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New Day Sunday

31 Arrested For Conspiracy To Riot Near Pride Parade In Ohio; Second January 6 Committee Hearing Kicks Off Tomorrow; Couponing Become A Necessity As Budgets Tighten; Parents Of Uvalde Shooting Survivor Speak To CNN; Next Hearing To Focus On Trump's False Claims About Election. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired June 12, 2022 - 07:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Buenos dias, good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul. So grateful to have you here.

So, we're following a developing story out of Idaho this morning. Thirty-one people arrested for conspiracy to riot near a pride parade.


CHIEF LEE WHITE, COEUR D'ALENE POLICE: The, quote, that we received through dispatch was it, quote, looked leaked a little army that was loading up into the vehicle.


PAUL: What we're learning about the plot, who this group is and their motives.

SANCHEZ: Plus, the January 6th Committee set to hold its second public hearing tomorrow on its investigation into the deadly insurrection. The main points they're expected to zero in on as they make their case to the American people.

PAUL: I know you feel the rising costs all around you. Listen to this, what was once a hobby for some is a necessity for many now. How couponing is actually helping many families stay above the water in these tough economic times.

SANCHEZ: And we may soon finally learn if there is anyone or anything else out there. Why NASA is going in search of UFOs and what they're hoping to find.


SANCHEZ: We're so grateful that you are starting your Sunday and your week with us. It is June 12th.

Christi, it always great to be with you.

PAUL: Good to have you here, Boris. Always good to be with you.

Even when we're talking about some of these stories we have to talk about today, namely this developing story out of Idaho we have been watching, more than two dozen people believed to be members of a hate group have been arrested for conspiracy to riot near a pride parade. Now, police say the suspects were all wearing similar clothing, they is the insignia of a known white nationalist organization, named Patriot Front.

Now, police in Coeur D'Alene pulled 31 men from the back of a U-Haul yesterday afternoon and investigators say the men were in possession of riot gear and believe they were planning to disrupt a nearby pride celebration. Authorities say that someone spotted the group loading into the truck, and called police.


CHIEF LEE WHITE, COEUR D'ALENE POLICE: In my opinion, I would gladly arrest 31 individuals who were coming to riot in our city for a misdemeanor rather than have them participate in some sort of seriously disruptive event, which is exactly what they were planning in the downtown area.


PAUL: Police chief said the group had shields with them, shin guards and other riot gear including a smoke grenade. Coeur D'Alene's police chief says several groups planned to protest the pride event, but he felt this threat called for immediate action.


WHITE: We did know about some of the threats happening online and there were people walking around the event with long guns and handguns and bear spray and all kinds of things like that. That's not illegal in Idaho. Only the point when they start using it that we grow really concerned.


PAUL: Investigators say the suspects are from 11 different states. They're expected in court tomorrow and the FBI is now assisting with the investigation.

SANCHEZ: Let's bring in CNN's senior law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe to get his insight and perspective on this. He's, of course, the former deputy director of the FBI.

Andrew, good morning. And thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

I just want to get your perspective on this group, these 31 people arrested, believed to be associated with Patriot Front, an offshoot of an organization that helped incite the riot in Charlottesville back in 2017.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's right, Boris. So that organization formerly called itself Vanguard America. As you would expect, after their disastrous appearance in Charlottesville in which one of their members ran down with his vehicle a counter-protester, the organization went about a pretty concerted effort to rebrand themselves and to kind of clean up their image and that's when they -- many of them started to organize around this name, Patriot Front.

They're known to be a presence at white nationalist events around the country. They typically are engaged in these somewhat performative acts of protest where everybody shows up in the same tan pants and blue shirt and white balaclavas covering their faces and they stage their appearances at events to video them for the purposes of producing propaganda.


But they're not to be dismissed as anything inconsequential. They're pretty openly embrace violence and white supremacists and replacement theory ideology in their official statements.

SANCHEZ: And we heard from top officials who previously have said that these kinds of organizations are arguably the biggest threat to domestic security in the United States. FBI Director Christopher Wray as recently as 2018 said as much.

