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New Day Sunday

More Than 15 Million Americans Under Wind Chill Alerts From Maine To Florida; More Than 1,200 U.S. Flights Canceled This Morning Due To Nor'easter; Boston Records Snowiest January Day Ever; Bomb Cyclone Brings Historic Levels Of Snow To Northeast; Questions Swirl After Multiple Reports Tom Brady Is Retiring; Trump Teases Presidential Run, Suggests Pardons For January 6 Rioters; More Than 100 Black Women Send Letter To Biden Thanking Him For Pledge To Nominate First Black Woman To SCOTUS; Biden Has Vowed To Put First Black Woman On Supreme Court; Several Black Women On Short List Of Potential Supreme Court Nominees; As COVID Cases Decline, Health Experts Debate Easing Restrictions; U.S. Officials: Signs Russia Moved Blood Supplies To Ukraine Border; Ukraine Denies Russia Has Moved Blood Supplies To Border; Brookside, Alabama Resident Say Police Cashing In On Predatory Tactics, Racial Profiling, Fake Charges; Tennessee Mayor Embraces Cryptocurrency Despite Volatile Market; Business Hit Hard As North Carolina Gas Prices Hit 7-Year High. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired January 30, 2022 - 06:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It's good to see you. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez.

Many are digging out from a historic bomb cyclone, I should say. Some parts of New England are shattering snowfall records. And while some areas are finally getting relief millions are still under weather alerts, some folks still without power.

PAUL: Yes. So here is the question, is he or isn't he? That is what people are asking after reports caused some confusion over whether Tom Brady is walking off the field for good.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And one step closer to war. There are new indications that Russia is moving more supplies to the border with Ukraine as the threat of an invasion looms. We'll take you to Moscow for a live update.

We're so grateful to have you this Sunday, January 30th. Thanks so much for waking up with us.

PAUL: Yes, good morning to you. We are always grateful that you're here. Hey, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Hey. PAUL: So let's talk about what you didn't get yesterday in terms of the snow. I thought D.C. was in the path, but more than 15 million of you from Maine to southern Florida, if you have not stepped outside, you know it's cold, but you're waking up under this wind chill alert and that's actually a remnant from yesterdays nor'easter.

SANCHEZ: The frigid cold follows historic snowfall that broke records throughout the northeast, and this is what it looked like in Boston. Officials there still are urging residents to stay home and off the roads, appears to be whiteout conditions. And it wasn't just snow, a lot of places saw coastal flooding, too.

SANCHEZ: Ocean waves --

PAUL: That's the moment I would be looking for an exit.

SANCHEZ: Yes, exactly. Running for the exits. Ocean waves crashing against the window of a hotel in Plymouth, Massachusetts, yesterday.

PAUL: The headaches are not over, by the way. More than 1,200 flights to U.S. airports have been canceled today alone which obviously affects not just people in that region but those who may have been trying to get there.

SANCHEZ: We've got the latest forecast from the CNN weather center coming up in just a moment, but let's go to Boston and CNN's Polo Sandoval. He is live for us this morning.

Polo, Boston recording its snowiest January on record, temperatures there right now in the teens. What should folks expect for the rest of their day? What is it like right now?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, guys, can you tell that we had a blizzard here in Boston? The first in four years. And that's because there is a certain set of criteria that has to actually happen of conditions that have to come together in order for that to actually happen here. You have to have those heavy winds of over 35 miles an hour for an extended period of time, low visibility and snowfall, extreme snowfall. And, boy, did we get that here in Boston.

As you mentioned, Boris, a little while ago one of the snowiest days on record. In fact, the snowfall that we saw here in Boston just under 24 inches tying an amount that we -- that was logged in 2003, making for really tying for the single snowiest day for Boston. We are actually standing in a park right now but I want to get you a look at the streets, because that's really what's going to affect a lot of people today as they get up and go about their Sunday.

