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New Day Sunday

Biden Warns of "Swift and Severe Costs" if Russia Invades Ukraine; Biden Could Interview Potential Supreme Court Picks Next Week; Sen. Rand Paul Hopes Anti-Mandate Protests "Clog Up" U.S. Cities; Mississippi Moving to Ban Teaching of Critical Race Theory; Veteran Helps Nurses Cope with PTSD Using Combat-Proven Techniques; Hollywood Makes Push to Get Audiences Back in Theaters. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 13, 2022 - 07:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We want to wish you a good morning on this Sunday. Welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Christi Paul.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Phil Mattingly, in for Boris Sanchez.

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

PAUL: Police move in to shut down the protest along the border. There are concerns of similar protests here in the U.S. One GOP lawmaker says he hopes truckers, quote, clog up cities.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been through something and there's things that only we know about.


MATTINGLY: Overwhelmed nurses are getting help from an unlikely source. How a combat veteran is using military tactics to help them deal with COVID-related trauma they've experienced over the last two years.

PAUL: So, the countdown to kickoff. We know you love those Super Bowl ads, too. The halftime show. Your kickoff forecast leading up to the big game, we have that for you.


MATTINGLY: It's Sunday, February 13th. Good morning. Thanks for waking up with us.

Christi, good morning. Thanks for letting me hang out.

PAUL: You can hang out any time, Phil, if you can -- if you can deal with the wake-up call. Speaking of calls, we want to begin with these new warnings from President Biden to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The president says that the U.S. and its allies will impose, quote, swift and severe sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine.

Now, the warning game during an hour-long phone call between President Biden and President Putin. The White House described the call as professional and substantive, but there was no diplomatic breakthrough here.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, and as the threat of war looms, more countries are warning their citizens to leave Ukraine. New pictures in this morning show British observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation 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, we've got correspondents covering the story from multiple angles. White House reporter Jasmine Wright has more details on the phone call between President Biden and Vladimir Putin. And senior international correspondent Sam Kiley has reactions from Ukraine to some of these latest developments.

MATTINGLY: And, Jasmine, I want to start with you because I know you were talking about your sources and administration officials throughout the day. What else are you hearing about the critical call, and perhaps more importantly, what happens next?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Phil, the president wakes up this morning ahead of a very critical week. I cannot stress that enough. This past week we have seen both he and his administration engage in a full-court press trying to dissuade Russia from invading Ukraine and that really reached a height yesterday during the hour-long call that President Biden had with President Putin while he was at Camp David.

And now, White House officials told us that the president made clear to Putin what he would be risking if he were to invade. And now, Phil, and Christi, I want to read you a key line from a statement that the White House put out after the call. It really sums up things quite perfectly. It says 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 Russia invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia's standing. Now, officials said that the president also offered President Putin an off ramp, really urging him to take the diplomatic path and de-escalate.

But another senior official trying to talk about the diplomatic offered, summed it up like this. They said it remains unclear whether Russia is interested in pursuing its goals diplomatically. So from that we can determine there's been no fundamental change in the dynamic between the two countries as these tensions really raise. So they've been responding, the U.S. has, with real urgency. We know that this is happening as Secretary Blinken, Secretary of

State Antony Blinken issued that warning, saying that an invasion could happen before the Olympics end. We know that is just seven days away, so these are really heightened tensions. And, of course, they have taken steps responding with an urgent matter, ordering all nonessential employees to evacuate, depart that embassy in Kyiv, ordering all Americans to leave, urging them to leave the country before any type of assault potentially happens.


So we are going to hear more about America's posture after that call in just a few hours, as national security adviser Jake Sullivan joins CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" in just a little bit. But, again, I just have to stress that this comes at a critical time in President Biden's presidency, probably one of the most critical weeks that he has had thus far -- Phil, Christi.

PAUL: Very good point to make, Jasmine.

Let's bring Sam into the conversation here, because President Zelensky of Ukraine, of course, acknowledging he's aware of the threat from Russia and that they're actually preparing for any developments. What do we know about those preparations? Because it seems as of up to this point, Sam, that Ukraine is holding out hope that some diplomacy is going to work.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're still putting a great deal of hope in the success of diplomacy or potential success of diplomacy, and at the same time, President Zelensky yesterday, who was visiting his own Ukrainian troops in the south of the country on maneuvers in mirror image to Russian naval maneuvers in the Black Sea, he's saying don't panic because that serves the interest of the enemy. Now, that's hold very well.

