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New Day Sunday

Biden Warns Of "Swift And Severe Costs" If Russia Invades Ukraine; No Diplomatic Breakthrough In Call Between Biden And Putin; Ukrainian President Zelensky Still Seeking Diplomatic Solution; More Countries Urging Their Citizens To Leave Ukraine; Canadian Police Begin Towing Vehicles Near Ambassador Bridge; Canadian Police Move To Break Up Protests At U.S. Border; Senator Rand Paul Hopes Anti-Mandate Protests "Clog Up" U.S. Cities; Rep. Dingell: Trucker Protests Impacting Workers In Real-Time; New York COVID Hospitalizations Below 4,000 For First Time In Two Months. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 13, 2022 - 06:00   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Phil Mattingly in for Boris Sanchez.


President Biden making it clear to Vladimir Putin that there will be -- quote -- "severe costs" if Russia invades Ukraine. What we're learning about a phone call between the two leaders and how Ukrainian President Zelensky is responding this morning.

MATTINGLY: And Canadian police move in to shut down that trucker protest along the border. There are concerns of similar protests here in the U.S. with one GOP lawmaker saying he -- quote -- "hopes truckers clog up cities."

PAUL: And securing SoFi Stadium. There are extensive measures going on ahead of Super Bowl LVI. Why securing this year's game is a different kind of challenge for law enforcement.

MATTINGLY: And from hungry beetles to extreme weather, how climate change is contributing to soaring home prices.

PAUL: Take a nice deep breath as you wake up, because you have got another day of the weekend ahead of you on this Sunday, February 13th. Thank you for waking up with us. Hey, Phil.

MATTINGLY: Hey, Christi. Thanks for having me and letting me hang out with you, where we begin -- as we began yesterday with new warnings from President Biden to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the president says the U.S. and its allies will impose -- quote -- "swift and severe" sanctions if Russia invades. Now, that warning came during an hour-long phone call between Biden and Putin.

The White House described the call as professional and substantive but there was no diplomatic breakthrough. And as the threat of war looms, more countries are warning their citizens to leave Ukraine immediately. New pictures in this morning show British observers from the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe pulling out. The U.S. is evacuating all but essential staff from its embassy in Kyiv. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says a core team will remain in Ukraine.

PAUL: Now, our correspondents are covering this story from multiple angles. White House reporter Jasmine Wright has more details on that phone call between President Biden and Vladimir Putin. Senior international correspondent Sam Kiley who has been working like a fiend has reaction from Ukraine to the latest developments.

MATTINGLY: And, Jasmine, I want to start with you. It's probably one of the highest-stakes phone calls President Biden has had since he's been in office. What are you hearing about what transpired in that call and probably more importantly what happens next?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, the president wakes up ahead of a very, very critical week. We have seen both he and his administration officials really engage in this full-court press trying to dissuade Russia from invading Ukraine. And it reached a height yesterday during that call that President Biden had with President Putin that lasted nearly an hour long, as you said, and the White House said that Biden made clear to Putin what he would be risking if he were to invade.

And now, I want to read you a line from the statement that the White House put out after the call, because it really sums it up quite well. It says that, "President Biden was clear that, if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States together with our allies and partners will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia. President Biden reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia's standing."

But the president also presented an off ramp to President Putin once again on that phone call officials say really urging him to choose the path of diplomacy, urging him to deescalate. But another key part of this is that a senior administration official after the call told reporters, and I want to read you this line as well, that it remains unclear whether Russia is interested in pursuing its goals diplomatically.

So ultimately here no fundamental change in the dynamic and we -- that's basically the pretext that we're operating under here, Phil. And we know that we have the warning from Secretary of State Antony Blinken that an invasion could come before the Olympics. Remember, that is just seven days away, so really critical, critical moments.

And of course the U.S. is responding with urgency. We know the secretary -- I mean, the State Department ordered all of its nonessential employees to leave the embassy in Kyiv. Of course, they are urging Americans to leave the country. So really critical things here. We will hear more about this when National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan joins CNN in just a few hours. But again, this is a key, key moment in the president's presidency -- Phil, Christi.

