death, the effect on our economy was much greater than it had to be.
And he was clearly guilty of dereliction of duty, certainly in the first five months of the pandemic. So there will always be -- his name will always be attached to the pandemic in a way, for example, that Woodrow Wilson's name is not attached to the Spanish flu a century ago.
His name will also be remembered because he is the only president, and I hope forever, but certainly thus far, to have been impeached twice.
And the second, the third sentence we haven't written yet, and that third sentence is about the consequences of what he calls his beautiful moment, or what others -- movement, about what others called Trumpism.
The condemnation of Mitch McConnell last night was unprecedented. That was the first time that the leader of the president's party in the Senate had attacked a president after a Senate trial. That's never happened before in that way, which means that there is a struggle within the Republican Party for its soul.
Donald Trump's allies in Congress protected him throughout his time in office and in these weeks since leaving office. That protection of a man that the leader of the Republican caucus and the Senate has blamed for an insurrection, that protection is a problem for America. That's why we have a political crisis.
The protection of a person who led an insurrection to undermine our Constitution means that there are portions of the Republican Party that are constitutionalists. That's why that sentence hasn't been written yet. We don't know whether the Republican Party will make patriots out of those who use violence to express dissent. Trump's greatest legacy, his most poisonous legacy, we may not know yet.
PAUL: So when we look ahead at what might be ahead for him, even on Tuesday, lead defense attorney Bruce Castor, he hinted at what may be to come for President Donald Trump. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE CASTOR, TRUMP IMPEACHMENT ATTORNEY: There is no opportunity where the president of the United States can run rampant in January at the end of his term and just go away scot-free. The Department of Justice knows what to do with such people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: What does history tell us about what happens to a president who leaves office and there is a feeling that the bad behavior has had no consequence yet?
In other words, based on where we are sitting right now, how soon do you think his defenses will move, the president's defenses, former president's defenses will move from the U.S. Capitol to the U.S. courtrooms?
NAFTALI: Christi, that's a great question. In 1974, both parties roundly condemned Richard Nixon. And although Richard Nixon never faced a Senate trial because he resigned first, it was clear that he would be convicted. The effect was banishment from American political life.
And that was felt enough by President Gerald Ford and many Republican leaders, that being banished from political life was enough of a cost, enough of a penalty. And so, Richard Nixon did not face any criminal charges.
We have now the opposite in the case of Trump. He was not banished politically. Republican leaders did not step up to do what was necessary to banish him.
By the way, Democrats could never have banished Donald Trump. This is a Republican issue. Republicans had a chance with the trial to banish him. Mitch McConnell decided not to.
Instead, they seem to want to go the route they didn't want to go with Richard Nixon, which was to use the courts to seek some kind of criminal sanction against him. So, it appears there is a taste on the Republicans' side for to be consequences.
We will see whether the rubber hits the road, whether Mitch McConnell and his allies really mean this. Of course, it will be up to the Biden Department of Justice. Let's see how Republicans respond if Merrick Garland, the future attorney general, decides to move on a Trump case.
Will Republicans stand by and support that, or will they attack the Biden administration for distraction for not focusing enough on the problems of the day?
So it's unclear whether Mitch McConnell really intends to follow up on the meaning of his words. But if he does, the condemnation of Trump, unlike that of Richard Nixon, will be criminal rather than political.
BLACKWELL: Tim Naftali, we could continue this conversation for another 30 minutes. Unfortunately, we've got to move on. but I thank you so much for your insight into what we watched over this impeachment trial.
PAUL: We appreciate you, Tim. Thank you.
NAFTALI: Thank you, Christi. Bye.
PAUL: So, President Biden is ready to push forward with his agenda. He wants to stay focused on fighting COVID-19.
BLACKWELL: He also weighed in on former President Trump's impeachment trial. He says even those opposed to convicting Trump still believed he is responsible for the violence riot at the capitol.
CNN's Jasmine Wright is following the latest from the president.
What more did he say?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, President Biden really weighed in for the first time since that second acquittal of former President Trump last night, yesterday, in that Senate impeachment trial, calling democracy fragile in a lengthy statement.
Now, President Biden has been careful about what he says on impeachment and the process overall, but yesterday in that statement, he did not mince his words.
