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New Day Sunday

United Flight Suffers Engine Failure After Takeoff From Denver; Fourteen-Million-Plus Experiencing Water Disruptions In Texas; Confirmation Hearings For Merrick Garland Begin Tomorrow; House Democrats Unveil $1.9 Trillion Relief Bill Expected To Come Up For Full Vote This Week; Biden Approves Major Disaster Declaration For Texas; Now More Than 61 Million Vaccine Doses Administered In U.S.; Source: Trump To Speak At CPAC Next Sunday. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 21, 2021 - 06:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: Mayday, Mayday United Air28. Denver, departure. United 328 Heavy Mayday aircraft just experienced engine failure. Need to turn immediately.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It could have been a whole lot worse than it was. We're really thankful that nobody got injured or hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lights may be on but across parts of Texas the water isn't.

MAYOR LARRY WALLACE, MANOR, TEXAS: Honestly, I've lost all faith in senior leadership. I have only heard from council members and fellow mayors that I've built relationships with. Everybody else is a lost hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Biden hoped there would be in his first piece of legislation bipartisan support. It's not going to happen. Speaker Pelosi says they hope for a vote for the full House by the end of the week.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): We have to get those $1,400 direct payments into the pockets of every working-class adult and their kids.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good to have you on a Sunday morning. And we are starting in Colorado. The NTSB is investigating that United Airlines flight that suffered an engine failure shortly after takeoff.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Can you imagine looking out the window and seeing that? One passenger says the plane had just reached 10,000 feet when this happened. Now the incident sent debris raining down on homes below outside Denver. Take a look at this. There were plane parts in people's yards and some even smashed one person's pickup truck.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A miracle that the plane landed, everybody on the ground is safe. That's kind of where my head goes. And I'm just glad about that.


BLACKWELL: Lucy Kafanov is in Colorado for us following this from Broomfield, what have you learned?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, good morning. What a difference a night makes. When we were here yesterday this entire area was blocked off by police tape. There was debris almost everywhere you looked. The building behind me where that white RV is is actually where that giant circular piece of metal fell from the sky. It was a piece of the engine casing bouncing off the gutter there. Miraculously, no one in the house was hurt.

But this morning the police tape is down. There is no debris to be seen. We understand that the NTSB investigators were on the scene last night collecting pieces of evidence and now that investigation is underway.


KAFANOV (voice-over): Terrifying video from onboard United flight 328 showing the right engine on fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden there was a loud sound and then it got really, really bad. I thought lightning struck the plane at first.

TRAVIS LOOCK, PASSENGER: There was a big boom and the kind of sound you don't want to hear when you are on an airplane. And I instantly put my shade up. And I was pretty frightened to see that the engine on my side was missing.

KAFANOV: The Boeing 777 traveling from Denver to Honolulu experiencing engine failure minutes after takeoff.

BOB BROWN, PASSENGER: We looked at each other, my wife and I, and held hands. And just wished our kids, we would see them again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know what it is.

KAFANOV: Eyewitnesses on the ground seeing pieces of the aircraft falling from the sky in a Denver suburb of Broomfield.

KIERAN CAIN, EYEWITNESS (on the phone): I was playing on the basketball court just having fun. An airplane was flying really high overhead and basically what sounded like a sonic boom made everybody look up. As we did, we could see there was a giant black cloud of smoke high up in the sky. Immediately followed by what looked like pieces of the aircraft, really just coming off and basically a shower of things that were falling out of the sky. KAFANOV: The debris field spread over a mile according to Broomfield police. Massive pieces of metal puncturing a roof strewn over a soccer field and lawns.

KIRBY KLEMENTS, EYEWITNESS: My wife and I were sitting inside the house just finishing up with the paper and we heard this big bang. And we kind of looked at each other and go, what was that?

And then all of a sudden there was a bang and a crash, and this object just rolls right in front of our house right out the front window. So I get out and look outside and I'm trying to figure out what it is. And as soon as I open the door I go, uh-oh, it's an engine part.

