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New Day Sunday
Trump Acquitted In Historic Second Impeachment Trial; McConnell Makes Case For Convicting Trump After Voting To Acquit; U.S. Now Averaging Under 100,000 New Daily COVID-19 Cases; How QAnon Ruins Families; France Halts "Sweetheart Visa" For Unmarried Couples; Groceries Packed Ahead Of Storm. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired February 14, 2021 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is "NEW DAY" weekend with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Shot of the Capitol building there at 5:00 Eastern time on this Sunday morning and there was so much happening there yesterday. You are waking up to the end of the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
But this morning, the debate over accountability for the Capitol insurrection, how the GOP handles the former president moving forward, that's still an open case.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Now 43 senators voted to acquit the former president after a five-day trial. In the end seven Republicans joined 50 Democrats to vote guilty. It was the most bipartisan impeachment vote in history. Ten votes short, though, of what was needed to convict.
PAUL (voice-over): Both the former and current president point to focusing on the future in their reactions to the trial. Minority leader Mitch McConnell suggested more legal trouble is headed for former president's way.
PAUL: He called former president Trump practically and morally responsible for the riot right after his not guilty vote.
Would witnesses have changed any minds is the question. CNN's Ryan Nobles starts our coverage with more on that short-lived debate.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a second time, Donald Trump has escaped conviction by the U.S. Senate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is therefore ordered and adjudged that the said Donald J. Trump be and he is hereby acquitted of the charge in said article. NOBLES (voice-over): The final vote capped off a dramatic and
unpredictable day where House impeachment managers initially announced plans to call witnesses in the trial of the former president.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD), LEAD IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: We would like the opportunity to subpoena Congresswoman Herrera regarding her communications with House minority leader Kevin McCarthy.
NOBLES (voice-over): Calling witnesses would have most likely sent the trial in a dramatically different direction, leading to a much longer affair.
After hours of negotiations, the two sides agreed to submit into the record a statement from Republican congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler, which detailed a phone call from Trump to House minority leader Kevin McCarthy on January 6th, where Trump told McCarthy the rioters cared more about election fraud than McCarthy.
Impeachment managers decided to call her as a witness following a CNN report on the call Friday.
RASKIN: The point is that no number of witnesses demonstrating that Donald Trump continued to incite the insurrectionists, even after the invasion of the Capitol, would convince them. They wouldn't be convinced.
NOBLES (voice-over): With witnesses off the table, the two sides presented their closing arguments. The prosecution arguing that the evidence made it clear the riot was incited by the former president.
RASKIN: He named the date, he named the time and he brought them here and now he must pay the price.
NOBLES (voice-over): And the Trump defense warning the constitutional questions of convicting a former president were impossible to ignore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been perhaps the most unfair and flagrantly unconstitutional proceeding in the history of the United States Senate.
NOBLES (voice-over): When the votes were cast, seven Republicans joined Democrats and voted to convict Trump but fell short of the two- thirds majority necessary. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana voted to convict, despite earlier voting the trial was unconstitutional.
After it was all over, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who voted to acquit, hammered Trump's actions, saying he was responsible for the riot and even suggested he could be tried in a criminal court.
MCCONNELL: 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.
NOBLES (voice-over): But majority leader Chuck Schumer argued the Republicans were using the constitutional argument as a copout. In his mind, the evidence was more than enough to convict.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: Look at what Republicans have chosen to forgive. The former president tried to overturn the results of a legitimate election and provoked an assault on our own government.
NOBLES: While there's no doubt that Democrats are not happy with the outcome of this impeachment trial, there are many that are happy to see it in the rearview mirror and they are ready to get focused on some of the big agenda items for the new Biden administration.
The first thing up, that big COVID relief package currently making its way through the Congress --
NOBLES: -- Ryan Nobles, CNN, on Capitol Hill.
PAUL: Ryan, thank you very much.
