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New Day Sunday

Russia Tightening Its Military Grip Around Ukraine; Harris: "We're Talking About the Real Possibility of War in Europe; Queen Elizabeth Tests Positive for COVID, Symptoms Mild; Canadian Police Escalating Tactics to Clear "Freedom Convoy" Protesters. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 20, 2022 - 07:00   ET



COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: But now, she's been named flag bearer for the closing ceremony and will take in that honor.

So, Christi, Boris, just like that, these Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics come to an end, nearly 3,000 athletes from about 90 nations through extraordinary circumstances inspire and unite through sport and what have been one of the most truly unique games in Olympic history.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Coy Wire, thank you so much.

Stay with us. The next hour of NEW DAY starts right now.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome so much to your NEW DAY. I'm Christi Paul.

SANCHEZ: And I'm Boris Sanchez.

There are dire warnings out of Ukraine this morning, a looming invasion could begin at any moment. Vice President Kamala Harris has a fresh warning to Russia, though reiterating that diplomacy is still possible.

PAUL: Also, dozens of arrests, smoke grenades, fireworks, police crashed with protesters after weeks of demonstrations in Ottawa.

SANCHEZ: And the fentanyl epidemic takes aim at middle schoolers. How drug dealers are using social media sites and emojis to rope kids in. What drug agents want every parent to know. PAUL: And, listen, get ready -- yes, it's polar bear plunge. Over 15

million people here in the U.S. now in the path of incoming arctic temperatures.



SANCHEZ: Buenos dias, good morning. It is Sunday, February 20th. We are grateful to have you. Thanks for waking up with us.

Good morning, Christi.

PAUL: Good morning, Boris. Good to see you. I wish we were talking about something that was a little happier, but we do need to start with you on what's happening in Eastern Europe.

The world is on edge as the crisis in Ukraine is intensifying this morning. Russia is tightening its hold on the country it seems.

President Biden meeting with his National Security Council this morning, in fact. The U.S. reiterating its supporting for Ukraine, warning of swift and severe consequences if Russia launches an invasion. But just moments ago, Vice President Kamala Harris talked about the gravity of the situation as she sees it.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're talking about the potential for war in Europe. I mean, let's really take a moment to understand the significance of what we're talking about. It's been over 70 years and through those 70 years, as I mentioned yesterday, there has been peace and security. We are talking about the real possibility of war in Europe.


SANCHEZ: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says his country is preparing for whatever comes, though he says he's grateful for support from the United States and its allies, he's calling for proposed sanctions against Russia to be made public now.

He questions how effective they would be after the Kremlin invades.




SANCHEZ: And this is an example of just how tense things are in Ukraine right now. A CNN team and other journalists that were accompanying Ukraine's interior minister on a tour of the front lines in the eastern part of that country came under mortar fire yesterday. We're fortunate to report that no one on the team was injured. Our correspondents are covering the latest developments in this

evolving crisis with live reports from the Munich Security Conference and from Poland near the Ukraine border.

Let's go first to CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh. He's live for us from Rzeszow, Poland.

Nick, you've been monitoring the situation in nearby Ukraine. What is going on there where you are?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, it's still deeply tense inside Ukraine. The defense ministry there reporting 20 ceasefire violations in just the first 11 hours today, fitting into a pattern of that supposed line of control falling apart, intense shelling being reported there over the last hours.

Add to that, too, a warning from Munich from the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the plan he has said he said for Russia's invasion would be a war not seen in Europe since 1945. Other suggestions, too, possibly about Russia's intentions coming from an announcement at the end of joint military drills they had been doing with their neighbor, Belarus, troops have been there for a number of weeks, they were supposed to go home but instead they said they will be continuing readiness checks, essentially they say evaluating the outcome of those exercises which means the troops will stay in place longer.

All that bad news for those hoping diplomacy might take a role here. Clearly, the talk, frankly, increasing escalation and the hours being counted down to what many fear may be a head -- Boris.


PAUL: And I want to ask you, Nick, the U.S. accuses Russia of spreading disinformation, we know that, and they say it's to create a pretext for invading Ukraine. How is that affecting the people there in eastern Ukraine right now and how are they receiving that?