And I have to tell you not only seeing what we're -- we actually observed here in the downtown Boston area but also images throughout the city. The city has really done a pretty remarkable job in terms of the main roads of making sure that they're clear. You can see black top throughout the streets and a lot of the side roads as well. And that really was a challenge when you are getting from 2 to 3 inches an hour yesterday afternoon. Authorities were certainly concerned that they weren't going to be able to keep up but I could tell you they basically worked throughout the night and continue to work this morning to make sure those roads are clear. Power outages, that's one of the big areas of concern, a lot of that along the Massachusetts coastal areas, those areas that saw some of that coastal flooding. You can bet utilities companies are going to be working as hard as they can to make sure that people get back on line as soon as possible.

We did check with some of the utilities companies this morning and those numbers are dropping in terms of power outages. But guess what's also dropping? The temperature feeling about negative 7 degrees, the real feel here in Boston right now, Christi, Boris.

PAUL: Yes, that's what I thought. I thought that there was some really cold weather behind this thing that was coming in. You take care of yourself there, Polo. Thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: Negative 7 degrees no joke. Thanks, Polo.

PAUL: No kidding. All right. Tyler, talk to us about where we go from here.


TYLER MAULDIN, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, so the temperatures are only going to go down, that means the snowfall that fell yesterday is going to stick around for a couple more days. Look at some of these snowfall totals from this winter storm. Big winner was up here in Massachusetts, 30.9 inches. We all were give or take around 2 feet or so.

Boston, Massachusetts, as we mentioned they tied that record for the snowiest single day on record at 23.6 inches. That snowfall as I mentioned is going to linger around because even though the system is out of here, we have got some northerly winds coming in and it's bringing in some arctic air. So temperatures are plummeting and you're feeling it outside.

We have wind chill alerts for Maine all the way down into the Carolinas. Now, the temperatures combined with the wind currently making it feel like it's below zero out there. New York is feeling like it's 3 degrees, Albany minus 10, Boston minus 5. So that's the kind of air that we have plunging down.

And we do rebound come the afternoon but still well below average. And anytime you're below average in January you know it's going to be pretty uncomfortable. So temperatures let's say in Burlington you should be sitting at 29 but you'll actually only top out today at 17 degrees. And it's not just here, guys, this cold air is being felt all the way down into Florida where temperatures this morning are in the 20s and 30s as far south as central and southern Florida.

PAUL: All right. Hey, Tyler, thank you so much. We appreciate all your work the last couple days. SANCHEZ: Well, it's the question that we've been trying to sort out since yesterday afternoon, will he or won't he? Football fans trying to figure out exactly what the GOAT will do after ESPN reported that NFL quarterback Tom Brady is going to retire at the end of the season.

PAUL: So think about it, 22 seasons, seven Super Bowl wins. He's 44 years old and he says, I'm still undecided. CNN's sports anchor Andy Scholes reports.


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Have we seen the NFL's most accomplished player walk off the field for the final time? ESPN's Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington reporting Saturday afternoon that after 22 seasons Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady plans to retire. After orchestrating yet another incredible come back in the loss to the Rams last Sunday Brady had said on his podcast Monday any decision to walk away would be a family call.

TOM BRADY, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS QUARTERBACK (on the phone): The biggest difference now that I'm older is I have kids now, too, you know. And I care about them a lot as well. And, you know, they've been my biggest supporters. My wife is my biggest supporter. You know, it pains her to see me get hit out there. And, you know, she deserves what she needs from me as a husband and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad.

I would say I'm proud and satisfied of everything we accomplished this year. So I know when I give it my all that's something to be proud of. And I've literally given everything I had this year, last year, the year before that, the year before that. Like I don't leave anything half assed.

SCHOLES: The seven-time Super Bowl champ has always maintained he wanted to play to 45 years old. Brady will celebrate his 45th birthday in August. And his current Bucs teammate Devin White was quick to offer congratulations on a great career via social media but some close to Brady have told media outlets that his future is still undecided.