What's your thought on the fact that these 31 people came from at least 11 different states? What does that tell you about the organizational structure?

MCCABE: It is really concerning. And I think it is great evidence of the fact that this is not just the activity of isolated small group of extremists, this is the result of national level organizing, which is easy to do now as we know over the Internet and social media. So, that's what you're seeing among these national level groups, they are organized across the country of pulling in membership from all kinds of different places.

I would point out, Boris, this is exactly what the DHS terrorism threat warning that came out on June 7th just last week warned about. They said that these sorts of extreme groups would use high profile events like the pride event that we saw here that was planned for Coeur D'Alene, as an excuse for gathering and potentially engaging in acts of violence. I think the police did the right thing here by stepping in when they knew what this group is planning to do.

SANCHEZ: And, sir, it caught my attention when we heard from police in Coeur D'Alene that surrounding this pride event there were people carrying weapons, carrying bear spray, it is pride month, and people are around the country are celebrating the LGBTQ community. What has to be done to ensure that similar gatherings across the country are safe?

MCCABE: Well, really, exactly what we saw here. Law enforcement got some good intelligence from a concerned citizen who saw something and brought to their attention and they intervened proactively. They didn't sit back and wait for this conflict between opposing groups to bubble into some sort of an act of violence. They got involved right away.

And I should say they know pretty clearly what was planned here because they seized a seven-page document that they described as an operational plan. So the group wrote their plans down, what they were going to do and now that could be used as evidence.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, they are expected in court tomorrow. Those 31 men arrested.

Andrew McCabe, always appreciate the time, sir. Thank you.

MCCABE: Thanks, Boris.

PAUL: So, the January 6th committee is tackling Donald Trump's false claims of stolen election. The panel is investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol and it's holding its second hearing tomorrow. So members say the focus will be on Trump's massive effort to spread false information about election fraud.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): I think it is important for people to know and our hearing on Monday will go through this in greater depth that Trump lost the election, he -- all of these claims of fraud were investigated. And he was told they weren't true by people in his own government and his own family. And he persisted because it was fundamental to the multiple schemes and plot, the big lie being accepted in order to seize power.


PAUL: So, in his first hearing Thursday, members of the panel said Trump incited the violence at the capitol and he was orchestrating a seven-point plan to overturn the 2020 election results.

I want to bring in what we can expect to see with CNN legal analyst and ambassador, Norm Eisen.

Mr. Ambassador, thank you so much for being here.

What stood out in some of the edited montage video and hearing that we heard on Thursday was that people actively involved in the riot had said that they came to the protest in 2020, well, to -- in '21 to protest the 2020 election results and they stormed the capitol because Donald Trump told them to do so or asked them to do so.

What evidence have you seen specifically that would connect President Trump to Proud Boys or Oath Keepers or the planning of this riot, versus, say, the perception issue that, you know, some might argue they might have perceived that, but did Donald Trump actually ask them to do so?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks for having me back, Christi.

You see Donald Trump's call and their response starting as early as April of 2020 when he says if I lose this election, in effect, it will have been fraud and he says that more explicitly in August and that continues to mount.


Of course, the most notorious example was during the presidential debate, when he said Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, and they responded that they understood. Enrique Tarrio, the head of the organization, responded on Twitter that he understood. We saw a spurt in proud boy membership after that statement.

And the hearing tomorrow, Christi, is going to focus on the fuel that fed that call and response which is the persistent big lie that Trump had won the election, and, of course, that culminated in the insurrection. We heard from Chairman Thompson, on CNN, on Thursday night, that they have evidence that those in Donald Trump's orbit were in direct touch with the proud boys and the other principle militia involved, the Oath Keepers. So, we'll see if we get some of that evidence either tomorrow or over the course of the rest of the hearings.

PAUL: So this is a president who has survived at this point, impeachment twice. Is there enough evidence that you see for some new prosecutions?

