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New Day Sunday

Omicron Surge Overwhelms Hospitals, Leaves Kids Out Of School; High-Stakes Talks Tomorrow Over Russia's Ukraine Troop Buildup; Australian Court Will Hear Novak Djokovic's Visa Appeal Monday; Trump Allies Pressure Election Officials To Revisit 2020 Vote; No Audience, Red Carpet For Golden Globes This Year. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired January 09, 2022 - 07:00   ET



TYLER MAULDIN, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Temperatures during the morning hours will get down to the single digits across portions of the Northeast and will struggle to get above zero up in portions of extreme New England -- guys.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Perfect couch, the hot cocoa, perhaps some bourbon as well.

Tyler Mauldin, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We know how Boris handles the cold weather, apparently.

SANCHEZ: Hide, yeah.

Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

PAUL: Hi, Boris.

I'm Christi Paul. We're glad to have you here.

Listen, amid debates over testing in schools, the omicron variant is fueling a record number of hospitalizations, specifically in children. Hospitals are, again, postponing procedures and warning that they are reaching yet another breaking point.

SANCHEZ: Meantime, high stakes talks begin tomorrow between the U.S. and Russia as the Biden administration warns it will impose severe penalties if Russia invades Ukraine. We'll tell you how Russia is now responding.

PAUL: And we could learn soon whether tennis star Novak Djokovic will be allowed to stay in Australia where he's being detained amid a fight over his visa.

SANCHEZ: And no red carpet, no audience or TV coverage. Why the Golden Globe Awards is gong to look very different tonight.

PAUL: Sometimes we need a little help here. You're waking up on Sunday, January 9th. And we are always grateful that you spent sometime with us. Good morning to you.

SANCHEZ: Great to be with you, Christi.

And we start this morning with the omicron variant surging rapidly across the United States. Cases are rising at an alarming rate, as some of the nation's largest school districts fight to get student back into classrooms this week. In Chicago, a standoff after the teachers union voted to teach remotely while the city wants in-person learning.

Yesterday, Chicago's mayor rejected a new proposal from the teachers union that had virtual learning beginning Wednesday and in-person classes starting the following week. Mayor Lightfoot says right now, kids are safest in the classroom.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOD (D), CHICAGO: We have a lot of single parent households, moms who cannot afford to miss work. We need our kids back in school. Remote learning for any period of time is off the table.


PAUL: The other side of this is the growing numbers of children are being admitted to hospitals with COVID infections. Los Angeles County is seeing its highest number of COVID cases in a single week. That was just days before schools are reopening, too, and hospitalizations there have doubled in that same period.

The Children's Hospital of L.A. is reporting that a quarter of kids admitted with COVID are requiring ICU attention.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is in New York and that's where hospitals are struggling to handle the surge as well.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With COVID hospitalizations at record highs in New York, state officials are ordering dozens of health care facilities to put nonessential and non- urgent surgical procedures on hold for a week. Four facilities in central and northern New York are experiencing 90 percent bed occupancy. That's according to authorities.

New York state is just the latest racing to help hospitals and health care networks with shortages of staff and supplies amid the omicron surge.

At the University of Kansas Health System, similar concerns about their facility's approaching a breaking point.

DR. STEVEN STITES, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS HEALTH SYSTEM: You go from normal operations to contingency. And contingency planning means I have to put patients in unusual situations, I have to cancel surgeries, but at some point, you say, we're too overwhelmed to do our normal daily work. We can't even meet all of our patients' demands and at that point, we have to turn on a switch that says we have to triage to the people we can help the most and that means we have to let some people die who we might have been able to help.

SANDOVAL: The U.S. is seeing a record number of hospitalizations for children under 5 years old and new admissions for children under 18 are averaging nearly 800 a day. The figures are fueling the debate about how the nation's schoolchildren should continue their spring semester.

In Georgia, officials say public school teachers and staff are allowed to return to work even after testing positive or being exposed to COVID-19, as long as they don't have symptoms and mask up, though each school district can make its own isolation guidelines.

LISA MORGAN, PRESIDENT, GEORGIA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS: I believe that anything that we do that is not putting the priority on keeping students and educators and their families safe is a mistake. We should be using every tool we have in our toolbox to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our classrooms.

SANDOVAL: The Biden administration says it plans to make up to 500 million tests available to Americans for free this month.


