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New Day Sunday

Zelenskyy: Blinken And Austin To Visit Ukraine Today; Biden Admin. Renews Push For COVID-19 Funds As Congress Returns; Voting Underway In High Stakes Presidential Runoff In France; Suspected Identified In Case Of Missing Toddler Madeleine Mccann; Vital Medical Supplies Trapped In Supply Chain Backlog. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired April 24, 2022 - 07:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We are just a few seconds away from the 7:00 hour here. You are waking up on this Sunday, April 24th, and we're so grateful to spend some time with you this morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Boris Sanchez. We're thrilled that you're starting your week with us. A pleasure to be with you as always, Christi.

We begin this morning in Eastern Europe, and the president of Ukraine saying that he's prepared to welcome a high level U.S. delegation. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit Kyiv today.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I shall be meeting with the state secretary, Mr. Blinken, and the defense secretary. And we will be waiting for the time when the security situation allows for the president to come and talk to us.


SANCHEZ: Zelenskyy says that he'll welcome Blinken and Austin with a request for specific weapons and assistance. He says that leaders, quote, should not come here with empty hands.

So far, the U.S. has not yet confirmed the visit by Blinken and Austin.

PAUL: In the meantime, the most intense fighting is happening in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine where U.K. intelligence sources say Ukrainian forces have successfully repelled numerous Russian assaults in the Donbas region. Russian officials confirmed last week that their goal is, quote, full control of the eastern Donbas, and to build a land bridge through Crimea.

SANCHEZ: The Ukrainian military says it hit 17 air targets yesterday. A statement posted on Telegram says the targets included three Russian aircraft, five cruise missiles and nine drones.

PAUL: Now, Russian forces have stepped up their attacks on a steel plant in Mariupol, that's where soldier and civilians are holed up right now. The senior Ukrainian official says the plant is being shelled continuously. It is the last major stronghold in Ukraine's defense of that city.

SANCHEZ: Now last hour the mayor of Melitopol told us his city is in a desperate and dangerous situation. He says they need help today, not tomorrow, and he also said they're unable to get humanitarian aid to the residents of his city.

We want to take you now live to Ukraine, and CNN correspondent Isa Soares, who joins us live from Lviv.

Isa, there is intense fighting in the east and the south of Ukraine. And there is this potential visit from very high ranking U.S. officials. Bring us up to speed.

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Boris, good morning, Christi.

And it's -- and this -- these attacks that we are seeing in the last 24 hours, Boris, are being happening on a holy day for many, for many orthodox Christians today is Easter Sunday.

Let me start in Mariupol, that the besieged city of Mariupol that has been facing intense fighting, if you remember, for weeks on end. That Azovstal steel plant, of course, we know there are about a thousand or so soldiers and civilians still inside, holed up inside that steel plant. And just to get a sense of the scale, that steel plant is pretty large, about 25 percent of the whole of the city of Mariupol, but they're facing the last -- since this morning, really continuous attacks, that's coming directly from Ukraine defense ministry.

We have seen that humanitarian corridor open in the last -- Saturday, in fact, 200 people were hoping, praying to get out of Mariupol, but they were tricked and they were taken instead to Russian held territory, to really give you the sense, really, of the terror that so many people are facing. Of course, President Putin has said that he has liberated Mariupol, that is not the case, there is the holdout. Instead he's trying to create a blockade, and he says that the hope is, of course, that he won't -- you won't let any flies coming in or out of that Azovstal steel plant. So, really, that last holdout there and Ukraine is being incredibly defiant in that steel plant.

That is in Mariupol. I'll take you slightly west to the southern port city of Odesa, we have seen just more shelling today. We have seen one building really collapse today, being hit by intense shelling, looking at some of the images and there have been casualties. There were eight people killed, 18 wounded. Of those eight killed, one was a 3 month baby girl.

We have a photo of this baby girl, when this war started, the baby girl was just 1 month old. Hearing of the news reporting on the news, President Zelenskyy yesterday was so emotional. He was scathing of it. Meanwhile, while this is all unfolding, Ukrainians keep pushing back, you mentioned it.