Now moments after his acquittal, former president Trump issued a statement and he was teasing a return to politics.
BLACKWELL: There was an optimistic tone. He called the impeachment another phase of the greatest witch hunt. But as CNN's Boris Sanchez reports, he's still concerned about the future.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Victor, Donald Trump's legal team expressing relief over the acquittal of the former president, though sources indicate the legal team was surprised seven Republican senators voted to convict Trump, that number much higher than what they expected.
Notably, we are hearing from sources close to the former president who say that he is now concerned about potentially facing criminal charges. And this comes on the heels of Mitch McConnell, during his speech, saying that the criminal justice system may ultimately look at Donald Trump's role in the insurrection on January 6th.
And it's not just McConnell. Federal investigators have laid out to CNN that they are looking at anyone and everyone who was involved in the violence we saw on Capitol Hill that day, including Donald Trump.
In the meantime, though, publicly, Trump expressing relief as well. He apparently is pleased with the acquittal, though he does foreshadow some upcoming political work.
In a statement, Trump writing, in part, 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 of our people." We anticipate that, in that statement, part of what Trump is alluding
to and what he wants to share with his supporters is an effort to oust the Republicans that Trump feels betrayed him.
He is preparing to campaign against them, to potentially fundraise against them and get them out of office. Of course, there's always the specter that Trump may run again in 2024 -- Victor, Christi?
BLACKWELL: Boris, thank you.
Let's bring in CNN legal analyst Ross Garber who teaches impeachment law at Tulane Law School and Julie Norman, lecturer in politics at University College London.
Thank you both for being with us.
Ross, let me start with you. I want to begin with minority leader McConnell. He votes to acquit because he says that a former president cannot or should not be impeached. But when president Trump was in office, he declined to start the trial then. Speaker Pelosi calls that justification pathetic.
What's your assessment?
ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, McConnell clearly wanted nothing at all to do with this. This was, you know, not something he wanted dumped in his lap and, you know, he, in some ways, was trying to have it all ways. In some ways he wound up having it no ways. You know, it's unclear what he actually believed.
But the notion in the end was that, you know, jurisdiction was a way for him to avoid having to deal with many of the facts of the case. But notably he did go out of his way to condemn Trump's conduct.
BLACKWELL: Let's play some of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: Former aides publicly begged 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: The leader there, excoriating the former president.
Julie, let me come to you, seven Republicans voted with the Democrats; as Boris just reported, the president was surprised by that number, that it was that high, the most of any president's party in an impeachment. Is the former president's grasp on the party any looser, any weaker
than it was a week, a month ago?
JULIE NORMAN, LECTURER IN POLITICS, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Well, Victor, I don't think it is in any substantial terms. It is notable this was a historic rebuke that we saw seven Republican senators voting against the president.
But the fact is Trump still has a very strong grip over the party, not only through the Senate vote but what we know from public opinion as well. About 80 percent of Republicans last week were saying they still had a positive image of Trump, 70 percent said they would see those who voted for conviction as being disloyal rather than principled.
NORMAN: And over 50 percent want to Trump to run again. Though we've seen some moderates, some in more center lanes pushing back at Trump, I think his base is still quite strong and isn't showing any signs of loosening up after the impeachment.
BLACKWELL: Ross, when we were together at this hour yesterday and I asked about the potential that the House managers would call witnesses, you said that you expected that had they would not. To be fair, most guests yesterday said that they did not expect that the House managers would call guests -- call witnesses.
And then the vote came and they had a bipartisan vote to bring in witnesses. And it backfired on them.
How do you view how that came about and then how it fell apart for the Democrats?
GARBER: Yes, so, you know, one thing I think we've learned from this impeachment trial is, we, in the United States, are super bad at doing impeachment trials. They don't come up that often.
And I think what wound up happening was the House managers, you know, realized and they were getting, you know, a lot of pressure, that having a trial without witnesses is not politically palatable for some of their constituents.