One emergency physician in Houston remains skeptical that's going to be enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need them now, 500 million won't be enough. Every American should have at least two to three tests per week to be testing and 500 million is not even going to get us near there.

SANDOVAL: With demand for COVID testing still high, an additional problem is emerging, fraudulent testing kits. According to federal authorities, experts warning using fake testing products won't just be a waste of your money, it can increase the risk of knowingly spreading the virus and delaying treatment for it. The Federal Trade Commission recommending you only purchase tests authorized by the FDA as listed on that agency's website.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


SANCHEZ: Thanks for that report, Polo.

The Biden administration is preparing for talks tomorrow over Russia's troop buildup along the border with Ukraine and the stakes are high.

PAUL: Yeah, the U.S. has warned of, quote, severe and overwhelming costs to Russia's economy if Vladimir Putin invades Ukraine. As many as 100,000 Russian troops are amassed along the border there.

The talks in Geneva, Switzerland, are aimed at averting a war and deescalating the situation. But Russia's foreign deputy minister says Moscow is, quote, disappointed with the signals it's received from the United States ahead of the meeting.

Our reporters are tracking the latest developments ahead of that. We have CNN White House correspondent Jasmine Wright and senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen and CNN Europe editor Nina dos Santos.

So good to have all of you.

Jasmine, I want to start with you. The White House as we said is threatening to impose these high-impact sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine. What more can you tell us about the plan?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christine, senior administration officials, they declined in a call with reporters to specifically get into exactly what they are preparing to impose should Russia invade Ukraine, but they use those words, severe and overwhelming economic costs, should the Kremlin do what many fear that they might and now these sanctions would start big and that kind of bucks past administration strategy when trying to deter Russia.

Now my colleague Natasha Bertrand reported that sources told her that these could have really big, devastating impacts for Russian consumers, Russian industrial operations and employment. And now, these type of really severe restrictions, they could leave Russia to face the same type of export restrictions, in some cases country likes Iran, and Syria, North Korea and Cuba.

And now, U.S. officials said on the other side that there are places where U.S. and Russia concerns overlap and that potentially opens up places for negotiations, and that could be on missile deployment in Ukraine, also NATO and U.S. military exercises. Those are places that they feel like they could proceed with talks on.

But, again, reciprocity for senior administration officials, is a big word they told reporters yesterday. They want to see Russian actions match U.S. actions. So they want to see Russia's offers match U.S. offers in terms of size and scope, and without that reciprocity, officials say the U.S. will not move forward.

And now, while officials aren't necessarily optimistic about what could come out of these talks starting tomorrow, they say that they are realistic about the high stakes situation that lies ahead -- Christi and Boris.

SANCHEZ: And, Jasmine Wright from the White House, thanks for walking us through that.

So, let's dig deeper on the crisis in Ukraine and also in Kazakhstan. We have CNN's Nina dos Santos in London for us and CNN's Fred Pleitgen is on the border between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Nina, let's start with you and something that Christi alluded to a moment ago, that Russian foreign deputy minister saying in an interview that was published to day in Russia, that the nation is disappointed with signals it's received from the U.S. in advance of the meetings this week, saying that U.S. doesn't understand Russia's needs. What exactly does that mean? Limiting the expansion of NATO?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Yeah. That's exactly what Russia has been talking about for a number of months now. And, in fact, it's put a list of demands, draft demands, in writing a couple times in the run up to these key summits that are taking place in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna throughout the course of the next week or so. Those demands notably try to get NATO to sign on the dotted line, push back a lot of its Eastern European presence and also to commit to not allowing further post-Soviet States to expand NATO further.

That would rule out the likes of countries like Ukraine and Georgia that both face annexation of their territories since 2008 for Georgia and 2014 for Ukraine, to become NATO members. This as you heard from Jasmine and from Western diplomats, particularly the United States, is a nonstarter because there isn't an element of reciprocity where the Russians would make concessions themselves.

So, the big question is, is Russia really serious of getting around the negotiating table to talk to make any concessions or just a pretext for talks to happen and fail and for the invasion of Ukraine to come any how with 100,000 troops amassed on the border. They've been there for months. It's starting to get closer and closer towards the spring when the ground will get soggier and the snow falls in Ukraine and it could get more difficult for a Russian invasion to happen then. These are considerations in the back of diplomats' minds -- Boris and Christi.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. And, Fred, to you, amid the unrest in Kazakhstan, Putin has been in regular contact with the president, the pair speaking just yesterday. Help us understand the motive here for Vladimir Putin in imposing that Russian influence on former Soviet countries like Kazakhstan and the importance for him of getting the situation in Kazakhstan under control so he can focus on Ukraine.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it was extremely important for him, Boris, to get that situation under control and get it under control as fast as possible. The last thing that Vladimir Putin needed as he was in the run up to those negotiations with the U.S. as far as Ukraine was concerned and Eastern Europe was concerned was for somewhere else to have unrest happen, certainly an allied nation like Kazakhstan.