They have taken out 17 air assets according to defense ministry.

And they also claimed to have hit a post, killing two generals, CNN cannot confirm that. In total they have taken -- killed seven generals. So the fight -- the push and pull of battle very much intense on this Easter Sunday -- Boris and Christi.

PAUL: Isa Soares, we appreciate the update. Thank you so much.

Ukraine's president says the U.S. and other Western allies are responding to his country's request for weapons with a greater sense of urgency now.

PAUL: Yeah, President Zelenskyy answered question about Russia's battle plan and other issues in a forceful and emotional press conference.

CNN international correspondent Phil Black has the details for us.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are emerging from an extraordinary war time presidential press conference that was both theatrical and relatively set from Russian missiles. President Zelenskyy summoned the Ukrainian and international media deep underground to attend a slickly produced event in one of Kyiv's metro stations. There, on one of the platforms, even with the train flying past, took questions on the state of the war, for about two hours. At times he was emotional, especially notably when discussing missile strikes on the city of Odesa on Saturday that he says killed a 3- month-old child.

ZELENSKYY: When the war started, this child was a month old. And the child died. Just realize that, grasp it, bastards! What can I say? These are just bloody bastards. I have no other words and I'm sorry, but bastards.

BLACK: Could you please give us your assessment of Russia's plans, but also its capabilities for its operations in the east, in the Donbas? Will Russia or perhaps more importantly can Russia launch a large scale push to breakthrough your defensive lines or is this looming as a slower, longer, grinding military operation?

And secondly, do you believe your allies are finally getting the message? Are they sending you the heavy weapons you need? Thank you.

ZELENSKYY: If they God forbid occupy something, we'll get it back. It will not be a matter of 10 or 20 years, not a war like we had starting from 2014. We had this for eight years.

Concerning the armament, if we have enough of it, we'll return it immediately. We'll take our territories back immediately. We see a change, we see this change regarding our western partners. I can see the change in the speed of response, especially in the United States.

BLACK: President Zelenskyy said getting the right weapons will be a big part of his agenda when he meets with the U.S. secretaries of state and defense in Kyiv on Sunday.

Phil Black, CNN, Kyiv.


PAUL: Big thank you to Phil black there.

Aaron David Miller, a CNN global affairs analyst and former Middle East negotiator at the State Department with us now.

Mr. Miller, so glad to have you with us.

I want to hone in here on more of what we have heard from President Zelenskyy. He actually told Jake Tapper when Jake asked him whether he believed in the world's never again commitment to prevent genocide, this is what -- how he responded.


ZELENSKYY: I don't believe the world after we see what is going on in Ukraine.

(through translator): Really, everybody is talking about this and yet as you can see, not everyone has got the guts.


PAUL: He is still today asking for weapons and asking for help. And on the surface for a lot of people watching this, I think Putin's ability to push that nuclear button is a prime explanation as to why more isn't being done.

However, what do you believe is the reason that never again seems to be nothing more in many instances than words?

DAVID AARON MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: A lot of reasons, Christine. President Zelenskyy is reflecting a cruel but basic political and historical reality. From the Nazi Holocaust to Cambodia to Rwanda to Darfur to Syria to Myanmar to the Uyghurs and now, and now, not in a far away place, in one of the most transparent military campaigns in modern history, war crimes, atrocities and according to President Biden, there's no dispute with him, genocide is taking place.

Look, you refer to it in your initial assumption, the United States has taken military action and direct military intervention by American forces, no-fly zone, even flying combat missions off the table. And the only way to prevent mass atrocity, mass killing, genocide, once it begins, is through the direct intervention with force.

[07:10:06] And no one is recommending, certainly not in the Biden administration, it is understandable given as you suggested the risks and the escalatory risks of nuclear confrontation. So, we're left in a sort of twilight zone with mass killings, mass atrocities, and the longer this goes on in eastern Ukraine, the more transparent, the more we'll find the human toll has been extraordinary.

I just don't think the international community has the will, the cohesion, or in this particular case the notion that to intervene risks war with Russia and no one, and again, it is understandable, seems to be willing to do that.