There was some reporting by CNN's Jamie Gangel that pointed up a significant potential witness to fill a significant potential hole in their case and -- and they sort of bit on that but then wound up like the dog that caught the school bus.
You know, they wound up, you know, getting authorization to call witnesses and then things devolved because then the Republicans wanted to call witnesses and it would prolong things and, in the end, they wound up just kind of giving up because they thought they would wind up in the same place anyway with an acquittal.
BLACKWELL: Michael Van der Veen said he would call at least 100 witnesses because he, in his estimate, needed to do the work that the House managers did not do. That's his perspective. Julie, let me ask you a question that you're uniquely positioned to
How is this impeachment and the process and now the acquittal viewed abroad?
NORMAN: Well, Victor, I think international audiences had a lot of the same questions as Americans did going into this. The images of January 6th were obviously broadcast all over the world.
There have been questions for the last few weeks around the world of how the United States was going to deal with that, if Trump would be held accountable and if he would be barred from holding office again.
The big questions now, I think that many here are asking is, was this process worth it for the Democrats and what did this mean next for Trump and for the Republican Party going forward. So similar questions, I think, as they're being asked in the United States.
BLACKWELL: Ross, this is the shortest impeachment process in history. There were no witnesses, no testimony in the House or in the Senate.
Do you expect that this will be an anomaly?
Or this will inform impeachment proceedings moving forward?
GARBER: Yes, that's a concern that I've raised, Victor, because, you know, remember, in the scheme of things, we don't have these impeachment trials very often. Former president Trump was now only the third president to face an impeachment trial.
And for the next one, just like for these, we look back in history to kind of see how it was done before. I think -- you know, I'm actually hoping that one of the lessons was this was not a way to do an impeachment trial.
The notion of doing an impeachment trial without witnesses, without testimony, without evidence, you know, a trial that doesn't look very much like a trial isn't a very good model for public confidence in the result.
BLACKWELL: Julie, before we wrap, let's look over at the Democrats and look ahead.
How does this impact what the Biden administration or what congressional Democrats do moving forward?
Are they going to have to now, I guess, supported by some disappointment from their constituents, go big legislatively, abandon this talk of working with Republicans, maybe get rid of the filibuster?
What do you think?
NORMAN: Well, of course, we've already seen the Biden administration looking to go big on legislation. They're hoping to get this $1.9 trillion corona relief plan through very quickly, most likely through the reconciliation process, which has already been started.
The filibuster question, I think, is still something that Biden himself isn't looking to push his weight into just yet.
NORMAN: He's really focusing on this big legislation package coming up as well as an infrastructure bill that he wants to push through right after that.
So for Biden, it's really looking to get back to business. He will be somewhat relieved that the trial was relatively speedy, that they lost just a week of business and they can get back to his bills and also his nominations after the recess next week.
BLACKWELL: There is certainly a lot to do, Julie Norman, Ross Garber, thank you both.
GARBER: You bet.
NORMAN: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: And later this morning, the conversation continues on an all new "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY." Join Abby Phillip at 8:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.
PAUL: To that point that Julie was just making, as we get reaction to the impeachment trial from President Biden, we will talk about the major legislative issues and priorities on his list, coming up next.
BLACKWELL: Plus families torn apart by QAnon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to have a mom who loves me or just -- we're past that.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): You will hear from two women who talked to CNN about the conspiracy theory and though it's turned their parents into people that they don't recognize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: And, listen, be careful out there. There are such dangerous icy conditions that are across so many parts of the country this morning. Forecasters say we could see the worst ice storm in two decades. We will get specific information from them in a moment. Stay close.
BLACKWELL: President Biden is ready to push forward with his agenda and stay focused on fighting COVID-19.
PAUL: He did make time, though to weigh in on former president Trump's impeachment trial, saying even those opposed to convicting Trump still believe he is responsible for the violent riot at the Capitol. CNN's Jasmine Wright is following the latest from the White House.