KAFANOV: It was after 1:00 p.m. local time when the pilot of the 777 with 241 people onboard declared an emergency.


UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: Mayday, Mayday, United Air28 -- 328 Heavy Mayday, Mayday. Aircraft --

UNIDENTIFIED ATC: 328 Heavy say again please -- repeat all that again.

UNIDENTIFIED PILOT: Denver, departure United 328 Heavy Mayday. Aircraft just experienced engine failure. Need to turn immediately.

KAFANOV: The crew keeping the airplane under control and safely landing back at Denver International Airport.

BRENDA DOHN, PASSENGER: My daughter was sitting on the window and she's -- you know, I was just like, don't look. Like, let's close it up and let's just pray. So that's what we did. We kind of just held hands and said some prayers.

TROY LEWIS, PASSENGER: We took some time to pray with each other. And there were people around me praying. But I felt fairly confident that we were going to make it back to the airport.

KAFANOV: According to United, none of the passengers or crew suffered any injuries. And incredibly, no one on the ground was injured.

RACHEL WELTE, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, BROOMFIELD POLICE: This park on a day like today when it's not as cold as it was last weekend, we could have hundreds of people here. And the fact that we are still not getting reports of any injuries is absolutely shocking at this point. It's amazing.

KAFANOV: Debris from the damaged jetliner is being taken to Denver airport for analysis. The National Transportation Safety Board, the FAA, and Boeing are investigating.


KAFANOV: It's a flight most of those passengers will likely not forget. A lot of them have been rebooked. They are safe in Honolulu, we understand. But I just want to emphasize what a miracle it was that nobody was hurt. This area of Broomfield roughly 30 minutes away from downtown Denver, very residential area.

The park that's sort of behind this street had hundreds or dozens of kids practicing soccer, people walking their dogs, people enjoying the weather. It was actually -- it wasn't snowy and icy in the afternoon when this flight incident happened. So it really is a miracle that no one was injured as this plane landed back at Denver's International Airport -- Christi.

PAUL: Yes. Really can't overstate that. Lucy Kafanov, thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: So temperatures are rising across Texas. That's good. But 14 million Texans they now have to deal with this water crisis after the power went out.

PAUL: Yes. The good news is power has largely been restored across the state. It's the clean water and running water at that that's proving to be a harder task. CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in Dallas.

When we talk about millions of people that's an expansive disruption of power. What are you hearing about when they may be able to at least get their power back or their water back at some point, Ed?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. The thing with the water situation here in Texas it's affecting, as you mentioned, more than 14 million people across the state. That's basically half of the population of Texas. So it is a really staggering and stunning crisis that is unfolding after what has been a miserably long week.

And what is significant about this is that water systems are all run by local municipalities. So depending how long it will take to get people back into safe drinking water and the pipes flowing properly kind of depends on where you're located across the street -- across the state, and that's why locations like where we're at here this morning have been popping up.

These are community centers that are serving as water distribution points. We are seeing all across Texas local officials setting up locations like this where residents can come by and pick up bottled water. But it is staggering the effect that this water situation is taking and the toll that it's taking.

About 190 of the 254 counties in this state are areas that are battling water disruptions still this morning. And the number really hasn't changed that much throughout the weekend. Still more than 14 million people affected -- Victor and Christi.

BLACKWELL: Ed, what do you know about these power bills, the electric bills, people getting them that are 10 times the normal rate?

LAVANDERA: Oh, this is shocking for many people who are on utility plans that might have been like what you call variable plans that are connected to the price of energy depending on the situation. So imagine as the supply of energy was plummeting about this time last week as the storm was moving in, and the demand was going through the roof, some of these people are getting bills that are thousands of dollars.

We spoke -- CNN spoke with a man here in Dallas named DeAndre Upshaw. You can listen to him and the shock that he experienced when he opened up a bill this week.