You know, those post-Soviet spaces are very important to Russia, they have very close economic and military ties. The Russians sort of see that as their security zone and quite frankly they are in a security treaty with Kazakhstan and other countries here in the neighborhood as well.

It was certainly very important for Vladimir Putin on the one hand, of course, it did bind some of the assets that he has, which, of course, makes it more difficult for him to operate freely in that area close to the border with Ukraine. So, it was a big problem for Vladimir Putin, but one of the things we're seeing a couple days in, he appears to have come out of it stronger than he was before, at least here in this region and the wider region. What Vladimir Putin has managed to do is fully get on side the

president of Kazakhstan who has requested Russian and other troops to move into his country to help quell much the uprising going on. I got the latest numbers a couple minutes ago, more than 5,000 people detained. More than 160 people were killed, 100 in one town alone, certainly a bloody crackdown.

What the Russians have shown is on the one hand they do have a sphere of influence here that governments of the nations here are allied with Russia and certain cases depend on Russia, and that Russians are able to effectively and quickly mobilize large amounts of forces.

What they did within just a matter of hours really is mobilize 3,000 paratroopers using 70 planes and mobilize armor as well and did make a pretty big statement here in this region that has shown that Vladimir Putin is very capable of moving an army very quickly and having that army operate effectively on a very short notice, Boris.

SANCHEZ: And, for the West, Fred, some have been calling for a more aggressive track when it comes to dealing with Ukraine and to capitalize on the instability in Kazakhstan, but I don't get the sense there is an opening in Kazakhstan for the West, right?

PLEITGEN: Well, certainly, I mean there may have been, but I think it's something that would prove to be very difficult at this point in time. There is no doubt that Kazakhstan was definitely shaken by these protests and a lot of people were unhappy in Kazakhstan, not necessarily because they don't like Russia or because they want to move close closer to the west, but fuel prices was the main reason, is that they were unhappy with their economic situation. They did also want political reforms and that certainly might have been a chance for the West to capitalize on that.

What we're seeing over the past couple days and past couple hours is that the regime of the current president there, Tokayev, really cementing his grip on power. There was a bit of an internal power struggle that was going on. That seems to also be decided.

If anything, I would say right now at this point in time the Russians have solidified not only their position as far as Kazakhstan is concerned, but really also as far as the neighboring countries here in this region are concerned as well. As I've mentioned, they are in this collective security treaty and for the first time ever, that collective security treaty was mobilized and you don't only have Russian troops that have been deployed to Kazakhstan but also, for instance, troops from Belarus as well and also even from Armenia -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: The Biden administration has ruled out any kind of unilateral military action in defending Ukrainian sovereignty and essentially said they are willing to impose even harsher economic sanctions that they did after Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, but do you get the sense any amount of sanctions are going to prevent Vladimir Putin from pursuing this aggressive behavior?

[07:15:01] DOS SANTOS: This is a really big and important question, Boris, and I'm really glad that you asked it. The answer is, we simply at this point don't know. We know that since 2014 and those sanctions were imposed, as you said n a slightly tepid fashion upon people close to the Kremlin and politically and economically as well, that they had a limited impact initially the thinking would be that while Russia is essentially a dollar linked economy, a commodity based economy.

It exports oil and commodity to old price and dollars, so if you could in a certain way extricate its ability to access the dollar banking system that would have a big impact on the Kremlin. What essentially it did is it allowed certain sanctioned individuals to trade in other dollar proxy assets influencing other parts of the world, et cetera.

So what they would have to do here would be something much bigger than last time. They would have to cut them out of the Swiss banking system, they would have to curtail their access to technologies and also consumer goods on a much broader scale.

We still don't know and many Western and European diplomats don't know whether a strategy like that might backfire, whether essentially ordinary Russians would then blame Europe, blame the United States, for not being able to have the same standard of living as they had before. So, this is where the gamble really comes in to play and the question is, we just don't know how far Vladimir Putin really wants to push it -- Boris and Christi.