But elsewhere in the country in a whole series of different locations, the Ukrainian military, numbering some 200,000 plus soldiers, are on maneuvers. They are conducting exercises trying to offset the buildup of Russian troops around on three sides. They're in Belarus, then just north of where I am in Kharkiv, only 30 miles to the Russian border here, about 30 and more miles beyond that, Russian border there's an enormous buildup of Russian tanks, of armor, of multiple rocket launching systems, of helicopters, and, of course, the Russians have their superiority, and further toward Russia they've got more troops building up.

But in that context, the Ukrainians are insisting that they have the capability to see off a Russian threat, and they are demanding of their population that everybody remains calm. Now, I have to say here in Kharkiv, 75 percent Russian-speaking population, everybody I've spoken to is firmly of the view that they would resist any kind of Russian invasion, but I have to say, it doesn't look like this is a town that fears a Russian invasion. It's a very pretty Sunday afternoon around lunchtime and people are out enjoying a little bit of winter sunshine. MATTINGLY: The contrast between what I'm watching behind you right

now and what you're hearing from U.S. officials, Russian officials, it's quite something.

Sam Kiley, wonderful reporting as always on the ground in Ukraine, Jasmine Wright at the White House, thanks, guys.

PAUL: Thank you both so much.

Let's get insight on this crisis from CNN political analyst and "Washington Post" columnist Josh Rogin with us. He's also the author of "Chaos Under Heaven: Trump, Xi and the Battle for the 21st Century". Also, CNN military analyst, Major General James "Spider" Marks is with us.

Thank you, gentlemen, for being with us.

Josh, I want to ask you about the Biden/Putin phone call yesterday. At this point, based on what we know, do you see any options for President Biden other than these severe sanctions, and how much support does he have from Europe for that?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, Christi. Well, it's clear that the Biden administration is trying to come up with more options, not for President Biden, but for President Zelensky to offer to President Putin to get him to back down. According to my sources, these include Ukraine returning to the Minsk diplomatic agreement with some concessions for Russia that include things in terms of sequencing, what Ukraine will do that Russia wants.

And, also, the Biden administration has quietly told the Ukrainians if they wanted to go ahead and compose a self-moratorium on joining NATO, not imposed from us, but if that was their decision, the United States would go along with it. These are things seen in Kyiv as non starters. They're not in a position to give any of these things. These things would be disastrous for Ukrainian politics, and therefore it's not likely to work.

But this is what the Biden people are thinking about. When it comes to Europe it seems the agreement on sanctions is being tested. We saw a lot of news yesterday that no longer are the U.S. and Europe considering some of the most severe sanctions, including cutting Russia off from what's known as the SWIFT system, which would be devastating to their economy. The Europeans don't seem on board with that.

So, we're seeing a little bit of fraying in the alliance and this puts Biden in a no-win situation.


He can either stick with the Europeans or stick with Zelensky. He seems to be choosing the Europeans and Putin doesn't seem to be listening anyway. You can see the Biden administration is scrambling to try to avoid this war before it starts.

PAUL: As Europe is as well.

General, you just heard them say there that the U.S. said that it's unclear whether Russia will actually invade. You've got 100,000, more than 100,000 tanks and equipment and troops around the border of Ukraine. As Sam Kiley just pointed out, all of the armor that they have at the ready. Is there anything in your mind that tells you that they will not?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Christie, they certainly have the capabilities to invade at any moment, literally. I mean, it could take place right now. But as we know, any type of a threat is a combination of capabilities and intentions, and that's inside -- the intentions are inside Putin's head. As Josh just laid out, those diplomatic elements of power and economic elements of power are out there. They're available for Putin to advantage, but they aren't significant enough.

So now you have this military element of power, and what is NATO doing to try to deter Putin's capabilities. Well, frankly what they're doing is prudent, in that they are available to assist with what I would describe as a non combatant evacuation operation if that were to occur, hopefully different from how it looked in Kabul this past summer. But if U.S. citizens and other nationals are in Kyiv and Kyiv was under attack and those folks had to be removed, I would tell you Putin would give those citizens, those foreign citizens in Kyiv an opportunity to escape. Putin doesn't want to pick a fight with the United States.

