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New Day Sunday
Adams Honors Officers Killed And Injured In Friday's Shooting; Adams Vows To Crack Down On Endless Flow Of Guns Into The City; Thousands Expected To Gather For Anti-Vaccine Mandate Rally In D.C.; D.C. Beefs Up Security Ahead Of Anti-Vaccine Mandate Rally; Record- High Number Of Kids Still Being Hospitalized With COVID-19; Senator Sinema Censured By Arizona Democrats Over Filibuster Stance; Gallego Says Some Democrats Urging Him To Run Against Sinema In 2024; GOP Leaders Express Openness To Bipartisan Electoral Count Act Reform. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired January 23, 2022 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Buenos dias. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Boris, I'm Christi Paul.
We have some new details for you in the shooting that left a New York police officer dead and another critically injured. What we're learning about that officer and what investigators know now about the gun that was used in the shooting.
SANCHEZ: Plus, Senator Kyrsten Sinema facing blow back for her stance on the filibuster from Democrats in her own state. The actions they're taking against her and what her potential primary challenger is now saying.
PAUL: And opening statements begin tomorrow in the federal civil rights trial of three former Minneapolis officers in the death of George Floyd. What we know about how this is going to play out.
SANCHEZ: And desperately needed aid is now arriving in Tonga, more than a week after a volcano eruption and tsunami there, but volunteers say there are still major challenges ahead.
We are so grateful that you're joining us this Sunday, January 23rd. Thanks so much for waking up with us. Good morning to you, Christi.
PAUL: Good morning, Boris. Good to see you.
SANCHEZ: Of course.
PAUL: Let's talk about what we're learning out of New York this morning.
SANCHEZ: Yes, really a tragic story. New York City police officer Jason Rivera, the deadly shooting that claimed his life. The 22-year- old was killed Friday night when he was responding to a domestic violence call. His partner, 27-year-old Wilbert Mora, was critically injured.
PAUL: The rookie cop grew up in an immigrant community where he said relations with police were strained and that's why he decided to join the force, to help. Yesterday Mayor Eric Adams honored Rivera and the other officers involved. This was at a vigil.
And the mayor also addressed gun violence in the city saying he wanted to show solidarity with the police force. Authorities have traced that gun, by the way, that was used in the shooting, we now know that -- we have some more information we should say on that weapon.
SANCHEZ: Yes. Let's get to CNN's Polo Sandoval. He's been tracking the story for us. Of course, Polo, the added significance here is that Mayor Adams is a former police commander himself. What was his message to the city and his message to police?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's pledging to stand by the city and mainly, obviously, to -- for officers as well, especially given his experience that you point out there, Boris. And more on that gun in a few moments. But first, a little bit more about what we're learning about Officer Rivera here.
In words, that he penned himself in a letter that he wrote to his commanding officer while at the police academy recently here. Basically writing that he wanted to be the first person in his family to become a police officer. In fact, writing about his firsthand experience with the controversial stop and frisk policy that propelled him to join the force. You recall that was a policy that was later removed after critics argued that it unfairly targeted people of color.
Now, in terms of that letter, let me read you a portion of that. He basically wrote that, "As time went on, I saw the NYPD pushing hard on changing the relationship between the police and the community. This is when I realized I wanted to be part of the men in blue, better the relationship between the community and the police."
He entered the police academy in November of 2020, according to a source with knowledge of the officer's records, and said that his community in Inwood was at odds with the NYPD but soon saw the department basically making an effort to change its ways.
Now on to this vigil that we saw just last night here in the city Mayor Eric Adams honoring Rivera and the other officers involved at this vigil. He basically reinforced, the mayor reinforced that point that he's dedicated to unite everyone around this issue of gun violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK CITY: We're in a battle with a small number of people that believe they will hold our city hostage with violence. That will not happen.