WALSH: Well, essentially it's a barrage of highly confusing often entirely false information. We have seen this many times before where Russia begins to sell a narrative of its people being under attack, a lot of that is using false video, and we're seeing it persistently every hour. Now, rising that narrative and it's always deeply concerning for those observers because it suggests a direction in which Moscow expect things to go.

Here is our report.


WALSH (voice-over): Wars come with their own fog, chaos, phone lines down, panic sewing confusion, but in eastern Ukraine, that fog has long been fanned, amplified with false narratives, critics say, part of Moscow's strategy.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have reason to believe that they are engaged in a false flag operation, to have an excuse to go in. Every indication we have is they are prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine.

WALSH: Sometimes it is easy to spot, a separatist leader Denis Pushilin called on citizens in the separatist Donetsk People's Republic to flee Friday's escalating violence into Russia but the video file of this speech which mentioned Friday's date -- was, in fact, created on Wednesday according to its metadata. A similar speech from the neighboring separatist area Luhansk had the same timing issue. So, unless the same technical fault occurred both times both leaders seem to know midweek how bad things would get by Friday, making the call for civilians to flee a lot less spontaneous.

Then an explosion hit the city of Donetsk. Separatist media says they showed in military jeep destroyed, nobody was harmed but the apparent blast fed the narrative of violence mounting around the separatists.

Then there is the mass exodus of civilians from separatist areas, planned for hundreds of thousands but so far, a lot less. Pictures on Russian state TV. They get 10,000 rubles on $130 on arrival in Russia and however many really arrive, it is the sort of pretext Russia used in the past to justify assisting separatist rebels. This video is quite dramatic and separatists said it was of clashes with polish saboteurs trying to blowing up an ammonia storage plant on Friday morning. But the video's metadata shows it was created ten days earlier, another technical fact that doesn't fit the separatist narrative.

A separatist news crew was at hand, too, to capture this, another blast at a pipeline. The cameraman could have miraculous timing or it could fit into the slow pattern of misinformation, which grows often in advance of the violence in eastern Ukraine and provides a signal of what is to come, the direction in which the fog of war is being fanned.


WALSH: Boris, Christi, it is troubling to wake up and see these narratives continually form, more videos emerging this morning suggesting that the separatist areas are under attack, that is staunchly denied by, frankly, eyewitnesses, Ukrainian government as well. There is no both sides to this, it's just misinformation and it's persistent.

What it does do is show the direction in which Russia may want this conflict to go and that is a dark place indeed. On this day, too, eight years ago in which we witnessed ourselves gunfire in central Kyiv that began this troublesome journey towards violence in Ukraine, deeply sad that we're seeing similar fears today again.

PAUL: Very good point. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

I want to take you now to Munich, Germany. Vice President Kamala Harris spoke to reporters a short time ago.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. CNN's correspondent Natasha Bertrand has been there tracking the latest developments.

Natasha, we heard the vice president stress that the possibility of war in Europe is very real. What else did she share with world leaders there?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah, her remarks to reporters were very stark this morning. She warned that a war is potentially imminent. The biggest potential war since the end of World War II. And she made it clear to us that she has been engaging with allies and partners in Munich all weekend to try to make sure that that doesn't happen, to try to find off-ramps, to try to find a diplomatic end to this, this is how she said the U.S. and West really want to see this play out, of course.


And she was asked whether or not the U.S. has evidence that Putin has actually ordered an invasion of Ukraine, which would then make them that confident in saying that they believe he has made a decision to actually launch an attack.

Take a listen to what she told me.


HARRIS: As the president has said, we believe that Putin has made his decision. Period. But I will also say that as part of our relationship and partnership and in the context of the alliance, we do share information certainly because we want to make sure that we are all working with the same information when we make these very critical and meaningful decisions.


BERTRAND: So I did ask her as well whether she believes that the U.S. and Ukraine are now on the same page about a potential Russian invasion because President Zelensky of Ukraine had expressed skepticism over the last few weeks and months that a Russian attack would be imminent. She did not answer the question directly, instead saying that the U.S. has been sharing extensive intelligence with Ukrainians and also with our partners in NATO and Europe, trying to all get on the same page here to prepare a response in the event that Russia does in fact attack.