DEANDRE UPSHAW, RECEIVED $7,000 ENERGY BILL: Well, it's wild. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Texas having record-breaking weather. The last thing that I'm thinking about while I'm trying to get, you know, gas and groceries and make sure that my pipes don't explode -- the last thing that I'm thinking about is a $7,000 bill from my utility.


LAVANDERA: So, Victor, a $7,000 bill. He's not alone. State officials are trying to figure out how to resolve this issue and help as many people as possible.


But it's not exactly clear how all of this is going to be resolved -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Wow. Wow. All right. Ed Lavandera for us. Thanks so much, Ed.

PAUL: Thank you, Ed.

Now, if you would like to help the people there in Texas that have been impacted by the winter weather we put together a list of resources on our Web site that can help you help them. It's at And thank you for doing so.

BLACKWELL: Confirmation hearings for President Biden's pick to be attorney general they start tomorrow. And we're getting a first look at what Merrick Garland, Judge Garland, will say when he goes before the Senate.

PAUL: Also, new COVID stats reveal numbers that we haven't seen in the U.S. since November. Is the curve finally starting to flatten? That's the big question. And the vote that could bring relief to millions of you who are struggling to make ends meet right now.


PAUL: A lot of attention on Congress this week. Major Biden administration priorities are making their way before lawmakers.


On the schedule, in fact, two hearings with implications for the Capitol insurrection investigation, most notably the start of hearings for the president's attorney general nominee.

BLACKWELL: Also tomorrow an important vote is scheduled in the House to push forward on the president's $1.9 trillion rescue plan. Let's start there. CNN's Daniella Diaz is on Capitol Hill. So, what is the road ahead for the rescue package?

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Good morning, Victor and Christi. Yes, House Democrats are planning to move forward and push -- and may take a major step to passing Biden's massive $1.9 trillion stimulus package. First, the House Budget Committee will meet tomorrow and they plan to advance this out of their committee, setting it up for a full floor vote at the end of the week.

The Congressional Budget Office actually released a report saying that this legislation would cost $1.92 trillion over the next 10 years, which is a huge reason why a lot of Republicans are not supporting this legislation. They say it's too much money to spend right now, even after two other stimulus packages were passed last year, and they want a more centralized smaller package.

So, this is likely to pass with little to no Republican support. But the Senate still plans to move forward with this. They plan to pass this using budget reconciliation which means they just need 51 Senate votes to pass this.

So, if every single Democratic senator signs on, they just need Vice President Kamala Harris to be the tie-breaking vote. But there is a major sticking point that we're watching to see how two moderate Democratic senators respond, Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin. They say that they don't want this $15.00 minimum wage increase included in the legislation.

But Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders told CNN yesterday he's confident that after speaking with the Senate parliamentarian and continue discussions with the Senate parliamentarian they'll be able to include this minimum wage increase in the legislation using budget reconciliation. So we're planning to keep an eye on how all of this unfolds this week -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Talk to us too, Daniella, about this critical post -- cabinet post for President Biden.

DIAZ: Yes, there are several notable hearings happening next week. You mentioned a couple of them. But the most notable, I would say, is the one happening starting tomorrow with Merrick Garland. He will face the Senate for his confirmation hearing to be the attorney general of the United States.

We actually got a glimpse of what he is planning to say in his opening remarks. He's planning to argue about the importance of the Justice Department. He's also planning to argue about the -- maintaining the integrity of the Justice Department and maintaining civil rights under his leadership.

This is what he is planning to say tomorrow. He will say, "Many of you have asked why I would agree to leave a lifetime appointment as a judge." This is what he plans to say. "I have told you that I love being a judge. I have also told you that this is an important time for me to step forward because of my deep respect for the Department of Justice and its critical role in ensuring the rule of law."

He is also going to touch on the January 6th insurrection. This is what he plans to say on that. "If confirmed, I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6 -- a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy, the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government."