We're not going to be intimidated by those who believe we should look down on the men and women who put on their bulletproof vests, stand on street corners, protecting children and families as though they should be ashamed of the occupation that they are holding in this city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: If we look back on January 1st when the mayor took his oath he basically emphasized his plan to not allow the city to become when described as a city of disorder. As for the gun ATF certainly looking deeper into this was reported stolen out of Baltimore recently. Back to you.
PAUL: Polo Sandoval, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.
Former acting Baltimore police commissioner and CNN law enforcement analyst Anthony Barksdale is with us now. Thank you so much. We appreciate you being here.
Will you first and foremost tell me do you see -- as we hear leaders in cities all across the country saying that we have to tackle gun violence, do you see that as a former commander, Mayor Eric Adams may be more uniquely equipped to deal with this than others?
ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think he is absolutely more equipped than other mayors to deal with gun violence. Having served as a police officer for a number of years, moving into the command levels, he understands what officers are facing. And he also understands the need for strength during times like this, for the citizens and the police department.
PAUL: So, commissioner, talk to me about what we've learned regarding this gun, that it was stolen in Baltimore in 2017. When you talk about getting illegal guns off the street, how do you find them if they're stolen? How do you know that they're illegal?
BARKSDALE: Police work. Mayor Adams said something about going after the small number of individuals. If you chase guns, you're going to get gun stats. But if you go after the known killers that your detectives, that your communities know are moving about throughout a city, you're going to get the results that you're looking for. So focusing on those individuals, fueling your violence, driving your violence, has to be a priority for New York and many other cities across the United States.
PAUL: All three of those officers that were involved in this shooting we know and we heard about it there from Polo for a minute, according to Mayor Adams all from immigrant families. One born in India. One was from the Dominican Republic. The third, of course, a first-generation immigrant.
What does that tell you about New York police efforts to improve community relations, the fact that all of these officers come from immigrant families?
BARKSDALE: At a time like this to be able to attract immigrants that want to help change things in the city is -- it's just a powerful message that people still believe in the United States, in these cities, and they want to help. This is a tragedy, but we have to figure this out and move ahead, while at the same time paying respect to those officers that have lost their lives.
PAUL: Have you seen in any cities where community outreach between police and communities has worked really well?
BARKSDALE: Yes, it works. It's not -- everyone doesn't hate the cops. There are many communities that support policing, that want to talk to police, but at the same time -- like Mayor Adams has said, OK, I will support you, but you're going to be held accountable. And I think that's a fair message from a politician to the officers. Do your jobs, but don't go out there beating people, mistreat people -- no, that's not going to be supported.
And communities do want police to be there for them, to be there to protect their families, their loved ones. So I think things are in motion in New York and I just would like to see the change in New York and many other cities in the U.S.
PAUL: Just wondering if there's any one particular strategy or tactic that you have seen that has worked particularly well to bring police together with community. Is it -- is it really on some level just a matter of knowing this is who I can call, this is who I have spoken with?
BARKSDALE: Those relationships are really important. So in many police departments you will have a community liaison, an officer that knows the citizens in a specific area where the citizens know if I have got a problem I can pick up that phone and call officer whoever. So that is one of the things that really must be focused on if this division is to be fixed.
Also things like officers just walking in the community, walking on foot, talking to the kids, talking to the store owners, it all can be changed, it all can work, but you have to see the effort from the police department.
PAUL: Anthony Barksdale, always grateful to have your perspective. It is valuable to us. Thank you so much.
BARKSDALE: Thank you, Christi.
PAUL: Of course.
SANCHEZ: Notably, this morning we're following some breaking news out of a Houston area. According to officials there a Harris County deputy was shot and killed during an apparent traffic stop earlier today.
Details are still coming in, but we're told an investigation is under way and we expect to hear from police a little bit later this morning. Of course, we are going to bring you any new developments as they come in.