Now, it remains unclear how willing the U.S. is actually -- how far the U.S. is actually willing to go to subvert a Russian invasion or occupation of Ukraine, but the bottom line here is that all of these world leaders here over the weekend are, in fact, preparing for the worst-case scenario.

SANCHEZ: Natasha Bertrand from the Munich security conference, thank you so much.

Joining us this morning to share their perspective, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. He was a former commanding general for Europe in the 7th Army. And Michael Bociurkiw, he's a senior fellow for the Atlantic Council and former spokesperson for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Gentlemen, thank you both for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

General Hertling, I want to start with you, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he fears that Russia is planning the biggest war in Europe since 1945, since World War II. Put the implication of a conflict between Russia and Ukraine into historical context for us. What does this mean for the continent and for NATO allies specifically?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), FORMER U.S. ARMY COMMANDING GENERAL, EUROPE AND SEVENTH ARMY: Well, certainly I would suggest that Prime Minister Johnson is exactly right, it is the biggest conflict. There have been several smaller ones across the board. There is continuing frozen conflicts in places, but what we're seeing right now has the potential for massive and horrific destruction not just within Ukraine, but toward Russia as well.

I don't think Russia in my professional opinion is going to go through this unscathed. They are going to have significant casualties. It could also result, just like World War II did, in massive humanitarian relief requirements and refugee issues as people move in and out of Ukraine.

Ukraine, Boris, is -- not many people have mentioned this, but Ukraine is about the size of the state of Texas and it has about 10 million more people than Texas does. So when you're talking about that large of a population over that large of a land mass with devastating -- potential devastating effects with the types of weapons that Russia is posing along the board of Ukraine, it could certainly be catastrophic and it's unnecessary. That's the other piece. It just doesn't make any sense.

I heard one of your guests yesterday use the term fratricide and it's a good description. You're talking about people within Europe killing one another for no specific purpose.

And the OSCE has been monitoring this for a very long time with what's going on in the Donbas region.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, it seems the only purpose is to fulfill Vladimir Putin's imperialistic ambitions of rebuilding the former Soviet Union. Michael, at the center of this crisis is a former comedian, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky. He's a political novice.

And you wrote in a recent op-ed for CNN that, quote, if there ever was a time for him to resist stunts and summon up a statesmanlike style of leadership, this is it.

Zelensky gave a powerful speech yesterday in Munich before world leaders. How would you rate his performance during this crisis, his leadership?

MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Sure. Well, he certainly has stepped up to the plate, I would say in recent days. A lot of Ukrainians were telling me -- I just came from Kyiv -- is that they were worried about the lack of guidance coming from the presidential administration.

But I would like to highlight something President Zelensky said that I'm also now leaning into, is that he said that now is the time for at least some of those biting sanctions.


So the British minister said the other day let's lift those 2,500 or so golden visas given to Russian oligarchs in the United Kingdom. They could go further. For example, lifting the landing rights in certain countries. I think the so-called Russian bear needs to feel the bite right now. I think diplomacy if it was on the floor yesterday it's in the basement now with all due respect to our leaders and diplomats.

But it's really time, I think, for some kind of action to show what the West has in mind in terms of those sanctions.

SANCHEZ: And, General, I want to ask you about something that President Zelensky alluded to just yesterday. He was describing Ukraine as a shield that has been fighting a war against Russia and effectively protecting Europe and he argued the world against Russian aggression for eight years now.

He made a very biting argument that the West, NATO and the United States had largely been indifferent to the issues that Ukraine was facing.

What do you make of that assessment, that the West should have been doing more during all of this time and that could have potentially deterred Vladimir Putin from reaching the precipice where we are now?

HERTLING: I would disagree with President Zelensky on that, Boris. I mean, I think we have seen and, in fact, when I was still in Europe we saw the attempts by Ukraine to join NATO. They still have a long way to go to meet the member action plan requirements that are part of NATO.

But the other thing I would say is, whereas they have certainly been on the front line against Russian expansionism, they have not been the only fighter of that. This topic in terms of Russian expansionism has been at the forefront in NATO conversations and discussions and, in fact, planning for the last several years.

Russia has gone into other countries as well, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Poland. We have seen attempts at malign activity from Russia in many of those countries over the last decade and a half.