SANCHEZ: It is a complex situation. All eyes will be on the talks coming up this week.

Nina Santos, Fred Pleitgen, thank you both.

PAUL: Coming up, we're going live to Melbourne as Novak Djokovic, the world's most famous unvaccinated tennis player, fights to stay in the country ahead of the Australian open.

And later, can you have an awards show if no actors are attending and no one is there to accept awards? Why tonight's Golden Globes will be so much different this year and what is the impact.



PAUL: So, hours from now, an Australian court will rule on whether Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic can remain in Australia to compete in the Australian Open.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, the 34-year-old received a letter from Tennis Australia saying that he had a medical exemption after testing positive for COVID last month, but the Australian government canceled his visa after border agents determined his exemption was invalid.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is live outside the facility where Djokovic is detained.

Paula, what's the latest?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, we are hearing new information and know there have been some concessions made to the world tennis star. We know that he has been allowed, for example, gluten-free foods and some exercise equipment, but he has, according to his lawyers, been continually saying can he be moved elsewhere so that he can continue to train for the Australian Open. That has been denied up until this point.

There are supporters of Novak Djokovic outside the facility calling for his release. So, Monday is the day and just hours from now, we will hear whether or not he will be deported or whether he will be allowed to stay in Australia and be part of the Australian Open.

Now, we are hearing nor details about the timeline of how this evolved and raising questions, for example, December 10th, that was the deadline to be brought forward to Tennis Australia, December 16th when Novak Djokovic apparently tested positive. This is according to court documents. This is what his lawyers are saying, that December 16th was the first PCR test testing positive. The same day, he was seen in public and then on December 17th also seen in public.

Both days he was not wearing a mask. He was at a panel on the one day and the second day surrounded by a group of young tennis players at a tennis academy. So we're not certain if Djokovic knew he had tested positive. We have reached out to his representatives and haven't heard back.

This is racing questions. We also know that the home affairs minister asked for a delay to his hearing until the 12th of January. That was denied. So, we will be hearing on Monday whether or not he will be allowed to play in the Australian Open.

There are many unanswered questions still as to what the medical exemption was. The lawyer saying that Novak Djokovic came to Australia believing he had the medical exemption even though we're hearing tennis officials said a simple COVID-19 infection within the last 16 months would not be enough to enter the country.

PAUL: What's interesting is the situation has evolved into a two- pronged story. You've got what's happening in the world of tennis, but now you've also got some revelations about Australia's immigration policy which is not sitting well with a lot of people.

HANCOCKS: That's right. And this is something that has really throne focus on what's happening in the building behind me. It's not just about Novak Djokovic. There are refugees and asylum seekers in that building, some of whom have been there for years waiting for the slow wheels of Australian immigration to turn, waiting for the decision on whether or not they would be allow to stay in this country.

This is really throwing light on the system here. It has come under criticism in the past, including from the United Nations. We spoke to one of the men inside who had been detained for eight years, and he still doesn't know when he will hear if he can remain here.

PAUL: My goodness. Paula Hancocks, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

So, let's talk now to Stephanie Myles. She writes for tennis news site "Open Court".

Stephanie, it's good to have you with us.

First and foremost, after everything we heard from Paula, is there any clarity at this point as to who advised Djokovic that he was clear to go to Australia and what is the consequence for that either person or entity?


STEPHANIE MYLES, WRITER, OPEN COURT: Well, I don't doubt for a minute he was told he had the green light because you don't book four first- class flights to Australia for yourself and team without getting, you know, getting the go. I think that probably the blame lies with the tournament director of the Australian Open, Craig Tiley, who was on television tonight after having reappeared from, you know, hiding somewhere, to say that no, it really wasn't their fault.

But, you know, I imagine that if he's not successful in this appeal, and he has to be deported, I bet Tennis Australia is, you know, going to have a lawsuit on its hands. This is just probably part one of a lot of things that can happen.

PAUL: So, let's talk about this hotel where he is staying or being housed that's also, as we talked to Paula about, this immigration detention center. You were there. Talk to us, I mean describe this place for us? What is it like?

MYLES: Well, I didn't get to go inside because everything is sealed up. I tried to book a room but that was not possible. They've sealed up all the windows in this hotel because at the previous hotel, the refugees were passing notes through tiny openings.