So that's what he is planning to say when he faces the Senate, the judiciary -- Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow. He is going to make his case for why he should be the next attorney general of the United States and we plan to bring all of that for you all as it happens tomorrow -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: Excellent. Daniella Diaz, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Judge Garland is from Chicago. So let's bring in now Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief for the "Chicago-Sun Times." Lynn, good to see you again.


BLACKWELL: So, let's start here. When President Obama nominated Judge Garland to replace Antonin Scalia back in 2016 he was lauded as a centrist, the moderate, someone Republicans could support. And now that position is why some, let's say, criminal reform, criminal justice reform advocates are underwhelmed. What do we expect he will do or say starting tomorrow to sway some of those concerns?

SWEET: Well, he is a judge so he is very practice in not showing his hand. And I think that's a skill that we will see at his Judiciary Committee hearing that starts tomorrow, to last one day.

One of the things that the Senate has done and his handlers have done from the White House beforehand is assemble a lot of support from both the police community and the civil rights community in an attempt to show that he will be even handed.

And, you know, the three priorities that the report outlined, it will be in his opening statement, I think are kind of designed to speak to everyone. Battle extremism, emphasize civil rights, restore the independence in the department that's being politicized. But I expect fireworks from the Republicans, if nothing else they'll want to press him on if he's going to investigate Hunter Biden.


BLACKWELL: So, let me ask you this since you say the Republicans will press him. Do you expect that he will get the votes necessary? Biden's nominees thus far, Neera Tanden notwithstanding, and we'll talk about her, haven't had too tough of a time.

SWEET: No. And I think in the end there is going be, I'm calling it a little bit of a guilty conscience here. After Obama nominated him, nominated Merrick Garland, who by the way I grew up with just a few blocks away from -- so I kind of know where he comes from and the environment and the neighborhood and the suburb he was raised in, Lincolnwood, but Mitch McConnell denied him even a hearing.

So the irony tomorrow is that he will finally, after being first nominated for the Supreme Court in 2016, denied even a hearing by McConnell to keep a Supreme Court seat open in case a Republican was elected president. That turned out to be the case.

Finally, he is getting a hearing. And I don't think there is any momentum to try to block him from the attorney general post, even though he may get some tough questions in this hearing tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: So, let's talk about someone who just might be blocked, Neera Tanden, the president's nominee to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Joe Manchin moderate Democrat says he's out -- will not vote to confirm her. You've got on that end of the spectrum Manchin. On the other end Bernie Sanders with whom she has a long history of some bad blood. Sanders, the campaign back in 2020 called her actions malignment, belittlement and mudslinging. He's non- committal. He says he'll speak with her this week.

The White House says they're standing by her. How long do you expect they will stand by her if she doesn't have enough Democrats to even get through?

SWEET: I think Neera Tanden has been around long enough to not be a distraction and won't have to be told when to drop out if it's clear she does not have the votes. The only question I really have is why the Biden White House nominated her to begin with. It's a big country, lots of people, and this is -- she is a polarizing figure.

She had a history, a paper trail of polarizing tweets and the animus between Bernie Sanders and some of the things that -- the non-profit that she heads has done is well known, famous and documented. The Joe Manchin thing was a little bit of a surprise. But then again the Biden White House surprised Manchin when Vice President Harris gave an interview in West Virginia seeming to pressure Senator Manchin on the stimulus bill.

BLACKWELL: Yes, he did not like that. We saw that from one of our affiliates. Neera Tanden deleted more than 1,000 tweets over the time that the senators have been considering that nomination. Lynn Sweet, always good to have you. Enjoy the week.

SWEET: Thank you.

PAUL: So, President Biden made a surprising stop yesterday to visit a long-time friend, former Kansas senator Bob Dole. The former Republican senator announced earlier this week he has been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and he is beginning treatment tomorrow.

BLACKWELL: So, we are now one month into the Biden presidency and this week the president's attention will focus on the pandemic mostly. CNN's Jasmine Wright is at the White House. So, what does the president have this week? JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. President Biden has a long to-do list this week with the coronavirus pandemic at the forefront of his mind. White House officials say that the president will look to bring Americans together to acknowledge the milestone losses that this country has faced because of the pandemic. Mr. Biden has said that the U.S. is likely to see 500,000 coronavirus deaths this month.