So, yes, whereas the President Zelensky is correct that they have been at the front line in terms of combat, there have been other places within Europe that many of us have been warning about in terms of Russian expansionism and it's been devastating because we did sanction Mr. Putin in 2014 for his attacks into Crimea and the Donbas, but he has not in my view been sanctioned enough and been dealt with harshly enough because he is a world malign actor and he is an autocratic -- he is the leader of an autocratic kleptocracy with a lot of mafia-like tendencies toward it. They - he is a government official does not belong in the league of

nation in the 21st century in my view.

SANCHEZ: And, Michael, I want to point out to our viewers you are in Ukraine right now and I'm wondering, as you've noted that many locals -- life for them is proceeding relatively normally, despite warnings of eminent war, this sort of beating of the drum for the last few months of warnings of war, take us into the conversations that you're having there with locals. What is on the mind of the Ukrainian people at this point?

BOCIURKIW: Sure. Well, quite extraordinary. You know, a lot of Ukrainians remind me, look, we've been living with hybrid warfare for the past eight years and life needs to go on and they are on the one hand making preparations for the worst case scenario, on the other hand they're going about life as normal.

I mean I came here yesterday and I was invited to the opening of an art exhibit. The discussion did center a lot around what might happen, but life goes on. The conversation turns to maybe we will pick up with what happened in Sarajevo and have a fashion show in Kyiv to show that we're stoic and life goes on, those types of things.

But let there be no mistake -- I mean, there is a real sense of anxiety here building up. I have to mention one more thing that Zelensky said and which was echoed by a former western ambassador here, is that there is a list that has been drawn up by Russia of civil society leaders here and in Kyiv, of heads of organizations of intellectuals that are on a hit list.

And it has to be put out there that the arm of Russia and of its puppet states like Belarus are very long here into Ukraine. We had that murder of a Belarusian dissident a few months ago. We had I think it was two years ago, the daylight bombing of a prominent journalist here.

So, they can inflict major damage already without rolling any tanks or troops in. It has to be remembered and Ukraine needs all the support it can get right now.

SANCHEZ: And Zelensky reiterated that yesterday, casting this conflict adds much bigger than just eastern Europe, but a challenge to the world order from Russia.


General Mark Hertling, Michael Bociurkiw, we appreciate your perspective. Thank you so much for the time.

HERTLING: Thank you, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

Be sure to watch CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9:00 a.m. Eastern this morning. CNN's Dana Bash will have an important conversation with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Do not miss that. PAUL: We have breaking news we want to share with you. Buckingham

Palace has confirmed Queen Elizabeth has tested positive for COVID-19.

I want to get straight to CNN royal correspondent Max Foster who is on this.

Max, what do you know about her health right now and any potential symptoms?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she was only tested today so they have let us know straightaway. We are told she has mild symptoms and mild enough, actually, to mean that she can carry on working. This is -- the statement that we got just a short while ago her majesty experiencing mild cold-like symptoms and expects to be continuing light duties at Windsor over the coming week. She will continue to receive medical attention and will follow all appropriate guidelines.

So, she's obviously isolating right now. Isolation rules in the U.K. are changing later in the week, so you don't have to necessarily isolate when you catch COVID. They don't seem too concerned. It is that line saying she will continue her light duties at Windsor over the coming week.

She has been doing some engagements recently, most of them virtual but she did actually meet some senior military members just last week as well. I do understand there have been other cases of COVID at Windsor. So, maybe there is some sort of outbreak there. We'll get some more details I'm sure.

They will give us updates on how well she's doing, but they don't like to give us too much because they see it as a private medical matter. She's 95 years old so there will be concern in the country about how she's dealing with it. I think that message that she's still working is quite a clear one from the palace.

PAUL: Yeah, that it's very intentional to put that out there. Max Foster, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Next, an update from Canada where police in Ottawa have escalated their tactics trying to clear protesters voicing their distaste with current COVID-19 measures. The warning this morning as the freedom convoy continues its occupation.



SANCHEZ: Police in Canada say they've made another 47 arrests as they cleared protesters from downtown Ottawa. Protesters set off fireworks and cheered as their demonstrations near Canada's parliament entered a fourth weekend.