And so, basically, it's bug infested. It's a roach motel, basically, and Novak Djokovic has $150 million in the bank and he's sitting in this place with apparently some gluten-free food, I guess perhaps the insects are gluten-free.

And meanwhile, outside, last night, his supporters were singing and dancing on the street across the street while there are dozens of mostly men, I believe in there, who have been waiting in there for years and years and looking outside and seeing these people partying.

The anti-vaxxers came on to have their say. It is the most incongruous, insane -- it's not my first rodeo and this is the most insane thing I've seen and probably not half over. No.

PAUL: Wow. So let me ask you this, what is the risk level for him in the public sphere? I mean, you cannot escape the fact that it looks like there's some special treatment going on when you know what is also happening in there with refugees who have been there for some up to eight or nine years allegedly? MYLES: Of course. It took about 24 hours for him to get his first

hearing. So, of course, we know life is not fair. We know he's going to get special treatment. He's not getting special treatment in that hotel.

But ultimately, you know, his problem is if he doesn't win -- if he doesn't win this, you know, he's going to get deported and then who knows how long it will be before he's allowed back in the country. That affects his legacy, his career, tennis history, all of these things.

And, meanwhile, the fact that he can afford to have, you know, a lawyer fight this for him, where the other two people who were in the same situation, you know, sort of an obscure double specialist and an official had to go home and they had already gotten in.

So, it is going to be very interesting because right now, the governments and the tennis organization that runs the Australian Open are just leaking to the media everywhere. Letters and, you know, back and forth to try to buttress their own cases, but ultimately, you know, Djokovic holds a share of the blame, both governments do, and Tennis Australia does, and I'm not sure how they're going to apportion that, but it just feels expensive.

PAUL: Wow. Stephanie Myles, boy, have you given us some great insight here. Thank you for taking time for us. Take good care.

SANCHEZ: So, it's hard to believe that some Trump supporters are still trying to undermine the 2020 election. Next, we'll tell you how some inside the Republican Party are making a full-court press to influence the next election.



PAUL: Good morning to you.

Thirty-three minutes past the hour right now.

You know, there are a lot of people who still believe former President Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. And, now, there's an all-out effort among some of his supporters to not only undermine trust in the last election but to influence the next one.

Here is CNN political correspondent Sara Murray.


RON HANKS (R-CO), U.S. SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Ron Hanks, and I approve this message.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. Senate hopeful Ron Hanks is shooting at fake Dominion voting machines and calling for an audit in Colorado, a state Joe Biden won in 2020 by more than 13 points.

In liberal Washington state, a local Republican Party is knocking on doors, trying to uncover voter fraud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're canvassing now in about a dozen counties.

MURRAY: In Crow Wing, Minnesota, a bright red county in a state that's gone blue since 1976, residents of pressing the board of commissioners for an audit based on false and misleading pretenses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That log will tell us if that thing went onto the Internet and switched any votes.

MURRAY: And in Alabama, which former President Trump carried by 25 points, Republican Secretary of State John Merrill is still batting back unfounded claims of fraud.

JOHN MERRILL (R), ALABAMA SECRETARY OF STATE: I think a lot of that is people listening to people who have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. It's almost as if they will claim that a murder was committed and yet they cannot prove that the person ever lived, let alone a body or a weapon.

MURRAY: In the year since rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol convinced the 2020 election was stolen, many Republicans are still lapping up Trump's election lies. They're pressuring local officials to revisit 2020. Some are even running for higher office. Others are passing legislation making it easier to meddle in election administration.

JESS MARSDEN, COUNSEL, PROTECT DEMOCRACY: Thirty-two of those bills have become law in 17 states, which is a really unprecedented amount of legislative interest in the mechanics of election administration.


MURRAY: Efforts to undermine confidence in election results began in hotly contested battleground states. But have since ballooned into a nationwide crusade.

In Colorado, election officials like Justin Grantham are aware of Hank's ad.

JUSTIN GRANTHAM, CLERK & RECORDER, FREMONT COUNTY, COLORADO: With this copy machine that he blew up with a rifle -- yes, I have seen that.

MURRAY: But State Representative Hanks rebuffed offers to learn about the voting systems firsthand.

GRANTHAM: I've extended offers to come and talk to me about the election and he's not responded and not come in.

MURRAY: Hanks told CNN he appreciates the offers but he did his own research.