Brady's agent Don Yee releasing a statement to ESPN saying, "I understand the advance speculation about Tom's future. Without getting into the accuracy or inaccuracy of what's being reported, Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy. He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon."

Brady's father, Tom Brady Sr. also telling multiple reporters his son hasn't made up his mind. The Bucs head coach Bruce Arians also according to multiple reports says he has not been told Brady is retiring.

CNN has reached out to the Bucs, Brady's representatives and the NFL but hasn't received response to questions about the situation. But if this is it for Brady he leaves as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, a sixth round pick that was once the huge underdog ends with the most passing yards and most touchdowns in NFL history, and those seven Super Bowl rings are more than any other team in league history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's able to step aside while still playing at an extraordinarily high level at an advanced age and the word satisfaction also came into play. He had all that he accomplished in New England and if he had stepped aside at that point it would have been more than enough to ensure his place in history right at the top of the pyramid.

Then he goes and wins another Super Bowl with the Bucs and he plays at an extremely high level this year, change a play or two and he's in the conference championship game tomorrow. So leaving at that level, very, very few athletes, even among the greatest of the great, get to go out on their own terms that way.


SANCHEZ: Thanks to Andy Scholes for that report. Let's bring in now CNN sports correspondent Carolyn Manno.


Carolyn, we have seen Tom Brady pull off some incredible last second come backs before. Is this really the end for the greatest quarterback of all time?

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, at this point it appears that way, Boris. And I think what you just heard in Andy's report from Tom Brady himself really echoes that. That he doesn't like to do things half way. He has proven to be so meticulous in every single aspect of his career and there's really just the sense that this narrative somehow escaped his control on Saturday.

I had a chance to speak with multiple people who are and have been close with him, they tell me that their sense is really that he was planning on ultimately making this decision but that he doesn't like other people communicating what he feels is his business or are his plans. And, you know, this is a man that produces his own pregame hype videos. I would be shocked truly if there weren't a clearly defined strategy around this decision to retire.

You know, from covering him myself for many years as well in New England I have known him to be a historian of the game. I doubt that he would have timed it this way. This is the eve of the today's conference championship games. He played in 14 of those, Boris and Christi, over the course of his career.

He won 10 of them. He's made it look very easy but he knows firsthand how difficult it is to get to this point for the teams that are left in the playoffs. And so with our respect that he is as a player, as a leader, the example that he strives to set creating a circus with the final two games before the Super Bowl looming doesn't seem to align with his personal values, either.

PAUL: Yes. All right. Well, so here is my question, do you have any ideas how this confusion started? Because we were talking yesterday and somebody said it almost sounds like somebody who was close to him leaked it out, which would really be sad.

MANNO: Yes, it's really difficult to speculate. I think, Christi, you know, there certainly is the notion that somebody on his team wanted to get ahead of this narrative. It's all about controlling that. That maybe, you know, that got back to Tom and he said, hey, wait a minute. You know, I need to do things my way.

His dad Tom Sr. in the past has gotten a playful wrist slap from his son for maybe leaking information about how the quarterback is feeling. If those things are the case it would be unfortunate. There's also been talk about a spite season. Tom Brady may be coming back for another year just so that he can truly do things exactly his own way.

But, you know, however the information came out I think what we're learning now is that this is the future, a league without Tom Brady and of course there's no regrets there. He's got nothing left on the table.

PAUL: That is true. He's generally done it all. Carolyn Manno, thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Carolyn.

PAUL: Listen, still ahead this hour, Russia is claiming it doesn't want war with Ukraine but its actions suggest otherwise. We will talk about it coming up. Stay close.

SANCHEZ: Plus, former President Trump hinting he might pardon the January 6th rioters if he takes back the White House in 2024. Hear exactly what he said after a quick break.



PAUL: Sixteen minutes past the hour right now. During a rally in Texas, former President Donald Trump teased a presidential run in the 2024 election, and said he would consider pardoning those who were charged in connection with the deadly January 6th attack on the Capitol if, of course, he wins the White House again. His comments last night reflect this growing sentiment among some Republicans that the rioters should be forgiven.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from January 6th fairly. We will treat them fairly. And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons, because they are being treated so unfairly.