Now, as the White House will continue trying to ramp up their vaccine efforts, Mr. Biden will be meeting with his COVID response team on Wednesday, and that is after the administration acknowledged those setbacks that they faced in their vaccine distribution because of those deadly winter storms we saw across the country, including in Texas.

In another issue that the White House is going to face is the concern that if and when the vaccine is widely available, not enough Americans are going to be taking it, not enough Americans are going to be getting those shots into their arms. Mr. Biden in Michigan on Friday spoke about vaccine safety and vaccine efficacy.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And as we increase supply, we are carrying out a clear plan to get shots into the arms of 300 million Americans or more. And I know people want confidence that it's safe.

If there's one message to cut through to everyone in this country, it's this. The vaccines are safe. Please, for yourself, your family, your community, this country, take the vaccine when it's your turn and available.


That's how to beat this pandemic.


WRIGHT: Now, this is a message that we are going to hear a lot from the White House over time. And on those deadly storms, Mr. Biden has said that he would like to visit Texas, but only when his visit would not be a drain or a burden on those state's resources. So that is still -- that visit is still to be determined.

But what we know from Mr. Biden's schedule next week is that he will host a black history month discussion. He will virtually appear at a National Governors Association Winter Meeting and he will hold his first bilateral with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -- Christi, Victor.

PAUL: Jasmine Wright, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So, there is encouraging news when it comes to the coronavirus. The charts, they look like they're all going in the right direction. Cases are slowing. But there are concerns when it comes to getting people vaccinated.

PAUL: Tonight experience Rome like never before. Yes, Stanley Tucci is searching for the perfect pasta. Watch brand new episode of CNN's original series "STANLEY TUCCI SEARCHING FOR ITALY." That's tonight at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN.




BLACKWELL (on camera): More than 61 million doses of the Coronavirus vaccines have been administered in the U.S. and health officials say that is a good start. But with only a little more than five percent of the population fully vaccinated, reaching herd immunity is still a very long way away.

Joining us now CNN's Athena Jones.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Good morning, Victor. Well, there is a double dose of good news this morning when it comes to vaccines. 81 of the vaccines delivered have been administered with a backlog of some six million doses caused by bad weather already rolling out. All of those delayed doses expected to reach their destination over the course of the next week delivering much-needed supplies to vaccine hubs all across the country.


JONES (voice over): After a week of chaotic winter weather had stalled COVID vaccine shipments, some much-needed good news. COVID hospitalizations have dipped to their lowest level since November, along with a five-week decline in new infections. The death count has also slowed to about 2,700 a day. The president is cautiously optimistic.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can't give you a date when this crisis will end, but I can tell you we're doing everything possible to have that day come sooner rather than later.

JONES: Biden's legislative priority, a $1.9 trillion Coronavirus relief package is on the path to passage indicating financial relief may soon be on its way. The White House is also ramping up vaccine distribution after winter weather derailed the distribution process and forced delays in all 50 states.

RICHINA BICETTE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Early reports are that about six million doses of vaccine have gotten delayed this week because of weather issues, so either the roads being impassable or workers being unable to leave their house to come pack and then ship the vaccine.

JONES: Some officials fear progress may be reversed.

CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It's a setback but I think that if you look at the numbers, we're still hitting an average of 1.5 million Americans vaccinated per day across the country and we're continuing to scale that up.

JONES: A new study was released this week suggesting a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine alone could be effective, raising the question of whether the second dose could be delayed or skipped to free up supplies. This possibility was quickly shot down by experts. Dr. Anthony Fauci disapproved citing lack of data.

PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: I'm with Tony. I'm with Dr. Fauci in the sense that we know that two doses both give high levels of consistent neutralizing antibody and durability of protection. I haven't seen sufficient data yet to go just to that single dose route.