EISEN: I do see the evidence mounting for the new prosecutions. We have published that evidence in a big Brookings report and we have an evidence tracker that we put out after the first hearing, listing after every hearing all the new evidence mounting towards from where we are now, a likely crime, that's not just me talking, that's a federal judge in California, who said Trump has likely committed crimes to proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

But I think the evidence is particularly strong for a prosecution in the state of Georgia, where the Atlanta D.A. has convened a special grand jury and we have that tape of Trump saying to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also expected to be a witness in these hearings. Secretary Raffensperger just find 11,780 votes that don't exist.

So, yes, I expect quite likely there will be a prosecution in Mr. Trump's future.

PAUL: So what are you going to be listening for tomorrow?

EISEN: Well, tomorrow is -- takes us back, you know, we heard on Thursday night about the seven-part plan. And we saw the effects of that plan, with the devastating violence and heard from Bill Barr, Ivanka Trump and others that Donald Trump knew he had not won the election. Now we're going to get the foundation, the beginning of that seven-point plan, Trump over and over again attacking the election, saying he had won, we had seen the evidence. He knew that was a lie. In other words, the origin of the big lie, including over 60 cases where he tried to push that big lie or his allies did, failing in all but one.

And even in that one case, it was not a fraud case, about an election technicality. So, I think we'll hear about the origins of his assault on the election, and these losing cases where he failed to prove the big lie.

PAUL: All righty. Ambassador Norm Eisen, so good to have your perspective with us today. Thank you.

EISEN: Thanks, Christi. Nice to be with you.

SANCHEZ: Still ahead, rising gas prices are affecting everyone. But for organizations like Meals on Wheels, it could impact how they deliver food it those most in need.

And later, after a tragedy like the one we saw in Uvalde, there are physical scars and the ones we also don't see.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm never going to know, she's never going to know, you're never going to know what he's really going through.


SANCHEZ: The parents of one young survivor sharing their story and their concern that their son may never be the same.

We're back after a quick break. Stay with us.



SANCHEZ: It seems everything that is more expensive these days, including the price of gas, hitting historic record highs. The average cost of regular gas nationwide hitting more than $5 a gallon for the first time ever. That's up nearly 60 cents from just a month ago.

It is also starting to impact organizations like Meals on Wheels, which depend on volunteer drivers to deliver food to those who otherwise would be unable to buy or prepare their own meals.

I want to introduce you to Stephanie Archer Smith. She's the executive director and CEO of Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland. She serves Baltimore and the surrounding eight counties.

Stephanie, we're grateful to have you this morning. We appreciate what you do.

You feed roughly 2,300 people on a weekly basis. And your volunteers drive dozens of miles each day using their own cars, their own gas. How much has this recent surge in gas prices affected your organization?

STEPHANIE ARCHER SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CEO, MEALS ON WHEELS OF CENTRAL MARYLAND: Well, thank you for having me today. I really appreciate the opportunity to be here.

The gas prices have, you know, inflation has really affected our program, but nothing more than gas prices. We deliver to 2,300 seniors throughout Central Maryland every day. And we depend on 500 volunteers to do that. And they do drive thousands of miles a year, almost 300,000 miles a year to give to us.

And we have very loyal volunteers, some with us more than 30 years. But it has really impacted our ability to recruit new volunteers and that's critically important because we're serving about 500 more people a day than we were prior to the pandemic.

SANCHEZ: So, that's 2,300 people that you're serving every single day. And as you noted, there are more and more of them because of the economic difficulty that folks are facing. Talk to us about what this is going to mean long-term for the folks that you serve.

SMITH: Well, Meals on Wheels is a resilient organization and you can see that through our pandemic response. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that we get those critical meals to home bound seniors.

We may have to change our delivery model. We deliver every day and that's critically important because they have -- they suffer from isolation. And we want to make sure that they have the opportunity to have some social interaction every day.

We hope we won't have to do that. We have been very fortunate to this point not have to do that. So, we're committed to our daily delivery and we will do whatever it takes.

SANCHEZ: So lawmakers in Congress have introduced new legislation that would actually increase the federal charitable per mile reimbursement rate from 14 cents to 58 cents. What is your message to lawmakers on this issue? How would that help Meals on Wheels?