Meantime, there is a chance for conflict in the nation's capital this morning. Businesses and law enforcement in Washington, D.C. on high alert as thousands of demonstrators are expected for an anti-vaccine mandate protest. It comes as the district is now mandating proof of vaccination be shown to enter some local businesses and some fear that the demonstrations might attract extremist groups to the area. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux walks us through preparations in the nation's capital.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a great deal of anticipation and concern over the potential for violence this weekend as all eyes turn to Sunday, the fight over vaccine mandates which will play out here in Washington, D.C. The National Park Service says various groups opposing vaccine mandates, vaccines and masks could draw up to 20,000 people at and around an event being called "Defeat the Mandates American Homecoming" event.
So the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, metropolitan and U.S. park police and others are helping local businesses prepare for the crowds and possibly confront protesters who may refuse to wear masks indoors or provide vaccination cards or comply with D.C. rules. The protests coincide with new proof of vaccine requirements for restaurants, bars, gyms and other private businesses in D.C. U.S. Capitol Police and Montgomery County, Maryland's police department are staffing up to arrest those who are noncompliant or who harass employees and have already held a conference call with these business leaders to prepare.
Now, the U.S. Capitol Police chief says, "I am confident in our preparation for this weekend." Law enforcement officials are also concerned the protests could attract violent extremist groups.
Friday close to 30 men who appeared to be tied to patriot front, an American nationalist white supremacist group, showed up outside the National Archives and were surrounded by D.C. police to ensure there were no confrontations. But the organizers of Sunday's protest called "Defeat the Mandates" say they have hired increased private security to work with government law enforcement officials and they also put out a statement saying here, "We do not welcome extremist groups on any side that condone racism or bring violence of any kind to the thousands of Americans that will be marching peacefully."
Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Washington.
PAUL: Suzanne, thank you.
So there are some states that are beginning to see COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations drop a bit, maybe a promising sign here that the Omicron wave is starting to subside.
SANCHEZ: Sadly, that's not the case everywhere. A lot of hospitals across the country still overwhelmed with patients fighting for their lives. CNN's Natasha Chen has more on our COVID headlines. NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Christi, in some parts of the U.S. COVID-19 cases are starting to plateau or fall. Hospitalizations in the northeast have fallen by 11 percent after peaking a week ago. In the midwest hospitalizations are down by 6 percent according to Health and Human Services data, but that's not the case everywhere. In the south hospitalizations are up by about 6 percent and up by about 15 percent here in the west.
I talked to Dr. Michael Smit at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, an infectious disease physician. He says all incoming patients are tested for COVID-19 there. And right now of the newly admitted children about half are testing positive for COVID-19 and that's a higher rate than they saw in December and January so far.
Right now 60 children out of about 300 hospitalized there are positive for COVID-19. The good news, among those who are vaccinated and positive only three of them are showing COVID-19 symptoms. They're being treated for other conditions. Dr. Smit says that's proof that the vaccines are helping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MICHAEL SMIT, MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF INFECTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL LOS ANGELES: The only reason hospitals are open and not completely overwhelmed is because of the people that accepted the vaccine and this goes beyond politics. We have -- and because we have a vaccine we can thank both Donald Trump and Joe Biden on this.
I've been on the front lines for two years now. I'm exhausted. I'm tired. I've seen people quit. I've seen people die. You know, I've seen people get PTSD. You know, I apologize if I get a little emotional but, you know, it's been a long two years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: It's been a long two years but parents may have to maintain patience for a bit longer. Without vaccines available for children under 5 many parents of toddlers are burdened with lack of child care options as daycares shut down after exposures and staff shortages. In New Mexico a program is streamlining the ability for state workers and National Guard members to serve as substitute teachers and aides as staffing shortages due to the Omicron variant continue.
Here in the Los Angeles Unified School District 4,000 certified professionals are on standby to fill in for any staff who are out sick. The positivity rate among students and staff in the district has already fallen after the semester began almost two weeks ago.
Boris and Christi, back to you.
PAUL: Natasha, thank you.
So Democrats in Arizona have voted to censure their own senator, Kyrsten Sinema. They say there was one thing in particular that brought it to this point.