SANCHEZ: Clearly living another version of reality removed from reality. The comments come as the House select committee investigating the insurrection has already issued scores of subpoenas and they're expected to release some of their findings this summer. In the next hour we're going to take a deeper dive into Trump's latest comments with CNN's Brian Stelter. So stay tuned for that.

Meantime, major news close to the White House, more than 100 influential Black women from across the country thanked President Biden in a letter after he vowed to honor his promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court. It would be a historic pick. The first ever to sit on the bench if she is confirmed.

PAUL: Yes. This is a show of appreciation for the president and a show of support for the possible nominees from key Democrats as he continues to take some criticism from Republicans over that announcement. CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright is with us now. So talk to us, Jasmine, about the goal from those who were signing this letter.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. Well, Christi, Boris, the goal is really two pronged here. First it is to thank the president for following through on that pledge. But second, it is really to make it very clear that there are a group of very influential Black women around this country ready to rally around whoever that potential nominee may be.

So in a letter sent to the president on Friday, that was signed by more than 100 leading Black women, they applaud Biden for, "Seizing this moment in history to lead with a vision of America at its best and ensuring that the leadership of our democracy reflects a diversity of lived experiences at the highest levels." And now, they add that, "Nominating a Black woman with the necessary compassion, sense of justice and brilliant legal mind will bolster the integrity of the Supreme Court."

So now this comes, Boris and Christi, as we really started to see messaging and rhetoric heat up from Republicans on this issue. We have heard disparaging and frankly some racist comments with some implying that if a Black woman is nominated that they will not be qualified for the seat. Or even when it comes to Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, a Republican, where he said that basically the -- whoever is chosen will be a beneficiary of affirmative action and will be fulfilling a quota.


Now, these women who sent this letter to President Biden they are influential as we said. They are civil rights leaders, political -- political -- people in the political spectrum from all types of work, media personalities. And they were really active in pushing the president, then candidate, to pick a Black woman vice president in 2020. And they've been involved in voting rights efforts at the White House as well as police reform.

But now here is their goal is to protect this nominee whoever it should be. Remember, we don't know who it is yet, but they want to protect them and they want to make sure that they get to this confirmation process fairly, swiftly and with the least amount of damage to their name as possible. Christi, Boris.

SANCHEZ: And, Jasmine, President Biden says he's going to select the nominee by the end of February. What can we expect over the course of the next few weeks?

WRIGHT: Well, we can expect a bit of a hustle. We know that the White House has confirmed that they are considering Judge Michelle Childs of South Carolina who has is being pushed by Biden ally Jim Clyburn. We see on the screen right here some more people that we believe are under consideration from the White House to really fulfill this role.

Now, you said President Biden says that he wants to have a nominee by the end of February. And, of course, Chuck Schumer, majority leader in the Senate, says that he wants the confirmation process to go quickly. So we will hear all of this rhetoric about who it is, where the White House is in the process of things really for the next few weeks. Boris, Christi.

PAUL: Jasmine Wright, thank you so much. Good to see you this morning.

SANCHEZ: So there is optimism this morning as the United States turns a corner on this latest surge of COVID cases that states might start easing restrictions.

PAUL: Yes. CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard has more.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Christi and Boris, there is a lot of optimism but that doesn't mean that the United States is going to roll back its COVID-19 measures or recommendations quite yet. The reason why most COVID-19 policies are based on levels of community transmission of the coronavirus and right now nearly every single county in the U.S. is still experiencing high levels of transmission.

You see on this map here only a handful, about four counties, have gotten transmission down to low levels, two in rural Texas, one in Nebraska and one in Hawaii. And so low transmission means there are fewer than 10 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in a week and the test positivity rates in a community is less than 5 percent. Whereas, high transmission means there are at least 100 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in a week and the test positivity in that community is at 10 percent or greater.