JONES: And while the U.S. gets back on the road toward herd immunity, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky urges schools to create a plan of action.

ROCHELLE WALENSKY, DIRECTOR, CDC: So, our numbers are coming down. I would actually invite schools to lean in and to look at what is needed so that -- in the roadmap to try and get more and more children back to school.

JONES: Currently, teachers are not required to get vaccinated before getting back to the classroom. As vaccination clinics around the country begin to get back on track, people who qualify are urged to get a vaccine as soon as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The best thing i can say to anyone is if it's available, take it, and just pray that it works for you and you stay safe.


JONES (on camera): Now, given the progress on bringing down new COVID cases, an influential model from the University of Washington now predicts more than 589,000 Americans will die of the virus by June 1st. Now, that's a staggering number but it is lower than the more than 614,000 forecasts to die by June 1st a week ago. Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: All right, Athena Jones for us in New York, thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Athena. So, the team of World Health Organization experts in China will be releasing a report on the investigation into the origins of COVID-19. Now, CNN has learned some of the next steps investigators will recommend in their preliminary report. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live in London. He has some more details for us.

Nick, good to see you this morning. What are you learning about the protocols and what's going to happen next?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, obviously, the world awaiting this report for a year to get underway, the WHO investigation that something very vital about the coronavirus, where did it originate, so people can stop this from happening again. Now, we at CNN have learned that there will be two key recommendations

in the draft report being put together by investigators now. The first one refers to the man known and admitted to by China as being the first patient that they're aware of who admitted to being infected by the disease. That's an office worker in his 40s who lived with his wife and child with no exotic travel history or lifestyle, who was thought to have been infected on December the 8th.


Now, the report will recommend a greater and more in-depth contact history tracing of that particular man. In fact, one of the investigators we spoke to said that during the interview, the man himself said that his parents had been to a local community wet market.

Now, wet markets are key to looking into the spread of the disease because some scientists think that's a possible place where wildlife is sold where humans could get into contact with the kind of animals that might have been harboring or transmitting SARS-CoV-2 which leads to COVID-19. That's one recommendation, deeper contract tracing of that first known patient.

The second one involves the main wet market itself you may have heard of known as Huanan. Now, that's many people's minds as central point at the beginning of the outbreak. It's a place that was shut down by Chinese authorities and which one early study suggested about two- thirds of the first cases may have had links back to.

At this point, the WHO recommends they'd like to see greater study as to the supply chain of that particular market particularly southern farms in southern provinces of China near places where they think coronavirus, the novel coronavirus may possibly be harbored in some animals too.

Now, that's two key recommendations here. The thing I have to tell you is that we put that to some independent scientists, they were stunned frankly that China hadn't already carried out these very basic tests contact tracing of the first patient rudimentary something you would utterly do.

And the panel were told that in fact the man's parents had tested negative which might explain why they weren't investigated more thoroughly. But still, the mere fact the panel can ask for a more detailed explanation is remarkable. And there's a similar reaction to independent scientists when we ask them about investigating the supply chain of that key Huanan seafood market, very much the center or some sort of event very early on in the outbreak.

One scientist said it was frankly implausible that China, with all of its wealth and scientific curiosity, hadn't already done these tests. And the other said it was very surprising that China is able to basically mobilize all of Beijing to find one covert 19 patient in recent months to stop a fresh outbreak hadn't already done something like this too. China, well, they didn't comment to our request -- respond to our request for comment, but they have in the past said an independent investigation isn't the same as necessarily agreeing with Western prejudices that China is somehow to blame for all of this. And China has always said that they're cooperating with the who panel transparently.

But I have to tell you. These two key recommendations are startling, frankly. And they show the investigation's getting somewhere, but it also seems to suggest that there is so much more that China, with all of its billions of investment in scientific investigation and knowledge of how disease spreads, hasn't already done themselves. Back to you.