What else did the president have to say?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden really weighed in for the first time late last night on the second acquittal of former president Trump with that Senate impeachment trial.
And he called democracy fragile. Now the current president, President Biden, has been really careful on what he says on the impeachment trial and the process overall. But yesterday in that lengthy statement Biden did not mince his words. Let me read some of it for you.
President Biden wrote that, "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 a responsibility as Americans and especially as leaders to defend the truth and defeat the lies."
Now Biden added that although the result did not end up in a conviction, Republicans on both sides, both the House and Senate voted, some of those voted in favor for this conviction and that the substance of those charges against former president Trump were not in question.
Now the last time we heard from Biden on impeachment was Friday, when he told my colleague, Jeremy Diamond, that he was anxious to see how Senate Republicans would vote, whether they would stand up.
Now Biden has his answer. But again, Biden has been very careful not to put his finger on the scale, not to tell Republicans how he believes that they should vote.
But at the end of that lengthy statement, Christi, Biden really pitched forward to the future, saying that this is how the uncivil rest ends and this is really -- this is how we end this uncivil war and this is the task ahead.
BLACKWELL: Jasmine, now that the trial is over, the president is looking to move forward with the agenda, as you said.
What do we expect to see the president focus on in the near term?
WRIGHT: Well, President Biden is going to focus on that first major policy legislative proposal that he has, that $1.9 trillion coronavirus bill. We're going to see his outreach over the week really all in service to get the message out about that bill, now that he has the Senate back, ready to focus really on this push to get relief to American families. But also another thing that we have to be watchful of Biden pushing
forward on is his rounding out his cabinet nominees. As of right now, there are only seven of the 23 that need to be confirmed.
And we should be looking particularly at that attorney general nominee Merrick Garland and seeing what happens in this next week with his confirmation vote.
BLACKWELL: Jasmine Wright for us in Washington, thank you so much.
PAUL: Thank you, Jasmine.
We have an update for you here on that White House press deputy secretary. He's resigned after threatening a reporter who asked about his romantic relationship with another reporter.
BLACKWELL: TJ Ducklo is his name. He resigned yesterday, one day after he was suspended for a week without pay. According to "Vanity Fair" he told a female reporter he would, quote, "destroy" her if she reported on his relationship. The White House says President Biden was unaware of the situation and supports his decision to resign.
PAUL: So up next, the CDC has new guidance on testing and domestic travel. We're going to tell you what that is in just a moment. Stay close.
PAUL: 5:28 right now. The CDC says it won't require passengers to take mandatory COVID-19 tests before domestic air travel. This came after some strong pushback from the airline industry.
BLACKWELL: And the influential IHME model from the University of Washington now projects that, by June 1st, the number of Americans dead from the coronavirus will exceed 600,000. Let's go to CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro with more on this.
The new projections a little lower than they have been, right?
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's correct. That's where we are right now. Some positive news but more evidence of just how horrible and ongoing this pandemic is.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): In the United States, a promising sign of hope this weekend, for the first time since November 3rd the U.S. is averaging fewer than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.
But there's still danger for Americans; an updated IHME model projects more than 610,000 Americans will have died of COVID-19 by June 1st. That's down slightly from last week's forecast. Experts say the key continues to be vaccinating as many people as possible.
DR. RICHINA BICETTE, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: I think in order for us to get back to where we were in maybe January of 2020, it's really going to take us achieving that herd immunity marker. And that's not going to happen until we get at least 75 percent of the population vaccinated.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): Leaders are sounding a positive note on vaccines as new CDC data from Saturday night show that more than 50 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S.
That's more than two million doses reported since Friday, though CDC reporting may be delayed. The new numbers come as states continue to expand their criteria for who can get a vaccine.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced individuals with comorbidities may now schedule vaccine appointments. The state has already distributed 90 percent of the first dose vaccines it received from the federal government.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So look, as far as this thing goes, a pretty good day today in America in this pandemic. But as you mentioned at the top, that domestic travel guideline shows you where we're at.