PAUL: No doubt about it. Yes. Jasmine, thank you so much.

I want to go to Sam now. Because, Sam, the president of Ukraine, President Zelensky, says his government is aware of the threat, obviously, from Russia. He's preparing for any developments.


So this is a bit of a shift because he has expressed such optimism up to this point. Do we know what changed and what those preparations look like this morning?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that optimism may be slightly overstating it. What he's been insisting on, and he did again during a visit to military maneuvers being conducted by the Ukrainians very close to the conflict line that separates the east from the west, the rest of the country, the Russian back separatists who occupy the east of the country, he said that talk of the imminence, talk or actions in terms of potential attacks coming against Ukraine that are causing foreign embassies to shut down or move to the far west of the country to Lviv. And, of course, these very widespread calls from a wide number of nations, from Japan through to the United States, to their citizens, to get out of Ukraine because of a fear of an invasion, were causing panic or potentially causing panic, he said. And that's the interest of the enemy.

I have to say here in Kharkiv which is only 30 miles to the Russian border where, according to military analysis of satellites and other Russian movements, there is a pretty vast amount of Russian armor being assembled, sort of 30 to 40 miles on the other side of the border, threatening this city of 1.5 million people. You wouldn't know that an invasion potentially was imminent in the view of a lot of western intelligence officials briefing in the United States, United Kingdom in particular, talking about possible invasion sometime next week.

You wouldn't know that here. And that's partly because they are very keen here in Ukraine to kind of maintain a level of stability as long as they possibly can, because they understand, better than most, that in the Russian doctrine, chaos in the ranks of the enemy is victory. But if you look more widely, there is also deep concerns across the rest of Europe that if there is an invasion of this country, then the rest of Europe is going to be catastrophically disabled, as will the international legal order.

MATTINGLY: Yes, no question about it. Sam Kiley on the ground for us in northeastern Ukraine. Jasmine Wright at the White House. Tensed moments, guys. Thanks so much for your great reporting.

And Jasmine alluded to this but do not forget to watch "STATE OF THE UNION" today at 9:00 a.m. CNN's Jake Tapper will speak with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

And new this morning, Canadian police say they are actively towing and ticketing parked vehicles near the busiest crossing between the U.S. and Canada. PAUL: Yes. The bridge has been closed for a week as demonstrators protest Canada's COVID vaccine mandate. It's taking a major tool on the supply chain here in America. CNN's Lucy Kafanov is in Windsor, Canada with the latest.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Phil, Christi, good morning. You can see the Ambassador Bridge behind me, that critical link between the U.S., Detroit, Michigan, and Canada. That bridge remains closed, but the crowd has thinned significantly.

We saw in the early hours of Saturday morning a heavier police presence. They sort of pushed back the police line a little bit. But since then, a lot of protesters leaving voluntarily.

There's fewer trucks and fewer cars blocking that bridge. Part of that might be the harsher penalties that have been imposed since Friday, things like up to $100,000 in fines, a potential year in prison for those found violating the order to leave.

But police seem to be taking a soft-handed approach. They're sort of waiting it out. We're not seeing a heavy police presence on the ground.

And throughout the day a lot of folks have been sort of milling about. You hear car honks, chants of freedom. There's a lot of families here, some religious minorities that have joined the protest as well. A lot of people coming out here to vent their anger and frustration, in part at the vaccine mandates, but probably more broadly towards the Canadian government and sort of the quality of life after two plus years under the pandemic.

So the calm, the tension, the mood here in calm. We are seeing fewer people come down and turn out here. And for now, it's a stalemate. Guys, back to you.

PAUL: Lucy Kafanov, thank you so much.

You know, one Republican senator is hoping those trucker-inspired protests in Canada make their way to U.S. cities. In an interview with the "Daily Signal" Thursday, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said -- quote -- "It'd be great" if the anti-mandate demonstrations basically cause major disruptions across the country.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): I'm all for it. Civil disobedience -- civil disobedience is a time-honored tradition in our country, from slavery to civil rights to you name it. Peaceful protest, clog things up, make people think about the mandates.