PAUL: But, Aaron, okay, here is my question. If they're not able to do it now, what is the endgame, because certainly President Putin, if they do anything, it is just buying them time from Putin's end goal which nobody knows wholly, but you have a good sense of what he wants, yes?

MILLER: No. I mean, I think -- I would be -- I would be stringing the bonds of credulity to the breaking point if I offered an answer to the question, what are Putin's ultimate aims.

You know, Churchill described the Russians as a hotel burglar. They try all open doors on a hotel floor until they find an open room. In many respects it is Putin's opportunism that is driving this. He's been constrained and checked and now he's shifting to the second phase.

Look, the objective on our part is to continue to support Ukraine with as much military, economic and political assistance as we possibly can, in order to ensure that however and whenever this ends, that Ukraine emerges as a free and independent country. We can up the pressure if we were able to create a total embargo on oil and gas. That would hasten or certainly weaken fundamentally Putin's capacity to wage war.

But, again, you want to stop mass killings. If you can't intervene militarily and we won't, and it is hard for me to admit we shouldn't, then we have to give the Ukrainians the power and the capacity in every aspect of what making war really means in order to stop Russian advances, and ultimately, and here is where it becomes extremely sketchy, ultimately, to create some kind of end state that preserves Ukraine as an independent nation.

And that's going to be extremely difficult given war crimes, and even Russian territorial gains so far.

PAUL: Aaron David Miller, I always learn from you when you're here. Thank you so much for taking time for us this morning.

MILLER: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: So there is an extremely important election happening in Europe. And polls are open in France where voting is under way in a high stakes presidential runoff. We're going to head to Paris for a look at how the results could have an impact far beyond France.

And not many people can say they took on Vladimir Putin, and lived to tell about it. Now, Alexei Navalny's story and how he turned out to be a political prison is told in a Sundance Award-wining CNN film "Navalny." Here's a preview.


ALEXEI NAVALNY, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER: Vladimir Alexandrovich. It's Alexei Navalny calling and I was hoping you could tell me why you wanted to kill me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Remarkably, Vladimir Putin faces a legitimate opponent, Alexei Navalny.

NAVALNY: I don't want Putin being president.

I will end war.

If I want to be leader of country, I have to organize people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Kremlin hates Navalny so much that they refuse to say his name.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Passengers heard Navalny cry out in agony.

NAVALNY: Come on, poisoned? Seriously?

We are creating a coalition to fight this regime.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are killed, what message do you leave behind to the Russian people?

NAVALNY: It's very simple -- never give up.

ANNOUNCER: "NAVALNY," tonight at 9:00 on CNN.



SANCHEZ: Congress returns from its Easter recess tomorrow and the Biden administration is already saying it is going to renew its push for another round of COVID-19 funding.

PAUL: CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is joining us now.

Priscilla, good to see you this morning. I know Congress was supposed to take action before it left town. A fight over immigration policy detailed -- derailed those plans, I should say. Talk to us about what to expect here.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, this is a fight that has been brewing for weeks after the Biden administration announced the end of a public health authority known as Title 42 that allows officials to turn migrants away at the U.S./Mexico border, and will end on May 23rd. And that has sparked tensions within the Democratic Party, as well as among Republicans who say the administration is not prepared for the influx of migrants that are expected when this authority ends.

Still, the administration is warning about the need for this $10 billion funding package to continue the federal response to the COVID- 19 pandemic as well as to provide aid to Ukraine. In a statement, a White House official told CNN, quote, as Congress returns for recess, the administration will be focused on working with lawmakers to keep aid flowing to the Ukrainian people and continue protecting American people from COVID-19.


Now, on Capitol Hill we'll also hear from Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas who is testifying before House committees and is expected to be grilled by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as the administration tries to push for this funding and deal with the fallout over its decision to end that public health authority on the border.

All of this unfolding as president is expected to host an event for teachers this week as well as host this Stanley Cup champions -- Boris, Christi.

PAUL: Priscilla Alvarez, thank you so much, we appreciate it.

Right now in France, they are voting in a historic runoff presidential runoff election.