Bear in mind, the United States and Russia or the former Soviet Union never fired a shot at each other. Is this the opportunity where we're going to engage directly against Russian forces? I don't think so.

So I think what Putin understands, with all this calculus, he's not going to invade Kyiv, he doesn't want to break Kyiv, he doesn't want to control Kyiv. If he put rubble in Kyiv, would have to rebuild it and he doesn't have an economy to do that and he doesn't have the forces necessary to occupy Ukraine. That would take close to 800,000 forces. He doesn't have those forces available.

So if he's going to invade, and I think he will -- it will be a limited incursion into Donbas, and maybe an advance into the Dnieper River further to the west that further isolates Ukraine, puts additional pressure on Ukraine, and I see that as likely because the negotiated settlement, again, as Josh described, is unlikely.

PAUL: OK. Josh, China and Russia alliance is something that I want to ask you about as well, because Australia's prime minister just in the last 24 hours called China chillingly silent on this. How would a Russian invasion of Ukraine, even if it is partial, as the general has described, how would that affect China on the global political arena?

ROGAN: Right, it's a fascinating dynamic, because we just saw President Putin travel to Beijing and fall asleep during the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, and then issued a 5,000-word statement about how close friends they are. But the 5,000-word statement didn't mention Ukraine. It's like, well, that's kind of weird.

You know, it seems clear that Xi Jinping doesn't want Putin to invade Ukraine, even though he expresses lukewarm support in public. The reasoning is very simple. When you think about it, you know, China has a foreign policy based on sovereignty and non-intervention and Russia attacking another county for no reason in the middle of a pandemic destroys that.

And, you know, China doesn't want instability and they don't want the economy to be tanked and they don't want their Olympics to be ruined. It just shows you that they're not really friends, they're really frenemies and they hate each other behind-the-scenes as they pretend to love each other in public.

You know, if you were Xi Jinping you will be looking at this as a bad precedent. When China wants to invade Taiwan, they're not going to say we're taking back Taiwan. They're going to say, oh, Taiwan is already ours. So, it already hurts Xi Jinping in a number of ways.

So before you think that China and Russia are the new alliance, blah, blah, blah, just remember that they fear each other more than they fear us, just as most dictatorships do.

PAUL: Yeah, interesting. I want to go back, General, to your assessment that you believe this could be a partial invasion. If we look back at 2014, it was what Crimea is faced back at that time.

Do you see the intention of Russia being that it wants to at some point taken over Ukraine and this is a piecemeal way or doing it, that it is just something that he will gradually do?


And, also, you know, the response by the U.S. and European partners, we've heard experts say it needs to be unified. If there is not that cohesion between U.S. and Europe if there is an invasion, where does that e unified. If there is not that cohesion e unified. If there is not that cohesion between U.S. and Europe if there is an invasion, where does that lead us?

MARKS: Yeah, Christie, those are the two elements, what you just described in your question. Those are the two things we're looking at.

Look, a limited invasion into the Donbas would allow Putin to create a land bridge into Crimea. Look at the map you guys just had up on the screen. He advances, and he already has forces there, right? And he's had them there for a number of years. He pushes additional forces in and he could do that without firing a shot. He could then expand to the west and create a land bridge into Crimea, create this little statelet, which is the beginning to the second part of your question, of a gradual atrophy of the legitimacy of the Zelensky government and Ukraine independence.

And he creates a vassal state not unlike what he's doing in Belarus right now. Right now, he has over 30,000 forces in Belarus, postured above Kyiv, available to drive into Kyiv if they wanted to, just level Kyiv with artillery and rocket power and air fire. That is not going to happen, but he could do this in the Donbas.

I hope I'm wrong about all of this. I don't see a negotiated settlement where there's a win-win. I love Josh's -- it's not cynical -- it's skeptical view of how this is going to turn out. It's unfortunate, but we want our president to walk away with a win.

What does that look like? That is kind of a status quo ante, right, where there aren't a bunch of corpses and dead bodies in Ukraine. Maybe it's a little more Russian presence in Ukraine.