Now, CNN has reached out to some cities and counties from Seattle to North Carolina, and their health officials tell us that they are keeping an eye on transmission levels to help determine the best path to take to return to what we used to think of as normal. And U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told our colleague Jake Tapper that he is optimistic, but we must remain vigilant. Have a listen.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Well, I certainly share the optimism that we are in a better place now and we will be in a better place in a few weeks, but I don't think that means that we should take our foot off the accelerator.


HOWARD: You see there he and other health officials say, let's not take our foot off the accelerator quite yet. Christi, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Jacqueline Howard, thank you so much.

A top military official warns a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be horrific, so why is Ukraine saying there's no reason to panic? We will take you live to Moscow after a quick break.



PAUL: So U.S. officials are watching what could be another ominous sign in the crisis between Russia and Ukraine. Two senior defense officials tell CNN there are indications now Russia has positioned blood supplies near Ukraine's border.

SANCHEZ: Yes, you add that to a buildup of troops and military equipment. And U.S. officials say it could be another sign that Russia is planning an invasion where casualties would have to be treated. Meantime, Ukraine's deputy defense minister is pushing back forcefully on that report. They're denying that it's true.

PAUL: CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is with us from Moscow right now. So, Nic, talk to us about what you're learning regarding Russia potentially positioning these blood supplies along the border.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Russia continues to say that this is all military training. And certainly many military experts would say blood supplies would be part of military training exercises. You know, they would put the medical units through the same sort of drills that they would put the other units through.

It is concerning. There are few details about the blood supplies, how much, where it's going, towards which units, is it -- is it close to which units might it be supporting? Could it be those who were the first into combat?

So there's a lot of, you know, detail that we don't have but it's very clear that the Ukrainians are trying to tamp down the idea that this invasion could be imminent because they don't want to spread tensions and fear and panic among their own population. Indeed the deputy defense minister said that this is essentially part of psychological warfare. And, of course, this is what the Ukrainians feel Russia has been exposing them to over the last number of years.

They are used to this. They feel that we don't understand it and that we don't get it. But, I think, you know, the real information is in the details that we don't have about the blood supplies. It is really -- it is how much, it is to which units, is it just to some really rear medical training facility that's out there for these so-called military exercises, or is it something else?


And that's important to know that.

SANCHEZ: Reporting from Moscow, Nic Robertson, thanks so much for the update.

So, what does Vladimir Putin wants? That's a question getting asked a lot in the crisis between Russia and Ukraine. But other countries, including Germany and France also have a stake in how all of this plays out.

PAUL: Yes. CNN's Tom Foreman breaks it all down for us here.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Hey, Boris. Hey, Christi. This dangerous and complicated situation is made much more so by the fact that everybody wants something different. So, let's break it down by starting with Ukraine. What does President Zelensky want there?

He wants to keep a united, independent country. He would like to continue building ties with the West, with NATO, and less so with Russia. He would like the Russians to stay on their side of the border, even though there's still some fighting in the eastern part of his country already. And ultimately, he would like everyone to tamp down the language a little bit. He says he's not convinced that the Russians are ready to invade, so don't provoke them by saying too much.

What about the Russians? What do they want? Vladimir Putin has long made it clear that he still considers Ukraine and some of the other satellites from the old Soviet Union that broke up in 1991, still considers them socially, culturally part of Russia, and would still like them to be part of Russia. Most of all, though, he wants them to not be part of the West and not be part of NATO.

His argument to his own people is, look, we have to put troops here along the border, because look, the United States, NATO, all those countries, they might try to break into Russia and take our energy sources. You know how they view us. So, Putin sees it in a different way.

The United States, different still. Russia says assurance that you won't let Ukraine into NATO. The United States says no, we're not going to assure you that. Ukraine might become part of NATO. And by golly, we're going to stand by Ukraine right now because we think you are trying to expand your empire once again. Don't give us all that talk of culture and society. The Ukrainians are independent. They're a democracy. They should remain so. And by the way, we saw what you did in Crimea. We're not going to stand for that again.