SANCHEZ: It's a showdown rematch between incumbent Emmanuel Macron and far right challenger Marine Le Pen. The two faced off in 2017, where Macron bested Le Pen by nearly 2-1.

CNN's Jim Bittermann is standing outside a polling location in Paris this morning.

And, Jim, analysts are expecting this is going to be a much tighter race this time of around.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Boris. I think it has to do with the fact that the left wing candidate was eliminated and essentially the primary elections here, first round of this elections campaign, he was eliminated and his voters, 7.7 million of them have to look around to see where to go because we have before a chance between a center right candidate, that's the president, and a far right candidate, Marine Le Pen. They have to sort of choose the lesser of two evils and some are choosing not to vote at all. There is a lot expected to be a very high rate of abstention.

And then we found here this morning that among the voters there are people who intend to show up to vote, but not really have their vote counted by voting -- voting where they don't put any ballot paper in their voting envelope as a consequence, it is counted as a vote for no one.

Here is what we had -- here is what one of the voters voting blank had to say.


STEFAN, FRENCH VOTER: For the first time in my life, I will make a no choice vote. I think the system, basically -- I think we come to the limits of the French system because both candidates give the illusion they will solve all the problems. And we cannot leave with a system where everything depends from one man or one woman.


BITTERMANN: So the voter you just heard there, a judge, says that what he would like to do is see -- have the system change so that voters have more of a choice. Right now, they don't feel like -- a lot of them don't feel like they have much of a choice between the two candidates -- Boris, Christi.

SANCHEZ: Jim Bittermann reporting from Paris, thank you so much, Jim.

Investigators have officially identified a suspect in the case of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann. We're going talk to one of the officers who led the case when it initially happened more than a decade ago.

We'll be back in just a few minutes.



PAUL: It has been 15 years since British toddler Madeleine McCann disappeared during a family vacation in Portugal. And now, a suspect has been formally identified in the case.

Authorities haven't made -- have not yet named the individual and Portuguese officials have been working with German authorities who said they have an individual in custody serving time for separate unrelated offenses who they believe knew what happened to Madeleine McCann all those years ago.

That suspect was identified then as Christian Brueckner. But authorities said they didn't have enough to charge him in McCann's case at that time when this all began. Charges still haven't been filed in the case. We want to point that out.

Brueckner has denied being involved in the disappearance of McCann.

But Jim Gamble is with us now. He's a former police officer. He's reviewed the McCann case, and he's also the former CEO of the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center.

Jim, we're so grateful to have you here. I want to first of all get your thoughts on Brueckner and, again, how likely do you believe that he could be the culprit in this case?

JIM GAMBLE, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: Well, if you look at Christian Brueckner's background, we know he lived in Praia da Luz where the offense took place, between 1995 and 2007. He would for periods disappear, but he frequented that area.

We know from a prosecution that he raped an older woman in 2005 in that same holiday resort. And we know that we can place him -- at the very least a phone attributed to him in proximity to the crime scene at the time Madeleine went missing.

So the circumstantial evidence that is available is extremely strong. And so, of course, this man is innocent is proven guilty, but he is a particularly unsavory character with a criminal profile that definitely fits. So I think this latest move is really, really significant.

PAUL: So I know that you're a former police officer who led the 2010 review of this case as I understand it. And you've been extremely frustrated with some of the things you reviewed. What stood out to you in that review, without obviously compromising any information?

GAMBLE: I mean, the review itself, I think identified immediately there had been a bungled beginning to this investigation. In any investigation, any law enforcement official will tell you that the first few hours are what are called the golden hours. That's when you secure the scene, when you protect forensic evidence. That didn't happen. Not until far too late in the day. There was cross contamination and evidence that was lost.

Also, in any modern investigation, if you look at the Federal Bureau of Investigations, for example, like New Scotland Yard, another modern investigative bodies, they will collect, clear and analyze information, use a system then that generates leads.

That never happened. So there was chaos and confusion and information in all different places. For example, Christian Brueckner's name was among paper papers that the Portuguese had as early as 2011 and potentially before this. He was in papers handed to New Scotland Yard in 2012 and he was the subject of the tipoff to the German police in 2013.