Let me read some of it for you. Now, President Biden wrote this sad chapter in our history has reminded us that democracy is fragile, that it must always be defended, that we must be ever vigilant, that violence and extremism has no place in America and that each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans and especially as leaders to defend the truth and to defeat the lies. Now, Biden added that although the result did not end up in a
conviction, it did have bipartisan support both from those senators yesterday and in the House a few weeks ago. Biden added that the substance of those charges is not up for dispute, and he offered his respect to those on the Capitol, on January 6th whose lives felt threatened.
Now, the last time that we heard from Biden on impeachment was Friday when speaking to my colleague Jeremy Diamond. Biden said that he was anxious to see how senators would vote, specifically Republican senators, to see who would stand up. Now Biden has his answer. He has been very careful not to put his thumb on the scale of this impeachment trial, not telling senators how he believes they should vote.
But in this statement, Biden really looked forward to the future and, as he looks forward to move forward with his agenda, including that $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
BLACKWELL: Jasmine Wright, following the latest from the administration -- thanks so much.
PAUL: So on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden is joining Anderson Cooper. It's going to be live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in an exclusive presidential town hall. We hope you will be there Tuesday, starting at 9:00 Eastern.
BLACKWELL: Up next, the CDC has new guidance on COVID testing and domestic travel. We've got the latest.
BLACKWELL: There are some promising signs in the fight against coronavirus. New U.S. COVID-19 cases fell below 100,000 for the second day in a row. That hasn't happened in months. A little more than 80,000 cases were reported on Saturday.
PAUL: This comes as more people are getting the vaccinations as well. The CDC says the U.S. has administered more than 50 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine thus far. That's about 72 percent of the 69 million and counting doses delivered nationwide.
But the overall total of deaths from the virus, I'm sorry to say, that is still climbing. More than 480,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19, and there is a new model forecasting that number will grow to more than 600,000 by June 1st.
Also, we have this new this morning. China is accusing the U.S. of undermining the World Health Organization and gravely damaging international cooperation on COVID-19.
BLACKWELL: Now, just a couple of days ago, U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan raised deep concerns about the WHO's investigation into the origins of the pandemic in Wuhan. Let's go to CNN's Nick Paton Walsh for more this morning.
Nick, what have you found?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I was speaking to the lead investigator of that WHO mission who has given some interesting findings that we haven't heard yet before about quite how the virus originated. Remember that is so important to establish so we can stop this kind of thing from happening again. And it seems they discovered some interesting facts.
WALSH (voice-over): The leader of the WHO mission to China investigating the origins of the coronavirus has told CNN the virus was likely much wider spread in China in December 2019 than was thought.
Peter Ben Embarek revealed the 174 positive cases found that first December likely severe cases meant there could actually have been an estimated 1,000 plus total cases in and around the city of Wuhan that month.
PETER BEN EMBAREK, W.H.O. INTERNATIONAL MISSION LEAD: And the virus concentrating really in Wuhan in December, which I think it's a new finding, and the 100 confirmed and the 74 clinically --
WALSH: About 174 would suggest 1,000 or so plus even.
EMBAREK: Yeah, probably likely, yeah, because that's again the parameters that we have looked at.
WALSH: The team also established in the first December, there were as many a as 13 slight variations of the virus from samples of all orbits of its genetic code circulating in and around Wuhan where this seafood market is thought to have played a role.
EMBAREK: We have 13 strains covering individuals in December. Some of them are from the market or into the market. Some of them are not related to the markets. This is something we found as part of our mission.
WALSH: That many variations so early on could suggest the virus had been circulating for some time, some analysts told CNN, although precise timing is still unclear. Their work heavily scrutinized, tense and frustrating conditions.
EMBAREK: Remember, we had the entire planet on our shoulders 24 hours a day for months, which doesn't make the work among scientists easier.
Hence, as always, with between passionate scientists, you get heated discussion and argumentation about this and that.
WALSH: They hope to access biological samples they say China has yet to share, especially hundreds of thousands of blood bank samples from Wuhan dating back two years. China's pledged transparency with the investigation.
EMBAREK: There is about 200,000 samples in available data that are now secured and could be used for new studies.
WALSH: And you want to look at that urgently?
EMBAREK: Yeah, that would be fantastic if we could move with that.
WALSH: Is it not amazing that they haven't already looked through those samples?
EMBAREK: You could say that, but we understand that these samples are extremely small samples and only used for indication purposes.