SMITH: Well, that would be a critically important. That 14 cents has been 14 cents for the last 20 years and that charitable deduction would be a huge incentive and help offset the cost -- the personal cost that the volunteers incur in volunteering for Meals on Wheels.

SANCHEZ: And for folks watching at home, if they want to lend a hand, what can they do to help?

SMITH: There are lots of ways to volunteer. It is easy to get to us. You just go to meals on There are meals on those countries -- Meals on Wheels programs across the country experiencing the same thing, so you just want to check it out, if volunteering is not your -- if volunteering by delivering is not for you, then there are lots of other ways to volunteer.

We have people who call our clients. We have people who help pack meals in the kitchen. So there are lots of ways to get involved.

SANCHEZ: It is such an important service, especially at such a difficult time. Again, Stephanie Archer Smith, we appreciate your work and joining us this morning. SMITH: Thank you so much for having me, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

PAUL: You know it is not just gas. I mean, I'm sure you are all feeling the price hikes that we see at the grocery store and elsewhere and this is at levels that haven't been seen since the 1970s. We're talking about double digit increases on everything from eggs to poultry and some folks are looking for any way to find a deal and save a few bucks.

Well, CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro spoke with one extreme couponer who says it is a necessity now.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Darrina Carter, mother of four, law enforcement spouse, regular person, until she spots a deal.

DARRINA CARTER, DEAL-HUNTING MOM: I have my coupon right here. I'm going to get two of these. So, for two toothpaste, I paid $4.58 here and then when I paid for it, I got $4 in points back. With the $4 of points, I decided to get Friday night dinner for the kids. These were buy one, get one free.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Did you ever think you would be one of those people who before they go shopping check a bunch of apps?

CARTER: No. It seemed like so much work. No. No.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Things have changed.

What is behind door number two?

CARTER: This will be some sort of clothes, swimsuits. They all have tags on them. These, believe it or not, were pity.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: How to create an extreme couponer in 2022. Take one mom and add inflation. Prices remain near a 40-year high.

CARTER: I can tell from having the same budget that I had before all of this, I would get less. It seemed like the bags would get smaller and smaller every time. Milk has gone up tremendously. Just because I'm the sole person that does the grocery shopping, I can tell.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Couponing culture has been popular online for years. Promises of monster deals on luxury items or trips are ubiquitous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can you get a YSL wallet on chain for 65 percent off?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Staying at a result that costs $700 a night, but I only paid $200.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: But that's not what hooked Darrina. This is.

ERICA MILLER, ONE CUTE COUPONER: What's up, guys? We are back at Aldi for another $10 challenge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The coupon takes off $2, leaving you to only pay 75 cents.


CARTER: It doesn't matter how expensive the food is, we still need tissues. We still need clothes. There are things that we still needed. And if there was a way I could possibly cut corners or if that was able to happen, I started to get more interested.

MILLER: Prices in the grocery stores, let's based it with inflation, they're going up.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Do people mention inflation to you?

MILLER: All the time, all the time. I recently did a video, of course, one of the videos I do the most, how to eat dinner for a week with only $10.

We got rice, we got beans, we got burritos, and they were only 1. 1.19.

So, the struggle is real for so many people who have never have to experience the struggle before. So, I have a lot of people that kind of come in the back door. They don't want to write it on the page, they'll DM me or email me and they were successful before, and have had to drastically cut back. So, it's not just people who would be classified as low income.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: This economy is changing the way how some people think about money.

Darrina says she's now a couponer for life.

CARTER: I wouldn't stop. Just seeing, this is proof. Like you don't know what's going to happen. You don't know what's coming up. Just to be prepared, I wouldn't stop. I was still doing the same thing that I'm doing.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Evan McMorris-Santoro, CNN, Jacksonville, Florida.


PAUL: Well, he promised to always protect her. But that changed for one little boy and his best friend when a gunman came into their classroom. His story and the action his parents are taking now to get justice for their son and the others whose lives are forever changed now by the shooting at Robb Elementary School.