HANKS: I didn't really need it. I was at other locations and so that made it rather redundant. MURRAY: Asked why he's still spreading debunked conspiracies, Hank

says nothing has been debunked.

HANKS: I think that is a false argument. We have found evidence and it is compounding daily.

MURRAY: Back in Alabama, when Merrill met with election deniers, including MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, he easily debunked their claims.

MERRILL: The information that they had been sharing with us could have been cleared up by doing a simple Google search of addresses.

MURRAY: Other officials, though, are aiming to appease their constituents.

When CNN asked a Crow Wing commissioner who said he was confident in the county's election for an interview --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got an email last night. I'm going to read it.

MURRAY: He declined, instead reading her interview request to audit supporters in a county meeting.


MURRAY: This week, he and other members voted to ask Minnesota secretary of state to launch an audit.



SANCHEZ: Thanks, Sara Murray, for that report.

It is a critical time in American history and tonight, Fareed Zakaria investigates "The Fight to Save American Democracy". It's a new special that begins at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. Don't miss it.

PAUL: All right. So the push for the playoffs comes down to the first ever week 18 in the NFL. Who's in? Who's out? I will tell you who is always in. Mr. Coy Wire who has the "Bleacher Report", next.



SANCHEZ: Across the country millions are getting hit with severe weather. Here's the video out of southwest Washington where severe storms prompted road closures after heavy rain and snow.

PAUL: Now, the National Guard was called in to assist residents in Lewis County, two hours south of Seattle. There is relief potentially here because Washington is expected to get a much-needed break from all of that rain today. Look at that picture and think how do you get around in I see the one road on the left-hand side and after that looks like they're stuck.

So the NFL's biggest season ever has come down to the final weekend and the first ever week 18. A wild start.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. Coy Wire is with us now.

Coy, still a lot to be settled in terms of playoff seeding. I think five different teams are trying to get in on the AFC side.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. That extra game the league added, those players are probably feeling it. Lots on the line. Kansas City found themselves still in the hunt to secure the top seed in the AFC and that crucial first round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

But those Broncos came out swinging at mile high. Drew Lock finding his footing, hoofing it for two rushing touchdowns. Only had three in his career before this. Denver with a 14-10 lead at the half. Less than 8 minutes to go, Chiefs down and they find some unlikely heroes.

Melvin Ingram meets Melvin Gordon for malicious melting of Melvins. The ball pops out. Nick Bolton is bolting to the house 86 yards and almost falls, but he holds on and so do the Chiefs 28-24. Bolton gets the play of the game and ribbing from his teammates like listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty slow, though. I don't understand. You almost pulled a hamstring. I'm trying to figure it out, bro.


WIRE: The Cowboys, they chose to play their starters most of the game, despite having a playoff spot on lock. The Dallas Cowboys put the bow on their first 12-win season since 2016. Dak Prescott throwing for five touchdowns in a beat down of the east.

Philly rested several of their key players because they had secured a wild card spot in the playoffs. Dak's career night giving him 37 touchdown passes, breaking Tony Romo's team record for most ever in a season. Yeah, give me that.

All right. Sixteen-year-old figure skating phenom Alysa Liu's Olympic dreams are still alive. The two-time U.S. champion tested positive for COVID on Friday at nationals but petitioned a selection committee and she makes the team.

She joins Karen Chen who is making her second straight Olympic appearance for Team USA and the newly crowned U.S. champ, 25-year-old Mariah Bell, who becomes the oldest woman single skater for the U.S. in 94 years. The games in Beijing are 26 days away.

All right. What a moment for an Australian team and baseball. Seventeen-year-old Genevieve Beacom becoming the first woman in modern history to pitch in a pro baseball game in Australia. Genevieve plays for the Melbourne Aces and the lefty more than held her own. One inning, zero hits against the Adelaide Giants.


You go, girl.

All right. Finally, there are dynasties and then there's North Dakota state football. The Bison facing Montana state in the championship playing in the title game for the first time in 37 years. The offensive line walking the Bobcats like Lumberjacks attacking toothpicks. Look at him bulldozing dudes even his own, first of three touchdowns. Bison fans having a great time.

Check out the beer cup snake they built. That's impressive. Their ninth championship in 11 years. That sets up the big stage for tomorrow night's FBS national championship where we'll find out if Alabama will win back-to-back titles or if those Georgia Bulldogs from here near Atlanta are going to win their first title in more than four decades -- Christi and Boris.