But perhaps in this instance the most critical investigative flaw was the fact that I found in 2010 and that there was a massive cell site dump that have been recovered. Information about where your phone, where it is, and what other phone it may be connected to had never been interrogated.

So, that was part of the recommendation I made back then to the home secretary in the united kingdom to say we need to bring some fresh focus to this and we need to fix these gaps. And I think that resulted in Operation Grange, which is a new Scotland Yard investigation that followed.

PAUL: You have also been quite vocal at times that you believe Madeleine McCann could be alive. What evidence when you were reviewing this, what evidence did you see or evidence maybe was lacking that would -- that would make you believe that, maybe there was something you were looking for that you didn't see that said, hey, she could still be out there? And do you believe that she could still be alive today?

GAMBLE: Well, you know, I don't like to speculate about whether Madeleine is alive or dead because I recognize and realize that for 15 years, her parents have gone through a living nightmare. Every day, they had to grow up -- to get up and to bring up their twins, Sean and Amelie. So, it's difficult.

And a little bit like Ernie Alan from your National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, I think it's now International Center, I think retaining hope is really important because that fuels the possibility.

And so what do I base it on? Look at your own case, Jaycee Dugard, all those years later, that child when was presumed to be being abducted, killed, returned. Whenever I was the head of the Child Exploitation Online Protection Center at the very early days of this investigation, we identified at least 14 cases where children who had been abducted, and gone missing, who we thought would never be recovered again, actually were.

So I don't think we extinguish hope until we get evidence that actually all hope is lost. The reality check here, of course, is the German authorities. You know, I've worked with the BKA and German police and they're not renowned for being, you know, unnecessarily overly optimistic. They're conservative by nature.

The level of confidence in the utterings of the chief prosecutor in Germany and some police officers makes me think they know even more than they're saying. And I think knowing that the Portuguese have designated Brueckner an "aguido", a person of interest, I'm sure there must be other pieces of information that they have added to the circumstantial evidence I shared with you that I hope mean they extradite him or travel to interview him.

And that either charges follow or he's ruled out because there have been so many false storms on this, and every parent and police officer will know how awful that is when your hopes are built and then dashed.

PAUL: And you're right. I mean, the parents in this case have said that they are not giving up hope, because who would, what parent would? But I cannot imagine how excruciating this is for them year after year.

Jim Gamble, we appreciate your insight. Thank you for being here.

We'll be right back.

GAMBLE: Thank you.



PAUL: So, the U.S. can be facing a public health crisis because of the ongoing supply chain crisis.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has a closer look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN POLITICS AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): This small box made of something called boardstock plays a big role in the pharmaceutical supply chain.

CHAC SASSON, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, THE CHALLENGE PRINTING COMPANY: Without the products that we produce, the pharmaceutical product cannot get to the market.

YURKEVICH: The challenge printing company says it packages more than 1,000 drugs, including life-saving cancer prescriptions. Getting them out the door quickly --

SASSON: As of right now, it has been very challenging.

YURKEVICH: It's because they're still intense consumer demand on a supply chain still in crisis mode. The company says it can't get materials from their suppliers in order to package these critical drugs. Everything from FDA approved inks, boardstock and paper. There are no substitutions.

What is the warning you're issuing?

SASSO: We're facing a potential public health crisis in this country if it is not properly addressed by the government.

The Department of Health and Human Services.

YURKEVICH: The company is raising the alarm, writing to over 15 government agencies, including the White House.

What is the administration's response? And what are they doing to address this?

BRIAN DEESE, WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: The president has made it clear that he's willing and ready to do what it takes to make sure life-saving medicines or other critical inputs in our economy get where they need to get.

YURKEVICH: But the relentless slowdown of the global supply chain is working against consumer demand.


Flexport, a freight forwarding company that tracks cargo around the world, is watching China closely, where exports are stalled because of COVID lockdowns.

PHIL LEVY, CHIEF ECONOMIST, FLEXPORT: It's a serious danger. I don't think we've sounded the all-clear at all.