WALSH: So many questions to answer. First, if China will let them back in.
WALSH (on camera): And it isn't clear if they will get to go back in.
You have to look at the bigger picture here. China so hungry for power, so hungry for knowledge, so good that disease surveillance so much at the time, yet somehow a year later, there are all these unanswered questions. These studies that hadn't been done until the WHO asked them to be done. We are learning an awful lot there about its initial spread in that busy December, but still so much more to be learned in this now very dark climate, frankly, of geopolitical distrust.
Back to you.
BLACKWELL: Indeed, excellent reporting. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much.
PAUL: Thank you, Nick.
So what is ahead for the former President Trump? Well, apparently he is wondering the same thing. Word is he fears that there may be more legal battles ahead for him.
We'll tell you what we know.
BLACKWELL: Former President Trump has been acquitted by the Senate, but his legal risks are not over.
CNN's Kara Scannell has more on the potential legal challenges he is facing.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: With his second impeachment acquittal behind him, former President Donald Trump's attention is now turning to a growing list of legal problems. The most serious are the criminal investigations.
In Georgia, the Fulton County district attorney is investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the election, including the phone call where Trump told Georgia's secretary of state to find the votes to swing the election in his favor. In New York, the Manhattan district attorney's office is conducting a broad investigation and looking into whether any lenders were misled or any tax laws were broken.
The former president has privately voiced concerns he could be sing- charged in connection with the insurrection. The Justice Department has already charged more than 200 people relating to the riot.
Now, will those investigations could threaten his freedom?
Trump also faces a number of investigations and lawsuits that could threaten him financially. The New York attorney general has a civil investigation into the Trump Organization's finances and the D.C. attorney general has sued the Trump Organization alleging it misused funds raised for his inauguration. The former president faces two defamation lawsuits for denying claims by two women who say he's sexually assaulted them.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in all of these investigations and cases.
BLACKWELL: Kara Scannell, thanks so much.
There is some rough weather on the way for 170 million people across this country. Allison Chinchar has a look at the forecast next.
BLACKWELL: We're expecting some pretty severe weather across the country this week, more than 170 million people are already under some sort of winter weather alert. That's more than half the U.S. population.
PAUL: CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar.
All right, just give it to us straight.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, so we've got a lot to cover so let's take a look.
As you noticed, again, we talked about more than half the U.S. population under some type of winter weather alert, ice storm warnings, winter weather advisory, blizzard warnings, it's on the map somewhere. Here's a look at what we got going on right now, Snowing in portions of Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, but all of this is going to start to shift off to the east in the next 24 to 36 hours.
And it's not just snow. You're also going to have ice and pretty thick ice in a lot of spots including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and that's just in the short term.
Overall snowfall accumulations widespread 4 to 8 inches but there will be some spots that pick up as much as a foot of snow before this system exits. Ice also pretty dangerous, you are talking a quarter of an inch widespread across portions from Texas all the way up to Pennsylvania, but some areas could pick up a half of an inch of ice. That's not only problematic for roadways but also bringing trees down, power lines.
So widespread power outages are going to be a big impact. This system exits the southern U.S. today and continues to slide up into portions of the mid-Atlantic by the time we get to early Monday and then from there continues off into the northeast by Tuesday.
So this is one of those systems that's really going to impact a tremendous amount of people, even to the mid-Atlantic to the Northeast, the heaviest snowfall will be focused closely around the Great Lakes Region. Again, same thing, widespread 4 to 8 inches but some spots could pick up as much as a foot of snow before it exits.
Again, Victor, Christi, some of the biggest impacts in the short term for today will be focused over Texas, Oklahoma, significant snow and ice accumulations, but also incredibly poor visibility as well.
BLACKWELL: Stay safe out there. Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.
PAUL: Thanks, Allison.
So employees at a Rhode Island restaurant are feeling the love this Valentine's Day after this surprise. Every month the owners of the Old Theater Diner in Coventry, Rhode Island, make donations to community organizations. Well, this month they decided to give back to their employees.
CNN affiliate WJAR reports at a mandatory staff meeting the owners gave out bonuses to 60 employees totaling $15,000. Yay for that restaurant and recognizing your employees.
Thank you so much. Happy Valentine's Day to you.
And we hope that you make good memories today.
BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS" with Abby Phillip is up next.