PAUL: Now, Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell says these protests are causing real problems for American workers already.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): I don't believe that people have the right to block a major economic trade route between two countries that is impacting workers in very real-time.


I think we really need to look at who is encouraging these protests. It's not the truckers. It's the independent truckers, the Canadian truckers have all said they're not supporting this.


PAUL: Nationwide at least five automakers have been forced to either slow or shut down production at some of their factories.

MATTINGLY: Shifting over to COVID. Nearly two years into the devastating pandemic, the trend lines are finally heading in the right direction again. Cases are declining after that Omicron surge and for the first time in almost two months the number of COVID related hospitalizations in New York has dropped below 4,000. Now the governor in that state is one of many who has decided to lift mask requirements, getting out ahead of federal officials who said they're not ready to change safety guidelines yet.

Here with me now is someone who has been on the front lines of the pandemic. Dr. Rob Davidson is an E.R. physician in West Michigan and an executive director in the Committee to Protect Health Care. Dr. Davidson, thank you so much for taking the time.

Look, this is obviously a very real question that I think everybody has right now in terms of how things are playing out, the dynamics, and the safety guidelines. Mask requirements are lifting rapidly right now around the U.S. Walmart has announced that vaccinated employees no longer have to mask up. Many counties in your own state -- the state of Michigan are dropping school mask mandates.

You've asked explicitly, what's the rush? Walk me through your thinking on that.

DR. ROB DAVIDSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMITTEE TO PROTECT HEALTH CARE: Yes, thanks for having me. I think it's exactly what you said in the lead-up. You said cases are dropping again and that's the reality. They are dropping again, because they've done this before.

I remember March of last year, almost a year ago, high-fiving my partners at the end of a shift when we didn't see any COVID patients for the first time in a month. And we thought the vaccines are out, we're finally getting out of this. And now we look at our area since September of last year, we have had full hospitals, we have had huge numbers of COVID cases. We got up to 40 test positive rate just a few weeks ago.

We're down now to 25 percent test positive rate. That's a huge drop. It's still massively high. If we were over 5 percent some time in 2020 we thought that was a critically high number and we really had to buckle down. So I think we should be preparing for the end. We should be preparing for an endemic phase where we're not, you know, we're not in the pandemic and we don't have these cases going up and down like a yo-yo. We're just not there yet and I don't understand the rush.

I think we're giving credence to the idea that wearing a mask is somehow some herculean effort. It's just such an easy thing. I don't understand why people are going to stop doing that.

MATTINGLY: And I think you get to this point when you lay out the numbers that you guys have there, and I think it's different in different states and localities, depending on where you are, depending on vaccination rate. But I think one of the questions right now particularly as clearly the politics have shifted, there's clear exhaustion across the country is, OK, what data and metrics should state and local leaders be paying attention to when they're making these decisions? Is it the positivity rate? You noted yours is down but still elevated from I think what people thought was a high point in 2020.

Is it vaccination rates? What metrics should people be keying on before they make these decisions?

DAVIDSON: I think we need to put it altogether and see those trend lines for a significant period of time. I think we look at previous troughs, previous lows, previous times when we thought, OK, we're getting out of this. And how long did it take to get back into it again? You know, was it two weeks, or was it three weeks, or was it a month? You know, we know that deaths are a lagging indicator and they are starting to go down a bit, but we still had nearly 2,500 deaths in this country just yesterday, I believe, was the number.

You know, I had a family come in, a couple who -- grieving the death of their adult son and that came in with chest pain because they were so stressed about what had happened two weeks prior, couldn't even go to the hospital that their son died at, and they were vaccinated and their kid wasn't. You know, so that's still just the reality of what we're seeing on the front lines.

I just feel like, again, some things, for sure, I get it, the economic part and opening businesses and, frankly, they're all open. I don't see businesses closed. But something as simple as saying, hey, we should all be wearing masks when we're gathered indoors just seems way too easy to be rushing to be first to be the one to drop it.