SANCHEZ: And later, how international organizations and the international community are helping Tonga, which is desperate for emergency supplies, even simple things like drinking water. We'll hear from an expert after a quick break. Stay with us.
PAUL: So good to have you back here. Well, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema has officially been censured by the Arizona Democratic Party's executive board.
They say this drastic move is due to her decision to vote to maintain the Senate's filibuster rules which effectively blocked Democrats' voting legislation.
SANCHEZ: Let's get to Capitol Hill and CNN's Daniella Diaz. Daniella, what does being censured mean for Senator Sinema going forward?
DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Boris, it's very clear that Democrats are growing increasingly frustrated with Senator Sinema over the stances she has taken against some of the wishes of the Democratic Party these past couple of months. But it's incredibly clear from this censure from the Arizona Democratic Party executive board over her decision to vote against a filibuster carveout so that Democrats could have passed voting rights legislation with just a simple majority instead of 60 votes needed to break that filibuster, it would have only been 51 votes.
But look, I want to be clear, Senator Sinema's office in a statement shrugged this off. They did not care too much about this censure. They made clear that she is a centrist and she votes her conscience and she represents her constituents.
But that's not stopping one congressman, Congressman Ruben Gallego of Arizona, who is toying with the idea of possibly challenging her in the 2024 election in the primary. He's more progressive. He's a veteran. And he did not defend her in an interview last night when they discussed her censure. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RUBEN GALLEGO (D-AZ): This is a call from Arizonans asking for her to pay attention, to recognize a danger that this country is in and that she is not being responsive to them. And it's not just based on the civil rights -- her opposition to the civil rights -- or her, you know, you know, support of the filibuster, but also the fact that she just has not been involved in Arizona in quite a while. It is, again, being dismissive of, you know, Arizonans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAZ: Christi, Boris, Sinema has been clear from the very beginning where she was on the filibuster. She said she would never vote to do any sort of filibuster carveout. And with this primary -- potential primary challenger from Ruben Gallego she is also shrugging that off. Her office said that they are not concerned with any sort of primary challenges.
But, of course, I want to make clear Gallego has not made a decision yet, but that's really where this stands. She's been very clear from the beginning.
SANCHEZ: Daniella Diaz from Capitol Hill, thank you so much.
Let's dig deeper now with "Politico" reporter Marianne Levine. She covers the Senate and she joins us now to sort through everything that's happening on Capitol Hill. Marianne, thanks so much for being with us bright and early this Sunday.
You just heard Daniella report the push back that Senator Sinema is facing from her own party, that threat of a primary from Congressman Gallego. Obviously the counter argument is that part of the reason she was elected in Arizona is because she's closer to a centrist, right, the same way that only a Democrat like Joe Manchin could be elected in West Virginia. Do you think there is a similar dynamic for Sinema in Arizona?
MARIANNE LEVINE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, Arizona and West Virginia are very different states. It's important to note that Senator Manchin is the only federally-elected Democrat at the moment in West Virginia, which is a state that's really shifted red, whereas we're kind of seeing the opposite trend in Arizona. We have Mark Kelly in the Senate who is a Democrat and who almost -- who pretty much always votes with the Democratic Party on their party agenda and has taken a very different position than Senator Sinema on the filibuster, for example.
But it's important to note that Senator Sinema has also long noted that she has wanted to emulate the late Senator John McCain who was known in the Senate for compromise. She has described McCain as one of her heroes. And so she's always taken a centrist position. And as Daniella pointed out her position on the filibuster really isn't a surprise.
SANCHEZ: And Senator McCain was often a thorn in the side of his own party as well. Let's talk about Build Back Better, the remnants of Build Back Better, the so-called chunks that President Biden vowed last week that he was going to try to push Democrats to pass.
You've done some reporting on the strategy that Democrats are looking at to pursue this year. Realistically what do you think they can get done?