The CDC says tests are not required for domestic travel but people in America should not be traveling unless it's absolutely necessary. So good news but this pandemic is still here.
PAUL: Very true. Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much.
Good to see you.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Evan.
Up next, how QAnon is hearing families apart. We look at the very real consequences of falling into these conspiracies.
BLACKWELL: Some followers of QAnon were part of the mob who stormed the Capitol on January 6th.
PAUL: Yes, and behind every follower obviously there is a family. And some of them are telling CNN that the people they love have become so consumed with the conspiracy theory that they don't even recognize them anymore. Here is CNN's Donie O'Sullivan.
DANIELLE MARSHALL, DAUGHTER OF QANON FOLLOWER: I live just a few blocks south of the Capitol. And so I started seeing people walking on the sidewalk heading up to the Capitol with Trump flags and red hats.
And I thought to myself, I wonder if my mom is here. And so I thought, let me check her YouTube. And lo and behold, she was.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are here at this rally. Look at this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will never stop loving my parents but it's this switch that flips in them when they're talking about what the latest Q drop means. They're not logical anymore. They're not understanding. And often they're not kind.
MARSHALL: Not only does she really believe it but it intersects in her mind with her religion. She has never put anything else on the pedestal equal to the Bible. And it really feels like that with this QAnon stuff.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A conspiracy theory has taken over both these women's lives but not by their choosing.
MARSHALL: I just want to have a mom who loves me. We're just -- we're past that.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): They say their parents have been sucked into QAnon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My childhood was as perfect as any childhood could be. In the recent year or two years, where this has become so much stronger within them, they've become completely different people.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): This woman is still desperately trying to save her relationship with her parents. It's why we've agreed to hide her identity.
O'SULLIVAN: How did this all start with your parents?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All through growing up, it was constantly, oh, my gosh, like, the Clintons. Oh, my gosh, the illuminati, things like that. But it all started really in the 2016 election cycle. Hillary Clinton and all of the Democrats are pedophiliac and cannibalistic people that are trying to control the world.
Things definitely heightened when I got to college. They would background search my professors. Hey, your professor, yes, like they're a registered Democrat.
MARSHALL: She knows my wife is a Capitol police officer. When she did that, that said everything to me, that she was willing to put my wife's life in danger. And if she had called me up or texted me later that day or the next
day and said, hey, listen, I was at this rally, it got way out of hand, I'm really sorry, how are -- how are you guys, that would have changed everything.
But it's been crickets. I haven't heard from her.
O'SULLIVAN: (voice-over): We repeatedly reached out to Danielle's mother for comment and she did not responded.
O'SULLIVAN: Have they changed their lifestyle in any way as a result of this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, last time I was there, at my family's house, they told me that they have a three years' supply of meat in the freezer. They told me that they bought up a bunch of ammo.
O'SULLIVAN: Are you concerned that they might blow their life savings on these freeze-dried foods and 300 pounds of meat?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Not their life savings, my college tuition, right? That's hard.
O'SULLIVAN: Whoever is the person that was running this Q account, what would you say to them if you -- if you could sit down and talk to them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd tell them that they ruined my life. That they ruined my family. That they took what's supposed to be the best, most consistent, most loving part of my life and they turned it into evil.
PAUL: That's powerful. Powerful stuff there.
BLACKWELL: Wow. It is.
PAUL: You can't even reconcile that.
OK. Listen, we're going to talk about what's happening in France because they call it a sweetheart visa. It's been helping couples slip through travel restrictions during the pandemic. This Valentine's Day, though, may not turn out the way a lot of people had hoped. We'll tell you what's happening.
BLACKWELL: Also award-winning actor and best selling cookbook author Stanley Tucci is coming to CNN and he is taking us along for unforgettable journey through Italy. The new CNN original series, "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY," premieres tonight at 9:00.