MATTINGLY: You mentioned, you know, the number of deaths yesterday. It's very jarring that there's more than 2,000 deaths a day right now and people are talking about it's time to move on. They're changing requirements and guidance. But also I think it gets to what I noted earlier, right, the politics have shifted. I think people are tired and tired of it at this point in time. How concerned are you as somebody in public health that people are just kind of over it right now, despite the extraordinarily high death toll on a daily basis?

DAVIDSON: You know, I think that's probably being overplayed that people are over it. People are absolutely fatigued. They're tired of it and they're tired of certain aspects of it.

[06:15: 03]

The folks I know that are just trying to get by would happily say, I'll wear a mask. I'll wear a mask for another six months. I don't care, as long as I can go to work, as long as I can support my family. I think that needs to be part of our messaging.

I just feel very sad that we're in a country where the normalization of 2,500 deaths a day has just become a reality. I think far too many people don't see people dying from this disease, it hasn't touched them directly. And so they figure, well, you know, what's the big deal? It's just a number on a screen. We've kind of become numb to those huge numbers and that's the piece that I lament and I hope that we can somehow come out of.

MATTINGLY: Yes. That you can become numb to 900,000 plus of your countrymen dying is confounding to some degree. Dr. Rob Davidson, you guys have done extraordinary work. Thank you so much for your time.

DAVIDSON: Thank you, Phil.

PAUL: Still to come, going to lighten it up here, Super Bowl Sunday. Thousands of people getting ready to pack SoFi Stadium. Law enforcement is going to be on the ground. They're going to be in the air keeping fans safe. We're going to have an inside look at exactly what's going on there.

Also, President Biden zeroing in on candidates to fill the latest Supreme Court opening. What we could see in the next week. Stay close.



MATTINGLY: Well, President Biden is grappling with a foreign policy crisis but he's also weighing what could be one of the biggest moments of his presidency, picking a Supreme Court justice. The president could begin interviewing potential Supreme Court picks this week as some lawmakers in Congress push for a nominee who can get bipartisan support.

PAUL: Yes. In an interview with "NBC News" the president said he's zeroing in on four candidates specifically. Adding that he believes whoever he does choose will receive a vote from Republican senators.

I want to go to CNN's Daniella Diaz live on Capitol Hill this morning. We're hearing the president has been reaching really across the aisle for advice on his nominee. What do we know about names and the process where it stands at the moment?

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Christi, some Republicans have expressed support -- interest, excuse me, in supporting Biden's nominee -- eventual nominee that will replace Justice Breyer to the Supreme Court. Now, one, of course, being moderate Republican Senator Mitt Romney. He said that he hopes that whoever Biden ultimately nominates to the Supreme Court would garner bipartisan support. He said he felt -- quote -- "The nation is divided on many front. It would be nice if this was an individual who garnered a number of Republican votes, and that will depend in part on the nature of the person who is chosen."

And unlike some members of his party, namely more conserve members in the Republican Party that are -- have expressed that they do not support the fact that Biden has said that he wants to nominate a Black woman, Mitt Romney disagrees. He thinks that the diversity on the Supreme Court will be important. But, again, reiterated that it depends on eventually who Biden nominates to the Supreme Court.

Now another Republican that is kind of unlikely that you wouldn't think would support a candidate -- a nominee that Biden would want to the Supreme Court is Lindsey Graham. He is really pulling for Michelle Childs. She actually serves in South Carolina on the U.S. district court. He said that if Biden nominates Childs he will support her.

He said -- quote -- "She's a very good person, highly qualified, publicly educated. And I think there's some interest in diversity on the court, not just in terms of African American women but, you know, background." So he's really pushing for her and says that he is going to support her.

But again, it's just as you said, Christi, President Joe Biden is actually at Camp David this weekend. He's reviewing materials for the Supreme Court nominees that he might nominate to the bench and he wants to meet in person with them as soon as this week.

He doesn't want to do virtual meetings. He doesn't want to do it over the phone. He wants to see them in person and that's likely going to happen later this week. But the bottom line really being here, Christi and Phil, that President Joe Biden might get some support from Republicans, depending on who he nominates.

PAUL: All right. Good to know. Daniella Diaz, thank you so much. Appreciate the update.