LEVINE: Right now it seemed like the big question is what will Manchin agree to, if anything, on the social spending Build Back Better bill? Right now Democrats are hoping that negotiations with the White House and Manchin will pick up to see if there is a narrower piece of legislation that could pass that addresses priorities like universal pre-k which Manchin has supported, or maybe a long-term child tax credit. So right now it's really unclear what can be salvaged from the social spending bill. But what we're hearing from Senate Democrats when they come back from this recess that they are on this week is looking at immediately turning to the priority of funding the government -- government funding runs out February 18th.
They're looking at whether it's possible to reach a deal with Republicans on a larger spending bill. Right now the federal government is operating at funding levels that were established under the Trump administration, so Democrats obviously want to change that.
It's not clear, however, if some Republicans will go along with that, since a lot of them want to preserve the Trump funding levels, as well as some of the spending riders that were established the last time a spending package went through Congress. So that's one area of immediate business that the Senate needs to address.
Other areas that Senate Democrats have talked about as they tried to figure out what's achievable on Build Back Better is Russia sanctions as well as trying to get legislation that addresses competition with China across the finish line.
SANCHEZ: Yes, that was supposed to be the third portion after Build Back Better and the initial spending bill -- or rather the infrastructure bill.
Marianne, let's talk about another stalled item on the agenda for the White House, election reform, a voting rights legislation that could be embraced nationwide, that stalled, right? So now a bipartisan group of lawmakers is working on a proposal that would clarify a law that dictates the electoral count and the certification process for elections.
Republican leaders in both chambers have expressed an openness to that kind of reform. That's vastly different to the attitude that they have toward voting rights legislation. What are the chances of something like that passing?
LEVINE: I think it's too early to say right now. The bipartisan group that's led by Senator Susan Collins will meet tomorrow to discuss a range of proposals. Staff met last week. But this group is really in the preliminary stages.
So I think a lot of it depends on what comes out of the group, whether Democrats and Republicans broadly are receptive to their proposals. Among the ideas right now that are floating around is really looking at updating this law, which was established in 1887, to really clarify that the vice president's role in overseeing the certification of election results in Congress is ministerial.
As we all know president -- former President Donald Trump tried to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results, which he declined to do so. And what that update to this law would do would basically be to avoid a situation like that from happening again.
There's other discussion about potentially protecting poll workers, raising the threshold for challenging an election result. And so we're looking at a range of potential proposals that are out there, but it's really very much in the beginning stages. And I think it's too early to say exactly whether or not this has a chance of passing Congress this session.
SANCHEZ: And the window is getting shorter and shorter with campaigning for the midterms just a few months away. Marianne Levine, thank you so much for the time.
LEVINE: Thanks for having me.
SANCHEZ: Of course. Still plenty more political conversations ahead this morning, especially on "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER AND DANA BASH." Guests are going to include the Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Senators Bernie Sanders and Joni Ernst, and New York Mayor Eric Adams. It all starts at 9:00 a.m. right here on CNN.
PAUL: Well, the federal trial of these three former Minneapolis police officers starts tomorrow. They're charged with violating George Floyd's civil rights during the arrest that led to his death. We're going to take a closer look at the case with Joey Jackson. Stay close.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: 32 minutes past the hour right now. And opening statements are expected tomorrow in the federal trial against three former Minneapolis Police officers charged with violating George Floyd's Civil Rights during the arrest that led to his death.
Former officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane have all pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. Now, the three also faced state charges connected to Floyd's death. That trial is set for this summer. And last month, former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin pleaded guilty in federal court to Civil Rights charges related to the death of George Floyd.
So, CNN Legal Analyst and Criminal Defense Attorney, Joey Jackson is with us now. Joey, always good to have you here, good morning to you. So --
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi.
PAUL: -- Good morning. So for this federal trial as we know it, the three men who are facing this jury are facing a makeup of as we understand it, 10 women, eight men, 16 appear to be white, two appear to be Asian. We should point out that during jury selection the presiding judge said this case has nothing to do with race. What is your takeaway over the fact that none of these jurors are black?