[07:30:54] PAUL: Well, today marks six years since one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. In 2016, a gunman opened fire at Pulse Nightclub, killed 49 people and injured 50 more.

SANCHEZ: Governor Ron DeSantis has ordered flags in Florida to be flown at half-staff to commemorate the victims. Local businesses and organizations will also hold a series of events to pay tribute to those who lost their lives here.

An update now for you on the shooting in Uvalde. A Texas House investigative committee is set to meet again next week and they're closely studying law enforcement's response to the shooting. They could release a preliminary report by the end of the month.

PAUL: In the meantime, people who are affected by the mass shooting, they're doing their best to scope with the scars they're left with now.

CNN's Omar Jimenez talked to the parents of a student who survived the massacre.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the chaotic moments after the shooting, they grabbed their injured 10-year-old son Gilberto Mata through a bus window as students were being evacuated.

MICHAEL MARTINEZ, SON INJURED IN ROBB ELEMENTARY SHOOTING: Me and my brothers were telling him get out of the window, because he came to the back of the window, get out of the window, and he hopped out.

JIMENEZ: He was then rushed to the hospital, a bullet had ricocheted into his leg.

Not long beforehand, he was in class when according to his FBI interview transcript summarized by his attorney the gunman walked in with what Mata described as creepy music blaring from his phone and said it is time to die, you guys are mine.

His two teachers, Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles were killed. Many of his classmates, too, including his best friend, Jailah Silguero. According to his family, he would always tell Silguero's mom he would protect Jailah.

CORINA CAMACHO, SON INJURED IN ROBB ELEMENTARY SHOOTING: He told her, I'll protect her. And that day he told her, I'm sorry, I couldn't. I couldn't protect you.

JIMENEZ: Did he see her get killed? His best friend, he watched his best friend get killed right in front of him?

Silguero is among the 21 faces now living on in memorials and in the hearts of this community. Camacho and Martinez say their son has visited the memorial sites, a different person than who he was before the shooting.

MARTINEZ: He doesn't like big crowds no more. He used to be, let's go to this, let's go to this.

CAMACHO: It makes me mad. Sad too, but --

JIMENEZ: Why is that?

CAMACHO: It's not him. I just miss him, like, dancing around, picking on his little brother, you know?

JIMENEZ: It's is part of why they're now exploring legal action, potential civil suits against law enforcement, the school district, or even Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of the gun used in the attack.

STEPHANIE SHERMAN, ATTORNEY FOR GILBERTO MATA: Yes, this is a civil right to bear arms. We also live in a society, we have a pattern and practice of 18-year-olds doing mass shootings. I believe I can make a products liability argument that you make a dangerous product, and put it into the wrong hands, just like anything else.

JIMENEZ: Martinez and Camacho now face a difficult question, with their son.

How is he ever going to be able to walk into a school again?

MARTINEZ: I don't know. I don't know.

CAMACHO: I don't know what we're going to do, like --

MARTINEZ: He's going to have to face his fears. He's never going to put it behind him. Men that go to war that have PTSD can't even handle it. Imagine with a little mind like that, a young mind, what he has to go through.

I'm never going to know. She's never going to know. You're never going to know what he's really going through.



PAUL: Our thanks to Omar Jimenez for that report and the family who so graciously opened up to talk about it.

All right. Still to come this morning, more than 20 million people tuned into the first public hearing. That could change once the January 6th committee moves things out of primetime. We have a look ahead to what's happening tomorrow morning.


PAUL: So the second hearing from the January 6th committee starts tomorrow morning.


We know that. SANCHEZ: And they are expected to focus on President Trump's efforts

to push forward the theory that the 2020 election was stolen, a theory that has been at this point thoroughly disproven. More than 20 million viewers tuned in to CNN and other networks for Thursday's primetime presentation. It reached an even larger audience on social media and other outlets, even though one of the largest cable networks, Fox News, did not air the hearings live.

Joining us now, CNN senior media correspondent and anchor of "RELIABLE SOUURCES", Brian Stelter.