PAUL: Yes, not only that. It makes you wonder what they're going to be able to find with so much time that's already gone by and what may have been missed at this point now. Nick Paton Walsh, so appreciate you. Thank you also.

BLACKWELL: Also, be sure to tune in to "STATE OF THE UNION" later this morning. Dr. Anthony Fauci will join Dana Bash. That's today at 9:00 Eastern here on CNN.

PAUL: We haven't seen or heard much from President Trump since he left office. That changed this week. Brian Stelter has details on when we will see him in the next seven days.



PAUL: It's been a month of near total silence from former President Donald Trump. He is headed though back into the political spotlight on perhaps the biggest stage he has available right now.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN's Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter. Brian, you know, the question was over the weekend there were no Trumps on the bill for CPAC. Now, we've got The Trump on the bill.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: The former president will be speaking this time next week at CPAC. This is the well-known conservative conference that takes place every year. And it's a place where Donald Trump went 10 years ago in 2011 and kind of established himself and previewed what would become his presidential campaign.

So, it makes sense for him to be going to CPAC, which by the way, was planned this year in Florida possibly to tempt Trump to attend, right? So, the Republican Party political world continues to revolve around Trump. Now we know he will be at CPAC.

But I think something interesting is going on with the former president. Most Americans have moved on, have tuned them out, have focused on the new administration. Trump is now really only speaking to his fan base. That's why he called into Fox, Newsmax, and One American News the other day to pay tribute to Rush Limbaugh. So, he is obviously for logical political reasons, focused only on his base. It means that most Americans have tuned them out but there is still obviously a group that is very interested in what Trump has to say, and that is the audience he will be speaking to with CPAC.

By the way, we also learned overnight by Former Vice President Mike Pence will not attend CPAC this year. So, stay tuned for more on that front.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I mean, imagine the expectation that the former president created back on the sixth, what would be the reception of the vice president after the president told them that he could do this, he could save us, and he didn't.

Stelter, you're the only one who stays up to watch SNL. We're asleep, obviously, so what did we miss?


STELTER: You know, in the same way that the real news media has been holding politicians accountable in recent days, Governor Cuomo in New York, Senator Cruz in Texas, SNL, the fake news, also holding these guys accountable. Here's a clip.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what happened with the nursing homes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the people who died in the nursing homes were not counted as nursing home deaths. They were counted as hospital deaths which is basically what happens at Disney World, OK. People die and they move the bodies. They say oh, I guess, Brenda died in the parking lot, not on the teacups.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You blamed your daughters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh yes. The whole trip was the girl's idea. They love Cancun. There's so much for kids to do, the topless beach, shots at Senor Frogs, swimming with sick dolphins. They love it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Well, as someone who is often blamed for other people's problems at a young age, maybe leave your daughters out of it because it could really mess up with their heads.


STELER: One thing is for sure. One thing is for sure. If you are being parroted on SNL, you are not having a good week whether you're a Democratic politician or Republican.

PAUL: Good point there. Brian Stelter, thank you so much. Always good to see you.

STELTER: Thanks.

PAUL: Listen, don't miss "RELIABLE SOURCES." Yes, you can see more of Stelter airing today at 11:00 Eastern.

BLACKWELL: Hockey heads back outdoors to Lake Tahoe, but the beautiful scene turned out to be a nightmare for everyone involved.



PAUL: Novak Djokovic is your 2021 Australian open champion. This is his record ninth title there.

BLACKWELL: Coy Wire is here new. He might end up being the most decorated men's tennis player ever.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. Good morning, Victor and Christi. Djoker, he dominates down under. As Christi was mentioning, he three-peats for a second time at that tournament. He is now 9-0 in Aussie Open finals.

After battling through a tough opening set, Djokovic ratcheting up the heat and the 25-year-old Russian Daniil Medvedev couldn't handle it. Djokovic cruising to three straight sets. That's more wins at the Aussie open, more than any other player in history. Djokovic has 18th grand slam title. That's just two behind Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal for the most all-time.