SANCHEZ: A huge game, Coy. I think the Bulldogs are favored by 2.5 points. Are you taking the over or under?

WIRE: Well, they, remember, beat down by Bama in the SEC championship game and in the title game a few years ago, they lost to Bama. I think they're ready. I think they're hungry and I think the dogs are going to eat.

SANCHEZ: We will be watching. Coy Wire, Lumberjacks, something about toothpicks, that was awesome.

PAUL: That was good, wasn't it?

All right. Actor Alec Baldwin is speaking out on Instagram now.


ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Any suggestion that I am not complying with requests or orders or demands or search warrants about my phone, that (EXPLETIVE DELETED), that's a lie. This is a process where one state --


PAUL: What else he has to say about the "Rust" investigation next.



SANCHEZ: Alec Baldwin took to his Instagram Saturday to make it know that he's complying with a cell phone search warrant in an investigation of the fatal shooting on the set of his film "Rust". Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: Any suggestion that I am not complying with requests or orders or demands or search warrants about my phone, that (EXPLETIVE DELETED), that's a lie. This is a process where one state makes the request for another state. Someone from another state -- from another state can't come to you and say, give me your phone, give me this, give me that. They can't do that.

They're going to go through the state you live in. That is a process that takes time. They have to specify what exactly they want. They can't just go through your phone and take. We are 1,000 percent going to comply with all that.


PAUL: Now, officials in New Mexico issued a search warrant last month for his phone -- his cell phone to obtain some call logs, videos, photos, text messages, anything related to that fatal shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchinson when a prop gun Baldwin was using accidentally fired a live round. We'll keep you posted on that.

So, the 79th Annual Golden Globes, they are happening tonight, which is not going to be televised. It's not going to be streamed and that's happening for the first time in decades.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, there's going to be no audience in place and no red carpet. Organizers say the scaled down ceremony this year is because of the surge of the omicron variant but there is a bit more to that.

Let's go to CNN entertainment reporter Chloe Melas for more on this.

Chloe, it's like that old question, if a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to hear it, did it actually fall?

PAUL: If somebody gets an award and we didn't see it, did they really get an award?


This is how I feel about tonight's Golden Globes. Awww. OK?

So, they can blame it on COVID and the variant like you said, no red carpet, no celebrities, nothing televised but let's take it back a moment. This has been airing every single year on NBC. NBC paid millions of dollars to have the broadcasting rights to the Golden Globes.

They backed out last year because of two shocking investigations, one by "The Los Angeles Times" and "The New York Times." What did they find? Well, "The Los Angeles Times", you guys, that out of the 80- person body of members that votes on this called the HFPA, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which in case you guys are wondering, it's a bunch of journalist all over the world that vote -- in these categories, not one black person, right? So how are they supposed to have a diverse nominees -- have diverse nominees when they aren't diverse themselves? Then, "The New York Times" found perhaps they were misappropriating

funds, millions of dollars, private jets, millions of dollars of salaries to certain people. So, it's because of this NBC said no more and a bunch of celebrities boycotting it, too. So, the bigger question for me is Kristen Stewart, Will Smith, these big actors that are nominated in the major categories, are they going to tweet about their wins or put out statements like in years past and be excited about it or will it be like you said as if it never happened?

So, how are we going to find out about the winners? HFPA is going to be tweeting the winners as they happen.

So, lucky me, I'll be the one watching the Twitter feed tonight writing about who wins. Okay? So, yeah, but it's a bit of a mess.

Will we see the Globes come back like they used to be? I don't know. Definitely not next year I don't think.

PAUL: You don't think so.

All right. It sounds like there are changes that have to happen before we'll get all of that back.

MELAS: Yeah.

PAUL: Chloe Melas, always good to see you. Thank you so much.


MELAS: Thank you.

SANCHEZ; The James Webb space telescope is one step closer to sending us pictures of the universe from billions of light years in the past.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You see people clapping? Yes. Wonderful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone on their feet clapping.


PAUL: Just two weeks after launch, NASA scientists, look at them, cheering there after the telescope reached the final spot after applying the golden mirror, you see there on the left. That is the largest mirror NASA has ever built. It's so big, it had to be folded origami style to fit into the rocket.

And there's still work that needs to be done. The U.S. space agency says it's going to take months of alignment and calibration before the telescope can start transmitting images. We should get the images I believe they said June or July.

So, there you have it. Thank you so much for being with us. We hope you make good memories today.