Brian, good morning. Great to have you as always.

Tomorrow's hearing is not in primetime. It starts earlier in the day. How might that change the dynamic? I imagine there are going to be fewer viewers.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it means people will hear these revelations as the days go on. There will be these hearings during the day, several times in the coming week. And certainly there will be a core audience that tunes in. These will be shown again on broadcasts as well as most cable news channels.

However, I think in this modern media environment, people soak up news and information like sponges. Sometimes you don't know what direction it is coming from, but you soak it up like a sponge and that is the significance of these hearings. The moments of news, the moments of confessions or of revelations will be consumed in lots of different ways.

And that gets to the 20 million figure you cited for Thursday night, 20 million is that core audience number that we have, basically it is a good measurement of how many political junkies are there in the United States that want to watch a two-hour hearing about congressional activities and about the attack of the Capitol.

But beyond that 20 million, many other tens of millions did pick up the information from Thursday's hearing in a variety of other ways. So, the fact that Fox News refused to air the hearings live it didn't affect the number of people that overall consumed or didn't consume the event. That will be true again in the coming days for the daytime hearings.

PAUL: OK, good to know.

Hey, while we have you, big weekend I understand with box office. "Jurassic Park" had a big opening weekend. "Top Gun", of course, is still racking in millions for that one.

Does this mean movie theaters are back? Can we go back for good here?

STELTER: I think this is the month we'll say the theaters, the movie theater industry had a big turn, the final recovery from the pandemic that those theaters have been seeking for two years. There have been many false starts in the past couple of years, there were a couple of moments when theaters thought maybe they could get folks back and it didn't really work out that way.

But between "Top Gun" and "Jurassic World" this was this one-two punch so important for the movie theater -- for the theatrical industry and Hollywood as a whole. I was out at the theaters yesterday, many others as well.

If you haven't been to the movies in a while, you actually show up and you realize they upgraded the theaters. They provided better concessions. It's actually more fun to go to the theaters, especially when the screens are getting bigger and the sound is getting wilder and the lights are getting brighter. There is an improvement to the quality in going to the actual movie theater that differentiates it from Netflix and from HBO Max.

So, when you have blockbusters, when you have upgraded theaters, it is a moment we can say officially this summer, the movies are back, and people are going back to the theaters to see them. That's a nice moment in this long American recovery from the pandemic.

SANCHEZ: No question about that. Great to see that the summer blockbuster has returned.

Brian Stelter, thank you so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

SANCHEZ: And don't forget, Brian is going to be back later this morning for "RELIABLE SOURCES". It starts at 11:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

And a quick reminder for you, CNN's original series "Watergate: Blueprint for a Scandal" continues with all new episodes tonight. The series is picking with a bombshell revelation that Richard Nixon kept a recording system in the White House.

PAUL: So the battle begins for the audiotapes that will eventually lead to the collapse of the Nixon presidency.


TIM NAFTALI, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: If you don't cooperate, it is an admission of guilt.

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Good evening. I have asked for this time tonight in order to announce my answer to the subpoena for additional Watergate tapes. In these folders are more than 1,200 pages of transcripts of private conversations I have participated in with regard to Watergate.

NAFTALI: What Nixon tried to do was to cue a line where he would give just enough to make people think that he was cooperating without giving away the goods.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They dumped these poorly done transcripts of dozens and dozens of tapes into the public domain. They weren't that accurate, some of them. This is the first time the public had seen much of anything about the Nixon tapes.


And people were saying, you know, holy (EXPLETIVE DELETED), look at this stuff.


PAUL: The CNN original series "Watergate: Blueprint for a Scandal" continues tonight at 9:00 Eastern here on CNN.

So stay with us. There is a team at NASA tasked to see if the truth is really out there, after all these years, after the alleged sightings, why the agency is just now getting into the study of UFOs.



PAUL: Well, NASA is putting a team together to study unidentified aerial phenomenon or UFOs. The U.S. space agency says the team is gathering data to help them learn more about UFOs for science and security reasons.