He is 33 years old. He is six years younger than Federer and just one year younger than Nadal, but thrives on more services than the Spaniard.

Now, let's go to the NBA for a wild finish. Hornets down two to the Warriors in the final seconds, loose ball, Gordon Hayward grabbing and falling. But watch Draymond Green dive on it and starts wrestling, trying to force a jump ball, but not before Hayward called a timeout.

Green incensed, yelling, arguing with the refs. He gets ejected. So, the Hornets get two free throws. Terry Rozier sinks both to tie it. And because of the technical fouls on Green, Charlotte gets the ball back and Rozier again at the buzzer, fade-away winner. Hornets taking down the Warriors 102-100.

Now, in the NHL where an outdoor game in Lake Tahoe is postponed due to good weather. A gorgeous scene, 18th Fairway, the famed Edgewood Resort. Sierra Nevada is kissing the blue skies on the horizon, a perfect day for hitting the slopes.

Check this snowsuit out. Flyers' mascot, Gritty, shredding snow before the Philly's game there later today. But that sun just beating down, melting the ice. You see the official falling, even a player during the Golden Knights and Avalanche game. The ice deteriorating to the point it was just unsafe for skating. So it stopped after the first period. The game were would finally restart eight hours later. at midnight Eastern. Avalanche would win this 3-2.

Almost 11 hours after the game began, the Bruins-Flyers game is today, and that has been pushed back to 7:00 p.m. Eastern, you know, to avoid issues. Anybody who's ever sipped something on the rocks outside knows, Victor and Christi, you got to have a plan if that sun is going to be beating down on you.

PAUL: Oh, my gosh. Well, night games -- night games are fun.

WIRE: Yes, even better, right?

BLACKWELL: The plan is to drink quickly. That's the plan if the sun is beating down on you.

PAUL: Just make it last all day long at that point until the game actually starts.

BLACKWELL: Just don't babysit. All right.

PAUL: Coy, thank you.

WIRE: You got it.

BLACKWELL: The next round of cold winds and snow are moving into the Midwest and Northeast this week.

PAUL: Yes. CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar, you have been so busy. Keep us posted here. What's happening?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And it's not just me, it's a lot of these areas. Take Chicago for example. They've already had 45 inches of snow so far this winter. That's almost 20 inches above their normal. And the season is not done yet. But, yes, we are talking about this particular low-pressure system. This is the one that's going to slide into the Midwest today and eventually make its way to the northeast once we get into the day Monday.

You have got winter weather advisories out. These are likely going to expand and spread off to the east in the coming hours as the system continues to move. Here's what we are targeting for this morning. Again, already some snow falling across portions of Nebraska and Iowa. That's going to slide east, including Chicago, Milwaukee, Green Bay, all looking to get snow.

On the southern side though, it's going to be rain. Temperatures are just simply too warm. That includes Charlotte and Atlanta starting tomorrow morning. It may be a soggy start to the day. The snow will all be limited up to the northern fringe. So at least by tomorrow morning, you are talking kind of areas of Buffalo, Syracuse, and then it continues to spread to the east through the rest of the day Monday. Most of the coastal cities, however, likely going to just receive some rain.

Here you can see overall snowfall totals most places it's about two to four inches. You could see a few that pick up six to eight, but those are going to be isolated. The rain on the south side, again, likely only about one to two inches. But you have to understand for the southeast, it's about a saturation point.

They've had so much rain over the last two weeks. You're dealing with river flooding already. You've got over 60 river gauges at minor flood stage, 15 at moderate flood stage. Victor and Christi, you have about six at major flood stage. So, all of this rain they get the next 24 hours, it's just going to exacerbate that flooding concern.


BLACKWELL: More coming. Allison Chinchar, thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Allison Listen, this was a heck of a scare shortly after takeoff. The United flight engine failing. Look at that thing. Can you imagine being in the plane and seeing that out your window? And it spilled debris throughout a Colorado neighborhood. We have a live update for you from Colorado in a moment.