PAUL: Yeah, police say they arrested protesters carrying smoke grenades and fireworks and wearing body armor. Demonstrators have filled Canada's capital demanding an end to COVID-19 measures, but as Paula Newton reports, Canadian officials say it's time for them to go.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A day like no other on the streets of Canada's capital. Here in Ottawa, for hours, police squared off with protesters, they are against COVID-19 measures and continually have said for more than three weeks that they are not going anywhere.

Police armed with an emergency act that gives them far reaching powers to actually clear the streets warned protesters that they would continue to escalate and that meant that you saw hundreds of police try to overwhelm those protesters and clear the streets. They had riot squads out there, mounted units and they pushed forward to try and completely clear at least that large avenue in front of parliament.

Now, there were some protesters that were saying that, look, this is just far too extreme and far too brutal on the part of police.

I want you to hear from Ottawa's interim police chief on his response to that. Listen.

INTERIM CHIEF STEVE BELL, OTTAWA POLICE: This occupation is over. We have advised them that if they peacefully leave they may go home. That still exists. We also indicated that we would escalate and forcefully remove people from the streets if they did not comply. Some of that is what you're seeing.

So I will stand here today, again, and say this demonstration is over. Go home. If you don't go home, we will remove you from the streets.

NEWTON: There are a few hundred protesters that do remain in the city of Ottawa and say that they will continue to face police on the streets. Having said that, some trucks and cars have left voluntarily, others are being cleared and police say that street by street they will give Ottawa back to its residents.

A reminder, again, that the city is under a state of emergency, but so, too, is the province and the country, really an unprecedented situation here in Canada. And police and politicians, many of them say they want this over really in the next few days.

Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.


PAUL: Paula, thank you.

Preparing for war of a different kind. Rather than guns, the weapon of choice is a keyboard. Up next, a cybersecurity expert is talking to us about what's being done right now to protect soft targets here in the U.S. from Russian cyber attacks.


[07:33:26] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the Russian embassy here in the U.S. is denying claims made by the White House that the Kremlin was behind a massive cyber attack this past week in Ukraine. U.S. officials announced that they have evidence of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency blocking access to websites of several Ukrainian banks.

Now, the Biden administration is keeping an eye on American banks as well. Sources say U.S. officials held a cybersecurity meeting with executives from big U.S. banks to discuss how they might respond to Russian hacking threats.

Howard Marshall is with us here. He is the former deputy assistant director of the FBI cybersecurity division and managing director for Accenture Security.

Good to have you back here, Howard. Thank you for being here.

I want to ask you. I know that your cyber threat intelligence team is seeing as I understand it and correct me if I'm wrong some specific activity. What have you seen thus far that raises your alert? And -- I mean, are we talking about very specific threats or some sort of timeline?

HOWARD MARSHALL, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI CYBER DIVISION: Sure. Well, I think it's -- well, thank you for having me, Christi.

But I think people need to understand why this -- you know, why we got to where we are right now and what we're seeing. So, there are a number of different observable activities that we've been able to identify that lead us to believe that not just what we see in the physical world is going on but in cyberspace as well. By that, I mean we've seen Ukrainian website defacements. We've seen a distributed denial of service attack aimed at Ukrainian government entities. We've seen attempts at hacking biotech and telecom companies in Ukraine and that those are the things that we've been able to see.


We've also noticed a tremendous uptick in dark web activity aimed at Ukraine. We have seen threat actors trying to sell access to specific entities in Ukraine that would be of strategic interest to Russian adversaries. We've also seen them attempting to try to sell actual data that's been stolen from Ukrainian entities.

So there is a very good reason to believe that elements in Russia are behind this and where it ends or where it stops nobody is very -- nobody is real sure.

PAUL: So I think there are a lot of people watching this that hear what you're saying and think how secure is my bank, how secure is our power grid. So, with that said, can you compare and contrast Russia's cyber warfare abilities to the U.S. capabilities of protecting those of us here?

MARSHALL: Sure. Fortunately we have decades of intelligence gathered against Russian threats. We are very aware of what they've done in the past and I think people need to think back, geez, not just five years to the attacks where Russian elements essentially unleashed an attack that became global, certainly focused on Ukraine, but it became global in nature and spread like wildfire and caused massive disruptions in commerce, in communications, in transportation.