That begins the clock in terms of the downfall, lack of independence in Ukraine, and Putin gets a win. That's a win-win, and maybe that's what we have (INAUDIBLE).

PAUL: Josh Rogin, General Marks, you give us so much to think about. I always learn from you. Thank you so much.

ROGIN: Thank you.

PAUL: Of course.

And don't forget to watch "STATE OF THE UNION" today at 9:00. CNN's Jake Tapper speaking with national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

MATTINGLY: And still to come this hour, protests in Canada over COVID-19 restrictions continue for a third weekend, and now there are concerns the fight may cross the border. Why one U.S. senator is backing the charge to, quote, clog up major cities stateside.

Plus, getting a Supreme Court nominee approved may mean getting bipartisan support. Up next, the two Republicans leading the charge to make sure President Biden picks someone both sides can agree on.



PAUL: Twenty-one minutes past the hour in the Sunday morning. So, glad to have you here.

President Biden is planning to start conducting face-to-face interviews with potential Supreme Court nominees, we're told, as soon as this week. This is according to several White House aides.

MATTINGLY: And White House officials say the president while in Camp David this weekend was expected to delve deeply into the resumes, the writings and opinions of several potential selections, at least four, in fact. While we await the final selection, some lawmakers in Congress are pushing for a bipartisan nominee. One that both parties can get behind.

My good buddy CNN's Daniella Diaz is live for us on Capitol Hill.

And, Daniella, quietly, the president, his White House counsel, others have been engaging with some of these Republicans senators. Where do they land on what they want to see the possibly vote for a nominee? DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, Phil, you know

better than anyone, some Republicans are expressing interest in possibly supporting someone that President Joe Biden will ultimately nominate to the court. For example, Senator Mitt Romney, a moderate Republican from Utah, he said he hopes that whoever Biden ultimately nominates could possibly get some Republican 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 more conservative members of Mitt Romney's party, the Republican party, who do not support nominating a black woman, which is what President Joe Biden has said he will do to the Supreme Court, Romney said diversity is important and he supports that decision.

Now, another unlikely conservative who is leaning toward one candidate in particular is, of course, Lindsey Graham. He supports Michelle Childs to be nominated to the Supreme Court. She actually sits on the district court in South Carolina, his home state. Take a listen to what he said about Michelle Childs in an interview this week.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): She's a very good person, highly qualified, publicly educated, and I think there's some interest, not just in terms of an African American woman, but, you know, background.


DIAZ: He has said that if Michelle Childs is ultimately nominated he will support her. He has not said that about the other candidates. But these are all things that President Joe Biden is weighing as he looks at options and he has said that he would make the decision by the end of February.

As you said, Phil, he's reviewing documents this weekend and will likely start meeting with candidates in person later this week. He doesn't want to do it virtually. He wants to do it in person. But, again, it really depends who he nominates whether Republicans will ultimately support that person to the bench.

MATTINGLY: A lot of different angles playing out. That's why you, Daniella, are in the Senate booth to let us know exactly what's happening. Thanks, pal.

PAUL: So, Canadian police say they're actively towing and ticketing parked vehicles near the busiest crossing between the U.S. and Canada.


There's one Republican senator who's hoping that 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 would be great when asked if anti-mandate demonstrations popped up across the country. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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, you name it. Peaceful protests, 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.


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: And nationwide, at least five automakers have been forced to slow or shut down production at some factories.

So this is a topic GOP operatives have misused to cause fierce debate at school board meetings across the country. Mississippi looks to ban critical race theory from k-12 schools, but it's being taught at a state-run law school. A look at what students are taking away from it. That's next.



CHRISTI PAUL: There's a battle over critical race theory taking place in Mississippi. Now, the state Senate passed a law banning its teaching in public schools, including universities.

PHIL MATTINGLY: But a Republican law student at the University of Mississippi is pushing back, saying the CRT class she is currently taking is the most impactful and enlightening class she's ever taken, and she says GOP lawmakers behind the ban are misinformed.

Here's CNN's Nick Valencia.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel and if he gets his way, critical race theory will be banned from being taught in the state -- which rarely happens anyway, but we'll get to that in a second. Critical race theory is the concept of seeking to understand and address inequality in racism in the United States.