All right, let's head into the legal realm for a minute here. Attorneys for a FedEx delivery driver in Mississippi who is Black are calling for a federal hate crimes investigation. The driver D'Monterrio Gibson was out delivering packages January 24th when he says two White men began chasing him in their truck and shot at his delivery van. Gibson wasn't injured.

The suspects are a father and son. They were arrested and charged a week later and there are questions this morning about how police have handled this investigation.

Let's talk to criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson, first and foremost. Joey, always so good to have your perspective here. Thank you so much.

This case is being compared, in part, to the Ahmaud Arbery case. The big difference here being that the alleged victim is alive to tell his story. From a legal perspective, do you see similarities here? JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I do. Christi, good morning to you.

It's always problematic, obviously, when you have a father and son or anyone who is chasing after anyone shooting at them, right? And so that's number one. Number two, you have to get to what specifically led to this, what was the intent, as we look there at the father and son for shooting at the FedEx driver in the first instance, and even getting before that, why did they command that he stop as if they had the authority, right?

Generally speaking, in the event you see something amiss in the neighborhood, you call the police. What was so immediate or imminent that they required, that is the father and son, to start shooting at a person who was in full uniform but apparently not in a FedEx truck, but making FedEx packages?

And so, yes, it's troubling. I think it's important to note, also, when you mentioned the police conduct here, why it did take eight days, what was the nature of that delay, why was it and what were they looking for to bring this to justice.


I know that they went, that is the person who was shot at and his boss, to the police station the next day, so that they can demonstrate with the pictures, et cetera. The gunshot, showing them the casings, exactly what happened. And it was at that point that it kicked in.

So it's troubling. I'm glad the federal government is also getting involved. My understanding, Christi, is they picked up the case file. And I think they should evaluate it both on a state and federal level for charges at the federal level as well.

PAUL: So we know that Gibson was in a full FedEx uniform. His vehicle did not have FedEx markings, but he was in a full FedEx uniform at the time. One of the -- I think it was the father was driving the truck that chased Gibson, and Brandon, the son, was in the street with a gun and shot at his vehicle as he was driving away. Gibson has said there were no words exchanged prior to this, so there was no prior interaction. And Gibson's attorney is alleging this is all because his client -- quote -- "Is African American."

We haven't heard a word from the defendants, you know, that they have been charged here. But as a defense attorney, I really want to get your unique perspective here. Would you suggest that they come out, and, if nothing else, say this wasn't about race if it wasn't about race? And if not, how do you interpret their silence up to this point?

JACKSON: So there's two imperatives there, Christi. One is a public relations imperative which we attorneys are not initially really that concerned about. You're more concerned about protecting the interest and liberties of your client and generally no good shall come from making any statement.

But I would certainly want to know, right, what led to this. If there were no words exchanged at all between the FedEx driver who was shot at, and thank goodness to your point -- distinction you raised earlier, is still alive, what led to this happening? What prior to this might have given you, right, as a client the indication that you needed to chase someone?

Were there prior things happening in that particular neighborhood? Did something happen on that particular day? Did you recognize him from any other particular instance? What justified your actions?

Why did you not call the police? Why did you feel you had to, with your father, chase him? Why did you then feel you needed to shoot?

So all of those are important questions. And I think the distinction, just very quickly, Christi, between any state case, which now it's a felonious assault, the question is why is it not at the state level attempted murder, right, which carries significantly more time? But then if you look at a federal investigation, that's going to be driven by, what motivated your actions? Did you interfere with him predicated upon race? Was there racial animus that connected to what you actually did?

That's what the federal government is looking at. The state government is simply looking at prosecutors, to be clear, your actions and whether they were criminal and whether they could have killed him, which clearly, based upon what we know so far, they certainly should have. So we'll wait for the information to be forthcoming and I think that will clarify why this happened, why it needed to happen, if it should have happened, and certainly those who did this should be held accountable.

PAUL: OK. OK. Good to know. Joey, I want to move on and get your opinion on one other thing, the parents of Amir Locke. They're calling on President Biden to end the use of no-knock warrant across the U.S. Minneapolis announced in this overhaul to the practice 14 months ago, but one of its SWAT team officers shot and killed Locke while he was serving a no-knock warrant during a homicide investigation.