SANCHEZ: NASA noted that, quote, there is no evidence UAPs are extraterrestrial in origin, but this new team is the latest public push by the government to make the research more mainstream. The study is set to begin this fall and is expected to take some nine months.

So, let's discuss with the president of Explore Mars, Inc. Janet Ivey joins us this morning with yet another stunning out of this world background.

Janet, we appreciate you being with us. This news is surprising to me because I always thought that Molder and Scully were out there for NASA collecting evidence for Roswell and going through this process. It stunned me to find out that this team is new.

JANET IVEY, PRESIDENT, EXPLORE MARS, INC.: Well, it's like to your point, there was Project Blue Book between 1947 and 1969 at NASA where they were -- they did have a study of unidentified flying objects. So this new kind of endeavor to gather data, the hardest part here is gathering enough robust data. NASA has the great experience with lots of observational data from low earth orbit.

So they take that satellite imagery along with data that the public has, that they're going to be trying to gather as much information as possible and, you know, they now termed it unidentified aerial phenomenon, perhaps it is not as scary as an unidentified flying objects.

A lot of this time it can be explained. So, they're going to have to figure out, is it a weather balloon? Is it a sky lantern, light reflecting off of a cockpit? Is it some kind of military spy craft?

The problem is the real reason to get into this game and see what's really out there is it spy craft, any threat to national security, is there any threat to air safety or spacecraft safety? We certainly have a lot of commercial launches going on.

So, really, this is an endeavor to use science at its finest and see what's going on.

PAUL: So, next month's UFO report is not out officially yet as I understand it. Officials have told U.S. media that it's found no evidence of alien activity but they can't rule it out. That is what they say. They are not answering the question.

But we have seen several instances and I want to show you here we have video of possible UFO sightings. This I think is a video that went viral back in May of last year, 2021, claimed to show radar footage of an unidentified flying objects swarming the air and naval ship off the coast of San Diego.

You are the expert. What -- do you say what to that?

IVEY: You know, it's interesting. If you heard the words of the female pilot, she's even admitted that if she had been flying so low, she never would have reported it because she would have thought that she saw something incorrectly.

So, it is very interesting. You can look at it. It is flying and moving at these incredible speeds. So, that's the thing, right? Because then that's the question mark. This incredible maneuverability, this incredible kind of speed, this what is it?

And so, again, to echo, you know, Thomas Zurbuchen of, NASA science mission director, we just don't know. And I think it's important to science.

And when we think about whether it's a threat and something that can ultimately be explained, figuring out what it is and, I have to admit, there is just that part of me that is a child of the '80s and loved "E.T." that wants to leave all of these -- it's kind, of like think about science as leaving a trail of candy for what we have yet to know or be known.

So, you know, I think the truth is out there and we will discover it. I love that NASA and others are stating that we don't know and we're not going to rule anything out, and it would be fun to know if something else was taking a look at us but we'll have to wait and see. We just don't know.

PAUL: Every once in a while, someone will see it but that was me, but I'm not going to say anything because I want to mess with everybody.

SANCHEZ: Just let it spread out there. Yeah. You watch that footage, I mean, I consider myself a skeptic. Watching that just makes your jaw drop, right?


IVEY: It does. And again, the curious thing in all of the documents that I have perused is that this really is a moment. Like, has somebody figured out hypersonic flight? You know, this is the thing. Are we technologically behind? What is going on here?

Part of me just goes, it's just a great reason, with everything going on in the world, to look up and two recalled maybe a simpler time, to have some curiosity about what is up and out there.

And I'm with you, this tends to be a little bit on the fringe. Like, why is NASA getting involved are risking their reputation? But, again, Administrator Zurbuchen said, hey, we're going to see was that there because that's, I again, was science is good at.

PAUL: All right.

SANCHEZ: Hey, Janet, we've got to leave the conversation right there. We hope that E.T. is safely phoning home. Thank you so much for being with us.

And thank you for starting your day with CNN's NEW DAY.

PAUL: Yeah. "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY WITH ABBY PHILLIPS" is up next. Go make good memories.