Then it goes beyond it to places like Germany. Germany gets a lot of its energy from Russia. So, the Germans are saying, we're willing to help with some defensive measures. We don't want to send any offensive weapons into Ukraine against the Russians. We really think we should be able to work everything out. France says similar things. We should be able to work it out. But France says, if it doesn't work out, we're not going to stand for military incursions there. You see how it all shapes up. This is a real mix of people saying

let's talk it over and people saying let's get ready to fight. And it's really quite on a knife edge. And with so many competing interests, it might not take much to tip it either way. Christi, Boris?

SANCHEZ: Thanks to Tom Foreman for breaking down all those competing interests for us. Coming up, we'll tell you about a small town in Alabama where some people say that getting stopped by police feels like a shakedown. Don't go anywhere. Stay with CNN.



SANCHEZ: The small town of Brookside, Alabama has no traffic lights, but it does have police SWAT vehicles and a tank. Residents have complained for years about excessive fines and fees imposed by law enforcement amounting to ultimately half of the town's budget.

PAUL: Now, the policing problems have only gotten worse in recent years putting the town under some new scrutiny here. And CNN's Nick Valencia wants to take a look.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Less than 30 minutes north of Birmingham sits the small town of Brookside, Alabama. It's a former mining town with no stoplights, no retail stores other than the Dollar General, and no major crimes. A stretch of Interstate 22 runs directly through Brookside and the town has a lot of cops to police it.

Brookside is only about three miles long and has just over 1200 residents. But the police here, they feel the need for at least three SWAT vehicles. Not only that, they also have a tank, which looks brand new.

According to the local media outlet, between 2018 and 2020, under Brookside Police Chief Mike Jones, income from fees and forfeitures increased by 640 percent. The outlet says the money amounts to half of the town's total income or roughly $1.2 million.

It feels like they tried to ruin your name.


VALENCIA: Pass pastor Vincent Witt says he is one of the countless victims of Brookside's alleged policing for profit. In 2019, he says he was unjustly pulled over for having temporary plates on his brand new car. He's filed a federal lawsuit against the town of Brookside for defamation of character and filing false charges.

WITT: They're policing for revenue. They're pulling people over for bogus charges. VALENCIA: 24-year-old college student Joey Jones said her interaction

with Brookside Police felt like a shakedown. After being pulled over for driving without her lights just before dusk, Joan says her car was impounded and she was left stranded on the side of the road. Jones's attorney says she will also sue the Police Department.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even though I was pulled over, I was following the laws of the road.


VALENCIA: The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office says for years there's been a slew of complaints against the Brookside Police Department. This week, Police Chief Mike Jones suddenly resigned.

Hey there. My name is Nick Valencia.

We went to Brookside to try to talk to who's in charge now.

So, the town of Brookside does not have a current police chief?

But we're told they didn't have a new chief.

Now comment.

The Brookside police then gave us this statement. "This will confirm that Mike Jones resigned as the police chief for the town of Brookside. Since this involves a personnel matter, the town has no further comment. Brookside mayor was in the office but he declined our request for an interview.

Responding to the allegations of predatory policing, he handed us this statement, in part, saying, "To investigate and address the issues raised by recent news accounts of our police department, the Town of Brookside requested the Alabama Peace Officer's Standards and Training Commission perform a compliance audit of the Brookside Police Department and officers. The town continues to investigate these issues and will take any other appropriate action that may be determined necessary."

Leah Nelson with the social justice non-profit Alabama Appleseed says Alabama doesn't generate enough revenue from taxation so public policy incentivizes cities and counties to get that revenue another way.

LEAH NELSON, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, ALABAMA APPLESEED: And the path of least resistance is very often ticketing people for low-level offenses.

VALENCIA: Brookside residents wonder if these old tactics will continue under a new chief.