VALENCIA: McDaniel recently co co-authored Senate bill 2113, saying no school shall direct or compel students to affirm that any sex, race, ethnicity, religion or national origin is inherently superior, and says that it is inherently racist and has no place in Mississippi's public schools, including universities.

Last month on the Senate floor, McDaniel and his co-author argued for the legislation and watched as others walked out in protest before the vote. It passed 32-2 and now goes to the House chamber.

MCDANIEL: If you look at the plain language, it clearly states that we won't allow people to be taught they're inferior, we won't allow our classrooms to teach the superiority of a race or whatever the case may be.

BRITTANY MURPHY, LAW STUDENT: I thought the whole class would be criticizing white people but we didn't really mention white people.

VALENCIA: Republican law student Brittany Murphy believes Senator McDaniel and his colleagues may not understand what they're talking about. She says she didn't either, until this student, when the second year law student at the University of Mississippi enrolled in Law 743. It's actually the only class in the state that teaches critical race theory. Murphy says her own conservative friends and family discouraged her from taking the elective, worried that as only one of a handful of white students enrolled, she would be made to feel guilty about being white.

Has this made you feel white guilt?

MURPHY: No, not at all.

VALENCIA: What has it made you feel?

MURPHY: Empowered to change the Republican Party.

VALENCIA: It's the reason the 27-year-old wrote this letter to the Mississippi House Education committee asking Republicans to reconsider their legislation. The class she says takes a critical view of decisions of civil rights advocates who were mostly Black, now white people.

To date, this has been the most impactful and enlightening class I have taken through under graduate and graduate education, she writes. Not only has it helped me understand the role of race and the law but the prohibition of classes such as these is taking away the opportunity for people to come together and discuss topics which would other otherwise go un-discussed.

MURPHY: It's just like any other theory-based class that we take in law school, like I don't want people to think that it's like this completely different class than all the other classes. It's just a normal class and this is academic freedom, and people are taking it away from me. VALENCIA: Critical race theory has been around since the 1980s. A

spokesperson for Ole Miss says it's been taught here for over ten years. The assistant professor Evette Butler who teaches the class now says the focused that's been placed on CRT is a direct backlash to the perceived racial reckoning in the U.S. after the summer of 2020.

YVETTE BUTLER, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI: We're not focused on things like guilt and shame. My focus as a legal educator is to get them to think like lawyers. And in order to be an effective lawyer, you have to be able to think critically, you have to be able to consider multiple sides of an issue.

VALENCIA: Senator McDaniel disagrees. He says CRT doesn't make better lawyers, but rather teaches them victimhood and blame. While the title of his bill is critical race theory, the main text does not define what it is.

And when you hear students say this limits their academic freedom.

MCDANIEL: It doesn't. I mean, there's only so many hours in the day. We're not talking about censoring books or censoring thoughts or ideas.


She's perfectly able to continue her course of study the same way many of us do outside the presence of a professor or, better said, outside of taxpayers having to subsidize the message.


VALENCIA (on camera): The bill is currently in the hands of the Mississippi house who has until march to vote on it. Senator McDaniel says he expects the bill to pass with minimal changes, though he adds he's been wrong before. Educators here in the state of Mississippi say it would be a disservice if critical race theory was banned from public schools and higher education. They point to the fact that CRT is being taught already in schools across the country and Mississippians would be at a disadvantage if they didn't receive a similar education.

Nick Valencia, Jackson, Mississippi.

MATTINGLY: Coming up next, the front lines of two very different fights. After the break, how combat veterans are helping nurses deal with the trauma of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Stick with us.



PAUL: More than two years into the coronavirus pandemic now, and there are U.S. hospital workers that are still feeling overwhelmed, particularly by the surge of sick patients from the omicron variant. MATTINGLY: Yeah, it's an incredibly urgent and prevalent issue. A

pilot program in Chicago is aiming to help nurses cope with pandemic trauma, and it could be a model for hospitals all across the country.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus has more on this.


MELISSA GERONA, NURSE, RUSH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: I have seen more tears shed on this unit, and of my own, ever, and I've been here for 26 years.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Melissa Gerona and other nurses on this COVID wing at a Rush University Medical Center live with pandemic trauma.