We should point out Locke wasn't named in any warrants. Police were looking for his cousin, actually. But what kinds of limits do you think, if they had been in place, could have saved Locke's life?

JACKSON: Yes, Christi, it's a great question. And I think it's time we examine the process, right, the process that leads to this occurring to determine whether or not we need to fix it.

Now no-knock warrants very briefly historically were looked at as important for police enforcement purposes for two reasons. Number one, when you don't announce you give yourself as an officer a tactical advantage in the event there are dangerous people inside. Therefore, you get that upper hand. In the event that there are things that are being destroyed, you have the ability if you're the officer to make sure they're not destroyed because you're not knocking.

At the same time we know what they are leading to. What they are leading to are death. They are leading to instances which should not occur. They are leading to people who should be alive based upon the fact that they're interacting with police in these fatal consequences. And so I think it's time to examine whether or not we need no-knock warrants. Whether or not you need to be -- look, the bottom line, Christi, is one response begets another response. If someone is charging into your home, that right away could lead to a violent confrontation. To the extent that people knock, to the extent that the officers announce, to the extent that the people inside know the officers are there, now that's another story.


Now the instance is would it lead to such violence, such danger and such death. And I think the question is, if now is the time if ever to reevaluate these no-knock warrants, to potentially ban them, and to actually give police the tools they need to do their job, but to do it safely for them, of course, but safely for the occupants of these homes who are dying needlessly. It doesn't have to happen. It shouldn't happen. It's time it stops.

PAUL: Joey Jackson, your perspective is so important with us. Thank you so much.

JACKSON: Always. Thanks, Christi.

PAUL: Of course. We'll be right back.


MATTINGLY: All eyes tonight may be on the field, but for law enforcement, they are on high alert ahead of Super Bowl 56. Tonight, the L.A. Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals will hit that field to battle it out for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

PAUL: Yes, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the game or at least attend some of the events near SoFi Stadium. An army of federal state and local officials across the Los Angeles area are coordinating, Trying to make sure that everybody yes, has fun, but that it's a safe experience. Here's CNN's Natasha Chen.



NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): You can see final preparations for the Super Bowl. But what you may not see is the long game. The security preparation going on for more than a year now with thousands of law enforcement personnel on the ground and in the air.

Up in a Black Hawk, we toured with Customs and Border Protection. You said you've done seven Super Bowls, right? The difference with this Super Bowl is the enormity of SoFi stadium and its campus. The Host Committee estimates Super Bowl 56 will draw more than 100,000 visitors and temporary workers into the L.A. region.

Customs and Border Protection has been flying Blackhawks like this for about a week now over the L.A. area. And on game day, they could quite a blow to the ground by the stadium. If they spot a problem, they can actually do what they call fast-roping.

They'll just drop in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On a big rope. Yes, we have that capability.

CHEN: Brandon Tucker with CBP says one thing to look for is any unusual traffic pattern, especially with trucker protests on the Canadian border, fueling threats of a potential convoy outside SoFi Stadium against COVID-19 restrictions.

Hi! This question is for Secretary Mayorkas.

I asked the Secretary of Homeland Security about that this week.

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We have planned to we're prepared to address it, whatever materializes. But those protests have been civil in nature.

CHEN: But a Homeland security bulletin warns local law enforcement have the potential for severe disruption through gridlock and counter protests.

While law enforcement says there's no sign of any specific threat, a joint threat assessment says the Super Bowl is a potentially attractive target with possible threats from ISIS, to drones, to cybersecurity.

Large X ray scanners typically used at the ports have been inspecting every vehicle bringing supplies into the stadium. There could also be potential threats from within, including the type of fatal crowd surge seen at AstroWorld.

JACK EWELL, CHIEF, LOS ANGELES SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT SPECIAL OPERATIONS: We don't let situations get to the point where a large number of people could rush a stage or rush the field or things of that nature. We have too many security checkpoints.