PAUL: So listen, I know it's already difficult enough in a normal year if you are in a long-distance relationship living on opposite sides of the ocean, trying to see each other. You add in COVID and travel restrictions and you know it's that much more difficult.
BLACKWELL: France offered so-called sweetheart visas, waivers that ease the restrictions for binational couples. But now they're ending them. Here is Cyril Vanier in Paris.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Strolling through Paris hand in hand. To make this dream come true, Beatrice and Jackson had to move mountains.
VANIER (voice-over): Rewind just a few hours. Paris International Airport. Beatrice staring at the arrivals board. She's a pharmacist in France. He's an opera singer in Philadelphia, a very much in love but unmarried binational couple.
When Europe and the U.S. closed their borders almost a year ago, they were stuck continents apart until the French government agreed that, in the words of one activist group, "love is not tourism," creating a special laissez-passer, AKA a sweetheart visa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT PROSKY, ACTOR, "BRONTE'S LAWYER": They're going to want to know the color of each other's toothbrush. What does he like to eat, I don't know, does he snore?
GERARD DEPARDIEU, ACTOR, "GEORGES": Height, 5'7"
ANDIE MACDOWELL, ACTOR, "BRONTE": 5'8".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER (voice-over): Like Gerard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell in "Green Card," Beatrice and Jackson had to prove their love.
JACKSON WILLIAMS, SWEETHEART VISA RECIPIENT: The history of our relationship, from when we met to now and everything we've done in between.
BEATRICE VAYLEUX, SWEETHEART VISA RECIPIENT: It's a selfie; one page further --
VANIER (voice-over): Letters, pictures, passport stamps, until Jackson was granted a travel exemption. VAYLEUX: Love is powerful (ph).
VANIER: But love isn't always powerful enough. France has now suspended the laissez-passer that brought Beatrice and Jackson together because of deteriorating COVID numbers. And the pandemic is keeping plenty of binational couples separated.
Their plans for marriage or family put on hold indefinitely.
Shems and Aisha, another Franco-American couple, haven't seen each other for over six months.
AISHA CLARK, SEPARATED FIANCEE: There is no going out with your partner. There is no coming home to somebody. Like I'm just alone. Like the epitome of loneliness.
VANIER: You can't be there for her?
SHEMS ZEGGAI, SEPARATED FIANCEE: No. That's killing me.
VANIER (voice-over): Well before the pandemic, they applied for a fiancee visa to the United States. But COVID-19 slowed everything down and because, they're not married yet, Shems isn't exempt from U.S. coronavirus travel restrictions.
ZEGGAI: The way there is no law, a law which accommodate (ph). Journalists can come, like sport players can come.
Why me, I cannot come to see my fiancee?
What is more essential than that?
VANIER (voice-over): They're confident they will eventually be together again.
And around the world, how many other long-distance couples might throw in the towel under the strain of the pandemic? -- Cyril Vanier, CNN, Paris.
PAUL: OK. Not unusual for us to talk about winter storms this time of year. But this one, the scope, the expansiveness of it, is alarming. Take a look at that, over half the country. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar has an update for us on what to expect. Stay close.
(MUSIC PLAYING) BLACKWELL: An incoming storm is threatening to bury a lot of the
Southern Plains under snow. Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana have all declared emergencies that are coming.
PAUL: Yes, the emergency declarations may have been having some unintended consequences here.
In Oklahoma, for example, look at the crowds that were out there, just trying to get their hands on all the supplies they could to stock up, to make sure that they are prepared as this storm moves in.
And it is a significant storm. The winter weather expected to be across the country and affect 170 million people from coast to coast. That's talking almost half the population. I heard one meteorologist, Victor, compare it to a hurricane, a category 5, but in the winter.
PAUL: NBA star Kevin Durant spent the past week with the team because of COVID-19 protocols.