GERONA: My co-workers and I have been through something, and there are things that only we know about it. It would be hard to explain everything to my family that I need to.

DAVID BRACHO, NURSE, RUSH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: And the PTSD, that's the other thing that we're not talking about here is that there is a huge about PTSD.

BROADDUS: Since the pandemic started, more than 3,800 people have been sent to the hospital with COVID at Rush.

GERONA: I couldn't tell patients that you're going to get better, because at that point early on, we didn't know who was going to get better.

BROADDUS: Across the country, staffing is a challenge -- 92 percent of more than 6,500 critical care nurses responding to the survey about the health care survey say the pandemic has depleted nurses. About 66 percent have considered leaving. Rush is now supplementing care teams with temporary staff. Prior to the pandemic Rush had not used nurses in 20 years. Rush nurses report leaving for more money or jobs with less stress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How is your shift going?


BROADDUS: But Mark Schimmelpfennig, a combat veteran, is helping nurses cope with the trauma by using the same treatment given to soldiers experiencing grief and PTSD.

MARK SCHIMMELPFENNIG, RUSH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: When I was able to say, hey, you are fighting a war against an enemy that you can't see, feel, tough, hear or taste, and it's kicking our butts. Yes, they got it.

BROADDUS: The pilot program, called "Growing Forward," is similar to group therapy. Six sessions, 30 minutes, and about 24 nurses plus occasional wellness checks like this. SCHIMMELPFENNIG: One of the things I tell them is step, step, breathe. Just that delay, and step, step, breathe, can take you from a 10 maybe to a seven. And seven is still not very good, but you can get your job done.

BROADDUS: They also journal, acknowledge what they feel, and learn healthy ways to decompress.

SCHIMMELPFENNIG: The cumulative trauma of dealing with that day after day after day through surge after surge, there is going to be a cost, just like when a combat soldier goes outside the wire.

BROADDUS: David Bracho recognizes the parallels.

BRACHO: I served in the military Army Reserves for 18-and-a-half years. I have been deployed twice. Afghanistan was a good example of what I saw compared to what I saw here.

BROADDUS: He also sees differences.

BRACHO: When the military is deployed for nine months to a year, we have a relief, like there is someone who is going to relieve us from our duties and go back home.

BROADDUS: Here, there is no relief.

BRACHO: Sixteen-hour shifts, extra shifts on top of other shifts, just to keep the patients safe and alive.

BROADDUS: Nurses relentless in the pursuit to save lives.

GERONA: My fear is that we're going to have to do this again. Every time there is a surge and I'm putting on my scrubs in the morning, I am always kind of in disbelief.

BROADDUS: While fighting an invisible battle.

GERONA: I do feel like it is like a war.

BROADDUS: A war they vow to keep fighting.


MATTINGLY: I don't think people fully grasp how important that issue is and will be in the weeks and months ahead. Great reporting from CNN's Adrienne Broaddus.

Shifting gears to the Super Bowl, you don't need to be a football fan to enjoy Super Bowl commercials. Though you should be a Joe Burrow fan.

Up next, we have a sneak peek at some of the celebrity cameos coming up in the big game tonight.



PAUL: So, we are all in this together. So many of us are looking back to get some normalcy, right?

Well, there is a big push now by studios to get all of us who want to see movies back in theaters.

MATTINGLY: And I am all in for that.

One film out this weekend that's getting a lot of buzz is "Black Light" starring Liam Neeson and Aidan Quinn.


LIAM NEESON, ACTOR: One day, you will wake up and realize you are not sure who the good guys are anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are a federal agent involved in a secret FBI program.

NEESON: Off the books.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of bad stuff do you do?

NEESON: Breaking and entering.


MATTINGLY: CNN's Chloe Melas joins me now.

And, Chloe, I don't think I can take my 6-year-old to that but it does look pretty awesome.


You spoke to one of the stars, what did you learn?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Yes, look, there are a lot of movies out this weekend for everybody. There's Jennifer Lopez's "Marry Me." There's "Licorice Pizza" getting a lot of Oscar buzz.

But "Blacklight" is this thriller that I know that my husband is so excited about, starring Aidan Quinn, Liam Neeson. And Aidan is this corrupt FBI director.