CHEN: But nothing prevented a man in a 49rs jersey from being assaulted two weeks ago in a parking lot outside SoFi Stadium at the NFC Championship game, leaving him in a medically induced coma.

MARK FRONTEROTTA, CHIEF, INGLEWOOD POLICE: It's very unfortunate what happened. And we also asked citizens to be responsible in what -- how much they drink. And you know, when you've had enough, you've had enough.

CHEN: Law enforcement is repeating the mantra if you see something, say something. And when you see the Blackhawks above --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just wave at us, you know, and enjoy the game.

CHEN: Natasha Chen, CNN, flying above Los Angeles.


PAUL: So, the pandemic and rising inflation, you know, the issue that it's causing for the cost of new homes. But you can add climate change to that list as well as what's causing it. But up next, how an overheating planet and beetles, yes, beetles are forcing builders to look for alternatives to lumber.



PAUL: 42 minutes past the hour. Good morning to you. Let's talk about the skyrocketing housing prices. And we've all seen it. And now learning it's not just due to supply chain issues or a shortage of homes for sale. Climate change is also to blame.

MATTINGLY: Yes. You know, Christi, we've seen years of devastating wildfires and destructive insects that are literally leveling forests worldwide. They're wreaking havoc on the timber and lumber needed to build those homes. But as CNN's Bill Weir shows us, there may actually be a solution.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): If the definition of inflation is too many dollars chasing not enough goods, well, this is what happens when too many houses chase not enough wood.

How would you characterize the price of lumber today? Volatile?

JOHN RIDDLE, VP, TURNING LEAF CUSTOM HOMES: Yes, it is up and down. It got to the point we were just adding 20 to 30 percent just because and hopefully that will cover it.

WEIR: It's all they can talk about at the National Association of Home Builders convention in Orlando this week starting with a sticker poll.

JERRY HOWARD, CEO, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOME BUILDERS: Down here is one person who said it's been by 75 percent. At a normal time, if the cost of a building material were to increase by 75 percent, people would be coming on glued. But look what it is. Most of them are 200 percent or more.

WEIR: There are a few reasons why but the problem begins in the Canadian Rockies, the source of almost one in every three boards hammered into American homes and we're a plague of beetles arrived with the power to kill 100,000 trees a day. So many you could hear them over the phone.

JANICE COOKE, FOREST BIOLOGIST: And you could actually hear the beetles underneath the bark. I'm listening to my trees being killed.

WEIR: Oh, my God.

Forest biologist Janice Cooke has studied the invasion of mountain pine beetles for decades. Just one effect of an overheating planet.

COOKE: Warmer over winters and hotter, drier summers, we saw those populations not only rise to epidemic levels, but in some areas what we call a hyper epidemic.


WEIR: Mountain pine beetles attack a seagull tree like an invading army. And to defend itself, the lodgepole pine fills its cracks with this sticky chemical compound we know as pitch. Well, this turns out to be highly flammable. So in the end, if the beetles win, you've got a 50-foot firestarter.

Beetle kill forest help accelerate those Western mega-fires. And altogether, 50 million acres have been lost up here, an area the size of Minnesota.

COOKE: We have more than 30 mill closures in the interior of B.C. alone. Mills are not running 24/7 anymore.

WEIR: In the meantime, there is the 40-year-old trade war with the United States and based on an old formula, tariffs on Canadian would automatically doubled recently. Joe Biden could dial those back. But like Canada, he's also protecting more federal trees, especially the old-growth stands in places like Tongass National Forest.

HOWARD: The Biden Administration has cut back on the harvesting of timber on our federal lands for environmental purposes. And so, we need more lumber from outside. The Biden administration, it has not gone to the table to negotiate a long-term deal with Canada.

So, once again, we've got to look somewhere else. In fact, we've opened up discussions with the German government about bringing in more from Germany.

WEIR: And more builders like John Riddle in Winter Park, Florida are finding lumber alternatives. By injecting these stackable foam molds with concrete, he says he creates walls 50 percent more energy- efficient and 100 percent more fireproof.

This seems to me as we watch zoning regulations change in California due to wildfires, like amazing solution.