VALENCIA (on camera): CNN tried repeatedly to get in touch with former Brookside Police Chief Mike Jones but he never got back to us. The town still does not have a police chief but the mayor there says he's directed the police department to no longer patrol Interstate 22 unless they're responding to accidents. The mayor added that he's also met with a representative from the Lieutenant Governor's office and that he's cooperating fully.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers in Alabama tell us that they're currently drafting legislation to address predatory policing so that this happens nowhere else in the state. Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.

SANCHEZ: Thanks so much to Nick for that report. There's going to be an important conversation about race and policing tonight at 9:00 p.m. on CNN as Sara Sidner reports on the increasing danger of driving while Black in America. It's a new CNN Special Report Traffic Stop and it begins tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

PAUL: Somebody asked you a question, would you take your paycheck in Bitcoin? New York's new mayor promised to do so. We're talking to the Mayor of Jackson, Tennessee next because he wants to give all city employees that option. Here his plans. Will be back.



PAUL: 47 minutes past the hour. New York City Mayor Eric Adams might be taking home less money than he expected after promising to get paid in Bitcoin, and then following through by converting his first few paychecks to cryptocurrency.

Now, Bitcoin has fallen almost 50 percent since hitting a record high back in November. But despite the price drop, a lot of politicians, athletes, celebrities still see blockchain technology as the future. Los Angeles' famous Staples Center recently changed names to Arena. In Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is pushing for his city to be the crypto capital of the world.

And here with us now, Jackson, Tennessee mayor Scott Conger who says Bitcoin is the next step in the evolutionary process of currency. Thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it. We know that you're proposing to give city employees the option of converting their paychecks into the cryptocurrency. But I wanted to first ask you, because you call this particular kind of currency a great financial equalizer that can bridge the wealth gap. How so?

SCOTT CONGER, MAYOR, JACKSON, TENNESSEE: Yes, thanks for having me on this morning, Christi. I think that, you know, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency had that option because you look at the numbers of roughly almost 90 percent of Americans have access to a smartphone. And so, utilizing crypto wallets with dollar cost averaging if it's $1.00 a day, $5.00 a day or a week, that savings potential and the growth potential.

You talked about the 50 percent drop in the last, you know several months, but you look at overall there's a 273,000 percent appreciation since Bitcoin has been established in 2010. So, that appreciation in that trajectory keeps going the long term appreciation cycle. PAUL: Well, but people who get in that now do not benefit obviously, from that rise in the value as you suggested. I want to read a couple of headlines that you alluded to as well that's been happening in the last couple of months. And these are just headlines over the last 48 hours.

Bitcoin is reeling from a two-month freefall that was on Yahoo News. CNBC has Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman saying crypto has disturbing parallels with subprime mortgage meltdown. And then you've got The Hill saying crypto volatility hits banks, celebs, and everyday investors. What convinces you that crypto is a solid investment?

CONGER: You know, no one -- no one blinks an eye when the stock market has a dip. When 2008 happened, it was just part of the cycle, right? It was a crash and we expected it to come back. I think this same thing with Bitcoin. You see Short term volatility as long as people are trying to day trade.

And the way that we're looking at it in Jackson Tennessee when we talk about employees being able to take that option of investing, it's not day trading, it's not trying to capitalize on short term gains, it's about long term -- long term horizon investing. And that's part of the education piece that we have when we're looking for a platform to provide that option for employees.


PAUL: So, how does city employees received this?

CONGER: You know, across the board, some have come to my door and knocked on us today, when we're ready to do this, I'm in. Some are more skeptical. And so, I think that's why education is an important piece. We do offer our employees an IRA plan. And so, this will be not dissimilar to that.

We'll still pay them in U.S. dollars, and then they'll have an option with a third party platform that we contract with to utilize crypto, utilize Bitcoin -- we hope it's Bitcoin -- to look at that long term investing strategy that we want them to do with the same strategy that they have with their IRAs for their retirement.

PAUL: So, let me ask you this because I know that you've also given a blueprint of plans to install a digital mining network at City Hall. Some people might look at this and say, on your personal time, sure, go ahead and do what you want to do with your finances. There may be some trepidations about bringing this into city and state government. To that you say what?