So we know the capability is there and that should keep us on our toes. We also have seen Russian actors literally turn off the electrical grid in Ukraine. So the capability is there, and I think we have to acknowledge the fact that the world is so interconnected right now and understand that cyber attacks are really border agnostic. They can spread quickly.

Certainly, U.S. banks and other organizations, institutions can take proactive steps to play better defense but that attack surface is large and it extends to their supply chains and they have to be vigilant, they have to be listening to what information intelligence the government is sharing with them and they have to be thinking about how to maintain cyber resilience during this elevated threat level.

PAUL: Are you confident in the effectiveness of private companies to ward this off and to work with the government?

MARSHALL: In the past, and I can tell you I've got perspective from both sides of the aisle, right, both the private sector, commercial space now and then my FBI experience with the government that things work best when those organizations share freely, openly and frequently. I am confident that that has happened in the past and that it is happening now and in order to maintain, you know, that level of cooperation we need to continue to do our jobs in the intelligence and security community and pass that relevant intelligence and information as quickly as we can to government entities and our partners.

PAUL: Howard Marshall, Director Marshall, thank you for being with us, with he appreciate all the insight. Really interesting. Thank you.

MARSHALL: Thank you.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Still ahead, from laced pills to emojis, how authorities say that middle schoolers are falling prey to fentanyl overdoses.

We're back with more after a quick break.



SANCHEZ: So this is a really unsettling story. The United States is seeing a devastating spike in drug overdoses among kids.

PAUL: Yeah, experts say -- listen to this -- middle schoolers are dying after unknowingly buying counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl, and many are getting roped in on social media sites.

Here is CNN's Elizabeth Cohen. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMY NEVILLE, ALEXANDER'S MOTHER: That's one of the last pictures of him. That's actually the shirt he died in.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In June of 2020, Amy Neville found her son Alexander dead in his bedroom.

NEVILLE: I went in his room and he was blue. He was laying on his beanbag chair just like he had gone to bed, like he had fallen asleep there.

COHEN: Alexander was 14 years old, just a child.

LEGOs and Boy Scouts and teddy bear and he died of fentanyl.

NEVILLE: It just doesn't make sense, you know, sometimes it's -- I wake up and it's hard to understand that this is our life. But here we are.

COHEN: You lost him so young.


COHEN: Fentanyl, a highly toxic synthetic opioid, a drug like no other, is killing middle schoolers nationwide.

ROBERT MURPHY, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, DEA ATLANTA DIVISION: They should be catching cartoons and eating, you know, bad cereal, they shouldn't be dropping dead from taking counterfeit pills.

COHEN: Special agent Robert Murphy with the Drug Enforcement Administration says kids who think they're buying Xanax or Adderall or OxyContin from their drug dealer most of the time they're actually getting knockoffs, fake pills placed with fentanyl and just a few milligrams of fentanyl can be a fatal dose.

MURPHY: We're seeing 40 percent of the pills that are being analyzed now have a potentially fatal dose of fentanyl.

COHEN: Back when we were kids, if a middle schooler experimented, it didn't kill them.


MURPHY: We're dealing with a different threat, a drug threat. Fentanyl has changed that game.

COHEN: While still rare, drug deaths among children ages 10 to 14 more than tripled from 2019 to 2020, according to an analysis done for CNN by the CDC. Just in the past month, 12-year-old Delilah Mederos (ph) in California died of fentanyl poisoning. And fentanyl killed a 13-year-old boy in Connecticut. Police say they recovered 40 bags of fentanyl from his school and about 100 bags from his bedroom.

What did Alex think he was taking? NEVILLE: Oxycodone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He thought he was taking legitimate prescriptions.

NEVILLE: The pill that Alexander took if it was a legitimate prescription pill he'd still be here. But instead, that pill had enough fentanyl in it to kill at least four people.

COHEN: Children are growing up thinking prescription pills are safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever it is you have pills for t we all trust the pills, especially when they're young. It looks legit.

COHEN: You didn't know to say to Alex, one pill could kill you.