YURKEVICH: Instead, hundred of cargo ships sitting idle at Chinese ports, waiting for goods to transport. Flexport says, eventually, they're heading this way, potentially creating major traffic jams at U.S. ports again. LEVY: This is not just Americans wanting to have so many imported

consumer goods. Even those goods that are produced or packaged in the United States, you need to bring in parts, ingredients, whatever, when those get interrupted, it interrupts American production as well.

YURKEVICH: And a challenge printing company, they have a new drug to package, COVID therapeutics, bringing another new challenge. The company says months-long delays from millions of rolls of this foil from overseas.

How critical is this as part of the prescription drug?

SASSO: No this, no drugs. Without this, you can't give out drugs in a zip lock bag.

YURKEVICH: Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, Clifton, New Jersey.


SANCHEZ: Vanessa, thank you for that report.

Let's dig deeper now on the supply chain crisis with Ocean Supply Chain strategist Jon Monroe.

Jon, we appreciate you sharing part of your Sunday morning with us.

You say that this situation developing in China right now, that Vanessa described with COVID lockdowns, that's a recipe for disaster. Help us understand why.

JON MONROE, OCEAN SUPPLY CHAIN STRATEGIST: Well, imagine that you're in China today and you work for a factory, but can't get to the factory. Or you're a truck driver and you can't deliver the product to the port.

You know, a city like Shanghai has 25 million people, but most important thing there is the largest port in the world. So a lot of the exports come out of shanghai, and they just can't get there. And the people that are locked down and the trucks and factories trying to deliver product, they can't get product delivered.

SANCHEZ: And ultimately, what does this mean for consumers?

MONROE: Well, it is just another disruption. It is backing things up. So you have your bookings which is what factories have to make to get on board a ship, they're down about 40 percent.

And for consumers, it means there is going to -- product is not going to be available in the store, whether a target store, supermarket, imagine a product that really is not made in China today or not made in Asia. It is hard to find something that doesn't have raw materials or final product coming out of that region.

SANCHEZ: Give us an idea of what kind of products you're talking about. Do they just run the gamut? Is it just about anything you can imagine or is there something specific you think our viewers should know might be hard to come by soon?

MONROE: Well, just imagine -- just look around anything you've got near you. Whether it be apparel, which is largely now in Vietnam, or your computer screens, your computers, your desk, your furniture, your medical equipment, all of these things are made in China, and your Halloween costumes, your Christmas toys, your Christmas trees.

Right now, I talked to somebody this last week, they have Halloween product already on the water because they're trying to bypass this disruption. So everybody is trying to ship early. But everything will not get shipped.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, you have implied previously that this current supply chain disruption should lead to a major restructuring of systems around the world. I'm wondering what you imagine that looks like because the global economy is so interconnected.

MONROE: Well, it looks like that global economy might become more regional. Imagine you're a company that global today and you're servicing markets in Europe and the U.S. or South America, and you can't get the product you need for that market. You're going to try and found a source that is closer to your region, or within that region.

So we could possibly be seeing a shift from a global supply chain to a regional supply chain. A myriad of regional supply chains.

SANCHEZ: And I imagine that if the cost to have a regional source as opposed to a more distant far away source for any given product, that might raise the cost of getting those items, right? Does that mean that consumers can expect higher prices?

MONROE: Well, it is all relative. The fourth quarter of 2020, CEOs and CFOs in almost every company found out their product was six weeks late and costing 5 to 6 times as much.


A container pre-COVID from China-based ports to the U.S. west coast was about $1,500. That same container today is about $8,000 to $10,000. At its peak, $15,000 to $20,000.

So, depending on the value of your commodity, it is really hard to absorb.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. I imagine this crisis could lead to a series of headaches. We appreciate your perspective and I hope you come back to break it down for us again in the future.

Jon Monroe, thanks so much for the time.

MONROE: Thank you very much.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

PAUL: So, listen, expansive severe weather threats today, take I look at what you see on the screen there. There are millions of you in this path. We're talking about everything from potential flash flooding to still blizzard conditions in other parts. We'll tell you more with Allison Chinchar in a moment.