JACKSON: Yes, Christi, good morning to you again. Listen, what happens is, is that there's a distinction of course between the federal case and the state case, and we can talk about that. But with respect to the federal case, the critical crux of it is, was he denied that his job for George Floyd hit off his Constitutional Rights. That's what this case is going to center upon. Now, the judge with regard to the issue of race, that is from a legal perspective, proper, right? That it doesn't have to do with race because you have to establish in order to find guilt as to these three, two things.
The first thing is that they willfully deprive George Floyd the civil rights by failing to intervene when he was in danger, right? You saw that he was in distress, you fail to intervene, you knew potentially he could die, you didn't do anything. You intentionally did that. The second thing that has to be proved is that you fail to provide medical attention. You were deliberately indifferent. Now, none of those elements are established or you have to prove race. So from a legal perspective, race doesn't have to do with it.
JACKSON: From a very practical perspective, Christi, of course, this case has a lot to do with race and how communities of color are treated. And what this has occurred of George Floyd was of a different hue. So those matters are very relevant.
With respect to the jury, you can look at the distinction between the state case when you saw half the jurors were people of color, the other half, right, a total of 12 we're not. This is vastly different from the jury that you described, OK? So I think that certainly matters. I think people of different racial backgrounds evaluate evidence different -- have different perspectives, have different points of view, and certainly, it would be I think, in everyone's interest, if this jury is -- was more diverse, it's not.
Last point, Christi, and that this, to the extent that it's a federal case, it's taken the composition of the jurors have taken throughout the state, which is diverse than the particular county in the state where this occurred. But nonetheless, you would anticipate that there will be more, there's 12 jurors that will decide but there are six alternates that is if someone gets sick, then those other jurors can step in.
PAUL: Would you understand that a couple of these, at least two of these officers were rookie officers, didn't have as much experience, perhaps as the others. Do you anticipate that that would be a prime argument for the defense?
JACKSON: I really do. I think any case, as we know precedes a battle of the narratives. From a prosecution's perspective, you're going to argue that, listen you officers are police officers first and foremost. It doesn't matter whether you're a rookie or whether you have plenty of years on the job. You attend to the academy, you know your duties, you know your priorities, you know you have to protect and serve.
You knew he was in distress, it was too long of a period of time where he was laying in a position that would expose him to that, you know, too serious physical injury or death, you did nothing. Not only did you do nothing but you fail with respect to having violated his right by -- this is the prosecution's argument, having violated his right with regard to unreasonable searches. You didn't give him any medical attention. How can you do it?
Switching the hat, the defense will argue that listen these two officers were very new to the job. These two officers were over- relying upon the judgment of Mr. Chauvin, who, of course, pled guilty last month of the federal case and was found guilty in the state case in April. They relied upon him. They were really not in a position to evaluate or review how particularly in distress he was.
Those were the arguments that the defense will of course make. Will they carry the day? I think it's a very tough argument to make. Nonetheless, you're an officer, you should know better, you're held to a higher standard, you're there to preserve and protect you didn't do it and therefore prosecution will argue that you're guilty.
PAUL: All right, Joey Jackson, we appreciate you so much. Thank you.
JACKSON: Always. Thanks, Christi.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Still ahead, a massive volcanic eruption and tsunami devastating the Pacific nation of Tonga, with the latest on relief efforts there, next.
SANCHEZ: Some badly needed aid is arriving on the Pacific island nation of Tonga after a massive volcanic eruption last week. The aid from Japan includes three tons of drinking water. Remember, ash from the volcano blanketed the island contaminated its water sources. The process of getting aid to Tonga is also complicated by another concern, COVID-19.
The nation is one of the few places on earth that's virtually free of the virus. So how do you help with a massive relief effort while also preventing the spread of a highly contagious illness? Let's ask an expert. Andres Wuestenberg is with us now. He's an emergency specialist for UNICEF.