RIDDLE: Yes, that doesn't burn.

WEIR: Right.

RIDDLE: Concrete won't burn.

WEIR: Right.

RIDDLE: Now, in my mind, there's no reason why this is not more prevalent in our country.

WEIR: Why do you think it isn't?

RIDDLE: You know, builders like to do what they always do.

WEIR: But the housing crisis is growing at the same time as the climate crisis when science says we need all the mature forests we can possibly save.

COOKE: This is the business case for considering our forests and our trees and our forests for their entire ecosystem services and not just the price of a two-by-four.

WEIR (on camera): Tariffs on Canadian timber were actually higher under President Trump and he dialed them back. So, President Biden has that option. But that only affects prices maybe five or 10 percent at the most.

Long-term experts say Canada just can't fill the American appetite for new housing starts, and whether it is trees or avocados or coffee beans or chocolate. This is a reminder that when supply can't meet demand due to climate, climate inflation is the next step. Bill Weir CNN, Vancouver, British Columbia.


MATTINGLY: And coming up next, some wicked winter weather is having a major impact on the Winter Olympics in Beijing. We're live with an update on some of the events delayed by all of the snow. Stick with us.



MATTINGLY: You know, Christi, this was my doubletake headline of the morning, the Winter Olympics are being interrupted by winter weather.

PAUL: A little ironic there. Let's check in with Coy Wire. He's in China. You're, I understand, in the mountains zone of the games few hours from Beijing. But talk to us about the impact and what you're seeing. That's snow behind you, right?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christi and Phil. It is. It is. It's coming down. We were out there this Sunday morning to watch qualifiers for the women's freeski slopestyle at Genting Snow Park. But it was one of the events that had to be postponed.

Snow is coming down sideways. It had been difficult for those women to go flipping through the air and then find the ground to land safely. So, probably the right call.

One of the women said to compete in that event, which is rescheduled for later today, Team USA's Maggie Voisin, skiing in these games for something much bigger than herself at just 23 years old. This is her third Olympic games, but it's the first without her brother.

Maggie and her family lost him just over a year ago to suicide. Here's a part of our conversation just ahead of these games.


MAGGIE VOISIN, OLYMPIC FREESKIER, TEAM USA: It hasn't been a really easy year. I lost my brother to suicide, even going through a hard time. That's when you learn and that's when you grow the most.

You know, looking back and going through the tough things that I've been through, um, you know, it's also just made me the person that I am today. I'm more grateful.

WIRE: How often do you think about him, your brother Michael?

VOISIN: Every single day, every single day, especially when I'm skiing or dropping into an event. He was in the army and I wear his dog tags and they hang right by my heart. He was such a hard worker, so dedicated. But more than anything he was just an incredible human with a huge heart, a huge soul. And I strive to be half the human he was.


WIRE: Maggie Voisin and using her voice. She says that she hoped that in her brother's honor, she can be a messenger for suicide prevention and mental health and a source of inspiration for anyone who may need it. Go, Maggie!

All right, finally, figure skating continues with the ice dance competition now underway. Always fun and especially fun when you're watching these two raining U.S. champs Madison Chock and Evan Bates, the girlfriend-boyfriend duo, told us that although they may look pretty out there, Phil and Christi, their outfits present some danger. Listen.


EVAN BATES, OLYMPIC ICE DANCER, TEAM USA: We do a lot of acrobatic lifts where she's kind of rolling around my neck or you know might brush across my face. And when you think about those 10,000 little rhinestones that are glued on there that are like --

MADISON CHOCK, OLYMPIC ICE DANCER, TEAM USA: They're like crystal blocks or small daggers.

BATES: They're like spikes. It's like -- it's like lifting a spiked human or a human in a spiked dress but all in the name of looking good.


WIRE: Team USA sitting in third and fourth with Madison and Evan, just outside that medal position. The finale is tonight East Coast time. And we'll see if they can avoid danger and maybe come home with a medal.

PAUL: Fingers crossed for them. Coy Wire, thank you so much, buddy.

WIRE: You got it.

PAUL: We'll be right back.