SANCHEZ: Here's some of the other top stories we've been following this morning.

Authorities in Orlando, Florida captured a heroic moment when a sheriff's deputy rescued an infant from an early morning apartment fire. Watch this.


SANCHEZ: You see it on the top right of your screen, they hand down the infant to the deputies. They were able to climb into those balconies on the second floor where the mom was able to hand her 1- year-old baby girl down safely to officers.

Emergency crews were also able to get to the mom and grandmother. They got them out safely as well. No casualties reported in the fire, no deputies injured either.

PAUL: And let's go to northern Arizona together here, the tunnel wildfire has been going on for nearly a week, it's burned more than 21,000 acres, and it's still only 3 percent contained this morning. Officials say firefighters have struggled to gain control of the blaze due to the strong winds and the dry air there, but more than 300 emergency personnel are on the scene, they've got ground crews working to build fire lines to slow the wildfire's path.

SANCHEZ: There is another round of spring storms on the horizon. It's expected to move east today. Some states seeing temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above normal.

PAUL: And then you throw in the blizzard conditions.

We've got a little bit of everything, Allison Chinchar. How about is it?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: A little bit of every season. Some folks it feels like summer, and others it still feels like February. Yeah, it's all because of this major system here that's cross the central U.S., bringing a little bf everything to several different states.

Again, here you can see how widespread this system is here, you've got the snow coming down across the Dakotas, there is Wyoming and Colorado, and then rain stretching all the way down from Minnesota, Michigan, and then back down into Texas. Now, here's the thing, we also have the potential for some strong to severe thunderstorms. That main area is going to exist from Michigan along that line, back down into South Texas. Strong damaging winds, the potential for some hail, and even a tornado or two are not out of the question for some storms today.

Some ongoing as you saw from the radars but you're going to notice strong to severe thunderstorms fire up this afternoon, and continuing into the evening. Especially as that system slides east.

The thing is, it's not a very fast moving system, especially on the south side. It's got a lot of time to dump a tremendous amount of rain, widespread some of these areas across Arkansas, northern Texas, and areas of Oklahoma, two to four inches, but some isolated spots, five, even six inches is not out of the question. Because of that, you do have the flash flood threat, the moderate risk, that Red Bull'sy point you see there, that's where you have the highest risk, especially with that rain coming down in a very short period of time.

Now, all the ahead of that front. You've got very warm temperatures, take a look at this, Pittsburgh, about 20 degrees above normal for this time of year. Buffalo, not too far off, but even places down south, like Atlanta and Jackson, guys, you're talking about ten degrees above average.

PAUL: And we'll feel that ten degrees, let me just tell you. Allison Chincar, thank you so much. Take good care.

And we want to just thank you for, you know, sharing part of your Sunday morning with us, we really appreciate it. We hope you make good memories.

"INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" with Abby Phillips is up next.

Before we go, we want to share an incredible story of with you of Paul Alexander.

SANCHEZ: And he is so inspiring. The polio epidemic put Paul in an iron lung. For 70 years, using only his head he's broken barriers, and still going strong today.

We leave you with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and today's "The Human Factor".


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet Paul Alexander, he's one of the last people in the world still in an iron lung. The iron lung works to change the air pressure and stimulate breathing. It has been his home, keeping him alive for 70 years.

In 1952, Paul contracted polio, and became paralyzed from the neck down. He was 6 years old. A therapist promised Paul a dog if he could breathe on his own for three minutes.

PAUL ALEXANDER, SPENT 70 YEARS IN AN IRON LUNG: I developed a way to breathe. I worked on it for a year before I could breathe for three minutes, but I reached it.

[07:55:02] GUPTA: Eventually, Paul would be able to gulp or take in air for hours at a time, allowing him to leave the confines of the iron lung during the day, and accomplish more than anyone thought was possible for him, college, law school. And a 30-year career as a courtroom attorney.

Paul wrote his autobiography, and he's working on a second book now.

ALEXANDER: I've got some big dreams. I've got -- going to accept from anybody their limitations on my life. Not going to do it. My life is incredible.