And I got to chance to talk to him about working with Liam and how great it is. It's their fourth film together, but why he feels like it's important to get back to seeing movies in the theater.


AIDAN QUINN, ACTOR, "BLACKLIGHT": It's a great thrill to get to work with my own buddy Liam, we've done -- this is our fourth film together, but three where we interact together. And we did another action thriller thing ten years ago called "Unknown" that came out really well, and this one is -- Liam is at the top of his game and he's fantastic in it and it's got wonderful action sequences, good actors, and I think people will really get a kick out of it.

I think people are ready and willing and able. It's going to be on 2,000 screens, I believe. The hope is that people will -- and it's not streaming right now, so the only way to see it, I think, is in the heaters. So, yeah, we're going to hope people will get back out there.

I think we need these communal experiences together and obviously safe -- to be safe with it, but it's nice to see omicron dropping like a cliff like it did in England and Ireland where everything is almost opened back up again, because it's dropped so precipitously and hopefully, it continues to follow suit here, which I think already has started.


MELAS: Look, I love going back to the movies, I've been a few times, I just took my kids to see "Sing 2." And I have to admit, it really is nice to see movies in the theater.

PAUL: Oh my gosh, no doubt about it. I mean, for people who haven't been able to go yet, I think they're chomping at the bit.

Also wanting to see the Super Bowl commercials that we do not have to leave our house for, but what stands out to you this year?

MELAS: Well, there's a new commercial out and Dr. Evil, remember him from Austin Powers played by Mike Myers? It's a commercial for General Motors. Take a look.


MELAS: You're going to see a lot of these ads about like lowering emissions and electric cars. BMW has one out with Arnold Schwarzenegger as well.

But I have to tell you that these commercials for 30 seconds can cost upwards of $7 million. So they have to pay a pretty penny to advertise during the Super Bowl.

PAUL: Yeah. And that's just to advertise, that doesn't include the commercials that they made, which was -- is a whole other thing.

MATTINGLY: I just can't believe Scott is still not getting love. It's like six movies and now commercials and Scott is still not getting love.

Chloe, thanks so much.

MELAS: Wait. Can I just tell you guys the halftime show is going to be so epic. For anyone that loves '90s music as Lisa France said, clear every piece of furniture in your living room because it's going to be a dance floor.

PAUL: Nice. That is a good tease. That's how you do it. Chloe Melas, thank you so much.

MATTINGLY: Literally every mix CD I had in high school and college. Chloe Melas, thanks so much.

And as we've been talking about Super Bowl Sunday is finally here. If you are going to the game you must have a lot of money, but get ready, because it could turn out to be one of the hottest Super Bowls on record.

PAUL: Talking about the weather, right?

MATTINGLY: Yeah, yes. The actual weather, not the game or the players.

PAUL: But it all goes together because that is something -- it would go both ways, certainly.

Allison, what's it look like?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It is going to be very hot. We've got heat advisories in effect across areas of southern California where those temperatures could near 90 degrees. Oxnard, California, yesterday topping out at 90, the L.A. airport getting up to 89 degrees.

Now, we only have to get to 84 degrees for the high today in order to tie the all time hottest Super Bowl on record, that was back in 1973, also in Los Angeles. The forecast for today for the game does bring that afternoon high temperature back up around 83, 84 degrees so it's going to be very, very close in terms of whether or not they end up reaching that momentous number.

Now, one thing to note the Bengals fans that maybe will be back at home in Cincinnati, a completely different temperature story there.


You're talking about a high of below freezing, topping out at only 30 degrees today, tomorrow not much better, about 34. But at least that direction is going up.

Cities like New York and Boston, the temperature will continue to actually go down tomorrow as we continue to see those temperatures drop behind that cold front. But because that cold air is already in place, we're also going to be looking at the potential for some snow showers across not only the Northeast, but also areas of the mid- Atlantic and the Ohio River Valley.

Guys, back to you.

PAUL: All right. Good to know. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

Phil, it has been a pleasure. Thank you for waking up early for us.

MATTINGLY: Are you kidding? This has been wonderful. Thanks for having me.

PAUL: We appreciate it.

You all go make some good memories today.

MATTINGLY: All right. "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" with Abby Phillip is up next. Have a wonderful day.