NEVILLE: Exactly. We had no idea one pill would kill him. We had no idea approximate fentanyl. We talked to our kid. If talking to Alex is all it took, that kid would have lived forever but we were not talking about the right thing because we didn't know about it.

COHEN: And where did a 14-year-old, a child get illegal drugs?

NEVILLE: He told us he had connected with this dealer through Snapchat.

COHEN: Buying drugs in social media is so common that the DEA has worked to figure out which emojis teens use to make the purposes.

MURPHY: If you put a cookie, rocket and candy bar together it looks innocent. But what I just said is I received a large shipment of highly potent Xanax bars.

COHEN: So these two together mean Xanax.

MURPHY: Yes, bring it to school. Yeah.

COHEN: Snapchat uses tools to defect drug dealing activity and shut down dealers and it is bringing every resource to bear to fight the fentanyl epidemic on its app and across the tech industry.

Before he died, Alexander had a bright future in front of him.

NEVILLE: He loved history, had visions one day being a director at the Smithsonian.

COHEN: On a shelf in his bedroom is an urn with his ashes.

Elizabeth Cohen, San Tan Valley, Arizona.


PAUL: Thank you to that family for talking to us so we can better understand what's happening and it was just so gracious and brave of them to do so we are certainly thinking about them.

All righty. Let's talk about the cooler temperatures that are coming with potential severe weather as well. We'll talk to you about that in a moment. Stay close.



SANCHEZ: Yet another round of winter weather is brewing out west and it could mean snow, severe storms and arctic temperatures for some parts of the country.

PAUL: All righty. CNN's Allison Chinchar is watching it.

Skiers, maybe they will be happy with this, maybe the only ones.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Anybody that has to do any kind of travel probably not so much especially because this is such an expansive storm system. The winter weather alert stretched from Washington state all the way over towards Wisconsin and more will likely be added in the next 24 hours as the storm continues to expand and push off to the east.

Again, here's a look at Sunday into Monday. Notice, it really doesn't spread the snow that fast, this is a very slow-moving storm which means it has a lot of time to dump a tremendous amount of snow. Widespread, most of these areas likely to pick up at least 6 inches.

But where you see the pink color here, now you are talking in excess of a foot of snow. On the southern side of the cold front where we have a lot more of the warmer wet air surging in from the Gulf of Mexico, you have the potential for severe storms. It's a multiday threat.

So, the main focus Monday will be basically areas of western Tennessee stretching all the way down into northeast Texas. Tuesday, it shifts a little bit east but some cities are in the threat both days including Shreveport as well as Memphis.

Because of the slow movement it's not only going to cause a lot of snow but also a lot of rain. Some of these areas especially portions of Kentucky could end up picking up 4 to 6 inches of rain in just a short period of time.

That cold air behind the front is going to really start to expand as well, impacting a lot of states as we head into the middle portion of the week. Take a look at this drop in temperatures, Denver going from 61 Sunday down to 8 degrees on Tuesday.

And it goes pretty far south, Boris and Christi. Take a look, Amarillo, Texas, going from 75 for a high temperature today all the way down to 34 by Wednesday.

PAUL: I can't put away seasonal clothes anymore. I have to keep them all out.

Allison Chinchar, everybody stay safe out there. Thank you so much, Allison.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Allison.

PAUL: And thank you for sharing your morning with us. I hope you make good memories today.


But, first, it's President's Day weekend and CNN is premiering a new original series focused on the life and presidency of Lyndon Johnson. So, we go inside the complicated legacy of our 36th president, when "LBJ: TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY" premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m., right here, only on CNN.

Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: LBJ was intensely aware that he came into the office under the cloak of tragedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It drove him to try to do things no one else had ever achieved.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said to his aides, what the hell is the presidency for? If you are not going to do something bold, why be here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Lyndon Johnson would be seen today as one of our greatest presidents because of all that he did, but he made one bad mistake.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vietnam really pulled him apart. He couldn't make a win out of this no matter how hard he tried.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: LBJ said, I wish they knew that I want peace as much as they do.

LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT: It's important to reflect and look back and see what has been done because there is no better way to judge the future than by the past.

ANNOUNCER: "LBJ: TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY" premieres tonight at 9:00 on CNN.