CONGER: Well, first off, that was that was a plan. And unfortunately, right now in the state of Tennessee, we can't do that because local governments can't hold any crypto on the balance sheet. You know, making a small investment, utilizing those mining rigs in off peak hours which will help regulate our electricity grid would be a benefit to our Energy Authority, but to our -- it would be up for us to prepare for and pay for our electricity bills. You know, this would not be gambling and investment. This would be

utilizing the mining machines to do that investing for us and mining while we're still going on the regular business. And then look at 10, 15, 20 years down the road, when that appreciation cycle has come up and where the projections think it will be, then local governments will be able to ask the and questions instead of the or question that we're faced with every day now.

PAUL: All right, Mayor Scott Conger, I appreciate you taking the time to be with us this morning. Thank you.

CONGER: All right, thank you for having me.

PAUL: Of course.

SANCHEZ: AAA says that gas prices are not coming down anytime soon. It's not the news that drivers want to hear. We have details just ahead.



SANCHEZ: As the price of gasoline ticks up across the country, everyone is feeling that pain at the pump, but perhaps no one harder than the companies who have to fill their trucks with hundreds of gallons of fuel every day.

PAUL: Yes. And now they're fearing the damage to their bottom line is, you know, what's going to happen to it if prices continue to spike. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has this story from North Carolina.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): The price of gas on the rise again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Through the weak, we use a whole lot of fuel.

YURKEVICH: And when you're filling up 500 trucks a week, it gets expensive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, how are you doing?

SHAWN BROWN, VICE PRESIDENT OF SAFETY, CARGO TRANSPORTERS INC.: Diesel fuel is one of our single biggest expenses to run these trucks.

YURKEVICH: Shawn Brown is Mayor of Clermont, North Carolina and works for his family's 50-year-old trucking company.

BROWN: Each truck has 200 gallon, total capacity and their fuel tanks. Drivers run on average, you know, around 2000 miles a week, some more, some less. You do the math on that --

YURKEVICH: We did. And with diesel up more than $1.00 a gallon on average in the last year, that's about $736 each time one of these fills up, $200 more per truck on average from a year ago.

BROWN: Any cost that goes up will hurt your profitability.

YURKEVICH: In North Carolina, prices have seen the biggest annual increase in seven years, up $0.5 a gallon for regular fuel in just the last month, in line with national increases.

TIFFANY WRIGHT, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, AAA CAROLINAS: Gas prices really have been a rollercoaster ride. These are places where gas prices don't tend to drop as they do in other places around the country because they are year-round destinations.

YURKEVICH: And with the price of crude oil which makes fuel jumping 30 percent since December due to increased demand but less products on the market, the cost to fill up could continue to rise.

ELLIS HUNTER, DRIVER, NORTH CAROLINA: Just like the necessity of food, it's not something that you can put down. Gas is a must. You cannot get from here to there without the gas. So there's no way of getting by it.

YURKEVICH: But some drivers have found a way.

We're here in South Carolina. I saw you have North Carolina plates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we're going to save some money. In 10 minutes, I'm going to save 20 cents.

YURKEVICH: Just a short drive from Charlotte, North Carolina into South Carolina can save drivers 10 to 20 cents a gallon on average.

CHRISTINE CARDELL, NORTH CAROLINA DRIVER: If we're working over here, we always get gas over here on this side.

YURKEVICH: Christine Cordell works for a landscaping company that services North and South Carolina. She says the price of gas in any state is too much.

CARDELL: It's cost me well into the you know, $140 to $150 just to fill up.

YURKEVICH: When you look at that price, what do you think?

CARDELL: I think it sucks. It can put me out of business. There are some jobs that I don't even take now because it cost me too much to get there.


PAUL: A lot of people are facing that not just in North Carolina. But thank you so much, Vanessa. Great story there. First, I really understand what's going on. The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.