Andreas, we're grateful to have your expertise this morning. Thanks for joining us. How is UNICEF dealing with the challenges of getting aid to Tonga and how long will it take for the island to recover?
ANDREAS WUESTENBERG, EMERGENCY SPECIALIST, UNICEF: Good morning. It's indeed a challenging response. What we're seeing is that the volcano eruption then that also had the tsunami subsequently has really impacted almost the entire island.
Tonga consists of 170 -- approximately 170 islands spread over a vast geographical area in the South Pacific. But the impact of the volcanic eruption was so high that almost all of these islands have been impacted in the -- in the entire population. For instance, ash has fallen on all of those islands and then as you just said, has contaminated the water sources.
We have -- things that are luckily improving, we have very difficulties -- very much difficulties with communication at the beginning because the only fiber optic cable that connects Tonga with the rest of the world through an Internet has also been damaged and satellite phones did not operate because of the ash cloud which interfered with the connection. So this is better now.
We are in daily contact with our staff on the ground and also with the Tongan authorities. And the Tongan authorities have been able to run some initial assessments so that we have a better grip on the situation and what's happening on the ground.
SANCHEZ: And Andreas, can you walk us --
WUESTENBERG: The way --
SANCHEZ: -- Go ahead -- go ahead.
WUESTENBERG: Yes. So what UNICEF is doing at the moment, we have mobilized some preposition supplies particularly to help with this urgent need for safe drinking water because the ash has contaminated the water sources.
WUESTENBERG: And thanks to the support of the Australian government, we have now water and sanitation supplies on route as we speak to Tonga. There are other relief flights that have come in from New Zealand, from Australia, and of course, there's the response from the Tongan authorities at the moment who have provided also food and other items such as health kits, and also shelter because a lot of -- a lot of families have also lost their homes, which is also one of the big concerns we're dealing with at the moment.
SANCHEZ: Yes. And Andreas, the ecosystem of an island is very fragile, right? Because there isn't a lot of traffic, there's not a lot of different movement of different peoples. So how do you balance getting aid to a place as far away as Tonga with the fact that you're also dealing with COVID-19, a very, very contagious illness?
WUESTENBERG: Yes, exactly. So this is also an aspect that makes this response to this disaster more complicated. As you mentioned, Tonga is one of the few places in the world that has so far managed to stay COVID-free and that is because they had very strict entry regulations. And they're maintaining those because they are afraid that if now, they would also have a COVID outbreak on top of these two disasters with the volcanoes and tsunami, that this would even be more devastating for the population.
So we have staff on the ground, the UN has staff on the ground, and we're working through those, we're working through our partners, but we are not at that moment sending additional personnel. We are trying to help as much as we can remotely and with the preposition supplies that we are sending in now. SANCHEZ: It is a challenge but it is a worthwhile cause and we appreciate your work. Andreas Wuestenberg, thank you for the time this morning.
WUESTENBERG: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: There's a lot of folks that need a helping hand in that part of the world right now. And if you'd like more information about how you can help, go to cnn.com/impact for ways that you can support the victims of the tsunami and volcano. Stay with CNN, we'll be right back.
PAUL: So, two games, two pretty incredible endgames. And two top teams in the NFL, out of the season. Well, they were. But now they're out of the NFL playoffs.
SANCHEZ: That's right. Coy Wire joins us now. And Coy, this brings up the old argument, I'm curious to get your perspective as a player, rest versus rust, both teams with buys getting booted.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes. When you -- when you have that mojo flowing it's like it's nice to keep going, right? And it turned out that the rust showed a little bit yesterday. Good morning to you, Boris and Christi.
The Packers had everything going to them heading into the game, number one seed, fully rested, playing at home, and Aaron Rodgers, MVP front runner, right? But Rodgers was only three against the 9ers in the playoffs and something had to give and it was Green Bay.
WIRE (voiceover): Incredible scene last night, Lambeau Field, looking like a football snow globe, Packers fans cheering on their future Hall of Famer quarterback. But San Francisco's DC, Demeco Ryans in his defense stymie them, five sacks, zero touchdowns 100 percent frustration. Still, Green Bay held on to attend to three-lead late into the fourth until this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE1: They blocked the punt. They blocked the punt and (INAUDIBLE) catch its rolling free.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE2: Pick it up, Hufanga.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE1: And the goal line of 49ers is open. That's how we do it.
WIRE: The show teams, the difference-maker. Their second block kicker that night, frozen tundra, dead silent.
Then, after another defensive stop, Robbie Gould, Golden, the Pennsylvania kid spent a decade kicking in the Chicago code, let's show this clip. Here he comes, went to Penn State, he steps out there. Green Bay's special teams only had 10 people on the field for this. They messed up again. It's a game-winner, 45 yards. He's never missed a field goal or PAT in the playoffs, 52 for 52 is Robbie Gould. The 9ers win two straight on the road to advanced, sending Aaron Rodgers and the Packers packing.
AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK: Yes, I mean we'll win on them for sure. And then it'll be going to end like this. Special teams obviously hurt us. You know, taking points off the board, giving them points. But offensively, you know, scoring 10 points, never been enough.
WIRE (on camera): All right, we had just a thrilling matchup in the AFC between the Bengals and the Titans in Tennessee. Watch this.
WIRE (voiceover): That was the incredible reception from Titans fans for King Henry, Derrick Henry playing in his first game in three months. But the -- even the reigning Offensive Player of the Year doesn't matter when the QB throws the ball to the wrong team.
The Bengals' defense intercepted Ryan Tannehill on his first pass of the first half, first of the second, and his final pass of the game. Less than 30 seconds to play since he's Logan Wilson all in in the game-changing, third INT and that's when Joey Burrow -- Joe Burrow reminding everyone he's got ice water in his veins. Since his second year, signal callers have shaken off nine playoff sacks. That's a record for Tennessee's defense.
WIRE: But then the hidden incomes rookie kicker, Evan McPherson, the hopes and dreams of Cincinnati waiting in the balance and bingo, bang go, Bengals, headed to the AFC Championship for the first time since 1988, incredible. The Florida Gator making it a perfect 4 for 4 on his kicks. He never had a doubt.
JOE BURROW, CINCINNATI BENGALS QUARTERBACK: Oh, that guy is unbelievable. He's set so he was talking to Brandon as he was going out to kick, give a little warm-up swing and he said it looks like we're going to the AFC Championship right before he went out there to kick it.
EVAN MCPHERSON, CINCINNATI BENGALS KICKER: I turned to Kevin whenever I know I hit a good I don't even watch the ball go through. And we've seen that is being the bad thing and -- but this time it was a good thing. And he looked at me he's like you did it.
WIRE (on camera): Oh my goodness, such emotion. And we have the other playoff games today. You have Tom Brady and the Bucs going against Matthew Stafford and the Rams. And then the nightcap, Boris and Christi, seeing where my lucky bill's pin again. I played for 6 years in my career there. And I am a little biased but we have to keep a tradition alive. Last week, Boris, you said as a Dolphins fan you are going to --
SANCHEZ: I'm right there with you. And nothing pleases me more as a Dolphins fan than watching Ryan Tannehill throw three interceptions as if watching an X fall flat on their faces.
WIRE: Yes, all right.
SANCHEZ: All right.
WIRE: Christi, let's do this. Let's go Buffalo --
PAUL: I will --
WIRE: -- We're doing this today.
PAUL: I will say let's go Buffalo and I am behind them because of you, Coy. I'm only because of you.
WIRE: My team, let's go.
PAUL: Yes, absolutely.
SANCHEZ: Thank you so much, Coy.
PAUL: Coy Wire, thank you.
WIRE: All right.
PAUL: So you know her face but Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe was so much more. Learn all about her life and career in the CNN Original Series, Reframed: Marilyn Monroe. It's tonight at 9 p.m. We'll be right back.